Saturday, July 18, 2009

2508 Scary dream

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Shelley of
“Red flags when you’re dating
don’t disappear after the wedding.”

So true. So very true.

I had a dream last night that was so scary I didn't want to go back to sleep.

I usually do crosswords in bed until fall asleep. I lie on my belly with the pillow under my lower chest, and a puzzle pulled from a newspaper on the bed in front of me. When I get bored enough, my eyes start closing, there are a few short periods of light mental drift away, and then I turn off the light, move the pillow up, and go right to sleep.

Last night I started to drift. Now, when this happens, I am fully aware I'm falling asleep, and if I dream during this time, I am aware I'm dreaming, know what I mean? I'm not fully asleep yet. So I started dreaming, and I knew it was a dream.

I was driving a light-colored car, a convertible with the top down. It was night, and I'd pulled into a parking lot for a low white windowless building. It was like at a camp, or something. The building was unadorned, the parking lot was dirt, and there were cars parked nose in on either side of the center, leaving a narrow space to drive through.

I drove into the lot and down the center of the lot, but couldn't find an open space. There was no room to turn around. When I got close to the building, I discovered that my brakes weren't working very well, and I almost ran into the building, stopping inches from it.

I started to back up, but my backup lights didn't seem to be working either, and I found I was getting a bit too close to the cars parked on my right, so I pulled forward and almost ran into the building again. I tried backing up again, this time trying to stay very close to the cars on my left. At least I could see them a bit better.

I was turned to the left, looking back, and had my left arm on the door sill. As I closely passed a parked black SUV, a side-view mirror on the back of the SUV (being a dream, it didn't have to make sense) hit my elbow pretty hard, so I moved the arm to the steering wheel.

At that instant, I felt a weight pressing on my forearms. I couldn't move them to steer. Then I felt a heavy weight on my thighs, and something preventing my moving my legs. It felt like hands pressing on me, someone or something above me pressing down and holding, but there was nothing there! Then it started pressing on my abdomen, like between me and the steering wheel, and the pressure on my legs was making the car go faster, in reverse. Then pressure on my chest, and I couldn't breathe. There was definitely something invisible there! I couldn't see it, but I could feel the weight, and I had a sense that it was a black cloud.

I woke up in a panting panic, still lying in doing-crosswords position, still holding the pencil, light still on, and I was really scared, even though during the whole dream I was fully aware I was dreaming. What was even scarier is that when I lucid dream, I am usually in control and can direct the dream to some extent. This time I had no control whatsoever. I was afraid to go back to sleep, because I absolutely didn't want to encounter that --- whatever it was --- again, even if it was "just" a dream.

It was about two hours before I relaxed enough to fall asleep.


One eventually thinks of the stories of incubi, but there was nothing even remotely sexual about this event.

2507 Correction - Mouse in the house

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Male circumcision has long been an operation
in search of a disease," wrote members of the group
Doctors Opposing Circumcision in the May 12th edition of The Lancet.

I believe that was the 2007 edition.

I was wrong in an earlier post. There is (or was) a mouse in the house.

A few days ago, Jasper was "on point" in the living room near the front door. He would be crouched, and staring, ears up, intent on something unseen, quick head whips to left and right. When I walked past him, he'd get up and follow me for a few steps, then whirl and return to point.

I couldn't figure out what he was so interested in. Sometimes his favorite ball gets under or behind something, and he stalks it until I retrieve it for him, but I didn't see the ball anywhere, and he wasn't close to anything the ball could be behind.

Yesterday I figured it out.

Something near the front door is very dead, and rotting.

I suspect he'd found a mouse and wounded it. It hid, and died.

It hid well. I can't find it either.

It didn't die well.

Friday, July 17, 2009

2506 More from Iran

Friday, July 17, 2009

Robert Orben: "Illegal aliens have always been
a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian."


Iran was at the top of the news after the election, but dropped out of sight for a while. Even if the news has been silent, the Iranian people haven't been.

