Chicago

Finally, a trip. This was my first on-site visit with a customer since early November. I've enjoyed these few months of hacking at home, don't get me wrong. But I do start to get cabin fever if I don't get an audience every so often.

And it's nice to have an excuse to make some wee toaty explorers.

It's the return of angry apples!

Why does everybody fight over the remote?

Yeah, I think I'd want to turn the channel, too.


This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.

Royal Gorge

What a beautiful day yesterday was! We went up for our first-ever cross-country skiing adventure. After a little more than an hour with a private lesson, we strode for another hour or so. Striding is the original style: the skis have a graded bottom (called fish scales). You stride along in these inverted railroad tracks up and down little hills. It was fun, except for the fact that I broke my binding about halfway through the loop.

After a snack in the (not really all that impressive) cafe, we traded our rentals in for skating-style skis. Just as it sounds, skating is like ice skating on skis. The ski bottoms don't have the fish scales; they're very slick. In this style, you kind of look like a rollerblader with poles. We spent about an hour mucking down one of the trails. Skating is really something that takes some practice, especially if you haven't even done any downhill skiing in 20-something years.

I fell down five times overall, 4 while skating. One of those times I got knocked down on the way up a hill and I just couldn't get upright again.

Still, I thought it was a lot of fun, and it was certainly a lot of exercise. The place didn't get overly crowded until mid-afternoon and I was pretty much done by then. It was sunny and crisp, so I didn't really mind falling in the snow too much.

Zucchini Boats

winter window

A little winter weather on a Saturday left me staring out the window. That means it's cookin' time!

preparations

scooping saute pepperoni filling topping bake

Feed (by Mira Grant)

I went downstairs for my 10:30 am snack. I may have given up the rest of my diet, but I stick to my mid-morning and afternoon granola bars. They used to keep me from binging at lunch and dinner. Now, they're only so I don't get extra-grumpy and start yelling at the cat or a customer. With my chocolate chunk bar in hand, I ran up the steps to get back to my unit tests.

An old man was sitting in my barber's chair and hovering at the keys. It was Leadbelly, my great uncle on my sister's side. He is completely and totally imaginary.

"Great Uncle Leadbelly! What are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing? I'm trying to get onto the interfeed."

"You mean the internet?"

"Yeah, the Information Superhighway. You know."

"Nobody calls it that any more. Why do you want to get onto the internet? Do you have a virus to spread?"

"Oh, no. I'm no zombie."

I stared at him. He stared at the keys. He reached out to poke one, but then withdrew his fingers.

"Great Uncle, why do you want to access the internet?"

"I have decided to make a blug and become a famous reporter."

"You mean a blog. At least, I assume you do. Where'd this interest in journalism come from?"

"That book tells all about it." He pointed to a book on my desk called Feed. "It tells all about how in the future, intrepid young reporters reveal secrets and fight bad guys."

"Bad guys. If this is about the neighbor's overzealous relationship with a leafblower..."

"Oh, no, it's bigger than that. They call the bloggers who like to mess with danger 'Irwins' and the ones who make commentary are called 'Stewarts.' "

"Why didn't they call the ones who do straight news 'Murrows' or 'Cronkites' or something? "

"Because that sounds silly, obviously."

"I think I'd want to be a Trillin."

"There weren't any Trillins," Great Uncle Leadbelly said.

"There ought to have been. You understand that book is fiction, right? It's not even remotely realistic."

"You don't believe there could some day be a zombie uprising and the country could live in fear of a threat it can't control?"

"Oh, no, that's totally believable. It's the bit about the bloggers I have trouble with. It's nice to think that independent bloggers safe from corporate overlordship become the only source of truth when the networks and traditional media ignore or are paid to ignore the truth. But it's a quaint thought."

"The world needs an independent voice."

"Maybe so, Great Uncle, but the blogging community is going to die under the weight of Facebook and the unfinished business with net neutrality. More and more independents will give up and live in the insular worlds and forget about emergent traffic available through blogging. Partly, I blame the administration for the net neutrality loss. I mean, how can all these free services remain free if the owners are going to have to pay more just to be allowed to send data to users on certain devices? But I also blame the angry trolls who make people long for the fake security of Facebook."

"I still must find my voice and spread it to the world."

"Well, when you do, make sure you don't use first person if you plan to be in danger. It kinda ruins the suspense."

He cracked his knuckles above the keys. "Just tell me what to do. Which key do I press?"

"None of them, Great Uncle. That's a typewriter."

"Curses. Foiled again." He leapt out of the barber chair. "That thing was giving me a back ache anyway."

"Where are you going?" I asked as he passed out the door.

"I'm just going to have to take care of that electric leaf blower with a strong EMP burst!" He flourished a piece of equipment at me. "With this!"

Then Great Uncle Leadbelly ran down the steps, and he took my pencil sharpener with him.

Language

I like these sketch-talks. This one writes too many words on the board, but the relationship/conversation modalities are interesting.

It would be nice if he spent a little time on what to do if you think you might be on the other side of the etchings conversation but never actually pick up the innuendo.

Thought

I wonder if suicides go up during the Super Bowl? I mean, it's one thing to be missing family during the holidays, but if you're wandering the grocery store alone during the game, surely it's hard not to think it's your own fault you don't have friends?

Travelogue

There are a lot of pictures in this post, but if you stick with it, you'll get to see a scene from the porno gas station.

This morning, I went up to Truckee to return my library books. And it was good timing, too, because within 10 minutes of dropping the library books in the box (the library isn't open on Saturday), I received an email reminder from the library system. That's a nice feature.

Since I was going to Truckee (and I have bachelor fridge!) I decided to have breakfast at Donner Lake Kitchen. Here is a snowman I found at the Donner boat ramp:

Donner Lake snowman

What Do I Eat When I'm Low?

biscuit bombs

Biscuit bombs. Don't have a better name for them. You get a can of cheap biscuits, cut up some pepperoni, slice some mozzarella and cheddar, then wrap the biscuits around the chunks. Bake according to the biscuit can. Voila! Enough carbohydrates for a year.

On another note, I found a patch of feathers in my yard. Weird, huh?

feathers

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  • I have a bad case of bachelor fridge today.
  • It is sunny outside, but it sure feels gray somehow. Or even grey.
  • Am afraid to open my review for the Agile 2011 submission
  • Killed a spider this morning. Great. Now my cows will go dry.