Monday, May 23, 2016

Because Nobody On Facebook Thought My Post Was Funny, But I Did, So I'm Posting It Here For My Sophisticated Follower

On Twitter, Michael McAuliff said, "It sounded to me like John Cornyn just took Zika funding hostage in an attempt to extract Obamacare cuts from Patty Murray." But @lisamurkowski says the “Senate is addressing threat of Zika head on.” Her idea of a microcephaly joke?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What you're (probably not) missing by not following me on Facebook:
On Saturday, shopping local, I rented a chain saw to cut down invasive Mayday trees. It didn't work, nor did the replacement. They wouldn't front me a chainsaw for the next day, even though I said, "I've spent all day driving back and forth, I'm not going to start this project at three o'clock."
Today, I went to the gym, ran some errands and then went to Home Depot where I rented a chainsaw and realized, it was THREE O'CLOCK. It turns out, though, things go much faster when the chainsaw actually works. As the trees came down, my testosterone went up. I felt so manly.
Such a nice feeling (if the manly even have feelings).
A shame, then, that it didn't last very long. This next is a bit of a Public Service Announcement.
Leah reported a noise that might have been running water, if any water was running, which it wasn't. It really was more of a rustling noise coming from behind the dryer. We were worried it might be a mouse since we'd had them this winter before running a trap line throughout the house. We really don't have the staff to deal with mice right now because May is the beginning of our annual ant infestation and that has to be our focus. We shifted the dryer and cautiously looked behind it. No mice, although it's amazing how much stuff accumulates back there. I wonder if the FBI ever looked behind the Hoffa's dryer. Nothing, and then another rustling noise, maybe from the dryer vent hose? Ambre is taller than I am so, she undid the clamp and I took the hose and looked down it. Nothing. So, then feeling a little more confident that nothing was going to burst out at me, I undid the bottom clamp and looked in the hose from the other end, and nothing there either. As an aside, I think I'm as brave as the next person, especially if the next person is a hysterical eight year old girl standing on a chair screaming . And it isn't that I find mice terrifying, it's the jack in the box nature of looking for them that builds so much tension. Cheerfully, now that I was sure that the rustling was just a natural phenomenon probably the settling of the hose, I suggested turning on the dryer with the hose off of it. Which is when a cloud of lint, a dime and the mouse blew out the back and crashed into the wall. We were both stunned, but I quickly recovered and the mouse quickly died of his injuries. So the lesson, and the PSA, is, if you have a dryer vent, make sure there is a flap on the outside to keep stray animals from wandering in.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

End of Year Recap: Our Christmas Letter

Here we are in 2015, and Karen still wants a Christmas letter, even though everybody who could possibly care, already knows everything we’ve been up to this year. That’s especially true since I joined Facebook this fall. So, here’s a little missive, or more likely, to use a baseball metaphor, a swing and a missive, about our year.

Last New Year’s Eve, was my last day working for the Postal Service. I’ve settled right into retirement, but even after almost a year, I still feel like I’m getting away with something when I stay up late or sleep in. 

We spent a few weeks last winter traveling through the Southwest avoiding winter. As it happened, Alaska had one of the warmest winters ever, and it snowed in Las Vegas, but as I used to say to people when they first arrived in Alaska, “It’s not the cold, it’s the darkness that will make you kill yourself.”
Of course, it wasn’t all sleigh bells and sunshine. In March, we were in Tucson. The day before we were scheduled to leave, Karen's brother called to offer her a chance to talk to her mother. A few minutes later he called to say that she had died. It's comforting that practically the last thing she heard was Karen telling her she loved her. We changed our plans and our flights; instead of going home we went to Iowa for the funeral. At the visitation, Geraldine looked beautiful and at peace. Seeing her so, along with the dignified funeral provided some comfort.

Then, in August, a guy asked me,  "How's it going?" I told him "Fine, except it's a thousand degrees and I'm at a funeral." Karen's dad died, just after we arrived in Iowa. She got to say goodbye, and  attend the visitation and funeral.We didn't know how long we would need to be there when we booked our flight, so we ended up with time on our hands. Idle hands, of course, are the devil's playground, and we booked a play date at the sinfully delicious Iowa State Fair.

