Road I.D. Black Sport Band

Last Thursday, my Road I.D. sport band, in black, arrived in the mail.  I took pictures of the packaging, as well as the promotional material included with the band, but my photos turned out badly.  Still, bad pictures I can find are better than good pictures I cannot find if they can be used for illustrative purposes.  Two of the pictures I took could not be salvaged, but the others were useable.  Here they are:




The state of our housekeeping, here at Burnt Down Plantation Estates located in Lovely Stepford, Tennessee, is such that I didn’t keep the packaging after photographing it.  Because of that clutter reduction strategy, there was not a photo re-do.

Once I removed the band from its card, the engraved metal plate was easily migrated from the original bright yellow band to the black band.  I wore it for the first time last Saturday and again yesterday.  Haven’t been getting as many rides in over the past week or so, as I had been previously.

Below are photos of the yellow band, left, and the black band, right.  I normally wear the Road I.D. on my left wrist so its reflective properties have a chance to increase my visibility when riding.


The Miyata’s rolling a lot more smoothly now that I’ve had the hubs serviced – grease and bearings – by the guys at MOAB in Murfreesboro.  Good work done at a reasonable price.

Here are a few pictures from my rides last Saturday and yesterday:






“Early” Morning Saturday Ride

Yesterday morning, I rode a few miles around Uppity and Broke-Down Stepford before the day’s busyness set in.  A warming trend here in this part of Tennessee meant I didn’t wear as much in the way of thermal, fleece, or all-weather neoprene-like garments as lately has been my wont.

Joe Blow IItwinhead

One year and 12 days ago, today, I bought a Topeak Joe Blow II floor pump, and last week, when I tried to air-up the Razesa’s tires, the “twin-head” failed.  According to reviews of the product on Amazon, this is a common problem with these pumps.  Out of warranty, I ordered a replacement part from Todson, Topeak’s replacement parts seller, on Tuesday and got it in Friday’s mail.  It installed easily and worked properly.  Cheaper than buying a new pump, although it would have been better to have a better product to begin with.  With properly inflated tires, the Razesa rode like a different bike.

My goal was to ride more than eight and a half miles and to look at some real estate.  Caution-Lady, my wife, wanted me to look at a house about a mile from our own, and I wanted to take a look at a much older house in a less desirable part of town.  Also, there’s a house in our neighborhood with a very low asking price that may turn out to be the best bargain.  Leaving my house before eight o’clock, I rode past all three houses, stopped and looked at two of them.


The old house in the run-down neighborhood looks like it was built some time between 1920 and 1930 with something simple and pretty in mind that can still be seen after years of neglect.  The years of neglect are worrisome.  If the property can be had for the price of a vacant lot, which may be all the market can bear at present, it might be worth putting right.  The mile-away house has a swimming pool in back, central heating and air, a covered breezeway, and an attached garage.  It seems reasonably priced, but the pool would have to go.  How much does it cost to have an in-ground pool taken out?


Besides looking at houses, I rode along the tracks to a point past where the pavement ends, and rode back through some poorer neighborhoods, finding a trail that cut through to a large middle school near where I live.  I took a couple of pictures on a bluff overlooking the tracks – looking back at the road I took and my shadow. The sun was in the way of taking a photo of the overlook, though.  Had to carry the bike over part of the trail, because I and the bike weren’t prepped for cyclocross.  That said, the Razesa handles fine on chip-and-seal, as well as packed gravel roads and dry dirt roads.  It wouldn’t have done well with the trail mud yesterday, though. 

How to get from Stepford to Pixley on a Bike

Last Saturday (6/16/12) I got up early intending to ride out to the Pot County administrative plaza over in Pixley (previously misspelled, by me, “Pixilie”).  I think I’ve mentioned somewhere else in this space that I reside at Stepford in Pot County.  The kind you pour from, not the kind you smoke.

I wanted to visit a couple of friends over there, one of whom I had not seen for several months.  When you’re halfway smart, it’s hard to have friends because, really, who are your peers?  I guess my answer to that question is anyone who is oriented to reality and competent in fulfilling their life’s work is my peer.  Both of my friends at Pixley have probably got some standard score points on me in one or two WAIS-IV subscale domains.  It does me good to spend time with these guys – both have experienced more of life within and without social, educational, and religious systems than about ten other average people.  Sort of like spiritual Samsons.


