Thursday, February 26, 2009

If you aren't going to hell, don't worry about it!

For those like myself who give attention to such folly as the new CERN particle collider, do we not have to wonder? Are there remnants of generations removed from the reality of our sciences that presently mill about with opalescent orbs for eyes, blind to the glare of factual and diligent observation? Verily, I say, there are... and in hordes!

We have all heard their primitive rumblings, their Luddite calls for revolution against Satan, their spurious claims of Armageddon brought to Earth by man himself as if to supplant the role of the Almighty in the end of days. Even some of our own, those whose minds are adept at the interpretation of nature and her forces, hold forth that we will summon the power of creation into our midst and conversely unleash destruction of all that we know. We will create black holes a few angstroms across that will devour civilizations, evacuate the wombs of those with child, rend mountains like so much papier mache and take from God the power that HE HIMSELF may only wield!

Abstractly, I have this to offer those who wish the evolution of our knowledge base to cease. If in fact a micro black hole were to be created, it would be extremely unstable and last perhaps a few microseconds, though I have seen some estimates depending on the Plank Energy of the particle beam interaction that mention a few seconds. Of course you have to wonder if the mBH starts absorbing the particles in the stream, can it grow larger and eventually eat the solar system.

Either way, I must say to those who live in the proverbial Caves of Garrten, if you die instantaneously from the mBH sucking you into a stream of elementary particles and your soul/consciousness continues to 'exist' (it not being a function of material interactions), where will it go? As a Buddhist, it is a hard one to say for the fact that the ability to reincarnate with the intent to progress along the evolutionary path to eventual enlightenment has been permanently hampered by the destruction of all Earthbound entities that might have served as parents to a future incarnation. (this does not of course take into account OTHER realms which may serve as instant hotbeds of incarnative potential, as the Buddha said this is not the only world.) But if the supposition can be made that this IS the only world and it gets swallowed into non-material existence, I guess from my perspective, I have achieved nirvana and am now a cumulative entity, deed done.

If I am a Christian and have either heaven or hell to look forward to, then I better have my shit in order. So now we see where the real concern comes in. Behold my weak extrapolation! The nay-sayers and hypercritical folk are worried about going to hell. That begs the question, what are they hiding from us? What secrets in their closets? Whose blood on their hands? What sins in their hearts? Were they Christ-like, they would hold their head high with the knowledge that they will surely be with their God when the Earth is swallowed. But they are hand wringing and sweaty of the brow because their judgment will certainly be unfavorable. Is THIS not the time to make amends? Now, more than ever before? If you aren't going to hell, don't worry about it.

For the Nihilists and common agnostics, there is nothing to say to you. You don't believe in shit anyway.

There is a funny aside to all this. I was once discussing the smashing of atoms with someone and mentioned how you use a fairly substantial isotope as your target nuclide. And they asked me, "Isn't that an alcohol?" (talking about isotope) Ha ha ha ha! Sorry if that person is reading this, but that was pretty funny. I didn't realize what a noob you were at the time. So much for having intellectual conversation at the Owl and Thistle.

Much to my dismay, I find myself watching more political television than ever. Upon querying my most secret places, I find that I do it for those of us who have no fucking clue as to what is going on in the world. So on the off chance that someone asks "Who is the Mayor of Kabul", "Have they found Saddam Hussein yet?" I have a cohesive response.

The talking heads of MSNBC, et al, are bad enough to have to watch (except my ex-girlfriend Rachel Maddow), but the pundits they interview are unable to use the English language. They start nearly every sentence with the following triumvirate: listen, look, let's be honest. And a sprinkling of "I mean..." I just watched a five minute interview when Shlepply McSchleppers started six sentences with "listen". He spoke as if the host was NOT listening, speaking non-stop, or perhaps playing Nintendo DS Super Mario Bros. 3. None of those three were evident in the moving video I was watching.

Oh fucking HOORAH to Gary Locke, ex-governor of my fair adopted state of Warshington for being picked as Obama's Secretary of Commerce. I have a strange and varied relationship with Gov. Locke, it may be said. From almost spilling my beer all over him during the inaugural baseball game at Safeco Field in '98 to a bizarre chance encounter with him while working at Microsoft to bumping into him around Seattle here and there. I have told my friends that we are somehow karmically linked and are destined to merge one day into a fused being more powerful than anyone can imagine. Of course, I am a full foot taller than him, so I may shrink a bit. Anyway, good luck brother!

