Thursday, September 25, 2008


Last night I incurred a large number of mosquito bites at dusk as I wrangled my tomato plants. The tomatoes and and sweet potatoes are trying to engulf one another, which I think is a much better problem to have than an excess of weeds. It doesn't matter who wins, I can still eat 'em.
I lashed a number of the straggling tomato vines to the stripped stalk of one of the sunflowers (why waste a good stake?), and ties some others to the teetering wooden supports I drove into the ground a few months ago. The cherry tomatoes are still producing well, and we're getting quite a few large red tomatoes (although they aren't growing as big as they did in July.) The yellow Mr. Stripey hybrid plant has had no fruit on it for weeks. I saw some flowers last night. I wonder what affected it this way? Is it because of the type of plant it is, such as "determinate" vs. "indeterminate"? Or could it be the dry conditions? I really need to water tonight.
We ate our first sweet potato a couple of weeks ago. It was small, but delicious.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

detecting tally

Since last Christmas, I have found 185 Lincoln cents, 17 nickels, 49 dimes, and 35 quarters. The total is $16.35, or 286 coins, mostly gathered in nearby parks or school yards on lunch break.
As an hourly wage, my rough guess is that it comes out to about twenty cents an hour.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Last night I dreamed I was Roy from The Order of the Stick ( and I was fighting a ghost. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've dreamed I was a comics character, and absolutely certain it's the first time I've dreamed I was a stick figure.


Color Test (Note to Paul: don't bother)

I scored an 8, which I guess is pretty good, but I thought I'd do better. I wonder if one's computer monitor factors in? There were a few I thought looked wrong when I placed them, but I couldn't figure out where else they'd go and so I thought I was just imagining it. Sort of made my eyes buzz after a while...


Monday, September 22, 2008

21st Century

Our power came back on at 9:00 last night! I now feel so technologically advanced. And clean, too, since I don't find cold showers by candle light to be especially conducive to fastidiousness. And now I can sit at this computer and post about it on my blog. I'm very happy to be living in the First World.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tyler Park

Here are two women dwarfed by the root mass of a tree uprooted by Sunday's wind.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Detecting in the neighbor's yard

Between washing dishes and cleaning the refrigerator and fixing dinner (almond butter on saltines and a huge bowl of applesauce), I spent a few minutes metal detecting around the driveway of the vacant house next door. I've wanted to do that, but in the evenings there has been a fairly consistent stream of realtors and clients going in and out, and it would be a little awkward if I were caught. But since the owner had up signs saying that the house must be sold by this past weekend, and since the power is out all over town, I figured that last night might be pretty safe. And it was. I only saw one person stop; he pulled up in front and took a photo of the house, presumably at an angle that would keep me out of the photo, but who knows? I might be on some realtor's website someplace.
Anyway, the edges of driveways are great for pocket change. The spot right where people get in and out of cars is, from my experience, great for coins. I only had about fifteen minutes because I had chores I wanted to do while I still had some daylight to work by. There are more coins in that spot, but I didn't have time to dig them out. In that short time, though, I had another "first": my first token, from Chuck E. Cheese.


The End Times kind of suck

Yesterday after work I had a bulge in my pocket from the wad of cash I'd received from my 34 bags of aluminum cans. Six dollars! If I'd turned it in a day before, I would have made 105 dollars, but aluminum prices have been plummeting. You'd think that with so much of the Gulf Coast gone, the demand for aluminum would be up because of rebuilding efforts, but maybe they won't start rebuilding until after hurricane season.
My first stop was Thornton's, because I was running on fumes. This Thornton's was the only gas station in operation in a twenty-block radius, as was made clear by the long line. Cars stretched out of the parking lot and all the way down the street, passing under a tent of shredded tree limbs and sparking electrical lines.
I couldn't tell the price of the gas because Ike had blown all the letters off the sign; now it said "Unl    . 1   ," under which is said " fo tlong hot    $ . 1."  Nines and decimal points have lower wind resistance and so stay put during windstorms.
In the time that my attention was taken by the signs, the car in front of me was looted and burned. Some of my fellow motorists took advantage of the flames to cook some near-botulistic chicken breasts.
I pulled around the Hyundai grill and, after a short hour, made it up to the gas pump. The red-marker sign said that it was now a cash-only operation, with silver or gold bullion preferred. I locked the car and headed inside, thankful for my wad of cash.
The frazzled man in front of me was yelling into his cell phone, "Sorry, what? You're breaking up. I think a bunch of the cell towers were damaged. What? What?! Yeah, honey, tell them to divest. Tell them to sell. Wall Street is burning, hon, so I need you to place that call for me. I can't get through…"
The cashier barked at him, "C'mon, bud, people are waiting."
The man, still on his cell phone, pulled out a credit card. The cashier held up his hands, shook his head, and said, "Cash only. Can't you read?"
I looked nervously back toward the pumps. A couple of guys in hoods were edging closer to my car. They had a tray of uncooked hamburgers.
The cell phone man was still talking on his phone, and the cashier--who had obviously had a rough day and had been without showering at least as long as I had--pulled a shotgun from behind the counter and pressed it to the cell phone man's forehead.
"I'm sorry, hon, I gotta go. I said I gotta go. GOT TO GO!" He folded and pocketed his phone, then looked sheepishly at the cashier from under the double-barrels. "Would you accept a gold wedding ring as payment for a fill up?" he asked.
The cashier pulled the gun away from the man's head. I could see on the man's forehead the red imprint of O O from the muzzle. The cashier took the ring, then took two quick steps to the door, kicked it open, and fired one barrel of the gun. BOOM. The blast tore the plate of uncooked meat from the hands of the hoodies, and splattered hamburger across my car's windshield. The two would-be chefs took off running.
The cashier turned back and gave the man a receipt. I stepped up to the counter, saw the gas price on an index card taped to the cash register, and realized that with six dollars I had enough for not just half of a gallon but also a bag of charcoal.
Then as I paid, the cashier said, "This kinda crap won't be happening once Palin is in office. She's a reformer."
"So is Obama," said the lady behind me. The cashier looked at his shotgun, but merely nodded.
My drive home took a little longer than usual because none of the traffic lights were working. The streets were lined with sawed-up tree limbs, which I thought was poor planning. People should stack them in their back yards for future cooking fires.
It was getting dark, and with no light pollution, the stars were brilliant. The moon was coming up. Most of the marker had been removed, but I could still barely make out the words "Yard sale."


