Travel with Baggage

We love to travel. I had a deal with my wife, before we traveled, that if she got a driver’s license I would get a passport. Then I won a trip to England. I let her off the bargain. I needed a passport.

We went over to England. And this being my first trip we extended it to three weeks. The Nederlands, Amsterdam, and Germany were the first places we went. It was a beer trip. The first trip overseas, the last beer trip.

I once called my wife and asked “is $474 a good price to go to Italy?” I hung up the phone and booked a trip to Italy. She came home and explained, patiently, about the cost of flying from Portland to any European destination. I got into it. We never filled up our passports. But there were a lot of stamps in them.

When I had a federal screening for security, I had to dig out my expired passport to figure out where I had been over the prior 10 years. It was fun. Reliving trips, I asked the federal agent “Why?” They lamely said “maybe trafficking”, yeah right.

But there was a time when every trip we had to wait for our bags to emerge from bag claim. Every time. We were “randomly” chosen for inspection. We were in our 40s and 50s on trips always to a different part of the world. Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Spain again, Bali, China, more Mexico.

What signaled that we needed to have our luggage checked? I wondered aloud if it might be due to her luggage. She had found a deal on a bag with rollers at Ross’s. No, she countered, they can’t be that dumb. But it happened every time. But it was Always. Always! ALWAYS! She gave away the luggage and bought something else. It just wasn’t worth it. And boom! It was for quite awhile the end of our “random” selection.

But really, can they be that stupid? To always screen luggage with a brand name of “Smuggler”?

It was the last time.

— MichaelRpdx :: ih3k

Star Day, Go Home Day

It was a mixed up day. Three cards in the mail. Two bits of bad news. None of any of it were expected. A surprise all around.

A postcard, antique in the images, ripped from a set of cards. Because “that’s what they were made for, right?” And indeed it was. Neat script, explaining the postcard and asking what I am up to. Up to tings that were enumerated. It will be easy to answer. No staring at blank and trying to come up with what to say.

A card wishing “Happy Thanksgiving” and talking about Trader Joe’s with all kinds of things that she would like to get us for Christmas. Except, she had to drive 200 miles to visit. We have only six blocks to walk to a Trader Joe’s. It doesn’t seem special to us if she chose something and sent it to us, except it would be, coming from her.

A CD and a very special thank you card. Thanking me for sharing so much so long ago. We listened to it and enjoyed a lot.

I do not get mail very often. Today three pieces of very special pieces – all handwritten. It isa blessing.

Do you watch “Great British Bake Off”? There are 12 episodes. In each one they do a Signature Bake, A Technical Challenge, and a Show Stopper. At the end of each episode they name a Star Baker, the person who did the best. Then they announce who will need to go home. It is always thrilling to see who is the Star Baker. It is always a tough job to announce who is going home.

Our bad news is similar. No one has to go home. In fact they have to stay home. Because they have Covid. As do some very special people in our life. We heard of their Covid diagnosis today. We are hoping for the best for all of them.

— MichaelRpdx :: ih3k

Colors and Questions

Have you had a day, just any of them, a day in which it was filled with color? Or a day with a snugly fog keeping things close because the farther ones are a waving grey of what can be clear distractions? Or a day when you wake up as a guest and see all the things that were familiar because they were once your things and now you are sleeping among them? Or a day when your head is buzzing with ideas that you cannot stop so you let them flow? Or a day in which you ask these questions so that you can remember? All the better?

Today was colorful. I had nearly 30 ink bottles and vials with samples. With lots of water to rinse a pen and a bunch of cotton swabs and a bunch of 3″x5″ blank index cards. Sat down and wrote the ink name, scribbled a bit on the card and then dipped the cotton swab in to the vials and painted a So many different blacks, blues and greens blotch of color. So many different blacks, blues, and greens names. It was a quiet day.

