Friday, February 26, 2010

Rambling Again


There’s a new orchid. So new it has yet to be named. Discovered by Lou Jost in a cloud forest high up on a mountain in Ecuador. It was lurking among the roots of another orchid he brought back to his greenhouse, he’s an ecologist with a plant-conservation foundation. What’s so amazing about this new variety since all orchids are amazing in their own way? It was in full bloom when he found it and the blossoms, green and so thin they were nearly transparent, measured less than a quarter of an inch across. Yes, the picture is greatly magnified.

When I’m ready to die, I’m moving to Tibet. There you can have a sky burial. As a final act of charity, corpses are tossed out on the mountain top and left to be picked apart by vultures. I like the thought of that, don’t you?

In case you’ve ever wondered how snakes slither, I’ll tell you. Friction created by their scales drives the forward as they undulate from side to side. Also, some snakes will lift their bodies as they’re moving to reduce areas of unwanted friction and increase pressure at the proper points to keep them going in their chose direction. That’s a whole lot of coordination! Yeah, I love to watch snakes move.

Did you know that tropical storms might help prevent major earthquakes? The latest study shows that there are often very slow, long lasting quakes that coincide with typhoons. Though they register on geological equipment they are not generally notice by inhabitants of the region. When there are no typhoons for a lengthy period of time, destructive earthquakes occur. The theory is that the pressure imbalance from typhoons somehow triggers a slow, gentle shifting of surface plates thus relieving pressure gradually and preventing the sudden jarring of massive quakes.

Global cooling throughout history aided in the development of sophisticated human brains. Yes, that’s correct. The colder it is, the more intelligently evolved our species is becoming. Higher temperatures hinder metabolic activities, one being brain function. In other words, stop bitching about winter. It’s beneficial in yet another way. So there! And you thought there was no point to this ramble, didn’t you?

Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winter Revisited


First there were events at the Olympics postponed due to lack of snow. It was so bad the organizers had to have snow brought in by helicopter. Now, a mere week later, they’re once again postponing events. Due to too much snow falling. The competitors can’t see the course and the judges can’t see the competitors.

Speaking of snow, Phil’s sending us some more. Up to a foot. Woohoo!

It rained yesterday. Wasn’t that nice, washing away a little of the snow to make room for the next batch? I flipped on Howie’s wipers only to discover one was totally disintegrated. Fortunately it was only drizzling at that point so I made it home safely without using the windshield wipers.

Today, I stopped along my way to work for new blades. That was an experience in itself. It was after the designated opening time so I hopped out of Howie, pausing to look at the old blades before I went into the store. Problem was the door was still locked. When the two guys waiting with me tried knocking on the door a young lady eventually came out from the far recesses, yelled for them to stop, and disappeared again. Hmm, interesting to say the least.

Another woman joined me, the guys got back in their car and the clerk returned to let only the two of us in. It turns out she’s just clerical help and has little knowledge of the inventory. Her fellow employee who was supposed to open this morning hadn’t shown up for work and she was unable to reach him. Fortunately for me, she could point me in the direction of wiper blades and operate the register.

I mentioned Howie’s plight at work and a very nice coworker volunteered to install them for me before we left for the day. He’s a Mr. Fix-It, always tinkering with this and that so I accepted his offer even though I’m sure I’m capable of replacing them myself. I’m pleased to report that Howie is once again happy and ready to take on the elements.

Let it snow!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Can You Help?




Restless prowling
Overwhelming discontent
I must change, am changing into…
…into…
I don’t know.

But I know what I’ve been – nothing
Only now that the transformation has begun
I’m fit to burst with…
…with…
I don’t know.

Is it madness that possesses my mind
Pure insanity
Making me so ready to…
…to…
I don’t know.

Or something else
Something more
Something that…
…that…
I don’t know.

Things used to be so clear
I was me and that was that
But now…
…now…
I don’t know.

Who I am
What to do
Where to go
I just…
…just…
I don’t know.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Edgar Mueller


Know who he is? A street painter. Still don’t know? Look at the painting on the right. Yep, that’s one of his.

After stumbling upon a street-painting competition in Geldern, Germany, Mueller decided there was nothing he’d rather do than create 3D art directly on the street. He uses both chalk and paint, depending on the size of the project but neither are permanent. He likes it that way. Mueller is a performance artist, creating in the here and now. Anyone interested can stop and enjoy the show and even spend some time chatting with him as he works.

