Friday, November 30, 2018
|Above, Shibuya Crossing (also known as Shibuya Scramble). Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
There are many similarities between the U.S. and Japan. And, there are many differences, too.
In order to make a visit to Japan as pain-free as possible, a good read of an article by Insider would be an excellent start.
They begin with:
When I planned my first trip to Japan, I made sure my itinerary was filled with activities. I did exhaustive research on bars, restaurants, and landmarks I wanted to see, but unfortunately, there are a lot of things I didn't think to look up.
There are a lot of cultural norms and common decencies that are specific to Japan, plus there are also a ton of logistical differences that I wish I had known about in advance.
Here are 13 things I wish I had known before visiting Japan.
To read more, go here.
|Above, the GOCO Beast Barn. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
One of the things I had to do after getting home was to feed the stray cat that hangs around the house. I haven't seen the other gray cat for about 2 weeks. This one is getting tamer and comes up to me. I think it shelters itself under my deck.
After putting food out for it, I walked around the front and over at the Barking Spider acre and snapped a few photos.
|Above, the house front. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, Barking Spider Road and the GOCO Beast Barn. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the house and GOCO Beast Barn. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the stray cat having breakfast. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the stray doesn't mind me being around anymore. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, enjoying a meal. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the view towards I-40 and the mesas. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, snowy rocks and Church Rock in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Well, the only activity at Red Rock Park Campground was a gathering of balloonists around a big campfire.
There was nobody in the balloon launch area when I left Red Rock Park for home at about 8:30. If any balloons go up today (or the next two days), I can drive over and find a vantage point. I can see from home if there are any balloons up.
But, it was fun to camp out in Red Rock Park Campground anyway. It is only nine miles from home. I was nice and warm inside The Beast. The ceramic heater worked just fine and I didn't have to use the RV propane heater.
It did snow after daybreak, sometimes pretty hard. I just sat back inside with a cup of java and enjoyed the view.
|Above, The Beast at Red Rock Campground yesterday. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, The Beast this morning. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, what I found after waking up. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, a balloonist's gondola basket all wrapped up. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the launch area. Nobody's around. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the campground with the rocky hill behind it. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, a different view of my camp road. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, The Beast this morning. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Snow hit early this morning.
It is about an inch or two deep, just enough to give everything a good layer.
|Above, looking towards the balloon ascension area. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
As far as the balloon rally goes, it appears that it may go on. Balloonists are busy getting prepared and there is no wind to really speak of. I went outside to take a few pictures and it wasn't windy at all. That's the main concern of the balloonists.
|Above, a view of my camp row. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Hopefully, things will go as scheduled at 7:30.
Thursday, November 29, 2018
The Looney Left Report
The loony California one-party state government (of, by and for the Democrat Party) has saddled the state's taxpayers with an enormous debt.
Much of this is from the giveaways the Democrats handed the public employee unions (their buddies) with over-the-top pensions and other benefits.
The California Policy Center reported:\
We estimate that California state and local governments owe $1.3 trillion as of June 30, 2015. Our analysis is based on a review of federal, state and local financial disclosures. The total includes bonds, loans and other debt instruments as well as unfunded pension and other post-employment benefits promised to public sector employees. Our estimate of California government debt represents about 52% of California’s Gross State Product of $2.48 trillion. When added to the state’s share of the national debt, we find that California taxpayers are shouldering debt burdens on a par with residents of peripheral Eurozone states.
Not included are billions of dollars in deferred maintenance and upgrades to California’s infrastructure. To the extent California’s government has not maintained investment in infrastructure maintenance and upgrades to keep up with normal wear and to keep pace with an expanding population, it has passed this cost on to future generations who will have to issue additional debt to pay for this expense.
This is an update of a 2013 California Policy Center study entitled “Calculating California’s Total State and Local Government Debt.” That study reported total debt between $848 billion and $1.1 trillion. While we retain confidence in the findings of this earlier analysis, our new estimate incorporates a more comprehensive array of data sources and updated methodologies.
I am so glad that I left Commiefornia. If a state official claims there's a budget surplus, they're lying through their teeth. California voters stupidly keep re-electing these crooks.
To read more, go here.
|Above, the balloon ascension area is next to the campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Since I may not get a chance to do so tomorrow (if snows hit), I took a walk around the Red Rock Park Campground.
