Saturday, December 24, 2011

daily downloads

tonight at church joan preached a thing she called "everybody goes to bethlehem". if you really want to know, you can wait until martin posts it over at

it was beautiful, though, and if you stand where i stand in the church when the candles are lit, you look out facing the whole congregation, and people are mostly wearing red: red vest, red sweaters, red jackets, and you don't notice it so much until you see it in the sea of candle flames and they are all so beautiful that i almost can't stand up.

anyway, i've been posting racks from my christmas album over at and you can download them until january 6 if you like. here is tonight's posting; you can find the others from there if you're inclined.

peace be with you, tonight and every night.

Friday, December 16, 2011

songs from an alternate reality

there's a lot to tell.

right now i'm just going to say that i am still out here and i'm doing pretty well, considering. i have a ton of projects, and i have pictures to show you later but for right now i'm just going to give you two sound clips.

i'm still playing glitch a lot, and that little imaginative world sparks a little imagination.

a while ago i was trying to get currants in the game (the currant-sy. hehe) to buy my precious little house in groddle meadow but it was going to mean a long haul down in the ilmenskie mines, which only made me think of the traditional groddle song that the miners used to sing on their way down into the mines:

ilmenskie miners

of course, as time goes on the traditional songs of groddle are being uncovered, and it turns out the people of groddle are a cheeky bunch. there's much more expensive real estate to be had in alakol or salatu and often peopel will work to buy very expensive houses in alakol only to realize they'd rather live in groddle.

of course the meadow dwellers have a song about that, too.

i live in groddle meadow

the most famous song of groddle, though, is immortalized in the GNG musicblock and you should go listen to it.

good night, groddle.

Monday, December 12, 2011

hey, hi.

i've been playing glitch kind of obsessively, or at least playing it in most of my computer time.

things have not been going so well for me, and it's nice to be in an alternate world where things ARE going well for me and life is simpler.

outside of that i'm still taking pictures and making foods and sooner or later i hope to have something for you about that. for right now, though, i'm thinking about what i will do with my afternoon, what i will make in my kitchen, and my advent project.

i'm not feeling so well. i have to keep busy.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

open letter to my neighbors

hey, neighbors!

i like what you've done with the place. and your weekend parties look awesome when i go by and i don't mind having all those cars on the road because you all look like you're having a pantload of fun.

i think it's super cool that you have a live band and i actually enjoy your practices and i enjoy it when just the drummer practices even though it's plenty loud here at my house, across the road and back a ways.

i even like the idea that when your band is between sets you let the children play with your drums.

but you cross the line when you DON'T TURN OFF THE SOUND SYSTEM between sets. i don't mind hearing your party, or your practices even though it's quite loud even with my windows closed.

i DO mind open mike for six-year-olds.

for the sake of all things kind and decent, when you let the children play with the equipment, KILL THE AMP.

those four kids who want to sing into the mike wouldn't be enjoyable for us out here even if they knew more songs than the first two bars of the star spangled banner, repeated over and over and over while that kid on the drums plays bah-bah BOOM, bah, bah BOOM uninterrupted for ten minutes.



Monday, September 05, 2011


last week i went into waterbury to work on flood cleanup.

it's good to see how many people are coming to shovel muck and strip carpets and whatever work needs doing just "because we're neighbors", with "neighbor" apparently a word that means "you live in my state".

i didn't take any pictures and there's not much to tell you about except that pretty typical of it was a bunch of us in a room of a destroyed trailer in a trailer park. there are five of us in that room, and we are trying to scoop up the mess and maybe save out a few personal items that aren't destroyed. so two people are scooping, one is boxing, one is gently removing keepsakes from a waterlogged wall, and one is using a chainsaw to cut up the furniture.

later in the day we are leaving big pieces of things that don't go around corners easily "until we knock out the drywall".

it's hard work, and i had never done demolition, but a worker is a worker and they take everyone and now i'm pretty good with a prybar and a mat knife.

yesterday at church our pastor got up and said she hoped we'd forgive her for not having prepared a sermon; she had been cleaning up in moretown.   and then she turned to us and asked what we did this week.

and i am so proud to have been in that room, a church where we were not flooded, but where nearly every person had either gone to work on cleanup, or rounded up supplies or raised money or in some way had worked support.

a little girl in the second row was making cookies to feed the volunteers.

last night there was more flooding. not as widespread, but there was still flooding.

today it's raining.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


yeah, my house is fine, and my road is fine.

my town roads are also fine. the water is going down.

one town south of me it's a different story; school can't start until next week, because they have no way to run the busses.

the thing about vermont, in case you don't know our geography, is that we are a small state with a mountain range running right down the center of it. our border with new hampshire is a river, and our border with new york is a big honkin' lake.

in order to get from one side of the state to the other, you have to go through the mountain passes. mountain passes are where the floodwater runs.

so along the winooski river (which goes through my town) there was a lot of flooding, but the winooski is wide and pretty close to sea level.

the deerfield river, on the other hand, goes through the mountains and after two weeks of rain when all of a sudden one afternoon the sky opens up and pours fourteen inches of rain into already filled catchments and saturated ground, what happens is that all that water simply flows downhill.

it takes everything in its path with it.

many of our precious historic covered bridges are now simply gone. many of our picturesque towns are destroyed.

tonight we hope to have access to what we're calling "the thirteen isolated communities"; these are towns that since sunday have had no land access at all and have had to have food and water and medical needs carried by helicopter. and you have to understand that there are a LOT of towns where there isn't cell reception. they're just too far into mountain hollows, so when the water came crashing in, a lot of those people had no way to communicate with the outside world. one town not too far from my house was so cut off that yesterday afternoon they sent out a party ON FOOT to bring back water to drink.

when we say we're bringing access to the isolated communities, that means there will be an ATV trail. car travel for some of those towns may be a LONG time coming.

tonight one of the most popular radio shows in the state is one where you can call up and tell people how to get out of towns to places where you can find electricity and hospitals. apparently if you have a couple of hours to burn you can get from dover into brattleboro.

let's be clear here: when there used to be a road that went through, you might go into brattleboro from dover to get a pizza. i know i did.

but route four is GONE in a lot of places, and so is route nine. in some paces they're talking about evacuating people but not bringing them back, because they say it may be years before some of those back those roads are repaired, if ever.

right now as it stands they say the best way to get from any point on the east side of vermont to any point on the west side of vermont is to go down and take the mass pike.  i'm not kidding about this.

