Sunday, October 31, 2010


So today is Halloween-- or "Holloween," as people persist in mispronouncing it. And tonight is trick-or-treat. Out here on a gravel road in deep rural America, if the past few years are any indication, that means I can expect maybe three trick-or-treaters all evening long.

It's not worth it, staying in gear all evening long, even (as I've done some years) dressing up in a costume myself. Not for only three kids all evening long. So I didn't bother to get any candy this year. And I'll be turning out all the lights this evening, pretending I'm not home, and conducting myself like a greying fifty-something who would rather not put himself out on a quiet Sunday evening if he doesn't have to.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hard Frost

Last night we had the first hard frost of the season. This year's unusually long Indian summer seems to be behind us. And I suspect the first snow is not long off.

Spring and fall seldom last long in these parts. Once we get the first true fall weather, it's usually no more than a month until we complete the transition from summerlike weather to wintry cold and snow. And spring weather is even shorter: I can't recall the last time the transition from snow and ice to summer heat took more than about three weeks.


Somehow a friend long ago enticed me onto Facebook. For a great while I seldom bothered with my Facebook account; then inch by inch I was drawn deeper into the Facebook gravity well, until now I at least log in and take a look almost every day. Somehow I've acquired a long and growing list of Facebook "friends," and I've come to realize that some people on Facebook fall into predictable categories.

There are the Political Fanatics, rigid extremists out on the fringe, now waxing more loquacious as the elections draw near. These people cannot refrain from making frantic, emotional-pressure-cooker remarks about their pet political issues, and usually about the horrors of their eeeevil opponents, which predictably lead to long angry partisan threads in which people sling mud back and forth at one another. The Political Fanatic, of course, is only being "perfectly objective"; all eeeevil lies on the opponents' side of the issue.

There are the Fortune Cookies, who occasionally will post a sugary cliche, "Life hands us a tough situation we never asked for, until we reach the point of sacrificing and sacrificing again, but one day we will look back and be glad we did it." The Fortune Cookies are usually women, and they often refer to their better half as "DH"; I think sons and daughters are abbreviated "DS" and "DD."

There are the Gamesters, addicted to Farmville or Mafia Wars or whatever. Your page will be flooded with a Gamester's messages, "Oh no! A poor little strawberry calf wandered onto So-and-So's farm..." I think I've long since blocked most of the games played on Facebook.

There are the Compulsive Detailers, who have to inform you every time they run out to the supermarket for a few groceries. Then after they get home they have to leave another message, describing just which groceries they got, and just which weren't on their shopping list but they broke down and got them anyhow...

There are the Mystery Complainers, who will write something like, "With a day like today, I should have stayed in bed!" No details as to what or why. Seems usually they're hoping to snag replies (and attention) from friends, "Gee, are you feeling down today? What happened?" I say, please don't feed the energy creature.

Why did I ever get on Facebook in the first place? Sometimes I wonder. Though now that I'm drawn in this deeply, I suspect there's no getting out. Better to stay and keep a cautious eye on things, than leave and lose all control over all the personal information Facebook has gathered on me.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Crap, sometimes I wonder how my life gets so busy. This week and last, I've been running, running, running. All day long most days, and late on into the evening many an evening. And it's not going to slow down for another several days. Clear on through this weekend, and then maybe next week will be a little less hectic.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Oh dear. I really do wonder if I'm losing my marbles. You see, I've found Enlightenment.

That is, I've been using Linux for 7 years now, Mandrake/Mandriva all the way. (And let's not get into where, if anywhere, that's heading in the short to medium run.) And all those years-- from within the first few weeks, at any rate-- I've been a Fluxbox man. No GNOME or KDE for me, thank you, I'll take Fluxbox.

Until just a few days ago when, on a whim, I downloaded and installed Enlightenment, alias e17. And started tinkering with it. And tinkering. And tinkering some more.

And have already pretty well managed to emulate, and far surpass, most of what had long enthralled me about Fluxbox. With a great deal more eye candy. And I'm just getting warmed up!

Gone from the severe orange theme of the past two and a half years to e17-gaudy black and yellow, oh, lots of yellow. And I feel as if I'm betraying poor Fluxbox, indeed cheating on her and being unfaithful to her.

I may give up on Enlightenment and go back to Fluxbox yet. Though, with a creeping sense of guilt, I'm beginning to wonder.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blocking the Aisle

Have you ever noticed at the supermarket, there are certain people who consistently block the aisle? Standing there for minutes on end, trying to decide on which of two cans of peas to get. Standing there endlessly, gabbling loudly with a friend. Standing there lost in thought, blankly staring, meditating on various cuts of meat. And often with their shopping cart held out unnecessarily at a right angle, so as to set up a roadblock across the full width of even the widest aisle. Or wheeling their cart right down the middle of the aisle, so there's no room to get by them on either side.

And utterly oblivious to the presence of anyone else. Blithely unaware of the rest of us, who can't get past their mindlessly imposed barricade.

Most people you encounter at the supermarket aren't like this. They're aware of others' presence. Courteous. They follow the rules of the road. But it seems on any shopping trip you always run into one or two of the other type, the aisle-blockers.

And the same individuals are guilty of blocking you over and over again in aisle after aisle. Often they're elderly. Often they're lost in a cloud. Often as if the notion of coexisting in the same limited space with others is completely foreign to them. Always supremely annoying.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Wool Sweater

A few weeks ago I sent off for a new wool sweater. Glad I did, too, because we're into wool sweater weather already.

Though the sweater that arrived at first was much too large for me. I ordered my usual size, XL, but it hung off me like a potato sack. I don't know how much of that was the sweater and how much of it was my continued weight loss; probably a combination of both.

So I exchanged the sweater for a Large, which fits me like a sweater should. Navy blue, 100% wool, and just in time for autumn leaves and first frost of the season.