I decided to take a brisk walk in Sibley this afternoon. I passed by a man with large binoculars, marking him as a serious birding kind of guy. He caught a glimpse of my pansy-ass binoculars, and despite their diminutative nature, he spotted me as a fellow birder.
His generosity didn’t stop there. He paused to tell me that about fifty yards down, if I looked up at the radio towers, I’d see a Golden Eagle. Now, through my lenses, it was a brown blob, but it was still kind of cool.
About 1/2 hour later, things got *very* cool. I looked up at what I thought was a red-tailed hawk. But the way it was flying was different. It kept folding its wings and doing stunts, like some hopped-up hawk. So I whipped out the binocs to see what was up and there it was — the EAGLE. A minute later it passed by two Turkey Vultures and said something to them before disappearing from view.
Now, what might an EAGLE say to a couple of vultures? Something condescending like, “Yeah, you suck!” — or something friendly like, “Hey, birdies!” ?
I’ve been eyeing the schedule of the ISS for months, and it seemed like it was always passing overhead at 6:00 am or some damn thing. Now, I like to see sparkling spacecraft floating by as much as the next person, but that’s just too damn early. Lately, though, it’s switched to passing at about 8:00 pm. Now, that’s more like it. So, last Saturday night, K & I traipsed out the field at the end of our street at 7:52 to see the event.
I didn’t realize until we’d gotten out to the field that, even though I look at Heavens Above on a regular basis, I hadn’t actually bothered to look at the ISS in some time. Perhaps when I realized that Nasa Hates Me and I’d never actually board the thing that I lost interest in looking at it. But, let’s let bygones be bygones.
Another dissuasion is that looking at the ISS isn’t stargazing. It seems like cheating, kind of like having a bird feeder to birdwatch (Yes, I do that too.). Then there’s another part of me that says, “Aw, you know you want to look at! ‘S fun!”
I remembered my compass but not my binoculars. I falsely recalled the ISS passing at great speed. When you live in an apartment complex with about five square feet of sky visible (okay, it was more than that), you don’t actually see the ISS the whole time it’s in the sky. You see it for about ten seconds. Thinking this would be the case, I didn’t think I’d have time to see it in the binocs.
(I don’t know if that’s an actual slang, but it seems like one).
At exactly 7:50:21, on schedule, the tiny glowing orb start passing in a shallow arc about a quarter of the way up from the western horizon. We, being nerds, felt hella excited. We didn’t take our eyes off of it for the five minutes it took before it went behind the hills — several more minutes than the chart said it would be in view. Score, dude.
K & I both felt that it looked distinctly oblong in shape, and we might be able to see more details if we brought the binocs (heh, heh) next time.
Even thought I can’t be one of them, I felt happy thinking of folks chatting or eating or reading dials or whatever they do on the ISS. Must be hecka thrilling. Then again, standing in our field, which I love so much, and seeing it go by was pretty special too.
Um, but I still want her job. Look at her, exercising in zero gravity. So smug. The caption reads: “Image above: Astronaut Peggy Whitson, Expedition 16 commander, exercises on the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation System (CEVIS) in the Destiny Laboratory. Credit: NASA ” (This photo stolen from NASA. ‘Cause they owe me.)
I wrote here before about the Alexander Technique, and my finally getting a handle on my slouching. All day long I say my Directions, which are phrases to help your body free itself from its tension, muscle cramping, and — yes! — crappy posture. Now, if you haven’t tried the Alexander Technique, it sounds like just so much crackpottery to claim be able to fix bad posture by reciting phrases. I’m a gigantic skeptic, and I still cannot deny that this actually works.
There’s a lot written about the mind-body connection. Google claims 516,000 entries on it, but you know how they exaggerate. When you think of it, the real topic is the mind-body disconnect, which we are all suffering from, more or less. Trying to reconnect your body and your mind is a huge undertaking, especially if you were an uncoordinated nerdy child discouraged from physical activity. (Yes, I’m talking about me). But still, to propose that one can correct one’s body with words sounds ridiculous. Despite my feeling foolish, I continue this practice for one reason: because it gets results.
One day, though, I got this annoying feeling that I was having to think about my posture and/or do something about it EVERY MINUTE. And then, I wanted to know: is it REALLY every minute? So, I got out a counter (oddly enough, we have one, and it’s actual real-live photo is above), and I clicked it every time I corrected my posture in and eight-hour day. I did this for two days. This is science, people!
