Friday, January 31, 2020

Reach and grasp

Yesterday I added some torso rotation to my mobility stretching. I should say added back rather than just added.

Wrong move. It really flared up the nerve impingement and pain. By 9 p.m. I was hurting quite a lot, and I was afraid it would be a sleepless night.

A bedtime cocktail of alka-seltzer (bubbly aspirin) and meloxicam (a prescription anti-inflammatory) came to the rescue though, and assisted as my body got to work fixing itself. It wasn't a comfortable night, but it wasn't sleepless either. Coupled with the amazing demonstration of self healing, I got out of bed feeling very much better than I expected.

I was still sore but not in pain this morning. I did a relaxed hike, walking on flat(ish) ground, a flat(ish) glacier, and up and down some small but challenging slopes.

Along the way I couldn't help but notice how beautiful the day was despite an uncomfortably cool and gusty wind.

As I navigate this nerve thing and the rebuilding of my overall fitness I find the path to be an exercise in exploring reach and grasp. It's a good thing for me to be doing. I'm discovering things I didn't know I was looking for. Even as I bump up against vexing limitations I find other places where the horizons are far away and there's seemingly endless room to explore. It's a physical and metaphysical thing. Body mind and spirit are all in play. It's living, and it's a choice. The burdens I've chosen to carry are hard to bear, but they are not too hard to bear. It all feels exactly right.

Outside it's January on the High Plains. We're six weeks into winter and nearly halfway to Vernal Equinox. It's cold and blustery out but the sun is marching higher in the sky and kissing the ground and everything upon the ground with tantalizing warmth. There's a promise there I can believe in, and the certain knowledge that enduring the day's bluster will make the warm embrace of true spring all the sweeter.

Just as there are things my body cannot do, there are things my heart and soul cannot do. But here too there are other paths to explore. Boundless paths, really, and likely more rewarding and even more valid than the pathways of my immediate desire.

New paths add perspective and vital depth to scale and context. If I truly believe the things I say, then questing for growth, and testing reach and grasp, are more vital now than ever. Some things I cannot do, and I am chained by those realities. In the things I can do, however, I am unbound, and limited only by my choice. Do. Or do not.

Browning lamented that we seem to be free but are actually fettered. My experience and my sense tell me that I am fettered and free. The two are simply opposite sides of the same coin.


Every time I read Browning I get new stuff. It's always a slog. I never quite break through to understanding. Perhaps that's the point. Fortunately for me, I can take his work for what it is and what it says to me, and I never have to do the anglush perfesser thing and force the words to fit into a communally held psychotic view of a world I've never bothered to visit. Except...

Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged.
There burns a truer light of God in them,
In their vexed beating stuffed and stopped-up brain,
Heart, or whate'er else, than goes on to prompt
This low-pulsed forthright craftsman's hand of mine.
Their works drop groundward, but themselves, I know,
Reach many a time a heaven that's shut to me,
Enter and take their place there sure enough,
Though they come back and cannot tell the world.

Is it true that I'm lacking in omniscience? Seriously? Me?

Um, it sure looks like it. Good thing to keep in mind I think.

Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Back at it

I was up and at it early this morning because I wanted to beat the weather and get outside work and exercise done before the howlers hit.

I did my mobility stretching and pre-workout stretching inside, and that all felt really good. Then I headed out to to do some gully-running cardio.

As soon as I walked out the door the howlers hit -- westerly winds in the 35 gusting 55 range. As the air temps were in the mid 20's, it would be fair to say the weather conditions sucked, at least so far as I was concerned. Having to be out in it and all.

So that made me grumpy, but in a kinda-sorta good way. I was grumpy because I'd have to do my gully runs and straw hauling in the shitty weather.

A weather cank was not an option.

I went as hard as I could on the gully runs, doing 30 over and backs in about a buck-twenty. By the third or fourth one the wind was became a small irritant rather than a huge pain. So 60 uphills on quite steep slopes, and the watch gave me credit for each as a single 22-foot flight of steps. Total steps for the cardio portion was 9648, just shy of 4.5 miles.

