Camera Girl Angers the Lightning God

Many years ago, when Camera Girl was just a simple housewife.  This was before she became a jet-setting companion to a high-powered photographic dynamo; me.  One day while I was at work, I got a call from home.  She informed me that the fire department had to be called because our electric stove had malfunctioned and burst into flames.  The highly professional volunteer firemen had heroically dragged the stove out of the house and it was lying on the driveway like some stricken beast brought low by forces beyond the control of nature.  And she further informed me that the meat loaf was still in it and unless I wanted to try carbonized beef we would need to eat out.  Now, I know for a fact that she’s always disliked electric stoves and ovens.  She claims that only gas stoves provide the kind of temperature control she needs to cook food correctly.  I’m not saying she sabotaged that stove but it is true she was glad to get a new one.  Even if it was also an electric model.

Well yesterday lightning struck again.  At about 4 pm I heard a loud crackle of electricity like something out of the Frankenstein laboratory scene coming from the kitchen followed by Camera girl screaming something incoherently.  I ran into the kitchen to find smoke pouring from the oven.  I shut the power to the oven and turned on the vent fan above the stove.  Then I took the smoke alarm off the wall and put it where it wouldn’t go off.

Sure, enough for the third time in her career as chief cook and bottlewasher in “Chez photog” the heating element in one of her ovens failed.  This time I was there so the fire department wasn’t needed.  I could see the element was cracked and the sound I’d heard was power arcing over the gap.  After gently coaxing Camera Girl off the ceiling fan, I comforted her in her terror and convinced her that all would be well once we got our local appliance store to send a serviceman to install a new element.

But when I called them, it wasn’t as simple as that.  After providing them with the stove’s model number they informed me that they would have to order this critical part.  And when I asked them when they would be able to send someone to install it the pleasant young fellow on the line said, “In three or four weeks.”   I dared not tell Camera Girl that her stove would be out of service for a month so I asked the guy how difficult would it be for me to install it myself.  He thought it would be quite simple and foolproof.  So tomorrow morning I’ll go and pay fifty bucks for this replacement part and spend some part of the day installing it.

Obviously, this is a double-edged sword.  On the up side, I get to save a hundred fifty bucks in service call charges and appear to be a competent and self-sufficient alpha male.  On the down side if I louse up the installation Camera Girl will mock me mercilessly.

Well, there’s nothing to be done about it.  I must rise to the challenge.  I was thinking of watching some episodes of the Honeymooners tonight to see if I can get any pointers from Ralph Kramden’s technique handling Alice’s bouts of sarcasm.  What’s the worst that could happen?  Where did I put that fire extinguisher?

 

01MAY2022 – OCF Update – May Day Comrades!

May Day!  That glorious day when Soviet leaders would parade fake ICBM’s down the main street of Moscow to impress the world with their ability to make fake ICBM’s.  And the music.  Just inspirational.

Today is the second beautiful day in a row and I’ll be heading out with Camera Girl to photograph Spring!   You know, renewal, rebirth, everything blooming, all that crap.  She will be my driver and native bearer.  A sort of combination of Frank Buck’s right hand man Ali and a Sherpa guide.  Her job is to watch the road and if I shout to be let out on the road, she must try and find a spot where it won’t cause a major crash.  Then she returns to pick me up after a few minutes without law enforcement intervening.  It’s a delicate dance.

Yesterday I finally attacked the poison ivy.  So far I seem to have escaped without dissolving into a puddle of festering sores and bubbling flesh.  But there’s still time.

Today Camera Girl alerted me to a war going on in the field.  For the last three years running a pair of barn swallows have taken up residence in one of the blue bird houses I put up.  And for the third year running a blue bird shows up after they’ve set up house keeping and tries to dispute their ownership.  He’s like the Occupy Wall Street of birds.  And every year they kick his butt and send him packing.  These blue birds are pathetic losers and I am ashamed that I installed these houses for them.  No wonder they’re endangered.  I’m renaming the houses barn swallow houses.  I’ll leave the government and Section 8 housing for those shiftless blue birds.

 

Here’s one of their earlier attempts to steal back the house last year.

So anyway today will be Camera Girl and I at play in the fields of the Lord.  But I’m sure to be back later to complain about something else.  Enjoy the day.

 

14APR2022 – OCF Update-Camera Girl Finally Frees the Slaves

Winter, Sony A7 III, Voigtlander 10mm f\5.6 lens, 22APR2021 – Photo of the Day

Today was a day of toil.  About a week ago Camera Girl was  in her garden, supposedly turning the soil with a pitchfork.  I say supposedly because after ten or fifteen minutes of effort the pitchfork was still stuck in the ground and the ground was having the best of the argument.

Finally she gave up and complained bitterly of her fate.  Being the gentlemanly parfait knight that I am, I mocked her.  I said, “Sure women are always saying how they can do anything a man can but apparently that doesn’t apply to pitchforks.”  She sot me a look that seemed to imply something about the quality of that night’s dinner.  So I displayed magnanimity.  I said, “You poor weak creature, I will turn the soil for you, only not today.

Well, apparently “not today” was today.  So I went out to the west field and starting singing road gang spirituals.  And to be honest, between the matted weed roots and the stupid liner that someone put in the soil was incredibly tough and heavy to turn.  But three hours of working like a hired field hand got it done.  About half way through it occurred to me that I could have rented a rototiller.  But by the end I was so satisfied with myself that it was worth it.  I showed up afterward in the kitchen drenched in sweat and covered with dirt but extremely pleased with myself.

I preened in front of Camera Girl and lectured on the difference between man’s work and woman’s work.  I mentioned that I left some clean up of weeds and liner next to the garden.  And that she should get that squared away as soon as possible.  She mumbled something under her breath but I pretended not to hear her.  Then I headed up for a well deserved shower.

Remarkably shortly after i finished working the skies opened up and it poured to beat the band.  Probably some of the seedling I put in this week may be washed away.  But some of them will make it and I ‘ve got more for next week too.  As long as we don’t have a repeat of last spring when it rained for forty days and forty nights, things will be fine in the garden.

This year we intend to grow a lot of butternut squash because Camera girl makes a great chicken soup with it.  And we’ll grow lots of zucchini and eggplant.  This year we’ll put in some thorn-less raspberries and I might move my blueberry bushes to make it easier to protect them from the birds.  Most years they get more than I do.  And I have to remember to put out the egg cases that the praying mantis laid over the winter.   I sure don’t want them hatching in the house.

So it was a work day but I’ll be sure to find something to be outraged about in the news when I check it out.  Enjoy your Thursday night.

Geometry and the War Between the Sexes

On Mondays Camera Girl is in charge of Princess Sack of Potatoes.  Which makes me her errand boy for anything that needs doing.  So today she wanted me to get the memory card from the game camera so she could show her protégé what kind of animals had eaten the food she stole from me.  Now, sure, the scraps she gives the wild beasts living in the forest are probably not premium protein anymore.  Bits of chicken fat and skin and whatever doesn’t end up on the menu for me probably shouldn’t arouse my sense of outrage.  But in these days of skyrocketing food prices, I’m acutely aware of threats to my survival.

But I digress.  I brought the memory card in and popped it in the card reader slot on my laptop and reviewed the numerous files.  But what we discovered was that Camera Girl had miscalculated the line of sight of the camera.  She threw her largesse too close to the camera’s location and thus the viewpoint was mostly above the location of the food.  Therefore, mostly what we saw were the animals before and after they were feeding and typically at the edge of the photo and moving away from the camera.

I respectfully brought this situation to Camera Girl’s attention.  But she said she did what I told her to do.  I carefully and calmly reminded her that I showed her the line where the camera would see the action but assumed she wouldn’t put the food right below the camera because it was elevated from the ground.  She told me what she thought about my assumption using a popular breakdown of the spelling of ass-u-me.

I thought this distinctly unfair.  But what I decided was to provide her with a clear target.  I said, “Do you see the pole banged into the ground?”  She said yes.  I continued, “Do you see the rainwater drain that ends near the pole?”  Again, she said yes.  I finished, “The line segment formed by the pole on one end and the end of the drain pipe as the other endpoint is the acceptable area to put the food.  Do you follow me?”  She said no.  I slowly and calmly said, “Huh?”  She said, “That’s not clear.  How will I know if it’s on that line?”

