krazy koati

I won't forget a single day, believe me

So today's pictures are going to be fewer, and harder. They're the last ones we got of Penelope before bringing her in for the surgery she didn't survive. I'm sorry to put this on you in a week that nothing good is going on, but we didn't have enough time with her, and I don't want to begrudge her this. None of these pictures show anything too particularly graphic. I guess I could have taken more at the time, but Penelope wasn't in much mood to do anything different, and we had figured that after her surgery there'd be more with her.


Penelope hiding in her wooden tunnel. The black spots around her are, yeah, droppings. Worse, they're small, malformed droppings, which are always a warning sign of great trouble in a rabbit. A healthy rabbit has pretty uniform droppings, and will usually leave them in a chosen toilet spot (their choice, not yours) or wherever it is they keep eating hay. So what had looked like her just being fussy about her vegetables turned into a veterinarian visit when we had seen those, a couple weeks earlier.


Closer picture of Penelope. Since she wasn't eating, all we could do was force-feed her a mash of nutrition. This was squirting food into her mouth, something that's not hard, especially if you can get it a bit down their throat. This does not mean they will like it or have any desire to put up with it, though.


Force-feeding a rabbit is best done fast, though, and with one person holding the rabbit and the other doing the feeding. So there's no pictures of that process. Here, though, you can see the aftermath. Note the ears folded back, the warning sign that she is going to get me for this, compared to her curious and exploring ears in the previous couple pictures.


And there Penelope is, having got food paste on her lips and dewlap and absolute murder in her eyes. She would go back after these feedings to hide in her tunnel and we wouldn't force her to interact then. The photos were an exception.


The last photograph I ever took of Penelope.

We had Penelope in total only about four months. She was about eight years old and we could have expected to have her another two to four years. She'd lived most of her life in a rescue, or sometimes in foster homes. Probably she never realized the difference between when we were just her latest foster parents and when we had chosen to care for her the rest of her life. We didn't have enough time with her, and what there was got divided with Sunshine. Sunshine had the hutch downstairs; Penelope, our bedroom upstairs. We spent less of our waking days there, but it was also the only room we could air condition and in the heat of summer it seemed more important that the older bunny have that.

The last months of her life bunny_hugger or I would take our laptop upstairs for the evening, so we could spend time with her. I would usually take her onto the bed, and sit up beside her, and she would enjoy prowling around the soft bouncy surface. So much as she seemed to enjoy anything; she was, as I've said, a growly, grumbly rabbit. But there is something wonderful in an honest curmudgeon, and if she didn't ever really know that she had a home, at least she had it, for some time.

Trivia: Captain Vitaman, short-lived cereal mascot for Quaker Oats, was voiced by Peter Graves. (The character was redesigned as King Vitaman with Joe Flynn performing.) Source: The Moose that Roared: The Story of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, a Flying Squirrel, and a Talking Moose, Keith Scott. (I'm not clear whether the cereal was named Captain Vitamin too and was renamed King Vitaman with the character's redesign or what.)

Currently Reading: Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science --- from the Babylonians to the Maya, Dick Teresi.

PS: Reading the Comics, March 21, 2020: Pragmatic Calculations Edition, just three little comic strips that turns out to be a thousand words somehow.

krazy koati

I'm in an awful way

That's another week I kept my humor blog filled. You can have it added to your reading page on Dreamwidth. Or you can add it to any RSS reader you like. If you're still counting on me reporting things, then, here's the past week's writing.

Next up, in July of 2018: the Baby Food Festival in Fremont, which is probably the second-biggest pinball event in Michigan, after Pinball At The Zoo. We got there for a Friday of qualifying and a Saturday of playoffs.


Oh, before getting into that. I was closing the front door one hot summer night and what did I see but some cousins out in the yard! A family gathered together, watched me, and then crossed the street, marching up the sidewalk toward the auto care place. This was the only good photograph I could get of any of them.


So here's where the Baby Food Festival was held that year, in the Moose Lodge in Fremont. The classics games are the ones in the back; the main tournament games are lined along the right wall.


More people playing qualifying games. Judge Dredd, a table that nobody really understands, mercifully went down before the serious play started. Also, that's a lot of certificates and plaques on the wall.


Toward the back of the Moose Lodge. They had a kitchen with a bit of food, although not much good stuff for vegetarians.


