Saturday, June 30, 2007

1339 Weekend Plans

Saturday, June 30, 2007

FW just called to ask if I'd be going to NJKC's Moonlight party tonight. Yeah. Except for when Jay was sickest, and when I was incommunicado for a few years after he died, I've gone to every one for the past 21 years. (Wow! Has it really been that long?)

NJKC picks a summer weekend with a full moon, and we're supposed to sit on blankets on the mansion's lawn sloping down to the river, drink champagne, and watch the moon rise over the Hudson. It's beautiful, except that mostly no one actually goes outside. Usually everyone is inside, somebody looks out a window and says "Moon's coming up." Half the group glances out a window and says"Nice", and that's it.

Buncha deadheads.

Well, NJKC and May and a few others smoke inside, and I'm trying really hard to quit, so by darn this year I AM going to be out on a blanket! Roman and FW plan to attend for the first time in forever, so they will be outside, too, and Angie and Andi, if they're there, so I won't be alone this time. FW plans to bring "other stuff to smoke", and I can't be too near that, and I suspect it might feak out some others, so it may take some diplomacy. Or an upwind seat.

I'd like to go to the jazz festival and fireworks tomorrow. If I can find someone this evening who will go with me, maybe I will. Maybe I won't. The fireworks off the bridge are spectacular, but I noticed that they have a huge flag hanging from the bridge this year. I can't imagine they'd risk setting fire to it, so maybe the bridge won't be used this year. Ho hum. Having trouble caring, actually.

1338 CD Music Collection

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The CD database is almost complete, but there seems to be a lot missing. There are only 272 entries. Last year when I went shopping for the CD cabinet, I counted, and got well over 300. There's some more in the vehicles that I haven't listed yet, but certainly not 80 of them!

For example, there's only one Anonymous 4 on the list, but I know I have several more Anon-4 CDs. My CD player holds five, and last December I loaded it with all Anon-4. So where are they now?

I don't understand.

As I suspected, there's a lot of dross in there, too. Some purchasing mistakes that I could get rid of and never miss. Like the Tuve throat singers of central Asia. Nice to have it to be able to listen carefully and analyze, but having done so, I never want to hear it again.

1337 Table v. Database

Friday, June 29, 2007

Well, I screwed up.

The Man asked me a few weeks ago what my music collection consisted of, and I couldn't answer. It's pretty eclectic. There's no easy way to describe it as a whole. I'm likely to mention just whatever I listened to last.

Until the other night my closet shelves were so crowded I no longer knew what was there, and wore the same tops over and over. I'm doing the same thing with my CDs. There's so much there, many of which are trash, that I can't find the good stuff, or have forgotten what's there, so I listen to the same stuff over and over.

I decided to go through the collection, find out what I have, impose some order, make a list, maybe even find out if I have duplicates.

I've been having fun, pulling CDs out of the cabinet, popping some I haven't heard in ages into the CD drive, entering their data into an MS Word table.

Yup, a table. I screwed up.

On the desktop PC, I have lots of lists of things in database whatsises. I can sort those lists by column. Like by artist, album title, or genre (which is the way they should be organized anyway).

Guess what - a table is not a data base. You can't sort by artist or album title. You can't sort, period. My pretty list is just as useless as the jumble in the cabinet. It MATCHES the jumble in the cabinet. Latest interest on top. Sigh.

I have entered 152 CDs, of the close to 400 I have.

Sigh. Start over.

Friday, June 29, 2007

1337 Museum and Berries

Friday, June 29, 2007

Went to the Maritime Museum today to send out the July membership reminders, 44 of them. The Board has approved all our suggested changes, so today's letters didn't promise any gifts or premiums. Once I send out the June membership cards and premiums next week, it will get a lot easier. Every envelope will contain exactly the same thing, finally.

This weekend is the Jazz Festival on the Rondout, with fireworks off the bridge Sunday evening. There are several small and a few large yachts docked at the museum already. The city is running shuttles from the uptown malls again, so parking's not a problem, but combining the jazz with the fireworks means that Sunday evening, when I'd want to go, the place will be packed. I have to think about it.

My black mulberry tree is fruiting. Yummy. The berries are best right off the tree and into the mouth, and only in the morning. I've got another young groundhog this year climbing the tree after the berries. He goes up easily, but to get down he has to go way out to the end of a branch until it bends close to the ground, so he can drop off.

