Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

saw bucks

a couple of campings ago i decided that the whole getting firewood thing would go better for me if i had a saw, so i decided to go buy a svensaw. i will tell you later how i like it.

this here story is about my experience purchasing it.

i'm not telling you what store it was because i have shopped with this store often and i have mostly gotten good service and sometimes even EXCELLENT service, so while i want to tell you of this one horrible terrible visit it is not at all representative of my experiences with this store.

i walked into the store and went directly to the back where they keep the locked case of knives and saws.

i waited a long time for anyone to notice me standing there. a LONG time. and then the salesperson told me she would be with me in a few minutes while she continued to wait attentively on a man who could not make up his mind between two pairs of socks. because of course he is the sort of man who demands attention while he stands and thinks about socks.

at last she comes up and asks me if she can help me.

"i need a svensaw"
"they're in this case."
"i know."

and she stood there for a moment before asking me if i wanted to see anything in the case.

i told her i had come to buy a svensaw. she asked me if i would like her to take it out of the case.

"yes, please."

and she went to ask another employee how to do that. then she came back to tell me she needed to go find the key. then she went back to ask the first employee where the key was. after some conferencing, she found a key and figured out how to open the case.

"would you like to see anything in particular?"
"i need to buy a svensaw."

she looked around in the bins in the drawer. she did not find a svensaw.

"i can't find any"
"there's one in the case."
"it's the display."
"can i buy it?"

she has to ask someone else about this. another employee comes over and they search the bins again for another svensaw. which isn't there.

but seriously? there's no point in keeping a thing that is out of stock on display. when a new shipment comes in, they can put one out on display so people can buy svensaws again.

they decide that i can, in fact, purchase the item i came to the store to buy.

and now the hard part begins.

because the saw in display is fully assembled, and one of the reasons you buy a svensaw is that it folds up, blade retracted, and is safe to pack. i ask if there are directions anywhere and if anyone can show me what it's supposed to look like folded up, because i've never seen one up close. the salespeople fiddle with it for a few moments before calling a third employee at the counter to ask if he know how to do this.

he says to bring it up.

so i bring the half-disassembled svensaw to him and explain the problem for him and after a few minutes he has it FULLY ASSEMBLED and hands it to me with a look that says "see, that wasn't so hard."

and i say "yes. i know how to put it together. it was together when we started. the part i asked about was how to fold it for packing, because i'm pretty sure the blade goes inside the bar somewhere for safety."

and he fiddles with it for a moment and says "i don't know how to do that." he says this kind of pouty-like, as if it is somehow my fault for asking the unreasonable and he sort of tosses the saw down on the counter as if we are now done with this conversation.

"um, can i buy it, please?"

i do not know why everyone in this store has a basic incomprehension of the simple underlying motive of my entire visit to the store. i want to buy a svensaw. i want it today, so i can use it tomorrow.

anyway, i was permitted to buy it.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015


ok, it's still a hodgepodge of stuff over here at the blog. we got stuff from the camping trip, stuff from christmas, and -i'm sure you figured out yesterday- occasional bits of fiction. and rants!

anyway, so i was at my mom's house for christmas and she and some of her friends had seen this house on one of their drives around to look at christmas lights. apparently this house is so popular that a local child went ahead and put up a lemonade stand and before christmas, you couldn't find parking.

in case you are wondering, the rest of the street has either quiet displays or none at all.

kind of fantastic.

Monday, December 28, 2015


the mother-in-law was a problem.

decades had taught nan that "just drop your coat anywhere" meant "it goes in a very specific location in the hall closet, unnamed, and which you are unqualified to properly find and use." nan had quit smoking fifteen years ago, but still sudie made a display of bringing out an ashtray, a test and a reminder of the offensive habit, and the day when nan had foolishly understood "please smoke if you'd like" to mean it was ok to smoke and not a declaration that a person who would bring such a filthy habit into her home was beneath contempt.

"come any time after two" meant, of course, that there was a secret time, say, three-seventeen before which sudie would still be dressing, and nan and alan would be expected to wait to be received properly, and after which sudie would state explicitly that everything was now spoiled because the intended scheduling of the kitchen tasks was now invalid.

some of sudie's games were more fun than others. sudie liked to test nan by moving small bits of furniture and nan didn't mind remarking on which thing was different each time. nan minded when this was done overnight, in the dark.

a game nan liked less was "let's reminisce about family events from the distant past." this game wasn't so bad when bill and mitchell were there, because when you're sitting around a table with a lot of people showing old photos it seems kind of fun, even if you are clearly an outsider, but when only sudie and alan were playing, nan had no buffer.

it was also unacceptable for nan to read a book, or to wander away from the endless stories that almost seemed designed to demarcate the line between "family" and "outsider".

sweet, gentle alan. if his quiet ways and left-leaning politics were a disappointment to sudie, she did not let on. she reserved her polite disapproval for nan, who was not conservative enough, not modest enough, and did not wear ladylike underthings.

this last thing she mentioned quietly to alan over lunch in a way that suggested it pained her very soul to have to speak about such unmentionable unmentionables and that perhaps alan might quietly correct nan on the matter of proper dress.

this, of course, was the epicenter of the mother-in-law problem.

what made holidays with sudie so horrifying for nan was that beyond the usual discomforts of being with sudie and the additional discomforts of an overnight stay there was the awkward, painful knowledge that at some point in the visit, sudie would have gone through all of nan's bags.

the first time it happened, nan chalked it up to a weird accident, as if a person might legitimately for some reason have searched a houseguest's luggage out of courtesy or necessity.

on subsequent visits when nan tried to suggest that perhaps a gift of a half dozen pairs of fresh white socks might be simply handed over and not packed into the bottom of another person's overnight bag, sudie hinted darkly that nan was not appropriately grateful for these simple gestures of caring.

of course.

nan tried to be fair with alan when she considered whether it was advisable or even possible to oppose sudie on whether these searches were an invasion of privacy or whether they were an obligation under the laws of hospitality.

it was with a smile that nan admired the brand new, bright blue strapless double sided dildo that she held in her hand. it had a lovely substantial heft to it, and a pleasing shape that left little to the imagination, even when wrapped in an old t-shirt alongside a bottle of very nice organic hypoallergenic lube.

nan tried to imagine what sudie would look like as she tried to figure out what to do next. she would want to go to alan and tell him of the unspeakable things she had found in nan's bag and maybe even be halfway through her rant before she would realize that there really is only one reason a married couple might be traveling with such a thing on an overnight stay.

