Friday, October 30, 2020

Jumble post number 909

Sun, snow, cattle, trees.

Here's a little bit of fun. October 22 was a cool day with a weather front moving in and threatening cold, snow, and ice. It was chilly and rather unpleasant, especially compared to the nice weather which preceded it. I thought it might be nice to show stock tank water before and during the freeze, so I made this video. As if people haven't seen frozen water before!

Here's the next morning, October 23, following a 20-degree overnight.

And then it got cold.

At present, which is the morning of October 30, seasonally warm weather has returned. It's been breezy with daytime temps in the 50's and overnight lows only briefly kissing the freezing mark for a couple of days. Most of the stock tank ice has melted, though I don't have an image or video to share just now. But you get the picture.


I have no idea what I'm gonna do with this post. I've finally got more snow storm videos uploaded but I'm not sure I want to post them. I probably will, but as I write this I still haven't decided.

As I come back to this post I have decided. I'll post the videos but not in this one.


I started back at the widget factory last Monday. As you may or may not recall, I began working there back in June or July. The job entails assembling some of the physical components of electronic security systems, in particular the electromagnetic sensors of door alarms. It's an hourly job and the work is piecework. It's not particularly challenging, but it is interesting on several levels, including the small challenge of assembling and testing parts correctly and quickly.

I took the job for a number of reasons. Back when I started I wanted to leverage some free-ish time and convert it to cash. An extra five-hundred bucks per week would have been welcome at the time and gone into some important-seeming projects. I also like to take a winter job to keep me occupied and away from the feed trough when winter's cold prevents a lot of outdoor work.

In the past that last notion -- keeping busy and therefore away from boredom gobbling -- has been mostly theoretical. This winter it's going to have to be an actual practice, else I will overeat a lot of lard back on my frame. The overeating thing was a bad and long standing habit and the siren song is ever present. Food tastes good and I like to cook. Winter is the time to prepare steaming cauldrons of stewed and braised stick-to-your-ribs delight. I can't afford to go back to enjoying food, at least not yet. For now it has to be fuel and nothing else.

Butt I digress.

The particular widgets I'm working on at present have a numeric identifier which I'll not reveal here, lest the heathen Chinee (who remembers the novel?) commit industrial espionage. Step one (for me), apply mylar tape insulation to the reeds.

Step two, press collars into magnet cases.

Step three, pot the reeds in plugs with hot glue and insert in cases.

Step four, test.

Step five, press plugs.

Step six, thread on armored cabling.


There are a great many variations on the theme, more than enough to keep several hundred Kimballites industriously employed for 40-plus hours every week.

For me the daily grind begins with a 0400 wakeup. I have to be on the line and working at 0600. Gettin' off time is 1430. At 0930 and at 1415 there are 15-minute breaks, which I use for intense micro-workouts. I employ a disused external stairway to do inclined pushups, pullups, and HIIT step running.

It's good core work and fantastic cardio. The endorphin dump that comes from driving my heart rate up to 150 and making my lungs roar is pure delight. On my 30-minute lunch from 12-12:30 I power-walk a two-mile course south on Oak Street and back. Near the middle of the thing I run up smokebong hill. The steps add up and calories get burned as I keep my legs strong.

Many of my coworkers think that working out on break and at lunch is a strange and curious thing; that I am a strange and curious dude. They are correct from their perspective and correct from my perspective as well. My routine suits me for many good and valid reasons, but that doesn't mean it's not strange and curious, or that I'm not a strange and curious dude.


Monday marked eleven weeks. It was a tough day.

I've read in a number of places that anger is one of the stages of grief. Only a few days ago I was wondering if that would be true for me or not. Two days ago I noticed that I was quite irritable and angry. Angry at nothing specific, and not angry at my dear sweet Alexzandra. Just angry and approaching "bite your head off" territory.

So I guess I've hit the anger stage.

It's easing a bit, and I suspect that's the way it's supposed to go.

Going back to work at the widget factory was harder than I imagined, carried more emotional content than I expected. Perhaps because when last I assembled widgets, she was still alive. Her last text to me at work, just after 0600 -- "I miss you already.....I hope you have a wonderful day my love. I slept so well with you holding me....."


Having access to her texts is a precious thing, but looking back at them is hard. So I don't know whether it's a good thing or not. I suspect it is, and this will become more bearable as time goes on. But right now it continues to be hard.

She continues to sweetly visit my dreams each night. Makes me smile, helps to make everything okay.

I do and will continue with the whole livin' thing though. There is enormous joy and beauty in my existence. Life throws wonder and happy at me every day, and God continues to do His God thing for me.

What a ride.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Let's try this again. Maybe.

Doesn't look like much. It's only snow, but what a difference from a couple of days ago.


Meanwhile back at the ranch...
Diapers and bread. What a blessing to have supplies available for a simple cash trade.

Standard complaint time. Blooger has nearly destroyed the composition interface. What a bunch of fucking shitheads. I suspect they are trying to drive away users.

Snow accumulation, snowfall, a touch of wind, air temperature about 10 degrees American. Beautiful day!

