Archive for the ‘Inquiring Minds Want To Know’ Category

Separated at birth??

June 16, 2008

We report, you decide.


Nope, No Fire Here

May 22, 2008

For those who may have heard that half of California is up in flames… the nearest fire is over 30 miles from me, and the wind is blowing the other way, so no chance that one’s going to get me.

So far, 3000 acres have burned, and they have it only 15 percent contained. Several homes have been lost–but no injuries have been reported.

Good friends Caro and Suzanne are nowhere near the path of the fire, for those who might be wondering. To get to them, it would have to travel several more miles, take a sharp turn to the west, and jump across at least one major highway. So I think they’ll be fine. At least, this time….

Earlier this evening I was at a dinner. The man sitting next to me took a phone call from his elderly mother, who lives 7 miles from where the fire began–upwind, thank heaven. She wanted to clear some brush around the house–but he had to admonish her not to try to start up the chainsaw on her own. In fact, he left the dinner early so he could go wrestle the chainsaw out of her hands.

Ah… life in rural America. Nothing quite like it.


April 26, 2008

One week ago today, I rented a car at the Nashville airport and drove off to explore the countryside a little. Being of a pathologically Scottish bent all my life, I had requested the cheapest skateboard in the Avis stable of cars. (I chose Avis because they opened the earliest the next morning, and returning the car as soon as they opened gave me plenty of time to get checked in and make my flight home.) Apparently they had no skateboards available, so they gave me quite an upgrade (at no extra charge, of course) and I found myself tooling around Nashville in a silver Mitsubishi Eclipse. Fun little car, if you like climbing into what feels like a hole in the ground. You barely touch the gas and it takes off like a bat out of hell.

Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows I enjoy chasing wildflowers. Being in Tennessee (a new state for me) I took the opportunity to see what grew locally, and found my way to the lovely Radnor Lake, which is not far outside Nashville. The nice lady at the visitor center desk asked me how strenuous a hike I wanted to take, and when I admitted I had only had about two hours of sleep, she suggested the lake trail, which is a little over 2 miles and circumnavigates the lake on level ground.

I got a few good pictures, which I will post a bit later.

Now to the curious part. On the way back into town, I took all surface roads because one can drive on a freeway anywhere. A wide spot in the road on the outskirts of the city boasted a used bookstore, so I stopped, in search of a book about local wildflowers so I could identify what I’d seen. Go figure. The store owner was only able to find me a nice book of … California wildflowers. I actually bought it because it has some nice pictures in it. She asked me how I was enjoying Nashville, and I said everyone in town is very friendly, but out on the hiking trails, nobody looks at you and nobody says hello. In California, it’s the opposite. People are not terribly friendly in town; but on the trail, everyone says hi, beautiful day, enjoy your hike, etc.

Tomorrow is the Big Sur Marathon, and as usual the girls and I are doing the 10.6 mile walk. I’m meeting them in 10 minutes at the expo where we pick up our bib numbers, T-shirts and bus tickets, so I’d best dash on down the hill now.

For Those Who Care…

December 24, 2007

… yes, I am still alive. More or less.

My back isn’t as bad as it was… but it still reminds me every time I do something I shouldn’t. Such as bend over the sink. Or bend over to peer into a lizard house.

What with that nasty galloping crud I picked up on the cruise, I coughed so much, I popped a rib cartilage, or something. So now I have pains both back and front. And I am still coughing and sniffling a bit, though not nearly as bad as before.

I’ve been sleeping a lot more than usual. Today good friend Sara stopped by and presented me with a bottle of Bailey’s. She retired from 35+ years of teaching just about the time I semi-retired from my job, and she is giving herself plenty of time to be lazy and enjoy “slumber and sloth,” as she put it. “And a good slug,” she added, pointing to the bottle. Great. Not that I needed justification, but if she can do it, so can I.

