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Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Pachysandra

At the end of a whirlwind trip to Connecticut, I traveled to NY to visit my parents and grandmother. She is 80ish now, and just had pneumonia a month ago. We were sitting on her porch talking about how hard it is to keep up her enormous garden. She recently pulled up a swath of pachysandra.

Mom: Wow, that’s tough to pull up.
Nani (grandma), in thick Brooklyn-ish: No, you don’t pull it up – it’s too hard to pull up. You know what you need though? What you need , what you need is an axe.

That’s right, my grandmother uses an axe to chop out pachysandra. Apparently she thinks she has too many axes as well. I mean, how many axes does an 80 year old woman need?

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Little Stevie Furst just his 13:29.05 for 5K, collecting some good scalps in the process. He was sitting in last with 5 laps to go too – not exactly sure how he pulled that out, but a 7 second PR…Good way to start a season.

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Born in the USA

I know we don’t like CNN. I know Anderson Cooper – bad guy, liberal conspirator. Still, I don’t see too many holes in this investigation of Obama’s birth. I’m not the sort of person that enjoys playing the race card – it’s not really mean to play, generally speaking. Still, when it comes to Obama, when it comes to the litany of laws being written to prevent future Manchurian candidates, it really wreaks of racism. The birther controversy is one of the most obnoxious in recent memory. Ignorance is bliss. I always found it amusing how John McCain actually was born outside of the country, but no one dug into that…

Meanwhile, be on the lookout for some severe weather Wednesday-Thursday around Maryland way (and elsewhere). We’re in line for some nasty storms. At least, the potential exists.

Addendum
I woke up this morning (Thursday) halfway through one of the first legitimate uses of the emergency broadcast system that I’ve ever heard. I’m pretty sure it was for York County, PA, but I’d say that we’re in for an interesting day – if not exactly where I live, nearby. Team Hanna was here for dinner last night, and we identified a tornado on radar near Marriotsville – then had it confirmed by the NWS. Hoping to find another example to show Michael, we went to Alabama and saw the monster that tore through Tuscaloosa and Birmingham on radar. Nothing like having and EF4 tornado handy when trying to show an example of a hook echo and the tornadic doppler signature.

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Branded

A few years ago, BP branded itself as the green oil company. Check out the before and after pictures (you’ll have to click on the pictures to see them fade) of the Gulf Coast, via The Big Picture photo blog, which is, incidentally, always awesome.

Makes me think about CSX sponsoring NPR while trying to build an enormous distribution hub a half mile from the Patapsco River.

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Basket Full Of Biscuits

The grow lab downstairs is now at its peak capacity. I’ve never had so many plants growing at once, and I’m more than a little worried about the persistent cold that should grip the month of April – I am running low on space. Recalling back to the beginning of season post, if you’d like any of these seedlings, let me know. Some of them are available for a good home, or even a bad home, where they will face almost immediate extermination.

Already transplanted to peat pots and moved to the top shelf:
6 Sweet Peas, 14 Dahlia

Sown directly to peat pots, not yet sprouted:
8 Nasturtium (I better see something any day now), 12 Vinca (my heirloom), 4 Convulvus (Ensign mixture on the other link), 4 Poppies (Eschscholzia), 4 Limnanthes

Sprouted in pellets or little loose dirt cells:
6 Sweet Peas, 14 Zinnia, 12 Marigold Durango Bee, 12 Marigold Bolero, 11 Gazania, 12 Rudbeckhia, 6 Geranium, 10 Coleus (10 pellets, a few have multiple that I might try to salvage instead of clip)

Not yet sprouted in pellets or little loose dirt cells:
13 impatiens, 12 petunia

By my count, of the things that are growing so far, about 6 dahlia, 4 Gazania, 4 Rudbeckhia, 4 Coleus, 6 Zinnia and ~5 each of the Marigolds are up for grabs. Actually…I probably have far too many plants. They give you an awful lot of seeds.

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Persistently Deluded

Yesterday was the sort of day I used to love running in. It was 55 degrees and raining – not just misting: a drenching, soaking sort of rain. I haven’t been running much, maybe twice a week – things have not been good, I’ve been thinking about surgery more and more – but I wanted to run. I never know which run will be my last. The one before this one wasn’t noteworthy, and damnit, I wanted to run in the woods, in the mud, in the rain.

My little loop is only 5.3 miles. As is my custom, as I ran I fantasized about secretly getting into race shape, nibbling away at the fringes, then all the sudden returning to top form in some big race – surprising everyone, and shoot, somehow the British guy from the Penn Relays is there to give the play by play for my local 5K.

