Monthly Archives: January 2003

Icy fog

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I have encountered a lot of weather, having lived in the Northeast my entire life, but I don’t think that I have ever before encountered conditions where it was 8 degrees Fahrenheit, cloudy, and foggy. As I drove down the road this morning, there was a low, thick fog in the stream valley, and more down by the river. Very odd. Not sure how that could have happened. Believe it or not, I have actual meteorologists in my employ, so I could have asked what the heck was going on. Perhaps I’ll demand a memo.

My life, in sentence fragments

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Budget. Reorganization. Departures. Retirements. Transitions. No money. New program to supervise. Stress stress stress. Fourth-grader in tears over the state test. And a kick-ass high score on the Alcatraz level of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4.
Biggest issue is Hannah, who is feeling the pressure to perform on this stupid test. We’ve assured her that they’re not really testing HER, they’re testing the school, but unfortunately almost all of teaching in fourth grade is now about the test. The pressure is extremely high this year because last year our little neighborhood school scored best in the entire region, so there’s tremendous anxiety about how it will fare this year. That’s not supposed to be what this was all about. This is a terrible perversion of a legitimate state interest in ensuring children come out of school with an education. I’m no expert in educational matters, and I don’t know how better to do this, but this is wrong. I’ve got a girl who is extremely bright, works hard and does very well in school bursting into tears over this stupid test. The current thinking is to yank her out of school this Friday for a day of hooky with Daddy. I think skiing may well be involved.

Tonight on Turner Classic Movies:

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An overacting festival: Barbara Stanwyck in “Stella Dallas,” followed by Joan Crawford in “Mildred Pierce.” Both fantastic. By the way, Barbara Stanwyck was a serious hottie who lit up the screen in her day, probably most famously as the designing grifter in “The Lady Eve”, but most seductively in “Ball of Fire,” which presented Gary Cooper in a male archetype of the role now played by Rachael Leigh Cook or Julia Stiles: an ugly-duckling stick-in-the-mud until someone thinks to just take off those darned glasses, and then all is right with the world! Plus, we’ll teach him some hep talk. Unfortunately, “Ball of Fire is hardly ever shown, so tonight it’s “Stella Dallas.” I’m gonna be glued to my Indo-board in front of the tube.

Those searches keep rolling in

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For those few who keep track of such things, yes, I am still getting quite a number of hits every week from people looking for information on glycerol ester of wood rosin, all because I mentioned that it was polluting my Powerade one lovely summer afternoon. And I get a LOT of hits on my genealogy site for the histories of Crown Point, Keene, North Elba, and Jay, some key counties in northern New York that figure in my family history. But the strangest hit I’ve had in a long time came today from someone who did a search for “duckhunting girls”. It’s true, I’ve used both words, but not together. Until now. The web is a weird thing.

The sound of ice

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Ice on the Hudson 1/25/03If there’s anything that makes me feel 15 again, it’s walking along a frozen river’s edge. This was the Hudson, not the Mohawk of my youth, and I could hear the ice crack, threatening, as the tide lowered beneath it. Instead of using a tree branch to test the ice, I had very expensive trekking poles. The feeling of being out there on the edge of the frozen expanse, the crackling of the ice, the sound of the slate ice shattering under my poles and my snowshoes — it was just the same as when we were kids growing up along (and, often, in) the Mohawk River. I would have loved to have been able to venture out there, but that would have been deadly — tides and ice don’t go together. So instead, I just stood and listened to the river.

