Follow by Email

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Blog Harvest

Looking through my blog reading list today, I thought, "Man, what an assortment, it's a bumper crop Sunday." Fitting for the Fall. And so, this blogpost is a cornucopia of  regular bloggers' work, which is today, quite varied and from across the world.

In no particular order:
Carrie's got a wonderfully fun children's story published (there's a link in her post)
http://carrieoncarryingon.blogspot.com/2012/09/hares-and-underwear.html

Sarcastic Test Guy deals with his eldest child behaving like one
http://sarcastictestguy.blogspot.com/2012/09/when-does-child-become-adult.html

bazza continues his London Monopoly board at
http://todiscoverice.blogspot.com/2012/09/london-monopoly-14-fleet-street.html

Elephant's Child posts a riot of Spring flowers
http://myjustsostory.blogspot.com/2012/09/sunday-selections-89.html

On Live Like Dirt, Andrew examines Asian apes
http://livelikedirt.blogspot.com/2012/09/asian-miocene-apes-getting-to-know.html

John's church has a harvest festival at Going Gently
http://disasterfilm.blogspot.com/2012/09/you-couldnt-make-it-up.html

Lawless asks for a dream interpretation
http://mybabyjohn.blogspot.com/2012/09/up-hill-andoops.html

Pearl has a plan to revamp what women hate doing
http://pearl-whyyoulittle.blogspot.com/2012/09/critics-rave-paps-and-pedicure-pub.html

And Betty Bee has so much going on I'll just post her general site
 http://talesfrombettybeetowers.blogspot.com/

Well! That should keep you reading on this last day of September.

I may or may not get back later to post news. I'm so entirely sick of the world that I've taken a break, but the stories are piling up in my inbox and it's time to sort it out. More coffee, maybe something to eat first. Today I'm very aware of how lucky I am to have all these choices. So many have nothing. As my Dad said, "It's not that life's not good, it's that life isn't fair." No, it's not fair. But there are times when it's really bloody good.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Greg Lake on BBC Merseyside

As a start up of his UK Fall Tour, Greg did an interview on BBC Merseyside today. It's one of the best I've heard him do, so I have to think he likes Spencer Leigh, the interviewer. Lots of his best songs and a couple from other bands too,  interspersed between gab sessions. The whole thing is 2 hours long, but you can skip through parts on the iPlayer.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00yn482

Friday, September 28, 2012

For Lawless- Homemade Non-dairy Lasagna Cheeses

Some of us can't have dairy or meat anymore. That's a thing I pray never happens to me because I think I'd have to be institutionalised. There are, however, alternatives made from tofu, TVP, etc. Some are beneath consuming. Some I really like, like the Sloppy Joe mix from Fantastic Foods. If you see that on the grocery shelves, try it. I regard most commercial substitute "cheese" with a hairy eyeball, because it's often pretty nasty and won't even melt. So here are a couple of soy substitutes for cheeses that actually work and making them yourself makes them affordable.

Homemade Ricotta Substitute

2 12oz. blocks of extrafirm silky tofu
1 cup soy "cream"
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. distilled vinegar
2 tsp. salt, more to taste if wanted

Mash the tofu well and stir in all the other ingredients completely.

Homemade mozzarella substitute that melts

1 12oz. block extrasoft silky tofu
1 cup soy "cream" (not "milk")
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. distilled vinegar
4 tsp. agar powder (in the spices/baking aisle)

Put the tofu, soy "cream", salt and vinegar in a blender or food processor, and blend on high until it's completely liquid. Put the mixture in a sauce pan, whisk in the agar powder thoroughly, and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and pour into a greased baking dish. Smooth the top to even it out, let cool a bit, cover with plastic wrap or wax paper and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Use just like mozzarella.

There you are, Lawless. I wouldn't want you left out. ;)

There Are No Bad Lasagnas

My family loves lasagna. It has pet names- La Sanzh, Lazagnee, La Sagna. My mother couldn't make it, we always bought it from the local pizza place. Those yummy squares in a red hot round tin with a white paper top were as welcome as Christmas. It was one of the first dishes I  learned to make from my Stepfather, who was half Italian. When we had our own lasagna system down it became all about perfecting it- which for me was Mrs. Vesuvio's meaty cheesy style. Perfect lasagna is an elusive thing, because a small change makes a big difference. I think I've hit perfection twice. Once with a vegetarian version I made for my cousin and his SO (and boy was I happy) and once with a super-stuffed one that I didn't pay particular attention to making. There really isn't such a thing as a bad lasagna. It feeds a crowd, it ages well in the fridge if there's only a couple people to feed, and leftovers just keep getting better.

