Sunday, September 1, 2002
One week and one day until the next stage in my recuperation. I'm hoping this next stage will be sans cast!
Quote of the Day: "Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man. " -- Bernard Shaw
This is another sketch book page, well, part of one anyway. . .
Monday, September 2, 2002
I was going to say something, but I changed my mind.
Quote of the Day: "You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you." -- Eric Hoffer
Universal Picture's 2-DVD set of "A Beautiful Mind is wonderful, but one item on it is very misleading. The contents for Disc 2 on the case lists "A Beautiful Mind Soundtrack." It's an advertisement for the soundtrack CD. What a rip off! That's blatant false advertising.
Great movie, by the way.
"Price of Admission"
Tuesday, September 3, 2002
Quote of the Day: "It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing." -- Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Thursday, September 5, 2002
Only four more days until my next doctor's visit. I sure hope that four days from now I'll be walking on two feet again, or that at least I won't be in this cast. Being down and out has me down and out, if you get my drift. . .
I've been going through a stack of last year's New York Times Magazines. I love reading the William Safire "On Language" column. I used to read that every Sunday when the Charleston Gazette-Mail was a more erudite newspaper. There's also a column on ethics every week that I enjoy. I'm thinking seriously about treating myself to a subscription to the Sunday Times.
Quote of the Day: "Always do what you are afraid to do." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Three tickets for the Powerball Lottery drawing last night -- hit one number out of 18. . . Saturday! What will I do with $80 Million?
Saturday, September 7, 2002
Pepper plants wilting. No rain. All the grass is going dormant. And as a bonus, my alma mater's football team lost 34-17 to Wisconsin today.
Quote of the Day: "The human mind treats a new idea the way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it." -- Peter Medawar, English Biologist
Of all the people who make a living running their mouths on television, the ones who commit the most egregious sins of language (Geraldo Rivera excepted) are football commentators. Defensed? as a verb? Give me a break! And that's only the beginning. . .
Have you noticed that more and more of the useful sites on the world wide web are becoming pay sites? Even the Encyclopedia Britannica site which used to be pay only and then decided to drop the subscription model is now once again a pay service. It's the old way of categorizing people. Those who have money can get whatever they want, knowledge included. Those who don't are kept down by withholding this knowledge from them. Why did any of us suppose that the Internet would be any different? The only economic model left is capitalism. The only political model is representative democracy, wherein the representatives are principally chosen according to who has the most money, knowledge and power. There are anomalies, but for the most part, it's cash and carry at election time. Don't forget to vote this November. The demographers need your input.
Only one more day, the rest of this evening and a few hours on Monday until I find out what the disposition of this cast on my leg will be. Time crawls. I've packed on a few pounds during my infirmity. I really want to get active again and do something about that. I sure hope I'll be able to walk with both legs again soon, and that I'll be able to drive and do at least some of the things I have gotten so used to doing. A friend told me I need to just take it one day at a time. "Hello, my name is Michael. I'm a walkaholic. . ."
Sunday, September 8, 2002
I got up this morning and with some assistance managed to make biscuits, sausage gravy, and an omelet. After eating this rather unhealthy brunch, I went to sit on the porch for a while. Plants are withering. My Shefflera in the big blue and white pot is dying except for one branch. I think I gave it too much water and it got root rot except for that solitary branch. Part of one of the rhododendron bushes has gone brown. The pepper plants look a little tired, although yesterday's harvest was the biggest yet. Hopefully by next week I'll be able to tend to these things a little more. Less than 24 hours now until I go back to the doctor and find out what's next for my broken stem.
As I was getting up to come back inside, I peered around the side of the blue spruce that blocks my view of most of the lawn while I'm sitting there next to the bannister in my Cape Cod bistro chair. My bowling ball is gone! You remember? The one I spray-painted gold and stuck on the gazing ball pedestal, anchored by a re-bar?
Someone took it! What the hell would anyone want with it? Did they steal it just to cause me consternation and angst? Do they not have any self-esteem? Are they so depraved that they think it proper to do whatever nefarious deed comes to their demented little brains in that alcoholic miasma or crack-induced delusion in which they exist? Am I not allowed a lawn ornament? I've had this stolen, my pink flamingos, and the eyeball I made of Styrofoam and set on a red reed tripod. Next lawn ornament I put out will either be toxic, otherwise injurious to thieves trying to purloin it, or will contain a homing device. . . Bastards!
