Saturday, October 30, 2010

in the air, on the ground

so. cr's plane got off the ground and it was pretty exciting, sitting near my campsite a hundred miles away listening in to the tower finally clear her flight a mere ten hours and 21 minutes after it was scheduled to take off.

united may break guitarvs, but if cr's fight (which by the time it went out only had five people on it) united arlines will me be breaking ther piggy bank soon, and i say good riddance to them. united breaks guitars. united breaks whatever plans you have for your day.

anyway, i'm down here on the ground with mr. cr and we're going to tour the manassas battlefields and stuff today. then we'll drive down to fredericksburg tonight. then i don't know what will happen.

yesterday on the road i was in an amazing would-have-been, and if not for some very fancy driving on account of a trucker and some moderately fancy driving on my part, that trucker would have plowed into the recently disabled vehicle facing wrong way to and parked halfway across the left lane. the trucker was in th left lane and i was in the left lane, and of course there were tractor trailers to our right and jersey barriers to our left, and let's just say nobody was hurt but there was a lot of noice and smoke and a pumping of adrenaline and then a just getting on with it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

united airlines

what hatwipes.

cr has been sitting for the last ten hours at burlington international airport for a united airlines flight that keeps getting incrementally delayed and they keep rebooking her connecting flight and now she's only waiting to see if they're going to get out of btv at all but if the idiots at united had a pair among them, they'd just tell everyone to go home and they'd book them on real flights that are going to get off the gound.

that plane is just sitting on the tarmac and the hatwipes at united airlines are blaming it on the MANUFACTURER OF A PART!

here's a clue, united airlines: maintain your freakin' planes and staff your freakin' shops, you money-sucking soul-stealing fart-collecting incompetents!

you and the rest of the airline industry will complain that it's HARD for you to make a penny but here's how it is, pinheads at united airlines at birlington international airport: it's hard for everybody, and that includes the people actually PAYING for the services you're providing at such alarmingly low competency levels.

i bet the STOCKHOLDERS still get THEIR money.

none of you hatwipes should be getting money if you're not providing competent service and that goes for you needleheads at the TSA, too.

united airlines. pfft.

going/not going

it's complicated.

i was going then i wasn't, then i was, then i wasn't, then i was, but i was going later, and now i'm going NOW. as in as soon as i finish writing this.

here's a nice picture of my awesome book of battlefield maps.

what i have learned is that a lot of the boys who left my town to fight in the civil war never came home. many of them were dumped in mass graves at chancellorsville and wilderness. those lost solldiers have been reinterred at the fredericksburg national cemetery, so i'm bringing a small bag of stones from here to bring to them there.

little bit of home.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

more shoes!

if you've been following my story for a while, you know that i like shoes.

so imagine my delight when an unexpected visit from the fedex guy yielded a big brown box with...


they are not just any shoe; they are this year's  salomon xt wings2, and it's kind of like a surprise package, because while i knew i had a coupon for a FREE pair of slaomon running shoes, i had no idea what would actually get shipped.

mmmm. shoe happiness.

Monday, October 25, 2010

some things take care of themselves.

i'm sick. i feel too crummy to write a decent blog post, so i'm just going to post in its entirety and completely unedited an email i sent at about 4:45 this morning.

want to know the awesome news? since the advent of email in my life, i no longer call people on the phone and ramble incoherently in the early morning hours.


pching sliced cheese into a rolled paper bag. eat this bra for $100000 dollars. i wasnt you to have this life.the choir is always like that and the army just wandered around for days because stonewall jackson was deadthree emails i won't download nowi see you are sleeping goodninght

you KNOW you wish i sent emails like this to you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


i blew off church this morning to pack data for my trip.  i know, it sounds weak, but all this data packing has taken me about 18 hours over two days and i still have some more to do. because i can't just take a roadtrip and do civil war battlefields, i have to look up all the battles ahead of time and bookmark what's pertinent and map all the relevant points and also download the geocaches on the way and print up paper maps i'll want while there and make sure eeything is moved over to my traveling machine and BACKED UP and... get the idea.

anyway, i'm taking a little break to tell you that i was feeling kind of sad and dispirited last tuesday and i went to look for a couple of geocaches including one i couldn't find last time i looked for it.

if you're just coming in i told a lot of this story last wednesday and instead of retelling it, i'll just link you to the pictures that i couldn't show you then.


