Sometimes the Strong Don’t Eat

Or maybe we’re weak.

This year’s squirrel hunting wasn’t so successful, so I have no epic tales of glorious battle to recount.

I’m guessing Calvatia gigantea

But we did spot an epic mushroom.  And I just so happened to remember seeing one of these before on a hunting trip.

Looks like it’s later in its lifecycle

That was 6 years ago.  Apparently it made an impression on me.  Mushrooms are cool.  and creepy.


Social Studies

When I look back on my early education years, I reflect on certain words and phrases.  These combinations have entered public lexicon, and no one seems to question them later.  “Whole Language” was one of them.  Apparently I learned to write during this trend, and was taught how to represent concepts rather than accurate spelling and syntax.  Spelling developed later through simple writing practice, though in the days preceding spellcheck, I didn’t get the immediate feedback, so I was slow to adapt.

But the big one to me, being the historian, is the term “Social Studies”.  Taken at face value without the personal experiences within the American educational system, the term sounds like preparatory education for public sector work.  But what is it really?

Naturally, I consulted Wikipedia:

“…created to consolidate and standardize various subjects which did not fit within normal school curricula”

The wording of that statement seems almost presumptuous, but I didn’t feel like reading the 63-page government document that outlined the program, so I’ll take the summary at face value.  Assuming it’s accurate, 19th-century education apparently didn’t incorporate the broad spectrum of social studies: history, geography, and political science.  And rather than cover each discipline, they were all thrown into a big pot and given a common name.

The problem, in my opinion, was that as schools organized subjects based on time blocks, all of these disciplines were allotted only a shared time–50 minutes, in my own experience.  So for 50 minutes a day, I was expected to learn humanities and social sciences.

And this is where I’ll note that physical education was a double-blocked class.

And physical education is a misnomer–the class was football education.  So for 2 hours a day in my youth I learned how to play football, and was given half the time to study all of the humanities and social sciences.

And social studies is also a misnomer, because the curriculum of this class was entirely comprised of Texas history.  So for the majority of my adolescence, I learned football and Texas history.

I don’t suppose that my Texan upbringing was a common experience outside of that educational system, but why do we continue to group things like this?  Is there some reason the various social sciences can’t be addressed individually?  Then again, science classes were all grouped together too.  I guess when we’re young, we’re just thrown information in the hopes that it will build foundations as prerequisites for more delineated disciplines later?

Just one of many questions I posit for my successors.


One Door Leads to Certain Doom

Well, maybe not doom, but the usual mix of anger and irritation.

Liz wanted a storm door on the front, as she had long complained about the lack of airflow north to south through the house, which is mostly because there’s no south-facing window (aside from the bedrooms).  So, in theory, the front door could be left open to aid this pneumatic conundrum were a screen to be installed there.

I liked the look of our front door, as it sported a rather medieval type of aged bronze handle upon dark maroon paint, so I was reluctant to hide that behind my outdated vision of a screen door: the Lubbock house’s back door–an exposed aluminum frame with a screen that was always torn and popping out.

But there have been some design updates in the last 20 years, and the modern iterations are coated aluminum with hybrid glass/screens.  They also mount into frames with enough clearance so as to avoid doorknob complications, and they can accommodate the ever so important seasonal wreath which hangs from the main door.

That’ll keep the storms out!

Nevertheless, it wasn’t as straightforward as IKEA furniture.  In fact, depending on its desired orientation, the screw holes had to be manually drilled out first.  This process required some spacial orientation, and therefore concentration, to do correctly.  But at this critical moment, Poppy attacked the mailman, and after I corralled the whippet any such concentration was shot, and of course I drilled out the wrong side.  Sigh.  At least the holes are small.

I also had to drill out rather large holes to attach the doorknob and deadbolt, during which the battery in my drill went dead, so the project experienced a rather unfortunate delay.

And there was no gentle way to drill out 3/4 inch holes in plate aluminum

But alas!  We now have a storm/screen door.  I admit that it does look nice, and it’s convenient to use it throughout the day instead of the large wood door–mostly because the kid either slams it, or won’t close it at all.

As to whether or not it helps with ventilation–I don’t know yet, because since I installed it it’s been about 90 out and humid.  Ohio weather (kind of makes me wonder again why we bothered with this).

I’ll just be content in that it looks nice.

Nose prints within minutes


Generational Technology

I was talking to my father, as I tend to do, and as what usually happens when I engage in such discourse, especially whilst imbibing, I acquired certain information from a specific point of view and found it interesting.  And so, a blog post is born.

We were discussing technology and the inevitable variances by which the differing generations adapt to it.  It’s cliché, certainly, to envision some old geezer hammering away at a keyboard and yelling at a computer monitor.  For many years, in fact, I provided customer service to such people who couldn’t figure out the difference between a browser’s search menu and address bar–possibly why so many modern browsers have now dealt away with the differentiation altogether.

Of course, I knew the stereotype to be a half truth, and I considered my own father a model example to the contrary.  Dad, a professor, had a history of spending his research grant money on computer equipment, and in fact I, as a child, had been quite enamored by his laboratory on campus.  I willingly accompanied him into work during those summer days of my youth for the sole reason of gaining access to the banks of computers which lined the old slate countertops of those musty rooms.  And, by observation and from rudimentary instruction, taught myself how to type properly on a modern QWERTY keyboard–years before keyboarding was introduced into gradeschool curriculum.

Many years prior, Dad had typed up his doctoral dissertation on an electric typewriter.  And now, while I still can’t hope to capture even his most basic interest in networking technology and infosec, still see the man using modern hardware beyond a simple intuitive ease, but with something approaching mild obsession.  In short–he’s entirely comfortable with modern technology.  And this is a man who has no connective tissue in his leg to speak of (he’s old).

And during this particular discussion, he was musing over his students’ inability to use basic computing equipment.  A particular anecdote involved his class sending him email invites to subscribe to Office 365 (a rant for another time), so that he might log in and view their term papers digitally.  Basically, his students sent him friend requests to a digital subscription service to view their shared documents…rather than use a printer.

Of course, I have written about the evil contrivances we call “printers”, but that’s besides the point.

But anyway, Dad told me this story because he had been approached for his thoughts on how his aging generation anticipates adapting to our world of rapidly-changing technology, to which he responded that the youngest generation doesn’t know anything about using current technology, and so such concerns were misguided.

As a point of comparison, I thought about young drivers and realized that the youngest generation doesn’t know how to operate motor vehicles properly.  But then again, neither do most people…and most people don’t really know how to effectively use modern operating systems, or we wouldn’t have Windows 10.

Sooo, I guess my point is that expectations are higher than reality and generational gaps have nothing to do with an individual’s ability to learn and adapt…to a point.  I mean, old people still need to stop driving, but I also don’t think most people are competent enough to handle the responsibilities of the Internet either.  Hmm–a conundrum.


Look at it!

Do you want to see another garden photo?  Of course you do.  And if you don’t, I don’t care, because I want to post another garden photo so I can look back on it with satisfaction.

I was told that including the watermelon in the photo was cheating, since I didn’t grow it

Besides, would you rather I write more Science Fiction?  Or poetry?

Didn’t think so.

Tomatoes lie dead.
The wildlife is hungry.
I am seeing red.