The ride to Pixilie is about 24 miles, round-trip.  I’d hoped to pedal the Miyata, but hadn’t got the Continental Gatorskins yet that I ordered sometime last week from and was still having severe lower back pain every time I rode the bike and was still having trouble with the gears/chain pretty frequently slipping down to the smallest of the three chainrings (I have since leveled the saddle and tightened the shift levers).  The inexpensive but brand-new Schwinn tires that came on the bike’s ancient 27” rims I reckoned unequal to the task.  So I loaded up the Razesa, which is an awesome bike, and headed out.

The morning was already warm as I turned right heading out of Burnt-Down-Plantation Estates on to Country Club Road.  Passing the turn-off to that august institution (where I’ve actually eaten lunch and dinner a few times, although not since I’ve moved to this neighborhood), one rides on past a palatial mansion behind gates and a wall on one’s right, then past Revolutionist Acres, and, at the corner of that subdivision and Country Club, turns right onto Catfish Billy Road which connects at the bottom of fun hill and a flat place to Old Pixley Highway.  A left onto OPH is quickly followed by a right turn onto Husk Road, and, riding past a water tower on one’s left and a Faction Two bottling and distribution facility on one’s right, one comes to the main highway.

The four-lane connects Stepford to Pixley now that this part of the world has no passenger rail (must be about 40 or 50 years now, maybe more).  Engineered for the use of motorized vehicles, the highway has wide paved shoulders suitable for riding a bicycle that’s got Gatorskin tires.  From there, once safely across the four lanes of traffic divided by a grassy median, the ride is easy over long, not-very-steep hills on in to the glorious seat of county government hereabouts.  From driveway to destination, about 12 or so miles.

Recycling Center

Making fun of the place I live, having grown up and lived a lot of my life in other places, is something about which I have no qualms.  My friends, however, I’m not inclined to mock.  Is not Augustine quoted or misquoted as having said, “Gold from Egypt is still gold.”  My friend Reginald has something to do with the recycling center behind Pot County Administrative Plaza.  He’s there on Saturdays and Wednesdays.  About three years ago, when I was looking for a place to dump a pickup truck full of junk and trash I’d cleared out of the house my wife and I’d just purchased in Burnt-Down-Plantation-Estates, Reginald informed me I couldn’t dump most of that trash there.  He suggested the municipal dump at Stepford (which was closed when I got there, but I did find a convenient dumpster on the highway running from Stepford to Hooterville).

Who knows how, but we got talking about the things of God and found we are both Christians.  As we talked, Reginald sometimes broke off conversation to assist elderly recyclers or to engage regular recyclers in conversation.  This population of recyclers appears to be his parish, if parish is the word I want.  Reginald is a tall man with red hair, a moustache, and an at times alarmingly direct gaze.  He reports a post-secondary education education at a couple of the better thought of Southern schools (Baccalaureate and Juris Doctor) that I have no reason to doubt, as well as an impressive career arc that brought him to the humble-seeming place I met him after he and his wife “decided to live on purpose.”  Reginald’s manner of speaking, as well as the content of his speech, does one good to hear tuning the mind of listener to the conversational norms of about a century ago.  Here is a photograph he permitted me to take last Saturday.


Last Saturday, as I said above, I rode out to the recycling center to visit with Reginald.  At first he agreed to let me interview him, but as we began he said he felt uncomfortable with the process, and I did, too.  So we just visited.  Sometimes it is good to let someone else direct the conversation and to listen attentively.  I’m not good at that, never really trusting anyone else’s perceptions much except to check them in order to gather more data.  Because I don’t really trust other people, there’s this tension, and it’s hard to listen unless I’m mining data.  Anyway, I guess my discomfort with trying to interview Reginald has to do with the fact that I think he’s an immensely valuable human being and I want to know what he knows, but I think he deserves better than to be expected to tell me what I think I ought to know, as opposed to letting him tell me whatever it is he wishes to say to me.  Probably because my early survival, figuratively and (to a degree) materially, depended on categorizing perceptions regarding circumstances and people while noting connections and disconnections in order to discern what is real from what has been asserted by others as real, I continually do that to this day in all of my interactions with other people.

