Sunday, December 31, 2017

cleaning up the old, preparing for the new

yeah. here we are at the last day of 2017, and wasn't THAT a kick in the teeth? it's still effing cold out. not just cold, but EFFING cold. yesterday for a few hours the temperatures peeked above zero but apparently they didn't like it out here and ducked safely below zero where they will be staying for a couple of days.

i'm preferring to think of degrees as shy little animals that have to be coaxed out of their burrows instead of what is really happening, which is plain and simple brutal bone freezing cold.

so of course i am preparing to go out for first night in burlington, because it's YEAR 35 and my scarf is bedecked with all the festive buttons and i have light up gloves and of course that hat. i do not know how long i will last in the cold. we'll see.

i have a few hours to think about it.

i also have a few hours to think about what i will say in case i am asked for a few words by a reporter which sounds a little self important but it's kind of reality based because more often than not i AM asked by a reporter to say a few words not because i'm any more special than anyone else, but because i am wearing that hat and scarf.

people also assume that i will be able to tell them where to buy buttons and tickets, where all the performance venues are, and where to eat.

2017 wasn't so catastrophically bad as it could have been; there were some good times hidden in the shitpile.

don't be so busy shoveling shit that you forget to sing and dance. be kind to yourself and be kind to each other. and don't forget to vote.

Saturday, December 30, 2017


i know, i know.

i blew you off totally yesterday but i got up in the morning early and decided to go hike spruce mountain because if we factor in wind chill it was a tiny bit warmer yesterday than the day before. plus just in terms of exertion and rest days it was time to go for a walk.

it was fifteen degrees below zero when i arrived at the trailhead and maybe you're saying "but flask! that is way too cold" but it wasn't windy. the real problem was moving fast enough to stay toasty warm but not fast enough to seat and cause evaporation cooling. for me that's difficult in extreme cold because i have to keep my face covered and if my nose is warm, the rest of my body assumes IT'S REALLY HOT OUT and that can get dangerous.

almost to the top i ran into a stylishly dressed gentleman without a hat. apparently he walks up and down spruce mountain daily as part of his spiritual practice.


it was a nice if chilly walk.

and i felt really badass, because the condensation of my breath kept forming icicles on my hood.

here is me being badass.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

day two of the cold

it's not snowing here like it is in erie. i have to confess we're a little jealous of that. i mean, most of us can survive pretty well snowed in for a few days because a) that happens sometimes and b) we have a lot more places to put snow.

and a lot more things we need snow for.

dude. a snow like that would keep the ski industry afloat for another year based on a late season alone.

uh, anyway. it's cold here. like 12 below zero in full sun cold. and this morning as i was lying in bed i was thinking about heating oil.

true fact: in some cold months i pay more for heating oil than i do for my mortgage.

this year my HOA switched from our old heating oil provider. this made me happy, because those guys were kings of mismanagement, if not malfeasance or downright embezzlement.

they used to do things like send a delivery truck to fill a tank for one building at a time, and you'd better bet all that extra milage was part of the rate.

plus they'd do things like not bother to read your meter for four months and then send you a bill all at once for the four months RIGHT NOW which included late fees for the three months you hadn't been billed.

skip forward. we no do our business with bourne, who is a vermont company and they treat us like neighbors. plus the oil is cheaper.

this morning i was lying in bed thinking about how much heating oil we're burning out here and trying to remember the last time our tanks were filled and how much it would suck to run out and so it's making me happy to hear the sound of the truck in the driveway right now.

happier still, the truck is filling multiple tanks all in one trip instead of filling one and then coming again tomorrow to do another.

i love the oil man so much right now, standing out in below zero cold with his filling hose, making sure we have heat.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


no, not this video i made at the res, which is lovely.

this GAME, which is awesome if you like spatial reasoning logic puzzles and have a lot of time on your hands.

you have to push all the buttons.

good luck.

Friday, December 22, 2017

let's talk politics.

i am really hoping that the trump presidency survives until after midterms.

it's not because i approve of the president in any way, although i do kind of enjoy the comedic effect of being able to say to myself "let's see what asinine thing the president has said today" at any particular time, turn on a radio and get to hear that the president has, in fact, said some outrageously asinine thing.

why, you may ask, do i hope that a malignant narcissist giant toddler retains the presidency for at least a year?

because mike pence is fully as evil, only not as stupid, much more organized, and he understands how government works. i'm pretty sure that if mike pence becomes president we will all long for the days when things were still good back in the trump presidency.

because while president trump is eroding the rights and benefits we've struggled so hard for, a pence presidency would mean an organized and streamlined stripping of rights and benefits from everyone who isn't a rich white christian man associated with one or more large corporations offshoring profits. president trump is an uncontrollable, unpredictable disaster.

a president pence, at least while there is a fully republican congress, would be a rail ride straight to hell.

the bright side to the trump presidency is that he is outrageous enough to bring otherwise complacent people out to vote, and in large numbers. if the president continues to be horrible, say horrible things, do horrible things, and tweet idiocy, democrats and independents are going to continue win seats in congress and state legislatures formerly thought to be safely locked away under republican gerrymandering until the end of time.

so let's work on those midterms, eh?

meantime, i was tooling around on the web (as one does) and i found this interesting little quiz from the french group discord la commune. it has some thought provoking questions to help you place your political ideas in a larger context.

their test (which i took on two different days and got two slightly different scores) is based on the work of 8 values, so i went and took that test as well. i find the results less important than the explanations.

in case you are wondering, each time i take one of these tests, my result indicates that i care about justice, humanity, and some other quality that seems to change from test to test.

yep. that sounds like me.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

the shortest day

i have nothing special planned for today, other than playing a little ingress (blue team, everybody!) and going to the grocery store.

well, that and i have some little craft projects going because i'm making some presents for my fam for Midwinter Gift Exchange Light Festival of Your Choice. we call it "christmas", but we're nearly all atheists and it's hard to explain to people that we like holidays and lights and presents and holiday meals and having people over and it would be weird if we just celebrated some other people's holidays that we also don't believe in because cultural appropriation.

oh! and here's a fun video for you to watch, for no particular reason.

uh, anyway.

after today the days will all start getting a little longer and i'm excited by that.

may the light grow within you, as well.