CVPS, the largest utility serving that area, says they can't repair the lines that went down, because the land they were on is simply not there anymore. those towns are not getting power until the utility comes in and build new lines from scratch.

there's no water in woodstock. they have a line of porta-potties on main street.

to the good, power crews from as far as texas are working around the clock. road crews from northern towns where there was no damage are going down with their dump trucks. google has been working with the state today to put together some kind of map project so people can see which roads are passable. people with chainsaws are just going out and clearing paths. ATV riders are going into isolated towns by way of snowmobile trails to bring water and supplies. hotels and campgrounds are taking in people for free.

small towns are still small towns, and you may not know your neighbor's name, but he'll still come the couple of miles from his house and clear the road with his chainsaw so you can get out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

disaster area

for a while i thought it best to go silent; there was a thing about some low-grade stalking and the biggest hatwipe in the world who is, still apparently, the biggest hatwipe in the world.

and i was playing glitch. i play it a lot these days when it's open, and when it's closed i flail about waiting for it to open. it's still in beta, and i'm playing it real hard because i'm thinking about laying out the cash to be a subscriber which i would want to do if it was going to hold my interest for a whole year, so i'm playing it AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE to see if it will keep me interested.

since i am currently dreaming about it, it appears to be keeping me interested.

and of course i'm also in my kitchen making delightful things to eat. this week i made more roasted tomato soup and some really swell white bean and eggplant soup, and there's a really, really long list that i won't trouble you with because what i really want to talk about is the storm.

did you notice the storm?

i did.

from where i was sitting it appeared to be simply very dramatic weather, but i'm listening to the news today and national news is using phrases like "the little state of vermont was hardest hit".

at my house, i just battened down the hatches and monitored the power outages across the state. there were a LOT of them. and an "outage" simply refers to a point at which the lines have gone down, so that might be one household, or like yesterday afternoon in the islands, 1700 households. at one point there were over 13,000 outages in windham county alone.

my power flickered off for a few minutes at about a quarter to one, and when it came back on i could see according to the outage reports that 43 households in my town had gone out.

as of this writing there are still no plans to restore power to those households. and interesting thing to note is that some power was restored a couple of miles away a little after that, and i kind of expected there to be some work on it then, but today since it's all sunny and bright i thought i should go out and get some exercise and assumed that the trails would be too wet for mountain biking, so i decided to go play disc golf.

it may seem like a non-sequitur, but that's how i discovered exactly where the power lines went down and why they're not getting repaired any time soon.

first of all, i don't carry flood insurance because i live way the heck up here on a mountain a mile from a good stream that drains to a very large wetland that is itself way up above the river and drains down quite a bit.

in short, if i am flooded out, i have much bigger problems than high water.

but my town is funny-shaped: it is rectangular, but the corner i live in is waaaaay up over the spine of the green mountains and as recently as 15 years ago we had to tuition our kids out to other towns to go to school because it was not possible to get from here into the main part of town in the winter.

it's the power line that comes up here from town that went down. i live close enough to the other side that i can be supplied from any one of three directions and judging from the outages, only one of my routes was (is) still up.

but up in the notch, there's only the one transmission line.

and after i saw where the line went down, i got down to route two and got to see that it would not have been possible for crews to come up my road; the bottom of it was under say, five feet of water. and so was that low-lying neighborhood near the river.

now bear in mind that as i'm seeing this, i still think i'm going to go play golf in waterbury center, which means going through downtown bolton.

uh, not happening. the water may have receded five or six feet, but downtown bolton is still pretty much underwater. the guy from the utility company said you can get through on the road IF you have high clearance AND you don't mind your vehicle smelling like raw sewage after that.

because flooding means sewage.

i did not try to go any further than that. i did not need to see the damage all along route 2.

it turns out that a record number of roads in this state simply aren't there anymore. that's impressive, because this summer we had record floods and a record amount of roads disappeared.

if you'd like to see a LOT more flood damage, try this search.

and i was listening to the news this afternoon and learned that the state was considering FLOODING THE STREETS OF THE STATE CAPITAL yesterday.

why? because of the very real danger of the breaching of dams upstream in residential areas.

our state capital is a big bowl with the river going through it. most of the homes are on high ground. it would have been devastating to the businesses, but if the marshfield and wrightsville dams had breached, it would have been a stunning disaster.

anyway, it's considered to be WORSE flooding than the flood of '27, when dams DID breach, with great loss of life.

we think we "only" lost one man to the flood yesterday; a city employee checking on flood conditions and was washed away.

it's going to be a long time before we can get from here to there easily again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

waiting for the world to open up

it's thursday, which means the little world at glitch is going to open up sometime today. i am so excited that i have not slept in two nights, which is bad because i don't imagine i will sleep well tonight since i'll probably be up late playing the game.

i like it that much.

meanwhile, i am trying to win at tinyhack, which isn't going so well. i have found all the objects i need to find AND i have found the secret entrance to the fortress, but so far i am unable to put these things together for a win.

i'm experimenting with this video conversation thingy, but so far i do not know if i like it.

and because i have the tabs open on my desktop i'm having a look at some games that are played in google earth. right now i'm looking at skydiver, but i don't know yet if i like it enough to add to my list. games played in google earth are fascinating to me, though, just because of the real earth imagery. if you go there, please note that it runs in chrome, but not in firefox. i have not tried it in safari or opera, but you KNOW it won't work in IE anything. last week i was on a visualization site and saw a fun notice on a broken graphic on an RSS feed: it said please use a modern browser like chrome, firefox, safari, or opera. if you are viewing this through RSS, please click through and view it in your browser.

here are some odd bits i have laying around:

arounder isn't really state-of-the-art virtual touring like this, but it will give you some pretty nice panoramic photos of some interesting international locations.

captchas for idiots just makes me laugh; would such a thing were possible!

here's and interesting chart about nutrition and cravings. i am not in a position to judge its factualness (factualness? is that even a word? it is now.), but it's worth looking at.

and finally, here's a comic from xkcd:

last night i rode a good race. yesterday i made borscht, vegetable stock, zucchini brownies, and i prepped a couple of things i'll make later. i also packaged the cubes of frozen tapenade for later use.

today it will be more soup, a roasted beet risotto, and probably something else delightful. and this afternoon the fish i'm curing will be ready to rinse and package.

that's it for me, i guess.

i have to go check if the world is open yet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

how can i get more traffic for my blog?

the real question here is "why do you want more traffic for your blog?"

are you a business and think of your blog as a way to draw in consumers?
do you have dreams of internet fame?
do you expect to make real money from your blog and be able to retire?
do you think it's going to get you that book/record deal you want?
do you collect followers on your blog just like you collect facebook "friends" and twitter followers?

i read a lot of blogs. and i see a lot of blogs that seem to be more about driving traffic than anything else. so here's my advice:

  • join networks. you don't really care if people are reading you, do you? you just want those all important clicks and backlinks. so join as many networks as you can. bloggers there who aren't reading your blog will all be part of that network and they'll all follow you in return for following them.
  • go to conferences. same thing. spend a lot of time and money to go to meet thousands of people who don't really want to read anyone else's blog, but they want to have you follow theirs.
  • invent blogging challenges. make some little blogging meme and get lots of bloggers to do it too, and hopefully they will give you a link. awesome. i LOVE to read dozens of nearly identical blogs every day when people take up cookie-cutter challenges.
  • participate in a challenge. "august vacation!" "pic-a-day". "seven things about yourself". then you can all link to each other and see who's doing it, too. it's like death to the reader, but you'll have links.
  • giveaways! give stuff away to people who leave comments! there. THAT will get tons of people to comment. and of course people who comment just to get a prize will stick aroudn and be a real reader, won't they? well, at least you'll have a backlink.
  • make tons of comments on blogs. it doesn't matter if it has anything to do with the post, or if you're part of an actual conversation. you will have a backlink. and of course your comment will be so interesting that tons of people will follow your blog as soon as they see it.
  • give out blog awards! make a little graphic that people can put on their page to tell the world how proud they are that you awarded them the "flowers and sunshine" blogging award even though they write about war atrocities. of course your award will have lots of little rules in it, including a mention and a backlink. and won't you feel special when they display your award right up there with the 56,000 other awards they received from people who want backlinks?
  • ask questions. no matter what your blog entry is about, be sure to end with a question so that your readers will want to make lots of comments. it works because people love to talk about themselves. you know they do. you have a blog, right? so you talk about yourself and then ask a meaningless question so that other people will talk about themselves and give you their traffic.
  • follow, follow, follow! follow dozens -no, hundreds of blogs. you don't have to read them. just follow them publicly and the people who write them will be polite and follow you back.

