Daily Archives: October 8, 2016

20161003 – Bear Alert, A Close Encounter

Monday – Cool, cloudy and even some rain.

Bear encounter. Just 10 feet away but sadly can't confirm the age old question though.

Bear encounter. Just 10 feet away but sadly can’t confirm the age old question though.

Set off early, that’s 09:00 for us paleofolk, for our day in Kings Canyon National Park.

Watch the visitor centre film and then visit the giant General Grant Sequoia, allegedly the 2nd largest tree in the world, but then again you have to remember this is America.

Kings Canyon.

Kings Canyon.

Drive all the way down the canyon to the Roads End, 35 miles (1 hour) down switch backs. It is quite spectacular, more rugged and barren than Yosemite, but as the canyon was created by water erosion it’s a lot narrower than Yosemite and not as easy to see the majestic rock formations. Have a wander around the meadow and are rewarded for all our efforts with a bear siting. Yes there it is in all its glory just 10 feet away, rooting around and not bothered by the 3 or 4 orgasmic photographers. Nearly ran out of film as it poses for us all. Awesome.

imageThen it’s 35 miles back out of the canyon.

Then it’s a drive through more National Forest and Sequoia NP on our way to our hotel in Three Rivers.

Hollow tree.

Hollow tree.

The governors highway out of sequoia NP has to be the worst road ever for zigs, zigs and hairpins. It should be renamed the Huey & Ruth Highway, as I’m sure the lay-bys are littered with masses of congealed diced carrots as passengers part with their last meal.

It’s a hard days driving, all 8 hours of it but most of it at 30 miles an hour on switch backs.

35 miles down Kings Canyon and they chain down the picnic tables to stop the scrots messing.

35 miles down Kings Canyon and they chain down the picnic tables to stop the scrots messing.

Less said about the hotel the better. Try getting in the room. Silly me, of course the door handle has to be pushed upwards to open. This does not bode well. Very clean and comfortable, we even have a suite with a jacuzzi, but within 10 minutes I’ve fell off my surf board of life as I go into battle over the elusive high speed wireless internet. I’m more likely to find a giant tortoise in Sequoia NP than a connection in my room. Why do they taunt me so.

Subway for tea and a bottle of wine to help me regain my balance on the surfboard of life.

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More Crazy Alaska Laws.

Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon

* Dog grooming is illegal.
* I believe this was made to keep owners from shaving their dogs fur off in the winter.
* A person may only carry a concealed slingshot if that person has received the appropriate license.
This law is related to the concealed weapon law. It is unlawful to carry anything hidden away on your person that you can and will use to maim or kill another person.
* It is considered offensive to push a live moose out of a moving airplane.
* While it is legal to shoot a bear, waking a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking a photograph is prohibited.
* In Juneau, Alaska owners of flamingoes may not let their pet into barber shops.
* Owners may not let any pet into barbershop, hairdressin shops, or any place that may contain food for human comsumption.

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Today’s mention has to go to the very pleasant lady who served us in the Three Rivers Subway. Pleasant and great customer service skills.

Tuesday – hot and sunny.

Wendy still can't get over our close encounter.

Wendy still can’t get over our close encounter.

Up early for a mediocre breakfast. Wendy’s fell off her skateboard of life (she doesn’t swim so no surfing) as they’ve run out of tea bags. What is this country coming to. I blame Obama.

In a big tree.

In a big tree.

Drive back up the Huey & Ruth Highway for our day in Sequoia NP. Start off at the general Sherman Sequoia, this is the largest, allegedly. Fact check: turns out it is the largest living tree in the World by volume and is about 52,500 cubic feet (1,487 cubic meters) in volume.
Good exercise walking down and back up to the tree.

Then we head to the Lodgepole village for some lunch – someone forget our picnic.

Moro rock.

Moro rock.

Visit the free museum and off to Moro rock. This one you can climb up, all 350 steps. Wendy stays in the car as her knees giving her some gyp. I set off with some trepidation for the top. Get about halfway up, when the sheer drop offs get the better of me, and I wimp out. I don’t do heights. The views and the drop offs are awesome. Well worth my half hearted effort.

Drive up to the meadow for a picturesque stroll. No bears this time. Then drive through the Sequoia tree and back down the Huey and Ruth highway. It’s quite a pleasant drive when you’re not so tired and the sun’s out.

View from Moro rock.

View from Moro rock.

