Tuesday, December 28, 2010

End Of The World - Part 2

When I was in college studying photography, we all lusted after Nikon, the professional standard.

When I worked as a professional photographer for a television station, Canons were amateur cameras. I had a Nikon by then. (Admittedly, this was back in the Dark Ages.)

And so it went. I stuck with Nikons and watched Canon gain ground. I know talented photographers who make good use of Canon, but I remained a Nikon bigot.

There I said it. That is just the way it is.

Now, we are preparing to traipse back to Europe to attend kiddo's graduation ceremony and after lugging a D300 all over Amsterdam, I intend to travel light, albeit with extra underwear.

So, I went looking for a different camera, smallish, quicker than a point & shoot, powered by batteries. I wasn't lugging three different recharging stations all over, where ever we end up. I needed room for extra underwear.

Turns out there are two models, Kodak and Canon.

I joked (and I should know better) if I got a Canon, the earth would stop spinning on its axis, all life would cease and Hell would freeze over.

Guess what I got for Christmas?

Took this.

Haven't finished reading the instruction book. For a point and shoot, it's complex.

Hang on to your hats, and remember to pack light.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Round Two

Somehow the idea Gracie needed a little brother took hold.

Now there's someone new at our house.

Yes, we are all sleep deprived, but entertained.

Not in the running for the Naughtiest title yet, but definitely working on Most Stubborn.

Monday, December 13, 2010

String Theory

It's the END OF THE WORLD as we know it.


After eye surgery, I don't have to wear glasses except to read.

Now, since the eyewear is no longer always perched on my nose, I usually have no idea where they are.

After perusing 153 pair of sunglasses to find the most excellent pair, I lost them in two days.

Back to the store, peruse at least 97 more, purchase 2nd most excellent pair and a leash so they won't go astray.


Picked up new reading glasses. Where are they now? Hanging around my neck.

If you want me, I'll be in the rocking chair on the front porch knitting.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Wish I Was There

"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?

And if I am only for myself, then what am I?

And if not now, when?"


Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Winds of November

Greetings Earthlings,

Been a while.

Between French, eye surgery and the blizzard of the century, I've been absent.

Thought I'd splash back with a meme 'cuz I haven't had one in a while.

Party on.

love always,

Your Space Cadet

Unconscious Mutterings.

Emotional :: Been there.

Bite :: absent the obvious -- turkey dinner

Get off my :: cloud. Rock On.

Heroic :: days in everyday life.

Clothing :: never warm enough this time of year.

Home :: is where the heart is, if the fire's hot enough.

Spelling :: shirley u gest.

Attitude :: yeah, I got one.

Argument :: not now, I'm tired.

Satan :: is in the details, or so they tell me.

And now, I'm off to make stuffing one-eyed, which is not the same as one-eyed stuffing and a whole other story entire.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Blogger has a new feature where you can check your blog's stats without using a third party site.

I've always been interested in how Net Surfers arrive at my virtual doorstep.

I can see the US and even UK, since kiddo only recently returned from there. But what in the world is going on in India, Brazil and Bulgaria that they're ending up at Coyote Underground to read about me obsessing over pencils?

Keywords that will dump you here --

I never said ladies "steam room" gym naked. So there. I did say this, though.
Notice Black Velvet Pencils are #3 and 6. Alas.

I am not the only one.

And who knew my mother didn't make up Mountain Cows!

Stats for one week.

India, still.

Russians probably looking for those transvestites.

Saudi Arabia?

Before I break into a chorus of We Are The World, guess I'll go finish my French homework.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Flying In Formation

Traversing to French Class this morning, I noticed Canadian geese flying south for the winter.

How do they know to fly in that V formation?

How do they know that the V gives them less drag and more miles per bird?

How did they figure that out?

Even the instinct -- how did that occur?

Did one of the prehistoric bull geese say one day,


I think if we fly in a V,

we'll go farther,

faster with less drag.

How 'bout it, mes amis?

