Monday, August 31, 2015

A Shy Spider

     ...With a "face" marking!

     It -- probably she, from the size -- is another orb weaver, with yellow knees, and very shy.  It's built several webs on the side of the front porch and in what appears a typical ploy, the first web was very big and subsequent ones are smaller.  Testing the bug flight paths?

     When I walked down the steps and around on the grass to get a photo of the top of the spider, it ran up to one corner, adopted a contorted-looking pose, and held it.  Nothing to see here!  Just an old dead bug!  Move on, move on.

The Saddest Words Of Screen Or Device...

     "Installing update 1 of 497."  Gak.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Ode To A Sunday Snack

     Oh, Nutella-cream-filled donut, how could I not delight in thee?
     It's a kindly world that puts a world-class donut joint so handily nearby -- and what appears to be a decent gym even closer.  Having indulged in the first, it behooves me to take a closer look at the second.

Woke Too Early/Slept Too Little

If James Bond taught English, rather than working as a spy:

     The Spy Who Declined Me

     Dr. Know

     Never Say "Ain't" Again

     To the Thesaurus With Love

     And so on.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Barely Room To Swing A Wrench!"

     Or, "What I did Thursday."
      And on a tiny scale -- those are SMA connectors.  That's a 5/16" wrench.  And the the whole mess is overhead.  I had to replace the N-to-SMA bulkhead adaptor.  The other side is even worse to get to -- and that's where the nut that holds the thing is located.

     As for the nut who decided it was okay to build this widget in a box this small, I don't know.  I hope he has either learned better or retired.

Friday, August 28, 2015


     In the wake of tragedy, sometimes it's difficult to figure out how to follow it.  This one hit close to home -- murderer and victims could easily have been people I worked with.

     At the circus, they'd send in the clowns.  Real life is not a circus.

     So, in attempt to get back to normal, I have some images of the occasionally-James-Bond-scale of my part of the bigtime world of mass communications from high atop a building that must remain nameless:
     It's a nice view, especially if you don't think about it too much.  And it's safe enough -- you're inside railings and much farther away from the edge than it seems.  This is looking north, with the gutted remains of the Paul Cret-designed library visible just over the rail.  The big curved thing behind it is where they keep the books -- pardon, "media" -- now; the bluish glass is a connector atrium where the stacks once were.  I do not approve.
     When I call the stadium "monstrous," I'm not referring to the manner in which it is a huge tax sink so much as I am describing the size of the thing.  I've lived in towns that would have fit inside it -- might take four levels, but they would have fit.
     "Inside a railing," I wrote.  Sometimes only barely, but inside it nevertheless.

     To get up there, you have to climb a caged ladder from here, which is above a heat-exchanger the size of a two-story house.  (This is where the villain would leave James Bond, no doubt dangling over one of the big fans with the protective screen removed.)  The uncaged ladder in the distance is a shorty, and pretty much "trained professionals only" because of where it leads to.
     To get to the top of the heat exchanger, you go up this spiral staircase.  Very carefully.

     And on the way home, an apartment building designed by an ocean cruise line!  --C'mon, if you had the penthouse, you'd put a binnacle and ship's wheel on that balcony, wouldn't you? 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It Bled, It Led, Dammit

     ETA: It was the lead story on local and network news last night; it led in NBC's Today show just now, Thursday morning.  TV just can't pass up the bait -- and the continuing coverage only makes further crimes of this type all the more attractive to the next violent loser with a manifesto.

     By now you already know the story: a recently-fired TV reporter fired two years earlier shot and killed a pair of his former co-workers while they were on the air, live from a remote location.  Worse, he posted first-person video of it to social media.  It has been suppressed, but that genie is out of the bottle and it will be bouncing around the Web for years.

     Let us hope this does not become a trend.  TV news crews working in the field are almost pathetically vulnerable: their attention is on their task.  Their hands are usually full, figuratively and literally.  Photographer -- "cameraman," only inside the biz, that's not the term -- and reporter are extremely task-focused, especially when taking video or editing and the photog quite often sees only what his lens picks up, in black and white at that.

     The roots of this incident may go back years.  There's no question the shooter was unhinged and he may well have started out as a personality on the edge; he seems to have been inclined to collect grievances and perhaps encountered people very willing to hand them out.  There can be no justification for what he did -- but at the very least, at some point his growing anger should have rated a first response more probing than a pink slip years before the one that apparently set him off.  We may not pay enough attention to one another's "gruntles," and maybe, as a matter of self-protection, we ought to. (This is not to say people should do even more tiptoeing around the sensitivities of others than they already do -- but "don't be a jerk" and "speak up if something's not right" are good guidelines.)

     The usual pundits will say the usual things about this incident but I'll tell you right now, live news is a high-risk and highly-exploitable activity.  I have been at the public appearances of Presidential candidates and though the security is tighter than that for passenger air travel, there are aspects I will not even get close to discussing: no security is perfect.  And for J. Random News crew covering lower-profile events, "no security" is exactly what they have.  Some of it is just part of the job -- police try to push the Press back from hostage and active-shooter scenes, the press push back and more than one crew has returned with stories of the sound a round makes as it goes whizzing by.  But publicity-seeking murderous nitwits targeting newspeople is a new phenomenon, and not a good one.

     Look for a hard fight: this guy put a scare into the yapping mouthpiece of American politics.  I don't know of any law that could have stopped him -- but that won't keep the easy-solutions crowd from proposing a few dozen.

Ed Delany, Are You A Fool, A Pawn, Or Both?

     Good old State Repressive Representative Ed Delany thinks it's time to "finally talk about gun violence," I guess as opposed to talking about gun violence like everyone else has been doing.  (And I'm still not sure why it is somehow worse to be subjected to violence by means of firearms instead of knives or clubs or even bare hands. Can't we address the common factor, violence?  No?  ...Coward.)

      Ol' Ed has sent around a nifty mailing based on talking points from a Bloomberg anti-gun group a New York Times article. The article itself is flawed, including the false "40 percent of all sales are done without a background check" claim.  Ed's got his opinions and I have mine, and that's just how it goes -- but Ed gets the facts wrong, and that is not how it goes; that would be what we call lying.

