round island

Birch Pt. Beach Blahg Archives
November 2005

Tue. November 1:

So, Luke of PerryNet, who sees *everything* that happens in the neighborhood, even when it happens at 3:30 AM, has a count: 24 trick-or-treaters. I blame Monday night. Anyone want some candy?

Wed. November 2:

Pick a rant!!
  1. Uscan rant: If you are going to pay with a whole bunch of sweaty, crumpled up bills that have to be straightened out umpteen million times before the machine will accept them or if you are going to call the cashier over to nit-pick the price on every single blasted item in your cart or if you are going to insist on putting your purse (or your kid) down on the scale and so confuse the darned fool contraption to the point that the clerk has to constantly come over and reset it or if you are just generally too cognitively deficient to competently deal with a robot cashier, GO THROUGH ONE OF THE LINES THAT HAVE A HUMAN BEING OPERATING THE CASH REGISTER!
  2. Computer/browser rant: If you are one of those people who are hanging on to your 7-year-old Windows machine even though it has become a breeder of mutant computer viruses that perform illegal operations and crash it every other nano-second and if you are still running some antiquated version of Internet Explorer, GIVE IT UP ALREADY! Paint it green and put it on a post in the back yard. BUY AN APPLE AND DOWNLOAD FIREFOX!
Your choice! Cheers!

Thu. November 3:

Grok grok grook grok schlurrrrp that was a good bug grok grok hop hop sproing grok grok we are in the car grokgrokgrokGROKGROKgrokgrookgrok sproing sproing schlurrp spider grok grok grok we're gonna go get grandaddy grok grok hop sproing schlurrrrrrp BIG bug mmmm look out here we come grok grok BAGRAWK!!!

Fri. November 4:

Haha! Click here! It is almost as much fun as watching the Soo Locks ;-)

Sat. November 5:

"You are supposed to count!" "I am NOT The Count!" Guess who.

Sun. November 6:

I hereby declare that shabby is the new black.

Mon. November 7:

I am in sticky menu hell. I do not want to dream in JavaScript tonight. That is all.

Tue. November 8:

Outta hell. I think. JavaScript is tricky. Grok grok, prolly not, you old witch. grok. Shut up, Frooggy.

Wed. November 9:

We are sozzled in sticky menu hell. Grok grook hic lalala hic GrokGROK! Get us outta here! Email-Cheetah and Frooggy. grok hic

Thu. November 10:

Yes! Me and Frooggy are outta hell!! grok.. grok.. grokka I am safely ensconced at the New Luxurious Courtois Palace at Houghton Lake and Froggy is back in his laundry basket sleeping it off. And we are finished with JavaScript! Yay! I think. Actually, I had a BLAST using JavaScript to traverse the Document Object Model and dynamically change web pages. And I actually understand how it works! So, yay! But boy oh boy did I take some wrong turns along the way. Coding hell. We're done with JavaScript but we aren't finished with the class. SSI, XSSI, Perl and a research paper and I forget what else are coming along the pike. The GG asks, "Now that you know all this stuff, when are you going to fix your *own* web site"? Keep on truckin'.

I figured there might actually be a *few* lonely souls out there who actually cared about the fate of Froggy and I and whether or not we made it out of bottom positioned sticky menu hell. But that's not my real topic for today. It was 30 years ago today that my boat nerd brother was listening to a multi-band radio on which you could pick up radio transmissions of the shipping traffic in the area of the Saint Mary's River and eastern Lake Superior. Over and over throughout that particular night, he could hear the captain of the freighter Arthur Anderson calling the captain of the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald and receiving no reply. Rest in peace.

Fri. November 11:

Interesting. I am not really much of an internet surfer. If I need some sort of information, I know how to go out on the internet and get it. But random wandering around is something I do probably about 1% of the time I spend on the internet. So maybe I am the last person on earth to hear about the guy who traded a red paperclip for a fish pen and plans to keep trading cosmic debris until he gets himself a house. If so, sorry. I heard about it from the GG, who does apparently have time to surf the internet, and he got it from something called I thought boingboing had links to porn on it but it doesn't, just in case anyone wants to check it out. Anyway, last I knew, the red paperclip character had traded all the way up to a red generator and is looking for the next item on his journey toward shelter.