nan thought how hilariously crumpled sudie's face might look as she gradually came to realize who was necessarily going to be on the other end of the blue horror. it was pleasing to think about, that time after the discovery of it in which they would all be under one roof, sudie positively fuming, but being unable to bring the thing up with either alan or nan.

nan dropped the rolled package in the bottom of her bag and placed over it the red lacy bra and panties and a few pairs of clean white socks.

she zipped it up and went to meet alan at the car.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

how it went

so my mom went to albany to be with the misses kay and ajax and then came home and made the HUGE TURKEY DINNER.

wow. all told, there were twelve of us at table, and everything was delicious and -get-this- i got sent home with the majority of the leftovers. i just happened to have had brought a big honkin' chest cooler with me, so i was all set for bringing the food home.

why, yes, the chest cooler was a perfectly normal thing to have brought, because some of the gifts i came in the door with were frozen. about a chest cooler's worth of them to be accurate. 

so i just HAPPENED to have had an empty chest cooler in which to bring back the leftovers.

i'm gonna make me some casseroles.

yeah, BABY!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

bring a torch

come into my parlor

just for the record, it was a white pine that fell down on the site even though over a period of two weeks i kept calling it a red pine. i know the difference. i have no excuse.

anyway, when you go camping in the summer months or even the early fall, much less of your day goes to the work of keeping you warm and sheltered and fed. the part about fed takes more time in the cold weather, too, because you have to be more disciplined about it in the cold weather to manage your body heat and while you might just graze through your foodbag on warm days, on the cold days you have to plan ahead and make sure you have something heating so you can eat regular.

i spent a lot of time cutting wood on this site, which was, i think i mentioned, one of the reasons for being on this site.

here's a video of me in my sawing parlor.

Friday, December 25, 2015

daily download: joy to the world


before thanksgiving, my mom asked us (the grown-up children) if we would mind if she did not make a turkey for thanksgiving since she was going to make one for christmas and that was totally good with us.

first, mom doesn't owe us a turkey dinner.

it's one of my favorite things about the whole year, but it's not owed me. and the only reason i was sad about it was that i wasn't getting to spend thanksgiving with MB, so camping. there are a lot of things you can ignore by camping.

but there may or may not be a turkey for christmas, because miss k is pretty far into her alzheimer's and it's hard for miss a and my parents want to go and be with them if miss a wants, because that's what you do for people you love, even if it means driving to albany and back christmas eve.

so it's not really a matter of whether i mind or not.

i will be very sad not to get the big loud festive turkey dinner that i love so much. very, very sad. but if you pile up my sadness at missing dinner next to the sadness of miss a and how difficult and lonely things can be with miss k whom she loves and who is mostly gone, it seems way more important for my folks to go be with the misses a and k.

we'll still be all together for christmas, and we will still have presents and games and laughing, and there will probably be guests at our table -some of whom are strangers-  but it will not, probably, be mom's turkey.

it doesn't matter, really.

whatever we're having will be delicious.

so from our merry band of mostly atheists, happy midwinter gift giving light festival of your choice.

eat, laugh, be well.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

favor johnson

most of you guys are not from here, so you probably do not count it christmas tradition to listen to the story of favor johnson.

you should, though.

daily download

you know, in case anybody hasn't seen them.


this one's kind of self-explanatory.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

messing about

on the warmest day (how lucky is that?) my friend barb came out and she brought with her the young man.

the convenient thing about that is the boat landing isn't too far from barb's house, and it is in fact on the way home from the grocery store. the less convenient thing is that we have to put him in a boat to bring him to the campsite, and i have all the extra boats on my side.

still, not really a problem. i paddle over with a boat in tow and we put him in my kayak, which is a keowee. aquaterra doesn't make it anymore, but good luck buying one secondhand because people who have them don't get rid of them often.

a keowee is a short fat little boat. its good points are that it is stable, easy to get in and out of, and steers easily.

of course, all these things mean it doesn't track, but if you're putting a child in a boat for the first time, it's probably best to put him in a stable boat.

so we take a moment or two to explain to him about how it will feel weird and tippy, but that if he stays in the seat it will not tip over, and we explain to him a little about how paddling works and we let him have at it. it's a short paddle over to the campsite (about 300 paddle strokes by my count) and he does pretty well, even though the boat is too big and the paddle too long.

the boy's grandmother feels very strongly that he should get more of the type of play that we enjoyed as children: unstructured and outside.

so he climbed some trees. he played with tools. he played with fire. he played with rope. outside of the safety rules and some advice when asked, we left him to his own devices.

then for the paddle back, we put him under tow because we were going against a little wind and also boy might get tired. mostly he paddled on his own, but under tow is a pretty good way for a kid to learn.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

flask's protips: hangers

for me, places to hang stuff at camp are never in great enough supply, especially in moist weather, when you can't just drape things on your drying lines.

but you want to hang your headlamps where you can find them, ya? and your rain jacket? and your map bag? and a bazillionty other things you don't want to leave on the ground and you have limited table space?

yeah, you need hooks.

well, my friends. you tie a lark's head in a bungee cord on your ridgeline and you have hooks. slidey enough to reposition, but grippy enough to stay where you want them.

Monday, December 21, 2015

happy solstice, everybody.

tomorrow the days will begin to get longer.

may the light also grow within you.

slushie time.

a couple nights it was cold enough for all my water to freeze. some of those nights my water froze IN MY TENT, where it was (comparatively) warm.

it didn't have to happen more than once or twice before i decided it would be best to pour out the morning tea water into the pan and let it freeze there. it takes a little more fuel to heat your tea water from a block of ice, but there's a time savings of a couple of hours, which seems rather important when the thing you are waiting for is to put hot tea and hot oatmeal into you.

some nights it was warm enough that i knew my water wouldn't freeze solid overnight so i didn't pour it out, but in the morning when i poured it into the pan i got instant slushie.

fun times.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

so, yay?

when i am about to poop, i like to alert MB so she can cheer and encourage me.

maybe we should back up.

this, more or less, is a conversation we had on the day i was packing up from thanksgiving camp:

me: i had been hoping to have made my last trip up outhouse mountain.

MB: not yet, huh? at least later you'll be home to shit at leisure.

me: it doesn't seem like such an accomplishment at home. it's like leaving the gifted class.

