August 30, 2011

August 29, 2011

August 27, 2011


august's last weekend

I was up early so I took O to Cat Hollow Park around 6:00 a.m., before the heat. She seems to like her new lead a lot. It's much longer than I realized, probably closer to ten feet than the seven or so I had in mind. It gives her more freedom of movement. She does a little better with passing cars if she has room to run a few steps, rather than being tightly confined on a short lead, which gives me more control but frustrates her. Also, if I start running whenever a car passes, she has to follow me quicker, which helps dissipate some of her energy. It's probably good for me, too, to throw a few minutes of running into our daily walks. Doggy fartlek.

When we were at the park we ran (er, shuffled) across the field a few times. She loves that - she prances and skips and smiles when we go fast. (Fast for me. Normal for her.)

A little later in the morning I rode my bike to Brushy Creek Lake Park. It was 89 when I left at 9:30 and 99 when I got home an hour later. The forecast says 108 today and 109 tomorrow. Hottest weekend of the year. Bluh.

Oh, I had some bloodwork done recently. Triglycerides = 498. My doc says I have to walk more, eat cooked veggies with every meal, and never eat sugar EVER. I have a good doctor. He was alarmed enough by the numbers to recommend more labs in six weeks, but we settled on three months - which means my next blood test will be right after Thanksgiving. No pie!?!

August 24, 2011


snippets xi-viii

Overheard at the bus stop the other day: "It doesn't feel like 105 today." I checked when I got home. She was right. It was only 103.


August 23, 2011

snippets xi-vii

Cool camera. But I suspect the whole dark matter thing, as an explanation for why our universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate, is an illusion. Something's wrong with our frame of reference. Time and space look strange to planes, innit. Cave shadows.

August 22, 2011


miracles do happen

Two pizzas left unattended within easy reach of a border collie and a pit bull for several hours this afternoon survived unscathed. I'd say that's exceptional self control, but the truth is probably simpler. Aries gets possessive with food. He knows enough not to get up there and get it on his own, and O knows not to get anywhere near between him and it.

August 21, 2011

new lead

I tied together two 50' strands of 3mm cord, one black and one reflective orange, in a series of cross knots and button knots. The handle is a long looped snake knot. It's around eight feet long altogether. (The red material is O's harness.) Fun project!

August 18, 2011

August 17, 2011

whatcha reading xxi

Today most Americans have their tissue on file somewhere. When you go to the doctor for a routine blood test or to have a mole removed, when you have an appendectomy, tonsillectomy, or any other kind of ectomy, the stuff you leave behind doesn't always get thrown out. Doctors, hospitals, and laboratories keep it. Often indefinitely.

In 1999 the RAND Corporation published a report (the first, and, so far, last of its kind) with a "conservative estimate" that more than 307 million tissue samples from more than 178 million people were stored in the United States alone. This number, the report said, was increasing by more than 20 million samples each year. The samples come from routine medical procedures, tests, operations, clinical trials, and research donations. They sit in lab freezers, on shelves, or in industrial vats of liquid nitrogen. They're stored at military facilities, the FBI, and the National Institutes of Health. They're in biotech company labs and most hospitals. Biobanks store appendixes, ovaries, skin, sphincters, testicles, fat, even foreskins from most circumcisions. They also house blood samples taken from most infants born in the United States since the late sixties, when states started mandating the screening of all newborns for genetic diseases.

And the scale of tissue research is only getting bigger...

- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot


This is a great book. It should be required reading for all first-year college students and, uh, anybody who ever plans to visit a doctor.

August 14, 2011

ten minutes of rain

out in which we of course the whole time it fell played


August 10, 2011


snippets xi-vi

I love love love the picture accompanying this NY Times article: composition, lighting, subject, everything. It's a good article, too (though disturbing and sad). I'm 100 percent in favor of therapy dogs.

August 9, 2011

snippets xi-v

A follow-up to my earlier post about stuff: "A refrigerator does not a middle-class family make." (From What You Need When You're Poor by the Center for American Progress.)

Also, this: Nickel and Dimed (2011 Version): On Turning Poverty into an American Crime by Barbara Ehrenreich.

August 7, 2011

field notes

This really happened on our front porch.

(New watercolor pencils. I belabored it till the paper tore but I liked this part.)

August 3, 2011

rise of the planet of the selkies

our future will be weirder than anything we can imagine

droopy peppers

whatcha reading xx

"...Who walks by my side in life? Who's weak enough to want to go to bed with me? Who loves me? You understand: animal love? Listen."

He laid his hand on Antonio's knee. He raised his wretched face with its heavy eyes towards him.

"There are truths you can sense," he said, "and there are truths which I know. And what I know is greater. In summer, I go and hunt the Lady of the Moons in sand-pits. The sand is motionless, but the air above is restless. Then the sand begins to move, and the females come out. Thus, while you saw nothing, the sand was all bored through inside under the push of the females ascending from the bottom of the earth to meet the males. You see, that brown earth whose surface is smooth and still, but which writhes in the dark like molten iron in the fire. So much for them. And it's the same for others, green like chestnut shoots; for others again, blue like knife-blades, with a black spot on their heads; for brown ones like bricks; for those which are red all over; for black ones with green dots; for green ones with black dots; for round golden ones like small, dry onions; for long ones like pipe-stems; for hard and soft ones; for the sightless ones which make love while sleeping like sacks being filled; and for the ones that shiver all over, more restless than the wind, which can look all around with their large crystal eyes. So much for love."

He tapped his hand on Antonio's knee.

"Seeing all that stir, you're led to think it's got some meaning: an air of joy, a blessing of the earth and of the sun which makes you rejoice. It's a chain, Antonio, the first link. All the rest begins from there. And I haven't yet made you touch the bitter core of those joys.

"You look at them: they make love. The earth has already crammed their heads with smells, and now it strikes with big hammers of joy on the shell of their skulls. You look at them: they are on with a frenzied, solemn toil, not much unlike pain. You feel quite clearly that they're not aware of it all. Obedience is obedience.

"That's the beginning, all the rest must follow. Bellies are in a ferment. A steam like the breath of vats reeks on the world, flush with bushes and trees. Well, now, I'm sorry, but I can hardly tell you everything, and you already feel that if the flails of your arms strike for things like that, it's because somebody else holds the handles. Fights, sting for sting, eggs laid on the breasts of paralytics, meat carried about, beetles' skulls whitening deep in some hole by the side of a surfeited grub, butterflies' bodies sucked up like fruit, and carried away by the wind along with chaff. That's all.

"You said: 'Only a woman.' Good. Your bones are not yet crammed with powder like the barrels of a gun. Go on still making the best of fire and night."

- Song of the World, Jean Giono

snippets xi-iv

Go read A desolation called Texas by xenogere. Our thermometer said 104.7 yesterday around 5:00. The sensor is in deep shade at that time of day. We haven't been hearing many cicadas this year, which is worrisome - summers here are usually filled with their buzzing. We still have lots of birds visiting our yard, but we get the sense they're there because their wild sources of food and water have all dried up.