Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Over on the Whatever, Scalzi posted a picture of sunset in Ohio.

Ho hum.

Oh sure, it's pretty and all, but there's no drama. Just another beautiful sunset over Ohio corn fields. Flat, boring old Ohio. Yawn.

This is what sunset looks like here:

My thermometer is falling past -10F at the moment, and the last of the moisture has precipitated out of the atmosphere and condensed as hoar frost on the tree limbs. The world is still and deathly quiet, the last of the orange sunlight glitters on the snow of the Chugach range and when it finally goes, well, it may not come back. Somewhere, far down the valley the wolves are howling and I think I heard the shrill trumpet of a woolly mammoth...

That's a sunset.

Ohio, phsssft. Big deal.

Now, if you'll excuse me I need to go bring in some firewood before we all freeze to death.


  1. Yeah, who the hell cares about Ohio anyway?

    Dr. Phil

  2. As I live in a place were we thought last winter was bad because we got two light frosts, this is both awesome and very strange to me.

  3. Well, Stephen, I live here and I still find it awesome and strange. And strangely awesome.

    Alaska never ceases to amaze me. I damned near frozen to death watching the sunset over the mountains tonight - before it occurred to me to grab the camera from the shop. The stillness tonight is astounding.

    Someday, somehow, I'm going to figure out how to get a decent photo of the Aurora with a digital camera. Then I'll have Scalzi completely whooped :)

  4. Say Stephen, if you're still around, do I detect an Australian accent?

  5. My sunset is more sunsetty than your sunset! :D

  6. Well, MWT, you have the advantage of actually having sunlight at this time of year. O.o

  7. So as I'm riding to the train to head home this evening, the driver was commenting on how cold it was.
    I said I knew people in Michigan, Ohio and Alaska that would disagree with him and say we were weather wimps. He politely said you guys could keep the snow...

    See Hot'Lanta is not to hot this week, and as I type one of our more respectable weather geeks is gushing about a frozen fountain somewhere in the city. We're getting our first week of real winter weather a few weeks early this year and you'd think no one ever had to turn on the heat down here.

    walks away shaking her head in amusement at the Southerners...

  8. Uh oh, looks like I made Ohio mad.

    Nice Ohio, be nice. No offense. Your sunsets are just fine. In a big flat square state full of corn sort of way.

  9. somehow, I don't think my "sunset blocked by all the buildings" is going to impress anyone.

  10. Well, just walk west until there are no buildings blocking your view.


    I can walk completely across my town in ten minutes, from the Welcome to Palmer to the Now Leaving Palmer signs. I know New York is a little bigger, but sheesh how big could it be?

    What? Stop looking at me like that.

  11. Well - I just get a little teed off when someone starts insulting my home state! And, as far as "flatness" goes, let me tell you something mister - There is a place in Ohio where the elevation reaches 1,550 feet!

  12. 1550ft? Holy moly, that's practically poking out of the atmosphere!

    Funny thing though, that mountain range doesn't show on any of the maps...

  13. Oh my friend, if it wasn't past mid-night here, I am SURE you would be presented with a map showing the EXACT location of Ohio's mountain range.

    Perhaps in the near future

    .- ... ... .... --- .-.. .

  14. Not all Buckeyes are quite as rude.

    Got some pics of the woolly mammoth?


  15. Larry wasn't actually being rude, Cassie, he was just being a Sailor. Well, ok, it's sometimes hard to tell the difference...nevermind.

    The Mammoths are camera shy.

  16. Sunlight! It burns, burns my eyes I say!!!

    30 more days of losing daylight, and then we're gaining again. Woo hoo!!

    Nice picture Jim. It's only about 0 up here, but various forecasts say I should 30 below tomorrow (brr).

  17. Yeah, it's weird cold. Ice Age bitter cold snap, only got up to about 5F today.

    Was warm elsewhere in the valley and in Anchorage - but right here it's just damned cold at the moment.

  18. -- ..- ... - -... . -... --- .-. .. -. --. .. -. --- .... .. ---

    I mean, really...

    It's hangin' at -5 here but dropping slowly...