It was a very aggressive cardio workout and I was seeing stars on the last five over and backs. I didn't get acidotic at all. I had some nerve pain but it was mild and tolerable. So it was a great workout.


Directly afterwards I picked up 20 small straw bales for chicken bedding. I was going to get 80 but it was too miserable out. I'll get the other 60 when the wind isn't so bad.

Moving small bales is often a good workout but wheat straw bales are so light and easy to manage that you can easily carry two at a time. Not exactly a waste of effort but not a real workout either. Nevertheless, it'll be good chicken bedding.


Thereafter I was on the go for the rest of the day. Lots of little chores and errands lined up and I worked my way through a prodigious list.

I paused before heading home to watch a rather pretty sunset. Not a fiery-spectacular one, but a moody, changing weather, late January one.

And now I must shower and go hit a couple of functions. Hoping to be home by 9 p.m. so that I can get to sleep at a reasonable hour. Maybe it'll work that way, who knows?


For some reason visions of night burner cat shots have been dancing around in my head today. Not sure why.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Cool, cloudy, rainy-snowy, dreary, damp, shivery.

Pretty good day for rest. Which is a nice coincidence as my body said we were resting today. You know when you know.

So cals and mobility this morning and a two-mile meander.

Along the way Red and I looked at the old Evertson No. 1 oil well, which went in in about 1950 and pumped oil pretty consistently for 50 years.

It's pretty much abandoned in place, though technically and legally it is not. I don't know exactly how such things work, but I believe it's illegal to abandon in place and when wells are permanently retired they must be capped and the site remediated. Fun to look at the old one-lunger LP-fired engine.

Big flywheel!
Regarding the legal status of the thing, the above is just what I think I know, and it may be completely or partly incorrect. In such a case there would be a difference between what I think I know, what I actually know, and what is.

Story of my life.

The ground around the storage tanks has eroded two feet since the tanks were put in place. The old tanks are interesting, bolted together from relatively small sections of steel. Lots of sludge down in the bottom. Nice view from up top.

Yesterday I returned to the new cafe in town, the one where Snow Girl and I ate Saturday night. This time I had the swiss-jalapeno burger and it was quite good. Better than a Big Kahuna Burger by far.

And no one shot me in the shoulder for saying "what" one more time.

It does seem to freak them out that "I don't want fries with that." They just nod and say "uh-huh." There are worse things.

Win a few, lose a few, it all evens out in the end.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Not a Weeble

Weebles wobble but they don't fall down. H/T to Brig for reminding me of that.

Fewer videos today, all of them short.

So I'm, um, not a Weeble.

I wobble but I do fall down. Bet.

You know my theory about the ground. I'm an old geezer. I'm gonna fall. I'm gonna fall a lot. Given that reality, I should be good at it. And good at the getting back up. Which I am.

It ain't just me!


Many, many of those. Sublime.

Today no non-falling videos.

Wonderful workouts. Very hard. Very challenging. None of it scripted to plan.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Never give up, never surrender! Part two.

What I wanted to do with the previous "never give up" post was to illustrate what "never give up, never surrender!" looked and felt like to me on January 25.

I'm a couple of weeks in to my own personal physical rehabilitation. I was in pretty darned good shape on June 29 of last year, then on June 30 I had a fall in a canyon which caused a hitherto undiscovered lumbar spine issue to flare up. I've been living with a lot of nerve pain ever since, and trying to get lined out medically and perhaps surgically.

Getting the medical/surgical stuff to happen has been a struggle of late, and I'm not going to bitch or even describe that here. It's largely out of my control.

What isn't out of my control is getting back into shape. Rest made sense for the first couple of months, but I rested too much and put on too much winter lard. I was getting along fine doing my daily ranch chores which are often somewhat physical, so it only made sense to get back to working out.

And working out, especially with nerve pain, takes a certain amount of determination and a willingness to push through pain and tough going of hard effort. So the Galaxy Quest mantra of "never give up, never surrender!" is a nice touchstone and motivator.

