Flamethrower, part deux

In the continuing story of the hornets on the satellite dish, here is a photo from yesterday.

They are making progress. Soon, there isn’t going to be a picture.

Hornets on the Satellite Dish, day 3

These folks are getting close to no the point when reception is going to be really screwed up.

That was yesterday. This was today.

hornets on the satellite dish

Not sure if you can see it here, but the hornets are getting closer to covering the lens of the receiver.

Tomorrow? Who knows.

Thanks, Kim W. for the solution if my neighbors stumble across this.

Anyone Got a Flamethrower?

I’ve had to give up running because of a truly joyful case of plantar fasciitis, so I’ve been walking instead. Came across this yesterday on my walk. And I thought the poison ivy hedge of one of my neighbors was one of the more prominent dangers in my neighborhood. I was listening to music but it was in between tracks, and I heard the nest before I saw it.

hornet's nest on satellite dish

Hornet’s Nest on Satellite Dish

It’s hard to see any good coming from this. Sooner or later, the hapless owner of this dish is probably going to have someone go, Dad, the TV’s not working.

Frankly, I’d call a professional. Or complain to the dish company. Those poor techs. They’ve likely seen worse.

I have to admit a certain admiration for the incredible delicacy of the papery husk of the nest. Seems almost a shame to hose it down with insecticide. Flamethrower?

House of Fun/Horrors

I live in an older house that was originally a Cape Cod style. One of the previous tenants/owners was a musician who, I am informed, took his own life. But before he did so, he undertook a lot of alterations, modifications and up- down- or side-grades to the house, including raising the back portion of the roof so that the attic could be a useful space. The chief problem with this is that the insulative protection the house might have got from a real attic with fans, etc., is lost when you no longer have one. Plus, the roof has only a slight grade, which makes it ineligible for traditional shingle roofing. It has a membrane roof, which is black, and during the summer months, or even warm, sunny spring months, that roof transforms the lovely, radiant energy of the sun into heat, causing the upstairs to get very hot very fast.

I had thought of buying a window air conditioner with the idea that it might help supplement the (older) central air, but that would have been an experiment that could have been costly if it had just resulted in a higher electric bill.

And then I read an article in the Times about green roofs—which included some interesting information on white roofs. So I did a little research and found that for about the cost of a very small “window shaker” AC unit, I could get 5 gallons of “elastomeric roof coating.” So I made a trip to Home Depot and spent some money on a 4.75 gallon bucket (which weighs about 800 pounds) of white roof coating.

So, now, the first step will be to power wash the roof. The second will be to put on some sunglasses and paint. Apparently the stuff is such a bright white that you will go blind if you don’t wear sunglasses.

There are many other little and large things that the house needs. But right now, as June closes in, money is tight and this seems like a smallish thing I can do to make a largish difference.

More when I actually get this in gear.

The First Day…

Can’t remember when I first heard the bromide “the first day of the rest of your life,” although it may have been in the Pleistocene era when my age was in the single digits and the only whiskers ever on my face were those of my father when he hugged me. I have the recollection, which may be entirely engineered, that I found it deeply profound, altering my view of something or other. As with cliché, the trite bromide is, if not profound, then at least useful because it can be true — like the broken clock that’s correct twice a day.

Today may be the first day of the rest of my life, but it is not the first day of my new life. That comes in a couple weeks. For my dear readers in other countries who visit my site regularly to post spam comments (can you please not? It’s a real administrative pain and I have filtering software), there will be more on this later.

1981 Châteauneuf de Pape

Bought this bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape a heck of a long time ago and am wondering if anyone out there has any notion of whether a) it has any value, b) if it’s even drinkable, and c) what it might go well with if I do decide to drink it.

If you know anything about any of this, comment, please.

The bottle

1981 Châteauneuf de Pape


The label

1981 Châteauneuf du Pape, the label


1981 Chateauneuf du Pape

1981 Chateauneuf du Pape, the neck


A Very Special One-Time Offer

In honor of the really fun reading at KGB Bar, I’ve got a special promotion going today and tomorrow on Amazon. You can get Second Son for free. Give it a shot. If you don’t have a kindle, you can still read it with the Kindle app for your mac, pc, iPhone, android device or iPad.

And while you’re there, why not go on and pick up a copy of The Final Appearance of America’s Favorite Girl Next Door.


Also, check out Carter Sickels‘s work. He read with me last night. Really good, finely observed stuff. Can’t wait to read the whole novel.

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Fiction and Loneliness

I’ve read it more than once that for David Foster Wallace, whose work I admire tremendously, and for Jonathan Franzen, whose work I also admire tremendously, fiction was/is (Franzen said in an elegy to Wallace) “‘A way out of loneliness’ was the formulation we agreed to agree on.” Since the first time I heard that idea, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering about it, specifically if it were true for me. If I write and read fiction as a way out of loneliness.

I don’t think so. Continue reading