August 06, 2006

Rainier Poster for You and Me

Update: Seb is the winner! He'll get a poster of this one.    (Q57)

Back in late August of 2003 I went to Mt. Rainier with Sabrina for a few days. It was lovely and since then Mt. Rainier has become my favorite photographic subject.    (Q4V)

On that trip I took:    (Q4W)    (Q4X)

Later, back in Indiana, to remind myself, I had a poster made. The poster has hung near my desk, wherever my desk happens to be, since then.    (Q4Y)

I've since moved to Seattle, my access to Rainier is much easier, but for whatever reason, until yesterday I had only been back to the park once. Yesterday we finally went back, it was lovely again, and I had a somewhat improved camera.    (Q4Z)

So now I want to make another poster, but I can't decide what photo use, so I'm asking you for help. View my pics of Mt. Rainier in Flickr and leave some comments saying something like "Make this one a poster" on the one or more that you think would be the best choice for poster. Also leave some way I can identify you for later. I'll make two big posters of the one that gets the most votes.    (Q50)

One goes to me to go on the wall next to my desk. The other one goes to someone selected from the voters. Either the person who clearly was most into playing this silly game, or someone randomly chosen from the list of people who voted on the winner. Voting stops on the 15th. If no one votes I'll cry like a big baby and take my poster and go home. If people pick a sucky photo (at my sole discretion) because they are party poopers, I'll say so, and we'll move on to some other photo.    (Q51)

Leave comments either on the photo pages in Flickr or here, with a link to the photo page.    (Q52)

For a photo to be considered for the poster, it needs to present a view of the mountain as its primary subject or one of its primary subjects. It does not need to be in the collections linked below, but it does need to be a photograph that I took that is stored on Flickr.    (Q53)

I made two sets from the trip yesterday. Part one is the stuff I thought was best or some reason tickled me the most. Part two is the stuff that still seemed pretty good or I thought my family might like to see.    (Q54)

There's also the rainier tag at flickr. Not all of those photos are of Mt. Rainier. Some are on Mt. Rainier.    (Q55)

Thanks.    (Q56)

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July 06, 2005

Everybody needs an angel

I spent my 4th up near Mt. Rainier, as some kind of I hate you America gesture, but I guess it wasn't that at all. The America I found on the mountain I like.    (PR6)

Idolatry and patriotism do not a happy Chris make, so I hied off to the mountains for sun, sweat, solitude and photos.    (PR7)    (PR8)

Flickr has the rest of the pics.    (PR9)

  I'd be riding horses if they'd let me
  Sleep outside at night and not take fright
  I would ride the range and never worry
  I would disappear into the night    (PRA)
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October 04, 2004

At Play in the Fields of the Lord

This weekend was the last weekend of sun I will see. Seattle is preparing to descend into several months of cool foetid dampness. In keeping with tradition, Sabrina and I made way to a wilderness destination. We went to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, the estuary at the mouth of the Nisqually River as it enters the Puget Sound, bird central, home of somewhere between a few hundred and 97 million billion cedar waxwings (a suave character to be sure) and many other birds.    (OJX) + ++ T    (OJY)

The Nisqually River starts way up on Mount Rainier in the Nisqually Glacier and flows 78 miles to the sound. From the wildlife refuge, one can see the mountain watching over things: mindful, present, and completely untouchable. It's an awe inspiring sight.    (OJZ) + ++ T    (OK0)

Sabrina and I visited Rainier last year. This, if I recall correctly, is the Nisqually Glacier:    (OK1) + ++ T    (OK2)

Its melt flows down the mountain    (OK3) + ++ T    (OK4)

to the estuary    (OK5) + ++ T    (OK6)

and out into the sound.    (OK7) + ++ T    (OK8)

The experience of seeing the mountain from a distance is not that much different from looking at it while upon it. Its upper reaches tower above everything around it. It is always there, always watching you. The only way to get away is to go to the top. I may need to do that.    (OK9) + ++ T + ++ T    (OKA)

There's a lovely trail that walks a large loop through the refuge. More pictures at NisquallyWildlifeRefugeThumb: more of the mountain, some of me and Sabrina being confused by the camera, a nice little froggie, and a seal pulling a fish from a net in the river.    (OKB)

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September 27, 2004

Three Reasons For Sore Feet

As I can't seem to find the discipline to entertain myself and others with regular and creative updates, here's an irregular and boring update:    (O7B)

new shoes    (O7C)

I'm wearing (to see if they fit, or rather, don't fit in the correct way) my new pair of climbing shoes. With use they stretch and get soft, so for proper fit it is often necessary to size them down a bit and just go with the initial pain. It's been a while since I appreciated this, as the pair being replaced are so far gone as to have holes in the big toes and rips at the heels which relieve much of the pressure. No pressure is being relieved right now. It's sublime.    (O7D)

consumption    (O7E)

Wait, some pressure is being relieved. The oh so special pain of a brand new pair of climbing shoes brings a distance and clarity that relieves the clench of my jaw, still present from several hours in the confines of Ikea. Why does anyone yearn for an Ikea to come to their town? Oh yeah, there was lots to choose from, and sure some of it seems pretty cheap for what you get. But really, my time is worth way more than that and I'm fairly certain I'm not a sheep. And I'm not done yet: the big stuff doesn't arrive until Tuesday and who knows how long it will take to assemble.    (O7F)

But there's a nice new ceiling lamp in the bedroom, and I'll replace my card table desk with a nice pine thingie that actually has some drawers when I can store stuff that somebody somewhere thinks I need to have but I'll never look at again. My clothes and books will have somewhere to go. New curtains will make it easier to walk around the house naked.    (O7G)

recreation    (O7H)

Two weekends in a row now: another trip to the mountains. This time to see Twin Falls. Another few weekends this will be a ritual, and thus sacrosanct and protected from unimportant things like cleaning and going to Ikea.    (O7I)

Twin Falls are a series of waterfalls (two bigger, plus a few separating the upper and lower) on the south fork of the Snoqualmie River on state park land. A lovely trail takes you along the river to this,    (O7J) + ++ T    (O7K)

the lower falls. Continuing up the trail takes you to the upper falls. Beyond that the trail heads for the Iron Horse Trail (which goes across the Cascades to at least the Columbia River) where we saw a new bird: The Varied Thrush.    (O7L)

