Archive for January, 2012

Existentialism in the Great White North

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Can I just say that it was such an exhausting, stressful day that I found this iceberg wake-boarding video from The Atlantic rather relaxing when I finally got back to the Squatter’s Paradise this afternoon. And I don’t usually watch videos on the internet.

When I was a little kid, water-skiing was a big thing on the moominbeach. The older kids and some of the parents (but not mine) water-skied and there were a few hotshots around who used a slalom ski, meaning they skied on one ski instead of two. In time, I learned how to water-ski too. I can still remember my first time. I was hanging back in the water with my skis on, wearing a life jacket and hanging on to the tow bar. A trusted adult (was it Barb?) helped hold me straight until the speedboat driver hit the gas. Miraculously, I was pulled up and out of the water. I was skiing!

Water-skiing was fun enough and I got comfortable enough with it to actually cross back and forth across the boat’s wake on a calm day. I didn’t like it when the bay was choppy and I hated falling and I never got anywhere near using a slalom ski although I’m sure I daydreamed about it.

Water-skiing was not a sport that I continued into my adult years or even very far into my teen years. I remember the last time I water-skied. It was kind of a choppy day and I didn’t exactly feel very well and my leg hurt for some reason and when the boat finally approached the shore to drop me off, my exit was anything but graceful. I crashed and burned. And then, I crashed and burned in my bed up in the moomincabin. When I woke up the next morning, my leg had this huge swelled up black, blue, and purple thing on it.

It was raining cats and dogs and elephants and rhinoceroses that morning and my uncle the doc was out of town (?) and so we ended up hunting down Doc V and he *lanced* the whole ugly mess and I was terrified and after it was all over I remember crying enough tears to match the deluge. Hey, I was 13. Of course I recovered but it was a few days before I could walk any distance. I don’t think we ever figured out what caused it. I’m guessing spider bite maybe?

Anyway, I never water-skied again. It was partly because of that experience, although I am sure that the guy in the video wouldn’t ever have let something as stupid as a spider bite stop him from iceberg wake-boarding. But I also have an interesting relationship with water. Although I loved to play in the water and learned how to swim at a pretty early age, I am really kind of a scaredy-cat. I have inherited (I think) a bit of a phobia about deep water. I mean sometimes there are… dun dun dun… cylinders down there. I am envious of anyone who doesn’t have this fear.

So, how was *your* day? 😉

Dark Walk

Monday, January 30th, 2012

So, every single one of us reinvents motherhood. I mean those of us who have children, of course. I can’t believe that my beach urchins are 20-somethings nowadays and I am not always sure how they turned out as well as they have given some of the crap I tried to beat into their brains. But I’m not going there tonight.

One of the things that I do think I did right was Dark Walk. I instituted Dark Walk with my Mouse. When my Mousie was very young, she sometimes had trouble settling down at night. One night, I picked her up and we walked out into the dark, down the street to the corner and back. My Mousie settled right down. And *I* settled down. This became a habit that we called Dark Walk.

I have been doing Dark Walk a lot lately. I have been walking back and forth between the Squatter’s Paradise and FV. It is .91 miles one way. I walked it six times today. I can’t remember if it was still dark when I walked down there this morning. It was definitely dark when I walked back up the last time tonight. I was feeling pretty well decompressed by this that time and just after I took this loverly photooo, I activated the garage door opener device that lives in my ski jacket pocket these days.

As I walk back and forth, I sometimes encounter FV folks who ask if I want a ride. I love the FV folks but no, I don’t need one. I have a vee-hickle here. I am walking because that’s kind of what I do. It allows me to decompress. Especially when it’s dark out. Like it was when I walked up the escarpment after my third stint with The Comm at FV.

Love y’all,

I want my. I want my. I want my MTV!

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Okay, ready for a little hoosegow black humor after that outpouring of misery yesterday?

When you spend a long period of time visiting someone in the hoosegow every day all day, you see and hear a lot of things. People sneaking chewing tabaccy in, the S.W.A.T. team, your old boyfriend’s brother, etc. etc. And then there was the Ativan woman… I cannot remember what day it was that I first heard, “Help! Help! I can’t breathe!” but it was while npJane and UKW were here because I know they also remember it. She shouted it over and over and over again and my first thought was something like, “Why doesn’t someone go and help that poor woman?” But then I thought, “Wait a minute. She is down the hall inside another room and I can hear her from here. I bet there’s nothing wrong with her lungs or her breathing.”

