No Context For You – January 25th

It’s only eleven months to Christmas!

It’s only ten-ish months until we can put the Christmas lights back up!

I’ve got a feeling that by the time we get there, we’ll have earned the right to a little joy.

On the one hand, WOW! How in hell did it get to be almost the end of January already?

On the other hand – wait, it’s still January? Wasn’t Christmas, like, six, maybe seven months ago?

Or is it just me?

I don’t think it’s just me…

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Filed under Christmas Lights, Photography


I will *NOT* be posting any Wordle scores.

For those who have been blessedly sheltered somehow from this latest obsession, it’s a free phone app game where the goal is to find a five-letter word in less than six guesses. If you have a letter that’s correct and in the correct position, it shows green on the next line. If you have a letter that’s included in the secret word, but you have it in the wrong position, you get a yellow square. If you guess the word, you can post your score for everyone to see. Everyone gets the same word, one per day.

Okay. Whatever.

The game went viral about two weeks ago. Today I started hearing about bots that have been developed for Twitter to post the word immediately after the new game comes out for the day, thus spoiling it for everyone. I’m amazed it took so long for this to start.

There are strategies out there on picking your starter word.

Okay. Whatever.

There have been way, way too few good jokes.

But what got to me today was a news article on a reputable media outlet with lots of high-brow analysis of “what your starter word tells you about your personality.”

Lemme try this one…

My starter word is “I’m too busy to have time for this stupid game so bugger off!!”

I think that I know what that says about my personality!

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Filed under Paul, Farce

No Adrenaline Left Today

If you know me at all or even if you’ve just read this site regularly at any time, you know I’m a huge Kansas City Chiefs football fan.

If you follow US football at all, you know that the division final playoff games were this weekend, including tonight’s Chiefs game vs the Buffalo Bills.

You might have heard that it was possibly the greatest playoff game in league history. It’s at the very least on a very short list.

We watched, of course, but I also recorded the radio broadcast with Mitch Holthus, the “Voice of the Chiefs,” so I could listen to it later. We love Mitch’s broadcasts!

This is the recording of Mitch’s signature call of “Touchdown! Kan-Sas City!” from the winning touchdown in overtime.

I, meanwhile, while extremely happy that we won and will move on to the Conference Championship game next week at Arrowhead Stadium, am nonetheless a wreck, drained, exhausted.

With all due respect to next week’s opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals, can I please request that we be ahead of them by about 35 points by the end of the 3rd quarter so that my heart will hold out for the actual Super Bowl?


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Filed under KC Chiefs, Sports

DIY Silver Lining #2

Earlier in January I posted a picture of a portion of my home office desktop, with two monitors showing live views of Tokyo and Venice. A comment from Jemima Pett suggested also watching live webcams from nature reserves.

Not to worry – I’ve got that covered.

On the left, the Cornell Lab FeederWatch Cam At Sapsucker Woods in Ithica, New York. If you don’t want to watch these birds, Cornell Labs has a whole lineup of other webcams around the world.

On the right, the Live Jellyfish Cam from Monterey Bay Aquarium. Again, if you don’t want to watch the jellies, there are a number of other webcams there, including the otters out in Monterey Bay.


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Filed under Photography, Paul

Random Old Photos – January 21st

Well…semi-random at least. Tonight I decided to look for other photos taken on January 21st in other years.

Tough search. Not many to be found, and most of them to be family related, personal, not necessarily for sharing here.

But in 2010, a dozen years ago…

Apparently, it was a “frog drowner.”

Not so much tonight. While we’ve had some showers in the past week, and we got a LOT of rain in December, it’s dry and SUPER WINDY in SoCal tonight.

Here we’re windy. In many other places in SoCal it’s gusting to 60 and even 70+ and there are power outages all over the place. Up north, on the Central Coast by Big Sur, there’s a brush fire that’s started. And many folks are pointing out that if we hadn’t had a soaking through most of December, the entire West Coast could be in flames with these winds.

Hang on. It’s 2022. Looking back at 2020 and 2021 we were hoping that 2022 would calm down. It seems instead to have said, “Hold my beer!”

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Filed under Photography, Weather

Venice And Sapsucker Woods

This finish line crossed

The race won for the moment

Time to relax, to read, to breathe – tonight

00:43:29 at the pond’s edge, no birds to be found at the feeder

But small critters occasionally scurry by for theft

Snow falling heavily

In Venice it’s foggy at 06:43:29, traffic slow and sparse

Across the canal someone’s television has flickered all night

Odd shapes flashing, occasionally recognizable, always foreign

As sea birds and gulls flash by in the mist like specters.

Los Angeles at 21:43:29 is cool and calm, another day entirely

Longing for travel and adventures, settling for far less again, taking what’s available

Tomorrow we begin again.


