Celebratory Beverage

In part to continue the little sequence of posts lately into a trilogy, but really because Janet made a batch of todayʼs topic as a gift for a friend (and had me make the label, that comprises todayʼs special image, for the recycled wine bottle into which she placed said beverage), I thought I would take another stab at another recipe. (It has been a long time.) Although I do prefer my own Snowy Evening (we have spread the name of my invention to at least a dozen people now), Janet has a real fondness for her concoction — Pumpkini Martinis.

Hereʼs her recipe for two (large) martini glasses:

  • 3 shots each of:
    • Pumpkin Smash™ Liqueur,
    • white chocolate Irish cream,
    • and vanilla vodka
  • 2 shots of nonalcoholic cream (such as Half-n-Half, vanilla- or pumpkin-flavored coffee liquid creamer)

Put in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill. Strain into chilled martini glasses. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg. Enjoy.

Itʼs pretty simple, but very pleasant. Makes a good drink at the end of an enjoyable evening. (The Lovely One and her sister enjoy them when they get together, often but not always).

Janetʼs gift

Today Janet made two or three glasses worth and poured them into a wine bottle from which she had removed the label, scrubbed (and nearly sanded the exterior to remove label glue), and then had me tape on my home-made label.

Pumpkin martinis are a little sweet for me to drink much (a good thing, as I don’t have that problem with Snowy Evenings). But theyʼre  pretty good. And I hope our friend Lisa enjoyes her celebratory bottle of the drink (with friends or not all at once).

In other news… my lovely (still unregistered) smartpen has gotten me* most of the way through day three of our Hungarian adventure, for anyone interested in what might be coming up here on Wakʼs Blog. Furthermore, while on the trip we took for New Years, I wrote plenty. So we wonʼt be idle in days to come.

Stay tuned. Stay healthy. Keep reading.

* I do like writing longhand, being an old curmudgeonly codger. And itʼs lovely to just hook up the pen and edit the few errors MyScript for Livescribe™ happens to make with my illegible handwriting, copy over into Scrivener for revision, export as HTML for copying into WordPress.

2012 could be a much more verbose year around here. Be prepared?

©2012 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Apple Sucks (Redux)

The (not quite in focus) little drive that could… in action (see its little blue light, indicating disk activity?)

Maybe Apple doesnʼt suck? Except in its Asian hardware…

Clearly, tech ace Aaron had it right. My iMacʼs optical drive is fried (great choice of substandard equipment there, Apple guys). I know because I have worked around the problem.

Although I was temporarily dwelling within a mile of an Apple store over the New Years weekend (more on that another time very soon), I decided not to carry the huge computer down Michigan Avenue from our temp residence amidst/against the crowds of post(?)-holiday shoppers thronging and clogging the Miracle Mile. Nor did I select to bring the iMac along on our four-hour drive to downtown Chicago (and then back home again) on the shot that batting my elderly eyelids at the Windy Cityʼs Apple Geniuses would get me a replacement drive for the pathetic original.

However, I did take Aaronʼs other advice and purchased an inexpensive add-on USB optical drive/DVD burner. Lacking any originality or willpower to find a better deal, I went straight for his suggestion — the Samsung drive available at amazon.com. The device arrived really quite quickly, not long after Christmas, and I got it operational by unboxing the slim little bit of blackness and plugging it into one of the three USB expanders dongling from the iMacʼs ports. Truly plug-and-play.

My single big concern with buying a new drive was adding something else to the tangle of wires extruding from the iMacʼs USB ports. (I had experienced some troubles keeping my back-up drives loading until they got their own dongle, the same one into which I plugged the two USBs for the Samsung optical — I might as well keep all “drives” together, I thought, productively, as it turned out).

The new drive is operating right now, uploading some newly acquired (Christmas-gift) music into iTunes. And I am merrily listening to the third of the Steig Larsson The Girl Who… books as (I attempt to pretend) I take my early morning “run.”

Except for a periodic issue not recognizing that a CD is a CD and instead offering a Finder window saying the disk is unreadable and do I want to format it now, the new drive works great (and I am currently giving it a workout, uploading all the CDs I had put on hold for the recent months of the built-in optical driveʼs death throes).

Best of all, the import speeds on the new drive beat the old one all hollow (and typing those words, I really wonder where the cliché “to beat something all hollow” originates). Even Audiobook CDs import in just a few minutes (for some reason those always seemed to take the longest, on The Lovely Oneʼs HP laptop and with the built-in optical drive on this iMac). Pretty cool seeing those 15.3x to 17.1x import speeds in iTunes.