There's a wild black raspberry plant taking over the hosta bed along the front and side of the garage. Every year I risk "the death of a thousand cuts" to cut it back, and every year it returns. The berries are especially juicy this year, I eat a handful or two every time I go out to the car, and I'm thinking maybe the better plan would be to cut back the hostas and let the raspberries have that bed. The hostas bore me. Of the ten or more plants, only one is variegated, the rest are a plain flat green, and hostas have butt-ugly flowers.

I may be shooting myself in the foot. One unrestrained raspberry plant would happily take over my entire yard in three years. AND, raspberries attract bears.

Anybody know a way to corral raspberries short of surrounding them with a six-foot apron of concrete?

1336 Hafez, the CD

Friday, June 29, 2007

[Later edit - fixed the quote.]

The CD Roman gave me yesterday is "Hafiz: The Scent of Light" (he found it in a bin in a blank case, without cover or liner notes). He thought it was mid-eastern music. Bellydance.

It's not. Hafiz, or Hafez, was a fourteenth-century Sufi Persian poet. The CD is an "audio book" of translated readings from his romantic and spiritual poems, with Indian (sitar), Persian, and Arabic musical accompaniment. It's absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend it.

Hafez was the one who likened true love to "taking an iron hold on the painful swollen balls of a Divine rogue elephant, and not having the good fortune to die."

Ok, some verses aren't so beautiful.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

1335 Gift Day

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Good day today.

On my way to the mall to meet Daughter, I decided to drop off the sell-off report with Piper. His "open" flag was out, but the office door was locked. I walked to the cafe, but they were closing, so I tried the tavern across the street, and found him there. Drinking soda. Really, soda. He's losing weight, and trying very hard to stick to the diet.

He's very social. When I hang with him in the tavern, I meet all kinds of people. He knows everyone. The tavern seems to be the place for the village men to hang out during the day - it's like it should have a potbelly stove or something. I sat at the bar with him and some other guys for about 40 minutes, and had some iced tea.

Anyway, he was happy to see the numbers. He'll pass them on to The Angel.

Then I headed on down to the mall. Daughter wasn't too very late, and as she was walking into Macy's, where we were to meet, her phone rang, and it was my sister. So I got to talk to Sister while Daughter went to the ladies' room.

Daughter and I had a nice visit, with a little shopping, before she left to meet her Fishkill friends for dinner. When we parted, she gave me a bag of bath salts, skin cream, and some other stuff, in lieu of a kitten.

I was headed back up route 9, when it occurred to me that it was almost 7, and I hadn't had anything but my yogurt all day. I called Roman and said, "Hi! I happen to be in Poughkeepsie, and I'm going to be looking for someplace to eat. You interested? Have you eaten yet?" So I picked him up, and we went to a rustic little steakhouse tavern for dinner.

He gave me a CD he'd found at a used book sale, one he thought I'd be interested in. I listened to it on the way home, and it turns out it is not the mid-eastern music he thought it was from the title, it's something a lot more interesting. (I want to do some research before I say anything more about it.)

I got home about 9 pm, to find a very nice phone message on my machine from The Gypsy. Not only did she know I needed a message, to get that lonely "1" off the blink, the message was to invite me to a party in a few weeks, and to watch her perform in a Kingston restaurant next week. Feels nice in my tummy.

I feel like I got all kinds of appreciation and gifts today.

At around 10 I decided to go into the village to the all-night grocery store to buy a few things.

Now, from about 10:00 on, there is almost no traffic in the village. You often won't see another car in either direction. I frequently go at night to the gas station mini-mart or the post office, or the grocery store, because it's easy to find a place to park, and there's no jam-up at the light, people trying to make left turns. I can even pull a "U" in the middle of the deserted village street to return home - don't have to go around the block. (Which is a pain, because we have so few real "blocks".)

So I was surprised to see several cars pulled over in front of the post office and across the street, and people moving around in the street. As I got closer, I realized there was glass all over the street, and the people were trying to kick the larger pieces to the curb.

Accident? No. No mashed fenders....

It was beer bottles! There was an SUV with the hatch open, and the back was full of cases of beer. It looked like the hatch had popped open, and a case or two fell out. From the looks of some of the bottles, I'd say the cars parked to the side had driven over more than a few.

Given my recent tire woes, there was NO WAY I was going to try to navigate through that mine field.

