Posts tagged ‘vacation’

2015/08/29

Summer 2015

I think I’ve speculated before how long it would take, in a significantly long stretch of leisure, before I had had my fill of utter idleness, and started spontaneously doing other things, thinking new thoughts, writing new things, and generally being creative. Available evidence suggests it’s more than a week.  :)

It’s been a long time since an August hiatus in my weblogging could have meant anything (beyond “it’s a day”) to even the most devoted reader.  But this particular August hiatus, the hiatus that this entry will end once I actually post it, is because we are once again up in Maine, sleeping late, eating lobster, listening to the plashing of the surf, and generally being blissful.  It’s now been sixteen years since we started this Maine-going stuff, and this web-logging stuff; one more year than last year.

We have a number of books lying around, as always, and we may list them later on in the traditional way.  But this decade (and I expect I’ve noted this down before) there are many books and book-like things inside of smallish and flattish silicon-based devices here and there, and those are good hooks for writing down things also.

On this Nexus 5 or Something Cellular Telephone that I have here, for instance, when you hit the little square button thing area, it goes to a view that shows a big scrolling Rolodex-like display of all of the roughly six zillion things that the phone is in some way aware of me doing.  Some of them are open just in case I want to go back and look at them later; so I can write those down in the weblog here, with clever observations on life and the universe more or less related to them, and then I can close them in my phone, and that will be good if only because then I can find the non-closed ones more easily.

Let’s see what we got, here on Tuesday night of the vacation week.

  • Twitter.  Well, that’s Twitter (where I exist as my Second Life persona for historical reasons), so we’ll just close that.  (I could write about how and why I use Twitter, and what effect it is having on the global unconscious, but instead I will just recommend the feed of A Bear).
  • Instagram, where I exist as the name of this very weblog, and where you can see various pictures, some of them from Maine (and one of them being a selfie with Felicia Day, because she did a booksigning at work which was extremely cool; she says that lots of people around her are playing Final Fantasy XIV (or perhaps 14) these days); we’ll close that, too.
  • Chrome.  That has eleventy-seven tabs of its own active inside it (because I configured things that way somehow sometime), so we’ll leave that open for now.
  • A search result for “soft shell lobster“, because we were getting lobster at the usual place, and they had both kinds and I didn’t know the difference.  The little boy and I shared a pair of soft-shelled (with corn on the cob); they were delicious.  And ethically troubling.  As usual.
  • The Wi-Fi settings control, because the marina right next to the Lobster Warf has a friendly open signal.
  • GMail, because I was checking my email.  We’ll close that.  It was mostly spam.  (Does the Clinton campaign really think I would be extremely psyched at the idea of flying out to some random place to have lunch with Hilary?  I mean… no.)
  • A search result for “tom collins ingredients“, because the little daughter was urging alcohol on us at the Warf, and I asked for a Tom Collins, and apparently this is an Obscure Old Person Drink or something, and the little daughter wasn’t sure the bartender would know what that was, so I looked it up.
  • An instance of Maps along with the search result for “google location history” that spawned it, because I was mildly curious when we’d gotten there.  This was also very useful the other day when we were in town, and we couldn’t remember how long it’d been since we’d parked in the “2 Hour Parking” place, and I remembered the extremely useful Google Location History aka Google Maps Timeline; try it yourself!
  • An instance of Hangouts, ’cause we’ve all been IMing each other and sending around photos and stuff in the modern unWired manner, and this has mostly been working even though they are all Apple-ish and I am on Android.
  • Search results for “weather linekin” and “seagulls sleep”, from being down on the dock lifeguarding while the little boy, and then also the little girl, swam about in the apparently-not-incredibly-freezing water, and it rained a little and we wondered where seagulls sleep.
  • Another instance of GMail; that’s weird.  We’ll close that (and everything else we’re mentioning except for Chrome, so far).
  • Google Play Music, because I was playing some music.  (Have you seen the Airhorn version of “Take On Me”?  It is ossum.  Although it is a YouTube thing, not a Google Play Music thing.)
  • An instance of the 2048 app, where I got up to 4096 (and a 2048 and a 1024), which is pretty good, but only 74424 points and far short of my Personal Best of 103964.
  • Some more weather results; it’s been foggy, cloudy, and/or raining for much of this Maine vacation so far, but that’s okay!
  • A search result on “ofay”, which turns out to be a (derogatory) slang word for white person, which I looked up because I am reading Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, which I got for fifty cents at the Friends of the Library book sale, and which is an impressive and significant book that everyone should read (because of and despite issues of misogyny and homophobia, and it being from the 60’s, when the issue of race was different from and similar to how it is today).
  • A search result on “noetic” because the little daughter asked what it means, because it is in a book she is reading about Jewish panentheism.  (Also it is reminiscent of the title of Lower Dens‘ second album, and they are a favorite of hers.)
  • News and Weather, because as well as the weather I was mildly interested in the Stock Market Crash and subsequent recovery (someone made an obscene amount of money on that).
  • A search result on Chris Lovdjieff, who appears in Soul on Ice, and who is known to the web for nothing much else as far as I discovered.
  • A search result on Windows 10 Browser, I forget exactly why.  I am interested to see that it is supposed to have collaborative annotation features, which sounds interesting.  It has also been tried many times before, and never caught on; it will be interesting to see if it does this time.  If the new browser does it in some open way that other browsers can join in on, it might.  But, well, haha…
  • A search result on “i like beer sing”, which was a typo for “i like beer song“, but Google found the song I was looking for anyway.  I played this for the amusement of the family while we were having a lovely dinner of wine and cheese from Eventide and clam chowder from the Warf, out on the porch overlooking the bay, yesterday evening I think it was.
  • Search results on “coffee” and “the red cup” because we were looking for a place to have coffee in town, but the Red Cup was closed for the day already.
  • A “Sign In To Network” page, because the WiFi network here is a Linksys Smart Something with a silly portal login page that wants the password typed in again more often than one would really expect.  While I am here, though, I will brag that when we discovered that the WiFi covered only one small bit of one side of the rental house, I deployed a clever range extender (possibly not that one, but one very like it at least) so that now it covers nearly (but not entirely) the whole house.
  • Search results on “eldridge cleaver’s lawyer” and “fsm 1960’s”, again from Soul on Ice.  It turns out that in the 60’s, “FSM” stood for “Free Speech Movement“, not “Flying Spaghetti Monster”.
  • A search result on “Melismas intro“, because in the cool art store in town, they were playing a track from this, and I liked it, and noticing that the album could be bought for slightly less than I had in my Google Play account (entirely thanks to answering questions about myself in Google Opinion Rewards), I took that as a sign and whimsically bought it.
  • Some random uninteresting search results, and yet another instance of GMail (that’s weird), and Netflix (where I have been binge-watching among other things ancient episodes of Columbo from the 70’s which are wonderfully retro).

