Thursday, May 24, 2007

1268 Thursday, Travel

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ran around like a headless chicken today, trying to finish up everything before leaving for the weekend.

My ATM card had disappeared a few days ago. I wasn't worried about it, figured it had to be in the car (fell out of purse on one of those occasions when the purse went flying off the seat) on the floor, under the seat, between whatevers, or IN the purse in a strange spot, or mixed in with the mail, or ... wherever.

It had become more and more critical that I find it, I mean, going out of town and all that.... So I made a list of all the places it could be, and then checked every one of them. You know how something is always the "last place you look"? (Of course, because after you find it you don't look anywhere else.) Well, I always make lists of where to look, and it's always the last place on the list. Even when I randomize the order, every place but one is checked off before I find whatever I'm looking for.

Oh, well. My purse got cleaned out and organized, both vehicles got cleaned, all the mail that had piled up in the vehicles and inside the front door got sorted and filed before I found the ATM card. It all needed doing anyway.

I didn't get out the door until 6:15 pm, and got through the village before I realized I'd forgotten the power cord for the laptop. Back home, get cord. Back on road at 7:00 pm. There was almost no traffic the whole way. Amazing.

I am now in a Hilton in East Bunswick, NJ. The hotel is impressive, best lobby I've seen in a while. My room is on the 14th floor, and it's HUGE! It won't meet The Man's requirements, though. No Jaccuzzi, no refrigerator, no microwave. But I've got the requisite five pillows, a great view, and IT'S HUGE!

He's going to pick me up tomorrow morning (probably actually around noon), then off to Maryland. I'll be leaving my car here, returning Sunday night.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

1267 Wednesday's ToDo List

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wow! So much to do before I can leave for Maryland for the weekend.

x Laundry, white, red, and dark loads
x RSVP for the middle school penpal picnic
x Change the reservations for Maryland - we won't arrive until Friday, now
x Take the garbage down the driveway
- Clean Miss Thunderfoot's litter box
- Water plants
- Coordinate the wall and purse calendars
- Get the stock transfer form notarized and mailed
x Select and mail some birthday cards
x Online arrangements for a birthday gift for Hercules
- Locate the flippin' ATM card!
x Get cash
- Shovel out the car
- Sort the week's mail
- Select the wardrobe for the weekend
- Hem the black caftan
x Wash hair
- Pack

I'm sure there's something I've forgotten. I got some stuff done today (the ones with "x"s), but there's quite a lot to do yet tonight and tomorrow. Does everyone have so much trouble getting out the door?

Went to dinner with Mensa this evening, Zig, Angie, Bebe, Eric, and me. The Pixie and the Dark Prince were sitting a few tables over, so they came over to say hello and talk a bit. Haven't seen them in a long time.

Tomorrow I finish the ToDo list and head for East Brunswick, NJ. I'll be staying in a Hilton convenient to the NJ Turnpike tomorrow night, and The Man will pick me up there on the way to the Maryland Mensa gathering Friday morning. I can leave my car there, and he will drop me off there Sunday night. I'll drive home Monday.

I'm looking forward to the weekend.

1266 Something Else I don't Understand

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Today my arms are very tired, and my right shoulder feels bruised, from hefting the cordless drill yesterday.

I said I like my corded (plug-in) drill because it's so much lighter.

The cordless drill and all other cordless tools have the battery right there attached, hanging on them. That's why they're so heavy. Every time you heft the tool, you have to also heft the battery.

Doesn't that seem a little stupid? The battery isn't necessary to the task.

The reason cordless tools are handy is that some places you might want to use the tools don't have electricity available. The problem with regular tools is not the cord, folks, it's the plug!

So, howcome we can't detach the battery from the cordless tools, set it on the floor, and run a cord from the battery to the tool?

Light tool.
Still no outlet necessary.
'Course then you couldn't call them cordless.
You could call them LIGHT IN WEIGHT!

(If anyone runs with this idea, all I want is credit. And a few of the nice light tools.)

1265 I don't Understand

Just a few more things that don't make sense to me.

- Police checks

Every so often the state police set up road blocks to check for drunk drivers, seat belts, registration, whatever. And every time they do it, it's heavily advertised. TV, radio, newspaper, word of mouth, everyone knows they're doing it.

Um, why tell everyone? That will ensure that anyone with half a brain will have their seat belt on THAT DAY! And the idiots driving without a lisence won't be on the road THAT DAY! What about every other day? Wouldn't it make more sense to do it with a little bit of surprise?

- The lost whales

Re the mother whale and calf "stuck" in the river. They are both rather severely injured, having deep cuts from ship propellers. I think if I were a mother whale, and my calf had an open and bleeding wound, I'd look at the options, and might also want to take my chances in a river, where I'd have to live on my reserves for a bit (which I can do better if I'm undisturbed), rather than chance the open ocean, which is FULL OF SHARKS!

- Saving gas

The news programs are telling people that to increase their miles per gallon, they should forgo air conditioning.

But doesn't that mean they will be driving at high turnpike speeds with their windows open? Didn't the experts tell us that increases drag, and LOWERS THE MPG?

What's the trade off, the comparison?

