Wallow Fire Has Burned 500,409 Acres And Is 38% Contained

In Albuquerque, we haven’t had a whole lot of smoke in the last few days. It’s mostly been blowing south of the city. InciWeb says that 32 residences has been destroyed, which is impressive considering this is now the largest fire in Arizona’s history at over 500,000 acres.

The 4000 people fighting this fire deserve far more credit than I can possible give.

Wallow Fire Progression Map June 18

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National Guard Weapons Of Mass Destruction Support Team Training In Rio Rancho

A few weeks ago I was driving down Unser Blvd in Rio Rancho and saw a whole lot of dark blue trucks, one with a satellite dish on top, and a bunch of military SWAT team like people parked at a business.

The Rio Rancho Observer reports that it was the National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction support team.

Rio Rancho was the scene of a mock emergency situation last week, when the 64th Civil Support Team, local New Mexico National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction support team responded to a call at a “storage facility” on Unser Boulevard. Major Troy Chadwell , deputy commander of the 64th Civil Support Team organized the exercise, which involved about 22 CST members reporting to the scene, trying to first determine what hazard was there and advising on the consequences of the contaminant to the community and first responders. Chadwell said the scenario involved a landlord of the facility entering a storage unit of a man who left without paying rent and finding what he thought was a meth lab; but was actually toxic chemicals manufacturing.

I’m not sure why but there was something creepy about all the color coordinated dark blue vehicles sitting on this lot, and knowing they were military makes it a little more creepy.

Planning For Loosing My Job And Extended Unemployment

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The current recession is like nothing ever experienced since The Great Depression. The semi-conductor industry is getting hit hard and I’m concerned that I could loose my job. It was the beginning of January that my employer said they will not need to cut jobs. At the end of January Intel announced plant closures and layoffs.

I can only speculate but I think these closures were going to happen at some point. They are just occurring earlier than were originally planned. Intel had already been slimming down for the last several years. The 1000 lay offs in the manufacturing sites were a surprise and maybe they were expecting those position to be eliminated though attrition. The site I work at is reducing 100 to 200 people.

A little over two years ago Intel cut jobs here in Rio Rancho when they merged factories and elimated the 200mm factory. This happened when the economy was booming. Then, I was very unprepared to loose my job. I had significant debt, little savings and no plan in the event that I lost my job. That was a very stressful time because the whole process lasted 6 months and I didn’t know if I would have a job or not. In the end, it turned out to be a whole lot of drama for nothing as I was never at risk for losing my job.

That whole ordeal taught me a lesson and I decided that I never wanted to be in that position again. Since then I have cut all my debt except for my mortgage and have started saving and building an emergency fund (I still have a much more to save before I make it to a years salary).

The economy seems to be getting worse. I fear Intel will have no choice but to cut more jobs to remain profitable as semiconductors sales drop. I could still get redeployed, the fancy term Intel uses for “we eliminated your job but if you can find another job in the company go for it. There aren’t any.” What happens If I do get laid off? Business Week says Albuquerque is one of the best cities to ride out the recession. I’m not sure I believe that and have started to plan for long term unemployment, a year or more.

Besides my savings I won’t be immediately without money. Not only do I have accumulated vacation and absent time that I can cash in, it’s very likely I will received at least three months of severance pay, maybe more due to my long service with the company. After the severance pay runs out I could draw on unemployment for a while. I have company stock and although it’s lost significant value in the last few months the stock sale could produce enough money to live off of for several months. Finally I could pull money from my 401K if I absolutely needed cash.

I will need to cut costs where I can. A few of the major expenses I can think of:

  • Good bye satellite tv. Ironic since I will have plenty of time to watch it. I may replace it with a much cheaper Netflix plan, if I find I have time to watch movies. I still have my Apple TV and uh… bittorrent.
  • I might eliminate the data plan from my iPhone. If I find I am at home most of the time I don’t see why I would need it much. I won’t eliminate my internet service. I already have a fairly inexpensive plan and using the internet will be needed for job searching.
  • Since I won’t be at work, I will stop going out for breakfast and lunch. I will need to monitor my food budget much more closely. Now I buy whatever I want without much regard for costs. Maybe I will become one of those extreme coupon clippers.
  • My 1997 Ford Ranger is paid for and in good conidion. I recently reduced the insurance on it. Assuming I’m unemployed for more than a few months, I would plan to ride my bike around town to reduce the chance that my truck would have problems. If I did have problems with my truck I am more than capable of making repairs myself. I could pay for repairs with a credit card and make the minimum payments if I had to have someone else fix it.
  • I’m not sure there’s much room for reducing energy costs. I already have the thermostat aggressively controlled by the home automation computer and I don’t use that much energy by myself.
  • Today if I want something, I put it on my credit card and buy it. If I want to travel somewhere I go. I do carefully budget these expenses so that they are paid for at the end of the month. It is pretty easy to do when I have steady income. If I get laid off and a new iPhone comes out, it’s going to take quite a bit of will power to not buy it.

