The blog formerly known as Onefinemess.
  • odd ends

    Posted By on October 2, 2014

    First off, let’s just get this out of the way (because it relates to nothing else I’ll say today): Just because something you saw didn’t make you (a) racist, doesn’t mean that thing (that thing you saw!) isn’t in itself racist.

    [I mean.  The ocean.  It’s over there, right [[we pretend to stand against the shore/adrift amongst the dunes/dry feet like crones’ eyes/toes riddled with cracks without answers/blue meets blue/clouds flee]]?  And oceans are wet.  But I’m not wet, so it’s clearly not an ocean!]

    This is “duh”?  Right.  Kinda in reference to the Tom & Jerry BS, but also: because people have said it a million times before.  “I saw/read/consume X and it didn’t make me racist so how can it be racist?”  See.  I want to call that shitty logic.  But I can’t.  BECAUSE I DON’T THING IT’S LOGIC AT ALL.   Does it count as a “divine fallacy“?  I don’t know, my logic is old and rusty, but even I can still smell stupid.  (Yes, I know that statement in itself was illogical.  Move with me.)

    OK, now what else?


    In general is good.  Babies are coming!  Soon.  Excited.  Stressed.   Compressed.  Elastic and ecstatic and everything around the edges.  Jen is doing amazing with the whole thing.  Prepping and transporting 2 kids to school and handling #3 at home AND carrying #4 & #5 around in her bellah like a champ.

    #3 fell his ass off the chair the other night.  Totally his fault…he’s a daredevil.  Anyway, said fall left him with a nasty little gash (fingernail sized, eye-shaped) on the back of his head that required a trip to the doctor the next day (yay, no emergency room!) and I think they glued his head shut.  Which is interesting.   I had a similar thing happen around his age and the doctor just died a knot in my hair to hold it together while it healed.  Poor little dude though – he called it his “crack”.  As in “I have a crack in my head” and “The doctor fixed the crack in my head.”  So sad/funny.  Oh, and it was scary.  Lots of bright blood.  But not the worst thing that’s happened to him.  I dread his teenage years on a regular basis.

    #1 & #2 are doing great in school – it’s always scary/wonderful to see them grow and change in response to all that outside input.



    I need to buy the new Rentals album.  (I think you can stream the whole thing from there!  It is good.) Well.  “want”.  “badly want”.  You know.  Not need.  I just haven’t yet.

    The new Gaslight Anthem album is quite good.  Different.  But/And good.  Here’s Helter Skeleton.  You can play it whilst you scroll downwards, toward some kind of nirvana:

    (The) Pixies put out a new album too.  And it’s not bad!

    Those are the 3 blips I can think of at the moment.  Oh, Rancid just announced they have a new album coming out this year, so that might not suck.


    Because I know you wanted to know, right?

    OK, so my current state of mind is: I FUCKING HATE CATS.  AND SQUIRRELS.  They tear up my planters daily and it is incredibly frustrating.  I’ve been trying to find some kind of “natural” way to deal with them (yes, I know death is natural, but that’s not what I’m talking about).  Supposedly rue keeps cats out…but can also cause nasty infections on human skin!  And: kids.  So I don’t want that…

    Stuff is cool though.  I’ve been growing some sedum clippings.  That’s kind of neat seeing whole plants grow from pieces of stem:

    That’s a week or two out of date, but still pretty neat to see all sped up.

    Blogging in general

    I’ve been feeling burned out on blogging lately…I mean, next month it will have been 10 years that I’ve been grinding away at this.  10 YEARS.  I have children younger than that.  Ahh, my first post.   I was so young and me then.  Ish.  So yeah, 10 years of doing this and I almost never have new visitors – outside of the 4-5 RL folks I know who still read this occasionally  I mean – we can have separate conversations, so what’s the point of all “this”?  I’m trying to figure that out.

    [Sidenote: I think I used to have some kind of blog before this one, but I can’t remember what or who it was.]


    I haven’t written much of anything in a while.  It’s depressing, but it is what it is.  Time is in short supply these days.  I’ve got two things I’m reading from other people, and that’s pretty much it. I’ve done an occasional poem, so at least that’s something.  I had a couple creative days where I came up with several new things for the mud I still code on (also when I have: The Time), and those are kind of cool if I ever get around to finishing.

