Friday, August 25, 2006

Why the house is clean

Hmm, looking at that title, perhaps it should read instead: Why the house is cleaner than it has been in a while. If Einstein's theory of relativity was explained in terms of cleanliness rather than time and space, every shmo on the street would understand. "Clean enough" means something different for everyone, dig? A postulate to the theory of cleanliness is that the level of acceptable cleanliness is directly correlated with the advancements in window technology. The dirt in the corners didn't bother us when we couldn't see it. When floors were dirt and windows were holes in the walls, less vacuuming was done. OK, maybe it had something to do with vacuums not existing yet. I still think the postulate works. Let in more light and the furball hair floating through the room is more visible, capiché?

The reason for the spate of scrubbing is that my sister and bro-in-law, Viv and Dilbert, are crashing here for a week. I believe the house will be clean enough for them by the time they arrive (is the ticking of that clock getting louder?) If instead my parents were visiting, I would have started cleaning six months ago in order to feel that the result was just barely near the level my mother set for spic-'n-spaniness. That cleaning binge might involve cleaning under the lino and behind the paneling, for instance. On the other hand, my sister gets a clean kitchen, laundered towels and bedding, and a swept floor. I'll even clean both the bathrooms before I call it "clean enough."

The problem with this whole plan is that the Paw Posse continually sets me back. Just when I manage to get the floor to be not-crunchy from either food crumblets or scattered litter, one of the grrllzz wanders over to Food In or Food Out and entropy ensues. This phenomenon is known as perpetual exertion, a lemma to the theory perpetual motion (I'm not sure if that's correct; I just wanted to use the word 'lemma').

I have to go sweep again. Check back for highlights during the week, tentatively titled Dilbert Said Wha'?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My powers of deduction

I just finished listening to a murder mystery. If we were looking at a pre-October 23, 2001 calendar, I would say it was a book on tape. Since today is clearly after that aforementioned date, we need to change the lexicon to book on byte. The date is relevant here because 10/23/01 is the date that the original iPod was introduced. I think Apple missed a great opportunity for an exceedingly memorable (and definitely marketable) numerical palindrome; the iPod should have been introduced the day before. Anyway, I can't remember the last time I actually listened to music on my iPod rather than a book or podcast. Hmm, maybe I'll nickname my iPod the iPage ... is that appropo since it's a recording of a book rather than a printing ... ?

But back to the book, In the Presence of the Enemy by Elizabeth George. It was, as usual with all her books, a good read—er, listen. The solution to the murder is plausible and no rabbits-via-hats are ever needed to pull it all together at the end. I got away from reading murder mysteries for that reason: far too often I got to the final chapter only to learn that it was because the moon was full, the coffee was decaf, and the woman behind the reception desk wore hoops instead of studs, that the detective was able to determine how the circus clown murdered the chicken-eater with the sword swallower's nail clippers. Well, Ms. George never pulls stunts like that.

I've run into so many contrived whodunits that I have a hard time setting aside my doubts when I come upon what I think are errors in dialogue or description. I wonder how the author and editor missed that boo-boo. Well, duh, it's a clue not an error. Maybe I'm too critical to enjoy a mystery considering that my mornings are often spent looking for—and finding—typos on cereal boxes.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I'm hungry

We can stay up late, swap manly stories and in the morning, I am making waffles!

This never happens in my kitchen.

Neither does this.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Recently heard at Meanwhile Manor

So there I was, standing in front of Mr. Caffeine: cleaning, measuring, and filling the magical machine in the daily ritual of preparing my dose of liquid pick-me-up.

T says: Well, I've got my shoes on.

I reply with the obvious: Let me guess. You forgot to put pants on.

T: Yep.

And so begins another day.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tis the Season for Green

Today was a momentus day, a day we've been looking forward to for—lo!—these many months. Today was the day that I ate a cucumber that was grown in my very own garden. Now, you might think that this is not a big deal, this harvesting of a single fruit. But I say unto thee: you are wrong. Wrong! This was an agricultural monument for yours truly.

You see, this pickle came out of the same patch of mud in which I have not been able to grow zucchini. I ask you: How many people do you know are unable to grow zucchini?!? Isn't this that time of year where we say to our co-workers: what were you thinking when you planted a dozen squash plants and how much zucchini bread do you think a human can safely eat? Anyway, I think the fact that I was able to successfully pick a cucumber from a garden in which no zucchini deigns to grow is quite a feat.

I watch this rogue zucchini, relaxing beside the cucumbers and brussel sprouts, both doing their part to convert H2O and CO-2 into soup and salad fixings, and wonder what I ever did to make it spite me so. It got the same attention as all the other garden folk. I watered it the same and doled out it's fair share of organic fertilizer. Perhaps
this plant is just plain lazy and the very thought of photosynthesizing tires it out. It does sport a kind of rumpled look, like it just got out of bed.

Maybe next year I'll have better luck if I plant more zucchini plants.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wardrobe check

If that made you laugh out loud—and even if it didn't but you're willing to be a contestant on today's episode of Web-Click Roulettepoint your mouse here.