More RVs are pulling into the campground. I would hazard a guess that 1/4 of the campground is full. When I made my reservations on Monday, I was shown what sites were still available. There was just a handful available, so we will probably be near full capacity this weekend.
When I got back to The Beast, I decided to fire up the coffee maker. I discovered, to my dismay, I only had enough coffee for one pot. I should have checked it before going to the market earlier. At least I have plenty of instant coffee to tide me over.
Some photos taken during my walk:
|Above, a balloonist just pulled in. He later moved to a site next to the asension area. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, The Beast with the red rocks in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, a view of the balloon ascension area. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, The Beast in the background. The sites are spacious here. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the earlier ballonist's gondola basket. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, the Church Rock Post Office building. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, The Beast at Red Rock Park Campground. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
After a stop at the supermarket in Gallup, I am now camped at the Red Rock Park Campground just outside of Gallup.
There are more RVs in the campground than usual, they're most likely participants or spectators for the Red Rock Balloon Rally set to begin tomorrow through Sunday.
That is, if the weather cooperates.
People are outside right now, walking their dogs, etc. So it is not bad out. One pick-up truck has just pulled in with a hot-air balloon passenger basket in the truck bed and pulling a travel trailer. I understand that many of the participants will be staying at the El Rancho Hotel & Motel in Gallup.
Currently, it is in the 50s outside and cloudy out. Tonight, the first of two storms is expected to hit with snow showers and, but hopefully not, winds. The winds will be the killer for any balloon ascensions this weekend.
I decided to come out anyway just in case the balloons will ascend or just to try out the campground and get photographs of the rocks around the park if they get a good dusting of snow.
As I said, it is nice out today..
Tomorrow may be another story.
|Above, the stables at Red Rock Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Tonight is going to be interesting.
I will be at the Red Rock Park Campground tonight for, if it happens, the Red Rock Balloon Rally. At this point, I have my doubts, but I am heading over there anyway (it's only 9 miles away from home).
If we get enough snow tonight and tomorrow, it should make for some beautiful photographs if the surrounding red rocks get a good dusting.
Even if we get a blizzard tonight, I will be nice and snug in The Beast as I will have full hook-ups and good heaters. I'll just sit back inside with a cup of java.
|Above, the A-Bomb Dome. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
For those who plan to visit the city of Hiroshima, they should also visit a-bomb sites around the city. A new interactive map of those sites to help visitors has been introduced.
The Japan Times reported:
HIROSHIMA – Hiroshima has unveiled the Hiroshima Peace Tourism project, which includes an interactive map showing routes intended to help visitors view the city’s many memorial sites beyond just the Atomic Bomb Dome in the Peace Memorial Park, the main and only destination for about half of tourists.
“We want visitors to understand and appreciate the city’s commitment to peace,” a city official said.
To read more, go here.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
|Above, Pyramid Rock. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Well, the National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement on the weekend's weather conditions:
...SIGNIFICANT CHANGE TO WINTRY WEATHER FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY...
Tranquil weather conditions through Thursday will transition much
colder with strong winds, rain, and snow over much of New Mexico
Friday through Sunday. Computer models are in very good agreement
showing a line of rain and high terrain snow showers approaching
western New Mexico on Thursday evening. Rain and snow will change
over to all snow through Friday morning while moving east across
northern and central New Mexico. The focus for snow will shift to
the higher terrain through Friday afternoon. A few inches of snow
are expected with this first system, mainly along the Continental
Divide and the highest terrain of central New Mexico. Strong west
winds are also expected to impact parts of eastern New Mexico
where gusts may reach 45 to 50 mph Friday afternoon.
The next system will arrive over western New Mexico Saturday then
shift across the entire area Sunday. The exact track and strength
of this second system is still uncertain however computer models
are hinting at a potential widespread winter storm for northern
and central New Mexico Saturday night and Sunday. The potential
exists for significant snowfall accumulations and blowing snow in
the higher terrain of northern New Mexico with lighter snowfall
over eastern New Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley. Much colder
temperatures with bitter cold wind chills are likely Sunday and
Those with travel or outdoor plans Friday through the weekend
should monitor the latest forecast at weather.gov/abq or your
preferred media outlet.
|Above, the main entrance to Red Rock Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
The National Weather Service has updated the forecast for this weekend and it doesn't look promising for the Red Rock Balloon Rally.