Tea consists of a Mexican take away. Whilst we’re waiting we have an enjoyable chat with one of the locals. I think he’s a it of a tree hugger, although certainly not a veggie, judging by what he’s eating, but he’s certainly well informed, even on BREXIT – which he thinks is a good thing. He claims American IQ has gone down by 20% over the past 50 years. Well that got me thinking. No way has there been such a decline but I did come across this graph which showed IQ by state. Mississippi comes out lowest, no real surprise there then, but as for Fargo and the portrayal of Minesotans as slow bouncers it turns out they’re one of the highest IQ states – see graph. Great news he informs us that Bakersfield, our next stop, is the armpit of California and Fresno is another orifice. Despite having lived here all his life he is very disparaging about California’s Central Valley and the US Government – now there’s a surprise. Once his 90 year old parents kick their clogs he’s off to New Zealand.

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ARTIFICIAL SYNAPSES AND NEURONS

Drive in tree.

Drive in tree.

Our quest to build a computer that mimics our brain took another important step. Researchers have used a single memristor — a resistor capable of “remembering” the flow of electrical currents — to build efficient electronic devices that partly imitate our brain’s neurons and synapses, according to a new study in Nature Materials.

The devices emulate how calcium ions diffuse through junctions between neurons known as synapses — a process that is far from fully understood. And the memristors can store information when electricity is no longer flowing, unlike circuits found in present day microcontrollers, microprocessors, and static RAM. They also “forget” information over time, much like a real neuron.

The model neurons could help develop better computing and shed light on the mysteries of the brain, said lead research Joshua Yang of the University of Massachusetts.

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American IQ by State.

American IQ by State.

I took down my Rebel flag (which you can’t buy on EBay anymore) and peeled the NRA sticker off my front window. I disconnected my home alarm system and quit the candy-ass Neighborhood Watch.

I bought two Pakistani flags and put one at each corner of the front yard. Then I purchased the black flag of ISIS (which you CAN Buy on EBay) and ran it up the flag pole.

Now the local police, the sheriff, FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, Secret Service and other agencies are all watching my house 24/7. I’ve NEVER felt safer and I’m saving $69.95 a month that ADT used to charge.

Plus, I bought burkas to wear when I shop or travel. Everyone moves out of the way and security can’t pat me down.

If they say I’m a male wearing a burka, I just say I’m feeling like a woman today.

Hot Damn…Safe at last!

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Truck of peace; take me to church:

Wednesday – hot and sunny.

The biggest tree in the world.

The biggest tree in the world.

Take a pleasant, leisurely drive down California’s Central Valley to our next stop over, Bakersfield.

Big Bear Lake - a tad dry.

Big Bear Lake – a tad dry.

The Central Valley of California is a tourist black spot apart from the NP’s, but driving down it does evoke powerful images of Oakies escaping the dust bowls to a better land; turtles crossing roads; fruit pickers being exploited; Steinbeck country. Perhaps the illegal / un-documented Mexicans are the modern day Oakies of Steinbecks novels.

Our friend from last night was certainly right about Bakersfield. There really is nothing there. But never mind we go to Costco to try and get some Citrus Green Tea and for a bit of excitement. Fortunately our hotels excellent with great wifi so we have a leisurely day after two days of NP’s.

Big Bear lake village.

Big Bear lake village.

Why did I choose Bakersfield? We’d done the coast a few times and I’d always wanted to see the Central Valley; I’d heard of Bakersfield but hadn’t a clue about it; to break the journey up so we didn’t have to drive too far in one day.

For tea we try a new gourmet venue, Carl jars. One of the many big brand fast food chains. Burger was pretty good and service good.

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Mental health

Not only do pets provide companionship and help improve your physical health, they can also provide therapeutic and emotional benefits. According to Ingrid Collins, a consultant psychologist at the London Medical Centre, “A pet is better than Prozac. Animals have a completely different agenda to humans, and bring things back to basics. They want comfort, feeding and love. In return, they give huge affection.”

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Fairy Tales and Fables – The Quran

If Allah is a supreme being, creator of the universe and all that codswallop, how come it took him until 6th Century AD to publish his first fairy tale guide book? What had he been up to all those centuries. Was he just shy? Was he having a nap? Is he just a lazy God? The Greek, Roman and Arabian gods, along with the God of the old and New Testament weren’t so lazy or retarded. They’d already spread their word and had captured flocks of drooling followers.

