Friday, August 31, 2007


Mother of God, I just realized I haven't posted here all week. It's been a tough one. I'm getting used to a new schedule and I've been embroiled in a blog spat with my co-blogger at The Impolitic that appears to have resulted in his quitting the blog. It's probably the right choice but frankly I'm a little put off by how rudely he departed considering I pulled him out of obscurity and practically had to teach him how to blog.

But water under the bridge and I don't hold a grudge. I hope he finds a new home. He's a good blogger, he just seems to have gone off track on his thinking, at least as it fit in to my blog. I think he needs to develop a thicker skin though. If he can't take the mild criticism I offered, he may find out he's not cut out for Blogtopia. But I suspect he was just looking for a reason to quit.

In any event, today's my last day on the rotation and I'm looking a few days off over the holiday so I'll make up my absence to you. Thanks my dears for continuing to check in even when I fail to deliver your daily amusements.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Full moon rising

There's an unbelievably gorgeous, big fat orange moon hanging over the McCompound this evening. It's remarkably warm for a full moon.

I have weird neighbors. Some new people moved in downstairs. An older guy in a wheelchair with a son about 20 years old I'd say. He's very cranky. The father, not the son.

About once a month, a white SUV drives around the McCopound. It appears to be a family, two rather grossly overweight parents in the vehicle and there's two kids, a brother and sister. Maybe they're about 8 and 10 years old. The parents drive really slow while the kids run down the sidewalks. Today it was just the mother and the young son. In case you were wondering, they're white folk.

Meanwhile, I got two hours of sleep last night and can barely see the screen anymore. I'm going to bed.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

It's not easy living on your own

Well I deleted about 10 pages of emails looking for the links I wanted to blog about but then I decided to look at "just a couple" of blogs since I've been remiss in making the rounds. Of course, there's no such thing as just a couple. Once I get started I feel like it's rude not to try to hit most of them anyway and then I got sidetracked because I see Eric is about to leave for Belguim and I wanted to find the name of the bar I loved there.

So I got lost for an hour looking through the box of sentimental junk I should have thrown out ten years ago. I found a lot of stuff I forgot I kept, including a pack of pencils I bought in Barcelona. I needed pencils so that was a good find. I also found a half sheet of stamps that aren't marked with their value. They're probably ten years old. I don't know how I'm going to figure out what they're worth. Unfortunately, I didn't find the address of the bar but I did find a dried out pen from the hotel in Brussels. I figure I'll find the address about the time Eric comes back.

Meanwhile, Parkway Jim did a post on Joisey beaches and they were bashing Joisey peeps for not knowing how to use a selfserve gas pump in the comment section.

As I said there, hey give the self service impaired a break here. When the full serve went out of business and I was forced to pump my own for the first time in years, I couldn’t get the gas cap off. I’d owned the car for three years and had never seen it before. The freaking thing had 17 lines of warnings and instructions on it in print so tiny I could hardly read it but I'm pretty sure the red line said, follow instructions exactly or your car will explode.

The last time I had seen a gas cap it was just this giant screw like thing. Easy. This one had levers and handles and I turned the thing a hundred times and all it did was click. I finally had to get some kids to help me. And I’m not from New Jersey.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Connecting the dots

I did my drug war blogging at Newshoggers today so those of you who come here for the news will have to click over and there was a lot of it today so I'm still not getting to the posts I've been promising. But good stuff today.

The ACLU filed suit on behalf of a trucker whose money was seized even though he wasn't charged with anything, nor was he in possession of anything illegal. The cops took his money because they found that much cash to be suspicious. The guy didn't like banks so he carried his savings around. The DEA is holding $24,000 bucks without having proved any crime. Legalized highway robbery is title of choice on that one in Blogtopia and it received a good amount of attention.

This story got much less, and more's the pity because it's good news. California is poised to legalize industrial hemp. It's crazy that we don't allow the cultivation of this crop here when nearly every other country in the world does and profits from it.

And then this wonky piece came across the radar. It's the first in a three part series on the drug situation in Afghanistan and our lame response to it. Part one made a good case for how the idiotic drug war tactics are actually helping the terrorists.

