far too much writing, far too many photos

runswithscissors


Monday, September 29, 2003

Today felt to me like the season's first shot of pure, undiluted autumn weather. Not that elements of autumn haven't been around these last weeks. Just that this day hit the nail on the head -- looked like autumn, felt like autumn, smelled like autumn. The real item: bright sunshine, passing clouds changing blue skies in dramatic ways. Cool, even brisk. And color everywhere, a sudden, drastic leaping past the gradual, mostly low-key display we've had to this point.

This last weekend brought periods of heavy rainfall -- a scarce commodity in recent weeks. Periods of rain, periods of sun, insistent breezes, and days growing undeniably shorter. The result: a sudden explosion of color, brilliant and vivid. Everywhere, all over the landscape. A blossoming of autumn, practically overnight. Meaning any folks who were thinking of driving north this coming weekend are going to get an eyeful.

A day like this comes along, I remember all over again how much I love this time of year, how good this season feels (despite the waning hours of sunlight).

So I made the trip into town around midday, did what needed to be done -- gym, errands, all that. Came back home, was about to sit down, get some work done. Late afternoon sunlight poured through the kitchen and dining room windows. I got the impulse to step outside, did so. It was warm enough, the sun intense enough, that it occured to me some plants might appreciate a splash of water. I picked up the garden hose, walked over by the tomato rings, where a spider web, newly spun across the side of one of the rings, caught the light in a way impossible to miss, its owner planted right in the center. A big, beautiful creature, yellow and black.



Damn, that kind of thing gets me excited. (Aren't you glad you don't have to live with me?)

******************

Not That You Asked Dept. --

Currently in residence in my CD player:

World Without Tears -- Lucinda Williams
End of the Century -- Ramones
Fever In Fever Out -- Luscious Jackson
A New Stereophonic Sound -- Hooverphonic
Super Session -- Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Steven Stills

rws 7:47 PM [+]

Sunday, September 28, 2003

The Oliver bloopers. ("Good doggy. Good boy. Come on now, hold still. Hold still, Oliver. *#@^%!!, hold still!!")

There is no Daisy.

Mr. Pointy takes over Rockefeller Center.

Webcams, webcams, webcams!

And this morning's sunrise -- a long, drawn-out affair that couldn't make up its mind how it wanted to look:







rws 6:55 PM [+]

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Leaves have been flying through the air here these last two or three days -- sun and clouds trading off unpredictably, a stiff, spirited breeze blowing, sweeping shards of orange and yellow off trees in rustling waves of motion. Trees once reluctant to turn are now showing color, others already well along now show bare branches.

Classic New England autumn stuff.





Over the last three or four days, birds from more northerly locales have been making pit stops here on the way south. Out doing some work off the far end of the house about three afternoons back, I heard a robin's call, something that's been absent in these parts since mid-August. The next morning robins were everywhere, spread out across the expanses of grass around the house, hunting for breakfast. Fueling up for the next leg of the ride. Other birds have been around, too, warblers and what looked like barn swallows. All of a hardier breed than the buggers that summer here.

And monarch butterflies have been passing through, wandering by in the afternoons, alighting on the red hawkweed blossoms that have sprouted up these last weeks in a final, late-warm-season binge.

Beautiful, all of it, a kind of affecting beauty that goes far beyond the visuals that draw crowds of leaf-peepers to Vermont at this time of year like camera-wielding iron filings to a mountainous, multi-colored magnet. (Yes, I know, it's a weak, garish metaphor. I know. And I don't care.)


Meanwhile, I managed to find my way into a local poker game (yesterday evening, in fact), something I haven't been a part of for a while -- three, close to four years. There was a period there when that kind of thing was a regular feature of my life. (I said something at last night's game about a three or so year period, but it went on far longer than that in long, sometimes fitful spells, with a couple of different groups; far longer still if evenings spent playing hearts with some cohorts are tossed into the mix.) Up until my life shifted itself up here from Cambridge, Mass., then across the Atlantic.