Once upon a time, I traded a red paperclip! It was a nice plastic heart paperclip. I traded that paperclip plus an empty key ring for a dirty old mouse and an original piece of artwork featuring a happy mouse family hand-drawn on a piece of paper with colored markers. I didn't get any real estate out of that deal but all in all it turned out to be a pretty good trade.

Sat. November 12:

Lemme see. This weekend at Houghton Lake. Arnie's Crap Store. The Reedsburg Dam. Daddy Swan. Heptagonal pentagonal numbers. Home Despot. Glen's. The Hub. Umpteen million hardware stores. Rhombic dodecahedrons. RJ-45 connectors. Server Side Includes. Umpteen million boat stores. Gradients. And I forget what else. But maybe that's enough.

Sun. November 13:

Home. Whew. Lemme see. The evening of Thursday, November 3, we drove to Houghton Lake. Got up the next morning and drove to Sault Ste. Siberia to see the octogenarians. Drove all over the eastern "downriver" part of Chippewa County on Saturday. Home via Houghton Lake on Sunday. Then, on the morning of Thursday, November 10, we drove to Houghton Lake again. Down to Kalamazoo this afternoon for a play, Naga-Mandala, A Play with a Cobra. Liz was the stage manager and Mouse was Flame #5. It was a good play and no one put on deoderant behind me and I was actually able to relax enough to escape the soup of conundrums that perpetually invade my brain and make it hard for me to concentrate. But. Home. Windy. Full moon, almost. Tired. But okay. I wonder when I will unpack the suitcase that I first packed on Friday, June 24, 2005. Or it might've been Thursday the 23rd. My blahg is cryptic and I don't have a terribly clear memory of that week, although the next week is forever embedded there. Hey, that was a digression but we are okay, the play really was good, it was a riot having our two daughters mob us in the lobby after it was over and Thanksgiving is next.

Mon. November 14:

Yoga? Yoga? (Yoda?) Yoga? JHMK. Karen talks about yoga. I remember a time not so long ago that I might've laughed about yoga. But I am so scattered. I cannot stand managing this house. I love this house. I knew 21-1/2 years ago when I first walked into this house that it was my house. It has a woods behind it. I love this house. I love to sit around in here and do my homework. But I cannot get myself to manage my house! Currently, I am the happiest when I am driving north. Or somewhere. Why? I am even tired of walking. I need to walk at *least* 3 miles a day. Six miles is my optimum daily walk. I am at my best on a 10 mile day. Some of that can be kayaking or skiing, etc. But I am bored. And I am overwhelmed. I am going nuts here. What do I need? Six months at Houghton Lake might do it but I can't go and live there for six months. I love it there but I live here. I love my house and I love Ann Arbor. I have grown some roots here. I dunno. Was it just that I was agonizing over a homework assignment today? Was it because I was attempting a re-design of ababsurdo and being overwhelmed with the possibilities? What? Yoga? Would yoga kick all the cobras outta my brain? But I'd have to make time for it...

(Hey, y'all, The Commander in particular, I am really okay, I am just kvetching ;-)

Tue. November 15:

Haha! Karen does a cable rant and I have to agree. I do not see why you can't pick and choose cable channels and pay for what you WANT! Heck, I have used *Excel* to accomplish more complicated tasks than that for YAG and various school PTOs.

But I can remember *before* TV. We got our first black and white set in 1956, when I was 2. It picked up one CBC channel and I think there was one show for kids, Howdy Doody, which I can barely remember. When I got to grade school or thereabouts, we got a CBS channel. We got the Saturday morning cartoons, which I never missed. Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks, etc. And sit-coms at night. I think I was allowed to stay up until 9:30 one night a week and I picked the night that The Beverly Hillbillies was on. Finally, a bit later in life, we got cable and maybe had about 10 channels, including a Detroit channel that played Lost In Space reruns every afternoon while I did my geometry homework.

