Sunday, September 30, 2018

Day 3202

My mind wanders at the gym. I think about things. What if disease and famine were meant to be part of our existence? Did we accidentally become smart enough so that we could ignore the rules that applied to everything else on the planet? Humanity has spread like a Kudzu vine, destroying everything in its path? When I go to the doctor, I sometimes wonder if I should just eat healthy food and take my chances. I take a lot of pills that didn't even exist 40 years ago. Was I meant to live that much longer than my grandparents. Modern medicine has dramatically extended our lives and increased our numbers, but was that really what nature intended?

We have risen to the top of the food chain and eaten all the other animals. The oceans are systematically being depleted of fish. The forests have been chopped down to build houses for us. So much oil has been pumped from the ground that it is causing earthquakes. I read statistics occasionally that say there are still plenty of animals left on the planet. When you read the fine print, you discover that only a tiny percentage of what remains are actually wild animals. The vast majority of animals that remain on the planet are cows and pigs that are being raised for food. 60 percent of the mammals are livestock, 36 percent are humans, and just four percent of the living mammals on the planet are wild. I wonder if we have become too smart for our own good. Maybe our cleverness just guarantees that we will be extinct soon. Would the Earth be safe if we quit trying to live forever?

I don't know the answer to these things, but it makes the time go faster on the treadmill. I was terrible on the basketball court today. I couldn't connect with anything. Maybe some residual emotion from yesterday was seeping out of the base of my brain and destroying my hand/eye coordination. Fitbit says my resting heart rate is higher this week as well. Not good. I need to take a deep breath and just turn off the television.

We tried some new protective coverings for the bed last night, but they didn't really work. Two or three times a night, Dash will wake up and circle around on the bed to find a new position. When he does this, the blankets and protective coverings just get crumpled and wind up in a ball. This is a work in progress. Luckily, Dash made it through the night and pooped outside early this morning. I actually got some sleep last night.

I'm thinking about applying to participate in another NASA event. This one takes place in Houston, so travel would be easy. The are so many flights to Houston from Dallas that I might even be able to return the same day. This is all good. The bad thing is that I think I've lost my mojo. NASA seems to be looking for social media stars. That's definitely not me.

The catalog for the second auction came out today. My remaining art looks pretty good. The first auction takes place later this week. This will all be over soon. When I look at these catalogs it still seems strange that these things used to hang on my wall.

There was a beautiful sunset tonight. We've got to start walking earlier though. By the time we got home, it was completely dark.

Thelma is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Day 3201

The unicorn has never been my spirit animal. I have always been a pragmatic, unemotional, and slightly cynical observer of life. When those "Black Lives Matter" and "Blue Lives Matter" memes were popular, the only thing that resonated with me was an icy cold picture of the Andromeda Galaxy with the inscription "No Lives Matter." We humans think we are way too important. In the grand scheme of things, we are just a single grain of sand on the beach.

I'm convinced that if you want to see what the future is like, all you have to do is look at the past. History repeats itself, over and over again. If you want to stop global warming, you have to realize that it is caused by too many people on the planet. Solar power and carbon credits aren't going to make any difference unless you can reduce the population. It was already been calculated that it will take 1.5 earths to sustain our present population indefinitely. Doesn't that bother anybody? We only have one earth. By the same token, if you want to change people's behavior, you have to understand history. If humanity has acted in a certain way since the dawn of time, things are not likely to change overnight. The pendulum always swings both ways. If you push too hard, the pendulum swings in the other direction and attempts to restore equilibrium.

This is why today's political circus is troubling. In a raw grab for political power, some politicians pushed too hard. They were willing to ignore all laws of fairness and decency and destroy two good people's lives in an effort to get what they wanted. Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh have both become roadkill. Probably anyone who has ever known either of them is terrified that they will become roadkill too if this travesty continues.

If you upend the simple things that have kept civil society from imploding, you've got to expect pushback. Our country was built on the idea that all people are innocent until proven guilty. An assumption that someone is guilty until they can prove their innocence is going to get pushback. If you are expected to believe someone just because they say so, it is going to get pushback. I wonder if the women who want to destroy the patriarchy have really thought this through. If they succeed, 50% of the world's population will still be men.

Can you really change all of recorded history? Aristotle thought women should be slaves. Napoleon Bonaparte thought the same thing. Confucius, that wise sage who said "do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself' also said that "one hundred women are not worth a single testicle." Gautama Buddha, the guy who started Buddhism thought that women were too stupid to become Buddhists. Think that modern men have become more enlightened? Think again. Norman Mailer, one of our most celebrated writers famously said "a little bit of rape is good for a man's soul." Kurt Vonnegut, whose novels are still loved by many young women said that "educating a beautiful woman is like pouring honey into a fine Swiss watch: everything stops." It is well known that Picasso was very abusive to women. I could go on and on.

Are you really going to change all this by destroying a distinguished public servant with a loving family who has led an exemplary life? If it is fair game to go all the way back to someone's high school yearbook in an attempt to create a new narrative, where does it stop? Will we be looking at middle school behavior next? Will an eight year old kid who slapped another kid on the butt find their life ruined forty years later. This is how real fascism starts.

