Things I did instead of working around the house yesterday

Full moon through the clouds

I took this picture after our granddaughter Maely’s final 8th grade choir concert. At least I think it was then. It was an eventful concert.

***

I had an unproductive day yesterday. There are things I should have be doing, but put them off, because I’m basically lazy. For instance, rather than collect my dirty clothes and start a load of laundry, I decided to read a chapter in a mystery. It is a very good mystery.

Apologies to my vegan friends for the next two paragraphs. I hope that you don’t find them too distasteful. Perhaps you should just skip over them.

While reading I flashed upon a steak dinner that I used to order in my favorite restaurant in Auburn. I haven’t lived in Auburn in at least thirty-five years,  but I could picture the plate with the steak and baked potato. The dinner had just been served, with the potato still in its foil jacket, steam rising from the plate, and a smaller plate for my trip to the salad bar. I could feel the tenderness of the steak as I cut into it, and the delicious flavor of the meat. All this at 9:30 a.m.

I put on a Pat Metheny Group CD that I borrowed from the library. It was really relaxing. I had the windows open, the ceiling fan on, and my eyes closed. But then I experienced an olfactory hallucination, and could swear I smelled eggs frying in butter. It smelled so real that I could almost hear the sizzling in the pan. It wasn’t yet 11 a.m.

OK. You can start reading again.

The only explanation have have for these incidents is that due to a reaction to a newly prescribed med, I had lost my appetite for the best part of a week. That seems to assume that meal times are the best times of the week. (I should probably think about that.) But now my appetite is returning.

I finally started my laundry and decided that I should cut the grass. It needs it. Badly. But you know, the idea of just sitting in my easy chair and watching an old episode of The Rockford Files just seemed too appealing. Of course after I watched that episode it was time for my afternoon nap. Nobody would want me to miss that! And after my nap, well it was just getting too late to start a major project like cutting the grass. I’ll do that tomorrow. Unless it rains.

My confession: I’ve had to make some changes this post while writing it, because I started writing it yesterday but put off finishing it until today.

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Three questions

Boxcar #3

A third boxcar from a time past.

***

When I look at the stats supplied by WordPress for Classical Gasbag, only one of them piques my curiosity. I always look at the number of views that originate in other countries. I wonder why somebody in Singapore looked at one of my posts. What drew in a viewer in Romania? The occasional view by someone in Russia causes me to wonder if it flags me for investigation by the NSA or FBI. But it always goes back to “Why?” I wish that those people would make a comment, or send me an email explaining what drew their attention. If they did that the NSA could intercept it, and explain it to the FBI. Come on folks; help a guy out.

***

 The other day I downloaded an album by the late Grant Green. If you are not a jazz fan, you probably aren’t aware that Mr. Green was a prolific jazz guitarist. The particular album that I downloaded is good, and worthy of listening to a number of times. Then I realized that there was something strange about the album cover. Evidently the cover designer was not a fan, nor had any basic knowledge about Grant Green. The cover had no photographs, just a simple line drawing of a piano…for a jazz guitarist. And who approved that cover design?

***

Who is Beatrice Corval? I asked myself that question when I was going through a checklist of ideas that I had jotted down some time in the past. The ideas were mainly for possible blog posts. Near the bottom of the list I found the name Beatrice Corval. The list wasn’t exclusively for the blog, so perhaps it was the name of an author that someone had recommended that I read. Or perhaps she was an actor seen on television who impressed me. I decided to Google Ms. Corval. Nothing. Nada. She didn’t seem to exist. And then it occurred to me. I sometimes aspire to be a novelist and need a name for a character. Beatrice doesn’t really exist, so it is a perfect name. Finally! A question I can answer.

More Little Things

Leaves from my neighbor’s tree, our yard

I finally took a picture of autumn leaves. Now I have to get them out of the yard. The leaves on the trees in our yard have barely started to fall.

***

In my last post I commented on a trope found in murder mysteries. Well, I have another to discuss today.

Perhaps you have noticed those mysteries where the hero/heroine surreptitiously enters the home of someone. Often there will be a television or sound system playing. The protagonist, who doesn’t want to be caught, immediately turns off the sound coming from the electronic device. Why? Wouldn’t that notify the occupant that someone had entered their domicile?

