Friday, October 30, 2009

Getting Ready for Halloween

Out here on the gravel roads far into the countryside, there used to be a fair -- never huge -- number of kids within trick-or-treating distance. When I first moved here years back, I'd get at least 15 or 20 costumed witches, mummies, cowboys, commandos, and bumblebees on a Halloween.

But those kids have gotten older and outgrown Halloween. Last year I believe I got only three or four trick-or-treaters all evening long. There are a few little ones who will be old enough in another year or two, but once again this year I really don't expect more than three or four.

So I'm trying to decide whether I'm going to leave the light on out front tomorrow evening, or leave the house shrouded in darkness. Whether even to pick up some candy when I run in to town this afternoon. We shall see. I'm in a decidedly un-Halloween-like mood this year.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Coat Revisited

That new wool coat I got a few weeks ago has quickly become my favorite. Enough so that I'm mildly annoyed that Indian summer is keeping me from wearing it right at the moment. Oh well, colder weather will soon be upon us.

One odd thing I discovered about the coat, something I wouldn't have realized without actually wearing it. (And I guess this shows how little experience I have with wearing a long buttoned coat.) I discover that in order for me to sit down, the lowermost button on the coat needs to be unbuttoned. In fact unless I'm standing or walking in unusually cold weather, it would be best to leave that lowermost button unbuttoned.

It's a minor thing, and no problem, but I never in my life would've realized it without actually wearing and using the coat.

This set me to thinking of how many things around us have characteristics that we would be highly unlikely ever to discover except through direct hands-on experience with them. You can theorize and cogitate all you want, but the world is filled with lowermost coat buttons that, unbeknownst to you, had best be left unbuttoned.

Or as Yogi Berra put it, "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

Slow Down

And after a long period of rush, things are slowing down at last. I'm taking today off -- first day I've had off since early October.

Eh, the older I get, the harder it is to keep up with these occasional bursts which are built into the nature of my work. I don't have the stamina I had in my 20s and 30s. Though it isn't like this most of the time. Only occasionally. Hope I'm heading now into a stretch where life will resume a more reasonable pace.

Friday, October 23, 2009


There are times when my workload cruises along at a manageable level. And there are times when the floodgate goes wide open: this past week has been one of those times, and it ain't through yet. I hardly know where I've been, or what I've been doing, except that I've been running mornings, afternoons, and most evenings, sometimes up and running even before dawn.

Oh well. Things will slow back down again eventually. In the meanwhile, as the old saying goes, "you knew the job was dangerous when you took it."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Requesting Floyd

Back in the 70s there was a song by 10cc called "I'm Not in Love." And at one point the lyrics ran, "Big boys don't cry, big boys don't cry, big boys don't cry..."

Except somehow, for years, I heard it as, "Requesting Floyd, requesting Floyd, requesting Floyd, requesting Floyd..."

One of the weirdest cases of misheard lyrics ever. No idea where I ever got it from, but that's what I was hearing: "Requesting Floyd, requesting Floyd, requesting Floyd..."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Back Door

Out here in deep rural America where I live, the main door to most houses is the back door. You enter and leave through the back door. The front door is vestigial, it leads nowhere, it is hardly ever used, and indeed I know of houses around here where furniture is blocking access to that unused front door.

I grew up in town, where people use their front door as a front door, so all this is somewhat unusual to me. Not that I was unfamiliar with it: my grandparents' farmhouse had the back door as main access and exit. But still, back door as main door is a somewhat peculiar custom if you think of it. Or so it's always seemed to me.

Oddly enough, my house, on a gravel road way out here in the country, has the front door as main door. This house was built about 1880, and apparently the front door has always been the main door. I know of one or two other houses in the area which also are structured so as to make the front door the door you mostly use. But such houses are very much in the minority, out here in the wide open spaces of Back Door America.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Yes, snowflakes were coming down most of the day yesterday. Not real thick, but not so very light either. A slow, steady presence of snow falling.

The ground is still warm enough that we didn't get any accumulation. Yet. Give it another few days. As usual this time of year, we go from near-summerlike weather to snowfall in just a few weeks.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Oh dear. Now I went and wrenched my hip joint. Left hip. It happened a couple of nights ago, something about the way I rolled over in bed. Now my hip is okay, until I lean at the wrong angle, and then...

