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ignoring interlopers

Saturday morning I noticed that the cbs.com website contained episodes of the old television show "Perry Mason". I  watched Season 1, Episode 1. Mr. Mason's smoking intrigued me, as it differed from modern television.

I got on the internet to search for inexpensive tires. I resisted putting tires on my car for some time. I hoped to  be near the point of selling this car and buying another. But at 148,000 miles, I decided to try to get a few thousand more miles. I also wanted to get the tires, which neared the leg after their last leg, and brakes, which needed work, into serviceable shape. 

I found that my local NTB offered "available in stock" tires a little less expensive than the usual. I made a 1:30 p.m. appointment. When I arrived, I learned that the company's website misstated the "in stock" designation. The computer apparently counted tires some thirty miles away in Arlington as "in stock" in Allen. I see the logic--in theory, if one started first thing in the morning, Arlington tires held a chance to arrive in Allen for same-day-installation. But in practice, the advertisement proved inaccurate.

Another day, I think my actions in that hypothetical time promised to differ from my actual actions Saturday. I imagine myself making s a short, polite but firm speech and going elsewhere. But this particular Saturday, I expressed my displeasure, grabbed my binoculars and camera, and went for a walk on the Watters Branch Trail while the work got done.

I saw few birds on my walk, as a somewhat unseasonable early September heat persisted. I saw some dragonflies. I slowly acquire dragonfly identification skills, thanks to a website about Texas dragonflies and iNaturalist.org. I listened to podcasts and also to a radio college football game.

Saturday night we went out for sushi. The restaurant, Shiawase in Allen, proved far too noisy. I come to appreciate proper acoustic buffering in restaurants.

Sunday morning I took Beatrice for a walk. She still enjoys a walk, though her pace now fits the term measured more than the term speedy. A dog larger than Beatrice wanted to say hello. Beatrice treated the dog like a gentle rain off a duck's back. At Weight Watchers I was up a bit, a probable function of salt retention from the prior evening. I got one bit of family business done, and I walked in Bethany Lakes Park. I like this park in September.

Monday and Tuesday worked out well at work. I learned some news about a friend who lost a young adult child. I found myself very saddened by this development.

Monday night I cooked myself dinner. I went for my simplest approach--a huge microwave-safe glass bowl, some washed vegetables, some meat cut into small portions, water to cover everything, a paper towel to cover the the bowl and 10 or 15 minutes of cooking. The resulting meal worked out pretty well, with a bit of seasoning.  I used a straining spoon, rather than eating the meal as soup.Another time I imagine seasoning the broth and making soup.

Tuesday we ate pork loin, yellow potatoes, and mixed vegetables. I walked at the Trail at the Woods in Allen.

I read an article about Renee Zellweger getting a standing ovation at the Toronto International  Film Festival. I liked to read about that, because Ms. Zellweger deserves to be in the papers for something besides speculation about plastic surgery.

On another note,I found myself pleased to see that John Bolton lost his job as national security adviser. I feel his approach to foreign policy entirely the wrong approach on many issues. I never understand how he gains a following outside a narrow slice of the Fox News audience.

We watched an episode of "The Crown", season 1. Meanwhile, the parliamentary news (and lack of news) regarding the impending potential for Brexit proves puzzling and as yet unresolved.




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neon skimmer identified in a lineup

This week many things went smoothly, but some things failed to go smoothly. I walked tonight in Oak Point Park. Helpful people at the inaturalist.org site identified a Neon Skimmer dragonfly photo for me. A friend told me that in her life, that dragonfly symbolizes her late sister. I ate seafood gumbo for dinner tonight. I plan to get new tires soon. I prefer "Vera" to "Midsomer Murders." I dreamt about an ex-co-worker last night. In real life, the co-worker impressed me with a noble and successful change of career choice. In my dream, the same ex-co-worker impressed me running a new firm without a change in career.

I need a haircut, though as yet my need falls short of urgent. My car reached the 148,000 mile mark. In my childhood, my father kept cars roughly three years each. I feel a tinge about being in the last year of my car after only a bit under 8 years. I loved the look of the AMC Pacer, but my close friend in high school drove a Gremlin instead.

The weblog of a former LJ friend who wrote about trying to write a novel stopped being part of my friends' list years ago. I like, though, that the former weblog friend ultimately published a novel. I watched an episode of "Perry Mason". Lately I think how the show presents a complicated satire of Anglo southern California in the late 1950s and early 1960s, formatted into a formulaic morality play. The Easy Rawlins mysteries tell a different, richer Los Angeles story. Yet I imagine Erle Stanley Gardner posthumously approves.  I listened to the long version of the Yes song "Roundabout," which in my view constitutes the only really good version of that song. I debate mentally whether I prefer chocolate rice cakes or caramel rice cakes.

I worry about a couple of friends' health situations. I think about an upcoming three-day-weekend in October. I think about how I like the Perry Mason theme but disfavor the Matlock theme. The only tV theme I ever sing is "Theme from Rawhide".











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photos and neon

Labor Day I worked a bit and walked a bit. The heat felt bearable. We watched an episode of Season One of "The Crown." 

I got an email asking for permission to some photos of mine from the MacCaulay Library in a birding identification class in Travis County. I gave my permission (in fact, a Creative Commons license applied already). I went to see what pictures I posted at MacCaulay. I believe these photos got into MacCaulay from postings at ebird.com.

I liked the picture of the Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, but the Gray Catbird photo failed to catch my fullest fancy.

I read another fifty pages of "Goslings." I hope this begins a streak.

I signed up with iNaturalist.org. I hoped to learn a species name for a particular dragonfly.  I posted other things, too--a Viceroy Butterfly and a Cooper's Hawk, for example. I got back an ID that a dragonfly bears the common name Neon Skimmer.

I accomplished a lot today, but I hope to accomplish more tomorrow. We ate shrimp for dinner.




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The labor of the day

The heat broke a bit this week, as it usually does leading into Labor Day. Friday a light rainstorm brought the temperature down. My work turned busy during the middle and end of the week. We watched episodes of Season One of The Crown, and Season One, Episode One of "Strange Things." We also enjoy the reboot of "Lost in Space," Season One.

I have been working on getting some family matters done, and hope to get more done today. Yesterday I took Beatrice for a morning walk, and in the afternoon went to Limestone Quarry Park in Frisco for a three hour walk. This time of year, I watch the butterflies and dragonflies as well as the birds. I walked back and forth on the Taychas Trail. I watched a murder of ten crows complain, and then saw the perched Red-Tailed Hawk about which they complained. A pre-teen girl asked me if I had seen her small, gray dog. I looked for it on the trail, but failed to see it. As I walked, I listened to a Linux podcast and then to the Arkansas v. Portland State football game .Arkansas won, but only by a small margin. One joy of being a fan of a team coming off a disastrous season arises from the realization that any win feels like a good win.

Saturday night we enjoyed "The Art of Racing in the Rain." I read the book some time ago. I find books about dogs and their wisdom irresistible.My wife arranged for our niece to visit us in October. We saw the film at Moviehouse Eatery, where I ordered a Southwest Chicken Bowl, but with instructions to hold the drizzled chipotle ranch sauce. In general, a dessert or two aside, I find the word "drizzled" a harbinger of restaurant doom.

My wife's work got very busy well into October, but we planned a late October three-day weekend, at a place to be determined. My reading on my current novel, Beresford's "Goslings", goes slowly. I like the novel fairly well so far, but I tend to space my reading efforts days apart. I formed a second item in the queue, Thor Magnusson's "Sonic Writing". The two books together threaten to consume much of my remaining leisure book reading this year.  That sounds unfortunate to me--to read only two books in four months. My reading gears much more to the internet and to magazines now. But my progress remains for the future. I anticipate that over time, facts tell better than I foretell.

I dislike the convention of putting periods inside quotation marks. I thought to myself how I envision myself as a kind of small town person, but that facts show that I came into the world in a large city and that I lived in large cities and suburbs of large cities most of my life.  Perhaps my quiver contains the argument in mitigation that my current city, Allen, ascends to the title "exurb,"

Lately I watch "Perry Mason" episodes. Raymond Burr's demeanor reminded me as a child and reminds me now of my late father, though the resemblance arises from the set of the jaw and from a sense of fearlessness rather than in similarities of manner. I find myself struck by how often Mr. Mason the television character skirts the ethical rules and how African-American people rarely found representation on the show,and that Latino and Asian-American people on the show appeared drawn with the brushes of stereotype.