     So let's start with his intro: "...we can't sit idly by* without at least talking about solutions to the gun violence and mass killings that seem to dominate today's news."
     What, like the National Firearms Act, a late response to the uptick in criminal violence during Prohibition?  Like the Gun Control Act of 1968, a response to the assassinations of prominent political leaders?  Like the Brady Bill in 1993?  Mass shootings per capita are down; violent crime and murders are down.  Yes, they still make headlines and they should: these are outrages against human decency and civil peace.  But it appears Ed doesn't actually want a conversation.  He wants to dictate "solutions" handed him by anti-gunners.  He wants to show party loyalty. And he may be deeply and willfully ignorant.

     In the mailing, he proceeds on to wanting to  "balance gun safety with gun rights while keeping weapons of the hands of those who want to inflict harm...."  Notice he presents "safety" and "rights" as opposed -- try that with the First Amendment, and see how far you get.  (The Fourth Amendment?  Presently a slightly different story, if you accept the notion that travel by air or rail is not a right.  But they're busy chipping away.)

     So what does Mr. Delany want to do, other than furrow his massive brow in concern? He's got a little list:

     His first point says we ought to recognize that "potential penalties will not deter mass murderers..."  Yes, and they won't deter regular criminals, either.  He says "We must do everything we can do to keep guns out of their hands."  This apparently includes keeping guns out your hands and mine as well, since his second point starts out with this gem:

     "Ban the sale and use of automatic weapons."  That would be every handgun that's not a revolver or single-shot-per-barrel, every long gun that is not a lever-action, bolt-action, pump or single-shot-per-barrel.  Glocks, 1911s, Berettas -- all gone.  "Turn 'em all in, Mr. and Mrs. America," as one of his fellow-Democrats once hoped.  He goes on to want bans of "armor-piercing bullets" (already banned, except for two rifle bullets the Federal Government makes available through the Civilian Marksmanship Program), and any magazine that can "hold more than ten rounds" (more ignorant nonsense: magazines can be swapped out in a second, while more than one mass shooter has been stopped or slowed by a crummy large-capacity magazine jamming).

      Point three: "Establish a more thorough licensing system to verify whether an individual should be able to purchase and own a gun," which is to say, license an inherent, Constitutionally-protected human right.  We know how well that's worked at reducing violence in Chicago and Boston, right? Plus, he wants "...a mandatory waiting period until all background checks are complete..." and elsewhere cites Walmart's buckling under pressure from a Bloomberg group and banning all sales when the Brady background check is not completed in three days by asking, "What does Walmart know that the rest of us don't?"  Gee, I dunno, that bad publicity from a well-funded advocacy group sucks?  The kicker in this is that an uncompleted background check would mean restriction of a Constitutional right by bureaucratic whim or fumble.  And Ed wants this to include "private sales and gun show transactions," which is unenforceable and cannot be done with the present NICS system.  His choice of phrase also reinforces the crazy notion that gun show sales are somehow not covered by the same laws as any other sales: FFLs at a gun show (90% or more of the sellers) must do NICS checks.

     Point four: "Ensure states add the names of those people deemed unfit to own a gun to the federal registry."  ...Even a stopped clock finds the occasional ear of corn: NICS is there and the states are supposed to be turning their lists of felons, dopers (don't like this one?  Then change your state's drug laws!), convicted spouse-beaters and the adjudicated mentally ill.  There are ways you can lose the right to keep and bear arms; they are written down in law books and it's pretty hard to argue against most of 'em.

     But Ed goes through all this looking a guns and only guns, like Mr. Magoo peering at the shoelaces of an angry giant under the impression they are snakes, unaware of the greater threat.  Hey, Ed, what about young men joining gangs so they can belong to something bigger than themselves?  What about a deeply damaged culture and drug laws that create financial rewards for lawbreakers?  What about a broken mental health system?  What about young people who are profoundly alienated from ideas of basic decency and fair play, and who expect neither from the government and society in general?  What solutions have you got for those things, Ed?  --I'm asking 'cos if you can make even fair progress towards fixing those, "gun violence" will decline, right along with violence in general.

     The United States has always had poverty.  We've always had social stratification, disaffected youth, insanity, drunks and dopers† and for nearly 150 years, we had cheap guns, mail-order guns and no background checks or restrictions on ownership or sales in nearly every state and city. What we didn't have was "if it bleeds, it leads" 24/7 news; we didn't have so many people who ignored their neighbors.  It was far from halcyon but it had its good points and we'll likely do better polishing them up and putting them to work than building taller, tighter fences that mostly hem in the law-abiding.
* [sic]. Y'all done split the infinitive.  Might want to watch a little less Star Trek and spend more time doing your homework.  These Bloomberg cribsheets aren't helping you. 

Since ether was invented, anyway.  Or were Colonials smoking the "herb of the fields" before then?  Does even tobacco count?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Monday Dinner

     Soup, or maybe stew:
     Stew beef, Italian sausage, onion, potato, carrots, beef stock + water, sauteed red bell and poblano peppers, zucchini. No seasoning other than what was in the stock, a dash of pepper on the beef and a cube of chicken bullion late in the cooking. It was good last night and I hope it will be good at lunch today.

     The things you do when you crave fresh veggies and you're short on grinding teeth!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Salmon-Tuna Patties

     Aside from the bicycle trip for Saturday brunch, I slept most of the weekend and apparently needed it.   Still, one does need a little energy even to sleep and I found myself peckish Sunday evening. Tam said she was probably going to make herself some salmon salad; she had three packets of salmon and would I like one?

     I thought perhaps so.  However, I am not a huge fan of mayo.  I love salmon patties (croquettes, loaf, whatever) and so I went looking.

     The little packets aren't all that much -- 2.5 ounces, very little of which is water.  Had some cans of tuna, three ounces, and drained, that would add up near enough to five ounces of canned fish.  Could salmon and tuna co-exist?  Never know unless you try!  (This is Depression-era cooking, comfort food for my parents generation; it is what I learned growing up.)

     A third of a cup of crushed crackers (saltines and Italian Herb Ritz), sufficient milk to make a kind of paste, and one beaten egg later, I was ready to add fish, seasoning and spices.  Traditionally one uses dill but we were out.  Onion and celery are nice, too.  Didn't have any of those, either.  Sooooo...  A couple dashes of curry powder, a bit of celery seed and more than a bit of chives, a little parsley, rosemary and cilantro* and a grind of pepper later, three medium-sized salmon-tuna patties were sizzling in the skillet, sending the cats into ecstatic transports of delight (I bribed them with treats).

     (When you combine the ingredients, the result should be neither dry nor drippy; cohesiveness and homogeneity are the desired properties.  Adjust with milk or cracker crumbs if needed.)