Reginald told me a story about his great-great-great grandfather, one William Bobbit, who was born on an adjacent farm to the one where James K. Polk was born somewhere in North Carolina.  Both men raised families in Maury County, Tennessee, and both owned plantations near one another in North Mississippi.  Polk had a rule that his overseer was not permitted to whip any of his slaves on the plantation, but had to send a message to Major Bobbit to ride over in order to personally administer correction.  The theory being that one who has never owned any property (the redneck overseer into whose hands Polk had effectively abandoned his slaves in order to carry on with the business of the law or government) would not have the sense or ability to refrain from damaging same.  That “correction” was administered only when the slaves had run away, often to Tennessee, to see their relations.  Reginald told me that while at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, he happened upon some letters Major Bobbit had written to his friend Polk.  In one of them, describing the election returns from two bellwether counties, reported that “Mississippi is safe for democracy for two more years.”  Interesting is the evidence that the phrase, “safe for democracy,” predates by at least 50 years Woodrow Wilson’s use of it at the time of the Great War in the early part of the last century.

Politically, Reginald strikes me as liberal, so I kidded him by telling him half-seriously that in the coming presidential election, he should vote for Romney, who is actually a conservative Democrat, as opposed to voting for Obama who is an anti-American Communist.  And very frankly, I think most Democrats who consider themselves Americans first, will find they have an easier time working with Romney than with Obama.  Reginald said that when, as a younger man, he held an official position in Mississippi that brought him into frequent contact with local reporters, he was wont to give them interesting statements that became their leads, and he therefore became the only person whose statements were correctly quoted in the papers.  Possibly in reference to my advice to vote for the Republican, Romney, in November, Reginald said,

“I can’t imagine why anybody would want to abandon the party of Slavery, States’ Rights, and Manifest Destiny for the party of Abolition, Isolation, and The National Debt that Alexander Hamilton started.”

Which statement may be the best on-the-record quote I’ve ever heard anybody utter.

I telephoned to my friend, Theodore, to see about meeting him someplace for coffee, but he said he would drive over to the administrative plaza and we’d motor someplace.  For a long time, I’ve thought Theodore and Reginald should meet, probably because they’re two of the five or six guys I respect most.  When I introduced them, I misidentified Reginald as an Arminian and when he denied it and looked at me like he was going to knock me down (considering what I’d just called him, he had every justification if he’d done it).  I tried to excuse my gaff by referencing his previous work with the Methodists of Memphis and Reginald said the fact that he’s no longer associated with them may have something to do with his theology.  I’m not sure why my jaw was spared.  Probably

Here are a few of the photographs I took at the recycling center (click on them for larger images):



Theodore pastors the small congregation with whom (if whom can be used as a plural) my wife, son, and I have worshiped for several years, now. I recently wrote elsewhere that from the first time I heard him preach (in the loft of a converted barn), I marveled that God had sent someone of his caliber to this obscure corner of Christendom.  We drove over to the Pixley Cracker Barrel over by the freeway and talked ecclesiology, books, and ate lunch.  We talked about the recent Calvinist v. Arminian controversy in the Southern Baptist Convention.  Our congregation is loosely affiliated with the SBC, and we’ve talked among ourselves at business meetings about whether or not there’s any benefit to be had from that association.  Maybe some, probably not much.  I had a fried-egg sandwich with hashbrowns, apples, and a biscuit with jelly.  I figured it would be okay since I had plenty of exercise ahead of me.

I have been thinking more and more about the utility of what is usually known as the “House-Church Movement” – requires very little in the way of tithes and offerings to maintain a system that has much more to do with culture and visible status within the culture than (it seems) to do with Christ and what the scriptures of Old and New Testaments seem to indicate the congregation called by God should be about.  Most of the “church growth” schemes I’ve encountered and read about appear intended to promote the sort of growth cancer cells are known for, and it is not for nothing that one of the New Testament Pauline metaphors for understanding the relationship of the Church with Christ is that of the body.  Are mega-churches actual functioning organelles of the whole body, or are they misshapen, tumorous growths?  Most likely, not always the one and not always the other, and one may morph into the other, from good to bad, pretty easily, I would guess.