From The Huffington Post, at
"Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a powerful cleric in Iran who supports reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi, delivered the Friday sermon in Tehran today for the first time since June's presidential election. The sermon was heavily attended; many thousands of people are now demonstrating in the city, and reports indicate that riot police are out in large numbers, using tear gas and batons."
Frequently updated, including video clips. If you're interested, go read.

This part was good:
"Traditionally, there's this guy at the Friday prayers whom people mockingly call 'vazireh shoaar', or the minister of slogans. His job is to shout slogans through loudspeakers and lead the crowd to chant death to America or Israel or whoever after him. In this clip you hear the crowd going flatly against him as he desperately cycles through the usual slogans (death to America, death to Israel, death to England and so on), and regardless of what he shouts, the crowd keeps repeating one chant: 'marg bar roosiyeh' (Death to Russia) !!

The chants against Russia and China -- whose governments have both recognized Ahmadinejad's election victory -- were widely used today. As noted below by a reader, the strategic benefit here seems to be associating the Iran's government with a foreign power, just as the government is trying to do to tar the reformists."
Good for them.

2505 Suckerrrrrrrzz!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dorothy Nevill: "The real art of conversation
is not only to say the right thing at the right place
but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."


I have an antenna on the roof. I got about eight perfectly sufficient analog TV channels from the Albany and Schenectady area. Everything was fine.

Then when we were in the analog-to-digital transition period, I got both analog and digital channels, both clear and dependable, and with a good TV set it was difficult to tell the difference.

As time wore on and the digital-only time drew near, I noticed that the analog channels were getting fuzzier. I thought that was odd. Like maybe they were trying to shut us up by convincing us that digital was better, by fuzzing up the analog. The analog signal really was getting weaker and weaker. That couldn't have been by accident.

So, now we're fully digital, and I'm getting about 15 digital channels on the rooftop antenna.

And the oddest thing is happening [that "odd" is sarcasm, in case you didn't notice]. Even though digital was just fine for the first few months, nice strong signal, it is now getting iffy, gradually getting worse. The picture "locks". Or it breaks up. Or I get a frequent but brief message on a blank screen that the signal is encrypted, or that there's no signal. It's driving me batty.

Am I paranoid? I'm beginning to think that someone is trying to force us all to cable.

2504 Ripoff

Friday, July 17, 2009

If you can’t learn to do something well,
learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

This is so true. You don't have to be good at something to enjoy it, and get your time's worth out of it. Get out there and dance! Beat that drum! Hit that ball!

I was out running some errands this morning and returned in time for the end of one of those TV judge shows. Some woman had purchased a list of foreclosed properties from a man, and was now suing him for her money back because the properties were too far away for her to visit, and whatever additional complaints.

The "jury" found for the guy, because the offer and contract said simply that she was buying a list. She got a list, exactly as described. Contract performed.

What blew my mind was that she paid $10,000 for the list.

WOW! Does this mean that with maybe four hour's work I could put together a list that I could then sell multiple copies of for $10,000 each? Holy crap! I'm in the wrong line of work! (Plus I have too much integrity.)

I'm still having trouble with that $10,000. The woman was an idiot. I could see $50, or maybe even $100, but for $10,000 I'd expect to actually get one of the houses on the list as part of the package.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

2503 Frustration

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A bore is someone who keeps talking
after I have something to say.


This weekend will mark four weeks since I've seen The Man.

I read financial reports, so I know what's going on with the company he's contracted to. It's not good news. I'm aware of some financial obligations he has, and some recent reversals, which has required that he get as many hours as he can. And although he hasn't mentioned it, I know that he's worried that the contract may be axed, and he'll need to build up more savings to tide him over until he can get another - which these days could be a while. So I know why he's working 12 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week.

The stuff he's doing actually needs three people, and he was told he could hire two more, but he wants all the hours for himself.

