Sunday, December 31, 2006

Gimme a clone burger please

Reading over at cnet news and I was struck by what a bunch of sissies the blogosphere is apparently made of. According to the article "Cloned meat? Yuck Factor prevails" people around the blogosphere have said they wouldn't eat meat from cloned animals. Leaving aside the fact that due to its expense cloning will only be used to produce breeding animals not animals for slaughter, it still wouldn't bother me to eat directly cloned meat. As a matter of fact I would prefer it.

Humans have been eating cloned fruits and vegetables for at least a couple thousand years. Many varieties of fig, grape, artichoke, the list is too long to bother, have long been cloned as their only form of cultivation. No one even blinks an eye about that; why should it matter with animals?

The only reason that an animal would be cloned is to acquire milk, meat and leathers of the highest quality with the least environmental impact and that's for me. You sissies can go back to sucking on wheat grass sorbet while me and the other carnivores move on to conquering the stars. See ya!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Good weather, no bloggy

Without the rain to keep me in I've been too busy to make any entries.

We've almost got the big greenhouse back up after it was blown down a couple weeks back in the big storm that also knocked out power up and down the pacific northwest. In a couple days I'll be planting the greens and lettuces I've been nurturing in the basement under fluorescent lights. It's about 30 degrees F out there right now so it'll be a bit 'til we go out and do anymore digging on the greenhouse trench.

I've also been busy working on getting dad's slides all scanned in and a bunch of graphics editing to clean up the damage to them. Got Dad a dvd burner for Xmas so installing that is another job waiting to be done. Difficult to find the driving ambition to do those things as winter wears on.

Off to have me a good cup of Yuban coffee now. Hope you all have a wonderful day of freedom and joy.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

A lovely, rainy morning at the farm and home. Fed mom's birds first off this morning, can't have the little critters going hungry.

Had some tea and toast, opened the stockings and unwrapped presents. Mostly got some really nice clothes from mom and dad and a brand new desk for my computer to sit on, excellent! Also a very fine 1 million candle power rechargeable flashlight. Will be so nice to be able to see what is in the orchard at night. Spooky taking a walk in the evening in this part of the world, bears love to come down for the remaining apples.

I won't make a list of the stuff mom and dad got, all stuff they were happy with though. Again, mostly clothing.

Well, I hope everyone else is having a fine Christmas day. God bless you all, stay alert and be happy!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Rain, wonderful rain


It's a comfy 50 degrees F outside today. Showers are blowing through and I feel fine.

A very Merry Christmas season to all my visitors.

Been working on some fun fractals again. Here's my latest favorite:

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cluttered Day

Nice change in the weather here. 45 degrees almost all day let me get some grape and apple tree pruning done. Only a couple hours though, frittered away a lot of the rest of the day on programming, wrapping gifts and reading pointless stuff on the web. This time of year all the tech and science websites are full of dross. Spring, just before graduation and late summer, as the pre-Christmas tech is being rolled out are the best times for reading about new developments. Fall and winter are slim pickin's.

None-the-less, I feel sort of tired. A day full of trivia and bluster can wear a guy out.

Also a little worried about my uncle and his family who live southeast of Denver a ways. Dad spoke with them yesterday and their heating system is all electric. If it gets too cold he can go to his son's house and stay there or he can also just hunker down in his motor-home. My uncle isn't blazing rich but he ain't poor neither. But I really feel sorry for the folks hold up in the Denver airport. A little prayer for them. A great big prayer for all the folk in Darfur and Iraq who have us all trumped for misery.

Hope life and season are treating all the rest of you well.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Even Frostier

The breeze was blowing down out of these frozen hills in advance of the warming storm front that could just barely be seen on the western horizon. One quickly grew chilled and the throat took on a metallic taste from breathing air so dry and cold.

This morning's walk with Mom, Dad and Sparky was perforce quite rapid and no one had to debate coming inside or making another round. A mile was long enough in that bitter wind. On the hill to the south one could clearly see the inversion layer that forms here in the valley. A band of frost cut across the terrain for several miles topped above by an obviously warmer thawed layer. The fog and frost were trapped beneath that warmer layer last night and deposited heavy white docking (or is it flocking? whatever) of hoar-frost on the trees. I tried to photograph that huge band of white but only one region turned out well.

How would you like to be standing in that region with only a cotton shirt and pants on? Yikes! I almost climbed back under my electric blanket at the thought of it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Frosty Trees


It's about 32 degrees here right now, started the day at 27, that's like about -2 to you celsius people. Dad and I went to Medford to finish our Christmas shopping and there was hoar-frost everywhere, looked like it had snowed. Here's the trees on the hill just east of mom and dad's house:

Beautiful but very chilly. The air is dry and has that peculiar metallic cold tange to it. Really looking forward to the rains supposed to arrive Thursday. Gonna get brave and go back out to prune some grapes for as long as I can stand it.

