BlathrWayne Lorentz

Blathring in April, 2021.

Halmark is a spammer

Friday, April 30th, 2021 Alive 18,266 days

A screenshot of my opting out of Hallmarkʼs spam campaign, which it chose to ignore

Hallmark took my e-mail address “for [my] receipt.” I even took a screenshot just in case it lied. Which it did.

I now get spam from Hallmark at the unique e-mail address I set up for this Hallmark order.

Hallmark cannot be trusted.

❖ ❖ ❖

No one left to trust

Thursday, April 29th, 2021 Alive 18,265 days

Digital Ocean being a creeper

Today I learned that Digital Ocean watches your help searches and uses them for unsolicited marketing.

This is both very creepy, and a serious privacy issue.

❖ ❖ ❖

Priorities

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 Alive 18,264 days

Siri still shits herself if you ask to change the volume and you have more than one HomePod.

But thank God the latest iOS update has 30 new bearded lady emojis. Carnival sideshows everywhere are weeping with joy.

❖ ❖ ❖

DId you bring me a cookie?

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021 Alive 18,263 days

Darcie and I spent a peaceful day at China Ranch. Lots of wildlife running around, getting ready for the Summer ahead.

China Ranch is a place where an earthquake opened up a big crack in the desert letting the usually underground Amargosa River see the light of day for about a half mile. In the 1930ʼs someone established a date farm there, and you can get fresh date bread and date shakes at the little farm stand, and go for long walks hours away from anyone else. Itʼs just a nice place to get out of our heads for a while.

The crayfish donʼt belong here. Like bullfrogs, they were planted by settlers who though they might be useful for food. Unfortunately, theyʼre the reason the entire Pahrump pupfish population has to live in a concrete fish prison out in Corn Creek. Unlike the Amargosa dace and Devilʼs Hole pupfish, they didnʼt evolve in a hot spring, so in the winter they just kind of get sluggish and stop moving. Itʼs like aquatic hibernation. Since they canʼt flee, they are easy snacks for the big crayfish that were brought in from Louisiana a hundred years ago.

People ruin things. But I live in a place where several types of creatures have learned that not only are chihuahuas tasty, theyʼre slow, stupid, and frequently found behind doggie doors. Doggie doors are very common here. Sometimes nature gets even, and it makes the newspaper.

❖ ❖ ❖

Nerd rage

Sunday, April 25th, 2021 Alive 18,261 days

Hacker News: “This device is so poorly secured, anyone can hack it. This is an outrage!”

Also Hacker news: “This device so secure, I canʼt hack it. This is an outrage!”

❖ ❖ ❖

Aggressive and unpredictable

Saturday, April 24th, 2021 Alive 18,260 days

Storm Chaser coffee from Firecreek Coffee

Todayʼs coffee is Storm Chaser from Firecreek Coffee in Flagstaff.

Firecreek is a small café that was a couple of blocks away from the hotel where we stayed our first time in Flag. Itʼs a place that doesnʼt know what it wants to be. Thereʼs a stage at one end that looks spooky on nights when nobody is playing. All the tables are too far apart, making the place look deserted. The baristas were pretty hostile, because we were outsiders, and when I tried to pay with my phone they looked at me like I was from outer space. The coffee can also be described as hostile.

If a coffee can be passive aggressive, this is it. Originally, I was going to say nothing more than this was a smidge above average. But then I noticed that when I drink this stuff, I get really agitated. I think it must have a lot more caffeine than most other coffees. Many people think that decaffeinated coffee is heresy, but with my activity level, I have to switch to unleaded in the afternoon.

Storm Chaser sticks with you. I even cut back to just one cup of this in the morning, and decaf for the rest of the day, and I could still feel it. Fortunately, I like my coffee the way I like my women: aggressive and unpredictable.

❖ ❖ ❖

That red spec is the Desert Truckster

Saturday, April 24th, 2021 Alive 18,260 days

Death Valley, as seen from a hill in the Pahrump Valley Wilderness

My wife bought me a new lens for my camera for my birthday. Seems like a good excuse to visit Death Valley again.

