New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Old Fools Journal: Waiting For Gustav

Waiting for Gustav

We who are about to die are going to get hammered first. The rain has started and I expect the next rain bands to arrive momentarily with wind. By morning I expect to be without electricity and the Internet. So I must hurry.

We spent the day securing the ship as we call it. We started out together as “Blue Water Sailors” so we use a lot of those terms. It was a hard day as we have become a little untidy in our aging process. Most things have been put away and the windows on the weather side of the house are boarded up.

We did not get the dogs washed so they are going to smell up the house but I did get myself washed because I was smelling up the house. From past experience it's probable that it will be the last hot bath for a while. We buy our power from a coop (SLECA) and they are really fast about getting power back. They however can only do what they can do.

If the property doesn't submerge we are prepared. If we are under water then that will be another kind of experience.

Our little house all boarded up

We are not from here so have no real ties to this place. We are here because of inertia but this place is a target and it may be time to move on once again. The stress of staying is getting to be to uncomfortable.

We are essentially under house arrest. There is a curfew from six pm to six am but even outside of that time wandering around is not allowed. Even with that we noticed a number of strange vehicles driving around in the neighborhood. One full of males really checking out everything. Her Highness discussed it with the Deputy that is patrolling here (a neighbor who's son comes and goes without knocking) and he had already heard about them and was on the look out.

One more thing before I go to bed to get a little sleep before the wind really starts.
-The officials keep telling us to get out but there is no fuel.-
-It has been predicted that more deaths will be counted because of the evacuation than from the storm.-
-Three deaths have already been counted evacuating patients.-RIP-
-In conversation here Axed = Ask. Do not be alarmed if someone axed you sumting.

If I still have Internet in the morning I will report but I doubt I will have power or phone lines.

Aeronaut, retired

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Old Fools Journal: Is This The Last Great Adventure?

Is this the Last Great Adventure?

Mostly it's considered stupid and reckless but that is the opinion of government officials, law enforcement and media people some of whom are doing the same stupid reckless thing. There was no end of opinion and advice when I was sailing on the pacific in a 21 foot boat with no radio and no way to indicate an emergency or need of help other than frantically waving my arms. I didn't want to be rescued. I sailed with the assurance that however it turned out it would be my fault or glory and so it was.

This adventure I did not seek and I don't know if I really want it but here it comes much as war comes to the innocent and unknowing. I have dealt with the fringes of hurricanes and typhoons over the years and mostly it was ho hum. I have a feeling this is not going to be ho hum. I have never seen the eye of a hurricane but always wanted to and live to tell about it however you have to survive the eye wall to do that. There lies the difficulty.

It's a beautiful evening with a temperature of 86*F, humidity about 30% and an occasional light breeze from the east at 6:00PM. We are bathed in hazy sunshine as the sun prepares to set. The difference between now and 50 years ago is TV and the Internet to remind you that you have squandered your natural resources and now you better get the hell out or you are going to die. If you choose to stay you are under house arrest. I have a feeling that those who choose to stay will be equalized by the great god of hurricanes.

I feel like a fly on a white kitchen table in a room full of cooks with fly swatters.

In other news

Whilst going through my lumber pile this afternoon trying to uncover some old plywood to board up my windows I discovered a large snake. Now we have a lot of snakes and usually I just send them on their way but this one looked different and dangerous. I called in my resident snake expert and she said I was right and that it was a rattle snake. I have seen a lot of rattle snakes but never one like this. I said “lets just send it on its way” she said “no they are territorial and it will be here forever. Go get me the axe”. Now I want you to know that I can blow a hole in your forehead in a heartbeat and without regret or guilt if you threaten me or my family but killing critters that are just hanging out makes me sick. She said “your grand daughter plays right here”.
I got the axe.
It struck the axe twice but little did it know that an axe has a heart of steel and does not care. Fangs and venom squirting and a fight to the death but there is nothing equal to a 98 lb woman with an axe that is protecting her young.
Remind me not to threaten her young.

