night heron

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:27 pm
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Saturday I walked in Bethany Lakes Park. I walked over to little Story Park, where butterflies explored the profusion of flowers in bloom. I stopped by Best Buy and brought my brother a gadget for his birthday We dined with my brother, my sister-in-law, my wife and our nephew and our nephew's girlfriend at Bonefish Grill. Sunday I walked on Chisholm Trail. I gained 1.8 pounds at Weight Watchers. Maxie Moore gave the sermon at church.  My wife and I liked her direct way of speaking. Sunday afternoon I finished a piece I created for a Cerebral Rift netlabel compilation project. Later that afternoon, I rode my bicycle on the Watters Creek Trail. I ran into Jeremy, a fellow birder. He introduced me to his two primary-age sons. I saw a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron. In the evening, I listened to classicial music written for a virtual orchestra and watched a Star Trek: Discovery episode intended to lure me to pay a monthly subscription fee to CBS. The news is full of our president making far too much of rather tame exercises of First Amendment rights.

breakfast Saturday: cereal and skim milk
lunch Saturday: fried fish, green beans and roll
dinner Saturday: broccoli, sirloin, shrimp and sweet potato
breakfast Saturday: multi-grain cheerios and skim milk
lunch Sunday: grilled chicken, green beans and a biscuit
dinner Sunday: pork chops with broccoli slaw


new york style

Sep. 22nd, 2017 10:53 pm
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Today I went to Eddie's Napoli for lunch. I had a garden salad (dry) and two slices of cheese pizza. I sat at the counter. A television program in Spanish told stories of the Mexican earthquake. My pizza tasted great. This evening I walked in Bob Woodruff Park. I liked the Bluebird in the tree.

I am following the New Zealand election. My wife just got word in the past few weeks that her last surviving uncle died in New Zealand a few weeks ago. His daughter had moved him from Pennsylvania to New Zealand to have him nearby. I never met my wife's Uncle Wally, but I liked to hear about him. I hope Jacinda Ardern wins the election.

We watched a program raising funds for Texas hurricane victims.  Matthew McConnaughey was one of the speakers. I wanted him to say "alright, alright, alright" to make things more all right. They had Bonnie Raitt sing a song, but not play her guitar. I thought that odd.

Edie Brickell and Paul Simon sang an Ernest Tubb song. I remember seeing Edie perform with a very early incarnation of the New Bohemians in 1984 or 1985. She had stage presence even before she had quite figured it all out. She has stage presence still.

The President of the United States and the Supreme Leader of North Korea trade trash-talking tweets and quips about nuclear warfare. A school official at Baylor University reportedly decided to criticize the victims of sexual assault. I want to get outdoors tomorrow.

Kix and skim milk
2 slices pizza, a roll, garden salad
broccoli beef, mushroom chicken, mixed vegetables

over Uber

Sep. 22nd, 2017 07:50 am
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Last night we had 4 volunteers and dozens of clients at the Garland free legal clinic. We still finished by 9.15 p.m. The weather remains a bit hot. I find myself with plenty to do. Today I will wish my younger brother a happy birthday. We are 13 months apart. He's a good guy.

I saw Uber just got banned in London for its various unsavory practices. Though the idea of Uber appeals to me a little, I've never used it and been fairly resistant to its Kool-Aid. Our Texas legislature passed a law to circumvent an Austin city ordinance requiring background checks for its drivers, after Uber's multi-million dollar campaign to overturn  it ended. Our legislature is not immune to lobbyists. To give Uber fair play, Uber did help out during the recent storms, and apparently donated some space for a homeless shelter in Austin.On the other hand, Uber used software to elude would-be critics seeking a ride (with a "grayball" approach). Not my cup of tea.

Thursday breakfast: kix cereal and skim milk
Thursday lunch: roast beef sandwich on wheat and lays bbq baked chips
Thursday dinner: fried chicken breast and 2 legs, green beans and part of a biscuit


noticing things

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:17 pm
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I got up very early this morning. I caught a train to downtown Dallas. I finished my business in mid-morning. I took the train back north. At my office, I got some things done. In the afternoon, I rode with a colleague back to downtown Dallas. When our business finished in the late afternoon, I rode the train back to Garland. I finished some work, then headed home. When I got home,  I found that my wife accidentally locked Beatrice outside in our fenced  yard. This was non-ideal, but Beatrice seemed happy as a clam. 

My wife and I walked in Glendover Park. We ate soft tacos.

