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>Monday, Paid Holiday

31 May

>Sunday was Memorial Day; today’s just the semi-official start of summer.
Tam points out that Monday actually was Memorial day; I didn’t pay enough attention when I did my homework. This means I did my memorializing on the wrong day, too.

I goofed off: slept in, had a nice bath — well, semi-nice, the tub at Roseholme is on the short and shallow side (I’d install a big clawfoot tub in the basement if I could figure out how to fit it in).

Then I Actually Got Some Things Done, like trim mowing with the weedwhacker, laundry and replacing the lamps and rectifier/regulator on my motorscooter (more work than you’d think, since the windscreen and top of the “headset” (instrument panel in the handlebars) have to come off to do the headlight and instrument lights — I seem to have been shipped two less than I needed, so I left off the high beam and fuel gauge lamps — and swapping out the regulator requires taking out the battery and removing a sturdy bracket, which mounts the starting solenoid and regulator. Installed the new battery strap (hooray! I’ve had to use little bungee cords instead for years) and a fancy chrome headlight surround for pretty. Also the old one was loose.

Took the scooter around the block and it was okay; ran by Locally Grown Gardens and found the shift linkage (looooong cables, this being a classic scooter: you twist the left grip to shift) felt a little stiff. But not too bad, so I made a run to Kroger for cat litter and other necessities. (Linkage loosened up but I may take the headset apart again and check things are properly arranged.)

Not too bad, though a guy turned in after me at the parking lot and squealed his brakes when I slowed more abruptly than he expected. –My fault, he wasn’t signalling and I foolishly took him at his word. I have some relearning to do, all the habits and reflexes that improve the odds on two wheels in a four-wheel world; there are 2152 miles on the Chetak and this year accounts for about two of them.

Returned from the Market and started charcoal for a feast: burgers, roasted corn, salad, chocolate milk. Charbroiled burgers on toasted rye, with coarse Dijon, chili sauce and thin slices of tomato and onion: heaven! The roasted corn-on-the-cob (cleaned, buttered and grilled in its own dampened shuck) was ambrosia and an herb salad with plenty of carrots and red bell pepper capped it off. Ate too much and watched Bill Maher play true to type — a horse’s patoot — in an old Max Headroom episode.

Not too bad for a day off, even if I did manage to get possibly a bit too much sun on my face: suncreened everywhere but, confident my facial moisturizer had an adequate SPF. It doesn’t.


>Shootin’ Club!

4 May

>It’s official, Tam and I have joined up at Marion County Fish & Game!

They have made a number of improvements since last we shot bowling pins, like two (2!) brand-new bays with nice high berms and a (controlled-access) washroom you don’t need a clubhouse key to get to.

(Snicker all you like – I considered the dire port-o-lets at Eagle Creek a huge negative, especially compared to IMPD’s nice inside plumbing, off-limits to unbadged taxpayers).

Sadly, the fishing pond has shrunk, thanks to a nearby apartment complex: they made themselves a lovely catchment pond at a lower level and the two…equalized. I was never much for fishing — childhood expeditions with Dad were an excuse to drink otherwise-forbidden coffee and annoy crawdads, who tended to annoy right back.

The best thing of all is that MCF&G has a nice schedule of activities — and with Indiana’s “guns locked in your car” law, I have half a chance of even getting to attend evening events.

>Breakfast: Weekend

1 May

>Yesterday it was brunch: a half-pound each of lean chorizo (Mexican) and lean, hot Italian sausage, cooked up with fresh shitake mushrooms, brown rice (fried in the spicy red grease, yum!), and chopped green onion, a carrot, poblano, Anaheim and yellow chili peppers, with three eggs scrambled in the center of it at the last minute (just push everything else to the side of the wok and let it cheer the process on) and topped with shredded cheese — we had some “six-cheese Italian blend,” which tamed the fire without putting it out.

The finished dish feeds, I was interested to discover, 3 or 4; with two, there is plenty left over. It needs no additional seasoning.

Today, I started with the last of the bacon, fried in black pepper, Mrs. Dash and a little garlic-sesame mix; when done, I poured off all but a dab of grease while retaining all the tiny crunchy bits, because the next step was a five-egg omelet, the eggs beaten with about a third of a teaspoon of curry powder, a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and a tablespoon (+/-) of cold water. As soon as the bottom seemed set, I sprinkled it with a half-dozen well-diced giant chives and/or green onions Tam salvaged from kitchen-garden volunteers. It didn’t want to fold (my flat griddle is at least 15″ across and starting to get a bit bowed in the center) but I persevered and it all worked out. Very tasty!

