The Truth Is Out There

Last night’s foggy drive made me worry that a cryptid would attack out of nowhere and snatch me from my car, and that Mulder and Scully would have to investigate which sequence of mundane events occurred to explain what really happened.

MULDER: His browser history shows he’s made 253 recent visits to Fortean Times, and the IRS confirms he owes back taxes.

SCULLY: He’s also the defendant in several paternity cases, and the blood in the driver seat is determined to be porcine in origin.

MULDER: So he made like D.B. Cooper and disappeared after ditching his car on this county road.

SCULLY: Exactly.

MULDER: Or so it appears. [smiles and winks]


Driving around tonight in the fog makes me realize that I miss weather.

It’s always so hot and dry and boring here in Austin. Give me weather, dammit. Variable weather. Second-guessing weather. “Do I need a coat, an umbrella, or cargo shorts?” weather. It’s what I miss about living in my mid-latitude home state, where we’re reminded that there are four seasons in the year.

I certainly do miss that variability. It kept me present, observant, honest about reality; attentive to how to handle myself in the unknown environment. It gave me news to bemuse.

Some day, Austin may lose all its charm and I’ll pull up stakes and move up a few states, but until then, I’ll have to take what I can from these strange winter weeks and find novelty where I can find it.

Gold In the Pan

Important information from the Office of My Kitchen:

Listen, these chicken strips won’t double-batter and fry themselves. I’m here to facilitate.

Breaded with flour, Herbs de Provence, Lowry’s Season Salt, onion powder, egg, milk. Homefries could’ve fried further, but I got impatient. Honey mustard made by pouring honey and brown mustard into a bowl and mixing them, like some chemist who’s too cheap for store-bought.

Service Civility

As a member of the ARRL, I get lots of email about radio (most of it sales material for their books and swag), but this afternoon I got a letter reiterating the core values of Amateur Radio. The most telling is the last paragraph:

Amateur Radio is about development of communications and responsible public service. Its misuse is inconsistent with its history of service and its statutory charter. ARRL does not support its misuse for purposes inconsistent with these values and purposes.

My best guess: apparently there are some issues with burn-it-all-down trumpers misusing the Amateur bands. In a world where anybody can buy a handie-talkie for $50 and watch a video on how to program it, it’s going to be a problem where unlicensed people push the PTT and get on the bands for wrongful purposes.

But it’s not only unlicensed users, it’s ticket-holders as well. Last month, I was listening to a two-station QSO on the local 444.2 repeater, and the conversational tone started turning negative regarding the state of Austin’s COVID-19 regulations. One of the guys in the QSO went on to say, “Well, I think the city of Austin mayor ought to be shot!” It was at that point that I had to break into the QSO and remind these guys to keep it civil. They did, for a while, but it was enough to remind them that they’re using a public repeater on an open band and that there are others listening.

Defense of the Amateur bands is important, and this self-policing is what keeps us in the good graces of the FCC. If you hear someone acting up on the air either through bad talk or intentional interference, take a note of date, time, frequency, any callsigns involved, and a description of the issue (if you can record the audio, that’s best). Then send these notes to your local Volunteer Monitor for reporting. They may not have grounds to take actions on that one incident, but if there are enough notes to help locate and identify the offender, that gives them a stronger case for investigating and escalating to the FCC for prosecution. That’s why they’re there.

And that’s why we’re here. It’s a big world full of lots of different ideas, and we’re all listening.

Let’s keep it civil out there, everyone.