In November, Karen and I celebrated our fortieth anniversary. Our two daughters and my sister joined us in Seattle to celebrate that, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, or as we have come to call it, Hotel Holiday.  Afterwards, Sarah and Leah gave us an amazing trip down the coast. We stayed in lovely resorts, inns, and even a paddlewheeler. We experienced clouds of butterflies at the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove while staying at the luxurious La Maison in Palm Springs and felt the fin de siècle sadness at the lost glory of the Space Age in Gila Bend.

Now, full circle, as I write this, we’re holed up in Tucson where we’re enjoying an extra five hours of daylight compared to Anchorage. That’s five hours extra every day! 
By the time it starts to be hot here, we plan on being back in Anchorage hiding from the desert summer. As for next year, well, who knows? There are plans afoot, hints and rumors, but nothing is certain. Of course, nothing is ever certain. So really, we’re right on track for whatever is going to happen next.

Friday, December 11, 2015

As Threatened: Facebook Comes To The Blog

This seemed to be harder than i thought, then it turned out it wasn't, but i'd already deleted a bunch of photos because i could't see them but they would have been there if i hadn't already panicked so if it seems like there should be photos and there aren't you'll know what happened.
This morning I celebrated 40 years of marriage by going to Fire Island Bakery and getting my wife cinnamon rolls. I've been eating kale and oat bran almost exclusively for months but on such a momentous day, how could I not join in and overeat? After eating a cinnamon roll (and also the loaf of bread I bought for us) and succumbing to glutton's remorse, I noticed that today is the day BEFORE our anniversary. Also, as you can see in this picture, I managed to finish shoveling snow just in time to make a place for fresh snow to land. Oh well, I guess I can just do it all over again tomorrow.

David Hart checked in to Amazon Books.

Just a little overwhelming

Local Business · Seattle, WA · 4.5
1,409 people checked in here

Happy Thanksgiving

In trendy Bend to visit friends. Excited to see their town dump and Costco. Sad thing for our cool kid quotient; I really am excited.

Tonight we were treated to a delicious Beef Stroganoff prepared by Jesica Carleton. Rich grilled asparagus, we met Jesica's mother and washed clothes. Kind of a perfect evening.

David Hart updated his cover photo.

Last weekend I regretted my recent screed about Apple when it took me seven minutes of helpless flailing to figure out how to eject a DVD from a Windows machine. But today, we drove from Bend to Ashland with Siri guiding us. She took us as the crow flies, that is, with steep climbs followed by twisting plunging descents punctuated by piercing screeches. 
Had we any confidence in her directions, it would have faded when she had us turn onto the ominously named (this is true) Dead Indian Rd. I wish now I hadn't already told you the crows flying thing because Dead Indian Rd was where it all went downhill. For more than thirty miles. But now we're at The Palms in Ashland. It's a charming mid century apartment-style hotel. I don't think that the Ricardos ever stayed here on their trip across the country, but they totally could have if you get what I mean.

It seems that when Facebook asks how you're feeling, they only allow one answer. But I contain multitudes, plus a huge, delicious meal mostly courtesy of our daughters. The Madonna Inn is an elaborate complex dedicated to the proposition that their guests should be pampered. And we've accepted their proposition with no reservations except the ones our daughters made. I hope you appreciate how difficult this kind of wordplay is with the crushing weight of a gigantic meal pressing on my diaphragm.
When we were being seated, the maitre d' (I was trusting spellcheck to catch the spelling of maitre d', but apparently spellcheck wants to play with words, too, because it just offered "maitre don't") asked if we were celebrating anything. I told him it depended on whether they were going to make some sort of embarrassing scene. If not, then it was our anniversary. And someone from the hotel just showed up at our room with a bottle of sparkling wine and another dessert. Looks like it's going to be a long night.

Can it really be a SECRET if there's a sign?
I found the "secret" garden!

Here's one reason we've enjoyed this trip


We spent the day consorting with Monarch Butterflies. Given how regal they are, they mostly ignored us and went about their business above our heads. This photo isn't very impressive but everything that looks like a dead leaf is a living butterfly. There were 28,000 butterflies estimated to be in this protected grove, and virtually none just a few steps outside it for scientific reasons. The takeaway lesson from today is that if you live in the contiguous states, you should plant milkweed, the only thing that Monarchs can eat.