I remained calm.  I could see I was dealing with a non-Euclidean geometer and she was trying to involve me in a topological debate.  Therefore, I changed tack.  “Imagine the two points I said were the endpoints.  Instead think of them as two opposite points on the circumference of a circle.  In your mind envision a circle with those two points on the circumference.  Anyplace inside that circle will be an acceptable target for your animal slop.”  She shook her head and walked away.

So why did I write about this?  Well, I think it represents a microcosm of the male/female dichotomy.  Men use logical simplifications to model the world.  We like reasoning our way through problems.  Women want simple concrete rules to follow.  They don’t want to discuss theory.  At least that is the way women used to be.  Nowadays I’m not sure what they are.  Maybe they’ve become like men.

But even if they’ve adopted some of the practices of men I doubt if they’ve changed their nature.  There is a difference in the way the brains of men and women work.  We go about things in different ways.  And from my point of view, I think there is an advantage to this dichotomy.  These two ways of looking at things provide checks on each other.  Too much theory can lead to error based on differences between the map and the territory.  But at the same time without the imaginative leap and the simplification that modelling can provide many problems would never be solved.

I started to expound on this dichotomy to Camera Girl.  She told me the garbage pails needed to go out on the road today and walked away.  And so it goes.

17MAR2022 – Camera Girl’s Birthday

Today is St. Patrick’s Day and Camera Girl’s birthday.  Usually we celebrate with corned beef and cabbage and I bring out my bag pipes and kilt and parade through the grounds of the Compound at 6am, noon and 6pm.  Well maybe I ,made that last part up.

Camera Girl hates when anyone mentions her birthday, so I make a fuss about it just to annoy her.  It’s one of the joys of marriage, irritating your spouse.

Back in the old days New York City had a very important St. Patrick Day’s parade that involved tens of thousands of Irish policemen and firemen dressed in kilts and playing bagpipes.  On WPIX, Channel 11 they would have a televised broadcast of the parade usually hosted by “Captain” Jack McCarthy.  Captain Jack was the television host of the kids television shows that played Popeye the Sailor Man cartoons.  I think at one time he used to host the Three Stooges show but that got handed off to the other Irish tv host Officer Joe Bolton who wore a police officer’s uniform and twirled a billy club.

Irish culture in New York City back in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s was extremely stereotyped apparently.

One time Officer Joe Bolton showed up at the parish carnival to sign autographs and he dragged along Moe Howard of Stooges fame.  Moe looked awful.  Apparently the Stooge lifestyle was running down at that point.  I didn’t try to get Moe’s autograph.  But I listened to Officer Joe playing a medley of songs on his banjo.

So all that being said, I wonder if St. Patrick’s Day still means anything to the Irish in America.  Sure, it’s been turned into an excuse to get drunk like Cinco de Mayo and Super Bowl Sunday but do Irish Americans still celebrate it?  I wonder.

Well anyway, it’s Camera Girl’s birthday and that’s a big deal in this house.  We’ll have our traditional dinner and I’ll put on the Quiet Man as a tribute to Irish American cultural history.  That’ll have to do.

11MAR2022 – OCF Update – It’s a Blooming Miracle?

Today Camera Girl excitedly announced that one of her bulbs had bloomed in front of the house.  She said it was yellow and I couldn’t miss it.  But it was so small that I passed it three times before I finally saw it.

I tried to be as upbeat as I could be but I don’t know. I’m going to have to buy a magnifying glass and install it on top of this flower along with some signage.

It’s pretty enough.  But it’s not exactly eye-catching.  Well, it was covered by snow yesterday so maybe it’ll increase in size later on.  But I doubt it.  From now on I’ll have her read the descritions on the flowers she buys and specifically avoid ones described as microscopic.

On a different note we got our tax papers finished today and the accountant showed that we’ll get something less than three thousand dollars back from Uncle Sam and the rest of the thieves.  I intend to plow the money directly into some get rich quick scheme that involves a time machine and oil futures.  Right now the details are still coming into focus.  Or we might get the snow-blower fixed for next year.  Right now it could go either way.

Renewing Camera Girl’s Contract

I have often commented to Camera Girl that since people nowadays live enormously longer on average than people in the pre-modern era that the institution of marriage with its whole “’til death do us part” clause is behind the times and needs to be updated with more nuanced language.  However, I never say this when she’s holding a sharp knife.  She’s excitable.

But it’s fair to say that a fifty-year reevaluation event seems warranted.  We’ve got another five years before that milestone but I felt it was a good idea to start some preliminary exercises to determine if an emergency early intervention would be needed.