I do have some videos but the internet is still down so uploading them isn't happening yet. I concentrated on videos instead of still images, so I've only a couple of not very good pictures.

Yep, snow. First real snow of the 2020-2021 season of hard livin'. It's well worth pointing out (if you can't follow my gibberish in the video) that cattle grow a two-layer winter coat when the days start getting shorter. From summer slick -- when they have just enough hair to prevent sunburn -- they grow a fine, downy inner coat and a coarse, thick, erectile outer coat. The combination provides excellent insulation and allows the cattle to stay quite warm and toasty provided they don't get soaking wet and at the same time have to contend with cold winds. A neat sign of the insulative properties of this two-layer system is the way snow piles up on their backs and does not melt, despite the fact that an inch below the snow the cow's body temperature is about 101 American. It's rather the same as with a well insulated house; snow will stay in place unmelted on the roof because insulation keeps warmth in the house instead of letting it escape into the attic, thence to melt roof snow. As I filmed the following video I was working a decision tree. Feed or not feed? Turn on water in the corrals and allow the cows access to the corrals or not? Are these all the cattle or are there stragglers out there, and if there are, do I need to concentrate the herd in one place or not? How about a couple of pictures from last week for contrast?
Brake applied to turn off the windmill. Don't need water in the pipes when air temperatures plunge. Just ask me how I know.

As to concentrating the herd, they'll take care of that themselves. Turn on water and open corrals, yes.

So just how freaked out about the snowstorm are the cattle? Not very. Certain ape-lizards should take a lesson...

There were a few stragglers as I checked along the L-shaped windbreak. They were the lost battalion, only they weren't lost at all. They had good shelter from the trees where snow drifts/pre-glaciers were forming. The beauty of beauty of nature was on display with a fresh snowscape and bracing conditions to work in.

As I checked other likely sheltered places and found no more cattle, the lost battalion decided to maneuver independently and rejoin the division.

Ranch chores mostly complete, I headed back to town. Along the way I did something stupid and have the video to prove it. I'll post that when the internet comes back up.


I started this post on Thursday (October 22). I had a question that morning in comments from the previous post, which hit the streets one week ago today on Sunday, October 18. "Is everything okay?"

The answer Thursday morning was this -- everything is okay, for certain values of okay. The answer today is much the same.

I'm still learning about livin' in the new reality, so I'm still figuring out what the new values of okay are. Okay is a very different concept than it was eleven weeks ago. Let me hasten to add that different isn't bad, it's not a negative. It's just different.

Some things suck. There's the big thing that sucks. There's also some profound suckage in an area which would have been a very big thing not that long ago. Parts of this other suckage would have been a major blow at one time, but viewed through the lens of recent events it's little more than the dregs of a glass of very small beer.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.


Sunday, October 25, 2020

And... Snow!



Before we do the snow bidness, how about a couple of video postcards from Jolly Olde England? Specifically, from Herefordshire (or perhaps just over the line in Wales, I'm not sure which market this is) and Ireland. And yes, I know.

This is an officially wuhandromeda strain approved sale barn. Note the officially wuhandromeda strain-proof corrugated plasticy-stuff protective screens. And a few people are even wearing chin coverings! Well done.



Yep, snow. It began around 8 p.m. last night and as I write this at 1:45 p.m. it continues. As nearly as I can tell this is a run-of-the-mill late-Octobler winter storm, and not a wuhandromeda murder-death-kill polar vortex. Butt I could be wrong.

I must once again say that I am cornfused. According to all the smart people and the tee-vee/infotainment metroplex, all possibility of snowfall ceased on that dark day back in January, 2017 (because social justification) and there ain't never gonna be no mo snow no mo!

Butt I digress.

This morning there was nearly six inches of new snow. How quickly I forget what snow is like!

Why do I shovel my neighbors' sidewalks? Cardio.

Finished with the first bit of snow removal, I try to use my words with precision (heh) instead of just making noise. Also a Kimball-style redneck drive-by.

In case anyone is wondering how much valid exercise is involved in moving snow, here's the simple distance measured by my fitness watch during today's festivities. Steps, 12,733. Miles, 5.63. The watch says I burned north of 2,000 calories, but that's based on a simple algoreythm. I was pushing and scooping heavy snow, so I burned a lot of calories. Exactly how many I do not know. Another marker is heart rate. When I'm running steps I rarely exceed 150. When I'm running hills I usually see 180-200. Today's snow moving saw the ticker hit about 130 when I was working very hard. Most of the time it was running in the 80-90 range. All in all it was a pretty good workout and I used muscles I haven't called on this much since the last time I moved snow.


I was going to add more videos but the internet went down and I'm hot-spotting my phone, so uploading videos to u2b isn't an option. I'll do a part two when I get some videos uploaded. In the meantime...

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Costs, consequences, trade-offs


This thing will show up later in the post.

Nice autumn weather, as illustrated in the three images above, rarely lasts as long as we would like.

After fighting pain last night (more on this later) I got out and executed a lovely eight-mile Sunday stroll this morning.

