Summer Critters 2023


This summer has been a particularly bad time to get out and take photos around the grounds and in general around Dunwich. It basically rains all the time. And I mostly don’t care to walk around in the rain.  Oh, I’ll do it from time to time just to escape from imprisonment but I’m not one of those people who enjoys “soft weather,” nope.

But we have had a few sightings of the local vertebrate fauna.

Starting with the lower rungs we’ve had the usual frogs and salamanders

And a few snakes

And more than our fair share of turtles

Including an attack on the main dwelling by this evil creature

With respect to birds I got this shot in a week or two ago in the puddle of a Great Blue Heron

And of course Camera Girl’s flock of turkeys show up for the casual photos around the bird feeder area.

As for mammals this year has been sort of barren of the unusual

We’ve had some rabbits breeding in the fields

And a fox or two.

But yesterday something new surfaced.

I was walking in the yard and as I passed the front shore of the puddle I saw vigorous rippling motion in the water and then a long thin outline breaking the water repeatedly.  The impression was of a weasel shaped creature but of a decently large size.  My impression was it was too large to be a mink.  And it was very aquatic in its motions, very graceful.  It was surfacing and diving in a continuous circle.  Every once in a while I could see the yellow color of a fish being dragged up to the surface.

I think it’s a river otter.  I tried to take some photos but they were pretty bad.  I only had a 90mm lens and it was relatively far away from the shore I was on.

I told Camera Girl to be careful about letting Little Evil Dog (LED) chase after anything near the water.  Weasels in general are incredibly fierce and LED is far from a great warrior.  I’d hate to see him become lunch for a large aquatic weasel.  It would be embarrassing for all involved.

Now I understand otters are tremendously able hunters of fish and the puddle is none too large.  I could imagine this creature emptying it of fish in a matter of a few days.  This would probably doom the giant snapper that also resides in the puddle.  A regular disaster for the ecosystem.  Ah, whatever.  We’re Darwinists here in Dunwich.  Survival of the fittest is our motto.  So bring it on otter and I await the outcome.  Let God and the Devil sort out their crews.

20AUG2023 – The Last Gasp of Summer 2023

Camera Girl and I journey today to the southernmost border of New England where the smoldering ashes of what was once Gotham City color the horizon with a somber palette.  But we will be celebrating family and life and all that stuff.  This week will be Camera Girl’s greatest challenge.  She will be besieged by teeming hordes of berserk descendants desperately trying to fend off thoughts of the impending school year.

It will take all her powers to occupy these desperate young’uns and divert their attention from the impending horror.  Of course it will really help if somehow we can avoid torrential rains for the week.  That will provide us with so many more options for activities than being stuck in the house with the boob tube and my feeble wits.

But once the week is complete, it really will be fall.  And it’s been a very strange summer.  So much rain and so little sun has destroyed the vegetable garden.  Other than some tomatoes and what looks to be a decent crop of eggplants it has been a disaster.  I think we’ve gotten one zucchini and so far no butternut squash.  And while we’ve gotten a few red razzberries from the plants I put in last year and the plants have increased and spread, I can hardly say they have been a success yet.

And as far as the blueberries, whereas I managed to get a few handfuls of berries last year, this year the birds perfected their technique of picking the fruit precisely before I myself judged them ripe enough to eat.  And it was a bumper crop.  I guess if I’m really serious about eating any of this fruit I’ll have to start using netting over the plants.  Who am I kidding?  I’m too lazy to do that.

And likewise, the rain put a serious dent into the flowers in the yard.  The butterfly bush died back to the ground because of the lack of snow cover during the coldest part of the winter.  It sprouted from the roots eventually but was a mere shadow of its size and bloomed very late.  And many other plants were late and stunted.  The only pleasant surprise was the Inula helenium (elecampane)  that I put in last year.  The stalks were seven feet tall and there were plenty of bright yellow flowers.

Also there were very few butterflies this year.  Probably the sparse snow cover again.  Well, complaining won’t do any good so best to just move on.  I’ll just chalk it up to experience and hope that this year we get more snow.  Wait, more snow?  What am I saying?  Oh well.

