Category Archives: Today’s Random
I’m not an animist, but watching the sun sparkle on the water at the edges of the shadow of that old cypress, I can see how someone could wonder if there wasn’t some sort of spirit or essence or godling showing itself out of the water, the tree, the sun, or all three.
This isn’t Yellowstone falls or the Badlands or any of the great attractions we get so excited about – – and I’ve seen both I mention, that’s why I picked them – – but it’s beautiful (aside maybe from what the wind did to the mic – – sorry about that). It’s easy to get jaded about the little things and the close to home. We build up the big sights and experiences and events so much it’s easy to conclude that everyday life and experiences must innately be boring, so we should be bored.
But beauty and engagement (the opposite, kinda, of boredom) are close at hand if you can give the jaded big-wow-glutton in us all the word to sit down, shut up, and let the excited kid inside a shot at enjoying the little things. Little things like the sun sparkling off the tiny wavelets of a lake on a breezy day.
…it won’t be next to a tree. And it’ll be in a 30 gallon pot, not a 3 gallon pot.
I planted the thing on a whim because it sprouted in the vegetable basket after I bought it at the store & forgot to eat it for a week or so. When it reached for the tree I decided to look up its growing habits online.
It will probably grow few or no chayote in this little pot. We probably won’t find out until Septemberish when/if it flowers.
That’s how garden adventures go.
Just for the heck of it, here are some pics from my favorite fishing hole. Fishing is relaxing and meditative for me, so I do quite a bit of it because STRESS BILLS WORRY CAR REPAIRS LIFE STUFF WHEN WILL I SELL MORE BOOKS AM I WRITING ENOUGH DOES THE STORY I’M WORKING ON NOW SUCK EEEEEK after writing that I want to go fishing right now.
But seriously, it’s a beautiful little spot. I get lots of little fishing companions even when I don’t bring along my 6 year old son (I’ve told the 4 year old that he may come along when he’s 5 because he’s a tad wild and unfocused still and I don’t want him flailing around with a hook).
Not pictured: there are always dragonflies in warm weather. And mosquitoes, but I bring repellent for them. Usually herons and egrets, sometimes a hawk or a duck or a water snake of mystery variety because I give them plenty of space.
Above, mantises and lizard. And lots of duckweed this year, unlike last year. I suspect the mild winter and very hot summer have something to do with it, and maybe a lot of watering and lawn fertilizing going on at the posh homes on one side of the lake.
This, by the way, is the location and activity that inspired the story Basshole, which appears in my Maladapt mini-collection. In that one, a transhuman living in a robotic body does a lot of fishing for 200 years because he’s all messed up about his ex-wife, leaving his fleshly body behind, and just what it is you do with a life anyway. There’s a lot of inner turmoil for him to sort through, but wouldn’t you be thrown off by your 200-years-ago wife showing up in her old human body, out of the blue? I think I would.
In any event, hope you enjoyed the view. I do.
…to which I replied…
It makes sense to me. If I was working for NASA and secretly invented FTL travel, I’d be sorely tempted to pack up and leave given the events of the last couple of years and the direction things seem to be headed in. Nothing personal.
Children (my 2 youngest, 3 and 5) in the shadow of a gnarled ancient of a gum tree, with an electrical substation lurking behind.
Kind of a metaphor for our world, isn’t it?
As a bonus, the yellow vest is a Batman vest and the brown jacket is a print of Chewbacca’s torso. Geek life FTW.
Here you go. You can thank me after you stop sighing, laughing, eyerolling, puking, or whatever your reaction of choice is. I think I managed all but the last in the space of 3 seconds, which probably isn’t a new world record but has to be close.
I may have sprained an eye, in fact.
I get it. New stuff can be scary. There has been a TON of new stuff in the last couple of centuries. Internets, pocket computers, flying machines, devil carriages that move without horses, lights that mysteriously light up without a hint of whale oil in sight.
If some folks want to hole up in the past, well, that’s sort of their choice. The Amish and a few similar groups manage to do it pretty gracefully and even give their kids at least some degree of choice as to whether they’d like to stay in ignore-the-changes-land or come out and share the benefits and, yes, detriments of modernity.
And then there are people like Mr/Ms “NASA is a Satanic snake tongue”.
It takes a special kind of asshole to employ a computer to create a blog that can be viewed, potentially, by anyone in the world via a global communications net made possible by transatlantic fiberoptic cables and a network of satellites to urge others to reject space exploration as offensive because it doesn’t fit in with their particular (and particularly narrow and ugly) view of a ‘how to live’ manual composed roughly between 6000 and 1500 years ago depending on which bits you read and what you believe about how they came to be. Oh, and assume there’s somehow a giant secret conspiracy to lie about it spanning 70+ years and involving, by now, at least hundreds of thousands of people, becasue we all know how great several hundred thousand people are at keeping a secret over many decades, right?