Unlike yesterday, which was warm and sunny, today was brisk and cold and misty-foggy-overcast. Brrr!

Never fear, this one's only 1:10!

Forty-six seconds!

Forty-six seconds again!

Twenty seconds!


The following thing smells a lot like a rant, and in a way it is. However, I'm not trying to merely screech and vent. I'm trying to express a point which seems (to me at least) to be rational and properly constructed. If I do my writing thing correctly, the post should end up hanging together nicely (?!?) even though it's constructed of disparate parts. Will I pull it off?



How do costs, consequences, and trade-offs work?

Many grown-up ape-lizards have a good handle on this. But not all of them!

I know a few who believe in the core of their soul that every time they pay for anything they are being stolen from and savagely victimized. They can't or won't see that they are exchanging their cash for the goods and services they don't have but want to have.

In this world view, they should get what they want because they want it, and they should be able to keep all their cash, too.

In reality rational adults understand that they are exchanging their cash for something they value more than the cash they offer in trade. They know that the reverse is true also, that the person selling the good or service charges more than the actual cost of producing the good or service. It seems like a ponzi scheme at first blush, as if everyone is participating in a get rich quick swindle.

It's not, though, because ape-lizard values aren't universal.

If you are selling apples, for instance, and I want apples but am not willing to buy and operate an apple farm, The value of your individual apples will probably be higher to me than to you. You can charge a premium and make a profit, because I value having apples without the work and money and risk of buying and operating my own apple farm. I'm busy with my own job and have neither the time nor the resources to produce my own apples. So I'll pay your premium and be happy to do so. At the end of the transaction we've each gained an advantage over the other because we're each operating from a different apple-value paradigm.

Everything is fine and we each get what we want and get the deal we want.

Until the professional victims show up.


Yesterday I executed a smashing workout. It was fantastic. I particularly enjoyed running the double slopes with a 50-yard sprint across the top. When the endorphins kicked in that top sprint felt like pure freedom. I felt light and strong and powerful and like I was livin' at a higher plane. And I was! It was a giddy and delightful feeling. That feeling -- the runner's high -- is worth pursuing in and of itself. The pursuit adds zestful experience to my life and also makes me more fit physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's a win all across the board.

The economy of the thing works like this. I trade potential, capacity, time, and effort for increased physical, mental, and emotional fitness. I value the the goods I'm trading for more than I value the effort I must put forth.

But wait, there's more!

At my rather advanced age of not a fucking kid anymore, hard physical work comes at a price above and beyond mere time and effort. Part of the price is pain, and pain is a consequence of the physical damage working out causes. The physics of working out means that a hell of a lot of force is applied to muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and joints. When pounded by the forces from working out, affected body tissues develop micro-tears and micro-fractures. This is true whether the body is six or sixty. It's also true that the body can and will self-repair such damage. For a "not a fucking kid anymore" aged person, self-repair takes a bit more time. The process itself is painful. It's not terrible pain, but it can be distracting.

Last night it was pretty distracting. As I lay in bed the repair process caused my lower legs, ankles, and feet to throb with pain. This was as it should be -- I'd pounded them mercilessly. The day's dedicated exercise totaled 144 hills, 28,600-ish steps, and more than 14 miles. The 25 year-old me would have had similar discomfort. The left ankle was more painful than the right, being the location of a couple of achilles surgeries. I have no room to whine about that. A couple of years ago I was in danger of losing that foot and perhaps even more as an infection raged inside the calcaneus, or heel bone.

Enduring pain was a price I was willing to pay, because I valued pain-freeness less than I valued the benefits I could purchase for pain, potential, capacity, time, and effort.

I tried to relax into the pain and sleep, but I finally gave up and took some aspirin and naproxen. Within 20 minutes the pain eased enough for sleep to come. Those medications came to me in a transaction where I valued having them more than I valued the cash I traded for them.

Cool, eh?

And what a blessing to have such things available to trade cash for.

After I took the meds I slept very well. In the predawn hour my nightly visitor touched me with loving support as she always does.

This morning I was still creaky and sore, but it was a normal creaky and sore.

The fitness I'm working to achieve requires a tradeoff. Hard work, dedicated effort, pain. Those are costs, but as a consequence of paying a fair price I receive increased fitness, wonderful experience, and a zestful feeling of good health. It's a good trade, and it accrues heavily to my benefit.

But I don't get the benefit for free, and I would be stupidly moronic if I expected to. And I'd be even more stupidly moronic if I thought I was so special that I was entitled to just have the benefit after someone else paid for it.


There are several other ways to look at life through an economic lens. We'll do that in future, perhaps.


From the batshit crazy file. I put these away today. My winter sweatshirt and chore jacket. It's a combination I've worn a-chorin' since about 1995. The sweatshirt is relatively new, less than a year old. I've been wearing the jacket for a quarter-century. Anyway, I hung them on the coat hooks near the front door in early May.

It might seem backwards to be hanging the combination up just when the weather is getting cold.

