Category Archives: Personal


TYG and I aren’t spendthrifts. I love cool kitchen devices, for instances, but I can’t bring myself to buy something unless it’s actually more useful than what I already have. “It” usually isn’t.

But last year, we paid to have a thorough housecleaning. As I’ve mentioned before, it was fricking amazing to see how much better they clean than we do. And so nice to have it done without taking the time ourselves.

Then pandemic distancing began and we gave up on them for the rest of the year. Now they’re back (stay away from them, Delta variant!). It’s well worth the money. The house is cleaner, we’re happier, I spend less time cleaning — though in the time before they show up next month, I really must do better. There’s a few things that do need to be done in-between, and I didn’t.

Still cool, though.

For anyone who doesn’t think a photo of cleaning equipment is visually entertaining, here’s Wisp on the deck, somewhere between sleeping and hoping for a belly scritch.#SFWApro.

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Strangely enough, the guest puppies made me more productive, sort of

With Lily and Tito visiting, and TYG having her own stuff to deal with, I really couldn’t go anywhere last weekend other than the grocery store and the library. So I watched lots of movies for Alien Visitors. I did more of that the first couple of days this week, then settled in to writing on the book. The result was that I ended up with like nine hours of overtime. Which I still track even though I almost never run under-time. Still, knowing I’m not sitting on my butt gives me a certain peace of mind.

After the dogs left I set to work on writing the book. I did some great work on the introduction but as usual didn’t get as far as I liked. Dog care, lack of sleep, occasional errands, in short the usual distractions.

I squeezed in a bunch of Leafs the end of the week and I started the rewrite of Chapter Nine of Undead Sexist Cliches. This chapter deals with the concept of the sexual marketplace — specifically the idea women are selling sex (whether for cash, love, gifts or marriage), men are buying and that women “giving it away” undercuts the rightful order of things.

And that’s pretty much it. As I’m working on so few projects these days, these posts just get shorter and shorter. But that’s better than having some long catastrophe I have to explain, right?

For visuals, here’s a shot I took from inside the Plush One’s cage, up next to the built-in cupboard. We finally took the cage down today.


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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

Guest dogs!

So last week’s doggy guests, Tito and Lily, stuck with us until early Tuesday afternoon. Five days was definitely a little too long a visit, even though they’re adorable dogs. By the end, even Plushie and Trixie were getting a little frustrated. And our guests lunge for Wisp when they see her outside, which upsets her.

But they needed us, so that’s cool. To show how adorable they are, here’s a couple of photos of Tito. He’s a bundle of energy, even more food-obsessed than Plushie. Lily is older and quieter, which may explain why I didn’t snap more shots of her. Both like sitting on the back of the couch, which ours don’t. Ah, here’s one of Lily!And Plushie accusing me of giving them more treats#SFWApro.

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Medical frustration was my Tuesday

I have a minor medical problem I check on every few years to make sure it’s still minor. Tuesday (I thought) was my checkup time. As I also needed to visit an endodontist to see if I needed a root canal, I scheduled that for Tuesday too. That way I blow one day but there’s no need to refocus on work afterwards.

The day was … unproductive. My morning meeting wasn’t to check but simply to discuss whether I preferred MRI to CAT scan (it’ll be MRI for various reasons). Though I did feel oddly ebullient to be out doing something and the Duke building is engagingly old —In the afternoon, endodontist time! After getting over the surprise that Dr. Mallik comes from the same part of England as me (it’s a small area) he took a CAT scan of my teeth, giving him a view my regular dentist hadn’t been able to obtain. Yep, I need a root canal. Oh, joy. Only I didn’t get it Tuesday, it’ll be next month, like the other procedure.

So I feel like I wasted the day, even though it had to be done. And I wasted money taking Lyft to the endodontist — I’d been worried I might be in no shape to drive home. Though I was somewhat sleep deprived so maybe driving wouldn’t have been the best idea. Plushie had freaked out at the firework noises on both July 3 and 4 (and why are people now letting off fireworks July 3?), which didn’t allow for enough sleep. Tuesday morning I slept in the spare bedroom with Wisp part of the night and she decided to be needy, even giving me a slight nip when she wanted attention. So I felt pretty zonked.

At least I had the sense to bring a book to both offices!


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Confession: I like mugs

Mugs are great. That’s why I have a lot of them.

Mugs can handle anything a glass can handle, but if the contents are hot, it’s much more comfortable picking up my drink by the handle of my mug than the overheated body of a glass.

I have mugs given out by one group or another as swag, some I got as gifts, some I bought because they were neat. My Holmes mug is a prime example of the latter class.