They were always competitive affairs, those games, but the point was a good time, get-togethers with conversation, laughter, all that, not raking in megabucks or grinding one's opponents into the dust. Meaning that while there may have been the occasional cigar ignited or beer bottle tipped up, the events were low-stakes -- nickels, dimes, quarters rather than dollar-and-upward demo derbies.

There is a high-stakes game of many years standing up here, in a neighboring town, one with which David Mamet has been associated, one with an aroma of testosterone. The game I weaseled my way into last night was a coed deal, all folks I'd never met before apart from the person who provided me entrée (the very nice person who provided me entrée, an attractive, intelligent woman who's recently become part of the weekly Spanish-speaking get-together I'm part of when I'm on this side of the Atlantic).

[more to come]

rws 6:18 PM [+]

Friday, September 26, 2003

What I said yesterday about that forecast not panning out? This morning: Cold. Gray. Foggy.

Grumble, grumble.



However, as the old New England saying goes: "Don't like the weather? Wait ten minutes."

A short time later:



Aaaahhhhh -- much better.

rws 9:28 AM [+]

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Cold? Gray? Rainy? I am absurdly pleased when that kind of forecast doesn't pan out.

September 25, 2003 -- early morning:







rws 8:37 AM [+]

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

You may have noticed that there hasn't been much writing going on here lately. It's the #*&^@!! digital camera. I scamper about in a near-foaming frenzy whenever anything vaguely resembling a photo op catches my eye. (A happy near-foaming frenzy, but still.) I tinker with the resulting blizzard of photos, resizing them, resizing them again, pasting them on this page. I re-paste, I re-re-paste, I reorganize, I re-re-re-paste. That's a full day right there, forget tending to the rest of my existence.

It's a good thing when new interests hijack one's life, isn't it? (Just say yes.)

Yesterday: big rain, falling water pounding away on the roof through the night, the morning and the afternoon. Come evening, the clouds cleared out, brief sunlight gave way to early darkness and a cold night. Today: morning fog burned off, the temperature sailed up into the 70s.



Folks walked around Montpelier in summer clothes, happy, smiling. Until the sun approached the western horizon, when the temperature careened downward and happy, smiling people in summer clothes became underdressed expanses of gooseflesh, rubbing arms to counteract sudden chill, staring at each other in wide-eyed disbelief at the sudden shift from summer to early winter.

I happened to hear a weather report today in which gradually cooling temperatures were predicted for the coming days, with the possibility of the season's first snow showers next week. That's right: Snow. Showers. Here. Next week. (Aaaaiiiiieeee!!!)

Needless to say, that got me pulling apart the stovepipes in hasty preparation for pre-season cleaning. I'll clean and reassemble them tomorrow (which, if one is to believe the same weather people who are terrifying us with talk of approaching snow, will be cold, gray, rainy) and I will not hesitate to fire up the coal stove should the indoor temperature get my breath misting.

Despite the unnerving conditions in Montpelier, at least two people remained hard at work posting handbills on Main Street, in the face of meterological goofiness.

Handbill #1:

"Edified Presents
FUNKY HO-DOWN
Friday, Oct. 10
9 p.m. until ??
The Caspian Lake Grange Hall
Greensboro, VT"

Handbill #2:

"Want to feel
awesome and
fulfill your
deepest
desires?

"come to an 8-week workshop at yoga
mountain to learn the basic game rules.

"for the life you choose. think fun."

rws 11:51 PM [+]

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Spiderwebs seen here in recent days:







rws 9:47 AM [+]

Monday, September 22, 2003

Seeing things.

Making faces.

Galileo: gone.

rws 4:50 PM [+]

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Yesterday: the Women's World Cup 2003 started up.
(The U.S. national team plays today at 12:30.)

Today: Galileo goes down.

rws 11:37 AM [+]

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Remember what I wrote two entries back about this dry spell and the local weather folks predicting bunches of showers from Isabel's spin-off? Remember that? No dice. No soap. (No rain.) Lots of wild weather, though, beginning with the big sunrise [see yesterday's entry]. Clouds moved in soon after, along with big wind. Trees began whipping about in dramatic fashion, leaves coming down. Dark clouds raced across the sky, ghostly light shining through big ragged holes in the grays and gun-metal blues.



