Sunday, June 17, 2018

One Minute Of Peace II

Just because it was so nice.                                                         The first One Minute Of Peace here.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Big Stinky Flower


Thursday morning it was on the news that Olbrich Botanical Gardens had another corpse flower that was ready to bloom.  Yesterday morning they reported that it was in peak bloom, so while at work I decided I would stop by on the way home to see it and, of course, get pictures to share here.  I hear of this every few years, and they do have 4 of the plants so that makes sense because they only bloom every 7-10 years, I've just never taken the time to go see it before.

As I mentioned earlier, Olbrich has one of the 4 Buckys that are nearby so, while I had momentarily forgotten that fact, I couldn't miss it outside of the Bolz Conservatory, where the big stinky flower was.  This Bucky is simply titled 'Grow,' which is apt for where it is.  That's 3 Buckys down and only 82 more to go!  Realistically, we'll just have to wait and see how many I 'collect' by summer's end.  The next one will most likely be across the street from here at Olbrich Park.  Speaking of which, we have not been to the biergarten yet this year, but have heard that it is really very popular this summer.

20180615_154613Taken from Olbrich's websiteAmorphophallus titanum (Titan Arum), also known as the Corpse Flower, will only bloom four to five times during its 40-year life. Titan Arum are best known for their unpleasant odor - comparable to rotting meat.  This particular Corpse Flower, affectionately called Mori (which is the Latin word for "death") is an offspring of the Big Bucky Corpse Flower at UW-Madison, and last bloomed at Olbrich in 2009. The flower will only last a few days before it closes.

When I arrived there was hardly a place to park.  I was hoping to beat the after work crowd but there was people everywhere, mostly in the display and gift shop areas.  It was a two dollar donation to get into the conservatory and the lady informed me before I paid that the bloom had closed about a half hour beforehand.  No matter, I was there so I was going to go see it.  Thankfully there wasn't the lines like she said was there during the day and the day before that so I was able to pretty efficiently get in, see it, smell it, get some good pictures and be on my way in about 15 minutes or so.  I have been in the conservatory before but it has been probably since the early to mid 90's, shortly after the conservatory was opened if I remember right, I've been outside in the gardens a little more often.  This visit was a good reminder to get back sooner, and we really have no excuse with it being easily within biking distance.  And in wintertime the conservatory would be a great place to go when you're missing summer.

I managed to take quite a few pictures in that short amount of time so there's lots more to see after the break!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Another Bucky, Food Carts

No, I'm not going to post every time we ride bikes down to the food carts on Wednesdays.  Yes, I may post about each Bucky I 'collect.'  The good news for you is that there's only 4 of them within a short riding distance, then I'd have to branch out and go downtown and all across the city and county.

20160613_174358 bYesterday we rode our bikes down to Jackson Street Plaza again for dinner.  I took a video on the ride, but more on that later.  Friends Josh and Casey (and cute little Mabel!) came over for a fire pit briefly last weekend and we were going to meet them at the plaza last night but they had other important things come up, so maybe next time.  No worries, we'll most likely go down there every Wednesday the weather allows this summer.

20180613_174038We arrived shortly after it was supposed to start and there were only two of the scheduled four carts there, and while we waited a bit no others showed up.  Last week there were only three of four, so I was a bit disappointed again.  It was still pretty quiet when we arrived so I went a couple blocks further and got a few pictures of 'Bucky De Los Muertos' (Bucky Of The Dead) near Monty's Blue Plate Diner on Atwood Ave.  A cool design, and maybe a little easier on the eyes than the Bucky by the Goodman Center.  Here's the link to them all again, this time directly to the Bucky Interactive Map.  Sometime I'll have to make the ride all the way downtown to the capitol square.  I could easily get another 12 or 18 more Bucky's 'collected' on that bike ride, but then I may need to cab it home.  I say 'easily' but downtown on the isthmus may be the hilliest part of Madison.  I'm thinking we should get a bike rack for the car, then we can drive closer to ride, or else Kate can come pick me up when my legs run out of gas.

But for now we were at the plaza with Jakarta and Soho, two very Asian-American food carts and I've never been partial to Asian food.  We wound up crossing the street and having dinner at the Harmony Bar and Grill where I got a burger and fries.  Not a big deal as there are lots of restaurants in that area that we wouldn't mind eating at, including the aforementioned Monty's.