Winds will be picking up Friday morning and on though Saturday. That is the main thing to keep a watch on. The balloons won't be launched if there are high winds.
It was windy today, but at this writing, it is calm outside.
|Above, snow on the ground in late February. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
For the past month or so, it has been cold here in Jamestown, New Mexico for weeks. Temperatures have been dropping below freezing (32°) most every night.
But, according to The Weather Channel, New Mexico has been having "average" weather for the season in their Weather Misery Index map.
It's already one of the coldest and snowiest starts to the winter season in parts of the Northeast, Midwest and Plains, and we haven't finished November yet.
According to the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI) from the Midwest Regional Climate Center, 74 cities from New England to the Plains and Rockies have seen an extreme season-to-date of cold and snow as of Nov. 27.
This index takes into account the "intensity and persistence of cold weather, the frequency and amount of snow and the amount and persistence of snow on the ground," the Midwest Regional Climate Center says. Wind and mixed precipitation, such as freezing rain, are not a part of the index.
The index uses five categories – mild, moderate, average, severe and extreme – to rate the severity of winter weather in cities across the U.S.
For any given location, the start date of the winter season is defined as when the first measurable snowfall (at least 0.1 inches) occurs or when the first high temperature of 32 degrees or lower is recorded. The start date is Dec. 1 for any location that does not see either of those happen before that date.To read more, go here.
President Trump re-tweeted an image (above) this morning that is certain to send Democrats into a frenzy.
According to The Hill:
President Trump on Wednesday morning shared an image calling for his opponents to face trial for "treason," with many of them behind bars.
The image, which the president retweeted from a pro-Trump Twitter account, depicts a host of figures Trump has criticized, including former President Obama, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, special counsel Robert Mueller, former FBI Director James Comey and former President Bill Clinton.
"Now that Russia collusion is a proven lie, when do the trials for treason begin?" the caption on the photo reads.While I agree with the general sentiment, the correct term for the activities the Democrats have been engaging in fall under the sedition law, not treason.
To read more, go here.
|Above, the sword's handle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
A response at the sword forum to my query on what my sword is.
Kingdom of Prussia, NCO of Artillery after 1910. Nickel plated blade not Stainless Steel. The same saber if brass or gold hilt, is cavalry NCO.
BTW: This design lasted until 1945, and yours could be post WW 1 too. We would have to see the trade mark and blade configuration to know for sure.
I posted a photo of the blade in response. I see no trade marks or any other markings.
I did look up Kingdom of Prussia swords and many of them look like the one I have.
We'll see what the "final verdict" is.
After posting the photo (below) of the blade, I received this response:
Armand: That is Wiemar/Third Reich...
|Above, performers at a Honolulu luau. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Following Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the floodgates of travel deals have been opened with great bargains on round-trip flights to Hawaii from L.A. and other places.
The Los Angeles Times reported:
Travel Deal Tuesday isn’t a made up thing. Online travel agency Hopper looked at flight prices over time during the post-Thanksgiving shopping blitz. It found that the best prices, saving as much as 40%, fell on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
“The volume of fare sales [last year] was more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined,” a Hopper news release said.
What that means for you is saving on your next vacation — now. Browse these Tuesday deals that Hopper confirmed with the respective airlines. And remember, some Cyber Monday deals are still in effect so it’s not to late to find a bargain.
Hawaiian Airlines on Tuesday will be offering one-way economy fares from Honolulu to Sapporo, Japan, starting at $299 per person. The airline’s Cyber Monday deal, which continues through Wednesday, shows round-trip airfares from Los Angeles starting at $357 to Kona, Hawaii; $377 to Kauai; $457 to Honolulu, Oahu; and $477 to Maui.
There’s also a Long Beach-Oahu ticket from $417. Fares are available for travel Mondays to Thursdays between Jan. 9 and March 13.
Book through Wednesday at Hawaiian Airlines.To read more, go here.
|Above, the rocks at Red Rock Park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
It will be interesting to see how things fare this weekend when the Red Rock Balloon Rally takes place at Red Rock Park and at other places around Gallup.
If it does snow as forecast, and the balloons go up, it should make for beautiful photographs with snow on the red rocks contrasting with the colorful balloons. It all really depends upon the wind conditions.
This is the current forecast for the weekend from the National Weather Service: