Posts tagged ‘quotidia’

2013/08/29

Wilderness were Paradise enow as long as there is WiFi

This house has a big screened-in porch, to keep the mosquitos and black flies away and still let you sit out in the soft air, looking across the tidal river mouth to the next island along.

I think I’ve realized before in roughly this context that sitting down and writing about where I am and what I’m doing, and what I’m thinking, significantly helps me appreciate it. Which seems odd and even pathetic in a way, like the person in the joke who won’t know whether he enjoyed his vacation until the pictures come back. (Remember when you had to wait for pictures to come back? I barely do, some days.)

I tend to live, that is, mediated. Or maybe it’s just the part of me that writes weblog entries that tends to live mediated; an interesting and potentially thorny question. I should go sit for half an hour, and expose all the parts of myself to some unmediated experience (in some sense). Maybe I will in fact do that! See you in about half an hour, conditions permitting, in the next paragraph.

Okay, back! That was nice. And the little daughter sat (Sat) with me!

(So now I have six additional points in my Karma Pool, one for each five minutes, and since there were at least a couple of instants there where the Monkey Mind was not drafting and evaluating sentences for the weblog, I get two Prajna Tokens that I can use to advantage on future Insight Rolls. Zen as D&D subgenre: I wonder if anyone’s written that up. A quick search reveals only the predictable Zen Warrior. “[U]ses wisdom and inner spirit to enhance their fighting”, phleh.)

As long-time reader may have realized by now, it is Summer, and we are in Maine! All four of us, too, which has not happened since, um, the last time it happened!

(Weirdly, I have no computer-as-such with me, and am typing this on my “iPad”, which is like a computer only smaller and you type with your thumbs on the screen. But it can talk WiFi to the house’s access point, and thence into the Internets via a nice fast RoadRunner connection of some stripe, so yay.)

We arrived on Saturday after a fine drive up, and the car managed to make it to within a few yards of the driveway of the house before the engine mysteriously quit. I started it again and drove it actually down the driveway into the place behind the house that one puts the car in, and the engine mysteriously quit again.

That was exciting! So now we know the extremely nice couple that drives for and/or constitutes Boothbay Taxi, and the also extremely nice people at Dan’s Auto Repair just down the road, and at Hawke’s Auto Something down toward the Harbor, where you can pick up a rental from Enterprise (once you have taken a taxi there on Monday, after a very relaxing Sunday spent in the house and in taxis to and from the grocery for foods).

I am writing this on Thursday-already, having realized as above that I would appreciate things more if I wrote them down (roughly), so there are other days in between. Let’s see.

On Monday we took the one car in and rented this one here, and walked around town and had food at the traditional Lobster Wharf. Tuesday the kidlings and I went to the big sandy beach (the water was unspeakably lovely), and then back to the house where the ladies roasted veggies while the men went out hunting seafood rolls for the tribe. Wednesday was yesterday, and the kids clambered about on a big multi-level rope course with harnesses and zip lines and stuff, and we grups stayed on the ground taking many many photographs. Then we had another nice seafood dinner in town.

Some evidence of these and other activities may be found on the official ceoln Instagram feed thing, which I ought to link to from this weblog sometime. If I haven’t already.

Today is cloudy and looking like another relaxing not-doing-much day in the house. We might go to the very nearby Botanical Gardens, or to the grocery, or something. Or not. :)

Wasn’t that quotidian? Oh! This also means we should say Happy Fourteenth Anniversary to the Weblog!, more or less roughly; although for most of that time it was here, not here. (And boy is HTML hard to type on this little thumb-keyboard!)

Oh, and before the zazen I took a shower because M said I should even though we are on vacation and showers are boring (and you generally get wet).

I stopped as usual at the Library Used Book shed in town and bought eight books for two dollars, one of them Buber’s “I and Thou” which I suspect I’ve never read.

But even more than in prior years, the once-traditional list of all the reading materials lying about is sort of moot. F’rinstance, I was sitting here watching an episode of Whedon’s Dollhouse on the Net-Flicks, and the boyish mad scientist character mentioned a couple of times the gag reflex when eating sea urchin, so I paused and looked that up on the interwebs, and it turns out that that is a thing, but also that it is quoted in a book of essays about that fictional world, and a few thumb motions and ninety-nine cents Earth currency later, I had a copy of it here in Maine, on the i-Pad, all ready to read at.