If you woke up this morning and discovered that a family member,  a coworker, or a friend you have known your entire life was actually on the other side, don't be surprised. A line has been drawn in the sand. Some of your best friends are now on the other side.

Let's hope that men don't ever decide that this issue is more important than football. If that ever happens, all bets are off. I don't know where this ends, but if you really want to change things, you've got to be fair. If you want to chase unicorns and change the world, I wish you well. History says it is going to be difficult. If your motive is retribution and payback, it will not end as you expect. I always tell people to be careful what you wish for and to beware of unintended consequences. They never listen.

SweetPea is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Friday, September 28, 2018

Day 3200

I got a text message this morning saying "Busy now. Please text me." I was immediately suspicious, since nobody sends me texts like this. I think Apple has patched the IOS, but I knew it was possible at one time or another for hackers to install malicious malware on your phone if you replied to the wrong text. I looked up the number in my contact list and since it didn't correspond to any known contact, I immediately blocked the sender and deleted the message. I shouldn't have to do this. Most of my land line calls are from spammers and telemarketers. I used to think my cell phone was safe, but increasingly mobile phones have become targets too.

I never though the world would get to a point where I was reluctant to pick up my phone or answer the front door. That's were we are, unfortunately. You have to be suspicious of everyone. I would even be reluctant to open my door to someone in uniform. There are too many documented cases of people buying a police or fireman's uniform at a uniform store and then staging a home invasion if you open the door. I would never even think of picking up a hitchhiker even though I used to hitchhike myself in college.

Even though I don't trust much these days, I thought there'd be a good chance that I'd get a decent breakfast if I went back to the hotel and ordered the same thing I had last week. I don't know how many weeks I can continue these unadventurous outings, but as I've told you many times before, I like consistency.

I like French Toast, but I definitely don't like dealing with family problems. I'm not close to my family. I go to great lengths to avoid most of them, but occasionally our paths still cross. It always seems to blow up in my face. I made a small effort to resolve a few things today, but it won't amount to much. I think I'd be better off thinking I was raised by wolves.

I had to go to the storage warehouse and bring home some more rugs for Dash. The bricks have become too slippery for him. Dash is so shaky on his feet that you could knock him over with a feather these days. Hopefully, the additional rugs will help him maintain his footing. There are still more rugs in the warehouse, but I hesitate to bring them all home yet. Dash is far worse about pooping in the house than Dot was. Pooping on the bricks is bad enough, but it is going to be a real mess when he starts pooping on rugs.

I'm dozing off at the computer again. I guess it's time to get ready for bed. I hope I get more sleep than I did last night. Dash got me up again at 3 AM. By the time I cleaned up all the poop, I was wide awake and couldn't get back to sleep. Hate when that happens.

Spanky is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Day 3199

Wow. What an ugly day. The hearings were hard to avoid. They were on every channel for the entire day. Dr. Ford was credible and her supporters will believe her completely. Judge Kavanaugh was credible and his supporters will continue to stand by him. I don't think a single opinion was changed today. I do think the country was harmed. Weaponizing sex for political purposes will have repercussions for decades. Turning our justice system upside down and deciding that a person is guilty until proven innocent is breathtaking and almost Stalinist in nature. Both of these tactics were terrible ideas. You may be passionate about who sits on the Supreme Court and think that the end justifies the means. If you feel this way, you may be forgetting about the law of unintended consequences. In the long run, what happened today will not be good for women. It will not be good for men. And it will not be good for the country.

I felt sad watching today's hearings. I kept hoping that sanity would prevail, but it never did. Lines have been drawn in the sand and I don't think anyone is giving an inch. We didn't use to be this kind of a country. I really think we are headed toward a second civil war. It's so sad. When we believed that we were a great melting pot and shared a common set of values, the United States was the greatest country in the world. All that is gone now. I think the future belongs to China. The Chinese don't have to deal with the chaos and discord we witnessed today. Democracy is messy. Perhaps it is too messy to succeed in a world where politicians see no problem in unleashing flash mobs to harass their opponents in restaurants.

No wonder that so many people on Facebook say they prefer dogs to people. People are horrible. The world would be a better place if people spent more time taking their dogs on long walks and less time letting something they saw on their phone work them into a frenzy. It's not going to happen though. Social media is a Pandora's Box that can't be closed.

I spent too much time watching TV today, but there was still poop to clean up and pills to administer. Dash fell again today and I had to put his harness on while he was struggling on the floor so I could lift him up. Dash panics when he can't get up and it's difficult to help him. I think it's time for him to wear his special harness full time. He's still eating well though and enjoys his slow walks. I wish I could make him younger. I wish I could make myself younger as well. Truthfully, I wouldn't want to be young in today's world. I'd rather take a time machine back to 1950 instead.

I just finished taking this week's trash out to the curb. I can't decide whether to go back to the hotel for breakfast. The food and atmosphere are great, but the menu is very limited. I think I've already tried everything. This week went quickly, but apparently not quickly enough. What a mess. I'd love to see sanity return next week, but I'm not counting on it.