 oh. were you just interesting in writing an interesting blog? and you don't care about traffic?

well then. it's easy. write what you want, when you want to. show pictures or tell stories or whatever.  if you are blogging for a business, connect to your customers by giving them content that will interest them. if you sell barbecue accessories, blog about recipes and gardening and how to use a grill really well, but ALSO tell about whatever interests you. banjo music?

give people a reason to read you. provide a service that's not about making a sale.

on average i read about 400 blogs every day.

every. single. day.

some of them are aggregators. some of them give original content. there are professionals and average joes.

here are two of my favorites:

gurney journey this is the blog of a working artist/illustrator. he writes about his work, other people's work, and whatever happens to interest him at the moment. he has (i think) a large following, but he's about content, not followers. he post on average twice a day, and it is always interesting.

janette kok is a quiet little christian lady living a quiet little christian life in the pacific northwest. she writes on average once a day and talks about what she's reading and what's in her garden. it maybe doesn't sound like a must-read to you, but i read her every day and when i'm too tired or fed up to read a lot of the other blogs i read daily, i am always happy to read hers. she does not care one bit about followers or links or comments.

meanwhile, back at the farm, i am eagerly awaiting the opening of the glitch world tomorrow. and i am making lots of precious little recipes. i'm also signing up for various new internet services for communication and data visualization, just to try them out. i'll let you know if i get anything good.

oh! by-the-way- last night for dinner i made this casserole before i went out for my run and then baked it after. it's good.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

little things

today's little chore was  updating the slideshow that plays on my blog page. i know, you probably read it in RSS, but there's a slideshow if you want to see it.

so that took a little time, going through my bazillions of photos and adding the ones that seemed worth it, and taking out some old ones i wasn't so happy with anymore. then of course the feed was broken, so i had to fix that.

in other little internet news, yesterday i added two new designs to my zazzle store. i took a picture of some flowers from cr's garden and she said it was like us smiling in the sunshine, so i made this:

then i was thinking that if i could make that into a template, it would make a nice little greeting card or mug or something, so no anyone who wants one can put their own photographs into the flowers and that's how i spent my morning yesterday.

flower garden mug
flower garden by flask_ehrlenmeyer
you and me, sunshine card
you and me, sunshine by flask_ehrlenmeyer
make a card online at zazzle 

so then i went for a mountain bike ride and came home and made the soup du jour. it's almost as good as yesterday's soup. i think now i'm going to go make brownies.

Monday, August 08, 2011

music, language, and games

gonna close some more tabs.

why? because i have a backlog of things i need to open up and play with so i can either show you or not.

music! weird music! weird AWESOME music!

first, i'd like to introduce you (have you met?) to the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, or PLOrk, as it is affectionately called. their webpage is kinda dry, but there's a nice little piece about them in the NPR archive, and one of their photo sets works like a gallery and is interesting. they don't look like they're really set up for hotlinking, but if you're looking at those pictures, please notice the exit sign in the auditorium. ooooh. talk nerdy to me.

and then there's the vegetable orchestra. not only is this a concept that i am in love with, but their website is rich with images and words and sound samples, so you should go. then, if you're like me, you will buy their album "onionoise"and you will look for the nearest venue and wait until you can go there and see them live. mmmm, soup.

(and speaking of soup, here is a really good soup i made yesterday. i played fast and loose with the recipe, both changing the quantity of things in it and adding potatoes to the roast, but it is  whoa-nellie-i-can't-talk-to-you-now-i'm-eating-soup! good.)

soup? how did we get there? is it non-sequitur hour? were you READING the website, or did you just skim through, hmmm?

ok, NOW we're just going to jump topics, but it's ok; it still involves sound files. if you've known me for more than ten minutes, you know i'm a big language fan. so naturally i was interested to hear the story of the three little pigs as told in new guinea pidgin, which is a creole.

for a neat look at the evolution of alphabets, look here.

a lot of the world speaks english, though. me, i'm learning OLD english (more accurately west saxon literary dialect), but one of the things that interests me in the world of english speakers is accent. so it's super cool that there's a game you can play to try to guess where a person is from based on his or her accent when reading a passage in english. it's harder than i thought it would be at the outset, because while me ear can distinguish the accent of a native german speaker, i'm not good enough to know if it's swiss german. and what if the speaker is, say a native french speaker, but was taught english by australians? oh, man. it gets complex... 

anyway, you can play can you guess where my accent is from?

and then as long as you're playing games, you might as well play this clever little old-school favicon-sized game: tinyhack.

or maybe you just want to play with movement and sound: balldroppings. it's s chrome experiment, but it seems to work just fine in firefox.

and if you like your games more cerebral, there's a whole playground here.

and just for good measure, last night i heard about this race: run for your lives! ha. that's funny.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

girl talk

i'm cleaning off my desk so i can close my tabs and now that i can use that handy tool i told you about yesterday to have any tab from any of my machines open, it's a lot easier for me to have a look at the stuff i want to tell you about and then also have it handy for the machine i write from.

it's especially important since the keyboard on my laptop needs replacing and i no longer have use of the spacebar, or the b, n, ? and up arrow.

a while ago the band girl talk came out with an album called all day, which you can download in its entirety for free. the interesting thing is that there's a real-time list (with video) of all the samples used in the album. and even if it's not your style (it's not mine) it is a fascinating project and what the heck; it's free.

so i watched that in its entirety yesterday and although it's not going on my favorites playlist, it sure was interesting to see how the samples were used and also how the list was compiled. i am a sucker for a beautiful graphical representation.

i also want to tell you about a privacy tool i discovered and downloaded this week. it is also free and so far i am happy with how it works. the idea is that companies that have those like buttons are tracking you whether or not you are logged into their services. all you have to do is be on a page that has those buttons and you are being tracked, even if you have cookies disabled.

and you can get add-ons that disable the buttons entirely, but what if you want to use them sometimes and not be tracked everywhere else? so this thing (and so far i'm pretty happy with my test of it on both of my machines) simply blocks the tracking unless you choose to interact with the button on the site. you can manage your permissions and grant and ungrant as you please, which makes me happy.

you can find that here: share me not.

and appropos of nothing, i want to tell you about this because i think it's screamingly funny:

The Birthday Clown Consortium Price Guide.

