Tuesday, December 08, 2009


"Once words lose anchor in the sensual world, they drift inevitably toward the world of lies. It's not the fault of words; it's how they come between us and things. The word abstract means "to draw away"; our abstractions draw us away from the world. Then we forget their sensual origins. For every word once grew out of the five senses and everyday life. If you brush off the ignorant dirt that covers it, a word is a potato -- with deep roots in the soil, and even eyes that grow underground."
-Rodger Kamenetz , A History of Last Night's Dream

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Followed via Reddit.com: I really can't explain this and am not responsible for psychological damage incurred by viewing it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Patriotic Explosions (of Asian heritage)!

Claremont, NH put on a decent display of fireworks for Independence Day. These pictures are my first foray into time-lapse/time-exposure photography. I'd say it was a success, eh?
Camera settings: ISO 80, aperture 2.4 with varying 11-15 second exposure times. Matt was kind enough to put on a nice little BBQ, then friends, friends of friends and all their young ones sat around watching the display.

Grand Finale

Flower Garden & Fruited Pampas Grass

Dandelions! :-)

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Ever since I was a preteen one of my dreams has been to have my own natural, earth-bottom pond. It does not help that I've worked in a profession which involves instructing people on how to properly build garden ponds. Ergo, after all these years of living vicariously through other folks' pond projects, one of the selling points of my property was the fact that it had a stream which flows almost year-round through a deep ditch. Stream + ditch = potential pond! All work & no play makes me a dull boy. Like many others I need artistic projects to balance out the drudgery of the practical work which I do to the house & yard, so a pond was a perfect outlet.

Getting right into the project (with thanks to Matt for taking the picture). This is probably the least flattering pic I will ever dare to post here.

The current view from my front kitchen window.

Fresh dam that would do any beaver proud. There was already a small pond about 1/4 the size of this one. I expanded it dramatically by backfilling in the ditch with tightly shovel-compressed layers of rock & brick rubble, heavy clay mud and logs/branches. I created the spillway out of old slate roofing shingles I had laying around and will presently be planting the top and front of it with gracefully arching swamp grasses, irises, wild blueberries and other water-loving marginal plants. Once established, the root systems will penetrate deeply into the structure and help to hold it together after the branches & logs have rotted away within.

It is approximately 700-900 gallons.

There is a saying regarding frogs in professions involving the pond industry. "If you build it, they will come." (I think that phrase was originally used in the movie Field of Dreams.) This fellow is one of a dozen who are frequently found relaxing and watching for bugs from the edge of the water.

The frogs are extremely tame, often allowing people to approach to within two feet of them. While building their pond, I laid down a chimney brick I was using as a line guide for the spillway and when I turned around thirty seconds later this little guy was perched on it.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Random Wildflowers

Northeast side of Mt. Ascutney

Wild Columbine blossom

Wild Geranium

Wild Dianthus (Sweet William)

Monday, June 29, 2009

And For My 200th Blog Post:

More pictures, what else would I be posting?

I recently took my parents canoeing on Long Pond in Lempster, NH. I bought the canoe last year almost brand new, very cheap. It is quite stable and tracks nicely.

The Lempster Wind Farm as seen from on the water (click the picture for more detail on the turbines). This is something of a pilot project which many other areas in the state are watching to gauge the success. I hope it catches on!

Wild blueberry blossom

Mountain Laurel Bloom

A rather odd-looking fungus growing on a tree on one of the islands in the middle of Long Pond

Out on a hike on the country roads in my neighborhood: my friend Matt on the right, his youngest son in the red jacket, my youngest child in the black fur coat

A lovely cow-meadow right above my house

The road above my house (where I had the night-time moose encounter in the previous post).

One of the ecological treasures in my area is the presence of some old-growth trees which are well beyond a century old, probably saplings when the area was first cleared for farm land. This sugar maple is one of them. We have dubbed it the "Whomping Willow" because of the resemblance to the tree in the Harry Potter movie.

A porcupine den in an old-growth poplar tree down in a ravine in the middle of the woods.

Eastern Phoebe (probably female) sitting on a clutch of eggs

Possibly a timely picture considering recent events, I took this a week before he died. It was in a free book pile that someone brought in at my workplace. I thought it made for an unusual children's book.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sacred Sisterhood of Sacrosanct Cisterns

...dare ya to say that ten times fast.

The area where I live was primarily farmland a century ago and most of the open fields have since been reclaimed by the trees again. Vestiges of the farms still remain, such as these four cisterns I found hidden away in the woods.

This one has obviously seen better days. I imagine the crack was from years of freeze/thaw cycles, now there is a constant flow of water coming out of the crack, thus a convenient watering hole for the dog.

The fresh-cut boards on this almost-finished cistern enclosure would indicate it to be a new construction, I'm guessing that it gravity-feeds the farm house and barn located about a tenth of a mile down the hill from it. For those who are unfamiliar with cisterns, if they are for human use and drinking water, they need to have enclosures like this to keep bugs, animals, leaves and other potential contaminants out of them.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Rant on Stereotyping

While perusing Digg today, I happened to follow a link to this video.

While it was campy and I found it mildly amusing, it was also offensive in it's stereotyping. I realize that in a broader social context, things like this may ultimately help the LGBTQ community in much the same way that inroads in the entertainment industry (despite some of the shameful exploitation and stereotyping) gave the black community more public exposure and helped to start a long-running dialogue with the rest of what was (and in some ways still is) a very privilege-based, racist society.

