Posted by: David | May 7, 2008

Sun Shining Longer …

If I leave work promptly at 5 pm there is enough time to go for a nearly 2 hour bike ride. It’s dusk around 7:30. So I took a ride last night down south toward Henniker. Didn’t quite make it Henniker but it was nice to get out. Things are winding down at work. Commencement is Saturday morning.

The underclass students packed up and left yesterday.

The commencement tent is bigger than ever before.

It’s sad when the students leave, but I know it feels great to them, so that helps. And commencement itself at Colby-Sawyer is a fine ceremony, not too long or too short, the culmination of all of our work, students, faculty, staff, and the quaint little town of New London.

It’s been a while since an update on the Route 114 cairn, so I took the camera along last evening. The structure is more complicated than ever, with lots of little chinking stones to support the curved shape. It almost looks like a parenthesis. Sorry this photo in the late evening sun is not too good. I’ll get better ones as the summer continues. I think the largest stone here is on top.

A close-parenthesis looking south, open parenthesis looking north.

As I rode along I kept my eyes searching for interesting detritus, as usual. I’ve found money, cigarettes, CDs, lighters, and all sorts of junk not interesting enough to put in a fascinating blog post like this one. I neglected to mention that I’d found my first CD of the season a few weeks back. It was a bunch of Incubus mp3 files. Once I get tired of the Eluvium CD called “An Accidental Memory in the Case of Death”. It’s 6 tracks of solo piano just about long enough to soothe my commute. I doubt that I’ll get to that Incubus find because the next music from iTunes will be from Kaki King. Thanks NPR for bringing her to my attention. It took you long enough! She’s already been on Letterman and Conan.

I’ve learned that almost all the cigarette lighters you find on the side of the road are dead or broken. And there’s a new piece of technology that gets tossed out of vehicle windows with increasing frequency these days. I see probably one every couple of weeks.

…or pieces of one anyway … this is the top part of a flip-type cell phone. Dead.

Well I guess it’s time for me to head to work. Yesterday I got an email from a coworker who’d added under the signature “Please consider the environment before printing this email”. It’s not uncommon and a great idea since the wasted paper spewing out of our computer labs and offices is astonishing. I thought it would be funny to have this line under my signature: “Please consider your sanity before reading this email”. Nyuk nyuk.

So I have some leave time coming up this month and I hope to find time to reenter the blogosphere a little more fully. Maybe some of my days off will be rainy and icky so I’ll feel OK about staying indoors staring at the telescreen.



  1. HI Dave! (me waving)

    Hi C! (me waving back)

  2. Kaki King, eh? I will investigate. Thanks for the lead, Dave! Here’s one for you: Check out Hayes Carll. He was on Fresh Air yesterday. I think I’m in love. Again.

    Consider the tip of your left pinkie before pressing this key: A

    What?! How can YOU not have heard of her already? I think I already know why. There’s just too much gall dern great music out there! Too MUCH! Ayeeee.

    I like this Hayes Carll! I think my friend Jean might also like him. He’s kinda bluesy acid country dylan? THIS guy should sing my freshly written song “Wish I had a nicer Dungheap” (and actually write the rest of it while he’s at it)!


  3. My daughter’s wedding tent was almost as big as your commencement tent. But we got it for free because my son-in-law is foreman of the tent company so we were able to get their biggest tent plus all the other stuff you need to rent: tables, chairs, china, dance floor, etc. Saved us about $5000.

    I love the cairn picture. My daughter and her hubby built a few when they went to Sedona, AZ a couple of weeks ago. There were hundreds of them at this special vortex where there is supposed to be a lot of energy. My daughter said she didn’t know if she felt any energy. But she sure had the energy to take about 1000 pictures of Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Red Rocks and Las Vegas.

    Holy crap if your daughter’s wedding had a tent that big it must have been enormous. The photo actually makes the tent look smaller than it is. There are today about 1,000 folding chairs in there and the stage where the grads grab their diplomas.

    Glad you like the cairn. I should try building one sometime too.

  4. They say brevity is the soul of wit, but i think your caption would be funnier if it said, “The underclass students packed up their BMWs and Lexi and left campus yesterday…” (observed from behind the wheel of my own 2000 Saturn SL 2 sedan with the dinged front fender and spaghetti-style XM radio home install job).

