November 12, 2022

Just a scene, and sausage balls

Y’all can’t be any less sick of this than I am. But I’m only a third of the way through this exercise.

Went to Kroger this afternoon, it being the first cold day of the year. Yesterday I was sitting out front of Smokey drawing up plans for fun projects with a charcoal grey EF LAMY Safari on a simple Walmart dotted notebook, in that weird seasonal state where I can’t quite imagine what the other seasons feel like, despite having gone through more than fifty of each.

But I slept like a mountain last night owing to the cold, my heater kicking on once it got into the low 60s in the house.

I realized as I climbed out of the depths of hypnogogia that it was time to begin my seasonal consumption of that most unholy of medicinal hot beverages, the demonic sludge that is

coffee.

I hate it. I hate it SO much. But I won’t argue against the fact that it absolutely works. And…don’t. Just don’t. “You need a french press with coffee beans they fish out of cat shit.”

So off to Kroger for a couple pounds of Cafe Bustello and a container of Coffeemate, because that’s the least bad combination I’ve come up with. Yep. Plain old coffeemate. Not milk, cream, vanilla caramel hazelnut whateverthefuck. Nope. Coffeemate.

Busy day up the hill. The store wasn’t QUITE a mob scene. But it was certainly a scene.

The supermarket fascinates me. Unless you’re from such a high economic bracket that you’re just flat out not going there then it’s an exhibit of a pretty reasonable cross-section of the regional fauna.

The man in his 50s, over six feet tall, huge, shaggy and downtrodden, jeans and a worn flannel shirt, lumbering over the cart behind a woman on a scooter we all know is actually for fat people who spares him nary a glance as she picks and pokes indecisively through aisle after aisle of something like food. I realized after seeing the pair of them three or four times that I wasn’t sure if she was his wife or his mother and I was less sure which would have been worse.

And now, in 2022 I can say this with no irony at all: The moms in their mid 40s wearing high-rise jeans who light up like a Christmas tree at a kind word.

The black girl tutting through brands of bread wearing a…not quite corset, looked more like a lifting belt strapped on like a corset over a t-shirt in what appeared to be an attempt to maximize proportional ratio, coming across as a bit of a cartoon, complete with hastily applied fake eyelashes.

A skinny little goth kid with what looked for all the world like four inch platform doc martins, a completely ink black outfit with enough layers that made the individual articles of clothing largely indiscernible, dangling silver cross earring, a black cloth covid mask, and a half ounce of muscle tone to his name, transported right out of a 1986 Sisters of Mercy concert in Manhattan into the next century to stand in front of the eggs in middle Tennessee, wondering no doubt what the fuck he was doing here.

A couple just hitting the stride of their mid-30s and their mid 200s, he in his best ball cap, she with her best lip fillers, both seeming to see what they used to see in their reflections in the freezer case, trying to decide between the selection of Hungry Man dinners for the next week; a poor man’s meal prep.

I ended up walking back and forth through the store half a dozen times trying to remember why the fuck I left the damned house to begin with, my cart getting a little more thoroughly stuffed on every lap, Count Dorkula never moving the whole time.

Sure there are some grumpy people, as distinct from the busy people (of which there are a shitton.) But most people in a supermarket in middle Tennessee don’t think who the hell they are.

If you (read: I) just start talking: “Huh. Ground beef at $3.99 is highway robbery.” I’m at least as likely as not to get someone walking by to chime in with at least a “you ain’t kidding” and perhaps with a “well, it was $2.49 a pound a couple weeks ago” which launches into a small talk conversation.

Walking past the meat counter I heard a woman say “I’m old enough that I don’t much care about what other people think. I’m gonna say what I’m gonna say.” with a smile.

I chuckled and said “that’s not a bad way to be” which elicited a couple chuckles from bystanders.

“Yep. I’m enjoyin’ it.”

“Me too.”

I got into a little exchange with a couple old black women on scooters, right out of central casting, shopping in Kroger together, having their “day out”, both wearing wigs made of some substance that hasn’t grown organically since it was part of a dinosaur. I gave them the recipe for sausage balls (tomorrow’s escapade) with they dutifully listened to and didn’t write down. Of course I didn’t realize that ‘til later.

I finally decided, after having had that interaction, that it was time to start screwing around with Sausage Balls.

For those of you who don’t know, sausage balls seem to be to be a uniquely southern fall food thing. It’s nothing fancy, just bisquick (or something similar), a pound of sausage, and a pound of cheese. Mix ‘em, roll them in to little balls and bake them.

They’re delicious out of all proportion to what it takes to make them. A few years ago I was all proud of the fact that I’d discovered them and made them at my sister’s place over thanksgiving. I might have been the only person who had any. I couldn’t figure it out. No idea. It made and makes no sense to me. It’s not like it’s particuarly exotic. Whatever.