Saturday, October 23, 2010


i'm too busy today making maps for my upcoming tour of civil war battlefields and reading up on the battles that i don't have time to organize my photos for you and make a proper entry about things that are actually going on, so in an ironic twist, i'm giving you a link to a fun little timewaster that you can play with.

it has ten levels and if you're smart you can complete them in much less time than i did.

it's still fun.

ok, i have work to do, so i won't be joining you.

flabby physics!

Friday, October 22, 2010

...and here to accept the award...

argh. blog awards. beautiful blogger. happy thoughts. love it this week. someone gives you one of these things, and makes it sound like you're getting a prize.

what you're really getting is an attention-mooching chain-letter link-to-me pyramid scheme.

back in the old days when your homepage (yes, i'm talking angelfire and geocities) had no chance of being found if you didn't have links from other pages, there were webrings. you had to do what you had to do, because there weren't yet any search engines and if you didn't get connected to other sites you languished in the darkness.

and then some people got this brilliant idea: i will create an award and give it to sites that meet my criteria and maybe they will link to me!

i know this happened, because i had that idea, along with a bazillion other people. i had a few awards i gave out, including the "jelly jar", which i awarded to sites that i liked that had bizarre content. there was a site where you could click a button and remotely control a servo motor that waved a hand at a guy's cats, and he had one of the first webcams trained on the place where the cats napped. the site was called "wave at paul's cats", and that's all it did. there was another that listed the content's of tarin's fridge. that was it; no commentary, just the inventory, and some pictures.

it was a long time ago.

i just wrote to them and told them i'd awarded them the jelly jar and sent them the graphic that they could use or not. i told them why i had awarded them this prestigious prize and left it at that.

these days someone gives you one of these horrid little awards and they come with rules.  rules!  you must post this graphic on your site. you must thank me for giving it to you. you must link to my site. you must write back to me with seven chumps people you think should be nominated for this award. now you should list seven interesting things about yourself. and don't forget to link to me!


there are only two kinds of blogs if you ask me (and of course you did): blogs that are about content, and blogs that are about collecting readership. the first kind might collect readership or it might not, but it will at least stay true to its purpose and will be pleasing to its author.

the second kind will only continue to collect readership as long as the owner frantically connects to other bloggers who need to trade links as much as she does. the problem here is that eventually she'll run out of energy and resources; linked sites will drop off, or there will be a glut of sites selling cute napkin rings in etsy shops, and the whole system will collapse under the sheer weight of too many blogs that are nearly all cute replicas of each other competing for the same few tired eyeballs.

i don't even think when they give out these awards these days they even read the site they're giving the "award" to. or maybe they don't care. sometimes you see "happy thoughts" awards given to blogs that are definitely NOT happy, or "beautiful design" awards given to blogs that can only be described as failed design. the important thing, the really important thing, is the link to meeeeeeee!

here's a little award you can give yourself. go ahead, copy and paste this graphic wherever you want.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

not in kansas anymore

i'm home. i spent a lot of the afternoon loading the pictures onto my machine and weeding out the really bad ones.

here are some pictures from sunday. one is of my map on the way to church, and the other is taken at the location ON the map.

i am not in kansas anymore.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

not the day i expected to have

there STILL aren't picture uploads, so i can't show you where i was at time of noon prayer, and  can't show you the old schoolhouse and i can't show you the cemetery on the hill.

and i don't think i want to tell you about them without a picture, and with each passing minute the temperature is dropping and i don't smell anywhere near clean enough to skimp on the washing-up tonight, even though i might go home tomorrow.


you want to know how i'll decide? if it's rainy tomorrow  i'm going home. i almost went home today but then i wanted to do a few things and ended up doing none of them but instead did some other things that were maybe better, so it wasn't the day i expected to have, but it was the day i had and now even though it's not yet eight o'clock the sun has been down over an hour and i'm getting kind of sleepy.

the weather guy cannot say for sure if there will be rain tomorrow, or if there is rain, when it will arrive or where it will fall. usually my weather guy has a pretty good degree of accuracy, but for tomorrow's forecast he's just thrown up his hands and the best he can do is explain all the variables that may or may not come into play.

it's like that sometimes.


i was going to post some pretty pictures for you, but apparently there aren't any image upoads today and i'm balancing a laptop on my stickshift (no, that's not a sexual reference) and don't really have the right environment for posting to a secondary site and then linking them, so you can just wait until i get home.

