Sunday, May 27, 2018


Hopping on Facebook today has been strangely heartbreaking because of this.

As far as I can tell, there are exactly two acceptable scenarios for the disappearance of Poet's Table:

1. Forest fire, because there's no ultimate control there.

2. A park decision. I'd be pissed about that, but as they are the official landowners, they would ultimately have the right to pull things out. (And in theory, would be willing to preserve the history of the area in an appropriate fashion.)

This, though?

This is just plain wrong. Besides being confusing as hell, it goes against the very idea of the table itself as a peaceful destination in the woods. At the heart of things, it's disrespectful, shortsighted, and just plain mean.

Saturday, May 26, 2018


An xkcd from a week and a half ago is speaking to my soul this weekend.

This has something to do with my role as various people's personal IT guy, a couple of fun phone calls, and the brakes on my bike (which, luckily, fell into that under-2-hours section). I do, however, fear for Sophie's air conditioning, knowing how long that one might take.

Never a dull moment.

Monday, May 21, 2018


Actual decades have passed since I started school (almost three of them) and I have, at last figured out how I prefer to study.

Yeah, that works.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Well, Hello.

"So, Ashley, what are you up to these days?"

It's a question I've come to dread. The expected answer seems to be, "Oh, not much," since I lack Big News. But that answer is also a blatant lie. That's the answer that implies nothing of interest.

Allow me to fill in a few blanks. Here are some things I haven't been doing:

- Moving to Denver. Actually, I now have an apartment in RC with the other Ashli since the previous Denver gig fell through. Thanks to multiple circumstances -- like Ashli, The Plumber, and Daz's move to SLC -- Denver is no longer in the cards. This decade, anyway.
- Staying caught up with whatever show you're watching.
- Riding my bike enough.
- Travelling. This one makes me sad.
- Robbing banks.
- Writing here.

... I should work on a couple of those.

What I HAVE been doing is feeding 80 tiny humans on a daily basis for a few months now. It's not glamorous, but it leaves my afternoons open to pursue a bunch of other things. And while I have plenty of amusing stories to tell in person, I'll refrain from telling them here because this is the internet and they're small children.

My afternoons have been full of a fun collection of things. Job searches. Classes. Occasional hikes. Books. My biggest topics lately:

- Changes to South Dakota's Title 35 (the full text of government bills should be in everyone's reading lists).
- Long-range Mars things, like learning a new language (I love Duolingo).
- Sewing and other craft projects, often for specific purposes. Like these.

A very, very specific purpose.
- An ArcGIS specialization on Coursera.

Here's the thing: I cannot figure out why it took me this long to pay attention to GIS. I've been fascinated by maps and blueprints since I was about 6 (I adore P&IDs) and here's this massive tool available for me to build my own maps. It's just plain silly I haven't tried before.

When all else fails, there's always something going on in Rapid.

I'm not sure if this means you'll be seeing more of me here. Coming back after an accidental hiatus is always a little awkward and I have some things I might be moving around on here. But I figured I should stop by and say hi.

Now, back to my map...

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Saturday, December 30, 2017

So Here We Go Again

It's been awhile, hasn't it?

I'd love to blame the holidays for my lack of posting -- after all, it was a bit before Thanksgiving when you last saw me here -- but the truth is simply that I don't wanna.

Yep. Don't wanna.

But as it's the end of the year -- the end of a very long, very strange year -- I figured it was time to reappear.

How are you?


Yeah, that sounds about right.

Had you asked me a year ago, I would have said that by now I'd be in Denver, maybe even back to living alone and enjoying what my early thirties have to offer with a full complement of health benefits and a 401(k). I'd have gone on a couple of road trips and perhaps I'd be saving up for a big trip overseas.

As I've mentioned previously, however, this year has not gone as expected.

First, of course, was the job situation. When the initial change didn't take, I ended up with a temporary gig ... that just keeps reappearing. Then a few months back, my Roommate-For-Life moved back to the area. As luck would have it, just this last week we acquired an apartment not far from downtown Rapid City.

Which means I'm finding myself with a very different job in a very different place than I initially expected.

With very different people.