The snake is hung on the fence with respect to display its grandeur. The fence is four foot high. The killer is sitting in the background. Excuse the mess we are cleaning up for our own doom.

The Snake was trying to live in a place that was threatening to its life and paid the price.
We are living in a place that is threatening to our lives and will pay the price. It may be in installments or in one lump sum but we will pay.
I am fearful tonight.

Aeronaut, retired

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Old Fools Journal: Hurricane

Well here we are three years after Katrina (anniversary is tomorrow) once again anticipating the arrival of doom. This time there are two storms, same as last time, that seem to have us bore sighted only this time their timing is closer. All the talk of leaving is just so much blathering about something that looks good on paper but in realty is very difficult to implement. Too many people scattered over too large an area. In any event most can't afford to go. This area where I live estimated over a 100,000 people prior to the influx of population during and after Katrina and Rita. There is also a huge oil boom going on. Not one new road or highway and no public transport. Leaving here on a normal day is a hassle don't even think of it in an emergency.

Leave now... and go where? Many have but they are those who have the time and money to take a vacation anyway. Motels and hotels within 100 miles of here are booked so I am told. Forty miles makes a big difference in a hurricane but which direction would you go now. Go now and guess wrong and you are dead meat. Wait until you know which way to go and the storm hits you on the highway stuck in traffic.
I think I'll stay here with my animals and tomato plants and hope for no high water, that my trees have deep roots and that this old house can stand up to one more storm.

No matter where the storm hits we know we will be without electricity and communication. That stuff dies here in a heavy rain storm so this time we have some hedges. Unless we are blasted off the face of the planet (it could happen) we will survive it will just be uncomfortable.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Old Fools Journal: Bike Ride August 15, 2008

August 17, 2008

I've really been getting around on my bike lately in spite of all the rain. I feel guilty of course because I'm having a good time and all the other chores that I can only do in good weather are going undone. It only rained half the day yesterday so I did mark a few things off the list. At least enough to salve my conscience.

It seems to me that casual traffic is a little less these days except during the morning and evening when work time traffic is on the move. This may be wishful thinking on my part. There are more bikes on the road and when I was downtown Houma a couple of days ago I saw several small “town scooters” in use and I had never seen that before. I saw 11 pedestrians downtown and two of them were in the music store. They only walked about 12 feet from their parking in front of the store. I was looked at as a freak because I had ridden a bicycle 6 miles to exchange one electric bass string.

I think that gasoline is becoming more important than water or air for some and for sure more important than the mortgage payment. It didn't seem so until all

Bayou Blue looking south. I don't know why it's called that. It looks like Bayou Brown to me. It has been reduced to nothing but a drainage ditch.

that money started disappearing into that little hole in the back of cars and trucks. For many less driving is just not acceptable until they look into the money bucket and there ain't any. Drive offs at gas stations is on the rise here as is gas theft but there are more new cars and

More pickups than ever. Dealers are making what some seem to think are very good deals especially on the larger high price pickups and SUV gas hogs. Not as many clunkers though as the people that drive those have either curtailed their driving or have run out

of money. Maybe that got one of those good deals and are now driving a new pickup.

Since the repaving of most of the streets in my neighborhood there is much more bike traffic. People have actually taken their bikes out and are using them regularly for exercise. The kids are really enjoying the smooth streets. Because this is a poor neighborhood the government feels no obligation to keep the streets up so they deteriorate to a nearly unusable level before they are repaired or repaved. Like most things here they did a half ass job and stopped when nearly done. When I lived in Mexico I noticed that same mindset of never finishing anything. There was a reason there as new construction wasn't taxed until finished so it was just never finished. I don't know why things aren't finished here. Maybe they just run out of money. We did end up with about 3 miles of smooth streets on which to ride here in Trollville. My prediction of a big increase in auto speed did not come to pass I am happy to say.