However, back on April 28 it was a cool, breezy, spring morning. Allie went with me to check cows, and grabbed the freshly laundered chorin' rig because she wasn't nearly as well insulated as I. She wore that rig a lot better than I ever did!

It still smells like her too, like warm, happy girl. That'll fade with time, but the jacket and sweatshirt are a now a national treasure in this part of reality. The rocks are still where she placed them, btw.

To continue the batshit crazy theme, the lighter above (and below) made itself known to me as I charged down a dollar store aisle at full tilt this morning. It was ensconced in a display case of about fifty of the things. How did I see the message adorning this particular lighter? Why did I stop and back up and grin and have to have it?

Batshit crazy.

I miss her and I will never not miss her. I am crushed by her death and I will never not be crushed. The grief will be an always thing, until I am no longer a living thing.

But that crazy-beautiful girl let me love her, all of her, unconditionally. And she loved me back. 

As batshit crazy as it sounds, she's still here with me, and she makes herself known in countless Allie-clever ways. Makes it okay. It's sad, but it's happy too. Make any sense?

Of course not, it's batshit crazy!


Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Interesting observations


Well, they're interesting to me. But I'm batshit crazy.


As I rolled out of the rack this morning I was looking forward to a serious workout. My plan was to get in some HIIT against slopes. I didn't know precisely which hills I would run, but I knew my feet would take me to them, wherever they happened to be. As I was mulling possibilities another thought occurred to me. Not all that many months ago I would wake up and immediately dread the presence of an undone workout hanging over me.

Today it seems an odd state of mental affairs. I enjoyed workouts, but I enjoyed having done them rather more than actually doing them. A completed workout allowed me to pat myself on the back, which isn't always a good thing, but was usually less bad than it could have been. A completed workout was a good thing, and the exercise accrued directly to the fitness side of the ledger. A completed workout made me feel good all day.

But I couldn't look forward to an undone workout first thing in the morning. From that perspective it looked like a chore. I wanted the benefit and was willing to do the work. But the work looked like, well, work.

Anyway, these days I eagerly look forward to working out each morning. Work it is, there's no doubt of that. But in my batshit crazy mind it no longer looks like a chore. It shines like a joyful treat, a bonus blessing that I'm certainly not entitled to but which I can relish and embrace.

I like that batshit crazy state of mind.


So where would my feet take me this morning?

I headed west and generally thought I'd keep to that course. Maybe out to the cemetery and then loop around to the north. I'd be able to find some slopes out by the crick.

But at the intersection of Highways 71 and 30 there was traffic and I didn't want to pause and wait. So I went south, then west again. My ephemeral plan was still kinda-sorta the same. I started filming a video, blathered on and on about silly stuff, and then...

I came upon the big 1.5 square block lot where the old Catholic Elementary School lives. The school itself is perched atop a hill on the south side of the lot fronting Fifth Street. But the lot itself is also choked with complex slopes. The very thing!

So it's been at least a couple of years since I tried running slopes here. I didn't work that hard at it back then; I mostly ditched the notion because I had underpass steps available. So the question I faced today was how best to wring a physically demanding workout out of the topography available.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I figured it out. I also found (was led?) to a sign, a symbol, a portent. I wasn't running alone. Not exactly a brand new thing. I just don't run alone anymore.

And then I hit on an interval path which was fun, exhausting, challenging, exhilarating, breathtaking, brilliant. Freedom! Freedom from recliner, from tee-vee, from ogres. Blessed.

Piss break! After pissing, a one-sided discussion about freelancing an alley run into the HIIT/slope circuit and a psychotic exploration of whether short and hard is better than long and soft. I'm talking workout distance and intensity, not um, other things that might be associated with those words...

A few more slope runs and a final alley run finished the high intensity/hard work interlude. The end of the workout's hard work coincided with warming sunshine and the mild beauty of a calm, not yet windy, October day. I badly butchered the Psalm quote, but my heart was in the right place. I think. Yeah, pretty sure. Got the feathers to prove it.

I thought about torturing you kind readers with yet another long, babbling, stream of consciousness video. Instead, let's do this. What happens when you admit to being amazed and delighted that the forecast high winds didn't appear? The wind comes up of course!

The wind can be cool. Especially on a warm and sunny day.

That's more than enough video torture. It was a slamtastic workout; lots of HIIT and a total of 6.7 miles. As I write I'm sitting on 9.76 miles for the day, which will grow into at least 11 by the time I'm done with doing stuff.


Some time ago I mentioned new jeans and how I hadn't worn so small a waist measurement in many decades.

An interesting problem has developed. Should have seen it coming.

When I weighed 325-ish I was carrying more than 100 pounds of fat. Closer to 150. For all that I was in remarkably good shape. I could do lots of hard physical labor and I could move well and exercise at a surprisingly high level. But I was still ginormously fat. My standard waist size was 46.

When I got down to 220 none of my trousers or shirts fit anymore. I looked like a firetrucking ragpicker with my tightly cinched belt holding up clown pants and wearing shirts I could now fit two of me in. So I got some new clothes. The 38 inch waist trousers fit beautifully.

