Saturday, January 13, 2007

1069 Friday Night on the Town, Sort of...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

[Later edit - screwed up the date again....]

Friday evening (last night) FirstWoman and I went to a Carl's List party in uptown Kingston. It was held in what used to be a furrier's shop, then a law office, and now an art gallery "and whatever" space on Wall Street. There was a front room, where the tables of food and drinks were, then a second round room, where two different groups played and sang, then a hall lined with restroom, kitchen, and smaller gallery rooms, leading back to a huge concrete and steel furrier vault room (very cold in there), safe door standing open.

It was an interesting space, but not really ideal for the group. Unlike last month, there were few chairs, and no tables other than those used for the food and drinks, and there wouldn't have been enough room to set tables up anyway. The round room had a double row of chairs (perhaps 20?) around the wall opposite where the band was set up, leaving the center of the room open, but people hesitated to stand in the open space in front of the seated people, so almost everyone was jammed into the front room, where it was so noisy no one could hear the music, and so crowded that a plate or drink got dumped on the floor every ten minutes or so.

It was more difficult to meet people than at last month's affair. Nobody was exactly relaxed.

We stayed two hours, and then headed to another something-or-other. (I don't know what to call these things.) The next thing was a Chronogram-hosted thingy in mid-town, in the old Shirt Factory (hi, Gypsy!) Parking was tight. We ended up parking in a 20-minute-only spot right across from the post office doors. (I'm such a rule-follower, I fussed about it for a bit.)

We had passes, so it cost us only $10 to get in. When we arrived, there was recorded music in a darkened room, with multicolored multishaped spotlights waving all around, and large projected pictures on the wall (seemed to be mostly pages from the Chronogram, a sort of free community newspaper). They had some kind of dust in the air to make the waving lights more interesting, I guess, and the dust really got to my nose.

FW was very unhappy, whether she didn't like the music, or the look of the crowd, or the fact that it wasn't open bar ($4 for wine/beer, $2 for soda/water), or what, I don't know. We were there about 20 minutes when she decided she wanted to leave, even though there was a band that was supposed to be very good slated to start within the half hour. She tried to get our money back, but the management said no. So we left.

There was supposed to be a good band in Saugerstock that FW wanted to hear. I had earlier told her that I probably wouldn't be up for Saugerstock, but since it was now only 9:45, I said ok. She was going to follow me, since she's unfamiliar with central Kingston. We got just around the corner, when she hit the horn and flashed her headlights, and stopped in the middle of her lane. I pulled over to the curb and ran back.

She had a flat rear driver-side tire.

She called 911. (Rule-follower me again: "Uh, this isn't exactly an emergency." "Well, what else are we going to do?" "Um, we could change the tire, do you have a spare?" "Yes, but @#$%^&*!!!" "Oh, ok.")

The town police actually came within minutes. Also, we happened to be stopped in front of a county cop's home, and he heard the call on his scanner, so he came out, too. They were very nice (all the police around here are always nice), they didn't even yell at FW for calling 911 or for sitting in the middle of the lane with her lights off (I was at the curb with flashers on).

They changed the tire. FW's jack was a little screw-type, so the county cop got a big pump jack out of his garage, and then when it turned out FW's donut was also flat, he provided an electric pump. We kinda had a little party there of our own. The town cops asked where we were from and where we had been, so we told them about the big party around the corner. They didn't know about it, which surprised me a bit. We jokingly told them that since they had done us a favor, we'll do them one, "if you're in the mood for writing parking tickets, try around the corner."

So Saugerstock was off. The cops advised FW against attempting the drive home to Newburgh on the thruway on the donut, so I led her to route 9W, and she limped home. I was home before 11.


Some people object to my calling police officers "cops". I have enormous respect for good police officers, so there is no disrespect in my use of the term. I don't think it's disrespectful at all. I think maybe people who think it's disrespectful don't know where the nickname came from, and perhaps they get it confused with "pig" - same number of letters and all that. Most police officers I've met don't seem to object to "cop" - after all, that real-life TV show is called "Cops". So there.


Some idiot woman brought a dog to the Carl's List party. I don't know what was going on in her head. It was a Jack Russell-Chihuahua mix, a little bitty very nervous beasty. It wouldn't have been so bad if the woman had held the doggie in her arms, or if she had positioned herself in an out of the way spot, but no, he was on the floor, in the middle of the room, on a leash. The room was very crowded, people stepping back to let others through and all that. The little dog almost got trampled several times, and looked very frightened. I was just waiting for someone to trip over him and fall on him, or get nipped. The woman acted completely oblivious. She was way past old enough to know better.