There is still the problem of getting to other neighborhoods and to the store with about a ¼ mile of suicide riding to get some breathing room. All traffic is routed from every neighborhood to a 2 lane feeder with no shoulder. It's heavily traveled by big trucks as well. Poor planning is the rule here and since life is cheaper than fixing that problem it will not be fixed. Only if someone with clout or someone who knows someone with clout has a problem will anything be done. It's the Louisiana way. The problem is largely ignored because people reproduce faster than they are killed off.

Houma, LA is an old town (1834) and I find it interesting. Access from Bayou Blue is along New Orleans Blvd (highway 182) which has a wide shoulder and it's a good thing as about every tenth car is using all the road and part of the shoulder. Sometimes they use the ditch as well which is full of water and slows a car to a stop really fast then tests the drivers swimming skills.

I have not taken time to poke around downtown in the 15 years I have lived here but I have started doing that. This last trip into town I visited the Downtown Marina. It's a nice marina for guest boats with water, electricity and pump outs. Lots of trees and benches and a few gazebos for shelter from the rain showers. I have been there several times but this is the first time I have seen any boats. The grounds are in minor disrepair with vandalism to the benches and lamp poles and some graffiti but it is still a pleasant place to be.

This picture is taken from the part of the park across Terrebone Bayou from the Marina looking toward the Inter coastal Canal. My trusty steed awaits.

The marina is built under the bridge across the inter coastal canal. Walking distance to the hospital, a number of restaurants and the center of downtown. I did not see any marine or fishing store. I did not see any no fishing signs either. Hmmmm I have to check that out.

There are no big box stores, department store or grocery stores downtown. They are several miles away on the north side of town and that area has all the class and quality of a cheap plastic trash can. There is a nearby convenience store and a motel with a 24 hour coffee shop. The restaurants seem to be geared to the government office workers and numerous lawyers lunch crowd. I've never seen so many lawyers offices in such a small downtown before. Some of the restaurants have outside sidewalk tables and it is picturesque however they are so close to the parallel parking that you can feel the heat from the parked cars and the food taste like exhaust fumes.

Bronze sculpture of a Native American fishing at the end of the marina next to the Inter coastal. I have never seen a native American that looked like that here. Come to think of it I haven't seen anyone else that looked like that either.

I haven't passed over the big bridge on a bicycle yet and I am a little apprehensive. I have passed in an armored vehicle (car) but that is a whole nother thang. I think there are dragons over there and that they shoot people and eat them. I know the edge of the world is over there as I have seen it from the air. Your perspective is entirely different on foot or on a bike.

Inter coastal Canal looking west. Those pillars are the bridge supports. Its pretty quite here with only the clicking of the joints on the bridge to disturb the silence. It's pleasant and I almost never see anyone here. The is the first time that I have seen the Inter coastal with no traffic. There is a seaplane landing area about ¼ mile down there.

Inter coastal looking east. It looks calm but there is a tidal current that appeared to be 2 to 3 knots running east. If you fall in, good luck finding a place to crawl out. I have seen some big multiple barge tows pass through here going both ways. It doesn't look like there is room to pass but they always do. There is a lot of skill demonstrated on this Canal especially when it is windy.

New Orleans from the edge of the world. Looks insignificant from 25 miles south out near the edge of the world.

Not a very exciting ride but it was informative and profitable. I brought home a bass string, new strings for my Gibson acoustic, a loaf of rye bread, some Pizzelle and about $15.00 worth of fastenings found on the shoulder of the road. I got about 3 hours of healthy exercise, met and made a new friend (Pearl), was filled with awe when a lady stopped and held up traffic so I could cross (a first) and did not have any death defying close calls. No one yelled at me or threw anything so all in all a good day.

