Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Life in the Time of the Virus - Finnegan Begin Again

It is a new year built upon the ashes of the old. 

New York Movie by Edward Hopper, 1939

Sadly, we did not cross the yearly meridian and found our problems solved. There are vaccines on the horizon, but the same venal incompetence at the the national level the got us so deeply embedded in this mess continues to screw up delivery. New strains have popped up, first in isolationist England and then Denmark, expanding to everywhere. These should be affected by the vaccine. Should be.

It feels like walking fire, a cascade of artillery shells that keeps getting closer to our position. I have colleagues who I have never met in the flesh, video ghosts, who have come down with it. Old friends I have not talked to in years tell me the tale on Facebook. People I know have been hospitalized, while ICU beds have failed on us. It looked like we were bending the curve six months ago - now we are being overwhelmed again while people, tired of precautions, are making matters worse by trying to return to a deadly normality.

What happened to the Army Corps of Engineers? Back about a year ago they moved into Quest (now Lumen) field and elsewhere and built overflow hospital space out of nowhere. That was impressive. Yet we have not pulled the trigger on it for this resurgence. Are we better at dealing with it now? I don't think so.

And yet there is hope. Vaccines are rolling out, in sputters and starts. Delivery terms keep changing, but are changing in the right direction, at least.  The entire check on public gatherings has put Washington State, once an epicenter, at 45th on the list of united plague states - not great given the fact that there are 44 states worse off at the moment, but still impressive. At the state level, there is a plan, and it is modified as we know more. Currently the Lovely B and I don't make the initial cut, so we remain working in place.

The holiday season has passed, which on Grubb Street lasts between Thanksgiving and the Lovely Bride's birthday in early January.We went out and cut down a live tree on a small tree farm south of Auburn, as is our wont. Electric candles in the windows, the Lovely Bride brought out her doll collection. Way too many cookies were baked. We had a holiday feast similar to Thanksgiving's - shared dishes that were collated and delivered, followed by an online sharing. We didn't have to iron a tablecloth or clean silverware or set the table, so that was OK.

Shopping was online this year. I had a panic moment in a mall when I popped in for the last-minute things. Most of the people were masked, but the sheer numbers sort of a freaked me out. Yeah, shopping I am more situationally aware of my surroundings.

I have been reading more and writing less. Part of it is a letdown from blogging before the election, and another part is the work load, but I have been carrying a low level of exhaustion through the holidays and afterwards. This entry took a couple weeks to finalize. I have three books that need reviews already in the queue, along with a couple half-written entries on other sundry matters. Right now I have half-way through the latest Three Musketeers translation by Lawrence Ellsworth, which consists of the back half of "Twenty Years Later".

And I have been sporadic on watching streaming stuff. Watching on a tablet is chancy because I can get easily distracted. You hear a reference you don't understand, check out to research it on Wikipedia, and twenty minutes later you are watching a YouTube video on raising bunnies. Caught Mank on Netflix, which I generally liked. BBC Comedies in bits and pieces. I found the Great Canadian Baking Show on the DailyMotion site (the site is overrun with commercials, but serviceable). The GCB is the Great British Baking Show, but even nicer, and is chock full of regional accents, maple syrup, and bacon as a savory component.

Working from home continues. A heavy windstorm rolled through last week, knocking out power for a while, and in an all-online group, that becomes the 21st century version of a snow day. Power was restored, alas, though I spent too much time cutting up large branches in my driveway. That is winter in the Pacific Northwest - rain, wind, fog, and just the barest threat of snow.

I really want to say that we are rounding a corner, but the bend seems further and further away every time I check. We press on, curled up against the winter and the plague winds, because that is the best we can do.

More later,



Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Final Return of No Quarter As It Goes to XI!

Well, this took forever to get around to. Usually these articles show up in March, but we've all had other things on our minds. So let's wrap this. 

Here we stand, at the end of the No Quarter series (again). We started this with the Fifty States series in 2006 and started again with the America the Beautiful series, which gave commemorative quarters to a national park/forest/seashore/monument/farmer's market in each of the states and/or territories.

