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A Møøse once bit my sister ...
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Least the soundtrack of life has been good.  We saw Spike Lee's BlacKKKlansman last weekend, which was full of soulful 70s goodness, including this by the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose I hadn't thought of, much less heard, in probably 30 years but still remembered every word and note of.

But for the past almost 72 hours, the song in my head has been this one from the Chi-Lites:



The humans (and dog) here are fine, but overnight Tuesday, the evil cat got out- and despite postings, searching and, today, a visit to the SPCA, Michelle is still missing.

We've had her for 15 of  her almost 17 years- they confirmed the adoption  date and her age when  I went down  to make the report today  (we got her and her much nicer, long-deader older brother from  the SPCA Whisker Wagon).  They also told me something we never knew: they didn't do microchips back then. (Ebony,  who we got a bit earlier but who was younger than Michelle,  was our first pet to have one.) However, this cat does have a hidden tat, which will identify her if anyone brings her in.

As for the rest of the drill? Signed up on local pages for lost cats. Put out a litter box she'll recognize (trust me) and a hoodie with Mommy's scent. (They also suggested putting a favorite toy outside. That's hilarious; this cat does not play. She might torture a bug for fun, but that's about it.) We've reported to all the nearby neighbors who might see/have seen.  And Pepper and I (joined for a bit last night by our friend Ann and her friend Ursula) have walked the block at all hours.  Calling out her name that she'd never deign to answer to; also calling out the far more familiar-to-her cry of "Shut Up, Cat!"  (We had a neighbor at our previous Rochester house who named their kitty that.)  All that remains is to put up some signs; I'll do that tomorrow, since we're expecting a remnant-of-Florence storm tonight, which would just blow them all down anyway but which might entice the stupid aminal to come home.

It's only been two nights.  Esmeralda, Bozo, Biggsy all went missing for days if not weeks; Zoey tends to stick close to where the fud is.  And the dogs have all gotten out for a good chase now and then, but they're much easier to spot and corner.

I swore I heard her distinct yowl in the pens at the SPCA, but there was no sign of her. On the other hand, there was this little beauty:



That would be Lilly, all four months of her.  Hers was the first cage I looked into and the resemblance to our beloved departed Tazzer was striking.  So if we  give up,....



Oh, shut up, cat:P  And get  your cranky old ass back here.
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The Republicans  have themselves a genuine #metoo problem at the top of the judicial pyramid, and the schadenfreude is great with them right now. Their golden boy nominee for the Supremes, who seemed to have schmoozed (if not outright prevaricated) sufficiently to get his needed 50-plus-Pence votes, has now run into a blast from his past: a first-anonymous, and now named, onetime acquaintance of his from 30 years ago  who claims he sexually assaulted her at a party.

It's taken a couple of days for  the talking points to crystalize, but they seem focused now in two areas. Most  of the judge's  supporters aren't outright denying that he did something, or accusing the accuser of lying. They're even staying away from the "why did it take so long to come forward" line of attack. Instead, there's the "WiDiFiLi In Wait" argument and the "How Can You Ruin This Man's Life" point.

As to  the first: apparently, Professor Ford wrote to Diane Feinstein, ranking Dem on the Senate Judiciary Committee, back in July, soon after Judge Kavanaugh  was nominated. The outrage comes because she allegedly sat on the allegations for almost two months, not asking the judge about them or bringing up the issue in committee, because she wanted to sandbag the nomination, revealing it with not enough time for his confirmation to be rammed through before the midterms. There are two problems with this line of thinking.  One: even if DiFi did, brazenly and politically, use a tactic to delay a nominee's confirmation until after an election? I want to hear any  Republican explain  their outrage about that to President Obama and Merrick Garland.  They established the "anything goes" precedent, as far as I'm concerned. And two: at least one source is reporting that the ranking minority member wasn't the only one notified in July.  An attorney also forwarded the allegations to  Chuck Grassley, Republican chair of the committee, and has  proof of its delivery.  Clearly, Grassley knew something was up, because when word of this #metoo problem began to leak last week, his first reaction was to whip out (maybe I'd better rephrase that;) a statement from 65 women who knew the judge in that time period and said he was a really swell guy (maybe a new word there, too;).  So I have no sympathy for their sandbagging, either.

As for whether these allegations will "ruin his life:"  The fuck they will. Unless someone comes forward with irrefutable evidence like a stained blue dress or a 911 recording, he won’t resign, won’t be impeached, and he has a lifetime gig on the second most important appellate court in the country already. So he misses out on a promotion. Womp womp.  Even if he resigns, it's too late to prosecute him for anything and he'll wind up with a cushy government pension and probably a lifetime slot on Fox News.

The hearings resume next week.



----

Closer to home, we have someone else who didn't pull out in time.  My former Republican Congressman, still the elected representative of towns east of me from Clarence to suburban Rochester, was indicted last  month on charges of insider trading.  He refused to resign his seat, but until about a week ago was supposedly cooperating with Republican officials in their efforts to get him off the ballot at this late date, with a scrum of next-gen opportunist Trumpsters all lined up to take his place. (They auditioned for the Erie County GOP leader and the much less influential bosses from the district's other counties at a big meeting last month in Batavia- held, of all places, at a casino.)

But then yesterday, word came out that Chris Collins will NOT remove his name from the NY27 Republican ticket. To do so at this point, he'd have to die, move outside the state, or (this was the hat-hanger until yesterday) accept a nomination for a state or local office somewhere in New York, which would DQ him from running for Congress at the same time.   Speculation abounded over how far this former Master of the Universe would fall: Eden town clerk, some remote county coroner, and then a couple of weeks ago, a suspicious opening! Our very own town clerk decided to resign to take a post at UB, which, if he ran for it and won, would put Donald J. Trump's first Congressional supporter in charge of issuing my dog license.  (I'd have even voted for him, if I could've found a way to place the license tag right over Pepper's ass;)  That rumor faded, but then there was talk about schmoozing some town board incumbent in his home town of Clarence to step aside for the good of the party.  Alas, nothing came of any of it: the man is out on federal court bail, and his criminal attorneys apparently were afraid that anything causing him to change his employment or address might not look good to the Obama-appointed judge in charge of his case.

So Collins it is, and Collins it shall remain- in a district which is so red that he is still favored to win as an indicted felon over a decent Democratic opponent, one who has even taken on Governor Cuomo on more than one occasion.  But those projections don't account for the massive increases in turnout seen all over the US this year, including in our own state's primaries last week. Blue came out in droves, and expelled several mealy-mouthed Republican collaborators from their long-held Democrat In Name Only seats.

Let's keep it up. This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1532374.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.

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Great game I didn't go to at Fenway Pahk. The Mets got a shutout and a deep start from one of their best  pitchers, and even scored eight runs for him. Yet some of the significance of that win was overshadowed by the other news leading up to it:  David Wright, the team's captain and one of their longest-standing homegrown star players, announced on Thursday that he would be returning from a season-long rehab and starting his final game as a New York Met when the team returns for its final Citi  Field homestand next week.

Met players don't have typical injuries- groin pulls, sore arms, torn ACLs.  No, we've pretty much had to buy first year medical school textbooks to keep up with it all- from the brief loss of  Friday night's pitcher (to hand, foot and mouth disease- a childhood ailment picked up during a school visit) to much longer and serious conditions afflicting our best hitter (calcified heels- out all year), our previous franchise pitcher (thoracic outlet syndrome- never recovered and traded in June) and, in Wright's case, spinal stenosis.  It kept him off the field for much of 2015 (he came back and played often and well through the team's surprise run to the World Series), and after a 37-game try at it in 2016, he's been off the field. But not off the books- insurance has been paying his hefty captain's salary, and will likely continue to do so after his Final Game But It's  Not  Retirement.

That final start will be a week from this  Saturday-  Wright Night, it's now known.  It will be a farewell and a memoir of a long and mostly frustrating career, all of it headquartered in  Queens.  Ticket prices for the otherwise meaningless game immediately went through the Wroof, from the usual six-dollar cheap seat availability to well over $100.  But the final game the next day? Still six bucks and slightly above.  I splurged for two $14 seats that will not require bringing one's own oxygen. If the ceremony is rained out, I may get to see it. Or they may bump all  Sunday holders in favor of those who got scalped for the previous night, leaving me with two tickets usable any time in 2019- assuming they have enough uninjured players to field a team at that point.  Or I could sell them if that Sunday game somehow becomes a big deal for some other reason.

The lateness of the announcement deprived David of the "farewell tour" that Jeter and  Rivera got during their full final seasons as Yankees- but the Red Sox, at least, did their part.  Before yesterday's game, Dustin Pedroia, one of their older players and a onetime teammate of the Captain, presented Wright with his uniform number from the legendary hand-operated Fenway scoreboard:



Yesterday's game itself got a little chippy, with leadoff batters getting hit by pitches, but the goodwill continued off the field, with 2,000 Met fans in attendance from the 7 Line group I went to Toronto with.  They joined the hometown fans in a common chant of "Yankees suck!" (the Yankees also lost- to the Blue Jays:), and the owner of the team came to their section to thank them for coming. Not the Mets' owner (he's an asshat)- the Red Sox owner.  Class all the way around.

----

While all that was going on, we were having adventures in cooking out back.  Last week, both of our thermometers used for grilling shat their beds. The plastic one with the metal probe, used to check internal temp, melted when a certain dumb attorney left it in the meat too long over a heated grill; the metal one, used to measure the overall grill temperature externally, finally cracked into unusability after years of being virtually unreadable due to fogging.  The former was an easy replacement at Wegmans, but the external thermometer proved a challenge. Neither our usual store nor our go-to hardware store had anything promising to stand up to grilling temps.  So off to Amazon I went, and found what appeared to be the solution:



It measures from a stick-through sensor that Eleanor drilled a hole in the grilltop to accept.  Then she decided to test it out with a new rack of ribs- and one of her friends from work was quickly added to the party. 

Yesterday afternoon, after firing it up, the needle got up into the BBQ range,  but then would go no higher even as the grill was clearly getting hotter. She resolved to extrapolate the temperature from some other factors, plus we at least still had the probe to ensure the ribs themselves were properly heated inside.

Until we didn't. That thermometer also stopped displaying anything- and now it was within two hours of scheduled arrival time.  So I headed back to Wegmans to replace the probe, and found the only close thing they had to an oven thermometer to measure the external temp. Trouble was, once we got it out of the package, it turned out it had a rubbery back and would’ve incinerated. I then ran off to Ed Young’s Hardware- the TARDIS of all home products- just as they were closing.

