Wednesday, February 24, 2016

diamond knot

this week i learned to tie a diamond knot.

its base is the carrick hitch, which i also had to learn to tie for that.

it is an ornamental knot used to tie up lanyards and such.

Monday, February 22, 2016


i have a small amount of anxiety about meeting people because i am afraid they will crush my hand.

culturally we size people up by their handshakes. and what you maybe don't notice is that we size people up a little before the handshake, and try to assess how strongly we should grip.

some people have a dead fish grip anyway, but most people want to give you what you will consider to be a nice firm grip.

and since i look like a fairly robust person, nearly every first time handshake i receive is excruciatingly painful.

i have two appendages that hurt like hell when squeezed: my left foot and my right hand.

and i never want to have the first impression i make on a new person to be "ooh, careful. don't hurt me!"

if you look at my hand, you can see the shortened finger from where i broke it some years ago. arthritis is not improving my enjoyment of that.

yep. it was the third finger on my right hand. and the breaking of THAT finger makes my pinkie functionally longer, so it curves in.

if you squeeze it, it hurts.

Friday, February 19, 2016


here are two games that mb turned me on to.

do not play them if you don't have some time to burn, ok?

in planevo, you manipulate the creatures of earth to dubious ends and with questionable goals, but it is a cute little game with music my kevin macleod, and you already know i'm a fan.

i have also spent some time playing doodle god, which is by turns clever and frustrating. i also question some of the developer's choices and their ideas about what makes societal progress, but i enjoyed the game very much. i enjoyed volume 2 slightly less, but i still liked playing it.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

open letter to the people of nevada on the eve of the 2016 caucus

dear people of nevada,

hi. i'm from vermont. i have no party affiliation and vote a mixed ticket in nearly every election. i want to talk with you about the saturday caucus.

you maybe think you don't have a lot in common with me. vermont is a whiter state than yours, a smaller state, a wetter state. we are statistically less christian than you, less hispanic, and neither gambling nor sex work is legal in any of our cities.

and yet both of our state economies are largely based on tourist trade. we live in states with a large service economy. it is common in both of our states for families not to have adequate housing or food security even though the adults in those families work at least one full-time job. both of our states get to play host to the vacations of the fabulously wealthy, the moderately wealthy, and the securely solvent.

have you noticed lately that there aren't as many securely solvent people as there used to be?

there aren't even as many moderately wealthy as there used to be.

but the poor? the disenfranchised? there's no shortage of them. have you noticed the huge increase in homelessness?

here's the thing: our government is gamed against us. the people who make the rules largely benefit from the rules. and when we clamor for change, the change is made slowly or only for show, because the people buying the elections would prefer it that way.

i grew up just outside of burlington, vermont during the sanders years. senator sanders has been fighting for better living conditions for all of us since before i was born. and when i say all of us, i mean all of us.

when he was first elected to congress, one of the first things then representative sanders did was to go to florida to look into the problem of mass incarceration of men of color, because the broken judicial system and the failed war on drugs and the privatization of prisons is a problem that sucks the life out of all of us and costs all of us.

he didn't do it because he has a huge constituency of brown people who are going to prison. he did it because when he became a US representative it became his job not just to work for the people of vermont, but for all of the people of this country, just because it's the right thing to do.

up until he started running for president, he ran around without a security detail, flew coach, and did his own shopping. he never pandered to special interest groups, or told people what they wanted to hear in order to get elected.

you KNOW he never got a haircut that cost six hundred dollars.

most importantly, he is not in bed with the bankers whose criminal behavior brought down the economy, and he does not take contributions from corporations, organizations, or individuals who finance the laws and practices that suck the wealth of america away from the people and the land and deposits it in the pockets of the increasingly smaller wealthy rulers of the land.

the democratic party establishment isn't that much different than the republican party when it comes to smarmy quid-pro-quo revolving door looting of wealth.

this is why i'm asking you to caucus for senator sanders.

nobody thinks he can pass every one of his plans.

what he's going to do is make a start at cleaning up the mess. nobody else is fighting for you like that. go on. look it up.

and if you're worried that he can't get stuff done, look at his record. bernard sanders is actually the king of quietly getting stuff done in congress while everybody else is too busy flinging poo.

so please.

go and caucus.

senator sanders will stand for you.

love, flask

(this message is neither approved by nor paid for bernie sanders)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

really sorry about that this time

a few days ago i thought i posted the sorry song for you.

it turns out i did not.

sorry 'bout that.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


i was up on the res last fall and i was talking to a guy who was telling me about a guy who likes to sit on his campsite and carve spoons.

you know, because this is exactly the kind of conversation you have with people out on the res.

anyway, i thought this would be a cool thing to do when i'm sitting on a campsite, so i decided to learn how.

and of course this involves getting some appropriate carving knives, so thank you santa.

and i have carved one mystery object that maybe later i will tell you about because it's kind of a funny story, and one spoon.

i'm working on another spoon and maybe some bowls, but let me tell you: wild-caught natural deadfall applewood is hard to prepare and hard to work.

it has beautiful coloring and beautiful grain, but a basswood carving blank it is NOT.


Thursday, February 11, 2016


ok, so i am spending a lot of time fronching.

do you not know this verb?

of course you do not know this verb. it is a verb some friends of mine made up. it means "to study french" we have also declared it to be a verb IN french, and we have maybe decided it is a regular verb: froncher. it still means "to study french".

we should probably check to see if french already has a verb "froncher" and if we have simply appropriated it and repurposed it.

uh, anyway. i am using both the living language series from penguin random house and duolingo.

duolingo is like crack, and it seems to be trying to prepare you for your inevitable breakup with your new francophone partner, because it teaches you to say things like tu n'a pas jamais le temps pour les choses importantes, which COULD be a really useful phrase, but if it is your life is probably taking a turn for the worse.


the thing about duolingo is that is is built on the premise that you need to come back every day to practice, and it will send you back to practice specific lessons that it has decided you have not practiced recently enough.

when you have a lesson learned and also updated, its little icon is gold.

