First the earth cooled. Many millions of years later, I appeared and decided that having a convenient outlet for self-expression and public exchanges would be a good thing, so here it is. I'll be posting whatever strikes me as interesting, useful, or funny. I hope to get as much as I give, so don't be shy--let me know what you think (click on "Comments (Add/View)" under the entry) and I'll get a notice. I'm Glenn, the Glennformer, and this is Glennformation.

Monday, January 2, 2017

'twas close enough to the night before Christmas ...

... that when I took this picture I was sure it was a perfect fit for that poem. You know, that part about hearing the clatter on the roof, springing to the window to see what was the matter, and "what to my wondering eyes should appear, ...", nope, not a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer but 20 turkey vultures. Yes, I did re-read the poem and the clatter was on the lawn, not on the roof, and, actually, the turkey vultures usually swoop in and stand there fairly silently. Still, I'm claiming it's all close enough to smush together.

Except for numbers and size, they aren't that impressive as just black blobs on a roof across the street, so ...
... here are two more photos of a couple of them sunning themselves on my deck the next day.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Vancouver Olympics

Opening ceremony a little too politically correct?

What do you think about the games?

Who asked you ?!!! (Well if they did, what should they ask and how would you answer?)

Click here to take survey

Saturday, September 12, 2009

operation jail break

The lead banana sees his chance. Detaching from his peel on one side, he lowers himself to the counter. Once free from his peel, he'll have escaped from the dreaded banana hook.  The other bananas, slow but not stupid, quickly follow suit.

Monday, January 26, 2009

a day in the life of feathered friends

lower hawk: Sorry I'm late. I've still got a "bed head".

lower hawk: That's better, feeling like my old self again. What do you want for breakfast?

upper hawk: What!? Are you kidding me!!?? You ask that EVERY DAY!!

lower hawk: Sorry. You don't have to get your feathers all ruffled about it.

lower hawk: How about a mouse?
upper hawk: (sighs)

lower hawk: Okay then, whatever show up, like always.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

you had to be there!

Overwhelmed by the excitement of the historic occasion and undaunted by the very cold weather and the huge crowds, I waited, waited, waited, and then got this picture! The last time I tried to take a picture of the president as he passed by, it was Kennedy and I was so nervous that I didn't snap the picture until his car had passed all the way by, so you could only see the back of his head. This time, with years of experience and a much better camera, I was calm, cool, and collected. Of course, I was also 22 miles away and only taking a picture of my TV screen. Even so, I'm pretty impressed with myself.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"apprehensionist" day job or the next threat?

First of all, let me say that I prefer the term "apprehensionist" over "terrorist" because, after the initial attack, we know they are out there and mean to do us harm but we are no longer terrified, just apprehensive, about what might be next. So, in between attacks, do apprehensionists have day jobs? Is this guy just an honest working Joe doing lawn care or is he practicing for the next coordinated attack, namely, crashing lawnmowers into the sides of our houses.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

what would Jesus do?

At first, when I asked Google Maps for "walking" directions from Reedville, VA to Tangier Island, VA, I thought I had clear evidence that the programmer was a fundamentalist Christian thinking "what would Jesus do?". Then I remembered there's a ferry.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Who will you acknowledge right now?

It turned out that my father died at the end of February. To me, he was a great man, a role model, and a regular source of inspiration. I'm sorry that he is gone and that more people didn't get the gift it was to have known him. Part of the "silver lining" from the events leading up to and following his passing was noticing and taking some opportunities to acknowledge him and others. So many people, from family and friends to those "just doing their jobs", were generous, supportive, and committed to making a difference in his life and/or mine.

In too many cases though, I caught myself noticing something to acknowledge someone for but letting it remain just a "conversation" in my head. What often stopped me from actually acknowledging them was:

A) waiting for the "best" opportunity instead of taking advantage of the good enough opportunity right in front of me,

B) not making a promise to myself or, better, to others, to do it at some definite time later, or

C) wondering whether I might make someone uncomfortable by "making a big deal" about something or picking the wrong format or venue (public vs private, speaking to them vs writing to them, etc), or leaving them with the idea that I want something from them in return (including an acknowledgment of me from them).

