October 2004 Birch Pt. Beach Blog

September 04 | November 04

Fri. October 1: Political blog? Well, maybe not after all. After:

  1. an evening of birthday/retirement partying with a friend who, on his last day of work, was picked up by a helicopter
  2. a morning of messing around with international dialing (again!)

I am just out of steam. Mouse watched the debates, she prob'ly has a better handle on all of it than I do. All I can say is the issues are complex (as always), neither man is particularly suited to the job (as always), and ho-hum. Sorry. I do have a couple of things to say about telephones (which I have never enjoyed using, that's why I'm an email queen):

  1. If you aren't supposed to include the city code when dialing an overseas telephone number if the phone is a *cell* phone, WHY DON'T YOU SAY SO? (i.e., some random operator just happened to tell me that little tidbit today and I found I could dial direct to my daughter after all)!
  2. And to all of you well-meaning folk who keep telling us that if we buy a phone card "it's only 7 cents a minute [or whatever] for international phone calls": that may be true if one of the *countries* is the US, but so far I have not found that it is possible to go from Spain to Thailand for anything under about *50* cents a minute.

That is all! I have homework to do.

Sat. October 2: I am in dangerous territory today. I really shouldn't be blogging about this. It will almost certainly get me into trouble.

It is casting time again. I dread casting time. I do not have anything to do with casting actors into roles. My sole job related to casting is to put the list on the web site.

Casting is *very* hard. Our directors put in hours and hours of work in an effort to give *everyone* an appropriate role. They care a lot about these kids. And they have to make excruciating decisions. Until you have tried to cast 40 teenagers into a play, you really do not have any idea how difficult it is.

Kids, *please* do not drop the play because you did not get the "lead" role. For the 100th time, we believe that ALL roles are important. We really mean that! It is a major part of our philosophy.

Parents, *please* do not complain that your children have not been assigned a role equal to their talents and abilities. We are dealing with a whole bunch of very talented kids. Yours is one of them. Relax and let your kids learn and have fun.

*Nobody* get hysterical. (Please?) Don't drop out. Give the play a try. Actors, you will receive some high-quality theatrical training no matter what your role is. You will have a chance to perform in a fantastic theatre. You will make new friends. You will have fun.

I cannot say this kind of stuff on that other web site. I have spent years listening to complaints and personal agendas and all kinds of other baggage and whatnot. I am tired. I am definitely not in this for the money. I need to say this stuff. This is my *personal* web site. If you have wandered over here from that other site, I apologize if any of this has offended you.

A last word: what you get out of anything you do in this life is strongly related to what you put into it. I wish I'd figured that out a long time ago.

Sun. October 3: Chinese fortune cookies revisited:

    The mood is right for a friendly chat to lead to romance [in bed]
    You will soon discover how truly fortunate you really are [in bed]
    A cheerful letter or message is on its way to you [in bed]
    New and rewarding opportunities will soon develop for you [in bed]
    An hour with friends is worth more than ten with strangers [in bed]

Brought to you by our friends from Hotlanta. And I don't really remember anything much else about today except for lotsa geek talk.

Mon. October 4: Jane says (approximate words), "Banan, get rid of that picture, it's driving me nuts!"

Yes, ma'am, it was about time anyway!!! I'll explain the Mystery House tomorrow or Wednesday (or whenever 0:) and identify the guru who helped me get it there (i.e., it was *not* the GG, although he did have a hand in it :-) Too tired tonight to do much, project due and quiz tomorrow... duh, why am I doing this school thing ?