No riding today or anything else standing up due to my gouty left ankle. Oh well I have plenty of books to read and two kilts to work on not to mention staring out the window "lost in thought". Lost because it is unfamiliar territory.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Old Fools Journal: I love my Kilts

August13, 2008

Kilt From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The kilt is a garment in the form of a knee-length skirt with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands. Since the 19th century it has been associated with the culture of Scotland in general, or with Celtic (and more specifically Gaelic) heritage elsewhere. It is most often made of woollen cloth in a tartan pattern.
Though the Scottish kilt is now worn mainly on formal occasions or at Highland Games and sports events, there are some (mainly in North America) who seek to revive it or adapt it as an item of everyday male clothing. The name 'kilt' is also used for some other forms of traditional skirt-like garments worn by m
en, and for a similar garment worn by girls.

I love the kilt!

First: because of the freedom of movement that is nearly as free as when I lived where I could work outdoors naked or nearly so.

Second: because It is a male garment and recognized as such. It needs to follow a few simple rules to be so but that, in concept, is easy as contemporary Kilt makers have proven. A recognizable Kilt will not be mistaken for ladies wear except by the intellectually challenged. A kilt has class and is in a class of it's own.

Third: unlike sarongs it has taken on a certain complexity and has become slightly mysterious in its construction. That complexity makes it acceptable to some folks sort of like pants. The construction of a kilt is obvious except for the little things that have made them more comfortable and better fitting over the years. Those little things can be rather complicated but the basic pattern is understandable. To me there is nothing obvious about cutting out a pair of pants.
Pants are complicated and the tailor that can make a pair of comfortable pants has my highest respect. I've never had any. Kilts on the other hand are easy. Making one correctly is not easy. A kilt being basically a wrap around skirt is likely to be comfortable, even the sloppiest made one . It's the details that make it difficult.

Although I have admired Kilts over the years I have not had the opportunity to have one until recently. Even the Scots I have known could not afford them. That has changed now as they have become affordable (as in cheap). Also, I decided that since I could build a house, a boat and a bicycle I could build a kilt as well so I did. I have built two as a matter of fact. The second is better than the first but I wear both.

Kilts as defined by me: a wrap around skirt with pleats in the back. That basically is all that is required. The type of pleats do not matter, the front may or may not overlap but there are no pleats in the very front. (old paintings show men in kilts with pleats in the front but modern Kilt snobs ignore that.) It should hang no lower or shorter than the knee cap unless its cold. (That is also not held up traditionally). There are those that put other restrictions on it even going so far as to say that no matter how it is made it is not a kilt unless it's worn by a highland Scot. I reject that. If it is made correctly it will not fit a woman unless she is built like a man. I have met women that were built like a man but that did not make them any less feminine than my funny shape makes me any less masculine.

The sarong on the other hand is the garment of the people. Unlike kilts the sarong has many names and is used in many societys. It is can be made by anyone. It is cheap. It is basically a rectangular piece of fabric. It can be narrow, it can be wide, it can be flat or sewn together into a tube. It is unisex. The word “sarong” like the word “skirt” does not have a gender. Who it's on determines its sex. If you have a towel that you can wrap around yourself and fasten then you have a sarong, lava lava, pareu, Kikepa or any number of names given it around the world. Anyone can make a sarong so they are not of much interest to manufacturers. I am a great fan of the sarong and have been wearing them for more than thirty years. I sew my own and and they are a little more complicated than the traditional but that is my choice. I like a strong waistband, pockets and Velcro closures. Just a personal choice but not necessary.

If there is enough fabric in a sarong to pleat the back and that is done then it becomes a kilt. Having 3 layers of fabric where the pleats are and 2 layers where the aprons overlap it also becomes hot but the kilt hangs different than a sarong and to me it is more comfortable.

Anyone can make a kilt as well. A kilt is basically a long rectangular piece of fabric that is wrapped around the lower body and is arranged with a flat apron in front and pleats in the back. What is difficult about that? The originals were not tailored so why would they have to be now? No needle and thread is required just patience and, of course, the fabric itself. Present day traditional Kilts have evolved into a ridged fashion statement format, sort of like pants and jacket evolved into the formal tuxedo. It takes a lot of skill to do either correctly.