Whew, and that’s just the beginning.

This is a notably short and fragmented way of writing down things!  Which is perhaps appropriate for the modern age, and for the first thing on the list up there having been the Twitter and all.

One doesn’t have to bother thinking up unifying themes and following them to a logical conclusion or anything!

Books are more unified that way; longer, and in some sense fewer of them.

I’m reading Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, from the used book sale, as I mentioned.  Also reading Jessamyn West’s “The Life I Really Lived”, which came with the house here (and that I’d therefore better finish this week, come to think of it).  I picked it up because I recognized the name of that Jessamyn West from having read this Jessamyn West since the early days of the Web Logs, and her having mentioned her namesake (namesake? something like that) once or thrice.

It’s a good book, although like Strindberg’s “Miss Julie” (or at least the adaptation I recently read) and for that matter quite a few other works, significant parts of the theme can be summarized as “people sure used to be weird about sex”.

Just now I’ve been typing this while sitting around with the family watching the first season of Pokemon on the Netflix, which is great nostalgic fun (James’ voice is so different!).  And there is an odd fog horn or something hooting periodically outside.  And the plashing of the surf.

I think I may go to bed soon, and write more of this tomorrow and/or after.  (Tomorrow we are going to Portland to put the little daughter on a short-range airplane to head home because she is so busy, and to bop around in Portland, but in the evening we will be back here.)  Sleep well and so on!  Not that you’ll be pausing for a night between paragraphs while reading this.  Unless you want to of course!

Dot dot dot.

Now it is Wednesday night, back at the rental house by the foggy bay, after a long day in Portland starting from dropping the little daughter off at the Portland Jetport (whose terminal seems unnecessarily long by a factor of about five), and including buying yet more books at Longfellow Books because of course one didn’t have enough books yet.

The two I bought: “Sherlock Homes: Fact or Fiction?” by T. S. Blakeney, and “The Two of Them” by Joanna Russ.  Both shortish, both used, both somewhat odd, both two dollars.

(Well, for clarity, each two dollars.  It’s funny I had to make that clarification only there.  If I had said they were “both under 200 pages”, would you have thought I might mean their lengths added together totaled less than that?  Probably not.  But the price seems at least ambiguous.  Perhaps because we think of a set of books as having a salient total price, but don’t normally think of a set of books as having a salient total length?  Although we do think the latter in some circumstances, and even there I think the “both” form doesn’t achieve ambiguity for word-length.  Odd.)

