Archive for August 2015

08-30-2015 Journal – Miscellany!   Leave a comment

With August in the rear view mirror, this week was a mix of this, that, and everything else.  I was a little unfocused but that’s not all that unusual anyway.  I spent part of the week back in the swamps looking for those illusive little dragonflies that were as always,  illusive.  A few dozen mosquito bites and another overexposure to bug spray yielded very little.

DSC_0017

DSC_0054

There were more than a few in the area but they avoided getting anywhere near me.  I’ll be trying again in a week or so after the next crop hatches. I have a few decent pictures but I need five or six more before the cold weather sets in.

I was wandering around my garage looking for something to do when I saw my former satellite dish lying in the corner.  For more than four years that dish provided me with thousands of hours of television and cost me a few thousand dollars in fees and charges. With that much of an investment I just couldn’t discard that dish.  The company told me they didn’t want it back so threw it in the corner which gave some time to think about it.

I take great pride in my ability to repurpose objects that have out lived their original usefulness, why not this stupid dish.  I dismantled the old dish, took everything apart, and began the changeover from satellite dish to table.

DSCN0068

DSCN0066

DSCN0065

There’s a lot more work to do including a nice, deep black, and high gloss paint job.  Once it’s complete it will take it’s honored place among my other trophies as a game table in my man-cave. Thanks again Dish Network.

Advertisements

08-28-2015 Journal – Nerdvanah!   Leave a comment

thLH499MQH

‘Star Trek – Original Series’

I just finished watching a documentary thanks to Netflix that was filmed by the son of the late, great Gene Roddenberry. If you’re not aware and have been living in a cave somewhere, Roddenberry was father of Star Trek. His son claimed he was trying to discover who his father really was because they hadn’t been close. It seemed to me he was just using his late father’s fame just one more time to get his face on the big screen. Everyone needs their fifteen minutes of fame I guess and he’s using his to whine about his Daddy issues. Typical father and son issues that we’ve all dealt with in one form or another but without the capability or need to air it publicly.

next-generation

‘Star Trek– Next Generation’

Let me give you my qualifications for the remarks I’m about to make. Unlike Gene Jr. I was a sci-fi nerd before he was even a twinkle in his father’s eye. It began for me when my mother’s birthday gift for my eighth birthday was painting the walls and ceiling of my bedroom with planets, rocket ships, and stars. My bedroom was "Outer Space" to me before Star Trek was even a dream. For me that sci-fi nerdiness  has grown over the years until I’m what you see before you now, an older and wiser sci-fi geek who is damn proud of it. I loved Star Trek because it brought many of my childhood space fantasies to life.

thUDD6QW4T

‘Star Trek – Deep Space Nine’

The documentary in question was a nostalgic trip down memory lane for me where I got to listen and meet once again the heroes of my youth. Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Bones, Scotty, Sulu and on and on and on. I loved the interviews with the cast from the Next Generation series which I always thought was the best of them all.

thU77AMHZG

‘Star Trek – Voyager’

It took me back to my visit to a motel in Philadelphia many years ago while on a boring business trip. The trip was a last minute one and I was hard pressed to find a motel room in the area I was visiting.  At the last minute I finally booked a room (a rather expensive one I might add) and arrived at the motel just after dark to check in. Little did I realize that the motel was hosting a rather large Star Trek convention and I was the only guy around not in costume. As I walked through the lobby in my nice suit and tie what did I see but three Romulans, two Klingons, and one fairly hot and green Orion slave girl.

thG7PYUSMW

‘Star Trek – Enterprise’

Truthfully I was thrilled but I definitely was the odd man out.  I was advised by the desk clerk  that my room had been given away to a large group of Klingons who all  wanted to stay together in one wing of the motel.  I was then upgraded to a beautiful suite that had a huge and gorgeous Jacuzzi right in the middle of the room.  I changed my clothes and returned to the bar to check things out and to buy a few rounds for some of the visiting aliens? I heard more Klingon spoken in that bar in one night than all of the Star Trek episodes ever made. It was just the coolest thing ever.

3_duras1_

‘Klingon Sweethearts’

I was in nerd heaven but little did I know it was going to get even better. One of the last things I remembered was being in that scalding hot Jacuzzi at 3:00 am with two rather naked Klingon chicks and one Vulcan bitch  who was no fun at all. They filled me up with some sort of Klingon drink (they claimed) that tasted suspiciously like tequila, a treat from the Mexican side of the Klingon Empire.  It truly was a night to almost remember.

I confess that I’m a gigantic geek who remains loyal to all things Star Trek and always will.