Yesterday I watched an epidode of the sitcom "Julia.". I watched that show as a child. In its days, it proved controversial as sugar-coating a situation. But now I find it just a sit-com.












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Inner Tube Blues

Last week I met with a young man related to our family's outside accountant. I gave him some advice about the job market. He stands near the beginning of his career. His university degree in a liberal arts subject included an award of "special honors." His few years after his degree featured some gig work for a technical company doing contract compliance and fraud detection work.  He moved back to Texas and seeks a permant position.

Over a lunch at Gloria's, I discussed with him a number of career ideas that I felt useful to expand his search net. My observation leads me to conclude that employers value folks who read well and write well. I remember being in my twenties, and searching for a position just after my degree. The thing I needed most then amounted to confidence and imagination. I ultimately went to law school, which proved the right choice for me, after turning down a newspaper reporter job, and failing to win a safety engineer job. I went to law school in preference to a technical writing Master's program and a couple of English master's degree assistantship programs (also geared in goal if not in specific program to technical writing). Then I lacked a full appreciation for the width of the job market, in a time when the job market worked in more narrow furrows than now. So I tried to impart some of my current ideas of the breadth of our Dallas-Fort Worth current job market. The meeting went well.

I liked the young man with whom I met. I remember the feeling of being in that place in my career. Even on short acquaintance, I believe he possesses the potential to come out absolutely fine.

Friday night we went to Jason's Deli where I had a fruit cup and Southwest chicken chili. I  drafted a rewrite of the young man's resume. I like resumes that use substantial components of the chronological traditional resume, with only mild tinges of descriptive material. But for his resume, I went with an orientation toward a functional, skills-descriptive resume. I lack any strong feeling that my effort reflects "the resume." . My goal in the redraft sought to show possibilities rather than dictate an answer.

Saturday morning I took Beatrice for a walk. She chose the path by the elementary school rather than circling the park pond. She still enjoys a walk, even if she punctuates the length of her walks a bit differently over timeIn the afternoon, I rode my mountain bicycle to Green Park and back. I intended to ride my green Scattante comfort bicycle. But the back tire exhibited an unwillingness to hold air. I plan to replace its inner tube. I lack much skill at working on bicycles. The Performance Bicycle outlet near me, where I got the bicycle some years ago,  closed as part of the bankruptcy of its corporate chain. My options for repair include doing it myself and taking it to the bicycle shop in Garland. I hold a vague memory as well of reading of a mobile bicycle repair vehicle.

The mountain bicycle rode well. It feels a little faster than the Scattante: faint praise. My phone appication assured me that I rode something in the range of three and a half mails, at at speed of three miles an hour. My time riding in the park no doubt slows my pace.  In the afternoon, I reviewed some contractual materials regarding a family matter picking how to sell a thing I'll refer to as 701 to one of two buyers. I hope I selected and select the right way of handling this routine matter.

I got a curious call from a representative where we keep our respective retirement accounts, mentioning that at least one account lacked a death beneficiary. I went on-line and implemented a remedy, though it troubles me that I feel positive we already told the company involved this same information, which perhaps failed in implementation.

We went to dinner at Firewater Grill, where I ate a tomato basil flatbread.  My wife discussed the playlist of his restaurant with the owner. The restaurant sound seems geared to our generation--lots of Steely Dan, late Fleetwood Mac, Supertramp and similar 1970s sleek pop and rock. He said he chose his playlist on purpose to address his hoped-for cilentele. I feel demographically identified, and perhaps that turns out not to be a bad thing.

I telephoned my sister via Facebook messenger and wished her a happy 55th birthday. She moved with her family to Oklahoma, near the Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas borders, for her husband to take a good job near where he grew up. Her resilience impresses me. They moved from northern Alabama, where she maintained business contacts in nearby Nashville. Now she builds new contacts. But she sounds reasonably undaunted.

We watched an episode of the show The Crown. I find Claire Foy convincing in her role, though in the event I suspect Queen Elizabeth said and did completely different things. I experimented with making music using the software Lauki, Noiser and Loomer Cumulus. this marked my first installation of Loomer Cumulus, which runs well on WINE.  Like the Audiobulb Ambient software and the Mummat software, it allows the user to employ offbeat granular and phase effects to transform sound. It came on a DVD of an issue of Computer Music. I enjoyed myself, but the resulting recording requires repression.

