Yard today

9/23/17 07:01 pm
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Missing Christine who is off to the Charlotte film festival. Her sister is at another, smaller film festival this weekend, in Hickory, NC. My eyes and ears said it was a beautiful autumn day, but - ugh, try and do anything and the humidity made itself known.

I realized a good order of landscape projects would be to remove the azalea from the tiny "courtyard" -- the little pocket of landscaping on the north side of the house walled to the west by the garage, the north by the kitchen and the east by the entry porch. It's not large enough or fully enclosed, but it's distinct enough a space to need a name.

After trimming the azaleas far back - to essentially stumps -- the ferns were all visible, and i could easily pull out the native-but-annoying false nettle. I also gently pruned the azaleas on the other side of the front porch, and "renovated" the lilac by cutting back all its elderly trunks to the level of all the sprouts coming up around the base. I also took out the butterfly bush: i'd found seedlings elsewhere. Nope, i'm focusing on the native pollinator plants, thank you.

Now the front seems much tidier -- as the lilac and butterfly bush were both scraggly things. We've talked about having something sculptural in the "courtyard." When we find the right thing, the remaining azalea can be removed.

Now that that was done, i moved some pipsissewa (aka spotted wintergreen, Chimaphila maculata) and some of the moonwort/grapeferns (Botrychium spp) from where the driveway routing will take them out to the courtyard.

I spent much of my inside time reading about all the species of Botrychium i could, traversing various keys, and deciding i mostly have Botrychium biternatum but might have one Botrychium dissectum.

I've been surprised that it wasn't until now that i

--== ∞ ==--

It turns out the FLora of North America is accepting gifts to sponsor the illustration of a plant. It's $200 - http://floranorthamerica.org/node/410 -- Lupins are available right now...

Meanwhile, Carrie is restless so i'm streaming PBS shows on deer to keep her entertained. I think i'm not going to feel guilty about entertaining her with videos.
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
In our post-conference one of my students mentioned that she took care of a patient with an interesting syndrome--Takotsubo Syndrome. It is a condition brought on by stress, which looks like a heart attack, but isn't. The left ventricle balloons out, and the heart resembles a Japanese octopus trap.

It is also known as broken heart syndrome. It is almost always seen in women, and can occur as the result of a severe stress event, such as the loss of a husband. As soon as my student mentioned it, I recalled reading about it about 12 years ago. I got to talk with the patient a bit and asked what had happened before she was admitted. She recounted that she was shopping, and that was about it.

Today was Mercy Day, which recalls the founding of the Sisters of Mercy, who also founded the hospital I have my students at. They had a nice breakfast buffet set up in the outdoor patio and everyone came out to get something to eat. I ran across someone I had never met, but had sent a bunch of emails to. I introduced myself and told her I was the nursing instructor. To myself I said, "I sent you a whole bunch of emails that you never responded to." In spite of never responding, she was very complimentary toward my students and told me how much they enjoyed having them in her department. Ok then.

I received a Hello Kitty wearing a Boise State t-shirt from one of the people in my doctoral program. She asked how my project was going. I guess I have to tell her.

hello kitty gang

The Hello Kitty gang with their newest member.

This evening my Second Life friends and I had a rockabilly party. One of the newer people to stumble into our little group asked us to play some rockabilly songs, so we all dressed up and someone put together an awesome rockabilly set. We had such a good time that we decided to take a picture. One of our group is a SL photographer, so spent some time getting us all in order. I took this picture while she was still setting up. Hers is better, but mine isn't bad.

attic rockabilly

I'm the tall guy in the middle. I have been fooling around with my avatar lately, and not sure how he ended up so tall. He looks nothing like me in RL.

I've been having out with most of these people for about 5 years now. I was going to say something about how interesting it is that you can make friends with people you have never met in RL, but I don't need to do that here. You know.

new york style

9/22/17 10:53 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
Today I went to Eddie's Napoli for lunch. I had a garden salad (dry) and two slices of cheese pizza. I sat at the counter. A television program in Spanish told stories of the Mexican earthquake. My pizza tasted great. This evening I walked in Bob Woodruff Park. I liked the Bluebird in the tree.

I am following the New Zealand election. My wife just got word in the past few weeks that her last surviving uncle died in New Zealand a few weeks ago. His daughter had moved him from Pennsylvania to New Zealand to have him nearby. I never met my wife's Uncle Wally, but I liked to hear about him. I hope Jacinda Ardern wins the election.

We watched a program raising funds for Texas hurricane victims.  Matthew McConnaughey was one of the speakers. I wanted him to say "alright, alright, alright" to make things more all right. They had Bonnie Raitt sing a song, but not play her guitar. I thought that odd.

Edie Brickell and Paul Simon sang an Ernest Tubb song. I remember seeing Edie perform with a very early incarnation of the New Bohemians in 1984 or 1985. She had stage presence even before she had quite figured it all out. She has stage presence still.

The President of the United States and the Supreme Leader of North Korea trade trash-talking tweets and quips about nuclear warfare. A school official at Baylor University reportedly decided to criticize the victims of sexual assault. I want to get outdoors tomorrow.

Kix and skim milk
2 slices pizza, a roll, garden salad
broccoli beef, mushroom chicken, mixed vegetables
mallorys_camera: (Default)
[personal profile] mallorys_camera
Dreamed that I was deeply, passionately in love with a brilliant architect, but he would never love me back because he was a dwarf, and at 5’10”, I was simply too tall.

I suppose the dream’s status detail is borrowed from the Celeste project, but it’s interesting the way it took something that many people, myself included, would view as an advantage, my height. And turned it into a disability.

###

I scraped yesterday’s English lesson with Samir in favor of helping him hammer out a business plan.

He seems bound and determined to transfer operations to New York City.

I think that plan is beyond awful, but I don’t get to make his decisions; I am but a tool for actualizing his goals, etcetera, ad nauseam.

“You know, there are an awful lot of people repairing phones in New York City,” I told him.

“Yes, but there are an awful lot of broken phones,” he said.

I suppose.

We sat in the library making up numbers:

Rent, New York City: $1500 for office; $1200 for living = $2700

Versus

Rent, Poughkeepsie: $1200 for office, $500 for living = $1700

Etcetera.

Samir, for whatever reason, is just bound and determined to have a physical address from which to run his smartphone repair empire.

I think that’s cray-zeee.

True, I know nothing about the commercial real estate market in New York City, but it seems to me that even if his rent guesstimate is correct – and I suspect it’s way low – it sticks him with a 12-month operational expense that would be a cement block around his neck if the business didn’t take off.

And he wants it to take off in three months.

Six months, Samir,” I said. “You want to have enough cash in reserve to tide you over for six months.”

“No, no, three months,” he said adamantly.

I think the ideal business model for him would be a mobile phone repair operation, which he could do in conjunction with his current admittedly awful job. (Not only is his current employer exploiting him, now his current employer is refusing to provide him with a reference! Because he doesn’t want to lose Samir!)

As the mobile repair biz gained traction, he could cut down on hours at the bad job.

He could do the repairs out of the back of his van. He could start off by parking the van three days a week alongside the Vassar campus.

(“But students,” said Samir. “They have no money.”

“Oh, trust me,” I said. “Vassar students have money.”)

He could paper the campus with fliers: Phone fixed while you wait! He could do the car wrap thing! Maybe his van could play a little jingle like an ice cream truck!

I sang the little jingle for him: “Oh, don’t you weep and don’t you moan, for Samir is here to fix your phone. La-la-la!”

Samir laughed.

“Really, you have to think in terms of your long-range plans, Samir,” I said.

Samir looked at his hands. “I want to marry my girlfriend. I want to bring her to the U.S. But, you know, in our culture, wives do not work. I do not want my wife to work. I want to make the house for her, and she will make me the home.”

Start-up costs for a mobile phone repair business should be considerably less than for a stationary phone repair business since he already has the tools he tells me, and presumably, word of mouth would be his chief marketing channel. So let’s say $5,000 for a van and another $1500 for a generator so he can sauter motherboards when necessary. If the business goes kaput, hey! he still has capital in the form of equipment that has some resale value.

I’m looking into crowd-sourcing platforms.

But how do I make Samir stand out from all those other worthy candidates vying for your Beneficent Bwana dollars?

###

First day of autumn. Wow! This summer went fast.

Hoping to drive to Barrytown and Annandale-on-Hudson this afternoon for a kind of Steely Dan nostalgia tour. But that will depend upon what my masters at the Scut Factory have in store for me.

over Uber

9/22/17 07:50 am
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
Last night we had 4 volunteers and dozens of clients at the Garland free legal clinic. We still finished by 9.15 p.m. The weather remains a bit hot. I find myself with plenty to do. Today I will wish my younger brother a happy birthday. We are 13 months apart. He's a good guy.

I saw Uber just got banned in London for its various unsavory practices. Though the idea of Uber appeals to me a little, I've never used it and been fairly resistant to its Kool-Aid. Our Texas legislature passed a law to circumvent an Austin city ordinance requiring background checks for its drivers, after Uber's multi-million dollar campaign to overturn  it ended. Our legislature is not immune to lobbyists. To give Uber fair play, Uber did help out during the recent storms, and apparently donated some space for a homeless shelter in Austin.On the other hand, Uber used software to elude would-be critics seeking a ride (with a "grayball" approach). Not my cup of tea.

Thursday breakfast: kix cereal and skim milk
Thursday lunch: roast beef sandwich on wheat and lays bbq baked chips
Thursday dinner: fried chicken breast and 2 legs, green beans and part of a biscuit


zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
I woke up about 5 minutes before the alarm went up and made some coffee and gave the cats their treats. I got ready for work and left before the sun came up. Tomorrow is the autumn equinox, and the days will continue to get shorter. Ok with me.

One of the nurses on the cardiac unit told me that my student would be taking care of a guy with a brand new really small pacemaker. I had heard about it a few weeks ago, but hadn't yet read anything about it until today. It is really really small. See Picture Below. It is implanted via a catheter through the groin, into the right ventricle of the heart. It has a battery life of up to 12 years. Pretty amazing, considering my phone battery can't even last a day.

Micra"/

While I was hanging out at the hospital today, I thought of something interesting to write here, but now I have forgotten it. I guess it wasn't that interesting after all. What could be more interesting than a picture of my thumb?
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
I finished up my lecture this morning and we played an hour of Fluid and Electrolyte Jeopardy. I love when I have the time to do this, and the students enjoy it as well. The great thing about it is it gets them to put down their pens and really think about the information rather than simply taking it down.

I break them into groups that correspond with their clinical groups and start the game. Everyone always goes for the $500 questions first, which are the most difficult. I love hearing the small groups figuring out what the correct answer is--it shows critical thinking. It is also interesting to see the group process, and who takes the lead in problem solving. I have more of these scheduled, and the time to do them.

I took them to the hospital after that, and sat outside reading their journals. It was another beautiful day--in the low 70s with a breeze. My favorite kind of weather. By the time I was heading home, clouds were rolling in, and there was some rain to the north and west of us.

I tried to take a nap, but wasn't tired enough, so I watched the last half of the final Harry Potter movie, then made an early dinner.

insurgent cat

"What are signs and symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism?"

noticing things

9/20/17 09:17 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
I got up very early this morning. I caught a train to downtown Dallas. I finished my business in mid-morning. I took the train back north. At my office, I got some things done. In the afternoon, I rode with a colleague back to downtown Dallas. When our business finished in the late afternoon, I rode the train back to Garland. I finished some work, then headed home. When I got home,  I found that my wife accidentally locked Beatrice outside in our fenced  yard. This was non-ideal, but Beatrice seemed happy as a clam. 

My wife and I walked in Glendover Park. We ate soft tacos.

This week I notice lots of things. Natural disasters in Mexico, Florida, south Texas, numerous Carribean islands and Sri Lanka. A friend from when I was a small child who is now a professor at SMU got a national honor as a teacher. A musician in Germany wrote a weblog post about, after her parents lived in East Germany, being the first generation in her family able to speak freely on political matters. On the train, the transit rail police tried to catch a minor transgressor. I got shaving cream at Sprouts, and feel relieved that it is not derived from organic rye oatmeal bits.

Our niece learned this week that she is flying down to see us in October. She thinks that's grand.

Breakfast: Kix Cereal and skim milk
Lunch: none
Dinner: soft chicken tacos

Fucking Mick Jagger

9/20/17 10:09 am
mallorys_camera: (Default)
[personal profile] mallorys_camera
All morning long, I’ve been musing over poor Evelyn Waugh who died of a broken heart because some B level pal told him he was boring.

I suppose I’m boring.

That’s because I’ve always been much more interested in books, and ideas, and the swoop of people’s lives, and those strange, uncategorized floaters of unencapsulated memory that seem to pop up at the oddest times, than I am in sex, celebrity, status detail that’s grounded in marketing trends rather than personal style.

I mean, if – for example – I decided to write about my sexual history over five decades, this could be the most popular blog on the Internet, right? Mick Jagger: Uncircumcised. His dick was maybe five and a half/ six inches. Very lazy! You had to crawl on top of him and grind! Celebrity spoils the mutuality ethic. It was a lot of work getting him off in fact, so much work that very little concentration was left to get myself off. But, hey! Mick Jagger.

Etcetera.

###

Actually, that description of Mick Jagger would bore most readers, too. Celebrity spoils the mutuality ethic, they’d think. Huh? What does “mutuality” mean? What’s an ethic? Why didn't she give him a score between 1 and 10?

Maybe I just can’t write anything that interests anyone other than me-e-e-e!

###

Strange, unsettled day. Tropical Storm Jose safely out to sea, but the winds are high and dense with moisture here in the quaint and scenic Hudson Valley so that walking any distance at all, one gets the sense of displacing one’s own weight.

One project, I need to finish; one project, I need to start. But you know me! I’m all about the meh.

I really need to have a long transcendental conversation with someone. That would get me back on track. I’m not isolated, but there’s practically no one in these parts who likes to have long, transcendental conversations. But those are catalysts for me. Plus they ground me in my own non-boringness. [Insert wistful smiley.]
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
I presented my first lecture of the semester on fluid and electrolytes. Much of it is preparatory for the content that is to come. It's a long lecture--about 5 hours over 2 days. I'll finish it tomorrow. I don't really need 5 hours. I can cover it in 4, but I use the last hour to play Fluid and Electrolyte Jeopardy.

It was interesting that, even with all the little stories I drop in, the lecture times out to each break almost to the minute. When it is break time, I make a note on the slide "Hour 1, fall 2017" or something like that. I have been on the same slides for my breaks three semesters in a row.

One of my favorite things about lecturing is dropping in those little stories. Sometimes they are related to the content, but sometimes they are just stories about nursing in general. I am very comfortable in the classroom, even though I am a shy introvert. I think I have made that observation previously. Probably every semester, at about the same date. lol.

I had to spend some non-classroom time typing up some more stuff from our accreditation meeting yesterday. I did it early, before class began. I didn't want to go in early, but glad I did so I could get it done and sent out.

Malida and I had dinner at the sushi place again. In spite of having just read some article about never ordering bacon-wrapped anything, I ended up ordering some bacon-wrapped scallops. I saw the author's point. My other disappointment was seeing a frozen gyazo delivery truck parked out back. Anyway, Malida loves the sushi there, so we will be back again.

bacon wrapped anything

The weather is so perfect these days. I sat out in the back yard a bit this afternoon and looked at my garden. there was a hibiscus blossom, and I took a picture. It was pretty low on the plant, so I dubbed it a lowbiscus.

lowbiscus

I engaged in a debate with my first wife's cousin's husband, a Trump Supporter, about the potential repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. We went back and forth, but remained civil. I posed a question four different times: What happens to a person without health insurance, who doesn't meet the criteria for either Medicare or Medicaid, who becomes seriously ill? Do we deny them care? Four times he avoided the question. For me, this question is the heart of the debate.

should be free

9/19/17 08:44 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
Today I walked in the shopping center in which my office building sits. I heard a story on the radio about a couple in Arkansas who needed relaxed underwriting standards to buy a house in light of $ 100,000 in student debt. The primary cause of this debt was not a decade in a Ph.D. program, but a simple library science master's. This bolstered my feeling that post-secondary public education should be free or reduced-cost.

Tomorrow I must rise early and go to downtown Dallas. I am usually pretty good at early rising. Our weather is a bit warm for the season.

breakfast: kix cereal
lunch: t-k-y sandwich, vegetable soup and baked chips
dinner pork chops, sweet potato and cabbage slaw

The Interesting Question

9/19/17 07:42 am
mallorys_camera: (Default)
[personal profile] mallorys_camera
Despite ample evidence to the contrary, every generation is secretly convinced that they’re the ones who invented sex.

Thus, books like Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead are always slightly shocking. The book chronicles – in the most exhaustive detail – Waugh’s youthful indiscretions both at Oxford and as the self-appointed chronicler of the Bright Young Things, which is what they called Generation X in the UK back in the 1920s.

These blurry buttocks belonged to Alistair Graham who accompanied his early 20th century version of sexting with instructions on the best way to drink fine wine: You must take a peach and peel it, and put it in a finger bowl, and pour the Burgundy over it. The flavour is exquisite.

The note is signed, With love from Alistair, and his poor dead heart.

Alistair came to a bad end.

But then, so did Waugh. He grew old and fat and Catholic, though his trenchant tongue continued to amuse. Upon hearing that doctors had removed a benign tumor from his sometimes friend Randolph Churchill, he confided in his diary, A typical triumph of modern science to find the only part of Randolph that was not malignant and remove it.

Ann Fleming a/k/a Mrs. Ian was one of the circle of friends in far-flung corners of the world with whom Waugh spent time. After one such Jamaican holiday, Waugh heard third-hand that he had bored Fleming and her guests while there, and that damning word “bored” threw him into a depression from which he never recovered. He lost his teeth, stopped eating, began drinking. Don’t let me in my dotage oppress you, he wrote his favorite daughter.

Waugh died on the toilet – just like Elvis! Damn! That Valsalva maneuver will get you every time.

Of course, this raises the interesting question: Is any end ever good? Except Lord Marchmain’s?



In that other place where it is always summer, the strawberries are always ripe, and Aloysius is always in a good humor, Waugh continues to live on. Because as is the case with most novels, Brideshead Revisited was really artfully rearranged autobiography, and Evelyn Waugh was Charles Ryder.

This is Madresfield Court, the manor house that inspired the Brideshead.

As you can see, it looks very little like Castle Howard, which is the house that posed as Brideshead both in the very fine 1981 miniseries and the mediocre 2008 film.

Unlike the harmonious, baroque mansion in the fiction, Madresfield – Olde English for “mowers’ field” – is an architectural hodgepodge, that has been lived in and added on to by the same family, the Lygons, since the time of the Domesday Book. A thousand years of continuous habitation! Nor was Brideshead the first piece of great fiction to be written about Madresfield: A dispute over the property was immortalized by Charles Dickens as Jarndyce and Jarndyce in one of his driest but most entertaining novels, Bleak House.

The property is surrounded by a moat. The doors opening on to the bridge were carved from oak in the 12th century, but the house’s medieval core has been smothered by Tudor brickwork on the outside, and swallowed by Gothic, neo-Gothic, and Georgian extensions on the inside.

Oh, how I would love to visit it!

###

In other news, I made all the phone calls in my queue, thereby solving many practical problems and moving ever closer to achieving my ambition, which is to become a Real Human Girl.

I toiled for the Scut Factory.

I remonstrated with Samir: “I know it’s not my job to give you advice, but moving to New York City would be such a terrible thing for you.”

It dawned on me that we might be able to raise capital for his mobile phone fixing enterprise by crowdsourcing. We shall see.

I bickered with Celeste about the contract and about the upcoming house party dates.

Max wants me to write an op ed about my experiences as an ESL teacher.

###

Somewhere, I heard that Greta Garbo walked eleven miles a day right up to the day she died! (She died at 85.) A scarecrow in white with enormous dark glasses wandering Third Avenue.

This really shamed me since I often find it difficult to walk four miles.

Especially in humid weather when my hip joints actually ache. I think the humidity must make the synovial fluid reservoir shrink though I’m unclear about the actual physiology.

Yesterday was not particularly humid, so I was able to walk a fairly long distance.

It’s definitely autumn, though a strange autumn: The leaves aren’t turning so much as drying up. Here’s a maple that’s bucking the trend, though:

9/19/17 06:56 am
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Saturday i worked in the yard, mainly eradicating stiltgrass and stands of Boehmeria cylindrica (False nettle, by which they mean "non-stinging nettle") by mechanical means.

Boehmeria cylindrica clearly reproduces successfully, so i want to get rid of it in a number of places where it is "weedy." On the other hand, it is native, so i should find some place(s) for it to thrive. I see one resource claims it prefers sandy or loamy soil: i wonder if there's actually loam in the places it is growing. I generally assume everything is clay.

So, in the first area of work there was the manual pulling out. The stilt grass is about a meter high, and heaven only knows what has made a home in the thick stands. I've not seen any snakes yet, but spiders and toads and bright green leafhoppers seem disrupted. I found one milkweed growing in the stand, Asclepias variegata (White milkweed) or A syriaca (common milkweed): that was delightful! And i found a good number my current favorite little plants: moonworts (or grapeferns). These have a single frond, and then a spore bearing structure lifted like a flag above the solar panel that is the leaf. This 2014 literature review describes them as rare but (at least) one species is definitely common here. I believe i've had success transplanting them, despite comments about them being challenging. I take that to mean that the interdependence with fungi is supported over the small distances in which i have moved them. Transplanting to potting soil would likely be bad.

I also rediscovered one of the colonies of Goodyera pubescens (rattlesnake orchid). It too is usually accompanied by the warning against transplanting because of the mycorrhizal interactions: i may try moving some to some places i feel i can more easily protect from trampling over time.

Later in the day i used the sling blade and the weed whacker and the lawn mower. The mower can deal with the tall stands, but i don't want to hit hidden stumps, any more than i already do. The weed whacker gets the grass all tangled in the drive: it's not a particularly good tool on the tall stands.

I grew a little disappointed in the lawn mower repair. I don't think the mechanism for raising and lowering works the way it is supposed to: it's as if the front is now at a fixed height. The lawn mower repair process was so distressing for Christine, i don't want to bring it up. But, fie, it was useful to have the great range in height.

--== ∞ ==--

Sunday began with me breaking the stylus on my phone. The version of the Galaxy Note i have was reported to have a stylus issue in that if you inserted it in the storage bit backwards, it would jam and there was little that could be done. Now i understand: while one can pull out the stylus, the little springy top, like the "clicker" on a retractable ball point, breaks off and jams in, disrupting whatever signal the phone has to turn on the pen functioning. I am glad that the new note has been released but i believe it is a bit larger than this phone - so my nice case wouldn't be used. And we bought this phone outright. After spending some time thinking about it, i decided that i am ok giving up the stylus and just using the phone as any other phone for a while longer. All the critical phone functionality still works, and i can always take a pad of paper outside with me.

If i were doing real field work, i would have a reason to spend the money on a new phone, i don't really now.

And there's also the question of the iPad, which has superior drawing applications, and whether i really need a second digital pad (that's smaller and lighter and "always" with me, sigh).

I worked myself up into other dithers on Sunday morning as well. Things i hadn't done for Meeting, baking for meeting for business potluck with a recipe that i hadn't used before, realizing i hadn't really left time for the longer than expected baking time, discovering i didn't quite have the right quantities of ingredients, running late....

I indulged myself the rest of the day after Meeting, going to a historical society presentation (the president is a member of Meeting as well) and reading a novel (a Maisy Dobbs mystery). I finished the book after dark and needed to take Carrie for her walk, so i went into Pittsboro and walked her on the streetlamp lit sidewalks. I think Carrie was delighted with the novelty, and i enjoyed it too. It will be agreeable to walk there this winter.

Monday was a long work day, mainly meetings. We had the first visit of the young woman we have hired to clean our bathrooms. She's incredibly professional, and someday she'll finish her vet school training and will take her professionalism on to her own vet practice. Until then, i think we'll be delighted with her help.

9/19/17 06:43 am
mamculuna: (Default)
[personal profile] mamculuna
 A very happy birthday to [personal profile] cactuswatcher !
radiantfracture: (Default)
[personal profile] radiantfracture
I was nearly welded today.

Our main building, containing cafeteria, store, offices, classrooms, is under construction. An enormous scaffold surrounds the front doors. Today, exiting with a sustaining bannana in one hand, I heard the burr of welding and then felt a sudden hot-cold shower on the left side of my head, just about the region of the parietal lobe. I put up my hand and plucked a speck of grit from my hair.

As I crossed the quad and mounted the stairs to my building, I began to work out that I'd been sprayed with tiny bits of metal -- little curled chips of aluminum were in my hair and speckled my sweater-vest like glittering lint.

It was not a great cascade of sparks or anything -- just a smattering and a peculiar sensation -- but Jesus. That could have gone into my eye. I spent the whole of my lesson on proper quotation partially convinced that a speckling of tiny holes might newly pepper my skull, like a thought-colander.

The Thought-Colander

After Ted Hughes

I imagine this midday moment's sensation-salad:
Something hot but lifeless
burrows into the occipital
makes a blank page of this field where
newly kindled hallucinations move

(etc.)

Sorry, Here's "The Thought-Fox" to Make Up for That

Actually by Ted Hughes

I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox,
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.


* * * * *

I feel like "midnight moment's forest" must have kinship with Hopkins' "morning's morning's minion" from "The Windhover." Discuss.

Fine, Here's "The Windhover" As Well

Gerard Manley Hopkins

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

* * * * *

Nobody alliterates like our Gerry.


Downdates (What an Update Isn't)

I skipped the monthly reading post for August because, well, there was so little to discuss. I have trouble directing sustained attention under conditions of anxiety (such as term prep). Combining with September will give the list a more respectable heft.

At least I'm transparent in my machinations.

Likewise I think if I'm writing a report on how the term is going -- which is an idea I like a lot as a way to chronicle the development of this course I love -- it'll have to be a biweekly report at best.

A propos of some (very positive) recent events -- I wish I didn't feel so terrible when happy things breathe themselves across the membrane.1

Something wonderful takes place and afterwards it feels like a crisis -- I can't be happy because I'm so convinced that it was secretly a disaster or I am about to make it one.

Too much jouissance. Not enough swimming laps and meditation.

{rf}

1. Isn't transpire a great word? All those spire words are a gift basket from Latin: conspire (to breathe together); inspire (to breathe in); aspire (to breathe on); expire (to breathe out) -- my library card is about to breathe its last -- what else? What others? I love them.

2. Actually, if I weren't so tired I might write though the whole of "The Thought-Fox" just for the exercise.
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
Even though the students weren't there today, I had a busy day doing the stuff I do when students aren't there. I got in early to type up the notes from our last 4th semester team meeting so I could send them to my colleagues in advance of our next meeting this morning. Then I worked on accreditation stuff for a while, in anticipation of our accreditation team meeting this afternoon.

In between I worked on my next lecture. It deals with septic shock. The conference I attended last week had all the newest guidelines for sepsis, and a lot has changed in how we screen for sepsis, what we call what we find, and how we treat it. I will need to still teach the old stuff, as the questions on the licensing exams are somewhat behind the latest trends. I will teach the new stuff too, though, because that's what the students will face when they get out in practice.

I called one of my old friends in the ICU who is in my old educator role. We chatted for a bit, and talked about how they are approaching the new guidelines. They are somewhat in the middle, between the old stuff and the new stuff, as is the hospital where I take my students. It took a long time to get people to take sepsis seriously and embrace the old guidelines. It is somewhat gratifying that they embraced them so vigorously that they are reluctant to let go, but they will, as they always do.

We had our team meeting, which went well. I am the faculty lead for our team this semester, and it feels kind of strange to be leading the meetings. I also get stuck taking the notes. In any case, we have a standard format for team notes now, and it works out well.

I usually try and get out of there and get lunch on the way home, but since I had an afternoon meeting, I walked over to the sandwich place next to the coffee place I like. I haven't eaten there in years, since I was in the photography program. After they opened, they invited student artists and photographers to hang their work, and sell it. I was able to hang a bunch of prints, and made more money than I ever expected.

Now that it is so close, I decided to get a sandwich. It was big--so big that I saved half for tomorrow. It was delicious as well, and only one of a substantial sandwich menu. I'll be back for sure.

sandwich

After I ate I got ready for my accreditation team meeting. It was productive, and we are all on the same page. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we need to do that work anyway for our nursing board visit next year.

I came home and watched the first episode of the new Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam. The first episode related the history that led up to the war. Some of it I knew, but much was new to me. I think it is going to be a fascinating and illuminating story, as pretty much everything Ken Burns tackles is.

During our accreditation meeting, we got off track a bit and someone started talking about a student at another nursing program who wanted to take their service dog with them to their clinical rotation in the hospital, and about all the places dogs can't (or shouldn't go) in a hospital. In my mind I thought, "I have my subject line!"
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
I managed to get Malida out into the world, and we drove out to the Cosumnes River Preserve, which is a nature preserve along the Cosumnes River. I seem to recall writing about this place before, and the whole thing about there only being one N in Cosumnes. In any case, we went out there for a walk.

It was a spectacular day for a walk. The temperature was in the mod 70s, and there was a gentle breeze from the west, which is where the best breezes come from. There were quite a few cars parked, but we really didn't see that many people on the trail. It's kind of spread out. We took the loop that goes out to the river, and then back through the fields.

I've been coming here since it first opened back in the 80s. I remember when they planted oak trees that are now getting large. It's always been one of my favorite places to come and think and walk.

into the woods

After our hike, which earned us about 11,000 steps each, we headed to the Korea BBQ place and had a nice lunch, then headed home to enjoy the balance of our weekend.

Lazarus and eggs

9/18/17 07:33 am
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
Sunday morning I walked on the Chisholm Trail in Plano. I went to Weight Watchers at 9.30, where I was up 2/10ths of a pound. I drove home. My wife and I went to the 11 a.m. The Way service at First United Methodist Church of Allen. The Way is being re-launched as a service for seminary students to practice preaching. The first Sunday their professor, Alyce McKenzie of the Perkins School of Theology, gave the sermon. Her topic was the story of Lazarus, and the idea that eternal life starts today. She is a gifted speaker. After the service, I worked on my voluntary duty--I put away the chairs.

We ate lunch at Two Rows in Allen. We had not been in years, but perhaps we should have been going all along. We had a very good breakfast buffet. I ate scrambled eggs and fruit and managed to control my biscuit intake to one biscuit.

In the afternoon, I watched sports on television, but managed to get in a walk in Green Park during an intermission caused by storms in Denver. In the evening I watched The Orville, which has the potential to be a good television science fiction comedic show. I woked up at 1 a.m., watched a little of the movie Serenity, but cut it off before the massive wave of violence near the end of the movie.

This morning I slept until nearly 7 a.m., I put out birdseed.

