The Great Crisis Before Us

Not the election.

Not COVID, although it’s probably related.

Not an incoming asteroid to destroy all life.

Nope, the great crisis before us is…

There are no Diet Cokes in our store for three weeks in a row.

There was some rumor that this might be coming, and there have been shortages of other soda brands. But I’m selfish and self-centered (isn’t that repetitious?) and I don’t care about them.

Now it affects ***ME***!

Because there had been rumors I had stocked up, so I’m not in actual desperation mode for another four weeks or so. And this week they at least had some in the big, two-liter bottles (I prefer it in cans) so it seems to be an issue with the availability of aluminum cans, not the soda itself.

But I’m a little fragile and worn thin at this point with *waves hands vaguely at everything* and if this situation craters it most certainly has the potential to be the straw that breaks my back.

The camel’s on his own.

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Filed under Disasters, Photography

Mystery Muncher

Something (or someone, depending on how anthropomorphic you want to be) left a mess out at the edge of the back yard.

There’s a chair that I leave there, right on the other side of the sidewalk from where yesterday’s picture was taken, and on the next day there was a pile of debris there.

Not that a pile like this is necessarily unexpected given the critters that live about, but it is notable in that it’s the first time I’ve seen it in the 2+ years we’ve lived here. So, something new is happening, and that could be a clue to the week’s mystery.

Lots of pine trees here, and lots of pine cone detritus on the sidewalk. Who could our new suspect be?

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Filed under Critters, Photography

No Context For You – October 17th

But with some context to follow over the next couple of days?

Where’s the mystery? I assure you, there is one here.

Or rather, there’s one not here.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Photography

High Dynamic Range

One thing the “smart” camera on the iPhone is good for is High Dynamic Range photos, where there’s a broad range of light and darks in the image.

This is how the eye works, and the iPhone does a better job than most other phone cameras, and sometimes better than a DSLR, especially an older one like I have.

An extra ten years of better software and smarts in the iPhone can beat the crap out of a 2005 state of the art chip in a Canon Rebel XT. Big surprise, but it actually is a surprise sometimes I guess.

These are taken with my iPhone 8+ which is now three years old. It’s still a great phone and mini-supercomputer and camera – but if I really, REALLY was going to be taking photos with the phone and being SERIOUS about it rather than just having it with me and using as the best camera I have in my pocket 24/7/365, then I would be looking at the iPhone 12 Pro Plus coming out next month.

I’m not. This is just fine. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Especially at $1,400 or so.

Enjoy the really, REALLY purple flowers!


Filed under Flowers, Photography

Work-From-Home Lunch

In the next few days it’s coming up on seven months since I started working from home as COVID-19 spread. Believe me, I’m eternally grateful that I’m able to do that and that the amazing team I’m on has been able to keep everyone in our company on staff and working from home. But it’s a little odd to realize that I’m also coming up next week on the one-year anniversary of my starting there, and I’ve now worked five months in the office and seven months out.

Having said that, things have obviously changed. And things have gotten routine. And by “routine” I mean, well…

Lunch at my desk. Every day.

Some days it’s an apple or a pear instead of an orange.

Some days it’s PBJ instead of a turkey sandwich.

But that’s pretty much it. It’s lunch. At my desk. Every day.

I don’t thrive on routine and repetition, nor am I bothered by it.

I’m boring. I’m not a foodie. This is not news.

It’s simple.

In many ways, so am I.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Photography

Random Old Photos – October 14th

About ten an a half years ago. Apparently we were out on a “drag.” (We never walked, I always got dragged.) It took a minute to recognize the location, off on a side street near the old house.

And there was a B-17 flying around.

The camera was my old digital Olympus “adventure” model – waterproof, rugged, supposedly would float if I dropped it. Great little camera, but the pictures weren’t nearly the quality or detail of today’s DSLRs, or even today’s phones. So I can’t be sure which B-17 it is, but my guess would be that it was the one owned by the Collings Foundation’s, Nine-O-Nine.