Oops. The drive just pulled its “donʼt-recognize-this-disk” routine, and I stupidly hit the “Ignore” button instead of “Eject.” The disk isnʼt visible on the Desktop, and I canʼt get the drive to open its bay by pushing on the front, either. Now I think I have to restart the computer to get the disk out (or maybe… Iʼll just unplug the USB cord from the drive and see if that works — it did). However, itʼs a good sign I had better wrap this up and move on to other, probably more important activities.

©2012 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Statistically Speaking

The most recent WordPress post-feedback screen I have captured

Wow. We have had nearly 120,00 hits on the blog since I began just over two years ago (and according to ClustrMaps nearly 32,00 discrete visits). Of course, much as I might wish everyone was seeking enlightenment and entertainment from my writing, plenty of those hits are folks looking for clip art on the internet (particularly of late, searching for astronomical or stellar pictures and thus landing on the piece of Stars in Heaven posted as one of the Longer Items). Even so, itʼs a statistically interesting pair of totals on which to end the year.

The statistic that motivates this post, however, (and of which this post is the culmination) is one that WordPress has made significant by giving me little goals to reach when I manually post to “Publish immediately.” The company presents as feedback such information as shown in the picture to the left, alongside these paragraphs. (As you can see, itʼs the response to my now notorious post on the malfunctioning optical drive in my iMac from last week).

If you count forward, this information means that on Tuesday I was notified that post was my 496th. Wednesdayʼs post, which I wrote immediately after publishing on my Christmas harvest, therefore was the 497th addition to Wakdjunkagaʼs Blog, and Thursdayʼs grammatical dissertation (incomprehensible as it may have been) the 498th. Obviously, then, yesterdayʼs retrospective disquisition added up to 499.

And today marks the 500th post. Five hundred in just over two years. (I wonder if any of it has been worthwhile to anyone…)

Thatʼs why I have been focused on getting something up every day here as the year winds to its close. I guess WordPress did its job with those little goals.

Now I wonder what 2012 will hold for Wakdjunkaga…

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Pretty Nice Christmas

Margaret nearly buried amidst the wrapping paper

The Lovely One and I traveled to the middle of Our Fair State to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family, departing on Saturday, Christmas Eve, and returning on Monday/yesterday. The drive both directions was lovely — brilliant days with scarcely a cloud in the sky (Christmas itself was utterly clear with a sky of a deep wedgewood-blue. And warm, well over 40°F).

We gathered at my brother Paul (and wife Nancy)ʼs place because, as a minister “Pastor Paul” had work to over those days — even with his co-pastor undertaking her regular duties, he was presiding at a total of four services, two on Saturday (Janet and I attended the rural churchʼs candlelight service that began at 4:00 PM) and two more on Sunday, including the afternoon Spanish service. Meals, times together, Christmas Day stockings and gifts were scattered between trips to church — plentifully. I had a good time and some excellent visits. Janet found this year especially pleasant, too.

David, Jess and Tim

Besides my generation (sister Margaret, the pastor himself and brother David), both of Paulʼs offspring (Rachel and Tim, with Timʼs relatively new wife Jessica enjoying her first Burrow Christmas) were present — nine of us altogether. Our hosts were actually able to get us all around their dining room table at one time, several times (an achievement of which Janet was particularly envious). Maybe we were a bit crowded in the living room for gift opening, but that just made the time more cozily enjoyable. And we even got to each speak with the absent brother Stephen about 6:00 PM on Christmas.

Paul, Janet, Rachel and Nancy

As the photos reveal, sharing British-style (China-produced) Christmas crackers has become a favorite part of the Burrow Christmas stocking stuffing. Although the crackers usually donʼt pop when pulled, we love putting all our crowns (contained within the cracker) on our heads (mine atop my Guinness cap) as we read the lamely punning riddles and check out the little “presents” that also spill out when the ends of the cracker get pulled apart. I have a little, plastic three-inch ruler that might actually come in handy.

Christmas Day was a wildly enjoyable time. Trite, but, tritely, true, too.

Isnʼt that an ash? — The cerulean Christmas sky beyond a tree in the parsonage yard.

