Saturday, January 22, 2011

Motty, Here’s Normal: SNAFU

Well folks, the storm finally blew out to sea this morning. Low temp was 8°F and the high winds forecast must have blown out to sea with the snow. Sun is setting after an afternoon high of 19°- Balmy. Snow amount here was 15" on top of the 9" already on the ground. The driveway is plowed shut by the highway plows to a height about 6" over the Suburban's hood. There is too much snow to pack down with tires as it just "high centers" the truck (the pickup is stuck). No escaping tonight - plow truck driver has to work late so he won't get here until tomorrow. Overnight expecting 0° while tomorrow's overnight low, without factoring in the wind, is -15°F.

While I am sympathetic to Motty and Patti’s issues, I am still chipping the ice with a hammer so I can shut the door that I had to smash open this morning. I last had running water in August. I emptied my last tank in October - it has been dry camping ever since. It is not fun. Survival never is. I hear they got less than 12" of snow for the entire winter last year, here. Not normal.

These conditions are normal, for Maine, in January. It is the primary reason I have spent the last 3 winters in Louisiana. Now, I am moving out to friends’ home just as soon as Mother Nature will allow. The Flying Pig is grounded and I’m flying the coop in the name of survival.

The title? Situation Normal – All Fouled Up.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Twitter Users Beware!


“If you use Twitter,

like I use Twitter,

Oh, Oh, a Malware

We will Go”


Ok, Twits & Tweeters, here’s the twooth from ZDNet:

Twitter worm hits, redirects to fake anti-virus

By Ryan Naraine | January 20, 2011, 5:55am PST


A fast-moving Twitter worm is in circulation, using Google’s redirection service to push unsuspecting users to a notorious scareware (fake anti-virus) malware campaign.

Here is the link to the rest of the tale:



There is a storm coming, due to arrive tomorrow morning, bringing 5-9 inches of snow and high winds, followed by some serious Arctic cold. You wouldn't know it looking at this sunset, though. That's a natural flare and not an artifact of the lens. I noticed it out the window, tried and failed to get the shot from indoors. Nothing for it but to attempt an outside shot. I wasn't dressed to go out, so hung out the door in my union suit, camera in one hand, the other blocking the flap on my butt from passers-by and ill-fated neighbors. I really hate being sick, y'know?
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National Cheese Lovers Day


Yep, it’s that time again. National Cheese Lovers Day is upon us. I did a quick inventory of cheese on hand:

  1. Extra Sharp New York Cheddar
  2. Sharp Vermont Cheddar
  3. Mild Cheddar Shreddings for cooking
  4. Half a box of Velveeta (Can you really make Mac ‘n’ Cheese without it?)
  5. Danish Bleu Cheese
  6. Asiago grated
  7. Romano wedge
  8. Cottage Cheese, low fat.

Ok, Nellie, your turn, whenever you cn read blogs again. What do you have on hand for cheesey goodness?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

And Many Happy Returns of the Day

Happy Birthdays to Autumn and Lana, and posthumously to my brothers Howard and Richard.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Twilight Musings



Viewed with admiration for the beauty wrought and no little trepidation – it was -4°F. last night and tonight promises little improvement, judging from the clear skies and steady barometer. I woke to frozen water dish for the animals and a floor so cold it made me hop until I found some socks and slippers. This is the start of Winter as I fear and detest it. For the next few months, huge, deep highs will roll down from the Arctic, only to be shoved out to sea by deep lows from the South, bringing snow and ice and freezing rain, short thermal respites before we once again plunge into the deep freeze of a Maine winter. This is what Snowbirds seek to escape, the mind-numbing, bone-chilling, pop the nails out of the house siding cold. Absolute misery amid glorious sunshine that fails to warm.

The deer are yarded deep in the spruce and fir on the back 40. It’d be a disservice to disturb them now – any expenditure of energy is extremely costly in the winter. Coyotes and dogs wreak havoc in the deer yards in the months to come, even if tooth and claw miss their mark. They merely have to run the deer hard, then come back later to claim the carcass.


Hope you are all snug, safe and warm.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

After The Storm


The Flying Pig Is Grounded!


Senior Synchronized Swimming


I’m thinking about trying out for the US Olympic Senior Synchronized Swimming Team. Do you think I’ll be able to make it?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It’s Raining … Inside


So there I was, watching TV while working at the computer this evening. No warning, just a very sudden, very cold stream of water on my head. It is coming from the overhead vent in the living room. The one that needs to be replaced. For which I have a new Fantastic Fan out in the garage, waiting for warm, dry conditions to allow me to install. Sadly, in the meantime, snow is piled about 12 inches high on the vent and the heat inside is melting it. Saturated with melt water, it is coming inside past the gasket.

And so it goes … living inside an aluminum tube in a climate it was never intended to winter humans over in. Unintentional winter full-timing in Maine at it’s best, heheheh.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Here It Is, Kiddo!


