Dave's Journal, Sep 2013

I've been meaning to make some kind of image of that little angel out in the garden, and I did it at last.


Some of the very scariest stories of the Dr Who series are the ones about "The Weeping Angels". But the angel above is a good one I think (though I did just look back over my shoulder out the dark basement window to see if any angels were peaking in on me and now I am spooked and going upstairs with Debbie !).

The First Alfred Award in two Years !

As I promised, a few years back, I became a nicer person. I put sarcasm, skepticism and cynicism behind me and moved forward in life, taking small but sure steps toward the Nirvana that graces my dreams.

And our visit to Montepulciano last October, sitting in the piazza as the dawn awakened each day, re-energized my quest to be a kinder, gentler, more thankful-to-be-alive Dave.

But for the moment, let me just say "F$#k that sh#t, I am $%#^ing pissed off at the morons that infest the world I live in."

I'll spare you the painful details - you can infer them from the wording in this first Alfred Award that I have given out in two years . . .

The Alfred Award
for a
Notable Achievement in Stupidity


goes to ....

People who Leave Their Cars
Parked at the Gas Pump
and Go Inside to Order Coffee and Food
or to use the Toilet.


(68) Pieces / cut / edge-chamfered / shellac'd = (1) 30-bottle (not-yet-assembled) wine rack

The shellacing step took me 5 hours today, but it was a wicked nice day and I took my sweet time.


I have a queue going for these - Sharon is next in line.

Pow Wow Highway

Have no idea how this movie got into my Netflix queue, but there it was, and I watched it last night. Another indie movie shot for $1000 (give or take $100) that shows how you can make a pretty good movie for $1000 (give or take $100).

The kind of movie that I watch for an hour wondering why I am watching it but certain I won't turn it off (maybe the remote was out of reach?). The plot evolves slowly, the true "hero" is not who you first expect, you never doubt that it will end well, and the "message" didn't hit me until I woke up the next morning, and I promise myself to watch it again.

It could have used another round of editing and a few scenes should have been re-shot, but probably the money ran out, and if you want the "hollywood treatment", this would not be on your list of must-see movies.

jpg There's this moderately pretty bush out back. It's not stunning, it's not ugly. It has it's own mind about what it wants to look like, in that it doesn't grow the way I prune it each spingtime. It blooms with a million small blue flowers in August thru September. And . . . and . . . the bumble bees absolutely love the thing. If you stand next to it and start counting bees, you will stop and guesstimate "100" at least (I have done this many times).

It is also mesmerizing to get very close to it, even stick you face down into it and watch the bees close up. These are solitary bees (they don't form communities, they don't swarm and attack you when threatened - they just buzz over to the next flower) . It is strangely relaxing to watch them very close up.

The "issue" is that I would like to shred the bush because it is in the wrong place for my grand scheme for the yard. But, that would mean that I am displacing all those nice bees who do no harm and actually make me feel like part of, you know, life on Earth.

So . . . so, I've decided to rethink my yard scheme and work around what the bees need, which is for me to feed and care for this bush (which I think is called a "speria", but couldn't swear to that under oath).

Teeth - I have one less tooth now, but a few stitches that I didn't have yesterday. Not a terrible experience, and the surgeon's new office complex looks like a pretty nice hotel ! ! Each "operating room" has a wall-mounted widescreen looping endless travel videos (mine showed a beach on Hawaii).

Generators - Yep, time to check out generators and snowblowers. Ran the generator for 30 minutes. Tomorrow I'll dig out the snowblower and put the shed stuff in their winter positions (bbq way in back, snowblower right by the door).

Both our cars need tires to - yikes.

Canoes at the Wildlife Sanctuary


It was hot and humid, but I needed to be among crowds, so I trek'd to Boston and did my favorite harbor walk. Stopped at Tia's for a Chardonnay by the shore and said a small "Thank you for today".

The colors in this view always grab me.


Another favorite view, but I like to make this one dramatic.



The Codzilla tourboat in a very photographic position . . .


Old Bones - not seriously complaining, because I've had a super week, but I wish I were younger (I hurt my back in the yard and am hobbling about on my cane with an ice pack under my belt).

I think 27 is the right age for me.

I usually say that "I don't want to be that stupid again", but today I will even accept being stupid again if I could be 27 for, say, a year. Starting immediately, if that's convenient.

Also, I want to be . . . Rich, Handsome, and Ruthless.

(But I will settle for any 3 of those.)

BSA 650 Thunderbolt

Speaking of being 27 again . . .

Back in the 1970's I had a 1966 BSA thunderbolt (mine was blue). It was a thumper - two cylinders that fired synchronously (not sequentially) - talk about thumping !

Here is a nice picture of the very similar "Lightning" . . .


Sep.14 - out walking this morning, stumbled upon an ex-GE buddy, Mike Pothier< at a Boy Scout exhibition in the town park (He's the guy with hat.) Good guy. We worked well together way back when. He has 3 kids in high school (and boy scouts), and he is very much involved in their activities, and his wife is a sweetheart.


Then Mike called and said they were moving dirt around the yard, so I grabbed the camera and here they are, yep, moving dirt: Chris & Mikes Vegetable Patches.

Catching up with my New Yorker issues today . . .



Busy with winery chores today

Today both batches of wine (the Chianti and the Strawberry Reisling) have to get racked (siphoned into fresh storage bottles. The siphoning is easy - it's the cleaning and sterilization of the bottles and tubes and pumpy thing that takes up all the time. Plus I need to get a new 6gal glass "carboy" from the local supplier this morning.