    Here’s a poem:

    fast/hall of leaves

    My brain doesn’t remember the sunny nights of my youth
    but my body does like an egg now goosed in a bottle
    My ribs are old
    best if they don’t break

    I do fly down the hallway of leaves
    Autumn always at my feet

    We’ll fall in love somewhere further
    and I’ll skin my knees

    Thoughts of thievery in thieves cant
    Thoughts of things that cannot be stolen back
    A wisp of pressure and tricks of light
    Deep into the memory hole I

    Flung from the hall of leaves
    a toddler in the Stream
    Into the night
    carry me once.


    Visual consumption of media that moves

    I’ve been slowly working my way through the 5 years of Futurama that I missed (now that it’s available on Netflix), and there are some pretty funny bits in there.  I think I’m up to season 10.   Or 9.  I’ve tried a couple other random things on Netflix, but nothing has stuck.

    The last movie I saw was Guardians of the Galaxy and it was wonderful.  (Wait!  That’s not true, we took the kids to a dinner theater (no, not that kind, the kind where you can eat dinner at a theater) and watched How to Train Your Dragon 2.  Which was entertaining for all.)

    Um.   Since the last book review I posted I’ve read a collection (Long Hidden) edited by Daniel Jose Older and his collection (Salsa Nocturna) of short stories.  Both were good, his collection was better as the other one, as it was hit or miss as those things tend to be with some stories being amazing and some being meh.    I think I have some issues with the short story format in general, as more than a few of them felt like they were trying to hard to jam some twist/brilliant ending into too small a package.  I was going to write individual reviews for them but it’s been too long and I’ve pretty much forgotten them.  My brain is awesome :(.

    We are watching the following with the kids: Cosmos (the new one), The Life of Birds (might be done with this, I’ll have to check) and Avatar (the cartoon one).  All are interesting in their own way.  I love it when Cosmos keeps the kids attention, as there is so much cool stuff in there.  The Life of Birds has had some pretty neat bird stuff in it (also very sad, like the bird that hatches 7 chicks, then kills them one by one until its down to 2 or 3.  And cuckoos.  Seriously.  FUCK CUCKOOS.  Hate those guys.) and Avatar, while problematic in some ways (long other topic that I’m too tired and just google it), is an entertaining show with some positive example behavior type stuff  in there.

    Cool Comic Art

    Some of my favorite artists currently making comics:

    Click to make bigger.

     Jamie McKelvie (tumblr)  So amazing.  His Young Avengers Run as well as Wicked + Divine are so crisp and clean and amazing and creative.  Single images really don’t capture as page/panel flow are such a part of what he does well.  Check out any issue of the above.  Also, the colorists on those two books are amazing too.   Picking single panels is like chopping out one section of painting…but I’ll do it anyway:

    Also fun stuff like this:

    Click to make really big.

    Oh hey, here’s a whole page from W+D:

    Does what you expect when clicked.

    Sara Pichelli (of Ultimate Spider-Man fame)

    To me, they both share a sense of just…I dunno… “cleanness”.  Like everything feels real and vibrant.

    Then, there’s the “weirder”/more stylized stuff, like Skottie Young (deviantart), who can have a pretty varied style (he’s the one that does all those “baby Marvel” style covers):

    & Chris Bachalo:


    There are better examples in the actual comics, but that’s what some speedy googling turned up.

    So.  Yeah.  There’s 1500 words for you (guys/girls/nons) instead of a month or two’s worth of scattered posts.  WITH PICTURES.  (I’ve been told by the impression left in the comment threads at various places that pictures mean things.  I think they are supposed to have captions or moving parts.  One of mine moves!  Hopefully that’s enough).

    -Until next time

    book review: Full Fathom Five

    Posted By on August 4, 2014

    by: Max Gladstone

    I debated not doing a review, because I don’t have much of intelligence to say here (STOP. Don’t compare that to anything else I say, ever.), but I felt I should say something (TM), even if only to get the book whatever extra tiny press my blurbage here might generate.

    Because it’s pretty good, and the series in general is also pretty good, and the writer seems to be a pretty good guy.  Not that we owe pretty good people anything!  Nor pretty people, nor good people.  Look at me re-using basic words.  I’m pretty good at that.  You can debate my subjective and objective prettiness and goodness in your own free time.  I’ll spend mine re-using words.