Earlier this spring I got a cell phone holder to put on my handlebars.  I usually put my cell phone in the basket but I'm always afraid I'll forget it there - and have in the past.  It holds it fairly firmly like you would need for navigation or something, but this time I straightened it up and took video of the ride from our house to Atwood, about six minutes is all the ride is per the video.  It's a vertical video - which I hate - and a crappy camera on my phone, so the video isn't the easiest to watch but it's the best I can do without getting a go-pro camera or something. 

I started down the sidewalk because a car was coming down the street.  After we crossed the first road we passed a neighbor, Lucky, but I'm not sure she recognized me when I said hi.  I purposely swerved the bike a few times to get things on the side of the path, like the splash pad at Goodman and the food carts when we arrived.  Have a look if you wish, but be warned - it is vertical, bumpy and the camera picture is wavy.  Delcatto, maybe it will inspire you to get your bike going!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

June This-And-Thats

20180606_182155 bThere's a few things I want to touch upon today and a few pictures I want to post so, once again, it's time to start typing and see what comes out!
    20180603_125717 b
  • First off, I took the above picture last night down the bike path by Atwood Avenue at the Jackson Street Plaza.  Wednesdays are food cart night there this summer so we stopped down for dinner.  We chose Slide this evening, and will try the others as we go.  It didn't take much to fill us up, especially knowing we had to ride home.  Hidden in the back middle is the Chocolate Shoppe ice cream shop, what could should be a destination any day of the week this summer!
  • Speaking of riding bikes, I got out for a ride last weekend and got a picture of one of the 85 decorated Bucky Badgers that have been placed around Madison and Dane County.  You can see them all at this link.  This one, called Our Hearts Belong To Bucky, is at the Goodman Community Center.  Most of them are downtown and on the near west side, on the University of Wisconsin campus, but I hope to run into a few more around town by summer's end.
  • If you missed it, I commented two posts ago and updated my last post about my computer.  I tried to fix it and failed.  There's nothing left for me to do but to wait for Microsoft to ship a fix, and I do hope they will.  I'm still dumbfounded that I've seen nothing on the news about this buggy update.  My computer was 4 years old so while I considered taking it to a place to have fixed I ultimately decided I'd rather spend my money on a new computer.  I went to Walmart, of all places, because I'd heard that was actually a good place to get a computer - and I have a huge aversion to big box Best Buy.  I wound up getting a computer with specs very close to what I had for only $240.  Twice what it may have cost to have the old one fixed, but it will also last years longer, I'm hoping.  Getting a fix for the old one will just make it a back-up now.  Where's the public outrage?  Where's the communication from Microsoft?  I'm still very irked.
  • I got my second shot in back this morning since the first one about two months ago.  I have seen pretty steady improvement over the last several weeks, enough to consider postponement, but woke up feeling like a knife was sticking out of my left rump again yesterday.  Best to get it done and see if it gets me fully back to my normal state.  If this has little to no effect then my only realistic option is to live with it, as long as it stays manageable.  Presently, it's just not enough discomfort to justify cutting into my lower back for a third time.  It may take several days until I feel the full effect from this shot, however, so fingers crossed.
  • The fire pit is absolutely wonderful!  I really like having it and now find that I'm wanting a fire every weekend the weather allows.  I got out the chainsaw last weekend and cut the wood that I had stored from last fall and, well, I'm going to need a lot more wood.  With the old fire pit it might have been enough since it was a smaller size and a bigger deal having one.  Now, with the convenience and larger size, I may have to buy bundles of wood as we go this summer.  I've already put the hand saws in the car for scavenging but I've not see a lot of usable wood by the curbs yet this year.
That's good for now, but I hope to post another yard tour over at the garden blog yet today.  When I get that done there will be some blue words in that last sentence, click it!  There's also the Marquette Waterfront Festival happening this weekend so we may ride our bikes down there and enjoy some good food and music.

If you're here in town and not busy you're always welcome to inquire if we'll be having a fire on the weekends.  It's real easy to do now, and if you bring a bundle of wood you will be heartily welcomed!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Official Fire Pit Christening*


Bridget (aka 'The Finger') & Zubin
We had a very nice evening last night, officially breaking in the fire pit with friends Bridget and Zubin.  We were going to have a fire no matter what, but I put the word out just a day before and most people were busy except the busiest couple we know!  Thanks for coming over, guys!