I've also noticed (by way of the subtle technique of friends telling me, point blank) that I've been reluctant to acknowledge myself and accept acknowledgment from others without looking for and stating some offsetting negative element. I've very often focused on where I fell short of my goal and I've taken my achievements for granted, not leaving myself very empowered. An acknowledgment from someone, like "Wow!, You did a great job!" would too often get a response from me along the lines of "it could have been better" or "better late than never" or "if you knew how long it took me you wouldn't be so impressed". I see now that it is just a matter of generosity on my part to accept the value of my contribution to them from THEIR point of view and that doing so is not inconsistent with any commitment I may have to excel.

So, since I know I'm not unique in any of this, I'm letting you in on my relatively new "secret" plan "B" for acknowledging others and myself, namely:

1) I won't hold out for that "best" opportunity to acknowledge someone, since it may not ever materialize; my new best time is NOW!

2) When I'm not able to communicate with the person right then, like during space shuttle re-entry or certain episodes of Seinfeld or South Park, I won't miss the opportunity to promise myself to acknowledge them at the very next opportunity (like by actually scheduling it) and I'll start by acknowledging them to anyone else, right then, right there.

3) On the format/venue issue, I'll go with "when in doubt, write it out". After all, there is that whole "greeting card" industry thing supporting that approach, so I just won't be stopped by that verbal thing. If I'm nervous about it for any reason, I'll just take on being courageous.

4) I'll include myself in my list of people to acknowledge and my new response when someone acknowledges me will be "Thank you!".

So, just because I can (and to show off), here's me being in action with the plan "B" that works for me, from an item just off the top of my head:

Who: my sister
When: right now
Where: right here
What: My sister has been the great communicator of the family. Mom & I talked the most but, often, we were just reporting things in front of other people, telling our stories and recounting conversations with third parties, such that we didn't know much more about the people who were with us when we finished than when we started. Jan has been the one we went to when we needed to "get through" to someone and she always seems to know what is really going on. She's been the hub at the center of the wheel. There have been many times that who she was to each of us in the family made the difference in us resolving a problem, keeping things in an appropriate "big picture" context, or just being in communication effectively. I'm very grateful for the glue she has provided in keeping us connected as a family. Thanks, Jan, for you being you!

So who's next? I can hear you screaming "Pick Me! Pick Me!", so since YOU are reading this, yes, I invite YOU to be next. It's a bit of a game we are playing here so I'll try to come up with at least 10 rules to add to the fun.

Processing ...
Processing ...

The Rules:

1) Just click on "Comments (Add/View)" and, acknowledge one or more people, just because you can.

2) You get bonus points if you are willing to acknowledge yourself for something, especially something that no one has acknowledged you for before (or even knows to acknowledge you for).

3) You can name names or leave them out. They'll know who you are talking about--especially if it is you acknowledging yourself, I hope.

4) After you have posted an acknowledgment here, you get bonus points when you invite the person to read your acknowledgment here. (NOTE: This is really a trick so that they'll be invited to acknowledge someone themselves. I'd like to acknowledge myself for being clever.)

5) You get DOUBLE EXTRA BONUS POINTS for inviting others to post an acknowledgment just because they can. (NOTE: This will open up the game to people that DO NOT appreciate being tricked into doing something they find satisfying by people trying to score bonus points under Rule #4.)

6) If you are already an acknowledgment virtuoso, in addition to acknowledging someone, feel free to share a great story about having acknowledged someone that will inspire others to acknowledge others themselves.

7) It doesn't have to be the grand blockbuster of all time acknowledgment. Letting the paper boy know that you appreciate his skill and diligence about not knocking over your flower pot on the front porch is just the kind of thing to not "step over" on the way to something else. On the other hand, here are two pools of people you might want to consider:

a) people who have and/or are making a major difference in your life
b) anyone who inspires you with their commitment and achievement in the face of tough circumstances

8) If you are "just" making a public promise to acknowledge someone at another time or place, let us know what you will be acknowledging them for and we'll pretend it doesn't count and you didn't get anything out of writing it down.

