Archive for May, 2006

a/c at the landfill

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

“This place is humid!” That’s what Wyle said before he installed central air in the Landfill yesterday. I said, “yeah, this place is a swamp!” This is the first time I have ever lived in a place with air conditioning. Am I using it? No. Or at least not yet. I have mixed feelings about it. I do not like to be hot and sweaty unless I am doing something active enough to make me hot and sweaty. On the other hand, I don’t like to have the doors and windows closed. I like to be able to hear the birds, insects, mammals, and amphibians that inhabit my yard. I feel shut in when everything is all closed up tight.

Some summers are hotter than others here in southeast Michigan. Most summers have at least a few days when I feel like crawling into the freezer. But my favorite way of cooling off is in cold water. When I am on the Shores of Gitchee Gumee, I can just walk into the water until it’s up to my neck. As an added bonus, hanging around in Gitchee Gumee also makes you feel clean. I suppose some might say it freezes all the dirt and sweat until it cracks off your body. Here on the Planet Ann Arbor, I don’t have easy access to such a large body of clean, cold water. I used to use the kids as an excuse to truck over to KMart and pick up one of those little plastic kiddie pools. I would put a canoe chair in it or just hang my feet over the edge. Nowadays, I just suffer in the swampy landfill.

One summer back in the day, the Twinz of Terror took Lizard Breath and her identical cousin, The Beautiful Renée, off on a road trip to the Badlands and other points of interest. While they were enduring death marches and buffalos in the road and tornados dropping trees on their tent, Mouse and I were stuck here on the Planet in 90-100 degree heat. One night it was particularly hot and sticky and I decided there was just no point in either of us even trying to go to bed until we were so dead tired that we couldn’t keep our eyes open any more.

We filled up the kiddie pool and I sat there with my feet in the pool watching vigilantly for skunks. Mouse had a tricycle parked so that its front wheel was *in* the pool. I’m not sure why she was riding a tricycle because, at seven or so, she had long graduated from those beasts. But we never throw anything out, so she found one and was riding it around the yard. Froggy had learned to drive the Little Tykes Coupe that day, another long-outgrown vee-hickle. He was careering and careening wildly all over the yard and I guess that was the beginning of his descent into delinquency. Naw, actually, he has always been trouble. grok grok. Whaddya mean, you old bag? Anyway, I think we finally went inside and crashed on the fold-out couch in the back room.

I suppose there will be times when I do turn the a/c on here in the Landfill. I have to admit that when Wyle was testing it yesterday, I was sitting at my powerbook and the feeling of *cold* air coming out of the vent next to my feet was pretty darn nice. Actually, the heat that usually comes out of that vent has turned a large area of my ugly kitchen floor into a horrible orange and black mess. I wonder if having cool air coming outta there will reverse that. Hmmmm.


Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

<uuhhhh>Heat. Humidity. Mosquitos. Biting flies. Bad dreams. Not nightmares exactly. And no shoreline stuff for once. Instead, I was frantically and frenetically putting together a play program for YAG at the absolute last possible nanosecond, as usual. As if I didn’t ever have anything else to do at the last possible nanosecond before a play went up. I had to go down about eight flights of stairs to get to the copy machine and I was kind of surfing down them, like my feet were not exactly touching the steps. And you know what it’s like when you get a song stuck in your head and can’t get it out? Every time I woke up during the night, I had a certain song stuck in my head. grok grok. Can ya guess what song it was? grok grok. Bet it was one o’ my little ditties. grok grok. Grok grok yourself, you old green rag. Yes, it was a frog song. It is still in my head. If you don’t know what song I’m talking about, you are welcome to click here to hear it. I am not gonna click. It is an awful little ditty and I need to get it *out* of my head. grokGROK! Whaddya mean? Garbage woman, indeed. Anyway, I did not want last summer to end. Now I do not want this summer to start. Too many people who were here at the start of last summer are not here now and uncertainties about the future abound. Life is going on anyway. I guess I am going with it one way or another and this is just one of those mornings. So after I banish a certain raccoon from the grounds here, I am gonna find *something* to do to make a positive contribution to the world. I just don’t know what yet. Well, I have called Howard Cooper, I guess that’s a start, albeit a small one. grok grok, yeah, get off yer butt. grok grok Let’s go get that raccoon. gork grook</uuhhhh>

party’s over… again

Monday, May 29th, 2006

All parties must come to an end and usually I know the party is over when I find myself back in the Westgate Kroger again. Today we landed back on the Planet Ann Arbor and found that the cupboard was definitely bare, so I navigated a gauntlet of stop lights until I got to the WK parking lot. Btw, Houghton Lake folk, I think I left a few perishable items in the refrigerator up there. I hope you either ate ’em or threw ’em out. I don’t care either way. I love y’all and I apologize for leaving extra food πŸ™‚

