Atmospheric Dandruff – Novober 12, 2022

graphix: spwilcen

Trusted sources

A visitor here from the deep south announced this morning that we were to expect snow locally, “heavy at times” according to the wild-wonderful-wacky page produced by “Trust me, I’m a skilled Meteorologist.”

Piffle.  Temperature according to my dependable inside/outside thermo-meter-humidity-reader-outer was fifty degrees.  Not conducive to snow.

Should have called Uncle Dan, the farmer-type guy to get the straight-skinny. He is the ultimate source for what to expect weatherwise in the next one to five days, how best to repair anything hydraulic, and current traffic conditions anywhere between Charlevoix Michigan and Covington Kentucky.

Not gonna happen for a couple of weeks as far as I was concerned.

That was shortly after breakfast.

First real snowfall of the season

Yup. Just before noon.  The big, wet, heavy stuff.  Two hours later, it’s tailed-off to insincere white dust. Streets and sidewalks are having nothing to do with the white stuff, preferring fall coloration, albeit somewhat damp.

I’m pulling for paved areas to maintain the upper hand for a couple of days.  On a brief break from washing, patching, and painting Chez Spwilcen walls, ceilings, and trim, I’ve plans to travel a short hundred miles deeper into Lake Effect country the day after tomorrow.  Rather not do it on icy or snowy roadways.

I’m something of a sissy

And for that, I’d rather not be on the roads dusted with snow or glazed with ice.  Sure, I can handle it, but it’s the other drivers that scare the hell out of me.  Especially the ones from real snow country – Pennsylvania, New York, Minnesota, WisCheese, and most local natives.  Sane people stay at home when this kind of weather sets-in. I chuckle when I pass vehicles, forced myself by absolute necessity to brave the elements, a lot of 4WD and AWD types, mired in winter gook in ditches and medians.  The registration plates suggest drivers you’d think knew better or were capable of pulling off automotive sledging.  Never see Florida, Georgia, or Abalama plates – those people know better.

Like me – I’m one of those discretion/valor people.

Anyway, I want to get in a long overdue family visit. So I ‘m hoping for clear roadways. On the way home, I need to pick up a taller stepladder, as I calculate the ones scattered about Chez Ski are about two feet short of letting me easily botch higher ceiling/wall seams. Anything worth botching is worth botching well, you know, but that doesn’t mean you need to be uncomfortable or risk your life in the process.

Then it will be back to work

Short of underestimating paint or needing to restock expendables, with a nosebleed ladder I should then have all I need to wrap up the painting project.

I will not complete as I had planned before Thanksgiving.  Not happy about that, but it’s a fact of life and I am constantly reminded the only “schedule” I’m contending with is of my own design.

Those who remind me of that “no real deadline” idea are mostly the very folk who take great joy in derailing my plans in favor of addressing “necessary priorities.”  Those priorities, I feel, are manufactured by those same people, who, I am convinced lie awake nights devising ways to interrupt progress.

At any rate. I’m still not going to be regular on WP for a while.  I’ll pop in to see what folk I follow are up to, but I’m soon back to spending my spare moments cleaning brushes and rollers, and vacuuming wall-patching dust.

Y’all take care out there.

Dress for the Season – Novober 10, 2022

graphix: spwilcen

Cowboy Sartorial

In keeping with the new modus operandi, you can’t dine here. This is a creative piece, To see it, you must work for it. Most won’t. That too, is something of an established modus opperandi.

325 words, approximately 5 minutes reading time
That the?

Didn’t make the cut for “Tales of the West” compilation.  Still, it wasn’t bad enough to be scrapped.  Your loss.

Seasonal thoughts

Feeling left out?  Need to feel part of a group? Especially during the holiday season? Hanker after an “exclusive” group? Here’s your solution. Join the six other folk who follow my posts. Can’t get more exclusive than that.  Tell you what – I won’t even disturb you with a passel of bothersome posts you might feel obliged to read.

A Halloween Story – Octember 15, 2022

graphix: spwilcen

Fictional works are not readily available here anymore.  That paradigm didn’t work well.  Discouraged readers and befuzzled spwilcen.

This piece however is seasonal. Like a punkin it has limited shelf-life. So I offer it up through the back door. It comes with a mild warning of MA suitability. Relax. No punkins were harmed in the story.