So fall in Dunwich is a busy time for me.  We’ll be pretending to re-elect First Selectman Cthulhu which is always a painful process involving the loss of several bureaucrats in his entourage when he becomes aggravated and therefore hungry.  My part in the process is also, let us say, delicate.  I’m required by tradition and statute to second the motion for his unanimous re-election by acclaim.  If I hesitate by more than a split second after the original motion is exclaimed my fate will be sealed.  Therefore I have perfected the “echo method.”  As the motion is being spoken I echo the words coming out of his mouth almost simultaneously.  It sort of sounds like that scene in the movie “Pride of the Yankees” where Gary Cooper is saying, “But today … today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”  And so I can keep each word going just that little time extra needed to detect the last word and begin my sentence without any noticeable pause.  Actually quite ingenious.  It’s quite remarkable what fear can do for your IQ.

Well, it’s time to get going.  The sun is shining and nothing has burned down or exploded in the news yet so I can wish everyone a nice day with at least the hope that it’s possible.  Adios amigos.



Bigus Macus

It was down in the mid-sixties with low humidity this morning in Hampton Roads. It will be hotter tomorrow, but I’m ready for Autumn to start. I’m getting the fireplace cleaned and inspected this week and I need to cover the firewood for the start of the season.


Meanwhile, down here in the Florida Panhandle, fall hasn’t yet appeared on the distant horizon as we’re looking at a white hot week: in the 100’s with saturating humidity. It has been like this for a month, there is a big and stable high pressure system camped out in the middle of the country.

What we need is a tropical storm to come through and bust this weather stasis up. A similar pattern seems common in late summer and will just stay until pushed out by a big system.

Unlike California, tropical storms are common enough down here as to not overly upset us.

A few years ago, I decided to see what it would be like to ride my road bike (bicycle) in a tropical storm (wind only at that time). At one place where there’s about a 100’+ 5% grade hill to climb, the wind was pushing me up the hill at over 20 mph.


03JUL2023 – A Plea for Leniency

This holiday “weekend” has been chaotic and fragmented by forces personal and institutional.  Saturday and Sunday were large family gatherings during which no usable amount of website work was possible.  And that is as it should be.  But just to make sure I was completely ineffective I’ve been wasting my time trying to figure out why the new Google Analytics (GA4) data was so awful.  I could see the “Realtime” pageviews but the reports that approximate the old ones were blank.  Well after hours and hours of horsing around on-line trying to tweak them into compliance with my needs, I find out the real problem is they’re time delayed.  The results can be hidden for up to eight hours.  How useless is that?  Oh well.  Now I have a completely new reason for hating Google.  They’re probably trying to save money.  The cheap bastards!

Well, France is burning.  This must be their Summer of George moment.  It sounds like their police haven’t taken a knee yet.  Who knows?  Maybe they’ll bite the bullet and fight the war they’ve created for themselves within their own country.  Or maybe not.  It’s an interesting moment.  Macron is a useless weasel.  In point of fact, he probably gives useless weasels a bad name and they’d like to disown him in order to get out from under the cloud of revulsion that he generates around him.  I wonder if this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and throws France into the arms of the Right Wing.  After all, it’s a long summer left and things may get much, much uglier before it’s over.

It looks like Elon Musk is serious about turning Twitter into a legitimate town square.  Crippling the Big Brother bots that scrape the site for instances of bad think is very encouraging.  If instead of 900,000,000 tweets being scraped a day it’s 8,000 well, that’s a reduction of about 99.999%.  Not bad!  Seriously, he’s got a tiger by the tail and they’ll surely make his life hell but at least he’s putting up a fight.  For the first time Twitter is somewhat fun.  I even see some of the “bad thinkers” rattling around in there.  It’s down-right egalitarian.