I know all that, but it doesn't make it any easier. [Whine on] We're only about two hours apart! He has to eat sometime. He has to sleep sometime. Why can't we do it together? [Whine off]

Major developments this week, people are being let go. His employer wanted to hire him as a regular in a management position when his contract was up, but he turned it down, because he earns more as a contractor. He has a rather unique skill set, so he figured he was safe, and as expected his contract was recently renewed for another year. But "bankruptcy" is now threatened, and if a reorganizing group comes in, unique or not, as a contractor he'll be gone.

We were supposed to get together tonight, but he had to cancel earlier this week when things in the office got exciting.

I didn't take it well.

He probably doesn't even realize how long it's been, damn nerd.

I am angry, frustrated, unhappy, and tired of this. I was seriously considering saying to hell with it, and telling him to just go away, he doesn't have room in his life for me, I'm tired of the empty chair next to me.

And then yesterday I was cleaning out the email archives, and I reread some of his notes, and fell in love with him again. It's his MIND! I love the way his mind works.

You know, he doesn't have to work at all. He can come live with me, and do whatever work-at-home contracts he wants, and still be able to contribute to his sons' needs and his parent's needs. But thinking that is frustrating, too. He'd find that emasculating. Simply not the way it's supposed to be. And since I find his strength and power and independence and fierce masculinity incredibly sexy, I probably don't really want that either. Even though he's younger, he's not boy-toy material, and that's part of the attraction.

[Whine on] But we're only two hours apart. Why is this so hard? He promised me 2009 would be better than 2008. Waaaa. [Whine off]

Damn nerd.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2502 So, you think your life sucks?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fritz Perls: "I am not in this world to live up to other people's expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine."


I've found the funniest website -, where "f" stands for a certain verb. Go visit. Waste some time. Feel a little better about your own life.

Some samples:

Today, my drunk boyfriend told me he thought of new positions for us to try in bed because it was getting boring. We haven't had sex yet. FML

Today, I received a parking ticket for $150 from my husband who is a police officer and who apparently can't remember license plate numbers.

Today, my boss came to my cubicle to give me my annual performance bonus. I was asleep at my desk.

Today, I found my long lost diary and curiously read it. What's worse than finding out that your mother read your diary? Finding out that your mother wrote comments in it.

Today, I have to choose between one eyebrow or none because I'm a heavy sleeper and my brother is a moron.

Today, I received 7 notifications on facebook. Girls in my grade were commenting on my photo because they knew the location of it. They then started to have a conversation and they planned a whole social event. On my photo. I wasn't invited.

Today, my boss requested that I re-organize every file in the office, because she wanted the filing cabinets alphabetized right to left, not left to right. To thank me, she came into my office to give me one uncooked ear of corn. I think my boss has mistaken me for some kind of farm animal.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2501 Diet synopsis

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

“Immature love is wanting the other person to be happy with you.
Mature love is wanting the other person to be happy. Period.”


Daily calorie totals for the past few days (out of 1153 allowed):
7/08 - 791
7/09 - 220
7/10 - duh? I forgot to write things down.
7/11 - 755
7/12 - 461
7/13 - 990
7/14 - 880

I'm holding at a max of 8 lbs lost since 6/17 (it fluctuates up).

Amazing fact - one tablespoon of horse radish sauce (the smooth stuff you'd put on a ham sandwich) has 60 calories. That seems like a lot! Two slices of bread (12-grain) also seem high at 220.

Ouch. That's 280 calories before you even put anything in the middle of the sandwich.

2500 Something is very wrong.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

HL Mencken: "We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."


On the hike last weekend, somehow the subject turned to bats. I mentioned that I'd always had bats swooping all around my property every evening, but this year I hadn't seen any. One of the guys said there's been an outbreak of "white nose syndrome", and the bats are dying.

Later, I was thinking about that.

There's something very wrong around here.

With the bats gone, there should be more insects, but there aren't.