And these last few are the most esoteric and frankly beautiful of the lot. They are quirky, and part of that makes sense, since the treasury released these in order that the park/whatever was founded. So the big wilderness parks with mountains and hooved herbivores tended to come first, and now we are at the last bits, which can be a little quirky. But that quirkiness has been embraced to produce some stunners this time. I'm including the sole representative of 2021 for consideration as well, rather than leave that an outlier.

As always, I grade these, based on my own personal tastes. Your own mileage may vary, and readers are encouraged to get their own blogs to talk about them.

Way Cool =A
Not Bad = B
Kinda Lame (also known as Meh) = C
Very Lame = D
The Trump Administration Would Blame Obama = E

Let's dig in, one last time:

National Park of American Samoa - American Samoa

Bats are getting a bad press these days, but I really like this one. It amazes me in that "why didn't we think of this before?" way. Putting cute animals on coins! It's worked so well for Internet memes, why not here?

I mean, we are talking about American Samoa, here, which most Americans cannot locate on the map (OK, NPR reporters could, but nobody else). Well, we probably know it is somewhere in the South Pacific, with bonus points if you can put it to the east of West Samoa (which wants to be know as original-flavor, unleaded Samoa these days), and you get to go to the championship round if you put it at the northernmost part of the Tonga trench. Surprisingly, it is not something we took from the Japanese occupiers after WWII, but rather from the German occupiers in 1899, where it was used as a coaling station.

However, the cool thing about American Samoa is on the coin - it is the home of two varieties of fruit bat, and the Treasury shows Mother and Child fruit bats. The carving itself of one image, is superior to the mixed bag you see in some earlier quarters, and is really well-done.

It will be a surprise to people who suddenly find it in their change. And particular cool for the gothy culture.

Rating = A (Way Cool)

Weir Farm National Historic Site - Connecticut

OK, making this the subject of a coin is a bit of stretch, but then again, we are talking about Connecticut. Not a lot of places for National Parks. It got a really nice coin the first time around with a tree, and I half-expected to see a scenic lighthouse here. We get an image of someone painting an image. But the artist is confronting a blank canvas. Very meta. Much wow.

The coin celebrates Julian Aiden Weir, the founder of the American Impressionist movement. I know what you're saying. When we're talking about American Impressionists, we usually mean Rich Little and David Frye. This was a bonafied movement in the US,and consisted of "The Ten" - a group of impressionists that rejected the conservatism of previous groups and formed their own group (Process of Art History - Some people form a movement to rebel against the conservatism of their elders. Wait fifteen years, and then a NEW group will form to rebel against the original rebels).

The coin itself is interesting. It is very busy, and I wonder how it will press out in the final. The artist and easel in particular may see some wear. It does drive home the entire question of "what it is about" by engraving deeply a meme (A National Park For Art) where other coins would have just left the area as creative white space. So both laying the motto in the grass AND the catch-phrase provides some interesting balance along the right-hand side to balance the left.

Rating = B (Not Bad) 

Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve - US Virgin Islands

Interesting, Iconic, and something I would not normally connect with the US Virgin Islands. The VIs themselves are a chain in the Atlantic that most people would guess as "somewhere near the Bahamas, wherever those are (actually, it is east of Puerto Rico, and south of the British Virgin Islands). Bought from the Danes (the Danes? Yes, the Danes) in 1916 to keep them out of German hands during WWI (negotiations were concluded 6 days before the US officially declared war, for the cool price of 25 million and recognizing Danish claims in Greenland (Greenland? Danes? Yep.).

The coin looks like an ent wading through the flooded Isengard, but is really a mangrove, which is not something I connected with the VIs (OK, OK, there was nothing I connect with the VIs except for sophomoric jokes). But it is appropriate, and like the Connecticut state quarter (also with the tree) it should feel pretty good in the hand. Yeah, it works.

Rating = A (Way Cool)

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park - Vermont

OK, Like Connecticut, Vermont has the challenge of being a smaller eastern state - I mean, their state quarter celebrated collecting maple sap. And I am conflicted on this coin. On one hand, the site is important from the conservation movement with its attention to land stewardship - that ownership implies responsibility. On the other hand, the original Marsh was a successful Whig politician, Billings, who owned the land next was a founder of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and the Rockefellers were the son and daughter-in-law of THAT Rockefeller. So this park exists because people with a lot of money willed it to exist. 

