26 June 2012

I am sad. It is hot and that makes me miserable. This is a record, five days of triple digit temperatures. And The fires. Good God, the fires. There's been one up north for the whole month, then one south, and we saw one begin in the mountains when we were hiking. Now one in Boulder. I think it makes 15. Denver is shrouded in smoke. It's like some apocalypse film. It's hard to breathe. Some people are even being evacuated because of ash instead of danger of fire.

My beautiful state.

It's not the first time this has happened in my lifetime. Two notable years were 1994 and 2002. In 94 a fire on a mountain called Storm King about 10 miles from my house killed 14 firefighters. I-70 was closed for days. The sun was an oppressive hazy blob.In September of the same year, heavy rains caused the bare mountainside to collapse and close the the interstate again.

In 2002, the Coal Seam fire burned 12,299 acres just south of the other fire. Again the interstate was closed. Again, we could hardly breathe.

When everything is so dry, all we want is rain, but the danger of that is lightning causing more fires, and the rain causing mudslides on burned land.

Nothing is safe.

But at least the sunsets are pretty...
An english professor once told me that there was a word shortage in my world. And yes, I am a bit pithy. I like to be concise. It's said that Einstein wouldn't let his assistants use more than one sheet of paper for their ideas. They had to explain things clearly and briefly, otherwise no one would understand.

We live in a world of short attention spans. So perhaps I pander to the times. However, I also feel that we also live in a time of great abundance of words. It's easier to get published, or at least self-publish these days. The internet and cell phones have created new versions of written english. And because of these two things combined, some awful work is out there. My problem with the argument that some of these awful publications are making kids read, is that it's making them read crap.

And then there's the movies made from this drivel. Making a movie of something does one of two things to people who see the movie. It either incentivises them to read the books for themselves, or disincentivises them to the same. They already have the story, why read it? The Lord of the Rings movies surely popularized Tolkien, but most people my age and younger still haven't read the books. My mother told me I should read them before I saw the movies. I am glad that I did. That way, I still have my mental images of the characters and places. The movies made that impossible for those who read after watching. And I don't blame Peter Jackson (the writer/director) at all, the New Zealand sets and wonderful cast are quite unforgettable. Still, nothing beats the power of imagination.

Some people criticize schools (high schools mostly) for forcing kids to read certain things, discuss each bit of the book, write about it, take tests on it, ect. They say it's not making kids want to read, instead it's making them hate reading because they associate reading with a bunch of useless work. I partially (but only partially) agree with this. I certainly didn't like to read all of the things I was assigned to read. I even changed my major because I preferred reading on my own time. However, what I think lit classes are good for goes way beyond trying to get kids to like reading. Instead, it's to inbed a method into a person. This method of breaking things down and understanding them and discussing them with others is very usefull in most professions. That is what school is about, really. Most classes are not supposed to be teaching you one specific thing, but a method to carry onward and use for many other things. Exceptions are science (mostly) and history and geography. Facts are facts. But math, literature, foreign languages and the like are about the process. Or should be. In my most humble opinion.

And what began as a post about briefness turned into a rant about drivel, with a touch on schooling. How's that for maundering?

13 June 2012

I was just informed that my kilt is rare and no one is allowed to weave that tartan anymore. Cool. Except I found this out as I was trying to purchase a sash to match it. So it makes me sad. The gentleman on the phone (very Scottish) gave me many options about finding a company who could weave it. They will likely be very expensive, as they were all actually in Scotland. I must now do some research. I don't intend to spend more than fifty or sixty dollars on this endeavor, so I'm expecting this search to come up fruitless.

It's call the pride of Scotland.

02 June 2012

I successfully completed my second 14er today. It was my second attempt at Grays Peak. It was actually fairly easy. A very enjoyable day.

01 June 2012

Kilts have heaps of fabric. Just in case no one knew. I finally got around to hemming mine. Last time I wore it I was teased that it was a skirt because it came down below my knees. But it was daunting to think of hemming it. And it was hard also. I got some advice from my mom, and it wasn't too bad. I folded it up to the appropriate length and ironed the fold. Then sewed it. I used somewhere between 3 and 4 yards of thread and it was only a simple whipstitch. I then had to iron the pleats back in. It took a couple hours all told. I hope this means I'll wear it more now that it's the proper length.