Then we watched the sunset at Avila Beach.

It started to rain in San Luis Obispo this morning so we decided it was time to leave. We almost checked in to see how the butterflies dealt with rain, but decided it probably involved getting wet. 
We left early enough to easily arrive in time for the Village Fest in Palm Springs according to the GPS, but it didn't account for the traffic. Even Waze, which I downloaded after we'd already been sitting still on the 210 forever was, all, "Oh no,you can't get there from here."
We stopped at a rest stop on the way; we rested, as it were, but we didn't relax.


12/10/15Of course, even Zeno's Tortoise, eventually decided to be in a different paradox and arrived at his destination, as did we. La Maison is fabulous. This is the view from right outside the door of our upgraded room. The bed is so high, though, that Karen needed a step stool and a cane to vault into it. The only thing that mars its perfection is the comparison to our last trip to Palm Springs when we could sit outside in the pool, and read USA Today's weather page, Anchorage, -38. Climate change is ruining everything.


So, I had Pork Belly Hash with Crispy Potatoes at Cheeky's It was so good, it made me feel sad for all the other meals I've eaten. 
Afterwards, we went to Tahquitz Canyon. While Karen watched a video about the Agua Calliente Indians, I hiked a trail back to a waterfall. Looking at me, the rangers suggested it might be too hard for me. When I got back I bragged to them that it seemed, moderate to me, not hard, but just now, I see their website rates it as easy. 
I took a picture at the end of the hike, looking back at Palm Springs. The weather is so extreme today the TV news called it a winter storm that might even include RAIN.


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Fox News: Just Like The News But All Lies

So, I've been stepping out with Facebook a lot recently and haven't had time for my real family over here on the blog. I'm thinking I might copy my FB posts over to here so you (my imaginary reader) can see what I've been up to, but here's a tidbit I'm posting here first.
I'm sure you know that it was only inadvertently that I caught a glimpse of Fox News. The commentator told a blatant lie and then said, so you see the President is just as reckless as Donald Trump. I'm reporting, you decide. You decide that Fox News is just awful, or we're through.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

They Zig, I Flog A Dead Horse And Pretend It's Zagging

I know all the trendy blogs will be covering the school shooting in Roseburg, OR today. I've been to Roseburg; I imagine everybody that's ever driven down I-5 has. It is a lovely little town, although the local Safeway did perpetrate a scam by selling us bags of apples that were confiscated about ten minutes later when we reached the California border. Amazing how porous the border is when agro giants are looking for employees and so impenetrable when they are blocking competition. Today on MarketPlace, though, they said that we've had a mass shooting more than once a day since the beginning of the year, so if it seems cool, I'll write about tomorrow's.

On their show today, they talked about something that hasn't happened for a generation; the United Auto Workers rejected a contract negotiated by their leadership. The reason; a two-tiered system of pay for old and new hires. And the reason this is a problem is because wherever a two-tiered system has been introduced, the higher tier doesn't remain the eventual pay grade for new hires, over time the lower pay becomes the default for everyone. I understand the argument in favor of these deals with the devil. If we don't accept this, then there won't be enough money, the company will close, all the jobs will go away. But since the 1970's, as companies have continued to cut worker's pay in real dollars, there has been a massive shift of wealth and power away from the middle class and towards the very richest in society.
In a free market, wages should rise and fall according to demand. But it's been a while since our markets were free. Among the things these nouveau robber barons have been buying is our government. And while the right rails against over regulation that strangles competition, the Kochs and their ilk (I love "ilk" because it sounds derogatory, but it's not) have been poisoning the air and water, and paying lower and lower wages. All while tax policy and regulations reward the winners for being clever and hard working enough to have been born rich. It's enough to make a guy grab a gun and go crazy, but that's been done to death.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Borg Were Right, "Resistance Is Futile."

