Garden update

You will recall that we left the front garden a little bare, though tilled:

Finally the big order from The Growers Exchange arrived, Friday afternoon.  This was a bit problematic, since once one unboxes these plants, one is supposed to let them sit out of direct sun for a day or two before planting them, but no longer than four days.  The problem was that 1) on Sunday I had to go to Duluth for the State STAR Student selection process, not getting home until Tuesday; and 2) it was going to rain on Sunday in any case.

I like Growers Exchange; they’re good people, and they have interesting plants.  But I ordered these plants in December and they were supposed to be here mid-March.  That worked for me because starting in late April I was going to be pretty much unavailable till June: the aforesaid State STAR Student process, followed by Euphoria build weekend — packing for Euphoria — Euphoria — unpack — pack for the Danube — cruise up the Danube for a week or so, past our beloved homeland of Hofvonstein — unpack from the Danube — pack for To The Moon burn — To The Moon.  On June 6 I expected to come up for air.

However, the plants arrived.  I unboxed them, sat them under the work table, watered them, and told them they had 24 hours to acclimate.

Late Saturday, when the sun was on the other side of the house, I popped those puppies into the earth:

There was also the privet hedge area, but I didn’t get a photo of that.  Maybe Tuesday when I get home…

New cocktail: Brad’s Bebida

So, the other day my badly-behaved friend Jobie sent me this image:

Dear reader, I was scandalized.[1]

Anyway, Jobie said that there should be a cocktail created especially to employ these tawny, vaguely Latino youth.  (Why Jobie is interested in full employment for tawny Latino youth, I am not prepared to speculate.[2])

My first reaction was to laugh gently at my friend’s humor and go about my business, but then I noticed a curious detail:

These tawny Latino youth have the whitest white boy names emblazoned on their asses.

Well, who could resist that?[3]

This one came together rather immediately, flashing into my imagination as a gift from the gods.[4]

Brad’s Bebida

  • 1.5 oz gentle tequila (I used Casamigos Reposado; their silver might be even better)
  • .75 oz vanilla vodka (VANILLA VODKA, BRAD!)
  • 1.5 oz pineapple juice
  • 2-3 dashes 18•21 Japanese Chile & Lime Bitters
  • honey sea salt, dosed with sriracha salt
  • lime wedge

Rim the glass with the salt.  Shake the other stuff with ice, pour.  Garnish with lime wedge.

It’s pretty tasty, although I think I’m going to try it again with an actual vanilla liqueur instead of vanilla vodka (VANILLA VODKA, BRAD!), either Navan or Tuaca.  In which case maybe I’ll rename it the Classy Brad.

Stay tuned for updates.

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[1] I was not scandalized.  Especially since the day before I had sent him an escalating series of double-entendre photos of children’s toys while on a jaunt through Five Below, which I seem to have deleted from my phone, quel dommage.

[2] Speculations welcome in comments.

[3] Comment from Jobie in 3… 2… 1…

[4] Apollo probably, although his penchant was for more lissome boys.

New Cocktail: Who’s Your Bunny?

As you no doubt will recall, last Easter I was called upon to come up with a signature cocktail for our traditional Easter luncheon with friends, the result of which was the suspiciously tasty Jellybeanitini.

This year, on Saturday, I got the cryptic text message that I was to bring a cocktail called “Who’s Your Bunny?”  Well, all right then.

I figured I had two options: silly and sweet like the Jellybeanitini, or dark and mysterious.  I bought both chocolate caramel bunnies and Peeps as garnish for either eventuality.  But by the time I finished my rounds at Kroger, I was pretty sure it was going to be the latter, and in the end I used neither candy.

If I were a real blogger, I’d have photos of every step in the process, but I’m not and so I don’t.  I don’t even really have a good photo of the drink itself, and it’s too early in the morning to make one.  Although—and hear me out here—it occurs to me that I could pour one and not drink it.  Crazy talk, I know, but sometimes it’s radical thinking like this that moves humankind forward.

Hold on, I’ll be right back.

—————

That was difficult, but I have prevailed.  And now…

Who’s Your Bunny

  • dipping chocolate (I used Ghirardelli’s dark)
  • chocolate sea salt
  • 1.5 oz brandy
  • .75 oz blood orange juice
  • .75 oz Amaro di Angostura
  • .5 oz creme de cacao
  • .25 oz Chambord
  • 2-3 dashes chocolate bitters

Melt the chocolate, then dip the rim of the glass into it.  Immediately dip a quarter of the rim in the sea salt.

