Saturday, December 04, 2010

3185 House Missed the Bull's Eye

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Men don’t “shop”. They “go get it”.


Someone suggested Lyme disease for Dr. House's mystery patient this evening, and House said impossible, because there's no red bull's eye.

Dr. House screwed up. (Well, the script writers screwed up.)
a.) Not everyone with Lyme gets a bull's eye, and
b.) if there is a bull's eye, it's just a short-term initial reaction when first infected; long-term Lyme won't show the bull's eye any more, and
c.) the patient's heart problem would have indicated that he'd had Lyme for quite a while, so any bull's eye would be long gone, and
d.) the patient was Black, and the bull's eye, if there even is or was one, is often missed on Black skin.

I'm surprised that no one on the show staff caught it.

3184 Cold, cold, cold, cold feet*

*Nod to Tracy Chapman

Saturday, December 4, 2010

“The squeaking wheel doesn’t always get the grease. Sometimes it gets replaced.”
-- Vick Gold --


I wear closed shoes and socks only in the winter. I'm back in open shoes, sandals, and bare feet as soon as possible in the spring. The socks I do wear in the winter are the thin "trouser socks".

Man, I'm dying here! It seems so much colder here, even when the thermometer says it's in the high 40s. My hands and feet are freezing constantly!

I think the difference between the new and the old house is the wind, the flatness, the proximity to ocean, the humidity.

The old house was among rolling countryside. There was wind, but the topography directed it high. The tops of the trees would whip, but close to the ground there was usually little wind. Shopping was mostly tucked in valleys.

Here, at the new house, there's nothing to stop the wind. It blows off the water and across the land. This area of New Jersey is so flat. I hate flat, but I figured it would be ok because I can always go visit mountains when I feel like it. I am relearning why I hate flat.

The wind is not only strong and low, but coming off the water, it's damp.

I guess I could buy some wool socks, but it's not that easy. My feet are wide and I have an unusually high instep. It's difficult enough to find shoes that fit well (short, but wide and high) even with thin socks. I doubt that most of my shoes and boots would fit over heavy socks that make my feet even wider and higher.

Maybe I'll have to hibernate for a few months.

3183 My head hurts

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Going up the elevator is unsettling when you are packed in with a bunch of people
who look like they hadn't left their mother's basements since the last convention.
(Comment overheard about Furries, but could also apply to Mensans.)


I heard sirens this afternoon. It sounded like several fire trucks, nearby. But they didn't seem to go to one place and stop, They went on and on, and every time I went to the front door to listen, the sound was coming from a different direction.

Maybe it was a multi-alarm fire, companies arriving from multiple locations? Or maybe it wasn't a fire at all, but many police cars chasing someone?

Then I looked out the back and saw children and adults running up the next street over, all looking the same direction. Maybe the fire is at the end of that street? Hmmmm. No smoke....

The sirens got closer, and I saw several fire trucks moving slowly down that street. Then I saw Santa on the back of the third truck.


I guess Santa is touring the neighborhood in style.

He didn't come down our street, though. It's a dead end. Although it would be amusing to see a herd of fire trucks trying to turn around at the end.


Another blogger, whom I know to be very conservative in many ways, blogged about her experience with the TSA scanners on a recent trip. She, like others, is upset about the erosion of the fourth amendment. I followed and agreed with her assessment right up to the end, when she blamed trashing of the Constitution on "liberals and faux-conservatives".

I thought I must have misunderstood and read it again. And again. Beat my head on the wall and read it again.

I keep hearing that the symptoms of the conservative disease include poor memory, selective memory, and an ignoring of facts. It must be true.

Wasn't it Bush who tossed the Constitution out the window when he decided he could declare war without the approval of Congress? Wasn't it the Bush administration who pushed for and and the conservatives in Congress who passed the Patriot Act, that pretty much declared the fourth amendment void, what with all the warrantless searches and wiretapping and everything else? Wasn't it those same folks who built the Homeland Security Administration, and gave them carte blanche to stomp all over the Constitution any way they wanted in the name of fear security and citizen terrorist control?

Methinks she hates where it all has led, and figures it must be the fault of "them". It couldn't possibly be "us".

I didn't leave a comment because her readers are loyal sycophants, also conservative in viewpoint, and starting a flamewar is pointless. But I can't just ignore it, either. So, this blog serves its purpose as a brain purge once again.

Sigh. But my head still hurts.

Friday, December 03, 2010

3182 We passed on all counts

Friday, December 3, 2010

Disappointment is the distance between expectations and reality.


Let me get this straight: The House has blocked the bill to extend unemployment benefits, but the House Republicans want to keep tax cuts for the wealthy. The house blocked a bill to feed needy school children healthy food (junk food producers, big campaign contributors, objected), but they passed the bill to ban loud TV commercials.

Yup. I guess they've got their priorities straight. "I've got mine, buck you fuddy."