Wearing a traditional heavy wool (or any other heavy fabric) kilt in a hot humid climate is not so comfortable. The kilt evolved in a cool climate. Made of wool and in its original form it allowed a multiple layers wrapped or pleated around the lower body and the extra overflowed around the waist and could be gathered up and brought up over the upper body. There was so much fabric that the excess could be used up over the head to ward off the weather or could be wrapped around the body for sleeping. It's not hot in the highlands but it is hot in the tropics. A loincloth is more appropriate but even a very light loincloth traps moisture where it is not needed.

In this very humid and hot climate in the summer (SE Louisiana) my guess is that 99 out of a 100 men have some kind of crotch rot because of the way they currently dress. Style, custom and inertia have become more important than comfort and health. As an observer I am sorry to say that I believe that most American men are insecure in their manhood as well. Hanging on to their pants as a sign of manhood is futile since women have completely made pants into womens wear. When was the last time you saw a female in a dress or a skirt? Women can wear anything they want men think they cannot. So who has the most balls? Who wears the pants in your family?

I put the garden in this spring (2008) wearing a kilt (contemporary, poly/cotton) alternating with light shorts. The kilt won and you know I didn't feel girly at all.

Now if I could just figure out how to make a steampunk kilt.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Old Fools Journal: Trash Can Physics

August 11, 2008

Why is there no research in how the force field around trash cans work? If this repulsing field were to be understood or it's use were to be discovered humans could go to the stars. The least that could happen is maybe we would have trash cans that suck in trash instead of repel it.

I understand that a lot of my problem of putting the trash in the can is due to my genetic sticky skin. Everything sticks to me. An example that applies to everyone is a fresh booger on your finger. It will not just drop off. It will stick to another finger thus the booger measuring system. If it will stick to one other finger then it is a 2 finger booger, if it first has to roll onto yet another finger then it is a 3 finger booger and so on. Multiple passes of a five finger booger is an amazing thing to behold. Otherwise you can wait for it to drop off but its more likely that your finger will drop off first and the last option is to wipe it off. You know, on the bottom of a chair, under a table or some other hidden spot.

When I get up from the toilet the seat gets up with me. If I sit on a plastic chair and get up the chair gets up with me if my skin touches it. No amount of washing and scrubbing solves this dilemma. But that is another problem that requires another solution the problem here is to solve the trash can dilemma. So now that you have an understanding of sticky skin on to the problem of trash cans and their ability to repel trash.

If I have something in my hand I want to drop it in the trash it will unstick from my fingers a fraction of a second after I release it (sticky skin) and fall on the floor next to the trash can. If I hold it directly over the center of the trash can it will take that beautiful curve akin to the curve ball in baseball to fall on the floor next to the trash can (trash can force field). If I toss it in and it happens to make it into the can it will invariably bounce off something in the can and land many feet away(delayed trash can force field). If it hits the rim it never bounces in but completely reverses direction picks up speed and sometimes lands in the next room under some piece of furniture (trash can force field with a vengeance). The only way I can put something in the trash at the first shot is to bend over and put it down in the can and scrape it off my finger.

I know that there is a force field around trash cans. Look at any trash can and the trash around it and there is proof enough.

I can just see it now.

Secret of trash can force field solved.
Trash cans are set to repel all trash into space.
Within weeks Earth is completely surrounded by trash.
With no sunshine Earth begins to die.
Trashcan force field is reversed.
All trash in space now returns burying all life in a mile of trash.
Moon arrives like a cherry on a sundae.
Garbage trucks are quickly fitted with trash cans set to repel and aimed at the Earth
Humanity sets out to trash Mars.

Trash can propulsion

This guy could solve this