Thursday, May 28, 2015

Exciting stuff

    ...that I'm probably too tired to post about. Forgive it please if I'm as brief as I can be. As today is worth about three blog entries, I'll probably wind up making it into that. First, I got my drone yesterday. Since FedEx brought it to the front apartment instead of to me, I didn't get it until dark though, so I couldn't play with it until today. It was mega-crazy fun! Also, the camera is surprisingly good. I crashed it high in a tree, but miraculously got it down, and played with it again in a more open area. I'll kill it sooner or later, but right now, what fun!
    This is one of those little annoying things not worthy of recording except to set up what followed. As I've said, my bank machine ate my ATM card last week and I was sore annoyed. But the bank sent another card the next day no problem. However, now they've sent another. It's identical except now the Member Since space is filled in. Also, there was no sticker with the validation phone number on it. So I went to the bank to ask what it was all about. They didn't know either so I tried it in the ATM to see if it needed validation. It didn't. But the driver's side window wouldn't go back up. And we are expecting rain.
    So I called the Toyota dealership that offers rent a car and asked if they had anything cool like an Avalon and they said not. So I called the closer Toyota dealership to see if they could manage a loaner and they said not. So I went to the far away one with rent a car. When I got there (4 pm), the service rep suggested that since they're open until 7, they might be able to get it done today. So I went to the waiting room and took extensive advantage of the free WiFi. Eventually I was offered a choice between after market parts for less money and being finished today or Toyota parts for more money and having to wait until Saturday. I bet you can guess what I chose. So they had me out the door again by 6:30, and I'm fairly pro Dick Dyer Toyota right now. Out $400 so not crazy pro, but comparatively well pleased. I still think I could have gotten that window up if I could find a big enough tweezers!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Scattered showers all over my daily walk

    Given the situation in Texas, I reiterate that I am NOT complaining about the weather. We are very lucky not to be under water. It's just odd that on a day when there seems to be very little rain, sporadic and brief, it decided to POUR the minute I tried to take a walk. And it rained every time I got into or out of my car going to or from a store. I started feeling like that character from L'il Abner whose name I'm not going to try to spell but who always had a rain cloud over his head.
    When I got home, it was gorgeous, but of course it clouded over within minutes. We have more important things to worry about where I live, although I don't know if it made national news. A gasoline tanker was involved in a fiery 10-vehicle accident on the main commuter route into and out of town this morning. The interstate was closed for hours although amazingly it's open again already. Equally amazing, no one has died at least as of yet. Pretty alarming stuff, makes me even gladder than usual that I don't commute. I'm not sure if the weather was a factor or not.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

You're getting even while I'm getting odd

    (The above is the title of the first post Peter Wolf J. Geils Band record, which anyone who knows me even slightly could guess I went out and bought immediately because of the title. Or anyway eventually. Generally, it was a waste of space, although one number, I Will Carry You Home, was very much worth the trouble.)
    I've always had a phobia about or anyway a predilection against odd numbers. I don't care for odd years and I don't care especially for the more than half of every odd year where my age is also odd. However, this year has been so abysmal, I'm doing a rethink. Maybe it's worse to have an even numbered age in an odd numbered year. Maybe when both the year and age are odd, the fact that added together they make an even number makes everything all right. Yes I know it's insane, but hey-- all superstition is. If I can come up with a formula that lets me feel like I can have a happier time with the rest of the year, I think I'll run with it.
    For my birthday, yet another zebra butterfly taunted me and almost let me take its picture. I'm pretty sure supermodels would be easier.