Another topic was whether families should or are willing to relocate in order to serve the larger body of Christ in places where there is no Reformed witness.  What this may depend on is whether or to what degree the believer reckons the Church (and by using a capital, I mean the company of the redeemed through time, but also at present) a greater priority than the believer’s own family.  Does this sort of commitment require some kind of special call to ministry or missions of sort culturally recognized in what passes for the Church in North America and leads to careers in church systems at home and abroad?  Is it something one can or should be willing to do on the basis of persuasive speech or the voiced conviction of another believer?  Is it some that requires the sort of conviction attributable to the Spirit of God?  Does God expect the believer to intelligently husband the resources God’s given?  Does God expect the believer to take (to use a hackneyed phrase) “a leap of faith”?  Should a group families uproot and migrate to another city without having secured work sufficient for their support and housing?  How about living in one’s circumstances in such a way as to provide “salt and light” – can that not be done here as well as there?  If we’re starving together here, should we go over there to starve instead?

That last question reminds me of the people of Israel who’d left Egypt with Moses and complained in the wilderness and whom God answered by giving them their fill of bread and meat, and with it, leanness of spirit or heart.  Hosea 11:1 speaks of the love of God for Israel, having called his son out of Egypt.  Christians believe that statement of historical fact was additionally fulfilled prophetically when the family of Joseph the carpenter returned from Egypt after death of Herod the Great and those who’d sought the life of the Christ child.  Migration.

A literal translation of the last few verses of Matthew’s gospel reads as follows:

Mat 28:16  But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mount where Jesus appointed them.
Mat 28:17  And seeing Him, they worshiped Him. But they doubted.
Mat 28:18  And coming up Jesus talked with them, saying, All authority in Heaven and on earth was given to Me.
Mat 28:19  Then having gone, disciple all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mat 28:20  teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the completion of the age. Amen.

Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, copyright © 1976-2000 by Jay P. Green, Sr.

Implicit in Jesus’, “Then having gone,” is the inevitability of the going, of dispersion, migration.  A laundry list of the reasons people migrate include such things as escape from persecution, securing economic opportunity, reunion with family, forced relocation by governments, and so forth.

After lunch, we drove back to the recycling center where I stayed a bit longer before pedaling back to Stepford.

Stepford Saturday Rain

Saturday Rain 1-21-12

Stepford rain is falling – a squall line passed through here in the early hours of the morning.  I’m thinking about the things I can’t do today, not just because of the rain but because of the disorganized manner in which I have organized my living lately.  Sure, I do have legitimate obligations to fulfill each day, but there’re things I’m not getting done, and engaging in self-actualizing activities while failing to attend to various details of everyday life has the effect of a mildly narcotic recreational substance in terms of reality-escape.  Gotta quit that.


Another Saturday on Dry Land

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been helping family members move things, carry things as they’ve gone through the belongings of the oldest surviving family member.  He has realized that he will not be living independently again, and has given the go-ahead to clear out the home he had built in about 1973 and had lived in up until a few months ago.  In his right mind, this 96 year-old man now resides in an assisted living facility and, although he complains a little about the quality of food served there, has expressed in my hearing no other complaint

I drove over to the house early Saturday morning after staying up until nearly the stroke of midnight to meet a deadline.  Unshaved and unwashed I drove through Stepford at a time when most of the town’s residents are still in their pajamas or thinking about eating fattening convenience foods they can microwave.  Hot as heck already by 7:20 or so a.m.  Workman were resurfacing one of the main routes across town, and I had a longer than usual stop until a flagman waved me past after the asphalt truck had gone by.

I drove past three big mainline denominational houses of worship.  One of these is the First Big Southern Denomination meeting house.  As I drove by, I wondered whether, if I showed up there one Sunday morning, I’d recognize anything that happened under the building’s roof as particularly Christian.  Not.  Probably not.  But I may be too critical of the religious practices of others who, like me, claim to be Christian.

After spending a couple of hours helping my mom move some stuff out into the garage for the auction people to haul off, I drove out to the Pot County seat Administrative Plaza to visit a friend who works over there on Saturday mornings, then drove back to Stepford (which, oddly enough, is not the county seat) to put gas in the XC before returning to the house.