So yeah. :)

While I was in the middle of writing all of that, somewhere around “once-traditional” I think it was, Dan’s called to say that the car was ready, with a brand-new distributor and a tie-rod while they were at it, so the little daughter and I went out and picked it up and turned in the rental and bought a few groceries, and then I went for a walk along the road and into the botanic gardens, which while not really arranged for visits by barefoot pedestrians, is quite friendly and pretty and upscale, and has all various plants and roses and stones and pieces of art and water-features and trails for walking on.

(From the northernmost part of the gardens one can in fact see this house we are in, although there is brush and/or deer netting and/or “Staff Only” signs in between. I got home by looking around surreptitiously, slightly lifting a piece of loose deer-net, slipping ninja-like under it, and hopping a low stone fence to the road near the house, rather than walking all the flipping way back south to the official entrance. So far the FBI have not embarrassingly appeared.)

So yes, I have been watching Dollhouse. It is good! There is significant good audiovisual work out there, it appears, which can be viewed without commercial interruption. Also good!

I think I will stop writing with my thumbs for a bit again now, and do other stuff. Maybe later I will tell you about this self-published author who, perhaps unwisely, offered me a free copy of his book if I would review it. Interesting things have ensued. For some value of “interesting”. :)

Back again! It is ummm Friday morning, and I’m sitting at the round glass-topped table on the porch, having slept deliciously late and then eaten food, immersed in the still-lovely air and watching cars go by on the road.

Last night the little daughter required everyone to drink alcoholic beverages. I had a bigger-than-shotglass of bourbon with an ice cube and a little Rose’s Lime Substance. And we all gathered around and watched tennis and things on the teevee. Extremely pleasant in all ways. But I think my insides are scolding me a bit today. So no more boozes for now!

And now it is Friday night, and I have taken the little daughter to the airport so that she could fly places on airplanes (apparently 23-year-old little daughters are allowed to fly unaccompanied on airplanes without any special arrangements!), and have watched another Dollhouse episode (and a Lost Girl episode, even though Lost Girl hasn’t really convinced me that it is good yet, but Ksenia Solo is cute), and the little boy and I shot off a couple of little boxes of Consumer Grade Fireworks that I bought on the way home, and we are watching Tennis on teevee again and I am sleepy zzzzzz…

And then it was Saturday, and now it is suddenly Sunday, and we are home after a shared six-hour drive (that was remarkably traffic-light even though Labor Day Weekend), and have slept and had Sunday Morning Bagels. And now I will read this over another time or two, and post it so that you can read it!

The further thoughts about self-published novels and stuff will have to wait. :)

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2013/05/21

More things which have occurred over time

(From the lack of international fame after the giant rubber duck joke, I suspect it may have been a bit obscure. Axoim of Choice? Banach-Tarski Paradox? Giant duck? Maybe you had to be there. Although I wasn’t.)

Lesson about Boarding Passes

Normally it takes about an hour to get from home to LGA. I left myself two and a half hours to get there on Sunday.

It was raining, and everyone was driving slowly, and there were a whole lot of everyones. And then somewhere on the ubiquitous Bronx River Sprain Brook Cross County Parkway everyone came to a complete stop for at least half an hour, for no apparent reason.

I had good luck with the airport and parking and stuff, though, and I had probably twenty minutes to get to the plane from the terminal door. Passing security on the way to the devices that give you boarding passes, I saw that security was pretty much idle, which gave me hope.

There are many pictures of capybaras on the Web; this is one of them.The device told me that the time-window for it to give me a boarding pass had closed, and I would have to talk to a ticket agent. The nearest official-looking person waved me toward three counters each with one agent in back and one customer in front, and no line, and I figured that would not be too bad.