Anyway, I am not sure who designed the WK parking lot but it had to be an engineer who was walking around at about 100. And I do not mean 100 degrees although it felt about that hot in the WK parking lot today. I think this because just about the entire lot slopes almost indiscernably down from the store entrance to South Maple Road. And, of course, that means that when people who are walking around at about 100 have forgetten grok grok. Who is walking around at about 100? grok grok. You can’t even spell. grokGROK! Okay, forgotten. Anyway, when people mindlessly abandon their grocery carts in the middle of the parking lot, they have a tendency to start rolling down the slope and smash into whatever is in the way. I mean the carts do the rolling, not the people. I have not actually seen anyone’s children roll down in a cart but once I saw a guy’s wallet head down the hill. He was screaming bloody murder and swearing like a drunken sailor about someone stealing his wallet until I pointed out that it was in his cart, which was down at the end of the parking lot smashed into somebody’s vee-hickle. Not mine though because I park strategically.

So I parked strategically and sprinted into the store. I was about to grab a cart, swing it around, and push it into the store. I can do that in about one motion as long as the carts are not all tangled up with each other. Except today there were NO CARTS! Where were the carts? This was the full-tilt-boogie twilight zone. Yeah, I know. I was in the full-tilt-boogie twilight zone for a while yesterday too. After a few minutes of standing there gaping dumbly at the empty space where they keep the carts, I managed to get a grip and walked outside to search one out. Grocery shopping tip: *always* get a grocery cart. Even if you think you are only going in there to purchase one small item.

First I was nearly mowed down by two people who were driving vee-hickles around at about 100 (and I do NOT mean 100 mph) and almost crashed into each other. And me. Somehow I managed to make it to the cart corral intact and extract a cart. It was just about as bad inside as it was outside. It was almost like a Thursday morning when the bus people get dropped off to do their shopping. 100 appeared to be about the average and I do not mean 100 years old. People were dawdling around blocking just about every aisle I tried to go down and we will not even talk about the people attempting to check out via the uscan. Fortunately, the WK management was smart enough to schedule Elsie to run the uscan today. I’d have been ready to jump out of my skin if that goofy guy had been there. Hmmm, come to think of it, I haven’t seen him around lately. So maybe he’s not around anymore. Uh, this is a different guy than the Tourette’s guy I blahgged about a few weeks ago.

I made it home and we aren’t gonna starve tonight and I’ll prob’ly be back over there tomorrow. Grok grok. You WILL be back over there tomorrow because we are out of frog juice! grokgrokgrokGROK!! And, kids, I know you hate when I talk about the 100s. But I didn’t want to leave Houghton Lake this morning and it is hot here on the planet and it smells a little funky and it’s messy and that means I have to clean and I am a little crabby. And it’s my blahg and I can say what I want πŸ˜› I love you but deal. grok grok.

twilight zone

Sunday, May 28th, 2006

The other day I think I told somebody I missed throwing buckets of water down the toilet in the ratty old Houghton Lake cabin. This morning we woke up to huge thunderstorms and then the lucky-shucky went out and did not come back again and, as we were faced with the possibility of actually having to throw buckets of water down the toilet, I began having second thoughts about that statement. On top of that, the old hand pump is long gone, which means that we would be faced with Grandroobly’s definition of running water: “You run down to the lake with a bucket, fill it up, and run back up.”

We had planned to scrounge breakfast at the cabin this morning but the idea of trying to feed twelve people and two dogs in a kitchen with no running water or lucky-shucky was a little daunting, so we all headed off in various directions to obtain a restaurant breakfast. And use a bathroom with a flush toilet. The Twinz of Terror and Chevy and I headed up to Ron’s. A couple of the others aren’t crazy about Ron’s, so they elected to go to Coyle’s. We should’ve gone to Coyle’s.

When we got to Ron’s, it was closed because the lucky-shucky was off. We could’ve done the intelligent thing and turned around and headed over to Coyle’s but instead, we made the mistake of continuing on up to that restaurant by the Cut River. I have eaten breakfast there something like twice before and both of those times, I came out of there saying I would never, ever eat there again, even if the lucky-shucky was off in every other restaurant in the universe. It isn’t that the food isn’t any good or that the waitresses aren’t friendly. But that place has got to be the most excruciatingly slow restaurant on the face of the planet.

