Sunday, December 31, 2006

Head In The Clouds, Reading

So, I've been back to work since yesterday... and as you may know from the last post, I've been sick since Christmas Eve... it's been crazy. The non-drowsy meds just don't work for me and I have weird chemical sensitivities... which basically means that any medicine which says in the fine print that one should not operate heavy machinery while using it.... usually will send me for a heck of a loop in which I feel like a just drank a fifth of Jim Beam and my head is a hot air balloon floating around.... viewing the world through a long paper towel tube... you know, that weird almost visceral feeling like you know you're there, interacting with people and doing things, but you feel like you are watching it on film instead of actually experiencing it. While some people partake of certain substances to attain this feeling on purpose, I generally don't enjoy it. On the positive side, this was a very busy, productive day at work and it was the first day that I've not had to take anything for my symptoms. Considering that other people I know have been down flat for more than a week with this bug, I got off lucky with just a few days. Chock it up to a cast iron immune system :-) I almost made it the entire year without calling in sick to work.

I've just finished reading White Oleander by Janet Fitch and it was an incredible read all the way through. I would highly recommend it. I am currently delving into The Deep Well Tapes, a book on Archetypal Dreamwork (which seems to be based in Archetypal Psychology), authored by my own Uncle, Marc Bregman. In truth, I am not certain what to think of it yet. There is some of it that I do not understand, but some the points that he is bringing forth in the beginning of the book... are starting to make perfect sense to me as one who was raised in a literalistic, somewhat fundamentalist, closed-minded and reactionary form of Christianity, yet secretly held a mystic's point of view on the entire religion, as well as the way that it applies to humankind. Another interesting point is that many of the philosophies that he puts forth seem to align with a majority of the tenets of Quakerism (for those of you who don't know, I've been attending regular meetings at various Quaker meeting houses for the past few months). It would be entirely arrogant and premature to say that I have even a loose grasp on any of this yet, but we will see how things go in the next year or so. I have clawed as far as I can go under the old mindset and it is necessary for me to change and grow...

Which brings me to a minor point of order in my life... several times in the past year, I have felt a strong compulsion to go back and edit this blog, to remove past content or statements that I have made in moments of strong emotion, to gloss over my own reactive nature. But every time I felt this compulsion, I resisted... why?
Editing history is the hallmark of fascist regimes and those who are controlled by their fear of the ghosts of what was. And because I have come to realize that it is better to own up to the past, how one has acted in the past, and it is necessary to preserve the past as it was so that one may see clearly how they were in order to work on what they are to be.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I hope you all had a Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday time. Santa was very good to me, but it has been hectic over on this end... the whole pre-Christmas shopping & wrapping frenzy & whatnot.

I could whine until the cows come home about being sick on Christmas day, having all my expensive soaps ruined by a leaky pipe below the bathroom sink, catching conjunctivitis from my little brother (who I am still happy to see, regardless), not having the health insurance necessary to cover a doctor's visit to treat said issues, and finding out that whoever has been rifling through my belongings in the basement had also trampled 3/4 of my wrapping supplies... but even in light of all of this, I am still quite blessed compared to some of the folk I see walking the streets of my town every day, and they in turn are far more blessed than some of the unfortunate people in overseas locations whom I read about in the news every day. Wrapping supplies can be replaced cheaply, my illness and conjunctivitis are already clearing up with the aid of some home remedies, and I have had excellent health for almost a decade... a lot of those who are less fortunate have problems of a much more permanent and severe nature. I don't live in a war-torn region of the world (although that could easily change if the current administration doesn't pull it's head out of it's rear end). I don't have to defend my household & family from inner-city criminals. I don't have any dietary deficiencies or diseases due to bad living conditions. Really people, a lot of us spit about being cut off in traffic, getting bad coffee at the drive-through, or having to put up with some annoying character in line at the supermarket, but these issues are trivial in the grand scheme of things.

I am contemplating whether or not to make a New Year's resolution this year. I kept last year's resolutions well enough, but I am already changing so much of my life that I don't know if there is anything else that I need to pile onto it. Perhaps it should be this: that I focus more on being compassionate and appreciating what I have been given and how I can help others to see the same blessings in their own lives.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I'm Dreaming of A..