What bothered me most about this video I think is that I and many others are the target of this sort of stereotyping and misunderstanding. It brought back an incident which happened last year where I was introduced to a woman via a friend and the first thing which came out of her mouth was "Oh, so **** mentioned that you are gay, this is awesome, I love gay friends!" I shrugged this off at first because I have encountered it many times before and despite the fact that I know it is based on a stereotype, it is at least well-intentioned. Soon after that awkward introduction she proposed the idea of going out shopping, with me as her fashion critique and then hitting the clubs. This was a bit too much to take and I explained to her in an indelicate manner that I was not a walking stereotype.... I generally dislike the world of fashion, am not interested in pop-culture, don't like clubs and I am not terribly good at dancing. Further, I explained to her that, "I am nobody's TOKEN GAY FRIEND!"

Just because someone wants a guy in their life who has the potential to give them support & social interaction without the possibility for sexual entreaties complicating things, does not mean that anybody who happens to be gay will be a good fit. I for one am a direct, plain-spoken, grumpy bastard much of the time and I generally have no taste for partaking in most of the things which gay stereotypes represent. Stereotypes of most forms do exist, but they are only a small, prominent social bookmark within a much wider community which is far more reserved and eclectic. Further, I wholly support their right to be as they are and live as they see fit but for Heaven's sake, don't assume that just because I have an innate attraction to the same gender that I enjoy shopping for $900 clothing ensembles, have an inborn talent for applying makeup, and spend my free time drinking cocktails and popping pills to remove myself from reality while bringing my body to a state of near-collapse in a large, dark, people-filled room pulsing with laser lights and pounding house music. Does this sound like I am stereotyping my own sisters & brothers within the LBGTQ community? Hey, I've observed that the typification exists. I tried the clubbing/partying scene for a short time, seen what people turned into when they got caught in it for a long time and discovered that it wasn't conducive to a fulfilling, meaningful life.

If people like me, I want it to be because I am good with my hands and can build cool stuff out of discarded junk. I want it to be because I am filled with good advice and maintain a belief in the power of being truthful, because I can coax landscapes, broken lives and broken objects back into productivity; this coupled with an encyclopedic knowledge of nature and how things work. If people dislike me, I want it to be because I am eccentric, socially awkward and have a short fuse sometimes, because I am unfriendly and vicious when life gets to be too much to handle. I just want to be regarded as a person who has all the same strengths and flaws as anybody else in my particular situation. I detest the idea of somebody liking or disliking me just because I am gay.

Yeah, I feel badly for not being more sensitive and patient with that woman who assumed a connection/relationship where there wasn't one, but at least now she probably dislikes me for the right reasons.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Crazy Wildlife Experience

(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

So it's midnight and I've just returned from one of the most surreal experiences I've had yet this year and feel compelled to write this down while the experience is still fresh.

Pepper and I went on one of our night-time bike-walks on the back roads. Being on a bike is the only way I can wear him out without overexertion on my part. It's great fun. I ride, he follows off-leash.

We were passing an old dirt road that runs by on the hill just above my property and I saw the glow from a pair of headlights up the road. Usually a stopped car on that road indicates somebody up to no good (we've had a lot of deer poaching and garbage dumping around here) or conceivably a person in distress. We went up to investigate what was going on and as I rounded the bend I saw what appeared to be a horse loping around in the headlights. Oh, right... someone recapturing a horse that jumped it's fence, happens all the time around here. The dog slipped away from me and I went after him. As we got closer I noticed that the horse was extremely tall and it's legs were far too long to be a horse's.

Despite me yelling for him to come back, Pepper went to greet the VERY LARGE female moose directly ahead of us. She did not appreciate his company and began pursuing him back toward me. I got off my bike, attempting to nestle myself up into the trees out of her way. Pepper plowed right into my bike, knocking off the headlight. The moose brushed past me and kept up the pursuit, they rounded the bend to the right and were gone. The driver eased her vehicle up beside me to inquire if I was OK while I was picking up my bike and attempting to reattach the headlight. It was a rather awkward introduction,"Yes, I'm fine thank-you. Hello I'm ****, your neighbor down on.... That was my dog and it would appear that he is currently learning a valuable lesson if he doesn't get himself killed..... pardon me, nice meeting you but I have to go see if I can find him." Just as I said that they came into view at the intersection again, this time going the other way... she was still chasing him, her nose only a couple feet from his hind-end.

I caught up with Pepper a half mile down the road, thoroughly winded and with no moose in sight. We are home now and I am thankful that he didn't get injured and equally thankful that I don't have a heart condition. Currently kicking myself for not having the camera on me. In the brief conversation I had with the driver, she indicated that the moose didn't seem bothered by cars so she had followed her a fair distance in the car from her place a couple miles down the road. This would be the first close-encounter I've ever had with one. For those of you unfamiliar with moose, they are very large. I stand almost six feet tall and her shoulders were about even with the top of my head.

Now I am wondering what it would be like if there was a version of the show "Jackass" for pets. My dog would be a shoe-in given the amount of stupid-crazy situations he gets himself into.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pepper = Smiley Doggie! :)

Just more shamelessly cute pictures of my four-legged son.

"Pardon me sir, could I trouble you for a belly-rub?"