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Robert

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Rabbit run [Jul. 24th, 2016|09:44 pm]
Robert
In the morning I walked in Suncreek Park. Men played cricket. I watched a batsman hit for 3 after digging a rolling ball out and sending it leftward. I saw a rabbit and then a Green Heron strolling in Watters Creek.

I went to church at Suncreek UMC after my Weight Watchers meeting. I was up 1.2 pounds, fewer than I guessed. I participated in a positive family business call.

I ate lunch at Denny's. Then I drove to my office for the file I need for my dawn flight. I walked in the heat at Timbers Narrow Park. I saw 70 Barn Swallows on a wire.

I napped, nade myself turkey sandwiches on sandwich slims and settled into a Star Trek movie on TV.
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ya gonna call [Jul. 23rd, 2016|11:08 pm]
Robert
I hit the trail at Limestone Quarry Park in Frisco at 9:10 a.m., after eating my morning breakfast cereal. I walked for 140 minutes, covering over 12,000 steps. I kept a record of the 11 species of birds I saw. I saw fewer Pokemon Go players than in last weekend's park visits. The least common bird I saw was the Bell's Vireo. I dined on Taco Bell shredded chicken tacos.

At 2 p.m. I fell asleep in my bed, and slept until 5 p.m. Then we went to see the Ghostbusters reboot. Despite the odd internet trollery criticizing the film even before it came out, we found it pretty good (as opposed to great) and a fresh take. I recommend it.

We finished our evening out at San Miguel, where I had chicken enchiladas with salsa verde, salad and bean soup. After an episode of "Life on Mars" on educational TV, we are watching an episode of "Outlander". I am reading about some unplanned and barely imagined hypothetical trip someday to Sioux Falls and Sioux City.
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speaking and trains, planes, and automobiles [Jul. 22nd, 2016|09:47 pm]
Robert
Wednesday I prepared to fly to Washington, D.C. An ominous portent arose, or as close to an ominous portent as surburban life offers. My Southwest Airlines flight had half-boarded I was in the unboarded half. Then the boarding stopped, as the computers for the airline went down. The net effect at the time seemed to be merely a ninety minute delay in my arrival. But in fact this was the overture for the trip.

I landed at Reagan, impressed with the view of the Naval Research Station as the plane landed at the airport. I caught a Metro train into the city. I got off at the Farragut West station and walked the fifteen minutes to the Mayflower Hotel. After checking in, I went to the nearby Dando's peri peri, the Afro-Portugese chain place, for dinner. I had never visited one before. I really enjoyed my chicken wrap and peas. Later, I was surprised to learn that the Weight Watchers app assigned its Smart Points approach to this place, and that the chicken wrap and spiced peas were almost exactly the wrong thing, points-wise. But this is why I rarely spend my bonus points.

I got up early the next morning and made my way to the Grand Ballroom to attend a legal seminar. The content was great--I was glad I had been invited. At 2:45 p.m., my part in the seminar came along, as I was one speaker on a panel. I had been asked to speak not that many days earlier, as a kind of fill-in. My panel went well, and I managed to look and sound the part. It was one of those days when my natural light south Arkansas accent did one of its automatic changes to a less southern sound, just as once in a blue moon my hazel eyes show up as blue.

I had an early evening flight, so I reluctantly had to miss the last hour of the seminar. I got a sandwich at Subway. Then I hopped the Metro Train back to the Reagan Airport. I have ridden Metro over the years, but this was my first experience of five p.m. rush hour ridership. It was fun in a kind of people-of-good-will packed like friendly sardines way.

I was so pleased with myself in making good time as I walked up to the airport. Then I learned that my flight, the last flight to Dallas on my airline, had been cancelled. Southwest Airlines' IT problems of the prior day meant flights failed to take off due to dislocated crews. I had my assistant in Dallas find me a flight on a different airline. But I waited on hold for an hour or so and in line for an hour or so to try to see if Southwest could solve the issue. I finally met with a great gate agent, who could only offer me Saturday passage. I had a 1:30 p.m. business matter Friday in the Dallas courthouse, so this did not work for me. I collected my refund, my compensatory cash voucher and a hotel room voucher.
I stayed at a Hyatt in Crystal City.

