29 May 2024

Almost 26 Years

Tomorrow is our 26th anniversary, Marcia and I. It’s been joyous, occasionally challenging, and all wonderful. Yay, us!

Catching up

Georgia has been standing in the water a lot – this is her normal routine at the 3/4 mark on our daily walk.

black on white american bully mix rescue dog, standing chest deep in pond
Georgia standing in the reservoir

Spring has been springing – lots of stuff has been coming into bloom. The lilies are coming up, the roses are pending, the lilac smells wonderful…

Small cherry tree in bloom
Small cherry tree in bloom in our front yard

Time to go fishing – We put the boat in the water a couple of weeks ago, and have made it out fishing a couple of times already. On Sunday last, we both caught some bass…

Small mouth bass caught at the lake,  shoreline and boat motor in background
Small mouth bass, caught then released

And that’s the highlights of the last few weeks. It’s been busy.

20 April 2024

Quick Takes

  • Georgia Aileen, the american bully rescue mutt, is whuffling and twitching on her bed here in my office/foyer. It’s a good life, I think, being the dog that owns Marcia and I.
  • I pre-ordered Robin Sloan’s next book, Moonstruck, this evening. I *think* I have everything he’s written, and I enjoy the hell out of his premises, his characters, and his writing style.
  • Looking back in email searching for something else, I came across something I wrote to Jerry Pournelle back in December 2011:

Congress is a bunch of loons whose only concern is where the money is coming from for the next election. Yeah, there are occasional principled and knowledgeable folks there, but follow the money.  Who goes to jail and who doesn’t? 

The record companies are said to rob their artists blind … and no one cares one whit. Their old business model has gone the way of the buggy whips, and their response? Artists sue for not getting paid, and the companies sue the fans of the artists. My only real thought on your comments below is that suing your customers is a great way to ensure that when you’re done, you don’t have any customers. 

Use guilt? Sure. Market the hell out of yourself online and in the social media scene. There’s plenty of folks making a living doing just that. This includes former nobodies like Pomplamoose and Zoe Keating and Robin Sloan, and well-established authors like Gaiman and Scalzi.

And it’s pertinent to this conversation that it’s TRIVAL to get a copy of nearly anything today. So, on a purely technical basis, I need never pay for content again. I pay for books and music to support the artists and creators who do the work I love.

Those who won’t pay, mostly never would. You can make it so difficult to use a DRM copy that you make legitimate customers run screaming, and it won’t stop the “piracy” for a moment. And while we’re at it, let’s not keep helping the bastards by framing the argument in terms of assault  by ship on the high seas.

It’s silly to argue that every unpaid copy is a lost sale, but that’s what the BSA and the MafiAA  would have our legislators believe. But for our bought and paid representatives, it’s polite to at least pretend to believe in the people who fund your next campaign. And that “pretend” is what gets turned into sausage. Errr, law.

  • There was a .signature quote from another email I glanced at:

My favorite yoga pose is the one where I stand upright, watching the class through the window while eating a cheeseburger. — @shazzz_lee

  • Finally, I broke the shorts streak this week – it was cold and raining today, so back on with the jeans for walking the dog … but she still went and walked into the reservoir when we got to that point in the journey. Yay, dogs.

19 April 2024

More Catch-up

So … we were in California last week. Sadly not for fun, but to lay my mother to rest. She passed in late February after a short battle with leukemia. It wasn’t expected, because the meds were moving her blood work in the right direction, but in the end, we think her heart gave out. She was wonderful, caring, sharp as a tack, and interested in just about everything. I’m missing her terribly. While it was lovely to see all the family, everyone in town to console each other, I wish it had been for just about any other reason.

There. That’s enough of that for here.

Shorts Week

So, still in the 30’s and occasional high 20’s (F) overnights, but I’ve set the jeans aside – it’s shorts weather every day now, including the dog walks (as long as it’s mid 40’s and up when we start the walk – I warm up quickly at our pace). At about the 3/4 point on the walk, we get to the reservoir, and Georgia walks right in:

Georgia, an american bully mix rescue dog, black on white, standing in the water at the edge of the nearby reservoir.
Georgia standing in the water

And spring is springing – the first crocuses are pitching up their flowers. Then first the yellow, then the white daffodils started opening. Spring flower season in our front yard is fun.

Crocuses blooming - light and dark ... purple?
Crocuses blooming in the front yard at our house

That’s all I’ve got for y’all today. Back again soon, I hope.

24 March 2024

A Boston Song (aka Long Time)…

I got a wellness check email from the estimable Rick Hellewell recently, which brought to mind just how long it’s been since I was here. Let’s just say, it’s not you, it’s me.

As I noted in my reply, I’ve been hideously busy with work, which I can’t really discuss publicly. And some family stuff has been going on and distracting, which I won’t discuss publicly. So the things that have consumed most of my mental energy don’t currently have a place here. I haven’t had time for much in the way of interesting fun things to share, so this just dropped off the radar for me for a while.

