Sunday, April 2, 2006 Another Missed Opportunity
Since I was in Columbus, Ohio all day yesterday, until after midnight, I didn't get to do my April first entry, therefore no homeland security message that this page had been removed due to some sort of undetailed nefarious activity or the other. Well, there's always next year. . .
Quote of the Day: "I urge you not to throw away time, for it's swift as an arrow, fast as a stream. Distraction is entirely due to lack of concentration; stupidity and blindness are caused by lack of true knowledge."
-- Yung-Ming, Five Houses of Zen
When we left yesterday just after eleven to head out to Columbus, it was 66 degrees and sunny. When we got to Columbus it was 12 degrees cooler and completely gray-sky-looking-for-the-world like it was going to snow. Felt like it to, wearing only a t-shirt. Well, pants, socks, shoes, underwear and a hat, too, but you know what I mean. What is it about Ohio and April? Every time I go there then the temperature difference is enough to generate gale force winds.
I really need to start carrying my voice-activated mini-cassette recorder with me to take notes. I've been thinking about the state of human society for well over a week, but when I sit down to write my essay (or rant, as the case may be), I can't seem to recall all the pertinent points I wanted to discuss. Oh well, perhaps soon. I'm off to take some photos of the trees in bloom if I can find something to my liking. Maybe I'll have something to show later today. Ciao.[NOTE(11:11 pm): I've gotten as far as to put two micro-cassette recorders and a headset in the van. Maybe that will be impetus enough]
(10:24 pm)Pollen Central
I went to the fishing pond at Kanawha State Forest to see what I could see. When we got ready to leave, the sun was shining through the back window of the van and I could see a fine dusting of pollen all over it. I turned on the wiper to brush it off and there was a cloud of pollen. My sinuses are rebelling. I usually clean my camera filter a dozen times or so during "tree rutting" season, then maybe three times the rest of the year. The damn pollen gets on everything.
I did manage to get some nice shot and did some nice things with them using Photoshop. Here's one:
"Fall Colors of Spring"
Eleven years ago I gave my friend who recently died a collàge. His mom told me he's carried it with him everywhere he went in the intervening period. She gave it back to me yesterday in Columbus at his apartment. I helped move his things back to Charleston. A close friend's death makes one think of a lot of things.
Monday, April 3, 2006 End of the World
I got my order from Tiger Direct this afternoon. I then set about installing things. I had a Maxtor 160 GB hard drive that I'd bought last month. I paid $49.95 for it. I think that's the cheapest hard drive I've ever bought by quite a bit, and the second largest. I installed the hard drive, formatted it, installed a new graphics card (with dual monitor support), installed a second monitor, installed the software, and everything worked great the first time. The end is near.
Quote of the Day: "Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted."
-- Percy Bysshe Shelley
I actually managed to make a few notes with my micro-cassette today. Of course, it's in the car, and I'm here. Figures. What is it about me and ducks?
"Who Knew Ducks Were So Fast?"
I got new tires on the Dodge today, got a haircut, went by Ritz Camera and Waldenbooks (Borders). I even managed to eat halfway right. I called my doctor's office to have him call in my prescription for Celebrex, since I run out today. Near as I can tell, he didn't do it. Too busy is what the office staff told me. Well, I guess I'll just be too busy to ever go back to that practice again. I'll be looking for a new doctor tomorrow. I've had it with physicians who are more interested in throughput than they are in doing their jobs well.
Wednesday, April 5, 2006 Once in a Lifetime
It took some planning, but I managed. Look at the heading of this entry -- right now it's 1:23 4/5/6. This only happens once a century. I stayed up just to catch it. Actually, that's not true. I am usually up at or near this time and I just realized that I could do this and rushed in here to make this entry.
Quote of the Day: "To oppose the policies of a government does not mean you are against the country or the people that the government supposedly represents. Such opposition should be called what it really is: democracy, or democratic dissent, or having a critical perspective about what your leaders are doing. Either we have the right to democratic dissent and criticism of these policies or we all lie down and let the leader, the Fuhrer, do what is best, while we follow uncritically, and obey whatever he commands. That's just what the Germans did with Hitler, and look where it got them."