I plodded through the mud, then got back on the road, and gave it an honest sort of effort. As cars whizzed by, dousing me with water and bemused glances, I thought to myself, “these people think I’m still a real runner. There’s no way they could know differently.” In the sopping rain, I didn’t feel like a Sunday jogger fraud, I felt like I belonged out there, like I owned the roads because only people who love the roads, who love the woods visit on days like yesterday. I was proud to be me, gliding through the soup with little more than a slight hitch in my stride.

Within an hour of finishing, I couldn’t put weight on my left foot. The achilles was worse than it’s ever been. It throbbed all night, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t even stretch my foot to a right angle without a blast of pain. I parked as closely as I could and peg-legged into work, sad in my heart, wishing I had thought to put the damn boot on so that I could at least roll myself forward.

But if that run was the last run, at least I’ll remember it. I’m thankful for the drenching rain, for the three inches of mud, for the 5 pound soggy shoes, for the people that don’t know any better when they see me run down the road…unaware that you might as well just take me out to pasture and shoot me.

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New Pictures

I’m trying to clear out some of my picture backlog. Here are some recent ones. Recent, as in, since November.

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Pretty Flowers

My seed purchases for the coming year are complete. Last year, I started growing seedling in my basement on 2/14 – I decided that was about two weeks too early, so I’m waiting until next weekend to sow this year’s crop. It’s almost entirely different – that’s what I like about ordering from seed catalog, I will have none of the same plants as anyone else around me. People in the neighborhood notice. I’ve been going to open houses in the area – something that a lot of the neighbors do. The realtor (who I’m chummy with, she sold me my house, and sells half of them in the community) tells people that I live at the corner. Last week a woman said, “Ahh, you’re the one trying to do the garden…” Not the first time that’s happen. Also not really a compliment, for what it’s worth.

Anyway, I ordered from three different seed distributors, Thompson and Morgan, Burpee, and the Seed Savers Exchange. Here’s what I’ll be growing:

From T&M
ESCHSCHOLZIA SUN SHADES
GAZANIA FROSTY KISS MIXED F1 HYBRID
GERANIUM HORIZON ORANGE ICE
IMPATIENS ACCENT MYSTIC MIXED
LIMNANTHES SPANISH OMELETTE
MARIGOLD DURANGO BEE
MARIGOLD DURANGO BOLERO
NASTURTIUM DOUBLE DELIGHT APRICOT
PETUNIA SALMON VELVET
RUDBECKIA KELVEDON STAR
SWEET PEA FLORAL TRIBUTE

From Burpee
Coleus, Picture Perfect Rose
Zinnia, Queen Red Lime
Begonia, Picotee Mix

From Seed Savers
Flower, Ensign Mixture
Flower, Bishop’s Children Dahlia
Arugula, Apollo

Plus some heirlooms from my garden two years ago, the White Vinca (though not exactly the same cultivar as that one).

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Big Day Tomorrow

I’m back, once again, from Connecticut. Just in time to try to find Stephen’s race online tomorrow morning, live from Scotland. The Times Herald Record did a surprise article about it here. Pretty decent stuff.

Addendum
The boy ran pretty well. He’s in the team race here.

Here’s a breakdown with an interview.

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New Year

Little Stevie Furst picked up what might be the biggest win of his young career, the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park last night. He definitely wasn’t favored; Bobby Curtis and Sean Quigley were the smart bets going in, but Steve sounded confident and aggressive when we talked about the race a few days ago, and from what I hear, he ran the race confidently and aggressively.

Here’s an article from universal sports. The “balmy” conditions are a little misleading – though the weather was pleasant, I’m told the course was longer than every before, as the snow and ice at the peripheries of the entire course made it impossible to cut tangents. Could account for several seconds over a 5-mile race.

This win is a big step for Steve. First, it’s always great to get a win over top-flight competition, particularly now, leading into his big race in Scotland next week. Second, New York Road Runners are major players in the US running scene – breaking a course record at one of their premier events is a great way to get yourself established in their circles. It’s the sort of win that really helps your resume and helps grease the skids for getting into other big races.

It’s a great start to a new year. Excellent stuff.

Addendum
Here’s a picture.