Monday, May 25, 2015


    Oh maybe not everything. But as smart phones approach toward becoming one's everything-- toy, library, connection to the wider world, and, you know, phone-- it gets alarming when the battery runs down. Today I took a long walk and the butterflies gamboled and frolicked... unless my phone camera was switched on in which case, they scarcified. But I couldn't help it; I kept switching it on in the fantasy that I might just once get a picture. The funnest ones are zebra swallowtails. I've seen pictures, so somebody can certainly photograph them, but it isn't me. They would buzz my head if the camera phone was safely in my pocket but might as well not exist if it was in my hand and ready for action.
    You burn a lot of battery keeping the camera ready for minutes on end. I did get some pictures of another favorite butterfly, a swallowtail that might be the black form of the tiger swallowtail or it might be the spicebush or pipevine. They all mimic one another and my skills do not extend to telling them apart. The zebra would not cooperate, however, but I had a lot of fun trying to get a shot. Mercifully, the charger brings the phone back up to snuff very fast, which is lucky, because I'm supposed to be using it to read my friend Joe Abramos' very fine new novel Circling The Runway and give it a five-star review on Amazon. (I'm not just handing it out; I've read more than 3/4 and it definitely merits the five stars.) See? Everything!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Facebook tries positive reinforcement

    Facebook is always making changes and nearly none of them seem to be for the better. This either means that Internet users are inherently conservative or that Facebook had a pretty darned good service to begin with so that any change seems unwise. One change though they didn't make. As the years go by, more and more people drop off and fewer seem to join up. I'm probably not the only person on there with comparatively few actual friends on Facebook (compared that is with Facebook Friends, mostly people I don't actually know).
    So I mainly interact with organizations, institutions, bands and publications, most often making fun of posts by The Onion. Lately Facebook has started allowing users to reply to other people's replies on any status update, including these. And just lately, like yesterday, Facebook has started giving me (because let's face it, it's all about me) notifications when other people Like my replies to The Onion or Scientific American's updates. Previously, finding this out required a lot of legwork and scrolling. So kudos to Facebook for as long as this lasts.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Reverse zen

    Buddhism teaches that to attain happiness you have to accept the world as it is. (My knowledge of comparative religion was all picked up in the gutter, so forgive it please if I'm far from the mark.) The reverse, or obverse, or converse, or second verse same as the first, is that if you aren't changing anything (and thus are accepting the world as it is) then you must be happy. This seems to describe me to a T. I don't seem happy. I don't feel happy. But I'm not changing anything, so I must by definition be happy. Zen as all hell, don't you think?
    Then again, it may be that not having a fire in the belly just means that you don't have a fire in the belly. I've never been hungry, not literally, but I've never gone hungry in the sense of having no food and no money for food. Decades of three squares a day may be why I'm down with keeping the status quo and expecting decades more of three squares a day. Not that Bill Gates or Steve Jobs were ever starving. I guess the roots of ambition are hard to root out or elucidate, but the roots of no ambition are maybe easier. Or maybe the puppeteer has just gotten bored and removed the hand from my back. Who knows?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Why don't people TELL me when they do a lobotomy?

    Better day than the last two, but not a high-function day. My bank is still not giving me a lot of satisfaction. When the bank machine ate my card and I threw the ing-bing, the young man assured me that the new card they would send me would work with my old PIN. They sent it, but the other half of the prediction was overly optimistic. I tried to buy gas using it as a debit card and was turned down.
    This is the lobotomy part. I was halfway from the gas station to my bank branch when a guy in another vehicle gestured at me. He told me that my gas cap was on my trunk. The lobotomy part is not that I left the cap on the trunk; the lobotomy part is that I couldn't and still can't remember taking off the gas cap. I usually wait to do that until after the business with the credit card. Brain leaked right out of my ear!
    At the bank branch, I had to wait for the guy with ATM expertise to finish a phone call, but somehow managed to stay frosty. The last time something like this happened, I had to go to two or three branches to find a working put-in-a-PIN machine, but this time it worked no problem. And all was well. Or anyway better. I can't help but think, though, that it wasn't my imagination that that guy at the Trenholm Road branch wasn't terribly competent. Still, it was a glorious, gorgeous day and I have not thus far lessened the world cat population any further. So there's that.