Posts tagged ‘weather’

2012/12/21

Various things!

Russel Brand is pretty funny. (The one with the Westboro Baptist Church loonies seems viral at the moment, but there’s lotsa others, with less icky persons. Including Sarah Silverman, on whom I must admit having a slight enormous crush.)

We went up to Boston to retrieve the little boy yesterday (and came home today). So with that and that I was in two big cities in three days, neither one because of its airport. I suspect this is a New Record for me!

Boston is cool.

We wandered Newbury Street, all the way from the I-90 entrance to the Common and back. Lotsa stores and stuff, which weren’t all that interesting, but also people and graffiti —

Oh, wait, that reminds me of a picture I took! Hold on a sec whilst I find it and put it onto flickr…

Here:

Newbury Street sidewalk

(Anyone know who w.i., or perhaps w.t., is?)

There was a whole wall of multiply-overlayed graffiti also (including another instance of this one), but for whatever reason I didn’t get a shot of that.

(Since the drop of every sparrow is now multiply noted, here’s someone else commenting on this adage (basically noting that it does not, either), and here’s a Tweet wondering whether or not.)

We stopped at one of the three (!) cupcake places on Newbury Street and got some small and overpriced but really quite yummy cupcakes (I had chocolate ganache, mmmm).

We stopped at Raven Used Books, which has really really good books, and I got a copy of “Justine” (Durrell’s, not de Sade’s) (this edition, assuming Abe Books links are relatively long-lasting), and a copy of “The Dissident Word” (The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 1995) from the discount table out front, and then a copy of the Oxford University Press “Islam: A Very Short Introduction” (I think I know a bit about it at this overview level already; on the other hand I’m sure there are holes in even my relatively shallow knowledge) and the Shambhala Dragon edition of The Sutra of Hui-Neng, Grand Master of Zen (With Hui-Neng’s Commentary on the Diamond Sutra), which I’m pretty sure I don’t already have.

Then for an early dinner we stopped at Trident Booksellers and Cafe (why does any store bother not selling books, eh?), and had yummy food items and looked at all various books. I noticed there was a guy with a laptop and a beard at another table looking through an issue of Buddhadharma (to which I (also) subscribe), and a little later he passed by our table and saw I was holding the Sutra of Hui-Neng, and he remarked that it’s one of his favorites and we talked for a few seconds.

Oh yeah and at Trident I also bought John Powell’s “How Music Works” for possible use in upcoming (someday) versions of my algorithmic music composition programs. I was going to just put it into some wishlist and maybe get the digital edition, but (a) it was on sale for a nice low price in Trident, and (b) it includes a free CD, and can a e-book include a free CD? I mean, it could, in principle, contain all the bits from the CD, but does it?

In some free newspaper stall on the street I picked up the latest Phoenix, and looking through it while resting in the little boy’s room (before or after Newbury Street, I don’t remember) I found a pointer to Howling Dogs by the impressive porpentine, which reminded my (in color scheme, even!) of my own Forked Stick (which I never finished, but that might not matter, and you might enjoy poking around in also).

I thought that was some nice synchronicity.

When we finally got to relatives’ house for spending the night, I was tired.

Here is me, being tired:

Tired

So after that I slept, and we got up this morning, zoomed back into Boston in the rain and wind and scooped up the little boy after his last final, and drove home. The wind and rain calmed down as we drove, and by the time we got home it was fine really.

So that’s those things!

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2012/11/05

Trapped in the Real

So the power went out, quite suddenly, whenever that was. Tuesday, last Tuesday, the 29th, maybe? That was sometime after, I think it was after, the big tree limb fell on M’s car and, as it turned out, totaled it, for the Insurance company’s notion of “totaled”, which is a pretty low bar for a 1999 model (we’re going to talk to them Monday about “retaining the salvage” and getting it fixed ourselves, rather than ouch buying an entire replacement car) .

And it was sometime before the sustained whooshing noise that came later on, a bit scary in the dark, which later turned out to be three or four or five tall trees all knocking each other over into and across the old tennis court area (good thing we never replaced the above ground pool when the last two trees fell across it).

So: no lights, no power, no heat, no landline ’cause we get that from the Cable company or something now, and it needs external power. Even virtually no cellphone connectivity; the signal strength has been bad and sporadic, so probably our nearest tower is also without power.

We’ve been running the wood stove at night and when we’re home on weekends. It’s a little Vermont Castings “Intrepid” I think it is, and wants short little sixteen-inch logs, but we have a face cord of those from last season and just ordered more (by cell from the parking lot of The Mall, where the signal was decent.)