We went there anyway. When we got there, there were only a few customers and for a few minutes I felt a little bit of optimism creep into my otherwise apprehensive mood. But then it took forever to get seated and forever for the waitress to get around to taking our order. And then all kinds of people started coming in and something like five or six groups who were seated well after us got their food while we sat there waiting.

At first it was okay. I wasn’t really hungry and there was no need to be in a rush. After all, it was raining cats and dogs and there was no lucky-shucky or running water back at the ranch. But then I started to get a little bit hungrier and I had probably had a smidge more coffee than I needed (the one thing they were quick about was filling up coffee cups) and somebody in there had a small child who was not a particularly happy camper and it all started adding up until I began getting that unwelcome little feeling that I needed to start crawling out of my skin. And then I started to get really hungry and I was watching people who came in after us happily eating their food and paying and getting up and leaving.

*Finally* our food came and it was okay but then we were finished and it was taking absolutely forever to get the check, even though they still kept coming by to fill up our coffee cups and we kept telling them we were finished and needed the “ticket.” To get outta there, fer chrissake. And then it got to feel like we were in a full-tilt-boogie twilight zone somewhere. Tourist trap maybe? I gave the GG some cash and bolted for the door. I walked over to the Cut River and hung around there for what seemed like forever. The others were *still* inside the restaurant.

I can’t exactly remember how the heck we finally got out of that place and home but I am NEVER going to that place to eat breakfast EVER AGAIN! Even if the lucky-shucky is off in every other restaurant in the universe. I meant it the last time I said it and I *really* mean it this time. Do NOT try to make me go there again! A-men!

randomness at Houghton Lake

Saturday, May 27th, 2006
  • I used to be surrounded by engineers, now I seem to be surrounded by anthropologists.
  • I miss the ratty old cabin but it is nice not to have standing water behind the couch.
  • Engineers can be useful when it comes to keeping vee-hickles up to snuff.
  • There are way too many garage sales at Houghton Lake on Memorial Day weekend.
  • One single water louse kicks up a bigger wake than the Burns Harbor.
  • Never trust an unemployed man who drives a Maserati.
  • I am still just about the only kayaker around here.
  • We have a beautiful new clock, courtesy of Jim, our neighbor.
  • If The Beautiful Gay were here, these counters would be clear of flotsam and jetsam and cosmic debris.
  • There are too many water lice around here.
  • I am not exactly sure what anthropologists can do for me, but I <3 them anyway.
  • Hell is trying to navigate a vee-hickle around Houghton Lake on Memorial Day without mowing down a bunch of garage sale patrons.
  • The floor would be clean too. If The Beautiful Gay were here, that is.
  • Heaven is sitting completely still in a kayak on a sunny day at the end of the canal.
  • Yay for 20-zumsing veemen who can replace zeir own veeeendshield vipers.
  • I am definitely not going to any of the garage sales this year.
  • Ooops, I am wrong. There is a two-person kayak going by right now.
  • Renee’s place is probably spotless by now πŸ˜‰
  • The boat guys are hard at work doing I dunno what and I am making barbecue sauce.
  • And looking at bead magazines and getting inspired but not taking action :-/
  • And blahgging.
  • That is not all but it is more than you want to know.

tv rant

Friday, May 26th, 2006

<tv_rant_beware>Once again, we were engaged in a coordinate change, shooting from the Planet Ann Arbor up to the Great White North. We were too lazy to plug in an iPod, so we were rolling along idly listening to NPR. The program was about the FCC and its rather haphazard approach to handling profanity and other so-called non-child-friendly crap on TV, crap being the operative word imnsho. What to do about Janet Jackson’s boob. Why it is okay to air the f-word in a prime-time network TV broadcast of Saving Private Ryan but not in a PBS documentary about the history of blues music. And something about a televised teenage orgy that I didn’t quite catch. After 45 minutes, the GG finally had the presence of mind to hit the OFF button. I don’t know how long the program droned on after that. Sometimes silence is golden.

You know, I do understand that people don’t want their small children to be exposed to the f-word and other explicit language and images. But, honestly, the NPR folks interviewed some parents who write to the FCC every week. And, as one of the “experts” said, if a kid hasn’t heard the f-word by the time they get to be, oh, 10 or 14 or so, they’ve been living in a closet. Which, of course, would bring up a whole ‘nother set of child welfare issues. I’m sorry folks, but gimme a break and get a blasted life!