there. i'm done for now. it's off to the kitchen with me. i don't know yet what i'm going to make, but there will be a few things and i bet they'll be good.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

organizing at the end of the world

the end of the world came yesterday.

did you notice? no, you probably did not, unless you play glitch. the thing about the beta testing is that they roll out a version of the game and the testers play it until the test ends and then they start over in the new test version.

since i only started playing wednesday, i was not aware that at the end of the test, there's a giant End Of The World Party. but for a game that i only started playing wednesday, it sure has a hold of me. i am marking the days until the new version launches, and i know from the start that we'll only play for a week and then THAT world will end.

later on, and soon we hope, they will launch the game for real and we can just play. my initial assessment of it is that it's AWESOME.

it is smart and funny and graphically interesting and has a decent soundtrack. the environments and the storyline are imaginative and quirky. and here's the thing i REALLY like: it is cooperative in nature, rather than competitive. in order to advance in the game, you have to work and play well with others.

and you have to be able to make a good sammich.

while i'm casting about blankly for the startup of the new version on or around august 11, i have the usual projects, which includes SOMEHOW organizing and consolidating the bookmarks from both of my machines and all of my browsers, a thing which i was beginning to think impossible until this morning i found an add-on that works across platforms and across browsers and now my machines have all the same bookmarks and open tabs, or they CAN have the same open tabs or not, because it's configurable.


you can find that here.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


yesterday and today i played a game.

apparently it's addictive; i played it through several mealtimes and one bedtime, only leaving the house to race bicycles and play disc golf with cr.

it's still in beta, so not everyone can get in, but go ahead, if you dare: glitch

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

sleeping: an equipment guide

you probably don't know how to pack for going to bed.

what's that you say? you just crawl in there and sleep? you're not PREPARED?

you need my advice.

i am changing my sheets today. i say it in the present tense because right now i only have one set of sheets that i really like and that fit my mattress well, so in order to clean them it's a commitment to see the process through all the way.

i confess that i have not changed them since those two days it was really hot because it kind of seemed pointless to put fresh sheets on the bed if it was only going to be another hot night, but i have to draw the line somewhere.

it's not ENTIRLEY as slovenly as it sounds, because i habitually sleep in long-sleeved shirts and athletic tights and i ALWAYS wear socks, so there's not a lot of actual skin contact with the sheets, but still. there are limits.

uh, anyway, when you take the sheets off the bed, you find out what's really under that comforter.

i used to need a completely empty bed, with nothing in it and the sheets all needed to line up square and i wish i could tell you i have never gotten out of bed in the night to remake the bed because the sheets were crooked.

so while my life now may not represent progress in the strict sense, it does represent movement.

sleeping is dangerous business. last thursday on my way out of bed i managed to hit my head so forcefully on a nearby shelf that i managed to punch a half-inch triangular cut in my scalp but didn't notice the matted blood until i took my hat off at lunchtime.

apparently there's a whole suite of things you need in order to sleep. here's my list:

in the bed:
  • four pillows. it's important that if you roll over, you are fully supported.
  • two phones. you can't be bothered to roll far enough to pick one up if it rings. one functions as an alarm clock, too.
  • camera. you usually need to take pictures during the night. (see above, phone as alarm clock)
  • t shirt. you can't drool on the pillows, can you?
  • sweater that does not belong to you. this is a sufficiently grown-up looking susbstitute for that stuffed dog you stopped sleeping with when you were nine because it was falling apart but you still have it in your closet.
  • large chunk of rose quartz. handy in an emergency. you know.
  • hat. either your head is cold, or the room is not dark enough.
  • ipod and headphones. duh. don't use the good headphones; they only get tangled.
  • pretzels and pretzel fragments. ok, this isn't strictly intentional, but if you eat in your sleep, you're bound to lose some of it in the bed, ambien walrus.

not actually in the bed, but within reach without rolling over:

  • large bag of pretzels.
  • assorted other snacks.  you sleep better if you don't have to go so far to get snacks. if you have ever woken up in the driveway on your way to get something to eat, you know this is important.
  • two bottles of water.
  • spare ipod. emergency podcasts in case of failure.
furthermore, before you go to sleep you should plan your next day's activities and make sure you are wearing socks appropriate to that activity.  this means if it is saturday night, you should be wearing your bright red or florescent yellow socks, or at the very least your black and pink flamingo socks because that's what you should wear to church,  ESPECIALLY if you are in front of the congregation for any part of the service. it also means that if tomorrow is canada day, you are wearing your maple leaf socks.

details are important. if you forget to put on the right socks at bedtime, you will only have to get up and change them as soon as your error is discovered.

save yourself time and energy. be prepared.

i know i have helped you.

Monday, August 01, 2011

this is what it's like

yesterday i got up on a sunny day feeling GREAT and after church my chicken guy's wife gave me not one but TWO dozen boxes of eggs which means i have enough eggs to do some of the other things i was maybe going to go with them, but was kind of saving them out for things i HAVE to use them on...

but anyway, i was going to go to the grocery store to do my shopping after church and now i don't quite know what to do because it's warm out and now if i leave the eggs in the car i have to leave them in the cooler, but i always put my cold things in the cooler when i shop and i hadn't brought an extra because i wasn't counting on the eggs and now i don't know what to do so i start to go home and then i turn around and go back because i'll just figure it out, whatever, but then i'm crying.

really, really crying. and so i pull off into the nearest parking lot which is the town office (closed because it's sunday) and it's the kind of crying that short circuits something in my brain and i just start barking out words or parts of words and i know they're the beginnings to sentences i'm trying to say but after a while they're meaningless tics and i can't go forward with other thoughts and i can't make them stop and at this point since i am so close to the police station i'm afraid an officer will come and talk to me and i won't be able to do anything but bark and yip and twitch and up until this point it's just paranoia

-and i'll interrupt here to tell you that while i am always willing to consider that it's just paranoia, i HAVE been hunted by the police and if you have that reality to toss into your paranoid delusion, that is just not a good mix.

so anyway, i'm afraid the police will come and i'll be unintelligible and the next thing i know i'll be cuffed and transported when all i need really is to calm down and rest a little, maybe, or at any rate we all know that's how it goes since if there's a drug out there that works, i'm allergic to it.

yeah. so. i'm sitting there in my car crying and i'm thinking that i'm maybe not in a safe position when this police cruiser goes by me a little and then turns around with his lights on. he goes by me, but i go into panic overdrive. what follows is the whole of the williston fire department and rescue squad resopnding to a call somewhere down the road, but all the siren and lights are not making me feel any better.

so i think: i have to get out of here.

and i head out, back toward the church, on foot, because i think maybe i shouldn't drive. i think i will be safe at the church.

but it's locked up and although i know how to use the key box it's at least cool on the lawn and what i really want is just to stop crying and go home and have a nap or something and i try to cal my mom who can figure that i'm in bad shape, but can't figure out the barks and yips and i try to call cr who can sometimes calm them and in the end finally i get home somehow and watch some youtube videos until i feel better, and then since i'm in a bad mood, the only thing i can think of to cheer me up is to make some exquisite little dishes.

so i made a lovely tomato-basil sorbet and a balsamic reduction and a roasted garlic pasta salad that is so good you'd sell your grandmother for a second taste.