So so so... let me see. Oh yes, Jim, back to the traveling, which IS the point after all. You need to remember the following things:

Wireless dongle.
Battery charger.
Re-chargeable batteries.
Neti pot.
Leave checks for bills with roommate.

Re-adjust mirrors.
Fix XM radio antenna.
Get iPod wire.
Make cable for the CG-11.

More random pics I fergot to post.

Yurts in Oregon.

I have no idea where this was, but as I was getting gas a Mynock attached to the side of my RV.

Some RVs I coveted along the way.

My CG-11 setup. That is the Losmandy G11 mount and the Celestron 11" SCT.

This is the G11 with the Orion 4" semi-APO refractor.

Hahah! The Rogue brewery has the local public RV dump in their parking lot. I hadda snap it!

The Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, OR. What a great day to be alive!

Some historic house in Newport. But look... KITTIES in the window!

El Tapatio Mexican food in Astoria, OR. Not very good, though. Sorry, ET!

This guy was perched overlooking the big-time seal party going on below.

The seal party mentioned above.

Then this guy showed up and everyone got quiet. I think he used to date one of the girls on the rock.

That is all.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gimme that Oscar, Heath!

It is well known that I should be winning tonight, but that ham Heath Ledger stole my shit. They totally overlooked my part as the guy in the bank that was scared and got down. It was the best 'scared' of the year, but I get no respect.

On the other hand, I have to give an award to "Jared the ex-Huge" and Subway for finally coming to their senses and listening to all of the emails that have been sent to them discussing the antiquated values they were working from when deciding to dump my main athlete Michael Phelps. I will eat there again now that they have said "Like most Americans, and like Michael Phelps himself, we were disappointed in his behavior. Also like most Americans, we accept his apology. Moving forward, he remains in our plans." Go Michael! I do not know many folks in my life who have NOT picked up the bong and said goodbye to the nights annoyances and gone on a delightful journey to Cheech and Chong-land for a bit. Why I myself as a young man was known to hit the glass princess once in a while.

After my maiden voyage with Althea (my RV), I arrived back in Seattle a few days ago having tooled about the wild reaches of Oregon for some time. The goals of the trip were accomplished for the most part, those being the following:

  • Determine average miles per gallon.

  • Adjust to new steering and braking systems.

  • Measure time needed for full set up and break down of external hookups.

  • See how she handles on foggy twisty mountain roads that lead into stamp-sized town.

  • Retrieve Oregon's highest quality potables for my friends, all four of them.

  • Determine if I really enjoy sleeping in a fiberglass box with only the freezing sleet outside to keep me company.

  • See how my electronics hold up being bounced around for ten days straight.

  • Make note of how many hours in a row I can listen to recordings of the Grateful Dead band before a spontaneous flashback occurs. (answer:14)

If I had a "Mission Accomplished" banner to hang outside my home when I returned, I would have done it... and MEANT it! Though, not all was peach cobbler and honey dust brushed lightly across Heather Kozar's bosom. Indeed I had my trials and tribulations.

Of course there was the issue with the 120V panel, which is still unresolved as a whole. Then I had to deal with the county sheriff of Noname, Oregon (still pronounced ore-eh-gohn'), who was hiding at the bottom of the twisty foggy hill right past the speed limit sign which was invisible in the fog. $264 for going 50 in a 30. It is a ticket I really do NOT need at the moment. There was no getting away from Mr. The Man, though. He could have nailed me for a bunch of other shit, but he 'gave me a break.' AND the weather sucked for the most part. Getting back to Seattle has not been much of a change, nor will it be until the middle of July. Such is life up here. But there are solutions, Jim, there are solutions.

Another odd thing that happened was the loss of a vent cover from Althea's roof. It was there in the picture of her wanting the whiskeys in Hood River, but when I was topside cleaning off her awning, the damned thing is gone. AND it is not the kind of thing you can just go buy another one of down at Piggly fucking Wiggly! What this means is the wonderful Seattle rain has been pouring into the evac fan for the LPG range. And there is some Romex hanging around as well and some high voltage tie-offs that I do NOT need getting wet. Oh! Here is a picture of her with her top down.


It was sunny here in Seattle, yes. That is NOT an altered image. But.. twenty minutes later, it was pouring rain again. One may be thinking, "really, Jim? A blue gradient?" And if one is thinking that, it shows what a master of the ESP am I! During the year of 1990, Tioga (pronounced tye-OH-gah) produced RVs in a few color schemes.