I turned around in the post office driveway, and went around one of the more awkward blocks.

When I returned from the grocery store, the police had arrived and had blocked the street. The SUV was (mysteriously) gone, but the other cars were still there.

I wonder if they all have flat tires.

If I have a flat tomorrow, at least I will, for once, know where it came from. And actually, that's a GOOD feeling.

1334 Thursday plans

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Daughter will be visiting friends about an hour south of here this evening, so we are going to meet about 4 pm at a mall near there. Do a little window shopping. When she suggested it on Tuesday, I had sort of assumed we'd meet at like 1 pm. Oh well. I'll take what I can get. Two hours is about our limit in concentrated time, anyway, before we start sniping.

Talked with Piper this morning. He's pleased, thinks I made the right choices of stuff to sell.

You know what's one of the saddest things? When I'm out all day or all evening, and when I get home the answering machine says "0", day after day. I've developed a habit of not erasing the latest message until I get another. That way, when I walk in the door, it says "1". The "1" on the machine now happens to be a message from June 15th. It's no longer comforting.

I'll be out today. Somebody please leave me a message.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

1333 Reducing the Stock(s)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Piper will be pleased. Today I sold all the Eastman Kodak (capital loss!), Met Life, Verizon, Comcast, Progress Energy, AT&T, half of the Chevron, and some of the remaining Exxon/Mobile.

Piper wanted me to sell all of the British Petroleum, but for some reason, when I came to that one on the list, my dialing finger balked. No idea why, but when I get feelings like that, I listen. I also don't want to sell Marathon yet. It split 2 for 1 on 6/18/07, and right after a split is not a good time to sell (or buy, for that matter). Piper will just have to accept that.

All that remains now of that particular portfolio is a few companies in certificate form, a few companies in transition, one that I couldn't find the transfer agent for, and what's left of the oil companies. They'll all go next year.

Piper will put the proceeds into mutual funds and tax-free bonds.


I spent most of the afternoon trying on clothes. I filled a large storage container with tops that are too large for me now, but are still nice (donate or sell), and threw out an equal amount that I'd be ashamed to admit I once wore. The closet shelves are looking a little bare now, but there was so much dross that I hadn't been able to find anything and had been wearing the same few things over and over. So that's ok. Even though there's less stuff, it's more available.

Slacks, jackets, blouses, and dresses on the racks are next. I know there's going to be a lot that is too big, or that I won't ever wear again. It takes me a while to admit that something is just plain unflattering (well, I admit it enough that don't wear it, but not enough to get rid of it), but I'm going to be tough. Out, out, ugly stuff!

1332 Another "Huh?"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

From TechDirt, "The Insight Company for the Information Age", at

I copied the whole thing here, because I know many people never click on links. So there. No excuses.

Stick To Downloading Child Porn, Not Movies, If You Want Short Jail Sentencesfrom the misplaced-priorities-much? dept.

We mentioned recently that politicians are looking to expand the DMCA, hoping to crack down on the possession of any tool that would help to circumvent DRM. As if this weren't draconian enough, some have noticed sentencing guidelines contained in the law that seem really out of synch with other federal statutes. The bill's new revisions would allow for 10-year sentences for music and software piracy. This is longer than the five years one can get for assaulting a police officer, and the seven years for downloading child pornography. This seems like misplaced priorities, and poor use of the government's criminal justice resources. This is particularly strange, in light of the fact that The Justice Department is stepping up their fight against child porn. This includes new measures that would create more liability for ISPs, among others (nevermind that such liability is misplaced, since the ISPs aren't actually the ones engaging in criminal behavior). Still, any law that would make piracy a more severe crime than child porn is an indication that the government has completely lost its priorities, and is totally at the whim of its industry donors..

1331 Update on the kitten

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The kitten went to the vet yesterday for his first checkup.

He's definitely a "he", so the name Daughter has been using, "Titus", fits.
He's at least 8 weeks old.
He weighs 2 lb 2 oz.
FIV and Leukemia tests are negative.
His ears are clean, no mites.
He was frightened, but was a perfect gentleman.

Daughter reports he has calmed down, purrs and plays now, accepts her as his new Mommy.

1330 Random Brain Clutter

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Having been in 12 schools between kindergarten and high school graduation, I've known many teachers. Some of them were certifiable whackos, and shouldn't have been allowed to influence children, especially since lessons you learn very early in life tend to stick with you forever, even after you know better.

