October 2023


I’m a bad gay. I say this quite bit because I find it to be true. While many in the gay community plan their Halloween activities in months beginning with a “J”, I am not one of those people. Even as a kid I didn’t usually plan my Halloween costume until the actual day of the event. On more than one occasion my mother would have a fit because I wanted to cut up a bed sheet and go as a ghost covered in pastel flowers or something. In seventh grade I did throw on a pair shorts and roller skates and went to school as a beach bum on roller skates. That’s the most creative I ever got and I’m not ashamed of this.

Our neighbors up the street hosted a Halloween party tonight, costume optional (thank God). We decided to go as a family except my husband, who decided to stay back with the dogs and not jeopardize his diet with the goodies that would be out on display.

This was the first time we’ve really interacted with our neighbors since moving to the desert 2 1/2 years ago. Earlier this afternoon, while out on my daily walk, I also ran into another neighbor who was decorating his mailbox to make it distinguishable from the adjacent mailbox. He was quite pleasant and we had a long talk about the neighborhood. It was my first time meeting him as well.

The party was a lot of fun as we mingled with the 25 or so guests from the neighborhood. Everyone was friendly and there was handshaking and smiles and pleasant conversation. There were a lot of questions about our home, which under previous owners had been painted a “Pepto Bismol pink”, as they told us, and apparently we still live in what others call the “pink palace” (even though the house is gray now). I don’t believe the name to be a gay slur and that didn’t really cross my mind until typing that previous sentence just now.

We learned quite a bit about the development we live in, and when the city line was moved to incorporate our property into the city (our house was originally outside the city limits) and the like. It was a great way to meet our neighbors and get to know them a little bit.

It was a very pleasant experience. And no, I didn’t wear a costume.

Scary Fast.

I miss the days of Apple events being full of surprises. So many journalists and pundits share every scrap of Apple speculation and rumor possible. I try my best to avoid these things; I like my Apple event experience to be somewhat old school Apple.

Tonight Apple had their “Scary Fast” event. The company took 30 minutes to introduce the latest iteration of their M-series chips, focusing on their beefed up MacBook Pro line. They also introduced the new chips to their colorful line of iMacs.

I’m sure the new M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips are going to be crazy, crazy fast. My M2 MacBook Air is wicked fast for my needs, heck, my M1 Mac mini is still being used by Jamie for his photography needs and he finds it to be amazing. Apple has made amazing strides with their custom silicon. The user experience is amazing. And the new Space Black color offered for their MacBook Pros looks quite impressive. I can’t wait to see it in person.

For the time being I am quite pleased with my existing MacBook Air so I have little need to upgrade. I found the polish of the presentation to be quite enjoyable and I am happy to see Apple moving the needle forward with their technology advances.


I’ve been working on rebuilding my Flight Simulator rig this weekend. Using monitors that were destined for the recycle bin, I decided to configure everything into a bit more of a panoramic flight experience.

My flight simulator software of choice is X-Plane 12. In the past I’ve run this on my Linux gaming desktop, but Linux didn’t play well with so many monitors. Instead of diving into why that was turning out to be such a pain, I decided to just put Windows 11 back on the computer. Things are now configured and working well.

I have a monitor stand coming for the monitor on the left as shown in the photo below. This will bring it up to the same level as the other two main monitors. I’m working on tweaking X-Plane 12 to get things just the way I like them and then I’ll start my flights this week.

Generally I don’t really enjoy flight simulators, as I’m always trying to figure out what makes them tick. However, it’s good to practice instrument approaches and get a feel for airports I’m not familiar with. I look forward to plenty of hours on this new setup.


Occasionally Truman will join us at lunch time at the kitchen table, strategically placing himself next to a pillow and well with observation view. Once a while he’ll build a pillow fort; he’s the first cat that’s lived with me that likes to get under blankets and pillows and the like, but for this occasion he decided to stay out in the open and just snuggle up next to the pillow.

He’s been sleeping in different parts of the house since the Autumnal equinox passed a month or so ago. I don’t remember him doing this last year, but my memory may not be as good as it has been in years pass when it comes to matters such as this.


We recently signed up for Sirius/XM Radio again in the car. We swore we weren’t going to do this ever again, but Sirius/XM gave it to us for free for 90 days and then offered us a 75% discount on the first year after that.

I really like my “Yacht Rock” radio.

Local radio isn’t really that compelling here in Southern Arizona. The stations are alright but there is nothing particularly outstanding or local about them. It’s really a shame; back in my radio days each station had its own personality that reflected the vibe of the area it served. Like so many things in the United States, radio gave way to corporate greed and everything is a cookie cutter presentation from a corporate office somewhere outside of the listening area. Only the major markets have local radio stations; medium and smaller markets are an afterthought.

