My New Holiday

I’ve decided that a new holiday is in order. Don’t worry, it’s a personal holiday. It shouldn’t affect you.

(“Then why do I care?” you respond. “Well,” I reply, “maybe you’ll want to adopt my holiday after you read about it. Maybe you’ll want to have your own personal holiday. You can, you know.”)

National holidays are often so impersonal for me any longer. Commercialization, false patriotism, and cynicism have ground them down. Yeah, I get some credit for all that.

I was watching QI on BritBox the other night. As part of the program, Sandi Toksvig told about a Bolivian holiday, the Day of the Sea. A landlocked nation, Bolivia remembers the day they lost access to the sea. Here’s a little history about it from Boliviabella.com.

What initially detonated the conflict was Bolivia’s intention to charge a 10-cent tax per 100-pounds of potassium nitrate (saltpeter) harvested by Chilean companies in the Atacama Desert. The Chilean government did not accept this Bolivian decision and ordered its troops to invade the Bolivian regions of Antofagasta and Calama, where Bolivia had no military presence and most of the population was of Chilean descent.

It is because of the Battle of Calama that today we celebrate the Day of the Sea. With just under a hundred soldiers, Commanders Eduardo Abaroa (Bolivian) and Ladislao Cabrera (Peruvian) faced over 500 Chilean soldiers. Abaroa was obstinately defending a small bridge over the Topáter River, when on the 23rd of March 1879 the Chileans ordered him to surrender. His response was “Me, surrender? Tell your grandmother to surrender!” after which he was promptly shot dead.

I was instantly inspired. No, I wasn’t planning to shot anyone nor get shot or go to war. Let’s put all that to rest.

I love beaches, seas, and oceans. When I lived in California, my wife and I made a habit of visiting a little town, Half Moon Bay, almost every weekend. Situated on the Pacific coast south of San Francisco, it had wonderful beach access. Walking along the beach was permitted, and the town had restaurants, coffee shops, and book stores that we enjoyed. When it came to buy a house, we decided we’d buy one there. Hearing and smelling the ocean every day was wonderful. I’d get home from work and walk down there to check it out. Sometimes my wife would accompany me.

Moving to Ashland in southern Oregon meant giving up easy beach and ocean access. So, last night I decided to celebrate my beach and ocean addiction on a personal holiday once a year. Since I moved to Ashland in July, I decided my holiday will be on July first.

And like the people of Bolivia, I’ll stop doing everything and listen to the sounds of the oceans for ten minutes, and remember.

 

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Once Again

Fabulous of writing like crazy. Started early, didn’t take my dog. Don’t have one. Sorry. Didn’t take any of my cats, either.

I know, I know, you weary of reading these self-congratulatory blog posts. I don’t blame you. I weary of writing them.

But, publicly celebrating small successes isn’t something that I do well. To others, I continue a Sphinx imitation. “How’s your writing going?” they ask. “Good, thanks,” I reply. Smile for effect.

But what am I going to tell them? So I turn to this as an outlet, the carrot with which to beat myself as part of my encouragement. Did you know that many writers write alone? I am one of them. Because of that, writing can be a lonely but satisfying endeavor.

You don’t need to read this, but I need to write this. I need to post it and publish it. It’s all part of confronting and pushing myself. It works for me.

Done writing like crazy. Let’s go for a walk to think about what’s been done and what’s to come.

Saturday’s Theme Music

Today, thinking, through it all, I’ll rise and fall, (and laughing at myself with a small head shake as I did), I thought that those words sounded familiar. My mind stumbled around for a while, tripping over other songs, almost tripping over cats, sipping coffee (and almost spilling coffee) until, wait, wait for it, wait for it…

A face appeared. A guitar riff followed. A voice popped into the stream.

Ah, yes. Having clues, I dashed to the Internet! A little later, the answer was mine: My Chemical Romance, “Welcome to the Black Parade” (2006).

Well, after that time dredging the stream for what it was, I had to feature it. Besides, the video is interesting, don’t you think? The whole thing is a little pop, a little rock, a little punk, a little drama, and a little surreal, don’t you think?

Coming Things

I was watching “Future Man” on Hulu last night. An eHarmony commercial came on. The featured woman said, “I don’t want to waste time with men who aren’t right for me.”

I thought, soon such apps and approaches will expand. What person should I have as a friend? What books should I read, what television shows should I watch, or what movies should I go to?

Apps will tell you which you’re most likely to enjoy, enabling you to avoid wasting time with other people or activities that aren’t right for you.

Sad. You can learn a lot from wasting time with things that aren’t right for you.

You can even have a good time.

Instead, let’s narrow our minds and reduce our bubbles just a little bit more.

Floofsive

Floofsive (floofinition) – a state or expression where a housepet appears engaged in, involving, or reflecting deep or serious thought.

In use: “He said, as he does every morning, “Who’s hungry? Who wants something to eat?” In response, the cats and dogs sat down and regarded him with floofsive gazes, as if they didn’t know who he was.”

A Little Interruption

I received an email from my wife that her computer had been hacked. It made her a little nervous.

She’d sent the email two hours before. (As an aside, she sent it on one of our other computers. How many do we have? Yes, too many.) I’d been busy writing and didn’t have my email open, so I didn’t see the email. When I saw it, I wrote, “Okay, I’m coming home.” I was almost done with writing like crazy for the day, although I’d wanted to walk to think more about the concept and plot.

Her computer is an Apple Mac. She hadn’t been hacked but was being scammed by a Mad Defender variant, a little surprising. It’s pretend ransom-ware. The Mac Defender scam is about blocking the user from changing tabs and pages in Safari while a warning that spyware has been detected is shown. It then tells you to call a number for Apple support.

From there, several things can happen. One, they can urge the gullible to share computer access. Two, they can be conned into buying a security program that’s not a security program but gives them access to your computer and its files and information. Or, most enticing for them, they get your credit card info and go to town.

It took me about seventy minutes to research her particulars and find and delete the malware app, along with the offending processes. As Mac Defender and the other names it goes by has been around since 2011, they’d changed details to make it more difficult to find and remove. I was surprised that they were using the MS Azurewebsites for this, as MS has been burned by this in the past. That was a big, immediate clue when I opened her computer and saw the message.

Anyone, it was a disruption to writing and posting blog thingies, along with walking and a few other things, but all’s well, and that’s the bottom line in all of this.

Back to our normal programming.

My Valenfloof

“I know you,” he said with a lick to my hand.

“Perhaps not from here, but from another time and land.”

“Yes, I know you, too,” I said to the little whiskered face.

“I’m glad we found each other once after coming to this place.”

So we’re privileged to witness, once more,

the transcendent love between a paw person,

and the human they adore.

Without

he’s an edge without a blade

rain without a cloud

a dance without a song

a steak without a knife

 

he’s a foot without a leg

a beard without a head

pupils without a face

fat without a bone

 

he’s an object without shape

sweet without taste

sour without texture

swallowed without chewing

spoken without thought

buried without mourning

morning without light

coffee

without beans

 

 

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