May 24th, 2020

abstract butterfly

The Same Old Birds

Saturday morning I walked on the Ridgeview Trail. I saw 17 species. None of these added to my Collin County annual bird list. I had seen all the species during prior walks this year. But I enjoyed the walk.  The least common bird I saw was a Loggerhead Shrike. This year I see more of this species than usual. I took lots of pictures of wildflowers and of the tree scenery. If I take the time to do so, I will make a video about my walk.

At lunch we ate home-made mcmuffins. I never think much of McDonald's Egg McMuffin products. But this device allows us to use an English muffin, Canadian bacon and eggs (as well as cheese for my wife's muffin). The result is very good. We got this contraption for Christmas and surprisingly get a lot of use out of it.

Our local public television station embarked on a marathony broadcast of Downton Abbey episodes. The early episodes provide more amusement than I remembered. They also show make the points about a by-gone era and its class inequities. I think a similar film about our class inequities could be just as decorous and a bit more amusing and pointed.

My effort to pick up my chess playing shows mixed progress. Each day I solve 7 chess puzzles on This is useful tactics training, but I fail to solve more puzzles than I should. I also played a lot of blitz chess this weekend, against bot players of limited skill and fellow humans. I scored abysmally in my blitz games, I learned that I suffer from that insensitivity of making moves without learning the consequences. I plan to learn to do better.  I tried to install a chess training program by GM Maurice Ashley using WINE, but the install seems unwilling to "take." 

Our county had a marked drop in new virus cases yesterday. Overall, the last few weeks the health report shows a slow but steady progress downward. We still need more testing here. We also still sometimes suffer spikes from managed care facilities with outbreaks. The news broadcast showed a swimming pool at Lake of the Ozarks which marked the opposite of social distancing. I begin to believe that if we take any vacations away from home this year, we will rent a cabin a few hours' drive away.  I believe that virus skeptics could fuel the next wave.

Last night we ordered Jason's Deli take-out. I ordered a Southwest Chicken Chili but received a beef chili. Today at Chicken Express, I asked for corn-on-the-cob and a roll as my sides but got hush puppies and fries. But in this time, I note but do not worry about such things.

My weight was down a few pounds when I weighed in today. I signed into my Zoom WW meeting. While an in-person weekly meeting usually attracted 30 attendees, the virtual meetings attract 18 to 22. In my view, that is not a bad retention rate. I feel pleased that I got Zoom to recognize my headset microphone using a 4 dollar eBay USB plug-in. The "trick it into thinking it is a USB microphone" is my kind of minor, harmless hack. My doctor's office scheduled me for blood work, after some weeks when things were a bit unusual at the the huge lab area that handles sample gathering.

I read twenty pages of "Sonic Writing."  I may finally finish this book over the next 45 days, as I set myself a goal of more consistent daily reading.

This morning I walked in Glendover Park and also in Story Park, both in my home town of Allen. I saw roughly a dozen different species at each location. I listed to my cousin Bill Geddie's podcast with his friend Troy Dunn. I liked the description by Mr. Dunn of a first trip in person to a Texas Roadhouse steak house in an era of digital orders and social distancing. I plan to stick with curbside and drive-through a little longer.

I gathered my dry cleaning to take to the cleaners on Tuesday. I threw a load of laundry in the washing machine. My wife had me spot her on the ladder as she replaced the filter on an HVAC vent.

On LiveJournal, I seem to have a knack for inadvertently posting duplicate posts. I will sort out how to avoid that eventually.

from Dreamwidth, because two posts of the same text are twice as nice