Monday, August 31, 2015

American Graffitoes

Last Sunday, after a day of hiking with the dee-oh-gee through Letchworth State Park (picture post forthcoming), The Wife and I looked for dinner. We found a little pizzeria in Avon, NY that offers gluten-free pizza and has a small GF bakery too, so we dropped by and got a pizza and some wings. Then, in need of a place to eat, we found a small park on Avon's outskirts. The park is a tiny thing, alongside a waterfall called Papermill Falls. I assume there was a papermill there at one point. Here are the falls:

Papermill Falls, Avon, NY. #waterfall #wny

And this nifty-looking bridge spans the stream right above the falls:

Bridge in Avon, NY. #bridge #wny

But what was most interesting was the picnic table at which we ate. This table was under a small wooden shelter, and it has been painted and repainted quite a few times over the years, and it is also covered with graffiti. In fact, you can see old graffiti underneath the newer stuff, to the point where the old stuff is occasionally unreadable. The whole table is a giant palimpsest of graffiti. It's really quite something. I had to document it, so here is the stuff we saw (that's fit for inclusion in a PG-13 blog like this).

Graffiti at Papermill Falls Park I, Avon, NY. The picnic bench where we ate was a graffiti lover's paradise. #graffiti

Graffiti at Papermill Falls Park II. #graffiti

Graffiti at Papermill Falls Park III. #graffiti

Graffiti at Papermill Falls Park IV. #graffiti

Graffiti at Papermill Falls Park V #graffiti

Graffiti at Papermill Falls Park VI. #graffiti

Graffiti at Papermill Falls Park

I am rapidly becoming a fan of finding good, local joints for food on road-trips, and then getting takeout and eating in a park someplace. It's so much more pleasurable than eating in yet another chain joint that's just like the chain joints we have at home.

And you never know when your impromptu table will come with its own reading material!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Something for Thursday

The Return of the King.

You know, I believe that I am quite ready for another adventure!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy Birthday, Little Quinn!

Wherever you are.

Hippie Quinn

Thank you for your short lifetime of memories...and the memories you made possible by having been here.

A Random Wednesday Conversation Starter

This question is, I suppose, pretty much limited to non-teachers and non-retired people: How do you allocate your vacation time?

What I mean is this: suppose you get, say, three weeks of vacation time a year. Do you take three entire weeks off? Or do you scatter the days off throughout the year by taking a three-day weekend here, a four-day weekend there, and so on?

I do the latter. I will take a full week off if we actually have a trip planned that requires it, but otherwise, I prefer to just take four-day, five-day, or even the occasional six-day weekend. I'll take Friday and Monday off, or Thursday-Friday-Monday, or if I'm feeling extravagant, I'll throw in the Tuesday as well. Now, taking the entire week off means getting nine days off from work in a row, as opposed to the four, five, or six I get doing it my way, but here's the thing: I always find it hard to return to a full work week after taking an entire week off. By the time I get to Thursday morning in that first week back, I'm inhaling fumes. I don't know what it is, but bracketing a bit of time off with a pair of shortened work weeks really appeals to me, so that's the way I almost always use my vacation time. (Plus, this way allows me to get a bit of time off more often. I'm not just scheduling my entire weeks off and being done with it.)

This question also assumes that you're allowed to scatter your vacation time thusly. I did work for one company that required that all vacation time be used in full-week chunks, so you had to do the nine-day-off thing.

What say you, folks?

(Yes, this question arises from my having just been on a four-day vacation weekend. And it was awesome.)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Report from the County Fair 2015

Some random notes from this year's iteration of the Erie County Fair:

:: One regret that was in my control: No ride on the Big Wheel. It was such a gorgeous night...shoulda done that.

:: One regret that was out of my control: Apparently the Fair has done away with the daily parade? I hate this decision. We loved that parade and we hope it comes back. What the hell, Erie County Fair!

:: Another regret out of our AND the Fair's control: Due to avian flu, no birds were on display at all. So no cool-looking chickens from local farms. Bummer!

:: I read people complain about prices on rides (well, duh) and food. The food one catches me by surprise. Granted, it's more expensive depending on how many people you have along, but I think we spent around $50 to $60 on food, all day, for the three of us. If you're spending a lot more than that for a small group, are you eating all the things? Or buying your own drinks? Bring in a cooler with stuff in it! They let you do this! The only drinks we bought were a couple of birch beer refills.

:: There's an outpost of the local Antique Mall at the Fair every year. I don't usually buy stuff there...but this time, I did. Did I ever.

Cool Toy score no. 2: The starship ENTERPRISE herself! #startrek #starshipenterprise

Cool toy score no. 1: Klingon Bird of Prey! #startrek #klingonbirdofprey #scifi #spaceship

Cool toy score no. 3. Is it weird that I hate the ALIEN movies, but find the beastie himself just amazing? #sciencefiction #sf #scifi #alien

Yup: the NCC-1701-A Enterprise, the Klingon Bird-of-Prey, and the Alien from, well, ALIEN. Now, I'm on record for hating the ALIEN franchise from pillar to post -- I've disliked every single one of those movies (in fairness, I never watched the fourth one, figuring that I was deeply unlikely to enjoy it after the crappy first three), but the Alien beastie him/herself? That is one of the iconic creatures of all time. Just a fantastic design. So I bought him.