It’s been interesting, these long disconnected evenings and weekend days (weekday days are normal, as work has power, and even had free lunch one day last week to thank everyone for having navigated the mazes of tree-blocked streets to come in). I’ve been doing lots more zazen than usual, which feels good, and more reading of the same thing for more than three minutes at a time, and probably more sustained thinking.

On the other hand I really miss, perhaps more than I would have predicted I would miss, the Temple of Seven Stars (is that what it’s called?), the Dread Wastes, and the hustle and bustle of the Stormwind Auction House, flying about on dragonback, teleporting here and there to shop for fancy clothes that I can easily afford, or to go listen to music with friends, the sixty-thousand things in my inventory, the ability to create a dirigible with my mind, to fly and script and create and play with the underpinnings of the world. Not to mention the more mundane pleasures of seeing what the usual people, and their usual people, are saying about politics and religion and weather and so on, and put in my two cents, or even a quarter, in one of a few different personae, depending.

Someone tweeted (and I can’t find or point to it now ’cause I’m back home tending the fire in the stove and the pad’s battery is down to 24% and it would be tedious to find it on the phone even if the signal happened to be strong enough) that they were expecting soon to see a horde of blog (“blog”) postings from New Yorkers about what they learned about their souls from a week of being disconnected. This is probably not going to be one of those unless I learn something about my soul between now and when I post this. :) But still it’s been interesting.

(And it may continue to be interesting for awhile yet, as Con Ed’s outage site, when it is working, gives a date of November 9th for most of the outages in this area; I’m hoping that’s a very conservative estimate to keep from looking bad by missing it and it’ll actually be much earlier, but One Never Knows…)

I started and finished two Ian M. Banks Culture novels that I was delighted to find on the pad here: Surface Detail and The Hydrogen Sonata. Both very good, very idea-packed, very Cultury. I enjoyed finding out about two or three more branches of Contact, and the Culture in general continues to be appealing, if in a slightly Mary Sue sort of way (if that concept can apply to an entire galactic civilization, as I think it can). Which is to say, they are The Good Guys, even to the extent of thinking carefully about what that means, and they are powerful and rational and sort of always mostly win.

(The revelations about the details of Subliming in The Hydrogen Sonata surprised, and at first disappointed, me. I’d always thought it was more like “once a civilization starts to develop technologies like X, Y, and Z, and then decides to continue to Q, it’s then not long before they vanish from the universe to, presumably, somewhere more interesting or something, usually in ways A or B or C”, rather than “if a civilization holds a vote and decides to Sublime, then the big black globes from the Other Place come and take them away”. But hey, it’s Banks’s world. :) So I’ll just have to do it my way when I write my own galactic future history…)

Battery down to 21%, fire doing nicely, temperature over by the thermostat up to 58F from 56F, which isn’t bad. Hope to get over 60 before bed.

I’ve been learning about generators, too. We are vaguely considering getting one, but still only vaguely. You can get a little four-cycle gasoline generator that puts out up to 2000W or so for under USD1000, and that’s probably enough to run the furnace (oil heat, so mostly the blower) and a few lights and device chargers. Gasoline is something like 36 kilowatt-hours per gallon, which seems to mean a few days of running a 2000W generator on not too much gas, unless there’s like a 10% efficiency factor in there that I’ve missed or something. (Hm, have to look up the power draw of a refrigerator.) Larger generators can be had for more money, and eventually need like certified electricians to install and all.

Radio Shack has these little dinguses (dingoi?) that plug into a car “cigarette lighter” and provide power out a USB socket which seem like a fair way to charge devices via gasoline. We have two of them now, but haven’t actually tried either. (And my cellphone doesn’t have a USB charging cable I don’t think, silly thing.)

It would be fun to run a zendo. What would be a good name? One could like rent a little room in some local community center (or use one’s living room, especially if there is lots of parking space in one’s driveway), and put out a little classified ad. “Wednesday Zazen in Name of Town, 8-9pm, Address Goes Here.” And all you’d have to do is put out some chairs and zafus and zabutons (the expensive part!), and maybe a little stack of Welcome papers, and at 8 you’d sit down, and at 8:05 you’d ring a chime for sitting, and at 8:30 ring one for kinhin say, and at 8:35 one for sitting again, and at 9 one for being all done and then maybe have cider and donuts until 9:30, and go home. Sounds like a blast. :)

19%. Maybe I will stop writing now and read something, or just sit. It’s about 7:30, still 58F in here, a bit above 40 outside. We have our candles and flashlights and book lights and fire and cat. And lots and lots of covers. :) Will post this from work tomorrow most likely.

Keep warm!