Monday, September 15, 2008


Well, I guess it deserves a mention, just because.
I don't think I really have anyone who reads this outside of the Louisville area. That means that everyone who reads this is probably at this time without power at their homes.
Except Candy. I just looked at her blog.
And Kevin. I looked at his, too.
Kevin and Brian put up some good photos on their blogs; I took no photos.
Our neighboorhood is without power. Today I took as much cheese as I could carry to work, and ate a very cheesy lunch. I was going to take some yogurt, too, but I forgot it and left it on the kitchen counter.
Tonight we are going to Kim's dad's house, because he's one of the few people in St. Matthews with what Erin has called "leck-chicadee" to power his lights and stove and refrigerator.
We only had fallen sticks in our yard, but there were plenty of big limbs down in our area, and a few toppled trees. I suppose I'd better get out the ladder to check the shingles to make sure the roof is OK.


Friday, September 12, 2008

When I post something from MS Word, it looks OK.

But if I edit it for some reason, such as to correct a spelling error, the spacing between paragraphs disappears (see the post below.)

If I got back in to "edit posts," I space between the paragraphs. However, after I republish it, the spacing still does not show up.

Does anyone have suggestions?

Horror movie experiences, crickets in the ceiling, and dreams.

A few nights ago I helped Jill brush her teeth as we got ready for night-night. She finished, drank a cup of water, and left me there waiting for Erin to come in and take her turn at the sink. I sat there waiting for a few minutes, staring blankly out the door, very spaced out. Finally, I heard a soft rustling as Erin approached, and she came into view from the dark hallway.
She was in her night gown and was on all fours, on her palms and toes, very low to the ground. Her head was low, and her long hair was all forward, completely obscuring her face.
The effect very much reminded me of the demon girl in the movie "The Ring," an effect compounded by my spaced-out state of mind. Pretty creepy and funny at the same time. It was a little bit of a relief when she stood up, pulled her hair back, and smiled.
That night, as I got ready for bed myself, there was a cricket in our ceiling. He started out over our bedroom. I didn't hear him there, but Kim said he was insanely loud. When I finally heard him, he had moved to near the air vent in the bathroom ceiling, where once again he was very noisy. I shut the bathroom door, and the noise became more muffled in our bedroom. We were able to sleep with no problem, but I could still hear him.
That night I dreamed that I was watching two horror movies: "Plane of the Dead" and "Plane of the Dead II: The Book of the Dead." (The "plane" of the titles refers not to an aircraft, which would be really funny, but instead to a realm of existence.) These movies don't exist in real life. In my dreams I considered them top-notch horror films, although they were gory and disturbing. They starred Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, and that guy who played Jayne on "Firefly." Pitt was a coward with a gun, and that Jayne guy went insane and started eating corpses.
Every so often in the movie, lots of crickets would come in and start eating the dead.
It wasn't a scary dream. I rarely have scary dreams. Usually, bad dreams I have are simply disturbing. I wake up and think, "Uggh, that was unpleasant." This dream was like that.
One disturbing dream I had that left a strong impression was of eating a car. This was years ago, but I still remember the sensation in my mouth. I was chewing and swallowing fiberglass panels, a very unpleasant texture.

The Moon. It Isn't There.

