Absent For A Bit ....

I am away for a little while working on a few or more episodes for The Adventures of My Space Alien Alter Ego story ... will return (to Earth) soon!

Notice: Blogger has screwed up and lost a bunch of photos out of my blog! They are replaced with a gray silhouette of a human head. I will eventually get them replaced with the correct photo, it may take a while to find and fix everything. So some of my stories don't make much sense without their photos, sorry for the inconvenience.



Exce$$ Po$tage

The company that I used to work for sent me a long letter a few weeks ago about the status of their retirement program, an annual report of sorts. Now, I say "their" program because I am no longer technically part of their organization and they have no more legally defined obligations to me through their retirement program. I thought to myself when I saw the letter, "This is strange, I wonder why I am getting this, I shouldn't even be on their mailing list. What a waste of paper and postage."

Today I got ANOTHER letter from the same organization. They mailed a letter of apology, as their records indicate that I shouldn't have received the first letter.

I am thinking about sending them a 'Thank Y0u' note for their concern. I wonder if I can send it 'Postage Due' ? Or, here is an even better idea: They could just give me my old job back, then it would be okay for them to put me back on their mailing list.

Invisible Man Gets Metal of Freedom

Barak H Obama gave out Medal of Freedom Awards to distinguished people this week. This photo shows him giving one to The Invisible Man. 

The answer to your question is "No" - I didn't put a typo in my blog title. I meant for it to be Metal with a t. I figured there was probably some metal in the medal.

Now it wiLL be easy to spot The Invisible Man, just look for the Medal of Freedom that appears to be floating in mid-air.


A Very Large A-Weigh

I was studying radio astronomy and came across the picture of the Very Large Array of radio telescopes in Socorro New Mexico USA, when it dawned on me that I could use multiple tiny accurate balances to measure larger things. I would just need to find flat bottomed objects or a lightweight flat bottomed carrier to hold non-flat objects.

From Wikipedia: Very Large Arrays of radio telescopes are used to act as a single larger telescope. The antennas can be physically relocated to a number of prepared positions, allowing aperture synthesis interferometry with a maximum baseline of 36 km (22 miles): in essence, the array acts as a single antenna with that diameter.

Very Large Array:

Very Large A-Weigh

Each balance can weigh up to 100 grams to an accuracy of 1/100th of a gram, or one place in 10,000. I think 4 balances would be able to weigh up to 400 grams with an accuracy of +/-0.04 grams. Each balance has a cost of $11.80, so four would cost a little less than fifty dollars to weigh almost a pound.

Link: Previous Blog Post about my Scale "Lotza Fun in Tiny Weighs"

The Very Large Array photo from Wikipedia is used under the GNU Free Documentation License


Lotza Fun In Tiny Weighs

I just got a new toy so that I can accuRately weigh the catalysts for chemical Reactions. But of course I wiLL use it to weigh a vaRiety of things. Soon I wiLL know appRoximately how many gRams common household objects weigh.

The sneaky thing about this pRoduct is its name. The name of the company is AmeRican Weigh Scales, Inc, but the scale is made in China. I suppose it is possible to get the letteRs C-H-I-N-A from the woRds AmeRICaN weigH.

I neveR dReamed that you could buy a poRtable electRonic scale capable of weighing objects up to 100 gRams out to an accuRacy of one hundRedth of a gRam, all for less than 20 dollaRs. That includes the pRice for a 100 gRam calibRation weight. Wow. 100 gRams is almost a 1/4 of a pound.

Chemists must always have new toys, and a scale is essential.

One of the eXpeRiments I have planned is to measuRe the lifting poweR of a helium balloon. I plan to tie a balloon onto eitheR the fifty or hundRed gRam calibRation weight, and then see how much less it weighs on the scale. Then I will be able to accuRately know how many balloons to buy in oRdeR to Re-enact the scene from the PixaR movie "Up" wheRe the old man floats his house away to South AmeRica. I have been needing to get back to BRazil for quite awhile. Recife here I come!

Update: Rob Z Tobor asked me if it was possible to get the scales to weigh themselves. I thought about it for a few seconds, and realized there was a load cell involved, so I turned the scale upside down on a tall pill bottle of vitamins, and the scale pressed down on itself.

The answer is 76.7 grams


No Longer

I walk into a hotel to spend the night far from home.

Back again after being gone eXactly 2,121 days.

Suddenly as the secure keyed entrance door behind me closes I remember that the last time I was here, in this building, there was a big party for friends and family. There was one friend who I felt was as close to me as family, someone that I thought was going to be my adopted-adapted daughter forever. But in less than a year later we became estranged. And I don't know why. It seemed a one sided departure.