At the Chronogram party, there were several men about our age at the table next to ours. They looked like businessmen who'd gotten lost, really uncomfortable and out of place. They brightened when they saw FW and me, one pulled out my chair for me, and so on. But for some reason, FW was already turned off by the place, and wasn't at all welcoming, thunder faced, so that went nowhere.


And that was my big night out.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

1068 My Bed, etc.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I need to buy more sheets, and I cringe because they're so expensive.

I have a queen-sized bed, and in the winter I use two complete sets of sheets, because of the feather bed and the cat.

First there's a fitted sheet on the mattress (hotel-quality, firm). Then there's another fitted sheet on the feather bed. (Imagine an eight-inch-thick pillow the width and length of the mattress. You sink into it, and it cuddles you. That's a feather bed.) I used to put one sheet over both the feather bed and the mattress, but it squished the feather bed, didn't allow it to curl up around me. With a separate sheet on it, it's easy to fluff it in the morning.

Next is a flat sheet, tucked in at the foot. On top of that is an enormous king-sized white eider down comforter, so thick that Miss Thunderfoot can disappear into its depressions, and then on top of the comforter is another flat sheet. The top sheet is necessary to protect the comforter from Miss Thunderfoot - she still has her claws, which catch on things, and she sheds terribly. I can put a nice cover on the bed only temporarily for "company show". If there's anything other than a sheet on top for everyday, she'd destroy it.

When Jay was sick, I bought lots of good pillows. He needed them all around him to prop him up, and to change the position of his arms and legs. So now I have several on the bed. I need a very thick dense one for under my belly when I lie on my stomach to do crossword puzzles, so my back doesn't get bent the wrong way. I need a medium dense one for my head. I need a malleable one for when my neck is bothering me.

My winter bed is utterly shapeless. It looks like a mound of marshmallow fluff. I can't walk past it without throwing myself on it. I love it. It's so soft and warm and cuddly. So warm, the programmed thermostat will allow the house to drop 15 degrees at night, and I won't even notice.

Why do I need new sheets? I don't know. I'm down to two green sets. That's ok for the summer when the feathers are stored away, but not for the winter. Seems like there ought to be more, there should be a tan set, and a flowered set, but I don't know where they went. I seem to remember the flowered set was left over from Jay's ex, and they pilled, so I threw them away, I think. I'm confused.

What I really want to do is buy two queen and two king plain white flats, and make "envelopes" for the feather bed and the comforter (like duvets). That's a minimum of four sheets for one set of covers. Ack!

I need a good white sale.

---------------------------------------------- seems to think I have an account. I don't think I do. A few years ago I visited, hoping that maybe someone from my old high school might be listed, but my old high school wasn't there, let alone any classmates. So I tried to put my high school on their list with me as the first alumnus, but they wouldn't allow me to list it. Apparently, they allow only "known" schools, with real street addresses. My school ceased to exist in 1963, and it never did have an address. It was just Turnpike Area School, Mildred, Pa. Period. No street address needed, when there are only three streets and maybe twenty houses in the whole town.


A good friend called this afternoon to ask if I had a wheelchair he could borrow for his parents. I've still got all kinds of sickroom equipment, but the bed, Hoyer lift, oxygen generator, reciprocating air mattress, and wheelchair were rented. I wish I could accommodate him. I'm willing to lend him the van if he needs it to transport a chair-bound parent, but I know he wouldn't accept it.


Jay used to insist that the proper abbreviation of "cellular" is "cel", not "cell", as in "cel phone", not "cell phone". Since he was the techie, I accepted that without question. So now I'm torn. I go back and forth between "cel" and "cell". "Cell phone" seems to be the popular usage, but just because it's popular, does that make it right?

That's the very argument he and I used to have over Webster V Oxford. The Webster dictionary documents common usage, even if it's wrong (with the end result that words lose their meaning, and you can't use them any more if you want to be understood). The Oxford retains purity.

So would Jay bow to "cell phone" because it's popular? Should I stick with "cel phone" because it's correct? Is it?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

1067 Spelling

Wednesday, January 10, 2006

My ISP seems to have straightened itself out, and the browsers haven't gone down in a while, so whatever was wrong seems to have fixed itself.

I really missed the spell checker when it wasn't working there for a while. I have a small (British) dictionary here in the den, and a huge dictionary permanently open on a stand in the dining room. I really do check one or the other several times a day. I also have French, Spanish, Latin, Legal, Chemical, and Medical dictionaries, plus several other "word" references. Words were one of Jay's interests, too. We would open the dictionary to a random page, and try to stump each other with words. We had small spats over which dictionary, Webster's or Oxford's, was the best.

I have a huge "understanding/reading" vocabulary, but my "speaking/writing" vocabulary is pitifully small and parochial. I'll use the excuse that I see no reason to use a big fancy word that some people may misinterpret when a smaller more common word will do.

