Jan 21

Snow video and cats, what the web was made for

I said it would snow, because the meteorologists said it would snow. And so it snowed, light flurries pretty much all weekend. We got maybe two inches out of the deal. Here’s some video proof:

And here’s some slow-mo snow, ponderous precipitation, facile flurries:

It was melting away in the early afternoon, yesterday, but more flakes fell, amounting to little of nothing and that will be the last of it for a while. Sun and clouds for the next few days. And Thursday we might hit 46 degrees! A delightfully mild week seems like just the thing, doesn’t it?

Let’s check in with the cats, who are a handful and just fine, thanks.

Phoebe is checking out something on that first sunny day we enjoyed after a long stretch of bleh.

Fortunately she was able to work in a bit of sunbathing into her busy schedule.

Poseidon spends a lot of his mornings contemplating the deeper things in life, like ‘What is spotted ball?’

He, too, enjoys the sun. Sitting on the cat tree lets him be taller than you, and he can really fill the frame.

Sometimes I think he understands the idea behind camera sense. Sometimes I think he’s a philosopher cat. Usually, he’s just … we call him high spirited.

Had a great bike ride, going up the Alpe du Zwift. I am so very slow, and it takes me forever. But I did hold off a couple of people the whole way up the mountain. They were the other slow climbers, like me.

Scroll around and look at this climb:

The map looks reminiscent of my Alpe D’Huez shirt, which I am wearing this evening in honor of my massive video game accomplishment. I found the photo function on Zwift, because on a long slow climb, you can discover new things. This is right after the summit:

This was on the descent:

That’s my second hors categorie, or beyond categorization, climb. I am so slow. It actually snowed on the climb. The app showed little drifts of snow scurrying across the road as I huffed and puffed. It has a lot of detail to it.

Twelve mile climb, 3,753 feet of elevation, and an average gradient of 8.5 percent yesterday, and a punchy little workout today, means I will feel them both tomorrow, too.

Jan 21

It’s only a day away

Dreary day. Dreary weekend. Winter is here. We’re low on snow, but that’s just fine. I’m pretty sure it has snowed more, so far, on family in Alabama than it has here. So they’ve had their fill of snow, and maybe we can just go without this year.

Of course, the year when you don’t go much of anywhere, it might be nice to sit and watch it fall and not have to worry too much about it.

I am looking forward to seeing the sun and blue skies, which may return as soon as … tomorrow? Tomorrow! If so it would be the first sunny day since … January 4th. That was the only day that had nice atmospheric conditions this year. That is, in fact, as nice as it has been since the day after Christmas.

If you were here you could have seen a blue sky and the sun for the better part of six hours, since Dec. 26, 2020. In the last 17 days you could have seen the blue sky, or the sun, for 1.4 percent of the time. Which explains a lot, I’m sure.

I think the cats can tell. Phoebe is sleeping a lot more like this lately:

This photo of her hints at some sun, and it was taken on … January the 4th (see above):

Poseidon has lately found a new interest. He is a keen observer of car chases.

That one shows a helicopter pulling away after a pursuit ended when the driver jumped out of his car and ran into Los Angeles’ storm drain system. We can all agree that if part of your night has found you in the storm system, you’ve likely made some unconventional decisions. This, I said as the helicopter moved away to its next assignment before they killed the web feed, is the problem with car chases. Often, you don’t get a resolution. Maybe the next one! Maybe tomorrow!

Take this one, for example. Poe was watching here a guy who worked his way into a Motel 6, where the standoff began. They didn’t stick with that one, either. “It was not immediately clear if the driver was located and arrested,” says the station’s website. Which, if you’re going to write it, stick with it. Maybe the next one! Maybe tomorrow! On the other hand, it’s better than watching a dramatic accident unfold in front of you.

And it’s an influence thing, too. He’s klutzy enough on his own. Let’s not give him ideas.

This evening we went for a walk and saw the pond out back was starting to freeze in layers:

Of course we tested it out:

And after our little walk, which was only about three miles because it was 24 degrees, I pedaled on the bike for an hour.

Got in a nice 20 miles before dinner. That’s the world course from the UCI Championship in 2015, which I’ve mentioned here before. I wonder where I might ride the next time. Maybe tomorrow!

Jan 21

Sing and sing and sing and sing

I finished reading Jon Meacham’s Songs of America. Yes, Tim McGraw is listed as a co-author. He did contribute some sidebars. They were included in the book. For the most part it wasn’t clear why. Meacham doesn’t need the help with history, and maybe twice McGraw contributed something to our understanding of the music. (And he’s certainly capable of doing that, but it didn’t really pay off here.

It was a lot more like the guy at the next table over just offering his opinion on a song you just played him. Maybe he knows it well. Maybe it sparks a memory from long ago. Maybe he’s hearing it for the first time. And he figures, well, since you’re talking about it and played it for him, he should probably offer a paragraph or two of thoughts on the matter.

And that’s what Tim McGraw did. I wondered how this arrangement came to be. It’s Jon Meacham. Which kinda diminishes McGraw, who has three Grammy wins and 17 other nominations among his other honors. He knows music, this is not a matter of dispute. He’s apparently written five other books, and one of those was a bestseller. But here, why was he here if a few sidebars was all he was going to contribute.

And then, at the end, they mention it. They are neighbors.

Anyway, it was an interesting book. You’re going to learn about songs you know. You’re going to discover important songs you haven’t even heard of before. Here are two little excerpts, from Meacham.

Susan B. Anthony had gone down to vote in the 1872 Grant-Greeley election. She was arrested and taken before a federal judge. The judge asked her if she had anything to say after her conviction for … voting.

Ward Hunt was on the U.S. Supreme Court. History doesn’t remember him especially well. He didn’t let her testify, read aloud his pre-written opinion, told the jury how to vote and immediately overturned motions for appeals. Anthony was charged with a fine. She told the judge she would never pay. She never did. Probably you’ve never heard of Judge. Hunt. Everyone learns about Susan B. Anthony, even if only a bit, in grade school.

Just go ahead and play this video while you read the text in next image.

In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution refused Marian Anderson’s participation in a concert at Constitution Hall under a “white performers-only” policy. Ultimately, a lot of DAR members left the organization, including Eleanor Roosevelt who would get the ball rolling for this Easter concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The contralto was in full force, a global star. No one knows how many thousands or millions listened on the radio, but one of the estimated 75,000 there in person was said to be 10-year-old Martin Luther King. (I’ve seen one reference on this, but I am struggling to find more.) He’d speak in front of Lincoln 24 years later, of course. She sang from the same spot that day, too.

Senator Mike Braun is from Indiana, and I have a question for him and the others who found themselves in this rickety position this week regarding the cynical political pandering of which he was a part. This was his message last week, and for quite some time:

And then yesterday happened — prior to which he was face-to-face with people in a way that rarely happens and he formalized his Arizona objection — but after the deadly assault, he wrote this:

So, senator, do us all a favor and explain this. You were certain, prior to the seditious raid on the U.S. Capitol, that this objection was something that needed to be done. Now, not at all. You withdrew your objection to the formal vote certification. So which is it, senator? Did you feel the wind change? Or are you that easily persuadable?

And which, in your estimation, is a better attribute for a United States senator?

Dec 20

The week in between

And how was your Christmas? And your weekend? And what does this null week look like for you?

We didn’t travel for the holidays, being safety conscious and risk adverse and all of that. The first Christmas I’ve spent in my own house, I was a newborn. The second, we were stuck in an ice storm. This, the third, I’m frozen in place by a pandemic.

So it was weird, and sad in some respects and empty and quiet in those same respects. But it was simple, and quiet, and lovely. The Yankee made cookies for Santa.

I picked us up some stocking stuffers — I think this was the first time I’d ever done that — and my mother-in-law mailed stockings, as well. So the two of us had four stockings, plus lovely presents.

The only downside being what could be shared in person. Had a nice long conversation with my mom. We had an amazing prime rib dinner, in keeping with tradition.

Here’s the before:

Here’s the during:

For the after, imagine two empty plates. Also, there were green beans and sweet potato casserole and a shrimp cocktail.

After all of that we had a video chat with The Yankee’s parents. Just add hugs. And we’ve all decided to keep track of how we’re going to make up for it when we can visit in person again. The best part is that everyone is healthy and safe, even if we can’t all be together. One of my relatives got out of the hospital yesterday after spending several days of Covid treatments. Hopefully they’ll continue to follow medical advice and stay away from others. More of the family should be following the now repetitive and obvious advice, but not everyone gets it, even if some of them get it.

But I sigh and digress.

I sighress.

The cats also had a fine Christmas. Their presents, which were wrapped, were kept in a closed closet to help them avoid temptation. One present’s wrapping paper did get chewed on a bit overnight. Added to the character of the day.

Poseidon is enjoying his toys immensely:

That little thing was covered in cat spit. Covered. I couldn’t put it in the creek out back and get it any wetter. Hours later it was still damp.

Phoebe is a much more thoughtful player:

On Saturday we rode through a bit of London.

Yesterday afternoon we toured the French countryside in Normandy.

And those were just the highlights. The normal stuff, the regular things, those are what really makes a great weekend.

Dec 20

Christmas Eve

I’m told a day’s worth of non-stick flurries don’t qualify for a white Christmas.

This would be the time for it, of course. Nowhere to go. No one coming here. If it can’t be warm it may as well be warm. Let it snow, I say this one year.

Had a nice morning walk — indoors, it was 27 degrees before the black night sky turned to the regular daily gray, after which the temperature fell to 23.

Wrapped a few presents, rode the bike through France.

Watched cookies being made — where the real magic happens! — and had a delicious dinner of pasta shells. Then we went out to see some Christmas lights. Drove through the courthouse square, went through a neighborhood celebrating a 30-year anniversary of luminaries. It was quite lovely.

Santa didn’t appear while we were gone. So we’ll just have to go to bed early tonight.

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!