Friday, December 10, 2010

3194 I guess I don't understand temperature, either.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Definition, "tartuffe": A hypocrite who feigns virtue, especially in religious matters.


It's been bitterly cold the past few days, with highs just barely above freezing, lows getting into the teens. The proof as to how cold it feels is that the periods between going out on the porch for cigarettes are getting longer and longer (which is a good thing, good coming from the bad).

This morning I went out in my to-the-knees knit nightshirt and a jacket, bare legs, and was surprised at how nice it was - almost warm. A pleasant surprise.

I was shocked to find out that it was 23 degrees F.

I think it's the wind that's been so bad. No wind today. If it weren't for clouds shutting out the sun, it would be very nice.

3193 The Luddite skinflint gets a boost

Friday, November 10, 2010

"It's so much easier to suggest solutions when you don't know too much about the problem."
-- Malcolm Forbes --


Roomba needs a snorkel coming out of the top to clean the upper edge of the baseboards.


I had asked my new neighbor, George, about the availability and possibilities of cable or satellite TV. Like me, he's older and a bit of a Luddite, resistant to being "sold" things he's told he "needs", and expects to get value for money. I mentioned that I'd be perfectly happy with what I could get with an antenna, except that with the little rabbit ear on the set it's not coming in very strong - keeps cutting out - and I can't get any ABC at all.

The next day, he handed me a Hammacher Schlemmer catalog, with a dogear on a digital antenna booster. It costs less than one month of cable, and even if I do someday decide to go with some service, I could save money by not hooking up some sets for premium channels I don't need, so I decided to try it. I didn't have a lot of hope. I've heard that those things are a ripoff, and when I opened the box the expectations dropped even further. It's like just an empty flat plastic box with a wire coming out of it.


I'm getting 40-some channels, all perfectly clear and strong! Of course some are special interest, and not for me, but I'm getting everything I wanted - ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, (and sub-channels of each of them), a weather channel or two, two movie channels, WB, FOX, and more.

I am content. I'm going to get another booster for upstairs, and I'll put off any cable decision for a while - maybe permanently.


Actually, there are very few shows I watch. The TV is on just as background noise and because it marks time for me. Too much available might tempt me into actually watching, and I'm resistant to setting up my own traps.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

3192 How do you explain batteries to a cat?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A woman is as young as she feels. A man is as young as the woman he feels.


I have never felt lonely. Don't know why, but I've always been comfortable with my own company, even when I'm alone for long periods.

Here in the new house, with Daughter and SIL across the road, I've been feeling lonely. I almost didn't recognize the feeling.

I didn't understand why.

Daughter and Hercules seem to never be home. They both work. Daughter's hours are all over the clock, and they're both involved in geocaching and socializing with friends, and various meetings. They have invited me to some of their events, but I don't really feel I fit, and I absolutely don't want Daughter to feel she has to entertain me. A cup of tea a few times a week, and the occasional lunch is enough. I already know at least four people who live within 40 minutes of here - pretty much the same distance to friends as at the old house - and there's Mensa and Meetup here, same as upstate. I haven't gotten involved in anything yet because I figure I really ought to do what has to be done to fix up the old house and settle into the new before I start building a social life. So I was thinking that if I feel lonely, it's my own fault.

But then I realized that I don't really need or want any of that anyway. It's not the absence of any of that that's causing the empty feeling. I don't need a lot of people contact to be satisfied.

It hit me yesterday what the real problem is.

All that's left of Jay, of Jay-ness, is at the old house. There's nowhere here where I glimpse him in the corner of my eye. None of his fingerprints are here. No memories.

There's no Jay here.


Jasper has been a real comfort. I don't know why, but he's much more interested in interaction here than he ever had been in the old house. Maybe it's because there's no mouse scent here. No possibility of a good hunt.

Anyway, every morning he escorts me downstairs, waits patiently while I eat breakfast, and then he makes it very clear he wants to play, right after his massage. Playing involves my dragging a string around, or a catnip mouse on the end of a string, or flashing the laser pointer around the floors and walls. The laser is both our favorites. I can tire him out before I tire out, but I try not to use it more often than every third day or so. I don't want him to get bored with it.

He surprised me this morning. When I picked up the laser pen, he got all excited and was focused on my hand. When I clicked the button, he immediately looked all over the floor for the red dot.

It surprised me that he associated the dot with the click of the pen.

But - the batteries were dead, and there was no red dot. When I clicked again to turn it off, he slumped all over and looked up at me. Again, I'm surprised that he associated the second click with "no more red dot".

He was very insistent that I do it again. I finally had to drag the mouse around for him, but he was half-heatedly chasing it. He kept leading me back to the laser pen.

I guess "click = red dot" is easier to understand than the concept of batteries. I made a special trip to the store to get him some batteries, because after his six hour afternoon nap, he'd be wanting to play again.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

3191 Mice?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish."
-- Euripides --


I know I'm not very au currant these days, but I can sometimes figure things out, or ask someone. What I haven't been able to figure out is why Justin Bieber is being handed so much pure crap. Constantly. Everywhere. He must be a very strong young man to have not completely broken down by now.

Actually, I don't really care why. There is no excuse. No one short of a child molester deserves the constant hounding and harassment he's been getting. It's just plain not nice, bullying pure and simple, and I suspect for the same reasons all bullies give: "We don't like him because he's not exactly like us and therefore doesn't deserve to live."


Well, Hal is in the garage with the door closed, and his alarms went off again a few minutes ago. So it probably wasn't anyone touching him, either now or last night.

I think I know what it might be, and I don't know what to do about it.

When I opened his trunk yesterday afternoon, I found that a roll of paper towels had been chewed to bits. Mouse or chipmunk. Of course I wondered how a mouse or chipmunk had gotten into the trunk. Very enterprising little beastie, living the good life.

So now I think the beastie is still in there somewhere. Setting off probably the interior motion detector alarms. Poor little thing. If he gets evicted here, he has no food cache for the winter.

I turned the alarms off, but I've got to figure out now what to do about him, and how. I can't have him spending the winter there. I don't know how to get him out. But then again, I'm not sure that's the problem, and don't know how to find out. Put peanuts in the trunk and see if they get eaten?

3190 Maybe it was flu, and I'm winning?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010, describing an owl imprinted T-shirt:
“…the symbol of Mensa, the society full of people who
annoy everyone without regard to race, creed or culture."


Yesterday was an allover bad day. I had gone to the old house to bring back another load of stuff, but I woke feeling bad. Aches, pains, hot flashes, back out, the whole smash.

Last week when Fred the minivan had the flat tire, the AAA guy had used a compressor plugged into Fred's cigarette lighter to pump up the spare. I didn't realize until several days later when I tried to use the GPS that he'd apparently blown the fuse. Tested it with the cell phone charger, and yeah, bad fuse.

No problem. Just locate the fuse and replace it, right?

Problem. The book said the fuses were under the dashboard, and you'd have to "turn the thumbscrews" to remove the soundproof cover. (Um, why do you need a soundproof cover over fuses? Oh well....) I found what I thought was the cover, but it was much larger than the diagram in the book indicated, so I wasn't sure that was it, and --- there were no thumbscrews. I gave up.

So yesterday, back in the land where I had relationships, I took Fred to his service folks and told them, "I have a simple problem that I'm embarrassed to admit I can't figure out." The mechanic laughed, showed me where the "thumbscrews" were (they were huge, flat, and required a quarter to remove, not at all what I would recognize as a thumbscrew), took the cover off, and then was confused for a moment because the lighter fuse wasn't there.

Turns out there's another fuse box under the hood, next to the battery. The book doesn't mention that one at all!

He replaced the fuse (free), then I went to the bank, and then back to the house. I felt better so I started packing some stuff, and then suddenly felt bad again. It didn't get better. It had just changed. Abdominal cramps, muscle cramps, joint aches, the long bones in my forearms ached. My fingers hurt. It felt like I'd been poisoned.

I seemed to be getting very sick, and here I was in the sticks where I'd have little assistance. So I headed south immediately. If this is a virus, if I'm going to be sick, I'd rather be across the street from Daughter.