That's the good news. The bad news is that my brain never made it out of bed this morning, and is not responding to coffee as yet.

. . . . hours later . . . .

Well, that didn't happen. Went to the supply store before, bent down and went down (my back again). Hobbled home. Laid in bed, Took advil. Hobbled to porch on a cane. Feeling totally useless - I thought I was over this !

here's the new plan (it's the next day now) . . .


* Responding to email comments about the button shown above, let me say this. It is not actually a functioning "restart" button; it's merely a symbolic representation of my emotional attitude and hopeful approach for facing the new day. What I mean is, don't bother changing your web browser or reinstalling your computer's OS because nothing happens when you click the button - interpret the button as a mild form of (what to call it?) . . . . 'blogging humor.


Back to winery chores today. Did the final "rack" of the Chianti; it gets bottled within the next month ! ! Then "racked" the strawberry reisling into a carboy (shown in the picture). White wine happens very fast, so it will be ready to bottle also within the month. Which means I will soon have 90 ( ! ) bottles of home-brewed wine in the basement. But the 60 bottles of red won't really be ready to serve until January or thereabout.

jpg Moving a glass bottle with 6 gallons of wine is not easy for me. Must think of a way to do this and not destroy my back again. (see note below.)

In the meantime, I also brewed up a pot of bean soup (mmmmm) and baked a meat loaf that turned out pretty good. My belly hurts now.

Hey - Cousin Pete and Carol are back from Italy and he says they had a great vacation. Maybe he'll give me some pictures to show here ?

Sep.22 - First Day of Autumn

Well, I made a dolly to transport the wine carboys around (over there on the right). Each carboy will have it's own dolly.
Hey, Mike - what do you think ??

Deb and I started planning our next trip to Italy. Chris "volunteered" to help with the research on hotels, etc. Current plan is 7 days total trip, 5 days actual vacationing + 2 travel days. Direct Boston-Pisa-Boston flying if possible.


Back on the topic of winery chores, I added handles to the carboy dollies (over there on the left), and then I got hit with a bolt of enlightenment . . . .

jpg Chris and Mike have a pear tree that overwhelms them with tons of pears, all at once (almost). What if . . . what if . . . next year, I get set up to crush pears and make pear wine ? Why should that not happen? Why wouldn't that make our lives better?

Well, maybe not a good idea. To crush and press harder fruit like apples and pears, you need a crusher / press setup that goes for $500 - $800.


The photo world is buzzing today about the camera shown above on sale on Ebay. It is Miley Cyrus' old film camera, and the latest bid is up to $80,000.

KEH (the largest used camera seller in the world) has the same item in Excellent condition for $65(body) + $84(lens) = $149.

God Bless America.

Based on a true story....... The Chipmunk in the Compost Pile

Today, we relearn . . .
Water is the Enemy


3AM - the hour for planning the rest of my life

I wake up at 3AM every night. That's already 5 hours into sleep for me, so I've had lots a rest already and my mind starts crunching away on various topics, most of which are problems that will never happen but that's not going to stop me from worrying about them right then and there. These are the "What ifs" that could potentially derail the train that is my life.

What if I fall in the shower when Deb's at work? What if Debbie takes the debit card to the max and it does not "approve" when I have $250 worth of groceries already bagged? What if I get a tire blowout going around that turn on the bridge and . . .? Does the house alarm system really work? Are my toes numb?

(Statistically, only 0.01% of these have ever actually occured.)

But last night was different. What I started to think about last night was "How many other people wake up at 3AM and worry about the rest of their lives?" I don't mean just crazy people who are locked away and diagnosed with _____ophrenia or _____aphobia, I mean, you know, does this happen to "normal" people.

Today, on the porch (while waiting for the gallon of drain lye to eat its way through the plug of stuff that was ruining my day) I thought and thought about this. The beers helped, that's true, and eventually I came up with a theory. Or maybe it's a postulate, or could it be an axiom? . . . well whatever it is labeled, here it is.

I am, in layman's terms, crazy and should be locked away with the others. Which gives me something to worry about at 3AM tomorrow - what if . . . what if . . . . my new "rest home" doesn't have wi-fi ?

Youtube / Flashplayer

I discovered that Youtube / Flash player quietly owns control of the camera and microphone that are in your computer. That is, while you are logged into Youtube, by default and without telling you, the Youtube server is connected directly to your own PC's camera and micropohone. To stop this behavior, you must select a Youtube video, right mouse click on it at call up "Settings" and click the "Privacy" tab. Then Deny that option and also click "remember this" (which I did not do in the picture below). Here is a picture:


Blacksmith Art

Fitchburg is one town north of us. The GE plant was there, but closed in 1998. The town gets a bad rap mostly due to (1) main street has lots of empty storefronts and (2) there's one trashy neighborhood just outside of the center.

In recent years the downtown area has been evolving an artistic / crafty culture. The Art Museum and the State University are growing that.

This weekend was a Blacksmith Arts & Crafts exhibit at the "river park". I never knew how many blacksmiths are in this area! Also - blacksmithing is very hard, time-consuming work! I was amazed at how long it takes to work iron by hand, and now I understand why handmade ironwork is very expensive.





We are flying to see Ramona and Bob in a few weeks, so to look fashionable on the trip, I treated myself to a half-case for the fuji. This is just the ebay picture - mine arrives from China (where else?) next week ?

jpg jpg

I like this design because it covers most of the back side as well. It doesn't have all the features of a real Luigi case, but then this one was only $70 and Luigi wants $325 for one of his.