Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Columbia Thanksgiving 1978

Thanksgiving, 1978, Columbia (Dad must be taking the pictures) - Joe, Mom, Mary, Bobby, Mike

Saturday, November 21, 2009

He is Darkness....But...

He likes Saturdays and holiday and appointments. He comes, like a thief, in the night. He consumes whole days. He is darkness.

But I have seen blue sky through needles and branches.

I have felt sharpness of clear mountain air.
I have walked breathless in ancient cathedrals.
I have known the deep love of friends.
I have held hands as the shadow descended.
I have breathed tea olive wafting in summer
I have heard bluebirds and blue Memphis blues.
I have bathed clean in cool crystal rivers.
I have run fast along knife-edged ridges.
I have seen and I've heard the first breath of life.
I have kissed and told my mother goodbye.
I have been blessed by the laughter of children.
I have watched spiders weaving their webs.
I have held animals while they were dying.
I have felt colors assaulting my neurons.
I have cried tears until no more tears came.
I have watched seedlings burst through to the surface.
I have surfed waves from the morning to evening.
I have known joy in afternoon breezes.
I have enjoyed a hundred great singers.
I have sat on the edge of the Ponte Vechio.
I have joined voices with worshipping angels.
I have stood awestruck above Lake Garibaldi.
I have have smelled coffee at first light of day.
I have helped friends in their hour of trouble.
I have seen sundown from Cadillac Mountain.
I have heard songs that cut right to the marrow.
I have seen lighting bolts split apart pine trees.
I have smelled roses throughout Longwood Gardens.
I have seen countryside from top the South Downs.
I have watched fiddleheads unfurl in springtime.
I have been taken to the gate of third heaven.
I have waded through inlets toes feeling for shells.
I have stood in the middle of vast rustling marshes.

And I have climbed ancient castles and slept along rivers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twin Oaks - Laurel Bluff Trail

from Laurel Bluff Trail, Greensboro Watershed Trails, and NC Mountains to Sea Trail, Greensboro, NC

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Profound Wisdom About Unemployment

A week or so ago I posted a list of "odd jobs" that I would be able to do for people, needing the money as I do and such. Then I received the following comment from "Anonymous." On the surface it looks as if "Anonymous" was using my willingness to do almost anything as an example of a particular kind of "rags to riches" grit. I hate to be used however as a springboard into such a rant.

Before blogging I had never realized there were so many people named "Anonymous." The name sounds as if it must be of French derivation -" a-non-ney-mous." I think "mous" derives from an old French word for intelligence, and "ney" derives from a word meaning "gonad." Using both "a" and "non" does not create a double negation but rather is a doubling for emphasis, typical of French, with "a" meaning "without" and "non" meaning "none" or "zero." So the whole word means something like "without any brains or courage," or, framed in the positive, "stupid and cowardly." I'm glad I don't have a name that means that.

The comment I received however illustrates how the meaning of our names, even if we inherit them by adoption, often has a hidden power to shape us. I hope that you will read this comment over and consider the possible relation between the name and the content of the comment.

A formerly homeless guy was on talk radio this morning. He now is purchasing his 1st house by his sweat, blood and good hard honest days work. He said it makes him very angry to see people sitting around and complaining about no work out there. He said they are just sorry people. He said if anyone REALLY wants a job they can get one but most people who say they are looking for work are just too lazy to work. He said if you have a lawn mower you can make money. He went on to say you have to go after work it ain't coming looking for you. Your efforts indicates how badly you want work. This guy was mad! And rightly so. He proved it can be done.

The talk show host then added that he has a friend who is in the temp business. They can't get enough people to fill the jobs they have!!!!! People come in saying they don't want to do this and won't do that or they want better pay. They are not willing to do whatever it takes to make money.

And you wonder why hard working tax payers are sick and tired of paying the way for lazy a_____ people who are not willing to do whatever it takes to make a living. You see signs for help wanted in practically every fast food place. But some folks think that type of work is beneath them I guess. Let's hold people accountable - no work, no eat. Things would change real fast in this blood sucking society.

Revolt is on the way!
People are getting fed up with people who are takers not givers.

I don't know who is leading the revolt, or whether it will be headed up by the various dumb and cowardly people who write stuff like this or what. I think watching such a revolt will be kind of fun. Maybe it will be called the "lawn mower" revolt. I can see a million people pushing mowers up the mall in Washington.

