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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
Sabot L'ours' LiveJournal:
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|Wednesday, August 24th, 2016|
|"Sons and Lovers"
Another book down in the Summer Reading Program. This book was ranked #9 in the best novels of the 20th century. It was a pretty tough read. The plot wasn't terribly interesting and I really hated D.H. Lawrence's writing style. He would constantly say things like, "She put flowers in her hair which made her so beautiful. He hated her." It almost became a joke since he used phrases like that over and over. My interpretation of the nook was that it was all about the nature of love and how you must destroy a part of yourself in order to bond with another person. The protagonist has a semi-creepy relationship with his mother, and his love for her prevents him from loving any other woman. He has a girlfriend who loves him so greatly, but he just can't bring himself to marry. Marriage is a form of death. What he knows of marriage he gets from the relationship between his mother and father. He is a brutish coal miner who can be abusive. His mother basically ignores him and concentrates on raising the children and taking care of the house. I guess what angered me the most was that the main character could have had a wonderful relationship with one of 2 women, but it seems he overthinks everything about love. He just can't bring himself to surrendering to another person and so he ends up living alone and miserable. To that I said, "Serves you right." It did get me thinking about the nature of love, but then I concluded that it's a subject probably best not thought about too deeply. There is nothing logical about love. You'll drive yourself mad trying to over-analyze it.
|Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016|
|The Perfect Storm
I was not counting on much rain yesterday. There was a nice blob of red on the radar, but it headed to the south. There was one little red blob to the far west end of the county, but it didn't look promising. At the start of the 5 o'clock news the blob was a little bigger. At the end of the news it was bigger and closer. At the start of the 6 o'clock, it was covering the entire west side of the city. Woohoo! I ran outside. There was the rumble of thunder and a few *tink* *tinks* as small hail started to hit the patio cover. I ran inside to shut off the sprinklers that had just started. I then went back outside to enjoy the show. Soon it was pouring buckets. Lightning was flashing directly overhead with a few *flash* *booms*. The rain barrels quickly filled. The grass and garden got a good soaking. It was intense, but not quite enough to get the arroyo flowing (I'll have to investigate more thoroughly on walkies today). Like all good monsoon rains it was over in less than 30 minutes. The sun popped out and caused a nice rainbow to the east where the storm was still raging. The temps also dropped into the 70's making it a perfect evening. Textbook monsoon season.
|Saturday, August 20th, 2016|
When I bought the house back in 1999, the previous owner left the fridge in the kitchen. This made me happy because it was one less appliance that I had to buy. Unfortunately it was a POS side-by-side where the freezer had horrible storage room. You could only store a frozen pizza on its side. It had a built-in ice maker, but I realized why the previous owner didn't have it connected when I connected it and it leaked all over the place. I kept that fridge for a few years until I finally got sick of it. I bought another fridge which proved to be a POS which didn't even last 10 years. The old fridge languished in the garage until I re-purposed it into a fermenting chamber for lagers and pilsners when I was the Beer Brewin' Bruin. When Kitty moved in it was once again used as an extra fridge/freezer for when we shopped sales and bought a ton of cheap meat. It chugged on for several more years until recently when I noticed it wasn't holding the temperature as well as it should have. I decided to do a preemptive strike and buy a new one before the old one gave up the ghost. We hit up the local Sears Outlet and bought a nice cheap but efficient one for the garage. It's so nice to have room in the freezer! So next Friday I will say goodbye to a fridge I have loved/hated for the past 17 years. I will get a nice $50 rebate from my utility company for recycling it properly.
