Category Archives: Castle Willett

Meanwhile, In The Laundry Room

While we’ve been distracted by the mama birds and baby terrordactyls, the plant kingdom is making its move in the laundry room:

This is how Steven King novels start, right? Or John Carpenter films?

One or two tiny little tendrils and the next thing you know you’re waking up with a pod lying next to you in bed!

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Filed under Castle Willett, Photography

Looking Above, Looking Below

Memorial Day weekend, the traditional unofficial kickoff for summer in the United States. What a strange and different weekend this was than what we all would have expected three months ago.

We were supposed to be in Michigan this weekend for a family wedding. That obviously didn’t happen. If we weren’t going to the wedding we could have gone to Baycon in then San Francisco area. That obviously didn’t happen.

We stayed home.

Normally, if we weren’t traveling we would have invited the kids over, and extended family, and maybe some of their friends. The BBQ grill would have been packed. There would have been a dozen or even twenty-plus people here. Lots of food, beer flowing, margaritas being mixed, wonderful conversations, hugs all around.

That obviously didn’t happen.

Down here below there was just us. In our yard. No visitors.

I chatted across the street with the neighbors to make sure their family was all safe. We chatted online with our kids to make sure they were all safe.

But here, it was just us, the birds, the lizards, the flowers.

As I was cooking, above there was a rumble as a 747 passed overhead. Atlas Air flight #715 from LAX to Inchon, climbing through 9,200 feet at 366 mph. Almost certainly a cargo flight.

We used to have a hundred flights a day climbing out of LAX and headed toward the Bay Area, Seattle, Anchorage, Japan, Korea, China. Now it’s a handful. Coming in from the west we used to have fifty or more flights a day heading in to Runway 8 at Burbank. Now it’s maybe a dozen.

The world is so different than it was three short months ago.

In states that have “opened up” there are reports and video of packed beaches, large crowds, and dirt track grandstands packed to the gills. And not a mask in sight. I hope that I’m wrong, but that’s not where the smart money is. I expect outbreaks to spike in two to three weeks all over the country. A lot of those sites (the Ozarks, for example) had cars with license plates from a dozen different states.

The virus doesn’t care. Science doesn’t care. Reality doesn’t care.

Unless we have an order of magnitude more testing, and faster results, and contract tracking, and a plan to isolate those exposed, we’re going to see packed ICUs again. We’re passing 100,000 American fatalities now. (And I will guarantee that figure is low by at least 10% given all of the governors who are being caught deliberately fiddling with the data and not counting nursing home deaths.) I’ve said it before – by election day in November, we’ll be lucky to be under 1,000,000 deaths.

But I can’t change that. Neither can you.

So we stayed home. As I hope you did.

We wore masks if we had to go out. As I hope you did.

We stayed socially distant, with extremely limited contact. As I hope you did.

I continue to do 99% of my work from home. As I hope you are able to.

We wait for someone to make available the weapons we need to fight this disaster. Testing. Medical equipment. Protective gear. A vaccine. Leadership.

In the meantime, we fight with the only weapons we have. Masks. Distance. Hand washing. Isolation. Votes.

As I hope you did.


Filed under Castle Willett, CoronaVirus, Photography

Rose Rows

They’re all blooming now, many colors, many sizes.

No lizards in sight.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Flowers, Photography

When The Going Gets Weird…

Quarantine Day #26? Maybe? I should check and see when this started here…

Anyway, people online have been complaining about needing haircuts, including the subhuman cretins out “protesting” (by which I mean they’re following the right-wing cult leaders who lead them around by the short hairs) about “opening up” the states. Sorry, that got away from me…

Anyway, people online have been complaining about needing haircuts and I know the feeling. I normally keep my hair short and it was about time for a haircut when everything got shut down, so four weeks down the road I’m even shaggier. It’s not that I don’t like how I look – geez, have you people every actually met me? No, it’s that it gets to be a pain in the ass to take care of, it tickles, it just starts to bug me.

Fortunately, I don’t have a complex haircut requirement. Buzz cut, all over. I’ve said for years, if I could see the back to trim it up a little I wouldn’t even bother going to SuperCuts or Great Clips or Fantastic Sam’s or wherever it’s fastest and cheapest.