And I was right. I know that medical professionals are not supposed to talk about patients within earshot of other people but the med-surg floor of the hoosegow is a busy, constantly fluctuating place and I could hear discussions about this woman out in the hall. “Her O2 sats are 98%. There’s nothing wrong with her lungs. We’ve tried over and over to reassure her.” Then God the doc came along. I could hear him lecturing the [totally competent] nurse, “All you need to do is reassure her that there’s nothing wrong.” Nurse wearily replied that she’d been doing that all morning. “OK, *I* will tell her!”, said God the doc and he charged into her room. After a few minutes, I could hear God the doc telling the nurse something about calling in a psychiatrist. Okay then.

Eventually somebody gave her some Ativan, which is prescribed for anxiety, as I now know. I guess the Ativan must’ve helped because she subsequently added “Help! I need my Ativan!” to her vocabulary. Later on I could hear the nurses joking about how many doses of Ativan they were allowed to give her. One asked, “Can’t you give her two?” The reply was something like, “I wish I could but I don’t want to lose my job.” It takes some black humor to survive the crazy days at any job and nurse has to be one of the craziest. I understood.

Why did I think of this tonight? Well. Because I was hanging out here at the Squatter’s Paradise for a while on this blustery, lake-effect snow-type day and I looked out the front window and I could swear I saw Ativan woman’s son shuffling down the street. I’m not *sure* if it was him but it sure looked like the same jacket and gait. He did have boots on. He was walking around the *hoosegow* in SOCKS! Uh, there is c. diff diarrhea about, don’tcha know? I wonder if his mom is still in the hoosegow and if he was shuffling down there to see her…

I never saw the Ativan woman and I don’t know who she is but it sounded like she walks around at maybe 100 or a little less and so does her son. Whatever she is all about, she *was* suffering and her son was down there with her. I do not know what their financial status is but it is these people who our country needs to try to protect. I wish them the best.

P. S. I loved the comments about jury duty yesterday and I replied with a comment of my own, if anyone’s interested.

I am living inside a frickin’ movie!

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

I do not have anything to write about that anybody wants to read about. In general it’s just the same ol’ same ol’ around here. Is it getting old? Yes it is getting old. If anybody calls me “strong” I will smack them! I am not strong. I am totally freaking out that my life has been so turned upside down for so long and I am *trying* to put one foot in front of the other. Whether I can do that with anything approaching grace (or even numbness) varies literally by the minute. I wanna get outta here. I wanna go home.

Well, except for the fact that a frickin’ jury duty “questionnaire” awaits me at home. Do I want to be called for jury duty? NOOOOOO I do not. Actually, since I have been called something like five times in the last 10 years, I am totally, utterly, absolutely pissed off (yes, the P word, sorry). From the get-go, I think if you have been called over and over and over again, you should get a grace period. A grace period that lasts longer than one frickin’ year, that is!

I know that these stupid questionnaires get sent out on a random basis. Er, arguably random, since I seem to get more of them than anybody else I know. I know that the computer that generates these goddamn questionnaires doesn’t know who I am or care what my current circumstances are. I also know that a frickin’ questionnaire doesn’t mean that you are called for a definite date. That will maybe come six months from now. Hopefully by then I will not be living inside a frickin’ movie. Still. Finding out that I got a frickin’ jury questionnaire rubs salt into every single one of my current psychological wounds. I do not need to deal with the frickin’ county court system right now. I do not even want to think about the court system and the scum of the earth criminals that require *me* to have to respond to jury duty questionnaires.

If you correctly guess which (frickin’) movie I am living in, I will reward you with one doozy of a lake effect snowstorm.

P.S. If you actually read this, thank you for letting me rant and rave and vent. And no, this is NOT all about meeeee. It is hard for everyone. But it is soooooo hard.

To the moon, Newtie!

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Things I am missing down on the Planet Ann Arbor:

My job! Even though I can do my job from here, for the most part I have been unable to FOCUS on anything that takes longer than a crossword puzzle or a round of Angry Birds.

Obama’s speech, although I would not have attended it anyway. I did see on fb that our own npJane got to shake Obama’s hand! [Disclaimer: Although I support Obama, I do NOT think he is God or the Supreme Zo or whatever and I doubt npJane does either. But still.]

Hare Krishnas walking and chanting at Fifth and Liberty. I wouldn’t have seen that either because I wouldda been at my, you know, JOB!

