Sad day

Today is the anniversary of my Mom’s death, 41 years ago. She was 46. She was very ill for her final 5-6 years, so she only had about 20 “normal” adult years. It’s hard to believe she’s been gone that long.

In spite of what her gravestone says, her full name was Helen Susan Bates Nichols. Not sure how or why someone omitted that from the stone – I wasn’t focused on those details at the time. In fact, I went a little crazy at the time, making a string of bad decisions. I recovered after a few years, but my life’s path had been altered significantly. Sure would like to have those years to do over, but it doesn’t work that way.

That’s a hard first thought to follow, but I’ll try. I have a terrible Apple Photos problem – the application is behaving weirdly. Some photos can’t be seen – I only get a grey-ish placeholder. And others are being duplicated, en masse. I already had a duplication problem affecting 1000s of photos in the 2003-2004 era, and now the duplication is spreading. I think it’s all related to iCloud sync, but…I haven’t figured it our yet, and I’m worried about the integrity of 20 years of digital photos. 34,000 photos, though some of them are dupes. Normally I can find an answer to something like this online, but so far…nope. This all started when I transferred my desert photos from camera to laptop a week or two ago. I hate it when shit that used to work reliably suddenly just stops. It’s got to be a software update somewhere in the system, but hell if I know what triggered this.

NPR has run a lot of pieces lately on how unsustainable our western way of life is. The “American Dream” – a single family house, a couple of kids, a few cars, vacations on cruise ships, etc. – is singled out as being particularly wasteful. I’m no apologist for our western way of life, but after unpacking a few Amazon orders today, wow! I’ve got enough plastic wrapping left to fill a dumpster. I’ll single out our overuse of plastics in the modern world as one of our worst, least sustainable habits. Time to find a new packing material and stop buying bottled water.

This note from Business Insider just makes me ill. To think that rubes from all over America continue to throw money at the world’s most dangerous grifter…ugh.

Former President Donald Trump raised $1.5 million in the three days after he claimed on Truth Social that he’d be arrested Tuesday, per multiple media outlets.

Trump’s 2024 campaign confirmed the sum to Fox News, the outlet reported Wednesday. The money was said to be raised from grassroots donations.

The Washington Post, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter, reported the same amount raised in that time frame.
The resulting average of $500,000 a day is almost double the daily average from the weeks before and after he announced his bid for the White House in November.

The Trump campaign brought in $11.8 million in the six weeks before the announcement, averaging out at $280,000 a day. And in the six weeks after Trump announced his run, his campaign raised $9.5 million, or $226,000 a day.

$226K per day (!!), every day, and more when he asks for it. Essentially no restrictions on how he uses the money. No wonder he’s running again. People are just plain dumb.

Bits and pieces

Florida is on a roll. Anyone not white and male is in the crosshairs. What a miserable, miserable place it has become.

Trump’s legal woes continue. The NY prosecutor seems ready to indict (financial fraud), and the same in GA (election tampering). Now the special prosecutor in the DoJ classified documents case has said that there are “criminal violations” evident in the case. I suspect when the first indictment is announced, the others will follow quickly. Can’t happen fast enough, IMHO. I wonder, does he get Secret Service protection for a perp walk?

Someone needs to rescue DPRreview from Amazon’s ham-handed cost cutting. DPR is one of the best photography websites out there, period. I’ve read DPR for a couple of decades. If they GoFundMe the site, I would contribute. Dumb move, Amazon. But I understand – with your 2022 gross profit a mere $225 billion (up 14% from 2021), things must be feeling a little tight. I totally get it.

Well, that’s it for Wordle. Every possible solution, visualized.

While I’m here in KY, the rain continues to fall in CA. Looks like this year will be Fallbrook’s 2nd highest rainfall total in 20+ years, surpassed only by the massive storms we had the first year we moved there. We’re on track to get 25 inches of rain this season, more than double our average. But to put that in perspective, Louisville, not considered a particularly wet city, gets 44 inches per year. It’s raining here today.