Lo and behold, I only correct my posture every ten minutes. Phew. But… that’s still a helluva lot of correction. I spoke with my Alexander teacher today and asked, so, am I going to have to say this stuff all day long forever? ‘Cause that sounds hecka dull. And wouldn’t you know it, she said yes. Yes, because our lives are filled with too much stimuli, and stimuli makes us react in habitual ways. Ways like tensing our neck muscles and crouching and in general trying to return to the fetal position. So, constant correction is forever.
Well, sounds dreadfully dull, but dull is better than chronic pain.
K & I decided these folks should be called queer dears. We looked on ol’ Wikipedia and they said there was already a term in existence, fruit flies. I have NEVER heard anyone use this term. But then again, straight folks who prefer to hang out with queers are a very small sub-strata of society.
Right now I’m reading about her proposing seven Ages of Women, which echo Hippocrates’ Ages of Man. Two of the ages are motherhood and grandmotherhood. Now, I ask you, how feminist is it to assume that all women reproduce, and that, for every woman, some of important stages of their life have to do with reproduction? This book was written in 1993, not an era when women were defined solely by their being mothers. So far, I find a lot of the book insightful if not brilliant, but this assumption that all women are breeders is a HUGE OVERSIGHT. It’s irksome, to say the least.
Hey, Ms. Greer, I got an Age of Women for you: Sluthood. Lots of women proudly go through this age and enjoy it immensely.
I have been writing much lately because I’ve been going through some… stuff. Family members disowning me and whatnot. In order to deal with this, K and I created a video that recounts some of the finer moments. Although the original version of this video is not suitable for public viewing, here’s a modified version which we also find amusing.
One moment please…
(film may take 15 seconds to load, then click play when you see the black screen)
[qt:/video/relatives-react-public.mov 320 230]
Nuff said. We now return to our regular program.
…but I guess it could be worse. I mean, a lot of my friends don’t even have Moms anymore.
Rather than write about her latest re-realization that I am a rotten, ungrateful child, I give you this footage and the dialog from a scene from one of my favorite films, Polyester. Yes, it could be worse.
Francine Fishpaw: [visiting La Rue in the hospital] Hello, Mother. Feeling any better today?
La Rue: How can I feel better with a drunken miser as a daughter?
Francine Fishpaw: Shut up, Mother! For forty-four years, I’ve tried to be a good daughter to you and all I’ve gotten in return is abuse. I’ve given you money – thousands and thousands of dollars – and still it’s not enough! Well, I’ve had it! You can rot in that wheelchair for all I care!
[storms out of the room]
La Rue: [faking a heart attack] The pain, the pain! My heart! She’s giving me a heart attack! Oh God, help! Help!
POPCORN. That 767-2676. The number for the time. At least, until last September. I suppose this is no news flash for most of you, but I guess we hadn’t called for the time in quite a while. K tried to do so this morning and got some crazy recording saying this service has been discontinued.
Now, I am definitely behind the curve on this one. Bloggers wrote about it back in September. And they said a lot more about it than I’m going to do here. But, I will agree with the blogger Tech-Ex (linked above) who said:
This is just another example of AT&T telling the public, ‘We want your money but we don’t really care about you.’ “
Not only that, but it goes hand-in-hand with payphone removal as corporate stupidity and short-sitedness. When (not IF) we have a major calamity, and high-end technology goes belly-up, we are going to be even more screwed than we imagine because there will be no safeguards or back-up plans in place. This is in a post-9/11 world, too, which shows even moreso how we live in a fascist, greed-driven country.
So, I’ve got an old-fashioned land line at home, and I’m not telling you where I live. Not to be selfish, but to admonish you that you should get one, too. Available for a few bucks at most Goodwill stores.
But hey, the good news is that I found a fun nerdy site while prowling around for phone time information — Phone Phun. Unfortunately, it’s not 100% accurate. This site informs us:
You can still call (303) 499-7111 to get the time from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s atomic clock.
It turns out that number just has a message of what radio frequency to tune into for the time — apparently in Colorado. Regardless, it has hella listings of cool phone numbers. Dial at your own risk.
Finally, (did you really read all that?), here’s a time number that works, courtesy of the U.S. Navy, in Mountain Time: 719-567-6742.
But, why does Colorado have the corner on the time number market?