Back in 1991 we bombed Baghdad for the first time. In those days, I was a young, naive shadow of the jaded old bag I have become and I was quite distraught about the whole thing. Not to mention that it happened on my birthday, of all things. I mean, really, couldn’t they have waited just one more day? But then I started watching the war on TV. I was mesmerized to the point of neglecting some of my other responsibilities. Mouse, who was going on four, got pretty sick of the whole thing and she would say, “Mom, turn off the war!”. I’d say something lame like, “in a few minutes.” A few minutes would pass and the war would still be on. “MOM! Turn OFF the WAR!” One day, she took matters into her own hands. She studied the remote control unit until she figured out that the letters O-F-F spelled “OFF” and proceeded to push the darn button herself.

You guys, if a 3-year-old can turn off a television set when there is something unsavory on it, why can’t a 30-something parent do the same? There are a whole lot of things in this world that children need to be protected from and the average everyday soccer mom doesn’t have a whole lot of control over most of that stuff. The television is one thing that you CAN control. Not only can you control it, you can control it from the privacy and comfort of your own home. So TAKE control. Three letters. O-F-F. OFF!</tv_rant_beware>

old dry crumbly toast

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

As my life continues to have the consistency of an old, dry, crumbly piece of toast, it is fortunate that there are other blahggers out there. Karen locates a missing person (May 23) and discovers that the way to get to Brimley actually does not involve turning left at the Brimily light (May 24). Sam is either talking about mushrooms or my [step-]grandmother. And Mouse, well, it appears that Mouse’s blahg is going to be a lot more interesting than this bunch of drivel. grok grok Whadidya expect, ya oogly old bag! grokGROK! Just a minute. (Shut up Froggy.) Sorry about that. And yes, Mouse *did* start calling herself Mouse at the age of 1-1/2. Mouse could talk as well as any adult at that age and was perfectly capable of clearly (and loudly) expressing her many opinions, including what she thought of the name I gave her at birth. No, I am not at liberty to tell anyone that name. And neither are you, Frooooogggy! grok grok I’m gonna go get some frog juice. grok grok. Hmmm, he’s off to an early start today.

Mouse’s Nest: a new blahg about knitting and life

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Announcing Mouse’s new blahg, She and I have been working on this top secret project for the last week or so and she tells all about it in her first entry.

I don’t have much else to say today. It is looking to be a terribly exciting day of:

  • Trying to identify a rather unpleasant odor in the kitchen
  • Desperately wracking my brain in the neverending quest for what to cook tonight
  • Deciding which dump to throw the YAG boxes in. Just kidding, well sorta just kidding. If any of you guys are actually reading this thing, I wanna get rid of that stuff like NOW! Not five years from now. I’ll buy coffee for anyone who takes it off my hands πŸ™‚
  • I dunno what else.


Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006
grok hic grok. Get drunk and sleep at the cabin? grokGrok hicburp. Yesh, shounds lika good idea. grok frgok hic burp. c’mon Sssshmookie, lesh go (grok grok) get Buoy 22 warmed up (hichic grok).

Uh, Froggy? You are on the Planet Ann Arbor and the cabin is on the Shores of Gitchee Gumee. That is 350 miles from here. Don’t you remember what happened the last time you tried to fly Buoy 22 when you were drunk? I do not need any more fighter jets landing in my back yard. Why don’t you just go sleep it off in your laundry basket?

grokHIC groook frok. I wanna join the Thud Club! grokgrokgrokGROK! hic grok sprrroinnnnng! whoooooosh! THUD! zzzzzzgrokka

Froggy? Froggy? Are you okay? Hmmmmm. Thud Club, eh? I’d say Froggy has passed the initiation test for that fine organization with flying colors. Green, that is. With a little purple around the eyes. Hey Smokie!

ooh ooh ooh ah ah?

Will you go and wake up Moley?

ooh ooh ooh OOH ah ah!!!

Yeah, I know Moley can get a little surly when you wake him up. Here take this dirty sock in there, that’ll brighten him up. Get Moley and then you, Moley, and Clammy oughtta be able to schlep Froggy back into his basket.

zzzzzzgrokka flying machine zzzzzzzgrokka sleep cabin zzzzzgrokhika thud thud thud zzzzzzzgrokkahic

G’night, Froggy, seeya in the morning. Hope your head is okay. Empty nest? Kee-reist!

Karen & Jim were married 25 years ago

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

Tonight we helped Karen, Valdemort and Pengo Janetto celebrate Jim and Karen’s 25th wedding anniversary at Dave’s Ribs with The Commander making a telephonic appearance as we were driving there. Bro’, we missed you but I bet you were watching us through one of the windows. Were we obnoxiously raucous enough? Actually, I guess we didn’t start singing until we got back in the car. Anyway, thanks for bringing Karen into the family. I needed a sister.

