Roundabouts

Tree at the courthouse
Tree at the courthouse

I took this picture on Tuesday evening when I went to pick Cindy up after work. As I was waiting in front of her office I noticed the leaves on this tree and decided to get the picture on my smart phone. I didn’t realize until I looked at it later that I should have moved the focus more to the left, but I still like the picture.

***

We have had roundabouts in Lafayette for a few years now, but there are still a number of people who have trouble maneuvering in that traffic flow. A majority of the people around here took to them quite easily when the first couple made their appearance, but some people…well they have problems.

In the past month I have observed some strange behavior by my fellow motorists. Before I relate those instances, however, let me share with you a succinct description of proper roundabout use in the U.S. (where we drive on the proper side of the road). This is copied from a Wisconsin government document. There are also nice diagrams on their website.

Steps for driving a roundabout:
1. Slow down. Obey traffic signs.
2. Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists.
3. Yield to traffic on your left already in the roundabout.
4. Enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in traffic. 
5. Keep your speed low within the roundabout.
6. As you approach your exit, turn on your right turn signal.
7. Yield to pedestrians and bicycles as you exit.

Simple, right? Well, not for everyone. More than once I have come up behind people who are treating the roundabout as if it were a four-way stop. They come to a full stop as they wait for a vehicle to their left whose driver is also at a full stop even though there is no traffic at all in the roundabout. And so the two cars sit, not moving, while traffic backs up behind them. Eventually one of the drivers will screw her courage to the sticking place and inch into the roundabout. That brave person is never the driver in front of me.

One day, a few weeks ago, I came up on just such a scene. The woman ahead of me stopped long enough for the other driver to move into the roundabout, and after a string of cars proceeded to their exits, she pulled out, allowing the cars behind her to proceed. I followed this woman past two exits and then I peeled off onto my exit. The woman, however, continued on. I assumed at that point that she was making a U-turn. When I looked in my rear view mirror, though, I saw her pass that exit and start her second time around the roundabout. I don’t know how many revolutions she made.

This past weekend I came to a roundabout and was happy to see no traffic other than two cars that had entered the roundabout seconds before I arrived there. I went into the roundabout and came up behind the second of those cars. It had come to a full stop. The car ahead of it was sitting broadside on the traffic lane. I wasn’t sure if that car had spun out (hard to believe), or if its driver wanted to turn around and come back the wrong way (perhaps the driver was from England). Anyway, that driver eventually did a Y maneuver and proceeded to the next exit.

Roundabouts can be a treat.

Marlon/Marlin

Marlon, or is it Marlin?
Marlon, or is it Marlin?

I realize that every time I write about Marlon I ask myself if his name is spelled Marlin or Marlon. Logic tells me that it should be Marlon because he was named for Marlon Brando, but I’m not sure that Trina checked how the actor spelled his name when naming our favorite dog. I have probably used both spellings in the life of this blog. If he were our dog, I would know the spelling, but he is part of Trina’s family, and I have never asked her.He answers to either spelling and I guess that is all that really matters.

By the way, I’m submitting this photo, taken yesterday, to Leanne Cole for this week’s Monochrome Madness. This picture is different from most of my submissions. They are usually barns, or nature shots, or dilapidated buildings…or all three. But Marlon spent the weekend with us, and he wasn’t feeling well, so I chose this picture from the many I took of him, and added a sepia cast to the picture. It was one of the few I took where he wasn’t laying down. I have another picture where he actually looks happy, but I plan on using it, in color, for another post.

I hope you had a great weekend. If you live in the states, I hope you enjoy Columbus Day.

What the..?

Spring 1991
Spring 1991

This is another picture that I took with my Minolta 35 mm camera. This time, however, I know that I took it in the yard of our home in the spring of 1991. I have no idea, though, what the flowering bush or tree is.

***

Yesterday I was sitting in the family room with Marlin, Trina’s dog, and had the IU football game on the TV. I’m not really a football fan, so my mind wandered away from the game. My mind turned to a summer scene near the northeast coast of the U.S. It happened in 1977 or 1978. I was standing under a large tree in the yard of a large Victorian home. On the gravel driveway was a light blue 1965 MG. I was standing with another young man, dressed in khaki slacks, white shirt, and a seersucker jacket. There was jazz playing somewhere in the background. At that point I could feel the emotions, the happiness, that I remembered from that warm, sunny day.