    So, first things first: I will shamefully admit that I have no idea who the woman on the left is supposed to be.  I wondered that through the whole book.   It can’t be Izza (she’s a kid).  Is it Mara?  I think she’s native to Kavekana like Kai (woman on the right)…so it wouldn’t be her.  Or Cat (she’s blonde)…so it would have to be Teo?  But isn’t Teo from Quechal??  Maybe not Quechal nationality…but she does mention having the Quechal priest tattoo things and I AM SO BAD I PRETTY MUCH FORGOT THE ENTIRE SECOND BOOK.  I guess Teo is priesty?  Shit, I need to re-read them all now.  Doesn’t it have to be her?

    [UPDATE: Via @MaxGladstone on twitter, it’s Izza! ]

    [sidebar: Per this post by the author, the chronology in the craft books goes 4->2->1->3.  Note that the 4th book isn’t out yet. So when I re-read, I’ll do Two Serpents, then Three Parts.  Also what’s up with the him using numbers in the first 3 book titles, then dropping it for the 4th (Last First Snow)? HATE BREAKING CYCLES. ]

    [sidebar 2: How weird is it that there are no actual wiki entries for these books, only the author?  What the literal actual fuck?  How is that helpful to detail obsessed people like me?  You’re telling me that no one more neurotic than I has read these books, lost their battle with self control, and succumbed to creating those wiki pages?  INTERNET YOU HAST FAILT ME. ]

    Uhh.  Back to stuff.   So.  I quite liked this book.  It was a little like a legal drama from the other side (the point of view of someone working at a company involved in the drama, without actually being involved in the drama itself…UNTIL – but you know, that’s an interesting angle), with a bit of corporate whistleblowing and corporate ethics (if such a thing exists) thrown in.  Not to mention the question of where a tiny independent island and its potential economy fits into a larger picture in a world dominated by larger powers that could potentially easily squish/consume it.

    Oh, and there’s also more than a finger’s worth of looking at being transgender in a world like this.  As an outsider to this community, I can’t comment much on that – other than saying I suspect trans folks in this world would love to have the options available in that world.

    I love all the stuff about idolatry as a 9-5 and the differences between worshipping and selling and man…I wish there had been like forty pages explaining the technical details of it all.  I would read that.


    Good, solid stuff.  Still hinting around the bush at the over-arching plot. I wonder how long it will take to knock the leaves off?

    yard completed? get psyched!

    Posted By on July 22, 2014

    or: HYPE!

    or something.  Onward into the next chapter in the yard saga.

    So I kinda sorta finished my yard overhaul.  For this year.  Maybe.   I have a feeling it’s a “manject” in the sense that a) I really want it to be done but b) there’s always more stuff to do if you look at it just right so c) why are you doing that!?!?  There are a couple larger things I want to do, but I think those can wait until next summer – plus I’m pretty sure I’m taking out the metal swingset this winter, so that will open up some more space (and potentially more lawn to repair/annihilate).

    And so far it’s been a decent thing.

    My shrubs are mostly growing OK.

    I’ve lost a couple sedums, but they were all the same type, so that probably just doesn’t work so well with my soil or whatever – and one of them got stepped on anyway.

    Get ready for a ton of plant/yard pics. HOLD ON IT’S A RIDE.

    Here’s the more-finished back corner, update from the pic in the first post:

    Yes, it’s not “done” completely.

    This falls under “more to do later”…but I think it’s at least cleaned up enough for now.  Plus, I’m dumping all my excess dirt in that pile, so no sense doing anything with it until I’ve moved around the rest of the dirt.  Ish.  So, funny story about that (OK, it’s funny if you are me and maybe no one else) – those bricks were originally for the front planter, but felt a bit noticeable, so it went from the top pic to the bottom:

    I think it looks better.  Doesn’t impact the flow of the house or whatever, but still separates shitty grass from hopefully-not shitty planter.  I kinda wanted to do a raised thing, but it wouldn’t have worked well there I don’t think.  I’ll do that elsewhere…. <.<

    And here’s the other side:

    I went for a simple, but interesting (to me) color mix on both… I’ll talk more about specific plants later (BECAUSE I KNOW YOU CARE)…but for now…colors.

    OK before we talk about a bunch of plants in general, let’s talk about one in specific, because it’s kinda fucking weird.  Cool weird.