The mosquitoes have been horrendous this year, and supposed to only get worse.  I sprayed repellent with the hose all over the yard and even sprayed myself with the regular spray.  They weren't too bad early, the breeze was a help I'm sure, but I did get bites later in the night.  Usually we have some time in the spring before they start hatching - not this year.

20180601_191018Also yesterday, I got a few good pictures of the cats and how they've been enjoying the new view with the new storm door.  They haven't made a break for it yet, but I have a feeling one of these days one is going to bolt when the door is opened.  I don't know what they'd do when they get outside and I bet they don't either.

I still have to address the old computer, but with a new one the urgency is less.  I might get to it tomorrow and if I do I'll post an update.

*Update 6/4:  As noted in the comments of the last post, yesterday afternoon I tried the second fix in the article linked in that post and, surprise, it didn't work. Not only did it not work it ruined the thumb drive I used, it's no longer formatted and won't let me format it. I'll have to wait for Microsoft to ship a fix for the computer.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

EU Laws, Blogger & Microsoft

So as you may or may not know, laws changed in the European Union about cookies and data collection from websites.  When I sign in to my account I see the following message:

And when I click on Learn more, it says how I can check:
But when I do that - no matter what device or browser, signed in or signed out - it automatically redirects me to this .com site.  Thanks, Google, parent company of Blogger.  So now what?  Well, hopefully friends overseas Delcatto or Blue Witch can tell me if they got the message when they visit.  Please, guys?  Or else I'm just not going to worry about it, I guess.

I've just about had my fill of computer pains in my ass lately.  Really.

A week ago Monday there was a Windows 10 update on my computer.  When I got to the computer Tuesday it was a paperweight.  Seems that for a small number of users their antivirus stopped part of the update so it tries to 'roll back' to the prior OS but there is none anymore.  Last weekend I bought another computer, so I've had all that pain in my ass, restoring, settings, signing in from a new device so getting all those goddamn emails and security warnings.  And I still can't find a fix for the old computer.  There is a method using another computer at the link above that I can try when I get my patience back, but nothing else I've seen and tried so far has worked.  And calling Microsoft is not what I want to do, though I may need to.

I'm feeling old and pissed off and I want all you rotten fuckers (Google, Blogger, Microsoft, Yahoo) off my lawn!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Fire Pit Completed!

We were supposed to get lots of rain this past weekend so I took the time to start on the fire pit during the week, hoping to have one decent evening on the weekend to break it in, and that we did on Saturday night.


It was harder work than I anticipated, though a good back would have been a great asset here.  It took a few days at a few hours a day - a leisurely pace - but after wishing last year, planning all winter and gathering materials all spring it is finally complete.  And I am tired.  With plant day on Saturday among other projects around the house and yard, I'm spent.  I did practically nothing yesterday, worked today, and hopefully with an early night and good night's sleep I'll feel better tomorrow.

But it looks good and I'm happy with it.  The extra blocks inside I made into a fancy pattern for air flow but they get in the way, I'll be moving them to the inside perimeter for future use.  I also bought a screen dome for when sparks/ashes fly and a lid to keep out the weather.  The lid will get the most use as I don't see us using the screen unless needed.  We'll also have to let people know that no cigarette butts or trash is to go into the fire as I plan to mix the ash with compost for the garden.  And now, all of a sudden, all the wood I've accumulated doesn't seem like that much at all!

Pictures of the process after the break:

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Plant Day!

20180519_085730It's been almost two weeks since I've written anything.  In that time we've gotten lots of rain, the trees have filled with leaves and my wife Kate and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary (yesterday).  I also finished the fire pit over the last few days but haven't had a fire yet.  I'm hoping later tonight, before rain moves in again, and then I'll write about it and post pictures from start to finish.  And even though winter lingered into spring, this year's plant day falls between last year, May 13th, and in 2016, May 25th.  Plant day seems to have become a thing for us since we had a stump to decorate after the tree was cut down in 2015. 

I got up early this overcast day with the thought of getting out and getting plants before they got busy, and I'm glad I did as I had the place almost to myself.  Once again I had no real plan, for the most part I just perused all the plants and grabbed what ever caught my eye just right. I filled lots of pots again and pretty much filled the tree stump with pots as I have the last couple years.  There's a hanging plant out front already that I got yesterday and we may get something else for out front where what we had by the steps didn't come back this spring, otherwise that's enough plants.  Having a blog comes in handy later in the year as I can easily look back and marvel at the growth.  I also want to post another yard tour on the garden blog soon as everything is growing wonderfully.  Happy spring, everyone!