We know that nobody will notice the lack of background noise because they are (GASP) dead. Gosh, we never saw that one coming. The only person surprised by this development is the body finder. It makes one wonder about the script writer’s skill.

I would be glad to hear any movie/TV tropes that cause you to sigh and shake your head. Feel free to comment.

***

I attended a concert by the Brubeck Brothers Quartet a few weeks ago, and it was great. If you like jazz, you should see them if they come to a venue near you. Everyone sitting around me had good things to say about the group. But I must admit that while I eavesdropped on their conversations during the intermission and after the concert, I felt that they were saying some of the most inane things I had ever heard.

But while I was driving home I realized how unkind my thoughts had been. I’m sure that if I attended a classical music concert, other people might find my opinions, while positive, vacuous. We all come to music in our own way. For me, I base my musical likes and dislikes on the skill of the artist(s) as well as their choice of repertoire. Others might have different criteria, and that is fine for them.

I’m still working on being a better, more tolerant person. I have a lot of work to do on that project.

Little things

Stock photo from freeImages.com

It’s autumn, and I haven’t taken any pictures yet. I haven’t done much of anything recently. By recently I mean the past few months. Oh, I’ve cut the grass and done a few other odds and ends, but nothing that makes me feel that I’ve accomplished anything. So today I’m trying to complete a post.

Today’s post is about a few mundane things that bother me. The first is a cause of wonderment to me. I call it Picture and Strings.

Picture and Strings

Cindy and i like to watch murder mysteries one TV and DVDs. One thing that I find incomprehensible is the use of walls to post pictures, news clippings, post it notes, etc. concerning the crime, and using string or colored yarn to connect things.

I don’t get it.It just looks like a hodgepodge to me. How does it help anyone?

I would understand if they set up a spreadsheet with the names of people and places on the X axis, and a timeline on the Y axis. That makes sense to me, but pictures and strings? Perhaps a person who responds to visual stimuli would find it helpful, but not me.

Toddlers at the BMV

I went to the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles office a couple of months ago. It was time to renew my driver’s license. I pulled a number and sat down to wait my turn. Behind me sat a young woman who had brought three young children, all between the ages of two and five. They were a rambunctious lot. There was a lot of use of outside voices and scurrying about.

Imagine my surprise when the woman’s number was called and I saw that she was there to take a written test. She left her young charges behind when she went to take the exam. The outside voices turned into squeals and the scurrying turned into outright running.

I was about to stand up and become the hard-nosed authority figure when my number was called. Well, thought I, let someone else be take charge of the situation while I renewed my license. I suppose I shirked my civic duty. I feel bad about that. But I did get my license renewed and was out of there in record time.

I had to write about this

Still a summer favorite

Hawaiian style shirts go in and out of favor, except in Hawaii. I saw on television this morning that they are currently stylish. I’ve had this shirt for fifteen years, and have worn it every summer since I bought it. You might say that I’m fond of it.

***

A couple of days ago Cindy went in to have a cortisone injection into the ball-and-socket joint of her hip. She was very nervous about the procedure because one of her “friends” told her a horror story about her experience with that procedure. Among the things she mentioned were a gigantic needle used in the process, a patch of skin being removed at the injection site, and pain so bad that she wanted to jump off the table.

Cindy asked me to go along so that, if allowed, I could hold her hand for comfort at best, and break her out if the worst came about. I kind of imagined holding her down on a butcher table and stuffing my handkerchief in her mouth if the screams got too loud. But the nurse said that I couldn’t go into the room where the procedure would take place and seated me in a waiting area down the hall where other patients and significant others could wait. She took Cindy off to change into a gown and enter the forbidden chamber.

I had brought a book, 1984 by George Orwell, to read in that eventuality. However I couldn’t help overhearing some of the conversation the others were having. Actually, it was more of a monologue being conducted by a middle-aged fellow who looked to me a lot like Barry McGuire after he grew a mustache and shaved his head. The young among you might want to Google Barry McGuire. The bald fellow’s audience consisted of a youngish woman awaiting a procedure, and her paramour who was wearing a cowboy hat. On the television screen that no one was watching was the non-controversial Weather Channel.