I've always said I would never join Facebook. Partly because I found their privacy settings creepy and deliberately opaque, and mostly because I wanted to be one of those people who say, "TV, oh no, we don't even have a TV," but I watch a lot of TV, so the choice was to be a smug liar, or get rid of TV and be smug for reals, which would never happen because, Grimm, Flash, Supergirl (I assume, I don't know about the upcoming show, but I had a pretty big crush on her when I was 11) and CSPAN probably. So, the next best thing in this era of social network hegemony was to be Facebook free.

Ostensibly, I decided to join because they have a group for posting things stolen in Alaska, and I wanted to be able to post about my bikes as they are stolen. By the way, Rich, that joke from last year about my new steel bike, "Steel now, stolen later," is a lot less funny since it became, "Was steel, now stolen." Anyway like, I assume, most people, I really joined Facebook because I wanted to creepily lurk and see what the people I used to know are up to now. But somehow, in one day, I have 28 friends on Facebook, which is more than I've ever had total in real life. So, now, I'm all, "Sucks to be you, real life." From now on, if you want to talk to me, and the evidence strongly suggests that you don't, I'll be on my Newsfeed, or Timeline, if I can figure out what they are, and what the difference between them is.

Friday, August 28, 2015

To Do

Our dog has been ill; she's been licking, well, not inappropriately for a dog, I guess, but insistently, and she needed an unexpected follow-up visit. The vet reassured us that she was mostly fine, if age related back issues don't concern you, and sent us on our way.
The thing was, we were having guests for dinner last night, and we had a lot to get done before they arrived. By yesterday evening I had once hoped that I would have vacuumed, dusted, lost the 20 pounds I put on while traveling, finally finished college, read the great works, and carried out the trash.
I had a dispute about my bill with AT&T this morning. They had changed my billing cycle, but last month's payment, and next month's payment are the same as they were, but there's a pro-rated amount  of $60 that they claim is past due, even though I paid them what they billed me last month. I do, now, see that it might be possible that I owe the money although not that it's past due. On the phone with them, though, we just agreed that I'm not an accountant, they have thousands of them, and anyway, sir, do you want to continue to have cell phone service?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Come For The Funeral; Stay For The Fair

If Will Shortz was writing this post, he might have titled it Synesthesia, since this is really just tasting notes from our day at the fair. When we first arrived, I was feeling light-headed since, because of traffic, it had already been more than two hours since I had last eaten. So, I made a quick emergency stop at the first booth we came to and had a brat. Rich asked if that was a hot dog or a local child and I told him, "I didn't ask what it was made out of."
This list is not exhaustive, but the next stop was here at the deep fried Macaroni and Cheese booth. It was delicious with a crusty cheese outside with a creamy filling, which coincidentally probably describes your arteries after eating it.
Next we had funnel cakes so we could compare them to the ones at the Alaska State Fair that we're going to twice in the next two weeks.  Karen didn't finish hers, so I was able to compare it to mine. Both good, although looking at the app when we got home, I see we could have had them on a stick. I'm not sure how that would have improved the experience, but when in Des Moines...
We went to see the butter cow, but the line was too long to get up close. The other celebrity there that day was failed presidential candidate, Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas. We didn't even try to see him even though he, as the saying goes, thinks he's something on a stick. There were real things on sticks to be had and we did, for example,  Karen ate here:
The use case for a skewer here is obvious, and the rib on a stick was a hit.
From there we went to look at crafts and art. Well, Karen did. I went  here, and had apple pie on a stick. The pie itself wasn't great, but aside from stabbing oneself repeatedly in the palate, I couldn't understand what the point (ha, ha) of the stick was. For comparison purposes, I had their apple turnover and apple cookie, and they were both good, and easily hand-held. The fair also had sandwiches on a stick and that just seems wrong. The sandwich was created to be eaten with the hands. Sticks seem like  technology for technology's sake, and a perversion of the very idea of sandwiches.
On the way out of the fairgrounds, as is our tradition, we grabbed a few random items of food to ensure a nauseating ride home. We stayed the night in Des Moines, and the next morning we drove to Minneapolis, and the next morning, we flew back to Anchorage.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Now We Are In Iowa

So, the other day, a guy asked me, "How's it going?" I told him "Fine, except it's a thousand degrees and I'm at a funeral." Karen's dad died last week, just after we arrived here. She got to say goodbye, and then there was a visitation and a funeral. We didn't know how long we would need to be here when we booked our flight, so we've ended up with time on our hands. Idle hands, of course, are the devil's playground, and we've booked a play date at the sinfully delicious Iowa State Fair. They have an app for finding food and it includes a section devoted to "foods on a stick." And that category encompasses everything from the obvious,  pork chops, to the surprisingly healthy, salad on a stick and corn in every form imaginable.

