Thursday, October 31, 2013

white roadmaster

it was parked in "my" spot in the lot in downtown wilmington.

a white roadmaster estate wagon. for real.

but it had that telltale fog pattern on the windows, the one i am expert in, the one that says SOMEBODY IS SLEEPING IN HERE.

later in the day it was still parked in that spot, but nobody was in it. the gear was neatly stowed and the sleeping bag rolled.

does the person living in there even KNOW there's a perfectly good national forest with nice clean outhouses nearby?

i mean, seriously. the parking lot is for open wifi access. the forest is for sleeping. it's not illegal to sleep in the lot overnight, but the police will roust you every so many hours to check if you're ok, or at least that's what they told me when i asked a couple of years ago if i could sleep in the downtown lot while i was doing flood cleanup work.

besides, it's nicer in the forest and it's not very far to go.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

harvest festival

so, there was this day in october- let's just call it the 5th, because according to my notes, that would be an accurate representation of the timeline- and i was sitting at the library in trumansburg thinking about my day. i was planning to go to the tompkins county historical society or something like that but then someone at the library told me about the enfield harvest festival and of course i had to go look it up and there was a listing for an event there where they were going to have live readings of civil war letters and articles and journals written by tompkins county residents of the era.

and i was thinking, yeah. even if the readings suck (they didn't), you can't go much wrong with readings from original documents.

so i went there.

now, i live in a small town. enfield is a big enough town to have a traffic light. it's just a blinker, but it's a light. my town does not have a traffic light. i would like you to remember this because i'm going to talk about enfield's small town america charm and i don't want you to think i'm city people looking down at them.

so i get to the festival, which is held at the school and there's nowhere to park in the lot already but i find a place on the grass and somehow i find my way to the reading, where i think i am the only person in the audience who is not related somehow to the readers.

it is awesome, and some of the letters they read from are written by people whose graves i have been to and who i know about!

so that is way cool.

and there's a little altercation between some little missy who is a high and mighty teacher at the school and she gets all attitude-y when she is talking too loud outside the reading and is asked to shush. instead of just being quiet, she goes all "I DEMAND TO KNOW YOUR NAME" and pointy fingers like you would if you were an outraged second grade teacher faced with a cheeky fifth grader you didn't know. and when the lady who asked her to shush won't give her name, she goes on with "SEE,

YOU WON'T GIVE IT TO ME BECAUE YOU KNOW YOU'RE WRONG" which is a cheesy kind of debate tactic that is rarely effective even on children.

she acts like she is the high and mighty queen of the enfield elementary school, which is a posture i have sadly seen too many times. it is my considered professional opinion that i do not like the way this woman manages her classroom. if she talks this way to adults who are using the school, i shudder to think how she treats children.

but it's a small town and everybody's gotta live close by, right, so the whole thing blows over in a few minutes or at least gets swept away.

and i go off to look for lunch. i have to look hard, because the whole festival is obviously set up by local people for local people and although everybody is nice to me, the complete lack of any kind of signs or directories gives it away.

they are not expecting outsiders, and everybody from here already knows where everything is.

so i have to hunt lunch down, and i am serious bout it.

because i have been smelling the chicken barbecue since i got here. i am not a stranger to the chicken barbecue as put on by civic organizations, and this one smells like it's done right.

it has, surprisingly, a vegan option of a moroccan chickpea stew which i am told is very good. the chicken barbecue is as good as any i've had and the sides are good and plentiful, but OH, MY GOODNESS, DESSERT!

nellie, hang onto your hat. there is bread pudding with lemon sauce and if there has ever been a better bread pudding i have not met it. i would be AFRAID to meet a bread pudding any better than that because a thing that tastes better than that could destroy your nervous system and melt your whole life right town to nubs.

it was THAT good.

so then i wandered happily around the tables and tents and i asked the firemen if i could get a picture of "you handsome devils with your truck" and i talked a while with the road crew who had taken the trouble to get balloons made up.

there was a lady giving out free bike helmets to kids and a small presentation from the earnest young music teacher and some of the students and the tompkins county dairy princesses were there to dish ice cream.

what, is that some kind of beauty pageant? i asked someone.

no, they're promoting dairy farming. and they were, too. they were very sweet to pose for pictures with their tiaras and everything.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

things that are nice about being home

washing my whole body at once. in a shower. with all the water i want.

