cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-07-18 06:30 am


I've been recommending Photobucket for people who wanted to post pictures here. Unfortunately, Photobucket has decided to to make their users pay a large fee per month for the ability to do that. Sorry! I guess nothing lasts forever. I probably will not be posting any more pictures here myself.
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-07-11 05:09 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

from [personal profile] mamculuna

What's your favorite cereal? Something with oats. Honeynut Cherrios, Honeybunches of Oats with almonds, oatmeal...

Is there a bus stop near your house? As the crow flies it's not far. Considering how far I'd have to walk around to get to it, it's far. Worse the bus doesn't go any place I'd be interested in going.

Do you prefer red wine or white wine? I'm not fond of red. Rosè is nice. I used to drink Riesling about as frequently as any other wine.

What's the last airport you were at? Why were you there? Phoenix Skyharbor. Comin' home.

Who do you live with? Sirius Black, the kitty cat.

Do you read reddit? If so, how often and what subreddits do you like? Nope, the things I've heard about it were discouraging.

Have you recently broken up with a significant other or even just a friend? Nope.

What's the weather like today? Is it nice enough to go outside? It's 102F and thunderstorms possible. Compared to the 119F a couple weeks ago, it is relatively nice.

Do you know anyone who's had a baby recently? Grandnieces.

Have you used a pen or pencil today? What did you write down? Oddly, no.

What does your last text message say and who is it from? I don't own a cell phone.

Can you count how many times you've seen your favorite film? No, but probably seven or eight times.

When was the last time you ate marshmallows? By themselves, decades ago. In hot chocolate last winter some time.

Do you listen to any podcasts? How do you listen to them? Yes and no. I start listening on the computer through, but usually don't stay long.

How old will you be in the year 2030? Ten years older than I will be in 2020!

How often does the kettle in your house get used? In the summer never, in the winter about once a day.

Does your skin bruise easily? Do you have any bruises right now? What from? I bruise mostly from bumping into things, but I don't think I have any at the moment. I probably have a few cat claw marks.

What was the last thing you spent $150 or more on? A new refrigerator.

Do you prefer yes or no questions or more open-ended questions? Depends on the circumstances.

What brand of toilet paper do you usually buy? Most recently I bought Charmin. I probably got a deal.

If I knocked on your door right now, would you be acceptably dressed? Depends on who you are and what you wanted, but generally, today, yes.

Why did you leave your last job? I retired.

What color were the last socks you wore? Blue, I'm still wearing them.

Are you studying currently? What level of education and what do you study? I suppose you could call my continuing work with the Russian Language studying. I have an M.A. in Slavic Studies, and did everything but finish a dissertation for a PhD in Russian Linguistics.

Have you ever eaten at a restaurant and left without paying? Lot's of times. Without anyone in the party paying for us? Never!

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud? That last question.

What's your favorite scent of air freshener? It's called fresh air. Can't open the window for it tonight because it's too hot and we might have a dust storm!

How many weddings have you ever been to? A dozen maybe.

Do you know anyone named Nora? I really like the name, but I think the closest I came to knowing one was a Nola.

Are your hands and feet in good condition or could you do with a mani-pedi? If you think a mani-pedi improves the *condition* of one's hands and feet, I think you are mistaken. Improving the looks is a different matter, and I think I'm lacking enough vanity to care what my feet look like.

When was the last time you played a board game? What did you play? A few weeks ago. Actually it's a card game. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle. Cooperative, challenging and fun.

Have you ever been to a festival for beer or other type of alcohol? Yep, Oktoberfest in St. Louis.

Do you own a record player and/or vinyls? I have the records and they are in good shape, but haven't had a record player in ages.

When was the last time you went out for drinks? I don't think I've gone out just for drinks since grad school.

Have you ever been to a strip club? No, if you ever saw the outside of one of them in daylight when you were sober, you likely wouldn't go in at night when you were drunk.

What's your favorite kind of smoothie? I have to admit I've never been tempted to drink a smoothie. I like fruit and vegetables unsmooshed just fine.

Do you know anyone with a 'virtue name'? (Google it) I knew a young guy named Pride and a young woman named Prudence. The guy liked his name; the woman did not like hers.

Would you ever wear real authentic leather? I still own leather dress shoes and only have genuine leather belts. With all that beef being slaughtered, it would seem a giant waste to not do something useful with the hides.

