The human impersonator

A woman *roughly* my age was walking a little dog.
Is that your crow? She asked.
Technically, it’s a jackdaw, I said.
(I didn’t really say that.)
No, what I said was, Actually, I don’t know who belongs to whom. Why do you ask?
Because it looks like you’re taking him for a walk.
The *jackdaw* had been following me for about a block.
On foot. The other crows do more swooping and flying. The jackdaws walk more, it seems. This one walks most of all.
A couple days later, he caught up with me again, a few blocks away.
I gave him a peanut, he followed me.
He had a comical waddling gait.
He stuck out his chest/belly and sort of waddled from side to side.
I tried to take his picture, but as soon as I held up my phone he turned his back.
I had to bribe him with another peanut, then he let me take a profile shot.
I sent my wife the picture and she said, Is he impersonating you?
I, what, huh?
Are you impersonating me, bird? I asked.
The way I see it, there are three possibilities:

  1. That’s just the way jackdaws walk.
  2. He thought he’d get more peanuts if he acted more like a human, and that’s the way humans look to him.
  3. He really was taking the piss.

Genealogy and ballistics

My wife has developed a keen interest in family history. She has been telling me things about my family, parts of which she has so far traced back to the early 17th century, that I had not known previously.
For example, the reason that I am here today is not because my ancestors were big heroes during the Revolutionary War, but because they were good at running away.
There was a father and two sons. The father was arrested by British military, escaped and built a new house somewhere else because after he ran away they burned down his old house.
The older of the two sons, he was in his twenties, also ran away when he and his 17 year old brother were arrested. He later built a house on the site of the one that had been burned down.
His younger brother does not seem to have escaped, and his branch of the family tree appears to end there.
So basically, I am here because of running.
My uncle, a direct descendant of those guys, was athletic all his life. When we played softball in the field between our houses, he was pretty good. As was his sister. My sister too.
My uncle had a good throwing arm.
For example: Once he was up on a ladder picking pears in the field, and I was down on the ground pestering him. I was a little kid. I don’t remember what I was doing, probably throwing pears up at him, because when he got tired of it he gave me a head start and I dashed across the field to my house.
It was about ten miles, IIRC. Incredibly far, at any rate, for a little kid. Maybe fifty meters. Maybe less. I ran and ran and ran. I started to laugh when I reached the edge of the field, figuring I was safe so far from my uncle up on his ladder.
But in the instant before I ducked under the electric fence to run through the trees into my house, a big rotten pear hit me in the small of the back. It was a perfect shot. It got me right where my pants met my t-shirt. The pear had the right consistency – rotten yet firm enough to survive such a long throw at a velocity so great that half went down my buttcrack, and the other half went up my back all the way to my shoulder blades.
I ran crying to my mother, out of shock more than pain.
My uncle showed up seconds later, explaining and laughing at the same time.
My mother laughed too.
Everybody laughed but me.

This morning I was glad I don’t have a cow

So this morning I was doing the cat-cow asana and like most mornings when I do it one of the cats (Daisy) jumped onto my back and rode me while I did it.

The first rule of peanut club

A man is walking to the store on his lunch break. Because he has run out of peanuts, he takes the only street where the crows don’t know him yet.
Two crows (one hooded, one regular) land in the grass next to the street and watch him expectantly.
Man: Fuck.
Man: This was my secret street, dudes.
Man: You guys are like a block away from your territory. Were you watching from your tree or something?
Man: I’m really sorry, but I’m all out of peanuts today.
Hooded crow: The first rule of Peanut Club is, always have peanuts.

So I bought a bag of peanuts, still in the shell, because that gives the crows something to do, cracking the nuts.
But they were nowhere to be found when I got back.
So I filled my pockets today on my lunch break and walked down their street and they showed up.
I tossed a peanut to the hooded crow, which is about 40% larger than the black crow, at least in this case, and it caught it before it hit the ground.
“Hey, nice catch,” I said.
They got a couple more nuts each, then a different, larger, black crow got a few.
Sometimes I give them more than they can hold at once to see how they solve that. They can hold 2 easy, sometimes 3 with a little time spent arranging the peanuts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one hold 4 at once.
The first two crows opened and ate their nuts on the spot. The larger crow, who might be new to this, carried his peanuts to some scaffolding around a house across the street and ate them there.