Maybe I’ll just post with some more regularity, but on trivial outtakes for a while, to try to get back in the groove. Wish me luck.

From early last month – Georgia and her cousin Raven hanging out in a patch of sunshine in our dining room:

Georgia (black on white, american bully mix) and Raven (black lab)
Georgia and Raven

From earlier this month – Georgia watching television, as dogs will:

Georgia (black on white, american bully mix)
Georgia watching something on Discovery streaming

From today, a couple of views of yesterday’s snowstorm output:

Snow covered landscape, dog prints on snow in foreground.
Snow covered landscape view east from our house, planter boxes in foreground, fields and distant ridgeline.
The view from my home office (aka, the foyer)

The snow was supposed to be 20″ plus of fluffy stuff, but about 8-10 inches in, it switched over to sleet/ice/rain for a couple of hours, creating a thick, crunch layer. Then we had a bit more snow before the event ended overnight. Not super fun to clear. Good thing my snow blower works and is substantial.

9 December 2023

Snow days

Snow days don’t really matter much unless the storm takes out the power and the internet, these days. What snow days do is make everything prettier … and slightly more difficult. Everything is an exercise in dressing appropriately for the task and the wind and the temperature.

Last Sunday night, it started snowing right around sundown. We were due for 4.5 inches or so ending mid-Monday morning. Instead we finished up with around 6 inches early in the afternoon, then another inch or so that night. Here’s my Monday morning (12/4/2023) view from my office window:

Snowy view east from our house, fields and brush all coated.
Snowy view east from our house

The snow was heavy enough that I used the machine instead of shoveling, late morning on Monday. I did, however, shovel out some walking and bio-break spots for the dog on the front yard. Through the week, Georgia and I did make it out each day on abbreviated walks, only a mile and a half or so, I had to break out my snow and ice cleats, it gets treacherous pretty quickly:

Georgia the rescue american bully mix dog, in her safety orange vest, on a tree-lined trail, everything covered in snow.
Georgia scouting ahead.
Georgia the rescue american bully mix dog, in her safety orange vest, on our way though one of the quarry areas, snow-covered granite blocks in the middle distance.
Georgia trying to figure out the ATV tracks

The other treacherous bit was the bitingly low temps for this early in the season. Overnights dropped hard into the single digits: 9°, 8°, 5°, 4° – that was Monday through Thursday night lows. Since then it’s warmed a little bit, but not much – we got all the way up to freezing yesterday. Today we got up to the mid-30’s, and Georgia went walking out on one of the smaller, shallower frozen ponds on our walk today.

Be well.

23 November 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s t-shirt weather outside, midday today. We hope you have a lovely holiday. But here’s what it looked like yesterday morning…

Snow, 1" or less, on front walk and yard, first of the season.
First real snow of 2023

Might as well get used to posting black & white pictures for the next few months…

21 November 2023

Winter, Reporting for Duty

Not Winter, just yet, but it is swinging the bat in the on-deck circle. We’re getting regular overnight lows in the teens (°F), and the smaller ponds and lakes are starting to ice over as the colder temps take hold. The bulk of the leaves are cleared or mulched in – I have one more round of that work to do, probably over the holiday weekend.

We didn’t miss out on the fall color, though it has come and gone…

Fall color - the leaves changing color on the trees, reds, oranges, and yellows, reflected in the pond in the foreground.
Fall Color

We had a smattering of snow three weeks back, and perhaps a quarter inch fallen on the ninth, some of which stuck. Not enough to write home about, though. Yet.

Georgia is cherishing time laying in the sun, indoors:

Georgia, our black-on-white american bully mix rescue dog, laying in one of the dog beds, in a patch of sun.
Georgia the sun dog

Enough catch up for now, more later. Be well.

10 October 2023

Busy Times

We’ve had family visiting in the past few weeks. First Marcia’s brother and his wife, then Marcia’s niece and her family (hubby and three kids). It was hectic, and fun. We went to the local Common Ground Fair (pricy, crowded … meh). We went for lobster on the coast (or, in my case, bacon-wrapped scallops), and we did some fishing. Then with the second group: cook outs, a family party, and fishing. A reasonably good time was apparently had by all, including us. Georgia, the rescue mutt, did pretty well with all the hustle and bustle, too.


The fishing this year was good. Not great, but we’re getting better at it with practice as one might expect. We’re better at finding the fish, and tricking them into biting. Now if only we had time for more time on the water.

This last weekend was the last fishing weekend of our year. Saturday was a rain-out, in every sense of the term. My back porch rain gauge measured 3.5″ over about 16 hours. Yeah. So Sunday early I headed over to the lake to empty the bilge on our yacht. Oddly, 3.5″ of standing water in the bottom of the boad. So after emptying the bilge, as I was already there, I got out on the water and spent a few hours fishing. Caught a couple of fish just like bass, only smaller (less than 1#), had a good one on the line but it jumped and thrashed and threw the bait/hook off. Sigh. The fishing is done.

