Hocky Continues

Filed under:General — eric @ 11:38 am

The Saint Louis Blues were able to handle San Jose without too much trouble. With four wins behind them, they only need to win twelve more to claim the cup. Seven other teams want those twelve games, too. To move on, St. Louis needs to win four against the Dallas Stars beginning tonight.

American Hollow

Filed under:General — eric @ 3:37 am

American Hollow: The Bowling family has lived in the same rural hollow in Kentucky for seven generations. The Washington Post tells their story using the Bowlings’ own words (including audio clips) and photographs with a Web site you might expect from PBS. Urban Americans (and others, too) might be surprised to learn that there are many, many families in the U.S. who still live like the Bowlings.

It’s 1998 and we just last year put running water in the house, into my kitchen sink. We did it ourselves. We bought line, hooked into Iree’s well, dug up a ditch and ran it to the house. But I still need a bathroom and a septic tank. I got a rinse tub that we take a bath in. I’d rather have a bathtub, but meanwhile I can make do.


How does my garden grow?

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:35 am

I’ve been asked recently, “How does your garden grow?” Well, I’ll show you…

REM rage

Filed under:General — eric @ 5:04 am

Not wanting Stipe to hog the media this week, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck makes headlines of his own by roughing up an airline crew.

Ethnobotany loss

Filed under:General — eric @ 4:26 am

Dr. Richard Schultes, father of ethnobotany, died this month. I’ve read some of his writings, heard him on the radio, and was generally facinated by the man. As with everything he writes about, Steven Baum at Ethel the Blog does an excellent job discussing Dr. Schultes’ work.


Filed under:General — eric @ 3:28 am

I knew cats always land on their feet, but I didn’t know the same was true of giraffes. (Click on “Flying Giraffes”, then use your mouse to drag the giraffes into the sky.)

Why I Write

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:10 am

Keeping an online journal is kind of like NASA’s Voyager. But instead of sending out the Brandenburg Concertos and the structure of a DNA molecule, we send our thoughts and feelings and perceptions out into the ether for others to stumble across. And you know what? It’s just as important. What one person thinks about one little thing on one particular day is just as important as the greatest accomplishments in the history of humanity. Because it’s those little things that mean we exist in the first place, that make existence worthwhile.

Why I Write, by the Tinman.



Filed under:General — eric @ 9:00 am

I just biked in from home, and boy, are my legs tired!

I mean it… they’re tired. It’s only fifteen miles, but it’s the first time I made the trip on bike. The first twelve miles or so, no problem. Country roads, next to no traffic, a few hills. Then I hit a major road into town (with no side roads with which to avoid it). There, the pedaling was good, but the traffic was a bit rough. But then, I crossed the river well within sight of downtown. The hills there just about did me in — I don’t think I’ll be able to make it up the other way going back tonight. I’ll just have to walk a small stretch.

But I made it. It’s a big milestone for me. I’ve wanted to do this since I moved out there last spring, but kept finding all sorts of excuses. Now, I know I can make it, and I’ll try to do it a few times a week.


Michael Stipe

Filed under:General — eric @ 11:50 am

Michael Stipe expands on his speed bump protest sign with a letter to the editor in today’s paper.


Michael Stipe and speedbumps

Filed under:General — eric @ 11:16 am

There’s a side street in town often used as a shortcut between two major roads. I go down it often, though I’ve recently found a better shortcut. It’s a residential street than also has a private school on it. Recently, after calls from residents to take action, the city tried to calm traffic by installing giant speed bumps at several locations across the road. These are the several inches high, several feet wide, kind of speed bumps. R.E.M. front man Michael Stipe, who owns a rental house on the street, is not at all happy. Personally, I find them welcome. If you drive the speed limit, you don’t even have to slow down. But if you’re speeding, they’ll mess your car up. One morning, as I was driving through the school zone (complete with flashin yellow lights), I had a jerk in a big truck pass me doing sixty or so. This was not unusual.

The Record Store

Filed under:General — eric @ 2:04 am

Trying to change the way we buy music, the Record Store opens today in San Francisco. Their inventory is simple: a single CD, sold for $5. There’s no label, no track listing, no notion of what’s on it. The tracks are picked from a wide variety of genres from anywhere in the world. Each CD comes numbered, and you can visit their website, key in the number, and discover (a little at a time, spread over a couple weeks) more about what you’re listening to. They plan on cutting five CDs a month. No word yet if they’ll mail these things out.