...which brings me to their choice of icons. their icon for all lessons to do with adverbs is a lizard. ok, maybe it is a chameleon. fine. cute.

but their icon for household things is A TOILET.

yep, a toilet.

because home is where you take a dump?


my toilet is shiny and golden.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

the constitution

why is it that people talk of the sacredness of the second amendment but not so much the others?

i like the fourth especially.

good for you if you don't have to look it up.

and what is with that ass, trump? does he just make shit up?

Monday, February 08, 2016


you know what will wear you right out?

a brownie troop.

ok, to be fair, a lot of what wore me out was the two days of prep work for my visit to the brownie troop, and then the having to be running around all the time  from group to group because there's one specialist (me) and several groups of girls with accompanying adults and that is a LOT of running around.

it is kind of awesome, though, to see the moment where a kid starts got get a concept, or when she sees a thing that was right in front of her and it WAS invisible and now -BAM- it's big as day.

it was also interesting to see that i do not yet have cred with the brownies and have to earn my way. back in the day i had MAD classroom management skills but part of that comes from your established reputation.

i mean, brownies are polite because it's a thing they do and you are an invited guest there to teach a thing they want to learn. but ya, you do not yet have established herd control because they don't know you.

anyway, a good time was had by all. i think. the girls seemed to like the activities. i had a good time.

and now i need to rest for a few days.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

flint: a précis

"i am going to poison you now."

"what? no. i don't want to be poisoned."

"but here is your poison, and your bill, because you do not expect ME to pay for poisoning you?"

"but i don't want to be poisoned. why should i pay for that?"

"ok, ok. i am reasonable. i will take 30% off of your bill. have a nice poisoning."

Friday, February 05, 2016

trump, the game

yes! i have a copy of the original TRUMP board game! yes, it is as fully aquisitive and narcissistic as you might expect! yes, all your money is free and comes from the bank or outside investors! yes! you have to be kind of an asshole to win.

last week i went over to the house of my friends at lapapiere, and we had a lovely dinner and laughed very hard about the newly-coined phrase "strongly preferenced" and we played the french card game color addict, which i now love and because it was between the iowa caucus and the new hampshire primary, we HAD to play TRUMP!

it actually plays pretty well as a game, if you can get over the trumpness of it.

here are some pics.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

another thing that ticks me off

ok, this here thing about the iowa primaries ticks me off, and it's not really about the candidates.

it is about how dismissive people are about senator sanders' polled lead in new hampshire and how dismissive they are of that, because "can he really win in any state that doesn't touch vermont?"

because, see, while vermont and new hampshire are similarly shaped and geographically contiguous, they are very, very different states politically.

vermont is a deep blue state and new hampshire swings purple to red. vermont is a concealed carry without permit state (one of two), but if you shoot someone, you have to prove it was a reasonable action and that you did not have a reasonable opportunity to retreat. new hampshire is an open carry, may-issue state, and it's a STAND YOUR GROUND STATE.

new hampshire has a significantly lower minimum wage than vermont does, it provides fewer social services than vermont does, and it sells liquor at highway rest stops.

there are tollbooths on public highways in new hampshire; there are none in vermont.

new hampshire LOVES donald trump. do i hafta say more?

democratic party strategists (largely hillary supporters) want to discount senator sanders' lead in new hampshire as "favorite son effect"

but really? they do not like him over there because he's from here. it's sort of like how in michigan they don't automatically love stuff that comes out of ohio.

there IS, maybe a geographical sanders advantage here, though: because new hampshire and vermont are close together, new hampshire voters would be familiar with senator sanders' record, the same as vermont voters are familiar with john sununu or jeanne shaheen.

john sununu couldn't get himself elected second alternate animal control officer in vermont.

so if senator sanders polls well in new hampshire, it's not because he's local. it's because new hampshire voters are familiar with his record. you should not underestimate senator sanders.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

after iowa

did you watch the iowa caucus?

did you watch the shape shifter hillary put the crown on her own head and then call herself a progressive? did you hear her spin the sanders campaign as a "welcome debate"? after she and debbie wasserman schultz tried to bury sanders with saturday night debates nobody watches?

this is what i like about secretary clinton: a vote for secretary clinton will be a vote for keeping things pretty much how they are, as long as women's rights or gay rights or affordable healthcare don't get in the way of what her huge and corrupt donors want.

the shape shifter will say anything, do anything to be president, because of course she is entitled to be president. she is a candidatezilla.

you look at her record. you look to see who is paying her bills. you look to see who she really supports consistently. secretary clinton is part of the problem. she will very happily part all of us from our money (she is a wholly owned subsidiary of golman sachs), from our civil liberties (she's in favor of more domestic surveillance), and from our lives (she voted FOR the obscene never ending war).

of course, if you vote for any republican, you are voting for your own impoverishment and the dismantling of any rights or liberties you might have left.

this is why we need senator sanders.


go look at this. you probably need a laugh.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

views from my sofa

here are two views from my sofa in the afternoon.

today is candlemas.

today, hopefully you will feel in you the lighter days.

Monday, February 01, 2016

night vale

i thought maybe i was the last person on earth to start listening to welcome to night vale, but apparently many of the people around me are not familiar with it.

i had heard about it a while ago, but decided i didn't want to take up on an episodic thing that has a potential to be a little creepy until maybe later when i felt equal to the task, so i only started last month.

oh, my goodness. it is dark and absurd and very, very funny.

if you do not listen to this already, i am going to have to recommend that you begin to do so.

find it here:


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