Sunday, August 30, 2009

wading through the existential crises

a pretty washer-drierHey, all. I've been visiting long-lost relatives, working on the yard, filling my life with croutons, nurturing carnivorous plants (if the needs of Drosera binata are that much different than of Venus flytrap and pitcher plants, why do they put them together in pots?), noodling to the point of going limp, and ever-so-slowly still trying to find something suitable to do with my life. Some of those things are going well, not all, especially the last one or two. But at least I've got some swell new bubblelights and a set of dishes! And I saw Depeche Mode live on the 10th, with a slight seat upgrade and everything. (I'm still wearing the earplugs.)

I'm at a loss for what to point out as an everyday stupidity, since the world is full of them. The most recent low-octane one was looking at a sign about some dishes at IKEA and seeing that they were patterned after "flower pedals." Flowers go biking? No one in proofreading caught this? But I suppose this is overshadowed by the hack of the Sears website where descriptions of barbecues were edited to say they were baby-roasting devices. (Why hasn't that been a bigger headline? Oh yeah, because it was overshadowed by Microsoft's editing a white guy's head onto a black guy's body on their Polish webpage. Way more relevant than grilled squab.) Plenty of stupidities between my ears but I'm trying to grow past them, which is an ongoing process. And you should be happy -- especially you, Jamie -- that I'm keeping the tales of wiping my main computer clean and rebuilding -- always a good excuse to upgrade from Windows 2000 to Windows XP -- due to a worm that I couldn't kill (you know something is wrong when a voice comes through your computer's speakers telling you about setting up a home business when you do not have any programs running!!) and of battling Winders Genuine Disadvantage popping up on my notebook to tell me I'm a dirty p1r4t3 without me having a more recent backup of the drive to fall back on. (You have to love a message that comes up saying "You may be the victim of piracy!" when what it really means is, "In 30 days, you will be the victim of draconian copyright protection disabling your ability to use your computer!" Linux to the rescue!) All is well in computer land now. The neighbors across the street in the hovel are having a yardsale, which seems 90% comprised of little kid toys, and it begs the question: Where the heck have they been storing it, if this is taking up the entire front yard and the kids' bedroom (they have a 5 year old girl and 7 year old boy, plus "others" including a 7 year old girl are always over) is 8'x10'?

Giggle from a minute ago: While writing the above, my mother-in-law's heterosexual life partner called (I shoulda left the earplugs in) asking whether I could fix her computer when next they're in town; I quote her, "I need you to get the viruses that are supposed to be on this machine off."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

your conscience is beyond suspicion

sunsetSo the place where my wife and I went for dinner tonight -- me sticking to a side salad since I'd already had two tacos a couple hours earlier (her request to go out to dinner when she got home from work came as a surprise), then a big slab of chocolate cake cuz life is short -- has a bar on the other end of the place and it's open mike night. There's a young man with a guitar singing like young men with guitars sound, a.k.a. bad Dave Matthews. And it wasn't until he got to the end of the song he was crooning like a young man with a guitar on open mike night that I figured out what it was:

"Hit Me Baby, One More Time" by Britney Spears.

I was out of Pepsi or I would have done a spit-take.

Life is coasting merrily along, which is to say it's not particularly doing anything at all. I'm raising from some of my passing funks, there's nothing new to say about the yard except that the tomatoes and pumpkin are filling their cages, the sweet peas are climbing but the beans are still kinds scrawny, we've been eating the lettuce as it comes, and there are cute yellow flowers on the squashes which probably are more tasty to me than the veggies that these will be produce later. For the past year I've been doing a daily picture on Flickr under the title "Lyrical 365" because the photo is connected to song lyrics, and that ends in two days... I'm not starting a new daily series, which will be weird for me since it's forced me to push myself and try new things, but I think something in the ennui family inside of me has to be settled before I can start afresh and anew. Anyhow, that's a blog post, a week after the last one for once, so hasta yer pasta. The photo is from my front porch with almost no tweaking.

Monday, July 20, 2009

one summer never ends, one summer never begins

banjo player, Nile Valley DaysHmm, a couple weeks got past me but you didn't miss much. The green stuff has gotten bigger (except the flats of Corsican mint, which officially completely died a couple days ago) and some stuff will be put into swell cages; the only addition to the path is the laying of five round stones on the outside and immediate inside of the gate to give the illusion to passers that good things have happened. I went to see the new Harry Potter film and as it was intended it left me wondering and wanting more (it's not giving anything about the story away to say this: all the other films ended with an exciting struggle then happiness when the battle was won, but this one doesn't end like that... but I'm sure it's in anticipation of the final chapter -- or as it is being filmed, two chapters because the last book is being broken into two movies, so this saga won't end until 2011 and you know there will be plenty of people next summer hopping around impatiently). July 4th was spent in front of the computer, neither of us did anything at all the entire day including look out the window. And as the pictures in today's post tell, my bride and I went to Nile Valley Days north of Yakima on Saturday then coasted south for the evening. If my brudder or others familiar are watching this channel: Hey, have you seen our neighbor's house at 1401 lately?! What a hole it has become!! We got home around 3:30 a.m. and I'm pretty sure that I was in bed totally asleep at 3:35 a.m.