but yesterday i was feeling kind of miserable but i was looking for some caches ayway, kind of mulling over in my head what to do next, and feeling very unsatisfied.

and then all of a sudden i was sitting at a buddhist shrine out in the woods (no joke)  and there was this rock there on which the word "patience" had been carved and painted and maybe you would have just said to yourself  "wow, that's cool", but what i thought was i'd better get myself down to the peace pagoda in leverett for evening prayers.

meantime while i was still in the woods, i came across a labyrith made of stones laid out on the forest floor (i'm not kidding about this, and later i'll have pictures to show you) so i dropped all my gear and walked the labyrinth in prayer.

so a few hours later i'm back in massachusetts, walking up the hill to the peace pagoda and i see a man working on the new temple and ask him about evening prayers and he tells me where i can go and at about what time they will gather and then i hang out for a while in the gardens and eventually make my way down to the house where i meet sister claire and she takes me inside and teaches me a few of the basics.

it is a very different sort of evening prayer than anything i am accustomed to, but i'm expecting that. later on i'll tell you more about the prayers and about the pagoda and about this particular order and the work they do, but for now i will tell you that their prayers are not at all incompatible with those of my christian faith; when i have pictures to show you or more time to sit i'll tell you more.

but i will tell you that this morning i woke to a bright blue morning at twenty-seven degrees feeling fine and well and happy and now i'm going out to play.

be well, be blessed.

and go in peace.

Monday, October 18, 2010

mass appeal

today i went down into massachusetts.

no, peg, i don't think you would have seenvery much by way of reasons for this trip or the others unless you are following not only ALL of tis blog from pretty near the beginning, and also large numbers of geocaching logs dating back four or five years.

short version: i am an a-number-one bona fide nutjob. twice a year i pack up my car and travel without plan or destinaton, stopping at regular intervals for prayer. although i started doing it because i was crazy, i noticed that doign it made me slightly less crazy for a while and since there aren't any effective medications i can take anymore, this will have to do.

so i travel around, going to assorted geocaches (they make as nice a frame as any on which to hang my travels) and i take pretty pitures and meet interesting people and sometimes (more often than can me ascribed to simple coincidence) i encounter people who need or want my help in some way.

and then often when i've met a lot of these people my invisible friend suggests that maybe i might take a few days and call it a vacation.

i am not sure, but tomorrow maybe i will go down and visit a buddhist shrine and stay for the afternoon prayers, but then i get back to my campsite a long time after dark.

anyway, it's interesting.

today i was coming through downtown adams (not boston, but still a city, fer pete's sake!) and there was a small herd of deer stnding in a parking lot, looking very much like they couldn't figure out how they got there and wondering if they should cross route 8.

before that i was coming up through savoy and discovered a roadside spring, which means i didn't have to go out of my way or spend money to replenish my supply of water. i like free things: free water, free campsites. i'm out here on a shoestring budget.

and then even earlier i was wandering for a number of hours in the woods, al dressed up in my cute nerd-o-rama clothing including enough hunter orange to make me legal in pennsylvania, even though it's not required in MA. it's kind of a good idea, though, 'coz even though it ain't rifle season (deer) a number of other things are in season and it's suck to get shot by a careless hunter. mostly the idiots don't come out until rfle season, but you never know.

and i saw an awesome pile of bearshit! you maybe don't see what's awsome at all about bearshit, bt it's really interesting to see what they're eating and stuff. it's a nature nerd thing.

and i got to see a lot of feral apple trees, which was wildly interesting to me because i'm listening to a book about reproductive strategies in plants and this morning a chapter or two about apples in particular.


ok. that's my day. it's time to go out to camp and wash up. it's cold again tonight. good sleeping; sucky washing up.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

snow on the mountain

i have no pretty pictures for you today. more specifically, my pictures are loading onto my computer now and sunset in two minutes and i'm still a half hour from my campsite.

last night i had a lot of company on the campground. on both sides of me there were little cities of people with trailers and tents gathered around their central firepits and just fom the way life is in their camps they appear to be all men. there's a lot of woodchopping and not much talking and the occasional offering of beers.

their fires are bright and it's kind of good to have neighbors because it can be very lonely out there. sometimes i just like knowing there are other people within a quarter mile, but sometimes when it's cold and the snow starts to fly it's good to feel like part of a little outpost, something just short of a community.

since the gate was open, it was possible to drive straight over the mountain to church, which took about forty minutes off the trip.