Other pictures from the walk at TwinFallsTrailThumb.    (O7M)

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September 20, 2004

Pratt Lake Swim

As it is incumbent upon Seattle-based couples to visit nature and pose a bit as rugged paragons of health, Sabrina and I drove east and up a bit to visit the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area and take a walk.    (O5B)

Our original plan was to climb to the top of Granite Mountain by way of the Granite Mountain Trail. We chose instead to take the Pratt Lake Trail which shares its start with the other. You see: as we drove to the trailhead the very nearby white fluffy things commonly called clouds in the midwest didn't get any further away. So the combination of hard uphill sweaty slog with what would usually be called rain, if it came from above, tempered our enthusiasm.    (O5C)

Which is just fine because after two and half hours of mostly gentle uphill climbing, through stands of pines and across many waterfalling streams, we got a lovely view of Olallie lake:    (O5D) + ++ T    (O5E)

(More pics at PrattLakeTrailThumb)    (O5F)

We then turned back, making it back down in an hour and a half, complaining of hips (me) and knees (Sabrina). I also seemed to have lost contact with my hands.    (O5G)

It was both hot and cold the entire time. My ultra-modern wicking fibers were hard pressed to keep up.    (O5H)

On the drive back we stopped for food at an International House of Pancakes from an alternate universe. On a scale of 1 to really freaking me out, everybody in there was at least a 3 and most tending more to the apogee.    (O5I)

In the parking lot, after passing through the portal, when we rejoined with our usual universe, we saw a rainbow.    (O5J)

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August 22, 2004

Hurley's Endurance

The headline at The Guardian: Shackleton expedition pictures were 'faked' made me whimper.    (NIM)

The story of the crew of the Endurance is one of my favorites. The thought of having it revealed many years later, on a BBC documentary, as a scare-quotes reality show threatened to break my little heart.    (NIN)

Turns out, thankfully, that while Hurley did manipulate and sometimes stage images, it was a case of giving his artistic side a lead but not a complete win over his journalistic side. I find this appropriate: where the medium in its base form cannot transmit the meaning, a little help that colors is okay because no medium can transmit the truth.    (NIO)

The title of the BBC documentary is a nice double entendre: Frank Hurley - The Man Who Made History.    (NIP)    (NIQ)

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July 05, 2004


It's no secret that nationalism and patriotism are two of my least favorite things. I want no part of them, especially in a time when nation building and being patriotic mean killing or ratting out your neighbor.    (9IO)

That doesn't mean, though, that I won't enjoy the fireworks.    (9IP)

Tonight Stan and Malinda joined me on the roof of the house to view the annual Bloomington fireworks. Bloomington puts on a small but pleasant show, launched from the parking lot of the university stadium just down the street.    (9IQ)

My camera has a special fireworks mode, which seems to amount to leaving the shutter open for a while. I took it up on the roof too, with a small tripod. Of the 130 semi-random shots, about 30 can be found at FourthOfJulyThumb. Some highlights:    (9IR) + ++ T    (9IS)

Dictionaries are weird but helpful things. WordNet? defines a patriot as "one who loves and defends his or her country" and points to nationalist as a synonym.    (9IT) + ++ T    (9IU)

Webster's 1913 edition states "One who loves his country, and zealously supports its authority and interests."    (9IV) + ++ T    (9IW)

Meanwhile the Devil's Dictionary claims a patriot is "One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesman and the tool of conquerors."    (9IX) + ++ T    (9IY)

Does one have a country, or does a country have one? When a country acts, who is acting? The country, the people of the country, the government?    (9IZ) + ++ T    (9J0)

People tell me that the fourth is a celebration of the country and its people, not the government and its actions, but when surrounded everyday by jingoistic propaganda, aren't these fireworks just another ad to maintain shareholder confidence?    (9J1) + ++ T    (9J2)

Give the people a spectacle, wave the flag a bit, be reminded that we're all part of a nice big group and while the details of our activity may be a bit bleak, don't forget: the vision is grand.    (9J3) + ++ T    (9J4)

Sublimate the rage in a sea of pretty colors. Put off the revulsion and revolution for one more year.    (9J5) + ++ T    (9J6)

And there on the roof, as the fireworks boomed on our left and the impending thunderstorm rolled in from the right, things were good: Amongst friends, in (on) a home, well fed with more entertainment and comfort in store.    (9J7)

But still:    (9J8)    (9J9)

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July 04, 2004

Climbing Still in the Air

MattLiggett and I had another fine trip to TheRed.    (9DU)

This time of year it is very humid and often cloudy. More than once we commented that it could be 9:30 am or 3:30 pm, no telling. The combination of heat, humidity and weird hazy lighting made us a bit lazy, but we enjoyed ourselves, the climbing, and the scenery.    (9DV)

Full collection of pics (40) at TheRedJuneMattThumb, with some highlights and lessons below.    (9DW)

Day one was spent at PhanTasia where we decided to have a day of moderate sport. We got on anything that had bolts and was rated a 9 or a 10. I was pleased by the easy approach to the first climb:    (9DX) + ++ T    (9DY)

Lesson one: 5 liters of water per day, while officially plenty, is not enough.    (9DZ) + ++ T    (9E0)

We sweat. We left puddles and wet spots from our congress with rock. I climbed CreepShow? leaving dampness at the opportune seated rest.    (9E1) + ++ T    (9E2)

When I climbed it again, the dampness was still there.    (9E3)

Day two we squelched off to FortressWall where we planned Matt's first trad lead (his first sport lead is documented elsewhere).    (9E4)

Fortress is good for this sort of thing because the climbs are well travelled, well defined and have reasonable descents.    (9E5)

Matt styled up AmericanCrack?:    (9E6) + ++ T    (9E7)

(If you look at the big version (click the ++) of that pic, you can barely see Matt's helmet next to the big boulder at the top.)    (9E8)

At the base of the climb we had a large collection of thirsty bugs that might sting us if they cared about us:    (9E9) + ++ T    (9EA)

I then led Route48    (9EB) + ++ T    (9EC)

following the if-you-don't-know-what-gear-you-need-take-it-all school of thought.    (9ED) + ++ T    (9EE)

Lesson two: Not so much a lesson as a thing to work on: Selecting the right gear and economizing. Gear is heavy. Heaviness bad.    (9EF)