So the Moose Lodge is right next to the Blind Squirrel tavern --- we used the Blind Squirrel's Wi-Fi the whole weekend --- and we asked AJH, who organized the thing, if the inclusion of Rocky and Bullwinkle in the tournament was a tribute to that. He said he wished he had thought of that.


Announcements at the start of playoffs. Some people seem alarmed by all this.


Prizes! A selection of the medals, which Meijer provided this year and so were really fine-looking pieces. Also a movie popcorn bucket used to collect people's entry tickets.


Some milling around in the tournament. And also looking out on the non-tournament area of the Moose Lodge, including that great banner promising that We Salt Our Troops.


I do not know what role the upside-down duck umbrella serves in the mythology of the Fremont Moose Lodge.


So bunny_hugger had a good day in the Women's Tournament, taking home some real hardware again.


Advancing into finals, in a group that included me. We were all putting forth some of the world's worst games of Dirty Harry, which is amazing because if you get the hang of three shots you can put up as high a score as you can bear. Some days, you know?


And one last look at the Moose Lodge, the boring old areas by the bathroom and the coffee machine and flyers that were really quite interesting when we didn't have pinball to get to.

Trivia: The Mayas are the earliest culture known to have intentionally grown vanilla. Source: Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine, Sarah Lohman.

Currently Reading: Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science --- from the Babylonians to the Maya, Dick Teresi.

krazy koati

How I wish I had someone to talk to

Another day with The Price Is Right uninterrupted by breaking news! Also one contestant got a double showcase win with a bid only $6 under the perfect bid.

bunny_hugger has solved the mystery of why the neighbors' yard waste wasn't picked up: yard waste isn't scheduled to be picked up until April. Still, it's nice to know we have neighbors who are trying, even if they don't know when spring is scheduled for Michigan. The neighbors across the street have been bagging leaves and such too.

So, let me share a bunch of pictures from the July 2018 league night at Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum.


The little corner near Marvin's office (There's a doorframe next to the spherical light there). The box on top of the coin stamp machine holds all the paperwork for the league, and you can see on the stool beside it PT's toolbox as he fixes games up ahead of league.


Looking over the row of pinball games they had then, through the coin-op three-horse tiny carousel.


Looking off in a random direction. The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate, we once learned, was from a chain of Laugh-In-themed restaurants that was way more successful than the Here's Johnny's Carson-themed restaurants. Can't deny: the ``Here Comes the Fudge'' listed as one of their dessert items makes me smile.


I don't know why they have a faded, dirt-covered 8.5-by-11 flyer for All Dogs Go To Heaven tucked away up on the wall, but, that's the kind of place it is.


Animatronics salvaged from an 80s Chuck-E-Cheese here.


Some of the wall posters, including at least three versions of American Gothic. This is all right next to that first picture I posted and I don't blame you for not believing it.


What they claim is, to the best of their knowledge, P T Barnum's fake Cardiff Giant, standing guard next to the prize redemption counter.


And somehow I got a presidential dollar coin in change! I still don't know why. Further mystery: they never circulated the Abraham Lincoln dollar coins. So this has to have been someone taking a collector's coin into circulation. There's innocent reasons that could happen but there's still a story there. Also, that's a heck of a mess there in his tie.


Tiny little devil, part of one of the vintage (I assume reproduction) magician posters that cover empty patches of walls.


Adorable little devil standing tippy-toes in the Aral Sea. I jest, of course; I don't think he's standing tippy-toes on any real-world geographic feature.


And then here's a couple devils messing around with a magic book. Again, they're all kind of adorable.


Looking back at the prize counter; you can kind of make out the Cardiff Giant on the side there. And a bunch of other stuff including an octopus 'walking' in the air.

Trivia: John Quincy Adams died at age 80, two days after collapsing on the floor of the House of Representatives. Source: Union 1812: The Americans who Fought the Second War of Independence, A J Langguth.

Currently Reading: Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science --- from the Babylonians to the Maya, Dick Teresi.

PS: Reading the Comics, March 17, 2020: Random Edition, which should have been just a couple quick paragraphs about a few comics and then sprawled way the heck out.

krazy koati

I've got some money 'cause I just got paid

So among everything else now I learn that the way I've been linking to bunny_hugger's Livejournal account works, of course, on Livejournal but not on Dreamwidth. I had thought lj-user tags on Dreamwidth directed people to their Livejournal accounts. I'm curious whether this is something that's changed recently, or whether I've just been doing it wrong all along.