being able to use a toilet whenever i feel like it instead of having to plan when i will be near one. this item also covers having to plan to have to use one when it will be available, because it's no good to be near a toilet at 0700 if you know darn well you're going to need to poop around nine.

not having leaves in my asscrack. because sometimes i have to pee THAT BAD and while i don't think twice about peeing in the woods, sometimes it sneaks up on me and i have to pee NOW and when that happens i'm lucky i get my pants down, nevermind finding a place where i won't get sticks and leaves all up in my crack.

knowing i have enough drinking water without needing to make a trip to a spring.

knowing i can go down to the kitchen and eat. whenever.

watching it snow from inside a building and not thinking about having to go out of it to eat, pee, or change clothes.

i'm not saying that i don't love my roadtrips. 

i do.

they're just very different from indoor life and i am very much enjoying the gentler aspects of living indoors today.

is it windy?

i don't care.

did i sweat enough today that i need to find a time and place to wash up really well?

i don't care.

if i take another drink will i need to pee before morning again?

i don't care.

do my phone and camera battery need charging at the same time?

i do not care. i am living INSIDE, yah-boo.

i'm livin' small.

Monday, October 28, 2013


boo-yah, it was COLD out in the forest last night!!

yesterday morning (that's last tuesday to you) i woke up in the chilly forest a couple of hours before sunrise and first went for a little drive to a geocache out out OUT there and then i went for a lovely little walk along the shore of the somerset reservoir.

i found a fishing pole and a gear bag in the upper parking lot, and it looked like whoever left it loaded up their boat and then forgot to load their fishing stuff.

it's easy enough to do.

so i went through the bag until i found the fishing license of the owner and waited until it was decently late in the morning to call and tell her i had found it. i offered to come down to bennington to bring it, but in the meantime i hid it behind a bush so at least it wasn't out in the open.

an hour or so later she called me to thank me for it, but she would make the trip up herself in the afternoon. i told her where to find her stuff and we wished each other a happy day.

she went to work, i guess.

i went for a bike ride in new hampshire.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

almost halloween

here's a thing to scare the daylights out of you:

and here is an interactive map that is so amazing you might die looking at it.

but if you DO die looking at it, here's a thing you can do so beautiful you will cry reading about it.

if you just want to put on a costume and have a good time, though, you should have a look at this.

there. i feel better now.

and i can close some tabs.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

ithaca sound maze

a few weeks ago when i got to ithaca (sorry if i am messing with you temporally) i kept seeing signs for the ITHACA SOUND MAZE and i thought: i gots to look that up.

so i found some articles online (thank you, internets!) and it sounded like a fun thing to do and also the sort of fun thing that you should do with friends and so i called up the only friends i have who still live in ithaca and we went.

if i had been slightly less stupid i might have cleared off the memory card on my camera, but i was not less stupid and so i did not show up to this thing with enough memory on my camera to record more than a few seconds, which is downright tragic.

still, we had a good time. you really can't go wrong with a corn maze on a sunny autumn afternoon and -whoa, nellie! you REALLY can't go wrong if it hides within its passages a collection of fun found-object musical instruments.

Friday, October 25, 2013

the neighbors

out on forest road 71, you might drive by quickly and assume there's nobody there, or maybe you just see the one trailer and think nobody is home.

but if you are paying attention, you will notice three or four sites that you can see without prying too much that are occupied. if you drive by during the day sometimes the sites look empty, but when you come back at night, there are people there.

farther into the woods, offrum roads with no names, there are other people quietly camping and you have to look kind of hard to see them.

it is, in short, a busy place.

in my neighborhood, i come in at sunset and leave before sunrise, but i like to camp kind of near to the outhouse since all i do there is sleep and use the outhouse.

to the other side of the outhouse is the trailer that almost looks abandoned except on some nights there's a fire and sometimes the dog wanders a little. the men don't get up as early as i do, but they put their fire out and go inside kind of early, so you'd hardly know they're there.

downstreet a little are the red car people. you only ever see their car and if you go by and happen to be looking at just the right angle when there's enough daylight, you can sort of make out the blue tent. most of the time the red car does not move and is there when i come or go, but once they were out.

red car people appear to be friendly with the soloar panel people, who mostly just stay in one place, but i have seen them come and go twice this week. sometimes they walk down to red car campsite and sometimes red car visit them.

once they said hello as they passed on the way.

other than that, it's a pretty quiet neighborhood.

