Saturday, October 14, 2017


Daegu was our next stop...

We came to visit Haein-sa the repository of the Tripitaka Koreana, the largest existing library of the Buddhist canon.

As always, the walk through the park was scenic and soothing.

The temple complex was first built in the year 802.

All the bells, but no whistles. Drums though...

Temple guardians.

The Tripitaka Koreana are carved on wooden tablets and stored in specially constructed buildings, featuring natural passive ventilation and extended eaves to keep the sun off the collection.

Concoctions of minerals under the floors absorb moisture when it's too wet, but humidifies the library when it's too dry.

The tablets are birch treated in salt water. Each one was hand engraved. The Korean government once built a special climate controlled storage facility for the tablets. The tablets began to mildew in their new high tech residence, so they were returned to their 1200 year old home.


From Seoul we took a short bus ride to Daejeon...

This is the back entrance to Gyeryongsan. The hike up the hill into the park seemed tolerable. I quickly learned that if there is level ground in Korea they farm it or build a city on it. The rest of the country is either uphill or downhill. 

The mountain forests are as lush as the hills are steep.

3.2 klicks didn't look as far on the map.

The Nammaetap pagodas at our destination.

Korea has no shortage of scenic vistas.

There are attendants who live at the shrine. Don't blame them; the commute is strenuous.

The leaves were just beginning to turn...

Buddhist temples are lavishly detailed.

At Nammaetap we sat next to the temple with an older Korean gentlemen with whom we discussed the perennial natural of the world's religions, Darwinism, and Richard Dawkins' "selfish gene." He is a molecular biochemist who does health research at a government lab. He shared the last of his coffee with me.

Then the descent, down a 1.1 km long pile of boulders some map maker decided was a trail. Cassie had no trouble on the descent, but my knees are shot and steep downhills over broken ground is hard on my hinges. Back to the hotel for ice and ibuprofen!

There is a monastery at the base of the mountain. It has pavement and level ground. Only a kilometer back to the taxi stand.


Some details of my visit with my daughter Cassandra in South Korea...

Sunday we took a tour to the DMZ, where we were only a couple kilometers from North Korea. Some exhibits on the border express an abiding interest in reconciliation if not reunification.

We visited the site of a recently discovered North Korean tunnel. Here propaganda is the name of the game.

Monday we explored the city on foot. There are ancient palaces preserved within the confines of an ultra-modern city. This one is called Deoksugung and was used by various monarchs from 1392 to 1919.

Portions of the past and its artifacts are well preserved at Deoksugung.

The main palace at Gyeongbokgung even has its own lake. A person can imagine they're not in the middle of one of largest cities in the world if you choose the right direction to gaze.

A restored stream runs through the center of the Jung-gu district. In it a heron plied its trade, seemingly indifferent to onlookers.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Fable, Fairy Tale, or Myth?

Thriller, Horror, or Fantasy?

American Fable, a 2016 film by Anne Hamilton, is gorgeous, evocative, and at time
s surreal. It defies easy characterization. Some might place it in the genre of magical realism but most of the special moments are subtle, more dreamlike than supernatural.  Rather, it has so many mythical archetypes, themes, and props - a troubled king, his pregnant queen, a venal prince prone to manipulation, the wily young princess (Peyton Kennedy as Gitty), her special pet, a well-meaning but bumbling constable, an evil wizard trapped in a dungeon, and a witch from an exotic land - it plays like a fairy tale. At times it transported me to the farm country of my youth.  American Fable is visually imaginative and heartfelt. Many critics liked it, even if they didn't love it.  Me, I plan to watch it again.

Monday, June 12, 2017

What If Justin Brierly Wrote A Book

And some of his favorite non-believers wrote a response...

Justin Brierly, host of Unbelievable, has just written a book titled
Unbelievable?: Why after ten years of talking with atheists, I'm still a Christian. It's quite good, though it contains little we haven't heard on the radio program (or the podcast).  So of course me and some of the other non-believers who hang out at the Unbelievable forum are having a crack at a "Justin Response Book" in a manner inverse to the Christian response to Bart Ehrmann's How Jesus Became God: Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher From Galilee. First, I had to read the book. Now comes the writing...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

I've Got A Movie For You

If you're into understated science fiction, that is...

Watch the film Coherence (2014) cold. Don't Google it, or read up on it, or look it up, except to order it. I'm glad I didn't miss this clever and effective film. If you like metaphysics-flavored sc-fi you might enjoy it too. About as much fun as I've had watching a small, low budget film since The Man From Earth, or Pi, or Upstream Color, or Primer.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Things Do In Prescott

When you're dead tired...

Some days after working a third shift a fella can't sleep. It's still a little too cold at night to do any painting so this fella did some sanding. Actually I did so much sanding I wore out my sander, my gray hair turned brown, and my iPhone doesn't recognize my thumb print. More sanding tomorrow. Then caulking...

So, There I Was, Minding My Own Business

In Peregrine Books...oops!

I went in planning to purchase one book for my friend and I come home with five of my own. Well, I guess there are more dangerous addictions...

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Long Night Is Over

The MST3K reboot has landed...

After an 18 year hiatus, Mystery Science Theater 3000 - The Return, a whole season's worth, no less, is now available on Netflix.