Like most Italian food, it starts with the sauce. I make a hearty tomato sauce for lasagna but if you have a favorite jarred sauce, go for it. Just make sure you have enough. The two things you don't want to skimp on are the sauce and the cheeses, so make sure you have plenty. About 10 years ago I stopped parboiling the lasagna noodles (I always hated that part). To make the magic happen I dilute the sauce a bit just before assembly and refrigerate the whole dish overnight. Keep in mind how things work- water soaks in, and when hot evaporates upwards. Put a good layer of sauce in the bottom of the dish and set your first layer of noodles in. This is where I put the wettest layer, too, on those bottom noodles. So whether that's meats in sauce or a couple of packages of defrosted frozen chopped spinach and shredded carrots on top, it goes here, with sauce over the veggies if that's what you're using. Then another noodle layer, and the ricotta-egg-parsley-garlic layer on them with a slight sprinkling of mozzarella. Some people top their cheese layer with sauce, but I like it sandwiched between noodles. And on that layer of noodles goes the topping off, the grand saucing where you fill the pan and check that the sides are sauced. Then the crowning layer of mozzarella. Cover with foil, and refrigerate overnight. The next day all you have to do is pop it into a cold oven set to 350', bake for a half-hour, take the foil off and bake another half-hour to 40 minutes, When everything's bubbly it's done. And it's heaven.

Last week I hit a special at Price Chopper- 2# of whole milk ricotta with 1# of whole milk mozzarella for 6 bucks. With the 28 oz. tins of crushed tomatoes I got on sale for 88 cents each, leftover lasagna noodles that need using (they do go stale once opened) and the chopped spinach that were 2 for a dollar, it's a whole lasagna for under ten dollars. I'll have company over the weekend so I'll make it today and bake it tomorrow, and send some home with my guest on Sunday (probably most of it, he's a big guy). And if I'm sick of it by Tuesday, it freezes perfectly. Defrost it like meat, overnight in the fridge, and pop it back in the oven.

It's afternoon already! I've gotta go start the sauce, which will be nice to have cooking while the cold rain helps prime the trees for Peeper Season. The crabapple across the way is already yellow and gold but there's little else turning colors yet. Another couple of weeks and a little luck and the trees will be breath-taking.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Putting the Pain in Campaign

It's high campaign time. Senator Jeanette White stopped by yesterday and dropped off a lawn sign that I'd asked her to bring me. She's terrific and I'm sure she'll be re-elected. I don't think she even has an opponent. Anyway I pick and choose who to support these days and with Daryl not running for anything it's down to Jeanette and Bernie here in Vermont.

But you'd think that I'm
a) made of money
b) giving all kinds of cash to candidates
c) a Democrat
because every morning I have an emailbox full of campaign begging. 20-30 waiting to be opened before I even get a sip of coffee and then they dribble in during the day, too. It's getting to be a pain in the ass. Candidates I've never heard of in states I've never been to, much less lived in. And while I'm sure they're well-meaning people (usually folks don't run for office unless they mean well) there are only so many slices in the pie. Besides, I don't even know anyone in some of the states these people want to represent. And there's part of me that thinks that your campaign money should come from the folks you're going to serve (and certainly not corporations at all). Then I read the story behind one or two of them- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tammy_Duckworth for instance- and I make a list of those I will contribute something to, even if it's only 5 bucks. I mean, really, a woman who lost 1 1/2 legs while flying a helicopter in combat duty wants to serve in the Senate, she deserves my support.

In the never-ending construction and re-construction of my budget for the Fall, I've now included a set amount to divvy up among the candidates I'll help out. A grand total of 60 bucks, not much in the whole scheme of things, but it's heartfelt. Who knows, it may be my five dollars that tips the budget.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Still Love You, Bonzo!