For you lexiphobes, it’s a 15-to-18-minute read. For you folks, just contemplating that is all the Halloween excitement you need; go find some spinning emojis.

From the Archives – Octember 14, 2022


Here’s a bit of flash fiction pulled from archives outside spwilcenwrites.

SciFI and Speculative Fiction. Originally in TheProse 7/10/2020. Here in spwilcenwrites 10/14/2022.  Nine-minute reading time at 995 words.

One, two, three, four, five.  Five people as different from each other as night and day are cloistered in a bus stop, momentarily isolated from the rest of the world.  They are there to hear a message, heed a warning. A bit SciFi-ish or if you prefer, speculative fiction. No matter. It’s the underlying message that you’ve heard so often before that matters.

Kicked a Stone – Octember threeteenth, 2002


All walks in life are not scenic rural paths or bustling city avenues.

Rather enjoy megastore parking lots.  It you’re alert and any kind of observant, you’ll chance across an abandoned penny here, another there. Now and again a nickel or a dime. It’s rare but you might be the first to happen by a dollar someone lost lying flat, finally worn-out after being pushed around by the wind. 

If someone loses a dollar or a fiver, they don’t know about it.  If someone loses a coin, they might know about it but consider it not worth the effort to chase it to where is comes to rest after rolling away.  When I see someone drop change, I’ll give them a heads-up.  Most usually they’ll thank me.  Maybe without giving me that “You crazy bastard, ain’t you got nothin better ta do?” look.  Folks seem not to care about small stuff, certainly, and lots of times not-so-small stuff, either.

Which is okay, I reckon.

Seeing a penny, clearly abandoned, most are inclined to ignore it.  Lo and behold, then you see another.  Ignore that.  Then you’ll see another. Had you stopped to pick each up, you have three cents.   Unless one of the pennies was a dime, the third a nickel. Then you might have anywhere from three to thirty cents. Or more.

Still ain’t much. But it’s something. Not income. Not taxable. Not yet.  Republicans are working on that. Democrats, I hear, are thinking to make lost change illegal. Not sure then, how or who will be criminal in that case, but then I’m not blessed with superior Democrat logic.

Kind of like life. The parking lot.  Not that you need to walk through life looking down at the ground for pennies.  Just that you need to be aware, alert to things out of the ordinary, opportunities.  Even tiny opportunities requiring you to stoop to “pick up” two, three, or more times to get anything amounting to something.

Fluid Dynamics – Octember 0xA, 0x7E6


MA: Language and curmudgeonliness

A long-winded build-up

Not a science junky, I paid attention in biology, chemistry, physics, and metal shop. I mean when the material presented was neither too basic nor too complex. And when no nearby lass managed, trying to do so or not, to capture my attentions for reasons I understood less than relativity, mitosis, names of chemical compounds, and the finer points of gas welding.

I took1 degrees in psychology (don’t bother to ask) and a relatively new branch of science. Psychology was to be pre-law, but my first experience working with honest-to-Freud crazy people wasn’t to my liking.  I mean, those people are crazy, you know?2 I mean, way-back, you could say, “He’s crazy,” and not be stigmatized as an insufferable Republican. Had I not been discouraged, needing to definitively assess a malady before devising a therapy, today I’d be in a scramble to justify an existing acronym or manufacture a new one.

My “science” degree was all things computers.  It was a good program. Graduates were expected to understand how computers of all descriptions worked – physically and programmatically.  Graduation required fluency in several foreign languages.  One had to demonstrate programming ability.3 I was a “mid-career” student, with more skill and knowledge [in information technology] than half my professors.  Some would admit to it, asking only that I keep my mouth shut during open class. Those considering me a heretic consumed, I determined, by two-ton egos, acutely demonstrating that old saw, “Those who can, do…”4

Not really a “man of science” you cannot consider me a rube. But what I know of the physical world allows me to understand drinking water from a glass, when to apply brakes approaching a stop sign, and that a just-welded chunk of metal is probably heavier than I can lift bare-handed.

My education has served reasonably well these last sixty-odd years.  I’ve become something of a socio-scientific pragmatist.