Finally, no trip to Fortress is complete without Matt making a cheese eating grin on top of BedtimeForBonzo. Compare:    (9EG)

Trip two:    (9EH) + ++ T    (9EI)

Trip one:    (9EJ) + ++ T    (9EK)

Lesson three: Don't make a big huge mess of the rope when it is your only way down.    (9EL) + ++ T    (9EM)

It's beyond lovely at the top of the cliff.    (9EN) + ++ T    (9EO)

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June 22, 2004

Olympics in June

Oops, I went to Seattle in early June to visit the lovely poupou, took some pictures, and did not post the pics. Here there are now: SeattleJuneThumb.    (90O)

Some highlights and commentary (this is but 12 of over 50 pictures):    (90P)

I had a stop in Detroit for the way out. The airport there has recently been redone with all the usual fanciness (multiple terminals, trains connecting things, etc.) plus this fountain:    (90Q) + ++ T    (90R)

This view doesn't really do it justice. Each little jet of water can be controlled for duration of spurt. A computer somewhere does some magic that causes members of my demographic (somewhat geeky men between 25 and 35) to stand around and stare at the fountain. There was a small herd of us, scrupulously ignoring one another while trying to determine if there was a pattern to what we were seeing.    (90S)

SB and I had arranged to take a rental car across the sound and peninsula to the Pacific coast. Seagulls graced the lovely blue skies on our first day:    (90T) + ++ T    (90U)

We camped on the beach (second beach, near La Push, in the coastal are of the Olympic National Park). After our first night, we woke to a beautiful morning. The tide was out, the seabirds were swarming around their nests on the sea stacks    (90V) + ++ T    (90W) + ++ T    (90X)

and the tide pools were luxury accommodations    (90Y) + ++ T    (90Z)

Our accommodations were less luxurious, but they kept us dry. Note the bear proof food container.    (910) + ++ T    (911)

In the night something had come up on the beach, done something and crawled away.    (912) + ++ T    (913)

Do sea turtles visit the pacific northwest?    (914)

I was visiting with an international movie star. She was slumming with me.    (915) + ++ T    (916)

The weather turned a bit sour and we got a lot of wet.    (917) + ++ T    (918)

Slugs like the wet:    (919) + ++ T    (91A)

After a second night in the rain we departed for the mountainous portion of the park. A drive up hurricane ridge led to some lovely scenery    (91B) + ++ T    (91C)

and lovely flowers    (91D) + ++ T    (91E)

I plan to move to that part of the world by the end of the summer. It's nice there.    (91F)

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May 26, 2004

New York Week

I spent last week in New York, attending the 13th Internation World Wide Web Conference. I had promised to blog the conference but I managed to not get around to it. I hope to soon, I learned some good webby stuff.    (7EV)

But I learned some other things, not webby stuff, I ought not forget. Full collection of pictures at NewYorkMayThumb.    (7EW) + ++ T    (7EX)

There's some fine bouldering in Central Park. It's late evening in this pic as I look up towards the buildings just south of the park. I'm underneath a boulder known as Rat Rock.    (7EY)

I went to the park the second day of the conference after a day of feeling socially retarded and unable to connect. Not only was I feeling shy, I was also feeling little sense of value in attempting to make a connection.    (7EZ)

At the park, I'm bouldering alone. It's rained earlier in the day so conditions are less than good. After a while a guy shows up. I ask him to show me a few problems, explaining this is not my turf. We engage in SharedJargon?. We have fun.    (7F0)

This represents a fundamental shift in my me. The meaning of which is as yet not fully sussed out. I'm not prepared to associate a value judgment with it quite yet.    (7F1) + ++ T    (7F2)

New York is big. In several locations throughout the place you find skylines that are adequate for reasonably sized standalone cities. This view is out the Southeast corner of the park. Here's downtown    (7F3) + ++ T    (7F4)

viewed from the Staten Island Ferry.    (7F5)

I don't consider myself a city dude, but I liked New York. I conclude that most cities just aren't worth the hassle: the benefits don't win when compared with the challenges. The challenges for me are compression, oppression, aggression and apprehension. New York has way more than enough of that stuff but makes up for it in several ways:    (7F6)

  • The park. The cabbie took me through the park on the way to the hotel. I was thoroughly impressed and felt a relieved sense of "oh, this is here, I'll be okay." The park is a masterpiece.    (7F7)
  • The subway. It works and is out of the way, at least on Manhattan (which is all I'm really talking about here, I neither saw nor have any immediate inclination to see the less vertical areas of New York). Big minus points to Chicago for putting theirs above ground. Boo.    (7F8)
  • The food. There's lots to choose from it. Some of it even cheap.    (7F9)
  • Pretty people that are not fat. This is a major contributing factor. Maybe it would wear off with time but the beauty and variety of the people make you feel like you are somewhere special rather than in a toilet (despite the smell).    (7FA)
  • Other stuff I'm not remembering right now because this was supposed to be a short entry.    (7FB)

So, with all that I found myself thinking: I could deal with this. That's not an entirely new thought: I've often thought in the heart of a giant city was certainly a better option than some random place in a medium city. Grocery delivery would be key.    (7FC)

I prefer a slow entry to a place. Get somewhere and then wander in expanding circles, not doing much. I took this approach to my time in New York and liked it that way. As a result I didn't hit all the sites, but I got a pleasant feeling. That's my mode.    (7FD)

When I go back, I'd like to get inside the Chrysler Building.    (7FE) + ++ T    (7FF)

I couldn't get past the lobby, but even that was enough to renew my desire to do some Art Deco exploring.    (7FG)

When traveling, non stop flights on little jets are the way to go. Exit rows extra helpful. Bring own water.    (7FH)

Okay, one conference comment: Semantic Web confederates and cheerleaders are not as crazy as I once thought (the errors of AI are not being repeated, as it once seemed). They do, though, need to come back to earth, focus on today, and let things evolve and emerge concurrent with real-world activity. A great deal of the design activity associated with SemanticWeb? standards is intensely architected stuff. The w3c is turning into the IOETF: InternetOverEngineeringTaskForce.    (7FI)

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May 10, 2004

Tradding round the Maypole

In honor of the May Day honoring of the struggle for the eight hour workday, MattLiggett and I took off for three days of blissful climbing at TheRed. I from work and Matt in his gap between school semesters.    (4NA)