NERDS MAY RULE THESE DAYS BUT US GEEKS GET THE KLINGON CHICKS

08-26-2015 Journal–Take a Good Look at Yourself!   2 comments

sign1

The crappy weather continues here in Maine giving me an overabundance of reading time.   Recently I picked up a small book at a local church flea market for $.50 and as I began reading it I thought it would make an interesting discussion for the blog.

Half the fun of living your life is examining the hell out of it as you get older and hopefully smarter.  I know I’ve second guessed virtually every decision I’ve ever made in my life.  I always seem to have a better answer now than I had with the original decision.  Things I thought as a teenager and in my early twenties sound so stupid now it’s a little scary. 

This book’s all about difficult questions designed to make us think about ourselves and our decision making capabilities. There are no right or wrong answers but they will challenge your common sense and good=headedness.

Yes-No-Maybe

I’ll list 10 questions with my own answers below. If you’re interested after that then take a few minutes and jot down your own answers. I recommend that you do it together with your partner, significant other, or spouse. I’m sure that regardless of the answers they’re sure to spark a few interesting discussions about your differences.  Lets get started:

1.   If you could spend one year of your life in perfect happiness but afterward would remember nothing of the experience would you do so? If not, why not?

a. I think I’d pass on this one. If I couldn’t remember the happiness then it never really happened and what’s the point.

2.   If a new medicine were developed that would cure arthritis but cause a fatal reaction in 1% of those who took it, would you want it to be released to the public?

a. If I’ve done my math correctly that means that out of every million people treated, 10,000 would die.  That’s insanity and a big no from me.

3.   Would you accept $1,000,000 to leave the country and never set foot in it again?

a. That would be a big “Hell No”.

4.   Would you be willing to become extremely ugly physically if it meant you would live for 1,000 years at any physical age you chose?

a. No thank you. To me a thousand years of being terribly ugly would be worse than dying.

5.   If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one ability or quality, what would it be?

a.  I’d want the ability to speak and understand every language on earth.

6.   Would you accept twenty years of extraordinary happiness and fulfillment if it meant you would die at the end of the period?

a. No thank you.

7.   If the person you were engaged to marry had an accident and became a paraplegic, would you go through with the marriage or back out of it?

a. I must have loved that person very much or wouldn’t have wanted a marriage. It’s a commitment I’d honor completely.

8.   Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as your dinner guest?, as your close friend? , and as your lover?

a. Dinner Guest:  Any wounded veteran; Close Friend: Bill Gates; Lover: Rachael Hendrix.  The Close Friend and Lover could change at a moments notice because friends and lovers come and go.  The Dinner Guest would remain the same permanently.

9.   A good friend pulls off a well-conceived practical joke that plays on one of your foibles and makes you look ridiculous. How would you react?

a. I’d be a little embarrassed at first, laugh a little for a few minutes, and then begin planning some good old down-home REVENGE.

10. For $20,000 would you go for three months without washing, brushing your teeth, or using deodorant? Assume you could not explain your reasons to anyone.

a. No how, no way . . . . but I might reconsider it for $100,000.

BE AS TRUTHFUL AS POSSIBLE

08-24-2015 Journal – New Camera!   Leave a comment

I’ve spent the last few days making friends with my new camera.  My Nikon D3200 is by far the best camera I’ve ever owned but it’s size becomes an issue at times. If we happen to be in town or shopping the D3200 is cumbersome. It has 24.2 megapixels which allows me a great deal of freedom when editing and I still plan on using it as much as I possibly can. Also my collection of lenses for that camera gives me more flexibility than I’ll ever need.

nikon_d3200

All that being said, I decided to purchase a small point-and-shoot camera that can easily be carried in my pocket. I know your wondering why I don’t just use the camera in my smart phone.  Two immediate problems caused me to scrap that idea.  While the telephone’s camera is already being carried everywhere by me it lacks lens flexibility.  The default lens is useful but not as useful as I’d like. Secondly, the camera in my phone has only 13 megapixels which for me is inadequate.

My search began on-line and I must have looked at a hundred different styles and types of cameras and brands. After all of that research I decided to stick with brands that I’m already familiar with such as Samsung and Nikon.  I then began my visits to local retailers to see the actual cameras and get a little hands-on experience.

After those visits my choice became easy to make.  I finally purchased a Nikon Coolpix L32 for a more than reasonable price.   It has everything I was looking for and then some. It uses a standard SD card making the transfer of photo’s to my computer much easier.  It’s zoom and focus capabilities were impressive for such a small unit and it’s 20.1 megapixels make it just about perfect for my use.