The coin itself it OK - nothing to get excited about, sort of a Public Service Announcement of a coin. Planting a new tree way too close to the roots of an order one isn't exactly sound horticulture, but it works with the coin design. The balance it nice, with the sapling centermost, and a human element of someone carefully putting it in place is cool. But this is the only part of the National Park System in Vermont, except for a chunk of the Appalachian Trail, and at least they didn't decide to celebrate land sterwardship with a picture of the farmhouse.

Rating = B Not bad.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve  - Kansas

The Tallgrass Prairie is a relic - once most of the space between the Mississippi and The Rockies was rolling grassland like that found within its confines, but now has been tamed/cultivated/settled.  And indeed, a lot of the land is still grazed by cattle, replacing the bison that once dominated the ecosystem. They could have gone with buffalo, since they reintroduced a herd about ten years back, but instead went with a quiet moment for the coin.

I like this one. It is relatively simple presentation for a site that specifically doesn't have purple mountains majesty, but rather celebrates a non-fruited plain. The grasses are native, and so is the butterfly (a Regal Fritillery, for those keeping score). Yeah, I could make a Mothra joke, but this is a nice moment of peace captured on a coin. Good work

Rating = A (Way Cool)

Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site - Alabama

The final quarter of the series celebrates the African-American pilots of the Second World War. Breaking the color barrier of allowing black pilots to train for combat, the airmen fought both fascism in Europe and racism on the home front - the two wars noted on the coin. They were not just first, they were good - needing to prove themselves continually to a skeptical, often hostile, command structure.  

The coin itself is balanced for everything that it carries - Pilot in front, two P-51 Mustangs in flight overhead, the control tower of Morton Field, where they trained, in the background. A lot of elements in this coin, but unlike a few others, it pulls together into a cohesive image. It is a fitting wrap-up, both for subject and design, for the series.

Rating = A (Way Cool)

And that's the lot. Ten years of quarters. I haven't heard anything about a new series, though they will be doing a General Washington Crossing the Delaware quarter in 2021. And they did a Presidential Gold(ish) Dollar program that sort of petered out from public use, AND a First Spouse $10 series that was always a collectable. But should they decide to put us through this again, I will be here to celebrate it and mock it. Maybe.

More later, 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Season's Greetings

 Wishing you a safe and secure Holiday Season from Grubb Street



More later,

Monday, December 07, 2020

Life in the Time of the Virus - The Gathering Dark

 


Room For Tourists by Edward Hopper, 1945

Month Nine? Yes, I believe it is month nine.And things grow still more serious as we press on into winter.

As I write this, we are at over 280,000 deaths in the this county, by official count. Hospital beds are approaching critical state, and there is nowhere to send people. We are hitting 9/11 levels of death, every day. There are some bright spots on the horizon for vaccines, but the current administration, soon to be former, has pretty much revealed they have no real plan for distribution, and no plan to make a plan. There are tough times ahead.

Add to this the seasonal challenge in this part of the world. Seattle is tucked in the upper lefthand corner of the Continental US, so far north that the bulk of Canada's population is actually further south than we are. This means that summers are unnaturally long, but then again, so are winter nights. We lose the sun about four in the afternoon, and do not see dawn until after seven in the morning. In the days when I had a commute, I was used to arriving at work in darkness. Now I do the same, but at least I don't have to wear shoes. 

Our household Thanksgivings have been sprawling affairs, with friends from our various lives filling one (and occasionally two) long tables, with everyone bringing something to contribute. This year we rolled with the punches. I still brined and slow-roasted a turkey, the Lovely Bride made rolls, gravy, and cranberry sauce, and friends provided wine and a plethora of sides. Then we loaded everything up in the bajillion take-out containers accumulated over the previous eight months and we engaged in an epic delivery schedule, then gathered together on a Zoom call as we shared a meal. It was a major challenge, and the team rose to it.

Oh, there was an election, as well, also noted in these pages. Republicans were roundly voted down in this state, so as is typical for the GOP, they have cried foul and refused to admit it. No one cares. The top Republican in Washington State is our Secretary of State, and the nuttier Republicans are mad at her for standing up for the voters. So we have a chance of surviving as well, from their side. Pity that the current federal administration that has done so much to enable this crisis now is dragging its feet to help the next guy accomplish anything.