i talked to a man who is dying. he will maybe live a year. he doesn't look sick, but he says he's slowing down. he says he doesn't tell a lot of people about the cancer, not wanting other people to make decisions for him about what he will and will not do in the time he has left. he smiled while we were talking, but there were tears in his eyes.

all i could do was meet his sorrow head on. there's nothing you can say to a dying man that won't be empty except to open your heart and let whatever happens happen. i am sorry for your pain. i am sorry for your lost opportunities. it's been nice talking with you. i hope to see you again.

there was a frost on the ground when i woke up today. going over the mountain there was snow at the high elevations, a couple of inches. winter is coming, and fast.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

it did this all afternoon.

weird weather anomaly.

not the rainbow; those happen all the time. the weird thing was that this rainbow lasted for hours.

i'm gong to bed. it's still thirty-some odd degrees here but dropping an dit's gonna be COLD some washing up when i get to my campsite.

Friday, October 15, 2010

come on baby, light my fire

i mean that. literally.

it's thirty-five degrees here and snowing and as soon as i finish writing this i am heading out to an undisclosed location in the green mountain national forest where i will heat up roughly a quart of water in which to wash up for the night and crawl into bed.

it was filthy rain all day were i was, which was only nice when i slept uner it last night and this morning when i woke in it and not so good when i actually had to get out of the car.

i found some geocaches and passed up some others and i got a pizza and now it's time to go to bed, even though it's only seven o'clock. happily, i have a pizza box and some other paper waste i can burn when i get to my site.

tomorrow if it's still nasty out i may find a nice museum or something instead of trying to do something sporty and outdoorsy. that's my plan. i hope you like it.

oh, who am i kidding? i don't give two hoots in a handbasket how you like my plan. it's still my plan.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

gone and mostly forgotten

i am unexpectedly in hatfield, MA. it's not that i'm completely surprised to be here, but i did not expect necessarily to stay here overnight, much less two nights.

a friend of mine lives here. the kind of friend you have from the time you hit the ground in fourth grade. so i came to visit and we went to dinner and talked way past my bedtime (of course, my bedtime these days is not too long after the sun sets) but her driveway is pleasant to sleep in, so i'm signed up for another night.

yes, she has a guest room. it's just that it's hard for me to get used to sleeping in a strange bed, and since i have my bed with me in the driveway, i just retire there after my lovely hot shower.

i don't feel like i did much of anything today,even though we went for a walk this mornign and then i went to the library to catch up on my emails and stuff and then i went into northampton and played a full eighteen holes of golf.

i also loked a little for some geocaches, but came up with not much of anything. except a tick.

peggy, i'm assuming that you found, but the basic idea is that people with GPS receivers hide things for other people with GPS receivers to come find. there is a logbook to sign in and typically you log onto the website and make a few notes about your find.

i first heard about it a number of years ago on the radio. the reporter visited a cache that contained some marbles and army men and maybe a few other things i forget and i listened to that discovery and thought "i gotta get me a GPS receiver and play that!"

so i do. if you're looking for me in that game, i'm flask. follow along at your own risk.

if you are wondering what the heck this picture has to do with anything, i took it yesterday on my way here. pretty spot, if not well-remembered or maintained.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

just add water

yesterday i woke up in my beautiful lodgings in the green mountain national forest, somewhere off of forest road 71. look it up yourself if you want to; i'm siting in my car at an open network and linkage isn't so easy when you have tobalance everything in your lap.

anyway, first thing in the day after breakfast i wnet off to look for a couple of geocaches. later on i'll have pictures and maybe even a little video for you, but not just yet.

but i was thinking of this woman whose blog i read (and no, i will NOT link you) and the thing about her blog is that she posts a lot of links to etsy shops (which you know are designed to drive incestuous etsy linkers to link to her, but we all know that doesn't really translate into sales or even real readership) and she posts a lot of links to stuff she thinks sounds trendy and a couple of weeks ago she posted that she'd heard of geocaching and thought it sounded like LOTS of fun and i was almost expecting from her "wow-isn't this-new-and-fresh" blog entry that maybe she might actually GO geocaching and tell us about it.

maybe she found out it's not all that new and fresh and that we've been doing it for ten years.  it's still fun, but it's not new. or even trendy. and i hope it will get les trendy, too.

maybe if i'm feeling ornery later i'll write in to ask her how her geocaching adventure went.

