We don’t see as one.
Do we both misunderstand,
or are you just wrong?

Haunted by Iowa

Two Iowa scenes that have haunted me since I photographed them in 2009. Sometimes I wonder if the structures are still there, but I really don’t want to know. I’m happy to remember them like they were on this February day. Both are © B.J. Smith

Being v5.1 and counting

A guy’s mind tends to wander when he’s lying around tired, coughing and being miserable trying to get over a cold. (Maybe non-guys have the same experience, but that’s just an educated guess.)

In my case, after hanging around software engineers for years on end, I started wondering if version numbers might be usefully applied to anything other than software and apps and other inanimate things.

Vegetables, frozen pizzas, woodworking tools? Maybe not.

Bourbon, beer, wine? I can see that.

Their sour v2.1.8 was excellent. What the hell happened?

How about people? I can see that, too.

Let’s say your early years were v1.1 to v1.n – covering your Iowa childhood through high school. Maybe v2.* encompassed college follies interrupted by active duty and back to school for a degree and starting your first newspaper job.

The next major upgrade – v3.1 et seq. – might have been, oh, from your wedding day through raising children, working some more and some more and some more until the kids left you behind.

Then imagine that v4.* covered a complete change of scenery and new careers for both you and your better half.

You get the idea. It could happen like that.

Carry on, my friends.

B.J. v5.1

Bicycling Dave is a thorn magnet

When the weather is nice, my neighbor likes to ride his bicycle several miles to a Safeway store for morning coffee and a doughnut.

I can relate. Some of the best bike rides involve coffee and, for me, maybe a muffin or a scone since I try to avoid the glazed or chocolate delights I used to love.

The route my neighbor takes (let’s call him Dave) is mostly along a paved trail in a state park by the Colorado River. Even though it’s paved, there’s always a fair chance you’ll encounter the dreaded goat’s head thorn.

Dave seems to attract them. He is a thorn magnet. I’ve been on rides when I felt similarly attractive.

Image by M. H. from Pixabay

My own approach for years has been to ride on Continental Gatorskin tires, which typically cost ~$50-60 U.S. but are tough enough to last me a couple of thousand miles on the road. I think I’ve had two flats with Gatorskins in the past 20 or so years while experiencing numerous thorn flats and other fails using other tires.

Mrs. Smith and I both have new Gatorskins on our road bikes.

Of course, there are other solutions:

Fixing flats is kind of a pain, but knowing how to do it comes in handy.

I’m with (in convo below with @bikesnobnyc) that not everyone needs to do it.

Not everyone can, but I think everyone can plan.

Pedal on, my friends.


Tweet, toot or something else?

My good old friend Chuck introduced me to Twitter in 2008.

It seemed like something a writer should get familiar with, and it still does. Unlike some, I’m not planning to stop being either* @bjsmith or @BJSmithWords there any time soon.

Hanging around that long has been good in a number of ways. Ditto for my various forays into websites, blogging and publishing. Curiosity about how these things work has paid off for me in my day job, for example, and helped me sell some crime novels and make some great connections.

Curiosity also led me to poking around in other social media. I was hooked on Facebook for a while and I have a little fun on Instagram now and then. In 2018, I gave Mastodon a try. I’d almost entirely forgotten about it until this week, when everybody (not literally, of course) starting talking about it on Twitter.

I’ve now “tooted” on Mastodon a few times to see what might happen, and I’ve put the same content on yet another alternative someone suggested: Counter Social. I might stick with one of them. We’ll see.

For now, I hope to see you around somewhere, my friends. Just let me know where to look.

Write on,

* Why two handles? I’ll save that for another time. Maybe I’ll write about why I quit Facebook a few years ago, too.