Notice the merlot, rose red and pale taupe?

Or how about the light and opera mauve...

So, I think I got the good one, HOOOONKY!

Unknown fact that I might tell someone if I were going to die : I used to run a BBS back in the early 80s called The Microchip - 6510, which ran on a Commodore 64, one 170K floppy and a 110/300BPS modem on a single phone line. I had over 100 users, but most of them used Apple ][s. We didn't care cause no one was BBSing at the time, and we were just glad to have a use for our modems. Then we ate a lot of pizza at the pizza parties and one of the nerds brought a homemade explosive and blew the hell out of a trash can lid. It was an impressive device for someone aged 11. That was Beryl. You know who you are, Beryl! I had a crush on Deana Steiner, too, as I recall. She was the 'hot nerd' girl who knew how to write programs that sat in the floppy controller RAM. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oh shit! What now!?

Well, nothing interesting, but I did fart around the Nye Beach district of Newport today. It is akin to Alki Beach in Seattle. There are some local artisan shops involving both food and touristy goods. I did not get images of all the shops cause they were not that interesting to me. Here are a few shots of the town and of the ocean.

Newport Chowder Bowl. I had some food there. It was standard fare.


Fish 'n' chips at Newport Chowder Bowl


The evil ones at work.


Nana's Irish Pub in the Nye Beach district. I met some interesting folks here. Mostly local sailors and one guy that had one tooth. I said hi to him and he said "frrsh ya bllee bllee... garryya slooghh!" I was hoping he was a hallucination because I turned away for a second and he was gone and replaced by a tray of marinating beef. No lie. That actually happened. The barmaid saw the pic of the beef on my camera and told me to delete it, so I did. I was freaked out.


So, I turn back from taking the pic of the beef/sabertoothed-man and I find this on the counter in front of me. And all I had done by now was ordered a pint of mother's milk, which is the second pic. Very fucking odd. Very.



So I go take a piss and come back and the freaking state of Utah is on the bar! I told the sailor next to me I had to leave. I think he was an otter, though. It was a long day.


I left the bar and went around the corner and ran into Tinky Winky's pirate vessel! Holy crap! This turned out to be QUITE THE DAY!


I am exhausted now. But tomorrow I share sneaky RV insight with you... AND... more pics of the beach and shit!

Night night.

Oh real quick, I caught a peek of Althea taking a pee today. I know it is naughty, but here it is...


THAT is all...

RV repair story ahead... enter at own risk.

If you don't want to hear my pontificating, please move to the pictures of food below. That is, if anyone besides me is reading this.

For anyone who doesn't know how an RV electrical system works, here is the gist of it. You have a battery in the front of the coach for starting the engine and the general car-style dashboard gizmos. You have an alternative battery that runs the rear of the coach, though I have two because I like redundancy. Those batteries run the 12-volt cigarette lighter jacks for plugging 12-volt things into like TVs or iPod chargers and the lights in the back of the coach. When the engine is running, all the batteries are charged.

When one plugs into camp power, it is the same 120 volts you have running through your home. In an RV, the 120 is used to power standard home appliances that are built into the coach, like an air conditioner (a big one on the roof), a microwave, some outlets in the coach to plug your laptop or hair dryer into, AND a converter that drops the voltage to 12 volts (and rectifies the current to DC) to power all the things those two alternate batteries have been powering. And all the batteries are charged from the camp power instead of the car's alternator.

When you are boondocking (living off the grid), there is a petrol-powered generator built into the side of the RV that generates the 120 volts for you, if you need it. Trust me, you do. There are a whole lot of switching relays involved, too, that allow all this stuff to happen seamlessly.

So, when I am sitting here on me laptop and the lights start flickering off and on, I have about 4569 places to start looking for problems. As it turns out, it was a quiet night when I finally decided to deal with this. It has been going on for a while, now. Turns out, it only happens when I am plugged into camp or home power. Aha! That barely makes the situation any easier. Due to my sharp hearing, I discover that there is an arcing problem in my 30 amp main breaker. In this part of the system, the power is still at 120v and uses Siemens-standard residential circuit breakers. I pop the cover panel off and I can actually see bright blue arc flashes. Which is great... for welding, but no so great for your RV.

First thing to do is take the 30A breaker off and examine the damage. That is easier said than done, however. In the process of pulling the top of the breaker down to pop it off the the bus bar (the metal piece that it supplies power to or from), the entire bar breaks off of the TINY FUCKING ALUMINUM rivets that hold it to a piece of plastic. See diagram below for example!