That's kinda-sorta what I was thinking as I made those canyon videos the other day. But I was also feeling really good physically on Saturday and felt like playing a bit. It was beautiful outside with warm sunshine and the canyon glaciers were just right for climbing and sliding. So I did a bunch of that. It was pure delightful play. Little kid play. I loved every minute of it. A side benefit, which I thought about hardly at all in the moment, was that it was an extremely strenuous workout, and that was all to the good.

When I got out of bed Sunday morning I was a bit creaky and cranky. I didn't sleep well because I had a lot of persistent aches and pains from the workout. I also had a lot of nerve pain. The former was simply to be expected following that kind of workout. The latter is just a burden I have to bear.

There's another saying that echoes around the hollow halls of my head. "Find the largest burden you can bear and then bear it." My nerve problem found me, and I really have no choice but to live with it. However, It's my choice whether I bear it as a man or as a crybaby. I'm trying very hard to carry it as a man. In doing so, yet another stupid saying becomes helpful.

"Take some Startactin!"

In other words, "start" "actin" like a man!

I wanted to show visually some of the scenery of one of the countless workout areas I'm blessed to have access to, along with some of the trudging. I did that in the first part of this "never give up" post. I also wanted to show some of the play, and I did video much of it with my phone. However, the phone turned some of the key play videos sideways, and I've been (and still am) struggling to figure out how to fix the video aspect so I can properly share them.

In the meantime, yesterday I was sore and cranky and didn't want to work out. There were reasonable arguments for not working out. But I did, and it was the right thing to do.

I had a bite of lunch afterwards, then sat down to attempt some more figuring out of the videos. I found that my freeware video player will change the video aspect nicely and save it that way. But the u2b somehow sees and renders the videos in the format the phone decided to save them in. I think the smartest thing for me to do is learn how all of this video stuff works. How the phone assigns aspects and how u2b reads the aspect, which I suspect lies somewhere in that dreaded "code" stuff I've heard about. In other words, if I want to do this stuff the right way, I need to be the master of the tools, not the reverse.

Anyway, as I was struggling to wrap my ageing mind around all this young punk computer business, my body whacked me with a serious demand for rest. That pissed me off frankly, because I was in the middle of doing something and wanted to complete it or at least make some significant progress. But I recognized what was happening and realized that giving in and resting was the best course. I could have powered through, but it would have been a stupid move. My body was, after all, working hard on repairing the thousands of little damages I'd done myself while playing and working out.

So I rested.

Monday morning I felt a lot better. Still sore and a bit weary, and still with plenty of nerve pain, but better. So I sat myself down to work on this post and on the video problem, as well as to upload and trim yesterday's videos. Before long it was time to get out and do morning chores, which is where I am at this moment. So I'll get to it.

And..........Now that chores and workout are in the past, on with the show.

Okay, how 'bout more Sunday videos? Say's Phoebe nest and a glimpse of a little snow cave.

Pretty nice day. Which is what I say every day.

Danger! Not really. Just pay attention and don't stand in the wrong place at the wrong time. Plus rabbit poop.

A bit of reluctant hill climb.

Even more reluctance.

And the rest of the videos were awful. plus I haven't cracked righting the wonky videos yet.

It was a good workout, the best I could muster at the time. A million times better than no workout.

Later when my body demanded rest I rested, and therefore didn't get this post finished and off to scheduling. So I'll post it now(ish). Then I'll try to get Monday's post finished in time to send it off to scheduling so it'll post on time in the morning tomorrow.

That'll be kind of a pain in the backside, because I shot a lot of video today with the new camera, trying various different things. I changed some settings, and possibly some that I shouldn't have changed. We'll see. Also I have other things to try to get done this afternoon and later this evening. So it'll all be a bit of a slog. But that's okay, slogs are good. It's how you figure stuff out.

And can I just say that today's workout was very intense and very sublime. I hope I can get that across in tomorrow's post.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

January 26, 1986

Never give up, never surrender!

I was going to do a Corpsman Chronicles for today (yesterday as you read this tomorrow, which if you are reading this and you aren't me, is today). I have a good story (imo) to tell all about Shirley and the first time I ever sutured. But that will wait.


The u2b Al Gorythm threw this up at me last evening (Friday, January 24).