Christmas dominated by various shades of earthy brown and pine green. I was hoping for white. As almost everyone living in New England right now will attest to, the weather is currently freakishly warm for this time of year. The most snow we've gotten has been an inch or two, but it didn't stick around for long. For the last two weeks, the daytime temps have been in the high 40s to mid 50s. I've been on a lot of hikes in the hills lately and have only needed a light jacket for most of them. On the upside, this means that it will likely be a gentle winter for the wildlife and they will be reproducing heavily in the springtime, but on the downside this means that ticks and fleas will also multiply like jackrabbits and next season will be atrocious for said wildlife and those whose animals go outdoors. (at least my cats are kept indoors). On top of that, Lyme disease is becoming more and more prevalent in my area, so I have to slather myself in this nasty DEET-laden chemical concoction whenever I go for one of my wanderings in the warmer months.

My little brother is up in my area visiting for the season and he has been crashing at my place. He lives out in the midwest and I rarely get to see him, so it is nice to be able to spend quality time. We used to fight like cats and dogs when we were younger and I didn't typically get along with (or care for the company of) most of his friends, but things change. Now that we've all got a few years of life experience under our belts we have learned how to interact while not to pressing each others' buttons.

In other news my buddy Dan invited me to go see Matt Besser doing a standup comedy act at UNH. The show was great, we had a good time, and I got to meet him and have my picture taken with him afterward. For the uninitiated, Matt played the character Adair on the comedy show Upright Citizen's Brigade which started as an improv comedy troupe of the same name. I love the show and I used to watch it religiously during my high school years.

The computer is back up and running, sort of hobbling along on a crutch, but at least it is useable for internet-surfing now. I likely won't get back to blogging until after Christmas... so MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you!!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I'm IT!!!

Having blogged for this long, I guess it was inevitable, but I've been tagged by Peterson Toscano. So, against my better judgement, here goes: six weird things about myself.

1. I frequently talk to myself when I think that I am alone, usually about some conundrum that I am currently facing.

2. I am a "dog breed racist." I only like large breeds and I dislike most small, yappy, ankle-biter types... pretty much anything that can wear a bow in it's hair and be called foo-foo. (though I do like mini-dachshunds and corgis)

3. When I get distracted by something while walking, I sometimes swagger clumsily and my head oscillates.

4. I occasionally have specific feelings of (mostly) bad things which haven't yet happened to close loved ones, but these things usually come to pass, someone else in my family has weird premonitions like this too.

5. I baby-talk my cats with saccharine-sweetsy, made-up words.

6. I have frequent dreams that involve me exploring the countryside and woodlands while inane, strange things are happening all around me.... a classic sports car zooming by on a very narrow hiking trail that cannot possibly accomodate any sort of vehicle; faceless people passing through my campsite carrying strange objects or pushing a wheelbarrow full of junky found items; seasons changing rapidly every few meters while traversing a path; dead people from my past walking along side me, having a conversation; and somehow most of these dreams involve me being on a mission to do something or find something that is yet unnamed and in the dreams I am apparently totally OK with all these unnerving things going on around me.

.... and in turn I will tag some other fellow bloggers:
Sensei Rainbow
Steve S
'fess up folks, what are your personal oddities? :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My Computer Is Soon To Become A Satellite!!!


Yeah, so... computer issues, likely to result in less frequent blog posts for the time being. Currently experimenting with Ubuntu Linux as an OS alternative because I am absolutely sick of windows and it's horrid security holes which allow virii in despite some of the supposedly "best" antivirus programs. That coupled with the insane amount of Christmas shopping and whatnot, I am completely frazzled. Maybe things will come back down to status quo after the holidays.

Speaking of holiday shopping, has anyone else noticed a definite drop in the amount of quality gift items out there? I went shopping after meeting the other day and all the stores which usually carry wonderful gift items are now selling some of the worst kitschy crap I've ever seen. Who the heck needs to buy a faux brass plastic-framed glass top coffee table with random soul-less Thomas Kinkade paintings screen-printed on the surface; or how about wolf-themed statuary with American Flags painted all over it??? Oh, and let's not forget generic exploitative Native-American themed knick-knacks which usually feature some barbie-dollesque "Indian" princess in a skimpy outfit. Either it's the economy or the businesses & consumers in my area have lost all sense of taste.

Wow, I'm a real peach today. It doesn't help that I was one the phone for two hours last night with a tech support rep for my DSL service; she was very polite but had such a heavy middle-eastern accent that I couldn't understand 90% of what she said (could you please repeat that??? could you please repeat that??? could you please repeat that???.... ad infinitum) and as it turns out, I knew more than she did about configuring my router. Sorry people, maybe I'll be in a better mood next time I post.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I almost snarfed my drink this morning while idly perusing webcomics and I happened upon today's Ozy & Millie

click to enlarge

The message is cutesy and simple but it hit me as being entirely too true. How many people have I encountered who constantly use their religious beliefs to direct them into inaction in the presence of or action against what common sense dictates is the right thing to do. Religious tenets are not a 'get out of jail free card'. Many who excuse themselves from responsibility using this logic forget that their reasoning is a double-edged sword which can kick back after a strike and injure oneself in return.