    So check these little guys out:

    Neat looking right, little balls of spikes and what not?  They’re a species (or sub-species or …I don’t know <biology>) of jovibarba globifera, generally called “hens and chicks” (there are a ton of hens & chick varieties) or, more specifically:  “jovibarba rollers”.  Why “rollers”?  I’M GLAD YOU ASKED.

    Those smaller spiky things?  They fall off, roll away, and grow on their own.  You can see a little “chick” has started growing on its own just to the right of the middle “hen” in the shot above.  Neat?  But not too weird…right?  Well, check out how they flower:

    Only two of them flowered…the center one, not at all.  Here’s a closeup:

    Note that some of the flower stalks fell off…and started growing!  Cool, creepy, or both?   That main flower stem looks like a cluster rocket or something…keeps popping out little stalks.  Also, apparently the plant that flowers, dies after it flowers.  So I guess each of those stalk things and their anchored “chick” will die?  We’ll see.  It’s something to be aware of if you buy other “hens and chicks” plants – if it’s just one hen, and it’s flowering (I’ve seen these in stores) – don’t buy that one, as it’s on its way out.  If it’s flowering but has a bunch of chicks then you should be fine, as those will live.

    So that’s maybe a bit much on the plants.   Let’s call it a post.  ..maybe I’ll do another one later about the other plants, because why not?

    book review: Endymion

    Posted By on July 18, 2014

    by:Dan Simmons

    I haven’t had much time for reviews lately, but it feels like I should at least try…

    This one got off to a really slow start, but there was a method to the madness, it just takes a while to get there.  I’m looking forward to the sequel, as some crazy things have been set up and implied (as well as one reveal that should have been obvious, but maybe wasn’t – which is the best kind?)

    I did love the crazy future monster being defeated by massively archaic technology… like taking out a drone army with a catapult or something.  SUCK THAT FUTURE!  Also, the reveal on that one’s ID was a bit interesting and makes me want to re-read a few segments from the previous two books.

    The whole ‘hanging out with a little girl who grows up to be your lover’ thing is never not going to be weird though, no matter how much time-travel spin you put on it.



    Because it sets up some cool stuff, and has a few solid bits of intriguing payoff.

    more yardening, mostly by daylight

    Posted By on June 18, 2014

    Hi, I’m the part of my personality that does crazy things like weeding, mowing the lawn, moving dirt and planting things.  You may remember me from such posts as this one annnnnnd…. OK, just that one.

    When last we parted, I had a pile of rocks on some black shieldypapery stuff.  Since then, improvements!  I put in some shrubs…because it doesn’t seem like small plants are going to do that well under the deluge of eucalyptus leaves (but who knows, really?  Certainly not me.  I just make this stuff up!).

    So now we have that stuff on the right.  Might die, might not.  Weirdly, these shrubs weren’t a whole lot more than a plug of grass.  Who knew?  Then again, might be a sign…

    So what ARE they?  [Because I Know You Care. O.O]

    The two outside ones are myrica californica (aka “generic shrub #14″ and the one in the middle is garrya elliptica aka “james roof/silk tassel”.    Potentially a little more visibly interesting.

    I’m hoping the bark stuff will keep the weeds down.  You’d think all the leaves would…but NOPE.  It’s never easy.


    After that, it was off to the south side of the house (I’d call it “Johnny”, but I’d be the only one who got the joke.  And it still wouldn’t be funny.  Although then I’d have a reason to digress on Hearts of Stone and Springsteen in the 80s…..)

    I wish I remembered to take a picture with all the weeds.  Anyway, just pretend there’s another shot in the below sequence, to the left, and filled with dead, grass-ish weeds.

    I’m still missing a few plants.  Because: duh: money and time.  Hopefully I’ll get those done this weekend.  Then around front…then back to the back north corner…then umm.  Well, not “done” PER SE but “kinda done”.

    So what I’m I going for here?   I wanted some cool and colorful grasses – or things that look like grasses anyway – (as compared to shitty weed grasses) – I finally settled on a mix of Hakone Grass and Black Mondo Grass – but Hakone is especially hard to find here and both are kinda expensive per plant, so I wound up spacing them out even more and going with more groundcovers (less than half the price of the grass, generally – and will occupy more space) like sedum (SURPRISE! o.o) in between as well as a bit of this crazy purple stuff.  Not drinkable, sorry.