I just wondered.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Less Obsessed

In the continuing saga of The Search for the Perfect Pencil, the new Blackwings arrived, but they are not new Blackwings. They are new pencils named Blackwing that look like the old Blackwings.

Got that?

A new company bought the name and not the graphite/clay/wax formula. All that said, so what?

The Palomino Blackwings arrive in a lovely box. Nice.

By my completely unscientific, in the wind testing, I think the new Blackwing is smoother than the Palomino, darker than the old Blackwing with a combination of smooth and soft that makes for a nice instrument.
Of course, they're not perfect because they are not ROUND, but still, my new(er)* favorite.

I may stop looking. (I'll probably never stop looking.)*

*Update: Okay, I've used the new Blackwing for a while, and it is smoother than usual, darker than most, it does not replace the old Blackwing.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On The Road

This week I missed most of -- En Français -- Week 4 -- because I was in Billings at a Grant Writing workshop.

And if I got to keep the money I make for the Fire Department with grants, I wouldn't still be whining about how Hollywood doesn't like my scripts.

I lived in Billings for over ten years. I used to know that place like the back of my hand. Now I know it like the back of my head. I couldn't tell where I was until the last day. Recognized the park near the Starbucks that didn't used to be there.

Get that?

Anyway, BIG city. Big, bad city. Saw a drug deal and a guy eating out of the garbage can. I stopped running to the window to watch the ambulance go by after the 27th one.

No big city girl me. Had to use Google maps to get where I was going and back again.

Here to there and there to here. Thank Apple for the iTouch.

Stayed at the motel from Hell. Thank God for my sense of humor.

And from the Only In Montana file, I leave you with this.

I knew they must be good for something.

About That

Monday, September 13, 2010

En Français -- Week 3

Homework this week included filling out, en Français, my schedule.

I went merrily on my way, noting, for example, I only have time for breakfast, two days a week, and that there is a lot of driving in my life.

I carefully marked down time to study French.

This week, I have two entire days committed to a Trauma Symposium.

I had time to grocery shop, and scheduled house cleaning.

In French, "to do housework" is faire de ménage.

What's this, I wondered? Perhaps I'm not having as much fun housecleaning as I might.

So I asked Madame, before class, (I had no intention of exposing my classmates' innocent young minds to my warped sense of humor) how did ménage à trois spring from housework?

Question par excellence she said. Bring that up in class.

Class began. We went over our Emploi du temps. Madame asked different students what they had scheduled different hours on different days.

The girl sitting next to Dearest saved Friday night and all day Saturday to party.

When Samedi rolled around, Madame asked, me, what I did on Saturday.

Faire de ménage.

She asked, did the class know what ménage à trois meant?


In English and en Français.

She went to the board wrote l'homme (man) and la femme (woman) and asked me how many of each.

And I had enough French to stumble through the explanation two of one and one of the other.

During this explanation, the class of 19-year-old Catholic youth were absolutely silent.

Ménage also means couple, so Dearest and I are one and have been for quite a while.

Little did I know.

Current Events

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Top Hose Tourney

Yesterday our Fire Department sponsored Firefighter Games as part of a fundraiser and 9/11 commemoration.

An obstacle course race to Save the Citizen.

And a Shootout.

That's Dearest in the white helmet. He and his partner won the Shootout, retiring undefeated.

And then there was this.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Old School

Speaking of old fashioned, and we were, I recently discovered the pleasure of bottled ink.

I've always had fountain pens, but I used cartridges. Unrestrained ink seemed like a mess waiting to happen.

Got a bottle to try out in a drawing pen and discovered, it wasn't that much of a mess. I followed a link to Noodlers Bottled Ink, color Antietam. I bought one and filled my editing pen. This ink looks like dried blood. While that may be an acquired taste, I think it's swell. A metaphor, don't you know.

Of course, one thing led to another.

Voila! I don't have enough fountain pens for all the lovely inks.

Not much of a mess means I haven't spilled a bottle refilling a pen, but I do usually end up looking like this.