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Just Like Home

Jen and I were supposed to go to Seattle tonight. We’re not, as the eastern seaboard is shutdown. Newark closed at 3 PM, and though we spent 6 hours on the phone, we couldn’t reschedule anything. Instead, we’re in Goshen, with a blizzard warning. An hour or so ago, we suited up – for weather an awful lot colder than the 18 degrees it is out there. With a high insulation to cold ratio, we stayed outside for a while. I got Jen to go to the Intermediate school, on top of the hill across the street, with me. Then, after a few minutes of shoveling (that was almost unbearably hot), Steve, Jen and I embarked into the woods (Dad would catch up later). We went all the way to the water tower, hitting some of the high points along the way. In the meantime, the real snow had started, quickly adding to the 6 inches we already had. It’s an inch an hour now, probably 7 inches on the ground. Wind hasn’t wound up yet…but it’s a nice winter day, the sort that you go to NY to see.

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Shadow

With previous cat Friskey having died a few months ago, in March of 1997 we went to the Warwick humane society and picked out two kitten. Buddy, the male, was everyone’s favorite – sharp as a tack, a showman, friendly to everyone. He was hit by a car a year or so later, to be replaced by Buster, my cat, who was also hit by a car, eventually leading to Leo, who will scratch you if you try to touch him to this day. Shadow, the female, Buddy’s sister, was quiet, preferring to hide in the background (in the shadows, where she derived her name). She was never the smart one, but instinctive, beautiful, a fearsome mouser/chipmunker/frogger/birder/rodenter. She was sweet and steady – she coveted your touch, and would develop a little sphere of drool when she purred. She would have been embarrassed if she was a little more together and a little less elated. She’d sleep on my father’s chest, staring at him lovingly while he took his daily nap. She’d leave the house at 6 AM and return at 10 PM all summer, dropping off food at the back doorstep every few days then leaving again to sit in the shade or stare at a pile of leaves. You couldn’t take a picture of Shadow, because she’d start charging toward you once she realized you were paying attention to her. She just wanted to be loved and to love, and that was what she did.

Always an athlete, never prone to being over-weight, Shadow was the picture of health until two years ago. She began to waste away with a suspected cancer in her digestive track. Constantly hungry and increasingly gaunt (though the fur masked it admirable), she was a pile of bones by this time last year. Despite throwing up much of what she ate (to the dismay of rugs all over the house), she continued to show flashes of vitality. She brought home animals to feed the family even last week. But she was ill, sick and getting sicker. Her eyes were withdrawing into her face, and half the time she’d lie, half-awake, with an expression of disquiet and pain.

She sat nearby, sullenly, last night as we discussed whether it was time to finally have her put down. It always had been that you could say whatever you wanted to Shadow, and she wouldn’t have any idea either way – she was just happy to have a friend talk to her. This time it seemed like she could sense our mood. Our guilt maybe, her discomfort partly, her gnawing hunger and our heavy hearts. Steve and I were both home, and we helped out parents decide to put her to sleep – the vet had already signed off on it, whenever we were ready. The doleful cry when she went into the crate was heart-rending. My mother held her at the vets office as her life slipped away. She vows never to get another cat after Leo. The pain is too much in times like these.

She was a good cat.

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Pachycephalosaurus

New Pictures, including probably the best sunset pictures I’ve had, our pet praying mantis, Atlanta (I was there a few weeks ago for a week), and a collection on disgusting pumpkins. Which includes all pumpkins.

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118 on “Honest Format”

Steve just did his highest “honest format” week this last week. To him, that means only one long run and one recovery day. How do you get to 118 miles a week?

11/7, 10/7, 15/5, 12/7, 11/7, 19, 7

With the 10 mile as an intense hill fartlek, 8×100 on Monday and Friday, 6 x 45/45 on Thursday (45 seconds at 3000m pace, 45 seconds off), plus 2 strength circuits, 2 core days, and 1 medicine ball day. So yeah, sounds like Steve’s working hard down there.

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Irish Eyes

Jen and I were back in New York this Monday and Tuesday. We were there for the same reason as last time. It’s kind of sad, kind of fitting, and once again, a little more enjoyable than you’d think these sorts of visits would be.

We went out to dinner to an Irish pub in Lockport between the two wakes on Monday. There were probably 20 people associated with our party, a big group for an early weeknight dinner. There were a handful of others in the restaurant since it was only 5-5:30. Toward the end of the meal, an elderly Irish man sauntered over to the table and addressed my father-in-law regarding me. “A true Irishman, that one,” he said, pointing me. My father-in-law kind of shrugged and, since I was right there and witness to the whole interaction, I started talking to the chap directly. He reiterated his assertion that I was a true blood Irishman. I told him I was mostly German, and, after looking about rather awkwardly, he reaffirmed my Irish heritage, claiming some distant, unknown ancestry.