That visit to the old neighborhood brought something to me, how things change. When we first moved to that suburban area, called the Berger Addition, it was essentially a series of dead-end streets with empty field on one side. Bonnie Lane two houses away on the right when facing down my street didn't even exist yet, it was just a gap between two piles of dirt that became houses in 1977. You could pretty much guess that someday those dead-ends were going to be connected and houses built in that field, but with the exception of the new section of Bonnie Lane going forward fifty yards to take a curve and link up the existing section a block away we didn't see much happen. It wasn't until after I left for college and moved out of town that the entire field where I used to spend my afternoons as a kid finally got roads laid and houses built, and the spur at the end of my street which was about twenty yards long grew to three blocks and links with an extention of the far street of the neighborhood. sit on my face What I noticed in walking through the new section was that that while the houses built in the early 2000's pretty much match the houses from the late-1960's, and the new section hasn't been completely paved so you can easily tell where old meets new by that detail, the flavor of the neighborhood has changed, and that's a more palpable difference between new and old than just looking at house structures and road construction. Upper middle-class mostly-Caucasian on one side of the line, lower middle-class mostly-Hispanic on the other side of the line and seeping eastward as the older residents pass on or move away. I'm not trying to paint that demographic detail in a negative way, I don't have any idea how the neighborhood dynamic is anymore; I'm just pointing out that the face has changed over time, and I am curious how much of that is due to the rest of the fields nearby returning to being used for growing hops (the entire area was a hopfield a decade or two before we moved there, and some sections continued to be used for that crop through my living there).

I came across a giant puddle which reflected the twilight sky as I was hiking across the hopfield from my friend's house to my old home, so I took a picture of it. The next afternoon I realized what had been where I was standing: When we first moved to Toppenish, I met this kid from the far dead-end by the name of Eric, and he showed me this spot across the field at the edge of the next field, where there was a giant tree and a big hole in the dirt where we could play. There was a source of water causing this swamp with reeds and cattails -- and the occasional duck hunter -- to appear nearby. this used to be my playground In the years that passed, the swamp was cleared but the water source still produced water so it was made into a small reservoir that inexplicably had fish in it one summer. The body of water I was standing by the other evening was the latest iteration of that water source. I didn't see the tree and hole, despite Google Maps' satellite view showing them in place; reviewing the route I took on foot, I would have walked right through the space because the dirt road next to where the stand is shown was flooded so I followed a row or two into the hops. I felt a moment of happiness when I realized where I had been standing... as much as things had changed, part of the place where I spent so many hours as a child had neither been smoothed over to become part of the hopfield nor paved over to become part of the housing development. As much as it may have changed in appearance, it was still the same in nature. And that, my friends, made my day.

Friday, July 03, 2009

you sing first, I sing last

Hiya, folks. I've been busy with the back and side yards, plus ruminating through my own internal collection of distractions. I guess you could say I've been more social lately than usual, with the result being that it's great to have contact with the larger world but when the day of mirth ends or the conversation that made me smile concludes, I slip into a little bit of a funk because I wish the mirth and conversation could go on and on... it's all very addictive when life is too quiet and sparcely populated. boxen and path As the old song says, "I had too much to think last night." But sometimes I channel that energy into shovelling and putting up edging, as today's progress photo shows. I dug out the path, laid down an inch or so of gravel, and added sand to hold that in place. The original plan for today was that we were going to get outside with a roller which Paige's coworker was going to bring over and get the gravel/sand you see tamped down; the next step will be to put stepping stones on this path, add more gravel and sand to hold them in place, and work on the areas around the boxes with dirt and stuff... just noticed an hour ago the two flats of Corsican mint I bought for that area is dying of thirst. Anyhow, the roller in question rusted solid so it wasn't brought over, thus tomorrow we'll get a different tool ourselves to compress the path because we didn't get out of our jammies today. The tomatoes and squash and pumpkin starts are there looking healthy but not really getting larger; the pea and bean and lettuce/spinach seeds have germinated and when kept damp enough the leafies' sprouts don't go flaccid by noon (this keeps happening!). That's my third of July, when plenty of people got the day off because no one likes having a holiday fall on a weekend so they don't get that extra day of slacking off. I don't have fourth of July plans.

Many years around this time I bring up that I went to a Methodist summer camp for a week every year in my teen years to try to bring some fellowship and spirit into my life, recharge my internal batteries, be around people on the same wavelength, remove my mind from the noise it perpetually had running through it, hopefully find something close to the heart, and of course get the hell away from my family and that hot dusty town for awhile. I have mentioned in the past that I miss the camp because I lack the escape from the noise in my head, and lack that kind of fun and fellowship. But since this blog is about everyday stupidities, there are two things about the progression of time that bother me. (Okay, there's a lot about the progression of time that bother me, but specific to the camp thing.) First, the camp system offered weekend retreats for young adults between 18 and 30 as a way of helping the post-teenagers find their centers and faith again... and never in that span of my life did I ever attend. Second, I always swore when I was a camper that I would "give back" by coming back as a counselor... have never made an effort to get back into the church, demonstrate any sort of youth leadership, etcetera with which to apply myself to be a counselor. And I am fully aware that both of those shortcomings are my own doing.

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

another photo of progress, another entry without substance

Fence and gate up, potted starts in at last. Then comes the hard part, putting in the path and adding dirt so planting of smallish stuff can go on around the path and boxes.

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