A month ago.

Maybe you see where this is going...

Yep, I just had to buy smaller pants. The 34 inch jeans now fit very nicely and feel and look good.

But what does the future hold?

I'm not worried about it, mind, but I am curious as to whether I'll need to look at 32 or even 30 waist jeans before long. What will my waist size actually settle at when the rest of the lard comes off and my body settles in to a new normal?

At the beginning of this thing I confided in my doctor that I was aiming for 220 pounds. The doc said that was a good goal and maybe, possibly, an achievable goal. A couple of months ago my new goal was 200. A month ago it was 180. Considering my basic frame size, 180 might represent a well balanced normal. Or it might be 170-175. Or even less. It'll be interesting to see where it ends up.

With dwindling fat reserves I'm having to pay more attention to nutrition. I'm slamming what seems like a lot of protein and vegetables. I'm eating two meals a day inside the magic eight-hour window, and taking in zero food outside that window. At mealtime I'm hungry and eating is quite satisfying. My stomach capacity seems to have dwindled and for the first time in perhaps forever I feel full before I've finished my plate. And I feel over-full if I clean it or (shudder) attempt seconds! Where did that come from?

In the last 60 days I've increased exercise output considerably. I've roughly doubled dedicated exercise miles and added core exercises in the weight room. My output increase has triggered a bit of carb hunger, satisfied by bread on a sandwich and the occasional doughnut or cookie. For the first time in, again, perhaps forever, a second cookie or doughnut doesn't taste good and gets fed to the dogs after a nibble. They like that.

And yet another interesting observation. I can wear her gym shorts now. Yeah, it's a batshit crazy notion to start with. Yet there it is. I can wear them to work out in. They fit like 1970's basketball shorts, so they're anything but stylin', but that's not the point.

What's the point? I don't know if there really is one. I've lost enough lard that I can wear a tiny woman's gym shorts. It's a batshit crazy point.


Home stretch. Allie's sister and her husband are wrenching on my Ranger. I think I mentioned brakes and cooling system. Sammie called me as I neared the end of my workout to show me something she'd never seen before. Me either.

How did a rat get into my cooling system? Has it been there a long time, cooked and pickled by hot coolant baths? Or only a short time, since the thermostat housing came off last week? Beats the hell out of me.



Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The most dangerous idea


Before we get to the rant, which isn't meant to be a rant at all but might well come across as a jolly good example of a rant, let's do this.


I awake having not slept very well. Sometimes it happens that way. As I greet the morning's dim predawn light I have lots of aches and pains and a desire for yesterday to have gone more in my favor.

On the other hand the powerful reassurance which comes to me each night puts a warm, glowing smile in my heart and on my face.

I hurt. I'm tired. It's cool and cloudy and a bit damp outside. Weak-ass crybaby lobbies for staying in bed. The other guy flips weak-ass the bird. Other guy will charge the day.

Every bit of the morning is alive with reality. The ground is firm and feels good under my feet. The air is brisk and swirly but not anything like cold. It carries the tang of autumnal scents and provides a medium for dust motes to perform a colorful light show in company with the big bright sky thingy and the white-silver cloud thingies wafting in between.

Legs drive, body moves, blood circulates, air goes in and out. My consciousness and physical expression march forward along the river of time and space. This is not-recliner time. It is a vital experience which cannot be had for money; only in exchange for effort, only in exchange for navigating life.

I make up the course as I move along. Today I am again in and around the metropolis. The world as I know it is not confined to a particular patch of deeded prairie. Where I move and where I work are the proper places for me to be, regardless of lat/lon or grid coordinates. Where I am is my valid reality.

The miles speed by accented with dust puff footfalls. I smile when I recall how difficult a six-mile walk once was. I could do it but it crashed me physically for hours or even days. Today I do it in little over an hour and it's merely the opening act of a busy day.

I am blessed.

Yesterday I experienced people eager to slander the dead. Such a brave thing! I was much agitated but also understood where such behavior comes from and why it comes at all. I made a principled decision to neither defend nor attack, though my instinct was to attack and defend. It was the execution of a correct decision. It was not satisfying in the moment, but seen through the lens of this morning's peace and beauty and warm glow of reassurance it was manifestly the correct path. A livin' thing, one might say.

I am blessed.


"He's a good guy."

When we say that about someone, how do we know he's a good guy?

When someone says that about us, how do they know we're a good guy?

We don't know, and they don't know.

But wait a minute.

We do know.

We know that we are not good guys. And we know that they, being human like us, are not good guys.

But we do know that we like to be called a good guy. It makes us feel all warm and snuggly and gives us another brick for the wall we like to build between our game face and our real face. We like the feeling and the illusion so much that we call other people good guys largely in the hope that they will reciprocate and thereby add more bricks to our shared wall of illusion.

The illusion works the other way too, when we talk or think about "bad guys" or when we get down in the dumps disappointed in our own good guy game face persona; when the reality of our true existence shines through cracks and holes in our good guy wall.

