Saturday, May 28, 2011

Keeping Things in Prespective

This past week has been a bumpy one with a lot of storms and a few F1 to F5 tornadoes. It has been a very weird weather month. But there is always a positive way of looking at things and that is we did get some much needed rain.

I just received a email from my granddaughter and God bless her she reminded me it is all how you look at it. I loved her email so much I just had to share it with you

Hey finally saw my e mails!Smile There was a little damage in Springtown but me and Adrian were at the hospital about to pickup Greg because he was sacred,but all of a sudden mom heard tornado sirens so we ran inside and a cop told us to get into the hospital rooms and be safe.Then we heard a nurse say code yellow take shelter! so me,Greg,Mom,Mady, Adrian,a lady with a baby,an old lady,and a teenager went into a very small bathroom.Then one of the nurses asked us if we wanted to go lower into the hospital and boy did Greg say yes!Nothing really happened to us, when we were driving home we saw Allsup’s the top of gas station was long gone!We were safe and so was our house!Smile
Greg is her Mother's current husband and i a nice guy. Adrian is her bother a year younger,
There has been a lot of deaths associated with this year's crop of tornado's and no one who lives in this area not affected. My home town of Chickasha OK. was hit as well as Oklahoma City area where I have family living. It has always been that way and I suspect always will be.
Growing up I have been awaken in the middle of the night and rushed to the cellar. I have seen my share of tornadoes and take them all seriously.
Every year lives and livelihood have been wiped out in a blink of a eye by twister's. It is the price we pay to live on the plains. In a area referred to as "Tornado Alley". There are two advantages of living on the plains though that make the risk worth it for me.
One is that of being able to stand and turn 360 degrees and see the horizon and you swear you can see the curve of the earth. The second is since you can see so far most times you can see it coming.
When I was 7 years old just before I turned 8 in the spring my mother and I traveled by car form Ft Worth TX to Chickasha, OK.  while my Dad stayed home to work,  to check on Grandma. We had a flat and Mom had stopped at Ringold just south of the TX and Oklahoma border to get it fixed.
Mom was calling Dad and telling him about it and it being typical spring in Tornado Alley while Mom was using a phone booth to call from we watched a F1 tornado form and start coming our way. I still remember Mom telling Dad "There is  a small tornado coming at us I'm going to let you go and David and I are going to get in the ditch until it blows over., I will call when it is over" 
That is exactly what we did. No big deal just another day in Tornado Alley. I guess this attitude of acceptance is why I accept the storms as the cost of living in this area. It is what it is . Therefore I guess I should not be to surprised of my granddaughter attitude towards the storm.
It is about keeping things in perspective.
Reading and Movies
Yea!! I finally finished the 2nd in a series of 3 Steig Larrsons mystery "The Girl who Played With Fire". Like in the 1st of the series it started slow and finished with a bang. When I say slow I mean slow. Way too much dialog and setup for the last 100 of 570 pages. The bad thing is that now I have too wade through the last one "The girl who Kicked over a hornets nest" to see what happens next with the tow main characters.
Watched the Denzel Washington movie "Unstoppable" a great movie for anyone particularly a railroad fan like me. A 4 star out of 5.
Well enough for now.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Getting ready for a Garage Sale

I spent the past week sorting through things and with my family deciding on what to put in a garage sale.

Beside the usual things like baby clothes and unused kitchen items there is the usual kitsch that we seem to find our self with. You know those things we stand back and ask our self  "What were we thinking?" stuff that a lot of times are still in their packages. Total impulse buying.

How could we resist the bright shiny packages. What can I say but Sucker!.

One of the advantages of having limited mobility if that is an advantage. Is that it makes me think about what I buying.

Because I can't stand too long or walk too far at any one time, i reflect on what it is that I am buying to see if it is worth the trouble and pain.  Therefore a whole lot less window shopping and a lot less impulse buying,.

You would think that with this economy that we would see less impulse buying and more thought into our purchases. But, it doesn't appear so based on all of the info and commercials on TV and in magazines  urging us to buy the latest and greatest gizmo.

I have written elsewhere in this blog that it dawned on me that a lot of things I buy at my age is probably the last one I will buy in this life. The garage sale has made me realize more than ever that I don't want to leave behind a house full of junk, some still in packages, for my kids to have to contend with in the ultimate garage sale known as the estate sale.

Therefore I am promising myself that I will not buy on impulse again. That in the future my purchase will be based on need and utility. Not because of it's bright and shiny package.

Projects, Tools, and Google Sketchup

I had started to work up the drawings for the entertainment center/bookshelf, with pen and paper as usual, and realize that the scale and balance of the project would not work for a TV and have opted out of the ladder shelf. But the Woodcraft magazine came out with a Arts and Crafts style TV stand that I have to build.

Anyway I think I am going to give it a whirl instead.

For additional shelving I think I will incorporate into bookcases some of those design elements to use with the TV stand. Which leads me to my next comment.

Yesterday my youngest son Jim came over and walked me through Google Sketchup by showing me how to make component and then connect them together. H e did this with a simple bookcase. He makes it look so easy. But it remains to be seen if this old goat can wrap his mind around it. But I am diffidently going to give it a whirl.

What I thought was so neat was the opportunity to use Sketchup library of items to use for scale in compassion to what you are making. Putting a TV on a table or a 6 ft man standing beside a bookcase. It was really neat.

