Before our Thursday shopping routine, Arthur had an appointment this morning at the medical center in Klawock. I took a short walk down to the bridge over the Klawock River while he was in his appointment, and saw a tree.
I recorded this tree before removing it. I am clearing a path on the direct uphill-downhill between the “middle stake” (lot marker) on the southern property line between lots 73 and 74. It’s damp and slippery but it’s actually easier clearing paths once the fall has removed most of the leaves from the underbrush.
Once a month, I should go over and start up the GDC (the RV), to make sure it’s still functional under its cocoon (tarp). I ran the engine, generator and heater for an hour, with the tarp partly lifted away so as to not poison myself with carbon monoxide. Everything still works. While it was running, I went on walk up the hillside to my neglected treehouse site and maintained my trails a bit.
Arthur and I went into town shopping – it’s shopping Thursday, one of our fixed traditions these days.
It rained continuously. We stopped by Jan’s office at the VFW – which we often do. She used an adjective to describe her husband Richard’s efforts in adding a carport to their house, which we’d seen driving past: “Trojanesque” (this is derived from their last name). I laughed quite a bit – Richard’s construction efforts do, indeed, have a quite distinct style, and I felt the adjective captured this quite well. I’ll have to see if I can come up with some kind of objective definition for this word, which has an obvious, intuitive meaning to anyone who is familiar with Richard’s work. Perhaps related to a kind of grandiose disregard for the conventions of design, without being for that at all incompetent?
The small tree grows on the hump of the log of a long-dead big tree.
I have been having a craving for borscht for a while. When I lived in Korea, I could satisfy this craving by going to a Russian restaurant (or Ukrainian, or Kazakh, etc.). Before that, I used to make it. I haven’t made it in a very long time, but I tried. My hands turned purple cutting beets.
It came out okay. I’ll give my efforts a B-.
Studying psychology for one of my exams-for-credit that I’ll take next month, I’m struck by how much of it is really just vocabulary – a certain way of talking about things.
This is an archival tree. Specifically, I saw this tree while lying on a bench at a buddhist monastery in northern Illinois, December, 2009.
I experienced a somewhat embarrassing emotional insight this morning, as I saw that it was raining. I liked that it was raining. Not just because I have always liked rainy days – that’s just something about my formation on the coast of far northwest California. It’s that when it’s raining, I don’t have to feel guilty about not working outside.
I don’t exactly resent working outside on the various “typical Alaskan” projects, here: the path-cutting, the chainsawing, the digging, etc. But they are not necessarily always “fun” for me either. I feel an obligation to do them because it’s the only conceivable way to prevent Arthur from trying to do them and ending up hurt or something.
It’s not in fact clear to me that Arthur ever enjoyed these types of projects either, but they have always been part of how he prefers to organize his life. Really, his motivational apparatus is wholly opaque to me.
I am, I suppose, an “indoorsman” (in an oppositional sense to “outdoorsman”). I enjoy the outdoors, but I have always despised outdoor “athletics,” and these task-oriented, outdoor work activities are not inherently rewarding to me for the most part. Perhaps it’s just that I have never received positive feedback about my efforts, too. Certainly that has contributed to the current psychological aversion to them.
Well, it was raining. So I sat at my desk and read history and worked at my hobby coding projects on my server.
Meanwhile, trees asserted their ontologies. That leaning tree has been featured before, but I think its leaningness has been increasing lately. It may be headed for seashore.
I received an email today confirming my acceptance into the graduate teaching certification program at University of Alaska Southeast.
The program is largely online. I am skeptical about the ease and efficacy of online coursework, but it will be as it must be, and hopefully I can be successful. I am returned to studenthood, after a 22 year hiatus. Thank you to all who assisted me in my application process.
Since the school never calls me to do substitute teaching, and since it often rains outside, when I’m not working on studying history and psychology for my exams-for-credit, I continue with my activities and efforts related to my “fictional map server.”
Recently I’ve received several queries from people interested in trying to build their own “map servers.” I decided the concept needed a handy acronym, so I coined “HRATE” (High-resolution alternatives-to-earth – also, handily, an anagram for “Earth”).
I have been trying to collect in one place my documentation for how to build your own HRATE: here.
Here is a tree from my archives. It is a tree in the front yard of the house where I spent the majority of my first 17 years. I took the picture in 2009, I think.
That tree almost entirely post-dates my years there – it was planted in my childhood but was just a small tree as I grew up. Now it looks more substantial.
Here is another picture I found of the same house, from a different angle, and taken many, many years ago, when there was a different tree in front of the house. That’s my dad’s car. I would guess mid-to-late 1960’s for when the picture was taken.
Continuing that theme, this is the same house again, but with no tree at all. This is my own ink drawing, but done from a photograph of the house that I suspect predates my parents’ ownership by a few decades.
We pulled out the “rails” for the boat ramp last night at dusk – because that’s when the low tide was low enough to make that doable. I probably should have been paying attention to the tides, knowing Arthur had that project in mind, but I hadn’t been, so it came out as one of those “ambush projects” that Arthur hits me with, that stress me out so much.
In fact I don’t mind helping on Arthur’s projects, but, like a small child, I don’t manage my stress well when I don’t get advance notice about what’s expected of me. Arthur is not inclined to communicate his plans or intentions ahead of time. After dinner, without preamble, it was: “I’m going to pull out the rails now.” Of course no invitation or expectation that I would help, but I simply can’t imagine Arthur in his increasingly frail state doing this project himself – those rails are heavy, and pulling them up the ramp is awkward. So I had a choice: let him start it himself and then be there to help when he finally asked for help, or otherwise I could simply start out helping knowing it would get to that. It’s one of those “military moments” when the arbitrary “task” comes down the chain of command and one simply has to leap to action in that moment.