-- Michael Parenti
Now that I've done the 123456 thing and the quote du jour, I'll go to bed and write more later today when the sun is presumably gonna shine. Laterness.
Thursday, April 6, 2006 See How I Am?
Well, I missed it. I forgot to do any additional entries yesterday. That's probably because I was a bit upset over losing my good cane. We went to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple things (one of which they didn't have). I found a parking space right next to the Wal-Mart walker (a/k/a shopping cart) return. Therein was my downfall. Since it was only a step or two to the car door, I didn't miss the cane and it was quite happy to lie there in the buggy. I called Wally World once I realized what I'd done. They had some people look for it and called me back. They may have found it, but from the description they gave me on the phone, I don't think so. I'll check with customer service next time I'm up there. Oy! I hate losing things, especially when it's entirely my fault.
Quote of the Day: "A man's errors are his portals of discovery. "
-- James Joyce
I think I've developed Attention Deficit Disorder. I keep getting sidetracked. I started this entry over an hour ago and I still haven't gotten past the second paragraph. Sheeeeesh!
Spring looks like it's finally getting here. The wood across the street is beginning to green up. The trees along the boulevard are flat out gorgeous. The daffodils are fading fast. As much as I love the blossoms on the trees, I'll be glad when they finish their ostentatious sexuality. My sinuses can't take much more.
Saturday, April 8, 2006 Plus Ça Change, Plus C'est La Même Chose
Early in March I read a computer advice column regarding Windows XP backups. Since I recently lost a computer to hardware failure and have yet to come up with a method of recovering the things that were on the hard drives, I decided to start doing complete system backups at least once a month. I went to Start/Accessories/System Tools like the article said, and lo! and behold! the option for Backup is not there! I've looked high and low on the computer and I can't find an intrinsic backup utility anywhere. I even checked the HP Help and Support and there is no mention of backing up the hard drives. Amazing! I suppose it was only a matter of time. Things have been going to the freeballing world view for some time now. Memory has gotten so reliable that they don't include parity or error correction on them anymore. When my five-year-old computer died, it was the processor/motherboard that went. As far as I know, the hard drives are fine. I just don't have anything to put them in.
Quote of the Day: "Reality can destroy the dream; why shouldn't the dream destroy reality?"
-- George Moore, English, one of the fathers of the analytic philosophy (1873-1958)
I think perhaps I have a bug on this computer. My Download Accelerator won't work. All the settings for several programs are screwy. I'll probably have to re-install my Corel Draw suite, losing all the enhancements I've made to the keyboard shortcuts. Why do malicious malcontents screw with other people's computers just because they can? They're not proving anything. And, they're insuring their own untimely demise if any number of those of us so affected by their juvenile masturbatory mischief ever find out who they are.
The rain and cold have set in. The past few days have been warm, if somewhat damp, but today it's 43 degrees with a promise of below freezing temperatures overnight tonight. It should be warming back up into the 60's and 70's this week, with some sunshine as a bonus, but I'm not sure I can take all this cold and damp until the better weather gets here. Yeah, and the cars need washed and the lawn needs mowed.
(11:06 pm)Cycles of Equality
From time before time began, some men were better than other men. Likewise, women, however superior to other women were still inferior to men of the same station. Over centuries things remained this way. The stations men held changed, the status being defined by the condition of the society in which they lived. Somewhere near the end of the 18th century a rash of egalitarianism broke out. According to the Declaration of Independence one of the self-evident truths is that "all men are created equal." The Republic in France was based on the triumvurate principles of Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood. In the latter part of the 20th century the inclusion of women in this egalitarianism was begun. The principles of social equality were just beginning to be explored when the Neo-Puritans, the Neo-conservatives, and the Merchant-nobility began to make the attempt to return things to the way they were before, the "proper" way -- where the conferred status of some men makes them better than others. In prior times, titles and social status bestowed superiority. Now, the social elevation is supported on stacks of money. Equality is only for the lower classes. If you have enough money now, you are not required to wait in line, obey laws, exercise common courtesy, or hold those beneath your station in any esteem but disdain and contempt.
Know this, those who hold me and others of my ilk in such regard, the disdain and contempt runs both directions.