On a lighter note, it has been in my webcomics link list in the right column of this page since the inception of this blog, but I'd recommend that all of you check out the archives at D.C. Simpson is really a talented political satirist who packages liberal, common-sense wisdom up in the easily digestible package that are his webcomics. Better yet, buy a book of his work to help support him (I intend to)!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Simple Gifts old Shaker song that has been brought back to my memory and touched me deeply in recent times, my sister wrote it within the birthday card she gave to me a few weeks ago, and an instrumental version of it happened to have been played at my Aunt & Uncle's wedding vow renewal service yesterday. For this reason it's theme has been on my mind and I wanted to reprint it here...

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,

'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain'd,

To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come round right.

...and here is the tune that it is sung to, I've also heard a beautiful version featuring Allison Krauss singing with a cello.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Fungus Among Us

Cementing my position as a nature-nerd once again!!! If you are not a regular reader here you may be asking yourself what the heck sort of person devotes an entire post to fungi. Well, I've given up trying to explain myself, so I'll just say that I find them beautiful and I took many good pictures of them this year. I ran across these ones while organizing digital photos the other day and decided that they would make a great blog photo-post. So cast your votes for the prettiest & weirdest!!! (btw, I would be grateful to anyone who can provide me with common species names and latin names on some of these, please leave a note in comments. This is one of the few areas of nature where I have almost no expertise).

#1. Blue Mushroom

#2. Unidentified brown mushroom

#3. Cool texture on the bottom of another unidentified fungus.

#4. I like to call this one the "Shrek" fungus.

#5. Striated Fungus of some sort, I love the colors.

#6. It looks like a pallid flame, my personal favorite.

#7. Puffball mushroom, Lycoperdon Perlatum - edible, but I wouldn't recommend trying it unless you are versed in how to tell it apart from another common species which looks quite similar and is somewhat poisonous.

#8. Orange Mushroom

#9. Staghorn Lichen, Letharia sp.

Jewelweed, Impatiens Capensis - Yeah, I know it's not a fungus, but it deserves honorable mention because the expressed juices from pulverized stems & leaves can serve as a wonderful topical treatment for some of the varieties of fungi which infests humans & other mammals.

Indian Pipe, Monotropa Uniflora - Again, not a fungus, but it also deserves honorable mention because it is one of the only plants you will find growing around here which does not need chorophyll to survive, it lives as a parasite feeding off of a common soil fungus found around trees.

I intend to have a good pictorial book on fungus species identification by next year, any suggestions? I would at some point like to start harvesting wild edibles (and yes, I know it is dangerous if you don't know what you are doing).

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Speaking of Ballet...

I was just surfing the internet and I happened to run across a picture of a ballet dancer... this triggered a stream of consciousness in which I remembered one of the oddest sights I've ever seen....

It was quarter 'til midnight in the early summer of this year, I was sitting in my buddy's truck, waiting for my friends to select a video inside of Blockbuster. I was idly listening to the radio and staring off into the distance past the almost-empty parking lot in the plaza where we were parked. A large Ford van stops suddenly in the middle of the parking lot, and several young ladies get out of it and do an elaborate ballet performance around the vehicle, equating to an elegant "Chinese" fire drill (sorry, I know that sounds offensive & racist, but this is the only term I've ever heard in conjunction with this activity). They completed this within the course of about 30 seconds after which they pirhouetted & pliƩd back into their respective places in the vehicle and took off just as abruptly as they had stopped; leaving me completely bewildered and confused about what I had just witnessed. Judging by the way they danced, they were not novices either. So now I am wondering, is this what accomplished ballet students do for kicks on a wild Friday night? I told my friends about it when they came out of the video store a few minutes later and they thought I was just blowing hot air.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving, Hike, & Memories

Wow, lots of large photos in this post, one might think that I am trying to punish blog readers who have dial-up internet connections. Sorry folks :)

... and here are some things I am thankful for this past year:

