Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Supervisor Followed Me All Today, But I Couldn't Think of a Way to Work It Into a Post

I knocked on a door today to deliver a package. A little girl came to the door, but she didn't seem to get the whole, "take the package," concept and wandered off. Eventually her mother came to the door and she said, "Oh, I thought you were someone else." I told her, "I've always wanted to be someone else."
After work I went for a bike ride because we've had a couple of days without snow and I thought the trails might be in good shape. It turns out the trails and I were both softer than I expected.
Leah showed us a newspaper article the other day. Up in Fairbanks, a woman was confronted by a moose, and her dog chased it off. We all wanted to know, "How is that news?!" Now if it had been chased off by a magpie, you'd have something.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm No Captain Kirk

Well, maybe I am. Do you remember Starfleet's Prime Directive? Apparently, neither did Captain Kirk who was constantly interfering (and getting dates) in pre-warp civilizations.
The mandate of this blog is to report on things that irritate and amuse me, and yet, here I am, not particularly amused, but posting anyway.
Back in October, when Karen broke her arm, her doctor suggested a temporary external pump be installed quickly to avoid CRPS developing at the injury site. A month ago, they finally scheduled it for yesterday. On Monday, I found out at 4:30 that at 4:30 we had to be at a pharmacy for training on the pump operation. They had a month to tell us about it, and I found out with exactly no notice? It's as if the airlines are doing their scheduling.
So, anyway; the pump's in, she feels better, but still.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Comment That Will Rightfully Inspire Scorn

I don't want to go all Walden Pond on you, but, after schlepping stuff back and forth all night in a dank basement, I'm beginning to think the most beautiful headline might be, "They Lost Everything"

The Beauty of a Shipwreck is That All the Wet Stuff Just Disappears on Its Own

Last night we just potchkied around in the basement apartment sort of wringing our hands, when we should have been wringing our carpet. This morning I had the idea to go out to the garage and get the Shop-Vac and suck up all the water, but then after looking at the sodden mess again, I thought maybe we should just tear it up and throw it away. The carpet's 11 years old and it's not going to be free to have it taken up, new pad put down, and reinstalled. So, that's what we're doing. I've dragged out the wettest of it, and I'm letting the concrete dry there, so I can move stuff onto the dry patches and take up more carpet. Sort of like one of those sliding number puzzles,
if you used wet furniture and other hoarder's flotsam instead of plastic numbers. And a lot less satisfaction when you're done.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Square Peg in a Completely Hostile Universe

Spent the day dreaming of going back to bed; spent the night cleaning up after a water heater broke in our basement apartment. This is just an interim report. More when we have our heads above water.

Square Peg in a Round Universe

Before the alarm went off this morning, I was laying in bed thinking about the things I had to do today at work. Once I began delivering mail, in sub-zero temperatures, I was thinking about snuggling back into bed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reading, Writhing, and Some Bad Arithmetic

I'm still reading A Fine and Private Place, a book about ghosts, a recluse and a talking raven.
The author has twice mentioned the raven's golden eyes. I've only seen ravens with black eyes, and it makes me wonder if the author had even seen a raven. That makes me wonder if he'd ever seen a ghost, either.

I twisted myself into the cabinet under the sink today after work, and I've decided the faucet is installed.

It's supposed to get down to zero tonight. What's that? Oh, nothing.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Chinese (May) Have Invented Water Torture, Now They Just Sell Us the Faucets

Apparently the Chinese Water Torture is just one more thing that's been outsourced. I'm in the process of replacing our kitchen water faucet, or more accurately, I'm posting to my blog to avoid working on the project.
Hooking the faucet back up is going to involve at least one more trip to Home Depot. Motto: "Selling you parts for your faucet one washer at a time,"
I've exchanged a leak from the faucet into the sink for a leak from the faucet onto my forehead, and just as Fu Manchu knew it would, it's slowly driving me mad.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lucky Number 2:53

The other day, my supervisor told me that my projected return time was 2:53. I just stared at him with a goofy grin. I started to explain that 2:53 was, and had been for awhile, my favorite time. I couldn't seem to find a way to say it, though, that didn't make me look crazy, and trying to think of a way to say it, while still grinning goofily wasn't making it easier.

