Saturday, December 1, 2007


It's been snowing continuously here since midday.

Everything is white.

The next door neighbors came home in middle of heavily falling snow with their christmas tree tied to roof of their car.

Their little girls ran around playing with snow, mom & dad laughing to each other as they unloaded the car.

I stood quietly on our porch & enjoyed without intruding.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My father died this evening

If not tomorrow, then the next day, I will go down to the beach, where the tide goes in and out, day after day.

His mother died two days after Thanksgiving, in 1975, at 89.

His father died in 1948, at age 60.

Dad was 90.

Jo's mom died just over a year ago, her dad a few weeks ago.

So not that long ago, our girls had eight living grandparents and stepgrandparents.

Now it seems like a freight train - but my mom's father died in 1953, her mother in 1973.

That things seem to be all happening at once has to do with their holding off, not things suddenly going terribly wrong.

I don't imagine my mom will stick around all that long now that dad's gone, but she still has some real strengths, so maybe she'll surprise us.

A few minutes after I got the news from my brother, there was one loud crack of thunder.

I stood on the porch for a while and watched the rain.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wooly Sheep

I've been a fan of Little Dee for quite a while, but the recent Shanty sequence (part 1, part 2) moved it to a whole new level.

The shanty is now on YouTube (or click image above) with the artist and his brother singing to musical accompaniment.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I like measuring things. Always have.

Not just length, but also direction, weight, temperature, slope, pitch, blood glucose, body fat, ...

It doesn't take much of an amateur psychologist to make something of that, I suppose.

I was thusly reminded again recently when I was reading
Susanna Moore's The Big Girls, where a primary character compulsively measures her surroundings with a ruler, recording the results in a notebook. I don't do that recording at least, I guess, but close.

It isn't just the process that intrigues me: I am especially pleased with various measuring tools -- especially when there is good "gizmo factor."

A while back I bought an inexpensive small digital scale. Pocket size. Tenth of a gram accuracy. Grams, ounces, pennyweights, troy ounces.

Began weighing all sorts of things.

One of the more interesting things to weigh turned out to be coins, which pretty much provided the final impetus to get me into active coin collecting.

I also started collecting scales, finding a variety of small inexpensive scales that don't take up much space and let me weigh coins and other small things in various manners.

The most classic scale design is the basic balance scale, with two pans hanging from the ends of a beam.

Balance. Again, it probably doesn't take much insight to see the appeal for me there.

I also began a small collection of scale weights.

They are mostly intended to weigh things on balance scales, but do I use them that way? Nah. Mostly I weigh things on the digital scales -- more fun to see what things weigh in various measurement systems by just pushing the button. Also less responsibility - the digital scale just does what it does, while with a balance scale you are responsible for adding and removing different size weights until balance is achieved.

It seems like what I weigh most is the various weights in my weight collection. Multiples and fractions of grams, ounces, grains, scruples, drams, pennyweights, tikals, and more to come, I hope.

I like seeing that the weights weigh more or less what they should weigh. That they fulfill expectations. Most of them aren't real accurate, but apparently for many purposes, they didn't need to be perfect. Ummm, could be some more of that psycho stuff.

And yes, I've finally got some scruples. Who would ever have guessed that you could buy them off the internet?

Monday, October 8, 2007


Sometime in that interim when I was having trouble posting, I got myself into coin collecting.

Occasionally in the past, I had flirted with the incipient interest, but was frightened off by imagined ramifications of my obsessive compulsive tendencies with what I read about how collecting was done, and a lot of the prices I saw.

In the meantime, I've gotten a bit better at steering my obsessions, even if controlling is still too strong a word, and came to understand that most of what one reads about coin collecting is written and published by folks with an economic interest in developing the high-end market. Those folks want you to complete a category, and desire the most pristine condition coins, because that's where their profits are.

I prefer coins that show they have been used - a well-worn old coin might have been in the pocket of someone in in my reading or an old picture. Doesn't seem so likely for rare coins or unworn coins, even for a fictional character.

So I've been having fun with coins mostly out of the boxes of rummage coins that most dealers have for a dime or so each, as well as getting multi-coin lots off the internet, which tends to keep the cost down - sometimes way down if you are willing to risk lots of duplicates.