Have you taken out the trash today? No, trash set-out evening is tomorrow! I did bag up and take out some kitty litter, early today. Does that count?

How often do you wear make-up? About as often as I star in Broadway plays.

What's your opinion on The Simpsons? It's about as dumb as Homer. I haven't watched a full episode since I retired.

Do you prefer horizontal or vertical stripes? On me? I'm probably thin enough for either again, but I usually don't buy the causal sort of men's clothing that has horizontal stripes.

What's your favorite brand of deodorant/antiperspirant? It's called soap.

Do you know anyone who has been through a divorce? Yes, not me, thankfully.

If you had the money, would you take taxis everywhere instead of driving? Probably not.

Have you ever done a juice cleanse? If you seriously believe a juice cleanse will do you any particular good, you might need a brain tidy instead.

Do you have any friends who you can't decide if they're attractive or not? I hope I'm beyond that nonsense. As the old song goes "Everybody's beautiful in their own way."

Is the inside of your fridge clean right now or does it need a clean out? It's clean!

When was the last time you washed the dishes? Yesterday. By myself it takes a few days to fill up the dishwasher.

Are there any magazines that you read on a regular basis? National Geographic (not as good as it once was) Trains

Do you have to pay for parking in most places in the town/city you live in? Nope, I try to avoid places that only have pay parking.

What's the first thing you tend to do when you have a headache? Suffer. If I can't sleep I might take an aspirin.

Tell me about your responsibilities at work. Get up, feed myself, go to bed, go to the store, go to the mail box, pet the cat, water the cat, feed the cat, clean up the litter box...

What's your favorite style/cut of underwear? Boxers

Can you hear lots of traffic from your house? Does it bother you? If I try, I can hear the freeway, but it's far enough away it doesn't bother me. It does bother me to hear the fire trucks go by on the main streets nearby, but only from wondering where they are headed.

Have you ever had proper Canadian poutine with the squeaky cheese? Personally I don't like soggy fries. Why put perfectly good gravy and cheese on something that doesn't need either? Put them on mashed potatoes (i.e. something that's a little bland and soggy already) and you'd be more likely to get me to try it.

Do your parents know how to operate smartphones and/or computers? My mother was lucky to figure out her microwave oven and was gone before cellphones were common, let alone smartphones. If my father had lived long enough he would have been fine with computers.

How old are your parents, anyway? Both would be well over 100.

Are you allergic to anything? What do you have to do to prevent them? Mold. Got rid of my grass.

What song is stuck in your head at the moment? "This is the song that doesn't end. It just goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing not knowing what it was..."

Do you hate it when people try really hard, or do you kinda like it? It depends. You can overdo anything. But generally if it's something important, try hard. If it's not important, ease up.

What's your boss' first name? Do you call him/her by that name? I'm my own boss. And I've been know to call him 'Hey, Stupid!'

When was the last time you wore a uniform of any kind? What color was it? I was a boy scout. Olive green.

Have you ever lost enough weight to drop a dress size? I'm afraid I've never kept track of my dress size. Have I dropped a size in pants from my heaviest? Yes! A man is not likely to drop a shirt size unless he has more weight the lose than I ever had.

What's your favorite kind of bread? Sopapillas. Bread as in plain old bread? Pumpernickel, maybe.

When was the last time you got pizza? What toppings did you get? A month or so ago. I got my usual, Italian sausage, pepperoni, black olives and mushrooms.

Do you own Monopoly? Is it the original or a special version? I think I do have the original. I haven't had it out in decades.

What was the last thing you said out loud? Sirius, Sirius, come on, boy! (feeding the cat)

You have to choose one: cats or dogs? I like dogs better, but right now a cat fits my life style better.

Would someone being either a cat or dog person effect you dating them? Not unless they wanted to bring the pet along on the date.

How do you travel to and from work? What little traveling I do is by car.

Do you primarily use cash or card for your purchases? Why? Cash. Though chips in the card help, I think it is wise to generally limit the number of stores that have your card information.