9) It's just a game, so if you don't like the rules, make up your own rules or, otherwise, say whatever you want to say, especially sharing what works for you!

10) TRIPLE QUADRUPLE EXTRA BONUS POINTS if you'd like to join my team in promoting other methods/opportunities/venues for people to acknowledge each other. What would life be like if we regularly looked for the greatness in others and in ourselves and acknowledged each other for it? Let's start an avalanche!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

the drama of socks in my closet reaches a fever pitch (in my head)

Having a heightened awareness to what might be going on with socks in my closet, I've been staying up to all hours of the night for the purpose of bursting into the closet, unexpectedly, to grab candid photos. Clearly, this time, I caught them in the act of something but I'm not quite sure what. At first I thought it was obvious that right sock was bored with hanging out with dress shoes and was making a blatant play for the affection of the sexy and adventurous running shoes, leaving left sock so embarrassed that it was crawling into the shoe shine box to hide. Almost immediately though, it became equally obvious that that wasn't it at all. Right sock was clearly asleep and left sock, taking advantage of right sock's trusting nature, was sneaking off to get high off of shoe polish (and claims to be able to give it up at anytime--yeah, right).
Wrong! Twice! It's so easy to jump to conclusions! It finally occurred to me that if I wanted to know what socks were up to I could just ask (duh!). It turns out that right sock had borrowed some money from shoeshine brush but didn't want left sock to know. Socks had not been working very much lately so right sock was behind in its payments. Shoeshine brush, taking advantage of the situation, was coercing right sock to shine dress shoes at night, for less than a fair wage, threatening to reveal right sock's money management ineptitude to left sock. Left sock, finally noticing what was going on (slow but not stupid), reminded right sock that they were a team and no small circumstance such as this was going to get in the way of them creating and living a life they love. No, left sock was not on the way to kick shoeshine brush's ass, it was just having an amazing conversation with shoeshine brush, who had just had a breakthrough in realizing that jealousy over socks' regular intimate contact with feet had been controlling its actions and had very nearly cost it the love and affinity of both socks and feet (who, of course, were bound to find out).
A recent competition of geniuses included listing the uses for a sock. I think the winner listed 15. I'll be adding "mirror of human behavior" to the list.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

socks on the floor of my closet

(Sorry no photo yet. Please use your best visualization technique as a workaround.)

I'm investing a lot of time in a program where I'm learning to build teams and be an effective leader. As you would expect, the topic of "what's on the floor of your closet?" came up (thanks Dan) and part of my answer, socks, begged for elaboration (thanks Andrea). So, the answer to "socks?" is:

Yes, socks; usually not more than about 3 pair but from a surprisingly large number of categories:

-- some might be just "lightly" worn and airing out, just like my shoes (at least that's what they tell me, although I think that, secretly, they have to be near the shoes they were just worn with to reduce separation anxiety)

-- some might be my "sleeping socks", which see themselves as really flimsy shoes (not at all good for protection against stubbed toes and potentially deadly on stairs) but like to hang out with the real shoes when they are not working,

-- some might have just not made it into the hamper yet (a function of falling asleep in front of the TV or computer, fully dressed, and, finally going to bed, attempting the minimum effort to get undressed for bed without waking myself back up), these are my "free range" socks

-- some might be the ones that don't like being confined to a dresser drawer, preferring to spend "quality time" with the boots they get worn with

-- some might have temporarily escaped the intended trip from the hamper to the laundry

I think that covers it. Well, mostly. Thanks for asking.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Reflecting Upon The Important Things

Amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, remember to pause and reflect upon the important things in life. If you don't have your own short list, feel free to use this one:

1) how to achieve peace on earth and practice goodwill towards men, and
2) whether we are using our modern conveniences to best advantage.

