Friends Far Away

This morning, I got up early so I could get to the gym before first light.  Another weekend with crap weather – rain.  We’ve had A LOT of rain here in Southern Middle Tennessee this year.  Last week – Monday through Friday – was mostly sunny with temperatures not super cold.  But most weekends, we’ve had rain.  That’s what is expected again this weekend – more rain.

I didn’t make it to the gym this morning, though.  After paying a bill online, I checked my email and read an email update from the Gibello family.  I’ve mentioned them before on this site.  My son still asks about them and remembers their visit and their camper trailer, which he thought was pretty cool.  My wife and I agreed to make what for us is a fairly large, one-time donation (in addition to our small monthly commitment) because while we’re looking for a congregation to worship with, we’re not doing regular local-church giving.

Friends from the Chattanooga area are coming up to visit this afternoon and when my son woke up this morning, he talked about the Gibello family, confusing them with the family that’s actually spending the afternoon with us.  Odd, huh?  I hadn’t mentioned that I’d just been reading Melissa’s blog posts from her journal.  My son enjoyed looking at the photos of life in PNG, thought the stilt house was cool, thought using a leaf-hut outhouse might be problematic, and he thought having a large river near the house would be “kind of creepy, actually.”

A Little More About Indiana

That Magellan Cyclo 505

The Magellan Cyclo 505, which comes pre-loaded with maps detailing the entire United States of America, has a feature that allows the user to navigate to points of interest or POI.  While at Greenway500 bike shop, we had a look at the Magellan Cyclo 505 Mike had bought to test, study, and get his mind around so he could become sufficiently knowledgeable to discuss with customers the product’s benefits and drawbacks.  The points of interest loaded on the Cyclo units includes Bike Shops as a category.  Neither my updated (software/maps) unit nor his just-out-of-the-box unit showed any other bike store in the greater Muncie area than Goldman’s Bike Shop at Selma.  That’s got to discourage a retailer from carrying a product that only lists a competitor in his category.  I checked the Magellan support website today and compared the POI update file (dates from May 2014) with the file on my 505 unit.  Mine is a more recent iteration, and it does not show the Greenway500 bike shop as a point of interest.  I made a suggestion about this on the Magellan website, but who knows whether the company is even a little bit responsive to support website suggestions?

During the fairly steady rain through which I rode on the day of Richmond trip, the Cyclo’s touch screen became entirely unresponsive after first becoming EXTREMELY SLOW to respond to touch input.  Eventually, the screen just froze (appearing to register no new data as I rode) and I had to restart the unit.  Even then, it failed to respond to touch and only thereafter did respond to touch after I’d dried the screen with a piece of toilet paper from a trailhead outhouse.  Then, instead of hitting the arrows to move from screen to screen to see what hills were coming up or location on the map or how far I had left to ride on the track I’d pre-loaded from RideWithGPS.com, I left it on the basic data screen showing average MPH, distance traveled, current speed, and so forth.  But screen fail irked me and I wasted too much time monkeying around with the device.

When I first used the Cyclo in Indiana, it took several minutes to acquire satellite signals and begin recording data.  The same thing again happened when I used the Cyclo again in Tennessee after returning home last week.

Church Attendance

This year, we were at the farm for two Sundays, and on both days we attended Church of the Nazarene worship services with family.  Although my own theology is extremely Calvinistic, I noted the Nazarene preacher did a reasonable job of exegeting the texts from Colossians.  The emphasis of his preaching, though, fell upon application.  I appreciated the fellow’s work and, with the exception of the congregation’s musical program, enjoyed worshiping with the Nazarenes on consecutive Sundays.  Certainly, my young son enjoyed the children’s Sunday School class and Children’s Church programs.  That said, he was unable to tell me anything he learned on either Sunday.

This year, we missed the Vacation Bible School grand finale worship-show.  I was okay with that.

The first Sunday at the Nazarene church, one of the pastor’s PowerPoint slides failed to load or loaded in the wrong order and he seemed peeved saying, “That’s wrong,” and waiting for the sound/tech guys to correct the problem.  I wondered why he didn’t just use spoken words to convey his point when technology failed.  The following Sunday, something similar happened and the pastor simply carried on speaking through the technical glitch, indicating he is fully capable of unlearning reliance upon the sort of electronic audio/visual marvels that have become the hallmark of the modern worship service experience.  This is to the good.

About the musical program, the thing that irked me most was the overwhelmingly LOUD canned audio presence – so that even when the audience was encouraged to join in singing, they were completely inaudible.  At one point, the music-team sang a song that struck me as a sort of incantation or spell intended to conjure the third person of the Trinity.  The four singers stood in front of their microphones each waving at least one hand in the air overhead, rhyming “Holy Spirit, you’re welcome here – come and fill the atmosphere.”  The lyrics would have been more appropriate to a séance, in my reckoning.  Anyway, to accompany the song, the canned music included repeated heavy bass-notes that reverberated against my spine threatening to convulse my colon and thereby producing a windy emanation from my bowels.  I was not pleased.  To me, this kind of attempt by a congregational music team to impose its will on my mind and body by an intrusive attempt to establish its rhythm in my person is among the most offensive forms of unwanted touching.  The obvious goal of this musical number was to render the audience susceptible to the power of suggestion for the purpose of faux-charismatic manifestation.  I don’t think that’s Christian.  I felt angry and wanted to smash the church’s audio equipment – sort of like Gideon destroying the village Baal idol.