It's been a whopping 32 long years since tour manager Benji Lefebvre and John Paul Jones went to wake up John Henry Bonham in Jimmy Page's house and found him dead. 32 years. Damn. And it's my viewpoint that with Bonzo's death, all good things began to vanish.


He's one of those people I'll miss and wonder what he would've done all my life. In fact, I'm adopting a new motto: "What Would Bonzo Do?" :)
I wonder what kind of old guy he would've been. We've recently seen the other three at the press release for "Celebration Day", the vid of the 2007 reunion concert where Jason Bonham played in his Dad's stead:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcjAalenKfA

Unfortunately, we can't know what Bonzo's thinking but I'm pretty sure he's proud of his son. And that his music lives on, so long past his short life. Indeed, he's now been dead as long as he lived. But watching him in the concert film "The Song Remains The Same", his fantasy sequence was about his farm, family, pub and vehicles. While the other three played dreamy bits of mythical characters and archtypes, John Bonham's fantasy was to be home.

They don't make 'em like him anymore. Unforgettable.
Cheers, and thanks for all the joy, Bonzo.

Monday, September 24, 2012

And I Laaaauughed...

It shows when you don't pay attention to the news for a few days. Things are funnier. Like this morning, reading a weather advisory which gravely cautioned, "...advised to use umbrellas – and the kind that won't be blown inside out." Now that should strike real terror in the hearts of humans! Rain so fierce it requires an umbrella! Wind so godawful it may turn your umbrella inside out! Maybe you shouldn't leave the house!

Then there's this, for when you just don't have it to finish an internet argument
http://www.happyplace.com/2672/a-template-for-every-awful-facebook-discussion-youve-ever-witnessed

In the 90s, this used to be a little xeroxed paper that bartenders passed around in NYC
http://www.newsoftheweird.com/archive/

And if the world is too much with you, you need The Onion
http://www.theonion.com/

Yes I slept a lot, I'm better- near damn good, actually- and I'm about ready to fight the bastards again. Let the games begin!

p.s. It also looks like blogger is allowing photos and such again, as all those tools are back. Yay!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Just a Minute

This has been a strange and miserable cold and it's not over yet. The special effects are more annoying than anything. Everything smells like ironing or cider vinegar, nothing else. The worst seems over.

Do not get this bug. Though it's probably good for cleaning out the system so entirely, it's no fun. When you can eat, nothing tastes like anything. There's a sore throat and headache that never go away. Stevil had big explosive sneezes. We both put in a lot of bathroom time.

I just stopped in to say, "I'll catch up to your blog!" but not right now. I want sleep, sleep wants me, and so back I go into the arms of Morpheus.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blow Me Down

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day- the 10th of its name! Arrrrrr!

The only thing I'm blowing today is my nose, which is a vast (avast ye landlubbers!) improvement over other things that can and did blow all the last couple of nights . I've taken hot showers and am making a chicken and rice dinner with lots of onion. That should top it off. I do feel like dukie and I'm pretty sure that after dinner I'll just go back to bed. I'd rather be asleep than deal with the spinning head, ringing ears and various aches and pains. This is a regulation old-fashioned sick. Nice to know some things stay the same.

There is some beautiful nature linked in this article. Just ignore what the striving hipster who wrote it said and go to the pix. Totally uplifting.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2012/sep/19/science-more-beautiful-than-art

And for those of us who loved The Shining, heeeere's Doctor Sleep
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/sep/19/stephen-king-shining-sequel-doctor-sleep

Well, me buckos, I'm off t' the galley and git me some what crawled out o' t' bung hole.
http://www.talklikeapirate.com/

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

From Mitt the Twit to Mitt the Shit

He's done it. Just when I didn't think he could sink any lower or be more disdainful or deceitful, Mitt outdoes himself. His latest sack of lies claims that 47% of Americans don't pay taxes. Really? I thought it was just him and his cronies who have put their big money into overseas tax shelters who don't pay taxes like the rest of us. Does he think he and his buddies make up 47% of us? I guess it's easy to get confused when you've spent your whole life among rich people and avoid serving your country during Vietnam by doing missionary work in that dangerous country, France.