|Friday, August 19th, 2016|
|Extreme Dog Walking - 2016 Edition
Every year it seems that I go on at least one walkie where I start to fear for my life because of lightning. In years past it was a great concern because I was literally the tallest thing around up on the mesa. Now there are homes and street lights, so I feel a little more at ease despite the truly random nature of where lightning wants to strike. Yesterday I had my first walk of the year where I actually started to get very nervous even though there were no strikes anywhere near me. There were some impressive cloud-to-ground strikes a few miles to the south, but nothing too close. The reason I got so nervous was because a storm suddenly popped up overhead in just a matter of minutes. It had been happening all afternoon according to the radar. Even Kitty told me that while she was home there was a *flash* *boom* which terrified the critters. That must have been about the time where the radar went from nothing, to a yellow blob over the house, to nothing over the course of 3 updates. So I just prayed that while I was exposed on the mesa, the nice blackening cloud would not decide to throw off a random bolt. I got lucky. In fact it just sort of rolled on to the east and not do much of anything.
|Thursday, August 18th, 2016|
|Mesaaaaaa! Come Out to Plaaaaay!
Last night I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed when I heard a terrible noise coming from the bedroom. At first I thought it was Kitty yelling at the cats for knocking things off of the dresser or fighting. When I walked into the bedroom, I saw all of the cats and Mesa very agitated. The screeching noise was coming from outside. It took a few seconds to register that what I was hearing was several coyotes very close by having a yipp fest. It has been some time since I have heard that many yotes that close. I joked with Kitty that perhaps the yote we encountered a few days ago
got his homies together and was calling Mesa out.
|Tuesday, August 16th, 2016|
|A Major Milestone
According to my pay stub, today marks 25 years in gov't service. I started full-time in 1993, but I had a couple of temporary gigs before that which count towards my time. So today the door officially opens to early retirement. Would I retire early? Nah. It would take someone seriously pissing me off before I did that. I still have 5 years of earning and socking money away in my 401K. It might be a different story, however, if the next administration decides that the gov't is still too big. An offer of a "5&5" might get my interest. That's where they tack on 5 years to your service and 5 years to you age. That would put me at full retirement. I might not be able to live high on the hog, but I could do things like spend more time in Chicago taking care of Mom. *shrugs* It's just a nice thought to know that there is light at the tunnel and there are now more options. The goal is to retire in Jan 2022. Then I can sit at home and watch soaps while Kitty slaves in the 9 to 5.
|Monday, August 15th, 2016|
|Another Movie Post
We crossed off 2 more films from our "best of the best" list. Since the Olympics are going on, why not an Olympics movie? I had never seen "Chariots of Fire" all the way through, so now would be a perfect time. I had heard it was pretty "meh" and overall I would have to agree. 1981 wasn't a stellar year for movies, so even though it won Best Picture that year, that isn't saying much. It reminded me of another Oscar winner, "The English Patient." It was sort of long, boring, and pointless, but nice to look at. It does fill in the one gap in my Oscar-winner list. I have now seen every winner from 1964 to the present as well as many before that. I just have to find a copy of "Tom Jones." Even Netflix doesn't have it.
The other movie was "A Place in the Sun" which was nominated for Best Picture but didn't win. It did, however, make the AFI Top 100 list (#92). Many thanks to bunny_plush
who let me know that it was available on demand from Turner Classic Movies. The film is a fairly good adaptation of "An American Tragedy " which I wrote about last week. Montgomery Clift plays the lead actor and Kitty pointed out how much he looked like James Dean. I had to agree. He could have been in "Rebel Without a Cause" or Dean could have played this role (if he had been well known at the time). Elizabeth Taylor could also have been swapped for Natalie Wood and vice versa. Raymond Burr plays a district attorney, and we both wondered if his performance sealed his fate for playing Perry Mason 5 years later.
|Friday, August 12th, 2016|
|The Nature Show
I had fun with nature yesterday. In addition to finding a nice gopher snake on my great quest to find missing wells, Mesa and I had a wildlife encounter while on walkies. At the far western end of our walk I spotted a coyote watching us from about 100' away. I waited until it started to trot off before telling Mesa, "Yotie-o!" He jumped into action and started running. Of course he went in the wrong direction. Finally he spotted the yote, and the chase was on. I had commented to Kitty a little while ago that I feared that Mesa was starting to show his age (9). He no longer desired to chase bunnies for very long and he didn't have that same pep in his step if he was chasing something up the mesa. Perhaps he just needed a worthy opponent. He gave the yote a good run for its money. Soon he was trotting back to me with a satisfied look on his muzzle. What happened next was surprising. The yote was following him! It climbed a small hill and began yipping and barking at us. It was as if it was telling us, "Yeah! That's right, bitch! Dis be my house! I'll mess you up, muthahfuckah!" I just yipped right back at it in defiance (fucking furry). We started walking back home and I heard more yipping. It was following us! I took the opportunity to grab a blurry pic of it with my phone (just to the right of the tree).
He gave up soon after that.
The other great event in yesterday's "The Nature Show" was the Perseid Meteor Shower. I was sitting on the upper patio with Alex and Kitty just enjoying the night sky. I think Alex mentioned how nice the Big Dipper looked and I remembered that we were getting close to the peak of the meteor shower which would be visible near that constellation. A quick check of my Google Sky Map showed that, yes indeed, the meteor shower should be just above the mesa to the north. So we focused our attention on that section of the sky and waited. It didn't take long before we were treated to several nice fireballs. The last one of the evening looked like a rocket flying across the sky. It was mighty impressive! Even the ISS joined the show. My phone alerted me that the ISS would be coming into view. I knew it was scheduled to fly directly over after 11, but it was only 9. It turned out we were right on the edge of viewing for the orbit prior to the direct flyover. I used the app to locate where in the sky it was supposed to be. Unfortunately it was low on the norther horizon, behind the mesa. Oh well. But wait! There it was! It made a quick appearance just before disappearing over the eastern horizon. By that time it was directly above Kansas City.
|Thursday, August 11th, 2016|
|Geocaching for Profit
I had a nice little morning out in the field. A co-worker wants to do a groundwater study and thought about using some observation wells that were drilled several years ago. I attempted to keep the data collection process going myself, but it proved a huge time-sink for me. It would probably take 3-4 weeks of intense field work every day to do a complete data collection run. The one thing I still have is a knowledge of where all of the sites are as well as the coordinates programmed into my GPS. So my co-worker took me out to one of the sites and together we tried to track down as many of the wells as we could. It was rather fun hiking through the forest along the river. We found most of the sites, but a few will require the use of a metal detector since they are probably buried. I was also reminded of why I never collected data in the summer. It was Mosquito Central out there. Zika here I come!
|Wednesday, August 10th, 2016|
|"An American Tragedy"
I put the long train ride to good use by finishing up another novel. This one was a slog compared to the last 2. The story was interesting, but it clocked in at over 800 pages so it was quite a long read. Basically it's the story of a teenager who grows up with a poor religious family and eventually seeks the materialistic world. He finds a girlfriend who totally takes him for a ride, but he must leave her because he is part of an accident that kills a child. He finds a new life thanks to a rich uncle who gives him a job. He's somewhat caught in the middle, however, because people who would be his peers think he is above them due to his uncle, but people above him see him as nothing but a poor poser. He finds a girl, knocks her up, and then wants to dump her when he finds a rich girl who likes him. When the girl refuses to be dumped, he stages an accident and kills her. Unfortunately he bungles the crime, gets caught, and ultimately executed for his crime. Pretty tragic, eh? I now want to see the move "A Place in the Sun" which was adapted from the book.
|Tuesday, August 9th, 2016|
Kitty and I are back in ABQ. It was a wonderful weekend with albear
. On Monday we had wanted to hit up another museum, but unfortunately most of the museums are closed on that day. We decided to just take it easy and tour the Japanese Gardens to the west of N Hollywood. It was a pretty cool little place, marred only by the stench of the sewage treatment plant next door. Oh well. At least it provided eco-friendly water for the pools in the park, not stocked with koi because the birds like to peck at them (so I was told). We had planned on having an early dinner in Little Tokyo later in the day, but we were all famished, so we stopped for a quick cheap lunch at Costco.