people who don't like the noise can camp farther out in the woods.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

open letter to the other people at the scenic overlook

dear people at the scenic overlook,

i know you wish you were me.

we are both looking at this fabulous view, but i have a fresh pizza.

love, flask.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

stuff you should look at.

you need to go play this game.

oh, wait. if you have a FB account you are already playing this game.

and you should look at this image.

i like the guy's blog, too, even if it is a little busy.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

forage bag

i'm a pothunter. i know foraging is all trendy these days, but i have been foraging since i knew you could EAT wild foods, which was about when i was seven. my mother couldn't get me to eat fruit or a salad, but if a thing got picked outside on the lawn or in a park, i was all over it.

i have some half-baked theories (and somewhere someone has done some research) that suggest a link between foraging behaviors and the reward systems in our brains.

in short, i am happiest when i have to navigate to something or am looking for things that i can eat.

and this year was a pretty good year for my mushroom patch. there is a landowner who lets me forage on his land, and it yields a couple of species of mushrooms and some fruits besides. i always pay the harvest tax, which is a share for the landowner and sometimes his employees.

but this is my forage bag on a good day. i have harvested several pounds of black trumpet chantrelles, and it was the most exuberant fruiting year i have yet seen from that colony.

which is heartening, because last year was droughty and they did not fruit much at all.

there's a bumper crop of apples this year, too, but i will probably tell you about that later.

Monday, October 21, 2013

powerline lookout

there's a little spur off of the powerline trail at catamount. here is a lovely little panoramic photo of the view from there.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

one day in shelburne

so one day last summer i was driving through shelburne and up ahead of me there is smoke.

a LOT of smoke. like structure fire smoke. and i'm looking up into town and realizing that from the placement of the smoke it HAS to be right downtown, and there isn't a whole lot of downtown to shelburne, so that didn't look good.

context is everything.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

meanwhile back in july: the shire

on our way out to alma we passed a sign that said FREE CAMPING and you know that gets my attention, so we made a mental note to stop on the way back.

we pull into the place and there is a sign to tell us about sally the dog, who will bark a lot and want to play frisbee, but is harmless and almost on cue sally the dog appears and barks a lot and brings up her frisbee to be thrown.

there's a big firepit with a sort of roofless gazebo and benches and swings around it and all around i notice little tables and chairs off by what look like trails that go down by the river and i'm just about done reading the information sign when the guy whose land it is comes out to talk with us.

he is lovely and he and his son maintain this beautiful land for people to come and use, and on the full moon of every month they have a big all night outdoor party to which everybody is welcome.

there are trails, he says, suitable for walking or biking.

it is an astoundingly generous way walk on this earth, opening up your land for strangers to use but also installing lovely amenities and surprises to make travelers welcome.

Friday, October 18, 2013

meanwhile back in july: lobster dinner in alma

the people at the kayak tour tell us how to go about getting lobster dinner the way the locals do it.

the locals, apparently, do not go to a restaurant and order lobster. they go to alma, which is the town where the boats come in and they order a lobster there and buy bread at the bakery and sides at a grocery store and then they go eat it in a park.

every third shop in alma seems to be a lobster shop. when we tell the nice man in the shop that we are from away and do not know how to select a lobster and buy one here, he helps us pick one.

while he's cracking our lobster we tell him that we'd been told that this is the proper wat to get a lobster dinner here and he laughs and says "they told you right."

we have one huge lobster to share between us, because as the man explains, we will get much more meat and at a cheaper price.

ordinarily i will eat a pound and a quarter lobster in a restaurant, which really only yields about 4 ounces of meat.

and in a restaurant you will pay twenty five dollars for that lobster, even though lobster prices at the docks are at an epic low.

the lobster we bought in alma was a gigantic behemoth of a thing and between the two of us we could barely finish it.

and it came in a handy dandy white plastic tray, a rectangular box that is very handy to keep in your car for berry picking or just not losing stuff in the layers of gear you carry.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

meanwhile, back in july: hopewell rocks

so after our day in halifax we hightailed it over to moncton NB because our campsite was in new brunswick. now, when you look at the thing on google maps, you get coordinates that we now know are very, very close to the university of new brunswick moncton campus.

and the campground itself is hard to get hold of by phone from the states and they don't have much in the way of directions on their webpage and we think this is a terrible way to do business but after looking around and around and around for a LONG time, we find the campground and it turns out that it just doesn't occur to them to have maps or directions or anything because they are full to capacity nearly every night with people who are regulars.