Any big box store would have sent me away. Their departing manager tried to. But I offered all my cash- a $20 bill- for this $5 part just to save our (not quite) bacon. Of course they let me in at 6:05. Of course an employee took me right to where the all-metal thermometers were. And of course they cashed me out at 6:10 and made change. They even offered me rewards points. No- they went way abover and beyonder already:)  The ribs were yummy. The company was lovely. Amazon is getting their stupidass thingie back.

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Hi ho,  the derry-o, the assholes at the Dell.

After a stressful Monday morning for both me (almost all wasted first finding out I'd need to make a useless court appearance because of asshat opponents and  then making said appearance) and Eleanor (heavy traffic to and from an appointment, then Pepper being all verklempt for reasons below plus her barely  being outside due to heavy rains all day), I settled in for a long autumn's tech support call.   By Monday morning, the bottom row of my laptop keyboard was completely unresponsive. It's passed on. Drawn the curtain and gone to join the choir invisible.  I had  confirmed over the weekend that  I still have two full months on my original one-year Dell warranty, so after running an hour's worth of tests (all of which it  passed, though none, oddly, appearing to test anything about the keyboard), I put in my call to Rishabh.  Yes, he would be very happy to assist me. Yes, he has sent me the return authorization package and FedEx label so they can very perfectly replace my keyboard.  In 6-12 business days from its receipt.

Um, no.  Maybe you could send me a keyboard and I could put it in, or have someone? That is not authorized, because the laptop is not designed for the user to access internal parts.  And no, they cannot send me a loaner to transfer my files and software to in order to, I don't know, DO MY BLEEPMEEPBORP JOB! for those 6-12 business days.  So my choices, basically, came down to:

- Have an unauthorized third party order and replace the keyboard, knocking out the remainder of the warranty; or

- Buy a new, probably scaled down, computer and load it up before shipping this one so I'll be able to work during the 6-12 day wait, then keep it as a backup when (not if, when) this happens again.

I choose both.

Monday night, I went to a local repair joint where a coworker has gotten good results. They will order the replacement KB and their turnaround, once it arrives, is more like one business day.  Also sometime next week, I will likely find a replacement for my long-dead backup laptop, and THEN will ship this one out if the replacement KB hasn't come in yet.

----

It's frustrating as all get-out that you are "sold" service that turns out to be no sale at all. My history with laptops this century shows the obsolescence that has gotten worse and worse over the years.

-Circa 2000: my then-office ordered me an HP laptop (the last one I would ever have an office buy for me-  no, I think by then I realized it would be good to buy my own to avoid BS over it), and around the same time, I bought a Compaq for Eleanor. Both came running XP.  Mine lasted in that form until the October storm of 2006, when a freak laundromat accident wrecked it; my then-guru put its hard disk into a desktop tower, I attached externals to it, and that Frankenputer lasted all through Vista and Windows 7. Eleanor's Compaq STILL works, though slowly, when we drag it out of retirement and at the moment, it's the only backup I've got which I can move out of the house.

- November 2008- Election  Night: as I documented at the time,  "my prior Frankenputer got so excited over Obama's victory that it instantly died."  Bought a new one.  I have little recollection of its bugs and features, but I do see that it lasted almost six years, until....

 

 

- April 2014: my first Toshiba, quickly named Tobor, because it had Windows 8.  Smartly bought the purchase protection on this one, which came in handy when, not quite two years later, it failed to make the jump to 10, or some other thing on it went, and along came....

-February 2016, and a virtually identical Toshiba, named Twobor.  This came after multiple fails with the power on  the Tobor device, and the repair joint, quite rightly, elected to send me a gift card to replace it rather than repair it.  Only problem was, this time frame was right around the Office Max/Depot merger, and the stores they were closing had ridiculously good deals.  Twobor turned out to still be available at a very low price on the last day they were open, which happened to be the day the gift card arrived. This one was my first  to come with Windows 10 onboard, and I had little trouble with  it except for its keyboard,  which lost a lot of keys to cat hair, and its casing,  which must've been dropped at some point. Fortunately, I'd bought the purchase protection again; unfortunately, this time, again, despite it being what I thought would be a quick repair, they offered the switchout again in....

November 2017- so  for the third time in just over three years, I had to go through buying a new laptop (at least the gift card came electronically now), restoring all my backups and reinstalling all my software (my iTunes is a pigmess of nested subfolders from  all of this). Plus, remember that great deal I got last time? That's the amount they based  the gift card on, so between that and the (what else?) purchase protection, I had to both shell out more $ out  of pocket and settle for a different brand- a Dell, dude. My first, and also my last.

The KB on  this thing looks sturdier than the previous models.  Part  of that sturdiness is it being built into the case in a way that seems to involve using heavy explosives to remove it. (Even the fucking battery is locked down with about 14 screws.) But it's  failed far sooner than any I've ever owned.  Look at those time gaps between  replacements: 2000 (perhaps even earlier) to  2006 (resurrection)/2008 (death), to 2014 to  early 2016 to late 2017 and now failure in  the first year.

I'm resisting going through it all again, even if it means spending extra money and voiding the  remaining month or so (by then) of full coverage.  It's just depressing how they've turned  these things into virtual throwaways.  Meanwhile, in all this time since Tobor arrived, I think I've had three mobile phones- an iPhone 3, traded for a 4, and then replaced by the current 5ish which I've had for going on four years.

I know, get a Mac.

----

Even better, a Maytag.

Pepper's previously mentioned verklemptness was because just as Eleanor was getting ready for work Monday (and I was just entering court), the repair guy came to  fix our probably 20-year-old  dryer.  It  crapped out Thursday night, and I made the appointment Friday  to have them come Monday morning.  It might have been a waste of a service call fee, because who could fix something that old?

Matt could. Same guy who fixed a different part on it the last time it crapped out in 2014.  Two tiny parts, which  not only he had, but which fixed the thing. I'd kept the appliance store circulars from Sunday's paper just in case,  but that would've been the same as the computer experiences- shiny and new for a little while, then things would go just after the warranty was up and there'd be no calling Matt  to fix it but some LG-approved contractor who, if we were lucky, would not require us to ship it back to them in a big box.

----

Final oddities: ever since bringing this laptop in to be looked at, the keyboard has improved. Not perfect, but I haven't needed an external KB for this entire post.  And Imma running wash  tonight, so we'll see if Matt can keep sitting on his ass waiting for another call:

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Fun? Wow!

Friday was a decent day, other than two opponents, both of whom had well over a month to file opposition in hearings originally scheduled for July, waiting until late on the Thursday before this coming Wednesday's hearings in each (Buffalo AM, Rochester PM) to file basically BS opposition in each.  There went much of my Friday. Another hour of it got killed because I went downtown to appear in a case I tried in late April, without decision from the judge. No official word I had to be there, but the generally useless state court case tracking system said it was on Friday at 9:30 for "disposition." I have no idea what that means in a civil case context, so I dressed nicely and arrived on time, only to find no judge and no explanation. It eventually turned out she used the "event" as a reminder to issue a decision since she's been off the bench for weeks due to surgery. Thanks, guys, for not telling me that:P

But the rest of the day was mostly quiet and mildly profitable, so I headed into the weekend with the brutally hot weather of the past mostly-month finally fading and promised to fall quickly into fall, just in time for Kickoff Weekend of YOUR BUFFALO  BILLS!

Fall is right.

----

The temp went first. The dog park was iffy for our usual Sunday morning confab due to the remnants of Gordon due to arrive here today, so our usual gang met up for a Saturday afternoon visit instead. It was MUCH cooler than it's been, with sweats and sweaters coming out among the humans, and it's much busier in the afternoons.  Pepper scared me with a sudden stop on the path with her pawing around her eyes- turned out to be a burr she'd gotten stuck in her ear which I removed- but she met and played well with plenty of new pups as well as her friends Ursula and Jake.

Then things got goofy at home. Likely because of the weather change, Zoey had been in a MOOD all day-



-and when feeding time came and she did not appear at her bowl, we knew something was up. Or in her case, out. Sure enough, I didn't notice that Zoey had snuck out of the house, then found her outside in spooky-kitty mode.While I was checking on her, I also didn't notice that Pepper proceeded to hop up on the edge of the kitchen counter and ate Zoey's food. Feeling guilty, I next poured out a whole extra cat fud can for Spooky Zoey, putting it atop the garage freezer when she didn't fall for the bait so Pepper didn't get a second helping of the forbidden fruit- only to forget it was up there when Eleanor asked me to get something from the freezer, toppling it in equal parts between the freezer bottom shelf and the garage floor;

By then, Zoey was done playing, back in the kitchen and, ahem, where was her fud? I scooped as much as possible back into her bowl and let Pepper clean up the rest of it because Yelp said Rosie's Diner was closed #HMSBounty. Completing the indignity for me, aftere she (and we) ate, and I was cleaning up the dishes? I cut the shit out of the tip of my left ring finger trying to rinse out that second cat fud can. Rosie cleaned up all of THAT blood, too.

But I finished some needed work, the Mets even won as I fell asleep, and today was Opening Day with the Bills tied for first in the AFC East at 0-0!  What would today bring?

Don't ask.

----


At least the rain held off here, and Pepper got an extra Parp! visit and I mowed most of our lawn until the mower battery gave out  (finished it after an afternoon recharge). Sadly, the battery on my radio was fully charged the whole time, and by the time Eleanor got home from Sunday Buddhism, the Bills were already down 20-0.  We spent the rest of gametime at an art opening of a friend of ours up in Lockport, and it was mercifully over- Baltimore 47, Buffalo 3- by the time we settled in back at home.  Since their next (at least) five opponents are as good or better than the Mediocre Ravens, I need a new hobby for Sundays. Many people play in "fantasy" leagues where you pick your own players from any NFL team and score points for QB touchdowns, offensive player running and receiving yards, and defensive stops. But I can't root against my beloveds no matter what, so I have a different solution:

a Fantasy Suck League.

Stay with me here. In this setup, you deliberately pick bad players and teams, and get points when your QB throws a pick and your defense gives up points. (That's as far this template takes it, although the Bills could inspire numerous bad categories  this year.)

I have a history with this. In college, there was an arcade video game named Lunar Lander, the object of which was to land a LEM on the moon’s surface without crashing. It was too hard for us, so we’d play it as Lunar Crasher- points for highest velocity hitting the surface, bonuses for downhill rolls and such. Oh, look, a video!
 



BTW, I've reconnected in the past week or so with one of the roommates from that "we," and there may be more coming here about that reconnection. Stay tuned; sure beats following football:P

ETA. ooh, lookie here- you can play it on online:)

http://my.ign.com/atari/lunar-lander


And that mysterious reference at the end is on hold; I'd checked  with that one roommate (unofficially, both of them;) to see if they'd be interested in seeing the a game at Fenway next weekend if I came over there; even the Red Sox can't stop people from giving away their tickets for next to nothing when the Mets are involved. Alas, they've been and will be out of town a lot, so we'll be in Wait Till Next Year mode for that.
 