No trees came down, at least around here. No power outages. Just visual drama and the sound of unruly, hard-blowing wind.

And today? Warm. Sunny. Almost summer-like. I drove into Montpelier along back roads, everything sedate. Tourists had the town nicely busy, getting a load of what autumn color there is to this point. Young folks strolled around in t-shirts, baggy shorts, sandals. Two twenty-somethings sat on a curb, engaged in slouching conversation, one wearing a huge hat made of shaggy, dark blue fake fur, the headgear pulled way down, leaving only the mouth uncovered. Where the North Branch River runs under State Street, a father and son sat together (40-something and 20-something) on one of the tired wooden benches, soaking up slanting late-afternoon sunlight, talking, people-watching. The Ben and Jerry's on Main Street did good business, folks drifting in and out of the shop, standing outside talking, ice cream cups in hand, raising their faces into the sunlight, eyes half-closed. A gentle breeze made its way through the scene now and then, faded yellow leaves drifting by.

September, tilting toward October. Pumpkins are well-represented at all farm stands, in the town's supermarket. On my ride home along Route 14, they stood out among rows of green as bright spots of orange. Future jack-o-lanterns, still fattening up.

Yesterday's intense weather's moved on, leaving behind a warm Vermont Saturday. Bucolic as all get-out, just a day or two shy of autumn's official start.

And the year rolls on.

rws 6:46 PM [+]

Friday, September 19, 2003

This morning's sunrise -- an extravaganza brought to us courtesy of Isabel, en route to the Great Lakes from the mid-Atlantic coast.



rws 7:04 AM [+]

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Spent most of the day -- another warm, golden autumn day -- in Montpelier and Burlington. The morning that began chilly and fogbound gave way to blue skies, abundant sunshine. During the course of the afternoon, high clouds began filtering in. By the time I returned home, a mackeral sky had spread itself out overhead, thickening clouds to the west began to thin the sunlight. Part of Isabel's long reach, which the weather folk claim will bring rain this way tomorrow and/or Saturday. The country around here could use it. The last 2-1/2 weeks have brought little rain, to the point that the autumn that started early and strong in late August has backed off in recent days, its colors beginning to fade from lack of moisture. Driving home along back roads this afternoon, I passed through long stretches where the leaves on many trees had turned pale brown or lackluster yellow instead of more vibrant colors, curling sadly up, coming down with the breeze.





Ran into one of my uphill neighbors in Montpelier, up here on her own for a week while her husband and daughter remain in D.C. where the family lives most of the year. She said schools in D.C. are closed today and tomorrow due to Isabel, causing major celebration among the younger set at the sudden long weekend.

A loved one in Greensboro, N.C. sent the following via email around 4 p.m.:

The wind has picked up here considerably just in the last hour. We won't get much rain out of this, but the wind is blowing pretty hard... trees thrashing about big time. Could be some power outages. Schools were let out early today in anticipation of what is going on right now.

Just went to let [the dog] in and saw two large branches that had been dangling in the oak from the ice storm... now laying on the ground. That's good, don't have to figure out how to get them out now. :-) But on the way down, they appear to have broken another one -- which is now dangling. Maybe the next ice storm will bring it out. Heh.


It's one of those days when everybody's talkin' about the weather.

The dry spell may have cut down on the seasonal eye candy a bit, but the wildlife has carried on according to schedule. The hummingbirds disappeared about two weeks ago, probably now somewhere enjoying warmer nights than we've had here. The robins have been been gone since the first half of August. Most of the goldfinches and purple finches have fled south, though a few malingerers remain, taking advantage of the lack of competition at my bird feeders. Bears have been showing up near homes and farms, cleaning out suet feeders, getting into compost bins, foraging in fields of crops -- packing on the pounds before the long winter nap. Grouse are suddenly easily encountered, usually hanging out near roads like the one on the hill here, not heavily travelled. Woolly caterpillars have appeared. And hunters' gunshots ring out now and then, providing more incentive for critters to head south (or into hiding).

The days, though beautiful, grow rapidly shorter. The equinox looms. The trees will empty out, Halloween will gallop into view. November will settle in.

