Friday, May 27, 2011

SPI Rocks for Body Surfing

And President Barack Obama agrees. Here he is free-styling, almost side-stroking, not a swan dive and not head down and trucking for distance , either. Whatever you think of him, he's a very good body surfer and I have a great deal of respect for that.

I wish the President would come check out our body surfing potential on SPI when the Pato ('paht-tow') Current from Mexico brings in a nice color of water like in the picture. My girls are getting more good waves than me and that's just not fair! But ... oh so much fun when you can get it. It's a feeling like "you got it." It's a remarkable thing, and always in the timing.

Cheap thrills? It takes a bunch of stamina, burns some serious calories, and requires some smarts. I'll tell you one thing - the people who drown are not the people who know how to body surf and swim ... we tough!

Friday, May 20, 2011

End of the World

Ever since recorded time, about 5,000 B.C., people have been predicting the end of the world - which really did happen if you lived close to Mount Vesuvius when it blew its top (photo credits to National Geographic). But I think they meant when Jesus would come back and kick some booty on Mankind for our evils ways - a strange concept considering the teachings of the New Testament. I read somewhere that the Bible says "do not predict the end of time" but I guess that doesn't apply to hucksters, carnies, and carpetbaggers.

Did you ever notice that people who want a 'day of reckoning' always have a chip on their shoulder, like life didn't do them right? And when things go kaflooie, like a tsunami in Japan or a similar debacle, the damage is ... so localized, and not worldwide. Well dang.

I suppose I subscribe more to T.S. Eliot's point of view when he said "the world will not end with a bang but a whimper." Indeed, the Apocalypse could take another 500 years before we even get close.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gun for Hire

He cleans up good and is quite well known in environmental and air quality circles, looking for work in databases, statistics, maritime trades, educational metrics, energy related fields, business process re-engineering, quality assurance, ISO, environmental impact studies, and related goodness. Mr. Wells or "Sam" as they call him currently works from the house and is searching for diversified contract ops, a full time salary position, or even part time work. Dedicated, reliable, proven, and quite proficient at SAS programming as a plus. 956-772-1470.

Monday, February 07, 2011

These are the Februaries of our lives

killer swamp wabbit top right

Trials, tribulations, cold, freezing-arse cold, low on money, and hunkering down, knowing that February is thank goodness a short month, we hunker down. The first week of this February was real snotty, icy weather and the power went off many times for a long time. Did I mention it was cold? But yeah, we survive, and get by with the bad news of people dying and getting cancer and if you think about it, February is an especially evil month.

On February 3rd, we shifted into the Chinese New Year with the year of the metal rabbit. I am a fire monkey (by the Chinese zodiac) and I hate steel fooking rabbits, OK? Man they're bad news, and sure enough the weather, the electricity, and even the water pressure went kafflooie. Egypt rioted and there was a small earthquake in Oklahoma. This is a bad omen, one that I pray doesn't portend for the future.

And what's with all these "transformers" on the Super Bowl ads? Don't you know those are evil metal rabbits in disguise? Disgusting! Don't they know that the year of the rabbit is horrible luck? The only good rabbit is one that's in my pot or on the BBQ. Where do you think they got the superstition about a rabbit's foot being a good luck charm? If you don't eat a rabbit, one will eat YOU.

Monday, January 24, 2011

No reason to talk bummer stuff all the time, how about Mead? It's making a come-back and we ought to get in on the market. I can be quite potent, up to 18 percent alcohol with the right yeast, yet aged three years can be nearly a refined as a merlot. My experience has been more on the beer making side, where you make a boiled wort and add 1 part of honey for about 2 parts of water if you can find and afford that much honey ... with the beer method you can extend the honey further by using some barley malt syrup. I wouldn't go less than a gallon of honey in 5 gallons of hooch.

The batch I last made was before moving to SPI but it would be cool to do that again - a real crowd pleaser. It was 1.25 gallons of honey topped off to 5 gallons with filtered rainwater, a handful of white crystal malt in the grain bag, and a half pound or more dose of light malt syrup. I didn't use mead yeast but more a Belgian one that would get about 10% ABV. Folks it's enough to get you schnockered don't laugh.

After being sure that the fermentation doesn't explode and then the fermentation is done, into a second carboy as a clarifier stage, a very important step. The mead must sit in total darkness for at least two weeks before bottling. We used table large wine bottles for our stash. At three years it is in its prime, but it is passable after at least one month setting in a closet and good at 9 months.

True mead is good at many temperatures from near freezing to quite warm, and should never have any cloying sweetness to it (unlike most honey beer on the market). It should be very crisp and clear, never cloudy, like a champagne but not nearly as bubbly. The beehive honey dictates the aftertaste, which can be grassy clover to musky mesquite flower. Using local honey also has the benefit of making you used to the local pollen, so as to reduce allergies. Good mead is hard to find but even though expensive, is well worth the effort.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sea Smoke 1

Well that's certainly not South Padre Island here in lower Texas at latitude 26 degrees, but that is sea smoke or sometimes called ice fog. I think it is an excellent picture and is that a sailboat in the upper right corner? They are also known as killer fogs, since they seemed so eerie, still, and inherently evil.

Back to reality, think are going just OK here in imperfect paradise, been worried about work because contracting got slow, although I am hopeful for the spring. But we've got our health, good luck, and a second puppy dog - we should call him "Temporary" because I fear we'll fall in love with him (he's supposed to be a foster puppy for a few weeks). Brody is his name. The kids and family is good and it was 66 degrees for the day's high, about normal.

How about the budget mess? Has anyone been following that? What I heard was that government services, state federal, could be cut by about half (no more jokes about killer fogs). This time the ultra-conservatives seem to really want to cut the budget, as opposed to the previous increases such as during Bush 43. This has major implications, since most states, counties, and cities are limited by their constitutions about how much they can tax - and are either tapped out or promise "no new taxes." For local taxes to be raised over this threshold, a referendum vote must be held. Therefore, only rich local entities can vote themselves some tax increases if they want more services. When you push down services like education, medicine, and public safety to the local level, no grant matching, it gets real tough. Combine that with increasing nervousness on the "muni" bond market, once considered sacred, I say we have an official boondoggle.

Maybe it won't be all kaddywhumpus and bad. I don't get any entitlement money so that's not my issue. But it affects everything from my local taxes to big airports and marine ports, which is my bread and butter; even my DOD work will get cut back. I will muddle through this mess like many in a similar position. I just hope I don't have to learn Chinese to stay employed.

Onward through the fog.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hurricane Tomas

Photo of October 26th Storm - NASA
Record Low Pressure in Minnesota

In the last week we had an un-named storm in the Mid-West (above picture as of 10/26) and now we have Tomas approaching the Antilles in the picture below (10/30/2010). This is truly strange, powerful weather for this time of year. The gurus are studying this stuff, like why the central pressure can drop so fast and so low. Climate change? We'll see.

Enhanced Photo if Hurricane Tomas - NOAA
Water Vapor

Hurricane Tomas has a large circulation and is expected to go Cat 2 or 3 before running into wind sheer, and blending into a cold front. Very dry air extends from the Yucatan through Cuba. The storm in hot pink color on the right appears to be redeveloping and is already quite large.

Graphic - Unisys
GFS-x Model

This is a roughly 6-7 day future scenario when Tomas is now east of Cuba, the blob in the lower right. It is the pushing force of that big Mid-West storm as shown in a big red-orange loop at the middle of the picture, how much and when. Various models do different things but you can get a sense of the spaghetti after a while. Gawd I love spaghetti.