Day 2 in Junction

Today we decided to get back out into nature, though this time with a real hike instead of a car trip. We chose the hike to the Mica mines south of the Monument area we visited yesterday. Alltrails has a good summary of the hike here. Definitely worth a visit.

It was 2.6 miles with gradual ups and downs except for the steeper staircase section below. I’m happy to say that the new knee held up perfectly – not a twinge. My actual cardio stamina, though…that still needs work. But a 2+ miles hike was a real milestone, so to speak.

There’s a LOT of beautiful outdoor activity here in Grand Junction. The National Park, the Colorado River, hundreds of miles of bike and hiking trails. I’m impressed.

On the road again

We’re on day 2 of our big road trip for the fall. After a long-ish 11 hour drive from Fallbrook to Grand Junction, we crashed at K’s brother and sister-in-law’s place. And by crashed, I mean I went to bed at 8pm local. The surgery has definitely taken some of my stamina. But the knee survived with minor aches and pains.

Beautiful weather here. Today we visited the Colorado National Monument just outside Grand Junction. Lots of pictures – here’s a good one. They have some big views in Colorado.

The title picture above is of our wonderful hosts with Kathryn at the monument.

UPDATE: I realized I missed a numerological opportunity yesterday – it was 10/10/20, an interesting date. Or 10/10/2020, also not bad.

Insert clever title here

My creative slump continues. It’s hard to write with the incessant noise from Trumpville and our impending extinction-level-event election. The mind wanders easily.

The VP debate was a bit disappointing. I expected Harris to be sharper and Pence to be weaker. Though I’ll have to say he lies extremely well – he’s smooth. Actually, more like smarmy. Harris did come across as smart and classy.

In the “dreams are weird” category, I woke up with an unusual word in mind: tacent. I didn’t know its definition, I just woke up thinking “tacent”. So I looked it up, and it’s a Latin word meaning silent. That search for a definition also led me here, to the Dictionary of Unusual Words. Or The Phrontistery, if you prefer. It includes little bonus sections, like the Compendium of Lost Words. I had no idea it existed and I love it – this will be a new favorite.

I have to mention one particular Trump insanity that popped up overnight. From the CNN website:

President Trump says he doesn’t believe he is contagious and, less than a week after testing positive for coronavirus, he is ready to resume campaign rallies. He says he is immune from another infection and attributed his recovery to being a “perfect physical specimen.” In his first interview since returning from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Trump sounded raspy on the phone speaking with Fox Business. But he insisted he is, in fact, better than normal and is prepared to resume his campaign schedule.

I really think we’re in 25th Amendment territory here, folks. He’s immune? And…”a perfect physical specimen”? Trump is nuts, and someone needs to keep him from harming himself, others and the country further. But no one in his Cabinet will step up and do the right thing.

And finally, I voted today! Feels good; you should try it.

October is different in the West

More bad news today, this time about Dune. Fucking 2020.

I’m definitely in a funk. The endless heat wave, the white skies, surgery recovery, Trump’s insane clown posse Presidency, Napa burning, COVID uncertainty…it all adds up. It’s very hard to do anything creative or productive. Twenty-eight days until the 2020 election. Let’s hope that at least one of the chaos factors clears up around then. If it doesn’t…time to go shopping for Canadian real estate. Or Northern Italy.

One bright spot – we go on a big road trip soon, making our way back to Louisville and an actual autumn season. And of course the kids (seen below). That should go a long way toward resolving my angst, though I am worried about long days spent in a car with the still-healing knee. A calculated risk, like most things these days.

Later today I return my leased BMW 530e, maybe the last brand-new car I’ll ever drive. It was a great one, but I’m happy to now have a fully paid for used car. A small concession to retirement.

One other bright spot of late is that I’ve started reading James S. A. Corey’s incredible series, The Expanse. I loved the Amazon-produced video series, and the books are even better. I see the video’s characters in my head as I read the books, and it lends a realism to the characters and story you don’t often get.

Just another Friday

I took yesterday morning off to go play some golf – my first 18 holes after surgery. That went great, but wow did I miss a lot of crazy in one morning.

  • Trump goes from testing positive, to having “mild symptoms”, to being taken to the hospital. One White House staffer was quoted as saying they wanted him to go to the hospital while he could still walk to the helicopter. (?!) Mild symptoms, huh?
  • Wife Melania, also infected, is on tape being a horrible person. So much for the thought that she’s just a victim caught in Trump’s evil orbit – turns out she’s right at home in the heart of darkness.
  • Half a dozen of Trump’s key staff, several journalists and at least three Rep. Senators also infected, all apparently from the barefaced, socially-packed Rose garden announcement ceremony for Trump’s new SCOTUS nomination.

On that third point I have to include this cartoon sent by a friend. It’s just too perfect.

That’s a lot of crazy for a few hours, even in Trumpville. The next 30 days (!) until the election will be something to watch and live through. You just couldn’t make this shit up – a novel with this plot would be rejected due to lack of believeability.

Holy crap, it’s October

October 1st and it’s 104 degrees here in Fallbrook. Geez.

You know there’s no end to the corruption with Trump, but this strikes me as a bottom-scraping move. Using food bank programs as a campaign tool. He of course has had absolutely nothing to do with our national program of food banks, run mostly by states and non-profits. But here he is, taking credit. He’s one sick dude.

Just stumbled onto this company, a venture capital darling and an interesting play. It’s basically a private Wikipedia. Now I love Wikipedia, and am comfortable with its crowdfunded and open source content pros and cons. So what’s the market for a privately curated version?

I know they’re not quite the same, but this reminds me of one of my old AI-hopeful companies, Cyc. Cyc (now Cycorp, Inc.) was an effort to encode all the world’s common sense in a data structure useful for AI. Doug Lenat, who is still with the company as CEO, starting working on and publicizing Cyc in 1984! So…36 years in product development. I’ll give kudos to Lenat for sticking with it, even if his “products” and use cases now seem pretty pedestrian (e.g. condition-based maintenance for heavy industry – you don’t need an intelligent machine to do this).

Just talked to my Dad. he sounds a little weak, but in good spirits. I talk to him every day lately. It’s great that he’s lucid and friendly – things were different for the years he was on the heavy pain meds. Nobody wanted to talk to him then. I’m sad for all those years lost, but happy that we’ve got a little back now. Knock on wood, 2020 hasn’t destroyed everything.