I've been reading a series of books that take place from 1846 until the beginnings of the Revolutionary War. I am currently watching "The Kingdom of Heaven." I've so far concluded that no person should bow to another out of anything other than respect for their virtue and moral achievement. Obsequiousness in any form is disgusting.
Sunday, April 9, 2006 Do What?
At the local Target store:
"Should I Stay Or Should I Go?"
Quote of the Day: "Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh."
-- W. H. Auden
Maybe that's what they mean when they say that someone "tickles my fancy."
Technology has advanced to the point where we could all share in a world where work was a part-time occupation for all, and no one would want for anything and everyone would be on the trail to Maslow's top tier of the hierarchy of needs -- self-actualization. No one would have to struggle just to keep body and soul together. No one would have to work 60 hours a week at some demeaning job to have enough money to pay the bills and drive a 15-year-old car that costs more to keep on the road than the payment for a new car, if they had the credit rating to afford one. Instead, technology makes a few richer, makes it difficult for those who don't have the intellect or training to keep up with the ever-increasing cost of everything. It's harder to start a business. It's impossible to live a profitable life of crime. We're killing ourselves and ironically, at the same time, overpopulating the planet. Not with a bang, but a whimper.
Monday, April 10, 2006 Sprung!
The weather has improved. It's been cold the past couple nights but it looks like the temperatures will be in the 60's and 70's, even approaching 80 the rest of the week. Today was beautiful. I even managed to take a few photographs.
Quote of the Day: "No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly."
-- Oscar Wilde
I imagine the converse could be said to be true as well: No object is no ugly that, under certain conditions, it will not look beautiful. I had this discussion with one of my professors at WVU years back. He was of the opposite opinion and since the ink on his Ph. D. was still wet, he won the argument. I dropped the class. I've never been able to brook insufferable bastards, Dr. Grant.
I love green.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006 Feelin' Like A Gypsy -- Feelin' Tired
We're moving. The house we're moving to is just around the corner from the house we used to live in before we were forced to move to this one. This is the first place that hasn't been sold out from under us since the first place we lived just after getting married. That place, by the by, was one street over from the street we're moving to now. This new place isn't the best in the world, but it has central heat and air, a gas cook stove, a porch, hardwood floors, and a decent kitchen. If it's not too expensive to heat and cool, and if the landlord keeps things up the way they should be done (and I do have some doubts about this) we might stay there for quite a while. The rent is more expensive than here, but at least the sun shines there.
Quote of the Day: "Passover, with its message of hope, tells us that like the Egyptian slaves, we can escape from our straits."
-- Lesli Koppelman Ross, Celebrate! The Complete Jewish Holiday Handbook
Trying to get two monitors from two manufacturers with two different contrast ratio and two different response times to play well together is a bit difficult. I've got them pretty well matched up color-wise, and in terms of brightness. The balance between brightness and contrast is a tiny bit problematic on the wide-screen one. The difference in aspect ratios presents a few difficulties, but I still like the arrangement quite well. I'm sure I'll like it even better once I get a little larger desk to array them on. K-Mart has a nice one.
Yesterday was a near-perfect day. Today is overcast but still nicely warm and with sufficient light. I think the only photograph I took yesterday was of my friend Bev's mom's dog. He's a perky little pup (I say "pup," but he's 12 years old). I expect photographs will be few and far between during the move. I can't wait to get started, and I dread the process horribly. I'll be having pain pills for dessert for the entire duration I'm sure. I sure hope this place works out.
Thursday, April 13, 2006 Moving Experience
The moving has begun. Sort of. There are some serious issues with the new place. One, the refrigerator does NOT work. We checked the cook stove and it seems to function, but I'm not sure how to light the pilot lights, or if it even has any. I'm sure it does. It's too old to be without them. The back stairs are broken. They're wooden, so fixing them should be simple, if the basic structure is still good and it's the treads that need replaced. The water pressure in the bathroom is pathetic. That needs to be fixed or we'll be asking for our money back and continue looking. What kind of ordeal actually getting it back would be is another question.
April is National Poetry Month. You've probably noticed that a number of my Quotes of the Day this month are from poets or other literary figures. Oscar Wilde is one of my favorites, probably because he had such interesting things to say. That, and he's a top ten of all time smart-ass.
