Wednesday, April 30, 2008

RiSEr

We've all seen the Big Dog and been very excited and disturbed by it. Well, check out their RiSE bot.
http://www.bostondynamics.com/content/sec.php?section=RiSE

Can you imagine? Thousands of them clambering over the earth? You could easily mechanize the building process...

And if they gave the widget little geckel feet? Mmm hmmm....

Folks, the people making these things make me so proud and so scared. I wish I could work for them - I seriously do. Because they're only revealing one layer of their onion - I promise you that.

Of course, you have to see the hilarious mockery made of Big Dog - I spewed my coffee.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Man's Chair - but women like it, too!

I was gazing at all the coolness of Uncrate today and came upon My Chair. It was once as pristine as it is in the photo but a vast number of cat scramblings and cross country moves has made it...lived in. Still, if you've the funds you will not be disappointed. A glorious chair to settle in for a long read or even a nap. And yes, the ottoman is a must - unless you get the recliner version. Suhweeet...

Go ahead and put your hiney in it at the store and see if I'm wrong.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Muckety Mucking Crap

I am so tired of this rain...I know - we need it. But...I am unwell. I've some sort of crud and utterly without patience so trying to explain to a 65 lb dog that it cannot go out and play is getting tiresome. As is the inside play that we're resorting to.

So I thought we'd all take a nice nap. Yeah...well...my stepdaughter appears to have moved cross country without bothering to take note of the mover's phone number nor that of her new apartment. Yesterday it was the electric company in Atlanta because she didn't request a shut off. WTF?! I am a wee bit tetch-y today but...how in the HELL do you MOVE and not have a fucking LIST of important phone numbers and a checklist of all the things you have to get done and have them all DONE?!

Oh, seems she PACKED all the information. In the middle of the truck. Somewhere.

I adore her but...this has become the most ineptly managed piece of shit ever. EVER. And I am pretty much giving up at this point. No more referrals, no more asking my execs if they know Denver execs. Nope, done. Because I just can't take on her lack of preparation anymore.

Oh - and let me note that she is moving into an apartment that has some of the worst online reviews ever. Oh, it's near a yuppified park and in-town, etc. But it has no central air. You get a unit in the living room. HA! And parking but even if it's your spot it is not enforced. No closets...I mean, it's a complete rip-off as far as I can tell. But what can you do?

So I shall do the only thing I can - make appropriate noises on the phone when she calls and let her sink or swim on her own. I don't like to be that way but I have done more than most already. I think it's time to walk away.

For now, I promised myself I'd get my office figured out since I've some peace and quiet. The damned dog can kennel for awhile longer. A few hours and I might at least have it sorted out a bit! Damn it, I feel like crap. And I needed that nap...my poor husband...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Just in time...

...for my darling husband's departure...my truck throws a code. Sigh! Well, I suspected it and confirmed today that it's the damned O2 Sensor - but at least it's the #1 - I believe the #2 is the one near the cat convertor and an entire BITCH to remove. (Yes, I've replaced them once before...)

So I have the item in hand and purchased the handy proper socket for same and may tackle that in the morning. I can drive his truck for now tho, in truth, it isn't terribly harmful to drive mine as is. Maybe I can get our pal Les to help out.

I ADORE Les...he runs a towing service and is the consummate gentleman of the road. He takes his work seriously, has made an ingenious air bag system for lifting vehicles (out of parts and things rather than paying the $50k or whatever for the "system" from a manufacturer), and has the COOLEST trucks. He just bought a huge one that will tow damned near anything. LOVE IT.

Anyway, I suspect I can get his aid to pull the part - the sloping driveway here makes it rather hazardous to jack the truck up.

The storm rolled through here last night like a freight train. It was lovely, I must admit, what with the stroboscopic lightning and the giant tower just off to the north. I suspect many people had an awful time of it. We merely had lashing wind and rain.

We spent a FANTASTIC time in Houston last week, visiting the MFAH exhibit, "Pompeii". If you've any interest in antiquities this is a must see. Of course, we were both very excited by the set of gladiatorial armor but the jewelry...that was just astounding. The workmanship was as good if not more detailed than anything at Tiffany's. Go look at the images on the site. There was a silver cup covered in olives that was supremely decorated with the smallest borders.

The crater reminded me very much of the one that Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema used in so many of his paintings. And the frescos...there was one that was so lovely but you could not take photos so I can hardly even tell you of its detail and beauty. They would use perspective so well, creating these views as though in a temple open to the sky. Maddeningly lovely.

