Friday, December 31, 2010
Good Riddance, but Now What?
by Ogden Nash
Come, children, gather round my knee;
Something is about to be.
Tonight's December Thirty-First,
Something is about to burst.
The clock is crouching, dark and small,
Like a time bomb in the hall.
Hark! It's midnight, children dear.
Duck! Here comes another year.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Well, here's my hair-of-the-dog remedy for what ails you -- little Celtic trance music from my favorite Celtic trancers, Skilda. Take two viewings and call me Ishmael.
And for those who like their lives and their trance music a bit more, shall we say, frantic.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Just in case you missed your daily dose of Boing-Boing because of all of the Christmas distractions today, I refer you to a nicely researched and illustrated story found by Maggie Koerth-Baker, “Why NORAD Tracks Santa” by Retired General Victor Renaurt, Jr. I learned a few things by reading it. For instance, did you know (remember) that before there was the North American Aerospace Defense Command, CONAD tracked Santa because of a wrong number in a print advertisement? (Image above shows the adv.)
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The overcast on Winter Solstice Night was so thick one couldn't see a hint of the moon in the sky, let alone a lunar eclipse. I went outside at 2:20 AM or so and couldn't tell if the sky was any darker then, than earlier. I do know that there were no shadows cast as I danced naked in the snow, so I suspect we are in for three more months of winter at the very least. Thanks to neighbors and passers-by for not calling in the local gendarme - while exposed, I was facing the back fields, not likely to affront anyone's line-of-sight. The God of Winter is appeased for another year ... even if I had to revel Saturnalia all alone.
It's snowed and rained and sleeted and hailed today. Outside temps have hovered right at the freezing mark. I suppose now that the sun has rolled past the horizon the temps will droop ever so slightly, making locak roads the equivalent of the fresh ice on the hockey rink just after the Zamboni has cleaned the ice.
I discovered a stupid mistake I made when I went out to the truck in search of the twelve-pack of Diet Coke I purchased a while ago at the grocery store -- they'd all frozen. Then exploded. All over the back of the Suburban. Horrendous mess and it is all my fault. Will I ever learn?
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
And so it goes, buckaroos...
Monday, December 13, 2010
While the trailer was rocking and the wind a-howling, I went out about midnight and tightened down the outriggers to reduce the motion from the 30 MPH winds broadside to us with gusts around 38 MPH. Not near as bad as forecast, but we got a couple of inches of rain and all of the snow is gone. Haven’t gone down to camp as I don’t feel like tackling the mud, so I don’t know if the lake has come over it’s banks. The air temp hit a high of 57°F this morning and is well on its way back to the freezing point. Still, it was nice, albeit damp, walking the dog this morning. All the more reason to bemoan spending this winter in Maine…
Iggy contemplates a leaden sky, remembering all the fun he had playing in the snow only a day ago.
Walked down to the beaver dam – run-off is a good 18” over the lip of the dam and running strong. Not enough light to enable sight of the top of the dam through the water. I tried to photograph it,, but all I managed was to get wet to my pockets from the bull rushes and bracken next to the stream. I think that I’ll just hunker down and wait out the rain – once I find some dry clothing to put on. I’m still trying to catch up with my blog reading. I’m down to only 545 entries to read from somewhere in the 10 thousands (not that I read all of them, mind you—who needs two week old weather information?).
The holiday season, that is. Not really feeling it, myself. Hannukah ended a couple of days ago, the Winter Solstice will be upon us next week, along with the Wiccan festivals of Saturnalia and Yule. Festivus, Christmas, Boxing Day -- they are all coming. Are you feeling festive this year? It’s a little tough for many here and abroad with no income nor hope of any in the New Year.
Well, help is on the way via the Boston.com’s The Big Picture. An entry this week, “Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” has 37 photos of holiday preparations from around the globe. A sample that caught the editor’s eye as well as mine from a Reuters photo is cropped and shown below to entice you to go see all of the images for yourself. Enjoy.
Image copyright © 2010 Reuters – I only can wish I was that good. Hats off to Christian Charisius – great photo, bro. (Do click to see the uncropped version and view all of these great photos. If you are on a slow connection, go make yourself a meal, empty the trash and walk the dog, they take a while to download).
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Special Thanks go to Candy Minx, from whose blog I swiped the duck video. You go girl!
Monday, December 06, 2010
According to the Free Online Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
“Definition of BUG OUT -- intransitive verb
1: to retreat during a military action; especially : to flee in panic
2: to depart especially in a hurry …”
So there I was, sipping coffee and perusing email on my newly restored laptop on Sunday morning around 9:30. Outside, snow flurries danced on the Northeast wind, the temps in the low thirties and the air faintly smelling of the pulp mills to the North. I finished the mail and clicked on the NOAA weather forecast for my area. Holy Fortune Cookies, Mai Tai! They were forecasting a significant Winter Storm, with snow accumulations of 5 to 10 inches. Ouch. I thought the forecast was for flurries Sunday and just an inch or two of the white stuff on Monday. Damn my luck.
