Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Where Was I?

I was playing Ultima V in my apartment in Sacramento, blissfully unaware.

Where were you 23 years ago?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

So, Rain

The weather is what it is.  Today it was spitting rain on my ride back to the hotel.  It wasn’t much more than enough to speckle my clothes and bag.  But it did send me back to my freshman year of college.
I used to have early classes all of the time.  The chemistry or physics lab option that would fit my schedule was inevitably 7:15 or so on Tuesday and Thursday.  And for a few semesters that lab was all I had on those days.

So while living in the dorms, I would get up early, eat breakfast, go to class, and then have nothing to do other than homework for the rest of the day.  Now of course, I didn’t spend all my time schooling, so I would ride my bike.  Typically to Tower records or the mall.

One day I was riding up Watt Avenue, probably halfway to tower, and it started to rain lightly, you know, just a sprinkle.  It wasn’t any big deal, so I rode on getting slightly damp.

After my time browsing through cassettes and books, I decided to head back to campus for lunch.  And it was pouring.

Now something to remember is that I got up early enough to eat breakfast before lab.  I had a high metabolism for for most of my life, and while in school I ate constantly.  So I was eager to get back for lunch.

So I rode back to the dorm in the rain.

And when I got back, I was soaked.  This is not hyperbole; my jeans were notably heavy when I walked up to my dorm room.  I ended up laying all of my clothes out to dry on my drying rack.  (Yes, drying rack.  My T-shirts last forever because I don’t tumble dry them.)  And then I took a hot shower.

While I was in the midst of all of this, my floor-mates had seen me and asked why I was riding in the rain.  I told them what had happened, and they asked why I hadn’t called them for a ride.  Now first off, I didn’t have any of their numbers, but secondly, this was 1987/88.  There were no cell phones.  Or at least nothing truly portable.  So I said I would get their numbers and call if it ever happened again.

All this flashed through my mind today on my ride to the hotel.  That and the bit of thrill of feeling the weather on my face.

I think I owe my wife an apology for poo-pooing her desire to ride in the rain.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

King or Queen

Over the past year, I have been away from my wife overnight while working more than the rest of time together combined.

Because of this, we find ways of keeping the other in our thoughts.

Somehow, I appointed the egret as my animal.  There always seemed to be one flying or walking nearby when I was thinking about something difficult.  Having one or more around was just cool.

Jennifer has developed an association with ravens.  Somewhat from reading American Gods, but somewhat for the same reason as me with egrets.

She also has an affinity for butterflies (hence two of her tattoos).  Some of this comes from our visit to the butterfly house at The-Park-Formerly-Known-as-Marine-World, and some from the butterfly house in Key West that we visited twice while there.  She’s also had some other personal experiences with butterflies.
And then there’s dragonflies.  I find them fascinating, and like the things they hunt (mosquito larvae and, a recent find, termites).  I’ve had some close encounters with them including a big one that was sitting next to a lock at a job site one time.  Unfortunately, I don’t have that picture on my computer; it must be on the NAS at home.

But with these affinities, Jennifer and I know when the other is thinking about us.  Sometimes.

Last year when I was in Madera, there was one day when no matter where I looked for about 5 minutes, there was a butterfly swooping across my vision.  It was just as if Jennifer were waling past me saying, “Hi, honey.”  That day was the end of my stay at that job, and before I hit the road, I sent her a text saying I was on my way home.  I knew when she got the message, because while on the highway, a cloud of butterflies suddenly erupted from the flowering bushes in the median.

She had a similar experience one day at Lake Merritt.  She was thinking about me, and suddenly an egret landed on the beach n ear here and walked slowly across her vision while she was reading, seeming to make sure that she noticed it.

So yesterday I had an amazing experience with dragonflies.  We had cut down a tree a few weeks ago, and yesterday finally did some digging near it.  I think the excavator bumped it going by, but I noticed later that it was covered in winged termites.  The termites started taking to the air, and I saw two dragonflies start swooping through them, eating them on the wing.  Soon, there were at least eight dragonflies hunting through the fleeing termites.

Dragonflies and Termites

The termites are invisible, but the swooping things are the dragonflies.

And then today, I saw a butterfly flit by.  It stopped for a second on a large transformer, and I thought I’d get a picture, but it flew away.  Then it landed on the fence, so I got as many pictures of it as I could before it flew away.

It just kept opening and closing its wings in the sunlight.  I waited each time for it to open before I took the picture.  The third one is my since the wings were flattest and so the whole insect is in focus.

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These aren’t with any fancy camera either.  This is just a basic, digital point-and-shoot.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Power Failure

This morning I was awakened by deafening silence at 4:20 AM.

The fan on the hotel air conditioner had shut off and so had my speakers which had been playing my white noise app. The power tried to come back on, but failed.

PG&E's webpage estimates power restoration at about 8:00 AM.

But have you ever realized how dark and quiet a hotel is without power?

I'm grateful Jennifer bought me a travel candle holder (it looks like a thick makeup compact) several years ago, and so I always have it and some tea-lights in my luggage. Of course I had to use my flashlight app on my phone to find my matches. I need to get a lighter for less smoke in the future.

I showered last night, and hair isn't a big issue since I wear a hard hat all day, but without the candle it would have been decidedly more difficult to get my contacts in.

So now I've been awake almost an hour and a half. I'm dressed; I've read my non-RSS feed comics on my phone; and I'm curious how much of a breakfast, if any, will be available from the hotel at 6:30.

Plus, one tea-light is not enough light to read by.

I guess I'll play phone games since I'm not going back to sleep.

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