Sunday breakfast: Kix cereal and skim milk
Sunday lunch: scrambled eggs, a biscuit, potatoes, pineapple, cantaloupe
Sunday dinner: skirt steak, salad
Monday breakfast: Kix cereal and skim milk

MEME!

9/18/17 07:18 am
mallorys_camera: (Default)
[personal profile] mallorys_camera
Meme copped from [profile] lifeinroseland

1. Are your parents married or divorced?

Dead.

2. Are you a vegetarian?

No.

No question No. 3?

(Pretentious)

4. Have you ever come close to dying?

Yes.

5. What jewelry do you wear?

Earrings. A little rhodite bracelet with pictures of Catholic saints.

6. Favorite time of day?

Sunrise, sunset.

7. Do you eat the stems of broccoli?

Yes.

8. Do you wear makeup?

Sometimes.

9. Ever had plastic surgery?

No.

10. Do you color your hair?

Yes.

11. What do you wear to bed?

Pyjamas

12. Have you ever done anything illegal?

I take the Fifth.

13. Can you roll your tongue?

Yes.

14. Do you tweeze your eyebrows?

No.

15. What kind of sneakers?

Decrepit cheap ones.

16. Do you believe in abortions?

Yes.

17. What is your natural hair color?

White.

18. Do you have any children?

Yes.

19. Do you snore?

I'm told I do. (I don't believe it._

20. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?

Xinjiang

21. Do you sleep with stuffed animals?

No.

22. If you ever won the lottery, what would you do first?

Cry.

23. Gold or silver?

Gold.

24. Hamburger or hot dog?

Hamburger.

25. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Flautas.

26. City, beach, or country?

Country.

27. What was the last thing you touched?

Library copy of "Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead."

28. Where did you eat last?

At a table.

29. When's the last time you cried?

Yesterday.

30. Do you read blogs?

Obsessively.

31. Would you ever go out dressed like the opposite sex?

Yes.

32. Ever been involved with the police?

No.

33. What's your favorite shampoo?

Neutrogena.

34. Do you talk in your sleep?

Maybe.

35. Ocean or pool?

Ocean.

36. What's your favorite song at the moment?

"Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" - Leslie Odom Jr.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRLI4tpIjTM

No. 37

38. Window seat or aisle?

Window.

39. Have you ever met anyone famous?

Yes.

40. Do you feel that you've had a truly successful life?

It's not over yet.

41. Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it?

Slurp.

42. Ricki Lake or Oprah?

A bullet to the brain.

43. Basketball or Football?

Basketball.

44. How long do your showers last?

Till the hot water runs out.

45. Cake or ice cream?

Ice cream.

No. 46.

47. Are you self-conscious?

Not anymore!

48. Have you ever drank so much you threw up?

No.

49. Have you ever given money to a tramp?

Yes.

50. Have you been in love?

Yes.

51. Where do you wish you were?

Brideshead Manor.

52. Are you wearing socks?

No.

53. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?

Yes.

54. Can you tango?

No.

55. Last gift you received?

A fritata.

56. Last sport you played?

Pokemon Go.

57. Things you spend a lot of money on?

Rent, cats, car

58. Where do you live?

Hyde Park, NY

59. Where were you born?

Queens Naval Hospital, Queens NYC

60. Last wedding attended?

Cody and Shannon's

61. Favorite fast food restaurant?

McDonald's.

No. 62

63. Most hated food?

Zucchini

64. What's your least favorite chore?

Washing the car

65. Can you sing?

No

66. Last person you instant messaged?

Ben

67. Last place you went on holiday?

Brooklyn

68. Favorite regular drink?

Grapefruit juice

69. Current crush?

Crushless at the moment

70. Do you want people to do this meme?

I want people to do whatever people want to do so long as they don't harm people, cats, or other living things

Finding Lemon

9/16/17 11:42 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
First thing this morning I took Beatrice for a walk in the park. All the other dogs in the park, like Beatrice, sported darker fur. It was a bit like the story "the Red-Headed League" except nobody was paying the dogs for their dark fur and no robbery was being planned. Even the crows had dark feathers.

At 9 I headed out for a bicycle ride. I rode on the Watters Branch Trail to the Urban Center Loop Trail.  Then I rode to the Cottonwood Creek Trail to Allen Station Park. I pedaled by a house with a Black Vulture perched on it, staring at the trail. I do not know if the vulture had a presentiment about a hiker or biker having issues.

At Noon my wife and I headed to Elke's, the good lunch place in town. Then we went to the Allen Antiques Mall, which recently relocated to the east side of Greenville Avenue at McDermott.  We did not buy anything. We also went to Dirt Cheap, a new chain store across the street. This place picks up liquidation sale stuff and sells it deeply discounted AS IS. Sign warned us to inspect things carefully because ALL SALES ARE FINAL. I liked this odd store, and resolved to stop in and dig in its various scattered wares some day when I have more patience.

In the afternoon I rested and watched television.  We went for dinner at Firewater Grill. As we turned into the alleyway in our neighborhood, a happy young hound ran up, off its leash.  We stopped, and my wife scooped up the sweet young dog. Then she called the service listed on its ID tag. Soon she was taking the dog to its owner, down the street.  I stayed home with young Beatrice.  It turned out this charming little hound, some kind of beagle, I believe, was named Lemon. I am pro-Lemon. Apparently, Lemon got out when careless HVAC workers left the back fence open. Lemon is safely at home now, with Lemon's caring owner.

I found an article which explained the relative percentiles of LSAT scores for years including 1980, when i took it. This helped me understand how my ancient LSAT score would scale in today's scoring system.  The point is irrelevant in my life. Yet when I read on twitter as kids say they need to score x, I wanted to understand the context a bit better as it connected to how things were in "my day". I found that my score is analogous to a score a goodish bit above average but short of great--which was as true then as it is now. At the time I understood that while I could not get into a top-tier law school, I could get into a law school with a bit more prestige than my local state law school. I chose the local state law school, though, and it turned out to be a great fit for me. 

One thing that changed a lot is the cost of the education.  In today's dollars, I paid roughly $ 3,300 a semester in tuition. Now the fees and tuition are closer to $ 15,000 per year at my alma mater. So the cost in 2017 dollars is a bit more than twice as expensive. Yet the law school I attended is one of the least expensive law schools in the country. I think that education should be more affordable for post-secondary education, including professional school.  I see the tuition increase as one more manifestation of the divide between people who grow up with economic advantages and those who do not.  If I were in the charge of the world, this would change.



breakfast: kix cereal and skim milk
lunch: turkey sandwich on ciabatta and a cup of pork tamale soup
dinner: 6 oz. sirloin, vegetables and salad



zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
I sat out on the back patio this morning, sipping my coffee and just enjoying the day. Nothing hanging over me. As I was sitting there, I heard the loud hummingbird approaching the feeder. He dwelled there for a moment, then flew toward me. He kind of flew back and forth sideways in front of me, getting closer and closer. When he was about 2 feet from me, he kind of hovered and watched me for close to a minute. Then he flew to the left of me and watched for a bit longer.

The feeder was almost empty, so I took it as a sign that he wanted new food, which I provided. I was thinking about him as I cleaned the feeder. He is the only one who makes noise like that. Most of them are pretty quiet. He is also the one that chases some of the other hummingbirds away from the feeder. I decided that he is the alpha hummingbird for this little piece of the world, and that the sound is deliberate. From now on I will call him Al.

No, I didn't have my camera with me. :(

I went out for a walk in the late morning. Malida is heavy into watching Game of Thrones, so didn't want to leave. This evening she proudly declared that she had walked almost 300 steps today! Lol. She works these 14 hour days, and I don't blame her for staying put on her day off. Tomorrow we are planning a little hike at the wildlife preserve.

I walked in the park. It was kind of overcast, and muggy, but only in the low 80s, which is tolerable. The park was full of people doing things. I did my usual circuit.

the park

This picture looks skewed to the right a bit, but I don't think it is. when I look through the viewfinder, I tend to skew to the left a bit. I don't know. I'm confused now.

