Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I'm gonna rip off Pinch Flat News courtesy of friend Paul. (Thanks, Pinchie, in advance. That reminds me, I should add a link to yer shot on my blig.)

I'm gonna rip off this quote only because of Paul. Otherwise, I'd have never known it was there. He sends me emails at work, but his are some of the emails from friends and co-workers alike I never mind receiving at work. Even though they are hardly ever related to work. Let's face it -- who ONLY wants to get work related emails at work? But, then again, some of those non-work related ones are worse than the "Does anyone have a safety pin?" missives sent en masse to 400 co-workers. (Yeah, guy ... at least 379 of 400 co-workers have a safety pin or know where one can be found. Try asking a minimum of two people before you disrupt the whole company next time.)

Back to the rip off ...

I've never read any Carl Sagan. In fact, I owe all I know of the guy to a comedy skit by Robin Williams overheard many years ago ('cause I was young and probably should have been asleep instead of listening to it). In short, I know nothing. But this quote makes me want to learn more: "Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow. Others — for example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein — considered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws."

Holy Jehoshaphat, that's rich! I say that because Sagan's quote is within me. Despite an upbringing that leaned heavily toward christian fundamentalism, as a young man (perhaps about the same time I was eavesdropping Robin Williams' uncensored comedy) I began to think how preposterous an uber-man-shaped-god concept sat within the confines of a ripe intellect. Throughout my adult years I've sought solace in eastern philosophies which (although too readily generalized and mislabeled by many westerners as pantheistic and denigrated as 'pagan') are perfectly comfortable with the notion of energy as god-like force, and humans as a self-contained, fully realized vessels that direct said energy.

I had no intention of going anywhere with this entry. The sole purpose was to circulate this quote in a form much more graceful than a preachy junk forward email. I get enough of those from my family. Fortunately, you can just click away from my blog.

Me? Well, I rarely check that email account anyway.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Eating the Nuts, Saving the Raisins for Sunday

Winter's coming and don't we know it in the Upper Midwest. We got our first snow Saturday morning. That was followed last night and this morning with a steady blanket of wet, slushy pellets that accumulated a couple of inches on the grass and in the trees. The pavement was mostly wet melt. It would have been just like riding in the rain except for tree branches lining the path regularly dumping their heavy loads on unsuspecting riders passing beneath. Oh, and the wind-driven ice projectiles pelting my face incessantly. Don't get me wrong -- the experience, as early season snow usually is, was quite beautiful. But it's only mid-October. I'm not ready for this stuff yet.

If someone had walked up to me in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, while I was sweating my way through the oven-dry heat of midday in the desert, and told me I'd be commuting through snow in exactly two weeks I'd have thought they were loony. But, then again, I never would have believed I'd walk off and leave my digital camera on a bench either. (It's a shame, because I missed a lot of great photo ops this morning.)

Softness and whining aside, I have begun to tap into my favorite thing about off-season commuting in MN -- the solitude. All of a sudden I have the bike trails to myself and I kinda like that. I no longer have to play nice with blissed out wanderers, chatty path-hogging walkers, overzealous and impatient skiers on wheels, tight-dudded weekend warriors or canines guiding their retractable human yo-yos. The few cyclists I do pass seem to have the same idea. We mutter a short 'Hey', or perhaps nod silently and roll on.

Of course, the seasonal change affects other areas of life. "Shop season" is over. I say this because my tools and workspace are housed within an unheated garage. That's probably best since I tend to hurl myself toward projects like a brakeless train, working into the wee hours of the morning and beginning my "real" work week more tired than I went into the weekend of supposed time off.

I was able to complete my last project -- a set of sawhorses. I did the old hem and haw for months before settling on a design and getting down to work. I could have knocked out a set in a day with simply a Skilsaw and some drywall screws. But of course I didn't go that route. Instead, I resawed and handplaned the hell out of some 2X6's from Home Depot in order to create a slightly more elegant set of horses that are held together with pegged mortise and tenon joints.

Given a plunge into the freezing temps, I decided to haul the project into the house for the glue to cure overnight. As you can see, the kids enjoyed that. They seem to have no problem making light of Dad's hard work.

Perhaps I could learn a thing or two. After all, there's no stopping winter from coming.