My phone is over there well beyond my reach, having its electrons moved further from its positively-charged bits, so I won’t go back to commenting on the still-incredibly-many unclosed tab-like-things quite yet.  I will just write words (2000 of them already so far, says the helpful modern WordPress editor control thing), for the pleasure of writing them and perhaps of reading them later, and perhaps for your pleasure, even you who aren’t me, at some point.  (The little boy mentioned the other day that he’d been reading through my old weblog accounts of previous Maine summers; this was unspeakably gratifying.)

I haven’t read any old ones myself (this time, yet, recently).  Even last years’ seems mysterious to me, in that I don’t remember what I said at all.  Presumably I mentioned having made the Big Change Of Employers, because that was even more recent than it is now.  It still feels quite recent, both because nearly-two years is rather an eyeblink compared to nearly-thirty-four, and because the learning curve at New Employer is, if not dauntingly steep after the first few weeks, always dauntingly high.  Everything is always in motion, always either not-done-yet or old-and-deprecated (or both); the wry internal slogan “some documentation may be out of date” is funny because it is so often (despite a deep and sincere institutional respect for documentation) such an understatement.

I understand from Twitter that the stock market has been bouncing up and down alarmingly (or perhaps uninterestingly), and that people have been killing each other and themselves in awful and distressing ways.  I feel permitted, by being on vacation, to find out less about these things that I might normally.

Dot dot dot.

Now it is Thursday morning!  The little boy and I are considering, in a relaxed sort of way, taking one of the touristy Cruises around the Bay.

Is it bay-side air, or water-side air, or Maine air, or just vacation air, that feels so sweet and soft and beguiling?

I have here a CD called “Swamped” by Johnnie Mac, bought from the artist himself for five dollars (plus a dollar tip dropped into his bag before I noticed that I had a five and he was selling CDs for that), where he was busking on the street in Portland.

So now I have to find something with a CD ripper to make it into usable music with.  :)

Portland elicited a number of dollar bills from the pocket where I keep dollar bills normally for the buskers and the apparently needy and/or homeless of Manhattan.  The street people in Portland are like the ones in Manhattan, but I think markedly whiter; perhaps street people of color, being less likely to have ancestral ties to the area, tend to move the heck out of Maine, to somewhere warmer.  Or other more complex reasons.

Some more Android Rolodex tabs (I may be opening new ones faster than I’m recording and closing them):

  • “Settings” and “Phone” and search results for “cruises boothbay harbor” because we looked up some cruises and called one of them about reservations and left a message, so I turned up the ring volume on my phone in case they call back. But probably I will just call them again soon.
  • Hangouts, Twitter, Instagram, and GMail again, as usual.  Also YouTube, where I was watching this McWhopper thing.  For some reason.  (Actually lots of interesting analysis to be done on that little brand interaction, if you’re into such things.)
  • Search results on “over at the frankenstein place“, because some phrase involving light went by, and the song got stuck in my head, and then I had to play it for everyone.
  • Search results on “what is the Methodist method“, because we passed like the East Boothbay Methodist Church and I was curious.  (Turns out it’s a John Wesley thing; “Holy Club”, eh?)
  • Search results on “who put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop”, because I wanted to see if asking that question by voice of my phone would elicit any snarky Siri-like remarks.  It didn’t.  Hey, come to think of it, let’s try Siri herself on that question!  Well, she sends it to Wolfram Alpha (???) which responds with but a single pointer to the song; a weak pass (my phone did of course a full Google search, and came back with a variety of links to choose from).
  • Google Keep, where I had a grocery list (we stopped by Hannaford on the way home from Portland last night and bought everything on it; so I suppose it’s still there, just empty; imagine how many empty grocery lists there are out there!).

Dot dot dot!

The little boy and I went out on a sailing cruise, while M (not a big boat person) enjoyed town.  The cruise was great, the quiet of the sails and the water, just the two of us and a family of three and the Captain and a deckhand.

And the phone is upstairs charging again, and I’ve been lazing about long enough after we got back to the house that it is getting on dinner time.  So nice and lazy.  I think I will read more of West for a bit; she is good.

(Oh, and I guess I haven’t mentioned?  That Mysterious Illness that I had the other week?  The final verdict, not definite but at least plausible, based on the eventual discovery of both Escherichia coli and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron in my blood, was diverticulitis with septicemia (i.e. there was a little hole in my intestine somewhere, and some gut bacteria leaked over into my bloodstream), which is relatively life-threatening compared to most routine daily events.  So I am even more grateful than usual for M deciding I ought to get to the ER, for antibiotics, and for continued life in general.)

