Wanderings

Anything you dream is fiction,
and anything you accomplish is science,
the whole history of mankind is nothing but science fiction.
- Ray Bradbury
November 13th, 2013

Rudy Rucker, THE BIG AHA

Rudy Rucker, THE BIG AHA
Rudy Rucker just release his latest book as a kickstarter. You can read the whole book for free at the address above. I have the Kindle version. I am looking forward to reading this. Rucker is one co my favorite writers and I haven’t read one of his novels in a while.

.






November 6th, 2013

Where are the flying cars?






October 31st, 2013

First Egg from the Fuzzy Feet

One of our Copper Marans Chickens, Veronica or Betty, I don’t know which, has given us a deep purple-brown egg.

That’s it on the right. On the left as a normal medium sized egg. These are very valuable eggs ($30 a dozen) and are supposed to be the best tasting eggs in the world. (The character James Bond (from the Ian Fleming books) demanded that his omelets were made only with Marans eggs, all other varieties considered to be of lesser quality.) We won’t get enough to sell them separately, so the eggs we sell from the driveway may have a Marans egg from time to time. The Marans are not great layers so we might get 6 a week.

Here is a recent picture of the Marans. They have feathers on their feet and since we can’t tell them apart, we call them the “Fuzzy Feet”.

Eggs James Bond Recipe (Requires Copper Marans Eggs)

For four individualists:
12 fresh eggs
Salt and pepper
5-6 oz. of fresh butter.

Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat thoroughly with a fork and season well. In a small copper (or heavy bottomed saucepan) melt four oz. of the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk.

While the eggs are slightly more moist than you would wish for eating, remove the pan from heat, add rest of butter and continue whisking for half a minute, adding the while finely chopped chives or fines herbes. Serve on hot buttered toast in individual copper dishes (for appearance only) with pink champagne (Taittinger) and low music.






October 21st, 2013

Kenny Barnett

Kenny died last week. He was a sweet guy and will be missed.

Kenny was a few years younger than me or Larry. I remember him as a skinny kid who followed me around as I delivered papers. He has been my friend and my brother’s friend for 50 years. He played pretty good bass guitar and it was always fun to jam with him. He was good at working on cars and fixed my old heaps more than once.

Kenny has been sick and unable to work. He had a stroke, but the he was denied disability. He had an implanted pacemaker in his heart since he was a small child. The doctors told his mother that he would never live to adulthood. He fooled them all, but it was his heart that got him in then end, anyway.

For the last few months he has been homeless and only the kindness of strangers has kept him from having to sleep in the woods.

Kenny had a hard and unhappy life, but he always seemed to have a sense of humor, and even when he was the most depressed, he never had a unkind word to say about anyone.

I miss you, Kenny.






October 21st, 2013

Garden Gate

This is our Garden Gate. The String Beans went crazy.

Some of this is Morning Glory vine. I have to remember to bring my camera out in the morning when they are blooming. They are all gone by the time I get home at night.






October 21st, 2013

October Fungi

Cleaning out the camera…

Here are some very nice pictures of some fungi growing on logs in the back yard.







October 21st, 2013

Working on the new Heat

My old boiler is gone and I ordered a new one which arrived in the driveway last week. It weighs 480 pounds and is more that I could handle. Larry came over and brought a neighborhood kid named Brian to help.

Larry and I guided the unit into the cellar while we let Brian do the hard part. He had what is called “The Irishman’s Lift” which is to say he was below it and had to control the heavy part of the thing while we lowered it down the stairs from the top. It went without a hitch. I gave Brian the contents of my wallet ($5) and they left.

I then had to move the boiler from the bottom of the cellar stairs to the back room. I had to then unpack it and place it on some bricks in the right position and level it. 480 pounds is quite a bit to handle alone, but I got it done.

This weekend I got the water, gas and chimney done. I got 90% of the electrical done and all that is left is to hook it to the thermostats.

I will hook up the downstairs zone tonight, and if I have time, the east bedroom. It should not be too much of a problem.

 






October 3rd, 2013

TSO

Yesterday I logged into TSO for the first time in more than 30 years. It is hard to believe but this was cutting edge tech in the 1970s. TSO stands for Time Sharing Option and it was a way for programmers to work on mainframe programs. This mainframes cost millions of dollars and had as much computing power as my wristwatch does today. We talk about Gigs of memory today but in 1980 I worked on a big machine that had 5 partitions, each with about 64K of memory. The thing had two processors and a total of 512k memory and it served hundreds of people on old fashioned terminals.

tso

In another 30 years we will think that PC’s and Tablets are quaint devices used by a few nostalgic hobbyists who are living a slow and boring past. What will replace them? I am a little frightened to think about it.

