The Occasional Rant

Some of my thoughts about the world.

2018-Still going

Posted by FredH On January - 27 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS Subscribe here

I really haven’t been putting things on here like I expected to do when I started this thing.  

But just to confirm the system still works, here is a post for the new year.

Still Alive

Posted by FredH On June - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS Subscribe here

I  just realized that I hadn’t posted anything here for a very long time.  So I thought that I should put something up just to indicate, “Hey I’m still here!”

Enjoy the summer.

Mourning must be over

Posted by FredH On August - 15 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS Subscribe here

Apparently, my mourning period for a pet is roughly 8 months.

I have found myself at the Humane Society checking out possible new companions.

So far none have come home with me, yet…

Goodbye Faith

Posted by FredH On January - 2 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS Subscribe here


My companion of 12 years is no longer with me.

My dog Faith could no longer get up and move around or even just stand.  She had stopped eating and drinking, in what was her way of saying it was time to let her go.

It hadn’t really occurred to me over the years how omni-present she had become in my life, how she had inserted herself in to each piece of daily minutia.

From the first waking moment in the morning she would either be nearby on her bed, or lying next to mine, or if it were a colder night, and she thought she could get away with it, on the foot of my bed.   She’d follow me to the kitchen for breakfast, and I would follow her to the door for her use of the yard.   My work the last few years allowed me to work from my home for at least part of most days, so while I would be at my desk, Faith would watch over the street from her spot at the  door where she could look through the window.

When I did have to leave, I would make sure she was set for the rest of the day with water and a small amount of food.  Sometimes she would leave it untouched the whole time I was away, yet she would seem hungry, and eat right away, when I returned.  I always thought this seemed a little strange, but perhaps it has to do with pack hierarchy.

No matter the status of the the days food though, we would always have a moment at the end of my own evening meal, when a small scrap – no more than a bite or two – of whatever dinner was that night, was left for her.   Faith knew this too, for she would take note that I had stopped eating, and shortly after she would be at my feet, nose pointed up in the air to capture a whiff of whatever it was that was left on my plate.   Now, for the most part, I allow no begging in my house.  I think training a dog to beg is rather unbecoming, and I discourage it.  Still, after waiting patiently and silently for me to finish my meal, Faith would give me a look, and a nudge with her nose, as if to insist that it was now her turn, and to “make with the scraps already! “  These one or two morsels of people food would go in her bowl with the kibble, and she would then have her fill while I put things away in the kitchen.

Even weekend chores, such as laundry, ended up with Faith’s touch.  My laundry is in my garage, and the garage is normally not a place we would go very often.  So when it came time to do the laundry and the door to the garage was opened, Faith would use the opportunity to investigate the garage, smelling the far corners by the overhead door while I loaded the washer.

We had some other weekend routines, too.  Most Sunday evenings, we would go “Go for a ride!”  to the off-leash dog park to mingle with other dogs and their owners.  Oh yes, this place is where the dogs come first.  If their owners happen to get along with each other, that’s fine, but it is secondary.   And dogs are remarkably able to figure out how to get along with each other.  There may be some brief scuffling for social status, but it’s usually worked out quickly, and then things move on.  People could learn a lot from dogs social interactions.

The ride to and from the park, and for that matter, anywhere we needed to go, was remarkably organized.  Many dogs try to climb all over inside a car, but Faith was always content to ride in the passenger seat, and stick her nose out the passenger window if it were open.   Unless she spotted a cat – then all bets were off, including the chance of her jumping out of the moving car!  That happened once, and luckily for all involved, it was right by the driveway to the house.  The cat quickly went up a tree, the dog landed on lawn and wasn’t hurt, and I was able to quickly stop and get out to retrieve her.  I have no idea how long the cat stayed in the tree. It looked sort of frazzled as I put the dog back in the car.

We both love the outdoors and the woods, so we would try to go camping at least once every summer.  There was always a battle of wills over who got the sleeping bag.  I always won out, but not without getting some paw prints on the sleeping bag first.

My last words to Faith were “find me a bunny!”  This used to be my indication to her that it was OK to run and chase whatever she saw.  I hope that it was a pleasant thing for her to hear as she passed on.

I miss my friend a lot.  I have found myself still saving those small scraps at the end of a meal, only to remember that there’s no longer anyone to finish them off.  The house seems kind of empty without her.   I logically know that time will ease these feelings, but it’s hard to get there, when the emotion of the loss is still heavy around the heart.

For now, may she rest in peace.


2011 wrap-up

Posted by FredH On December - 20 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS Subscribe here

Well folks, another year is almost at an end.

I’m not normally one to care that much about year-end recaps.  They are certainly done to death by enough other people that I don’t need to add to the clutter.  But perhaps in lieu of writing recap letter for Christmas cards that I am not going to get around to sending out anyway (sorry if you were expecting one), I can put some thoughts here instead.

I realized I hadn’t posted here in a while.  In fact, I noticed it some time ago – trouble was, I had forgotten my own log-on info to be able to post!  Oops.  I didn’t think about it then, but maybe this is age-related.  Luckily, I know my limitations, and I had recorded the information I needed.  So far, I don’t seem to have forgotten where I keep those sorts of reminders, thus I am able to rant once again.

