Sep 19

I promise, we do not discuss the doppler effect of honks

This was my Friday afternoon. I’d pulled into the driveway, walked to the mailbox and heard the honking of the Canada geese. They aren’t on their migration pattern just yet, so I’m assuming one of them got word of some great bugs or grass in a nearby pond or field:

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I've flown into the weekend like those guys.

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Maybe they were going to the lake, or to the pond on the back of Old Man Thompson’s place.

There is a pond on a Thompson property on the general line of the geese’s travel. I looked it up. No idea if he’s an old man or not. You just always assume so. It’s never Young Man Thompson, is it? Probably because of that Nathaniel Hawthorne allegory we read in school. Young Goodman Brown leaves an impression. It’s either that or the fear of the unknown as represented by Mr. Mertle in the Sandlot.

The Thompsons could have owned that land for generations. Maybe it’s a part of the family that’s trying to get back on their feet. Maybe it’s just the place a middle aged Thompson keeps for his art studio. Could be a young family treating it as a starter home. The point is, they now have geese, unless they don’t. Those fowls could have been going anywhere. They are most assuredly gone from there by now. That flight was on Friday, after all.

I received the most on brand fortune cookie script of all recently:

If that fortune cookie algorithm only knew. I suspect it does know. That algorithm is tied into various other outfits. The smart devices in your home are listening to your takeout phone calls, or private conversations and decisions to just pick something up rather than to cook the same old same old. Again. So now my thermostat is sending info packets up the ISP after it sneaks a peak at the phone number I called. That data dump winds up at the takeout joint.

Now, sure, that’s just letting them know that we’re coming. (Aside from, ya know, the actual phone call I just made.) But what about the specifics? Your search results and your television viewing habits and how often you text your friends are all elements being scrapped in a huge data mining effort. That information gets shipped upstream and then, of course, there’s the cookie itself. Why, you’ve forgotten, again, the edible RFID concern. And how often are you going to forget those guys? That firm has placed a little device in the flour and vanilla mix and all of that data is cross-referenced against the pre-written fortune.

And there’s a person working there who shuffles the box of fortune cookies, they call her The Shuffler, and she makes sure the right cookie end up in the right spot, considering the 20, no, 25 minute wait and all the customers that may come and go before we get there.

It’s a modern miracle, really. And if you ever get the wrong one, you blame The Shuffler. Or you just choose the wrong cookie among your dining companions.

I went for a run. This is ordinary, except it has not been ordinary.

I haven’t gone for a run since April, when I ran an official 2.34 miles on April 3rd. Aside from limping through 10 miles one day later that month in Texas, this was the first real effort on foot since then. I’ve been nursing a foot and heel issue back to health, and that’s happily improving somewhat. So I taped it up well, and I tried out a brief run-walk interval. I did three minutes on and three minutes off and registered a little two-mile run this morning.

The many miles of bike rides in between don’t exactly translate to total running fitness and does not mitigate the immediate question of “Why do my calves ache?

The good news is that my foot felt fine. I’m sure it was the tape job and my present stride might favor the part that has been bothering me. The bad news was that everything else that complained about the effort.

Everything else will get used to it. I need to get down to Old Man Thompson’s place and check on those geese.

Sep 19

Wish I were here

I’ve been playing with an app to make cinemagraphs. Moving pictures! Who would have thought it! And all right there from my phone! The one that’s a supercomputer! In my pocket! Who would have thought it!

The app is called Pixaloop and it was free. You can purchase upgrades, but all the basics that you receive do a nice job. I’m still learning from some of the finer points of those basics, and while it is basic, it does what you’d want it to do, once you get a sense of what will visually work.

I made that last one while I student was standing me up for a meeting. It’s apropos.

Sep 19

Bring me …

Water, thirsty photographers long ago noted, can make many compositions just a smidge better. It was true on the shrubs in the front 40:

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Morning dew on shrubbery.

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We do not have 40 acres on the front of the property. That would require more driveway maintenance than anyone wants to maintain. But we do have shrubs and they have exhibited, of late, days of morning dew.