MB: haha! i will cheer you on just as much.

me: you're going to regret you said that.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

industrial spooling accident

ok, for a lot of reasons, i invested in a big spool of 550 paracord. you can do a lot of things with this stuff, from stringing up REALLY STRONG ridgelines for your camp to making cute little holders and things, and i got it into my head that later this year i want to make myself a hammock because THAT would be lovely for reading in by the waterside.

you need a lot of cord for it, and you potentially need a lot of cord for the other projects you may make while you're practicing how to work with paracord. a 50 foot hank is five dollars, and a 1000 foot spool is about forty dollars. you do the math.

the thing about a spool, though, is that it's designed for you to be able to roll the cord off of it easily from the outside.

but when in an unfortunate accident the end comes off a spool and you now have unrolled cord from and end, you are basically screwed.

you're in for a lot of hours detangling. you just are.

Friday, December 18, 2015

come, o come emmanuel

ok, kids.

as usual, here's some christmas music. i have nothing new, but you know. sometimes i get new visitors who haven't seen them.

so. downloadable until 6 january.

happy midwinter gift-giving light festival of your choice.

just one? seriously?

so during the bug-out i went to a grocery store.

i thought maybe i would slide along to the part of the grocery store where they have cooked meals prepackaged and maybe get me some lazy food.

and they had this turkey dinner. i kid you not.

ONE green bean, like a garnish. what's the point?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

bugging out

in the middle of my thanksgiving camping extravaganza i needed to come in at least once to check the mail, go to the library, and run a half dozen little errands, and what the heck- maybe have a hot shower and put on clean clothes, maybe do a little laundry.

so i had a little look at the extended weather forecast, because if you're going to come out, you may as well come out on a day the forecast doesn't look so good.

wednesday. forecast of rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow all day. good day to wake up in the early am, put on a lifejacket, and paddleskedaddle right out of there for a number of hours.

but then i was huddled by my fire tuesday afternoon with rain, sleet, and freezing rain coming down and i texted a friend to ask about my forecast. nothing about it was good. no break in the misery. and it's not so bad to just hunker down in a storm while camping. it can be lovely.

but hunkering down and then waking up early and having to manage the chores of getting up AND leaving camp without the benefit of having made a fire (because who wastes firewood and firestarter and time like that?) seemed like too much of a slog, and it was still early enough in the afternoon that i could get home before dark (really i only needed to leave camp before dark, but hey.) so i packed a big dry bag with the things that needed to go home, my overnight stuff, grabbed my paddle and jacket, and i bugged out.

at home i had my shower, ate hot food, and watched the storm from inside, knowing i could start from here to do my wednesday erranding and truly, i'd looked at the revised weather report and there seemed to be no reason to return to camp wednesday at all because the nasty wasn't going to lift until thursday morning.

ok, fine.

i'm not that comfortable leaving all my gear on a campsite for that long, but the only real access is by boat, and WHO WOULD BE OUT CRUISING in that weather?

so yeah, the only significant risk would be if the wind came up and my tiedowns failed. once again. weather forecast. i love that thing. wind supposed to be little or none until thursday afternoon.

so fine. warm and dry until thursday if i want. return around noon on thursday and check camp. if all well, continue camping. if camp damaged, pack up partly, go home. come out again on nice day to get rest of stuff.

good plan.

when i arrived thursday not a line was out of place. there was some moisture in the tent where the fly (old, old tent) had become waterlogged, but none of the water had leaked through to my sleeping gear.

friday was fine and dry and i put up lines and aired out all the bedding and took the fly off the tent and let everything dry.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

mainsail and jib

on wednesday when i arrived at camp i got immediately to putting up my main tarp shelter, the one that keeps the rain off, the one where i can stand up easily and tend to whatever business i'm doing with my gear. on the designated sites you often don't have so much of f choice about where you put your shelters; the fire can only be made in the firepit and you can only tie up your ridgeline where there are trees.

in summer you care less if your shelters are close to the fire, but cold weather demands you be more disciplined.

i string one ridgeline for that main shelter and put two tarps over it, with over lap at the top so water runs off and not through. when wind comes up, though, that thing becomes a giant kite and you then have to figure how to make ties that hold it up so you can be under it, but hold it DOWN when the wind blows.

after that, i discovered that the warm spot on the site was between the fire and the blowdown, and i decided to string up a second tarp shelter just to reflect heat and serve as a windbreak so i could sit near the fire and be warm.

that first windy morning i felt like i was trimming sails, running line and hauling the tarps in against the wind.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

thanksgiving feast

i told you that i was going to have an old school thanksgiving, in which i arrive by boat and eat in a temporary shelter.

it wasn't indoors grade thanksgiving dinner, but it was lovely just the same.

i bought a cooked turkey breast at the grocery, along with some stove top stuffing (which, it turns out, is quite passably edible in a pinch) and one o' them little cans of cranberry sauce and a pumpkin pie. yes, i know, a storeboughten pie, but it's perfectly edible, especially for a pie that one tosses in a duffel and transports to a campsite.

and by the way, when i bought the pie at the grocery, the bag boy put it into my bag SIDEWAYS because apparently there was a piebox-sized hole there, so of course.

well, yes, very efficient, but only in terms of grocery tetris and not so much in terms of seeing the groceries arrive home in the expected condition.

fortunately it was a hardy pie and not much damage was done.

uh, anyway. so i'd made a couple of batches of popovers to bring with me because POPOVERS and early in the day when it still felt casual, getting fed, i paused in the wood chopping to warm up some turkey in the the fire and make a bowl of that stuffing. turns out you can tear open a popover and layer the turkey and stuffing and a little cranberry right in there and make a perfectly delicious sandwich.

one might even eat such a sandwich indoors if one had table grade fixings.