 



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good visit

On Friday I left work a bit early. I drove to Love Field Airport. The traffic proved to be worse than expected. But I arrived in reasonably good order.
I picked up my 23 year old niece, who flew in from Oklahoma. We enjoyed her weekend visit. We did fun things--
--went for a walk on a hot Saturday at the Heard Natural Science Center. The native butterfly house looked all aflutter.
--went to a place with home-made soaps at Willow-Bend Shopping Center;
--stopped by the huge comics store in Plano
--visited a lizard-oriented pet shop called Reptarium. Though my leanings lean me against exotic pets and in favor of shelter adoptions, I found myself impressed with the condition of the habitats and the knowledgeable staff. I felt a bit surprised, though, that the Green Anole, one of my favorites, lacked any representation
--visited the Allen Natatorium. I found out there that I earn a discount just by being old. I like the lazy river and the slide
--dined at the Taiwanese place, where I ordered the pork with Chinese vegetables, forgetting once again that this dish features only a bit of garnish as "Chinese vegetables"
--ate some tasty Torchy's Tacos
--talked about cameras and pets, as my niece thrives on cameras and pets

Our niece brought positive fun to our weekend.

The weather alternates between seasonally hot and seasonally near-hot. Yesterday I walked in Oak Point Park in Plano. I saw my first Swainson's Hawk of the year, bringing my count to 100 Collin County species.

So far I like the Lost in Space reboot.



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fish crow call

Saturday I walked in the Heard Natural Science Center.  I saw a Fish Crow. I recorded its song to make sure that I had identified it correctly. The Fish Crow marked my 99th species in Collin County this year. Most of my hike was about dragonflies. I am slowly learning a few species names among the dragonflies. Saturday night we met my brother, his wife and their son for dinner at Bonefish Grill. It was a great meal with great family. Monday I turned 60 years old.

Monday through Wednesday I got more things done. I have lots of things I still want to do.


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The Great Art of Pushing a Broom

Sunday I had a good weigh-in at Weight Watchers. The recipe on the weekly hand-out looked good--a spanokopita based on sliced burrito-sized tortillas and vegetarian fare. I walked in Shawnee Park in Plano.  Every Sunday, a man is sleeping on the table beneath its little picnic pavilion.

In the afternoon, I walked in Glendover and in Green Park. At 4 p.m., I went to the church for a piano concert by Josh Vigran. Josh studies in the respected music Ph.D. program at the University of North Texas. He also works in the final days of being a keyboardist at our church's services.
He played a spirited and technically impressive concert of Beethoven's 32 Variations,, Mozart's "Turkish March" done as a ragtime/jazz piece, a jazz-inflected Russian classical composer whose name escapes me, an original piece called "Blue Star" and DeBussy's "Pagodas". I was pleased and surprised to see that some 100 people turned out for the performance. I enjoyed hearing a good piano concert.

Monday I found myselt quite busy at work. Wednesday was a bit of rise-and-repeat, with a different set of things with which to be busy. Wednesday we did take a break to meet with the fellow who helps us with our firm 401k. In another world, I imagine my work path diverging down the investment adviser trail, though I suspect that being a professor of English or a scientist or a technical writer, other roads not taken, fit me better.

I finished reading Roy Bayfield's non-fiction memoir "Performance Cleaner", about an art school graduate who went to work for a few years as the the maintenance man at the Zap Club, Brighton's place for electronic music and performance art in the 1980s and 1990s. I never visited the Zap. I believe that I visited Brighton once during a Summer studying in London, when a friend invited me to go with him to see his grandmother in Brighton. In the event, I fell sick, having gotten food poisoning from a lamb kebab in London.  I spent most of my time in bed, though I do remember attend a Reformed church service that was lovely. "Performance Cleaner" proved to be a very good read--90some-odd pages, a perfect length for an extended essay. I like the idea of approaching mundane tasks with a sense of possibility and artistry. 

I downloaded a new book, J.D. Beresford's "Goslings", and tackled the first few pages.

Wednesday evening my wife sat down to tell me a family narrative of interest. As she recited the details, Beatrice came and sat before her, listening intently. She never lets limited English fluency stand in the way of a family discussion.