And it didnʼt hurt that, even though My Beloved and I had agreed on “no presents” between the two of us this year, I made out like a bandit, including ironically two live Jefferson Airplane albums (that I hadnʼt even specifically asked for, from Rachel, which I am listening to as I type — just not on the computer, natch) and an iTunes gift card. Harold Lamb Cossack adventures, Guinness, The Moonstone on DVD and a Joseph Smith biography completed my personal portion of the hoard. The Lovely One may have done even better, and weʼll be eating on on several restaurant gift certs. I believe my spouse feels as lushly rewarded this Christmas as I do.

I hope everyone else felt as over-satisfied with their hauls.

Then, once this pair of Burrows had cruised back across half our state home, Janet and I opened the presents from her side of the family. The plethora and over-plus of generous abundance persisted bountifully. Among other treats, I am contemplating for suppers this week several recipes from the Sheryl Crow cookbook Janet received, and my hands are warm in my new fingerless wool gloves, typing this, as I ponder how to spend a new B&N gift card. Wow. (And thereʼs more, but Iʼll restrain my greedy gloating.)

Anyway, the best part was seeing so many relatives (both sides — counting our visit to Janetʼs folks the previous weekend).

My best seasonal wishes to everyone out there (a little belated, perhaps).

Now the lengthening days bring us toward the yearʼs end…

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

The 2011 Christmas Letter

Yes, like so many other Americans, The Lovely One and I indulge in an annual Christmas letter reprising the presumed highlights of the year gone by. My parents began the tradition fifty years ago (more?), and at least some of the time all of their offspring have continued to perpetrate the subliterary ritual. Since I promised, unwittingly mextatextualizing, to post the letter here so the recipients could see the included pictures in a larger format, here is the missive we mailed out with our cards a week or ten days back…

Happy Holidays, One and All!

For the first time in several years, the world is not white with snow, and although today is pretty chilly, weʼre looking forward to highs in the forties about mid-week. Furthermore, itʼs bright and sunny today, the grass is green, and itʼs time to get this thing written once again for your pleasure or instant dismissal to the paper-recycling basket.

Janet and Miss Jones

Janet’s job at Cottingham & Butler continues as demanding as ever, still serving two masters, both the Chairman-and-CEO and the President. Once again, it was her original boss, the CEO, John, who provided the most interesting event to relate. This year he and his wife Alice both turned eighty, and John wanted to celebrate in lavish style, renting the Dubuque country club and inviting live talent to perform. Of course, much of the preparations fell not to him or Alice, rather to his trusty executive assistant, and Janet had her hands more than full for the first months of 2011, planning, arranging, supervising, coordinating and presenting the Big Bash.

First, she had to find possible entertainers and fairly rapidly produced a short list of available artists for her boss to winnow down to one — Broadway legend and former Partridge Family matriarch Shirley Jones. Then came negotiations with Miss Jonesʼs agent (and stars, even septuagenarians, do have their requirements that the host site must oblige, including temporary housing and technical specifications like stage size and lighting — for all of which of course Janet had to arrange the provisions, which meant next she was lining up technicians for sound, stage and lights, not simple on relatively short notice). Then there were guest invitations and responses (and in some cases re-invitations and/or personal phone calls when this or that close friend of the Butlers neglected to respond) and further arrangements or re-arrangements as the Big Bash drew closer and closer. Finally, Janet discovered she herself (and spouse) were also on the invitation list — mostly so she (and as it happened I) could handle last-second details or issues, as we did, including the seating chart that John and Alice only provided in rough form the morning of the party, April 30, and the arrangement of the tables themselves. We even served as house light operators for a key moment during Miss Jonesʼs performance, and Janet, as she had known for many weeks, acted as the starʼs dresser.

Although the day of the Big Bash was a busy one for both of us, it was an exciting and delicious (for me — Janet didnʼt get to eat her meal, having to depart the party room to prepare the talent to perform) fête, and Shirley Jones was not only talented and effervescent but delightful and personable, as were her accompanist and stage manager/technical director. We got to sleep in a (for us, free) hotel room that night, late, while the Butlersʼ driver Cal chauffeured the accompanist to OʼHare and then returned to deliver Shirley and her manager to the Dubuque airport. It was an exciting, unique experience.