Fortunately for all of us, the good guy-bad guy illusion is just that -- an illusion. We're all human, which means we each carry within us the capacity of ultimate good and ultimate bad.

What we're talking about now is not a fundamental or innate quality of goodness or badness, but a description of behavior. We are simple human beings who sometimes do good things, sometimes do bad things, and most often do a mixture of somewhat good and somewhat bad things clustering somewhere around the middle of the good-bad scale.

Unfortunately we tend to describe the things we do, our good and bad behaviors, as innate qualities. It stems from a kind of cognitive or conversational shorthand. It's easier to say or write "good guy" or "bad guy" than it is to precisely define specific actions and behaviors.

This may be the most dangerous form of lazy thinking of all time.

It allows us to frame the world and our fellows into good and bad camps. When good morphs into saintly and bad morphs into evil, and particularly if there's an advantage or prize to be had, you get war.

The path to war and evil behavior is paved with the bullshit of many, many ape-lizards believing their own propaganda about being "good" and being aggrieved by "those bad people."

Look around. Does the solution to today's woes and troubles lie in joining with the good guys?

Perhaps a more rational beginning is to personally figure out how one does the best things for the best reasons to the best of one's ability. Remove the plank from one's own eye, and with clearer vision a better path ahead may become visible. And the splinter in the "bad" guys' eye might become less offensive.

But what do I know? I'm just a lowly ape-lizard.

Dream of better lives, the kind which never hate,
Wrapped in a state of imaginary grace.
I made a pilgrimage to save this human race,
Never comprehending the race had long gone by.


Didn't intend to go there exactly, but it feels like the effort was on balance a good thing.


We sit on the couch watching Magic School Bus. Six-plus years of life divided unevenly into two beautiful and remarkable packages do their best to occupy same space/same time with me. Such moments blow through my heart and soul in a way nothing else ever has or ever will. Even the darkest day brings at least a moment of happy. Happy is treasure.


Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Flesh and blood and reality

This blooger interface is stupidly insane. Yesterday the "paragraph" mode in compose yielded single line spacing for every click of the return ("enter" for modern folk) key. Today it's double space. It also won't hold fonts from compose to publish. It changes special characters as well. It changed all my previous post fonts from Arial to the "default font," which appears to change randomly. I went back and changed a dozen or so recent posts back to arial; the next day they were all changed back to some other shit. The fucking thing also throws images up randomly when I select multiple images for upload. In other words, they go up not in the order I've selected them but in some other fucking order. It's also randomly changing fonts in the middle of the fucking sentence!

While it's true that as a free product I shouldn't complain about it overmuch, but is it even a product anymore? And what about the cost to me in time and effort and irritation? Free? Maybe not really. The douchebags shouldn't have changed it from a workable system to a system that ruins my presentations. I suspect there is more than simple incompetence involved, but I could be wrong. Anyway, so be it. I'll try to do the best I can for as long as I can, but any gurgle folks I happen to meet may well have their faces introduced to mr. light pole. I just can't see that as a bad thing.

Okay, I'm done(ish) bitching.


Yesterday I ended up doing eleven and a half miles. About eight was dedicated exercise and the balance was regular walking, more for enjoyment than exercise. Of course it all logs caloric expenditure to the output side of the ledger, and that's good.

However, as a certified idiot, I spaced off hydration yesterday. I don't know why. I never felt thirsty and that has something to do with my non-hydration I suppose.

Anyway, lots of muscle cramps last night and very low blood pressure this morning; 70-ish over 40-ish. So I need to force fluids, but I'm also slightly nauseated this morning. I've allowed myself to become metabolically unbalanced. Speaking of douchebags...

It's not a huge deal, but it is a deal. It's an experience along the journey of Shaun's life. Will I learn from it? Will I straighten up and fly right? I suspect I will, until the next time I space it off and go through the same thing.

As always experience is part of livin'. Optimal and non-optimal experience is part of life. The non-optimal provides an opportunity to learn in addition to being valid experience. In that light it's best, imo, to properly view such things as neither good nor bad, but rather as important and vital and valid experiences.

At least that's my thought of the moment.


I had a very good rant going but I abandoned it. Well, actually I saved it for another day. It's a rant against ogres, and ogres need to be ranted against, but ogres need also to be studied and understood.

So in the not too distant future it'll be ogre day, but that day is not today.


It was very beautiful this morning. It was rather cool, with air temperatures in the low 40's, but there wasn't much wind yet. So it was brisk and just right for walking. The sun was bright and Octoberish and the several millions of Kimball dogs were barking. I don't let my dogs bark constantly. Must be something wrong with me.

High School. Ed-ja-ma-kashun is a place where wuhandromeda insanity is a raging flood. It's child abuse.

And I was running late, but my foots kept going adventuring! Also looking at a house to buy. Has some serious bunker potential. Ugly paint though. At the end of the walk I was only eight minutes late.

And then I crashed into the day and the busy took me. Which is about all I can say at the moment and this seems a good place to abruptly end this post.


Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Summer (Autumn) Breeze

I can't believe how bad the blooger boogers have made this interface. I wonder if they're trying to drive all bloggers away -- all of them except the ones who will only do newspeak. Sigh.