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a tale of two bridges and several broadcasts

Yesterday we got the news that at least 20 people were killed by a young shooter in El Paso. By the end of the day, we learned that the accused young man came from the town where we live now. We do not know his family. The news reports he left a deranged note filled with anti-immigrant nonsense.

I woke up this morning to learn that several people were shot in Dayton. The epidemic of random violence is like a huge bit of Spanish influenza, except that no steps are being taken to develop a vaccine.

Thursday I got something out on time. Friday I got the next generation out on time. I like being ahead of the game.

I've listened to some interesting podcast episodes lately:

1. I listened to the Planetary Society episodes about the space craft LightSail 2. LightSail 2 is a crowd-funded satellite that is in orbit proving the concept of solar sails as a propulsion device for space travel. I like this kind of citizen science on the move (I almost put "on steroids" or "on dope", the latter a la the camp underground 70s band The Tubes, but both seemed so tacky). I like the idea of satellites running on solar energy.

2. I listened to a podcast about two widowed people who met and became involved and take walks in the Shropshire Hills. I listened to a podcast in which a woman explained she gave up the law to work with narrowboats on the Shropshire Union Canal. 

3. I listened to a history show which the story of the death of Texas cattle driver Oliver Loving.   I found it very interesting, though some of the myopia of the presentation was curious--Mescalero Apaches became simply "the Indians", for example. I generally oppose naming towns and counties after people. In my part of the world, so many things are named after either ex-Confederate slavers or railroad promoters. I like the way that the City of Carrollton names its hiking trails, Red Trail, Blue Trail, and Orange Trail.  I prefer the town name Little Rock to the town name Jonesboro.  But if one is to name places after people, then I like that Oliver Loving gave his name to one of Texas' least populous counties and to a small town in New Mexico. Those are remote places fit for a trailblazer.

Friday night I stayed up late making music on the computer using the IXI audio devices Lauki, Noiser, Slicer and Viruses. I looked up and it was 4 a.m. I had a good time.  I slept in on Saturday until nearly 10 a.m., though I did get up for breakfast. I woke to find rainy weather--always an August blessing in north Texas, where things can be hot. Our Summer has been a bit mild this year, but rain is still a good thing.

I walked in Glendover Park with Beatrice. In the late morning, I walked in Allen Station Park, where I saw lots of birds. I took pictures of the pedestrian bridge. Its newness made a nice contrast with the old bridge I saw in Llanfoist in Wales.

in the afternoon, I walked at Towne Lake Park in McKinney. As I came to a tiny pedestrian bridge there, I saw a family were gathered there. A little boy was having his picture taken. He was holding large letters that were a O, an N and an E. I hope he had a good first birthday. His family, cameras and cell phones in hand, had a great one. I walked around the bridge.

We ate outside at Firewater Grill. I had a small steak and vegetables. I made a Weight Watchers mug cake for dessert.

Last night we re-watched the movie "2010". I like movies that are firmly on the popcorn side of the popcorn/profundity Maginot Line. We were intrigued to realize that the Deschanel acting sisters' mom and dad were also in the industry.

We talked about taking a four-day weekend in Cheyenne in October.












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Biochemical recipe blue domino

Tonight I made reservations for one of our nieces to come visit in August. that will be fun. At lunch today, we took our Summer intern to Gloria's for a farewell luncheon. I had the bowl of chicken soup. Our intern starts university in San Antonio in a few weeks.  Our firm accountant and I described registering for classes in our respective uni days. Each class had its own computer card to add to the stack. Our intern asked 'What is a computer card?"  Earlier, I showed her a floppy disk and explained what it was and how it worked.

Today I realized that during the first nine years of my law practice, the portable document format (.pdf) did not exist.

After work, I walked in A.R. Schell Park. I saw 10 species of bird. Late July, August and early September tend to be quieter for birding, but I love walking there anyway.  I like immature Eastern Bluebirds

Yesterday I stopped by the domino outlet store in central Texas. I like the sale shelf. I prefer domino sets with feed store and farm logos for departed enterprises. But I settled for a bargain set with the logo of an aviation consulting company.

I watched the Democratic debate for the second night in a row. I liked the debaters.  I remain undecided on my favorite.

We are watching a special about the Voyager satellite. I love the idea of possible life on Enceladus.




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