On Monday (Indigenous Peoples / Columbus Day = a Federal holiday that my work observes), after coffee and dog walks, Marcia and I wrangled the boat up to the Monmouth public ramp, loaded it onto the trailer, and drove to the house. There I did some maintenance, including replacing the windscreen that got shattered by a drop shot weight earlier in the year. (Yes, by me!)

Our fishing boat in the driveway, after I replaced the starboard windscreen.
Our fishing boat in the driveway, after I replaced the starboard windscreen.

Then I drove the boat up to Waterville, where it’ll get serviced, have a couple of glitches fixed, and they’ll store it indoors for us for the winter.

Speaking of Winter

Yeah, winter is coming. I expect our first evening in the 30’s (F) one night this week. The pellet stove is coming on for a few hours over night now. And the leaves are robustly expressing their opinion of the situation:

Leaves on a couple of trees turning red, reflected in a small pond between the camera and the trees.
Color season in the Northeast…

Meantime, it’s also the time of year when I regularly get lovely sunrises at a time when I’m awake and can appreciate them. Through most of the summer, sunrise is just too early. But now it’s just at the start of my day.

Red clouds in the sky, just before sunrise.
Red sky in the morning…

Lovely, innit? Yep, just a reminder that’s the view out of my home office window (aka the foyer of our home).

See y’all again soon…

11 July 2023

In Favor of Theater

First, some context: From The Washington Post: Theater is in freefall, and the pandemic isn’t the only thing to blame. I place this in light of the woes that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is going through, as mentioned in that article. And indeed, it’s not just the pandemic. For OSF, it was the Almeda Fire of 2020, and it was the smoke filled skies in the Pacific Northwest last year that cancelled so many outdoor performances on the Elizabethan Stage. It was the cracked main load beam in the Angus Bowmar a decade ago that had that venue closed for most of a season. The hits kept coming, and the budgets kept getting slimmer – and OSF is a top tier regional company. They’re hurting, and trying to keep going. A bunch of small companies haven’t survived.

It isn’t just that the options for live theater are shrinking as time goes on – small and regional theatres are the talent pipeline for Broadway and world stages. If you have a company in your area, and if you love theatre, support them, go to see the shows, even (or especially) if the shows go outside your comfort zone.

We were in Ashland and saw three of the five shows on offer this year: Three Musketeers, Twelfth Night, and Romeo and Juliet. Wonderful productions, adapted and interpreted with an eye towards racial injustice and bias in our culture. That last part apparently puts some segment of the OSF traditional demographic off their feed, and vocally, too. Black adaptations (Three Musketeers) and staging/interpretations (Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet) brought light to new facets of these jewels – they aren’t diminished: they’re wonderful and make us squirm a bit, and think a bit, and feel some things that might not have been felt with traditional staging and interpretation.

When venues like OSF are staging five productions, where 10 or 11 a season were the norm, you know that the smaller companies are teetering on the brink of extinction. Love your local and regional theaters. Support and attend your local and regional theaters. Or they’ll be gone. Live theater is a gift to give yourselves and your family.


The reason we were in Ashland was to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Our honeymoon was there, in 1998. And this trip was a joy, as have been all of the years we’ve shared together already, and the years we have in front of us.

Wrapping Up

Enough fun and sermonizing. But that all needed saying. Be well, y’all.

11 June 2023

Moist Spring

It’s been gray and raining far more often than not these last few weeks. Nothing ever really dries out. Not me, not the dog. We got the boat out of storage on a Saturday in early May … immediately followed by 3.6 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. Everything flooded. Bits of docks were floating away. It was two or three weeks before things stabilized and we could put our boat in the water. We’ve been out a few times, caught a few small bass and a monster of a great northern pike that I got to the boat, but it came off the lure before I could land it.

Last week I finally got about 36 hours without much rain, and re-mowed the front yard – the property was looking abandoned, which isn’t a good look. Now the lawn is flat, the tulips and daffodils have come and gone, but the rhododendrons are stunning this year.

Front yard pink rhododendrons in full bloom
Front yard rhododendrons in full bloom

Now if only it would warm up and dry up. So of course the forecast for Tuesday through Friday is rain. And other than a couple of warm days, we’ve left the pellet stove plugged in and it’s been running itself from middle of the night to mid-morning nearly every day (about a bag of pellets every 3-4 days) – not a warm start to the late-spring / early-summer season, either.

Still, the rains have keep the smoke and particulates that afflicted much of New England (and other aread) from affecting us at all. So, upside, there.

Have a good Summer. I’ll try to get better about posting from time to time.