Ms. Nellie, authoress of The Diary of A Mid-life Cruiser, asked all of her readers to show their refrigerators in their blogs. Just because she’s a “Nosy Parker”.

Well, she’s graced me with not one, but two comments on one post recently and I got to feeling guilty. I’ve been meaning to take a pic of the fridge, but therein hangs a tail. You have to have a camera. The batteries to our nifty little Pentax Optio are taking a powder. I’d have to find and then dig out the big camera. The cell phone is almost always tethered to the laptop when I am in the trailer as it’s my only source of internet access these days. So I never got around to it. Until now. I dug out the “big” camera, took the shot, loaded it to the laptop, turned it so it was oriented vertically and then I uploaded it to the blog. All because, on January 3, 2011, an energizer bunny of a jogger named Nellie told me to:


I showed you MINE.

Will you be brave enough to show me YOURS?


Then come back and tell us all where we can see your stash!


Here it is, Kiddo. Just for you (the rest of you can look away, now.

Wil & Tammi's Fridge Struts it's stuff!

Yes’m, that’s meat in the freezer. And Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s Ice Cream. Coffee in the lock box on the right, spinach, shrimp, and salmon complete the freezer. Also plenty of frost.

Yes, the refrigerator section is jammed full – I went grocery shopping on Friday evening. Nothing terribly unusual there. It was given a lick and a promise with the washrag before I loaded the groceries in, but it isn’t what I’d call “clean”, either.

You asked, I delivered. Now go oogle Kate’s beautiful cold box and leave this little Dometic Classic alone, please.

Give A Listen & 5 Miutes of Your Time

Photo by Ron Nordin, Source was Press Resources

Imagine, if you will, RADIOHEAD performed on a ukulele. With vocals by a clearly articulating woman, Amanda Palmer, the frontwoman for Dresden Dolls, rather than the depressed slurring of Thom Yorke. Add surprisingly beautiful resampling techniques. Four strings and clarity render Radiohead's "Idioteque" a pleasure to listen to. Not a description I would apply to the original.

And it is FREE. To stream, that is. Over a National Public Radio's Song of the Day:

Amanda Palmer: Radiohead For Four Strings

More Strange News From The Home Front

This appeared in this morning's paper. WTF? Sort of like breaking IN to jail:

Sounds like organized theft, to me. Anyone else amongst my readers experiencing anything similar in their neck of the woods?


Stolen dogs returned to Bangor, Augusta shelters

Saturday, January 08, 2011

“Cabin Fever” Season Has Begun


This jolly headline appeared in this weekend’s newspaper today

Woman reportedly told police she stabbed husband ‘because he drives me nuts’

I suspect that they have been unhappy with each other for more than a little while. Is that entropy I smell?

Friday, January 07, 2011

Email Worm Targets M$ Customers

This was in my in-box just a moment ago. You'd do well to be alert to this threat:

Email Worm Poses As Microsoft Update, Warns MS

Microsoft is today warning users of fake security alerts arriving via email. Microsoft is reminding users that it never sends out security alerts with attachments via email and that you should never open such an email if it arrives in your inbox.

Microsoft Email Security Updates Are a Scam

Cyber-criminals have been sending a so-called Microsoft updates that are actually viruses.

This scam in particular takes advantage of Microsoft's well-established Patch Tuesday schedule for monthly email updates. Potential victims receive an email purporting to be from Microsoft's Director of Security Assurance, Steve Lipner (who in fact does hold that role).

The recipient is then told to install the attached file, KB453396-ENU.exe (or a similar name), which is supposed to be the security update.

Worm, Virus Replicates Itself, Sends to Contact List

The email attachment (.EXE file) is actually a worm / virus, meaning that once it is installed on a users' PC, it will attempt to replicate itself by sending a copy of the infected attachment to all users on the host PC's contact list (address book).

The idea is to get the worm / virus on as many machines as possible in order to become part of a botnet. The botnet is then used to attack websites, corporate structures, and is even sold to other online criminals for their evil-doing."

The above is a partial extraction of an article appearing in today's InfoPackets technology newsletter. Sign up today to get your own daily copy.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Week One 2011

A new day, a new year, and it’s cold and snowy at one point and now there’s a high dominating for a bit and the sun is out (still cool, though – maybe 25° for  high today). The weather weenies are already talking up a big storm for week’s end – I take a wait and see attitude. They are only even close to right half the time up here.