Monday, December 14, 2015

gear review: atlas fit gloves

no, the atlas glove company hasn't paid me to say this.  they don't know i exist.

but i have a lot of gear for various activities, and some of it i put to hard use. if i find gear that's especially good or especially bad or just plain interesting, i think it's worth telling you about.

five or six years ago i bought a pair of these things at a hardware store somewhere in central new york because i'd lost the gloves i LIKED and i needed gloves to protect my hands while i was poking into dark icy nasty crevices to look for geocaches.

once again, they were not the gloves i wanted.

but wow. they were grippy and kept my hands clean and mostly dry and could be worn with liners underneath for additional warmth and they were thin enough to be able to feel around with them.

because the back of the hand is a breathable fabric, they manage to breathe despite being waterproof on the palms and fingertips. and they're light enough to roll up small to stick in your pocket. you can also toss 'em in the washing machine when they're dirty.

i started using them for all my hand protection needs. pulling wooden stakes? splinter proof. i bought a second pair for when the first pair either wore out or to have a clean pair handy.

but that first pair? i've been using them rough for tree climbing and rock scrambling, for paddling and for bushwhacking and all manner of task for which i need hand protection but not a full on leather glove. and they're thin enough for knot tying, so not so many rope burns.

i used that first pair hard, and five or six years later they are only JUST starting to wear out. seriously. and i also wear then for wood carving and they are surprisingly puncture resistant. i'm not saying they're full on carving gloves, but they've saved me from some slices and you'd never know it, looking at the glove.

so yeah. they're good stuff.

i'm going to be buying some more of them because as i said, that first pair is starting to wear out.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

both legs, now.

ou know that expression about not being special and putting your pants on one leg at a time?

yeah, not so much.

i like to but on both legs at once, because symmetry.

it's not hard. lie on your back. position your pants over your feet. slide them in.

there you go. pants both legs at once.

i know i have helped you.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

brand new outhouse!

yeah, yeah, maybe YOU don't get excited about such things. i do.

i arrived on wednesday for my old fashioned thanksgiving and trudged up the hill to the outhouse only to find that IT HAD NEVER BEEN USED so i went off to pee in the woods so i could come up the following day with a camera and document it properly.

so here you have an actual photo shot down the hole of the pristine outhouse. that dark spot in the center is some kind of black fiber, like a construction material of some kind.

but seriously. how often to you get to see a clean and shiny fresh outhouse?

Friday, December 11, 2015

the campings

ok, so at this point i have pictures and videos and stuff and it's just honking pointless for me to try to put this stuff in any kind of sensible order for you people, so i'm just going to post is as it's ready.

by now i am home from my thanksgiving campings.

i stayed for two weeks on site 4, which you can look up on the map if you want.

i chose site 4 very carefully, since at thanksgiving you can pick any campsite you like, because nobody is camping but you, not even on the popular sites.

i wanted to stay somewhere close to a boat launch, because in cold weather things can go very bad very fast and i am still sort of experimentally camping in this way. none of the sites near the moscow launch were suitable because some poor sites to begin with, some are a forty minute paddle from the boat launch, and at that end of the reservoir it gets dark mighty early in the day on account of the placement of the mountains, and many of the sites offer very little protection from the wind.

also you never know when the channel will freeze. and how much would that suck?

yeah, and the sites off the dam boat launch are either poor sites with no outhouse, or a pretty far paddle over the widest and choppiest section of the res, so even though site 7 had good protections from the wind, it was not a top choice.

which really narrow down the practical choices to sites 3, 4, 5, and 6.

4, 5, and 6 are pretty well sheltered from the wind, but a little slopier than i like in a tent site.
. 3 is acceptably sheltered and the prettiest site, but it poses some difficulty for making dry foot landings with the boats, and in november and december you really WANT to be able to make dry foot landings.

only sites 3 and 4 have outhouses. ok, so site 4 it is then.

site 4 is less roomy than a lot of the sites. to compound this closed in effect, it has recently had a large amount of blowdown to the extent that the crew that built the outhouse had to go in with a chainsaw and make a path.

they did not really clear the blowdowns, nor the brushpiles.

this was actually an asset in my eyes.

first, i love to have a project.

second, that is a LOT of free firewood, even if you have to work for it.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


i had MEANT to post a video as the PSA and say i had no excuse for it, but then i left the house to continue camping and somehow forgot to post the video.

i was going to correct the oversight, but decided it was funny just the way it was.

here's the video.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

yeah, enjoy that.

on the most miserable day of my late OCTOBER camping trip, i happened to open up a teabag and read the words thereon.

i immediately consigned it to the fire, and felt much better.

Monday, December 07, 2015

if i seem slow and uncommunicative

...i mean, more than usual-

i am camping. i have been camping since a week ago wednesday and i am only posting through the magic of scheduled posting.

well, actually, i am home right now. today is sunday. LASY sunday. don't bend your brain too much.

anyway, i woke up this morning and realized i needed a charging cord for one of my little appliances, so i put on my paddling gear and went out in the frigid predawn only to realize that the needed cord was AT HOME.

suddenly this is not a problem, because going home to get that cord means an opportunity to shower and put on clean clothes and eat food and fully charge my everythings and consult a detailed long term forecast, which suggests that with the exception of parts of tuesday and wednesday, it's going to be nice out.

so yeah.

december camping is totally a thing.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

alarming advertising trend

d'ya notice WHAT consumer items are being hawked on television ads? which products are shown with ribbons to be given as gifts?

yep. work boots. power tools. mattresses.

what finer way to say "the economy is so screwed that we can't afford these necessities AND gifts, so merry christmas."

and on top of that, according to the commercials, if you don't put yourself into debt (men only) to buy A DIAMOND, you do not love your female partner.

also, "here is some cheap crap you can get your grandkids because you have no idea what they want and this will only use up half of your grocery budget this month."

happy shopping.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

flask's menu planning protips

people are always asking how to cook like flask.

so here are my menu planning protips:

have chewy food
have squishy food
have crunchy food
maybe also have juicy food.

alternately, pick a letter of the alphabet and eat only things beginning with that letter. if you decide to do this as a progressive alphabet exercise, you get a pass on the "d" day, because you can affix the word "delicious" to everything you eat.

Friday, December 04, 2015

haven't mastered it yet

ok, so BACK IN AUGUST i was simmering a pot of shiitake mushrooms in master sauce, which is a thing i do. it is a lovely dark brown sauce and you just keep using it, only you refresh it every time with more broth and more spices and then you strain and freeze it until the next time and it last years, only getting more and more delicious.

only this time i let it go and burned it right down, losing not just the mushrooms, BUT THE SAUCE.

i dried my tears and i decided to look instead at what in interesting little disc it had made in the pot, and how with only a little soaking it made a satisfying little splorch sound and came right to the top and i decided to take a picture of it for you and of course didn't do THAT for a number of months and have therefore had this thing sitting on a plate in my dining room for a rather embarrassingly long amount of time.

but here it is.

Thursday, December 03, 2015


i got a lovely box in the mail, with treats in it.

why am i making this face?

because this box comes with a lot of instructions for sealing it, but not for opening it. i know, i know, right?

but it was HARD.