Walking down to the Old Town Barrrrooooomm on a Friday night, then walking home, taking my second shower of the day and collapsing.

My loverly dog-poopy cubicle, all of my loverly [not dog-poopy] colleagues, and the wildlife and ponds that surround my work place [probably somewhat dog-poopy].

Walking down to the Farmer’s Market early early on a Saturday morning, getting coffee at Roos Roast.

Urban hiking over by Barton Dam to check on the birdhouses the GG put up last winter.

My Mouse. Even though she is probably not all that happy about me discarding her supply of young mammalian quadruped stomach acid.

Walking to the Plum Market. Ooohhhh, walking to the Plum Market. Those people aren’t gonna recognize me when I finally get back over there.

Relentless positive action

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

I emulated Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder today by persisting in some relentless positive action. I am not a particular fan of our current Great Lake State governor. His mantra is “relentless positive action” and although I actually understand what he is trying to accomplish, with some of the DRASTIC positive actions he has pushed through since his election, it often seems to me that he is a bulldozer in disguise, spraying collateral damage in all directions. I’m sure one or two of my five readers disagree. I’m not gonna argue today.

More on that some other day. I am not really feeling very positive right now. I won’t talk about yesterday. Nothing really terrible happened. Some good things happened. It was a long day and I didn’t necessarily make all of the right decisions. I mean small personal decisions, not life-changing decisions for other people. In general it’s the same old same old around here.

Today? Better? I could not describe today if I could. Again, it was more or less the same old same old. It was mostly just my own emotional landscape that got dragged through the wringer. I guess that’s legitimate. But there has been one teensy tinesy wee little bit of a conundrum that has been bugging me for a while now and through the teensiest tinesiest wee little bit of relentless positive action, I have solved it. I am resting a bit more comfortably now, knowing that the heat and lucky-shucky will not be shut off at the Squatter’s Paradise.

Oh, not that it *would* be shut off any time soon. But here it is. Ever since The Commander handed over the keys to her checkbook, I have been picking away at moving all of the Squatter’s Paradise and Moomincabin bills over to autopay. Sometimes it’s as easy as just going online and creating an account with something like “kayakwoman” as the user. No ID required, maybe an account number or address or whatever. Other times, I have to impersonate The Commander. It’s okay. I have her permission.

DTE Energy? Not so fast, KW. Why? Well… It’s complicated. I mean, the bill is all friendly: Go green and pay online, just go to this web page and sign up. Roight. But. The bill is in my dad’s name. He died in 2006. So I have gone online to that web page umpteen million times to try to achieve autopay for the Squatter’s Paradise DTE bill. No dice. “We can’t find that account.” “We can’t find that social security number.” Blah blah blah. So every single month, I diligently write a check out of The Commander’s checking account, put it in an envelope with a stamp on it and throw it into the blasted snail mail.

This month? Where’s my mail? Where’s The Commander’s mail? Where’s The Commander’s checkbook? Where’s MY checkbook? I left the checkbook *I* was using to pay Comm-type bills down on the Planet Ann Arbor (how the HECK did I do that?) almost three weeks ago. I did finally find a couple of checkbooks up here but there are NO BLASTED checks in them. I wasn’t even sure where the blasted BILL was until I FINALLY dredged through a big bag of mail today and found it. The good news? Not due until February 1. Whew! The positive action? Got onto The Commander’s PNC account and set up a payment over the internet. Whew!

I’m sure it would take more than one late payment for the heat / lucky-shucky to get shut off here at the Squatter’s Paradise but I do not think that a bunch of fake faaarrrplace logs would do much to heat the place up and I DO need the derned internet. But I did figure it out and now I am not sure why it took me so blasted long! I, uh, *work* in online banking…

Oh, maybe you are wondering something like, “Why doesn’t the baggy old kayak woman just CALL DTE Energy?” Why???? Sigh… “If you want to report blah blah blah, press 1.” “If you need assistance with your bill, press 2.” Etc., etc., ad nauseam. My problem is more complicated than simply pressing a button. I need a person who can use fuzzy logic to help me sort this out. What do you think my chances are of finding a customer “service” rep with fuzzy logic? Get it? Roight.

G’night. Sorry about the short incomprehensible post last night. Sorry about the long incomprehensible post tonight.

Sorry but I’m not doin’ this day more than once…

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

That is about all. G’night!

“Do you have a job?”

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

It was The Commander and it was directed at me. Her eyes had been closed and while I didn’t exactly think she was asleep, I thought she might be off journeying somewhere. Nope. Eyes wide open looking intently in my direction.