This hip has been a trial to me ever since I was twelve years old. I repeat, twelve years old. At least a hot water bottle really does help. And as long as I lie on my back I'm okay.

It will be fine again in a few days. In the meanwhile, I'm just glad I've got today off from work...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Coat Arrived

The new wool coat arrived yesterday, and as usual when UPS flubs the delivery, it simply showed up in my mailbox, foisted off by UPS onto the US Postal Service. Oh well, at least it's here.

And the coat is a thing of beauty. Wool that will wear like iron and last a lifetime. Practical. Functional. And did I say beautiful? I'd been wondering if I'd ordered a size too large, but over a heavy sweatshirt it fits just right. I can see I'm going to get a lot of use out of this coat, in fall, winter, spring, and with layering even in the depths of frigid winter.

Not cheap. But I'm a firm believer in buying quality, quality that will last and will serve your purposes and then some. Wool. Forest green. Buttons, not zippers. Rather retro. Pockets, pockets, pockets. It's a Filson Mackinaw Cruiser, and I couldn't be more pleased with a new wool coat that will keep me warm out here in the cold boondocks. Will keep me warm and will last.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Coat Awaited

Well, so last week I ordered a new wool coat for winter. And if you know me, you know that means I ordered a coat that is simple, basic, high quality, and rather retro. Wool. Buttons, not zippers. First made in 1914, and the design and specs haven't changed since. It's even made in the USA.

So. Said coat was sent by UPS. Sent from Seattle. In this day and age, that means I can track the progress of the shipment online. Looked like it was going to arrive yesterday, but no, the package (in UPS-speak) "experienced an exception." So I'm hoping it will be arriving today. Which would (excluding the weekend, when it just sat) make four business days that it took to get here. Four business days, when looking at the map and various UPS charts, I can't for the life of me see how it could take more than two business days to arrive. At the very most.

Wood Heat

I was talking last night with a young couple from the area who tell me that they heat their home with wood.

It occurred to me that this is probably a very wise move on their part. Look at the shenanigans of the malefactors of great wealth, who nearly dragged our economy under in recent times. Look at their stooges and enablers, of either political party, in government. Look at how nothing is really being fixed, and how record debt keeps piling up. If I were looking ahead and planning for the future, I wouldn't heat my home with fuel oil or with electricity. I'd heat my home with wood. I'd have a garden and some chickens out back, too. And some guns and ammo stored away.

Not that I'm so foresightful. (Is that a word, foresightful?) Though I am damn glad that I live in deep rural America, far from any city, far off the beaten path, in an area that people don't pass through to get to anywhere else. And that I'm surrounded by good neighbors I've gotten to know over the past ten years. Given the profligate and unrepentant ways of our plutocratic overlords, I'd be real surprised if in the next ten years we don't find ourselves living through what the Chinese used to call "interesting times."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Or not actually that I'm dead, or about to die any time soon. Though my ongoing recent encounter with health issues has put me in mind of my own mortality. Saw the doctor again yesterday, and overall he's pleased with my progress. Though some aspects of my condition aren't responding as quickly as he'd like, so he added yet another medication to the witch's brew he's already got me on.


Back last spring around April 15 I was quite busy, so I filed for an extension on my tax paperwork. Now October 15 is looming up, and my tax forms are most definitely coming due. As I find myself even busier than I was six months ago. This week is going to be hectic, the week following at least as rushed... well, I'll just have to find time to do those tax forms, even if it means a stray hour squeezed in here and there between other tasks.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Juicy Fruit Gum Is Yellow?!

Recently I bought a pack of Juicy Fruit gum for the first time in ages. I mean, for possibly the first time in decades. And I was astonished to see that Juicy Fruit gum is now colored a bright and distinctive yellow.

When did this happen? When did they decide to color Juicy Fruit yellow? I mean, the package has always been yellow. The taste is the same. But back in my day, Juicy Fruit gum, like any respectable gum, was a pale and nondescript light tan. When did it turn yellow?!

Though somehow, in a twisted way, it makes sense to me. We have to dumb everything down. Coloring Juicy Fruit a more... garishly Juicy Fruit color is sort of like color-captioning for the thinking impaired. It makes sense that, in a world of reality TV, and three plus three added by calculator, and high school graduates who can't read their own diploma, Juicy Fruit gum had to be "color coded" for the sake of those who would otherwise go into terminal brainlock over why a gum that tasted yellow didn't also look yellow.