Thursday, July 31, 2008

The one who killed Miles

Up a little late today - we stayed up after the humpday dinner last night working on projects 'n' stuff. I'm having morning tea before heading the lake today - Otis is off to LFP in a little while anyway.

Yesterday, we stopped in to visit J-Force. We was ensconced (enthroned?) in T-Square's living room, looking pretty damn good for someone with three broken bones. We socialized for a while, and Otis did some energy work and some PT exercises. It was great to see her, and I think we can expect her back in the timestream pretty quick.

After the visit, we grabbed a bite of lunch and then caught the early show of Dark Knight at the Neptune. Otis loved it; while it wasn't the character I know, and not the Batman movie I eventually want to see, it was a well-crafted film and story in its own right, and I liked it a lot. Heath Ledger is absolutely compelling, but I thought the whole cast and the story hung together as well.

We had just enough time for Otis to fit an afternoon appointment before heading down to Fremont for dinner.

UPDATE 11:11 am

I guess it is worthy of note that midnight marked the halfway point of the 92 Days of Summer. That's right, 46 days of my summer vacation have slipped away... only six and a half more weeks of indolence or industry remain before my time is no longer all my own.

As John Lennon said, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans, and while a lot of life happened in this first half of my first summer off, it bore little resemblance to any plans I might have had. Nonetheless, I'm pretty satisfied with the way things are going, and I have a few more surprises up my sleeve before fall quarter rolls around again.

I hope everyone else, working or no, is have a great summer season as well, and I want to thank everyone who has helped make my vacation grrrrrrreat!

The website for the design firm that produced this table seems to indicate that it represents dripping paint, but I'm not so sure about that. I thought it would look great in Soapy's living room. They have other groovy stuff as well.

We haven't had a kilt-related piece in a while, so here's an article brought to our attention by NatDog. It's actually a local story, and talks about an idea that I have thought of many times as I have watched the mail carriers on their routes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I just got back from a turn around the lake. We're out of orange juice so I am having limeade with my toast. You would think it would be a pretty good substitute, but it's not nearly the same thing, actually.

Yesterday we were all bidness. Selkie went back to the vet for a follow-up, not willingly and not cheerfully, but he went. The upshot was that "his pee is beautiful" and his shots are now current.

While Otis had a mid-day appointment, I ran down to south Seattle to get rid of some old electronics. It was slick and easy and cost less than I thought it would. It feels good to have the stuff gone, too.

There was some grocery shopping and cleaning and stuff, and after Otis's evening appointment, we headed downtown so she could buy a back-up massage table she found on Craig's list. She is going to leave it at LFP so she do regular work on Pater more easily.

Then Johnbai and I lured Otis into some late-night nerdcore with the promise of animal love. She ate it up. The pint of 8% Belgian ale Johnbai poured her helped, too.

The grayness of the days, yesterday and apparently today, too, is a bit of a downer but we're trying to stay sunshiney anyway. We should be able to handle a midsummer slump, eh?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Late Monday for Tuesday

So, there wasn't really a Monday morning post, except for that cool wheelman picture, but by the time I got around to blogging, it was kinda late for a morning post, but I'm going to be busy again Tuesday morning, so I am writing this Monday night, and it counts for Tuesday, although it includes content that should have appeared Monday. Got that?

So, Sunday: Otis had her writing workshop to prepare for, so I bailed out of the house early to get out of her way and let her focus. I made the usual round of teahouses, comic book stores, and coffee shops, laptopping and bopping along, until I met up with Johnbai after his softball game and we engaged in some serious nerdcore activity (still top-secret). I delivered him back to the RD when Otis was free again; she and I had planned to attend Toni-Tony-Tone's summer soirée, but Otis was so spent from facilitating we just had a quiet bite to eat instead. In addition to missing out on the festivities, we also missed a chance to see J-Force, who is out of the hospital recuperating from her spill and still only making limited public appearances, but Otis was just too fagged out. We did walk across the alley to O's later in the evening for some homemade dessert, which turned out to be the BEST. RASPBERRY. SORBET. EVAR. I mean in the whole world, and prolly most of the inner planets, too. No, I'm telling you, seriously, this stuff was wicked good.

So, Monday: We were up and at 'em fairly early. Otis moved up her regular writing date to accommodate her going to an appointment at Northwest Natural Heath with her dad at noon. For my part, I jumped in the saddle and pedaled my way up to Bothell, because Scotty Tuxedo needed a reference letter and I had no college letterhead at home. I hung out on campus for a bit, and then made my way back, winding up heading all the way down to the University Bridge and then coming back up Eleventh. (That makes the ride longer but avoids the Ravenna hillclimb.) At 32 miles, it was my longest ride this season. (This is what Scotty was referring to in is comment on the wheelman post.) After we both made it home in the afternoon, we spent the rest of the day reading and writing, eating some of O's leftover stuffed yellow peppers for dinner, walking to the library, and reading and writing some more.