Otherwise today was quiet. We were able to watch The Price Is Right and the noon news in their entirety without a breaking-news alert get in. So that's a nice change of pace.

Our next big event was the Rocket Robin pinball tournament, at our local hipster bar. So here's some of my few pictures of the event.


A spread of prizes. bunny_hugger made the trophies to the left. The large posters are translites, art that fits into the vertical backglass of pinball machines. Ghostbusters is in fair demand, even though a lot of people hate the game because it's quite difficult and unforgiving. Roller Coaster Tycoon is ... not in high demand, nor is Nascar. But Stern sends these translites out whenever bunny_hugger says we need more to give away.


The grand prize! A trophy bunny_hugger repurposed from GRV's collection of past wins. Also on the wall in back you can see the kind of art that decorates the place, and that they do sell in circumstances I don't understand.


After one ball of Medieval Madness we had to pause and ask whether the competitors were plagiarizing one another. 573,000 is by the way a surprisingly poor one-ball score on Medieval Madness, particularly for players of the caliber we had at Rocket Robin. That two people would have the same dismal score is a bit wild.


bunny_hugger pondering the question; do I really want to be playing the Stern Star Wars? No, she never wants that, but sometimes, she's got to.


Coincidentally, around the time of the tournament, the City of Lansing repaved the moonscape that had been the parking lot out back of the place. You can see the area roped off while the pavement sets. I took a picture of the lot being the smoothest it would ever be. It was only about a month ago they reinstalled the parking meters.

And now, here's some pictures of Penelope when we knew she had cancer, and were medicating her ahead of her surgery. This includes particularly subcutaneous injections of fluid, and how we managed to get a grumbly rabbit to sit still while we poured saline fluid into her back.


Penelope would sprawl out under this small wooden tunnel as a way to feel nicely sheltered and keep from being bothered by the likes of me.


She's noticed I'm up to something, though, and is considering whether to try running or to just slug me. She was a very punch-y rabbit.

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Trivia: Standard [Oil] of New Jersey, which had a hundred million dollars in annual profits before the Crash of 1929, had profits of under US$300,000 in 1932. Source: Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center, Daniel Okrent.

Currently Reading: In Darkest South Carolina: J Waties Waring and the secret plan that sparked a civil rights movement, Brian Hicks.

krazy koati

Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody

The state's issued a stay-home order, three weeks of not going out to places where people hang out. This turned the afternoon into one of running around laying in supplies. The pet store figures they'll be open during the coming times, as providing an essential service, but I'd still rather buy litter when I know they're open. I took care of this and some other chores --- including the longest line at the Asian grocery that I have ever seen, one that went from the registers to the freezer aisle all the way back to the store, and that started running down the length of the back of the store --- while bunny_hugger went up to the office to get her plants and everything she'd ordinarily take home for summer break.

We found the textbook that she had left at the office. It was on the bookshelf that holds up our computers' power strip, so now we're really really really glad she borrowed a copy from a friend in town rather than driving up to find it, because boy would that have been an unhappy drive home.

So the neighbors in the house on the south side. They're still kind of mysterious but we have waved at them and been waved back to. And, for the first time in years, we have neighbors on that side who take care of the lawn. Last week they set out something like a dozen bags of leaves and other yard waste. ... this in time for the city to not pick up lawn waste, I trust because ... ... actually, I'm not sure. I imagine everything's chaotic in city government, since it turns out Lansing has been having a series of embarrassing sloppy glitches even before this, but it's not like trash collection employees can be easily put to some other essential service.

On the north side, the small white house, they're empty. But trucks have come by and they seem to be doing work in there. No idea.

One of the regulars in the Lansing Pinball League started up a charity fund for the staff of our hipster bar. They're closed for the duration, of course, and ... after all, they're working a bar. It's not easy even in the good times. Anyway, the trouble here is the guy isn't on Facebook, so asked bunny_hugger to post the appeal for donations to the league's Facebook page. This got a decent response, but also meant that against her will she became the contact person for money transfers, especially for people who aren't in the Lansing area just now but hope to send checks to cover the donations. This is as fun to deal with as you imagine.