So that's about it. Time to find something to eat - soup, I think, for this nasty throat of mine - and then the park for dear Ranger who has been so patient this morning.

Quiet...such a lovely, quiet morning...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Alone, Again

I've done possibly the cruelest thing possible to a man: I've asked him to help a relative move.

Yes, yes - he will cart my beloved stepdaughter across country from Atlanta to Denver in her moving van, her vehicle in tow behind. And to answer the question in all your minds - yes, he must love the living hell outta me.

So I sent him off today to the TSA Hell wherein his nice bottle of water was confiscated though unopened (I forgot about the rule). Yeah, I know - you're thinking that as a Trooper he could have pulled rank or something but he didn't. Doesn't, really, ever. Anyway, he has arrived and I suspect he has found things Not Quite Done.

I had my suspicions that she was doing more Farewell Party-ing than packing these last few months. We all know that moving is a bitch, sure, but when you know for 6 months? Well, at any rate, her "friends" (did any show?) haven't gotten it all loaded on the van yet. Bless that man of mine, he didn't even curse. Not once. They'll continue working and he'll sleep on her floor tonight.

Personally, I am entirely disappointed in what she has and has not done so far. But as he says - you can give kids the toolbox and tools - what they make with it is all their own. Still, I cannot help but recall that I never relocated without a job, never needed a cosigner on anything and...well...anyway, it's just been one stressful hurdle after another for us both.

And here's the thing: she's NOT a bad kid! She's NOT irresponsible or a druggie or a user of people. So how she went from stable to grasping for help I don't know. All I know is that I married the sweetest man in the world and he is doing for her a tremendous thing. He is giving her time to sleep, a safe passage, and a gentle landing in her new life.

Yeah, I owe him.

Big.

SO...a weekend alone. And what have we done? Lined up the series of Sex and The City episodes and already dined on chicken soup (yup - terribly sore throat just in time for my weekend of single-ness). Up next is a divine little dessert composed of the leftover ganache from a friend's birthday cake and the whipped cream from same. It will grace the lovely low calorie ice cream sandwich in the freezer and see me through the first episode. I cannot WAIT.

Of course, there is the dog...a lot of park time and a visit to his best pal will, hopefully, have him quite tuckered out.

But I sure do miss that man of mine. I think I'll put new sheets on the bed and snuggle in early with a book - something I so rarely do anymore. And call him before I go to sleep to hear his sleepy goodnight. What a gentleman...truly.

Friday, April 18, 2008

"What's your formula for the corner?"

OMG. I have only now found this absolutely insanely hilarious show!!
"The Big Bang Theory"
How sad is it that I actually get 99% of the geekdom jokes? Not to mention the math? Check it out.


SUPERB!

Happy Birthday, Baroness

Ah, yes - the birthday girl...she was about 33 years old in this photo, entirely in love, and likely as happy as she ever was. For, she met Denys this year. And next...she'd be back to Denmark for 18 months.

This morning - after a very stormy night - the sun rose through clouds and had the most lovely watery golden shade. It came over my shoulder, surprising me with its glow. And I could not help but wonder if she'd met such dawn light herself on this day so many years ago.

How I wish I could go there and see it for myself. Skål, sweet Baroness.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

GBS - Newfie New Leid

Gosh, I love these guys.

Give a listen. Hit the old stuff. Enjoy.

Slow Time

So Trooper has a new trainee (we are not to use the term Recruit any longer) and he seems quite promising! I can tell you that Trooper's attitude has improved. They're out there, now, finishing up a "fatal packet" and other paperwork after dinner with Sarge. Can you imagine? Fresh out of academy and straight into night shift.

I try to remember those days but to be honest it's all a blur, now. The months flew by - after he left and I remained home for all those months...and the move...and his own 6 months as Trainee...it's almost baffling how quickly it has all gone by.

We spoke today about the future and where we might live. About what home business we could manage to keep the cash rolling in even after retirement. I know, he says, "what retirement?". Of course, if Ranger-dom calls, all plans are out the window as one never knows where an opening might be. You would be amazed at how many trailers and RVs are rented and planted on an acre of friendly farmer land in the middle of nowhere. Because for a year you can tolerate almost anything. So they say, anyway. I am glad we didn't have to find out.

But I've told him - we can get some land out west, certainly, and build a small cinderblock hacienda. Have some comfy chairs outside to watch the stars. Certainly. But perhaps a bit of land nearer the new track and the range...promising, too.