So now it is Thursday evening, after dinner, and we’re sitting around talking about what to do tomorrow (nothing, for instance, or the beach), and listening to a very miscellaneous Bandcamp track found while searching on “little shop of horace”, “little shop of horus”, and so on.  Very idyllic!

And now it is Thursday evening after a walk down to the end of the road (house for sale on 1.5 acres and 600+ feet of shoreline, just under a million and a half US$, which is lots of money, but less than a medium-size condo in Chelsea, which is only a piece of a building, and has no shoreline at all).  I have showered the tar off the soles of my feet (from road repairs that I blithely walked over barefoot), and am about to lose myself in West’s story again.  Lovely evening.

Dot dot dot.

And now Friday morning.  I could have written here, instead of this entire entry, just “the secret of being on a floating dock in a quiet bay with the full moon above”.  But then I wouldn’t have gotten any phone tabs at all closed.

Jessamyn West is still very good.  I may not finish the book while we’re here, because I keep napping, and playing SimCity BuildIt, and occasionally writing in the weblog here.  I hope I remember in that case to leave this instance of the book behind, and to get one of my own.

I see that last year I mostly posted some pictures.  I’ve taken some pictures this year, but for whatever reason I amn’t posting any here.  I might still, you never know.

We are thinking, the little boy and I, about going to the beach today, the last full day of the week.  It’s a bit cold for the beach really, and it’s lovely and relaxing here.  But we still might.  What time is it now? Just gone noon.

Sometime a little after dawn some loud grackling birds woke me up, and I went down the old cement steps (inlaid with decorative stones and shells) down to the sand.  The tide was out, and it was beautiful.  Then I went back to bed for a few hours.

This is being an extremely long entry!  Maybe I should post it as a Part I and a Part II, so y’all could digest it in multiple smaller pieces.  Or I could not do that.  :)

And now (dot dot dot) Friday evening, lovely and cool, almost cold in the wind.  No going to the beach happened, but the little boy and I went swimming (and walking, the tide being out) in the bay off of the dock; very refreshing.

The long drive home tomorrow!

And now (a last set of dots) we are home and the little daughter is with us again, and we are looking at old photographs and generally being happy and domestic.  I will put an appropriate picture at the end here, and post this now (probably without proofreading the last bits, ’cause I am tired).

Happy year!

Evening on Linekin Bay

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2014/08/25

Fifteen years!

Wow, you’d think something would have changed after a week away; flying cars, or aliens walking around Manhattan, or at least a new subway line or something, but NO, everything is pretty much just the same!

Weird.

Extremely attentive and/or precognitive readers will suspect rightly that we were away for a week because we were in Maine; the first time that happened was in 1999, and this is 2014, so it’s been fifteen years!

And since that first Maine trip was when I started writing a weblog, and this is in some sense the same weblog as that, this is the fifteenth anniversary of the weblog!

Woot!

Here is a picture of Maine:

Renewal

Isn’t that gorgeous? Along with M’s sister’s family, and their father and stepmother, we rented a house on top of Dodge Mountain, overlooking Rockland and the bay and points East, with a lovely deck, and chairs to sit in, and tables to put your book and your wineglass on, and beds to sleep in, and all.

It was great.

I did a lot of reading, as usual. That book there is “Karma and Rebirth” by Christmas (sic) Humphries. I wrote it up for GoodReads (hope that link works for not-me people).

(I will resist the obvious temptation to produce lots of weblog content by pasting in all various book reviews I have written instead of just linking to them!)

I read that because I happened across it in some used book store (perhaps Hello Hello Books?), shortly after watching Hemant Mehta’s rather offputting “Can Atheists be Buddhists“, and it seemed like a nice synchronicity.

The Mehta piece is offputting for a few reasons:

  • His conclusion is basically “no”, and I’m sort of both of those things, so yeah.
  • The reason his conclusion is basically “no” is that, he says, although Buddhists don’t believe in a deity, they do believe some stuff (specifically Karma and Rebirth) that Isn’t Scientific, and therefore atheists won’t believe it.
  • This implies that for Mehta “atheist” doesn’t just mean “doesn’t believe in God” for some value of “God”, it means “only believes stuff that is Scientific”, and that seems like just sloppy thinking or sloppy word-usage or something,
  • His conclusion that Karma and Rebirth are Not Scientific seems very offhand and not particularly well thought out; as for that matter is his assumption that all Buddhists believe in either or both of them in any form.