Monday, December 18, 2017

flask, regina

i'm getting to be queen.

i'm getting a crown today, which means i'm going to be the queen, right?

oh, it's just something they do at the dentist? a little hardhat for my tooth?

that's vaguely disappointing.

anyway, after a lifetime of perfect teeth and several decades of dental neglect, i ended up with some cavities this year. and that one tooth needed a root canal. and it needs a crown, which i decided to put off until after camping season.

camping season is more or less over (barring some possible short trips), so yeah. time to finish up that dental work.

yay, i guess.

just call me "your majesty." just a little. humor me.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

children of ur

it seems like a lifetime ago that the game glitch closed.

there are two projects trying to bring it back, one of which is only open to a special clique of elite people (seriously. to get in you had to audition and make yourself shiny in some forums to prove how much fun you'd be.) and the other is open to anybody regardless of whether or not you played the original.

it has a lot of the game's original functionality, but not all. subways don't work at all, and there are no houses. some of the items work, but differently.

still, you can go back into a pretty good facsimile of Ur, and wander around on the landscape petting trees and squeezing chickens and enjoy the lovely soundscape.

if you never knew the original, you would hardly notice anything missing. it feels pretty close to being home.

i'm mentioning it now because some of you out there might enjoy wandering around for a while in an alternate world where there's pretty scenery and nice music and the best way to get ahead is by being kind.

do yourself a favor.

try it out.

children of ur.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

afternoon on highway 108

i'm kind of in love with vermont highway 108. if you want to read what i've posted about it previously, here's a post about it from summer that includes a video of the drive from gate to gate, and here's a post about a walk up the notch after it closed for the winter.

the last time i walked up there i thought: WHY did i not bring a sled?

ok, so back up, back up.

there's a portal up there, in addition to all the other reasons to go, and this year when they announced they were closing the road on november 9 at four in the afternoon, it was green. many of us on team blue (the RESISTANCE, boys and girls and everybody along the gender continuum!) thought that it would be good to take it and slide in under the wire.

one of our guys went and took it in the morning. i wanted to go by as close to four as possible, but i had to be home by five and that's not a short drive. i went by at about two-thirty thinking it would be good enough.

and at nearly four o'clock on the dot i was on my way home and got a notification that the portal was being taken.

well played, whytie.

i hoped briefly that he got stuck behind the gate and shrugged my shoulders and moved on.

so it's been on my list of things to do when i'm going for a walk this winter.

yesterday it was cold but sunny and i suited up and went up there.

and this time i brought my sled.

Friday, December 15, 2017

a head devoid of thoughts


it's cold out. i haven't adjusted well to being indoors. it seems too hard to organize my thoughts about the pictures i took about things that for sure were going to be great blog entries.

it's nine o'clock in the morning and because of where i live, the sun has just come up.

yeah, i live right up close to the western side of a mountain, so that lovely predawn sky lingers until the day is half over in winter.

i am having more pain than usual these days but less pain than i used to have all the time, so i guess that's a win.

i still dream about camping every night.

only my dreams are weird and dense and sometimes when i wake exhausted from them, i think i should write them down or something for later entertainment but then i'm too warm in the bed to want to get a pen and paper.

politics continues to be terrible. my keyboard continues to need cleaning. this week a pen exploded in my dryer.

there you have it.

Monday, December 11, 2017

laurie anderson at Mass MoCA

a little while back i heard that Mass MoCA was showing an VR exhibit by laurie anderson.

did i ever tell you my laurie anderson story? no?

it was back in the early '80s. i walked into a little thrift store looking for something funky to wear to a party and i was stopped in my tracks by the music playing on the store speakers. it was, i was to learn later, o superman.

"what is that music?" i asked. the young and trendy clerks who could not have been more than a year or two younger than me and yet WAY younger and hipper than me rolled their eyes and made that little clicking sound young hip people make when someone who will never "get it" ask questions.

"it's laurie anderson", one of them said as if i was the last person on earth to have heard of this.
"what album is this?" i asked, because back then we still bought albums.
"big science", they said, as if telling me this information actually caused them pain.
"i have to go buy it now."

and i turned immediately and ten minutes later i was on the other side of town buying it in a record store. you can watch this video, but i recommend just listening to it before you watch the images. or don't. your choice.

so yeah, i'm a fan.

they have her new VR pieces chalkroom and aloft. so my friend barb (who is a good sport about a lot of these adventures) and i made reservations and packed up the car to go november camping. maybe i will tell you more about that later. i fully intend to tell you a lot about the trip but you know, sometimes i forget.

it was amazing and awesome.

when you're in the VR environment you are IN that environment. i won't say it feels real, because what happens is mostly unreal. it's cool to watch other people in it, because if you have been in there, you can guess by their movements what they are seeing.

here's barb in aloft:

i know from just having done it myself that she is in a chair that's flying. and a thing has drifted near her, which she has caught. it's a book, and she has to turn the pages to interact with it.

it's pretty amazing stuff.

here's a washington post story about it.

Friday, December 08, 2017

a gay agenda

no, not THE gay agenda, just an agenda.

with gay themed items.

1) the turkish national sport
2) fun home, the musical
3) some guys i saw on church street.

1) the turkish national sport

turkey is one of the most homophobic nations on the planet, which is why their national sport makes me laugh.

let's step right over the concept that men should be able to touch each other and still be manly. i'm a supporter. the less time men spend worrying about what will make them look gay the better off we'll all be.

but seriously. turkish oil wrestling.  it is a sport in which the preferred strategy is to get your whole arm down into your opponent's oil-soaked leather pants. any sport for which the official rules need to explicitly forbid squeezing your opponent's penis or inserting a finger into his rectum is a pretty gay sport to start off with.     

even men's doubles ice dancing is not that gay.


2) fun home, the musical

in october i went to see the vermont stage production of fun home. it was beautiful and breathtaking and it played in a small house that holds maybe a hundred and twenty people, which made it an extremely intimate piece of theater.

live theater is kind of amazing anyway, not so much for what goes on on the stage, but for that thing that hangs between the performers and the audience. art reaches into that little place where people keep their hearts and gives it a little jiggle.

really and truly it's a show about relationships and family, but the central characters are gay, so while there are universal themes, there are things about it that cut weirdly close for everybody who came of age gay. it's also really stunning to see representations of gay characters who are not there for titillation or to be edgy or to signal liberal acceptance.

i looked around me in that audience and it was full of regular theater-going people who were there to see an awesome show. not because it was a gay show; because it's a good show. a thing like that would not have happened not so long ago.

the show is based on alison bechdel's graphic memoir fun home, and it's a fantastic bit of nonlinear storytelling.

3) some guys i saw on church street

later that night, i was wandering up church street playing ingress because it wasn't that late and i was parked up in the cherry street garage and i looked up from my phone to see that two men walking ahead of me were holding hands. two regular looking guys, large and square in that manly way, one black and one white and the only thing that tipped me off to their gayness was that they were holding hands, and at one point they kissed.

it really is a different world now.

i can remember a time not so long ago when such a thing would never have happened on church street. it would not even have happened that way outside of the old bar on pearl street. men may have kissed or held hands, but there would have been a hint of danger. it would have been a wary political act. a rebellion.

october, 2017: two men walk up church street holding hands. nobody seems to notice or care.

makes me smile.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

things happen.

yesterday was the centenary of the halifax explosion. you know how when you're a kid you sometimes latch onto a story or a historical event and it looms large over your landscape? yea, the Imo and the Mont Blanc were that for me.

the city of boston has its new christmas tree.

today i'm watching the california wildfire map. i have some friends who live in the middle, kind of too near the dots.

also today i fell on the ice on a trail and smacked my head. it took me a few minutes of lying there before i could get up.

also, before that on the same trail i had an out of control dog bark and snarl and bare teeth at me and i was ever so subtly repositioning my hiking stick to crack its skull and save myself when the owner came along and told me SHE'S FRIENDLY.

yeah? because i was legit askeert of this one, thinking i was only going to get in one good shot with the stick and if i missed, i was going to get messed up bad.

also today i had to google "how old am i?", which yielded mixed results.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

two things

three, if you count the preamble.

i sort of think i'm going to have a lot of things to tell you and probably i will at some point. meanwhile it's still pretty quiet over here in my head and i am deep into the process of cleaning and packing away my camping gear for the winter. (this means i actually put it away where it GOES instead of leaving it in a heap in my living room. at least until april, when i may go camping. or the odd one night trip to somewhere. you never know.)

MB introduced me to a new comic strip and i like it enough to have read the WHOLE THING. you can find it here.

and here's a short film i watched this morning.

DISSONANCE from Till Nowak on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

here's a short film.

i came home from the res yesterday. it was sunny and warm (read over 30 degrees) and a good day to pack up, especially since there's some weather coming and gonna keep coming. good time to be indoors.

anyway, i was looking at things on the interwebs this morning and i found this little movie.

from Gaspar Palacio on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

pumpkin glow

just before halloween barb and i went out to a pumpkin glow. it was at a small farm and mostly kids from a local school had carved the pumpkins, apparently.

some were pretty.

some were very funny. and scary.

this is probably the scariest thing this kid could come up with. especially funny in a red neighborhood.

and then there was this:

yep, a goatse. do not ask me how that one slipped through the censors, but i laughed and laughed. what else would you do with a butt-shaped pumpkin?

Saturday, November 18, 2017


holy cow, i have so many tabs open on my desktop.

some of them are of no interest to you, unless you want to know what shopping i'm doing, or if you want to know EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD about some bottles i found in the woods over the summer.

but then there are a lot of tabs i'm not closing because they have some coolness about them that caught my attention and i would like to share.

awright. let the tab clearing begin!

so here's a recipe for sweet potato blondies that i hope to make. ordinarily i make a thing before i share a link to a recipe, but i can see it's going to be a while before i get that off my desk. if you make them, let me know how it goes.

this guys is pretty awesome.

then, if you've ever spent time in maine, you will probably enjoy this "news" magazine. i've been to most of maine, so i find it extremely funny. and sad. because let's face it, the economy isn't doing maine any favors, and then there's governor LePage.

if you like bushcraft (and i do), here's a free online magazine you can read. i have just downloaded the thingy i need to read it on my phone, so that will be some fun times.

and bam! here's another video. i just like it is all
Crown Candy from Kamau Bilal on Vimeo.

and here's the jackpot: How Generative Music Works. it's an interactive explainer with all kinda things you can play with and documentation and links and you can sorta skim through or you can spend an hour or two playing with all the things.

there ya go. my tabs are manageable now.

Friday, November 17, 2017

you're in luck, peg.

peg (or margaret) has this to say:

I would love to have you write about why you enjoy being outdoors/camping more than inside/bed. I find it so interesting.

you're in luck, peg.

i'm not going to answer you in the comments; i'm going to write a whole post about it.

for the record, i have a perfectly comfortable and acceptable home that i live in for nine months out of a year. but you know how life slows down for you when you're at the lake?

well, this is my lake.

not mine, but it belongs to the state of vermont, so partly mine, and it doesn't cost anything to use, so even more mine.

i'm too old to be roughing it; i've heard my style of camping called "smoothing it".  it's not exactly glamping and because i have to bring all my stuff in by boat, it is certainly not car camping.

there's no oven and no microwave, but you can cook good food on an open fire and even on a little one burner stove. if you want to carry in a dutch oven, there's even an oven, so there.

i do not yet own a dutch oven and am not sure if i would use it enough to justify the extra weight, but i have friends who swear by theirs.

it's hard for me to JUST read or JUST color when i am at home, but while relaxing by the water it's easier for me to slow down and simply be. this is partly because the work of living comfortably is a discipline in itself, and partly because being outdoors is soothing.

i love the lake in all weathers and especially at twilight but to enjoy it that way, you have to carve out whole wide swathes of time and sleep out there.

