Monday, September 26, 2016

it's little NOW...

i found this little dude hiding out under my boat.

it makes me wonder how many really BIG snapping turtles are in the res.

...where i swim.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


oh, yeah. i went camping.

i'll tell you about it later, probably.

Friday, September 23, 2016

butter me up

here's a flask life hack: are you ever hesitant to melt better in the microwave because of the godawful way it splatters and you're too lazy to put a paper towel over it or something?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

that third verse

in the wake of the kaepernick firestorm (look it up yourself if you need to) a lot of people are talking about that third verse of the star-spangled banner.

imma save you some trouble.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore, 
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion 
A home and a Country should leave us no more? 
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution. 
No refuge could save the hireling and slave 
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, 
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave 
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave. 

ok, so let's talk about this. teh twittrz was all upset about this "they glorify slavery RIGHT IN THE NATIONAL ANTHEM!"


they do not.

it IS racist, but not for the reasons you're seeing on the internet.

this is a lyric that was famously penned during the war of 1812, when it was common for  white men of the ruling class to complain bitterly about their treatment first under british colonial rule and then in the early days of the nation to complain about treatment by the former colonizers in language that compared them to slaves, and compared the loyalists and soldiers to the king to "hirelings and slaves".

this is WHITE MEN outraged at their treatment BY OTHER WHITE MEN. they are complaining in terms that compare themselves to actual slaves. they are outraged to be treated AS SLAVES (which they are, by the way, not.) and they also make the comparison that white men still loyal to the king ARE SLAVES. it is meant as an insult. it is a taunt built on the concept that the worst thing you could say about a WHITE MAN OF PRIVILEGE is to liken him to the everyday status of slaves, who are at this time in this place, black people.

if you look at the lists of grievances that led to the war of 1812, many of the documents include the problem of respect, in which our founding fathers likened their treatment by england to that of slaves.

that they could apply this comparison to themselves and not give a second thought to their systematic ownership of black people is deeply, offensively racist, but no. the national anthem does not have a hidden verse that glorifies slavery.

it has a little-known third verse that shows the founding fathers to be whinypants complainy everyday racists elevating themselves in their perceived Natural Order Of Things.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

a very polite wrapper

i'm not sure why this is worth a post; i thought it was funny.

"please", it says. your coffee cup is all about WARNINGS but this says "please".

Monday, September 19, 2016

i officially hate this day.

i decided to make some chickpea blondies.

they are delicious and have a can of chickpeas in the, so added protein, so you can call them halfway healthy.

typically when i use the food processor, i take the opportunity to clean behind it and make a good scrubbing of the counter. so i had just cleaned all that when i reached up in the overhead cabinet for something and you know how the can of hershey's cocoa powder has gotten flimsier over the past few years, so that it doesn't really hold its shape once the seal is broken and you're just using the lid which now doesn't really stay on?

yeah. i officially hate this day.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

when i work

the sanders campaign made good use of a lot of free apps and services out there to organize its YUGE volunteer army. one of the services used by the dialer monitor team was When I Work, which was a pretty handy little doohickey.

not long ago they asked me if i would participate in a survey.

i didn't have much going on that day, so i said sure.

here, paraphrased, is the whole conversation:

WIW: how likely are you to recommend wheniwork to a future employer?
ME: not at all.
WIW: why not?
ME: meh. retired.
WIW: thank you for your feedback. we would like to send you a free t-shirt.

ok, so i like free stuff. free clothing is free clothing.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


i am against religious clothing because i'm against religion.

however, bans on religious clothing like france's appalling ban are less about secularity than they are about discriminating against SOME religions. because really, when you decide that it's not ok for women to cover their faces, you're not just making a declaration about women's faces. you already know WHICH women wish to keep their faces covered.

and fuck you, france.

and anyone else who wants to police women's dress. because let's make no mistake about it: this is much less about religion than it is about policing what women wear.

it's none of your damn business, ok?

personally, i tend to the modest side. i prefer to go about in all seasons in long sleeves and sometimes a hat. it has nothing to do with god (whom i believe simply doesn't exist) and nothing to do with body shame. i'm just more comfortable covered up.

also, i sunburn through clothing sometimes, so there's that.

i had a look at this little bathing costume that's causing such an international fuss.

really? that is totally something i would wear, especially the 3/4 length sun protecting model.

because when i go to the beach, i already go wearing tights and a long sleeve shirt. and often a HAT.

philosophically, i don't approve of religion. any religion, so i take a dim view of clothing that people feel they need to wear to fulfill their obligations under religion.

but i think it's more important for people to be able to go out into their world and interact with it dressed as they choose. i mean really? practically? you're not making the world more secular by forcing religious people to either abandon their clothing preferences or stay home. if you want a more secular society, you should really let people pass freely and dress however the hell they want and maybe it just won't be such a big deal.

Friday, September 16, 2016

laundry basket.

this happened last night.

at some point during the day i dumped the laundry basket out onto the bed with the intention of putting the clean laundry away. i did not finish this task, and went to put the laundry back in the basket, only i had apparently taken it downstairs to get the rest of the clean laundry so i was attempting to stuff the clean laundry in a duffel but then just decided to go ALL THE WAY DOWNSTAIRS to get the basket but then before i got out of the bedroom i tripped.