Other fails I think I've forgotten to mention: our dryer crapped out Thursday night, but we managed to get an appointment today to get it fixed. Also, the KB on this laptop is now kaput to the point where I'm resorting to an external USB unit to type anything on or below the ZXCVB line (including the rather important space bar).  I'm steeling myself for the call to Dell Tech Support to see if I can get the damn thing replaced without having to go without it for weeks.

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Wowsers. This workweek's  blown by in a blink, probably because of the day off.  Also, because two of the three workdays since involved virtually useless drives to Rochester- one beginning too early and turning out to be utterly unnecessary, today's beginning later  and proving at least mildly profitable.  But it's mostly because I (not Eleanor) did not have to go into work on  Monday, and after spending our morning working a bit on the Big Dig after I'd passed on a ballgame trip with friends the day before, that afternoon turned out to host the final home game of the year for the Batavia Muckdogs- in terms of talent  and experience, almost literally the  lowest of the low.

I've now seen at least one ballgame at every level of official major and minor league baseball- The Show more times than I can count, equally countless (oxymoron?) games in Buffalo and Rochester at the one-step-away AAA level, and last year my first step into the AA world of the Mets'  Binghamton affiliate christened that year as the  Rumble Ponies. (Could be worse- the Mobile (AL) team in AA minor league ball just rebranded for next season as the Rocket City Trash Pandas.) But until this week, although I'd been by the Batavia ballpark tons of times, I'd never been inside for a taste of the rawest of rookies playing what is known as short-season A-ball.

Part of my motiviation is that Monday's game could quite possibly have been the last ever played in the small city at the center of Western  New York that was the birthplace of this long-standing low minor league:



Of those Original Six, none except Batavia remains. Niagara Falls held on into perhaps the 80s, the Jamestown Jammers (their final incarnation) stayed as a Bison-owned farm team until a few years ago, but most of the league is now scattered through the northeast from  Vermont to Ohio and south to  West Virginia.  Batavia's team was known primarily as the Clippers from that 1939 founding  onward, but occasionally taking on their MLB affiliates' names and, in an odd move, going as the Trojans for most of the 70s and 80s- until 1998, when they were one of the first minor league teams to cash in on the Goofy  Name Wot To Sell Merch Wit trend that has since given us the Rumble  Ponies, Trash Pandas, Pizza Rats, the Macon Whoopees, and the Rochester Garbage Plates.  "Muckdogs" somehow relate to the onion fields that dot the towns surrounding their Genesee County home. They're well, MUCKY. And presumably dogs poop in them or something.

That "Plates" name, though, would refer to the AAA Rochester Red Wings, a historically located and named franchise, which last year, and several nights this past year, switched uni's in honor of the city's most iconic (and ipepac-worthy) food dish. The Wings took over management of the  Batavia team several years ago, running its promotions and staffing its front office and stadium employees (in minor league baseball, the big clubs pay for the players, manager and coaches, but the franchise owner covers all the other costs and makes or loses the money).  Over the past few years, the Muckdogs lost quite a bit, but the Wings held on based on the promise of a one-shot recoupment when and if the team was sold. Even low-minor franchises often sell for fairly big bucks, particularly when an MLB team wants to locate one closer to its home, as both Mets and Yankees did in setting up A-ball shops in Brooklyn and Staten  Island.  Two years ago, a Maryland ownership group was ready to move the Muckdogs to near Baltimore, but objections from the Orioles, Nationals and some higher minor leagues kiboshed that. 2017 was the last year under Red  Wing management, and the league itself operated the franchise this past year, with not much in the way of organized promotions.  I'd checked repeatedly to see if they'd be repeating their very popular Bark in the Park game to meet up with Rochester friends of two- and four-legged persuasions, but they never announced it until my friend  Scott saw it on their promotion board the day after  it had happened:



And who is Dwyer, you ask?   There's a plaque about that, too:)

 

 



The former ramshackle structure of that name on the same site was torn down in the 90s, part of a statewide upgrade to and additions of ballparks to meet new MLB standards for their employees.  The field itself is the same one that just ended its 80th year, and it seemed to be in decent shape.  It's a nice enough stadium, although definitely low-rent:



The Muck-Marlin logos on the hometown clubhouse.   Marlin as in Miami, currently the worst team in the National League and without much talent coming up from this level any time soon.

Still. As the Bisons slogan went ages ago, it's real, it's fun, it's family.  It's also ridiculously cheap.  An over-55 entry to the venue?



Five bucks, baby.  I got there just as the anthem was  finishing, and first sought out refreshment.  Hot dogs ranged from three fitty to five bucks, depending on toppings, and you could not top this stand for damn decent craft beers for another four dollars:



It was a damn hot day, with rain forecast, but that five-dollar admission got me a roof-covered spot eight rows behind home plate with perfect views of everything.  This game even had playoff implications, although not for the home team: if the Mets' affiliate in Brooklyn won their final game (they did!) and the Muckdogs beat the visiting Auburn team, the  Cyclones would make the NY-Penn postseason.

Alas, the outlook wasn't brilliant for the Muckdog nine that day. They were down 4-0 before me, my dog and my beer even got to my seat.  But Batavia fought back for much of the afternoon, eventually closing an 8-2 deficit to 8-5 when the rain finally arrived and that was that.  But the moments of the day will last as much as seeing the big kids playing at Citi Field or the somewhat older ones battling in Buffalo:



They keep track of all of their alumni from the past 80 seasons. I counted four former Mets on that list, none of any great note for their play in New York, and two (or three, depending on when and how you count) who were still active players in the majors.



My view from eight rows up, and my first sight of a two-person umpiring crew  (they have four in the majors, three in AAA and AA), the rover shown just to the pitcher's right.  This also made it easier to keep track of the wild pitches and hit batters, which are common occurrences at this level.



The Muckdogs of course have a Mucks-cot, this year named Dewey.  He wears number 48, presumably for the  Thruway exit.  He's new, and may not be stadium trained, which would explain why he seems to be crated  between innings.

But the two moments, having nothing to do with the game itself, I will remember the most:



Near my departure, the promotions gang went around the stands (all 2,600 capacity, paid crowd of 657) shooting  t-shirts into the crowd. One bounced off  the hand of that little guy a row down from me and my beer. I caught it- and of course immediately handed it to him. That's mom displaying it.  Then, the final sideline promotions of the day were filled with the kids (most of them 16-20) who make up that promotions team.  It was fun seeing them getting to run the stupid races and get the cheap prizes for their season long efforts:



The drizzle that got me out of my seat turned to Outright Pour by the time I made it to my car (free parking just past that "HOME" clubhouse door), and their radio affiliate bailed before I could hear the son of former Mets pitcher Kevin Tapani record the save for enemy Auburn. They're selling season  tickets for next year, but the team itself remains on the block, and if the Blue Jays decide they want a team in Oakville, or the Red  Sox in Pawtucket (after they move their AAA team now housed there to greener-money pastures), we may never pass a ball this way again.

And then everybody who never made it out here will cry, as we did for the local rib joint chant:

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Or two, even.

First, though, the events leading up to our rather remarkable travels yesterday:

not many, really.  Friday was mostly a getaway day for everyone in the legal community except real estate attorneys who were pushing to get things closed on a Friday/last day of a month/last day before Labor Day and schools starting here.  I don't do that anymore. So I finished  one big work thing (this will be important later), left a little early, ordered some Wok & Roll for our dinner, and we just  basically chilled with Deadpool 2.

Sometime that next morning, I came across a remarkable article which really resonated with the depression that I experience.  It's not a profound sadness building on an overall feeling of living a horrible existence. Rather, it's the Thing, be it  big or small, that's in front of you at that particular moment of weakness. The author, named Molly Backes, posted about this in a series of tweets that just went viral, in which she refers to it as The Impossible Task:

Backes began the thread, which has gone viral and received almost 15,000 likes, by discussing depression treatment commercials, which “always talk about sadness but never mention that sneaky symptom that everyone with depression knows all too well: the impossible task.”

“The impossible task could be anything: going to the bank, refilling a prescription, making your bed, checking your email, paying a bill. From the outside, its sudden impossibility makes ZERO sense,” Backes wrote, before explaining why the impossible task can be so hard for others to understand.

Because the task is “rarely actually difficult” or “something you’ve done a thousand times,” it is “hard for outsiders to have sympathy.”

This outsider viewpoint, and questions of “why don’t you just do it and get it over with?” only make it more difficult for the person suffering - who are already asking themselves the same questions.

The impossible task can also change, according to Backes, who wrote that one day it can all of a sudden be something entirely different, such as being unable to do the dishes.

As I was reading this, I'd just completed what many would think is an  Impossible Task: turning a 40-page rambling state court complaint, drafted by someone else, into a much more streamlined and bankruptcy-specific claim.  I did it days before it was due precisely because I KNOW how Tasks can become impossible. In fact, also as I was reading this, there was a basket full of my washed and dried laundry, which had been there, waiting for the seemingly simple task of being folded, for at least 48 hours. That's exactly the kind of thing that can seem Impossible when the stresses of the day, and perceived stresses of the days ahead, get to me. 

But you know what? Two things made that task seem much more Possible: becoming self-aware of it, and knowing that I'm not the only one who suffers from it.  Although I didn't need the help this time, it also gave me the comfort of being told it's okay to ASK for help when these things seem impossible:

 

If you currently have one or more Impossible Tasks in your life, be gentle with yourself. You’re not a screw up; depression is just an asshole. Impossible Tasks are usually so dumb that it’s embarrassing to ask for help, but the people who love you should be glad to lend a hand.

Which I will now do. Both to ask for that help when I need  it, and to offer it in case you do.

----

Meanwhile, depression isn't the only asshole out there you have to deal with.

Earlier this week, Eleanor reported that two bikes had been locked up outside the entrance to her store nearest to where she works (and where she parks her own when she bikes to work). They'd been there for over two days and management couldn't just leave them there forever:



That one in the back is a Peugeot- hardly your father's cheap Schwinn.  I suggested we send the picture to the bike shop we'd  gotten ours from, and they, in turn, suggested I also post it on a Facebook group named  Buffalo Stolen Bikes. 

By that day's end, the one in front had been claimed, but the Peugeot, as of last check, was still there. I've kept checking the Facebook page, and the asshattery reported there over stolen bikes is staggering- bikes with photos showing up on Craigslist within minutes of reporting, thieves brazenly calling their former owners after rewards go up to taunt them.  Meanwhile, the dog park is now sporting flyers of a stolen puppy, describing the minivan which kidnapped him.