This week I notice lots of things. Natural disasters in Mexico, Florida, south Texas, numerous Carribean islands and Sri Lanka. A friend from when I was a small child who is now a professor at SMU got a national honor as a teacher. A musician in Germany wrote a weblog post about, after her parents lived in East Germany, being the first generation in her family able to speak freely on political matters. On the train, the transit rail police tried to catch a minor transgressor. I got shaving cream at Sprouts, and feel relieved that it is not derived from organic rye oatmeal bits.

Our niece learned this week that she is flying down to see us in October. She thinks that's grand.

Breakfast: Kix Cereal and skim milk
Lunch: none
Dinner: soft chicken tacos

should be free

Sep. 19th, 2017 08:44 pm
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Today I walked in the shopping center in which my office building sits. I heard a story on the radio about a couple in Arkansas who needed relaxed underwriting standards to buy a house in light of $ 100,000 in student debt. The primary cause of this debt was not a decade in a Ph.D. program, but a simple library science master's. This bolstered my feeling that post-secondary public education should be free or reduced-cost.

Tomorrow I must rise early and go to downtown Dallas. I am usually pretty good at early rising. Our weather is a bit warm for the season.

breakfast: kix cereal
lunch: t-k-y sandwich, vegetable soup and baked chips
dinner pork chops, sweet potato and cabbage slaw

Lazarus and eggs

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:33 am
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Sunday morning I walked on the Chisholm Trail in Plano. I went to Weight Watchers at 9.30, where I was up 2/10ths of a pound. I drove home. My wife and I went to the 11 a.m. The Way service at First United Methodist Church of Allen. The Way is being re-launched as a service for seminary students to practice preaching. The first Sunday their professor, Alyce McKenzie of the Perkins School of Theology, gave the sermon. Her topic was the story of Lazarus, and the idea that eternal life starts today. She is a gifted speaker. After the service, I worked on my voluntary duty--I put away the chairs.

We ate lunch at Two Rows in Allen. We had not been in years, but perhaps we should have been going all along. We had a very good breakfast buffet. I ate scrambled eggs and fruit and managed to control my biscuit intake to one biscuit.

In the afternoon, I watched sports on television, but managed to get in a walk in Green Park during an intermission caused by storms in Denver. In the evening I watched The Orville, which has the potential to be a good television science fiction comedic show. I woked up at 1 a.m., watched a little of the movie Serenity, but cut it off before the massive wave of violence near the end of the movie.

This morning I slept until nearly 7 a.m., I put out birdseed.

Sunday breakfast: Kix cereal and skim milk
Sunday lunch: scrambled eggs, a biscuit, potatoes, pineapple, cantaloupe
Sunday dinner: skirt steak, salad
Monday breakfast: Kix cereal and skim milk

Finding Lemon

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:42 pm
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First thing this morning I took Beatrice for a walk in the park. All the other dogs in the park, like Beatrice, sported darker fur. It was a bit like the story "the Red-Headed League" except nobody was paying the dogs for their dark fur and no robbery was being planned. Even the crows had dark feathers.

At 9 I headed out for a bicycle ride. I rode on the Watters Branch Trail to the Urban Center Loop Trail.  Then I rode to the Cottonwood Creek Trail to Allen Station Park. I pedaled by a house with a Black Vulture perched on it, staring at the trail. I do not know if the vulture had a presentiment about a hiker or biker having issues.

At Noon my wife and I headed to Elke's, the good lunch place in town. Then we went to the Allen Antiques Mall, which recently relocated to the east side of Greenville Avenue at McDermott.  We did not buy anything. We also went to Dirt Cheap, a new chain store across the street. This place picks up liquidation sale stuff and sells it deeply discounted AS IS. Sign warned us to inspect things carefully because ALL SALES ARE FINAL. I liked this odd store, and resolved to stop in and dig in its various scattered wares some day when I have more patience.

In the afternoon I rested and watched television.  We went for dinner at Firewater Grill. As we turned into the alleyway in our neighborhood, a happy young hound ran up, off its leash.  We stopped, and my wife scooped up the sweet young dog. Then she called the service listed on its ID tag. Soon she was taking the dog to its owner, down the street.  I stayed home with young Beatrice.  It turned out this charming little hound, some kind of beagle, I believe, was named Lemon. I am pro-Lemon. Apparently, Lemon got out when careless HVAC workers left the back fence open. Lemon is safely at home now, with Lemon's caring owner.

I found an article which explained the relative percentiles of LSAT scores for years including 1980, when i took it. This helped me understand how my ancient LSAT score would scale in today's scoring system.  The point is irrelevant in my life. Yet when I read on twitter as kids say they need to score x, I wanted to understand the context a bit better as it connected to how things were in "my day". I found that my score is analogous to a score a goodish bit above average but short of great--which was as true then as it is now. At the time I understood that while I could not get into a top-tier law school, I could get into a law school with a bit more prestige than my local state law school. I chose the local state law school, though, and it turned out to be a great fit for me. 