Speaking of mowing lawns (and having mowed some 8.5 million lawns in my life), I was talking to a good friend the other day who is busting his butt working on lawns and such. It is certainly not a given that one can make a living mowing lawns. There are hundreds and hundreds of "mow and blow" crews out there who work on such volume that they can undercut almost any price. It is very competitive. And there is a point when the cost of mowing yards (equipment, vehicle, etc) requires a certain minimum price per yard and a decent volume. Even that very simple way of making money is not a given at all.

As for myself, I am sure there are lazy bums out there; I just haven't met many of them.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Boots Posing in Tree, As Seen by Madeline

I think Boots should be in the movies. As captured by Madeline Sunday 11-15.

Can't Kill Norton - Ideas?

OK, first of all, no smart stuff from you Mac people...:-)

Was asked to fix a problem. Computer a giant mess. Symantec was disabled I think in changeover of ISP. URL's being misdirected, all sorts of crazy stuff. Some malware program or Trojan popping up and in the way of everything. Finally got rid of the malware thing, found an antivirus and spyware that would load, cleaned up disks, etc. Got rid of crazy misdirects to porn and shopping sites - BUT, get this - would let you go to, say, CNN, Craigslist, personal blog, Facebook, but would not let you go to Google, Bing or, would not let you use any embedded search powered by Google, AND, though it would let you go to, would not let you search via Yahoo. All search engines disabled. On third separate spyware scan (this time using Spybot), finally caught the misdirect imbeds - so, solved that problem.

But here is the final kicker. It will not allow removal of, or repair of, or overwriting of Norton 2009 or what's left of it. Norton's online uninstall tool won't work. No trick I could read about has worked. Uninstall keeps saying it wants the CD but the system came with Norton installed so no CD. I've spent 5-6 hours on this. Right click a file in file manager to delete and it doesn't ask you if you're sure you want to delete but takes you right to script asking for CD. Any ideas?

It appears that whatever this was or is had programed computer or browser to block all attempts to repair it - very clever. Also will not boot in safe mode, no matter what.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cat in a Tree

Boots posing for Madeline on our birch tree. A great little model, and Madeline a good shot!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fall Pastels, from Laurel Bluff

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thanksgiving Goblet

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Odd Jobs - Call Me

While I plan and prepare for a third career - this one in environmental stewardship and creation care, I still need to meet my financial needs, are some "odd job" and "part time" things that I can think of that I can do. On some of these I hate to have a "fee," but time is time. Price per job.

Plant shrubs or trees, rake (or mow/mulch) yard, plant bulbs, baby sit, degunk slow computer, back up hard drive, clean out gutters, edit papers, take close up pictures, deliver packages (legal), take a list of desired photographs, teach SS, scan and upgrade older photos, scan slides or negatives, paint house (exterior), clean out attic, tutor, build web site while you watch, remove overgrown shrubs,write corny poems, counsel, disinfect house and car, lead blessing of house ceremony, prepare garden for spring, do botanical survey, write speech, change out light bulbs, spread mulch, get soil tested, chauffer, digitize medical and/or financial records, bless pets, help with FAFSA, make phone calls, start your family genealogy, grade papers, officiate wedding, run errands, write difficult letters, prune, write essays, clean bathrooms, wash floor, make holiday cards, lead hikes, shred paper, send daily encouraging e-mail, edit and post blog articles, moderate dispute, preach sermon, write your bio, find people for you, send Christmas cards, visit shut ins, send packages, dig up stumps, split firewood, pay bills, remove and deliver to collection center hazardous household wastes, etc.

Contact me...

Joel Gillespie
301 S Elm Street, Suite 516
Greensboro NC 27401
Linked In:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some Rain Songs - For the Occasion (Enjoy)

Easy As the Rain - The Little Willies

Covered in Rain - John Mayer

Early Morning Rain - Gordon Lightfoot 

Why Does it Always Rain on Me - Travis (Live8 London)

Rain - The Beatles

Here Comes the Rain Again - The Eurythmics

Fire and Rain - James Taylor

The Rain Song - Led Zeppelin

Rain King - Counting Crows

Let it Rain - Eric Clapton

Rainy Night in Georgia - Brook Benton version

Rainy Days and Mondays - The Carpenters

The Rain in Spain - from My Fair Lady

Who'll Stop the Rain - John Fogerty

The Lake Townsend Desert, Then (Sunday)