Time to test that theory.

The clippers came today, the instructions were scanned enough to verify that they could be ignored, the light was fading, and I went out into the back yard to cut my own hair!

Of course, I did it live on Facebook. Because a little bit of harmless insanity goes a long way these days.

It’s not for everyone, but I had fun.


Filed under Castle Willett, CoronaVirus, Paul, Video

A Damn Fine Burrito

Or is it a taco? It’s a fine line I might have been dancing around without a care in the world.

As a rule, I’m not one to post pictures of my food. However, this homemade burrito/taco just struck me as a particularly photogenic and colorful piece of cuisine.

For the record, it tasted wonderful. And despite the somewhat dry and cracked tortilla, there was minimal structural damage while eating it. (i.e., I didn’t end up with most of it in my lap or eating it with a fork.)

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Super Bowl Champions Monday

We won.

There was BBQ at our house because, well… Kansas City! BBQ! Duh!

(Click to enlarge.)

There was some tension being behind by ten points with only about eight minutes left – but you have seen us play, right? Like, really?

There was champagne that we had been saving for a special occasion, and they don’t get just a whole lot more special than this.

There was hanging out and celebrating and watching Andy Reid get his awards and Patrick Mahomes get his and everyone else looking at wedding pictures.

See you next year, same time, same place – back to back!

(And pitchers and catchers report in eight days…)

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Filed under Castle Willett, KC Chiefs, Panorama, Photography, Sports, Video

Super Bowl Sunday

I might be a bit busy and preoccupied later today, so let me get this out there for everyone now, an hour and a half before game time.

We’re ready.

(Click to enlarge so you can see the signed Len Dawson photo in the corner…)

The BBQ and the guests will be here soon.

It’s going to be a good day. I hope yours is too.


Filed under Castle Willett, KC Chiefs

The Night Returns

It’s always a melancholy night when the Christmas lights come down. The tens of thousands of festive lights, marking and celebrating the weeks surrounding the Winter Solstice, driving back the long nights – they’re all gone and the the night returns.

Tonight the moon, a couple of days past full, is helping to keep the darkest of the dark at bay. It’s always a pleasure to see it rising beyond the trees and the lights of Los Angeles.

Up near the zenith, winter’s guardian, bold Orion is bright – but not as bright as normal. (One of these days we need to talk about Betelgeuse. What’s up with that?)

The cycle will go around again. Spring is coming, the days will get long, we’ll roast through the summer, then the days will start to shorten again and next Thanksgiving we’ll decorate and light up the night.

Until then…

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Filed under Astronomy, Castle Willett, Christmas Lights, Paul

Windy Night

The winds were back last night, at least at our house.

Those are the wind chimes that were banging away, with the trees in the background swaying and swishing and whooshing and generally making lots of very loud, spooky noises.

What’s really weird is that a couple of folks at work who live within a couple of miles of here kept getting “HIGH WIND!” alerts on their phone, but it was calm as could be. Meanwhile, when I took out the trash tonight I found that the BBQ has been wandering again. It’s sitting ten feet away from where it was parked, and the big, heavy cover that was on it was nowhere to be seen.

Maybe I’ll borrow a set of chocks from the hangar. If they’re designed to keep a B-52 or C-46 from wandering, maybe they can keep the BBQ in place.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Photography, Weather

It’s A Fine Line

…between tradition and madness.

The cards were received two weeks ago, and signed about ten days ago.

The mailing list has been updated and edited for address changes, returns from last year, and those who are no longer celebrating with us.

The inserts have been written, edited, and printed.

The labels have been generated and printed.

The first batches of cards are in the mail, more will go out tomorrow, the rest by the end of the weekend.

Hey, when you get your card, look at the “Total Eclipse” stamps we’re using this year – put your thumb or finger on the eclipsed sun for a few seconds and the full moon appears! How could I *not* get these and use them?

If you don’t get your card in the next week, well – do I have an address for you? Only you can solve that issue.

As for “madness,” since it’s still something I really enjoy, and since I have a fair number of people tell me how much they enjoy getting our cards every year, I’m going to say it’s still “tradition.” And a good one, at that.

Watch the mailboxes!

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