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Brand New Car!

I just bought a 2015 Subaru Forester! It replaces my ten-year-old Dodge Stratus, which was in need of a ton of repair work to fix just what I knew was broken, let alone what else could be wrong with a car that has 180,000 miles. It's much bigger, and I love the window space which makes the interior seem so airy as well as gives me a better idea of what's around me on the road. It'll be great for camping trips and comfortable for road trips. Though it's much bigger than the Stratus, it is supposed to have significantly better fuel economy and is a partial zero emission vehicle. I'm usually stoic about cars, but I have to admit I'm a little in love with this one.

It has so much new technology, and a giant owners manual. I will have to hire a tutor to learn all the features, I fear. But it drives very, very nicely.
more photos!Collapse )


The New Iconoclasm?

The New York Times had an article that cogently said something I've had vague ideas about for a long time: Taking a Tire Iron to Techie Triumphalism. We keep getting told, mostly by computer and tech industry leaders, but also by politicians who believe them, that technology will solve everything and we're in a new world now. This article is a review of a book with a differing view, Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology, written by Kentaro Toyama, who was in the thick of tech companies for long enough to see that it ain't necessarily so.

Mr. Toyama used to share that worldview: “I am a recovering technoholic,” he writes. Then he moved to India, to lead the Microsoft lab, and observed a phenomenon that he would come to believe was universal: “Technology’s primary effect is to amplify human forces.” When computers entered rural schools, for instance, guess who held the mouse? Upper-caste boys. Technology wasn’t an intrinsic leveler or a bulldozer to archaic structures: It just gave people new, improved tools to be lovely or horrible to each other in all the old ways.
Several people I know, and probably many more, have said that the thing about the rise of "technology" is that it doesn't change the fact that there are Haves and Have-nots, it just rearranges who gets to be a Have. But it may also be true that the people who are Haves in the traditional ways can glom onto technology more quickly than others to continue their power and wealth. THAT isn't what we were sold when this personal computer/tech thing got started some twenty-five years ago.

This is a book I may have to make time to read.

Tech news (sort of)

Welcome to the 21st century — I now have a smartphone! I figure it'll take me weeks to learn how to use it. So if I don't answer when you call or text, I'm not ignoring you; I'm just fumbling. I had to promise Dave I wouldn't stare at it through dinners with him.

I got the smartphone because my laptop shopping struck out. I was at the store with the big yellow tag for a logo, and I realized that the laptops I was looking at had no CD or DVD drives. I confirmed with a sales associate that manufacturers were indeed leaving out these drives because, of course, everyone downloads everything now. I find this actually horrible, except that external CD/DVD drives are really cheap now. I should get one before they disappear, whether I get a new laptop or not.

Meanwhile, the old laptop no longer boots; I get that weird frizzy screen hang error before the Windows logo displays sometimes. I've been trying to figure out whether to fix it or buy a new one, but repairs could be costly and it also needs a new battery — meanwhile new laptops are pretty inexpensive. But they have no CD drives. Also, Windows 10 is coming out at the end of July. It's just hard to know what to do.

Don't even ask me about a new car. I'm in denial.

There's medical stuff I could mention, nothing of a terribly critical nature, but I think I'll save that for later if at all. Don't worry, I'm not gonna diiiiie.

My Norse ancestors?

Someone on Facebook had a link to this article about how many Algonquian words are awful similar to Old Norse words:

I love that URL, don't you? The site is actually a conservative site called Free Republic. I don't know (yet) what the connection between a bunch of Tea Party people is to this research. Anyway, from there it goes to the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society, located, oddly enough, in the U.P. (Its PO box is in a little town southeast of Marquette.) They seem interested in selling stuff and in promoting a big piece of "float copper".

The guy who wrote the book on this Lenape-Norse connection has a website at .

I have yet to find any "official" discussion of the hypothesis, but I haven't really tried yet. It's worth noting that the AAAPF, in the deepest part of their links, has a link to Erich von Daniken. So for all I know, this will come up some evening on Coast to Coast A.M. but maybe there's something to it. We do know there were Vikings who traveled at least as far as Greenland, and that's not terribly far from Labrador, especially if there's a lot of ice — and these travels took place during the Little Ice Age.