Have you ever been to a stadium concert? If a pro basketball stadium counts, yes.
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-07-01 07:02 am

For those up north

It's Canada Day! 150 years! Happy Sesqui!

cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-06-20 07:23 pm

A meal from the 1950s

In my family we had the 'traditional' chipped beef on toast. But not very often. I remember the beef coming in a smaller jar than the one in video. The jar and its lid were not threaded so lid came off with a soda bottle opener. As this lady (Phyllis) says those jars could be saved and used as inexpensive juice glasses. I also think that the beef, at least as my mother bought it, didn't come in slices, but was in shreds as it came from the jar.

If I remember correctly we had it most often for lunch. During World War II chipped beef on toast was a common meal for the troops, which meant my father was sick of it by the time he got home. So mother would mostly fix it for herself and us children for lunch when he was at work. If we had it for breakfast, he ate it, but carefully reminded us kids that in the service it was called S.O.S. And if my older brother waited till he was away from the table to tell me yet again that meant 'Shit on a Shingle,' he didn't get in trouble for cussing.

My mother used a lot of Crisco, too. It's just awful for you, as it's about 100% transfat, but no one knew that then. It probably was worse health-wise than the lard it replaced in people's home, but it would keep longer without going rancid.

Phyllis mentions in another video that her family had milk with every meal in the 1950s. So did we. My mother didn't drink coffee, and didn't really know how to make it correctly. If we had house guests she'd buy coffee and turn the coffee pot she owned over to them to make their own. My father liked coffee, but only had it once in a great while at a restaurant.

My mother pretty much insisted we have potatoes in some form every evening. I don't think young couples, now, would consider having potatoes as often, though they are healthy, filling, vegetarian friendly and so on.
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-06-12 06:45 am

Puerto Rico

The question of what to do about Puerto Rico has certainly been around since the Philippine Islands were granted independence from the US in 1946. There have been periodic elections on the island as long as I can remember to allow Puerto Ricans to decide for themselves, always with the same result at least till yesterday.

The Puerto Ricans call what they have a "Free Associated State" in Spanish; in English it's usually referred to as a Commonwealth, as the Philippines were between 1935 and 1946. Puerto Ricans have their own government and elect their own governor, and a justice system based on California's, but the island is dependent on the rest of the US for a lot of things. They send a couple representatives to the US Congress, but they are only observers. Puerto Ricans are full citizens of the US. Puerto Ricans don't pay income tax if they live in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has a lower minimum wage. Move to one of the 50 states and Puerto Ricans can vote for president like anyone else. Certainly since before I was born Puerto Ricans have been divided among those who want complete independence, those who want Puerto Rico to be a state of the Union like the other 50, and those who are more or less happy with things the way they are. Those who want things to stay the way they are have always had a plurality.

One slightly disturbing quality about our US democracy is that if the folks in power don't get what they want in local elections they can keep holding elections till they get it, and then stop holding elections so it can't be reversed. This is a bit like what happened over time in Puerto Rico. Since Alaska and Hawaii became states 50 odd years ago, there has always been a strong feeling among Puerto Rican elected officials that the island should become a state as well. For as long as I can remember Puerto Rican politicians at both Republican and Democratic national conventions have proudly proclaimed the Island as the 51st state. They just could never convince the general population of the island to agree. So they keep having elections.

Puerto Rico is in the midst of a deep economic crisis, and because of the US law from 1950 that currently defines Puerto Rico's status, the Island can't declare bankruptcy and start over. If Puerto Rico were a state like any other, it could. So with that idea in mind, another election was held yesterday. The other factions thought the idea of an election was stupid, spending money on an election for a proposition that by it's own wording was not "binding" and might well not mean anything anyway. So the leaders who want things to stay the same and the ones who want independence called a boycott. The turnout was ridiculously low for such a potentially important question, less than 25% of the eligible voters. Predictably of those who did vote, the vast majority wanted statehood.

Puerto Rico's current governor wants statehood, so he's all excited today saying the issue has been decided and is telling his constituents that he's ready to send two senators and an appropriate number of representatives to Congress as soon as the details can get worked out. Well, the rest of us know it's not quite that simple. The US Congress has the final say. There is the non-trivial matter of writing a state constitution, which the US congress would have to approve. (Arizona's statehood was delayed because Congress didn't like its proposed state constitution.) There is the non-trivial matter of all that debt, which no longer could be dealt with directly by Congress. There is the matter of whether the US Congress will allow the future Puerto Rican Senators and Representatives to address Congress in Spanish (and you know that sooner or later some will want to). There is the matter of this recent election which seems like the final word to the Puerto Rican Governor, but isn't going to set well with many Puerto Ricans, and Congress likely isn't going to act unless they are convinced an actual majority on the island is okay with it. Then you have the Trump administration's bias against Hispanics, and so on and so forth. Of all the times this issue could have passed this is certainly the worst.