If your initial response to that short list was "how quickly can we get past that whole 'peace on earth, goodwill ...' thing", you are especially in the right place! Likewise, if you are becoming increasingly frustrated with an apparent shortening of attention spans or find yourself increasingly impatient with any apparent shortcoming of our modern conveniences, see if you can relate to this dialogue. I wrote it a number of years ago in response to a difference in expectations between me and my best friend about the purposes of voice mail. I claimed to be recalling an episode of the "Kung Fu" TV series on the subject.

(If you aren't familiar with that show, you'll be at a small disadvantage, so here's the context: there were regular flashback sequences to a time when the main character was a boy studying with a master Shaolin priest who was blind and referred to his pupil as "Grasshopper".)

.... So here's what I remember:

Snatch the pebble from my hand, Grasshopper. (Grasshopper tries and fails). Ah, you still cannot. Do not be too discouraged; you are making good progress and it will happen soon enough. Be mindful of the fact that you have mastered the ability to detect that you have voice mail messages and to quickly delete them, which leaves your mailbox pure, clean, and empty.

Yes, master. I can stop that damn light from blinking in a heartbeat. You're saying there is more?

Yes. With training, you will learn to become one with the message, to live the message, to "get" the message. Do not be overwhelmed, Grasshopper. Know that you already have the necessary technical skills which, when applied with discipline and in balanced proportions will allow you to advance to the next level. The first step on this path is to acquire the motivation to listen to the whole message.

The whole message, master? You've got to be kidding. Most of the people that leave messages for me are insufferable idiots. And even the one's that aren't can go on FOREVER--20 or 30 seconds sometimes! Really! You should hear some of this crap. In just one or two words I can tell who it is and I just call them back later; it's better for everyone.

Is it, Grasshopper? Have patience. Listening to the whole message will allow you to analyze its content and, perhaps, divine the intent of the speaker or capture the nuance. A message containing a silly song or an outburst of choice expletives, if not accepted as delivered, may be lost forever. A message might have time sensitive content such that calling back entirely defeats the point of the call. Suppose you get a message from ...

Blah, blah, blah, Master. Could you be, like, MORE tedious. I'm sooooo NOT interested in listening to you drone on and on. Just give me my homework and then you can go back to staring at the sun, freak.

As you wish, Grasshopper. Here are some exercises that may help you gain patience with voice mail messages:

1. Context and Nuance

Try to discern the difference between the following messages that are identical up until the point that you are likely to hit the delete button:

A) Hi. (you hit delete) Call me when you get a chance.
B) Hi. (you hit delete) Don't ever call me again -- BITCH!!!

2. Time critical situations

Which of the following circumstances do NOT fit your nearly universal "just call them back sometime" preemptive deleting rule:

A) dire emergency calls
B) "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" life-line calls
C) deathbed confession calls
D) attempt to abort a suicide calls
E) video rental selection request calls from your boyfriend

3. Combine message listening time with a physical workout

Imagine that each word you hear is an attacking Ninja warrior emerging from the phone. Using your finely honed slow-motion martial arts moves, defeat each word in turn. Besides the workout and the bonus of multiplying your opportunities for stress-reducing destructive bliss, you will be providing entertainment to all those who can see you but haven't got a clue what you are doing.


Anyway, I think it went something like that.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

some of my life as a commuter

Sometimes, while I'm driving to work, I'm quick enough to grab a shot just as nothing continues to happen.

At this parking garage, when I'm not in too much of a hurry, I'll use this little ramp to transition between the deck and the side walk, mostly to enjoy the spectacular view of the adjoining puddle.

This ramp is at the same garage but it is for restricted use only by people confined to a unicycle.

I'm not so sure we should keep reserving the best parking spaces for the people who are handicapped if they're going to keeping calling in sick and staying home all the time.

One train I ride on has tables specially designed to satisfy the full table, little bit of table, and no table preferences of riders who want to sit together.

