Thursday, August 25, 2011

Grand Canyon

This was taken at some point along the Grand Canyon's South Rim. There's smoke from a wildfire on the North Rim.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sunset on Bright Angel Trail

I'd gone down the Bright Angel Trail about 600ft vertically, to the boundary between the Coconino Sandstone and the Toroweap Formation, and was coming back up when I took this shot. It is impossible to convey the scale of the Canyon in a photo.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunset Crater and Wupatki Ruins

Navajo Reservation Road

There were times when you could look out to the horizon in any direction and see nothing moving. No horses, antelope, cows, or sheep. No birds. No people.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Canyon de Chelly

White House ruins. Hike down from the canyon rim to the floor. Depending on how you measure it, it's 1.5 miles of trail, or 600ft elevation, or 2 hours of hiking, or 900 years of history.
Spider Rock. 800 feet tall. The Navajo say Grandmother Spider lives on the taller spire. I realize this looks like a photo of a model--say, a really good terrain set for a wargame--but I assure you, it's the real thing.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Canyon de Chelly north rim

Anasazi ruins at the cliff base

Painted Desert

The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, east of Holbrook. This photo was taken with no zoom. That raven did not deign to move until I was within two feet of him.

Wigwam Motel, Holbrook

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Phoenix, Winslow, Holbrook

Phoenix was pleasantly warm (106°) and desert-y, with palm trees in the city and cacti outside. Drove north though Payson, Strawberry, and the aptly named Pine--by that elevation the cacti have given way to pine forest, sometimes with no ground cover, sometimes with sage grass or brush.

Stopped at the Standing on the Corner Park in Winslow, which is actually just a wide
sidewalk with a mural, signpost and statue.

Got to Homolovi Ruins at 4:25. It turns out they close at 5pm, but it only took ten minutes to look at the kiva (uncovered basement) and piles of rocks and some potsherds, and there wasn't anything else to see. It was silent there except for the wind. No people, no cars, no planes, no animals. Except the ranger station, no buildings in sight, all the way out to the horizon. Desolate.
Drove to Holbrook, had a Navajo taco with green chiles at Joe and Aggie's Cafe, and slept at the Wigwam Motel.

Operation Bigditch

Up at 4:15am and onto the plane, ready for departure. I don't seem to have been followed. Well, there was the black Mercedes with tinted windows, but I'm sure that was nothing to worry about.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Device

Friday, August 19, 2011

Packing for Arizona

Getting ready to leave for Arizona. I'll be heading for the airport at 5am,
so I suppose I should finish packing the suitcase; thus far I've mostly been
getting the electronics (and their various chargers) ready.


Today we went over 10,000 page views.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Economic Bad Luck part 2

The President has been blaming our economic woes on "a string of bad luck". Not to say that external shocks don't have an impact, but if the main factor in our economy is luck rather than policy, then it will be hard to Mr. Obama to argue that he deserves to stay in office.
And if the main effect on the economy is policy rather than luck, then it will be hard for Mr. Obama to argue that he deserves to stay in office.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Galaxy Tab

We've been looking at getting another netbook, or an e-reader, or something. I've looked at smartphones before but they're too small for me to type anything other than very brief texts. The Galaxy Tab 7" was the right size; it's normally going for $300-400, but Verizon was offering them for $200, or $150 if you got a pre-owned one, or $130 and free FedEx if you bought it online,or $80 if you entered a promotional code that their LiveChat agent would give you. So, we ordered it Sunday, it arrived today, and I've been playing with it for much of the evening.

It's easier to search Amazon for Kindle titles with a regular computer instead of with the mobile version of the web page, but otherwise...yeah, I can see getting used to this.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Packing List

Things to take to Arizona:

  • Rapier
  • Kukri
  • A pair of pistols, with appurtenances
  • Regency waistcoat, tailcoat, ascot
  • Dehydrated jetski ("just add water")
  • MP3 player with plaintive music
  • MRE: Haggis
  • Vegemite
What else? No need to limit it to TSA-approved items.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

On the opinions of critics

On Monster Hunter Nation, Larry Correia talks about being a Campbell Award nominee:
I am the least favored to win by the literary critical types, (in fact, I’ve seen a few places where they have ranked me #6 out of the 5 finalists) but that’s cool, because I am the only author eligible that has had a gnome fight or trailer park elves. (or as one critic pointed out, I am a relentlessly single tone throw back, and another said that if I win it is an insult and a black mark on the entire field of writing.) SWEET!  I’m so unabashadly pulpy and just happy to entertain, and thus offensive, that I make the inteligensia weep bitter blood tears of rage.
Hell, that alone makes writing books worth it. 
Though the gigantic royalty checks full of money from all of my many bestselling novels is pretty sweet too.
 That's the attitude I like.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Time for Choosing

"The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing."
--Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Arizona events

These are some of the events listed in the official Arizona Tour Guide:

  • January: Waste Management Phoenix Open.
  • March: Ostrich Festival
  • June: Arizona Crawdad Festival
  • June: Sheep is Life
  • July: Sidewalk Egg Frying Challenge
  • September: Standin' on the Corner Festival
  • October: International Jet Sports Boating Association World Finals
  • November: Desert Shrimp Fest
  • December: The Great Pinecone Drop
I'm not attending any of these, although I hear taking a jetski at full throttle down the Grand Canyon qualifies you to enter the IJSBAWF.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Antimatter belt

A research team reports that they have detected antiprotons contained in the Van Allen magnetic fields.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

El Taco Loco

My department at work did well last month, so our boss took us out to lunch at El Taco Loco in the Hillltop area. It's in the Hilltop East section, off the main road and behind some other shops, so it's not something I'd be likely to stumble across on my own; but what a find! Excellent food and plenty of it. I had a chimichanga and a sopaipilla, which I'd never had before. In this case it's a flour taco, fried, with cinnamon, sugar and honey on it; it comes out something like baklava except baklava is often to rich, and this was not. I told Josh about this place and he immediately headed off for dinner there. His usual praise for a restaurant is a nonchalant "It was all right", but this one earned a repeated "Awesome!", plus a "this is the restaurant I want to take to Australia."

The nature of reality

I understand that you find reality bizarre. This is not reality’s problem, nor mine.
--Eric S Raymond

Friday, August 5, 2011

Economic bad luck

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

--Robert A Heinlein
(hat tip Instapundit)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Green Lantern

This was a forgettable film. Partly because the lead didn't bring much chemistry to the part; it's hard to believe he's actually a hero. Partly because there were no great lines; the best line we heard was actually in the trailer for another movie. Partly because the writers were confused as to who the villain was; was it the giant space octopus, or the guy on earth? And there's a pacing problem; there's the minor fight where he discovers his powers, another incident which is not all that challenging, and then the fight with the huge planet eating monster.

It wasn't a bad film, exactly. We didn't come out  of the theater saying "That was stupid!" or wishing we had our money back. It just wasn't very good.


It is a sad state of affairs when our current administration is so awful that they make me remember fondly the honesty and integrity of Bill Clinton… wow.  Yeah, ponder on that for a second.
--Larry Correia