Category Archives: Brain Dripping

Just some High-Handing, Grand-Standing, Ban-Planning Fire Fanning Brain Dripping

Back in the early 1990s I used “biodegradable trash-bags” as my science fair project. They haven’t caught on because IT DOESN’T MATTER in the slightest. I might generate a few pounds of plastic bag trash every year while the farmers use hundreds of millions of pounds of “plastic mulch” in the same time. My contribution isn’t even two tears in a bucket.

But don’t worry, New Jersey will save the world by just doing whatever New York does. Our governor is like the little dog dancing around the big bull dog in the old cartoons. “Hey Spike! What are we gunna ban next Spike? Come on Spike, let’s ban something! Heya Spike! Wanna get high, Spike?” It’s been a while since I’ve posted because I’ve been collecting data. It turns out the ban on Plastic Bag only extends to the people and stores where it is most likely to annoy us instead of actually achieving anything useful. Are you feeling like you’ve made a sacrifice? That’s will assuage your guilt from living an otherwise wasteful lifestyle! Don’t feel bad. You’re American. You really have no choice.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted because I’ve been collecting data. I’m not going to spew a bunch of internet-researched fake news numbers supporting anything in particular. I’ll just point out a few things and you can do the math.

  1. Since the ban started to get real this past Spring the family has been given about 2 dozen tote-style bags to replace the single-use-plastic-bags. The majority of them are made of plastic.
  2. 8 out of 11 stores we have shopped in (that are not labeled “grocery stores”) have given me plastic bags in which to ferry my stuff home.
  3. Some cats share our living space. They make the poops so our “grocery bags” were never single use. We’ve now had to buy bags in which to put the poops. The new bags are made of corn and will decompose if the humidity gets above 80% but the manufacture and distribution isn’t carbon neutral like the bags already in our home were.
  4. Here’s the best part: I estimate that the groceries coming into our house would have used 28 bags. We’ve used none since the ban! Yay! I can upgrade my car engine to have a fourth cylinder without guilt now! Oh, but wait. The groceries themselves contained 97 single use plastic bags. Plastic bags in the cereal box. Plastic bags to hold the fresh veggies. The sugar. The apples. The tissues. The meat. The bread. Hot Pockets individually wrapped? Like anyone eats just one at a time! Oh, and this number could be a LOT higher if I counted the little things. Each. Kashi. Bar. Is. Individually. Wrapped. With. A. Small. Plastic. Bag.

So, for all the hubbub, the “ban” hasn’t done much good. Sure did annoy some people though so that brings the magic of Awareness into the equation which is then touted as winning. Of course, we’ve always been aware we just don’t care. No, that’s too strong. We just don’t have time to care what with dodging the potholes while driving our kids to school in the morning because of the bus-driver shortage, trying to find a vaccine that actually works so we can visit Grandpa in the veteran’s hospital, and getting a building permit so we can build a pantry to hold all of our new bags. The point is, these little plastic crimes against nature are and have always been recyclable. You can bring them right back to the store you got them and, if you dig around under some old boxes, you’ll possibly find an empty “plastic film recycling” receptacle covered in dust and mouse droppings. Making these more prominent and accessible would have been easier than a high and heavy handed ban that required a big media campaign. Ah, but I forget… the point isn’t making a difference. The point is making a big media campaign. Paid for by our taxes. Damnit, the Murph just wrote himself a campaign check and we happily endorsed it.

Let’s pretend for a moment that we care to make a difference, why not? We’ve already hit the first “R” of the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” mantra. Here’s a no-grand-standing, no ban-planning, no political fire-fanning approach to making a difference:

  1. Reuse: Compress those bags into flat strips and use them for insulation in our homes. Energy efficiency will play as big a part as deplastification in the future.
  2. Recycle the bags we have. Seems a forgotten no-brainer. They were always crappy (even before my cats got at them) so they’re not good as double-use-bags anyway.
  3. Ask stores to start giving out biodegradable bags, if they must, like the brown paper bags that were, counter-productively, also banned by this law.
  4. Forget all that nonsense because the VAST majority of plastic waste is NOT the bags.
  5. Start asking local companies to go back to wax paper, cardboard, cloth, tin or glass for their packaging. Then ask harder. When they stop donating to your political campaigns, out them publicly. Reward those that willingly comply.
  6. Fix the recycling programs that no longer actively recycle cardboard, tin or glass.

There, wasn’t that easy? It shouldn’t take more than 50 years but by then it will be a problem for our grand children and they are bound to be smarter than us. Hopefully they were not crippled by anxiety after being told daily that everyone is out to get them, everything is dangerous and everything they do is harming the world. Hmmm. I think we need an addition to the above list.

7. Get off your high-horse, stop feeding us a line of horseshit that the world is ending and go back to using horseshit to get around, feed our fields and fuel our fires. The world has been around for 4.5 billion years and will be here long after we’re gone. Enjoy it while you’re here, do no harm, and don’t put anyone on a pedestal who wouldn’t gladly pull you up to join them. Oh, and don’t forget your damn tote-bag in the car.

Spring forward… to a bright new future! Brain Dripping

It’s March! Spring Forward for Daylight Savings! For most of my adult life I have disliked the twice-annual time-change. It screws with my sleep patterns, gets the US out of sync with the rest of the world, messes up the daughter’s bedtime and has occasionally caused me to be up in the middle of the night making sure computer scheduled jobs didn’t run twice or not at all. Whether springing forward or falling backward, I’ve never been a fan. I won’t lie, I did rejoice when Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extending Daylight Savings by a few weeks. I do enjoy the daylight in the evenings since I’m really not a morning person… but it’s such a pain to keep switching. And changing the clocks. About 12 years ago I spent a lot of time and money researching and purchasing clocks that would keep themselves in sync and automatically adjust to daylight savings changes. They never worked right. Invariably, right after I would manually adjust all of the clocks in the house, the power company would blink the power on/off and make me do it all over again. Watching the stove, oven and microwave all blinking 00:00 at me I determined that I would be OK with perpetual Daylight Standard. Imagine a world where there were fewer pitch-dark mornings and we could set off the summer fireworks BEFORE the kids bed time!

But… what if the U.S. of A. could say “screw you” to the rest of the world, leap forward an hour… and stay that way? A federal bill, possibly inspired by NJ’s own bill from 2019, is moving through Congress to make it so. A billion patches to phone/computer/scheduling software is a small price to pay and we have done it before. Twice! From 1942 through 1945 the U.S. was in perpetual daylight saving “War Time”. We instituted it again in the 70s during the “energy crisis”. Unfortunately, in winter with the clocks forward an hour, the sun will not be fully risen until after 8. Any morning commute – including kids waiting at the bus stop or walking to school – will be in the dark until 7:45 or so. It eventually was a rash of pre-dawn car accidents involving children that ended the 1970s experiment after only 2 years. Maybe we saved some energy but the price was high.

That was then and this is now. While the energy we use is greener than it was in the 70s, our average usage has more than doubled. It’s not really about the energy savings anyway. When it gets dark we don’t turn off the A/C, stop microwaving burritos or unplug our phones (and cars if trends persist). Nobody really believes this is about energy savings. We just like getting home from work before it is dark out. The morning issue is real but fortunately we also have a lot more crossing guards and school buses (not to mention hyper-protective parents and school districts) than we did 50 years ago. During parts of the school year, my middle-school aged daughter will have to leave the house before it is light out to get to school on time. I’ll have the same issue getting to work on days I actually go into the office. But that’s really only for December and January. In the summer, it will be as though nothing has changed! It will be light from around 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Hooray for the long days! The rest of the daylight-savings countries will be in sync with us and all will be well with the modern world. Crank up the A/C, grab a cold one from the fridge, a hot one from the nukerowave and Let There Be Light!

It will be interesting to see if this passes and if other countries follow suit but I just hope something comes of it. Whether the country goes for forever standard or perpetual savings, I’m all for it. Just leave my clock alone!

Skunk!