I was complimenting myself on fleet-footed, courteous reaction in a stressful travel situation when I noticed that my wedding ring had gone missing. In all the running from gate to gate and hauling my bags about, it must have slipped off.
I had lost a wedding ring once before, on our honeymoon, but that was in the Atlantic Ocean during a snorkeling expedition. So it was not entirely the tragedy the very first ring might have been. But it was a disappointment in an otherwise presentable day.

I woke at 4:00 a.m., caught the hotel shuttle at 5, caught my plane at 7:15, and arrived at DFW Airport at 10:30. I caught a shuttle to Love Field Airport, grabbed my car, and drove to downtown Dallas. The temperature was 15 degrees Fahrenheit higher than Washington, D.C. I made it to the court by 11 a.m.

A colleague met me at the courthouse with notebooks of documents I needed. We ate lunch together. We were getting ready for my matter, when he got an email. He had been called into an emergency meeting on another matter in the courthouse.

I was in the courtroom from 1:15 through 3:00, and then I drove back to my office.
I was grateful I had packed an extra tie and an extra dress shirt for my trip.

I drove back to my office, and finished out the day. Tonight we dined at Silver Thai Restaurant and talked of family business. Tomorrow I have a Saturday. I hope to get some exercise before the heat comes up.
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They post to their friends 'unfriend me now!' [Jul. 19th, 2016|09:16 pm]
Robert
I like Facebook more than I dislike it.I'd rather it not datamine, that its terms of service were not abhorrent and that it did not lose features I like as soon as I decide I like them. But it's a good way to keep up with people I would not keep up with otherwise.

Lately, I notice a lot of polarizing talk on my Facebook feed. I have friends who are left of me and friends who are right of me. I suppose I am somewhat left of center by US standards, though it's all definitional. But the odd thing about my Facebook friends is the abundance of posts drawing lines in the sand. My left- Labour friends hurl words of derision upon center-left Labour members. A woman who used to work with me posted about how she loved unfriending people who disagreed with her post praising Melania Trump. Several of my Facebook friends posted "if you are for Trump, unfriend me now" posts. Other friends post things along the line of "if you are for Hillary, raise your hand...then use it to slap yourself".

I feel a bit ambivalent all this. My friend who told of the joy of defriended dissenting views said something along the lines of how the best way to pick one's friends are by affinity of politics and religion. I read what she said, but my way of looking at things is different. While I favor civil rights and democratic institutions and kindness overall, I am not so ready to discard everyone I know who is wrong on something that matters. Yes, of course there are limits, and of course nobody wants to condone 1933-era fascism. But my vision of being tolerant of people means that I accept a lot of people who hold what I feel to be completely wrong beliefs and political views.

This won't stop me from voting for the side I vote for, attending the churches I attend, rejecting the dogma I reject, and embracing viewpoints that best recognize the dignity and worth of everyone. I may even get strident once in a while.

I value, though, my Torts I professor from law school, Phillip Oliver. Torts is the arena of civil wrongs, of lawsuits not based on contract but based on something committing a damaging act. Professor Oliver used to call upon a student, and ask that student to explain a position in the law. He would walk the student Socratically through the ramifications of the argument, with question after question. When a student had thoroughly explained a position, Professor Oliver would pause, then say "Now argue the other side".

I don't always practice the logical extensions of this post. I unfollow people on Twitter who tweet ethnic slurs, and would probably do so on Facebook if need be, even with a long-term acquaintance. On the other hand, sometimes I overlook a really wrong-headed post because I know its poster has a world-view constricted almost by upbringing. But I do sometimes unfollow on ideological grounds. I remember the one fellow on Twitter whom I suspected of retweeting idiotic tweets to expose the idiocy of those tweets--until I realized he was retweeting things that resonated with his beliefs.

