Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas 2012

My Christmas status report...

Well, it seems we are all still here, Mayan calendar not withstanding.  I kept telling people that their calendar stopped because they ran out of numbers!

I've been living here for about a year and a half now.  Doc Deb was gracious and invited me to move in when I lost my job last year.  I'd been doing maintenance stuff in exchange for my keep, until she lost her job in March.  She decided to move down to Texas to be with her parents, who are getting a bit frail.  I'd pulled the pin on my retirement benefits (such as they are), so now I'm staying in the house, making the mortgage payment.

The last three months have been exciting - I started working as a contract writer for a company called Remilon.  I'm writing on-line classes on programming for them, for starters.  The idea is, you could take a full class on one of many subjects for free, and then take the CLEP exam, and get college credit for the class.  It's an inexpensive way to clear out a lot of undergrad requirements, given that the cost of a CLEP exam is usually under $100.00.  My first lesson is finished, and I just uploaded the video for my second one yesterday.

Given that I live at the main crossroads in Red Lion, there is a *lot* of traffic, and traffic noise, which makes recording my lessons pretty much impossible.  I went to the local library, and asked if I could use one of their conference rooms as my recording studio.  I wound up talking with the director, Don, about it.  One thing led to another, and I wound up hanging a projection screen in the board room for them.  We are working on starting some computer skills classes there.  I use the library as my office sometimes, as it gets me out of the house and away from potential distractions (like Baxter helping me type).

Got the heater working, and think I've located the leak that flooded the basement.  It's not the boiler, nor is it the water heater.  I believe that it's in one of the pipes going through the cellar wall to the heater in the kitchen.  That means, the kitchen floor will have to come up in order to locate and repair said leak.  Fun.

I got an estimate on getting the old siding replaced.  The Home Depot guy (also named Don) was mostly worried about the sagging laundry room.  I did a little poking around, and it looks like there is no really code-grade footing for it.  The floor will also have to come up for diagnosis and repair, and possible jacking/shoring.  Yay.

Christmas... I'm going to get the place picked up and cleaned up this weekend.  My plan for Monday is to bake.  Current projects are to be two pumpkin pies and weapons-grade fudge topped brownies.  (I may do soft oatmeal cookies before that, just to get me through the weekend.)  Christmas day will be my Christmas movie marathon: The Ice Harvest (John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Nielsen), The Holiday (Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Jude Law), Scrooged (Bill Murray, Karen Allen), and a new one, the 200th episode of NCIS.  I think of as a take on "It's a Wonderful Life", with Gibbs taking George Bailey's place in the center of things.  And maybe, if I can find them, the "Eureka" Christmas episodes, too.  Dinner will be turkey tamales and Caesar salad.  And french vanilla ice cream laced with brandy (from the book "Ice Cream Happy Hour").  And, of course, I hope to chat with my daughter.  She is on the road from L.A. to Billings, Montana as we speak.  She expects to arrive today, and will be staying with my cousin and his wife until she can get situated.

Update - pictures!!

Living room with tree, candles, and Baxter

Dining area/work area

Bar, red hat, and Dakota

Kitchen work station, with pie!!

Close-up, workstation and pie!  Kitchen composting happens in the green bins on the left.

And that's about it for year end here in PA.

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"We're screwed..."

...okcupid has a wicked sense of humor!!

    We’re screwed. You should be too!
We are screwed

This was in my in box right now, followed by a link to a potential match.

Oh, my!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Muir. Nail. Head. (and Nibbles)

No assembly required.

"Safety" and "the children" are the "nibbles" that are and will be used to diminish our freedom, one victim (and one nibble) at a time.

Gotta say, I say I saw this kind of thing coming back in the 70's, when the park rangers banned BASE jumping and hang gliding from the top of El Capitan in Yosemite, because someone got themselves killed. I did not connect the dots from that to basic constitutional rights, though, nor did I see malicious intent behind it.

And they used to call me "cynical".

Update:  Joan of Argghh, who is posting at Primordial Slack, has this:

My comment there:
A few years back, the school I worked at had a near miss with this – neighbors complained about one of our students who lived in their apartment complex, cop came out to the apartment, and discovered that our student was planning a shooting spree at the school. The BCPD came out and talked with us a couple of times – the gist was, lock door, lights off, gather (he didn’t say “huddle”) in a corner out of the line of sight from the window by the door (each classroom had one). He clearly told us not to run, because of the possibility of being seen by the shooter or a potential accomplice.
And yes, we were a “target rich environment”, er, “gun-free zone”.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mike, Meet Mr. Griffin

I'm thinking that Mike and Robert Griffin III should get together for a chat, based on Mr. Griffin's remarks in USA Today:
 "For me, you don't ever want to be defined by the color of your skin,'' Griffin said at the end of Wednesday's post-practice news conference in reference to a question about Martin Luther King, Jr. "You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That's what I've tried to go out and do.
"I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don't have to be defined by that.''
Aapparently, ESPN's Rob Parker doesn't like the sort of honesty and forthright talk that Mr. Griffin delivers.  NRO quotes Parker as saying
" ...'my question, which is just a straight honest question, is [Griffin] a brother, or is he a cornball brother?'"  
That was Sunday.  Today, CBS DC reports:
 "(Those comments)  led to the commentator’s suspension.  Shortly after Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch broke the news of Parker’s suspension via Twitter, ESPN made a statement on the issue.
“Following yesterday’s comments, Rob Parker has been suspended until further notice,” ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys tweeted. “We are conducting a full review.”
Good man 1, urban plantation 0.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mike Explains It All

Stolen from Gerard.