Quote of the Day: "That's what it takes to be a hero, a little gem of innocence inside you that makes you want to believe that there still exists a right and wrong, that decency will somehow triumph in the end."
-- Lise Hand, British Journalist
I guess I ain't no hero. I'm convinced that there still exists a right and wrong, but I have no conviction that decency will somehow triumph in the end, nor do I presume that right and decency are necessarily one and the same. My idea of right does not jibe in many cases with the notion that the majority holds. Holding such contrary ideas tends to promote either cowardice or martyrdom. I detest either, yet I cannot embrace the popular opinion without sacrificing my personal integrity.
Monday, September 9, 2002
At 10:30 this morning, my cast came off!! I still have a week or more of hobbling around on crutches, I'm sure, but I'm already putting a little weight on my right foot. The doctor says I've healed quite nicely. Things still hurt. I imagine they will for a while yet as I progress with my do-it-yourself physical therapy. My calf is atrophied and the skin on my foot is dry as Death Valley. A little Aloe and some soaking should take care of that. I'm just so happy to be going to the next stage. Hopefully we can put the bed back in the bedroom in another few days when I'm better able to negotiate stairs. Did I mention I'm happy to be going onward?
Still no sign of my bowling ball lawn ornament. I hope whoever stole it tries to bowl with it and has to end up paying to repair the lane.
My recovery is progressing. I'm walking with one crutch and putting some weight on my right foot. It hurts. I have a lot of stretching and rebuilding of muscle to do. It doesn't sound like much fun, but I can do it. I hope it doesn't take the rest of good weather this year to do it.
Quote of the Day: "The English instinctively admire any man who has no talent and is modest about it." -- James Agate, English author and critic
I got a roll of film processed today. I'll see what I can do about scanning it and getting some new pictures up here. Ironically, a couple of the pictures on that roll ar of the bowling ball that got stolen. . .
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
"Last Seen 8-Sept-2002"
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Thursday, September 12, 2002
Would someone PLEASE teach George W. to pronounce "nuclear!"
Quote of the Day: "It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half the evils we anticipate than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what might happen. " -- Herodotus
The more right-wing things get in this nation, the more uncomfortable I feel. Do people not equate right wing with Hitler, Musillini, and Franco any more? Do they not realize that a right wing agenda ultimately results in the suppression of ideas and eventually segements of the population. If I prayed, for this would be my prayer: Left turn, please!
Here's a photo that I manipulated somewhat. I think what I did gives it a more dramatic look.
"Looking Over To See What They Can See"
Friday, September 13, 2002
I just noticed. It's Friday the 13th. Well, how appropriate. . .
I'm doing this while I can. I seem to have picked up a virus of some sort. It's pretty nasty. Every time I delete the files and clean out the registry, it pops back up under another name. So far its corrupted my Outlook Express and some other system files. I can't even run the Internet Explorer setup to replace the corrupted files. It hangs every time. The first clue I had was when I tried to run Scan Disk. It kept restarting. After it does so ten times, it gives an error message. I don't know what to do. I've tried restoring system files, deleting the virus files and registry entries, but it's still out there somewhere and I can't find it. Last I checked I couldn't even get a browser to work, so there's no way to get my mail right now. I'm at a loss. It may be a few days before you see anything else here.
Why do these assholes propogate such malicious things as virii and trojan horses and worms? What's their reason -- to prove they're smarter than everyone else? to get back at someone in particular or everyone in general for some slight real or imagined? I don't know. I just know that if I ever get my hands on someone I know for certain has done something of this nature, I'm likely to need a bail bondsman.
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Very little progress on anything. I still have the virus. I have, however managed to contain it. I just have to forgo running the infected programs and keep checking to make sure it's not started up again somewhere else. Fortunately, one of the first things it does on starting is to try to access the Internet, which my firewall detects and prevents along with giving me notice that it has made the attempt. Handy!
Since Outlook Express is one of the effected programs, if you're expecting a reply from an e-mail you've sent me, it may be a while. I'm working through my e-mail on the server as best I can. Anything sent to my Charter account will, however, go wanting for the time being.