That's an excuse, because the real reason is that I can't spell, and I'm never sure of my pronunciation. Which makes sense, because I believe that if you can pronounce a word correctly, you have a better chance of spelling it correctly. (For example, ask someone who pronounces "athletic" with four syllables how they spell it.)

I have particular areas of difficulty:
Long words with double consonants.
Words that end with "el" or "le". I never know which is correct. Label? Lable? Why isn't it like table?
Adding "ed" to a word that ends with "el", double the "l" or not? Sometimes it's yes, and sometimes no, and I can't figure out what the rule is.
Stuff like that.

I do have a learning disability. They used to think it was dyslexia, but I think it's different, having more to do with left/right confusion, and memory. I have a terrible memory. I can't just memorize things, like how a word is spelled. The only way I can remember anything is to understand it. I can memorize a poem, but I can't memorize an item, like a person's name, or the name of a street (I have a specific problem with proper nouns of all types). For spelling a word, I have to know what the etymology is, what the rule is, and then "figure out" how it's spelled, as opposed to remember.

Welcome back, spel chekker.

1066 Bits

Wednesday, January 10, 2006

I'm having all kinds of problems today. My browsers are crashing regularly, something about "illegal operations", and today the ISP (the folks I pay to dial in to) claims it has a connection to the internet, but all pages are either blank, or "contain no data". I can't get to anything.

So I'm trying to use a free dial-in Juno account I had set up the last time this happened, and I HATE it. Juno fills the screen with ads, leaving me only 6 inches of working space, and although Juno claims to be blocking popups, I get one every 10 seconds.


After two weeks of fussing, the young lady whose paycheck was refused because of a supposed routing number problem has finally got some satisfaction. She tends to doubt herself, so she's not as aggressive as she should be in dealing with stuff like this, and what really bugged me is that her bank wouldn't or couldn't give her a definitive reason for why the check was refused, let alone put it in writing. In the meantime, the penalties kept mounting, to several hundred dollars at this point. As of Monday, she still wasn't SURE it was really a routing number error, which is critical to figuring out where the fault lies.

Yesterday, her employer agreed to write her a check for the penalties. So it's no longer her problem. However, her latest paycheck has the same routing code as the one that was refused.

She's afraid to deposit it.

I have advised her to change banks. Her current bank is deficient in customer service.


Snow was predicted today for "north and west" of Albany. I watched the weather reports carefully last night and this morning, and the snow area was nowhere near here, not within 60 miles, so I didn't move the van down the driveway. This afternoon, I was surprised to see scattered snowflakes drifting lazily down outside the kitchen window. I half hoped someone was burning brush, and it was ash I was seeing, but nope, it's definitely snow.


The sinuses are still nasty. I'm supposed to go to a pot-luck party with FirstWoman this Friday. She asked if I'd be feeling well enough to go, and I said I could fake it. I had originally planned to take Mormon funeral potatoes, but maybe it would be safer, germ-wise, to do the monetary donation option instead. I'm starting to cough more because of the drainage, and if I can't control the coughing, I suppose I can't go at all.

I don't think I'm contagious, I think that's over, what I've got (at the moment, anyway) is a simple irritation problem (sort of like an allergy), but it sure doesn't SOUND like it.


I think it may be time to replace the bathroom scale. I went into the bathroom to piddle, and stepped on the scale as I passed it. I weighed X pounds, the same as I weighed before this past week of barely eating. Disappointing. I piddled, and then decided to check again, but this time I kicked off my shoes.

I weighed X+2 pounds.


Flippin' browsers! Netscape has dropped twice since I started this post, and Firefox can't find Google.

Flippin' Juno! Because I'm not actually using Juno as the browser, it thinks there's "no activity", so every few minutes I get the "we're gonna kick you off in 50 seconds if you don't click here now" message. Which means if I got out to the kitchen for whatever, when I come back, the line has been dropped.

Flippin' whatever! I've clicked on Blogger's "spell check" several times now, and nothing happens.

I quit. I am the soul of patience, but only for reasonable, logical things. Not for arbitrary ridiculousnesses.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

1065 WordsWordsWords

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

If you go to, and choose "Custom", you can build what they call a "word cloud", consisting of the most-used words in your blog. I just did mine, and this is the result: (The larger/darker the word, the more often it is used in the blog.)


I'm rather pleased with this list. The words I've used most are mostly words with positive connotations to me (with the obvious exception of "snow", of course).



Monday, January 08, 2007


Monday, January 08, 2007

I've never understood the part in the Irish blessing, "...may the road rise up to meet you...". It's supposed to be good, but I don't understand why. Doesn't it mean that there should be no downhills? Aren't downhills the easy parts? It still leaves uphills, maybe even steeper ones if the road keeps rising. If you fall flat on your face, the road rose up to meet you....