And then there were ducks.

----

Our plan for yesterday was to see a friend's art show in a small village a bit over an hour east of here. It's a fascinating project:



The father:



And how one of his photos was recreated:

 

Miraculous stuff.

When we finished exploring, it was lunchtime, and this little village, just south of the 90  between Canandaigua and Geneva, had a  lovely looking restaurant/bakery right across Main Street.  We asked for a  table outside in their garden, and it wasn't long before we saw these guys in their pond:



That was an amazing enough sight, but the story of how they came  to be there, more so.  Our server was named Jessie, a kind but no-nonsense kinda woman, who was more than  happy to answer our questions.  They are Indian runner ducks- biologically not much different  from your basic daffus duckus domesticus-but among  other traits, they  do not fly. Which was a problem, when Jessie first encountered them  in a pond at a nearby community horsepital. They were left in a pond there by a prior probable purchaser of pets- ohhh, how cute these ducklings are, wait they're getting so BIGGGGG!- who plopped them in a  pond occupied by swans-  who promptly attacked them.  It wasn't long before the three of them- sadly down to these two after a  Main Street road accident- were waddling over to near her restaurant. She wrangled them into their pond-  she  showed us a picture where they were clearly petrified at first- but they've settled down, and in, to this gorgeous landscape and  are now just swimming their days away with everybody  loving them, and not with wine sauce and zuchinni fries.  She named them Thelma and Louise until realising they were a nesting pair. So, Thelma and Louis, it now is.

The  story made the meal, and the whole  day,  even more special. We turned this into one of our Just Because occasions for leaving a ridiculous overtip, which Jessie promised to share with the whole staff (but not the ducks;).

And if there's a moral in this, it's this: if you can save two exotic ducks from near certain death and make them part of a beautiful landscape, there is no such thing as an  Impossible  Task.

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Scratch off that final minor league game of the year. I had tentative plans to see the Wings (the real ones going by "Plates") against the Wings (the fake ones who usually go by "Bisons") in Rochester tonight. The weather mostly cleared and definitely cooled, but by the time I got through my morning work here, the two other things I  thought I'd have to go for in the afternoon turned out to be no things I'd have to go for. So they'll just have to play their death match for fourth place in the International League North without me:(

----

The keyboard cleaning was nice, but it did not solve the problem. If anything, more key combinations are joining the party and not working.  I'm going to wait until after the holiday weekend to see about a more involved repair, because Office Depot is crawling with crumbcrunchers getting their back-to-school supplies.  On my third visit the other day to finally reclaim my laptop, I saw a family coming out as I was going in. The women, all hijabi'd and speaking in thick accents. But the kids, eagerly clutching their supply lists from their Most Very Murkin elementary schools.  I'm sure there were people near, if not in, that store who were put off by these showings of the womens' faith (I'd personally be more afraid of a Catholic priest, given recent confessions;), but what I saw were just people. Who are the same all over and want the same all over.


There's similar teeth-gnashing going on where I grew up,  where people are freaking out because police found human remains in a wooded area one community over, and they’ve identified it as gang-related. OMG MS13!, I hear them cry. I promptly commented that East Meadow, when I grew up there, was the long time home of Joey Bananas, the former head of one of the Mafia's Five  Families. “Now THAT was a gang.”

But another commenter topped that: “Yeah I miss the days when all we had was a serial killer living on my grandma’s street. Such idyllic and peaceful days of yore.”  I was lucky. Joel lived at least five blocks away from me on the other side of the school.

Even when I get a sudden streak of mean in me, it never lasts. The other morning, I was in a hurry to get on the road and when two of us approached the Timmy's drive-thru at the same moment, I cut the other guy off.  Tempted though I am sometimes to just recite the old Fried Green Tomatoes line- I'm older than you and I have more insurance- I wound up paying for his order. Best four bucks I spent the whole day:)

----

Speaking of body parts: we have a bank which could use some more in the higher elevations.

A bankruptcy client, who gave up her home in the case, emailed to inform me that the mortgage holder (not naming them, but it's a LOCK you'd guess it if you've RED much of my writing) has refused to secure the property and she is now getting code violation notices on it. Here's what I sent the bank attorney:

You filed the lift-stay motion referenced below, which was unopposed and granted because the debtor surrendered the property. No foreclosure has been commenced to our knowledge, and our client is now receiving code violation notices concerning the property condition. New York has adopted strict new measures to prevent "zombie homes" from falling into this situation. If you would like to arrange a deed in lieu to get this issue resolved, please contact me. Otherwise, the bank can expect action to publicize, if not penalize, its lack of BRAINNNNNNNS.

I called the guy today, and he forwarded it as soon as he got it. They promised to "expedite" all the processes- foreclosure, deed-in-lieu review, and securing the property. Of course, when they use that word, it does not mean what you and I think it means.

----

On the other hand, when I used the word last night, I damn did mean it meant fast.  I did my first-ever poetry reading at the last of the Elmwood Village open mics for the summer.  They had twelve slots for the first round, but after Eleanor got out of work and we took the long ride down under the glow of a double rainbow, all of them were filled- except, for some reason, the second.  So I took it.

I started with the one that was more filk than poem, but certainly readable as one: inspired by  Rudy Giuliani's proclamation two weekends ago that "truth isn't truth," I decided to put him in an updated version of the Monty Python  Philosopher's Song:
 

Read more...Collapse )

(The original with lyrics is here if you need it;)

Then onto more of a poem-poem. Called "Breakdown  Lane," it was inspired by an endless parade of road detritis we saw heading to Silo  City for another  poetry and music performance two weekends before.  Mostly stream of consciousness stuff, with a built in lawyer joke which of course got the biggest reaction.

I was cheered.   That doesn't happen in court.



See yas next summer:)

 

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Continuing the failyah-ta-caMYOONicate theme from a couple of weeks ago:

Sometimes, that failure can be deliberate- and a good thing.  I’ve begun a practice of trying really hard to detach myself from work when I’m not AT work, especially on the weekends. It’s easy enough to make at least a serious dent in the off-hours stress.  By just turning off call forwarding from my office number to my cell phone (three keystrokes), and then disabling the Outlook messages from coming into that phone (push the settings icon, go to “accounts and passwords,” and then one clicky of a green button  turns Outlook  to this:)


And it’s just as easy to turn them back on come Monday morning. It doesn’t stop the texters, or the clients who have the mobile number, but they’re a much smaller bunch.  I’ve found it’s made it easier to keep my mind on the rest of things in life without having worklife overwhelming me.

----

At the moment, communicating is coming through a borrowed computer, because mine is over at Office Megamonopoly being cleaned and hopefully cured of its keyboard problems.  It’s running me all of ten bucks, and they gave me a $10 coupon to use on udda thingza.  The intake tech was very nice; only when I saw her full name on her business card did I realize: I know you. She came in to my office for a consultation months ago, and while I remembered the name, the face of course fell right through my faulty facial recognition software.  Never did ask if she remembered who I was.

I made that stop right after ordering flowers for the funeral of our coworkers’ relative, which is late tomorrow.  Wegmans is doing a nice job of getting the arrangement made in time.  Less nice was when we went online this morning to look up the details of the wake and funeral.  At the top of the Buffalo News obituary page was a pop-up ad directed at FLIRTY SINGLES.

I don’t think that’s gonna get too many clicks. Not more than two, beyond these:

----

A primary cause of non-communication is the failure to see or hear. Which is why I got a serious kick out of seeing this the other day:


and promptly amending it myself to include this:



I’m so bad.  I hope mom and dad don’t punish me by rearranging the furniture.

And then there’s this: I got this toy elephant for Pepper the first day after she came home to us, along with her new personalized tag.  She instantly adopted it as her “lovey” and it’s essential to get her into her crate and always comes out in her yap for a mad run round the house as soon as we let her out.  It’s a Kong brand toy, known for their indestructibility; and sure enough, it lasted almost three months in near-intact fashion until last week, when she finally chewed one of his ears off.  I say “his,” because this finally inspired me to name the toy. I give you:



Vincent.

(A few weeks later, I bought a duplicate of it so she’ll still have one when this one finally Van Goghs.)

----

ETA.  Got the laptop back, fresh from a $10.00 repair which mainly, but didn't completely, fix the keyboard problems. I may just need to learn some new shortcuts.

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Yesterday was the birthday of two of my longest-standing friends in the universe. One, not quite a year behind me on the orbital path, I've known for going on 20 years; the other, five years behind her, was hired to work for me when we moved here 24 years ago. I lasted a year in that joint; she, close to 20. Now our kids are all grown and we're awaiting weddings and bebbies from the youngest of them. This time, you can stay on my lawn, if you wish both Donna and Lisa the happiest of birthdays:)

Tempering that was the news, yesterday, that the brother and uncle of two of my co-workers had finally passed after a not long struggle with cancer. That was followed by the more publicized passings, first, of John McCain and, then, of Neil Simon. There is distinct unfairness in the lottery that is life. Sorrow for all these families and shame on those who, in McCain's case, have been cruel, petty and opportunistic.

----

The workweek ended relatively quietly, and the coming week promises to be even more of the same, as courts tend to skip the coming week as the unofficial "end of summer" time. This time can be put to good use at things like cleaning up files (I began that process one morning last week and have to transition several boxes of them back to Rochester) and, probably, getting this goddam computer fixed. As in this still-under-warranty, less than year-old Dell. I specifically picked it out because its keyboard, the first thing to traditionally go on my machines due to the hard use and cat hair, seemed sturdier than on previous Toshiba and HP models. Indeed: it's so fucking sturdy you can't get AT anything to clean it, much less replace the keyboard. One online site suggested that a "BIOS reset" might solve the problem of some keys not registering and others unexpectedly repeating (as they do- others work, but don't in combination with shift or ctrl, which for things like the ? character is a bit of a problem). To reset the BIOS on an Inspiron, they say to shut it down, unplug it, remove the battery, and then hold the power button down for a good 15-30 seconds. I've done this many times on other models- but on this one, the battery appeared to be hidden.

And for good reason: it IS.



Clearly this has been Inspiron-ed by the Steve Jobs Hide Everything That Breaks method. And warranties (which it is still under) and purchase protection plans beyond that (which it also has) are useless when, to use them, you need to back up everything, ship the unit off, and quite possibly never see it again as they instead send you a gift card for a replacement that will require hours of reinstallation and reconnection. So likely I am going to pay for a professional to take those 37 screws out and clean it before resorting to that- and hoping all along that doing so won't void the warranty or the purchase protection:P

----

Our sudden burst of out-going has continued, if a bit more slowly. Friday, we got to both an art opening (two of Eleanor's friends had pieces in it) and a benefit for Goo Goo Doll Robbie Takac's Music Is Art foundation:



That was the last of the young performers, accompanied by their music teacher. The art in the juice bar hosting it (it also has a sports therapy room and possibly a Batcave;) wasn't what we went to see; I didn't take photos of those pieces for copyright reasons, but did create a spontaneous objay-dart of my own on the snacks table:



"Napkin Weight"
Anonymous
Mixed Media
2018
NFS

I didn't photograph the fork. The fork is irrelevant.