Weather at the red river gorge is a tricky business. The forecast is not to be trusted. Other than an unfortunate late night knock on my tent with "my tent is all wet, give me the car keys" we had fine weather, fine climbing and, unusually, some fine food.    (4NB)

We had some goals:    (4NC)

  1. Get Matt doing some easy leads so he could hone his clipping and comfort.    (4ND)
  2. Get me placing my huge pile of camalots, much too shiny and new, into some cracks.    (4NE)
  3. Have fun.    (4NF)
  4. Celebrate the impending collapse of the multi-national corporatist hegemony through the pursuit of leisure and the wearing of products from Patagonia and Chaco.    (4NG)

I think we hit these pretty good but it cannot be said that we pulled down hard, bro. These were not those days. Some other days will be those days, and that will be good too.    (4NH)

Thumbnails of the entire collection of photos can be found in TheWiki at TheRedMay2004Thumb. For each picture, clicking on the + or ++ will take you to medium and huge versions of the pictures. For many, if you are just looking at the thumbs you are missing out.    (4NI)

Day One    (4NJ)

We arrived late Sunday night, quickly set up tents, and waited for the morning. It arrived with a bit of a chill and a lack of coffee. Our destination: RoadsideCrag.    (4NK)

RoadsideCrag is probably the most popular crag at TheRed. It has a little bit of everything--sport and trad, easy and hard--and a nice simple approach. Because of this it is often full of people on the weekends.    (4NL)

It was Monday. Weeks of intense planning and complicated math had led us to believe that a weekday would turn the place into our own personal palace of climbing pleasure. Hee! No. It wasn't full, but we did some waiting and while we did who comes trucking up the trail but some chums from home on a bachelor party climbing expedition.    (4NM)

One end of RoadsideCrag, the right or East end, is filled up with supposedly safe and easy sport leads. Just what we wanted for goal #1. The easiest one, CSharpOrBFlat, was occupado, as was AlteredScale, so we went for AllCowsEatGrass.    (4NN)

Like most of the other routes in the area, it's a medium length, mostly vertical but kind of slabby, jesus I would hate to fall on this kind of experience.    (4NO) + ++ T    (4NP)

Up I went. When I came down, Matt went up. This is different from what we would do later in the day and the days following.    (4NQ)

Matt chose to top rope the route as he was a bit out of practice from all the educating he's been getting to prepare for the impending revolution. He goes to the top where he finds the anchor bolts from which I've just lowered are moving in the rock.    (4NR)

For those of you unfamiliar with these sorts of things, this is double plus ungood. From my position down on the ground I can tell Matt's a little wigged out: he's telling me to move him very gently, he accidently drops a quickdraw (which happily slides down the rope and gently lands on the ground, rather than on my head where I've not yet put my brand new helmet), and he takes extra special long to clean up and descend. But he calmly refrains from telling me what's up until he's safely on the ground (otherwise we would have a clusterfuck of deciding what the right thing to do is).    (4NS)

Oddly, when we tell our neighboring climbers of the sad state of the anchors on this climb not only do they say something that amounts to "oh yeah, most of them are messed up in some way" but then they go and climb on them.    (4NT)

We climb CSharpOrBFlat and YouCanTuneAPianoButYouCantTunaFish and decide if we are going to be dealing with unreliable anchors, they may as well be ones we place ourselves.    (4NU)

So we moved west to RoadsideAttraction.    (4NV)

One hundred and forty feet of fun. RoadsideAttraction is very well known: it's pretty easy, easy to get to and very satisfying. I'm told that climbing it naked in the dark is something of a must do once you have the skillz.    (4NW)

I found it a bit unnerving myself, first time and all, so I kept my clothes. Unlike the other routes we had done that day, when I got to the top, I sat down, set up an anchor and belayed Matt up to me. From our perch we looked out upon a lovely view and felt mighty good.    (4NX)

Here I am, the conquering hero, after our descent:    (4NY) + ++ T    (4NZ)

And then we were hungry. And cold. And tired. And lazy. So we went to the restaurant at the Natural Bridge Park lodge. It was yummy. We ate. We reminisced about those fun times back in the day when we climbed RoadsideAttraction. We decided we wanted more, tomorrow would be FortressWall. And to our tents we went, satisfied.    (4O0)

Day Two    (4O1)

Another fella from Bloomington, Andy, was at Miguels as part of a three week climbing extravaganza before returning to the world of employment and obligations. He (and his dog, ChiliDog) joined us for our adventures at FortressWall.    (4O2)

Fortress has traditional climbs only. A whole mess of them, from super easy to somewhere on the hard side of moderate. All kinds of fine places to place gear of all sorts of sizes.    (4O3)

The sun was shining into our lovely setting. It was dry and warm and we had the whole place to ourselves. Here's Matt, on CalypsoIi, saluting our good fortune (and the workers of the world):    (4O4) + ++ T    (4O5)

Next was SnaKe and WhereLizardsDare. Fortress has two levels. There are the climbs that start from the ground, like Snake, and those that start at the end of the first set, like WhereLizardsDare. If you make this picture    (4O6) + ++ T    (4O7)

extra big (hit the ++), near the middle of the frame you'll find my orange helmet. That's me belaying people up SnaKe (which is out of the frame to the left). Above me, at about 1 o'clock is WhereLizardsDare (where we saw no lizards, but we did see them on CalypsoIi).    (4O8)

WhereLizardsDare is a fabulous climb: difficult off balance stemming with a teeny finger crack to help you out, all way up high in the sky.    (4O9)

We were on a schedule, we had dinner plans, but there was no way we were going to miss BedtimeForBonzo. Last fall I had made it halfway up the second pitch of the climb before freaking out and downclimbing because I had no idea where I was supposed to go. Oh, and it was too dark to see.    (4OA)

The view from the top is quite compelling:    (4OB) + ++ T    (4OC)

Having never been there before I wasn't sure it was going to be like that, but I had a hunch. And I was right. The pleasure of topping out on this climb and simply being there,    (4OD) + ++ T    (4OE)

on top of everything,    (4OF) + ++ T    (4OG)

was sublime. Here's a demonstration from Matt:    (4OH) + ++ T    (4OI)