One thing that changed a lot is the cost of the education.  In today's dollars, I paid roughly $ 3,300 a semester in tuition. Now the fees and tuition are closer to $ 15,000 per year at my alma mater. So the cost in 2017 dollars is a bit more than twice as expensive. Yet the law school I attended is one of the least expensive law schools in the country. I think that education should be more affordable for post-secondary education, including professional school.  I see the tuition increase as one more manifestation of the divide between people who grow up with economic advantages and those who do not.  If I were in the charge of the world, this would change.



breakfast: kix cereal and skim milk
lunch: turkey sandwich on ciabatta and a cup of pork tamale soup
dinner: 6 oz. sirloin, vegetables and salad



I see hawk people

Sep. 15th, 2017 09:57 pm
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The ending of the movie "The Sixth Sense" is playing on television. The weather is warmer again. Tonight I picked up bird seed and small milk bones. I saw five Red-Tailed Hawks in Oak Point Park this evening. I want to get a good night's sleep so I can get an early start tomorrow.

breakfast Kix cereal and skim milk
lunch: panda express string bean chicken, broccoli beef, mixed vegetables and a fortune cookie.
dinner: chicken enchiladas verde, refried beans and salad

Angelo Ardern

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:20 pm
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I read this evening about San Angelo. I like that city, about five hours' drive from here. I have been there a few times on business. It's got a west Texas feel to it--stark and open.

I got an email from a former  law partner I need to answer.  Golden Chick had a new $ 5 special, but it did not make sense for me. I managed to run the bill up with an extra piece order anyway.

I walked tonight in Crowley Park in Richardson. I read about a friend from university days. She went to Harvard Law and became a solicitor in London as well as a U.S. lawyer and who practices international tax law at a large law firm. When she was young, she raised Welsh ponies.

I'm intrigued by the New Zealand politician Jacinda Ardern. The weather today returned to "hot Summer". I charged the battery on my camera tonight, after it died during my walk.

Breakfast: kix cereal and skim milk
Lunch: roast chicken breast and leg, green beans and roll
Dinner: chicken breast, sliced raw carrots



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Yesterday I got something in the mail I had meant to get into the mail for some months. I also received something in the mail payable to a client that I was pleased to receive in the mail. I got an email from a colleague who used to work for a client. I was very pleased to hear from that colleague.

After work, I walked in Oak Point Park. Huge Red-Tailed Hawks were on the tall metal high-tension wire pylons. As I sit here, I remember a scientists' organization asking to please have donors stop funding research into whether these huge electrical lines are bad for health--because they are not.

Lately I browse used cars at the Enterprise Car Sales site, but I do not want to buy a used car. It's just a kind of virtual window shopping. My car only has 113,000 miles on it. Barring the unforeseen, I should get a few more years from it.

I watched a little of a special on the spacecraft Cassini.  My wife went to a new gym by the fellow who for years has led an exercise class she attends twice weekly.  I hope that his gym works out well. It is in beta now. Apparently, gyms, like software, have beta releases. The fellow who leads her class is named Adam.  During the Summer, as he set up his new venture, all the folks in his class had to exercise in less formal settings. They still got together, a bit ,though, as if it were class.  I refer to this process as "attending fake Adam". My wife reports that she liked the new venture which is Real Adam, Mach II: Beta Version.

The new iPhone is reputed to be priced around 1000 dollars. I suppose it is understandable that smartphones, which matter more to kids of a certain age than houses or cars, would become luxury items. But it's odd to me that when technology creates a smartphones that do more for less money, Apple manages to increase the price.  This is one of many reasons I use Android.  I wish I had a good open source alternative. Of the current crop of contenders, I think Plasma Mobile looks the most interesting. But we'll see if the death of Ubuntu Touch halts effective development by KDE of its clone Plasma Mobile. I was rooting for FirefoxOS,but Mozilla stopped development prematurely.  I think that
if one of these could get a credible hardware with its software installed easily available, it would over time gain enough market share to work. there are lots of phones in this world--a tiny market share could still be money-making

I see the US has moved to end use of Kaspersky Labs, which is thought to have connections with Russian intelligence. Meanwhile, my twitter feed is rather full of nativist tweets using a hashtag #amnestydon.  These tweets seek to excoriate Mr. Trump because Mr. Trump has not committed enough wrong thinking on immigration issues yet. Apparently, wrong thinking, like gymnastics, requires lots of contorted positions on the uneven bars.  I am no fan of Mr. Trump, nor of those odd twitter users.