Anyway, as I was getting toward the end of the walk, I added a resonator to an Ingress portal, and saw on the screen that this particular action elevated me to the next level. I don't play very aggressively any more, so it has taken a while to get to this level. I was pleased. Later, I looked at the stats generator and it is predicting that, at my current rate of play, I will get the highest level of a particular medal in the year 2080. I'll be 124 years old. Something to live for.

level 13

September 15--Exam I

9/16/17 11:51 am
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
We had our first exam yesterday on the new platform. I got there super early for really no reason, since I had already set everything up, and couldn't open the exam until it was time to open it. So I sat and fretted about it for an hour. I was actually kind of anxious about the whole thing. Our students' grades come entirely from the 5 exams and the final, and I didn't want to be the one to screw things up.

I brought the students into the testing site about 15 minutes early in case there were problems with them getting into the testing site. They were all able to get in just fine. I, on the other hand, was unable to log into the teacher station and had to have the IT guy come up and take a look. Caps lock was on. D'oh!

We started the test on time and it went without a hitch. Meanwhile, at the alternative testing site, they were getting pop-up ads on their test screens, and IT had to come figure it out. Malware, I think.

About halfway through the test, I changed the access password, as the security people recommended. Almost immediately hands shot up all across the room. The students had been kicked out of the test. It was an easy fix and they all got back on. Note to self: don't change the password in the middle of the exam.

After the exam was done, I realized that I had spent so much time building the eval sites and the exam, that I never thought about how to grade it. Fortunately, this platform we are using is really intuitive, and after a couple of clicks I had it figured out. I was sweating it though, imagining all the scores disappearing into the mists, never to return.

Once the exam was graded and the scores were posted, I breathed a sigh of relief, and felt really good about the whole thing. I went home and took a nice nap.

exam 1
mallorys_camera: (Default)
[personal profile] mallorys_camera
Car insurance people send me a letter: Your monthly rates age going up ten bucks.

I peruse the 0.1 font print at the very bottom of the letter. It tells me my Defensive Driving Class discount has expired.

Well-l-l-l. It’s easy enough to take another Defensive Driving Class and to take it before the car insurance payment comes due.

But the whole thing just pisses me off massively. I feel like an antelope on the Serengeti plain surrounded by jackals. How hard would it have been for the car insurance people to send me a letter: Be advised that your discount is set to expire… ?

I am a sitting duck surrounded by predatory corporations that see me as prey. That want to wring every last cent out of me.

###

In other news, I’ve been rereading Brideshead Revisited – yes, you’re missing a book, mystery pal! – and thinking that Evelyn Waugh and Scott Fitzgerald shared common neuroses. Both fascinated by money – not for anything that money can buy but for its mysterious mana; both obsessed with mutability and loss. Both novels are a search for timelessness. Both novels acknowledge that timelessness does not exist.

I am thinking some grad student in English literature could get a very nice PhD thesis out of contrasting Brideshead Revisited with The Great Gatsby – assuming there still are grad students five years hence and that somebody hasn’t already done it.

In the pantheon of Great Writers, Fitzgerald is generally acceded the higher perch.

Part of that, I think, is the dog-preaching effect that Samuel Johnson mentions. (Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.) Fitzgerald is an American, yet he has a flawless command of canonical, vernacular-free English.

They were beset by many of the same, uh, life challenges. Fitzgerald’s life, became a total train wreck; but while Waugh’s life as a young man was picaresque to say the least, after he hit 30, he became so stable, you might describe him as stodgy.

Both social climbers: Waugh ingratiated himself with the upper classes by developing a very nasty sense of humor. Fitzgerald preferred to stay the aggrieved outsider.

Both drinkers: Fitzgerald became a drunk. Waugh, it would seem, drank an equivalent amount but did not become a drunk.

Disastrous early loves: Fitzgerald never severed the emotional rope that bound him to Zelda. Waugh shed She-Evelyn without a second’s hesitation and married again the year after his divorce. That marriage took.

Both harbored same-sex crushes: Fitzgerald repressed his homosexual desires. Waugh had numerous male lovers at Oxford, but this seemed to have been a developmental phase.

I suppose one could sum it all up by saying Fitzgerald was hopelessly sentimental, but Waugh was not. Maybe, that’s where Waugh’s Catholicism came in. Maybe if you institutionalize your yearning for redemption, you don’t have to act on it.

###

I prefer Brideshead to Gatsby. The language in both novels is comparably sumptuous and lovely, but Brideshead has more connective tissue. Also, of course, it’s got religion – lots and lots and lots of religion! And I like religion.

Plus Brideshead gives the rich an out: When I was a girl, Lady Marchmain tells Charles Ryder, we were comparatively poor, but still much richer than most of the world, and when I married I became very rich. It used to worry me, and I thought it wrong to have so many beautiful things when others had nothing. Now I realize that it is possible for the rich to sin by coveting the privileges of the poor.

BadaBOOM.

Dreamlog

9/16/17 04:32 am
radiantfracture: (Signifier)
[personal profile] radiantfracture
In the dream I am writing a story while trying not to plagiarize another story (both of course actually products of my one or multiple mind, which is always a relief to remember when I wake up, having offended or missed an exam not for my best friend or deity but only a module of myself).

In the story a modern (or possibly post-some-gently-apocalyptic-moment) city, like this city, is full of flags. Each office building, condominium, medical centre, and so forth, flies a flag on a topmost pole by which the building signals messages about its status -- this could be open/closed, but you could also flag more complex concepts, like a still semaphore.

Just now this seems like an eminently useful thing. It is 4:30 am, though, so my judgement may not be at its best.

Why don't we do this? A sort of citywide intranet of flags.

I suppose you'd have to be well above the city to really get a picture of what's going on, so we'd probably fall back on looking up a photo of the flags on the Internet anyway.

This has been a test of the emergency dream broadcast system. (Also of my new data entry system. I may or may not have acquired a certain hipster typewriting device.)



{rf}

Stormy weekend

9/15/17 08:36 pm
radiantfracture: (john simm)
[personal profile] radiantfracture
The music festival has started at the ballfield. It's about ten minutes' walk away, but the sound is like... like a live band encased in a plastic dome playing at full amplification about fifty feet from the house. It had a kind of fuzzed-out Pixies quality earlier. Now it sounds sort of like 80s retro rock.

I attended this music festival for one day some years ago and I had a terrific time, so obviously I've never been back, because who seeks happiness? Not me.

The festival tends to have quite a good and various lineup of pop and pop-adjacent acts, but I recognized very little of the list this year, so I haven't bought tickets to anything. I'm going to be helping to stain inlandsea's deck tomorrow, and this is festival enough for me.

This band, the band currently playing in a pit lined with faux fur in the middle of the front garden, is apparently called July Talk. I do not think I have heard of them. According to Wikipedia, they have a "reputation for explosive live shows."

Agree.

{rf}

ETA: I should say I don't dislike the sound, though its not being optional is an odd feeling.

I see hawk people

9/15/17 09:57 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
The ending of the movie "The Sixth Sense" is playing on television. The weather is warmer again. Tonight I picked up bird seed and small milk bones. I saw five Red-Tailed Hawks in Oak Point Park this evening. I want to get a good night's sleep so I can get an early start tomorrow.

breakfast Kix cereal and skim milk
lunch: panda express string bean chicken, broccoli beef, mixed vegetables and a fortune cookie.
dinner: chicken enchiladas verde, refried beans and salad

ARGH.

9/15/17 02:35 pm
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
Complaints follow.

So, the poison ivy that grows 70' up the trunks of a dozen plus yellow pines. Yeah, i should get rid of it, yeah i've had irritations from little starts where i weed whack and mow, but, you know, it's actually a good bird food. (Admittedly, that's part of the problem and why it spreads.)

And the ticks. Ticks are terrible vermin, vectors for awful illnesses. But they are manageable, and seasonal. Dress right, be vigilant, etc. Give the pets their flea and tick treatments. Keep the grass mown. And if we got Guinea hens or chickens, they'd hunt those ticks down.