It moves right along, this life, days and nights blowing by like the leaves that blow through the September air, passing quickly by, many shining with unexpected colors before blending together, fading away.

rws 6:08 PM [+]

My night was filled with emotional dreams involving friends and acquaintances, some of long standing, others newer to my life. And when I woke up, was I thinking about people I've known, folks who've meant something to me? No, my teeny little brain was preoccupied with (a) singing the chorus of California Über Alles over and over again, and (b) trying to figure out how I might convince some truculent #*%&!!! software I've got to convert a bmp image to a jpg image (the fruit of my current digital camera infatuation).

I drive to Burlington today to have lunch with an old friend, someone I haven't seen in a couple of years. A possible prod for last night's dreams.

Autumn has been coming on in classic fashion -- chilly nights, warm, brilliant days, the colors gathering slowly. Some trees remain green, many others are now frosted with yellows, oranges, reds. Others have made the leap to full, blazing technicolor -- awe-inspiring displays. And I will do my pitiful best to get a little bit of it on the digital equivalent of film.



rws 7:25 AM [+]

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Mid-September here on the hill, about 15 miles northeast of Montpelier, Vermont --







rws 7:51 PM [+]

Monday, September 15, 2003

Dave Barry is bothering telemarketers. See the Sept. 14th entry of his blog.

rws 7:17 PM [+]

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Sometime during the last 2-3 hours, the air here has thickened up, becoming still, humid. The kind of conditions that produce flopsweat with minimal physical exertion. Minimal. Like walking, breathing. Standing up, sitting down.

(What a great term: flopsweat.
Flopsweat. FLOPsweat.
Man, I love language.)

I went out a short time ago to cut some grass, a blessedly infrequent activity during the last couple of weeks, rain having been kindly, thoughtfully scarce. (Plenty of fog and mist in the mornings, burning off around 9 or 10 a.m. Lovely autumn temperatures, meaning upper-30s/lower-40s at night, upper-60s/lower 70s during the day. And little rain.) Ten minutes into pushing the mower around, sweat began flowing with joyous abandon. Not because of sun (it's overcast), not because of heat (the thermometer currently reads 68 ). Because the air is syrupy and still. Bleah.

Which gave me an excellent excuse to stop working. Not that I needed much of an excuse, having spent the day working -- cleaning up/printing out a manuscript in prep. for procuring an agent to hawk the bugger to an unsuspecting sucker publishing house. Chilling instead of mowing lawn, at this point, is no hardship.

[Manuscript excerpts can be found in this journal's entries of 5/24/02, 6/15/02, 8/13/02, 8/22/02, 12/28/02]

My downhill neighbor, Mo -- a crusty, indomitable, hugely entertaining 82-year-old who's lived here on the hill most of his life -- went into the hospital this last Tuesday for a knee replacement. The way he put it when I stopped by to see him on Monday: "The ax falls at 6:30 a.m.!" He delivered that comment through gleeful cackling, half-amazed/half-gleeful to hear himself spouting something many might consider fate-tempting. Haven't seen him since, though I've gotten updates from his wife, Kay. The ride apparently turned out to be a bit rougher than anticipated due to the many medications being prescribed and pumped into him by various medical personnel. Some of which did not mix well. Tomorrow he goes into a rehab. for a week before coming back home. He intends to be out in the woods come mid-October, ready for hunting season. I hope he makes it.

**********

Label seen on a sandwich in a deli cooler at the Hunger Mountain Food Co-Op in Montpelier:
Meat Sandwich.
(No further details supplied re: contents.)
Considering that the Co-op is generally a haven for healthy chow, something about that no-frills, two-word description seems excessively, creepily austere.

On a related note, a single sentence I found in notes made for a journal entry a couple of months back -- lacking further explanation and, needless to say, never used:
my fingers smell like cheese

**********

Not that you asked --

Currently hanging out in the CD player:

Body and Soul -- Errol Garner
Welcome To The Monkey House -- The Dandy Warhols
Mezzanine -- Massive Attack
Viva! La Woman -- Cibo Matto
Symphony No. 5/The Lark AscendingVaughan Williams

rws 7:13 PM [+]

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Watching Isabel.

