"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Bistro Dining Set Delivered and Assembled

Above, the assembled bistro dining set. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The small dining (or bistro) set arrived today from Wayfair. It arrived and was left on my front porch by Federal Express while I was down at Denny's at the Flying J for our usual breakfast/coffee meet-up.

The rest of the day was spent putting it together. The table was easy. The chairs were another story. The Allen wrenches supplied with the table set were difficult to use. So, I went down to Home Depot in Gallup and picked up some Allen wrench bits for my drill.

That made the final assembly of the chairs a whole lot easier.

Above, another view. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It seems most furniture items one orders these days come in kit form and assembly is required. I had to assemble the patio dining set, the curio cabinet and, now, the bistro dining set. My biggest gripe about these are the poorly written and drawn instruction sheets.

Oh, well. I guess it kept me occupied with something to do for a while.

New "Bistro Set" On The Way

Above, the set I ordered.

Finally, I've found a "bistro" three-piece dining set for the open space near the bay windows in the living room area.

The set is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, but as I was writing this, I received a text message from the shipper that it will be arriving today before 8:00 tonight. Well, I'm not complaining!

Above, the area that the set will be going in. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is what I've been looking for and at the right price (under $140).

This should mark the last thing, as far as furniture goes, I will be ordering in the foreseeable future. 

Tokyo Tower vs. Tokyo Skytree

Above, a view of Tokyo Tower from the ground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For years Tokyo Tower has been a symbol of Japan, along with Mount Fuji and other landmarks. It was joined in 2012 by the Tokyo Skytree.

If one is wondering about the differences between the two, Live Japan takes a look at both of them and what they have to offer to visitors.

Above, the Tokyo Skytree from Kappabashi. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

They begin with:
Tokyo Tower has been a symbol of Japan since it began overlooking Tokyo 60 years ago in 1958. In 2012 a new symbol of Japan took form with the completion of Tokyo Skytree. Both function as telecommunications towers and their beautiful appearances adorning the city also make them highly popular tourist spots. So, which is the true symbol of Tokyo? What are their attractions? Do their colors and illuminations have any meaning? What is the best way to enjoy them both? Let’s take a look at and compare the attractions of each.

To read more, go here

Japan's "Big Three" Convenience Stores

Above, a FamilyMart in Asakusa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When strolling just about anywhere in Japan, there is usually a convenience store handy.

The "big three" of convenience stores in Japan are 7-Eleven, Lawson and FamilyMart. I've been to all three. Some may ask, "What's the difference between them?"

Live Japan has just the answer.

They begin with:
From busy downtown areas to sleepy rural villages, convenience stores are a common sight in Japan, open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. The three big names of Japanese convenience stores are 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, and Lawson, dominating the city centers. You won’t only find snacks, boxed lunches, and freshly brewed coffee but also alcoholic drinks, everyday items, and a lot more in these stores. During the night, they even act as a drop-in spot for the police and services like mail reception, ATMs, multifunctional printers, and free-to-use toilets make convenience stores indispensable for Japanese daily life.  
But what is the difference between the difference convenience stores? We’re taking a thorough look at Japan’s “Big Three” and their different services, brands, and more.

To read more, go here

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving Night Snow Showers?

Above, the aftermath of a March blizzard. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It's been pretty dry here for the past week or so. But all that may change beginning Thanksgiving night. As of now, there's a 30% chance of snow showers Thursday night.

According to the National Weather Service:
Thanksgiving DayPartly sunny, with a high near 50.
Thursday NightScattered snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
FridaySunny, with a high near 48.
Friday NightMostly clear, with a low around 25.
SaturdayIsolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 47. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Saturday NightA 20 percent chance of snow showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 18.

Well, we can use the water here.

Condé Nast: "50 Most Beautiful Places In America"

Above, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Anyone can say what are the most beautiful places in American or anywhere else. To say such and such is this or that is subjective. But, when one of the foremost authorities on travel, one should take notice.

Such is the case with Condé Nast Traveler. They have put together a list of "The 50 Most Beautiful Places In America". I have been to several of them

To start it, they wrote:
You've heard about the spacious skies and amber waves of grain, but what about the painted deserts, prismatic hot springs, giant redwood forests, and active volcanoes? You could spend a lifetime exploring the sites of America, all as beautiful as they are diverse. Here are 50 of our favorites. This gallery was originally published in 2016. It has been updated with new information.