     Tam decided she'd have a canned-fish patty instead of salmon salad and pronounced it "very tasty."  I had to agree.  The curry powder adds a subdued hint of flavor, not like dill but remarkably harmonious.  As for salmon and tuna, they get along -- dare I say it?  -- swimmingly.

     Tamara, seeing my Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook open, told me I had better mark that page.  I had to explain it was only open for rough reference proportions of grain, milk, egg and fish; their salmon loaf recipe, made with soft breadcrumbs, is delicious but significantly different to what I cooked.
* The thing about cilantro is, people who don't enjoy the taste of it are not likely to when it shows up unexpectedly.  If you dislike the vaguely "soapy" herbal flavor encountered in some salsa, you should leave it out of this.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


     "They named it 'Kitchenette,' really?"  That's what I asked my little brother when he told me about a new breakfast/brunch place in Broad Ripple.

     The answer, it turns out, is "Not exactly."  It's called Northside Kitchenette, and it is yet another of the amazing, wonderful places to get a bite to eat in  my corner of town.  Relatively light fare, breakfasts and sandwiches, but oh my, what breakfasts!  What sandwiches!

     Checking at home, the menu promised much.  Tamara and I rode our bicycles up to the place, an hour and a half before closing, and  what the menu promised, the kitchen delivered.  She had an Italian sandwich, hot and piled high with wonderful meats and cheese; her fresh-made French Fries had a light, wonderful hint of malt vinegar but were crisp and tasty.  (Tam ordered them instead of the house chips -- not chips from a bag, chips fresh from the fryer.  Observed examples were thin, golden, curly, tasty-looking.)

     I had a breakfast burrito, a whole-wheat wrap enclosing eggs, chorizo, pico de gallo, good cheese, fried potatoes and green-chili sauce.  Even with my unfortunate shortfall in the molar department, I found it flavorful and easy to eat.

     The coffee was good, the service was splendid and we will be back!

     Food and beverages for two came to $26, which is about average for Broad Ripple.  Portions were generous and despite our lateness, we were not rushed.

     Northside Kitchenette is part of a new group of restaurants. Broad Ripple has several such groups, most famously the Patachou family, and it appears to be an excellent strategy.  This new bunch consists of The Northside Social (a pleasant-looking, upscale restaurant with a huge, well-stocked bar that replaced The Stone Mug, a would-be/once-was biker bar), Northside Kitchenette and Village Cigar, all side by side in a tiny L-shaped strip mall, plus down in SoBro, Delicia and La Mulita, which offer "modern Latin food" and nice bar spaces.  They easily meet the very high standard for dining in Broad Ripple.

  (As for me, I rode back home, laid down, and was asleep by four in the afternoon.  I was awake off and on between then and now, mainly to take OTC painkillers, but never awake for very long until the TV began talking to itself at six this morning. Possibly just exhausted from the healing at the former site of the removed tooth and the effects of pain there and elsewhere; I was subjected to dentistry Friday and found it extraordinarily wearing.)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Eh? Speak Up, Sonny!

    For some reason, I feel as if I was two hundred years old this morning -- well, maybe only 150.  Gah.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Expect The Worst, Especially With Cars

     Two rotors under "discard" thickness, two close -- arguably turnable but there would not have been much left.  Two more rotors on top of everything else were relatively trivial.  The bottom line was not, so I got all-new brakes and the bank will pick up some more interest from the increased balance on my card while I whittle it back down.  (There's an irreducible minimum, it seems.)

     Costly, but it does beat not being able to stop when I need to -- or stopping with a degree of grabbiness that had me worrying with the car/truckette on wet pavement.

     This isn't doing the "new teeth" project any favors.  With the tooth they took a couple weeks ago, I can no longer eat many kinds of raw vegetables and crunchy foods are challenging.  Almonds, cashews, pistachios, etc. are right out.  Of course I want some now.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

What Do You Get When You Cross A Locomotive And A Snowmobile?

     Here comes one now!

The Lombard Log Hauler. The ultimate carpool vehicle! Except nobody ever wants to be stoker.

Car To The Shop

     Yes, it's time for my (oooooo) Lexus RX300  to go in the shop (it's a high-mileage 2000 model, so you can stop the plutocrat jokes right now).  The brakes have been funky and I hope I have not waited too long.  I'll probably ask for an oil change while it's in, and there's no telling what else they may find.

     Hoping this won't be too painful.  The last nice experience I had with front disc brakes was when I discovered I could replace the disc brake pads, etc. of my MGB using common shop equipment -- C-clamps and wood blocks.  Most cars are not built that way, which lends some credence to my theory that the MGB was built so the owner could indulge the thing as a hobby; when I say "could," I mean, "had better," because if you treated one like a Chevy, or how I treat my Lexus, you'd be walking a lot.  With other cars, I'm lucky to get them in for service before I have ruined the rotors. 

     Meanwhile, the Lexus itself has been moving along with a degree of ghastly silence, luxurious comfort and utter smoothness that approaches that of the ten-year-old, horribly-painted (looked like a brush job, possibly with house paint) Jaguar XJ-6 I bought in 1991.  Considering that the Lexus is twice as tall and relatively five years older (and, alas, was not lovingly assembled at Coventry by doughty yoemen), that's impressive.  Car & Driver called it "a quiet, ingratiating vehicle whose on-road poise and wholesale absence of truckishness do much to overcome its paucity of off-road skills."  Probably not the thing to climb over boulders -- but it sneers at chuckholes and we have a lot more of them than rugged hard-rock country hereabouts.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Todays Rant: My Carry Ignorance

     It might be less than yours but there are only a few themes to this bit, which I wrote in response to an off-topic question in comments about how to carry and if AIWB wasn't barred by the Three Laws of Robotics Four Rules of Gun Safety:

     I don't have an answer for you.  I'm not an expert on ways to carry a handgun -- in fact, because my employer does not allow employees to carry firearms on their property, my handgun normally travels in my purse and is locked in my car (per Indiana law) whenever I am on company property. I use a small "pocket holster" to keep the trigger covered at all times and when I carry on my person, the holstered gun goes in the right rear pocket of my jeans. Know your local laws and the policies of your employer.  Either play by the rules or understand the risk of not complying.  The goal here is to maximize positive outcomes and minimize or eliminate negative ones, which each of us has to weigh for ourselves.

