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Incoming BYTES
contains highly variable subject matter including commentary on the mundane, the extraordinary and even controversial issues. At Incoming BYTES
we want YOU to think...if you dare...

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Z is for Zooks and Zounds

Now everyone that has been following along on this challenge will  know that Z is for Zooks and Zounds  for a reason.
I could have smartly  chosen "Zip" as in "zip the lip since A to Z is finished already ". 

We're on a roll now, we're meandering over the finishing line of the A to Z challenge at half speed, perhaps even nonchalantly, to enjoy the sensation of actually having completed  a challenge.

Because the challenge took much supreme dedication  and putzing about, and a bit of outstanding work, (cheer now)    I did not care to use common words like 'zoo' or ' zipper', even though both of those  fine 'Z' words would  suitable for closure.
 So are ' zloty', 'zither'  and 'zippy'.  Being bribed in Polish zloty's  to stop playing the zither and finishing up at an extra- zippy pace just in time for dinner works every time.

 However much I may have been tempted to make  tongue-in-cheek oaths never to pack it in and never attempt such foolishness participation in challenges  again, I shall stand firm and not waiver.... professing dedication to the AZ'y  very end.  
( It would have been just a mild oath, mind you.....  A zook, or a zound.    That's why, today,  Z is for Zooks and Zounds.)
Have you heard the old oaths  "Zounds!"  or  "Gadzooks!" ?  Mild oaths were  invented back in the days when nobody cared to take the oaths of Deities in vain. Gad and Asher must have been particularly careful not to make unnecessary  zooks when Zilpah, their mother, was listening too.
 "Father, I heard some Gad zooks today, you better speak to your boy!"

    Famous old sculptors were also heard to say "Gadzooks!" or 'Zounds!"  when the village putz knocked an arm or the  nose off of one of their wonderful marble statues.  Dear readers, we would probably offer a coloured comment too, after fourteen years, six months and three weeks of Sundays trying to carve a magnificent, perfect  historical work of art. 

We now know the heady feeling of success.   We have the A's through Z's  all covered with a veritable salad of ideas.  Transmogification   of the English language.  We have spinach superflooie at hand.  A few collards, cabbages, and a variety of squashtickles decorated with xylography too.
We're ready to whackify  collard-snatchers, play  with the pups  and get winning lottery tickets on Friday so we can ride in that yellow submarine.
  Surprise!  We have chosen a preemptive strike for the  rebellious nonconformity and appreciation we have for our loyal readers at Incoming Bytes. I have  officially decided to complete the challenge with flourish,  a kaflooie and a head-stand in appreciation for life itself. We hope you smile.

so,  ....Zookeris and and Zoundifiers....
We're all finished, we'll just stand on our heads for a while. 





 After all, we need something to chat about after the challenge, don't we?
 The challenge is part of life, and that is what life is 'about' --life  with all of it's challenges, from A to Z...and if you remember, A was for About everything. 


Is that incoming I hear?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yellow

The Age of Light is Upon Us

Got the spring blahs?  Tired of waiting for nice weather? You can fix that today. Think Y for Yellow.

At the end of a long, cold winter we all have the blahs. Cabin fever. Boredom. We're tired of snow, road salt, mud, and the dark. We need light.  Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. Got none?
Okay, let's try Yellow  The colour of sunshineWakey-wakey.... Open the eyes and let the beautiful yellow light of sunshine into your heart and into your very soul.
Concentrate on yellow.
The brightness, the light that everyone wants in their lives. Daybreak. Warmth.  Cheery, bright, and light.  Somewhere between orange and green. Yellow helps growth. Do you like growth?  With yellow you are well on your way.  Allow your mind to grow, to expand.  Drink in the  yellow light of change for the better.
  It is one of my favourite colours.  Yellow is sunflowers,  and  lemons. With yellow, life can be sweet lemonade.

Don't like lemons?  Got no sunflowers yet?   Maybe all you need is  a yellow submarine!


Maybe all you  need is a yellow submarine...


Is that incoming I hear?



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

X is for Xylography

 X is for Xylography


  Xylography?  What?  What's that?   "X" by  itself  is unusual enough. That's why X is for xylography.

  Of course, everybody wants to know what xylography is!  Xylography is the  production of  an beautiful piece of artwork and is done by engraving on wood. Xylography is an old name for 'wood cuts'.    Sounds familiar, doesn't it?   Something like linoleum printing,  potato prints, or even plasticine printing.   Perhaps we'll have to explore those possibilities at some point too!

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by  Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528)


 The process is simple. Develop a raised-relief 'picture'  using art and creativity of woodcarving. Spread some paint or pigment carefully on the wood block. Press the block firmly on suitable paper. Voila!  A beautiful wood cut print.  A Xylograph.
 That is why X is for xylography.  If you are an xylographer, you know how to carve beautiful pictures on wood blocks, and using paint and other media, make prints !
 Even amateurs can participate in this beautiful, antique art form. 
  • Use woodcarving tools or a knife as simple as a penknife. You can even use a modern rotary tool like a Dremel(R)   to make it  easier to make an antique-style picture!
  • Start with a soft wood like pine, butternut or cedar, it's easier to carve.  
  • Draw a simple picture on the block of wood.
  • carve out a 'relief' of the picture. 
  • Spread some oil paint, acrylic paint or hobby paint on the block. You can use one colour for a monochrome print, or use several colours.
  • Press the block firmly and carefully on a suitable piece of craft paper or canvas. 
  •   
  • The most interesting thing is, if you do make a very beautiful xylograph, you can print numerous "original copies"  using the same block. If they turn out to be exceptional, make sure you number the prints and sign them!
Here at Incoming Bytes we believe some clever readers might want to explore the world of Xylography further. There may be 'other' interesting reasons to know what Xlography is.
Look around you. Check the attic and the old trunks Granny left you.  See any old, old  printed pictures that look a bit  old-fashioned, strange, monochrome,  maybe even  primitive and unusual? How about looking around at yard sales?
 Look twice.  Some pieces may even be historical, valuable pieces of art--an Xylograph from the past!
What a great hobby!  Isn't it cool?  Xylography is a very old art form--one that may be returning.
 No wonder old guys appreciate it!

Is that incoming I hear?

 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

W is for Winning

W is for winning. 

*Sigh.....I know.  We did not win the lottery --again. Somebody else got the gazillion dollars and the life of Riley and the Caribbean vacation and the cruises..and....and...and a pretty handsome bank account more suitable to royalty.
 Somebody within 50 miles of us won over 50 Million dollars.  Seriously.  A couple of weeks ago.  Somebody else not far away won a cool million or so.  A few days ago.   Maybe the prizes are moving closer?  Surely we dream and jest, but maybe not?  Keep the fingers crossed.  Think happy. Think winning.  Think W is for winning.