January is traditionally the start of ice fishing season. This is an obscure sport, only practiced in the North Country. It really isn’t about the fish around here (high mercury levels, amongst other nasties). It often involves elaborate preparations, palatial huts about the size of my trailer, “The Flying Pig”, large quantities of liquid fire (whiskey), snowmobiles, ATV’s and old trucks driven by mad men on the frozen surfaces of lakes and rivers. Not this year. The warm-up last week coupled with the miniscule quantity of ice made before snow covered it and insulated it from the outside air, allowing the ice to weaken from contact with liquid water from below means there is an extremely dangerous ice cover this year … less than 4 inches, in the case of Pushaw Lake. So much for freezing my ass off in pursuit of “too much fun” as my friend Barney of “Old Fat Man Adventures” is so fond of saying. At least for a while until there is enough ice to support this old fat man.

Started up the tow truck the other day. Everything seems to be hunky-dory, but I didn’t take it out (no registration). Just ran her back and forth in the dooryard, let the battery charge up and circulated the vital fluids a mite.

I have a really serious case of “hitch itch” not improved by reading all the blogs of fulltime and snowbirds in the South. Combine that with the loneliness engendered by a spouse tending one of her fledglings in a period of health crisis. Add extreme economic stress. Mix and savor in your lawn chair at –5°. Repeat as the weather permits. Don’t forget the chronic cold feet from contact with the floor of a trailer never intended for winter use in a Northern climate…

Enough. I’ll survive, despite the “Urge for going”. 


Joni is the author of this, one of my favorite songs.

This Sucks


In Nevada: Famous ‘shoe tree’ chopped down by dastardly vandals.

This shoe tree, located alongside of U.S. Route 50, “the loneliest road in America”, has been a stopping point and landmark (about 125 miles from Reno, Nevada) for hundreds of thousands of travelers over the years.

The bastard(s) that did this should be made to walk the full length of US 50 BAREFOOT. The hell with the U.S. Constitutional prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment”. That would fit the crime, now wouldn’t it? I hope they find the perpetrator and throw the key away.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Gerry Rafferty, Dead at 63

Gerald "Gerry" Rafferty (16 April 1947 – 4 January 2011) pictured in concert in Dublin, Ireland at Dublin's National Stadium on 6 September 1980 – Happier Days. (Image Source: Wikipedia )

According to The Guardian, singer and satiric song writer Gerry Rafferty (known for such hits as Stuck in the Middle with You, Baker Street and Get it Right Next Time), whose music was part of my soundtrack in the 1970s, has died at age 63 of liver failure after a long illness, at home this morning.

I can’t speak for you, but he was part of my pantheon of musical influences and his death marks another avalanche on the slippery slope to my own demise.

His was another one of those seminal talents which emerged from the fog of the end of the heyday of folk music. Unlike so many, Gerry found the move to popular, centrist rock easy. His strong lyrical sense and wicked good humor made his music a treat to listen to and true pleasure to watch in person. I first saw him in New York City in 1967 and remember his humor and range to this day.

In light of Gerry’s premature demise, these lyrics from his tune "Days Gone Down" are prophetic:

"You still got that light in your eye," Rafferty sings. "Our day is coming by and by. I travel this long road here with you. We've still got a long way, we've still got a long way to go."

Sorry you had to leave us so soon, Gerry. A bloody shame, that.

Rhino Mystery

Video supplied by researchers at Bock Labs’ Institute of Molecular Virology

Rhinovirus, that is.

Riddle me this. Just how long do viable, infective cold germs last on surfaces? Inquiring minds want to know.

I haven’t been near another human for almost 10 days, but I’m in the process of coming down with a doozy of a cold. Sneezing, a nose in desperate need of a spigot, actually, the whole gamut of Rhinovirus symptoms. My last proximate interaction with another human being was Christmas day. It’s just me, Ignatz McGraw -- Schipperke Extraordinaire, and Ms. Jingle Belle, Resident Mouser-in-Training. So I ask you, how in hell do I come down with a cold 9 days after any human contact? Yes, I know that folklore posits cold exposure and variable temperatures as a possible cause, but really, unless you are superstitious, do you think that rhinoviri are floating around in the outdoor air? Not bloody likely. So, I return to the original question. I suspect exposure from an infected mail person. That is the only contact I have had with the outside world – I picked up the mail on Saturday and symptoms have hit today – well within the likely time frame for infection.

Fracking USPS…

Image credit: Youtube and Bock Labs’s Institute of Molecular Virology, University of Wisconsin. Limited rights granted for display of individual images in educational settings and seminars prevents the use on this blog. However, the images are fascinating and well worth the visit to Virus World to view.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ignoble Beginnings

A new year is upon us all in the Western Hemisphere. Welcome, 2011. Did you have to start by waking up ol' man Murphy? Went out after dark last night to fire up the Burb in anticipation of a grocery trip. Inserted key in ignition and ... nada. Not even a click. Oh, man.

So I went out this afternoon and inserted the key and it turned right over. What the heck?

Well, I don't know if it is me or Murphy, but I am glad it started. Let it run a while as I flattened the snow in hopes it also charged up the battery.

And that is how I started my new year. I do hope yours was better. And I hope this isn't an indication of how things are going to go this year for me. No indeed.