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Filed under Art, Paul, Photography, Travel, Writing

ALWAYS Make Time To Watch The ISS Fly Overhead

Life’s too damn short. It’s bad enough that we can’t watch rockets take off and land any time we want, not to mention all of that COVID and politics and other nonsense. But when you know that the ISS is flying overhead and it’s nice and clear, stop what you’re doing and go watch!

Of course, you only get to see about half of the pass when you’re out there just starting to record and the pizza guy pulls up and hands you dinner.

Priorities can be emergent and fluid. Just sayin’.

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Filed under Space, Video

Taco Bell And The Morlocks

Sometime in the mid 1960’s, when it was a big freakin’ deal to have a movie shown on TV! It meant either NBC or CBS was showing it in prime time, and I had to finagle permission to stay up past my bedtime. A big hit for me with lots of long-lasting memories was “The Time Machine.” Made by George Pal and starring Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux in 1960, the pre-teen Paul was very impressionable and large parts of the movie scared the crap out of me. (It seems I wasn’t alone.)

What really scared me was when the air raid sirens went off and the peaceful, dull, childlike Eloi all went slack jawed and started marching zombie-like into the caves of the Morlocks, where obviously the Morlocks were going to kill them and eat them. We were living in Kansas City at the time (remember, huge Chiefs fan here!) and tornadoes were not uncommon for about six months of each year. When they got close, the air raid sirens went off to warn folks to take cover. Needless to say, the summers after seeing “The Time Machine” had a whole new interpretation of that!

Skip forward fifty-six or fifty-seven years, to 2022. You’re watching television and a Taco Bell commercial comes on:

  • There’s a beach party, a young lady skips off into the darkness to snog that sexy young dude in the dark. A buoy tips over, causing a “bell” to ring (the signature and no doubt trademarked Taco Bell sound), and your hormonal teenager turns into a zombie, leaves Boy Wonder on the beach wondering what happened, and she marches off to Taco Bell to get something disgusting.
  • A subway platform, a geek dude cosplaying some sort of elf warrior with a shield spies a geek girl with the exact same costume and shield. Their eyes meet, they step toward each other, her shield hits a metal trash can, we hear that “bell” sound, she gets glassy eyed and wanders off to Taco Bell.
  • Two dudes are going for the all-time high score in the universe on Dance Dance Revolution at which point the machine music makes that “bell” sound, they stop mid-game, and head off for some brodude Taco Bell munchies.
  • The high schooler with the purple hair is at the back of the orchestra with a pair of cymbals, waiting for her one big moment, when someone tips over a music stand, it hits the tuba, makes that “bell” sound, and half the orchestra wanders off in search of greasy ground beef and runny fake cheese.

Aside from the fact that I’m not a fan of Taco Bell’s food, all of these examples remind me constantly of one thing – THE ELOI!!! The protagonists in every one of these ads act exactly like the Eloi in “The Time Machine!”

So, Taco Bell’s advertising agency and marketing gurus, look how you’ve made me think of your food!

I’m about to have the romantic, hormonal, passionate night that I’ve always fantasized about and which I’ll remember for the rest of my life – until I turn into an Eloi and march into the Morlocks’ cave to be killed. And YOU’RE the Morlocks!

I’m a lonely geek who’s suddenly found my soulmate, only to have her snatched away into zombieland just feet away from my embrace. And YOU’RE the zombies!

You get the drift.

Obviously, I’m not the target market for these ads, both because of my tastes in food and because of my age (and probably a half-dozen or more other traits), but jeez louise!! Did NO ONE look at these ads and think, “Wait…maybe…”

Or, worse, did they look at it and think, “Whatever! As long as they spend money at our place!”

Go find a taco truck, or a mom & pop style Mexican place with real food. And hoist a margarita and a burrito to Yvette Mimieux, who passed away at age 80 this afternoon.


Filed under Deep Thoughts, Entertainment, Movies, Paul

Full Moon & Rain

Again, as always out here where they decided to build megalopolises in a desert, we need the rain.

The three days of it we just got came as a complete surprise.

The clouds are headed out (I think) and the moon is about 99.8% full, so I tried playing with how it looked through the now barren tree.

The owls off down the hill added to the spookiness quotient.

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Filed under Photography, Weather

Playing With Cinematic Mode In A Most Meta Way

The iPhone 13 has a built-in video mode called “Cinematic” and there’s an ad running on TV where it’s demonstrated. I hadn’t looked up any instructions, but figured that Apple products are usually pretty intuitive, so I decided on short notice (the ad had just come on TV) to see if my intuitions were correct.

They were.

While recording the video in Cinematic mode, just touch the screen to indicate where you would like to focus. In this video, watch as the focus shifts from the soda can in the foreground, the KC Chiefs hat behind that, and the television showing the Apple iPhone ad in the distance.

This is pretty cool!

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Filed under Paul, Video