Archive for August, 2007

I am going to the outhouse and, when I come back, everybody is going to be gone.

Friday, August 31st, 2007

yardarm.jpg“Those things that spiral and create devastation.”

“There’s a foul odor insidiously drifting over Bay Mills, raising a stink with property owners.”

“Men mark their territory with dirty socks.”

“*They* were the ones that thought it up but *I* was first one that did it.”

“I was drinking beano straight up last night.”

“Everyone else around here has a cabin. I have a museum.”

“You can green guy all day but you won’t get anywhere.”

“Oh, you know, those Thunderheads, the ones that fly in formation.”

“Well. [insert pronoun/verb contraction here] *not* going to [insert verb here] *[insert noun and any associated adjectives and articles here]*, are/is [insert pronoun here]?”


Padded cell, anyone?

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Culture shock. Got up this morning. Kayaked and swam in Gitchee Gumee. Put boats away for the season. 😥 I75 SUV Speedway to The Planet Ann Arbor. Westgate Kroger (tonic water, dontchya know). WCC. INP253, “Designing for the User III” or something like that. It’ll be a fun class but it may suck my blood. Hopefully I can at least hold it together for three hours tonight. If not, just scrape me up off the floor.

Last Last Day

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Except for when I come back up to put those darn storm windows on. But that’ll probably be early October and with my luck I’ll be doing that in a blizzard. The pictures in this post are not what the weather was like today. It was a pretty good nor’wester today and we body-surfed and wave-jumped for a good while, stopping just sort of getting hypothermic. These pics are from a couple days ago and Mouse is now safely home on The Planet Ann Arbor. I don’t have much to say so click on the pic below:


Ladies, it’s 5:09 AM and there’s lightning over the horizon.

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

sleepingbags.jpgAnd so ended our sleepout on the beach. We scrabbled our sleeping bags together and dragged them along the beach, stumbled up the path to the cabin, and trundled on into our nice dry previously un-sandy beds. The original plan had been to try to catch a lunar eclipse. It was scheduled to appear between three and six in the morning and we all figured that the chance we’d get up *out of bed* to watch it would be six of one and half dozen of another, even if we bothered to set an alarm. Anyway, I hadn’t slept out on the beach overnight for a good many years. UberKW and I went out quickly, leaving the little Mouse to toss and turn a bit more restlessly. I woke up quite a few times and for a long time I could see a huge full moon slowly traversing the night sky. I kept thinking how incongruous it was that only hours before we had all been sitting on the hot sand watching the sun head over the yardarm. Then I woke up again and the moon was gone, covered by clouds. As I went back to sleep again, I thought I heard a faint rumble of thunder. Far away. Maybe over the Sleeper Lake fire. I don’t know where. I slept a while. When I woke up again, the thunder was still far away and I lay there for a while, too inert to look at my phone to see the time. Finally, I poked my head out of my bag and there, over Mission Hill, was a flash of lightning. Okay, let’s check out the time. 5:09 AM EDT. Time to go. Good night? Or good morning? At least we didn’t encounter any skunks!

Unfinished Prodjects

Monday, August 27th, 2007

I am too tired to write much of anything tonight. These are a small fraction of the unfinished prodjects on the beach this summer. We have more. Mouse has *many* more. Love you Mouse. Love y’all! 🙂


Fall Beach Day

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

fallmorning.jpgKa-whompf! I heard that sound this morning as I was walking the beach. It was the Grinch, dropping a huge aluminum canoe onto the beach. One that he had single-handedly manhandled from the Jim/Jack/GG’s garage to the beach. Fortunately, I had already unlocked it (the garage, not the canoe) because apparently The Comm locked it up during our Yarn Store Boondoggle yesterday. So we (me, Mouse, UberKW and Radical Betty) kayaked over to Cedar Point, rafted a bit to drink licorice tea and eat dark chocolate, then headed over around the back of the island and home. Lunch and oven cleaning, then an afternoon on the beach. At first it wasn’t very warm but eventually it got hot. Swimming ensued. It did feel like fall today. When I was a kid, I can remember a day like today. I was looking at a deciduous bush at the front of the deck. The sun was behind it and I remember thinking, “by this time next week, I will be in school.” That bush is no longer there. There are some pine trees there now. But next week, I will be in school. Or whatever. There will still be some good days here but we are at the end. I am incoherent. Love y’all and goodnight. Click here or on the picture for more beach day pics.


Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Too tired tonight to write. Click for pics from Friday’s expotition to Karl’s Cuisine for lunch and the 2007 Below the Bridge Yarn Store Expotition.


Big Frog! Grok grok!!! Help!

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Drunk Again

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

drunkagain.jpgYesterday I wrote about the Dancing Crane and I said, “This place is a keeper and I’m sure I’ll be returning soon.” And, sure enough, I was back there today, this time with Radical Betty and Aimée. I forgot to sign the guestbook yesterday so I signed it today for both today and yesterday. I am a regular. Other than that, not a whole heckuva lot is going on. Kayaking again proved to be elusive due to heavy fog in the morning and rather iffy looking skies in the afternoon. But we did swim for quite a while and then a couple of nagers began a cut-throat game of dominoes over a gin and tonic with Bubs acting as the referee, after which we went to Thursday night fish at the Cozy Inn, and now the nagers have resumed the domino game. The local NPR station went off the air for about five hours today and when it came back on, certain people thought that a ghost had turned on the radio. And then when I walked down on the beach this evening, there was a big whooshing noise and I thought maybe rain was coming in but it was a big flock of little birds traversing the beach. Oh yeah, and some of the best news is that I have a browser cam account again so I can actually see what my web site designs look like in “our friends” Internet Explorer 5.0, 5.5, 6.0 and 7.0 on various Windows operating systems. Why Microsoft cannot build a browser that interprets html/css properly I do not know. It would sure make my life easier. Folks, please make my life easier and download Firefox! Now! And finally, it isn’t us drinking the B&B. It’s Froog and Green Guy. Grok grok. Yeah, roight, ya stoopid ol’ bag. grok grok. You ‘n’ yer cuzzint wer schlurpin’ up that stuff like krazy! Grok grok.

Croissantization on the Bay Mills Indian Reservation

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

crane03.jpgAnd, in this case, that is a GOOD thing! We were kind of slugging around today. It’s been actually *raining* today and that is *much* needed. The ferns in the woods are all yellow and some of the maples are turning colors from the dryness. We were waiting for the gas guy to come and he came in the morning so we were free to do whatever. I said, “well, maybe we could go out to lunch. Or not. After all, it’s pretty nice hanging around here in the rain.” We were ambivalent. Didn’t really want to scrounge up lunch at the cabin. Didn’t really want to drive all the way to town. Didn’t want too much to eat. Hem and haw and get engrossed in books and computers again. And then The Commander had a brainstorm! “Let’s go look for that new cafe up in Bay Mills!” And so we did. The Dancing Crane. We had heard about it early in the summer but with all the hubbub, the kids and the dogs and laundry and parties and all the rest, it was never quite exactly the right day to go check it out and we had almost forgotten about it. Today was the day. Coffee drinks to rival Starbucks, smoothies (we had mandarin orange), muffins and things (no croissants that I could see ;-)), and there’s a grill outside where they can make hamburgers and hot dogs. Very friendly owners and a tiny stage in the back for music. This place is a keeper and I’m sure I’ll be returning soon. Click here or on the picture for a mini slideshow. If you go, do NOT drive over 35 on the res. Whether or not your engine blows up.

A Day of Mysteries and Discoveries

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

click on pics to enlarge

blahggin’ from INSIDE the cabin from my iPhone

Monday, August 20th, 2007

That is all.