Tue. October 5: Rat's Ass. Or maybe Raccoon's Ass (or even Skunk's Ass) would be more appropriate. How *not* to process the garbage:

Maybe I should be taking lessons from the Octogenarians >:->>

Onward and upward, -Garbage Woman

Wed. October 6: Liz to an advisor: "i said yes that i knew a lot of old people." Yeah, we are certainly familiar with octogenarians. She has to do a research project involving hands-on human interaction with local folk outside the academic environment. So she thinks she might work with a group that does things with and for "old people". And if she does, she'll be good at it. She's a lot more patient with those folk than yours truly ;-) (i.e., "whaddya mean you can't find your boat book?" and other adventures >:->>)

Her classes are: Art and Culture, History of Spain, Islam, Lengua 2 & Classical Archaeology. She went to Madrid last weekend and is going to Lisbon this weekend. (Dunno if she wanted me to tell all that but there are some people who want to know.)

Thu. October 7: Mouse (live in the Carbeck kitchen): "Well, I don't see why someone who was 60 would *want* to take college classes."

Volcano Mama: "Well, *I* am 50!"

Mouse: "Oh yeah, I forgot that 60 was so close to 50."

The Commander (via email): "Dear Garbage Woman: Who was the person who said that his parent's were very stupid but as they grew older (as he did) they suddenly grew a lot smarter!"

Garbage Woman: "I believe it was Mark Twain? And I am apparently right smack in the middle of the 'stupid' phase."

Sandwich Generation? :-/ Well, at least I don't also have grandchildren! (And hey, you old grammar nazi, there should *not* be an apostrophe in "parents"! So there! :-P)

Fri. October 8: I have nothing to say today. Y'all do not prob'ly want to hear about the GG's new haircut or his conspiracy with the lady barber about putting that goo in his hair. No, I do *not* like that goo, goo is bad! And you do not want to know about all of my adventures with Photoshop, Illustrator or the WCC student file server. Or all my little post office, bank and grocery store type errands. Or that we are dangerously close to being out of toothpaste today (Liz would have a *fit*!). It was just one of those boring days. Tomorrow is Houghton Lake and I'm packing up all my electronical crap and my textbooks and my ratty old clothes. Little Princess Trailer, here I come.

Sat. October 9: Political blog?

Hey Mark! Looks like you need to send a Kerry patrol to the Long Point area of Houghton Lake! There are Bush-Cheney yard signs. There are Hoppy Harper yard signs. There are Barry Poindexter and Cindy Cool yard signs. I have not seen *one* Kerry-Edwards yard sign.

I once put a political yard sign in my yard. It was a Shifrin sign. My friend was running for school board and she won, too. I am not sure my sign had much to do with it though. My neighbor thought that we were selling our house! I told him something like, "Hans, I'll think about moving when *you* move! And since there's no other house in A2 with a *woods* behind it that *we* can afford, that better be a long time from now!"

An excerpt from a "political" discussion in the Carbeck household, fall 2004 (well, actually, it was in the Indefatigable, midway between A2 and Houghton Lake). Volcano Mama, remembering that her mother-in-law sometimes got so disgusted with the whole electoral process that she would threaten to vote for Gus Hall: "Do you think Gus Hall is running this year?" The GG, totally plugged into his iPod: "Eh? What about Pope John Paul?" :-/ and yes, he did also remind me that Gus Hall is dead.

Anyway, Marky, y'all better get cracking!

(writing on the shore of Houghton Lake, in chilly pitch black darkness, under the stars! Gotta go upload from my outdoor internet cafe, if I can get there in the dark without tripping on a skunk or something, and then crash in The Little Princess trailer. Oh my gosh, I was just buzzed by some kind of crazy fly!)

Sun. October 10: I took the last shower. As a bonus, the toilet was running when I got out, so I got to jiggle the handle one more time. The GG was the last person to go upstairs. Liz(Betsy) was the last to use the facilities. By that time we were flushing with a bucket of water from the lake. As Grandaddy (Jack, not Garth) says, "Running water? Grab a bucket, run down to the lake, fill it up, run back up again." (But that was another cabin and another blog....)

Money changed hands. High fives were exchanged. So long, you good old Disaster Area, we'll miss you. Thank you, Garth & Sally, for all the good times. We love you. Onward (but not necessarily upward)!

