Friday, July 01, 2016

Another Week?

     When did they start going past like telegraph poles from a moving train?  I took Amtrak west from Chicago decades ago and once the train gets out on the wide, flat prairie,  they open the throttle to whatever the track will bear; back then, there were places where it was upwards of 80 mph, deceptively smooth on modern welded rails.  Looking out the window, distant towns and grain elevators (but I repeat myself) glide by in a slow panorama -- but up close, darned close if you're used to clearances for automobiles, the poles whiz by like artillery shells, or better, a WW II Russian multi-rocket launcher: Fwoom!  Fwoom! Fwoom!

     And so it is with weeks.  Blink and it's Friday.  Blink and you've spent five days swimming in mud.  Just as you begin to get a glimmer of how precious time truly is, it runs through your fingers like fine sand.

     I'm pretty sure the emergency brake doesn't work they way we might wish.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Reading, Reading

     I often have two books going at the same time, between the Kindle and physical books-with-pages.  Right now, they're Sir Terry Pratchett's Equal Rites and The Nightmare Stacks, the seventh (!) of Charles Stross's "Laundry Files" novels.

     This makes for some odd resonances; despite differences in tone, style* and setting, both are lurking on the edges of H. P. Lovecraft's universe, peering out at it from very familiar bastions: a hidebound (in fact, stuffy) University culture and stifling-yet-muddling-through bureaucracy as only the UK can truly achieve.†  While Sir Terry's world was slowly hauling itself into a modern age -- Century of the Fruitbat, after all, one must keep up -- and Stross's is teetering on the brink of cosmic annihilation, their characters face the challenges with similar determination and (occasionally reluctant) verve.

     --I highly recommend both books.  If Charlie Stross's politics/SF alignment bother you, you're missing out.  I read authors all across the Puppies mess (maybe not at the very farthest extremes) and my head ain't totally exploded yet.  Good fiction is good fiction and some dude voting (and being kinda unhappy just now) in the UK is no threat to domestic U.S.politics.
* Although I must admit that both of them have the same thing about asterisks that I do, or similar anyway.  Make of that what you will.  
† In the States, we create all manner of end-runs, work-around and clear-cuts when results are desperately needed; the Russians clamp down, empty the prisons of the clueful and pile up bodies until things work and the Germans throw ideas at the wall while going down in flames.  If you want to gather a skilled group of amateurs and invent, oh, RADAR or scientific cryptography, you need Her Majesty's Government and a tall stack of forms that have very little to do with the task at hand but must nevertheless be properly filled out.  I have no idea how the French cope with similar circumstances; they all clam up and pretend not to speak English when asked, which may in fact be a large part of their method.  Anyone with a freestanding 1000' tower over a hundred years old in their capital city is welcome to criticize this approach.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Early Day

     It's another Mom-meeting Wednesday, so there's only time to post that much this morning.  Hoping I won't run afoul of another driver who thinks herself Queen Of The Road. 

     (Did all that -- and then didn't make it, betrayed by my own innards.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hoosier Hash?

     It can't be that, it's got hot and sweet Italian sausage in it!  So I don't know what to call it.
     Sausage, mushrooms, rice, onion, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and well-drained canned petite diced tomatoes.  Served with a little hot sauce and ranch dressing.  It was tasty!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday Morning

     Ah, yes, Monday.  Again. 

     Sunday was a pretty good day.  Tam and I drove down to Taste for breakfast with Uncle Jay, then I put in a very brief appearance at a baby shower for one of my nieces, held at Mom's retirement center.  Then a stop at the five and dime, a few loads of laundry (and a sort though and cleaning of a box of various bits -- drill and screwdriver -- for a standard brace) and a nice nap before bedtime. 

     And yet, still, there's no dodging Monday.  Darned thing sneaks right up and jumps out.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Refrigerator Pickles

     Here they are:

     The basic recipe is cucumbers, onions, sugar, vinegar and water.  This one has pickling spice, allspice, black pepper and some rosemary lavender, too.  Mostly white vinegar, a little raw apple cider vinegar.