So I won't set out here a consistent and concrete Theory of What to Tolerate and What to Unfriend. But I will say that on my left and on my right are lots of angry and dismissive folks, and it's a curious thing.
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lots of little songs [Jul. 19th, 2016|07:12 am]
Robert
Sunday I walked Beatrice, attended Weight Watchers, attended church, ate grilled chicken for lunch, and settled in to an afternoon indoors. I started tinkering with a work project at 2:30 p.m. At 7 p.m., I looked up and found myself nearly done with my work project. I spent some more time that evening. This burst of work made my Monday, a busy day, much less stressful. In the early evening, I walked in Limestone Quarry Park. I like that the new game Pokemon Go, out for two weeks now, has had such a wide impact. Every visit to a city park now features groups of folks playing the game. I think the exercise is good for folks. The minister's sermon at church was even based on Pokemon Go. The minister made the good point that if church people were as all-inclusive and collaborative as Pokemon Go players, perhaps churches would be better places.

Sunday featured another deeply sombre note, as the minister announced just before the service about the shootings of police officers in Baton Rouge. This has been such a dark passage.

Monday I worked a very full day, head start on my project notwithstanding. After a breakfast of Kix cereal and skim milk, I walked the shopping center next to my office building prior to work. At lunch, I walked in Breckinridge Park. Huge mowers worked the park, but I still saw an Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Bluebirds, Brown-Headed Cowbirds and an Eastern Phoebe during a brief stroll. Then I ate raw broccoli, raw baby carrots, sliced dill pickles and three slices of buffet sausage pizza at Cici's Pizza. In the early evening I walked in Crowley Park, where I stayed under trees where possible to mitigate the heat.

My wife made salmon and baked potato for dinner. We watched part of the Republican political convention. Usually,I watch both conventions in part notwistanding that I often favor what is said at the Democratic convention better.
But this year, the Republican convention irritated me. My wife put on an episode of "Outlander" and I crashed out.

Yesterday one of my songs came out on a compilation for "Ambient Arkansas" on the Aural Films netlabel. That marks three of my songs that have come out in the past month or so, not counting my own release of a song cycle. I like being invited onto compilations as it means lots of little releases.
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The buntings and the stock-still raptor [Jul. 16th, 2016|08:49 pm]
Robert
I woke early this morning, ate my Kix cereal, showered, and hit the road. I drove a bit over an hour to Lake Ray Roberts State Park, Johnson Branch. I aimed to join the Flying Feathered Friends bird walk at 8 a.m., lead by Ranger Danielle.

I arrived at 7:40 a.m. and began to bird on my own. Soon I saw a Painted Bunting singing in a tree. I loved to be able to get a good look as it sang.



Ranger Danielle arrived, as did a mother and her grown daughter. The five of us began to bird. The morning went well. We got a good luck at two White-Eyed Vireos. We saw a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo. A father and his young son joined us. We saw more Painted Buntings and a lovely Indigo Bunting. The capstone experience happened when a Mississippi Kite, a raptor who flies high, searching out insects, landed on a bare branch near us. The Kite stayed on the branch for some ten minutes, as we all watched and took photographs.



When we finished at 10 a.m., I saw my cell phone had a Facebook Messenger message on me. My young friend whom I used to mentor in Big Brothers/Big Sisters suggested we get together. He is now in his early 20s and works a full-time job. My afternoon was clear, so I suggested I take him to lunch. I drove from the state park to pick him up at Noon. Then we headed to Spice Thai, where my pad broccoli with shrimp tasted great. We visited a Best Buy in Garland, where my friend used a gift card he had on hand. He got a CD, and we headed to nearby Firewheel Coffee. I am not a fan of iced tea, but my iced organic tea with mandarin orange flavoring tasted great. We each got things done on our respective laptops. I processed the best of my pictures into Flickr as I sipped my tea.

I drove my friend home, and stopped by Brockdale Park for one last walk. I saw yet another Painted Bunting. This proved to be a colorful day. I headed home, after stopping at Kroger for Powerade Zero and bananas.

At home, we dined on sandwiches we made at home. The day was a good one.
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rainy July day [Jul. 15th, 2016|11:23 pm]
Robert
An unexpected Summer rain rendered the day delightful. Beatrice and I walked at 7 a.m. when the sky showed nothing but foreboding wonder. We passed the two retriever dogs, for whom Beatrice turned as they passed, as if desiring to meet them. When an over-eager young spaniel expressed the desire to say 'hello' to Beatrice, she ignored it as if it failed to exist in her world.

