May 2010


We got up early today so I could go and run the annual Pathfinder Yard Sale. We do this on Memorial Day because we have been renting our church facility to a church that meets on Sunday (though they are disbanding next month). So we need a weekday morning when everyone will be pretty much available. That means a Monday holiday.

We arrived just before 8:00 and dragged the tables from the basement to the yard. Then Ken showed up (right around 8:00) and we started shuttling stuff from the canopy garage to the front yard using his truck.

We had a pretty good crowd and lots of “goods”. I am always horrible at this, because it generally falls to me to dispose of the remnants. So I always lowball the price. I really don’t want to have to get rid of these “treasures” at the end of the day, so I am willing to let things go for way less than they are worth. Oh well. We get pretty good crowds, the goods are all donated, and the profit margin is 100%. We cleared over $500 today, so I call that a success.

Goodwill was willing to take our leftover clothing, but nothing else. Their warehouse was packed stem to stern with all manner of things just like we were trying to give them. Junk just doesn’t sell.

The Salvation Army was closed for the holiday, so we had to haul all the stuff back to the church and load it back into the canopy. I will go through it again in the next couple of days to see if there’s anything worth trying to sell on Craigslist. Otherwise, we will be making a dump run.

After it was over, Melissa (one of the Pathfinder staff members) treated David, Beth, and me to ice cream. This was a “thank you” for the work I’ve done with the Pathfinders. It was completely unnecessary, but also very much appreciated. We got home around 5:00pm.

Then Va and I decided it was time to have our anniversary dinner (a couple of weeks late). So we went out and left the kids at home. It was a nice meal, and the company was first class.

Next year we will have been married for 25 years. If we can swing it, I’d like to take her to Scotland (she has always wanted to go there). But we’ll have to see.

I guess I forgot to post last night. Oops!

After church, Va had her last Adventurer’s meeting of the year. They worked on the Starfish Award, and they all seemed to enjoy it pretty well (including Va). We went home, and in the evening, Beth, David, and I took Penny for a walk to Sandogardy Pond.

I saw something that I first thought was a fungus growing on some alder:

Fuzzgatoids on some alder bushes

Fuzzgatoids on some alder bushes


I was disabused of this notion a little later when I saw this firefly rummaging through the fuzzballs:
Firefly harvesting fuzz balls

Firefly harvesting fuzz balls


And then I saw some of the fuzz balls running for their lives. I think they are some variety of Wooly Aphid, but I don’t have any idea which species. I posted an image or two on Bugguide, but I haven’t heard anything yet.

I went into the woods to see if the Blue-bead lilies (Clintonia borealis) was still in bloom (it was) and was surprised to see that the Indian Cucumber (Medeola virginiana) was in bloom too. I really liked this shot:

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)


This is an edible plant whose roots taste (and smell) just like… yes, cucumber. I would very much like to gather a great big bunch of it, but there’s just not enough of it to a) make a decent snack, or b) survive harvesting like that. It’s a biennial plant. In its first year it grows one tier of whorled leaves, and in the second year, it grows a second, higher tier with three leaves. It only flowers in the second year. I have it on my property as well, but still it’s not that abundant.

We ambled on home after a while, arriving well after Beth’s bedtime. Not that she seemed to mind.

This morning she and I went to Tilton to run some errands, and snagged three geocaches while we were out. That was fun. I worked a little on her log cabin this evening too, but it’s pretty hard to tell I did anything.

Tomorrow will be a brutal day for me. The Pathfinders are having our annual yardsale. I need to be there early to oversee the set up, and I’ll be there late to take the remainders to Goodwill/Salvation Army/Dump. It’s going to be a long day.

Today Jonathan got his driver’s license, yay! Va took him to the DMV this morning. They have a kiosk there for taking the written part of the test. It asks questions until is has either asked 40, or the examinee has correctly answered 32. Then a state trooper sat with him as he took a cruise through Concord.

He did pretty OK! He “needs improvement” in a couple of areas (checking mirrors when merging and parallel parking), but it wasn’t serious enough to prevent them from issuing him his license.

Shortly after he finished, I added him to our insurance policy. There goes most of his first paycheck, but at least he should be able to cover it with only one.

New Hampshire issues temporary licenses while they make the permanent one. The temp one is a pretty flimsy black and white job. Kinda like the temp tags they put on new cars, but small. He’ll get his real one in a couple of weeks.

