August 29, 2010

Let's Go, Chop-Chop!

Friday evening my mother arrived at my place and spent the night on a air mattress. Saturday morning, we hopped into my car and zoomed off to a timbersports competition west of Rochester. I think of Rochester as being an hour away, but this trip took an hour and twenty minutes. My mental model involves riding along the highway, while the competition was in a small town quite a bit north of the interstate.

Anyway, my sister and brother-in-law were competing. I'm not sure if they had much fun, because they were plagued with misfortune and equipment problems. I suppose "a bad day golfing is better than a good day working," but I've always felt a good day golfing would be better still.

I did get to see both of my parents and one of my nieces, which was nice. Also, last year this competition was cold and rainy. This year is was in the mid-80s with an almost cloudless sky. I ended up a little sunburned and a lot dehydrated.

Today, I decided to try bicycling, even though my doctor hasn't cleared me yet. I didn't get far. I blame the bike- I was on a borrowed mountain bike, with an aggressive tucked posture (that transfers weight onto the arms) and with very very knobby offroad tires, give a very vibratory ride on the pavement. I only made it about a half mile before I gave up. The worse-broken wrist didn't hurt at all, but the supposedly better-healed radius was burning like fire. My theory: there are lots of other wrist bones to provide support, while the radius has just the ulna to share the strain.

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August 27, 2010

Dorm Madness

Today I went shopping for some things I wanted for my apartment. It had completely escaped my memory that today was when the dorms opened up for the incoming freshmen. Thus stores selling household goods near campus were mobbed with parents and new college kids. You would not believe the whining. Plus the new students were annoying too.

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August 26, 2010

Pet Carefully

Now I want one.

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August 23, 2010

P vs Z

Some people in the family will think this is hilarious. Others won't get it.

The singer was the composer of all the music in the game, incidentally.

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August 22, 2010

The Patter Is the Key

Here is one of the best card tricks I've ever seen.

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August 15, 2010

Activated

My father's house is my official address, as I'm still living in an apartment. He passes me mail whenever I see him. At one of the weddings over the summer, one of the envelopes contained official orders from the Marine Corps.

I'm still part of the Individual Ready Reserve, consisting of former military members that, while not drilling every month like members of the Selected Reserve, are still eligible to be called back to service. And I was now being called back.

But, not to worry! I was summoned to a one-day muster, so they could make sure I was still healthy, possessed of all my limbs, etc. They also wanted to get updated information on marital status, dependents, and so forth. Uniform of the day was "proper civilian attire" (which actually has a formal definition: nothing ragged or with holes, nothing characteristically worn for exercise, if trouser have belt loops one must wear a belt, etc.) That wasn't a problem, as I just about always wear "proper civilian attire" anyway. The mobilization order also specified that "shaving and hair grooming standards will not be enforced," which is nice, because I've recently regrown my beard. It's not that I missed my beard, it's that with two bad limbs it was very difficult to shave.

Saturday was the day, so I left my house at 0600 to make the drive to the muster in Canandaigua, NY. Show time was 0800, and I made it just in time. We were meeting at the Canandaigua VA Center, which is a mix of old and new brick buildings. My first suspicion was that it was a post-Civil War army base, but some internet research has led me to suspect it really started as an insane asylum incorporated in 1859. The date is about right for the older architecture, and an asylum would certainly explain the military look of the buildings, as well as the impressive stone perimeter fence.

Driving through the town, at an intersection near the VA there were a dozen people gathered, waving flags and cheering every passing car, with a "Thank you Marines!" banner. I got a little sumtin' in my eye. Must have been the glare from the rising sun.

Having made it on time and checked in, I was butt-in-chair near the front of the rather old auditorium. I was right next to a door, which was nice, because as the room heated up I received the benefit of a cooling breeze.

We had a unit formation, in brief, which consisted of a detachment of the state police marching on the colors, then a brief talk by a full-bird colonel standing in for the commander of Marine Corps Mobilization Command (which is the command that all IRR Marines belong to), then a brief talk by the MCMC's Sergeant Major, then the colors marched off. That was enough to make it all official, and then we got about two hours worth of briefings on (a) benefits to which we were entitled, and how to get them; (b) post-military mental issues and how to get help for them ("Getting counseling isn't like wimping out. If you're having trouble with your baseball swing, you talk to your coach. That's what we provide– coaching to help you get your life back on track!"), and (c) a briefing on the reserves, including how we could volunteer for temporary duty while remaining part of the IRR. (That is, so we could do some reservist work and get some reservist pay, without having to sign up for monthly drills). Mostly good info, although the people not fortunate enough to be sitting by an open door were dying from the heat.

At 10:30 the briefs were done, and we were released to go out and check out three big tents outside, which contained companies looking to hire us, colleges looking to recruit us, and organizations looking to help us. I collected a huge bag of swag, including some job leads for friends of mine. I was wearing a UB t-shirt, so the college people didn't try to hard to get me. And I didn't need help from the volunteer organizations, although I did get a form to sign up for the VA just in case I ever need them, although I don't think I qualify. But it never hurts to check.

Done with all that by noon, I ate one of their delicious hot dogs and left as the afternoon session was arriving. I was jealous, I'll admit that: the afternoon guys sure didn't have to get up at 0500 to arrive on time. But it meant I got to drive around scenic Upstate New York in the afternoon, while those guys were sweltering inside a pre-air conditioning auditorium.

I drove down to Big Flats along State Route 14, a terribly scenic route that runs along the western shore of Seneca Lake. That's the heart of wine country, and on a Saturday afternoon every winery was open for tours. There were also dozens of bicyclists along the shoulder, many of them doing the round-the-lake circuit run.

After a bit of confusion in Horseheads, where the roads have been rearranged, I made it to Big Flats where I could take a nap. I did about four hours of driving in total, which was much more than my healing left arm was happy with. All's well that ends well, though.

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August 10, 2010

Good Old Uncle Walt

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August 05, 2010

Werner Herzog Reads Aloud

Werner Herzog is a movie director. He has chosen to narrarate several famous children's books: Curious George, Madeline, Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel, and Where's Waldo. Much hilarity ensues, as he inserts his opinions on the symbolism and moral instruction.

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August 04, 2010

Knitting

My bones are healing on schedule. The cast is off my left arm, as I need to be flexing it to restore the elbow's full range of motion. The wrist is healing too, although not as quickly, perhaps because of the bone chips floating around in there.

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