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Where the hell have I been?

Here. Working like a sumbitch at 6700 feet above sea level, on things that may or may not be interesting to anyone but Carol and me. There is a lot of money tied up in this house, and the goal is to untie it as quickly as possible. On most days, come suppertime I am toast, and have not had the wherewithal to post anything interesting here on Contra since mid-May. Contrary to rumor I am not dead, nor anything close to it. I’ve been rearranging my sock drawer, for very large values of “sock drawer.”

It’s old news to my Facebook readers, but my garage floor has been cracked up (see above) and carted out, after which they brought in a dump truck full of road base fill, thumped it down very thoroughly, and then re-poured the concrete slab. It has to sit curing for five weeks before they can do the epoxy floor coating, but the worst of that task is out of the way.

The restorative surgery on Phage House continues. The painting is done. We’ve had the linen closet doors straightened. The ill-fitting cattle pen/dog run has been dismantled and donated to All Breed Rescue. We sold our snow blower on Craigslist, thinking that we won’t need it much in Phoenix. The granite counters and new kitchen fixtures are in and they’re drop-dead gorgeous. (Why didn’t we do this five or six years ago?) The staging lady has been hired and is ready to roll as soon as we get everything not required for staging into boxes. So as time and energy allow I’m boxing up all the stuff that didn’t go down to Phoenix back in December. We’ve given a lot to Goodwill and our friend Deidre who has an indoor flea market table. There’s more than I thought. (More, and heavier. Think vintage power transformers and filter chokes.) Lots more.

But then again, isn’t there always?

We should have been a little more forthcoming with our friends. Yesterday, a woman we’ve known since college and haven’t seen in several years sent me an email to say, “We’re in Colorado Springs on our way home from New Mexico. It’s so sad that you’re not here anymore.”


No writing has been done, though I occasionally take notes on The Molten Flesh. Instead I’ve been reading copyedited chapters on my Raspberry Pi book, which would have been much easier if I weren’t trying to load half a house into boxes. (And no, I cannot explain SSL in two paragraphs. Sorry.) I still don’t know when it’s going to be published. Hell, I don’t even know who my co-author is. I do know that writing chapters in 2013 to be published in early 2017 is a really dumb way to do things, especially for computer books. Not that it was my idea.

One of my early readers of Ten Gentle Opportunities asked me to write a side-story about Bones, an AI animated skeleton who worked the crowds in a screen at a big amusement park until he was archived because he scared little kids too much, even though at heart he was a gentle and sensitive soul. The idea appeals to me. Later in the year. We’ll see. Side-stories are something I’m not used to and may have to practice a little to get right. This might be a good, er, opportunity.

The Sun has been completely blank for four days. This is peculiar, given that the solar maximum was in 2014. I would expect this in 2019. I do not expect it now. It does make me think that moving to Phoenix was the right things to do.

I am reading in the evenings, and watching a few movies. Carol and I saw Inside Out for the first time last week. It is hands-down the strangest animated film I’ve ever seen…and one of the best. I knew Sadness in college; she was in a lot of my classes. (Actually, there were considerably more than one of her.) If I hadn’t been dating Carol then, well, I would have stood in line to go out with Joy. And when Bing Bong faded out for the last time in the Chasm of Lost Memories, I caught a tear running down my cheek. If you’re going to have an imaginary friend, well, he’d be the one to have. (Mine mostly asked me to drop silverware down the cold-air return.)

I’m not done with it yet, but in The Big Fat Surprise, Nina Teicholz finally drives a stake through Ancel Keys’ heart. You will live longer by eating more saturated fat. Keys and his shitlord minions murdered millions. Don’t be one of them.

I have too many power transformers. Some of them are going to have to go. I see a few of them (like the old Collins items that I’ve had since the ’70s) are going for $100 and up on eBay. Smells like easy money to me.

Anyway. I’m working very hard doing boring things, harder things and more boring than I’ve seen in one period for a very long time. I guess this is just what it takes. With any luck at all, the move to Phoenix will be done by August, and I can start being interesting again. Nobody’s looking forward to this more than me.


  1. Rich Rostrom says:

    On Eric S Raymond’s Google+ page, in a thread on gun control, a commenter wrote “Big Macs kill far more people than guns do.”

    I responded

    “Actually, the fraudulent “science” that claims dietary fat causes heart attacks has killed more people than guns in the last 50 years. Ancel Keyes [sic] is one of the greatest mass murderers in history.”

    The bizarre thing is that Keys’ lies have been taken up by people who reject his prescriptions, such as the “Heart Attack Grill” with its “Triple Bypass Burger”.

  2. Orvan Taurus says:

    “…because he scared little kids too much,”

    And here I am, remember the Groovie Goolies cartoon and the Bone-a-part character. Didn’t seem all that scary. Now, that boat in the H.R. Pufnstuf intro.. that’s another matter.

    1. Groovie Goolies. I have to look that up, though I think it was after I splatted down into adulthood. Would like to see Bone-a-Part. I do remember a skeleton in a Piers Anthony book (forgot which one) named Marrow, which was brilliant. Dancing skeletons were common in depression-era cartoons, and there was well-done creepy stuff in the Fleischer “Snow White.” Never saw PufnStuff’s boat. Will look that up too. I’m pretty sure I was in college or past by then.

      1. Michael Black says:

        But legend has it that Pufnstuf had a significant college-age viewership.

        I basically went from Pufnstuf to electronics/amateur radio, though I think there was some overlap.


    2. Boy. Groovie Goolies aired in 70-71, and whereas I was in college my sister still watched cartoons, and I watched them with her now and then. But I remember not a thing about it. Saw Bone-A-Part on Google Images; he was a skeleton with a Napoleon hat. Clever.

      I don’t see anything scary about the Pufnstuf boat, unless there was more than one and I’m looking at the wrong item.

      1. Orvan Taurus says:

        (Yeah, long delay) I think it was that the boat both lured him (and that didn’t make him a little suspicious? Yeah, I know… fiction, short intro) and also transformed when the boy couldn’t really do anything about it – and I saw it before I could swim (very young then, yes).

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