  • The library and a new-found love of reading.
  • The results of the mid-term elections.
  • Paying off my car (which has stayed reliable) and a general lessening of financial debt all around.
  • Learning to gain better control my mind in order to keep it quiet, still, and receptive when it needs to be.
  • My family.
  • The wisdom & insight that my sister has brought into my life, which as also resulted in my deeper understanding of my family and the world around us.
  • Excellent health.
  • More friends who seem to help bring out the best side of me.
  • Emotional healing, I've not exactly attained complete inner peace but I've come a long way.
  • Mild autumn weather & scenic surroundings throughout my excursions in the outdoors.
  • Without the aid of medication, winning most of my battles with the depression that has plagued me these last few years.
  • Forging a fresh connection to life and parts of me which I thought were irretrievably lost years ago.
  • The beauty of rural New England.
  • Renewed faith in goodness and the positive side of things.
  • The Religious Society of Friends: the enlightenment, spiritual healing, and positive energy I've experienced as a result of the various meetings I've attended. I have been reminded that there is something pure, good, and right out there... which is not bound to any single religion and it has the capacity to give knowledge & wisdom; getting one in touch with the divinity hiding beneath this complicated, protective shell that many of us wear; healing the wounds inflicted by those who do not understand the big picture.
  • A relatively peaceful environment at my work place.
  • New furniture.
  • The wisdom to know when to walk away from a problem that no amount of skill or effort will fix.
  • Decent, dependable roommates.
  • A good pair of hiking boots.
I headed over to my parents' house for the usual Thanksgiving Day meal and I brought back enough leftovers to give me a piece of the holiday for the next week's worth of lunch breaks at work. I also decided to go on a 3 hour hike to view many of my childhood/teenage hang-outs to reminisce a bit and collect photo memories. My hike today lead me down some of the old trails that I used to traverse when I was 12 years old and just looking for a way to escape for a while... Sometimes my little brother came along. I remember these times fondly, though I was a bit disappointed to see extensive logging activity on some of what used to be the more scenic parts. At least the logging seems to have been done in a somewhat mindful fashion... selectively cutting down only what is needed and leaving healthy, half-grown trees every 5-10 feet so that these areas will recover within the decade.

Thanksgiving Eve: a panoramic view of a beautiful sangria-pink sunset on the west side of my town, taken from the bank of the river.

I laid back on a boulder and enjoyed this view of some bare oaks poking at the sky, almost seeming to want to catch the impending snow.

An old farm house on a back-woods plot. Tragically, starting to fall into disrepair.

The dirt driveway leading away from the farmhouse, down to the dirt road which I used to live on.

Recent beaver activity near the old beaver pond. It seems they've been rather industrious... these trees are twice as thick as my leg.

This pond was here when my family first moved to New Hampshire and my brother & I spent countless hours here catching newts, frogs, tadpoles and picking water lily blossoms to take home. Notice the beaver lodge in the middle. This pond almost disappeared in my mid-teen years after they trapped and relocated the beavers due to their road-culvert-plugging activities... well, it looks as though they have come back in full force.

Scenic old farm belonging to one of my parents' neighbors.

One of the swimming holes that my brother and I often used to beat the summertime heat.

Another swimming hole with several different views.

Until a few years ago, there was a HUGE old beech tree, about 3 feet in diameter, mounted to the left of the boulder, overhanging this deep bend in the river. I used to sit on the roots with my feet in the water, fishing for trout. There was one summer that I refused to swim in this particular location because I saw a snapping turtle the size of a wash tub milling around in the mud on the river bottom.

*Sung to the tune of "I Got Rhythm"* Rusted car-wrecks, links of stove-pipe, no more windows, they will not run anymooooooooore...
Old classic cars sitting at the edge of a field. I'd love to know where these cars have been and where they were driven before ending up like this.

A trout pond in which my brother and I used to swim, under the radar of a grouchy townie who didn't like children on his property (but had no compunction about allowing rowdy groups of ATV & snowmobile riders free reign). I do believe that my little pet snapping turtle may have found a home here too >:)

Another vehicle that looks like it has seen better days.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


It seems that no good deed goes unpunished...

Lately, in an attempt to adopt life practices that are healthier for me as well as the environment, I've been walking to work at least 3 days out of five. I usually prepare for whatever weather is coming before I leave, so I hoofed it to work today with my umbrella, backpack, and lunchbox. After an amusing day filled with assorted unusual customers and people who were so drunk that I could have caught a buzz off their breath I realized that I needed to walk to the grocery store to pick up kitty litter and a few other little items before heading home. So I am walking home in the wind and pouring rain, trying to avoid stepping on the earthworms that were all over the sidewalk, with a 15 lb. bag of kitty litter on my shoulder in addition to my other cargo, trying to control an umbrella that kept threatening to fly away in the wind... and the bag of kitty litter rips right open and pours all over myself and my belongings. As I type this I am soaked to the bone and still peeling off bits of caked on cat litter from my clothing & hair. May tomorrow treat me better!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Busy busy busy!!!