fair enough.

in the morning for the first time on the trip we do not have to strike camp but instead just go out for the day.

out for the day, in this case, means going on the guided kayak tour at hopewell rocks provincial park. they have these incredible rock formations that are casued by tidal erosion and they also have that incredicble bay of fundy tide.

here's a cool timelapse of the tide at the park.

the kayak tour takes you through the rock formations at high tide, which is pretty amazing.

if you want, you can wander around on the ocean floor during the time is out if you're at the park that long. some people come in on tour busses to the lower parking lot, spend two minutes looking over the railing and then move on. they check it off their list, i guess.

i don't get that.

then again, i have been known to lie in a rest area parking lot for an hour to get just the right picture of a periwinkle because that's just as good a use of my time as rushing from place to place.

anyway, we get into the park and get our bearings and have time to look around a little bit but mostly we just check in at the kayak tour operator. i've seen pictures from this tour and put it on my list of cool things i'll never get to do, but at $60 a person it's affordable and yes, it is every bit as spectacular as you might have heard.

no, wait. it is MORE spectacular.

and the guides are very pleasant and super competent. barb and i are paddlers, but we mostly paddle flatwater or small rapids on small rivers. we have never been in a sea kayak, nor paddled on the ocean.
the tour, however, is designed so that anyone who can get in the boat and follow instructions can do it.

after a little paddle instruction, they take you down to the beach and tell you to sit in the boats. at first i think we are just trying out the boats and that we will be getting out again to launch them, but then i realize: by the time the guides get done with their instructions, the tide will have come in and WE WILL BE AFLOAT!

the guides are expert in shepherding people along and they will give very specific instructions if they have to ("left paddle! left foot!"). mostly, though, you don't notice the closeness of their supervision, which is a real art in the adventure guiding business.

after the tour we talk for a while with the tour operator and he tells us about his business philosophy, which attempts to balance adventure for fit people with making sporting adventures available to people who are not yet  or not anymore fit. his background is in physical education, so that makes sense.

if you can provide a sporting adventure that average joes and janes can do, a couple of different things will happen. one of those things is that you have a potential of selling more tickets. the other is that you have the ability to get average joes and janes interested in this lansdcape, this sport, and maybe take this spark of interest home with them.

the tour operator also tells us where good mountain biking is to be had (which it turns out we do not have time for) and in the tour shack they give us advice about where to go for dinner and where to go to see the tidal bore.

we go have lunch in the park and wash up and change shoes (the park is full of baths where you can wash your feet or shoes) and then after a little while the stairs open up and we can walk along the beach.
sea cave
in the sea cave

it's like being explorers on new land, because as the tide recedes little by little there is new beach you can walk on. if you are brave and don't mind wading into the outgoing tide, you can look into the next cove that will open up before anyone else gets there.

the one beach by the stairs is always the most crowded, and as the tide goes out the people begin to spread out to the other coves.

there's a sea cave in some of the rocks and you have to climb up and squeeze in to find it. i'm sure it gets "found" every time the tide goes out but it is like a brand new discovery.
we "discover" all the coves around to the escape tower and we walk back up to the visitor center by way of demoiselle beach, and head off to dinner.

in case you haven't seen it, or want to see it again, the full photo set is here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

meanwhile, back in july...

i think i promised you that i was going to tell you about the roadtrip to nova scotia, but all i did really was post the video and the pictures and some snarky comments about american tourists.

we took two days to drive to halifax, stopping in maine because while you CAN drive for sixteen hours in a day and wait at the border crossing for an hour, why would you do that to yourself on purpose?

so we stopped on the way (both ways) at cobscook bay state park in maine, which is a very lovely park and if you're inclined to clamming, the limit you can pick in a day (and they will lend you the clam rake and a bucket) is a peck.

we were just staying there; no clamming for us.

but good to know.

we got to our campground near halifax in the mid afternoon and after we set up camp we went into halifax to check out the roads and parking and stuff.

you know, because if you're just tooling around a strange city it's all good no matter where you go but if you have tickets to a thing or need to get somewhere and park on a timetable it can be stressful getting around.

it turns out that halifax is a city with no parking. there is not one municipal parking lot or parking garage anywhere in the city.