Here it comes

There’s a lad comes to visit. Nice kid. Frustrates the snot [the beauty of this word choice will soon be evident] out of me sometimes. For instance, when he has a cold5, he cannot take time from six-year-old responsibilities to cover his mouth6 when he coughs. There are limits to my ersatz “parental” corrective resources.  I resort to gentle reminders.  When he coughs mid-sentence, I admonish him to “cover his mouth.”  This he forgets before my spoken words have skidded across the kitchen floor, slamming into the cabinet baseboard.  Again he coughs or sneezes.  I repeat. As does he.  Something of a waltz.

Last go -round he’d a stuffy nose, a raspy cough, rheumy eyes, but no fever or lethargy. 


Guess who now has a cold?

And, friends and neighbors, it is a Lulu! It has been a long time since my last cold. I forgot that when I have a cold I become something of a pussy.  I run through tissues and handkerchiefs at an alarming rate.  Consume more tea than was wasted in Boston Harbor a few years ago.  I use a putty knife to pack my nose with Vicks.

I’m concerned that I do not remember how long this will last.  I am more concerned, well, amused actually, about the fluid dynamics involved.

Science Majors – Alert!

How can my nose be at once plugged tighter than a constipated Billy goat and drip like a worn-out faucet?  How is it that I can blow my nose to the ragged edge of crimson, yet before the soiled handkerchief settles into the shuddering laundry hamper [having drawn two, count’m two clear breaths] my nose has filled with concrete once again?  I weigh one-hundred ninety pounds.  How can I dislodge two-hundred pounds of mucous and still weigh one-hundred ninety pounds?

I am confused.  Anyone out there can explain?

— Notes

1 Took: What? You think colleges and universities just gave away degrees because they’ve siphoned-off enough of your money and fear you might go after a faculty position?

2 This before acronym creep, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and Sunday Morning Halitosis were legitimate diseases.

3 No one programs today.  Software “engineers” or “developers” drag and drop boxes and squigglies, expecting each to do a particular “program” thing.  [Which they never do.] It is today, at best, playing with an erector set or Legos. [I will admit, I know one or two real programmers, people writing real code. The rest of them, far and away most of them, are, [and I know I’ll catch some shit for this] “gamers.”

4 Contrary to your assumption, I had great respect for my professors.  Some were just arfking idiots, incompetent Democrats, nice people otherwise. One electronics engineering professor gleefully swallowed spit when I wrote a 3GL operating system simulator that outstripped every low-level program for the assignment in performance, and shamed the 4GL languages as far as function, flexibility, and accuracy.  Then, there was the database prof who never would admit that normalization went well beyond and often contradictory to textbooks.

5 Which is often.  I’m thinking his parents are of the school believing he should experience as many germs, viruses, and other microbes as he can so he can be a well-rounded and naturally-inoculated lad.

6 Of no particular connection, but as long as I have an audience…  This gets me.  Nurse types [medical professionals, right?] advocate sneezing into the crook of your arm. Which they do. I have watched. [I have a certain morbid fascination with medical professionals.]  This same nurse then, leaning over you to adjust your drip tube or whatever other pretext, presses that same arm, [containing the same “crook of the arm] into your face.  Is this by design? Or does the crook of your arm contain a gland secreting Lysol?  Um, mine doesn’t.  Does yours?

Aliens – Octember 6, 2022


NSFW: curmudgeonry

Yesterday Evening…

Three little aliens brought home for dinner.
We didn’t eat them.
Meant there would be five at the table to dine.
Five plates, five glasses, five forks, five knives.
Maybe five spoons.
Sensibly, no more.

Someone had to take the aliens home.
Someone then, given scullery watch.
Twenty plates,
Fifteen forks, six knives, twelve spoons,
Eight glasses six bowls, two cups.
Auxiliary pots and pans.
For whom?

I miscounted aliens?
I remember their names.
For intergalactic security
I cannot pronounce them.
Pointing fingers in the air
As I silently speak, I end with, “Three.”

Three little aliens.
Three mouths.
Three sets of arms.
How did they manage the surplus?
I resolve to watch and to learn.
And I will get the chance.
It will happen again next week:
Three little aliens brought home for dinner.

Sixty-two years retired, Dad. Congratulations. What have you to say about what you see now?