    Yeah. It definitely would’ve been funnier. I’ve been trying to estimate the percentage of student-owned-cars-way-better-than-mine for years now, and I conservatively estimate that only 5% or less bring obscenely nice cars. It’s just that their parents can’t really afford anything worse. I guess.

  5. You go bike-riding for two hours? I ride the stationary bike for half an hour when I get home with King of Queens on the TV, and that’s about all I am willing to commit to…hence the barely noticeable results, haha ๐Ÿ˜‰

    YAY Romi! A half hour is way better than not at all. It’s really fun to watch the TV while spinning- I did that all winter. Occasionally I would watch a whole movie while spinning. But now that it’s nice out again it’s more funner to be on the road. And from the few pictures of yourself I’ve seen on the interweb I’d say the results are QUITE noticeable. Especially from when I first met you as a poopy-pantsed eight year old ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. I looked up the tent we had for our daughter’s wedding and it was a little under 5000 square feet. So it definitely was smaller than your commencement tent but it was rather large for only 160 guests. It had hundreds of Japanese lanterns hanging from the ceiling so when it got dark it was beautiful. Her husband strung them up by himself. That was the deal. Everything was free but he had to do the work himself. Fortunately he had enough friends to help him put up the tent.

    I hope you enjoy the commencement.

    I think I would like to build a small cairn in my yard too. I was on someone’s blog the other day and their neighbor lost their 25 year old son to a car accident and they had built a 16 foot Inukshuk to honor him. She had a photo of it and it was amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    I remember the pix you posted of your daughter’s wedding. It looked pretty nice. My daughter’s wedding is coming up in August. Those lanterns sound like a nice idea.

    Today we have a little picnic barbecue lunch under the tent, seniors about to graduate, staff, and faculty, after which the seniors rehearse the commencement process. It’s a bittersweet time of year at our little college, as you can imagine.

    Thanks for inukshuk Joan, another fantastic thing about blogging- it’s educational. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I build tiny little cairns when at the beach; I love to rock hunt… Is this a meme for some later day: a cairn challenge!?

    Yes, I learn so much for y’all. (re: blogging is educational.)

    A Cairn Meme sounds like an AWESOME idea. Guess that’s why you’re “IDEAJUMP” huh? If I find some time soon, I’ll start phase one of that meme. To build a pile of stones. There are lots of stones around here. But I’ll need to find flat-ish ones. I’ve heard they’re more stackable.

  8. Do you ever go dumpster diving when the students are tossing out all their stuff? I know I would.

    Include me in that Cairn Meme. I’ve got nothing but stones and rocks around here.

    Funny you should mention that Wendy. I was reminiscing today about years past when we shamelessly dumpster-dove. Someone noted that behavior was somehow unseemly for college staff so a decree went forth that there should be no more of this scavenging. Now the students are invited to recycle their reusable discards through more appropriate channels. And many of them do so. I still can’t help but peek at what the departing kids trash, and it doesn’t look so great any more. It looks like trash.

    That cairn meme does sound cool huh? It’s so interdisciplinary, isn’t it? Feel free to kick it off on your own if you like. I’ll be doing stuff outside for the next couple of days, weather permitting. Rocks usually come into play then …

  9. Please, could you edit that in your head? ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am now officially your editor. That will be $25 please. Two typos, a comma, and a missing question mark. The smiley is OK. Make that $20.

  10. JEEBUS! You know what I meant …

    Crust be with you!

  11. That’s the Vermont state bird, you know: the Jeezum Crow.

    I think you may be mixed up your birds there vermonter. Or maybe your religion. But fear not, for Jeebus forgives you. Crustianity is the one true religion. Gosh Almighty Forever And A Day. Or whatever.

    Jeezum Crow’s just one of them 2-bit prophets like Joe Smith and his damned peep stones. Gosh bless America.

    And the Vermont State Bird is the hermit thrush. But I’ll bet you knew that already. ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. what *is* that quilt square in my space, please?

    I don’t know but I’ve been seeing a lot of them around the WordPress space. Is it some kind of mold growing on our blogs?

    It’s pretty isn’t it!?

    Update: So now, thanks to Matt, WordPress Geek, that the quilt is a generated avatar. Apparently vermonter your avatar fades in and out of existence from time to time. I do that too! ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. What’s a peep stone? Is it like a drug store diamond? That was good for about a 2-bit profit, dontcha think?

