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Netflix, Mahjong, computer chess and good books

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

For the past while my physical prowess has been challenged enough to force me to find alternatives to just reading and meditating, while Jeanne’s pointed out my brain might be failing me from lack of oxygen.  So, she introduced me to Mahjong online to exercise my brain cells.  Which she has no confidence will help.

http://www.freegames.ws/games/boardgames/mahjong/freemahjong.htm

But I’ve been enjoying it.  Online Mahjong makes for a middling good way to pass some time so long as you make it clear you’re not going to put up with any BS from it.  Just hitting the reset button when it tries to throw near-impossible tiles onto that right side and top will keep it towing the line.

Similarly, computerized chess will throw a lot of BS at you, but there’s no easy way of escaping it.  Conceding the games early, immediately after it takes your queen, does cut down of the time wasted, but even that finds a traction point eventually.

And all work and no play leads me to movies.  A place I haven’t been in decades.  Jeanne’s son, Andrew, subscribes to Netflix and allows me to use unlimited streaming video [cheeze I love that phrase] access to their movies.

Watched out movies I haven’t seen except as a kid or teenager, watched movies I loved as a young adult, movies filmed in times a lot different from these. And sated myself out.  Huk, starring George Mongomery during the early 1950s is an example.  Movie about a ‘native’ Filipino uprising after WWII against the US plantation owners.  If we allow the moviemakers to tell us whom to root for we’ll be cheering for the plantation owners every time a little brown brother gets himself shot.

What I’ve learned is there are one hell of a lot of independently made low-budget movies out there capable of providing a type of entertainment I don’t believe movies and television have ever before quite managed.  Maybe the funniest I’ve seen yet was an independent titled, “A Fork in the Road“.    I’d never have had the pleasure of it if I’d not been blessed by a failing vehicle.

Another hilarious one was “Unidentified“.  And a number of Russian ones, Pakistani, Chinese and Korean made movies have offered themselves up for my admiration and piddling around waiting to die or whatever it is I’m doing.

As for good reading material, I’m getting more of it than I can absorb.  Jeanne’s library jobs are fine that way.  Catching up on Terry Pratchett novels, a nice history, Quantrill at Lawrence, The Untold Story, by Paul R. Peterson, One Summer, America 1927, by Bill Bryson,  Prescriptions for Herbal Healing, by Phyllis A Balch, CNC, and Trials of the Diaspora – A History of Anti-Semitism in England, by Anthony Julius.

To name the ones I’m in the process of reading right now.

Saw Harry and Tonto with Art Carney a couple of weeks ago on Netflix.  Reminded me of how differently I viewed it when I saw it sometime in the early 1980s.  And I resonated far too much with it, Hydrox and myself, to watch it through without dropping a few tears.

Hydrox is hanging in there day by day, for those interested.  Who will outlive whom is up for grabs.

Old Jules

 

 

4-5 amp solar collector for recharging batteries

Hi readers:

Eddie’s made me another generous offer of a solar collector he had lying around, complete with controller.

solar collector

solar collector controller

controller

I have a smaller one back at Gale’s, but I think I’ll be able to just add the wires to those going into the controller.

A place to live if the RV breaks down

Hi readers. I swapped Gale for this trailer, finalized it yesterday.

In addition to giving me the means to get my stuff out of this valley and into storage in Harper, I can live in this thing if the RV breaks down somewhere up the road. It’s light enough so a half-ton junker pickup truck can pull it.

It takes a considerable load off my mind. Both Gale and Raymond, the guy up the hill have pointed out if that RV quits I’ll be dead in the water. I tried not to let it bother me, but couldn’t help it nagging me some.

But with a Coleman stove and oven, my diesel burning heater, a bunk, I can live in this thing. Better than almost all my ancestors almost certainly lived before they left Europe. And certainly better than any Native American ancestors did.

The DuoTherm heater began life in the late 1940s or early ’50s as a kerosene trailer heater. The man up the hill had it, but we couldn’t get the carb to work. Eventually replaced the carb with a needle valve and converted it to diesel fuel, which is cheaper and more easily available.

Besides, if a person doesn’t have much he doesn’t have much to lose.

Old Jules

Blown tires and ‘the homeless’

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Strange trip to town yesterday to get my town business taken care of.  A guy was telling me about a bunch of ‘homeless people’ living down behind the Kerrville Public Library and the Guadalupe River, and I moseyed down for a looksee.  Middling surprising.

Kerrville’s a fairly wealthy, relatively small community filled with mostly retirees from government, military, and top drawer private sector.  It has golf courses the way most small towns in Texas used to have churches…. one-per-street-corner.  The rest of the population mostly makes do fetching and carrying, ringing up cash-registers to fill the needs of the golf-coursers.  Ingram used to be a different town a dozen miles down the road, but now it’s indistinguishable from Kerrville except for the population being part of the old-timers and people working to make life better for the rich retirees.

But here, out-of-sight in the midst of all this resides a colony of ruffled, smelly people sleeping on the grass and under the bridge over the Guadalupe.  A cursory look would number them somewhere between 50 and 100.  A good many do their washing up and hanging around in the library to get cool now, warm when it’s cold.

Not a homogenous group in any way I could see.  Some are the usual ‘homeless’ stereotype in the larger urban areas, some younger, some drugees and alcoholics, some maybe ghetto types, and some you wouldn’t spot as any of this, just seeing them on the street.