and now because i have a splitting headache, i'm going to go make popovers.

i've never made popovers.

it should be fun.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

return to my usual programming

wow, that was some week.

somehow i managed to get signed on as the head instructor for the essex rec department's week-long geocaching day camp. i am still a little fuzzy as to how that happened, but it did.

if you are interested in seeing my online materials for that, you may find them here.

without crashco i think i would have been dead in the water, but with him i think it went all right. i have all my experience in education and all that to draw from, but when it comes to putting all the containers and clues and such out in the field, it becomes a mighty big job for one person.

with many of the other camps you can just take all the kids outside to play a game and one adult is sufficient oversight, but geocaching done properly means a lot of wandering around in the woods and if you need to keep track of twelve middle school kids, three adults is just about right.

anyway, today was my first day back to "normal", and i have celebrated by catching up in the reading of the blogs i read, doing some light housework including laundry and cleaning the upstairs bathroom and washing the windows (inside and out) in the front room as well as organizing and clocking the january 2011 photos from the thirteen project, and editing them into video.

normally doing a month of thirteen photos takes me three days if i don't dawdle, but i guess i'm just on fire today, nevermind that last night i celebrated the end of the week by making split pea soup, zucchini bread, a batch of ginger ale, and a new experimental lavender-rosemary cooler that i hope will be light and refreshing.

now if you'll excuse me, i have to go make a different zucchini bread and maybe some more soup or maybe some cookies or something.

and i have to call my chicken guy because i'm out of eggs.

Monday, July 25, 2011

art and artificial intelligence

art. where to start? art. art. art.

so i was doing what i always do, which is a lot of random stuff, and i saw this website that takes images and "textifies" them. simple enough. it's fun to play with, and you can configure it a little and save the image.

here's a photo i took, modified with textify it.

kind of nice, yes?

and then i saw to really astounding interactive art projects:

the first is an interactive film that uses google earth imagery and music video. you should run it in chrome, but it is so cool that it's worth firing up a second browser and shutting down everything else you're doing just to see it.

the wilderness downtown

the other is the johnny cash project, which i might could describe, but you really should go see it for yourself. i am not kidding about this.

but yesterday i was listening to a radiolab podcast about talking to machines and heard about cleverbot. it's fairly astounding, and you can talk to it from here.

cleverbot is pretty far along in its learning, but if you want you can talk to a newer avatar called evie. she isn't trained as well, but every conversation you have helps her learn.

you may not wish to assist in developing artificial intelligence. it's interesting, though.

i had a very weird experience with her tonight in which she asked me my name. i told her i was called flask, which i am. and she said "hello, (my given name)". given what little i know about how her training works, that's a really bizarre coincidence, even if she did follow it up with asking me why people call me harper, which to my knowledge nobody has ever done.

that's it for me.

you can call me harper if you like. evie says she only did it because she's nice.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

it isn't just chimps and us anymore.

there's been a lot of hoo-hah about lots of species using tools, which is one of the things we used to think made us special.

as far as i know, though, we are still the only species to construct tools for use and distribution on the internet, although there are lots of videos these days of various critters from octopus to lion recording themselves and lots of discussions about who holds the copyright for images that a gorilla makes.

uh, anyway.

my point? it was really to talk about some little tools i have open on my desktop but was waiting to tell you about.

of course there's a cute little map tool that tells you how far two points are from each other, which is super handy.

and if you're worried about security, you might think about your passwords.

and librarians? librarians are awesome. they care about your privacy, even when the government doesn't.

and maybe this isn't so useful, but it's kind of cool. the colour clock. and as long as i'm talking about clocks (wasn't i just?), i just heard about this today. i am sad that it is not playing near my house.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

simple solutions

aside from stopping the stupid stinking expensive war that is the death of the republic and the downfall of the empire (didn't ANYBODY learn anything from rome?)

-uh, aside from THAT, we could actually be helping people. here are some projects that take small practical approaches to big problems, and while they don't solve the cause of world poverty, they increase the standard of living for people who really need it.

these people make and ship low-cost wheelchairs to people in developing countries. it's not state-of-the-art-insurance-is-paying-for-it perfect fitted medical supplies, but a lawn chair fitted with bike wheels is perfectly serviceable and a cheap alternative.

and even during daylight hours it's DARK inside a lot of people's homes, where electricity is either expensive or unavailable. these people have come up with a cheap solution that helps.

and while we're at it, the problem of clean drinking water is a major one in much of the world. you don't hear much about this solution to the problem, but i think one of the reasons you don't hear a lot about it is that nobody is going to make a lot of money from it.

and in the developed world, people with diseases like ALS or MS typically can't get access to those spiffy computer-assisted communication devices that would make their remaining days better. those machines are expensive and your insurance won't cover them, so unless you're rich, you're out of luck.

so these guys developed a cheap DIY version you can make yourself or have made for under $100.

Friday, July 22, 2011

hard travelin'

here's today's work:

this is the posted video of december from my thirteen project. it is difficult to wade through those images and see the hours crawl by knowing what it was like to be living in that room with barred windows, to be separated from my loved ones, and the general grimness of the atmosphere in the halfway house over christmas and new year's.

since they took my camera away while i was inside, i snuck some illegal external shots later and modified those to represent the hours i was still marking inside.

there are "normal" pictures taken in parking lots, but i know where they are and when they are: they are the hours between session and curfew when i had to go out to get groceries, medications, supplies, and just to get out.

checking my email meant sitting in a parking place curbside at an open network, usually at the library.

you see pictures of sunshine and ice fisherman, but they're taken from inside a session room. it's done quickly, under the notice of the staff. the patients don't care; they're not in the picture.

it's hard to see those images.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


i don't care how hot it is during the day.

really,  i don't. over a hundred degrees? awesome day for a road bike ride.

but it's nighttime and i want to sleep, you know?

i wouldn't bother to mention it, except  that there's an interesting little temperature thing going on here:

if i walk out my front door it's just about as beastly hot outside as it is inside, but here at my desk only one floor up and on the same side of the building what's coming through the window feels like a cool breeze. there is some difference between the upstairs temperature and the downstairs temperature, but not enough i don't think to account for the difference.

in the basement, however, it's about twenty degrees cooler, so i'll be sleeping down there.

overnight the temperatures are supposed to fall into the low 60s so it will give the rest of the house a little chance to cool before i shut it all up in the morning starting on the sunny side of the house and then all the way around when the outside temperature draws near the inside temperature and of course as the evening cools i go through the reverse process, testing every window and door and opening everything where it's cooler outside.

yes, i have considered a/c.

