bits and pieces

I’m not sure how long it’s been since I posted a photo of a round rock. This one, in situ along the southern spillway, has a nice color contrast to its surrounding rocks.


I received a piece of junk mail in my snail mailbox last week addressed to Roundrock Journal, which was the name of my old blog (gone now many years). Somehow a program somewhere tied the old blog title to my home address, which is a little chilling and a little not surprising. As I recall, it was for a phone plan or such a thing unrelated to the subject matter of Roundrock Journal. Is it all just random attempts to separate people from their money now? Has it always been?


But speaking of Roundrock, I’m really enjoying listening to podcasts on the two-hour drive to and from my cabin. Why did I not do this years ago? The time seems to pass more quickly. I have noticed, however, that I tend to speed more when I’m plugged in. I suspect it’s due to me not hearing the sound of the truck’s engine or the tires on the road. I suppose I used those to have a sense of my speed or at least when I was going faster than my usual speed. So I need to be mindful of that.


Run right out and get yourself a copy of the December 2, 2021, issue of The Journal of Clinical Oncology. In it you will find an article titled “CD123 Expression Is Associated With High-Risk Disease Characteristics in Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia: A Report From the Children’s Oncology Group.” The primary author is an offspring of mine.


I got my bike back from its annual tune up the other day (after two weeks in the shop) just in time for the cold weather to have arrived with the apparent intent to stay this time. I may head out for some short rides if the weather turns unseasonable, but I think the 5:00 a.m. treks of 26 miles on the trail are over until the spring.

After a tune up, I feel as though I have a totally new bike. Everything works well and the action in the pedals is smooth, something I don’t appreciate until it happens. This tune up included some new cables as well as the ball bearings in the pedal housing (or something like that). I do appreciate the difference, but it’s occurred to me that with one more tune up I will have bought that bike twice. It’s not an expensive, finely tuned bike, so I don’t expect it to be fussy and needing a lot of care. Thus, I don’t see how it can be “wearing out” that it needs so much work so often. I never go off the paved trail, and a hundred miles in a month is a lot for me. How did we ride (and not take good care of) our bikes when we were kids?


I rented an electric-powered pressure washer a few weekends ago to have a go at my driveway and front porch, which are looking a little dirty. I was disappointed. The thing had no force. I might as well have used a Super Soaker. The big-box hardware store also rents gasoline-powered machines (like the one I used on my cabin a couple of years ago), but it’s a two-man job to lift one in and out of my truck bed. I’m on my own at home. (My wife doesn’t do any heavy lifting.) When my son was here for the holiday weekend, I had intended to conscript him for the job, but the timing was never aligned with the will to do it, so it didn’t happen.


My grand plan to read through my old journals has stalled. I’m not sure what I was hoping to find among those pages, but it’s not very thrilling or compelling. I do get occasional glimpses at the person I was in those days (29 years ago currently), but I’ve only found a couple of gems among the dross. Other than that, it’s just pages and pages of droning entries about ideas for articles or stories I was going to write. But I’ll press on.


The leaf blower continues to attempt to find a place in my heart. While it is great at the cabin, where I can blow dry oak leaves across open gravel with dispatch, it has proven less useful around the yard in suburbia. The grass tends to hold the leaves in place, and a directed blow on a single leaf sometimes just pushes it deeper into the grass. I was able to make a quick job of the dry beech leaves in my front yard the other day (though the beech tree let an equal number drop onto the ground after I was done), but it hasn’t proven as effective on the wispy leaves of the cypress in my back yard, and it has not proven effective against the “cones” either (which the dogs are bringing into the house between the pads of their paws). I also feel like a boorish suburbanite with my loud, gasoline-powered blower. Several of my neighbors have electric blowers, which are much quieter (and likely correspondingly less powerful), so I have to be mindful of when I use mine (and whether I should use it since a rake does a more thorough job). First world problems.


I’m re-reading Moby-Dick again. This is my fourth voyage aboard the Pequod, and I expect the ending to be the same, but I’ll let you know. I know people have devoted their careers to this novel, and I certainly appreciate the wonder of it to my humble ability, but I can only read Melville sporadically. I get overwhelmed by the 19th Century narrative voice (and with this novel some of it goes back farther than that) and need a break afterward. Fortunately, a friend sent me an interesting-sounding novel that is waiting on the shelf for me next.

Explore posts in the same categories: Ramblings Off Topic

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