And hiking hiking hiking!!! Yeah, I've been staying busy. Last week I did a million things including several long hikes, a scenic walk around Grafton, VT (what a stunningly beautiful town, and many thanks to one of my new friends for showing it to me as well as giving historical highlights). While in Grafton, we attended an interesting talk on sustainable living, hosted by local author Tom Wessels. Last week also included antiqueing and perusing junk stores/thrift shops with a couple of friends... I was shown a cool little thrift shop/junk store on a back street in Bellows Falls, VT. It is shabby on the outside, but contains all sorts of treasures within.

The weekend included a casual lunch date and movie (Borat), and more shopping. I really have to get in gear & start Christmas shopping early to avoid the insane shopping & wrapping frenzy I went through last year.

I have a feeling that this winter will be far easier on my mind and body than last winter. The warmer months have given me all sorts of creative new outlets for my energy and I am hoping that I can use them to stave off the usual seasonal funk. Just down the street from my house there is a karate dojo which piqued my interest in taking classes, but first I want to bring a respected friend with me to observe the teaching style within these classes. He has a strong background in the martial arts and I wanted to get his opinion on the sensei's primary focus before I actually commit to this particular place.

Hmmm... and here are yet another couple of David Firth animations which I happened across while killing some time the other day: Ptikobj and Sock Episode 1. Obscure, slightly crass nonsense as per Mr. Firth's usual style, yet I find them rather addictive and quotable.

Well-behaved citizens (or possibly escapees from the criminally insane ward???) out on an Autumn hike in New England.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Interesting Little Fact

So, a few years ago, I was made aware of the fact that even when we stop growing in height... our nose and ears grow consistently throughout our lifetimes, very slowly, but still they continue after the rest of our bodies have gone into retrograde. Now take a look if you will at my new profile pic in the right column... I'm already running large in the schnoz category, so I am a little scared to think of what I will look like when I reach my 80s, hehe :). (I wonder if they manufacture tissues the size of twin bed sheets.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


DEMS TAKE THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE!!!! HOLY ***$$%#@!!!!****!!!!

Life is good :)

Now let's just hope that one of those "unusual" recounts which directly contradicts exit polls doesn't take place.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Parade of FREA... errr... Interesting People

OK, so there are mixed opinions in some circles as to whether or not the lunar cycles affect people's personalities, particularly the full moon. I can tell you with certainty that I believe they do. Having worked in the nursing field, I've observed that dementia patients get far rowdier and more unsettled (as well as exhibiting more pronounced unsettling behavior), and in retail, rude customers become more rude around the full moon. Between the crazy lady who lives in her van with 15+ pet rats... harassing the front counter people to give her a refund for a product which she has no proof of having bought... and not just harassing... she HUNG AROUND FOR OVER FIVE HOURS and proceeded to bombard different staff members with no less than three different versions of why she deserves a refund and how she obtained the product.... and the man who seemed to imply that we had somehow conspired to sell him sick fish (despite the fact that the illness manifested almost 2 weeks after he purchased them, pretty much all fish diseases are evident within a few days of purchase if they were sick at the time of purchase)... then getting incensed about the fact that he had to actually PURCHASE the medicine for curing the ones that hadn't died yet. And a whole other delectable onslaught of miscreants... The highlight of my day was the several hours of having to duck pipes and ductwork in a cobwebby basement room where I had to slouch like a hunchback because of the low ceilings (my back is killing me as a result)... and repeatedly plunging my hands & forearms into mud that smelled like a swamp filled with human waste... ( I was trimming pond plants of all vegetation & external roots and storing them for winter)... Ummm... let's just say that today was a bit of an ordeal and I am glad that it is done with. On the positive side, I went to Dimitri's house to watch O Brother, Where Art Thou? with him and his mother. I had never actually seen the film before and I have to say that I enjoyed it... such a quirky and creative adaptation. I also made a huge pot of my Italian(esque) gumboish soup... gumboish because my soups are typically so thick that they could be considered the bastard child of gumbo and soup. Will post the recipe at some point soon.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Lily-White Marzipan Armpit Cream

Oooooh, another pointless title that has nothing to do with this post... surprise surprise (or not, if you are a frequent reader of this blog).

Tonight I went on a dinner date with a gentleman by the name of James, who I met at my party a couple weeks ago. We went to Mai Thai, a great thai restaurant on the main downtown strip in Hanover, NH. After that, we went to see The Departed at The Nugget Theater. All in all, a lovely evening.

