Coping: Radar Rings and Reality Jumps?

I had a really weird experience Monday mid-morning…and it certain has raised some interesting questions for Ures truly.  Here’s what happened:

About 10 AM, or thereabouts, I decided to call someone I know up in the Pacific Northwest.  I absent-mindedly dialed and got….the wrong number.  But not just any wrong number…wrong number of some else I know.  Prehensile brain apparently has an auto-dialer in it.

So I quickly apologized – “Wrong number, sorry…” and that was that.

Until, that is, I  went back to idly looking at the weather radar at the arriving rain band thanks to the WeatherUnderground website.

imageThere!  Do you see it?  One of those (damn strange) radar glitches…

Stand by for the weird part.  The radar snips on WUnderground go off like clockwork.  Every five minutes. 

Except that after this “ray” appeared, and our place is right above the white cross-hairs indicating Palestine, TX, the updates suddenly stopped for the next 40-minutes.  Hmmm…

Well, now, we had something on our hands that needs to be placed somewhere along the mind’s [coincidence/ponder/mystery] continuum for later processing.  And Ures truly, man of science and all, doesn’t like uncategorized data showing up.  Especially when temporally coincident to me making a “mindless dial” which I rarely do, but had just done.  Which was very strange, indeed.

Things got even murkier when I visited and found that two leading researchers in the field died a few years back, in 2006 and 2008.  Hmmm…coincidence?

Remember our recent discussions about how the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics works?

I’d love to simply believe the explanations found over on the website, but the explanation of the spike lining up with another radar doesn’t feel useful given the high number of occurrences of these things.

What IF there are certain kinds of “join error” symptoms which are just blithely passed off as “systems bugs?”  Is there some chance that we could find a telltale to how Universe really works?  And speaking of which CERN has sure been quiet lately…but they’re trying to scare up money (so welcome to the club!).

Oh, and the updating stopping for 40 minutes, either.  Yeah, I know – pure coincidence, right?

image Since the NEXTRAD radar for the area is located at (airport identifier) KFWS (Fort Worth/Spinks) and since we have all kinds of mapping capability, I did a little extension and it didn’t seem to line up on anything in particular down to the southeast of the airport.

Are there reasonable possibilities?  Oh, sure, you bet.  For example, it could have been (rare) ducted propagation at the radar’s frequency, perhaps a slight “bank shot” to borrow a pool playing term, off the front which was moving through the area.

Still, with the president due to be in the Dallas area on Wednesday afternoon, it just struck me as a bit odd and thought I’d mention it.

Getting the Lead Out

Several comments on the mention in Monday’s column about the lead smelter closures., 

First came a phone call from my last liberal friend who pointed out that although the closure of said smelter was done during president Obama’s term, the actual EPA orders were cut under what he referred to as “those famous gun-grabbers Bush & Cheney…”

Then reader Bill up in Big Sky country sent this:

Here in East Helena Montana there used to be a lead smelter. closed it, sold it to a Mexican outfit and then they went banko. Left a bit of a mess and no more lead and other minerals being smelted. Now someone is looking into processing the left overs to reclaim lead…..maybe going to Peru?

I’m not sure, but maybe this is all part of some ingenious plan to save a little bit of resources for America which we might find useful when the rest of the world consumes itself back into a dark age…

In the meantime, however, reader David connects the dots this way:

Hi; This lead thing. Won’t it effect the price of car/truck, wheel chair, scooter, etc. batteries ?  Didn’t I hear your old truck crank a little slower this morning ?

And since he did ask, the truck runs fine, except for the transmission and that’ll be a topic for future discussions.  I’m being mindful of my blood pressure for now.  Let’s just say that I’m not particularly keen on Dodge transmissions from the early 2000’s era….

National Dream Center

Yes, our website is still up – however, not too many people go there to post dreams lately…interest in “dream work” seems to have fallen off a bit.  Which is interesting, figured reader Marc, since there’s been a major fundraising success noted by SHADOW: Community of Dreamers over at here, to build a dream logging app

Tuesday at the WuJo

Yes, we are still getting plenty of reader reports of “time going wrong” from readers…like this one:

Hi George,

Here’s a “time-ly” event that crossed my path one week ago:

Friday Oct 25 was the birthday of my dear departed mom. Decided to celebrate/honor “mom’s day” by traveling to the hometown to visit her sister, who recently moved to assisted living.

My aunt’s recently-vacated house is where I, and her son, take turns staying on our respective trips to the hometown.

I arrived there about 3:30 pm after an uncharacteristically long drive. No particular mishaps or delays, highway traffic just was moving slowly, everyone in the 55-58 mph range instead of the usual 65-75 speeds.