  19. Ooh! Fun!

    I saw Karl at the coffee shop yesterday, btw.

    .- .-.. .- ... -.- .- .. ... -.-. --- .-.. -.. --..-- -... ..- - --- .... .. --- .. ... ..-. .-.. -.-- --- ...- . .-. .-.. .- -. -..

  20. .... .- .... .- ! .. -.. --- -. ' - -.- -. --- .-- -- --- .-. ... . -... ..- - --... ...-- ...-- - -.- . -.-- .-. --- -.-. -.- ... !

    .- .-.. ... --- ..--.. -.-- --- ..- --. ..- -.-- ... -- .- -.. . - -.-- .--. --- ... .-.-.-

  21. There's a mountain range blocking your sunset. Also, some trees. Also, the curvature of the earth.

    Please fix that.

  22. The topography of Ohio unnerves me due to its flatness. The husband's response is that I should feel right at home, since I am tone deaf and my voice is just as flat as Ohio's landscape.

    You can diss OH anytime you want, especially next week, when I will be visiting that flat place... :-)


  23. Hell, Larry, look what you started. I hope you're happy. I haven't copied code since, well, a long time (and it shows, since I spelled ---......--- wrong in a previous comment. -..---....! Maybe I need some time on ralph (for the rest of you, ralph is not a person. Ralph was what we called the ancient training "computer" system in code school back at Corry Station. That machine has to be the single most hated machine in history).

    John Scalzi, I've ordered the bulldozers and should have the mountains removed by the end of the week. We'll be using the removed soil to square up the Earth's curvature. Please send us some corn.

  24. Love all the morse comments! Michelle what is 733tkey ?

    I had spent many an hour on RALPH, and then went on to get a bronze and silver award. Put down my headsets around 1994 but can still copy at around 30/35

    This should take you back

  25. Larry, I got the bronze, never came close to the silver, but then I was a T-bird in those days, and when I converted to "R" I was in specops and didn't copy at all.

    I knew the Gromer brothers in Rota, one of them (I forget which one, other than it wasn't Mark since he was a RuLing) got the gold. Christ, the tape ended and he was still typing for at least another minute. Friggin' amazing. Never seen anything like that.

    Me? I'd be lucky to manage 10/12 nowadays.

  26. Oooh -- look at all of the birth control glasses in the RALPH picture.

    And husband, stop futzing with Jim's asshole page and go to work already. Or you'll be in trouble later.

  27. Larry, Nice link. Holy crap, I hated that goddamned machine.

  28. Neurondoc, Futz? Futzing with? Ha! You're a Niven fan, aren't you?

    And hey, chicks dig BC glasses.

    Don't they?

  29. Larry,

    L337 key is an add in for Firefox that you can use to code and decode lots of things including L337, morse code, and ROT13.

    I use the Rot13 transformer when I want to talk about spoilers and don't want to ruin it for others.

    And to torment Nathan.

    Without it, I'd have no idea what the heck you were saying.

  30. "The Mammoths are camera shy."

    They're not shy. They just have a habit of stomping cameras used to take their picture into tiny little bits.

  31. Jim says:
    Neurondoc, Futz? Futzing with? Ha! You're a Niven fan, aren't you?

    Why yes, how did you guess?

    And hey, chicks dig BC glasses.

    Don't they?

    Umm, no. But thanks for asking. :-)

  32. Scotte, yeah, but they make good BBQ - for like the whole tribe.

    Neurondoc, it was just a tanjed guess.

  33. Jim, they also make excellent salad

    Courtesy of Mike Ford (John M. Ford on his books)

    d Pygmy Mammoth & Jumbo Shrimp Salad
    Feeds your whole tribe.