:: More importantly, I kept The Wife properly adorned. Check out this bracelet!

I bought this bracelet for The Wife. I think it was made for her wrist, actually. #jewelry

:: The model railroad layout included an alien abduction, and Minions. Because Minions are this close to kicking the Frozen crowd off the stage.

In this year's model railroad layout at The Fair: Alien abductions! (And Minions hidden throughout.) #ErieCountyFair #modelrailroad #minions

:: As always, for me the highlight of the Fair is the Creative Arts building, where people show off paintings and quilts and items they've sewn and photography and place settings. I love this stuff so much and I always spend at least an hour looking at the creative efforts of Erie County people. Seriously, this stuff is always good. Here's but a small sampling:

Quilts of the Fair I #ErieCountyFair

Quilts of the fair II #ErieCountyFair

Quilts of the fair III #ErieCountyFair

Decorated guitar #ErieCountyFair

(Sorry about the size differential there...I hadn't got 'round to uploading the lower six photos to Flickr yet, as of this writing.)

:: Most importantly, though? A dream came true this year! Our day at the Fair was cool enough that I was finally, at long last, able to attend whilst rocking overalls. Granted, it was my Carhartt white painters' pair, which is made of lighter fabric and therefore cooler, but still: Overalls at the Fair. One more item off the Bucket List!

Enjoying the Fair. It was just a great day. #eriecountyfair #overalls #carhartt

The Wife and I at the Erie County Fair!

It's the little things, folks! But if there's an event that cries out for overalls more than the Erie County Fair, I've not found it.

See you next year, Fair! (And bring the Daily Parade back!)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

In OTHER exciting news...!

I've posted a brief excerpt from The Wisdomfold Path on the Official Site! Go check it out!


Do it!

Do it NOW!!

Oddities and Other Stuff for a Sunday Morning

Here are some items of possible interest!

:: There apparently exists a Ned Flanders-themed heavy metal band called Okilly-Dokilly. I am not making this up.

:: Saying goodbye to a secret bookstore. I wish there was a secret bookstore like this in Buffalo...but...what if there is, and I just don't know about it....

:: The power of walking a million steps. An article by a man who walked the famed El Camino de Santiago in Spain...but it's also about, well, just walking. I love walking. I don't need running for that nice Zen thing; I get it walking and hiking just fine, thank you very much. Walking is an important part of my life.

:: And just in case you're wondering: At the Hugo Awards, the Sad Puppies got the equivalent of being smacked on the nose with a newspaper for messing on the carpet. Of course, since attention of any sort was their goal, they're declaring victory this morning. But really? Not so much. And of course, since people will be on the lookout for this kind of bullshit in the future and won't be taken by surprise, their wad has been pretty much shot. Oh well.

All for now!

Brief note on comments

Hey everybody! For some reason, Blogger is doing that thing again when it doesn't e-mail me about incoming comments all the time. So, as always, if a comment of yours gets stuck in moderation longer than usual, that's why. Annoying, but that's the lay of the land.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Something for Thursday

There's a new book coming out about Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken", by an author named David Orr. I look forward to reading this book -- the poem is amazing, and deeply complex -- but for now I'm remembering a work I performed while in the choir at the Bristol Hills Music Camp back in the late 1980s. Good times, those were!

Here's "The Road Not Taken", by American composer Randall Wallace.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

So, how's Phil Spiderman doing these days?

One of my routine duties at work is surveying the roof. We have a large building, and the roof can present its own set of issues, plus there is HVAC equipment up there that is generally supposed to be behaving, and if that equipment does not behave, by the time we realize it down inside the building, things have gone awry.

So today I'm walking my rounds up there and I come across this guy:

Spider I. I found this guy whilst surveying the roof at work. Fascinating creatures! #spider #arachnid

Big guy, as the photos suggest. And his web was really big, probably spanning a good thirty inches from upper left to lower right. Dude was doing a job, man.

Spider II. #spider #arachnid

Spider III. I actually like spiders. #spider #arachnid

I took my photos, and then I left him to his business. I didn't even disrupt his web at all. Generally I'm fine with spiders. If one is inside the house, I'll make every effort to gently catch him or her in a paper towel and put the critter outside. I'm sorry to admit, however, that if a spider happens to end up on me in some way, my instincts kick in way before my "Be nice to spiders" moral view does. In short, spiders that drop on me are almost certain to be squished. And then I feel bad.

This fellow, though, got a free pass from me. Spider's gotta eat, right?

Spider IV. I left this guy alone after this. Hey? Why bother him? Spider's gotta eat, yo. #spider #arachnid

Oh, and the title of this post refers to this.

A Random Wednesday Conversation Starter

How messy is your desk?

Mine is probably just past the point where a neat freak would go "GAHHH!!!!" at the sight of it, but I don't think my desk is really messy, either. I think I'm generally in-between. My whole library area could use some tidying, though. Maybe on an upcoming long weekend....

How about you?

Monday, August 17, 2015