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Oh [Oct. 23rd, 2016|07:02 pm]
Strange to say but my Internet is working and my telephone is not. I ought to say telephones, as I have two, and both are silent, without the familiar buzz that indicates a potential connection to the world. This afternoon my Internet failed for a while, and when I found the telephones also dead I supposed that it was all one problem, probably incurred as a result of the squirrel-chewed cable from my house to the pole at the street. But this evening my Internet returned, and the telephones remained inert.

WTF? What are the odds that two telephones would both go bad at the same time, or that their independent jacks would do so, or the separate cables connecting them to those jacks? Not great, I imagine, and so I am left with a puzzle. I am also left without my modern connection to the world other than the Internet. I find this strange and disturbing. No dial tones! What if my house catches fire? What if a murderer breaks down my door? What if I have an irresistible craving for pizza which can only be acquired by telephone-ordered delivery?

The collapse of modern civilization is not what I expected to encounter today, but here it is. I am in the dark ages (electricity, cable television, Internet, flush toilet, refrigerator, electric oven, microwave, water heater, gas range, furnace, and a few other items excepted.) How will I cope? What are my chances of survival? Someone could be trying to call me right now and I, a bloating, telephoneless soon-to-be corpse would never know!

Such a tragedy gives one pause. Being cut off so is such a challenge, will I be able to rise to it? Can I be like Lewis and Clark, confronting the mysterious and threatening wilderness? Like stout Cortez, silent on a peak in Darien? Like Odysseus, storm-tossed, shipwrecked, yet determined to reach his home? I guess I'll find out, though I have no idea what is wrong, and since the Internet (and thus the squirrel-chewed cable) still works, it is none of AT&T's problem and I must deal with it myself.

Oh, the humanity!

Sunday VerseCollapse )
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No Meteors [Oct. 22nd, 2016|07:21 pm]
If the Orionids displayed any meteors here last night I didn't see them. The clouds did increase, and I saw only occasional stars peeking through, plus the back fence neighbor did leave his back porch light on all night, which would have dimmed anything that might have appeared in the sky anyway. Too bad, because the moderately cool night would have been ideal for sky watching.

The moderation is diminishing, and I expect to have the furnace going quite a bit tonight. The next week won't be very cold, but the days will be cool and the nights rather chilly. Of the eight days starting Monday, the long range forecast predicts some chance of rain on all of them, but better than even chances on six and less than even chances on the other two. I hoped for a rainy fall, and it looks like getting it, at least so far.

What I hope now is that this doesn't turn out to be one of those times with a rainy fall followed by a dry winter and spring. If it is, then we'll be back to having severe water restrictions next summer. If that happens I might as well start ripping out shrubs, as there are several I doubt will survive another low-water period anyway. The oleanders along the back fence already look like they're on the verge of dying.

But winter hasn't happened yet, and maybe we'll get lucky. We got lucky last winter, though that was thanks to El Nino, which is probably going away this year. Weather is full of surprises, though. Maybe that's why they call it meteorology.
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Meteors [Oct. 21st, 2016|07:17 pm]
Somehow I missed the news that the peak of the Orionid meteor shower was early this morning. Well, the waning moon was up by then, so I probably didn't miss much, and I was asleep then anyway and probably needed the sleep more than I needed to see a few streaks of light across the sky..More meteors could be visible this evening, and I'm about to go outside and look, but we had some very lovely cirrus clouds hanging about most of the afternoon and at sunset, and they might persist.

If it isn't too cloudy, the Orionids are fairly well situated for viewing from my back yard, though the view is better later at night than it is this early in the evening. Orion is in the east southeast right now, behind some tall pines, but around midnight or so he will be due south and fairly high, where I've got a good-sized patch of open sky. It's not too chilly out tonight, either. I do hope the back fence (and next door south) neighbors leave their porch lights off tonight.

I had a very late lunch, so I'll have to delay dinner until quite late, too. I ought to have had a nap this afternoon, as I've been up since seven o'clock this morning and thus at risk of conking out pretty early. I'll just try to stay off the couch as long as possible.

Out now.
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Nutty [Oct. 20th, 2016|10:15 pm]
Today it was warm enough to avoid the furnace all day and probably most of the night, but I still had to close all the windows about five o'clock. It will be cooler tomorrow, but I might get some fresh air for an hour or two. After that it will be back to keeping the windows closed all day and all night. It might rain on Tuesday, and then again on Friday and Saturday, but after tomorrow it will be chilly all week. There will be hot tea and hot chocolate again, and sleeping under piles of blankets. One tree I can glimpse from my back yard has decided to decorate the season appropriately with a mass of bright red leaves, but so far it is alone in its effusiveness. The air is about to feel like autumn, but the landscape doesn't look it yet.