At home, I found my son and wife had already eaten breakfast.  My wife went to the store, and I made a bowl of oatmeal.  While it cooled, I watched the last part of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Seventy-Six.  He didn’t want to watch the part where Caractacus, Truly, and Benny Hill visit with the kids in the watery cavern under the castle, and asked me to fast-forward to part where Gert Frobe and Anna Quail sing a comically lethal duet, which never fails to amuse the child.  I shared my bowl of oatmeal with my now 3 1/2 year-old son while we sat in bargain faux-wicker furniture in our somewhat dilapidated sunroom.  Second breakfast for him.  The boy is exceedingly tall for his age (95th percentile height, 75th percentile weight), and when he jumps (cannon-ball, knees-first) on my back if I’m lying on the carpet reading a book, the impact is no joke.

After my wife came home from the store with the week’s groceries, I got my shower and changed.  We ate lunch as a family – BLT sandwiches, while good tomatoes are in season and available.  My little boy only wanted grilled cheese, but was willing to eat a piece of low-fat bacon.

Shortly after lunch, I called my friend, neighbor, and relative by marriage, John T., to ask whether I could borrow his small pickup truck to carry off some things from the house across town.  He said, sure, come on over.  I walked over to his house and as I approached observed him pulling the truck out and parking it in the shade of a tree in the driveway.  We exchanged greetings and he asked whether I could use any help.  Any time a super-intelligent 88 year-old World War II veteran with a realistic sense of humor, and whom you’ve known all your life asks whether you’d like his help, the right answer is “Yes.”

“You drive,” he said.

We made a couple of trips.  Hot all day, the small truck has no air-conditioner, so we drove with all the windows open, including the wind-wings.  Cars now don’t have them, but they permit one to direct a flow of wind toward the car’s interior as it is driven.  I sometimes wish my 850 had them.


I’ve been reading Ernie Pyle’s Here is Your War, only the copy I’m reading came out of a rural Indiana farmhouse and was published in 1943 or 1944.  The cover is present, but not worth mentioning as it is ragged, the insides of the hardbound cover at front and back have yellowed newspaper clippings pasted into them in the style of old fashioned scrapbooks.  About a dozen to 20 other clippings are stuffed into the middle of the book, and notes handwritten in pencil on a folded seed-company mailer postmarked dating from 1944.  I’m using the seed-company mailer as a book mark.  I’ll read the clippings after I’ve read the book.

John is a veteran of World War II.  A year or two ago, he told me about his Honor Flight tour of Washington, D.C.  It sounded interesting, but I found myself wishing someone had provided such a tour for him and other veterans when they were all younger and more independently mobile.  John said he enjoyed the whirlwind visit to the memorials and monuments honoring the men and women who fought and served in that defining conflict of the mid-Twentieth Century.

I don’t know how, but we got onto the subject of cellular telephones and John said he and Irma, his wife, had been at a movie and the cell-phone of the woman seated next to him rang three or four different times during the film’s showing.  Although annoyed, John didn’t say anything to the woman because, “You never know if it’s someone who’s going to try to shoot you.”  We started talking about the debased state of even semi-rural society here in Southern Middle Tennessee, about how it seems at least 75% of the population is using psychoactive medication with or without medical advice, and another 10% probably ought to be prescribed something.

I asked John, “Is this (motioning with my hand to indicate a mix of current circumstances of place and the things we’ve been talking about) what you guys were fighting for?”

“No,” he said, “it’s not.  We went to war to defeat Hitler and Stalin.  And the Japanese.”  When asked, he denied with a shake of the head any regard for the manner in which the victory of his generation had been spent to build a medicated welfare state.

It’s Friday again as I return to complete this post – the last Friday in July.  After the preceding paragraph, I’d started to write a bit about the following Sunday, but just now returning to it, I’ve completely forgotten what it was I’d wanted to say about last Sunday.  I recall that my family and I skipped worship service and performed all manner of ox-freeing work on the small ‘c’ cultural ‘c’hristian Sabbath for which the Almighty will doubtless not condemn us, the Sabbath being made for Man and not Man for the Sabbath.  And anyway, Sunday’s just the first day of the ancient world’s working week, and Christianity was at first a working man and woman’s religion.  Do not make the mistake of reading any kind of Marxist cant into my remarks thereby missing entirely their various points.

Yesterday, or the day before, an idea occurred to me as I was reading or thinking about Pyle’s book that I’ve mentioned above.  And that idea is this – wouldn’t it be interesting to find some accessible and clear way to contrast the United States of 2011 with the United States Pyle wrote about in 1943.  My copy of Pyle’s book bears the publication date “December, 1943.”