If you haven't heard from me and think there's been a train wreck and it's dark, be ready to read these instructions to me over the phone.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Odds and Ends

Best picture I could get without being obvious about it. Siamese twins tragically joined at the ankle.

Ignoring the warning, many a marriage has been destroyed by the carpet cleaner that was so convenient it was used every day.

Like bats (the animals, not the baseball equipment), these spoons & sporks spend the day sleeping while hanging upside down.

By night, caught for the first time on film, they roam in great herds. The alpha sporks notice my furtive glancing & attack.

Friday, September 14, 2007

and then I bought a house

The best thing about living in a bigger place, so far, is that I can choose different rooms to camp out in.

I've decided to leave the china out & all set up like I'm about to have guests. Probably more convincing after I get a table.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. I should have some fruit in the bowl and use the good plastic flatware.

Damn! Crystal plastic doesn't provide enough contrast against the carpet & the fruit needs to be more natural. More shopping.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Selfishly, I exhaled at regular intervals

I had a nice long bike ride on Sunday. However, it occurred to me later that the whole time I was not even considering the impact on global warming due to my exhaling carbon dioxide. Near the end of the ride I stopped to fill my water bottle and decided to sit in the shade for a bit. This was all I could find and I hogged all of it.

Later, it occurred to me that I hadn't even considered the impact on global warming due to my having a black nylon bike pack (instead of the common white brick bike pack). How embarrassing. Well at least not as embarrassing as being the person honored with this 30 foot "expressway" named after her (at taxpayer expense? for how many dollars?). I bet that before it was paved, that path was a wetland where moose and caribou roamed freely.

Celebrating Health!

Since I hadn't been riding my bike much so far this year, I was guessing my cholesterol test was going to be worse than last time but it was better! I celebrated by eating this roast beef salad.

Okay. That last picture was just the serving suggestion. Here it is as eaten, with non-fat croutons and non-fat salad dressing.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

some of my life in April '04

Most of these have nothing to do with each other but they'll finally allow you to get to some sleep instead of wondering what was happening in my life in April '04. Do these fill in the gaps for you? For those of you not working on writing my biography (Carl?), please think of other ways they might be interesting.

I'm often impressed with my
knowledge of and expertise with the
controls I find around me. I'm
also willing to tutor others.

However, sometimes I can become overly focused on stuff and it has consequences.

Today I got to miss the train from
what will be my new regular
station. It's similar to
missing trains at other stations.

Like this:

Once I do catch a train, it provides time to reflect on the important things in life.

As far as blue jean seams go, this
one is the king of beers!

New caption, not just for Nancy, because this never really made sense.

Very much like train tracks, the parallel threads in this seam manage to get along by keeping their distance.

You don't have to imagine being Nancy getting ready to have a baby in Memorial Hospital to appreciate this one, but it helps.

When I was in the train station in
Newark, I was struck by how much it
must look like the delivery room at
Memorial Hospital.

Finally the rewards of reaching the destination.

Nothing welcomes a tired traveler
better than water for sale in the
room for only $4.00/bottle. Thanks

But it's not always like that.

Free ice cream at Union Station!

(New caption, for Nancy only:
Free ice cream is free ice cream, regardless of whether it's already been "used".

Now, back to my ordinary life.

Be careful when mixing different
grades of plastic bowls and
flatware during fine dining, otherwise, this could happen.

I often notice convenient uses for things that are not what was intended.

I liked this box so much that I
bought it, even though it still had an
air conditioner inside and so was
kind of pricey.

I took advantage of an opportunity to move and buy a house. The important factor--altitude. I went from the oppressive pressure of 30 feet to the dizzying height of 390 feet. Here's the proof.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

We all need to do what we can

It's been so dry that 1) I got no mulberries from my tree, 2) I got bigger apples than ever from my tree (no, NOT from the mulberry tree, from the APPLE tree), and 3) I wasn't reminded of the public service announcement aspect of these posts. All three of these may have been the result of other factors but don't let me get distracted from my mission. I know it is waayyy out of chronological order but this is a public safety issue.

