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Professor Liddle-Oldman

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The Professor Continues To Be Iggy [Jul. 15th, 2014|04:13 pm]
15 July 2014

"Iggy", I should say, is my wife's families' word for restless, dissatisfied, disturbed, possessing a brain itch. I'm not intending to be frontman for the Stooges. I'm grumpy, I'm iggy, I'm restless, and I'm, at the moment, deeply dissatisfied.

One of the things I'm dissatisfied with, I've decided, is my gender. This does not mean I'm yearning toward or identifying with any other choice. No hidden kicky flirty summer dresses in size Really Big. I register as Guy by any scan – I wear whatever shirt is at the front, because if it's blue it matches; I mansplain; I tell people what their opinion ought to be; I put down empty cups and leave them there for a week.

Doesn't mean I like it.

I've never been big on heteronormative behavior. Sports bore me until I want to cry. I have no interest in hunting things down and killing them. I have no desire to enforce my will over others. I am in no way enamored or proud of my primary sexual characteristics (the selfish little bastard.) I immune to male bonding. At this age male privilege mostly means I get to worry about my prostate. I'm tired of the whole hairy boomy testosterone thing.

Best I can tell, I'm a man trapped in a man's body.
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Here At The End Of All Things [Jul. 7th, 2014|02:34 pm]
7 July 2014

Busy long weekend. Among other things, we went out to Lexington and packed up Mrs. Professor's desk and equipment. She's been approved to be a home-based worker. This is encouraging in that she won't have to do the commute now; it's discouraging because it's based on the fact that she can't leave the house without me any more. The bariatric surgery option is barred by organizational gatekeepers at every turn. The situation just gets worse and worse, and I am not in the faintest encouraged.

It has occurred to me that we might be old enough that we won't necessarily come all the way back from each new disaster. One of the phrases I've come to hate is "the new normal". I'd like some old normals back. I'd like a wife who isn't in so much pain she can't climb stairs. I'd like opportunity and possibility back. I am in such a bad mood lately.
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The Professor Gazes Out On A Darkening World [Jul. 2nd, 2014|04:52 pm]
2 July 2014

Here's a weird thing I just recently realized. The pigeons are gone.

The pigeons are gone.

Up until now, of course, we've been a pigeon-rich environment. What we call pigeons are of course rock doves from the Mediterranean, where they live in cliffs. The city suits them down to the ground, not to mention the unending buffet for someone small and not that fussy. We've had pigeons on the sidewalks, pigeons lining the wires and streetlight booms, pigeons crenellating rooftops on the morning drive.

But suddenly there aren't any to be found. I've been watching carefully for the last couple of weeks, and I haven't seen one.

Amphibians are going extinct everywhere. UV and fungus have been suggested. Fungus is wiping out the bats. Bees are vanishing simply from the stresses of modern life. Apes, rhinos, bears, sharks are all being erased by poachers and territory loss. Warming oceans and chemical waste are doing for the coral. But what the hell sort of environmental toxins can take out an entire city's population of pigeons?

Cannot say at the moment that I'm feeling all that damn perky.
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Suddenly, Summer [May. 21st, 2014|05:09 pm]
21 May 2014

Suddenly, it's summer. Couple weeks ago we had to burp the heat getting up; now I've got to put the air conditioners in. All the trees are dressed; all the flowering shrubs are either in full bloom (lilacs) or passing (magnolias). Though not every night is sweltering, every day gets hot by afternoon. Just now it's brilliant sunlight, still fresh on the yellow-green of the new leaves.

It's the time of year we use words like "fecund", "burgeon", and "verdant".

We're only a month off of the solstice, odd as that may feel.

I have to put the air conditioners in over the long weekend. As usual, we had maybe two weeks in which to throw the windows open; Spring, so far as I can tell, was around teatime last Tuesday. So it doesn't really matter if I block them; it's supposed to be sweltering and oppressive by Monday.

First, I have to make some modifications. At least one of the ACs leaks in such a way as to get the windowsill wet, and the standing water has actually damaged the wall. (Don't tell my landlord). I need to try to waterproof the sill and drill weepholes in the aluminum storm window frame. I tried to drill holes last year, but they swole and failed. This time, a quarter-inch bit in a row at the bottom.

Sum sum summertime. Prepare for some hard-core ranting and wailing about sweat and misery and quite possible swampy effects in places you don't want to know about.
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How He Got In My Pyjamas... [May. 11th, 2014|10:50 pm]
What did the alfalfa say to the Jedi?