It was maybe my Murphy’s stout, enjoyed jovially and loudly, though notably lacking in fisticuffs. I grant that I do have very angular, stark, and abrupt facial features – a prominent chin, oddly shaped ears, an admittedly large nose, greenish eyes, dimples and other facial abnormalities – it’s a thoroughly European sort of face, a sort of caricature of several nationalities, maybe combining to an Irish sort of mug. I generic euro-mutt, a kind of anglo-everyman. For this fellow, who grew up on Ireland, I was a glimpse of home in upstate New York. Glad I could help. Not that many Irish Fursts floating around, however.

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Hermine

Newly formed TS Hermine is headed for the Texas/Mexico border. It looks like it’ll get there by about midnight…and I’d bet it gets there as a rapidly strengthening hurricane, way up from it’s currently 50 mph winds. Developing storms are always nastier than weakening storms of the same rated strength. It could be a lot nastier than people think.

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Earl Again

Accuweather’s Doomsday Joe Bastardi pegged Earl’s track within a handful of miles from a week out, one of his finest predictions ever. He said 100 miles from the Outer Banks, 100 miles from Cape Cod last Saturday-ish when all of the models threw the hurricane 300-500 miles further east. He then successfully resisted his typical urge to predict the worst case scenario – though he did make an absolutely batty prediction that Earl would gain 40 mph of windspeed after yesterday’s eyewall replacement cycle – and as a result, he’s got one of the best long-range predictions he’s ever made. Kudos to him.

Earl will gradually decline as it gets accelerated to the NNE. We might see some rain from this in my part of MD – there are rain bands making it as far west as Annapolis already. I see NYC as a blustery place on Friday Night/Saturday. They aren’t even guaranteed rain either, though I think they’ll get some. Steve’s Block Island location will see some legit tropical storm conditions for a few hours tonight, but I’m seeing a 40 mph sustained with gusts to 60 mph sort of scenario. Maybe an inch of wind driven rain. Nantucket should be in the western eyewall (whatever’s left of it) but I bet they don’t get a hurricane force sustained wind measurement. I’ll say worst sustained wind will be 70 mph for Nantucket (with far eastern Cape Cod similar). I’ll say that someone, somewhere in Nantucket or the Cape will read a gust of 90 mph. It’s a big, old, storm – there will be a couple of substantial gusts left in there.

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Earling

I’ve been watching Earl intently, even intensely over the last few days. My previous post is being borne out. I, like everyone else now, think it’s going to be very close to Hatteras, then close again to Cape Cod. It could make landfall on both, running amok up the east coast in between. I don’t think there’s much in store for here in MD, but on the beaches, look out.

And Steve’s friend’s wedding on Block Island…just hope they don’t evacuate. Looks like it’ll pass by Friday night – Saturday should be a nice day…let’s hope it’s not a nice day to sweep chunks of roof off the road.

Addendum 9/1/10 10 PM
It looks awesome. It can be 145 mph at the next advisory. I didn’t expect that sort of regrouping.

I still don’t know how close to the outer banks this is going to get.

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You Can Call Me Earl

I see Danielle ending up out to sea. But keep your eyes on TS Earl. It’ll be something like 7 days before you really have to start paying attention, but keep an eye on it. It feels like it won’t get pulled out to sea so readily, though the odds certainly are still stacked against it.

Now, something else may happen closer to home between now and when Earl makes it this far west, but for now, Earl’s got the best shot.

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I get about 10 hits a day. It’s pretty sad. Of course, who wants to read the same week old entry over and over again? Especially now that AE’s gone.

Anyway, in brief, Jen and I spent the weekend in Buffalo on an unexpected funeral induced vacation. I only talked to my Grandfather-in-law once…he seemed like a pretty funny guy. By the time I met him, words were a scarce resource in his economy. In our conversation, he wasted none on causes less noble than saying some dry, witty remark. He was also a bronze star and purple heart recipient, having fought in the Philippines during WWII. Though it was a funeral, we had a great time – I like her family a lot, they’re a fun bunch of people. And like always, whenever I see a military funeral, I regret not going to West Point. I’ve inquired about how late in life one can enlist. I at least want to go through basic training so that I can show young people that I’m tougher than them, kids these days with their cell phones and twitter and video games. I shake my fist at you. Bah humbug.