SQUEEgrok SQUEEgrok! Sproinnnng! Sproooinnng! I got a present! A beeyootiful loverly present! SQUEEgrok SQUEEgrok! A cute little froglet that says, “You make my heart leap!” Sproinnnng! SQUEEgrok! Thank you Ernie and Alfred! SQUEEgrok! Sproiinnnng!

The dvc

Sunday, May 21st, 2006

I am up to four who agree with me about the DVC guy and one of those also threw off some similar comments about the author of Lord of the Flies, which I haven’t read since high school.

Anyway, I actually read a book this weekend. The DaVinci Code. I think the last time I sat down and read an actual novel was last summer when I *forced* myself to sit on the beach and read something fun and mindless, all six Harry Potter books. I just have not been able to get relaxed enough to siddown, shuddup and read for eons. I dunno, maybe I am still tired from reading out loud for hours a day through a large part of the 1980s and ’90s. Read it again, mommy, read it again. Read another chapter. Ad infinitum. Ad nauseam in some cases, Cat Family Book in particular.

Did I like the DVC? Hmmm. Far be it from me to pretend to be a book reviewer so take this with so many grains of salt. This book had its pros and cons. I did think the writing was pretty bad. The two central characters seemed, well, one-dimensional (I think that is a cliché, right?). We were supposed to believe they were experts at their chosen fields, yet we learned so little about them. It was as if they were created *only* to educate us about the symbols and codes central to the story. And run around like crazy evading various police just to make things exciting. Am I making sense? I didn’t think so. grok grok stoopid stoopid question grok grok.

On the other hand, I, uh, *read* the book. I could not put it down except to hike and do email with Mouse and talk to Liz on the phone, etc., etc. It had a relatively happy ending. I actually like happy endings in books. If I get involved with a book, I feel sad for days when it ends badly. And not every book has to be high-brow literature. Heck, if it gets people to read and think, all I’ve got to say to the author is, “You GO!”

Religious stuff? Sorry, y’all do not even want to know what I think πŸ™‚

Will I see the movie? Maybe someday when I am 90 and Sam and I are sitting around drinking tea wine someplace, preferably outside, where we can project the movie onto a virtual screen from whatever passes for a powerbook in that almost unimaginable future. And heck, we may even have a supply of rotten tomatoes there ready to throw at that virtual screen.

Cheers, y’all!

randomness at Houghton Lake

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

Lemme see…

  • Hiking at Pigeon River Mason Tract. At least 15 miles.
  • Plus four miles on Long Point Drive this morning.
  • Is it just me or is the guy who wrote The DaVinci Code uh, well, not the best writer? “same exact?” Yeah.
  • Pay attention to those No Parking signs. They mean business, especially in Grand Blanc.
  • Guess it isn’t just me who thinks that way about the DVC writer. We’re up to three now. Anyone else?
  • Doo da doo da doo. Fun with Photoshop. Doo da doo da doo.
  • Stay outta the vanilla sugar milk.
  • Dum de dum de dum. Css positioning. Dum de dum de dum.
  • All girls are Golden Girls.
  • Obviously I do not have a whole lot to say today.
  • For once, I feel like I have done enough walking.
  • I <3 feisty old octogenarians.
  • The sun is over the yardarm.
  • grok grok grok.

Vmom’s Itips: feedback

Friday, May 19th, 2006

Yay for feedback! There are people who read this stoopid blahg grok grok who are pretty fluent when it comes to technology and they had comments to make about Volcano Mama and her Internet Tips. grok grok Excuse me a minute. (Froggy, I wasn’t talking about you and no, you can’t use Garage Band right now. Go play on the highway.) Sorry about that rude interruption.

Karen wrote, “um, aren’t ‘application’ and ‘program’ synonymous?” Dum de dum de dum. Hmmm. Good question. Didya do any research before writing that, Volcano Mama? Well, Vmom was thinking along the lines that a “program” is a generic term for a set of instructions for a computer to follow. “Application program” aka “application” is a set of instructions designed for a more specific use. says it pretty well. Vmom thought her intended audience might get confused by “application” alone. Say what? Application? For what? A spot in the assisted living facility? Get the drift?

Then the Marquis (or maybe it was the Grand Poohbah, I wasn’t sure) wrote, “If you subscribe to either MSN or Yahoo as an ISP they provide their own proprietary browser.” “I stand corrected,” says Vmom. “MSN and Yahoo *can* be browsers and are obviously useful to some people as such.” But again, Volcano Mama’s intended audience might get confused by that. They don’t have time for anything more than about one or two mouse clicks. In general, Vmom is not a terrific fan of proprietary software on the web, but that’s just her not-so-humble opinion, inspired in part by what the gang over at WCC has beaten into her rather one-dimensional brain.