— I think curry powder, not used to excess, is the very thing for scrambled eggs. This dish is actually pretty; snip some fresh dill and shredded cheese on it and you’ve got the start of an attractive presentation.

These are vast feasts; five to six days a week, I have oatmeal and juice for breakfast. But you’ve got to indulge a little, or why even bother to wake up?

>Lovecraft Action Shooting!

22 Mar

>Shoot your way through the Cthulhu Mythos? Count me in. Proposed here by Elmo Iscariot, pointed to by the Atomic Nerds, who wrote, “This needs more eyeballs!”

It most certainly does. In several meanings of the phrase.

I wonder how much crossover you might get from the HPLHS gang? (A remarkable source of props, btw).

>Zen Moment

9 Feb

>Awake, more-or-less standing and coffee brewing,* I went to the front door to sniff firsthand this single-digit-temperature air the strange people inside my TV were so excited about.

Whoa. Brisk.

From the North, I heard a strange grinding, crunching sound. It was a bit like the icefall several days ago and it was moving closer, growing louder–

A single, small bright light speared the darkness, pursued by a tiny red light: someone on a bicycle zoomed by, crunching on the thin skin of ice in the (mostly) cleared center of the street in front of Roseholme, flashing into view under the streetlight and gone again, a silhouette in the predawn. An Ice Rider.

It’s 4° F.


* Jamaican Blue Mountain. In the Chemex. Ooooo, my Mr. Valentine, he is So Fine!

>Some State Fair Photos

14 Aug

>The ringmaker with leg vise, mandrel, hammer and a box’o’nails:
Tiny tractor, with about 100 psi of steam up. It’s even smaller than it looks, the steering wheel not quite a foot across:
Huge tractor — internal combustion, transverse-mounted engine (there’s nae sae much new under the sun!). Rear wheels are about six feet high!:
Better idea of scale:Notice the belts? They were doin’ Actual Work; while my ring was being hammered round, a medium-sized traction engine was running a small sawmill, the fully-exposed blade over 3′ in diameter and a powered “carriage” to run the tree being turned into planks through the blade! Not quite as dangerous as it sounds: take three men to run it, a “engineer” to shift gears and two to load the timber, and the operating positions keep you well away from the most dangerous parts. An inattentive fellow could still get himself luridly injured, so it’s a good thing the crew was experienced.

Below, less than half of the field’o’tractors. Tam and I were quite taken with “Junior,” at the center:
People talk about the need for public transportation in Indy. If they’d relegate the buses to long-haul and run these in a series of criss-crossing straight-line routes downtown, they’d be handy as can be. …I suppose it’s not slick enough for the complainers. Okay, it’s no monorail, but by golly, it’s distinctive. Cable cars, the El, a subway? Pfui! Our system would run…like a Deere! I don’t know how they do it at your state fair but at ours, we’ve got the trolleys that share space with pedestrians. They run two slightly differing clockwise routes through the fairgrounds, sometimes inches away from people and booths, and without accidents. I’m pretty sure most of the guys driving them are farmers, possibly retired. Seventy-five cents gets you a seat and if you’re silly enough to ride all the way around a few times, that’s your lookout.

More photos later, including a few I’ll reserve for Retrotechnologist!

>State Fair!

13 Aug

>I have scads of photos — but I’ll have to post them later. Giant tractors and baby donkeys! Baby tractors! (Kind of). And I have wildflower honey and a ring made out of a cut steel nail, the latter free for the asking.

Saw a wonderful array of old tools and prime movers, including one “modern” solution to the lack of a line shaft: a modified riding lawnmower!

I had a cake of beeswax. Dunno where it has got to, which could be bad. I sure couldn’t find it in the car or my purse. Last memory? In my hand as I was getting ready to unlock the car. Did I leave it on the roof? If so, it didn’t stick. A pity — I have a big block of the stuff but I wanted a fresher, softer one.

Oh, and Red Gold tomato juice? Still the best! They serve it up ice-cold, with celery salt, Tabasco and/or Worcestershire to put in it if you’d like.