Anyway, I wanted to do the blog title like this:

Summer Autumn Breeze

With the strikethrough. In my goofy mind I wanted to play on the song...

And present the video above.

Just because it seemed a clever and perhaps upbeat way to open the post.

But blooger won't let me do strikethrough in the title from compose view. I could monkey around in html and do it but It seems too much work for a non-coding ape-lizard named me.

Upbeat opening, wot? I could fall into a barrel of tits and still find something to complain about.


The opening image doesn't do justice to the wind we had yesterday. Wind is a part of life here in the Nebraska Panhandle. With the exception of late summer -- August-September -- we usually have a good bit of wind here. In the late summer stillness it's easy to forget that. When the wind returns it's always somewhat of a surprise.

The wind returned yesterday with gusts up to 60 mph.

It was a bit annoying, but not too bad. I made an interesting observation while it was windy. I watched the rushing air strip leaves from trees until it seemed like the atmosphere was mostly blowing vegetation. A very powerful force, wind. Nevertheless, the kis clothes affixed to my clothesline stayed right where I put them. And dried almost instantly!

Fun stuff. That was yesterday. What is today like?

It's very cool. I noticed interesting ape-lizard trash. If I were an alien I'd wonder at the insanity of wuhandromeda and I'd be somewhat reassured that so many masks are discarded like kleenex. Not everyone, it seems, is trapped in the narrative.


After a couple of miles of walking and hill running in the pesky wind I found another splash of autumn color in a lee area. Maybe not too much wind noise?

Today is brilliant, happy, okay. It's Columbus Day, and I know the secret of Columbus. I learned it in second grade. Cool, eh? As I walked I shuffled my feet through fallen leaves and made one of the characteristic sounds of fall. Too bad I can't share the smell, it's lovely too.

I also finally flipped my calendar to October. It was her calendar and features pretty outdoor scenes and passages from Psalms. From the batshit crazy file, I've left the calendar on August for the last couple of months. Why? Batshit crazy. Today I changed it to the actual month we are living in. Why? Batshit crazy. October's passage from Psalms, 139:14.

I praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.


I set out to walk over to the corner pharmacy. The round trip I faced would be a crushing six blocks. A full(ish) half-mile. When I returned home I'd actually hiked 6.5 miles. I ran smokebong hill five times. And I never got to the pharmacy. Until my second walk of the day, anyway.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. When I hike as usual, and do so despite my aches and pains and infirmity, I demonstrate the marvelous nature of my physical existence. Hiking through pain and mental/emotional inertia demonstrates the marvelous nature of my heart and mind. These things are a marvelous expression of my soul. In a way my actions proclaim the reality of this beautiful thing called livin'. It's not my job to make anyone understand, but it feels like it's my duty to make the demonstration.

Of course I have feet of clay. My primary purpose in hiking is not a demonstration of God's works; my primary motivation is to enjoy and feel better. But the demonstration is also what it is, whether my intent is service to my fellows or not. Along the way I sometimes find new and cool stuff which is really old and not all that cool. Except to me.

So why is today brilliant, happy, and okay? It's a good question and deserves a good answer. Whether I can translate my mind-set and heart-set into a good answer remains to be seen.

Simply put, I am alive and I choose to live, despite having sustained physical and emotional wounds. I choose to suck it up and drive on, to embrace beauty and pain, to do livin' stuff on life's terms. I will not give in to the tee-vee narrative and be simply a thing owned and operated by that tee-vee/infotainment empire. I choose to live as a free and sovereign human being.

Does that make sense? Probably not. I'm not in this writing moment in a place where I can be articulate about what I feel. So be it.

Now that I've got everyone completely confused, it's time to think about quitting while I'm behind.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

In the trenches of livin'


This one is another all-over-the-place mishmash. I can't vouch for its readability.


I got in a fight Friday night. It was a zero-punch fight. I won.

There's a new restaurant/lounge in town, which is nice for the town on several levels. However, as I walked home (beautiful October evening!) from an engagement with a couple of former sailors there were four intoxicated young fellows engaged in shit slinging and dick beating. When you've had your ass kicked as many times as I have, you begin to recognize patterns, and this pattern revealed a high probability of stupid. As I passed them on the sidewalk one of the fellows got shoved into me. As we made contact he started to mouth off. I didn't like his tone. For those who've been there and are prepared to act decisively to quickly de-escalate and minimize injury, these things happen very quickly. Time slows down and and decision trees spin out. He didn't complete a single syllable before shit went down.

I simply leaned back and let his inertia carry him on by. Hmmm. Inertia. My instinct was to shove him hard. I had an inkling that he would go down if I applied the proper Delta V (thanks blooger for fucking up your symbol fonts!). A complication was the vehicular street traffic in front of him. I didn't want him squashed, just acquainted with the reality of fucking up. Fortunately, there was a light pole between him and the street and his vector was just right. His face made a satisfying melon-splatting sound when it hit the pole. He rebounded and collapsed with a spectacular bloody nose.