So, Tuesday: I have to get up and stuff Selkie into a box to take him into the vet for a follow-up appointment, so I won't be able to do a morning post.

And that's where I came in!

Today's video is actually just audio, although I guess you can watch the record spinning around if you like. Here's Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest singing I'll Buy That Dream, the only pop song I know of that mentions an autogiro.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The return of the wheelman

Post coming later - must roll now!
I'm off to Bothell for the morning.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Busy and stuff

So, yesterday was pretty much a pretty busy day. Otis had been having a very active weekend, and yesterday was full of prep for a surprise party that she was helping to expedite and for her workshop, which will be going on a few hours from now. Me, I just tagged along and helped as I could with all the chopping and cooking and cleaning and copying and whatnot. We did manage to squeeze in a walk down to Wallingford, just to unwind the muscles.

The surprise party was for Otis's old pal Kris-10. Her sweet hubby Rye-N set her up well: she thought she was walking into a business meeting at her partner's house until she got to the back deck an found it full of very familiar-looking pirates!

"Where's the meeting?"


Did you know Rye-N used to be a model? Kris-10 is not so sure of his vamp...

The Buccaneer Twins

I had a good time

Of course, when life opens a door, it closes a window. In order to help Otis out and to go to this party, I needed to miss another: my old pal DeeDee turned forty yesterday, and The Goddess, his wife, was setting him up for a big surprise as well. I had totally planned on being there, but with all the craziness this week it just didn't work out; on the happy side, I am sure that he was surrounded by friends and well-wishers anyway, and we might be able to get together in just two weeks or so anyway. In any case, I want to commemorate the happy day:

Happy Birthday, Dee!

And best wishes for many happy returns of the day!

Today I have been banished from the house: after my morning exercises and walk, I came back to Hurricane Otis cycloning through the house putting the last finishing touches on her workshop prep. It seemed prudent to absent myself from the situation, so here I am at Teahouse Kuan Yin, laptopping it and planning for a peripatetic day.


I saw this on Will Shetterly's blog and thought it was cool punky anthem. Then I clicked though to see who the rocker grrl was and I was surprised. I still dig it.

This is a seriouser one: it made me think of Stella and a lot of the work she does with our students.

And finally, this BBC advert for their Olympics coverage should become an ongoing series starring the Monkey King (a traditional Chinese character recently used to good effect in Gene Yang's prizewinning graphic novel American Born Chinese).

(Okay, let's start fighting over who gets to play who in the GURPS adaptation...)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The wheel of karma spins

So, a few months ago, our hot water pipes started squeaking whenever we ran the water. It was kind of annoying.

Jules and Lon, in a neighboring unit, said they had had the same issue, and that after they had turned off the water main for some other purpose, the whine disappeared when the water was turned back on.

So, we turned the water main off for a while and then turned it back on. This seemed to do the trick.

But then, something weird happened. All of a sudden, we started getting cold water out of the hot water tap -- unless we opened two taps at the same time. If we wanted to wash the dishes, we would have to run the upstairs bathroom sink as well, to get it started. If we wanted to take a shower, we needed to run the bathtub faucet, too. Odd.

I consulted with our owner, Jim. He came out and we both stared at the heater for a while, but couldn't come up with any ideas. We decided to delay any action for a while to see what might happen next.

Well, the shoe dropped the other day: we had no hot water at all! Yikes - the whole unit was cold, all the outlet pipes and the tank. A tech came out and pronounced it dead. Bad news: this unusual unit, which also serves as a pre-heater for the furnace*, is hard to find and might take two weeks to get. Bad!

So, Jim came out yesterday and looked at the unit again. This time, he removed the plate and checked the pilot light**. It was out. We re-lit it. Success!

Now, not only do we have hot water again, but it comes out of the tap when you open it, just like it is supposed to! No more goofy haunted-house business. Yay!

Of course, the whine is also back. But this time I think we'll leave it alone.

So, most of yesterday was spent waiting around for a return visit from the hot water tech, who never came. Otis was busy with family stuff and errands, but I don't think I got further from the house than the mailbox all day.