Okay then. Yes. I have a job. I have been taking family leave (unpaid) to hang out up here in the Land of the Ice and Snow. And feeling guilty for not checking in to my job and boss and wonderful team of co-workers more often. I am now into my fifth year of working for the Long Suffering Cat Herding Person and sometimes I still find myself pinching myself at my good luck. Because where I work, when someone is in a situation like I am currently in, they are supported by their co-workers, supervisors, and the company. I am lucky. My main problem is that I have a work ethic that slaps me upside the head. *I* feel guilty when I am not in my loverly dog-poopy cube. I even feel a little guilty when I am *telecommuting* from somewhere, even though I *am* working.

Today? The Comm was right so after lunch when I packed up to hoof it down to FV for the afternoon shift (.91 miles, btw), I stuffed *two* computers and their respective power cords into my backpack. Windows work laptop and MacBook Pro. Aaaannnndddd. I worked this afternoon. In fact, Cube Nayber (who has been in a similar situation before) came up with a “brainless” task for me to do. It took me the afternoon and it *was* brainless but it was also *exactly* what I needed. I love Cube Nayber.

Will I work tomorrow? I dunno. It depends on what happens tomorrow. I am still on family leave for the duration. But I can clock hours if I work them. So I will maybe earn a bit of income. It’s okay though. The wooluf is really not anywhere near the door for us. But I do love earning my own money. Yes I do! Having my own money allows this baggy old kayak woman to purchase a few little luxuries here and there, like bulk shipments of YakTrax and whatnot.

Love y’all
Kayak Woman

Colace for whine

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Okay, so this morning it was LIGHTNING that woke me up here in the yooperland. In January. The driving was not bad here in the city of Sault Ste. Siberia but I guess it was horrendous if you had to drive down the Piche Side Road. At least that’s what the Mean Old Grunchie Old Grinchie says. “[rumble rumble rumble] I almost went off the road about three times and I wasn’t even trying to.” Of course, I was once with the Grinch back in the day when we did go off the road. That was Baker Side Road and the Grinch said, “I just got tired of keeping it on the road.”

So it was 40 degrees around here today, which means it was a really good idea to snowshoe yesterday and not today. I took a sloshy walk down around the locks area during which I realized that we were probably getting low on cab back at the Squatter’s Paradise. So I sneaked into the Co-op and snagged a bottle. Aaaannndd then… When we finally got back up to the Squatter’s Paradise, I stuck the corkscrew into the bottle aaannnddd… The corkscrew BROKE OFF in the cork. EMERGENCY!!! We called the GG, who was waiting for a take-out pizza from Angio’s and begged him to go to the Supervalu on the way home. TWO bottles of cab ([yellow tail] will do) and ONE corkscrew. And then we tasked him to open the bottle with the embedded corkscrew. Which of course took him about 10 seconds by using the new corkscrew. Colace for whine…

I am getting all kinds of sh*t about all this whine fumbling but I don’t really care. People keep asking me if I *need* anything. And I never can think of anything. Because, in the end, I am pretty self-sufficient. I have automotive vee-hickles and a husband and some wonderful cuzzints and [enough] money. And I am okay with what comes next. What help do I need? I am not sure that I would really feel comfortable calling up hospice and asking them to come and get the broken corkscrew outta my whine bottle. But I can call the GG. I am doing okay. Except when I start feeling wigged out. For the most part, I can deal with that.

Oh boy, I am distracted tonight. The GG has his big ugly iMac up here and he’s going through about a gazillion photooos. Hope some of this made sense.

Reglear nucular taggers

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Now that things have [temporarily] settled down to a dull roar around here, after spending most of the morning at FV, UKW dragged me out to the moominbeach for a wee bit of a snowshoeing expotition. We visited briefly with Barb and then, after MUCH help from UKW getting my Iverson’s on (because I am a huuuuuge klutz) and a call from FV (nothing urgent), we set off…

We headed down the beach and “poached” a bit (aka crossed a bit of private property) to get to Little Traverse Conservancy territory. I love the LTC but we’ll talk about that some other day.

