Trygve.Com > Diary > JournalWeblogDiaryWhatsis - June, 2001
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World Conquest
June 2001
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out for a stroll

because ... well ... why the hell not ...?

it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.

Saturday, June 30th


The trees bark at midnight:

It all started innocently enough (as these things so often do) with a call from Patty at Go-Go Magazine. [ ] Her husband had been working on a development that's being built in the traditional manner: fire up the bulldozers, write down the first two things you drive over, and that's the name of the subdivision.

I'm not sure if this one was Aspen Elk Ranch, Pine Flower Reserve, or Sagebrush Baby Owl Estates, but the technique's the same. Once you've had a chance to remove all traces of the former local landscape, you plunk down some rows of houses and carpet the rest with Kentucky Bluegrass. That way, the water requirements of non-native grasses will do their part to deplete the local water table while helping new homeowners experience the maximum foundation-heaving-for-the-buck, since that's what Colorado's expansive clays do when you tear up the terrain and top with water-intensive landscaping.

I've seen high-priced homes with more that fourteen inches of shifting in their foundations within the first two years, demonstrating the effectiveness of this technique.

But, that's the way any kind of mass-production development is done out here; it's sort of a mystery to the inhabitants, but the "cover everything that's not roof or blacktop with Kentucky bluegrass" approach is just not something that a builder would think to question.

On the plus side, I've heard that there's been enough protest to the county's idea that exclusive golf courses do count as "wilderness preserves" that at least one plan to remove all native flora and fauna from one such wildlife refuge may be cancelled.

Or at least they'd have to have a minimum of 30% native grasses in the rough areas and allow limited access to members of select endangered species who wish to take up golf, at least on the third Tuesday of alternate months.

lode versus loader

...meanwhile, back at Aspen Elk Ranch, somebody had placed an order for a bunch of ten-and-a-half-foot Colorado blue spruce trees, figuring that putting in a few trees, at least on the medians, would give the area a more woodsy feel.

But, for some reason, when the truckload of trees got there, they weren't ready for them, had changed their minds, or for whatever other reason decided not to use them after all--and so, they had them dumped in a pile somewhere out-of-the-way. At the end of the week, Billy (Patty's husband) was working out there and got asked to load up the trees and haul them all off to the dump.

At least seven of the trees didn't make it. the dump. That's when Patty called--while I was juggling the meetings of the day that were all trying to get scheduled on top of each other--wondering if I could use a dumptruck and a trailer full of trees.

I may not be an expert gardener, but I did remember the all-important "green side up" rule

I actually don't get that kind of question that often, but I figured that I could think of something, and later that day, as the last of the sunset began to fade from the sky, the dumptruck-and-trailer of trees arrived, and so began the midnight tree-planting adventure.

If you've heretofore only planted those little trees that come from the hardware store in ten-to-thirty gallon pots, you might not be prepared for how much more work it is to plant a ten-and-a-half-foot pine tree, complete with a three-foot root ball. Those things are heavy. Just sorting out the individual trees from a pile in the back of a dumptruck--in the dark--can be challenge enough.

It actually did take until midnight to get them into the ground--the root ball part, at least. I may not be an expert gardener, but I did remember the all-important "green side up" rule.

... of course, when you plant a bunch of trees in the middle of the night--especially a dark and cloudly night like last night was--you always have to wonder what they'd look like by the light of day. So, stay tuned, but at least I'm sure I did get the green parts on top.

Wednesday, June 6th


Move over, Happy Fun Ball:

Today's "Whut?" award goes to the Dalco Electronics catalog listing for "American Covers Cyber Power Gel Squeeze Ball." I don't know what this product is, but it's apparent from their description that Dalco is quite sure that I need one:

Once you've felt the Cyber-Gel difference, you'll wonder how you ever computer without it. Cyber-Gel is a silicon-based product, is will never lead of leave an oily residue.

If the author (and, yes, every letter has been copied verbatum from the catalog) felt the Cyber-Gel difference before writing the above, maybe I'm better off not feeling the Cyber-Gel difference, even if it does mean the chance of an oily residue in my future.

I still don't know what a Cyber Power Squeeze Ball is or why one would computer with one.


Bonfire of the Spammities:

In what has to be the most dramatic coincidence of the morning, I just complete uploading an update to my "Glossary of Lesser-Known Technical Terms" [ ] with the morning's new term, "MAPS" (yes, it is "spam" spelled backwards):

Concerned that the net is in danger of being overwhelmed by unsolicited commercial email ("UCE" or "email spam"), some disgruntled recipients of said unsolicited email have taken to emailing angry letters, usually with copies of the offending email attached, to admin@, abuse@, support@, root@, postmaster@, webmaster@, info@, etc@, at each and every domain listed in the path, their own ISP, any other recipients listed in the header, any domains or individuals mentioned in the original letter, and enough other random individuals and mailing lists to make sure that the net becomes overwhelmed by complaints about unsoliced commercial email first.

...and, at exactly that moment, I get a complaint in email that someone with an @home account has (GASP!) posted a badly-spelled ad for a porn site to a (hold on to your seats, folks, because you're not going to believe this) Usenet news group.

Worse, it was a binaries group, which is supposed to be filled with pictures of XXX nekked teen schoolgirls, not ads for sites offering them. Can you imagine?

Um, yeah. actually, I can too.

someone with an @home account has (GASP!) posted a badly-spelled ad for a porn site to a (hold on to your seats, folks, because you're not going to believe this) Usenet news group.

Not to make light of whatever emotional trauma the user in question may have suffered, but I only run the servers here, I can't control what @home users (or anybody else) posts. There really isn't any worldwide psychic admin collective such that complaining to the nearest admin will result in automatic account revocation for Usenet or email spammers.


Oh, and as long as I'm complaining about spam complaints, I have to protest the daily broadening of the definition of "spam." Just to make it perfectly clear, "spam" does not mean "anything written by someone whose opinions, sexual preferences, or politics you happen to disagree with." If they post the same thing over and over again, we'll talk (at least if it's coming out of a server I can do anything about), but even if you disagree with all of their posts, that still doesn't make it spam.

Monday, June 4th


April showers bring May ... snowstorms:

It's been a cool and moist spring so far; through the month of May, every time the plants would wake up to the idea that it's spring and leafing time, there's be another May snowstorm dumped on their heads.

Er, ... buds

The trees in the south gardens are looking a little morose about it still, with most of their top leaves showing severe signs of freezer burn, but when the last heavy snowstorm of late May blew into town, the small grove of trees in the courtyard got so much snow caught in their leaves that some of them had bent over almost sideways.

Which wasn't so much of a problem for them, but there were two bird families-in-the-making in there, and one of the nests was tilted over to the point of nearly dumping the eggs into the snow. Good thing that rushing out into the snowstorm, wearing a t-shirt and shorts, and trying to get the tree straightened back up and secured to the balcony overhead--all the while having the wet, slushy snow plopping down on my head (and trying to keep the eggs in the nest from doing the same) isn't that out-of-line from a typical day's work here at the treehouse.

Feed me!

Fortunately, the mother bird came to the nest before the eggs had cooled off too much and now they--and the eggs in the other nest that's built in the courtyard--have hatched and seem none the worse for wear.

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