One of the things Pyle did was to report the names and street addresses of some of the military personnel about whom he’d written .  That struck me as odd and an obvious security breach.  How on earth could even a half-sentient military censor allow something like that to pass into print?  I can think of one or two possible “conscious” answers to the question.

But that idea I had is this – Wouldn’t it be interesting to Google Street-View those 1943 addresses in 2011?  The visuals might indicate whether or to what observable degree the United States of America has improved since winning World War Two.

Here’s one I jotted down today (I wish I’d thought of this when I started reading and had kept a list):

Page 119

Lt. Victor Coreno

11002 Woodland Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio

It’s a parking lot on the corner in a run-down neighborhood near public housing projects.  Maybe it’d been a storefront with apartments above, or a two-storey frame house, or just an apartment building like the brick buildings beside or behind it.

Here is another one:

Page 130

Navigator Lt. Davey Williams

3305 Williams St.

Fort Worth, Texas

I wasn’t able to find a Williams Street in Fort Worth using Google Maps.  The address at Williams Avenue is a run-down strip mall in what looks like it is now a run-down commercial-industrial area.

I was able to find a Williams Street, and re-linked the address above.  What I’m finding with Google Maps and Street View is that addresses are so approximate in many instances that the online “service” or whatever it is a lot of the time plants its little orange markers in the middle of intersections.  Still, the entire length of Williams Street is pretty badly run-down.  You’ll note a family group reclining on living-room furniture out by a dumpster behind an apartment building nearby.


Today I came home early from work because my head felt like it’s bones were splintering like one of those cinematic werewolf transformations.  Explains why I’ve been cranky last two or three days – coming down with an intractable head-cold that only rest will cure.  Once home, I watched the third and apparently final episode of the BBC Masterpiece Theater “Sherlock” – an updated adaptation of the Arthur Conan Doyle characters and stories from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  I thought I’d hate it completely, but found that I very much enjoyed the short series.  What bothers me, or that irks at the back of my mind, is that an updated Sherlock Holmes posits a hundred and twenty or so years of history without Doyle’s character embedded, so to speak, in the culture.  Can you imagine a world that’d never heard of or been influenced by those stories and that one particular character?



Stepford Fall colors brighten the day.

Fall again here at Stepford and I am catching up on work at the office, trying to get enough exercise not to get fat, experimenting with a new camera, and managed to paddle last weekend even though that involved playing hookie from worship service Sunday morning.  I shot some video with the new Pentax Optio W30 while driving earlier this week, and I’ll try to get that posted later this week, but I’ve got some deadline work I must complete by the weekend.  Moses Santiago suggested on a social networking site that I am in need of a lifeline. 

Another Pleasant Stepford Saturday

I’ve said it before, here or elsewhere, for someone like me the great adventure is living the ordinary life in an ordinary way.

Yep, I’m adjusting all too easily to life in this established neighborhood not too far from the country club.  This morning I slept late.  Ate buttermilk pancakes made with wheat flour for breakfast.  Drove to the store and bought PVC adhesive, bug spray, ant traps (for the mower-shed), 2-cycle oil for the leaf-blower and line-trimmer fuel, a small yellow bucket and a small yellow sponge for Seventy-Six to help out with car-washing.  I drove to the gas station and bought gas for the mower and other equipment, then home where to pick up sticks, run the line-trimmer, mow the lawn, and clean up after an early lunch (sandwich) with Caution-Lady and Seventy-Six who’d returned from the store.

Seventy-Six has been potty-training this past week with mixed results.  He has not been enjoying the experience.

This bloom looks like it has been open a while

This bloom looked to me like a crown

The magnolia tree out front has two blooms; I photographed them.  While mowing the front lawn, Caution-Lady brought Seventy-Six outside, and I gave him a mower-ride around the house, then she let him play with his new pedal scooter.  Did I mention that a couple of weeks ago Caution-Lady backed over the little push-bike toy he got for Christmas?  He was getting to big for it, but he really liked that toy.  She thought at first it was my fault (and telephoned to scold me about it as I drove to work in Murfreesboro) but later realized she was the one who’d put the toy away last.  The new toy is a real hit, too, and Seventy-Six is big enough to work the pedals.