I've been thinking lately that we should seriously consider replacing the word "race" with the word "culture".  Not all blacks are professional victims.  Not all Moslems are Jihadists.  But there is a culture of victimhood prevalent in black society.  There is an alarming culture of brutality and murder in the Moslem world.

Gerard. Park. Out of... (Updated)

...and the park is Yellowstone!

Go.  Read!

(Update - got the frikkin' link right.  Sheesh!)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Elevating Thought

 It's been a month since the election, and I'm still trying to re-group.  What upset me the most (after the outcome)  was the encroaching lack of civility and clear, useful journalism on the Right as well as the Left.  I find that disheartening, since one of the Big Deals we made about the Left was and is their lack of civility, and the mendacity of the MSM.

One writer who comes to mind is John Nolte, at Breitbart.  Here is his opener on the Zimmerman/NBC suit:
"Though it might feel like a hundred years ago, it was only last April when the media joined Barack Obama's cynical crusade to gin up his base in Florida through the artificial inflaming of racial tensions. And there was no question NBC News was the worst of these co-conspirators after the network was busted editing a 9-1-1 call to make Trayvon Martin's suspected shooter, George Zimmerman, look like a racist. Today, Zimmerman filed suit against the Peacock Network."
Now, I gather that his basic assertion about NBC editing the sound track of the 911 call is factual.  But I don't think anyone would deny that the inflammatory nature of the paragraph.  I'm not suggesting that Mr. Nolte do anything differently - he has his "bully pulpit", the editors must like the way he's writing, and the First Amendment applies.  You go, John.

But I think this kind of writing only helps to maybe put an up-tick in the pitch fork, torch, tar, feather, and rail markets.  Which I don't think is really helpful at all, even in the short term.

My metaphysics training has taught me to stand guard at the doorway of thought.  In a nutshell, this warning is based upon the idea that we see and become what we think and believe.  If we don't pay attention to what we are admitting into our thoughts, we can start to slide downhill.  A practical example - repeat a lie often enough, and it (seems to) become true.

My distress is in no small part to my own slippage.  Looking back over my pre-election and near-post election posts, I'm struck by how they could have been less, well, vulgar, and more informative and thoughtful.  Fortunately, Gerard turned on a light for me, and gave me a glimpse of what I've been seeking.  It has apparently been wending its way thru the web.  One full copy of it is at The Thinking Housewife.  I'm excerpting the first section here:

A Plan for Traditionalists

AT The Orthosphere, Kristor offers a reasonable guide to survival and affecting the culture. In the immediate future, he recommends:
  1. Resolve to pay no more PC jizya (beautifully spelled out in the Solzhenitsyn essay that has been discussed a lot lately in the wider orthosphere). Tell the truth, and call a spade a spade: calmly, politely, and without being obstreperous about it, but nevertheless firmly. Without making a big deal about it or calling attention to yourself, fail to appear for the public rites of Moloch. If you must thus appear, quietly fail to meet the requirements of the rite.
  2. Write, read, blog, talk: join a book club, an apologetics roundtable, a bible study group. Learn the arguments for reaction, for Christianity, for theism; learn the arguments against them, and how they may be defeated. Speak up: fearlessly, scandalously, but always humbly and politely.
  3. Live a virtuous, upright life, at home and in business. Speak the truth, and do the right thing. Whatever it happens to be, don’t let it be about yourself; let it be about the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.
  4. Beware; and be prepared to move, quickly. Get rid of stuff that you don’t need or that is not positively beautiful to you in some way – especially debt and belly fat, which are likely going to cost you as the financial and medical sectors of the economy devolve over the next ten years.
  5. Maintain tradition in small things: e.g., dress more formally than is customary these days, practice old-fashioned manners, refrain from swearing; read old books, and then discuss them around the family dinner table; join together in regular and serious family prayer, if only to bless each meal; remember your family holiday traditions, and observe them gravely and with joy.
  6. Pray without ceasing. Pray whenever your attention is not wholly consumed with the task at hand. Work toward praying even when it is. Nothing is so convincing as sanctity, or so attractive, or so authoritative. Without it, personal rectitude can seem like Pharisaical arrogance (and risks becoming just that). You can’t push sanctity. But you can work at allowing it to happen.
 (Debt isn't the huge problem it was five years ago.  The belly fat, though continues to be tough.)

There's more, all worth read, pondering, and incorporating into our lives.  Go!