The recent rain and chill caused the walnut tree to drop upward of a hundred nuts so far. They are bigger than last year's, but not very numerous. The squirrels and raccoons are taking their share, but I've gathered and set aside a small bag of them for myself. I doubt there will be very many more. I might just let the beasts have them. I actually still have several small nuts left from last years abundant crop, so I'm sure I can get by with a smaller cache this year.

I got too little sleep last night, so I had dinner early this evening, just in case I conk out early, too. I'm hoping to stay awake until after midnight, as going to sleep too early can end with my waking too early the next day, and I certainly don't need too little sleep two days in a row. Maybe there will be something on television sufficiently interesting to keep me awake until a reasonably late hour. The Internets won't be much help, as the computer is being terribly slow again, and the tedium of waiting for pages to open is itself a soporific. I think I'll go outside and see if the raccoons are here again. They visit every night when the walnuts are falling. The fresh air might invigorate me enough to stave off Morpheus a bit longer.
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Sloth [Oct. 19th, 2016|11:59 pm]
It would be an exaggeration to say that my computer has slowed to a crawl tonight. A crawl would be way faster. I'm not sure what bug it has up its digital butt, but this is the slowest it's ever been. Maybe it just needs a nap. I'll let it have one. If it never wakes from that nap, well, so long and thanks for all the virtual fish.
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Forgetful [Oct. 18th, 2016|08:35 pm]
Last night I fell asleep before fixing dinner, and slept for almost three hours, so I ended up just heating a can of soup around eleven o'clock. I didn't get back to sleep until six o'clock in the morning, and then woke up about two o'clock in the afternoon. I guess I'll be rested enough to fix an actual dinner tonight, somewhat late due to having had a light lunch around four o'clock. But it's chilly again tonight, so I'll have to be wary of those comfy blankets. They can just lure me in and put me to sleep before I know it.

It remained cool all afternoon despite some bright sunlight. The warming trend that's due will be gradual, but I think I might be able to open the windows again by Thursday. That will help keep me awake, as the stuffy atmosphere of furnace-heated air is somewhat soporific. The leaves littering the lawns might be dry enough to rake by then, too, so I'll be able to uncover the grass and let more of it get some sunshine. With luck it might get fully green again before the winter cold arrives to re-brown it.

The computer has been behaving rather badly again, although my Internet connection has been reliable this evening. The machine has gone though that thing where it checks itself for ticks after being turned on, and then it tells me that the system has recovered from a serious error. It's done that two days in a row now. I think it's trying to remind me that is at digital death's door. Someday I'll turn it on and it won't recover, and then I'll be forced to find a replacement for it. It really ought to have been retired a couple of years ago, but expense. At least it hasn't yet succumbed entirely to Sluggo's Disease.

I'm pretty sure I was going to watch something on television at nine o'clock, and even though I can't remember what it was I'm going to go fix dinner now so I'll be ready by then. I used to be able to tell myself that if I didn't remember something then the thing wasn't really important, but my memory is getting so crappy that I can no longer rely on that assumption being true. Ah, age, but that they strange mutations make us... wait, what was I going to say?
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Chilly [Oct. 17th, 2016|07:49 pm]
The second storm turned out to be less intense than expected, just as the first one did. I'm not complaining. There was plenty of water dropped, and parts of the brown lawn are already turning green, and everything looked bright and clean when the sun emerged for a while this afternoon. This doesn't mean that I won't have to irrigate my landscape any more this year, but I'm undoubtedly set for another week, and then there's a possibility of more rain next Monday and Tuesday. A longer dry spell could still arrive before winter, but with luck I've seen the last of the really high water bills until next summer, or late spring.

Naturally the passing of the storm means a very cold night tonight, but we're supposed to get three or four mild days this week, and I might even get a chance to have the windows open for a while on two or three of them. But I suspect that the nights when I can leave the furnace off are gone for the rest of the year. It's going to go well below sixty every night this week. There are some blankets I'd like to wash, but I'll have to wait until the washing machine gets fixed or replaced.

Shopping a day late was a bit hectic, as Mondays are busier than Sundays. The stores were out of a couple of things I wanted to get, too, so I have to remember to take the rain checks next time I shop. At least I remembered to get the rain checks this time.