If you haven't seen and been sickened by this display, here it is
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/secret-video-romney-private-fundraiser

Here's what the Daily Show and Leonard Nimoy put together about Mitt the selfmade liar
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-august-30-2012/rnc-2012---the-road-to-jeb-bush-2016---mitt-romney--a-human-who-built-that

From here on, it's not Mitt the Twit. That's too nice. He is shit, and it's just by luck that his name rhymes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

An Eye-opener

The Current channel has been showing a documentary called, "WalMart: the High Cost of Low Prices". Since today's plans were cancelled, I'm just farting around so I took a look. Now, I'm not a Waldemort shopper just because they've driven out so many businesses here by underpricing them and fired workers for rebelling at being treated like slaves. Here, once all the competitors were gone the prices at Waldemort rose, and there was no other place to shop. They're "The Blob" of  corporations.

But holy cow I didn't know how far their model of business goes in ruining our lives until I watched the documentary. Why aren't we burning their stores down? They're absolute demons. Don't believe me? Here's the whole film.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dl0Pwcy3nM

The Last Summer Sunday

Hokay, as my brother Snowbear used to say. Summer is done. Back to business. There's been an undercurrent of heaviness through the whole Summer. It's like Summer is the season of denial. Well, denial has its place in the growth cycle, too. And it feels justifiable when it's green and the sun is out and it's hot.

But not dealing with things doesn't make them go away. You can close your eyes but you don't disappear. So I'm resentfully giving up ignoring things. Heaviness is upon us again, fellow babies. Blech. I'd give up a couple years of life to not go through these elections until the Tea Party dies and people start thinking with their brains and not their fear. What a load of chickens.

I think I've figured out why people bug me to say something around here, and that's because when I don't shoot my mouth off it's abnormal. I just realized that. Maybe this is why people schmooze and say nothing of value consistantly when asked for quotes. It's Poker Mouth. It's so disingenuous. I'm always surprised to peel away to another layer of nasty reality. I'm a slow learner. But I'd rather just keep my mouth shut and make them think anyway. At least it's honest.

And speaking of thinkery:
Digital distraction
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/9522845/Shutting-out-a-world-of-digital-distraction.html

Fine, I'll try it again
http://www.kurzweilai.net/brainy-beverage-study-reveals-how-green-tea-boosts-brain-cell-production-to-aid-memory

Burying the Bush disasters one at a time
http://bigthink.com/think-tank/its-time-to-repeal-no-child-left-behind?page=all

Is it time for my idea of midair energy collectors?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/sep/12/wind-energy-power-demand?intcmp=122

Is there pipe on Mars?
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911150857.htm

I hate this crap
http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/09/voice-passwords

But coriander and cilantro are two different products in the US, tho from the same plant...
http://www.nature.com/news/soapy-taste-of-coriander-linked-to-genetic-variants-1.11398

This is a surprise?
http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/why-are-americans-selecting-baby-girls-over-boys?

Every enemy has a weakness
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120914191649.htm

Oh here we go
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/09/on-the-nature-vs-nurture-of-obesity/262302/

Enough! Let's ease into this Autumnal seriousity.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Oooo, That Smell!

Going on 3 weeks since I quit tobacco and I can smell everything. From distances. Every time Beest digs in the catbox. Every time the wind shifts and blows through the vegetable garden. Everything I cook or even when the refrigerator is opened. Everything smells. Detergents are vile-scented. I'm seriously considering going back to Ivory Snow, at least it didn't make me nauseous. I dread seeing one friend who wears way too much scent- even when I was smoking it could make me gag. Right now I may throw up on her shoes. Hoping the olfactory calms down, as there are many smells around and not all very nice.

Stevil, alas, is sick. No birthday party tomorrow. I'm glad I didn't cook ahead of time, and there's room in the freezer. We'll reschedule once he gets better. Sleep, Bunky!

Speaking of smells...
Here's something that stinks out loud... why? why? why?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHJNBZ2rrMM

There are plenty of smells at rock festivals
http://www.happyplace.com/15610/the-worst-people-you-see-at-every-summer-music-festival

This definitely does not stink; someone is posting Greg Lake's nearly-a capella vocal tracks from classic ELP & King Crimson recordings on YT. Here's "Epitaph"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSwgWp_ieeU

Why California is stinking
http://www.weather.com/health/airquality/salton-sea-cause-of-california-stink-20120912

Some of this probably stinks but it's beautiful anyway:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19589755

And with that, I'm off to start dinner. Chicken breast in a progressive tomato gravy I've been working up over the week. Hope your day doesn't stink.

