Caveat: Tree #1563 “Robinson Crusoe”

This tree had a mountain behind it.


I built a shelf in my greenhouse. I was particularly proud of the fact that I used entirely “found” and “trash” items to build it – wood abandoned on the side of the road, some particle board shelf pieces found in the dumpster at work. I get a “Robinson Crusoe” feeling when I can do something like that, which pleases me.


CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 5km; dogwalking, 3km]

Caveat: Tree #1545 “Veterans”

This tree was in front of the Veterans Center, in town.

I try to stop at the Veterans Center (=VFW Post) in Craig on Thursdays, when Arthur and I go into town for “shopping day.” Art resists, but I think at least some small degree of socialization must be good for him, despite his inclination otherwise. Anyway, he can hang out with other grumpy old men for a while. And Jan, who is the administrative head of the post and has helped much in the past with Veterans-related advocacy-type help, is a reliable friend.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 5km; dogwalking, 3km]

Caveat: Tree #1532 “The mechanic”

This tree is beside a guy’s auto shop in Klawock, where I took the Blueberry (Art’s Chevy Tahoe) in for some mechanicking.


We had to replace the starter, and we did an oil change and switched out the winter wheels for summer wheels. This guarantees a little more additional snow, given some subsidiary of Murphy’s Law.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 5km;]

Caveat: Tree #1521 “A northbound duck”

This tree stood by while a duck swam northward (small light-colored speck on the water near the exact center is duck).

Since the sun was shining and the snow was melting, I decided I should do some work in my greenhouse.

I planted some spinach and lettuce, moved my pot with my california bay laurel trees out there.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 4km; dogwalking, 3km]

Caveat: 33MB Later…

Effective right now, this here blog thingy™is running on a fresh new server (see yesterday’s post about this ongoing process).

It was a rather fraught process – the data has become quite large (10k posts, right?). I had to extend the php script time-out limit on the server for processing incoming data from 30 seconds to 10 minutes (!). The blog extract file, not including any images at all, is 33MB text file! That’s huge for a text file. It crashes my laptop if I open it in a text editor.

Anyway, the new server should perform quite a bit faster. It’s got an up-to-date operating system and I installed a thing called memcached which is some software that helps php websites (like wordpress) perform much better. I’ve also got some new security features, which shouldn’t affect readers but will make my life as administrator a bit easier hopefully.

I worked hard to replicate the formatting and configuration from the previous server, and the appearance in most respects should be identical. If you (oh loyal blog-readers) run into problems or weird differences or broken stuff, please let me know.

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Caveat: Tree #1511 “Wearing green”

This tree wore green.

I’m very tired today. Either I’m coming down with something, or I’m just burned out after a long (-er than normal) week. There was Arthur’s doctor’s appointment, yesterday. But we also had (another) water system crisis at home last night. Our water cistern (3000 gallons) had become surprisingly empty. It turns out there was a massive leak down at the dock – there’s a water pipe that runs out to the spigot on the dock, and it had burst. So basically our water was running out directly into the sea, under the dock where no one could notice. I was up late finding the leak and then finding the spigot that turned off the water line to the dock (it was literally buried in several inches of dirt in a hole beside the boat shed). Then I was setting up and refilling the cistern – a 7 hour process, in total, using water from the new well and a garden hose.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 5.5km; dogwalking, 3.5km]

Caveat: This is my 10,000th blog post

Which is quite a few.

This blog was started in August, 2004. It only became “guaranteed daily” in late 2007. But it’s been at least daily since then, and it’s been at least twice daily (1 tree, 1 poem) since 2018. Given I’m on poem #24xx – that means around 24% of this blog is made up of poems.

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Caveat: Tree #1489 “The local gloom is an objective fact”

This tree was touched by the morning sun at around 8 this morning.

That’s the tallest tree on lot 73. It means that the sun is only a few days or a week away from touching the ground there, as the sun’s angle in the sky steadily increases with the approaching equinox. Because of our position on the north side of a steep mountain, for 13 weeks each year the sun is too low in the sky to reach us – we live in perpetual shadow. That’s one reason why ice persists so effectively on the road. Because of this shadow, the south side of Port Saint Nick (the environs of the vast metropolis of Rockpit, Alaska) is a fundamentally gloomier place than the sunny north side – that’s an objective fact!

Well the gloom is just about over. Which doesn’t mean an end to winter weather: we’re forecast a snowstorm this coming weekend.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 4km; dogwalking, 3km]

Caveat: Tree #1487 “Deep in the southeast Alaskan slushforest”

This tree was feeling white at the top of ten-mile hill.


Yesterday our telephone landline and DSL stopped working. It was puzzling and distressing because its shutdown was correlated with a moment when I was vacuuming the living room and had moved a piece of furniture, where the telephone happens to be plugged in. So at first I thought the failure of the phone was somehow related to my having accidentally unplugged it or something like that. But after a lot of troubleshooting and trial and error, it seems the whole telephone line (including internet DSL) is dead.

I called APT (Alaska Power and Telephone) but all I got was a machine. I left a message. Maybe because it was presidents day yesterday?