This inspired David to ask me to take him out driving tonight. So I did. He did pretty OK too, but he has just barely started. He’s still not comfortable driving 30MPH on the little road we live on – even on the paved section. But that’s OK, he’s learning. We need to get out a bit more frequently though. I have already wasted about a year that I could have used for teaching him.

A while back I bought a printer for the school. My main selection criteria was cost per printed page, and good reviews from customers. That pretty much means a B&W laser. The one thing I neglected to consider, because it has been so long since i have run into anything like that, is that it should work well with Linux. Nearly any printer on the market works well with Linux these days. I managed to choose one that doesn’t work at all with Linux. In fact, it won’t work with anything but Windows. This is because all the brains in the printer are not in the printer at all, but rather, in the driver which resides on the PC. And that driver is Windows-only. The printer has an exo-brain.

Sigh.

Until today, I didn’t have any Windows machines in the whole school. But now I sure do. I set it up as a print server. Unfortunately, my suckage at Windows administration, or Windows’ suckage as a print server prevented me from having a seamless setup. My setup is full of seams. It’s the sort of thing that would make Rube Goldberg blush.

Jonathan and I spent three hours bodging it together after work. I’m thinking I should put this awful printer on the market and take a mulligan.

Last night after it had been in the fridge a while, I took out my lady Dobson fly and took several shots of her on a white sheet of paper. I like this one best, because she has such shiny eyes.

Dobsonfly (Corydalus cornutus)

Dobsonfly (Corydalus cornutus)


What a beautiful girl! She was about three inches long.

On the way home from work we saw a turtle in the middle of the road. I wasn’t sure if it had been hit or not, but since there are several species in New Hampshire that Fish and Game is interested in, I had Jonathan turn around and park near it. Yeah, it had been freshly hit (but not by us). It’s a bit of a gross photo, so if you’re squeamish, don’t click the “more” thing.
(more…)

There’s methane hydrate crystals
In the tube
On the “dome”
On the BOP
On the pipe
In the hole in the bottom of the sea.

This woulda been better if I had thought of it three weeks ago.

Today when we were ready to go off to school and work, we found that my car would not start. But it behaved in the most bizarre fashion ever. Turn the key, and the fuel and temperature gauges started dancing up and down, all the dashboard lights began to flash, and the odometer started flashing 0000000.

Release the key, and the “dancing” changed, but did not stop for another five or ten seconds. I’m not a great mechanic, and this seemed pretty well beyond the scope of my automotive knowledge, so we took Va’s car instead. That obligated me to leaving work early to fetch Beth from school.

I called AAA and they sent a tow truck. I had them haul my car all the way to Concord where my normal mechanic’s shop is. AAA covers the first five miles for free, and anything over that is $3.00 per mile. I figure they’ll hit me for about $40 or so.

As it turns out, it was just a bad battery. I could have easily changed that myself had I known, but it’s the had I known part that makes it worth it for me to pay someone else to do the work.

I bugged out of work to fetch Beth, and while I was at the school poked around the network a bit to find out why our provider was saying we had been exceeding our bandwidth cap. According to my records, our traffic has been fairly light. So either I don’t know what I’m doing, they don’t know what they are doing, or they were just making stuff up to get me off the phone. I can eliminate option one with a high degree of confidence, so that leaves the other two options.

Beth and I went back to the office, and I finished off what I was doing. Then we headed home. As I was pulling out of the garage, the mechanic called to tell me it was the battery. They also noted that I was overdue for an oil change and my wiper blades were shot. So I had them take care of that too. I stopped by to pay so I could pick the car up later tonight after a church board meeting.

The guy running the place told me he hadn’t figured up the bill yet and really couldn’t until they finished the work. He suggested I just take the car home after hours and pay them tomorrow. That’s why I like these guys so much. It’s a lot easier to trust someone who trusts you back.

We picked up some Hut cuisine and ate that when we got home. Then Va and I headed back to Concord to attend the board meeting. We grabbed my car first though.

The bummer part is that when they disconnected the battery, it put the car stereo in the “Oh noes! I’ve been stolen!” mode. I’ll hafta take it back in the morning to pay them anyhow, and I’ll see if they can address that then.

As I was getting into my car after the board meeting, I spotted what I believe is a female dobson fly on the roof of my car. Va had already left, and my camera was in her car, not in mine. Boooo. So I fished around in my car to see what I could capture this little lady in. I found a box of screws, and that was the perfect size. I dumped the screws into the console and scooped the Dobson girl into the container. When I got home, I popper her in the fridge. That will slow her down so that she’ll hold still when I try to get a picture later tonight.

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