Today I went on an inspection to see how she was doing.  This morning when I came down for breakfast, I carefully examined the meal for signs of insufficiency or insincerity.  The scrambled eggs and pumpernickel bagel seemed up to snuff.  Check.  The breakfast conversation was satisfactory.  Check.  But the after-breakfast banter seemed to die away.  I was sitting in the living room working diligently on very important web site related work.  But there was none of the expected wifely encouraging, congratulatory pep talk that somehow, I think should have been there.  Maybe just a random “Let’s go photog!” thrown in every few minutes.  That seems reasonable.  Within a half hour my rage built up to the point where I actually got up and went into the kitchen to investigate this outrage.

Well, she probably heard me coming because she managed to throw up a smoke screen of cooking food.  As evidence she had a red sauce with meatballs on the stove and a pan of sausages in the oven and an Italian cheese cake under construction on the counter.  Well, okay.  Check, check, check.  She seemed to be busy.  Seemed!

I went back to the living room thinking furiously on what I had seen.  Well, the kids and grandkids were coming tomorrow for dinner.  I guess maybe cooking was a prerequisite for the meal.  Maybe it would be a little unreasonable for her to do all the cooking after I went to bed so as not to interfere with the very important wifely responsibilities of cheering on the king in his daily battles.  Could it be possible she was in the right?  Was it possible I was being selfish?  Me?  “I’m the Bad Guy?  How did that happen?”

Faced with this confusing thought, I retreated to first principles.  What would Ralph Kramden do?  Ah, that’s better.  Obviously, this pretend-hard-working act was a plot to undermine my sense of self-righteousness.  As such it qualified as disloyalty, the ultimate wifely sin.  Hah!  I knew it.  I’m the good guy.  I win again!

Well, once that had been worked out to my full satisfaction, I felt better and could afford to be magnanimous.  I went into the kitchen and patted her on the arm and praised her for the wonderful work she was doing.  This seemed to confuse her a little but she kept working and almost seemed to ignore my presence.  Well, sure.  Not everyone has my ability to multi-task.  I smiled tolerantly and made a silent benediction over her efforts.  A wise man once wrote that, “uneasy is the head that wears a crown.”  And so true it is.  I’m constantly employed providing guidance and useful advice on any number of things around here.  My inexhaustible supply of knowledge is always improving her efforts.  Noblesse oblige as the say.

I guess the outcome is I’ll let things lay for the next five years.  Sure, she tries to undermine my authority but she’s a hard-working member of the team and I like to reward effort.  Plus she’s related to my children and family is family.  Well done Camera Girl, well done.

Playing With Three-Year-Old’s Is Not Child’s Play

Men of my generation generally have very little practical experience raising children.  Being born in the Silurian Epoch meant that back then wives were stay at home moms who raised their children and only complained if the paychecks stopped appearing on time.  Sure, on weekends and at night we would meet up with the next generation and attempt to play with them to some extent but we always had their moms there to mediate any difficult situations.  And at night the toddlers were already winding down toward sleep and on the weekends, we could bring them outside where our longer legs meant that just by virtue of walking, we could burn off their excess energy.

But here I am forty years later and generation two of Camera Girl’s great science experiment is winding down and I find myself at the mercy of Princess Sack of Potatoes and her edict that she must be amused.  Currently this involves me portraying an Angry Polar Bear (racist stereotyping some might say) by growling feebly and chasing her in a circle between the kitchen, dining room, foyer, hallway and back again.  Now this doesn’t sound particularly strenuous.  And so, I believed for the first five minutes.  But she has stamina.  I can get a one-minute reprieve every five minutes or so.  But she can keep this up for half an hour.  And even at the end of this ordeal I felt I had acquitted myself admirably and survived the experience unscathed.  But after lunch I suddenly found myself lapsing into unconsciousness.  Even the addition of caffeine seemed powerless to restore my flagging energy.

In my defense I have to assure you that I make an effort to remain active.  I will spend thirty minutes a day on the rowing machine and also work out on a lat-machine and do some calisthenics.  And even right after these exertions I feel fine, even invigorated.  I was forced to admit something unthinkable, raising little kids is harder than real work.  I even admitted this to Camera Girl.  I could see the look of scorn in her eyes.  She had probably been waiting most of her life for this moment.