But then this morning I decided to mess around more with the wires involved. Specifically, I switched out the wire connecting the DSL router to the wall – it’s probably 15 or 20 years old, after all. And it had a kind of janky-looking connector on one end. Somehow, my brain works better in the morning than it had been working yesterday afternoon, and I got the right combination and suddenly our phone service was working again. So it was something I’d knocked loose after all – just needed the right things plugged into the right places.

That’s the main adventure here. A bunch of snow yesterday but then rain on top of that, and it all melted again. Just that continuous precipitation with temperatures in the mid 30’s, which seems pretty typical. Not a “rainforest” but rather a “slushforest” really.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 4km; retailing, 8hr]

Caveat: Tree #1473 “Abandoned among rocks and snow”

This tree found itself among rocks and crusts of snow.


Arthur has a daily ritual: at bedtime, he asks me “what’s happening tomorrow?”

Last night, I answered, “I’m going to work.”

“And what am I doing?” he asked.

“Not working,” I replied.

“Thank you,” he said, with immense sincerity and relief – as if it was I who’d offered him this reprise.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 5km; retailing, 8hr]

Caveat: Tree #1470 “Half-wet”

This tree was half-wet.


I overheard this, the other day, while entering the library in town. A man and his son were talking.

“Dad, when is this rain going to stop?”

“This rain will never end,” the dad answered, sagely. The dad clearly was familiar with the weather in Southeast Alaska.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 3km; dogwalking, 3km]

Caveat: Tree #1467 “The past is a beach on a distant sea”

This tree is a guest tree from my past. It’s a tree among others on a rocky beach on 무의도 (Muui Island), which is an island off the west coast of South Korea southwest of the Incheon Airport (I believe it’s here on the map). I visited this tree in August, 2015, with my friend Peter (who subsequently has visited me here in Southeast Alaska.


I had a very unhappy day at work – one of those days when I am reminded that I never had any actual training to be a “matting and framing guy”, but rather, I’ve always been in a kind of “fake it till you make it” mode with this job. I made many mistakes, working on challenging projects. I made mistakes with cutting mat board, which I corrected but always is wasteful of mat board, I made mistakes with cutting glass, including an oversize piece that had high visibility since I needed help from my boss Chad to make it happen. I’ll have to go in tomorrow and try to cut the oversize piece again. Anyway, I felt incompetent all day. Such a salient feeling.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 5km; retailing, 8hr; breaking glass, 4pieces]

Caveat: Tree #1461 “Patien(ts/ce)”

This tree existed.


You can see the treehouse in there. It’s still structurally sound, though it suffers a leaky roof, which I need to fix sometime when things dry out and I feel a sufficient motivation.

It’s been weirdly warm the last few days. Highs in the low 50’s. Though still quite drizzly-rainy. More typical of July, here, than January.

Along with our weekly Thursday shopping trip, today, I went to the dentist. I hate the dentist. Not personally. I hate the experience.

My jaw hurts. In fact it’s hard for me, post-cancer, to keep my mouth widely open. Too many cut tendons or missing nerves in my mouth and jaw for things to work quite correctly. So that’s a layer of unpleasantness for dentist visits that maybe sets it apart.

I survived. And for once, Art had to be patient and wait around for me, rather than the usual other way around.

CaveatDumpTruck Logo[daily log: walking, 3km;]

Caveat: Tree #1448 “Some days are harder than others”

This tree (slightly blurry foreground) is going to be gravely disappointed when winter comes back, which it will.


Art tried to take a walk and fell down on his face. Not really a cognitive failure this time, as far as I can tell – more likely just stumbled on a rock – bad luck (Friday the 13th, as Jan pointed out).

This was just on the road (Port Saint Nicholas Road AKA The Expressway), only steps from our house. I had been out on my own walk, with the dog, so I found him lying in the middle of the road when I got back to our house. At first I thought it was a log that had fallen out of someone’s pickup truck, because of his brown coat. Then I realized, and in the moment I found him, he was unresponsive. He did finally respond. It took about 10 minutes to get him to stand up – he’s too heavy for me to simply lift (and he resists my effort to try to lift him because he claims it hurts his shoulders, which is no doubt true, but having him cuss at me while I’m trying to help because it hurts isn’t helpful).

Finally I got him to the car. I got my wallet and such and we drove to town. We got him to the clinic (the sorta kinda “emergency room” on the island) after a 30 minute drive. He was still bleeding.

They cleaned the wounds (sorta), did some xrays, checked vitals. He’d broken his nose and there was gravel embedded in a deep gash between his eyes, and a large patch of missing skin on his forehead. After two hours (I suppose it’s just a matter of being “under observation” but of course he complained repeatedly at how long it was taking), they gave us some prescriptions and gauze and antibiotic ointment and sent us on our way. They want us to keep the wounds as uncovered as possible but keep them moist with the antibiotic. For the broken nose, they gave him an anti-inflammatory.

I knew he wasn’t feeling too terrible since he decided to spend the drive home criticizing my driving.