Now that's funny as hell. Ape-lizards are a hoot. But what is it about the video that made me laugh out loud and watch it several times? Is it simply that a little kid getting the shit beat out of him by a garbage can is funny?

Maybe not. The hilarity of that young whippersnapper's battle doesn't come from the head bashing or the skillful judo lesson the garbage can threw down. The deeply funny part comes with the empathy I feel. I have been that kid on countless occasions, and metaphoric garbage cans continue to kick my ass on a regular basis. After six decades on the ol' blue marble I've learned how to work with the wind rather than against it, but I haven't learned all the lessons, not by a long shot. And some days, like yesterday, I still fight the wind head on, and as usual, the wind triumphs. Every. Single. Time. At least in the physical sense.

The thing that makes me laugh out loud is the sheer pluck, determination, and hard-headedness of the kid. He battles like mad, but the garbage can finally flings him to the ground. It's a clear victory for team Wind and Plastic. Or is it? The little shit springs up, tugs down his shirt, and prepares to get serious.

"Arright motherfiretrucker, you want it hard, we'll do it hard."

There are times when I'm so proud to be an ape-lizard that I can't find the words.


Today was going to be a light workout day. And it was, for certain values of light and workout. Four point fifteen miles in about 100 minutes. Quite a few challenging slopes, but none of them were that challenging. The best part was that in addition to a reasonably good workout and the warm mental and physical sense of accomplishment that goes with that territory, I also played. I had fun. I had a blast. I got soaked, muddy, cold, and I even tore my pants! What's better than that?

I experimented with the super slo-mo on the phone. These are kind of interesting and very short.

While I'm thinking at the keyboard I need to figure out what the frame size should be in this wide aspect format so I can better fit the videos to the blog frame. I'll tinker with that a bit. If I remember.

Anyway, I set out to glacier crawl in the east canyon of the South Googie. Instead of picking my way to the bottom as usual, I took the opportunity to do a fun snow and ice slide!

One of the first things I did after my first face-plant of the day...

...was make a decision to jump down from a higher glacier shelf to a lower glacier slope. Just to keep it real, these things I keep calling glaciers, aren't. They're all just frozen snow drifts. On the other hand, they fell as snow, transformed into ice, and are in the process of flowing downhill. Pretty much. So, technically...

Now when I jumped I thought I was making a video record with my phone, but I was not. I either didn't hit the little red record button or I frightened the phone so badly it panicked and froze up. Anyway, I jumped down, it was an extremely benign and vanilla experience, and then I crawled under the ice bridge you see in the image and into a cool ice cave. Probably the best bit of video I never shot. Maybe tomorrow. Here is the video I took following the one I didn't took. Not much consolation, but it's better (?!?!) than nothing. As I shot the video I was already thinking stupid thoughts.

But I also wanted to get some uphill stuff done.

Did I mention it was a beautiful day?

The "real workout" behind me, it was time to get my stupid on. But first, Red had a sticker.

Sticker fixed, I felt the need -- the need to bleed!

Let's try something more challenging.

Aaaannnnd, hold the presses!

Okay, I'm going to split this post into two parts. I've just solved some technical technology issues and I'm going to be able to use some videos I didn't think I'd be able to use. Which is cool. I'll blather on about my technical technological prowess in the next installment. You know I will!

Also, dinner with Snow Girl this evening. She had a mushroom-swiss-jalapeno burger.

Me, I had the small portion prime rib, sans pommes. It'll be bikini season soon.

I am so proud of that young woman. There are tiny little snippets of life which are so fantastic that there haven't been good enough words invented yet. Being able to experience such moments is one of the blessings of liberty.

Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Who wants to...

...attend my competency trial? It should be hugely entertaining.


In my previous post I hinted begged for advice on how to download files -- specifically images and videos -- from my phone to my PC via the usb cable. It was quite easy with my previous phone; simply connect the cable, locate the phone in "this PC," double click the phone icon and open it to the appropriate folder, then select the files and drag them to a destination folder on the PC. Nothing to it.

With this "new" phone I've never been able to pull it off. Every time I connect and double click on the phone icon it tells me "folder is empty." Carp!

