Monday, August 31, 2009

Back Home

Back home from two weeks of vacation which were also to some degree a vacation from blogging. Actually I'm not due back on the job till tomorrow, so I'm taking today as a much-needed day to decompress from the rigors of vacationing.

As in, you know, it was good to visit family and friends but it's also good to be back in my own home, and back to my own quiet, peaceful, slow paced way of life.

The latter part of vacation I discovered Firefly, got the series on DVD, and watched it clear through in the span of a few days. Aha! My brother says he hasn't seen it yet; so I do believe one piece of my Christmas shopping has fallen into place.

Got up this morning and drove in to town to visit the doctor for the first time in over 20 years. Or rather, the nurse collected some samples from me (ah, me and my fear of needles!), and later this week I'll be heading back to the doctor to find out just how far off the beam my health has gone over the past two decades. I mean, I feel fine, but at my age...

Monday, August 24, 2009


Of course I have my trusty laptop along with me on vacation. After a friend introduced me to Hulu the other day, I've been watching TV episodes on my computer, and having to resist mightily the temptation to run out to a store and pick up a couple of series on DVD. Of course at home "running out to the store" for such items is not ordinarily on the agenda, as the nearest such store is nearly 60 miles away from where I live! Instead I order over the Internet, and wait a few days.

Though in several ways I'm finding that my computer experience, here on vacation at my folks' place in the city, is quite different from out on a gravel road at home. It was only back around Memorial Day that I achieved wireless capability in Linux for the first time, and only at the beginning of July that my small rural ISP upgraded my DSL connection to the point where most online video material is feasible. Then it was only about six weeks ago that I got a new laptop battery so that I could take practical advantage of the mobility that a laptop and a wireless router ought to afford a body.

However, at home I have a particular spot where I am accustomed to sit and use my laptop, so...

It was not until I arrived here in the city, at my folks' place, on vacation -- here where I have no customary "spot to use my laptop" -- that I've been really blossoming in the "use your computer anywhere at any time for anything" department. And it really does leave me feeling sprung another few degrees free of my ordinary connections in time and space, or time and meatspace.

And More Vacation

So last week I went to see that old college buddy and his wife. We had a great time together, talking, dinner. Plus my old friend introduced me to Hulu, which I've heard of but had never looked into before -- until recently my DSL bandwidth out there in the countryside wasn't adequate even to think of it. Also he introduced me to Pandora, a music service which I hadn't heard of before. As you might guess, I've been tinkering with both ever since.

Went one day to visit my grandmother, which meant a long drive beyond the city where my folks now live. My grandmother, well past the century mark, and still just as clear in the head as anyone. It's sobering to think that she's one of the last people around who can tell you not only about the days back before radio. She also can remember the first time she ever saw an automobile: she was well into grade school at the time.

And out with my folks to a restaurant the other day. And was on the phone this morning with another friend of mine who lives here in the city. He was my supervisor at work for a few years back in the 90s, back before I fled the city for deep rural America. We're going to get together later this week, eat at some kind of offbeat ethnic restaurant, maybe hit a live music performance.

And I've been napping, lying around, vegetating. Amazing how I shift into such a fallow mode when I'm on vacation.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


On vacation, visiting family in the city far away. This afternoon am going to go see an old college friend.

I have my laptop with me, and my brother has a wireless router. Which is not to say that I'm otherwise feeling very much like blogging at the moment, thank you. It's feeling way too much like vacation.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Three nights in a row I set out the mousetrap, with peanut butter, in a corner of the living room. I'd seen that mouse streaking across the floor. So three nights in a row I set out the mousetrap.

And three mornings I found the mousetrap, peanut butter eaten, sitting there with the trap unsprung. This morning for the third time I found when I got up that the mouse had eaten the peanut butter without springing the mousetrap.

Though this morning, after checking the trap, I was making breakfast out in the kitchen when I heard that loud snap! Went and checked and sure enough. The mouse had come back to the trap, I suppose to check it for more peanut butter. It didn't find any peanut butter, but this time it did set off the trap.

I can't imagine what a mouse is doing in the house in the middle of August. Strike that: was doing in the house.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Doctor Appointment

Well, I was in town yesterday, and I stopped off at the clinic and made an appointment to see the doctor. Yes, in a couple of weeks. An appointment for a physical.

I'm feeling fine. But this will be the first time I've been to see the doctor in... oh, you wouldn't believe me if I told you how many years it's been. I've been fine. I got out of the habit. So I didn't go.