On the local front, Dunwich has been inundated with a Noachian flood that is even frightening the fish in the local swamp.  I was trying to imagine how I would get pairs of the various species, male and female into the trunk of my car but I kept worrying about the poor transgender salamanders that might be discriminated against in the mini-port-i-sans that I would create out of household items found in Camera Girl’s recycle bin.  I was thinking that the dairy creamer bottle would be best.  I was trying to figure out what would be the internationally recognizable symbols for male salamanders and female salamanders to adorn the bathrooms.  Possibly accentuated eyelashes for the girls?  It’s so complicated.  But regardless we are very waterlogged at this point.  The vegetable garden hasn’t given up the ghost yet but the zucchini does appear slightly bilious.

Recently Camera Girl has placed a sign in the kitchen that declares, “IT IS WHAT IT IS.”  Apparently one of her sisters believes that this is one of her favorite expressions.  Now, for years Camera Girl has claimed that she invented “JUST DO IT” well before Nike trademarked that saying.  Well, I’m a little dubious of her claims and those of her nuclear family.  But looking at that sign every time I range into the kitchen I am becoming more of a fan.  I am surrounded by faits accomplis everywhere I look.  Let’s face it, almost every enterprise and government jurisdiction is a racket or a grift.  Being outraged is a waste of time and just keeping track of them is a full-time job.  Saying, “it is what it is,” is another way of resetting the situation and moving onto something more profitable.

So, most of the time I don’t bother looking for the articles decrying some outrage.  Instead, I look for one pointing to something practical like joining a boycott or finding an alternative platform for something or supporting someone who leans our way.  But I most enjoy punishing my enemies.  I’ll do far more to see Mitt Romney primaried than supporting some moderate who “will get the independent vote.”  But coming to terms with how bad things really are is liberating and it’s healthy.  Lately I feel a lot less down.  So, “it is what it is.”

I’ve got some work on both Tuesday and Thursday and an out of state trip on Saturday so there will continue to be a slightly lower throughput.  But next week is the new regime.  And I promise to do better.  So, hang in there.

Dagon’s Spawn Goes for a Stroll

Dunwich is the home of more than just Cthulhu himself.  In addition to the First Selectman several of his fellow Great Old Ones inhabit the borders of the township.  For instance, several of Dagon’s descendants inhabit the various lakes, ponds and swamps that overgenerously hydrate the area.  As I’ve often mentioned I am adjacent to one of these swamps and from time to time one of its inhabitants sojourns through or near the grounds.

Today I was in the west field collecting the scattered remains of some cattle that a shoggoth must have devoured there when I heard the sound of tree trunks creaking and cracking under the strain of some horribly massive object forcing its way against them.  As I watched I could see some enormous white pines toppling over far off in the distance.  I cautiously made my way to the location where the trees had fallen and I saw a terrifying sight.  One of the Deep Ones, possibly Dagon’s oldest child was just finishing off the shoggoth as a small meal.  It was of course eating it alive and its victim was changing form and letting out the most horrifying sounds ever heard by a human ear.  Well, except for that time Kamala Harris laughed at one of Biden’s jokes.  That was worse.

When the Deep One was finished with its meal, it belched thunderously and the air was filled with a sulfurous fume that nearly finished me off before the wind changed direction.  Then it hauled its titanic bulk out of the mud and battered a path back into the deeper end of the swamp where it disappeared below the surface with a sickening sucking sound.

Later when the sun had set the foot prints began to glow with a sickly yellow phosphorescence and any creature, insect or amphibian that touched those glowing patches jumped away in pain and rapidly died.  And I happened to witness later that night when an enormous gas bubble broke the surface of the swamp and a yellow glowing fume drifted up.  All the leaves above the pond immediately shriveled up and fell into the water.  I guess the shoggoth was a little greasy even for one of Dagon’s kin.  I wonder if they make Alka seltzer in Great Old One size.

Luckily (or unfortunately) I had my camera with me during the event and I had the presence of mind to capture the great creature returning through the haunted wood.

I intend to send this photographic evidence to the Department of Cryptozoological Studies at Miskatonic University where I studied under the eminent dagonologist Clyde Crashcupp.  With his decades of study and razor-sharp brain he’s sure to earn at least a Nobel prize with this evidence.  I may have to lend him a tux.  He’s kind of a hermit and wears a rope to hold his pants up.