There are no mosquitoes. No little biting black flies.

I'm used to seeing beautiful darning needles, damsel flies, and dragonflies on the deck, but I haven't seen any in two years, at least.

The back yard is usually full of hundreds of tiny white and blue butterflies, and smatterings of more colorful butterflies on migration, especially Monarchs visiting the milkweed in the front. I haven't seen more than an occasional butterfly in two or three years.

The flowering shrub under the den window has been, in the past, so full of fat bumblebees that I can hear the buzz in the den. I haven't seen a bee in ages. Even the paper wasps that built nests on my porch roof and inside the car's gas flap are missing.

Peepers, little tree frogs, thousands of them, used to sing to me at night, along with the bass of the bullfrogs in the pond down the hill. The peepers used to be attracted to the sliding glass doors, because flying insects were attracted by the light, and then I'd hear the crash of an owl against the glass as they plucked off a froggy dinner. I haven't seen or heard a frog or owl in two years, at least, and there are few if any insects at the glass. We used to get huge green luna moths. None now.

The frogs sang me to sleep, and the birds twittered me awake, and there was birdsong all day. Not this year. I don't know when it stopped, but it has stopped. Now I might hear one or two birds in the morning, and none at all all day!

The foxes abandoned the den in the front yard years ago, when we had the rabies outbreak, and the hole was taken over by groundhogs. It was usual to see one or two adults and a few babies in the yard. I know the groundhogs are still around, because they are maintaining the hole entrance, but I've seen no babies or juveniles.

In early summer my yard used to be full of fireflies, from the ground to the tops of the trees. This year and last year there were a few in the wooded section, and they weren't around long. They weren't being eaten by bats or frogs, so where are they?

I haven't had a mouse in the house since spring of last year. It's very unusual to go through a winter without hearing them rioting in the attic. The basement is suspiciously free of droppings.

Something is very wrong.

2499 Morocco, I hope

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

HL Mencken: "The argument that capital punishment degrades the state is moonshine, for if that were true then it would degrade the state to send men to war... The state, in truth, is degraded in its very nature: a few butcheries cannot do it any further damage."


I keep forgetting to mention - I'm going to Morocco in April with a travel group!

The $2760 package includes:
  • Round-trip air to Casablanca out of John F. Kennedy Airport;
  • Round-trip transfers upon arrival at the airport to the hotel;
  • Breakfast and Dinner daily, YUM!
  • A 9 day/8 night Imperial Cities tour;
  • Comprehensive Sightseeing;
  • 8-nights of accommodations in 4-star hotels: 1 night in Fez; 3 nights in Marrakesh; 4 nights in Casablanca (and a day in Rabat);
  • Transportation provided by deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach;
  • Services of a qualified English-speaking guide;
  • Travel insurance (Not Optional -- $150 Extra Charge)
  • Optional additional tours (Extra Charge)
At least, I hope I'm going. There were originally 9 definite yeses (all women) and about 11 maybes. I just noticed that it's dropped to 4 definites. I suspect only four of us paid the nonrefundable deposit on time. I'm starting to get nervous. Most packages like this require a minimum of 10.

When I mentioned Morocco to Piper, he said "Oooo, that's a dangerous place." Actually, it's not. Morocco has been a very US-friendly country for 200 years. He should know I wouldn't commit to that much money without doing the research.


Later note - I replaced one of the photos (I had snaggled them from the MeetUp site) because I found out that one (with all the colorful tile) was from Barcelona, not Morocco.

Monday, July 13, 2009

2498 Medical Bills, Freelance Writing

Monday, July 13, 2009

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse: You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians! It creates a hostile work environment.


Back in the early '70s, when a customer had a problem with the mainframe operating system, we'd get a printed core dump, so we could examine control blocks and registers. The dumps usually also included the data that applications would have been processing at the time of the error, the text of reports, and so on.

