Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hello, Dali

     What did I just watch...?

     A local TV reporter lead the 6:00 a.m. news today, standing in front of a not-yet-opened Dollar General store, covering, well--  That's the problem.  She was reporting on something which clearly involved police, one of whom had, at some point during the night, discharged his sidearm, possibly in the general direction of a suspiciously-lurking man, about whom it appeared there had been a 911 call, for reasons that were not made clear but presumably having to do with the lurking and the suspiciousness.  No one, it seemed, had been shot or hurt, but "the caller had given a detailed description of the suspect, which the officer matched," which was about the point at which I lost the thread entirely.

     It was word salad.  Mind you, the reporter had strung together all the usual words -- indeed, most of the usual phrases -- but not in a way that made coherent sense.  I'm fond of relating thoughts in an unusual manner, filled with allusions and complex sentences, and I know when I'm in over my head.  This reporter had drowned several times over and gave no sign of grasping her lapse into nonsense.  I fulled expected to see a police spokesperson with doors or windows, or an elephant-giraffe stilting by in the background, on legs slender as threads.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Soylent What?

     So, this morning I'm cooking a sausage for breakfast, and I look at the label:
Polish Sausage
25% less fat than beef or pork sausage
     That's it.  Doesn't say if it's made with turkey, chicken, tilapia, TVP, nope, nothing.  Just "Polish."

     It was delicious.  But I'm still kinda worried.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Finally, A Garden...?

     Not quite.  After a year (a year!) or tarping-over the raised bed in front of the house, I laid down permeable barrier cloth and began to commence to start over -- about two bags of topsoil short of the mark!  There was enough to start the solitary herb that will live among the flowers (rosemary) and to cover most of the barrier. 

     Tamara, who already provided the rosemary, will pick up a couple more bags of topsoil today and with any luck, I'll be planting mixed-wildflower seeds this evening.

     Meanwhile, the hostas and ditch-lilies flourish, the stonecrop is doing well (and I'd like to add to it, more stonecrop and possibly tall yarrow at the back) and the wild violets are running wild and the little white flowers that carpet the front yard have passed their peak.  The little patch of mint is doing all right but might like a bit of the topsoil to help out.  This is gardening-by-default: I'm growing what grows mostly on its own.  The stonecrop and mint are additions that have worked out; the rest was already here.

     First mowing of most of the front yard was last week and the rest of it it will have to be tonight or tomorrow night, ahead of predicted rain Wednesday.  I'm always reluctant to get too aggressive as long as the little wildflowers are blooming; grass and weeds are one thing but it seems wrong to be buzz-cutting flowers.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Return To Peru

     To the Peru Hamfest, that is -- it's an amateur radio swapmeet, officially the North Central Indiana Hamfest, organized by ham radio clubs in Cass, Maimi and Grant Counties and the city of Kokomo, which includes a lot of my "old neighborhood," neighborhoods being kind of large in rural Indiana.

     It's always a good one, not huge but full of interesting items.  I passed up a few I probably shouldn't, like big variable capacitors and roller inductors, but I came away with several vacuum tubes (6BG6s, a kind of 6L6 with a plate cap or an 807 with an octal base, a "sleeper" beam power tube that is often overlooked) and a wooden-boxed Western Union-tagged AC voltmeter built by Daven, with a nice Weston meter.  If the meter itself is still good, it may be a useful item.  If not, it'll at least be decorative.
     Here's the meter.

     One the way back, Tam and I stopped off at the Grissom museum.  Grissom AFB (formerely Bunker Hill) was a big SAC base, now AF Reserve, and the little museum there has a nice assortment of unusual aircraft -- including one of the odd-looking drones intended for the SR-71!   Tamara got a lot of photographs before we proceeded onward to Kokomo and dinner at a chain steak joint,* and the on to a good-sized antique mall on the south side of Kokomo.