Sophie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Day 3198

Another day dominated by weather. We had to postpone our morning walk because of rain. I hate to do this because Dash becomes confused when his routine changes. I really didn't have a choice though. I put the bucket back in the living room because some of the showers were pretty intense. So far, I don't see any signs of a water leak. That could change at any time. I still don't know what triggers this leak. Nobody else does either because the roofers still haven't returned my calls.

I started to see some blue sky right after lunch, so I thought it might be a good time to take Dash on a walk. Since the weather seemed to be improving, it never occurred to me that there was another storm right over the horizon. When we were almost a mile away from the house, the sky quickly became very dark and it began to pour. Dash and I both got soaked. There was little point in turning around since we were already at the halfway point of our walk. Dash continued his slow, steady pace all the way home. He didn't even seem to be aware it was raining.

I was very aware that we were getting wet. It was raining so hard that I thought my Apple Watch might be ruined. I don't think the early model that I wear is very waterproof. Eventually we made it home and I spent the next twenty minutes drying Dash off. I think there's more rain in the forecast. Needless to say, I'm really getting tired of this.

I watched part of a live Phillips auction on my computer this morning. I wanted to get an idea of what to expect. The auction process was mesmerizing. Everything happens so fast. If you blink you miss something. It was impossible to guess what people were interested in. Some items sold for a lot more than I expected and others received no bids at all. A lot of money changed hands very, very quickly.

We found a tick on Dash this morning. This shouldn't be happening because he's taking Bravectco. We were a little nervous about removing the tick, but it had to be done. As expected, Dash started to bleed, although it wasn't as bad as I expected. I sure wish he didn't have to take blood thinners. Even the smallest problem can end up being dangerous.

The roofers never replied to my enquiries yesterday, but the vintage guitar folks did. I guess all this proves is that guitar players are nicer than roofers. The guitars still haven't sold, but the store seems optimistic. I'll sure be glad when all these sales have been completed. All this uncertainty makes me nervous.

We seem to be getting an enormous number of telemarketing calls. It's irritating. I don't know whether my number has been hacked or if this is just what happen prior to an election. I'm sure that a lot of these robocalls are political. I guess I could pick up the phone and find out what is going on, but that's the last thing I want to do. If you answer a telemarketer's call, you'll immediately wind up on ten more lists.

Suki is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Day 3197

I spent an enormous amount of time trying to avoid doing anything of consequence today. I wrote a futile letter to the roofer, telling him about the new leak. I used up half my ink trying to unclog the large printer again. I succeeded, but I still don't have anything to print. I tried to revive the batteries on an old DSLR that has sat unused for months. I used to use this camera all the time, but it seems so heavy now. I asked the vintage guitar shop if any of my guitars had sold. Nope, they haven't. On days like these, I usually mow the grass or go up on the roof. The yard is still soggy from recent rains, so that was a good excuse not to mow. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow, so that was an even better excuse not to go up on the roof.

Even though it was a slow day, there were still a few essential tasks. I picked up some more Allopurinol for Dash and some more Metformin for myself. Sometimes it seems like all I do is go to the post office and the pharmacy. I guess I'll have to add going to the dentist to this meager list soon. I got a call today reminding me that it's time for a checkup again. Has it been six months already? Jeez. Time flies when you're doing nothing.

The October auctions are getting closer and closer. I'll have to admit that I'm drawn to this whole process like a moth to a flame. The contemporary art world is a little rich for my blood, but it is very interesting. I've only seen it from the outside before. This will be the only time I get to participate in an event like this. I never had that much art to begin with. When the hammer falls it will be gone.

I wish I was more optimistic. I keep thinking that no one will bid on my art even though one piece is considered "significant." I feel equally nervous about buying stocks although I've been an investor for decades. When my broker makes a recommendation, I can always come up with five reasons why the company will fail. I don't think I'm being negative. In my world, I'm just being realistic. Maybe this is why I've always liked dystopian science fiction. The end is always near. Today's political turmoil doesn't surprise me at all.

Dash fell down in the grass when I took him out to pee this morning. He's so shaky now. I helped him up and he limped back into the house. An hour later, he seemed fine and we took our regular walk. I can't pretend that things are getting better though. They're not. Old age is sad. I've lost too many dogs already. Friends who have been healthy as long as I've known them have cancer now. Too many of my contemporaries have passed away. I have good doctors, very few vices, and a healthy diet. I'm not sure it makes much difference though. When your time is up, it's up.

If tomorrow is a repeat of today, that's OK with me. Not a lot happened, but I wasn't expecting much. Dash was shaky this morning, but he rallied again and ended the day well. At least I made an effort to deal with the roof. Who knows if the roofer will call me back, but the roof is not leaking now. Dinner was delicious tonight. That's always something.

Rosie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Monday, September 24, 2018

Day 3196

I'm fascinated by the new quick and easy meals I've discovered. I never heard of Cadence Gourmet before, but I'm going to remember the name. Gourmet recipes using fresh, organic, locally sourced ingredients are flash frozen using liquid nitrogen so the ingredients maintain their texture, color, nutrients and flavor. The fish, meat, vegetables, and sauces are encapsulated in what can only be described as rock solid frozen eggs. Toss these weird looking nodules in a frying pan and fifteen minutes later you have an amazing meal that looks and tastes fantastic. Why didn't I discover this concept earlier? Flash freeing in nitrogen doesn't taste frozen at all. Portion sizes aren't a problem either. Each recipe is sold by the pound at a self-serve kiosk. Buy as much or as little as you want. It would have taken me forever to fix the Thai Green Curry Shrimp I had this evening. Piece of cake. This is a game changer for a lazy gourmet like me. Maybe I'll have the Chicken Tikka Masala tomorrow.