Paternal Guilt

On a couple of the days I rode, I felt pretty guilty about not spending the time playing outside with my son.  The guilt was a little assuaged by the fact that he seemed to enjoy the time spent with his cousins.  On one afternoon, I’d planned to take him and a cousin to a local playground to run and climb, but a behavioral problem interfered with that.  On another afternoon, I’d planned to take my son and some of the other kids to a lakeside playground to run, climb, and throw rocks in the water, but an old school-mate of one of the kids’ mothers showed up with two of her own children and all the kids played at the farm together.   I’m glad my son seems to have bonded with his cousins – he was very sad the day we left for Tennessee because he didn’t want to leave them.  Still, I need to spend more time with the boy on these summer trips.  I’d hoped to take him canoeing at Daleville, but the heavy rains during the previous weeks made that seem like a less than safe idea for a father-son outing.  Maybe next year.

Camera Found & Blackburn Flea Update

My camera was in my backpack, where it’d evidently been since my most recent trip to Gallatin.  I hadn’t realized before this how photo-driven is my blog posting.

I got a call yesterday from the M.O.A.B. warranty guy who said the store had received the defective replacement unit I mailed to them on Saturday, had themselves found the unit defective, and that Blackburn has agreed to again replace the unit.  This time, M.O.A.B. will ship the light to my house.

Stuff I’ve Been Thinking About

Blog Posts

My blog posts, in grammar, content, and style, tend to have the character of telephone pad doodles or the things one writes in the margins while taking notes during a meeting, lecture, or while reading a book.  Mistaken is the person who expects this or any blog to conform to scholastic ideals of “penmanship” or rigid notions of propriety.

Stodgy Canoe Guy

One of the things I like about paddling is the woodsy ambiance or vibe associated with paddling.  It’s especially evident in the preoccupation with things like sandpaper, tung oil, needle-and-thread, preparedness, self-reliance and mutual aid.  And the clothes.  At least the clothes I wear – floppy hat, old permanent press work shirt, long baggy shorts, etc.  For the most part cheap, plain-looking clothes that dry quickly.  I’ll leave the bright colors to the guys zipping around on jet-skiis.

Other Drivers on the Road

Something is wrong with the people who drive their cars, outer elbow (because this is probably true in England as well as America) on the window ledge and forearm hanging down against the outside of the car-door, palm backward, resembling to me a large, usually fat, white-bellied dead fish.  It’s like the driver lacks the energy or some other quality of life that separates the living from zombie-like necessary to so much as control all of his or her limbs, in addition to operating a motor vehicle.  Usually, this type of motorist drives too slowly and seems to take pleasure in aggravating the drivers behind them who, for some reason, cannot yet pass them.  Also, and this is similarly galling, this sort of driver seems to be saying, “I AM TOO BIG, THIS CAR CANNOT CONTAIN ME, I AM BURSTING OUT OF THIS CAR!” which is, in itself, pretty offensive.

I think license plates on vehicles should bear some device or color-coded tag that allows other motorists to determine at a glance the vehicle owner’s Performance Intelligence Quotient (or PREFERABLY some entirely new measure of intelligence specific to motor vehicle operation).  Maybe something that could be abbreviated DIQ.  Drivers are going to let you know all about theirs, anyway, but it would be nice to know at a glance in order to plan lane changes and passing before it becomes necessary to dodge some erratic manifestation of deficiency or impaired ability.  Drivers with seriously impaired DIQs could be required to drive vehicles like that Obama soap-bubble, the so-called “Smart Car” – that way when they crash their vehicles into other vehicles or buildings they will do less harm to other people.

The use of cellular telephones by anyone operating a motor vehicle should be prohibited; pull over to talk on the phone.

Feeling Rich

When I bought that canoe Ohio last week, then took it to the White River and paid the outfitter there a measly $13.00 for shuttle service, I felt rich.  A man who has his own canoe is a man of substance, and a man who can use his own strength and sense to propel it on the water’s surface is a man who feels rich, indeed.

I do not know why, having owned five folding kayaks, I never felt that way before about owning and paddling that type of boat.  Folding kayaks are uniquely beautiful.  They tend to be more expensive to purchase than canoes.  I think the difference is a sense of permanence.  A folding kayak is designed to be put away or packed for easy transportation to the location of its intended use, whereas an aluminum canoe is designed to retain its shape and withstand the elements through time.  True it is that folding kayaks are designed likewise to last through time.  The most recent of these that I have purchased was manufactured around 1962 and was watertight when I got it.  The Grumman canoe is 36 years old, the Pionier kayak is 47.

I felt a bitter sense of loss when it was time to put the canoe in to the barn loft at the farm last Friday.  The feeling is similar to what I experience every time I disassemble one of my kayaks.  The feeling roughly translates thus, “Have I used this boat for the last time?  Is this the last time I perform this task?”  What doesn’t translate neatly in to words is the knowledge that some or other that will be the case.  I will use my kayak or canoe for the last time, and I may not know the experience is my last with that boat until time provides a vantage point for perspective, or events translate me in to the past tense and my next phase of existence.

These unpleasant feelings that I wish to repress seem consistent with an unconscious fear of death, although I seem to be in fairly robust good health at present.  As a young drunkard 26 or 27 years ago, I sought but did not find death.  As a man in middle age I seem to be aware of other feelings pertaining to my mortality.  Although they are clearly as long-lasting as any hardshell paddlecraft, the folding kayak has an ephemeral quality – skin stretched over a frame operated by whatever it is that I consist of – that is similar to that of man and animal.

Yahoo 360 Closing

360.yahoo.com

I predicted this would happen, and it is happening. Yahoo.com long ago abandoned its bloggers to some of the worst servers and software. The fact that 360.yahoo.com is closing down is a good thing.

Now that I’ve downloaded my content in one 20 mb zipfile archive, I’ll have to figure out whether it can be imported here on WordPress.

I don’t have time for this today.