Friday, January 18, 2008

World Enough and Time, Again

I'm reading a book, A Fine and Private Place. It's apparently a love story between two ghosts, and also between two living people, at least that's where I think it's going. As far as I know, the characterizations of the ghosts, and the recluse that's been living in the cemetery for the last nineteen years are spot on, but I'm doubtful about the talking raven. He's querulous enough, like the ravens I've met, that part's right, but he's been bringing the recluse food all this time. In my experience, sharing is not a raven's best thing.

I Heard Cloverfield Wasn't Very Scary, But This Was

Imagine the largest, scariest number you can. Now add seven pounds to it, and that's what I weighed this morning, the first time I've weighed since Christmas.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

SCORE One For The Old Guys

I guess SCORE has its place (510 L St) in keeping old executives busy and out of their spouses' way, but as for me, I really appreciate retired guys with snow blowers. It's been on the cold side of normal and we've had 18 inches of snow in the last couple of weeks. Having old men (mostly, but not exclusively) making little habitrails through the neighborhood, is a community service right up there with voting. Actually, based on the people we've been electing, blowing snow is much more valuable than blowing your vote.

I understand the impulse, too. When I got home I was disappointed to see that most of my neighbors had already cleared their sidewalks. I did ours and the next door neighbors on both sides, and then I had to come in. Ideally, you'd get a snowblower with GPS and just follow that pillar of snow into the wilderness

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Unsettling Big Wild Life

As I went up one side of a street today, I noticed a moose eating on the other side of the street. As I was coming back down his side of the street, he seemed to be watching me a lot more intently than feeding moose usually do. I crossed back to the first side and kept coming, but each step I took was matched by a step towards me by the moose. I retreated a little, and he advanced a little, so I retreated a little more, and he went back to eating, but I felt kind of trapped on my side of the street, unable to get back to my truck.
But then a magpie landed on his back. The moose twitched him off. And again, and again, until the magpie had driven him back from the street.
Which was great, but a little unsettling since, I don't know, a bird can drive off a moose? What could he do to a mailman?

Gens X-Next, I Feel Your Pain

We're coddling our cat since he was only given two months to live. But that was four months ago and even though we are spending a (relative) fortune to get him the best tasting food, he's in here right now eating my lunch and grumbling that I'm not getting it to him fast enough.

Pharmacy Benefit Manager Update:
We've placed our first order with Caremark's replacement, Medco. Medco just called with a prerecorded sincere apology for the delay in processing from their manager of customer relations, HAL.

Monday, January 14, 2008

T-t-t-talking About My Generation, and Yours

Man, I had high hopes that I'd have a clever, insightful post today, but it's just one more disappointment. I talked to a young woman graduating from Tufts this spring, and she had impressed me with the power of groupthink, since the main reason she's supporting Hilary Clinton seems to be that they're both members of the same group; women. It's possible I just didn't understand her; she's won debate awards and studied Islamic Feminism in Barcelona, which I would have thought of as an oxymoron, but has its own Wikipedia entry. Still, I think what I think. Sadly, my blog's rejoinder is pretty much "Groupthink b-a-a-a-d"
I was also going to be "T-t-t-talking 'bout my generation" and the looming entitlement meltdown, we're in the process of preheating.
But mostly I was thinking, Am I frozen yet?"