On Sunday I took a hike on the Laurel Bluff Trail. Coming from the east this trail follows the Reedy Creek Fork of Lake Townsend eventually to it's headwaters on the western end of the trail near Lake Brandt Road. Although lake Brandt water levels have been kept up, Lake Townsend has been drying up. The top picture is taken from out in the middle of the lake a few feet from Reedy Fork. It was amazing to stand out there - it seemed like such an expanse. The former lake bottom was covered in the area with grasses that were moist and marsh like - quite beautiful really.

The second picture was taken a little further west, maybe 3/4 of a mile or so further "up creek" than the picture at top. It was taken in that area where all the tree cutting has been done presumably for the safety of the small planes coming and going from the Air Harbor Airstrip. Here the "headwaters" looks like a scene from out west. You just about expect to see a group of cowboys riding out of the brush. The red-brown parched hues were really quite beautiful.

If the above pictures are "before," I hope to get back in there today or tomorrow to take a picture "after" this rainfall (or during). Since Lake Brandt is close to full (I don't know about Higgins) I suspect Townsend will rise a couple of feet anyway.

See more Laurel Bluff Trail pictures here. Some of them are quite "purty" if I may say so myself.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What Do You See in This Picture?

I see a dragon with a wry smile, with flames coming out of his nostrils. It's actually a broken, knobby, healed over limb of a Beech tree.

You can see the broader view of this odd Beech tree here: My daughter thought this looked like a horse.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Clam-Like Fungi on Old Log

Taken on the Laurel Bluff Trail, Greensboro, NC, also part of the NC Mountains to Sea Trail.

There were bunches of these clam-looking mushrooms up and down a fallen log, even on the drier sunnier side. Kind of cool I thought.

See more pics of Greensboro Hiking Trails Here.

Autumn Reflections - Laurel Bluff Trail

Late afternoon autumn reflections, Lake Townsend, west of Church Street, off Laurel Bluff Trails, Greensboro, also part of Mountains to sea Trail. More Laurel Bluff Pictures.

Friday, November 06, 2009

A VERY Tall Tulip Poplar - Piedmont Trail

Liriodendron tulipifera. Piedmont Trail, Greensboro, NC. More Pictures

Wolf Spiders Rock

There's a Wolf spider on the carpet about three feet away from my foot. He started to run across the room and stopped when he saw my foot move. Oops, my cat just came into the room and went over to check the spider out. Mr. Spider ran under the chair, but I can just see him waiting for the coast to be clear.

I like to get down on the floor and stare at these eight eyed beasts. It's weird because you never really know which eye is looking back you - one, three, all eight? That sort of thing bugs me when people do it and I don't like it with spiders either.

And I always get the feeling that they're watching me back, not in the obvious sense of "how do I get away from this giant" but in a curious sense, or maybe a predator sense. "Hmm, I wonder if I could take him." Personally I always feel like we've bonded.

If the Wolf spider were bigger than me he would eat me. I'm glad he's not.

Sometimes I watch Wolf spiders race across the floor from one side of the room to the next for no apparent reason. I get the impression that maybe it's a race and another spider hiding under the couch has a stop watch.

Wolf spiders aren't dainty and delicate like a lot of the orb weavers. They have thicker and shorter legs. They run around until they see dinner and when they see it they run fast and eat it. They're kind of like a lot of carnivorous mammals that way.

Wolf spiders are hairy like tarantulas. That seems to make them creepier to a lot of people.

I like having Wolf spiders around. They eat all sorts of nasty bugs such as roaches, earwigs, crickets, ants, and pretty much any other critter than they can whip in a fight. All in all, I feel safer knowing we have Wold spiders looking after us.

They can bite if you provoke them but their bites are not dangerous as in necrotic or anything. And they aren't going to just up and attack you for no reason. They're not stupid.

They seem to enjoy toying with cats, which I find entertaining. Our cats don't seem to like to eat them but they do catch them every so often. Usually though the Wolfe spider kicks into gear and races under something.

Sometimes when I am on the couch watching TV like a total slob one will race across my chest or leg. I just say hi and go back to the program. I figure they're on their way to eating a roach or something. Maybe that's why we hardly ever see roaches.