In other news, I spent this past weekend up in northwest VT with my sister and grandmother where we had an early celebration of my birthday (that's right folks, I'm now 27, time to break out the metamucil and the walker). I ended up receiving many lovely gifts, including a sharp set of clothes from my sister and grandmother, a DVD recorder/vcr combo from my parents, and a dremel tool just arrived in the mail from my little brother. I don't believe I've ever gotten so many useful and much-needed gifts on a single birthday. What a blessing!!!

One of the more unusual gifts I've received in recent times. We have a bit of a long-running family joke concerning smoked salmon sandwiches.

The back yard at my grandmother's place, gardens winding down to sleep for the winter.

My sister & grandmother's cat, Miss Jane, aka: Jane Doe Kitty, Madame Pickulus.

I have a slightly odd fascination with knick-knacks and colored glass items sitting in windows, which I believe comes from having seen so many scenes like this in my grandmother's house.

A lovely view of Camel's Hump mountain on the stretch of interstate just below Burlington, VT.

Halloween spirit at my workplace

Hmmm... and a couple of humorous time-wasters that I would recommend: A twistedly funny ICQ prank perpetrated by Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka of, and yet another flash offering from Fat-Pie entitled: Video Dating Tape. Fair warning: this animation is not for those without a dark, twisted sense of humor. If you watch it and laugh raucously like I did, it will likely mean that you need psychiatric intervention, however viewing this film may be the cause of needing psychiatric intervention whether or not you find it funny.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Added to the links section/blogroll:

GAIM - An open-source and (almost) universal messaging client that I personally use and love. You can use this program to communicate with people on ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, etc... all at the same time.

Get Rich Slowly
- A sensible financial blog/news source that (so far) seems to give excellent advice and focuses on traditional, lower risk, sustainable methods of managing finances.

- A blog loaded with helpful tips for refining one's computer power-user skills as well as good general tips and tricks for improving one's life as well as working more efficiently, with a heavy focus on non-DRM and non-spyware-ridden software.

Nietzsche Family Circus
- possibly written by a man with too much time on his hands,"The Nietzsche Family Circus pairs a randomized Family Circus cartoon with a randomized Friedrich Nietzsche quote." This gives the comic an unexpectedly humorous twist with some amusingly dystopic untertones, picked up from Steve Schalchlin's Blog.

One Girl Show
- I've not been following her writing for very long, but she is an interesting character who lives in my area and is in some ways a kindred spirit. I spotted her blog link on the uvScene Blog, an excellent blog which has also been added in because it captures the spirit of the area where I live and covers some interesting features of this region.

Shutterpimp - A sorely missed ex coworker :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Georgia O'Keefe

A pic of a framed print in my household, posted for the benefit & amusement of McPolack.



Ummm, so maybe that's a bit of a dramatization, but I am getting really sick of political ads that have swung to an all-time low.... it seems that some of the candidates have sunk to the level of supermarket tabloids in their mud-slinging efforts. The radio station that they play at my workplace is based in Vermont (just across the border), and I've been getting an earful of these ridiculous ads which (despite the fact that I am not involved with Vermont politics) even I can tell are sensationalistic, misleading, and in some cases completely false. If you take time to look up Bernie Sanders' voting record and the reasons for his decisions, you will find that Richard Tarrant's websites only represent a completely blind view of things with no regard for the big picture. Anyone who even pays the slightest bit of attention to politics can tell you that politicians often vote against seemingly positive funding initiatives and laws due to unreasonable legal concessions riding on the coattails of whatever bill it is that they are voting for. Then again, I am getting the distinct impression that Mr. Tarrant is not targeting these ads to anyone who is politically aware. As usual, it's a game of driving the sheep in the direction that you want them to go.

Hmm... pretty hard to end this post on a positive note, so I will simply hand you some Cute Overload ferrety-werrety weaseliness.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Surprise Surprise!!!

Yeah, I'm actually still alive. I know I've not written in a while. Sorry about that. Life has been very busy yet fulfilling. The other day we had a very strong autumn rain storm which removed almost all of the colored foliage from the trees. Now we are entering my least-favorite time of year, that bastard sub-season between fall and winter; when there are no more leaves on the trees, it is too cold outdoors to casually relax & enjoy oneself, everything looks drab & dead, and there is no snow to pretty things up. Last year's snowfall was a bit disappointing. At the time, I had received snowshoes for Christmas and bought myself cross-country skis in hopes that they would give me a reason not to stay cooped up indoors all winter, bouncing off the walls with a killer case of cabin fever... yet there was never more than six inches of snow on the ground (for those of you not familiar with cross-country skiing, one needs AT LEAST 9-12 inches of snow on the ground in order to minimize damage to the underside of the skis). I am hoping for a solid couple feet of snow this year so that I can do some deep-woods cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