We  blunder through life oblivious to reality.   Not much doubt about that, and the odds in winning a huge lottery are unimaginable; they exceed millions to one. One chance  in twenty million, fifty million or a hundred million.  We toss numbers around like happy bits of colored confetti. Oh, to have just a few of those happy bits of colored confetti, the kind with big chosen winning numbers printed on them.
The human tendency to denial that one's luck is anything less than perfect is wishful thinking,
Does that make wishing and dreaming any less attractive? No.
 Hopefully we made all the right turns to weave our way through the complex pathways of life. Reflection can show us the road less traveled.

 Have you ever thought about the other possibilities, the joy, excitement, the better restaurants, nicer home, and new cars?  How about the  royal treatment,  'round the world vacations,  the beautiful life you could be living if  you suddenly 'got lucky'  and began to suffer a serious winning streak? 

It is human nature to dream, but have you ever truly taken the time to imagine yourself on 'the golden road less traveled' ? Seriously,  the frivolous,  ridiculous, rampant and perhaps reluctant rogue within that could surface, as long as costs are unfettered?
Would you be 'winning' with a different occupation,  a different education?  How about a different lifestyle, in the extreme, even a different family in the euphoria and fog of money, a different mate,  different kids,and different choices ---that a huge lottery win could offer  the uncontrolled mind?
Would winning make you a better person? Would you share?  Would you be a target?  Would you suddenly find dozens of lost relatives, and hundreds of fair-weather friends? Is winning always a good thing?

Maybe not.  Shall we step back for an overview? Would you be happier?  Money does not make happiness. Happiness is achieved from inner peace and the satisfaction of appreciating not what you don't have, but what you do have.

Winning is all about choices.  If you picked the right numbers, you could be winning.  It is often forgotten that money simply allows choices not available otherwise. Does that mean instant happiness? No.
Winning, then, really is only in the mind
I wouldn't mind.  Have to get a ticket.....



Is that incoming I hear?

V is for Variety

V is for Variety

What do you value most in life?  Relics from the past,   the same old, same old, your continuity,  your routine? The same things, over and over, day in, day out? Do you thrive in a solid state environment, where nothing ever grows, moves or changes?

A variety of veggies

Remember the old adage "variety is the spice of life" ? 

Why not try some variety? 

What are the advantages of  variety?  
  • Variety keeps you interested in life. Get out there and enjoy.
  • Variety can provide relief from boredom. A change is as good as a rest.
  • Variety offers a basis for comparison. Drive a Chevy? Try a Ford. Drive a Ford? Try a Honda.
  • Variety can offer additional occupational opportunities never seen before. Maybe getting the superintendent's job IS possible. You'll never know unless you apply.
  • Variety can offer excitement.  Try cliff-climbing if you really want exhilaration.
  • Variety can stimulate your creativityTry writing instead of oil-painting.
  • Variety can provide additional opportunityWould you have seen that 'Franchise Available' sign if you had driven the old route home today?
  • Variety can provide valuable teaching opportunities. The elderly lady next door really does want to learn how to graft apple trees instead of growing radishes. Take the time to show her how.
  • Variety can encourage sharing.  Buy something different--you may like it so much you will want to share it today. You may be surprised what is shared back with you.
  • Variety can be fun.  Going to the new circus in town might be a lot of fun instead of going to the theater every  Saturday like you have for the last 20 years.
  • Variety offers the opportunity to meet new people. Take a different approach to problem-solving.  Travel around the world to meet new people. 
  • Variety can be profitable.   Who would have guessed that changing an advertising program would be so profitable?  You would have never made that huge profit without variety.
  • Variety is diversification.  Whether in business or not,  selling, manufacturing or distributing  products, diversification offers  economic strength during tough times.
  • Variety of foods offers health.  A greater variety of vegetables and fruits in your diet will result in better health. 
  • Variety can update your personal outlook. Update that personal look and get fit, change up the hair style regularly, and you'll realize you are not only  updating  the thinking process, but  your personal outlook with variety.  
  • Variety offers a healthy environment. Bio-diversified forests and crops are healthier.
Clearly, variety can be good  for everyone in some aspect of their lives.
At Incoming Bytes, we suspect variety is important to keep the mind stimulated.  Ask more of yourself.  Ask more of your thought process. Ask for variety.  Encourage the same in others.
We can make life better for everyone in this world by trying something bold and different. Variety. 

 Shall we be bold and  try something different?   Let's go for it!

Is that incoming I hear?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

U is for Useful


U is for Useful

It is debatable and at times very doubtful if every object around you is useful.   Useful is  a matter of subjective and timely opinion. Sometimes, articles are useful when you have them and missed when you don't have them. Not the same thing, but some things are useful when needed, or are seasonal, and are an awful nuisance when you are not using them. 

Do you have 5 bicycles and three tricycles stored in a jumble of accessories, pedals and handlebars tangled incomprehensibly in bicycle spokes in the garage for the winter?  A  hardware store's worth of garden tools, a roll of hoses,  two lawnmowers, and a snow-blower?  How about that pair of snowmobiles you boast of, but haven't used for three years, the bench saw needing a new motor, and oh, yeah....that's the second cousin's tuba?
What about the 5 sets of wrenches you got on sale?

Useful sometimes stands in the way of life. How about those wedding gifts you hate? You will never use them either, you know the ones in the big box that plugs up the whole  bottom of a closet?  You can't use them, but if you them away the wrath of old Auntie Sarah who visits twice a year may be raised. 




 Useful becomes even more apparent in other matters. A state of usefulness or being 'useful'  applies to more than just an excess of physical items;  useful opinions, in the form of constructive criticism,  and thought itself is useful when used in a timely and gracious manner.  Useful actions by friends are appreciated, and your useful application of precious time to help others is equally treasured.  Memories. Plans. Apologies.  On and on, useful is applicable to our lives.  Useful and strategic alliances. Useful and treasured promises.  For a neophyte at work, practicing being useful may even be useful.

Got any useful concepts and ideas handy?  Got any interesting, useful opinions on  difficult issues that challenge common societal issues?  Here at Incoming Bytes we encourage you come up with helpful, useful concepts that grow outside the box. Experiment.  How do you know when a non-tangible hypothesis or something is useful unless it is tested?  Are useful comments always helpful?   

Think about it.  Pushing the mind to new limits can be exhilarating and a learning experience.
You may come to a surprisingly useful life-changing opinion as you hold that yard sale.  Even if Aunt Sarah shows up at the least helpful moment-most likely just as you pocket  that useful $50.00 for the white elephant from the closet. 
Surprise!  She smiles. No sweat. She says she re-gifted it anyway. It was not useful.
 Being forgiven can be useful too..

 Is that incoming I hear?  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

T is for Tile and Tired

T is for Tile and Tired  because doing a renovation job with  ceramic tile can be tiring work.
 I'm at it again. Remember the wall?  The wall and door chewed up and scratched away by our mischievous pups Tilly the Tall and Ebony the Short?
  Well, this time it's the floor.
 No, our loyal pups did not  dig holes in the floor.  That old self-stick composite  tile is 30 years old.
 It wore pretty well and used to look nice.  Everything looks nice when it is new, doesn't it?
Some tiles loosened off a bit around the edges and pieces cracked away.  It curled a bit in places too. Old stuff is enough to curl your hair and crack your mind sometimes.
 We have to rip out the old composite tile and install new ceramic tile.  By the time I'm finished this job, I will also be tired.  Good thing I have a wonderful helper who is also the supervisor, planner, coffee-maker and cookie-baker.  
See how nice this old floor was?  It took a terrible beating with water, snow melting and mud being ground into it every day for 30 years. Not bad for being so old.
                                                                                                        
  This was the best section. It almost looked good as new, but not quite.   Heating the tile with a hair dryer to soften the glue was a brilliant idea,, but it really didn't help much, and the exposed glue smelled terrible!  A much better idea became obvious. It had to come off one way or the other.  We chose the other.
Cold, it came off in bits and pieces.  No worries.




 The tile came off in bits and pieces with this handy little thin-edged tool!   Notice how the pattern of the old tile is still on the floor? Don't kid yourself, even if composite or vinyl self-stick tiles are tightly placed, they shrink a tiny bit, and water eventually works it's way into the cracks, staining the floor. Surprisingly, the sub floor plywood is still in good, solid condition.
  


A pile of tile.  Rubble trouble.  Unfortunately, it has to go to the landfill. The brittle old composite tile with it's old glue is not usable for anything.  We do not have a recycling facility for such horrible stuff.




   


  The old glue sure smelled awful! Outdoors it went!
Off to the landfill it will go on garbage day.
Tilly the Tall inspects the trash, but Ebony the Short didn't like that stinky stuff very much! Time to schmooze on that remaining nice cool snow instead.





 We checked  the plywood carefully to make sure it is still solid. If you have any doubt, poke it with a sharp penknife.   The stains look terrible but the wood is still perfectly solid.   I ran the belt sander with #80 paper over the seams to remove any remaining lumps of glue, broken, sticky bits of tile, or other old unidentifiable guck.

Next job is to cut off the door trim and door jambs to allow just enough room for the tile to fit under it neatly. You have to remember space for the thin set tile cement!
Trimming the doorjambs


 That handy little battery-powered  oscillating Multi-tool made short work of that tough job!  We used a short piece of board just the right thickness for a natural guide to get the right height above the floor, enough to allow for the thin set and new tile.





 What a mess! Now the floor has to be vacuumed up perfectly again,  and the new ceramic tile laid out.  I know, this should have been called T for tough job instead of  T for Tile and Tired!  

 The layout and installation of the new tile will have to wait until there's more energy available.
  I think it's time for a snooze!  

 Is that incoming I hear?

S is for Solution


Why is S for Solution? Because solutions are everywhere around us.  Solutions touch us daily.   Because solutions are required as answers for tough questions. Because being happy is a solution, and solutions can make us happy. Because solutions solve dilemmas and dissolve materials in the world around us. Because solutions can be solid or liquid. The globe  itself is made up of solutions. Solutions in nature can be complex, but a complex answer can also be a natural solution.

" the contrite, perfect answer is not always the right 'solution'.

 

Remember 'questions' ?  The solution closest at hand may always not be the right answer to a question because the contrite, perfect answer is not always the right 'solution'.   "The solution to pollution is dilution" is a common example. Dilution --is  another 'solution', albeit a devious, weaker, less desirable solution to pollution.

Solutions are also 'dissolved matter' in water or another liquid. Those solutions are not unlike solutions to day-to-day hard problems in life, problems that can be  'solved' by gentle washing away with care, love, and thought. TLC, the solution to many difficult problems.

Solutions can be smart and can be complex.  They can alter reality, preserve pickles,  coat metals, remove dirt,  carry medicine into the blood stream, and cook food to perfection. Gravy is a complex solution of meat juice, minerals, salt, starch and water, but also a simple solution to dry potatoes.  Alcoholic beverages are solutions of alcohol, highly complex organic and trace minerals, and water.  Drinking is not a solution, to life's problems, but everything you drink is a solution.  See why solutions are important?

The ocean may be a solution of water, salt and minerals- but solids such as stainless steel alloys are also solutions of various metals and minerals.  Almost everything around us is a solution, or was derived from a solution.  Think about it. Everything manufactured around us is a solution to a specific problem or requirement.
 Such is the strange complexity and nature of solutions --and one of the key solutions to understanding why S is for Solution.

Is that incoming I hear?

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Reality

Reality comes early....
  This is an experiment in R for Reality.
The last minute of sleep in the morning is realityDream on. I want to enjoy every last bit of that glorious, memorable warm and comfy  snoozing.  The reality of total relaxation and sleeping with closed eyelids is fleeting. That extra bit of sleep, rest, and relaxation might be a happy coincidence --but not this morning.  



Ebony the Short plods softly around the bed.  I remain motionless, maybe the pup will  go back to bed?   No?
She rears up, taps on my arm and  woofs quietly. Time to get up, lazybones. She has an internal atomic timer with accuracy that would make NASA jealous.
I open one eye. She's watching, her head is curiously cocked to one side.  She encourages me to keep the eyes open. I resist.

 The sun is trying to shine in the window too. Pulling the comforter over the head works for a minute. Forget it. You can't fool old Sol or  Ebony the Short. She keeps tapping away;  I know you're under there, so get up, lazybones. 
There's not much air hiding under a comforter anyway. Morning breath sucks.  Is there any respite available for a tired, desperate man? 
 Not this morning. She's got that built-in alarm clock and a devious plan. She picks up her red and white rope pull-toy and heads to the door. Let's play.  "I wanna play. Right now".

  "Not me, dog. I'm back to bed. Right now."
  
A measurably louder 'woof'. Oh yeah?  How unlikely. Tilly the Tall stretches. She agrees.

 Alas,  it's morning,  and I check twice just to be sure. Tired eyes squint at the red neon numbers on the digital clock. Hopefully the time is wrong. Digital clocks can be wrong, can't they?
Nope.   It's reality, right on time. It's reliable. That figures.

Reality is now  7:01 am.  No escape.  No wonderful time continuum mistakes or helpful quantum  errors.  This is earth calling. No choice. Reality sucks too. 
  I have to get up first, hitting the cool hardwood floor. Someone  plods sleepily to the door, buck naked, wondering why he should not be enjoying some other reality, --you know the one, where the terrestrial keeps sleeping, eyes closed,  snoozing buck naked? Not today.  Reality insists. The universe objects. I try to squint at the clock  above the coffee-maker. Can't see it.
 No wonder,  I'm not  in the kitchen yet. Wake up. Give the head a shake.

