Friday, December 25, 2020
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Tuesday, December 08, 2020
Been reading a lot of survivalist books, fiction and non-fiction.
- Survivalist series books 1 to 5 by A. American - gold standard for prepper fiction
- Bound to Survive series 1 and 2 by Charley Hogwood - mostly fun, sometimes serious but always educational
- 2050 series books 1 to 3 by Phil M. Williams - seems much closer than 30 years in the future
- Turn Red Tomorrow by Michael Zargona - a lot going on in this book
- Charlie's Requiem book 1 by A. American and Walt Browning - another take in the same Survivalist universe
- Build the Perfect Bug Out Vehicle by Creek Stewart - not exactly a daily driver
- Small Unit Tactics: An Illustrated Manual by Matthew Luke - technical, but not FM, for small unit ambushes
- Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival by Max Velocity - less technical than Luke's book
- Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery - title says it all
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Friday, November 06, 2020
On Saturday, I loaded a pack with 48 pounds of bricks and water jugs and headed for a nice ruck at Denk Mountain.
On Sunday, Jyoti and I went for a hike at William Heise County Park. The Desert View Trail had a great overlook that had 360 degree views to the desert, mountains and foothills. One of my new favorites.
Sunday, October 18, 2020
As vacation plans get changed weekly, Jyoti was able to put together a New England trip for us and Kevin and Robyn.
We first flew to Portland, Maine. Portland is a nice small city, bigger than I expected but not crowded. It had some great restaurants as well. I highly recommend BlueFin, they had the best lobster dishes of the trip. We visited Fort Williams Park and took the obligatory photo at Portland Head lighthouse. Later in the day, we took a ferry to Peaks Island and rented a golf cart to take a tour around the island.
The next day, we headed up the coast. Along the way we stopped in Bath to visit the Maine Maritime Museum. The museum had great indoor exhibits as well as outdoor ones. After a few hours driving through some rain, we made it to Bar Harbor.
At Bar Harbor, we spent two days exploring Acadia National Park. We did a few hikes and drove the loop (after figuring out the experimental reservation system). Hikes included the Beehive, Jordan Pond, Wild Gardens, and South Bubble. We drove up to Cadillac Mt. but it was super foggy and we couldn't see anything. Acadia is beautiful but feels more like a big city park than the massive open spaces of the western parks.
Leaving Bar Harbor, we drove south. We stopped at several attractions, small towns and lighthouses along the way to Bailey Island. The island is way off the beaten path but is very nice. We stayed at a small motel, the Bailey Island Motel. It was very quaint and had the best homemade muffins! Since it was pretty much the end of the season all the restaurants were closed and there weren't many people there. We did a nice short hike to Giant's Steps and visited Land's End. I would love to visit the island again and spend more time there.
Next stop was Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We were able to tour the USS Albacore which was really cool. Strawbery Banke was great even though the houses were not open to walk through. We had a great dinner at Black Trumpet overlooking the river.
Last stop was Boston. We spent a day here to visit relatives but got in some sights as well. We hiked the Freedom Trail from the Commons to Bunker Hill. Many things were closed but we got into the Paul Revere House. The Charlestown Navy Yard was closing when got there which was a bummer. However, our flight the next morning was canceled. So with an extra day, we headed back to the shipyard to visit the museums, USS Constitution and the USS Cassin Young.
|Portland Head Lighthouse|
|Peaks Island gold cart|
|Top of South Bubble|
|Hiking out to a lighthouse|
|Lands End, Bailey Island|
|Paul Revere House|
Monday, October 12, 2020
One of the big debates this COVID season is how to safely open up schools. Anecdotally, the schools that have opened up have had decent results. One of the local school districts has enlisted the support of UCSD to help them figure out the risks and how to manage them. They have some interesting points. But the main point IMO is that there is very little risk when outdoors. The data (at least that data that government allow us to see) shows that there are no outbreaks attributed to outdoor activity. Maybe we should hold the governor and health departments responsible for their bad decision to close the beaches, parks and playgrounds.
Saturday, October 10, 2020
Assuming the NYT has it right about Trump's tax returns, I
congratulate Mr. Trump on paying so little in taxes. The NYT is showing that it is
ignorant about tax law or is so biased they willfully make
false/misleading statements regarding the tax code.
Bigger Pockets has a great review on the terrible Time article.
Note that Biden uses all the tax "loopholes" available to him to lower his bill.
Monday, September 21, 2020
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Spent some time at P2K shooting a 03 Springfield and an M1 Garand. The Springfield shot very nicely at 25 yards but the sights on the M1 were low. I didn't stick around long enough to fiddle with so that will have to wait for the next trip.
Friday, September 18, 2020
In a town hall style meeting, the San Diego city district attorney Summer Stephan, admitted that she had information that the peaceful protests were infiltrated.