Perhaps Allah thought it time to come out of his shell before it was too late and he was cast into the hell fires of obscurity.

Thursday – hot and sunny.

Another awesome National Park.

Another awesome National Park.

Early start from Bakersfield and we drive down to Big Bear Lake. It’s a good 3 hour drive. Up through the San Bernardino mountains.

Quaint little tourist trap. Lakes not all that impressive, mainly because it’s drying up. A bit disappointing but the scenery is beautiful.

More views from Moro rock.

More views from Moro rock.

Set off down the mountains to Redlands, next to San Bernardino and by way of a change the roads closed. Of course they don’t bother to tell you this until you’ve driven 10 miles out of town. Drive back into Big Bear Lake and take the other route down the mountain. Again great scenery down a switch back road.

Get to our hotel in Redlands. By way of a change its a great comfort suite – restore my faith in Choice Hotels. I think the best rule is stick with comfort suites only in the big towns. Comfort inn and quality inn tend to be inconsistent in the smaller locations. Sleep inns can be quite good although breakfasts are a bit basic. It seems it’s all due to lack of quality control.

For tea it’s a Taco Bell at last. There’s one just opposite the hotel. It was meant to be.

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Give me coffee to change the things I can, and wine to accept the things I can’t.

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We did a home exchange with this amazing woman, Joan Cheever, founder of the nonprofit mobile food truck known as the Chow Train, she has been cited by San Antonio police officers for feeding the homeless in Maverick Park.
Cheever has been serving restaurant-quality meals to the city’s homeless population for the past 10 years, and has been profiled on Rachel Ray’s cooking show for her charitable efforts.
Over the years, police officers have passed by and waved as she fed homeless people, but last Tuesday night four bike-patrol officers stopped in the park and gave Cheever a ticket that carries a potential fine of $2,000. Cheever has a food permit for her mobile truck, but she was cited for transporting and serving the food from a vehicle other than that truck.

Full article here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/04/20/what-happened-when-this-feisty-woman-got-fined-2000-for-feeding-the-homeless/

Wow I didn’t realise that corporal punishment in schools was still allowed in 16 states over here. Nothing like a good flogging to instil a little discipline.

Friday – hot and sunny.

She's still excited about that bear. I'll be spending the next 2 weeks culling bear photos.

She’s still excited about that bear. I’ll be spending the next 2 weeks culling bear photos.

Lazy morning. We have a drive into San Bernardino. Sadly nothing much there either. Attracted to it by the mountains I suppose. Not one of my better choices.

More from  Sequoia NP.

More from Sequoia NP.

Sequoia NP again.

Sequoia NP again.

Nip to Walmart and Best Buy. Then it should have been a 1 hour drive to our home exchange in Palm Springs for the next two weeks. Takes nearly 2 hours what with interstate roadwork and the biggest outdoor concert clogging up every road. Well I’ve certainly fell off my board trying to ride the wave of life with this lot. I’m ready to use my surf board as a lethal weapon on the paleo baby boomers who should have more sense. Our foray to the supermarket means we have to spend 35 minutes dodging gridlock.

Then to add insult to injury we’re kept awake well after Noddy past Big Ears, with the racket from the Rolling Stones. It’s over a mile away but they’re still sharing it with us.

More on our awesome new home exchange and pictures follow on the next blog.

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Well the pounds certainly taken a hammering, now at $1.24. I just have to keep reminding myself, as I ride my virtual surf board along the wave of life, that it’s a small price to pay for BREXIT. Millions have given their life’s in the fight for democracy, sovereignty and freedom from tyranny, all I’m having to suffer is some, hopefully, short term financial hardship.

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There I was a couple of months ago, sat in Costa people watching whilst her in doors spent an eternity in Primark stumbling through the clothes ridden floors – cheaper than carpets. I noticed all these single perambulating black bin liners, with slits in them for eyes, gliding along like Daleks without a proboscis.

It got me thinking. If these Muslims women are so devout as to wear a niqab / burka, as prescribed by the fairy tales and fables of the Quran 24.31 – “…..guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty save to their husbands….”. If they’re so devout how come then they’re out on their own without their lord and master or a chaperone as decreed by their 7th century barbaric religion.

Could it be that their niqab / burka is just a statement of defiance, non-conformity and refusal to integrate from the religion of pieces, permanent offence and world domination?