Now, I know, that people have strong feelings about corn, that corn has corrupted our government and ruined our health or that it is the grain that makes our prosperity and energy independence possible. Either way, there are some times that you just want to eat an ear of corn. Even if at no other time,  when you can eat the corn about a minute after it was picked, you'd be a fool not to. So we were hoping to eat corn while we were surrounded by it. By the way, has anyone ever noticed that when you are surrounded by corn, it has a particularly Triffiid-like aspect to it? Anyway, Chris, the nicest person in the world, found a corn life-hack that actually works! You microwave the corn in its husk for four and a half minutes, cut off the non-silk end and then grab the silk and the corn slides out, leaving the husk and silk behind. Here's a link to it at The author says it's so good, you can eat it without butter and salt, but you also can eat it with butter and salt, because she's not the boss of you.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Getting Back To The Spirit Of This Blog

I started this blog to rant about things that irritated me.  But, Twitter is just made for that, so I've been posting there every day. But sometimes I am possessed by a complaint that takes more than 140 characters to fully exorcise.

For the last few months, Quicken has no longer allowed me to connect to my credit union. What is galling about this situation is that I bought Quicken 2015 because they told me that my existing version would no longer connect. That implies that the new version would, but it hasn't. Intuit has a history of forcing its users to update whether we want to or not, but this seems like a fraudulent business practice to force us to buy a product that doesn't work, and then not to fix it.
Based on this post, I think they're aware of the problem, and they've promised a fix by the end of July. But now it's August, and still nothing. Has the FTC ever investigated Intuit?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Little Boxes

Karen has a list of chores that need to be done in the next month. I promised I would type it up for her with boxes to check as they are accomplished, and I will. I mean, obviously, I will; I'm sitting at the computer right now aren't I? Jeez, I'll do it.
I was thinking, though, that I could post it here if anyone's interested in coming by, hanging out,  and, for example,  washing the curtains in the apartment, and hey, cleaning the laundry room since you'll be there anyway.
If you're interested let me know.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Also, Get Off My Lawn

The plumber has come and gone and we have a new water heater to replace our four year old water heater. It cost $1500, but they say they're confident we'll get back $1000 because there is a lifetime warranty on the tank. But not so confident that they didn't charge us the full amount. I know I'm starting to sound like an old man, but when I was a kid, a lifetime wasn't four years. It was a real lifetime. And when you died, they'd throw you in the fifty year old freezer. Now, freezers are practically single use. I don't know why we even have to plug them in since they're really just glorified coolers. And don't even get me started on ice makers.

The Most Interesting Man In The World

Leah came home from a work retreat excited about a personality test they all took there. I said I'd take it too because  my interest in myself is boundless. It was hard, though, and so far I haven't finished it. I couldn't answer the first question, but that made the second question easier since the correct response was, c) indecisive.
It's four pages long and by the end of the first page, I had only answered half the questions. Based on that incomplete data,  I'm apparently a nervous, indecisive school girl. Just like when I was in school. If I ever finish, I'm pretty sure I'm going to get an A in self-loathing.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Spaghetti v Linguini Update: Waiting For The Flames

I tried to finish the dryer project yesterday, but even with help, it wouldn't start. But then, help noticed that one wire was still not connected to anything. Since, conveniently, there was one post without a wire, I plugged the two together and then this happened:
videoNow, I really need to put a battery in the smoke detector.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Spoons

I read this yesterday in a post from The Bloggess, and I thought it was a pretty good explanation for what it's like being, or living with, a person with a chronic illness. Apparently, a lot of people went to check it out all at once because  it became very slow to load.  The Bloggess had broken the internet. It seems to be almost working now, so if you're interested check it out.
For regular, run of the mill, irritations, it turns out that our new water heater came with a life time guarantee that if it ever  breaks, we'll have to pay a plumber for six hours to fix it. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

