That Feeling When – March 23rd

That feeling when that channel on Sirius XM that you were really starting to like suddenly isn’t there and you think it might just be that you need to turn the app on and off again or maybe jiggle the cable to the internet to bring it back but nothing’s working until you remember that you have the internet so you google it and find out that SXM just made it go away and you try a couple of the channels that are supposedly “close” to the same sort of music and they’re really, REALLY not so you go back to listening to a country channel for a while but somehow it’s become so pop and Brittany Spears-like that you want to stuff your ears with rabid man-eating eels while knowing that you’ll be scarred for life after listening to that crap so in the end you’re back listening to classical because if it’s good enough to survive three or four hundred years it must have something going for it, right?

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Music, Paul

Someplace Special – March 22nd

National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, OH


(Another one of those places that I got to spend four or five hours at, would love to spend four or five weeks at. There’s a growing list of those, not to mention the long, long list of places I’ve never gotten to at all. Meanwhile, things I don’t want to do ever again get done over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over every single day.

What’s wrong with this picture?0

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Filed under Flying, Photography, Travel

Reminds Me Of Someone

Some nights I just don’t have the right feel for music to keep me company while I work, and silence is not really golden, so I’ll see if there’s something to turn on the idiot box that might be background noise. Not as easy as you think – in many cases it’s still “10,000 channels and nothing on.”

Tonight I got lucky. “Dune” was just starting. I had forgotten just how bizarre and occasionally wonderful David Lynch’s “Dune” (1984) was.

I had first read “Dune” in 1973 in high school, about eight years after it had been published. I was enthralled with the book, but at the time figured it would never be made into a movie since the technology wasn’t even close to being sufficient. That said, by 1984 it still wasn’t quite there, but it was close enough for Lynch to give it a damn good try. I think he hit a lot of the high points about the mystique and power politics of the book, but with a book of that density there was of course so much that had to be left out.

Especially over the top in Lynch’s version was Kenneth McMillan’s portrayal of Baron Vladamir Harkonnen. It’s so far over the top that it’s never been a favorite piece of the movie for me. But tonight I noticed something. Maybe it’s because I haven’t watched it in a year or two.

Baron Vladamir Harkonnen.

Evil incarnate.

Batshit crazy insane.

Diseased and grotesque.

A 100% complete megalomaniac, self-obsessed and narcissistic.

Not to mention the extremely orange skin tones and bizarre orange hairdo.

It reminds me of someone…

Maybe Lynch was a bit more prescient than we give him credit for.

So the next time you’re cussing out that certain prominent politician for being a complete freakin’ idiot, instead be grateful! If he had two brain cells to rub together he might be this guy!

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Filed under Movies, Politics

Seeing Is Believing

Saturday morning. Heading toward the hangar. Getting onto the freeway. There are two lanes, both of which have a stop sign at the bottom of  a short downhill ramp to allow for cross traffic into and out of a residential neighborhood.

I’m driving the 18-year old “mom-mobile mini van” with 193,000 miles on it. But it’s been pretty well taken care of, has the big six-cylinder engine, and can get up and go when I really need it to.

Heading onto the ramp I see there are six or seven cars all lined up in the left lane with zero cars in the right lane. I have no idea why, but that’s the way they’ve decided to line up.

I see that the last car in line in the left lane is a Tesla. The S-model. The “mom-mobile mini van” for Mrs. Jetson. The acceleration and speed available should be reserved for drag racers, not mini vans. I love the look, I love the style, I would love to own one. But I’ve never actually SEEN one really floor it and let fly, just heard of it.

I can see that there’s no cross traffic coming.

My mission is clear.

I’m watching the Tesla and the car in front of it, first of all, to make sure that neither of them is going to think, “Why am I sitting in this lane as car #5 or #6 when the other lane’s open?” This thought could be immediately followed by a quick flick to the right, directly into my lane, probably just about the same time that I’m trying to occupy those spacetime coordinates.

More to the point, my brain is telling me that the timing is juuuuuuust right. If they all stay in their lane and take turns at the stop sign and if there’s still no cross traffic to wait for, the Tesla should be pulling up to the line and stopping in the left lane right about the exact same instant that I’m pulling into the right lane beside him and doing the exact same thing.

I’m thinking, “He’s driving lazy, otherwise he would have pulled into the empty lane.” I’m thinking, “He’s probably on his phone or distracted by the radio or something.”

I’m thinking, “I’m going to smoke his ass and show him what a REAL ‘mom-mobile mini van’ can do!!”

And the timing worked perfectly!

I’ll never know what it was that tipped him off to my intentions. Maybe I was visibly trembling with excitement and he subliminally caught sight of it out of his side mirror. Or maybe he just chose that point to pay attention to his driving and see that it was his turn at the stop sign.

Whatever the cause, at the precise same moment that he did his “touch and go” at the white line next to the stop sign, I did mine about eighteen inches to his right. I stomped on the gas to show him…

…and he was freakin’ GOOOOOONE and probably pushing 80 mph before I had a chance for my jaw to drop.

Seeing is believing.


I want me one of them!

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Filed under Los Angeles

Cloudy Days

If you have a clear Western horizon with minimal clouds over the next few days, take a look just a few minutes to a half hour or 45 minutes after sunset. You’ll see the crescent moon, a little bigger and a little higher every night. You’ll see Venus, which will be REALLY BRIGHT. And if you’re lucky (not too lucky, it’s not THAT hard), to the upper right of Venus a ways you’ll see a much dimmer object – that’s Mercury.

We won’t be seeing that in Los Angeles. This was last night:

And this was tonight:

There’s a major storm moving in for the next several days, so maybe Thursday? Friday?

That’s the message from the Universe tonight. It doesn’t care what you wanted or were wishing for or were hoping for. It doesn’t care if any given time period was going to have something happening that you wanted to observe or participate in or enjoy. The Universe will cloud out your planetary conjunction or eclipse or rocket launch or baseball game or marathon or parade or plane flight or vacation and be totally oblivious and uncaring.

It us, the little animated meat sacks on this dust most in the cosmos who put meaning on it. We are the context.

Logically, or perhaps “theologically,” the Serenity Prayer has it correct in that there are three things we should ask for – serenity to accept things that can’t be changed, courage or strength to change the things that can, and wisdom to know which is which.

It’s one cloudy day when I start quoting prayers. As for this particular prayer, today I’m apparently zero for three.

There’s always tomorrow, even if it’s cloudy.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Photography, Religion, Weather

Lizard In The Sun

It’s been rainy here off and on for several weeks now, an odd weather pattern for this time of year. Given the gray and gloom, we haven’t seen a lot of “the Freds.” But today was sunnier if not much warmer, and at least one of the larger lizards was out to catch a few rays.

Not the biggest one I’ve seen by any means – I suspect it’s one of the handful of little ones that I first saw about two months ago, now with a bit of growth.

Some of the online references (San Diego Zoo, for example) say that this species can live 10-15 years. I don’t think we’re seeing the same lizards for that long since I suspect that the local bird population (crows and mockingbirds, primarily) have been seen catching the hatchlings.

It was a nice day to be out sunning, especially with shelter and a hidey-hole just inches away.

Yes, that is the, “Why are you bothering me and if you move one inch closer I’m going to vanish under this patio!” look.


Filed under Castle Willett, Critters, Photography


Like the rest of us, it might have seen better days.

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