I would guess that Congress will largely ignore yesterday's election. It could become yet another political issue dividing this country, but likely won't become a big deal for a few years.
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-05-28 06:58 am

(no subject)

The leaning tower came down this morning.

Over the last few days it went horizontal, and yesterday below horizontal, blocking the driveway and last night the top fell to the ground. The bloom stock broke most of the way through at its base, making it a lot easier to cut away the rest. Didn't even need to go up more than a couple steps on the ladder. I measured it before I chopped it up and the stalk was about 12 foot long. It's all gone and the plant looks like it was never there. The neighbors probably think I'm screwy for leaving it be so long. ;o) But the process was fun to watch.
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-05-24 06:15 pm

Wednesday reading

I think somewhere I mentioned the subject of book I read through most recently. It is The Fall of the Ottomans by Eugene Rogan, which covers the years between 1908 and the armistice on October 31, 1918 ending Turkey's participation in World War One, eleven days before the armistice on the Western Front. Not sure anyone here is interested in that subject, but I should say it is balanced, well written and easy to follow. I've read a couple books on the Ottomans before, the excellent The Ottoman Centuries by Patrick Balfour, 3rd Baron Kinross, which covered the entire sweep of Ottoman history and another book I don't recall well that also focused on the Ottomans in World War One, but without the clarity of The Fall of the Ottomans.

The book manages to relate the problems Turks had without painting them as 'the enemy,' but also not ignoring the ugly side of Young Turk rule. The book explains why the Armenian genocide began, who was behind it in government, and some of the horrors, but it does not let that topic overwhelm the rest of the history. It does cover the double dealing on the part of the British in the war who seemed to have made promises to far too many groups, tribes and nations with conflicting interests. It does however show without actually arguing the point that perhaps those who think that the current troubles in the Middle East began with the British and French occupation after World War One probably haven't dug deeply enough into the issues that were tearing the Ottoman Empire apart long before then.

My only gripe about the book is that it stops in 1918 where as the transition from the Ottomans to the modern Turkey took several more years of fighting.

Currently, I am translating a very long, Soviet era, Russian novel called Blockade by Aleksander Chakovsky, about the siege of Leningrad in World War Two. It seems the book was turned into a movie shortly after it was published in 1978, but it is not easy to find out anything about its author. The book is fine for brushing up on my Russian skills, but it certainly is not one I would recommend to anyone, Russian speaking or not, as a work of art. Among the problems I've seen in it besides the usual Soviet era ideological crap are plagiarism (It's bad when you know the English language sources a Russian book stole from), horrible syntax, and possibly non-existent or possibly terrifyingly bad editing.
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-05-17 10:07 am
Entry tags:


From Trump: No politician in history treated worse than me
As my brother used to say, it's the littlest violin in the world playing 'My Heart Cries For You.'
I'm tempted to rewrite the headline without the word 'treated,' but that's not true. But surely Trump understands both his position and public relations as poorly as any elected US politician in recent memory.

From (our local NBC station's site.) John McCain says Trump scandals are 'Watergate size'
It was also on the NBC national site this morning, before it was subsumed into the following article: The ground begins to shift for Capitol Hill Republicans
Amazing it was stable this long.
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-05-17 05:34 am

(no subject)

My new fridge is in place and since I've got ice this morning it must be working okay. Sirius will be pleased. Last night he got the last of his fancy pouches of cat food. As soon as I dumped it out I knew I'd made a mistake buying that one. A few nice, whole, cat-sized shrimp plopped into his bowl. Sirius doesn't like shrimp. He didn't even lap up the broth till late last night. He did, in fact, eat it all when he got hungry. But as I expected, instead of eagerly gobbling up his soft food as soon as he got it, he let it sit, and meowed plaintively at me for a while as if something was wrong. Yeah, he was just being picky. The shrimp was mixed with fish he does regularly eat, and he did eat the shrimp eventually. If it had been whole tiny shrimp from a canned mix, I'd have found them left in his bowl this morning. He doesn't like any of this fancy stuff that well. He likes the goo that separates out of processed canned food the best. Why not give him what he likes? (I spoil him. He gets half regular and half indoor-cat kibble every day. He leaves the indoor kibble till everything else is gone, usually well into the next day. He's only coughed up one hair ball in all the time I've had him. So the indoor-cat food has done its job, and I can feel like I'm doing something good for him.)