ETA: I had to add this, it's just too perfectly typical:
http://www.happyplace.com/2672/a-template-for-every-awful-facebook-discussion-youve-ever-witnessed

Emo Beest

Apparently last night was a defining moment in the life of Hildebeest. I was sitting here. She was off to one of her seven other perches. Outta nowhere comes this huge catscream followed by much spitting and growls. I head to the bathroom, where she's in the window, behind the venetian blinds. All that shows is her long tortietail, which is blown up to three times its regular size. I pull back the blind and put a hand on her back and she screams twice and runs out to the hall, where she spazzes and slides into the bedroom in a paralytic freakout. I have no idea what happened. There was nothing out there when I looked, and no sign of anything having been there. She'd shed a nail but there wasn't even a pull in the screen. Who knows.

She hasn't been the same since.

She's a moping teenager. She slept almost all day, her head hanging dramatically upside down off the davenport, with the distinct aura of hopelessness. She ate her turkey with a certain resigned suffering. I tried playing the ball-on-a-string on-a-pole with her, her favorite toy, and she just looked deeply over her shoulder and looked away. I swear she did a head-sweep. None of my efforts to snap her out of it have worked. She'll tolerate something for a moment, then get up and slowly lope away, a sigh expressed in motion. It's the emo of a teenager. High cat drama.

It'd be nice to know, but I never will, what the hell happened in that window last night. Perhaps she faced a doppelganger, or her own mortality, or both. Maybe she realized this was all life is. Or that she'll never have that gray tabby she left in the Maine shelter. I dunno. Something existential went on.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Oh, Ye Can't Scare Me...

The organizing workers are hoping the Board of the coop will recognize the union, waiting on word, and pretty sure the Board will just get behind them. I remember feeling all that. Perhaps this time will be different. But the Pres. of the Board has already said that's all up to the Manager to deal with, not them. And as long as ol' Snidely is in charge, well.
http://www.commonsnews.org/site/assets/PDF/COMM-0169.pdf

Meanwhile, the organizers have gone into action and are doing much of what we did the first time, only this time online:
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20120913125708712
Sign the petition here, if you'd rather:
http://www.change.org/petitions/board-of-directors-and-management-of-the-brattleboro-food-co-op-voluntarily-recognize-the-union-without-delay

And there's the obligatory thread with value added indignance
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20120910205048168

Sometimes I wonder why I get so wrapped up in these things. My brothers used to lecture me. People seem perfectly fine with doing what they do, just enjoying their lives once they retire. They say they're happy with things and can't be bothered. There are times I really envy them.

Today I monitored and spread the word. There are several of us who care very much. Thank you to all who are emailing and raising awareness. This could be Snidely's Scrooge moment, his Grinch heart grows moment. We're waiting.

God Only Knows

My brother Billy is a terminal Beach Boys fan. What can I tell you, nobody in the family agrees on music, except maybe for the Beatles. I don't think anyone hates/hated the Beatles. But for what each of us really likes we're all pretty far apart in taste. 50s music makes me pray for death. And pretty much most anything done after 1995 leaves me wondering what to make for dinner. I don't hate it but it bores me and sounds very alike. It's rap/hip hop or 4/4 time. I could use either for a sleep aid. I know.

Anyway, I was working on things online last night and left the tv running for the background noise after Wendy's radio show was done. And at some time I heard what I thought was the Beach Boys. I look at the screen. Holy crap. It's Brian! He has some form of Ozzyosis, doing strange things with his hands and face, but it's definitely him. He's singing the whole Pet Sounds album, the only BB album I own. And damn for all his permanent weirdness, he sounds good. He's hitting notes, he has wind. He is Brian Wilson.