Time for some serious flix binging, people!  Woo! Hoo!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Just What I Needed

Another rifle...

Me with the Recon. Shooting from sitting has never been my favorite position. Still isn't.

Took my new Recon Scout out for a test drive Saturday. It was built by Steve Bons at Granite Mountain Tactical in Prescott. Steve builds them on a Mossberg Patriot Bantam model. He shortens the factory barrel, threads the muzzle for accessories, and installs a sturdy front sight housing an AR15 front post.  The stock comes with a one inch thick insert for a 12 or 13 inch length of pull. I'll be running it short. Mine has the standard 18 inch tube (16 or 20 inches are no-cost options), sniper grey Cerakote, and a rounded heel on the butt pad. On Mr. Bons' sage advice I upgraded to the steel rear sight base. I want serious irons on a working rifle so I'm giving some thought to modifying a Weaver-style extension ring to protect the very clever flip up rear sight. The good Mr. Bons installs Weaver-style bases on the receiver - for conventional scopes, and on the barrel - for scout scopes.  As another added value, lapped Weaver quad-lock rings are provided with the finished rifle. I also had a 3rd socket installed so I can use a military sling, CW, Ching Sling, or Rhodesian. Wearing a Leupold 2.5x scout scope in the Weaver quad-locks and a biothane Rhodesian sling, my 18 inch Recon Scout comes in at a hair under seven pounds four ounces.  

We were sans bench so it took a few more rounds than usual to get my new rifle on the steel, but after that any misses seem to have been the result of my decrepitude and lack of practice. The handy little Mossberg seemed light in recoil; maybe as a result of the cushy pad, or because the well-fitted short LOP suits me, or because we weren't all hunched over it at the shooting bench. I really like the heavy duplex reticle on the Leupold scout scope. Didn't try the irons, a Vari-X II 1-4x, or the Swarovski 1.5x today. I used only the Ching Sling this time out.  

We used my new 10 inch steel gong targets and target stand from Shooting Targets 7.  The set-up is modular yet sturdy.

I'm only 40 rounds in, but I'm very pleased so far.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Back On The Road

This time to check another item off Gramma Kay's bucket list...

Mom asked to visit the Grand Canyon West Skywalk on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. We got on Route 66 at Seligman ("Leave no route untraveled!"). We stopped in Peach Springs, Arizona, for brunch. We ate at at the Hualapai Lodge Restaurant (highly recommended!). Next door was the long abandoned John Osterman Shell Station (added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012). 

While sturdy, its exterior is not aging gracefully, but then who among us can claim to be doing better?

We had a fine time traveling there and back with the folks.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Took Another Walk Into The Past

This time capsule is but a few minutes from downtown Prescott...

Took a little hike to the Lynx Creek Ruin today. 

Take 301. Trail 305 leads you on a long walk back to the highway.

You have to squint and use your imagination a little, but this was once a 15 room pueblo from 1150-1300 CE. 

One is tempted to ask "Why there?" until you see the views...

San Francisco Peaks in the distance.

What Abject Cruelty!

Who puts a used book section in the museum gift shop?!!

Visited the Smoki Museum in Prescott this afternoon.  In many ways the Smoki People - white people performing in red face - were to Native America what the Rosicrucians are to ancient Egypt.  Still, they have a fine little museum featuring extensive displays of weaving, pottery, and lithics.  Best of all, on several shelves in the gift shop there are used books at garage sale prices.  The five I chose cost me all of $17.50.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Is Pre-Remodeling Even A Thing?

Doing a little pre-remodeling in my crowded little bath...

Re-did the medicine cabinet with translucent glass instead of mirrors and then painted it gray as a medium accent. The bathroom is getting some black fittings in anticipation of a a new whitewash finish on the door, walls and ceiling. Might have it done in time to show mom and dad when they visit next week.

The major remodel - new floor, new sink, new toilet, and a claw foot cast iron tub - is on the project list.

Must replace the scary heater before then.

Need to find a mirror with a wood frame too.

All it takes is time and money...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

There Are Monsters, And Then There Are Monsters

Blake Smith gets serious...

This week, in a brief essay, Blake Smith, host with Karen Stollznow of Monster Talk - The Science Program About Monsters departs from his usual format.

Smith speaks cogently and concisely on the importance of critical thinking - skepticism - in our current political climate, which is marked by a surreal foray into alternative facts and blithe accusations of fake news.

I've enjoy Monster Talk for many years now, but I've never been more proud to be a fan of its thoughtful co-host.

Give this brief but excellent talk a listen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Refinishing An Oak Table Top

The punchline "So far so good" comes to mind...

Original finish represents some 25 years of battering and bruising, scratches and scuffs, topped off with some recent water damage...

Citristrip applied (the orange stuff containing no MEK)

Stripper scraped off and residue removed with mineral spirits.

Mineral spirits dried.

Sanded with 120 and then 220 grit 

Minwax penetrating stain Golden Oak 210B applied and left to soak in

Stain rubbed back

First coat of Minwax Helmsman spar urethane clear satin.

Next, the sanding between coats.

And the second coat.

Then let it dry.

Put the extension back in the loft and my dining room table is back in service...