But mugs, like most of our eating and dining stuff, are fragile. They shatter when dropped, or they crack a little from some slight collision, then completely shatter down the road. I think that’s what happened to this one.IIRC, I got this one from a couple of Christian clowns I wrote about for a local magazine back in Florida. I may not have gotten paid — the magazine publisher ran into trouble with his tax bills and figured he could afford to stiff writers more than he could afford to stiff the IRS. But I did get paid for a few stories before that point, so maybe this was one of them (useful tip, if they stop paying don’t write more stuff for them. You’ll end up deeper in the hole).

This would have been about 30 years ago, so this cup had a heck of a good run. Even after it cracked, it survived for somewhere between five and 10 years. Then I picked up recently and the handle just came off. I decided it was beyond repair.

I don’t think cups go over the rainbow bridge, but I wish it the best.


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I went bicycling Wednesday!

That’s a big deal because with all the added time it takes to deal with the dogs in the morning these days — and now summer heat — I don’t think I’ve gone bicycling on a week day this year yet. But the weather was beautiful today, so … And I went up a stretch of the American Tobacco Trail that I haven’t visited in ages. No particular reason, just haven’t.

It was a bright, beautiful day and I had a lovely time. Ran into a woman with two Westies and while we were talking, she pointed out something behind me —Not the least disturbed by our presence. Nor did the dogs react; Trixie and Plushie don’t seem interested either. Which is good, the more harmony among the beasts of our little fields, the better.

I made it over the bridge across I-40 —

— which makes it possible to bicycle to the mall, or even all the way to the Raleigh trailhead. TYG and I have made it there before, but I’m no shape to make that 28 mile round trip just now.It’s very easy not to go biking if I only do it on weekends. So I must get back into the habit of doing it on weekdays.

While this photo wasn’t from that ride, I do rather like it. Speeders on this street, you’d better beware! Officer Hawk is watching!#SFWApro.

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The rules of the moderator are arbitrary, capricious and final

That’s how a friend of mine sums up his moderating in trivia quizzes he runs for Mensa. If you want to know my policies for moderating comments, that sounds about right. I don’t have a set of rules — I’ve never really needed one as I get few comments — but I have no qualms about blocking if I think someone’s out of bounds.

Which is relevant because I blocked what I suspect was my first troll — particularly as after I blocked him, he found me on Twitter to continue haranguing me (I blocked him there too) What set him off was my post on Warren Farrell. As you can see in the comments, he corrected (and no, I don’t consider corrections to be trolling) my statement Warren Farrell said 90 percent of rape cases were fake. What he actually said was that anywhere from zero to 100 percent of rape accusations could be lies (I’ve ordered a used copy of one of Farrell’s books to confirm this is accurate). I corrected the post accordingly because saying 100 percent of rape accusations might be lies is just as damning.

Guess what, that didn’t suit the commenter either. He objected that Farrel is totally not saying all rape cases could be false. The guy simply means that we have no accurate data, absolutely none, on the rate of false accusations so we can’t say for certain. Which is a lie, because we do have data, though as it sets the rate low, Farrell may not believe it. And sorry commenter, saying we can’t be sure any rape accusations are true is saying that 100 percent could be false. Which is also a lie because we know that for a fact. We have confessions. We have videotapes. We have DNA evidence. We have convictions. It’s true innocent people are convicted of crimes they don’t commit, and that people have been coerced into false confessions, but that’s true of murder, assault and other crimes too. There’s no reason to assume it’s an issue with rape and no other crime, unless you object to rapists being punished.

Keep in mind Farrel’s not even talking about false convictions or imprisonment, only about accusations. It’s as if being falsely accused of rape is, in itself, a bigger problem than, say, being on death row when you’re innocent or being shot by a cop when you’re innocent (his website says the real issue with so many black men in prison isn’t racism but too many single-parent households). As I’ve written before, some people who shrug off most injustices in the legal system think false rape accusations are uniquely, horribly awful. Pundit Ron Hart, for instance, has written that worrying about putting innocent people to death is a “liberal knee-jerk reaction” but accusing an innocent man of rape is intolerable (he also lies about the details of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation).

My commenter also objected that when Farrell says that no means yes, he doesn’t mean all no’s are yeses. But I didn’t claim that he did, only that he has said if a woman’s French kissing while saying no to sex, maybe she doesn’t want you to respect her no. That’s horrifying enough. So is Farrell’s view that a woman who says no to a coworker wants him to keep harassing her. That Farrell doesn’t specifically say every single woman who says no means yes doesn’t mitigate his words.