We did host Johnbai, Dingo, Mr. X, and Soapy for GURPS night, with special guest star The Crocodile. While we were meleeing, Otis and The Angel took off for babysitting duty. We all had late nights, leading to a slow morning, at least for me.

For your non-text content today, we have Natalie Portman starring in a faux-Bollywood music video for her boyfriend, the Venezuelan-American indie-folker Devendra Banhart.

Well, then. have a nice day

Notes on the hot water situation for the technically inclined:

*The water comes out of our heater at 160 degrees and cycles through the furnace, doing something efficient in there. When it comes out, it has to go though a mixer that puts cold water back into the flow to bring the temperature down to 120 degrees, the standard tap temperature. The tech guessed that it might have been a malfunction in this t-valve that was causing the water-weirdness - we weren't getting any hot at all, just the re-mix cold, unless two taps were open to increase the flow. Sounds plausible - but this is the guy who didn't check the pilot light, so who knows?

**The day before we lost hot water, Otis smelled gas in the house. I checked the fireplace and saw that the pilot light had gone out. I closed the gas supply to the fireplace and the smell went away. I even checked the hot water tank room, and there was no gas smell there, so I presumed everything was all okay and the misfire was limited to the fireplace. Well, it seems that the hot water heater has a failsafe mechanism that automatically turns off the gas flow if the pilot light goes out, so that was why there was no gas smell, even though interruption in the gas supply probably made both pilot lights go out. All of this just reminded me what used to be second nature back when I was a cop: there is no such thing as a coincidence. If there was something hinky with the gas flow one day and the next day your hot water heater stops heating, the two incidents ARE related, even if the evidence seems to indicate otherwise. (For the record, Otis had it pegged.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

In the fullness of the day

Yesterday was packed with relaxing!

I met FarmerScott in Bothell for breakfast, and we had so much to talk about that we stayed in he restaurant until people were ordering lunch!

Then I had to hustle down the Mukilteo Speedway and catch a boat to Whidbey Island so I could put my feet up on the deck of Doctor Burn's spread and pass the afternoon in idle conversation, in the company of good folks. That's what it's all about.

The traffic gods smiled on my return trip, and Otis and I had time for a nice walk after dinner before settling in for the night.

While settled in, I found this groovy site that turns any text or website into a word cloud. Here's this blog:
The bigger words are those that appear more frequently. (I think it's just looking at the last page displayed, not the older posts.) Here are some more samples from our blogroll - whose are these? (I let the program pick colors and formats at random.)

I think you can learn sometimes surprising things about a text from this method. Here's the Declaration of Independence, for example:

Try it yourself!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Time travel

Past: Yesterday fit the usual rhythm of summer, even though the weather wasn't in high gear for it: Otis and I walked around the lake early in the morning, and then she took off for a midday meet with a pal while I stayed home and wrote and read. And dealt with the painters, who were finishing up. And dealt with the water heater guy. And so on. The afternoon had more of the same, and some ukulele practice, and a walk-to-coffee, before we headed down to the Summer Humpday dinner.

Present: The kitties have decided that 4:44 am is the perfect time for all sorts of activities: barfing, fighting, romping, racing, eating, whatever. Today's festivities were enlivened by the addition of the smoke alarm going off for no apparent reason. Then, by about 5:20, everything settles down again, Mountie goes back to sleep, Selkie cuddles up next to me, and we get another hour and a half or so of peace. Weird.

Right now, I am waiting for a big pot of water to get hot so I can refill the bathtub so Otis can take a bath since our hot water heater has not yet been replaced. Maybe later today or tomorrow they will come with a new one.

Future: Today is jam-packed: brekkies with FarmerScott and then a trip to Whidbey Island to see Doctor Burn, the famous supervillain.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer break

As in, a break from the summer. For the first time in I don't know how long, I wore a black T-shirt because it wasn't all sunny and warm. It was cloudy most of the day, and the intarweb says the temperature never got past 65. I guess every day can't be paradise.

Nonetheless, I made my now-daily walk around Green Lake during Otis's morning appointment. She had a busy day, with several appointments spread out, making things a bit stop-and-go around the townhouse.

Speaking of the townhouse, the painting of the property is about done - the crew is just chasing the final details. But now, it appears our hot water heater has crapped out. Technician should be here today. And so it goes.

One of my chores yesterday was to head up to Group Health Northgate to pick up some prescriptions for Otis. Just for the heck, I took the bus up - piece o' cake, the 66 runs right by it. Got there, got back, no sweat - and had the added bonus of a phone chat with Johnbai while I was waiting. Now I feel all green and stuff.

One of the things Johnbai and I talked abut was D&D. This site has a very complex survey to determine a person's character class and core abilities. Might be an interesting way to start a game.