A prediction: There will be a class action suit against Prilosec and Zantac, alleging that they contribute to osteoporosis and broken hips. (Unfortunately, they do, by blocking production of acid, thereby making it difficult to absorb calcium, even if one is taking supplements. That's why the packages say not to use them for more than two consecutive weeks.)


I hosted my first overnight guest in the new house last night. He'd been traveling all over the US and working a lot of overtime, and drove in from the Philadelphia area last night.

He likes a warm room. I like warm, too, but I often find his idea of "just right" too warm for me. Like, I'm trying to put makeup on and it's melting off. I think this house is cold, even though the thermometer says 72. Probably because with no basement, the floors are cold. Anyway, I was a bit worried that he'd think it was too cold here. I think he expected that, too, because he hadn't been here more than a half hour when he said, with surprise in his voice, "It's nice and warm here."

This morning, again with surprise in his voice, he said, "Nothing in the house smells of cigarettes." I think he was worried about that, too. I was, a bit, because even though I washed everything that came from the old house that could be laundered, there were a lot of things that couldn't be washed, like rugs and upholstery, and the sari spread on the very bed he slept in. And I knew if there was the slightest hint, he'd detect it.

And he has a slight cat allergy, and he knew Jasper is here. But Jasper sheds the least of any cat I've ever seen, not a bit of dry skin or dander, and, timid to the core, made himself scarce, so that wasn't a problem either.

So we were both afraid, in our own way, that he'd find the place cold and smelly and full of allergens, and we're both surprised that it was just fine.

This is good, I think. Now all I have to do is learn to cook.

Nah. That's going too far.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

3181 Bubbles!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

All general statements are false.


I just discovered that if you blow bubbles when it's cold, they last a very long time. They've drifted from my porch to all the way across the street, and when they land on something (like the grass or tree twigs) they don't immediately pop.


A relative discovered this little gem - underwear that displays the text of the fourth amendment in the TSA scanner:

3180 More unknown sounds

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Political Correctness: The belief that anyone expressing a thought is responsible for the comfort of the person interpreting that thought.

Law #1 - You must not bother other people.
Law #2 - If you are other people, you must not be bothered so easily.


A strange noise at the new house that I forgot in yesterday's post:

A night, and only at night, and only from the front porch, I hear what sounds like tree frogs and crickets off to the east. A steady very rapid buzzing overlapping cheecheechee, with a subtle undertone of mechanical motor.

I know that there's a marshy river inlet over there that leads to a large marina. Marsh equals frogs. Right? Frogs equals insects. Right? And I'm a country girl. I know and like frog/cricket duets, and that's exactly what it sounds like.

That explanation worked in October and early November, but we've had many nights when the temperature has dropped into the low 30s, and the "frogs/crickets" continue singing unabated.

Not frogs. Not crickets. Right?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

3179 Weird noises

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Men get married so they don’t have to date anymore.


A few people have blogged lately about hearing weird noises.

I'm always amazed at how far sound will travel under the right conditions.

When I was in college, the campus climbed a hill, and the gym/pool building was at the top of the hill. If you had metal fillings in your teeth, and only if you had fillings, you could hear the local radio station when you were submerged in the pool. If your teeth and ears were underwater, it was clear as a bell.

When I lived near St. Louis, our house was at the top of the highest hill in the county - you could see the arch, almost 25 miles away, from that hill. If the air was still at night, there was a steady thrumming sound in the house that about drove me crazy, the kind of sound you feel more than hear. You couldn't hear it outside, just in the house. I finally discovered that there was a Toyota truck factory a bit south of the city, a good 30 miles from my house, and they were testing motors at night. That was confirmed when they shut the factory down for a week, and the sound stopped for that week.

The house I'm moving out of is also at the top of a hill. The back of the house overlooking the valley is mostly glass, which picks up and amplifies or reflects sound. There was a bagpipe band (fire and police) that practiced at a fire house across the river and upriver a bit (probably at least 5 to 7 miles away), tucked invisibly into another valley, and I could hear them clearly on the deck, but not in the house. On the other hand, sometimes a train on the tracks running up the river would sit on a side track for hours, running, and I could hear it in the house but not on the deck. (For a long time I thought that sound was a refrigerated truck compressor at the beer store at the bottom of my hill, but a quick trip to check proved that idea wrong.)

In this house, I occasionally hear "moooOOOoop ... moooOOOoop ... moooOOOoop", about five to seven mooops in a row, coming from the southeast. I asked Daughter what it was, but she doesn't hear it, and theorized that it was a "noon whistle" kind of thing, from a fire station or something. But the times I hear it are random, and never on the hour. I think maybe it's boats. Big boats (ships) have foghorns, and that's what it sounds like. Maybe there's a drawbridge down there somewhere that they mooop at to ask that it be opened.

