Posted by: David | April 29, 2011

The Aisle of White

Today was really quite spectacular in an understated sort of way. It started normally, awakening at about 4:50, yawning, a couple quick stretches in the dark on the bedroom floor, etc. The weekday morning routine is programmed to within ±5 minutes accuracy at each station. The oatmeal gets nuked for 4 minutes during which time I have a pee and get on my workout kit. Eye-opener drink of whatever dregs of coffee from yesterday might be left, then the oatmeal comes out of the microwave, gets covered with a plate to cool, grab a bottle of water, and downstairs we go at around 5 am to catch the local news and weather whilst spinning. Normally we’re done with the local station (WMUR) after meteorologist Kevin Skarupa gives the 5 day forecast. Then we click around Dish Network’s morning offerings, watch something recorded, or whatever until 6:00, when Robin Meade starts her Morning Express. Me and Robin go way back.

Here’s a shot of Robin on my TV a couple years ago.

But we are 5 hours behind the United Kingdom, and there was this darn wedding today. Some lady found her prince and stuff.  It was on nearly all the channels. No commercials. I was like a captive audience. Even the space shuttle Endeavour sitting on pad 39A waiting to leave on its final mission was more boring than all that pomp, circumstance, overdressing, adorableness. They seemed so laconic while taking their vows. Maybe that’s the way they wear solemnity. Whatever. It was a compelling pageant after all, for richer or poorer. I think the title of this post came from the half-listening to the wedding coverage going on and on with Rolls-Royces and Bentleys zooming to the abbey from the palace, for richer or poorer … cough cough.

The dawn was an interesting mix of sunshine and fog.

The grass is growing again. The forthythia is blooming too.

Reading through my various email accounts while eating breakfast, I learn that I’ve won “£3.5M GBP ONLY” and that all I need do is “contact the Prize Payment Department Tim Moore Chief Accounts Adviser by E-mail ( with following details: Your full name, telephone, current mailing address and occupation”. Well this was wonderful news! £3.5M GBP would be over $10M USD, which would go a long way toward paying my oatmeal bill. I was about 5 minutes late to work, but I scored the Prime Parking Space, which only happens 2 or 3 times a year. Could the day get any better?

Well it did. A nice lunch with a good friend from work, and a re-conquering of an annoying Windows 7 Enterprise SP1 unattended installation problem: ERROR: Incorrect product key … Classes are over, final exams are underway, and the campus gets a little quieter each day as underclass students gradually scatter away to their summers. So I have more uninterrupted time to work on complicated things that go better without interruption. Certainly you’ll want to know that the Windows 7 install error was caused by my misspelling ofautounnattend.xmland my forgetting where in the xml file it is that setup actually wants the product key. I blame it on the TechNet instructions and general Microsoft Over-Architected Everything so as not to feel any bigger an idiot than I actually am. Ended up leaving work a little late as I got further into the Windows 7 image build. But that delay proved fortuitous. I saw a swan on my way home. It was rather enormous. At first glance I thought it was just another Canadian Goose.

Never seen a swan on Blaisdell Lake before. Today was the day.

I wish Will & Kate could have seen this sight. What a majestic bird.

So, the space shuttle didn’t make it off pad 39A today. I was talking to my bff around 5, still at work, just realizing that I’d missed the 3:47 liftoff. He told me the launch had been scrubbed. Huh. So that was April 29, 2011. To catch up on some of the recent garden progress photos follow …

Garlic is looking well.

The greenhouse fills with plants a few weeks away from being placed in the garden beds.

Behind the barn all the manure’s been spread and the first few beds for tomatoes are ready. The fourth, larger bed was planted with the potatoes sprouting in the root cellar. A few small reds and a bunch of Yukon Golds.