 Back to reality, get dressed. Get the socks out and pull the blue jeans and T-shirt on.  Shh...don't wake up momma.
 Ebony the Short  and pull-toy are out the door like a shot- and the  more sensible, sleepy Tilly the Tall is close behind. They begin a pulling match.
 The clock in the kitchen sensibly confirms reality. It's now 7:05 am.    


 The last bit of peanut butter in the jar will go just fine with strawberry jam on hot toast.  No, the toast is not smoking or black.  Being awake enough to paying attention to smoke signals and reality is starting to pay off already. One of the benefits of good reality management.
 The first cup of coffee is painfully slow coming. It begins, gurgling lazily. The first drop draining through the gadget is a promise of a better reality.  That first steaming cup will be good too, no kidding. The reality of a coffee habit says so. 
Three cups later reality has set in, the caffeine is working .  I am awake. Check the matched eyelid latches.  Yes, the eyelids stay open all by themselves. Stifle the yawn that wants to negate such fine and encouraging progress.  You really can see better with both eyes open .

 Reality says it's time to walk the dogs.  Tilly the Tall and Ebony the Short check out the reality of the  strange, softening April snow. The sun is almost warm, shining brightly.  There's a fresh spring melt in the cool air.   The pups eagerly snuffle the tracks of rabbits already turning brown. They feel obligated to check out every partridge track on the quad trail too. 
 I call the explorers back quickly if they begin to wag their tails  out of sight.
They wander back slowly onto the trail and wait patiently. They sheepishly look at me like I should have stayed in bed.
Not me. I'm too busy breathing deeply and enjoying reality.



Is that incoming I hear?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Question Everything


 Q is for Question Everything

Questions lead to More Questions

'Why?' may be the most frequently asked question in the world, next to "What was the question again?"
Why do raisins have wrinkles? Does Santa Claus sneeze?  What is Qat ?  Where do fish sleep?  Why is grass bouncy?   Is the sun perfectly round? Where does God live? How many galaxies are there? 



 Are we dreaming?  Are we real? Why are my new  tires flat?  Where does smoke from the oven go? Where did the cookies go? Who ate the cookies?
Why do we ask questions?  Let us ask endless questions. Why?  To find out the answer. Perhaps the answer  will solve the human condition. What's 'the human condition?"


 What is an endless question?  Mothers say "my kids are full of  endless questions". What is an ordinary question?  Why do you ask questions? Do questions always lead to other questions? Why?
  See what I mean?  What does that mean?
 On the surface, a question seems to be a request for information with the intent of  fulfillment of curiosity. We all have it. Curiosity, I mean.  We think it is a built-in learning mechanism, but is it? Is there more to it? Should we question everything?
 If we are dedicated thinkers and questioners, we question everything. If we are protracted thinkers, we question the answers to the questions and each in turn  in an endless cycle of questions and answers. We expand our minds. Grow a billion more neurons. Expand the brain's capability, and most importantly, use what we have.
 If the answer to a question is not forthcoming from the wise filing cabinet  between the ears, how is an answer actually formulated?  Which responses do you primarily trust when you ask a question?
  •  Experience?  We may compare previous occasions, details or facts. Is experience always applicable or does the mind smartly assemble applicable bits and bytes?
  •  Instinct? We may suspect a specific answer because of  human instinct, comparative values,  inference, influence, or personal knowledge of people involved. Some insist we have animal instinct. Do you trust your instincts, regardless of what kind it is?
  • Hearsay? We may trust second, third or forth-hand information from others relaying information to you. Do they really know the truth--the answer you seek?
  •  How about an astute search of centuries of collected knowledge?  Most of us have heard of the Encyclopedia Britannica, libraries, and the modern equivalent, the world wide web. Can you always believe internet content? Do  you automatically believe what you read just because it is in a book?Where does fact and fiction cross in reality?
Q is for questions and questioning everything.   At Incoming Bytes we think questioning everything is a good idea.  Expand the mind, satisfy the curiosity. Trust the  art of attaining knowledge based on truth and solid information.  Check out dog-eared, dusty books long out of print, old hand-written notes,  native elders,  advice from your neighbour's  Aunt April May June, -- and at times,-- even ask the local old  wise-guys. They will undoubtedly have a question for you too.



Is that incoming I hear?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Putz and Putzing




P is for Putz

 It is a known fact.  Putzes are no longer clutzes. Look around.  Retirees and baby boomers happily putz along the highway on holiday and wear knobby-knee shorts and floppy sandals.

Strange sunflowers

Crafting aficionados putz about, making this and that out of  crooked driftwood, old wool, and recycled soup cans. Gardeners putz and grow weird broccoli, Tiger lilies, stiff-necked garlic, and lumpy gourds. They also  poke cautiously at  vegetables that change colour when cooked.
Even their sunflowers are strange.


Inventors may be the best putzes by default, inventing new stuff out of old bicycle wheels to happily putz with, generating free electricity from cabbages and hiding snacks behind toolboxes in secret workshops.

 That's a whole lot of  putzing if you ask me.  See how popular putzing has become? It is now more popular than  naked ice climbing or accordion-playing  in the deep end of the swimming pool.  
Join the putzing revolution.    The pandemic global shift to smart putzing is a historical event, almost as exciting as tectonic crustal shifts and stopping volcanic popcorn kaflooies.

The most skilled putzes are adept at making minute, minimal and  incremental  putzic  adjustments worthy of fine art. Serious putzing, after all, means twiddling, fiddling, kaboodling around, fine-tuning,  and playing with the good to make it better.
 The curious neophyte may mistakenly  hypothesize that packaged instructions provide the the same benefits as traditional  old-fashioned putzing.  At Incoming Bytes we are convinced that no automatic system or instructions can equal the precision adjustments made by a professional old putz.
 Clever readers of Incoming Bytes should insist upon clear instruction in the  fine art of putzing from their elected putz mentors.  After all, if you're going to be a putz, you may as well get it right.

 Is that incoming I hear? 

Monday, April 16, 2012

O is for Opportunistic Obfuscation


O is for Opportunistic  unless it's for  recombinant Obfuscation or other equally obtuse abuses of the English language. We're okay with that. 
We are all  practitioners of opportunistic obfuscation.  Have we been waiting surreptitiously with abated breath for 'O' to come along?   Yes.  Why not, after all, O is for Opportunist obfuscation,  so patiently  in ambush we wait.
 (While we're waiting, all parents are allowed to give the  rotten  kid a cookie as a bribe to stop playing with Granny's Ming vase. That's to be expected. Distraction works )

  We revel in the opportunity to obfuscate the apparent, to cloud the issues, to offer distractions and subtractions, if only to ensure our success. Life offers such wonders and hooks at every turn, left or right, but they're not usually good enough, we make additions and throw up smokescreens,  behind which we hover, hide and  at times, smirk happily. Why muddy the waters, and confuse the senses of the normally sensible?  It's fun. It's a challenge.
 It's easy too.  At times it is advantageous to befuddle the process of logic to achieve an end, whether it is a joke, a hoax,  the end of a relationship, the end of a business arrangement, or to offer a minor and interesting but hopeful distraction when conversation is headed the wrong direction.  To save face.  To save the skin.  Over the speed limit, for example; 

Obfuscation in progress
 "Good evening, Sir,  were you in a big hurry?  License and registration please?".
"um...Good evening, officer,  is there ringing in your ears? Does it sound like a fire alarm ?  The fire alarm in my building sounds like a cell phone now, it was changed a few months ago when the building changed ownership."

