Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“Judge not, lest. . .”

June 9, 2007

I really think that’s good advice where people are concerned. I do make an effort to withhold judgement about people (although not necessarily about their behavior, as you may have gathered if you’ve been following some of the spirited discussion on this site).

But in the case of Paris Hilton, I confess I’m having a problem holding to my resolve. If she has a medical condition (the news reports hint at mental issues) that precludes her being confined in jail, let her serve her sentence in a mental hospital until she is certified competent or at least stable. I doubt that she would enjoy it, but she’s a little too old (or at least should be) to be calling for Mommy and throwing tantrums in a courtroom where it would appear she has been summoned for legitimate cause.

Another of my favorite movies is “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

A part of me really wants to feel sorry for her. But I’m finding it nearly impossible. My shortcoming, I’m sure.

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Rabbit, where have you gone?

June 8, 2007

WordPress says you’ve deleted your blog, but you were there just a day or two ago.

I know you have my e-mail address, so tell me how to catch up with you.

I need anger management classes

May 10, 2007

I have wasted the better part of three hours (not to mention a half gallon of gas in the generator. . .) uninstalling, reinstalling, disabling, reenabling, and otherwise f***ing with software on my other computer, and so far it’s no better than it was. “Uninstall” programs are mostly brain-dead, downloads sometimes work and sometimes don’t, and this is frankly making me nuts.

 I suppose it’s a good think I don’t work for the post office. Some midday gardening calmed me down a bit while making my arms very tired.

But I am generally really pissed off at the moment, and I’m tempted to just abandon the computer entirely, which would mean shutting this site down. I know people who speak with pride of not having e-mail, and the experiences of the last two days help me understand that attitude.

But I still know how to write with a pen or pencil. . .

I am in computer hell

May 9, 2007

. . .and unlike the “angina monologues,” this isn’t even remotely in jest. Something on my system keeps starting a system process that requires 100% CPU utilization. I tried uninstalling IE 7 (even though I really like it). That didn’t fix the problem, but at least I have to only stop the process once.

I woke up this morning with a poem in my head. Now, this wouldn’t be totally remarkable except it was written (or heard) in the style of Robert Creeley, a poet I had to listen to dozens of times to start to comprehend. It’s the right style for the poem, but it’s completely unlike anything I’ve ever written before.

Do you suppose the apocalypse is near?

I’m writing this on an IE 6 browser, and I already hate it. I think I’m going to try reinstalling IE 7. I had to do that once before (2 months ago). Maybe Microsoft has fixed some of the glitches. . .

A short update on the progress of spring here

February 17, 2007

Today was about as perfect as a February day gets on the Big Elk–about 60 degrees, sun shining brightly until just a little while ago. Now it’s clabbering up for a little more rain from the look of things.

Bulbs up everywhere, even places I didn’t know I had bulbs. I think once things start to naturalize (I’m more and more coming to the conclusion that this is what happens when the gardener neglects them, although the fancy garden magazines would have you believe it’s a planned strategy), they hit critical mass and become as out of control as everything else around here. But in the case of spring bulbs, I guess that’s a good thing.

Still haven’t figured out what the pink shoots in the flower bed are, but I’m pretty sure they’re not blackberries. They’re not growing fast enough. . .

Snowdrops and early daffodils in bloom. Larkspur up down by the river, buttercups everywhere. I think my dogwood tree is finally going to bloom this year. It has one definite fully developed flower bud on it and what appear to be many others forming. Hurray! It was just a 12-inch stick when I planted it some years ago. My redbuds bloomed last year, so now I’m just waiting to see what happens with the hawthorn.

My brother and his wife are visiting this weekend. We’re all doing a fine job of ignoring the elephant in the living room and eating and drinking well instead.

Now I’m off to make chili.

Water’s back in service, yeast bread’s rising, all is well in the world again

January 18, 2007

We made it through the freeze with all pipes intact, and yesterday the water system thawed enough to fill and overflow the tank last night. Sweetest music in the world, that overflow trickle, as we were down to about the last 20 gallons or so.

But it’s nearly 40 (F) today, the remainder of the snow is melting, and the sun’s even shining a bit. Bread dough is rising by the kitchen stove.

This morning, I wrote the first poem draft I’ve written since I finished grad school in June. Perhaps the long post-grad-school slump is finally over. I was listening to one of the “Joy of Science” lectures yesterday, and what I heard was so poetic that I’m going to go write another.

But right now, there’s a gorgeous golden-crowned kinglet sitting on a branch right outside the window near my desk. He’s watching me peck away here, and I’m watching him watch me. I love my office. It’s on the second floor, up among the trees, windows on three sides, so it’s almost like an aerie.

OK, I’ve had enough winter

January 17, 2007

I love having four seasons. And a bit of snow and ice let me know that winter has come (and gone). Brenda reminded me yesterday on our way to town that she and Ralph had asked this specific question: “What about snow and ice?” We, of course, reassured them that we got a little of each every winter but it never hung around. We both had a good laugh.

Our water has now been out for about a week. We’re down to a very small (<100 gallons) amount in the tank that we’re reserving for flushing. Ralph brought a 5 gallon carboy with spring water in it up tonight so I could do a week’s worth of dishes. Our intake pipe appears to be frozen for most of the quarter mile it runs to the spring. Ben says that where it’s exposed (it has mostly buried itself in duff over the years), the ice is half an inch thick on the outside. But the temperature is above freezing tonight, and the fog has settled in, which tends to keep the heat on the ground. Two more days of this and we’ll have water again.

I talked to friends in Waldport and Newport today. It’s thawed both places, so there’s hope. My poet friend Ruth in Waldport has lived on the coast for decades. She assures me that this sort of weather only happens every 11-15 years. So I figure once we get through this, we have a whole series of mild winters to look forward to.