Well, I’d better get back to my chores.  There’s a family of ghouls in the neighborhood and I need to get the fences fixed before they wander by.

10MAY2023 – OCF Update – Just a Note After a Long Day

Long, long day.  Much too tired to write anything coherent.  And an early morning on top of that.  But I always like to have something up on the site.  I was surrounded by the folks of Dunwich in all their various manifestations.  It was literally the good, the bad and the ugly.  But it was fun and energizing.  Mothers with young children, families, very old folks and everything in between.  And lots of working men too.  All of it full of local color and mostly good humor.  There were a few discordant notes.  Some confused or angry faces.  Folks lashing out or clueless about what is going on around them.  But they’re part of the mosaic.  They’re an aspect of the story.  They represent what the fragmentation of our local society leads to.

I also saw something that explains why the Democrats control New England.  It’s because the Republicans are leaderless.  They don’t organize or even communicate effectively what’s going on or what their goals are.  They’re too busy with their own lives to build anything.  They don’t have the bandwidth to compete with an entrenched Democrat organization.  So, they lose ground steadily.  Leaving is the smart thing to do for the young.  There are more opportunities to improve your own life and the community in a red state.

But all in all, it was an interesting day.  Later on, today I’ll catch up on the news and try to write something substantial.  But as discouraging and frustrating as most of the events going on around me are, I still see that getting involved is the correct strategy.

Well, gotta get some rest.

13APR2023 – OCF Update – Out and About

I had to leave the outskirts of Dunwich today early and only got back in the early afternoon.  Things were going well when I got a call from Camera Girl stating that her old Toyota Corolla refused to bring her home and she needed a lift home and AAA to send a tow truck (or as the locals call it a “wrecker”).

Well, what can you do?  When it rains it pours and so instead of getting down to writing I had to get Camera Girl home and supervise the overhauling of her stalled chariot.  So here it is after 4pm and I haven’t got a sentence of creative writing to call my own.  Just this sad story about a sad story.

But there was a bit of human interest even in this prosaic event.  When the tow truck showed up the driver was a little laconic for Camera Girl’s liking.  Apparently, she belongs to the “customer’s always right” school of automotive services.  And during our ride home she railed against the young fellow and demanded that he shouldn’t get a tip.

I reminded her that today it was 83 degrees out there and a tow truck guy by the end of the day is pretty tired and on a hot day probably a little irritable.  And not everyone is super chatty and chirpy at their work.  And sure enough, after the fellow performed all his work and delivered the car expertly and without incident, I handed him the tip and he thanked me profusely and shook my hand vigorously.  And he said getting a tip was a big deal for him.  What do these women know of the real world that men live in?  Nothing!

So even though the day is consumed and I have no output of any kind, save for this slender reed of a story.  I am unperturbed.  My morning’s expedition was a rousing success.  The outcome of this mission was the best possible one and now Camera Girl and I will celebrate with forbidden foods.  Pasta and sausage and meatballs and garlic bread will be consumed and afterward there will be Italian cheesecake and ice cream.  So, there will be great rejoicing at the Compound and the peasants will rejoice.  Huzzah!

Later on, I will catch up on my photos and quotes and songs for the day and read some of the news of the day.  Apparently artificial intelligence is on everybody’s mind right now.  Honestly, I’m hoping that at some point natural intelligence will resurface on this planet.  We’re being led to Armageddon by morons.  It’s morons leading morons as far as the eye can see.  Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsome and on and on and on.

At what point will any of these people be held accountable for the horrendous train wreck they’ve made of this country?  Does this go on until we’re starving and freezing in the streets?

The only solace I can take is that for a huge number of people all of this is common knowledge.  None of them hold Joe Biden in high esteem.  If the next time he falls down the steps of Air Force One he manages to kill himself no one will shed a single tear.  In fact, there will be hilarity and mockery for months.  Of course, the joke will be on us because then Cackling Harris would be the Commander in Chief and that would definitely end in a nuclear holocaust.