so anyway, then some stuff happened and then some other stuff and although i wasn't really in a hurry to find many caches, i only found five on the day but the last two were in places that were so beautiful i could cry, and then i came back into town and just happened to be on my way to somewhere else and i had this hunch that i ought to turn around and go back the way i came and there was this pizza place back on a hidden corner and since i was near an open network i googled them and every link, event he ones that said specifically "wilmington VT" led to the webpage for zuppardi's apizza in west haven, CT. so i just walked over to order, just like everyone else.

it turns out that the guy is closing this vermont place to go back and be with his family at home. it is awesome pizza, though.  the crust is crunchy but yet still doughy like i like it on the inside; both crispy and chewy and that's really hard to bring off, especially if you do it for real and not like a national chain i could mention that achieves that effect through the liberal application of fats.

but this is an awesome pie. the eggplant is perfect and the onions are sweet and the sauce is full of the real flavor made of good ingredients and not just weak flavors transmitted by way of cheap fats and salts.

you know that, don't you? flavor molecules are most easily transmitted by way of fats? so it's cheap and easy to load things up with fat and go light on real vegetables and care.

but anyway, this thing is just about perfect. the crust is not just both crispy and chewy, but it has good flavor that only comes from good dough and i am so in love.

usually i expect to pay about fourteen dollars for a fourteen inch pie, but this one was worth the extra three dollars.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

joys and concerns

in church when we offer joys and concerns we alway have some of each.

today i found a new and very nice open network to use. it is only avalable when the library is open.

i also found an AWESOME pizza place. it is closing down and the young man who rund it is moving back to new haven.

i had a lot to say to you but now it's dark out and i'm still nine miles from my campsite and i need to wash up for bed.


Monday, October 11, 2010

something right

road post.

so i stopped tonight to get a burger in white river junction, but the mcdonald's there had a big old sign in front of it supporting a candidate i don't like. i mean, i REALLY don't like him.  so i didn't eat there, and i won't be stopping there anymore in the future. later on i'll write to the owner and tell him that no matter how the election turns out, he's lost my business.

so in order to get my dinner then i took myself on down the road and somebody there is doing something very, very right.

if you've been following my story, you have read my account of a bad visit to a BK last summer, and i have been in some good fast food places and some grumpy ones and some out-and-out scary ones.

this place was awesome. i do not know what those managers are doing right there (the mcdonald's in springfield, VT) but to start with, the place was nice and clean. the workers were pleasant and attentive to the customers and to each other, and that one kid picked up a mop and started cleaning just because she had nothing else to do.


and while i was waiting for my burger (not long), i heard them talking among themselves. they teased each other a little, but they spoke with kindness and in that short time i heard them talk to or of each other using the words "smart" "beautiful" "favorite" "fast", and they were efficient and all looked happy and everyone was working.

i didn't wait long, and when my burger came, it was properly assembled. often you can get burger mash and too-old fries crumpled up and tossed at you by surly people in stained clothing, but these guys just got it completely right.

and yes, later on i WILL be writing to their store's owner, too.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

better be good cheese

after i got home from  my trip early on account of the biological thing, i had to stay home because i had to be in church this morning to sing a big whopping solo. not the kind of solo where the choir sings and you maybe have a descant or you maybe do the introduction or a verse or something, but the kind of solo where it's the YOU show and the choir is just there for backup. intricate, difficult backup, but backup nonetheless.

and the choir director wrote to me weeks ago asking if i'd do it and i said oh, that's sweet, but i'm going to be away. let me see if i can switch my travel plans. and he said we could do it november seventh and i was all, like, AWESOME! that works out great for me, plus it's international susan youens day, a holiday that maybe only i celebrate, perhaps to the amazement of susan youens, but i'm like that.

anyway, it was all settled and then two weeks ago he wrote me and said the pastor REALLY wants to do it october 10, so he has to move it back but if i can't come home they'll do it with someone else and then again in the spring with me and i'm all, like, dude.  i haven't even seen the music and i'm not so married to the idea of doing this solo anyway, so just go ahead and do it and don't worry about the spring and he writes back to say he WANTS to to it in the spring because what he really had in mind from the  beginning was doing it with me, which is not only sweet of him to say, but it's a fantastic honor.

so i made sure to be there.

and then after church i had to go geocaching because it's 10.10.10 and geocaching is what we're doing today. it was the one thing i had PLANNED to be doing today, so i went and did that and then i played half a round of disc golf because i was nearby and then came home to make the little muffins i need to take with me tomorrow and now i'm baking brownies because -get this- last time i was at the grocery store, they had mascarpone cheese!