I’ve argued with rape apologist trolls before on FB, and I have very little patience with them. Whatever I say, they deny or twist. And I either have to respond or leave someone’s excuses for rapists sitting unchallenged on my wall. So now I block rape apologists there (I’ve extended this to anti-Semites too). Same in this case. I’m quite sure we’d still be posting back and forth and he’d still be insisting I was besmearing the name of a good man.

I may have to develop a formal policy some day. But for now, I’m good with it.


Filed under Personal, Politics, Undead sexist cliches, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book

Plushie the jailbird!

So a couple of weeks back when we laid down new rugs, we had to move a lot of furniture around. In the middle of all that, the Plush One jumped up on the back of one of the couches — we’d moved it away from the wall — and jumped to the floor. So perhaps it’s not surprising that last Saturday, his back started acting up again. As in, if we even brushed it, he flinched in pain.

We rushed him to the emergency vet (we have a couple in Durham) and got the anticipated recommendation of painkillers and cage rest.  Here you can see him resting inside the bars.That Sunday I spent a lot of time caged with him because he gets so miserable when cut off from us.Unfortunately Trixie doesn’t like that solution much. Here you can see me comforting her through the bars.Fortunately TYG, being Plushie’s adoring Mommy, opted to work downstairs, outside the cage, as much as she could. She also slept on the couch-bed all week so she’d be there if he whimpered in pain (knowing TYG, I wasn’t surprised). That freed me up from working inside the cage, which is really awkward. The downside was that with her sleeping down there, I had to rearrange my morning schedule so I didn’t wake her up by coming down to get tea. That made for another chaotic week — well, by my standards — but ultimately I was able to get my work done. Not counting blogging and email time as work helped — otherwise I might have been tempted to just give up and bat out some blog posts for a couple of hours.

Happily we took Plush in to our regular vet this morning. We still have to keep him from jumping up and down or climbing the stairs, but we can probably stop cage rest after tomorrow. He’ll be much happier if we put the cage up around the couch and let him snuggle with us

I didn’t have the focus to write much on Alien Visitors but I watched a number of movies for the book. I got my Leaf quota in, and another client finally worked out the kinks in their accounting system and paid up. I was beginning to worry they wouldn’t pay, so that was a welcome resolution to the story ($850 isn’t chicken feed to me). And I finished proofing Undead Sexist Cliches Chapter Seven, on sexual harassment.

It’s hard to believe I only have a week and a half left this month. I’d better keep making good use of my time.


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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

The tin anniversary

So a week ago, TYG and I celebrated our tenth anniversary, the “tin” one. I suggested she buy me some tea for the various empty tea tins I keep around (I know I’ll eventually fill them again). And so she did.

Wimey Keemun is a really good tea I enjoy as my first cup of the day (I don’t have the tea-tasting vocabulary to articulate what makes it good, sorry). Darjeeling Superba 6000 is just a very good tea. And 8 ounces of each will keep me going for a while, though I intend to buy some other varieties down the road.

My anniversary gifts weren’t tin-centric (“diamond” is the alternative but neither of us likes either diamonds or baseball, so …) but they were welcome. Toffee bars for a desert, zucchini lasagna — thin, baked zucchini slices substituting for noodles — for a meal (several meals, actually). Both her favorites.

We also went out Saturday to one of our favorite restaurants, Sage, a vegetarian place in Chapel Hill. They made it through the pandemic, though with a smaller menu. Food’s just as good as always.

Unfortunately last weekend also involved some Plushie problems which I’ll get into in my second post of the day.


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Chaotic but productive. I can live with that.

Yesterday, our housecleaners made their monthly appearance, as usual amazing me with how good they are. I don’t think I realized one of my shower door was actually clear glass. But I knew they’d make it hard to focus, so I put in a full day of work Sunday instead. That proved wise, because I did indeed get little done yesterday.

I completed plenty of Leafs; other than that, my priority was Alien Visitors. I watched movies (including Earth Girls Are Easy), and got around to rough drafts of several chapters. Whatever’s been bogging me down in working on the book, I’ve finally broken out of the slump. I also read my UFO Abduction chapter to the group on Tuesday, and got some excellent feedback, as usual.

I wound up taking today off to get various stuff — paperwork, mostly — done, and watching more stuff for the book.

And … huh, that’s pretty much it. When things go smoothly, there’s not much stuff to say I guess.

My article on military suicide came out on Veterans Network. I believe this is it until the fall but that works out well — more time for Alien Visitors and finishing up Undead Sexist Cliches.

Wisp has been coming in for snuggles a little more frequently this week, which is nice. Oh, and we belled Wisp, at the request of our neighbor. It’s a breakaway collar, so it’s safe for her, I hope, and perhaps it will make it harder for her to snatch any birds from the neighbor’s feeder. Fingers crossed.


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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing