Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Rain, Rain, Rain

I know this is the wet season and all, but this is getting silly. Normally, the mornings are dry and the rain comes sometime in the afternoon when I'm ready to quit playing in the dirt anyway. But the last couple of days, the rain has been starting at 9am, trapping me indoors. I had hoped to have the patio under the clothesline done by now. This is the most current photo I have of the work so far. I managed to get a bit more done on Monday, but I every time I get the camera out, it starts raining again. Anyway, here is the small bit of progress from last week:

I was able to complete the partial rows, but that only puts me at a bit less than half done. I'll need another load of blocks to finish it. (A hundred patio blocks sounds like a lot until you start throwing them on the ground.) After I bought the last load, I found out the place I get them from has a different way of selling them that will save me about 15¢ a block. That doesn't sound like much, but by the time I'm finished with everything, I'll have close to 500 patio blocks in neat little rows.

Because it has been so wet, we've had a bumper crop of mushrooms. This was next to the herb garden when we got up Sunday morning:

 Everywhere these pop up, the ground keeps sinking, so I'm assuming the 'shrooms are busy feeding on the roots of trees that were cut down at some point.

Other than that, not much to report other than it's still raining. On the plus side, at least we have time to plow through all the books we checked out at the library last week. We were a little off our annual pace of book consumption, so a few rainy days will help us get back on track.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Unproductive Week

I'm not sure what happened this week, but I didn't seem to get much of anything done. I had one thing after another come up, and it's raining even more than usual. Then we took a wee mini vacation and stocked up on books, so I have the added distraction of a to-be-read pile that we have to take back to the library in a couple weeks. So no real progress and thus, no pictures as the only sign I'm working at all is a pile of wet dirt. I'm not sure what our plans are for tomorrow, but I doubt it will be out scratching in the mud.

We did manage to get a quote for siding on the outside of the trailer. We decided that it's a go, and I'll be giving them the green light first thing Monday morning. There is a good amount of work already queued up in front of us, so it won't be anytime real quick, but I'm hoping the new skin will be on by the end of August.

I did stumble onto a couple tidbits while stuck inside. The first is a new world record for a domino spiral:

Oh, and the little thing about Detroit declaring the largest municipal bankruptcy in history. Which should be absolutely no surprise to anyone. This has been building since the 1970's. We'll all be Detroit sooner or later, so pay attention.

Well, probably ought to shuffle off to bed.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


If you want to know why our schools are hopeless, look no further than the Underground Grammarian. You can read his newsletters, published from 1977 through 1991, and a few of his booklets and essays for free at the sight. His four published books are readily available at AbeBooks for cheap: I just scored the lot for less than $15 delivered to my door. If you can't find the time to read anything else, at the very least, take a few minutes and read his essay, What to Do till the Undertaker Comes. There really isn't anything I can say that he doesn't say better.

On a completely different topic: Russia is not a place that has ever been on my list of places I'd like to live. Visit, absolutely. But even with Communism nothing but a distant memory, I still don't think I would enjoy living in a country where the president can set aside the constitution at will, military tactics are used on the citizenry, the rule of law is, at best, capriciously applied and then only to the weak and politically disenfranchised, where basic government functions are turned over to for-profit corporations who operate with no oversight or accountability, etc. I mean, what must it be like to live in such a joke of a democracy?


Anyway, on the plus side, Russia doesn't have Political Correctness. Here we have a Tampax commercial, Russian-style:

Now I want you to imagine the response if that commercial were to air on American television.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Sprucin' Up Langley Lane

We've had a solid 36 hours without rain, so I ran outside and worked on my tan:

I ran out of umph yesterday and had to finish up today. I used to be able to walk behind a mower for 12 hours straight regardless of the heat, but now it's more like four or five. But I got all the mowing and trimming done by around noon today. Doesn't look half-bad if I do say so myself:

The park is supposed to be mowing and trimming everything but our lot and the lady's next door, but as they've only made it down Langley Lane three times this summer with the mower and have yet to make a showing with the trimmer, I'm doing our's, the lady's next door, and the front of the other two lots. I have no desire to live in squalor, so I take care of what I have to look at when we sit on the front porch.

When we bought this place, there wasn't anything but bare dirt between us and the fence. We didn't plant anything, and in fact we plan on making the whole area into planting beds or patio. But Florida seems to have other plans:

At least it helps keep the dust down a little bit. Some of it is grass, but most of it is these tiny little trees. I have no idea what they grow up into, but anywhere in the park where there is deep shade, these things grow instead of grass. The nice part is that I only need to mow this every other time that I mow the rest of the lot.

All of our herbs are taking the summer heat in stride except the parsley. The tomato plant is getting all leggy as well. Now that all our black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars seem to be in their chrysalises, I'll cut all the parsley back to the ground. Parsley, like other carrots, is a biannual, meaning it comes back after the winter freeze and puts on seed. I have no idea how that plays out in a place without real winter. I won't dig up the roots just in case it comes back in the fall, but even if it does, I have no clue if it will set seed or just be parsley again. The tomato had a few blossoms on it, so I'll give it until the end of this week to set tomatoes. If I don't see anything, that goes bu-bye as well. Here's how it all looks this week:

Today, I made a couple runs down to the local cement place and picked up 100 patio blocks. They will go under the clothesline in a (probably vain) attempt at keeping mud from splattering up on our clothes when Mama Gia decides our laundry is in need of a second rinse. I don't mind having our stuff rinsed in rainwater, but I can do without the gritty feeling of sand in our towels. I've already done some of the prep work, so it should go fast. As always, I'll post photos when there is something to see.

Well, I need to get dinner started. Later.

Monday, July 01, 2013

And, "The Art of Asking"

While I'm posting random TED talks, here is one from alt-rocker Amanda Palmer:

Anyone who has plans to make a living as a writer, musician, photographer, etc., you need to watch this and then ask yourself just how am I going to be paid and by whom? The old business models are completely broken, especially for someone just getting started.

"Waiter, there's a gene in my soup!"

Someone making sense about genetically modified food crops. The comments go off the rails, just as you would expect.