My train of thought derailed a little while back. My apologies.

Meanwhile, these pictures are fascinating. Contrary to popular belief, people were not monochromatic 100 years ago. It kind of screws with your brain, you even visualize the world in the terms that you’ve been made to perceive it…but really, black and white film was a limitation of technology, not an artifact of reality. No one 100 years ago, when looking upon a black and white photo, would develop the subconscious impression that the world was really gray – after all, they looked around and knew better. For us, our technology allows us to capture our world essentially as we see it (albeit with less dimensions, for the time being at least), so we never had to negotiate this dissonance between what we see in pictures and what we experience in reality. It makes us less capable at understanding the limitations of the past, as our brain doesn’t automatically translate the blacks to colors.

This presumably happens everywhere; we develop preconceived notions based on our limited ability to understand a situation, then store away that simplified construct in our subconscious, unaware (autonomously at least) that it’s merely a shadow of reality. I could probably think about this for a while…but I have to go to bed.

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Jen wakes up at 4:51 in the morning to start getting ready to leave for work. I wake up too, but then go back to sleep for another 40-50 minutes. Normally she snoozes for 5 minutes, playing the high stakes game of changing her alarm setpoint instead of hitting the snooze.

This morning…
Alarm
Me: Hey!
Jen: Hello, honey!
Me: I had a dream you just told me I was breaking the laws of thermodynamics.
Jen, encouragingly: I did?
Me: Uh huh.

And she got up without snoozing. Me? I snoozed three times and didn’t get up till after 6.

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Stale Cereal

I thought “I should get married, so that my cereal will always be fresh, consumed no more than 3 days after breaching the seal.”

But Jen gets home from the store and opens all the cereal boxes immediately. She places them on different sides of the house and skips between them, frolicking for staleness. Then she leaves them open in humid places like the bathroom, and they’re even soggier than before. I didn’t anticipate that my cereal boxes would be subjected to such stress.

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A few weeks ago, there was a neat storm to our south. I sat around and took pictures.

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High Uintas

I’ve got some more to write about this one of these days. Here are the pictures in the meantime.

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Utah!?

A while ago, I was pleased to learn that the Utah license plate was just as surprised to be from Utah! as I was to see it. Last week, I went there. Stephen and I stayed at the palatial estate of a family friend in Park City for a day on either side of the trip, and backpacked in the High Uinta Wilderness for three nights in the middle. We had 48 solid hours in there where we didn’t see another person on the trail, a highly desirable outcome. Of course, there was a reason…hundreds of millions of ravenous mosquitoes. Still, the scenery was beautiful, the weather interesting/nice, and the camping high – we slept at between 10200 and 10800 for the three nights. The trip featured a top-5 campsite at Lightning Lake and the longest day we’ve ever hauled – 18+ miles from 10800 to 8200 then back to 10500 in 8.5 increasingly painful hours. I’ll have more on it in the future, including pictures.

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Alex

I’m not sure if Hurricane Alex is a boy’s name or a girl’s name. I’ve always sort of liked it as a girls name, probably because of Nickelodeon’s Alli Mack, or whatever her name was. I liked her.

Anyway, the official forecast is for Alex to be a minimal cat 2 storm when it makes landfall at the Mexico/Us border. I like the landfall location, but I think the intensity is underdone. I’ll go out on a limb and say that it hits 130 mph before landfall at some point. It’s too warm down there, it’s getting organized quickly, the shear’s too low…it’s gonna get strong in a hurry, hurry meaning by the end of tomorrow.

Addendum 6/30/10 7 AM
I’m probably about 50 miles too far north. You’d think “gee Eric, you’re 50 mph off and landfall is less than 24 hours away.” Central pressure is down to 961 mb, a solid cat 3 level, and dropping. The winds will follow. 130 mph might be ambitious, but I really think it’ll be into major hurricane (> 115 mph) territory. Just since I couldn’t find anyone predicting within 30 mph of my prediction at the time I made it, I’m sticking with it. Let’s see what happens.

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93L

There’s a tropical wave in the eastern Caribbean right now which should be watched. Some models take it into the Gulf next week as a hurricane. Seems plausible to me.