One of the customers I was supporting** handled medical billing. I was shocked to discover from the data and reports in the dumps that what people were charged for identical procedures varied based on what insurance they had.

If a patient had insurance company A, they were charged $100 for procedure 123-4. Another patient with insurance company B was charged $150 for the same procedure. What was most shocking was that patients with Medicare were charged $250, and people with no insurance at all were charged $300!

The insurance companies paid out of premiums and investment proceeds (and still made a profit). Medicare paid out of taxes. Uninsured individuals paid out of pocket.

It all seemed very unfair to me.

So, in the past several months, what with the breast scare and various other tests and lab work, I've racked up some significant medical charges. The form I get from the billing entities shows
a) What the lab, hospital, or doctor charged,
b) The discount on that charge negotiated by my insurance company,
c) The amount actually paid by my insurance company, and
d) My copay.

Let's take the bone density scan for example. The hospital radiology department normally (I guess) bills $441.95 for the procedure. My insurance company has apparently negotiated a $250.01 discount on that procedure, so the insurance company and I are responsible for only $191.94. The insurance paid $153.55, and I had a copay of $38.39.

Someone without insurance is paying almost two and a half times what insurance and I paid.

That bothers me a whole lot.

The uninsured are subsidizing the insurance companies! The more a lab charges the uninsured, the higher the discount insurance companies can get. That feels so wrong.

[By the way, the reason the bill is broken out that way is because there was a class action suit about eight years ago against a very large well-known medical insurance company. Their clients had a 20% copay across the board. But the insurance company figured the copay on the amount before the discount (in fact few patients were aware there was a discount), so that in many cases, the patient paid closer to 40% rather than 20% of the actual final charges. The insurance company lost. The patients each got a few dollars from the multi-million dollar award. The lawyers raked in the rest. So now in bills it's usually very clear who's paying what.]


I came across something called "SEO writing" the other day. It's writing short essays or descriptions for websites using terms and words specifically chosen so that search engines will find that site. I heard it pays $35-$100 per hour. Here's a link to a description.

Anyone know anything about it?


**Later note: The customer doing medical billing that I mentioned above was not someone working out of their den. It was a subsidiary of a huge corporation in the St. Louis area, better known for building airplanes and space shuttles.

2497 Disappearing males

Monday, July 13, 2009

HL Mencken: "Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence."

Well, romantic love, yeah. We too often fall in love with a construct rather than a person.


We see so many documentaries that scare us. Most people pass them off as fear-mongering, scare tactics, calculated to make us behave in the way that the producers want us to behave.

Sometimes that's true. Crass manipulation is what's going on. Sometimes the topic is a real concern, but many people, jaded by too many obvious attempts at manipulation, pass off real concerns along with the bogus.

Global warming is an example. I will listen carefully to those who say that we can't be sure about reasons for it, or whether anything we can do will stop or reverse it, or whether the results will be so very dire. I'll listen to people who say maybe it isn't warming so much as a redistribution of heat. However, I have no patience at all with people who flat out deny that polar ice and glaciers are melting. That is fact. It's only the "why" that's in dispute.

People will have a similar reaction to the following documentary from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation?/Company? (CBC-TV). The cause may be in dispute, but the facts are indisputable. Sperm counts and motility are dropping, in humans and other animals. Birth rates for baby boys are dropping. It's seen all over the world. It may be plastics. Then again, it may just be Mother Nature saying "Too many people! Let's adjust those birthrates!"

The video is about 45 minutes long. No commercials. If "The Disappearing Male: Doc Zone" isn't the title on the video panel on the left, look for it in the list of videos on the right.

It'll make you think twice next time you reach for the Tupperware.


I am left with a nagging question. The thrust is what it's doing to males. Females seem to be unaffected? Huh? Females have and use testosterone and other male hormones. Are the effects there but more subtle? Does it matter?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

2496 Muffled is not the problem

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It is a little-known fact that the job of the Vice-President
is to act so freakin' crazy
that no one wants to assassinate the President.