1264 Plans & Posts

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A friend (actually several) has suggested that perhaps I shouldn't blog (is that a verb?) about things I intend to do, places I plan to go, that I should wait until afterward to mention it, something about stalkers and naysayers and spoilsports and burglars and worry-worts and too-helpful people, and other blather. Sheesh.

I really don't think anyone who knows me is a problem, and I don't think anyone who doesn't know me could possibly be a real (as opposed to virtual) problem, but, well, ok.

So there may not be any posts for a few days, 'cause yeah, I've got plans. I'll still write them daily, I just won't "publish" them until later. No one will know what I'm up to until it's over, and then you'll be surprised at how ho-hum and inconsequental it all is.

Don't get all anticipatoryish.

Well, a tickler - the next few days involve spies.

1263 Observation

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I was proud of the spackling job I did Tuesday. I am proud of the wall I painted at the museum, a battered cracked damaged wall that now looks new and smooth. I'm proud of my needlework. I'm proud of the bookcases I designed and built. I'm proud of a bunch of things, and I don't feel at all sinful about feeling proud.

When I look back at all the things that have been most satisfying to me, all the things I'm proud of, they all have one thing in common:

They are all things I made with my hands or did with my body.

I'd been in the wrong profession all my life.

Plenty of time to start over.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

1262 Habitat

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I went to the Habitat for Humanity house today. There was a man there, Charlie Somebody, who was "in charge", and two girls, I don't know what age, maybe even high school. Nobody else. Whoa! Nobody. Isn't there supposed to be a future homeowner doing sweat equity? Where are the other volunteers? Weren't there supposed to be lots of retired able-bodied men for me to meet?

I got the impression the girls were interning in construction or something. They were being paid a few dollars a day, and they got scheduled timed breaks, and went to "the center" (?) for lunch. They've been working on the house all along. They couldn't understand why I was doing this for free. Apparently volunteers are rare.

I got assigned to spackle the upstairs bathroom.

I had a short stepladder, a cordless drill with a Phillips screwdriver bit, and the spackle and tools. The sheetrock job was BAD! Huge gaps, holes, screws sticking out all over, edges that don't seem to be in the same plane, wavy corners. The sheets had been badly cut, and badly sized - one sheet would be screwed straight into the joist, and the next missed the joist so the screws were at a 45 degree angle to catch the joist. One of the girls told me about the guy who did it, "That's his business. He does sheetrock all the time." I didn't say it, but my thought was that if anyone did that to MY bathroom, we'd be in small claims court discussing the fact that I refuse to pay him. Frankly, I could do it better myself (except maybe for the ceiling). At least I'd know enough to put shims on the joists to line up the surface.

So, anyway, I had to work with what existed. The first thing I had to do was tighten down all the screws so that the heads were slightly below the surface. Sounded easy, what with the power screwdriver.

Not easy.

Bathroom sheetrock is not the same as in other rooms. Most of the walls and the ceiling had a very hard green stuff (the inside of it was not the softish chalky stuff I'm used to, it was very hard, you couldn't even scratch it), and around the tub it was a beige-gray, which was filled with CONCRETE!

I tried to tighten the screws down, and even leaning my shoulder into the drill, the bit just went bump-bump-bump in the grooves of the screw heads, threatening to strip them. I finally figured out that what I had to do was back out the screw, and then wiggle it around in the opening to chew a hole big enough to accept the head. Then I could put the screw back in, and it would tighten into below the surface.

When it came to the concrete stuff, there was no way. The Charlie guy said he'd bring in a concrete bit tomorrow to cut an inset (there's a name for that, but I forget) so the screws could be tightened in.

The screws alone took hours, and the cordless drill was heavy, especially when doing the ceiling. Corded drills are so much lighter! My right shoulder aches.

I like spackling. I'm also very good at it. One of the first things I learned about spackling is that the worst, ickiest, nastiest, dirtiest, hardest part is sanding it when it's dry, and then cleaning up the dust from the sanding. Plus, sanding roughs up the paper around the spackled spots. So I spackle so neatly that it needs almost no sanding. My spackled spots look sanded! I do three thin coats, the first to fill the hole, the second to fill after shrinkage, and the third to feather. It's important to use the full surface of the knife very flat against the wall. I use a damp finger to smooth any tiny rough spots. When you lay your head against a wall I've spackled and look across, you won't see any bumps or high spots.

I'm rather proud of the job I did today.

Monday, May 21, 2007

1261 Truth 2

Monday, May 21, 2007

Well, I puttered around on the internet, looking for some insight on American philosophical thoughts on truth.
I dropped in on Philosophical Pragmatism and Philosophical Pragmaticism, cringed and pulled out. That's still the murky semantic circle-jerk I remember from college philosophy.

Besides, I'm not interested in the definition of truth. I am fully aware from my court and family mediation experiences that two people can see the same object or situation, and their truthful descriptions will differ drastically. The "real" truth will probably lie between, but the version they tell IS the "real" truth for each of them, because they believe it. I'm not interested in understanding people who tell their truths as they believe it. That's nice plain ordinary folks.