Milking art for all it's worth.

Spot them manhole covers!

Getting a bit too intimate with dental work.

Telling the time with our friend the bar code.

Sending email well in advance.

And getting naked on e-bay.

rws 8:21 AM [+]

Friday, September 12, 2003

FOLSOM PRISON BLUES

I hear the train a comin', it's rollin' 'round the bend,
And I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when.
I'm stuck at Folsom Prison and time keeps draggin' on.
But that train keeps rollin' on down to San Antone.

When I was just a baby, my mama told me, "Son,
Always be a good boy; don't ever play with guns."
But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
When I hear that whistle blowin' I hang my head and cry.

I bet there's rich folk eatin' in a fancy dining car.
They're prob'ly drinkin' coffee and smokin' big cigars,
But I know I had it comin', I know I can't be free,
But those people keep a movin', and that's what tortures me.

Well, if they freed me from this prison, if that railroad train was mine,
I bet I'd move on over a little farther down the line,
Far from Folsom Prison, that's where I want to stay,
And I'd let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away.

~~~~~

Written by John R. Cash, © 1956 Hi Lo Music
Recorded 1/13/68
(Position reached on the charts: No. 1 - Country; No. 32 - Pop)

Johnny Cash, 1932-2003
Sincere thanks to the Man In Black for a mountain of fine, deeply felt music
and a life lived with style and grace....

rws 5:31 PM [+]

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Let me describe the set-up.

I sit and write at the dining room table -- the very spot I'm planted as I type these words. In the dining room, of course, located at the house's southeast corner. A nice room to work in, with two windows situated close to my usual writing spot, both equidistant from the southeast corner of the room (also, coincidentally, the southeast corner of the house). Each of those windows features a large bird feeder, hanging right outside, essentially up against the glass. Combine that with a windbreak situated about 15 feet from the end of the house (composed of a line of big, bushy fir trees bookended by shaggy, jumbo-sized lilac bushes), you have abundant cover for wildlife. Used by abundant wildlife. On a normal day, this end of the house sees heavy traffic by both furry and feathered types.

So. An hour ago, back home after several hours in Montpelier. Came in, sat down here at the dining room table, cranked up the 'puter. Got working on something, a few minutes into it I hear a strange sound. Not one I've heard before, not one I can identify. Mysterious. I hear it again, still unidentifiable. Kind of percussive, kind of vaguely metallic. Not real loud, not real soft. And difficult to place. Could be inside the wall. Or not. Hard to tell.

I hear it more. On a hunch, I go outside and snoop around near the dining room windows. I hear it still more. Lots more. And as I get closer to the source of the sound, I begin hearing sounds of chipmunk panic. One of the little buggers, it turns out, has managed to climb halfway up the vertical length of downspout that extends down from the rain gutter. Right here at the corner of the house. That's the sound: chipmunk in downspout. Kind of a madcap chip 'n' dale equivalent of indoor rock climbing. (Or maybe not.)

Chipmunks, you ask? Yes. Yes. This summer is the first time they've shown up around my little hilltop fiefdom. I first saw them in June, down at the other end of the house, hanging furtively around the flower beds, maintaining a low profile. When the birdfeeders went back into operation at the beginning of August, the chipmunks discovered that overenthusiastic winged diners have a tendency to spray sunflower seeds all over the place, and immediately relocated to this end of the house. They quickly developed a habit of using the last, horizontal section of downspout for cover as they hung out picking up seeds. But they have never ventured upward from that lurking place. Until now.

So I'm outside discovering this. The noise in the downspout is getting a bit wild as the occupant starts scrabbling around, chirping loudly in panic and/or irritation at my unwelcome intrusion into their evening activities.

This would be mighty entertaining if it weren't for the fact that I don't especially want critters hanging out in the downspouts. Nasty things can happen when critters begin doing that. I rap on the downspout a few times, the scrabbling inside gets a bit more fevered as the 'munk apparently tries heading for the roof. Without success.