If you want to see the WTFery for yourself, I’d rather not generate hits for them but here’s a Google Cache link.
I tweeted this, too. Not that it made the scene any more or less relaxing.
When I’m not blogging about the other stuff I write (Look to your right! In the sidebar! Links for the ebooks and paperbacks I write!), I often write about the things that relax me.
Because this dirty old world can be really annoying. The news is full of injustice and war (really large-area injustice, mostly). The internet is bristling with trolls. Outside, some jackass is leaning on his horn for no particular reason as he drives by. The cat horked up a hairball on the porch. Both little ones get sudden urges that, as I write a blog entry, my trackball MUST be knocked off the armrest of my chair. Stuff happens. And I, grumpy old man in a merely middle-aged body, have a hard time letting annoying stuff go.
I NEED my diversions. The tiny little ferny scene above is one of them. My potted trees.
Notice that I didn’t say bonsai. Because they’re not bonsai, not quite. They’re styled similarly. I watch them month after month, year after year; I watch them grow and I trim them back in ways that encourage them to grow into new and more interesting shapes. They’re in flowerpots, not bonsai pots. They’re planted in plain old soil, not the carefully sifted medium you plant a bonsai in. They don’t have to be watered daily. They’re psuedo-bonsoids for slightly lazy people.
Sitting down and just looking at them is one of the things that relaxes me. Look at that picture. There’s a tiny little world of itty-bitty ferns taking shelter in the exposed roots of one of my myrtles. Isn’t that beautiful?
I think it’s beautiful. And beautiful things relax me.
So does blogging about stuff like this. Thus, this entry. I hope you liked it.
Pictured above, a Russian (and nearby regions) fruit drink called kompot I’ve taken a liking to and make on occasion. It’s easy to make and it’s more delicious than anything I can get from the store IMO. It has a velvety mouthfeel, probably from natural pectin. Good stuff, very nice on a hot summer day.
See, it’s not all about writing and science fiction around here. When I titled this thing Seriously Eclectic I meant it.
Anyhow, all you have to do to make this tasty and brilliantly colored drink is put about 3 cups of cut fruit per liter/quart of water in a pot, add roughly 1/4 cup of sugar per quart of water (I measure mine a little scant; the batch I’m drinking above was 1 cup sugar to 5 quarts water), bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about half an hour, then let it cool in the pot and fish out the fruit. Serve cold.
Stone fruits work wonderfully: peaches, cherries, apricots, plums. Apples are nice, too. Berries are fine as well. Avoid citrus, the bitterness and acid aren’t going to play nice here. It’s an Eastern European drink, think fruits you can get there.
I’ve never tried melons, let me know if you do, and if it worked out well or not. I’m sure you could adulterate it with liquor with good results if you want — it being Russian, I’d advise vodka because Russia, duh.
The batch pictured involved red and black plums, cherries, blueberries, peaches, and a couple of pink lady apples. It’s wonderful.
The fruit chunks left over after you strain the kompot into containers is still a bit tart and retain a mild fruity taste. The morning after making the kompot, we had big bowls of oatmeal for breakfast. We heated some of the fruit, made a big divot in the middle of the oatmeal, dropped a teaspoon of honey in the bottom, and then heaped a big pile of the fruit on top. Delicious.
Aside from using the fruit as a topping for hot cereal or ice cream, you can heat it in a pot, add a little of the kompot back in, thicken with potato starch, and you have a refreshing fruit soup called kissel (so I’m told). I’m also told it’s eaten cold or hot; I’ve never tried cold because it’s so damn good hot with a bit of nutmeg and a tiny bit of ground clove.
So that’s today’s food/drink adventure. Back to science fiction or something like it in the next post.
Some of you might have noticed that after publishing my 51st ebook title, Riding the Drone, in February, I haven’t released anything new.
So… has writer’s block struck, you might be wondering?
No, no. Since I started self-publishing at the start of 2012, my stories have gone straight to ebook. But that’s not what’s happening now. 51 is a nice number to pause on, I thought, while I take a run at seeing if any of the pro-rates-paying markets out there are interested in my writing.
Today, I sent out story number 10. Since February, I’ve run up a few rejections, and sent the stories right back out to new markets. My optimistic plan is to issue stories in ebook once the folks who publish them relinquish exclusive rights. We’ll see how it works out.
I have a good feeling about this. Don’t disappoint me, highly competitive pro market. 🙂