— MichaelRpdx :: ih3k

Pens and Ink

We have had dinner. Meditated. Watched some YouTube, from my Subscription list. I have been thinking about what to type. Or rather what subject to type around. I thought about it some more as I cleaned out a fountain pen. As I figured out how it could be set to not spill out ink. This pen uses the body, the entire body, as the reservoir for ink. (These are Jindao 3008s for the curios among you.) I had taken to not filling the pen totally. Needed to try out inks. There are lots of inks available for fountain pens, over 700 at one vendor. More on that in a minute. But I drew some into, ink into, the pen. And left it. This is controlled by the end of the pen, it is connected to the plunger that runs up and down the pen body. Since I was not filling the pen up I just left the plunger in the middle of it, where “it” is the plunger in the Body. Since I didn’t fill it all the way one could twiddle the with the cap at the end and … well one day it was twiddles enough to force the ink out of the body. All over. This lead to two important things to know about. 1) don’t twiddle with a pens thing you use to get ink into the pen, and 2) figure out what kept you from doing that. It turns out there is a click stop when you draw ink all the way in. Which I had 1) never used before, and 2) I had never noticed it before. Well, all the ink is off of everything. And I now know what to do to keep a bit of idle twiddling with the end of the pen from putting pressure on it and causing ink to flow out. Of course, pens that don’t use their body as an ink reservoir so this is not a problem. I’m not sure if the expanded storage of ink is worth it. About the over 700 colors of ink, it is a treat. One vendor sells sample packs of ink. 2oz containers of ink. As a result, I have close to 30 inks. Blue, red, brown, green, gray (or grey if you prefer that), and black. I am developing favorites. Or so I think. I haven’t tried them all yet.

— MichaelRpdx :: ih3k


Every day. Every single day. For seven years. Seven years!
Every day the same thing. Every day coffee with sugar and a chocolate milkshakes. Every day the same lunch. For seven years. Why? It was something he never had to think about to make a decision. It left his mind open to do creative things. So for seven years he went to Bob’s Big Boy and had the same stuff every day. And he wrote. He wrote ideas and whatever on the napkins there. He, in this case, is David. . Lynch. You might know him from Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet (a favorite of mine), Wild at Heart, Mulholland Dive, and a bunch of other movies, paintings, and other things.

And Twin Peaks, I cannot forget Twin Peaks.

Why? It was a habit. He used the habit to free up his mind to work on whatever, mostly ideas for movies. Keeping a habit kept him working. Every day. You can do it, you are doing it, every day you do a One Typed Page. Not to free up your mind, but to do, kinda sorta, the same thing that Lynch did during lunch every day. Which is why you are encouraged to type one page (or a half page or a quarter page) every day. It is a habit. If you adhere to your habit good things will come from it. Like Isaac Asminov who had a habit of typing for six hours every day. He felt he could not just type crap all day every day. There had to be some good stuff in what he typed every day. He just needed to find it among all of the stuff that he created.

Of course it may not be your goal to type up something great. You might be keeping track of your days like Samuel Pepys, who tracked all the things that happened in London like we track what is happening during the Covid-19 outbreak. Or whatever is happening to you today. It comes from your practice.

— MichaelRpdx :: ih3k


Do you ever scribble? Just keep the pen moving while it tries to keep up with your thoughts? I am going to try that here. Just keep typing along without well censoring or editing or filtering my thoughts. Gonna Try to do that. I, hope, I hope today’s mowing is the last one until April or May time. This is not out of bounds for Portland. The grass should have stopped growing by now. It only needed it was a conflict of rain and times I could do it. Where “could do it” really equates to “just mowing the damn lawn.” I must admit to letting it go origomally to allow the lawn to hit its last bit. Then it rained. Although, I did let the grass grow to where I wanted it. So I mowed the a lawn and jout just got to the end of it as the battery was ready to call it quits. What is the point of anthropomorphize a battery in a lawn mower? I used to get irritated by people saying “that didn’t like the software” and so it did not work … OK enough of that. Next topic for scribbling is trying to figure out the differences between reading a thing on paper and a thing on the screen. As in, it is good to read paper but not so for screen time. Iseems the same in terms of getting something ijto your brain but ,, even when I do it, it does not seem like reading things on the screen is not, just isn’t the same. By that I mean it does not seem like I ge get something out of it in the same way I do when 1 read paper. Maybe -part of 4+ is is is is not feeling like ah darn it I have forgotten where I was going with that bit of typing. OK, paper is better, screen not. Enough of that this week. Or maybe forever. This weems, seems like enough fortoday. So much for my brainy sanity here today,

-— MichaelRpdx :: ih3k

Rice Update & Nothing to Say

Rice Update: a friend who has spent a lot of time in Japan and speaks the language there told me “in Japanese, the words for breakfast, lunch, and dinner translate into English literally as morning rice, afternoon rice, and evening rice.” I had afternoon rice today.