I got another one of those awful scam phone calls yesterday, or my answering machine did. (When the phone rang I saw the caller ID read "unassigned" which didn't exactly make me want to answer myself.) Got threatened that "IRS is filling lawsuit against you." I've never heard of a filled or half-filled lawsuit, but I suppose those foreign crooks know best.
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-05-12 06:31 am

"He's a showboat. He's a grandstander..."

Maybe Trump should stop practicing in front of a mirror.

cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-05-02 10:28 am

Kitty update

Sirius the cat has had a rough few weeks, although he doesn't seem to notice it much. It all started when I made tacos and he managed to get a piece of shredded cheese that fell on the floor before I picked it up. I saw him do it and thought, 'Well, I'm not going to eat it, now. If he wants it...' He just gobbled it down. 'Oh, he really likes cheese. Maybe I can give him a little bit, for a treat now and then.' So when I was making a sandwich the next noon, he was hanging around so I gave him a sliver, and the next day and the next. Then the next day I noticed he was losing the hair inside on his back legs. Yike!

He loves cheese. But he's allergic to it. It doesn't seem to effect his disposition or general well being. But it certainly did a number on his hair! Fortunately it was the transition time from winter to summer coat and his dusty-brown underfur hung on while his black coat was falling out in most places. But it has taken weeks for his system to correct itself and for his black coat to grow back underneath.

I really felt bad. The first bit of cheese he had, probably wouldn't have hurt him. But giving him cheese three more days was my fault. As an act of contrition I didn't buy or eat any treats myself for those weeks. I just had a salad last night for dinner. I'm trying to lose ten pounds from where I was last year. Guilt is a good motivator, but it isn't much about the cat anymore, now that he is back to his furry self. I am five pounds down, but want to keep going for the rest.

One more thing about Sirius. He must have been a little disappointed in the toy I got out for him this morning. A few minutes ago I found a drawer open in the same cabinets where his toys are. I don't think he's been able to open a drawer before. but his efforts weren't exactly rewarded. A. The drawer with his toys is above his full height on his back legs, B. The drawer he opened was empty and C. When not empty it's the drawer I keep onions in. Sorry, Sirius, by chance I arranged my home to keep curious and industrious kitties very bored. ;o)
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-04-27 10:18 pm
Entry tags:

High school senior meme

1. The year: Before time began.
2. What kind of car did you drive? I didn't drive much. You might not believe me if I told you the cars I did drive my senior year. Let's just say that the car I went to take my driver's test in was longer than the space they gave me at the DMV to demonstrate parallel parking in.
3. It's Friday night football, were you there? I went to a few games earlier in high school, but had to give it up for work.
4. What kind of job did you have? I made parts for jet aircraft. (not kidding!)
5. Were you a party animal? Nope
6. Were you in the band? No. Couldn't play anything. But remembering what the high school band sounded like, that probably wouldn't have disqualified me from being in the band. You did however have to take band class, and I would not have wanted that.
7. Were you a nerd? No! Terms were different then. You didn't call anybody a 'nerd,' unless you were sure you could lick them in a fair fight.
8. How often were you in detention? Never.
9. What was your school mascot? Hawk
10. If you could go back and do it again would you? There are certainly a few times I wish I'd done things differently. But over all? No.
11. Are you still in contact with people from your class? No, not since a reunion ages ago.
12. Do you know where your high school sweetheart lives? No. It's been ages since I knew.
13. What was your favorite class senior year? I liked all my classes senior year. We did plays in Spanish class. My English teacher missed a day and sent word to the substitute that *I* was supposed to lead the class that day. Our school specialized in math and science, so the senior classes in those were good. The class that was worth the most in the long run was Journalism. By the time I was a senior I wasn't even a total loser in gym class.
14. Do you still have your class ring? Yes, come to think of it, it's probably the only piece of gold of any size in the house.
15. Do you still have your yearbook? Yes, all four years.
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-04-14 06:44 am