Mon. October 11: I'm sure y'all are tired of all my rantings and ravings and fortunately, today you don't have to read them! :-) I'll turn it over to the GB Fins, since Valdemort is in the Grand Blanc News! The GB Fins also have a website and blog ("bragging rights"), so when y'all get tired of yours truly, you can head over to cliffsvic.com and see what they're up to (it's named after a lake freighter, as anyone who knows my little bro' could probably guess).

Tue. October 12: Stars and Stripes seems to have gone missing. Let's just hope that Excalibur does not have anything to do with it.

Wed. October 13: Another day of nothing interesting to blog. Like y'all do not want to hear about the monster test I have 6 days to study for. So, here's some on-line pornithology, courtesy of the flute list serve (yeah, that froot loop group that Mouse keeps banning me from).

Thu. October 14: From my faithfully reading friends and relatives, first from Marquis:

| Dearest friend,
| I am sadden to hear of your dearth of "blog" material. I hope that this untimely affliction may
| some how be over come. I know that you shoulder a great responsibility while publishing your web
| log day after day. Here are a couple of suggestions for filler material:
| 1) How about using your blog to ask for homework help on line?
| 2) Using the correct answers that you get back from your teachers to guide a sort of reality blog contest.
| 3) Go political: MI is solid Kerry. Go suicide! Go Rush!
| 4) Sell the blog to Disney, Microsoft, or what ever...
| 5) Slough on day to day with little recognition from the multitude of lurkers with the secret
| satisfaction that you are day to day doing a good job.
| Luv,
| Marquis

All wonderful ideas from the Marquis. Y'all wanna do my homework? A2 MI may be "solid" Kerry but Houghton Lake MI sure ain't. And btw, who is "Rush?" Is Rush "Limbo" -- as my father-in-law used to call him -- running? Or am I just totally out of the loop as usual? (Not really a bad place to be :-)

And then we have my dear, darling, little lizard daughter:

| since i generally check my e-mail
| once a day, everytime you want to write something to me, you should do it
| and save as draft and then add so i don't open my email and have like 16
| from mom =)

e-r-rrokay. I really don't think I was writing *16* messages a day but I do have a habit of just shooting off email messages when I think of something. I am sure most other people are much more interesting to receive email from than some old, tired volcano mother ;-)

Fri. October 15: ababsurdo site hits in September: 15,567. Some of the search strings used, editorial comments in "[]":

    alcohol ice luge with hole in the middle of the block
    awful [we have ugly, not sure where awful came from]
    build liquor luge
    call cannot be completed as dialed sit flood [international dialing adventures?]
    cutting hair [LOTS of requests (!) and only two kitchen haircut sessions]
    funny mouse pictures [yeah, we have those]
    guinea pig sick congested [used to have one]
    how do i find my main water supply
    indoor plumbing
    it's daylight in the swamp
    liquor luge stand [lot of people seem to be interested in this!]
    liz scott [hmmm, lizzy lizard and our YAGgie friend Scott, I guess]
    lucky charms [duh? lots of these but dunno why (!)]
    main water supply
    msu marching band [yep, it's here]
    muddy atv pictures
    new walmart at houghton lake mi [my faaaavvorrrite store ;-)]
    photos of boys [yeah right, we are a child porno site -- sheesh!]
    picture handsome guy laptop cafe [we have the handsome guy and the cafe
    power steering makes noise [the POC!!!]
    redecorating your driveway [duh?]
    tom wisdom
    triplets [yep, we have triplets (well, I don't personally have them)]
    velociraptors [plenty of those!]
    water supply plumbing [what is all this water supply stuff?]
    wilfred sykes [a lake freighter, yes, we know some boatnerds]

