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.


Related Posts with Thumbnails