I go to the garage, drag out my 20-foot extension ladder, cart it to this end of the house, set it up. I get the garden hose, turn it on, climb up to the roof. Finding a comfy patch of roofing shingles, I sit by the downspout aperture and begin spraying water down the pipe. Not huge, flooding quantities of water, nothing dangerous or inhumane -- just enough to annoy the bejesus out of lurking chipmunks. I do that for a while, then take a peek over the edge of the roof where water burbles merrily out of the end of the spout into the grass. A chipmunk head pokes itself out the end of the pipe, trying to figure out what happened to his/her evening of carefree downspout climbing.

I get more water going down the pipe. The critter gives up, bounds through the grass to disappear beneath the greenery of the windbreak.

Country life. My life, currently. Kind of scary.

rws 11:40 PM [+]

Monday, September 08, 2003

Entering the kitchen a few minutes shy of 5 a.m. for a drink of water, I find the white curtains above the sink illuminated with soft, glowing light, the kind that the lit windows of a neighboring house might cast. There is no neighboring house here, I realize it's moonlight, bright and substantial, the full moon only three nights away.

I shuffle back to bed, the white curtains in the bedroom shine with the same gentle glow.

rws 11:05 AM [+]

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Last night, the Independent Film Channel played D.A. Pennebaker's concert film of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, the final performance from David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust tour, the last time Bowie portrayed that particular character/persona. An event that's achieved mythic status over the years -- no humongo surprise, given the strength and durability of the album it supported and that many think it represented glam rock's high point. Not to mention the strange tales re: Bowie and his wife, Angela, from that sexually amorphous period in rock 'n' roll.

I had to watch the bugger, of course, and starting time found me propped up in front of the tube, its sound channeled through my stereo, ready for a glimpse of history (with a beat).

It had some moments, no question about it, some fine passages of Mick Ronson whaling away on his Gibson Les Paul while Bowie posed and warbled. Overall, though, I found myself feeling curiously underwhelmed. Not the reaction I expected, but there it is.

I'm not someone who's fixated on any one period of rock 'n' roll, or on any one type of music, come to that. There's just too much stuff to be explored, from all over the spectrum, from all over the map. I have an aversion to radio that limits itself (or bludgeons me with ads), so that I generally seek out college stations, where the programming tends to range about with some freedom. And the more free-form, the better. Classic rock? Top 40? Generally not for me. Given that, my lack of Yee-ha! re: the film didn't come as a big honking shock.

This morning, on impulse, I turned on NPR's Morning Edition in time to catch a story about Keith Moon, today being the 25th anniversary of the day he shuffled off this mortal clownshow. It unearthed some vivid, potent memories which have drifted through my thoughts in the hours since. Memories of a younger me, far too young to go into New York City and see a concert on my own, or at least far too young to get the parental okay for that kind of escapade. Which didn't stop me from sneaking out of the house, grabbing a train into Manhattan, finding my way to the Village Theater (soon after acquired by Bill Graham, renamed The Fillmore East), worming my way down to the area in front of the stage where I then remained (sure that someone would realize how young I actually was and toss me out), all the way through a wild Sunday afternoon concert by an arrogant bunch called The Who, touring in support of their Happy Jack album. A sharp, flailing, snotty, self-confident performance, making an impression that lasted for years, until Moon OD'd his way out of here.



With his exit, it felt to me like the bloom was off the Who's rose. Their chemistry felt off in a disturbing way, my attention drifted other places. I never picked up their subsequent releases, still haven't heard those discs. Never saw them in concert again. That is, until they refocused in the mid-90s, with Zak Starkey plugged into the gaping hole left by Moon's demise, and toured a fine edition of Quadrophenia. Sophisticated, explosive, with peaks that lifted me every bit as high (when I saw it in the Worcester, Mass. Centrum, 11/97) as that Sunday afternoon concert in The Village Theater.