To see what they are, go here

Winter Storms Forcing Closure of 2 Yosemite Roads

Above, The Beast at a pull-out off Tioga Road. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Some winter storms are approaching California (they sure can use the water) and two roads in Yosemite National Park will be closing as a result.

YubaNet.com reported:
November 19, 2018 – The Tioga and Glacier Point Roads in Yosemite National Park will close to all vehicular traffic beginning at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 due to incoming winter weather. The road will reopen as weather and road conditions permit. This is not necessarily a seasonal closure.   
A series of winter storms are expected to pass through the Yosemite Area, beginning on Tuesday evening through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

To read more, go here

Out 'n About

Just a while ago, I took my usual (weather permitting) walk around the property. And, as usual, I had a camera on hand.

The weather is around 50° outside. It was comfortable enough to forego a jacket.

So, here are some photos I took while outside:

Above a view of the three mesas across the valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a freight train passes by the Navajo chapter community of Iyanbito below a mesa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a view of the house and GOCO Beast Barn from the road. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, the GOCO Beast Barn with the mesas in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, a view of the wall of rock across the valley. I call it the "Wall of Kong". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Above, back inside the living room. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Early Notable Figures In Yosemite's History

Above, an early morning view of Yosemite Valley. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the most popular national parks is Yosemite National Park. It wouldn't have become a national park nor would it be as popular today as it is if it weren't for notable people.

National Park Traveler takes a look at early notable figures in Yosemite's history.

They begin with:
There is an argument that Yosemite is actually the world’s first national park; President Lincoln’s Yosemite Grant in 1864 protected its scenic valley. Of course, it wasn’t until 1890 that Yosemite was officially designated a national park, some 18 years after Yellowstone claimed the distinction as the world’s first national park. 
But with its head start, Yosemite quickly attracted those who were looking to both profit from the setting, and protecting it. 
James and Elvira Hutchings opened the valley’s first hotel in 1865, after James visited the Yosemite Valley in 1855, and again in 1859. He described his first lodging there as a “crude two-story” inn. So, he bought the building the next year, made some relatively minor upgrades, and opened it for business. 
It didn’t last long for the Hutchings however, as the Yosemite Grant prompted California officials to declare his land ownership in the valley invalid, and they were forced out. 

To read more, go here

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Almost 100% Reopened

Above, a vent of Kilauea volcano. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island was shut down for four months due to eruptions of Kilauea volcano. Now, it is almost entirely open to visitors.

Travel Pulse reported:
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was shut down for more than four months this summer after Kilauea’s outburst in May. But now the good news is flowing. Since its “soft opening” on September 22nd, bits and pieces of the Park have continued to open little by little, and here in November, it is very nearly up and running at full speed. Here are the latest updates.

To read more, go here

About Tokyo's Street Names and Address System

Above, a Roppongi intersection. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It took me about three trips to Tokyo before I got some sort of semblance of being able to figure out the city's street system. Finding an address is another story.

Back in 2006, I had to find the office of Kadokawa Pictures. I was in the general area but was unable to find the place. Fortunately, the New Otani Hotel in Chiyoda (which was used as Osata Chemicals headquarters in You Only Live Twice) was in the area and I checked with their concierge desk and they gave me a detailed map. I just handed it to a taxi driver he got me there within minutes.

Still, it is not unusual to get "mighty bewildered" when trying to find an address. What I found helpful (besides a hotel) was to ask a local, go to a police koban or, if lucky, go to a visitor information office.

Time Out Tokyo has an article explaining Tokyo's street system.

It begins with:
Were U2 singing about Tokyo all along? In this city, only a handful of the main thoroughfares and shopping streets have honorary street names, such as Meiji-dori and Takeshita-dori. Other than that, rather than having street names, we’ve given names to areas and assigned numbers to the districts or sections within them, which are then counted as ‘chome’. For example, Aoyama It-chome is thus Aoyama (District) 1. 
So when you’re looking at a map, you first need to find the area and then you can go searching within it. Theoretically it’s a lot faster than trying to figure out at what end of that long street number 98 is.

To read more, go here

Wall Photos

This morning, I woke up to a couple of voice mails from Asya in St. Petersburg, Russia. She was pleased about the photo I sent her yesterday of the wall decor items I hung next to her painting of "Three Mesas". I bought them yesterday at the Bluewater Outpost in Bluewater Village, New Mexico (31 miles away).