I finished the back yard and cleaned up while Seventy-Six napped, then washed Whitecar, the cautious one’s ’93 940T.  We’ve had the car for eight years.  I’m guessing it’s been at least one year since I washed that car by hand, although we’ve run it through automated car-washes a couple of times.  Since the car stays in the garage when not being driven, it doesn’t get too dirty.  But it was freaking filthy when we got it back from the mechanic’s shop where it’d been parked outside under trees for a couple of nights last week when there for service.  We’re planning to sell the car pretty soon, as soon as we locate a reasonably priced and mechanically sound XC70 with which to replace it.

I did something I’ve never done before.  I washed the garden tractor like I would a car.  I sliced the fire out of one of my fingers as I was using a sponge to scrub the frame under the hood.  The blood, which quickly overflowed a tight band-aid, I thought might take a stitch or two to stop would have stained the dirty wash sponge if I hadn’t rinsed it out.  After I finished washing and dried the mower, some tightly taped gauze finally got the bleeding stopped.

Shade-tree hull repair

Masking tape makes even the most inexpert repairs look workmanlike while in progress

Another snack, and by that time Seventy-Six had awakened from his nap.  I took him outside and he played with his new scooter, and I repaired the RZ96 hull using genuine German parts.  Hope the hull stays patched. LATER: Here’s an excellent thread on the subject of gluing to repair PVC hulls.  Wish I’d seen it first, but I should have had the sense to do a simple Internet search for: gluing pvc hull.

I showed the little boy his new bucket and sponge and predictably, although I was surprised, he insisted on using them on something to “clean-up Now.”  I asked him whether he wanted to wash his own car, and put about a quart of water in the bucket.  I let him sponge some water on Thursday, too.  Maybe I’ll get that one washed tomorrow.

Later, we watered the plants together using city water, but when the little monkey chose to rebel against my command to desist from jumping in one particularly muddy puddle near the front steps, I took him in to the house and gave him back to his mother for awhile.  She gave him a couple of crackers and a cup of water.

Windows 7, Rain, & Stepford Snow

Windows 7 Upgrade

Yeah, I know.  I’ve always been a Mac guy.  Build quality of the Apple hardware far exceeds anything I’ve ever seen on the PC side.  The Mac operating systems have always made more sense and offered more and better control of the computing environment. 

Well, as you know if you’re one of the people  who read this blog, I’ve recently purchased a factory refurbished HP laptop.  It shipped with Windows Vista installed, which I really enjoyed.  Sort of a monster the functionality of which was fun to discover.  But, because I purchased before 31 January 2010, HP offered a free upgrade to Windows 7.  Because free is where it’s at, baby, I signed up.

In due time the envelope containing the two-DVD upgrade suite arrived.  Disc One is a proprietary HP upgrade helper sort of thing containing a user interface and progs that evaluate the hardware and C-out reports and advice.  And here’s the thing – the advice printing to screen is worth following.  First time around, I ignored the suggestion to abort the upgrade then find and uninstall the program that uses “keyboard filter” before running the upgrade stuff again.  After what seemed like a very long time, with the actual Windows 7 disc running its install, the entire system and upgrade hung completely on a chkdsk countdown at 1.

After using the Macintosh to get online and research the problem, I rolled back to Vista on the laptop, found and uninstalled the HP Quick Keys program, and a couple of days later successfully ran the upgrade to 7 without the slightest hitch.

I have never had any similar problems upgrading Macintosh computer operating systems.

Anyway, I do like Windows 7, but it’s not as funky-genie-like as Vista.  Just pretty stable and functional using far fewer system resources.



What was it, a week ago, that we got all that rain.  Like Waterworld around here for a few days.  Got me thinking about the feasibility of installing a dry well out back and in front.



Got a bunch of snow here at Stepford yesterday.  Our offices were all closed at noon – I got home before the atmosphere began to really resemble a shaken snow-globe.

Ready to Paddle

Atlantic Street Stepford 001

Another beautiful day in Stepford - calling for rain this afternoon, but considerably warmer temps than we've had in the last little while


I awoke earlier this morning than I’d intended to, could not get back to sleep, got up and made some coffee.  The Sony Handycam program I installed the other day had completed overnight the task I’d given it – to backup some raw video clips to DVD after converting them to WMV format.  Took far longer than I expected – hours.  Windows Task Manager reported less than half of the available RAM was being used at any of the several times I checked, but CPU usage monitor indicated a consistent 92%.  This Hewlett-Packard DV6 has an Intel DuoCore processor that’s not particularly fast.  Maybe I will back up the same video files without first converting them to see how long that takes.