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Globe Trotting

I do have things to post about. For instance, in the span of a week, I got a Kindle for my birthday, an internet radio (Grace WiFi w/ iPod dock) and we got an iPod Touch for Jen’s rotations. Our technological footprint just took a giant step forward. Next is a phone for me that doesn’t suck. If I ever cough up the cash for a data plan, look out. Of course, we have to get off our parents’ plans first but that’s another story…

Speaking of another story, little Stevie Furst just spent the last few days in Strasbourg, France at an engineering conference. Then he took a train to Torino, Italy, where he’ll be running in an elite international 5K. He’s rooming with Alex Kipchirchir. Whenever you’re sportsman of the year in Kenya, you’re a pretty big deal.

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Mixed Border

I have a bunch of things to write about, most of which I never will. One thing is necessary, however, you need to see my garden. I’m mildly obsessed with it. I spend on the order of 10 hours a week working on it. It’s delightfully haphazard, a sloppy clustering of various types of flowers, jumbled together into a 5 foot wide border that surrounds the front and side of my townhouse. That’s not to mention the deck, itself covered with a strange smattering of vegetables in various stages of development and potted in a wide array of containers. I’m constantly amused by the whole endeavor.

Anyway, here are some pictures:

From the corner of the border, marigolds with some basil seedlings in the top left.


Little floppy deep purple flowers (advertised as black), Nemophilia. I suppose they're cute, but in the future they'll live on the edges of containers.


A foliage plant, which I love, called Joseph's Coat, of the technicolor variety. It's a type of Amaranth. I'll grow it again.


The third sunflower we've gotten, a deep hued dwarf. By the way, if you want the cultivars for any of these, I'll tell you in comments.


The first two sunflowers we got. By the way, bugs love eating sunflower leaves.


A bunch of Johny Jump Up pansies, reseeded from last year. I don't know what to tell you, I have always liked johny jump ups.


Jackmanii Clematis, trained along the fence in the back. This picture is a little old, they've since exploded.


More clematis, hanging over the edge of the fence, a slash of purple visible from our cars in the parking lot in the morning.


Cosmos, they seem like they'll flower a ton, but I'm not quite sold on them. Jen loves them, however.


View from the corner of the garden, toward the side. Dahliah, Gazania, hydrangea, clematis, osterospermum, and cosmos in view


These things only open during the day. They are awesome, for the 10 hours a day they're out.



They're all a little different.


All the dahlia are different looking too. These are some robust plants, let me tell you...



I moved this rose to the other side of the garden and I swore I killed it in the process. Alas, it's still with us.


This is from the Buchart Gardens in Victoria, courtesy of my parents. I dunno, it's kind of motley. Behind it resides the foxglove and lupine.


The lilies and rose were our of control a few weeks ago. Those lilies are bigger than your hand.



This is from a few weeks ago, the pansies don't appreciate the broiling heat we've had.


This is kind of cheating...I probably took this picture two months ago. The phlox is miserable the rest of the year.


This is an eastern redbud, if you're wondering. It too is kind of dumpy the rest of the year, especially when it's blighted, as mine is.


They're really more of a pink, but I'd rather grow a redbud than a pinkbud I guess.

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Oil

The oil spill of the last month and a half is one of the top-5 worst things that has happened in this country during my lifetime. 9/11 is worse. Katrina is worse, for now. San Fransisco earthquake in the late 80s is similar/worse. What else? Maybe the financial crisis, that’s probably worse. Maybe Andrew or Hugo or Ike. That’s all I can think of…because this is awful. Just awful.

However.

When there are a million oceanic drilling operations in the world, every so often many redundancies will fail and cause something like this.

The issue is occurring a mile underwater. It’s not easy to fix things a mile underwater. It’s not easy to clog your toilet a mile downstream and not before. It’s understandable why they have problems stopping the oil.

Though it’s not understandable that they’ve developed this sort of technology with no viable solution for this particular scenario. Want to make a bet we’ll have a system in place to close this sort of leak at 5000 feet in the next 5 years? We will. Unfortunately, it will have taken the destruction of untold millions of acres of wetlands to spur that development. That’s very unfortunate.

The government/military is not in the business of drilling oil, and hence cannot be expected to have the technology available to deal with this problem. The government should have regulated for this contingency, however. I don’t care that the platform blew up – that’s bound to happen sometimes. I care that there’s no conceivable way to deal with the fissure that’s spilling bagillion gallons of oil into the Gulf.

People want action, but most of the action is implausible. Wanting action does not mean that any particular action is useful. Cleaning those wetlands is going to be next to impossible.