It hasn't been all bad. It's nice to walk into a job and have people be so darn happy to see you. And I'm actually quite excited about the apartment. (I'll be thrilled when the snow lets up and I can actually fully move in.)

And did I mention the people?

There's the RFL, of course, along with Ms. B, who also moved back to the area. And then there's the Tall Guy, who has been one of the brightest spots.

All of this means that although I'm not particularly sad to see 2017 go, I have to admit that it wasn't entirely awful.

High praise indeed.

I have hope, though. I think. Maybe. 2018 holds some promise, in the form of potential travel and all sorts of shenanigans with the RFL and the Tall Guy. There are things to be found and new challenges to tackle (and yes, perhaps a bunch more job applications in my future).

It's going to be a one day at a time kind of year, but those days look pretty good.

Provided, of course, it gets back above freezing in the near future...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

This Week's Things

1. So I finally jumped on the "Stranger Things" bandwagon. After a week and now 1.22 seasons in, I'm trying to learn to pace myself so that, among other things, I'll stop being followed by dark tentacle creatures through dreams.

2. I appreciate Black Hills winters greatly.

3. Still wouldn't argue with a little snow, though. A little.

4. Looking at a weird week ahead. We'll see how it all goes.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


A year ago, I gave a not-quite-a-review for a book.

I read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore in a Denver hotel room while preparing for a life that ... as it turned out, never quite happened. It was a weird place and time in my universe and on some level, I wondered if my deep, abiding love for that book was inextricably linked to that almost-life.

Six months later, I read it again. Turns out this was a book that had nothing to do with where I was. I still loved it.

Then, something crossed my radar in September. Robin Sloan, the hilarious and brilliant author of Penumbra, had a newly released novel.

... About bread. Kind of.

I finally acquired it last week, and then this week I opened it up. And the next day, I was done.

Here's my review:

The thing that gets me about Sloan's books as a whole is that they are rather hard to describe. They're not directly mysteries or love stories or anything quite that easily classified (well, not yet). They're worlds colliding with a hint of something fantastic -- a bookstore and Google and a secret society, or a robotics company and a yeast culture and an underground market.

And reading them, I feel an awful lot like I'm hearing a story from a friend that started with, "You'll never believe what I did last month."

It doesn't hurt that so far, he's talked about two things I love dearly -- namely, books and bread. Following the current path, his next book (in a couple years) will somehow involve space and/or beer.

Now, to get back to my own sourdough starter. The book was more than inspirational...

[Yes, that second book in the picture is now getting my attention. Yes. It is very, very good. No, I'm not done with it yet.]

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Massive Data Cleanse

I'm finally hitting that thing on my to-do list that I've been casually delaying for, oh, about six months now.

Of course, it immediately went awry.

Like most of you, I carry a smartphone that at any given point in time contains hundreds of photos I've barely perused since they first appeared on the screen. Sure, every once in awhile I'll thumb through them, trying to remember what day that hike was or when exactly that aunt visited, and occasionally I'll trip over something oddly memorable.

Like this.

Or the day I took this.

Or ... Seriously, how many cat pictures do I have?

This one caught me a tad off guard.

And of course, there are the food photos.

I seem to be a digital hoarder.

Well, no longer. In the midst of my data cleanse, after I'd pulled everything from the last two years off my memory card and while I was sorting through it, I got The Message.

Card Corrupted. Formatting Required.


Several minutes of angry ranting and flailing followed.

Note: That first part was important. I'd managed to get two years' worth of photos (pulled from a phone I've only had for a year, which was nice). Shortly before offering a sacrifice to the tech gods, I found that almost everything from before then had been backed up already, too.

Which meant, perhaps, that what I'd really done was an overzealous cleaning.

A few deep breaths and a reformat later -- along with the finding of a new card adapter because the first one apparently couldn't be trusted -- the rebuilding began. As with many of these tasks, what should have taken an hour ended up spanning eight. (Luckily, I could start a data transfer and walk away.) And while I'm going to have some glitches while I retrain various apps, I've mostly just re-learned a couple valuable lessons.

1. Back-up often.
2. For the love of Pete, don't trust an adapter with a cord.
3. Maybe consider deleting extra photos as you go this time, you weirdo.

.... Yeah, that sums it up.