i had never seen it before and didn't know if i was ever going to see it again, so i scooped it right up (six dollars for the tub) and here i am.

if you'll excuse me, i still have some packing to do and i have to go make a ganache.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

what's with the zazzle store?

ok, ok, so i know i keep telling you that this blog isn't about whoring whatever cute designs that i'm in love with this week, but a lot of the time when people are looking at my work they say stuff like "this would make a very nice design for a notecard [mug, whatever]."

so one of my projects these days is actually converting my design work into forms that can be sold as mugs, notecards, or whatevers.

it just seems that if people want to buy my designs or at least look at them in buyable forms, i might as well make those available.

otherwise, this blog will continue to be about what it's about, which would be whatever thing happens to be on my mind or on my desk or in my kitchen.

Make a personalized gift at Zazzle.

Friday, October 08, 2010

i scream, you scream

yesterday wasn't such a good day.

short version: i went nuts and cried for hours. if you've never been inside a mental hospital, you have probably never see this kind of thing. i wish that was a joke. can't breathe, can't speak, can't move. just hours and hours of shuddering, screaming crying and no real reason for it.

somewhere in the middle of that, i was thinking that what would really make me feel better would be to smash things, to put a fist through my front window. but i anthropomorphize, see? and it seems to me that it would be bad to do that because the window would be sad.

no freaking sane person thinks it's a bad idea to smash a window because the window would be sad, but no. i'm not a freaking sane person. i'm psychotic. and i can piece together that it's a bad idea to smash the window, so then obviously the only thing to do is take that really big rock over there and smash myself in the head with it.

you know, because clearly there are only two choices.

sometimes i wish i were just a little crazier, because maybe then i'd be just a little less self-aware.

it's a nice thought.

today i woke up and decided to make ginger ale and ice cream. yes, real brewed ginger ale and real cream-and-sugar ice cream. i have written about the ginger ale from the first time i made it, but today i decided to substitute grade b maple syrup for some of the sugar.

i am just learning to make ice cream and of course i can't just get a recipe and make it. oh, no. i have to experiment.

so far it's awesome. the first time i made honey-lavender-rose and last week i made pumpkin and then i thought that today a nice cheesecake flavor ought to go nicely with the pumpkin in a little sampler dish.

i'm still not all that stable, but at least i'm not psychotic.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

bad behavior

sunday afternoon i went from my home to my home on the road, or one of my homes on the road: a lovely campsite in the green mountain national forest. i stopped for a haircut in west lebanon, NH, which was handy, because it was just then that the cable to my GPS receiver failed catastrophically and i needed a new one before setting out and i was just hinking "where can i find a radio shack? there must be one near here"

...and there it was. right in front of me. so i got that straightened out and got back on the interstate and it was a pleasant enough trip down to brattleboro, where i like to stop and get my dinner at west brattleboro pizza...

no, you're not getting a link from me even though i like their pizza a lot and it's pretty cheap as decent pizzas go. the crust is flavorful but not because they load it with fat the way the do a national chain i could mention. it just tastes good and i like the eggplant and sausage pie. the sausage they use (while crumbled and not sliced) is nice and spicy and the eggplant is just about perfect.

you're still not getting a link from me because apparently they have not heard that it's not at all hard to get a free website, so all they have is a blasted facebook page and as we all know, facebook is evil second only to walmart.

anyway, i pull in to get my pizza and there's this guy who has parked right down the middle of two parking places. parking places, i might add, that are at somewhat of a premium to customers and to the kids who deliver the pizzas.

turns out he's sitting in his car as i pull in, so i give him a bad look. he looks at me as if to say "what are YOU lookin' at? do you SEE this car? i NEED two parking places. i am just that important."

so i get out and go in to the pizza place and i say to the kid at the counter "what's up with the guy who needs two parking places? either he doesn't know how to treat people or he doesn't know how to drive."

and the kid says "the license plate explains it all.", which i think is mostly an unfair categorization of a whole state of people. i mean, i'm sure there are plenty of people who live in connecticut who only use one parking place at a time, even if there are a lot to spare.

so while i'm waiting for my pizza, i go into the 7-11 to buy a few things and the girl at the counter is kind of irritated by a pile of stuff on the counter that someone just left there and she has no idea what to do with it.