Speaking of links, here's a follow-up to the BBC article on American accents. Click the audio box to hear some Brits doing their versions of an American accent.

See ya tonight!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Union membership assured

After a nice morning walk yesterday, I passed most of the day reading, first some books from the library and then some books on comics that were delivered from Amazon. Otis was working in her office most of the day, and we had to hang around anyway, since the crew painted our doors (which required removing the locks and all). We took another walk in the evening, down to the library for more books. Later, we watched Swingers, Jon Favreau's breakthrough work. We thought it was pretty good and a lot more heart than we had expected it to.

Just two links, but they are substantial:

Since Neds is back in Iberia, here's a little cartographic slice of Spanish history.

And this story from Auntie Beeb is mostly for Jon of Monmouth, not least because it echoes one his perennial complaints in its opening.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mornday monding

What a groovy day yesterday was!

It started out with brekkies at a sidewalk cafe on the rambla (actually Green Lake Bar & Gill) and it was so pleasant that afterwards Otis and I walked around the lake in the morning sun.

We took care of stuff at home, and after lunch took a bike ride up to LFP so Otis could find some books for her workshop and we both could get new August-to-August calendars.

Then it was time to head down to Gasworks Park for the birthday celebration for CC Rider. Under a tent by the lake (Union, this time) we congregated and celebrated and conversated. Neither Johnbai nor O nor Dingo could make it, but Sylvio was there and we got to reconnect with Yohanna as we scarfed veggie burgers and yummy sweets.

At home afterwards, we were both terribly productive, Otis with art and me with GURPS, and I had a nice long phone call with ScottyMagic, who is once again on the cusp of a new adventure.

Wow! And today has already had a morning walk through the Ravenna ravine! Any more of this, and they'll throw me out of the lazy guy union.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pictures and stuff

Yesterday had a lot of low-key happenings in it. Otis had a morning appointment, so I walked around the lake during that. Afterwards, she headed up to LFP for lunch and a visit, and I was designated stayer-at-home for the Painting of the Doors (which requires them to stand open for four hours). It worked out just fine, me having lunch and reading and stuff while the cats were barricaded upstairs, except that the crew didn't paint the doors. Dur. They sort-of said they would do it today, but I haven't seen them yet.

In the afternoon, we headed up to Harborview to pay a little visit on J-Force. She seems to be recovering nicely, and was cheery even in her temporary quarters in the corridor, while she waited to be transferred from room to room. She's almost famous, too - a Ballard newsblog covered the story almost immediately.

After our visit, we left the hospital but not the hill, meeting The Angel and The Crocodile in Cal Anderson Park. We had a bite and a cuppa and passed a few hours shooting, how they say, the breeze. Good times.

So, in light of anything substantive, here's are some pictures from over the past week or so:

Me at the park the other day - this is what summer looks like!

O & Johnbai, Mr. and Mrs. Softball


The Angel, skeptical

The Crocodile, attentive

Otis, dramatic

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Since yesterday's post was so late, no real diaristic news here. Otis and I had some take-out Mexican for dinner and passed a quiet evening, which I topped off by watching a little bit of a late showing of That's Entertainment on PBS, full of the movie-musical goodness that Johnbai loves so much.

But that doesn't mean there isn't news, and the biggest news is not so good: on Wednesday, the scooterific J-Force lost a contest between her front wheel and a rut in the road. The end result was a little asphalt surfing, followed by a trip to Harborview. Reports from Dar-Dar and T-Square tell us that she's looking at a broken collarbone; there was surgery yesterday and recovery at present. T-Square said that it all looked good, at least in context. Otis and I are going to head up for a visit today. Send whatever good karmic energy you can muster J-Force's way, to speed her recuperation!

In cheerier news, Neds has arrived on the Continent and has resumed blogation. Check it out, but bring your calculator.

Any Dark Knight expedition has unraveled a bit. I think Johnbai and O went last night; Dingo has chosen to let the opening weekend go by; Yojimbo, Farmer Scott, and the Bellevue Posse are going to see it in Alderwood late this afternoon (Soapy might want to check that out); and Otis and I still don't know what we want to do (although today is looking pretty unlikely). Its getting great reviews and apparently broke the records for midnight showings, so I imagine it'll be in theaters for a while, eh?