No, what Mueller paints isn’t graffiti even though it’s in a public forum as opposed to an art gallery. Due to the magnitude of his paintings he needs permission to work as he does. At times, however, he paints in locations where it is impossible to close the street to traffic. All part of the challenge.

I don’t know about you but I think this is damn cool. I’d love to have him come paint my street and then just sit there, watching as people discover it. Hmm, I wonder how go about arranging that.

To see more of his paintings, go here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Taylor!


In case you haven’t guessed, today is my friend and fellow author, Taylor Tryst’s birthday. Nope, not telling how old she is. She’s younger than I am so therefore just a babe. That’s all you need to know. So hope on over to her blog and wish her a special day.

Okay, time for cake!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Don't Even


The second rant of the week. I know. That in and of itself should tell you a lot.

In the past two days I have been dear, sweetie and hun’d to death. I swear if one more unknown individual calls me any of the above or anything remotely similar, I will snap. If you don’t honestly know me, that’s taking your life into your own hands.

There are a select few who are more than welcome to call me pretty much whatever they like. The general public, however, is not on that list. So stop it already! Ma’am will do just fine. Hey you would even be preferable. Or nothing at all.

Any false endearment at the end of this very long week will get you hurt. I have a karambit and I know how to use it. Okay so only kinda but well enough that you should be afraid. There. You’ve been warned. I’m off to dinner with Riley and family, people who I genuinely like and have been granted the privilege of calling me sweetie or any other cutsie thing they choose. I don’t recommend attempting to join us.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Terminal




So tired
Brain misfired
Bone weary
Almost teary
Can’t sleep
Mind’s too deep
Thoughts whirling
Buzzing, swirling
Round and round
Won’t shut down
Major clash
Need to crash
Seems I blew it
Can’t undo it
End the show
Time to go

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How Rude!


I had to go to the post office this morning. Always an adventure. Today’s entertainment was supplied by the gentleman, yes, using that term very loosely, in front of me.

While standing in line, he placed a call to an establishment where he had apparently completed an application for employment. True, there’s nothing wrong with a follow-up call. Sometimes that can even be beneficial. I wouldn’t, however, recommend this guy’s technique.

To begin with he never bothered to greet the individual who answered the call in anyway. I’m not suggesting getting all chummy but a polite hello wouldn’t have killed him. Instead he began by asking what’s up with his application. From his half of the conversation, I could tell he didn’t get the response he wanted. After a huge, dramatic sigh, he spit out his name. Again, not the desired reply because he turned downright surly and just plain rude.

Now I know the person who answers the telephone in most any business isn’t also the same one responsible for doing the hiring. But often they are the ones who accept applications. And they are always the ones who people within the company speak with. See where I’m going here?

With unemployment levels still hovering around nine percent there are many more applicants than there are positions available. It might be advisable to make at least a minimal attempt with everyone you come in contact with. A good impression is never a bad thing. And yeah, you can believe if I was that receptionist I would have made it known what a total jerk that guy was

Oh after he ended the call, again not bothering with a simple goodbye, he swore very loudly about the woman he spoke to and also berated the company overall for not hiring him instantly. His tirade lasted eight minutes. Yes, I timed it. It’s been an entire month since he applied and I gather he’s tired of waiting. Hmm, my guess is that he really shouldn’t hold his breath at this point. I’m willing to bet that whatever it was that is one job he will never get.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hahaha!


I looked through a McDonald’s coupon booklet today. No, not because I intend to eat there. Because it always amazes me the new selections being offered that I didn’t know existed. Hey, when you don’t watch TV on a regular basis you miss things.

Today’s discovery was the Angus burger. I can’t really determine what the difference between that and a regular hamburger is except maybe it’s bigger. Um, no thanks. I think I’ll pass.

What did entertain me was a coupon for free fries, valid only on April 1st. I couldn’t help but wonder if it might be a spoof. Get it? April Fool’s Day. You go, order your fries and the joke’s on you. Hmm, probably just me but I think that would be really funny. Just imagine the expression on people’s faces when you told them.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I'm Telling Ya


Phil did it!

Last weekend there was snow in 49 of the 50 United States. Hawaii, the only exception, does have snow on its highest mountain, just not last week. Still, the weather geeks have been searching and haven’t been able to find any record of the same happening before.

