After the somewhat surreal Tuesday, Wednesday was much more mundane.

Actually the mound of laundry we hauled down to the laundry mat was somewhat surreal. Tomorrow I will be trying to clean out the garage enough to get at our washer and dryer, just for the sake of not having to deal with that type of mound again. The garage is a daunting task, but the cost of doing a hatchback full of laundry all at once has convinced me that waiting any longer is foolhardy -- particularly since the evil landlord has finally sent a lease renewal for the next year. I find I get very passive aggressive whenever we are in lease-limbo, feeling like any move to unpack, clean-up or install anything might thought off the Karmic forces and make me loose the game of chicken we play every 6 months to a year.

Besides the laundry, I got to Look back at lights of Hobbiton from first slopes of the Green Hill Country.

Sparing you all the photos.

Instead, I will share with you one of my favorite local critters -- I suspect this one is responsible for the drop in the total number of mice...

This one is large enough that mouse pinkies are "just right" for a meal.
A funny thing happened courtesy of FaceBook.

A person I had not heard from in about 19 years contacted me about four or five days ago. He had been one of those people raised privileged and unconscious of it -- his father owned a cruising sailboat, was a member of a yacht club, and though the same unconscious opportunities offered by being raised in that environment that Malcolm Gladwell covers in his recent book "Outliers" -- by the time Chris was 19, he probably had close to 10,000 hours aboard ships.

In the time since I last say him, in between earning and losing a couple of fortunes (right now is a low point) he was also on the Courageous in 2005 for reclaiming the America's cup with what is now the "old lady" of 12-meter sailing.

He now is the Captain of America 2, another America's cup veteran, as one of the staff of The 12 Meter Yacht Development Foundation . In essences, it is a non-profit that is still standing up as a way to fund the preservation of racing 12-meters that might otherwise go to a boneyard.

The basic "business model" that supports this ship, an older trawler, and soon the sister-ship #46 is that the foundation offers a day-sail on the ship to a non-profit that is doing a fund raising auction. There is a reserve set which is the amount that is expected to come back to the foundation -- anything over that is retained by the other non-profit. The foundation auctions netted about $250K for other non-profits last year, something less for themselves. This is important as the maintenance & mooring expenses are not insignificant for this type of ship.

The ship herself was worth the 5 hour round trip driving time. All aluminum, with even 1980's technology an amazing sight to behold for me. I was raised in a poor-man's sailing family -- my family spent years at the Rhode Island shore in a small boat yard in Avondale Rhode Island spending half the summer working on the hull of an old wood schooner, the other half sailing out to Block Island and back, or along other parts of Narragansett bay. All of the "trims" or adjustments to the ship had hydraulic assist or enough run of lines to out-of-sight blocks to give a huge, and necessary, mechanical advantage. There were adjustments even for the shape of the hull.

I arrived at the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters in Greenwich, CT at about 2:30 in the afternoon. There is a small private dock there where the America 2 can take on guests and crew. First, one of the high-school aged volunteers arrived, a young man by the name of Sandy who goes to private school and was already "free" for the summer. He and I amused ourselves a bit with our personal observations of the Captain (he has not changed much :)) and bonded a bit waiting for his arrival.

The first part of the afternoon consisted largely of pulling all the "working materials" off of the boat to present a clean appearance for the expected

As for the trip, after week of iffy and miserable weather, the stars aligned and we got a sunny and beautiful afternoon. There were a total of 4 crew -- the Captain, myself and two high school sailors of decent sail experience. I a truly a novice on this sort of ship and was along strictly as muscle (though I found out how soft I had gotten over the last couple years -- more workout time for me going forward) and two guests. Unlike the usually company, the wife of this husband and wife team had contacted the foundation privately and paid some unknown sum for a private outing for his birthday. They are both professionals in the financial field that appear to have weathered the recent economic downturn well, largely from coming form the layer of management below those truly responsible for our economic ills.

Fortunately, the guests wanted to be in charge as really the minimum number of hands necessary for running that ship is 5. Between the two they counted as one. We headed out in very fickle winds, having a hard time catching a decent enough breeze to get much more than 4 knots. However, the quiet, the sea breeze and the green gray of the water was enough for me to be happy. However, as the sun started to fade a little, the shifty winds picked up and with some active tacking we caught some good winds and picked up to about 8 knots -- while 9 MPH might not seem a lot, it is plenty on a ship with that displacement.

The trip in yielded the perfect Long Island Sound sunset. Our guests were pleased on many different levels -- the mid-ride winds satisfied the husbands desire for speed, and our chatty-Kathy Captain shared everything from the boats history to 12-meter politics, connecting this short cruise to the history, tradition and excitement of 12 meter racing.

One of the amusing factoids that I learned is that the design restrictions on 12-meters currently INTENTIONALLY keep these from being faster then they are. The intent is that 12-m racing is supposed to be a tactician knife fight, where one error can lose a lead and engineering cannot save you from yourself.

The wind grew a bit chill on the way back in, but nothing bad enough to ruin an afternoon on the sound.

As a footnote, if [ profile] netcurmudgeon or [ profile] ashacat wants to get in touch, Chris would love to hear from the two of you -- I can provide contact info.

A Day

Jun. 15th, 2009 11:35 pm

Nothing quite like finding out that the total familial dental co-pay between the work I should get done and the work K. **NEEDS** to get done is, at a round number, about 5K. I am the lesser of the evils.

Books, Anyone?

I'll be listing more throughout the week if you don't find anything that floats your boat.

Speaking of which, tomorrow will be my one big boondoggle of my vacation, running down to Greenwich, CT to sail as crew on the America 2. Haven't hauled lines in well-nigh 20 years.

Going to bed now so there is some hope I get a decent nights sleep.
Year End Physical Inventory is DUN.

I am a little more grey.

Whoever nicknamed this YEPI! had a miserably punny sense of humor.

But today is the first day of eleven before I have to go back to work, though there may be some irritating odds, ends and spreadsheets that I will need to address in the interim.

So, given that I fell away from that task, I am once Mowing to Mordor. Based on the time on task today, I have Crossed The Water on a plank bridge, but not quite made it to Tookland. But the day is not over.

Before picture:

After Picture:

And, of course, The Silly Old Dog surveying the boundary between mowed and unmowed. She approves of yard work and gardening as the only house dog trustworthy off lead to "help" in the front yard.

Karen was in Topsfield, MA with our girl Eiledon's Uri de Lindeau. I did not attend as Uri is much easier to show solo than with company. If she goes with one person, she is happy and adjusted. If she has two to keep track of, she is a mess to try and show. She officially is now Ch. Eiledon's Uri de Lindeau -- we had thought she finished a month ago but we counted one win incorrectly and she was a point short.

It is a good thing we never cut down our dogs.

She is also making noises of coming into season, so it is nice that she is officially a champion before the breeding. It does not change the quality of the dog, but many puppy buyers have a hard time digesting that since so many people make much-ado about "Champion Bloodlines". With enough money, any dog can finish in the US. Doing it on a budget, now that is an accomplishment.

I will post the official championship picture when it comes. But the fake championship photo (from when we THOUGHT she finished) is available here
I have been remiss.

My Year End physical Inventory starts today and I have not watched Cold Comfort Farm yet.

That is all.
Surprise! I have been silent for many weeks. After much face-to-face prompting by [ profile] matociaquala here is the Cliff's Notes ™ version of the last 2 weeks in the form of a Jeapordy (tm) question :
Why is it postal workers get such a bad rap when reality tells me that retail management sees so many more deserving victims?

This is why I usually do production and logistics, not retail.
and poet's asylum a nice way to spend a Sunday night in Worcester
So, I found 2 typo and about 10 awkward sentences but one of my articles is on the front page.

Surprise! It an informational article on the Portuguese Water Dog.

By the way, I think that may finally make me a real writer, because looking at it now I hate it. [ profile] matociaquala is right.

As with much of the non-news reporting that hits the airways, President Obama's dog gets a higher rating than, say, the fact that the Federal Reserve has, largely under the radar, bought almost as many mortgage backed securities as the Treasury has. Apparently the Fed chairman couldn't pass up a bargain.

What is funny is that everyone jumping up and down about it apparently missed the FRB announcement in November.
[Error: unknown template qotd]

You have been trained from day one to follow legal orders.

You have been reassured that this is legal by your chain of command, citing the reasons why.

You know that many of these people genuinely hate the United States and would kill you or any other American in a heartbeat given the opportunity.

Yet, what you are doing to them makes you start to refer to yourself in the second person, maybe even the third because it is not really you who would treat another living human that way.

Talk about a non-win situation.

Your International Spy Name is Solitaire Supernova

Your Code Name: Kneecaps

You Reside in: Rome

Why You're a Good Spy: You have total recall

I saw a clip.

He looked to the right as he was giving his remarks, other than for the phrase "receiving good counsel" at which point he looked left.

If I were going to over analyze, I would say recalling prepared remarks until he hit the lie embedded in them.

A little white lie perhaps, but isn't politics a wonderful thing??
Are really quite pleasan, even when it is not your very own holy day.

I have truly been neglectful of bloggging of late. Between the end of year warehouse sale, growing activity in the somewhat competitive grind of doing some SEO and web writing as a side gig, a wicked sick dog (now better and crashed next to me on the couch) holiday festivities and they like, my often neglected live journal became moreso.