Janet had also arranged another major production for 2011, this one for us. Serving on the board of directors for The Grand Opera House in Dubuque, she had begun to feel a little pressure from her board peers to perhaps do something artistic for the theater, like in particular… direct a play. So she put us down to direct One Flew over the Cuckooʼs Nest this year, commencing in August with performances ending September and beginning October — perhaps hoping to build from my experience in the Maquoketa Peace Pipe Players production from 2010 (please consult your meticulously maintained files of previous Christmas missives for details on that, naturally). We were delighted by the large turnout for auditions and the astonishing level of talent from which we could choose. The group we wound up with (after some days of negotiating and dismissing difficult or timid former choices) was just about as perfect as we could wish.  We also enjoyed a talented, organized stage manager in operatic Megan Gloss, who kept the cast and us on track and productive. Departing Grand technical director Keith Ahlvin made me a lifelong admirer (and even friend) by his ingenuity and creative scenic design and construction (on which I worked daily throughout September). Weʼre excited we may get to see Keith on his new job at the Adler Theater in Davenport when we go to experience Mannheim Steamroller on December 21. Rehearsals went swimmingly, even with the night we were exiled to the alley outside the theater for another group inside, and the show was a moderately attended, scintillating success.

August had also marked what we had hoped was the end of many weeks work on our upstairs bathroom (it wasnʼt, and as I type this, I really should be finishing the paint job in that room). In July Janet consulted with a local business to install a new countertop and sink and put new flooring in our bathroom (we got so excited about the wood laminate products that we also re-did our kitchen/dining room floor). She arranged as well to have the cabinets refinished before it became my obligation to paint the chambre du toilet (that convenience was likewise replaced with a modern extended-bowl, low-water model). A period of forgetful laziness (and play practice) preceded our sanding, caulking and preparation of walls and joints for the paint job I hope to complete by the time you read this. My retirement years continue to feature major and pleasant improvements to our home.

outside Parliament

Our biggest pleasure of the year was an almost spur-of the-moment weekʼs vacation in mid-October. We had toyed with what to do and where to go once our Dubuque play had wrapped, focusing mostly on western New York and perhaps Niagara Falls, but serious investigation revealed that prices for that potential driving trip were going to be sky-high — exorbitant enough that when Janet ironically searched costs for a week in Paris or, really having a lark, Budapest, she found that we could in fact spend a lovely week in the Hungarian capital for considerably less than the Finger Lakes region. She learned this two weeks before her vacation time was to begin, the day before she took off to Wisconsin for her annual Festivus getaway with her sister Diane. Fortunately or un-, when she told me about Budapest, I said we should just go for it, completely unprepared and almost utterly unplanned. And we did, booking the trip (air and hotel) that very evening.

looking across the Chain Bridge and Danube from Buda at Pest

Ten days of frantic research and packing brought us to OʼHare and a joyless flight overseas on United (now near the dregs, the bottom of our list of friendly skies) improved by our dawn-hour Lufthansa hop from Frankfurt to Budapest. We spent seven nights in the cities united across the Danube, enjoying both the reconstructed historic Buda side on the hills and the busy, modern Pest side where we roomed. Food was wonderful (gotta love that paprikash! And those “meat pancakes,” too!), sights were scenic (even when overcast or rain-drenched), the people we met were friendly and enthusiastic, and we had a glorious time — visiting the castle and the former nobles region in Buda, buying foodstuffs and presents in the Great Market Hall, wandering streets and byways, visiting the Jewish Quarter and the Great Synagogue as well as St. Istvánʼs Basilica and Mattyas Church, plus classic coffeehouses (fin de siecle, neo-Baroque gilded gloriosity and bookish paneled elegance preserved and restored). And did I mention the food? Flying home on Lufthansa restored our preference for European airlines (free and tasty meals, free booze, legroom) after the SwissAir disappointment from Prague two years ago. I am trying to complete a travelogue on my blog with more complete details and plenty of pictures, which you may check out or ignore. We had a fantastic time.