So now I can't sleep with this recurring unanswered question gnawing again restless in my brain.

I laugh quietly when I think about how much I am paying for this rented pillow of no comfort, no sleep, while I type away, inserting this sentence back down much later into the middle of this stream of thoughts. This rented pillow hurts my ear with a stiffness and each little move makes a popping noise, dull popping, almost cracking muffled, in my left ear.

Now as I continue to type this I also realize that I danced at that party in the room nearly above me with a different woman, a relative, that I no longer care for. Why? I feel very strongly since that party she killed her husband, a man very important to me. But Oklahoma doesn't seem to agree with me on the cause of death.

So now I can't sleep with this recurring unanswered question gnawing again restless in my brain.

I can no longer lay here awake in slight ear pain, pillow induced, dry mouth, so its time to eXchange dry rectangular pieces of paper for a very cold Dr Pepper in a vending machine and retrieve the pillow that I remember is in the wife's vehicle.

Then I started thinking about my own death if it happened suddenly. No one knows my password to get into blogger. Comments are unpostable without review. So how would anyone out there in [just] blogland know that I was no longer alive? I guess my closest blog friends wouldn't get replies from e-mails either, if they tried. Hmmm. Interesting question. So "hear" is kind of an answer. You probably noticed that I write at least once a month, so if you don't see a blog post after a 30 day gap, most likely I am in a coma or dead. So with that out of the way, I am off to get that Dr Pepper, finaLLy no longer typing after eXactly 59 minutes ... ... ...

Update: After being gone a mere 21 minutes I am back to add a new twist. My left fingers are managing my beverage control while the right fingers are no longer completely their natural color, but have taken on an orange glow of Doritos while the right thumb types this entire paragraph to minimize the amount of nacho cheese makes it onto the touch screen of my iPad. Yes! I am just that talented!

Here is the real twist: When I got out of bed, after writing the "59 minutes ... ... ..." two paragraphs ago there was an info-mmercial playing on teleBision. We generaLLy have a muted teleBision for a night light in our bedroom. We are used to having a mine field of doggie treats and toys to avoid with our toes. So what was the product they were seLLing at 1 AM? PiLLows! I had never heard of MyPillow.com before. So I went out to our vehicle to get a piLLow, and the Dr Pepper & Nacho Doritos on the return trip. Thank you to the inventor of the vending machine.

Now, if you want to know my level of UN-talent, right after I finished typing the end of that paragraph "just that talented!", I decided to finish off the final crumbs in the Doritos mini vending pouch of goodness by pouring them directly into my gaping open mouth.

Think hippos feeding in the dark.

DON'T try this at home, boys and girls, and burros!

Just as I was rotating my body to get those last few orange corn crumbs, the final two or three fluid ounces of a somewhat cold yet fuLLy wet Dr Pepper came flying out landing on my left ear, head, shoulder, and sadly, most sadly of aLL, the piLLow that I had just brought in from the vehicle.

I am no longer sleeping on my piLLow.

Hold it, did I say 'sleeping'? ...um.. what sleep?


Position Is Important

My wife sitting in her living room chair.

I am standing a few feet away.

Cooper The Dog is almost between us, to her right.

Position is important in the teLLing of this story.

I teLL my wife, "If you would like to see how weLL the dog knows spoken words, I am going to teLL Cooper something without using my usual finger pointing" - and then I turn to Cooper and ask him, "Would you like for Ernie to doctor your ears?" without doing my usual pointing at my own ears.

The dog immediately runs a few feet away to the left side of Tamie's chair to get away from me, seeking possible protection through her and hiding behind part of the chair, but continuing to stare at me over her arm. Then he puts his chin on the arm of her chair and does a combo moan-whine-complain looking up at Tamie.

Tamie cracks up laughing, and turns to Cooper and asks him, "Don't you want Ernie to doctor your ears and make them feel better ..." but he has already given up hope from her and bolts at about the time the word 'ears' comes out of her mouth, taking off behind her chair headed away from both of us.

Later after much growling on both my part and Cooper's, we get his ears doctored.

From the bedroom Tamie hollers out, "It sure sounds like you two are having fun in there!"


NATO Invades Chicago

I just read an article about the upcoming NATO conference in Chicago, and how much of a big deal it is to beef up security. I had read earlier how certain tourist attractions are even closed to the general public during this time period. Today's story also mentioned all the protesters getting organized. Tens of thousands of ordinary people are getting their lives and daily routine upset, millions of dollars eXpended, ... and for what? So some "important" people can chat?

