Dave's Journal, April 2014

Let's get April started up right - pour yourself some coffee (Lavazza espresso ?) and catch up on Dave's offbeat movie reviews: Movies

Well ....... I am now a youtube junkie (the long dark winter did this to me), and the other night I am searching for DooWop videos and type in "Angel Baby". This video came up and this girl is a riot !! I am still laughing. (Some of her videos are very poor sound but this one is perfect and funny).... Angel Baby and the Ghost.
Warning - every sentence includes the F### word at least twice !!!

AND ..... AND ...... for the worthy few out there->
Angel Baby (the REAL one)


You are such a wimp, pushing that mower around the yard. Or maybe you think your so very cool on your riding mower, but tell me .... can it do 130mph? ....

this Honda can !

Back to reality. I waited all day for the electrician who never showed up. Well, there's always tomorrow, I guess. I will probably end up doing this myself over the weekend, but I'll give the professionals one more day of patience.

Update: well the electrician showed up and fixed it all. Mike supplied some insulation and put the vinyl siding back in place, so we are all buttoned up, insulated, not leaking and no electrical hazards. Tonight is good.

The insulation is working, I can tell. The basement is now cooler than it used to be. It is only heated by the oil burner turning on and that is not happening as often as it did before. Next winter will be the true test.

Job Stress

We were talking about job stress at lunch today, and how great it's been for me being retired from that. Got me thinking about the work life and the stress people are under, based on my personal experience. I get upset even remembering the stress I went through, and it's been years, in a few cases it's been decades, since my major 'stress events'. I could never survive out there today.

I'm remembering the event that made me decide to retire. A physically unsolvable problem that no one would (could?) admit was unsolvable. People are such idiots. I retired. They "solved" the problem by changing the rules of the game so it was no longer a "problem" . People are such idiots. Glad I'm out of it.

As of today ....
half of all Americans were born after 1976

The Moon Landing, The Beattles (who?), JFK, Vietnam, Watergate, The Iron Curtain, Elvis Presley (who?), Woodstock - these are irrelevant, outdated stories to more than half of the US population.

Coffee House

People sipping espresso or capuccino and nibbling crumbly pastry.

Enya or Yanni music gently wisping overhead.

Netbooks and tablets booted and wi-fi'd.

There are 3 men that you think are women.

A lady with flowing gray hair and a long cotton skirt has an ankle tattoo that says "World Peace Begins With Me".

The point of talking to each other is to exchange and discuss ideas.

Before someone speaks, that person actually thinks about what he / she is about to say.

When someone speaks, the other people actually stay quiet and listen to what they say ! !

Out in the parking lot, people exchange hugs and email addresses.

Out in the parking lot, two of those "womenly" guys are holding hands and kissing goodbye.


People gulping beer nuts by the handful, sucking Bud Lite or Coors out the end of a bottle.

The "big game" blasting away on 6 TV's hanging from the ceiling.

Hunting knives in belt holsters and clusters of at least 50 keys on belt chains.

There are 3 women that you think are men.

The guy whose fly is open is not wearing underwear, and his neck tattoo says "Let's Kill Some Fags".

The point of talking to each other is to create an argument for you to win.

No one in the room has actually thought about anything since leaving grade school.

When someone speaks, the other people turn toward the TV and start screaming at the players ! !

Out in the parking lot, people vomit beer and threaten each other.

Out in the parking lot, those 3 "manly" women are doing a triple play behind the dumpster.

Good to be trekking about. It was 61F today and sunny. I did yard work and then headed out to the wildlife sanctuary for the first time in a long while.



Stone walls in the middle of the forest . . . (150 years ago, this was someone's farm !).


This bird guy had a lens about 2 feet long. Did not talk to him, he looked fairly intense on what he was shooting.


Coming home, this fox was trotting down the road with someone's prized hen in his mouth. I was driving and shooting (one hand! , a manual focus lens) out the side window, along a curvy hilly road to follow it. The last shot I was actually shooting backward out the window!!



A Trail Marker


Trust No One

Called the plumber today for a minor pinhole leak (not related to last week's tragedy) and to update the radiator valves in the heating system. Easy job, two guys, 90 minutes.

All done sir.
Great. It's all buttoned up?
You guys are leaving?
Nothing's leaking?
Then why is there water dripping out of that valve over here?
O .... O .... yeh .... that's leaking there. I'll check the others too.
Good idea.

All done sir.
Can we walk around together and just like triple-check everything?
Okay. We can do that.

Went to the "old-timers' " camera show. These are folks who shoot OLD film cameras and buy-sell OLD photographs. I "found" a dusty old, small Nikkor lens from the early 1980's. The guy could not blow the dust off it so he let it go for $50. At home, I used lens cleaner on it and it makes very nice pictures for a $50 Nikkor.




Here's the little jewel, mounted on the D5100.
Lens = 1983, camera = 2013 !


Lexie with the "new" lens .....


The Best Laid Plans .....

The day started out drizzly but fine because Mike picked me up for a hike before breakfast. Leominster State Forest. Good hike. The day decayed from there. We headed to a new breakfast place, "Fat Boy's", waited 45 minutes for eggs and hash that never came (while 3 tables who arrived after us were eating eating eating) so we walked out and ate at the "West End Diner", whose owner is awaiting a court date for setting fire to the place to collect insurance money to pay off drug and betting loans. That being said, it is a nice "family" breakfast place and his wife and daughters are very sociable so the place is still busy with us locals, despite that the guy himself is a sh#thead.