Evidently the Kerrville city government’s getting enough complaints about it to cause them to try to figure out how they can drive them off to somewhere else where they won’t be a nuisance.

I’ve never been comfortable with the word, ‘homeless’ as a means of placing people into a tribal stereotype.  The emphasis on the structure a person dwells in as a tribal name is just too damned lots-of-what-I-wish-different-about-America-disease.  The straight fact is that every single one of us has a few thousand generations of ancestors who lived in similar homes to the ones these people sleep under, minus the library. 

And the names we give our ancestors are peasants, serfs, nomads, hunter-gatherers, the whole range of words describing people who weren’t aristocrats, struggled to stay alive any way they could.  People who were fetching and carrying for the aristocrats and starving/freezing-to-death-doing it.  Filthy, stinking peasants, serfs, nomads, scratching out a living any way they could, stalking the game animals in the rich-man forests and getting hanged for it, or wandering around grubbing for nuts, plants and meat varmints they could eat because they hadn’t advanced far enough to have aristocrats.

What those people used to be was tramps, hobos, beggars, derelicts, which was nearer the truth, but still didn’t cover the subject.  That place between the river and library is a hobo jungle minus a railroad track.  But I don’t think the people living that life can qualify by any stereotype.  For instance, my long-time-ago post about Stephen Schumpert, a guy I grew up with:

Could you choose to live on the street?

 If the cats all croaked on me I think I might like to try that for a while to flesh out my life experience while I still have some.

Anyway, I was thinking about all this as I drove home when I blew out a tire on the RV…. another inside-rear.  Sounded a lot like a shotgun when it went.  After examining it I decided to nurse it home instead of trying to change it on the road. 

The cost of a new tire’s going to set me back about a month in my best laid plans, and trying to get the RV off  the ground high enough to change it’s going to be a day spent in hard labor.  Haven’t decided whether  to try to nurse it back to Kerrville and let one of the working-for-a-living serfs and peasants at the WalMart or Discount Tire do the work.

Maybe instead of ‘the homeless’ a better word to describe the colony of people down between the library and the river would be, ‘the blown tires’.

I sort of like that.

Old Jules

The Party Never Ends

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

First, I want to thank Bob for the link he provided about Gate Guard jobs, a particular blog entry that swivelled my thinking on the issue entirely.  The issues of wear and tear on the RV because of the dust on the sites, bearings and other wear surfaces, particularly.  Along with everything clogging, electrical connections not making contact, and the bad roads getting to town for groceries all conspired to convince me it’s not the job for this RV, these cats, and this old guy who wants to die before the party of the first part, but after the parties of the second part.

Second, today I’ll be taking it to town for the first time since I got the tags transferred.  Need to pick up something called a ‘deep cycle’ battery to run the various coach functions.  The one that’s on it is dead meat, which I knew when I bought it and used it to argue the guy down a bit on the price I paid.  But it’s got to be replaced.

I’ll also be going by a coin laundry for the first time since I’ve been in Texas to get some clothes back into non-pioneer conditions.

Afterward I’ll go behind all the malls and big stores for packing boxes so’s I can get my belongings out of here and into the storage place.  Everything I can’t carry along right now, winter clothing, that sort of thing.

Thirdly, groceries.  Getting food of types I haven’t been equipped to utilize in a goodly while.  Because everything on that RV WORKS.

Lastly:  I might put the thing through one of those oil change places, get it lubricated, everything checked out for fluid levels, new oil.  Instead of doing it my ownself, which ain’t all that much cheaper and is just one more time-sink.

Life’s a good adventure.  It allows the illusion of forward movement, even standing still, leaning forward, preparing to stagger into the future.

Old Jules

Escape Route Version 2.5

Ford RV

1970s Ford

If the guy isn’t disinformationing me about the shape it’s in, this might be the next step in the long road home.  He says it’s got all new tires, spent the last 20 years under a carport, says everything works and is willing to provide the means for me to test everything before we finalize a deal.

Says it’s never had any leaks of any kind, roof, plumbing, and the structure, panelling of the coach is solid.  Says it has 60,000 actual miles on the gasoline engine.

If he hasn’t sold it by the time I can get to see it I’ll have a careful look at it first chance I can manage.

Three cats and a hat overgrazing the gas stations

Good morning readers.

I’m not going to furnish you with an image.  I’m not even going to regale you with all the tales came into my mind as the cats and I travelled across west Texas.  We talked it out, mainly in loud meowws and decided there was a lot worthy of remaining unsaid until the dust settles a bit.

We’re in Andrews, Texas, after spending the night in a WalMart parking lot in Midland.  Took the Andrews Highway out of Midland after daybreak because the cats couldn’t wait to get back on the road.  Strangely, the Andrews Highway out of Midland doesn’t go to Andrews.  Goes spang to wossname, Odessa, instead.

So the cats and I asked a guy pulled into a gas station with a truck carrying a large piece of machinery I didn’t know what was and he cleared the matter up.

This trip is beginning to feel a bit like Travels with Charlie if wossname Ernest Hemingway’d written it instead of John Steinway and three cats instead of a dog.

The S key on this thing is being a Communist, but it’s only to be expected.

More later.  Stay tuned.

Old Jules