there is a parking lot at the citadel, but you can only use the citadel parking lot if you buy museum admission and pay the parking fee. and they lock the gate when the museum closes. this would be tremendously expensive and impractical if you weren't going to the museum, but since we are planning to go to the museum, what we learn from our happy conversation with the museum lot security guard is that once we have paid for citadel admission and parking, they do not give a flying fig if we continue to use our parking space while we go elsewhere in halifax, so long as we are out of the lot before they lock the gate.

the guard says specifically that while he will come and let us out if we miss the gate closing, he would prefer it if he did not have to do this.

ok, so we have a plan.

and then we tool around the drive on the top of the citadel, and i am sure there will be a geocache or two up there and looking at my map i can tell there are a handful of them, but then i'm trying to transfer the data to my GPS and all i'm getting are corrupted files or no transfers at all and i'm fiddling with all that and some people come by and they are talking about the fireworks.

" excuse me, i don't mean to eavesdrop", i tell them, "but did i hear you say fireworks?"

why, yes. there are going to be canada day fireworks from here tonight at ten and this will be the perfect place for us to see them from.

but wasn't canada day last week?

well, yes. but the weather was bad and they postponed.

and then the people tell us that what we really should do is come on the citadel ghost tour with them.

they're a large bunch from saskatchewan celebrating a family anniversary and it's all paid for. they are crazy and generous, inviting the two strangers from the parking lot along.

and it is spectacularly cool, walking the old fort by lantern light.

every old place has its share of creepy stories told by the night watchmen. in my college years i worked as a night watchman in a perfectly modern building and it could sometimes be disturbingly creepy.

so if you compile a list of night watchman's tales and juxtapose them with the sorrows of an old fort and tell the stories by candle lantern, it's the kind of creepy where all the little hairs on the back of your neck go up.

plus the tour guide is a re-enactor in period dress and he has to know that just by walking at the head of the group in his measured pace, he is easily the most creepy thing about it. nobody really wants to be the first person behind him in the line.

we get done the tour just as the fireworks are starting. they are very lovely.

and then in the morning we return to the fort by daylight and there are all kinds of interesting demonstrations of riflery and bagpipes and fifes and drums and the firing of the noon gun.

the sentry at the front gate is standing too much in the shade for me to get a good picture, so when i ask her if she can take a step out, she does ...


and then after  a pause, she makes a smart about face, paces her round and on the return trip lands in the sunlight just perfectly for my picture.

very clever.

we have a picnic on the lawn and then after a little while it is time to go to the tattoo, which is the ostensible purpose of the trip.

do you know it? the royal nova scotia international tattoo?

it is so mind-bogglingly spectacular that i have only one picture from inside the metro centre because to stop and photograph it would have been to disturb the unceasing sensory bombardment of massed choirs, military bands, acrobats, pipe bands, races, dancing, and trick bicycle riding.

there was also a lot of other stuff.

and it just comes at you in waves and waves of sound and color and i just sat there, slack jawed, and occasionally crying a little.

here are some video clips of it just so you can get an idea of what i'm talking about here:

the naval gun race - this commemorates the victory of the HMS shannon over the USS chesapeake

official promo

massed bands salute

hamburg police motorcycle display team

canadian armed forces obstacle race


you get the idea.

afterward, we drove to a campsite in new brunswick.

Monday, October 14, 2013

open letter to the democratic congressional campaign committee

dear democratic congressional campaign commmittee,

you guys are idiots.

i am not with you, even though every day you send me emails thanking me for my support and asking me to send money or click on your petition or tell the president i love him.

i'm no fan of the president and i do not like you.

you are only slightly less reprehensible than the tea party puppets of koch industries.

being slightly less reprehensible does not give you a moral high ground.

let's be clear about this: you are scum. you are corrupt self serving power hungry scum and the whole lot of you should be thrown in chains and left to starve until you get down to the business of actual governance.

since you are slightly less reprehensible than the republican tea party arsonists, i will not be pissing in your water while you're in the dungeon.

but no, i won't be sending you any money. i will not be signing your petition so you can go screaming back to show the world how morally superior you are because you're just not.

you deserve to be unemployed and underinsured. you deserve to be living in a house with an underwater mortgage serviced by a collapsing bank ten days from the end of your unemployment benefits. you deserve to be paying for your own chemotherapy out of pocket.

many of you without hyperbole deserve to be in prison for your corruption, bribery, and insider trading.

so the next time you're expecting me to be outraged by the obstructionist assholes, please understand that you are those obstructionist assholes.

just because there's a worse asshole than you somewhere in that cesspit you call congress does not make you decent.

please try harder.