...over the empty laundry basket.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

small scavenger hunt

no, not THE SCAVENGER HUNT, but a small scavenger hunt as part of the vermont state parks junior ranger program. i have seen this thing on the venture challenge every year and since i did a short volunteer hitch at little river this season -did i even tell you that? i'm going to havet to tell you about that.

anyway, i thought it would be a good time to earn my junior ranger badge. i will talk to you more about that later (really), but right now i just want to toss up the pics i used for the scavenger hunt.

two different types of leaves

this picture has in it two kinds of ferns, both with pinnate leaves (as ferns are wont to have), but the fern on the left has bipinnate leaves, which means the leaf is twice-cut, or divided pinnately a second time.

three brown things

 here we have a symphony of browns: brown leaf, brown board, brown rock, brown mud.

something crunchy

these two sounds underfoot: gravel, and dry leaves.

two pieces of litter

i looked really hard inside the park (little river) for this, but did not find any trash. i found some right outside the gate near the boat launch, though.

i'm assuming we're supposed to pick this up and dispose of it? i did, but it's not clear in the directions.

something old

 if you're at little river state park and you do not choose the dam roller or maybe the dam, you are maybe missing the best part. by the way? the ranger house and the park signage are also brown things.

the color is specifically "bradley brown".

two green things

seriously? this one is like the free square in bingo. we're in a honkin' forest.

anyway. here is some moss and some beech leaves. (this is also another kind of leaf, see item #1.)

something fuzzy

the mold on this mushroom is fuzzy. also moist, which is kind of impressive.

the inside of this bird nest is fuzzy, too. i found it  on the road near the contact station, so i carried it to the nature center.

two rough things

this birch bark is rough.

so is this lichen-covered rock.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

three knots

a staple on the venture challenge is Learn to tie three new knots (10 pts). well, there's never and shortage of knots to learn, especially if you have a copy of the ashley book of knots. i have one, because mb is awesome.

this year my big thing was making a whole honkin' hammock, but that only counts as learning one knot, the chain sinnet (ABOK 2869

i know. seems like that ought to count for three knots, but like i said, there's no shortage of knots to learn.

i made a lovely chain sinnet pouch (still only that one knot, but you link the chains, so slightly different) and i decided to tie off the ends with a nice looking two strand diamond knot (ABOK 782), which is different than the diamond knot on a carrick bend that i learned to tie earlier in the year.

for a time while i was figuring out how to tie the hammock, i experimented with the idea of using a single strand  (twist) braid. i didn't even know you could make a braid from a single strand. (ABOK 2950)

so that's my three, but this season i also went and learned the trucker's hitch, which i had only sorta learned a while back. ABOK covers the fixed loop and sheepshank versions (2124, 2126) but you can do it with a slipknot, too. here's a good explainer:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

millbrook WMA

if you have been here more than ten minutes, you probably know that i like process. and that i like pictures taken from the same spot at different times. heck, i even have a whole gallery of photos taken from my desk.

so when i saw Take a photo of the same natural area, from the same spot, in each of these months: April, May, June, July & August (15 pts) on the challenge, i was all over that.

one of the interesting things about this photo series is that these pictures were all taken with the same focus from the exact same spot with relation to the sign that marks the WMA access, so i am assuming a litle ground movement around the sign, which is only about a year old.

these are views of this spot from april to september of 2016.

Monday, September 12, 2016


the other day i went down to my car and found the glovebox open. that was weird, because i never open it. i'd had the car open for packing or unpacking or something. it smells better in there if i don't leave my gear in a closed car.

anyway, there's been a lot of packing an unpacking.

some of it from the front seat, so i just figured i had accidentally pulled the latch when i was moving stuff.

yanno, because none of my gear was missing. or my wallet and checkbook.

my HOA sent out a notice that we should all be careful to lock our cars overnight because the local urchins have been breaking into cars and taking what's in gloveboxes.

mine contains my owner's manual, registration and insurance card.

so they left the glovebox open, but didn't take anything else.

ok, fine.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

watching the sky

i often check for the position of the ISS or when there will be iridium flares, or other cool things, because it's just cool.

i was delighted to see this on the venture challenge: Find out when the International Space Station will be overhead and watch it (10 pts)

you can use this site for just the ISS, and this site for a buncha things.

it's hard to get pictures of, though. i have a lot of early am risings and a lot of pretty pictures of the sky near my house, but none that show the space station, which would have been cool.



Saturday, September 10, 2016

one square foot

i am always tempted to do stuff like this just because i think it's cool.  the thing about it, though, is i often don't get off my butt to do it until it ends up on the venture challenge or something.

