Thursday, March 27, 2008

Into the tunnel...

Some people do "surges," others like me do "slogs." And the final part of my work slog begins today. This is a combo platter server migration and consolidation, at the end of which everything will work fine or nothing will. Either way, my much-needed vacation begins on the other side of this tunnel. The length of this vacation might be determined by how well this slog goes (tee-hee)... I just want it to be over; numerous late nights ahead. News updates when possible; until then "Good night and good luck" to all.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Defining Moment

Among my treasures is a yellowed newspaper article (so old, stores would still close on Sundays) by Sydney J. Harris about conviviality versus privacy which I reproduce verbatim here. I think this defines some of my (a-)socializing quite well:

Convivial soul must mingle; the private person retreats

Speaking of admitting women to men's clubs, as I was the other day, reminded me that the worst thing that Samuel Johnson could think of saying against Sir John Hawkins was that he was "a very unclubable man."

For a long time, as I was going along in the world, it surprised me to learn how many men actually resent someone who is not as "clubable" as they think he ought to be.

Such a person is often wrongly called a "loner," when he is not a loner at all, but simply prefers a small circle of close friends to a large, sweaty aggregation of casually jovial strangers or acquaintances.

Those who try to keep their personal and professional lives separate (and I must confess to being one of these) always run the risk that their preference for privacy will be interpreted as a secret sense of superiority, as considering themselves too good to mingle with the common herd.

In my social experience, this accusation is generally not borne out. Most of the men I have known who kept largely to themselves did so not because they were "aloof" or felt superior in any way, but simply as a matter of temperament - they enjoyed their family and a few friends, and pursued their quiet ways without the slightest notion that they were evoking resentment from anyone for their reclusive habits.

Conviviality is a pleasant trait if one happens to possess it, but not all do, or care to. It can also serve, I suggest, as a substitute for genuinely deep attachments or permanent connections. I have long suspected that the people who seem to like everybody don't like anybody very much and require extended social contacts in order to fill a felt vacuum in their personal lives - but this may only be my own distorted view of human relationships.

What is interesting, and perplexing, is the almost inevitable assumption made by "clubable" people that those who shun their company do so for despicable reasons of pride or exclusivity or social or intellectual pretentiousness, when in almost all cases it has little or nothing to do with them, but is simply a lifestyle.

I suppose it is only natural that we do not like people who do not seem to like us, but evidence that they do not like us should be based on something more tangible than a preference for privacy. Another person's reclusiveness is not so much a judgment upon us as a verdict on his own capacities and limitations in socializing.


At another defining moment almost twenty years ago, a very wonderful woman entered my life. As I might have stated for someone else within a different blog entry, she provided paths that would never have been traveled otherwise. For these, I am humbled and grateful. Upon your wanderings peace, my friend...

Monday, March 24, 2008

My Six-word Memoir

Ah yes, here's the part of the Internet, e-mail etc. that I hate most. The old "isn't this wonderful, isn't that neat, PASS THIS TO FIVE FRIENDS OR THE WORLD ENDS" shtick. To those who send these, please don't get me wrong; I love hearing from you. Don't ever expect me to pass one on.

That being said, in the blog of dear AZ friend Sheri was a note about her being sniped by dear MN friend Sharon (from someone else, of course) about writing a six-word memoir for one's self. Without passing it on (thank you!), Sheri noted that I should try one. So without ado, here I go (that was six words, dear reader. And again...).

Knowing myself to be cleverly flippant (glib?), I was trying to create a memoir that would also contain a hidden message. My first attempts using alliteration were failures. Breaking away from that (along with many trips to the dictionary), I finally came to the perfect memoir. It contains a hidden message (homage to a favorite 60's sitcom) that most readers will miss:

HYPERBOREAN
ECLECTIC
CRIMHEAD
USUALLY
BANDING
AVIFAUNA


For those who missed the message, I post a second memoir with a different message in the exact same place:

HYPERBOREAN
ECLECTIC
CRIMHEAD
KEEPS
LOSING
EVERYONE


Sorry, no prizes or parting gifts for guessing the sitcom... Thanks, I guess, to bookbabie for getting this rolling. And thus I'm done.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Music Review: "Silver" by Boiled in Lead


Hands down, this is my favorite new music of the past two years. What's more amazing, this is a local (Twin Cities) group that has been around for 25 years, and this is the first I've heard of them. Guess my tastes aren't as eclectic as they should be. Many thanks to KBEM-FM for giving these lads a play.