love, flask

Sunday, October 13, 2013

underhill town office

if you go to the town clerk's office in underhill you can ask to see the records in the vault. you don't even have to be particularly looking for something, although old graves and genealogy stuff work very nicely as a reason to be there.

there's a red-bound volume you can hold in your own hand and read where the town clerk recorded in his own hand the deaths and some of the births and the wills and contracts of the town, from back when we paid for things in shillings.

shillings. really.

and it's all there in spidery handwriting, in the ledger the clerk would take and write down the contracts for property sale or visit the dying to take down their wills.

it boggles my little mind to hold this book.

and of course there are maps of all the town cemeteries.

and they don't call it "underhill" for nothin'.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

grape pie

so i was standing in a bakery in montour falls, trying to decide if i could manage to eat a whole grape pie by myself.

back up, back up.

i had heard that out here you really should eat the grape pie, because it is a regional thing, especially in harvest season. and i had never seen any let alone had it, so i started looking for where i might get a slice of grape pie.

because there's only one of me and even if i could eat two pieces, that's about my limit for a day or two.

and i woke up in the morning and drove into montour falls because i had seen a sign at a bakery about grape pie and although you can eat there, the do not sell pie by the slice and nobody there knew of any diner where they did sell grape pie by the slice but plenty of places where i can buy whole pies and i'm standing there trying to figure out how to plan my eating for the next three days to accommodate a whole pie and if that's even possible without a great deal of discomfort and a woman in the shop says "why don't i just buy a whole pie and give you a slice and take the rest to my office?"

and i was all, like, "really? how much do i owe you for that?" and she just waves me off and orders the pie and i am so struck by this kindness that i cry a little.

and it was really good pie.

Friday, October 11, 2013

take out the trash

i hope i only need to say this to you once: before you leave home for travel exceeding a few days, TAKE OUT THE TRASH.

a long time ago, in my misspent youth, i worked as a custodian for the residential life department at UVM. one year in the infinite wisdom of a large university wishing to get its flagship dorms all neat and tidy for conference housing, it locked up one large dorm immediately after the students left it and did not so much as crack a window or take out a trash can until MID JULY.

then one day they thought they'd like to open up the building and clean it.

do you have any idea what a large dorm smells like after a few hundred students empty out their fridges and leave their empties in the recycling and trash in the cans?

it is not a good smell even when you clean it up right away.

it is really not a good smell when you leave it all sitting in a sealed building for two months in summer heat.

that's kind of how my kitchen smelled today.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

idiot things about the shutdown


congress passed a bill to give back pay to federal employees who were furloughed after this is all over.

so essentially the government in its wisdom has said we'd like to pay these people for work we're ordering them not to do, which does not sound to me like a huge savings.

we cannot afford to have you come in and do work, we are telling them, but later on we'll pay you for the work you're not doing.

even more awesome: the tea partiers want to sell off the national parks and other "nonproductive" portions of the federal assets. if it's not making money for big business, get it out of there. these people are not at all worried that there will be no research in antarctica this year and that it likely won't continue once it shuts down because we may have money to continue with what we have, but once we shut it down and bring everything home, we won't be able to afford to reinstall everything.

those people are also not at all concerned that medical research will stop. any important medical research should be done by large pharmaceutical companies and that research needn't stop.

those people also do not care that  space research missions that will be unable to launch until 2016 unless they meet the november launch window.

the supreme court is right now hearing a case in which they will probably allow individuals to buy congressional votes outright, because they have already ruled that money IS speech and corporations are persons under the law, so what we have here is a failed government with a highly armed populace and significant factions with a fundamentalist religious view who will welcome violence.

what we really need is for the tea party (which is a wholly owned subsidiary of koch industries) and the rest of congress (a wholly owned subsidiary of monsanto) to dismantle any part of government that doesn't yield bazillions of dollars for people who already have bazillions of dollars.

the rest of you who can't afford medicine or protection or schooling or food, tough.

we are proudly returning to the middle ages.

and the debt ceiling? i do not know why the tea party hatwipes keep framing the debate as the republicans against the president. the president is only able to spend what money CONGRESS HAS ALREADY AGREED TO PAY.

if the president is spending money, it is money that congress has already contracted to pay.

yesterday i heard a woman on the radio say that when a creditor does not receive payment on loans, the creditor can take the collateral. she suggested that we give our largest creditors (china and japan) some of the southern states, starting with florida, texas and kentucky.