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rambling Little Wild Life Story

There was a flock of Bohemian Waxwings in our mountain ash tree this morning. They eat the berries and leave a terrible mess, but it's hard not to enjoy watching them flit from branch to branch chatting in their ultrasonic little voices. Of course, we couldn't hear them in the house, but the reason I thought it was worth reporting is that when they flew off, there were so many of them that we could hear their wings flapping inside. There were a couple of robins in the flock. It would be easy to say that this is a consequence of global warming if it wasn't 4 degrees right now. Still, when I was a boy, it did used to get a lot colder in January. My Wii weather channel predicted 33 degrees below today, but it was apparently playing me, instead of the other way aroud.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Post 301 and They Just Keep Getting Worse

Even though it's snowing pretty hard right now, a friend of mine is going to pack up his Honda and go camping this weekend. It sounds awful to me, but I guess he'll be in his Element.

By the way, doesn't "awful to me" sound like a great name for a song?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Whale Ho (Ho Ho)

Sarah and Sean went back to Boston late Saturday night, and today I went back to work. It was kind of chilly today and I dressed accordingly. Accordingly, but not appropriately as it turned out. I was so warm.
Certain whales eat intensively in the high latitudes; in fact, they can eat up to 4% of their body weight per day. They swim through the ocean with their mouths open and basically eat anything that comes by. They put on a layer of blubber, and are impervious to the cold water around them. While Sarah and Sean were here in the high latitudes, I completely adopted this approach to feeding. Another thing I had in common with whales today: we can't wear belts for a few days after our intensive feeding.
Okay, I put on some weight over Christmas. Lack of exercise may have compounded the problem. I only put on pants to leave the house, and I only left the house if there was a restaurant on our itinerary. Sean can be forgiven if he thinks I made up the whole, "I'm a bicyclist," thing. It's true that there are a pair of bicycles hanging on the wall of my garage, but there's a pair of longhorns hanging on the opposite wall, and I didn't ride a steer while he was here either.
Oh, here's another natural history tidbit. Apparently primates get better at certain tasks with practice, but only up to a point. After that, it appears that an element of improvisation takes over. This explains why after practicing last night and this evening, I was able to increase my Wii age score from 68 to 78.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Not Bad for a Man Born in 1940

I've always said I didn't need to play video games. "If I need to be humiliated, I've already got a family." But Karen and I (mostly Karen, believe it or not) decided to get a Wii and I set it up today. It truly is extremely realistic. I played three different sports, and just like in real life, I sucked at all of them.
After a battery of fitness tests, the machine declared my Wii age to be 68.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Over-Under Tour

Sarah's friend Sean arrived on Saturday. A couple days ago, just before sunrise we stood on the observation platform near the Glen Alps trailhead and Sean photographed Mt Susitna, and a mountain I've decided to call Mt. Redoubt. It was a somewhat cloudy morning, but beautiful, as the sky lightened and the mountains turned orange, first at their peaks and then all the way down. I might have included a link to some of Sean's pictures, but he uses film. I've included a link there for our younger readers.
Yesterday the plan was to drive through the longest highway tunnel in North America to the lovely little town of Whittier. We turned onto the Portage Glacier/Whittier Tunnel road and saw two dead moose laying beside the road. Sean and Leah had never seen dead moose before. Sean has still never seen Whittier, either, because when we got to the tunnel, the tollbooth lady said the tunnel would be closed for an hour and forty minutes for maintenance, and further, when it opened Whittier was closed. At least, the businesses in Whittier were pretty much all closed for the winter. We turned around and headed back to the Seward Highway and across it to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. There we saw bears, eagles, elk, deer, caribou and bison, and the circle of life in action. Our dead moose, killed by a train, were being prepared as bear food.
From there we went to Seward and the Sea Life Center.
On the way home we stopped at the Double Musky and had dinner. Sean and I had the Pepper Steak, called the country's best steak by Jill Cordes of the Food Network. I'd include that link, if the Food Network's site wasn't so lame. An easily frustrated person that's off his diet might just be driven right into the kitchen. This is a waffle from my the waffle iron my sister gave me for my birthday. Mmm, I'm may to have to cut this short (ha, just kidding, it's too late for that) to go eat breakfast, but I did want to say, the steaks at the Double Musky are huge. Leah said that we each had half a cow, but I don't think they're that big, unless maybe a Cornish Game cow.