She is working on a new web page and asked if she could use it. I said it was okay and took some more photos and sent them to her. The photo I sent yesterday was from my phone, but I shot some more with my camera.

Here's some:

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday Drive and a "Hanging"

Above, after the "hanging". Photo by Armand Vaquer.

This morning, since it was a nice day out and I had no other plans, I headed out 31 miles to the other side of Prewitt, New Mexico to the Bluewater Outpost in Bluewater Village (off Interstate 40).

I wanted to see what they may have to fill in some wall spaces near the "Three Mesas" painting by Asya.

Sure enough, I found a small porcelain decorative steer skull and a Navajo arrow. The total price of my purchase was just $48.00.

On the way back to Jamestown, since I had a sweet craving and I had to stop at the Flying J anyway, I went to Denny's there and had a hot fudge sundae. That hit the spot!

After I got home, I hung both items. I am pleased with the result.

Two Years Ago: Monument Valley

Above, Goulding's Lodge Campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Two years ago, I was relaxing at Goulding's Lodge Campground at Monument Valley. It was near the end of my three-week vacation trip to Metropolis, Illinois.

Above, I saw many different rock formations during the tour. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The day before, I arrived at Monument Valley in the morning and took the Goulding's tour of the Navajo Tribal Park in the afternoon. This was made necessary as a marathon was being held the next day (November 18) and there would be no tours given.

Above, Ear of the Sun arch. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I spent the day at the Goulding's Lodge and looked over the museum and gift shop and visited John Wayne's Cabin from She Wore A Yellow Ribbon.

Above, John Wayne's Cabin. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I can see why director John Ford was smitten over Monument Valley. I visited it back in the 1980s, but this was the first time I stayed there and took a tour.

Above, The Mittens at dusk. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If anyone needs a place to see during vacation season, I highly recommend Monument Valley.

For more on Goulding's Lodge, go here.

"Godzilla vs. Kong" Filming In Oahu, Hawaii

Above, the battleship USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor is a location to be featured in Godzilla vs. Kong. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For those of you who saw the 2014 Godzilla by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros., you are aware that Godzilla came ashore at Waikiki Beach and proceeded to trash the Hilton Hawaiian Village before heading into Honolulu and do battle with Muto at the Honolulu Airport.

Well, Godzilla is coming back to Hawaii in Godzilla vs. Kong and filming has already started.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:
Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Entertainment continue to film the sequel to their monster movies throughout Hawaii this week through at least December. 
Production crews began filming “Godzilla vs. Kong”on Oahu Monday, and have already worked at various sites, including the USS Missouri, Manoa Falls and downtown Honolulu. They have also set up camp at Lanai Lookout along Kalanianaole Highway, and the parking lot remains closed until Nov. 21, according to the state Department of Transportation. 
“We’re using the jungle, using the city, obviously using the streets,” said film unit publicist Deborah Simmrin. “It has kind of a vast landscape. Everything’s going well. We love being here.”
To read more, go here.

Dollar Lower In Tokyo Trading

For those who may be planning a trip to Japan, it is a good idea to monitor the foreign exchange rate of the U.S. dollar and Japanese yen so that they can get more yen for their bucks.

With that in mind, the latest exchange rate has been posted by Jiji Press:
Tokyo, Nov. 16 (Jiji Press)--The dollar was weaker around 113.30 yen in Tokyo trading late Friday, hurt by lower Tokyo stock prices. 
At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at 113.29-30 yen, down from 113.52-53 yen at the same time on Thursday.

To read more, go here.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Warmer Than A Week Ago

Above, the sign. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Even though the nighttime temperatures have still been dipping into the 20s, at least the daytime temperatures have been up into the 50s.

Right now it is around 55° with just a mild breeze. It is warmer out than it was a week ago.

Above, trying out the "panoramic" feature of my phone's camera. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Some silly wag posted at Facebook, "Snow in November happens because people prematurely decorate for Christmas." It seems that way.

I took my walk around the homestead earlier and found it to be pleasant out. The accompanying photos were taken during my walk.

Trump Surveys Fire Devastation In Northern California

Above, President Trump at an operations center in Northern California.

President Donald Trump is now in E Clampus Vitus country meeting with first responders of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California.

According to Fox News:
President Donald J. Trump visits an operations center in Northern California to see the devastation caused by the Camp Fire. 

Trump will be meeting with Governor Jerry Brown and Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom (I sure would like to be the fly on the wall listening in on their conversations) later today.

