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Monday I sorted out several things at once. I stayed up late watching the Summer adventure movie "National Treasure".  I find this kind of popcorn movie silly and yet diverting. Yet re-watching it until midnight proved a wearying experience in a physical sense.

On the way to work, I walked in A.R. Schell Park in Plano. I saw a little chihuahua-like dog who had apparently passed away. I saw no signs of injury. I felt sad to see the dog lying prone, looking pristine.

Today I met a series of deadlines. When my assistant called to say he might be late due to an unavoidable reason, I worried we would fall behind. But we got a world of things done.

At lunch today my partner and I took our Summer intern to lunch. She is about to be a senior in high school. She is in the midst of college selection.  She was very articulate and self-aware, while still being roughly 17. At 17, I was full of ideas and a kind of philosophical dreamy sophistication, but I was largely impractical and had no real aspirations other than attending the state university. I hope our intern gets her dream admit, and yet if I were her age I might go to a regional state university rather than even the largest university in my small state, as I did. I am

Tonight my wife and I went to Zoe's Kitchen for salmon kebabs. Now we are watching a PBS show about 10 towns which changed America.
I like the utopian visions that went into some, even as I am revolted by the developments run like company stores.

I am glad to have the day off tomorrow.


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Someday I will give up being a fan of American football, with its sordid brain damage/concussion history, and become a full-time soccer fan. I watched a fair bit of the World Cup match between Portugal and Uruguay yesterday. I liked that both teams played solid, defensive games. I also liked that Uruguay won. I've always wanted to visit Uruguay. I still like the strategy and scoring of American football more than that of football, though.

Yesterday I also saw a large-ish bit of the movie "The Red Badge of Courage". Its star, Audie Murphy, is a northeast Texas local, from towns about an hour from here. He gained an acting career after he returned from service in World War Two. He won the Medal of Honor and a host of other awards due to his sharp-shooting skills and risk of self to help his comrades.

His story has a Hollywood cast. He learned to shoot well because his impoverished family needed him to be able to hunt game. His siblings were placed with orphanages when his parents could not care for them.

Far from an Arnold Schwarzenegger or Chris Hemsworth, he was a small, wiry guy--perhaps resembling the "before" Steve Parker in the first Captain America movie, seen as too small to serve. He was declined permission to enlist at first. But ultimately, he turned out to be a war hero, and became a western movie star later.Nothing in life is easy, though--he understandably had post-traumatic stress disorder from seeing so much war. He died in middle age after a spotty life.

"Red Badge of Courage" was seen as his best dramatic role. He looks so young in that film, though it was shot some years after World War Two. I liked the way the movie caught the fog and horror of war without being too gory for kids to see the movie. Audie Murphy did do a good acting job in the role. It made me want to re-read the book.

This books-from-childhood idea reminds me that they are removing Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from an award, due to racially insensitive remarks in her novels. I sometimes think that all awards and schools and parks and streets should be named after streets or colors or other similar things.

This morning I walked the Chisholm Trail, then went to Weight Watchers, then walked in Shawnee Park, then went to church, then ate fried catfish and green beans. I walked in Glendover Park after lunch. I liked seeing a Red-Bellied Woodpecker forage with its impossibly long tongue.

Last night my wife's car got a sudden flat as we drove home in the dark from the movie. Thankfully, it was not a dangerous blow-out. We limped the car to a QT convenience store and called AAA. In another time, I would have simply changed the tire myself. But when I saw the better jack the AAA guy had than the car jack, was pleased that we called for roadside assistance.Today as her tire was being fixed, I picked up my wife at Goodyear. We went to Kroger shopping together. This went quickly and well. Tonight we ate boiled shrimp and fusilli, prepared simply. It was very good.

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infinity and avocado tostadas

Friday evening we went to Silver Thai. It's our "go to" Thai place, but we had not been there for months. I had the spicy bahmee big bowl soup with monsoon rolls.

Saturday a bad dream woke me at 3 in the morning. In the dream, the late actor Larry Hagman, looking like his late-in-life television portrayal of J.R. Ewing, aimed a shotgun at me.  This dream probably had a source in waking life.  The news disclosed the tragic news that a Baltimore community newspaper's employees were shot by a man with a shotgun. The man held a grudge against the newspaper for accurately reporting the man's legal troubles for being a harasser.  This shooting hit home, because the visual of him shooting through an office door seemed so
sadly relatable.