Well, I’m digressing away from the point.  Tonight, is a night of celebration.  No more talk of Biden or auto repair bills or anything depressing.  So, I’ll try to catch up on things tonight and tomorrow but this is just how things sometimes go.

11APR2023 – OCF Update – This’N’That

Sunday was a great Easter family get together so this week is about catching up on stuff I neglected.

Today is going to be a mixed bag.  I have some photos and quotes to do and I am behind on everything; writing, chores, you name it.  But I want to have some fun too.

I grabbed this old Minolta zoom lens (35-105, f\3.5-4.5, macro) that has been hiding on a shelf in a closet for years and I want to play around with it as a walk-around lens for a while.  It’s a goofy lens and of course it’s on the LA-EA5 adapter so most of the autofocus stuff doesn’t work with it.  And the “macro” capability is this ridiculous switch that only allows for manual focus.  And the lens is very old so the coatings are very old technology so there’s all kinds of chromatic aberration.  But it has already been fun to walk around and use the  zoom to frame shots and to have wide angle and telephoto perspectives available.

Who knows whether the results will be terrible or even just meh but I’m having a little fun so far and maybe change is good for once.  I enjoyed my little foray into riffing on those Alice in Wonderland quotes.  It’s funny how closely the experience of finding oneself in a nightmare dreamscape resembles the actual world we find ourselves in.  Makes you wonder if the powers that be read the Wonderland books and liked what they saw.


Those damn bluebirds are back again and making believe they will take up residence in that same damn bluebird house.  I don’t believe it for a second but just as a diversion I’ve been taking some photos waiting for them to get kicked out by the swallows.  I daily harp on their shortcomings to Camera Girl.  I mock them constantly and call them pathetic losers and compare them to the various Republican losers that adorn our political make-believe world.  I think she’s getting tired of my obsession with them.


Dunwich’s descent into political madness continues apace.  Confusion and anger are on full display and the path forward has been so muddied by the conflicting suggestions that the whole town government is paralyzed.  But we have to hope for the best.  I’m caught up in all this up to my chin so there’s nothing to do but move forward.  Onward and upward.  Or inward and downward.  Whichever works.

Well, it’s a warm, sunny day and we should all get some air today if we can.  But stay tuned and I’m sure to have something to say later.  I am an excitable kinda guy.

Dunwich in the Time of Mud

Spring has arrived with its endless supply of muck and slop and just in time with it the town has gone topsy turvy.  Revolution has broken out.  The Old Guard and the Young Turks are having a set to and I’m caught in the middle.  I’ll be working more and making a little extra money but being of an extremely lazy nature I’d prefer the opposite.  But there are some interesting aspects to this turn of events.  New England town democracy in action is a bizarre force to observe.  The fact that the Old Guard is putting up a fight is almost unheard of in this neck of the woods.  I’ll have a ringside seat for the proceedings so it may make an interesting story when all is said and done but I expect that much angst and hard feelings will spill over into everyday life.

But at the same time, it will also cut into my blogging time, in fact it already has.  And on top of that I’ve mended my ways and now have begun applying myself to my fiction writing.  I cranked out four thousand words over the last three days and that has also cut into my posting.  But that’s all to the good.  The story is expanding and becoming more interesting.  I’ve definitely decided to nuke my hero’s base at some point.  I mean what’s a science fiction story without an atom bomb somewhere?  No one calls them atomic bombs anymore.  It’s nuke this and nuke that.  Thermo-nuclear.  Who came up with that name?  Thermo- implies heat.  Are there any cold nuclear explosions?  I guess if they ever figure out an actual cold fusion process, we could talk about it but anyway I think I’m going to nuke my base.

I’ve had to write some personal scenes into the book.  The hero gets to see his family for the first time in a long while and there are grandkids and his son’s widow and that was tricky.  I think I did alright which surprised me.  I’m not a very touchy feely kinda guy but I could see that leaving out his relationship with his family felt fake.  So, there you go, human interest.  What’s next, an Oprah interview for our hero?  I’ve even added an AI character.  That’s actually kind of fun.  It’s funny once you get going these things kind of write themselves in.  Anyway, the story is percolating along.