According to the DA, the infiltrators were organized enough to remove
license plates from vehicles and bring generators. These were the ones
responsible for the violence. Ms. Stephan declined to mention any other
details of the group but it was obvious that she had more information.
Thursday, September 03, 2020
After having many trips canceled, we finally got out of town and headed up to Mammoth Lakes for a long adventure-filled weekend. The drive up was uneventful but the view of the Sierras from 395 where obscured by haze and smoke. We got to the Devils Postpile and drove and found there were plenty of campsites still available. We found a great one at Red Meadow right next to the creek. After setting up camp, we hiked to the resort for a milkshake and headed to Rainbow Falls. We then hiked back to camp and went to bed.
Next morning, we woke up, broke camp and made the short drive over to the Devils Postpile overnight parking lot. After packing our packs, we headed. The trail started with a steady uphill of the west side of the river valley. We got a great view of the basalt formations on the way up. It then dropped into the King Creek drainage. Then the real uphill started for a few miles before leveling out before reaching the Fern Lake outlet. At the lake, we poked around for a site and found one just barely 100 feet from the water. The lake was very nice and spent time on a small beach near our camp watching some anglers. Another early night for us as we read before going to sleep.
We were awoken by somebody walking nearby and talking loudly. It turned out to be a rather grumpy old guy patrolling the lake and complaining about the other campers. He was particularly upset about the folks camped right along the water. Pretty odd. The hike back was mainly downhill but with a butt kicker climb out of the King Creek. Jyoti's IT band really started to hurt but she made it back to Devils Postpile ok. We drove over to Minaret Falls campground and found a nice picnic bench to have lunch with views of the falls. After eating we headed into town to await our check in time.
There is tons to do in Mammoth during the summer time. Here is a digest version of our activities:
- Took the gondola to the top of the mountain. On the way down, we stopped at the halfway point to checkout the information displays.
- Checked out the earthquake fault.
- Drove around the lakes with a stop at Horseshoe Lake; it was pretty crowded.
- Drove down Old Mammoth Road to see some of the old mining stuff.
- Visited the Mammoth Museum.
- Took the bus to Twin Lakes and rented a row boat.
|Jo along the trail|
|Atop Mammoth Mt|
|Fern Lake selfie|
|Fern Lake camp|
Here are some examples of "mostly peaceful" protests:
Sunday, August 16, 2020
I braved the heat and headed out to Cleveland NF to hike Guatay Mt. This has been on my short list for a some time. Although it was hot the weather was very tolerable and I had plenty of water. The trail was pretty step, eroded and rocky in many place. But it was worth with great views from the summit.
|View to the north and the peaks of Cuyamaca|
Monday, July 27, 2020
|Mandatory park sign selfie|
|Looking over Ranger Lake|
Thursday, July 16, 2020
- The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh
- Who Was Davy Crockett by Gail Herman
- American Revolution for Dummies by Steve Wiegand
- Adventure Expedition One: Plan and Execute Your First Successful Expedition by Aaron Linsdau and Dr. Terry Williams
- Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade
Sunday, July 05, 2020
- Combined FleetDecoded: The Secret History of American Intelligence and the Japanese Navy during World War II by John Prados - extremely detailed account of US intelligence in the Pacific War but overly detailed on operations and tactics
- USN Carriers v IJN Carriers1942: The Pacific 1942 by Mark Stile
- World War II US Fast Carrier TaskForce Tactics: 1942 - 1945 by Brian Lane Herder
- Carrier Warfare in the Pacific: An Oral History by E. T. Woolridge
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
|View from site 8|
|Jyoti hiking in the grasslands|
|No summer camp this year :(|
|Overlooking Two Harbors|
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Tuesday, June 09, 2020
|Get the gear!|
|Crossing a snow field|
|Above the clouds|
|At the summit|
|Extra low tarp pitch|
|Trying to keep our stoves out of the wind|
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
What is open?
What is safe?
On the trail
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Here is the latest and best sources for San Diego county and California:
- California Raw data - some of these sources seem to be way out of date but better than nothing if you want to do your own analysis
- California COVID-19 Dashboards - the Tableau dashboards have been moved here along with some more views of the data.
- San Diego County Triggers - official COVID-19 scorecard
- San Diego County Dashboard - very useful graphs that can be used to judge progress against the state's metrics
- San Diego County Weekly Watch (pdf) - a good stack of charts; lots of demographics which are very useful IMO but some useful trend charts
- San Diego Union Tribune - some useful dashboards especially the 14-day rolling average of positive tests
Saturday, April 25, 2020
- Crashes and Crises: Lessons from a History Financial Disasters by Connel Fullenkamp
- San Dieguito Heritage by Maura Wiegand
- The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession and Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke by Andrew Lawler
- Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape Our Universe by Martin Rees
- Aircraft Carriers Vol. 2: 1946 - 2005 by Norman Polmar
- Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition by Buddy Levy
Thursday, April 23, 2020
"The reality is that hundreds of thousands of San Diegans have lost their primary source of income," said SANDAG Chief Economist Ray Major. "We hope this report gives regional leaders a broad understanding of the impacts and will help in developing protocols to allow people to safely return to work and restart the region's economy."
