Wednesday, July 31, 2013

bee life

Yesterday I noticed there was a little bee on the inside of the kitchen window screen. Maybe it was a wasp.  Hard to tell because it was so small but I think it was a bee.

It was just sitting there. A few hours later I came back and it apparently hadn't moved at all.

This morning it was still there. Same place.

I was wondering, what is this bee thinking, anyway? Well, I know a bee doesn't really think, per se, but I wondered if it had any concept of time. On top of that I wondered if it wasn't getting hungry. Maybe something is running through its little brain, recharging it or doing some other maintenance function.

I see other animals motionless for long periods and wonder the same thing, if they have a concept of time.

On the other hand maybe animals look at people staring at a television for hours on end and wonder the same thing about those people.

In my previous post I mentioned how I am on "temporary retirement."  Maybe that bee was on the same status?  I sure wouldn't want to spend retirement that way, though.  At least in the evening the bee was gone so I hope it found a way to get out of the house.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


It's been over a month since I was laid off from work.  I'm looking for employment but in the meantime, I'm enjoying the time off during this "temporary retirement" or "vacation" or "time between jobs" or whatever you want to call it.

My idea of retirement was of being able to go to sleep as late as I wanted (and whenever I wanted) and the same for waking up - whenever I wanted. Throw away the alarm clock.  So how am I doing in that regard?

I still wake up early and go running in the morning while it is still relatively cool outside. There's an alarm clock on the days Julie works so I get up with that or sometimes before if my eyes open, and on the days she isn't working I wake up early anyway.  Then in the afternoon I take a walk which I like because it's my time to ponder everything that's going on.  And I'm in bed and sleeping before 11:00 each night.

That wasn't really what I was expecting to do, but I like it. Waking up early means I get an early start on things.  What I don't want is to become slothful.  So far, I have not been the least bit bored or without anything to do. In fact, I feel like there still isn't time enough to get everything done that I'd like to do, whatever that may be.

Through this period, I just trust in God. I ask that He give me neither too much or too little.  He always seems to make everything baby bear right.  As a friend told me, "God doesn't make mistakes," and he was absolutely right about that.  I'm looking forward to what the Lord puts before me.

Monday, July 22, 2013

from out of nowhere

Sometimes we get ants in the house, or other bugs like spiders, crickets, etc. Especially with ants, it seems like they seem to appear out of nowhere. I don't see them emerge from any place; rather, where at one moment the floor was clean, all of a sudden there is an ant right in the middle. At times it makes me wonder if they somehow magically appear out of thin air and are just.. there.

But then the other day I was watering the sorry-looking strip of wannabe grass in front of our house between the sidewalk and the curb and it seems like people do the same thing.

Since the hose is lying across the sidewalk, I don't want it to be an obstacle for people walking up and down the street so I am always looking to the left and right to see if anyone is approaching. And by golly, just like ants, people appear from nowhere.  What was at one moment clear as far as I could see down the street, the next moment someone is right there walking past!

Am I that oblivious? I know it's a weird thing to think about but my mind's always mulling over unconventional stuff.  Who knows, maybe the ants and these people materialize from nowhere. I just haven't caught them in the middle of that act yet.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

15 cents

In honor of their founder, Der Wienerschnitzel rolled back prices on their hot dogs to the original 1961 premier price of 15 cents today (Sunday July 21).  Unlike 1961, however, there was a limit of one per person imposed.

I was hesitant about going as I didn't feel like dealing with a big crowd of people lined up to take advantage of this bargain price. To my surprise, when we got there a bit after 11:30, it wasn't crowded at all. Julie and I each got a 15-cent dog (16 cents including tax) but you can't just have one chili dog, now can you?  With some fries and drinks the total came out to just under ten bucks, which for these days is still pretty reasonable.

How did it taste?  Just like it did when I tried my first one back in the 60's, when they were 18 cents apiece. Even back in those days that was a bargain price.  As I recall, it took them a while to offer french fries, however. No junk/fast food meal is complete without french fries.  I like Der Wienerschnitzel chili dogs - it's a great combination of ingredients!