Dash has thrown me another curve. When he wakes up at night, he now has trouble standing. I have to be ready to help him off the bed, so he won't stumble and fall. I have to steady him as he regains his footing and hope that he doesn't poop before I can gently lead him out the back door. He's already fallen off the bed once or twice when I didn't wake up in time. I wish I could convince Dash to sleep  on the floor in a dog bed, but he is very stubborn. He doesn't want to wear his harness to bed either. It would be a lot easier to lift him on and off the bed using the handle on the harness. This is still a work in progress. Dot went through a period when she still wanted to sleep on the bed, even though it was no longer practical. She eventually learned that it was safer and more comfortable to sleep on the floor. Hopefully, Dash will learn this too.

The weather is improving. I saw a patch of blue sky today and the water dripping from the living room ceiling has finally stopped. Since there is still some standing water directly over where the leak is located, I'm not sure where this leak actually originates. Water tends to follow the path of least resistance, so the leak could be anywhere. I'll call the roofer tomorrow, but I'm not very optimistic.

One of the dogs Janet and I photographed recently has already been adopted. That's good news. I wish there was more good news. With a deteriorating house, an aging sick dog, and a crumbling business, good news is in short supply. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Maybe I'll see another Great Egret on our walk. Maybe Dash's poop will be firm. Maybe the stock market will rally. I'm certainly not going to watch the cable news channels. That would spoil everything.

Scout is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Day 3195

It was oddly comforting to discover that there was also a roof leak at the gym today. If this huge, well funded facility can't keep water out, maybe I'm not doing so bad. Every time we have a serious storm, I remember a quote from Dr. Who. This was from the Waters of Mars episode. "Water is patient," the Doctor told Adelaide. "Water just waits. Wears down the cliff tops, the mountains. The whole of the world. Water always wins." Nobody's keeping score, but water is certainly winning the battle it has been having with me all these years. I'm no match for the relentlessness of water.

I couldn't go on the basketball court today because the restoration crew was trying to save the hardwood floors with something called an Injectidry System. I'd never seen anything like this before. There were weird looking flat panels taped to the floor of the court. Small hoses connected these panels to larger hoses which eventually terminated in a noisy machine that looked a bit like a portable generator. Somehow this Rube Goldberg contraption is able to remove the water from hardwood floors before they start to warp and crack. We'll see if the system worked when I return to the gym next week.

The water has receded quite a bit at the lake. I can see the boat docks again and the shoreline road has reappeared. There is still water dripping from my ceiling, unfortunately. It's not a lot of water, but I don't know how to stop it. The roof needs to be dry before the leak can be located and I think there's rain in the forecast for the rest of the week. I'm not even sure the roofers can find the leak. They've failed many times before.

Janet found some interesting meals that seem to be tailor made for people like us. We rarely cook anymore, but still enjoy interesting, fresh food. These chef prepared meals just need to be heated in a skillet for about ten minutes and they're ready to go. Last night we had Risotto and tonight we had Pesto Shrimp. We never would have taken the time to make these items from scratch, but they certainly tasted authentic. The end result was easier to make than those meal kits like HelloFresh and the portion sizes were small enough for two people. A delicious, easy to fix meal was certainly the high point of my day. It definitely beat working out in a soggy gym. Their water leak was a lot worse than mine.

Dash is still pooping in the house, but his stools are getting firmer again. If you've got an incontinent dog, you always wish for firm stools. Cleanup is so much easier. I believe there is a rational answer for everything, but it's still a mystery why Dash can go from normal stools to diarrhea in a matter of days. It doesn't make sense because his diet hasn't changed for several months now. From everything we've read, Dash is eating exactly what he should.

I need to come up with a plan of action for next week. Do I argue with the roofers? Do I attempt to clean out the storage warehouse? Do I look for an auction house who will take the remaining art? There's lots that needs to be done, but all too often the best option seems to do nothing at all.

Sage is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Day 3194 - Autumnal Equinox

I woke up to an ominous dripping sound this morning. The roof was leaking. I guess if I had to have a leak, now would be the time. We've had a tremendous amount of rain during the past 24 hours. I think we set some kind of all time record. I'm glad we live on a hill, because there was lots of flooding in town. When the rain subsided and we were able to take Dash for a walk, it was amazing to see how high the lake was. Most of the boat docks and piers were completely under water. Not only was the lake over its banks, the water completely covered a road that circles the lake.

It's so discouraging to realize that all the work the roofers did toward the end of the Summer basically proved nothing. The roof still leaks. I went up on the roof and made an obligatory inspection, but couldn't find an area where the water might be getting in. The house needs a completely new engineered roof with a slight pitch so water will drain off quickly. Redesigning the house is not in the cards unfortunately. It would cost a fortune and wouldn't really add any value. People want larger homes now. If we ever moved, our house would probably be scraped and replaced by another McMansion. It just doesn't make sense to put a lot of money into a tear down.