...which brings me to the next thing: last year i invested in a top-of-the-line full featured camping hammock system because i'm getting too old for sleeping on the ground. i expected it to be comfortable.

what i did not expect was for it to support my body in ways that actually make me sleep BETTER than while i am in my home bed, and also help maintain a more comfortable sleeping temperature than i can do at home, especially in summer when it gets hot even up here in the mountains.

add to that the inexhaustible supply of fresh breezes and the soothing soundtrack of wind through trees or water lapping on the shore and it starts being pretty perfect.

in terms of comfort and support, this hammock also beats any chair or sofa i own for the purposes of sitting and reading.

in the days before the hammock i used to bounce out of bed at sunrise because if you're going to go to the trouble of camping, you shouldn't stay in your tent but instead you should get right up and enjoy your out-of-doors but now i tend to get up and pee and bring a little breakfast back to the hammock where i will lounge about and eat and read or just watch birds or something until i feel like going out and doing something.

life slows down.

and so does the yammering in my brain. often i have the internal pressure of having to think about TOO MANY THINGS but after a while living lakeside the most interesting thing i have in my head is "oh, look. a bird."

but also if i want to engage in projects, i'm free to do that. i have a lot of projects i like to do that don't translate well to my living room, particularly projects that involve wood shavings. or experimenting with lashing, or fire.

and i like to observe the weather and seasons roll across a landscape and if i'm home too long i start to wonder how lovely it would be to be on the lake. in summer the days are long and i don't get tired of being at camp which is good because in summer i often camp far from the parking.

in cold weather i tend to camp at sites that are in view of the parking and also accessible from a road, so if the day is too grey and i'm not enjoying it, i can go out for a while, visit the grocery store, pick up a hot sandwich, and return to my gloriously comfortable and dry hammock when i'm ready to end my day.

and about thanksgiving camping in particular, my family does not get together for thanksgiving, and before i retired, it was my last hurrah of road trip camping before the weather closed in the year. i got in the habit of it, and i enjoy it, only now i do it in extreme comfort.

plus it tickles me to be able to offer tea and pie to the assorted paddlers or hikers who may pass by.

i hope this clears things up for you.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

here's an article i recommend.

it's a good read from laurie penny about this incredible time when sexual predators are facing consequences.

meanwhile, i'm trying to gather my thoughts to tell you about things i wanted to tell you about, but i'm having trouble organizing myself past looking at the pictures and then wander off to clean up the house (i know, right?) and i'm also organizing and packing because it's nearly thanksgiving and that means camping.

Friday, November 10, 2017

here's some random stuff

i would like to close some tabs, so here's some stuff.

here's a game about soup. i was scared off by liquids that were not expressly identified as being food and therefore nothing was soup to me in my first go 'round, but in the end filtering for nonfood solids seems to have  the effect of defining soup as containing only edible things.

also, if you pick up feathers and want to know what kind they are, you can use the feather atlas.

if you like music or if you like to play six degrees of kevin bacon, you maybe want to boil the frog. here's a path from the hilliard ensemble to halestorm.

last, here's a video.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

you just pull the red handle

yay! it's time for funny stories from the power outage.

so the big wind came through here pretty hard. there was a lot of damage in my neighborhood and the surrounding towns. our power went out sometime sunday night, so i had a limited amount of news when i woke up monday morning.

now, there's no point for me in hanging about the house when there's no heat or electricity, plus in my car i have heat, electricity and six gallons of water, along with most of my portable charging devices and some other emergency gear.

because that's the way i roll.

it was a change of plans, because i had originally allocated the day to staying home and doing laundry and dishes and maybe going out to get a haircut, but ok. i figured i could maybe just get a haircut and then go out and play ingress and my day wouldn't be very different than many of the previous months.

so i called my barber (yeah, he's a real barber and i get a buzz cut anyway) and i couldn't make an appointment because no power in the shop so i figured i'd just go out and play and that's when the trouble started.

now, storms are normal out here. so are power outages. the normal thing to do is for me to put my car in the garage overnight and because the garage door opener is electric, i go out in the morning with my keys to the handy little emergency release where you put the key in the little doohickey and turn it to pull out the lock which is connected to a cable which is connected to your emergency release handle.

only when i turned the key and pulled the cable, nothing happened this time. i remembered that i had had my electric garage door opener replaced recently, so i figured it was an installation problem.

no biggie, but no car and no power out here represents a hazardous situation.

so i called the garage door company and asked them to help. i am not going to name them because they have done good work for me and my family if we discount patricia, who answers the phones.

i explained my problem to patricia and she told me that if would be very simple for me to just go in the garage and pull the red handle and then i could open the door manually. i tried to further explain to patricia that i have no way of getting in the garage if the one door won't open. she just kept talking over me, telling me to just pull the red handle.

she suggested i use the remote. i told her it was in the car. i also asked her if she thought the remote would be effective since there was no electricity. she asked me if i couldn't just pull the red handle. i tried to tell her again that i have to be in the garage to pull the red handle, but she was talking over me. she asked me if i could use the keypad. i said that in fact the keypad seemed to have a battery that was still working but-

and this is where she interrupted me to say i should use that then.

and i asked her if the opener itself was likely to work without electricity.

you want to guess what she said next?

she told me to just pull the red handle.

i swear, i'm not making this up.

i let her keep explaining to me about that red handle for a while and when she was finished, i said "ok, patricia, what's your plan for getting me into the garage so i can pull the handle?"
"you just go in through the d- you DO HAVE another door, don't you?"
"i think you are beginning to understand the problem"

but no, she was not beginning to understand the problem.

she asked me if i had a window i could crawl through. she asked me if i was SURE there wasn't another door.

i sort of wanted to say "wow! apparently there is another DOOR on my garage that i have never noticed in the seventeen years i have lived here! oh, THANK you, particia! thank you SO much!" but i had a feeling that would sail right over her head.

what i said was that there was only one door and that as long as i was unable to open it, i was trapped.

she offered to open a service ticket.

"and what good will that do me?" i asked.

she said that when the power came on she could send a truck and someone could come the red handle for me.

i was explaining that the power might not come on for days and i really needed to be able to get my car out as a matter of safety and that it really needed to be done now, and not wait until the power comes back on and anyway, when the power comes back on, there will be no need for a service call

and that's when the conversation got really weird.

she kept saying (my name)? (name)? i can't hear you, (name). i kept saying i was still there, but since she never stopped talking, she would have been able to hear me.

and the line went dead.

so i called my mom (who has done a lot of business with this company) and SHE called and had a lot of the same conversation with patricia until my mom said it was bullshit (my mom's phrasing) and asked to talk to the manager.

so patricia put her through. patricia's voicemail.

it is almost anticlimactic to tell you that eventually my mom talked to the general manager who agreed to send a truck because it was an emergency and patricia was a little put out that some people's appointments had to be moved back.

the general manager was having a hard day so he gets my sympathy but patricia is always like that.

and by "hard day", i mean that besides him and particia, only two people were able to make it in to work because of storm damage and one of those two people was now being redirected to my house, which is not near any of their other scheduled customers.

the gentleman who arrived in the company truck looked like hell when he arrived. he said that he lives in lincoln, which didn't really need any more explanation, because that town was HARD hit. it turned out that around 12:30 the previous night a tree fell and crushed his pickup truck and then he and his wife laid awake all night listening to half or their roof blow off.

but he had an undamaged car and managed to get out and get to work, because he was needed.

he was a little stumped as to how to get in to pull the red handle, but he had some knowledge and some tricks in his bag, and between his ingenuity and my doweling, tape, and coathanger wire, we got it open and it turned out that the installer had not correctly hooked up the red handle to this cable, making it impossible to pull with the door shut.

he hooked it up properly and went on his way.

i'd like to tell you that the day went smoothly after that, but i would be lying.