trapper John

And why wait until October for vacation, as appears to have become our habit since I left education? First, I spent nearly six weeks substitute teaching this year. Almost the entire month of March I effectively had my old Andrew job back when the current teacher had to take time off as her father died, and that particular segment of the school year meant that I got to renew my experience with both large group and individual speech contest and directing the spring play (the school generously paid this poor sub somewhat more for all those many, many extra hours). Fortunately for me, the kids were also generous and forgiving of this old man, so the time went quite well. But my earnings for the year went further. Around Valentineʼs Day, a friend suggested me for a job with the USDA; when I followed his lead, I got a quick interview and a definite offer as a “seasonal bug trapper.” I was the front line to contain the spread of the emerald ash borer (about which thereʼs plenty of information online if you just google that bug by name or even “EAB”). I spent half of April and all of May, June, July and August in my government-owned vehicle on the roads and sometimes highways of Clinton, Jackson and eastern Dubuque counties, four ten-hour days a week — creating and hanging large, sticky cardboard traps and then returning to check for bugs and replenish the lure inside to attract more insects, finally visiting each site one last time in August to check again and remove the traps. I learned much about the differences between many kinds of trees (ashes being the only variety in which I was supposed to be interested) and between many, many kinds of bugs — none of which on my traps were actually emerald ash borers. It was a definite adventure, and I now know more about the back byways of eastern Iowa than I ever thought I would. I also had five days working on the currently more serious gypsy moth campaign. Again, if interested, you can find much more on the blog. I am excited that if federal funding exists, I get to do not quite the same again next summer.

And looking ahead seems an auspicious note on which to leave this yearʼs Christmas letter. We aspire for more pleasant adventures for us and for all of you in Maya-calendar-ending 2012.

For the present, we hope this festive season finds you and yours all happy and healthy. We wish you all well and would like to see you any time.

on the cruise boat, our last day in Budapest

Janet wishes these letters were even shorter than they are (this one ran two pages, with pictures, of ten-point Palatino), but I didnʼt name other deserving participants in the play, or mention seeing family (Margaretʼs visit for One Flew over the Cuckooʼs Nest, for instance, and nephew Timʼs wedding to his bride Jessica), provide quick updates on siblingsʼ lives, or mention other news from other relatives.

Thatʼs 2011, folks.

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

.

Strange Mix

Little quiches — packaged for freezing and more cooling to be packed

I’m cooking today. Yes, itʼs another mini-breakfast-quiche-making marathon. I actually started on Tuesday, but thawing and wringing dry and separating the chopped (formerly frozen, eight boxes of) spinach, cutting up the veggies (peppers, carrot shreds, mushrooms and onions), and then mixing all that with eggoid (“egg substitute” for all of you not part of this household) and cheese (two parts shredded fat-free to one part simply shredded cheddar) took me just about all morning, once I got myself disconnected* from the computer, so that I only baked four or five batches (twenty-four quiches to a batch, six daysʼ of breakfast eating in a container). The process continues today, starting even before The Lovely One left for work.

This morning, I am four batches in, with most of a huge bowl of mixture to go, each baking (at 375°, or as I am doing today, 380°) requiring my attention twice, once at the twenty-minute mark to remove the two muffin pans from the oven and tenderly extract the metal muffin tins of little quiches onto cooling pads before inserting new cups to fill with more mixture and place back in the oven for the next twenty minutes. And once mid-baking-cycle to remove the twenty-four cooled quiches from their tins and place that batch in a plastic container for freezing.**

So why not finish yesterday/Wednesday, as I had the whole humongous four-mixing-bowls of (I am not sure… what would you call it?) batter prepared and partially cooked already on Tuesday? Why not? Because yesterday was my first full day at the Grand Opera House in Dubuque, working on the set, props, special effects, lights and whatever-else our scene and lights designer/technical director Keith could use me for. I left here at 8:00, arriving in Dubuque not much more than a half-hour later, around a massively piled-up detour to avoid five ethanol-filled, overturned, derailed train cars right off downtown.

Muh-muh-muh — my Makita (three jokes — okay, perhaps not funny, so: three “allusions” — in one package there)

I brought along my big red notebook, but there was enough to keep me busy, even on my own at first — devising a special prop/set piece, the electroshock machine, and switching out some furniture. I roamed freely through the basement bowels of the building discovering usable stuff and even almost wrestling a large electronics housing module (destined to become the electroshock machine) out of its storage spot and upstairs (it was the upstairs part that made my efforts there “almost”) until Keith arrived with a load of lumber and we set to work — him cutting boards and me utilizing both the Grandʼs and my own (nearly identical) Makita powerdrivers*** to assemble some Hollywood-style flats to then attach those into a unit for the Up Center wall, a section between two yet-to-be-finished windows. Keith also had me help create an oddly shaped platform to finish off the front end of the nursesʼ station Up Left. In the pre-Keith hours, I also developed the list of sound-effect cues and a list of those sounds for Keith (a sage and crafty sound designer/technician as well). He also used the midstage lift to elevate my potential electroshock machine and a big, heavy dentistʼs chair from the basement to stage level — pretty cool.