View out the LR window on Sunday morning
Where we are (were) parked is all of 35 feet to the water. As I have mentioned in the past, the water has come up quite high this fall. If the area receives a significant volume of snow this winter, flooding of annoying, if not dangerous proportions can be expected. Unlike my brother, I am not up to wading around in near-freezing water. Then there is the whole issue of water damage to our trailer and the lack of flood insurance thereon (only available for permanent and semi-permanent structures on improved sites.) Plus the whole ‘mud season’ scenario where nothing short of a helicopter is able to extract you from wherever you have been too stupid to escape. So a quick conference with myself concluded with two words: “bug out”.
And so I did. From ten in the morning I broke camp until well past dark. I was extremely fortunate that I was only going to be hauling out to high ground a few miles away. So, I didn’t trouble about the niceties (and necessities) when seriously traveling. Breakables and the like went down low on the foor. The external shower was taken down and draped in the shed to dry out (we’ve had a lot of rain and things were soaked from that and the melting snow flurries. It took a while, but I worked ceaselessly until it was as done as it was going to get.
I loaded both vehicles and am fortunate to have a neighbor willing to drop everything to follow me over to the farm and bring me back so I could then drive the Suburban and trailer over. Thank you Katy. They were so nice, they even took pity on my bedraggled state and offered me dinner! Thanks again, folks. Sorry I didn’t have the presence of mind to photograph the standing rib Pork Roast Davey served – it was a work of art.
So here I sit, cooling my heels and other parts of my anatomy in front of the farmhouse we used to live in. The wind’s out of the West around 20 MPH and the 12” of snow that has fallen so far is starting to drift. Two space heaters barely hold the interior at 60°. I suppose I will have to attempt a heart attack tomorrow, shoveling open the drive, before firing up the ‘Burb’ and going to town for some bread and water. And fuel ... mustn’t forget the need to stay warm. Iggy barely keeps his ears above the snow. Forget about the rest of him. Like a good dad, I smush down a section when he starts to circling and that allows him to keep his butt clear of the snow when doing what comes naturally.
And that, my friends, is all for tonight.
“‘Publishers really don’t want a difficult writer who writes brilliant books. Publishers really like a good writer who writes good books and doesn’t have any problem with being a prima donna. That’s part of the unwritten credo: ‘Don’t be a dick.’”1
What Mercedes Lackey posits as the ideal author, from a publisher and editor’s perspective, holds too true in daily life. In the USA, there is a significant portion of the population who expect, no, demand that we all are good little boys and girls, alike in a die cut sameness of mind, body and belief. From an early age we overtly instruct our offspring to conform and then recoil in horror when they trot out the timeworn phrase, “everybody else does it.” Of course, “it” is something that (usually) only a minority actually do. Sort of like writers, no?
It isn’t my place in the grand scheme of things to attack or rebut one of my heroes. Mercedes Lackey is an eminently qualified writer and, from all reports, anything but a prima donna. I can only wish to be a tenth as good as she has proven herself to be.
But (there’s always a but, isn’t there?). I do believe that those who write truly brilliant books that sell thousands or, even better, hundreds of thousands of copies, have earned the right to be difficult, demanding, cantankerous and otherwise odious prima donnas.
Just get out from behind the customer service window at Walmart and the Post Office, would you?
1 Locus Online Perspectives, Mercedes Lackey: Making Fun — posted Wednesday 10 November 2010 @ 10:55 am PST
Thursday, December 02, 2010
It’s raining outside, a fact one is extremely aware of when living inside an aluminum can. The weather wonks are predicting something between an inch and 3 inches in the next twenty-four hours or so. So much for the ice on the lake – it is gone as of 20 minutes ago when I took the dog out to empty his bladder. Snow is pretty much gone already, too. In it’s place is little pathways of ice, compacted then frozen over the past week or so as autumn turned gray and nasty.
Snowy Autumn – Last Weeks of November, 2010.
We’ve been fighting serious condensation in the Airstream. It is inevitable, aluminum conducting heat so well, poor insulation and all of the Thanksgiving cooking I have been doing. Seems folks took pity on our financial plight this year. Personal friends provided a 29 lb turkey and a bag of veggies, along with a bottle of propane. The Food and Medicine Coalition gave us a very nice bag of Thanksgiving goodies, including apple cider, pumpkin pie, squash, beets, onions, potatoes, bread. And, we had dinner with our neighbors, Dave and Katy and their house guest Lauri on T-Day, too. That required the contribution of some homemade cornbread dressing and southwest Ancho Chile candied yams. So yours truly has been a very busy bee at the stove of late. In fact, I’m still cooking the last of the big bird … she was too big to cook whole in our oven.
Iggy is being a little porker, socking down every scrap and morsel that comes his way or within even close proximity. He’s even mastered climbing up onto a plastic storage bin on the dining table to reach the cat’s bowl. Meanwhile, Jingle Belle is so confident she sees no problem with reaching out and swiping her claws across Iggy’s tail stump in passing. That leads to much chasing and caterwauling and barking within the confines of the trailer. Remind me why I consented to my wife keeping a kitten again, please.
We’re getting ready to move the trailer over to the house at the farm. Not much point in staying once the ice is in--- a seven mile fetch to the Northwest can be mighty chilly without the resistance of the water to slow down the wind a little bit.
All in all, we are doing OK. Haven’t had any luck finding work but I am confident something will turn up (it better – heating is expensive here). I have no desire to imitate a “Pops-cicle” anytime soon, either.