About a week ago I trimmed three inches off my hair, so the shorter hair from the crown (accident with a straightening iron this past winter) could catch up. I miss the length. I was brushing it this morning, and wondering if I could somehow make it grow faster than the usual inch per month, scalp massage or something, and a weird picture popped into my head, with the caption "Do This! It works!"

When I was in middle school in Ottawa, Ontario, I had a teacher who told us odd stories. She'd interrupt a lesson to tell us stories that had nothing to do with anything. This is the same teacher who made us bring a spoon from home, and we'd line up every morning for a dose of cod liver oil. Every once in a while, in the spring and fall, we'd get castor oil.

She also told us that we could change the color of our eyeglasses frames by painting them with nail polish, and then when we got tired of that color, we could just peel it right off. My parents were furious when I ruined a pair that way.

Anyway, one day, in the middle of math class, she asked if we'd noticed that Swedish women all had very long braids. "Um, no?", we hadn't noticed.
"Well, they do. And do you know how they get them to grow so long?"
"Um, no?"
"When the women visit each other, they tie their braids together, and loop them over high hooks on the wall, and then hang there by their braids and knit and talk. That makes their hair grow faster."

So this morning, wondering if I could make my hair grow faster, I pictured myself hanging from a hook, and caught myself thinking I'd have to make the braids high on my head.

Brain clutter.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

1329 Pleasing Piper

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

This evening I decided I can't procrastinate any longer. I've got to do the dreaded research for the odd lots. I gathered all the communications, account reports, and dividend check stubs for so far this year. Then I opened the "To Sell" folder - and right on top was a list of all stock to be sold, along with the phone numbers, account numbers, and notes as to whether they were certificate or book-entry.

Wow! I must have done all the research sometime last year, maybe when I sold the first batches, and forgot I'd done it.

So all I had to do was check the numbers against current stubs, and locate the few certificates (neatly filed in the cabinet, yay me!) Ready to make the calls tomorrow.

I'm getting a little worried about stuff like that - not remembering that it was already done. I seem to lose bits and pieces, like what I did last Wednesday evening, for example, or Friday. The calendar is blank for those days, so so is my mind. Or when was the last time I'd talked to so-and-so. Sometimes things seem farther away in time than they are.

Other things seem condensed. Something that happened a week ago feels like it happened yesterday.

I'm having trouble with time. It gets mixed up, and passes without my noticing sometimes. Sometimes I get wrapped up in other things, like conversations, and don't notice time passing. Maybe it's that I don't have any kind of regular schedule. I go to bed when I finish whatever has captured my interest, sometimes at 1 am, sometimes at 6 am. I get up when I finish sleeping, sometimes at 8 am, sometimes at 1 pm. Then having nothing regular during the day exacerbates the problem. Some days I never even get dressed.

No wonder time has no meaning....

1328 Deported?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Today I wanted to download something, and the web site told me I couldn't have it, because they can download only to the United States. Huh? There was nowhere on the site for me to tell them where I am. I assume they get it from maybe the ISP location or something, like SiteMeter does? But that should say USA. I don't understand.

So a little later I went to another site, and the next page after the home page popped up in some Germanic-looking language. Well, that narrows it down a little, wither I have been deported, I mean. Again, they didn't ask where I am. They assumed.

My new broadband hookup seems to get whatever connection it can. When I tell SiteMeter to log my own visits to my blog, it has shown me variously in Fresno, Chicago, Annapolis, Boston, all over the country, ... but not out of the country.

I wonder where I am today, exactly?

1327 Tire

Tuesday, June 26, 2006

I pumped up the Aerio's tire, and over a period of a week sitting in the driveway it deflated again. So I pumped it up today (a small compressor that plugs into the lighter, very handy!) and drove to the tire place in Rhinebeck.

A nail. Again. This is something like the third or fourth puncture I've had in the past five months, and I don't drive "dangerous" places, like farmyards or something. Just highways and residential streets. OLD residential streets - no heavy construction. I don't understand.

The minivan also has a slow leak - slower than the Aerio. Also in a front tire. I pumped it up Monday of last week, and I've driven it at least 200 miles since then, and it's now down 10 psi from 35.

I've got eight brand new tires, and if this keeps up, by the end of the year all eight will have plug patches.

Something's wrong.