I suffered from a bit of insomnia after I woke up Saturday due to my dream. I got up at 7 and walked Beatrice. It was good to get out before the heat came up. She enjoyed the walk. For the second weekend in a row, neither Mallards nor the American Coot were at Glendover Pond. I hope they are well and happy at the nearby Twin Creeks duck pond.

In the late morning, I walked at Bethany Lakes Park in Allen. I originally intended to go further afield, but some inner promptling suggested I go to this familiar park instead. I had a good walk. I listened to the Music Manumit podcast, which had an interview with Creative Commons musician Westy Reflector.  I saw 18 species of bird. The most memorable were young Green Herons.

I had two chicken legs from Chicken Express for lunch. Then I went to Classic Cuts at Alma and Spring Creek in Plano for a haircut. On the way, I stopped and re-calculated a work deadline. I reached the same answer I had when first calculated that deadline.

The woman cutting my hair said it had been a while since i had been in. She said the last time I had been in, she and I discussed bitcoin. I generally have a skeptical view of cyber-currencies, so I am surprised to have discussed one with her, but she is probably right that I did. She did a good job cutting my hair. I like chain haircut places because one can tip liberally given the low haircut price and ensure one's hair-cutter gets sufficiently paid.

In the late afternoon, I rode the short bicycle ride to Green Park. I walked there for 45 minutes, seeing 8 species. I took pictures of Blue Jays. We ate Mexican food at Papa Lopez in Allen. Our waitstaff help was great. I enjoyed my chicken enchiladas, while my wife enjoyed her chicken and avocado (one of each) tostadas.

We drove to the movie theater in McKinney to see the film Avengers: Infinity War. I liked the movie quite well, but I disliked that although the film weighed in at 149 minutes, it did not wrap up its story. I like movies, and in particular long movies, to resolve their stories.
I suppose that Lord of the Rings, like Little Dorrit, should have been a single 12 hour film if I apply that logic liberally.

At home, I watched part of a rerun of the Vicar of Dibley and went to sleep.

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second place and chelsea

As I walked this evening, I listened to Radio NZ. I liked the Princess Chelsea song "I Love My Boyfriend" that the station played. My alma mater's sports team lost its baseball championship game---always a bridesmaid and so forth.

The community 4th of July event is Saturday. Instead of getting a formerly-famous recording band, they are getting Emerald City. Nothing wrong with Emerald City, but I would prefer some once-famous 1980s band.

I am thinking about vacations in Wyoming or Arkansas.



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day of changes

This week the Arkansas Razorbacks are playing in the college baseball World Series final. I've been watching the games. Oregon State and Arkansas are fairly well-matched. A woman in the stands had a miniature razorback hog head face-painted onto her cheek.  The last time the Arkansas Razorbacks played in the finals was when I was a junior in college.

The heat is hot. I walked in the shade at Breckinridge Park at Noon. That felt nice. I got yet another fleeting glance at the Indigo Bunting.

Today is my 22-year-old niece's birthday. She's turned out well. I tried to reach her by phone, but I assume she's tied up enjoying her day

The day brought the unfortunate news that Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring. I did not always agree with his decisions, but I felt he tried to call them in line with his vision of how things should work.  I am concerned his replacement will be more of a partisan.

Last night I watched part of the Brendan-Fraser-infused "Journey to the Center of the Earth". I like that kind of popcorn movie. I liked that Anita Briem is an Icelandic actor who plays an Icelandic mountain guide.





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absent

I wonder about the American Coot. We have a single coot who spends the entire year here. I usually see him when I walk around Glendover Pond. But I did not see him Saturday, Sunday or this evening. I figure that the coot and the young mallards went downstream from the pond into the stream into the Twin Creeks area. I hope its absence is not a signal of something wrong.

Tonight a Great Blue Heron stood next to a Great Egret. Four House Finches explored the concrete spillway. We are watching a special about Bob Hope.