This is blog post, but it's a blog read by foreign policy wonks. It's good to get that crowd thinking about how the war on some drugs relates to and works against the war on terror. It's another sign of progress for drug policy reformers.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Taking it to the MSM

Well I still have some old links that I want to get to, particularly one that Annie sent me on some disturbing moves by the government out in Oregon, but it's been a busy week and there's been fresh news coming up. In fact I did my drug war posting on the poliblogs yesterday because the stories could be tied to the wider political problems we're having and Reuters picked up my Newshoggers post on Duplicating Drug War Waste for their blogburst section. As I said the other day, it's a sign of progress that the MSM is posting these, even if it's only on line. On the down side, I posted it on the fly without proofing and of course there were a few dumb typos that I corrected in the orginal that won't show up at Reuters but the message will get through even if I look a little illiterate.

They post the whole thing so I don't think it did much for traffic at NH but I've seen a decent spike at The Impolitic because I linked to my post on Everybody Lies in the piece. It seems some researchers in Oregon are testing sewage for the traces of drugs and discovering that a whole lot more people do drugs than are willing to admit it. I've always said that the idea you could judge drug use by self-reporting surveys was bogus and this study pretty much proves it.

Meanwhile, I'm working again today so no time for personal news, but then again I haven't done anything interesting anyway. Hope you all have a great day.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Leading the way toward legalization

Well, this is not one of the links I have saved, which I have more to say about, but Treva asked for a drug war post and this just crossed the radar screen. It's not that notable an article in breaking news, it doesn't really say anything I haven't told you dozens of times in the last four years but I'm posting it because it's three pages in the Washington Post and I find that remarkable.

When I started this blog it was me and Pete singlehandedly bringing the drug war dialogue into Blogtopia. It was work in those days to find links. They mostly came from activist sites and reports of busts. To find mainstream pieces critical of the drug war in a major metro paper is pretty freakin phenonmenal. And it happens regularly now.

Activisim made a difference. Raising our voices collectively, made a difference. People who never thought about policy reform now talk about it. We haven't legalized marijuana yet, but we're getting closer all the time. Most of the rest of the world has acknowledged that prohibition has done more harm than good and more politicians here are speaking out in favor of reform every day. We're making progress.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Living with nature

I'm such a slug. I have a few drug war links I've been meaning to get to but instead I'm fooling around on the intranets finding stuff like arborscuplture. I want a doorway just like this someday. Doesn't it look like something out of Lord of the Rings?

If you think that's cool, there's more here and there's even a blog done by the guy who was interviewed at the first link. I could happily devote my life to something like this if I had it to do all over again.

Meanwhile, the waspy thing that has been hanging out on the hummingbird feeder finally started bugging me. He's been hanging out for days now, practically glued to the thing in a sugar coma. I finally knocked him off this evening and he was so sugared out I killed him on the fly when he tried to come back and buzz me. He made a satisfying thud. I expect to find his bloated little body on the sidewalk the next time I go out.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Be prepared

I picked this up on my travels through the intranets today and saved it with this guy in mind. I haven't tried any of these myself, so I don't know if they're fun but I figure you can never get too much practice in fighting the undead.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Floating on sunshine...

It was hotter than Hades again today. The air blowing into the window this afternoon was so like standing in front of a campfire. I turned on the AC again and I have to tell you, I'm loving me some central air. It was so hot when I brought the feeder in around noon, the last bit of food almost could have burned my hand.

I spent the late afternoon at the pool so I'm muy tranquilo tonight. This is my second day in a row doing the routine again. I'm holding it down to 20 minutes so I won't hurt myself. I feel more fit already, or least pretty damn righteous for exercising.

I brought my little floating raft thing with me today. It's been sitting in the closet all summer and the season is almost over, so I thought I should give it try. It's very relaxing to float around the pool and surprising cool on the water. There were a few older kids there today who coveted it. They were already begging to use it before I got into the pool. I gave it to them when I was done.

They were having so much fun with it, I stayed longer than I might have so they could play with it. Luckily I brought a book. I haven't read an actual book in a really long time and I bought some cheap trash novels just for hanging around the pool. I have to admit, I partly stayed because I got into the story.

