In forced quarantine

No. Not me. My phone.

Yesterday I noticed my phone wouldn’t lie flat. Odd. Upon further investigation I realized the battery was swelling. It’s a Galaxy S8 Active. The back doesn’t come off to allow you to replace the battery.

Rats! I don’t want to go out and buy a new phone now. I don’t want to have to move all my two factor authentication stuff to a new phone. It could take a full day to move to a new phone.

I looked on Amazon for a new phone and then decided to look for a battery anyway. Success! It includes tools and adhesive to take the phone apart and glue it back together. I ordered the battery.

But I need my phone for accessing things at work because of the two factor authentication. I can’t just put my phone in an old ammo can in the back yard to avoid explosion and fire hazards then run out there to check text messages every once in a while.

I made an indoor quarantine for it:


The phone is inside two zip lock bags, on top of an old cookie-sheet, and surrounded by nearly 200 pounds of lead (and brass).

I pulled the phone out a few minutes ago to check something and the swelling has increased:


The new battery is supposed to arrive in the next 45 minutes and the phone will then undergo battery replacement surgery.

Update: The battery has been replaced and the phone is functional. And it is in the process of being fully charged.

The battery replacement is not for the faint hearted. There were two electrical connecters which were the smallest I have ever seen. I put on my magnifying glasses to see many of the components I needed to manipulate. The adhesive replacement was a bit of a sticky problem (pun intended). They supplied two large strips that needed to be cut into six (or more) pieces. No instructions on how to use the adhesive.

News you can use

I had some allergy symptoms that woke me up the other night. But I’m familiar enough with my pollen allergies that I wasn’t too worried about it being COVID-19. The symptoms were gone in a few hours and everything is good. But had I not been so sure this would have been useful:

Clara, a coronavirus Self-Checker – The CDC has developed a new online bot nicknamed Clara designed to help people check whether they may have symptoms.  The bot is not intended to diagnose diseases but help users make decisions about whether they need to seek appropriate medical care by asking a series of questions to establish the level of illness being experienced.  Clara can be found at:

Mandatory “social distancing”?


Gov. Inslee says ‘mandatory measures’ under consideration to combat coronavirus in Washington

Since the novel coronavirus emerged as a threat in Washington, officials have sought to keep people here from infecting each other by offering advice, health care and other assistance. What they haven’t yet done to slow the spread of the virus is tell residents what they can and can’t do.

That could change at some point, however.

Officials are considering mandatory measures for social distancing as part of the state’s effort to combat the outbreak, Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday.

Barb, my oldest daughter, her spouse, and I, all in Bellevue, have been doing our part for the last week. We have been working from home and minimizing contact outside our homes. We are also prepared for several more weeks as needed.

We live in interesting times.

Working from home

Health officials in King County (Seattle area) are recommending, among other things:

Workplaces should enact measures that allow people who can work from home to do so.

About 5:00 PM on Wednesday a blog reader told me::

Microsoft just told all employees who can WFH to do so until March 25

My employer said something similar yesterday. My team started WFH the day before that.

I can work from home for almost everything except meetings where someone is likely to be using a real whiteboard (we have virtual whiteboards in some conference rooms).

My first thought was, “Will the VPNs fall over?” So far both my MS contact and I have had not had any problems with our Internet connections to work. I suspect they have self-scaling VPNs.

Barb has been working from home exclusively for years now. It’s a little odd for both of us to be working from home every day. It’s nice but it just feels a little odd to only see each other for such extended periods. I wonder how it will feel after three weeks.

Yesterday I asked Barb if we are going to get “cabin fever” and get irritable or something. She thinks she will be okay as long as she doesn’t feel physically trapped as in being snowed in or something.

We’ll probably will go for walks occasionally. That should help and it should be safe as long as we don’t have contact with other people.

A little close to home

Almost all of the COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Washington state (and US) are at EvergreenHealth (formerly Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland).

All of my children were born there (30+ years ago). My ex-wife and I lived about a 10 minute walk from the hospital.

The hospital is still less than a 20 minute drive of where I live and about half of that for to my oldest daughter.

Taking orders for lentils and wheat

I’ll probably be going to the farm in the next two or three weeks. If anyone in the Seattle area would like some lentils or soft white wheat I’ll bring it back with me. Quantities are limited.

Let me know how many pounds you would like. I get them in 50 pound bags but frequently break them out into three to five pound Ziploc bags. You would pick them up in the Bellevue area.

Wheat is $0.20/pound and lentils are $0.30/pound.

Send me an email if you are interested:

Update: All the wheat has been asked for. There are still some lentils left. There will be more wheat available in November or perhaps October.

I also have a few pea and lentil cookbooks I purchased from the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council in bulk. List price is $24.95. I sell them for $10.00. You can sometimes get them used from Amazon for less.