Ten or fifteen minutes later one of the three customers finally finished their complex transaction involving purchasing airline tickets using Peruvian stock-market derivatives or whatever, and slowly wandered off. The person behind the counter punched buttons on their console for a long minute, and told me that the time-window for getting a boarding pass had expired. And there were no more flights to my destination that day. I said, perhaps rather testily, that I could probably still make this flight if she would just give me a boarding pass. “It isn’t giving me one,” she said, and uninterestedly handed me back my documents.

Argh.

(So here is a rule: even though it seems weird, always either print out your boarding pass before leaving home, or cause one to exist electronically on some device, rather than depending on the usually-but-not-always-friendly kiosks.)

Also I am now rather baffled about the threat model, or other constraint, that is behind the thirty-minute time-window in which boarding passes are not handed out, even when one is standing right there with one’s government-issued photo-id and all.

Plan B

American Express Travel Services kept me on hold for some time, but my cellphone battery did not quite run out, and when they answered the person was quick and helpful and clued, as usual. At first she said there didn’t seem to be any flights anywhere that would get me there that night, but then oh wait here is one that has just opened up, I’ll grab it for you. It has a stop in Chicago. Ick, but better than being stranded entire. Oh, and these seats are free first class upgrades. Well, okay!

I still needed a boarding pass, and the flight to Chicago was already less than half an hour in the future.

The kiosk device again regretted that the time window in which it could give me a boarding pass had closed. I moaned softly to myself, walked boldly up to a ticket agent in a red jacket who didn’t seem to be strictly-speaking open for business, but he nodded and punched some buttons and gave me a boarding pass (maybe if I’d just snuck over to him the first time, I would have gotten that first flight).

Security was still idle and I went through pretty quickly (although the guy on the carry-on scanner did wonder in a leisurely way what that was in my bag; a computer power adapter, I said, and he didn’t say anything, and let me take the bag and proceed).

Flight to Chicago was just boarding, and my First Class ticket let me slip right in between the Zone 1 and Zone 2 people. The flight proper was very nice, wide first-class seat, not-bad food, frequent offers of water and even a hot face-towel.

In Chicago, there was a reasonable amount of time to my next flight, and while many of the outgoing flights out into tornado country were being delayed, mine wasn’t. The flight that was supposed to leave from the same gate a bit before mine slipped slowly later in time, and eventually pushed into mine, and we got a gate-change and were sent into a little basement with gates in it.

At what should have been boarding time, it turned out that we had an airplane, but the crew to fly it was still an hour away, since they were coming in from tornado country, and everything out there was naturally all messed up. An hour or so later, though, they did show up, and while first class on this leg wasn’t nearly as nice (a tiny plane is still a tiny plane), it was still first class.

So anyway, I got into the hotel around 2 or 3 am (I’m a little unclear on the actual time, especially considering timezones). And gave a day of Educational Presentations on four hours’ sleep yesterday. Apparently I was quite coherent, although I don’t remember much about it.

Heartland

Highly recommended for popcorn and burgers and ambiance in Rochester, Minnesota (United States of America, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy, the Mind of God) is Newt’s. And for having the energy and mental acuity to find Newt’s and eat food after presenting a day of modules on four hours’ sleep, highly recommended is a nice nap.

Also, Rochester, Minnesota is apparently a bastion of honesty and virtue. Getting my bags out of the car in a semi-coherent before-nap state on Monday afternoon, I left the rental car keys dangling out of the trunk lock. This morning, in the parking garage, feeling all my pockets in a bit of a panic due to a lack of rental-car keys, I looked down the line of cars toward mine, and there they were still dangling from the lock.

I said a heartfelt silent prayer to the Goddess (wow, that page is hard to read, isn’t it?) and the good citizens and residents of Rochester.

So that is all that! And I now have an app for electronic boarding passes, at least for American Airlines, on my i-Pad. As well as a bunch of Atari video games! Naturally…

Also I am just about finished reading Charlotte Joko Beck’s “Everyday Zen: Love and Work”; it is interesting in various ways, and perhaps someday I will post about it here.

2012/01/15

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Having said that the longer I stay away from WoW the less I miss it, I have now naturally started playing it again. :) I picked up a (human male) Warlock that I’d rolled up a long time ago, who was sitting at like level 28 or something being bored in Westfall, and looked to see what they’d done to Warlocks lately, and started leveling him, and now he’s like level 83 I think, doing Cataclysm quests and instances and stuff.