If you’re feeling frisky, go download a Playboy bunny tattoo design and create a fabulous garnish by piping the melted chocolate into that iconic shape.  After it hardens, brush more melted chocolate onto the tips of the ear and where the eye should be; sprinkle with sea salt.  (When you’re piping the shape, extend it downward into two prongs, then glue it onto the glass with piped chocolate.)

Shake the other ingredients with ice, pour and serve.

The rabbit garnish is not really necessary and actually gets in the way of drinking it, so feel free to go with the simple elegance of the rimmed glass.

The drink is kind of sweet with bitter undertones, and the chocolate/chambord flavors lurk just in the background.

I’ve saved the photo for last, because this was outrageous.

Yes, that’s a disposable plastic wine glass. Sue me.  Here’s close-up of the bunny:

Pro tip: to transport these things safely, use painter’s tape to tape them to a tray.

Garden!

You know how it is.  The front garden is getting ratty-looking and as a gift for Christmas you give your Lovely  First Wife a complete revamp of the area.

And then you get an email from The Growers Exchange offering 25% off an order for native cultivars, and then you see some interesting-looking herbs that you’ve only read about, and suddenly you’re looking at 50+ plants to get into the ground.

On Saturday I spent all day ripping out the zoysia grass from the planting areas where it had invaded, and then getting most of the plants into the ground.  (Half of them haven’t been shipped yet.)

That was oddly satisfying, plunging the blue-handled “weasel” contraption into the soil and wrenching it around so that the grass and weeds were loosened, then ripping them out.  I ended up with a huge pile of detritus on the curb.  A good gardener wouldn’t allow it to get that bad, of course.

So much grass.

And weeds (although most of the greenery above is actually surviving annuals).

Actually planting the plants takes no time at all of course.

Oooh, clean!

So what all did I plant?

Out front:

In the herb garden:

In the side garden, joining the monster cardoon:

Then there’s the area where we had the privet hedge/wisteria removed.  It’s ugly, and so I’ve decided to plant hardy, equally invasive flowers/herbs.

I’ll keep you posted as things develop.  In another year, we should be awash in herbs and flowers.  If I can remember what everything is for, I could become a regular apothecary.

Clearing out: computer receipts

I was reminded while tidying up yesterday that I have a whole stack of manila folders that I would like to throw away but which I have left lying about because I’d like to turn them into blogposts first.  So let’s talk about this folder labeled COMPUTER/SOFTWARE RECEIPTS.

First of all, this is one of those folders you have in your filing cabinet that you haven’t used in, oh, I don’t know, twenty-five years[1] and frankly don’t remember.  It was weird looking into what essentially is a time capsule from the late 20th century.

A catalog of invoices and receipts:

  • a service repair order from AIS Computers (in Fayetteville, now Computer Advantage here in Newnan) for my old Mac SE/30 (1991)
  • Cesium Sound for a VFX cartridge for my Ensoniq keyboard (1990)
  • Mac Connection for a Farallon MacRecorder, a microphone (1990)
  • Great Wave Software for an upgrade to ConcertWare+MIDI 5.0 (1989)
  • Opus 1 for music manuscript paper (1990)
  • Direct Micro for a 3.5″ disk storage thingie, plus ribbons for an Apple ImageWriter printer (1992)
  • MacWarehouse for Spelunx and the Caves of Mr. Seudo and Reader Rabbit (1992)
  • Computer Express for The Lost Treasures of Infocom (1992)
  • MacWarehouse for a 1 “Meg” SIMM card, a toolkit to install it with, and a free instructional video (1991)
  • MacTel Technology for a 105MB external drive (1991)

Wow.  There may be a whole series of blogposts here.

I don’t think this collection of paper even represents all the technology I bought in that period.  For example, I’m pretty sure I bought the Ensoniq keyboard during that timeframe, but all that’s in the folder is a very nice glossy product sheet.  Still, there’s a lot of archaeology here.

All of it was for my trusty old SE/30, probably my favorite computer of all time.  Just looking for the photo was enough to trigger waves of nostalgia.  And this was in despite of the problem with the hard drive, which ended up necessitating my whacking it on the side whenever I needed to start it up after a rare shutdown.  (Full disclosure: I still have it, in its carrying case.  Why in a carrying case?  Because I lugged it back and forth to school to use as my work computer.)