On Tuesday morning I had an interesting drive in to work. Now that we're falling into the cool clutches of autumn, my early morning drives are becoming dark. They are cool and full of school buses.
Tuesday as I turned from Northumberland Lane onto Westport Road, the full moon became stuck to the corner of my windshield, like a white sycamore leaf. It was caught between the bar of my windshield wiper and the glass.
I sort of figured that as I sped up on Westport that the wind would blow it off, but it stayed there, rattling dryly. I turned on my wipers, but the moon slid with them and was not dislodged.
When I stopped at the traffic light in front of Cheddar's, the water in the decorative fountain in front of the restaurant lurched toward me in high tide. That was pretty cool; since I had actually left home early enough that I wouldn't be late for work, I decided to take a brief detour to the ponds in the office park over by the YMCA.
On the way there, I passed a bus stop full of high school students. A few of the boys pointed and laughed, but two of the students—a boy and a girl—put their arms around one another as my car approached. The girl put her brunette head on the boy's shoulder and he smelled her hair. They slowly pivoted, never taking their eyes off the moon as it passed.
When I finally made it to the office park, I drove slowly past the ponds. The water swelled on the near shore, hoisting Canada geese on a glassy bulge of water and algae. They honked mildly and lowered their heads. On the far side of the pond, the water fell by several feet, leaving a few geese standing on top of the aquatic invertebrates they'd been rooting for in the muck. Exposed to the air, previously submerged, were about a dozen aluminum cans, a pickle bucket, and a rusted green tricycle.
I drove on and watched in my rear view mirror as the water sloshed back. The geese bobbed and the cattails waved. But I was too absorbed in the view, and suddenly realized that I was practically on top of a red light. I slammed on the brakes, and the moon rolled off my hood, bounced of the bumper of an old Honda Civic in front of me, and landed in the grassy median.
I was about to get out to retrieve it, but the light changed. The car behind me honked as I tried to decide what to do. I continued over to my office parking lot.
This morning on the way in I noticed that the moon was still there. Someone has taped it to a stick and written on it in red marker, "Yard sale Saturday 8 to 2:00 1220 Headley Hill Rd."
One of the city contractors that cut the grass in the median will probably find it and put it back where it belongs. I hope he can rub the writing off of it first. In the meantime, you'll look up and see no moon. It's in the grass at Hurstbourne Lane and Ormsby Station Road.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Someone else's

Last night I moved the Festiva over to my neighbor's driveway. He is buying it from me, and gave me the first half of the money last night. He's a mechanic, and wants it for experimenting with alternative fuel systems. "If figured if I blew it up, it wouldn't be that big a deal," he said. I spent a couple hours this weekend cleaning it out. Although we haven't switched the title yet, for all practical purposes, I no longer have the red Festiva.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I don't know which is sillier...

The fact that my radio-less, speaker-less car came with this little manual, or the fact that I still had it in my glove compartment after eighteen years.

Some of my other finds

You might think that metal detecing is all very glamorous, combining the rugged outdoorsmanship of caribou hunting with the scintillating bling of gangsta highlife. Yes, it often is like that, but unfortunately, there are also truckloads of sweat, bug bites, and crap.

Cracking seeds

I roasted some sunflower seeds. I was cracking them open with my teeth and sharing them with Erin and Jill, but the whole process of biting them and them taking them out of my mouth to give to another person got old pretty quickly. I discovered that pliers work great for cracking them. If you put the seed on-edge in the wide spot, and crack it--
the shell breaks, but the pieces don't go flying everywhere.
This is the second-biggest sunflower head from our garden. I cut it to get the seeds. It was surprisingly heavy, so the girls used team work to hold it up for the photo.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Last night Kim and I were in bed watching McCain's acceptance speech and its funfetti aftermath on PBS. Jim Lehrer was leading the commentary.

After the speech there was the traditional standing around on stage with runningmate, family, and runningmate's family; waving and kissing and smiling. Things fall from the ceiling. It goes on a long time, as I'm sure you know if you've ever bothered to watch.

Kim and I were laughing at Mr. Lehrer's commentary. There are few things more dangerous to a TV journalist than the perceived need to fill up the minutes with words.

Confetti started falling from the ceiling at the Republican convention, and Jim Lehrer began in a monotone: "Now the confetti is falling..."


"...And that's colored confetti. There's some blue there."


"Balloons are beginning to fall. There are a lot of balloons."

Long pause.

"Lots of balloons."

Long pause.

"And there are the big balloons."

By this point, Kim was laughing, and was wondering if maybe this was done to benefit all of the blind people who might have tuned in. I started mocking Jim Lehrer by adding my own monotone commentary: "...more confetti falling now... Many colors of confetti... Those balloons have stars on them... That woman has really big boobs... Sare Palin is waving...waving...blowing kisses... waving..."

The huge screen behind the candidates started showing images of fireworks exploding, so I continued: "The fireworks display is artificial..."

Then, about sixty seconds later, Jim Lehrer said, "For the record, the fireworks aren't real, they are being projected onto that big screen."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin's daughter

No, not *that* daughter, another one. I don't know her name.
I was watching Sarah Palin give her speech last night on NBC, and I witnessed my very favorite moment of both the Democratic and Republican conventions so far. Palin's youngest daughter, who I guess is about six or so, was there with the rest of her family. She was holding her infant brother, and not paying any attention at all to her mother's speech. She was only paying attention to her brother. There, on national television, during what is presumably the most important speech of her mom's life, she gave her palm a huge lick and used it to slick her brother's hair.
It was one of the sweetest things I've seen on TV in a long time.
That's about as close to political commentary as I get on this blog.