We think of oil in the same way we think of styrofoam, some foreign, manufactured, humanish substance. In truth, this oil is coming from the earth. Sure, we facilitated it, but it’s surely not the first time in history that oil has come from the earth into the ecosystem – this must have happened naturally at some point in the last billion years where life might care about it. The point is, the earth can absorb that which the earth does to itself.

That part of the country is primed for hurricanes this year. Think this is bad now, just wait until a storm surge shoves all this slop 2 miles onshore in a populated area.

I’m not buying BP anymore. I don’t care if they’re scapegoats for a wider problem. I actually think they are desperate to stop this and believe that they are putting forth the appropriate resources to do so. If no example is made, then this will happen again. If a company worth hundreds of billions of dollars can totter from such a disaster, other companies worth that much will think twice about their R&D expenditures.

It’s profitable to research how to get oil out of the ground from 10000 feet deep – it’s less profitable to figure out how to make oil stop gushing into the ocean. You can’t sell ocean oil. But if you lose tens of billions of dollars because of your oilification of the ocean, then you’ll surely think twice before you introduce technologies that you can’t control. My father always said “if you can’t climb up the tree by yourself, then you can’t climb the tree.” The point is, if you can’t get there by yourself, you won’t be able to get down either. Oil companies only work on how to get up the tree, and now BP is stuck, unable to get down.

Obama takes too much responsibility for things. Do you think W ever would have taken any responsibility if something like this happened on his watch? Doubtful. He’d blame Clinton or something.

Addendum
Interested in how this oil slick will be impacted by (and impact) hurricanes?

Check this out

For example…

“I expect that during the peak portion of hurricane season (August – October), the clockwise-rotating eddy that is attempting to cut off from the Loop Current this week will be fully separated from the Loop Current. The separation of this eddy will substantially reduce the possibility that significant amounts of oil will reach the Florida Keys and Southeast U.S. coast, since the Loop Current will be much farther south, flowing more due east towards the Keys from the Yucatan Channel. Oil moving southwards from the spill location due to a hurricane’s winds will tend to get trapped in the 250-mile wide eddy, potentially covering most of the surface of the eddy with oil. Thus we might have a 250-mile wide spinning oil slick in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico for days or weeks after a hurricane. This could potentially have a significant warming effect on the Gulf waters, since the oil is dark and will absorb sunlight, and the oil will prevent evaporation from cooling the waters underneath it. Since Loop Current eddies contain a large amount of very warm water that extend to great depth, they often act as high-octane fuel for hurricanes that pass over. The rapid intensification of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were both aided by the passage of those storms over Loop Current eddies. Thus the warming of the Loop Current Eddy by oil pulled into it by a passing hurricane or tropical storm could lead to explosive intensification of the next hurricane that passes over the eddy. “

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In Case You Missed Me

A lot of people think that this will be the most active hurricane season on record. For instance, this site – look out if you’re the gulf coast! Oil, oil, everywhere.

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I had a strange thought walking into work this morning. Let’s be honest, it was more of a hobble. My left achilles is not doing well. I have a searing pain inside of it when I stretch. I feel it when I walk, it makes me short step. Needless to say, this is not good for my unofficial plan to train for a race in the fall. Let’s shelve that thought for a second.

On TV, sometimes people say things like “Why is this happening to me?” Me? I rarely say that. I can’t recall ever saying that. I more often wonder why other worse things aren’t happening to me instead of why moderately inconvenient things are. Listen folks, I’m a runner. It’s what I am. I was hobbling in to work this morning, and I was thinking about how sometimes older people get some bug in their ear and start thinking things like “hey, how about I try to run a 10K?” or maybe “hey, I’m out of shape, I should fix that.” I was wincing, walking, and then I thought…but I won’t be able to have that thought, at least not realistically, when I’m older. Even though that is what I am, a runner, by nature. And then, for the first time in my admittedly short recollection, I wondered to myself “Why is this happening to me?” Like I’m some kind of victim of some sort of injustice.

I know why it’s happening to me. It’s happening to me because I’m genetically predisposed to this sort of thing. It’s happening because I only did almost everything right when I was a runner and not everything right. It’s happening because I knew it was happening but made the choice to continue anyway because I’m stubborn and think at some almost conscious level that I’m invincible. So, that’s why it’s happening to me…but it doesn’t make it any more pleasant.

I still don’t regret it. I guess that’s probably next – never been a victim, owner of few regrets, I’ll probably be whining about that soon too.

