Saturday, March 31, 2012

Purple crocuses

From my front garden. This is slowly but surely becoming a botanical blog.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's spring!

First crocus of the spring
Something got into me last fall and I bought around 200 spring bulbs. This was unusual for me because I have a love/hate relationship with landscaping. I want things to look nice but I dislike the entire concept of a lawn. I see a flat, perfectly cut grassy monoculture to be gigantic waste of time, money and energy and my lawn shows it. It's patchy, generally scruffy looking, and full of weeds and moss but it's also full of life. Insects and spiders of all sorts and a large number of monarch butterflies, since I mow around all the milkweed that pops up.

But back to 200 bulbs. Historically, I have not been a very outdoorsy person, especially not the dirt-under-fingernails variety. For most of my life, "outside" was the giant room with the bright light and the blue ceiling. It started looking more and more like a bad decision with all the work required to dig out sections of lawn or restoring neglected flower beds. It was certainly more work than repotting some plants and remembering to water them. It look a few weekends and some more weeknights, but I did it. I got them all in the ground before the first frost and some areas even look halfway decent. Now everything is coming up - crocuses, tulips, daffodils, giant alliums, leucojums, and hyacinths. I'm practically giddy checking what's popped up overnight or during the day. I have spring fever!

A good book on the history and ridiculousness of the lawn is The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession. It influenced my attitude towards the lawn and got me a bunch of dirty looks from certain suburban types on the commuter rail.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Aloe fhtagn

The aloe plant that I rescued from death by neglect in my son's room has taken a turn towards the Cthulhu.

I swear I just repotted it and watered it regularly, and didn't invoke an Elder God.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Netflix to the rescue!

My household is probably a bit atypical in that we have only one television set connected to a cable or satellite source. At least, atypical compared to how I grew up and compared to other households were there's TVs in living room, family room, kitchen, garage, each bedroom, etc. We also are living like primitives without a DVR because we've never upgraded our satellite system (Directv) in the 11 years since we got it. Why would we? We've had the same TV the entire time. Yes, yes, primitive, I know, but it works.

Directv also works well for us because we have a very clear view of the southern sky (usually getting a 98 or higher on the signal meter), except on snow days like today. My kids spent the morning outside in the snow as kids should on a snow day and came in to warm up at lunch. Disaster! Half the channels they like to watch were out. Then I had a brilliant idea - Netflix on the Wii. Quick download and setup and bam, they are watching How It's Made from the Science Channel without all the skeevy commercials for Oddities that freak my kids out. And I look like some big damn hero.

Why isn't this how we watch everything, on every channel? It's 2012 for crying out loud, why is there still a notion of a broadcast schedule? Like I said, we don't have a DVR so I don't know how it is for people who have them, but I would gladly pay the same amount I'm paying for satellite & Netflix to be able to watch whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and not get gouged in the process or be limited to only older seasons, the latest 3 episodes or whatever "windowing" nonsense the media companies design to maximize shareholder value. It's sad how much we are letting ourselves be held back by the old cultural gatekeepers so they can continue to keep their heads buried in the sand and refuse to adapt their business models to new realities.