    Ba DUMP bump! There are certainly similarities between the fake diamond and the peep stones of Joe Smith. The former caught my eye with all its sparkly-like wonder, while the latter hypnotized an upstate NY carny into founding a whole new religion. No offense to any Mormon readers. ๐Ÿ˜€ I view most religions with a jaundiced eye. Pretty much all of them. Except for Crustianity.

  14. @ Vermonter- I’ve been seeing those quilt icons are on everyone’s comment who isn’t signed in, or doesn’t have a blog. Maybe you weren’t signed in? What I hate is that every so often WordPress signs me out on its own. Then I have to go through the hassle (but to me everything’s a hassle) of signing in again. I prefer to live freely and without effort, Live Free or Die and all that, which to me means signing in once and having it stay that way. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have been booted off once, but I’ve been seeing some delays lately in WordPress pages loading. I hope everything is OK. Here’s the poop on the default avatar options. Maybe the free ride is soon to end? And the New Hampshire state motto has been changed, Wendy (by yours truly). It’s now this:

    Live free or die TRYING!

  15. Imagine hearing that the end of your studies are called “the commencement” like seeing that the jail door opens onto a larger cage. It ought to be renamed “turnpoint ceremony” or “crossroads party” or simply the CRs. CRs would catch on in a second. Have you seen how “sibling” came up?

    I saw a great photo at

    I always thought that commencement was a poor choice of name for the graduation ceremony, since it’s no more the beginning of something than any other moment.

    Unfortunately for your coinage, “Crossroads” is just a bit too cliche for the academic community.

    I don’t understand your question about “sibling”.

  16. @Wendy & @ David: You mean it *isn’t* “Live, freeze, and die.” ??

    That’s a popular bumper sticker around here, along with “I Brake For Moose”.

  17. I like both your motto and Vermonter’s very much. Maybe they could be combined:

    Live Free or Freeze Trying

    Thanks Wendy, your combination works too! ๐Ÿ˜€ It still conveys the fact that in this “tax free” state (no sales or income tax) there really IS no free lunch, and it adds the miserable meteorology which is yet in memory after last winter. But the weather here is really not so bad since global warming started. And nothing like that of our Canadian friends. It hardly ever gets much lower than -10°F any more …

  18. Thanks for the Kaki King tip! Watching her play that guitar is hypnotic.

    It is isn’t it? I’m glad you like her too. You’re welcome and thanks to NPR, though she’s got like 4 albums out already and has been around a while. I guess she needed to grow out of her “novelty” phase. Are you going to buy an album? If yes, which one? All her stuff’s on iTunes.

  19. Re: “sibling”

    It gives me the goosepimples to see how any novelty catches on and then disappears in the US. Let’s not mention the WMDs in this context, okay? Let’s not mention Anthrax either or how tell-tale that was. The memory of BinLaden, too, is not nice to call up. “Avatar” is less controversial, and so is “sibling”. The more irrelevant, the safer.

    It spread in no time, making everyone feel he needs to find out how it is used, next making everyone feel it does not matter how it is used, it’s okay in every way, and now, from an American PhD of medicine who is dying of cancer and is related to my family, I got to see a good-bye letter saying : dear siblings, the check enclosed is a good-bye gift…..

    Of course, this “sibling” thing is only a little silly fad compared to WMDs…anthrax….

    That sibling thing escaped my attention. Or my micro-attention. You’ve nicely encapsulated how we digest data here in the USA. It can be summed up thusly: WHATEVER! I think that the mental scabs of our terrorization in Sept. 2001 have grown thick and “keloid-y”, because of the constant picking and scratching. Perhaps the micro-attentional deficit disorder is another symptom of being terrorized.

  20. […] Thoughts to Action… « Happy Graduation The Curious Cairn May 14, 2008 David, over at Thoughts-0-Dave,ย frequently blogs about a cairn that marks his cycling route.ย ย ย  I suggested we […]

  21. Now that this cairn thing has turned into an actual meme, I am going to have to leave my abode to find rocks. I just don’t have any anywhere. I’m going to build it in my new Oasis. I don’t even know where to go look, the rock dump? I hope I don’t have to resort to stealing some from someone’s rock wall.

  22. Hey Dave, I have most of the Kaki King albums, she’s great, I saw her on Letterman years ago. I can’t believe I didn’t share this with you before!!

    Hey Reba! Yeah I can’t believe it either. ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s pretty amazing.

    You can make it up to me very easily though by loaning me some of those disks (except for the current “Dreaming of Revenge” which I bought on iTunes) AND by going for a bike ride with me soon.

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