We had much quiet fun Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the festivities help in the house of many dogs. We met some new people in their search for a new puppy -- and I think slightly amazed them after the vociferous greeting period in how quiet and sane a house with 8 dogs actually can be. They were native Irish, living in the Boston area because the husband was a programmer and the wages are not even in the same world as they would be for him at home. He got a Blackberry recently, so his wife is getting a dog. Makes perfect sense to me.

I have no resolutions to post, no quirky comments of insightful observations. Just a wish for a better year for all of us.
Truth is stranger than fiction....

....and if you would provide the webmaster feedback.

A good friend has started up a web site named

It is a neat little site for both practical living and informed financial citizenship. Please, if you are in the least bit interested or amused, join and come contribute to the community.

Thanks for listening to this public service announcement......
That followed Hannah was me getting sucked back into my work and barely leaving a remnant of me for any me/us time.


However, I want to thank [ profile] stillnotbored for posting the link to this quiz -- I am thoroughly amused.

I could survive for 1 minute, 38 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Today and tomorrow will be dedicated to last minute preparations for the **not vacation** vacation. We will be off to the Great State of Kentucky for the Briard National -- 9 dogs, 2 women, one rental van and lots of carbon based emmissions (my apologies to those of you with children, but at least I drive a subcompact the rest of the year.)

But I feel obligated to use my vacation time, besides just supporting our overall plans with our canine companions, because my company froze the wages of everyone over about $15/hour other than the truck drivers. Apparently there was no other way to cut the 1.6M they needed to up the CEO's pay this year...........not bitter at all.

Gotta love it.

Oh, and I will be getting my first new car ever -- inspite of the fact that we may be eating macaroni and cheese for the rest of the year to do it -- I missed a major Caveat Emptor (buyer beware) on the car I purchased a little shy of 2 years ago and due to my excess miles/year, when I sat down and did the math it made more sense to get a new car and have one reliable car for sure for the next couple years than fix the old and hope for the best.

I freaked out the finance guy when I started doing the numbers and actually took the extended warrantee -- funny thing about Hyundai is that the 120K package they offer included certain wear items -- and one of them is a required service every 60,000 miles for changing the timing belt. Those two services along pay for the plan, though not the accreued interest, but knowing that I would not sock away the monies for the repair, I'll just pay for it monthly and get my new timing belts at 59,900 and 119,800 and anything else it covers will be money saved.

He saved the back of the napkin I worked off of in order to sell the next smuck, methinks.


Aug. 10th, 2008 05:04 pm

I think I have mentioned before that I turned the back deck into a container garden jungle.

Why, you might ask noble reader, would I do that on 8 acres of land.

Why, perhaps I feel out numbered by the bears, woodchucks, rabbits and other wild life I would need to fend off.

However, 2nd story decks that are somewhat shaded are not optimum.

Life, however, adapts.

Note my new favorite plant, my kudzu, I mean eggplant, which has decided to become arboreal:

Before I forget -- a public HUZZAH for [ profile] matociaquala for being a newly annointed Hugo Award-winning author!!!!!!!!!
Okay, so we have a couple of dogs that hit that weirdo stage in herding dog development where everyone and everything is scarey.

So, Karen and I bundled up Boo and Banyon into the Hyundai and headed down to the town of Brimfield.

Both are black briards-- I don't have a recent picture of Banyon, but even though they are largely unrelated, they look like litter mates. While this is from a few months ago, they both kinda look like this:

While Boo is much younger in this picture, you get the idea.

Since both of them needed some serious "friendly stranger" time, we went down to the Brimfield Antique Show.

Really, it is a high-end flea market where the dealers do their "real" wholesale business during the Tuesday through Friday work week. Some of them hang out Saturday and Sunday for the retail population to wander through and perhaps land a sale they might not otherwise get. These are usually the vendors that didn't do as well during the week.

The nice thing about an open air market like that is that folks that AREN'T into dogs have plenty of room to take a wide circle around you, and the rest HAVE to ask "What Type of Dog is that?" Fortunately our goal was not to see the offerings but to socialize the dogs, as I think we would average about 20 feet between the one "It's a Briard" and the next.

We experienced:

5 people that knew what they were
46 friendly strangers that had to pet the dog
2 dog owners that recieved either grooming or behavior advice
1 person interested in a puppy

1 photo shoot team from Boston Magazine that recruited the dogs, and our help as dog handlers, for a photo shoot for a designer of one-of-a-kind outfits for the rich and outrageous.

I am not sure if the photos will come out as they were trying to shoot black dogs in the shade, but if they do, the dogs will be in the August or September edition of Boston Magazine.