"those are mine." announces mr. i-need-two-parking-spaces-for-my-precious-car. "i had to go outside to take a call."

he says this as if to suggest that everything about him is much more important than everybody else. i admit that my percetion of him may already be biased, since i've see how he parked.

and then i was sitting in the  pizza place finishing up my waiting and i watched the guy pull out of his two parking places as if he had squeezed very tightly into half a space and needed a LOT more room in which to maneuver, and pulled into traffic not very skillfully, but with much squealing of tires.

"the verdict's in." i tell the kid at the counter. "he doesn't know how to treat people OR how to drive." and we laugh.

and then there was a biological thing and i had to come home early and i was on the interstate where there was this incredibly erratic driver in the passing lane, weaving back and forth over both lines, so when she got in front of me i just set my camera on the dash and recorded. good news/ bad news: once back in my lane she was slightly less erratic, but still not driving very well.

on the phone, of course.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


i know i keep threatening to write about the brownies, but then i never do.

for a long time i didn't cook. i still rode bikes, but didn't cook, didn't write, didn't make art. for a year i even ate cold cereal and make sure to drink balanced vitamin waters, which i figured at least would between the two sources get me enough basic nutrients to keep me going.

and then i started writing and making art and in general picking up again with the activities of life and i've started to cook again. sure, i still eat some cold cereal and i still eat some frozen dinners (the intermediary stage was one of frozen dinners), but now i scan cooking blogs for recipes that i don't think i can live without.

and i found an awesome looking recipe for mascarpone brownies.

now, for me, "awesome" in a recipe has has four factors:
  1. the ingredients are recognizable, available to me (or substitute-able), and are foods that i like.
  2. the recipe does not call for equipment i do not have.
  3. the recipe is easy enough to understand and easy enough for me to execute.
  4. the recipe looks like it will yield something that tastes good.
an additional factor working in favor of "awesome" is that it keeps for a long time, or freezes well.

now, when i saw this recipe, i had no idea what mascarpone is, so i looked it up. on my next trip to the grocery store, i looked for it in the cheese aisle, but then (no big surprise, really) i had to look up what acceptable substitutes might be.

i went with good cream cheese, figuring that if it's a truly awesome recipe it will come out pretty good and later on if i like i can worry about more complex solutions.

it is, as promised, an easy recipe to make. and not only do the brownies freeze well for later consumption as the recipe tells us, but in my opinion they are BEST consumed directly out of the freezer, which makes them the perfect make-ahead dessert for when you want to watch your unexpected guests' eyes roll back in their heads from the goodness of it.

i've made them four or five times and i think i'm just always going to keep several packages of them in the freezer. they are that good.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


i know i said i was on the road, and i was.

and then i had to come home nearly unexpectedly, on account of some biological thing.

which means that now it is inconvenient for me to be absent for a rehearsal of the church choir that i would really prefer to go to, anyway. sometimes things work out.

it also gives me some time to look at some maps and read up on some stuff and maybe spend a few days writing my geocaching blogs so i can maybe get caught up with the second week of may or something (cough, cough)...

but in the meantime here's a fun little doohickey that you will like if you either like maps or literature. i like both, as it happens.

it does not work on whatever version of firefox i prefer (no, i don't feel like clicking the little box to find out for you), but it works great on chrome and probably a handful of other browsers i don't have open right now.

i gotta go.

Monday, October 04, 2010

do you want cancer awareness with that?

i'm out on the road. this morning i took a bazillion beautiful pictures and found a couple dozen (!) new campsites and later on i'll have pictures and stuff for you, but for now i want to talk about this:

today i had to get things in three stores. in two of these stores i was asked very aggressively if i wanted to buy an additional item to support cancer awareness.

jiminy! not even cancer research, or services for cancer patients! and how many cents on the dollar, i wonder, go to this "awareness" and not to product sales themselves? promotion?

i mean, who's NOT aware of cancer these days? every other product in the supermarket has a pink ribbon on it fer pete's sake, and i guess fractions of pennies from those items get poured into the coffers of that one very well-marketed organization and maybe we're all supposed to feel like buying these products will ease our collective guilt that we're not doing anything real to actually HELP people.

you want to make a difference? volunteer at your local respite house, or working on a habitat house, or the food shelf, or actually give money -real money, and not a fraction of a penny for some extra piece of crap you don't need- to an organization that's working for a cure, or for patient services.

ask hard questions about how much of your donation goes to work and how much goes to "admistrative costs". ask how much goes to actual people.