"Uh huh". "Not me, my eyes are fine too, and you were forty over the limit...."

" uh...The new owner of my building is a hot chick too, that blonde with the red Mustang --the one just ahead of me back there.  Did'ya see that thing go by?   It's got a nitro turbocharged OHC  , she passed me, she was doing at least 140." 


"Yeah?......Sir,   don't be trying to-----well, gotcha,  10-4,   here are your papers, Sir,- I''m gonna go check out that Mustang, no speeding, dude!"   (wink)

"Gee, thanks!  Goodnight officer".  (wink and grin)

 Do you take advantage of breathtaking opportunities to obfuscate facts, even flamboozle the cops to fabricate pathways to freedom?   Do you choose to hasten the slowdown, discombobulate the outcome?    Do you hurry up the investigation,  rapidly speeding to a walking crawl or  hurriedly screeching to a halt?  The legal profession displays  superior opportunistic professionalism at the art of obfuscation.

Dear Mrs. Schlappenveiner;   
As I advised you on Tuesday at lunch, just prior to your incarceration,  darling,  nothing has changed. Please remain assured that, as promised, my lips are sealed.   I am still  officially  mortified to hear of the untimely death of your husband last month. I do hope the warden has allowed  you to read this important document unopened.  
 Further to your request and our discussions of  April 1st, 2012,  kindly find herein  a summary of the findings of the investigation into your  defense and  a simplified recap of Section a.. 1 a) 1.4.iii  Probate  inquiry  and a summary of the applicable law hooeySections and interpretations as have been applied to the recent execution and demise and of your beloved husband and accessory, the late Mr. V.O. ( Vingaart  Oliphant)  Schlappenveiner, himself having been determined to be certified as passed away in an untimely manner as indicated by the death certificate you have kindly provided to us. Unfortunately, death in an untimely manner after a life of illicit excesses and codified extortion invariably results in an investigation of all persons both involved as heirs and convicted murderers and associated persons.  This probate continuum and the inconvenient  inconvenience of this redundant and subsequent investigation speaks to the investigative matter at hand. Please read this carefully.
 
 Whereas and herein  the plaintiff , a  witness to this action has also contested Mr.Schlappenveiner's last wishes, will and testament, estate withstanding, and  is in agreement in principle and  acknowledges that the matter outlined herein as may or not be required or  applicable to the defendant, after this date but,  notwithstanding, may request in writing or other form of communication including electronic transfer, direct communication through O.O.C & B, or other solicitor at this office, forthwith, herein, hereto, and hereafter, may contract or otherwise file complain  that the plaintiff or representatives thereof shall be free to additionally write long paragraphs in small print, precluding all details required and is hereafter authorized within the limitations and addendum to this agreement hereafter specifically  Section a. 1a)1.4iii  and others as may be applicable  to add demands and applicable consultations including a lot of extra incomprehensible words and obfuscated b.s. hooey  in any irrelevancy or addition thereof  and shall not be  pro bono within exclusionary limitation.
 Any section of this agreement not deemed essential to the spirit and meaning of this contract including  section a.1a 1.4.iii or any )subsection thereof  up to and including this date, and  may be post dated, modified, authorized without further action on the part of the plaintiff  including the  requirement for exemplary exclusion  that may or may not be deleted or  selected at the discretion of the representatives of the defendant or the  plaintiff   which  addss, influences, modifies, flamboozles, decimates, eradicates, abdicates, or flammigates and flummoxes  without prejudice any and all parts of this agreement herein and hereafter including  the misunderstanding of the incomprehensible documention in long run-on sentences or other devices that tend to confuse  and distract from the content in section including subsection c) iii and subsection d) iv, para. 4.1  and Section a. 1a) 1.4iii .  Inclusive and interpretive obfuscation within the meaning of subsection 1a)1.4iii   may be altered, changed or interpreted within the meaning of this contract  without notice and do not intend to burn your eyes out or mean anything specifically until the sub-clause becomes applicable and in force, and the defendant or plaintiff herein may forever and   hereafter add applicable addendums to this document from time to time and  to the content of subsections herein prior to the insertion of  further intent and meaning of  ii), iii) para. 2  and clarify  subsequent agreements to eliminate confusion or additionally distract from the content as may or may not be the intention and meaning of the content herein according to the interpretation of all applicable probate law in the State of Unconsciousness if applicable in that jurisdiction or locality, district or mayhem otherwise appointed by the court and subsequent claimants. 
The subsequent discovery and revelation  of Vingaart's  latest Will and Last Testament in the vaults of H.Schlummerbacher, Petoinkus, Non Compis Mentis & Fat has come as a complete surprise and  has disqualified all sections and paragraphs of  the preceding issues as  clarified above and hereby precludes procedural outlines and proceedings equally in response to the investigative authority inferred, authorized or  prepared by Mr. Schulummerbacher,  of   Schulummerbacher,  Petoinkus et al. (H.P. NCM. &F. Inc. being one and the same )
 
We are sure this summary of the  investigation has clarified the issues and has affirmed the investigative force of  this matter and has been investigated and reported  to the warden and to your satisfaction.  
 May your dear Vingaart  now be removed from your basement freezer and  interred to rest in peace knowing his  affairs pre mortem,  post mortem and rigor mortis in totem  are in perfect order.



 Clara, as you know, my cohorts, colleagues, consorts and retorts are always available to assist you as required in your time of difficulty.
 I do hope the warden allows us domestic visitation. See you Friday...
Sincerely yours, 
 Dobbie 

I. D. Obfuscate  LLBS
S.O. Opportunistic, Obuscation, Confusion & Blather, Inc. 
( c/o Pedunkle Maximum Security Prison) 

 " the Finest Legal Service available behind bars Today"


P.S.  Clara, darling, our reasonable fee of  $109,850.03 in this matter will be deducted from the final estate settlement should you wish to be robbed in that fashion,  or if you have so elected, cash, cheque or credit cards are all acceptable. Interest rate is calculated daily on unpaid bills at the rate of 28.8% with penalties not exceeding 100% daily calculated at the discretion of OOC&B or affiliated representatives whenever they so choose to do so and may equally initiate actions at their own satisfaction. Obfuscate, Opportunistic Crooks &Blather are always pleased to drain your bank account and provide all of your legal opportunistic obfuscation and other blathering requirements. 
P.S.S.   As you know, my Uncle Mouchoir Fergulboots of  Mouchoir Fergulboots Funeral Homes Inc.  provides funeral services and green see-through cookie-jars for ashes and such at 50% off. 
As we previously discussed, he would be happy to provide you with the deep family discount. 