     Off to see a different guy about another thing.  Back soon!  (And then a baby shower later.  Yikes!)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sweat Therapy

     Slept in.  Woke up and I was kinda sore and achy.  Made a nice breakfast -- nice by my standards, an omelette fortified with smashed-up Stoned Wheat crackers (no idea what they're on!) and filled with a little dice salami and chopped Kalamata olives (which you can now buy in little "snack packs").

     No longer hungry, but still sore, and the yard was, let us say, notably unmowed.  Time to get stuck in!  Hauled out the extension cord -- I mow with coal, burned several hundred miles away -- and the mower and gave the front a nice buzz, then followed with the string trimmer, blasting burdock and Creeping Charlie out of the joints in the sidewalk and attempting to civilize the edging.  That took about three bottles of water during: it's hot!  Followed that with the leaf vacuum, getting all the grass clippings and such from the walks.  It blows out great clouds of dust through the canvas collection bag, necessitating another bottle of water.

     Did all this in Bobbi's Tropical Uniform #1, which means shorts, dri-weave T-shirt, great tall, black pole-climber boots, big sunglasses and wide-brimmed, denim boonie hat.  (There may be photos later.  You should fear this.) The vitamin D is free, you see, but so is low-level high-speed debris.  It also meant I had a nice coating of dust on my limbs, so I put all my toys away, swept the ants Tam had nerve-gassed yesterday (oh, the carnage!  There were hundreds.  She's a cruel enemy to make, and yet the ants never learn) down the front steps (and away from the mint), and went inside to rinse the worst dust off, followed by Old Family Sun-Exposure Remedy: a wipe-down with a vinegar-dampened cloth.  Done soon after you get out of the sun, this will usually turn an incipient mild burn into a tan, possibly by fiddling with skin pH.

     Fiddled around on the internet a bit, then soaked in the tub and you know what?  I stopped aching somewhere about a quarter of the way through the mowing.  I feel almost human now!  ...Almost.

Be "The Best Of The Old West"

     Remember "Donner Party Chuckwagon Restaurants?"  Here's one fully-produced version of the ad!

     This one is from "Cowboy Blob" Bob Flyzik and crew.

     I'm going Creative Commons with this: you are free to make your own version, as long as I get writing credit.  If you modify the script, feel free to add your name to mine.  If you sell the work, you'll need to negotiate a fee with me.  (I'm not greedy but there's a principle here.) Basically, have fun with it and share.

Friday, June 24, 2016

"Brrrrrrexit, Stage Right!"

    (If you heard that in the voice of an old Hanna-Barbara cartoon character, I intended it.)

     Yep, the Brits voted "leave."  Surprised me; I figured it would go like the Scotland vote, a great deal of noise right down to the wire, followed by a return to the status quo ante.  Instead, the UK went even further ante and that part of the world is now back to a kind of peaceable version of post-Dunkirk, with the plucky Britons looking across the Channel to a continent united under a single banner.

     I'd like to have an actual opinion about this but you know what?  I really don't.  It's a regional matter and I don't live there; I can read pundits all day long and I still won't have the same visceral grasp of the matter that a rubbish-hauler in Brighton can muster before breakfast.  This is easy to forget; there's an entire news industry that runs on ignoring that fact.  If you're not in the thick of it, you don't really know what's going on, no matter how slow and careful the explanation.

     The UK has chosen.  The Pound dipped.  If you had your eye on something made in the UK, right now might be a good time to price it out.  Past that, time will tell, as it always does.  Good idea?  Bad idea?  We'll all know soon enough.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Word To The Wise -- And The Unwise

     You can drink your own damned bathwater all you like, but I'm not sipping.  When I'm Empress Of The World, the penalty for that will be you get drowned in it, however badly my executioners have to torture the metaphor to make it happen.  Or you.

     I spent a couple of hours of dangerously-high blood pressure today, helping resolve a mess created by someone else's steadfast refusal to indulge in reality-based thinking.  Wishing is so much simpler and neater, isn't it -- until it doesn't work, at which point no amount of fast-talking BS or deprecating underlings will fix it.

     Here we go over the cliff in the big bus, busy with rolls of silk and knitting needles, hoping to make a parachute before it hits bottom.  Does anyone else notice the flaw in this plan?

Busy This Morning

     Talking with some guys about a thing.

     Maybe blogging later.