When we got home, I walked up to the spot where he’d fallen down 5 hours earlier. There had been so much blood. The drizzle had washed some of it away, but some blood was definitely still visible in the mud of the road.


Some days are harder than others.

picture[daily log: walking, 5km; dogwalking, 3km]

Caveat: Tree #1447 “As seen from above”

This tree is a guest tree from my past. I took this picture looking down from my apartment window in February, 2013, in the Juyeop neighborhood of Ilsan, South korea.


It was a dumpy apartment, but I liked that it was very close to work and the subway. It’s where I was living when I was diagnosed with cancer later that year.

Today I spent part of the morning fixing the septic tank aerator pump. Well… not fixing, exactly – more like replacing. The old one seems to have died, so I put in a new one, that I ordered on Amazon. The new one is installed, below – the old one is already removed.


picture[daily log: walking, 5km; dogwalking, 4km]

Caveat: Tree #1434 “The dog’s nose and the trouble it can bring”

This tree is growing out of a stump that has a hole in it where a dog stuck her nose.


Later, this dog found a dead animal carcass lying by the road at the pond (the spot I call “Rockpit City Park”). Of course she tried to eat the carcass. Subsequently, almost instantaneously, she vomited and had diarrhea, but soon she was feeling fine again.

It really makes me angry how people leave carcasses by the road. It’s irresponsible and disrespects neighbors.

picture[daily log: walking, 3km; dogwalking, 3.5km]

Caveat: Tree #1429 “The little house by the sea”

This tree is down at the neighbors’ house. I took it a few days ago, when things were snowier.

Today, it rained a lot. The snow has washed into a kind of slush underlain with ice.

We went to the neighbors and had a Christmas dinner. Other neighbors came from farther down the road, too. It was a very low-key Christmas.

picture[daily log: walking, 4km; dogwalking, 3km]


A few months back (in September), I finally received a new laptop computer, that I’d ordered last year. I’d ordered it so far in advance because the laptop is made by a new company that is making an effort to sell open source laptops that come “bare” (without operating systems installed). That company is called framework (link). I thought it was such a cool idea that, given that I was hoping to buy a new laptop anyway, I went to the effort to pre-order.

My last two laptops have both been lemons. There was the “XNote” – a South Korean domestic brand, which was just a piece of garbage running windows 7. And there was the rather pricey HP laptop I got right upon returning to the US in 2018, that had several disappointing issues (including a useless battery and having Windows 10 installed on it, which is a tautologically defective operating system). HP specifically managed to make the warranty service so arduous as to effectively prevent me from availing myself of it, so I was stuck with it. I’ve been using it, these past years, as a desktop (hence always plugged in, and therefore without any need for its broken battery). I reformatted the harddrive and put Ubuntu linux on it, and it runs fine, such as it is. But for what I paid, it remains an intense regret.

So I was in the market for a laptop, I guess. But it was in the back of my mind and a low priority. For financial reasons, too.

But this framework idea appealed to me. I have strong feelings about “open source” and “right to repair”, and this new company seemed committed to these principles.

I received the laptop with some internals uninstalled – so it was up to me to put it together: a kind of faux-“kit” computer. Here are some pictures. I installed the “hard drive” (actually solid state), the memory. The CPU and wifi were already in. I added some little plug-in doo-dads that make up the external plugs for it.









Once it was all together, I stuck in a USB stick with a Linux install ISO on it, and installed Ubuntu and got it working the way I like.


I held off reviewing it because once it was all set up, I didn’t use it very intensively for the following few months. But during my travels down south, last month, I got to use it quite intensively, and it proved 100% reliable and without disappointment. That’s the first computer in a decade and a half that I can say that about (“knock on wood”).

Here it is yesterday running some updates (at command prompt screen, of course). I like linux because I get to completely control that.



Caveat: Tree: 1426 “Snowy day along Ilsan-ro”

This tree is a guest tree from my past. 10 years ago, next week, on December 28, 2012, I took this picture in my neighborhood in Goyang City, South Korea. It was snowing.

A picture taken in 2012 along a city street called Ilsan-ro in Goyang City, South Korea. Snow, some urban trees without leaves, lots of buildings along each side.

Art and I went to town today for our shopping day, and spent some time at the Veterans center, too – longer than usual. Art normally just drops in there if he chooses to go there at all (it’s open every Thursday), but today he seemed inclined to hang out for a while.

The road to town continues to be horrible. It’s like doing a bobsled course in the car, between about 6 mile and 8 mile – pure ice.

picture[daily log: walking, 5km; dogwalking, 3km]

Caveat: 쌀떡볶이

The gift store owner, Chad, is aware of my background as a former resident of Korea. He and his wife apparently have membership in some kind of international junk food subscription service. It’s kinda of eccentric and cool.

So they bring in to me, the other day, this box full of Korean junk food – the kind you’d see at any 7-11 in South Korea. There were these one snacks in that box that I remember buying quite regularly in the store in the first floor of my apartment building: 쌀떡볶이 [ssaltteokbokki]. It was quite amazing, to get a package of these in Craig, Alaska.


So I got them and ate them, and it made me nostalgic.

Chad and Kristin are very cool bosses.


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