The bald fellow’s story went something like this:

  • 400,000 Muslims have been sent into this country to overthrow the government.
  • a “gas chamber” prison that will hold 40,000 people has been built in Terre Haute, Indiana. The people sent there will never come out.
  • There are another 400 such facilities around the country. I think he likes the number four.
  • He knew this because he worked for National Security! He said that he had been all over the world and knew things the public never hears about.

At that point the woman interjected, “I believe it. They don’t want us to know the truth.”

The guy in the cowboy hat asked, “What did you do in National Security?”

The bald guy said that he couldn’t tell him, because of the security implications. He went on to say that he had been in some scrapes; he had been stabbed in the neck twice.

The flabbergasted cowboy wannabe said, “Twice! What? Where?”

The bald fellow said, “I work with computers.”

Cowboy: “What were you doing with computers that got you stabbed?”

Baldy: “That was because I got drunk in a place where I shouldn’t have been. National Security didn’t give us proper support. We had to walk back 17 miles to our base.” I hope that he got the bleeding stopped before that hike.

Then he said to his audience, “People don’t know what goes on in this country.”

At that point the woman interjected, “I believe it. They don’t want us to know the truth.”

Cowboy: “Yeah!”

Baldy: “People don’t know that there is a nuclear reactor in downtown Las Vegas. It is camouflaged as a casino. You can’t walk into it. When you go in the door (Wait.You can walk into it?) you go down an empty 400 (4 again) foot corridor and that takes you into the real casino that is in another building.” So I’ve been in a number of Las Vegas casinos and have never seen a blank corridor, let alone at the entrance to a building. Just saying.

Upon hearing that the cowboy shook his head at the enormity of that coverup. His lady friend was taken away for her procedure. Also, another woman joined us to wait for her procedure.

The bald guy said that he could tell the cowboy things, but that the cowboy would think him psychotic. He had told a few friends, and they thought he was psychotic. Before he could say anything else he was called for his procedure. The cowboy opened a magazine.

The new patient said, to no one in particular, “Why are all of these TVs here set on the Weather Channel?” She picked up the remote and changed the channel to MSNBC, the liberal answer to Fox News.

Normally I enjoy MSNBS, but I wanted to concentrate on Chapter 5 of 1984. That was not to be. The conversation on TV was about Paul Manafort. The woman said with a chortle, “That man is going to jail! He is going down!” Then she went on a fifteen minute rant about President Trump and Attorney General Sessions.

When the cowboy’s friend returned from her procedure, he jumped to his feet, said “Let’s go,” and nearly sprinted down the hallway. The newer woman continued talking about our President until they came to take her to her procedure. I turned off the TV and returned to my book.

Eventually Cindy returned from the ordeal. She was smiling. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see her and the nurse doing the huckabuck as they came down the hallway. The horror stories were not true.

 

Short updates

New monitor

I haven’t been writing much lately. Oh, I get ideas for topics all of the time, but I just lack the incentive to sit at the keyboard and put my thoughts out there. I haven’t even worked on my (probably never to be released or even completed) novel. I had dedicated February as my personal Na-No-Wri-Mo since I promised Cindy I wouldn’t work on it in November. I was excited about it. But I haven’t progressed much beyond sketching out two non-sequential chapters. I disappoint myself. I fear that I spend too much time thinking, and not enough time doing. Cindy could tell you that I am the living embodiment of procrastination.

I tried to stop being sidetracked by current political events by spending a week avoiding political news and commentary. There was no Morning Joe, no Meet The Press Daily on our television. I turned off the radio when NPR’s Morning Edition ran segments on political issues. I didn’t have to avoid much of the local news coverage of national politics because they severely limit their coverage. I didn’t look at Twitter for a week. I couldn’t totally avoid some aspects because the national evening news would have a story now and then, but since I usually watch NBC, they were spending most of their time talking about the Olympics. Thank goodness for sports!