Okay, the bar did not break off the rivets, SORRY. The rivets broke off of the piece of plastic (shown below) that also acts as the anchor for the circuit breakers. So now, what is there to do? Well, I say, go buy the replacement plastic bracket/bus bar assembly that just broke, swap it out, put the new 30A breaker in, pop the old breakers on, and voila!

FYI : the 30A main had to be replaced along with the bus bar because both had been pitted from arcing, which is a very HOT activity and damaged the shitty metal bar, which HAS to be totally smooth to allow the current to flow through the main breaker into the rest of the bar. ANY gap between the contacts in the breaker and the bar itself will cause... you guessed it, arcing, which is again good for welding or sparking an internal combustion engine but not good for RVs. So sanding the bar smooth was out, because it would never be smooth ENOUGH.


As my luck would have it, that piece of plastic does not come off and is not replaceable. It is a part of the entire converter/battery charger unit which is obviously not made anymore but CAN be replaced for about $500. So, my post from yesterday was not written accurately. This has not cost me $500.00 YET. But it probably will, because of my rash decision to extricate the rest of the plastic mounting piece with a rather large set of pliers. In my mind, if I take that out of the way, I can possibly fabricate a workaround to take its place.

In the meantime, I bought a residential 80A sub-panel, seen below, and removed the bus bar mounting from inside and have moved my breakers onto it and nestled it gently inside the cavity where the old mount used to be. The design of the original bracket was perfect for its purpose. I do not know how I am going to duplicate it, if I even can.


The real reason I am actually journalling about this is as a more detailed record of what work has been done to Althea since I purchased her. I guess I should add in the gennie tune-up and oil change, the re-wiring of the halogen fogs and the subsequent replacement of the insidious relay that fires off of the front right running lamp. An interesting workaround that one, but I can't take credit for it. Today I am getting the dashboard cigarette lighter outlet fixed and the grey water tank valve replaced.


So, this whole thing yesterday takes me about 4 hours or more of driving up and down Highway 101 from RV shop to electrical supplier to RV shop to auto parts stores, etc. I am hungry right about then, so I am trying to find Cafe Mundo, which I hear is THE vegetarian restaurant to check out whilst in town.

I drive about the historic Nye Beach district trying to find it. But I can't. So I head up to the 101 and go to Thai Elephant! I love Thai food and figure I am good to go. Well, the place had the standard Thai feel: Buddhas everywhere, pictures of the Thai king and queen (whom I believed are venerated by the populace), crazy gold fabrics, etc. But the essential element is missing: Thai PEOPLE! I only saw a honky server and no one else. I perused the menu and saw the standard fare, that being some curries, some stir fry and rice. So I got the eggplant and basil and rice. For $6.95 out the door, not a bad price. But the food suffered from NW Food Syndrome, which means they are catering to white Pac NWers who would fall over dead should they actually get some food with a little bit of ZING to it. I ordered 3 stars and was not impressed. The flavors also were rather dull.

I think they do not wish to insult the natives, these ethnic restauranteurs, by overwhelming our palettes, but in the name of all that is holy, THAT IS THE POINT of patronizing these establishments. We WANT something DIFFERENT. I can only eat so much damned potatoes and broccoli. American food SUCKS, yo! Steak and potatoes=bullshit! If you want to be a heifer with heart disease, sure, great... eat yer meat and carbs. Where's the CRAZINESS, MANG!? I want skull-splitting flavors that put me in an alternate reality. I want to see GOD in my SOUP! Next trip... SW USA, babies! You are all coming along to experience diarrhea on a whole new level!

So, here is when you walk in the door... an elephant orgy.


Then the meal shows up.

Then I see they have my favorite dessert for only a buck ninety-five! How WONDERFUL!


That was real exciting, I know. But it is pouring rain here, I am about to be blown into the bay, so why not sit here and ramble in case anyone gives a shit.

Is it just ME or does anyone else get a sort of high from eating hot peppers? I have noticed this in the last few years. I eat a few pretty hot pepperoncinis or a jally and I am like... WOOOO... stoned red, baby.

Now... off to the shower!

