Dec 19

On plastic (700 words)

We have wooden blinds in part of the house. We have plastic blinds elsewhere in the house and I have installed or replaced almost all of them, because no one, no thing and no circumstance appreciates the fine molecular structure that holds those things together. Do not stare at the blinds, because if you sneeze while you are considering them I’ll have paid for the juco classes for the blinds salesman’s grandkids.

The wooden ones are made of something more sturdy. The cheapest balsa wood, most probably. They are nice, attractive. They have about 14 strings descending from the top of the window, and cats love that. So we’ve tried to neatly coil and stow those away, like sailors. Because that’s what cats do to you, they make you put everything away. They make you improve your sleight-of-hand game, because they’re always around when you have to hide things.

A lot like kids, you might say. Yes, but children grow up.

On the front of the wood blinds, hiding the lightweight metal frame which hides the inner workings, is a nice molded plastic valance. It looks like an attractive routed, wooden molding. If I didn’t have these on the windows, you would never notice. If you noticed they weren’t there, you’d just think I was a bachelor. I’m not a bachelor. So the downstairs windows, where the 93 strings responsible for tacking to the window and driving the clipper ship across the water, have wooden blinds and valances.

A little piece of plastic which comes from some back-alley plastic manufacturer in some faraway land holds the valances in place. Two valances per blind. Except for the one on the left-most blinds in the living room, the ones nearest the TV, the ones directly across from my customary seat. See, that little piece of plastic had broken off. We assume it was either a cleaning accident or a micro-nuclear explosion at the nanoparticle level. Well. This evening I got tired of the ineffective temporary solution (tape) and resolved to create an effective temporary solution (anything else).

This requires removing the blinds — haven’t I paid enough into the karma bank for the year? — to implement my solution. I didn’t have to go with the fake fix, though, because I found the broken part of the old valance clip, inside the blinds casing.

Still with me?

I went to the super glue drawer. (You don’t have a super glue drawer? I have three different brands in my super glue drawer, each operating with varying levels of ineffectiveness.) I glued up the broken piece.

This is the plastic I’m working with. When the glue cures, the blinds must come out of their holding pieces once more. I removed the one valance clip from the frame of the blinds, allowing me to run the nice molded plastic valance that looks like an attractive routed, wooden molding, through both of the clips, and then re-attached it all. I fixed the glued one. I broke the other one. (Fourth thing I’ve broken in a week!)

I glued that one back together … and that didn’t work.

Super glue is a con, but you can trust the Internet. A quick search showed me the same pieces of cheap plastic on Amazon. I ordered it from my miracle device, sitting comfortably in the living room. They’ll arrive next week, as I have chosen the slowest possible delivery method and these delightful pieces of plastic will take the scenic route through Canada (or Oklahoma, the Internet isn’t clear on this point) before they take on their arduous job of holding plastic up all the live-long day.

You know how you’re never supposed to read the comments? Sometimes you shouldn’t read the reviews. The third one on Amazon says, and I quote directly and in its entirety, “is ok.”

Who needs flying cars? This is the world we live and work and play in! I ordered more of the thing that breaks easily without interacting with another soul! They gave me an option for free returns too. So, if they aren’t coming from Canada (or Oklahoma), but rather from space, they’ll have a nice trajectory into orbit. Maybe they’ll hold something together up there.

Nov 19

It’s Friday somewhere. Here. Holiday weeks, amirite?

We are now in the slow weeks. The time simultaneously before and after time. It has been busy, but now it is Thanksgiving week. And next week we will have one last week before dead week and then finals week and then the slow times again.

The office is open this week, for reasons that surpass understanding. There were eight people in the building at one point today.

Dear Mr. Hamlet, the answer is “To be.”

This is the sunset from the parking deck.

This is the black and white version.

This is the same photo, but with some random phone filter applied to it.

Those sunsets are from yesterday. Today it was not appreciable, which may or may not be a meteorology term, in this part of the world, but it should be.

I visited the hardware store this evening, where no one, not once, asked if I needed any help. I didn’t need help, because I’ve learned that, while they mean well when they ask at the local hardware shop, and they are nice and pleasant people about the undertaking, my needs are apparently too exotic or I am, in fact, beyond help.

This is what I needed: Two pieces of hardware. Four screws. Because my latest contraption needs handles, and it is built in such a way that the screws that come with handles are a default length, but my build needs longer screws. I need screws that are one-and-three-quarters of an inch. But the standards are one, one-and-a-half and two inch screws. So I’m going to have to saw screws down to size.

That’ll show ’em.

Also, I needed a countersink screw bit. And I found myself totally guessing on that purchase. (Later edit: I guessed correctly.)

And then I went to the house, and we ran. Or shuffled. Or jogged. Or whatever I’m doing these days. It’s moving faster than a walk, that much is sure.

And then I started putting the finish on this particular wood working project. Tomorrow it will be completed.

After that, the in-laws arrived. This was totally expected, almost down to the minute, thanks to the proliferation of GPS and constant contact via text message. They’re visiting for Thanksgiving, of course, which will be lovely, of course.

So let the holidays begin.

Nov 19

You’ve gotta get up early in the morning to think this up

The booking photo looks about like you’d imagine, after you hear about this story. I suppose they rarely surprise. The story is as old as winter, but with a twist.

It seems a gentleman here in town went out to warm up his car yesterday morning. He went back inside his apartment, only to see his car being stolen. So there’s someone out in the parking lot, at 5:30, shivering, waiting for some knucklehead to come crank their car, leave it running, unattended and unlocked.

That happened. The knucklehead, having seen the car being stolen, ran outside, got into his other car and chased off after it. Presumably without warming it up.

At this point, I’d like to point out that both of the cars in this story are reportedly the knucklehead’s girlfriend’s cars.

But why call a guy who’s just having a terrible morning a knucklehead?

Dear reader. You’re asking the right question at the wrong time. Because this knucklehead chased down the stolen car at a nearby gas station. And then he made the outstanding life choice to start shooting into it.

He reportedly fired 13 rounds at his girlfriend’s car. Which, to me, means you had 12 opportunities after catching up to it to ask yourself what the desired outcome would be. At best, at best, a person — chagrined at having stolen a car, disappointed at being chased down, scared to death for having been shot at — gets out of the car and peacefully gives up and the knucklehead sits on him until the police arrive. But, really, is that going to be what really happens? Next, you just fire into your girlfriend’s car, causing a lot of damage you have to get repaired. Then the options get grim. You wing the car thief, who is now bleeding all over the leather upholstery and fine Chrysler carpet. Or, you know, you just kill the thief, and that’s going to take up the bulk of your day, seeing as how you have no grounds to shoot this person.

Anyway, after the gunfire started at this gas station the one bad guy drives away in the still-stolen car. And the knucklehead continues to give chase. Eventually, he finds the car, abandoned. (And not too far from our house.) The car thief has yet to be found. There was no blood in the car. The knucklehead has been charged with criminal recklessness with a firearm, pointing a firearm and carrying a handgun without a license because he decided firing 13 rounds at someone stealing his girlfriend’s car was the right play.

A safe and civil city, indeed.

Nov 19

Burrow under something

This was the other night. I stepped out to the backyard to cover the grill. We’d grilled out, because that’s a thing that was still a good idea, given the pleasantly mild evenings and the food in the kitchen. And when you can eat something from your kitchen and it is prepared in comfortable conditions, then you do so, and you spare a moment somewhere in between bites, to be grateful.

Because the moon was high in the sky, and the moon always shines bright here. You can read by it on a clear night. I’ve done it. You can stand under a full moon and see distinctive figures at a considerable difference. And even under a gauze-thin layer of clouds, you can’t help but remark how the night sky lights up. It’s something to be grateful for.

This was tonight:

Less grateful, really. But I didn’t have to be anywhere, so it was something to admire from inside, or the porch. And I could be grateful for that.

This was today:

Cold. But at least the sky was blue. You give me the option and I’ll wrap up against the cold and deal with the snow and take the blue sky, and be grateful.

Or just so long as the snow melts soon. It turned from fall to winter quickly. We’re stuck with this for a long while, though. It won’t melt soon enough. It’ll turn grey; it will stay cold.

Dipped to 19 today, with some considerable winds beside. But most of the day was indoors. (I have a rule about that, and I honor the stay-inside rule.) Even still, we’re flirting with those numbers where the chill gets inside the muscle and threatens the bones.

Even the Yankee cats don’t want anything to do with that:

Seems like a good place to nap.

Nov 19

Where you step

Last week I was counting grey days. We were moving into winter, after all. I’m not embracing it — Three, four, five days in a row! Hoo-grey! Like that was something to be excited about, other than the morbid curiosity of wondering how long that would last, and what I would one day be able to do with that information. (Nothing.) — but you have to step into it to step back out of it. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s an approach to try, as much as any other.

Then Saturday came, and it was chilly, but the sky was blue and lovely. And Sunday was another beautiful looking day. I mean, consider:

That was during the bike ride, and I was wearing gloves, sure, but shorts and a windbreaker. I wore wool socks, but my toes weren’t frozen, like on Friday when I’d forgotten the rule of cotton.

(The rule of cotton: Is it cold? You’re going to be cold.)

And then Monday, yesterday, was another fine looking day, even if I was inside for the entirety of it. And tonight, I got home just in time to run for a few miles in that moment between the twilight and the gloaming, and into the fullness of the evening:

It was about 5:40.

Today, another fine and crisp day. You can just feel it in this video:

For all the technology available to us, though, you can’t really express fall. The sites are never grand enough and the smell is never there. It isn’t a season for just the one sense.

But before we get ahead of ourselves … we’ll have a lot more grey and winter-like conditions later this week. It’s a touchy time in an intemperate place, meteorologically speaking.

This morning, I finally figured out to take the picture I have been admiring on the parking deck. I park on the second level, in case the little creek a block away sneezes, I guess. And that second floor parking routine means I take two 180-degree turns. And after the second turn there’s this view, which looks lovely through polarized sunglasses and, finally, my pictures looks as it all does in my minds eye.

As ever, the key is in where you do your metering.

You have to step in, then, before you can step back.