Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall is here, the leaves are changing color.

While colorful, it is so dry that the leaves turn yellow then brown and drop off. The grasses are turning red in the fields.

It is always pleasant to have warm and sunny days, except when the absence of any significance rain dries things out.

I recall thinking when the most recent hurricane. whats its name, was coming up the coast that we would get a good soaking and the trees would receive one of those natural prunings that happens whenever then is a strong prolonged wind. But in the end all we got was a little extra windiness.

The levels in the local lakes are low and fortunately tourist season is over so the heavy demand for water is gone for a while. This morning it is darker than usual, the clouds heavier and predictions of rain the next few days.

That should quench the thirst a little for the plants but as the patterns repeat themselves, the rain and winds will knock down many of the weaker brown leaves. The pattern of fall returns.

This past weekend was the Apple Squeeze in town. A big event that draws out many locals who have yielded the town to tourists over the summer. In the neighboring town of Lee it was Founders Day that ends with a Latino Festival. I don't think I have ever been to Founders Day but the Latino Fesitival is always a great opportunity to sample some good food from Central and South America.

I took a 6 1/2 mile run on Saturday through a state forest nearby. The road is goes from paved to packed dirt to rocks and pebbles and is alot of up and down as it follows the river below the ridge line. I took a few pictures with my phone but trying to upload them first to facebook and then to the blog is often a challenge and so far I haven't been successful with this batch. The fungus on the dead trees were this floresent yellow and very cool.

It was great to be out but I realized that many people would be spooked to be in what seems like such a desolate area, though there was an occassional car parked near an outlet to the river. Except for the random voice on the river, it was totally quiet and I was very concious of what was around me. One of those times when your imagination can get a hold of you and one of the reasons I alway run with a charged cell phone.

Came into work today and a great big tree outside my office is lying on the ground cut into chunks. I love trees and this one gave great shade and lots of bird and squirrel activity but looking at it on its side I can see that it was mostly hollow, but still I will miss it.

The day just didn't seem right after that.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Supermarket voices

I started writing this on a 2'' by 4'' Ipod screen, which can be tough because the miniature keyboard in much smaller than my finger and this screen is full size when I work on the desktop. But it has the distinct advantage that I can be lying on the couch with my feet up and still key in the text as long as I am within range of the wireless. Uploading photos is tough so I will have to wait until I am back on the desktop......which happens to be now only a week or so later.

The photo here has nothing really to do with what I thought I'd write about but I am sure I can make a connection. Its the latest pickings from our miniature garden. But it is food and I was struck by something the last couple of times I was at Stop & Shop and I wanted a picture. Now I should say I have nothing against Stop & Shop, though I prefer to smaller stores if I can. Not real small but slightly smaller. They are just easier to maneuver around and get in and get out. But again I digress off the subject. The smaller stores actually have people to scan your food even if they don't bag it.

What I noticed the last few times at Stop & Shop was that the voice had changed on the auto check-out. I usually try to sneak up on it and scan in my card before the sensor notices I am there and the voice asked me and thanks me for my card at the same time, almost jumbling the words. Just the same as when you quickly scan things in and it can't keep up. Hey, so I get small pleasures out of confusing machines.

What struck me this time was that the voice was no longer the slow paced monotone using longer vowels, it was quick, concise and a little clip and almost fast enough to keep up. The slow voice had been fired.

Perhaps the slow voice was causing people to scan slower and they focus group tested that they could get us to do what used to be "their job" of scanning, even quicker and move the line along.

It struck me as how very different it sounded and though I use to make fun of it, I missed the voice that was gone.

So are they going to speed up the conveyor belt to get things to pile up quicker at the end and get us moving even quicker? Perhaps the voice could be programed to encourage us to pack things quicker and move on......not.

The other voice is the one that pages people for phone calls or announces that deli orders are ready for pickup. I always thought I was the only person who did a mock salute whenever General Merchandise was paged. That is until someone I work with joked about doing the same thing, first with his kids and now as just a joke. I was amazed.

I didn't ask him if he also sang along with or danced with the music or mocked some of the other pages. I didn't want to risk coming off as too strange, though I have written here about another friend who also does just that and it gives me hope that there really people out there who find strange humor at the supermarket.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I have been pushing around several topics for a post but none seem to be making it past the draft stage. Coming back from vacation is always a challenge and it comes with the change in the seasons as well.

Labor Day has landed and so has the clear transition to fall. The past few weeks the light has been looking different, more defused, more yellow against the green. The chill of fall is also in the air with it dropping to 40 last night and being in the 50s.

The 4 tons of wood pellets for the season have arrived and a couple of tons are loaded into the garage to be closer for my dreaded 11PM trips to refill the stove for the night. I inevitably get dosy and perhaps fall asleep before remembering to stock up the stove so the short trip to the pellet stacks and hoisting the 40 pound bag into the house becomes an annoyance out of proportion to reality.

With the remaining 2 tons waiting outside until sometime in January when they will take their place on the inside pile.

I am killing time this morning. With a house full of teenage girls for a birthday sleepover, no one is stirring and the challenge is to maneuver around without making noise, and I've been awake for a few hours. They went to sleep who knows when. We discovered ground hornets in the front yard yesterday when my daughter was moving the lawn in preparation for games later on. A hole the size of a golf ball, a tunnel to the nest below. Now I don't really mind bugs, except carpenter ants and mosquitoes that is, and don't like using heavy doses of insecticide. So how do I get these things to relocate their nest so that we don't get stung just going about our business. Just move the hole into the garden where its is out of the way, its only 3 feet away and I am sure a tunnel could be dug quite nicely.

So at first I try water to flush them out, then a little soap along with it. Seemed to discourage them but this morning the swarm is bigger than ever and I look at the more real options of tossing gravel in the hole and filling it so that another hole is the only option. So that is what I've done so far and will see if that does it or just pisses them off even more to the point where they are swarming the yard. The gravel seems to be working a bit, though they are quite annoyed.

I'll just leave them to themselves for now and find some other chore to distract me.