The guy who runs the Pyramid Scheme bar (and others) is selling some of his pinball machines, to cover fixed costs while the bars are shut down. If I understand bunny_hugger right this could be our chance to get a Total Nuclear Annihilation. Other pinball routers are renting out machines by the month, so if we wanted to get really good at Iron Maiden, this could be our chance, for only a couple hundred bucks a month.

Trivia: From the 14th through 16th century between 30 and 50 percent, in tonnage, of imports to Venice was salt. Source: Salt: A World History, Mark Kurlansky.

Currently Reading: In Darkest South Carolina: J Waties Waring and the secret plan that sparked a civil rights movement, Brian Hicks.

PS: So I'll just throw in this heartbreak for you. A couple pictures of Penelope, from the last weeks of her life. I'm not sure if this was before or after we learned she had cancer and had scheduled surgery. It's around that time, though.


Penelope come up to my camera to sniff out what's going on and why I'm bothering her with this.


Penelope was tolerant of me, more or less. Certainly more tolerant than she was of bunny_hugger; she didn't like women. Still, you can see from her ears that she was putting me on notice to not do anything suspicious.


More of her examining just what I was doing inside her pen like this. It's quite plausible that she growled at me while she was doing this; she was a very growl-prone rabbit and you don't think of them as issuing vocal warnings like that.


I've passed her examination and she's settled down some, but she will still take my apologies for all of this.

krazy koati

Happy as two birds in a nest we'll learn to trill and coo

So. Yeah. Uh. Been a week. I published three things on my mathematics blog since I last did a recap like this, at least, so I'm keeping shockingly close to on pace considering I keep sitting at my computer and staring at it and realizing three hours have passed. This is all good healthy stuff. Anyway here's my recent mathematics posting.

I did not do my comic strip plot recap on Sunday this week. Instead I found a special place to give attention to the 60s Popeye cartoons. Please enjoy a somewhat special feature as Popeye battles Woody Woodpecker for the love of the art world and I notice a mystery in animation history.

What's next in pictures? An alley in Lansing. A friend wanted to get together to hang out a while, and to share just the strange urban beauty he found in this spot near the bar. So let's look.


So here's the alley, on incidentally a spectacularly clear blue sky day. It's a fairly old spot in town so the back alleys have got a lot of history in them.


The place didn't have anything particularly scenic about it, just this overgrowth of several generations of building stuff and a lot of straight lines and old brick like this.


What particularly caught our friend's interest was the complicated net of wires and pipes, all these many straight lines. It's almost a drawing exercise. What caught my eye was how much the transportation department wanted us to know the one way to go.


Here's a nice strong division between light and dark, all neatly straight. The yellow-clad building in back, if I'm not mistaken on where we are, is Knapp's, the building that housed Lansing's downtown department store back when every city had its own downtown department store.


Peering up the wrong end of a fire escape; again, it's just a hypnotic mass of straight lines.


Biggby is the local coffee shop chain, as ubiquitous around here as Starbucks was in jokes about it in the early 2000s. Though this claims to be a legitimate entrance it sure looks sketchy coming in the back door.


More harsh splitting of the scene between light and shadow. Also check out those PVC pipes that end in a spray of cables.


Bunch of things to notice in the two-storey building in back, a bar: first, the ghost windows, long ago covered in cinder block. Second, that the upper floor got extended out back by six feet or so, with that red corrugated-metal overhang and the heating system that goes around the outside, which I'm sure is every bit as good in wintertime as it looks.


This circuit box looks good and healthy and very wisely un-covered.


The alley within the alley, and curiously, with the address spray-painted on the ground.


bunny_hugger's album cover from this bunch of pictures, and a view of the bar overhang that's got less intense shading.


Neat old telephone switching box that still has the Ameritech logo, dating the thing to before about 2003. (Though it's plausible they were still installing older boxes after SBC took the company over)


So, Lansing's oldest restaurant is the Weston's Kewpee Restaurant. It's one of the remnants of a former small chain of hamburger places and yes, Kewpee here is as in Kewpee dolls. Inside are a number of bits of memorabilia of the dolls including a bunch of magazine pages from like the 20s with stories about Kewpee land and all that. The restaurant also claims to have invented the olive burger, a Lansing-area thing, a burger with this olive tapenade that's really quite a delight.