"That's Not Spaghetti, That's Linguini"

You know that game where you take a picture of a plate of spaghetti and then throw it against the wall, but it's okay, because you took a picture ? But then you realize that the sauce was covering the most important part so you have to guess which noodle goes into which meatball? That's the wiring inside the dryer. Wires, it turns out that didn't have to be disconnected at all!
But it may not matter because now I can't get the front panel back on.  The good news is that the belt, which is the part I started out to replace went on very, in fact, suspiciously easy. Also, the original lint screen that I also am replacing was apparently more of a lint
generator so when I got the dryer apart it was packed full of lint, but also so much more, including coins. I made several dollars, but I had to split it with the vacuum cleaner.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

S.J. Pereleman Said It Best (As He Always Did) It's Not The Heat It's The Cupidity

Yesterday we set a record temperature of 83℉. It's going to be that hot today, but with dry lightning. Since there are already fires to the north and south of here, it only seems fair that we get to join in, but the smoke drifting over the city means we can't open the windows so it's even hotter in the house than outside so if this seems a little disjointed or over jointed, I blame the heatstroke.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Genghis Khan Conquered The World. Or So He Thought

  • Recorded history states that Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, and his armies lived on yogurt.
Note that that was recorded history, not the other kind. Anyway, are we really just vehicles to carry sentient bacteria from place to place? I don’t know, but for some reason I just bought a yogurt maker.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Full Circle Of Life

We went to a celebration of life yesterday. It's sounds fun, like a wedding reception, but first someone has to die. So, a celebration, like a marriage, but even if you change your mind, no prenup in the world can help you. The absent honored guest had four daughters and they each spoke of their life growing up with a father that was completely invested in them. Camping, fishing, berry picking, cabin-building, canoeing, laughing loving.
I felt so bad for my daughters. What an awful, inadequate father I've been. But then, I realized my father didn't do any of that with us. So really, what an awful, inadequate father I had. But then, who thinks that about their father? Maybe someone whose father never took them berry picking. 

Thursday, June 04, 2015

I Also Have A New (And Strong) Opinion About The Best Way To Get Baby Kale Out Of The Costco Bag

Because I'm an environmentalist at heart, I'm recycling this email I just wrote to my roommate from the 70s 
I’m sure you don’t remember that once, about 45 years ago you told me that when rinsing or soaking a bowl, I should direct the water to the bottom first and move the stream up as the bowl filled. It’s possible you were even a little brusque about it. In spite of any incivility on your part, I saw your point, and almost every time I’ve rinsed a bowl since then, I’ve replayed your comment in my head and tried to incorporate your advice into my bowl rinsing routine. And yet, and yet…
I’ve never really been comfortable with it, even though it’s obviously the correct most eco-friendly method. But then, last night, possibly because now that I’m retired I have more free time to brood, or maybe concentrate is a better word, about the kind of thing I could just, if you’ll forgive me, “go with the flow” about in the past, anyway, as I was saying, last night, I saw that the problem is that when I’m planning to let a bowl soak, if you spray the water at the top, it’s possible that the food will wash down to the bottom and then you can stop spraying sooner since the stuck on food is quickly covered in water.
Thank you for your advice in 1973, and please forgive my long delay in responding.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I Bet You'd Retweet These If Only You Followed Me On Twitter. Sure, That's Why Nobody Ever Retweets Me

Quick update: My daughter and I signed up for the Heart Run. We got there and then remembered we hate crowds. So we walked home instead.
It appears that I'm no longer a blogger, based on the fact that although I'm still a lovable curmudgeon, I can't be bothered to put more than 140 characters in a row to express it:

I still make those trenchant political comments that you used to follow me for:

I still plug Earth Girls Love_____

and I still post updates about what's going on in my life,
and for another example, I used Microsoft's app to guess my age:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Walk A Mile In My Shoes? Walk A Mile In Your Own D*** Shoes. But, You Know, With Me.

Anybody doing the UNtimed Heart Run? And want someone to walk with?
Sort of a trick question, because I want someone to want me to walk with them
More information at their site and, as always, you can ignore me right here in the comments section.