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

so this happened in my house...

i had a houseguest for a couple of days.

the first night MS17 was here, i got her all set up on the sofa with pillows and blankets and such and i headed upstairs.

i hadn't but brushed my teeth when i heard her ask up "uh... do you have paper towels or paper napkins or something?"

so i was on my way back downstairs and she said "because there's some kind of bug in the sleeping area."

"oh, is that hernando? does he have five legs?"
"it has a lot of legs."
"it's probably hernando."
"he's kind of staying here for the winter."
"oh. i didn't realize he was a friend of yours. can you maybe...?"
"is it ok with you if i just relocate him to the dining room?"

the dining room is two rooms away. i also don't tell her that the dining room is close enough for him to find his way back to where he likes, which is the window by the sofa.

"nando? come on, nando." and he climbs onto my hand and i put him into the dining room.

he's one of these, by the way.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

two short films

a couple of years ago i saw these at a short animated film festival.

MB helped me find them online and i want to share them with you.

Miss Todd from Kristina Yee on Vimeo.

Damned from Richard Phelan on Vimeo.

Monday, November 30, 2015

you can tell i had a houseguest...

...because this bag was in my house.

no kidding.

you know *I* wouldn't have one.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

glasses holder thingie

a while ago while i was out camping my friend barb came out to stay some and she had a cute little cord that a friend of hers had made to keep her glasses from falling off her face when she falls off a paddleboard.

and i looked at that and thought i should maybe make something for myself for that purpose, especially since i have become all knotty.

i made mine adjustable do it holds my gasses on, but also is a holder i can hang them from if i take them off.


Saturday, November 28, 2015


here is an actual convesation i had with MB last week:

goes to find some fontina to wipe up this pasta sauce

MB:  You use cheese to wipe up sauce?!?
flask: yes.
          that way, more cheese.
          you make that sound bad.
MB:   I've just never heard of that
          It's like a whole new world. I just use bread or my tongue
flask:  it's sort of like wiping it up with bread, only cheesier.
          mind blown
flask: yes, you can. ​laughs
MB:  bows to the master
         I am not worthy

Thursday, November 26, 2015

loading the boats

i know you are both DYING to know how i got all that stuff into the boats.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

buy nothing day

i don't buy anything on thanksgiving or black friday. not in stores, not online. i reserve these two days for the NOT BUYING OF ANYTHING.

i recommend you do, too.


because we have to stop enabling this nonsense.

we have to stop enabling the commercial culture that equates thing buying with being smart, being loved, and being acceptable to our loved ones.

more and more our commercial culture takes family holidays (whether you keep a birth family or a chosen family) and makes them into a death spiral of consumption, competition, unreasonable expectations and- get this- thanksgiving shopping and black friday shopping TAKE US AWAY from our families and our meals in favor of buying stuff we largely don't need.

think: we have an economic model based on exploiting the NEED of the middle and lower classes.

think: we have a culture that promises if we only spend MORE, we will feel secure.

think: maybe you DO enjoy competitive crowded shopping, but maybe your kids / spouse / relatives / friends would like to just sit down with you and enjoy your company.

think: some person, probably working for low wages and hovering near poverty, is now required to go to work whether s/he wants to or not on one of the few remaining days that was left to them.

did you really need to go shopping on thanksgiving? do you suspect there won't be BIG SALES later?

but those stores will be open as long as we keep showing up. those businesses will exploit your fears and their workers as long as we make it profitable.

so i don't buy anything on thanksgiving. not gas, not groceries, even if i run out of toilet paper. and i don't go black friday shopping. i suggest that you don't either.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

old-fashioned thanksgiving

i am having an old fashioned thanksgiving this year. which i mean that i will be arriving by boat and eating limited food under temporary shelter in the dark.

i'm feeling the darkness kind of sharply this year, and one good way to drive it out is to go live in it, alone.

so camping.

chop wood. tie knots. try to make yourself comfortable and you won't notice so much the gnawing.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

thanksgivings past, volume two

so after my parents divorced, we had a general sense of relief that we were no longer required to show up as an ensemble for the annual parade of crazy.

but then my mom got a job that required her presence -and ours- on thanksgiving.

it was kind of a cool job. the university used to partner with IBM to bring guys (always guys, somehow) here to get a one year accelerated master's degree in electrical engineering, and they didn't just bring the guys. they brought their whole families to live here for the year.

only about a third of those families were from the US, the rest coming largely from france and germany, with a smattering of japanese and the occasional lithuanian.

and the program was kind of geniusly set up to include support systems for the families, because it can be hard to be plopped down in a foreign country for a year and have to rent a house and do the shoppings and get the kids to school and one of the parents is ALL THE TIME STUDYING.

so my mom's job was coordinating of the living parts of the program. she ran the weekly coffee/support group and the social gatherings and helped make connections and paperworks and all that.

and part of the experience was the good old fashioned american thanksgiving.

it was held at a local retreat center with an dining area and industrial kitchen. the americans would argue over which kind of stuffing / cornbread / pie was the best and how to properly prepare side dishes and we would assure our european and asian friends that these arguments are, in fact, part of a traditional american thanksgiving, especially when regional differences come into play.

it was a potluck thanksgiving. everybody brought things. american families brought all of the traditional regional dishes. the german women (some stereotypes exist for a reason) can loaded up with all kinds of german breads and pastries and bustled about industriously. the french women provided much of the soup and much of the wine and stood around smoking and criticizing the kinds of wines available in the US. the japanese women typically had the least command of english and the least understanding of european culture, and were most likely to bring dishes that looked most obviously japanese, for which they were apologetic.  they seemed to feel the least comfortable and the least like they fit in, but i loved them and i loved their delicious japanese thanksgiving potluck foods.

it was a splendid way to have thanksgiving, and a thing i would not trade for, but when the program ended and we no longer had to go anywhere for thanksgiving, my family largely stepped back to staying at home, not answering the phone, and pretty much doing nothing.

my mom started going to the cape. i took up thanksgiving camping.

when people ask me if my family gets together for thanksgiving and i say no, they typically express some kind of regret that my family is not close.

well, no. we get together for birthday celebrations in late october, mid november, and early december, plus christmas. we just don't do a big thanksgiving usually. we're ok with that.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

the backbone of my camp

later on i'm going to show you a timelapse video of me striking camp.

but while i was tearing down, i got to this moment where is was sad about striking this one line, which i realized was the backbone of my camp. it's a simple length of 550 parcord, anchored in a tree and tied to another tree across the site, but with a couple of lineman's loops, it made a secure and reliable ridge to the rest of my shelter.

not flashy, but important.

Friday, November 20, 2015

thanksgivings past, volume one

there's a sort of crazy that only comes from family, and family holidays are good times for that crazy to manifest brightly.

in my childhood, thanksgiving with grandma and grandpa was a minefield of shifting rules and bizarre disapprovals.

i'm going to paint you a skeleton portrait:

my father's brother was obsessed with new zealand (where he had lived for a year or so), mad magazine, and trotsky-era russian politics, which he talked about as if it were current events. he also had a GIANT LIFE SIZED portrait of JESUS at the head of his bed, which you might think would make his catholic parents happy, but it did not, primarily because my father's brother had converted to russian orthodoxy, nobody knows why.

you know how old guys mumble and they don't hear well and they blame their failures in communication on you because you're inattentive or too lazy to speak up and you are disrespectful? yeah, well, i suspect that my grandfather was one of those guys even before he had his stroke.

putting up the thanksgiving leftovers in my grandomther's slovenly kitchen was s difficult task to which her sole contribution was the valuable effort of retiring to the organ to play hawaiian music for the duration of the cleanup. nevermind that nobody in his or her right mind likes hawaiian music played ineptly on a console organ.

with televisions blaring. from two rooms.

you know how some people say they don't watch a lot of teevee and then they ask you about how you like THEIR favorite shows and when you say "i don't know, i don't watch a lot of tv" they say "neither do we, but we just like (insert names of a half dozen shows you don't watch here) and hint darkly that they can't imagine why you don't have an opinion on them because you're only putting on airs. you've seen the way they "don't watch a lot of tv", and it involves two televisions being on at maximum volume all the time.

and you cannot talk while a show is on.

you should also not show disinterest in a show by reading or playing a game, either.

for thanksgiving, one television was set to the macy's parade in new york and the other was set to the gimbel's parade in philadelphia and my uncle and grandfather locked in a dead serious and unspoken contest over how many people were in the room watching the superior parade from the superior city and by proxy, deferring to the superior person.

also, children may play poker and memorize the odds for drawing to a straight, but children should not ask "who dealt this mess" nor refer to a "lousy hand", because children do not use language like that.

children in particular are targets for broad disapproval, and it was easier for my parents to try to correct the behaviors of us kids than to drill us in the wildly shifting rules.

and it was some years before my parents were able to explain this to us: "sweetie, grandma and grandpa are just fucking nuts and we just want you to pretend to be apologetic for breaking rules that weren't in existence ten minutes before."

i remember the fantastic night on which i decided to join my parents for their walk after an evening meal. i had never been interested in the walk. why were they so wild about walking around the neighborhood after every meal? we didn't do this at home.

and then: ohhhhhhhh.

"did you HEAR the thing he said about bagels?"
"did you SEE him lift a hair off the lip of the milk bottle WITH HIS HANDKERCHIEF?"

it was an escape. all the unreasonable things were out in the open. my parents KNEW about them. they knew *I* knew about them. and now we all knew.

and before we rounded the last corner to go back in the house, my parents turned to me very solemnly and explained that NONE of this conversation had happened, and that when we got back in the house, we were going to start talking about all the nice lawn ornaments we had seen.

so we did.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

random scenes from camp 20

bright sun, snowy morning

you wouldn't see it until the leaves fall

camel's hump from open reservoir

morning from my beach. mind the duck hunter.

up by the boat launch

high chair

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

duck, duck, goose

you've seen the pictures of camp 20, but maybe it hasn't really sunk in for you that it is a high spit of land with water on three sides. what you maybe do not know about his is that it is about the right height that birds low-flying over the water are just about level with the ground on the campsite.

one morning i woke up to the sound of a large flock of geese flying south right about at ear level before they wheeled about JUST OFFSHORE FROM MY TENT to fly north up the other side of my site before they winged up and away for the day.

THAT was quite a wake up call.

in the mornings and the evenings, you'd hear a few rifle shots, because it was duck season. one morning i saw this gentleman come by my point:

he was so stealthy that at first i wasn't sure he was even there.

Monday, November 16, 2015

comforts of home

you realize, don't you, that by the time i get done posting about everything i wanted to show you from my last camping trip, that i will probably be out on my next one?

yeah, well.

i spent some time this year on campsites with outhouses and campsites without. and the state-issue composting toilets are very pleasant, as far as outhouses go. they are sturdily build and protect you from the elements while you enjoy using an actual toilet seat. oh, my, that is the very lap of luxury.

...which is what prompted me to send this picture via text to various friends:

...which prompted one of them to write "you did NOT just send me a pic of you in the outhouse, did you?"

no, not at all. i most certainly did not do that.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

flask's camping protips

Q: which water jug should i pour from?

A: the one that is least frozen.

also, later in the day when (if) the sun comes out, you can put all your water on the silver blanket and maybe thaw them a little.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


ok, so i'm STILL not done telling you about my october camping trip, and at this rate, i will not be done until i leave for my november camping trip.

anyway, i get weird about the woodpile.

i like to leave a site with more firewood than i found on it. that amount is usually "any", but sometimes you get lucky. also, if when you are camping it has the potential of being cold out and you have the potential of NEEDING that fire to sty warm, you want enough wood to last you through a number of hours incase a storm rolls in or some other thing happens and for some reason you have to go a day without cutting new wood.

also, i sometimes do not know how many days i will be on a site, so i want to be prepared.

this leads me to be almost obsessive about my wood cutting.

plus when it's chillly out, cutting wood is a good way to stay warm. it's also satisfying in a kind of primal way.

on vermont state lands unless you hold a lumbering lease you amy not cut live or standing wood, but you're welcome to all the deadfall you can get for purposes of camping. i get weird about it. when i see a big piece of deadfall with saw or axe marls on it that suggest that some other people tried to take this and then gave up because it was too hard, i sort of interpret that as a challenge TO do it.

so anyway. some pictures.

it's a challenge, right?

yep, woodpile.

Friday, November 13, 2015

hey, let's talk about kevin macleod.

the other day i was in a skype conversation with MB and she was playing a cute little game and even through her phone i thought i could identify the music as by kevin macleod. if you've been watching my videos, you have heard his work. i really wish my own music suited the purpose as well, but it doesn't. sad for me.

the good news is that kevin macleod has a huge archive of music suited to scoring projects which he makes available FOR FREE on the internet. you should go there and look.