Truthfully, nothing makes a lot of sense right now. Someday, historians will look back and realize that this was the time when the second civil war started. Nobody knew what was happening at first. It wasn't a conventional war. The North wasn't fighting the South. There were guns of course, but the really dangerous weapons were words. It was neighbor against neighbor. Parents against children. Brothers against sisters. Worst of all there were no winners. Everybody lost.

Have our divisions become this great? Is this how the world ends? I hope not. When I watch the news I'm not encouraged. Polarization prevails and it seems like the war has already started. Maybe that's why I prefer cooking shows these days. I watched a show about making fish tacos this afternoon. Very tasty.

The weather forecast says it's going to rain all next week. It's officially Fall now. It always seems to rain a lot in the Fall. Jeez. How am I going to stop this roof leak? How am I going to be able to even get the roofers to come back? I think they're done with me. The drip finally stopped right after lunch. I got some bleach and cleaned the stains off the living room ceiling. A few hours later another storm arrived and the roof started leaking all over again. It's hopeless. I'll leave a big bucket out tonight to catch the water. There isn't much else I can do at this point.

Tomorrow's another day. Maybe I'll get some sleep tonight. The water from the roof is still dripping into a bucket in the living room. I'm not hearing the drips as frequently though. That's good. Dash hasn't pooped since early this morning. That's not so good.

Sadie is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Friday, September 21, 2018

Day 3193

I was so tired this morning. Dash got me up three or four times last night. As soon as I got him outside, he seemed to forget why he was out there and just wandered around aimlessly. As soon as I brought him in again, he would remember he needed to do something and head for the back door again. We did this over and over. Eventually he pooped and we went back to bed. About thirty minutes later, we woke me up again. This time he needed to pee. He wouldn't pee right away though. We had to leave the house three more times before he got the urge. This has to be some form of dementia. Sometimes he goes outside and has no idea why he's out there. This is one of the reasons why he frequently poops in the house. When Dash's brain finally kicks into gear and gets the message that it's time to go, it's often too late.

By the time I got back to sleep again, it was already time for Dash's morning walk. Janet got me up and we got Dash ready. I thought it was early, but I obviously wasn't thinking clearly. By the time we returned home it was almost too late to go out for breakfast. I was hungry though, so I drove to the hotel anyway. I made it a few minutes before they closed the kitchen.

I've been thinking that I'd found my new favorite place, but service was slow this morning and the place was crowded. The food was still good though, so I'll give Knife the benefit of the doubt. It was British Month at Central Market so I stopped by on the way home from breakfast and picked up some Steak and Stout pies, Celeriac Slaw, and Cumberland Sauce for dinner. Maybe next time I'll try a Scotch Egg and some Tikka Masala. When life is dull, something interesting to eat always does the trick.

I found myself falling asleep during the day. I really didn't get much sleep last night. I guess it didn't really matter if I wasn't very productive today. It's hard to get behind when there's nothing to do. I eventually made the bed, did some laundry, and repaired a pair of Dash's protective boots. I switched on the TV several times, but quickly turned it off again. I'm sick of politics.

It's nice that the market is at an all time high again. I think the last time was back in January. Why is it that every time the market is at a high point, my own stocks are actually lower than they were at the last market top? This happens frequently. I'd complain to my broker if it weren't for the fact that I've agreed with every trade we've made this year. You just can't predict the future.

I wish Dash was stronger, but I think he's doing the best he can. Getting old is a bitch. His overall weakness is caused by his heart disease and the shaky stance and vertigo are caused by the Vestibular Disease. There is no cure for either. I try my best to keep Dash as comfortable as possible. I know this is my own fate someday. I often wonder who will take care of me.

Rowe is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Day 3192

Another day that was dominated by water. I spent quite a bit of time on the roof this morning cleaning away leaves and debris. It seems a little early for the trees to be dropping leaves, but there were a ton of leaves on the roof. I guess Fall has arrived. There was still some standing water from last week's rain too. I was pleased that I got the roof looking nice again and then late this afternoon it started raining again. I feel like a modern day version of Sisyphus. The roof is hopeless. I wish the roofers had told me in the very beginning that a high tech coating was an inappropriate solution for my type of roof.

I also wish that the contractor who remodeled our bathrooms years ago had installed a real heavy duty metal shower pan rather than the vinyl liner that everybody seems to use these days. I think this liner is one of the reason I'm having so many problems with shower leaks. I had to suck out excess water with the wet/dry vac again today. I do this way too often. About a quart of water seems to accumulate under the tiles about every three days.

I really need to give up and put on an entirely new roof and get a good tile guy to re-do the shower. I probably need a tile guy and a good plumber, since I think it's the floor drain that is leaking and letting water accumulate under the tiles. A completely new roof in a house like ours is prohibitively expensive and I really don't want to deal with having contractors in the house. I guess I'm screwed.

A guy came to the door today and wanted money for public radio. The guy was very persistent and seemed a lot like a Jehovah's Witnesses. I wonder if he was really from KERA like his t-shirt said. You'd think the never ending pledge drives on public radio would be enough. I told him I thought the station should just run commercials like everyone else. Commercials would be less irritating than the pledge drives. When the guy couldn't sign me up as a subscriber, he asked me for some water. I gave him some bottled water and off he went. I still don't know if this was a real subscriber drive or a scam.

Quite a bit of thunder and lightning accompanied this evening's rain. Not surprisingly, the thunder scared Dash. It's kind of sad. Dash is not mobile enough to crawl under my desk anymore during storms.  He kept looking for a safe place, but just couldn't maneuver very well. Finally, Janet and I convinced him to lie down on the bedroom floor with us and we covered him with a blanket. Luckily, the heavy rain didn't last very long.

If it continues raining tomorrow, I won't be able to go out for breakfast. Dash can get himself in some real trouble if he panics during a storm. I guess I could make pancakes at home if the weather is bad. I haven't had pancakes in a while. It's weird. I never ever drink my regular smoothie on Friday. Don't ask me why. My life is all about meaningless rituals.

Rosie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Day 3191

I hate when I fail to notice that a prescription has run out and I have to scramble to get new pills before they're all gone. This happens to me and it happens to Dash. I called in a renewal for Dash's Plavix this morning and the automated message said that no more refills were available. Not good, because no more pills were available either. I called the vet at the cancer center and asked if they could refill the prescription in a hurry. I still don't understand why pills that need to be taken for a lifetime are generally only renewed for six months at a time. I should have noticed the tiny type on the bottle that said there were 0 refills available, but I never notice tiny type. I can't even read small type anymore without my reading glasses.

I managed to get the prescription refilled in the nick of time, but I know this will happen again and again. It's equally hard to remember to change the air filters in the furnace. I appear to have a very selective memory. I always remember to give Dash a walk. I never forget to pay my bills on time. There are some things I'm oblivious to however. I need to pay more attention to those pill bottle labels.

One of the auction houses wanted more information from me today. It seems like they have plenty of information already, but I dutifully printed the forms they sent, filled them out by hand, and then scanned everything so I could convert the forms to PDF files and send them back. It seems like in this day and age, you'd be able to fill out and sign just about any type of form on your computer, but it seldom works that way. I wonder what people do if they don't have a scanner? It seems like I'm scanning documents all the time.

For the past couple of nights, I've been waking up when Dash typically needs to go outside, only to discover that Dash is still asleep. I woke up twice like this last night while Dash continued sleeping through the night. He didn't wake up at all. I felt like waking Dash up myself, but that would have been silly. I've been hoping that Dash would get to a point where he was sleeping all night again. Now that he is, I've just got to start sleeping better myself.

I formally ended another client relationship today. It was kind of sad. I've worked with these folks for decades. Things change though. I guess I could still pretend that we were working together, but I haven't had a project for almost a year. I think there's only one client left now and I haven't been doing much for them either. It's time to to face reality. This stage of my life is over. I have retired.

At least Dash had a good day. He was fairly strong on his walks and he's still eating well. I made sure he has a new supply of Plavix and we broke in some brand new boots and socks. I think we're ready for another day.

Rhett is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Day 3190

The art conservator threw me a curve today. The restored lithograph actually looked very nice, but as I was leaving the studio, the conservator told me to be sure to store the art horizontally until I had it framed again. Where? The print is very large and I knew immediately that it wasn't going to fit anywhere in the house. It wouldn't fit under the bed, since there is a support post right in the middle. I tried, but the print was way too large to fit under the bottom half of the bed. The closets aren't deep enough and I couldn't even put the thing under a large rug on the living room floor. The bricks on the floor absorb moisture, so floor storage wasn't really an option anyway. This sucks. The conservator specifically warned me against taking art back to the storage warehouse. "You're asking for trouble," she said. I guess I could re-frame the picture and hang it back on the wall, but I've already replaced the art I sent to the auction houses with pictures of dogs I took myself. I think I like the dog pictures better anyway.

I took a better camera on our morning walk and managed to get a decent picture of a Great Egret and a Coot together. It was hardly worth bringing the camera unfortunately. Dash wouldn't stay still and most of the pictures I took while moving were out of focus. I have to concentrate on Dash to keep him from falling. We walk on a very short leash now and his harness has a big handle on top that I can grab to keep him from falling. I walk directly alongside of Dash so I can easily lift him up or steady him without knocking him over. I've practiced this technique with Dot and other older dogs. It works pretty well, but walks aren't very relaxing.

I listened to a show on RadioLab recently about how efforts to save the Kirtland’s warbler inadvertently burned down a Michigan forest and killed a young wildlife technician. The efforts to save the bird from extinction were eventually successful, but now cost almost a million dollars a year. The locals now hate the bird, but birders fly in from all over the world just to catch a glimpse of it. I think the show was called Weighing Good Intentions and it was mostly about unintended consequences. I wonder if people realize that there are unintended consequences to almost everything we do. Whenever I turn on the TV these days, my first reaction is "this isn't going to end well." There are very few winners here and a few years from now, there are going to be a lot of unintended consequences. I think everyone is acting badly. Maybe I should just quit watching TV while I have my morning smoothie. It might be better to take up knitting instead.