For more, go here

Route 66 In New Mexico

Above, the main lobby of the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, which is featured on the Route 66 guide. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of these days, I am going to take a road trip on Route 66 through New Mexico. I have been on "bits and pieces" of Route 66, but I haven't traveled extensively along the route.

There is a guide to what can be seen along the historic route, Route66Guide.com.

Above, the Route 66 sign in Church Rock, New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

On the New Mexico portion of Route 66, it begins with:
Surprising New Mexico. Land of extremes and contrasts, capped by high mountains and home to extensive desert plateaus, small towns and large megacities, blending of Indian, Spanish and Mexican traditions, a territory of savory specialties and craft that Route 66 covers end-to-end over 400 miles. 
The considerably high mountain ranges forced Route 66 engineers to perform civil engineering feats. For travelers of the early twentieth century, some mountain passes in New Mexico became legendary and feared by motorists, who often found themselves stranded, abandoned by the stuttering engine of their cars - not as tough as the travelers themselves! 
Still today, cautious motorists - whether driving 4x4 vehicles or not - renounce to follow certain Route 66 sections, especially under heavy rains (e.g., from Texas, entering New Mexico through Glenrio, it is highly advisable to back up and head over to Interstate I-40). 
Historic land, colonized by the Spanish from the seventeenth century, it contains many ruins of previous civilizations. New Mexico combines their records and hosts many of the oldest buildings on the continent and / or country, especially in Santa Fe, the state capital, perched off the Interstate at over 7,000 ft. elevation. It is the oldest city in the West, which houses the oldest house (about 1200) and oldest church (1625) in the country, among other notable buildings classified as historic sites.

To read more, go here

Democrat Party's Gun Control Agenda Is Coming

The Democrats will be hell-bent on attacking our Second Amendment rights when they take over the House of Representatives in January.

The National Rifle Association has posted an article on what to expect.
With anti-gun Democrats back in control of the House of Representatives come January, now is the time to prepare for a new onslaught on the Second Amendment. Emboldened by the mere thought of controlling the lower chamber, we are already seeing the warning signs of what will come for the next two years. 
First, virtually all Democrat leadership positions are likely to be filled by long-time anti-gun zealots, such as former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Similarly, key committees will surely be chaired by extremists with long histories of supporting any and all legislation designed to diminish the rights of law-abiding gun owners. 
In other words, if you can imagine a new, draconian restriction on guns, gun owners, firearm parts and accessories, or ammunition, expect it to not only be introduced, but to be given a hearing. Also expect the anti-gun legacy media to openly fawn over these efforts. The same goes for any old proposals that have already been introduced and rejected, or even implemented and later repealed or abandoned after proving to be ineffective. 
At the top of the list, of course, will be banning semi-automatic firearms. Extremists will try to ban America's most popular rifle, the AR15, as well as any other semi-automatic rifle. The standard magazines that come with these rifles, as well as any that are sold separately that are deemed "too big," will also be the target of bans. Most semi-automatic handguns and shotguns will also be swept into these bans.

To read more, go here

Friday, November 16, 2018

Democrat Stalwell Calls For Gun Confiscation and Nuking People Who Refuse To Comply

The Looney Left Report

Enough people stayed home on Election Day to allow leftist loons such as Rep. Eric Stalwell (from (where else?) California) get elected.

This lunatic proposes "nuking" gun owners who oppose his leftist gun control agenda.

The Daily Wire reported:
Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) caused a firestorm on Friday when he suggested using nuclear weapons against American citizens who oppose his far-left gun control agenda, which includes forcing Americans to give up their semi-automatic weapons. 
Swalwell made the comment in response to a May news article on his radical plan that was widely recirculated on Twitter on Friday in which he called for a $15 billion government program to confiscate millions of guns from Americans.

Stalwell Tweeted:
And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities.

Notice how much more brazen Democrats are about gun confiscation?

To read more, go here

"Suspicious Minds" of Liberals Go Nuts Over Elvis's Medal of Freedom

The Looney Left Report

No matter what President Trump does, the Looney Left will find fault. He can discover a cure for cancer and the lunatics will scream with rage and voice their ridiculous denunciations.

Such is the case with the awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Elvis Presley. The wackos are decrying the award as "racist".

Fox News reported:
Not everyone believes Elvis is the king. 
President Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to seven Americans on Friday, including the late rock star Elvis Presley, though even that gesture is coming under fire from liberals.