College Plays

Filed under:General — eric @ 3:14 am

When I was being recruited by colleges, I paid attention to the school’s drama program. I was going into physics, but I loved drama. The school I selected, New Mexico Tech, proudly told me that even though they were a small school filled to the brim with nerds, they still did at least one big play a year. I was even shown pictures from the recently done A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I’d already decided Tech was the place for me, but this was icing on the cake. The year I got there, they stopped doing theater. I didn’t have any trouble finding theater, though. I brought together a group of folks and did radio drama at the campus radio station. As upperclassmen, I helped found an official club whose purpose was to promote drama and writing. The “Liberal Arts Guild” we called ourselves. A spot of humanities at a nerd school. I directed our first offering, Woody Allen’s God, paired with Sartre’s No Exit. More offerings followed, including Our Town, where I got to reprise my high school senior role as “Stage Manager”. A fine community theater sprung up, and I did several shows with them, including a production of Othello that we toured to New Mexico’s four corners area. When I left school, of course the university started doing official shows again. Now, I’m glad they didn;t while I was in school, as it opened all kinds of doors for me to do my own theater the way I wanted. I probably wouldn’t be directing today had I just been a mere actor in someone else’s shows. I bring up all this because Tech is now doing a production of Into the Woods, and SChlake has lots and lots of pictures. It shouldn’t surprise me that I don’t know anyone in the cast or crew, but I was hoping to see a few familiar faces.


It’s mighty cold

Filed under:General — eric @ 9:49 am

All last week it was summer around here. Temperatures in the upper eighties, little rain. Spring had given us a miss and summer went ahead and got started. My garden is filled with cool-loving vegetables, and they were rather disgusted with the sudden heat, giving them notions of flowering already when they were only a few inches high. The chickens, tropical birds that they are, loved it. They walked around by day, fluttering their wings, picking grass, and chasing bugs. At night, they fought over the top step of the ladder that is currently serving as their perch. I really like temperatures in the mid-seventies, but I didn’t mind the eighties so much. Drives into town involved an open sunroof for the first time in months, and I even biked a few miles for the first time since fall. I decided to bike into work (about 15 miles) a couple times a week starting this week.

But then nature realized what she forgot.

And last night it froze. We had warning, so everything was OK. The summer vegetable seedlings got moved indoors. The chickens got their heat lamp back. I shut the sunroof. We ran out of propane a few weeks ago, so inside we turned on the electric heaters and pretended it was January again. This morning, I inspected the garden, bundled up in coat and gloves. The veggies doubled in size overnight, I think, so happy they were to be cold again. The broccoli and rutabegas were particularly tickled. The wildlife were out enjoying the crisp morning as well. A few deer that have moved in since the cows moved out were across the pasture. A red headed woodpacker, usually heard banging away at trees across the road, was hammering for bugs right over my head, fifteen feet away. I’m sure the flock of turkeys were near, but I didn’t see them.

It’ll freeze again tonight even more, dropping down to 25 degrees or so. And it’ll be right back to the eighties by Saturday. In two days. It’s not much of a Spring, but I’ll take what I get.


What Luna Sees

Filed under:General — eric @ 11:03 am

I am very bad at maintaining long-distance relationships. And I don’t mean romances, but just the simple act of keeping up with the friends that I have scattered literally around the globe. There are so many people out there that I have let slip away by not keeping up with the letter writing. Email was supposed to make this all so much easier, but it hasn’t.

That’s one reason why I maintain this weblog. It’s my way of upholding my side of dozens of conversations with people I know here and yon. My acknowledgement that I can’t be counted on to reply to letters in a timely way, if at all. But I know my friends are interested in what I’m doing with my life now, just as I am interested in theirs. And I absolutely love to get mail (electronic or otherwise) from them, telling me about their days.

Even better, though, is when they have a weblog or journal of their own. Even though by nature it’s a public document, I can pretend that they are writing to me, and I am writing to them. Add in an occasional personal letter, and it’s almost like we’re still living lives close together. And should we ever get together again, face to face, we can pick up conversation just like we’ve never been apart.

But of all the people I’ve lost touch with, only a very few have an online journal. And with my horrid skill at keeping the lines of communication open, most of them are lost to me.

There was one person here in Athens that I briefly knew. I met her through theater, but didn’t really see her often. She discovered this weblog, and we regularly emailed each other. She’s a very neat person, but just as we were getting past the “getting to know you” phase, she moved away. To Japan. I had her email address, but like most everyone else I’ve an address for, I lost her.