Andy clued us in to a good thing to know:    (4OJ)

You can walk off the second pitch of BedtimeForBonzo and return to the anchors of the first pitch, avoiding what might be a tricky rappel off the top. I wonder if a long rope would get us down from the top in a single go?    (4OK)

Our original schedule had us back to Miguels at 6:00 to head into Lexington to meet Jeremy and Gail. It was about 5:50 when we hit the dirt below the climb, so we skipped Miguels, and scooted to Lexington where we changed shirts in the parking lot of the restaurant. There we ate an enormous pile of yummy fishy sushi things and had a rollicking good time. Jeremy and Gail are good like that.    (4OL)

On the drive into Lexington, with the setting sun, came rain. It stayed around, off and on, for most of the night.    (4OM)

Day Three    (4ON)

I'm getting a bit tired by day three. Matt, who's been sleeping in the car because of the aforementioned rain in his tent, gives up on his first attempt to wake me up. He comes back later. I'm not up for anything too difficult and vote for the easy approach of PhanTasia.    (4OO)

Leading easy to moderate trad climbs is not all that physically exhausting. Yes, you have to work hard, but the sheer number of calories on a day of easy trad doesn't compete with a day of harder sport. Much of it is the amount of time involved. Some of it is the much lower level of difficulty. Yet, at the end of a day of leading trad routes, I'm still at least as exhausted as a sport day. Exhausted by the degree of responsibility I'm putting on my own choices.    (4OP)

So we went to PhanTasia, where we did the lovely AttackOfTheSandShark    (4OQ) + ++ T    (4OR)

and the imposing StAlfonsos    (4OS) + ++ T    (4OT)

I led the first and Andy got the second. After that we ran up LordOfTheFlies and CreatureFeature, enjoyed some fine Miguels pizza and headed home into the setting sun.    (4OU) + ++ T    (4OV)

The following two days I worked enough to not need to take any vacation. So much for the eight hour work day. Workers unite, anyway.    (4OW)

Next week I go to New York for a conference, after that my uncle is over from Britain, sometime soon thereafter I hope to have some time with my bun in Seattle. Somewhere in there I'll get more climbing.    (4OX)

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April 22, 2004

Power Laws in the Blogosphere

Watch now, friends, as I increase the power of my blog.    (462)

At special request of the fine folk at Kitty Joyce Productions, despite the doubting Mr. Whybark and for the lovely poupou I present to you not one but two kitties!    (463)

Thomasina has recently been joined by the foster, Enzo.    (464)

In this shot, the cats, fresh from a brushing, consider a toy mouse.    (465) + ++ T    (466)

Enzo has some enthusiasm. Thom is not entirely amused by his presence.    (467) + ++ T    (468)

Enzo is not entirely amused by my camera flash. I'm scaring the mouse.    (469) + ++ T    (46A)

Power.    (46B)

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April 21, 2004

Have Rack Will Travel (and get lost)

Signs of perfect weather, a (small) gap in the busy schedule, a buddy available (LiggettTheYounger) and my shiny new cams meant it was time for a quick trip to TheRed. Much poring over available route information pointed to GlobalVillage as the place to be for some easy trad and some easy to moderate sport routes, which was a good sampling of the overlap of what we both wanted to do.    (45A)

But I forgot that about half the routes of the eight or so picked are not in the printed guidebook and thus far there's no wireless at the crags.    (45B)

We had just Sunday available; drive down late Saturday, come back Sunday evening after pizza. We got underway earlier than expected; halted for two hours as Thunder Over Louisville let out; arrived very very late; woke up with the sun to meet someone who wasn't there; and stumbled around, washed out and vague from 3 or 4 hours of sleep, until the coffee kicked in.    (45C)

GlobalVillage is a lovely place. For some reason it is not as popular as some of the other locations. I've heard and read various theories to explain this: the approach is long and tiresome or the routes don't feature the overhanging pocketed crimp festivals that brings people to TheRed. I don't know about either of those: I found the approach long but not steep. The climbs were interesting, high quality rock and it was just plain nice in the area. Plenty of napping rocks.    (45D)

The far end of the cliff houses a nice waterfall amphitheater:    (47U) + ++ T    (45E)

Here's the view from the top of KentuckyPinstripe, looking sort of westish:    (45F) + ++ T    (45G)

KentuckyPinstripe, as we later discovered, is a 5.10a and not EureKa, the 5.6 we thought it was. We started there as a warmup and the moves at the start had me saying things like, "No way this is a 5.6" and "Maybe it's called Eureka because you find the magic 5.6 hold and suddenly it's easy."    (45H)

I onsighted it anyway and went on to OnSight everything else that day (we only did 5 routes, seeing as we didn't know where several of them were). I've since decided that's no good. I should be climbing much harder and falling more often.    (45I)

Here's the view from halfway up the same route:    (45J) + ++ T    (45K)

Climbing will make your ass disappear:    (45L) + ++ T    (45M)

More info on the crag and the climbs will show up soon in ClimbTheRed. The rest of the pictures from the trip can be viewed at TheRedCliggettThumb. To summarize: We had a good (but sleepy) time, nobody got hurt, we saw and did interesting and fun things. Nice beat, we danced to it.    (45N)

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April 05, 2004

Spring Oh Four

Spring has sprung    (3RI) + ++ T    (3RJ)

here on the ranch    (3RK) + ++ T    (3RL)

and with it comes    (3RM) + ++ T    (3RN)

the affirmation    (3RO) + ++ T    (3RP)

that as time passes    (3RQ) + ++ T    (3RR)

so we come round again.    (3RS) + ++ T    (3RT)

(Photos from around the house and Flatwoods park. Whole group at SpringOhFourContents.)    (3RU)

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My kitty, inspired by the haste with which I purchased my new sandals, has decided to go into sales and marketing.    (3Q8) + ++ T    (3Q9)

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March 22, 2004

Seeing More Red

Matt's provided a nice report of the trip to TheRed he, his brother, and I made Friday and Saturday.    (3P3)

Was a blast. My mac has produced a multimedia extravaganza recording the event for history.    (3P4)

The pictures that made that movie are at MattFirstRedThumb. I've updated ClimbTheRed with info and pictures gathered from this trip.    (3P5)

Notable events:    (3P6)