I agree completely.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
But San Diego County health director Dr. Wilma Wooten has taken the time to enlighten the masses on the county's metrics and her take on the state's. Kudos to Dr. Wooten. The following is copied from the San Diego Union. I am not just linking because I don't want it to disappear (my comments in red):
- Log a downward trajectory of influenza-like illness reported within a 14-day period: Met — In the last 30 days, the percentage of emergency department visits for influenza-like illnesses has dropped from 10 percent on March 16 to 3 percent on April 15.
- Log a downward trajectory of COVID-like syndromic cases reported within a 14-day period: In progress — Since April 4, the trend has varied.
These first two bullets are very similar although I am not really sure why the difference matters. It is much better to track actual cases of the people with the disease then just test results.
a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases OR a downward trajectory of
positive tests as a percentage of total tests within a 14-day period: Met — Since April 6, the county has seen a downward trajectory in the percentage of positive cases.
Very important to make this not just a function of the number of tests given and even better to see it trend down.
- Have the ability to treat all patients without crisis care: Met
Hospitals have plenty of room right now due their hard work. But one side effect is that people needed "non-essential" procedures are having to wait and many of these are truly worthwhile and not frivolous. Also, hospitals are losing revenues as they sit under-utilized adding to the economic distress.
- Establish a robust testing program for at-risk health care workers, including antibody testing: In progress — The county has created a testing task force to increase the region’s testing capacity.
Why health care workers aren't first in line is beyond me. Latest reports have the county up to 3000 tests per day but many testing facilities are reportedly under-utilized. Hopefully the task force can get things going faster.
ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact
tracing and isolating, and supporting those who are positive or
exposed: County officials are continuing to increase the region’s
testing capacity, which now sits at more than 3,000 tests per day.
Officials have also created a testing task force and an action plan to
increase contact tracing. More than 1,700 hotel rooms have been obtained
to help isolate people who contract the virus, and a University of
California San Diego dorm stands at the ready to house COVID-19 patients
on the mend.
The ability to do something is much different than the actual implementation and results. How about use some under-utilized state employees (or the unemployed) and have them work on manual contact tracing.
- The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19:
Health officials already strongly recommend that people stay at home if
they are older than 65, have chronic medical conditions or have a
compromised immune systems. The county is also prioritizing testing for
vulnerable populations, hospitalized patients, people in long-term care
facilities, health care workers, and essential workers like first
One of the few hard facts about COVID-19 is that the elderly and those in poor health are greatest at risk. Again, the ability is there to monitor those that are better off staying home. How about using under-utilized state employees to check up on these folks.
- The ability of hospital and health systems to handle surges: Health officials said the number of hospitalizations is decreasing and there are enough beds, staff members and supplies to go around.
- The ability to develop therapeutics to meet demand: County officials aren’t working on this one at this time.
Does these mean we need to have effective treatment and in some quantity or that we just have to be working on it?
- The ability for businesses, schools and child care facilities to support physical distancing:
The region’s health order mandates physical distancing in these
facilities and requires that social distancing and sanitation protocols
be posted at all open businesses. A newly created economic advisory
group is working on specific plans to help businesses reopen.
Done. Every place I go to has this figured out, except the wide open areas like beaches are deserts for some reason.
- The ability to determine when to reinstitute measures, such as stay-at-home orders, if necessary:
County health officials are continuously monitoring numbers related to
the COVID-19 pandemic and are working on determining specific criteria
for increasing or decreasing restrictions.
It would be nice to have a way to figure when you are going to imprison your population and destroy the economy but that might be too much to ask.
Monday, April 20, 2020
The small business loan programs ran out of money in days. Much of the paltry amount of money they had to start with went to big companies who are now being shamed into giving some back. I have not heard of the Fed running out money yet (mainly because they create it out of thin air).
The government thinks you can live on $1200 for a indefinite period of time after they took your job away. Not only is that amount of money insulting, it is taking the IRS months to dole it out, that is if you can figure all the rules attached to it. The Fed, by contrast, can get billions to any one of its cronies in seconds and its programs are detailed in short little memos.
What's great is all this is in plain sight. There is no conspiracy, nothing is being hidden. The fact is, most Americans don't care, don't understand and think the government is out to help them so they aren't outraged.