     I found an interesting device -- while the little buzzer/light/code key toys aren't uncommon, this one is, an "Official Scout Signaler," with a wrinkle-finished metal case.
     Good luck trying to signal a Scout with it: Boy Scouts haven't been required to lean the code in decades and from my experience, Girl Scouts never were.  The water-slide decal is starting to curl and I'm not sure what to do about it.
Tamara Keel photo

     I also bought a set of full-sized "gas burner pliers" in good shape.  Small ones are still made and either size has two or three sets of jaws milled into the gripping end, intended to grip round surfaces.  They're pretty handy.  The same seller had nice small green-shaded hanging lights, fully restored.  I bought one for my hamshack and it looks like it will be a better fit than some of the ones I have looked at in the past.

     A fun day!  We got home around 4:00 p.m. and I laid down and promptly fell asleep for four hours: quite a lot of driving, and it does wear me out.
* The Amish place across from the museum looked pretty darned busy. Plus I think Tam harbors a secret fear they'll kidnap her to a life of children, kitchen work and the church.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

No One He Knows Voted For The Guy

     Adam Gopnik at the venerable old New Yorker magazine can, on a really bright day, almost see himself in a mirror -- but he still can't see what's over his shoulder.  In this regard, he has less vision than the late Pauline Kael, who was self-aware enough to muse, “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

     Mr. Gopnik seems to feel only outraged disappointment at the voting public, and pure outrage not only at Mr. Trump, but at any reporter or commentator who looks for the least scrap of Presidential behavior by the current President.  --Where Mr. Gopnik was when then-President Obama responded to a critic with, "We won," I don't know, but cheering from the sidelines is probably a good bet.

     I was hoping for balance and what I got was a screed; I'm no fan of Mr. Trump (and was far less a fan of his opponent) but like Mr. Obama, he did indeed win.  Screaming and whining, especially under the headline, "The Persistence of Trump Derangement Syndrome," communicates only one thing: TDS is here to stay.  I already knew that.

     On the wider stage, Presidential Derangement Syndrome has been with us for at least decades and probably longer; it is easier for most people on the losing side of an election to believe the current President is a scheming thug than admit that, state by state, a majority of their fellow citizens* made a choice they dislike.  Yeah, well, they do.  They have been doing so all my life.  Get over it and move on, or continue to be led by addled commentators.  Commentators like...ahem.  Oh, hi, Adam.
* "...state by state, a majority..."  This is how the Electoral College works.  It's how it has always worked. And it's okay to dislike the outcome; you are not also obliged to disparage the process simply because you don't like the current results.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Oh, The Dentistry!

     Yes, I'm up at oh-dark-thirty because I'm due -- overdue! -- for a cleaning and exam.  I try to schedule these things outside of work hours, helped by the fact that I start my work day after the bankers (but it ends well after the cows have come home).  All the dentist had available was the very first appointment of the day, and her day starts before the rooster crows.

     Which is why I'm up so early, and perhaps explains why this odd mix of livestock and bankers are milling around in front of my mind's eye.

- - -

     On another medical note, maybe the prescription anti-inflammatory is doing something. It had better; since all I can take is acetaminophen and I'm trying to stay at 50% of the maximum dose so I have some reserve capacity if things get bad, I'm out of OTC painkiller options.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Physical Security: It Works

     They say, "Locks only stop an honest man," but down at Bradis Guns, on the southwest side of Indianapolis, locks, block walls and a stout door stymied would-be thieves, who tried to use a couple of stolen cars to ram their way into the building and then tried to shoot the lock off the front door.

     It didn't work.  They drove away empty-handed.  Police are looking for a black Hyundai Accent, presumably a bit dented.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

About Those Anti-Inflammatories

    So far, less effective than the ibuprofen.  Kind of a lot less effective.  But I'm only 24 hours into them.

Then The P.S.

     So I went and saw the doctor yesterday; she added an anti-inflammatory to the witch's brew of colorful candies I'm taking and told me to stop taking ibuprofen, as the two work in similar ways and taking them together is too darned much.  (Tylenol is still on the menu, as is a baby aspirin per day.)  So, fine, fine, in and out with minimum damage and something new to try--

     And then, after a perfectly lovely day working in the construction zone at work, barely ahead of the carpeting crew and getting in the way (a little) of the electricians hanging lights and the ceiling-tile guys (a lot) on their tall stilts, I get back to my desk and my cell phone, which has the message light blinking: Nurse Adam, calling to tell me that the doctor meant to send me over for labs, and could I please drop by at my convenience?