Three times so far this year. At this rate might actually get there as much as I want.    (3PD) + ++ T    (3PE)

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March 15, 2004

Red River Gorge Climbing

I returned last night from a quick trip to TheRed with Gary, a genial fellow I met at HoosierHeights. We went down Friday night, climbed on a sunny Saturday and a rainy Sunday and returned home. A good and successful time was had.    (3JI) + ++ T    (3JJ)

I've gathered up some photographs at TheRedSpringBreakContents. Thumbnails can be found at TheRedSpringBreakThumb. I've used those, plus pictures from a few previous trips (EarlySpringRedContents, last summer) to start a ClimbTheRed section which holds info about climbs in the Red River Gorge that I'll find useful so someone else may as well.    (3JK)

This recent trip was a blast despite 17 degree temperatures Friday night (the ultralite thermarest doesn't really cut it in those temps) that left morning frost and ice on my tent. The cold forced me up early for a long day spent at LeftFlank where we climbed ToDefyTheLawsOfTradition, FaceUpToThatCrack, MrBungle and much to my surprise and enjoyment, WildYetTasty.    (3JL)

We went then for a dusk cold-fingered dash up CreatureFeature over at PhanTasia followed by the required pizza at Miguel's. That evening's choice was: shrimp, artichoke, banana peppers, garlic, onion, black olives, mushrooms, and broccoli.    (3JM)

One's choice of toppings is an important part of the TheRed experience.    (3JN)

I woke the next day to cold rain. We had planned to go to TorrentFalls anyway, but the rain cinched it. Gary led a 5.8 that's not in the guidebook (UnknownTorrentFalls), and top roped WadCutter, BandoLier and PoopieHead?. I went up the 5.8 and then decided, despite feeling wishy-washy to lead BandoLier. I was ashamed of myself only top-roping WildYetTasty the day before so gave myself a kick.    (3JO)

Glad I did. Got it clean on the first go. Prior attempts on previous trips had me swinging through the air.    (3JP)

After that went around and flashed the tricky PoopieHead?.    (3JQ)

And that the rain told us we wanted more pizza, so we returned to Miguel's. This time I had: shrimp, jalapeno, pineapple, garlic, black olives.    (3JR)

And then home.    (3JS)

Our trip was greatly improved by running into GregMartin?, a long time excellent climber who gave us loads of advice and encouragement.    (3JT)

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February 28, 2004

Thursday in Muscatatuck

Matt and I took a Thursday journey down to North Vernon to do some bouldering in MuscataTuck.    (3A0) + ++ T    (3A1)

It was our first time there. The weather was a brisk high 40s but we were in the sun nearly the entire time. A pretty much perfect day. There was some easy climbing, some hard climbing, some shit "I'm too high off the ground", some bleeding and some pleasant satisfaction.    (3A2) + ++ T    (3A3) + ++ T    (3A4)

More pictures: MuscatatuckLateWinterContents    (3A5)

Eventually some climbing info: ClimbMuscatatuck.    (3A6)

We're thinking about going often.    (3A7)

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February 21, 2004

So In Sand

A typically brief spurt of nicely mild weather gave Sabrina and I a chance to go walkies amongst some nice icy cliffs.    (32E) + ++ T    (32F)

To the southwest of Bloomington the area's limestone karst gives way to sandstone hills. Near the town of Shoals the White River passes through these hills, creating the occasional cliff-line.    (32G)

Several years ago Shoals was a fairly good place to do a little climbing. Nothing great, but given the lame offerings of Indiana, pretty good. Over time each of these regions fell out of favor. A visit to the most recently popular place, known as Hindostan, results in the occasional tire slash.    (32H)

So people don't go there much anymore.    (32I)

The Bluffs of Beaver Bend are on a parcel of Nature Conservancy land managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. We had spied it the previous Saturday during a Valentines Day drive. It's a lovely place, but I had ulterior motives: I wanted to know if there's any climbing there.    (32J) + ++ T    (32K)

Climbing on DNR land is big unknown for me. Anyone know?    (32L)

We took along the camera to get pictures of what was there, for later reference and because we missed having when we were there prior. The whole set is linked from Shoals200402Contents.    (32M)

Access issues abound with climbing around Shoals. Some of that info, along with pictures pulled in from the above collection at ClimbShoals.    (32N)

We also met ShoalsLlama and a thing we think is TheDeadFox.    (32O)

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December 18, 2003

Snow Pictures

I took some pictures where there was snow but I had lost my camera dongle whoosit. I've remedied that situation:    (29E) + ++ T    (29G)

The back yard at night.    (29H) + ++ T    (29I)

My snow angel.    (29J)

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December 05, 2003

Out and In

I have to admit that I am extremely disappointed that today's Winter Storm advisory was cancelled. How's a guy supposed to enjoy the snow if it doesn't come?    (20N)

Today's deer (they're quotidian) probably prefers the lack of snow. Better for the munching:    (20O) + ++ T    (20P)

The deer is out in the yard. There's snow falling, but it melts when it lands. Just inside the window a tiny flower tries to get out:    (20Q) + ++ T    (20R)

It's a about a half inch wide, maybe a bit less. Here it is from some distance:    (20S) + ++ T    (20T)

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October 28, 2003

Familiar Context

Jason says to me: You are all about context.    (1O9)

You can infer a lot from context.    (1OA)

Here's my brother:    (1OB) + ++ T    (1OC)

As you can see he's about 2 years old. That makes me about 4 months old. This explains a lot.    (1OD)

But wait! That's not true®! Truth is we cut my bro's hair back in August, while he was moving stuff out the house and the forces of that moment in time, combined with our creative energies created a something that might be something else. Where's truth?    (1OE)

NicksHairContents has some family pictures, a bunch of hair, and maybe some fodder for a very small segment of the pornography industry.    (1OF)

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October 27, 2003

Seattle Trip Photos

A while ago I went to Seattle to visit my lovely participant and go with her to Mt. Rainier. At that time I promised pictures and stories. Here are the pictures the WikiPiki way, you can provide the stories.    (1FR)

SeattleSeptember    (1FS) + ++ T    (1FT)

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wikiPiki Pictures

In my last entry I posted some pictures of things going on in the yard. I've since thrown together some code that puts these pictures into the wiki so that I can add some narrative and other people can add some comments.    (T7)