That's where some of my thoughts have been today. Experiences and people, how they come and go, how some remain vivid despite the passage of days, months, years, while others fade or lose their punch.

All this through some bleariness that hasn't lifted despite food and espresso, the product of getting to sleep late, waking up at 5 a.m., sleeping essentially not at all after that. Most of the day's been spent either in the kitchen or in front of computer, the hours have slipped by at a deceptively supersonic pace. A Sunday that began shrouded in fog gave way to warm hours of brilliant September sunlight. Clouds have since moved in, it's now gray, cooler, more sober. As they say here in New England: Don't like the weather? Wait ten minutes.

In case you've wondered, there have been no bearish compost raids the last couple of nights. [See entry of 9/5.] I suspect the thrill wore off the second night when the returning marauder finished off the few scraps of bread left in the bin. Either that or hunting season has sent him/her into hiding. (Or killed him/her off.) I continue to wire down the bin cover come nighttime, just in case. Just to see what happens should the big, hairy bugger return to see if anything tasty's been tossed on the heap.

rws 5:02 PM [+]

Friday, September 05, 2003

About twenty minutes ago. Daylight fading fast, evening giving way to night. The moon hangs well above the southwestern horizon, growing steadily brighter as the sky around it darkens. I hear a brief, sudden sound, almost like a voice -- just one quiet exclamation, then the rural silence reasserts itself. Something catches my eye, a flicker of movement somewhere far above, maybe halfway between the moon and the sky's center -- a line of Canadian geese, flying quickly, noiselessly toward the southwest, perhaps heading toward warmer climes in advance of northern Vermont's long, intense cold season.

Moving in silence, they disappear over the trees into the sunset's dying light.

rws 8:13 PM [+]

Today has been one of those days where I could easily bore you to desperate tears about how freakin' beautiful it is around here. Seriously -- I am bowled over to the point where it would be exceedingly easy to go off about it. And we both know how tiresome that would get, so I'll spare you. (You owe me for that bit of restraint.)

Instead, I'll inflict this bit of hard-core rustickness on you:

The last two mornings, I've gotten up to find that sometime during the night one of the hungry local bears has ripped the top off my composting bin, hoovering down whatever hooverable food (or ex-food) was in there. Two things have set this off: first, it's that pre-hibernation time when bears are trying to pack on enough weight to get them through the winter. Second, two days ago I rooted out a bunch of old frozen bread from the freezer, well past its shelf life, and gave it what passes for a proper burial around here. Which is to say, heaved it into the bin. That was Wednesday. Yesterday morning, the cover had been pulled off and tossed aside, most of the old bread had disappeared, and the rest of the bin's contents had been well tamped down by bear paws, mid feeding frenzy.

Can you believe this is my life? Compost. Bears. Kinda scary.

I haven't been securing the bin lid this summer because, well, there hasn't been any need and the bin's a big goofy in that the lid and the two handle-type thingies that secure it don't do much in the way of securing anything. I may as well have hung out a big neon sign reading "Attention, passing bears -- chow here!" or "eat at runwithscissors'." Something pithy and inviting.

I put the lid on, secured it, weighted it down with a couple of sizeable, heavy rocks.

"Ha!" you say. I'm with you. Lid securing and big rocks did nothing. Pathetic. Laughable. I join you in your chortles of ridicule.

On the way home from Montpelier earlier this afternoon, I stopped at the local farmstand where one of the employees mentioned that bear season had begun two days ago, that they'd had a big old bugger of a bear that had recently been eating a major swath through their cornfield, that someone had come across it last night -- in mid-gorge -- and shot it. Hmmmm.

I have no manly firearm, I won't be whacking the compost sucker, but tonight I'm going to wire the compost lid on and see what happens. An experiment.

The compost bin is just a few feet away from my bedroom window. Pretty interesting that I didn't hear a thing. Nothing. Tonight I'll keep the window open a little, see what happens.

***************

You may or may not remember me picking up a roomba whenever the hell it was, the end of June, beginning of July, something like that. Turns out that since then those little buggers have not only been selling like hotcakes, they've become a seriously fetishized commodity. There's a Yahoogroups email list about 'em (you'll need to be registered with Yahoogroups to access it) -- and there's this: hack those babies!