And totally not related to the above in any way other than the clothes are interesting: 9 months of pregnancy in 30 seconds. I've watched this a few times just to see how long the women continues to wear a belt!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

At the gym

I'm not going to talk about the time I flew off the back of treadmill.
These guys are way more graceful.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Take a number for faster service

Here's the solution to those times you find yourself trapped in frustrating jabber gridlock.

Scenario: you're amongst very effervescent chatterers or those poor souls who—unbeknownst to only themselves—suffer from diarrhea of the mouth (or possibly both types at once) and you have a comment/joke/literary or historical reference/oral footnote to share. How do you simultaneously wait your turn and tell everyone that you are waiting your turn? Use a conversation queue. My sources in the know tell me that this could be the "next big thing" so let the record show that I am officially virtually registering the following terms as trademarked: Conversation Queue, Qonversation Queue, and Conversation Cue. (I'll settle on the one that looks best in a logo.)

Here's how it works: Person A is talking: " ... blah blah blah ... " and Person B is reminded of that time at band camp and wants to mention it but doesn't want to disrupt A's verbal mojo. So instead of rudely talking over A or whispering to C while A still has the attention of D, E, and F, B softly interjects with "I'm in the queue." It is then understood that when A's commentary on the social, environmental, and hygienic benefits of non-bleached 2-ply made from 80% recycled materials versus commercially mass-produced, chemically fortified and possibly old-growth 1-ply is concluded and follow-up comments addressed, it is B's turn to talk.

Perhaps the verbal taking of a number is augmented with a physical element as well. It works for Captain Picard, does it not? Commander Data, second star to the right and straight on 'til morning. Warp factor 8. ... a little wave of the hand and ... Engage! The most powerful ship in the fleet never moves until he waves his hand, does it? The Devil in Prada also has a gesture, although hers is more like flicking crumbs to the floor rather than Picard's pointing towards a bullseye. Just saying That's all does not dismiss an underling as completely as when the words are accompanied by a snk snk wafture of the fingers. But I digress.

The point here is that the proper use of the queue can help a large group maintain its collective sanity and give everyone an opportunity to contribute. It's so much better than standing there with a drink in one hand and your other hand raised over your head while the blood drains out of your arm as you wait for your turn—and you don't look nearly as dorky.

Some (un)Official Rules to get the ball rolling (one must define what one is trademarking, eh?):

a. The speaker may get behind her/himself in line if the current thread reminds her/him of an additional thread.

b. A single individual may not stand behind her/himself more than one additional concurrent place in line. The idea is to let someone else have a turn at the mic, folks.

c. The group must decide on queue order discrepancies. No cutting. Cheaters to the back of the line.

d. Comments related to current thread need not be queued. We're not trying to stifle discourse here, people, just rein in s/he who blathers.

Go forth and chat, kids. And mind your peace and queues.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Fun with dirty clothes

This is a very cool ad and kind of answers a few questions we've all asked: where are my socks disappearing to and what do bras eat.

OK, maybe we haven't all asked those questions.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Don't Let Me Touch That, Part II

This is the second post cataloging my recent adventures with gadgets. Although the chronological order of these mishaps is not important, if you would like to go in order and experience these events in the same order I did, you should check out this entry first.

The chapter involves the gadget in my life that has become my second brain: my Palm PDA. My interaction with these hunks of silicone has developed over 10 years and 4 different models. My relationship with each unit has been symbiotic rather than parasitic or negatively addicitve. These gadgets are useful and practical, allowing me to have information literally at my fingertips—or stylus-tip, as the case may be. The fact that I can play games while a meeting morphs into a coma by committee is just an added bonus.

Here's my Palm Archive, in order of their appearance in my back pocket:

L-R: Palm Pro, Vx, Tungsten, and Tungsten E

Now, contrary to the story those images seem to tell, my pocket did not have to increase 200% in order for my latest unit to fit. But that is not the point to this story.

As I said, my relationship with my UotM (Unit of the Moment) is symbiotic. For the unit, I clean it's screen, charge its battery and keep it out of the mouths of dogs. For me, the unit retains a seemingly limitless pile of minutiae such as the phone number for the Thai restaurant, the price and aisle number of my favorite tomato sauce and the overall mileage on my last tank of gas. We've always gotten along swimmingly!

Until the third-party case (not shown) on the Tungsten cracked a bit. Oh, that little flaw did not matter for months. If the unit was inadvertantly turned on when I sat down because of this cracked case, I was never really that far from home or office and could recharge the battery and lose no data. However, during a somewhat longer trip, the edge of the cracked case pressed down on one of the buttons on the front of the unit and this led to the unit remaining on until it's battery was drained down which led to it being totally dead dead dead dead dead dead and braindead. Of course, as Murphy's Law would have it, I was far from my Mac and could not rebuild the unit's memory and get the information I needed at that very moment.

This is when my relationship with the Tungsten soured beyond repair. The fact that the friend I was visiting was giving me her mint condition Tungsten E unit (far right) just as I realized my unit was dead has nothing whatsoever to do with the speed with which I tossed it aside. I am now quite happy with my new Palm Tungsten E that has no cracked case.

For those of you scoring at home, I have now completely eradicated the memory of a Mac and a Palm (and rebuilt both) in the span of 7 days. The root device, on whom the most terrifying of all error messages I have ever seen on a screen occurred, is doing just fine, thank you very much.