In the title of yesterday's post I hinted at what I was pretty sure the problem was. The phone and computer were doing precisely what I had told them to do, rather than what I wanted to do. In other words, it wasn't a problem with the hardware (although I popped for a new usb cable) or the software, it was the meatware.

As always, you kind readers came through for me. Harold pointed me toward the dcim file where I discovered the phone was rat-holing images because reasons (sure to be a meatware issue, though possibly not your correspondent's meatware).

Sarge suggested -- politely mind you -- LATFPD -- (look at the firetrucking phone, dummy!). Which reminds me an awful lot of what every C-School instructor wrote on the chalkboard before every written test -- RTFQ!

So I tried that. When I plugged the phone into the PC the phone popped up a message that said:

Allow device to access files?
Allow                             Deny

Which instantly caused me to remember that I had told the phone not to share any info with anyone without first asking. Which is, I think, a smart thing to do.

When I selected allow, the PC was able to open the phone. And there were no images or videos in "pictures" or "movies" as there would have been in my former phone. However, acting on a tip provided by Harold, I found the files I wanted in dcim.

The phone was doing prizackly what I told it to do, and the PC was reporting that the phone wasn't willing to play the particular game I was proposing. It could have spelled it out in language I understood, mind, but that's just a quibble. The meatware is supposed to be in charge. The meatware was in charge. If the meatware has a bug, it's not on the software or the hardware, it's on the meatware.

Humble and heartfelt thanks to Harold and Sarge.

I feel like an idiot, which is appropriate.

However, Sarge also taught me to do italics and bold in comments. I think it's that hyperspace tesseract magic letters stuff. So heck, it's a win-win all the way around.


It was overcast this morning just after sunrise. Overcast, a touch chilly, and nearly wind-free.

Charging ahead later, I set out on a hike. The weather was nice with the exception of the wind, which had come up to 25 gusting 40 and was irritating. But only just irritating as the air temperature was about 50 degrees. It was mostly cloudy but Sol was present and the warmth of the big mass of fusing hydrogen was very nice indeed. From that perspective the breeze might have actually been beneficial. But don't tell anyone I said that.

The jury is still out on on the wrist activation button for the new camera. Not on the button itself, mind. No, that thing works great. The question is whether I can actually work it.

As long as the camera is powered on, pressing the red button takes a picture and pressing the gray button starts a video recording. To stop the video recording, press the gray button again. Of course with the camera on my chest it's a bit inconvenient to check whether it's recording or not. I have to fold it forward and look at the tiny screen on the back. It's making a video if a little red dot is slowly flashing on and off. Which is easy to see when I'm sitting at my desk, but not so easy out in the field. Bright outside light and sun glare make it hard to see the screen, let alone the dot. Plus I'm also usually moving, so I'm trying to navigate around obstacles  and take in the scenery. You might ask whether it's that hard to just stop and check. I'm asking myself that question as I key this text into the magic box. At a kind of deep and instinctive (perhaps?) level I'm reluctant to stop moving when I've told myself I'm working out. I've got devices tracing my progress after all, and a two second pause could play hell with my world-class hiking times!

Here's a picture taken with the red button while I was moving. No, I don't believe it's specifically for taking pictures of Red. I'm not entirely certain though. The owner's manual is a bit less than clear on many things. Although it reads far better in English than anything I might try to write in Chinese!

I crossed an erosion control dam and scrambled up a steep ridge in a howling wind. I tried walking like I had a book balanced on my head (and you probably know the othe part of the equation) but I'm not very good at that, especially on uneven prairie ground, in the howling wind, and staggering up a slope. In reviewing the video I think that having the 140-degree wide angle enabled is making the swaying look a lot worse than it is. Therefore my plan is to narrow the field of view and see how that works. Maybe it'll help. On the bright side, once I made the top of the hill I tripped over a frozen atom and nearly face-planted. But I'm remarkably light on the pins for a grumpy old fat man!

I went rather a long way today. I did about three miles into the wind and almost four on the way back. I shot a lot of video but it was all horrible. Just a lot of swaying and panting and bitching and talking sailor talk.