Some day I will have to write a post on Buddhism and Scientificness and Karma and Rebirth and all, and why atheists can in fact be Buddhists, and vice-versa, at least when they are me. Not today, though. :)

Another book, that I’m sure I bought in Hello Hello Books (which is a great bookstore, by the way), and then I read and enjoyed very much, is Doris Grumbach’s “The Pleasure of Their Company”, which I also wrote up for GoodReads. It was good.

I do love lying about in Maine, feeling the wind and reading books and thinking about things.

Also I went out on a boat! And held a lobster!

Here is a picture from on the boat, with the notable deck hand Dana holding the lobster in question:

Dana with the lobster

and here is the lobster, with parts of my hand holding it:

Lobster

and a little girl looking dubious in the background.

We did many other things in Maine! I took three of the four kids to the beach one day, but the sun was behind clouds and the sand was too wet and rocky and the waves too small and they got cold, so we didn’t stay very long.

Here are some rocks!

Rocks

They do look coldish.

We went into Rockland a couple of times (although sadly we were not in town for this

Internet Cats

which I bet would have been noteworthy), and into Camden a couple of times (here is a classy black-and-white shot of some water in Camden:

Water in Camden

just because we are posting lots of pictures; more and/or different ones can as usual be found on the Insta-Gram).

Reading back through some of the various Maine and post-Maine postings in the weblog over the years, I see lots of variety in terms of thoughtfulness, randomness, introspection, and so on. I did feel introspective, in a good way, and renewed, in a good way, by it all this year, but in writing about it I’m mostly just writing random things, I think. :)

Maybe largely because I didn’t feel like writing about it at all while I was there (too busy doing it?), and now am writing about it retrospectively, having been home for a couple of days and back to work one day, so somewhat back in the quotidian mindset. Or something?

Here is another picture :) this one of ol’ Red’s Eats (where we didn’t eat this year) as randomly enhanced in its usual drive-by way by Google Plus:

Red's Eats

Kinda neat, I thought.

What else? I read some other books, acquired some other books, sat zazen a bit, had some thoughts, drank some wine, ate some lobster and some blueberry pie, enjoyed some sun and wind.

And I’m not unhappy to be home. :)

About all one could ask for, really!

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. :)

2012/10/14

North and Back Again

Now the Internet connection is out entirely. That is, we can get to the owners’ wireless router, but the rest of the Internet isn’t visible from there. (Night before last, when there was all that wind and the remnants of rain, we couldn’t get to the wireless router even all that reliably, but the rest of the Internet was sporadically accessible when we could.)

And, perhaps suspiciously, there seems to be no cellular service here this evening either, although there has been prior days. Maybe Linekin shuts down even harder than we thought, the week after Columbus Day.

Devoted long-time readers of this weblog (especially in its prior incarnation) will be concluding with joy around this time that we are once again writing from on vacation somewhere in Maine, and that conclusion will be, or is, correct!

(The pumpkin quickbread will need to be checked again in about ten minutes; since I don’t know this oven, and I’m baking it in a glass baking dish for want of a proper loaf-tin, the time’s highly uncertain.)

 


 

We drove from home to Boston on Friday for Parents (Parent’s? Parents’?) Weekend at the little boy’s school; that was fun, mostly for getting to see the little boy, but also random schoolish events (the sample Ear Training class was especially neat). Then up here on Sunday, to the little cottage above the larger house where we stayed in hmmm 2009, probably, although I seem to have Not Mentioned It In The Weblog, which is odd. Unless I just can’t find that entry in between being distracted by all of the other ones.

On Sunday we tried to go to the nearest-by good lobster-type restaurant, but it had apparently just (like, maybe minutes before) Closed For the Season. (We’d been a bit afraid that, coming up this late, everything in general would be Closed For the Season, but the owners here had assured us that most things would still be open.) So on the advice of the other folks leaving the nearest-by-but-closed place we drove down toward Ocean Point, found a place to park around the bustling Ocean Point Inn, and made our way inside.

Turns out it was the last night for the Ocean Point Inn before they also Closed for the Season, and it was “going to be a madhouse”, and they could not give two random persons with no reservation a table, but we could take two of the last four seats available at the bar, so we did, and had some very yummy lobster stew and I think blueberry pie, and sat talking to the bartender a bit when she had an instant to breathe. Busy night, definitely, but “tomorrow, free!”.

 


 

On Monday we went and walked around in Boothbay Harbor like we always do, went to many of the Usual Stores, bought a few random things (including me the usual few books at the Friends of the Library Used Book Store), admired stuff, had ice cream at the usual ice cream place (their last day before Closing For the Season!). Odd with no children or other relatives orbitting (orbiting?) about, but pleasant and familiar, and a gorgeous day. We had dinner at the Lobsterman’s Co-op; I had my traditional actual lobster, which was very good. Monday was, naturally, their last day before they Closed For the Season.

