Life During Wartime

Fall 2019: No Power But Plenty of “Groceries”

Last Fall we had three power outages to prevent our area from burning down. That was regional, and what we have now is global – which is mind blowing. I can’t remember ever being through a world wide pandemic. I do remember regional epidemics though.

Last Fall’s emergency did get us to purchase a big 55 gallon drum plus many other containers for water. We purchased from the local Orinda CERT Team, which has many Ham Radio Operators on board. That is the best local use of Ham Radio – ironically it’s not even the radio part that matters as much as the logistics part. They did such a great job making these available and now we have total peace of mind water wise. 

A fight broke out over toilet paper today at the Orinda CVS

I could give a shit about hand sanitizer – I started washing my hands years ago with good old hot water and soap – since I ride mass transit – which is a germ breeding ground. But toilet paper – what in God’s Good Name has these anal retentives bobbing, squinting and farting over TP? I am now looking into those new-fangled Toto Bidet’s – the hell with Toilet Paper!

I’m very proud of our local politicians and regional Senators and Representatives. They have a strong voice in Washington – but also have a great presence here, and frankly, have shown far more leadership that the current White House Regime. 

One thing I have noticed – if Trump wanted to really hit the ball out of the park – he would have taken this Pandemic and faked empathy and leadership – but his ego keeps tripping him up. There are several new commercials that chain his response – calling the Coronavirus a hoax and that he had it under control. That string of screw ups is exactly the opposite of how he could have handled this – but as I have said in the past – the only person who can bring Trump down is Trump (actually its his ego). Testing is already a month late . . . that will cost lives for sure.

Others have risen up – Biden’s response was presidential and should have been Trump’s response. Trump has had unbelievable luck – but it has run out big time. He will carry the stigma of not handling this as he should have – and even when this blows over in several months – the stain, strain and pain will continue in the economy. He was his own worst enemy, and his ego whacked him at the worst possible time in his campaign.

The first Coronavirus case was back in November . . . and the Chinese PM did the same thing as Trump – sat on it . . . . I noticed that these two Stable Geniuses are slamming each other in the media – amazing.

Of course, the most important thing is that we all get together, stop hoarding and adopt a “Life During Wartime” routine. And switch to bidet’s.


Garlic for the Vampire is a Skull Necklace

A Necklace of Skulls is a Better Vampire Deterrent than Garlic

My childhood best friend and I created “The Monster Club” in New Jersey in 1966 or so – and then his family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area just a few years later. Mark’s Mom and my Mom immigrated to the US from the UK after WWII. They were both in the UK version of the USO – (ENSA). Just by supreme coincidence – my family moved here in 1979.

Its 2020 – Make Sure You Keep Your “Social Distance” (commonly known in California as being a neighbor in your neighborhood)

In 1979 my family moved to Pleasanton, CA. It was anything but pleasant. My neighborhood in NJ and my College in PA were very warm and friendly as far as living in a community and a great 1960’s era neighborhood. We all knew each other, and even had house parties – the parents and the kids. It was really great.

I visited my family in 1979 – half way through attending Lock Haven State College in Lock Haven, PA, and I couldn’t stand it. California felt so “plastic”. Fake, phony.

After one year living near Rochester, NY at my first job out of college – in Fairport, NY (actually quite a nice place), I moved to CA. I stayed with my parents until I had enough money to move out – and landed in San Francisco. WOW – that was the best – from 1984 – 1994 I was back in heaven – San Francisco was the best “big” city – it was so “accessible” and really friendly. Lots of different kinds of people – you couldn’t help but meet someone you’d have fun with.

That all died with the first “Dot Con” wave in the late 1990’s – but I was lucky to experience the Last Great Decade of San Francisco. It will never be that good again – unless you are a start up or very rich CEO – but WTF – I slipped in and out of SF when it was still great.

Today I saw some hope here in the suburbs – where nobody has anything to do with their neighbors – parents were out walking their dog with their kids. I saw more people in my neighborhood than I even knew lived here.

Maybe we will even start to say “Hello” to each other! Who knows – maybe there will be some good to come out of this Panademic?


Corn on the Macabre

Zombie Catcher

Life was good during the Obama years – we were on the mend after the disastrous Bush / Cheney / Rumsfeld “House of Evil” followed by economic carnage. I figured that nothing could ever be worse than that. Until 2016. The worst “President” ever in the history of the US is presently holding the US hostage in a way I could never have imagined before.

Feedback Loop. . .  ( . . . You are your own worst enemy)

One easy thing to predict is that as long as the GOP and Trump are in charge – you will get something even worse than the Bush years in the end. I’ve had this feeling of dread since The Great White Hoax slithered into office.

Unipig (Mitch McConnell)

I do understand how those with money and who understand how the stock market is manipulated by promises of eliminating regulations and giving the rich tax breaks – paid for by screwing the middle class – what is even left of it. But this short term “money grab” will result in long term chaos and a disintegrating USA. The “I Got Mine” class will one day have their “oh shit” moment.