  Why small print? 
 Opportunistic legal obfuscation, lies, deceit,  snookery,  crookery,distraction, theft  and evil lawyer's tricks are easily inserted and hidden deeply in the complicated obfuscation of subsections, sub-paragraphs, smoke and mirrors, dark glass and distraction.  Such jargon is usually clearly stated in such fine print that it discourages, even  burns the eyes.
 By the way, is the cat stealing the raccoon? Is he rescuing the cat?    Which opportunistic obfuscation is he using? 
  Perhaps your eyes are deceiving you;  visual opportunistic obfuscation also works.

Um......Which way did you say that red Mustang went?


Is that incoming I hear? 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

N is for Nonconformist

Normal.  Who wants to be normal?  I would rather be unique, a nonconformist.  N is for Nonconformist, nonconformity, and nonconforming.

"Let us line up and conform to everything demanded of us. Let us be conforming sheep and do what we are told.  Let us conform to idealism and not think for ourselves.  Let us conform to the wishes of power control freaks, and do their bidding, post haste."  Really.

If a Nonconformist Marble can lead the way...


  I don't think so. I would rather be a nonconformist. Let us use the brains we were allotted instead.Shall we lead instead of follow? Shall we create instead of imitate? Yes!  You, too, can be a nonconformist. How cool is that?

Conformity to the enormity of normal may be a good thing at times, but may be excessive repression  and suppression of expression by the open mind at other times.
Creativity can be stifled, even destroyed  if 'normal'  --the strict regimen and interpretation of life-- is followed religiously without fail-- as is often required of us.  
Nonconformity is open-mindedness, creative, and daring.  Nonconformity is to be able to think for ones' self.  To be a nonconformist can be bold. Exciting. You get the idea. 
At Incoming Bytes, we must admit the  normal thing to do is to stop at a red light. To be honest, doing otherwise is unwise, even foolish.  The eighteen-wheeler barreling through the intersection the other direction proves 'normal' can be a good thing. Upon occasion.
 May it be reasonably concluded that being normal  is  required? Rarely.
 It is simply more fun to be a nonconformist. 




Is that incoming I hear?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

M is for Method






M is for Method by necessity. 
Methods initiate, establish, and even define subsequent order.   Improved methods increase functionality and efficiency.  Consistency of method applied to process assures the same high quality, predictable results. Optimal outcomes are a direct result of dedication to method.
Tried and true methods ensure sustainability of process.
 It is often said there is "method to our madness". 
Why? Methods and methodology  dominate the human thought process however foolish, illogical, or mad it may first appear.
Do you habitually use the same method to achieve your  mad brilliant goals?
"Which method did you have in mind?" suggests there are benefits to optimizing methods.
In everyday life, it is often overheard: "Mind this".
 What is the purpose of "minding this" other than to encourage the learner to observe parameters of an accepted method?

"Mind your p's and q's children" is  pointed  instruction to ensure attention to detail --established by proven method.
"Really, do you mind?" suggests observation of, and reaction to,  non-conformity with an established, predetermined  method or standard. Why?
The observer 'minds' when  the observed 'method'  contradicts or exceeds  'normal or expected'  social mores, manners, or attitude in communication or actions.   A method of comparing societal expectations is expressed. At times, various methods of  exerting peer pressure are at play.

 Easily recognized or not,  all  'methods' employed by individual actions  are  'approved'  or 'disapproved' by subconscious comparison to 'approved' or 'normal' --socially accepted methods of social interaction.

 "What did you have in mind?" asked of an individual, actually questions the potential outcome of  thought processes taking place in the mind of the observed subject.  Are you aware of using this method of evaluating potential wonders or equally potential defects in normally-brilliant  lunatics people you communicate with?

M is for method-- predetermined declarations of order used by the mind,  the creative brain and whoopee-cushion-loving  inner child. Do you use a process, a method, to make mistakes decisions? Of course. Think about it.


Is that incoming I hear?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

L is for Life

 Life Glows at times....
 
Do you ever contemplate life

After much thought, it seems 'L' is for 'Life' after all.  I have it on good authority.  I may now participate in life.
" Would that be for the ' the simple, ordinary, --or the fast, racy version, Doctor?"  I winked, grinning sheepishly.
" I didn't know there was a difference." he said, smiling subtly whilst scribbling hieroglyphics on the prescription pad. You know the ones. Chicken-tracks.
Eyes twinkled.  The doc's eyes always twinkle mischievously.
 "Life in the ordinary lane might be best, since you're over 29 " he says. 
"I was not born in 1929 " I reminded him, tongue in cheek. 
"Not '49 either"  he added, squinting  in the med file.  "....but life in the ordinary lane"....trust me, you'll live longer" he says, slapping the Rx paper on my outstretched palm.
"See 'ya again,  remember, it will be helpful  to keep breathing in the meantime". He laughs, walking out of the room. 

I hear him say  "Well, how are we today, Mrs. Schlappenveiner?"  just before the solid birch door to the next examining room closes with a 'thunk'.

 Out into the sunshine I go.   The receptionist smiles as I leave.
  
 I have to remind myself of that prescription regularly, being excitable. I remind myself twice before I get to the car. 
Rx:   Life in the ordinary lane:  "I would recommend you breathe in, breathe out; breathe in, breathe out...repeat as required --and have fun doing so". 
  That might  be the good doctor's prescription for life in the ordinary;  I'll just add a few basic  nutrients in the form of food, vitamins, and essential water.  I'll consider a successful career,  interesting job, and a wonderful companion.  Add  a healthy family, a few neighbours,  a Volvo station wagon, and an endless supply of money, and we are ready to 'play at Life' .

     " ....and  for as long as you enjoy doing so" may also be a suitable post script to scratch on your stone in the garden"   the good wife commented while we were eating glazed doughnuts. 

It has been since drawn to my attention that it's important to remember that part of the prescription,  --particularly if you want to adapt the upgraded version:
"Life in the fast lane".....

For life in the fast lane,  do all of the above, just faster and bigger.
Add a limo, a racy red sports car,  saucier companions optional,  a 12-bedroom brownstone castle with swimming pool, tennis court,   endless entertainment, and a stainless steel barbeque center big enough for medium-well-done  or  Prime Rib bleu au jus for a crowd of 60.
Don't forget to count the the maid, the chauffeur. --and the old guy next door,  you know, the one  living life in the ordinary lane.
 Do we actually get to choose how long we shall live, regardless of lane chosen too?
The Doc  twinkles when I ask him that one too. He says "Hmm..."
L for Life- is more complex than even the doctor cares to admit.