6:22 am

I’ve been up awhile, and it’s only 6:22 am.  I’ve just made a lunch to eat while I’m on the water.  Peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, trail-mix, and generic fig-newton cookies.  Pretty heavy on the carbs.  I’ll have a huge bowl of oatmeal before I leave the house.

Today it’s my goal to paddle the Pionier 450S folding kayak I purchased last fall.  I intend to try out the spraydeck/skirt combo and the rudder with the boat today.  Probably will paddle no more than eight or so miles – this will be my first excursion since my shoulder surgery last August, so I want to ease into this.  The Pionier’s far lighter than my Pouch E68, and is sponsonless.  I will probably try cartopping the kayak deck-down because the Gothic-arch cockpit is long enough the coaming should rest easily on the 850’s factory roof-racks.  That, and the fact that I never did spring for carrying cradles for the E68.

When I get home, I’ll let the boat dry out, leave it assembled in order to affix a keelstrip to protect the hull from further wear.  Yesterday, I spoke with Mark at Long Haul Folding Kayaks – his company sells gray keelstrips  17’ long and 2.5” wide that he said may be applied with neoprene cement.  I’ll probably buy one and cut it down, saving the remainder to use as patch material if that ever becomes necessary.

After the hull-work’s completed, I’ll disassemble the boat and see about any frame stripping and varnishing.  I need to have a look at that E68’s frame, too.

Again, I am writing this post using Windows Live Writer, so we’ll see how it works when I include a picture.

Bad News

A friend posted the following quote as a quote, but without attribution, on an Internet forum yesterday:

He is not afraid of bad news.
— Psalm 112:7

Christian, you ought not to be afraid of the arrival of bad news; because if you are distressed by such, you are no different from other men. They do not have your God to run to; they have never proved His faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear. But you profess to be of another spirit; you have been born again to a living hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things. If you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace that you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature that you claim to possess?

Again, if you should be filled with alarm like others, you would no doubt be led into the sins so common to them under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by bad news, rebel against God; they murmur and maintain that God has dealt harshly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?

Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Your wisest course is to do what Moses did at the Red Sea: “Stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD.”1 For if you give way to fear when you hear bad news, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure that prepares for duty and sustains in adversity.

How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God’s high praises in the fires, but when you act as if there were no one to help, will your doubting and despondency magnify the Most High? Then take courage and, relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”2

1Exodus 14:13
2John 14:27

I truly don’t much care what other people think my life in Christ looks like from their perspective, so I don’t sweat that appearance stuff mentioned in the quote above.  But on the whole, it was what I needed to see when I tuned in to that discussion board.

Earlier in the day, I’d heard from my realtor that the house we sold did not stay sold.  That deal has fallen through.  We get to keep the buyer’s earnest money – a small sum that will offset to a degree the costs of continuing to own that house when we thought we were done with it.  To be truthful, I had a sense a couple of weeks ago that things were not going to work out, and had an attendant sense of peace that the matter would eventually result in a better outcome for us.

For one thing, I’m going to try to arrange today to have that one excellent, Mennonite-built shed removed to our current address.  The new property lacks a clean, dry storage place for my kayaking, camping, and sundry other gear.  The shed that came with the new house, although built on a perfectly good concrete slab, has after 30-odd years proven permeable siding-wise.  Another thing to fix or have fixed when time and disposable income permit.

And I’m going to get those excellent shelving units built in the 1970s for the house in which we then lived at 1904 Velez Dr., then San Pedro, but now billing itself as Rancho Palos Verdes, California.  The former buyers really liked and wanted the units, and we said, “Okay, for an additional sum, you can have them, too.”  They’ll either go in the den or in the garage, but in either place, we will find a use for them.

Finally, if you know anybody who is looking for an excellent, bargain-priced house here in loathsome Stepford that has seasonal bow-hunting across the street on thousands of wooded acres, three relatively large nearby lakes for flatwater paddling or fishing, about 900 wooded acres out back (sadly, they do not go with the house), mature cherry, apple, pear trees and grape vines, have that person drop me a message here or ring me at home.

Happy Wednesday,