You see, Texas makes it damned hard to pick! You literally have every environment possible in one state and he can effectively transfer to any part of it. Spoiled for choice, isn't that how it goes? But then...I don't know about an even smaller town...already I have to be careful in my attire at the grocery. Because they know who you are. And they will talk. Oh, I don't give a damn, really, but I also don't want to impact his work and career. I am sort of old fashioned that way - I think supporting your husband and his work is a very large part of a happy marriage.

In a smaller town I worry that I couldn't even walk him to his patrol car in my flannel PJs. Of course, I could pull out all the stops and be the local "nutter".

Small town life...right now, our town is literally seething with discussion about should they or should they not put artificial turf on the high school field. Yup. We believe in football here. We believe HARD. Now, I've not a dog in the fight, really. No kids so...does it matter? But I DO see that the roads to the schools are utter crap, that there are still trailers for some, and who knows about the other details of education. I have to think that $1M could be spent on something...else? And we all know that playing on grass is far superior. C`mon. It's a simple fact. No argument.

I almost inserted an unkind cheerleader joke in there and then thought better of it. No...again, small town. And they do not deserve it - there is none of that "hootchey cootchey" dancing going on here. How I hated that in Atlanta!! My God! Even the little junior squad girls were writhing like they were dancing with a pole! No, nothing like that so...we'll shove my inner punk back and let her stew awhile.

Ah, yes. I was a punk. You'd better believe it. Were we all represented in The Breakfast Club? Not exactly. I was a little bit of both Bender and Reynolds...later in life I even had the old WWII Army Officer's winter overcoat. Oh, that was a find...too bad it left with an ex long ago. I loved that damn coat.

Anyway, all that to say that from there to here - a heartbeat. And a lifetime. Who knew it would go so fast?

Contemptible

I hadn't heard...I just went to Military Motivator as I do everyday and saw the link...

A superb bit of writing. I have so little more to say. It is said best and laid out perfectly here. Bless her.

She is writing about this piece of indecent, disgusting, self-congratulatory bullshit.

And she's right. Decency is fading away. Of course, here in the hinterlands a man still doffs his hat and holds a door. Yes, indeed. But I can only imagine the ways of the cities...one cannot help but wish they'd fall a bit so that they could see how close they are to being meaningless.

She offers a quote right off that I'd not heard before but which could be placed on my grave and it'd be all I'd want said of me.
"Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You
cannot do more; you should never wish to do less." -Robert E. Lee

That I always tried to do my duty...my blessings on all who serve so that I need not.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

An Agile Mind

I remember back in the day when the Internet was still only for geeks and BBSes ruled the bandwidth. (Yes, all that with the 2400 baud modem...) Not long after came Clifford Stoll's book, The Cuckoo's Egg. Here you can see him speak at TED. It's an interesting event with both good and bad (to my taste) topics. But this guys' mind...

Sigh...

It reminds me that once my mind was held captive by topology. Remember that I am mathematically crippled. However, I can easily render in my mind the concepts relating to the subject. The Mobius strip makes perfect sense. String theory, too, was relatively (heh heh) simple on its face. But then...life interceded and now I can hardly remember a thing about it all.

So I am impressed with that frenetic mind. And his bottles, yes. LOL Now, can Christina knit this? (Of course, it's tempting to learn to knit just to make the DNA scarf...)

Monday, April 14, 2008

"Made of Win"

You know, sometimes something just expresses a sentiment without flaw. Courtesy of Snowflakes In Hell. Yeah, that's my pie, beotch. Back off.

Which, of course, leads plainly to why that sort of horseshit has any legs at all. Because...


"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. ".

Perhaps someday we'll figure it out and just stop it. I don't pretend to have an alternative, no. I just know what is right - as we all do, in our hearts. Just that the alternative is so frightening that we dare not look it in the face. But surely with the current Horsemen of the Apocalypse to choose from we can see the truth of it...

Memorial for a Man

Each year I like to note this as he is my...touchstone for all that the war has been.
http://troopersgal.blogspot.com/2007/04/remember.html
Fabrizio Quattrocchi, Italian Hero, May 9, 1968-April 14, 2004

An archaic type of man who, in his last moments, did what I think we all hope we could do. For me, his blood in that sand flowers over and over. Forever.