ZYFRONT-MD
I then made a few field trips in the area to do a little experimentation with the new camera.  It was a bit confusing at first but within a few minutes I was taking some reasonably good photo’s. I returned home to snap a few more pictures in and around our garden. These photo’s will be easy to post on this blog and with a little image resizing can be emailed without a problem.

For a change I feel like I actually got a good value for the money spent. All too often in the past after making purchases I get the feeling I’ve been had.  I have to say that all of my Nikon purchases over the years have been excellent and reliable. Check these snaps out.

DSCN0004B

DSCN0019

DSCN0018

With both of these cameras in my bag I should be able to handle any situation or location and still get really decent results.

08-22-2015 Journal – Religion from a Infidel’s Perspective!   Leave a comment

worldreligion

Every so often I read or hear something that sets my teeth on edge. In recent years it’s been this constant drumbeat of hatred between the global religions. If you’re one of those people who can’t abide religious criticism, I suggest you stop reading now. It’s not that I mind offending you because I don’t . . . it’s just a courtesy and fair warning.  I’m sick to death of hearing about Islam, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and the numerous Christian sects. How long can the human race on this planet continue to sit back and allow themselves to be manipulated as they’re convinced by organized religions to commit the most heinous crimes you can imagine?  

I’d hate to guess how many people have died over the centuries in the defense of religion and their ingrained  hatred of everyone else’s.  From the Crusades, to Northern Ireland, to the Middle East, and beyond. The total number of deaths is almost unimaginable. Every religion that has ever existed has their own set of commandments to live by and all of them seem to agree that murder is a big no-no until it involves another religion. Then they get some special dispensation from some insane religious leader, grab their weapons, and off they go to murder and butcher anyone who doesn’t agree with them. Yeah, that really makes me want to become religious.

If being stupid and brainwashed is a requirement for me to be considered a religious person you can just forget it! So a big hats-off to all those devoted Christians who can’t even agree amongst themselves, to the Muslim religion who suffers from the same affliction, and the Jews who aren’t much better. Even the Buddhists piss me off when they claim to want calm and peace in the world, then set themselves on fire in protest of some stupid thing or another.  I’m not quite ready to sign up for that anytime soon either. Suicide is nuts regardless of the circumstances.

My own history with religion leaves much to be desired.  I apparently wasn’t a good Catholic boy when I was thrown out of catechism classes for reading a dirty magazine. I think it was an issue of Giant Boobs or something like that. My late mother and I fought for fifty years as she tried to coerce me back to that same church teaching the same old nonsense. Oh yeah, don’t forget to donate that 10% every year too, God really needs the money.  Still not gonna happen Mom!

Recently I took to wearing this T-shirt.  Everyone seems to be in such a big hurry these days to label others. He’s Jewish, she’s Catholic, he’s Protestant, and she’s an atheist.  In order to make life easier for those people I decided to wear my label proudly.  I’ve been called so many things over the years I just felt the need to clear up any confusion.

DSCN0029

Many years ago I heard this quote on religion by Charles Caleb Cotton (1780–1832), an English cleric, and it stuck with me. Every time I find myself in a heated religious discussion with some fanatic I’d bring it out to enhance the discussion.

"Men will wrangle for religion, write for it, fight for it, die for it, anything but live for it."

08-20-2015 Journal–A Return to the Sanctuary!   Leave a comment

The Dog Days of August are upon us with all of the heat and humidity that they bring.  I’ve been staying fairly inactive due to the heat but it’s driving me crazy.  I just need to get the hell out of the house.

I decided to visit an old friend today. That’s the Wildlife Sanctuary in Scarborough, Maine.  Over the last five years I’ve spent a great deal of time there documenting the plants and wildlife.  I was driven to create a photo book of the place which took me two years to complete.  I was very proud of the result but knew all along it could be a double-edged sword.  My biggest fear was that people would read the book and then decide to visit the place in large numbers that might change things in the Sanctuary.  Unfortunately I was correct.

In past years the Sanctuary wasn’t visited all that much and remained a pristine place to monitor and photograph the wildlife.  In just two short years the place has dramatically changed.  Since the town received copies of the book, they’ve begun promoting the place.  The trails are now mowed to twice their original size and from all of the piles of dog feces, it’s becoming a dog park rather than a wildlife refuge.

Vandalism is evident in certain places with hints of teenage visitors from nearby high schools occasionally appearing. Most of the wildlife I initially photographed is now almost impossible to find.  They must have decided to leave the immediate area due to the increased human and canine traffic.

Here are a few photos I snapped as I made a casual walk-thru just looking for anything.