Monday, November 06, 2017

literary bent

i somehow managed to plop down in a discussion about technology that allows readers of romances to skip right to the "good"  bits and why don't people just read porn if what they want is porn which of course devolved into me suggesting that ALL books have sex scenes which further degenerated into me making a list of supposed books that could be so improved:

Your Guide to Feeding Your New Baby
50 Day Hikes For Families
High Speed Rollersports: a Practical How-to Guide
Mountaineering For the Physically Challenged
Graders, Snowplows, and Dumptrucks: Methods of Dirt Road Maintenance for Town Managers
Handbook of the Southern Vermont Dairy Goat Association
Percherons Aplenty: Modern Applications of the Classic Draft Horse

you're welcome.

Friday, November 03, 2017

out where it's dark.

so i finished up my insane ingress playing with a couple of days to spare.

by a couple of days, i mean i was hoping to reach level 16 before my 360th game day. when i decided to do it, i did a little math and realized i'd have to play pretty hard to pull it off and i gave up my october camping for it but then as i got closer to the goal my estimated time to finish kept getting smaller because i was playing the way you'd play if you wanted to be SURE you were going to make it and then the closer i got the more possible it seemed, so i was MOTIVATED to play harder so i pushed across the line on day 272.

then i took a day off, did some scout things, and i was going to start writing to you but then the trouble started.

you probably heard about the storm.

yeah, so i was without power for three days. it's funny because i was talkin' to MB and she forgets sometimes what no electricity means out here because when HER power goes out here water and stove work just fine. her heat even carries on for a while. she has people over for candlelight suppers.

out here it means no water and no heat and no cooking.

of COURSE i would prefer a gas stove. retrofitting my little kitchen with one is prohibitively expensive.

this outage was made a little more challenging by the weather being warm which is maybe counterintuitive to you, but in winter when you have a multi day outage you can take the stuff out of your freezers and pack them in coolers outside.

i lost a fair amount of food. some of it i could pack in coolers and transport to my mom's house and put in HER freezer. it still hasn't come home, because as of yesterday electricity was an intermittent thing because they have to turn lines off to make them safe to do reconnection work elsewhere up the line and i'm going camping for the weekend and can't babysit my fridge.

so here's my funny outage story.

i sat down in my therapist's office and she says "how ya been?"
"i'm tired and grumpy. i live out where it's dark"
"sooooo... you're coming from an emotionally dark place..."

i pause.

"oh. you think that was a metaphor? i live out where we haven't had electricity since sunday."


Thursday, October 12, 2017


whoa! i'm here at my desk with time to write and i am completely unprepared to tell you anything because my day lately has three components: time playing ingress, time talking to MB, and time sleeping. i talk to MB for two hours. i sleep eight. you do the math.

okok, so it's not a goal i GET anything for. there are no balloon drops and there are no parties nor admissions to secret societies, but i got it into my head that i would LIKE to do it.

when i decided that i wanted to hit level sixteen before i got my black sojourner badge (360 consecutive days of play), i thought if i worked hard i could do it, maybe. i had over a hundred days.
THEN it looked like if i worked hard, i could do it in two months. then the number dropped to twenty five days.

NOW the number stands at nine days, but i'm taking the weekend more or less off because i have a scout training, so let's say twelve days and i'm done. i'm looking forward to being done, so i keep charging ahead.

afterward i will be able to go camping or clean my house or do normal people things.

and i will have completed my shiny happy goal.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Write a thank you note to a park ranger

funny, but i have done this since before it appeared on the venture challenge. and because i WOULD write a note to one, i sort of feel i should send more than the one i would have done already.

so this year i sent three.

really, once i get out my stationery and stuff it doesn't take that much more trouble.

and it never hurts to thank people for their work.

Monday, October 02, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Find and decorate your own hiking stick

for a couple of decades now, i have used poles. but "find and decorate your own hiking stick" was on the challenge, so i found a stick and started making it into a hiking stick for myself.

i cut it to the right height for me and went to work giving it some useful and decorative touches. i shaved down a lot of the mass of it for a comfortable swing weight, and i gave it several different grips for either had, plus i gave it two forks in case i wanted to use it as a tent pole and a hook for pulling things up.

and i did a little decorative scroll-type thingie on the top.

and because it's supposed to be a hiking stick, i took it on a short hike up stowe pinnacle, just to field test it.

and it turns out that a good stick is working for me a lot better than the poles.

so now i'm going low-tech and old-school.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

where i've got myself off to

well. i was good about writing and then i dropped off the face of the eath because camping and then i was good for a few days and what's happening now is that i've gotten it into my head that i would like to hit level 16 (the level cap) in ingress (remember, boys and girls, join the RESISTANCE!) before i get my black sojourner badge.

a sojourner badge is for how many consecutive days you hack a portal, and you get your black at 360. my sojourner is a PURE sojourner, which is a term some people use to refer to a soujourner streak that started the first day you started playing and has continued uninterrupted.

that seems kinda cool to me, and getting level sixteen before that puts me in before my year anniversary, which i also think is cool. you only get one first year ever, so if you think it sounds cool, you'd better do it when you have the chance.

so i have just short of a hundred days to make seven million Action Points, and the sooner i get that done the better, so i'm pretty much just sleeping and playing ingress these days. my house is in a shameful state. i have given up wearing matching socks. dinner in my house the other night consisted of a packet of tun in a leftover half can of soup. occasionally i run the laundry machines or the dishwasher, but only because i need dishes and clean clothes.

really and truly i think i can cross the finish line in about thirty days, and the sooner the better.

it's still camping season.

