Hobbies & Fun

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted.  I like to blame business, and that may be true, but I’ve really had nothing pressing to get out. I suspect it’s all the same source.

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Recently, in order to break out of the rut, my wife and I scooped up the dog and went for a drive.  The last such drive sent us to Timbuktu.  Our destination would be a little town with a big history.  Rough and Ready, California.

The Great Republic of Rough and Ready
(excerpted from http://www.roughandreadychamber.com)

By the late 1840s, the population of the town of Rough and Ready had exploded to over 3,000.  The town suffered the effects of general lawlessness and a growing resentment for the government having imposed a Mining Tax on all claims.  On April 7th, 1850, a mass meeting of the townfolks was called to propose seceding from the Union.  The town  reacted by shaking its collective fist at the government with all its taxes and non-existent law and order.  The Great Republic of Rough and Ready was formed that day as a free and independent republic.  In the heat of the rebellion, they elected Col. E.F. Brundage as President. The new President issued Brundage’s Manifesto, which read in part: “We…deem it necessary and prudent to withdraw from said Territory (of California) and from the United States of America to form, peacefully if we can, forcibly if we must, the Great Republic of Rough and Ready.” Along with his Secretary of State, Justice of the Peace Hans Q. Roberts, they signed a constitution similar to that of the United States.

The Great Republic of Rough and Ready lasted only three months as one of the world’s smallest nations.  On July 4th, swept by a patriotic fervor, maybe feeling a little guilty (and possibly, according to some accounts, reacting to the refusal of Nevada City and Grass Valley saloons to sell liquor to the “foreigners” from Rough and Ready) another meeting was held.  The town gave resounding consent to immediately rejoin the Union.  Old Glory went up the flagpole and the whole episode slipped into history.

Today, the town boasts 963 souls (2010 census) and a highly skilled fire department as well as California Historical Landmark #294.  In addition to this there is wonderful re-creation of what I presume are highlights of the town in it’s glory days.

Wonderful, just what the doctor ordered for those cabin fever blues.  We’ll stop for a little photo op and just enjoy what this once sovereign nation has to offer.  This is where the unusual begins… right out of the Twilight Zone.

I see no obvious place to park, but then we’re on the highway through town.  I quickly slow down proceed down the drive on the left.  Immediately upon turning into this drive I spy that foreboding sign which says, “Private Property – No Trespassing”.  I look DOWN to the re-creation and it is indeed DOWN – there are no roads leading in and none leading out.  This photo was taken (not by me) at ground level.  It is at least 12 feet DOWN over the rock embankment to even enter this area by foot.

Being the conscientious tourist, I made my 5 point turn to get out of the private driveway.  Fully expecting we did not pass the parking area, we drive further down the highway.  About ¼ mile further we are obviously out of town and it is time to make a u-turn on California Route 20.  Traffic is virtually non-existent so I drive through town ever so slowly looking for the designated parking.  There is a huge (for this town) parking lot at the local fire station – but again, clearly posted is “no parking”.

About ¼ mile up the road, in the town center, is the post office and general store.  OK, so there is parking in this town.  We stop in the store for a quick snack to double what is likely the entire tourist income for that day.  I decide we’ll walk down the highway and check it out.  A little odd, thinks me, but hey it’s their town they can do things the way they want.

Now, for what seems like half of this distance the fog line (the solid white line on the right shoulder) is less than 1 inch from the edge of pavement and a several foot drop off.  At this point I have to say to myself – I wonder if there are paramedics in the fire department.  They must have at least one pedestrian-vs.-vehicle-traveling-at-high-velocity accidents a month.

Without testing my paramedic puzzling’s, we arrive at the re-creation, which the above photo does no justice.  There is a staircase leading into the depression which contains our goal.  A large sign on the staircase says, “KEEP OUT”.  Due to the position of this structure we can’t even get a great photo.  In fact the best photo op is smack in the middle of Route 20.

Best I can figure one needs to stop the car in the middle of the highway, take your photos and mosey on.  It might work in a horse-drawn covered wagon but that logging truck barreling up the road might not be exactly slam on those breaks.

Rough and Ready is a unique place indeed. This is a first.  A beautiful re-creation which is only intended to be seen from the peripheral vision while driving by too fast to notice there is no parking, there is no vista point, there is no point to the entire display.

In my opinion the ghosts have a very clear message in this town.  Don’t stop.

See my other forays into adventure.

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Not Steven Spielberg or J.J. Abrams, but then I don’t claim to be.

Anyway, a different way to have fun with your spouse.

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I have a hankering to create a Family Feud style game and need to know what what you think.

Below is a 10 question survey (more to follow). All results are anonymous.

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Look closely at the picture.  What do you see?  A pine tree? Hidden treasure? Deep shadows?  A sunny day perhaps?
Just in case you still see an ordinary tree on an ordinary day – look closely, dead center – See the ring just barely visible?  This little bison tube attached to a clothespin contains a log book and that’s it.
This was my 4th find of the 17 I found over a 3½ hour period this past weekend.  That is a personal best.  It helped significantly that all caches were .11 to .12 miles apart on one 2.25 mile stretch of road.
What a glorious day of relaxation.  Put the headphones on, set out early, park at Home Depot and he’s off into a world of music and treasure hunting.
It made the mundane household chores that followed more bearable.  It had been more than a year since I had a time like this…  we all need it more often.
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I just found out that one of my choice TV series has been released to DVD!  I have waited years for this.  5 seasons &  6 movies (3 pre-series and 3 post-series) and all in one set!
If only the set did not cost half of what the man cost!  It’ll take a while to save for this one.  I guess for 5 seasons that’s only $35/season and about $12/movie – the going rate.  But when it’s all bundled like that the price tag is pretty big.
I guess for now I’ll need to feed off YouTube videos like this.  Do you realize how much of pop culture was influenced by this series?  Think about that little AOL guy.  How many times have you heard the theme “We can rebuild him…” repeated and parodied?
It’s not that the show was particularly riddled with sci-fi special effects, it was not.  It wasn’t even particularly believable at the time.  I mean because you have two bionic legs and a bionic arm does that mean you can stand on level ground with no foothold and hold a helicopter down?  The faster Steve ran, the slower things got.  Not the flash-on-the-screen-what-happened of many of today’s action flicks.  No, it was more the slo-mo of Matrix designed to relish each moment.  Steve and Bigfoot, who’d have ever thought they’d be buddies on the same side?  Then there’s the bionic love affair, the bionic dog, the bionic villian.
Will my kids enjoy it?  Not likely.  But there’ll not know what there’re missing out on.
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If you have progressed from the traditional oven baked turkey, to the BBQ turkey, to the deep-fried turkey, and are ready to move on, here’s a new one for you.  Drop cooking your turkey.
OK, below is my summary.  You can view the full, condensed version with circles and arrows and fancy physics symbols at Wired.com.

How high would you have to drop a frozen turkey so that it is cooked when it lands?

First, some assumptions.
  • The turkey is made of water and starts off as ice at 32 degrees F.
  • The turkey is a sphere with a radius of 15 cm. (or generically, I will call it r)
  • When the turkey falls through the atmosphere, half of the energy dissipated goes into the turkey and half goes into the atmosphere.
  • I am going to ignore the increase in thermal energy when the turkey hits the ground. Just because.
  • A turkey is ready if it is at 180 degrees F
Skipping past all the physics, bottom-line is that you’d need to drop your turkey from about 45 miles above the Earth.  Is that for a stuffed or unstuffed turkey?
This has yet to be run past the FDA for proper food safety so cook at your own risk.
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In my May 25th post, End of an Era, I stated that I was mulling whether 6 years culminated in a feeling of being full.  I also expressed a few obvious questions.
Several of my questions were answered in the form of ‘bonus material’ on the season 6 DVD’s.  Kudos for a well thought out answer to why Dharma shipments were still being dropped decades after no communication with The Island.  Still, am I to believe that the ‘men in the know’ on the Dharma Initiative ALL lived on the island and thus ALL were killed in The Purge?
I now know more about the HurleyBird, I now know why Dr. Pierre Chang, aka Dr. Marvin Candle, aka Dr Mark Wickmund, aka Dr. Edgar Halliwax or Miles’ father had various names.
But there is still so much more unanswered.  ’The End’ as the final episode was titled did not wrap anything up.  Gathering the losties for a final episode is not my idea of conclusion.  Therefore I have decided that 6 seasons – no matter how engaged I was in spouting Lost mythos to all those around me – was not well spent.
I sincerely expected a real conclusion from such excellent writers.  The crash survivors might just as well have each awakened the morning of the flight and each had a premonition of what might be.  They all cancel their flight plans and life goes on.
So, after 112 days of deliberation, I have decided that the number 108 has only minor significance.
Signing off with…
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