I don't know about the Lenape tongue, but Anishinaabemowin doesn't have eths and thorns. But what do I know, Mom and I have marveled at blonde Indians at powwows.

This week's update

I wanted to write this earlier, but my laptop is beyond broken. Saturday night, it worked perfectly well for over two hours. Sunday night, it was almost, if not completely, the opposite, and now I can't get it to boot up at all. This is terribly frustrating. I don't know if I should get a new one or take this one somewhere for expert repair. It's only four years old, which I know is ancient, but don't get me started on the world of planned obsolescence.

In considerably better news, Dave is coming up (even as I type) so we can go see the Detroit Symphony again. This time they're playing Mahler's first symphony. Originally they were going to have the famed former child prodigy Midori playing a violin concerto, but she had to cancel and so someone else is going to play a different violin concerto, Sibelius's, which we've seen twice before. Nice, but how often does one get a chance to see someone like Midori? Apparently less often than you'd think. But it will still be good. It'll likely be the last DSO concert of the season for us.

Not much else to report, so I'll share this story of a guy and his werewolf boyfriend. Just like everyday life, eh? Don't worry, it's fairly gentle for a werewolf story (unless you're a cat).

DIRTY PAWS from Karina Farek on Vimeo.

It's lilac time in Michigan

Lilac selfie 2015
My lilac has good years and bad years. This is a pretty good year, with lots of blooms. These two photos are from three days ago, just before I drove up to my sister's house for a Mother's Day cookout.

The title of this post is the title of a humorous song by my friend Jim Perkins. The first line is "I used to kiss her on the lips, but it's all over now." I just checked, and couldn't find the song on Soundcloud, but he has quite a few others here and here and even here too.

A close-up lilacCollapse )

May 10, 2015

My previous post started with an apology. And then I took another four weeks to write again. Obviously my apologies are not to be trusted.

The highlight of the last few weeks was seeing the Detroit Symphony perform Bruckner's 4th symphony. with Dave as usual. Dave will be here in a short while as we go back to Orchestra Hall to see Mahler's 1st symphony and a concerto performed by the famed violinist Midori not the famed violinist Midori who, unfortunately, cancelled due to illness.

In the meantime, I've managed to sleep an awful lot. This is what some depressed people do, see. Sigh. As it turns out, I have a sleep study scheduled for this week, so I have to somehow avoid three-hour naps this week, or else my sleep study will be a mess. It would be nice if I could feel better overall so I can avoid the naps. We'll see. I'm going to try getting more physical activity in. I've been away from the gym for a few weeks, which is quite the waste of a gym membership fee. Even if I just use the treadmills and exercise cycles there, it's a start.

I'm beginning the process of shopping for a new car. Pray for me. I haven't done this in ten years. My Stratus has developed quite a few issues that haven't prevented anything yet, but will at some point. So it's probably time. I'm looking at outdoorsy kinds of cars from Jeep or Subaru (the latter being kishenehn's fault, but only partly). Well, I will be looking, when I actually get to a car lot and put myself at a salesman's mercy. *shudder*

My lilac has bloomed and it's having a good year. I took a photo, but I haven't processed it yet.

Oh, yeah, the worst bit: I am still fighting with my Win7 laptop. I went so far as reinstalling the OS, then re-updating it, and finally when it seemed stable I downloaded the latest ESET NOD32 antivirus (which has worked very well for me for four years). And then ... the very next day it did its hang routine with the frizzy geometric pattern onscreen again. GAH. I don't know whether to kill myself or go bowling, at this point. It's probably going to a repair shop at some point. I can't imagine anything else I can do.

How's this for an omnibus update? Too many subjects for one blog post, I know. Anyway... here's hoping I come back sometime sooner than four weeks. Hope all y'all are well. You still look great.

Apr. 12th, 2015

Sorry it's been so long. You haven't missed much, though.

The show on April 3rd went surprisingly well. I don't know how much to say; I actually was not really mentally ready to perform a show, except when the time came I performed it and did well and got lots of compliments. So apparently, I don't really know. I played first, got to sit down and enjoy the Lost Cuzzins play the other half of the show, and had a nice slice of apple pie.