DSC_0011

‘The milkweed fields are as healthy as ever.’

DSCN0004B

“Thistles continue to flourish.’

DSC_0003B

‘Lots of elderberries available for use.’

The birds and squirrels are harder to find these days and even the deer seem to have moved on.  I decided to made a quick stop in the swamp, hoping for some dragonfly activity but even it was minimal.  In years past they completely filled the air over the swamp but that’s no longer the case.  I was hard pressed to get more than a handful of usable photo’s.

DSC_0038

I continued on to a second small pond looking for damn near anything.  Usually the place is overrun with frogs but I found just these two.

DSC_0047B

DSC_0050B

There was a time when I could visit the sanctuary three times a week and never see another person.  Today there were three cars plus my own. A family with three small children and three dogs were running here and there while the parents picked blackberries nearby.  They spent part of their time trying to keep the dogs from attacking me, which I greatly appreciated. 

I’m sorry I ever made the book available to the public. I should’ve visited the Sanctuary, created the book for myself, and kept my mouth shut about it.  I may have helped ruin the place and that makes me sad.

08-18-2015 Journal – Presidential Trivia!   Leave a comment

th10LJ0293

I’m not feeling too domestic today so gardens, food, and computers are off the menu.  I’ve been paging though my library of interesting but useless facts and factoids.  At first I couldn’t decide whether to supply all of you with unusual information about sex but I think I’ll save that for another day. Since I consider myself a patriotic citizen it was only logical (Thanks Mr. Spock) that I find as many odd and unusual facts about some of our great and no so great presidents.

th8IDX81UC

With Obama on his way out (Yeah!)(Finally!) and the presidential election looming I felt we needed to reconnect with our American roots.  Lets start if off with ten quick questions about some of our past presidents.  I’ll list the questions first and the answers will be found at the end of this post.

Questions

1.   How many bathrooms are in the White House?

2.   What was the Secret Service’s code name for Barbara Bush?

3.   What did Woodrow Wilson, Americas 28th president, denounce as a symbol of “the arrogance of wealth”?

4.   President Gerald Ford pardoned Iva D’Aquino in 1977. Who was she?

5.  President Lydon Johnson called his pet beagles Him and Her; what did President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, name His and Hers?

6.  What president was ticketed for speeding in Washington, D.C., while he was in office?

7.  What did President John F. Kennedy commission Pierre Salinger to do on the eve of signing the Cuban Trade Embargo?

8.  How many tons of jelly beans were purchased by the White House during the presidency of Ronald Reagan?

9.  What did President Franklin D. Roosevelt have printed on the White House matchbooks?

10. Which American president was the first to have a telephone on his desk in the White House? th

I found a few of the question interesting but the answers were even better. I’m sending this bonus trivia story along because it’s just do damn strange.

"On his way home from Harvard one day, Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of President Abraham Lincoln, fell off the platform while waiting for his train. He was saved from possible death by Edwin Booth, the actor, and brother of John Wilkes Booth – the man who, only a few weeks later, assassinated President Lincoln.”

th52MGG4BU

Answers

1.   34

2.   Tranquility

3.   The Automobile

4.  Tokyo Rose, the seductive-voiced Japanese radio propagandist during World War II.

5.   The pistols they kept under their pillows.

6.   Ulysses S. Grant, in his horse and buggy. He was fined $5.00.

7.   Buy and stockpile 1,500 Havana cigars.

8.   12 Tons

9.   “Stolen from the White House”

10. Herbert Hoover, in 1929. Previous presidents used an enclosed phone booth in the hallway outside the Oval Office.

MORE SEX TRIVIA TO COME

08-16-2015 Journal–Fall is in the Air!   Leave a comment

It’s beginning to feel like Fall already and I’m certainly not happy about that.  We’re just a couple of weeks from Labor Day and then it’s all downhill from there. Most of the smaller nurseries are already closing down except for veggies being shipped to the local grocery stores. 

One telltale sound  indicating Fall here in Maine is the sound of tractors pulling hay wagons down the road past our house.  It’s a distinctive sound which has been steadily increasing in recent weeks.  This is a common place scene in this area these days:

DSC_0009

DSC_0013

The large  bales of hay covered in plastic will be appearing by the hundreds almost everywhere over the next month in preparation for Winter.  It appears to have been a great summer for hay production which should keep the animals happy and healthy until Spring.