So what’s going on? According to experts, it’s the combination of an El Nino, which loads the subtropical jet steam with even more moisture than normal and a strong Arctic Oscillation, which causes polar air to shift south. That also explains why there’s so little snow at the Olympics. Vancouver is currently north of the cold air pattern.

Personally, I think it’s kinda cool that over two-thirds of the nation is covered with an average of eight inches of snow. It’s winter. There’s supposed to be snow. As far as I’m concerned the only drawback to it is that I’ve had to wear real shoes for over a week. Well, that and the constant shoveling and poor Howie being trapped in his parking spot. I’m pretty sure he could get out but the condition of the streets in Reading is not at all good. Ruts of ice most everywhere and some are still too deep for Howie to pass safely. This needing to ask for help and rely on others is starting to get to me but it’s no secret I have issues with that to begin with so it’s not really snow-related.

But who wants to go anywhere right now anyway? I’m more than happy to stay home and watch the Olympics. Speaking of which, they’re about to show more. Gotta go.

Oh by the way, tonight’s snow just began falling. More to follow over the weekend. Happy Winter!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hello


My name is Barbara and I’m an Olympics addict.

The winter Olympics start today. Happy dance! In Vancouver this time. Not that it really matters to me. I watch no matter where they’re held. Or what event is being shown. I so love the Olympics. 5500 athletes from over 80 countries coming together all at once. Simply amazing.

You remember the cartoon with the pooch who got all happy and lovey and floated around with a huge grin on his face, landing with a contented sigh every time he was given a treat? No, I don’t remember its name so could you tell me please? Anyway, that’s me when the Olympics are on.

Why couldn’t the damn snow have waited another week? I would have been ensconced in front of my TV very happily watching whatever they chose to show me. I’ll have to send Phil a message, see if he can arrange another blizzard within the next work week.

The Olympics are one reason I still have a TV. Really. I have Direct TV these days. Do you know what those lovely people are doing just for me? They have a multi-sport channel where they will split the screen into four sections and show all the coverage available simultaneously. Isn’t that awesome!

So if I’m not around much the next ten days that’s why. I’ll be here, feeding my addiction. Hey, I have to get all I can while I can. It has to last two years, until the summer Olympics begin in 895 more days on July 27, 2012.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Howie Won


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blizzard!


Haven’t had a real one of these in years. Many, many, many years. In fact, the last time I remember this much of this kind of snow I was maybe 11 or 12.

I went to work this morning. No, didn’t take Howie. (Hahaha! Howie’s playing hide and seek. Another hour or so and I won’t be able to find him.) And then, a mere few hours later I was brought home from work. Thank you.

I’ve been watching it snow ever since. I took a few pictures early this morning before it started to snow for real. Only about 8 inches then. It’s been snowing two inches an hour every since. I don’t think I’ll be going to work tomorrow. Oh I will if they want to send someone to fetch me. Nope, I doubt it. I do a lot in a day’s time but I wouldn’t consider any of it essential. Certainly not worth risking anyone’s life over.

I intended to go out and take more pics this afternoon, now that it’s truly snowing. But I’m warm and cozy and drinking cocoa so I think I’ll pass on that notion. I can’t get out the back door anymore. There’s a wire that is so snow-covered it’s hanging down across it. No need to worry. It’s just the old cable wire. Don’t have cable anymore anyway so it doesn’t matter if it falls. I do have satellite but it gave up a while ago. I was watching the weather on TV when it went out. Much warmer than watching out the window. Funny that. The poor girl they had standing outside doing the weather report in Reading had a black coat and hat on when she started. She was stark white everywhere when I lost the signal an hour later. Hope she’s inside now.

Not that I’m at all worried but I do have plenty of food. For me and the kitties. They’d eat me if I didn’t. Even so it would be okay because the World Famous Pike CafĂ© is open. They’d feed me if I wanted to go out, just like they did in Saturday’s foot of snow. Maybe if I change my mind and head out to take some pics for you I’ll end up there.