[Note - I know some people who ride motorcycles, and at least two of them do read here, and please understand that the following is not directed toward you guys, because I'm sure you don't do crazy things. You have brains and are interested in self-preservation, so relax. You're ok. I hope.]

I've heard several motorcycle riders say that loud is safer. I saw many signs and stickers at the antique motorcycle show a few weeks ago saying that loud saves lives. Non-riders hate loud motorcycles, just as much as they hate cars with bad mufflers.

The theory is that if automobile drivers can hear you coming, they're aware you're there.

But not hearing them is not the problem! It's not seeing them that's the problem.

In the past few weeks, I've had several close calls with motorcycles, and I'm one of those people who carefully maintains a double distance when I'm following a motorcycle.

Leaving the motorcycle show I was very aware that there were bikers on the road. And yeah, I could hear them, especially because they were traveling in packs. And yet, I almost got ploughed when I started to turn right from route 9 onto 199. They apparently didn't seem to feel that they had to wait in line for the light, and when it turned green, they jumped line and zipped past all the cars waiting for the light on the right! Not even on the road! I did have my turn signal on, but there was a big truck behind me, so maybe they didn't see it. Doesn't matter. They should have been in line with traffic, waiting their turn through the intersection, not passing on the right. I didn't expect them to be there. Being loud didn't change that.

Being loud doesn't help when you play fast and loose with the rules.

Being loud doesn't help when you're traveling at 20 or 30 mph faster than the speed limit.

Being loud doesn't help when you weave in and out of traffic, with little regard for lanes.

Being loud doesn't help when you're going so fast you have to swing wide on right curves.

Being loud doesn't help when you run lights and stop signs.

Being loud doesn't help when you "come out of nowhere like a bat out of Hell".

Being loud won't save you when your actions piss off so many drivers so much that they don't really care if you do "get what you deserve". They might know you're there, but you've taught them not to care. In fact, you've taught them to be downright antagonistic.

When you are traveling much faster than the speed limit, you become invisible. Inside a car even if we can hear you we can't always tell what direction the sound is coming from. We can pull out from a stop sign and run right into you - not because we couldn't hear you, but because when we looked down the side road before pulling out, you weren't there! Nobody sees a vehicle coming around the curve doing 60 in a 35 mph zone. You are invisible.

That's why in so many accidents the automobile driver says you "came out of nowhere". You were somewhere you weren't expected to be, and wouldn't have been if you followed the rules.

Thursday I got very annoyed at a guy on the Thruway weaving in and out of multiple lanes with no regard as to whether drivers would expect him to be there or not. Yesterday morning I got pissed off at a cyclist zooming down the center line at a good 15 mph over the speed limit on a two lane mountain road with heavy slow traffic in both directions. I found myself hoping he'd meet another center-line cyclist at the top of the next hill. I even fantasized what I'd say.

Before stabilizing his neck, I'd ask, "Wassa matter? Didn't you hear him coming?"


I'm not convinced loud is safer. I don't think it makes any difference. I think following the rules and being where drivers expect you to be and doing what they expect you to do is safer. I think the "safer" argument is a cover for your desire for noise. A manifestation of your arrogance - your desire for bigger balls - which is evident in the way you treat the road and the other drivers who share the road.

[Um - this doesn't apply to you folks who ride with courtesy and respect. Yeah, you. The one who thinks she goes too slow.]

2495 Hilly Highway, Super Drummer

Sunday, July 12, 2009

American journalism thrives on exploring conflicts, often to the exclusion of ideas.


After the hawk-watching broke up yesterday, I headed for Cornwall-on-Hudson, a village on the river just north of West Point. There was a bellydance show there last night, and I figured since I was in the area....

I found the location easily enough. Given West Point and the proximity to N. New Jersey and The City, I expected the area to be very built up. It wasn't. It was little villages tucked into the mountains, and gas stations were few and far between. I was going to need gas before I headed home, and I was afraid they'd be closed by late evening, so I kept on through the village headed south, to find a gas station.