Is that Incoming I hear?

K is for Knowledge




"K" is for knowledge.   Are you empowered by knowledge? Do you have an open mind? 
Did you know that knowledge is power?   Do you know which bits of knowledge give you that power?
Which stream of knowledge powers your being? Where does it come from?  Why?




One of the most fascinating attributes of humanity is knowledge.
We are aware  knowledge is important.  Astute humans realize that knowledge bestows power upon us,  but we must realistically  ponder the curious nature of knowledge itself.  Many questions abound.
Is knowledge simply a collection of facts?
Is knowledge inborn?
Must every bit of knowledge be learned by rote?
Do progressive reasoning and logic take over from basic fact and become knowledge?

Theories may abound, but are they correct?
 Does the very concept of knowledge have foundation in fact? Are there other possibilities?
 Why are anomalies in the field of knowledge not understood? Savants, individuals otherwise mentally challenged, have inordinate, virtually impossible abilities and knowledge. Why?
 Very young children may speak languages they have never been exposed to. Is that the knowledge of reincarnation or universal knowledge they have  unwittingly 'discovered'  in the unexplored recesses of  the mind?
Hypothesize being hard-wired from conception instead. Hypothesize being born with access to all of the knowledge in the universe.  Hypothesize being a genuine 'know it all'.  
Perhaps humans are programmed in the fashion of organic computers of the future?  From which source?  By the most powerful organizing force in the universe?
Is programming completed without individuals being aware that knowledge has been allocated to the seemingly little-understood organic brain?  Is the mind programmed by a superior being, or an advanced race of beings, using mass hypnosis or pin-point telepathy?

Humanity has 'learned' a lot and made terrific advancements in many fields of endeavor -but fails to understand the source of knowledge.  The source of perfect knowledge, God by any name  -is willfully denied by many.
 Is denial also a form of knowledge, a tool designed to control the mind,  or simple arrogance?    

K is for knowledge.  Will you open and explore your mind? At Incoming Bytes we believe everyone should start now.   
Clearly the understanding of the true nature of knowledge has only begun.


Is that incoming I hear?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

J is for Junk

Junk Near You
 
There is something weird going on.  Everything is turning into junk.  We long for the 'good old days' when you could buy a manufactured item, use it more than twice, and then use it again the next day without fear of it rusting, breaking, falling apart, simply failing to work and turning into junk.
 If it did break, you could get replacement parts. Imagine that.

In North America, we used to have good stuff. Made by Canadians and Americans that had jobs and actually knew how to make stuff that was worth having. Solid, good tools.  Top quality clothing. Great equipment. Durable stuff.   Have no fear, there was junk in the 'good old days' too,  stuff made by shysters, the cheap and the devious, but their reputations quickly became tarnished. Cheap, shoddy products were shunned as  'junk'.  They were called bad,  impolite names. 

"....Outsourced for your unemployment enjoyment."

J is still for junk, but we are faced with a different dilemma  today. We have been lulled into buying shiny, perfect imitations;  copies of  "good stuff" that are shiny, goods invariably made for pennies in China, or some other junk-producing source of pikers and perpetrators.
 Once the warranty, shine and glimmer are gone, it is soon discovered that, once again, we have been hoodwinked into buying junk.  Was it your intent to buy junk that was outsourced for your unemployment enjoyment?  
Did you purposely  jump in the car,  break all speed records  racing down the highway to your nearest Walmart or Canadian Tire to shout at the  sales clerk breathlessly;

" I want junk! I cannot live without junk!   "Here's my credit card, please sell me  MORE  outsourced,  overpriced, glitzy imitation junk!"  (?) 
                                                                                                           


 
 I guess not.  It just looks that way.

 J really is for "Junk".  Junk-yards, garbage dumps and landfills near you are full of it.  
 What are you doing about it? Do you refuse to buy poor-quality junk and recycle what you do use?


  

Is that incoming I hear? 


Monday, April 9, 2012

'I' is for Interest, Interests, and Interesting

1926 US Liberty Silver Dollar

Are interests merely lesser hobbies? 

An official  hypothesis might insist interests are really hobbies,  a collection of  hobbies, --or not.   ' H' was for hobbies, if you recall.  I may yet bite my tongue.   
 We are not interested in limitations, so by definition, do not espouse any official position.
 I am interested in clever angles, smart directives and yoga,  but I do not  unnecessarily become distressed over  Kama Sutra geometric progressions. I try not to subject loyal readers  of Incoming Bytes to  any form of deep breathing they do not wish to participate in.  Nor do I have any interest in placing one foot behind my head. 

 On the other hand, I am interested in apple trees, bonsai, grafting, garden sheds, healthy outdoor activities, even old coins,  -and upon occasion I do participate in these interests vigorously, at times even as hobbies, particularly between coffee-breaks.
Interests may clearly be one and the same as hobbies,-- or not but let us outline our official position.  
In my specific world  " I  is for Interest", --or,  more accurately, interest(s) upon which, rule(s) may be applied or not.  By the way, the muse insists upon being included in this discussion. 
Being interested in promoting correctness (not political) in the English language, we mutually apologize that "I is for interest " sounds eerily akin to  "I is here for dinner",  or  "I is for cookies and coffee".
  Let's toss that grammar rule out. Who, after all, would not want to be  for cookies and coffee?
We must also revel in the discovery there are endless grammar rules in which we may dabble.
 Now that we have the quintessential grammar of "interest" sorted out, shall we proceed?
I (we) am(are) interested in virtually everything.  Multiple interests can be distracting at times.   Is that bad?
I(we)  have also been seen observing humanity, so if you are a human being or curious specimen, an alien, for instance,  I(we)  am (are) interested in observing you.
 If you also  have multiple personalities, I ( we ) are even more interested in observing you. Humanity  is a complex area of  interest.  At times we are not amused, but have a prime directive against commenting  on such things.     and / or  laughing. at evidence collected to date)
By the way, I (we) would also be interested in your essential or even marginal  proclivities, such as if your species  divides automatically and maintains a mathematical and keen interest in Kama Sutra geometry or other lesser hobbies.

 After all, ' I ' is for interest, interests, and the interesting.


Is that incoming I hear?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

H is for Hobbies


" Hobbies were in style"


 Once upon a time, In the old days,  -really not so very long ago, people  had hobbies.