Sat. October 16: I am exhausted. I spent the whole day refining five 1-page essays that I have been writing all week in preparation for a test on Tuesday. Then I finished up my coding assignment for the week. I have more reading to do and a Photoshop assignment and don't forget the big project that's due in November. This school thing is intense! I still have to keep thinking: what am I forgetting to do, have I read everything I am supposed to read, what am I forgetting to bring to class, etc., etc. But it is an absolute blast! The subject matter is interesting and the teachers are fantastic. They are making me read, write and think. The other students are friendly and intelligent. They are all ages and are there for a variety of reasons. Well, there are one or two *characters* mixed in there but that just makes it more fun. (And I will *not* blog about them, at least not until this adventure is safely past the statute of limitations I have in my blog brain ;-) We're going out for seafood tonight. We have a gift certificate. I think I might have to wear my ski jacket. It is c-c-c-cold out. That is all. I am tired :-)

Sun. October 17: Dead (?) werewolf in a coffin and Bubba everywhere.

Mon. October 18: "i've just been staying neutral as i usually try to and it's working out well because it means i have 16 friends instead of like 7 or something." -- Lizard Breath, via email.

Pretty much how she has lived her life and this time she's referring to some "silly drama" between kids in her group in Spain who were arguing about politics.

Tue. October 19: It's true. It finally happened. Yesterday, October 18, 2004, the Courtois Cabin at Houghton Lake was knocked down. Yes, it was done on purpose. We paid to have it done. We wanted to be there when it happened but most of us didn't make it. Kathy F. (my sister-in-law) got up there after it was already down. We anxiously await pictures of the empty lot (well, really, it's not quite empty: there's the garage, shed, ice shanty, Airstream trailer, Little Princess trailer and I forget how many boats and hoists plus stacks of dock sections and a pile of debris waiting to be burned).

Garth and Sally bought the place 40 years ago. I've been hanging around the last 25. As much as we all "loved to hate" the place, there were plenty of good times there and we'll all miss it. It was hard during the 80s when today's young adults were babies and the place kept flooding. Slogging around through a few inches of water trying to figure where you can put your kid down to change a diaper is not fun! But in the end, I really didn't want to see it go. Unfortunately the infrastructure was just totally worn out. In the last couple of years we were never really sure if the ancient oil furnace was going to turn on or not, let alone stay on! Calls to furnace repair guys just elicited laughter.

Garth and Sally didn't live to see this and some might say it was arguable whether Garth would've wanted it, but, as Kathy F. said in an email, "Sally Courtois is finally getting her wish." Indeed, once when a burner was left on with a pan on it and a plastic utensil started to melt, her facial expression said something like, "hmmm, should we just let it burn? No, better not, my precious grandchildren are in the cabin." But it is gone now and we are off on the new adventure of building a cabin.

Wed. October 20: Rarrrrr! Got a lot of randomly crappy little chores done today and should feel accomplished but, on balance, it was a pretty sucky day. And it is not over yet! One of several main sources of frustration: NO WIRELESS NETWORK AND CAN'T PRINT! (Yeah, I'm shouting!) Finally went out there and unplugged MY printer, hooked it up DIRECTLY to MY powerbook via USB and monkeyed around for prob'ly 20 minutes STILL not being able to print until I figured out that I could SELECT the printer I wanted. Well, that worked for most of the day but sometime this afternoon, the paper started to jam unmercifully. I canNOT fix it. I NEED AN ENGINEER!!! And I think there are no less than *4* working printers around here -- well, maybe 3 if mine stays broken forever like it prob'ly will :-( PLEASE put one of the others out there on the wireless. I NEED mine! And I am NOT in the mood for a board meeting tonight. And there are rodents in the kitchen... again... and I do NOT mean the human kind. And that is not all but it's all I'll tell y'all about for now ;-)

Besides that, it is Valdemort's 18th birthday (sorry to rant on your parade, Val ;-) and we have a little slide show of the aftermath of the destruction of the Courtois cabin.

Thu. October 21: Rarrrrr-Squared!