The broadfork that appeared a few posts back has saved a lot of time and back pain in the soil preparation. In the photo above there were five passes with the broadfork. Each 25′ row took less than 10 minutes to work. The potato mound was two of those beds which got pulled together into one after distributing the sprouty spuds in-between. Hopefully the spuds aren’t buried too deeply. Last year they were too shallow. This soil is very fluffy and full of horse bedding and manure. Lots of worms too. And I spread the wood ashes rather generously a month or so ago when there was still snow. Hope I didn’t overdo it on the ashes.

Dept. of Randomness: Cat has been murdering juncos lately. They must not taste good to her, as she leaves them on our doorstep.

Last weekend. Spent some quality time with granddaughter. She’s looking up my nose. Brave girl.

The weather is forecast to be agreeable this weekend. Hopefully there will be some bicycle time. After next Monday, only graduating seniors will be left on campus. They have a few days to celebrate together, then commencement on Saturday, after which the tumbleweeds start blowing through the college parking lots by mid afternoon. But not for long. The college will be holding its first-ever summer classes this year.

One final thought. Earlier in the week my wife and I were each web surfing on our own laptops in our living room. She asked me if I’d heard that they’d found the “God particle” at the LHC in Geneva. “WHAT?!?”  I exclaimed. I’m connected to CERN via several interwebby connections. How could I not have heard about this? Furthermore, how could it be that my wife, a non-nerd, would be the first person to tell me that Higg’s boson had finally been found? Unacceptable. As she read more from the MSN “Wonderwall” or whatever, it became clearer. While she read aloud about the ‘rumours caused by leaked internal notes’ etc. I was Googling fast and hard. Apparently, the LHC has been spinning at its highest yet energy levels, which they call ‘luminosities’. Still not as high as it’s designed to go, but that will come next year or in 2013. It looks like the luminosity’s gotten some folks a bit overheated. The collider generates ridiculous amounts of data that will take physicists years to sift through.

So now you know. Take care of yourselves.



  1. Not bad, David, not bad at all!

    Thank you B&G. Nice getting props from a real live writer. 🙂

  2. Swooning over the swan. The only ones I’ve ever seen have been “planted” there by human curators. But the swan can’t hold a candle to that granddaughter. She sure is checking you out.

    We were wondering if the swan got blown to NH by all the crazy weather, a la Dorothy from Kansas. Baby turned 6 weeks yesterday. She’s checking everything out now. It’s so fun to watch.

  3. Love the foggy dawn photo

    Thanks nursemyra. Did you know that next week is National Nurses Week here in the USA? Just tellin’ ya. 🙂

  4. Maybe the cat is trying to “Give you an offer you can’t refuse.” When it starts leaving tomato plants there, then there needs to be some retribution.

    LOL. My pussy’s with the mob! I shoulda known. Contrack killer. (Moonbeam reference)

  5. Isn’t 5 am a bit early to get up? That is when they get up to milk the cows and sheep. And sometimes after a fiesta, 4 am is when one could actually try to sleep. I think watching TV first thing in the morning is bad for your QVW. (Don’t google for this acronym, because I have just invented it and it isn’gt in Google yet.)

    It would be so nice to know what the little girl is thinking! Imagine! Let her speak just a little, and there goes my theory that all talk and all thought is just echo. Maybe if you took that Schnuller out of her mouth…?

    You have never reported on hail. There must not be any there. That garlic looks nice, but the other time, beside the garlic, there werea also a pink primula. It was img_4886, unless my memory fails me, which however would not be too surprising .
    And the horse.
    The photo of the horse as seen from inside your barn. It is the most beautiful “wallpaper” or “desktop” because even when seen from a distance it turns the screen into a window, and for reasons I cannot figure out it adapted itself both to the almost square screen of my big computer and to the screen of the little computer that is much wider than high.

    Also I wondered whether the two small green patches on either side of the gate aren’t painted. My best friend said no, it was grass. But then, since he is such an art specialist — and gets between 800 and 1000 hits for his Michelangelo posts in winter, when students have to cram for their finals, — he pointed out the bluish shadow on its neck and said it was so beautiful to see THE BLUE SKY REFLECTED ON THE BACK OF THE HORSE!
    Funny, eh?