Trump honored Presley, baseball legend Babe Ruth, former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, philanthropist Miriam Adelson, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, jurist Alan Page, and Hall-of-Fame quarterback Roger Staubach. 
Still, some have accused Trump of racism for honoring Presley, long known as the "King of Rock and Roll." 
The Washington Post’s pop culture critic Chris Richards called Trump’s move “a little nod to the good old days, back when black visionaries could invent rock-and-roll, but only a white man could become the king.” 
“Yes, Trump is sending a message here,” Richards wrote. 
That claim has been scoffed at online, with the Weekly Standard publishing a rebuttal titled, “Elvis Wasn’t Racist. Neither Is Giving Him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.” 
“If you’re invested in making Elvis an avatar for racial resentments more than 40 years after his death, you’re, perhaps unwittingly, making the problems of contemporary divisions worse,” columnist Mark Hemingway wrote. “Music is one of a precious few cultural forces still holding us together.”
Above, a photo display of Elvis with Junior Parker and Bobby Blue Bland at Sun Studios. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The idiocy of the Left knows know bounds.

To read more, go here

"Godzilla vs. Kong" Synopsis Released

Godzilla vs. Kong has already begun production and the next Godzilla installment from Legendary Pictures is set to be released next year.

Inquisitr has posted a titillating synopsis of Godzilla vs. Kong.

They begin their article with:
Legendary Pictures is beginning production on their upcoming film Godzilla vs. Kong. With the script, cast, and crew coming together for the commencement of filming, the production company has released a synopsis of the film to titillate the expectant fans of the franchise, according to Slash Film. 
The official synopsis from Legendary reads as follows.

To read more, go here

2019 Roswell UFO Festival

Above, the Roswell "welcome" sign. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The dates for next year's Roswell UFO Festival have been announced.

From the organizer's website:
In 2018 we hosted over 20,000 aliens in Roswell! We were so amazed! Our surveys indicated people from 43 states and 7 different countries. Countless media groups and live coverage network shows, and numerous printed stories. 
In 2018 we had some exciting additions including the NASA Space Suit and Alien Autopsy.  We are working hard on new additions in 2019 to make this festival even bigger and better than ever. Be sure to join almost 35,000 subscribers at the bottom of the page for updates! 
We have only begun, so much of the information you see now will be from 2018.  We are working on 2019, so be sure to check back periodically. 
This year the Festival will be held July 5-7, 2019 – make plans to attend now!  We encourage you to arrive a few days early to enjoy the City of Roswell July 4 Extravaganza.  Many hotels are already filling up with reservations, so we recommend making reservations immediately! 
The City of Roswell invites UFO enthusiasts and skeptics alike to join in the celebration of one of the most debated incidents in history. The three-day event will feature guest speakers, authors, live entertainment, a costume contest, parade, a pet costume contest, parade, family-friendly activities and more.

I attended the 2018 UFO Festival and had a great time. If the were any drawbacks to the event, it is so spread out that people need to prepare to do a lot of walking. Public transportation is limited. What would really benefit the festival would be a centralized convention center where events (panels, shows, etc.) can be held. About the nearest thing for a centralized location is the International UFO Museum and Research Center.

Above, the office of Trailer Village RV Park in Roswell. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Along with hotels, Roswell also has RV parks in the city. We stayed at the Trailer Village RV Park.

To read more, go here.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Reasons Why Japan Deserves A Stamp In Your Passport

Above, the rising sun in Atami. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Many people have visited many places around the world and Well and Good has covered a lot of them.

They now have an article with 8 reasons why people should include a Japan stamp in their passports. Some of them are not what one usually finds in other travel websites.

They begin with:
With all the magical, must-see destinations popping up around the globe, your passport has probably gotten a lot of action lately—or is about to, anyway. You can take wellness cruises that let you venture through the Mediterranean Sea with a green juice in hand, see elephants roaming in Kenya, or climb the lush hills of Bhutan. There’s one hot spot in particular that’s getting all the buzz, though, and there couldn’t be a better time to visit than now. 
When you think of Japan, you probably think of the hustle and bustle of big cities, like Tokyo. But along with the fast-paced environments, there’s also a stunning countryside, some of the best food in existence, and too many wellness-centric activities to count—so it’s no wonder that Japan was just named Travel + Leisure‘s 2018 Destination of the Year. The next time you’re feeling adventurous and ready to explore, keep the many reasons to visit Japan in mind.

To see what they are, go here

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