I love Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series. I don't remember what letter I read last but I'm reading N is for Noose right now and I have a couple of other letters in abeyance that I grabbed for fifty cents apiece at the Goodwill store. Nothing like a good quick read at the pool. It's been so long since I read something just for fun. I'd forgotten how enjoyable that is.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

And then there were four

This is so cool. I came home last night and there are now four hummingbirds fighting over the feeder. If any more join I may not be able to sit on the deck anymore for fear of being caught in the cross fire. It was raucous out there last night I'll tell you. One will be eating and another will fly in to harass him and they both end up buzzing around my head. It's a regular combat zone now. They were battling away in such close proxity you can hear the clash of their little beaks over the mad whirrinng of their wings.

The food is going a lot faster too now. At this rate I'll be able to start filling the feeder to capacity. I've been rather miserly about it up until now since I was throwing away so much unused food to keep it fresh. In the last few days they've been draining it dry by the time I got home. At this rate I may have to learn how to make my own food.

On an unrelated note, my teenagers are back. Apparently the two sisters that I thought had moved away when I wasn't looking came home last night. There was much teenage screaming and the whole posse was hanging around on the street again. I'm glad they're back. I've become rather fond of that little clique. I missed them.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Virus Alert

I never open anything I'm not expecting in email, even if it comes under a name I know, and I assume most people don't, but according to Snopes, this latest virus is a real threat and ecards are one of those things you just might open, so for what it's worth beware of this.
A new virus has just been discovered that has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive ever. This virus was discovered yesterday afternoon by McAfee . This virus simply destroys Sector Zero from the hard disk, where vital information for its functioning are stored.

This virus acts in the following manner: It sends itself automatically to all contacts on your list with the title: "A Card for You".
You can get a longer list of alternate labels at the link. Since it's real and it's current, clicker beware. Check the URL before you open a card.

[h/t to Stania]

Another Hummer!

I'm so excited. I now have a third hummingbird, a big guy, clearly a male. He's hardly afraid of me at all and he eats at the feeder with the little bold one so I'm inclined to think they might be a couple and the other skitterish guy is a young male. I've decided to call them, Clem, Nellie and Mr. Shy.

Mr Shy is getting a little braver. He'll now eat while I'm sitting there but he won't light on the perch. He hovers there, madly whirring his little wings and sneaks in a quick sip between watching out for me and the other two, who chase him off.

I'm amazed that any of them will eat when I'm out there. It's a tiny deck. I was eyeballing the distance tonight and I figure it's between four and five feet from my kneecap to the feeder. If I stay perfectly still when Clem and Nellie are there, they'll stay a long time and Nellie will frequently fly into the deck and hover for a bit to look at me. Clem also checked me out tonight, but only the one time.

If any of them ever land on my knee, I think it's going to be Nellie.

No meteors for me

Well I stayed up half the night, I'm brain dead from no sleep and I didn't see a single meteor. The sky started to cloud up around 11:00 and it never cleared up. What a bummer.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I had a dream

I fell asleep sitting up in front of the computer last night. I've been doing that a lot lately. I'm talking maybe a dozen times in the last month. I'm wondering if I'm developing narcolepsy for real. I never remember thinking I should go to bed. I close my eyes for a second and next thing I know, it's up to a half hour later. And I don't have a office chair with a high back by the way. It's an ordinary wooden kitchen table type chair. So I'm really just sitting upright.

Last night I had a vivid dream while I was sitting here sleeping. A lot of my old friends who I haven't seen in a really long time were in it. I discovered I could levitate myself. I raised my arms parallel with my shoulders and I could will myself to raise off the couch I was sitting on and float around the room.

I did it several times, getting better and better at it until I was flying near the ceiling but I couldn't sustain it for long. My concentration would break and I'd float back to the floor. The last time I landed, my friend Victoria was there. She wasn't surprised to see me fly. It's fun I told her, but every time I land it gets harder to lift my leg. It feels like a lead weight.

Then I woke up. My legs were crossed and the one on top had lost its circulation. I brushed my teeth and went straight to bed hoping to recapture the dream. I wanted to fly some more. I didn't dream again that I can remember.

Starry starry night

It's that time of year again folks. The annual Perseid meteor shower is expected to be at its best this year, producing one or two meteors per minute during peak hours. Best viewing will be between about 11:00pm and dawn EST. With no moon to interfere it should be a great one this year. Definitely worth losing some sleep over.