Next up is the Doelle outhouse. There is a big road down onto the Doelle end of the beach nowadays. When I was a kid, the people who stayed at the Doelle house (yeah, that would be the Doelle’s, duh) had to park somewhere else and walk or take a boat down there. So there usually wasn’t anybody down there. When I was a teenager, we would all walk down there late at night and pretend there were ghosties in the Doelle house. I didn’t really believe the place was haunted but it still scared the bejabbers outta me at night. I have never told the GG stories about that because after hearing all of his stories about hitch-hiking around the country when he was 16 and getting picked up by serial killers et al, I figger walking down a private beach to a deserted old building are not all that exciting…

I spent a lot of time iPhone-ographing pictures of the “weak” but beautiful sun behind the trees in the swamp.

It was a wonderful hike and I am feeling some muscles that I don’t think I use terribly often. In a good way though.

P.S. Thank you thank you thank you to the young man who ushered me (with my whine and my orange juice) ahead of him at the Supervalu this afternoon. I really appreciated that and I’ll pay it forward.

Wear leather and live forever

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I’m not sure if this has been the longest day of my life or not. It may be but somehow I think I have said that before. But it definitely ranks up there. It was minus four degrees when I walked down to the hoosegow this morning and this is looking north up Ashmun from the bridge over the canal. And yes, I took this with my iPhone, so I had my glubs off.

Sometime in the mid-afternoon, I found myself in this space for about the umpteen millionth time. I think it might have been the last time but we’ll see. Anyway. When I reached “G”, the door DID NOT OPEN!!! Am I never gonna get outta this place???

I panicked for a couple seconds, then I hit the “G” button again and the door opened. From there, I walked through the bitter cold to my next destination and just as I was arriving I was able to salute a couple of ambulance folks who were driving out. Thanks you guys, you did good.

Aaannnddd… Let the night end with this loverly stuff obtained by the Mean Old Grunchie Old Grinchie. (And no that is not a booooob in there, it is the butt-end of a bag of ice.)

Of course, I’m not sure the night is over yet… But let the YouTube wars continue…

Cue the Twilight Zone theme music…

Friday, January 20th, 2012

So, for the last couple of days of haannngggging around the hoosegow, there’s been this stocky white-haired “old” guy also hanging around. Visiting a relative or whatever. I didn’t think much about it. There are a lot of folks around here hanging about, including me. I don’t generally seek conversation with patients or their relatives although I am friendly if they strike something up with me.

This morning I was sitting there freezing by the big windows and along came the “old” guy and this time he stopped to talk and started asking me a series of questions:

“Old” Guy: Do you work here?

KW: No.

OG: Where are you from?

KW: The Planet Ann Arbor but I grew up here.

OG: Oh, you grew up here, did you? What’s your name?

KW: [gave name (real name)]

OG: So you went to Siberia High?

KW: Yes.

OG: When did you graduate?

KW: [gave year back in the Jurassic Age]

OG: Oh, that’s when I graduated too.

He chattered on with more questions but that last bit stopped me in my tracks. Who what? Finally I managed to get a word in edgewise and ask, “Who *are* you???” His answer: JR. And no, not the JR from the old Dallas TV show. *This* JR happens to be the younger brother of my freshman/sophomore year high school boyfriend. Did I do a double-take! Whoaahhh! Hasn’t even changed much except for the white hair. Now. I did not know JR well at all in high school. BF and I did not hang around with JR ever. Actually, BF hung around with ME mostly when he felt like it. Yeah, that kind of boyfriend. Good person, bad boyfriend, and as an old song that used to play in the POC a lot says, “we were only freshmen”…

Anyway, my enduring memory of JR is of him walking around in the school cafeteria one day singing a little fast-food jingle, “When the hungries hit, when the hungries hit, hit the red barn.” It seems no one is safe from my annoyingly good memory but no, I didn’t reminisce with him about that.

What’s really odd is that he didn’t seem to connect me with his brother at all! At least he didn’t say anything about that. And neither did I. I much prefer to remain incognito in that respect. I don’t really ever think about that boyfriend any more and haven’t in about a billion years. JR prattled on about our upcoming reunion (he’s never been to one) and what was my job and what was I doing on my iPhone right then and was Doc Fin my dad, yada yada yada. I don’t remember him being such a social butterfly in high school. More like the typical Siberian Jurassic Age version of “my posse don’t do homework.”