They created elegant oil paintings, carved stone gargoyles and grew orchids.  Gray-haired men  wearing dusty hats and leather aprons  also dabbled in ceramic pot-making,  carved clocks,  tied customized trout flies, and went fishing on the firth on Saturday afternoons. 
 Perhaps when they had enough clocks and were maddened by excesses of  trout flies, ceramic pots and  wooden  tick-tocks, they sallied off to America for high adventure.  Sailors showed them how to  built perfectly-scaled model sailing-ships inside glass bottles on the way.  They discovered stuff, drank whiskey, and pursued dreams of gold.
                                   " The End. "





The fact is, that wasn't the end at all. Hobbies, skills, and interests did migrate to North America with people from all over the world.
In America, congregating at the town smithy and hammering iron into useful, durable artifacts, they  twisted white-hot metal into horseshoes, fancy utilities, perfect iron oak leaves and wrought-iron gates. "Blacksmithing" remains a hobby today.
 
Ceramic greenware


 They also tooled  leather, made saddles  and constructed durable furniture for the homestead. Some whittled corncobs into pipes, made walking-sticks or wooden decorations for the front door.
 Some went back to making ceramic pots.
 



 Silver-haired ladies and young women alike making tea and passing pleasantries, spoke of gardens, flowers, food  and the latest fashions from foreign lands  while they sewed, knitted, pearled, tatted and gossiped.

A fine selection of colours in oil


 Hobbyists  created fine works of art in crochet,  needlepoint and other stitchery, and painted in oils, watercolors, and any other medium available in that era.










Antique and modern marbles





  Children played with pet rabbits,  tickled trout, carved wood, made toys and collected pebbles,  insects, coins, and  glass marbles.

  



Hobbies were in style. 
Interestingly, hobbies were often  social  distraction with a purpose--the lighter, more enjoyable  jobs attended to when not working or otherwise occupied with backbreaking labour and the essentials of survival.
Having a hobby kept the hands busy,  the mind away from the devil, and most hobbies produced something useful.
Today, H is for hobbies.   Hobbies still exist, but associated skills are much diminished.
 Hobbies entertain the willing as they always have. Artificial entertainments such as television, social media and other distractions  have, unfortunately,  reduced the interest in hobbies requiring genuine, specialized skills.

 If you have more than one hobby,  you are fortunate indeed. As a distraction from mundane life with it's endless assorted problems, even a single hobby is priceless. The prime directive of a hobby is enjoyment of life via one's expression of creativity.
Collections, whether they consist of  old and contemporary glass, coins, stamps, baseball cards, toys,  old airplanes or automobiles --are equally  considered to be hobbies.




  Modern hobbies curiously may produce little creativity--resulting in  collections of  older or contemporary artifacts.
Paradoxically, hobbies may often include attempts to reproduce artifacts that have appreciated in real value --from the skill sets and hobbies of the  ' good old days'.




Collecting old and Contemporary glass is a modern hobby

A modern collection of Swans

What will you choose to do with your spare time? Do you wish to vegetate, numbed by endless, boring sitcoms on television, or playing Bridge  or 'Monopoly'?

Why not enjoy using hobby skills brilliantly gleaned  from years of practice and enjoyment? Why not collect interesting objects and teach others about your wonderful hobbies?
 Hobbies were in style, and can be again. 
Go for it. Make something of your time.


Is that incoming I hear?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Grafting

These big pin apple blossoms  produce tiny 1/4" sized apple

You, too can learn Grafting

 Have you dreamed about harvesting big, sweet  apples from that old crab apple tree in the back yard? You know, the one with perfect, beautiful snow-white apple blossoms, but offering only sour, tiny apples  birds won't even bother with?





Maybe the old farmer down the road mentioned you could graft it  ten years ago but you didn't want to look like a  city-slicker, so you didn't ask what he meant--and forgot all about it.  
Does your neighbour have a huge apple tree you admire, especially  when you are given a few crisp, ripe apples from it?   Perhaps  that 40-foot  tree was far too big for your yard anyway. It would also be safer to harvest  if it was only 10 feet high, wouldn't it?
 Maybe you deviously planted a couple of ripe, brown seeds from the wondrous gift  apples, grew a tree, waited ten years with your fingers crossed--but ended  up with a miserable  apple replica seemingly unrelated to the marvelous apples next door.
Why?  Apple trees grown from seed often produce fruit that bears no resemblance to fruit from the parent tree.  Apple trees grown from seed do not always grow 'true to type' and may be totally different.  Grafting is required to guarantee apples with the same characteristics.

That coveted tree may be  a unique heritage variety nobody except real old-timers have even heard of --so the  new, modern  garden center won't have one to sell you either.  |Isn't that frustrating? 
  How about picking  four different kinds of apples from  the same tree? Yes, you can change the  nature of your tree.  Add different varieties  to it, or, with time  and patience , change entirely the apple variety that is produced by your tree.  How?


A successful 5-month old wedge graft

 Such wonders are all achieved with the special process called  grafting.  Cuttings, called scions, which are small twigs or  branches of one variety are grafted on to an older existing tree, a small sprout, a  sapling, or even a basic rootstock of an entirely different variety.

If grafting is done skilfully at the right time of the year, a new tree can be successfully grown. 



 Surprise, --you can even grow a new heritage tree by grafting.
  Grafting cuttings from that heritage tree on to the right root stock can provide the same wonderful heritage apples from smaller trees -- if the scions are successfully grafted to dwarf rootstock.  Dwarf rootstock has been developed specifically to limit the height of any species grafted to them and in some cases, can also result in a  more hardy, disease-resistant tree.
 Can anyone graft? There are difficult  grafting methods, but in it's simplest form,   a clean wedge is carved on the lower end of a scion which is then carefully inserted into a matching appropriate "split" made in a cut-off sapling,  a suitably-located small branch  in the host tree  or suitably located on a healthy piece of root stock. You can also drill a hole in a tree trunk and insert a properly-prepared scion,  or carefully insert a simple 'bud' to install a new branch.

In all cases, regardless of the grafting method used, the cambium,  the 'green' layers under the bark in both scion and host--  must be matched perfectly and fitted  together tightly to ensure success.   The joining area must then be tightly sealed with waterproof tape,  'grafting wax' or other suitable sealant or material.  
Timing is important, but two essential rules must not be overlooked;  the cambium layers MUST be matched to fit tightly, and the  joint MUST  be airtight.
Grafting is usually conducted just  before buds begin to expand and grow, to take advantage of the initial flow of sap and spurt of growth in the spring. The scions themselves may be harvested from other trees when dormant,  in very late autumn or winter, and kept refrigerated until used.

The same graft in bloom






The picture here proves that grafting works. This is the same graft as shown aboveThe graft was successful,  and the blossoms show that mature scions were successfully chosen for this graft. You can see the black tape seal where the graft was made. 

Try grafting.  When your first graft actually grows and survives--or better yet, thrives and blossoms, like this one did,  you will be hooked on grafting for life.
You'll be a a grafter for life, and you will be picking those heritage apples you always wanted--from your own tree.







Then, -- how about those   roses, pears, cherries, nectarines, and peaches?  They can all be grafted....

 
Is that incoming I hear?


 The A to Z Blogger Challenge:  http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/