In the early morning, I listened to tracks I got on Netlabel Day. I put them on a USB stick and listened on my morning commute. I enjoyed almost all of what I heard.

The sky opened after I got to my office. I thought to myself how during our decade-long sojourn in southern California, one thing I missed most of all was the sight of a purple-cloud thunderstorm sky.

The heavy rain dissipated to light rain by lunchtime. I drove to Breckinridge Park, where I saw a world of adult and immature Barn Swallows, intermixed with a Cliff Swallow or two, frolicking on the ground and on the little rope roadside border.

I dined on a turkey sandwich and baked chips at Subway. The workday proved full of interesting law and modest surprises and plenty to do. I drove home in the early evening. My wife and I went to Market Street, where I ate smoked turkey, roast potatoes, mixed vegetables and a roll.

I realized that one of my tracks, "The Robot Smiles Upon Enlightenment", had been released on a netlabel compilation. Yesterday, my song "Deeper Vanity" appeared on a Cerebral Rift netlabel compilation.

I must sort out what to do tomorrow. Part of me wants to go to Lake Ray Roberts State Park for the monthly bird walk. Part of me wants to walk the Watters Branch Trail near my home. Part of me wants to see the weekly Studio Ghibli film. Part of me wants to play in a blitz chess tournament about which I got an email today.
Part of me thinks I may work a bit this weekend. Last weekend I drove a goodish bit.I read about Fort Griffin near Albany, a few hours away. But I am not in the driving mood tonight. Time will tell. We shall see.
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hot netlabel day [Jul. 14th, 2016|10:24 pm]
Robert
I walked Beatrice before I went to work. She liked the part when she saw the rabbit, and the part where the workers were repairing Glendover Drive.

At lunch I walked in Salmon Park and ate Church's fried chicken. I liked the Western Kingbirds I saw.

After work I walked in Crowley Park in Richardson and in Oak Point Park in Plano. At home, we ate roast beef on hoagies. My wife settled in to watch episodes of "Outlander" but she fell asleep quickly. Now I am re-watching "Ghostbusters". I look forward to the new remake this weekend.

Today is Netlabel Day, a huge celebration of liberally-licensed music. I enjoy visiting the various sites and paying-what-I-will to download new sounds. One of my songs appears on a cool collection on Cerebral Rift netlabel.
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Details about the day [Jul. 12th, 2016|10:13 pm]
Robert
Breakfast: 1 cup of GoLean Vanilla Graham Clusters cold cereal with skim milk
Commute to work: 25 minutes.
Morning stop: drop off dress shirts at the dry cleaners
Lunch: T-K-Y sandwich on whole wheat, oven-baked Lays potato chips and garden vegetable soup.
Lunch walk: along Firewheel Drive in Garland
Work departure: 5:40 p.m.
Times checking work email after work: 1
Park walk after work location: Crowley Park, Richardson, Texas
Temperature: 36 degrees C.
Wind: Brisk and warm
Birds seen at Crowley Park: 4 Northern Cardinals, 3 Great-crested Flycatchers, 2 Eastern Phoebes, 2 Northern Mockingbirds, 1 Red-Tailed Hawk, 2 American Robins, 1 Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
Podcast heard while walking: The Linux Action Show
Steps taken today: 10,436
Purchased at the Kroger supermarket: a bunch of bananas, three bottles of Powerade Zero sports drink, Three Dog Bakery dog treats and a box of Kix Cereal.
Primetime television viewing: Maya and Marty
Local news coverage the memorial services for five slain policemen.
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onion and phoebe [Jul. 11th, 2016|09:03 pm]
Robert
I woke up at 4 a.m. I turned on the cable movie channel. Andy Griffith and Walter Matthau starred in the late 1950s military "comedy" titled "Onionhead". The introduction suggested Matthau "stole the show", but all in all, I thought it petty theft.

I made it to work near nine, and got on a conference call. At lunch, I ate three soft chicken tacos. I walked in Travis Farm Park in Murphy, where I saw Eastern Bluebirds.

I arrived home at 7:30 after eating broccoli chicken and fresh pineapple and walking in Suncreek Park with Eastern Phoebes. I watered the container plants once I got home. My wife came home from her out of town trip a little before eight, and sanity reigned once more.
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