It only took me a second or two to realize that it was a false memory. It never happened. I have no idea why that image, in all of its detail, came to me. Looking at it in  my mind today makes me think of a full-page color magazine ad for a car from that period. Except that I’m in it. That is very strange.

I would attempt to analyze it, but I don’t have the skills to do so. In that time period, in real life, I was working in Auburn, IN. I liked my job. My social life had its ups and its downs; maybe there’s a clue in that, but nobody from my real life appeared in the false memory. There was no dog in the memory, so I don’t think Marlin triggered anything. I don’t recall any aural or olfactory trigger. I am at a loss.

Hmmm. Trigger…Roy Rogers…I was listening to The Sons of the Pioneers yesterday morning. Do you think??? Nah, that isn’t it.

If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them. Or, if you know what is in the picture, I would like to hear from you about that as well.

Snippets

Colorado
Colorado

I wish I could remember in what year I took this picture. Cindy could probably tell me. It was back when we both worked for the state, and they had sent her to Colorado for training on Veteran’s benefits. I took vacation and went along. While she was in Denver being trained, I was out driving in the mountains. I took this with my Minolta 35 mm camera, before the digital age. When I look through my old photos I really miss Kodachrome film.

***

I had planned on creating a long, involved rant about our trials with the cable company. Yes, another one. But at this moment everything is working the way it is supposed to, so I have calmed down. If it goes bad again, however, my words may raise blisters on your screen. Today I shall simply say that in the past week I’ve had to call the cable company three times and have had service techs here twice.

 ***

One of favorite bloggers, http://cupitonians.wordpress.com, asked me if I am participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I had to Google NaNoWriMo to figure out what she was asking me. The acronym stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it is a creative writing project/challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days.

I gave up on trying to write novels years ago, but this idea intrigues me. I haven’t decided yet if I will participate. The idea of churning out 50,000 coherent words between November 1st and November 30th seems daunting.  Even more daunting is that I would be writing fiction, not my daily life events like I do in this blog. Still, I was flattered that she thought I was capable of such a feat. And maybe she thinks I make all of this up. I wish that I had that much imagination.

If any of you have participated in past years, I would like to know what you feel about the experience. You can either comment or use the form below.

***

I hope you have a great weekend.

On the way to the library

A different view
A different view

I’ve used a picture of this barn before, but the photo was taken from a different angle. By the way, I took time to count the number of my posts where a picture of a barn appeared. There is a barn in 9% of my posts. If asked, I would have guessed that the number would have been closer to 15%. Sounds like I should be searching for more barns.

***

I had to return some items to the library yesterday. As I was driving there I had to make a right turn to get on the proper street. I followed the car ahead of me into the turn, and we soon came up behind a line of slowly moving cars. Well, that didn’t surprise me because it was late morning and the streets were usually inhabited at that time of day by delivery trucks and pensioners like me. We tend to drive slower than young people unless we have had more than our normal amount of coffee and are searching for the nearest public restroom.

I began to chafe at the delay but could do nothing about it. Then I noticed that all of the cars coming from the other direction had pulled to the side of the street. I immediately started checking my mirrors; looking for an ambulance, or a fire truck, or the city police in a high-speed chase. There was nothing; not a siren or a flashing light in sight. As I passed the cars sitting on the side of the road I saw that they started pulling away from the curb. That’s when I realized that I and the car ahead of me had come up behind a funeral procession. That calmed me down.

Funeral processions get a police escort that lets them pass through intersections against the lights. I saw that the car that I had followed turned on his hazard lights and I wondered what the problem was. Then I saw him follow the procession through a red light as if he, or possible she, was part of the funeral party. What brass!