Our communications with the outside world are few and far between. Grocery shopping (the local Safeway is awash with masks, though we never quite caught on to the idea of one-way aisles). Once a week for new comics (fewer now than usual). Waving at passersby while raking leaves. We had an exterminator in that found mice within the foundation wall. Communications with our work is mostly video calls and slack channels. The cats have adapted well, and take for granted that we are around all the time.

And the local newspaper has shrunk, literally. Last week I noticed that the front page is about a half-inch smaller than the earlier issues that were to be recycled. There was a disruption for a couple days when they said they had a printing problem. Apparently the solution is a printing press that is slightly smaller. I did not find the local paper mentioning this to anyone in their pages. The magazines have been bearing up as well, the New Yorker talking about people bearing up under COVID, the Bon Appetite talking about restaurants that, hopefully, will open once this particular grim reaper passes on. One of the good things I have discovered is the Canadian version of the Great British Baking show, which captures a lot of fun and supportive innocence of the early editions of the show in England.

We have been fortunate, if one can call it that. We have remained healthy, even though friends of friends and colleagues working in other states have suffered illness and loss from this. We are careful, but even avoiding super-spreader events does not provide immunity. We look for this passing, but not today, not tomorrow, and not next month. But it will pass.

We are at the end of the beginning, I think, and I have hope for that which comes next. Because I fear if we let things get worse.

 More later,

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Plague Books: Time Travel, By the Rules

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers, Ace Books, 1983

Provenance: I only read this about 10 years ago. I didn't read it when it came out in part because it released in one of those sections of my life where I didn't read a lot of new fiction. I had graduated, got a "real job" as civil engineer, was laid off from that "new job" and had found another job in Wisconsin, moved, got married, and eventually was hip-deep in Dragonlance and Marvel Super Heroes. So I was, like, BUSY at the time. So lay off, OK?

Anyway, I missed the boat and the book, though friends recommended it strongly over the years. And I finally came across a copy in 2009. I know this because I have the receipt as a book mark, from the Barnes & Nobles Booksellers at the University Village (now no longer there). Also in the book was a take-out menu from the Delfino's (really good Chicago Deep Dish), and a flyer for a Butoh performance at the Richard Hugo House that I never attended. So I have a good idea of the time and place for this one.

Review: I'm sorry I missed it the first time around, but happy I caught up with it later. I've gone on about playing fair with the reader, and Powers does this in spades. But first, let me give you the back story:

A group of Egyptian cultists back at the start of the 1800s try to summon their god to drive the English out of Egypt. They don't succeed, but do manage to punch a number of discrete holes in the timestream. In the present day, a dying millionaire discovers those holes and sees them as a way of time travel. He hires Brendan Doyle, English professor and expert on an obscure author named Ashbless to lead a group back in time to a lecture by Samuel Coleridge. Of course the millionaire has a secret agenda, as almost every does - well, everyone except Doyle.

Things go casters up  in the past, and Doyle is kidnapped and stuck there, with multiple factions all with different aims hunting for him. Now, the book does two things I like - one is how Powers handles the man from the future in the past, and the other is writing a book in which time travel is inelastic while still maintaining suspense.

For the first part, there is a classic bit of SF from L Sprague DeCamp called Lest Darkness Fall, about a modern archaeologist who finds himself trapped in Late-Roman Empire Times. Using his 20th Century knowledge of the past, he proceeds to turn things around, rally the Ostrogoths, and stave off the Dark Ages. DeCamp's protagonist is the capable, competent, professional that inhabits such stories. 

Doyle? Not so much. His knowledge of the future doesn't help, and his ineptness with his current present results in him being reduced to starvation and begging almost immediately. Far from being the competent nigh-omniscient, Doyle is overwhelmed by his new situation. Things he knows from the future turn out to be untrue, and things get worse as the other factions move in.

The other thing I liked about the plot is that it works off the fact that time travel is inelastic - you can't change the past. No bumping off the Emperor, because your history will not allow it. Now, writing a book with the protagonist having agency in a deterministic universe is a bit of a challenge, but Powers pulls it off neatly, because a lot of specific knowledge gets lost over time, and the escapes lay in the details. Doyle knows his "death date", which cannot be changed, but if and how he avoids it is part of the charm of the book.