Ack! The next hour was panic-filled. I found nothing on routes 218 or 9 but government reservation (West Point land), woods, and mountains. No towns, no people, no one to ask.

However, in the midst of my panic, I did find something wonderful. Remember this photo from my river tour last month? That cut in the side of the mountain (click to enlarge) is a road.
I found myself on that road yesterday, entirely by accident. It's route 218. It's windy (as in curvy) and windy (as in getting buffeted around by fast-moving air), so it's closed in the winter. There's only one viewing spot where you can pull the car off the road, and the spot is large enough for only two cars at a time. The following photos are taken from that spot.

Looking south. The West Point campus is just beyond that mount. The straight fill is railroad tracks.
Looking north. The island to the left in the following photo is Bannerman's Island - the one with the castle ruins. In the far distance is (probably) the Newburgh-Beacon bridge. The leaves are blurry because they were whipping in the wind. So was I.
Looking south-east. The village is probably Cold Spring

The road, looking north.
Pretty cool, eh?

I finally found a gas station, and got to the dance show a half-hour after it started. I stayed for about 20 minutes and then left. I would have liked to have stayed a lot longer, but the room was very dim, and the only lights were small bulbs (like Christmas tree lights) strung on the backdrop, behind the performers. Bad bad bad plan. The eyestrain was giving me a headache. I had to leave.

The dancers were good, but the drummer/guitarist was incredible. Mindblowing. I've never seen hands move so fast. He was playing a dumbek with his hands, and then accompanying himself on two deeper drums with his feet.

I'm very sorry that I have forgotten his name, and deleted the email announcement. (If anyone knows for sure, enlighten me in the comments.)

2494 Hawks and Harvestmen

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Herbert Spencer: "There is a principle which is a bar against all information,
which is proof against all arguments
and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance —
that principle is contempt prior to investigation."


Yesterday I went to Mount Peter (that sounds naughty) and joined some people to watch hawks from a state-built viewing stand. I did see two hawks. Nobody else did, and they don't seem to believe that I did. Both times I pointed, and the hawks were right there in clear sky swooping around, but no one else saw them before they dipped down behind the trees.

I don't understand.

We were up pretty high. The view was fantastic across the ridges and valleys all the way to New Jersey, but so very hazy I didn't attempt a photo.

This is the group at the hawk stand:
One of the guys heard that there was a geocache nearby. He didn't have a GPS, but he had the hint, "A Sucrets container, under a loose piece of bark, under a cedar tree, within sight of the stand". There were several cedar trees there, so all those guys in shorts were competing to be the one who found the cache, tromping through undergrowth dense with poison ivy (and likely ticks). Nobody found it.

Then we walked a bit on the Appalachian Trail (sign on the tree above us):
This was a scouting trip for a major hike planned for October, when the leaves are changing.

There were lots of mushrooms of every variety, size, and color. I guess they like all the rain we've had lately.

We saw an unusual harvestman. His body was brilliant red, legs shiny black, and he moved so fast you couldn't catch him by the hind legs, like you can with most daddy-long-legs. The guys decided that he must be poisonous because he was red. I said that harvestmen come in white, tan, yellow, brown, black, and red, just like humans, but unlike humans, none of them ever bite. I let him climb on my hand and up my arm (and down my back).

I like harvestmen. They're not at all like spiders.


Off topic - Sherry, on The View, is currently working on a challenge - to get into shape to look and feel good in a bathing suit. In preparation, a few weeks ago they measured her on the show. Those of you who know me AND know what Sherry looks like will be amazed to know that she and I have exactly the same measurements! It blew me out of the water! (Of course, she's taller, with longer legs.)

So howcum she looks huge on the top and small and neat on the bottom, and I look exactly the opposite? The math doesn't make sense!

Sigh. Just something else I don't understand.