Volcano Mama’s intended audience is people who want to use the Internet for very specific purposes. Like emailing their grandchildren or reading someone’s stoopid blahg. They want to get on there, do their business and get off quick. No news sites or flash videos, thank you very much. They do not have time to fiddly-diddle around learning all of the various complexities of using computers and browsers and surfing the Internet. They are too busy going to water-ex and taiko drumming performances and foreign films and classes at the college and visiting their friends at Tendercare and eating corn chowder at Penny’s and reading the newspaper down by the waterfront and cogitating about improvements to their properties. So Vmom is trying to keep it pretty basic.

Anyway, yay for feedback! Keep it coming. One of these days, I’m gonna get off my you-know-what and install WordPress on this here blahg so I can turn on some comments and y’all can comment to your heart’s delight and get into flame wars with each other and the whole works.

And finally, Sam and I were certainly on the same wavelength yesterday as she also mentioned the sound of wind in pine trees in her blahg. Except she didn’t call it a swhooooshing noise, she called it susurration. Her vocabulary wins!

Wind in the Pine Trees

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

I took my walk on the Planet Ann Arbor this morning but it felt like I was on the shores of Gitchee Gumee on a day kind of like this one. Cool. Okay, cold. Windy. Maybe a few more clouds than in the pic and a bit of a threat of rain. If I closed my eyes and imagined the sounds of wind pushing the tops of pine trees around and waves crashing against the shore, I could almost be there.

The wind in the pine trees is just about my first memory. I think it goes back until I was not even one year old. Six Mile Road was gravel in those days, so we would clunkity-clunkity-clunk down it. When I got a little older, I thought it took forever but when I was a baby I prob’ly didn’t much care. Although I’m sure there were days I might’ve been upset about something *else*. Hungry or mad at the world or whatever. Anyway, I always knew when we turned onto Birch Point Road because I could hear a big swhooooshing noise up in the treetops. The sound of freedom, although I didn’t know it those first few times. After all, I couldn’t even walk yet. One of my first memories. I wonder if someday it’ll be the last thing I think about.

Anyway, we are now here at the Luxurious New Courtois Cabin at Houghton Lake, aka The Group Home. There are no significantly tall pine trees here or even a proper beach. It rained all the way up. When we were almost here, the GG mentioned that we would be arriving at a cabin with a dry kitchen floor. And we both reminisced about all the years when we would arrive here after a rainy trip, or even a not-rainy trip, and there would be 3-6 inches of water sloshing around in the kitchen. Those days were fun in their own way. I loved it then. I love it now. There is no water sloshing around the kitchen floor and there is waaaaarless internet. Party on and chuck cabbages when you get the chance.

Volcano Mama’s Internet Guide

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Volcano Mama’s Internet Guide:

  • A browser is an application program that allows you to sit at your computer and waste time reading my blahg and other websites. Some familiar browsers are Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Netscape. You can have more than one browser on your computer. I think I have about six.
  • So what the heck is an application program, some might wonder. It is a computer program that allows you to use your computer to DO something constructive (or not). Like write a letter or balance your checkbook or listen to music or read my blahg. Some application programs that I use frequently are Microsoft Word and Excel, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Quicken, which keeps track of my money (or lack thereof), and Firefox, my preferred browser program (for looking at web pages, right?). Froggy grok grok uses Garage Band and iTunes to record his ribald little ditties and convert them to mp3 files. When he can get his slimy little paws on my powerbook, that is. grok! A browser is an application program but not every application program is a browser. Also, some application programs deal with the Internet and some have nothing to do with it.
  • Okay. What about MSN? Or Yahoo? Are those browsers? Nope. They are simply web sites. Just like ababsurdo. You use a browser to look at MSN and Yahoo and ababsurdo. The difference between Yahoo and ababsurdo is that Yahoo has a reputation for being a “portal” site. That means that it provides links to news and all kinds of interesting and informative facts and stuff (or not) while ababsurdo mainly links to my own rantings and ravings and a few other sites that I visit frequently (or not). There’s no reason you can’t use ababsurdo as a portal. It just doesn’t offer a wide variety of interesting links.

Is that all clear as mud? If not, lemme know and I’ll try to clarify it. Want more? Watch this space for occasional installments in this ongoing series. I don’t know it all but I do know when to call in Michigan Power Rodding. grokgrokgrokGROK!