What the hell happened to him and Ozzy? Yeah, it's practically impossible to believe that either of them are alive at all. But this particular brand of damage seems limited to only Ozzy and Brian. A sort of Wilson-Osbourne Syndrome. A marked lack of appropriate facial expressions for what's being said. Shaky hands are held in Ken doll positions. Arms go in nursery school conductor-ish moves between head and belt. And they have a strange sort of little run while on stage. Again, reminding me of 3 year olds zipping around in those sprints only little kids and some standup comics do. They don't look as old as you'd expect them to, either. They did the same substances with the same determined excess as Keef or Mick but they don't look like the Cryptkeeper. I mean, they aren't Dorian Greys, but they don't have that Keith Richards look, that Strolling Bones look. They're just older, staler, fatter versions of themselves. The Keef or Mick standards are very particular and must be as involved a procedure as the monks who mummify themselves by degrees. Steven Tyler is working on making it to a Keef level as I type.

Then there are those who go thru a metamorphosis that leaves them nearly unrecognizable. My beloved Greg is in this group, though not in a horrifying way. He's just turned into a tall Buddy Hackett. But look at Eddie Money, whom I just saw on a commercial and have been hoping won't be in my nightmares. Or Daryl Hall, who looks like The Vampire Lestat after being turned into a zombie.

My friends and acquaintances are sorting into these types now that we're joining the grey crowd. Some are going to be plain scary looking in another 15 years, you can tell. Features already doing things and reshaping in ways that won't be good in the end. Some are going to be your standard old white people in neutral colors, fading away before our eyes. And a couple of us will be of the Wilson-Osbourne Syndrome folks. Herky-jerky, able to sing but not talk straight, hands frozen into scoops.

But when I reflect on all we've done, all we've seen and ingested and had foisted upon us, we didn't take it too badly. We were the guinea pig generation. We had vaccinations, pollution, food additives, chemicals sprayed on us, experimental everything done to us. We played with mercury and ate lead paint, wore no safety gear nor seatbelts. We were thrown in water to see if we could swim. Every game we played, everything we used or made was dangerous. Our toys had small parts. We played in traffic and gave the finger to creepy men trying to get us in their cars. We smoked and drank as soon as we could get away with it, buying both by saying it was for our parents. We engaged in "risky behaviors" and hung with "bad company". Each of us could be dead a hundred times over but we aren't.

And right now Blind Faith in Hyde Park, June 1969 is playing. The next big concert there would be the Strolling Bones (who would do a small remembrance of the recently-dead Brian Jones) with the opening act, brand new band King Crimson. Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood both have that peculiar aging-man-begins-to-look-like-an-old-woman deal going on these days.

It's about here that I remember that old Burns line, "O wad some power the giftie gie us, tae see ourselves as others see us," and think, God only knows.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hunting Season

Not only is it 15 days since I quit smoking, it's officially the middle of September, which means- start shopping! Because not only are Yule, Channukah and Christmas coming, but there is a cluster of birthdays before them. 5 in October, 3 in November, 4 in December. Much of my evening hours are spent searching...searching... for that elusive gift that says, "I know you well" and "I wouldn't have this in my house but I know you'll love it!" I aim for the gift that makes one exclaim, cry, or laugh, if I can find it. So my strategy is to start early. That way the $ hardship isn't horrific, I look at many things before actually purchasing and I'm well organized.

Which is a pretty key thing these days because age is showing. If I get very focused on something, the rest of the world is unseen to me. My eyesight gets blurry when I read for very long and double vision is irksome. My memory is getting suckier. And like my mother, I'm developing dizzy bits. If I close my eyes and breathe slowly it passes, but it's really annoying. This and the new world of legs doing whatever they want is slowing me down in all sorts of ways. So being organized in as many areas as possible helps keep frustration and hissy fits away. If I can plan ahead, I'll have everyone covered, know what's going to happen financially, and that makes for a happier Austan. I'm still so much bitchier without tobacco that I have to do minesweeping. I can get nuts with frustration. And I really don't want to punch myself again. So I keep calm and websearch on...

"Night gathers, and now my hunt begins. It shall not end until January 2nd. I shall make no debt, hold no layaways, forget no children. I shall swear no terms and win no delayed payment plans. I shall live and die at my keyboard. I am the debit card in the darkness. I am the watcher of the websites. I am the shopper that finds the bargains of men. I pledge my stubbornness  and wallet to the Autumn Hunt, for this night and all the nights to come."