Drowned Rat

Monday, August 20th, 2007

bagels.jpgBarry Bagels. Home. ATM. Gas station. Westgate Kroger pharmacy. Post office. Home. Optometrist. Westgate Kroger again. Bank. Home. Slogging through the rivers streets and lakes parking lots and there are flood warnings. *Great* day to run errands. Almost as bad as the day YAG took the summer campers on a field trip downtown and for a few minutes, we thought we had lost one of the little kids. My Biologist Buddy said something like, “in a deluge like this, a small child could drown!” And that *loverly* little pic over there is the first picture taken by my iPhone. It was taken accidentally by My Monday Coffee Buddy and she thought I should delete it but I decided to post it instead. I plugged my phone into iPhoto, loaded it up, *tagged* it just for Sam and jcb, exported it, resized it with Photoshop and there you go. Easy as pie. Nice greenish cast, dontcha think? Now if only we could get my phone number to *ring* my *iPhone* instead of my old Verizon phone. It’s supposed to do that starting at 12:55 PM today. We’ll see. Until then, the procedure for initiating a phone conversation with me is to dial my phone number, let it ring long enough for me to look at the number on my old phone and then I can call you back on my new phone. Fun with phones. I have always loved dealing with telephones. Even dream about them regularly. Dialing over and over again and not getting through. And somehow if you are my kid, I don’t really care if you get a little bit of snot on my face. Even if you aren’t a baby any more.


Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Because we’re crazy. And irresponsible.


This ain’t no fairy cross!

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

cross.jpgThere’s a good chance I could get into some kind of weird trouble for writing this post but life here on The Planet Ann Arbor today was almost as exciting as watching paint dry so I’m looking to mix it up a bit.

The last time I arrived on Fin Family Moominbeach, I was greeted with, “have you seen that big cross in the woods down there?” I had no idea about any “cross” in the woods. Why did anyone need a cross? We have all kinds of icons around the beach. The Back Light. The Amethyst Rock. The Big Rock in the Bay Just Before Cedar Point. The elusive Cylinder (dun dun dun). A little chill went up my spine and my heart tried to jump up to my throat but I forced it back down.

Honestly, can anybody tell me what the heck this kind of thing could be about? I think I have blahgged before that while I respect other people’s religious beliefs*, I am not particularly religious myself. Part of that is probably due to receiving some of Grandroobly’s DNA. And then there were the sweet, well-meaning Sunday School ladies (hey, my parents tried!) who dismissed my questions about how one measly loaf of bread could feed multitudes of people with, “it was a miracle!” When you are a kid who thinks about atoms and universes and calculus before you can articulate the words, you need a better answer than that. That’s not to mention the old biddie** who once tried to get me and my brother (I was five and he was two) to stop rough-housing in the church kitchen while The Commander was making coffee for the coffee hour after the service by telling us that Jesus was gonna get us if we didn’t watch out. Those weren’t her exact words but I got her drift. But Jesus was dead, right? Or not? And whether he was or wasn’t, how the heck could he be watching every single badly behaved kid on earth? We shouldn’t have been rough-housing but this stuff about Jesus just didn’t wash.

Anyway, as you can see, my religious training is lacking. This cross bugs the heck out of me. Why is it there? Is it supposed to protect someone? Who is it supposed to protect? From what? Are there *really* werewolves and vampires in the woods? What’s with the nails? Are they planning to crucify someone? If so, who? Probably me, since I had to do a small bit of trespassing to get that picture. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Y’all know the drill. So what’s up with the cross? Maybe I’ll go join the werewolves and the vampires.

*In the case that religion is used as an excuse to kill or hurt anyone or anything, I get off the train.

**I’m finding out in my old age that I’m not the only person who didn’t like that [long dead] woman. 😉

“Poor Old Moom”

Friday, August 17th, 2007

Yeah, standing out in front of Howard Cooper at 8AM, getting cold*, without a computer or anything else to do, watching about a million green Hondas pass me by. Waiting for *my* green Honda to pick me up. 😥

*Yes, I was really kind of chilly. Me with my usually red-hot skin. Here. On The Planet Ann Arbor. In August. Go figure.