Continuing in a donationey mood, I took a "free class" at my workout joint yesterday which encouraged donations to a Buffalo school in need of funds for supplies. The workout was brutal, but this guy sat on the window for almost the whole class and watched it:



No donations today, but we did get to the dog park as usual and saw a new arrival. Meet Lucy. She’s got arthritis, and is really slow getting around the park. So to keep up with her brothers and sisters, this is how she rolls. Literally:



Also, nature!



I put in some Big Dig time this morning, just finished my burrito bowl from the juice bar for lunch, and I think it's time to start getting ready for the week ahead. Not much work, but the final poetry reading that I am still fixin' to read at, probably one final minor league ballgame, and another art opening next weekend.

Plus times to be born, and times to die. That's always gonna be there.

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Sunday completed a stretch of us being out and about four out of five straight nights. One café poetry reading, one dinner out, more poetry and music in a silo, and finally, we finally got to Shakespeare in the Dark on its final night of its not final season:



Much Ado. Also, much a-doodoo in the smells department. Someone was blasting some wicked incense around us, and then  just as we were getting up to move away from it, up came an unexpected line from two years ago: Exeunt, pursued by a skunk.

That was it for the night. We booboo'd from the doodoo.  But we did get to contribute for the year and met a nice prince of Messina from the cast who took our donation:)

----

One thing I didn't get round to on Sunday was getting the inside of my car cleaned. It's been in need of it for months, mainly needing to remove the massive amount of crud on the passenger seat from 20 months of dogs sitting there after Parp! runs.  I did get to the car wash that morning, but the wait for interior cleaning was interminable so I just got the outside washed; I tried a different one that afternoon and it was even more interminable so I bailed again. Finally got it done at a third location during the day yesterday after being spared an hour in court after I was already en route to Rochester to appear there. (I had other appointments I'd made later in the day based on that, so it wasn't a total waste.)

----

Speaking of dogs:  Pepper has been a bit of a pill this week.  Monday, she refused to even come inside, much less go into her crate, so Eleanor left her in the yard. I'd forgotten about a court appearance I had (which fortunately was here), so I had to go home and put on my Amazing Lawyer Man suit anyway, and I wrangled her in and inner.  Yesterday, she was less trouble, but this morning she did it to me before I left.  Yet, just to let us know who's really in charge here? At one point last night, she went into the crate on her own and plopped into her doggie bed- and then this morning, when Evil Cat Michelle started her 3-to-5-usually-fourish-AM yowling, I got up to toss her in the garage, and she walked on her own to the door and waited for me to let her out.  This, of course, was after we caught her red-pawed online after coming home from one of those nights out:



What, Boris, you want all of mommy and daddy's passwords? How much you got for them?

Also, notice she's drinking our wine.  That might explain the sudden acts of yowling kindness. Either that, or the Feliway. This is a product recommended by our vet and several others to get her over some of her bad behaviors. It's a plug-in dispenser that emits supposedly cat-calming pheromones; while it hasn't shut her up a lick, it has been effective at keeping her from hissy-pissing all over our kitchen and clothes.   Since it affects both cats,  I suspect it's even calming Zoey a little, because she's seemed to be more affectionate since we've been using it, and she was never a slouch  in that department even before:)

Other odds and ends from the past week:

- I got a lovely little scare over the weekend about one of my BP medications being recalled for containing carcinogens.  This came as a major annoyance because it took months to find one that would keep the numbers down without causing the Dreaded Permanent Lisinopril Cough.  Fortunately, our trusty pharmacist assured me that the recall was limited to certain manufacturers of Valsartan, of which mine is not one. Still, you have to watch these guys like hawks; I'm on four different generics, and each of them has been switched to a different maker (and often to a different size, color or means of dispensing) at least once since I've been taking them. What's a little Deadly Cancer if you can save a couple of bucks?

 

 




- The political news of the past few days has been all warm and schadenfreude-y. First,  Giuliani going Full  Crazy Uncle on Meet the Press, then yesterday's convictions of Manafort and guilty plea from Michael  Cohen. It was enough to awaken the latent poet in me, and next Wednesday, I will be debuting at the poetry reading with a spoken-word updating of the Monty Python "Philosopher's Song" to reflect Rudy's place among the pantheon and other Trumpian characters' flaws. I may also dust off one or two from my distant past, and even wrote a brand new one the other day while I was waiting in court.   They'll show up here next week after their debut or non-debut. That is, if I get around to it.

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It rained for Shakespeare Friday night. Because of course it did. Two years ago, they had two rainouts the entire season. Guess which two I was at?  So we just headed home after dinner in a beloved North Buffalo trattoria, and resolved to try again tonight. Not last night, even though it would have been perfect outside.  Because there were other plans already made.

The rain got worse by Saturday morning- witness Pepper's newest finds on her morning walkies-



- but was out of the area by late morning, when she had her first spa visit under our jurisdiction. Her previous groomer sounded a little pricey, so I checked the chains last weekend and found that Petco had a quite reasonable package- "face, feet and fanny"- so Eleanor took her and, after some stumbling over getting proof of her rabies vaccination, left her there for all three F's (she compared the feels to leaving Emily at day care for the first time #awwwwww), but Pepper got straight A's for behaving the whole time:)

Here's her post-spa pose:



(The bandana's off; I caught her in at least one bank-robber pose with it on.)

I did a little yardwork as the Big Dig nears its end, but we mostly readied to explore one of the Not My Buffalo Yet areas I'd scoped out the day before: Silo City.  Some of these are still in use for their original grainy purposes- General Mills is still here and "My City Smells Like Cheerios" is a Thing- but many were just abandoned. Developers have made occasional proposals ranging from repurposing to demolition- HEY! WATERFRONT CONDOS!- but one strip of them has become an out-of-the-way arts destination, even getting the city to rename the stub street going into it as "Silo City Row." Sadly, Siri has not yet been informed of this change, but I picked up on it the previous day on my test run, so we were able to get there in plenty of time for two readings and a musical performance....

delayed by half an hour, in part because the silo was leaking.  I did mention the rain, yes?

It didn't delay the picture-taking, though. 



Positively majestic structures from a bigger, stronger time- Chicago may have been the City of Big Shoulders, but Sandburg would've had trouble finding Buffalo unable to outlift it.   We headed into the performance space, and I had to look up into what was once grain from where we sat up to.... this:



No grain, nor grinding gears, fell upon us, but the previous night's rain did for the first halfish hour, but in time the first poet took the stage:



Marcus Jackson, an Ohioan (fitting for a venue off Ohio Street), with words that were true and real and covering a range of subjects and emotions. He read from his most recent book of poems and a few of more recent vintage; I got to meet him after his words, letting him know some of the venue's history and that Rochester, as well, has a group devoted to this kind of literature.  Maybe a seed was planted there.

The musicians then set up. Their instruments, purely electronic; their outfits, straight outta Devo; their performance, awesome:)



(UVB76, if you need them:)

We then got a genuine break, to restock our water (beer was also on offer), purch the merch, and stretch the legs. Eleanor took a brief opportunity to see if chanting in the silo would be as awesome as the mic-enhanced acoustics of the two performers (no, but nothing shabby about it, either:).

Then came Kazim Ali:




He apologized at one point: “I’m sorry I can’t explain any of these poems to you. It’s your tough luck.” We got enough- of their energy, their emotion, their closeness to the heart.

Then it was time to wind back through the little-known back streets to get to familiar turf and eventually home.  We did our own things this morning, bloody well little this afternoon, and still plan much ado about  nothing tonight.  All in all, it's been a week of what we refer to, inspired by an old New Yorker cartoon, "ART- AND PLENTY OF IT!"

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Oh, we all know the next line:



(Actually, I didn't; I had it in my head all these years as "what we have heah....")

But it pretty much sums up the good, the bad and the weird of this past week, which overall has been pretty good:)

Monday night, we called a summit with the mother of Pepper's former owner.  After last Friday's incident of the daughter showing up at our house unannounced and uninvited- and I didn't realize at the time that she was there a good twenty minutes, with Eleanor hiding in the house, before she finally left the bling for the dog- both the daughter and her sister showed up at the store on Monday, again unannounced.  Turned out they were just there to shop, or visit their mom who was working, but it got Eleanor concerned enough about another attempted "I was just in the neighborhood" moment that we called her mom and had an Airing of the Grievances after she got out of work that night.

Ultimately, I think the air was sufficiently cleared, but not without a fair amount of positioning and defensiveness.  Turns out the mom knew about the whole attempt the previous weekend because she drove the kid to our house! She also tried to guilt us in any number of ways- that they "chose" us to adopt rather than another family further away so they'd have a chance to see Pepper in the future; that her kid having the dog's things around her place were reminding her of Pepper and making her sad (we get this- that's why we gave away Ebony's meds and food and other talismen right after she passed); and that the girl is having a hard time in other ways that neither her mom nor we wanted to get into, so it was just hard for her right now.  It took some time and some firmness, but I think we finally got across that the most important thing is the adjustment of the dog, in a consistent and non-confusing sort of way.  She even said they were worried that we'd given up the dog after only a month, or that something had happened to her. (The first? No way. We're lifers, even with evil annoying cats; and we did promise that if anything did happen to her, we'd let them know.) We did also decide that occasional updates on how Pepper's doing, particularly some of the funnier ones, would be a nice gesture to cut down on the emo. Such as last night's, where it looked for all the world that Pepper was calling Dog 911:



“Dog 911, What is your emergency?”

“There’s a squirrel right outside this window!”

“Sitting still or climbing?”

“Taunting me!”

“OMG!”

“OMG!”

----

Cah-MUNNNicatin' is also hindered by technology at times- as I experienced at least twice this week.

I took a judgment against a woman who works in a medical practice.  The immediate remedy is to garnish her wages, but it's a complex set of forms (would you like to learn about the blue lines in hockey the limits on income executions under CPLR 5231 and 15 U.S.C. 1671?), so it's best to verify employment first.

The rules for the blue lines in hockey are easier.  It took something like 14 calls over 2 business days to get an actual human being on the phone. Every other call went into the Bog of Eternal Voicemail, never to come out again.  I complained, generally, that every medical practice I've ever dealt with, including our current one, is just this bad- their "out," no doubt for malpractice purposes, is they always start the message with "if this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911." Right- which will subject many uninsured people to four-figure ambulance charges (or possibly talking to a dog;)  I also contrasted it with both of my current law offices, which do use voicemail systems, but in limited and much user-friendly ways.