     All that said, I can tell you what I think I know:

     The Four Rules are not negotiable.  If you are pointing a gun at yourself in order to holster it, there's something wrong with your procedure and/or equipment.  As general rule, a proper holster must cover and protect the trigger; a holstered sidearm gets holstered before you put it on and stays holstered until you take it off (and probably afterwards).  Other than practice at the range, the only exception to "stays holstered" would be drawing it for self-defense, at which point it's probably not going to get re-holstered, but end up in an evidence bag for however long it takes the law to resolve matters.

     You get to decide for yourself how you will carry.  It should be a way that you find comfortable, that you determine you can safely carry and readily access your sidearm.  It should provide adequate retention during your activities.  It is as personal as your choice of underwear, and as much anyone else's business as your choice of underwear, too; Internet debates about ways to carry are useful insofar as they reveal possible ways to carry, known failure modes, and poor equipment choices, but you should not be emotionally invested in any particular style nor pay much mind to the choices promoted by others. The Internet is a vast source of rumor, posturing and misinformation with a little real info mixed in and on firearms it is even more that way.

Some quick jabs:

     IWB/OWB under a cover garment behind the point of the hip is extremely widespread and didn't get that way for no reason.  It doesn't work for everyone and can be problematic when seated.  You cannot pay too much for a good holster -- and (IMO) any holster you buy readymade off a peg is probably not all that good.  (Some are much worse than others -- there's one with an index-finger-activated release that seems to build very dangerous habits, and a brand of polymer holsters that break easily, for example.  Tam has little good to say about Uncle Mike's, other than most of them provide, at least, some coverage of the trigger.) (Tam corrects me, saying some brands of readymades are pretty good when properly matched to the gun. Ask her about brands, I'm not qualified to have an opinion.)

     On training and this habit of keeping the gun holstered, you may encounter people suggesting "dry fire," the practice of aiming and pulling the trigger of an empty gun.  Some pros do this. Some amateurs do this. Me, I'm not a pro and I have heard lots of horror stories about forgetful people shooting holes in their house or worse; I use a solid plastic "blue gun" for that kind of practice.  YMMV.

     Think of a handgun as you would a fire extinguisher: you are very unlikely to need to use it but when the time comes, you must know how.  Money spent on reputable training courses is never wasted.  But your daily-carry gun is likely to spend nearly all of its (non-range) time in the holster; when you do need to use it, if shots are fired (and you should not draw unless this is a possibility!), it's effectively single-use: it's probably not going back into the holster for months or years.

     Get training.  Buy good equipment -- you're better off with an affordable, dependable gun from a reputable maker in a well-made holster than a really super-duper high-end gun in a cheap holster and with either one, the more good training you have, the better off you will be.  Guns break, wear out, run afoul of idiotic laws, etc.  Holsters wear (and they do.  Throw them out when they get floppy) or are lost.  Training lives between your ears and in your habits and so-called "muscle memory."  No law or thief can take it from you and it doesn't break or wear out.  A trained person with a crappy-but-working gun is better off than an untrained person with a really good gun.

     Bit of a rant.  Hope it was helpful.  I think it will be today's post.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


     I've misplaced a bill from the Drive-By Doc-In-A-Box.  I think it was already overdue.  You'll excuse me if I don't post much until I found it?  --And finished breakfast?

     There is this about waking slowly: you do have occasional moments of sheer panic as the previous day's unfinished business seeps slowly into your awareness.  It's a bug, not a feature.

     Update:  The savages!  They have no way to pay it online!  Dear merciful heavens, do I have to write and mail a check, like some kind of animal?  I'll call them, or -- if they haven't quite made it out of the 19th Century -- telegraph.  Gads.

    Mind you, in the late 19th Century, the mail arrived -- and went out -- twice a day.  Western Union wired cash anywhere, not just for scams; in fact, their system was foolproof for the time.  I could probably have hired a boy on a bicycle to deliver a check in a sealed envelope and bring back a receipt.  But it's 2015!  These people could have a robot looking at the Internet and accepting payments 24/7/365.  Instead, I just called their office, at 8:06 a.m., only to have a much dumber robot tell me to call back later, between the hours of eight a.m. and seven p.m.   Um, sure.  Right. I may be dealing with bears with thumbs.  Since this is a medical firm, I find the concept appalling. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Weekend Roundup

     Sunday, I was very slightly involved in a bat rescue.  If I had gotten ready for lunch a little earlier, I would have been in time to be the principal remover of flying mammals; but I was just as happy to leave it to another neighbor.  The little bats sneak into my neighbor's house down the chimney; they may, in fact, be sleeping in there, though sweeps report no sign of long-term residence.  Sneaking in shows very poor judgement on the part of the bats, since she has five cats, who welcome the sudden appearance of a flying-mouse toy, and go chasing merrily through the house.  They have yet to do one harm past exhaustion, and a flung dish towel usually brings the bat down.  My neighbor then puts a bucket over the trapped bat, but she can't bring herself to glove up, slide a sheet of cardboard under the bucket, carry it outside and hang it on a vertical surface.  Fortunately for the bat, others of us will.
This is as plush-furred an animal as you'll find.  But please don't pet it!
      Result, one scared little bat, in as dark and protected a spot as it could find upon release.  It was brownish and not free-tailed, though I didn't look it in the mouth and therefore don't know if it was an Indiana Brown Bat (the state bat has pink lips, which most bats don't).  --Yes, bats can carry rabies.  Most don't and they are small, weak creatures.  Thick gloves and careful handling have done okay so far.  The bat is not all that interested in biting you. It just wants to get back to sleep.
     We are in some danger of running out of bats.  White nose syndrome has been devastating and even waking them during hibernation can be a problem -- bats don't budget for much waking time in the cold months and can starve to death if they stir too often.  In summer, they are Death From Above for many annoying flying insects, so unless you like skeeters, you should be kind to bats.)

     Saturday, I went to the Indiana Historical Radio Society summer meet, and saw several friends.  I came home with an isolation transformer and a variac, both in need of a little attention.
     This was not one of their bigger meets but there was an interesting assortment of items.  I found a copy of a book I had owned and lost, Jeff Taylor's Tools Of The Trade, remarkable essays on hand tools: Taylor is a master carpenter, who writes as well as the best in The New Yorker.  The result is one of the few books that teaches not only about tools and the work one can do with them, but a craftsman's attitude towards their use.  This book made me a better woodworker and entertained me while so doing.*

     From the IHRS to an antique mall in Westfield -- Tam might be amused by the cameras.
     They are nice-looking and most take 120 film.