Of course I managed to get my sleep schedule entirely screwed up over the weekend. Friday morning I was to take the young sailor (who is now commenting on my blog as “bin V.” which means son of V.) to the airport so he could go home to Ohio for Christmas. This was only the second time he had ever traveled by himself, and it was a good thing I went inside the airport with him so I could help him figure out what to do. His flight to Chicago was going to be delayed due to weather, and thus he would miss his connection to Ohio, and there were no further flights that day that would get him home. The best they could offer him was standby the next morning, with of course no guarantee. At first he was going to fly to Chicago and take his chances from there, but then he decided he would really rather not; and since he had gone through all of the bureaucracy and paperwork to get signed off the post and officially on leave, he didn’t want to do it all again, and asked if my couch was still as comfortable as it was when he was in the 4th grade.

So at his mother’s insistence, he took me to dinner (Olive Garden) and he crashed on my couch. We had to get up at 3 a.m. to get him to the airport (an hour and 20 minutes from my house; he flew out of San Jose because it saved his parents about $400). He had already sent his duffle bag through and he already had his boarding pass, so I dropped him off at the curb at 5 a.m., and told him as soon as he got through security, to find out what gate he was supposed to go to, and then go make friends with the gate agent and see what they could do for him. Meanwhile, I was heading over to Denny’s and I would wait there until I heard from him.

Long story a whole lot shorter, he did get a seat on that flight (and I had breakfast and lots of coffee). I think he got bollixed up again somewhere in the midwest before he finally got home, but I am assuming he got home because I have had no further e-mails from V. on the subject. Presumably we will not go through this hokey-pokey when he comes back in a couple of weeks, because if his flights are delayed, he can just call me when he’s about to board a plane for San Jose, and then I can just look up the estimated arrival time for that flight online.

So I headed straight home, and straight back to bed, where I slept another 5 hours. Saturday night I slept a full 8 hours–and then took a 4 hour nap Sunday afternoon.

Other than that, it’s been mostly a pajama weekend. My various familial appendages are scattering in all directions tomorrow, so I may or may not go over to my mother’s. It will depend on how I feel.

And now… back to bed with a book!

And a very Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Small Town

November 19, 2007

For reasons far too boring to explain, I ended up going to lunch today at a restaurant in a part of town I don’t usually frequent.

The hostess and I stared at each other, and then called each other by name. We knew each other way back about 25 years ago, although not well. I’d say we were mere acquaintances among a much larger group of people.

The last time I saw her, her children were mere toddlers. Now she is a grandmother. I told her she looks great (she does) and she dropped her handful of menus, came around the podium and gave me a hug.

As she took us to our table, she asked how I was, and had I ever left the area. I said no, and asked her how she was. She said she’s good, great. She then asked after my sister. I said she’s living alone with her dog, and I’m living alone with my lizards.

She then told me she is living alone too. She instigated the divorce, she’s happy with it, her former husband is remarried and doing well and she is happy for him.

Let’s just say, without going into it, I am not surprised she is divorced. I was aware via the small town gossip channels that the two of them were having “issues.”

I gave her my phone number and e-mail address, and told her to give me a buzz after the holidays, if she’s so inclined. Perhaps we could get together for coffee or something.

I will be very interested to see if I hear from her, and if I do, whether she is willing to dish about what happened. Stay tuned.


September 22, 2007

Mattel apologizes to China over recalls.

Mattel Inc. tried to save face Friday with Chinese officials, taking the blame for the recent recalls of millions of Chinese-made toys as it strives to mend a strained relationship with the nation that makes most of its toys and fattens its profit…

…Mattel is worried that the Chinese government is going to make it difficult for them to produce, put their costs up and hurt their stock price…

Chinese food, drugs and other products ranging from toothpaste to seafood are also under intense scrutiny because they have been found to contain potentially deadly substances…

Wait a minute. Shouldn’t China be apologizing to the entire planet for sending out all those tainted and poisonous products??

Instead we have American executives bending over and grabbing the ankles and mea-culpa-ing all over the place.

The wussification of society marches on.