Monday, June 25, 2007

1326 A Moment Caught

Monday, June 25, 2007

[Later edit - changed "never met" to "don't really know" the couple, because I met them at my friend's wedding, many years ago.]

I'm posting this photo without permission, because it's so beautiful.

This is the parents of an old friend. In the early eighties, the friend was a college co-op at The Company. It was our task to teach him how to be a good "Beamer". His father is now in a nursing home, well into dementia. He had what they think may have been a stroke this past week.

My friend took this photo on one of his mother's visits to his father last fall (I believe), and even though I don't really know the couple, my heart melts every time I look at it.

Please send positive vibes their way.

A Moment Caught

1325 Into the Fray Once More?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ever notice how a lot of the folks who show up at the Idol or Inventor tryouts are social misfits? I wonder what that means - both that they show up with such frequency, and that we enjoy watching them so much.

Actually, that explains it.


Somebody mentioned the personality test on eharmony, one of the few dating sites I hadn't tried back when I was doing that. I'm a sucker for those tests, so I checked it out. Unfortunately, you have to register to take the test, and I was feeling flush (and a bit neglected by The Man - he warned me that had been a problem in his past relationships, you'd think he'd learn something from that), so I did.

The test results were neither extraordinary nor illuminating, so I wandered away. Only to find my alternate email id, the next morning, chock full of "matches". Sixteen of them. And growing. Ack! What do I do now?

Four of them rejected me right off, most for distance, but the guy who checked the "no chemistry" and "differing values" choices kinda hurt my feelings. (Chemistry? Sheesh. Must be my photo, huh?)

One of them "initiated communication" right away. Hmmmm. I really don't want to get involved in this right now. On the other hand, the eharmony process (controlled communication) is new and different, and I am curious. He chose and sent six multiple-choice questions from a list provided by eharmony, for me to answer. Then I get to choose questions for him.

Maybe this isn't fair of me, since I'm not really looking, but ... curiosity rules. I answered the questions, and sent him a set.

I'm not going to "initiate communications" with anyone, but I think I'll follow this one through. Just to see how it goes. (Although there is that one guy in Beltsville, MD, who sounds interesting....)

Am I bad?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

1324 Library, Scanner

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Yesterday I volunteered at the Kingston Library. They were starting up the summer reading program, with a story-telling magician, crafts, a speech by the mayor, and ice cream. Little kids. Looked like 9 or 10 and under, maybe. One of my adoptive pen-pal boys, from the picnic a few weeks ago, had brought his little sister, and I think he might have a crush on me. He and I did some intricate paper-folding.

I usually don't do too well in a room full of small children, too much random activity going on around me scatters my brain, but the pen-pal picnics and this program weren't too bad. They kept the kids organized and directed, so I was able to appreciate them.

I almost didn't find the library. I had the address, but as usual, few of the buildings on the street had visible numbers. It was a very residential street. I finally just parked well beyond the number I was looking for, and walked back up the street. Turns out it was a building I had rejected as obviously abandoned. It's a huge very old brick building, surrounded by blacktop and a high, badly rusted, bent and leaning chain link fence covered in weedy ivy. I believe it was once the Sojourner Truth School. Gates in the fence were all chained closed. Took me a while to find the one open gate, the one to the parking lot.

Inside the fence, the building is in good condition, and inside the building, it's nice. I'm glad. I hate to see old buildings torn down just because they're old. I do wish the city would do something about that fence, though. I guess they think they need it - I drove past the building today, and the gates to the parking lot were chained. High graffiti neighborhood, maybe?


I bought a new flatbed scanner today. The old one is about 15 years old, I swear, and takes forever to do even a B&W prescan. I used to go make a cup of tea when I was scanning something, and would actually go to the print shop in the village if I needed more than two pages copied. I was never unhappy with the quality, just the time. Also, Jay had a habit of discarding directions (probably the ONLY paper he ever threw out, I guess he considered it insulting), so I never knew what half the options meant, and was afraid to change any settings. This one is fast, and I HAVE THE BOOK!

I'm happy. Gonna scan in lots and lots of old photos.

1323 Cat Chupping

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I have mentioned that a characteristic of Maine Coon Cats is their "chupping" when they're watching prey they can't get to, like outside a window.

This is not a Maine Coon (unless it's a very young one, or has some Coon in its background), and it's watching a moth. It's a good example of the chupping.