June 2021

mon jun 7
I’ve been working on bookcases in my office for a month or so, off and on, and they’re pretty much done. They are gorgeous, and I consider them to be some of my best work, but … I live an e-life now, and I’ve got no books to put in them.
The last time I moved (from Westford), I looked at the 5 boxes of books that had followed me since college – the ones I hadn’t looked at for 30 years – and I decided to get rid of them.
I tried giving them away, but the local college and the library wouldn’t take them.
“Too musty,” they sniffed. “Might give someone the sniffles.”
(“Might teach someone some sense,” I thought to myself. “Can’t have that.”)
Book stores didn’t want them either, so I took my books and went home and – I have to say – got a little emotional at the prospect of just tossing them out.
I tried burning them, but it turns out that books are really hard to burn.
I hollowed a few of them out, filled them with drugs, and gave them away, but that barely put a dent in the pile. Finally, I decided to put them all through the table saw. I threw out the pages, but I kept the spines, thinking they’d come in handy some day, and now I’m only lugging 1 box around. A 5x improvement!
It made me sad, though, because I’d collected all the knowledge you’d need to teach a diligent cave man how to build a nuclear bomb, and I’d thrown it all away.
Nine  years later, I’ve got bookshelves without books, and I’ve got a box of books without pages. Can you say “synergy?”

A wall full of faux books beats
a wall full of no books.

thu jan 10
Last night, when I turned in, BZ was asleep at the foot of the bed. I gave him some space, and I drifted off.  This morning, when I got up, BZ was outside, and I couldn’t figure out how he got out until Mary got up. It turns out I slept through quite the drama at 4:00 this morning.
As told by Mary:
Something started rattling in the night, and BZ got off the bed to investigate. The rattling got louder, and Mary got out of bed to investigate. BZ was glued to the window. Mary peered out. She turned on the porch light. Nothing. But the rattling turned to banging, and the banging sounded more like the attic than the roof. And then, with one giant rattle, it suddenly stopped. Mary opened the door to peer out, and BZ bolted into the night.
Whatever it was, it had shredded the aluminum soffit vent strip with its bare hands, loosened 2 nailed plywood sheets,  gnawed a big enough gash to squeeze through, and then fell 11 feet to the ground, leaving bloodstains, hair, and fingerprints behind.
I can’t believe she didn’t wake me up.

And that, my friends, is how the cat got out.

sun jun 13
We had some friends over, and I had the opportunity to demonstrate c3pr for them. It did not go well. After taking a few swings, the workstation froze up and it took a power-down to reset it. And when I started showing off the image pipeline, it seg-faulted in mid-task. I was embarrassed.
But … Embarrassed is good. It makes me want to make it so it never makes those mistakes again. I better get busy.”

Eggs in a downspout.

mon jun 14
I like pickles on my ham sandwiches, but we ran out.
Mary rummaged through her closet of canned goods and came up with a jar labelled ‘2015’.
They tasted okay, and they didn’t make me sick, but they’re mushy. After one sandwich, I threw them out.

thu jun 17
My apple orchard – the trees I planted myself – has been a disaster. If you read up on orchards, the experts say to plant the trees, keep the deer away, and fertilize and water them regularly.
I’m not a big fan of directions, though, and by the time I’d planted the trees, I was tuckered out, so I skipped the parts about the deer and fertilizer and water, and decided to take my chances for the first year.
About half the trees died.
Fertilizer didn’t seem to help. That left deer and water.
It’s not easy to keep the deer away, but it’s a lot easier than lugging water all summer, so I put wire cages around all the trees and – Lo! – The trees look healthier than ever! Maybe the experts were onto something here?
But ‘healthier than ever’ is still pretty sick, so I started thinking about water.
But the cages don’t just keep the deer out: they keep ME out too. You can’t weed. You can’t prune. It’s hard to water. You can’t do much of  anything without  taking the cage apart, but, like everything I do, I’d built the cages To Last.
I bit the bullet and I decided to replace each cage with a “gated pen.”
So yesterday, I busted my ass all day long, and I built 12 pens around 12 trees, but I decided to build the 12 gates the next day. I toasted my good progress with a cocktail that evening: “Here’s to the deer!” Clink!
This morning, I was brushing my teeth and I looked out the window.
Two deer in the orchard. Standing where the missing gates will go, munching on my trees.
Fuckers! In a flash, I was on the deck, barefoot, still foaming at the mouth, and shaking my toothbrush at the deer.
“Get off my lawn!”

wed jun 23
Mary had a couple days off, and wanted to get Out of Dodge, so we rented an Airbnb and went to New Hampshire. The goal was to visit the Castle in the Clouds and have as many cocktails and ice cream cones as possible on the shores of Lake Winnepasaukee. (We ended up with about 12 and 2, and then added 2 and 1 on the porch when we got home) It turned out, though, that we’d picked Bike Week to visit, and the entire state was overrun with hordes of Harleys. Tens of thousands of them. Tattoos. Leather. Gray hair, and not a lot of helmets. People watching on steroids.

Kinda like the Hearst Castle, but with better taste.

Can’t beat our own roses, though


Mary was making lunch, put some toast in the toaster, and went to the bathroom. One piece of toast fell off the wire shelf and landed atop the burner. The kitchen started filling with smoke. Quite by coincidence, I walked in exactly at that moment and saved the day.
Mary came back and we fished the burnt toast out of the toaster, cleaned it up, put it back together, and put the toast back in. The kitchen started filling with smoke again.
This time, we’d put the tray back wrong, so I put it back right, toasted our bread, and made our sandwiches. Mary decided that the burnt part of her sandwich was “not too bad. Kinda like melted bread.”

thu jun 24
It’s been hot and dry, and my apple trees look like they’re on death’s door. Let me see…
Plant them: Check.
Fertilize them: Check.
Keep the deer away: Check.
Water them: Give me a fucking break. The only way to water them is to lug 5 gallon buckets up the hill every week or run 400′ of hose across the lawn. Not gonna happen.
In the back of my mind, I sorta knew they weren’t going thrive if I didn’t water them, but I just had to try it and see for myself. And now that I’ve finally wrapped my head around the fact that you can’t count on the weather to keep trees alive, I decided to do something about it. (The water, that is. Not the weather)

In no time, our lawn looked like a scene from Caddyshack

  • Let’s all get drunk and go naked
    Let’s all get drunk and go naked
    Let’s all get drunk and go naaay-keeeddd!!!
    And lay in a great big pile!

    My worms have just about had it with this heat spell.


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