    You can see the colors a little better to the right.  That weird little patch of orangish-brown near the wood is, I think, sedum polytrichoides.  It was labeled with a generic ‘sedum hakonense chocolate drop’ which, apparently, is commonly mislabeled or something. BECAUSE WHAT DO I KNOW?  It just looked cool, and was the first (and only) sedum like that I’ve seen so far.

    I might try a couple different things for the last section…we’ll see what I can find this weekend.

    Should be some interesting color in a year or so.




    Also, update: I’m pretty sure my wife thinks I’m crazy.


    book review: Harpist in the Wind

    Posted By on June 11, 2014

    by: Patricia A. McKillip

    There’s a lot to recommend about this book – and a lot to get nit picky about, if you have a hunger for nits.  Maybe with salt.

    The world has both the classic sense of …whimsy (?) (that word kind of demands italics, doesn’t it?) that you just don’t see in fantasy anymore (or at least I haven’t seen in years) paired with a sense of eternal foreboding (those pesky bad guys…always locked up, never killed) and some of the weird evasiveness that you see in modern works like the Malazan stuff – sometimes shit just happens and we don’t or can’t know why.

    It reminds me most of something like Lloyd Alexander’s High King series – or at least of my memory of that series..I haven’t read it in twenty years.  There’s an inexperienced country boy stumbling into destiny and power and all that. CHECK.

    There’s also what seems like a strong female character – she even had the whole second book mostly to herself who doesn’t let the MC push her around (although he keeps trying…which is, I guess, true to nature…), and has her own hoary, ancient powers and Shit To Deal With (although we don’t get much of that in this book, since it’s from Morgon’s perspective again).

    The foreshadowing is thicker than Portland drivers in the sun this time around.  If you haven’t figured out who the High One is by now, McKillip is going to beat you over the head with it so much you’ll wonder how Morgon can be so dumb about it.  Although, technically he almost realizes it a couple of times then forces himself not to realize it?

    Dumb.  Sorry, there’s no way around that.

    The magic system is both interesting and lawless.  Like, it’s one of those where shit can just happen unpredictably (to the reader anyway)…I guess more of the classics were like that, but I’m spoiled on Jordan, Sanderson and even Butcher and their fairly ordered magic systems that work enhance the experience instead of just deux-ex-fucking all the time.  This series has a ton of “why did the magic do that?”moments where you just have to roll with it.  Might not bother some people, but it bothers me a little.


    Solid 70s/80s fantasy.

    Some books

    Posted By on June 9, 2014

    I’ve been slacking on the whole book review thing.  Because: busy and stuff.  So here are some brief rambles about recent readings:


    Manhattan in Reverse
    by: Peter F. Hamilton

    I don’t remember if I read Hamilton’s other short story collection or not…I think I did…seems like something I’d have on my shelf.   Anyway, this was a great addition.  Every tale had some interesting angle to it and Hamilton’s trademark slow boil – tough to do in cramped quarters.  Highly recommended to any fans of his stuff, or sci-fi fans in general.  As a bonus, there’s even a Commonwealth tale or two in there.




    The Souls of Black Folk
    by: W.E.B. Du Bois

    I wish I’d had a class in high school focusing on slavery/Civil War/reconstruction/Jim Crow etc.  Not just the standard day or two of glossing that I got…if that.  I honestly can’t remember what we actually covered.  Maybe I would have found it all maddeningly boring…maybe it’s only the maturity that age (usually) brings that tempers my interests here.

    This chapter got me on the bus one morning.  Hooks that is.  So did most of the others as well, but for some reason that one stands out.  The limits of potential coupled with the actual … something deeper than I can find words for at the moment.

    This is one of those things I think everyone should read.  Pretty much everyone, I guess – but primarily US citizens.  The past hasn’t gone anywhere (someone famous must have said that…I know Utah Phillips and Ani DiFranco have an album of a similar name, but it really seems like something someone famous and dead probably said) – and it can only benefit us to understand how and why.


    Blood & Bone
    by: Ian C. Esslemont

    There’s lots (well, ‘lots’ in context of the typical obscurity of a Malazan book) of useful information here, background wise.  Butttt…. you know, the ending was such a kind of MREPHEPR (sound of balloon deflating) – and the buildup wasn’t anything spectacular – so put those two together and you have a pretty lackluster tale.  I mean, seriously WHAT THE FUCK with the ending.  I get how it’s beyond the ken of mortals (including the reader and all that) but mean…huh?  I’m hoping that it’s just been so long since I read another Malazan book that I’m just forgetting whatever the driving motivation here is.  Because I’m not seeing any (for the T’riss/Ardata thing).

