So last night I dreamt of hamsters. Specifically, I dreamt I had brought home two hamsters as pets, but they'd scampered off out of sight somewhere in the house. In this dream, I had a giant computer in the living room. Not like one of those 50's computers with the punch cards, but a modern desk computer, only a giant version of it, big enough to climb inside. I found one of the hamsters in there. It had made a nest behind a giant capacitor in the back corner. I hadn't realized that hamsters made nests.

In waking life, mind you, I have not had a hamster since my childhood, and don't especially believe in the notion that man ought to cage rodents as pets.


And speaking of childhood.... I was having a conversation with a girl who mentioned a memory she had from when she was very, very young. She asked me what my earliest memory was. I told her it was being a sperm. I felt warm and safe in my father's ballsack. But then all of a sudden I was swimming, with all these other sperms -- but, obviously, I was the fastest one!! Think about that, every single one of us, man or woman, was once the fastest sperm.


Question of the day:
Since the average adult male produces over a hundred million sperm with each ejaculation, and typically no more than one of 'em actually comes to anything, what percent of your sperm is God okay with you wasting?

In node auditing news:

etouffee is done

Jet-Poop -- on page 25 of 27. Almost there!!
iceowl -- on page 1 of 10.
teleny -- on page 1 of 10.

Blessings, all!!

Today I have begun to loathe myself for procrastinating far too much. And what am I doing about it? Sitting here typing into E2! Perhaps in some pathetic hope that someone will read this and sympathise, maybe think to themselves "yeah I do that too" and I will get some sort of abstract validation from them adding my plight to the great collective subconscious.

I am supposed to be writing a set of briefing notes about Psychogeography, by luck it's a subject that interests me but every time I start up OpenOffice to begin writing a strange force distracts me, putting me in mind of that film 'The Destroying angel' by Bunuel where a party of people find that they cannot leave a room because someone hesitated when they were about to cross a threshold. I seem to remember most of them die of starvation.

Even more mystifying to me is that when I do get around to writing the notes I will be paid 500 pounds which I need really badly. But I know that quiet little destructive voice in my head and I am convinced that it wants to see if things really will get as bad as I think they will if I don't get some income for yet another month.

I have had two months to write this bunch of notes, and I have astounded myself at the lengths that I have gone to to avoid engaging with it. I decided to begin by reading everything that Guy Debord wrote concerning the Situationists adoption of Detournement and Psychogeography but managed to divert myself into reading Marcel Mauss' 'The Gift' instead (a real fun romp of an anthropological tract, that I can heartily recommend). And then out of the blue I got an offer to become a film extra. It appears that my darling wife had used her new ipad to post a surreptitious photo of me on a casting website, just at the moment when they were looking for people that looked just like me. Normally I wouldn't have played along with the idea, but what a fabulous opportunity not to finish the writing, so I went.

Although I am not allowed to talk about any details due to my contract, I can say that I was called upon to become a medieval courtier for a few days, sitting at a banquet in a massively impressive set of a great hall in a castle. Talk about walking into escapist fantasy, I began to think of the days on set as living in mythical time, an impression that was heightened by the amount of surreal time that is spent with a large number of impressively costumed people hanging around in the largest weirdest industrial estate that you ever saw. I am now completely distracted, the filming is over, and I want to do more. Now!

The contrast of sitting alone, tapping away in the small room that I call 'the office' and spending a day with several hundred extremely focused people, at the point of culmination of millions of dollars worth of effort, surrounded by lights, smoke machines and with cameras pointed at you, that contrast is about as extreme as you can get. I can fully understand why film stars often go a bit strange, the whole setup is intended to induce an alternative reality and it is very hard not to believe in it while you are there. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting anything to do with stardom or celebrity, after all I was only an extra amongst maybe 200 others, but the fact that at any given moment your presence alone is critical to some extent in a logistic project that is staggeringly complex, that there are people whose sole responsibility is to straighten your hair, or refill your plate, or powder your nose. The whole experience is strange and delightful and the hardest thing of all about it is coming to terms with the fact that you are earning your money just by existing in that moment, rather than by what you produce.

So today it is back to the shoddy little drama of trying to paraphrase a few alcoholic revolutionaries from the 1960's, or maybe mooching around E2 a bit more, or maybe a cup of tea.

I just picked about two cups of fresh lima bean and an armful of small late season tomatoes from the garden to make some soup. For the most part, the rest of the garden is bare and has been for many weeks now. I should have taken this year off. It would have been the perfect year to have burned the weeds and tilled the garden in late spring, and just to have sown in a cover crop of some legume such as white clover and then have tilled it under for its organic mass come fall. Instead I gave up on the garden midsummer and never got around to finish the gardening daylog that I was working on for August. But for those interested in reading, here is what was going on.

I had a wonderful "Sunday" on Friday July 20, 2012. It seemed like that we have not had a 'perfect' Summer’s day all summer until then. We recently endured the worst heatwave since 1995 and have been suffering through, along with most of the country, a severe drought.

The previous week we were fortunate to receive a good 40 minute downpour from an isolated thunderhead. I was driving home from work and as I approached towards the dark cloudburst the heat of the day fled from the downdraft of cold air from on high. I literally could smell the rain in this cold air. As the storm passed, a quarter mile from my home, the heavens opened up with drenching, gutter-overflowing rain.

This was a very isolated storm but the rest of the region received more widespread relief that Wednesday night as a cold front came through.

Early on in July, I harvested the remainder of the golden beets and cabbages. This capped the spring growing season which, compared to recent years, was very fruitful.