It’s been fun, I’ve been RPing him very lightly (it’s an RP server) as an Evil Necromancer type Warlock, enjoying going around drinking any souls that come to hand, consorting with demons, making diabolical (although in fact actually beneficial) alchemical potions, laughing maniacally at the Light-sucking fools RPing around the Stormwind Cathedral, and all like that.

But wow, WoW is easy these days. :)

Continuing to think how very very painful it must be to be an intelligent Republican these days, with all the anti-science and religious purity-tests and things that seem to dominate the party. Not that the Democrats are all that wonderful, but they are at least not so incredibly blatant.

Also in politics, fascinated to see the Administration coming out rather strongly against the whole SOPA/PIPA “let the music companies censor the Internet” thing. Brief speculation Twitter that maybe someone had just hacked whitehouse dot gov and put words into their mouths seems to have been unfounded!

Right now I am listening to some live music streaming in SL, with lil Dale standing at the back of the crowd swaying subtly while I do things in other windows.

Oh! Question for readers: there is an old movie, I think it is an old movie, although I’m pretty sure in color, and in this old movie there is an aspiring actress, and at one point the aspiring actress has this script that she’s going to use to audition with, and she goes over the scene with a friend or another aspiring actress or something, and it’s a relatively ordinary conflict between two people like yelling at each other, and then later in the movie she goes to actually audition the scene with some older and maybe famous and maybe slightly has-been (I’m not sure) actor, and the scene goes completely differently, still conflict between two people but this time extremely intense and passionately charged, with them snarling at each other with their lips like an inch apart, and although it’s the same words it’s amazingly different from the earlier runthrough.

So! Anyone know what movie that is? :) I have no idea. I’m pretty sure I didn’t just dream it though.

Drove the little boy up North into the colder and further-apart parts of New York, for an audition for the Music School of a College that he’s already been accepted to (we’re two and zero so far!). That was a fun little expedition; we got to stay in a Hotel because it was a bit of a drive, and the audition was in the morning, so we drove up the day before and drove back after.

We ate dinner at the Cracker Barrel next to the hotel. Cracker Barrel’s got quite a thing going there! There aren’t any very near us for some reason, but we’ve been to a few now. They’re all basically identical, they have big porches with rocking chairs and checkers sets (all for sale), and big stores inside selling all sorts of classic Old Fashioned Country stuff (did you know they still make Moon Pies and Cracker Jacks that come in cardboard boxes rather than metalized plastic bags?), and then big dining rooms with old-time ads and farm implements on the walls, and menus with lots of classic and high-calorie and not very expensive food.

(Humans were intended, I think, to eat the meals that they serve at Cracker Barrel, but only after having spent at least four hours in hard physical labor.)

I had the Chicken and Dumplin’s, the little boy had something with macaroni and cheese and shrimp, and we got the free corn muffins, and I had a Stewart’s Root Beer, and we both bought little candies in the store (malted milk balls for me, huge Smarties for him), and it all came out to just about twenty dollars.

There was snow on the sides of the road starting about halfway there, and on any cars coming from the north, but it didn’t snow on us at all. There was a detour on the way back, but we only got slightly lost. :)

Watched another episode of Buffy last night; I’m still somewhere in Season Three. Willow is extremely cute; I’m looking forward to the season where she becomes like a scary evil super-witch (although sad about the reason).

And now The Magnificent Seven is on the teevee, and I’m listening to CelticMaidenWarrior Lancaster doing a live set in SL (currently doing shoutouts to the people she recognizes in the crowd and anyone else obvious, and about to launch into “Lay Lady Lay”), and we’ve had our bagels, and I’m just sitting here relaxing. Maybe I will go make level 84 with that warlock…

2011/09/10

Saturday

So I am sitting here writing this as a passenger while the little daughter drives her car, if you can believe it.

Many many things have happened, and even are still happening; some of them I will write about later when they are more culminated. I spent threeish days of Labor Day week in airports-and-hotels-and-raised-floor land, sitting around waiting for something to go wrong that I might be needed to help with, and nothing did, which was good but extremely dull, because for much of the time I had no network connection nor any of my computers, and not enough printed out on paper to occupy the time.