Meanwhile, all is well on the deck. I woke up this morning to the hummers' raucous wrangling over access to the feeder which remains -- knock on wood -- ant free and there was only one rather confused looking ant wandering into the bait trap. It was so foggy that you could barely see the tree line across the McCompound but that's burned off now and it's a pretty nice day. The sun is shining and the air is reasonably clear for August.

The sun feels good this morning. The heat wave broke yesterday and it was probably in the high 70s in the morning. After a week of cloying heat, I was cold. I wore a sweater until about 3:00 when the sun finally broke out.

I went to the store in the evening and saw a flock of Monarchs on the shrubbery around the parking lot. The myrtles are in full bloom everywhere you look. It was cool enough to wear long pants. I drove home thinking that sometimes I really love living in the south.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Peaceful on the deck

Long time readers know I'm not one to use poisons if I can avoid it but I stopped got an industrial grade ant spray tonight and I'm telling you it was instant ant begone.

They had slowed down considerably when I got home tonight but there was still was a line going up and down and at least a dozen crawling all over the feeder. I sprayed the shit out the post from top to bottom and the outside floorboards too. The few ants that didn't flee died instantly.

It doesn't smell that great. The fumes linger in the dead air. There's no wind at all here tonight but there's no ants either. The hummers don't seem to mind and are happy again. I of course washed the feeder and made fresh food. I swear the bold guy thanked me.

He kept looking up, looking for the pesky things and when he didn't see any, he settled down for a good long drink. He fed from the side where I could see his silhoutte against the sky. I could see his tiny little heart beating. And when he was done he flew to barely a foot from my face and hovered for a long time looking at me.

I mean long enough that I stuck my finger out, hoping he would land on it. He considered it for quite a few long seconds before he flew off. I think he may land on me yet. Of course, I won't have a camera when it happens...

The ants go marching...

I knew the hummingbird thing was going too easily. Everything was fine for days and the bold little bird has been hovering practically in my face talking to me and the two birds had figured out to share the feeder. All was well and peaceful on the deck but now the ants have discovered the feeder and there's a small army running up and down the post collecting the food. It's so bad the birds can't even rest on the feeder perches to eat without the ants crawling all over them.

Of course I'm working this week and haven't had time to really deal with it. I put out some bait traps which are apparently a joke. No way the ants are going for the bait when they have pure sugar on tap and now I also have a wasp or two that developed a taste for the stuff. The wasps I don't mind so much since they don't seem inclined to nest in the rafters but I have to stop the ants. They're just gross.

I spent a half hour last night in the 100+ degree heat at 7:30 just killing the buggers. It slowed them down for a while but they were back in force this morning. It doesn't appear that the hummingbirds eat them so I guess I'm going to spray the shit out of the post and the railings tomorrow and hope that kills them. I'm thinking I may have to take down the feeder for a couple of days until I kill them all. I hope the hummers don't abandon me if I do it.

Meanwhile, it has been over 100 degrees here every day this week. I've never run the AC so much in my entire life. I'm even running it at night so I can breathe. On the bright side, it makes me happy to now be living in my nice new Mcpartment with the central air. My old house only had a window unit that was so old, it smelled like mold when you ran it. But I still can hardly wait for this heat wave to break.

Of course, on the bright side, at least I'll be motivated to use the pool. The water is finally warm enough to get right in and I may even go over after sunset tonight. You don't need the sun to keep you warm when it's this hot.

Monday, August 06, 2007

For Maeve

Well, they're not very good shots. The little critters won't let me take their picture from the deck. I've had to take these from inside. Hopefully you can see the bolder one coming in for a landing from the left here. Try clicking to embiggen. It could only help.

And I wish the lighting was better on this one but there he is feeding on the right. I got a better look at their coloring yesterday, since I spent half the day trying to get these silly shots. I'm pretty convinced they're rubythroats, either females or more likely, as Rocky points out, immature males.

Meanwhile, Maeve has been to the hummer house and found this guy. Wish they had those around here. He's very cool.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

For the birds

Arrgggh. I spent a half an hour, two days running, doing my little aerobic routine in the pool and I can hardly move today. I think I should have built up to it in slower increments. On a brighter note, I still haven't managed to get a photo of my two little guys but Maeve has shown me hers here. I definitely have a different species.