But what I’m thinking is that I’m gonna try adding some bacon (because duh, bacon) and maybe even a little bit of maple somethingorother, just to see what happens. I’ll probably have to beef up the amount of biscuit mix I put in there. But that’s what the experiment’s for.

At least I remembered the coffee.

Friday Night Rambling: Resistance to Flow

That expands upon which you focus.

Despite (or, perhaps “given” is a better word if I’m being strictly honest) the amount of workshop hardware I’ve acquired (to say nothing of the amount of fucking money I spent on it) in the last few months, my head has suddenly taken renewed interest in…

programming projects.

The Personal Knowledge Management System which I’ve been affectionately calling the Huge Honkin Console for the last 20 years (and yes, holy shit, it’s actually 20 years) is actually starting to move forward.

The cyberdeck has taken residence in the front of my mind again as well. But I wrote a bit about that a few days ago.

Today I headed down to smokey and actually did some design work on that project. Physical module layouts, device breakdowns, internal infrastructure (which will be considerable, consisting of at least two routers, a switch, a couple usb hubs and several little microcontroller development boards with a gps radio, and…other stuff.)

I took a hack at the white-board of the software connectivity among all the components. What’s going to talk to who and how. Am I going to be able to switch out modules and have the system auto-adapt to whatever attachments might actually be in the little ecosystem (yes.)

Another settled question is whether the thing will have and/or be a wifi satellite that’s location aware enough to be able to “know” it’s home or at the cigar lounge and to behave differently based on its location. For instance, if I pull in the driveway and the thing is in the truck under power it’ll know the home network is within range and it’ll do things like dump any data collected since last time out to the home network to help avoid data loss.

And yes, there are other things it’ll do to help that across a network connection and such.

But that’s been jazzing me up lately.

One of the problems I’m having with the amount of time I’m spending at the cigar lounge isn’t the time itself so much as that it’s REALLY fucking up my creative process. I actually need a day or two without dealing with any other humans, aside from perhaps at a checkout counter, to get myself rolling. So these “I’ll take off for a couple days” that lead to “yeah okay, maybe I’ll go for one” really fuck with my mojo something fierce.

I’m not sure what to do about that. But I’m gonna have to do something about it because this can’t stand the way it is. My current crop of friends are the best humans I’ve known, and it’s tough knowing that what I should really be doing for me is just not hanging out with them as much as I do.

BUT, to do that I have to immerse myself in my own environment, break the habit-groove that’s forming of heading down to Hendersonville to have a cigar more days than not and let that first day, which is about as bad as a first day of fasting, just kind of burn off so I can get down past the clutter.

Funny to me that I just realized how much it seems to be the same phenomenon for writing, fasting and other habits and pursuits.

Seems that there’s always a bit of what I call cruft on my head when I write, that torturous first day of a fast (which is on my mind as it’s been a bit too long since I’ve done a good 4-6 day), and yeah, even getting rolling on my own projects creatively. I my brain needs buffer time to get through the nonsense and actually get rolling.

Without that…burnoff time it’s really strange what happens to my perception of my pursuits, hobbies, and projects. They all seem to be far FAR more distant than they really are. I could go downstairs right now (and I’m fucking NOT) to screw half a dozen eye bolts into the ceiling and thread some aircraft cable to hang the dust shield (long story) up. I’ve been dodging that for a week, having all the stuff sliding around the back of my truck, for no reason at all.

Yet another point tangental to mental and creative context I suppose. It just keeps coming up. At some point I’m going to have to tie all this shit together and see if there are breadcrumbs through out it all that I haven’t yet picked up on. Wait, no. I’m going to have to tie all this shit together and find the breadcrumbs that are no doubt strewn throughout it that I haven’t yet picked up on.

But back to the topic nominally at hand: It strikes me that it’s the same phenomenon as the front end of getting yourself sat down to get some work done, differing only in scale.

And if so, does it imply that the notion of the Flow State or being in “The Zone” is a phenomenon that has large and small scale waves to them?

People talk about being in a Flow state in purely binary terms. But past a certain threshold of resistance I don’t really see any reason it should be so. The problem (well, a problem) is that the nature of a flow state makes it very tough to actually come up with metrics about…I think. I suppose there’s some kind of test or observation you could come up with that would tell you “how flowy” you were being. But that’s definitely beyond my ken. Plus, I can’t see how something like that would be resistant to being gamed, owing to its seemingly subjective nature.

So now that my brain is going back and forth across this idea, it also starts to sound like it dovetails pretty well with the resistance involved in procrastination. The artificial resistance that creates that notion that a task is somehow far more onerous than it actually is, a mountain made of a molehill.

It does give me some clues as to how to get a hold of things that seem to be quite intractable though.

See, now it’s midnight and I’m rolling, rather exactly to the fucking point I suppose.

More questions than answers again I’m afraid. But it does get it down such that I can let myself think about it on the back burner a bit.