I received a printed copy of one of the auction catalogs in the mail today. My art looked pretty, but I'm still nervous about the auctions. I'm sure there are unintended consequences to unwinding a lifetime of collecting things. I think I'm doing the right thing, but like most things in life, I won't find out what it all means until much later.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
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Monday, September 17, 2018

Day 3189

Mondays are just like any other day, except slower. I woke up trying to remember whether I'd taken Dash out last night. It seems like I did, but maybe not. Dash wasn't telling. He was sound asleep in the middle of the bed. He eventually woke up and took his morning pills, but we got off to a slow start.

We should have started our walk earlier, because the temperature has warmed up again. We were both hot and tired when we returned to the house. I need to remember to bring my camera on morning walks. The Egrets and Cranes have returned to the lake and I could have taken some great shots today if I had a telephoto lens. The wide angle lens on my phone is really only good for flowers.

I must not have done all my chores yesterday, because the house was a mess. The dishwasher was full. There was laundry to be done. And most of the wastebaskets needed to be emptied. I'm still amazed that tiny little tasks like these can consume my entire day.

When I got caught up on household chores, I paid the first batch of September bills and took them to the post office. When I got home, I checked the mailbox and there were more bills. You'd think my bills would diminish, since I don't do much of anything these days. Apparently, doing nothing can still use a lot of water and electricity. All my utility bills are way higher than they were five years ago. I don't know why I get a phone bill at all. The phone company should be paying me. All I get is a never ending barrage of telemarketing calls.

Dash has become very needy. He mostly just sleeps during the day, but he doesn't like to sleep alone. He gets mad when he wants to be in the bedroom and I'm in the office. We have a ritual now. I'll go curl up with him on the bed, and then get up and sneak away to do some work as soon as he falls asleep. It works pretty well since he goes to sleep very quickly. After a few hours, Dash will wake up and want to go outside to pee. Then we'll repeat the entire process all over again. It's a good thing I'm a patient person. These days can get pretty long.

I made an appointment to pick up the art I had restored. I'm not going to display the piece again, so the conservator is just going to box it up. I hope I can get the rest of this stuff to an auction house before I run out of energy or lose interest. Truthfully, I'm already starting to lose interest. When I look around the office, I just want it empty. It seems like a monumental job. Basically, I'm still a packrat at heart. I guess I could start by throwing away boxes and boxes of old video tapes. I still have all the camera masters for most of the corporate videos I've produced over the years. I don't have the clients anymore, so there is little use in hanging on to the tapes. Few people could play these tapes anyway. Try finding a working 3/4 inch Umatic machine. Even the newer BetsSP tapes are getting pretty old.

Dash just finished eating a large and very late dinner. I wish he get hungry a little earlier. Eating this late just about guarantees that I'll be taking him out at 3 AM to poop.

Princess is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Day 3188

I listened to a program about Schadenfreude on the way to the gym this morning. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the concept of feeling pleasure at someone else's misfortune. Apparently, researchers have discovered that in today's increasingly polarized world, people will tend to accept something they know is wrong if they think the wrong might make someone they dislike look even worse. This explains a lot. Politics and a lot of foreign policy decisions depend on Schadenfreude.

Democrats and Republicans. Palestinians and Israelis. The Patriots and the Falcons. Is it all just the same? People pick their team and stick with them no matter what. If you're a Falcons fan, you're going to be happy at Tom Brady's misfortune whenever he gets sacked. If a rough tackle puts him out of the game, you're even happier. Politics and diplomacy are starting to seem a lot like football. I like football, but is this any way to run the world?

I like to solve the world's problems while I'm on the treadmill. I never tell anybody my solutions because they'd never listen. Global warming? Piece of cake. Just stop having babies until the earth's population declines by about 40%. Cities would become smaller. Fish would return to the ocean. Forests would flourish. Could anyone convince the entire world that two children is plenty and maybe none would be even better for a while until we got things back in balance? I doubt it. Russian meddling? Big deal. Just open the files and show everyone that our own CIA has been doing the same thing for most of the Twentieth Century. We've done more meddling over the years than all the other countries combined. Countries shouldn't meddle in other countries business, but they do. People shouldn't take pleasure in someone else's misfortune, but they do. Basically, we were the meanest monkeys in the monkey kingdom. Otherwise, dolphins would probably rule the earth.

I only philosophize at the gym. Most of the time I realize that Dash is right. It's better to think about nothing. I'm fairly comfortable living like a dog. I eat. I sleep. I observe and occasionally photograph things in nature. People say it it is important to be passionate about something but I don't even know what that means. Dogs can be obsessive, but I don't think they are passionate. Passion often leads to anger. Obsession just leads to collections. Our first Dalmatian collected tennis balls. He would find them on walks and carry them in his mouth until we got home. He was obsessed with tennis balls and by the end of his life had collected hundreds of them. It all made sense to me. During the same period of time I was collecting model trains.

I've already started seeing pumpkins and Christmas Trees. The Hallmark Channel is already advertising that they are ready to debut 34 all new Christmas Movies. Where has this year gone? It's almost over already. I guess I'd better make reservations for Thanksgiving Dinner before it's too late.

Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Day 3187

We enjoyed meeting the new rescue dogs this morning. Dot and Dash have been dealing with serious medical problems since 2014, so it's easy to forget how much fun a young, healthy Dalmatian can be. The dogs we photographed today were all super friendly, very active, and loved to play. I don't think it will be long before each of these pups finds their forever home.

Janet and I have gotten to know hundreds of these dogs over the years. They all had their own unique personality. It's surprising how many of these dogs I still remember. It's hard to remember the names though. Especially since there were a lot named Domino, Lucky, Spot, Patches, and Oreo. The older we get, the harder it is to remember all these names. We both forgot the name of one of our favorites today. After ten minutes of guessing in the car, we finally remembered the name was Spirit. How could we have forgotten Spirit?

When we walked Dash this morning, we found ourselves right in the middle of a big charity race. There were thousands of runners, but Dash still wanted to criss-cross the road from one side to the other like he always does. The runners definitely didn't want to slow down for an old dog, so we tried to find a new route. I wonder how well Dash can see? He seemed oblivious to the runners. Luckily, we managed to stay out of the way. I always wonder why so many people like to jog? Over time, running is terrible on the knees.The high impact exercise isn't great for the feet either. I guess this is one reason why knee replacements have become one of the most popular surgeries for people my age.

Dash got me up in the middle of the night again. Actually, he got me up three times. I don't think there is anything wrong. Dash has just changed his schedule. He doesn't care if he wakes me up. If I'm not fast enough, he'll just poop on the floor. He's hungrier now late at night than he is in the morning. I guess it's no surprise that he needs to do his business at 3 AM. I don't even remember what uninterrupted sleep feels line anymore. I need to ask my doctor whether catnaps count. I rarely sleep more than three or four hours at a time, but I nap a lot. All in all I probably sleep more than you do.

I'm really tempted to get the latest version of the Apple Watch. I still wear the original version every day, but this new watch adds the capability to take your own electrocardiogram and will automatically dial 911 if you fall and can't get up. The watch also has it's own internal GPS and cellular phone. Pretty amazing to a gadget geek like me. Probably in the future, all I'll need are the watch and a phone. I'm finding fewer and fewer reasons to turn on the computer every day.

It's back to the gym tomorrow. Janet already goes to her new gym at least four times a week. I see no reason to compete. Once a week is plenty. Hey, I still walk Dash twice a day. We're slow, but we're consistent. If I were walking one of those young Dalmatians we photographed today, I bet I would be in better shape than those runners we saw this morning. I can tell you from experience that keeping up with a young Dalmatian is the best exercise you can get.

Spot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, September 14, 2018

Day 3186

Today had its ups and downs. Dash pooped in a neighbor's driveway this morning and then a little later he lost one of his shoes. I cleaned up the poop the best I could, but losing the shoe was a big deal. As soon as I noticed the missing boot, I tried to get Dash to turn around and go looking for it, but he he can be very stubborn and wanted to continue going forward. Even though it was in his best interest, Dash wouldn't turn around at all. Luckily, we weren't that far from home. His exposed rear paw was dirty and scuffed up a bit, but there was no bleeding.

When I made sure that Dash has finished his breakfast and was ready for his nap, I retraced my steps and went looking for the shoe. These boots are way too expensive to be disposable, so I need to make an effort to find them when they fall off. I wish he'd been wearing the green or red boots today. They would have been a lot easier to find. The missing black rubber boot blended in with the ground and was much more difficult to locate than I expected. Eventually I found both the boot and its companion sock. Strangely, the sock and boot weren't together. I don't know how he managed to lose the sock before the shoe, but that's the way it happened.

I went back to Knife for breakfast this morning. They stop serving at 10 AM, and I barely made it. Hey, it can take a long time to find a missing dog boot in the park. The Brioche French Toast I ordered this morning was delicious. Knife is really a high-end steak house, but they serve a limited breakfast menu since they are located in a hotel. I'm glad I discovered this place. It's exactly what I was looking for. It's odd. I've been looking for a nice place to eat in the neighborhood for years and what I really wanted was a chance to pretend that I wasn't in Dallas at all.

On the way home I discovered that my favorite Macintosh repair shop had gone out of business. Damn. Just about every one of my computers has been serviced at this store at one time of another. The place was close to home, the service was great, and the technicians could fix anything. The whole experience was a huge improvement over going to the Apple Store. I shouldn't have been surprised that the place went out of business. If I like a place, it is almost certain that it will go out of business. My favorite furniture stores, hobby shops, camera shops, art galleries, and restaurants have all gone out of business. It's so inevitable that businesses I like will fail that I've thought about hiring myself out as a consultant. If I like your concept, just forget about it. Why throw your money away. Just invest in something I hate instead.

It's still raining here, but I need to remind myself not to complain about the weather. There are no downed trees. There are no high winds. And there is no flooding. I'm sure there is water on the roof, but it is just rain. I feel sorry for all those people on the Carolina coast, but I still don't understand why they are living on the coast in the first place. Don't they know that when sea levels rise, all their property is going to be underwater anyway.

Janet and I will try again to take pictures of the rescue Dalmatian tomorrow. It's hard to tell at this point if we will be successful. So far, the weather looks almost identical to what we were dealing with last week.

Nicholas is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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