Friday, July 18, 2008


My walk around Green Lake yesterday morning was interrupted by a short spell of watching the wildlife. A raccoon was climbing a tree, and I watched him grapple his way up one limb and down another and then back up again until he was thirty-five or forty feet off the ground. All the while, several crows were cawing at him and harassing him a bit, just shy of dive-bombing him. I think he was just looking for someplace to sleep, but those crows didn't like him there one bit. He was mostly ignoring them, and when I left, he was still there, settling down in a fork.

A little later on, I saw about a dozen ducks bobbing in the water just a few feet from shore, and maybe because it was overcast and cooler they were getting a late start, but each of them had their head tucked under a wing. The looked like a bunch of footballs floating in the lake.

Further on, I came up behind a mother walking her two daughters. She looked like a crunchy-granola hippy-girl, with long straight hair and a tattered-hem skirt, carrying her infant in one of those snuggle slings. The other daughter, a towhead about six or seven years old, was wearing a full-on old-school yellow and blue Wolverine uniform. She was stomping along, waving her arms, and proclaiming over and over "Wolverine means business! Wolverine means business!" As I passed, the mother managed a small smile that was part tired and part embarrassed.

I finished The Curious Case of Sidd Finch during the day while Otis had some appointments, and our socializing for the day was to meet up with The Angel and The Crocodile, who are in town from Boston and have taken a place up on Cap Hill for a while. Over soygurt and pineapple, the gals reminisced about their old days and the guys geeked out about RPGs. We hope to see them again, since they have a pretty long visit this time.

Today I was at campus all day and tonight should be filled with not-playing GURPS and not-seeing Dark Knight.

We interrupt this vacation...

I have to head into campus today for a meeting. NatDog is going to pick be up in a little while, so no post this morning. I'll be back later today.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Man, after the late humpday dinner yesterday evening and several middle-of-the-night cat combat incidents that caused sleepus interruptis, I feel like a couple miles of bad road this morning. I got through my exercises but I'm still movin' slow. Here's the Wednesday checklist:

Green Lake: Walked around.
Magnuson Park: Ate lunch in.
Yojimbo: Had coffee with.
Humpday Dinner: previously mentioned.

Fill in around the highlights with some creative projects and readings, and you have a summer day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's a gas

Well, between the fumes from the primer being slathered on the house by the painting crew and the off-gassing of the new rug in the living room, I am sure that there are enough fumes floating around here to kill a canary. But we endure.

The new stuff looks pretty good, but it's a little hard to tell, since the house is in a bit of disarray from our having had to move all the exterior stuff, some of which came inside, for the painters. I gotta tell you, the front yard* looks a lot better to my eyes with all the potted plants and cat stuff removed; maybe we'll be re-thinking our exterior design somewhat.

Yesterday evening, we took a post-prandial walk up to the library to (a) pick up materials and (b) join J-Force for some ice cream! It was a perfect time to walk on the grass of the park in the sunshine and watch the summer go by.

Speaking of the summer going by, Otis still has room in her Writing from Your Body workshop, so if you were thinking about it (or know someone who might be interested), let her know! Check out the updated announcement.

When I wrote this sentence, I first used the term "areaway" instead of "front yard," because that's what we called the fenced space in front of our house when I was growing up, although we pronounced in "airy-way." It was always concrete and enclosed the basement windows and door (which was usually under the stoop**). Here's a picture from about three blocks from where I lived:

But then I looked up the definition in a coule of dictionaries, it doesn't sound at all like that, and I thought that y'all would be more confused than anything else, so I edited it out. But I still wanted to talk about it, hence this sidebar. The space in front of my townhouse is an airyway in my mind, and always will be.

**I don't have to explain a stoop, do I?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Splurge and purge

Wow, things sure got cranking here! I'm posting as I listen to an interview on KIRO Newsradio with Neal Adams, one of the coolest figures in the personal pantheon of my youth. (Hat tip to
Yojimbo for giving me the heads-up!)

Yesterday started out slowly; Otis had a writing group so I puttered around the house until she got back. Then we had to head up to LFP for some TCB at the Putnam Compound and to have a chance to get together with Stella for a little bit. We swapped out Renty Red for the minivan for our airport run later in the evening to get Otis's folks. That "later" wound up being pretty late - we went townhouse to airport to LFP and back to the townhouse for bedtime about 1:00 am.

We jumped up at the crack (aided by the kitties) and headed out to have a bon voyage breakfast with Neds down in West Seattle. Fueled by taters and eggs, we braced ourselves for an expedition to IKEA. We got out with goals met and little collateral damage - some (replacement) occasional furniture, frames, and a new carpet. Of course, we had to put it all together (well, not the carpet) and clean up and stuff, so we're just slowing down now.

Busy this morning!