One of the things I considered was carbon monoxide, because I felt better out of the house and bad again in the house, but that theory didn't hold on the drive south. About one hour into the 2.5 hour drive I had more and more pain. Those muscles on either side of my neck got so tight I couldn't turn my head. My right lower arm bone and elbow were pounding. The small of my back felt like I couldn't hold my upper body up. Except for pain, I was fine. No mental disorientation or nausea.

Then, the Garden State Parkway hit me.

Along about the Oranges, traffic backed up. After forty minutes of not once getting out of first gear or past 750 rpm (I had decided that since I wasn't carrying a full load, I'd take Hal so he could get some exercise), we finally passed the accident. But traffic didn't speed up. There was another accident several miles further down. And then a third. The 2.5 hour trip took me 6 hours.

Now I understand why The Man told me that if I was moving to NJ, I should get an automatic shift, not manual. After three hours of creeping, clutch up, clutch down, I thought my left foot was going to fall off. I had pretty much lost feeling in it.

When I got home, about 7 pm, I left Hal in the driveway because I had some folding tables in the back that I thought I'd get out, and the garage is too tight for unloading, and I needed to get something to eat. But by 8 I was so tired and hurting so bad I decided to go to bed.

At 9 pm, Hal's alarms went off. I have no idea why. So I got up and moved him into the garage.

I slept until 9 this morning (the HOTW post was pre-scheduled yesterday). I'm still very tired, my back is sore, my knees still hurt and feel weak, and there's an on-off-on-off pain in my left hip, feels like someone's twisting something in there, back and forth (may be due to working the clutch). But it's all minor compared to how I felt yesterday, so I expect it to go away, whatever it was.


Daughter has left for work, but Hercules' car is still in their driveway. I wonder if he's sick? When Daughter comes back, I'll call.


According to my sidebar widgets, it's 27 degrees F and snowing now at the old house. I hate winter.

3189 HOTW - Fabrice Morvan

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

“Never confuse virtue with the lack of opportunity.”


Ha! I remembered another Honey of the Week! There's a good chance you didn't recognize the name at first.

I first saw this guy and his partner in the late '80s in an MTV video that absolutely blew my socks off. It wasn't the music. It was the smoldering sexuality. His come-to-me eyes. His fantastic dream body. The way he moved, like he owned every cubic inch of the space and the air around him was thick, and hot. And sweet. And he flowed through it. Umph.

Remember Milli Vanilli? That's Fab Morvan on the right, Rob Pilatus on the left. Rob also had a great body and moves, but he didn't have the dangerous look. His eyes were lighter.

Rob died of a drug overdose a few years after the scandal. Fab is still going strong, making records on his own. He's actually a decent singer and a terrific dancer, but I guess you could say the taint has followed him. It's a sad story. They were young when they were recruited, and they were employees who did what they were told, and it was no different from what a lot of other singers and groups had done before and and are still doing now (only now they're more likely to use auto-tune, that thing that can make anyone sound good). They just got too popular too fast, and there may have been a lot of jealousy in the fierce reaction.

A lot of people are not aware that on the European releases of their albums, it was clear and upfront that they were not the singers. For some unknown to me reason, that information was omitted on the US releases.

I almost cried when they dropped out of my world.

Fab, then:

Fab now. He has to be well over 40. He has aged well. He's still yummy.

I was reminded of him by this blog post: There's a glimpse of him in the video, and in that tiny instant he still had the same effect on me.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

3188 The Blahs

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."
-- Hanlon's Razor --


Peeve: "Faze", verb, means disconcert, disturb. "Phase", noun, means a distinct form or time period, usually in a sequence. Like phase of the moon, or the caterpillar phase of the moth.

I don't understand why people use "phase" (as in the incorrect "It doesn't phase me") when the correct "faze" is a much simpler word, simpler spelling. "It doesn't phase me" makes no sense and definitely fazes me.


I am in the old house today. Drove up last night. I don't feel well at all. I keep getting waves of heat over me, my back feels slightly out, I am feeling bites of pain randomly all over my body. I don't want to lift anything for fear of kicking my back the rest of the way out.