I am very pleased to announce that I succeeded in growing a very modest yet very tasty crop of Supersweet corn. I had to water nearly every day in the drought and the stalks got blown over right at pollination time. Not every stalk grew to a decent height and on those that did, not every cob was completely filled out with kernels. Japanese beetles ate up the corn silks and the ends of the cobs were chewed on by little black beetles and even fruit maggot here and there. But, after trimming the ends, the fruits of my diligence went onto the grill and onto my dinner plate.

Another water intensive crop that I babied through the drought were the onions. I harvested some very respectable sized Walla-Wallas this year. I have grown these sweet onions before with great success. This year the overall yield was not as bountiful as last but I will fill a stocking or two with them this year. I grew Copra onions, a storage cultivar, as well. Most of them ended up on the small side. But they will be appreciated when the Wallas have all been eaten I am sure.

While most of my potatoes are still growing, the Yukon Gold's came ready to harvest this month. The yields were very disappointing. Out of a pound of seed potatoes I think that I only yielded maybe four pounds tops. I hope that the remainder of my cultivars have better growth. (Update: The yields of the other cultivars were also poor)

The Japanese beetles have been chewing the hell out of the pole beans as usual. Right next to the pole beans, the lima beans are completely untouched. This was the case last year and I am wondering if maybe a bush-style green bean would be unappetizing to the beetles. My mother grows bush beans instead of pole beans and I do not see her bean leaves all full of holes

Speaking of Mom's garden, I am (pun coming) GREEN with envy over her garden. We rarely have the kind of heat in which melons thrive and she has got beautiful charantis and watermelon vines crawling about vast sheets of gardeners fabric. How that woman can use that fabric and not have armies of squash bugs lurking underneath is beyond me. Her zucchini, yellow squash and butternut squash plants are all huge and healthy too. She has a bit of a powdery mildew problem and a bit of wilt transmitted by cucumber beetles, true, but she has the “garden-of-eatin” compared to what I have got going on.

My cucumbers are scrawny, scraggly, pathetic specimens which have yet to produce any fruit. Those are the ones that have not died of wilt. I have cucumber beetles everywhere and they are chewing the shit out of the cukes. They have left their mark on the melons too. I had to pull up the entirety of one cluster because of wilt and the rest are pretty stunted looking with very few fruit. I got some begrudging growth from the summer squash plants but the zuccini plants just seemed to flat out refuse to grow at all. As usual, a found squash bugs at regular intervals which I crushed. I had gotten only a handful of squash harvested when I noticed that every one of the plants had sawdust around the base of the stems. Sure enough, they all had squash vine borers in them. Multiple caterpillars infesting each plant. So much for squash. (Update: In the end, I had a total failure from the cukes, and the melons only grew to baseball size)

To round out the summer garden woes, my okra plants are still only a few feet high. They are flowering and setting pods, but they are woody before they get two inches long. How useless! Now that I have corn, onions and tomatoes, I should be making vegetarian gumbo but not with these plants. When I return to gardening, I am going to go back to using Burpee's North & South Hybrid.

But I really think that I am going to take a break next year. The vermin have taken a hold and I need to break them by starving them next year's generation. So much for grandiose aspirations of Spring. Instead of planting any fall crops, I have started on a scorched earth policy!

Last month I read that drenching nutgrass with diluted molasses will kill the nutlet and, eventually with repeated applications, the weeds will disappear. I gave up on that in favor of using fire. So far, I have used my Flame Weeder twice to incinerate the nutgrass and everything else where I am not currently growing anything. The nutgrass comes back fast, but the idea is that each time the nutgrass has to re-grow itself, the nutlet depletes a considerable amount of its stored energy. If the plant is continuously killed before it can restore its caloric deficit, the nutlet will eventually exhaust itself and die. I have noticed that with even the hardcore chemical herbicides that kill nutgrass, repeated applications are often necessary. So it would seem that whatever method is used to kill nutgrass, the endgame is to starve the nutlet.

We shall see, I have plenty of propane and plenty of summer left to stay this course. By fall, I shall at least know enough to finally write my Nutgrass node. If I succeed I might have enough time to put in a cover crop of clover. A few seasons of letting a legume manure crop grow to infuse nitrogen into the soil will do it some good.

Well, once again that was in last July. In the eight weeks between then and now and since I last wrote anything about gardening, I have fairly eradicated the nutgrass. After the fourth of sixth burn, the little of it that came back, I just pulled out by hand. I can conclude then, that nutgrass can be killed, over time, by exhausting the nutlet.

The drought eased in my corner of northeastern Illinois and it did turn out to be a good one for tomatoes and eggplants both of which thrived as the early blight that they typically get did not appear due to the lack of moisture. It was so dry that even the mosquitoes were almost non-existent. We had about a dozen or so nice peaches, but zero apples. Somehow I mistakenly planted broccoli instead of Brussels sprouts for a fall crop, but besides that, I did not plant anything else. The fennel was looking good but bolted recently, probably from drought stress.

Oh, well. Next year will be an off year for me vegetable wise, but it shall have something to write about in growing a cover crop to try to restore nitrogen and organic material into the soil. Maybe I will buy a soil testing kit to see what else the soil is lacking after about ten years of continuous cropping. I am also hoping, as I have already written, that I can break the life cycles of the various species of vermin that have become so abundant. Hopefully they will starve or leave to lay their eggs elsewhere.

In the meantime, I have taken many notes from a book on Chinese agriculture which I am hoping will turn into at least two, perhaps three, good writeups once the humdrum of Winter sets in. Facinating stuff. But besides study and soil management, it is going to be a year at the farmer's markets for me for 2013. Eh, maybe I will find another spot to grow a couple tomato plants as well.

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