But our house is warm, the food is good (occasionally great), and the outdoors is incredibly beautiful. I can’t imagine any place I’d rather be.

The seven sisters are singing tonight

January 15, 2007

It’s mid-January, so the Pleiades are coming up at a reasonable viewing hour. Orion, who chases them across the sky, is still among the fir trees.

It’s still cold, and our water system is still frozen. But with conservation I figure we’re good for another 4-5 days. And the plus (the clear that goes with the clear/cold or warm/wet syndrome), is that many of the billions and billions of stars out there are visible tonight. The Milky Way is so thick it looks like smog.

A wonderful evening with pot roast, the neighbors, and two wood fires. A good southern hemisphere wine (a Penguin cabernet), some good stories, even some good music–I’m singing along with the Pleiades tonight. Tomorrow I think I might clip my fingernails and get out the little Guild guitar.

Big, fluffy, noisy birds about 2 inches long and other effects of weather

January 14, 2007

Man, it’s cold. Got clear up to 31 degrees (Fahrenheit) this afternoon, the warmest it’s been for days. Drove into Toledo today (we were almost out of scotch, and that’s unacceptable, especially in this weather, particularly with that three-day-weekend coming up–for you out-of-staters, in Oregon you can only buy liquor at a state-licensed store that basically sells only liquor and maintains about the same hours as your local bank) and I think it was a degree or two above freezing there. Most of the ice melted off my truck.

But there is something awry in our water system. The overflow has quit running. This could mean a) the overflow pipe is frozen, in which case the tank is probably covered with ice from water leaking out, or b) (more likely) the intake pipe is frozen, in which case we’ll shortly be out of water. You may remember we’re using a temporary intake system because of spring issues earlier in the fall that caused me to go out and have an adventure buying a humongous load of redwood and blah, blah, blah. Ben came in today when I was washing up the lunch dishes and said, “Doing dishes is a very fine thing, but you might want to consider not washing anything you don’t absolutely need until things thaw a bit.” Music to my ears.

The winter wrens are very active right now. They are so tiny and friendly–they come right up and wag their tailfeathers hello. But in this weather, they have their feathers fluffed up until they look almost as big as robins (would that I could do that with my skin–they never seem to be cold). But even funnier is that everything is frozen solid–all the leaves we didn’t get raked, the fern fronds, the berry bushes, the grass–and they sound like 50-pound dogs stomping around. This morning I thought some monster animal was trying to break into the living room, but it was just one of those silly birds just off the front stoop.

I made bread pudding last night for the first time ever. I had this remnant of very good home-baked bread that was just too stale to do anything else with. But I found a vintage recipe in my favorite cookbook. It was simple and sounded good. I fooled with it a bit, of course. I think I’m congenitally incapable of following a recipe exactly. But it turned out to be very tasty and nutritious. I had leftovers for breakfast–eggs, milk, bread, sounds like breakfast to me. Of course I had a grandmother who maintained that there was absolutely no difference in nutrition between apple pie with cream and fruit with toast and milk. So she fed her children fresh apple pie for breakfast nearly every morning. Some traditions are worth preserving, I think.

It’s supposed to warm up beginning tomorrow. Of course it was supposed to start warming up today, too. But I have my fingers crossed.

Dark matter, dark energy: Is this a matter of a god or of physics?

January 13, 2007

I don’t know, and more and more I’m coming to the conclusion that I don’t care. With each new revelation of science, I can’t help being reminded of the persecution of Galileo (who went against the common wisdom, not to mention the prevailing religious beliefs) and the consternation that greeted Copernicus when he overturned Ptolemaic theory.

But the current mysteries that are being uncovered as we discover more and more about the universe  amaze me. This week, the Christian Science Monitor published a composite photo of a portion of the universe arranged from a series of photos from Hubble. The photos purport to show that dark matter, the missing mass of the universe (if you accept the Big Bang theory), is neatly arranged in orderly patterns and that dark matter is what holds the various galaxies together.

Furthermore, on Science Friday, a very eloquent scientist described the war between dark matter, that mysterious unknown substance that appears to bind elements of the universe together, and dark energy, the anti-gravity force that drives the universe to keep expanding.

This stuff is totally mind-boggling. I don’t even care, at this point, what the answers turn out to be. I am relatively sure that they will not be discovered in my lifetime. What’s more, I’m not sure that we puny humans are even capable of discovering them, or if we did, that we could begin to understand them.

My mind refuses to imagine the conditions prior to the Big Bang–how a single point could expand to fill a void, and to keep filling that void as the universe keeps expanding into nothing. I can’t even imagine “nothing,” if the truth be known.

I’m inclined to believe in “god,” but I have no idea what it is. But the alternative is unthinkable, and I mean that literally. Based on what I know today, I cannot comprehend a void. My thoughts are so tied up with sensory experience that to imagine a nothing is outside the realm of possibilities.

But I love this stuff. If we could spend a tenth of what we spend each year on things like weapons and espionage in exploration (and spend the other nine-tenths to make the world a better place and people’s lives better), who knows what mysteries we might uncover. One of the things of which I am convinced is that each new answer will open up another set of mysteries. We are just too inadequate to grasp the whole thing.

I stood outside this evening and watched the Pleiades rise (It’s 24 degrees Fahrenheit outside at the moemnt, so this was no trivial stargazing.). Orion is probably out there right now, chasing the seven sisters across the sky, and Leo will follow later tonight, with Aquarius up there pouring water on his head. So much for my sophisticated knowledge of astronomy. But when I stand outside on a clear night with no ambient light and see how many stars there are to be seen, and when I stop to understand how many centuries some of this light has been traveling toward me, I know that I am greatly enriched.

Or, of course, it may be that the whole thing is a hallucination, a mental illusion. Who  knows?