You keep yourself out of my business

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

Mouse: “moom i am in the library surrounded by three books, four volumes of scholarly articles, and i have an annotated bibliography, the first page of my paper, the library search engine, and two more articles up on my computer screen. i don’t think you need to worry about it today.”

Well, okay, by now I know better than to worry about whether Mouse is doing her homework and that was a much better response than, “You *keep* yourself *out* of my business,” which I got from her once in fourth grade. I think part of the problem that time was that she had been assigned to work with “one of those others who are not girls.” No longer a problem as far as I know unless you get paired up with one of those young men who write like dinosaurs and are incapable of reading and replying to email. No, they are not extinct. I frequently get them as partners. Just what I need, another kid πŸ˜‰ Anyway, I wasn’t *really* worried, only that I might be distracting her by emailing her about knitting and the like.

Annotated bibliography? Glorp. I don’t even know what eez that. Well, at least I didn’t until last fall in one of Jason’s killer classes, Web Coding III. We were assigned to write a research paper complete with an annotated bibliography. I picked the topic “Asynchronous Javascript and XML.” Interesting topic and a lot more controversial than you might guess. And yes, I did figure out how to make an annotated bibliography all by myself without any help from either of my smart-alecky little munchkins πŸ˜‰

Birthday Project

Monday, May 15th, 2006

Look to the right… Look to the left… Look behind you, quick! Tiptoe into the bedroom and peek into the laundry basket… zzzzzzzzzzzgrokka. Whew! Y’all can rest assured that Froggy is still sleeping it off. zzzzzzzzzzzgrokka. So, where was I? Oh yeah, birthdays. Every once in a while, I actually remember someone’s birthday, besides those of my immediate family members that is, and I post a happy birthday. But, for the most part, I just motor along obliviously. And then people alert me to the fact that I’ve missed someone. And I feel bad. So I have begun the birthday project. Which will be a monthly list of birthdays of family and friends that links to this page. Click here for May. Here is where it is up to you: if you are *not* on there and *want* to be on there, please lemme know. Note that I am not publishing full information about anyone. This is the Internet! Right? Y’all know who y’all are. If you don’t know who someone is, you can email me. That is about all I have to say today and I am gonna guess there are those who are relieved about that.

Happy Mother’s Day, you old bag

Sunday, May 14th, 2006
Dear Old Witch,Here is a Mother’s Day poem for you:

“F” is for the fleas and flies you feed me,
“R”‘s for flying rockets to the Moon,
“O” is for old witches and their broomsticks,
“G”‘s for garbage women and raccoons, (and skunks, grok grok grok)
(ooops, another “G” is comin’ up, whaddo I do with that? Oh, yeah…)
“G” grok grok grok grok grok grok grok groooook groooook,
“Y”‘s for when you yell and scream at me,

Put them all together, they spell “FROGGY,” amphibian that means the world to you.

Love, Froggy.

Froooogggy, that is just about the strangest Mother’s Day poem ever written.

grok grok grok. EVERY DAY is Mother’s Day, you old bag. Click here for the audio version. If you dare.

Just Kvetching ’bout My So-called Life

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

<reinvention>I’m a little reluctant to blahg about this because it’s just almost a little too close to the nitty gritty, if y’all know what I mean. But it is life and maybe writing about it will help me sort it out. If you don’t feel like reading about it, go watch TV or process the dishes or eradicate some poison ivy or something.

The general gist is that multiple chapters ended for me in a very short space of time over the last year. I am sitting here flat on the ground without enough to do for the first time in forever, evaluating various potential income-earning activities, wondering which one (or two (or three)) to do and how the heck to get started again. To put it bluntly, how to get my butt off the ground.

In a lot of ways, I liked my job as a non-profit theatre guild administrator. The hours were about as flexible as it gets and I could work just about anywhere: home, rehearsal, beach, theatre, Houghton Lake, car, Cafe Zola. Many of the responsibilities were right up my alley. I am a natural for playing with spreadsheets and databases, creating forms and handouts and play programs, and handling and counting money, and just generally bopping around town keeping track of things. I taught myself html and dragged the organization onto the Internet way back when the world wide web was still the wild wild west. I worked with a lot of fun people that I loved and I was the glue, the person who remembered and kept track of all the little threads and details and people and how they all fit together to make the organization run. I have always ended up being the glue wherever I have worked. I like being the glue.