 

It isn’t all black and white

Abandonded
Abandoned

I don’t know why, but I thought I had used this picture in a previous blog post, but after skipping through the past, I didn’t find it. Since I like it so much, I’m using it today. I took the picture a little over two years ago. I was out looking for something interesting to photograph when I came upon a field full of scrapped farm implements and this truck. When I got home and looked at the pictures on the computer, I decided that this picture would look as good in black and white as it did in color. This is my submission to this week’s Monochrome Madness.

***

 In yesterday’s post I talked about cutting back on my time on WordPress. I’ve given it more thought and have decided to stay away two or three days per week, probably in the Tuesday to or through Thursday period. I will continue to get email alerts from WordPress on those days, but I won’t be reading them until Friday. So if you post something or comment on something that I have written, I won’t be seeing them until the end of the week.

I will read and respond to emails from individuals…unless you are trying to sell me something; whether it be a product or a religious belief. So, I am not making a total break. I’m just trying to give more time to other interests, and yes, to do some things around the house.

If it weren’t for the book title, you might say I’m creating a shade of grey (or gray).

The road less travelled

Autumn is here
Autumn is here

I went out for a drive yesterday after the rain stopped. I drove past the corn field that I have been documenting this year; but there hasn’t been much of a change since my last picture, except that the field is wet from the rain we have been having. So I drove on and found a road that I don’t recall ever being on before. After twisting and turning for quite a spell, I found an area of straight road and decided to take this picture. I like it enough that I set it as my wallpaper on the PC. I only wish I could have taken it when leaves were actually falling.

***

I realized yesterday that I have fallen into the habit of spending a large part of my day visiting the WordPress universe. When I’m not planning a post, writing a post, choosing a picture for a post, or publishing a post, I am reading other people’s posts. Occasionally I’ll even comment on someone’s post, or send an email to someone whom I follow and who follows me. Other things that need to be done are getting short shrift by me. I am starting to wonder if perhaps I need to take a break from WordPress.

It is easier to say/write that, than it is to do it. I have already started a draft for Monday’s post, which will include a picture for Monochrome Madness. I really don’t want to stop submitting a picture each week, so I almost have to keep in touch with WordPress for that reason. Then there is issue of not reading other blogs, because I get so much enjoyment when I read the words of some people. It is like sipping a fine wine, unless you are a beer person and then it is like chugging a brewski.

So let me ask you. If you spend a lot of time on WordPress, or Facebook, or Twitter, or some other social media, would you find it difficult to put them aside in order to do other things?

Perhaps I’ll declare one or two days a week as WordPress free days. Hmm. Which days should they be?

Two histories

Oh it is another barn
Oh it is another barn

I took this picture about a week ago but held off using it because I thought people might be burned out on pictures of barns. I was going to use it at a later date, and had zoomed in on the barn, losing most of the road. early this morning (see below) I started playing around with the original in PaintShop Pro X5. I made it a monochrome image in a variety of colors, I blurred the image, I sharpened the image, I tried a number of artistic effects. Then I took a close look at the original image and decided that I liked it best, especially the light.

***

I woke up this morning at 2:30 a.m. and didn’t get back to sleep until 5 a.m. Then it was up again at seven. Since it is raining today, I’ll probably take a long nap this afternoon. That’s one of the benefits of being retired.

While I was awake, I thought a bit about what my next post would be about. The books that I am reading seemed a good idea. And yes, I said books because I always have at least two books going at once. I am currently reading two forms of history books. You may think, after reading this post, that I use the term “history” rather loosely.

I am reading The Nixon Tapes by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter. They have taken the tape recorded conversations from 1971 and 1972 that President Nixon had ordered. He used government resources to secretly tape record his official conversations for his future private use. He planned on using them as an aid in constructing his memoirs in a way that showed him in the best light. Every politician who writes a memoir tries to show themselves as wonderful. I haven’t gotten too far into the book yet, but so far it has been interesting reading his words about how he talks about various people when they are not in the room, and then how he speaks when they are there. I suppose we are all a bit two-faced in that way. I must admit that I am having a hard time working myself into a high dudgeon over the books contents.I wouldn’t have had such a hard time a decade or so ago. Perhaps it will become easier as I proceed further into the book.