Lo, a tree did grow.
Arthur and I went to a kind of “community meeting” this evening. Apparently the City of Craig has imperial ambitions with respect to the denizens of Port Saint Nicholas Road (“PSN”). The denizens, however, are quite ambivalent about this. I would myself be inclined to agree that the city offers little of value in terms of improved services, given their fire department’s poor showing during the house fire next door in August (which currently they are legally obligated to provide despite being outside their tax base, but which they receive state monies to do, too, so it’s not like they are losing money on it).
Right now, the battle is about who really controls, owns, and is obligated to maintain the road. This is taking the form of the city’s “Ordinance 719,” which appears to be an unconstitutional “taxation without representation” proposition, wherein the city is allocating to itself the “extraterritorial” right to tax property owners along the road despite their not being voting residents of the city, in exchange for road maintenance – which the city is already legally obligated to do because of where they chose to site their water treatment plant. There are a number of dramatis personae: there’s the city (and specifically its hapless yet hubristic water department), there’s the tribal association (nominally non-profit), there’s the tribal corporation (for-profit, that owns all the non-parcelled land around Craig and PSN, and that originally built the road – it’s not, in fact, “public” in origin), and there are the helpless denizens themselves. At stake: the gobs of state and federal grant money lurking out there for whoever can control the road.
But the City of Craig’s long game is pretty obvious – they hope to undertake an expansive regional annexation into their taxable territory a la Ketchikan (which took over its entire island) or Juneau (which took over several large islands as well as the mainland and became the single largest city in the US in land area). Arthur finds the prospect sufficiently alarming that he was motivated to dislodge himself from his hidey-hole and go find out what was going on. There is a grassroots, community-initiated “legal defense fund” that has hired some lawyers to battle the city and their plans in the courts. So we attended the meeting and became better informed. Arthur donated money (“…pay voluntarily now to avoid paying [taxes] involuntarily later”).
My own opinion is slightly more ambivalent. I don’t share the majority of my neighbors’ instinctual distrust of government and visceral resentment of taxation. I can see that the city has, in this instance, been poorly managed and ham-handed with respect to their treatment of the PSN community, but I refuse to generalize this behavior to the potential of governments in general. My own instinct would be to counter Craig’s ambitions with a move toward a greater degree of counterbalancing self-government: at the least, one or more legally-empowered and -chartered homeowners’ association(s); at the most extreme, pre-emptive incorporation of Port Saint Nicholas as its own “city” (village, but “city” in the legal sense) to effectively “block” Craig’s expansion.
And on that note, I provide this photo of a member Port Saint Nicholas’ silent majority: the trees.
I am studying US History. This is because I need to fulfill a prerequisite for this teacher certification program I want to enter, and despite having actually taught US History in Korea, I have never taken a college-level history class of any kind. So I do fine with the broad, outline-y questions, the order in which events unfolded, I know my presidents. But a lot of details are not well established in my mind. I don’t know the specific names of the originators of policies or events, e.g. the name of the presidents of South Vietnam in the period leading up to the Vietnam War, or the specific act of congress that tried to get Native Americans onto reservations on the Great Plains. So I have some studying to do. I scored about 70% on practice versions of the two “tests for college credit” that I am planning to take.
Meanwhile, I saw a tree.
I didn’t have a very good day. I tried to do some work outside, since it wasn’t raining. But I felt low energy, got really tired without getting much done, and came inside and did almost nothing useful the rest of the day: reading blogs and messing around with small, unnecessary and goal-less tweaks to my server and its plethora of not-quite-functional applications.
Perhaps I’m coming down with something. I can’t even tell.
Arthur surprised me today. He wanted to go out on the roof of the boatshed to fix his raingauge, today – it occasionally gets full of debris and needs to be cleaned out. In the past when he’s decided to do this, he will, without warning or discussion, walk out on the deck over the boatshed, climb over the railing and simply go do it. This approach is difficult for me and stresses me out. His record of falling and issues with stability and vertigo mean that I am constantly worried he will slip and fall off the roof of the boatshed. Anyway, this time, instead of just doing it, he consulted with me beforehand. He said he wanted to do it, and asked what we could do so I was comfortable with it. This type of consultation with Arthur feels almost unprecedented, so I was very pleased. In the event, he looped a rope around his belt and I held onto it while he walked out there. It’s not really that much of a safety factor, I’ll be the first to concede, but it meant that if he lost his balance, there would at least be a bit of a break on him slipping all the way down the roof/side of the boatshed (it’s a continuous curve of metal, quonset hut style).
After sending off my Professional Objectives essay, I also made some good progress on a little database programming project I’ve been working on, related to my geofiction server.
All in all, it was a very positive day. I needed one of those.
Here is a tree.
I completed my “Statement of Professional Objectives” and sent it off to University of Alaska Southeast. It’s the last piece of my application process, except for an annoying ancient university transcript that I still need to sort out. But it’s a weight off my shoulders, anyway.
I finished cleaning the GDC (RV) today. To the extent I’m going to get that done, anyway – not perfectly pristine, but the best I can manage for now.
The vehicle was placed in what is to be its medium-term parking spot, down on the house-pad Richard helped create.
An aside: I suppose that that picture above could have been my daily tree picture, too. But that particular tall tree has been featured as a daily tree before, so I decided not to do that.
And then I wrapped the GDC in a giant tarp.
Meanwhile Arthur got his boat rinsed off and stored into the boatshed. So we had a productive day of vehicle-storing.
Arthur and I got the boat out of the water, up the ramp, but parked outside the boathouse for now – Arthur wants to clean it off, debarnaclize it. And it started raining quite hard in the afternoon, so we both became demotivated with respect to outdoor activity.
Here is a tree.