Yep! Yet another day in the life… Brain DrippingDaughterGeocachingNews

Every few years or so I get the notion to journal my day. Rather than micro-blogging or uploading a score of photos to Instabook.com I’m consolidating them all here for your condensed and concentrated consideration. Crikey!

05:?? The cat is reminding me that he’s nocturnal and nobody has offered play, grooming or food in hours. I tossed a blanket over him and fell back to sleep.
06:45 Hello world! Yet another rainy day. At least I’m scheduled to be indoors most of the day.
07:30 Morning discussion with the daughter: skid marks vs poop streaks. She decides she wants her bedtime story to be about “poop paint”. Hey, you can’t make this stuff up folks!
08:20 Daughter is spooning out canned cat food wearing a dust mask scented with essential oils. “This cat food is toxic.” she remarks. The cats agreed. No more of that brand.
08:30 Running late again. One bite of my English Muffin tells me it had gone moldy. Blech. Opt for some blueberries and peanuts to break my fast.
08:45 Finally leaving for work. Car reports 47.1 MPG on this tank so far.
09:10 Arrive at work safe and sound. 46.8 MPG now. The parkway is inefficient unless I can tuck in behind a bus or truck.
09:11 The Geese Police are checking out the office pond to make sure the Canadians haven’t invaded over night. The side of the truck says “Get the flock out.”
09:15 Only two immediate tasks await me in my inbox. A good start!
09:50 A coworker lets me know that Bitcoin is up yet again. Since nobody knows who started it Bitcoin is probably Skynet. I refuse to fund the future War of the Robots! Unless it looks like they are winning… then I for one welcome our new Robotic Overlords.
10:12 Thinking about a future redesign of the NJNG bills and comparing to other utilities. The JCP&L graph looks exactly like ours. Imitation/flattery and all that… but we splurge on color. ūüôā
11:45 90 minutes filling in a spreadsheet documenting servers of which I am responsible. This is not exciting work but it’s better than putting out virtual fires – my usual morning routine.
11:50 The Lunch. Ham & cheese sammy, crackers & a green apple. #GourmetDining.
12:00 Heading to Red Bank for long meeting. My commute within my commute.
12:20 I stop off at Brookdale Community College to replace the missing second stage of the Jim Gary tribute cache stashed on campus. The rain held off until I was on my way back to the car. Usually a nice view but day was dreary. A woodpecker was drumming above when I took this.

Swimming River Reservoir
A dreary view of the Swimming River Reservoir

14:00 I’m wearing Purple today to support one of the business resource groups at the office. We all line up on the office steps and have out photo taken for the corporate newsletter. Unfortunately I’m not in that office this afternoon so my purple has gone photographed.
16:46 Co-workers are talking about this new Corona Virus thing. Let me spoil it for you: The news outlets will milk it like a bloated heifer. It will reach New Jersey. Sheeple will freak out. In the end it will be a typical viral flu season. If the stock market catches a virus just buy early and buy often. Stay calm and carry on people.
18:18 Home at last! I got the gas mileage up to 47.2 MPG but I think I can do better.
19:00 Looking at output from the Christmas Gift night-cam. I spy with my little electronic eye… A few cats, a skunk and two fat raccoons at half-past-midnight.

Scampering Bandits
Two fat raccoons retreat after exploring the wonders of our trash bins.

19:10 Daughter and Wife return from “The Little Gym”.
19:30 Like ships in the night, the wife is off again. Working in the public sector requires working when most folks are not. But can I get the kid fed and to bed on time? Of course!
20:05 A late dinner of left overs and more left overs. Beef & bean chili over rice, a few carrots and some home-made chicken soup. Not a bad mix really. More #GourmetDining. Bon Apetite!
21:00 Bedtime story! A story about a white kitten with brown streaks that likes sleeping on the toilet but gets stuck in the bowl. The cat’s name? Poopoopaint of course. The cat goes on to star in a series of toilet commercials to the delight of my single audience member.
21:30 Laundry. The tip of my finger is scorched off by static discharge. Dryer balls no bueno. I’m going back to dryer sheets! Or bribing the kid to wash her own clothes.
22:00 Watching a second season episode of “Game of Thrones” via a borrowed DVD. For a wonder nobody died in this episode. I can guess how the whole series ends: Dragons burn some zombie wights… but all of the people already killed each other so the zombies start a new civilization based on cooperation, peace, equality and a brain-based economy. Tourists visit “The Great Wall” and everyone lives forever in bliss and harmony.
23:20 I’ve uploaded all of the images for today’s entry. Now to head to bed and edit this thing later. Today wasn’t my most interesting day but I enjoyed it. ūüôā