When we were younger, the Mohawk froze solid, sometimes right down to the bottom, and it was very safe to walk out there. Other times it would be perfectly thick in the middle but sketchy on the edges, and after a day of playing out on the ice, skating for miles or playing hockey, we would try to step up to the riverbank and would plunge into the cold water. (That happened quite a bit, in fact, and I still feel the effects of frostbite in my toes.) We always carried big sticks out on the ice, or used our hockey sticks to chop at anything that looked questionable. Sometimes you wanted to break through with the stick so that at least your feet would hit something more solid below. The scariest adventures would come during the thaws, when there was perfectly thick ice but it would start to break up and pile up behind the Western Gateway Bridge. Then there would be water moving among the ice, and it would refreeze but there would remain fault lines in the ice that were hard to predict. Sometimes you’d put a foot through some thin ice, and you’d hit water that was sitting on top of more ice — very slippery. But there was nothing like a day spent out on the ice, in a place that only exists for a few days each year, a place where no one else was. Sometimes it would just be miles of sheet ice like this picture, clear and skatable and beautiful; other times there would be gigantic blocks piled up, making ice caves and other dangerous attractions for 15-year-old boys.

So, Saturday afternoon was like that. Girls had a birthday party to go to, I invoked selfishness and went down to Schodack Island State Park to snowshoe. Did some vigorous work through deep snow as well as walking along the river’s edge. There was deer sign everywhere, and I found some significant owl pellets (fur only, no bones — must not have been done with that yet) and flushed the owl that had made them. The tremendous beat of its wings scared the hell out of me. Did about an hour and a half of hard hiking, snapped a few pictures, went on back home. Yesterday, nice skiing in super conditions, took the girls over on a trail that has never had enough snow to be open before, and that was a lot of fun, just a nice little jeep trail through the woods with perfectly fresh powder. I love watching them ski. Today, about 6″ of new snow in the morning, plus it’s cold again, currently a whopping 5 degrees.

The last word on cold, I hope…

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I know, it’s boring to keep on saying it, but this ain’t Alaska, and we’re not really set up for days and days spent around the 0 degree mark.The furnace is getting overworked, and the Hudson is now pretty much completely frozen, so the oil barges are stuck down at Rondout. We’re supposed to climb up around 20 tomorrow, which will be a start. That said, I have no sympathy for people complaining about how cold the walk from the parking lot is when they’re dressed in a summerweight jacket, no hat and blue jeans.

Googlism for cold:

cold is
cold is cold???
cold is it in ithaca?
cold is the evening breeze
cold is not a cold
cold is too cold?
cold is here to stay
cold is the sea
cold is the antarctic?
cold is not to be encouraged as a tournament theme
cold is this
cold is “cold”?
cold is it ?
cold is it outside?
cold is used
cold is it
cold is too cold
cold is the absence of heat
cold is siberia?
cold is the grave
cold is key to a smooth bicycle ride
cold is an infection of the upper respiratory tract
cold is more than
cold is it where your’e at?
cold is a hard pill to swallow
cold is bad news for belugas
cold is cold??? it?s really a matter of perspective
cold is still a big factor
cold is not a cold by dr
cold is the interior
cold is it? hawaiians declare a two
cold is here to stay temperatures will remain about 10 degrees below normal by kevin aldridge the cincinnati enquirer
cold is cool?
cold is winter
cold is it? 60 degrees f californians put on their sweaters
cold is this?
cold is the absence of heat
cold is everything in an alaskan winter
cold is cool
cold is the heart
cold is it outside? mailing list
cold is used here come the low tech stuff
cold is both a network sniffer and a protocol analyzer
cold is it? it’s pretty chilly here
cold is much better
cold is cold? posted by
cold is relative
cold is creepin’ in
cold is a killer by saturn_169
cold is it outside
cold is the grave by peter robinson
cold is critical
cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract
cold is more than a cold
cold is it? it is so cold i saw a lawyer on the street the other
cold is one of the most annoying
cold is ‘mech’s best friend
cold is less likely to get cancer?
cold is it where you are?

Wandering off

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Sometimes it’s a shock to be in the middle of a conversation, a one-sided one at that, and find the other person has just wandered off. Physically or mentally. And you go on and on and eventually realize no one’s listening at all. Sometimes you know you’re going to lose the signal, and you can hear it disappear, but sometimes there’s just no clue. Very disorienting.