Easter Candy

One of my local TV stations is doing an Internet poll about favorite Easter candy. I'd leave a link, but their polls disappear after a day anyway. The choices (and current percent of votes) are:

Chocolate bunnies (10)
Peanut butter eggs (20)
Jelly beans (11)
Cadbury creme eggs (36)
Peeps (8)
Easter M&Ms (15)Read more... )
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-04-13 04:48 am

Up Early

I'm up early this morning. The power went off about 7:30 last night and stayed off till just after 3:30 this morning. It was fairly common for the power to go off where I grew up as a kid. The road was lined with trees, and you sort of had to keep your fingers crossed every time there was a strong thunderstorm. Unfortunately you got used to the sound of a transformer blowing up on the power pole a long walk from the house. There I lived in the woods. Here I live in a subdivision with the power lines all buried. I think this is only the third time the power has been off (always in good weather) in the 18 years I've been here, and the only time the power has been off for more than a couple hours. There is a substation quite close so maybe I haven't been lucky at all.

At any rate when the power went off last evening, I heard a transformer blow loudly. Mostly, then, I wondered whether it was on the street that goes past the subdivision or at the substation. I don't really know, but I suspect it was on the street. The power didn't go off at all on the far side of that street. The power in the park next to my backyard was off for maybe 90 minutes. Those of us in the subdivision were left in the dark. They probably didn't have a suitable replacement transformer in the area, like they would have on every repair truck back in St. Louis County.

Although I have a lap top I could amuse myself on for a while, long experience taught me the best thing to do in an evening power outage is go to bed. I got a good 7 hours of sleep before the power came back, which is about what I'd get anyway. So I've been up resetting all the clocks, and deciding what in the fridge needed pitching. Eight hours without electricity is too long to not to be concerned. The freezer compartment was still fine and dandy. Most of the stuff in the main fridge was by chance crammed together in mostly full bottles and jars keeping nice and cool, so it should be fine. The few things in small quantities (which would get warm faster) I threw out to be safe. The tomatoes should be fine; the lettuce will tell me if it needs to be pitched before I need it. Luckily the only leftovers I had were a small amount of canned cat food, a bit of corn and some chopped black olives in the bottom of a can which I'd already thought about throwing out.
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-04-06 06:13 am
Entry tags:

Blooming again

This clump of cacti is blooming again. I saw a hummingbird buzzing around the flowers yesterday. An old, but good picture )
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-04-05 10:53 am


I'm always behind the times, so I saw both Fantastic Beasts and Rogue One for the first time this week. I have to agree with what I'd heard before about them. Fantastic Beasts is meh, not really bad but not exactly good. Rogue One wasn't what I was expecting, but it was far above and beyond episodes 1-3. Spoilers below if anyone cares, now.

I had a difficult time relating to or caring about the characters in Fantastic Beasts. Eddie Redmayne didn't impress me in the least as Newt Scamander, and Katherine Waterston's Tina Goldstein was more like a supporting role than a central one it seems like she ought to have been. I did get a kick out of Kowalski trying to convince the banker to try one of his pąncki (I ate some fine ones myself this spring). Otherwise Dan Fogler as Kowalski was perfectly adequate in a character actor's role. The only character I actually liked was Tina's sister, Queenie played by Alison Sudol, but again it was something of a role for a character actress. I think the movie should have been aimed at an audience under 13, but it's PG-13, and maybe it might have come off better in cartoon form than as a glitzy CGI extravaganza. I hear they are planning no less than four sequels. Either there are a lot of die hard Rowling fans or this series may not quite make it that far.

I expected Rogue One to be closer to The Force Awakens which was one reason I was in no hurry to see it. Indeed it was poor-but-principled female protagonist saves the world, but I didn't expect it to be quite so grim. When the group was all piling on the captured transport to go off to the last battle, I got the sudden realization "This is like the Dirty Dozen. Might be no one is coming back." Other than being a little melodramatic in spots, the thin story didn't play out badly; certainly better than The Dirty Dozen did! As for the CGI 'actors' I thought they could have found someone who could have done Peter Cushing's voice better, otherwise it seemed as good as they could do. I liked the movie over all, but will be glad if the next movie, the one between episodes eight and nine, will be very different.
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-04-03 09:43 pm

LJ user agreement

I hope the new LJ user agreement will convince those who have accounts here, but only post on LJ to reconsider especially for locked posts. I just don't think anything is safe over there.
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-03-25 09:06 am

The drought spoiled... The neighbors need a linguist.

The drought spoiled... not my yard or garden, but me. I've been used to cleaning the weeds out of the front yard once in the spring (February and early March, here) and then giving it a lick and promise every few months and having the front look halfway decent into the fall. Today I made a third concerted pass through the front yard this year. Granted it took me less than an hour, but there were well established weeds everywhere. We've had what the weather bureau says is normal rainfall, but the drought had gone on so long that I'm sure not used to it!

The most disconcerting was finding Palm leaves growing out of the clump of Yucca Glauca. The yucca, at least this garden version of it grows in tight clumps so it's unusual to see any weeds in it. While there are no native palms in Phoenix, there are a number of varieties that will spread like weeds here if given a chance. My neighbor, a couple of owners back, worked cleaning out drainage areas and culverts for Arizona highway department. (One day he brought home a massive diamondback rattlesnake he found at work to show off, which scared me pretty good till he assured me he didn't get it anywhere near where we lived.) When he was going to move he decided to landscape his front yard to make it look prettier for sale. He brought in a good dozen Mexican fan palms he'd dug up at work, and planted them all over his tiny front yard. Fortunately the next owner saw the pretty little palms were going to grow into a giant mess and he cut down all but three of them. The three are about 20 foot tall now after a dozen years, and can easily get twice as tall. They haven't been much of a problem until the last year or so when the current owner stopped having them trimmed regularly. Yes, palms require maintenance. Usually they are trimmed at a particular time of year just as the fruit stalks start to grow to keep the palms from planting themselves in your roses. (I don't have roses, but the neighbor with the palms does.) If they do sprout and you catch them small, they're just like any little weed. Pull them and you're done. I'd guess the palm in my yucca was hidden for at least year underneath the yucca. So it was pretty sizable when it burst through recently. Way too big to pull. I cut it off as low to the ground as I could. Once it gets a few years old and has good roots it's hard to kill one.

While I was out working, the toddler from the house on other side wobbled out of their garage and greeted me with a cheerful "Geah!" (rhymes with 'yeah'). His dad chuckled as he led him back to go into his car seat. I pondered the expression while those neighbors drove off for the morning. I thought, well he'll grow beyond that philological curiosity all too soon. Then one of the folks from across the street came to get into his car parked on my side and he greeted me with a smile, a wave and what sounded like 'Guh up!' Maybe that toddler won't grow out of it. ;o)
cactuswatcher: (Default)
2017-03-23 07:31 am

This morning

I went out early this morning to water because I thought it had not rained as expected last night and discovered the stepping stones in the backyard were damp. I frequently can't hear it softly rain in my house because of the tile roof. I know it's raining when the rain smacks hard into the metal chimney and vent covers up on the roof, which is most of the time when it rains here. Anyway I was outside when I heard someone playing a horn, I presume a trumpet, practicing bugle calls in the subdivision across the park from me. A kid practicing before school, maybe? Any way, glad it wasn't in my immediate neighborhood. Here in AZ we get up earlier and do noisy chores outside earlier than people would back in the Midwest, but I think bugle calls at 7:00 am in a quiet neighborhood is a bit much.

It's that time of year and I need to go get my car inspected today. It's just a pollution inspection. They had a safety inspection as well back in Missouri. But government here doesn't seem here seem to care if your brakes and lights work. With rare rain and no salt on the roads, mufflers last a very long time here, so little need to check to see if you are illegally rumbling down the street.

ETA (before 9:00 a.m.): That was quick. I got past the high school before all the kids were crossing the road. Zipped down the highway. Pulled into the test facility and there was no line up at all, the first time that's happened to me. With newer cars with on-board-diagnostics the test literally just takes seconds. The biggest hiccough was when I handed the tester the exact cash for the test, and he forgot for a second what he just told me I was supposed to be charged, then rolled his eyes at his negligible mistake. A little more highway traffic on the way back, not much. I was gone from home less than 40 minutes. Mail in my forms and money and my car is set to go for another two years.