Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Open question: if you could have an army of insect minions, and had to choose between the broad categories of "Ants" and "Wasps," which would you choose? [Edit: "Scorpions!" is both the right answer, and wrong. They're not insects, let alone "Ants" or "Wasps."]

I made up a sheet of pros and cons at work today (both had the pro of "relentless") and engaged in lively debate all day.

EDIT: The lists! (my apologies for lame faux-table)

Pros: Death from Above
Repeated stinging
Stylish color pattern

Cons: Not scorpions
Easily disrupted by smoke
Nests highly flammable

Pros: Death from Below
Per-capita strength
Mighty jaws

Cons: Not scorpions
With few exceptions, not airborne

Monday, July 24, 2006

"Mr. Earbrass sits on the opposite side of the study from his desk, gathering courage for the worst part of all in the undertaking of a novel, i.e., making a clean copy of the MS. Not only is it repulsive to the eye and hand, with its tattered edges, stains, rumpled patches, scratchings-out and scribblings, but its contents are, by this time, boring ot the point of madness. A freshly-filled inkwell, new pheasant-feather pens, and two reams of the most expensive cream laid paper are negligible inducements for emabrking on such a loatsome proceeding."

Edward Gorey, The Unstrung Harp.

So I'm back transcribing. This is what it feels like, sort of. But funnier and with nice drawings. I'm also memorizing The Gashlycrumb Tinies in my spare time.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Oh God, there's a new Pynchon novel coming out in December. Almost a thousand pages long.

I've really got to get around to Mason & DIxon.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

While musing on possible analogues of the 251 Club and roaming about on-line, I came upon a Wikipedia listing of locations within New Hampshire.

So I counted them.

13 cities, 221 townships, and 25 unicorporated places.

I propose the formation of a 259 Club as a partner organization to the 251 Club here in Vermont. I may not be the first to do so, to be sure, but would welcome like-minded individuals. Certainly this would foster some cross-Connecticut wandering.

And I do not presume to propose any organization to supersede both clubs for those who wished to try their hand at both, but my incarnation of the 259 Club would recognize its own Plus members and 510ers who wanted to see what the fuss was all about on both sides of the river, so to speak.

[possibly cc:d to Vermont LIfe, Yankee Magazine, and whatever else I can think of]
[EDIT: pending confirmation of my math, of course]

Monday, July 17, 2006

It is a troublesome thing to kill a large centipede on your dining room wall.

It is a more troublseome thing to fail at killing one. I won't be going into the kitchen again for a while.
251 Club! 251 Club!

Shortly put, it's an informal organization (postal mail! mimeographed newsletters) dedicated to, in one fashion or another, visiting all 251 towns and cities (mostly towns) in Vermont, whether doing something interesting, visitng the post office for postmarks, or just driving through.

Today was to have been my second day off in a row, but for the first time since the late winter, I had to work on a Monday. At 6:30. On like four hours sleep. But I started making crazy plans. Would I like to go to the beach right after work? Probably. I think it was the hottest day of the year so far today. How about a road trip later? I and one of my managers had found out we were both inot the 251 Club, and so those plans were off and running.

I got off work at 2:30, I and another co-worker made a surgical strike to North Beach, and I hustled back to work to buy provisions. We hit the road got out of town, and did two--maybe three--towns today in some interesting capacity.

Moretown: We got off the interstate in Waterbury and drove south into Moretown. We got lost trying to find the imporessive-sounding intersection of Moretown Corners, stopped for roadside lemonade, and then disaster struck: We found out we had a flat tire, and I dropped my camera through a hole in my pocket onto Vermont Route 100b (pronounced "lube.") The camera snapped back together (it seemed to not work at first but the battery contact was just jarred out of alignement), we changed the tire for the donut spare, and didn't flip out. We limped back north to a fun swimming hole on the Mad River and waded (in our lack of foresight, we had neither bathing costumes nor towels) and drove north into...