❖ ❖ ❖

Creed of the Oregon Trail

Saturday, April 24th, 2021 Alive 18,260 days

No one ever said on their deathbed, “I wish Iʼd spent more time cleaning the toilet.”

Unless they were dying of dysentery. Then, maybe.

❖ ❖ ❖

He is from Delaware

Saturday, April 24th, 2021 Alive 18,260 days

Me: “Hey, #Siri, put Hamburger Helper on my groceries list.”

Siri: “Who is speaking?”

Me: “Joe Biden.”

Siri: “OK, Iʼve added it to your groceries list.”

I sure hope the president likes Hamburger Helper.

❖ ❖ ❖

Just the tips

Friday, April 23rd, 2021 Alive 18,259 days

Screenshot from Apple Maps

If a nearby nail salon is called “Hand Job,” you might live in Las Vegas.

❖ ❖ ❖

Still possible today

Friday, April 23rd, 2021 Alive 18,259 days

A clipping from the September, 1986 issue of Byte magazine.

Tech news from Japan in September, 1986:

But one nearby noodle shop, confronted with competition from its neighbor, may have had the last word when it decided to give itself a “new media” edge. It decided to take advantage of rapidly dropping prices by buying a FAX (facsimile) machine; now I can send in my order for traditional Japanese soba or udon noodles directly from my home FAX machine!

❖ ❖ ❖

Smokinʼ idea

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021 Alive 18,258 days

I wonder what would happen if I lit up a cigarette during a work-from-home Zoom meeting.

Thereʼs a company policy against smoking at work, but Iʼm not at work. Can Human Resources tell me that I canʼt smoke in my own home?

Imagine what would happen if there were 30 people on a work videoconference, and someone just lit up a cigarette.

For the first time in my life, I wish I smoked.

❖ ❖ ❖

Negative experience

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021 Alive 18,258 days

Iʼm getting tired of all the lazy developers talking about how great Electron is.

I guess they donʼt have to use Microsoftʼs Azure Storage Explorer, which crashes on a weekly basis, taking down the entire machine and all of their work because itʼs built in Electron, and is not a real program.

❖ ❖ ❖

Red dawn

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021 Alive 18,256 days

Sunset over the Rainbow Mountains

Sandstorm sunset.

❖ ❖ ❖

Watch out for Yogi!

Monday, April 19th, 2021 Alive 18,255 days

A hungry Darcie

Hereʼs Darcie sitting in the trunk of the Desert Truckster, waiting for me to set up our picnic lunch.

❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, April 19th, 2021 Alive 18,255 days

Darcie taking pictures at Crystal Springs in Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
❖ ❖ ❖

Wash me

Monday, April 19th, 2021 Alive 18,255 days

The back of the Desert Truckster, caked in filth

The Desert Truckster usually ends up covered in sand and dust after a day bounding through the desert, but it doesnʼt mind

The next owner might, though.

❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, April 19th, 2021 Alive 18,255 days

There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount, a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand.

There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.

— Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
❖ ❖ ❖

Sprouts

Monday, April 19th, 2021 Alive 18,255 days

A sunflower growing in a pot of lavender

A few weeks ago, one of Darcieʼs fleaBay packages arrived with a packet of sunflower seeds in it. So I stuck one in the lavender pot on my desk.

The packet says it should grow between eight and 12 feet tall. What could possibly go wrong?

❖ ❖ ❖

Itʼs not easy being green

Sunday, April 18th, 2021 Alive 18,254 days

An unwanted frog

I like toads. I always have. But I donʼt know if Iʼm supposed to like this toad, or not.

Itʼs a California Toad, a subspecies of the Western Toad. The problem is that itʼs living on the edge of a very small spring that is the only home of the hyper-endangered Amargosa Dace, a type of pupfish.

The pupfish only live in this one little hole; nowhere else on earth. The toads live all over the West, from the Rockies to Alaska to Mexico.

In centuries past, settlers populated the isolated springs and oases of the Mojave Desert with frogs, in order to use them for food. Tiny, slimy, amphibious cattle. In doing so, they wiped out many populations of endangered fish.

Thatʼs why this toad may not belong here. He may be a descendant of hungry and industrious settlers of the 1800ʼs. Or he may have been here all along, since this is still California Toad territory.