I dunno who JR was visiting in the hoosegow and I didn’t ask. I hope it is not somebody that old BF also visits because I don’t really want to run into old BF at all. Of course, it’s possible I already have but we didn’t recognize each other. Just another day of hanging around at the hoosegow in my hometown…

Lake effect

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

It has been my habit during this stintus horribilis at WMH to get up early and walk down the escarpment to the hoosegow. Last night the prediction was for something like 19 degrees with a wind chill of, oh I dunno, but minus something. 19 degrees? That’s a piece of cake, even with the wind. But then this morning, I was sitting right here in this chair…

…and no, there was not a glass of whine there this morning. It was probably just about as dark but picture a coffee cup instead. Made by npJane. She is taking care of me! But I took the picture late this afternoon. Just saying.

Anyway, back to this morning. I was just about to put my winter gear on and head down the escarpment when a HUGE gust of wind complete with blowing snow shook the house. Um, hmmm, maybe I will take the Frog Hopper? I suppose the photo below doesn’t truly show how blustery it was but maybe you can get an idea.

Long, long, long day. Lake effect snow and blustery winds blowing snow around. I took a half hour “off” around noon and slithered my way up the escarpment in the Frog Hopper. When I got to the top, it was whiteout conditions and I couldn’t even tell where to turn onto the Squatter’s Paradise street. There were school buses and cars hanging out (snow day, say what?) and a sidewalk plow (yes, really, they were horse-drawn when I was a small child). And below is what the windows in the hoosegow second floor lobby looked like this afternoon. Yes it was cold hanging out there.

Okay. Still snowing here but not much wind. UKW arrived this afternoon. Dinner at Angio’s. Good night from the Squatter’s Paradise Internet Cafe and Whinery.

Dear C average frat boys: please step away from the technology

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

The GG was just dying for me to black out my stoopid little blahg today so as to support the defeat of SOPA and PIPA. If it had been any other Tuesday Wednesday in any other week, I may have risen to the occasion. Today? Ugh. Just ugh. Oh, don’t worry. After a walk back up the hill, a wee bit o’ whine & dinner at the Palace with npJane and the Mean Old Grunchie Old Grinchie, and a short visit to the hoosegow where I found The Comm sleeping very comfortably (and left before she woke up and after talking to her nurse), I was pretty well decompressed… …And then I got a phone call and, for whatever reason, I felt compelled to re-do the whole goddamn day and then I was all roto again…

So, I didn’t black out my boring little blahg and actually, I don’t often repost other people’s stuff so maybe those stoopid laws would not affect my boring little blahg? But it would affect my whole Internet experience and I definitely still support it. You damn betcha. I really don’t do things like this (BEWARE: some of the graphics are not totally safe for work or children). But.

What I can’t figure out is why the folks we elect to run the damn gubmint should be allowed to try to legislate the internet. I’m sure that there are a few folks in the congress and/or senate that have a passing familiarity with computer/internet technology. But I will also bet that most of these folks have grandchildren who can do an end run around them when it comes to technology. So why are we entrusting these jokers (I meant that) to try to make educated and informed decisions on Internet piracy? Oh, is it the film industry lobbyists driving this? Let’s kill some of those folks. Don’t shut me down, I’m just kidding, fer kee-reist. I felt that way about the stoopid tailgater that followed me up the hill in this evening’s bit of lake effect snow. I don’t want to kill anyone and the last thing I would ever do is kill a living being. But some people are so goddamn stupid and irritating… Just saying.

We *have* to keep internet content creation as free as we can. We can’t let the nincompoops that we keep electing to national office get their dirty fingers onto OUR INTERNET. These people (generically) do not know what they are doing in the current technical arena. Or in any technical arena. Like back in 1897 when some crackpot tried to get the Indiana legislature to pass a bill that set the value of pi to 3.2 (or something like that). Uh, the value of pi is an irrational (transcendental) number and we mere mortals do not have any control over its value and it is fortunate that an actual mathematician happened to be in the audience as they discussed this. Because, say WHAT??? (Google “legislating pi Indiana”.) Seriously. Think about the value of pi for a few minutes and think about whether it can be legislated…

As one of the nerdiest of computer nerds around, I do not have any faith in our wondrously overly self-indulged C average frat boy elected officials to know what the heck to do when making decisions about the internet. Please, you guys, just let us all do our jobs and innovate in peace.

Long day here in the yooperland but that photooo represents one of the best moments. 1.9 degrees this morning on my way down Prospect Street to the hoosegow.