When I was a boy…

A couple days ago a coworker was talking about things “the kids these days” wouldn’t recognize. One of the things he mentioned was rotary dial phones. Or even just desktop phones in general. These days a phone is a thin rectangular object you can put in your pocket and many young people would not make the connection between what they know as a phone and what a generation or two earlier knew as phones when they were growing up.

I one upped him by telling about the phones we had at the first two houses I remember living in. Here are those houses with me in front of the first house:

Here is the type of phone:


This picture is from Christmas Eve about a month ago at brother Doug’s place. The phone from my childhood is in brother Gary’s house a hundred yards away from brother Doug. Until a few years ago the phones were connected and working. There is still a similar phone in the shop between the two houses. Sometime in the last couple of decades an underground wire broke and the Huffman phone network went down for the last time when it wasn’t worth the effort to find the break and fix it.

And as late as when I was in high school there were other phones of this type on our local phone network in my two grandmothers mobile homes which were also on the property.

One of the stories I told my coworker about these phones is that these type of phones were the only type phones available at our house until I was in the third grade. We upgraded to a rotary style phone.

Mom and dad thought the older phones worked just fine and objected to the price increase (it went from something like $3/month to $5/month). They did without a phone for a year in protest before getting a new phone. It was still a party line where you had different ring types to distinguish between calls to your phone and calls to your neighbor. Our ring with both the phone type you see above and the first rotary phone was three shorts. Later there were party line phones with band pass filters for the ring signals and unless your phone used an adjacent ring frequency and the filter wasn’t that good you couldn’t hear the incoming ring for your neighbor. But if the frequency was adjacent and the filter wasn’t doing its job you could hear some vibration from the ringer and maybe a anemic “ding” or two when the call was intended for your neighbor.

Visit to an oasis

Growing up in north central Idaho an oasis was something I only saw in cartoons and perhaps on some television show. I have driven across the deserts of central Washington, southeastern Oregon, and Nevada many times but never came across anything similar to an oasis I would recognize from the cartoons of my childhood. They remained somewhat of a mythical place.

That changed last January when Barb and I visited the Palm Springs California area. We visited several oases in the area but by far the most interesting and pleasant were the West Fork Falls and Palm Canyon trails.

Since it has essentially the same trail head as Palm Canyon Trail and is only 0.1 miles long if you go to the Palm Canyon Trail area you must check out the West Fork Falls Trail. Barb and I were wandering around and I noticed something odd. I then began taking a bunch of pictures of the trees. Barb thought I was acting a little more strange than usual with the sudden interest in taking so many pictures of the trees. I had to explain. Check out the pictures below:


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Knob kabob

One thing that I really like about being around smart people is the clever phrases and names they come up with to describe things.

I came home from work the other day to find Barb had brought an old wood cabinet home. She took the knobs off and painted them. To avoid irregularities in the paint she strung them on a wooden skewer. She then suspended the ends of the skewers on two plastic containers while the paint dried.

She called it a “knob kabob”:


Naches Peak Loop Trail

Last Sunday, after hiking the Mount Rainier Skyline Trail the day before, we hiked the Naches Peak Loop Trail. It was a much easier hike, and while very pleasant, was no comparison in the Skyline Trail. Any other day it would have been an incredible hike. But after the Skyline Trail experience it was merely great.

For the most part the trails were wide and flat. There were a few narrow and rugged spots but nothing that caused us real concern. The views were wonderful. In places the wildflower were so plentiful the air was filled with their scent even as you walked by.



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Mount Rainier Skyline Trail Loop

Barb and I have visited Mount Rainier several times. There have been others but here are the ones I have blogged about:

Over the weekend we went again. This time Barb reserved a campsite (reservation required and they are booked six months in advance) so we would be closer to the Skyline Trail Loop and could get an early start and find parking. We still had to park about a half mile away from the trail head.


She has been wanting to go on this hike for years but it never seemed to work out. We took the upper loop and probably were within 2 miles of Camp Muir.

The weather was stunning. The air was clear, the temperature was pleasant, and there was no wind. The views were stunning.


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Mirror Lake

About three weeks ago Barb and I went on a hike to Mirror lake. It was suggested by one of her sisters and we happily headed east from Bellevue traveling over Snoqualmie Pass to exit 62. As we went deeper and deeper into the woods we started thinking “We might have been here before.” When we came to the parking area we were sure of it. We didn’t remember the name of the hike or lake when we made the choice for this destination.

Oh well, we are here so we might as well go on the hike.

If you plan to visit this location heed this warning:

From the lower parking area, you’ll notice a small sign pointing toward the Mirror Lake trailhead. Follow the wide, rocky dirt path approximately 0.5 miles to meet the trailhead for Mirror Lake. There is a small parking area adjacent to the trailhead that saves the extra 0.5 mile walk; however, it is strongly recommended that this not be attempted unless you have a jeep or other all-terrain vehicle.