...for about ten minutes.

what? i should get a/c for the three days a year it's above 50 degrees here at night?

i don't think so.

i don't even bother most days to wear short sleeves, let alone shorts. today called for short sleeves, but still long pants.  as far as i'm concerned, if it's july and i can wear turtlenecks, i'm happy. if there's a light frost on the grass in early august i am ecstatic.

wednesday night my friends and i were laughing about our definition of what constitutes "the south": bennington and brattleboro counties.

and beyond that, you might as well be at the equator.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

we're having a heat wave!

tonight at my race i was talking with my friends and while we're not really happy about the temperatures, we thought it would be really funny for all of us here in northern new england to get on the interwebs and complain about the heat.

and the weather.

today it must have been eighty-five degrees here at my house! and it's sunny every day except for the afternoons when it rains, so the grass is lush and green and at this time of year golden topped in the sunset hours.

blast the heat. eighty-five degrees is about fifteen degrees warmer than i like it.

it's july, which means i watch a lot of TV. the whole reason i pay for he cable package i do is because i have to watch the tour every july.

every day.

today i have to catch the primetime coverage because i had to miss the live coverage because yesterday i got a flat tire on my way to my race and today i had to get it fixed AND i had to take my bike into the shop for repairs.

in my spare time, i'm editing the song i wrote and i'm organizing and clocking photos for the thirteen project. if you're just joining us, i take a picture every thirteen hours. i have been doing this for eighteen months now. i'm behind in the organizing, mostly because i got bottled up behind the Very Bad Thing; in order to clock the photos from november and december i have to come face to face with it and the subsequent prolonged stay in the crazy house where they took away my camera, so i've had to come up with a way to represent the weeks behind bars in a way that preserves the spirit of the project.

yesterday i posted november to youtube; tomorrow i'll get a good start on clocking december.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

old news

since i took five weeks off, i have kind of a backlog of things on my desk. none of this is particularly fresh, but i think it's worth mentioning.

first, i heard a really interesting podcast on studio 360 about three-dimensional sound. it's worth going to their page to have a listen.

and i don't care if you are allergic to cute and fluffy kitties and fuzzy puppies give you hives. you should go play sissy's magical ponycorn adventure, which is a game designed by a five year old girl. if you're interested in the story of how it came to be created, her father wrote about it here.

recently i burned up a lot of time looking at some maps. uh, really, if you know me, you know that i habitually burn a lot of time looking at maps. in this particular instance, though, i had been to campobello island, NB and eastport ME among other places and i had taken a picture of a navigational marker out in the channel by the old sow and i thought i'd look it up and the next thing i knew i had two things on my screen: a complete description of the coast of maine and new brunswick from quoddy narrow to calais, and the accompanying chart 13396. taken together, you can have hours of charty fun.

if you like your maps on a smaller scale, you maybe would like the atlas of the habitual.

Monday, July 18, 2011

time off

ok, so i took five weeks off.

if you really wanted to follow what i was writing, you could have been reading my geocaching logs, which are now all caught up. it's kind of like blogging, except that each entry is attached to a place i went and tells part of the story of a day. most of my logs also include pictures, many of which i post to panoramio, and many of those get onto google earth.

speaking of google earth, i also did a little map project with that about our two days playing geocache battleship.

View battleship! in a larger map

i also made a little tour in google earth, which you can download as .kmz here and play for yourself.

tuesdays and wednesdays i still go out and run a 5k trail run and mountain bike race, respectively, and i still go out and play disc golf a couple of times a week.

in other news, i made a  new ice cream flavor that's kind of complicated but very good. i call it "hot chocolate".  basically it's a very chocolate ice cream with arbol peppers and cinnamon. it's complicated because in order for the custard to hold as much chocolate as it does, you have to melt the chocolate in the milk and temper it. in order to get the pepper taste in there properly, you have to slow simmer the peppers and cinnamon and other spices in scalded milk. and in order to carry all that chocolate, you have to use egg yolks, which have to be tempered as well. then the whole thing has to be combined cooled and after it cools you have to run the combined custard through the blender because some of the chocolate will have precipitated.

THEN you can add the cream and toss it in the ice cream maker.

it's time consuming, but very, very good.

 the thing about it, though, is that it is so smooth going down you don't even hardly notice the peppers until you have already swallowed it, so if you don't enjoy a stealth kick, you ought to be careful. and for heaven's sake don't get any in your eyes when you're busy licking the bowl.

oh, and i wrote a new song.

outside of all that, though, things haven't been going so well for me and i just didn't want to write to you about that. it's bad enough that i have to know about it without depressing you, too.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

les paul and google

i was (maybe) going to post about some other things, like geocachng, or some chartalicious things i found, or the power outage map that isn't very informative if your OWN power is out, but then i was looking at today's google doodle. do you ever look at the archive? and i was wondering: what does that commemorate?

oh. les paul's birthday. cool. (beware auto-play)

but here's the REALLY cool thing: it's not just a pretty doodle. you can PLAY it! and it records! here's mine, from a few minutes before i discovered you can take lessons.

way cool.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

most awesom spam bless honestly veracious.

with only a few edits (in parentheses), here is the most awesome spam comment i've gotten to date:

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honestly, even if you WERE looking for those services, would you use those links?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

rollin', rollin', rollin'

tonight i went to run my usual 5k trail run (doesn't that sound hardcore?) and went down hard right out of the start. i have no idea how i managed that; the terrain was flat and grassy and there wasn't so much as a dip to lose my footing on.

but i went down, rather dramatically.

it probably looked a lot bigger than it was, because i am a very good roller. at least that's what the guy in the oncoming lane said when i got run over by the dodge durango on route 2 a number of years ago and my choices were basically roll or die.

it is my opinion that once a fall is already in progress, there's no point worrying about it. you may as well roll. if you roll well, you can keep the tender bits from hitting and you can keep the long bones from breaking, and you can keep the connective tissue from snapping. a few bruises and cuts will heal right away, and with a kiss and some bandaids you can race again tomorrow.

tomorrow we'll race the same course on moutain bikes. that will not suck.

tonight was our first look at this year's blue course, and it's my favorite of the three, even though i have not yet seen the third course. i've been around long enough to know that the third one, next week, will be, uh, climb-ier. that course, no matter what trails they put it on goes up and up and up and then just when you think you can't take any more it goes up some more and then there's a short hard downhill and then you go up again and again and then it's just a long flat mile and a half run from there.

but tonight's course is in the woods, on the lowland. sure, it goes up and down, but it's the flattest of the three and while it has its twisty moments, it flows and swoops and in general is very fast and fun.

tonight, though, it's painkillers and muscle relaxants. and  benadryl, too, for my allergies, so no matter how i cut it, tonight i'm going to SLEEP! woo-hoo!