     I have my doubts about the original-ness of the stencilling on this Sellers cabinet (a Hoosier-type baking center) but it's certainly attractive.

     This pencil case (fully stocked!) was irresistible to me.

     Or would you rather watch a movie?

     On the subject of movies, I watched another Clifton Webb film Sunday, Mr. Scoutmaster, which is very much a piece with Robert A. Heinlein's stories featuring Boy Scouts only without the science-fictional content.  A patriotic comedy with a sentimental, happy ending.  Webb is cast as "Robert Jordan," a married, though childless, TV star; Mr. and Mrs. Jordan remind me a bit of Robert and Virginia Heinlein in the 1950s. (I almost didn't post this, as it could be controversial -- the famously-prissy Webb's private life was subject to speculation, though it is notable that nobody ever wrote a "tell-all." He was nearly married twice. Some straight actors thought he was gay; gay actors and playwrights apparently found him unattainable. His biographer is frankly uncertain. I suspect Clifton Webb was mostly in love with himself, which undoubtedly spared him no end of trouble.  At any rate, the role he plays in the film is a straight arrow indeed.)

     An interesting weekend.
* Yes, I went to the old-radio meet and found a woodworking book.  I bought a Yankee screwdriver and shortwave (all-band, in fact) radio at a gun show; I bought reloading components at a hamfest.  It happens.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Lights Are On, But...

     I'm set to "slow."  So far today, I have assisted (in a very minor way) in bat rescue, ridden my pennyfarthing bicycle, checked out some new old safety glasses, had lunch with Mom and my brother, and...been kinda dozy.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Clifton Webb, Hoosier

     Long-time Indianapolis TV Director David L. Smith -- make that Professor David L. Smith -- has written about Hoosiers In Hollywood (a highly-regarded but hard to find book) and the photographic history Indianapolis Television.  In between, he found six chapter's of an Indiana-born actor's never-finished autobiography and decided to finish it.

     Clifton Webb was no ordinary actor; he was remarkably well-liked, remarkably talented, and notably aware of both attributes.  He was a dandy, frequently described as "arrogant," of "having a hint of preciousness," as were many of the characters he played and yet people found him fascinating both on and off the stage.  David L. Smith's book is an engrossing portrait of the man but you can read it all the way through and still wonder, "Who was this fellow?"  He was a bundle of contradictory elements, not too easy to reconcile.  But you don't have to wonder.  You can't meet Clifton Webb, but you can meet the characters he played on film.  They're a varied lot but Webb was able to pick and choose and his roles. What he chose were men not very different to how he saw himself.

     The book is Sitting Pretty: The Life and Times of Clifton Webb. The title is taken from Sitting Pretty, one of his better-known films, the first to feature Mr. Belvedere, a character manifestly not the "English butler" you may remember from the eponymous 1980s sitcom. Webb's Belvedere is highly competent, confident to the point of arrogance and acerbic to the verge of acidulous.  Somehow, it is never over the top and somehow, the character is likable.  Perhaps because he never boasts; what he says he can do, he does do, again and again.  If you found "Higgins" from Magnum, P.I.* an interesting character, you'll discover his prototype in Mr. Lynn Belvedere.

     After a long stage career, Webb got his start in Hollywood in his 50s, playing noir villians including Waldo Lydecker in Laura.  Effective as a villain, his style strikes me as even better suited to comedy.
* "Thomas Magnum" himself owes a large debt to John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee.  It's not plagiarism; these are modern archetypes and no two explorations of them are ever quite the same.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Spiny Micrathena Pin-Ups

     I caught her checking an upper anchor point -- can't be too careful! -- and she was gracious enough to pose for me:
      From the side, her spiny abdomen is yellow-green with dark polka dots.
     From above, white with black spots.  Quite a fancy outfit!

Overheard At Work

Conversation in the break room:

Co-worker, browsing the vending selection as a deadline looms: "It's sad that we turn to food for comfort..."

Me: "I don't know, I've never come home to discover that *food* has moved out while I was away, and taken all the good silverware, too."

Some Notes On Writing I Work On A Starship

     Work on my ongoing semi-realistic space opera has slowed almost to a halt and I'm sorry about that.  Some of it is distraction and lack of time.  Some of it is the real world overwhelming the fictional one.

     The idea for the series came from trying to describe recent projects at work to my family one holiday season.  No matter how much I simplified, for most of them, it was too foreign to their experiences.  My family runs to teachers, nurses and the occasional preacher.  They are generally not people who change their own oil or put new ends on extension cords.  Eyes would glaze over before the first sentence had ended and I realized that as far as they were concerned, I might as well work on a starship.*

     The characters, however, are drawn from real life, usually composites of two or more people, with their tics and traits hugely magnified.  Since I started writing, three have died unexpectedly, one has departed under a cloud and another had a stroke and retired.  Several were in my department or well up the chain; this includes the General Manager who lent Captain Telemachus James his name (greatly modified), height, build and general demeanor (elements of his personality were also cribbed from the son of Odysseus and the Christian saint, both named Telemachus) and, sadly, the young man who was the inspiration for "Handsome Dave."

     That last and most recent death has hit hard.  I should go back and rewrite the botched/misunderstood kidnapping of Handsome Dave that cliffhangers the present arc (Frothup: Dropping In) to kill the character off, and I'm having trouble so doing.  In real life, there was no memorial service, per his wishes.  I've tried to write one for the character, or the lack of one and reactions to that, and the process stalls early and hard.  In addition, I began the series at a time when work was relatively stable; staff changes, equipment changes and staff reductions have reduced my pool of character models.  I'm working on that -- it's a big world, after all, and full of people -- but it's not an easy process for me.

     So I'm stuck.  I'm hoping to take some time to pull the long-delayed story arc into a sophisticated editing program (Scrivener) and write a synopsis, from which I may be able to move forward.
* In my family, my basement full of workshop and radios along with my house full of books, has long marked me as "the weirdo."  Some of Dad's siblings had similar traits, especially my uncle Alfred and his wife (in their case it was books and small-engine parts; he was a gifted mechanic) and Mom's parents were deeply into books in a genteel manner, or I'd suspect I was adopted.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Spider Update

     It turns out the blonder Spiny Micrathena had not left, only taken her web down for an extended period of re-engineering; I noticed yesterday she had strung up a new one, slightly smaller, without the extremely long anchor spans.  ("It's a lovely location but these long cables simply will not do -- I'll be too exhausted to liquefy dinner!") She was taking it down at last sight that evening and had renetted in the same location this morning.