I've automated the process of generating thumbnails, middle size images, and creating a series of pages in the wiki, including pages that are primarily used for sources of TransClusion, not for viewing. This makes it easy to suck in a transcluded image, like so:    (T8) + ++ T    (T9)

A problem with this, though, is that it is also possible to load up a page with a huge number of images. Anyway, it's a first go. Feel free to write some comments in there with the images. I suspect it will be weird at first, but maybe it'll become handy, or maybe I'll throw it out.    (TA)

TheYardContents    (TB)

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October 26, 2003

Being Good

In an effort to satisfy various folks, the cat    (PX)    (PY)

and I went outside for a look around to see if there was any Fall    (PZ)    (Q0)

out there.    (Q1)

The results.    (Q2)

Something for everybody in there. Stan needs to look at the funky cricket. For Mike and the lovely pou these aren't so good of the colors, but may rustle some memories.    (Q3)

And Danny, forgive my sin, the cat's in there too.    (Q4)

Thanks to my parents for the homes for wrens.    (Q5)

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October 23, 2003

Welcome Back Deer

Working on those cute points.    (PD)    (PE)

Here we see the deer gazing back at my cat who sits on the porch steps getting fussy because there is a deer in her yard.    (PF)

This all happened about ten minutes ago. I had glanced out the door to see a fussy kitty, and thought what's up with that and turned around to spy yonder deer out the window.    (PG)

Camera not at hand I slid to the floor out of my chair and shuffled, out of view of the window, along the floor and into the other room (mustn't disturb the deer) where I grabbed the camera.    (PH)

When I returned I was able to capture a nice set.    (PI)

If I were really gunning for points, I would have taken a picture of the cat too.    (PJ)

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October 01, 2003

Dear Deer

Dear Deer,    (N6)

Please enjoy the grass. Eat as much as you like, the grass is getting a bit long.    (N7)    (N8)

As cuteness is crucial and bunnies have small mailboxes I've put the entire deer photo shoot up with big versions.    (N9)

Which reminds me, I have 200 Seattle pictures to deal with.    (NA)

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July 01, 2003

Lake Cumberland Boat Trip

I've just returned from a lovely boat trip on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky:    (00019N)    (00019O)

It was filled with various exciting adventures, people and sights:    (00019P)    (00019Q)

For more and a few stories:    (00019R)

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June 04, 2003

Everywhere, Nearly    (0000Z9)

Bigger version    (0000ZA)

A former employer, Kiva Networking, is offering free wireless in various areas of downtown Bloomington for the summer.    (0000ZB)

The picture was taken five minutes ago, I'm still on the square, writing this entry and enjoying the weather.    (0000ZC)

When this is really everywhere, we'll be somewhere.    (0000ZD)

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May 08, 2003

Weekend In The Park

McCormick's Creek, April 2003    (0000LD)

Follow the link to some pictures and words from a trip to a nearby Indiana State Park.    (0000LE)

Slow connections beware: 30 pictures between 50 and 150k each being loaded onto one page.    (0000LF)

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May 06, 2003

Pictures from the Red

Chris and Ding Go to The Red: April, 2003    (0000IL)

Follow the link to some pictures with descriptions of the trip Ding and I took to the red.    (0000IM)

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April 13, 2003

SF Trip Photos

Chris Goes to San Francisco

Photos from my trip to California for the Blue Oxen launch party. Many images on one page, will take an age to load on a slow connection.

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March 31, 2003

Anne is 36

Anne is 36.

Happy birthday Anne, the world would be lacking without your inimitable whimsy.

Here's happy birthday pygmy daffodils for you:

Henceforth I will devote this blog to the posting of close up pictures of flowers.

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Tea and Talk

When I go home to my mother and step dad we drink tea, talk of many things, and look at poetry books. I was there this weekend.

We speak a language, that, as far as I can tell, just doesn't play well anywhere else. I suspect this is the way of many families.

They are on their way to England for a visit.

(I've just recieved my renewed UK passport back from the British consulate and I must say I'm incredibly relieved. In this day and age it doesn't pay to walk around without your papers. I have to be prepared to be arrested for sedition at any time.

It took the British government just over 2 weeks to renew my expired passport. So far it is taking the US government 10 months and counting to renew my green card. I'm told to expect a year which actually means 18 months, which other sources say actually means more than two years.)

Primary topic of conversation: when pursuing a better world is the best strategy pursuit of a quiet, inner and individual peace or an intense level of active engagement that may well ripple the surface of the world but at some torment to your inner health? Anyone think they know? I would love to hear it: I vacillate between these two positions by the minute, especially in times like these.

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March 27, 2003

Flowers For Everyone

I don't know what I would be doing with myself if it weren't spring and the flowers weren't blooming in the yard.

If the weather holds there will be a rolling burst of color across the yard as the various trees wake up, see it's Spring, and get to thinking about fornication.

First these pink things, later some white and red.

Without the flowers my entire day would be spent fretting about the war and the way it brings out the idiot in people.

Now there are at least a few moments with these flowers.

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March 22, 2003

Florida Trip

Sabrina and I have recently returned from a trip to Florida to visit her parents. I gathered together some photos and a bit of narrative.    (0000BF)

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March 13, 2003


In the Spring of 1990 I was in London, working for the British Computing Society as the executive editor of the magazine What's On In Computing. It was primarily an events listing quarterly but in the absence of strong management my partner-in-crime designer, Nicholas Redeyoff, and I decided our issue, the seventh, needed a redesign; some sprucing up of the look and some adding of a few more features. Soon after publication we both quit in the midst of administrative turmoil resulting from a move out of London to the boring town of Swindon. As far as I know the seventh issue was the last.    (0000AQ)

I was inspired, tonight, to fish out one of my few copies of issue number seven. It's folded to A4, so somehow sleeker in its slenderness than other magazines around the house. The cover is a full page photo of a boat on the Thames. Why? We never really say. Turns out it is the "versatile training centre" from the page 5 news story.    (0000AR) bigger    (0000AS)

On page 3 is what I was looking for: my letter from the editor, introducing our changes in the strained and earnest voice of me at 20. It was Spring then, and we were making changes, and I thought it was important, or at least something should be. I called the editorial "Writes of Spring":    (0000AT)