The plan, of course, was to fill some more garbage bags with trash, and pack up more stuff to take to the new house, but I think I'm just going to go to the bank and get some cash, and head on south.

I feel so discouraged.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

3187 Boots

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati (When all else fails, play dead.)


I just spent literally hours shopping online for just-below-the-knee boots. I have a few suede and ultra-suede skirts that fall between the knee and ankle, and they really need high dressy boots to look right. I don't have any, so I never wear the skirts.

The reason I have no boots that go above the bottom of my calf is that MY LEGS ARE SQUARE!

It's 15 inches from the floor to just below my knee, and my calf at the widest point is 15 inches in circumference. Square. Plus it seems that my calf starts a lot lower than average. My entire ankle area is no more than an inch and a half long.

I figured I needed boots with lycra/spandex tops. They seem to be very rare in anything smaller than a size 7, and even then, the circumference of the top is like 13 inches. In the "wide-calf" boots, the calf circumference seemed to start at 17 inches.

What is a size 5.5 15-incher supposed to do?

Back in the 60s and 70s, you could buy high "socks" that had a knit foot section and then a leather-look or patent-look stretchy section that went to the knee or slightly above. You wore them with your own leather or patent shoes, and they looked for all the world like perfectly fitted boots. They fit my legs so closely with no excess thickness that they fooled the eye into thinking my legs were narrower. I loved them, had several pairs. And then they disappeared, and mine finally bit the dust. I wonder why they no longer exist? They were wonderful.

(Alert! Business opportunity!)

There were a few boots I finally found - in the >$300 range. I was determined to pay no more than $85. I finally found these:

Annie's. $74.95 and free shipping. See that line at the top of the shoe part? They look for all the world like my old "leather" socks with shoes. Except that these look like lycra, and the old thingies looked like leather.

I bought the last pair the online store had in stock. I hope I got them and they don't cancel the order.

By the way, I have a bazillion pairs of shoes, but I never pay more than $30 for shoes. Usually more like $20 on sale at Shoe Town. This is simply another broken rule.

3186 The kindest cuts

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nothing wrong with disagreement. Plenty wrong with being disagreeable.


There's a mirror on the wall next to the front door, so I can check that I'm presentable before I go out in public. This morning I glanced in it and noticed a white spot near the back hem of my favorite eight-year-old black velvet quilted ski jacket. I thought, "Oh, the mend is coming loose, showing the white stuffing, time to mend it again." And that was it.

Then I went to the minivan to sweep it out in preparation for another trip north, and as I folded the back seat down, I noticed the tears in the upholstery on the top back of the seat, and I got all pissed off, just like I've gotten pissed off every time I've noticed them over the past four years.

Both tears, the jacket and the seat, were the result of someone else's actions. So why, I wondered, why the difference in reaction?

The jacket was torn when a friend didn't notice a sharp projection, I forget what or where. As soon as she noticed what she'd done to my brand new jacket, she was very apologetic, said she was so sorry, and couldn't afford to replace the jacket but would pay for professional repair. I just shrugged and said I'd just throw in a few whip stitches and no one would ever notice. I know that had I seen the projection and said "Watch out for that whatsis" she'd have stopped and looked.

The van seat was torn when I was helping a male friend move some furniture. He was shoving a bed headboard through the back hatch, sliding it over the folded-down seat, when I said "Wait! There's a screw!" He ignored me, kept on shoving, r-i-i-i-i-p, and kept on shoving anyway. When he later took the headboard out and saw what he'd done to the seat, he touched the rip, said "Oops", and didn't even look at me. No apology, no offer to make it right. But what pissed me off most was that when I had said there's a screw, he ignored me. That's him. He always knows best. He never did listen to anything anyone else said.

So for the past however many years, when I see the tear in the jacket, I just check that the mend is holding and don't think negative thoughts. I don't even remember exactly how it happened. When I see the tear in the van seat, I remember that entire day and every negative thought I'd ever had about that guy and I get all pissed off all over again.

Moral of the story - when you screw up, admit it, take responsibility, and you'll probably be forgiven. Show respect for the other person's property and feelings, and they'll respect you.