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. 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.


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."



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