No idea why…

This morning I took the back way to work, through the Vienna Woods.  In one village, I had to stop my car and wait while a group of chickens crossed the road.

It’s going to be one of those days, I thought.

On writing

He stood on the deck of his dirigible, long coat tossed by the storm, and calmly flicked a sliver from his leathery palm with a Bowie knife while fires raged on the ground far below.

“Stories are like killer robots,” he said. “Never really finished, but at some point you just have to unleash them on the world.”

He walked towards the captain’s lounge. The rhythm of his peg leg on the deck sounded like a heart in love.


Man: It’s so nice to be able to go into your yard and pick food. Fresh cucumbers! Tomatoes! Chili peppers! Beets!

Woman: Plums! Nuts! Zucchini!

Daughter 1: We should get a cow. Then we’d always have milk.

Daughter 2: Or chickens. Then we’d always have eggs.

Daughter 1: Chickens, bleah. Do you want eggs every day?

Daughter 2: Pigs! We should get a pig. Then it could have baby pigs…

Man: Aw…

Daughter 2: …and we’d have bacon every Sunday!

A stinger in my knuckle

Found a stinger in my knuckle this morning. I pulled it out and it soon stopped hurting, no idea what it was from. Not a honey bee.

Wanted to eat a green pepper yesterday. I picked it on the weekend. This is the first year the bell peppers in the garden  have been big, thanks to all the sun and heat and rain we got in June. As big as in the store! So I picked the big one on the weekend, and never got around to eating it. Then when I picked it up to eat it in the kitchen last night, it was rotten. Gamma felt sorry for me because I had been so proud of it.

Never pick peppers until you’re ready to eat them is the lesson, I guess. I went out to the garden to pick the other one (the plant had only two on it). It was a little smaller, but just as rotten as the one I had picked.

So I guess the lesson is to pick your peppers and eat them immediately, as soon as they reach a nice size.

Have half a dozen more plants with lots of small, spicy looking peppers on them. Have a couple with what look like jalapeno peppers, but when I tried one it was hardly spicy at all. Have several with small, purple chilies that are pleasantly spicy, not so hot that you get the hiccups though. Then there are a couple plants with lots of little green chilies that are uncomfortably hot.

Any ideas what you can cook with hot chili peppers?

Careers in science: ichnology

The ichnologist is trying to edit ten years worth of blog posts into some sort of readable manuscript.

It is harder work than he expected. “Gosh, I used to be a jerk,” he thinks. “Why didn’t I realize that then? And why did anyone read my blog?” he wonders.

Then he finds a ten-year old blog post in which he wrote about a trip to the United States during which he realized what a jerk he was.

The ichnologist is sitting on the sofa joking with his teenaged daughter. He reserved a table at a restaurant for the two of them and the person on the phone had trouble with his name, and finally used his first name instead and when they went to the restaurant there it was, his first name on a little sign on the table. Now the ichnologist and his daughter are trying to find the perfect name to use when reserving tables.

A name that is funny, but possible enough so that the people at the restaurant would still use it.

The ichnologist suggests Eierklammer, which is possible – Klammer is a name, after all.

Dr. Eierklammer, says his daughter and they laugh.

At a cabin in the mountains, the ichnologist’s wife screams in the middle of the night and wakes everyone up.


She hears mice. But no one else does, because her screaming stopped the mice in their tracks.

Mice, mice on the roof. Ceiling. Whatever. Coming out a mouse hole under her bed. Mice in the luggage.

The ichnologist is hard of hearing, he never hears mice. But then, later, reading on her bed one afternoon, he hears them, thundering across the ceiling.

He wonders are they mice or rats? Or some other, medium-sized forest fauna?

The horses are nowhere to be seen, he thinks, crossing the field to the cabin late one night in the pitch dark, coming back from somewhere.

Then he hears it – something thundering his way in the darkness.

What is it, many tiny things? A bunch of medium-sized things? One or two big things?

There in the dark, he knows the answer: Yes.