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Filed under Dogs, Flying, Photography


Thinking about it this morning, I realized that “quagmire” might not be the most accurate metaphor.

Let’s try “labyrinth” instead.

You may assume that’s the definition of the hedge maze from the end of “The Shining,” not the ├╝ber cool David Bowie thing. Trust me, on the best day of my life I’m not 1% as David Bowie on the worst day of his life.

Keep moving. Never give up, never surrender.

And maybe it’s like “Doom” and at some point we’ll find the chainsaw.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts


Too much input, too much noise, too many conflicting priorities, not enough time, everything moving too fast, progress way too slow.

Thinking through it tonight the word “quagmire” came to mind.

I understand that quitting isn’t an option. But it would be nice to have a little bit of progress.

And a little bit less stress and Catholic Puritan work ethic guilt.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts


Back at the driveway…

This is the “driveway big guy.” (For those who have lost track, there’s a “big guy” by the driveway, one over by the front door, a clutch of new hatchlings in the bushes between the driveway and the front door, and a clutch of new hatchlings by the mailbox. I think. And then there are the backyard lizards, including those in the north, those in the south, and those in the trees.)

I’m told they’re territorial – not sure if they’ll kill each other for territory, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did.

Given the location (this is right by where the bushes are that lead off to the front door to the right, the place where the first new clutch of baby lizards showed up) this might be a parent of that clutch.

Either way, this seems to be a prime spot. If it’s cool, this big guy is out in the sun, with shelter under the car just inches away and the bushes just a couple of feet more. If it’s really hot, he can retreat to the edge of the shade, still catch plenty of heat from the whole driveway heating up, but not get fried by the direct rays.

He’s pretty calm so long as I don’t spook him, will let me get within a couple of feet. Blow up the picture to full sized (click on it), look at the gorgeous blue & green scales mixed in with all of the brown and tan scales, particularly on his tail.

I don’t know how big this guy or his kin can get, although we obviously know that some species in the area can get MUCH bigger. Being Godzilla kin but much smaller, I think this guy is more of a Hemidemisemigodzilla. But as long as he watches out for hawks and doesn’t sit under that tire for shelter when I have to use the car (I check before I pull out, but still…) he might make Demisemigodzilla in a year or two!


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Filed under Critters, Photography

Sunset – October 10th

It’s been a while since we’ve had a nice pink, orange, and purple sunset. Lots of them without a cloud in the sky, lots more after with grey, brown, and orange clouds of smoke, and a few with just grey clouds. But tonight was the first that I’ve seen in a while where looking out through the front door glass to the west it had that wonderful, special, colorful glow.

On another note and related to absolutely nothing, why is it that we don’t have “southeastern” food or culture or style or furniture or architecture? This stunning revelation (almost certainly a sign of early onset brain damage – do doubt the rot in my right rotator cuff has now spread up into my cranium) was brought as I was fixing a “southwestern chicken salad” for dinner, and I thought about all of those other things with “southwestern” attached. I’m sure most would recognize salads with corn & beans, stylized roadrunners and Kokopelli figures, Santa Fe-like adobe houses filled with turquoise furniture, all as being “southwest” in some way.

And “northwest” is there in our culture. Seattle, rain, Pearl Jam + Foo Fighters + Nirvana + Heart, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Saint Helens, flying fish in Pike Place Market, fat bears, salmon.

Let’s not forget “northeast!” Yankees, Vermonters, Mainiacs, Live Free or Die, clam chowder, maple syrup, “paaaaking yah caaah by the maahket,” the Duck of Justice

But “southeast?” Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

It’s all the “south.” Let’s get real, there are states in the southeast corner of the United States – Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, the Carolinas. But they’re all “south,” not “southeast.”

Why is that?

Remember when we used to worry about things like that instead of whether key top government officials were trying to execute a coup d’etat or allow a pandemic to kill a half million of us or both?

Good times!

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Filed under Farce, Photography, Politics