    But there is no shadow on the ground, so it wasn’t sunny and the sky was not blue! That’s how the cookie or the theory crumbles.

    YES, 5 am IS a bit early. I would much rather get up around 7 am. I’m going to try guessing what QVW might mean, assuming English. I mostly watch news, and weather, which is important to attend to in the winter.

    Yes, the garlic was in different beds last year and there were some pansies in the adjacent bed (yes, img_4886- your memory is superb). We move some things around in the garden beds, which is a recommended practice. But then we tend to plant some things in the same place every year.

    We rarely get hail here and I’m glad. I’m also glad that you like some of the photos enough to use them as wallpaper on your computers.

  6. Sorry. I had to correct the sentence about the primula and deleted too much:
    “but the other time, beside the garlic, there were also a dark violet Stiefmütterchen coming up and a pink primula. It was img_4886…”

    How could you remember img_4886 I wonder. What image was the sky-backed horse?

    • Is it ?

      It is a black horse standing in the light seen from inside the barn so that the barn forms like a black frame around the horse.

      QVW is an acronym meaning nothing but imitating USA self-presentation of age + sexual orientation + hair colour + diagnosed PQRS or whatever.

      By the way. this Lady Gaga, couldn’t she distinguish herself by launching another mass suicide event?

      Sorry to report that the horse in that photo got ill and had to be put to sleep.

      I like your fake acronym, though strictly speaking, an acronym should be a speakable word not just a string of letters. QVW will mean Quality Value Whatever, the watchwords of American marketing and advertising.

      I think Lady Gaga has adequately distinguished herself already. Let us speak no more of her.

  7. Brilliant photos all! Lovely swan! It’s interesting what cats will leave on one’s doorstep. Mine only leave puke. (they aren’t allowed outdoors.)

    Our cat is indoors at night and most of the winter. Guess it’s nice, you have no mice. Glad you like the pix.

    • P.S. Your healthy lifestyle makes ME want to puke as well.

      Yes, it is rather nauseating isn’t it? Perhaps you can take comfort in the fact that I didn’t find the healthy lifestyle until middle age. Before then it was all hedonism all the time.

      • Could there be, perhaps, a healthy hedonistic lifestyle?

        Well now, that’s the question isn’t it? Through a combination of habituated substitutions you can gradually, painlessly train yourself to actually enjoy life on a diet of cardboard and dirty water and back breaking labor. Well maybe not painlessly.

        • Maybe not at all! My sister-in-law has gone vegan. A life without honey, eggs, dairy, meat…… FLAVOUR! Sorry vegans. Sorry vegetarians. I’m not doing that!!

          I do eat a very healthy breakfast of fresh fruit, granola, and yoghurt. Some of my other meals are a bit lacking but breakfast is always good.

          … no cardboard or dirty water though. I cannae do it!

          Puh-leeez! Flavour is entirely relative. Properly prepared cardboard is delicious as a main course or a side dish. You probably don’t remember the awful cardboard shortages of the ’70s. We were all eating horse meat then. It was awful. Then came the horse shortage. We ate unicorns. They were REALLY awful. YOu wouldn’t think that animals with only one horn would be that tough and stringy, but there you are.

          Good on ya for breakfast. I follow that pattern too. 🙂

  8. Windows 7 image? are you not going to be using thin client in the labs??? enquiring minds need to know.

    Your gardens look fabulous already.

    I am limiting my gardening this year to beets, peas, escarole and herbs in the front section of my beds. Joined a farm share to simplify my life. I have a couple that is going to plant their stuff in my garden this summer so the wonderful conditioned soil and cleared area will not go to waste. And he insists on mowing my lawn. OMG – it’s like having a gardener!

    Thanks LKR! The garden looks very neat in early spring, before all the weeds come in.