so. the girl behind the counter says to me "i know you just bought a package of markers and a package of pens, but do you want to buy another pink pen for cancer awareness?"
"no, thank you."
"are you sure? it's for cancer awarness."
"yes, i'm sure."
"but it's for cancer awareness, it's cancer awareness month."
"yes, everyone i know is aware of cancer. do you have a promotion for ALS?"
"uh, probably in the future. but this month is cancer awareness month."

this conversation really happened.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

last week's news

last week there was a lot of buzz about the pew forum quiz about people's knowledge of religion. the big splash in it was, of course, that atheists and agnostics knew more about religion than the mainstream protestants or anyone else mostly, except jews.

considering that study in general is a part of traditional jewish culture, this is not entirely surprising. it is also sadly not surprising how little the average american christian knows about religion. it's not surprising to me in light of the goofy things that i heard supposed christians say about what "good" christians would do or what Jesus would want or how scary people of other faiths are.

maybe what they really mean is that what they do not know scares them and they will make up the rest to suit their needs.

me, i got a perfect score. i'd feel smug about that, but i'm pretty sure that Jesus does not expect me to sit around and gloat. it's sunday morning. i gotta go to church.

and then, who knows?

i'll let you know when i get there.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

take out the recycling

one of the things that's hard about this blog is keeping up with all the cool stuff i either find or do and have pictures to show you and things to tell you about, nevermind the rants. one of the things i don't like in particular about a lot of the less authentic blogs is when they post a lot about stuff they only ever heard about but didn't bother to try.

let's face it: if a thing is cool, if you're not on the absolute cutting edge there's no use reblogging some cool stuff that's going around because by the time it gets to you, it's old, old, news.

so it's not my practice to blog about some new toy or recipe or gadget until i've tried it out and can talk to you about it, ok?

so a few weeks ago i heard about this thing that looked cool: email spam recycling. it's been sitting on my desk for a while because it involves a few steps and you know i've had projects. they explain it for you pretty well on the website (awesome) but you send them your spam email, and they send you a link.

you go to the link and they have taken your email and messed with it digitally so that you visit their site again and watch the little movie that turns it into art.

cool so far.

but here's the best part: you can play with the controls! so then when you get it how you want it (careful; last night i was playing with it and before i knew it two hours had evaporated) you click the little button and they send you a .jpg of it that you can use however you want.

Friday, October 01, 2010

from the south end

i know i make a lot of promises to tell you about one thing or another, but the good news is that eventually i get around to it.

about three weeks ago i went with cr and mr. cr to the south end art hop before catching a little dinner and then heading uphill to the dance at edmunds.

it was an awesome dance and i danced with this rioutous guy who had all kinds of style and made me laugh right out loud from the happiness of dancing with him and it was a super dance anyway with lots of whirlygigging and couples moving in and out and if you're a big fan of geometry (i am), sometimes you wish you could just watch the whole thing from the ceiling.

...which i almost do anyway, because at some point i just give up on the whole idea of retaining any spatial awareness and just rely on the set and that charming man (whoever he is this dance) to get me through it all right and my pupils dilate and i'm giddy from it and for that ten minutes i am so totally in love with that one guy and he looks in my eyes and grins as if to say yeah, you like that.


down on the south end while things were still calm (inasmuch as the art hop can be calm) we got to visit the studio of zoë ink, a very nice young (don't they all seem young these days?) letterpress artist and she printed off a bunch of cute little bookmarks for each of us while we watched, which was really, really cool and i know letterpress is all the rage these days and if you're reading a lot of blogs you may notice an awful lot of ladies going on about cute little letterpress designs and linking to them in the one-giant-happy-community-of-bloggy-goodness-what-can-i sell-to-create-readership-and-clickthroughs way that they have, so yoo-hoo! ladies! are you lovin' this? isn't this cute?

uh, anyway. zoë let me take video of her at her press and then later when i was looking up her website i noticed that she links to daria bishop photographers, which kind of answers the question for me: what's andy doing since he retired?

daria (and apparently andy) is a real live professional photographer. it can safely be said that she knows how to use her camera in manual mode, and her work is featured on the cover of the autumn issue of vermont life, a magazine you may have heard of. awesomely, the people in the picture on the cover are friends of mine and that's how i know andy: through them.

there. are we all caught up? i'm going to go make brownies. maybe later i'll tell you about them.



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