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And the well does not play well with others today


With a day to myself and nothing happening on site but the delivery of fill dirt every two hours or so I figured that it would be a good day to have the well water tested for bacteria and mineral composition. So I dropped by the water authority and picked up sample bottles and the necessary paperwork. And since the samples had to be transported on ice back to the lab I stopped by for ten pounds of the cold stuff and a few beers to keep it company in the meantime.

At the property I opened the well to about a one to two gallon per minute flow, much to the delight of the nearby live oak. I’ve been letting it run like this for an hour or more each time I am there per the instructions of the water authority folks. Seems that new wells need to be thoroughly flushed before an accurate reading can be made. As today was going to be the day for test samples I figured that if one hour of flow before drawing the sample was adequate, then two or more would be better. I open the valve and go about my business counting emerging cedars, occasionally wandering over to check the flow.

About two and a quarter hours later I see that the usually crystal clear water is now a bit cloudy. Uh-oh. That cannot be a good sign. I stand there watching water come out of a hose for several minutes and lo and behold, it becomes clear again. Then suddenly, nothing. No water at all. The well head had dropped below the down hole pump and everything shut down until it builds back up, hopefully overnight.

Needless to say, no testing was done today and I learned the limitations of my dear little Edwards aquifer well. Three takeaways for the day. First, it will be necessary to have at least 1000 gallons of storage capacity for this well, which will be filled very slowly. Second, I’m glad I selected the 30,000 gallon rainwater harvesting cistern instead of the smaller one. And finally, always remember to purchase beer when buying ice for any reason. If the main reason goes south, you can always console yourself with a cold one later.

UPDATE: The next morning I sheepishly threw the breaker to the well and made the long slow march back from the power pole. Eureka! A green light on the panel! And the wonderful low hum of the down hole pump bringing up that cool, clear Edwards aquifer water. Boundaries are now established and they must be respected.




So it’s Wednesday and I left work a bit early to take John to the orthodontist. I get across town a bit faster than anticipated so I thought I would drop in to the car wash to have this Spring’s coating of pollen removed from the inside and outside of my truck. Not many folks around so I breeze in, get the $12.99 basic package, turn it over to the crew and go inside to pay.

The young woman behind the counter greets me with a smile, looks at my ticket and says, “That will be $7.99.”

Me: “No, I got the $12.99 package.”

Young woman behind the counter, with a smile: “Shhhhh…..don’t tell anyone.”

Me:  “????”

So I wander outside after the truck passes through the wash and as I’m watching the guys wipe water from the windshield and wheels I glance up at the large sign at the entrance that reads, “Mondays and Wednesdays $5 off for Senior Citizens”


So, if you are one of those people who are always looking for a sign, let this be a lesson to you!


(via Der Spiegel)

Man, I gotta come up with a new category for this one. Did their moms rub their faces in the bottom of the parakeet cage when they were kids? I mean, what the hell….?

Long live the Oxford comma!

The serial comma is one of the sanest punctuation usages in the written language. It gives each element of a series its own distinct place in it, instead of lumping the last two together in one hasty breath. Think about it — when you bake, you gather up your eggs, butter, sugar, and flour; you don’t treat sugar and flour as a pair. That would be insane.

God’s Country Taxidermy

Think about that one for a minute.

Things fall apart; it’s scientific.
-David Byrne

Entropy. It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.

I’ve been ruminating on this essay from Big Questions Online which is subtitled “How does religious ritual preserve humanity from chaos and entropy?” The author’s position is that ritual (e.g. religious liturgy) allows us to create a holy space in order to “oppose the onrush of chaos in the name of life”. As if there is on the one hand, chaos, and on the other hand, life. And that this holy space that is created through ritual separates us from chaos for the sole purpose of, well, separating us from chaos and maintaining our uniqueness.

Rinse, spin and repeat.

The image above represents, for lack of a more technical term, a star factory, and it is located in the Milky Way galaxy, our galactic home field. One would be hard-pressed to find a more chaotic place in our little corner of the universe but out of this wildly violent and chaotic enterprise new stars are right now being formed, ignited and placed in the night sky for all of us humans to enjoy whilst lounging about on a grassy hill enjoying a Shakespeare play on a summer night.

So I am a bit perplexed by the author’s almost nihilistic perspective with regard to entropy writ large while ignoring the mind-boggling creativity that arises from local eddies in the cosmic stream like the star factory. If the purpose of sacred ritual is to “oppose the onrush of chaos in the name of life”, then are we to stand opposed to the forces and the processes that gave rise to our star factory? In doing so, would we not be in opposition to the forces of creation itself? And if through the processes originated in the star factory a planet eventually evolves that supports life, would we not have opposed (in the name of life) the very forces that gave rise to life? We are not apart from existence and we are not apart from the chaos and the creativity associated with it. We participate in existence as sentient beings and regardless of our spiritual beliefs or lack thereof, in some fashion we will continue to participate in it after we die even if it is only a matter of our ashes being mixed with earth and rain water.

Instead of being used as a method for disengagement, sacred ritual should prepare us to fully participate in existence. Who are we to attempt to untangle nature? For those inclined to theism I would ask, who are you to question the cosmology in which your divinity creates (or that your divinity created)? Sacred rituals should create a space for us as individuals and as a community but this space should not be a place for hiding nor should it serve as a simple shelter from the difficulties of life. And it certainly should not be a space in which we triumphantly revel in our uniqueness. Instead, sacred rituals call us to fully engage our lives by deflating our overblown egos, dismissing our unhealthy projections and bringing ourselves to a state of mindfulness. Here we restore balance, we recognize ourselves as part of the human community, we see our neighbor as ourselves and we open ourselves to and enable ourselves to participate in the power of creativity that lies within what we perceive as chaos. Here we move toward fullness of being. Liturgy is defined as “the work of the people”. This is our work and it may be the most important thing we do as humans.

So maybe it’s not the ritual acts of the Judeo-Christian world that are increasingly a mystery to modern man, as the author laments. Maybe it’s their underlying intent.

…For arrogance and hatred are the wares
Peddled in the thoroughfares.
– William Butler Yeats

click the little guy


Pamplona bans vuvuzelas for bull run

“Given that vuvuzelas produce noise levels that are both irritating and dangerous, sale of them has been expressly forbidden,” a town hall statement said, adding that police would confiscate any found on sale.

(via The Guardian)