The little daughter, as suggested above, now has her very own car, a natty little 2007 Nissan Sentra that we saw sitting at our local Nissan dealer with used-car price-numbers on the windshield, but when we made up our minds to probably buy it, and went there, the dealer had no idea what it was doing there, and said it wasn’t one of theirs, and didn’t we want something more expensive instead. (This is a good story, so I will continue it into a whole nother paragraph.)

We didn’t want any of the more expensive ones, and went home, but someone not me remembered there had been a URL on the license plate frame of the car, and we went there and the car was actually there on the website, and eventually we bought it. (For anyone in the area, Hudson Auto Traders is a very nice two or three vaguely Slavic young guys in a clean little shack by the side of the road, with a couple of desks and computers and lots of cars sitting around for sale, and they handle all the license and registration stuff, and wash the car very nicely for turning over, and the reason it was sitting at the Nissan dealer was that a service light had come on and they’d taken it to the service department for a new transmission, which is a good thing in a used car.)

So anyway now we are taking the little daughter back to school for her Senior Year of College, and M and the little boy are driving in the big car with most of the stuff, and the little daughter is driving her car with the fridge and the old TV and the beer and some shoes and things, and I am sitting here writing in my weblog, and helping her with her highway driving by gasping and making panicky little motions whenever she does anything dangerous, like driving on the same road as other cars. We are listening to Spanish music on th’ car radio.

There is a thirty-foot dumpster in our driveway back there at home, from Mr. Cheapee Carting, and it is surprisingy (and almost entirely) full of stuff that we have and don’t want. A fair fraction of the stuff was rendered (even) less desirable by being soaked in six inches of water in the basement; the rest is just stuff we realized we don’t want even in a dry condition, and Julian and Antoine hauled out and tossed in. It’s supposed to be removed on Monday.

In one of the ancient decaying cabinets that are now in the dumpster, M found a cache of books, mostly paperback SF, presumably placed there by me in the distant past. Once we’re home again maybe I will type them in, ’cause we like lists of random books here. M’s comment was that in the one place she would not have expected to find books, there were books.

(This is fun! says the little daughter, zipping down Interstate 287 South.)

There are a couple of industrial-strength fans in the basement, drying out the last few wet patches on the amazingly empty cement floor, and Julian and Antoine and their boss (boss-of-the-moment, perhaps) Manny have applied professional-strength disinfectants to discourage mold and fungus and other microorganisms that flourish in dampish basements.

My trip into airport-and-hotel-and-raised-floor land was complicated rather by the storms and tornadoes around Atlanta, in which city’s airport I was originally to change planes. After the airline drove me at their own expense from one airport to another one an hour away, I discovered that I was still not scheduled to arrive at my ultimate destination until the next morning, which was not According to Plan. Fortunately when I wailed about this to the gate agent, she said “oh, well, there is a direct flight to your ultimate destination leaving from that gate there in fifteen minutes, do you want to take that?”, and I did, and that simplified things considerably.

I have my third over-80 character in WoW (did I already say that?), a sore-faced Dren paladin named Spaenorus. “Sore-faced” is a joke, referring to the notional rolling of the face across the keyboard that WoW players invoke to imply that something is easy.

And WoW is easy! I think it’s that they’ve accelerated their “make everything easier, to increase new-user retention” policy, rather than that I’m just an awesomely skilled player haha. But, just for a fun-story example, there’s this semi-boss that’s level 80ish Elite, and after doing a quest chain you get the ability to set off these runes that he is foolishly walking around on, which do him lots of damage when activated. So I decided to see if I can vanquish and/or defeat him without using the runes, and I was able to do it handily, finishing with full health and mana, and the only reason I even had to use my Lay On Hands cooldown was (this is the good part) that halfway through the battle I got disconnected from the server, and when I got back in he was at full health again and I was at like 1%; but I had no serious trouble recovering from that and winning, still without using any of the runes.