At least the music stations on Sirius/XM don’t have commercials.

With the subscription we can listen on our devices, so I’ve been enjoying Yacht Rock during my relatively meeting-free Friday.


I mentioned the other day that I had was going through old blog entries and noticed a bunch of photos missing. The photos weren’t really missing, it was just that the JetPack plugin (a service I paid for, mind you) was doing something to the images and keeping them from showing. It was also slowing down the performance of the blog. A lot. I’m much happier without the JetPack service activated. Plus, I’ll save a little bit of money.

One of the harder things about reading old blog entries is seeing a difference in exuberance levels between then (usually before 2016 or so) and today. Yes, I purposely picked 2016 because, as well know, the United States changed a lot when Trump won the Presidential election in November of that year. In my opinion, the country has been in a steady tail spin since that day and things only got marginally better once Trump was out of office. The seeds of destruction were well planted during the Trump years, throughout government, and through the populace.

It’s rather depressing.

I don’t like writing about depressing things. I try to find the happy where I gaze and generally I can find it, but since the Trump years it feels like there’s been less happy to be found. Now, I don’t completely blame the Trump years for all of this, because it coincides with a lot of other things, including the explosion of social media, the general attitude shift to one of “less trust” throughout society, and the general tendency for folks to fear science and reason in favor of opinion and superstition.

Ironically, a blog post I wrote in October 2013 talks about me finding little joy in Facebook. Twitter wasn’t completely off the rails back then, but Facebook was being Facebook and I found that depressing. Here it is a decade later and I could write a blog entry today that would probably go word for word with what I wrote 10 years ago on the subject. That’s a long rut.

I will continue to try to find the happy as I look over this world. I will focus on the pleasant. But I will also be a realist. It’s important to keep it real.

But oh, to have that pre-2016 feeling of optimism again.


So tonight I finished up flying instrument approaches with safety pilot Soleil so I can maintain my currency as an instrument rated pilot. With this rating I am able to fly in the clouds, when I can not see outside the airplane, relying completely on instruments. It’s a little tricky; without outside references the body likes to lie to you in relation to your position in space. And when you can’t see the runway, there are specific approach procedures that must be followed to assure the runway will be where it’s suppose to be and that you won’t bash into anything on the way down.

It’s all quite clever.

Tonight I flew three approaches to maintain that currency and I flew the airplane like it was on rails down to the designated runway. The clouds were simulated through the uses of “foggles” and Soleil kept an eye outside to make sure there wasn’t anything in the way between the airplane and where I intended it to go.

It was a great feeling to exercise this skill. Flying is awesome.


I noticed a lot of broken images in posts from days gone by and found the issue was with an add-on to WordPress called JetPack. I’ve never really been a fan of this add-on, so I removed it. Things should still run as intended. If you see something broken, please let me know.

And here’s what I look like right now.


My friend Chris offered me a Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 that he had destined for the recycle bin. Apparently the unit had an issue with Windows and he thought I might have fun installing Linux on it to give it a whirl.

Giving devices a second lease on life is right up my alley.

The laptop arrived today and I have successfully installed Ubuntu Linux 22.04 LTS (Long Term Support) on the device. One would think it wouldn’t be an easy thing installing Linux on a device made by Microsoft but the experience was mostly painless.

I’m writing this blog entry on the laptop.

This is my first time messing around with a Surface Laptop. The build quality is very reminiscent of Apple’s MacBook Air line. I like the cloth-like covering of the keyboard and dare I say it, the keyboard on this Surface Laptop exceeds the keyboard on my M2 MacBook Air.

It was very kind of Chris to offer me this machine for tinkering. It keeps my geek juices going, and that keeps me in my happy place.

You’ll notice the display is quite reflective.


The 2024 home hockey season started last night and we made our way to Tucson Arena to see the Tucson Roadrunners take on Coachella Valley.

It was fun to be back at the arena for hockey. The game was not as enjoyable; the Roadrunners were shut out, losing to Coachella 4 to 0.

They introduced new items at the concession stands and it appears they’re still getting used to how to ring up these new items and how to prepare them, as the line was quite long populated with people waiting for their six digit number to be called out. We enjoyed the food when it finally arrived. I also had two beers. Earl drove us home.

I always enjoy they people watching at the hockey games as there’s folks from all walks of life in attendance. It’s interesting to see what folks living in the desert are going to wear to an ice rink; I usually add an extra shirt but still wear shorts. Quite a few people were wearing sandals. One woman I dubbed “Swiss Miss” (because of her pig tails) was not in attendance. I was a little disappointed. She usually has a dub of some sort of color on the end of her Swiss Miss pig tails.

Overall it was a fun night but I hope the Roadrunners get their act together. Hockey is even more fun when your team wins.