"The Way of the Samurai is one of immediacy, and it is best to dash in headlong."
- Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Good Enough Life

As I read the delightful Pioneer Woman I have this dire urge to chuck it all and find our own ranch where the only vehicles on the road will be our own and my view will be unimpeded. I've had this ache to just STOP for some time, now. Actually, since 2001 when I actually did stop. It was a divine year of nothing - of doing absolutely nothing. Well, spending all my 401k, sure, but...glorious, sweet nothing.

Last night I got the hankering to take a few photos while that evening light held - just some quickies with the digital but I hope tonight I can get Trooper to help me so I can get some nice shots with the 35mm and Velvia. Ranger popped his head in, too, briefly.

You can see the carpet of blooms which were just a lustrous almost cherry trees in Japan pink. Again, the digital doesn't do it justice nor did the light that I missed by perhaps 10 minutes.

I love our nearby pasture neighbors and their rusty barns and equipment. It's the view I wish I could have all to myself as noted above. Just the grass forever and the springtime blooms in wide swaths of color.
And that tree - that tree is special though I cannot tell you why. It's got a tremendous form and when I walk by it I get a sense of, "Well, Helloooo!" So I hope I can do it justice, too, later.
Ranger and I went to the new park in Pflugerville today. Yes, that's the name. It always reminds me of Petticoat Junction for some reason. Strangely, both times we've been there have been owners who were completely unskilled in reading dog behavior.
Now, I don't call myself an expert at all but I know MY dog and I know what that smart Cesar Milan teaches. I can see if your dog's tale is between his legs or if his head is tucked. I'm not going to let Ranger eat him, for cryin' out loud. But Ranger plays with energy and sound. He is a growler and grumbler and if you didn't know it, you'd think he was going for the kill. Which is why I preface every more-than-cursory encounter with that caveat - he sounds like a demon but it's totally playful.
Today, this woman had a dog that you could see was tentative in its experience. It was trying but skittish. Ranger was full of beans so I directed him to the more energetic types for an hour. Then the agility course and finally the lazy "how ya doin'" meet and greets. I allowed him to approach the Nervous Nellie and her dog. The dog was all, "Oh, hey - yeah, I feel better - let's give this a go.." but she was in a state! I told Ranger to go and we moved on. But I felt sorry for her dog that was merely echoing her own excited and fearful state.
He was exhausted after that and still lays around resting. I took the time to run and get more mulch for the garden and could NOT help myself. The little local garden shop has such a FANTASTIC selection! It's as though I had gone and picked every thing I'd like and put it on display. So...it's African Daisies and Scabiosa for the front with some double petunias here and there. As I put them down I realised that there would not even be enough. Too, I'd been looking for something white and lilac to brighten it up but in truth I think just something buttery yellow might do well.
After the success of the sweet peas and bluebonnets I feel almost as though I have my old skills back. I'll have to find some photos of the old garden...how I do miss it. Of course, that was during my year of Nothing. Gardening, swimming, and eating well ensured I looked HOT. And I was, damn it.
And today - shhh! - the scale says I lost 7 lbs. Hot damn - I may just rock that formal event if I set my mind to it! Now, if I can just find a dress...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

All Clear

Well, it's been a rather strange but sweet day, surprisingly. I was feeling rather blah about all things yesterday afternoon. Perhaps it was hormonal but I was entirely exhausted, sick of everything and felt like I was wearing a hair shirt. So this morning when I woke and sent Trooper off with a healthy (as in SWAT try-out LEAN) breakfast I had a sense of...peace.

I rounded up the beast and we headed off to the Georgetown Bark Park so he could gossip with his pals. Turned out my sister was headed there, too. Of course we had to chat through the fence like convicts since her tiny dog would have been trampled on our side with the big galoots. Ranger had his way with them all and eventually just stayed near my ankles, a sure clue that he was too pooped to play.

The toll road ran through the most glorious patches of deep, thick, green grass spotted and in some places buried in that delightful pink tint from the wildflowers. The bluebonnets are fading already if you can believe it. Ah - here. Let me share this wee snippet. See? Our seeds made the healthiest patch of bluebonnets I've ever seen. And you can see the sweet peas in their gorgeous pink, lilac and red shades. There's even a watermelon color on the other plant. LOVE THEM. Anyway, he refused to pose nicely for this shot and I figured the odds of getting him to behave in a field by a highway were slim so...perhaps we can go together next week with his Fahthah. Before they're all gone...

