Monday, October 25, 2010

Ouch, darn it.

I gritted my teeth and lifted the 6 gallon water jug out of the back of the truck. The pain was sudden, immediate, and in my mouth? WTF?

I split a molar. Lengthwise, upper jaw, left side. Clenched the jaw a bit to hard, I guess. Falling apart, for sure.

Hark! Is that the Grim Reaper's scythe I hear?

The dentist I saw today (Thursday) says I have an infection in the spongiform tissue in the maxilla. So onto penicillin for a week and then they will yank the damaged tooth out as it cannot be retained without leaving a significant path for infection to my bloodstream. With a compromised circulatory system and pump, that is considered a "bad idea" according to the tooth doc.

And So It Goes...

Saturday, October 23, 2010



There’s no question in my mind that winter is around the corner. Although, “they” say it will warm up next week with a chance to see 60° F. for a high next week. Today, it is a different story. A clear, cold night with a full moon allowed the mercury to plunge to 33° by the time my bladder insisted I either get up or soak the bed. “They” had said today would be breezy. No kidding – the wind was out of the North upon rising and blowing a steady 25 MPH with considerably higher gusts. The white caps out in the middle of the lake were more reminiscent of Lake Champlain than a little pond in Maine with a six mile fetch. As of this writing (an experiment in off-line composition with Windows Live Writer – I know, I know –late to the party per usual-) it’s 46° and the wind has moved into the West at about 20 MPH. That will be our high for the day. “They” are forecasting a hard freeze for overnight.

I sure hope “they” are terribly wrong.



Looking Northwest … inside the cove. Note the whitecaps out in the passage (Double-click to embiggen).

They” are the weather wookies at local TV and radio stations…

Monday, October 18, 2010

Things I Don't HAVE To Think About...

Things I Don’t Have to Think About Today

Today I don’t have to think about those who hear “terrorist” when I speak my faith.
Today I don’t have to think about men who don’t believe no means no.
Today I don’t have to think about how the world is made for people who move differently than I do.
Today I don’t have to think about whether I’m married, depending on what state I’m in.
Today I don’t have to think about how I’m going to hail a cab past midnight.

Today I don’t have to think about whether store security is tailing me.
Today I don’t have to think about the look on the face of the person about to sit next to me on a plane.
Today I don’t have to think about eyes going to my chest first.
Today I don’t have to think about what people might think if they knew the medicines I took.
Today I don’t have to think about getting kicked out of a mall when I kiss my beloved hello.

Today I don’t have to think about if it’s safe to hold my beloved’s hand.
Today I don’t have to think about whether I’m being pulled over for anything other than speeding.
Today I don’t have to think about being classified as one of “those people.”
Today I don’t have to think about making less than someone else for the same job at the same place.
Today I don’t have to think about the people who stare, or the people who pretend I don’t exist.

Today I don’t have to think about managing pain that never goes away.
Today I don’t have to think about whether a stranger’s opinion of me would change if I showed them a picture of who I love.
Today I don’t have to think about the chance a store salesmen will ignore me to help someone else.
Today I don’t have to think about the people who’d consider torching my house of prayer a patriotic act.
Today I don’t have to think about a pharmacist telling me his conscience keeps him from filling my prescription.

Today I don’t have to think about being asked if I’m bleeding when I’m just having a bad day.
Today I don’t have to think about whether the one drug that lets me live my life will be taken off the market.
Today I don’t have to think about the odds of getting jumped at the bar I like to go to.
Today I don’t have to think about “vote fraud” theater showing up at my poll station.
Today I don’t have to think about turning on the news to see people planning to burn my holy book.

Today I don’t have to think about others demanding I apologize for hateful people who have nothing to do with me.
Today I don’t have to think about my child being seen as a detriment to my career.
Today I don’t have to think about the irony of people thinking I’m lucky because I can park close to the door.
Today I don’t have to think about memories of being bullied in high school.
Today I don’t have to think about being told to relax, it was just a joke.

Today I don’t have to think about whether someone thinks I’m in this country illegally.
Today I don’t have to think about those who believe that freedom of religion ends with mine.
Today I don’t have to think about how a half-starved 23-year-old being a cultural ideal affects my life.
Today I don’t have to think about how much my life is circumscribed by my body.
Today I don’t have to think about people wanting me cured of loving who I love.

Today I don’t have to think about those who view me an unfit parent because of who I love.
Today I don’t have to think about being told my kind don’t assimilate.
Today I don’t have to think about people blind to the intolerance of their belief lecturing me about my own.
Today I don’t have to think about my body as a political football.
Today I don’t have to think about how much my own needs wear on those I love.