Fortunately, fountain pen ink isn't permanent.

Most of it, anyway.

Besides, no matter how old one is, fountain pens have a style, gel pens can't provide.

Friday, September 03, 2010

En Français -- Week 2

Second week of Elementary French -- after Week One went so well -- this morning, Madame labeled us "elderly" because we knew what a fountain pen was. (le stylo)


This is beginning to get on my nerves.

I'm not quite ready for the rocking chair yet.

I passed the advanced EMS class with a bunch of firemen who, though they may not have cursed in front of me, still wanted to be my partner.

The day the Brown's Gulch fire started, our department had three calls starting with a car wreck at 4 AM. By the time we were released from the fire, some of the team had been up for 24 hours, including me.

Last weekend, I extricated an injured bicyclist off a mountain by myself.

Now, I know this is not my problem, it's hers. Perception, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, but the problem with labels is they tend to limit expectations and possibilities.

You can't control how you're perceived,
only how you're presented.

Yeah, well, I believe you, Tim, but I still feel like crap after class.

Company 4 Breakfast

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gone but not Forgotten

Finally getting around to watching the last season of LOST.

I know, but I don't have television service anymore. I have to wait for the Dvd.

I know, I heard already but still.

About halfway through, and it makes absolutely no sense which, if you go with that, kinda makes it fun.

Stay tuned.

I am.


Sunday we watched the finale. :P

Stupid, lazy ass writing cheat.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tales of the Old Dog

After I passed the EMT-B class, my next project was to learn to speak French. To this end I signed up to audit a Elementary French class at the private college in our nearest town. Yesterday was the first class.

Fifteen, brand-new, bright and shiny Freshman plus Dearest and me.

The professor is a middle-aged French woman, expressive, positive and kind.
Quite a change from the Christian Brothers trained demigod instructor of Irish class, but I digress.
Oh, how Madame coaxed the newly-minted college students to participate. First order of class acknowledge the rules and resources.

Nowdays, everything is computerized. Madame instructed with the aid of Powerpoint. The college hosts an online repository where each class can download assignments, interact with classmates, check grades, and post profiles. When she came to describe this resource, she clucked her tongue, clasped her hands together and said to the babies, “Of course, our non-traditional students will be lost. Can you tell them how to access?”

One coed, front row, started talking. Madame stopped her, pointed at us, “Tell them.”



I suppose non-traditional student is better than slow learner.

Madame then went on to discuss cliches about France that are not true.

Hello ...

Monday, August 09, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

Born to Boogie

I am sure that some are born to write as trees are born to bear leaves:
for these, writing is a necessary mode of their own development.

If the impulse to write survives the hope of success, then one is among these.

If not, then the impulse was at best only pardonable vanity,
and it will certainly disappear when the hope is withdrawn.

C. S. Lewis

Sunday, August 01, 2010

One Dark Night

I don't remember how I stumbled across this blog, but Suebob is hilarious.

Her mouse-that-refused-to-die post reminded me of a story.

A long time ago,

In a land far, far away?


A long time ago, or at least, beyond recent memory. Right here at the old home place, kiddo's cat died.

Don't worry about Fat Pete. He lives and eats on. This was the much beloved Fat Pete's much beloved predecessor.

So, the cat died by car.

(Which explains why Fat Pete doesn't get to go outside, but I digress.)

One night, shortly thereafter, in the middle of the night, I hear stealthy quiet foot steps on the carpet. I turn on the light.

Nothing. Nada. No one.

Lights out.

In a few minutes, I hear those same quiet foot steps on the carpet.

Lights on.


So, I wake up Dearest, who, it is well-known, could sleep through a nuclear device being detonated on our front lawn.

I'm being haunted by a ghost cat, I tell him.

Now, I betcha, of all the things we wake up our spouses in the middle of the night to say, I'm being haunted by a ghost cat, must rate a ten on the Say What scale.

Not to my Honey Bunny.