but seriously. the reason anyone buys our debt is because we pay our bills. always.

now, when the economy goes into meltdown, who, exactly do you think will suffer?

sure, the koch brothers will lose some of their obscene wealth. sure, the other billionaires will have to cut down a little for about ten minutes. but when the rest of us completely run out of money and have to sell off our assets, those bastards will own everything and then we'll see how good life is going to be for the uninsured, underpaid, unrepresented disenfranchised (but still fully armed) tea partiers out there.


complete freedom means that whoever has the money can do whatever they want.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

a day in the life

good morning! good morning!

my campsite in the morning

it is lovely waking up in the national forest, even in the dark. maybe especially in the dark.these days the sun doesn't rise until a quarter past seven, but ever since i did that race i have been getting up at five which is a thing that could be remedied easily enough if it were unpleasant.

the only drawback to it is that i wake up when it's dark out and have to turn on a light to see if it's time to get up yet.

i might just get up if i don't feel tired, but i'm one of those people who wakes in the middle of the night feeling all rested and stuff even if i need another four hours of sleep. if i wake before four (usually between midnight and two), it's time to roll over and sleep more. if i wake AFTER four, it's time to get up.

last night the weather was lovely and temperate in the forest, with breezes to circulate air into my car, which is where i sleep. it's no hardship since i have a bed laid out back there and my car is just long enough for me to lie out full length in with a couple of pillows besides. if the weather is warm, i sleep with the windows rolled down and screens up.

yes, i have screens in my car. i went down to the hardware store and i bought a couple of yards of nylon screen which can be secured very nicely over the windows by way of magnets.

so. fresh air. peaceful woodland setting. absence of bug nuisances, and crisp matching linens.

i wake around five and take my time getting dressed and packing my gear. i have done this so often that i know by heart the order in which to do everything and don't have to think too hard about it. sometimes i listen to public radio, sometimes not. the nearest people are a half mile down the road, at a house that's only occupied on weekends. farther away on three sides are other campsites, some remote and some part of organized campgrounds with outhouses.

my preferred campsite is on potomac road, which is actually a road locals use to get from one side of the forest to the other. ever since the flood of '54 a lot of roads out there just don't go through and you can be lost for hours trying to find your way out in the maze of roads that are on the map but don't go through.

potomac goes through, though, and it's the shortest way from hector to burdett.

from there i come into town, usually trumansburg, becuse it's only ten minutes away. the public library has a sweet little patio out back by the parking lot with tables and chairs and electrical outlets so i can charge all my things and just like at home i can sit there and do computer things comfortably until the sun comes up.

sunrise at the library
but it is such a beautiful drive into town from the forest! the lights in houses are coming on across the landscape and the road is long and straight and on both sides forest and farms and pastures and ahead of you the lake and the lights of town. it's that early morning light, and hour before sunrise and when i do get into trumansburg it is friendly and gentle with its streetlights on and people quietly waiting to catch busses because even out in the country here they have public transportation that takes you into an actual city.

once the sun is up, i usually go to a store and buy ice for my cooler and sometimes fill up my gas tank and always use the bathroom and then i go out somewhere. yesterday i rode my bike around the city of ithaca, looking for the downtown caches.

there are a lot of parks in ithaca, from big full service city parks with fields and facilities for every conceivable sport to tiny pocket parks that dot the streets.

saturday i went to the harvest festival in enfield. it doesn't really matter where i go; there is something interesting or beautiful to look at or something to do or maybe nothing to do at all, but a nice place in which not to do it.

there's no shortage of places to buy good meals. even the supermarket sushi is pretty good downtown, and you can do passably well on a small budget.

slaterville spring
there's a reliable spring out in caroline, ten minutes up the road and if you combine your visit with a bike ride or going to a park or the wildflower preserve, it makes sense to go that far to fill your water jugs. the water is good, and it's free.

then in the afternoon it's back to the library to sit on the patio, check my emails and my reading list and around sunset i head back out to the forest to heat up water to wash up with.

by eight o'clock i am asleep.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


think you've got good balance?

put on socks.

while standing up. in the dark. on uneven ground. while ducked under the open tailgate of your car. and not touching anything, because it's raining, and you need to keep your clean socks and your shoes dry.

advanced players may attempt to put on athletic tights without having them touch the ground or get rained on.

because while you might go all day without rain, as soon as you try to change clothes for bed, the sky will open up.

bet on it.