Trivia: In 1859 professional balloonist Professor John Wise attempted to carry mail from Lafayette, Indiana, to New York City. His balloon Jupiter failed to catch any wind and ultimately landed thirty miles away from the launch point. Source: Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service, Devin Leonard.

Currently Reading: In Darkest South Carolina: J Waties Waring and the secret plan that sparked a civil rights movement, Brian Hicks. A Christmas-gift book that I turned to because the libraries are closed and I guess I wanted to read something happy and pleasant and not at all infuriating so sure, let's stare hard at the civil rights situation in South Carolina in 1946, right? ... But it is rather pleasantly written, and the focus is about a white guy born into a privileged part of Charleston society, who worked his way into a position of power as Federal judge, and realized that since he believed in America's proclaimed ideals he had to rule segregation anti-American.

krazy koati

And lovers walked beneath those trees and birds found songs to sing

Cedar Point's announced they're postponing the opening of their season. Which again is right and unsurprising, it's just hard accepting that it's official. As of right now they think they'll open in mid-May and wouldn't that be wonderful? Also: they were figuring to open before mid-May until all this happened. The fascinating thing is they hope to be ``adding days to the park's operating calendar'' for season passholders. There's not a lot of days they can do that unless they stay open weekdays in the fall, or extend the season into November, which would be (a) insane and (b) still not a chance for bunny_hugger to ride a roller coaster on her birthday, since that'll be a Thursday this year, but to ride Blue Streak after her birthday would be awesome. Michigan's Adventure still thinks it'll open the 20th of May (for a half-day school thing) or the 22nd (for weekend operations).

I'm scared for many things. The amusement parks are among them. Not Cedar Point, not really, or its chain. They'll have a bad year but they've got the ability to command money to survive this. But, like, Waldameer? Seabreeze? Keansburg? Quassy? Not to mention the parks that were already ghosts and would need an extraordinary event to survive, like Clementon or Indiana Beach.

I fear saying how bad a year I think this will be, as that makes it real.

The first of my podcasts has gone into reruns for the duration. That's the BBC's In Our Time, which has thus revealed itself as recording closer to broadcast than I would have imagined. The show format, three experts talking about their subject, is something that they could surely rejigger to be done remotely; it just takes time to ready for that. I do wonder how long that all is going to take, though.


More between-inning shenanigans with Big Lug, dragon mascot, and a bunch of people who were here for ... not sure. Some nice silly thing, anyway.


Maybe it was singing happy birthday to the attendees with birthdays that month? Something merry like that, at any rate.


The setting sun gave us finally some relief and a picture where bunny_hugger can't complain about the dust on my camera lens too much.


Ballpark seats in that great evening glow.


``Seriously, Kevin? Llama is `too trendy` for you? Your fursona's a freaking vicuña?'' (Yeah, well, this is why I'm a coati and not a raccoon.)


Says it all, doesn't it? Sign held up before the bottom of the last inning, trying to rally the Lugnuts to make up a four-run deficit.


The park's fireworks wheeled out to center field and ready for the show. Doesn't seem like much, does it?


Big Lug overseeing this ball-tossing thing for prizes that covers the gap between the end of the game and when the fireworks are set up.


And here's the show starting, not nearly so late as in 2017. There's even some sunlight left in the sky!


``Hoop! Uh ... we meant to do that!''


Fireworks seen in the reflections of the windows of the apartments lining the ballpark. The outfield got turned into an apartment building a couple years ago and the windows are supposed to be strong enough to resist a long fly ball.


Smoke from the completed fireworks show blowing away.


And now the City fireworks begin! bunny_hugger ducks out of my way.


They turned off the stadium lights of we could get a better view of the show. It happens that our seats were ones where the show was kind of at a weird angle, but what were we going to do, move to any of the many open seats with a better view on things?


Grounds crew watering down the infield after all the stadium stuff is done.

Trivia: The Xerox copier was originally branded with a capital X at the end, XeroX. Source: Wondrous Contrivances: Technology at the Threshold, Merritt Ierley.