Iʼd ask someone, but these are COVID times, so none of the nearby ranger stations are manned.

A California Toad and his mate, basking in the sun
❖ ❖ ❖

Sunday, April 18th, 2021 Alive 18,254 days

The 2GB/Sydney logo

More proof that Apple is trapped in the Silicon Valley bubble:

Me: “Hey, Siri, play 2GB [two-gee-bee] radio.”

Siri: “Now playing two gigabytes eight hundred seventy three...”

Itʼs only the biggest radio station in the largest city on the continent of Australia.

❖ ❖ ❖

Easy, and ready to go

Sunday, April 18th, 2021 Alive 18,254 days

Caribou Blend from Caribou Coffee

This weekʼs coffee is Caribou Blend from Caribou Coffee.

I was introduced to Caribou when it came to Chicago. There was a shop down the street from my apartment, and next door to the place where Darcie worked. Darcie already knew about it because it originated in Minnesota. Now itʼs owned by an Arab government fund, which is why the only stores are in the upper Midwest, and the U.A.E.

I got the Keurig cups simply for convenience. If I feel like having a fifth or sixth cup of coffee during the day, I probably no longer have the patience to deal with grounds and brewing. I guess the Keurig machine is good for something, after all. Which makes sense because I like my coffee the way I like my women: Easy, and ready to go.

❖ ❖ ❖

One bad ass

Saturday, April 17th, 2021 Alive 18,253 days

A posse of burros in Beatty, Nevada

You think youʼre a bad ass? You think youʼre hard core? You ainʼt nothinʼ compared to the burros of the American West.

The lesser-traveled parts of this nation are infested with feral burros. They were brought out here to help the miners. When the miners went away, they left their companions behind. Itʼs all very sad.

Heʼs so lonely

Today, there are far more burros than the sparse desert environment can support, and many of them suffer. The federal government spends your tax dollars doing what it can to try to keep the population down, but a burroʼs gotta burro. Every now and again, there is a roundup of feral burros, much to the howls of online environmentalist poseurs who have only seen them on the internet, have never actually studied them in person, and donʼt have a better solution.

The captured burros are offered for adoption, but just like with humans, there are never enough homes for all of those who need one. Unlike humans, some of the adopted burros end up in illegal slaughterhouses, and thence as food for people and and pets in Asia, and rumor has it — France.

These burros are in the town of Beatty, Nevada. Theyʼre so used to being around people, and not giving fuck one what anyone thinks of them that they regularly block traffic, stare in windows, and generally make a comic nuisance of themselves.

They are the unofficial mascots of Beatty, and there have been some efforts to make them a tourist attraction. But tourists generally donʼt cuddle up to attractions that take a dump wherever they like.

“None shall pass!”
❖ ❖ ❖

Slippery When Wet

Thursday, April 15th, 2021 Alive 18,251 days

A road through Valley of Fire State Park

This is either the Long and Winding Road, or the Yellow Brick Road, depending on your age and taste in popular entertainment.

❖ ❖ ❖

Ram tough

Thursday, April 15th, 2021 Alive 18,251 days

Bighorn sheep in Valley of Fire State Park

If this is what rush hour looks like, you may be in the Valley of Fire.

❖ ❖ ❖

Rest stop

Monday, April 12th, 2021 Alive 18,248 days

Horses having a snack at a gas station

Gas stations are one of the few places where it seems to be OK to walk up to a strangerʼs horse and start talking to it.

❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, April 12th, 2021 Alive 18,248 days

Darcie looks out over the ghost town Rhyolite, Nevada
❖ ❖ ❖

Iʼll hold it

Monday, April 12th, 2021 Alive 18,248 days

The menʼs room at Death Valley Nut and Candy

Amazingly, the menʼs room at Death Valley Nut and Candy isnʼt the worst public restroom Iʼve ever used.

❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, April 12th, 2021 Alive 18,248 days

A day in the Valley of Fire with Darcie.

❖ ❖ ❖

Frogs and flies

Saturday, April 10th, 2021 Alive 18,246 days

Hereʼs a very sad picture. At least in modern times.