Monday, October 07, 2013

accidental yoga class

thursday i took an accidental yoga class.

i know, how do you accidentally take a yoga class?

i woke up in the national forest and i went to find some geocaches before the sun was up. it is easier to find things once it is light out.

ever since i did that race back in august i have been rising at 0500, which these days is a full two hours before daylight. that's less of a big deal when you are living at home and can simply turn on lights.

it's dark out in the forest.

so i came in from the forest wet like you do when you've been tromping through dew-wet pastures and i got to the library to do my computer stuff because maybe i'm camping, but i do it with some home-comfort style and a nice lady there asked me if i wanted to join a yoga class.

it's my practice on the road to say yes to whatever presents itself.

so there i was.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

sunrise on potomac road

thursday morning i took some lovely pictures of the sun rising on potomac road, which is in the finger lakes national forest.

when i wake up at the campsite, it is still dark. i get dressed, break camp and have some breakfast and then i go to sit on the pleasant patio at the library and do my computer things until the sun comes up. it's kind of like being at home, only the rooms are more spread out and the air is fresher.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

murderous walnuts

if you are in the finger lakes in autumn, you should wear a helmet.

i am serious about this. walnut trees grow all tall and stuff and they just sit there placidly waiting until you pass by or if there's a light breeze or if they just feel like it and they start dropping nuts which are, by the way, HUGE and when they drop on your head it will SMART.

if they drop next to you, it will scare you, because hard heavy things dropping out of the sky for no particular reason makes a noise and if you're all alone and minding your own business, you will jump.

i think the walnut trees laugh.

Friday, October 04, 2013

open letter to the people on nashville road

hi, neighbors!

i notice that you have put up a giant hand painted sign that says SLOW outside your house.

i can only assume that people have been driving hell-for-leather all the way down the road. i admit that i am not always driving the speed limit the full length of nashville road, but i have lived offrum it long enough to know where you can't safely go faster than 25, even if the posted speed limit is 35.

i also know that too many idiots drive wicked fast when they shouldn't.

for what it's worth, i just want you to know that while i am usually already going slow by your house (because there are HOUSES there), when i see your sign i slow down because you asked.

have a nice day.


Thursday, October 03, 2013

strangers in the parking lot

so yesterday i went to take out my trash and there was a couple sitting in the parking lot having lunch.

this is kind of weird, since i live in the middle of nowhere and i am twenty minutes from the nearest place where you can get a sandwich.

but i get a little closer and notice they have a delorme atlas with them.

i come up to them and i say "this is an odd place for lunch. can i bring you cake or something?"

and we get to talking and it turns out they are a little lost, but they are also not going anywhere in  particular. they just came out to see west bolton.

west bolton is one of my favorite things. when i was sixteen and i had my mom's car supposedly to do errands and other mom-approved stuff i used to blow out here as fast as i could, just to have come here. it's no accident i live here now.

turns out the guy had taken a vermont history course at the university and wanted to come out to look at west bolton on account of that.

oh! i said. they have a very nice collection of material on this place. did you see the picture looking out through the notch from the steps of the baptist church?

he said he had. he said that was one of his favorites from the collection.

do you want to know where you can find the old baptist church? the building is gone, but the steps are still there, so you can stand right where the picture was taken from.

his eyes lit up.

and we talked a little about west bolton, and the notch and the cellarholes up there and the apple trees that grow near the old farmsteads and it turns out this guy is almost as interested in feral apples as i am, so i run into the house and i fetch them a jar of apple jam i made last week from the apple tree down on the corner.

and they went off into the notch.

try to stay out of trouble, the woman said.

do strangers know me so well?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

it's a dirty job

we all use them, and we all notice if they are clean or not.

it's important work, and work a lot of people would rather not have to know about.

i was in the parking lot at catamount the other day and the guy was there to clean out the porta-potties. and that was interesting to me, because however it smells, there is a lot of stuff i didn't know.

like: do you have two tanks on that truck? and two sets of hoses?

turns out the guy (who was from P&P septic) was very patient with all my questions, if a little confused why i wanted to know.

he's got a big tank with vacuum hoses for sucking out the used fluid and solids. big hoses. and he has another big tank of clean fluid with a spigot and he uses a bucket to pour in the clean. he's got some fresh water for rinsing anything that needs it, and of course he carries refills for the hand sanitizer and the toilet paper.

they guy whose parking lot it is describes the P&P guys as decent and hardworking.


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