Spring Break

Lessee… Behind in research, writing, communication, housecleaning, and catching B up on Doctor Who. I’m afraid that means it’s time for

Image shows an alligator  leaping from a river. Caption says, "Spring break!"

I hate to do it, but I’ve gotta take the week off to catch up. I may pop in with a bit here and there, because I’ll miss you. But expect light fare, until I return bearing the meatiest posts I can muster.

See you soon, my darlings!


My Imminent Return

Halloween is over, costume deadlines no longer loom, and it’s about time for me to get back to you lot. Only I got hit by a virus. It’s sort of like getting hit by a bus, only slightly less gory. I can’t dictate posts because talking hurts, and I can’t type much because all of my joints ache. It’s a bad sign when your skin rejects clothing, right? But it doesn’t appear to be super-serious, so I should be back in writing trim within the week.

In the meantime, with the government no longer shut down and the USGS photo library back online, we should be able to resume our Mount St. Helens series. I’ve also got lots of stuff to show you that I learned while making costumes: public domain audio books are a thing, so I got lots of reading done. I was on an abolition kick. It amazes me how much gets glossed over in school. My adult life has been one long series of illusions being shattered.

There are also some book reviews, and of course plenty of photos from the debut of B’s wonderful wizard costume, and some lovely fall scenery. There are huge, meaty posts full of savory rocks. And I’m sure I can manage a rant or two.

For now, though, it’s back under the covers for me. Should hair hurt? Argh.

These Posts Are So Last Year. I Mean, They’re Classics!

Hey, look, Rosetta Stones is now just over a year old! Outstanding! I think that means I can start filching from it now, and reposting stuff here for those who missed it, or would like to relive the adventure again. Don’t worry, I’ll be subjecting Rosetta Stones to the same treatment, so if you have a few favorite posts from ETEV’s past, you’ll probably see those come round again.

Right, then. Onward, ho. Our first selection will be a reprise of my very first written piece for Scientific American, which appeared on the guest blog over a year ago. From there, the stars! No, wait, those aren’t particularly outcrop-rich and a little too hot for field work. Right. From there, the planets! And the moons! Geronimo!*


*+10 Geek Points to those who know where “Geronimo!” comes from.

Various Updates, Helpfully Illustrated with Possibly Artistic Photos

So, things. Things have happened, and are happening, and sometimes some of you ask after them, which means other of you have thought of asking but haven’t because you don’t want to ask. So I’ll give you a few updates.

Firstly, this isn’t me anymore.

Moi at Paulina Peak.

Moi at Paulina Peak.

I haven’t had one of those things in my right hand since early August. Many of you have wondered about that, because I haven’t said. Despite various stressors, and being off Chantix for ages, I haven’t had a one since the first day of our Mount St. Helens trip. Haven’t even stood downwind of the smokers, sniffing longingly – the stuff smells awful. Do I miss it? Certain of its aspects, certainly. I miss the mellowing of my mood, and I miss the irresistible urge to head outside for a few minutes every hour or so. But that’s about it. I get the occasional urge out of nowhere, from habit I suppose, but it’s gone in a flash and I’m back to being a non-smoker. I figure if my mother’s hospitalization didn’t push me over the edge, I’m probably safe enough for the moment.

Speaking of mother, she’s now settled in to a group home. They think this will be temporary, until she clears from the ECT, and then she’ll be off on her own again. Possibly. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I know she’d like it, but I’d rather her be in a place where she’s got expert caregivers watching her. We’ll see how it goes, but at least she’s getting better for now.

This seems to be a routine, now, in the winter. Mom goes a bit wonky. A relative dies – this time, it was my uncle, the one who aspired to become a pirate and got himself committed to a secure facility for his trouble. I didn’t know him well, and for the last several years he’d been lost in his disease, but he was a classic.



Of course, this means I’ll be watching the phone with a suspicious eye next winter, waiting to see who it is this time. I suppose it wouldn’t do any good to put a moratorium on le mort for a few years. Gah.