In centuries past, this little hole in the ground was a life-saver. For pioneers, for local indian tribes, and for many others it provided vital water in the desert wilderness. Today, though, itʼs a reminder of things gone wrong.

This is Longstreet Spring, at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Itʼs a boiling spring, which isnʼt a reference to the temperature of the water, but to the way the water forces itself up through a layer of sand at the bottom, making it look like the bottom of the pond is boiling.

This used to be the home of a thriving population of endangered fish. The fish are gone now, eaten by frogs brought by the pioneers. Today, all that live here are frogs and the insects that feed them.

❖ ❖ ❖

Bullfrog works

Saturday, April 10th, 2021 Alive 18,246 days

I think one of the reasons that people like the ghost town of Rhyolite is because it balances itself in that special state of decay where you can see that itʼs all going to be dust soon, but thereʼs enough left that you can imagine slices of what it used to be when thousands of people lived here and it was called “The Chicago of the West.”

Rhyolite used to have bars, hotels, gold mines, and several competing newspapers. Today, it only has one resident. But that may change soon. A Canadian company is doing some work to determine if itʼs worth re-opening the old gold mines again. If it happens, it would be really interesting to see if the town comes back, or if its designation as a quasi-state park will make that impossible.

❖ ❖ ❖

Nay?

Saturday, April 10th, 2021 Alive 18,246 days

Today I learned that the USPS delivers at least 20,000 pieces of mail each year by horse.

I am privileged to have been several times to a U.S. Post Office with a hitching rail for horses.

❖ ❖ ❖

Natural thoughts

Friday, April 9th, 2021 Alive 18,245 days

Have you never noticed that new wildlife refuges are almost always in places that most people don't want to be, anyway?

It's never “Oh, here's this prime piece of real estate with lots of natural resources. We should set this aside for the ducks!”

These days, it's always, “Look at this godforsaken, polluted, barren wasteland. Weʼll, let nature have it, so we can write it off on our taxes, and feel good about ourselves.”

❖ ❖ ❖

What does it say?

Friday, April 9th, 2021 Alive 18,245 days

A California license plate

Millennials complain that they can't read cursive writing. Does that mean that when they see a California license plate, they don't know what state it's from?

Are they all going to die because they can't find a Walgreens to get their prescriptions?

The cursive Walgreens logo
❖ ❖ ❖

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021 Alive 18,243 days

Itʼs always amusing to see the blather that comes out of internet financial “experts.”

Never take financial advice from anyone who hasnʼt lived in a world where a 9% mortgage is a good deal.

❖ ❖ ❖

Sheʼs stalking you

Monday, April 5th, 2021 Alive 18,241 days

Annie peering at me from behind the orange chair
❖ ❖ ❖

What did you do now?

Monday, April 5th, 2021 Alive 18,241 days

An unpleasant message from Harrods

Harrods thinks Iʼm suspicious. I guess Iʼll spend my money over at Liberty, instead.

❖ ❖ ❖

Canʼt argue with that

Sunday, April 4th, 2021 Alive 18,240 days

An explanation of the COVID-19 risk levels in New Mexico

Risk tiers that include the color turquoise are likely to be nonsensical to anyone who does not live in New Mexico.

Albuquerque Journal, March 27, 2021
❖ ❖ ❖

Yes

Sunday, April 4th, 2021 Alive 18,240 days

Thing nobody asks at a store anymore:

“Cash or credit?”

❖ ❖ ❖

Paging Doctor Rorschach

Friday, April 2nd, 2021 Alive 18,238 days

A mess in my sink after dying Easter eggs

Now that Iʼve cleaned up after dying Easter eggs, I have to clean up the clean-up.

❖ ❖ ❖

Dye, you egg! Young fry of treachery!

Friday, April 2nd, 2021 Alive 18,238 days

Easter eggs submerged in dye
❖ ❖ ❖

HO HO HO

Thursday, April 1st, 2021 Alive 18,237 days

For a bit of nostalgia, I bought some HO-scale model trains from Goodwill. I donʼt have a big enough apartment for a train set, so this will live on the kitchen counter until Darcie decides to stop indulging me.

I give it about ten minutes.

❖ ❖ ❖