I also found that extended distances without plenty of steep slopes to go up and down played havoc with my nerve pain. I think it has a lot to do with spine, hip, and leg geometry. Regardless, I was hurting a lot near the end.

At the end I struggled crossing the four-wire fence. But I struggle at that whether I'm sore or not.

I did a bit less than seven miles with some hills mostly at the beginning. It was a good workout and despite my complaining it was good for me and made me feel pretty good. The nerve pain went away within seconds of sitting down, and it's not bothering me at all right now.

There was quite a bit of other stuff going on today and I'm just getting home at 9 p.m. Guess I'll call it a day.

Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.

Friday, January 24, 2020

How come my phone and computer... what I tell them to do rather than what I want them to do?

I've had an S9+ for coming up on 18 months. It's a good phone with a pretty good camera. Butthowever, where with my old phone I could download pics and vids in a flash via the usb cable, when I try with the "new" phone the computer (PC Windows 10) sees the phone and correctally identifies it but says that the folder is empty. I can't find a simple set of instructions on the interwebz that isn't written by the chinesium version of Hemingway. Somewhere I got the idea that I needed to install phone specific drivers on the PC, and I did, but it didn't make any difference.

At present I'm stuck uploading files to the cloud then downloading them to the PC, then uploading them to u2be. The process is slow and... irritating.

Oh, bother.

On the upside it's a good problem to have, and an opportunity to learn. When life gives you intractable computer problems, you make  intractable computer problems-ade.

Which I plan to do once I stop feeling sorry for myself.


New tires on the Ranger are fantastic. Unfortunately, before I replaced them I ran the spare on the front for too long, goobered the rack and pinata, and blew up the power steering pump.

This is a job for the guy with the right tools and the right attitude. I have the right tools, but I do not have the right attitude. Besides, it's January and it's cold in the shop. So I'm going to throw money at the problem. Small towns need businesses, and small town businesses need customers.


Cold-ish and windy today. The air temps are actually above average for January 23, but the wind makes being outside somewhat less than pleasurable. Lots of nerve pain today and my guts are bothering me for some reason. I'm feeling worn out, cranky, and every task I essay (including simple keyboarding) feels like it's a lot harder than it should be. So. Have I missed bitching about anything?

What can I say? It's an ape-lizard thing.

The solution to my own ridiculously simple problems is ridiculously simple. The Big Aircrew Chief will do for me what I can't do for myself. I gotta do my part, but He carries the load.

Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy.


That feels better.


And what felt even better was blasting out a pretty good workout. The nerve pain got a bit better. The gut thing and the weariness and the general malaise didn't exactly get better, but all the better stuff created by the workout made me feel a lot better.

The first part was testing whether the simulated synthetic rabbit fur muffler I glued over the mic opening on the camera helped with the wind noise. I was on the breezy side of a windbreak. I was also testing out the chest rig for the new camera. My initial take is that wearing the rig is comfortable and it keeps the camera plenty secure. On reviewing the video, however... Hope no one gets the ol' mal de mer.

After I turned the corner and headed south I was still on the upwind side of the trees, though most of the wind was behind me. I was going to make the video very brief, but I got distracted by working hard and jabbering too much. I just let the thing run until I finished the hike.

When I downloaded the videos I found that the camera had split the video into two parts, roughly 25 minutes and 5 minutes. I'll have to figure that out.

The straight-line distance was 1.6 miles but all the back and forth scrambling meant I actually traveled more than twice that, just shy of 3.5 miles. All in 42.5 minutes, or under 13 minutes per mile. Not too shabby for a fat old man with nerve pain and a bad attitude.

The camera settings swear that the image gyro-stabilization is on rather than off. Therefore I have selected On Full Force. Could be a simple translation problem. English is not the camera's first language. We'll see if it makes a difference, and possibly even the right difference.

If that doesn't work it's either a gopro or learn to hike like I'm balancing a book on my head and have a stick shoved up my, um, attitude.

All in all a great day. Still not feeling all that great, but a good glacier gallop sure settled the stomach and minimized the nerve pain. And despite the unpleasant wing it was a beautifule day on the prairie.

Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.