Wishing you all a lovely day.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dark days of winter

It is frozen and oppressively cold here. The fog finally blew off around 1pm after mom and I got back from running errands in Grants Pass. I've got all but 1 of my Christmas gifts boughten. The sun was really nice while it was out but of course didn't last long.

This season has been merry enough on the farm, but for some reason none of us have the energy we had last Christmas. I could make a list of reasons but why bother?

Hope you all are doing well and have a happy winter season (unless you're south of the equator in which case happy summer & etc.)

Friday, December 15, 2006

A dusting of snow on the mountain

Didn't feel so good yesterday afternoon so I took it easy, drank a lot of water and went to bed early. Feeling much better now.

Last night's storm didn't do too much damage although power was out for about 5 hours. Dad shut down the air inflated greenhouse about 9pm, just prior to the power outage. I was already conked out so I missed the excitement but apparently the plastic was really whipping around. This morning didn't reveal terribly much damage although some plastic around the air-lock door frame was torn and one of the vent holes collapsed a bit. Otherwise I think it survived ok. Will reinflate it once we're sure the storm is passed.

Mom and dad went in to see the newest family member today. They were going to go yesterday but we were all feeling so sickly we just hunkered down. I think a lot of it, other than bad diet, was the tremendous surges in air pressure change that were blowing through. My family has always been sensitive to that sort of thing.

Here's the mountain pic:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Laney Josephine

Is the name of my new great-niece. Both she and her mother are resting comfortably in the hospital and great-grandma will be stopping by tomorrow for a visit after which I will have more details.

Wishing you all a magnificent day.

It's a Girl !!!!!!

Glory Halleluah!!

My eldest niece, Charley Jean, had a baby girl this morning. Cigars and Scotch all around!! And a big hooka bowl for you other weirdos that I know....

Charley had to have another cesarian this time but the doctor did a real good job I'm told, even fixed up some scar tissue from her last one. Whew, uhg! that kind of stuff makes me almost faint, I'm getting dizzy.

God bless you all and rejoice at another human life added to the great mystery.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Oh! the Shame

I just found out today that it is official, our libraries, the entire Jackson County Library System all 25 branches will be closing in April.

What a nightmare, what a disaster. The first taste of chaos as the American system comes unraveled.

The Jackson county libraries started out with a Carnegie library in Medford and grew over the decades, feeding the minds and bodies of this community. Now they will be no more.

Some idiots around town say, "Oh, we don't need libraries anymore, we've got the internet." Nevermind that less than 50% of this community have internet access or rather that the only access they had was through the libraries free internet service. This area is subject to frequent multi-day power outages too and on top of that, there are endless examples of material not available on the internet that were just a quick stop away at the reference section. In my own life the Chilton engine manuals come to mind. I've lingered over electrical codes, mineral maps and engine repair guides of every sort there. Now all of that and untold more will be denied our community.

And all for what? So that the federal government can keep more of this state's money for itself. The funds being denied our cities, towns and counties all come from timber fees which are still being paid as well as fees paid in the past of which we received back only a pittance. The county tried to pass a levy to support the libraries but this community's heart was ruled by greed and suspicion. Now instead of the 100 dollars per household that would've kept the libraries alive we will have thousands of dollars worth of ignorance and economic set back.

I've lived up and down the west coast, from San Diego to Seattle and visited libraries in almost every city in between and I can say for certain that this was amongst the finest, most frugally and efficiently run library systems. There will be a lasting and vicious consequence from losing them. We will certainly need the fire department and police levies which were passed as we can definitely expect more fire and crime.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A little global social responsibility

I don't usually make many gestures on this blog, just describe my daily struggles and triumphs and leave the world to go on its merry/scary way. But this article at TCS Daily about the egyptian student who was arrested for blogging struck a note within my cramped and narrow mind so I felt compelled to mention it. This bit really hit a nerve for some reason:
They even insisted he reveal his opinions on the Darfur crisis. Amer would not retract his blogposts, so prosecutors threw him in jail - and laughed at the human rights attorney present, openly mocking the concept of standing up for individual rights.

Worth a read and heads up to all you bloggers who have the misfortune of living in such intolerant, backwards and irrational societies. If only the tyrants of belief could see that we are all headed for the same grave and it is how well we treat each other in this life that counts.

Forgot to blog

Been sort of busy even though it is raining. Cleaning up the barns, getting the greenhouse ready to plant. Yesterday I struggled most of the day with getting dad's computer running. Rebuilt the operating system again and finally found all the drivers I needed at so everything is working great on that. Dad and I even managed to scan in the first 3 of his slides and get everything ready to do the next 2 or 3 thousand.

