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

tabs!

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. http://www.thebushcraftjournal.com/

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.

https://longreads.com/2017/11/07/the-unforgiving-minute/amp/

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.

...to 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."

"oh."

Thursday, October 12, 2017

unprepared

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?

SERIOUSLY?

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

post-traumatic

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:

kingfisher

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.

whew.

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

rake

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.

deelicious.

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.

anyway.




Wednesday, August 02, 2017

2017 venture vermont: Climb a fire tower

it was a thing i didn't do much, because hurty things.

but after i started playing ingress this year for fun and fitness, (join the BLUE team, boys and girls!) i started thinking "well, maybe i CAN do some of those firetower hikes."

plus venture challenge.

so this year so far i have been in the firetowers on mount elmore and on belvidere mountain.

others may follow.

woohooo!
me on the belvidere tower

same clown, elmore firetower

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

things you're probably doing wrong: office


this woman is editing a contract. if your working space does not look like this, you are doing something wrong.

Monday, July 31, 2017

open letter to people using mountain trails

dear people using mountain trails,

those rocks that look like somebody put them in the trail? somebody probably did put them there. they are not for keeping your feet dry, although they will certainly do that.

they are for protecting the trail from the erosion caused by your boots.

use them.

love, flask.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

2017 venture vermont: sunrise, sunset

it says "Watch the sunrise or sunset from the summit of a hill or mountain" and this is a challenge for me.

because to schlepp myself up a mountain and be there in time for sunrise, i have to leave the house at like 0200. and to get up onto a mountain for sunset and THEN COME DOWN means i get home at about 0200.

unless i go in winter, which represents other problems.

like the venture challenge deadline is in october, anyway.

so i was kind of thinking that one was out of my reach, but then two things happened: i started taking a medication that works, and i started playing ingress for fun and fitness.

(remember, boys and girls, you want to join the BLUE team. we're the RESISTANCE.)

so now i go marching up and down mountains like 30 years have been removed from me - okok, i'm slower than that, but my point is that i can DO it- and suddenly because of that and because i have some new lightweight camping gear i'm thinking that one-night backpacking excursions are no longer off limits to me.

so i pack up my stuff and head on up the long trail south from appalachian gap because i'm thinking stark's nest would be a dandy place to watch the sun set and rise from.

now, that is some rough terrain up thar. it's got a bunch of climbing and a whole mess o' staples and ladders and a couple places you WISH it had staples or something but instead it's got some sad-looking roots and a crack in the rock and you realize EXACTLY why you got turned back that one time you decided to try this hike on snowshoes last winter.

uh, anyway.

so i got up there in PLENTY of time to see the sunset (and read half a book) but that was anticlimactic because it had gotten cloudy in advance of the night's storm and it was filthy windy wet weather on the way down in the morning, so i decided to go around the long way and take the stark mountain trail down as far as the sunnyside chair before rejoining the long trail, which adds almost a mile to the trip but cuts out the worst of the difficult descent, and provided a welcome shelter at about lunchtime.

and of course there are pictures.

staples

cave bypass trail? no thanks.

view from theron dean shelter

view OF theron dean shelter

there was a lot of this nonsense.

no, no an elevated treehouse it's a sled shed. i
n winter the ski patrol stores a sled there.

sunset facing west

sunrise facing east

filthy weather

ready to go

mmm, slippery when wet.

it's very green here.

often when i am in these fantastically green places i think of hundewanderer, whose lovely hiking photos are all taken in a landscape so different than mine.

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