Busy morning! Heading out! Post later!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sultry Sunday

Once again, the highlights of the day are nothing more than a walk (around the lake for me, through the ravine with her pal Dot for Otis) and a movie (Road to Perdition on the Big Wall - it was better than I had thought it was going to be, and more thoughtful than brutal). The rest of the day was passed in quiet TCB and relaxation.

Quick bits:

J-Force's Honda is back on the beam with only trivial adjustments, so she will be the Scooter Force for the rest of the summer.

The painters who are working on the property haven't made a while lot of progress. After about three days work, the back face of our building has been scraped and primed. Considering there are three more faces of the same size and four more that are slightly smaller, I think they are going to be here a lot longer than a week.

The paint all piled up in the back kinda stinks, too, and the supplies and equipment take up all the parking spaces.

Soapy was going on a bit about absinthe when it was getting legalized in the U.S. again. Here's a little report form Slate about the subject. One commenter on another site discussing this said that the best party drink might be absinthe plus champagne plus Red Bull. And I have no response to that.

If you can imagine it, there is a website: here's one dedicated to tattoos with literary themes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Well, maybe not as hot as hell, but yesterday may have been as hot as the hinges of hades (as dear Lynn would have it). I took a walk around Green Lake before the temperature was its highest, and it was still plenty hot enough to leave me wet and wilted and the end of the circuit. I even made a stop at the library to see J-Force and tinker a bit with her motorbike, which is acting up a little. Besides that, most of the day was filled with quiet activities, such as reading and sweating.

In the evening, after Otis got home from Whidbey Island and we had a little dinner, we headed into the bowels of downtown to catch Hellboy II: The Golden Army with Soapy, Neds, Mr. X, Johnbai, O, and Dingo. The movie was a little goofier than the first one, but delivered both the whiz-bang effects and creatures and the smaller aw, shucks moments. The afters was problematized by an inability to find a place that was open past 11:00 and wasn't a bar; Otis and I headed home and I have yet to find out the upshot of that search (obviously).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Urgle-murgle mumble

So, when I got to bed after GURPS last night, it was about 3:00 am. I got up at about 7:20 am and even at that, we overslept: I needed to deliver Otis to Phinney Ridge by 8:00 so she could ride with Hi-Lai to a creativity retreat on Whidbey Island. We got her there right on time, and I pointed Renty Red back home (and found my same parking spot). I debated going back to bed, but had to talk to the painters for a little bit, and then slammed a window shut on my finger, so I decided to just stay up and take a nap later.

Yesterday was kind of busy. Otis had work, we went out to lunch and compared our schedules, worked on projects in the afternoon, and before we knew it, it was time to start prepping for the RPG crowd. The game ate up the last six hours of the day, and a couple of the first of this one. It was good to have Otis back around the house again, but it will hard to tell today that she even came home!

Watching the cats this morning, I have decided that much of the time when Selkie chases Mountie around, he's just playing. But sometimes he's not. Unfortunately, Mountie can't seem to tell the difference, and always responds as if it is serious, which sometimes escalates Selkie's play into a real fight. I wish we could all just get along.

I mentioned parking and painters above. The townhouses on the property are all being repainted; right now the crew is in the scraping mode. A genie lift and a scissor lift are parked out back, and the remaining parking spaces are taken up by painting supplies, so the residents all have to compete out on the street for a while. We also have to keep our windows shut while the painters work on each of our units; right now, they are on the back of my place, so we get the fun of no cross-ventilation. The work is not supposed to last much more than a week (although I think that is optimistic), and then we'll have nice, new, pretty paint.

Well, it looks like the Pluto lobby has been tirelessly working behind the scenes since 2006, when the former-ninth planet was demoted. Those wacky guys and gals of the International Astronomical Union Committee on Small Body Nomenclature have proposed, and the full organization has accepted, the naming of trans-neptunian bodies that meet certain criteria as plutoids. As currently defined, this august category includes just Pluto itself and Eris, the planet who, going under her unofficial name Xena, stirred up the whole controversy in the first place by seeming to become the "tenth planet" when she was discovered in 2003. As we now know, not only didn't Xena/Eris make the cut, but she took Pluto down with her, both getting assigned as "dwarf planets," leaving us with only eight proper planets.*

It's a small comfort to us plutophiles, but it's nice to see the little guy back in the limelight again, if only briefly. All of us here at HKC send Pluto and Eris our best wishes for continued success together in the new endeavors, and remind them that it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

*Ceres is another dwarf planet but it isn't a plutoid because it's not trans-neptunian, it's in between Mars and Juptier. Yeah, go figure.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Otie's back!

