Monday, July 16 2012
This afternoon was a hot one, so Gretchen took the dogs to the secret spot and met up with Ray and Nancy while I stayed behind to work on my backlog of work. Despite all that, though, I made time for myself to occasionally tinker with the greenhouse project.
I'd painted a 16 foot length of vinyl gutters olive green and today I went to install them on the north (downhill) side of the greenhouse's shed roof. But when I was back there, I happened to notice a bunch of angry White-faced Hornets flying around, so I immediately beat a retreat. Earlier in the season there'd been a globular hornets' nest in amongst the dead White Pines saplings north of the greenhouse, and originally I'd been concerned that I wouldn't be able to put the siding up because of this particularly-agressive species of stinging insect. But I hadn't been able to find the nest in recent weeks, so I'd assumed it had gone extinct. I'd assumed wrong, because with the hornets orbiting it electrons around a Uranium nucleus, now I could plainly see the nest, and it had grown to the size of a coconut. I'm a live and let-live kind of guy when it comes to such creatures and will only kill them if I absolutely have to. In this case I don't have to; the gutter is not a priority and I can probably wait until the frosts of autumn, which will quickly render that nest harmless.
Late this afternoon, Gretchen and I watched the episode of Breaking Bad (the latest episode of the current season) that I'd downloaded yesterday. We were both dismayed by how bad and even formulaic it was. Caution, spoilers follow. For one thing, Mr. White is increasingly being portrayed as a simulation of a bad ass, but it's becoming harder and harder to suspend my disbelief. Where would that bad assery have come from? Would a man who had been so nerdy and Aspergery really have devolved into an utterer of tiresome action movie badass clichés? Then there's the terrible science in this episode. Perhaps the science has always been terrible in Breaking Bad, but this time its dubiousness was especially apparent because I knew something about the physics involved. We were asked to believe that the sort of magnet used to lift and drop cars at a junk yard would be strong enough to pull a laptop out of someone's hands from 20 feet away. According to the inverse square law, the number of gausses required for such a feat are far more than any coil without arm-thick windings could produce. But in any case, a direct magnet cannot destroy data. To do that, the magnetic field must oscillate. Any data on any hard drive "erased" with a non-oscillating magnet (the kind that pulls shit towards it) could easily be recovered. And then there was the overall arc of the episode itself, which just seemed to be one of our protagonists getting themselves into a pickle and then extracting themselves from it, without much or any advancement of the greater story arc. If Breaking Bad ever can be said to "jump the shark," this was the episode where it happened.
This evening, I saw a bright green Katydid attracted by the kitchen light. It was the first Katydid of the season and seemed a bit premature; I think of Katydids (particularly their cha-cha-cha-cha call) as a late-summer phenomenon. But then later tonight I heard Katydids doing their thing from all directions in the darkness. Evidently they all come out of the ground (or wherever they spend their time) on the same day.
My sleep patterns still haven't returned to normal, and tonight I found myself unable to fall asleep well into the wee hours. Finally at about 3:00 am I went off to take a bath becauseu sually hot water makes me sleepy. But even after that, I found myself lying in bed unable to let go of consciousness.
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