Just a few nights ago, I was telling Jen about Sisyphus as we were lying in bed. Do other couples talk about Greek mythology as they fall asleep? How many times can I try to run again, only to tumble back to the beginning, wearied and beaten, but still, despite it all, defined by my need to push the damn rock up to the top of the damn mountain again.

Anyway, thought you might like a post.

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Payton Jordan

There is a comically awful announcer for the Payton Jordan Invite, and hippies from Stanford are banging pots and pans to provide music for the event…I think it’s time for a live blog of the festivities. All times are in Eastern Time.

By the way, Steve’s in the seeded men’s 5K. I think the race is going to be substantially slower than last year. If he wants to break 13:30, he’s going to have to finish top-5. I put my guarantee on it.

11:50 PM – The women just finished. Steve up next. Garbage can bongos on hold.

11:54 – I see Bobby Mack in neon yellow up front, Steve in light blue and neon yellow in the middle of the pack. They’re working on the road crew after the race.

11:55 – Jen wishes they wouldn’t put the camera on the rabbit. Even she knows what’s going on more than the announcer and camera crew. She’s now been following track and field for about 16 months.

11:56 – Steve sitting in about 8th, on the outside, not bad position. He cannot let any gaps form, I swear on my future children’s lives, 5 people will run the time he wants, no more.

11:58 – I can’t be sure, but I think they just came through the mile in about 4:17. I was looking for lines on the track from a camera angle at ground level.

11:59 – Pace setter lasted 1700 meters. Thanks for stopping by, dude.

12:00 – Midnight here on the east coast and Steve’s sitting around 8th, in good position. Bobby’s right with him. I think they’re running pretty fast so far, but the announcer has no useful information for us. It kind of looked like they just came through the 2500 in 6:56, which would be dirt slow. Can’t be. Well, if dirt slow is 13:52 pace, that is.

12:02 – Steve in a major traffic jam, running wide, people bunching up, this is problematic. I see a gap, and Steve’s on the wrong side of it. He looks to be laboring a bit.

12:03 – This is slow, damnit, I hate being right. Steve’s in about 7th now. They’ve picked it up. Steve is strong…I think.

12:04 – I don’t think one of these guys is going to run 13:25. Steve’s on track to run about 13:36 again.

12:05 – Steve is in 5th with 600 to go. He’s running well, but he’ll barely pr if he does.

12:06 – This is going to be a giant cluster in the last lap. He’s got to find a gear or two.

12:07 – Great race for Steve, right up in 6th or something, but 13:36.25, which is about a half second pr by my reckoning. And the winner was 13:32. They must have stretched out that short track.

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Not Here

So what, I don’t do anything for a week or 6 months or whatever it’s been, and then I come back with a link to volcano pictures? That doesn’t count, and I know it.

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Caught Up

For the first time in maybe six months, I’m all caught up on the pictures. The last batch came from the trip to Washington state, particularly the San Juan Islands.

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Hot Dog

Today was hot dog day at work. You get a ticket, stand in line for a half an hour and get a hot dog with lots of fixins from the VPs, all in commemoration of the start of baseball season. It’s also a Tuesday. For the last several weeks now, Tuesdays are speed days. So instead of standing in line for a hot dog, I went outside to run times too slow to make me feel good about myself but too fast to make me feel physically pleasant, with an unseasonably mean sun beating down. I stumbled into the building, sweaty and bloodshot, and went into the locker room, where I almost enjoyed the broken shower, the one with no warm water. Almost.

Skipping hot dog day isn’t a major sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice. As far as I can tell, the only way to rebuild toughness is through pain and sacrifice. Today featured both, probably more of the former, but a hot dog with all the fixins…mmmm.

I’m not training, by the way. I’m pseudo-training. I’ve commissioned an exploratory committee to determine if training is plausible. I’ll let you know how it goes in June. Or maybe September.

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Snow More

Spring starts tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I’ve finally gotten around to editing pictures from the big snowstorm in early February. This was from the first storm, which totaled somewhere over 30 inches. We got something like 16 more a few days later.

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Pictures

I’m a few months behind on pictures, but here are a few new ones. These include a hike in the late fall, some from wedding that I took before the ceremony, and a few from the honeymoon.

The picture thing on the sidebar is working again, though I can’t make it give me a random picture.

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Opener

Little Stevie Furst opened the season at a cold, windy and rainy Raleigh Relays last night, winning against some good competition in 13:47. Definitely an encouraging start to the season. You can see an interview here.

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Snowpe

I hate to say it, but we could see some spare snow showers after this storm passes through. Which is weird, because it’s 67 right now.

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