Hope you’re warm and cozy, wherever you are.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Today's Tidbit


Researchers at the Central Rice Research Institute recently developed a hybrid rice, Aghunibora, that only requires soaking, not cooking, to be edible. Fifteen minutes in lukewarm water, and hour if room-temperature. They say it is a non-genetically modified cross between a soft rice and a traditional high yield rice. Seems so simple but just think about it for a moment. Yes, there still are regions even in this day and age where things such as cooking equipment and firewood remain too much of a luxury for all to afford.

Didn’t know the CRRI even existed? In 1942 rice in the Bengal Province of India was struck by a devastating brown spot disease which caused a serious shortage. The civil administration at the time failed to cope with the disaster which resulted in the Great Bengal Famine of 1943. That situation caused the Central Government to decide it was time to intensify research into all aspects of growing rice. On April 22, 1946 the Central Rice Research Institute was formed on 250 acres in Cuttack Orissa. In 1966, administrative control was transferred to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

The goal of this organization is to improve the income and quality of life of rice farmers in India. They are accomplishing this through crop improvement, applied technological advances, improved pest and disease management, research into growing environments and farming systems, and training. Today many of the researchers are housed on the campus which also includes a so-operative store, co-operative dairy and a hostel. Research is performed in both blocks throughout the farm and in various laboratories. Since its inception, the institute’s research has helped India to become the second largest rice exporter in the world. Imagine what’ll happen now with this new no-cook rice.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Nah, Don't Think So


It has been suggested that I learn how to utilize the local bus system due to last weekend’s snowfall and what’s predicted tomorrow. Naturally I balked at such a notion. Though I’ve never taken a bus in Reading I am positive that, should I do so, my fellow riders will be odd individuals, even odder than I am, who would all attempt to speak at me. I tend to attract that so it’s inevitable.

In all fairness, I did pull up route and schedule information on the BARTA website. Nope, I definitely don’t speak this dialect of bus. Made so little sense I couldn’t even determine which bus would be best for me to hop on. I can just see me trying to get the mile and a half to work and ending up at Cabela’s in Hamburg, 20 some miles away, instead. Anyone who can translate? Not that I ever intend to use it but it never hurts to have such information.

I left Howie at home today because a coworker called to warn me that the lot we park in was a mess. Much appreciated. The last thing I want is for Howie to be stuck somewhere. I called and requested the work transport to collect me. Turned out quite well. No, it’s not free. It does cost a grand sum of ninety cents more than a bus token. But as I see it, it’s well worth door to door service when the temperatures are below 20 with snow flying.

So a local bus? No, not for me. And if the work transport is pulled from the streets due to inclement weather? Well then it’s far too dangerous for me to be out there to begin with so I’ll just stay home where it’s warm and cuddle my kitties.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Phil Did It


Commanded the storm that has paralyzed the Mid-Atlantic region of the East Coast. He predicted six more weeks of winter and he wasn’t kidding. I suspect we’re due for even more snow. Why? Because he was so offended by the PETA people suggesting he should be replaced by a machine. Guess he showed them the power of the groundhog, didn’t he? Perhaps next year they’ll have the appropriate respect.

Here’s a pic of poor little Howie. Nope, he’s not going anywhere today. I went for a little walk until I got too cold. Too much snow to get to anything really interesting. Perhaps I’ll try again tomorrow. Oh and who’s that nice young man shoveling snow? That, believe it or not, is the owner of the bar on the corner. He’s shoveling my 85 year old neighbor’s walk. Yeah, he really is. He grew up on this block, knows her and worries about her. How cool is that! Since it was too chilly for much of a ramble I stopped in at the corner for lunch. Every now and then it’s not at all bad living precisely where I do.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sad Poetry


Lost

There’s a gentle breeze blowing
Rustling the leaves
Casting shifting shadows on the forest floor.
In the glen, a lone figure sits
Waiting, always waiting
For something, someone who never comes.

The wood sprites watch
Feeling the radiating sadness
Alas, nothing they can do
Untouchable, unapproachable, unloved.
It would take nearly nothing
A glance
A kind word
A touch of the hand
But none are forthcoming.

Time passes – days, months, years
And still, always alone.
A fixture now
Walking through the wood
As much a ghost as those already dead.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bounce, Bounce, Bounce


Just so you know my mind is ultra hyper at the moment. No telling where this 668th edition of nonsense might end up.

