sounds familiar Musing on the present. Reminiscing about the past. Posturing for the future.


making room

Hey internet.

Seems I've traded writing for something else.  Not sure what it is yet, but pretty certain the swap came on the RV trip.  Sharaun suggested perhaps it's a better sex life.  If so, I made the right choice and the writing will come back eventually, it's all about the balance.  No but really, being on that trip made me think about how the folks of old and how they lived in much closer quarters than do we today - coexisting in a one-room cabin in relative isolation from other humans aside from your spouse; no wonder they had bigger litters in the old days.

Wait; where was I... oh, yeah.

To put it simply: writing has been hard.  I sit down almost every night with the best intentions and end up with nothing.  I feel surprisingly little guilt about it, which I think means that it's not something I've "given up" but rather something that's not coming easy these days.  I've been writing so long that I don't think it's something I can just quit.  Until I get back on the horse though, I'm going to be unashamed about how long I go between posts here.  I just don't care enough to force it when it's not right.  Like other "healthy" habits I've let go the way of the dodo, writing will return and return strong... I'm just going to have to wait it out.

Let's see... what's going on...

Oh, Coco is crawling now - crawling all over the place, no need to call the developmental people with their slide rules and pocket protectors and physical training.  In fact, in the past week Cohen's been all about what they call "cruising," which is where he pulls up and "walks" by aid of his hands on tabletops, couches, or anything else.  He spends more time on his feet now than crawling, which I consider a clear signal that he's wanting to be walking, and likely will be here shortly.  Like Keaton, he'll be late gauged against "the norm" or other kids his age, but like with Keaton I couldn't care less.

Don't know if I wrote about it, but he can talk too.  His first word was "uh-oh," and now he's got "mama," "daddy," "sister," "Keaton," and "kitty" too.  He also recently got an award from President Obama for being the "Cutest Baby on the West Coast."  OK that last part is bunk; but he can talk and crawl and is almost walking.  In fact I told Sharaun I think he'll be walking on his own by month's end.  She says I'm optimistic, but it's true so I didn't punch her or anything for sullying my good name.

Things at home are normal: Sharaun let me get a flagpole and an American flag.  I fly it most days, putting it up in the morning and taking it down again at night.  She bought a UF flag and we fly that on Saturdays instead.  I tried to do laundary and threw in some orange leggings at the bottom of Keaton's hamper and they bled all over everything and ruined stuff.  Sharaun said they were dyed for Keaton's Halloween costume last year and she had purposely been avoiding them down there at the bottom of the hamper.  Last Halloween?, I asked incredulously.  One year in the bottom of a hamper.  Keaton's doing well in kindergarten and playing soccer on the weekends and dancing too - I believe we've got our yuppie-parent dance card all filled.

See, first time I've written in weeks where it felt good.  It'll come; just give me time.  Goodnight.


too much vermouth

I thought, "Why not try to make my own martinis?"

How Draper of me.  How 1950s Catholic.  What's one need, anyhow?  Some olives: check.  Some vodka: check.  Some vermouth: check.  Ice and whatnot, sure.  Some years back, I don't even recall the occasion, we were given a cocktail mixing set.  I think it was the "thing" at the time, a little metal bar set with tongs and strainer and whatnot.  When I pulled it down from the back of the top shelf this morning it still had tape on it, just like the day we pulled it from the box.  I gave the thing a thorough cleaning and double-rinse in preparation for its inauguration.

And a few jiggers later I was sitting in the garage listening to Neil Young with a buddy from South Africa (I needed a martini-experiment guinea pig).  It was hot today so the garage wasn't all that comfortable, and there were flies in there (I have this theory that they're attracted to smoke, the barbecue and pipe seem to draw them in).  I have a thing for fresh air (says the guy who just wrote about flies and smoke), so sitting in a camp chair in the garage where it's shady is an upgrade to sitting inside (and not being able to smoke a pipe, too, I suppose).

The drinks came out OK.  Too much vermouth.  Would've made another to hone the mix but didn't need another.


Filed under: general No Comments

two evenings

Just a little short thing tonight.

Two evenings sacrificed rebuilding and and lovingly re-configuring my HTPC just so it can play old Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Genesis, and Playstation games.  Two evenings where I monopolized the television doing so, frustrating my wife.  Two evenings where I was able to forsake actual work, as in sawmill stuff, in favor of a "fun" kind of work.  Two evenings where I went to bed too late because I'm OCD and have to have things working perfectly or all figured out before calling it a night.  Two evenings just spent nerding-out for hours on end, painstakingly configuring something I don't really have the free time to indulge in all that much.

So what did I get?  In the end what was I after?

That's my five year old daughter just whomping-up on Mario 64.

That's right.  She picked up the controller and started directing Mario like she'd been doing it forever.  I sat and watched her play, giving her tips on how to avoid the Bob-Ombs and Goombas, showing her how to do the slam-jump thing using two fingers at once, and in general just enjoying her enjoying something new.

So maybe Sharaun wasn't entirely bought-into the "need" for another source of entertainment... but man we sure had a blast racing in Mario Kart.

Tomorrow maybe I'll show her the 8-bit Little Mermaid game... goodnight.

Filed under: lil' chino, tech No Comments


Happy Tuesday, people of the internet.  Welcome to the place where I'm trying to write again.

Worked from home today, mostly out of fear that yesterday's stomach bug might'nt have fully passed through my system.  Seems like it was an overly-cautious move, as it's back to normal in the bowel movement department and I'm craving spicy burritos again.  There are times where I've been sick in the past and wondered, "Could that have been food poisoning?"  This time, I knew it was food poisoning.

It's OK.  Despite being on meetings all day, working from home, or "WFH" as we say, can have perks.  Take for example the fact that, until sometime between noon and 1pm at least, I was able to work with the house thrown open and fresh air all around me.  More, I situate myself next to the sliding door into the backyard and get direct sun from about 9am onward.  You know, thinking about it, I haven't had a shirt on all day.  Counting the hours I was asleep last night, that means I've been free from the shackles of the foreign textile industry now for almost thirty hours now - a feat for a modern American (at least from the waist up).  Also kinda rad to have done all my business meetings shirtless.

Cavemen conducted all their business shirtless, too.  Braining other cavemen, spearing fish, dragging cavewomen by the hair for coitus; all sans their Hanes.  Today I talked about frequency domain simulations, shirtless.  Never before have I been so close to my neanderthal kin.  One blood, cavemen; one blood.



Filed under: general, grindstone 2 Comments

on the couch

Woke up at 4am last night and was called, by animal urge, to the loo.

The water-closet part of our bathroom is little more than that, a tiny sarcophagus with a toilet and a magazine rack, a plunger and a toilet brush.  From that 4am visit on I decided the place could be quite homey.  Maybe out of necessity, as I was tethered there until the sun came up and then the rest of the day Sunday.

Earlier in the day it was just my gut ailing me.  I made a list of the things I ate or drank, tried to see if there was anything unique which the family hadn't had too.  Nothing really stuck out.  Around midday I could tell I was running a fever in addition to my intestinal distress and that led me to think I was battling some bug and not just a bad bit of cheese or off sushi from Friday night.

I spent the entire day on the couch, slept for most of it.  I listened to a lot of music and drank lots water.  Somewhere in there I queued up a lot of Pink Floyd, the albums I don't listen to much like Obscured by Clouds and Animals.  The family attended me, Keaton bringing me water and rubbing my belly.  Laying there I was wondering what was going on in my gut.  I imagine these little flagella-having viruses hammering some soft pink lining.

Couldn't have happened at a worse time as far as work is concerned.  I have an obstacle course of a week ahead of me and don't need to be waylaid by a stupid stomach bug.


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carnis resurrectionem – fiat vita

Blessed be the city water in un-metered abundance, according to what was freely given.

Blessed be the California sun.  Scourge of the green grass; anathema of the cold-blooded.

Blessed be the potting soil.  Rich and dark and dank with potential energy.

Blessed be the ants.  Their tunnels a holy sacrament of aeration.

Blessed be the Spring rain and Summer warmth.  Handmaidens of the Hops.

Blessed be the dormant life.  The stone rolled away.  The empty pot.

Blessed be the absentee caretaker, who did not labor or spin.

Blessed be the resurrected Hops.

Filed under: garden 1 Comment

duck and cover

When I was in third grade I remember doing duck-and-cover drills.

No, I'm not old enough to have gone to elementary school in the 1950s.  My dad worked at the nearby air force base, where the government was busy realizing Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, or "Star Wars" if you were a kid like me and keyed into anything on the six o'clock news.  Working for Martin Marietta at the time, I believe, my dad and the whole base in Southern California were nose to the grindstone on the MX missile program.  Conservatively dubbed "The Peacemaker," the MX was capable of delivering ten 300 kilton warheads (each alone with twenty times the power of Hiroshima).  While I don't really know if the many MX test shots from the base had live nuclear payloads, I think it's unlikely (the internet probably knows, but it wasn't readily available on Wikipedia).

In addition to playing host to the MX program, the base also routinely launched Delta rockets carrying all manner of military payload.  In 1986 there were two failed Delta launches from Vandenberg, that base where my dad worked so diligently to do his part in our global pissing contest.  The first in late August of 1985 and the second in mid-April of that next year.  I don't know which one I remember so vividly, but I'm fairly certain it was the more dramatic of the two: the 1986 explosion of a Delta 34D, which happened only nine seconds after liftoff and was therefore right there in terms of the experience of those nearby.   I was one of those nearby.

We were out at recess at the time.  The base itself couldn't have been more than ten miles from our school, and I'm not sure how far the SLC-4E site was inside base lines - but from the playground that morning I remember thinking it looked like a huge orange mushroom cloud.  A massive rumbling followed by a huge orange-red cloud blooming from the ground in the distance.  The yard duties blew their whistles and all us kids were ushered back into our classrooms.  The teachers instructed us all to climb under our desks and put our hands behind our heads.  I'm sure this is something they were instructed to have us do, but I've thought since then how it must have seemed eerily full-circle to the Cold War alums that were the thirty-something teachers of the day.

I can remember one kid cursing "Libya," likely owed to the bombing operations the US had carried out there just three days prior and which had been all over the news. But for the most part we kids had no idea what was going on.  We sat like that for maybe an hour, it seemed forever in memory, and then an "all clear" message was broadcast over the PA system and it was all over.  From then out out, however, we were subject as a class to regular duck-and-cover drills in preparation for a worse accident.  An accident that never came, thankfully.

And that's why, when all the old folks are talking about hiding under desks in gradeschool, I can join in the conversation.



Filed under: reminisce 3 Comments