My "autumn foliage" party was loads of fun. It has been a while since I've had any sort of real social gathering at my home. One of my coworkers has shown me some blackmail-worthy pics of myself and many of the others there (yeah, we all had a bit to drink). I may or may not post them depending on how brave I am feeling. There was a pretty good turnout of people and a good time was had by all (who were invited)... and here is where I have a bit of a story to tell. In the wee hours of the morning, there were still about eight guests hanging around. Somebody showed up uninvited while I had nodded off in the living room. He helped himself to some of my liquors and got really drunk, belligerent, & violent. One of my friends (who had training in the management of aggressive behavior) ended up tackling the guy and dragging him kicking & flailing out of my house. The guy refused to leave even after he was barred from going back inside, fighting ensued, and the man ended up in the hospital the next day with a concussion. This is by far one of the craziest things that has ever happened at one of my parties. I am grateful that he was removed though because I don't take kindly to drunken fools destroying my property and causing a scene. Although I will say that the guy had the strength of character to apologize to the people who were involved in his removal and subsequent smack-down.

Now here is where I admit that I have an addiction problem: I broke a solemn promise to myself.... Last year I finally caved in and started reading the series of Harry Potter books that everyone has been raving about. I enjoyed them so much that I ended up reading all six books in just under two months. My head was spinning... I couldn't help it... they're like brain-candy. After I finished the sixth book, I resolved that I would not touch the series again until a month before the seventh (and ostensibly final???) book came out. Well, I had a moment of weakness at the beginning of this month... I just couldn't keep my hand from straying up to the bookshelf.... and here I am again, already three quarters of the way through the fourth book. They must have support groups for this sort of thing (haha). I've decided that I am going to take a break after this book and pursue something a bit pithier... The Poisonwood Bible , a controversial best-seller by one of my new favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver. My dear sister and several friends have recommended it as a bit of an eye-opener.

As usual, I'm a bit awkward at ending my posts. Somebody once told me to always end on a positive note. So for now I will leave you with a video of "Cheech," a long-haired chihuahua at my workplace doing his "walk like a man" thingy.... and may I mention that I am NOT a small-dog person, but he's still pretty cute.

Friday, October 13, 2006

"They Are Rather Fetching, I'll Declare That Good Times Are In The Pipeline!"

... is a quote from one of David Firth's more recent flash movies known as "Pulch: The Good Times". For those of you who aren't familiar with David Firth's animations, they are sort of.... ummm.... Tim Burton meets Salvadore Dali and Terry Gilliam at a Dadaist convention and they go out drinking... after a wild night filled with various crazy psychotropic substances, this is what they come up with. If you are, like me, bent toward slightly disturbing, dark, absurdist humor, then you should like most of the animations by David Firth.

Update: My apologies to those who have been to my blog lately. I've removed the previously embedded flash movie mentioned in this post because I did not know that they immediately load themselves whether or not you want them to, thus eating up bandwidth and taking forever to make the blog page load. Click on the title of this post if you wish to view the aforementioned movie.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Hike of Found Objects

Well, after a day of discount store shopping with my buddy Pasha, I ended up going on another loner hike into the mountains just as the sun was setting (my buddy Dimitri was going to go with me, but bailed out). I used to be terrified of the woods at night-time, now it seems to relax me while honing my listening skills. Chalk it up to personal growth and conquering of fears I guess.

St. Anthony of Padua, eat your heart out... During this hike, I found a small assortment of useful objects that had either been lost or discarded. I ran across the manky (but solid) old wrench you see in the picture... buried, but partially emergent in the mud. I've a manky toolbox that will match it perfectly! Next I ran across my harmonica which I had dropped on a previous jaunt; I was impressed to see that it had survived the last few rains just swimmingly, no water entered the case and tarnished/mildewed it. I was also delighted that it survived that long in the middle of the trail, with ATVs and assorted harsh weather passing over it multiple times a day for two weeks on end. Finally, when I was coming back down to the mountain road that connects with the main road, there were a bunch of free items piled on the corner of the intersection, where I found an awesome vintage (70s?) cooler. Maybe I am a weird person because I get excited over things like vintage coolers, but just a couple days ago I was thinking that I should buy myself a big cooler for the dinner party this weekend. I will simply call this divine provenance :). So, after lugging it 3 miles back to town, turning down a couple offers of rides from some friendly (but heavily inebriated) hunters tooling back home in their trucks, and receiving numerous odd cat-calls from several teenager-filled cars speeding by... I got home. Yeah sorry, that's a lame conclusion to a story, so deal. :)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Further Video Blogging

