I went down like a rag doll heavy with child...

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Summary: Even though the past couple of weeks have been something like a semi-vacation to me, Sarah and I worked hard to take it easy this weekend. It has been fun and good. From semi-hiking to semi-watching horror movies, it has been fodder for the soul. Now I need just one more day of 'relaxation', and I can be really good and tired when I go back to work.

BLOT: (30 May 2011 - 02:49:35 PM)

I went down like a rag doll heavy with child...

Today is my birthday, yes it is. I am thirty-four, which is roughly half the way to retirement and two years short of being half-dead. I drink a lot of tea, though, and that cures everything...so maybe it's more like one-third dead for me, but if that is the case then I predict 34 or so years of boredom tacked on to the end.

The whole plan has been to treat this weekend like a real vacation, for both Sarah and myself. Since wrapping up finals a couple of weeks back, my whole life has been kind of like a vacation. I have been mostly working [all-day] Fridays with random bit shifts, so I will go four or five days with nothing and then maybe sit down and crunch XML tables or HTML for eight or nine hours, following by another lull. I had not quite entered into the "let's take it easy" mindset, though, and vacation is a state of mind, so this weekend alone has been about twice as relaxing as the rest of fortnight combined.

Our weekend started Saturday morning. Got up kind of early and hit the pool for an hour. Eventually went to Hay's Nature Preserve and walked around for two hours or so. The [Brood XIX, aka The Great Southern Brood] cicadas were out, en masse, and were loud. Besides being half deafened by the cacophony, we got to see lots of gar, red-eared sliders, and one very loud great blue heron. The bird was a highlight because we originally spotted him chilling in what is called "Glass Lake" (much more of a deep bog, but let's pretend it's a lake for a moment) until we were using the binoculars to stare at him and then he got really irritated and flew off. A few minutes later while we were at the edge watching one of the gar swim under us, he flew almost right at us. I think he was going for the fish, but we were right in his trajectory. I pointed him out to Sarah and as soon as I pointed at him (he was only about 8-10 yards over from us) he let out a loud, angry cry—FFFFFFRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHKKKKKKKKK—which caused Sarah to jump pretty hard. She hadn't noticed six-foot wingspanned bird taking a dive at us at all. Then he flew over to the side and we didn't see him again until we were heading back to the car and he flew over our heads. Either he was trying to figure out what we were, or was the worst heron ninja ever.

Another weird highlight was watching insects fight over a patch of a tree. First, it was a butterfly versus a bee and though the bee kept driving the butterfly away, the butterfly kept returning to fight. Eventually other butterflies showed up and drove the bee off, and then they fought. Some ants showed up and fought with the bees a little. Eventually, the bee (or another) came back and fought some, I kid you not, houseflies. Maybe that was omen? I don't know. If I was spiritual type I would probably translate this as a sign. Since I'm me, I assume the tree had some awesome sap.

After walking around a bit we brought out a water melon, some Mexican Coca-Cola, some green tea, and made picnic in a fork where two streams converge. Awesome. Weren't many people out, maybe because everyone was beach-ways or maybe the fact that it was loud enough in the trees that it made your ears ring? Getting back in the car that's the first thing we noticed. How when you get out of a concert and your ears feel like they are deflating? Just like that, except from the cicada song. Sarah bought me a sno-cone (!) and then we headed home. Sometime later that night we cooked some New York Strip steaks and had a nice night in.

The steaks came from Earth Fare, by the way, and were amazing. Amazing. The meat was some of the tenderest, most flavorful I have ever had the chance to cook. I will be buying more, again, but I will have to wait until I can justifying the $20 cost. They are worth it, but since I can get cheaper steaks almost as good it will likely be a month or two.

Yesterday was given over to watching horror movies and doing inside sort of things. Watched Fertile Ground, and will be posting a review. Also watched Cthulhu again, this time with Sarah. She liked and I'm pretty sure Russell Marsh is one of my favorite Lovecraftian protagonists. Besides that, read (and eventually finished) Preacher and have done pretty much nada worthwhile. It feels great. Today, once it cools I think we'll return to the pool for a bit and then get out and walk around. Play some Agricola in the midst of that. Sarah has made me a hella pound cake for tonight and we are going to eat soft tacos (a request by me). Maybe watch Black Swan and get ready to get back to the "grind".

A round of photos should be coming soon, sometime tonight. Oh, and for those wondering, the title of this post comes from a mondegreen to a song by Modest Mouse—"King Rat"—where they say, "I went down like a rag doll as you would, child." I thought he said, "I went down like a rag doll heavy with child..." and kind of think that's a more awesome lyric. heh.


Written by Doug Bolden

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