Friday, November 16, 2012

"Traded the van for it, straight up...."

"We can get 70 miles a gallon on this hog!"
1. Our new minibike.  Dorine and I recently went to the cabin for a short (two-night) stay with Heidi and Kiley and their families.  (Dion did the dirty work for us in installing new upper-window blinds in the living room.)  While in Pagosa Springs, we decided to buy a minibike (see photo) at the Alco store.  It didn't run well from the start, but it did work well enough that we were able to ride it up and down the road.  We probably will only ever use the minibike in Colorado, but we'll need to have it worked on to get the clutch working properly.

2. Ankle sprains.  The last time I had a bad ankle sprain was in the early part of 1997, when I turned my left ankle after falling off a boulder that I was trying to climb in the Sandia foothills.  (I did tweak an ankle slightly on the last day of the backpacking trek we did at Philmont Scout Ranch in 2004, but my reflexes saved me that time from greater injury.)  I recently realized that the intervening fifteen-plus years has been the longest period of my life in which I haven't had a sprained ankle, as I was fourteen when I had my first bad sprain -- and playing basketball and volleyball would cause me to keep having them periodically, until I gave up team sports entirely at about the same time I developed an interest in rock-climbing.

3. Treadmills.  Our gym, Planet Fitness on Eubank Blvd., recently expanded and acquired a set of new treadmills.  I thought I'd experiment and try running on one of them; I knew I couldn't go very fast, so I did thirty minutes at 5.5 mph, or roughly 11:00/mile pace.  To my surprise, I tolerated it pretty well, despite not really having run for the last two-and-a-half years, and now I've done the treadmill the last five times I've gone to the gym.  The new machines are larger, have better cushioning, and even have hookups that allow the user to control his iPod on the treadmill console.  I don't know how long my body will hold out, but I'm excited about being able to run for the time being.  I'll never get back up to 8:30/mile or 9:00/mile pace again, but I would like to be able to finish three miles in thirty minutes -- we'll see.  I can't say I love running, but I do love being able to do it, however slowly.

4. Atrial fibrillation.  I'm taking a med called Flecainide twice a day for my atrial (heart) fibrillation, which seems to control it quite well.  I can't say what the prescription medications I'm taking now are doing to me, especially in combination, but I'm sure taking a lot of things at this point: Sertraline, Flomax (which I'll stop when I run out of the current supply), Flecainide, and my sleep meds (Temazepam and Zolpidem Tartrate), which I take on alternate nights.  These meds make me feel "weird" -- not sick or depressed, but very aware of all their side-effects.

5. My new job.  I recently changed jobs again, and now I work in the business office of the Geoscience, Climate, and Consequences Effects center (6900) at Sandia National Labs.  It's been a relief to be out of the ECIS SMU business office, as I much prefer to be "on the line."  It's pretty ironic, however, that a "climate change" skeptic like me is now supporting the climate scientists in the company.  Perhaps they'll win me over to the idea (a) that global warming is happening, (b) that the carbon output from human beings is causing it, (c) that draconian measures are necessary to reverse it, and (d) that the measures they propose will actually affect it.  For now, however, I still find it difficult not to believe that money, power, and ideology are driving, and thus corrupting, climate science.

6. More buns in the oven.  We've found out that our daughters Kristy (about to turn 34) and Kiley (age 20) are pregnant with our tenth and eleventh grandchildren.  It was a surprise to us that either was expecting, as we thought Kristy, already the mother of five, was done having children, and that Kiley would wait at least another year to start having children; however, we're happy for both of them.  (Kristy and her husband Chris recently bought a house -- in another ward, unfortunately -- and Kiley's husband Sam has been accepted to medical school at UNM for next fall.)  The fact that Kristy, our oldest, will have her last baby, and that Kiley, our youngest, will have her first baby -- and within a couple of weeks of each other next spring -- makes me feel like a circle of sorts is being closed.  I wish I could feel optimistic about the world our grandchildren will inherit from the navel-gazing, self-absorbed Baby Boomers who've essentially done all they can do to leave it an economic and moral wasteland for future generations.

7. Darren's upcoming wedding.  Darren and his fiancee Cait Brobst will be married on December 18 in the Albuquerque Temple.  I can't help but feel bad for Cait's parents, who, not being Mormons, won't be able to attend the sealing and thus probably won't even bother coming to Albuquerque.  Darren will be the last of our kids to be married, and he seems very happy with Cait; he's working on his master's degree in EE, and Cait is still doing her undergrad with plans to become a physician's assistant.  December is a lousy time of year to be married, as Dorine and I can attest, but of course college students typically have to get hitched between semesters of school.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Election...with Consequences

Well, I feel tremendously disheartened by the fact that Barack Obama has won re-election.  One could hope that Obama will actually try to be a leader in his second term, seeking to take action to ward off the economic Judgement Day that is in our country's near-future, and that he would want to be known in history as something other than the Nero who presided over the commencement of the catastrophic dissolution of the greatest country the world has ever known.  However, he has shown amply that he knows only one direction to tread -- left -- and I think his second term will pretty much seal our country's fate.  A viable currency is essential to any civilized society, and no country, no matter how large, can sustain annual trillion-unit budget deficits indefinitely; thus I believe that massive devaluation of the dollar due to hyperinflation is practically a dead-certainty at this point.  (I once laughed when my friend Bob Maes showed me an envelope stuffed with near-worthless Argentine paper money and told me that all those billetes literally were what he received in change after paying for bus fare one time while he was serving his mission in Argentina in 1980.  It doesn't seem nearly so funny now.)  

It's instructive -- if unpublicized by the liberal propaganda-meisters in the media -- that a large majority of new U.S. Treasury bonds and t-bills are now "purchased" by the Federal Reserve.  Just like a ditzy Peg Bundy, selling cosmetics to herself (and going hog-wild spending the commissions) in an old episode of Married...with Children, our elected officials act as though the revenue generated through sales of debt instruments -- essentially to the very government that spends it all -- materializes out of nothing and doesn't have to be paid back.  I've begun to rethink the idea of living in New Mexico, simply because when it all comes down, I fear the Southwest will be the Bosnia of what will then be the former United States.  Nobody will want to be here who isn't a predator; the 1980 New Mexico prison riot may prove to have been child's play by comparison.

[Update 1/16/13: Here are excerpts from the Married..with Children episode referenced above.]