So imagine my excitement when she let it known she has an online diary, What Luna Sees. I can catch up on the last six months of life in Japan, and regain that feeling of proximity. And what’s more, she can write. Boy howdy, can she write.

I’m glad to have found you again, Kim.


I wanna be sedated

Filed under:General — eric @ 4:08 am

Gabba gabba hey, gabba R.I.P.

Born in Slavery

Filed under:General — eric @ 3:36 am

I’ve just visited Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938, a project hosted by the Library of Congress, and I’ve lost all eloquence. In the thirties, interviews were conducted with former slaves. Their personal stories are touching beyond words.

So many people have this notion that slavery ended ages and ages ago. Ancient history. But that’s not the case. My grandfather was older than I am when these interviews were taken. I don’t know my family history as well as I should, but his grandfather could have easily been a Union soldier.

There’s so much visual reminders of slavery down here still. Canals still used that were dug bu slaves with shovels. Big piles of rock cleared from pasture and farm land, covered with fifteen decades of lichen. Rows of tiny sharecropper cabins abandoned and overgrown, modeled directly from slave quarters. You don’t have to look far to see what society down here used to be based on.

Many thanks to RandomWalks for the link.

Tooth nerves

Filed under:General — eric @ 3:15 am

I learned today, while finishing my dental work, that where the lower teeth share nerves, the upper teeth have one nerve per tooth. Thus, it took sixteen or so shots of anesthetic to numb them. And I felt the needle go in each time, as the topical anesthetic didn’t work. Once it got shot in, though, I numbed up nicely and they fixed my teeth.

Their opinion is that I need a lot of work done in there. It’s not my fault, they say. I just have too small a jaw to hold all of the big, strong, healthy teeth I have. The thought it that I need to have eight (!) teeth pulled. And get braces (not for cosmetics, they insist, but to fight the bone loss my mis-aligned incisors are causing). And, oddly enough, get the little membrane that connect my bottom lip to my bottom gums cut. It seems my chin muscles are so strong that the little membrane is actually pulling the gums aray from where they need to be. But besides all that, I’ve got wonderfully healthy teeth, and it’s clear I’ve got wonderfully healthy dental hygene.

I’d think they were just buttering me up so they could get more money from me, but they said they’re done with me. There’s nothing more they can do, because me teeth are fine. I need to see an oral surgeon for this other work, as well as an orthadontist. I’ve been a great patient and all, but I have to move on.

Except the cruddy insurance I’ve had to buy myself covers precisely 0% of the expected costs for all this. So I suppose I’ll just wait until either a) my company becomes wildely successful, or b) I get hired by a company with an excellent dental plan. Or c) low-prices robot space-age super teeth become available.


Guinness brewers are on strike,

Filed under:General — eric @ 11:32 am

Guinness brewers are on strike, bringing shortages of Irish-brewed Guinness stout. Some professions are too vital to human existance to be allowed to strike. Here’s hoping the company gives in to whatever the brewers want.

Hockey Season

Filed under:General — eric @ 11:05 am

Hockey season began last night after several months of warm-up games. The Saint Louis Blues, my team of choice, were shining in their first game against San Jose, the team that humiliated the Blues last year. And, thanks to the majic of TiVO, I started watching the game from the beginning, two hours after it had begun, and was caught up by the time it finished an hour later. I love my TiVO.


Filed under:General — eric @ 9:49 am

Our little rooster is learning how to crow. He doesn’t have any older brothers or a father or any sort of mentor, so he hs to figure it out all by himself. His harem of eleven hens is of no help. He can hear, off in the distance, our neighbor’s bantam rooster crowing every morning. This far-away crow has inspired him to get this whole crowing business figured out.

He’s gotten the idea that it’s best to crow in the morning, lest the hens look at him funny. He’s worried about that a bit, because even though he’s cock of the walk, he’s pretty scrawny. Smaller than almost all the rest of the hens. I’m sure he doesn’t want to hear the old “I wouldn’t mate with you even if you were the last rooster in the coop” line, so he’s trying to impress the ladies any way he can.

Except (and I can’t speak for the hens on this — perhaps they’re swooning) his crow is very, very funny. I laugh out loud every time I hear it. He’s got the cock-a-doodle down, but he’s having trouble with the follow through. He stands up tall, beats his wings, and lets out a mighty “Cock-a-doodle-{clearing of throat}!”.

He’s determined, even if he has to crow through noon for the next few weeks, to get it right.

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