Sunday, June 05, 2011



so i'm still writing geocaching logs, like that's any big surprise. the big surprise is that i am now only about a month behind in logging, so i may actually catch up. i have also posted the videos that go along with those logs.

in other news, here are two really cool optical illusions.

yesterday i made some baked cheese things that go around olives (pretty good) and i am still experimenting with some other things, but tonight i am happy with the dulce-de-leche-with-butter-brickle flavor ice cream i made, and i adapted this recipe for a shaved asparagus pizza.

the ice cream is very, very, good.

the pizza is to die for.  it is so good i ate the whole thing myself. oh, my goodness gracious me.

ok, that's enough dawdling. i have to go write more cache logs.

assorted other videos can be found here.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

debridal suite

tonight's mountain bike race did not go well for me. i wasn't even a mile into it when i just didn't have the speed to go over a little shelf that i've gone over without problems for YEARS and i went over at slow speed onto my left elbow leaving a deep cut that isn't very long, didn't bleed much, but that i had to debride with a toothbrush when i got home.

and now i can't rest my arm anywhere because even though it's dressed, it's weeping and tomorrow there's gonna be a very festive bruise.

of course i took pictures and at some point if you're very nice to me i'll show you.

meanwhile, back at my desk, i wrote a lot of geocaching logs today, which doesn't just mean writing geocache logs. it means updating my website and posting to panoramio and ordering the november photos from the thirteen project because now i'm just getting to all the pictures from the days surrounding the Very Bad Thing and while i was at it, i posted the video journal that i started and never finished because i got to the day of the Very Bad Thing and then just stopped filming.

you can see it in my eyes, though.

this is the before of the before and after shots. these are what my eyes look like before something in them goes dead.

these are the pictures i have been avoiding looking at for seven months and there's no way to go forward besides through.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

can you put a number on that?

today's activities:

write lots of geocaching logs.
process video.

watch a documentary about data visualization.
write more geocaching logs.
go run a 5k.
and more geocaching logs.

that's my list. this week the run felt marginally better than last week; last week in the fog of pain it simply ranged from "excruciating" to "subsuming" and tonight it only went from "severe" to "extreme", so that's progress.

when you go to the doctor, they always want you to rate it on a scale from one to ten, or one to five, or some other managed care claptrap. i always want to ask: what kind of scale? is this meant to be expressed as a percentage of the relative pain i've EVER felt? the relative pain i imagine there could possibly be? or just in relation to a general baseline? 'coz let me tell you, i am no stranger to pain but that night i nearly froze to death i learned there were whole new dimensions to pain that i never thought possible, so if i have to judge my present pain in comparison to THAT, it only come sin at about a two, but if i rate it according to a scale on which five is the level where i can't function too well, this comes in at about an eight.

or is your scale based on exponential growth?

by the time i'm done talking, they have made a little tick in the checkbox labeled "pain in the ass."

fine. NOW may i have the refill for the muscle relaxant?

Monday, May 30, 2011

stuff! and more stuff!

it's not that i have nothing to write about; it's just that i've been very, very busy writing about it.

and doing more stuff that i can write about later, if i ever get caught up.

so today i wrote a whole buncha geocaching logs, which means uploading and processing pictures, ad that included two new videos for youtube; nothing earth shattering, but just some footage of some wind chimes i saw on the way.

don't laugh; one of my most popular videos is one i took of windchimes i saw while geocaching in buckland, MA. for some reason that gets about as many hits as the one of two carrion beetles moving a dead vole, and many more hits than the one of my hair growing back after i got my head shaved.

and also on my list today: i went out and played a round of disc golf, and shot a surprisingly good 74, which is +20 on the course, but i consider it an outstanding day if i break 18 AND i hadn't played in a while and was experimenting with some new drivers.

new drivers or other excuses notwithstanding,  shooting +20 is still a good day for me.

then i came home and made a batch of pizza dough for later use, and some insanely good pasta salad involving black olives and tomatoes and a roasted garlic ricotta sauce you could just die for. and i roasted an extra head of garlic because i'm looking at some darling little recipes that call for a clove or two of roasted garlic and you can make that stuff up and freeze it ahead of time and use as you need.

oh. and i'm catching up, bit by bit, reading all the blogs and articles and such (thousands) sitting in my inbox.

i gotta go.

Friday, May 27, 2011

addison county got power

last night a set of powerful storms came through here. then tonight a line of lesser but still significant storms also came through, setting back the efforts of the power companies to restore electricity to the thousands of households that went dark early yesterday evening.

you may know that i'm a big fan of extreme weather, even when it's happening to me. ok, maybe not house-destroying weather, but if my power goes out for a week during the winter, it's an adventure.

and you KNOW i love maps.

so today i've been watching a really neat website that shows the general outages by county and by utility.

essex county has been largely red since yesterday afternoon.

here's a screenshot from earlier today:

in other news, i'm still plodding through the infernal geocaching logs, and am now caught up to halfway through october 15.

and while i was at it today, i processed some video footage to make a little movie about hunting a cache:

so. that's it for me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


today i wrote more geocaching logs, which is quite a project if you have hundreds of them to write.

but i also made a little google map of all the chuches where i've been to services.

you know how i like maps.

View churches where i have attended services in a larger map

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

stress incontinence


today i didn't get out of my pajamas, except to go run a 5k. it was the first of the season, and the longest most painful 5k ever.

but nevermind about that. i meant to maybe write you about my time on PEI, but today i wrote a bunch of geocaching logs, so now i'm only nine months behind telling those stories.

now i'm going to have a nice hot shower and take a whole bunch of advil and some muscle relaxant.


Friday, May 20, 2011

high point

so yesterday i made the strenuous climb to the high point of PEI.

the hike in was nearly two tenths of a mile, with an elevation gain of about twenty feet.

here's a picture of me, standing triumphant at the top of PEI.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

short and stout

this morning i did my reading at the church (where i am sleeping) and then i went out to play.

i did a cache that involved some compass skills, and apparently this area has a LOT of  declination (more than 18 degrees), so i had some head scratching. go ahead look up declination here.

but i was too distracted because i really needed a bathroom. i needed one so badly that i actually got into my car and drove into the nearest town, looking for the CAP site which turns out not to be the town hotspot (go figger) but they have a sign that says "open" and i need a bathroom SO BAD that i decide to just go into the business (they're a CAP site, right?) and beg to use theirs, but it's a weirdly set up building and you go in the front door and there's no reception area and no visible people but there's an open bathroom door RIGHT THERE so i decide to use it first and ask after but then i'm done and what's the point of asking?

and i don't see any point in going to find a person at a desk so i could announce that i'd just used their bathroom, so i just slink out.

but then there's a lot of looking for geocaches and fiding most of them and i'm having a blast and the filthy rain stops and the water begins to evaporate from the fields and turns into thin, fast-moving fog and the sun almost comes out and i hear on the radio that there's a rumor (rumour?) that they've seen the sun in cornwall and they're actually talking about this on the radio like it's news.

come to think of it, it's a happy, gentle kind of conversation. they intermittently play music that listeners have suggested will break up the mood caused by all the infernal rain.

and then i go look at some awesome natural features, mostly from erosion. there's a heart-shaped sea cave, a giant teapot, and i have included here a picture of my awesome parking place. do you like it?

and then i return to the church to use the bathroom there before heading out to the parking lot and the pastor  introduces me to some people in the parlor as "our new friend" and they ask me if i play guitar and i say i do, but i didn't bring one and the mandolin player says that's all right, i can play his.

and he goes to get it.

so apparently we have a gig sunday night.

marathon reading

so i'm up here on PEI and i heard on the news hat there's a church here doing a marathon reading of the bible. out loud. the whole thing. it's going to take them nine days.

and i thought: wow. i should go see some of that. and the next time i heard it on the news, i'll have to listen carefully and find out what church that is and where so maybe i can go while they're doing it.

and the news report came out and i was listening for the name of the church and the town it was in and all of a sudden i think: hey! isn't this hunter river? and isn't it that church over there?

right then, as i was driving by.

so i went in, figuring to see some of it, and they signed me right up to read a portion. and then there was a thing with a reporter and i think i'm in the paper tomorrow.

meanwhile, i'm hunting gocaches and doing some real fun mudbogging. the mud here is not just red, but really, really slippery. but it has solid botom, so you're all over the place, but you stay in low gear and you get there.

thing is the floor on the driver's side of my car is covered with red mud and the outside of the car looks like it's been sprayed with tomato juice.

i gotta go. rain or not, i'm working on a set of caches and i want to get back out there so i can do the math later.