But all this stuff really just enhances the blogging.  You can’t just write about national stories all the time.  It’s just too much of the same thing.  We’ve got to be in the story too, or what’s the point?  I could just listen to Tucker Carlson or some other talking head.  That’s why I like when some of the guest contributors have something to add.  I like to get some other angles on things and I’m sure that’s the same with everybody else.

I think the whole Trump indictment story is both a ridiculous joke and at the same time an important object lesson.  It’s important that everyone on our side realize that this is not our country anymore and it doesn’t work by the rules we were told apply.  The people in charge change the rules as needed.  They don’t play fair and they play as rough as needed.  And if the January 6th prisoners aren’t enough to convince you of that just wait till Donald Trump gets his treatment.

So anyway, busy, busy, busy but still keeping my nose to the grindstone.  Wow, that sounds painful!

Thoughts After a Hectic Week

Just a busy, busy week.  Last Thursday we had a town political event that kept me tied down for a couple of days.  Then this week we had three days of a “winter storm” which was half snow and half rain and had to be shoveled by hand which, honestly, is kind of fun but eats up a lot of time.  And today I had to pay the piper or rather let my accountant do my taxes which turned out rather well.  A few thousand dollars will come back to me from state and federal governments and the peasants will rejoice (huzzah!).

But it’s kind of kept me from being on top of events and also significantly interfered with both fiction writing and blogging (booo!).  But I hope we’re now past most of the problems.  The forecasts I’ve seen for the remainder of March and the beginning of April seem more spring-like than wintery and I don’t foresee any major disruptions to my very carefully planned laziness by the forces of entropy.  But who knows.  C’est la guerre.

But enough complaining.  All of this is a long-winded way of saying, “I’m back.”

And I guess a thing that’s worth discussing is the depths to which Blue-State politics infects even Republican party policy with woke madness.  I heard from an official that a plurality of Republican officials voted to empower a committee to select candidates for public office on the basis of race and sexual orientation.  Supposedly the fact that only a small number of voters were present saved the party from having to accept the results of this vote but think of that.  If even the Republicans are now choosing representation by the diversity, equity and inclusion nonsense then what chance is there to have our side of things heard at all?

What the official told me is that the Republicans from the larger towns and cities feel compelled to toe the line coming from people who are obviously not even Republicans.  But with such supermajorities among the voting population, they’ve been emboldened to send ringers in to infiltrate the Republican party and essentially take it over.

So what does that tell you about the trajectory of Blue State politics?  Well, think of it now as an echo chamber inside of an echo chamber.  These northeastern states will soon be vying with California for being beholden to state worker unions but without California’s Silicon Valley tax base.  It’s already the case that the teacher’s union dictates the state budget process and because of this the pension liabilities estimated for the retiring baby boomers will very shortly make a balanced budget impossible.

If there were a responsible administration, they would be looking at this coming tidal wave and calculating how to restructure this debt and also rein in the pay and benefit packages to something that would be sustainable.  But the current administration wouldn’t dare do this.  So, we’ll be going over Niagara Falls without the barrel.

Now the smart thing to do is get out of Dodge.  But unfortunately, I’m tied down by family necessity so I’ll be getting a ring side view of the whole sickening spectacle and probably will be rendered penniless and homeless into the bargain.  But such is life.

And it will probably give me endless stories of death and destruction with which to amuse my readers.  Huzzah again!

But the whole reason for this cautionary tale is that creeping socialism is a disease for which there is no cure.  Amputation of the gangrenous appendage is the only treatment.  With that in mind the healthy Red States should think long and hard how they can inoculate themselves from the kind of citizens who inhabit these Blue States.  Government employee unions must be kept from exerting power over the legislation by whatever means are necessary and things like welfare must be minimized to avoid the situation you see where homelessness and drug addiction begins to dominate in the large cities.  And they should do this as a group , coordinating their efforts and sharing information.

Well, that’s enough for now.  How’s that for some gloom and doom for a Thursday.