Also the software package that Paul and I have been working on is really starting to work great. My half is still a little glitchy, consuming system memory a bit more than I'd like but I can now test and breed around 10,000 fractals before anything goes haywire. Saturday night was the big breakthrough when I implemented a tournament breeding routine which delivers some very accurate approximations of the best fractals compared to the target image. Here's my first really cool image:

The target I was using to find this was the sunflower below:

Not a bad match I must say. Only took about 12 generations to arrive at that. That's 100 individual fractals per generation with the tournament breeding routine in between. What do you know, I can even farm mathematics.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Foggy, foggy, foggy

Had some fun last night with my laser level and the fog. That is really cool looking, I pointed it down the hill and walked to where it was about a foot above my head. It was a bright red cylinder of sparkly brilliance with neat swirly fog patterns.

Today it is gray, damp and slightly oppressive. I would love this if I didn't have work to do. We will be putting posts in the holes we dug yesterday for the new deer fence around most of our fields here at the old farm.

Later dad or I will get on the roof and clean the chimney so mom and dad can finally have a nice, cozy, warm woodfire in the basement stove. Their house holds heat for a long time once the basement gets warm. Very efficient. Will be nice not having the smell of kerosene in the house anymore.

One more trip into town and I'll have all my Christmas shopping done. If I have some cash left over I'm gonna buy myself enough lan cable to reach the barn so I can blog from my laptop.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Condolences for the Kim's

My heart felt sorrow and condolences go out to the family of James Kim who was finally found today. The cold and harsh conditions of the Oregon mountains took his life sometimes in the last few days. He had to be a truly courageous man to set out in desperation of finding help for his family.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A bald eagle flew over

About 2pm today mom and I were taking Sparky for a walk when a stunning white and black bald eagle flew over from northeast to southwest. Darn but I didn't have my camera.

This morning dad and I went Christmas shopping in GP. Mostly at Wal-Mart though we did visit a few other places. We were delighted that several of the gifts we bought today were actually made in America!

Dad spent the afternoon over at farm#2 getting the last of the knock down finished with the one-way disc-plow. I frittered much of the afternoon away on software engineering and a little general clean-up around the place. All in all the software engineering was more productive and mentally rewarding. The fractal evolver package I've been working on with Paul DeLeeuw is coming along stunningly well. I dropped in a picture that a high school friend drew long ago and let the thing run all afternoon. Paul's fractal engine ran great and my evolver gradually assembled the most incredible collection of parameters, each a little more similar to the target image. I'll have a version available for download sometimes next week.

On a somber note, tonight I am praying for someone I don't even know. The Kim family got lost in the Oregon mountains near Merlin this last week but the mother and children were recently found. However Mr. Kim (I haven't even caught his first name yet) is still missing in those mountains. I've spent a night or two in the mountains around Merlin and let me tell you, that is some inhospitable country especially in cold weather. I've never been much of a believing man but my relationship to the infinite aside, I've still got to pray that Mr. Kim is found whole and alive. I don't think he'll be "hale and hearty" after a week in those woods but please, oh powers that be, let him be ok.

And on that note I will wish you all the best; if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cirrus Warning

The world was dark and cold when I got up from a rough night this morning. Bleary eyed and shivering I dashed into the main house for a cup of tea and to put the remains of last night's homemade pizza in the oven to warm. Mom makes some great homemade pizza with her bread machine and it is even better the next morning.

Drove mom into town for groceries on roads that were just starting to thaw. All was not white with frost but there were plenty of ice crystal everywhere anyways. The windshield looked like some crazy white puzzle.

People in Grants Pass were of good cheer. I helped one little retired lady get some dog biscuits down from a shelf she could not reach at Wal-Mart. It would've been the usual modern thing to do to feel imposed upon but I reveled in spiting the cruel universe by being cheerfully helpful and wishing her a very merry Christmas. If it was our good will the islamists had to contend with the battle would be over and everyone a victor.

The sky is putting on a show and warning us of tomorrow nights increasing chance of rain. These are what I think they call cirrus clouds. So beautiful I had to try to capture them in pictures:

Friday, December 01, 2006

Autumn desolation

Got some good work done today, tearing down fence wire and pulling up posts at farm #2.
It was windy and the air had a cold bite that left me feeling a little ill but we persevered and got most of the job done. Just have to mow the old tomato plants, pull up the plastic mulch, roll the drip hose and load the field fencing wire that we rolled up today and that part of the autumn chores will be done. Then if the weather stays dry as it is supposed to we can disk the field down one last time, probably Sunday, and all will be ready for spring.

Here's a pic to help your visualization:

The posts with birdhouses we left up at the request of our landlord Charlie. I agree they look too cool to take down. Not to mention thinking of the little birdies.