     Yeah, sure.  But not this morning, because it was more convenient to make a mushroom, mozzarella and bacon omelette, in compensation for my English muffin and coffee breakfasts the past two days and the "probably none at all" I will enjoy (?) on Friday before heading up to see the dentist before dawn is hardly broken.

- - -

     By the way, it works perfectly well to microwave the mushrooms (2 - 3 minutes) instead of taking the time to pan-fry them, and it's probably better for you.  Portobello, oyster and shiitake mushrooms, a nice combination and sold in about the right amount for a three-egg omelette.  I added exactly one (1) crumbled Ritz cracker to the egg mix, which worked fine, cooking just a bit fluffy and quite sturdy enough to fold over.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Off To The Doctor Again

     Eye doctor yesterday, regular doctor today.  I feel like I should start a long, pointless and vaguely horrifying story about lumbago or psoriasis or possibly geloso,* but I won't.  That medical stuff is pretty dull or pretty dire and either way, best not explored in detail.  No, I don't have any of those ailments.

     Spent some extra time at work last evening, running last-minute wires. The network cable we ordered showed up.  The carpet guys showed up, unloaded half their stuff, left "to pick up the rest" and flaked off for the day instead of returning.  A win for my side, not so great for the contractor's project manager.  Flooring crews tend to be sensitive, artistic types, or perhaps just finicky because the other trades literally walk all over them.  Good to get done but it takes its toll -- got home way late, did laundry while eating pizza Tam had ordered, and went to bed.
* The latter actually a brand of amateur radio equipment by Italian-American John Geloso, who went back to the Old Country after WW II to build it, doing well while doing good.  But I wanted to throw in a ringer and it seemed to fit.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Can't Think Of A Headline

     (Title with a tip of the ol' poetic license to Vincent Furnier, who knows how to hang a lantern on a lack of inspiration.*)

     Had a lovely shopping trip yesterday afternoon and picked up some of the materiel needed to get the raised flowerbed out front going.  It was a weed-filled disaster last year; I finally put a tarp over it and gave up.  This week, as time permits, the worst weeds under the tarp will get dug out, I'll lay down a barrier cloth (which I have), secure it with landscape pins (which I don't have), cover it with decent topsoil and sow with assorted wildflowers, plus a few taller ones at the center.

     It's also time to get some more stonecrop for the formerly bare spot next to the steps.  I like the look of the plant and it does all right on that patch or ground; I have been filling it in with more and more of them for the last few years.  The mint and hosta bed wants raked out, too, and I spent a little while sorting out the "Creeping Charlie" (a pervasive though harmless and somewhat decorative edible weed with purple flowers) from the mint -- it likes to sneak in among the fragrant herb and the leaves of the two plant resemble one another, especially early on.

     My front yard is once again overrun with with small white flowers and wild violets, which I am reluctant to mow.  The strip between the sidewalk and street must get mowed this week and sooner rather than later.  In the back yard, the battle between me and the Winter Creeper continues -- I keep pulling it up but it's determined stuff, nowhere near as friendly as the Creeping Charlie.  Winter Creeper attacks trees and will kill them if not kept in check; it grows on fences and gets into the wood of them, too.  There are still plenty of violets out back and --despite my best efforts -- no shortage of dandelions.  I spent some time Sunday evening on a "lion hunt" in the near section of the back yard and out front.  Can't get them all but they can be kept in check -- and I don't really mind one or two, just don't let them know that!
* As in "We can't even think of a word that rhymes," one of the most recursive lyrics ever, found in the song School's Out.  Yes, that Vincent Furnier.  And now that I have written my piece, I could easily find a title, but I think I'll leave the one I started with for the sake of this footnote.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

It's Sunday And I'm Still Tired

     I'm sure I have an interesting post for the day in my head somewhere, but this one isn't it.