2011/11/02

Wednesday, 2 November, 2011

An interesting Hallowe’en around here.

Tree and car.  And house, and snow.

Amazingly, once we got the enormous tree limbs off of it, M’s car (left) turned out to be undamaged except for two tiny cosmetic dents in the roof. So yay!

And now nearly all of the snow has melted, and Trick-or-Treaters have come and gotten candy, and we had power the whole time. On the other hand, landline phone and “teevee” and Internet (gasp!) have all been off since some time in the past, so we are now living like our Distant Ancestors, limited to reading books on paper, and whatever we happened to have stored on local storage media.

No Second Life or Wow or even Glitch for days!

On the other hand, being thrown back on pre-historic devices does mean that when I noticed it was NaNoWriMo November again, I was able to focus on writing things! So here is the 2011 novel. Or as much of it as exists, which is currently a bit over 3,000 (three thousand) words, depending how you count.

So, by the Ancient Standards, yesterday was a really good day. We’ll see if we can keep that up once the Internet is back at home. :)

(So far I have abandoned all those gimmicky ideas about hyperlinked nonlinear novels, and stories told without revealing any character thoughts, and just started a straightforward murder mystery set in a mysterious Wizard’s Castle. But you never know!)

And also, how about this Papandreou guy, eh?

…relief has turned to panic, the whole agreement is threatened with disaster and markets worldwide have plummeted. The cause: the astonishing announcement by Mr Papandreou that a public referendum would be held on whether Greece should accept this latest debt deal.

He called it “a supreme act of patriotism and democracy”, but many both in Greece and elsewhere would instead see it as a supreme act of misjudgement.

BBC News

Yeah, I mean, my God! Putting the issue up for a vote, rather than just following the orders he receives from the international financial community; what is this guy thinking? Does he imagine he’s the head of a democracy or something? If he doesn’t watch out, he’ll be out of a job, and the financiers will send a different, more obedient, viceroy to keep Greece in line.

:P

2011/08/26

Storm a’comin’!

There is a huge hurricane more or less approaching, and it is very exciting!

We have gone around the outside of the house, grouping things into categories:

  • Things that there are alot of, and the storm will probably blow them around, but it doesn’t really matter (sand grains, leaves, sticks, squirrels, etc), which we leave where they are,
  • Things that there are only a few of, but that are hard to move and if the storm manages to blow them around we will have already fled the area (the house, the garage, large boulders, that wooden deck-thing in the back yard), which we also leave where they are,
  • And finally things in between, primarily lawn furniture and plant-pots and like that, all of which we have now stuffed precariously into the garage.

So having done that (and also M having gone to the local Warehouse Store and bought large quantities of various things, and me having dropped off my car at the shop for Regular Maintenance and asked the service lady to have it done tomorrow before the roads become impassable although I’m not sure she actually wrote that down), we are now safe from the storm, and the things on the news, like the evacuation of New York City and all, just add to the excitement.

Citizens residing in the vicinity of secret underground bio-weapon research labs should avoid contact with flood waters, which may contain genetically-engineered viruses capable of converting ordinary humans into flesh-eating zombies.

(If anyone fleeing Manhattan due to the zombie onslaught could post a quick Tweet to give us in the suburbs a little extra warning, it’d be great; thanks! We want to be prepared, like these people.)

(We note with alarm and delight that the CDC actually has anti-Zombie posters. Good to know the government is on its toes!)

If you observe black FEMA vans slowly cruising nearby streets with the lights off, spraying something into the air out of silent nozzles, and dragging people from their homes, you are experiencing stress-induced hallucinations; report to the nearest FEMA van for counseling.

(The adorable cat is also very excited, because there is a small fly in the house! This is at least as exciting to her as the prospect of a major hurricane, cats not being really big on mere prospects in general.)

Rabbi Yehuda Levin blames hurricane Irene on negative reaction of everyone on the East Coast to his blaming the recent earthquake on gay rights legislation.

(In other news, he is an enormous douchebag, to use the technical term.)

And although it isn’t directly hurricane-related, I’d like to hear what the Tea Party has to say about word that the same Republicans who think it’s critical to extend the Bush tax cuts for billionaires are opposed to extending tax cuts for working people. Where’s the rage and the quaint hand-made signs now, eh?

Sheesh.

(As a possible antidote to that thought, here are many pictures of nude persons; most, I’m afraid, female and in need of a few hamburgers, but what can one do, eh?)

This is just like th’ old days! Posting random things for no particular reason, and boldfacing various phrases!

Woot!

(We also have a sandbag on the front porch; I hear these are useful in floods and hurricanes and things. Although I think people generally end up using more than one.)