New Mexico Has No Jobs

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From the Wall Street Journal “New Mexico Looks to Diversify Employer Mix

Bordered by states with rapidly expanding economies, New Mexico remains unable to improve much on an anemic recovery and officials trace it to one root cause: an overreliance on government jobs.

New Mexico posted nonfarm job growth of 0.2% from October 2012 to October 2013, compared with 2.4% in Texas, 1.9% in Colorado, and 1.7% in Arizona, according to a December report by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. New Mexico is still down about 40,000 nonfarm jobs compared with late 2007.

The article goes on to give some examples on how the state government is trying to bring in business such as tax cuts. It seems to be too little too late and I’m afraid the worse is to come for New Mexico.

New Mexico Means New Navel of the Moon

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From “Infographic: The Literal Meaning Of Every State Name In The U.S.

The New Navel of the Moon. It’s so poetic, isn’t it? (And sure, maybe a bit anatomically confusing.) That’s the real meaning behind the state name New Mexico, and it’s one of many etymological gems uncovered by cartographers Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust while they were creating this U.S. map depicting the original, literal meanings behind the states and cities we know today.

1997 Ford Ranger Seat Belt Buckle Replacement

1997 Ford Ranger seat belt buckle with broken button
1997 Ford Ranger seat belt buckle with broken button

The belt buckle (the part connected on the seat that the seat belt latches into) on my 1997 Ford Ranger failed. The button would stick in a pushed state and the belt would not latch or it would latch and then pop out while driving. Sometimes I could hit the button housing and the button would pop out, but it was getting more and more difficult to do. Normally I would search online and order the parts but not wanting to wait any longer to replace the buckle I purchased a new part from a local Ford dealer for $130. I could have probably found it cheaper online but when it comes to safety equipment I prefer to have OEM.

The new buckle came with instructions and will fit 1995 through 1997 Ford Explorer and 1996 through 1997 Lincoln Mountaineer. It also came with instructions but I could not access the screw holding the buckle on the seat which left two options, removing the seat or the center console. I chose to remove the center console.

First the cup holders were removed to access two screws underneath. The cup holds are held on by two clips in the front and sort of hinge of two plastic tabs in the back. I pulled up on the front of the cup holders then pulled the cup holders out.

Cup holders pop out to get to the screws underneath
Cup holders pop out to get to the screws underneath

Once the cup holders are removed two long screws can be removed and this will free the front part of the console.

Remove these two screws
Remove these two screws

In the rear of the console there are plastic covers on each side that need to be removed.

Screw cover
Screw cover

Under the covers there are 4 screws (2 on each side) that will allow the arm rest to be removed.

Screws need to be removed
Screws need to be removed

Once the arm rest is removed there is one final screw to be removed. One the center console is removed access to the seatbelt screw is straight forward.

1997 Ford Ranger center console removed by gregjsmith, on Flickr
1997 Ford Ranger center console removed by gregjsmith, on Flickr

The belt buckle can be removed with a standard T50 torx bit.

Report From The River Of Lights At The Albuquerque Botanical Gardens

I went to the “River of Lights” at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens for this first time this year on opening day, Nov 30th 2013. My Mom was in town otherwise I would not have gone.

I still get confused between the Botanical Gardens/Aquarium and the Zoo. I drove to the Zoo (aka BioPark) thinking thats where the event was held and instead found the park and ride to the Botanical Gardens. I then drove to the Botanical Gardens, saw the crazy traffic getting into the park and drove back to the park and ride at the zoo. We then rode a school bus from the zoo to the event.

Body fluid clean up kit by Greg Smith, on Flickr
Body fluid clean up kit by Greg Smith, on Flickr

We arrived at the Botanical Garends near opening and there was a long line to get in but it moved fast.

Long but fast moving line to get into the River of Lights by Greg Smith, on Flickr
Long but fast moving line to get into the River of Lights by Greg Smith, on Flickr

Even with all the displays being (I assume) LED rope lights, I have to wonder how much power the displays consume.

Extension cords to power the lighting displays. by Greg Smith, on Flickr
Extension cords to power the lighting displays. by Greg Smith, on Flickr

In the center of the park there were some carolers singing in a covered area surrounded a large open area. It was dark and leaves covering the ground everywhere. There was some sort of short metal garden barrier near the carolers that my Mom and I tripped over. I informed an “official” with the park that someone is going to trip and break their leg on it.

Carolers singing in the center of the park by Greg Smith, on Flickr
Carolers singing in the center of the park by Greg Smith, on Flickr

Overall there were lots of people, there were lots of we made light display, it was cold. There were expensive alcoholic beverages to be had. My mom compared it favorably to the Phoenix Zoo ZooLights although she thought Albuquerque’s attempt was smaller and more expensive.

Lights all over the River of Lights by Greg Smith, on Flickr
Lights all over the River of Lights by Greg Smith, on Flickr