Between Jim setting up my desktop view of Sketchup and explaining how to make components I am hoping that it will lead to some interesting working drawings.

Reading and Movies

I ahve not as of yet completed "The Girl who Kicked Over the Hornet Nest" by Stieg Larsson.  The guy was totally into dialog which fills the book and slow down the reading. If it wasn't a matter of principal with me I would put the book away. But having read the first one on his series of three and knowing once you get past 2/3 of the book the last section is pretty good.

So as the Chief said in the movie "Josey Wales" I shall endeavor to perserver.

Last night my wife and I watched the DVD of "Jonah Hex". Surprising it was pretty good. Great bad guys and villains. taken from the graphic novel. But to really enjoy it suspend your common sense and just sit back and enjoy.

Enough for now.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Quick Thought on Cost of Living

Since I retired I have undertook buying groceries. Now if you knew me then you know I hate buying groceries. But what that has led too has been is me watching the cost of everything go up and yet we are told that the inflation rate is virtually non-existent.

Since the 1980 the way inflation rate is calcutated has nothing to do with the real world. It has become a number to manipulated by the soothsayers of the economy.

Think about it. Fuel, food and utilities have gone up. The price of renting has gone up with so many folks looking for a house. why should it not in not go up.

Then there is the value of the dollar which has been devalured.  Everything we have in real world value has nothing to do with reported inflatuation rate.

What is real?

Well the food you have in your pantry is real. What tools you own is real.  The clothes on your back, the trasportation you own not owed for, family and friends you can depend on is real.  But, the money you have in your pocket well it is real but does it have value? That is the question.

Yesterday the price of unleaded was $3.74/gal today it is $3.86/gal.  The  NPR station I listen to tells me that grain production is down 30%  and that speculators on both fuel an grain are making a killing. That medical cost are rising at alarming rate despite the health Care bill. Huh. yet we have little to no inflation.

Just a quick thought on cost of living.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

As the title say's "Just thinking it out"

It is the nature of man to try and understand the world around him. If we don’t have God in our life then we would invent him. Why because there are so much we don’t understand. To God we give those things we cannot comprehend.
But if there is one thing I have come to understand by surviving these 61 years is that if I am patient it will be revealed to me.
I have often wondered how I was to feel about the visceral feeling of knowing a bad guy is dead when as a Christian I am supposed to turn the other cheek. How as a Christian my faith said it was ok to go to war at the direction of my nation. Then I understood.
First Give unto God what is God and unto Cesar what is Cesar. Though we are Christian and follow the teachings of Christ and call ourselves a child of God. We also live under the law of man and as such our subject to those laws.
Then a evangelist who I have a lot of respect for his teachings and where I go to Church told us we have the responsibility to remove the presence of evil from us. To protect our own life as well as the life of our love ones. That it is mandated by God to do so. 
Now I have not had an opportunity to speak to him about this as of yet and I will. I want to know if I kill someone as a situation ramps up to the point it is kill or be killed am I doing what God would expect of me?
In the past  and right now my response would be: I will do what I must to protect my family and answer to God for my actions. As we all will do at sometime.
Now Sunday we hear Bin Laden is dead. Killed by an elite team of our military trained to battle the bad guys wherever they are in short to take the fight to them. One part of me cheer’s the death of individual who planned the death of thousand  and took great pleasure and pride in that accomplishment.
This is a man who hated us the western world because we did not believe as he did.  Simple as that. I found though that it reminded me of the Puritans of our own  history and to some extent those individuals who feel this way now. If you doubt me read a little of the Puritans’ history. People who ran from persecution in Europe but who did the same here in the America.
If we are to take the high road we must do so without the excuses for our actions. One of the reasons Bin Laden was finally found and killed was beause they followed a courier. This man had been a prisoner at one time of ours and let go. Go figure. But instead of seeing it as a opportunity to treat him respectfully as a human being we practice enhanced interrogation techniques. Techniques that were designed to break him down as a human being.
The military reported that Mohammed al-Qahtanl  received the following treatment
Among the enhanced interrogation techniques used on him were  being forced to wear a woman’s bra, being led around on a leash and forced to perform dog tricks and being subjected to cold temperatures that twice required his hospitalization, according to a later U.S. military report.
Look at what we are doing right now. We are bombing Libya supposedly because of crimes against humanity. The fact that they have oil in demand in Europe and our Allies want a more favorable or stable government has absolutely nothing to do with our actions.
But wait. What about Syria? Isn’t that requiem doing the same thing to it’s people.  Yet we do nothing but say shame on you.  Oh wait I forgot they don’t have oil.
We are indeed a nation of hypocrisy.  No wonder the Arab world view us with a distrust. No wonder their people want to destroy us.
Perhaps before we try to get other’s house in order we had better get ours in order.
Other Things
Well I haven't had an opportunity to get into the shop. Took a fall and damaged my shoulder keeps me from stretching my arm out. But I expect it to go away in a few more days and then I will back in the shop. 
I have glued up some pieces of red oak and a thin piece of mesquite and will try to turn my first bowl. If it turns out it should give me a base of light color red oak with a thin line of dark mesquite just below the rim.  Hopefully by next post i will have a photo of it.
TV history channel "Inspection America" has been dramatizing a serious issue of our crumbling infrastructure. The third in a series last Sunday focus with issues of sea walls and roadways in Seattle Washington. While the  inspector has been a little dramatic in his presentation I understand why. Watching a inspection is actually quite boring . The series is well worth watching.