First priority upon arrival was to fire up a pot of espresso, put suitcase in bedroom, etc. Was checking clocks and realizing if I drove to assisted living right then, Auntie and I would have but a 12-minute visit, before she had to head down to the dining room for the scheduled (“early bird”) evening meal. In the process of calculating the lack of potential for a pre-dinner visit, I realized the stove clock was “behind” by about 9 minutes.

I ran around comparing the 2 bedroom digital LED clocks, the one living room digital LED clock, and my cell.

The living room clock was about one minute ahead… all the other three clocks (2 bedroom & cell phone) basically matched. The stove clock (also digital, but the 1980-type mechanical digital clock where the numerals are little plates that flip down) was the only clock that was significantly “off”.

I did not find this particularly strange. While the stove clock has never been “wrong” in the 15-odd years I’ve visited in Auntie’s home, it’s possible my cousin (on his prior visit) bumped the “timer” knob on the stove, or somehow changed the clock accidentally….or just that the 30-year-old mechanism was getting “glitchy”– to use everyone’s favorite adjective for the site.

Anyway, I reset the stove clock to match my cell and the 2 bedroom clocks, finished my coffee and went off to visit first a neighbor, then Auntie, then other pals till after midnight.

The next day (Saturday) I was out of the house most of the day, visiting, lunching and erranding with Auntie, having dinner with other relatives, and visiting a friend. About 7pm returned to house, read & watched TV in living room till bedtime.

Awoke Sunday morning at 6:30, made coffee, took it to living room to check weather channel forecast on tv.

Glanced at the living room digital clock (positioned on top of credenza that holds tv) and realized it was one full hour BEHIND the actual time.

Am absolutely positive it was NOT that way Friday afternoon when I was checking all clocks in order to reset stove.

Nor Sat eve, when the 11pm news came on, the clock said 11pm also….

It could not have lost an hour due to a power outage or circuit breaker tripping….no “flashing digits”, no “battery backup” indicator, and 2 lamps plugged into same outlet (one on a timer) were functioning normally both Saturday evening, and also Sunday morning.

Not really sure if this was some kind of WuJo time-slip, since I didn’t personally “feel” any stretching or shrinkage of time….I experienced no sense of time speeding up or slowing down. Yet I can’t think of any “normal” explanation for a clock being “right”, then inexplicably “wrong”.

Am thinking it was more likely a “hello” message from mom. (While alive, she used to give me a pre-work phone call every morning….after she died, for several years, almost every evening my home landline would ring just once…then stop. I felt that was her saying hello. ) Since my aunt’s vacated home no longer has any landline phones or dial-tone service, am thinking mom used the clock as her alternative channel of communication…her way of acknowledging that I honored her birthday by being supportive to her sister.

Don’t know if this experience is of any interest for your catalog of ongoing WuJo events, but thought I would share it.

Also, I did also have a reappearance of an object recently. Since the early 90’s, I’ve kept a small

swiss army knife (gift from a prior beau) on my keychain. Sometime in early October, I looked at keychain

& realized knife was gone, Searched living room, front sidewalk, car…nope. A week ago I was cleaning misc trash out of car….there was the knife, on driver’s side floor mat! Almost impossible for it to have been there previously as it was 3″ in front of gas pedal, in plain view. (the plastic “sides” of the knife broke off/fell off a decade ago, so it’s just shiny steel…making it even more visible against the black floor mat.)

In closing — thank you, George, for your willingness to share your most worthy thoughts and observations on a wide range of topics I find fascinating!


It’s only possible when readers send them in, so thank  you.  

On the clocks, this happened a week before Daylight Silliness, so we can scratch that one.  And it’s nice the knife came back…something about knives that will do that. 

I’ve got an old case knife that was my late father’s “herring knife” which we used to cut herring plugs for salmon fishing with, we I was young.  It disappeared a number of times, the longest being about six months, and then one day it just sort of wandered back into my awareness.  I’ve given up on things like that happening.

Out in my “shop of mystery” there are a few tools that do the same thing.  Either that or there’s an East Texas pack rat with a new somewhere which is inexplicably filled with 11 and 12 MM sockets and open-end wrenches.  Damnedest thing I’ve ever seen. 

At times, a 13 MM will go missing, but mainly its in this 11-12 MM range.  I’ve got several complete sets of wrenches now, sans the aforementioned sized. 

That’s one of the reasons I now proudly (and carefully!) use a $50 roll-around steel cart whenever I’m working on projects like the old Dodge truck (that we’re not talking about).  Besides giving the illusion of professionalism and corralling the tools and various small parts, it also prevents a lot of bending over which didn’t used to matter so much as it seems to, here lately.

Hanging with the Dust Bunnies

Reader Jeff is worried about EMP, national grid issues next week.  Why?  He better ‘splain it…

Hey George. I am linking you to info on a major exercise coming on Nov. 13, 14. It is a emergency response to a widespread power grid failure due to cyber terror. This will involve thousands across the North American Continent…just saying in light of what happened during past “exercises” like on 9/11  and such makes me nervous.

