Archive for June 8th, 2011

Moving on

I know, the last story wasn’t very interesting. I thought it was, but it turns out I was wrong. I apologize. At the risk of telling an even less interesting story, this is the short story of what I did in between work and tonight’s stormy book club.

This is a flower pot that sits on our front stoop and has been looking like this since the last of the snow receded.

Please note the sad alliums, discarded after I insisted they were the cause of a weird fly infiltration. I think they were wrongly convicted. Anyway, this is what I brought to show the flower pot what was in store for it.

Here come the zinnias! I weeded the old dirt and tossed some out just for fun and in went the new plants! I watered them like crazy, something I learned from Master Gardener Gwen, and here is the result.

Now, I realize it’s far from perfect (especially with all of that dirt on the concrete), but I think we can all agree that it’s a radical improvement. If you want real tips on gardening in southern Wisconsin, check out Gwen’s great blog.


Why I love paying taxes, reason #64365181682

You know those people who seem to live in bubbles and make a point to tell you that they are so unbelievably busy that they don’t have time for things like, say, ‘news?’ And then they ask you a question that you don’t know the answer to, and the answer to which doesn’t have any effect on you in any manner, but they whine with such gravity that you feel compelled to spend your time finding the answer? Well, maybe you don’t, but I do. And one such person just irked me. For the billionth time.

Which leads me to an ode to Eau Claire. I never really thought I’d write such a sentence, but here I am doing so, and doing so happily. There have been rumors aplenty in the office about the contents of Joint Finance Committee’s dreaded Wisconsin’s 2011-13 budget. You may have even heard some yourself, Dear Reader. I decided to try to tackle one such rumor myself by, shockingly, finding the text of the budget. Radical, I know. Although I do have an unabashed love for Wikipedia (despite learning recently — from Wikipedia — that one of its founders purportedly has an unabashed love for all things Ayn Rand-y), sometimes it’s best to, you know, do some actual research. Original texts can be a good place to start. So, what do I do? Well, I hit up a variety of sites, including the legislature’s own. Hmm. Can’t find anything. My research turns up what Walker proposed what feels like a century ago, but was really March, what the assembly proposed and what the senate proposed and what was taken up in JFC. But nowhere can I find what JFC sent to the assembly on Monday when the committee took its sad, final vote on the destructive nonsense. Boo.

Well, where the hell is it? After checking the usual suspects — the LFB, the Wheeler Report, Wispolitics’ budget blog (which is genius, by the way) — I turn back to the old and reliable stand-by, the google search. After paging through a few pages devoted to Monday’s supreme court argument (oh, google, you were there with me when I listened to the whole thing online! you should know I don’t need any more info on that), I came across a page from the UW-Eau Claire’s library that appeared to house state government documents. Voila! Click and click! Hmm. It wasn’t there. But what was set off in the lower right-hand corner? It looked to be…wait, is that right? No, it couldn’t be…Well, maybe…It was an area to type in a question and to instant-message with a public school librarian! (Is instant-message a verb?) I cautiously type in my query, “Where can I find the text of the budget bill that has been sent to the assembly?” I wait. I take a bite of salad. A co-worker pops his head in to ask about a brief. Beep! I am now chatting with the government documents librarian at Eau Claire. Genius! We have a brief chat about my request, she starts to look around for it, I tell her where I have looked, she tells me she can’t find it either, she takes me email address and says she’ll email me if she locates it. Hoo-ray! I know I may never hear from her again, but the beauty of being able to chat on the computer with a public-employee librarian really made my day. Possibly my week. We’ll see.

June 2011

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