The only unpleasant surprise was leaving the venue to find it was sleeting. It could've been worse though.

The laptop is about the same as it was. At the moment it's fine. About once a week, it is prone to frequent freezes, and then it throws itself into repair mode, and then it's fine for a while. I'm now weeks behind in Windows Updates as a result, unfortunately, but I'm afraid to get it caught up until I can effect an effective long-term fix. I should do that soon, though, because my antivirus program wants to be renewed in the next twelve days.

It might actually be spring here, finally. At least the daffodils and tulips that are just blooming today hope so. All my neighbors were out yesterday doing that yardwork frenzy that suburbanites do. They're making my lawn look bad.

It's Poetry Month in North America. I wanted to do something associated with it, but it's not coming together, unfortunately. I will note that my friend vaneramos is writing a poem a day this month, and he is quite good at it, so if you like good poetry go visit his LJ.

Charlie Monterey show this Friday!

Details from Maggie Ferguson on Facebook:

Live! From the Living Room Acoustic Showcase

Unity of Lake Orion
3070 S. Baldwin Rd
Orion Township, MI

Admission: $10.00/person Doors open at 7:30 Show at 8:00 pm

Friday, April 3rd
Charlie Monterey - songwriter and song interpreter, Charlie plays his own music and covers a myriad of others as well as songs of the American West, tales of Michigan, and the Great Lakes. Charlie's lustrous guitar and his clear tenor voice perfectly frame his warm, friendly songs.

The Lost Cuzzins - are Ron McPhail, Dean Barnett, Jim Williams, and Kent
Krueger. Their family ties are mysterious, including bloodlines from Ireland,
Japan, Wales, Germany, and some nefarious Cajun influences. Their music is a mixed bag of folk, country, light rock and blues, and includes many of their own creations. All of the Cuzzins sing, and intricate harmonies are one of their specialties. Each musician is a multi-instrumentalist, which makes for lively, interesting performances, which include acoustic guitar, bass, mandolin, dobro, keyboard, harmonica, cello, banjo and pennywhistles.

Our new home features a beautiful auditorium, comfortable seating, fine sound system, and free, convenient parking. Refreshments available

Directions: Take I-75 N to Baldwin Rd North exit 84A. Go north on Baldwin Rd approx 1.9 miles. To the west you will see the Dollar General. Unity of Lake Orion shares a short driveway with the Dollar General. Turn west into the drive then jog left into the church parking lot. The church is set back from the road and might be hard to see at first. Coming from the south, if you get to Waldon Rd, you've gone too far.

Here's a map link:,-83.308775,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xf5464dcba11d8f5b?sa=X&ei=Qr4iVNbXGYqMyATbvIAo&ved=0CGQQ_BIwCw


Apr. 1st, 2015

It's a good thing I don't get paid by the number of LJ posts I make.

Update on my laptop: The repair shop determined that the hardware is OK, so the problem must be with either the operating system or other software; perhaps it's a virus, or perhaps damaged system files. To repair that, they would have required me to buy an annual service plan. It's possible they would've applied the diagnostic fee that I already paid to that subscription. But I took the machine back. I can fix software, even up to reinstalling Windows, if I have to.

That was a week ago. I did some work on the system, and it has worked better than before, though it still freezes up occasionally and I have to reboot. It seems to help when I clear the Firefox cache well before it gets to its maximum size. I can't say that's the thing, though. I'll have to work on it some more.

Other news: I went to visit Dave in Indiana. I was driving there on the day the governor signed the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act. We spent a lot of time shaking our heads at news broadcasts. We went up to the Nashville House for chicken dinners, apple butter and biscuits, and giant home-made cookies to go. It was a very pretty day and the trip was only somewhat marred by horrible road construction just outside of Clarksville. (Grrr.)

Road construction is hugely prevalent now. At the Michigan-Ohio state border, one is confronted by a sign reading "Road Work Next 50 Miles" and they are not kidding. Of course, that's better than in Michigan, where everyone pleads poverty and the roads are crumbling to dust, but that's another rant.

Other than that, life has been pretty average lately. I have another thing to mention, but I'll give that its own post.

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