Sunday, March 24, 2024

The Enthropy in Travel

Oh the pretty cabins! Pretty, pretty cabins! I'm gonna travel to a national forest and stay in a pretty cabin with all the fun things a cabin should have. Hot tub! Fireplace! Back deck! Right on the lake, too!

See the picture? Yahoo! (No photo because I don't want to get sued for defamation.)

Here we go! Whip out the credit card and book that pretty cabin!

Problem is, that cabin isn't in the same place we are going, it's 250 miles away. But the SUPER EASY VACATION APP doesn't tell you where this pretty, pretty cabin is located until AFTER your money has been paid.

Where is it? 250 miles from the lakeside photo! Hot tub doesn't matter, you can't find the cabin from your original destination, because it's 5 hours away!

With one blissfully deceptive swipe of the credit card, our vacation has turned into a disaster, from which there is no recourse.

Kiss that $500 goodbye! Thanks SUPER EASY VACATION APP!

No, I'm not kidding. This is the second time this has happened. Traveling has never been simple, always got to be careful that the logistics are right. Right maps, right supplies, correct directions, proper clothing.

Yet increasingly, the very applications that are supposed to make things simple are becoming financial traps. I'm tech savvy, and I find that trusting the SUPER EASY VACATION APP to book accomodations is a sure fire way to get ripped off. It's a black hole into which my money goes, and the chance of getting a refund for a moment of in-attention is nil.

If I want to book a cabin inside a national forest, I have to call the Lodge to make sure I'm booking a real cabin. That's not easy, because the Lodge Staff just referred me to SUPER EASY VACATION APP!

Apps, applications, booking software, all that crap has made getting screwed out of your hard-earned money easier than ever.

The en-shitification of life, courtecy of Silcon Valley Tech Bros and Artificial Intelligence.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

AI -- Making Reading Less Interesting

The more content I read these days, the more of this odd syntax shows up. A word or two, just odd or out of place will tell you that the content was AI generated. I've used Chat GPT for small bits of text that I don't want to write myself. It will churn out bland text that is grammatically correct. Things like book blurbs for 200 words or less. Hand it 500 words, and it cuts 300 out. But it doesn't produce interesting text. Servicable text. Useful text. Yes, but do we haunt the internet for that kind of text? Now, ask ChatGPT to produce text for gaming, and it will turn out a monster stat block with lightening speed. This is a great help, but it isn't fiction. Yet I keep hearing that authors are using AI to write their fiction books. I can't imagine what kind of vague, oatmeal-textured fiction it might be. But I can't imagine it being great, engaging fiction. Oatmeal is great stuff. I eat it for breakfast, when I need fast food and a lot of it. Something that will stick around until lunch on a busy day. Oatmeal flavored fiction might fill an e-book, but it won't engage a reader. This last month, I've clicked away from a number of articles on various websites, because the text was bland and uninteresting. I think it's possible that AI produced text is going to slowly make general internet surfing uninteresting. Which might be a good thing in the long term. The less time I spend online the better.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Senior in the Saddle 2

Goodbye old friends… I’ve had four saddles in my tack room, gathering dust for a decade. Three were good quality leather, two Western saddles from the early 1960’s, the one I’m keeping is a more modern Australian. The last one is an English all purpose saddle that’s synethic with an adjustable tree. I wasn’t able to identify the oldest, until the lady I sold it to called it out as a Bonna Allan. It is an artwork made from leather with desert flowers and leaves carved into it. Just lovely.
It’s a ‘tall man’s saddle’ not a good saddle for a small senior female. The stirrup leathers would have to be cut down a LOT for me to have them the right length. It would be a shame to cut the stirrup leathers to accommodate me.
That is the problem with the old Billy Royal that I used all during the old mare’s training days. I had the stirrups as short as I could get them, and it was just barely enough. She was a spooky horse that needed a secure seat for the rider so she could jump out from under me. An English saddle just wouldn’t have worked out for me. The Billy Royal saddle weighs at least 35 lbs, so at my age tossing it up on a tall horse is a major problem. It wasn’t easy to let these saddles go, but I finally did it. This is the one I kept.
This is another vintage saddle. Made by Sup-Territory this is an Australian Stock Saddle. Another heavy saddle, though a few pounds lighter. The leather is thick and sturdy, a bit stiff from years of disuse, but that will change with time and oil. Since I mostly ride English, this saddle works better for me. Plus it’s much more secure than the English saddles I used to ride, while being lighter than the Western saddles that I can’t lift and don’t fit my short legs.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Senior in the Saddle

Saddles are a major part of horseback riding. The saddle we choose can make or break a riding experience. The photo is an Australian Stock Saddle, made by Sup-Territory in the 1990's. It's extremely comfortable and it is very hard to get me out of that saddle.

I rode bareback as a kid on ponies. The first ride or two was in a saddle, because ponies are opinionated and giving them a break from riding usually means a rodeo for the first couple of rides.

As an adult, I rode English, Hunter under Saddle, and really loved the thrill of low jumps. I had a desk job, and never was fit enough to compete. But I loved the sport, then and now. Fast forward - and life happens - all the things that happen to middle-aged women. I'm over 60, and back in the saddle.

This saddle, in particular, is a big part of my return to riding.