My job now is to replace the old green screen COBOL programs with Java. It is not trivial. It gives me a certain nostalgia for these dinosaurs. Things were simpler in those days, if not easier.






September 25th, 2013

Super 88

The 1959 Oldsmobile Super 88 was a great car.

Erica and I were wandering around Dutchess County last Sunday and I stopped to take pictures of this one. It was in rough shape and going cheap, but I want it.






September 25th, 2013

Haverstraw Homestead

Erica and I were coming back from a trip to Apple Country and had to get off the thruway because of traffic. We wound up passing through Haverstraw where her family lived for many years.

Here is the old house built by Erica’s great-grandfather. I used to go here with Erica to visit her great cousin’s Rose and Marie Clark.

It is a fine house, probably the nicest on the block.






September 25th, 2013

Work

I have not been very good at keeping up with posts. It seems that I have been very busy and when I get home, I crash in front of the TV.

I have been working since the beginning of August. I make more money than I did on the last job and my commute is shorter. I am doing some interesting stuff trying to bring big companies out of the Dinosaur era of COBOL and big iron computers into server oriented JAVA code. It is not as easy at it sounds. If you know someone, especially in banking, who is still maintaining COBOL code, this company has the solution.

Here is a picture of my desk. I am out in the open and don’t get to “self actualize” much as everybody who passes by can see my screen.

This is the outside of the building. It is off rte. 119 in the same complex as a TGIF Fridays if anyone wants to buy lunch.






September 2nd, 2013

Fred Pohl 1919-2013

Fred Pohl updated his blog earlier today and then passed away. I have been reading his blog for a few years and have contributed to the discussions there. Fred has commented about things on my web sites twice. I got the feeling that I really knew him and I thought that some day I would meet him.

I like his books. Some are good, some are very good. He was a major influence in Science Fiction. As an Editor he brought a new humanism to Science Fiction. He moved away from the Engineering/Science aspects of Science Fiction towards a more psychological treatment of characters and their problems. What he published was not exactly “soft” SF, but he made it more real and more human.

I will miss his blog. I will miss the man. I have a signed manuscript that of his that I bought on eBay and I will always treasure it.






August 27th, 2013

Heating the house

As you may have read in these pages that we had a very unreliable furnace heating our house. It was a Peerless Pinnacle high efficiency boiler. I chose it because they installed a similar one on “This Old House” and I liked the idea of 96% efficiency. The boiler leaked and failed, and I had to replace sensors and parts all the time. For a while I had to pull mice out of the air intake valve once a week. On the coldest nights it would die at 3AM and I’d have to go down and reset the buggy little computer that ran it. Erica was always cold and I got sick of it.

This summer, after 5 years of chilly winters, I sold the Peerless on Craigslist. The copper pipe was installed by Sears about 30 years ago when I first installed heat in the house, and it was shoddy work that leaked. I ripped out all the copper and put in new copper pipe wherever I could. Last weekend I finally finished all the soldering of new pipe. I put temporary valves in the places where I will hook it up to the furnace, and turned on the water. Not one drip!

I now have to order a new boiler before the weather turns cold. I have about two months to get the furnace installed. Conventional boilers are made of cast iron and weigh about 450 pounds. I am not looking forward to getting this into position in the cellar. I may need a little help from my friends.






July 27th, 2013

cerulean nocturne: Sphingidae speaks

I’m not a poetry guy, but internet friend Shaun Lawton wrote this on his poetry blog. I like it.

Sphingidae speaks

said lycosa to musca
you’re a lovely c.atratus
compared to the nestor mirabilis,
and pedipalpi asked ophidia
whose side the cathartidae were on–
the lanidae, chiroptera, or corvidae?
while the bubo virginianus whispered to canis
the answer was muridae, felis and hominidae

(Death’s-Head moth speaks)

said tarantula to fly
you’re a lovely black swan
compared to the carnivourous parrot,
and scorpions asked snakes
whose side the vultures were on–
the shrike, bats, or crows?
while the great horned owl whispered to wolf
the answer was rats, cats, and man

cerulean nocturne: Sphingidae speaks.