Monday, October 27, 2008

Snowy clouds

If it was only about 20 degrees colder, we’d be in for some snow, I think. The low, solid, ridged clouds with alternately dark and light bands – I associate them with steady, solid snow storms. The best one I remember was in January(?) near 30 years ago; our local weatherman (getting near retirement now, I see) mentioned that there might be a “light dusting” on the ground the next morning. That night, I remember seeing migrating swans flying low over the city, lit up by the light reflecting off the heavy, low cloud cover – very cool-looking. The next morning when I woke up, it was absolutely quiet. When I went out, I finally realized how much snow had fallen – it was hip-deep on me, meaning about 3+/- feet where it hadn’t drifted. I fought my way several blocks out to one of the main north-south roads in the city, only to see a city bus half-buried in the snow, where it had been abandoned. The only movement visible was a fellow cross-country skiing down what was normally 4 lanes of packed morning traffic, and a scattered few individuals out having a snow ball fight. It took a couple days to get even the main arteries cleared out; they ended up hauling snow away in dump trucks and dropping it into the harbor to get rid of it; our plows just weren’t built to handle 5 and 6-foot piles. It wasn’t a big, stormy storm, either – just steady, heavy snowfall all night long. Ever since, whenever there’s snow in the forecast, I’ve noticed that the weather forecasts are more inclined to be “end of civilization as we know it” than “light dusting” ones. Burnt child and fire, I guess.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

When fall turns cold (finally!) with these nice, absolutely clear winter skies and fresh wind from the Northwest, I start to feel like I’m waking up again. Fall is usually a very tough period for me, as the days get shorter and nastier, and my hibernation gene kicks in (must be some bear in my ancestry). But winter – there’s my favorite season. It’s so great to get out when the air freezes up inside your nose and the snow (if you’re lucky enough to have any) goes “squinch” underfoot. The winter birds are generally working hard to get enough food to stay alive, so if you have a feeder, they’re all over it and easy to see; otherwise, they’re usually working through the woods in loose mixed flocks (at least that’s how it is here in the east US). When you hear something, you can usually see lots of activity from the trunks of the trees up to the top twigs as the various birds work different areas in different ways. And the coast – that’s the place to be, as long as you can stand the bitter wind. Sea ducks and winter gulls, various birds like thrushes and warblers, and inland sandpipers like Snipe and Woodcock in and around the sheltered scrubby woods where it stays warmer and the ground doesn’t freeze up entirely. Then you get back inside and whip down a couple hot scotch and etc. with a hot dinner. Makes the “writing up the day list” so much more fun – who knew that Monkey-eating Eagles winter on the Delaware coast?

Labels: cold weather, mmm

Monday, November 10, 2008

Turns out it’s hard to think with Fallout3 in the house 

It’s amazing what a time-eater a game can be. I’ve known this for years, of course, dating back to Phantasie on the old C64, but after years of Fallout withdrawal, it’s such a pleasure to wallow in the wasteland again. Oblivion never did much for me, although my kids love it (I loved Daggerfall and liked (the heavily modded) Morrowind), but ‘Oblivion in the Wastes’ is making my old gamer’s carpal tunnel hurt again. It’s “one more turn” without the turns.

Labels: Fallout3, time, wasted

 Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It’s not “Blind men and the Donkey”

I have mixed feelings about the variety of political weblogs; on the one hand, it’s often very interesting to read somebody else’s interpretation of events, and somebody else’s considered opinions. It can be a huge benefit to see something through some other pair of limited, blinkered eyes. On the other hand, it can be terribly infuriating to read somebody who (obviously deliberately) refuses to See The Plain Truth. In a perfect world, this would be a warning light that perhaps it would be instructive to examine the underlying assumptions and compare them with my own, but generally I just make some smart-ass comment and go on. It’s so hard to be a really outstanding egoist when everything I see reminds me that my understanding is so limited, and then so much of what I see is filtered through, and colored by, my beliefs. I blame society. Society and reading. Anyway, if wisdom arises in part from a consciousness of one’s imperfect understanding, then what can we say about so many of the political bloggers?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

those who divide people into two kinds, and the rest

There seem to be two primary types of game-players I’ve run into; the ones who start up, bang their way through and then go back (if they want) to redo it in various alternate ways. Then there’s the kind like me; get a fair ways into it, say “now I know how to do this _right_”, and restart. Sometimes multiple times. Some games I’ve never actually finished, despite playing many happy hours. I’m not sure what larger lesson there is on approaches to life, but I’m sure there is one there somewhere.

Labels: Fallout3, Jagged Alliance 2

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