Quilt Unfinished Prodject

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Whaddy’all think? Will I finish it?


What century are we in, again?

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Howard Cooper Service Guy: Howard Cooper service department, how can I help you?

Kayak Woman: I have a 1985 Honda Civic that’s due for scheduled maintenance.

HCSG [a bit incredulously and obviously wondering “who is this nutty old bag and is this a crank call?”]: Uh, that’s a, um, 1985 Honda Civic?

KW: Oh!!! I mean, a 199-uh, I mean, uh, a 2005 Honda Civic. 😳

HCSG: Oh, okay, that’s a little more like it. How ’bout Friday?

Get a cash register. Or maybe two.

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Yes, this is about the Apple Store again. I bit the bullet and went back there after I figured out that powerbook batteries really *did* cost $129.00. I don’t know how I could forget about that, I certainly bought plenty of replacement batteries for my old 12-incher. (I’m sure there’s some smart aleck out there who knows where you can get them cheaper but I’m not sure I want to know.)

I walked to the back of the store where they have the batteries, ignoring all of the pretty new toys along the way. I quickly located the appropriate battery. I walked to the counter at the back of the store, battery in one hand, debit card in the other. A green shirt guy was sitting behind the counter. He asked, “Khzkhzkhzkh?” I replied with something like, “Say what?” After a couple of rounds of that, I thrust the battery and debit card toward him and said, “I just want to buy this.” I still couldn’t hear him but he said something about this was the “Genius Bar” and I’d have to find a clerk to help me. Geniuses are apparently above handling simple sales transactions.

I looked around the store. There were a few green shirt guys busy helping other customers discover how to transform their lives with iLife. A couple of other customers with accessories and debit cards in their hands were standing around looking just as bewildered as I was. How are you supposed to buy something in this place? Finally, one of the green shirt guys finished with his customer and addressed us. “Let me just go get some bags,” he began. Another woman and I simultaneously exclaimed, “I don’t need a bag!” “Okay,” he said, “let’s just go up toward the front here.” The other customers and I exchanged confused looks and tentatively followed him to the front, where we tried to order ourselves into a line, i.e., “weren’t you here before me?” and “oh no, you go ahead.”

He processed our transactions with a handheld scanner. It was lucky I didn’t leave my driver’s license locked in my vee-hickle like I frequently do (hey, I like to travel light!) because he was “required” to ask me for an ID, even though I was paying with a debit card. He was also “required” to put a “thank you” sticker on the box and then I had to wait for him to go to “the back” somewhere to get my receipt!

Hey Apple? You guys seem to be so obsessed with “cool” that you are ignoring basic customer service. Here are some tips:

  • Station a cash register (or two) at the front of the store and hire a person (or two) whose main responsibility is to run it. It may be “cool” for all of the green shirt guys to have handheld scanners. In fact, I think they should *still* have them. But people who come in to pick up batteries and things (usually) know what they want. They don’t want to wait for a free green-shirt guy just to pay for a battery.
  • An added bonus is that a cash register station will have a place to stash things. Or print things. No more running to the back of the store to find a bag or a sticker or print a receipt.
  • Train the “genius” bar guys to ring up transactions and require them to help out with that when they’re not busy being geniuses.
  • Put a rack of batteries and stuff at the front of the store. I know that making people walk past all your fancy toys is a marketing strategy. But people like me are already sold on Apple products. Believe me, when I decide I want a new computer my MacBook kicks the bucket, I’ll be in there checking out whatever is the latest and greatest. Until then, if I need a battery or whatever, I want to get it and get out of there.
  • Karen’s right! Hire a few women fer Kee-reist! Please don’t hire twitty ones.