"Luke -- I am your fodder".
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The Job of Text [Apr. 30th, 2014|03:57 pm]
[mood |cranky]

Editing. I always think I can write until I try to.
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A Sudden Discovery! [Apr. 24th, 2014|04:38 pm]
[mood |cranky]

IT got around to me, and i found out why I haven't been able to log in from home for the last week. My VPN was upgraded.

To show how unprepared to deal with this I was, I'm not even sure what the hell a VPN is. Very Personal Network? Virtual Python Nest? Vile Putrid Nastiness?

Anyway, they upgraded me. They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it does.
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We Got No Innocence / We Can't Even Think Of A Title That Rhymes! [Apr. 24th, 2014|02:46 pm]
24 April 2014

One of the reasons I avoid Tweeter – other than my dedication to Luddism – is that I imagine I could spend the whole damn day typing out entries in "What The Christ Is He Up To This Time?" With this in mind, I share.

I'm eating a ham salad sandwich. Not, mind you, deviled ham – the pig was not sacrificed to anyone (except perhaps Oscar Meyer), and I won't need anyone to lead me blindfolded into a church I can't see myself later. It is no more delightful than it was when I was a tad, but it's not contemptible either. I got it on a whim while I was at the deli counter last weekend. However, it does engender a question.

(Two, actually, one being "What exactly is deviled ham? I've been looking at those little cans for over fifty years now, and I've never actually tried it. Spam, either.)

I've had ham salad. I've had tuna salad. I've had chicken salad. I've had lobster salad. I've even has seafood salad, which is always a bad idea. But I have never seen beef salad.

I have no real idea why. We eat cows in sandwiches all the time – roast beef sandwiches, hamburger sandwiches (which in this ill-bred future you people have reduces to "hamburgers", as though you were devouring the unfortunate inhabitants of Germany's major port), hot open beef sandwiches, loose-meat sandwiches. Many of these involve mayonnaise and even pickles. So why not chop beef roast small and mix them? Is a puzzlement.

Well, my sandwich is done and my work isn't (for the past week I've been unable to log in from home, which is getting on my nerves and wreaking havoc on my scheduling), so I shall wave gaily from the back of the departing train, and be gone.
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There Were Times We Regretted The Summer Palaces On Slopes, The Terraces [Apr. 16th, 2014|06:40 pm]
The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March.


The last few days have been Spring indeed – close, warm, muggy air; flowers everwhere; all the bushes budding; the flowering trees putting forth. I keep muttering the line from the dwarf driver to the White Queen as her sledge ground to a halt – "This isn't a thaw. This is Spring."

Rain yesterday, watering the emerging vegetation. I scoffed when the radio said rain all night, and perhaps snow near the end as a cold front swept through. (Have you ever notice fronts always sweep through? It's the same issue as busses always plunging. You never hear of a bus disaster in, say, Kansas.) I threw the windows open to sleep, as I've been doing for a week now. So I was indeed amazed to wake up and find snow everywhere this morning.

Mind, it wasn't a lot of snow; a bit more than a dusting. And it wasn't actually snow, per se, any more; it was a layer of ice on lawns and cars. Walking to the subway, I passed a girl trying to scrape her windscreen, demanding as I passed "Why is it snowing?", sounding as though she'd gotten a miniature yoyo out of a gumball machine.

There was also a nice hard North wind, so I put my jacket back on. Apparently Chicago sent us their weather – I can see why they may not want it. Frost (above) expressed it nicely, though death got into the work by the end. I occasionally think that if he were working today, he'd be the lyricist for the best art-goth band outside of New York.

Well, I've hit my deliverable, sort of, so it's off to see what the afternoon sun has done to the weather. Ta!
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It Might Get Loud [Apr. 14th, 2014|04:34 pm]
14 April 2014

So I'm listening to my wife singing, long long ago. Back in the day, she used to front a band called the All-Duck Orchestra. (For comparison, Dave Barry used to be in a band called Federal Duck. It was probably something about the drugs that made ducks seem so funny.) I have their only album on my 'pod – and, by album, I mean something the bassist put together out of old tapes, with a publication run of maybe a dozen copies. They were one of the innumerable bands that played a few bars and a frat, but they were not bad.

You know how every adolescent boy thinks he's a rapper? Once, forty years ago, we'd gather into bands instead.

The vocals, though, are a little odd. That's because the sound guys were also the two guitarists, and they knew to a certainty that people were there to listen to the guitars, so the sound on the instruments is good. However, the vocals are well back in the mix – they didn't give the vocalist (the lovely and talented future Mrs. Professor) a microphone. They just couldn't imagine that anyone might care about the vocals, so long as the guitars were right up front.

It's a good thing, she still points out, that she was pretty loud. It stood her in good stead.
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