    1 pygmy mammoth, boned and cubed (about ½ ton)
    ½ ton jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (many many ordinary shrimps, or one Ebirah claw)
    10 buckets sesame seeds
    60 pounds bean thread noodles if you are an Eastern tribe, whatever your tribe uses for noodles otherwise. If you have not yet invented the noodle, this might be a good time to do so.
    1 bucket vegetable oil
    1 bucket sesame oil
    10 buckets minced fresh ginger
    6 buckets minced garlic
    15 buckets dry Sherry
    15 buckets rice wine vinegar
    60 pounds sugar
    60 buckets diced fresh mangoes
    15 buckets chopped green onions
    Big Snorgul’s helmet full of red pepper flakes
    10 buckets chopped fresh cilantro, plus 5 Big Snorgul’s helmets fresh cilantro, garnish
    1000 large heads lettuce, cored and leaves separated (a raid on the People Who Grow Stuff may be necessary)
    30 buckets thinly sliced, peeled, seeded, drained cucumbers, or just chop up the damn cucumbers and say “Fie to thee!” a lot
    All the chives you got

    Preheat a giant turtle shell over a fumarole. A big giant turtle. Put some oil in there. Make sure no other giant turtles are around to see you do this.

    On a flat rock, stirring with your Stick of the Dining God, dry cook the sesame seeds over medium heat until they are brown and smell good. Remove from the heat. Add the noodles to the turtle shell and fry fast until puffy and the color of sunrise. Remove from the oil and drain on non-itchy leaves. Throw salt. Set aside.

    Sear the mammoth meat on the flat rock. Salt but don’t overdo it, you remember what happened to the Chest-Clutching Tribe of the Plains. Drain.

    Get a less giant turtle shell. Okay, think of this as a celebration dish for a good turtle hunt and shrimp catch. Make the vegetable oil and most of the sesame oil dance. Add the shrimp, mammoth, ginger, and garlic, and cook fast, stirring, until the shrimp are just pink and firm. Doom of Ten Thousand Wretched Canap’s awaits those who overcook shrimp. Remove from the shell with pole weapons. Add the sherry and vinegar, and sing the Song of Deglazing over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir until it is one with the sauce. Cook until half the fluid is gone. Feed anybody who thinks this is waste to the giant turtles. Add the rest of the sesame oil, mangoes, green onions, and pepper flakes, and stir to warm through and wilt. No, this wilt is good. Tell the people it is the wilt of the Wilt God. You need all the mojo you can get. Remove from the heat and add the shrimp and ginger, and the cilantro. Stir to warm through and do the Highly Dramatic Ritual of Adjusting the Seasoning to Taste.

    Now your tribal status is on the thin edge of the cleaver. Have everybody bring what they eat off of. You know your tribe. Put lettuce on whatever they hold out and spread the hot stuff on it. Those who have no eating platters should be used to the drill by now. Arrange cucumber slices on top in whatever symbolic pattern seems propitious to you and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. If you have a really tough tribe, yell ‘Bam!’ until they get a groove going. Add fried noodles, cilantro sprigs, and chives, and watch for any signs of people keeling over that can’t be blamed on strong drink.

  34. Well, I don't have any mammoth or shrimp meat in the freezer, but I probably have half a ton of moose and halibut.

    Now I need to find big damn turtle - hmmm, or maybe the carcass of a VW Beetle...

  35. I'm certain you have an equivalent of Big Snorgul's helmet that can be put to good use.

  36. Well, come to think of it I've got a 16' aluminum boat shell on a trailer next to the shop. Stack wood around the trailer and torch it, giant soup bowl. This could work.

    Now, where the hell am I going to find 60 buckets of mangos in Palmer, Alaska? Wonder if rose hips would work?

  37. --- --- --- --- --- .... ! .--- .. -- --. --- - .... .. ... ... . .-.. ..-. .- ... -.-. .- .-.. --.. .. -.-. --- -- -- . -. - .-.-.- .. -... . - .... . ..-. . . .-.. ... .- .-.. .-.. ... ..- .--. . .-. .. --- .-. .- -. -.. ... .... .. - .-.-.- .- ... ... .... --- .-.. .

  38. Just so you know, Nathan, morse code leads directly to insanity. Larry, tell him.

    When you're standing in the shower, and you find yourself decoding the sound of the drops hitting your head, well, it's time to see a doctor. And in Larry's case he's married to one. Coincidence? I don't think so.