But after a little reflection I’ve gained a new insight on this phenomenon.  God and nature had shaped men and women to fulfill their differing destinies.  Men were made heroically strong and courageous to fight off saber-tooth tigers and repo men while women were given the patience and stamina it requires to cook the saber-tooth tigers and repo men we provide and also to run in circles after three-year-old’s for hours at a time.  This newfound insight calmed me and restored my sense of balance in this topsy turvy world we live in.  I quickly explained this new theory to Camera Girl and how this meant that my fatigue was just the universe’s way of saying that I should save up my titanic strength for the next zombie apocalypse or asteroid strike that was sure to be coming around the bend anytime.  It’s funny, that look still seemed to be in her eye.  Probably my imagination.

So, I have initiated a new game with Princess Sack of Potatoes.  Instead of chasing her in circles I pretend to be sleeping on the floor.  And if she gets too close, I grab her by the shin, pull her down, growl at her and tickle her mercilessly for twenty seconds and then release her to run away.  I find I can keep up this game for any number of cycles without the least effort.  These women are so inefficient.

The Six Dollar Box of Oatmeal

Yesterday, Camera Girl returned from the grocery store and she was highly agitated.  I know that lately she has been finding her grocery shopping frustrating because of the price inflation.  But I could tell that she was much more annoyed than lately.  She explained to me that she went to buy oatmeal and there was none to be had.  So, she went to another store, I think it was Walmart, and they had oatmeal.  But instead of being $3 a box it was $6 a box.  Now that caught my attention.  I’ve been seeing inflation numbers quoted as six percent, ten percent or maybe fifteen percent.  But this data point is a 100% increase!  How the hell is that possible?  Well, when there is no oatmeal on the shelf you can charge whatever you want.

My next question was, “What happens when oatmeal goes from $3 a box to $6 a box in a week?  Well, I know what happened when inflation reached 18% in 1980.  Jimmy Carter got a new job in 1981, unemployed.  So does this mean that the Democrats are going to get drubbed in 2022 and Biden will get bounced in 2024?  Well, the first result looks pretty certain.  The second is much less clear.  Three years is an eternity when discussing the future.  For all we know Joe Biden will go with some kind of price-fixing scheme to insulate Americans from the damage he’s done to the economy.  Nixon tried that back in the 1970’s when OPEC hit us with the oil embargo.  But Nixon got a pass because he could blame the Arabs.  So, is there a change in the world that allows runaway inflation to happen without political consequences?  Maybe.

Everybody has been talking about the new reality where elections don’t require the electorate to vote.  Maybe that’s the theory for what’s happening.  The government tells companies to fire their employees because they don’t have proof of vaccination.  The government destroys the ability of industry to provide enough of the essentials for life and the poorest, or rather the poor that aren’t advantaged by protected status will have to do without when supply and demand puts essentials beyond their means to purchase.  The government does whatever it likes to hurt its enemies and help its friends.  It doesn’t sound like anything that could happen in America but it does sound like the Soviet Union.  Starving their own people was a specialty of the communists in Russia. The manufactured famine in the Ukraine is the classic example.  Maybe the communists running our government think they are ready to start using soviet tactics to destroy their enemies.

I don’t know.  It’s a strange time we find ourselves in.  All of this is happening because of COVID and because of the war against petroleum.  The desire to turn us into serfs is visible all around us.  Are we really so helpless that we’ll just let it happen?  I tend to think not.  Even idiotic white women in the suburbs must notice that their lives are becoming steadily worse.  At some point I assume they will decide that being against Donald Trump doesn’t justify allowing Joe Biden to impoverish their family and deprive them of the means of living a first world existence.

Anyway, that’s what I hope will happen.  In the meantime, I better go enjoy my bowl of doubly expensive oatmeal.  I won’t even bother to ask for sliced bananas in it.  My heart isn’t strong enough to hear what they must cost.

02SEP2021 – Small Critter Photos

I’m saving the mantis photos for my series finale of the mantis project.  But here are the rest of the critters Camera Girl found for me today.

Monarch caterpillars

Grasshopper

Spotted Salamander

 

Four Toed Salamander

 

Kudos to Camera Girl for her excellent wildlife spotting skills.  No reward mind you, but virtue is its own reward.