I am really not interested in TV much anymore. The weather channel can be handy if you're tracking a tornado or something. The food channel is fun sometimes. I Love Lucy re-runs are the best but I have no idea when they're on any more. Herman Munster is pretty funny if you are in the right mood. And once in a while, I get momentarily hooked by a bad movie or The Next Top Model or some other gawd-awful show. When Lizard Breath was in kindergarten, she got to be a kind of dawdly dresser for a while and for some unfathomable reason, the Bewitched (or "b-witch" as she called it) reruns that aired in the morning before school speeded up the process, proving that TV is not always bad for kids. That didn't work for Mouse though and we did something that I can't quite remember except that there was some sort of ritual involving Speedy Gonzalez (uh, beware the Speedy link, bad language, political incorrectness, and what look like porn links ;-)

Hmm, I guess that is prob'ly more than enough, isn't it? ;-)

Wed. November 16:

Last winter, I just about killed my brain studying CSS-based web design with a certain teacher over at WCC. I figured I'd spend the summer converting my web sites from the dreaded old-school tables-style layout. Unfortunately, life had other plans for me. As you can see, I finally got around to it. No, it doesn't quite validate, at least not in xhtml 1.0 strict. I know why and I will fix it when JavaScript gives me back my brain. I dunno when that'll be. I kind of wanted to jettison the weather icons but the GG uses them. And I guess I do too. So they're staying. I wish I could find some smaller ones. If you find bad links or spelling errors or whatever, lemme know. If you have issues with how the design looks, I do not care. Go getcher own website! If you are looking at this in Netscape 4, you're on your own. Get a new browser. If you don't have the foggiest idea what I'm talking about, do not worry. Most of the rest of the world doesn't understand any of this either :-)

Thu. November 17:

So, the City of Ann Arbor, in its infinitely superior wisdom, after 21 years of picking up our garbage and recycling on Tuesday morning, recently moved it to *Friday*! Since we have been out of town for the last two consecutive Fridays, that means I have *three* weeks worth of garbage to put out today. The paper recycling bin has overflowed into a grocery bag. Every time I put something new in the container recycling bin, something already in there falls out. I do not even want to look at what is in that fancy new city-issued garbage can on wheels that you can see from my webcam. This job is beyond me. It seems like it could be a job for the octogenarians. How 'bout it, you guys? We can take turns stomping the garbage down in the can and futz around about whether we have the right color bags and we can all argue and kvetch until the air turns blue. Sincerely yours, Garbage Woman.

Fri. November 18:

Me? Relax? What? On Thanksgiving weekend? No such luck!!! Lemme see. Turkey dinner to cook. Shambling mounds to evict. Research project. Homework assignments. Lab assignments. Final presentation. Leaves. Relax? Yeah.

Sat. November 19:

Well, I was asked to take down the pic of Garbage Woman, so y'all will just have to wait for the movie. But a more important event occurs today and it is: Happy birthday Joannie!!! I won't say how old Joannie is. That's partly because I don't know exactly how old she is. Definitely a good bit less old than I am though :-) Joannie, You Go, Girl.

And would y'all please fill out this survey? It is for a class that Lizard Breath is taking. It is informal. She wants as many people as possible, and she wants males if at all possible. So, come on you guys. You can copy it into an email message and send it to her, her email is on the form. She needs it by Monday night.

Sun. November 20:

<longramblystuff>Yark. Except for yesterday's leaf raking odyssey, I have been sedentary a little too much for my taste in the last week. Homework, homework, homework. Final presentation in one class. Research paper and killer exam in the other. 3-1/2 weeks away. So, I am trying to get myself well ahead of the game and I have made some progress. But hanging around on the couch cuddling with a powerbook can get old. So, someone asks, do ya wanna go to Meijer today? What? Kee-reist, it is Sunday and believe me, I have no interest in going to Meijer. It is the Sunday before Thanksgiving and I know it will be mobbed there. Heck, I bought my turkey on, hmmm, was it Friday? I can't remember exactly what day but me and a bunch of other old bags were practically banging our carts into each other to get at the damn birds. Sheesh. No thank you, after all these years in A2, I know which days are bad days to shop if you hate to wait in line. And I definitely hate to wait in line. But I do have a strategy. And a list! I have not been very good at making grocery lists in the last couple years. My grocery shopping habits have degenerated into a daily (or twice daily) dash through the u-scan. But this time I have a list. And my Monday coffee date has been moved to Tuesday, so I'm gonna get out there early tomorrow morning and get all of the food for the whole next week. My refrigerator is practically empty. Just ask the GG. So tomorrow I am gonna FILL it. I will get out there EARLY and with any luck before the rest of the powershoppers get out there. Uh, that doesn't mean you won't find me at the u-scan later this week. But. Tomorrow morning.</longramblystuff>