Quote of the Day: "The old believe everything; the middle aged suspect everything: the young know everything. "
-- Oscar Wilde( 1854-1900)
I suppose I should include a poem or so to celebrate this month. I'll be thinking about what to do. I'll let you know.
I took 39 photographs yesterday, most of them of the sky at sunset from the Wal-Mart parking lot on Southridge. I'll probably put one up here later today, but right now I have a doctor's appointment. Oh joy. . .
Friday, April 14, 2006 Hitchin' a Ride
At the moment I'm an Internet Hobo. I'm in the new house, where we don't have cable hooked up. I popped open the laptop to see if there were any unsecure networks in the area. Sure enough! Two. I tried them both out and stuck with the quicker one. Neither is as fast as my connection at the old place, but they'll do in a pinch. I'm sure this is probably unethical, but I'm doing nothing to anyone's network and I'm not using the connection to do much other than collect my mail and update this project. I don't get online and download terabytes of porn or watch streaming videos or load up my iPod (I have an iPod??). No harm, no foul. If I knew whose network it is I'd ask if it was okay to use it until my cable is installed. I hope there's no problem with that. There's a satellite dish on the porch roof. I hope there's no cable company prohibition against hooking up to this address. We'd better check.
Monday we should have phone service in both places with the same number. I've got a phone for here, but I need to bring a caller ID. I'd like to have a cordless phone here. I may bring the new one over after the phone service starts working. The phone company told us that we'd have phone service in two places one other time. When we called to have it done, they said they couldn't do it, after having told us they could earlier. I hope this isn't the case now.
Quote of the Day: "For the sake of one true penitent, the whole world is pardoned."
-- Meir. Talmud: Yoma 86b
I think the next order of business in this move is to get curtains up on all the windows. I don't like leaving much here without the view from outside being blocked. The landlord had the back steps fixed, and Ann says the water pressure upstairs, which was barely a trickle, is better. I've not been up there to check yet. I tend to avoid stairs as much as possible. The refrigerator here isn't working at all. That's the next thing the landlord needs to address. In these older homes on the East End, the windows have a tendency to be painted shut with several layers of paint. Right now I'd like to be able to open a few of them instead of propping the doors open to ventilate the place. It needs airing out, having had a cat spray at various points and having sat empty for a while. I'm tired and it's not even dinner time yet.
Sunday, April 16, 2006 It's Late, It's Late
Long days. Warm nights. My face and hands are dirty. We're eating out too much. Things are progressing. I really wish it was all over and we were settled in. I've been looking for a remote door bolt but I've not been able to find one as yet. I guess we'll have to check with the locksmiths around town and hope they have something. We bought a mini-fridge to put in my studio so I won't have to go downstairs every time I need a cold bottle of water or something to snack on. We ordered a new washer and dryer today to be delivered on Tuesday. Thank goodness. The machines we have been limping by with are terrible. We got the front loaders this time for the energy savings. I think all we need to buy now, in the way of big ticket items, is a couch and an HDTV and something to put it on. We've been using a dual-recliner loveseat for about three years and it's pretty much shot, so a couch is a necessity. The HDTV isn't vital, but since everything is going to that format pretty soon, it might be a good idea to go ahead and get one now before it becomes mandatory and more painful financially. A new bed would be nice, but that's kind of an extravagance at this point. The old one will do fine. We do have relatively new matress & box springs. I'd really like a Tempur-pedic though.
Quote of the Day: "Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in milk."
-- Henry David Thoreau
I got a new corner computer desk to accomodate the dual monitor arrangement better. I've got it spread out all over the dining room of the new house, awaiting my skillful hands and a phillips head screwdriver to put it together. I've been thinking a lot about how furniture has more and more shifted the labor of assembly to the customer. If you put it together yourself and mess up, you're screwed. I think the cost of furniture is deceptively low because the assembly and shipping costs of the assembled units are discounted because us poor dupes have to sweat and curse and have stokes and heart attacks trying to get unnatural construction methods to function under less-than-ideal circumstances. We got a cheap dining room table and four chairs. They went together nicely, but the chairs all have one leg that lacks about an inch of reaching the floor. If you think about it, an inch in that situation is quite a bit. And the legs and other underpinning is metal, so there's no shaving the legs off to make them even. I guess just sitting on them for several years to bend the iron into place will have to suffice.