The spiders. SHUDDER. I really don't like spiders. But something happens here as autumn hints at an arrival: blam, the big orb weavers really get going. And webs across the driveway and the doors... shudder. And there's one of these three inch long Carolina Writing Spiders in bold yellow and black with her gorgeous web out at the compost pile. Uuuuuggggghhhhhh. I give her very wide berth. She's been there DAYS. Then there are always the wolf spiders. I'm getting pretty ... calm in negotiating access with them. I swear one was observing me as i was planting in the garden, waiting to see if i was going to get too close. She scurried away another two foot with her egg sack. But the spiders are the enemy of my enemy. And birds eat them.

I don't mind the few black racers and other snakes i've seen. My understanding is black racers will take on copperheads, so they're on the list of allies. Christine is very distressed by snakes, but she's coming to terms with them just as i am coming to terms with spiders.

But now, now.... [much swearing] fire ants. At least they aren't the invasive South American fire ants, just native red stinging ants.
mallorys_camera: (Default)
[personal profile] mallorys_camera


Dreamed that I saw Robin Hobart.

Omygawd, Robin Hobart.

This was on the grounds of some kind of vast, beautiful university complex – Oxford or maybe even my old alma mater, Berkeley.

Robin Hobart was about 100 feet in front of me. I lost her in the crowd. I thought she went into a house, so – ever heedless of propriety, particularly in my dreams – I went into that house, too.

Inside the house, they were preparing for some sort of celebration. A wedding celebration. There was a kitchen that was stuffed with flowers – spring flowers like daffodils, narcissi, anemones, freesias. And a sleek cake.

Further inside the house was a mass of people.

I didn’t see Robin Hobart anywhere, so I bolted into a side room.

This side room was a bedroom of some sort with two beds. Two men were lying side by side in one of the beds. They had a conviviality with one another that did not come from having just had hot sex but rather from having lukewarm sex every other Friday – and today wasn’t Friday. But they obviously liked each other.

They were mildly put out by my presence in their room. But not too terribly.

I tried to explain to them what I was doing in their bedroom. But they weren’t particularly interested in anything I had to say. They talked over me – an easy conversation that had been going on their entire time together. From time to time, one or the other would look at me, raise his eyebrows mockingly, shake his head.

There was another male couple in the other bed.

They must be professors, I thought. Only professors could entertain such outré living arrangements.

But towards the end of the dream, I found out that they were auto mechanics.

And I never did catch up with Robin Hobart!

###

I went with Summer and Chris to Olana. The official Farewell Tour! Yes, I’d said goodbye to them in NYC but for some reason, it really hit home that Summer was leaving when I saw her yesterday. I suppose because most of the associations I have of her are tethered to the Hudson Valley.

I’ve been to Olana several times, but I always enjoy it. I can’t make up my mind whether the house is a wildly self-indulgent celebration of Orientalism at its absolute worst or a whimsical architectural folly. It’s very Victorian. Since the State of New York acquired it from the last living Frederick Church descendent, it’s crammed full with the painter’s own collection of knick-knacks, gewgaws, and tchotchkes. And reams and reams of truly awful paintings. I’m not a big fan of the Hudson Valley School.

(On the drive home, I was trying to figure out why I like John Singer Sargent but detest Frederick Church. Their subject matter was very similar, and their styles were not wildly dissimilar: They both practiced the kind of photorealism that was expected from painters before the use of cameras was widespread. I couldn’t come up with an answer.)



“It is very profitable to be a painter in the 1800s!” said Chris after we left the house.

“Oh, it wasn’t very profitable at all,” I said. “Frederick Church made his money the old-fashioned way! Through dead relatives. His father founded the Aetna Insurance Company.”

It was then that I made the remarkable discovery that Summer and Chris are rich! Between them, they own four houses – two in Szechuan and two in Guangdong -- and four cars.

Maybe visiting China and staying with them for a week is a reasonable goal after all.

###

“You are my family,” Summer said as we embraced one final time.

A banal sentiment, I know. But I feel that way, too. Like somehow, outside of culture, outside of time, we recognized each other.

I cried hysterically when I got home.

I shall miss her.

###

And I know, So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past is widely considered the sweepstakes winner in the contest for Best Line in the History of English Language Fiction.

But I like this line better: But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiosity and the faint, unrecognized apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city.

September 14--Strawberry

9/14/17 09:02 pm
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[personal profile] zyzyly
I spent the first part of the morning checking my students off on competencies. Unfortunately, there was a room mix-up, and all of our students ended up in a cramped space where we keep our hospital beds. We are still working out the room thing in our trailer village. Interestingly, there is another classroom in our little village, and when we moved, we were told that the program that was in that classroom couldn't be moved, so we weren't going to get the classroom.

Well, the program moved anyway, and the classroom was re-carpeted and repainted within 5 days of them moving out. Yay! Oh, wait, some other non-nursing program move in. Meanwhile, we are doing skills labs in a closet. Grrrr.

The balance of the day was spent assembling our first exam and figuring out how our two testing sites will work. Test security is a big deal, and no one is quite clear on how to optimize the security with this new platform. Apparently nursing is one of the few programs that utilizes computerized testing on campus, which just blows my mind.

I think I have it figured out, though it involves a lot of manually shifting the open and close dates in both testing sites, and trying to turn off our course site at the same time. By this time tomorrow, we will all know whether it worked or not. My reputation as the tech guy in the department is riding on it. :)

I read an interesting story about a guy who says he met Vladimir Putin in Paris in 1982, and described their adventures together. I don't think it is true, but it is a fascinating read. Here is the link: Vladimir on acid

We don't really have adequate bathroom facilities in the trailer village, so I generally mosey over to the art building, which is new, and has great bathrooms. One of the best things about being near the art building, other than the bathrooms, is all the random art that pops up in the breezeways and surrounding areas. It is an ever-changing landscape. I love walking around over there.

art guy

Angelo Ardern

9/14/17 10:20 pm
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[personal profile] gurdonark
I read this evening about San Angelo. I like that city, about five hours' drive from here. I have been there a few times on business. It's got a west Texas feel to it--stark and open.

I got an email from a former  law partner I need to answer.  Golden Chick had a new $ 5 special, but it did not make sense for me. I managed to run the bill up with an extra piece order anyway.

I walked tonight in Crowley Park in Richardson. I read about a friend from university days. She went to Harvard Law and became a solicitor in London as well as a U.S. lawyer and who practices international tax law at a large law firm. When she was young, she raised Welsh ponies.

I'm intrigued by the New Zealand politician Jacinda Ardern. The weather today returned to "hot Summer". I charged the battery on my camera tonight, after it died during my walk.

Breakfast: kix cereal and skim milk
Lunch: roast chicken breast and leg, green beans and roll
Dinner: chicken breast, sliced raw carrots



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[personal profile] gurdonark
Yesterday I got something in the mail I had meant to get into the mail for some months. I also received something in the mail payable to a client that I was pleased to receive in the mail. I got an email from a colleague who used to work for a client. I was very pleased to hear from that colleague.

After work, I walked in Oak Point Park. Huge Red-Tailed Hawks were on the tall metal high-tension wire pylons. As I sit here, I remember a scientists' organization asking to please have donors stop funding research into whether these huge electrical lines are bad for health--because they are not.

Lately I browse used cars at the Enterprise Car Sales site, but I do not want to buy a used car. It's just a kind of virtual window shopping. My car only has 113,000 miles on it. Barring the unforeseen, I should get a few more years from it.

I watched a little of a special on the spacecraft Cassini.  My wife went to a new gym by the fellow who for years has led an exercise class she attends twice weekly.  I hope that his gym works out well. It is in beta now. Apparently, gyms, like software, have beta releases. The fellow who leads her class is named Adam.  During the Summer, as he set up his new venture, all the folks in his class had to exercise in less formal settings. They still got together, a bit ,though, as if it were class.  I refer to this process as "attending fake Adam". My wife reports that she liked the new venture which is Real Adam, Mach II: Beta Version.