But. Lest you think all lawyers are better at this? Tuesday proved me wrong.  I wound up calling a law firm with auto-answer voicemail that was designed basically as "Keep pressing 1 to hear the name of every fucking person in the office in random order until you finally get to the old coot who didn't know how to set up his." Including, sadly, one who's been dead for at least a year and a half.

Never did get through to the lawyer on that. Wrote him a letter. With a stamp.

----

Sometimes, noncommunication is best- as the next couple of days proved.

I went into Tarjay Tuesday night to pick up the Avengers Infinity War Blu-Ray, to learn the sekrit clues of what really happened and so Eleanor can see it if she wants, and as I was going in, a mother was dragging out a bratty little kid, sobbing uncontrollably about some "get" she didn't get.  It took the whole fiber of my being not to call out to her, "And there's no such thing as Santa Claus!"  (Hey, long as she was in a bad mood anyway,....)

Then, the next night, I was cashed out at the adjacent Wegmans (not Eleanor's store) by one cashier who was being succeeded by a second. One named Hannah, the other Montana.  I did not crack any of the obvious jokes- at least not to them. (I did ask Montana if they worked together a lot, and she seemed confused; I'm wondering if they're just too young to recognize the reference.)  So it was a missed opportunity, but as we all know, a miss is as good as a Miley.

I know. Noncommunicate some more.

----

Technology also gets it wrong in other ways.

When I'm driving, especially, I tend to use the microphone function on my phone to dictate emails, texts and even Facebook posts. Hands-free and all that.  It does produce some interesting results, though.

Wednesday morning, I had court in Buffalo and one of the judges announced the courtrooms and clerk's office are moving around the corner.  This had been in the works for years but it's finally a "go" as of mid-October.  In emailing a friend who often appears before him, I said "there will be no motion calendar for Judge Kaplan that week." Siri took that as "there will be no motion calendar for God On that week." Hey. I like the guy, and I stand when he comes in the room, but....

The next morning, she turned another Judge into a God.  Now I'm wondering if it's something in the robes.

----

Finally, today, I ended my workweek with a different kind of communication- of learning how to get between unfamiliar neighborhoods of Buffalo that are both very old and very new in terms of their popularity.

We attended our third poetry reading at an Elmwood Village cafe Wednesday night. That's a cool hip neighborhood I know well and has been such for years. But many of the events promoted through the same people are tending to be in the grittier, long undeveloped sections of town. I hear about them all the time, but they are literally off the grid- the one, that is, of the Ellicott-designed street plan of "downtown" as we know it.  Once I get south of Church Street (which, I only just realized, hasn't got a single church on it), I may as well be in Timbuktu.  So I took advantage of a dead hour between court filings and a client appointment to explore some of these places, ever so close to each other and to places I know well.

First, and closest to "the grid," is Canalside- as in the spot where the Erie Canal first connected the Great Lakes to the rest of the state in the early 19th century. It's been misdeveloped, stopped, started, but finally hit its stride in recent years. The oddest symbol of it is a statue bought from a Cincinnati art gallery, and subject of millions of selfies. I finally saw it live today for the first time: Shark Girl.



Also saw the first Smart SUV in existence over there:



From there, Siri took over, and did much better with directions than she did with transcriptions.

"Buffalo Riverworks," I said, and I was sent down twists and turns, over a lift bridge, across tracks and finally to a still largely industrial area being slowly overtaken by hipsters:



Turn right, and there you are with some very large beer cans in sight:



Silos, there are, but Silo City, this is not. Siri sent me round more turns, tracks and one misnamed street to get to THAT:



This, I think, is the one hosting a performance next weekend Eleanor very much wants to go to. I just want to watch out for loony French soldiers up on the parapets of that thing yelling "Fetchez la vache!"

----

Maybe Shakespeare tonight. If it rains, Spike Lee. 
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August 15th has always been a personal, and pretty intense, holiday of mine and my own. It recalls the day in 1978 that I dropped off a check, picked up some keys, and began my life away from the family of my upbringing, never to return.  Yeah, I'd lived in a Cornell dorm the previous year, but that was never the same thing as what was to come. Home was still away- down there.  But when I packed up my relatively few possessions and turned that key on this August Ithaca morning, it was for real and for good.

I've observed this holiday many times before in posts (most recently this one, probably this as the first, and at least this one in between); I thought I'd referenced the song lyric modified above at least once, but I can't find where I did it- it's from this Indigo Girls song from the first CD we ever bought.  It was the beginning of my independence, of learning life things I'd either avoided or been spared, from cooking to cleaning to getting along with people in and out of my one true home who, for the first time, I wasn't blood-relative with.

Thinking about it overnight- mainly to get away from the anxiety of a court hearing this morning that has been kicked like a can into next Wednesday morning- I brought my mind back to Ithaca, and to those first baby steps. Of learning the Ithaca Transit schedule to get around (I had no car, and wouldn't for two more years). Of discerning the difference between a cabbage and a head of iceberg lettuce in the Cayuga Mall supermarket we called the Grand Onion.  Yet somehow, this year, my thoughts focused more on what a time of transition it also was, forty summers ago, for the one blood relative I've remained closest to in terms of geography, emotions and just about everything else.

----

In at least the 2008 recollection of this date, I mentioned that my sister Donna had been going through some changes that summer, as well. She'd been in Binghamton for a decade by then, for college and eventually work. In my first year at Cornell, we visited often, and I got to know her boyfriend Joe, who was ::cue soap opera organ:: still married.  He'd stay over at her place sometimes, and they'd "head out" to various destinations, but his home was still in nearby Endicott, with a wife and kid and limitations. 

Around the time of my ill-fated move back "home" for the first and last time between freshman and sophomore years, Donna also moved back to Long Island for the first and last time since leaving in 1968.  She'd reconnected with an old flame named Jerry, given up her cool apartment on Bingo's west side, put a bunch of stuff into storage and moved to where he lived not far from our childhood home.  It was Jerry's Caddy which held all the worldly possessions I intended to take from East Meadow- basically a suitcase of clothes, my stereo, some books and record albums, and my father's army foot locker chock full of tschockes and whatnots. 

I set out on my new life- my two (eventually two and a half) roommates arrived within a few weeks, we set to our classes and me to joining the daily paper, and I didn't miss the quick weekend bus trips to Binghamton to see family as much.  Until, all of a sudden, it was over: Jerry was out, Joe was back in, and this time in for good. He left the home, the wife and the kid, helped her get her stuff out of Jerry's and (just as annoying) the storage joint, and took up housekeeping with Donna in a new apartment up the road from the mall in Johnson City.  She got a new job, and had some rough months in the early transition back, but in the end there was no question that the move back was the right move for both of them.

They'd be together the next 15 years, moving from that place to the first and then second homes Donna bought herself, through my  mother's move first to her area and then into that second home with her, and finally through Joe's final year of illness (we got the news the weekend of Emily's birth) until he passed about a year later.  In an even soap-opera-ier ending to the whole thing, Donna and Joe's wife wound up being close friends, both at his side for most of his final months.  She remained close to Rose until her passing only recently, and still is close to her daughter and granddaughter.  Donna and Joe never married- which likely helped with those good feelings- but I don't think they needed any liturgical blessing of what they meant to each other than the blessings they each bestowed directly.

I wonder how things would have gone if there had been different twists in the river of time. If she'd never moved back that summer. Or if she had stayed. Or if I hadn't totaled my first-ever car in my third week back in Nausea County, immediately losing my freedom and employability and making that one summer the miserable experience that it was and convincing me to never to go back.   I can't imagine the next 15 years without him as part of her memories, or him and her in mine.  They were there in so many ways for so many things for me, through two graduations, job and life changes.

So even though you never knew what it was, Happy Anniversary, Donna:) This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1529244.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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We all have our favourite comic book or tv-show superhero we wish will get updated and booted back into one of the various Major Cinematic Universes. There's always a shot- who'd have guessed a foul-mouthed raccoon, or an even fouler-mouthed cancer case, would have made the cut at Marvel? DC's a little too traditional, but I suppose the Teen Titan animated bit shows they have a little room for B-movie stars.

For me, it'd be this guy:



What better pedigree can you get? Brought to life by the co-creator of Get Smart and screenplay writer of The Graduate? Starring the voice of Knight Rider and featuring the neighbor from Bewitched? That costume?!? What's not nice about that?

(Answer: nobody knew. It sucked in the ratings and was never heard from again.)

Anyway, I thought of him yesterday as Eleanor and I both had to turn to our super-nice powers dealing with our nemeses out there, trying at every turn to weaken us with Kryptonice.

----

Not sure if I mentioned this here amongst all the day-to-day news about our newest four-pawed arrival, but it's been an occasionally bubbling-under-the-surface issue. We agreed to adopt this dog from the daughter of one of Eleanor's coworkers, who had, in turn, adopted her from the city shelter not five months earlier. Her then-boyfriend (who she met working with her in a very hipster line and is quite a bit older than her about-our-Emily's age) had promised to take Pepper with him if they ever broke up. They did, he didn't, so we stepped in. Eleanor would give Pepper's former grandma the occasional update about the dog, and they talked a little bit about whether her daughter could come visit sometime. Then, sometime maybe a month or so ago, the daughter just happened to run into Eleanor at the store herself. She was asking after Pepper, wondering, not only if she could pay a visit sometime, but if the ex-boyfriend ALSO could. (Apparently he misses her, too. He, who broke the promise to be her forever daddy. Womp womp.)

Although Eleanor gave her a semi-but-noncommittal "okay," she didn't feel right about it. So we both reached out to numerous friends and fellow companions. These include at least one veterinarian and a couple who've been fostering mostly pitties for years. Also, neighbors of ours who also recently adopted; they had come to find that it takes a good four months minimum for a dog to acclimate to a new home and reveal its true personality. And that, presumably, is for a sample consisting mostly of breeder/litter/foster/SPCA or whatever to the forever home. This dog went from original (still unknown) owner to street to shelter to daughter to us in a span of six months. That's five adjustments- six if you count whatever bonding she did at grandma's house. So we let her know, through her mom, that we didn't think it was a good idea, at least for the foreseeable future- and that if it did occur, it would be on a less confusing neutral ground.

Well. Apparently that message was either not delivered or not understood. Because although I'd ended my workday early and mostly Nice-ly (except for the one need for superpowers I'll get to), as I was starting to head home from Wegmans (Eleanor had left an hour earlier), there was a text from her, followed by a call. The former owner had just texted her, to the effect of Hey! I have a bunch more of Pepper's old toys and things and I'm gonna be in the neighborhood so okay if I stop by with them?