Monday, September 10, 2012

Brain Blenderizing Moments

It's not enough that the old grey matter ain't what she used to be. Many of my pals are also graying up, and with that comes some other things. People, I think, distill into their essences as they age. Good and bad, abilities and dysfunctions, all are in concentrated forms and reduce to a fine goo as we simmer our days away. And so a friend who's always been rather a sphinx in communication is all but indecipherable now. Those who whine have honed their craft to a loop wherein what they say may as well be on a tape, rewound and played over and over. I can't be a cheerleader for the volunteers of drama anymore. We're all too old for this shit. There are real causes to care about and then there's being pissy for the sake of getting one's way. And those things are often interchangeable.

Tonight, the board of directors of my former employment site were presented with a request for recognition of the union. Something like 60% of the workers have signed union cards, and one of the major proponents now is a guy who did all he could to squash the last drive 6 years ago. The board claimed ignorance of this union effort (lies- there has been antiunion propaganda posted in the store and some of the same board members were on the board in the last drive) and begged off making a decision. Big difference this time is that the store just blew $10 million on a new state-of-the-art building so they don't have $ to hire the unionbusting lawyers (Downs, Rachlin, Martin) that they had last time. The organizing committee has asked the board to give its decision in the next 3 weeks. I think the response is predictable.

We, the former organizing committee workers, are rejoicing in the workers doing this. This is a sort of vindication but it's quite stressful. Muffinpants- who still works there and was a huge part of the last drive- can barely speak, and prying info from him puts my head in a blender even on a good day. It's kinda painful to translate giggles and abstract blurts into useful, sensible information. Plague and I are close to tears when we speak about it. Those of us who stuck to the effort even while it failed and the powers of Mordor won were scarred, badly scarred. If I were still working there I don't know how well I'd be getting thru this. Thankfully or not, I'm not there. Yet watching from the sidelines is driving me nuts too.

The local independent paper's editor told me he'd be there tonight and will follow the story to the end. Perhaps I'll get the full story from him. Other outlets are undependable. In a small town ad revenue controls the media, so the General Manager of the coop often controls what gets reported. A rumor says that if the union comes through the General Manager will quit. To that I say, "Get out, ya bastid!"

And if the union fails again, I have an appointment with Plague, a couple of disco wigs, some fabric air ducting and some rubber foam.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Falling Farther In

This is the good life. I've been blessedly sleeping, it's cool, the natives have stopped being restless, I'm caught up on most emails and with house chores, the Beest is content in her window and I have a plate of chicken nuggets with "Trick 'r Treat" playing on tv in the background. All's well with the world.

So here I go screw it up with big fat ponderous things to think about.

One of those "Why didn't someone think this up before" things!
http://news.discovery.com/tech/bladeless-wind-turbine-spares-birds-120904.html

Soon the sofa will rat you out
http://phys.org/news/2012-09-smart-fabric-presence-intruders-triggers.html

It'll be extreme marketing next...
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/big-data-in-your-blood/?ref=health

Eat it while you got it
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/05/climate-change-food-oxfam?

I don't know what the hell
http://bigthink.com/think-tank/diy-drones-the-future-is-now?

Programming is fundamental
http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/09/estonia-reprograms-first-graders-as-web-coders/

Canadia, the last bastion of civilisation
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/09/201291103825936625.html

Alfred E Newman is an AARP member
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444230504577615624095873192.html

Not being mainstream
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Keep-Calm/2012/0811/Good-Reads-What-it-means-to-be-the-other-in-America

I think it's time for chocolate after all that.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stevil's Birthday and The Comforting Stink

Today was Stevil's birthday. We watched some tv, ate dinner and bitched about everything. He's retiring soon and after all these years we'll both be stay-at-homes. It's a big change, not an easy one for some, but I genuinely think he'll be happy to be retired. We'll get to hang out more, which is cool, because there have been months go by when we didn't get to hang out. Life is short. You should get to spend it with buds. And we'll get to see the usual gang on the 16th for his party, too. The social season begins. : )

You know when Summer or Winter is over here by the "Ach, skunk!" yells in the air. Sometimes the sound hits before the stink, and you have a second to close the windows. After all these years of smelling it, it doesn't bother me. It's the sure sign the seasons are changing and much more dependable than anything a human says.