What I'm curious about is people who will tell as truth something they know is not "true", but will justify it in some way as virtuous, as being what works for the greater good. Who not only reject the truth as inconvenient, but as less virtuous. I want that justification. I want to know what goes on in their minds. Pure Pragmatism doesn't do it. I want to see how they twist pragmatism.

Wandering around a bit more, I found this short but interesting essay on the irrelevance of truth:

In the way that one topic leads to another and one internet link leads to another, I wandered off into discussions of situation ethics, which led to Karma, which led to Tantra, which led to this:, the most fun. I figured that was a good place to stop.

So, I didn't find my answer, but the impetus is gone, and I don't much care any more.

Go visit BillyBlob. It's short cartoon movies, very well done. Click on the boxes on the top.

1260 Truth

Monday, May 21, 2007

Harvey Cormier was on some tv show this morning, and he mentioned his book, The Truth Is What Works. He described it as American philosophy, mentioned that more people should read American philosophy.

The title is confusing. Is the implication that ultimately only the truth works, or that "truth" is defined as "that which works"?

Troubling. I know people who believe the second interpretation. I try to avoid involvement with those people. Our government and politicians seem to believe it.

This goes on my "find out about it" list. Find and read a review or synopsis of the book. What is the current "American philosophy" take on truth? Find discussions.

1259 More Manhattan Meanders

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Today I met a Fellow Blogger in Manhattan. We had munchies in a deli, and visited the Museum of Modern Art.

That was funny.

We both said "I don't get it" a lot, and the final straw came when we stood in front of a small piece of ordinary graph paper glued to a sheet of plain white paper, framed, and hanging on the wall as "art". We looked at each other ... and raced each other to the nearest exit.

We had more fun in the museum shops, that one and the folk art shop next door.

I got to see Rockefeller Center (that hole in the ground looks bigger on tv), a big gingerbread cathedral where something significant was going on, and Madison Square Garden (which is round), and we visited the wonderful chocolate shop, where the hot chocolate is thick and rich and makes life worth living.

I walked with FB to Penn Station at about 5 pm, and then I headed back to Grand Central Terminal all by myself.

I found out that if you saunter at exactly the right slow speed, you can hit every crosswalk on "walk".

It started raining, but I had an umbrella, and the drizzle didn't last long. I found the NYC Library, and walked around two sides, but didn't see anything that looked like a welcoming door, and didn't find the lions. Wrong sides, I guess. I would have liked to have gone in. My right hip was getting tired, so I figured I ought to keep moving GCT-ward. I wandered around in Bryant Park, which is very pretty, with lots of tables and chairs, (and free WiFI), and I got to Grand Central 2 minutes after the hourly train to Poughkeepsie left.

That's ok - that gave me an hour to visit shops in the terminal. Some of them are really nice. I could have spent more time there. I bought a tiny "keychain" digital camera (pink!) for a few dollars in the Discovery store. I hope it takes decent pictures.

The train going home was actually crowded. I got home at 9:30 pm.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

1258 Gamelan

Saturday, May 19, 2007

[Later edit - fixed post number. Ignore.]

I'm still proud of me. I attacked the pile of paper on the desk in the living room, the desk where I drop "to do" mail as it comes in, and there wasn't a single thing there that had to be handled. Whoop! Usually there's at least one overdue bill in the heap.

FirstW and I went to dinner tonight at the Madaline in Tivoli. The food was terrific. Get the eggplant appetizer! Expensive, though. We both had a drink and an appetizer, and I had an entree and she had a dessert and coffee, and with tip it came to $90.

After dinner we went to a gamelan concert at Bard, where we ran into Les at the entrance. He was there alone, so we sat him between us and soaked him for information. The concert was interesting. Twenty players, and they explained the instruments, the method of playing them, and the format of the compositions. Some of the music seemed a lot like change ringing (which I love). Some of it sounded like a family reunion, with the kids on the left (the tenor section), the adults on the right (the base section), and the complaining mother-in-law (the conductor's drum) in the middle.

"Gamelan" does not refer to the instruments. It's what the ensemble of instruments is called, and the style of music. Once an ensemble is put together, the individual instruments cannot be simply shifted to another ensemble, because the instruments are all tuned to be played together. Within the major ensemble, the instruments are in pairs, male and female, to be played together, and they complement each other.

Most Gamelan comes from Java or Bali. What we saw and heard tonight is Balinese.

The audience was very small. We three may have been the only people there who weren't related in some way to a player.

After the concert I led FirstW back to the bridge, went home, pulled into my driveway, looked at the passenger seat, saw a bag there, wondered what it was, "Is that something I should take into the house?", and then I shouted "OH NO!" FirstW and I would have been about 15 miles apart by then with the river between us, but she might have heard me. She should have heard me.

I've owed her some CDs for weeks now. Every time I've seen her, the disks made it closer to the door, but not out the door. Last Thursday they made it into my car, but she didn't go to the dinner. Tonight they were in my car, but ... they didn't make it to her car.


I'm taking the train into Manhattan tomorrow, to meet a fellow Blogger for some favorite places (and favorite chocolate, maybe). The time is getting away from me again, and I don't want to oversleep.