If you made a graph of how hard WoW is now, it would stay flat at “push two or three buttons repeatedly until you win” all the way from level 1 to level 85, go up to “have some idea what you’re doing” in the last few level 85 instances, hit “optimize your gear and think about rotations” in heroic level 85 content, and then “actually be in a well-prepared and skillful and well-geared group, and do the right things” only at the very highest level 85 large-group raids.

Which means that hitting the advanced 85 content is quite a shock for people who’ve just been facerolling for their whole WoW lives, and random PUGs (pick-up groups) can get pretty ugly.

But presumably that effect doesn’t hurt user retention or revenue, or they wouldn’t do it? It’s a funny world!

Anyway, the little daughter is now all safely installed at school, and after a great sushi and tempura dinner, I have driven the rest of us home in the big car, and we are watching the second men’s semifinal of the U.S. Tennis Open, which involves tennis.

Ah, and here are the random books M rescued from the basement!

Star Trek: Vulcan’s Glory. A Star Trek novel, likely involving a Vulcan or two. And some glory.

The Heavenly Horse from the Outermost West, by Mary Stanton. “If you loved Watership Down… this is the book for you”.

Piper at the Gate, by Mary Stanton. “The exciting sequel to The Heavenly Horse from the Outermost West.”

Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad. Famous!

The Loud Halo, by Lillian Beckwith. Apparently stories about life on a Hebridean island, with complimentary jacket-blurb from The Daily Scotsman, and an old sticker saying “PF50”.

“How to Parent”, by Dr. Fitzhugh Dodson. Hahaha a bit late there. Given my general disdain for parenting books, I’m especially baffled by this one.

The Teachings of the Mystics, by Walter T. Stace, a Mentor Book, 1960.

The Celtic Twilight, and a selection of early poems, by W. B. Yeats. (I wonder if there’s a digital edition of that.)

Beneath the Wheel, by Hermann Hesse. His second novel.

Mars, by Ben Bova. Many many pages.

The Peter Principle, by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull. “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his [sic] level of incompetence.” Bantam edition published February 1970.

Dayworld, by Philip Jose Farmer. A SF novel.

And finally, not a book, “Joy to the World, Three Dog Night, their greatest hits”. This is a primitive plastic device, with many moving parts, called a “tape cassette”. Ancient legends say that they were once used to record audio tracks, like a strange mechanical iPod; but if so, the method of extracting the recorded sound is long lost to science.

A satisfyingly odd collection, I’d say… :)

2011/08/15

Small arrays of words

It is apparently possible to post here from an iPad! Although not, it seems, to add tags or new categories. Odd little bugs, them.

I got a new telephone in the mail today, because the previous one was literally (by which I mean literally) falling apart.

I got a BlueTooth headset with the new phone, because it was cheaper that way. Apparently. I am still deeply suspicious.

My fancy coffee machine is leaking. Did I mention that M got me a fancy coffee machine the other month/year? Let’s see…

I did! At Solstice 2009, it seems. And now it leaks. These things happen.

Oh, what else, what else? There is so much I have not told you, all of these silent non-posting days weeks months.

I have been in Second Life significantly, I have been in World of Warcraft. I have two level 85 characters (“toons”) in the latter, and my paladin tank is level 74 and rising. Although at the moment I’m bored by WoW again.

Not having cursor movement keys on the iPad is a drag!

I think Google’s silly and inconsistently applied and badly rationalized Real Names policy is ill-thought-out and quite likely evil.

I am distressed or amused by the current Republican front-runners, depending on how detached I feel at the time.

My libertarianness is slipping significantly, as I see the extent that people can gain wealth and power by completely legal means, including means that would be legal even in a libertarian regime, without deserving it in any particularly significant sense. Redistribution doesn’t seem like such an unworthy goal in that context.

(See for instance Warren Buffet on how little taxes he and his extremely rich friends pay.)

The adorable tiny cat, like the adorable tiny children, gets bigger and bigger. (Unlike them she will not be going to college, which is good for the tuition budget.) The little daughter is about to turn 21, which is utterly astounding. (Her New York driver’s license, without the “beware, underage person” banner on it, just came; she is pleased.)

How fast the time passes! An hour every hour, a day every day. At the very least!

Things, all told (not that all has been told), are good…