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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A disturbance in the pine straw

Within 20 feet one one another, we have the two, both at the edge of pine straw mulch in an areaq where no pine trees exist, except for the few that've sprouted from the seeds that rode in with the straw.

The one.  It might as well be a lost yeast roll from a local restaurant, except there is no such place.  The best we can do in this area is the dollar movie with it's expensive, and very yummy, popcorn.


And no, I didn't notice the lack of focus until just now, but that's me through and through, a lack of focus.  Hundreds will concur.  They'll also shake their heads in sad dismay.  Such the waste, they'll think and, maybe, say.

The other.


Sneaking up from the edge of the pine straw.  It's very shy.  It's also toast by now.  We have an afternoon temperature of 100F.  Not many mushrooms are going to hold on with that much sunshine smiling on them.

So what do you suppose possessed these two to sprout in the edge of the same mulch, if 20 feet separated?

Were the spores lurking in the soil, just waiting for the opportune moment?  Did they come in on the bales of pine straw?

I like to think they both settled down through the air, perhaps dropped from the wing of something above and unseen, drifting downward for however long it took, until finally coming to settle in the edge of the straw, just where the straw is thin enough for the spore to reach the soil, but still thick enough to shade the soil until the spore can sprout.

And that happened twice.  Yep.  More likely, they fell from the curly tail of a flying pig.  I'll go with that.  And space aliens.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

All alone

I was supposed to be wrapping my head around the full moon Friday evening when I went out for a walk at the end of the day.  Instead, I found myself wrapping my head around solitude.  To a large extent, those who value silence and solitude are often maligned in this society as being inept, maladjusted, and most alarming, unimportant.  You're not likely to hear that the next serial killer was a gregarious extrovert who let everyone know months earlier how he was going to rape and pillage an urban mall.  Nope.  The news reports will fixate on how no one saw it coming, how the man was a loner, and how no one really trusted him because they never knew what he was really thinking.

A good friend of mine, a very successful college professor, said at dinner a few years ago how, if he were to find himself in prison, solitary confinement would be something he would seek.  I nodded my complete understanding as his spouse just rolled her eyes.

We live in a loud and gregarious world, a world not given to thinking before acting, a world not given to the examination of consequences, a world filled with people who talk too much about too little, a world with little or no appreciation of quiet.

How many can drive to work surrounded by their own thoughts?  How many need the radio going just to stay sane?

I once traveled with a fellow who is substantially extroverted.  He's also quiet socially adept, so you can't pin the bull in a china shop moniker on him.  However, he thrives on social interaction.  He draws energy from it.  He's the guy who will strike up a conversation with strangers on an airplane as an effort to pass the time.

I'm the guy with a complete arsenal of responses designed to end that unwanted conversation.

It took a few years before my traveling companion came to realize that one can be effective in social business situation without being the social butterfly.  Oddly, we don't travel together all that much anymore, and I suspect he's returning to his previous misconceptions.  See how I fill in the gaps of what I don't know by fabricating something from nothing?  I should start a silk purse business.

So there I am, traipsing through the world of west Raleigh, glad to be alone with my thoughts, though wishing there were a little easily controlled moderation on that point, when I looked down. It wasn't there yesterday.


I know it's an overnight sensation because I walked this same path one day earlier.  It sprouted and grew over night, and now the heat of the day is taking it's toil.  It does not appear to have another day left in it.

It also sprouted and grew alone.  Now, it dies alone.  That's not a bad thing.  It's just a thing, thought it's the kind of thing that makes so many sad.  I wonder if it finds no company preferable to poor company, and I suspect it does, but we will never know.  It has left us by now.  The fairies will have to dance elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Not quite a yellow bell

But it is a brave soul.

Yes, I went out in to 110 degree heat index.  On a bike.  (It was that, or just head on over to jail for what I was thinking.)  As I was turning around to come home, I saw this down in the grass by a curb.