Friday, September 29, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Build a sand sculpture at a state park beach

it's been a long time since i was at sandbar state park.

when i was young we went nearly every week.

here's my sand sculpture.

and here's the view.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Attend a state park interpretive program

we intended to go to the program about dragonfiles at little river, partly because it's new this year and partly because bugs.

but the schedule i was looking at was the peak season schedule the day it got changed to the late season schedule, so we were an hour or so late to that but in a little while the mushroom thing was starting and we like mushrooms, so there it is.

i really need a copy of that book brian has.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

last of its kind

younger people may not recognize this thing.

it is a public telephone.

it has a current phone book on the shelf.

yep, you can use it to make phone calls. you pick up the receiver and you get a dial tone. you press buttons and voilĂ ! you have a phone call.

local calls are free.

if you still remember how to charge a call or make a collect call, you can call anywhere.

this miracle thing is located in downtown waitsfield, vermont.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

the dark corners of my soul

i think i have just realized why it is that i am enjoying the trump presidency so much.

when i was a small child, i learned that germany had been partitioned and i cried when grownups told me that it could never be reunited even though it was very sad because that's the way things were.

and then i learned that money corrupts politics and elected representatives can be bought and all the grownups told me that there is no other way to do it and it's very sad but it's the way things are.

i have been waking up every day in a world where i am overwhelmed with a sense of terror and outrage over injustices that nobody else seemed to care about very much.

and now it tickles me to turn to the news each day and find out what asinine thing the president has done or said and i have not been able to sort out why this delights me so.

until i realized that suddenly the level of terror and outrage in society as a whole has suddenly been raised equal to or above my own internal level of terror and outrage for the first time since the nixon administration and i think i find this odd equilibrium bracing.

because really? things are not so much worse than they were last year. the same people are making the same moves to deprive other people of a living or their rights or their lives. the same climate change that's been happening is still happening. the same institutional racism that's been going on for centuries is still going on.

what's different is that the ugly that's been hiding under rocks wants to come out into the light and decent people everywhere are forced to look at it up close.

it's not a good time to shrug and say that's the way things are.

all of a sudden it's stylish to fight back against the ugly.

late to the party, but hey. better now than not at all.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

seriously you did NOT just.

i was in mac's market in stowe because i was in stowe and shaw's can be a pain to get to and it was day three of my never ending search for some nice fresh ravioli. not even FRESH ravioli but the kind they sell in your average grocery store.

only for some reason i have been to stores three days running and no fresh ravioli.

because i made tomato sauce, which i will tell you about later if i remember, and i thought it would be especially delicious on ravioli.

anyway, on day THREE i walked into mac's market in stowe and i asked the guy if he had any fresh ravioli and he said no, but then he said maybe and he managed to find one elderly container of buitoni cheese ravioli and that was totally not what i had in mind because in vermont there is no shortage of pasta companies selling precious little ravioli and i remarked that this should not be so hard to find and that's when the guy said the THING.

i did not even realize what he had done until i was in the parking lot and i wanted to go back in and give him whatfor, but ugh.

the guy looked at me and said "this isn't the big city, you know. here in vermont you can't always get everything you want."

seriously did he just city slicker me?


i live in bolton, a town that does not have a library or a pizza place or a stoplight.

stowe, for the record, has more than one art gallery. it has a sculpture garden, a bike path, a quiet path, land trust trails, tennis clubs, and polo fields.

and just for reference, they carry a half dozen varieties of fresh ravioli at the richmond market. i was going to tell you that richmond is a far smaller town than stowe, but really its year round population is about the same as stowe. i was going to tell you that richmond is not as wealthy as stowe, but it actually has a higher median income.

and this is where statistics are misleading.

most of the people who live in richmond actually live in richmond.

stowe is a town of high end resorts and ultra expensive vacation homes and there are a lot of service industry workers who don't make a living wage in a town where a plain cheeseburger costs $20.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


most of the things i meant to tell you about after tropical storm irene were things that in the end i did not tell you. i took pictures of some of the lighter parts of the work, but mostly i was too worn out and i had seen some things.

it was kind of a long time ago.

i get a shiver when i go by a building i helped put back together, or one i helped tear apart, but we all did what we could.

everybody who lived in the hills bought facemasks and crowbars and trashbags and we went down into the valleys and we just started helping.

sometimes the best help we could give was to stand there and listen to people cry.

watching the hurricane tracks has been hard for me, especially the one over florida.

because i know how thin work crews get stretched, how there's more work to go around than there are people to do the work, even if you can afford to pay workers.

my dad lives in florida.

and i'm the only child who would have been free to go help him if his house had been flattened. when i realized this, i started to remember the feeling of going through mounds of debris in someone else's house, looking for a few bits that can be saved before we put everything else in the dumpster.

people would rather you weren't there, but also they'd be lost without you. it's an odd unfamiliar etiquette. the smell is horrific. you have no idea what diseases you might get. the worst part is not the heat or the backbreaking work, but the waves of other people's pain.

so anyway, it's been some sleepless nights as i thought about the possibility of going to help pick up my father's house if he lost it in the storm.

it took some damage, but it's all right.

Monday, September 11, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Create a state park song or poem and send it to us

856 vermont route 12

i am standing on new ground
new to me at least
because here's this trail
and these steps carved in rock
and this stream of travelers-
college kids in sneakers, families with toddlers-
but i have climbed above the place
where more than once in winter
even with crampons
i could not safely pass
and turned back.
in summer it is a whole different trail.
every day it is a different trail.
today, above that place, i call myself queen of the world,
champion of everything.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Take a picture with the biggest boulder you can find

this isn't the biggest boulder i know of, because off the top of my head i can think of two others, but not near here, but i have pretty big boulder out here, and this one is big.

it's hard to appreciate the scale of a really big boulder in a photograph, because to get up close enough to really see the rock, it's too big for the frame. and it can be hard to get a smaller thing, like you or your car, in the frame so it looks good.

so yeah.

in this picture there's nothing that smells bad. i'm just having trouble framing the shot.

i'm still not happy with it.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Draw a detailed map of your neighborhood or yard

for about two and a half months a year, i live on various campsites, mostly on waterbury reservoir.

i often draw little maps of my site and my neighborhood to send in letters, mostly to mb. here is a map i drew of my home and neighborhood when i was on remote site #2.