After a long travel day and bit of a delay right at the end just to make it interesting, Otis returned to the mainland late last night. Kitties exulted, brief festivities ensued, and now, Selkie and Otis are still sleeping while only Mountie and I are up to enjoy the morning breeze. No rest for the wiki, though - Otis has a client coming this morning!

The homecoming capped a day that was by turns social and contemplative: change-of-plans Stella came by for lunch and catch-up, and then NatDog stopped in to share a smoothie, so there was a festive break from my agenda of reading and catching up on correspondence.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Late morning post

It was such a beautiful, sunny morning that I decided to go for a walk around the lake immediately after finishing my toast. Funnily enough, it started clouding up right as I approached home; I expect it will get bright again soon.

Yesterday was pretty much a replay of the day before: a little biking, a little reading, a little messing about with other stuff, including a long phone conversation with Jon of Monmouth. I did make a run to a couple of stores looking for frames for a project I have cooked up, but no luck there.

The big difference yesterday was, of course, the Humpday Dinner, which this time included coffee-an' afters, up on Cap Hill. It was nice to get out and be social!

Today will likely be close to the same, although dinner will be with Stella (who is at a conference at UW). And then Otis comes home late tonight. Yay!

Last Hawaii Picture:

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Just like old times

Yesterday felt like a day out of my grad school summer, when I was living a pretty solitary life in Cheney while finishing my thesis. I took a walk around the lake early, and a bike ride to Office Max in the afternoon, and a walk to the library in the evening, but spent the rest of the time at home. The only conversations of substance I had were with J-Force for a few minutes at the library and with Stella and Otis on the phone. The rest of the day was passed in reading (I finished off The God Delusion) and writing stuff. Today will likely pass the same way, at least until the Humpday dinner; it was supposed to start out foggy, but the skies are blue and I expect it will be hotter than they initially predicted.

In the midst of this summer daze, we have let Jon of Monmouth's birthday gone unmarked. I mentioned earlier that we seem to have lost the blog-habit of birthday celebrations, so here's another (belated) attempt to resurrect the practice! (You can check out the festivities on Jon's own blog.)

Happy Birthday, Jon!

Here are today's Pictures of Paradise from Otis:

poets in the sand



I don't know what the heck this is about

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tea and sympathy

I have my tea, I could use some sympathy. After a late night last night, I woke up at 5:30 and had to deal with the cat, and taking out the garbage and recycling, and moving the car to a legal spot. I went back to bed for an hour and a half or so, and got up feeling beat up, worn out, and hay-fevery. I'm going to try to get myself together and walk around the lake and turn into a functional critter.

I rode my bike to Bothell and back yesterday, and my knees felt every mile of it. It wasn't until after I had returned my library book that I realized I could just have gone to Suzzalo at the main campus, but it was nice to see Vee and the other librarians for little visit anyway, and it sure was a great day for a ride.

After quotidian enterprises, the beautiful day was bookended at the other side by a session with the GURPS gang. Soapy, Dingo, Johnbai, Neds, and Mr. X arrived with armfuls of deli and heads full of adventure, and we ate them both all up. Selkie spent a good deal of the evening on the couch listening to the escapades of five picaroons with various neuroses and/or psychoses alternately argue and hack 'n' slash their way across New Amsterdam. Good times.

When the dust and black powder had cleared, and the players were dispersed, and the dishes done, and the evidence hidden, I had a chat with Otis on the phone and finally got myself to bed, happy with the fullness of life.

Today's Daily Dose of Paradise Pictures:

the paradisical photog

Big Ed


you're a kitty!


This will melt the hardest heart (and raises a lot of questions about what we "know" about animals):

Here's a left-brain link.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A real summer Sunday

What I did yesterday:

Rode my bike to Ballard and back to the UW campus.
Stopped in at the Fremont Sunday Market.
Talked to Stella on the phone.
Had soup and salad for lunch.
Got GURPS ready.
Read about half of The God Delusion.
Practiced the ukulele.
Played with the cats.
Had a sandwich and salad for dinner.
ichatted with Neds.
Took a little walk.
Talked to Jules in the front yard.
Did some laundry.

What I did not do yesterday:

Spend any money at all.
Start the car.

Not too bad.

Here's today's Picture of Paradise from Otis:

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Sunday paper


List found
Some months ago, I encountered a slip of graph paper in my files; it contained a hand-written list of book titles. I apparently wrote it who knows when back in the day; my best guess would be somewhere about 1994 (I feel a vague association between this list and my tenure at the Green Lake library). I thought it was a curiosity, and threw it back into the data stream, as it were.