By the time we were ready to leave to downtown to catch our train, nobody was really hungry. We adapted our plans so that instead of having a sushi dinner together, Kitty and I would get some take-out sushi for the train. We found a nice little Japanese supermarket in Little Tokyo that had some very nice take-home sushi. We loaded up with several varieties as well as some snacks and we were golden. Al and Dex drove us over to Union Station and we said our goodbyes.
On the train Kitty and I enjoyed our dinner while the Sun set below Cajon Pass. We traveled in coach class this time since there were no sleepers available, but everything worked out fine. We were in the very last coach, so we weren't bothered by people walking past all night going to the lounge or cafe. It wasn't a great night sleep, but it was passable.
So now a quick shout-out to Al and Dex, who are truly our bestest buddies. When there can be nasty fights and drama that last for an hour or so, followed by another hour of laughter making fun of the drama that just happened, you know you have found good friends. We know each other so well. We fight. We laugh. We get mad at each other. We laugh some more. We get totally smashed together. We nurse each others' hangovers in the morning. THAT'S what friends are! Thanks, you guys!
|Monday, August 8th, 2016|
|Classic Furry Art
We spent another day enjoying art and culture yesterday. This time it was the Getty Museum. I hadn't been there since the year it first opened. It's another gem of L.A. It's a nice feeling to so easily get overloaded on Monet, Van Gough, and Rembrandt. One thing I always look for in paintings and sculptures is some sort of furry element. It's somewhat easy in classic paintings since mythology is a common theme. There's always a satyr running around somewhere. Even in religious paintings there are frequently sexy demons tormenting some saint. Here are 3 pics of various pieces of art which caught my fancy.
A cheetah sculpture in the statue garden of the Norton Simon
An anthro Hindu god
A painting of a bunny. What was interesting was that it was just a picture of the bunny. Wildlife paintings were pretty rare.
|Saturday, August 6th, 2016|
|SoCal Good Times
Kitty and I have had a couple of fun days with albear
. We got off the train on Thursday and proceeded with our hosts to our favorite Mexican restaurant in East LA for our usual monster burrito. It was then off to the Domain where we got our drink on. It's amazing how quickly a 30-pack can disappear (with 2 lush bears and a lush fox). On Friday it was back on the train to take a day trip up to Santa Barbara. I realized that I had not spent any tourist-time up there since the 80's and it would be a nice relaxing trip up there on the Surfliner. I was surprised that the equipment used on the train we took was old Heritage and Amfleet class. On the way home we at least had the newer typical Surfliner cars. We just spent a few hours in the city walking around, enjoying the ocean views and having a nice seafood lunch. The extra bonus was that it was the city's Spanish heritage days celebration so we got to watch a nice parade with hundreds and hundreds of horses.
Today we got a bit of culture by visiting the Norton Simon Museum.
What a gem of a museum! They had Rembrandt, Van Gough, Monet, Picasso, and even a special exhibit with Warhol. It was like a mini Art Institute in Chicago. We spent a few hours walking around enjoying the beautiful artwork. Of course everything is better when you have good friends to enjoy things with you.
|Thursday, August 4th, 2016|
I'm typing this from the middle of the Mojave as we head westward on the Southwest Chief. We're off to spend a long weekend with albear
. The trip is getting off to something of a rocky start as our train is about 4 hours late. The plan yesterday was for me to pick up Kitty after work at about 3:30 and then head over to the station. We would drop off the luggage and I would park the Furmobile at the office which is about 3 blocks from the station. I would then walk back. Seeing as the train was over 2 hours late as work ended, we decided to just head on home and relax for an hour or so. I was able to take Mesa for his walkies. It seemed that every time I checked the train's status, the arrival time kept getting pushed back. We decided to ere on the side of caution and leave a little before 6. It turned out that the train didn't pull in until almost 8. Oy! But we still got our dinner and immediately fell asleep afterwards. The one nice thing about being so late is that we get to see the scenery that we would have passed through in the wee hours of the morning. The bad news is that we get delayed in seeing our homies.
|Sunday, July 31st, 2016|
|Redneck Date Night
They predicted another active weather evening and they were correct! The forecast was for storms to hit late, like around 9 or 10, but they hit just after 8. We got another good downpour which topped off all of my rain barrels. Fortunately it wasn't as severe as the night before with less wind and no hail. It did, however, put on a much better light show. Kitty and I watched the storm from the patio, and after it had passed over and headed south, we went into the garage to continue watching. I laughed as we hugged and watched all of the lightning from the back of the Furmobile. I said it was quite the redneck date night, sitting in the garage watching a storm. Maybe it was kosher date night because it was free.
|Saturday, July 30th, 2016|
It's a month late but the monsoon finally arrived in ABQ yesterday. Just before I left from work I checked the radar and saw a nice red blob forming about 30 miles north of the city. Since the storm movement was to the south, things could get interesting! By the time I got home the red blob had grown and moved closer. I went for walkies and the entire northern part of the sky was black. I made it home and turned on the news. The storm was still heading right for us and predicted to hit in about 10 minutes. I grabbed some whiskey and went outside to enjoy the show. It did not disappoint! The storm announced itself with a single grape-sized piece of hail which hit the patio cover like a gunshot. Soon the downpour began with even more hunks of hail. I managed to fill both rain barrels in about 15 minutes. According to my rain gauge it only dumped about 0.46" but that was about 20% of all of the rain I have received all year. Hopefully the moisture plume will persist.
In other natural history news, I was very surprised to hear that lava was once again flowing into the ocean in Hawaii. I had been following the eruption of Pu'u 'O'o ever since our trip to the Big Island last year. It had been sending flows to the east for quite some time, but there was no threat to the local community. Obviously I hadn't checked the updates in several months because I totally missed a breakout of lava that headed south in late May. It made a beeline for the ocean and finally reached it the other day. And the Park Service had just completed an emergency road along the coast that got buried by lava several years ago. The good news for tourists is that they now have a nice wide path to walk down to see the flow (even though its 10 miles RT). I saw a pic of tourists at the flow and just did a *facepaws* It's a Darwin Award waiting to happen.
|Tuesday, July 26th, 2016|
|Monday, July 25th, 2016|
I think I already made a post about "Make America Great Again," wondering when that "again" was supposed to mean. Bill Maher did a wonderful rant the other day that perhaps Trump is talking about the 50's when it was a great time to be a white male. Everyone else...perhaps not so much. But I started thinking about how it seems that the World is going to hell with terrorist attacks happening seemingly every week and what seems like out-of-control cops running amuck. There has never been a time like this before! Or perhaps there was. Just look at the Democratic National Convention of 1968. That was a proud moment in Chicago history when cops beat the shit out of protesters as Mayor Daley egged them on. We also have the Olympics coming up. What about Munich in '72 and the horrible act of terror that cost the lives of so many Israeli athletes? Now we have mass shootings. Back in '68 we assassinations of both MLK and RFK. The world seemed as though it was unraveling...just like many feel it is happening now. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that there seems to be a lot of doom and gloom out there, and while things may truly be shitty, we have lived and survived through shitty times in the past. We need to keep up that sense of optimism. We HAVE weathered storms in the past. As Shirley Bassey sang, "It's all just a little bit of history repeating."
|Friday, July 22nd, 2016|
One of the problems of ABQ that I have been harping on ever since I moved here has been the lack of a downtown. Oh sure, the true downtown is just a couple of blocks to the west of the office, but it's not a place where you would want to go to for entertainment purposes. Take away the government and bank buildings and you're not left with much else. There is a nice movie theater and the "meat faucet" restaurant near the bus/train station, but that area is sketchy even during the day. I sometimes walk there to see the Southwest Chief and I always end up playing "Spot the Drug Deal." There's also Old Town about a mile to the west which is the tourist hub of the city. About a mile to the east is the University District which has numerous restaurants and Popejoy Auditorium. Just a little further east is Nob Hill which is what I would call the true cultural hub of the city with lots of restaurants and shops. The one thing that ties all of these areas together is Central Ave a.k.a. Old Route 66. It has been my feeling that perhaps if we don't have a true downtown, we could have an entertainment corridor stretching for 7 miles which would contain all sorts of entertainment and shopping options. I have seen this slowly evolving over the 17 years that I've lived here. Old dilapidated businesses have been torn down or renovated. New high-end apartments have opened up. And the city will soon be constructing a bus rapid transit system. One of the forgotten areas had been the one just north of the office which is between the downtown and The University. Things have been improving over the years, though. A few upscale restaurants have opened up just in the past few years. An old burger joint is now a premium burger joint. It seems that new places are opening up on a regular basis. Earlier this week I saw yet another very welcome sight. They're tearing down a Baptist Church compound just to the south of the office. They're going to construct a high-tech incubator. This is great news! It kills 2 birds with one stone. It will bring good, high-paying jobs and a lot of smart people as well as getting rid of a huge bum magnet. The church was the focal point for the homeless since they provided free lunch. The place was swarming with bums every lunch hour. Now that there will be no more free lunch, it might not be so scary to walk under the railroad tracks towards downtown without worrying about being accosted for change or having to dodge the puddles of urine and/or piles of feces.
|Thursday, July 21st, 2016|
|Another Classic Movie Post
Kitty and I are continuing our quest to see the best movies ever made. We added another 4 to our list. I have our Netflix queue to where we alternate between classics and newer films. It keeps things interesting.
"How Green Was My Valley" - I had to see the movie that beat out both "Citizen Kane" and "The Maltese Falcon" for Best Picture in 1942. It certainly was worthy of the title. I think that the other movies became more appreciated over time, but this one was what was awarded at the time. It didn't even make the AFI Top 100. But with that being said it is still a good film which follows the life of a family in a coal mining town in Wales. There is labor strife. There is a mine disaster. There is scandalous love between a priest and a girl. What's not to like?
"It Happened One Night" - Best Picture winner in 1934 and #35 on the AFI list. Classic early Hollywood with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert trying to make their way from Miami to New York. She's a spoiled rich girl trying to escape her daddy and he's a reporter trying to get the story. Of course...love ensues. Classic moments include the separation of beds by a sheet hung between them and Colbert hitchhiking and getting a ride by showing some "cheesecake." They get a ride from Alan Hale (Skipperrrrrrr!)
"Some Like It Hot" - #14 on the AFI list. It's hard to believe that I had never seen this comedy starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe. Lemmon and Curtis hide from the Mob by dressing in drag. Hilarity ensues. You can tell that we have come a long way in that Curtis says that a man can't marry another man. That's against Law and Nature! *lol* Oh, if he only knew! I suppose it could have opened the door back then in that the very last scene has Lemmon revealing himself as a man to a millionaire who has fallen in love with him. The millionaire doesn't care. Oh my!
"Meet Me in St Louis" - Honorable mention. This is one of Kitty's favorite movies and she was shocked that I had never seen it. I guess it's kinda considered a "holiday movie" since part of the movie takes place around Christmastime and Judy Garland sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." My feeling is that this was a chick flick of the time. The whole plot revolves around spoiled rich girls trying to find husbands. I should mention that they're all pretty much still in high school. The only highlight for me was the musical number "The Trolley Song" which was a Broadway show stopper. I guess this film was the perfect escape from reality since it came out during the height of WW II. You know it's complete fantasy when it takes place in St Louis and there's not a single black person in it.