Tuesday I woke up with a sore throat and fever and no energy at all, so Tuesday and Wednesday we did basically nothing at all, which is really okay because we’d planned to do considerable nothing-at-all, and my being down for the count just forced it to be at that particular point in the schedule.

(This is awkward and/or frustrating; I called one of the owners a few hours ago on her cellphone, cell numbers being all that they gave us, about the Internet not working, and after asking if I was sure I had done the password right and all, she said that they would “take a look when we get back”; and now it is like quarter to nine in the evening, and I can’t really tell if anyone’s arrived back over there or not, and I am too shy and retiring to call them again before they contact us. I am such a connectivity addict!)

So Tuesday and Wednesday were extremely relaxing, modulo a bit of fever and all which were quickly moderated by Night and/or Day Quils produced magically by M from the nearest grocer.

 


 

Thursday, which was yesterday, I felt considerably better, and we went to Freeport, the home of L. L. Bean’s vast megastore into which we didn’t actually go, and scads of other stores of various descriptions, some amusing, some good sources of Outlet Bargains, and so on. We found a great British Goods store, which M (being the prime Anglophile in the house) will probably have weblogified significantly about by now (and where I got some nice teas, including a lovely green tea with lemon, for my recovering throat).

We ate lunch at a restaurant attached to the Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine empire; Linda Bean being the something-great granddaughter of the original L. L. Bean himself, and now a luminary of all that is Maine and lobstery and prosperous. She seems from my little reading about her to be quite the Ron Paul Republican type, which is pretty in keeping with someone who started her own commercial empire from (one speculates) merely quite a bit of inherited wealth and corresponding contacts and self-confidence. Sort of like Mitt Romney’s semi-famous line about how he inherited nothing, in the sense that he passed along the actually cash-money inheritance that he got into a trust for his children. But inheritance is so much more than the cash money passed along…

Anyway! And today being already Friday, how did that happen, we went into Wiscasset (“Prettiest Village in Maine”, or other slogan to that effect), and waited in line and had lunch at the extremely famous Red’s Eats, strategically positioned at the Wiscasset end of the Boothbay-to-Wiscasset bridge in such a way that the length of the backup both ways on Route 27 there pretty accurately reflects the length of the line to buy lobster rolls at Red’s. (We’ve always observed that notable correlation, but this is the first time we actually stood in the latter line ourselves.)

The lobster rolls were very good, largely I think because they contained very large amounts of very fresh lobster meat, still in the form of claws and tails and whatnot. And the sweet potato fries were a nice addition. And the Maine blueberry cake.

It was cloudy and chilly and windy during all of that, and we ate our lunch in the car, but when we emerged it was sunny and almost clear, and it stayed gorgeous like that as we wandered about the town and bought various smallish items of a vacationy sort, including a copy of The Submarine Boys on Duty and an oldish Texaco road map for me, and various things for M that she can weblog on or not.

We stopped by the grocery for random things on the way home, I made (and somewhat burned, as it turned out, but don’t worry it wasn’t because you were distracting me with weblogging) a pumpkin quick-bread from a box of mix (and water and oil and a couple of eggs), we found that the Internet didn’t work, and pretty much here we are, caught up to date!

 


 

Incredible how many years we’ve been coming up here. This is the first Empty Nest trip, with the little daughter all out being a college graduate and gainfully employed adult, the little boy a college Freshman in Boston, both of them living in apartment buildings (something that neither M nor I have ever done, and I sometimes feel that they are already more authentic grownups than I am because of it). We really haven’t figured out the whole Empty Nest thing at all yet, that’s going to take awhile just to seem real, much less to get used to.

Thirteen years, in fact, hasn’t it been? Since those very first postings to the then-new (and now-very-stable) davidchess dot com and associated domains. How young we all were! Although in the mental map in my head (that I suppose I formed when I was about twelve, and have updated only lightly since) fortyish and fiftyish are about the same really; so us adults haven’t aged much. :)

We didn’t come up here in 2011 or 2010, at least that’s our current theory. And then in 2009 we were up here, with M’s sister’s family, just across the street there, but apparently I managed to not weblog about it at all. So I last weblogged from hereish back in 2008. Reading back there, I note that (a) there is commentary on the Red’s Eats traffic situation, and (b) even then I was talking about how sporadic my weblog posting was becoming. That latter trend has certainly kept up, eh?

 


 

I could do the usual List of Books Lying About, but right now I am too lazy to get up (well, to get up again; I just wandered off to the kitchen upon remembering that I’d been heating water for hot cocoa, and got that, and came back). And what does one do about the iPad? It has various books on it, and it is lying around, but do they all count? Or just the ones that I at least halfway intend to perhaps read whilst up here?