The new iPhone is reputed to be priced around 1000 dollars. I suppose it is understandable that smartphones, which matter more to kids of a certain age than houses or cars, would become luxury items. But it's odd to me that when technology creates a smartphones that do more for less money, Apple manages to increase the price.  This is one of many reasons I use Android.  I wish I had a good open source alternative. Of the current crop of contenders, I think Plasma Mobile looks the most interesting. But we'll see if the death of Ubuntu Touch halts effective development by KDE of its clone Plasma Mobile. I was rooting for FirefoxOS,but Mozilla stopped development prematurely.  I think that
if one of these could get a credible hardware with its software installed easily available, it would over time gain enough market share to work. there are lots of phones in this world--a tiny market share could still be money-making

I see the US has moved to end use of Kaspersky Labs, which is thought to have connections with Russian intelligence. Meanwhile, my twitter feed is rather full of nativist tweets using a hashtag #amnestydon.  These tweets seek to excoriate Mr. Trump because Mr. Trump has not committed enough wrong thinking on immigration issues yet. Apparently, wrong thinking, like gymnastics, requires lots of contorted positions on the uneven bars.  I am no fan of Mr. Trump, nor of those odd twitter users.

I hope to find historical archival material of my grandfather's work for the Civilian Conservation Corps.




Oy

9/14/17 08:02 am
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[personal profile] elainegrey
Irma irma irma....

I did spend some good time outside this weekend. Our septic area is looking clear, and i even found some flowers that i had planted in May including a purchased goldenrod I bought last April.

Spent time with my parents after Meeting on Sunday. My dad was still beside himself about his mother in the Tampa area. On Monday she still had power, and all is well with most of the family down there. One uncle was out of power, but it sounds like that's it. Monday after work i was going to walk both Carrie and my parents. They came over at 5 pm on the dot, just as it started to rain. Christine was kind enough to walk Carrie, who showed off her stylin' yellow rain coat, while i chatted with M&D. I was tired from a late night watching Irma, so, after reading a draft of Christine's latest book review i retired.

Yesterday i worked on writing a script to generate a UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagram of some of our team's java code. I ended up having to count whether curly brackets, which delimit nested sections of code, were open or closed and there's still a great deal of imperfection in the diagram generation. On the other hand, i met my need. I do hope i can find a good excuse to run the script on some other code, both to continue to improve it and to get some return on the investment. I worked late on it, so it was well dinner time by the time i stopped. We needed to do a grocery run, so we ate out at a new-to-us-place, "Moon Asian Bistro." I had a rare challenge of not knowing what i wanted (i wanted food FAST as i was hungry), so i ordered the hibachi shrimp, following Christine's lead. It hit the spot. We then spent a little too long at the grocery, buying many indulgences for Carrie.

Late night.

So, i'm feeling a little dislocated. I think i'm going to try and do a little planning and email tonight -- try and get some perspective on priorities like some banking tasks, and miscellaneous household to-dos.

Although the temptation is to skim the Diana Gabaldon Outlander e-book that i borrowed ....

And so i did that, having another late night. I feel rebooted, as i usually do when i read for hours at a stretch. I am also a little cranky because the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court SciFi quality slowly slipped into bodice-ripper territory. I was skimming to finish, but haven't quite. It looks like the sequels run on and on, so i'm not sure it ever finishes.

Poisoning Myself

9/14/17 07:49 am
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Apparently, I tried to poison myself yesterday by eating a berry from this plant.

That’s what happens when you take Big City Girls out of the Big City.

I often take tiny nibbles out of plants I find when wandering around the countryside here.

If birds can eat berries, then why, oh why, oh why, can’t I, right?

This one looked a lot like the wild grapes that grow all throughout Tompkins County. But it’s not. It’s poke weed.

It didn’t taste good. Very… foxy would be the word.

But I didn’t get sick.

###

In other news, I continue in my dyspeptic mood.

It’s brain chemistry.

I mean, there are proximal causes: I am the most insignificant human being ever to be spawned in the 100,000 year evolution of human beings on this planet – which is ironic, no? Since that degree of insignificance is surely a distinction!

Also, I worry about money.

What if I don’t get paid Friday? What if the Scut Factory simply decides not to pay me? How will the cats eat?

And what if I have some fatal disease? I loathe doctors. Haven’t gone to one in years. I try to eat right, exercise daily, and get lots of sleep. Every week when C comes to visit L, he lugs this suitcase, which is filled with prescription drugs! He takes all of them! And I just think, Ugh! Why? What’s the point? Why would anyone want to live till they’re 100? Either you end up like those poor people in that famous photo out of Houston, sitting around in the nursing home, waist-deep in sewer water, or you end up like the ones that dropped dead from heat prostration in that nursing home in Florida. Or you end up like Bob Zeigenhirt, whom frankly, I think, would like to die – only his kids won’t let him.

My kids wouldn’t care if I died. I mean – they love me. But I’m the Velveteen Rabbit. More a part of their memories than of their everyday lives.

These worries preoccupy me to such a degree that I find it nearly impossible to concentrate on anything else.

###

I owe you a phone cal, emailed Max.

You don’t “owe” me anything, I emailed him back. Of course, it’s always nice to hear from you.

They found a box filled with my stuff in the basement of the house Max used to live in in San Francisco. There’s a Miles Davis album and a Muddy Waters album I wouldn’t mind having, the owner of the house emailed Max.

The Great Diaspora and subsequent Storage Follies means hardly any of all the possessions I used to own do I own now.

So, of course, no random stranger is gonna get my Miles Davis and Muddy Waters albums. I remember when I bought them. Never mind that I don’t own a record player.

Yes, I want those back, I emailed Max.

I mean – Why wouldn’t I?

So, they sent Max the box.

Same way it is with friends – it’s odd the possessions you end up keeping. They’re never necessarily the possessions you once cared about the most.

Some old journals from around the time that Max was born. Pictures of my mother. A framed picture I once drew – back in the days when I still drew – that used to hang in Max’s nursery on San Lorenzo Street. Pictures of you when you were a kid, Max wrote. Except there are no pictures of me as a kid, my mother having not been the least bit sentimental about me. So they must actually be pictures of Max.

I guess I’ll pick them up when I’m in California in November.

It was a very odd feeling thinking about Max going through that box. Like I was dead, and he was sifting through my personal possessions.

So funny. I remember doing exactly that after my mother died. Trying to find something, anything, that would explain the enigma she ultimately was to me.

I didn’t find anything.
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[personal profile] zyzyly
I attended the cardiology conference today. There were about 8 speakers, presenting topics over 45 minutes each. It was one of the best conferences I have been to in a long time. I learned the latest on a bunch of things, saw some cool videos, and saw some people I hadn't seen in a long time. All my students were there as well, and they seemed to enjoy it.

The coolest thing I saw was a video that a cardiovascular interventionist showed of a robotic-assisted heart valve repair. There are 4 arms inserted between the ribs, and two surgeons control them remotely, sitting at consoles with a screen and hand controllers. I have never seen anything like it. Google DaVinci Robotics if you want to see more about it.

davinci robotics

I saw a bunch of former students there, some from years ago, as well as someone I worked with when I was a brand-new nurse. I couldn't remember her name, but she remembered mine. I really enjoyed it. This healthcare organization, Dignity, is really great about making sure my students have a good experience.

After I got home I rested for a while. The temps are in the 70s this evening, and I opened all the windows to let the cool air in. Mook came and sat with me, and gave my foot a tail hug.

mook tail

We have skills lab on campus tomorrow, then our first test on Friday. We are using a whole new testing platform, and I am the one setting it up. I'm hoping it works, but if it doesn't then I'm hoping for a spectacular failure. Not really--I want it to work.