Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Composting with Comcast

But this time, it’s not their fault — the gardener managed to cut my Internet cable while cutting vines off my front fence. Apparently he can’t tell the difference between vines and an (admittedly painted) Internet cable…

Comcast is coming out tomorrow morning to fix the damage… so it’ll be tomorrow evening at the earliest before I get back on a regular update schedule. Updating via a cell phone is misery…

– Badtux the Internetless Penguin


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Been too bloody hot

It reached 106F on my front porch here in the Silicon Valley on Saturday. Which is the hottest it has ever been here. Needless to say, sitting around in a hot house typing on a computer was not in the cards.

Today it was almost that hot, so I went to the beach. I didn’t get back until late. Again, no computer.

Except for a special treat… but read on for that.

– Badtux the Writer Penguin

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The teenage girl knocks on my door and I answer. Her friend, another teenage girl, lurks behind. I’ve seen them before. They’re three addresses down the street. They drive around in a Dodge Charger when they’re not laughing and clinking drink glasses out on the driveway while this girl’s father works on his old classic car.

“Hello we’re selling popcorn for our tennis team. Do you want to buy some?”

“I’m sorry. I don’t do popcorn, it gets stuck in my teeth. But if you’re ever doing chocolate….”

“Okay,” she says, looking a bit abashed. She turns and walks off with her friend, off to go to the next house.

Pretty normal suburban scene. I’m just glad that they’re doing it here in multicultural Santa Clara. If they were doing it in, say, a typical white neighborhood in Texas, it might have been dangerous for them. I mean, two girls, wearing hijab, in the middle of anti-Muslim Trump voting bigots…

– Badtux the Suburban Penguin

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The parent of the kids

It was summertime. The tiny little cat, a kitten really, maybe four months old, had followed me home to the apartment I was renting in west Houston. After knocking on a lot of doors to see if anybody wanted her or was missing her, the end result was that I had a cat.

So I headed down to the apartment building office to pay the cat deposit and put her on the lease, because I’m a Boy Scout that way, this was back before Advantage and all that so I knew they’d have to fumigate the place after I left in order to get rid of the fleas (all cats had fleas in those days, believe it or not, even “indoor-only” cats, because there were no flea poisons that could kill all the fleas on a cat and continue killing them for weeks without killing the cat). So while the lady is pulling my lease out of the files and typing up a pet addendum, a large white lady crashes into the office and storms to the desk of one of the other office ladies:

“My cable TV isn’t working!”

“I’m sorry to hear that, have you called Comcast?”

“I want my cable fixed *RIGHT NOW*, y’hear me?!”

“We don’t provide cable, that’s Comcast. You need to call Comcast.”

“I rent that apartment from you, not Comcast! Fix it!”

“You’ll need to call Comcast about your cable, we don’t do cable here.”

“I called Comcast! They won’t send anybody until tomorrow afternoon! I have four kids! What are they supposed to do all that time without cable TV?!”

I could see the lady at the other desk visibly restraining herself at that point. Our apartment complex was right next door to a park, she could take them to the park. Our apartment complex had a swimming pool (a lot of swimming pools actually, I think we had a dozen swimming pools in this gigantic complex), she could take them to the pool. Houston had a very good public library system and there was a public library within about 20 minutes walking distance. She could take them to the public library. Then there were board games they could play, or etc. etc. etc.

But her job was managing an apartment complex, not telling one of her residents that the resident was a shitty mother, so she said “Perhaps you should call Comcast again and tell them that”, and the large white woman shouted “FINE!” and stomped out.

— Badtux the Storytelling Penguin

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On the status of the penguin

I have been in the middle of a huge project for the past week and a half. As in, 70 hour week kinda project with a hard deadline. So I’ll be taking off for a mild vacation on Wednesday evening.

In the meantime, I still have some stuff to throw out there for the next couple of days…

– Badtux the Busy Penguin

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Where do the years go when they’re gone?

I look at the photograph of you at your birthday party, you are 11 years old, a laughing child with long sleek black hair and honey colored skin wearing a t-shirt and nice pants. Your grandmother and your little sister are by your side and your friends and classmates are all around. All are laughing and looking happy.

I remember a kid who could be generous, who could be kind. Who everybody said was doomed, a future criminal, a future murderer. But I was young then, and stupid in the way of young people everywhere who believe that love can fix the world, love can change the world, love can save the world. After all, it is the only thing that ever has, even where it obviously does not. I remember you peering at the books of puppies in the school library, dreaming of having a puppy of your own. Where do dreams go, I wonder, when dreams die, or when they turn into lies?

The years passed by, and it is twenty-five years on now. You are a guest of the State of Texas for another five years still, a sullen muscular man with tattoos and an expression of disgust with the world. You did not kill anybody, at least not anybody who wasn’t trying to kill you, it’s all about drugs, and being picked up with drugs, and your second strike and a system set up to put people of color into prison, especially male people of color. But in the end, it was all about choices, choices you made, choices made for you by a world that gave you no real place to be other than what everybody expected you to be. Love was not enough to change that. Maybe love never is. Maybe those stories in the story books, they’re just that, stories, not real, not anything that could ever be.

You never did get that puppy.

Maybe, someday, you will.

In my memory you are still that laughing boy of eleven. But in my heart, you are yet another soul I could not save, another name on a list of people where I tried, and failed, and had to let go and walk away.

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I got a new camera last week, so I went out to a wildlife sanctuary and shot photos of a lot of wildlife. Duh.

Oh wait, the camera…. A Pentax K-70 DSLR.

I’m a bit sore today from all the walking while hauling a heavy load, but (shrug). No big deal. So, what did you do with your weekend?

– Badtux the Wildlife Penguin

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