Yeah, I can see how this hit a lot of people hard when its first came out. It is tightly written, and plays by the rules while opening the doors to some truly strange occurrences (which we don't know about tucked away safely uptime). We have werewolves, we have ancient gods, we have wizards so evil that they cannot walk on the earth (one has stilts). We have body swapping and simulacra. We have history and secret history.

There feels to be long standing effects on gaming Shadowfist/Feng Shui (card game and RPG set in the same universe) uses the idea of multiple fixed time portals. World of Darkness embraces the entire secret history (though there are other volumes of this ilk). And the entire vibe of Egyptian Cult and 19th centruy England has a very Masks of Nyarlathetop feel to it. And while it does not make the list of various Appendix N's, it feels like a D&D adventure in many ways. So I'm going to hazard a guess that this has book, combining fantasy with strict adherence to history, had a definite impact on gaming.

It is worth digging out all these years later, so go take a look.

More later,

 


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Plague Books: Baker Street Blues

The Baker Street Jurors
by Michael Robertson

Provenance: Here's a secret - Amazon has a free bookstore available in one of its buildings.

OK, it isn't much of a secret, since it was mentioned in an article in the Seattle Times a few years back. And I don't know if it is still there, particularly in these Pandemic times. And what it is is a room with a lot of publishers copies that have been sent in for review for, like the Amazon Book Review that no one else claimed. So it is more of a "free giveway table" situated on one floor of a building that I will not divulge. And it is for Amazon employees, since you have to use your keycard to get in. Many of the books available are bound galleries (Here's the text, but we don't have a final cover or front matter") or Uncorrected Proof ("Here's the text and what we THINK is the cover, but we need to go through it one more time"), so they may not be the finished production you see at the B&N. 

But, hey, free books.

I hit the library few times and, to be honest, found it pretty picked over. I don't know if they restocked every Monday or what, but is had a scattering of SF, a lot of memoirs, some popular fiction, and a good selection of mysteries. Mysteries were well represented, and on a whim I picked up a copy of The Baker Street Jurors there.

And, spoilers, I didn't care much for it at all.

Review: I've nattered on about genre more than a few times to different degrees in this blog. How it is ultimately a marketing term - "If you liked X, you'll like THIS!", How it accumulates its own ancestors (Verne, Wells, or Shelly may have "invented" SF, but none of it was WRITING it when they composed their well-known works). How it changes over time ("Horror becomes Paranormal Romance", or most recently, we've see the mitosis of Fantasy and Science Fiction into two separate sections of the book store.). I don't HATE genre - I'm a big practitioner of it myself - but I do recognize it for what it it.

Well here's another rule about genre - when a genre gets big enough, it starts spawning off sub-genres. Mysteries is a great example. There are cat mysteries, dog mysteries, medieval monk mysteries, feminist mysteries, food mysteries, cozies, police procedurals, ancient Egyptian mysteries, dark Scandinavian mysteries, urban mysteries, and supernatural mysteries. Each of these subgenres may attract general "mysteries" crowd, but they are spot-targeted on appealing to a particular sort of buyer looking for a particular kind of story.

So. Sherlock Holmes mysteries. It it is a successful subgenre in its own right. stepping outside of books, look at the amount of TV shows and movies that have spawned off Holmes over the years, but that's a subject for a different rant. Heck, we have secret Holmes stories, young Holmes stories, lost Holmes stories (like the year he spent after Reichenbach) and even here in this blog, retired Holmes stories.

Baker Street Jurors, and the other books of the series (and yes, it is a series, another hallmark of genre), has an initially tangential connection to the Holmes oeuvre. Its protagonists are lawyers whose offices are at 221B Baker Street. And that's the initial connection. Within this fictional universe, like ours, Holmes is a created character, but that doesn't stop them from getting into Holmes-related mysteries.

In this case, one of the lawyers is summoned to jury duty (Yes, it is a conceit. Would YOU want a lawyer in a jury you were presenting to? But, this is Britain). He ALSO gets a jury summons for Sherlock Holmes at the same address. He bins the second one as a joke, but then, a long, hawk-nosed lanky violinist shows up for the jury duty, looking very Basil Rathbonish. And they are both assigned to the same case, which is a high-profile murder of a famous cricket-player's wife by a famous cricket-player with his famous cricket-playing bat. The game is afoot!