I resigned for a lot of complicated reasons but the short story is that I was working many, many hours more than I was getting paid for. A small, volunteer-run non-profit usually doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on employees and I never expected to get rich working for YAG. I did believe in the organization though and I still do. But it had just gotten out of hand. We were constantly running on almost no help and that meant I often felt like I had to do things that were largely not within my skill set, like get beat up on by cranky parents. Yes, in a youth theatre guild on a planet like Ann Arbor, you do encounter those. My self-esteem can sometimes be a bit, shall we say, tenuous? Being trampled by self-involved parents advocating for their “gifted” children just crushed me. I’d be backed up against the wall wanting to scream, “I don’t do the casting and there is only one Lady Macbeth in the play!”

So now what? I knew I was heading for a period of downtime after all of the last year’s activity. No job. No classes. Social activities I used to barely have time for seem few and far between. Moping around the landfill trying to figure out which shambling mound to attack first. Walking. Living from coffee date to coffee date. Walking. Writing long, boring blahg entries. I do not do well with unstructured time unless I have some pretty clear missions. And I need money. How to make some money without selling out to a stultifying 9-5 job with a cubicle and a 2-bit boss?

Web design? Yeah, I have enough experience to do small, simple web sites. 50 pages or less or thereabouts. I can do html, css, javascript, a little bit of perl, I’m not bad at image processing, I can write content if I have to and I am trying to teach myself how to handle audio and video. I’m not a graphic designer and my technical skills aren’t sophisticated enough (yet) to handle a content management system or much in the way of back-end processing. But really the stickiest question involves finding and dealing with clients. I am a shy person and I tend to focus on the things I canNOT do, rather than promote my talents.

Or maybe I could sell off my inventory of craft and fiber art items? I’m certainly not doing much else with it. So, I am slowly on sorting that stuff out, finishing what’s unfinished, photographing it and putting it out on Etsy. We’ll see what happens there. People are looking at my stuff but they’re not buying it. A good friend says photographs don’t do my bags and things justice, that people need to get up close and be able to touch them. I think she is right but I am too shy to walk into a store and ask if they want to sell my stuff. Y’all don’t anybody even think about buying anything. The object of this game is selling to the general public and that’s the only way to win. Right now, I’m still learning the rules.

Enough kvetching. I do feel marginally better. And, yes, I know that “shy” and “writing about yourself on the Internet” does not quite compute. I can’t figure it out either. Glue for hire. Not necessarily cheap.</reinvention>

grammar blues

Friday, May 12th, 2006

You guys? If you catch me sticking an apostrophe into a word where one doesn’t belong (“it’s” instead of “its” is the main culprit) will you please HIT ME or something?

I consider myself a pretty good grammar nazi. I know I’ve blahgged this before but you cannot grow up with The Commander as a mother without turning into a grammar nazi. If you wanted to say something like “I ain’t got none,” you had better darn well be over in the school yard or the gully or at Aunt Marion’s corner store or the Pingatore house or somewhere. Any place where she couldn’t hear you.

The proper usage of “lay” and “lie” was beaten into my brain at an early age. I still don’t understand exactly when to use “bring” and “take”. I mean, it always seems to me that at some point in the process of schlepping something from point A to point B, “take” morphs into “bring”. Doesn’t it??? Exactly where is that point?

If there was anything that The Commander missed, it was surely drilled into my head in junior high by Pratt & Loye. They were no-nonsense English teachers — sisters, if I remember accurately — who dressed in that old-fashioned style that allowed a woman to place a handkerchief down the front of her dress for (hopefully) convenient retrieval. A classroom with Pratt or Loye at the helm was a tight ship. No fooling around. Once in seventh grade, Loye caught me cheating, i.e., letting someone copy my answers. Never again!

These days, I occasionally encounter words that I don’t know how to spell or can only vaguely define. Like lassitude, for example. But I know how to look them up so I *do* look them up. If I write something like “gonna” instead of “going to”, I do it on purpose. I’m not a trained writer but if I write in sentence fragments or start a sentence with a conjunction or commit any number of other grammar/syntax crimes, I do it more or less consciously. Proper use of commas, I sorta know. Proper use of semicolons, I am darn froggy on. grok grok And I do not even pretend to control Froggy. grokGROK! In the end, this is just a blahg, and it’s my blahg and I can do what I want and y’all can just deal πŸ˜›

But when I stick an apostrophe into “its” when I’m using it as a possessive pronoun, not as a contraction for “it is,” it’s not intentional! Substituting “their” for “there” or vice versa is another frequent error. I don’t know why I keep doing this. I guess bats are scrambling my brain! grok grok. Just lemme know if she screws up. grok grok. I’ll schlurrrrp her! grok frookGROK!