Section off a square foot of forest, with string. How many plant & animal species do you find? (10 pts)

ok, i decided in my usual fashion to do it really thoroughly and i got myself all gloved up and trowelled out and i went off into the woods.

this is where i went:

so first i chose a place, oriented it properly to the compass (you know, like you do) and roped it off.

here is a picture looking upward from my patch.

and then i got down to cataloguing everything in it.

some of the stuff was not particularly identifiable.

i cleared down about a half inch.

and kept taking inventory. there was nothing much.

my chosen spot, though forested, had been an outcrop surrounded by farm fields. the soil is thing and not all that fertile, i guess. my rather exhaustive inventory revealed surprisingly few species, and perhaps because of the weather (not and humid) and time of day (midday) there were no bird or insect species in the airspace above.

so. for my square foot, we have live specimens and / or evidence of oaks (probably red or one of its hybridizers or variants), white pine, unidentified grasses (specimens too young to identify) and some old flower clusters from birch trees. these have blown in from elsewhere, because birch trees are absent from the immediate area.

the forest itself is more diverse because there are maples nearby and farther off there are birches and apple trees and further still there are blackberries and ferns and in spring there are trout lillies, but today and in this one spot there is not much to see.

Friday, September 09, 2016

why there is birdshit in my car

so i'm upstairs reading a book and there's knocking at my door. my neighbor has come to tell me that there's a bird in my car.

chipping sparrow, in case you care.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

stepped out again

i as posting pretty good for a while, and then i went camping for the weekend with my mom and ALL HER FRIENDS.

then i rested for a day.

i'm going to write you some posts now.

i knew you were clamoring for news.

both of you.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

wrapping paper

it's my mom's birthday.

i already made her a camping-themed present, and we are going camping.

i wasn't going to do the venture challenge item Make your own wrapping paper using stenci ls of items you f ind outside (10 pts), but i have a present to wrap, so why not?

this is my first attempt:

and my second:

Saturday, September 03, 2016

the corn store

i was telling mb that i had to go to the corn store, and she was all, like "you have a corn store?"

yes, there is s corn store.
it sells corn.
very little besides.

they pick it first thing in the morning and they pick only as much as they think they're going to sell, and when they run out, they're out. this is why it's such good corn.

mb was momentarily hung up on the idea of a store stocked entirely with corn, so i sent her a picture.

the corn store is actually conant's. their website is worth a visit, especially if you life somewhere citified.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

forced displays

are you following the flap around colin kaepernick's failure to stand for the national anthem at a football game to take a stand on civil rights?

first of all, there's a disturbing trend toward enforced patriotic gestures.

in my teaching days, just following 9/11 when schools went into frenzies of mass patriotic display, it was a very difficult time for children of families who for one reason or another do not stand for the national anthem and do not recite the pledge. there are a lot of reasons why perfectly functional citizens of a country may for religious or philosophical reasons decide not to take part in patriotic rituals, which, by the way, are not a condition of citizenship.

it's hard to imagine the social pressure to conform here. just try to be an eight year old sitting quietly while all around you are very POINTEDLY reciting the pledge while staring at YOU as if you have broken some law of the universe.

let's start with this: reciting the pledge is optional. STANDING for the national anthem is optional. we have procedure and standards for those who with to express patriotism in this way, but also  we have lesser known protocols for those who OPT OUT.

because it is your RIGHT not to participate.

i am going to suggest that if you are not saluting or standing or pledging, you ought to be doing it for a reason and not out of laziness.

look, i'm moderately patriotic. i believe that proper use and honor of national flags is a good way to show respect at certain moments in a ceremonial way.

but what if you object to the pledge on the grounds that it is a thing created in reinforce obedience in schoolchildren and had the words "under god" added to it later to satisfy christian nutjobs?

what if you think nationalism is bad? what if you wish to engage in civil protest over national conduct?

here's my personal procedure.  if i am at a patriotic ceremony, like a memorial day observance, in which the flag is an integral part, i will come to attention and salute (properly, as a citizen and not a veteran or serviceman. go ahead, look it up. we have a flag code.)

if i am in a church and there are prayers, i will sit respectfully. i have come into their space voluntarily and it's polite. if i am at a public meeting and there are prayers, i will ignore them. no head bowing, no standing. i just pretend there's nothing going on. i may read a book.

if the pledge of allegiance is being recited, i won't say it. i may or may not stand, depending on circumstance. i will usually stand for the national anthem of any country (and sometimes state) being played ceremonially.


but none of us are obliged to. and protest in this fashion is our RIGHT.

and let's go back to those children of families who did not observe the pledge in the painful days after 9/11. i knew those children and i knew where they would be and i quietly went to one of their classrooms every day at pledge time to quietly sit and not recite the pledge in solidarity. let the questions from the other children fall on me.

children who were just curious did indeed ask me.

i told them, if asked, that  there are a lot of reasons why perfectly good citizens of this country may not for one reason or another choose to say the pledge. for some families it is because they won't pledge allegiance to any country but the kingdom of god. yes, it's perfectly legal. no, it doesn't make them bad citizens. and we live in a country where you CAN make choices like that and we ought to celebrate that.

race in this country is complicated. colin kaepernick has the right to protest national conduct  and good for him for doing so. i am following the #veteransforkaepernick hashtag and i am seeing a lot of tweets from service men and women who have a better understanding of these issues than most of the people who are ranting about how terrible is its that a black man sat one out.


Related Posts with Thumbnails