In my last post, I was already sounding like a codger, and complaining about waiting in long lines.   I just had to pause and think about how old I actually am, and do some math to get the answer.  Uh-Oh!  That can’t be a good sign.  Maybe it’s not all that bad; maybe I am just to a point where I no longer care about my actual age.   I am probably going to still just act like a big overgrown kid anyway.

As a big overgrown kid, you might think that I am all excited about Christmas.  I am, but only because I get to take a trip to see family, and we are all meeting somewhere that is home to none of us.  This sounds strange, but since no one is really hosting in this case, I really think it will be kind of neat.  Plus, it’s a place I have never been to before, so I am hoping to do some sightseeing as part of the trip.   It’s been a few years since I went someplace new and just explored a little, so this trip should be fun.

Work has been slow this year.  I REALLY want the duldrums to be over!  Don’t get me wrong, I have been able to survive, which is more than others in less fortunate situations.  I am thankful for my blessings, and sympathetic to those with bigger problems.   There looks to be some good things on the horizon for 2012, though.  I just have to keep myself from spoiling anything.

And on that note, it’s time for me to go.  There’s stuff to be done, and I am not getting it done while ranting here.

Here’s to a great 2012!




Posted by FredH On August - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS Subscribe here

Today I am enrolling for a class at the local community college.

It is refreshing and energizing to be hanging out around mostly young people, eager to embark on a new journey in their life, and ready, hungry even, to learn. I too am excited by the prospect of the class in which I am enrolling. But I think my age is showing – and not just in my gray hair.

I find myself far too impatient to wait in line. Don’t get
me wrong – the lines aren’t even that long, but I am still frustrated about it. And I have a theory about it.

I can’t fault the young folks – their life experience level just hasn’t taught them yet that there are ways around waiting in line. But there are older people too – ones that either also haven’t figured out they could avoid lines, or they don’t value their time enough to avoid wasting it in a line.

I do work for places who pride themselves on reducing the time spent waiting in line. One of their mantras is, “a convenience fee shall apply.”. Maybe that is what’s needed here.

Time passes…

Ok, I just got to the front of a line. I explained what I needed, and offered the information I thought might be required. The worker at the front of the line was very happy to help: “Wow! Someone who actually came prepared with the information required!” was how she put it.

Now another line is required. This one too is moving fast enough, but still irritating. Almost to the front. Time to wrap this up.

This post brought to by (and composed entirely while standing in) the lines at Glendale Community College enrollment center!


P.S. For those of you wondering why I am tolerating lines, when there ARE ways around them, all I can say is that I did everything I could without showing up in person and waiting in lines, but there was a requirement that was best done in person. And the college’s IT system conveniently eliminated EVERYTHING I had done, so it had to be done AGAIN. Thanks for that.

Doing things twice really bugs me too, but that’s another post.

Missed my chance

Posted by FredH On July - 12 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS Subscribe here

I love science of any kind. So it is with a bit of sadness that I watch tributes to the Space Shuttle program as it winds down.

What makes me really pause though is that in 30 years, I have never gone to a launch, landing, or even gone outside to search the night sky for the fast-moving bright spot as its orbit took the shuttle within my view.

Now that opportunity has passed, and I feel just a little like I haven’t given the respect due to the brave astronauts, brilliant engineers, and all the skilled technical people that made the shuttle program possible, and kept it going all these years.

All these people have dedicated themselves, and in some cases, their lives, to the science of exploration and space, and I couldn’t even manage to take a day or two, and a small trip, to get to a launch.

Yet, I have been to JPL, where such unmanned missions as the Mars rovers and Gemini and Cassini are controlled and commanded. That was a trip that I really enjoyed, by the way. Talk about a mental boost: try spending two days around a bunch of rocket scientists!

The Shuttle program has been a constant throughout my life: it began when I was in grade school, the Challenger accident happened when I was in high school, and the Columbia accident occurred after I was well on my own as an adult. In the meantime, the Shuttle has helped launch (and repair) an incredible telescope, assemble a space station, and countless other less-publicized missions.

I remember previous space stations Mir, and just barely remember SkyLab. While I am too young to know the excitement of the Apollo program and travel to the moon, I kind of understand that those space programs of their day were a real point of national pride.

Now we have come full circle, with no space launch capability to be proud of for the next few years, and a real likelihood that the next space vehicle to leave US soil will not be a “US” ship, but one from a private company.

Don’t get me wrong- I will be very proud of an American company that privately makes it into space. But it just isn’t the same as if I could call it “our country’s ship.”

So take a moment to reflect on what the US space program, and the Shuttle program, have meant in your life. Let’s do what we can to keep space on the national conscience and not let the efforts, risks, and sacrifices of the US space program slip away into the footnotes of the history books.

Mobile posts

Posted by FredH On June - 23 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS Subscribe here

Hey the new platform allows me to easily post from a mobile device. Nice!

Hello world!

Posted by FredH On June - 23 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS Subscribe here

This is the first post in the re-launched blog site.

Politics 101

Posted by FredH On June - 23 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS Subscribe here

Attention would-be politicians: do NOT, repeat NOT post, tweet, etc. anything you don’t want on the front page of tomorrow’s paper.

Even if you are POSITIVE that you haven’t sent it to a public forum, it WILL still get there eventually.  So don’t do it!   Just don’t.

It really is just that simple.

Fred H