I've been shopping around for a new hard disk. I have a methodology worked out to recover from this, but it requires two hard drives. It looks like Thursday at the earliest or next week sometime until I can get one I feel I can afford.
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
A rather large harvest of habaneros and chilis last evening. I uprooted a large basil plant today and began the drying process. Now that the basil is 'plukt' perhaps the thyme will thrive and the parsley will bounce back. The basil was so bushy that it was blocking most of the sun from the other herbs in close proximity. The oregano is doing very well. So are the rosemary and sage. We shouldn't have to buy any dried herbs all winter, save the odd bit of savory or coriander. I'll probably grow those next year as well. The rosemary is in a pot. I think I'll move it up to the library for cold weather so we'll have fresh all year round. I may transplant one of the thyme plants to a pot as well. I love fresh thyme.
I've pretty much come to the conclusion that the purple flowered plant out front is lavender. I'm not to sure what to do with it other than stick a sprig in a lingerie drawer, but it is pretty.
This photo was taken on our last trip up Kanawha River. This is Gauley Falls, which flows into the New River at the bottom of Gauley Mountain. I've always loved stopping at this spot, but in all the years I've been stopping there, I've never seen it flow with so much water. Normally I don't care for long exposures on moving water. I think it belies the motion and power of the moving water. But, in this instance, since I had no choice because of the low light and fast film, I used a slower shutter speed. I'm not altogether displeased with the result.
Friday, September 20, 2002
Yesterday. What can I say about yesterday. Not much. It was a day of ups and downs, like most days, but yesterdays ups were not as high as most and its downs were barely below the surface. It was a nondescript day, a day with small events and cool passions. It wasn't exactly boring, but excitement really was somewhere over the horizon. The sky was alternately blue and cloudy, but the clouds seemed to lack enthusiasm and the blue wasn't quite up to its usual cerulean standard. What can I say about yesterday? Not much.
Quote of the Day: "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." -- George W. Bush, December 18, 2000
"See, It Really Does Rain Here Sometimes"
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Well, I've got a new hard drive. Now if I can just get up the nerve to install it and start the rebuilding process. It's gonna be frustrating and difficult, and I really do not look forward to it. Wish me luck. I'd feel a lot more comfortable if I was starting completely from scratch and installing Linux.
Quote of the Day: "I shall give a propagandist cause for starting the war. Never mind whether it is plausible or not. The victor will not be asked, later on, whether he told the truth or not. In starting and waging a war, it is not Right that matters but Victory. Have no pity. Adopt a brutal attitude... Right is on the side of the strongest." -- Adolph Hitler, 09/22/39, Speech to high officers
I replaced my missing bowling ball with a cracked one my son-in-law gave me for that purpose. This time, I filled the thumb hole full of industrial adhesive before pushing it down over the re-bar. If someone steals this one, they'll have to work at it and I'm sure it won't be as satisfying to roll it down the street with a honking-long re-bar sticking out of the thumb hole.
My triple-canopy habanero jungle out back is producing peppers like crazy. I picked at least a gallon of them yesterday. They're beautiful things, all orange and red and shiny. I threw a sarape across the trunk of my car and sat the basket with yesterday's harvest in it on top and took a couple photographs. I can't wait to put it up here so you can see my hot little babies.
I've already come up with a label for this year's batch:
Monday, September 23, 2002
Well, the hard drive is installed and working quite nicely. The only problem is that I had to replace the Zip drive with it and I don't have a readily available face place to hide the front of the drive. Also, I need to get my external Zip drive back from my son, as I not only don't have an open drive bay, but I don't have a controller spot open either. I'm not too enamoured of the notion of putting another controller in this machine, especially since there's only one 5-1/4 inch bay free. I don't know what the status of power connectors is either. Oh well, as the license tag I saw yesterday said, "SAY LA V".
I think I've gotten things backed up, moved and restored, repaired, and reinstalled. I don't think I lost anything in the transition! I'm amazed!
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
I'm reading a book called Crucible by Larry Bond. It's an alternate history about the current era. It takes place around 1999, with a European alliance of France and Germany, with some other rather unwilling partners waging war on Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. The US and UK get drawn into it. France uses tactical nukes (to no avail, I might add). I'm a little over half way through the book. It makes you think. The preppie in the White House's clamoring for war against Iraq echoes some of the French arguments for attacking other countries in this book.