Once the American Quarter Horse Association decided that their horses had to show with their heads dragging on the ground and that odd broken-neck lope. I stopped riding Western. It was an ugly thing to do to a horse then - and it's worse now.

So I ride in this old, heavy Australian Saddle, and let my horses lope with their heads high. It's a good feeling.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Back in the Saddle

Being over 60 years old is one of those wierd things that happens to most of us, if we are lucky.

The trauma of losing my parents, then cleaning up The Hoard, then my horses and finally Covid 19, left me feeling old and very frail.



Yep, and it sucks.

But a few months ago, I came to believe that I could get back in the saddle, if I was very careful how I did it. First I had to find source of horses. There's a lesson barn near us, a huge facility with a herd of horses that numbers somewhere between 50 and 75.

It wasn't easy to go. I cried a lot that first visit. The memories of those first years with my old mare when she was young and difficult...sweet and sour. It was a rollercoaster.

So I signed up, and got a date for my lesson.

I have to admit that, my total lack of physical strength was frightening. I'd suspected that I'd lost all my muscle tone, but the proof was shocking. I could barely lift a light saddle, bridling the horse was a struggle and I needed help to tighten the girth. Getting into the saddle was iffy, I was unbalanced as soon as the horse moved. Two months have passed, and I'm getting back my strength and balance. It's been slow, and I go from being sore and tired to tired and starving.

I have persistened and my balance has returned, with some of my strength.

The best part is the knowledge of how to ride is still there. I can hold a fussing house, ride a canter and direct a horse. I can saddle and bridle and so on. I know what I see and I remember how my horses behaved.

It's pretty neat.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Happy New Year

This blog has languished for many years. All but forgotten for a couple of reasons. Life has happened. Lots and lots of happenings. So let's see if we can take this off the shelf and try again.
Last July, I bought a Dungeons and Dragons module, The Dragon of Icespire Peak. Then I found a few people interested in getting together for a game. It went pretty well. We played the module out, and really enjoyed it. Now I'm working out of a couple different books, to see what people enjoy playing. Of course, Covid isn't cutting us any slack, but we'll see how this goes. The main thing is that I've finally got something worth blogging about again.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A Brief Rant -- America Needs to Vote

Tour the Kentucky Governors Mansion (and learn about the History ...

Coronavirus: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear hanged in effigy during rally

This weekend, the Kentucky Governor was hung in effigy, in the front yard of the Governor's Manson, where he and his family are living.

Fortunately, his children weren't home when armed terrorists invaded their private space and stood on the front porch.

Now I'm gonna get on my soapbox, because these terrorists aren't operating in a vacuum. These guys were whipped up a couple weeks ago, by other elected officials. Republican officials, who don't give a damn about saving lives. They are merely more GOP sociopaths drunk on power.

The pattern was set in stone years and years ago, by the likes of Newt Gingrich, and the cancer that has eaten the soul of America has continued unchecked since the creation of Fox News.

Why has this minority, because this emotionally dead contingent IS the minority, been allowed to take power?

Because not enough Americans vote.

Americans, especially those of us in #FlyOverAmerica, need to get off our asses and vote, in every election, every time. We have to take back our cities, towns, hamlets and townships by voting.

If everybody in America voted in every election, we wouldn't have ANY of the problems we have today. Because America isn't a nation of extremists, it's a nation of middle-of-the-road, good people who have forgotten their power is in unity.

OUR power is in the ballot box.

Buttercup War

Image may contain: outdoor

One of the worst things about country life, farm life and hobby farm life, is how equipment breakdowns bring a homestead chores to a crashing halt.

Two years ago my old tractor broke down, the same time as my lawn mower. The tractor went into the shop, and due to it's age and the expense of replacement parts, we didn't get it back until March of this year. The weeds, particularly creeping buttercups and a couple nameless Roundup resistant weeds, colonized the pasture and choked out the grass.

This made my old horses lose vast amounts of weight because buttercups are toxic. I lost my beloved black hunter to old age and blindness last spring.

I was behind on mowing, seeding, stall cleaning all year, two springs in a row. I got some help, we've got great neighbors, but getting half caught up is not the same as getting it right.

This year, we got the old tractor back, but it wasn't fixed. It shot out oil and oily smoke, which combined with vast quantities of buttercup pollen, aggravated my asthma and gave me migraine headaches. I was in danger of letting these toxic flowers, already covering 75% of the pasture, complete saturation.

But instead of losing the game, we decided to make an investment in equipment. The old tractor was replaced with a new one. The lawn mower will get a new deck, but is currently in use to haul things and run the manure spreader.

The first thing I did was mow down the buttercups, wearing a mask. The tractor, a new 19 Horsepower diesel with a 48" bushhog struggled at a few points, but the buttercups went down. After two days it was more yellow than red, and needed a rinse, but we got the buttercups down to the point where I can work outside without a mask.

It will need a second pass. But at last I have the right equipment for that job. It's a relief to know that I've won the war for the moment.

The old tractor has gone to a new owner. It's one of those things that couldn't be fixed easily, unless one could weld the wrenches oneself. I'm not that kind of woman. I can do a few things, but rebuilding engines isn't one of them.

The Enthropy in Travel

Oh the pretty cabins! Pretty, pretty cabins! I'm gonna travel to a national forest and stay in a pretty cabin with all the fun things a ...