"but flask", i hear you say. "i do not need music to score projects with." i don't care. kevin macleod is both very talented and very funny, and you should go listen to some of his music and read his descriptions which are both useful and entertaining.

"Action-y intense like percussion based piece. Need to defuse a bomb while riding in a pedi-cab? This should work well for that. Or anything where tension needs to be maintained."

"Lots of little sections ending with soaring horns. Who doesn't like that?"

"This piece is actively painful. It is ugly and nasty and dirty - about as much as you can be using exactly one orchestra. Seriously, there are occasional bits where there are notes - but mostly, it is just... uhh..."

and besides, some of the numbers have available sheet music and some have cute little youtube flicks of the sequencing animations, which are cool to look at.

plus graph paper.

seriously. this dude has a lot going for him.

as for identifying the piece from MB's phone over skype while she was playing a game on her desktop? i am very proud of that, because kevin's catalog (can i call him kevin?) is kind of diverse. he has a lot of sounds.

what tipped me off?  cheap little game. rich scoring. anytime you're looking at a low budget project that has really good music, you check the credits.


oh, in case you are wondering: no, this is not a paid endorsement. even if i had the kind of readership that would support paid endorsements, i'm not about that. i'm not above giving honest reviews of gear just in case some bicycle company wants to know my opinion on the latest, but we get back to my readership just doesn't support that kind of thing. you're both very kind, but not really commercially viable.

also, i have never met kevin macleod.

i may, however, send him a link to this because now i've gone on kind of at length about how awesome his work is.

augh. fangirl.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


on the fifteenth of october i went paddleboarding. it was a beautiful day, but not so warm i didn't need longjohns, or neoprene booties.

i'm doing a thing i only discovered by accident one day in the summer, which is to paddle up into a headwind and then turn and sail back, being pushed by the wind and steering with my paddle in the wind. it doesn't work against the rudder in the air as effectively as it does in the water, but it does work and you can steer it, with some planning and some patience.

i did this three times that afternoon, paddling up and sailing back to camp. you will notice how low the sun is in the sky, even though it's only three o'clock in the afternoon. i am coming to the end of light in the day. i am coming to the end of my time at camp 20. i am coming to the ends of things i cannot fathom but feel in my bones.

we are all of us parting ways.

paddle up, sail home.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

the chair

if you're following the story, you know that i've been building camp tables and such at remote campsites on the res. i'd like to stress to you that these are remote sites and not primitive sites, because on primitive sites, it is poor manners to build stuff.

on the remote sites on the waterbury reservoir, people build a wide variety of structures intended to make camp more comfortable. there are steps, benches, tables, fixed ridgepoles that can be used for tarps, and shelves to keep gear off the ground. one site even has a pretty functional little lean-to.

anyway, camp 20 has a lot of table, benches, and table like things, so i kind of thought i would like to build something in a chair, maybe something adjustable.

i know how to build basic things, but past the odd tripod and such, it's all kind of experimental for me. one day i'll be good at it. not yet, but one day.

meanwhile, i am learning a lot about how pieces fit together and one day i'll be a right bushcraft queen.

here are some little movies from my chair building on camp 20.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Monday, November 09, 2015

Sunday, November 08, 2015

open letter to hillary clinton

dear secretary clinton,

i know this is hard for you to understand, but as a likely democratic voter, i am not voting for you. i am not voting for you even if you are the democratic nominee.

it isn't about senator sanders. it's no secret that i love senator sanders, but if you were an acceptable candidate, you would have my vote if sanders failed to win the nomination.

but you don't have my vote, so in the event that you are the democratic nominee, i will have to choose between voting for the republican nominee or not voting. maybe a write in? i don't know. that feels a lot like not voting.

either way, you don't have my vote.

let's look at at why.

clearly you have the chops to be president. you're a democrat, and democrats scare me slightly less than the republicans. several election cycles ago when it became apparent that one day YOU might be an actual viable presidential candidate, i was really excited. i thought you were going to be a candidate i could really believe in.

but then i looked at your record.

sure, you support civil rights for gay people NOW, and i'll give you the benefit of the doubt that maybe your views DID mature and change with the times, even though i am more likely to think that your views changed and matured along with the focus grouping.

basically, you are a shape shifter. you appear to be whatever the large donors want, and you say whatever you think you need to say to get votes but when it comes right down to it, you leave a trail of acrimonious power politicking everywhere you go, and at the end of the day, you are still in the pockets of the investment bankers and corporate leeches who are stripping the wealth of the united states and the world.

you are not an agent for change, and you are not the ally of regular people. i trust you about as much as i trust chris christie. heck, even ted cruz must occasionally do something that benefits his constituency every now and again.

in short, you are not the solution to the problem. you are not even a warrior in the cause. you are the problem.


cc: DNC

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Friday, November 06, 2015

return to camp

here's a video of my return to camp after my night at home.

i was kind of worried that someone might have come in the night and stolen my boat, but it was right where i left it.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

the snowy day

snow on tent
on the 18th of october i woke up to snow in my campsite. it was not a surprise to me, because a) it had been snowing on and off the entire previous day and b) i had heard the forecast.

i needed to go home and get some cold weather gear because although i had some, when i'd left the house it was late summer and i had needed to bring warm weather clothes and so didn't have all the cold weather stuff i would have liked.

plus that ONE PAIR OF  jeans i own that fits well over tights, midweight longjohns and fleece longjohns really, really needed to be laundered.

and i needed to buy groceries.

i could have done it saturday, and i could have done it monday, but why NOT do it on the most cold miserable day, if i'm going to leave camp for a few hours?

so i made a bottle of tea and a bowl of oatmeal in the leisurely way you can if you know you're not going to have to sit out all day and i gathered up the laundry, warm weather clothes i wasn't going to be needing anymore, and i got in my boat.

if was a pretty paddle, with a little bit of sunshine breaking out.

i got home, had some food, did some laundry, packed some things.

camp with snow 
i watched the afternoon storms roll in. snow and snow, wind and more wind, grey, heavy skies.

and those jeans were taking forever to dry. sometimes you can wear them damp, but you really shouldn't when you are out in the cold and you depend on them to keep you warm.

so waiting.

and at some point, jeans not dry yet (soon!) i looked at a clock and realized that if i left the house NOW (nevermind jeans or gathering the things i had packed) i was arriving back at the boat landing around 4:30 in the afternoon.
view from camp. pretty.

that maybe does not sound very late to you, but up there, even before the clocks changed, even in the middle of october, 4:30 was the time that the sun disappeared behind the mountain and the long cold twilight of the day began.

and i looked at the snow, and the wind, and the clock, and the fact that my jeans STILL weren't out of the dryer and i decided to sleep indoors for a night.

paddle out

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

first snowy morning

yah- boo, it was COLD out there a couple of them days, i tell you whut.

here's video from the first snowy morning.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

fixed for ya.

i got this email:

now, i've asked to unsubscribe, but they keep making me watch political ads and THEN throwing up an "unable to process your request at this time" message, which totally does not surprise me.

but i'm in a pretty good mood this morning, so i decided to play along and check NO.

this is what happens:



fixed for ya.

you're welcome.