No hiding under the bed, brother Jeff.  You’ve got to look at all this stuff like “stimulus-response” kind of stuff. Or, like golf, just play it like it lays…

Speaking of which, did you watch the trainer for Dragon Day, yet?  Not to feed into your paranoia….

Home HandiBastards Workshop

I happened to be in Lowes on Monday down in Philistine, TX, picking up a couple of more water filters for the ice-maker and cold water dispenser in the fridge. 

Footnote/Revelation:  I was also going to ask the manager why there was no apostrophe in Lowes as in Lowe’s.   I’ve been asking the same thing over at Walgreens (Walgreen’s) insisting that without the apostrophe it would be a group of Lowe stores, or a collection of Walgreen stores, but there’s just one at the location I’m at, so why not fix it?  (I leave politely before police are called – so far…)

While there I decided to splurge as I get ready to put another one of our home projects together – the big brother to that small bookcase has been standing around waiting for sanding and finishing now for a couple of weeks while I’ve been creatively rearranging cusswords around the word “Dodge.”

To the point:  What did I splurge on?  A pint of polyUREthane varnish and a $11 dollar roll of “contractor paper”.

The first bookcase used six coats of Cabot Spar Varnish (gloss) and looks great, except for two things.  One is that after being in the house (warm) for more than a week now, the surface still feels “tacky” and paper (or a book left flat) will still make a sticky noise.  Rearranging a bookcase daily until the Second Coming is not a product use of high pay executive time…or mine, either.  Besides, it shouldn’t be stickying (is this a word?), since I waited a full day between coats. 

I’m thinking the polyUREthane will cure faster and won’t have this residual sticky characteristic.

There’s no free lunch (damn!).  I don’t expect the poly to give the wood that warm hue that a good spar varnish will.  Although a really light rubbed on stain would certainly fix that.

And as long as I’m whining on this, Elaine pointed out we have a bunch of leftover Environmental Technology 16-Ounce Kit Lite Pour-On, High Gloss Finish ($18, Amazon) which would be fine if this were just a countertop.  But, it’s not.

I used the stuff (or a very similar product) on the cabinet doors in the palatial UrbanSurvival office, but oh-oh, I got a little carried away and managed to get a little air in the stuff while mixing so if you know just where to look, you can see tiny bubbles, not to be confused with Tiny Bubbles the dancer.

Also, it doesn’t brush onto vertical surfaces worth a darn, since when I tried that, I suddenly found myself fourth-seed in the National Drips and Runs Finals.

Since I’ve spent enough of my life as a drip, I moved on to something else, but if you have found a product which (in a dream world):

  • Brushes on easily and gives a deep gloss finish/glasslike surface
  • Brings out the hues and subtle shades of wood with just a bit of warm yellow/shading to orange-ish
  • Doesn’t leave horrible brush strokes
  • Have great vertical surface adhesion
  • Won’t drip or run

Please let me know. Oh, and as long as we’re talking about the dream finish for all us workshop wonks, let’s throw in a 1-hour drying time, too, shall we?

Diamond Varathane Floor Finish is great stuff (3-4 coats) BUT drips a lot. Send suggestions.

(Don’t send me emails about waiting twice the recommended time between coats on the spar varnish, which you don’t have to do in most marine applications, otherwise, you may end up in possession of a used Dodge transmission…)

Oh…the contractor’s paper:  I figure it’s cheap compared to using a half bottle of
KRUD KUTTER KK32 Original Concentrated Cleaner/Degreaser, 32-Ounce and 6-1/2 rolls of paper towels and a scraper to get my woodworking bench cleaned up from doing the (damn) truck work on it.

The plan calls for the contractor paper to live on a dispenser down at one end (which is what God made rebar and abrasive cut-off saws for) and I’ll put a holder there for a box knife to cut the paper as it comes off the roll.  Which will almost certainly get me noticed by the local Fusion Center.

After all, anyone who likes to actually be creative and do shit themselves because we ain’t all rich must be come kind of terrorist or Constitutional reprobate, right?

I’m sure if I built a flip-up paper-cutting  guillotine that would be OK if I could convince them I was a member of some “protected class” as the HR wonks label things….but a box cutter? 

OK, I’ll call it a carpet knife…that ought to skate me through. Or, I could simply use the scissors from over on the shipping & receiving counter, but ever since 2nd grade, I have been deathly afraid of carrying scissors…them teachers programmed us all, deeply and dangerously, yessir…

(sigh)  OK, off to more more fun, and adventure.  We’ll be back Thursday morning with another dose of reality and more tomorrow (in a more (trust me on this) serious vein) for subscribers…  Meantime, write when you break even.  And put the scissors in a box before moving them, would’ja?