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cycle Sunday

When the weather started out pleasant and overcast this morning, I took Beatrice for a walk.  We got around the pond in the park in 55 minutes. She enjoyed the stroll, even though it takes her nearly twice as long as it did when she was a younger dog.  The slower pace does give her extra time to check out every little thing.

My Weight Watchers meeting proved uneventful. I am at my target weight. After the meeting, I walked in Hoblitzelle Park. At church the sermon discussed the 4th chapter of the Book of Collosians. After church, I ate fish at Chicken Express. Then I went for a bicycle ride on the Watters Branch Trail. I rode a bit under 8 miles. I saw 10 different species of bird.

We dined on home-made pizza with goat cheese tonight. I am watching an episode of "endeavor" after having watched an episode or two of the Great British Baking Show.



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Fred Rogers and Great Crested

I went to the PetSmart to pick up Beatrice's prescription dog food.  I suppose there is a fear that absent a prescription, someone would eat her weight control food due to an eating disorder. I have to carry the prescription to show the cashier.

My home laptop stopped playing music through the headphone jack. I am working on fixing it. I picked up an inexpensive USB headphone set to use until I sort it out. That works pretty well, except I must direct each stream to the headphones. I  left a forum message on the Q4OS forum. I hope someone has a suggestion and it turns out to be a software bug.

I walked in Limestone Quarry Park in Frisco. I listened to Ana Faris' podcast, Unqualified. I liked the down-to-earth sense of humility and fun Ms. Fais and her co-host  brought to the show.  The show was perhaps a bit coarse-minded for me, as the guest's funny story was how he got roped into helping Russian mafia types rob his fellow classmates on a train trip in Russia.   Still, I will probably listen to another episode or three.

We saw the Mr. Rogers documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor".  We enjoyed it very much. I was a bit older than Fred Rogers' target audience when it came out, but my sister was just the right age. I enjoyed the show then, and I enjoy it now. I was pleased with the film and with the ideas it raised about goodness and unadorned personal virtue.

I walked this late afternoon in Glendover Park. For the first time, I saw a Great Crested Flycatcher there. Of the 97 species I have seen in my home county this year, I saw 52 of those species in the little park a short walk from our home.

The weather was a bit too warm to walk Beatrice this afternoon, after I missed a "just right" opportunity in the morning. I did throw Bea's toy for her, though, which went over well.  I did see Beatrice's canine friend Diva on her walk, and I wished Beatrice could have seen her, too. Beatrice probably would have thought about this less than I did.

We ate dinner at Tian an Mien, a nice little wok place. I have not been there in months, though it is local and I like it very much. I think I stayed away for fear of eating the fried wonton strips they serve with the soup. Tonight I simply did not eat those.

I worked a good bit this afternoon. I was glad I did.













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seed flavors

I wrote some days ago about the Curious Case of the Disregarded Thistle Seed. I had experienced a kind of birdseed paradox. The new feeder I got at Kroger some weeks ago proved to be very popular when I posted it in the back yard. Despite the feeder's small size, it attracted not only small but also medium-sized songbirds.

The key attractant had been a birdseed shelled variety mix.  When I ran out of a bag of this mix, I decided to purchase some thistle seed. This seed turned out to be less popular.  I followed the advance of folks here and of my wife. I mixed layers of the mixed birdseed with layers of the thistle seed. 

The visual effect looked a bit like neapolitan ice cream. The birds liked the new mix, though they had turned up their beaks at the old thistle-seed-only offering. I was relieved that the thistle seed would not go to waste.

My wife suggested that I mix together the mason jar of mixed birdseed and the mason jar of thistle seed.  I gave that approach a try. The resulting seed mix no longer looks like the layers of neapolitan ice cream, but more like rocky road ice cream.  The birds like it.  Though I miss spreading the seed on the tiny back yard  bench that was given to us upon the passing of our wonder dog Scout, this way works better. While the rabbits get some seed that falls, we no longer attract younger bunnies whose safety Beatrice might not ensure.

I love the magic of birdseed and the ingenuity of large birds on small perches.




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indigo and intake

Thursday evening I volunteered at the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program intake evening at the Garland Salvation Army. I was there from 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Friday at lunch I went for a walk in a wooded section of Breckinridge Park. I liked the Indigo Bunting I saw there. Now I am about to head back to work after the lunch hour.

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