By far their greatest value is in scaring daughters. You'd think the spider were five feet tall and the daughter a quarter inch tall given the screams. With great reluctance and selfishly just to stop the screaming I have caught and disposed of hundreds of them over the years

With a Wolf spider in hand and a threatening gaze you have great powers of persuasion you would not otherwise have with a teenage daughter. It's also very much fun to chase said teenage daughter around the house with Wolf spider in hand.

OK, I'm curious about what happened to the little guy that went under the chair. Think I'll go find out. He may still be shaking with fear because of the cat. I think a kindly eye to eye stare down will make him feel better.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

No, the Greensboro Pregnany Care Center Is Not a Lie Liv at Greensboring said.

What is the case is that the article Liv cites (and one must give due weight to the idea of citing) from the so called journalists at The Carolinian Online is itself a fusillade of lies and misrepresentations.

I don't know about the breast cancer story. I'd like to know the details. Could be a legit complaint, I don't know.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers do not in fact represent the far right of the pro-life movement.

Nor do they claim to be medical clinics, though many have doctors and nurses on staff or who come in as volunteers.

They are generally staffed by caring and compassionate and non judgmental workers and volunteers, volunteers who care both about the pregnant women and their babies.

Yes, they do use ultrasounds. They want the woman to see the life inside of them. Why wouldn't the abortion clinic want to do the same?

Will revisit in 2-3 hours. Liv, you are off the chart smart, and the very last person around I would want to tangle with, but for real, citing as a source an inflammatory piece in the Carolinian...Come on. You're better than that.

Lake Brandt Sundown

From the Nat Green Trail. Part of the Greensboro watershed trail system and the North Carolina Mountains to Sea Trail.

Nothing New

Roch is right

The outcome of the elections in Greensboro hardly qualifies as "historic" or "monumental."

Do we really know for sure that Mayor Johnson lost because of her politics (or political associations) as opposed to her style?

And the addition of Danny Thompson, I mean, he is a young, dynamic, personable, and energetic new face on the scene - I don't think it's all that historic that he won.

OK, if Robbie Perkins were sent packing by a resounding vote then I think the outcome then we might be looking at a more deep seated rejection of the status quo, but that didn't come close to happening.

Ebb an flow, ebb and flow...

It will be interesting to see how Mr. Knight does when he butts heads against the quiet power structures behind the scenes. He could well end up as a one and out.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Local Color - from Nat Green Trail (NCMST)

Looking across the Lake Brandt cove as the sun goes down behind me. The Nat Green Trail is part of the NC Mountains to Sea Trail as well. I was wearing my Clemson hoodie that day so I fit right in. Props go out to the folks at Greensboro Parks and Rec Trails Division for overseeing, promoting, and generally looking after our trails. More Greensboro Trails here.

I'm Glad for Change but Don't Like the Map

It's probably proof enough that I don't have the killer instinct to be in politics, I always feel bad for the folks who lose elections, even when I vote or would have voted against them.

I wish Mayor Johnson and Council member Sandra Anderson Groat every happiness in whatever is next for them in their lives. I have personally appreciated Mayor Johnson's "chill" attitude, though I think that that's one factor that finally undid her. Too many rambling conversations without much apparent order. I actually LIKE watching channel 13. I hope the mayor elect can take a humble and cautious posture and not come in gunslinging.

I'm glad for change. I may have wanted just a little more but I'll take it. I just hope it ends up being a good change. We'll see.

There is one disturbing aspect to this election which Roch Smith captured on his past You Gotta Show Up...

It's not so much the low turn out that bothers me but the colors on the map.

I see a map of a city still much divided politically along socio-economic lines. Perhaps it is fair to say "along racial lines," but I am not sure if that's accurate. Maybe others can make that connection.

Blue Heron in Cove - Nat Green Trail

I had the privilege of watching this guy from the north-facing bluff on one of the inlets or coves off the east side Lake Brandt. I was walking the Nat Green Trail when I thought I saw a flash of blue below. I really wish that I had had a tripod and a 400mm lens - or binoculars! This is the best view I could get from so far away and through all the trees. After watching him for a while I tried to get closer but my movement spooked him. I post this very mediocre picture of a wonderful bird to show what sorts of delights await the hiker on our Greensboro Watershed Trails.