I've sorted my coins into cheap little folding clear plastic boxes, so I can still handle them, while being able to find specific coins or groups without getting frustrated. But I still want a bulk bunch of coins for simple play -- similar to a button box - so that is where the excess duplicates go.

The autistic side of my coin collecting is that I like to line coins up and put them in order by date or denomination or size or whatever. With both a sorted collection, and a jumble, there will be plenty of available variations on that play.

In my more intellectual moments, I enjoy the linkages of coins to geography and history - both have been longtime interests (together more often than not) that have become harder to indulge, and coins seem to be filling my need for an easy, tactile way to extend that enjoyment.

Good fun.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Salt & Chocolate

Two months & change since I last posted here?

This morning I found myself with a salty mouth from having just eaten a handful of dry roasted peanuts (light salt), and with a yen to chase away the saltiness with chocolate.

"Salt & Chocolate ... what a great title for a blog post," I thought to myself.

So I wandered in here chewing on my Black Forest chocolate & raspberry cookie.

Chris's dog coal died, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, Jo's dad died.

In roughly that many days.

"Titles are misleading."

Too true.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pond & lazy

The pond at Golden Gardens Park is a reliable place to see turtles in warm weather, and today seems to have qualified after several not-so-warm days. The turtles tend to come out in decreasing order of size, and only the two largest were out when I was there. But to make up for their smaller companions, there were two herons as well.

Webster's preferred daytime relaxation pose lately has been like this, one elbow on the window sill, taking a break from bird watching. He especially admires the hummingbird that is a frequent visitor, sometimes down in the flowers, sometimes just above him, perched on the wire. Just behind Webster is the fischertechnik construction that Archie posed with a few days ago.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Kitty alert! For those who don't follow my Blockplay blog, there are two fine pictures of Archie: with blocks, and with fischertechnik.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Backyard foolishness

I had started building a garage from a plan (more on that in Block Play), when Dillon decided I needed help ...

I quickly determined that my participation wasn't necessary ...

So we ended up with "a whole family of houses."

While Itchy watched and Britt ... ummm ...

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Block Play

I posted this image in my Block Play blog today, but I'm not sure the Archie & Webby fans check there for cat pictures.

What? The dinosaur-robot doesn't look much like blocks? Well, I use "building blocks" with some figurative flexibility, and include many non-rectangular things where reusable elements are used to construct. Legos, Lincoln Logs, Erector sets, Parquetry Blocks, and more - and of course, nice, rectangular Building Blocks. Stack play, techno play, pattern play, whatever.

It's my blog, and I make the rules. :)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Monday, May 7, 2007


It was sunny today, and if not as warm as Monday, it was still warm enough that I walked on the beach with no jacket. A long way from Waikiki, in miles and spirit, but mostly I'd rather be here, even if my shirt might have suggested otherwise.

As I have read about Aloha Shirts recently, however, my interest has been piqued in other things Hawaiian -- or maybe it was Hawaiian BBQ that started it all.

Whichever, I have been reading about Hawaiian history and culture, and almost thinking I might like to go there again.

In my online poking about, I ran across an interesting blog entry that has something to do with why one might choose to wear such a shirt.

Mostly though, the last few days had more to do with fischertechnik, with blocks and unblocks.

And no, I have never been to Hawaii, but many years ago, when reading books about Hawaiian railways, I once found myself almost thinking I might like to go there.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Near Escape

Well, Chris & I had nice beach, then loafed around here for a while.

As I stood talking to her at her car as she was leaving, suddenly she started flapping & blurted 'Webster!'

I looked back & Webbie was on the front steps about to depart.

I roared back over to the steps hoping to startle him back onto the porch but he leaped off the north side, under the azalea.

I managed to grab his tail under the railing, but couldn't get more.

Archie was peeking through the front door.

I called to Chris to come help and dragged a yowling Webbie backwards by his tail so I could grab something more substantial.

Chris meanwhile was burrowing under the azalea from the front & I yelped to her that I had Webbie, she needed to stop Archie who had gotten to the steps himself (perhaps mostly out of curiosity about Webbies yowling).

She got Archie back into the house just as I managed to drag Webbie under the railing (not by the tail, I had a good fair grip by then).

Both cats got pets and cuddles and nobody seems terribly angry at anyone, but everybody is rather alert, cats and people.

I expect Chris will not have a problem with drowsiness on her drive home.


I'm sure I pulled the door to as we went out, but I must have not gotten it firmly enough that Webster couldn't work it open again.

Lesson learned by me, I hope, not just Webster.

Sorry there aren't any pictures of the adventure, the above image is Webbie recovering from all the excitement. :)


Chris was all whiney about this at first, but over the course of the afternoon she seems to have become sort of resigned to it, emitting just the occasional mild complaint.

I may be winning her over.

It does have animals. She likes animals.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


This seems almost to be camouflage, but if you click on the image, you'll see that it has palm trees and such. :)

I thought about saving it for tomorrow, since Chris might be able to put up with it, but it is more fun rattling her chain.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


57 Chevies. Several of them. But not 57 of them.

We had a 56 Chevy when I was a teenager. Fine car. Except the radio speaker was mounted facing the front seat passenger. If you had the volume set so the driver could enjoy Rock & Roll, the passenger was blasted. I drove that car on my first dates.

When I was quite a bit younger, we had a 51 Chevy. Again, I'm off a year with the shirt, which has 52 Chevies, but hey ...

I fell out of the 51 Chevy once when the door came open as we went around a corner. I remember being there in the street wondering if my mother was going to drive off and leave me there. She didn't.

Seat belts are a good idea. I was probably young enough that I would be in a child seat by today's standards. Don't let people tell you everything was better in the old days.

It's sunnier today than it was March 30th, and I'm getting better at taking pictures of my shirt.

Maybe I ought to find my tripod, instead of just balancing the camera here and there and making do. Even that is an improvement over holding the camera in my outstretched arm, as I did for the 52 Chevy picture.

I want a shirt with hamsters on it. Platypuses.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

90th & 65th

I said yesterday that I was spiffed up with a haircut and beard trim, but I didn't say why: big event today.

My parents 65th Anniversary was December 27th, but that isn't a very good time for a large party that may spill outdoors, so it works better to combine that with my dad's 90th birthday.

If you do the arithmetic, you'll realize that they were married 20 days after the Pearl Harbor attack. Not a coincidence. Does that make a Hawaiian shirt a tacky choice? I hope not. I don't think I'll wear the one with the battleships sunk at Pearl though. Not the patchwork either. I'm still making up my mind.

Friday, April 27, 2007


This shirt isn't from my shock & awe collection, and it almost got me in trouble. Or maybe it was being all spiffed up with the haircut and beard trim. Whatever the reason, I had a clerk show doubt about my deserving the old guy discount today.

Of course, she couldn't see my T-shirt peeking out of the sleeves. That might have tilted things back.

She gave me a look, and I said, with some resignation, "I am an old guy."

I got the discount.

Fifty-nine cents off.

I could have shown my Medicare card.

Friday, April 20, 2007


A little while ago I posted a nice silk aloha shirt that I chose to wear for today.

But Chris is coming to have lunch & go to the beach, so once she was safely enroute and couldn't be checking my blog, I changed into this Shock & Awe (schlock & awful?) special.

Like most of us Aspies, Chris has some sensory issues ...

[chortle chortle chortle]


No shock & awe today. Instead, a rather nice 100% silk. It's rougher & thicker than most silk shirts I've seen -- what would that be called?

Thursday, April 19, 2007


If you have wondered about the distinction between Aloha Shirt and Hawaiian Shirt, a key part of the answer is Palaka. Before the first brightly colored and patterned Aloha Shirts were ever made, there were Palaka Shirts being worn by plantation workers and other laborers in Hawaii, as unclearly shown in this image linked from an interesting site arguing that Hawaii is not legally a state. The first (partially out of picture), second (dark hat, facing right), and fourth (bending over) workers appear to be wearing the distinctive dark blue and white plaid known as Palaka. The other two may be wearing white or natural shirts, or severely faded Palaka. [Click on the image for the full-size version.]

There were a garbled mish mash of reasons that got me interested in Aloha shirts, none of which should have made me interested in Palaka, but it seemed like wherever I read about the history of Aloha shirts, I would find discussion and pictures of Palaka, and eventually I wanted one of my own.

The heyday of Palaka was the late 1800s through the 1920s, but much more recently they have become a way for people with Hawaiian roots to subtlely distinguish themselves from those wearing Aloha shirts, in a quiet bit of oneupmanship.

I'm not Hawaiian, never been there, probably never will be. But I like the shirts.

Not so Fierce

Back by popular request: Archie McGillicuddy McCat.


I'm fierce!

Ummm ... I would have kept trying for a good picture but the juice was frightened out of the camera batteries. So this is it for today.

I go now library & errands.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Shock & Awe

Okay, maybe "shock & awe" and "nice shirt" aren't at opposite ends of the same scale. I think this one rates highly on both counts.

My attempt at an Evil Grin doesn't seem to look that evil, just dorky -- sorta like Chris's Fierce Look isn't all that fierce.

Oh well. At least my hair's combed.

And for those who are inclined to complain if there isn't an occasional cat picture, here's Webby supervising the recording of a float plane shirt.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Not long ago i started getting some aloha shirts from thrift stores, primarily to confuse and perplex my friends and family. Some of the shirts might qualify as "shock and awe," others (especially the one Eliza gave me for my birthday) are really rather nice, even subdued.

I think this one is maybe midrange on the "nice shirt" to "shock and awe" scale. But don't the aircraft carriers qualify it as somewhat of a weird shirt?

This picture was taken to test camera position and self-timer, and I had initially thought to go for a better shot -- hair dried & combed, evil grin on my face -- if it worked, but hey ...

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Brady Whetstone

I stopped by my parents today, and was shown this picture of the The Brady Whetstone, my grandfather's newspaper in Brady, Montana. I had never seen anything like it before, and borrowed the picture for copying. My grandfather, Joe Whetstone, is surely the gentleman second from the left. (Click on image for larger version.)

A story that I have been told many times, was that when the town applied for a post office, they were told that the existing name duplicated another post office already registered in Montana. So the leading businessmen of the town -- the storekeeper, the newspaper owner, and the saloonkeeper -- flipped coins, and the town was named for the winner, whose name was Brady (or O'Brady?).

If my grandfather had won the toss, the town would have been named Whetstone, and my middle name would surely not be Brady.

I have always taken some pride in being named after a one-eyed saloonkeeper of early Montana.

Interesting Brady links: schools, high school, blurb

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Yesterday Chris & I took a daytrip to revisit Umtanum Creek, in the Yakima Canyon. We had passed a train at Easton, and just as we crossed under the tracks at Umtanum Creek, we heard it coming. Way cool.

Unlike last trip, we didn't see mammals. But we did see lots evidence of beaver activity, quite a few birds, including a nifty broad winged hawk on the cliff side. And the scenery in a completely different season was intriguing, even if the water level in the creek precluded crossing over, and thus curtailed our walk far short of our previous distance.

Chris enjoyed the swaying suspension footbridge over the Yakima River. Umtanum Creek comes down the side valley in the background, and our destination is somewhere back up well beyond what can be seen.

Instead of heading straight home afterward, we continued on downriver the to exit the south end of the canyon (in sunlight!), taking SR 24 east to the northern reaches of the Hanford reservation and across the Columbia at Vernon. From there, we followed the east side of the Columbia -- with a stop for wonderful burritos in Mattawa -- to Vantage, I-90, and home.

Long day, but good fun.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Chairman Meow

Actually Archie is generally quiet and not much for meowing at all.

Here he seems to be waiting for a motion from the floor.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cat1 & Cat2

To pacify those who have been rumbling for more cat pictures: Webster and Archie veg out.

Bean Bag Bonkers

Yesterday Chris & I got maybe a little carried away burying each other in bean bags. There's a "Heavy Blanket" in there too. The result is a lot like a super Heavy Blanket.