Saturday, March 26, 2011
Psychiatrists determined that if you don't have a concept or know of a phenomenon, you are blind to it. An example of that would be learning a new word that you had never heard before, and then typically seeing or hearing the new word several times in the next few weeks. I am constantly surprised by seeing things for the first time when I have been looking at them for years.
This morning, when I took the dogs for a walk, I turned east instead of west, and at the edge of my sidewalk I noticed that Chris's sidewalk was a lot darker than mine, just as mine was darker than Rob's for a couple of years. I hadn't noticed how dirty my sidewalk was until I had a pressure washer, and I never would have bought one if the back fence hadn't grown mole or moss or something and turned black. The chemicals didn't work, and I finally decided to try the washer. Then I could really see the difference.
Then, farther up my street, I came across another clean sidewalk, but the cleaner hadn't been as careful as Rob and I had, and the pressure washer had strayed into the dirty sidewalk in a little bow. I don't know if it was done on purpose, but it really catches your eye. I can't believe that I have been walking past that spot several mornings each week for two or three years, but never noticed it before.
Now I wonder how long it will take Chris to notice that my sidewalk is brighter than his.
Friday, March 25, 2011
We watched a series on Masterpiece Theater recently called "Any Human Heart.” It tracked a man from before WWI to his death at the age of about 85, which seems young to me but was probably pretty good for the way he lived. One theme that kept being repeated through the series was that luck controlled your life – both good luck and bad luck. I personally think that determination plays a larger part than the show gave credit for, but certainly external events do affect us all.
At the end of the show, the thing he had failed to do for most of his life was to publish something “worth-while,” and it was accomplished after his death, because the thing that was published was his journal, which had been written over more than 55 years. Of course, it was written by hand in a blank book, which I think you still can buy in stationary stores such as Office Depot or Staples.
I realized a couple of weeks later that it would probably be questionable whether such a journal would exist today. The technology changes so fast that safely stored things become inaccessible because the technology to read them disappears. I still have a handwritten journal that I kept during our first trip to Mexico, a record of every gem that I cut from February of 84 to the last stone I cut in 94, the records of General Investments (an investment club we started at work) from 1966 to 1971, and others. Unfortunately I also have some floppy disks with information stored as “text files” which contain all the daily entries from the first time I started using a notebook computer and a dot matrix printer. That was a couple of years after we sold the house – maybe 1995. What I found later was that the computers I had couldn’t read the disks. Not only that, I have an external floppy drive that I plug into a USB port to get anything off of or on to a floppy. Computers don’t even have floppy drives any more. Beyond that, the things will eventually get old and the coating will flake off, so in effect nothing is permanent.
Acid free paper and ink, however, last quite a long time, especially in a closed book which keeps air away from the paper.
Of course, if I really wanted the information back I could probably find someone who could translate the code I have into something my computer could read - but it would cost money. I just learned to program computers with ones and zeros, worked up to Fortran, which let me model anything I wanted, and eventually got tired of learning new languages. I can't begin to manage anything modern.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Monday I mowed the lawn and dug out a bucket of weeds, both before and after the mowing. Tuesday I spent three hours with the pressure sprayer and cleaned off five sections of the sidewalk and did a few other things I can't remember. Today I spent two and a half hours cleaning the driveway, from the street to half way to the garage, and also did three sections of sidewalk. Tomorrow, with luck, I will finish the driveway. The whole thing was enlightening in that the part that I thought was clean really needed to be cleaned. As soon as it gets wet it gets a lot darker, and the dirt that comes off doesn't just float away - it turns into black sediment as if you were panning for black gold dust. I'll have to hose the whole area down if a blower won't get rid of it. I have both sand and black dirt on the concrete in some places.
I took a couple of pictures trying to catch the bees at work, but they didn't turn out well. I know there are bees around, but they hardly ever show in the pictures I take - either because I can't see them or because they are all hidden. There were a couple of dozen on the little Meyer Lemon, and hundreds of them swarming on the avocado tree. I also took a couple of pictures of the fence to satisfy anyone who wants to see it. Of course, I didn't take any pictures of the fence in progress, which would have been much more impressive.
The impressive thing to me is the dirty white shoes I now have - they're not just wet, they're dark gray.
This is the lemon three's best picture.
This is the best avocado tree picture. There is a bee in it.
This is one of four of this area of the tree, and the only one I know shows a bee. It's in the upper right corner of the picture.
This is a cropped corner of the picture, so the bee looks bigger.
And this is a picture of the fence (before I cut the weeds).
And this is a before picture of our sidewalk - you can see the difference between ours (the dark one) and Rob's, which he cleaned a year ago. Our house was built in 1986, and the pollution has been accumulating for 25 years. The porch floor is pretty clean, and things get progressively dirtier as you get away from the house.
PS - I just looked at Sunday's blog, and I guess I don't know what I did Monday. It's a lost day at this point.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
The fence does look new, and I dug weeds for a half hour and mowed both the front and back lawns today. The grape trellis took a little more effort, but I'll get used to it. Now that we have a new toy, I realize that Rob (neighbor to the west) cleaned his sidewalk and driveway, so his concrete looks white an mine is all dark. I guess the sidewalk and driveway will be the next chore.
Both hands were stiff and sore when I woke up this morning. It's a lot of years since I worked in a steel mill, and I might be getting older, too.
So far, I have been eating cereal, soup, and fruit today, it's past suppertime, getting dark, and I'm not hungry. The BW was busy planting a bunch of flowers under the bay window, and I think I need to put away the hose. I don't think we will have supper tonight - maybe a snack later.
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