"Your name has been drawn by random selection for jury service. The full cooperation of every citizen is necessary if our system of justice is to function fairly and efficiently. You are required to answer and return this Qualification Questionnaire within 10 days after receiving it. Refusing to answer or making untruthful answers could result in fine, imprisonment, or both for contempt of court." --Washtenaw County Circuit Court

I'd be ticked off enough if I was the recipient. I just went through this stuff a couple years ago. I do not have the time to do it again right now. But I am *not* the recipient. It came to my daughter. The one that is currently living in Spain. Hmmm. Random tidbits from my experience in calling the County Clerk's office:

Don't worry little Lizard, it'll get sorted out. But I just had to blog about it. I mean, usually jury duty consists of hanging around a room with a bunch of fidgety, coughing people for a day of waiting for cases to get settled out of court. They can damn well find some other random person! And rampant incompetence always just makes my day in any case!As Liz says, "i hope that doesn't turn into a big pain in the butt to deal with." A-men! Maybe I should write my congressman. Hmm, maybe I should figure out who the heck my congressman *is* ;-)

Fri. October 22: Marquis, via email (um, didya eat the wrong kind of mushrooms or something?):


    Chill out babe! Don't sweat it. Like, be cool! Be happy. Don't
    Worry. Enjoy life. Live! Live one day at a time. Just cool it. I'm chillin,
    Yo! Come in peace. Be at peace. Go in peace. Thanks be to God! If it feels
    good. Just do it. Luv your neighbor. Luv your self. All you need is Luv. Luv, Luv, Luv, ...

    Be cool, I am,

    Marky Mark Mark AKA (Malarkey)

Too many birthdays to keep track of: Val (Oct. 20) Jay (Oct. 21) Julia (Oct. 22) Lizard Breath (Oct. 23)

Sat. October 23: 7 AM A2 time, 1 PM Spain time: Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear Lizard Breath. Happy birthday to you. Just practicing up for the day *I* get to do an octogenarian chorus >:->>

October Birthday update: Dave Axe, 17 on October 13. Oh, and Dave would like to point out that the last time the St. Louis Cardinals were in the World Series was October 1987, when he was born! (Come to think of it, the *only* time in my life I have ever paid attention to the World Series was October of 1984 when we were waiting for Elizabeth to come along. The Tigers won and we didn't have to wait long for Liz 'cause she was a bit early. One of the Tiger wives had her first child around then too, at the same hospital, but she was picked up by a limo, I was just picked up by an old blue Fiesta.

Re birthdays: remind me when your birthday is coming up and send a picture or three if you want, I'd forget my own birthday except that people have a habit of reminding me about it :-)

Sun. October 24: Here we are at the luxurious Courtois Cabin at Houghton Lake! Oops, I get confused easily. We're actually at the Best Western hotel and it actually *is* quite luxurious: clean, a great lake view and WIRELESS INTERNET!!! If you would like to see what the actual Courtois cabin site looks like, you can click here for pictures taken Oct. 18 by Kathy F. and pictures taken Oct. 23 by yours truly.

Mon. October 25: I was gonna post the usual bunch of baby pictures for Elizabeth on her birthday but I barely have time to breathe these days and then she sent me these pictures of Spain -- *finally* -- she's had great difficulty getting onto a computer that'll let her send attachments. That is all. Gotta go breathe. Don't call me ;-)

Tue. October 26: Tuesday is always my long day and today was a looooooonnnngg day so I really don't have time to blog but HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUZIE!

Wed. October 27: Kalama-malaka-zookman. And back. Via the I94 18-wheel raceway (not?) in a heathery colored Honda Accord. Prob'ly a little too heathery colored to attract much attention from the state police but that's not a bad thing. A bowl of cheerios and a glass of juice, a *china* bowl and a *glass* glass, in the *car* no less. A road dead-ended by big boulders. A rest area of dead flies and other unidentified (live) bugs. A surprise phone call to the car from an unidentified number that turned out to be in Spain, which we answered because the ring wasn't a fanfare. And something about ojos, I guess that means eggs or something.

Thu. October 28: I didn't even have time to hit the u-scan today!

Hey Karen! Remember last winter when we had time to go gallivanting all over hell's half acre testing out flutes?