Uncle Thaddeus and Aunt Mabel

Oh well, what can we in the middle class do but vote. I gave up praying many years ago – I find solace in the bizarre, absurd and gothic these days. That and playing guitar and mandolin – I suppose the arts is a place of refuge. I do understand how times affect artists and their art.

Haunted House

Oh well, whatever gets us through the rough spots I suppose. I’ll never say “It can’t possibly get any worse” like I did during the Dubyah Days – boy was I wrong . . .

Haunted P.O. Box 732 . . .

Haunted P.O. Box 732 – circa 2008 (last GOP induced recession)

I created  bunch of macabre art back in 2008 or so – when the GOP created an economy where my house value plummeted by 50%. Macabre humor turned out to be a real source of therapy. Turns out – it is again in 2020 with this “Trump Slump” – caused by yet another inept hack GOP politician – even dumber than the King Stoopit – George W Bush.

A Profound Sense of Loss

Heavily influenced by perhaps one of the most under rated rock bands in the US – Blanche:

Its kind of amazing – I am a super optimist – but I find comfort in these macabre illustrations that I made back in the “Great Recession” – because I guess I was sort of mocking the sentiment “We are all going to die” – with some really grim shit.

But believe me – these were created while I was chuckling. I guess pushing it to the extreme makes one feel like its not quite that bad.

Creepy KLIB XMAS music in March – just in time for the Easter Bunny:

The Easter Bunny . . . 

Take care!


What Will Tomorrow Bring?

Its not ALL bad – it never is, actually

While us humans tethered to our networks are worried sick about what might happen, life goes on. Some stories are comforting – and none coming out of the White House.

For example, Tom Hanks and his Wife both ended up with the Corona virus, and Tom’s message on Twitter was exactly the kind of message you’d hope would come out of the Great White Hoax’s office.

The birds outside are singing their beautiful song, the trees are leafing out and looking very nice, there are blossoms and blooms everywhere.

This is a serious issue, but one that requires the correct response – paranoia doesn’t help anyone or anything.


The 11 Year Solar Cycle “Itch”?

One thing to look forward to this year – improving solar cycle conditions and Cycle 25

The ARRL CW DX Contest last month had really great conditions – I worked quite a few corners of the world with QRP and had more fun DXing than I have had in years. In fact, I kind of like jumping into CW contests just to test what low power can do – because by the last day – when stations are begging – they seem to hear me as if I were running serious power. I have known this for a while – but it is fun regardless.

With so many things in the world seeming to be falling to pieces, its important to remember the good things and the fun things – I had a great bike ride yesterday, I had a blast writing a song and playing mandolin, and I listened to a short bit of the ARRL SSB DX contest. WOrk has been great – I had a banner week last week and finally figured out what a “Modern Data Pipeline” whould look like – which, along with my recent CCPA expertise and experience, I will be able to be very employable until I retire.

Bad times won’t last forever, and they aren’t always bad – its always a mix. You have to remember to “accentuate the positive”. Sometimes its hard – but it is always in our control, and no one elses.

Bon Adieu Le Radio Antique!

The National SW-3 Regenerative Receiver

I really enjoyed doing some minor restoration work on a National SW-3 Regenerative Receiver,

Collins Gold Dust Twins at KY6R

and the power supply for the Collins KWS-1 transmitter.

All of this gear is now sold and shipped – gone.

In our modern times, it’s quite a trip to take a jog through the past. Filament Voltage, High Voltage, etc. What was really cool was that these tube rigs and their schematics offered a basic electronics course that modern day circuitry cannot. Each of these pieces of vintage gear had room inside the chassis, so when I read the schematic diagrams and traced the parts and connections, it was so much easier than with modern day gear. The huge bonus was learning how to use both an oscilloscope and signal generator – especially with the KWS-1, which had superb test points on the chassis, and with voltage measurements documented that are normal for the rig – I as able to see that there was nothing electrically wrong with the rig (it wasn’t transmitting with output power). After a discussion with a nearby ham friend – he said “It can only be a mechanical problem at this point”). And that is exactly what was wrong. I fixed the problem and the rig transmitted per the W3HM specification. 

I dove into this world for a year, but as far as operating and doing what I like to do – the modern gear is what I need – and the K3 with dual diversity and the Win4K3Suite fits me much better. 

I pretty much broke even by buying and trading gear in conjunction with these old beauties, so I got an “expense paid education”. I don’t regret it one bit – but one thing I did learn – the number of collectors interested in this gear is dwindling as older hams go SK. I was lucky to even get something close in price for what I had in them, and the selling experience pretty much has me not wanting to try it again.

One and done – I’m happy I did it – but this gear is for serious “enthusiasts” and collectors.