  39. I thought morse code led to blindness? And acne?

  40. I think you two are confused about the particulars of certain bad habits.

    Morse Code leads to insanity, fits of rage, and heavy drinking.

    Code school was intense, and failure to promote to the next level had serious and extremely unpleasant consequences. People used to jump off buildings over it - the attempted suicide rate was higher at Corry than anywhere else in the Navy (at that time, early 80's). Code school is mostly gone now, the world changed, and it's no doubt for the best.

  41. Well that doesn't sound very fun *at all*

  42. Coincidence?

    Perhaps. He certainly didn't marry me for my domestic capabilities. He doesn't have acne, blindness, or hairy palms, but we won't talk about the hump or the foot with 6 toes.

  43. Jim, Aussie accent mixed with a tinge of Kiwi. I live in Brisbane. Now I'm looking at my comment and trying to figure out what makes it look Australian.

    The mountains are uncommon for me as well. We have things here labelled mountains, but really they're pimples. Might work as a mountain in Ohio, perhaps.

  44. Yes, crypto-training was VERY intense and I do recall people attempting suicide.

    On the first day of class we had to SCREAM out the letters in code for hours on end. Dit Dah, Alpha!!!!!

    Let's see, copying code does not lead to; blindness, acne, or hairy palms, scurvy, berry berry, dropsy or hemorrhoids. All that comes in the electronic counter-counter measures school later.

    I'm sure the U.S. Navy no longer uses it, but I'm sure a country that Jim can see from his back-yard probably still does.

    I didn't know the bro's in Spain who one the gold but we ought to talk one of these days and see who we do know. I searched the house a while back looking for a picture of our class back in corry. I know its here somewhere. All I can remember is CTRC Koslya (? spelling).

  45. "pimples. Might work as a mountain in Ohio, perhaps."

    Stephen - you are getting VERY close to having your name added to the Ohio asshole page!

  46. Now I'm looking at my comment and trying to figure out what makes it look Australian.

    Well, Stephen, I could say that I used to be an intelligence officer and I detected a subtle aussiness to your typing - but that would be a big damned lie.

    I looked at your IP address because I was curious when you said you only got two frosts.

    And I love Australia. I've been to Freemantle and Perth. Sydney. Melbourne. Cairns. And Aussies rock. You people know how to have fun. Now, don't listen to the angry man from flatland, let's discuss a case of VB or Emu Bitters - because you people brew some truly outstanding beer down there, and I'm not talking about that Fosters crap.

  47. We don't talk about Fosters either. Really. It's never advertised on TV, and if it's available in a pub it's a few lonely cans in some corner of the fridge. Unless you're in a tourist area, of course. We keep it available for them. Fosters somehow managed to convince the rest of the world that it's the Aussie beer, but they don't even try to convince us any more.

    The two traditional Queensland drinks are XXXX (four-X) beer and Bundaberg Rum. VB is making inroads, as more Victorians come up here to live.

    We try to put on a good party when the Navy comes to visit, glad you enjoyed it. Actually, we party anyway, but an excuse is always good.

  48. XXXX, yep, had that in Cairns. I prefer bitter, but XXXX is pretty damned good too. Kangaroo steak, also outstanding.

    Some beautiful country you live in, Stephen, Queensland is an amazing place. I managed to get one diving trip in on the reef, wish I'd had time for more.

    I've promised my wife that I'll take her there one day, couple of years, once the kid is out of the house (No, I'm not taking him, we want a trip to Australia to be a vacation, not three weeks of "Stop touching that!" "Ahhhh! You NEVER let me do anything!" and etc.)

  49. Speaking of beautiful country -- I am here in NOT-mountainous Ohio and have been here since Thursday. Haven't seen anything resembling a hill since I've been here (Columbus area). My husband says that I will see some hill that have leaked over from West Virginia (accidentally, of course).

    Michelle, we will be pasisng through your lovely town on our way back to MD. Larry says that we will be eating at the Taco Bell in Star City (wherever that may be...).

    Hope everyone's Turkey Day was filled with fun and good food. Mine was, although it occurred in a very flat place.



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