RV terms to know:
Coach - the motorhome itself. RV refers to anything from an ATV to a PWC to a Class-A tour bus.
Boondocking - living off the grid, camping in the boonies with no hookups or external amenities. Think... Nascar parking lot.
Toad - your vehicle you tow behind your coach for moving about town and off the main highways. Bumper sticker I saw on a towed Suzuki Sammy yesterday : I am loved, I am toad!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Long... boring... post.

So, I left the Hood River and stopped over in Bingen (pronounced, yes, bingin') WA which is right across the Columbia River from Hood River. I went to Los Reyes (the kings) for lunch and had a delicious chile relleno/enchilada combo and two margaritas. Their chips were fresh made from WHITE corn, and were light and very crispy.


That was a TINY town but apparently is home to Boeing's secret military weapons factories. There are a few of them strewn along the river by the railroad tracks. They build the unmanned drones that do service in Iraq and elsewhere. And the different facilities are used so that no one factory knows the WHOLE secret. The electronics are built here, the wings here, etc. Spooky!

The campground I stayed at was superb. A very nice little spot by the river, and subsequently by the train tracks, which was a bit annoying at first, but living by the airport in Seattle, it was not such a big issue for me. They have the free wireless and all hookups, hot showers, etc. for about $30.00. The place is called Bridge RV Park and Campground. I recommend!

An off note... the first time you dump your black/grey water tanks in an RV is interesting. The smell that is. I dumped mine for the first time at Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon and the dump sites were very clean, which can go either way. Feces should be in the hole people, not all over the dump site. The valve on my grey water tank is some funky alternative setup which was broken the way it was supposed to be used. I figured out how to dump it anyway. Whoosh! Bye bye poop!

So, I left Bingen and headed off to Corvallis, OR. After being in the city for 50 seconds I opted for Newport, OR, which is a favorite destination of mine for many reasons. I checked out some parks I found on the Internet and they didn't hold my interest, so I looked at a little park across from the Rogue Headquarters. There were no pay instructions, so I went down the road to South Beach State Park. Incredible little place. They have elec/water hookups for $18.00 a night. My next post will be about some basic RV stuff that I have discovered, which includes the benefits of State Parks. This is nothing new to old-timer RVers, but for me, it was great to discover. I signed up and headed back to Rogue Brewery, from where I am posting this tonight.

So, I roll into Rogue and here are some pics.

The Rogue silo of doom.


Rogue bubbles of love.


The pub inside the brewery. Me LIKEY!


The delicious Rogue barleywine and their hazelnut spiced rum.


So, then it snows upon Althea and me. We did not know what to make of it. Well, she is an RV, so what does she know. I went down to the beach and took some shots (of pics, not the evil Rogue rum) and a video. Here is the snow on the beach. Big whoop, I know. I think the video works, though.


Here is a cheesy video. LOL on me :}

This is the Newport Belle Bed & Breakfast. I went onboard and tried to order pancakes. The woman there said something like "you go now! No pennie cock for you!" Well, I say! I shall NOT be boarding that vessel whilst nude again!


This image is only being shared because we have divided the secret plan into many cells around Oregon. The plan is to distract the security guards (I have met them, they are easily subdued with a doughnut or perhaps a shot of Rumplemintz) and move the huge trove of Rogue goodness to the getaway vehicle in the form of one Althea Harvey III. The screenshot will show it all. If you are NOT in on the plan, the picture you should see will be of llamas eating heather in a field in Peru.


The previous picture (of the llamas) was taken from the bridge below. Now, let it be said that I am deathly afraid of bridges. It combines my fear of heights and my fear of water to make one big SHIT STORM of fear. I actually put my nuts in a rubber band and rode my bike up to the midsection of this bridge. No biggie for most. For me, it was the event of the decade. The picture here is taken from the public fishing pier.


This is me after my descent from the bridge of doom. Do not mind the shit stains in my pants.


From another angle there was this maelstrom that hit land not twenty minutes later. I hid in Althea for the onslaught.


Apparently Rogue's distillery has closed to the public. This is a shame because they had all sort of crazy and wonderful alcohol mixtures available for sampling, including various infusions with mango, herbs, and I think a human skull. Here is the sad evidence.


This is the marina of the Newport before Satan arrived and smoked all these ships in a big fatty.


That is all for tonight. Tomorrow I get to tell you how my 120VAC 30A main breaker started to arc causing me to disconnect from camp power and start an all day journey to replace a $3.00 bus bar that eventually cost me about $500.00. The interim cost was about $45.00 and is a hilarious work-around... if you are a gearhead.

Until then... I KISS YOU!