Currently Reading: Perpetual Motion: The Illustrated History of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Joe Mysak and Judith Schiffer. Besides being published in 1997 at least one of the writers was also working for the Port Authority so it's a pretty darned triumphalist history. And confusing in that way histories written by people who aren't historians will be. It'll drop a mention of, like, taking over the Holland Tunnel but not who it was taken over from, or why it was taken over then and not before. Or that there were strong objections to the fourth-area-airport plan but not what they were or how the projects mutated. Also there's talk about a fourth airport being planned for north Jersey, when I know (from John McPhee) there was a 60s plan for a Pine Barrens airport that went nowhere because it would have killed the Pine Barrens, and I don't see a mention of that and I'm wondering if the authors got confused about where the Pine Barrens are.

krazy koati

Forcing a light into all these stony faces left stranded on this warm July

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The semester's called off. Turned to a virtual class, anyway, which we knew was going to be its fate. bunny_hugger has been overloading herself on the struggles to put online what should have been real courses. This has involved a lot of yelling at PowerPoint, since you know there's this thing where you record audio over a slide presentation? Turns out PowerPoint for the BunnyMac will occasionally decide it's had enough of this slide, wipe out everything recorded for that slide, declare that it's been recording for over six hours, and when you stop recording for the slide show presentation tell you that it's recorded over fifty hours of audio. This even if you've been talking for two minutes. This problem, ripped from the depths of computer Hell and the movie version of Carl Sagan's Contact, is all but unknown to the web and if there's any fix for it, it is not generally known to humanity.

The Women's International Pinball Tournament has postponed its ticket sale. They were supposed to go on sale at noon tomorrow and sell out at 12:00:02 pm. This is all reasonable and right, yes. But the tournament is scheduled for the last day of ReplayFX, and it's hard not to see this as a warning that ReplayFX is readying to delay or cancel. Which will carry Pinburgh along with it. So we're trying to get ready for that bad news to come.

Pinball At The Zoo has rescheduled from late April to the first weekend in October. Here's hoping that's more than long enough.

Trivia: Intelsat IVA, launched 1975, was able to carry 6,500 voice circuits and simultaneously two color TV channels. Source: How The World Was One: Beyond the Global Village, Arthur C Clarke.

Currently Reading: Perpetual Motion: The Illustrated History of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Joe Mysak and Judith Schiffer.

And the 4th of July, 2018, we went to the Lugnuts game, to watch them lose (they did) and the ballpark and then the city fireworks after. Let's rewatch.


Baseball! I didn't take as many pictures of the game as usual but, y'know, this gives you an idea what it looked like and what our seats were and that the Lugnuts had pitchers and first basemen and all.


It was rather a hot day, in the middle of a heat waves. Some people brought adequate shelter from the sun. bunny_hugger wore this nice canvas hat herself.


Between-inning shenanigans, this one involving people wearing giant inflatable vinyl balls. I forget whether they were running around the outfield, ``Sumo'' wrestling, or just trying to not pass out from the heat.

krazy koati

Sandy, the fireworks are hailing over Little Eden tonight

Well, it's been a bit of a week, hasn't it? My humor blog continues to be a thing that talks about comic strips, though, and you might enjoy some of the things that I've run on that basis. Here's what you've been missing. In a surprise development, it doesn't include a Popeye cartoon:

So, how about pictures? For the 3rd of July, 2018, we went to the fireworks show at bunny_hugger's parents' town, and then went back to their place, where bunny_hugger and her father (mostly her father) set off their own fireworks. Watch as I show no ability to use any of the night-photography skills I'd used at Livonia Spree just weeks before!


The river bank where the community would gather to watch the fireworks. There were frogs croaking a good bit at this point. They'd have a less merry time of it soon.


And there's the fireworks going, over far to the right of the above picture.


Some more of the city fireworks.


Here I realize I could get some interesting light by ignoring the fireworks and seeing what the reflections look like in the water and against the shoreline.


And here we're building into the finale.


Back home: the cache of firecrackers that bunny_hugger's father had assembled.


Boots, a feral tuxedo cat who was just trying to rest on a freaking annoying night and who was going to leave very soon after this.


Some of the fireworks set off in the driveway; I like the three-dimensionality of the sparkles.


The previous picture and this one were of the Frog Prince going off; it's this bowling ball-size thing that's got a lot of shots spraying out.


Here's bunny_hugger's album cover from the night.


Another nice moment of a fireworks fountain.


And here's a really good fireworks fountain, including some reflections in the hood of the car there.

Trivia: In 1843 Joseph Francis of Toms River, New Jersey, designed a lifeboat made from corrugated metal. Source: Fighting To Be Heard: New Jersey in History, Thomas P Farner.