Well, since I have this little summer self-improvement project that involves a lot of reading, I decided to dig it out and perhaps use it a structure for my reading. Of course, I couldn't lay my hands on it - it wasn't in any of the "current project" folders that I keep. Its absence was a niggling loose end.

Last night, with Swing Years on the radio, I launched a major file clean-up. I went through the four drawers of my file cabinet and three boxes of "to be filed" paperwork, purging old lesson plans, paper copies of class records, old utility bills, birthday cards, old ads and other stuff. About six inches from the bottom of the last stack, I found the list. (I also found some other neat stuff which may turn up here later.)

It's an oddly apt list on a number of levels. I wonder what impelled me to compile it, and what kept me from reading my way through it. It's a bit bracing to think that I could have spent so much time and effort on something -- it's very neat handwriting, for me -- and have never followed up on it at all. I'm not sure that it is the the list for me, who I am today, but it looks like a pretty good place to start.

(Click pic to embiggen. And yes, I see the error in the Campbell title.)

Scooter scene seen
As I was walking down to the U-District yesterdayto meet Dingo for a GURPS conference, I encountered a veritable horde of scooters proceeding en masse down Ravenna Boulevard toward U-Village. The sight of all those scooters, all different colors and makes and models, made me sigh for the recently departed Ruby. I don't think I would ever have joined such a party, but it would have been nice to be eligible.

Oddly, I have encountered a couple of people recently who are considering a scooter as their primary or secondary transportation mode, and they are running into the same barrier that I have found when considering replacing Ruby: the damn things are just too expensive. The Craig's List offerings seem to be priced 20-30% above last year. The invisible hand of the market makes itself felt!

Cats are weird
I don't know if it was the weather or what, but all the cats I had to deal with yesterday -- Sage, the cat-sittee, as well as the two who live here -- were all acting oddly, either overcharged or lethargic. At least Selkie appears to be back to normal, healthwise.

Travel section:

Pictures from paradise
More photographs from Otis, enjoying her time in Maui:

Otis and brah

C'mon, are you at all surprised?

Words are superfluous

Automotive section:

VW 100 miles-to-the-liter car
This is the first car that I have seen in twenty years that would make me actually consider getting a car loan. It reminds me very much of an independently-designed concept car that I saw back in the eighties; I think it was called the Aerostar (it predated the minivan) and it had the same tandem design, albeit with a less high-tech look (it looked more like an airplane fuselage sitting on the chassis of an old-school formula-one care). I can't even find any information on that one; this new VW version looks cool, though.

(Click pic for link.)

Entertainment section:

Punk rockers are still relevant alive?
Perhaps Jon of Monmouth can give us an informed response to this trailer, since he was once, briefly, a member of the Sex Pistols (although Wikipedia seems not to mention him for some reason). Apparently, this proposed ten-part television series has not yet found a home...

(Click pic for link.)


Just because it's relevant to our lead story, here's Alison Bechtel's recent graphic essay on reading the stuff we're "supposed" to read.

(Click pic for... ah, you've got it by now, no?)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A^2 + B^2 = C^2

The sum of the squares of the sides of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse - we all remember the Pythagorean Theorem, right? This geometry axiom came into play yesterday: I wanted to buy a tablecloth for our new table, which is 54" square, and the only candidate was a 70" round (the rest were too-small squares or too-large rectangles). The diagonal across the table from opposite corners - the hypotenuse of a right triangle formed by two 54" sides of the table - can be determined by that formula, and is the minimum size a circle must be to fully cover a square. I didn't do the math, but guesstimated instead, and figured it would fit.

It didn't. When A and B each equal 54, C= 76.5 - close, but no cigar.

Well, the ride out to the Ballard Fred Meyer was fun anyway, and now I have a reason to do it again today: returning the tablecloth.

Other than misadventures in word problems, the holiday passed quietly, at least until the boom-boom of the mortars for the fireworks shows. There were some pop-pops of local fireworks throughout the day and night, not enough to be really annoying but enough to keep the cats in.

I spent the evening over at O's for a casual pot-luck bbq, with Johnbai, Dingo, Mommo and Beau, and Bran for just a little while. Nice, low-key fun included a walk to the park for a turn around the playground before dessert.

Today is gray and threatening rain, but for some of us, sunshine is on the daily menu. Otis sends these pictures from Hawai'i:

this looks like it must be the condo

I recognize the exotic salsa from a favorite place, Maui Tacos

Otis and Pater at what I am guessing is the Hula Grill

picture postcard perfect