Friday, September 08, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Get up at dawn and go on a bird walk. Attach a list of the birds you saw and heard.

i decided that for the purposes of this challenge it would be just as good to get up at dawn and go for a paddle. it's really the only practical way to leave my campsite, plus dawn birding is dawn birding, and you get a different set of birds on the water.

so here's my list:


3 double crested cormorant
1 american bittern
1 great blue heron
1 osprey
1 bald eagle
2 ring-billed gull
3 mourning dove
5 belted kingfisher
2 red-eyed vireo
2 blue jay
2 common raven
5 black capped chickadee
1 gray catbird
5 cedar waxwing
1 yellow warbler
1 song sparrow
1 american goldfinch

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Skip stones and watch the ripples

because most of the time i am on the water i am on the res, i am not often in a place with good skipping stones.

if you're good at stone skipping you can do it with lesser stones, but i'm a wee bit out of practice.

i managed to find some reasonably flattish stones one morning, though, and even managed to take some video.

so here.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

don't leave the door open.

there's a guy on the other ingress team who is kind of a dickhead.

by "kind of a dickhead" i mean he's the kind of guy who thinks "hey, faggot" is an appropriate way for a grownup to address another person and he will happily threaten to run you over in a parking lot because he likes to be intimidating.

over a game.

even most of his OWN teammates hate him.

and so, when he took it upon himself to message me with some little pleasantries intended to be intimidating, i chose to respond because i was feeling jaunty.

he opened with telling me to be sure to link everything up because he needs the AP (action points). this is a fairly common little bit of trashtalking, but it rings hollow coming from a guy who's already hit the level cap. i was two days from leveling up, so we made some empty little chitchat about helping each other level and then i said i had corn to roast and a hammock to put my feet up in, so i was done for the day.

and this is where it got interesting.

him: you'll learn to love me
me: nobody loves you
him: that's not what my mother tells me
me: i dunno. last time i was out with your mother...
him: do you have something to say about my loving mother?
me: she sure is loving.

so then he stopped talking and spent the next hour wiping out every portal he could find that i had made, which is really what gave me enough things to blow up and link to level up the next time i played.

fool can be played like a fiddle.

and i'm a brand new level 15.

Monday, September 04, 2017

down the video hole

i got home from the campings and all my internet friends were talking about this video, so you've probably seen it, but wow.

and then i just started watching videos.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

narrowly averted disaster

a gopro camera housing has two backs: the standard waterproof back and what they call the skeleton back, which is not waterproof, but gives you good sound quality.

you see where this is going, right?

so i was out on site 13 on waterbury reservoir and i thought "what a lovely day to toss on my gopro and film myself jumping into the water and hanging out with the fishies."

so i tossed the camera on without checking which back i had on it and hit record and jumped into the water.

only way too many bubbles were coming up from the case. there are always some because the outside of the housing captures a little bit of air on the way in, but this was too many bubbles and right away i knew what had happened and i got out of the water lightning quick and opened everything up and TOOK THE BATTERY OUT and then took out the sd card and shook out as much ater as i could and used a towel to absorb what i could and i left it open under tarps for a couple of days and then tried it with the battery and it was working, but not well so i shook it out some more and let it dry about a week and then put it back together and now it's working fine.


Saturday, September 02, 2017

2017 venture vermont: learn to tie three new knots

slipped buntline
i own an ABOK, thanks to MB.

because of this, there is never any shortage of authoritative information on how to tie knots that i don't know yet.

back in the spring when i was learning how to pitch my new tarp i learned how to tie a slipped buntline hitch (ABOK #1712), which is now in my standard repertoire of the knots that hold my campsite together.

later on i show you a little video of those knots, but right now i'm telling you about the three i learned this year for the challenge.

monkey's fist
then i learned to tie a monkey's fist (ABOK #2202). for some reason i am still carrying around a cord with a prettily tied one on the end.

then because i use clove hitches all the time but never learned to tie one without reeving through, i decided to learn how to tie a clove hitch a few new ways (because you can do that with clove hitches), which i am counting as my third knot.

i learned it as ABOK #1773, ABOK #1777, and the really spiffy-looking and eyeblink-fast #1778. i have not yet reliably learned to tie the one handed or the neat method of picking one up off the floor with one hand. i'll keep trying.

here's that video.

Friday, September 01, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Build a fairy house

i thought i was going to pass on this one, but i was hanging out on a campsite and thought it would be fun.

so i built the doorway first, a stone arch. that was a bit of an engineering feat and took two days for me to get it right. then i had to make some kind of roof and i don't know how you are with your fairy houses, but i wanted to make the fairies (ahem) something waterproof so i whipped up a little covering framed in knotweed and covered in knotweed leaves.

side note: while i was working on it i mentioned this to some very nice religious ladies of my acquaintance and the were HORRIFIED. "you don't believe in fairies, do you?"

"heck, no!" i said. what i did not say is "i don't believe in any invisible magical friends, including yours." i'm sure they would have been willing to do me the favor of pointing out the grave error of my ways in believing in fairies had i done so, but i'm more polite and don't consider myself to be doing people a favor to point out their shortcomings.

anyway, i built a fairy house.

it was fun, because i had friends coming to visit with children, and i was just waiting to pretend i didn't know anything about it, but maybe own up to having heard tiny little construction noises in the night.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


when i got to site 21 there was a rake head without a handle.

i found a suitable deadfall branch and the ranger supplied me with two screws, and it was back in business.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

late to the party: 2017 eclipse

stories of the eclipse are SO last week, but i just got home from the campings and i'm showing you my pictures now.

i went to the viewing party at the deborah rawson library in jericho, which is one of vermont's fantatsic little libraries. i have talked often about rural libraries in particular and libraries in general, and it's still true that it's libraries that get you hooked up with the good stuff.

in this case the rawson hooked us up with eclipse viewing glasses, some other viewing gear, and jack st. louis, the president of the vermont astronomical society.

it was one of the loveliest parties i have been to in some time. astronomer guy brought a telescope he had rigged with a funnel and a piece of rear projection screen and it was cool to watch on that.

here's astronomer guy's telescope with projection screen.

and here he is with his telescope. he's goofing a little because he was stepping out of my frame and i asked him to stay in because a picture of a telescope is nice, but a picture of a guy with his telescope give it context.

here's a little pinhole projection i made.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Find a painted turtle & take a picture

i see turtles a lot, but not as often as i'd like and not as much since i started doing the venture challenge.

and more snappers than painted turtles, so i had sort of given up on finding one and having my camera handy, but then the other day i was paddling up into the moscow canoe access channel and there was this turtle basking on a log.

from the looks of all the turtle poop on the log, she basks there often, just not when i'm there to see it.

good to know.