Lets take a closer look into one of the new Fed programs as an example. The "Primary Dealer Credit Facility" (PDCF) is a program started to "support the credit needs of American households and businesses." That is a direct quote and not something from the Onion. Keep in mind that a Primary Dealer is the exact opposite of an American households or business. The dealers are the banks that the Fed does direct business with; the list is very short and does not include you and I. Next, Read the memo (pdf) that describes the "terms". Don't worry, its only 2 pages long with lots of white space. This document effectively states the Fed will buy a bunch of the dealer's debt (except for foreign currency backed debt) for an unspecified amount of time (it actually says 6 months with the caveat "or longer, if conditions warrant"). Nothing in here says anything about how this helps American households or business. It is basically a way for big banks to unload crappy debt onto taxpayers. This program is like the king giving gold to his nobles and expecting them to hand it out to their serfs. This is just one of several programs cooked up to "help" the American people. Feel free to peruse them, they are all basically the same.
As a libertarian, I don't think it is the governments job to promote business and hand out free money. But when you compare the handouts to bank to those to regular people it makes you wonder what side they are on. I guess Ron Paul is right.
What the government should do (and I agree with Chris Martensen) is compensate all citizens due to the hardships caused by government actions. No crazy rules or strings. And let all the companies that piled on debt for no good reason go under. If they were in a worthwhile business, the next generation of entrepreneurs will provide those goods and services in short order. And forget the banks, they got their chance 12 years ago and blew it. Bring back sound money and finance.
Sunday, April 19, 2020
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Friday, March 20, 2020
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
The "simplified" version normally shows your account performance. Maybe they didn't want to be responsible for mass suicides.
Anyway, it is good I moved my stuff to cash awhile back.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Friday, March 13, 2020
Friday, February 14, 2020
- My Twenty Five Years in Provence by Peter Mayle
- American Revolution by Alan Guelzo
- Man-made Wonders ofthe World
- Socialism Sucks by Robert Lawson and Benjamin Powell
- Sixty Meters to Anywhere by Brendan Leonard
- Refighting thePacific War: An Alternative History of World War II edited by Jim Bresnahan
- Carrier! Life Aboard a WWII Aircraft Carrier by LCDR Max Miller
First up is our family tent, an Alps Mountaineering 5 person nylon cabin. We don't camp as a family anymore, but this giant-sized tent might come in handy as base camp shelter. It is a typical house tent but packs pretty small.
Next up is my one person tent, an Alps Mountaineering Mystique 1. I call it the "coffin" due to its shape and small size, but I really like it. For my size, I have plenty of room in it. It is also quite weatherproof having used it rain and sleet without issue. I don't take it backpacking anymore but use it on troop car camps often.
My "go to" shelter is my handcrafted Ray Jardine one person tarp. I have taken this on most of my backpacking trips and absolutely love it. It is very lightweight at barely over a pound. I can also adjust the pitch to match the conditions. The only drawback is entry and exit must be done at the ends which can be tight if the tarp is pitched low. I have put this tarp through some pretty nasty storms in the Sierras so have no qualms using it on any 3 season trip. I would like to try it in snow one day.
For Philmont 2017, I got a Tarptent MoTrail. This is a very light weight (~2 lbs.) two person shelter. It handled the rain and wind and Philmont very well and I use it often, especially on couples backpacks and scout backpacks. I got the pole set with it since I don't use trekking poles.
For winter camping with the Specialist groups, I have been sharing a North Face 4-season tent. But I have experimented with using a Go-Lite Shangri-La as well. This tarp shelter has nicely sloped sides to shed snow. It is very lightweight as well. I sometimes use this on backpack treks to mix things up.
Lastly, I want to give a shout out to the "green monster", a vintage canvas tent from my childhood. This Sears behemoth was my family tent when I was growing up. It is massive in both weight and volume. I got it patched and the zippers replaced and we used it as my family tent for a while. It is quite easy to set up once you had practice. The drawbacks were that it didn't handle wind very well and it took up a lot of space.
I would like to mention the REI Quarter Dome 2 I purchased in 2014. I bought it for hiking the Kalalau Trail with my brother. This is a great, lightweight backpacking tent. 2 adults are very cozy but for one it is very spacious. I took this to Philmont in 2015 and loved it. Unfortunately it was stolen from my car a few years ago.
Monday, February 10, 2020
The next day, we did a nice 5 miles hike to some old mining sites. The weather was perfect as explored the Mojave desert. Sunday was a quick breakfast and then headed home just avoiding a storm that was rolling in from the west.
|Joshua Tree in Joshua Tree|
|Pinto Wye Arrastra|
|Boulders and scouts|
Monday, January 13, 2020
|Lots of shell fossils in the area|
|Entrance to slot canyon|