Ever find yourself wondering just how much time it would take zombies to infect the rest of us? Go here.

rws 4:59 PM [+]

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Rain moved in this evening, slowly getting heavier and heavier. The hills have gradually been disappearing as the rainfall became more intense. Then about 30 minutes ago the air outside turned lavender. Not just the light -- the air. Not red, not purple, not rose. Lavender. Could be light from the sunset filtered thorugh the layers of overcast, could be something about all the airborne water spread the light, carried it through air that would otherwise have been gray. Producing a vast expanse of softly glowing colored light above the valley.

Lavender. Like designer rain, like a funkily ethereal version of the area's green, undulating slopes and wide sky. Not your standard northern Vermont fare.

It finally faded away about 15 minutes ago as the overall light dimmed in advance of nightfall.

This world of ours. You never know for sure what it's got planned from one minute to the next.

rws 7:53 PM [+]

Monday, September 01, 2003

Should you ever find yourself seized by the desire to catch up on a good book, Planet PDF has made 46 classics of western literature available for no-cost downloading. The collection currently includes an intriguing selection of heavy hitters -- Dickens! Joyce! Twain! Bronte! Austen! Dostoyevsky! And that's not all! -- with more to come.

On the more cutting edge side, the author of Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom -- a thoughtful, entertaining blast of contemporary sci-fi published by Tor books this last January and picking up fine notices (NPR, the N.Y. Times, and NASA, of all places) -- has made his book freely available for downloads (in numerous formats) at the same time that it's available in bookstores. The result -- 75,000 downloads in the first month. An excerpt of Down And Out can be found here.

And finally, the good folks at the Virtual Occoquan have been kind and/or foolish enough to include this journal's entry of this last Saturday in their current edition. The images on the portal and contents page, BTW, are far goofier, far less mellow than what I've seen of the 'zine's earlier editions.

rws 9:50 AM [+]

BLATHERINGS

August 2001
September 2001
October 2001
November 2001
December 2001
January 2002
February 2002
March 2002
April 2002
May 2002
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
June 2009
July 2009

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


MORE FOCUSED BLATHERINGS


Travels:
London '01
Pamplona
Italy '03
U.K. '03
Sevilla
Casablanca
Stoke-on-Trent
Barcelona
Québec/Ottawa
Boston/Lisbon/Madrid
Italy '04
Montréal
La Sierra

Events:
Madrid -- arrival
9/11
Emergency Room I
Holidays 2001
Holidays 2002
Holidays 2003
Holidays 2004
Holidays 2005
A neighbor's passing
Madrid -- March 11 bombings
  and aftermath
Emergency Room II
Israeli friend/Madrid Marathon
Madrid -- Royal Wedding
The DELE exam

GONE, a novel:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10

THE BASTARD CHILDREN OF
JOE ROCCO, a novella:
-- Part 1
-- Part 2
-- Part 3

BURBANK SHRUGGED,
a screenplay:
-- Part 1
-- Part 2
-- Part 3
-- Part 4

Short stories:
Murphy's Wife
Another Autumn
La Queja de Una
  Hermanastra Muy Conocida

Autobiography
-- Personal History
-- Hormones On Parade
-- Accidents, Random Mishaps,
    Personal Problems

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


OTHER SOURCES OF WHOLESOME ENTERTAINMENT

People/Weblogs:
dooce
foxvox
fudge it
fear not
rebekka
bookslut
802online
idle words
madhaiku
wockerjabby
grow-a-brain
rebel market
letting me be
out and about
kung fu grippe
fanatical apathy
baghdad burning
wfuv's music blog
kexp's music blog
mimi smartypants
between the miles
just a hippie gypsy
the impossible cool
tomato can brushes
vermont homestead
sugar mountain farm

Good Clean Fun:
gizmodo
futurismic
postsecret
dave barry
human clock
mcsweeney's
spaceweather
book-a-minute
internet archive
self-portrait day
my cat hates you
out of context quotes
surrealist compliment
  generator
strindberg and helium

Makin' Musical Whoopee:
last fm
stereo8
pandora
soma fm

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


ABOUT RWS/CONTACT





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runswithscissors would like to thank everyone who's ever lived for everything they've ever done.



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