But it had a hard drive, you guys!  The first Macs didn’t; you had to insert a system disk just to boot up and load the OS into the memory, which may have been a staggering 256K.  The SE/30 I think came with 1Mb of memory; I upgraded it to 2Mb myself.  Woot![2]

So once you got the system up and running, then you inserted disks for any program you needed to run.  PageMaker 1.0 required two of them.  “Please insert Disc 2” was a constant refrain. And of course you saved everything to diskette.

The SE/30 had a hard drive, which meant no more disk swapping!

But even that was not enough, hence the last item in the list above, an external hard drive—if there’s anything that illustrates the gobsmacking changes in our lives in a mere quarter century, it’s storage.  That external drive had 105Mb of storage, and it cost $499.00.  I just plugged in a thumb drive to see how much storage it had: 8Gb, and it’s a throwaway.  At 1991 prices, that throwaway would cost $38,000.[3]

That’s all my brain can handle for today.  We’ll keep exploring.

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[1] TWENTY-FIVE YEARS, KENNETH!

[2] My current, brand-new MacBook Pro has 16 Gb of memory.

[3] The laptop has a 1 Tb solid-state drive, which would cost $4,760,000 in 1991.  Someone should check my math, but that’s much wow.

The story in a nutshell

From a Production Information Sheet I found in a bunch of papers I’m “touching once.”

—————

Show: A Christmas Carol

Decscription: Man likes money; man wakes up; the cripple does not die.

—————

That is all.  I just felt I needed to share that before tossing the paper and never touching it again.

No news?

I truly have nothing to report.  It’s very sad.  I’ve written nothing, I’ve composed nothing.

The herb garden is on hold while I wait for my plants to ship next week.

The labyrinth is just fine; we’re waiting to see if the fescue seed I overseeded with last month actually comes up.  I’m waiting for a couple of ferns I ordered from a fundraiser to appear.

Two projects have been mooted over the weekend, but it’s not time to talk about those yet.

There was a visit yesterday to the farm where we hold Alchemy and now Euphoria.  Tickets went on sale last night; my camp is set.  Deadline for placement is not until Wednesday, so there’s not a lot to be done until then.

Deadline for submissions to the Euphoria art fundraiser was Friday, and I got all those projects up on the web, so nothing to do there.

Prepping an assignment for the Backstreet Writers group; more later on that, perhaps.

Otherwise, just tiny little chores.  Keep the Assistive Feline™ entertained.

I think I shall choose to be grateful for the slack time.  I will not cast about for something “important” to do.  Perhaps I’ll clean my study using the old “touch it only once” method.

 

The morning after

Yesterday, as you will recall, was the spring equinox, which I celebrated not with my usual fête but with twelve solid hours of contemplation.

I may have to do this every year.  It was amazing.

First, of course, the weather was gorgeous: clear, balmy-to-warm, and just enough breeze to ring the windchimes.  Perfect.  I opened the gate as the courthouse chimed noon.

I took a fresh waste book and began writing during the day; whenever I found myself with “nothing” to do, I wrote.  I mused, I recorded, I complained, I transcribed bits from “Leaves of Grass.”

I read, both Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” and Bill Plotkin’s Soulcraft.

I wrote letters.  Well, half of one letter.

And of course I walked the labyrinth.  No specific topics or problems, just quiet, balanced walks.  Every now and then the morbid part of my mind will escape its restraints, and I will find myself grieving over some putative future time when we have sold the house and are moving, either into a smaller house or some kind of protective custody, and I have to take that “last walk” on my beautiful labyrinth.  But last night, as I was exiting the labyrinth and those thoughts began to bubble up, I said, out loud, “That may be, but this is not that walk.  This is not the consciously last time I walk this labyrinth.”  I think that will be my mantra of gratitude every time I walk.

A little after 7:00 pm, I got up to light the fire, and was astonished to see:

Yes, that’s the westpoint bowl, but look at it: it’s bathed in light, a perfect rectangle.

It’s a reflection of the setting sun on the back windows of the basement, and on the equinox, apparently, we get this stupendously woo-tastic effect.

So, future generations, after the Current Administration throws us all into Mr. Burns: a post-electric play territory, remember that you have a marker for when the sun is making its shift to summer.[1]

Over the course of the day and night, we had a handful of visitors. No huge rush. No conflicting woo-needs.

Finally, after everyone else had left and/or gone to bed, I was alone again.  I walked the labyrinth more than a couple of times, dreamed at the fire, and was in general in a state of gratitude for the day and for the space and for the people.

As midnight chimed, I extinguished the fire and closed the gate.

—————

[1] This is assuming of course that the house is not burned to the ground.