Sounds can travel for many miles, and sounds can be heard in one spot but not in another only feet away, so sometimes asking the neighbors just gets you a strange look. "Whachu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" I often hear sounds that no one else hears, which is strange because my right ear lost the high and low registers from too much time at the rifle range with no ear protection. I wonder what sounds neighbors hear that I don't, but I suspect asking will just get me an even weirder look.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

3178 Anticipating murder on Beachside Street

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up."
-- G. K. Chesterton --


The past three nights when I went out onto the porch for a cigarette, I heard tinny music. Not close, maybe at the end of this street, or on the next street over. Bits of musical phrases on the breeze.

This evening I recognized it as Christmas carols.

I suspect someone's yard display includes music. Tinny music.

It's not even December yet. How long will their neighbors allow them to live?

3177 Matching Expectations

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Successful people do all the things unsuccessful people don’t want to do.


Saturday and Sunday I taped up the master bedroom, and painted all around the edges. Yesterday I finished the edge painting and started on the walls with the roller. Got about a third of the room done.

I'm staring to have second thoughts about the color I chose.

The furniture that'll eventually go in that room is all Chinese and Tibetan, mostly a very dark red with a lot of gold, black, and some other colors. An obvious choice for the walls would have been a pale green, or blue, or golden yellow. However, my skin has yellow tones and those colors are simply not flattering to me. I could go with a neutral beige or light gray, but that was just blah, and I didn't want blah in that room.

I picked a paint chip that was close to the red of the furniture, and I carried it around with me, holding it next to possibilities, and believe it or not a color I kept going back to over and over, that worked very nicely and made me happy, was called "essence of lilac", a pale lilac with grayish overtones.

Not an obvious choice with dark red, but it worked.

Well, I'm not so sure any more. What is coming out of the can is more of a violent violet. I don't think it's the light in the room. I have several large chips of the chosen color, and I stuck them on the wall on top of the paint, and it's not the same color at all. The grayish component is missing. It'll still work with the Chinese red, but not with the gold and other colors in the furniture.

I'm hoping that after it "cures", it'll change to the grayish lilac. The peachy mauve paint in the living room did change over the first week, so maybe. Otherwise, I'll have to do it all over again.


Daughter and I went on Sunday to a state park for a short walk. On the way back home, we passed a house around the corner with I swear a hundred Christmas doohickeys in the front yard. I said, "Oh my God!", and Daughter said, "Just wait. They're not finished yet." I'll post a photo when they are finished.

Apparently a lot of people around here decorate in a big way.

This is definitely a working class neighborhood. When I decided to buy this house, Daughter tried to redirect me to other neighborhoods nearby. Yeah, those neighborhoods have nicer houses on larger lots, with residents who store their cabin cruisers and speedboats in marinas for the winter, not in the front yard. (Lots of boats around here - we're close to water.) But I liked the idea of being across the street from the kids.

Even though I worked in a definitely white-collar job and have mostly lived in white-collar places, when you come right down to it, I'm from a blue-collar background. Neither of my parents went to college. Before my father was selected for officer candidate school and was commissioned in the Air Force based solely on his scores on IQ tests, he worked in the coal mines and machine shops. He was always very conscious of and sensitive about his lack of education. Before Mom had to quit work to accompany him on his postings, she worked a loom in the Scranton Lace Company. (I have her practice tablecloth.)

So, many of my deepest attitudes, tastes, and preferences are blue-collar. Daughter may not believe it, but although this is not the kind of area where I might have imagined I'd end up, I'll probably be just fine here. Maybe even happier than in a snootier place where one has to meet certain expectations.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

3176 Appreciation, so easy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.


I can appreciate the smallest things. One of the things I appreciate most about the new house, a few dozen times a day, is the water.

In the old house, the water was so hard that you didn't dare let drops dry on anything. A dried drop would leave a ring of hard gray salts that could be removed only by acid. Everything had to be dried by wiping immediately.

If you let a bowl sit in the sink overnight with water in it, there'd be a hard ring in it by morning.

You wouldn't believe the toilet bowls! The ring at the edge of the water would get so thick it needed an acid soak every month, and scrubbing with a wire brush. There was also silt in the water, so the toilet ring was brown. (Not iron - no iron - silt from the well.)

It was the hard water that killed the washing machine, by building up salts in the shutoff valves, so I had to fill the washer by hand, or it would overflow. And the silt could stain the clothes if I hadn't changed the water filter just before doing laundry.

It's funny how used to inconvenience one can get. For years I just dealt with it. That's what one does.

I appreciate the water here every time I turn a faucet on, and don't have to wipe the sink down immediately. I appreciate it every time I rinse out a bowl and feel the hard rings remaining in it from the old house. I appreciate it when I can leave a pot to soak. I appreciate that it's been more than a month here, and the toilet bowls are still clean and white. I appreciate it when the drops run off the shower curtain, and the curtain looks clean.

I really like how much easier decent water can make life.