Did I mention, I'm tired? The other evening we were at Wal-Mart at sunset. That ridge is a great place for sky. I got a lot of nice sky shots and a few good ones of the sun going behind the ridge line. I wish it was more pristine and I could take great shots without having to adjust my compostion to avoid having satellite dishes, signs, or lamp posts in the shot. Here's one I mangaged to do that, more or less:
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me"
Monday, April 17, 2006 April Living Up To Its Name
I reluctantly got up this morning, looked out the bathroom window to see the green curtain being slowly drawn. The view of the housing project across the way will surely disappear by mid-May. I love the green of the new leaves. It's gentle and subtle in ways that the rich, adult green of summer is not. Needless to say it's raining this morning. By noon, it may be sunny with scant evidence that precipitation ever occurred. Don't ya just love April?
I've not gotten much accomplished this morning other than getting out of bed, showering and washing the dishes that had sat too long in the sink. Sometime soon I'll need to tackle the kitchen and get as much packed as I can manage and still be able to cook and store food. The refrigerator at the new place doesn't work at all. I suppose I could have moved the mini downstairs for right now, but, being a fridge, it's heavy even with its "mini" designation. We'll see what today brings.
Quote of the Day: "Every man is fully satisfied that there is such a thing as truth, or he would not ask any questions."
-- Charles Sanders Peirce
The ones who bother me are those who are "fully satisfied that there is such a thing as truth," and are equally satisfied that they are in complete and irrefutable possession of it. The individual who does not doubt, who does not question, and insists that his/hers is the one true way is the individual to keep under close scrutiny. Those who live in blessed assurance that they know the truth of it all will act on that assurance in ways that start wars, commit genocide, engender prejudice and vile acts against their fellow humans. Doubt is the wellspring from which all knowledge comes. Inquisitiveness is the gourd we dip into the waters of erudtion.
"Something Bright and Clear"
Tuesday, April 18, 2006 Waiting For Godot (Lowes)
Here I sit, tapping someone else's Internet connection, waiting for the new washer and dryer to arrive. I hate delivery/service appointments. The very best they can narrow it down to is am or pm. If I ran the world, it'd be to the minute and if I wasn't there to greet and instruct them, they'd cheerfully wait and maybe sweep my sidewalk or water the plants until I showed up. Maybe I could even leave several gallons of paint, ladders, and brushes. . . nah, that's a little too much. Let's stick to sweeping and watering.
Quote of the Day: "Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."
-- Epicurus (Greek philosopher, 341-270 BCE)
I try every day to be thankful for what I have and to not be bitter or resentful for what I do not. It's hard sometimes when I see the conspicuous consumption rampant among the nouveau riche. I see so much want and suffering, and I see that there are material things that could relieve a lot of it, and at the same time, there's Donald Trump.
Being in pain takes a lot of time. With every step I take, something hurts, moderate to severe. Apparently, according to doctors, there's little that can be done other than narcotics, and they won't prescribe them. Instead they want the patient to go to a pain clinic, which in my case would be pointless, because I already know what the etiology of my pain is and what can and cannot be done to aleviate it. With the pain purveyors' MRI's and other tests and procedures I'd end up owing thousands of dollars when a $10.00 co-pay for a narcotic pain pill would do the trick. Well, sort of, as I am loathe to take those little nasties for more than two or three days running. I think doctors are more afraid of the DEA these days than they are concerned about their patients' pain or well-being. It's a terrible time we live in. Terrible.
Anyway, back to pain taking a lot of time. For one thing, it slows me down. I hesitate with each step because of the anticipated pain, then after, I have to momentarily recover from the hurt. I also have to rest more often, for pain wears on the stamina, and the fact I can't walk at a brisk enough pace to break a sweat has me to the point where I tire easily. I refuse to be one of these old men who sit on the porch leaning on their canes watching the rest of the world go past. I don't have the slightest idea what I can do about it, but I refuse to do that!
The hospital helicopter rattles the windows in the dining room here when it takes off. That machine is one of the few drawbacks to living in this part of town. At least we're not right across the street from it like we were in Arlington Court. I do miss the neighborhood there, though.