OK, there are conceits in this game. But then, in the midst of the proceedings, they decamp the jurors to the quote-scene-of-the-crime-end-quote. And then jurors start, um, dropping off, in shades of Agatha Christie and her Ten Little Indians (which would be Twelve in this case, plus spares).

Not great, but not criminal, in a writing sense. And the protagonist, Nigel Health (Brother Rory is off on a honeymoon) is fairly likable and a positive character. No, what irritated me about this book, and so irritated me that I kept it on my desk until I could properly dispose of it, was this: Robertson is not playing fair by the reader. If, in a mystery, you say something like "It couldn't possibly be an evil twin", then no matter who says it, you are reassuring the reader that the solution does not involve an evil twin. If the resolution of the crime then proceeds to be, "Ahah! It was an evil twin!" well, yeah, people are going to come after you with cricket bats.

And that's what happens in BSJ. No, not evil twins, but something similar, which left me a little put out. I can put up with the matters of coincidence (like how the guy that looks and acts like Sherlock Holmes ended up on the jury), but this is an outright fib to reader. And that's pretty much a violation of a core concept of mysteries. 

*Deep Breath*, and I've had this volume tucked away behind my monitor for several years waiting for me to get around to dunning it. And now that I have done so, I can safely put it into a box and inflict it on someone at a library sale. 

And feel, somehow, liberated.

More later, 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Life In the Time of the Virus - The Abyss Yawns

Automat by Edward Hopper 1927
Month Eight. 

Things are getting worse in the outside world. You knew it was coming, those of you were that were paying attention to how these things work. As we move from summer into fall, people move indoors, so spreading the virus is easier among groups. As a result, we are spiking, both here in King County and across the nation. A spike happened during the winter months in the Great Influenza a century ago and is happening here.

We are better prepared, the disease is more survivable, and vaccines and treatments, while still unproven, are promising. But hospital beds are filling up again and patients are being airlifted into Seattle from overloaded states like Utah and Idaho. The Federal Response remains abysmal, and the states are once more left to shift for themselves. It is the sort of thing that everyone was aware was in the works, but nothing much was done, so we confront another potential seasons of lockdowns, self-quarantines and shifting away from voluntary semi-isolation to a more hard-edged version once more.

[And over the course of writing this, news comes that we are shutting down further. No small gatherings. No meals in restaurants. No museums. Not a complete lock-down, but still extremely severe and stronger than any time since March. If I knew of a better way forward, I would definitely suggest it, but I don't.]

Of course, in the midst of this there was an election. Look elsewhere on this page for all the commentary therein. On election day, I turned down the media, social and otherwise, and retreated into a book. Unfortunately, the book was a Mary Beard volume on Rome, detailing its slide from sort-of-a-Republic into full-fledged authoritarianism, so probably it was not the most relaxing choice. I shifted over to a collection of Nero Wolfe stories about halfway through the evening.

I think that the sense of quarantine and isolation may be more pronounced as we move to the winter months, which in the Puget Sound means grey, rain, cold, the rare snowstorm and the occasional high winds. We had been eating out (or sending out) for food more of late, and that may get cut back if the restaurants have to reduce again. 

All work in on-line and with video chat, and while that keeps me going, the lack of in-person relationship and general haranguing is felt. Meetings in conference calls are usually for a purpose, and less for just messing about - talking about the latest professional sports game, the latest computer game everyone is playing, the latest movie. We do an on-line happy hour once a week, which is very good, but still does not match the sudden digressions into medieval trade practices that once marked the middle of my work day.

Pro sports teams are playing to empty stadiums with piped-in crowd noises. The newspaper is a slender thing, lacking a lot of its advertising. Catalogs, however, have made a comeback, and the Post Office has been loading the mailbox with the pre-holiday crush. And I am getting spam robocalls (Currently Kate from the Warranty department wants to get in touch with me. A lot.), so they have returned to their natural habitat, at least.

But I miss live theatre. I miss museums. I miss bookstores. I miss going to new restaurants. I miss sudden decisions to go shopping. I miss sushi. As it grows chiller, I miss sitting on the beneath the new deck, watching the daylight linger..I miss sunlight late into the evening, and soft rains that clear by morning. Now comes the winter of our discontent, lacking a glorious summer in the immediate future.

More later,