Emphasis added. The road has huge ditches and large rocks in it. It is also overgrown with bushes that will probably scratch your vehicle if you push through them.

We walked the half mile or so to the small parking area adjacent to the trailhead and promptly went on up the hill to the right following the road:


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A rare occurrence

Last Friday Barb and I flew into Victoria B.C. to attend daughter Jaime’s wedding. While waiting in baggage claim a guy walked up to us and ask, “Are you Joe Huffman?”

“Uh…. yes”, I replied.

I was a bit concerned. I was already uncomfortable that I had to leave my gun, knives, and even pepper spray behind. And now some strange guy has approaching me, correctly identified me, and is verifying my identity. It took a couple seconds to think it through and realize that he just got off the same plane I did and almost for certain doesn’t have any weapons either. Together, Barb and I should be able to handle the situation should it go sour.

It turns out, as you might have already guessed, he reads my blog and just wanted to say hi. He lives in Texas and had traveled to Victoria to be with his daughter while she attended a ballet class for a month.

We had a nice chat before going through customs.

In the over 15 years of this blog there has only been one other time a strange person came up to me in an public place (Cabela’s) to say they recognized me and to say hi.

I knew that stuff was bad for you

I’m safe on this one:

According to the study, older adults over the age of 55 who consumed more than 50 grams of chili per day displayed nearly double the risk of developing poor cognition and a decline in overall memory. Interestingly, slimmer adults indulging in a spicy diet exhibited even more significant memory loss.

It wasn’t until I was well into middle age before I finally figured out that some people interpreted the eating of things like chili and black peppers as having a taste. To me (and both of my brothers) there is no taste associated with many peppers. There is only “hot” and pain. It had long been a source of great perplexion to me, “Why do people deliberately cause themselves pain for no apparently benefit?” I will feel the pain in my mouth and throat from food that has pepper concentrations that no one (other than my brothers and I) can even detect. In fact the concentration can be one tenth below the detection level of “normal” people and I still feel the “heat”.

Hence, for all my life, I have avoided spicy hot foods.

I’ll remember this when people who told me, “It’s not at all spicy!” and called me a “wimp” are drooling idiots. Don’t expect me to have much sympathy. I knew that stuff was bad for you decades ago.

Halle Berry training for John Wick 3

This afternoon daughter Jaime, her fiancé, and I went to see John Wick 3 – Parabellum. It’s a good action movie. There is some humor too. As Jaime pointed out the humor is “interesting”. It’s delivered completely straight and frequently without even any words. I recommend it for more than the entertainment value. It shows very skilled gun handling and shooting by both Keanu Reeves and Halle Barry. I’m inclined to believe, as is stated in the second video below, we see actors shooting guns at skill level never before seen in a movie.

Below is Barry doing, essentially, USPSA stages. I expect she is performing at about a low class B for a USPSA shooter.

There is some controversy in the gun community over this. I’m inclined to side with Uncle on it.

I expect the anti-gun people universally hate the movie and the training videos. It shows what can be done with guns and make it look fun. And it is fun. I’m going to a USPSA match tomorrow, and do most of what Reeves and Barry did in the videos above and I’m going to have fun doing it.

I wish

It would be nice if it were possible you could rent a carry gun when you are traveling. Suppose you were going to do some domestic travel for a few days, then continue on to an international destination before returning. You want to be able to carry when you legally can but leave the gun behind when you visit your international destinations. Renting for a few days would be a good option.

Another option would be to have a small storage service that you could trust your gun with while you traveled.

Does anyone know of such thing in the Fort Lauderdale area?

I’m not sure I knew this

Mom died in 2012 and Dad died in 2014. My younger brothers have been slowly cleaning out our parents house and recently told me that at the present rate they should be finished by, IIRC, 2050.

In my last trip to Idaho there was a stack of stuff waiting for me. The following newspaper clipping was among the things I found:


In the 440 Yard Dash section I’m listed as tying for 8th and 9th place for all-time record times. I don’t think I knew this. I never thought myself as all that great. Doug Meyer (2nd), Morgan McEntire (6th), and Greg Heathco (7th) were competing in some of the same years I did and I compared myself to them. And Olsen frequently talked about Chris Johnson (1st). Johnson was rather ordinary until his senior year and Olson said that he just had to give Johnson the instruction to lift his knees more. The result was amazing. So, I indirectly compared myself to Johnson as well. Olson was never able to figure out what to tell me so that I could do significantly better.

Probably the best thing that would have made a difference was for me to be born one day later. Had I been a day younger I would have been in the class of ‘74 instead of the class of ‘73. Instead of being the youngest student in my grade I would have been one of the oldest. At that age another year makes a significant difference in athletic performance.