How does the chili compare to Tommy's?  It has a more normal color than the Tommy's radioactive orange, that's for sure, but I think each is just right for what they cover. A Tommy's burger wouldn't be the same with Der Wienerschnitzel chili on it, and vice versa.  The first time I visited Tommy's was at the original location, enduring the long line, after seeing Chicago at the Forum.  They had no french fries either, but they did have potato chips.  I ate a couple of the burgers and had a horrible case of indigestion afterwards.

Those were the good old days - 18 cent chili dogs, 25 cent Jack in the Box mystery meat tacos..

Thursday, July 18, 2013

i spy

I've been watching episodes of the 60's series "I Spy" on DVD.  Each evening I try and watch one episode of this series featuring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby as secret agents.  I remember back when it was on prime time my best friend, Michael Jones and I used to pretend we were Alexander Scott and Kelly Robinson, making missions of our own.

Last night I watched an episode I found interesting because of its relevance to today.  The agents job was to keep a U.S. diplomat out of trouble while he was in Japan meeting with someone high up in their finance department.  The purpose of the meeting: to dissuade Japan from redeeming U.S. dollars for gold.  The reason: because as Scott put it, the reserves at Fort Knox were a bit low and the redemption of paper money for gold would put too big a dent in those reserves.  In other words, the U.S. didn't have enough gold to give in exchange for the dollars.

How many dollars was Japan planning on redeeming?  $3 million. I found that rather funny, being a drop in the bucket compared to our current national debt that is roughly 5,333,000 times that amount. But back then, everything was cheaper. $10,000 was considered shock value when used as a figure for the cost of something, or a reward being offered. $100,000 meant you could probably retire if you had that much. So I suppose $3 million was quite the sum of money in those days (1965).

Perhaps Richard Nixon happened to be watching that episode because only a few years later, he took the dollar off of the gold standard reserve so that the U.S. wouldn't have to worry about anyone trying to redeem paper for gold.

Since that time, tons of paper money has been issued with no gold in reserve to back up or support the face value of that money.  Just how much gold is there in Fort Knox, or in reserve in this country?  They're not saying. Things are probably no different today than they were back then when it came to understanding the concept of money and what makes paper money worth anything - most people have no understanding.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Costco tour

Those who have read my earlier posts in this blog know I am a Costco fanatic. So when we go on vacation (or go anywhere, for that matter), if there is a Costco in the area or even reasonably close, I want to check it out.

This time we went to five of them.  Irvine, on the way down there, then in the San Diego area we visited the Mission Valley, Vista and Carlsbad locations, and on the way home stopped at Tustin. The one that we perhaps should have visited but didn't is the original barn-like location in closer to the heart of San Diego.

Just like the last time we were down that way, nearly four years ago, I came back wondering why do the San Diego area locations have a better selection of stuff than the ones up here?  For example, the wine selection is much wider at the three we visited, as was the food selection.  A couple have on-premise sushi chefs making what looked to me sushi that is far superior to the prepackaged stuff I see up here. I didn't look at the non-edible stuff as thoroughly but from what I saw, the selection of those items were larger as well.  Irvine was pretty decent but it still fell short of it's southern siblings. Tustin.. well, it was a waste of time visiting Tustin.

Maybe it's a good thing that the Costcos on our area don't have as wide a selection as the ones we visited down south because that would just mean a more depleted wallet.

Anyway, those are my observations/lamentations.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

see world

We were on vacation last week, spending a few days down in the San Diego area.  We stayed at a great bed and breakfast place in Carlsbad called the Pelican Cove Inn.

Pretty much our entire Monday was spent at Sea World, from a few minutes after they opened, until closing time. I don't see how big families can afford to go to these entertainment parks but apparently they can, evidenced by how crowded it was.  It's a matter of priorities, I guess.

Our "discount" tickets cost $64 each.  Parking was $15. We thought about going outside the park for meals but decided for convenience's sake as well as not really knowing where in the area to go, that it was simpler just to remain captive and eat there.