I like this idea a lot. Don’t send force, send empathy. Well done, Louisville.

Today, yesterday, and tomorrow

Turns out I completely missed the first day of spring yesterday. I had a busy day – shopping, getting bids on deck repair, playing with the grandsons, taking walks in the neighborhood, reading a book, eating at some of my favorite local venues. In general, just living. Not a bad way to spend the equinox, in retrospect.

After yesterday’s 2nd round loss by UK in the NCAA tourney, I’m forced to admit that the glory days of UK hoops dominance may never return. The game has changed and Calipari, who will be our coach for quite some time, can’t seem to figure it out. They’ll probably go on a 10-year win streak the year after I move on to the next life.

And tomorrow’s the big day, according to Trump. Tomorrow’s the day he gets arrested. That would be nice.

NCAA updates – the SEC is tough

I landed in Louisville and found out that both Kansas and Duke were out of the NCAA tourney. Life is good, real good.

Even better, Duke was dispatched by an SEC team, Tennessee. Kansas was shown the door by an SEC team, Arkansas. The rest of the league is getting a taste of just how fucking tough the SEC is.

Fingers crossed for tomorrow. Kansas St is no pushover.

Hell freezes over

We found and bought the only vehicle in all of Southern CA that met K’s list of requirements. The only one in an area with 40 million people. A unicorn.

A 16 seed beat a #1 seed in the NCAA tourney’s first round.

And Trump is preparing to be arrested on Tuesday.

And we said it would never happen. On that third thing, he’s also preparing to make himself a martyr and call for protests (Jan 6, anyone?). That will get ugly.

Game day

It’s Game Day! I’m loving the AT&T/Jacob Toppin/UK commercials. I hope he’s getting a shitload of NIL money for those – maybe he’ll stick around another year. He has a good TV presence.


Tough day yesterday. An early workout, then a grueling two hour online meeting where I acted as counselor for a distraught colleague, then a commute into San Diego for a group interview and a board meeting. Didn’t feel like a retired guy’s day. Today, Friday, will be much less stressful.

I picked ten out of sixteen winners in the first day of the NCAA tournament. Not great, probably about average given the two shockers that almost no one picked. Hopefully I can do better today with Kentucky playing.

This quote from A Sea of Blue sums up my thoughts about Kentucky’s chances today:

While Kentucky has shown flashes of real greatness this season, they’ve also had plenty of head-scratching moments that made fans wonder why they ever got their hopes up with this team. The Wildcats have gone from good to troubling to average to worse to great and back to average all in a matter of six months.

It’s been a crazy road with opportunity to always bounce back the next game. But now the entire season is on the line each time Kentucky steps on the court.

I have friends traveling all over the globe today. One to Hawaii, one to Italy, one to Gatlinburg, my daughter to Phoenix to join a group of Swifties, yet another returning here from Europe. The friendly skies, indeed. Bon voyage to all of them. I’m off to Louisville myself tomorrow.

We decided to watch a few of the Best Picture nominees and started with The Banshees of Inersherin. The scenery and cinematography was beautiful, but damn, what a depressing movie. Depressing and unfulfilling, leaving a story with motives unexplained and nothing but sadness at the end. That was two hours of my life I’d like to have back.

OpenAI just released ChatGPT4, and I expect it to disrupt a lot of business processes. it’s about 10x more capable than GPT3, which was pretty impressive on its own. GPT4 can write code, build websites, write documents, find errors in contracts…an amazingly wide set of capabilities. I’ll learn to use it and hopefully find some ways to automate my life with it. AI has gotten very interesting recently.

Crazy world

Woke up today (heh heh, yes, woke) to a crazy world. It has rained 2.5 inches overnight here (and still coming down), catapulting the 2022-2023 Fallbrook rainy season into the top five seasons in the last 25 years.

Then the stock market decided that a couple of banks melting down were worrisome enough to join them in the slide downhill. The Dow dropped 500 points immediately after someone decided that Credit Suisse was (is?) in trouble.

