October 02, 2015

Beavers -- Taking it to the next level

I was looking out the window just now, and saw that the assistant handyman was out at the creek trying to disassemble the latest creation by our rodent engineers.

Suddenly he started batting at himself and ran away. It looks like he found a hornet nest.

Apparently the beavers are tired of having their work destroyed, and set guards this time. Armed guards! Angry armed guards!!

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September 19, 2015

Phone update

Shiver, fear. I bought my phone in December of 2012. That was just after I got home from the rehab after my stroke. I didn't have any use for a cellphone before that, but it's a good solution for the "I've fallen and I can't get up" problem.

Those ads back in the day may have come across as funny to the fully-abled, but it's a scary possibility for someone who is crippled. It hasn't ever happened to me; I'm proud to say that even with all the difficulty I have now moving around I haven't lost my balance and fallen even once. But it's been a comfort to carry this phone around just in case.

Well, my 2 year contract with Verizon ended last December, and they've started sending me messages telling me that I'm now entitled (was that the word they used?) to buy a new phone from them, and just incidentally sign another 2 year contract but they didn't say that part.

I'm not interested. This phone (an HTC Droid DNA, which is Verizon's custom version of the HTC Butterfly) works just fine for me.

Verizon hasn't sold this phone for quite a while. But it's a pleasant surprise that they're still supporting it. Today I got a message telling me there was a firmware update available.

Those are always scary. Windows Update killed my ACER NAS a few months ago, for instance. It hung in the middle of updating, and now it won't boot.

So just before beginning to type this post, I nervously let the phone start updating. It just finished and doesn't seem to have become a brick, so whew!

UPDATE: Looks like it was a security update. I do remember reading recently about a couple of new pretty-bad security holes in Android, and that's probably what this is about.

It's not a huge surprise that they're rolling it out gradually, because a lot of people have to download OTA. If a huge number of people did that at once, it could overload their network.

I had to. I used to be able to use Wifi with my phone. My Fire HD still works with my wifi, but one day suddenly my phone couldn't connect to it. It's not like anything changed in my hub or anything, it just stopped working.

I've never figured out why. Partly that's because it isn't a big deal; I don't use my phone to browse the web. But all the previous updates came to me across wifi; this one came across Verizon's network. Presumably they won't charge me for the data, but it wouldn't matter even if they did since I don't use Verizon data for anything else.

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September 01, 2015

Oregon weather

A few weeks back someone here asked me what weather would be like in September, and I said something to the effect that it would be clear and dry but not as hot as August.

Bite my tongue. A week or so ago someone flipped a switch and we went from hot/dry/blue-sky to overcast and threatening rain. It's been like that ever since and the long range forecast is for it to stay that way. So my apologies for leading you astray, and bring a raincoat!

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August 22, 2015

Where there's smoke...

I've been smelling wood smoke all day, and I was beginning to wonder if Beaverton was burning down. Actually it's smoke from the Cougar Creek Fire, which was started by lightning on August 10 and has been burning ever since on the east face of Mount Adams.

The problem with fighting it is that it's really a long way away from anything, in the middle of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It's pretty much equidistant from Portland, Tacoma, and Yakima. And current weather isn't helping: hot, dry, and gusty. Plus it's burning through a big area of standing-dead Lodgepole Pine killed by bugs to its north, which is nearly ideal firewood, dry and full of resin, and pine needles all over the ground. So the current estimate for containment is October 1. (!!)

They may not be seriously trying to stop it in the north, both because it's particularly dangerous there, and because in the long run getting rid of all those dead trees will be a blessing by opening up the land.

But it sure does smell scary here right now.

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August 18, 2015

Ice day!!!!!

The forecast for today is 98F (moan) both today and tomorrow. So I've put in orders for ice both days. Today's delivery should show up in the next two hours, and let's hope they didn't run out.

Last summer I didn't have a single ice day. This year I think this is about ten of them, which is unusually high. I doubt we'll have any more, though.

Hey, Weather Bureau! We could use some rain. How about it, eh?

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July 29, 2015



Oh, the next two days are not going to be fun!

UPDATE: By the way, "red flag" means conditions will be excellent for wild fires. Not really a concern here, but definitely a concern elsewhere in the region.

UPDATE: I just put in an order for groceries to be delivered tomorrow, including 80 pounds of ice.

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July 19, 2015

The smells, the smells...

It hit 95 again today, but fortunately it'll be cooler tomorrow. So right now I'm sitting here reasonably uncomfortable, mostly because one of my neighbors is barbecuing a piece of meat and it smells incredible. I have no idea where it is; I looked out past my deck and didn't see any smoke or anything.

Of course, when the air isn't moving very fast (as is the case right now) something like that can carry a long way without dissipating. For all I know it's a house on the other side of the creek.

Whoever it is, I wish they eat the damned thing and stop torturing me.

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July 11, 2015

Bachelor Chef -- Quesadilla

I make taco meat in batches, using premade store-bought taco sauce. I just tried this particular brand ("Frontera") and it was really good. (The Bachelor Chef never makes anything if it can be bought premade!) Anyway, I used 1½ pounds of hamburger and two packages of the sauce.

Once it's done I cool it my refrigerator for about ten minutes, and then spoon it into a couple of ice cube trays.


Then freeze it. Once frozen, the cubes get stored in a plastic bag in my freezer. When time comes to make a quesadilla, I put three or four cubes in the microwave for a minute to thaw them and heat them up. I Spread the taco meat on a flour tortilla and cover with grated cheese.


That gets heated on a griddle and covered with another tortilla. Once it's scorched on both sides, I cover it with quacamole.


I eat it with knife and fork to prevent making a mess (like dumping a piece of it on my computer keyboard by accident).


Jack cheese is preferred but I haven't been able to find a brand at Safeway that I like. So I'm using Tillamook Colby-Jack. I buy it in 1 pound chunks. I grate one pound at a time into a box which I keep in my frig, to be used as and when I need it.

Unlike most of the travesties I document here, this was actually pretty good.

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July 05, 2015

They're back!

Last Friday when the guys were here replacing my deck door, I noticed the complex handyman was out in the creek pulling branches out of the water and chucking them onto the bank. He confirmed it:

The beavers are back! (yay!)

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July 04, 2015

War zone

Fireworks that explode aren't legal here, but there's always a lot of it around anyway. It's easy to get; all you have to do is drive over to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and you can get anything you're willing to pay for. US 26 goes straight from Portland to the reservation and it's a pretty easy drive. (Considering you have to drive through Government Camp on the slope of Mount Hood.) It's about 80 miles each way, which is a breeze.

Usually the combat starts a couple of days before the 4th but that didn't happen this year; it's been surprisingly peaceful, probably because of this damned heat wave; it's been in the 90's every day this week and it's still above 90 today at 8 PM. Anyway I imagine it's going to get a lot louder before this evening is over, probably starting in a couple of hours after the sun goes down and it starts cooling off.

I'm always most afraid of sky rockets because I'm afraid some loonytoon is going to start a fire and burn the whole neighborhood down. It hasn't ever happened, but they only need to get lucky once. I have to be lucky every year.

UPDATE: Well, sounds like they've run their arsenal. Loud noises began a bit before 10, and now at 11:30 there's nothing. Pretty unimpressive; in years past it's gone on for several hours.

The good news is that the neighborhood didn't burn down, again this year. So all's well that ends well.

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