We’ve been tending our garden more often of late because the veggies are ripening rapidly.  There are a few things every day that require picking as you can see:

DSC_0007

These items went from that basket directly to our table for dinner. The three white turnip looking items are kohlrabi’s. As I’ve mentioned in the past these vegetables aren’t available in stores very often.  Most people have never tasted them or even heard of them.  These were picked while they were still young and tender.  The larger they grow the harder they become to peel and eat.  As you can see by the photo, they grow fairly large but this is the best size for harvesting:

DSC_0009

This kohlrabi was immediately peeled, sliced, diced, and added to our salad for dinner.  They have a wonderfully mild flavor reminiscent of white radishes and are absolutely delicious.  I’ll be sure to return them to the list of plantings for the 2016 garden.

08-14-2015 Journal – Almost Good Garden News!   Leave a comment

DSC_0002

‘At least the sunflowers are doing well.’

We been receiving a fair amount of rain in recent weeks which was certainly needed to keep the garden healthy.  It just seems to me to be “too little, too late”. This years garden has not been as good as we’d hoped but regardless we learned a few valuable lessons.  A different approach will be taken next year to eliminate a repeat of this years mediocre performance.

We’ve had some successes  and a few failures this year.  Most of my jalapeños and other hot peppers have flourished except for the Ghost peppers. I was hoping to harvest the seeds from them but It isn’t looking good.  I also planted a number of bell peppers of different colors and none of them are doing well.  The better-half had a few of them planted in containers on the deck and they seem just fine.  That tells me either the soil in the garden is lacking or I haven’t watered enough.

 DSC_0005

The cucumbers are a mix of good and bad. I planted three varieties of pickling cukes but they were either mislabeled or I’ve simply been ripped off. Pickling cukes are advertised as being smaller than the norm making it easier to slice and pack them into jars. Only about a third of the ones I planted this year have been the correct size. It’s frustrating and annoying as hell not to get exactly what you thought you paid for.

 DSC_0013

 Our first planting of radishes were awful.  They were hollow and pulpy and inedible. We’ve since planted a second batch which will hopefully be ready in a few weeks.

DSC_0011

‘We have a million of these.’

Our healthy zucchini plants are doing extremely well as you can see. The better-half will be shredding as many of them as possible for freezing. We’ll be having zucchini bread all winter and that’s always a good thing.

 DSC_0017

Earlier this year when I was explaining about all of our problems with the visiting skunk, I was really happy when most of the plants that were dug up survived. It’s apparent now that the trauma and stress from the skunk damage ruined any chances for us to have what we’d consider a really successful garden.

 DSC_0015

I’ll begin the harvesting and drying of the herbs this week because in another month or so this years garden will be coming to an end.  We’ve already had discussions for next years garden plan and a soil test will first on the list of things to do.

LIVE AND LEARN

Posted August 14, 2015 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying Again

08-12-2015 Journal – Computers, Reading & Boredom!   Leave a comment

Boredom-feature-007[1]
I feel like I’m in a rut of late which means this posting may ramble a bit. I seem to spend most of my time these days doing yard work, gardening, fighting with my computers, exercising, and reading endlessly.  I’ve complained for decades that I never seemed to have enough time to read as much as I’d like and now I do.  I should know by now to be careful what I wish for.

I set a goal for 2015 to read two books a week. I thought that was an unreachable number but something still worth shooting for. Believe it or not I’m ahead of schedule for the first seven months with a total of fifty-eight books read.  I must have been out of my ever-loving mind. Since we decided to eliminate cable TV from our lives my reading time has increased ten fold. I’m making Amazon really happy because my purchases of Kindle books has also increased dramatically.

My better-half agreed to work a special two week schedule for Lowe’s requiring her to wake up at 3:00 am and to return home at 2:30 pm. Of course that also means she’s asleep by 7:30 pm giving us approximately five hours a day together.  Just what I didn’t need was more free time to read.

boredom1[2]

I still love reading but OMFG.  This home has become a flop house for a cat who sleeps eighteen hours a day and for me who reads almost that much.

With the fiasco of Windows 10 making me crazier than usual and frustrating me beyond belief I immediately fell back to reading as a way to clear my head of all things “computer”. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d say something like this but I have no choice . . . Microsoft sucks!

Things have gotten so bad of late that I’ve actually considered going back to school just to have something to do. For someone who absolutely hated every school he’s ever attended, that quite the admission.

I’ve even thought about going back to a daily posting of this blog but decided against it. I’d rather start a new blog entirely to take a more critical look at current events and politics from my unusual and sarcastic perspective. I’m feeling a little meaner these days and with Obama on his way out the politicians of all parties have once again become fair game. It’s what our military would describe as a target rich environment.
bored[1]

So to summarize . . . I’m freaking bored.