He says -- there is no such thing as a ghost cat, and if there was such a thing as a ghost cat, you could not hear it walking on carpet.

And he goes back to sleep.

Oh really.

Lights out, but this time I don't try to go back to sleep. I lie there, clutching a flashlight to my chest like famous personage lying in state clutching a lily in cold dead hands.

Shortly comes the stealthy, quiet foot steps on the carpet. Then tap, tap, tap.

I snap on the flashlight, shine it toward the sliding closet door, where I see illuminated, not a ghost cat but a live mouse.

But not just any mouse.


Mouse-Zilla carrying a Milk Bone dog biscuit, and the tapping noise is Mouse-Zilla trying to force the dog biscuit horizontally through a vertical opening of the closet door.

The whole house is awakened by screams.

Dearest sets a mouse trap and goes back to sleep.

Really, I ask you, what is it with men?

Not me, baby. I stay awake wondering, where did the Milk Bone come from? Who was it for? Baby-Zillas or something larger?

Was King Kong bigger than Godzilla? I can't remember.



Wake Dearest up again.

Corpse-Zilla unceremoniously disposed of in the garbage in the garage.

And then.

And then.

The husband goes back to sleep without commenting on the auditory acuity of someone who can hear a mouse walk across carpet.

A fact, which seems to me, should be noted in scholarly articles and record books somewhere.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Cat Wised Up

Person normally in charge of feeding this behemoth is on a trip to acquire a new fire truck.

Team B, person perennially distracted, wondered why she hadn't seen the cat yesterday.

Normally, cat will seek us out to make clear his wish to be fed. We pretend to acquiesce whereupon he runs down the hall to wait by his dish.

It's a long wait.

He returns. Same results.

Hey, it's the only exercise Fat Puff gets.

Eventually, we feed him.

I always wondered why he didn't figure us out sooner, but you know, cat.

Since I killed the Resurrection Rose, I went looking for the cat to make sure I hadn't accidentally starved him to death in one day.

After only fifteen years of pondering the problem, the cat figured out how to tip over the cat food bag and help himself.

Potius sero quam nunquam.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fire Season

Late afternoon, July 16, a fire started in Brown's Gulch.

First on scene, all the volunteer fire departments in the county.

When the feds arrived, they named the fire, the Lakeside Fire which didn't make sense because the fire was nowhere near Lakeside.

You could see it from Lakeside -- close enough for government work.

Sunday night, the area looked like this.

Approximately 800 acres burned.

Death of the last Montana unicorn has not been confirmed.

Emulate the Greats

I Write Like . . . came across this test surfing, you know, when I should have been writing. I copied my first chapter, farked tenses and all into the form and got this.

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Um, oops or yea? Can't decide.

Oh, I liked DaVinci Code but seems like Brown attracts detractors to his writing like flies on ... well, you know.

So, I put in the second chapter, ditto the tenses and got this.

I write like
Isaac Asimov

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

A little better. Perhaps my plot moves with the speed of Dan Brown and the intricacy of Asimov.

Now, this next is verifiable Weird.

I copied in the first eight pages of my latest script, which happens to take place in Ireland and got this.

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

yes I said yes I will yes.

Liked that better, but how weird is that? Ireland for the Irish.

So, then I put in a blog post and got Dan again.

Tried with a blog post in which I cursed and got . . .

I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Right, um, who?

Yeah, yeah, looked it up.

Guy who wrote Fight Club, a novel turned into a movie with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton and one good line.

So, notice no women turned up?

According to an article on this nifty little test, there are only two women in the data base and one of them is Jane Austen.

If the badge came up that said I wrote like Jane Austen, I'd break all my pencils, throw my computer on a bonfire and take up bungie jumping.

I wish I wrote like James Lee Burke.

I just finished his latest, The Glass Rainbow. He evokes setting so well, I found myself stopping to stare out the window to think about the picture in my head.

Or Harper Lee. Who wouldn't want to write like her?

Oh well.

Guess Dan and I will always have Paris.