     I stopped by tonight and she was busy wrapping what appeared to be a large gnat or small fly, long legs converging on the task and spiny abdomen bobbing, looking for all the world like a 1960's housewife with a beehive hairdo wrapping up leftovers.

     Spiders are remarkably task-oriented and as ambush hunters go, they keep busy.  I like them -- any creature that sets up shop to snag insects that annoy me, and does the job for free, is okay by me.  Especially if they stay out of the way, which Micrathena does.  (The timid, hairy funnelweb weavers are okay at staying out of the way but they leave a mess: they don't bother to take down old webs.  C'mon, kids, don't litter!)

     Looks like the back yard at Roseholme Cottage has a new tenant.  I'm hoping to get some photos tomorrow when the light is better.

Subject Matter Expert

     The TV in my bedroom wakes itself up every morning at 0600 and hauls me along, often by main force.  This morning, I snuck out early and was in the throes of committing an Act of Breakfast* when the thing lit up.  Words came wafting down the hallway, some witty repartee between the boy anchor and goofy weatherman:

     Anchorman: "...will today be as nice as it looks?"
     I could almost hear Mr. Weather's bowtie spinning as he chortled: "Oh, it's going to be a great day to be off!"

     Well, I suppose he'd know. He's been just a wee bit off for years.
* A four-egg omelette filled with bacon, fried mushrooms, a dab of fried cabbage/carrot/broccoli/cranberry slaw (surprisingly good!), sliced cherry tomatoes, black and green olives with a touch of picked sweet red pepper and a bit of mozzarella cheese.  Slightly more work, but I was up early and there were things in the fridge crying out to be cooked.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

And As A Bonus

     --The fill valve on the loo just failed.  It failed "off," at least so far, but I don't have time to install a new one this morning.  The tank is easy enough to refill with a bucket.  It's not convenient, but it beats a hole in the ground.

Um, Hi


      I retired "ALBERT" last week.  He did fine work, but we've got steam drills an integrated control/alert system now, and just in time; the wiring on the old rocking mercury switches that made those "aircraft lights" (not their real name: they're "Code Beacons") blink had almost worn though the insulation.

     (ALBERT's job was checking to see if the Code Beacons were blinking or not, accomplished by means of a current transformer/rectifier per light, each one producing a little zot of DC every time the light flashed.  A clever circuit called a "missing-pulse detector" checked that those little zots were arriving, and not too far apart; if they stopped, got too far apart, or stayed on, the missing-pulse detector nudged a NAND gate and the NAND gate told an optoisolator. The optoisolator told the remote control, the remote control told the operator on duty and he picked up a telephone and told me.  I'd tell him, "Okay, I'll check on it," and then start looking for my car keys and a change of socks.  One minor problem was that the newer Code Beacons use LEDs, which take a lot less current for the same light output.  ALBERT was never quite sure about them.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Miz Athena, She's Shy

     I was excited yesterday morning -- I got home about 11:45, having worked an early shift, and by chance, discovered another Spiny Micrathena spider in her web in the back yard.

     The earlier one had departed a few days ago.  Micrathena is a bit of a vagabond, casting their nets in the same place for a just little while before moving on.  It's not as much a burden as you might expect: these spiders take their web down every day and spin a new one.  Considering that the largest spider of this family I have yet seen was no more than three-eighths of an inch across at full extension and their yard-wide webs hang from silk cables six feet or more from anchor to anchor, this a remarkable level of industry.

     The new spider was lighter than the previous one and had a larger spiny "crown."  She was busy preparing a housefly for lunch -- yay, spider! -- as I came close to photograph her with my smartphone.  It was difficult to get it to focus and she stopped work a couple of times, obviously aware of something huge looming close.

     Tam returned from the range about a half-hour later and we left for lunch soon after.  Remembering the spider, I went to point it out and--  Nothing.  No spider.  No web.  Not a sign to show the spider was ever there.

     The Spiny Micrathena does not care for publicity.

     All I have are a few blurry cellphone pictures.  If any of them are worth sharing, I'll post them here.  Pretty blurry. Here's the best:
     For scale, that's an ordinary housefly.  She's not much larger.

    The spider's upside down from this angle, so her "crown" is behind her.  You can just see the careful netting of her web at the edges of the photo.

Monday, August 10, 2015


     Noticed when I went to the dentist:

     Yes, only the lower word remains.

     I blame DHS.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Cicada: From The Darkness To The Light

     If cicadas thought as humans think, they might assume, upon their metamorphosis, that they have become angels: once a a tobacco-colored, burrowing sap-sucker, they emerge into the light to become winged creatures in pale colors outlined in black, with red or green highlights.

     On the other hand, they are bugs and their mental processes are not so complex; still, when Tamara and I noticed a largish, dark-colored bug crawling slowly and painfully up a chive stem, we recognized it for what it was: a cicada, newly emerged and looking for a place to grab on and find out what happens next!
     Sure enough, we we returned it had come out of its old skin.
A little blurry -- I didn't want to get too close.
    You can see the crumpled-up wings, which will slowly smooth out and harden--
     Hours later, the cicada hangs on with one set of legs, waiting patiently.

     Eventually it was ready to fly and the next time I looked, it was gone.  I added the empty carapace to my windowsill army while the cicada sang from the next yard over, one voice among many.  Some people don't like their calls, but if you'd spent your childhood in the dark and dirt, and emerged to a sunny afternoon and the power of flight when you grew up, you might sing, too!

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Saturday Morning, Isn't It?

     A nice, shiny one, too.  Yes, yes, very nice.  Quite beyond my budget, you understand--  Yes, even with a bank loan.  Out of the question.  No, of course I'd like to enjoy a nice Saturday morning, especially one as good as this one!

     It's just, you see, that I am in a fair amount of pain.  Really, an unfair amount.  Altogether too much....

     Kidding aside, I am hurting indeed and this truly lovely morning will probably have to get on with its loveliness without me.  Yesterday, a few pain pills turned hours of ouch into what felt like days of idle TV watching -- pilots of The Almighty Johnsons and Dark Matter, reruns of Twilight Zone and Kolchak: the Night Stalker.  Today, I think OTC pills and sleep.