By the way,the book was a birthday gift from Cindy. She knows what I like. She bought the book at our local Barnes & Noble which is great, but I’m sure she could have found it at a cheaper price on the Internet. The Internet is where I found, on sale, the other book that I am reading Buz Sawyer 1: The War In The Pacific by Roy Crane.

The book reprints the Buz Sawyer daily comic strips from its inception in November 1, 1943 through October 5, 1945. It also reprints some of the Sunday strips that don’t follow the daily continuity. Why do I consider a book of comic strip reprints to be history? Well, they aren’t a representation of true events, but they do reflect the wide-spread feelings of the American people concerning stereotypes of the Japanese people, specifically those in the military. There are other stereotypes in the strip that, today, would be considered politically incorrect. It is hard to get past those images and words, but if you can, these are some rip-roaring strips. I need to search for the second volume of strips; on sale, of course.

Classical Gasbag – The Lost Posts 3

A country scene
A country scene

I had to make a decision today as to what photo I should use. It was either this one, or another barn photo. I think you need a break from barns, so I decided to go with this picture. I hope you like it.

***

I feel like posting today, but I don’t have a unifying idea, so I guess I’ll dig into the unfulfilled idea list that I keep on my smart phone.

***

A few weeks ago Cindy was driving in Lafayette and I was the passenger. That isn’t uncommon because she likes to be in control whenever possible. I wanted to look something up on the Internet using my smart phone, but I couldn’t make a connection. So I checked the settings on my phone, and found that there was a WiFi hotspot that I could use. The amazing thing to me was that we were passing a grave yard at the time. Who were the corpses calling? Or what were they Googling? Is there a kernel of an idea for a movie here?

***

I’ve told you a lot about the hallucinations my mom was having a few days ago. I told you that there were auditory hallucinations involving music. That surprised me because I can’t recall her showing any interest in music other than telling us that she didn’t like something to which we were listening. She may well be tone-deaf.

But at one point she told me a line from one of the songs the leader of the little people was singing. Forgive me, but I don’t recall the exact line, but to me it sounded like something from the song Oh, Shenandoah. That is one of my favorite folk songs, and I’ve listened to many versions of the song; however I couldn’t tell you which version this line came from.

At another time she told me that the little people sang, or played on the hospital intercom, a lot of religious music. That makes some sense because she was in a Catholic hospital.

One final thing about my mom. She has called me once a day for the past few days to tell me that she is still doing OK. Of course, she thought she was doing OK when she was hallucinating, so who knows.

***

I’ll stop here for this installment of the Lost Tapes. Glancing through my list I see that some of the ideas I’ve put down are of questionable taste. I want to keep this a family friendly blog.

Something lighter

Harvesting the wind
Harvesting the wind

I took this picture while driving back roads home after visiting mom in the hospital on Saturday. I didn’t want to put up with the traffic on the Interstate. I know that many people are opposed to wind farms, but I think they are amazing. The living crops in this field has already been harvested, leaving only the perpetual wind.

This drive helped me stop worrying about my mom’s health, and wondering why people hallucinate the things that they do. It was warm, so I drove with the windows down. Who needs AC? That meant that I had to crank up the volume on the sound system. I must have been ready for a change of mood because I started singing along with the music after Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries finished playing.

First was a Jerry Jeff Walker CD. I sang along to this song not because it is great social commentary, but because it describes a life I wish I could have lived and the mood I wanted to be in. Jerry Jeff has updated this song any times over the years.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxJoL_f0i_c. I had a hard time deciding whether to use this song or London Homesick Blues or even Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother.I sang them all on Saturday .

By the time I drove into Brookston, I had a Frank Sinatra CD playing, and I was still singing. I was enjoying the music so much that I forgot that the sound volume was so high. So as I sat at Brookston’s stop light I was belting out with Frank http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3MqmV47Lq8. I didn’t look around to see if I was being observed. I hope that I wasn’t.

Finally, just before I got home, I put in the Righteous Brothers, and sang along to this song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMS9niabUpA. I was strictly feel good music from when I was a teenager.

Yes, I have questionable taste in music. I’ve never denied that.But it helped to lighten my spirits.