He sat at the end of the bar. Where it twisted around. No room for anyone else there. He could keep his eyes on the people there. He took a sip of Old Crow. It sounded good. But he wasn’t expecting anything from a low priced barrel. It still sounded good. It was a quiet night. He liked it that way. A night with nothing to say. Kinda like him. Nothing to say tonight. §§ “What’s going on with you?” He looked at the guy who asked. “Well?” He took another sip. “What happening with you, cat got your tongue?” Jesus, didn’t he get a hint? Have you heard me say anything? I’ve got nothing to say. “What, no everybody has something to say.” He finally said it. “I have nothing to say. You’ve heard it all night from me.” Finally, the intruder took the hint and moved on. It got to be quiet again. He caught the barkeep’s eye. Raised his glass for another. Barkeep nodded. It was going to be an OK night.

— MichaelRpdx :: ih3k


Rice, I am enjoying rice. Plain white rice is just doing it for me. Is it true that in China when they ask “are you hungry” the literal question is “have you had rice”? We keep plenty of rice on hand, and in plenty of varieties also. Bomba for paella. A short-grain for a sticky, chewy plate. Basmati rice for salads, at least for me. Red and black varieties for a very different flavor. Tonight we had jasmine rice, this one from Thailand. It had some company with deep-fried cauliflower and some tofu. They were both tasty, but neither of them held up to the rice.

Sometimes we make too much for ourselves. In the morning we put some out, the leftovers, for crows. They live it, they love it. Maybe not as much as popcorn. What can you expect from crows?

— MichaelRpdx :: ih3k


Rain. I love the stuff. I am, and have always been, a pluviophile. Roll that one around in your mouth, pluviophile. I was unaware of that condition. A few years ago I found out about it. I love it too.

If it were snowing most people would be enjoying it. Bring a bit of warmth, something everybody seems to enjoy, and the snow is no longer enjoyable. But why?

Albuquerque. That is a place where people who love rain do not go. But if they find themselves there, they are joined with people, at least, not complaining about rain. There is so little of it there. And it comes at a fun time. July and August is the “monsoon” season there. About once a week it rains briefly. Just enough to take the edge off of the heat. One could even hear peole talking about how nice it was. Or hear frogs. What do they do the rest of the time without rain is a mystery. But they do whatever frogs do without lots of water.

Autumn. Trees leaves change color and fall and get racked up into heavy wet piles. Because we are in the pacific northwest and it rains. Sewer grates clog up with leaves. The flooding is like our snow drifts. Except no one likes them.

If you are out … wait, none of you like here. Nevermind.

There is a web site for pluviophiles. I had to look up the spelling, which I do by getting as close as I can and doing a web search. Close enough and you have the spelling and some new to you websites and all the new things you did not know.

Today is day one of the lockdown in Oregon. If you are in Portland it is four weeks of lockdown. It won’t stop the rain.

— MichaelRpdx :: ih3k

Bits Unrelated

32# paper sounds nice. I personally have settled on 28# for correspondence. I am not sure they, the few I write to, notice. Of course, I snuck up on them. Starting with the office standard of 20#. Then a run of 24#. Now I am wondering if the 32# I have used is with its clear white and a surface of smoothness. Maybe I should try some more. There are stationery stores around and open. Well, they were open until our most recent lockdown.

If you get annoyed with my typos, misspellings, and all the rest of my first draft session here there is an alternative. I quickly feed the JPG into tesseract clean up with output and post it. Of course, it is not like reading it here. But it is an alternative. (I do it so I have a place that is set up for searching.) This is all free software. It works great.

Do you walk? Alone? Everyday? Today I started on walking alone. This is “exercise” but it goes work on my fitness. And there is a lot of work to be done. A lot. Today was a do it for me. A half-hour, just over a mile. I recall covering two miles in the same time. Those days are hopefully in my future. For right now I worry about losing my breath on a slight incline. It is something like my early days of bicycling when I could feel a 1% climb. After some time it took more incline for me to notice it right away.

Another collection of short bits, unrelated.

There is a poem hiding in that sentence, somewhere. There was a good poem yesterday. The Social Whirl from Ilkley, England. It stood on its own and reminded me of a party I once threw. Fortunately, I did not have a downstairs neighbor. I did have some people show up at the same time. Things liven up with the arrival of a girl with a belt and a man’s dress shirt. Long enough, be a dress. Yes, a nice poem.

I think it is better to live now. As in the now of your life. The life of here now. Not the life of 37 years ago. Though, I remember those days and the days before and the days after. Lots of days, a reward for living so many years. Years in which you don’t remember half of what happened, or so it seems until you are confronted with it. Wait? I went there then?

Take long vacations. Don’t move around, stay in one place.
Keep your distance. Wear a mask. Put on a second if needed.

— MichaelRpdx :: ih3k