Then I thought, why can't they just send e-mails and have video conferences like the rest of us already do? Skype? Text messaging? Tin cans and string?

And then I read farther into the article and saw that the Secret Service was handling the security at the venue. I laughed when I thought, "Let's see, wasn't there another recent news story involving the Secret Service and an international conference somewhere, um, let's see, South America maybe? Why, what else could possibly go wrong with the Secret Service in charge?"

Do Not Bend Means Nothing To Certain People

Friday May 11th, 2012

I thought I was receiving a diploma by FedEx or UPS for the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning) college diploma course that I recently finished, but instead I got a $10 multimeter. Model M830B Digital Multimeter by Tekton. Nice. It even came with a 9-V battery! It works. That was about a week ago.

So I thought, hmm, I was hoping for another college diploma. I already had a multimeter.

But today I got a big package delivered by the wrong people, the United States Postal Service. The big package clearly says "DO NO BEND" in uppercase letters near the bottom front side. But they bent it anyway to force it into my mail box.

I can probably stick it in a frame and it will probably flatten out just fine, I don't see any harsh wrinkles.

So on to the third college tale. When I got finished with the HVAC diploma I decided to get pricing and availability for other courses. I asked about two, and only two, that interested me. Electricity and Basic Electronics. Those are two separate diploma courses. The person at the college was desperately trying to sign me up to get started by paying on the installment plan, but that route is terribly more eXpensive. I plan to pay some time in the near future in one lump sum, the cheapest way to go. But there are still calls now on my phone every few days from them pestering me to get started.

The information packets that arrived today for the s'pposedly separate courses were filled with useless propaganda about how great the college was and no detailed info about either of the Electricity or Basic Electronics courses. BOTH brochures were identical, labeled "Computer Technician" at the top.


In My Change PLUS: Flabbergasting A Chicken In The United Kingdom

Yesterday I received something fairly rare in the change the clerk gave me for my bottle of Dr Pepper purchase.

It was a sculpture of Abraham Lincoln.

But not just any penny.

It was made in 1919, so it is 93 years old. I guess Abe would have said "Four score and thirteen years ago" instead of the words "ninety three", or he might have gone with a more complex "Five score minus seven years ago", since he was fond of the number seven with his scores. Abe was rather unpredictable, a loose cannon in a day when cannon were more common and people knew how to keep score. I have never received a coin that old before as just change from a business transaction.

Update: 2012.05.13  Rob Z Tobor posted a picture of his chicken sitting in front of a web page with my coin!

You can visit his website at ...The Slightly Eccentric Diary of Rob Z Tobor...

Update: 2nd Photo

That should reaLLy make Rob's chicken wonder what is going on ....


The Stupid Way To Fight The War On Terrorism

I just got finished reading maybe one third of the news article about the foiled airliner bombing attempt that reaLLy was a covert operation involving a double agent who had sucessfuLLy infiltrated the enemy.

To me, this once again shows what is wrong with the war on terrorism. The "winning" side in this particular battle told me and the ENTIRE rest of the universe by way of the Wall Street Journal several details that I reaLLy didn't need to know, and, um, which, let's see, how should I remind the winners, oh, here goes: that ENTIRE rest of the universe happens to include their ENEMY.

Secrecy and advanced technology are your best advantages in this kind of war. You need both in order to win.

If you want to win the war, stop talking about your battles, stop babbling about your victories. Stop using your positive PR announcements to try to get re-elected. Stop taking the game to 90 percent, go aLL the way.


A Medic Call A Point Meant

I have absolutely no idea how I forgot to teLL you this story.

A customer of my wife was standing in her yard doing yard things.

Suddenly she had an arrow in her neck.

She is not an archer, nor was she necessarily an intended target. It seems that a child shot an arrow over two houses and it lodged in her neck.

Yes, that's right, two houses.

Luckily there were a couple good things that happened neXt.


Yes good.

She was rushed to the emergency by helicopter where they removed the arrow that went right between two major blood vessels. So that was a good thing, she didn't die.

Plus she got a helicopter ride.

The second good thing happened when they performed an x-ray. They discovered a brain tumor that is at the stage where it was starting to cause problems but appears to be operable. The operation is scheduled for neXt week. So I wiLL give you an update as to how things go.

In the mean time my wife is getting her a head scarf for after the neXt operation.


May 5th: I Sink Into Mayonnaise, (Oops, I Meant Malaise)

I am sore.