It didnʼt feel like much when we were done for the day, but my body knew how many hours and how much effort I had exerted crawling about on the stage drilling holes and driving screws. Today my hams are feeling the effects.

I also handled rehearsal on my own later on, last night. The Lovely One, having injured her back over the past weekend, finally took off a bit early from work to head for home and seek medical attention. Even though we took the two acts in reverse order (Two, then One), the cast sparkled brilliantly. We had felt awed by the outpouring of excellent talent at auditions weeks ago, and the cast Janet and I selected has amazed us ever since with their astonishing prowess, flair and panache.**** I left for home last night excited and delighted, optimistic that the group had some special insights and new performance twists to exhibit to Janet tonight.

And now I am nearly finished with the quiche-baking procedure. The composition of this post has been a four-batch process, and I hope to have this online before the last batch is done.

Then maybe I can get myself back to Dubuque to spend more time in an ill-lit auditorium preparing for our show.

One Flew over the Cuckooʼs NestSeptember 23 through October 2 (with the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in between off, Sundays at 2:00 PM) at the Grand Opera House in Dubuque, tickets available at the Grand ticket office and online, www.thegrandoperahouse.com/tickets.cfm).

* Rather than the wrongly regular disconnection from the internet that bad old CenturyLink¹ provides on such an irregular but frequent basis — roughly eight to more times a day nowadays.

¹ For those like me, not quite in the know, CenturyLink bought up rotten, lousy Qwest Communications some months back, so now itʼs the miserly, scrounging, despicable CenturyLink CEOs and out-of-touch Upper Management dweezils that I curse so often every day.

** And I just took off to do exactly that in reverse — pack up the cooled ones and then immediately pull the hot ones from the oven to to cool and then refill the muffin pans to cook again.

*** (Are they just power screwdrivers now or still considered a cordless power drill, too?)

**** Yeah, I know: all three of those nouns that conclude that sentence are mere synonyms. But synonyms donʼt have to slave identically in meaning, “synonym” just indicates similarity, and those three words each suggest quite different possibilities. The wonderfulness of the English tongue isnʼt that we have twentyteen ways to say the same thing, but that each synonym has shades of meaning missed by any other. Usually, not invariably.

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Free as a Bird (Not)

The poster for our production. It was one thing in which I participated productively yesterday.

Rainʼs moving in…

Of course, the radar has shown that rain closing in all morning, but the front wall of the rainfall has curved around Our County, encompassing Dubuque and a big region south of Interstate 80, but not us. Yet. The forecasters continue to insist it is coming; it will probably be here by the time I get this item composed, edited, illustrated and finally posted for today.

My summer job has ended. Like so many college students I enter September temporarily unemployed. My GOV still needs to be returned to the main office, and that event is currently scheduled for sometime late next month. So Iʼll earn a day or two daysʼ income taking it back and getting debriefed. Unfortunately, The Lovely One will have to take a day off work to drive me home afterwards. Or else I will have to locate other help lest I remain stranded in Urbandale…

Until that trip, I no longer have the ten-hour days encompassing my time and energy.

Fortunately or un-, my time is not yet quite my own. Our play* is busy in rehearsals, currently four nights each week (soon to become five), and I also have some duties during the day to fulfill (now that Iʼm “free”). Like finding some costumes, acquiring or manufacturing sound effects, helping to locate props, and assisting in set construction.

I also need to apply formally to work as a substitute teacher in districts nearby, and at least in Our Town that means about a dozen pages of various forms to complete along with credentials to locate and copy. So thereʼs plenty to do to keep me busy.

But I still find time, fatuously, to create and post material to the blog, like this. And I still want to take time to work on real writing and even give myself a chance to read some things for pleasure. This morning I composed a letter to my brother Stephen, long-overdue, and vague bits and pieces of what I had to tell him kept churning through my mind to become this post. However, now that Iʼm trying to put those same fragments of thoughts into print, Iʼm not sure I really have much to say. So at least this post will be brief.

And maybe I will get this into the electronic æther before the rain arrives.

Thanks for reading…

* I hope some may remember that Janet and I are directing One Flew over the Cuckooʼs Nest for the Grand Opera House in Dubuque. Auditions were held August 7 and 8, with actual rehearsals beginning on the 11th. The performances will begin September 23 through October 2.