And yeah, we did. And she bought a Mura and I dredged up my "golden age" Haynes and my piccolo and my Taffanel & Gaubert "bible" of flute exercises and my 3-foot stack of music. And I spent some good times blasting through my French flute virtuoso stuff and the Telemann Fantaisies and the Doppler and a bunch of Kuhlau stuff and the Vivaldi piccolo Concerto and a whole bunch of other stuff. And I started wood-shedding the infamous Rodrigo Concerto and I was even doing pretty well with it!

And then Karen got called into a bunch of contracting work and I went back to school. And. And. And. I still haven't revisited the Berio or Le Merle Noir or Density or any of those other atonal 20th-century things I used to love. And I'm a little afraid (yeek) to revisit the Ibert or the Prokofieff, even though they are easier than the Rodrigo.

But I am having a blast. Maybe I'll get back to the flute again someday. After I clean the bathroom maybe.

But today, I didn't even have time to hit the u-scan.

Fri. October 29: Rerrk. I hate I275 between I96/M14 and I696 even on a nice dry sunny day. Even on a good day it's a 5-lane nightmare of random merging and switching lanes. So why do we always have to drive over to megalopolis on days when it is raining cats and dogs? You can't see a bloomin' thing and there are trucks everywhere and tailgaters and everybody is going 80 even though they can't see the car in front of them. And today, they had flares all over that awful cloverleaf intersection because, of all things, there was a crew of *litter picker uppers* out there. On a day like today! And accidents and cops and just all kinds of general mayhem. Rerrk. A sucky day in general. Nowhere to go but up!

And, appropros of nothing, as My Dear Uncle Harry has been heard to say, there are a few new pictures added to the Spain slide show. Click here if you are interested. Oh and btw, you may notice that my photos don't take quite as many eons to load as they used to. You can thank my "Web Imaging I" teacher at WCC for teaching me how to optimize graphics the *right* way ;-)

Sat. October 30: Beware. This post doesn't even attempt to be politically correct but it relates to a life-long pet peeve of mine. Just telling y'all in advance ;-)

Thank you Mary Sue Coleman, UM president, for having the good sense to veto the plans of the has-been jocks over in the UM athletic department to rename the Michigan/Ohio State football game the "SBC Michigan/Ohio State Game" (or something like that). What were those guys thinking? How can you *name* a football game? Why would anyone *care*? And why doesn't SBC hand out money to some *real* students instead of a bunch of neanderthals? Like, my kids could use some! So what if they are skinny little girls that'd get killed on a football field (well, maybe not the mighty Mouse, she has super powers ;-) What they *can* do is read, write and think. Isn't that what college is about? Thank god somebody got smart and hired a *woman* (an intelligent one) to run that school. Here's the story if anyone's interested. I like the part where the AD says he met with Coleman and she "discussed Michigan's traditions and values with him. The SBC contract didn't fit with them." Tail between legs? And how!

Okay, I'm done. And all that said, at 3:30 EDT this afternoon, the UM and MSU football teams will battle it out here in A2. If it's on TV here (ABC is televising it), I'm gonna watch the halftime since the MooU Marching Band will be on.

And now, since I'm feeling a little panicky about how much work I have to do and how much time I've frittered away in the last couple of days, I am gonna go sit somewhere and read, write and think.

Sun. October 31: Lizard Breath at 2: "Draw a pumpkin." (over and over and over) Lizard Breath yesterday, via email: "yeah, well make sure you get some pumpkins and take some pictures of the yard with the leaves down and so on!"

Okay, little lizard. So, we went hucklety-buck at the absolute last nano-second to the Zeeb Rd. pumpkin patch to get pumpkins! Big and little orange ones and two white ones. Lizard Breath was born 8 days before Halloween, so she spent her first Halloween being cute and getting oohed and aahed over by trick-or-treaters. She's a Halloween kid and these pictures are for her but y'all can look at 'em if you want. And, also for the lizard, here are just a few memories: