December 16, 2008

Pre-dawn rumbler

We were shaken awake this morning by an earthquake. My body reacted very strongly, I flew out of bed and up the stairs to see the kids. I had been deep asleep and when the 'fight or flight' response wore off I broke out in a cold sweat, took the porcelain bus out for a spin and almost fainted. Things are pretty much back to normal now. I hadn't screwed the side panel back onto the PC after installing a DVD burner, and it fell off, but that's the only effect we've seen. It was unexpected and at 4.7 not that large of a quake, Sweden is not an earthquake zone. The whole thing was deja vu all over again. We were living in Pasadena when the 1994 Northridge earthquake hit, also a couple of hours before dawn.

December 09, 2008

Hat Trick

Last night I scored the cyclist's hat trick: fix three flats in the same day. It was good too because I had to fold up the laundry and move it out of the workroom before I could start in on the bikes. My wife's tire had a thorn, my son a shard of glass and my bike a sharp peice of metal.

Our five year old has the chicken pox so I am at home taking care of him today. He is covered in red spots from top to toe but so far full of vim and not itchy.

December 06, 2008

Mountain Men

There were several years when I thought the greatest thing you could be was a mountain man. This was mostly inspired by our Scout leaders who were real mountain men in their spare time. 'Tiny' was the largest of these men. He walked me through the process of making mocassins -- where to measure the foot and how make a pattern, how to hide the stitches so you don't walk on them. As everybody knows the best mountain man thread is waxed dental floss. He shared leather, deerskin for the tops and buffalo soles. Us Scouts made leather pouches, the mountain man's 'possibles bag', because it held the things that made life possible that you'd need even if you lose track of your birchbark canoe and Duluth packs while shooting rapids: Flint, steel and char cloth for starting a fire, needle and thread to sew yourself back up and mosquito repellent, maybe some water purification pills or a snakebite kit. Our ideal was that everything should be 'old timey'. Our leaders made tipi poles and we'd tie them to the top of Tiny's microbus and go camping, like characters out of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Tiny was a blacksmith. He made a set of throwing tomahawks and we got to practice throwing them in his backyard. The trick is to judge the spin correctly for the distance. After some practice we were able to throw a double loop and drive the blade into the face of an oak log out back of Tiny's house.

December 03, 2008

Anthropomorphic rant

Thanks to Papa Twister for inspiring this.

First we stabbed the pumpkin with our long knives and then we cut a hole in the top of its head and disembowled it. We cut the flesh into cubes which were boiled, mashed and frozen. We proudly displayed the corpse on our front step with a flame inside.

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