I'm thinking about printing up some bumperstickers. Anybody want one?
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
I'm working on a book. It's being done in a blank book I picked up at Waldenbooks in the Kanawha Mall. The paper isn't the greatest, and it might not be entirely acid free, and therefore not archival, but I like it nonetheless. I have roughly four pages a day to do if I want it to complete the book by the end of the year. I am committed to doing so as I wrote 2002 on the spine.
Quote of the Day: "A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James
We used to have dreams. We used to aspire to a better way of life for everyone. We used to respect each other and ourselves. We used to believe in peace, love, and understanding. Now we have global economics, global terrorism, global warming, and all local dreams are burned up in the increasing figurative and literal conflagrations around the globe. We have abdicated our tastes and preferences to those of Bill Gates and the least common denominator. We have barricaded ourselves into gated communities and homogenized suburbs, hiding from any real emotion, other than hate and fear. We used to have dreams.
Thursday, September 26, 2002
Rain all day. Bluh.
Friday, September 27, 2002
The rain finally stopped. We needed it. I have a bunch more pepper ripe. I need to get out there tomorrow once the plants have dried and pick them. I'll still have a lot of green habaneros and tabasco peppers to make relishes out of when I have to uproot the plants to beat the frost. This has been a really good year for peppers.
There's some sort of day lily coming up all over the yard next to the side fence where I have the scarlet creeper. They're fringy and a deep pink, almost red. Beautiful flowers.
Quote of the Day: "Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." -- Thomas Jefferson
I'm tired. My neck and shoulders hurt. I suspect the rain and damp is at fault. I've not felt well since the monsoon began.
I'm going to need some green tomatoes in a week or two, when I start chopping peppers and other ingredients to make my chow chow. I'll gladly trade chow chow for tomatoes if anyone is willing to wait the requisite 60 days for it to pickle.
I already have gallons and gallons of habanero peppers on ice. I think I'll probably pick another gallon or two tomorrow. I suspect I only have a couple weeks left in the growing season. The pepper plants are still producing blossoms. I'd love to have a chest freezer and two more months of good weather!
Saturday, September 28, 2002
My team (WVU -- West Virginia University) won today! Avon Cobourne set new school and Big East records for career rushing yards. The team set a new Big East record for rushing yards in a game (536). Cobourne had 249 yards, not counting his receptions. If he can get five more 200 yard plus games, he might possibly break the NCAA career record. Hot diggity!
Two of my favorite movies on tonight. Surviving Picasso and Pollock. Along with Van Gogh, these are the two artists I empathize with most. I can understand and feel their pain and anguish. I suffer the same sense of unconnectedness, the same personal abstraction from the rest of humanity. Picasso was least like me of any of the three, yet most similar too. I should have been a doctor.
Sunday, September 29, 2002
(NOTE: I wrote this yesterday, but neglected to upload it to the website.)
There's much talk about illegal business practices. I'm concerned, too, about some of the ones that are legal. Our bank recently "gave" us a $300 overdraft buffer. It will pay checks up to $300 over the balance. Well, it turns out we needed it. Due to an accounting error we overdrew the account. When all was said and done, four checks had gone through to a negative balance. At the end of the process, the actual overdraft was 34 dollars and change. The charges came to $120!! What is overdraft protection? Essentially it's a loan. They lend you their money to cover your overdraft (oversight?) and charge a fee. In this case they lent us (rounding up) $35.00 and charged $120 -- that would be an interest rate (calculating it monthly) of 4,100%. Aren't there laws against usury? I know, they claim it as a "fee" and justify it that way, but in essence it really is a loan and should be subject to the same conditions as any other loan. If this isn't patently illegal, it's certainly unethical. Additionally, this is another example of financial institutions preying on those least able to sustain the financial loss.
How about credit card companies? One credit card we have recently sent a letter, with "Claim your Reward Now!" on the outside of the envelope. The reward? It was a $250 increase in the credit limit. The catch? A $100.00 "fee" to activate this increase. Is this incredible or what? Advice: Do no business whatsoever with Cross-Country Bank. Check out the horror stories at Justice Junction