I'm feeling fine. Though after all these years, and at my age, I suppose it's more than likely he'll find something to stick me on pills for.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

100 Years of Pendleton Blankets

A Pendleton catalog came in the mail the other day. You know, Pendleton blankets. And I find they're celebrating 100 years of Pendleton wool blankets, Pendleton Indian blankets, turned out from the Pendleton woolen mills, which are among the few American woolen mills still in operation.

I'm a great fan of wool blankets, and now that that the hot weekend has passed and things have unseasonably cooled off again, I'm back to curling up of an early morning beneath my beloved Pendleton wool Indian blanket. Curling up beneath the blanket with a cup of coffee after breakfast. Really, I love wool blankets. There's nothing like a wool blanket. A near perfect combination of simplicity, quality, tradition, beauty, usefulness, and just plain funkiness.

I discover this morning that there are several pages on this 100th anniversary and company history, on the Pendleton website. No, I'm no shill for Pendleton, I just know quality when I see it. And I'm a longtime fan of wool blankets.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Coffee Spill

It probably doesn't happen to you often. But when it does happen, it throws your world into minor household turmoil.

I'm talking coffee spill. Somehow this morning, while sitting here at the computer, I spilled a nearly full cup of coffee. Spilled it across my desk, onto the floor, onto the carpeting...

Immediately I was like, "Oh, shit!!!" Quickly lifted a few semi-valuable items out of the way of the spreading puddle of hot coffee. Ran for a bunch of paper towels, blotted up as much as I could. Then damp towels to take up more, Formula 409 to scrub the coffee out of the carpeting, more damp towels, more dry towels, then going over any coffee marks that were still evident...

I think everything's going to be okay. The miracle is, nothing was permanently damaged. Desk okay, and everything on it. Carpet cleaned. Rug set underneath my office chair to protect the carpeting (rug atop carpeting, I know that violates the rules of heraldry, don't ask) actually took the brunt of the spill, and the rug is cleaned and presently airing out on my front porch.

Only minor problem may be, the old pillow I use as a seat cushion for my office chair, old green pillow with faded red and yellow stripes, took a hit on one edge and I didn't want to use Formula 409 on it. So I blotted and dried, wiped down with damp paper towels, blotted and dried some more, and we shall have to see if the old pillow ends up with coffee stains along one edge.

I'm very thankful nothing happened to my laptop. Until within the past year, I used to have my laptop sitting on top of my desk. Then I got a retro oak typewriter stand (actually an old oak plant stand) to set the laptop on -- like, you know, a typewriter set on an old typewriter stand alongside the desk. Fortuitous is forearmed.

And I hope it will be a long, long time before I spill another cup of coffee.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wilting Heat

After an unseasonably cool (but quite pleasant) summer, I didn't expect to experience a night like last night. Forecast was, low in the mid 70s. Low in the mid 70s. It was more like low in the upper 70s, plus extremely humid.

This, in a climate where even in a normal summer I expect it to get below 70 at night -- where often enough, this summer, night temperatures have gotten below 60.

I got through the night somehow, even slept some, but I'm just wilting this morning. Guess I'll stumble through my Sunday somehow.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Rationalists and Anger

I'm surely not the only person who's noticed that self-styled rationalists are most often marked, not by actual displays of reason, but rather by a burning display of anger and rage. I mean, why are rationalists usually such angry people? Rigid, seething, volcanic, can't-see-straight anger! What essential part of reason proper is anger? Or is there more going on here than Spock is willing to admit?

Koon ut kal if fee!

When I've managed to get a rationalist to stop foaming at the mouth long enough to explain why they're wallowing in so much free-floating anger, usually they mouth a line such as, "Well, when my eyes were opened and I became a rationalist of course I was angry at having been deceived!" An explanation which makes no sense at all, as if someone vehemently tried to explain to you why his favorite color is F#. I mean, isn't one's line of reasoning just as valid with or without the inessential continual accompaniment of a white-hot rage? And isn't a mechanical reliance on such stock non-explanations a good sign that rationalism is to rationalization close allied?


I'm just glad I never had to contend with such misbegotten individuals on my old blog -- you know, that old blog that actually had a readership. A very civilized and civil readership. But the rabid, hydrophobic rationalist is a common enough type out there in the blogosphere, disproportionately common. I really wonder what makes such mad dogs tick. And why they are so blind, so utterly blind to the livid scarlet stripe of rage which runs down the middle of their own soul.

And for the final round of combat, the oldest and deadliest of Vulcan weapons is the ahn-woon...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dream Logic

Words I overheard last night in a dream:
Of course it's an action game, you have telephones.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Immanuel Kant in Five Words or Less

Oh dear. I'm feeling philosophical this morning, which is usually not a good sign.

Shorter Kant: There is no red pill.