Question upon question

The essential question is, precisely which pheromones are in the shower gel you use that advertises “With Pheromones!!!1!”.
Most people will want a shower gel with human pheromones, and not, say, moth pheromones.
Or tiger pheromones.
Generally.
This morning I woke up at 2am and couldn’t fall back to sleep for a long time. Hours.
At 4:20 I woke up to my wife opening the window and making a big deal about how much it had snowed at night.
I fed the cats. I got dressed. I gave my wife a cup of coffee and went outside and shoveled snow.
I went back inside, took a shower, ate breakfast at some point, had a cup of coffee, got re-dressed, shoveled more snow, went to work.
At the train station my long underwear relaxed and slid down and gathered around the low-water mark of my ass which is uncomfortable and I went into the restroom and hiked it back up and since then so far so good.
I dunno, did the cold weather paralyze the elastic? Am I getting a teeny old-man ass? Do I need a booty workout? The long johns are new, I got them for Xmas.
Question upon question.

Joke analysis

A grave robber and a cat napper walk into a bar.
The bartender, drying a shot glass with a small white dishtowel, looks over towards them.
“Hi mom, hi dad,” she says.
“What’ll it be?”

(Speaker shakes gadget (not a euphemism) and it finally starts working, projecting a PowerPoint slide, showing the text of the joke in Comic Sans onto the large screen on one side of the stage, while making a disconcerting buzzing sound and a small wisp of smoke rises from its insides, so small you are not sure whether you really saw it or not.)

Speaker: “Why is this joke funny?”
Speaker: “Because it is really funny if you know us. By ‘us’ I mean my wife and me.”
Audience member: “You mean ‘my wife and I’.”
Speaker: (Fires bolt from small crossbow at audience member, bolt glances off audience member’s backpack, tangles in beard of second audience member sitting behind them.)
Speaker: “No.” (And to person with crossbow bolt tangled in their beard.) “Sorry about that.”
Speaker: “See, we’re going to a ball later this month so we were taking a refresher course because I forgot how to dance. And one evening my wife was early so she window-shopped and noticed how expensive jewelry made of stags’ teeth is, which gave her the idea to exhume her grandmother, whose funeral she had organized and whom she had had interred with earrings intact because relatives had been arguing about who should take possession of them.”
Speaker: “Which idea matched the legal definition of grave robbery, according to our legally-trained daughter.”
Speaker: “And a week or so ago our tuxedo cat disappeared, pitching us into sort of a Schrödingerish state where we try to imagine she adopted one of our neighborhood’s 4 (at a minimum) cat ladies (the way she adopted us as a kitten), and is sleeping on a pillow and drinking cream, and try not to visualize her dead in a ditch. Lucky for us, the former is a very realistic scenario, because our other cats have for years come in from nights out, warm, fur brushed and smelling of woodsmoke.”
Speaker: “And so I tried not to think about her too much and thought I was adjusting well to her absence and being a grown-up about it until one night my wife and I were driving home from the train station or whatever and roughly in front of the doctor’s office in our village I said, ‘Stop! Stop the car!’ And she did, and I got out and crossed the street because I had seen a little black and white cat in the shadows. And it marched right up to me. I petted it, and it lay down and I picked it up and it meowed in a friendly way and I carried it over to the car and got in.”
Speaker: “‘Look who I found!’ I said. I was so happy, sitting there holding our cat. The relief I felt made me conscious of how I’d missed her. My wife pulled back out onto the street, but also took a closer look at the cat. ‘That’s not our cat, honeybunny,’ she said. ‘Oh,’ I said. ‘Are you sure?’ She pulled back over to the side of the road. ‘You have to let it go.’ So I let it go and it went about its business and we drove home hoping there had been no witnesses and that video evidence of my attempted crime wouldn’t be posted to social media.”
Speaker: “So that’s why the joke is funny.”
Speaker: “Thank you for attending my TED talk.”

How do you do things?

How?
How do you complete something you set out to do?
I never get anything done. Not on my own.
I mean: I have finished a couple first-draft novels on Nanowrimo in past years, but that required such an exhausting expenditure of nervous and emotional energy I nearly stopped writing afterwards.
Especially in the year when I did *two* novels for Nanowrimo.
But I lack that energy now, and I lack focus, and other things are going on, and so forth and I find myself sitting here, wondering, how do you guys do it, you guys who finish things. I am thinking of creative projects – how do you artists actually finish one painting and then start the next – how do you photographers get yourself outside taking pictures, or into the studio, or whatever – how do you musicians music? – but this would apply to non-creative projects as well – fixing one’s relationship, parenting, planning, household chores, shopping for a new suit, looking for a new job.
How do you do it?
How do you do it?
Only collaboration works for me. I am getting music done thanks to Horst. Evco got off the ground because it was a group project and because, at the end, Ute grabbed the controls from my paralyzed hands and landed safely.
But other stuff – writing, painting, photography – I sit on ideas until they calcify and inhabit my body like unborn twins.
I guess I have answered my own question, for me – I need a project manager, I need a collaborator.
How do you do it?