(Not to mention the infinite number of books and potential books and book-like-things that are also virtually lying around when the Internet connection is working; but that’s obviously a whole nother universe.)

This house, cottage, is across the road from the one that is right on the water, and that has its own dock. And we’re further up the Bay than we were those first years, and the water is calmer. So I’m not sitting by the open window breathing the air and listening to the waves plashing (and, come to think of it, the air is supposed to be well below freezing tonight, and it’s headed there already, and we don’t have any windows open). Still, though, there are waves out there, plashing quietly, and a million extra stars up in the black sky (I saw them all, looking up when I strolled over earlier to see if the owners were home and might be able to fix the network connection, not that I’m in withdrawl or anything no no nothing like that). And it’s quiet, very quiet, and a car going by makes one lift one’s head to see what that sound is, as opposed to at home say where a sudden cessation of background motor sounds would have the same, if opposite, effect.

Those first times up here were so, what?, pivotal, or not pivotal so much as exemplary, maybe, thematic. Life-changing not in the sense that life would have been some other way without them (although to an extent it would have been), so much as life-changing as in showing in a lovely clear way how life had changed, having sentient children, a prosperous family, having chosen certain life paths over others, being in a rental house on the coast of Maine rather than crouched with tired fingers in a harvesting shack on the edge of some large and well disguised marijuana field somewhere in California, listening for helicopters and planning what to do with the next big payout.

Just for example.

And then over the years they’ve become more familiar, comfortable, known, part of life rather than some sort of distillation or fragment of metaphor. Being the first Empty Nest vacation is definitely a new thing, but still such a definitely-new thing that I have nothing much to say about it; that train has arrived, but the cargo has not yet been unpacked. The definitive bit of Empty Nest weblogging has yet to be written, and that may not happen on the coast of Maine at all.

 


 

There’s a road somewhere between here and elsewhere called New Meadows Road, and there’s a river near there called New Meadows River. And, thinking as I sometimes do about places and how they get their names, I found the river one sort of baffling.

I mean, it’s relatively straightforward how you get some meadows called New Meadows, because there were some other meadows first, and now there are these new ones also, the New Meadows, and if then a road goes in that runs by, or on the other side of, the New Meadows, that could be New Meadows Road.

But the river, that river was already there. It was there before the New Meadows were there, and it seems pretty likely that the New Meadows are close enough to the (if you will) old meadows, that even when the old meadows were relatively new, people knew about the river (rivers in general, and this one in particular, being no small things or easy to overlook), and had to refer to it now and then.

Did everyone just call it “the River” all that time, and it wasn’t until after the New Meadows were named that for some reason it became necessary to call it something? Not really convincing.

Was it originally called the “Odious Bobcat River”, and people living along it got tired of the name, and consciously redubbed it “New Meadows River” for psychological reasons? It would be a good story, and it’s possible, for all that one naively doesn’t think of persons in antique times being into that sort of PR.

M suggests that the meadows and the river could, after all, have been discovered (or discovered to the extent of needing names) at the same time, and rather than having started using some new meadows a stone’s throw from the old ones, it could be that our intrepid explorers came around some curve in the forest track, or reached a hilltop, and behold there were some meadows, gleaming in the sun as though newly-minted, and a river flowing merrily beside them, and they named them the New Meadows and the New Meadows River accordingly. (Although M says that “Fresh Meadows” might have been a better name in that situation, I pointed out that perhaps they had looked on the Internet and found that Fresh Meadows, Maine was already taken.)

 


 

Ha, and now it appears that the Internet is available again! (Approaching bedtime on Friday night, it is.) So I will stop typing for now and see what the world has been up to, and post this probably once we are back home, quite likely typing more in between now and then, in the traditional burglar-resisting style.

And now and now, it is near bedtime Saturday night, and we have various things all packed up, some even in the car, for the long drive home tomorrow. We went for a lovely walk and climb over the rocks way down at Ocean Point, taking lots of iPictures, and then back into town for seafood and icecream (the icecream store was actually open, although officially closed for the season, the owners we suspect having dismissed the thirteen year old counter persons until the Spring, and having fun selling off the last few flavors to weekend tourists themselves).

I won’t post the list of books lying about, because for one thing some of them are already in the car. But the ones I finished include Modesitt Jr’s “The Parafaith War”, which I enjoyed (from the blurbs I sort of expected a fast-paced clever-idea story, so because it’s actually a rather slow and thorough growing-up sort of story I found it extremely slow moving until I adjusted my expectations), and something named “The Buck Stops Flynn”, which was odd and quirky, and Sam Harris’s “Free Will”, which turns out to be very short and to say pretty much what I expected in my “Getting Free Will Wrong” entry the other day, but which I may eventually write a more nuanced entry on.