(12:00 pm)I Don't Think He's Coming
This could well be one of those days. Still no washer & dryer. I've gone as far on putting my computer desk together as I can without an extra pair of hands (the one-armed man might even suffice). I'll probably be sharing many mundane and ordinary thoughts with you all day long. You are here right? Right? Oh phaugh! I have no idea if I'm talking to myself or not. Hmm.
It's a crystal clear day. The sun is bright, the air crisp and clear. The temperature is just now climbing into the lower 60's. I think the forcast calls for a high near 70. A perfect day, and here I sit inside waiting for the delivery truck to show up or for the phone to ring. By the by, the phone is working at both locations now. The phone wiring in this house is for shit though. I'm going to have to rewire the whole thing. I don't know what the problem is, but every phone jack I plug into works, then quits working. I found one dead short yesterday, but the maze of phone, doorbell, and other unused wires criss-crossing the basement ceiling is too confusing to even contemplate. I think I may just add to the confusion with a whole new set of wires hooked up to phone jacks that actually work. The electrical wiring is another thing to deal with. There is only one grounded outlet downstairs. I need more than that, and actually I'd like to have the living room and the dining room on separate circuits. I'll have to see what I can do about that.
Hark! I hear a truck. Be Right Back. . . Nuts! It was the trash truck.
Thursday, April 20, 2006 Just a Quick Note
Slow getting started this morning. That's okay, I have a doctor/dentist's appointment at one. I'll be pretty much useless the rest of the day. I know, I know, how's that different from any other time? Shut up. I feel terrible this morning too. I suppose I overdid it yesterday and didn't eat right. Maybe a nap later. . .
Quote of the Day: "Victory is sweetest when you've known defeat."
-- Malcolm S. Forbes
Where do people get these ideas?
This house (old one, well, new one too at this point) is a mess. I hate messes. It's getting closer to the big day though. The thing I dread is the attic. Everything there will have to be gone through, triage performed, and a lot of things jettisoned. I should offer a lot of the books, computers, computer parts, etc. on Freecycle or sell them in a moving sale, but I'm not sure I'm up to that kind of operation at the moment. I starting to get that moving-across-town weariness and blues.
Friday, April 28, 2006 Ta-Da!
It's done. We're moved. Everyone is beat. My son Sean was a huge help. His girlfriend, Trish, was too. Our niece, Angel, was great. Her dad, Lynn and her sister Amber helped too, as did our daughter Mags and her friend David. Ann's sister Kris and our niece Michelle put in their part too. It took longer than I'd wanted, but at least it's over now. I have to go over to the old place tomorrow and do a final run-through and give the landlord the keys and get our deposit refunded. I'm trusting we'll get all of it back. We improved more about the place than we did wear and tear to it.
Quote of the Day: "Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity. We are dependent on each other in so many ways that we can no longer live in isolated communities and ignore what is happening outside those communities. "
-- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
(8:58 pm)Golden night
The nights here in this part of the East End are golden. The street lights are those gold colored high-visibility lamps. I first saw those years ago in Leesburg, Virginia. We have a bug light on the front porch and it closely matches the color on the street, so our nights here are golden. I watched the birds flying at dusk this evening. I'd forgotten how many birds there are in the East End. That was one of the first things I noticed when I moved here in 1975, the swifts flying at night with their squawkings. Something about the East End says "home" to me. Of course at one time I felt that way about Atlanta and the Lower East Side, too.
Dr. Who's on. Later.
Saturday, April 29, 2006 Contact
During the move I heard from a dear friend with whom I'd lost contact. Just two days ago I touched base with an old friend from high school and the Army that I'd not talked to, seen, or otherwise communicated with since the days when Martin Luther King was still making inspired speeches. Today I talked to another friend. Communication seems to be emphasized.
Quote of the Day:
"Silent about virtue and swift to act wrongly,
one who does not slander others may still be called good.
More vile than violating virtue and committing crime
is slandering a man, then smiling to his face."
-- Tirukkural 19: 181-182 (Hindu Scripture)
I just remembered I have some photographs to pick up. I'll write more later, unless I get bogged down or sidetracked somehow.