I had hoped that today would turn into a nice long nap. But my eyes aren't closing. Yesterday's cleaning job required standing for a long time on a short ladder in a closet scrubbing the crud out of an air conditioner. My body is slowly getting back into shape to do HVAC work. I actually do very little H or V, its mainly AC. Although I frequently have to work in extreme H (Heating) where there is inadequate V (Ventilaion).

At least the customer's system now works. I was able to take the situation to root cause as to why it didn't work (plugged evaporator coil) and more importantly discovered why it got so dirty in less than a year (improper filter installation).

After the customer saw with his own eyes that the filter was totally misaligned, he said, "Wow, I caused the problem!" - I told him that I had just been reading in the last chapter of my textbook that you were supposed to usually agree with the customer, and he cracked up laughing.

So the customer was very happy with me. I was far far far cheaper than the guy who installed the coil last year. He offered to seLL the customer an entirely new system. Later I found out that the customer had even spent $300 for a warranty that didn't get honored.

When the customer asked the previous installer if he would be able to at least reuse the one year old coil, the installer said no, it would be too hard to get the old oil out of the inside of the coil. The customer then reminded the installer that the installer had told him last year that he would be able to reuse the new coil in an upgrade if needed.

The main number one thing I have learned about the air conditioning business in slightly less than one year: It is chock full of lying greedy thieves

I hope to try to make a dent in the dishonesty.

I just finished my college diploma for HVAC yesterday, so, YEA!!!

My bottle of acetylene was refilled yesterday, so I should go burn or melt something to celebrate.



Things That I Think Are Interestinkg:

- The digital camera in my wife's iPhone makes the same noise as the mechanical shutter of an obsolete film camera.

- Several cows accidentaLLy froze to death in a federal government cabin high up in the mountains of Colorado. They had got lost. The forest rangers are going to chop them up and feed them to the local predators. Bear breakfast. One rejected idea for dealing with the cabina de carne de vaca con fria was to blow it up. My Question: Is there ice cream on the inside of the frozen cows? They actuaLLy stated in the news article that just leaving cows to rot in the cabin would have endangered the local water supply to a weLL known skinny dipping site.

(I just now imagined John Denver writing a song about these frozen cows.)

- Barak Obama campaign pledged to get us out of Afghanistan before becoming president. Shortly after becoming president he "won" a Nobel Peace Prize after doing essentiaLLy nothing to earn it. Once in office as commander-in-chief he increased the military forces in the Middle East. Now that he is on the brink of being kicked out of office (maybe) he has made commitments for the US to continue helping Afghanistan even AFTER our military eventuaLLy leaves. At that point we can rename the place "AfterGoneIStay".

- The leaves on my grape vines are doing wonderful this year, BUT a worm showed up a couple months earlier than normal. I am just hoping the plants produce leaves faster than the worms can eat, as I raise organic pesticide-free grapes.

- There seem to be an awful lot of mistakes in the textbook for my HVAC college course. There are even a bunch of consistently wrong page number references on an answer sheet, like they are pointed at possibly a different version of the textbook. BUT the most interesting attempt in the teacher's notes in the separate workbook at trying to fix a drawing mistake, the very final one in the textbook: He makes TWO more mistakes in the correction notice itself. The chapter number is 31 instead of 32 and the page number reference is off by 24. I spent a half hour trying to figure out what I was supposed to be correcting. Previous attempts at letting the college know something was wrong with their textbook have been rewarded with silence. I am just glad I have my own private local HVAC mentor and the Internet.

Update about the Mistakes in Textbook: Another interesting mistake in the Workbook for my HVAC course are the words at the beginning of every Vocabulary Builder section. All 19 lessons have these words: "To improve your Floral Design literacy, take time to complete this exercise." Um, no, I am pretty sure I am studying air conditioning, not flowers.

- My wife and I have synchronized pain. We both have a left foot that hurts, and neither one of us knows why.

- I have been a bad boy. My favorite shovel has been left out in the weather too many times and the wooden handle has become rather rough. I had never hurt my hands with the shovel yet because of the rough condition of the wood. Today I apply some sandpaper to smooth it out. BUT in the process of sanding with just a piece of the sand paper a rough spot on the handle snares the paper and my hand gets an almost splinter. Twice. BUT ... after I finaLLy learn the correct way to perform the task, and its getting pretty smooth, I make a discovery. I looked down at the business end of the shovel and realized that I had been working on my least favorite shovel, the one with the poorly angled blade. I blame this mistake on my use of sunglasses and having a dark garage. So I wound up sanding two shovel handles instead of one.