Love y’all,

Egregious idling

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Meanwhile… Back on the Planet Ann Arbor…

I do not know what people did when they had to haaaannnnngggg around in hoosegows before wifi and smartphones and iPads and laptops became ubiquitous. Well, actually I do because my dad did a stintus horribilis at the Henry Ford Hoosegow in downtown Dee-troit before he died and I drove down there just about every goddamn day. My beauteous white MacBook 12″ G4 Powerbook could not find a wifi signal at all. Nothing. Nada. People with gunshot wounds getting dumped out of vans outside the ER? Yes. Wifi? Hmmm…

That was 2006. 2012? Our loverly little small-city hoosegow up here in Siberia has an open wifi signal. And believe you me, that thing saves my life. It is my communication line to the outside world. Friends and family. And news. And so, npJane and I were hanging around there this afternoon and The Commander was sleeping pretty dern peacefully and I checked my Twitter feed yet again aaannndd…

Bling! There was this tweet from

The vehicle idling ordinance will be discussed at tonight’s #AnnArbor City Council work session. Your thoughts?

I had to work VERY hard to keep my eyeballs from rolling totally back in my head in disgust but instead, I rolled them over toward npJane and read the tweet to her. Btw, npJane is a life-long denizen of The Planet Ann Arbor. Sheesh. Our wondrous city council in its infinite wisdom has actually been considering making it illegal to idle your automotive vee-hickle. Okay. I get that idling an automotive vee-hickle *unnecessarily* adds to air pollution, which can cause problems for people with asthma, etc. I remember all the perfectly coiffed Lincoln Navigator (is that even a car any more?) moms picking up their kids at Forsythe, letting their vee-hickles run to preserve the inside atmosphere. That kind of idling *is* egregiously unnecessary. My kind of idling? Yaknow. I do not have a gaaaarage at the Landfill. When it is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and my veeeendsheeeeld has a quarter inch of ice on it, starting the vee-hickle with the defroggers on and, uh, letting it idle for 10-15 minutes makes it a heckuva lot easier to scrape zee veeeensheeeeld. Well, and then there’s the kind of idling that happens when the left turn signal at the Jackson / N. Maple intersection has one of those hiccupy days when it only lets five vee-hickles through at a time and I have to wait for 4-5 cycles before I can actually, like, turn left. What are we gonna do about that kind of idling, hmmm?

Oh, our fav-o-rite comment?

What’s next for the People’s Republic of Ann Arbor…a no-farting law?

Gooooood night. Who knows what’s next for tomorrow? I wish I had a crystal ball. Oh, wait? Wasn’t that on my birthday list? Or not…

Love y’all,

Thanks y’all…

Monday, January 16th, 2012

I have to say it has been one of the more “interesting” birthdays I’ve ever experienced. Take that however you want to. Some of the more regular birthday type things include dinner at Angio’s with npJane and Grinch, a Piedmont-like Chorus on the phone from San Francisco (and I wanted to buy a round for those folks!), plus many best wishes via blahg, facebook, text message, email (that one from Viet Nam no less) and phone. If I haven’t personally replied to you, well, I’ve been a little busy. But thank you! And with that, I am outta words. You are happy about that.

HB to the January 15th folks

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

It is the mean old grunchie old grinchie’s birthday. And Paulette’s. I was somewhat numb this morning and so after we visited The Commander this morning, we took a slow ride out to the cabin…

And then we went to the Dancing Crane Coffeehouse…

And Clyde’s, although it is closed at this time of year.

The Commander is marginally better and I loved the hubbub of having two of my fav-o-rite cuzzints here at the Squatter’s Paradise tonight. npJane and The Grinch.

In which I am in desperate need of a haircut! Help!

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

As you can see, the GG had a wonderful time, uh, “hiking” with his buddies in the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore chapter of the North Country Trail Association. I’m not sure who was pulling him in this big sled thingy. I hope it wasn’t Teresa although she is a pretty damn strong young woman! It was *minus* 17 degrees Fahrenheit when these folks started their hike over by Soldier Lake. The GG has a whole bunch of gorgeous photoooos of his trip today but I’m posting this one. I wish I could’ve been there too…

My day? It totally sucked, thank you very much. You do not want to know the details. Do not ask. I wish I could blame it on bad biorhythms like that one day when Lizard Breath was a baby and we were in Flor-i-duh and I just could not get happy and finally we were at the Sarasota Jungle Gardens looking at the erderators and all that stuff and there was this biorhythm machine. We put a quarter into it along with my birthdate and that little machine spit out a little chart and guess what? My physical and emotional stamina and I fergit what else (there were three things) were all at a low ebb that day. Do I believe in that stuff? I’d like to think that I don’t. But.