Tonight I have to adjust to the damp chill. The first damp, really chilly night of the year is always uncomfortable for me. The furnace doesn't seem to warm me up enough, even if I raise the thermostat. But this usually only lasts for a couple of days. And eventually the damp will go away. Just not tonight. It would be a good night to use the oven. Too bad I already made brownies Saturday night, and I'm too hungry to wait for potatoes to bake. Maybe I'll make a batch of corn bread later. Or maybe I'll fall asleep early under the pile of blankets I ought to have washed before the washing machine broke. Shopping on a busy Monday did wear me out.
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Unstormed [Oct. 16th, 2016|07:10 pm]
Last night I arranged to shift my shopping trip from today to Monday, due to the prediction that the next major storm would arrive this afternoon. The rain hasn't started yet, so I'd have had plenty of time to shop and stay dry, and now it looks as though the brunt of the storm will arrive later tonight and continue tomorrow. Looks like I might have screwed up, but I'm blaming the weather service. Rain finally began to fall around sunset, and now it's getting harder and the wind is picking up. It will be a Bulwer-Lyttonish night.

The day was enjoyable, being col and relentlessly gray, and I'd have enjoyed going out, but too late to do anything about it now. At least I got to spend a Sunday afternoon without feeling rushed. The stray gray cat came by to eat again. This time Porky, one of the feral cats, was here, but he didn't pick a fight. He rarely does. A couple of hours later the stray made another visit, presumably to top off.

But the second visit didn't go well. No sooner had the stray settled by the food dish and nabbed a couple of bites than Shorty, the black feral cat, came out from under the jasmine hedge and threatened violence. The stray cat took off, and got caught for one brief, yowling tangle before managing to escape over the back fence. Shorty did not pursue it farther than the fence, and looked very pleased with himself for having run off the interloper.

But now that the rain has begun I should be mindful of my unstable Internet connection and get this thing posted before it goes away.

Sunday VerseCollapse )
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Not Yet Washed Away [Oct. 15th, 2016|06:42 pm]
The day couldn't seem to decide if it would be blustery and rainy or mopey and drippy. About sunset it finally made up its mind, and it looks as though the night might turn fierce. The rain gutters have been filled to overflowing several times, and the pond that forms on part of my back lawn is lapping at the porch. Two of the feral cats are already hiding out on the porch, but will probably soon be forced to retreat into the cupboard. I've put a small cushion on the lower shelf of the open cabinet, to supplement the old pillow on the upper shelf. I hope that will be sufficient. If Ton Ton Macat shows up he'll either have to endure the damp cement or displace one of the others, neither of whom will share, from the cupboard. I'm hoping he'll stay away, though, as he is a bit of a troublemaker. He can hide under a house somewhere if he wants to stay dry.

A new stray cat turned up this afternoon. It's mostly gray, and though it looks fully grown it isn't very large. I can't tell if it's female or male. None of the other cats were around at the time. The new cat was very hungry, and finished off a good sized bowl of food before vanishing. It was a bit fearful of me at first, but once I put food out seemed to be more confident, though never confident enough to approach me. It vanished when I went back indoors. It's possible that it has lived with people before, and if it did I'm hoping they had it fixed, especially if it is female. If it decides to hang around I certainly don't want another litter of kittens, and if it's male I don't want it picking fights with, or getting picked on, by Ton Ton, who is an un-neutered male.

My Internet service light is green at the moment, but I don't know how long I will remain connected, so I'm just going to post this entry as it is. Shopping tomorrow, if the day does not turn unbearably foul. Tonight I will enjoy listening to the rain, but hope I don't lose my electricity.
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Storm Day One [Oct. 14th, 2016|09:54 pm]
As I had feared, the storm has been playing havoc with my Internet connection, and this despite the fact that it hasn't been that big a storm so far. There was quite a bit of rain overnight, attested to by the half-full bucket that caught the drips from the skylight on my back porch, but today has been mostly dry, though gray. I woke up shortly after noon and saw through my window a fog, which I hoped would grow thicker, but it only got thinner. Too bad, as I do enjoy a nice fog.

At that time there was still considerable dripping to be heard as the trees shed their accumulated rainwater, but tonight is silent. The crickets have quit chirping, and the trees have quit dripping, and there is almost no movement of the air. The bucket is not a proper rain gauge, but it usually gets half full when we've had around two inches, and that's about half of what was expected from the first part of this storm, so I'm guessing we'll get the other half tomorrow. Then the second part of the storm should arrive Sunday. Maybe it will be more vigorous than the first half has been so far,though I'd be pleased if it wasn't. A mostly dry Sunday afternoon would be fine for going shopping.

I've lost Internet service several times tonight, and when it has been on it hasn't lasted for long. The "service" light is green at the moment, and I should take advantage of it and post this entry now. Then I think I'll go outside again. The air, though chilly, is really quite pleasant, and listening to the silence is more enjoyable than being repeatedly frustrated by an unreliable Internet connection.
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