Thursday, December 15, 2011

Building Christmas time

Whoa! Sound. Surround Sound, at that.
Here, here's what I was listening to when sound went from stereo to surround sound and engulfed the room.

I haven't played music through the sound system (home theatre dvd player) for awhile. I'm not crazy about it for regular sound. Half the time when I listened to WVEW, it was with a mono clock radio. And I'd listen to the webstream for stereo. Much of what I've been listening to is in mp3 format and played through the computer's sound system. Sadly, when I found that I would need a pair of amplified speakers for the new computer, I didn't have enough cash to get something really good. As I've been doing the deep pre-winter holiday as if someone was actually coming by for a visit clean, I've been getting the old sound system out and putting it back together. But something possessed me. I'd never burned a disc on the new computer. It was time. So I gave it a test whirl. Four mp3 albums to mp3 cd, 2 minutes. I'm very satisfied. If I could get there, I'd almost be happy with it. So far.

I was talking about getting unstuck in time, a Vonnegut phrase that does a good job of describing what I'm trying to say. Maybe I wasn't talking about it. Yet. I was in the edited version due a minute or two from now.  I'm telling you, moving beyond the concept of linear time gets a little messy from, well, from time to time. For instance, in my humble abode, bathroom time is different from my living space time. It's slower. Time in there progress at a different rate. Really. It just does. The clock proves it, but it's a long explanation, and that's not where I was headed with this. I'm not trying to get all quantumy on you or anything.

So I'm working at it. Building Christmas. Today was one of those days when I only get 4 hours of work. I've been trying to get to a series of things ever since I got home. And while I've gotten some things done, I seem to have become unstuck in time again. Unexpected callers. Expected visitors. Late start to the stew. When I brought the ingredients after my shift today, I fully intended a large stew that would last a few days, a couple 'a meals, a couple 'a cold snacks. I'll just nibble. Still, the cost was enough that I'm now figuring I need to make to last for a week. After I brown the meat, I cover it with part Merlot and part crushed tomatoes. Except I made a mistake and bought diced tomatoes, which changes the amount of liquid drastically. And then it hit me. A cookbook which takes each dish through a series of options: Oops, not enough liquid? Add more wine. Prefer to drink it? Okay, add water, and if it gets to liquidy, stir in a teaspoon of flour, raise to a boil and... I don't believe I've ever seen a cookbook which really gives you much except a recipe. A few will give you optional ingredients. But a what to do if  kind of thing? Hmmmm.

So anyway, it seems like so many things I wanted to do not only didn't get done, but didn't get started. I'm not freaked out about it or anything. One foot in front of the other and all that. The stew is superb, if I say so myself. I love the taste yukon gold potatoes gives it. Now back to cooking up the holidays. Groan. That was bad. I should have said something like "adjusting the ingredients" or something. There were a couple of things I wanted to note here today.

The Census Bureau has been at it again. They had one of their little analysis of data reports moving up in the news charts with a bullet. It was there at 5:30am. It wasn't by the time I got home from my four hour morning shift. I was able to find it in a search easily enough, but then again I knew what I was looking for. Anyway, catching up with 2010 census data, it looks like the US currently has 97.3 million Americans who are now defined as being in a low income category. If you add in the 49.1 million Americans who are considered to be below the poverty line, the total  of 146.4 million Americans equals 48 % of the population. In other words, one out of every two people is, by definition, "poor". Can you imagine what it will be like when the social assistance programs are cut?

Boston. 1994. Five days before Christmas. The entire office 9 person staff of Sony Corporation's Columbia/Tristar Pictures filed into a meeting room at the city's Unemployment Office. An appointment had been set for us; our office had closed the day before. An executive met with us. We were told that in all likelihood, none of us would ever have a full tie job again. We would have a series of part time jobs. We would never have a job with benefits again either. Those kinds of jobs just didn't exist anymore. This was the current and new reality. Get used to it. And oh, yeah, Merry Christmas. And a Happy New Year.

In the United States Congress, there has so far been a failure to pass any legislation to extend a payroll tax cut about to expire. Republicans, who want the extension, are holding hostage passage of a bill to extended unemployment benefits. The Democrats are offering to give up seeking higher taxes for the rich. The government could shut down tomorrow. No one has yet said anything about the unspecified spending cuts which by law are to take effect at the end of the month due to a committee's failure to attain agreement on budget cuts. Kind of a shame really. If they'd timed it better by just a few days, they too could have explained the new reality. And oh, yeah. Merry Christmas. And a Happy New Year.

1 comment:

Austan said...

Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?