Monday, August 28, 2017

let's get this show going.

ok, i am home for the time being from the campings.  it turns out five and a half weeks is about the time it takes for me to feel like i could go home a while and be happy staying there.

i still don't feel super ready to leave even then, like i want ONE more day.

interesting phenomenon, though. the longer i am out there the less i think of to say that doesn't sound like oh, look. fish.

it seems fully interesting at the time but does not make for good blog posts.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Weave a camp placemat or sit-upon.

i wasn't going to do this one, but i was doing knotweed abatement at my camsite and decided to make crafts with the knotweed, just because.

turns out it makes a sturdy weaving material, if not an easy one to work with.

Monday, August 21, 2017

2017 venture vermont: ID two different invasive species outside.

unless you just walked in ten minutes ago, you know i spend a lot of time on waterbury reservoir, which, sadly, is an infested body of water. it has a number of invasive infestations both aquatic and terrestrial and i have both done my research and have blessing of management to conduct my small invasive abatement programs, which boil down to whenever i am staying on a campsite that is near an infestation (sometimes i choose a site based on an infestation) i spend a little time each day pulling and properly disposing of the invasive.

the department of forests, parks and recreation recommends this site: vermont invasives

so here are the two invasives i work with most:

 this one is brittle naiad.

and this bad actor is japanese knotweed.

what these two have in common is that although they will prefer to flower and seed, they will be happy to propagate and can send out new shoots and roots from ANY NODE, so any part of a stem floating around is a potential new infestation.

when you pull it, you have to be careful not to leave stray pieces floating around (particularly important with the naiad) and you have to make sure to dispose of the plants properly. if you have time, it's as easy as leaving the plants in a hostile environment until they are dry and dead. naiad simply needs to be pulled out on land where it can't grow and left somewhere it won't blow back into the water.

knotweed will be happy to grow in water or on land so any part you cut needs to be left in the sun and turned regularly until it turns brown and then you can drop it anywhere.

break up the root ball as much as you can and maybe hang it up in a tree to be sure.

knotweed are versatile and sneaky.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

i have not died.

i'm just, you know, camping.

later there will be pictures.

i promise.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

bring in the crops

i have berry bushes outside my house. they arrived by way of neglect and they fit in with my natural state of neglect landscaping.

my neighbors can have flowers and junk. i have a half dozen delicious raspberries.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

relaxation grade: advanced

i think i told you that mb got me one o' them inflatable sofas last year for my birthday.

here i am lounging on it on the rock beach of site 13.

why, yes. it is a warm day. this is my bathing suit, because i sunburn through clothes.

this is the view from my inflatable sofa.

Friday, August 11, 2017

flask gets judgy: gas station

dear those people at the gas station,

i think you perceived that i had seen you and disapproved somehow.

i did not disapprove of your motorcycle, which is bitchin'.

i did not disapprove of your tats. those are on your skin and your business.

i did not disapprove of your badass swagger. more power to you.

why i judged you and found you wanting was YOU WERE SMOKING AT THE GAS PUMP. granted, most times at the gas pump the accumulated fumed do not coalesce into a ball of flame, but if they're going to do so, someone smoking that close to the working nozzle is a good way for that to happen, especially on a hot day.

don't be an asshat.

love, flask

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Learn a new method for collecting water outside or making it safe to drink

i decided to make a solar still.

in principle i have always known how to do this but never tried it.

in principle you can use this method to purify or collect water, depending on how you set it up.

you need two containers and a plastic sheet, and a way to fasten the plastic sheet around your container. your inner container should be suspended or propped up about the water level.

if you are collecting rather than purifying, your outer container is a hole you have dug into the ground deep enough so that there is some moisture.

your plastic sheet should sag over your collection container so that condensation from the hole (or from your water that needs purifying) drips down to be collected.

since i usually have no shortage of water, i decided to set myself up with a purifying version, which also saves me the trouble of digging a hole.

 here's my setup. the materials are all things i typically have with me outside.

well, the rock is just a rock.

but a pretty heart-shaped one.

my collection jar is suspended under the low point with a shoelace.

i set it up and let it run for four days.
this is how much purified water i got.

i think what i learned is that the surface area of my evaporation needs to be much larger in relation to the collector, and that to make this work your really need warm sunny days.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

critter baffle

i kept seeing things like this in shelters along trails, but was having trouble parsing what they were for.

apparently it's some kind of critter baffle. you maybe hang your food from there and it keeps the mice and squirrels out. won't help you against bear, but presumably your other food is hanging ten feet in the air between two trees.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

quiet, maybe

guys, it's not that i have nothing to say.

oh, wait. maybe i don't actually have anything to say.

i dunno.

i left the house to go camping three weeks ago and only occasionally show up at my desk. it seems like a lot of trouble to assemble pictures.

and thoughts seem to drain right out of my head.

so maybe i'll write.

maybe i won't.

it's very green out there, though.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

flooding at waterbury center state park

about a month ago while i was staying on remote site 2 there was some rain. a LOT of rain.

like four feet of water rise in a day rain.

i went over to waterbury center state park in my boat and took some pictures.

Friday, August 04, 2017

2017 vermont venture: Cook a meal over a campfire

you knew this was coming.

i told you i don't cook on a fire all that often, but when i do, i do.

so last weekend i made this meal:

it looks less fancy than it is: it is roasted eggplant mixed up with hummus and cider vinegar to make a thing not entirely unlike baba ganoush, a perfectly baked potato, stuffed mushroom caps, ans roasted sweet corn.


Thursday, August 03, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Start a fire with just one match. Bonus: use no matches

when i'm summer camping i don't make many fires. it takes a lot of firewood to cook potatoes, and i'm not keen on hanging about the fire when i could be inside by comfy bug net. plus i don't like to smell of smoke.

but if i have company, i'm happy to roll out the stops and make a fire and cook food (yes, you will hear about that later) because what seems like a waste of resources for one person making one meal seems reasonable as part of a larger entertainment.

so barb was out at the site last weekend and i made some food, but first i had to start a fire and my preferred way is with spark. i can DO it with a match, but i like using spark.

because i'm all fancy.

and it's good to stay in practice.

regrettably in this video it doesn't go up in one stroke the way i like, and i'm blaming it on breezy afternoon, shaky hands, and bad hand position.



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