    The Crimson Guard stuff was more interesting but there’s really only so many times you can avoid a question before it gets obnoxious.  Erikson does it better (sorry, Esslemont) – I rarely get annoyed at him for doing it.  When Esslemont does it, it often comes across sloppily and blandly aka yawn.

    Wow. That’s a really bad cover. Who would see this cover and go “I want to read that book?” Maybe Monty Python fans looking for further adventures of the formerly-limbless-knight? It could happen. There must be a market there…

    Still, the next/last book promises (not that it’s going to keep that promise) so many things that I’m certainly going to read it and, indeed, am even looking forward to it even if it’s as bland as this one just for all the stuff that’s maybe going to happen in it.

    I did kind of enjoy the humor side-plot.  The wry (?), absurdist sense of humor is something that both authors do well – and something I appreciate.  The scribe’s interactions with the expedition leader are priceless, and Sour and Murk’s stuff isn’t half bad either.  That being said… it’s probably not for everyone.


    At least one of those is just for how hungry I am for the worldbuilding, even in scraps.


    The Human Division
    by: John Scalzi

    Oh man, I wonder if he is still up at night chortling over that title?  I might be.  Not only does it fit the book perfectly it’s… eh, I dunno what the term is any more?   “Double entendre” always sounds sexual to me…OK…googled… I guess that’s kind of what it is.  Anyway, it’s clever.  Perhaps too clever.

    I guess this was originally published in chunks on the web or some modern magic?  Part of that return to serialized fiction I’ve heard so much about… (which is a kind of interesting loop in itself…)  MORE DOTS… whatever…

    Anyway.  The whole of the thing is clever and fits quite well together – except for one chapter about a captured soldier escaping which worked on its own but didn’t (I don’t think) feature any of the characters from the other sequences.

    However.  The ending was kind of just… I mean, nothing was really resolved.  At least in the sense that the over-arching plot that was used to string all the stories together certainly didn’t.  It’s fine if you’re leaving something open for a sequel, but it didn’t really feel that way – even though I’m sure there will be one eventually.  To be fair, Scalzi has ended at least a couple other books in this series in that way, but this one felt like the worst of the bunch in that aspect.


    Minus at least a half for the ending.


    on gardening at night, or the lack thereof

    Posted By on June 5, 2014

    So, I’ve got a new hobby?  Maybe?  Or just a Thing That Needs to be Done.

    Our yard has gotten kind of out of hand over the last couple of years.  I don’t think it’s the worst it’s ever been… but it was pretty bad.  Full of nasty, thorny brambles and weeds as high as my waist… that kind of thing.  And I’m not even talking about the lawn. OH THE LAWN.  THE HORROR.  I mean.  Not like, flesh-eating horror… but it just looks like shit.  Big patches of deadness, that kind of thing.

    And, since I suck at yarding, I’m not really sure what to do.  We had a new sod lawn put in…2 or 3 years ago and it was nice for a while.  As things tend to be.  Then time set in.  And the fact that I don’t really outdoors-as-a-thing.  And kids.  Lots of them.  And rain.  And the ground under the lawn is really irregular?  That’s maybe the part that drives me the most nuts because how do you fix that without a tractor!?  Guns.  Can I shoot the ground?  Can I 2nd amendment it into submission?

    So, whatever.  The lawn is for next year. I hate it.  There are rose bushes growing in it.

    The plan for this summer/year: getting the weeds elsewhere under control.  Like…hopefully in a maintainable manner.

    First up: The weird little borderthing between our front fence and the sidewalk.  Thankfully, I don’t have a before picture, because I would want to not look at it.  I put gravel in a couple years ago because hey, that’s easier that weeds, right?  Except that: weeds.  I didn’t know what I was doing so I didn’t put any shielding or whatever

    So yeah…gravel filled with knee high weeds and clover…so much clover.  Hate the clover.  So.  Shoveled out a bunch of dirt and all the gravel, borrowed a wheelbarrow and moved it to pile in corner of backyard.  Put in some fertilizer or whatever.  Planted a bunch of sedum.  Figured might as well go for variety and maybe get an interesting blended kind of look.  Sedum is pretty cool!  Says the awkward exclamation point.  I’m not like, much of a plant guy…but it’s pretty fascinating how many species of it there are.  Supposedly it’s all tough and rugged and such.  I’m hoping it’s tough, rugged, and murderous.

    Just after planting:


    Yes, I pulled out the little tags. But now I don’t know their names… :(

    Minute plant growth.  Super exciting, I know!  The little red and bright green ones in center that are about to touch are my favorite.  They do this weird little dance where they keep almost growing into one another, then veering away.  Not at all creepy.

    Basically every other day I go out and pull 50-100 tiny bastardfucketyfuck weeds.  Mostly clovers…because the dirt here is riddled with old clover roots and that shit just sprouts back up.  I don’t know if there’s an answer to that that isn’t NUKE WITH POISON…which wouldn’t fare so well for the plants I’ve already planted (OK, I guess if I Knew What I was Doing I might have removed all the old dirt, put in some kind of shielding, then put in all new dirt.  But: No.  And also: that’s money!).  The plan is for them to hopefully strangle the fuck out of the weeds, once they grow up a little.

    So…that’s going.  Then on to the back yard!

    Right out of the back door was another strip of weeds where we sometimes parked our greenwaste can.  The can/bin – which smells exactly as worst as you would expect something that regularly holds rotting meat for a week at a time to smell – was perhaps the most attractive feature of that strip.

    Much nicer to look at than weeds?

    So, I made a little square planter with some bricks – the front portion was a pre-existing tiny wall that must have served a purpose at some point… then moved in a bunch of flat stones from elsewhere in the yard.

    I think I’m going to try and get some pearlwort (you can see some there in the planter) to fill in the gaps and hopefully keep the weeds out of there.

    Another big problem with this portion of the back yard: eucalyptus leaves!  SO MANY.   They don’t appear to kill the plants they fall on (like the leaves of the other tree we’ve got – no idea what it’s called but GRRR), but they do make quite a mess.

    Off to the left you can see the next phase: MOAR WEEDS ON GRAVEL.  Man that gravel was not the best choice.  Money:  wasted.  Lesson: learned.

    Pulled those.  Shoveled a bunch of gravel/dirt around.  PUT IN SHIELDING STUFF.  Because I had some…so, why not?   Moved all the rest of yard rocks onto shielding.  I wanted to just have a big rock pile because a) why not b) we have a bunch of big rocks that need to be somewhere and c) why not the same place?

    However…I ran out of rocks.  Which is probably for the best (certainly my back thinks so.   It’s not a big fan of my brain right now.) – soooo what I think I’m going to do is use that extra space for some shrubberies or something.  NI.

    So that’s this:

    Not enough rocks. Unsure as to which ascii face to use.

    You can also see back left and right corners… back right will be the last portion of this project.  It’s going to be the most challenging for a few reasons: lots of shade, lots of dirt and lots of cat shit.  GRRR.  I’m thinking some kind of tiered thing with bricks…we’ll see.

    Back left corner was filled with nasty spiky bramble-maybe-berry things that -seriously- even the tiniest thorn would go right through my heavy gloves…had to dig them up with a shovel then carry by the roots.  I had no idea what to do with the space…so I’m filling it up with pavers and making a probably-pointless corner patio thing to collect leaves.


    Expect more posts about plants, I guess.

    I am old man?

    OH RIGHT, the NIGHT PART.  You totally thought I mean this, right?


    Still awesome.

    But no. Oh.  Right.  So I’m trying to get this to somehow supplant the video gaming thing, brainspacewise, at least to a degree.  This tends to result in what might look like obsession to some people… <.<  How strange it must be for my wife to suddenly be dragged along to check out new nurseries.  To go look at plants I’m not even going to buy!  Yet.  How weird is that?  It’s hard not to be meticulous about things when you’re me.  NO that doesn’t translate to “GOOD AT”.  Hell, I’m not even GOOD AT computer games.  I just make spreadsheets for them.  You know you’re jealous.

    No plant sheets yet.  Not a bad idea though….