And that’s it! :) Probably no more typing here tonight, and possibly no more until I figure out exactly how and where to post this once we are back home. Probably to the shiny new wordpress weblog. Should I also post it to the old traditional davidchess dot com weblog as a Special Anniversary Update? If I remember how? Maybe!

In any case, be well, have been well, and whatever tenses English is missing. And thanks, as always, for everything.

 


 

(And now we are home! Things not mentioned above include half an hour of zazen sitting on a mossy stone on the scenic Maine hillside, which I’m not sure just when occurred, and a stop at a Cracker Barrel on the way home for our direct intravenous cholesterol injections. The cat is going completely bonkers at the return of her staff, and we are unpacking. Welcome home!)

2011/11/17

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Okay, so, random update! I’m on vacation this week, which has been very nice and restful. Some small (well, variable-sized) voice is telling me that I ought to be actually doing special vacation-things during it, but mostly I haven’t been.

I did go and get a massage at the Club, which was pricey but lovely (all that oxytocin!); tomorrow the plan (slightly tentative, but a plan) is to go down into The Big City, maybe see Steve (who yeah hasn’t updated for awhile), maybe go to Poet’s House, which is for no particular reason my current NYC Heart’s Desire (having finally accomplished my original one the other year, and my second one more recently (did I really not write about that anywhere? seems implausible)), maybe just sort of bop around insouciantly (WordPress thinks that is not a word, more fool it).

I didn’t go today because (A) it is Cold and Grey out, and (B) the city is all busy being occupied, and while I do support the protestors in spirit, I don’t seem to be prepared to either occupy along with them, or route around them, in person (and why not, another variable-volume voice inquires, why not?).

I have made basically zero more progress on the novel, which is somewhat surprising. I figured a week’s vacation (which means nine days all told) would be the obvious time to write an’ write an’ write, but it hasn’t worked out that way. I am not into forcing myself to do stuff while on vacation. :) I’ve tried a few times, but the Story So Far is apparently not something that I see alot of inspiring possibilities in.

(It is funny how Word Mavens and spellcheckers insist that “alot” is not a valid word, and everyone should write “a lot”. I am not quite descriptivist to think that anything where you have to keep telling people that they’re doing it wrong is probably therefore correct (I am a hard-liner on apostrophe-use, for instance), but eventually one does have to cede the field, especially on things that I like to use.)

I seem to be entirely bored with World of Warcraft (and apparently I’m not the only one); it’s amusing to see that in a break with some previous practice WoW is apparently getting playable Pandas in the next expansion. We’ll see if that lures me back; I dunno.

I’m sort of plateaued on Glitch at the moment also; I’ve done a bit of everything, I’ve run around everywhere; there are a bunch of more badges and trophies that I could get but… For now I’ve released my piggies, and I’m just poking my head in now and then.

For unknown reasons I’ve started playing Illyriad, which is one of those sort of multi-player online versions of Civilization, where you build tanneries and upgrade barracks and chop wood and send scouts and armies around and stuff. This is I think me here, but we’ll see how long I remain actually interested.

Second Life, in contrast, continues to be fresh an’ interesting (the virtues of user-generated content). I’ve been generally hanging out and exploring stuff as usual, and for the first time gotten into some PvE combat, which I’ve never really done in SL before. And in order to figure out how that works I’ve started fiddling with my own combat scripts; maybe I will post the sources to the Wiki once I have it all working (it will be simpler than the full blown open-source RPG system that’s out there now, so maybe easier to learn stuff from). Unless I get distracted. Which I usually do. :)

(Today’s distraction, while I was fiddling with combat scripts, was a friend I hadn’t talked to in ages IMing me at random and eventually mentioning that she’d gotten into SL Golf lately, and of course we ended up going off golfing a bit together, which was fun.)

What else what else? I’ve been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes (in order from the beginning) on Netflix streaming on the iPad (did I mention that?). I last watched Season Three: Episode Five (“Homecoming”). It’s a kinda guilty pleasure :) but really it’s pretty good, most of the time. I get annoyed when things happen too obviously for plot reasons, but that’s only once in awhile.

Soon I will be caught up as of the end of 1998!

And finally, what’s up with people behind counters saying “Can I help who’s next?”? (Or possibly “Can I help who’s next?”) Is that an East Coast thing? A New York thing? A suburban thing? Do people say that around you? Maybe someone can ask Language Hat