When you leave a spoon in the sink,
prop it on its edge so it won't
hold water, which will keep the
mosquitoes from developing

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Baggy and I have a falling out

All relationships have their ups and downs:

My friend and I begin our great
adventure! Baggy couldn't
"afford" a ticket. What
am I to her? Just a sugar daddy?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

What am I looking for anyway?

A little background. I had a general life melt-down about 12 years ago, with a central focus on my apparent ineptitude in some areas of relationships with women, principally my wife at the time. True, things getting extreme was "aided" by a misplaced confidence in modern medicine and heavy doses of the latest "wonder drug" but having an attitude that I used to think was optimism (but now seems more like just wishful thinking) contributed heavily. In any case, it was about five years before I entertained the thought of risking the emotional pain of things not working out in another relationship and, worse, the potential for being a source of emotional pain for others, regardless of my good intentions.
Being in hotels, on business trips, rarely brought the expected distraction of being excited about being in a new and different setting; instead, it mostly left me focusing on how alone I was and what I was looking for in the next relationship. Fortunately for me, at one point a few years ago, I was staying in a rather upscale hotel and it led me to an insight about whether I was limiting my options by expecting to find everything I was looking for in a relationship in an actual human being. Opening the closet door, I reached for the valet service laundry bag and started a new relationship just like that. It was a very attractive bag, slick white (actually quite a bit too pale for my usual taste), hanging upside down and even appearing as if wearing inversion boots--quite edgy. It just hung there not seeming self-conscious at all about what it was doing. I took it out and draped it over the back of a chair. It didn't say anything but, disappointed as I was with that since I'm a very verbal person, I just went with the flow and figured I could do all the talking (it is a laundry bag, after all).
I noticed that it was communicating by way of an attached checklist that was fluttering in the air conditioner breeze. Perfect! It's telling me what it wants or, at least, what my options are, in plain language, in writing, and with me being able to keep a copy for later, apparently so we could compare notes if there was a disagreement/misunderstanding, so neither of us would be reduced to having to remember and have that be a big deal and a source of contention. It had a tattoo--the hotel logo--but I found myself being less judgmental about that compared to my attitude towards tattoos in isolation from what they are attached to. We ended up spending some time together, mostly just going about our business, although sometimes watching television together, with it just staying there draped over the chair, but finally I noticed that, just like that, I was starting to fall for this bag! Ultimately my bubble burst when I noticed that there were PRICES next to that checklist!  I immediately felt queasy--I was getting involved with a WORKING bag. Later, it occurred to me that, what the hell, I do things for money too; I guess we all just do the best we can with what we've got. I did bring the bag home with me but I knew this relationship was over. That's where Nancy came in.
As always, I keep my best friend, Nancy, up to date on my love life, or lack thereof. I talked to her about the prostitute bag and how it had opened my eyes to new possibilities. She suggested that I should still consider relationships with women to supplement any relationship I might have with a plastic bag but was happy for me nonetheless. Unbelievably (okay, not really because she comes up with this kind of stuff all the time), a few days later a package arrives in the mail from her. She'd found and sent me a very attractive cloth bag, much more my speed in overall appearance and demeanor, and with NO price list attached! It doesn't talk either but what an amazing bag! This could work out. Here are the captioned photos:

It's a magic bag! When I got
home, I found it had arranged
itself like a chef's hat on the
TV. We had a good laugh over it.

We communicated more and I've
learned that "it" is a
female and she has excellent
keyboarding skills as well as IT savvy.

"Baggy" is very domestic.
Here she's cooking my dinner.
What a great bag!


What's that noise so early in
the morning? It's Baggy
vacuuming! This is really turning
out well.

Baggy does have a troubled side; in
fact we share the fork biting
phobia. Here, I found her in the
kitchen, just in time.


 Baggy can't get enough of
bicycling even when it's just
hanging on the wall. I think
I'm falling in love.