I’m going to go hide under the bed now.

A Day In The Life

August 27, 2007

There’s still neighborliness out there. I went to carry the old TV downstairs to my car. My next door neighbor–a professor of Arabic at the DLI–saw me through his dining room window and signaled for me to wait. As soon as he buttoned his shirt, he came out and carried the TV down the stairs for me. Very kind of him. I thanked him profusely and called him my hero.

The Goodwill does not take TVs, but the Salvation Army does.

And on the way to the Goodwill, I saw the sign for the new Bad Ass Coffee location, with the banner “Coming soon!” I’d been wondering where it was going to be located. Now I know. For anyone interested… it’s on Fremont, just north Burger King, in the same center as the Breakfast Club and Hollywood Video.

In fact, there will be several new choices of coffee shop/meeting places for this year’s upcoming National Novel Writing Month. Last year we wound up meeting mostly at a member’s apartment because all our former haunts were either too crowded, too noisy, or had serious lack of parking. This year there will be at least four new places available to us, including Bad Ass Coffee, a new Peet’s that may open in time, a new 24-hour Safeway with a Starbucks inside, and a newish cafe owned by the guy that started a couple of other coffee houses in town. All four of those will have ample parking. A veritable embarrassment of caffeinated riches. Hoo-rah! Bring it on!

The new lizard is settling in just fine. I know she’s eating, because she pooped overnight. And she may not be a she (I got a closer look at her underside, and there’s some doubt). If she turns out to be a he, his name will be Malcolm Reynolds. But then I’ll have to find him a new Inara…. I think I figured out one of the reasons I like crested geckos so much. They remind me of frogs. No, really. They have big eyes, velvety soft skin (but not damp and slimy), padded toes, and they jump. Besides… if you look them head-on at just the right angle, there’s even a facial resemblance:

See? Except for the crests, doesn’t he look a bit froggish? Of course, the geckos have longer bodies, shorter tongues, much shorter back legs, and a tail, so there’s not that much of a resemblance… but still. And the geckos stick out their tongues to taste the hand that’s holding them. It’s so cute. And let’s not forget the eyeball-licking.

On another topic entirely… will the Democrats in Congress be satisfied now that they’ve run Alberto Gonzales out of town on a rail? Anyone think so?



Killed By Islamic Terrorists

July 22, 2007

The mailman told me that is what happens to Harry Potter, as he handed over the book yesterday.

I am pleased to report that he was kidding.

But that is all I am going to report. Read the book yourself if you want to know what happens.

Glossy Political Mailers

May 1, 2007

A couple of organizations I’ve never heard of, Citizens for Public Water and Monterey FLOW, assure us that a publicly-owned desalination plant is the answer to all of our water woes. In their six-page glossy full-color mailer, they claim that they are “working together to ensure that water remains affordable for all county residents.”

Well… I haven’t the time or the energy to dig deep and study this one, but one sentence jumps out:

Growth . . . will occur in accordance with existing and new land-use policies.

Hmm. What “new” land use policies might those turn out to be? The mailer is mysteriously silent on this point.

I confess I am torn. As a lifelong resident and survivor of several past water shortages with rationing, I do want our local water supply to be safe and plentiful. But on the other hand… if there is a new source of water brought online (i.e. a desalination plant) I suspect we will find out very quickly what those “new” land use policies would be. All together, now, one-two-three: More development! More traffic! More bodies! More McMansions! Hurrah!

Water. At what price?

Discuss amongst yourselves. I have work to do.

ETA: To address Bum’s comment, the glossy mailer assures the reader that the proposed desalination plant will be solar-powered.

We report, you decide.

Cross-posted at Ith’s place, Absinthe & Cookies


April 4, 2007

Talk about false advertising and massive disappointment.

When you go there, there are absolutely no XOXO pictures of the captain, nor are there any shots of him wearing Victoria’s Secret products.

There is actually some decent and fairly up to date biographical information about him.

But don’t bother clicking if you want to see him in lingerie.