Currently Reading: Perpetual Motion: The Illustrated History of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Joe Mysak and Judith Schiffer. Published 1997, if you were wondering. Also bought at the Book Garden when I was back in New Jersey, as if there were any doubt that a book with a title and subject matter like that would be going home with me.

PS: Reading the Comics, March 14, 2020: Pi Day Edition, as I finally get to Saturday's comics.

krazy koati

The last time I saw Paris her trees were dressed for spring

Early last week we figured to visit bunny_hugger's parents. We hadn't seen them in a month or so, and this was a good time for it, since there'd be so little class work for her. We planned on Saturday, to have breakfast-for-dinner and also play some Mice and Mystics and generally see them.

As the week developed, so did the Covid-19. bunny_hugger's school called off for a week. She had to find someone with a copy of a textbook that she had left at school on the reasonable supposition that she'd be getting back there. We checked with bunny_hugger's parents that they did not mind the risk of infection from us. We thought over how we'd check that we didn't have anything, before going over. To the best of our ability to tell, of course.

And we had a good time. bunny_hugger was able to swiftly fix a problem they were having with their BritBox streaming account. I was able to have nothing to do with that, which logically should reassure them that bunny_hugger is the brains in our computer-problem-fixing environment, although it won't. Along the way she fixed the printer that wasn't working, which I think she said was just there was an update that needed running.

They had just made a big shopping trip, their biggest in years. Not that they were looking to hoard, particularly, but that they don't want to make a greater number of trips than they have to, given their (reasonable) health fears. We offered that we could do shopping trips for them, an offer maybe made two days too late to save them any real trouble just now. But we'll see.

Her parents made dinner. We'd volunteered to bring dip but they declined. Her father made scrambled eggs; her mother, pancakes and (vegetarian) sausage patties and such. This was nice and easy and abundant and all really good.

And there was a nice surprise: an opossum came tromping along the bank of the river, across the road from their house. A bit later the opossum came back, puttering over to the shelter where her parents feed feral cats. I even saw the opossum leaving, maybe a half-hour later. We've had a fair number of raccoon sightings; this is the first opossum that I've noticed there.

As we planned, we played a chapter of Mice and Mystics. It would be an unusual one. The chapter rules wouldn't let her father play her usual mouse. They also recommended a particular party that was mostly characters bunny_hugger and I always played. And, more: it was to be a stealth mission, with special rules where the bad guys we'd combat would not be chosen the usual way. Still, it's worth spending some time playing and, who knows, sometimes we get lucky.

We got extremely lucky. There is a lot of dice-rolling in the game, and a lot of the dice came out like we'd have hoped. Also we got really good at using special abilities, particularly the game's mana, wedges of cheese. We were even able to get two characters levelled up and equipped with new abilities. And we even beat the chapter, first time through, and not by the skin of our teeth either. It's rare that we have everything come together so well.

After a while, and some coffee and tea and more talk, we went home.

They asked us to not come back again, even though we'll have the free weekends. To minimize the risk of contracting something that we're exposed to. Easter will be an exception; it would be terrible not to get to dye eggs and watch the Easter Beagle and all that. But otherwise we have the strange case of plenty of time to visit lonely people who, for honestly good reason, would rather we stayed home and maybe phoned instead.

Trivia: An anonymous call went through north Texas in January of 1861, urging that in the case of secession the northern counties should secede in turn and remain with the Union, possibly as a new state. Nothing came of it. Source: Look Away! A History of the Confederate States of America, William C Davis.

Currently Reading: The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story, Douglas Preston. Yeah, this bit at the end about Preston and the expedition getting back and getting a really nasty parasite disease, and how global warming promises more of that in new places? Not sure I'd ever have liked that but this is really not the week to be reading it.

PS: How February 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog, as I finally remember to write the easiest post I have for every month.

PPS: Another look at this one Chesterfield event, a couple years ago.


Trophies! I forget why there were so many at this tournament; they usually give out only four. In the background are some games. You may see at the top of, like, Cirqus Voltaire on the right a sign above the games. The Chesterfield league meets at what bills itself the Sparks Pinball Museum, which mostly means that many of the games have signs explaining their historical context and otherwise it's a pinball arcade with like fifty games, most of then 80s and 90s tables.


Tense moments as we watch finals play out.


Some people get all smug and silly when they've won a little piece of shiny plastic like that.