Just something else I don't understand.


My cold isn't a cold any more. Nose is clear, throat is fine, glands are normal, but sinuses are a mess. Back in the mid-eighties I'd had a serious sinus infection that left scarring, so they don't drain very well. I now have a lot of ick draining down the back of my throat (schnorrrrrt!). It's clear or white, so there's probably no infection, but the pressure is causing a lot of headache pain. I guess now it's just waiting it out, and watching that nothing opportunistic starts up.

I'm trying to drink a lot of hot stuff to keep things loose. Unfortunately, I don't like hot drinks. I drink a lot of tea, but I like it very strong and lukewarm.

Hot bubblebath! Ahah! I'll accept any excuse for a bubblebath!


1063 More Ditz, and an Apology to HRH

Monday, January 08, 2007

I was reading another blogger's observation that Chinese fortune cookies don't seem to contain fortunes any more. They're just sage sayings. I had noticed that, too. It's like no one wants to frighten or offend anyone. You kinda don't even look forward to them any more.

Given that, the last "fortune" I got, at last month's Third Thursday dinner was very unusual. It said "Aviod walking alone in the dark." Scary. Even back when they pretended to be fortunes, I'd never seen one like that.

That was the dinner when I wanted to strangle The Ditz, because of other things she'd said. When I wrote that entry, I forgot to mention the fourtune cookie. Her comment was a dismissive wave of her hand, and "Oh, well, how often do you walk alone in the dark anyway?" Roman and I both choked and looked at her in amazement.

I said, "Um, like, anytime I walk out of the house after 4:30 pm?"


While looking through the December archives for the entry on The Ditz, to check whether I had mentioned the cookie, I also glanced through some of the entries surrounding that one, including the entries about harddisk clutter. TheQueen had recommended in a comment that I try Window Washer to eliminate the clutter, and I responded that I had tried it, and had a lot of trouble with it.

Well. Looking at that entry, I realize now I may have unintentionally offended her. I had quoted a very unhelpful "help" from to which I said "Very helpful folks! Bleck!"

Unfortunately, the "Very helpful..." looks like a header for my response to TheQueen. Oops.

It wasn't. But with some distance from it now, it sure looks like it.

So I'm making a public apology. I appreciate your suggestion, Your Highness, and never mean to denigrate it or to offend you, and I apologize for any hackles I may have raised. I was facing the other direction when I said bleck (but of course you couldn't see that, what with all the skinny wires and clouds and stuff between here and there).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

1062 I Hate Snow

Sunday, January 07, 2007

In a phone conversation this afternoon, I mentioned to Daughter that I was happy that we'd had no snow yet, and I'd be even happier if we had none all winter. Then I found this, which pretty much explains why:

December 8:
6:00 PM. It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses Print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!

December 9:
We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the whole world? Moving here was the best idea I've ever had. Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life.

December 12:
The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My neighbor tells me not to worry, we'll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. l don't think that's possible. Bob is such a nice man. I'm glad he's our neighbor.

December 14:
Snow lovely snow! 8" last night. The temperature dropped to - 20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn't huff and puff so.

December 15:
20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife's car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that's silly. We aren't in Alaska, after all.

December 16:
Ice storm this morning. Fell on my ass on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like hell. The wife laughed for an hour, Which I think was very cruel.

December 17:
Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. God I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own living room.

December 20:
Electricity's back on, but had another 14" of the damn stuff last night. More shoveling. Took all day. Goddamn snowplow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they're out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying.

December 22:
Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white shit fell today, and it's so cold it probably won't melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to piss. By the time I got undressed, pissed and dressed again. I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter; but he says he's too busy. I think the asshole is lying.

December 23:
Only 2" of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she, nuts?!?! Why didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she's lying.

December 24:
6". Snow packed so hard by snowplow, l broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the son of a bitch who drives that snowplow, I'll drag him through the snow by his balls. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was busy watching for the goddamn snowplow.

December 25:
Merry Christmas. 20 more inches of the slop tonight. Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. God I hate the snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she's an idiot. If I have to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" one more time, I'm going to kill her.

December 26:
Still snowed in. Why the hell did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She's really getting on my nerves.

December 27:
Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze.

December 28:
Warmed up to above -50. Still snowed in. THE BITCH is driving me crazy!!!!!

December 29:
10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?

December 30:
Roof caved in. The snow plow driver is suing me for a million dollars. The wife went home to her mother. 9" predicted.

December 31:
Set fire to what's left of the house. No more shoveling.

January 8:
I feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?