    That’s nice that you’ve got some enthusiastic participants to tend your beds, esp. after all the effort you put into building them. And lawn mowing service too!

    Yes, Windows 7 Enterprise. It’s the best Windows ever, in spite of Microsoft’s tendency to overbuild everything. We will probably be going to virtual desktop technology in the next 5 years, after a major network upgrade. By then the technology should be ever more mature and dependable.

  9. Aww! Your cat is showing affection! It’s all “I love you weird furless thing. I will now feed you like the useless, and pathetic kitten that you are.”

    Well that’s a nice way of looking at it. I think she’s really saying something like “Here humanoids, have this little junco bird I just killed. They taste like ass! Maybe you’ll like them.”

  10. Living under a rock (i.e. without cable TV) has its benefits– I completely missed the wedding coverage. This must have been unacceptable to my dental hygienist though, as she filled me in on everything I didn’t want to know…including all the details on the upcoming nuptials of her daughter and son.

    Moving in.

    I love your swan pictures!!

    And way to go, kitty! I love how cats want you to be proud of them for their hunting prowess. My former cat (RIP Paco) used to leave disassembled crickets outside my bedroom door. That’s love. Or pride. Or something else altogether.

    Oooo how unfair of the dental hygienist. Don’t ya wonder if they tell the same stuff to each and every client throughout the day since they have such captive audiences?

    Our cat only leaves bird and rodent parts. But almost always on the front doorstep. It’s important to watch one’s step when heading out to work.

  11. Oops. Meant “moving on” not “moving in”. That would seem a bit forward.

    I would edit you, but then this comment wouldn’t make sense, and I’d have to delete it, and I hate to lose even one comment. Someday they’ll be worth money. I bet.

  12. We have only sparrows, but there were many. I buy Müesli for myself, which is a Swiss mixture of oats, nuts, dried grapes, dried fig, sunflower seeds, dried banana, but mainly oats. In Switzerland this is mixed with fruit juice and fresh fruits and then we add whipped cream and voilà as you used to say so idiomatically correct that I was “taken aback” which may be an archaic expression, but was the only one that occurred to in a hurry to try and finish this before I get cut off again.
    I think I am already off, but can copy it and then paste it in.
    Well, here we never get whipped cream, it is not part of the national diet, and so I eat the Müesli raw (this is not a shaggy dog story, just looks like one), but set aside the banana and the other dried fruit pieces to give to the birds and this makes feeding myself more entertaining.
    And then, suddenly, from one day to the next, the sparrows disappeared.
    No more sparrows.
    Not even one.

    Sad about the sparrows. Hopefully just migrating. They eat well by your windows.

    We used to eat muesli all the time. I bet that there is more benefit from the oats by eating them uncooked. I wonder if that would make even more intestinal gas.

  13. All the sparrows gone! And have not come back! No explanation given! It kept me awake some nights examining possibilities.
    Best bet: they have become migrant because of the extreme heat, which got extremer and extremer until the Pope came and wanted to addressed a million people that lived between 10 and 36 hours on a military airfield. Una barbaridad. Never in Spain had I seen temperatures above 46º, and I have seen 46 only once or twice.
    No sparrows. Before, when I went out to the terrace, the trees in front of my place came to life. Many branches started to move. Everybody started to chirp and make noise.
    Now all is silence. I set out la crème de la crème, as it were, the best of walnuts. Nothing.

    Wow, they don’t even come back for walnuts? Must be the heat. Or maybe the Pope scared them off.

  14. The little girl: on this photo too you can see that if she does use her hands, it is with the ringfinger and the little finger that she tries to grab, not with the other three that most people use. She keeps those three folded.

    Yes, she keeps all her extremities folded. At just over 5 months old, she’s still rather “fetal” in her general posture. Except for the face, which is making all sorts of delightful expressions. We saw her laugh for the first time a few days ago.

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