We both thought of the same answer: No, but thanks. Just leave them at your mom's (she lives very close to us and even closer to the store) and we'll get them from her.

Kid: Awwww, but I'm right around the corner, okay if I just drop them if you're not there?

Both of us, agreeing on the answer: Don't answer her.

Sure enough, within minutes, by which time I'm about a mile from the house myself, she's out on the driveway. Rings both doorbells, knocks, probably would've just walked in if she had been only a percent cheekier. Eleanor is literally hiding in our own home to avoid the confrontation. Finally, moments before I pulled up (and I had a very nice speech for her rehearsed, incorporating most of what I said up above), she dropped the loot on our front stoop and headed off.

Yeesh.

Best current advice is not to text her back, or do anything that suggests any openings in the boundaries we are trying to set down. We will call her, make clear that we appreciate everything she's done, that the dog is fine (some have said this is important to convey), and that Pepper, through how she acts around us and home and others, will tell us when the right time is, if the right time ever is, to reopen this back door into her life.

And if not, I may just need to flashy-thing the kid-



----

Meanwhile, in the mild-mannered offices of a great sub-metropolitan law office:

A coworker referred a guy a few years ago for bankruptcy. Nice enough, but utterly unreliable, and very needy. I put endless hours into trying to either fix his bankruptcy repayment plan or at least let him get some of his debts discharged, but he never kept appointments, didn't pay for most of what I did do, and he finally got dismissed out.  A few months ago, I helped him with one post-BK aspect of his financial stuff, and even THAT was pulling teeth. Blessedly, I hadn't heard from him in months, but for some reason (I suspect seeing his name in my text messages when I was scrolling back for something else) I thought of him around lunchtime yesterday. That was all it took to turn my eyes bright blue and transform into the Incredible Nice Guy. Because OF COURSE he called late in the afternoon, right before I left. And OF COURSE he needs more shit. And OF COURSE I made an appointment with him- but with specific rules and boundaries. Check in hand when you come in the door. And after that, pay as you go- you pay or I go. Miss an appointment and don't call? Done.

I wonder if I should wear a cape. This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1528955.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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If you didn't recognize the titles of this and the previous post, they're a homage to perhaps the single most memorable movie line of all time referencing Chicago:



Before getting into the merits of the show itself (and there were many), I should give a little background about these staples of summer- the outdoor venue retro show. Growing up, these were not A Thing. Maybe it was because Woodstock scared off city fathers (which all of them would have been at the time), and they either banned big gatherings from the existing venues like stadiums and racetracks which might have hosted them, or they just limited the tickets and ranges of music so much that they weren't profitable. I vaguely remember somebody trying to stage a rock concert at the Watkins Glen racetrack when I was at Cornell, but the Schuyler County Harumphers were having none of 100,000 hippies descend on them, so it never happened.

Some venues became famed for their summertime connections to classical music. Tanglewood goes back to the 40s as the summer home of the Boston Symphony (it's hosted some gigs for the hoi poloi- even Chicago snuck in there in the early 70s). But to my memory, it was SPAC- the Saratoga Performing Arts Center- that was the first I ever heard of to go big time rock'n'roll in addition to its original missions of hosting summertime performances of orchestras and ballets.

Inspired by the sound of money being printed, other venues either got in on the act or popped up like summertime Queen Anne's Lace on various large lawns. Near where we are now, Artpark, originally intended as a- duh- park with art in it!, with artists and sculptors in residence as well as concerts in the ampitheater, eventually became a summertime spot for mostly smaller and older touring acts. Near Rochester, the summer home of the RPO was a frequent summer stop of ours. Then known as Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center, and unfortunately abbreviated by DJ's to "Fleapac," it's since been expanded and renamed CMAC in honor of the founder and family of the local company known as the country's largest producer of, um, fortified wine.   The site of the original Not Actually In Woodstock has become the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, yet another outdoor host to many of the Memory and Metamucil summer tours. And way back on the Oiland, the Jones Beach Theater, originally used for the likes of Guy Lombardo, has also become a reliable stop on the Hey! Remember Us When We Made Records? circuit of every band you remember mostly from the 70s. Chicago and REO stopped there the weekend before I saw them here last night.

"Here," in this case, is what is probably the most distant, badly designed and just butt ugly concert venue I have ever attended, certainly among all of those I just mentioned.  Darien Lake Performing Arts Center was a 90s expansion of an 80s addition to the theme park plopped between Buffalo and Rochester- and, inconveniently, dozens of miles south of both of them- by millionaire and Hyatt Hotel misdeveloper Paul Snyder.  It grew out of the Genesee County weeds sometime in the 70s as "Darien Lake Fun Country," with a "big country smile!" ad campaign splatted on every upstate media market that is still stuck in my head. It's been expanded, sold, renamed, re-sold and is now more-or-less back in the Six Flags fold, but it was the addition of the huuuuuge tract of land for summer rock concerts that give it its biggest blasts of attendance on summer evenings. 

The venue is controlled by the LiveNation artist monopoly and the Ticketmonster booking monopoly, and when you buy any seat, even a patch of grass, you are instantly upsold on VIP locations, preferred parking passes and probably a hooker or two. I drove by the venue to get from court to a place to change last night- not a single hotel, restaurant or other decent looking public place exists within five miles either side of it- and I saw the "$20 PARKING" sign, so I hit an ATM in the little village nearest it to cover that.  Turned out, parking was free for the concert- but you could get preferred, really preferred and $60 CLOSEST TO THE EXIT spots at various places on the Trail of Gravel.  And what a trail it is, especially the final part you get to walk on:



Eleanor remembers this as the longest we've ever had to shlep to get from parking to a venue anywhere. I believe she is including the one time we saw BNLs sold out at Fleapac and had to walk from an overflow K-Mart lot to get to that ampitheater.    You then go through Heightened Security, emptying all your pockets (this will be important later) and having your lawn chair thoroughly vetted for hidden contraband. And what's the first sign you see past the one DRINK RESPONSIBLY OR YOU BE EJECTED warning sign?

This, of course:



Stay classy, Fun Country. 

Not a place for gourmet cuisine (although I saw a couple of food trucks on the Way Other Side while visiting Guest Services, which will also be important later). Probably 80 percent of the merch on offer was fermented, distilled or had hops in it.  I slogged one $9 glass of chard and that was it.  But for true value, you just can't beat the contact high you can get absolutely free walking TO one of the booze stands. I don't think I've gotten that unintentionally high since UB days.

----

Okay, enough history and bitching. There was actually a show out there. First up was Some Guy With A Guitar, who did a couple of nice covers and didn't overstay his welcome, and then they brought out REO Speedwagon. These guys are also from Illinois, and hopped on the rock'n'roll train a few years after Chicago did; I was never a fan, but knew most of their hits, which they were good enough to sing without too much clutter.

From the cheap seats-



- and a closerup view once it got dark enough to see the video boards-



Yeah, your presenting sponsors: beer and a hospital.

They ended with a non-milked two-song encore, finishing with a touching cover of Tom Petty's “Listen to Her Heart”  (Petty and REO frontman Kevin Cronin were neighbors in SoCal for years), and then cleared off for the main attraction.  I headed to check the craft beer prices (stupid high), but then discovered I was short a set of keys.

Fuuuuck.

----

Did I mention this venue is in the middle of nowhere? That I had not seen a sight of, or a Facebook checkin by,  a soul that I know despite thousands of people being there from most likely the two cities I've lived in for the last 37 years? That my phone was nearing death from me snapping all those pictures you just saw? That I let my AAA membership lapse because, hey, Mercedes covers the car repair itself?  That even if I could reach Eleanor, her car probably wouldn't make it there? And that even if I resorted to Uber (my best and only thought), I'd risk JARVIS being towed because of the NO OVERNIGHT PARKING rule?

Yeah. What I said before the jump.  But maybe it was blind faith (they don't tour, sadly;), or the contact high- I was not worried.  I had just enough time between the acts to check my point of entry to see if the keys had fallen out of the tray at the checkpoint. They had none, but said Guest Services, on the way other side of the lawn, might have them. Fine.  I was somehow certain they would either be there, or in the car itself, since I had no recollection of taking them out of the tray (why would I? I wouldn't be driving anywhere for several hours;).  I planted my chair back into the grass (and added more small quantities of nearby grass into my lungs) as the boys came out and played their entire second album- a forever favorite of mine. They did it out of order- beginning with the almost-full-side "Ballet" I mentioned yesterday, then some of the other hits from it, and including even the rarer and more radical bits.  I'd heard from one of the Jones Beach attendees that a lot of the fans at that show were bored and talking through it, but as frontman Robert Lamm explained between a couple, this is a composition, not just a greatest-hits album, difficult to perform and worthy of that performance and of our attention. I bet Beethoven had the same problem when he brought in the Fifth Symphony and they cut it down to 3:05.

By now it was quite dark, and that gorks photos of the stage and screen as the lighting doesn't come out right, but here are a couple:



Left, the almost recognizable Lou Pardini, who plays keyboard but sings late guitarist Terry Kath's vocal parts quite well. (Departed balladeer Peter Cetera's vocal parts are done with equal justice by Neil Donnell.) Right, there's a stage back there somewhere, I swear.

Somewhere between 25 and 6 to 4, me and my trusty chair walked the width of the lawn to the other side, ultimately finding the Guest Services counter behind 30 more booze merchants and possibly a leopard or two.  I could instantly see a ton of missing keys back there, and once I mentioned my lucky green flash drive, they were back in my hand. Thank you, Jill; I promised to name you when I get the inevitable survey about my experience.

I promised myself I would head out as soon as they hit the first smarmy Peter Cetera ballad, which was, appropriately enough, "If You Leave Me Now." Which I did, and after stepping on every other piece of gravel in the entire Town of Darien, was back at (and more importantly, IN) my car, was home at a decent hour, and up to walk the dog and take a 9:00 meeting today right before the heavens opened and Main Street almost flooded....

occurring simultaneously with me hearing that our one-district-over Republican congresscritter, Cheeto's first and still staunchest supporter in the House, had just been indicted for insider trading.  That explained the rain: God was cleaning the district from the dirt he'd left behind.

No gravel, though. That's out at Fun Country.

( Want more about the actual music played? This review from a few weeks before of their combined show in SLC covers the musical moments of just about everything I saw.) This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1528697.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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A hopefully perfect ending to a less-than-perfect day.