Monday, November 02, 2015

early scenes

here are some pictures rom the first part of my time at camp 20.

morning from my beach

don't tell me these don't look like weird boobs.

just before rain

when the morning sun clears the mountain

cloudy paddle

returning from milk run (note pizza box)

Sunday, November 01, 2015

i got other eggs to fry.

you know how hard it can be to fry an egg?

i mean, even if you have skills and you know how to fry it just how you like it, there's rather a wide margin between "how you like it" and "oh, my goodness, this is perfect." there are a lot of variables.

and then you also want to time your toast right so your toast is done but warm, and then there's the whole other sport of timing the consumption of the eggs with the consumption of the toast so that you run out of toast right about as the plate comes clean.

MB says she likes a little extra toast because that's what lovely jam is for, but i can't be arsed to carry jam to and fro in case i don't get my egg mopping right.

anyway, on friday i nailed it on both counts.

little pleasures.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

at this point it gets all chronologically messed up

i've been trying to show you things from the camping trip in some kind of chronological order, i have no idea why. let's just say i spent approximately five weeks out of september and october and i went camping.

stuff happened, and i took pictures to show you.

here's a little video from the day the first snow of the season fell.

Friday, October 30, 2015

field trip

earlier this week i was on my way to the grocery store by sort of the long way so i could buy eggs at the farmstand, and at the bottom of my road there were two festively parked vans with official looking designations, even though one was white and one was red.

now, here's a tip for you: usually when you are near a big roadcut and you see two or three 18 passenger vans with some kind of official crest on the door, it will turn out to be a collegiate geology department field trip.

and what's there not to love about that? so i did what i typically do in this situation, when i can see the group and i'm not in a hurry: i parked my car and marched right over there and started asking what we were looking at. i have never once done this and had the professor or TA or whatever not be happy that a passerby wants to learn about this here roadcut.

and sure, i've read some papers about these rocks, but if you're anything like me when you read geology papers, you end up having to look a lot of stuff up because for some reason geology papers seem to be written for geologists and not your average joes who happen to like rocks.

so it's super educational to be out on this huge rock with a nice young geologist who is trying to explain all this stuff to entry level undergrads.

true story: i pull up and i'm looking at the rocks with these kids and one of them says "are you a geologist?"

"no, just a rock fan."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

open letter to internet advertisers

dear internet advertisers,

internet advertising, for some reason, is a big topic these days.

i love the internet. i love to read on it, chat on it, play games on it, shop on it.

and advertising on the internet is big business.

and so is adblocking.

look, you NEED advertising to pay the bills, or else people consuming content need to pay for it. some sites give you a choice. some sites try to play both sides of that, though, and if you pay them for ad-free content, they try to give you ads.

no, no, no.

you get what you pay for.

and advertisers? if you are paying for spurious botnet fake eyeballs on your ads, how is that helping anybody but the brokers of fake views?

so ok, advertisers. let's talk about my consumption of advertising and how maybe you can develop a model that will work for you and not be obnoxious.

i'm not opposed to ads. they keep the lights on at my favorite content providers. i do not like cheesy no-escape ads for dubious products, or ads that are offensive to me.

here's the thing: if the ad is for a product i am interested in, i will happily watch it all the way to the end, and not just the five seconds i have to wait to escape. if the ad is compelling or beautiful in some way, i will watch it simply because it's interesting, even if i have no intention of buying this product. if your ad is interesting enough, i will click right to your website.

and that's what you want, right?

you don't really want to annoy me and have me make a mental note to skip every ad for every product you make, ever, and not buy anything of yours just because your behavior is annoying? you probably don't even want to make me sit through thirty seconds of ad time for, say a pickup truck i'm never going to buy (i've never owned a car that wasn't a subaru wagon, and i don't really need to watch subaru ads, either, because i'm already buying subarus.) i don't care about shampoo (have you seen my hair?), and i find weight-loss product ads downright offensive.

i would like you to consider my attempts to escape your ad to be a declaration that this ad does not interest me. if you make it hard for me to close your ad, i assume that you and your product are not just bad company and bad product, but that your business practices are probably fraudulent as well.

so here's what i want: i want the ability to look at the ad or not. i actually do read and sometimes click sidebar ads and banner ads that don't stand between me and content. it helps me find goods and services i actually need and want.

failing that, i don't mind a popup that asks me to watch a few seconds of that ad before i close it or not. if i don't want to see the latest action movie (i have not seen a movie in theaters in YEARS, nor do i buy or rent movies, and rarely do i watch them on tv), i'm not really your target audience anyway and i don't need to keep seeing that trailer.

you might, i don't know, use your awesome data collection to discover which products and kinds of ads i am REALLY NOT INTERESTED IN and maybe don't try to ram those into my eyeballs.

also, if your ad is interesting and i didn't mind seeing it the first four or five times i watched it, at some point my attention is taxed and i don't want to keep seeing it anymore.

i also do not mind if i answer a couple of questions about products because clearly a marketing firm is paying some of your bills. i don't mind telling you which brands off that (short) list i've heard of or have a favorable impression of in order to support content i want to see.

i do not mind at all allowing you to make contact with me at my convenience about stuff i might buy.

in short, instead of finding ways to force me to consume your commercial messages, i would like you to do your jobs better. you have the data collection going already. i am an actual money-paying, ad-watching consumer. when you give me that chance to say "no, thank you, this ad does not interest me", you earn goodwill from me and you gain valuable information about how you should better target your advertising.

so how 'bout it? let me have control over what i want to see. i promise to keep buying stuff.



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