And I had other things to take my mind off of politics. I treated us to a new desktop PC and monitor (see the picture above). Our old desktop was getting slower and slower, and was still running Windows Vista. It was finally time for a change. You are probably sneering and saying, “Desktop?” and I am unapologetically saying, “Yes! I use a laptop, but I prefer the desktop.” I feel more at ease with the desktop. Always have, always will as long as they are available. Plus, the older I get, the more I like the larger screen.

And speaking of my laptop, I have had to take in for repairs twice in the past two weeks. That is where it is now. Both times I have experienced software problems that don’t allow me to sign in. I have been able to get into Safe Mode each time, but nothing I did solved the problem. After the first time I took it in, the laptop worked fine for three days. But that was it. I fear that this time, rather than try to get it functional without losing data, they will simply restore it to the factory settings. At least I was able to save all my data while in Safe Mode. But I will lose some of the software that I use frequently. I’ll find out when the repair people finish with it. I would cross my fingers, but that would slow down my keyboarding even more.

***

One more update. I started paying more attention to national news on the day of the school shooting in Florida. That shooting and President Trump’s Twitter response, caused me to start thinking about writing a post concerning it. But when I started seeing the student’s statements and Twitter postings, as well as their actions, I knew that I could not say anything to match them. I recommend that you follow what the student’s are doing and saying. The young people can still teach us.

Scheduling woes

Remembering

I took this picture earlier this year, but never posted it anywhere. Since I didn’t have any recent photos, I chose to use this one.

***

We had a problem with our clothes washer last week. The pump on it broke and poured water onto the basement floor. Another flood, no matter how small, was not something we wanted. Besides, we needed to wash our clothes. So Cindy immediately delegated the responsibility to call a repair person to me. Great. She also informed me that our reasonably new washer, purchased at Sears, was still under warranty. That would help.

So I opened up the laptop to look up phone number for the Sears’ repair service. Finding the page, I whipped out my smart phone, punched in the number, and listened to a busy signal. I frowned. No recorded voice told me that my call was important. I hit re-dial and once again heard a busy signal. I repeated this process half a dozen times over a three-hour period. Each time I got the same result. So I let it go for the rest of the day.

When I woke up the next day it occurred to me that perhaps I had erred and fingered in an inaccurate telephone number. I know that it is hard to believe that I could do that, but I decided to go back to the laptop and check. Hmm. I had erred. I entered the correct the number and dialed. Almost immediately I got a recorded message stating that I would be transferred to a customer service person, but while I waited I could listen to an amazing offer. I listened and was then told that if I wanted to take them up on the offer I only had to enter the number 1, or to decline enter #. I declined. Then I was given another offer. Again I declined. After the third offer I dialed 0 because that often takes you to a real person. Instead I got another offer. I just started hitting the # key as soon as another offer began. I gave up after the seventh futile attempt, and hung up.

Then I thought that I would give it another go and see how long it would take to get to a customer service representative. So I dialed again and prepared to start hitting #. After the twelfth # another recording came on and told me that the company I was trying to reach was no longer at that number, but if I wanted to hear more offers I could dial another number to listen to offers there. Sure. That’s what I want.

At that point I finally gave up on the Internet, and called the local Sears store. They answered on the first ring and transferred me to their repair department. I’m pretty sure that the person to whom I next spoke was somewhere on the other side of the world. While I had a hard time understanding everything he said, I was able to schedule an appointment for two days hence. He gave me a window of time in which to expect the repair person; between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Well, that narrowed it down.

I mentioned the warranty on the washer, and was told that he didn’t believe our warranty would cover anything but the electronics in the machine. He then tried to sell me insurance to cover future repairs at around $150 a month. I turned down that amazing offer without dialing #.

The repair person appeared on the scheduled day around half way through our window of opportunity. He put on a new pump in short order. He said he would clean the dryer for an additional amount of money (we accepted). And then he offered to sell us the same insurance that I had turned down two days earlier. Again I declined. Before he left he told me that he was required to call a customer satisfaction representative so that I could tell them that he had offered but that I didn’t want the damned (my term, not his) insurance. After I talked to the Customer Service Rep, the repair guy apologized and left. I liked him.