Yet another day in the life… BabyBrain DrippingGeocachingNews

Every two years or so I get the notion to journal my day. This time around I picked my birthday. Not for any special reason but just because it seemed like it might be a full day. It was! I then forgot about actually posting the entry for nearly 2 months. Better late than never! Without further palaver, this was my day:

06:18¬†¬†A full 12 minutes before the “first” alarm I’m up and heading for the shower where I will hopefully wake up before I start driving anywhere. Sleep driving is never advisable.
07:15¬† Allison is awake. She’s very excited that we’re going to go see her Meemaa in “ONLY TWO DAYS!?!”
07:40¬† Pizza. It’s what’s for breakfast. Nice home-made stuff prepared by Heather and Allison the night before. Yummers!
07:45¬† Out the door and pulling out of the driveway. Allison waves good-bye and blows kisses as she does pretty much every morning. “Bye Dad! I love you one hundred million years!” I blow a kiss back. She eats it. “OM!” Then I toss one “for Mommy”. Allison pretends to jump up and intercept it. “OM!” You read that right. We eat our kisses. Yummers!
Flowerbee08:15¬† I’m parked in the last lot at Durand Park in northern Freehold attempting to be the first one to find the new “Float like a butterfly…” mystery cache. A few minutes later I had the cache in hand. Very cute. FTF! I complete a loop of the walking path and then head off to the office.
09:00  I make it into the office right on time only to find I had no reason to rush. No fires to put out this morning. A perfect birthday gift!
10:30¬† I just spent the morning coding a new automatic process that will update the status of “child” work-orders when the “parent” work-order is updated. When I go to test it I see a checkbox right there on the screen saying “Update Children”. Did nobody ever notice this before asking me to make a “behavior modification” to the program? Fortunately the option “does nothing” so my changes were actually needed. Yeah, my job is¬†exciting!
11:00¬† When signing into the website, some customers aren’t able to see their bills that were generated last night. Turns out there was an internet outage that took down the interfaces last night. Craziness! What is crazier is actually getting bent out of shape because¬†you can’t immediately sign in and view your bill hours before it even makes it into the mail.
12:00¬† An email from my brother: “Haha You’re old!!! Happy birthday, treat yourself to a hip replacement!!!”. I reply with a promise to use my new hip to kick his ass the next time I see him.
12:30  My program changes are working. Time for my PB&J sandwich then a half-hour lunch-walk around the pond to scare the frogs.