We ended up purchasing a couple of "Meal Deals" which, for $32.99 each plus tax, entitled us to unlimited food from the main four eateries in the park. For each visit we could get an entree, a side or dessert, and a drink.  Considering a hamburger, fries and drink would set you back at least $16, it made sense to get the deal and have lunch, dinner and some mid-day snacks instead of paying for everything separately.

The food wasn't bad as far as amusement parks go. We ended up getting our money's worth and came out ahead, that's for sure. For dinner we got the BBQ combo that was supposed to include baby back ribs, pork ribs and beef brisket but they ran out of brisket and gave us extra ribs instead.

So that brings me to the real purpose of this post which is to ask what is so special about baby back ribs?

They are small. Sure the meat is tender but there isn't much of it. I guess because they were so small, the ones we got were well done and a bit tough. I thought the regular pork ribs were better - more meat, a better meat to bone ratio (I hate dealing with bones) and they tasted just fine. And they cost less, too.

Anyway, we had a fun day going to see Sea World. We both came back looking like lobsters from being out in the sun all day and not having the foresight to bring sun screen or caps.  With caps being $21.95, we opted to look like lobsters.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

slow bus

I think South Korea has the slowest buses.  What makes me say that, even though I've never been there?

Watching Korean dramas.

Invariably a scene takes place in which the female lead gets on a bus. The male lead, who has been desperately searching for her, sees her get on but the bus takes off before he can get aboard so he chases the bus for about 8 blocks before it finally gets beyond his hope of catching up to it.

How long can you run and keep up with a bus?  Even if you could do it for 8 blocks the exhaust fumes would knock you out. 

I've also always wondered why in South Korea that when someone in standing in the middle of the street, drivers see them, honk at them, but instead of stopping they run over that person.  So it must also be pretty unsafe over there.

In the United States, one of these days we will have a law that limits how fast buses can drive. It will be called the "no passenger left behind" act.  We will also have pedestrian lanes in the middle of the highway or street if people want to stand there for whatever reason, because by then that sort of thing will be politically correct and we will redefine the word "highway" and "street."

Friday, July 5, 2013

back again

I guess it's about time for a new post, seeing as how the last one was in October of last year. My typing fingers (4 out of 10) were feeling itchy.

How was your 4th of July? On July 4th last year, we had a BBQ at my brother in law's house for lunch and went to the Stonefire Grill for dinner.  How do I know this? I keep a record of each day's breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Lest you think I have OCD, which I may well have, the original reason for doing this was back when I was doing a lot of running, I would keep track of what I ate to determine if there was a correlation between that and how I felt when I ran the next day. Even though I don't run nearly as much now as then, I still keep a record of my meals.

I mentioned our year-ago meals to Julie. She remembered that Stonefire Grill closed early on the 4th and by the time we got there they had run out of the tri tip that I had been looking forward to devouring. I said, "that BBQ at your brother's was already a year ago?  It doesn't seem that long."  But yup, it was. Julie refreshed my memory as to who was there and it all came back to me. All I had remembered was the meat was real tough. I can write that since my brother in law doesn't read my blog.

Anyway, keeping track of meals is sort of like a journal, in that occasionally I will refer back to what I ate on a previous day and it might bring to mind what we were doing on that day, too. Like four years ago we were on a bus tour vacation that went across a bunch of states and took us to places like Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore.  Again, I'm thinking it really does not seem like that much time has passed.

In the present, time often seems to drag by. Like when I had to get one of my speakers repaired so I sent it back to the company in Tennessee.  It seemed like forever for it to be returned, since the time included shipping across the country. But the speaker got back safe and sound over a week ago and now it doesn't even seem like it was missing.

Such is life... time passes.  What is here and now is gone the next day.  You wait so long in anticipation for something and then, like Christmas, it comes and it goes.  I'm happy and thankful for each day, though, and look forward to what God has in store. Each day is a day that the Lord makes, and it's good to rejoice and be glad in it and for it.