Having investigated, I now believe my two might be female rubythroats. It's hard to find good photos on google but they seem to be the closest in the markings. They continue to amuse me though. The braver one scolded me twice yesterday for hanging out on the deck and ruining her quiet enjoyment of her meal. It's pretty funny to have a hummingbird whirring inches from your face and bitching you out.

No mistaking this guy however. I spent the first day in the pool by myself and a finch just like this was in the flower beds on the periphery, eating the seeds out some passed flower. He didn't move the whole time I was in the pool. Probably why I ended up staying in so long. Well that, and it's hotter than Hades here this week.

The heat I don't mind but the air quality is so bad you can't breathe the shit. I've taken to using the AC for the last couple of days. This place is tight, I'll give it that much. I run it for a while until I get too cold and it holds the cool for hours and hours. I usually only to run it twice a day. I hope it works that well in containing the heat in the winter.

Meanwhile, I don't what happened with my upstairs neighbors but all of sudden they're really noisy. I think they have a kid and he runs around like a demon all day long and half way into the night. It's like, it's 11:00pm people. Put that kid to bed. It was really bad last week but I think they had company who brought a couple of extra kids. I'm not even sure who they are. It's funny like that here. You can't really tell what apartment anybody lives in unless you see them opening their door. Which you don't.

And on a completely different note, there's a new blogger in the 'hood. Long time Rumbler commenter Joan of Argggh and I couldn't be more diverse politically, but she just started her blog and I really liked her post on her home town. It reminds me of lovely downtown Noho, the retirement home for young people.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Made in Mexico

My friend Anita Brown who has been living in Cancun for the last couple of decades has started a new photoblog. Check it out. I especially love the post on Tulum, where I spent several weeks of unmitigated bliss back in the early 90s. Glad to see it's still just as beautiful as I remembered it. I may want to move there some day. Like tomorrow.

Oh, and this blog just came to attention. My listserv buddy R. Clayton McKee, also has a photoblog. He's not in Mexico but is close enough to the border to count under the title.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Hey, is that ounce a little light?

It's almost too embarrassing that Tits McGee had to point me to Scott's post at my dear friends Stop The Drug War blog. The city of San Francisco doesn't just allow medical marijuana, they take it seriously. They sent this to a local dispensary.

Dear MCD Applicant;

It has come to my attention that some MCD's [medical cannabis dispensaries] are using the incorrect equivalent conversion between grams and ounces. You must use 28.35 grams/ounce, not 28 grams/ounce for all cannabis sold by weight. The law behind this is in the State Business and Professions Code, which is typically enforced by Weights and Measures (State Dept of Agriculture). As they currently are not addressing weights and measures issues regarding cannabis clubs, the City's MCD Inspection Program will enforce this requirement.

Please feel free to share this with any club operator (I do not have email
for most operators).

Thank you for your cooperation.

I love it. They're scolding the dispensaries for shorting the ounces. As Scott points out, "This is the kind of regulation the marijuana industry actually needs. Hopefully someday, when the DEA shows up at your dispensary, it won’t be to confiscate your proceeds and product, it will be to warn you: "It's come to our attention that you're selling skimpy sacks…"

Meanwhile, be sure to visit DRC's blog regularly. Lots more news and views like that are posted daily, unlike my sorry excuse for drug policy activism lately.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I'm so glad

My feeder is such a smashing success. I'm so happy. I worked for a few hours this afternoon and when I came home there were hummingbirds at my feeder.

I already have two little guys duking it out over first dibs. The littler guy is the bold one and he's winning so far. He'll feed if I'm sitting there but so far, mostly on the far side feeder so all I can see is his tail. But he came back every few minutes all evening long.

The other guy keeps coming in to get a turn but he won't go to the feeder unless the other guy is there already. If he's alone and he sees me, he just takes off. But the little guy doesn't want to share and he chases the other one away. A couple of times they both arrived at once and they buzzed through the deck while they were battling it out, inches from my face. The second time I swear I could feel the wind from their tiny little wings on my eyeballs.

This is so cool. This is my kind of pet. A wild thing that comes to visit. But I'm wondering about the upkeep on the feeder though. It says to clean it twice a week. Does that mean I have to throw out the food that's in it or just clean the bottom part that they sit on?