Today I don’t have to think about explaining to others “what happened to me.”
Today I don’t have to think about politicians saying bigoted things about me to win votes.
Today I don’t have to think about those worried that one day people like me will be the majority.
Today I don’t have to think about someone using the name of my religion as a slur.
Today I don’t have to think about so many of the words for me controlling my own life being negatives.

Today I don’t have to think about still not being equal.
Today I don’t have to think about what it takes to keep going.
Today I don’t have to think about how much I still have to hide.
Today I don’t have to think about how much prejudice keeps hold.
Today I don’t have to think about how I’m meant to be grateful that people tolerate my kind.

Today I don’t have to think about all the things I don’t have to think about.
But today I will.

The preceeding appeared on John Scalzi's blog, Whatever, this morning. As there are several of you who don't read his blog on a regular basis, I thought I would share. All credit goes to John. And, as of this writing, there are already 205 comments pertaining to this entry at his site. They're entertaining and educational in their own right. I suggest you give them a read.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Leaves and grass...

We survived the "1st N'oreaster" of the season, although Iggy and I were busy this morning hauling fallen limbs off the road so we are able to drive in and out the camp road without (hopefully) puncturing our tires. The leaves took a major hit from all the rain and wind. We are definitely 'past peak' around here now. Still pretty, though. Except, now I will have to mulch the newly downed leaves with the lawnmower. Again.

Been trying to catch up on my blog reading and have come to a conclusion -- it is time to thin out again. It's the recurring story of my life -- my eyes are bigger than my stomach and that is massive ;-). There simply isn't enough time available in my day to read them all. So, apologies in advance to all that receive the cut. Information overload has struck again.

I've had no luck finding work so far. This area is hurting, big time. There seems to be six to ten applicants for every shitty opening and hundreds for good ones.

Going to be moving to the house soon as nightly temperatures are headed for below freezing this week and the wind comes whistling down from Canada with next to nothing to stop it. This aluminum beer can we call home loses the heat faster than we generate it.

That is all for tonight. Keep the greasy side down, all you Snobirds as you head South. Wish we were also leaving but the wallet is bare still.

And so it goes...

From our neighbors to the North ...

The Newfie War

The American President was in the Oval Office when his telephone rang.

"Hallo, Mr. President " a heavily accented voice said. This is Archie, up'ere at the Harp Seal Pub in Badger's Cove, Newfoundland, Canada eh? I am callin' to tells ya dat we are officially declaring war on you eh!"

"Well Archie," The President replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army?"

"Right now," said Archie, after a moments calculation "there is me, me cousin Harold, me next-door-neighbor Mick, and the whole dart team from the pub. That makes eight!"

The President paused. "I must tell you Archie, that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command."

"Holy jeez," said Archie. "I'll have ta call ya back!"

Sure enough, the next day, Archie called again. "Mr. President, the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some infantry equipment!"

"And what equipment would that be Archie?", the President asked.

"Well sir, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Harry's farm tractor."

The President sighed. "I must tell you Archie, that I have 16,000 tanks and 14,000 armored personnel carriers. Also, I've increased my army to one and a half million since we last spoke."

"Lard T'underin' Jaysus, bye", said Archie, "I'll be getting back to ya"

Sure enough, Archie rang again the next day. "Mr. President, the war is still on! We have managed to git ourselves airborne! We up an' modified Harrigan's ultra-light wit a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four byes from the Legion have joined us as well!"

The President was silent for a minute then cleared his throat. "I must tell you, Archie, that I have 10,000 bombers and 20,000 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to TWO MILLION!"

"Jeysus, Mary and Joseph," said Archie,"I'll have ta call youse back."

Sure enough, Archie called again the next day.

"Mr President! I am sorry to have to tell you dat we have had to call off dis 'ere war."

"I'm sorry to hear that" said the American President. "Why the sudden change of heart?"

"Well, sir," said Archie, "we've all sat ourselves down and had a long chat over a bunch of pints, and come to realize dat dere's no way we can feed two million prisoners."

The tale above is taken from the “Groaners Corner” at Al and Kelly's Travel With The Bayfield Bunch blog. I sure hope my theft is treated by Al as the sincerest form of flattery, as I'm pretty sure most of my 45 or so readers probably don't read his marvelous missives. He's a man for whom the phrase “cantankerous codger” may have been invented. And, I am addicted to puns and Newfie jokes. It's a sickness, I know. They say that misery loves company. Welcome, company.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oops a daisy

So Tuesday after I was discharged from jury duty because the defendant copped a plea in the court room, something the judge claims happens in fewer than one in ten cases on the day of trial, I drove home, marveling at what a beautiful autumn day it was. Once home, I decided I'd go for a paddle about the lake. It'd be the first paddle of the year as I only got the canoe out of storage a week ago and it has been either raining or simply too windy for safe paddling by myself.

After getting launched, I remembered my wife's admonition against dying by drowning (she claims it is her right to kill me) and my promise to put a PFD (personal flotation device, aka "life jacket") on as I was going alone. So, I struggled into the fool thing, zipped it up, took no more than 25 strokes with my paddle when I got stuck on a stump submerged in the cove to the west of our place and promptly proceeded to lose my balance and dumped me and the canoe over.

Damn that water was cold. Did I mention that it has been raining and windy and generally downright unpleasant for a while? It has also been cold, too - in the thirties and low forties at night with highs in the fifties during the day.

Fortunately, I was in shallow, albeit soft-bottomed water and able to partially empty the water in the canoe. That made dragging it to shore where I drained it dry before paddling home much easier. While I was cold, I wasn't hypothermic due to the continued activity and the fact I was wearing a thick wool shirt as proof against the wind. Wool is still warm, even when wet, unlike most synthetic fabrics.

My wife found my bedraggled appearance quite amusing. Truly, so did I, although I wasn't about to let my wife know. Have to maintain some semblance of dignity, don'tcha know.

So that was my unplanned swim. Just glad to be able to report the circumstances in person.

And So It Goes...

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Consumer Beware:

If you have an iTunes account, take note -- from the daily Tech Republic "infopackets" newsletter comes this nasty bit of news:

Fake iTunes Bill Delivers Bank-Draining Trojan

Hackers have developed a new and clever scam that targets legitimate Apple iTunes subscribers, then drains their bank account.

Fake Bill Traps Customers into Clicking Malware Link

Victims of the scam receive fake "iTunes receipt" that appear completely authentic, with none of the spelling errors or image source code issues that have become synonymous with spam and malware messages.

The only real problem with the would-be receipt is that the total for the bill was said to be completely outrageous. And that's part of the trap.

Clicking "Report a Problem" Is a Big Mistake

Researchers say that the fake and outrageously high bill is enough to raise the ire of legitimate iTunes subscribers. The reason for this is that most people are likely to take action when seeing an "incorrect amount" appear on their bill.

Since the next step for most people in this situation would be to click the "report a problem" tab, this is where hackers have decided to plant the Trojan.

Fake Adobe PDF Reader Delivers Payload

The attack vector uses Adobe Flash, which is a technology that Apple refuses to use for its alleged security weaknesses. Panda Labs released a statement explaining the infection process:

"After clicking the link, the victim is asked to download a fake PDF reader. Once installation is complete, the user is redirected to an infected web page containing the Zeus Trojan, which is specifically designed to steal personal data." (Source:

Phishing Schemes Increasingly Popular

Phishing has become a major problem for security companies in recent weeks, with users of the popular social network LinkedIn being the targets of a similar attack these past few weeks. (Source:

According to Luis Corrons, technical director of Panda Labs, the variation in the methods of attack is what has been keeping security companies on edge.

"Phishing is nothing new. What never ceases to surprise us is that the techniques used to trick victims continue to be so simple, but the design and content is so very well-orchestrated. It's very easy to fall into the trap."

While some of the addresses that the malware uses is blocked by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, uncovering and restricting all addresses is an uphill battle that seems more and more improbable with each passing day.

This a really vicious bit of coding. It will hurt you badly and I suspect most banks will find some way to weasel out of their so-called "Security Guarantees" to avoid paying for the resulting damages. There is no choice but to be hyper-vigilant. After my bout with a bit of malware that mimicked my own virus scanner in March I have become very sensitive to these threats. Fixing the problem was both expensive and very time-consuming, something I wish on no one but the malefactors themselves.

By the way, I highly recommend subscribing to the infopackets newsletter. It is free, scrolling down past the adverts is pretty simple, the links work and the information is timely. What more could you ask from a tech newsletter?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Sunny Side of Life

Well, we survived the big blow. In fact, sheltered from the South as we are here at the camp, it was a 36 hour period of rain and falling leaves, accompanied by a very fine mist (virga) between the raindrops. We were very fortunate, compared to the mid-Atlantic states. Just some minor flooding, downed trees and scattered power outages. With the exception of far Northern Maine and Quebec, south of the mouth of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the rain is gone, the Southern winds are now from the Northwest and we are rapidly drying out in the partly sunny, sixty degree breezes. Just checked the road in and we escaped without even having any limbs down! We were sure lucky, no question.

So those of you suffering with floods and closed roads have my sympathy. Things will get better.

We're watching "Misery" on TNT this afternoon. There's the reason I shudder everytime I see Kathy Bates in a movie...

More manana. Have a good Saturday.