I am a high-strung person and I was pretty young then. I am a baggy old bag now. I am still high-strung and I have my moments of sheer, utter panic. Like yesterday when we were standing in the hall at the hoosegow and my phone started jangling and it was zipped up in my pocket and I had to fumble to get to it and then when I answered it, I guess I was loud (it was because we had a terrible connection) and the GG was shushing me and telling me I shouldn’t be yelling in the hall of the hoosegow and he was right AND I *KNEW* THAT but, fer kee-reist! For the umpteen gazillionth time, I do not do well with telephone calls. Sometimes they are necessary and this one certainly was but hearing my phone ring (or chirp or quack or whatever) always puts me into a minor panic.

“Miles, you are off on a tangent.” That was my 10th grade chemistry teacher talking to my lab partner. But boy, that last paragraph got off onto a tangent. What I was trying to say was that today was an extremely sucky day for me despite the beautiful weather. Although I felt like wigging out about a brazillion times today, I (mostly) forced myself to put one. foot. in. front. of. the. other. and tried to carry on. I think the high point of the day was when Uber Kayak Woman called me (all that phone-whining aside) and maybe second was when I stood down by the locks in minus 4 degree Fahrenheit weather watching what the heck was that freighter’s name? slowly glide out of the locks into the lower St. Mary’s River.

Yes, I need a haircut!!! Mouse? Or maybe I’ll be able to get the Goddess Vonda to do it since I am up here…

Babblety-babblety-sheesh! Does any of this stuff make any sense?

Try our coconut oil for hair loss.

The dishwasher is *my* area, keep yer ipad somewhere else…

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Apparently the Planet Ann Arbor got an inch or so of snow overnight last night. This morning my Twitter feed exploded with Ann Arbor folks complaining about the driving. They didn’t plow, they didn’t salt, yada yada. Okay then. Last night Sault Ste. Siberia got about eight inches of snow. This morning, I threw on my YakTrax and set off down the escarpment to the hoosegow. This little city was swirling with snowplows of every description. Big snowplows like the one below, which was futzing around down by the hoosegow doing I dunno what because the surrounding roads were pretty well cleared by then.

And there were little private (?) ones finessing the edges of the main street:

Can I just say that it was absolutely no problem getting around town here in Siberia today? There were slippery intersections here and there but there weren’t umpteen billion accidents because people weren’t driving like maniacs. I know y’all will like this looovverrly photooo of the snowbanks down by the Soo Co-op.

I don’t have a whole lot else to say about today. It was a relatively productive day if somewhat challenging and after a late dinner at the bar in the Palace Saloon (which is fast becoming one of my favorite homes away from home) and another stint at the hoosegow, we called it a night.

Love y’all and goodnight,

Just please don’t swallow any kidney beans. They may come back to haunt you some day.

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

I started my day at an internet cafe. Actually, I started my day with a shower at the Squatter’s Paradise, a walk down the escarpment, check-in at the hoosegow (where I overheard The Comm identify herself to a couple of nurses as something like “Judy” [uh, noooo, you are “Fran”]), then cooooffffeeee (and internet) at Kenny’s Pitchen. Upon hearing The Comm call herself Judy, I said to the Goddess Sharolyn, who was in the hall, “Sounds like we’re off to a good start today.” Just to make things crystal clear, The Comm was very sleepy when she said that. She is still all there (and then some) and knows exactly who and where she is. And those nurses were wonderful. I heard them very kindly tell her what her real name was and remind her that she had been a teacher. The Comm: Oooohhh, yes.

It was a long hoosegow-ish kind of day and I was up and down according to the time of day (morning being the best), whatever The Comm was doing or talking about and, well, we’ll stop there. Our friend and summer neighbor The Beautiful Barbara (the most beautiful Barbara in the world), invited us out to her home on the Moominbeach for cocktails. When we got in the Frog Hopper to drive out there in the late afternoon, I was feeling so roto I couldn’t even talk. Can I just say that I needed cocktails at Barb’s? I have known Barbara ever since I can remember. I grew up with her kids and she was my first swimming teacher. I loved her when I was a child and I will always love her. Below is the Moominbeach view from Barbara’s house. Tonight a freighter was parked in the parking place over by Bay Mills and weather was moving in.

We came back into town, heated up leftovers and headed back down to the hoosegow again. You know you want one of these terlet decorations.

And finally the snow started in a small but beautiful town at the eastern end of the big lake they call gitcheegumee.

Good night,