...and here's another of my experimental forays into the world of video blogging. It simply shows me doing one of the things I do frequently at work... fair warning... this video is probably not for those who are a wee bit squeamish.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Oh Deer

I am now trying my hand at video blogging. Here are a couple of short clips of some whitetail deer that I crept up on while out hiking today. I was impressed with myself, I actually managed to quietly approach within 30 feet of the group (in an open field) without spooking them, then I accidentally tripped over a clump of grass while I was trying to get closer and they got spooked. The second clip is of them running away. For those of you who wish to sneak up on deer, the key is to move in slowly and silently while they are grazing and freeze whenever one of them looks up. I've decided that I need to buy myself some flat-soled moccasin style woodland shoes if I want to get closer wildlife shots.

Classic sunsets in the fields and woodlands of New England.

Are you sick of my peculiar fascination with old barns yet? Well, studies have shown that old barns can look 236% more rustic under the light of an October moon!!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Throbblefoot Spectre

Due to temporary absence of creativity, yet another lack of pertinent title...

This past Sunday, for the second time, I attended a Quaker meeting at the Putney Friends' Meeting House. Even though I am just a silent spectator for the time being, I am really enjoying the structure (or lack of traditional church structure) at the meetings. A woman sitting close to me stood up and read a passage from a book which expounded on allowing yourself to be flawed, natural, and not have to put up a facade of perfection. The passage spoke of how we were created with our flaws for a reason. It is what makes us human, unique, and more able to give of ourselves. It really spoke to me on a deep level because as of lately I have been striving to live a more straightforward, authentic life. This has included admitting and accepting my flaws. This is not to say that one can't work on improving them, but truth be told I've been holding myself to a borderline impossible standard for years now and it has cost me a lot.

For a long time I have been walking through life trying hard to be precisely what American culture dictates we should be: strong, composed 100% of the time, intelligent, intense, passionate, and perfect in every way. Why is it so wrong to show your weaknesses? We walk around with this heir of false dignity, worrying about what everyone else thinks of us, losing ourselves in complexity (hiding from stigma), while we ignore many of the essential building blocks for true happiness. All for the sake of what? Approval? Popularity? Do the ends justify the means in this case? What do we have to show for all of our social athletics after all is said and done?

I can honestly say that ever since I have started admitting my faults instead of pretending they aren't there, I have better learned to deal with them and simplify my life... things have become clearer and there is an existential richness that I have never experienced before. I am progressing, but I still have a lot of growing to do.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Food Love, Early Autumn Hike

If Peterson Toscano is allowed to form a decidedly unorthodox relationship with food, then I sure as heck can feel comfortable with my own UFAs (Unusual Food Attractions). Thank you Peterson for paving the way to fostering greater understanding between the UFA community and the IFC (Indifferent Food Consumer) community. May we finally learn to live side by side in harmony. I know I will benefit greatly from your pioneering spirit. Now let me tell you people about MY new love: Better Soy Roasted Organic Soy Butter (mfd. by Wonder Natural Foods Corp.). I have tried other soy butters such as the IM Healthy brand, and there is just no comparison. Not only does this spread rock my world way more than any other brand of soy nut butter that I've tried, I can tell you with utmost certainty that it tastes BETTER THAN PEANUT BUTTER!

Picture of my new sweetheart, isn't he adorable???!!!
Alas, I fear that our love is doomed to be a short-lived whirlwind romance. I happened across only 2 jars of it while out on one of my discount food store runs... and they will probably never have it again and as of 20 minutes ago, google searches return only a handful of pertinent results with no information on where I can purchase more of it. Does anybody else have information on where I can find it or is this relationship doomed???


And on to less thorazine-worthy subject matter...

Friday brought me on a nice, long hike in the hills on the south side of town and here are a few pics I took:

One of the fields on the trail out into the woods. Filled with goldenrod, bumblebees, and hundreds of frenetically dancing butterflies.

Monarch Butterfly, Danaus plexippus

New England Purple Aster, Aster novae-angliae - one of my favorite flowers

Often mistakenly called "Indian Paintbrush", I can't find the true name of this one.

... and here is a brief video of the monarch butterfly that I spotted while in one of the upper fields behind the mountain.

I also saw a huge male moose while out hiking, I wish I had been able to draw my camera quick enough to take a shot, but by the time I had it turned on and ready, the only view I got was of the wildly swaying branches & shrubbery in his wake.