I hope to find historical archival material of my grandfather's work for the Civilian Conservation Corps.




Not literature but experience

Sep. 12th, 2017 10:25 pm
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 I woke up early, ate breakfast, fell back asleep and woke up late.  I still got to work in reasonably good order, even though some of my commute time involved watching traffic be held up while a plumber's truck cleared from a lane. Fortunately,  I stuck to the access road.

Today featured the kind of warm weather that makes me glad to live where I live. I had a nice chat with our firm's accountant, whose daughters are both university-age. She and I both grew up in small towns in the south. I think my town was smaller,  and is now just as small, while the town in which she grew up got much larger. I think sometimes about the way upbringing and aspirations tie together. This happens in both an ideal way and a less ideal way. I think both of us were raised to attend university but also to have a pragmatic, job-oriented approach to it. On the other hand, our accountant's approach was much more pragmatic than mine--she got an accounting/finance degree, while I got a bachelor of arts in physics with a "special emphasis area" in English literature. Had I been more pragmatic, I suppose I would have studied engineering. On the other hand, law school proved pragmatic enough.  Our accountant's daughters are experiencing a semester (or two) of study abroad. Their mother could not have been able to do that at their age. Perhaps the American Dream is less giving kids the things one never and more giving them interesting experiences. Though in this case, the experience costs something, I think it is not the cost but the quality of the experience that matters.

After work, I walked Beatrice. She loved it.  I like the way she gets so excited when she realizes I am getting ready to take her. I like the way she dawdles during the walk.

On the radio this morning, the public radio station in Commerce talked about the stadium for its local university, Texas A & M Commerce. This university named its 1950 stadium Memorial Stadium in honor of the 68 students and alumni who died in the service in World War Two. That is a huge figure for what was then a small university, and remains not a big university.  I read a history of the university from its founding in the 1880s as a "normal" (teacher training) college through 1920 when it became a full-fledged college-degree-granting university.

I have a special place in my heart for Texas A & M Commerce. In 1981, when it was still called East Texas State University, I stopped in at Commerce during a Texas trek in which I sought to figure out a few things about myself. .

I had my law school admission, but I was thinking about graduate school in English. I thought I'd become a technical writer.
They treated me there with great kindness, and offered me an assistant-ship which would have paid for my further schooling. I went to law school instead, but I have never forgotten the kindness of the English faculty that Summer when I needed a little kindness and confidence. In the event, I knew after one week of law school  that it was my vocation, so I never got that graduate degree in English.

I read the commencement program for the 1907 graduating class.  Among other speakers, Ms. Avis Earnheart gave a talk on "Evangeline and Rebecca".  My late maternal grandmother was a normal school graduate in Arkansas, who later went back to university to get a bachelor's degree after teaching certification moved beyond the old normal degree/certificate system.

On television tonight I saw the movie "Portrait of Jennie". I'm very fond of this movie. It was a flop at the box office, but I think Joseph Cotton and Jennifer Jones get it just right in this small supernatural film.

breakfast: cereal and skim milk
lunch: roast beef sandwich and baked chips
dinner: fried chicken breasts, green beans and a roll






Good weather day on a bad weather day

Sep. 11th, 2017 09:45 pm
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I read old journal entries from several years ago.  In those entries,  I was in the Rio Grande Valley, where I saw Green Jays and Great Kiskadees. I would like to visit there again someday.

The weather here is idyllic, while folks in the southeast are posting "I'm safe" check-ins on social media in light of Hurricane Irma. I walked tonight in Allen Station Park. Baseball teams played baseball.
I thought about scoreboards. Baseball scoreboards during my childhood were manual at least some of the time. Football scoreboards were always electrically lit. I thought how we always think of things are more modern now, and in many ways they are. But in 1985 when I drove into the DFW airport, the terminals and gates of American Airlines flights were posted electronically so that one could easily sort out where to go. That has been gone for years.

  I watched the entire episode of "The Orville" on my computer.  I watched part of it last night, but set it aside to view in full for later. I liked it.  I see that a lot of critics did not like the show, but I am not on board with the critics.

A lawyer I know down south described to me efforts she made to help folks in small town coastal Texas. Her story was interesting, and it also affirmed my story that small towns may get overlooked in relief efforts.

Breakfast: Millville crispy oats and skim milk
Lunch: Turkey sandwich and baked chips
Dinner: 2 slices buffet pizza, 1 slice buffet alfredo pizza, carrots, and lettuce.


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