I've heard Boiled in Lead described both as "rock and reel" and "Celtic metal", but neither description fully fits. It is both, it is neither, it is more. And this go-round has some of the best lyrics I've heard in many a year. Two songs come to mind in this regard, for which I provide snippets which hopefully whet your appetite:

DEATH ON HENNEPIN

...I'm too young and pretty to die,
why not take some old mean guy?
Or some old lady who's all done
lovin' life and havin' fun?
Or some young hothead with a gun?
...Take them from their misery,
makes more sense than takin' me.


SILVER CARP

...The little ones leap, collide with Heaven,
the big ones down in the weeds in Hell.
King Carp lies on God's own sandbar,
pickin' off perch like William Tell...


This is a HIGHLY recommended, fun CD. Get it now!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

This rush of wings...

...or more aptly, this rush of sneakers trying to reach a wonderful winged creature before it escaped from a mist net. Once banded, measured and released I'm sure this young female Pileated Woodpecker was much relieved (I know bander/holder Roger was):



Many thanks to volunteers Susie and Jessi Henderson for the photo!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Highs and lows 2

I think the high is a high and the low isn't really that low. But life was in the works, things happened and now in a total daze I commit these thoughts to "paper".

Actually I committed way too much to paper today, but there it is. In fact, it sits in my garage stall right now. I ended up buying a new car today, a 2008 Aveo. So far, 60 miles in, so good. I don't especially like being back in debt for 3 years, but then again I'm doing my part for the economy. Between that, the new bed and the tax-time contribution to KBEM-FM I hope I'm done spending. Soup and crackers time! That was the high...

My favorite band is touring one last time, beginning in Chicago in August. Alas, I will be enjoying the monsoon floods in Sierra Vista so will miss this other fun (unless the announced dates are just a beginning). That was the low...

And off to my new, way too comfy bed. Hopefully arising tomorrow will be easier...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Off that couch, slacker!

Yea, I'm finally off the couch and into my brand new bed. I know I should post a picture but somehow that would just seem weird to me. I will give a few nights ZZZs before I report its effects on my well-being. With luck instead of the recent nightmares I will dream of

...

(shame on you naughty readers! nudge-nudge wink-wink)

...

these.

Many thanks to my friends Tom and Sheri at SABO for posting this video.

Friday, March 07, 2008

He's alive!

At least sort of. Just very weak and achy, so I assume this is the flu. Took until 11AM to get out of bed. Almost immediately the phone rang with a work question from the boss. Don't worry, he did first ask how I was...

Two beverages I can heartily recommend to calm and soothe one's constitution. First of course is tea, almost any variety. Second is a fine combo of ginger ale and cranberry juice. Dr. Percy's prescription...

Back to getting rid of this stuff. Thanks to those both on- and off-blog who have been checking in. You're the best!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Blessed relief

The human body is a remarkable thing, especially when not running quite up to snuff. Just a few minutes ago, I was prepared for "the big one." And yet nothing. Then a voice told me to lay down for a moment instead of kneel. Sure enough, a minute later...

Not a long entry. Back to shivering. REALLY shivering...

Ocean in view, O the joy!

Neither the Atlantic nor the Pacific nor a vengeance-seeking water bed, but the small porcelain-enclosed sea in my bathroom. Once safely within sight and knelt in front of it, I could puke with impunity. Which felt wonderful, really. Now I'm just sitting here writing this with a 100.3 temp wanting to call it a night (GEE life is exciting around here). So many possibilities as to the cause:

1) One of the myriad flu viruses hitching rides at work (as a compatriot, Fred, likes to say, "It's flu and tick season!").
2) Something I ate, as I felt fine before about noon. I don't know how long something like mild food poisoning would take to fire up.
3) All that bed water from Sunday. Wait, maybe this is "water un-boarding".

I will say it is difficult when 20+ miles from home on a crowded freeway to keep from splattering the steering wheel or pulling to the side of the road (can hear it now on KBEM-FM's traffic report: "We have a report on 494 south near Highway 7 of someone barfing up a storm. A gawker slowdown makes it stop-and-go northbound."). In a sense, fortune smiled...

We'll see what morning brings, but I suspect that plans are done for the weekend. If this is an illness, I don't want to spread it to friends and family. We will see.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Splish, splash...

...not in the bathroom, but the bedroom. Part 1 of my quest for a new bed is complete, with the dismantling of the old water bed. This only took five hours thanks to friend Jo who assisted. To quote a local news anchor, the late great Dave Moore, when he observed the 1965 floods: "That's ALOT of water!" Thankfully not much landed on the carpet, although we survived a couple near-disasters.

Now back to a good old-fashioned bed. No water (NEVER again), no air, no conforming spongy stuff, just give me a bed. But first, to the couch for awhile...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

An essential question

Buried within one of my favorite websites is a quote that is at the heart of not only my life but the lives of other close friends:

"...how to earn money from work that is unpaid."

I believe an answer is slowly appearing. I hope I'm right...