Posted by: David | January 10, 2009

Joy Of Stumbling

If you’ve never heard of StumbleUpon and you like the internet then at least you have an excuse for not having wasted hours and hours randomly surfing the web. Time is short so I’d get going if I were you. When your attention deficit has finally hit bottom, you click Stumble!, and some random web wonder appears just in time to re-engage you. Like the flippers on the pinball machine. A couple of fun things I’ve found lately …

Create a tombstone at the Tombstone Generator. I did it and what a laugh I had! Then you can download and save the jpeg in case you need a little cheering up some time hence.

What’s-his-name had lots to spend on his ginormous gravestone.

There’s also a street sign generator. No apostrophes available, sorry.

If you’re more of an auditory type, then you can try this frightening karaoke website found on JavaQueen’s recent post. This is another form of stumbling, stumbling via blog. Often blogs I like to read, like JavaQueen’s, will post links to interesting, or in this case dreadful, things. Nothing against JavaQueen or anything but I’m convinced that the Karaoke was invented as a form of torture. So check out SingSnap  and listen to others destroy your favorite songs, or go ahead and engulf and devour your own faves.

Methinks I stumbleth too much. But other things are happening in real life. I’m reading some books started over the holiday vacation, and am now back to work; we’re getting ready for the spring semester. Fall semester ended funkily because of this terrible ice storm that knocked out power for nearly a week. Finals and grades for Fall semester will need to be gotten out of the way before Spring semester can really get underway.

We burnt a brushpile today. I have this “Weed Dragon” propane torch that’s supposed to give a nice roaring blue flame but today gave only sooty yellow gasps. Fortunately some plastic sheeting in the brushpile caught fire nicely and got the whole pile going. My wife came out and helped and took some pix at my request.

It’s a fun thing to do in January. Create greenhouse gasses.

Oliver came out too and burrowed into the crusty 6 inches of snow/sleet here and there sniffing crazily for the enemy. The Rodent. The enemy is everywhere.

So this brushpile got lit up at about 10 or 11 this morning. We tended it for an hour or so, feeding sticks and limbs plucked from the dense crust of snow. Mostly the remains of last year’s brushpile. And an old couch. The pile burns all day. There are a couple of stumps and big hunks of wood that will burn all night. I keep checking on it. My carbon footprint is now gigantic.

Action figure Dave leaves smoke and flames in his wake …

A certain amount of flame-staring usually happens …

A little after noon I went into the greenhouse to get some solar rays and read. It gets up to about 67° F and the sun is warm– it’s about 22° outside. The smoke from the brushpile occasionally wafts over and into the greenhouse. I came back in, started this post, and kept looking out the window at the fire. Around 3 I go back out to consolidate the burning chunks so that they burn up more completely. A bit past 4 some cardinals appeared in the apple tree next to the greenhouse. Behind which the brushpile smolders.

This was before the cardinals appeared.

Here’s Mr. Cardinal with two female treemates.

It was nice to see those birds, and unusual to see 3 at once. The redness of the male just lifts one’s heart somehow. They never seem to come to the feeder, but sometimes hang out below in the rosebush waiting for seeds to fall. Plenty do. Birds are messy eaters and many will fling a bunch of seeds to the ground before finding one to eat. I wonder if they’re helping each other out sometimes. Some birds eat while perched on the feeder, scissoring the shell off in their beaks. Others fly off with their seed to a nearby tree branch to work the kernel out by chiselling at it held against the branch in their talons. Sounds like a pretty pleasant Saturday don’t it?

As the sun returns to the north it hits the hills to our west very nicely some mornings. The low angles of winter sun and the snow on the distant hills provide some beautiful vistas out our back windows.

The backyard is quiet this morning of January 8, 2009. Sunlight catches the far hills around 7:30.

The bicycles hang silently upside down from rafters in the garage. Waiting for spring.



  1. Two things struck me with this post, David. Well, three actually, but let’s forget about the travails of burning brush! First, you have describes exactly what I call the Stumblina method (which is at the heart of my now successful second career in IT sales training) — just stumble through the gui and figure everything out and then push it until it breaks and move on to the next thing. Effective and usually fun! Second, you have suddenly become quiet poetic with your bicycles hanging silently and the cardinals warming your heart. This, too, is a good thing. Best wishes for survivng the coldest month of the year.

    Thanks Carol. Sometimes I correct my commentators typos, and occasionally there’s one that I can’t be sure is a typo. Stumblina? Typo or not I like it. 🙂 Many IT folk use this method of software dissection. It requires a certain abandon doesn’t it?

    Yeah, every now and then I lapse into verse. Usually it’s NOT a good thing, but I’m glad you like it.

  2. I don’t know why this is not dangerous if it burns all night. Is it impossible for surrounding twigs and branches to catch fire ?

    Thanks for thinking of my safety! And yes, it is nearly impossible for anything nearby to ignite. Firstly because it’s covered with snow, and secondly because it is frozen. It’s usually rather an ordeal to get one of these brush piles started in the first place. One needs to get a burning permit from the town fire dept. except in winter. Once there’s a foot of snow on the ground you’re expected to notify the fire dept. but you don’t need a permit. 🙂 I learned about this the hard way.

  3. It is a good way of finding some interesting web sites.

    Yup it sure is Mike. 🙂

  4. I get a bunch of hits on the Densa site from Stumblers.

    I use this site:

    for generator madness.

    I’ve used these two but they don’t change as often:

    We got blasted again. Between home and work I’ve added another four hours to this seasons shoveling festivities.