This is the second January in a row during which I’ve been struck with an overwhelming urge to flee from the world and bury myself in turn-of-the-century detective literature. Last year, I read about five million novels, including an inordinate amount of Agatha Christie; this year, I watched the entire runs of both Poirot and Miss Marple on the telly. That turns out to be a good way to sate that desire, as I can fiddle with photos. Nearly everything has been picked through and organized. Quite nice. I’ve branched off into other British detective shows, and shall probably have a thing or two to say about them soon.

However, fun as this can be, I’m beginning to think it’s a symptom of SAD. It’s been difficult to muster the motivation for much of anything, everything I write feels like it’s fallen with a dull thud, social activities are far more taxing than I can manage… all of which seem to be symptoms of something.

Black clawing at gray, Seattle winter.

Black clawing at gray,
Seattle winter.

Then February comes, and I come bouncing back. Crusades at work (if you see one mobile carrier sprint past the others rather suddenly in customer and employee satisfaction, well, that’s us and it means the uprising was wildly successful). Blogging’s not a chore, but a pleasure again. And I would have been up and doing this weekend instead of lying abed alternately reading Sundays with the Christianists and dozing off, but I was suffering from acute feline paralysis. Yes, pretty much all weekend. I’ve barely been able to escape to pee and fetch food. I’m not sure why, but le chat noir sans merci has decided to be a snuggle bunny, and it’s disturbing.

Weathervane, Timberline, Mount Hood.

Weathervane, Timberline, Mount Hood.

So, it’s been a stroll in the dark for a while, but not that dark, and there’s light, and the possibility of the good drugs if such become necessary, and there’s always been enough light to prevent unfortunate incidents on reefs and sundry coastlines. So that’s all to the good.

Lighthouse, Oregon Coast.

Lighthouse on Yaquina Head, Oregon Coast.

And hey, I’ll even be able to address my inbox soon. Thank you, those of you who have been so very patient.

I’ve completed quite a bit of research and have more underway. Soon, there should be some wonderfully meaty geology posts. Mostly volcanic. And that’s hawt. Ah-ha-ha-ha.

Thank you, my darlings, for always being lights in dark places. Hopefully, you’ll be enjoying some bright and beautiful things yourselves. I shall do my utmost to provide.

If Things Go Rather Silent…

…it’s because it’s another winter when my mother declines just that much more. She’s back in the hospital, and they’re talking about electroconvulsive therapy this time. Severe mental illness is a merry go round you can never quite step off of.

Please don’t worry about me. It’s sad and chaotic, yes, but not unexpected, and also something of a relief, as when I saw a call from my aunt on my cell phone, I had a horrid moment when I believed the message I’d hear was that my mother was dead, so to hear she’s safely tucked up in a hospital bed is quite an enormous relief, actually. And she asked for a flu shot, they say. Sign of forward-thinking, that. She’s planning for a future without the flu. This is good news. Or so I choose to look at it, anyway.

I’ll keep you posted, my darlings. Thanks for your understanding.


I Have Gone Very Slightly Mad…

It’s that madness that happens when you planned to do something simple, but kept enlarging upon the idea, and then expanding upon those enlargements, and embroidering the details, and so on. A sort of positive feedback loop takes effect, and your life becomes dominated by something that started out very simply indeed.

I really only meant to make one simple cloak. That’s it. When I told my coworker I’d help him dress up as Captain TMI for Halloween, I meant I’d make him a cloak and design a logo. I didn’t mean to make the mask and the boots and a shield and all the accessories. And I didn’t mean to dress up with him. I have to sew this shit by hand, forfuckssake. But here we are, it’s the weekend, I’ve spent the entire weekend working on these costumes (with a brief aside for cooking and cleaning the kitchen), when what I’d meant to do was spend the weekend doing research.

I haven’t even welcomed Avicenna and NonStampCollector to FreethoughtBlogs. Although I have, now, watched nearly every video NonStampCollector ever put out. Whilst my hands and eyes are busy with stitching and painting, my ears have been busy with various videos on science, atheism and reason. Without those, I think I might have gone completely mental.

Those of you with sewing machines, please tell them how much they are loved. All of you pause for a moment to remember the inventors of the sewing machine with fondness. I’m amazed people ever wore more than a piece of cloth wrapped round their sensitive bits: this hand-sewing stuff takes forever.