Then we drove to Lowe's and picked up a new microwave for our kitchen. This is #3 in 19 years AND the previous ones were repaired a few times as well !! After a long while of attaching the new wall bracket (the studs off course don't line up with the holes in the metal bracket), we find the new unit is 3/8" too tall and bumps over the wall tiles. Mike and I backed off to the porch and had this long discussion about standards and wouldn't the world be a better place if things had to made to standard dimensions. Pointless discussion I know, but we needed a break.

Got a hammer and chisel and broke off the wall tiles, relocated the new bracket, and "ta da", we have a microwave, but the day is shot and I am struggling to be happy living in an imperfect world where things that should be the same size are not.

The Old GE Building is Coming Down

I spent much of my professional career with GE, as an employee and then as an independent contract engineer. Fitchburg was by far the smallest GE plant I worked at, and it was very profitable - lean and mean. So .... corporate headquarters shut it down in 1998 because our "mother ship" (Schenectady) fudged their books to absorb all the profit that Fitchburg was making to look like the profit Schenectady was making. By the time headquarters (Fairfield, CT) found this out it was too late to stop the train.

It was probably the best career thing that ever happened to me, because I got an early retirement package and GE hired me back as a contract engineer, working out of my basement in my pyjamas for the next 7 years, at much higher pay + my pension ! So ..... thank you God thank you God thank you God.

(That almost made up for the 27 years I spent working unpaid nights and weekends - why do we work for no pay ??? - who else in the world works for no pay ??? - your doctor? the garbage man? police? firemen? - nope, it takes just the right blend of insecurity and self-doubt to make you stupid enough to work for no pay.)

Anyway ..... they are tearing down a few of the old GE office buildings in Fitchburg now. Most of the plant is still in active use by the company that bought up the old GE contracts and has been making good money doing the work that GE walked away from.

Here are two pictures of the activity. The first is from March 4th, the second is from today.



Girls Just Wanna Have Fu-un

I dare you, I dare you not to like this nun. This is legitimate - she has been a contestant on the Italian amature (sp?) show for the last few months. Don't let the time scare you off - the song itself only goes for 3 minutes.


The Worcester Art Museum is getting "people friendly". (Similar to the neighborhood outreach program started at the Fitchburg Art Museum.) New, young museum directors are getting new, young people to visit and get active by creating exhibits, tours and classes that make "art" fascinating. Last couple of visits, the place was buzzing with (well behaved !!!) high school kids, being guided by college-kid tour guides. No more of the stuffy old old atmosphere.

They have a neat exhibit going on of armor (knight's and warrior armor). Lot's of grandparents and small-ish kids there too, today.


Here is how cool the "new" WAM is . . . within the exhibit of knights' armor is The Batman ("The Dark Knight"), dressed in his armored suit. It's the actual costume that Michael Keaton wore in one of the newer movies.


A girl making sketches ......


Upstairs in the abstract art room (bring some aspirin for that headache you're going to get), students ponder "the meaning" of a paper mache' girl sitting on a plywood pedestal ......


I had to re-interpret the scene my own way ....


I updated my Grandparents' Page with a great picture that Cousin Pete just sent me.

Pictures from Don's 80th, yesterday: Dons Party

My first time-lapse video - sunset along Doyle St. as viewed from the porch. (One frame every 30 seconds, played back at 10fps.)

It's kind of neat, but I must find something more interesting to time-lapse !!

Taking the excitement up a level .....

This new phase of my (notoriously boring) life is brought to you by the Brinno TLC200 time lapse camera. It is cheap (I sold some of Debbie's shoes to cover the $125 cost) and it is simple. It does nothing but make time lapse movies and the base model I got is very nicely built.


Tuesday is Deb's day off and, given the gloomy weather, we trek'd to Wegmans for an adventure in upscale grocery shopping. I wore a sport coat and combed my hair, Debbie almost wore a dress. We grabbed a smallish shopping cart as we entered, knowing what their pricing is like.

I go there for the Tuscan bread and the olive salad (which really is fantastic), Deb buys organic gluten-free oatmeal with extra flax grindings (tastes similar to powdered bark mulch and scorched sawdust, so it must be good for her). The salmon was $11 / pound and I splurged and bought a $3 piece and when we got home I pan cooked it with spinach and spices. Deb does not eat fish. I only eat endangered species, but they were out of Blue Whale, so I settled for the salmon. (At $11/pound a whale would be worth a whole bunch of money, I thought.)

jpg Wegman's has more than just food, and on or way to the door, Deb spotted St. Francis (of Assisi) - you know, the church guy. It wasn't the real St. Francis, he's dead. It was a 2' garden statue that she had to have. After all, last summer a squirrel knocked the head off the St. Francis that was in our garden. Or maybe it was me with a rake, I forget, but his head was broken, and I swore her a blood oath that someday we could replace him out there. Well, you know that women remember promises like that, and here was one on sale ! It was like, I don't know, Divine Intervention or something. Well, there he is in the breezeway waiting for me to root him in the garden tomorrow.

It's kind of spooky the way his photograph glows like that. In the breezeway it just looks like a plain old garden statue from Wegmans. Spooky. Saints can do that, is what I heard. Make their photographs glow like that.