    What was funny at the house is the entire time I’m out there the wild turkey that hangs around was following and watching me. He’d get within a couple of feet and squat down. But he mainly huddled in a garden area with a corner or under the bedroom window.

    I had to laugh because he knows that, magically, food falls from that window when he’s around. My girlfriend was still sleeping so, when I finished, I tossed out some food.

    But he wasn’t there. I guess when watching an idiot move snow was over he moved on. I knew he’d be back or something else would eat the bread but then, from behind some bushes (maybe he was peeing), he comes running up the hill. I will always laugh at a turkey running.

    I wasn’t there but was told there was quite a ruckus the other day. From nowhere Brutus goes crazy. He jumps up to look out a window and is making all kinds of noise. My girlfriend gets up and looks out the window and sees a flock of seagulls have descended upon the yard and the turkey is going wild chasing them away. Flapping and screeching, anything to get them to move on which they did.

    So, take notice. We’re protected by an attack turkey.

    Hahahaha! Turkeys, they are funny all right. Yours is especially loyal. Maybe he got scared watching you shovel. Snow shovelling must seem insane to turkeys. I’ll bet. Hmmm. I don’t think turkeys pee. But let’s not get into that. Anyway thanks for that funny comment. 🙂 I’d say you’re lucky to have that kind of entertainment while you move the snow around.

    We got about 6″ of medium density snow on top of about 4″ inches of crusted sleet/snow, so the areas I didn’t clear after the sleetstorm I had to snowblow at the slowest speed. Takes me a couple-few hours. Sometimes I use one of those big snow pusher thingies if it’s only a few inches.

    This comment got caught in the Spam filter probably because of the 3 links. Thanks for those, I will check them out. The Tombstone Generator has a few other generators. It reminded me of some of your awards and certificates. Only yours are funny.

  5. Haha, I am stumbler too, and it’s kind of like a pill that will make sure you never get bored for the rest of your life….aka, can’t wait to make my very own tombstone! lol….

    oh and PS: you can sure rock a pair of jeans my friend (…what it awkward to say that?)


    Of course you are a stumbler! Boredom? What’s that?

    Eyes up here Romi. 😉

  6. LOVE the cardinals.

    Me too. Scarlet tanagers are red rivals, but we see them once a year if we’re lucky. The cardinals are regulars.

  7. I like the way you futz with your color, Dave – those birds and bikes really pop! At the moment, I can’t find the place where you explained how you do it, but I want to learn how…

    It’s pretty simple. Practically all of the pix I post go through the Microsoft Office 2007 Picture Manager. First I crop, then I turn the color saturation up to 42. Yes, 42. Then I hit the Auto Correct button, which improves the image about 90% of the time. Sometimes I have to undo the Auto Correct. Then I compress to the “Documents” setting for jpeg files around 100K in size. I think the color saturation boost is the dominant effect. Rarely do I use PhotoShop.

  8. I am going to get a new computer tomorrow. I’m sure there will be trouble. It’s more than a premonition. It’s experience plus that tombstone generator. It all adds up to a very somber prognosis.

    That’s quite amusingly phrased cantueso. I hope that the change of getting a new computer is not as bad as you are prognosticating. If you’ve been a “good” computer user, then you have made backup copies of all the important stuff on your old computer anyway, and will be able to copy it, as needed, to the new computer. Being a total geek, I would start asking you all about the new computer, but I won’t do that now. Best of luck with the new system. I predict that you will love it after a week or two. 🙂

  9. Flame-staring. Seems like a universally human thing to do. But why? Next time I have a fire going, I’ll probably stare at the flames and wonder why I’m staring at the flames …

    Every home I’ve ever had has been graced with cardinals. Until this one. I was told cardinals do not appear in the Denver area. Too far west. Sad. It’s like a critical piece is missing. 😦

    Some folks think that taming fire was a fundamental step in the evolution of homo sapiens. Yeah, I think so too. And our fascination with it took us all the way to “burning” even the heart of the atom. Gosh we’re so smart.

    Sorry you don’t have cardinals in Denver. Maybe there are some other pretty red birds to fill the gap?

  10. Dave! I just wanted to say “hi” and let you know of our Return to Blogdom! I’m so sad to see your bikes hung up. Your biking posts are great. We just got bikes ourselves and I’m fast becoming a nut… uh, enthusiast. I have not yet reached the level of the Bonnie, but I may get there yet. Anyway, Happy New Year!

    Hi Ceridwen! Thanks for stopping by … I noticed some new posts over at your place. I will catch up on them very soon. Don’t be sad for the bikes, they need the rest. You’ll be catching up to Bonnie in no time I’m sure. Her new braces will add significant aerodynamic drag which may slow her down a bit. 🙂 Happy New Year to you too.

  11. Great site…keep up the good work. 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read.. <a href=";


    Thanks, Bill, for this delightful new type of spam comment. It made me feel sorry for it getting trapped in the spam filter as it gently kissed my butt. Your links are mysterious to me.

  12. The bikes hang ***s i l e n t l y*** !? They don’t talk! All winter long??!

    ¿¿¿ …. ? !

    By the way, have you seen the sculptures made in snow by the Chinese?

    I believe the bikes are silent, but who knows? I’m hoping to do some work on my two main bicycles this winter.

    Nice snow sculptures! Thanks for the link.

  13. An hour or two later.

    No. It is an international competition, and not all the sculptures are Chinese.

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