How about some current events? In Reading, just around the corner from my house, a police car smashed into another car, bounced off a utility pole and then an empty bar building earlier tonight. Riley and I heard it as we were on our way into the bar on my corner. No, we didn’t go investigate even though her man was with us and would have protected us. The loud bang sounded questionable and you never know when the shooting might start. And no, we did not have cocktails this evening in case you’re wondering. We did talk about Riley’s new job. I tell you, she so rocks!

In not so local events, Humboldt squid are back along the California coast. Sport-fishermen are thrilled. Apparently they’re a blast to land and so plentiful that charter trips are catching their limit within hours. The ventures range from $25-$65 if you’re interested. I am and not balking at either end of the price range but it’s the cost of getting there and then staying for a few days that’s got me stranded here, waiting for the blizzard tomorrow. Anyhoo, the giant squid get their name from the Humboldt current off South America and can live in depths up to 2300. Not much is known about how they bread. Too deep for divers to go be voyeuristic. But, like other cephalopods, they only bread once in a lifetime. They hunt in packs of up to 1200, coast along at 15 mph and can propel themselves from the water to glide through the air in order to escape predators. They can grow to six feet and weigh up to 100 pounds. The ones swarming to off California must be babies since the catches are averaging between 20-30 pounds. Relative babies, that is, since the lifespan is only about a year.

I have no tealights. And I’m very, very sad. Kinda like when someone stole my hoo-too-foo-to-boo-to-bah only different. See I need tealights because of the nummy Tibetan incense that appeared on my doorstep yesterday. What? Makes perfect sense to me but all right, sigh, I’ll explain if I must. I’ve been burning this incredible Voluspa candle, pomegranate patchouli, absolutely to die for, btw, and thoroughly enjoying the flickering. Yeah, it’s a flicker needing sort of week. Anyway I wanted to try some new incense and didn’t want to mix flavors. Makes for major headslodey when I do that. But I wanted the flickeriness. Get it yet? No. Bigger sigh. Tealights flicker but most are unscented. Incense plus tealights equals relaxing. Any other week I’d say Zen inspiring but too much noise in my head to go quite that far so I’m good with merely soothing.

I’ve been planting hearts on my farm to counteract the sad poetry I’m writing. Hmm, perhaps I should post some of it on facebook so that premise is a bit more likely to work. But if I do that you might read it and then worry about me. Even more than you are now, I mean. Don’t. I’m fine. This is just a tame moment of unfiltered me. Imagine living with this going on round and round in your head all the time. Now add in a hoard of characters all vying for attention. No, maybe not. It’s definitely not for everyone.

Okay, that’s enough for now. Back tomorrow. Or not. We’ll see.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Groundhog's Day!


So Punxsutawney Phil, the living, breathing, four-legged, furry one, saw his shadow today. Six more weeks of winter. Fine with me.

Still, I have to chuckle. Saying six more weeks of winter, to me, implies that spring will follow. Taken literally, six weeks is slightly early for when spring technically begins. So if Phil hadn’t seen his shadow we’d have an early spring. Hmm, seems to me that takes us to about the same time as six more weeks of winter does, give or take.

In other words Groundhog’s Day is merely an excuse for festivities. Nothing wrong with that. It’s mid-winter. You could probably use a little cause for celebration since I know you aren’t like me and don’t see winter itself as reason enough to be cheerful. Nope, don’t understand that one but I’ve given up trying to.

Happy Winter!

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Helper


You haven’t ever made a bed properly if you’ve never had Kya helping. She has designated that as her weekly chore. Apparently I’m not capable on my own.

We start out with the pillows. While I’m attempting to shove them into the cases, Kya’s tugging on the other end. It seems to keep them more evenly dispersed within the case. Next is the fitted sheet. She moves to each corner with me to ensure that I pull the sheet fully around the mattress. She then stands in the middle of the bed to inspect pillow placement, pouncing to rearrange them when I don’t manage it to her satisfaction. The top sheet has to be fluffed just right. Kya runs around beneath it until she’s sure it’s in the proper position before squirming out to supervise the tucking in of it. Repeat with the blanket. Finally I put the comforter folded in half across the bottom of the bed. Yes, if it’s not folded exactly as she wants, she burrows into the fold and opens it so I have to do it again.

Yes, there’s nothing quite like making the bed with the aid of an overly helpful kitty. I’m thinking I should rent her out and offer her services to one of the local hotels. I’m sure they’d appreciate her input even more than I do.