You could put water on more still life subjects for more compelling photographs, but you don’t always have water. You could carry a water bottle, but that sends mixed signals to the dihydrogen monoxide continued therein. Am I but a drop to be drank? Or am I but a drop to be sprayed on a rose?

Water thinks like this, pretty much immediately, when you try to get it some degree of sentience. And then it’s terrifying. What about the water you put into the pet’s bowl? What of the water you put in that pot to boil? You would never make corn or pasta again, if you began to think water had thoughts and feelings. And dreams! Oh the dreams of water! Only some drops get to fulfill those ocean dreams. Some are adventurers, sure, filling up raging white-capped rivers and eager to plunge down a dramatic waterfall. While some are more tranquil drops indeed — ponds for me, thanks — others are just diligently working their way through several cycles of dew and humidity. But even those drops have plans.

Anyway, since a water bottle is the wrong choice, there’s always a spray bottle. But then you’d have to stuff that in your bag, next to your camera and your other expensive and accumulated electronic things. And you’re not carrying a spray bottle that way. What if you got some of those anarchistic drops of water?

We went for a bike ride and I started out strong and was trying to outrace The Yankee back home. Mostly I’m trying to give her something to pace off of, but she’s very strong and fast and this is not my best year. So the best laid plans and all of that.

Well, she caught and dropped me far too early today. Best laid plans and all of that.

It was one of our most basic routes, designed for decent mileage in a timely fashion. We ride it a lot, which means there’s a place where I figured I might be able to make some progress and cut into her advantage. But she also knows the route, of course, and she never let up in the spot I expected. Before long I couldn’t even see her anymore. She’s very strong and fast.

So I just raced my shadow home:

Never let the shadow win.

Do you know how you never let the shadow win? Always pedal home from the east. The evening sun will be in front of you and your shadow behind.

We ran into the local sports beat reporter at the grocery store. We were shopping for a thing the giant megastore didn’t have, and he strolled by, basket in hand. We discussed and worked our way through most of the college and some of the professional sports in the span of about four minutes, before he had to dash off to the next big event. Beat life never stops, after all.

We could have taken a photo — because secondary sports celebrity! — but he’s our friend. Besides, you don’t take photos in the produce section. You forget you’ve even got your phone there. Probably you left it with the water bottle. Or maybe in the shrubbery.

Jul 19

What a different a thunderstorm makes

Here, like many places around the country in this totally unexpected, unpredicted and entirely without historical precedent of a month called … let me make sure I have this right … Ju-ly … have been enjoying some warm temperatures. On Saturday evening I went for a bike ride early in the morning and it was already 100 degrees.

Sunday evening I took another short spin. There was a new road I wanted to try, and when you get those in your head they are difficult to shake. There are generally two approaches. You could cheat and look at a map, or you just ride the thing. Well, I just road the thing. Again, it was meant to be a quick ride, and while I looked at the temperature, again offering a heat index of an even 100 degrees, I neglected to look at the radar. So I got rained on a bit:

And while that only increased the humidity, it cooled things off considerably. It was 78 degrees when I got back home, and that drop happened in about 30 minutes. And just like that, this most recent heatwave was broken.

By the time I got back to the house and cleaned up, it was time to run a few errands. I mis-timed one store’s closing hours, which is fine because that probably saved me $20. But, still, there’s always another store to go to.

Turns out there were two more stores to hit, because the first didn’t have what I was after. That only happens every other week.

On the way back in, I looked in my mirror and realized that I haven’t tried a sunset-in-the-mirror photo in some time. It’s probably been three-plus years. How often are you driving west at just the right time of day with a clear view behind you? If you live west of where you’ve been, don’t answer that. It’s unusual for me now, as a pure happenstance, which is fine. One really only needs this shot every so often, anyway.

I bet the ever-changing symbolism is still changing.

Jun 19

I just hit the card aisle for the ones I won’t buy

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One of the cards I didn't purchase this year.

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