So when my house filled with the reek tonight and the cat ran away to the bedroom with a disgusted look on her face, I relaxed. Things are going along as they should. The skunk sprays, Fall will come, the holidays will follow, and a Winter, as always. And sometime in March or April, the yells and stink will fill the air and it'll start all over again. Nice.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Uncle!

Fine, I give up!
There's just no way I'll ever catch up with all the things needing doing and all the people I owe phone calls. Oh, I'll try. Somehow I don't think I'll succeed, but I'll try.

Meanwhile, here's something for all those who're beatifying Reagan
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/02/opinion/sunday/reagans-personal-spying-machine.html

And if you don't think corporations are human, here
http://www.sherrodbrown.com/petition/overturn-citizens-united-a2/

One week since quitting smoking- and the old bitty is still coughing and hacking in the hallway for my benefit. Ach, gotta run, I'll try to be back later.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day, 2012

Today is workers' playtime. Or it was supposed to be, before the 24 hour- 7 days a week consumerism took over. Now it's another chance to spend good money on cheap crap "marked down" to honor the god of capitalism run amok.

I could really rant about this state of affairs but I'll spare us all. Stevil has covered the bases already:
 http://auto-de-fey.blogspot.com/2012/09/since-my-return-to-internet-space-other.html

It's enough to know that 8 years after a failed union drive, where we were demonized, threatened, harassed and at last union-busted, there will be a union after all. They couldn't do it now if we hadn't done it then. It was worth it.

Solidarity, brothers and sisters.
Happy Labor Day.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hell's Bells It's September!

Wasn't it Easter about 2 weeks ago? And doesn't everything, e ver y thing! take so long to do? How does this jibe? I have no idea. All this oxygen in my system is making me more airheaded than ever.

I'm also trying reeeeeeally hard to not be a flaming blasting bitch. Not as easy as you'd think. I had a go-round with Amazon yesterday over their incredibly stupid shipping/billing system which always requires filing a complaint and then being told it's my fault, which it's not, before being credited for what I shouldn't have been charged in the first place. Ho yeah, with all the crappy typing (I was never any good at typing and one-handed hasn't made it better) and going back to edit and replace the bad language, that takes up a whole morning. If I still had a job I couldn't order from Amazon at all, I just wouldn't have the time. When all was said and done, bills paid, gifts and foods ordered for all the various birthdays and holidays approaching and cat needs, I discovered I have 50 dollars to my name for the month. Two years ago that would've been cause for celebration. Now I'm just glad I quit smoking.

But the day ended happily and here we are in Labor Day weekend. Looks like many hobbits have left the Shire for a getaway. It's nice and quiet. Wendeleh, cheese maven and new business owner, is coming over for a good bitch session and she's bringing pizza! Hooray! Two days of not cooking!

A friend sent me a clip of another show, "The Newsroom" which impresssed me. A show about a Liberal Republican newsman. Liberal Republican. Remember them? I'll be looking for this on dvd. Here's a commenter's summary::
"...enjoy watching the clips from this series, mainly for the Tea Party bashing. They are such a bunch of ***wits on an epic level of which has never been seen before. However, before I get carried away: It should be duly noted that "Congressman Bryce Delaney" is a fictional character and whose fictional situation only represents the goofy, unwavering, flag-waving ***tards that represent the American Taliban, also known as...The Tea Party."

The oil sands of Alberta:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/aug/29/thomas-ball-best-photograph

Another view of the original tea party
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/what-would-democracy-look-like/american-rebellions

And here's some more sickening Romney info, but not in the article- in the comments!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/aug/28/mitt-romney-unpaid-bill-demand

I wish we had even one news channel or even comedy news that goes after all politicians the way this show does. Then maybe I could stand to watch news again
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeHC2BqMFPE

The Farmer's Almanac predicts a big winter
http://www.sunjournal.com/news/maine/2012/08/26/farmers-almanac-predicts-return-real-winter/1242529?

The intrusion goes on
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/aug/31/readers-privacy-under-threat

And from the very real world, Michaelann's blogpost:
http://michaelannland.blogspot.com/2012/08/free-baby-1-12-yr-old-little-girl-any.html?

Off to get ready to bitch up a storm. Big Think Sunday tomorrow!