If I am unemployed, I am not going to sit around and feel sorry for myself. In fact it’s an opportunity to get some things done that I haven’t had time to do.

  • I have bunch of junk that I need to sell and or donate that I haven’t been able to sort out.
  • I have a number of projects around the house I can work on that cost little or no money. I also can scour Craigslist for materials.
  • I have my iPhone and Mac OS programming to practice.
  • I will be blogging a lot more.

I think there will be some jobs out there, they just wont pay nearly as much as what I make now. If I have to I will work for minimum wage at the local pizza place. I could survive off that little money and still make the house payment. Who knows, I might actually enjoy it.

Unlike the last time I went through lay offs, I am not stressed about loosing my job this time. Sure it won’t be easy and it helps that I don’t have a family to care for. I will have to make some lifestyle changes. I have a plan and I am prepared for what ever comes along.

Color Changes

I made some tweaks to the stylesheet, just colors no layout. Let me know what you think and if there’s anything unreadable.

[Update:] As it turns out there’s not a whole lot of colors that go with grey, except maybe blue. I’m also trying to determine the best way to add rounded corners. This certainly matches my preferred “industrial” style but it’s still not quite right. Too dark me thinks. 

Day Trip To Santa Fe Photos

Today I took a trip to Santa Fe with my parents. There isn’t a whole lot there, for being the capital city of New Mexico. No high rises, just a small square in the middle of the city. A lot of artsy shops and Indian jewelry surround the square. It was pretty cold, under 40 degrees, so we didn’t stay long. Yeah yeah, 40 isn’t very cold compared to some places but it’s cold enough not to want to be in.

I’m having some problems with my Camera. Take the image titled “Looking tword the cathedral”, Images that are dark sometimes have some graininess to them. I also find that I get about 2-3 corrupt pictures. I don’t know if this is some problem with the memory card or the camera. There are a few images I took of the monument in the center of the square, where they removed the word savage describing the indians, that were corrupt.

There wasn’t any protesters in the plaza today but there were some along the way.

Race track

Race Track

Edge of town

Edge of town

Protesters

Protesters

Santa Fe

Santa Fe

Near the cathedral

Native American art work

Native American art work

Native American art work

Looking toward the cathedral

Looking toward the cathedral

Rooftops

Santa Fe Rooftops

About the monument

about the monument

Down town square < downtown square

Santa Fe Public Library

Santa Fe Public Library

Viewing The Sites On The Drive From Albuquerque To Phoenix

This week we made a trip to Arizona. Since I’m from there, still have family there and have rental property there I make these trips quite often. Usually I make a straight trip there from Albuquerque to Flagstaff then down to Phoenix. I can make it in less than 8 hours this way. This time however my girlfriend and I decided to take our time and check out the sites along the way. We got a late start that day. I was waiting for a package delivery from UPS and they didnt get here unitl about 2:30pm.

ArizonaThere isn’t a whole lot to see between Albuquerque and the Arizona/New Mexico border. There are several places we could have stopped but will have to save them for next time. First stop was the Petrified Forest National Park In Arizona. The wind was really bad that day and the smoke from the Tucson fire was blowing into the area. I could barely hold the camera still. The park service charges $10 per car, which seemed a bit expensive. The painted desert is beautiful. The main part with the petrified trees was kind of sad. Before the area was a national park people came and took parts of the peterfied wood, so there wasnt a whole lot to see there.I can imagine what it looked like before most of the larger pieces were removed. The park is now protected, so noting can be removed from it.

ArizonaWe got there about 6pm. The park closes at 7pm. So we started heading out at 6:45 when we were about half way through it only to see people still heading into the park. It was after 7 and were wondering why no one else is leaving. After were a few miles down the road I realize that New Mexico time is 1 hour ahead of Arizona time. So the park time was 6, not 7.

Once we got to Flagstaff it was night time and we were tired. We stayed at a Holiday Inn right near the freeeway. If your ever in Flag try no to stay there. There are train tracks about 2000 feet away. The train came buy at least 3 times that night and just had to toot his horn every time.

ArizonaOnce we left Flagstaff we headed to Sedona via State Route 89A. I was hoping to check out Slide Rock in Oak Creek Canyon. We just wanted to go down and take a look, but the park service wants $10 per car regardless of wether your getting in the water or not. We chose to no go this time. None the less the drive through the canyon was nice.

Once we arrived at Sedona we pretty much just checked out the main drag. A tourist trap with lots of shops. Nothing that interesting to see there. They do have tours that take you around which I’m sure are much more interesting. I’ll be posting more on my trip back to New Mexico.