     (The first series is about the New Zealand-dwelling incarnations of Norse gods, who have fallen on hard times in the godding business but are working on a comeback while living as more-or-less regular humans; the second appears to borrow from both Andromeda and Firefly and possibly Stargate: Universe.  Are they any good? I dunno.  ...Johnsons... gets high marks from a co-worker for quirky, well-written scripts.  If TZ and Kolchak don't ring any bells, I can't help you; the latter eventually fell short of its promise but did establish Chicago as the U. S. city most likely to suffer supernatural awfulness, later confirmed by The Dresden Files books and TV series, Special Unit 2 and occasional episodes of The X Files, among others.)

Friday, August 07, 2015

Tooth, Update

     The oral surgeon got the remaining parts of the tooth with only the usual amount of pressure, disturbing sounds, abrupt jars when the pliers slipped and the occasional worrisome muttering and requests for even more obscure tools -- "H'mm, I'll need the Number 12 Snivvy forceps, no, make that the Number five...  And a pitching wedge...."

     Now it's bleeding and bleeding.  The Novacaine is wearing off and...  And I'm an idiot.  I took a couple of pain pills right before I left and because I didn't want to eat anything, I took Tylenol.  Go now and loop up Norco or Percoset, drugs I happen to have been prescribed in the past and have on the shelf.  (They wrote me some more Norco today, just in case.)  Yes, they consist of a narcotic pain reliever and (drum roll please) Acetaminophen.  Paracetamol.  In a word, Tylenol.  In a word, dammit.  I can't take one until about, let's see, carry the t, divide by e to the x, h'mm, 11 or 11:30 a.m..

     Maybe I'll have some pudding and a frickin' Ibuprofen.  Because that's way more convenient than taking a couple and eating a cookie would have been, around about 7:20 this morning when I wasn't having to hold a roll of gauze over a bleeding hole in my gums.  Also I just misspelled seven owrds in the prgious tw sentences, much as you see in this one.  Oh, I'm Just Fine. Fine. No pain.  Well, some pain.  But no gain and I'm out $23, even, for the non-covered part of the extraction.

     Laters. Gah.

"The Tooth? The Tooth? You Can't Handle The Tooth!"

     Sadly, my most favorite premolar and I got divorced yesterday afternoon.

     It had been problematic off and on.  It was on the upper right, not the side that's been so dreadful much trouble.  It had been given a root canal decades ago and later capped, and was intermittently loose and a little pressure-sensitive.  Over the last several weeks, it got even looser and the gum around it was tender.  Went to the dentist yesterday to have it checked and she didn't like the wiggle and thought the X-ray was mildly suspect.  She went to remove however much was loose and with very little effort, pulled out all of the cap and most of the tooth, including one of the metal pegs from the root canal.  Left another one and a big hunk to tooth root behind and decided it needed next-level attention.

     The oral surgeon was unable to see me yesterday, so I'm headed there this morning.  They will remove whatever is left and then my dentist and I will figure out what's next.

     Dental implants are still crazy-expensive -- and covered at 50% by my insurance, which is better than nothing and gets the price down from "a decent used motorcycle" to "still not even close to affordable."  With this loss, I may be able to get some kind of a partial plate and possibly get a molar-replacement on the other side, which would be something of an amazement.

     But all that's for the future.  Today, I have to face an oral surgeon, the one kind of dentist that fills me with apprehension.  This is the specialty that brutally yanked a tooth (and a 5mm chunk of bone) on the upper left and then spent weeks telling me there was no hole in the bone, I was just imagining thing things, etc. etc. until I insistently begged them to open it up and take a look -- and lo, a miracle, there was a hole there all along and gee, they sure wish I had told them sooner, gee at that angle it was so hard to see on the X-ray....  All manner of ego-salve was applied (to and by the oral surgeons, that is) while I sat there in the chair and did a slow burn.  Really hard to deliver an outraged lecture with your mouth numbed up and full of instruments, which probably saved the day.

       Oral surgeons are DDSes with the ego of M.D. surgeons; it makes them touchy.  I'll smile a lot and be mindful of the fastest path to the exits. 

Thursday, August 06, 2015

The Fun, It Never Stops

     So, yesterday along about 4:45 in the p.m., I am sitting at the desk I use in Engineering down at the Main Campus of The Skunk Works -- and doing, if I may say, a very creditable job of holding it down, not to mention finally making a start on paperwork from last week -- when my immediate supervisor emerges from his tiny office, takes a quick inventory of Us Techs from the guy working vacation fill-in on the mid-late shift, to the near-retiree on days packing his briefcase to go home, to the empty desk shared by a tech on vacation and his peer who did the early-early shift on regular rotation at the start of the week and, finally, settles on me.

     He gives me The Grin.  "How would you like to go home early and still get paid for the rest of your shift?"

     "That bad, is it?"

     "I need somebody to work the three a.m. to eleven-thirty shift tomorrow.  Regular morning tech just called in sick."

     His options are another tech who left fifteen minutes earlier and already worked seven days of morning without a break last week, me or Nobody.  So of course I volunteer; last-minute overtime is of necessity and contract voluntary, even when it really isn't.

     Drove home in a mental fog, in heavy and what appeared to be uncommonly foolish traffic; arrived without serious incident en route -- honking and dire looks, each given and received, isn't serious, right? -- and was in bed by 5:15.  Not asleep until after 6:30 and cat-feeding was finished, but you can't have everything.

     And now here I am.  Y'know, I'm starting to think my department may be just a little short-handed.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

0600 And Dizzy

     A later morning, after five days waking up crazy-early (for me) -- split, it is to be admitted by a weekend in which I did nearly noting, or at least reasonably approximated nearly nothing -- I find myself a bit dizzy, which in light of yesterday is not unexpected.

     You see, work started yesterday at 0730 but it didn't finish up until after 2200, which us plain folks know as ten p.m.  Mostly, I have been working on some routine record-keeping, repair and housekeeping tasks at the highly-automated, normally-unoccupied Skunk Works North Campus while drawing a schematic of the the new equipment* and "supervising" electricians who needed little supervision, past the basic outline of the work and a half-dozen or so minor problems that cropped up.  They were working with 120/208V, three phase, installing a new control box about one person wide.  My part of the work necessarily followed theirs, moving various monitoring connections to the new equipment from the old equipment (scarily in a very high current breaker panel where low-voltage telemetry connections ought not be made, or at least not made as my predecessors had made them, on a small budget and without due reference to the National Electrical Code).  I'd pretty well worked out the details, but had to trace out a splice box and move things around at telemetry/control IO panels and add a few jumpers in the new equipment; by the time I was done and had cleaned up after myself, it was well past seven p.m.