Balance

Today is the Spring Equinox, the day when the sun shares its light with us for exactly half the 24 hours of the day.  From here on out, the sun will rise earlier and set later, giving us more and more — and warmer and warmer —daylight.

Earlier peoples paid a lot more attention to these things than we do, out of necessity.  We are a pattern-making species, and once our brains kicked in, it probably didn’t take long for us to notice the lengthening and shortening of days and the fact that the sun rose and set further and further north or south every day.  I know I would want to create some sort of system to mark those turning points.  Maybe stone pillars in the ground.  Something like that.

Anyway, I like to mark the solstices and the equinoxes with observances in the labyrinth because what’s the point of having an alien landing strip in your back yard if you’re not going to go all hippie-woo in it?

Given that I am an Existential Mystic, I reserve the solstices for actually meaningful observations.  The winter solstice is the Annual Meeting of the Lichtenbergian Society; it is the one of the two high holy days of Lichtenbergianism.[1]  The summer solstice is whatever I choose to make it, but is generally a fire pit kind of night of reflection.

The equinoxes, on the other hand, I don’t mind having a party: friends, spouses, cocktails, funky music on the sound system, laughter, conversation, good times.  If someone wants to walk the labyrinth or ring a bell or two, great; otherwise, let’s chill.

Today, though, I am doing something I’ve never done before: I am holding the labyrinth open for meditation from noon until midnight.  No party, no bar, no loud music.  No loud conversation.  Just me and my kilt and the fire.  I’ll read, I’ll write.  I’ll clean, I’ll tidy.  I’ll walk.  I’ll have my phone, but otherwise I’m offline.

Ceremonies?  Rituals?  Nothing specific, just whatever comes to mind.

What am I looking for?  I don’t know that I’m looking for anything, but I’ll be paying attention to the quiet, to the music, to the space, to gratitude, to balance.

If you’re reading this, and you would like a period of quiet reflection, the gate will be open at noon.  Bring whatever woo you like.

(If you’re in the mood for a party, check back with me in September for the fall equinox.)

—————

[1] The other is July 1, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg’s birthday.

Adventures in spam commenting

I’ve had some lovely spam comments recently.

—————

Never would have thunk I would find this so inaelpensdbsi.

Smart thkinnig – a clever way of looking at it.

Good to find an expert who knows what he’s tanlikg about!

Seriously to all you Libs: EAT A FUCKING DICK.Fuck you all.You will always be pussy pieces of shit not worth the sacrifices many good men and women have made for you.I hope you idiots get hit by a bus.There will never be any renolciciation with you scum of the earth. Never. ——(Note: this was an attempted comment on Five Easier Pieces #4: a start.  I mean to say, wot?)

Put money into brazier as well as panties. If you desire to hide an important dimension amount, you will need to begin from the most important core. A good breast support definitely will carry and help your bust line and draw the interest nearly your greatest real estate. A well-fitted bra may also create the phantasm belonging to the more shapely middle. When you are large-chested, go ahead and reveal your current cleavage with a great push-up and even support brassiere. A new weight losing panty might help minimize progresses in addition to protrudes and help a person’s clothes healthy significantly better. Given that Prada is often a top rated developer model, celebrities have the money to purchase plus show it’s design. Megastars including Nicole Kidman, Nicole kidman, Scarlet Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow and also Jennifer Aniston all have recently been spotted donning Prada with InStye Magazine. All the developer signifies The movies fashion. Prada also may promote his or her clothing giving specific concepts so that you can super stars to make use of and turn into noticed in it all ——(In response to I don’t even know, which at least was recent.)

Gosh, I wish I would have had that intromafion earlier!

Your cranium must be prietctong some very valuable brains.

Back in school, I’m doing so much lenniarg.

—————

I… I really don’t get it.

The intertubes was not much help:

screen capture from Google books, Hacking: Hacking For Beginners and Basic Security: How To Hack

I understand why you would scramble a word to get past the spam filter—that’s where we got the neologism pron, after all.  But the words being scrambled in the simple sentences above are not going to be on anyone’s watchlist, so there was no need to scramble them.  Plus, as I’ve discussed before, these things don’t even appear to have a link in them, i.e., there’s no trap for you to fall into.  So what gives?

Even more puzzlingly, there must be something embedded in these comments, because otherwise why would the spam filter have gotten most (but not all!) of them?  (The “brazier” one was snagged because the paragraph of gibberish was followed by a torrent of links, always a tip-off.)

Can anyone enlighten me?