The weekend ended nicely. We scaled back the scope of the Big Dig quite a bit, and I even got in a late-day dog park trip with the dog.  She ran, she swam,



and then of course she had to dry off:)
 

file140

Now that we're in the official Dog Days of August, that means something different at the office. Yesterday was deadly quiet- enough that I bailed after lunchtime, got in a good hour of Big Digging of Not So Much with Pepper supervising, before turning in early because of what I knew today would bring.

Some of which, it actually did.  I was already prebooked today with a 9:30 court appearance in Buffalo, a client appointment and court appearance between 12:30 and 2 in Rochester, and a town court traffic gig in an east-of-Rochester county at 4:30.  That last one got put off, but it got replaced because a co-worker was scheduled to come out to Darien Town Court for a traffic ticket for one of her clients at 4 this afternoon.

Well.  I'd been teetering about going to see one of those endless parade of Vintage 70s Supergroup Shows that come every summer to the big outdoor venues- such as the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. The one causing the teetering was a combo pack of REO Speedwagon (who I could take or leave) and Chicago.  I've never seen the latter, even though I religiously bought all their albums from 2 (the first numbered one) to the end of the original numbered series, and even the one after that (and also after their guitarist shot himself to death and they went briefly and blindly disco in the late 70s).  Making this concert tour  special was the promised playing, in its entirety, of the "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon," a near sidelong epic from their second album which brought their first megahit "Make Me Smile" (cut down for the single from the beginning and ending segments of the Ballet), and which also includes, in the middle, "Colour My World," aka "That Thing Which Was The Theme Of Every Prom In The Universe From 1973 To 1978."  I made a deal with the co-worker- her client's ticket basically paid for my ticket to the show, and I grabbed a lawn seat for tonight's 7:00 performance, hoping I'd get out of traffic court in time (I did) and that the rain would hold off (we'll see).

Ultimately, I wound up with plenty of time. I'm five miles up the road from the theme park in a village library (which has also graciously allowed me to change out of this stupid suit without getting arrested;) to tell these tales to the world.  My travels since those earlier court appearances have gone much better than the appearances themselves- here's how those worked out:

9:30 in Buffalo- opposing party didn't show up. No call (they actually sent me some requested documents the day before, not saying they had no intention of coming), and really no recourse for them not showing up, but try explaining that to the very annoyed clients.

12:30 client appointment- wound up closer to 1, thanks to the first one taking too long (I had to wait the full calendar to make sure they didn't show up late) and all kinds of traffic delays caused by everything from bad weather to a slow-moving freight train.  But it went okay once it went, running right into the....

1:15 court appearance- which, it turns out, was a 2:00 court appearance.  It was a mandatory conference they hold in mortgage foreclosures with a judicial officer able to force negotiations with the bank to an extent. The 45-minute difference was for legal-aidle-eagle types to explain The Process to the mostly unrepresented people at the conference.  They do that in Buffalo, too, but they TELL people, "If you have a private lawyer, show up at 2."  This kind of shit- not telling out-of-town attorneys what the nuances are- create what I refer to (and hate) as "old-boy courts."  I'm an  old boy of my own in many of them, and I never try to take advantage of a n00b or out-of-town opponent in that way.

Then it got better.

----

I had just enough time to head to my Rochester office, with a quick stop in its nearby town hall to make an art purchase:



This poster, marking the 42nd annual art festival in my original Rochester neighborhood, is the product of one of Eleanor's oldest and dearest friends Phyllis.  We hadn't seen her in awhile, and when I heard she'd been selected to do the poster for the first time, I knew we needed a copy. We now have one, autographed and waiting to be framed.

Then down the back roads to Darien Center, just east of Darien Lakes, and just down the road from Darien Lake Singular, as in the theme park and concert venue.  It went quickly and pleasantly, and I have just enough time now to change, find foodage, and get to the show. At the moment, there are no thunderclouds over Corfu on my WTF weather app for the rest of the night, but there are still some passing clouds that look occasionally nasty.

I think I'll also find some gas now, before getting out of Dodge Darien in several hours.

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The two bigger bits of news from week's end play on both meanings of that word:



Not that "large waterfalls" are anything new around here, but I wasn't expecting to be awakened earlier this week with news of a new one threatening to come into existence less than a mile from the kids' home in Virginia.  It was a message from a friend on the other side of the world who'd read that Lynchburg was being evacuated and were they okay?  My first thought turned to active shooters and all that, but no- this was just more of that crafty Chinese hoaxy global warming gone bad, weeks of rain conspiring to overtop a nearby dam with water and threatening, if it broke, to flooding the entire area in a manner of minutes.

Fortunately, (a) it didn't break (yet), and (b) they live significantly uphill from it.  But it still came as quite the scare and Emily was relieved to have good relationships with co-workers who promised refuge to them and all three of their cats if they needed it.

----

Then, yesterday, I kept my appointment for a new pair of glasses and the first time in three years the peepers had been checked.  Not much change in my prescription; unscratched lenses will probably help as much as anything.  And they ran a full battery of Old Guy tests for glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal tears, even internal signs of diabetes, and the good news was there was no sign of any of the above.

There were, however, signs in each eye of the beginning of cataracts.  This comes totally as not a surprise, since we have a multiple family history of it, and the optometrist said it's probably years before surgery will be on the table.  When I asked if there was anything that would help prevent or manage it in advance of that, her only solution was to "have fewer birthdays."  Since that proposal comes with some unacceptable side effects, I'm going to have to rule it out.  So we'll just wait and (hopefully still) see.   Eleanor's went remarkably well a couple of years ago, and if nothing else it meant her last pair of glasses for distance vision, so maybe I've now bought my last pair, too. This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1528282.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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at least when your damn glasses aren't lying on the floor in pieces:P

It had been a pretty good day up until then.  After three days spent mostly tired and mainly in pain from too much weekend warrioring, each of those days with at least one court appearance and Tuesday and Wednesday featuring multiple annoying ones, I got some blissful moments of sleeping-in this morning- almost until 9, for quite possibly the first time since the dog arrived.  It's not that she demands attention- Ebony was far needier about being let out and fed in her final months- but she just looks at you, all coquette-ish, and you WANT to get up and give her food and snuggles and walkies.

But after the previous three days, the pain that was still hanging around a bit, and a late (for us) night Wednesday at another Elmwood poetry reading, I managed to get back to sleep after feeding the kitzels and stayed there, weird dreams and all, for close to three more hours.  No travel, no court, only one late-morning appointment (and even he didn't show up). The perfect chance to catch up on work and contacts I'd been falling behind on.

Ah, though, falling.  As I went to copy documents from one of those catchups, I heard the clinky  noise.  Sure enough, my glasses had fallen off the desk and been stepped on, just as I ruined my most recent pair around this time last summer.  (Still haven't gotten those fixed- they were more delicate and need welding to get them back into place.)  Fortunately then, the previous pair from 2012, which I thought I'd lost, I hadn't- Emily had them in my former car and she returned them to me.  Also fortunately now, those glasses didn't need to be welded- they just needed to get a screw loose (shut up), and then do some minor mending and they're, if not as good as new, certainly serviceable.

I did resolve to get a new pair this weekend, though, so I'll be prepared for the next disaster- and I'm buying the purchase protection on them.

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I forgot to mention the other day just how much trust we've developed with this dog in two mere months.  A few nights ago, we shut things down in the living room and headed to sleep. Usually, she either follows us down the hall or has already decamped on or near a bed- but I didn't see her.  Until I checked in the one place I never expected to find her-



This is the crate she stayed in for up to 14 hours at a time when her Veddy Biddy previous humans left her alone that long. She got free run of the house here at first, but after some misunderstandings about potty arrangements we started putting her back in it, although rarely for more than 4-6 hours at a time and never when either of us is home.  In recent weeks, she's been incredibly kind to Eleanor (usually the last to leave who gets the job) and has gone in voluntarily, but this is the first time we saw her head in there on her own just because it was warm and cozy and had "her" bed in it.

I usually get home before Eleanor in the afternoons, and sometimes need to go back out. If it's going to be under an hour, I've let her stay out of the crate, so far with no ill effects. In time, it may just become A Place in Her Room in Her House that she can, but doesn't have to, take refuge in.

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Not much else to report, other than Tuesday night bringing us the most lopsided loss in all 55-plus years of New York Mets history- 25-4 by the time it was all said and done.  They improved to only a three-run loss yesterday, and now they're back home. I will not be watching, even though my glasses have been fixed;)

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It had been a busy weekend. Both of us were pretty hurting from work outdoors and other aggravations of body parts. So what, then, is one to do?




As I mentioned last time, I thought a Rochester friend's annual deck party was this past Saturday. Fortunately, I caught the error of my ways before heading there on the wrong day- and despite the mixup, Eleanor and I got our wires suitably uncrossed for Sunday afternoon and I came to the back, leash in hand, to take Pepper on her first-ever Thruway adventure.

She didn't want to go.

Had to be coaxed out from under the patio table and then, to a lesser extent, into the car. I'd gotten gas and ordered the food I brought ahead of time so she wouldn't have to wait needlessly, and we were on the road by 2:30 and at Scott and Lisa's little patch of Brighton almost exactly an hour later.

She was not alone.



That's Sadie, their pup of about the same age, leashed near their backyard kiddie pool. She barked up a storm when Pepper came in; they sniffed and snorted and play-bowed a few times, but with both on leash and a yard full of people, they couldn't really go full-on Crazy Dog.  Eventually, Pepper got tired of listening to her yapping at her, and said her goodbyes from a distance (but not before helping herself to some very nice dog food Sadie had been kind enough to drop on the deck).

Nor was she alone in the dropping of food.  We spent most of our two-plus hours near the grill, and Pepper eventually settled into stealthy mooch mode, ready to go for anything that either hit the ground or was offered to her:



We took a few walks round their neighborhood, to help her acclimate and also to minimize turf battles over accidents in Sadie's yard. Out front was the car that blew away ours in the coolness department the instant it arrived:



(There's JARVIS, up the street a bit, sulking;)

I don't think I'd ever seen a Morgan before. This one's a three-wheeler, one of the motorcar company's specialties.

After a few goodies from the grill (mine on a plate, hers on the deck;), we began the drive home. Pepper was perfect the whole way there and back- not a whine or a bark, and most of the drive was spent with her schnozz cradled on the edge of the lap. Once home, she was so sociable, she proceeded to breach the ratty old wooden fence between our yard and the new neighbors' (they'd had a patio party of their own while the dog and I were away, so maybe she smelled more leavings).  Earlier today, she did it again, so we've put up some temporary countermeasures to keep her in.

This was a good first step.  Next I'll try something that will be closer to 2-3 hours in the car each way, so we can learn the clues between each other on when we need to stop en route.  The ultimate goal is to get her to visit Emily and Cameron with us (in a rented larger car, most likely); Alexa tags that as a nine-hour drive, so it's something to work up to

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