I am so cool… or… not…

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Obviously I am not. In fact, I am apparently about as uncool as you can get. Why? Because, now that the Apple Store at Briarwood Mall has been open for 23 days (I think I counted right, it opened the same day as HP7 came out, right?), I have finally gone out there. What is my opinion? I am totally, utterly, completely, absolutely underwhelmed. And, to my great surprise, I was working hard to *not* clench my teeth as I walked out of there empty handed. I don’t exactly know why and I don’t understand why Planet A2 people (when I was searching around on Google for the opening date of the store) were blahgging about how they were just about “wetting themselves” about the store opening and getting their tshirt, etc. Why? (I mean why didn’t I like the store, not why the wetting and tshirt, etc.) So, why didn’t I like the store very well? I like Apple computers. Heck, I’ve been using them since 1980. I am just about chained to my current Intel Macbook, the machine that writes this blahg. But the Apple Store is, after all, just a store.

The place was abuzz at around 11 AM. That’s early for the mall on an off-season Monday. Briarwood is not that exciting a mall. They had the latest Apple computers in stock. And iPods. And maybe iPhones but I didn’t look because I’m waiting (a few years) for that device to mature, thankye veddy much. And accessories up the wazoo. No one was unfriendly or unhelpful or incompetent. And I have had good experiences with Apple stores before. In fact, once, a few years ago, when I tried to call Apple to order a wireless card (don’t ask) and COULDN’T GET THROUGH AT ALL, I called the Twelve Oaks Apple Store. I had to drive out there, not my favorite place to drive, but they were really nice and friendly and I came home with a wireless card. But it is a hassle to drive from here to Twelve Oaks or Somerset, so I thought it was really cool (grok grok) that we were getting a store here on The Planet Ann Arbor.

So. What’s the problem? I can’t quite put my finger on it. It all just felt a little too “cool,” if you will. The green-shirted clerks (were the shirts green?) that swarmed the sales floor were knowledgeable and polite and helpful but it all felt like they were reading a script. Yes, I said “reading,” all you theatre rats. It was a little too much like the telephone customer support folks I’ve been talking to all summer. You know. The people who, after you’ve been bounced around from one unintelligible connection/person to another for an hour or so, chirp, “is there anything *else* I can help you with today?” Grrrrr… It felt like the Apple Store salespeople were more enamored of their elevated position in life (Apple Store clerk? On The Planet Ann Arbor, no less?) than making the short-lived but meaningful connections with their customers that are required in order to sell high end computing equipment and related peripherals. Like, what do you really need computers to do in your life and where are you gonna schlep ’em and how can we give you the most bang for your buck? It was just too high energy and buzzy for me. What do they do when people like my mother come in there? Octogenarians who are *determined* to keep up with the world of personal computers but can’t quite get into the lingo. Heck, I can’t even get into the lingo and I’m chained to a Macbook all day every day. I like salespeople who are there when I need them and fade into the woodwork when I don’t need them or need to think. I don’t like it when they interrupt a conversation or transaction (with me) to answer the phone or talk to Daddy BigBucks, etc. Not that any of that happened today exactly. It just felt unorganized enough in the store in general that it *could* happen.

I dunno. Maybe it was me. After all, it was my first day back from yet another jaunt up to the beach and going to Briarwood Mall was about the last thing I wanted to do. Malls make me dizzy. Note to Apple: explore putting your stores in places like Maple Village or Westgate instead. Most people (???) who want your products don’t want to have to wade through a mall to get there. I feel that way about fabric stores too. Or maybe it was because I asked a clerk, “Do these computers go online?” and he proceeded to try to lecture me about how to use Safari until I waved him off saying, “I *have* one of these!” I suppose a better question would’ve been, “Are these computers connected to the Internet?” and actually, I own a slightly different model than the one I was banging away on. But Kee-reist!

I had a conclusion to all of this but I forget exactly what it was. I know I’ll go to the Briarwood Apple Store again. It’ll probably be a whole different experience the next time. Like I said, the clerks weren’t bad. It was just too buzzy and scripted. It could’ve been better. Onward.