August 29th, 2003

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Five questions from minnehaha B.

Questions straight from the playa!

  1. Do you work third shift out of desire or necessity?
Out of necessity, originally. After being fired from my previous job it was the only work I could find. I'm fairly well suited to third shift temperamentally. When I'm doing things that I enjoy, I'm often doing them overnight. So now, it isn't so much desire that keeps me working third shift as it is inertia. I'm still looking for other work and would prefer a first shift job if I can find one.

Working first shift would also make life easier for Ericka. She has home health aides who help her during the day and if I'm around at night, it's easier for her to get along and she'd feel more comfortable as well.

  1. If you had to move out of the Twin Cities, where would you want to go?
My first choice would be space. I think the International Space Station is a great first step into the cosmos but I eagerly await cheaper methods of space travel and the opportunity to colonize another planet or moon.

Limiting myself to Earth for the nonce, however, I'd probably end up moving to Seattle. I have many friends in the area as well as my favorite relatives a short hop away in Olympia. I also like the city of Seattle and there's likely to be work of the sort I'd like to do in the area. The green-ness and political climate of the city suit me as well.

  1. Paper or plastic? Why?
I typically take paper on the theory that paper is a) better at holding the objects one gets at places that have both (boxes, cans, bottles) in a manner that makes it easy to carry, b) paper has several uses outside of this original purpose (hold recyclables, cool cookies on it, use it to light fires) and c) when paper is finally served its many purposes, it is more likely to make a smaller impact when it is disposed of. If I'm not mistaken, one could even shred paper bags and add them to one's compost pile.

I will take plastic on those rare occasions that I need some for the purpose of picking up dog poop after taking Brandy on a walk or to a park. Since they last forever and many times you don't get a choice of paper (from Target, for example) we have a gizmo consisting of an old denim pants leg with elastic on each end hanging by the door that is stuffed full of plastic bags. It's easy to pull one or more out the bottom when taking the dog out somewhere and just as easy to stuff new ones in top when they show up.

  1. Did you have any pets growing up?
We always had daschunds growing up. First was Inky, a black wire haired male. We had Prince and Princess for a bit but sold off Prince. Princess was bred and had puppies and we kept one of those which was also named Prince. Prince lived past the time I moved away to college but when he died my parents didn't get another dog. I think that having a dog was largely for us as kids. Since we moved around a lot with my father in the Navy, a dog was a constant companion that came along with you when you moved.

There have also been a few cats while I was growing up. These appeared once we moved to Blackduck, MN and were basically "barn cats," strays that were allowed to live outside to keep the rodent population at bay. One downside of that was the day my dad gave me a box of kittens and a .22 rifle and told me to "take care" of them.

  1. Obligatory Burning Man question: What's the difference between a belief and a superstition?
On last night's West Wing episode a character defined belief pretty well, I think: an expectation of things seen based on evidence of things unseen.

A superstition is, I would say, a belief in something that persists despite being disproved by active experimentation. That is, one could walk under a series of ladders and observe that more random bad experiences do not befall one than during a similar period before traveling under the ladders. As much as one might want sometimes, stepping on a crack will not break your mother's back.

Well, that killed some time at work. By the rules of the game, people may leave comments asking for questions of their own and I'll do my best to provide them. They carry on the chain or suffer 10 years bad luck. Really. I mean it.

  • Current Music
    I Quit--Hepburn--Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Album
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Decisions, decisions

On a very slow night, I've spent a good deal of time thinking about what I'm going to do with that chunk of yard that I dug up last week. My overall plan is to transplant the evergreen shrubs that are there and plant some sort of attractive groundcover. I'm looking at prairie plants for their ability to keep out weeds once mature and their robust natures.

The very nice web site of Prairie Nursery has nice little charts in their plant selection area that are organized by the amount of sun your plot gets, how much water it gets and what sort of soil you have. The south side of my house is a mixture of dry sandy soil near the house and a moist loamy soil where the turf has been growing for many years.

So far, I'm sticking to short plants for this side, thinking that will make any maintenance easier and will also keep it "neater" looking for the neighbors. As grass is the base of any prairie, I'm figuring on a good dose of Little Bluestem and Prairie Dropseed grasses. These both top out at 2-4 feet when mature. Both are clump-forming grasses so they shouldn't spread too much and will leave space for the flowers. A fairly random selection process ended up giving me what seems to be a mix of interesting flowers for the area. First is Prairie Smoke, a short, whispy pink flower that blooms from May to June. Then Black-Eyed Susan, Narrow-Leafed Purple Coneflower and Purple Prairie Clover bloom from June to August. In the later summer Heath Aster and the grasses bloom for color from August to October. The grasses retain their gold and bronze colors for winter interest as well.

In looking for what I might want to do with the front yard I can see why the nursery sells garden kits! So many choices! The hardy, lovely Bergamot seems a natural choice (plus Ericka's favorite color is purple). The Cupplant looks interesting for its ability to attract birds and butterflies, but do I really want a plant capable of growing to 10 feet tall in my front yard!? The various varieties of Purple Coneflower look like they'd be good choices as would the Wester Sunflower. And then there's the very pretty Harebell and Mountain Blue-Eyed Grass with their blue flowers.

I've tracked down a place called Landscape Alternatives that's a short drive from my house. Their web site isn't as spiffy as Prairie Nursery's but they seem to be a source for plants hardy in the local area. I'm thinking I'll go check them out on Saturday if I wake up early enough. They might have some ideas on what works well together and perhaps somethings that are better to start with while others might be added later.
  • Current Music
    Fool Am I--Adam Stemple--3 Solid Blows to the Head