And now I’m back to it. Just popping in to say why some things are going to be quite late, and why it’s a damned good thing I had some substantial posts pre-written. I just hope my coworker lets me put photos of him up here. This costume, my friends, is bloody epic.

New at Rosetta Stones: Questions About Comments

I’m wanting to know what readers think about commenting at Rosetta Stones. There’s even a survey! Whee! You needed to waste a few minutes, right? Go have fun and give me an earful.

Commenting here appears to have become more difficult for some folk, so if you want to vent your woes in the survey, there’s a bit at the end for additional comments. You can let ‘er rip there, but please be sure to mention you’re talking about ETEV when you do. I’ll pass along your choice words to our webmaster.

The S Has Hit the F

So, you know that feeling you get when your rage button has been pressed so hard for so long that you hit that nice plateau where you’re furious, but happy? It’s that one you get to because you’ve been pushed beyond hoping the finger will stop jabbing. It’s the place you arrive at when you realize you have nothing to lose, and you have donned your warpaint, chosen your warpath, and embarked upon it with your best warhorse.

I am there. It took five years and quitting smoking, but I’m so there.

That’s why I haven’t been around the past couple of days: my company, after five years of spectacular fuckups, decided no cool-down period was needed between sessions with the rage button. And I realized: there are many jobs I’m qualified for open right now. Sure, they don’t have cushy union benefits, and I’ll lose that scrumptious extra week of vacation, and I’ll have to move, and I won’t be close enough to come home to the elderly cat on lunch breaks. But still, jobs. Other jobs. Elsewhere. With good pay. And if I get fired for rocking the boat, even if I can’t land another job immediately, I have been with the company so long they have no choice but to pay unemployment. Tee-hee. Freedom! Freedom to yell repeatedly and loudly at people rather high up, freedom to stand on principle, freedom to tell them to shape up or watch it come down to a question of will I find a job I like elsewhere before they find a bullshit excuse to dismiss me? All the while, being cheered on by those who have too much to lose to fight. And I’m staying not just for the cushy union benefits etc., but to fight that last good battle for those who can’t.

This, mind, is the kind of freedom Republicans don’t want peons to have, but I’m in a Blue state working a union job, so they’re out of luck.

And if the higher-ups listen, it will be good for the company anyway. Happy employees, happy customers, etc. They want that. They keep telling us that’s exactly what they want. It just seems that the jab-employee-rage-buttons reflex is so strong it overrides their stated desire to improve. And that’s fine. If they can’t get past that, I can certainly get past them.

Things may become chaotic for a bit, but I have my battle plans, and they include divesting myself of extraneous responsibilities at the workplace in order to concentrate on what should have been most important all along: you and my cat. With winter on its way and duties cut down to only those included in my job title, I should be able to devote plenty of attention to you both.

The last adventures of the summer season will soon be over: we have my boys tomorrow, and then maybe a small local bit o’ fun Sunday if the weather entices, and that October trip to wherever-it’s-best with Lockwood, then done. And do I ever have a collection of things to present to you this winter. Oh, my darlings, you don’t think I run around outside merely for fun, do you? Okay, well, admittedly, bringing you treasures is fun, but it’s also my job.

So look forward to that. And do be sure to lay in a supply of popcorn. You’ll be needing it.

A Further Update

Oh, my fuck, you guys, I just finished our dragonfly porn, and it is a masterpiece. Now all that’s left is to hope the musician checks his email and grants his permission to use his music for this purpose, as I’ve bloody well gone and lost his phone number. Sigh.

If he withholds permission, which I hope isn’t likely, I’ll need someone musically inclined to whip us up a bow-chica-wow soundtrack. Don’t worry. You retain all rights to your music, but you don’t have to reveal your real name if terminal embarrassment prevents you from using other than a pseudonym. I can help you think of a suitable ‘nym if you haven’t already done that “what’s your porn name?” game with your friends.

Either way, this will be brilliant, one of the most entertaining things we’ve ever done here at ETEV.

I can’t bloody wait!