I may have been sedentary today but the GG was not. Fixing screens and chairs and cleaning gutters and I do not know what all else. (Sheesh, I'd prob'ly never think of cleaning the gutters were it up to me ;-) Anyway, he *did* go shopping today. And he found, drum roll...... strings of light emitting diode (LED) Christmas lights! They are great and he is one happy camper. I have blue ones up in my living room.

Mon. November 21:

I hate cosmic debris. Vacuuming too. That is all.

Tue. November 22:

The question was, "Is it safe for women to be alone outside?" And my answer was that everyone (male/female) needs to be aware of their surroundings and who else is around and what they might be up to. I walk alone outside all the time. For a good portion of the year it's dark a lot of the time I walk. Early in the morning, late afternoon. I know who's out there in the morning: Charles and his dogs, Bill and Jackie and their dogs, sometimes Ken and his dog and a few regular walkers and runners whose names I don't know. It's a little more random in the late afternoon but up until this fall, the dog people were always in the school yard when I got there. The schoolyard is at the end of my route and at this time of year it is really dark by the time I get there. When the dog people were there, it always felt completely safe. Even if I couldn't see who was there, I could hear Robin's laugh and Neil's British accent and other familiar voices floating across the tundra. I am not one of the dog people but they are my neighbors and I've known most of them for many years. We are friends or friendly acquaintances or whatever. But the Ann Arbor Public Schools, in its infinitely superior wisdom, has banned the dog people from congregating in the school yard. Why? Because the dogs were allowed to run free, which is dangerous, and because the dogs pooped, which is also dangerous. According to the Public Schools. Even though these particular dog people were inclined to carry ziplock bags. So, the other evening, I was walking through the cold, dark, empty, silent schoolyard. There were no dog people there. I got to the deep, dark, scary woods and I could see a sinister looking person sauntering his way toward me on the sidewalk. A hood shadowed his face so I couldn't see it in the dark but his gait was very similar to that of the teenager I had encountered earlier in the afternoon. One of my vee-hickles had been parked, unlocked, across the street because we were raking a humungous, trenormous mass of leaves out of the driveway. I randomly walked around the side of the house armed with shovel and leaf-blower and saw him strolling slowly past my car, eyeballing the interior as he went by. He turned and saw me and we stared each other down for a few seconds and then he continued on his way. Whether it was the same person or not, the person by the woods was just a kid and the sinister appearance could well have been an act. We passed each other without speaking, I doubt he had any interest in me, and I wasn't really afraid of him. But I was spooked enough that I didn't take my habitual trek through the deep, dark, scary woods that night. I could not see the color of his aura but it definitely teetered on the edge of "I am up to no good". I thought, if the dog people were over here like they always used to be, I wouldn't have been even the slightest bit spooked. The school district has forbidden a bunch of good, honest people from congregating in the schoolyard for a half hour or so at the end of the day because they were engaging in so-called dangerous activities. And that makes the world a safer place. Go figure.

Sincerely yours, the woman who walks and is still walking, dad-rat it, sinister-looking people by the woods or not!

Wed. November 23:

Whew. We have quite a bit of snow here. And that would be fun except that just about everyone that I love is or has been out there driving in it. Thank you, Tyson, for bringing my kids home safely in this snowstorm. The A2 Courtois kids are home from Kalamazoo College. Karen, if you get this tonight, will you either post or shoot me an email that you guys are okay. Love to all.

Update: Karen and crew (2 kids, 3 dogs) arrived safely before I even wrote this and my kids are out visiting friends and I am gonna lie down on the couch in front of the fire. All is well. Love y'all.

Thu. November 24:

Green bean casserole is almost as old as I am, according to the A2 Snooze! You know, that stuff with the onion rings on top. And I have actually been asked to make that stuff this year. Along with mashed potatoes. Lots of mashed potatoes, thank you very much! And turkey. On the grill. And dressing. And cranberries. And pumpkin pie, which I managed without a whole lot of difficulty even though I am definitely not known around these parts for my pie making abilities. And chex mix. And about a million pita chips. And asynchronous JavaScript.

Fri. November 25:

Ho-hum. That is about it here in A2. Well, there's always asynchronous JavaScript but y'all are sick of hearing about that. So, my reporter for the day is Kathy Farnell, who is spending the holiday at Houghton Lake, where (I'm still pinching myself here) there is now a stove with an actual oven in which you can roast beasts and bake things like vegetarian lasagne. It sounds like Kathy and Doug are actually up there *alone* and they have been watching the first ice of the year form. Which does not sound exciting but, trust me, it actually is! And I am quite envious. I wish I was there!

And Kathy reminded me that today is the 4th anniversary of Grandpa Garth's death. Garth, we miss you and if you can see the new cabin, we hope you approve. Rest in peace.

Sat. November 26:

One more day! :-/

Sun. November 27:

Cabin fever at the end of a long Thanksgiving weekend. Lemme see, what kind of excitement (not) did we get up to? We rediscovered for the umpteen millionth time that they apparently do not make jeans for skinny girls with long legs. Even though that's what all the clothing models look like. Go figure. The light in my oven is now fixed after about six months of darkness and now I can see how dirty it is in there. My web cam was busy yesterday as dogs, kids, and aunts went in and out and multiple garbage trucks went by. Lunch at Red Hawk and a sales guy at Bivouac discovers his long-lost Aunt Karen as he rings up her new boots. Felt like trying out some of those new Chacos or whatever they're called to replace my dead-tired old Tevas. Liz recommended them but I couldn't focus. What else? We finally got rid of the rest of the Halloween candy. Maybe it made it all the way to kzoo, maybe not. I do not care either way. Finally, early this afternoon, I gave my Mouse my last $6 and two sets of keys to the green Honda and very apprehensively sent her off down the wet, crowded I94 18-wheel Clogway for the last two days of the first quarter of her freshman year in college. And yes, she did make it there. I am never worried about Mouse's or Liz's driving, they learned to drive when they were 10. It is the other people on the road that scare me. And they find new ways to scare me every day.

Mon. November 28:

Yeah, YELLOW! Pretty, eh? This is exactly what color the page background for homework 8 was when I trucked over to the WCC lab this morning to look at it via an internet explorer browser. Yikes! Good thing I didn't turn it in that way. That sure would've been a nice little surprise for the teacher! A little creative deviation from the assignment maybe? Yellow garbage bags on the brain, perhaps? I sure hope the lab assistant, who is also in the class, didn't see it!

Tue. November 29:

bladldldldl. About all I can say today is yay for 12" screen G4 powerbooks. But Mouse just walked in the door, home from her 1st quarter of college, and she says that for about 5-10 minutes she was actually *alone* on the I94 18-wheel Clogway. Yeah, that means there were NO cars.

Wed. November 30:

A check? You say you need a check? Hmmm, I cannot find any checks. I can find an empty check box and two checkbooks with nothing but deposit slips left in them. When was the last time I wrote a check? Kalamazoo College, I guess. I do not have any checks. I do not *use* checks. I don't even use deposit slips, usually, I just throw things into the ATM. So, what do you do when you don't have a check? You get your kid to write a check and then you get on the internet and transfer the money over to her savings account and then she gets out there and either moves it into her checking account or not. Whatever. Hey, this is the 21st century and I do not mess around with paper if I can avoid it. But K College does not take plastic, so I guess I better order some more checks because we have a few more quarters to go there. Actually, I would not be totally surprised if there were some checks hanging around the house. Somewhere... But. Oh, and I am not so doddery that I need any help keeping track of paperwork from the younger generation. Not yet.