Semiconductor Love Affair

love.jpgMan, I love computers!

Today I manipulated some photos one of my clients sent me, massaging them in Photoshop to make a background for a business card. I created the business card, with all the lettering.

I printed out a color flyer I’d created in InDesign. I wrote a marketing letter to prospective clients in MS Word. I typed out a mailing list in Excel with 40 addresses I got out of my local Chamber directory, then used Word’s mail merge feature to merge the addresses and salutations with the letter. After that, I used the Avery Wizard on the same list, to create mailing labels, which I printed out on several sheets of Avery labels I had on hand.

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The Adventures of Captain Goosebag & Peabody ….

peabody4.jpgIt was a funny idea, that the ‘engine’ of your body might quit. That you had a fuel tank of sharply limited size, and if you got between distant gas stations and ran out, you were just … gone. That from the day of your birth, you have to frantically keep fueling yourself, and you dare not take chances about it.

Nobody ever told me about that. And I hadn’t learned it for myself because I’d never been capital-H hungry or capital-T tired.

I knew stalled bodies could occasionally be jump-started, but I also knew that the appropriate tow truck and mechanics – ambulance and doctors – were well out of our reach. Once our engines quit and cooled, we were headed for the junkyard.

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The Adventures of Captain Goosebag & Peabody …

peabody3.jpgIn five minutes we were smothered in swirling, blinding snow. I could see about four feet in front of me. I could make out my partner’s tracks in the snow ahead, but absolutely nothing else.

Kurt was the stronger of the two of us, and he strode perpetually ahead, vanished in the gray wall ahead of me. Every ten minutes or so, his attenuated voice would drift back from the cold silent distance: “Peabody!” and I would yell back “Captain!”

For hours at a time, I was totally isolated – only our occasional voices shouted into the night , and our frequent breaks to stoke up our body’s fires, kept us in touch.

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The Adventures of Captain Goosebag & Peabody ..

peabody2.jpgOn the second full moon of the new year of 1975, there was another fateful knock on my door. Captain Goosebag was looking for a partner for an overnight cross-country ski trip.

I should tell you right away that I was probably not his first choice as companion on such an adventure.

You can readily imagine that anyone called Captain Goosebag, lauded far and wide as such a daring mocker of authority, would normally have nothing to do with Peabody, who had only the doubtful fame of cracking eggs for The Man. I was a lot steadier on a horse than I was on downhill skis, and I had nothing in the way of cross-country equipment.

But the balance was tipped by my one good trait: I was the sole person on the floor with the next two days off.

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The Adventures of Captain Goosebag & Peabody .

peabody1.jpgIn a previous post, where I listed adventures I’ve had, and adventures I plan to have, I mentioned briefly “Go cross-country skiing under the full moon (I almost died)” as one of my past adventures.

Rev. BigDumbChimp said “I’d like an explanation here.”

So here it is:

Living in Houston in 1974, I had a secure job and the seeds of a career track: work a year, go to college for a year. Major in animal science or biology, get a degree in genetics, go to Vet school, become a horse doctor.

So when my old pal Mark showed up at my door one fall day, I should have been out, or failed to answer the door, or said no. But none of those things happened.

I opened the door. And Mark said “Hi! I’m going to hitchhike out to California and get a job at a ski resort! Wanna go?”

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New Name, Same Blog

earthman.jpgYou’ll notice the name at the top of this page is now “Earthman’s Notebook,” instead of (I know it’s a bit hard to read. I’m trying to figure out how to add a drop shadow or something, to make it more readable.)

I’ve been thinking about the name for a while now, first in relation to a book I’m writing (at the pace of a handicapped snail), and second in relation to the blog. I put it here to establish whatever copyright it gives.

Growing up, I passed through a number of tribal identifications: member of my specific family, Baptist, Texan, Houstonian, Astros fan, male, bookish nerd, cowboy, Deep Souther, American — all of which I held to with one measure of pride or another.

But … you grow beyond things. There came a point where I didn’t really even think of myself specifically as human. I mean, I’m undeniably Homo sapiens, but I felt more like a … dang, I’m not even sure there’s a good word for it.

Years back, I wrote a piece about kinship, the shared heritage we humans have with animals, and the writing of it changed me.

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Xen-Living: 50 Things To Do Before I Die

grizzly.jpgI stumbled across the title phrase of this post today, and Googled it. I found several lists and scrolled through them.

One of them was all “Go watch the Masters golf tournament,” and “Sit ringside at Madison Square Gardens for a boxing match,” and “See the Tour de France in person,” and it just seemed like most of it was a lot of shit you’d do to impress other people, instead of having an adventure exclusively for your own self.

I mean … golf?? City stuff? Crowds? Sheeeeit. I pass.

I’ve been making lists like this most of my life, and MY list has almost nothing in common with this dopey faux-cool list.

Speaking of trying to impress other people, it may sound like it for a moment here, but I hope that’s not what I’m doing. I am proud of some of the things I’ve done, and I like relating them. But I’ve also found that, most of the time, other people don’t really care too much about such stories. Maybe it’s because I’m not very good at telling them; maybe it’s because I look like a short little nobody and it’s hard for people to believe I’ve done some of this stuff.

Anyway, here comes the brag, if that’s what it is. At the age of 55, I’ve done this:

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Scar Story

scar.jpgI’m new at this meme thing, but I’m gonna try it anyway.

The way the thing works, you ask a question or issue a challenge to a small number of blogging friends, not only to respond but to tag other bloggers with the question/challenge, to get them, in turn, to respond and tag still others. 

Any non-blogger who reads here, if you also want to answer, I’m interested in that too.

So here it is:

Tell the story of a (non-surgical) scar you have somewhere on your body. Answer and tag three other bloggers.

My own answer:

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Xen Living: The 30,000

30000.jpgLet’s say someone gave you $30,000, in cash, and the deal was, you had to live on it as long as you could. You couldn’t do any other income-producing work in that time, you just had to live on the 30 grand.

You’d have to pay all your bills on it, provide for all your daily needs. You’d have no additional money coming in, and all your entertainment needs, your health needs, your travel and leisure needs, all would have to come out of that one chunk of money.

How long could you live on it?

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Armchair analyst

jerk.jpgThinking about a commenter on another blog I read, a fellow so aggressively obtuse he could piss off Mother Teresa. Rather than post this there, where he can whine that I’m being unfair to poor, poor him, I’m putting it here:

I think all of us know intuitively that every conversation (or relationship) contains an unstated agreement something like “Allow me some of your time and attention, and I’ll deal with you fairly.”

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