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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Hooked on Sweet Things

Sweet thing No.1

Alright, readers, it’s time to come clean. On and off over the past couple of years, I have been reading the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. The stories take place in Botswana, and are so shamefully sweet I am sickened that I both play recorders and have read these novels. Sometimes I fear there is an old lady inside me, struggling to get out. Hey, just a minute, did I steal that from Alfred Hitchcock (Norrrrmannnnnn)? These books are so sickening sweet and moralizing that even my m-m-m-mother doesn’t like them.

The series follows the life and work of Botswana’s first female private detective, Precious Ramotswe, who is “traditionally built” and prizes old-fashioned Botswana values. Her idea of traditional Botswana values is suspiciously like all that blather the British Torries spewed about Victorian values during the dark days of Margaret Thatcher. Precious’s life is intertwined with that of the conspicuously honest auto mechanic and garage owner, Mr. JLB Matekoni.

In each of the six books, Precious solves small problems in people’s life while slowly chipping away at the major mystery. As each mystery is resolved, both the major and minor puzzles, precious works out her own resolution to the problems she uncovers.

There is something amazing about these books, possibly in the writing style. I cannot come up with a good reason why I like the books, but I do. They are the ultimate feel-good escapist experience, although there are crimes involved.

Sweet thing No. 2

A couple of mourning dives have set up a nest in a poodle-trimmed bonsai tree in my neighbor’s side yard. The bonsai tree gives us a great view of the nest, we’ve watched them build the nest, sit on the eggs and deal with the baby birds, who are nearly two weeks old. The nest is about 10 feet from the neighbor’s living room window, so we can watch the action with binoculars from her house. Even a “trash bird” becomes attractive in this view. I suspect the bird has somehow arrived at the command of Maximon.

Our neighbor will remove the nest once the dovelets leave the nest, probably next week. Doves can have broods 6 or 7 time per year. That’s too many doves and too much guano.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Naked Brunch

He sat by the computer, realized his life is so pathetic there’s nothing worth writing about. Time to write about nothing.

It just appeared, right in a downtown parking ramp, the camper van. A big camper, with urban styling – tagged on the back. Why is this my camper? Where am I going? How can I fit this locomotive-sized thing through the parking ramp exit? Squeeze to get out, must be a weekend day – no one there to collect a parking fee. Driving on the road, going nowhere, why does this look like Parking Lot 60 in Madison, WI? Where am I now? What am I doing here, by Cabella’s in their campground? I don’t even go hunting or fishing. Damn it, fell into another wormhole of the mind. Who would think a wormhole could connect you to western Nebraska. The store closes at 9:00, frantic rush to buy ammo, sandhill cranes flying over soon, begging to be shot. Ancient Japanese scribes wrote that killing a Crane leads to 30 years bad luck. Damn, the secret to immortality! Haven’t killed one in 28 years, time to get to work. Oh no, here comes Jesus, wants to know where he can get his nails done. The end of times is near, careful with that flaming sword, josh. Are you trying to burnt he place down? Who wants to start eternity with a torn cuticle, he asks while sucking the tip of his pinky.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Vernal Pools!

We walked among vernal pools today!

We toured vernal pools this afternoon. Vernal pools are small seasonal marshes that form each winter in the little that’s left of native prairie in California’s Central Valley. The pools lie in poorly drained areas, so the pools are ponds in the winter, and slowly dry out in the spring. As the pools dry out, some beautiful plants seen nowhere else pop up.

The tour was led by the California native plants Society. Our docent was a youngish graduate student who is specializing in studies of invasive vegetation in vernal pools. He appears to be very focused in his advanced studies. I had to prompt him when he couldn’t remember the latin name for the California poppie, eschultsia sespitosa. Who could forget an official State flower whose name brings to mind imaged of the underside of an outhouse? He certainly knows his vernal pool biota, however.

When we first stepped out into the grassland, we could see the vernal pool culverts in the distance. They can be recognized by the blue downingia or the beautiful yellow flowers.

Those who demand facts from respectable sources can get the official story about vernal pools here.

The local vernal pool society publishes photographs of plants in the pools we visited. Latin and common names are included for the botanical minded.

Today’s weather was sunny and very windy. The blustering wind provided clear views in all directions. I could see the Sierra summit to the east, and Mount Diablo to the southwest. We don’t often get such fine views.

We went with three of our neighbors, so we had tea and tea sandwicheds after the trip. One of our neighbors (the very same neighbor who lives with maximon, the Guatemalan God-idol) just loves cut-out and fussy British tea sandwiches, so we acquiesced and made some. A good time was had by all.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Through The Looking Glass

Through The looking Glass

Two short quotes

“If you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison' it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.”

“Curiouser and curiouser!”

I find myself looking to this classic lately. You can find quotations from wonderland here. The older I get, the more I take away from this book. Lewis Carroll must have had some experience with corporate or other bureaucracies.

I am aware of stories, some possibly true, about the disturbing nature of Carroll’s relationship with Alice Liddel. Shame on him. A lot of losers have written very good books, and he is dead so he can’t hurt anyone now. So there.

I am done traveling for a while. I had a one day very short examination of an auditor’s work papers in Los Angeles. A relatively painless same-day trip.

We are hoping to have our newly radioactive cat back home soon, however she won’t be able to sleep in our bed for a couple of weeks, to protect our health. By now she probably hates us anyway. The animal hospital says she is dong fine, and approaching a safe level. Radioactive cats; welcome to wonderland.

Tuesday morning had the longest security line I have ever seen. I am amazed I made my early morning flight. Fortunately, a couple of cheerful and humorous young women were directly in front of me for the forty minutes we had together in line. Passengers moved very fast through security. I was surprised to make the flight. Otherwise it was uneventful travel. I just found out my hotel was over the State’s limit for Orange County. We had to pursue a Division Chief to get the necessary forms signed. Travel reimbursement takes over a month, and about two hours of my time per trip. However the meals per diem allowance is reasonable. What a hemorrhoid this all is.

Speaking of hemorrhoids, I had my physical Monday. My only issue with my female doctor is that she needs to cut her fingernails shorter (at least one of them). I tested out OK for everything, and my Rx is extended for another year. I was surprised when she suggested politely that I might benefit from a “checkup from the neck up” but she’s probably right. Maybe I should see a therapist type person. However, I know several, and it concerns me that they are mostly loonier than me. I have a new doctor because my previous doc, an active younger guy, now works for Doctors Without Borders in Guatemala. He has already met a French doc there and they’ve married. Guatemalans probably needed him more than I do, so I guess its OK.

I need to think or do something more exciting next week to provide more interesting reading.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.
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