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Not an exurban sort of guy

Light Show Redux

One of the many merits (such as they are) of residence in the hinterlands of South Dakota is that we get treated to really good light shows in the form of thunderstorms. Watching the sky tear itself is wonderful entertainment.

Once of a recent evening I was standing at the back door watching the show when all of a sudden there was a loud kaboom, much like the crack of doom. The last time I heard something like that was when I was in infantry training crawling through the mud with dynamite charges going off next to me. At the same time (there was no wait for this thunder) there was a flash much as though a crack in reality had briefly opened up and the fires of Hell had shown through.

I don’t think the house took the full force of the bolt. After all, it still stands. However all of the lights in the garage were taken out, and the modem in one of my computers was fried.

I just wanted to watch the show; I didn’t want to be part of it.

One good liar deserves another

I went to see Fahrenheit 9/11. I had to do it; one has to take in a certain percentage of the latest fad of the day. It was, as I expected, a bit klutzy in its production values, and stuffed with misinformation, disinformation, misrepresentation, and a fair number of outright lies. (Here’s a link to one of the pages debunking the movie.)

Don’t misunderstand me. I liked the movie, and I think it is fair. After all, George W. Bush deserves Michael Moore. He who lives by the lie dies by the lie.

September may be late

I am making another one of my forays back to the East Coast, this time to attend the Worldcon, and to escort Our Lady of the Large Black Dog as we do the tourist thing. The plan is to inspect New York and Washington DC. She is willing, so she says, to take a bus into NYC. This is good; one doesn’t drive into NYC. Once we have exhausted New York’s multitudinous museums, theatres, fine restaurants, parks, and shops in a day or two, we shall meander down to DC where we may take in a different set of museums, etc, in another day or two. The trick in DC is to figure out which are the slums and which are the government buildings. The clue is the scale of crimes committed therein. In the slums the crimes are local. In the government buildings they commit crimes against the entire country.

All of this means that the September issue probably won’t come out until mid September.

Not an exurban sort of guy

In my many years whilst living in Boston, Cambridge, and Concord it chanced that I never purchased a power mower. In Boston and Cambridge one doesn’t have need of such a thing – lawns are a feature of suburbia and exurbia. Grass, if there be such, is an affair of the apartment manager and none of your own.

Concord, being a creature of suburbia, was a different matter. I had a house and a lawn. My lawn, however, was a modest affair. I had dug up much of it and planted it in blueberries, strawberries, and sundry flower beds. A rinky dink electric mower sufficed for my modest grassicide needs. (I doubt that there is such a word as “grassicide” but there should be.)

Things became different when I moved back to the family manse (rather modest as manses go, I must admit). It is one mile south of the less than urban metropolis of Highmore, population 850. It is about as exurban as you get.

My mother was heavily into landscaping and gardens. In consequence the manse comes with an extensive collection of lawns. When I moved in I was faced with lawn mowing. My mother had given up mowing some years ago. At first I followed her lead and had a local lad mow the lawn. In due course I discovered the lawn mower she had left behind and pressed it into service.

A local chap (in exurbia there are local handymen who fix and do – knowing who they are is a survival skill) did the necessary to make it serviceable again. I used it for a season before giving up on it and purchasing a new mower.

The new mower was altogether better; I put-putted around happily, taking down overgrown grass. This was, you should understand, a gasoline powered, hand propelled machine, the sort of thing that makes life in the suburbs hell on Sunday mornings as Godless, non-churching going neighbours do their weekly duty toward their lawns.

The machine is quite nice and all that, but it had a nasty habit of stopping after it had been running for a while. This is not, you understand, such a bad thing. It is my firm opinion that one can overdo the physical labor thing.

Still, it was a recalcitrant machine, and recalcitrant machines are something up with you should not put, as Winston Churchill once almost said. Being determined to bring it to task, I had the local lawn-mower fix-it-up chap take a look at it. Within a day or two (local fix-it-up chaps seldom move at more than a glacial pace) he called and asked if this was a brand new machine. I replied that I had had it a year.

He explained that the little blue plastic lid underneath the gas cap was only there to protect the gas tank from dirt during shipping. The first thing I was supposed to have done when I bought the machine was to throw it away. I absorbed all of this with every bit of dignity that I could muster, and thought to myself, “How in the hell was I supposed to know that; after all, I am not an exurban sort of guy.”

The machine runs fine. Don’t talk to me about reading directions. I’m a man. We men don’t do directions.

The San Programming Language

I have been working on the San Programming Language specification. This does not happen as fast as I would like. I had hoped to have it completed in May, and then June, and then July. It is mostly completed. I have put what there is up on the web.

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This page was last updated August 1, 2004.
It was reformatted and moved September 8, 2006

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