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Apologetic Punkʼdee

Sometimes oneʼs own foolishness can provide the meat for a blog post. Well, thatʼs true at least in my case. And hereʼs the post, today, to prove the axiom. (I could have entitled this one, “Stepping in My Own Droppings.”)

And some wonder why I picked Wakdjunkaga as a pseudonym/alter ego…

…or Facebook Follies

Over the weekend I got punked* via the internet. No, my identity wasnʼt stolen (at least not yet), but I got tricked into making a terribly false post on Facebook. About Michele Bachmann.

A Facebook page I have permitted on my Newsfeed posted a link to a Twitter feed this past Saturday morning. 

No, as you may observe below, AATPʼs original post did not mention anything about satire.

The Facebook page, “Americans Against the Tea Party,”  has a definite agenda in its online presence, determinedly in opposition to Dextremism and narrow-minded nonsense of that rigidly Rightist sort, but in general, although utterly opinionated, their posts have been sincere for the nearly a year that I have received their updates. I clicked their link to the Twitter remark Saturday, and found this:

Now I am no Twitterhead. The entire concept of “following” folksʼ 140-word pronouncements strikes me as the pursuit of the illusion of information as opposed to acquiring (and, we hope, attempting to understand) actual information.** To me, although I wondered about the abbreviation of the junior Congresswomanʼs name (and therefore cited my source when I repeated the “quote” as “@MicheIBachmann,” copied directly from the tweet), the remark seemed only slightly (d)extreme for the recent victor in the infamous Iowa Republican Straw Poll. In fact, except for the use of “tsunamis,” a pretty lengthy and unusual word for her, the remark seemed to fit snugly within her record of gaffes and ridiculosities pretty well.

So, believing that I was alerting the world to further pseudoChristian, fully fundamentalist/Dextremist folly, I reposted the “quote.” And a few of my Facebook comrades “liked” my observation that Ms Bachmann was more than merely crazy eyes.

Unfortunately (for me), I was deluded. AATP had  posted a “satirical” link, as they admitted themselves a little later:

Ha ha. So truly amusing. I got tricked. Punked.

Being but discontinuously online, I had no clue about my error until a friend from the Right bothered to tell me Saturday evening that the post was “from a satire site.” Although I felt blushingly ashamed, I was wrong (and he was more than right). Thus my thanks to him for bothering to politely and firmly point out my nonsense.

My correction

And my apologies to Ms. Bachmann (although sheʼll never know theyʼre here, Iʼm sure) after she has created a public record that could so easily include the horrible (but satiric) tweet.

* …Perhaps I should spell that “punkʼd” or something like that?

** Not that Facebook posts (which are now limited to fairly brief number of characters — which I have violated repeatedly and been forced to edit/reduce my remarks) are really all that worthwhile.

(All images today are accurate and unedited captures from Facebook and Twitter.)

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Still Kicking

I am fairly certain this one is somewhere in Jackson County, the day that the Forest Service was treating woodsy areas for gypsy moths (one of the work stories I have to tell — someday, perhaps soon). Click, of course, for a big version (although at least halved twice from the actual shot).

My “Subscriptions” page here on WordPress just revealed that itʼs been twenty (20!) days since I last posted something to the blog. Sigh.

Perhaps some had thought/hoped ole Wakdjunkaga had expired. Not yet…

I am still alive, just busy working. I even have work news that I just havenʼt had time to post. Lots of work stuff going on (I even got to work on gypsy moth trapping for four days to help out my [now former?] partner in Linn and Scott counties); itʼs the season to restock the lure in the traps (and over the Fourth, The Lovely One got me to take down the trap in our own yard, while wearing my full work regalia, so she could snap some pictures that I intend to share here, hopefully some time before my seasonal work period ends about Labor Day).

I have also been thinking a lot about stories (particularly “Mantorville* although I donʼt know why driving around the back roads of eastern Iowa should inspire me on that subject…**) and even have written (a little). The photo today is one I shot for mood/atmosphere/mapping-plans-for Quetzal County while out working (provided here perhaps just to prove I have been contemplating the writing life).

Friday morning (thatʼd be tomorrow) is my (personal) time, and I will try to complete some post(s?) to remind myself that I do have a blog. (I do, however, need to write to my brother Stephen as well.)

However, right now, my Beloved just arrived home, so this post is finished.

* (Isnʼt anyone gong to suggest an actual title for that eastern Iowa horror story? Ever?)

** ALL locations and characters are imaginary, however, by the way!

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.