Watersnake

13:00¬† Frogs go splash as I walk along the edge of the pond. Some frogs are taking flight where I am not… then I notice the water-snake moving along the bank. It is pretty scary to a frog too I suppose. I also spot some Sun-Fish and a mockingbird looking at me mockingly.
14:00¬† Everyone in the office is¬†pretty busy this week. One co-worker has put up a sign across her door-way saying “Please Do No Disturb”. If only the door-way had an actual DOOR she’d be able to get some work done.
14:30¬† I’m informed my Mentee went home early today and will not be attending the Graduation this afternoon. This is part of “Project Venture” a collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Ocean¬†Counties of which I’m a mentor. My mentee is a great kid but has a poor attendance record.
15:00¬† I pop by the graduation anyway. Hey, free pizza and snacks are not something to be spurned! A half hour later the official ceremony is over so they break out the pizza. I wait for the ravening hoard of middle-school students to get their slice on then get in line just in time to have a choice between “White” and “Stuff we swept up off of the floor” topped pizza. I choose the white and miss the red sauce. Man those kids can eat!
16:00¬† “Small World” moment: One of the BBBS coordinators has looked familiar to me since I started the program back in September. I finally take the time to chat her up and figure out that we probably have met before. Turns out they have a branch office at the same church where I used to drop off non-perishables for a food-pantry. Neat coincidence.
17:45¬† I have left the office and I’m heading to Tatum Park where I will meet up with the family for a short hike in the woods to replace one of my geocaches that had been vandalized.
18:00¬† I’m listening to an Audio Book version of “All Creatures Great and Small” by James Herriot. Funny stuff. Much lighter than my last book which was “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck. “Tell me about the rabbits again George!”.
1My little Buttercup8:15¬† Hiking in the woods with the family! Allison picks every flower she sees and gives it to one of us. I show her a¬†game from my childhood where you hold a Buttercup under your chin. If your chin turns yellow… you like BUTTER! This amuses Allison to no end – especially when it turns out that Heather, the¬†lactose intolerant member of our party, is incongruously a big butter-fan.
19:15¬† Back to the cars, Allison decides she wants to ride home “with Daddy”. I treat her to some James Herriot who is relating an amusing anecdote about the time the pigs got out and ran down town. She sometimes likes the “Grown-up stories” I listen to. Separated into bite-sized chapters this one is a good fit.
20:00  Munching Cheddar Bacon Burritos as the Birthday Dinner. Yes, they are yummers. 
20:30  My mother-in-law pops by to hand me a B-Day card (Thanks!) and asks if I had seen the Chewbacca Mom video yet. We pull it up and it is indeed very funny. Her laugh is contagious! Allison also thinks the lady is giggle-worthy. We then watch Star Wars Wookie clips instead of reading a bedtime book. YouTube Parenting!
Horseback 7 year old Eric21:00 Allison’s Bedtime story features Chewbacca who accidentally ends up crashing his¬†spaceship in Cliffwood Beach, NJ and is then tormented by a butterfly that keeps landing on his nose. Eventually he re-wires the Dalton family cars into a new spaceship & rockets away. As he settles in for a nap the butterfly lands on his nose again &¬†flutters in the snoring Wookie wind.
22:00 Time for some Throw Back Thursday action pulled from the old slides I had developed for my birthday present from Heather. Horse. Heh.
23:00 Tired of fighting with GSAK trying to set up way-point filters for the trip I think I will instead turn in for the night. I had a good day. Here’s to another year!

Another day in the life… BabyBrain DrippingGeocachingNews

Back in July of 2012 I cataloged a day in the form of 2 dozen Facebook posts rolled into one blog entry. This past week I took a vacation day because of the endless snow and decided to make a record of my day. Enjoy my banality!¬†Here is my day…