Monday, May 16, 2011

bright red

yesterday morning i woke up and skipped church because i had the opportunity to go loo at some cool tidal anomalies, but i had to go at high tide, which was right about church time and i have to think that God would not so much mind me going to admire such handiwork.

but then for some reason i just decided to go to PEI. the mud here (and there is a lot of mud) is the most amazing red color.

and i have been listening to canadian talk radio, which is stunningly polite. yesterday i hear one guy saying that if the government doesn't fully compensate the farmers in manitoba for the intentional flooding, "well, then, i'm one guy that will be angry".

that was about the height and pitch of the discussion. one thing i notice is that no matter how strongly these people hold their opinions, they are all willing to look at the other guy's side, and that's a LONG way from US talk radio mouth-foamers.


i have to go find some geocaches or something. it's sleeting here today. i'm glad i brought my long johns.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

what time is it?

i'm pretty near lubec, maine, which is the most eastern town in the contiguous US. i'm on my way to campobello island for the day.

my cellphone keeps alternating between picking up US towers and canadian towers, which here means that i never quite know what time it is. all of maine, even the eastern parts, are in the eastern time zone. this part of canada runs on the atlantic time zone.

i'm totally toasty with the idea of changing timezones when i actually cross over for the day, but all this switching back and forth is driving me nuts; i have alarms that go off when it's time for prayer and for when i'm supposed to take a picture and since i keep switching back and forth, it's crazy-making.

well. i'm off into new brunswick for the day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

straight answers

sometimes i hang out on yahoo! answers just to kill time, or to break up stretches at my desk when i'm sitting here doing stuff.

people ask the goofiest questions over there, and apparently what 13-year-olds have to say about relationships is considered good advice.

my favorite questions involve people who want unseen strangers to diagnose medical conditions for them.

sometimes it's just a case of people who need attention, or people who are too lazy to use google properly, or kids who want their homework done for them, but sometimes there are questions i actually can answer, and it's nice to be able to help.

some of the questions just break your heart, so be careful if you go there.

Monday, May 09, 2011

back in time

PLEASE don't try to follow the story very linearly; it will only drive you mad.

i'm writing to you today about a sunny day LAST may (30 may 2010) because i happen to be there writing my geocaching logs in case that's the sort of thing you care about.

it was this fantastic sunny day and i was driving along 414 on my way back into watkins glen admiring the wineries and the lake views and in general enjoying the sunshine and the day.

i was also looking for a winery. it's wine country.

i'd asked at church what local wine they would suggest if i wanted to buy something special but not too expensive for friends back home, and since i don't drink, i have to go by advice rather than tasting. the people at the church in tburg recommended something from lamoreaux landing, so i went there.

i walked in and the first person i ran into was the manager of the tasting floor and i explained to her that i wanted to buy something special but reasonably priced for my pastor and for my best friend, but that tasting is out of the question for me, so could she advise me, please?

she could. and she did.

and i came away with two very fine bottles of wine for under $20 each.

what i was trying to capture, of course, was the sunlight and slope and the crispness of the day, which i guess is what they're doing with good wines, anyway.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

that video i promised

i very unexpectedly had to come home yesterday.

of course i couldn't find out that i needed to come home NOW while i was still north of skowhegan and therefore nominally on the way; oh, no. i had to find out after i'd driven all the way to BANGOR.

so anyway, i'm home for a few days, which means i can get my snows changed off of my car and i can upload pictures.

this is a short video of a spring that comes up through fine glacial till. it is such an amazing thing to look at that while i only shot a few seconds of it, i stood int the cold and rain, watching it bubble for several minutes.

there's a little shed built over it, and when you look down into it, you're looking down about three feet.

that's some clear water.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

one amazing thing

i see a lot of cool things on the road.

right now i think i have enough of a connection to upload video i took yesterday of the single amazing-est thing i saw yesterday.

now, maybe you don't spend a lot of time looking at rocks, but i'm a big geology fan and i was doing this earthcache that follows along an impressive esker and near the end of it is the place where the still-active underground river pushes up through the sand in a fresh spring and i just stood there for a long time, looking at it.

it's almost like watching a living thing.

i was going to upload a video for you, but  it'll have to wait until i get out of the woods.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


i was going to post for you pictures of what i saw today, but this is a powerful slow internet connection, leading me to believe that someone does not understand what the words "high-speed wifi" mean.

anyway, i got into my car yesterday to come here and found this tied inside waiting for me:

Monday, May 02, 2011

should be gone by now

i'm waiting for my ipod to sync.

it was only going to take a minute, but i decided at the last moment to load MORE podcasts on it, just because i can.

so it's going to take a few minutes.

while i'm at it, i'm printing up some golf scorecards to take along. and don't let me forget the extra gallon of wash water!

anyway, i never did tell you about the cheese; it'll have to wait until i get home.

but here's my parting shot:

last week i made ginger ale. it's just about ready, and i made it extra lemony and i infused it with lavender, just for giggles because cr likes lavender.

it was really pretty in the bottle before i filtered it, with the ginger and lemon on the bottom and the lavender on the top, and the pinkish liquid between. for a couple of days i just kept shaking it up like a snow globe, just to watch the magic.

Friday, April 29, 2011

taking stock

so. today i worked on my geocaching logs for a while and then i went into town to have lunch with my mom and pay my bills.

i was supposed to do that yesterday, but i was halfway into b-town on my way to my appointment and realized i'd forgotten to bring my mail with me.

and along the way i thought, ok, it's less convenient, but at least then i'll get to get off the interstate at exit 14, which is a bonus.

"why is that a bonus?" you might rightly ask. because i'm collecting fourteens. you know, photos of fourteens. no, it's not related to my thirteen project, in which i take a picture every thirteen hours. never you mind why i'm collecting fourteens. i just am. later on there will be a project, but for now i just have to collect them.

after lunch with my mom i did some light shopping and then came home and made some little things. the biggest project on my plate (outside of packing because it will soon be may) is using up the groceries in the fridge so they don't go bad, and one of the things i had to do toward that end was make vegetable stock.

so that's what i did. i also made split pea soup, and cut and packaged yesterday's brownies for the freezer (they keep well and are DIVINE frozen) and made a loaf of zucchini bread. a savory one, with olives and goat cheese. it will be awesome on the road.

tomorrow i have some more things to make and my fish will be ready to rinse and package, and i hope the ginger ale will be sufficiently brewed to filter and rebottle.

and of course, i'll be pouring the stock into ice trays to freeze it into handy cubes to store in the freezer for future use.


it's awesome over here at my house.

now i'm going to go to bed.


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