It was a hoot. The outfit and the dogs complimented one another so well in person that you hardly could have picked a better pair out of a catalog of dogs. And the model, who probably missed the combined mass of the two dogs by a good 10-15 pounds made an honest attempt at following instructions on the dog handing part. Poor girl was a trooper even though she had not thought she signed up for that part and actually showed some good sense in introducing herself to the girls in advance.

Anyway, I'll post some of the pics if they get some back to us.
So, this is a "no good deed goes unpunished" story.

We keep several bird feeders in a front yard tree, generally year-round. One has generic seed, another sunflower seeds, and a suet container.

We get lots of birds, summer and winter. In the winter we get three types of woodpeckers, chickadees, tufted titmice, brown creepers, gold finches that have wintered over, lesser finches, and the like. Spring/Summer/Fall we have been known to get cardinals, barn swallows, even the occasional Ruby-Breasted Gosbeak.

Sure, we have our share of tree-rats (grey squirrels, red squirrels, chipmunks) that we feed and we even have scared off a couple of raccoons last year that made off across the yard with the sunflower seeds.

Last night was different. At about 12:30 a.m. Karen woke me up because the dogs went off. At first, when she turned on the outside light, she thought a raccoon had come and gone.

The the large rounded shadow at the foot of the tree moved an the Mama Black Bear's face came into view as she reached up to snack on the suet.

We think there was a cub in the tree as well -- we never caught sight of him/her but there were weird, strong! branch movements while Mama Black Bear was finishing her snack.

Things I learned:

1) While they may be the smallest bear, they are certainly more than big enough to be concerning.

2) I never knew that a brid feeder made a great hide-a-snack toy, but the way she artfully rolled the thing around, it was clear that she had figured out the lowest-difficulty method for seed extraction.

3) Having a firearm in the house is a good thing when you live in the country. Although she never threatened the house, and we did secure the doors and windows on that side of the house while she was snacking, it felt better that at least there was a chance to scare her off if she decided to take exception to the barking dogs.

4) Barking, confined dogs (i.e. inside the house) won't keep a bear out of the front yard if they learn "it's noisey but not visible".

5) Take all bird feeders in at night if you live outside city limits.

Well, off to work, so that we can feed everyone BUT the bears.
so my head has been deeply under water, largely the product of turning a 60K square foot warehouse into a 60K square foot retail store...

It was a clear reminder to me of why I have ALWAYS avoided retail in the past.

The rescue dog that I was musing about several weeks ago has settled in nicely and learned the local rules. His original owners had warned me that he might "come around" when groomed -- but even this is fading as he learned that even blurried eyed humans only halfway through their coffee don't hurt you with a brush if they know what they are doing. So other than a really heavy ball habit he has learned to like it here.

I think [ profile] matociquala might steal him someday if we don't watch out.

Anyway, I would like to make a shameless plug for a relatively new writer friend of mine, both new friend and new writer --

Jake Bell is a fellow out Arizona way that I learned of from a good friend of mine at Amazon. Or perhaps a better way to put it is he learned of me when he was job-hunting with the hydra that is Scholastic Book Fairs.

I failed at getting him "in" to our Florida headquarters (the position he was applying for got filled internally) but I got the chance to get to know him a bit in order to feel on the up and up recommending him.

Now, he has an agent and a graphic novel under what appears to be serious consideration at a couple different publishers.

You can get a glimpse of the main characters in him (hopefully) upcoming novel at

Okay, so its a handful of a web address, but the book is a fist full of laughs from what bits I've seen.

So, if you like graphic novels, check out the character briefs, then stop by his blog at and leave some sarcastic musings on his blog. Or link back to either site if you are feeling generous and want to help a brother out by making him more "real" to the virtual world.

Hugs to everyone out at Cons everywhere.....
So, Ace the wayward Briard dog from Florida made it here about 7:30 pm on Monday evening.

Poor guy.

He was petrified. It was interesting because he is definitely one of those dogs that if he can't be with the ones he loves, he's going to love the ones he is with. Because his people are in the middle of a fall from the level of irritatingly privileged, the in essence refused to put him on a plane, so he came by a ground transport company. One of the two drivers was a young man named Omar who is employed more as a dog handler than as a driver, I think.

Omar is not quite simple, but close enough that I doubt there is a dog on earth he can't handle. He has that, for want of a better set of words, lack of complexity in his world that gives him a calm you can almost smell even as a human. If anyone out there has ever read "Stand on Zanizibar" then think of the small country that always conquered their conquerors.

So he is settling in, being a bit of a teenager and testing to see what the new limits are. He actually seems relived everytime we set a limit for him, because his doesn't really need to be in charge, he just never had the option before to NOT be in charge. I'll post pictures once I remember to buy some Double A batteries.

Good news was that the neck wounds were already on their way to healing, though he had some other injuries that his people had "missed" when they looked him over...

stupid people. no biscuit.



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