Middlesex: We stopped briefly in an abandoned gas station where I pantomimed filling up a rubber chicken. ANd I got a blurry picture of the town garage. Partial credit. We limped on to...

Waterbury: We stopped for dinner at Arvad's purely based on the name and strolled through downtown Waterbury a bit. Then home.

I'm beat. WIll publish pictures at some point. It's fun to be back in the saddle.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bought a new bike frame, which is good, as the crumple zone in the front of mine is...well, crumpling. Slowly. It hasn't imploded on me yet, but...let's just say that next week I'll be all about tearing one bike down and rebuilding anew.

Which may provide me with something to ride to farmers markets during August. I'm thinking of trying the Green Mountain Localvore challenge (here for a feature story) Basically, I would be trying to provide all of my calories during the month of August from within a hundred-mile radius of my home. Or completely within Vermont. (there are a number of ways to play)

In its harder-core implementations, this is hard to do. From the Seven Days article:

"The definition of "local" varies slightly from group to group. Some localvore challenges allow participants to consume locally produced foods even if they don't contain 100 percent indigenous ingredients, such as Vermont-brewed beers and Vermont-roasted coffees. Others allow "wild card" exemptions for harder-to-find items, such as cooking oils and certain grains.

The Champlain Valley Localvores, whose challenge runs throughout the month of August, are taking a more hard-core approach. They've agreed only to a "modern Marco Polo" exception, which permits any spices the 13th-century explorer would have had on hand, such as salt and pepper, as well as modern leavening agents, such as baking powder, baking soda and yeast."

I'd probably take exemptions for three things that I can think of--coffee, ginger, and cayenne. And maybe cumin. But I need to do some thought, dispose of some decidely non-local food in the meantime--and look for a source of wheat and oats.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Not the best chip possible by Zidane (he allllmost got too much of it) but that dooesn't matter. It was a lovely idea, and beautiful to watch.

Allez les Bleus!

edit: interesting way for his career to (possibly) end, though. I wonder what he heard that got him to lay the smack down.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The sage of spite is sprawling, and the last of the radishes are in, along with some baby carrots.

My astronomy has suffered lately, what with the massive amounts of both overcast skies and mosquitoes, but so it goes.

I'm plodding ahead on the AMSCO, and trying to find reasonable ways to get Latin texts without that nice-looking, well-meaning, but utterly useless Loeb dual language editions. Or the esthetically displeasing online sources.

It is also my Friday at work, for which I am thankful.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

It's been an eventful last forty-eight hours.

We arrived at a tenative wage agreement Friday after eleven hours of negotiations. I went home and went to bed, worked the next day, then ended up at a "Cops and Robbers" party thrown by a co-worker who was leaving town. Exhuasted but willing to play along, I bought razor blades at work, trimmed my moustache down into something that I felt looked fairly 19th-century villain (pencil-thin, and fairly ugly), painted a monocle on to my face, and went as a jewel thief.

I got home at about sunrise, I think, woke up on my couch at two in the afternoon, threw a bunch of stuff in the car I have for the week, and drove up to my mother's in the country. We're installing a firepit in the yard for the Fourth of July tomorrow, I'm getting some lupine seeds for my yard, I get to see my dog again, and I arrived just in time to go to a concert on the town common.

So I'm in small-town Vermont to relax for the weekend after a brutal week at work, and what do we see? Experimental electric violin. (I loved it, having listened to a bunch of Sigur Ros on the way up. EDIT: Oh, Here they are. They were wearing locally-made tie-dyed T-shirts with their names on, though, and are a lot more fun than the publicity photo indicates.) They used their stringed instruments as drums somehow, performed some Brazilian jazz music originally arranged for the piano, and finished the evening with a half-salsa, half-hula number that included parrot samples. Not, I think, what everyone was thinking. But it was a great time, it's nice to see my mother at her home, and though I've only been up for nine hours, it's time to go to bed.