     And wouldn't you know it, one part of the project -- most of it -- only operates after dark.  The electricians and I had tested it, blocking the light sensor and seeing it come on, and we'd operated the new, solid-state equipment for fairly long periods of time, but it still had to be verified and one of the mods I'd made replaced a remote meter with a series of status indicators -- for want of a better term, "idiot lights."  Those won't work at the far end until I make some software changes, also at the far end.  The upshot of all this was that I was going to need to return after the end of civil twilight and make sure the system was running.

     Went home, sat down and relaxed, and eventually realized I could bribe Tam into riding along if I offered to get us some drive-by food.  Around 9:45, we departed for the North Campus, checked the system on arrival -- so far, so good! -- grabbed dinner (roast beef sandwiches; I still remember when the first Arby's showed up in my corner of the hinterlands and what a treat it was!) and trundled home.  I went to bed hours later than has been my recent practice, woke up scary-early, and laid there half-awake until the alarm went off.

     Small wonder I'm dizzy.  On the other hand, they pay me by the hour and days like yesterday are why.
* Look, Mr. Device-Builder, I get that we probably don't need to know anything but the I/O connections but really, you sell me something wired point-to-point that I may be working on in the middle of the night, something that has got to be reliable, and you balk about supplying a schematic?  Fine.
(Yep, I "greeked" out the details.  I can draw it, but the design is not mine to share.)
  I own large-format graph paper.  I have my own schematic now, with snarky notes about your use and misuse of wire colors.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Reporting At Wit's End:

     The rest of the title is Tales From The New Yorker, but don't let that get to you.  I've been reading it for nearly a week now, a bit every evening at bedtime.  It's a collection of drawn-from-life articles from the 1930s onward from the talented St. Clair McKelway, a reporter with a keen eye for humanity and a keener ear for language.  His tone and style are what Heinlein aspired to (and often achieved).  His subject matter ranges from true crime to a tragicomic military farce to what appears to be -- I'm still reading it -- a spy spoof.  The latter was expanded to novel length; I may have to hunt it up.

     One of his reports was the basis for the movie Mr. 880, about an elderly fellow who counterfeits one-dollar bills, badly, and gets away with it for years.  It's about as charming as you think and the film's happy ending was largely what happened in real life, too.

     McKelway, who appears to have been an engaging man in his own real life, a man who enjoyed drink and made five tries at wedlock, didn't bother to finish High School.  His effortless-seeming prose, well above The New Yorker's high standards, shows why he didn't need to.

     Highly recommended.  This guy can write -- and he knows how to choose his subjects.

Monday, August 03, 2015

0430 And A New Week

     Other than photographing a spider, I did just about nothing over the weekend.  I enjoyed it and I have a bit of a knack for it, but now it's back to the grindstone.  Is that close to the salt mines, do you think?

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Spider! But First, "Full-Service Shop?"

     Warning: if you can't stand spiders, you need to skip this one.  Right now.  Do not scroll down; do not pass Go, and do not collect fifty thousand scary-looking spiderlings who will scamper through your dreams each night, trailing gossamer strings of web, barking quietly and biting you if you so much as twitch.

     First, I digress: this building has been slowly growing just north of Kessler Boulevard and College Avenue* and recently sprouted a sign:
They'll also walk dogs.  And change your oil.  Maybe.
     A closer check of other signage along the fence reveals the bank-with-lunch is only the first floor and they're looking for a tenant for the second floor.  I was thinking maybe a day spa/machine shop combo.

      That was for the anti-spiderers, for the people whose reaction is the exact mirror of the poor hairy wolf-spider whose funnel-shaped web I carelessly damaged one side of with a weed-eater last week -- the poor thing didn't know whether to sound Battle Stations, General Quarters or Collision Alarm, and raced crazily from one side of her web to the other a few times, finally settling at the neck of the funnel and bouncing indignantly as I directed the weed-whacker elsewhere.  I said, "Sorry, lady, I thought you'd moved out," but it didn't help.  She kept bouncing.

     Nope, don't look farther if you can't cope with spiders.

     Okay, are they gone?  Here's a new creature who has set up shop near the patio, not a tiny little airship spider seining gnats with fairy webs that vanish in strong light, nor a big old wolf spider hoping for a small mouse but a real builder, with a web that spans six feet from anchor to anchor.  Here's one of my better attempts to show the working part, with both spider and lunch in evidence:
Spider at left, just above center, lunch (and possibly decoy) to the right and lower.
     The spider itself -- probably herself, as those male spiders that don't get eaten after the wedding tend to be travelling fellows and who could blame them? -- the spider herself could probably sit comfortably on my little fingernail were it not for the way I would be yelling, "Get it off me!" and shaking my hand.  But what a shape!
Maybe I saw this on the Late Movie and not in a nature book.
     I've seen a picture of a spider like this (though I can't remember where) and it may be a cousin of the little spiders that have encamped in the back yard.  It's patterned, too, and tries to look more like debris than a spider when it's just waiting for prey.

     Update: Probably a Spined Micrathena Spider. Some of these photos are very close.
* By their titles, you are to be given to understand that these are Streets To Be Reckoned With, not to mention Navigated By, and Thoroughfares Of Standing indeed.  I believe Avenues are outranked by Boulevards, which in turn are subordinate to Parkways -- and Parkways answer only to the Almighty.  Or the Street Department, which is almost the same thing when it comes to roads. 

Saturday, August 01, 2015

The Relativity Of Luxury

     I've been getting up a four a.m. most of this week.  This morning I wallowed in the delicious idleness of not getting out of bed until shortly before six.  It was wonderful!

     GenCon is in town and I may look into it.  Due to work and other obligations, I missed The International Hoard Of Late* during the last one, which was unfortunate, since he was involved in a couple of classes and/or panels on writing. I think very highly of his ability to write entertaining fiction.
* L. Correia.  He totally fails to live up the the nickname -- doesn't even have a lair in a volcano.  James Bond himself scoped out the man's place, then went back and got drunk at the airport bar before flying home to London and getting yelled at by M.  The TSA took all his kewl stuff, too.  That's why the Grauniad hates Larry.