07:30  Who needs an alarm clock when you have a 2 year old? Allison wakes us up by bringing all of her teddy bears and blankets to our bed and hopping in.
08:00¬† I’m called a “Wimp” by the folks at the office for taking a vacation day and not braving the elements yet again. They’re just Jealous!
08:30¬† Allison and I are cracking peanuts with a lineman’s pliers. Not the right tool for the job but it certainly makes instant peanut butter!
09:00 ¬†While Heather is preparing breakfast I’m watching funny cat and fox videos with Allison. What does the fox say? “Abay ba da bum bum bay dum” obviously.
Snowman201409:30¬† Breakfast is served! Vanilla Almond Pancakes with Banana/Strawberry/Apple compote. Before we begin Allison taps her pancake on mine and says “Cheers!”
10:15  Breakfast is all cleaned up and we start to get dressed to go outside to play in the snow. We had 6-8 inches of fresh powder but it was starting to turn to sleet.
10:45 Finally dressed, we head out into the… rain? Drats! Regardless, we make a snow angel and a snowman/fireman because a little rain wont soak through too quickly.
11:15  Allison back inside with Mommy. Shoveltime! I clear the entrance, the drive, the walk and a path to the trash cans. Super soggy snow is triple heavy. Sux.
12:15 ¬†Ok, that’s more than enough shoveling for now but the driveway looks good and I don’t fear it will freeze into a brick overnight. Inside!
12:30 ¬†Time for a pretzel snack and some My Little Pony. Yeah, it’s a show for little girls but for some reason the whole family likes it. Maybe it’s the inclusion of mythological and geek-culture creatures like the Cockatrice and Tribble-esque Parasprites. Or maybe I’m just a Brony? True Bronies are a fascinating bunch.
13:30  Lunch. Wraps and leftovers. Nothing to write tweets about I guess.
14:00¬† Allison is calling me “Dad” instead of Daddy today. Not sure what to make of that.
14:30  Time for a few minutes with Central Jersey Chat and uploading this mornings adventure to Facebook (the snowman picture above).
15:30 Allison is down for a nap. She wanted to lay on “MommyDaddyBed”. Heather is out shoveling so I’ll just lay here too until she falls asleep. . .
17:00  I wake up with my legs tingling because Allison is laying across them like the cat usually does. Nice nap though!
17:30 Checking my afternoon mail and solving an easy Geopuzzle before Allison wakes up.
17:45  Allison has invented a new drink: Milk & Grape Juice. I dubbed it Purple Milk and the name has stuck.
18:30 My Little Pony Round Two. It was still up on Netflix and it’s hard to say no to a grumpy toddler. I take the opportunity to set up the massage and Heather hops on for a tune up to the back and arms.
19:00 Story time on the sofa while dinner prep begins. I make up the story of the little reindeer with a boo-boo inside herself and the time Elmo took too much stuff to the beach.
20:00¬† Late dinner. This tends to happen if I’m home to distract, Teehee! Ravioli, asparagus and spiced cauliflower are worth the wait.
20:30 Playing games with Allison and her stuffed kitty cat. The cat keeps going pee-pee on the carpet and we keep making it go outside while we clean up. Suddenly Allison changes the game and the cat goes nuts and sprays all over the whole room while I scream. Instead of cleaning up I decide we have to move out. Great fun!
21:30¬† Allison is snoring quietly. Owl Babies for the bedtime book. Little Bill’s “I WANT MY MOMMY!” gets a giggle every time. Time for a massage to fix the damage done by shoveling!
23:00¬† The bed is calling. It’s been a long day but a good day. Night-night!
23:01 ¬†ZZzzzzzz….

My email address is not your spam folder! Brain DrippingEric Dalton

Back in the early days of the world a friend of mine sent me an invitation to sign up with Google’s brand new email system. I jumped at the opportunity and was surprised when my Ericles moniker was already taken. Unperturbed, I used Eric.Dalton since I already had the entire Ericles domain.

Well, it seems that other blokes sharing my name don’t want to use their own personal email address so they give out mine freely. This makes little sense to me. Do they think Toyota, RedBox, or Apple is going to have their feelings hurt when they realize you used “bogus@email.com”? Only Mr. B. Ogus has anything to complain about when you use that address. Or is it S. Bogu? But I digress…

Some of the uses of my address are comical and some are sad. I’m sure many are by accident like forgetting a middle initial or not knowing if Eric is with a C or K. Regardless, I’ll be sharing these minor transgressions under this new category and then sharing that category on EricDalton.com which I’ve neglected to do anything with for a number of years. I’m finding that by doing a little research I’m able to find out quite a bit about the senders and receivers. Let the fun begin!

The first one goes back to March of 2008 when Shelley Brady of the Carolina Garden Company out of Raleigh, NC sent me 9 pictures (in 9 separate emails) of random landscaping that she found interesting enough to share. They had different names – either “Scott and Kelly” or “Importation Pictures” or just the default file name from a Panasonic digital camera. The pictures were of businesses, retirement homes and random front yards. I didn’t bother to respond. What I wish I had done was reply “Thanks. I’ll take #8.” and just wait for the fun to start. Hopefully Shelley eventually tracked down the right email address and made a sale. Hopefully Mr. Dalton learned that if you want to see the pictures the landscaper sends… you have to give them a valid email address that you own.

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