I only barely slowed as I stepped over him. I casually looked at his fellow warriors, now gone totally silent, and saw six eyes big as onions. No factor. No need to say a word.

It felt good and it felt right, which probably means it was bad and wrong.

But I could be wrong about that.

It didn't feel like I acted out of anger, but there was a great deal of satisfaction in the way I performed.

Saturday morning there was dried blood at the scene but not very much.

As Richard Pryor put it, "Old men don't fuck around when they be fightin'."

Good thing, bad, thing, or just a thing? Probably all three. IIWII.


Thursday I did a bit more than 13 exercise miles. A good bit of that was simple hiking, but a couple of miles was hard hill running, the best of High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. Good cardio-pulmonary workout. It's good core work and especially leg work. My thighs and calves are hard as chinese 'rithmatic (Richard Pryor strikes again!).

Friday I did seven-and-a-half miles of hiking. Not hard but steady. A body in motion tends to stay in motion. Often of late it's been a struggle to overcome inertia and get moving. Friday was that kind of day.

It sucked and that's a fact. The hurtin' was on me, yeah, and the great inertia monster and all of his heavy friends were draped around my shoulders. It's hard for me to adequately describe what that place looks and feels like. It's a place where moving and doing and livin' appear to be impossible.

I've learned a few things over the years, though. Impossible, ain't. To my great good fortune and everlasting gratitude navy training taught me that I could do more than I ever thought I could, and that the idea of impossible is just another way of quitting, giving up, surrendering.

Of course I'm a weak and flawed ape-lizard. We all are. Sometimes I fall short. Sometimes I quit, give up, surrender. In those times I can either fall back into the slow death of mere existence, or I can ask God to do for me what I cannot do for myself. And He does. Every time.

In those realms the task is never easy. It's always hard. But it's never too hard. God supercharges my purpose, effort, drive, determination, perseverance. God molds those things in a way I could never do of my own accord, and He steers my feet out of the mire of self and back upon the proper path, the path of love and service.

Is mashing a drunk's face against a light pole an act of loving service? It could be, couldn't it? Was it in my case?

  • A: Yes, of course. It's a very spiritual and giving thing to do.
  • B: No fucking Way
  • C: It's a spiritual experience, but not a spiritual action.
  • D: All of the above.

If you guessed B, you would be correct.

I am a serious piece of work.


Friday morning.

I sit in my recliner watching the dawn come through the big north facing picture window in my living room. Outside the pall of wildfire smoke hangs in the cool, still, October air. It's going to be another beautiful Indian Summer day.

I'm not feeling it. My spirits are very low and I'm hurting very much. The weight of inertia is nearly suffocating.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen."

What can I change? I can get off my ass and log some miles.

I tried to enjoy the sight of Old Glory in the sun. I kinda felt better.

It was smoky.

My path took me past a property where odds and ends of old equipment are stored.

After a good few miles and a nicely worked up sweat, I took a peek at the new underpass. I used to be able to run steps there. Not no more! Some serious whining in this video!

Thence to the sole still-pumping oil well inside the city limits. Or town proper. Whatever.

Back home I did feel better. I got busy and washed laundry and hung it out to dry. The balance of the day was meh.

Until I won not much of a fight. That was awesome.

After the big win, Modern English came up on my u2b feed. I remember watching Melt With You on MTV back in what, '82 or '83? I've always liked the song. The video was a little freaky but it won a lot of awards.

Today the song speaks to me in ways it couldn't have back then. And I like the quarantine version of 2020 much better than the original.

I can wrap those lyrics around much of my recent and ongoing experience. The concept "melt with you" resonates strongly. My mind spins down a particular path. Self-pity, I see, will make me unworthy of her love. Self-pity is selfish, the love she gives me is selfless. If I am to be worthy, I must work harder.


Saturday morning I woke from sweet dreams. The dreams were dreamlike, yet also very real. There was serious communication. I can't recall the words, but the experience was alive with love and okayness. And touch. She made a point to embrace, to touch my face, to stroke my arms. The touch was real, palpable, tactile. I felt it. What a blessing.

What are the dreams in reality? Are they just random synapses firing? Or does she really come to me each night? I cannot know, not in this realm. Yet I do know.

On Saturday working out was easy. I was fresh, my head was clear, I felt comfortably strong and fit. There was no inertia to overcome, or none of the emotional inertia anyway. I still had to drag my carcass around, but that's just physics. I ran lots of flights of steps. More than 50 in fact.

Well, one more than 50!

Then it was back to laundry, and while clothes washed and dried the writing and posting of a corpsman chronicle. It was rather a dark effort in many ways. I tried to get the feel of the thing across but I'm not sure I was successful.


She came to me again in the night. It seems we're very well melted together.

It also seems as if I'm in a very interesting and challenging situation. I seem to be existing in two realms. They are very different places, connected by a white gold thread of love. The future, it seems, is open wide. I would never have imagined this experience could play out this way.

Batshit crazy? Probably. But this brand of batshit crazy feels okay.


Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.