- I got a "new" phone number from Skype a few months ago and now I get phone caLLs from biLL coLLectors for other people. Oh, I typed that wrong, -several- other people. It is now approaching the number of telemarketers that used to caLL my old ceLL phone. Another plus to using Skype is that my name doesn't show properly on caLLer ID, so my mother hadn't always answered my caLLs.

- A blind Chinese man outsmarted the people holding him captive and escaped to the sanctuary of the US embassy. I am not so sure that leaving our embassy to return to China was his best move. The Chinese government doesn't have a very good track record of being nice to people who make noises against them.

- Before I got my new refrigerator I was very diligent about eating my cauliflower. I have wasted very little of it in the last four months. But now I have forgot two of them in a row. At least they aren't lost frozen Colorado cows errors.


I Like Your Shoes

There is a picture of the two leaders of the countries of Afghanistan and the United States of America on the front of the Wall Street Journal this morning. It looks solemn. But it reaLLy isn't.

In the picture the two men are standing side by side, looking down, you can't see their eyes.

But here is the secret conversation between Barak Obama and Hamid Karzai

- I like your shoes

- I like your shoes, too

- Are those real shoe strings?

- No, its an amazing hidden Velcro subsystem

- Cool

- I like your necktie

- MicheLLe chose a pink one but I changed to this maroon at the last minute

- WeLL, you do look good in pink. Its my favorite color, but my wife never lets me wear it, at least in public

- How long are we suppose to stay in this pose looking down at our feet. We rarely do this in my country

- Yes, we do it aLL the time here. We take lots of mini naps. We could have a fun time with these photographers

- How?

- Do you want to hold hands?

- No, and none of that kissy face stuff either

- [frowns]

- Have you been watching 'Smash' on NBC?

- Yes and no, I stopped after the third episode

- I made it to episode four

- What about 'Two And A Half Men'?

- Oh, that Chuck Lorre, he is a genius, bringing Charlie back from the dead by using a cigar smoking Kathy Bates in Alan's medicaLLy induced dream state

- [giggles]

- [giggles]

- Yes, genius

- I'm hungry

- Me, too

- Do you want to know a reaLLy cool trick?

- Whats that?

- If you stare at the red and white stripes of the American flag for a long time and then look at a white waLL, your brain wiLL play an optical iLLusion on you and you'LL momentarily see black and green stripes just like the robe you have on

- Yes, I knew about that and that's why I wore this today. It works the other direction too

- Oh, so, if I stare at your robe a reaLLy long time I'LL see red and white stripes?

- Yes, pretty cool, huh?

- Cool

- But I'm stiLL hungry

- Me, too

- You touched my hand

- Sorry

Update: 2012.05.02 09:00

I discovered that I made it all the way to spot 10 in a Google search for "Obama and Karzai Lorre"

I took a screen shot of the Google search, but getting the photo into Blogger this morning is proving to be an impossible task. I took the screen shot on my iPad, then e-mailed the photo to myself at Yahoo, then uploaded the photo to my PC, then Yahoo made me save it out of a compressed file directory, then I renamed the file to a decent name, and noticed they have changed something so now they are using PNG files instead of jpg type, so who knows how weLL that will improve things. Then I tried to edit the blog post to add the picture ...and... nothing. The program just freezes at Blogger when I try to add the photo directly from my PC. So I try to add the photo to my Blogger album first to see if that works, but no, that method also fails. Maybe later, I have had this happen before ....

Yea! I finaLLy got the picture to upload ... I had to go to the "Edit HTML" feature of the WYSIWYG editor in order to make it happen ...

Update: 2012.05.02 09:25

I just did the Google search again to show my wife, and now I am at spots number one AND two!

My wife said, "I hope you aren't doing something that wiLL get us death threats."

Meanwhile she returns to cooking breakfast.

New Blog for My Abstract Art ... Come Visit

Click HERE for the Art of Ernest S B Boston

These are pieces that I have generated mainly using computer art tools. Enjoy !

Something New:

I am also in the process of linking my poetry blog entries together. This project is only partially finished. A "Poetry LINK" at the bottom of the blog entry points to the next older piece of poetry.

First poem in the series of linked poems ....

Turn Gold Out of the Darkness

Turn Gold Out of the Darkness

Blog Archive

My Art

These are some of my abstract art pieces. They are available as prints, send me a note if you are interested.

Couch Glow

Couch Glow

Gold As Smoke

Gold As Smoke

Flowing Wood

Flowing Wood