Spring has always been a time of rebirth. A time when old developments are enhanced and new developments are unveiled, unsure in their infancy, but hoping for a brilliant summer…[zealous explaining of new features in the magazine and the forthcoming "high season for events"]…It has been said many time in the past few months, and maybe it is becoming mildly trite; but it is important not to forget that we have entered a new decade…A new decade that is not only the last decade of the century, but also a millennium. This doesn't happen very often. It is the perfect opportunity to let ourselves be forced into thinking about the world we live on and the things we do on it. Sounds heavy. It is and has very little to do with exhibitions and courses.    (0000AU)

Remember your motives and don't get carried away.    (0000AV)

I apologise for the title.    (0000AW)

The Berlin wall had fallen right around the time I was hired for this job. Watching the BBC throughout the fall and winter months had been quite the experience. I, someone who had never taken to the paper before, was buying the Guardian or the Independent every day before getting on the train. I have a copy of the first Independent on Sunday stored away in a box. It has one of the best front page photos I've ever seen.    (0000AX)

Even in the midst of Thatcher and the poll tax, there was a feeling of hope and connection, and the mundane world of computing events would not, could not, contain it.    (0000AY)

I made several other odd decisions. One: the only two page feature has the following title "Hypertext may provide the CBT of the future". It's essentially a marketing whitepaper for a Hypercard application that we got permission to reprint (of course we got permission, it's an advertisement!). The paper arrived on my desk and I thought, "huh, this is cool" and stuck it in the print this pile. I made it into the closest thing we had to a centerfold.    (0000AZ)

Thirteen years later it is once again Spring and I find myself thinking about the world we live on and the things we do on it. I wonder about my motives and how I got here.    (0000B0)

My last remaining grandparent passed away on Monday. Gladden was my stepdad's mother. She died in relative peace, according to her wishes and at her home in Madras, Oregon. I barely knew her; as seems so often the case circumstances were never right for us to get to know one another and now there are the consequences.    (0000B1)

Since Monday the weather has been improving. It's pleasant to think that Grandma's passing is part of the natural order of things and in some way she's responsible for the flowers showing up in the yard    (0000B2) bigger    (0000B3)

and me out in sandals with the cat.    (0000B4) bigger    (0000B5)

Grandma was the last of eight grandparents. My mom's mother died while I was in high school. Sometime soon after that her father died. After my first unpleasant year of college my mom and stepdad moved to England to occupy the family home: a thatched cottage in a very small village. I went to join them after my second unpleasant year of college.    (0000B6)

The following Spring I published the magazine.    (0000B7)

That same Spring my son was conceived. Today we sent hypertextual links of blogs back and forth with IM. This is, in very many ways, a miracle.    (0000B8)

In a few weeks I'll be heading out to California to go to a party announcing BlueOxen Associates. BOA is about a lot of things but one thing that stands out is our interest in deeply-interconnected information resources that provide granular addressability. Hypertext, in other words.    (0000B9)

I am relieved that Spring is here, and the flowers are blooming and I am talking with my son and I am going to parties for as I look around at the world (using a lot of hypertext) I wonder if we are preparing to waste the perfect opportunity we started in the Spring of 1990.    (0000BA)

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Thomasina Reads

Kitty Joyce may log on but Thomasina can read.

She's going to need glasses soon if she stays that close.

(Hoping to start a friendly cat photo cold war. If we put energy here, maybe Bush will run out of steam...)

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March 08, 2003

Aliens In My Home

Can anyone identify this bug? There are also similar things that have shown up around the house that are brown and bigger. I don't know what they are either. We call him Earl.

These orange creatures are magnificent. Final image for showing scale, those are the tines of a regular fork. Click on the thumbnails for bigger pics.

If you know what it is, let me know. If you have a good name for this kin of Earl, let me know about that too.

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March 03, 2003

Queer Barney

A while back I mentioned Queer Barney, a groundhog who used to live out back a place I worked long ago and not at all far away. Queer Barney's at my house now. He's been watching me sitting at this computer with some envy and bitterness. He's a bit of a cuss, but after some conversation we've negotiated that every now and again, starting sometime soon, he'll get to do a few entries here.

Here he is warming up:

Before he comes on board, I should tell you a bit about him.

In that time of long ago, at the work place mentioned, some pals and I answered the computing support phones for Indiana University. It was, in many ways, an awesome job: good people, good management, reasonable pay, walking distance from home and Queer Barney but the challenges stopped being challenges and for most of us, boredom set in and we went off to other pastures. I was sorry to leave Queer Barney behind.

Out back the workplace was not unlike a pasture: a large green field, dotted with trees and right out in the open a groundhog hole. As we took our breaks out in the sun to smoke or watch people smoke, or look at but not look at an eclipse we would often see, out there in the field a fat furry groundhog critter.

My friend Jason and I would walk home past the groundhogs lair. We did this so many times that we felt our relationship with our new furry friend demanded a naming. This was round about the time Barney the dinosaur was a hit and we hated Barney. We wanted to take the name back, make it our own, give it positive power where only negative had been. You can figure out the rest.

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March 02, 2003

A Pond

Poupou's been disappointed in me for not showing her the pond in the back yard. Eric and Anne were in town and their combined weight shamed me into relinquishing my fuddy duddiness for a few minutes and back to the pond we went.

It's way back in the furthest corner of the back yard. In the summer it is surrounded by masses of brambles and other nasties that make it no fun to reach. In the winter it is a little easier. Fed by a spring, it's rarely fully frozen and on this particular day there was no ice, lots of mud, and deer tracks and scat all about. I should get a big hacking mochine and slash a path: when summer arrives we can relax back there with the mosquitoes (bad) and frogs (good).

A fine visit was had with E&A, as usual.

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February 28, 2003

My Therapist

If you've ever been to the headshrinker you recognize this chair and this pose. With the downturn in the economy I find myself needing to bring my therapy in house. Thanks to the magic of the basement and my cat, my needs are being met and I can promise continued levels of at least moderate sanity for the foreseeable future.

My new therapist has little experience, doesn't say much, and has a smelly butt, but she's quite accepting and gives me a hug when I need it. If you are in need of a little therapy I can give my heartiest recommendation to Thomasina.

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February 27, 2003

It was easier when young

When I was little Mom used to drive me to and fro the sleepover.

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