    Right.  Gaming.  Gardening.  In general, the free time I get in a given day occurs between 9 & 11 at night.  That’s when I like to unwind and let my brain fall to goddam pieces because sometimes those pieces need to air out because well, stress.  I think maybe I could do that with gardening?  But it’s hard to do that between 9 and 11 at night.   Right?  Hopefully doable during summer, we’ll see.  So I don’t, I just do it whenever I can squeeze it in.  Usually not a problem, as the boys are finally getting to the age where they can be *SOMEWHAT* unsupervised outside when I’m on the other side of the house.  Except for little R, of course.

    Oh.  Here’s a picture of him falling asleep sitting up in a chair.

    You’re welcome.


    book review: The Eye of the Heron

    Posted By on May 12, 2014

    by: Ursula K. LeGuin

    This is one of the weaker – if not the the weakest – LeGuin book that I’ve yet read.

    Not to see that it was bad, just that I found myself skimming more than usual and just a little bored.  About halfway through I knew that the way the book ended would seal it as either terrible or passable, as it looked like it was heading in one of two ways, both of which I found to be a little too simplistic.  Thankfully, she didn’t take either of those paths and so I wasn’t quite disappointed…just a little bored.

    The world had great potential out of the gate, but she didn’t do much with it.  The focus here was on the characters with a little on politics, gender roles and cultural baggage (?).

    I wasn’t sure what LeGuin’s position on non-violent resistance was going into it, so I wasn’t sure exactly where she was going.  The initial MC is certainly foreshadowed to either fail or succeed spectacularly – each of which would have spoke to the two sides of that coin.  Instead, she takes an ambling middle road, which is closer to how I feel about it,  and made for a more emotionally and politically interesting story.

    That said, the resolution was kinda “literary” in the sense that it left more things open than I’d like from a (rather short) book like this.


    Worth reading if you’re a fan or just want something quick, but not awesome.

    Note: There is a neat bit about her writing process on this book (that has a major spoiler) that puts things into a better context for me, but I have to agree with another bit on that wiki page – it’s one of her “minor” works.

    book review: Sag Harbor

    Posted By on May 8, 2014

    by: Colson Whitehead

    So I read maybe 2 straight “fiction” books a year, looks like this is to be #1.  I enjoyed The Intuitionist – which was kind of fiction semi-genre’d up, and Whitehead’s writing style in general so I grabbed this on my last Powell’s run.

    Fiction is a strange thing…like, it doesn’t have to have a plot!  What is that all about?  The “plot” of this book, in the sense that I’m used, is basically “time passes over a summer”.    Normally I would expect that, given that kind of thing, the things that I might think of as traditional “arcs” would then be composed of some kind of inner journey for the character or something…an emotional/intellectual arc instead of a physical one.

    Maybe that’s here…but it still wasn’t clear to me.

    OK, random bitching about structure aside, I enjoyed this book.  Whitehead’s writing was just as simultaneously precise and vivid as I remembered, and his setting and character(s) are memorable and pulled me into Ben(ji)’s world.  I was never bored.

    I was a bit frustrated by some of the foreshadowings that he never came back to.  I mean, I get it as a literary technique, but it is annoying to me as a reader not to have any sense of closure on anything…save the summer itself!  Dun dun dun.  I get it, it’s like real life!

    One thought I always have when reading coming of age style books like this is “Man, I wish I could make my youth sound that interesting!”  Especially in the case of a book like this, where nothing really “happens” to Ben….I mean, that was my life, right there!   Actual things hardly ever happened…only strings of inconsequential almost-things.  Things we made into things – in the style of all the great artists, you dig?  Freeze a moment and blow it up through the lens of youth and hormones and everything is everything.  I have serious trouble re-creating that from a writing perspective.  So, props always to the author’s that do a good job of it, you have my envy.

    Someday I’ll find the right filter to replay my youth though, and then we’ll get deep into all that nothingness.


    Fiction is weird, but I enjoyed it.

    Also, I really want to try writing some genre stuff with this kind of structure.

    A summer happens. 
    In some crazy-ass place with flying hydras and blood magic and time travelers.

    Wait.  What.

    Like a super angsty slice of some teenage sorceress or wizard’s life…holy shit…I have to do this (someday…).  Can I filter my own life sideways like that?  IT JUSTMIGHTCOULD WORK.
    *puts it on his list*
    *waits so long he forgets*
    *does something kinda different, hopefully
    *realizes he has just consumed an entire cup of coffee and that’s why he hasn’t hit PUBLISH yet*