A San Francisco board has again asserted that it thinks $5M per qualifying person in reparations payouts is the right amount. I’m not going down this rabbit hole again except to say I’m against this kind of reparations, and I’m at least thankful that they’ve settled on such an unserious number.

The two leading GOP Presidential candidates, Desantis and Trump, have both decided that the US aiding Ukraine is a bad thing. Let’s just let Russia expand into Europe, no problem. They’re appealing to the hate and xenophobia of the MAGA base, knowing that calling anything a gift or aid to someone who doesn’t look like them riles those knuckleheads up.

Just thinking of Trump and Desantis, let’s go back to the banking thing. There’s a very distinct pattern here:

  • In one of their early actions in 2017, Trump and his cronies removed leadership in the US’s health system (CDC, NIH, USDA) and replaced them with unqualified partisans. The pandemic happened, and people wondered why our response was so lame.
  • In 2018, Trump removed the Obama-era regulations on railroad safety. Palestine Ohio thanks him.
  • Also in 2018, the Trumpsters removed the Obama-era Frank-Dodd Act, banking regulations intended to make sure we never have another bank meltdown like the ones in 2008. Silicon Valley Bank can thank Trump for allowing them to play with fire and burn their house down.

These aren’t opinions, these are facts. Nobody likes to be regulated, but an awful lot of regulations are there to protect US citizens. Trump’s four-year unrelenting war on regulation has had consequences, terrible consequences. These facts alone should be enough for people with any sense to oppose either of these two clowns holding office.

Consider Phlebas

I just saw this. One of my favorite books, from my favorite author (Ian M. Banks), from my favorite collectible press (The Folio Society). Consider Phlebas. Looks like a birthday present.

I sooooo want to live in The Culture. A post-scarcity society spanning thousands of worlds, made possible by godlike starships who watch over things, gently. Pretty much anything and everything is possible. That’s my idea of heaven.

I also saw this on Wikipedia…boo!

Cancelled TV adaptation

Amazon announced in February 2018 that it acquired the global television rights to Consider Phlebas, to be adapted by Dennis Kelly into a television series and produced by Plan B Entertainment.[5] The project was cancelled in August 2020.[6]

I’ve been reading so much lately my eyes are blurred. But I might have to go back and reread Phlebas for the Nth time.

Busy day

It’s Pi Day, a national geek holiday.

It’s also the third day of Daylight Savings Time, a secret plot to add to the nation’s sleeplessness. My internal clock is off worse than usual. I find that I’m less and less tolerant of time shifts – not good for someone who plans to move back and forth frequently across three time zones.

It’s also the start of the NCAA Tourney – the “First Four” play today to decide who enters the round of 64.

It’s also a personal trainer day, so I get to sweat a bit.

It’s also going to be another rainy day in Fallbrook, We’re expected to get 1-2 inches during this storm. That’s nothing compared to the 8-10 inches they’re expecting in the Monterrey area.

And finally it’s also the day a locksmith comes to our house and fixes a myriad of lock/key problems we have. We almost got locked out of the house the other day, so it’s time to update locks and keys.


Today is the day I dig through all the little things I’ve put off doing and get them done. My natural tendency to procrastinate has gotten worse over the last few months, and a couple of emails and phone calls from folks have reminded me to get busy. Already today I’ve closed the loop on 3 things I owed people, so that’s a start.

The tougher items on the list are the things I need to do on our properties. Here in Socal the fix/replace/cleanup list is HUGE. And there’s a smaller list for the Louisville home. I’m not that guy who’s always puttering around fixing things – I just don’t enjoy it. But I need to get busy, as some things here are starting to look a little redneck.


I entered ESPN’s March Madness bracket contest, and for the first time ever I don’t have UK going to the Final Four. It’s my way of managing my own expectations and potential disappointment. But I still feel like I’ve betrayed someone. Hope may spring eternal, but it’s taking a break at the moment.