Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is. - Oscar Wilde
Animation, Art, and Other Shiny Things
This sweet little film looks past the lust and ardor that is supposed to be love and into a little world of true devotion.
Last April Aunt Bee and I celebrated our 20th anniversary and I hope that when we get to whatever place these two folks are at that there will be this much romance in our lives.
By Ore Peleg
As of today Aunt Bee and I have been married for 20 years. There are not enough electrons in the intertubes to allow me to list all the reasons she is my one and only and, truth be told, several of them are none of your business. Suffice it to say that I feel incredibly lucky that she still chooses to hang out with me even if that calls her sanity into question.
To celebrate I offer a dance – the dance of the Red Crowned Crane.
“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.” – Paul Sweeney
I’ve been a big fan of Curling for a long time. Even living relatively close to the Canadian border, not alot of Curling is shown on TV except during the Winter Olympics, and even then it’s often at odd times of the day or night. Now, I could moan and snark my way through a complaint or three, but the truth is that I’m actually quite fortunate and it’s my own damn fault for not getting my fill of the sport.
I live just over a mile from the only dedicated Curling rink on the west coast.
Granite Curling Club has been around since I was a kid (1961 per their website) and is housed in a rather nondescript building a block off Highway 99 in north Seattle. Bounded by a City Light storage yard and miscellaneous light industrial buildings you’d hardly know it was there were it not for the usually-packed parking lot.
The rink has a tightly packed calendar during Curling season, which runs about October to March, and includes leagues and ‘Bonspiels’ (competitions between curling clubs) as well as private events and open-houses.
Aunt Bee and I have stopped by to watch a few spiels (huddling against a convenient surface; there’s a lot going on and we have yet to venture upstairs) and I keep toying with the idea of attending an open house. I’m not sure either them nor I are ready to put me on the ice, but eventually I’ll probably work up the courage to grab a broom and throw a rock.
The sport of Curling has been around since at least the 16th century, and leave it to the ‘whack-a-tiny-ball-with-a-stick-into-a-hole’ Scots to create a ‘push-a-rock-around-on-a-frozen-pond’ game. Often called “The Roaring Game” for the sound the rock makes passing over the pebbled ice, the name “Curling” comes from the word “Cur” or “to grumble”. (although there is a bit of dispute here with some claiming that the name comes from the ‘curl’; the movement of the rock at the end of a throw. i don’t think so, however, as in early games the rock sizes were highly variable and the thrower had control over little more than the ‘weight’ of the throw. but i digress…)
Two teams, each of four players, take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones, also called “rocks”, across the ice curling sheet towards the house, a circular target marked on the ice. Each team has eight stones. The purpose is to accumulate the highest score for a game; points are scored for the stones resting closest to the centre of the house at the conclusion of each end, which is completed when both teams have thrown all of their stones. A game may consist of ten or eight ends.
The curler can induce a curved path by causing the stone to slowly turn as it slides, and the path of the rock may be further influenced by two sweepers with brooms who accompany it as it slides down the sheet, using the brooms to alter the state of the ice in front of the stone. A great deal of strategy and teamwork goes into choosing the ideal path and placement of a stone for each situation
To learn more about the game that literally rocks the house CurlingBasics.com is a great place to start. It’s heavy with Flash animations showing basic shots and strategies as well as rules and club links. To find ice and rink locations around the US check into Kansas City club’s Locator map. Their website’s worth a browse as well.
And if you can’t get enough Curling, you can always play online!
Be sure to check out my previous post on Curling. It includes a How It’s Made episode on Curling rocks!
aBowman (Adam Bowman) has been putting together little widgets for webpages and such for years. Simple and clean, his slick little gadgets make time wastage an art form.
I check in at the website every once in a while to goose some gadgets and widge some widgets but hadn’t recently. Then I came across a fish widget in the android store – Groovy Fish. (both free and paid versions are available)
So that got me to stop by the site and muck about a bit and bring you, the barely-esteemed reader (I am warming up to you a tad, though), a few of Mr Bowman’s finer creations. (according to me, so take it fwiw. and considering Aunt Bee has stuffed the abode with frogs of every shape and size – a forty-year collection – the Tree Frog had to be first. hence this post’s title. but I digress…)
I’ll post a widget every once in a while, and there are plenty to chose from, or you can pop on over to abowman.com if you have a few extra hours to burn.
Five years ago a young lady decided she wanted another dog. Sensitive to the plight of hundreds of thousands of abandoned and unwanted animals she began her search at the pounds and shelters of our metropolitan area.
And Miz Liz came home with a cat.
An old, cranky biddy, floppy belly from litters of kittens, black with white points and striking green eyes. Jazmine was 8 or 9 years old and had an attitude that gave no quarter to those that didn’t understand that all she surveyed was indeed hers. She didn’t play well with others and demanded to be the only feline within any given domain. Female cats are termed “Queens” and she lived up to the title, if not defined it.
A 9-pound cat with a half-ton personality.
When Miz Liz moved to the Rose City, Jazmine came to live with Aunt Bee and I. Without missing a beat she took over our house and our lives – and we loved every minute of it.
Better than any alarm clock, she insured we got up by 7am daily. Her food dish wasn’t going to fill itself and she needed the use of an opposable thumb and we had the only ones in the house. At 5pm she began stalking the wild Friskies can, also called “The Food Dance” as her steps were fairly ritualized: around the table, between my feet and the chair – be sure to tail whip the legs so I know she’s made a circuit – climb Mt Aunt Bee, and do it all again until one of us silly ‘hoomans’ goes to the food room and makes that “skritch” sound right before food appears in the shiny thing at proper cat height.
An exclusively indoor cat, she still took her role as protector very seriously. A cat shows up on the patio? Jazmine would climb the screen door in our defense. (I haven’t been able to find my hooman-cat dictionary, but I’m pretty sure that old Queen had one heckuva potty mouth on her.)
She ran a tight and secure ship. When the late-show monologues came on she was ready for her handful of dry food and then escorted us to bed – on point. Once in bed, she’d tuck us in, drape across Aunt Bee for a few seconds (to fix her in place, probably) then scoot off to see if The Z was still up. If he was, Jaz would loudly request access to his room from the hallway. She had an uncanny time-sense to wait that 10 to 15 minutes until you’re in that sweet spot on the edge of sleep to come back into our bedroom and complain about being denied access to The Z’s room, or tell us how boring we were when we slept all those good hours away.
Yesterday, to use the parlance of Erin Hunter (all three authors who use the pseudonym), she went to hunt with Starclan. A battle with hyperthyroidism and kidney failure, both common in older cats, had reduced her to a slip of her former self.
The decision to put her to sleep was, and still is, stunningly devastating. What gave us the right to make that decision for her? I should have been able to fix it for her. What should I have done? How could I have failed Miz Liz so miserably by not keeping Jaz healthy? How could I have failed Jazmine so completely?
Aunt Bee is being so much more well adjusted about this than I am, the rock that she is, and reasonably I know she’s right. It was for the best, no matter our pain. But the questions still nag at me and probably always will. It’s just how I’m made and that’s just life. What isn’t in question, though, is the importance she had to our lives and in our family.
Trotting through the house, her belly flopping to and fro. Head butts and cat butts. Schedules and rituals. The little “I’m here” brrr you hear when walking into a room and the “goodnight-sleep tight” brrr’d conversation we’d have as we got ready for bed. Such little things. Such important things. So missed and so treasured.
So, thank you Miz Jaz-cat, for everything. It was a privilege to be your minion. Hunt well.
(Jaz Cat flickr pics can be found here)
Part 5 – The Aftermath
We’ve been using the HTPC now for about a month and I’ve realized that I’m actually watching more television now! The TV isn’t on any more than it was, but I’m paying more attention to the shows that are on because I’ve taken the time to chose them rather than to simply settle on them as I flip by. This has actually opened me up to some interesting and good shows I wouldn’t have ever considered tuning into pre-HTPC. More on that later, though.
I did finally get good control of everything into the single Harmony remote. Part of the issue there stemmed from having to go through the iMon software built into the case. A bit of a bother, but the remote’s programmability helps alot. Getting it down to the single remote affected the WAF (Wife Acceptability Factor) greatly, but for the first few weeks Aunt Bee was much like a cat at a fish pond; there are things in there that I want but if I try to get them my paw gets wet – and what if I fall in? She is getting the hang of it, though.
I can’t quite say I’ve been waiting my whole life for this birthday, nor can I admit to dreading it too awfully – it just kind of happened and here we are.
It’s a wonderfully roundish number, a theoretical mid-point sort of place where the past stretches back farther than the aging eye can quite see and the future remains of uncertain enough length to lend a mushy credence to the title ‘middle-aged’.
I expect to start getting hails and howdys from AARP very soon if not on this very day. They already know who I am – Aunt Bee became a member of proper standing 5 years ago – but now it’s officially my turn. I now qualify for a special rate on my car insurance and may even get discounts from some of my favorite (selected) merchants. Admittedly that does take a bit of the sting out of membership in an Association of Retired Persons about 15 years before I’ll even be able to afford retiring myself.
Elsewise, I’ve been going gray since my early 20’s, always had a fondness for older women, and like to drive Cadillacs, so I pretty much fit in already.
What concerns me more than anything is that I’m transitioning to a new demographic.