Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Not Dead. Just Bored With Social Media.

Huh. Where does the time go?

I suspect I'm becoming more cynical and less social with time. I like my hillside here. I like the exertion of digging holes to put in posts so I can create a secure strawberry bed. I like the quiet effort of filling a wheelbarrow with mulch, and pushing it over the soft, uneven hillside ground so I can lay a protective layer around my new blackberry plants, and around my trees. Sure, I've got a trailer, a tractor, and a 4wd, and I could shift all this mulch a trailerload at a time... but I don't want a trailerload at a time.

And I don't want all the frigging around with hitches and towbars. I don't want to drive the tractor or the 4wd around the place with a trailer on the back. I like the sound of the shovel in the mulch-heap. I like the effort of pushing the full barrow downhill, and unloading it. I like the exercise of pushing the empty barrow back up the hill to refill it.

Do a job; see it done. Dirt under your fingernails. The musty, living scent of damp, new-turned earth. The sweetness of ferment from within the enormous heap of woodchips. Autumn sun on your back, sweat in your eyes, vagrant breezes: fresh mountain air.

It's real. It feels good.

Last week I helped some folks move house. Only a day's worth, because I'm so very tied up with other stuff, but it was heavy work, and useful, because they needed the help and there was nobody else with the time, the energy, the spare vehicle and trailer. My daughter and the little girl from the other family ran around with each other all morning, while her father and I shuttled in and out. We carried an enormous refrigerator, and wondered why they don't build handholds on such machines, as we shuffled and nudged, and eked our way around tight corners. We hefted a vast washing machine, delighted to discover that the designers actually DID build handholds into the side of it. Points to LG for that one, yes. But points deducted for the fact that the handholds are too goddam shallow: you can only get the last joint or so of your fingers into them, and after a while, if you've been heaving furniture all morning, your muscles get tired.

But again: do a job, see it done. Sweat in the sun. Rope and tie and tarpaulin, load and offload, drive slowly and carefully between one small town and the next, watching to see that the tall, tall refrigerator doesn't wiggle too much over the shoddy, bumpy roads, with the winds of travel blasting at it.

And it's real, isn't it? When you're done, something good has happened. A family is closer to being in their new home. Order emerging from chaos. Sore muscles and sweat, but with good cause.

I've been meaning to get back on here and chronicle, because this is my way of writing down my life for my children. At least part of my life; certain parts of it remain in posts that I don't put online. But the act of keeping in touch here helps me keep the momentum of writing this day-to-day stuff, and if I leave it too long, it starts to lose urgency. Mustn't do that.

So, what else? A lot, really. Hopefully I'll find time to write more. There was a truly brain-bending movie with the Cool Shite team last week. Really. Japanese horror flick from 1977 - "Hausu", or "House". Not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. But... brainbending.

Then there's a game I've been hearing about online for a while: "Dwarf Fortress". I tried it once before, but the learning curve was too steep. Following posts appearing in BoingBoing and elsewhere, though, I thought I'd try again, with the help of a proliferation of tutorials and wikis online. I'm still using version 40d, which isn't the latest -- but this time it's working. I have dwarfs, and they have a fortress. It's called "Alebaldness", and it's the successor to the ill-fated "Razoredwheels". I'll have to write about that, as well.

Also: it appears we're going to actually get a holiday this year, as a family. This is a rare event. Even more rare: we're getting organized, and going somewhere unusual. Borneo, in fact. And so, I have been ordered to cease and desist on Spanish for a while, and brush off my high school Bahasa, so the family will be able to order food, ask where the toilets might be, and bargain for stuff at the markets. This should be fun...

But for now, I have to go. Behind on too many projects. And this afternoon, I teach ju-jitsu again. Meanwhile, outside the autumn sun is golden after a day of rain. I could finish putting in the posts for my strawberry patch, couldn't I? No... too much else to do.

And I really do have to say something on Facebook sooner or later, right? Bleah.


  1. I can appreciate the 'do job and see the result' mentality. My father, when young, tried to get a mechanic's apprenticeship - none available so he took up panel beating and spraypainting. He told me he is glad he did - bent and broken car comes in, he works on it, it leaves straight and shiny. The result is there. Mechanicing...well the engine looks the same, but now it goes as opposed to earlier on. I've done the motorcycle mechanic thing and appreciate what he said. Unfortunately, most of my working life has been spent expending effort for no easily visible result...which shits me. I do like seeing the results of my labours straight away.

  2. The reason you have for keeping a blog is a great one, but doing anything regularly that is for something so distant in time can be hard to keep motivation.

    As aconsequence of your desire to have something for your children to read means that I get to hear about interesting things like the adventures of the drawfs in Alebaldness and whatever happened to unionised grave-diggers of Razoredwheels.

  3. ...damned gravediggers. Damn them!

  4. well its for certain you would NOT get an ounce of negativity from me on the " construct it with ya bare hands" front, except that on occasion the operation of machinery has a real " TOOL TIME FKN TIM" feel to it for me.

    And by god, it can be taxing, both physically and mentally when assisting people move, but on completion..well, the " I HELPED" thing is a great feeling, I will admit.

    NOW..as for Borneo...SUCK UP THE WHOLE JOINT, I want as much, ya cant get it on line info from you on this place as is humanly possible...FOR OBVIOUS REASONS. I'm looking forward to you descriptions post return, think of it as a NON PAID RESEARCH TRIP FOR HAVOCK...

  5. We have some many devices that are supposed to save time and energy, but by the time you get them out, find all the bits, clean it up and put it away you could have done the same thing twice by hand. KISS and Occams razor for me. Have fun in Borneo, I loved KK and Sabah, great shopping , great food, very kid friendly .There are some nasty things under the surface that tourists are not supposed to know about, not even slighlty eco-friendly despite the hype. If you want to go off the beaten track (a little)there is a really cool but basic resort 10klm west of Kudat, run by a slightly crazy ex hippie (chinese style) called Sunny.

  6. I've been gettin muddy in my gardens as well but could use help gettin a piano up through a second story window. gotta a spare minute?


    Keep on keepin on.