Here's another angle on this precursor to Friday's full moon.


No, I do not know who left the cigarette.  I didn't even see it until just now when the upload finished.

I suppose a frog or something peed in that little patch of grass.  There has certainly been insufficient rain to bring about a sprout.  Maybe the yellow ones are just stronger.  I doubt it, but it could be.  Perhaps that yellow glow offsets the withering summer sun in which I stood to take this picture.  If so, I didn't feel any of the redirected heat.  Of course and as many will tell you, I'm not all that sensitive, especially when there's a mood going.

One of those days

Everyone has one of those days, at least now and again. People who say they do not are liars, just like the spouses who say they never argued.

Today, I'm having one of those days, and no, it's not work-related.  It's ISP-related.

My building is advertised that as wired for cable and DSL.  That is true.  However, the devil is in the details.

Southern Bell has, apparently, decided that they will not offer DSL service here.  They did that last summer when I was a subscriber.  Note the use of past tense there.

Before that, I used Time Warner Cable, TWC.  This was sorta OK for a while, at least until I grew suspicious of customer service telling me about sunspots when I called to ask about digital static.  SyFy monsters can sound really odd with digital static.  I terminated the digital TV service and gave them back the digital recorder, but retained Road Runner.  The problems with service interruption continued.  They liked to blame my wireless router.

Then there was that afternoon when I overheard the telephone conversation from the service guy.  My cable was spliced.  A lot.  End of story for TWC.

Fast forward to last summer when Southern Bells decided we were no longer worthy.  I checked out Clear, and it appeared that their wireless service would be equivalent to DSL.  It was about my last choice, and I set up the account.  It was sufficient for a while.

At this point, it's about a third of the advertised speed.  I expect to be calling some state agency at some point.

Anyway, what has this to do with mushrooms and mushmoons?

Rather than start a screaming episode on the phone with Clear's ever so inadequate and unempowered customer service, I walked up the the local convenience store for a Diet Coke. 44 ounces.  A little diversion for me will probably make the world a little better for all involved.  Besides, if I'm going to piss and moan about something, it might as well be something useful like a cold Diet Coke on a very hot day.

Along the way, I looked for the mushrooms I photographed last Sunday and then lost, but could not find them.  I suppose the mother ship really did come for them.  However, I did find these.


And from another angle (without my butt hanging out into five lanes of traffic).


And finally



A worked did something here a few days ago, and spread straw from God knows where to cover the disturbed soil.  I suppose the idea is to control erosion while the grass seeds sprout and take root.  In 100-degree weather.

The straw came with mushroom spores, all from a far off place.  That should make some interesting cross-pollination.  However, looking at the weather forecast, the mother ship had better come soon because these mushmoons will quickly dry up and blow away.

Too bad coaxial cable spores didn't arrive with that straw.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost

The Holy Trinity right there on my sidewalk.


I was pedaling on my way to an appointment with no time to spare, but I stopped for this picture.  The Holy Trinity right there for all the world to see.  That left me thinking how three was, and still is, a lot more than just Christianity's Holy Super Trio.  Others earlier had their own meaning, but geometry won it for me.  Three points define a plane, at least in Euclidean geometry.  (The fancier stuff has different rules.)

Anyway, I took the picture and skedaddled, arriving at my appointment 10 minutes early.  Sometimes, it all works out a little better than I expect.  On my way back, I remembered the mushrooms, and especially the another set with the triplet all mashed together with a single sprout way off to the side.  I skipped that extra picture earlier so I wouldn't be late.

Well, guess what is not there now?  In the span of three hours, poof, they're gone.  All of them.  Not even the residue of mushroom too long in the hot sun.  Nothing.  Yes, I rode back and forth three times on the bike looking for what was, but is no longer, there.

I suppose the mothership returned for her children.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Here and gone

Just enough rain last evening to sprout and grow.  Just enough heat today to fry you to a crisp.


Yep. About like usual. Welcome to my world.