July 4th, 2003

gericault_the raft of the medusa 2


Yesterday, my sleep was interrupted three times, I got up too early; my cat threw up on the carpet, and then twice on the kitchen floor; I found that Sluggo could stay connected to the Internet for no more than seven minutes, due to the heat; the only thing in the house for dinner was something that invariably gives me indigestion; and in the evening, while waiting for the day to cool off enough that I could take a walk, I sat down for a couple of minutes -- and woke up ninety minutes later with a sore neck from having slept on it the wrong way, and it was dark out. Now I'm dizzy. So, how was your day?

When I lived in Los Angeles, I sort of liked July, even though it was sometimes as hot as it is here, and usually smoggy, too. I liked it because there were always a couple of parties, and I could usually pick up a few extra bucks videotaping 4th of July events for a local cable TV channel, and I could always find time to go visit the breezy shores of Santa Monica a couple of times. It was a fairly decent way to spend a month. Here, my recreation is limited to those evening walks, my entertainment is whatever can be found on television or the Internet (when Sluggo is working,) and most days I feel as though I've been sunburned, even when I don't get out of the house. The heat here just </i>penetrates.</i> Since the forest is so highly flammable this time of year, we don't even get fireworks. July here bites. So do its mosquitoes.

Don't mind me, I'm just cranky. I got my nap, which I didn't want. Now, at four in the morning, the house has cooled enough that Sluggo was able to stay connected for all of twenty-seven minutes! Whoopie. After he cools for an hour or so, I can post this, in the gray morning. Then I can go to sleep and, most likely, go through another day just like the last one. A few more months of that, and things will get back to normal. Then I can start dreading the icy blast of winter. Yup.

Oh, by the way. Happy Freaking Independence Day.

Update: Well, at least when I went out a few minutes ago, the kitty from across the street came over to say hello to me. And she didn't even so much as cough up a hairball! That's something, anyway.
bazille_summer scene

Happy Fifth of July

My brain is running on summer speed, which is very, very slow. A while ago, I went to say bath mat, and it came out as bat math. Heh. That go me to thinking. Bat math must be quite complex. Each bat in a swarm has to calculate the distance of the bats around it, both its own speed and direction and the speed and direction of all those other bats, and be constantly adjusting speed and direction so there will be no collisions. Then, it has to do something similar when hunting for the winged insects which are its food. A bat's life must be constant calculation. They must be very good at it.

This got me thinking further. I'd be willing to bet that a bat can calculate about as well as a computer. A bunch of bats would have quite impressive skills. What I'd like is to have a bat colony in my house, providing all the processing power I'd need and, at the same time, keeping the house free of mosquitoes. I'm sure it would be much more reliable than Sluggo, and there'd be a bonus in all the guano I could collect for the garden. So, somebody needs to invent some sort of wireless connection between bats and computer peripherals, and we can get rid of the damned boxes. Just plug the monitor and keyboard and mouse and drives into a power source, and let the bats take care of the processing. The perfect solution, aside from the occasional case of rabies.

I've celebrated Independence Day by turning on the air conditioner. What could be more American than using up vast amounts of (largely imported) energy merely to make myself a bit more comfortable? I feel terribly patriotic because of it, and truly grateful to all those who have died for the United States -- all those Indians, for example. If they hadn't died, we wouldn't even be here. We'd have to be in France Freedomland, or something. I just wish I could blow something up, and then it would be a perfect day.

Well, the day is almost over, now, and I've heard hardly a boom from anywhere in town, and no sirens. I guess we've gotten through another Glorious Fourth without some patriotic scofflaw torching the place. I think I'll send the day off in style, with a bit of thoroughly American dissent in the form of the following verse. Although it dates from the 1950's, the fact that the more things change, the more they stay the same, keeps it curiously timely.


by Donald Petersen

Those days were like the country's politics:
As hot as hell and full of nasty tricks.
Women passed by with almost nothing on;
All things were joggled in the noonday sun.
Six days a week one labored to compete
With those who slaved like zombies in the heat:
"Jesus, I guess we're in it now for life,
The cat, the baby and the pregnant wife
Are paying for the world's mismanagement.
Sun pounds the roof but they are innocent --
While far away a foul-mouthed senator
Rages and snorts upon the Senate floor,
Reviling men and laws, and all the while
(His mouth contorted with a cynic smile),
Drunk and enamored of his posturing.
Oh, say, Sow-ee, Sow-ee, of thee we sing,
Our patriotic pig, our cornball king."