So anyway, home we went - he to his crate and I to my elliptical. I delight in that time wherein I allow myself only the very trashiest of TV. Yesss, gentle readers. The Tivo in the gym is set to capture the antics of those Krazy Kardashians, the old Extreme Makeover shows, as well as the odd yoga and workout program. Trooper has his own favorites, too. And then a shower and off to meet Trooper for lunch. Again, we were very careful with our selections. Then to the local jewelry shop to get his nice watch fixed - new battery - for wearing to Honor Guard duties. There, I saw the cutest little dress watch - all marcasite and filigree band. And the ladies wisely asked about anniversary dates and set out a couple appropriate amethyst rings. I loved one but, in truth, I am rough on my hands. I tend to bash rings about - which is one reason I've no "engagement" ring. I don't like protruding things so perhaps after ten years he can get one of those anniversary rings where the diamonds are inset, instead.

And then he was off again while I headed for home to set the beast free. He's been tired lately and a bit off his food. Not badly so but enough to notice. I suspect it's just another growth spurt or something.

I tossed a pig ear at him to buy this time. I've a stack of catalogues and magazines to read still and I hope he'll stay quiet for that, too. And with any luck at all I'll manage a movie tonight. I wish I'd hooked up the laser disc player - all the really girly stuff is on there. As is Aliens with that delectable Michael Biehn.

Mmm...Mmmm...Yeah. I think Trooper will look something like as try-outs loom. It's strange how I have all sorts of lyrical language and teasing thoughts when I am AWAY from the blog and think, "Ah, perfect to post..." only to find it all wandered off when I am sitting here.



But I will say this - that if Angelina and Brad DON'T make a movie of Thieves World then there is no one who could do it justice. I have dreamt over 4 times now of sitting and chatting with them, handing over my condensed version hardcover, and delighting in the thought that only she could be Ischade and only he could do Strat justice. Strange and strange...

I suppose I COULD be entering my mass of recipes into that fantastic Tastebook but I just don't want to. Tomorrow, perhaps, as the beast sleeps. After all, it'll be a long hike in the morning followed by an early lunch with Trooper. And a nice, long nap for him to follow. Yes, that is a laudable goal...get it all in there so I can trash these torn and besmirched pages...including the regrettable recipe I tried last night for shrimp on cheese grits. I've had them before and its been superb but...there was no gravy in this recipe. Decent flavor but...it was just...bleh.


I do wish the roses would do more...I think I'll set up the soaker hoses tomorrow and lay down the mulch...so much to do and yet here I sit. Looking at Biehn Abs.


Now that I think about it...life could be MUCH worse. Heh...

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Shuddering of the World on its Axis

That happened many years ago today, I think, when he crossed over into...consciousness. And how could it not? The weighty intellect surely gave us all a bit more torque on the planet.

Happy Birthday, V-man. And post something new, won't you, fecking slacker.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Skeletons

Ah, yes...all the Hope and Change may be coming home to Roost. Billy links to this intriguing research which in my cursory review showed merely one stunning admission from the man the People declare to be their messiah.


Obama advocated dramatically increasing taxation on "the rich" even up to
the 100% level, arguing that, "there is no limit to taxation if the benefits
derived from public services by society measure up to the cost in taxation which
they have to pay" (p. 30) and that, "Theoretically, there is nothing that can
stop the government from taxing 100% of income so long as the people get
benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed."
It will be interesting to continue reading Greg's review and research. The words - in sharp contrast to the John Adams series we've been watching on HBO - seem like solemn bells ringing in my mind. A death knell.

Often when watching that series tears would come to my eyes...so far have we moved away from that...meaning in so few years. They'd intended a thing that would last through generations and yet in a mere two it is being torn asunder. Weeping, indeed, for what is already lost and more still for the ill-wind blowing. Gone, gone that finely woven concept. Gone and a return to the basest nightmare. And corpses spin under headstones.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Stories

Tomorrow...in 1918, she ventured into town - Nairobi - for dinner with friends. And one of their guests was Denys Finch Hatton. She would have looked much like this but likely dressed in a bit more finery. She was quite fond of making an evening "costume".
That smile, you see - it was before everything. It was while she yet thrilled to the life there and her place. Her gentle fondness for Bror and the thrill of waiting for her lover's few visits. That smile would become more tense and mocking later in her life. So that it was hardly a twist of her lips. Mocking because she has known so much more of life than those around her. And I can imagine her back home in age, fingering those small things she allowed herself to return home with.
Ninety years ago...