Monday, June 29, 2009

You don't say

Dear Sir,
As per your letter last, I thank you for your ane compliments. Yet my eptness is useless in the task you have sent. Alas, though I chalantly try to answer your query and discern what a
silhou is, I am as yet dumbfounded. I have info regarding a possibly related animal, however.

The following item is, of course, the famous creature of the silhouette family that is pandemically spreading over the globe right now, facebookus shadowus:

Facts so far: This chameleon-like creature is able to look like everyone and no one. It has an incredible rate of growth (increasing by 5 million per week; 150-million silhouettes worldwide), and each spawn—er, offspring seems to be unique from all others.
It is masculine, feminine and Alfalfian. Since the sex of silhouettes is undetermined, we must be careful in assuming that of silhous until we observe one in the wild or capture one.

I have recently infiltrated the
facebookus shadowus community and will begin studying behaviors, traits, customs, etc. more closely. As always, I'll send more info as it becomes available.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Now you tell me

Our gardener dude Duane (first mentioned here) came by to do a little work. I think I should mention now that (we just learned) he is a bit of a legend in the northwest plant community. We're somewhat lucky to have found him because we met him at a party and he works with a friend and we happen to live in the same zip code, etc. He's talented and we're thrilled. Anyway, it has been a while so I was happy to work on the lawn with him. I had a lot of pent up frustration from the tiling episode and I needed to do something physical that in no way was limited to staying inside the lines.

About six weeks ago, Duane came by and killed a third of our front yard. Yes, on purpose. He sort of cleansed the palate. Apparently he follows the starting from scratch methodology of urban jungle creation. Our front lawn has been one-third dead and dry and two thirds green yet dying with extensive clover. We've been answering the neighbors' questions of what our plans were for the dead dry strip with pithy responses such as: "oh, we just like that color better" or "we're going to pave it" or "it's a landing strip." A few replies like that and your neighbors will stop asking you what you're doing. I guarantee it.

On yesterday, Duane came by to roto-till the landing strip. I offered to help. My frustration over the tiling debacle made the prospect of swinging a pick very enticing. I picked all the sod and ripped it up and Duane ran the tiller and—voila!—in about four hours, the dead dry strips of grass became overturned strips of dirt with dead grass sprinkled throughout. And this is an improvement.

While we were taking a break, I mentioned to Duane that I was thinking of painting a runway or parking stripes or something on the dead grass just to tease the neighbors. He said there is paint meant for use on vegetation. It's used to mark out pathways or bed locations or somesuch and will degrade over time without harming the plants. In fact—get this—another client has been painting some ground cover green because it died almost immediately after he planted it. He went on to say, "yeah, but now even the paint doesn't look that good. (pause) I'm not a very good gardener."

Well, that's bullhockey and was very humorous because it is so exceedingly self-effacing.

I'm going to go rub some ben-gay on my sore pick-swinging muscles and look out over my strips of dirt on the front forty.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lies, Damn Lies, and People Who've Tiled

No! I will not set the float down and step away from the tile saw! I am going to stay right here until I am heard dammit.

"Tiling is easy" they said. Who is they, you ask? Everybody I've mentioned this little project to, that's who. "I'm tiling the bathroom," I would say. "Oh, tiling is easy. I did a wall/floor/basilica," they would reply. I believed. Why would they lie to me?

So I went and got books on how to tile and the history of tile and tiling made fun for the whole family. And I read these books and I believed. I could not find the lies. The books showed pictures of tiling done correctly. A few photos even showed what not to do. I thought this was great. I thought the books were on my side.

I still wasn't sure, though. I would stand in the bathroom and study the tub surround and then look at the books and then ask people questions and then go back to stare at the tub surround. It seemed the two worlds were not connected. The books were of one universe and my tub surround was of another. I was apparently the link between the two but I could not see how.

For example, the books said "mix the thin set according to the manufacturer's instructions." I looked at the package and read only "mix water and mortar for 5-10 minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes." No info on how much water or how much mortar. Back to the book for: "not too watery and not too dry." Swell. You know what? I'm not stupid. I understand extremes. I get it. But where is the in between? What is good enough?

I covered the floor and the tub with plastic and cardboard to protect everything for inadvertent mortar droppings. And it's a good f*&#ing thing I did because the mortar wanted to be anywhere but on the wall. You know what else is missing from the damn books: how to get the mortar from the bucket to the wall. What tool does that? Is it a tool I've already been loaned by the liars? The books show mortar on the wall, being smeared then combed. Books show no method for getting mortar on the wall in the first place. The bathroom looks like I'm trying to replicate the pyramids minus the large stones.

After day one of 4 hours and about eight tiles I stopped. I know myself. I need a day to process what I've done here and think about it and look at the books again and–Hey! I'll check out YouTube! Great idea!

Bullpucky. Will somebody please post a video showing the reality of tiling a wall? Nothing but f*&#ing success in those goshdarned videos. Nothing showing how to deal with really small spaces or tile orientation in interior corners or saving space for the corner shelf. Only big smooth walls being tiled by women in short shorts at double-speed or large floors being tiled by men who keep flashing their bellies (wtf?) when the camera is on them. Nothing showing how the damn mortar gets from the bucket to the wall without making a detour on the floor or a leg or other random object.

So to all you people who have said "tiling is easy" I say go jump in a bucket. You lied by omission. I'm calling someone who has the skills and understanding to bridge the gap between these fictional books and the reality that is my empty wall.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


What questions do you have?

Given the following image, what question(s) spring(s) to mind? Add 'em to the comments.

Found at Dark Roasted Blend

I'll get the ball rolling with: Where did the box come from?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Now let's define our abbreviations

I believe the S in iPhone 3G S stands for shorter, not speedier. I may change my mind whence I acquire my own but for right now, here's my evidence:

Found at MacRumors.

Stylish Zoom Zoom

As per her comment in Zoom Zoom, Frenchie came through with fierce footwear suggestions. I have to agree with her. I can think of no other word to describe these:

I am leaning toward the pair on the right with the rivets. The gold overlay also goes nicely with the Carhartt coat I've been wearing until I acquire a leather jacket.

Let's define our terms

Yesterday while I was having the last vestiges of spring quarter stress worked from my back muscles by a very talented massage therapist, she asks, "You've read books and I suppose you think. Would you consider yourself a liberal thinker?"

I heard myself say, "What could I possibly have done to make you think you had to ask the question?"

Whatever the behavior/activity was, it must be corrected.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Two things for ya' right now. Both from Stranger than Fiction. Both make me giggle.

Thing 1: I love the scene when Will Ferrell and his buddy are talking about their superpowers. My superpower? Suspended animation. I am very good at it. Nothing can keep me from it. I only use it for good. I became good at it through practice. In fact, another practice session may happen this afternoon, for about an hour, on the couch, under a good book.

Thing 2: This has no connection to my daily life other than I walk around saying it, most times completely unrelated to whatever is happening at that moment: I brought you flours. Gah! It's hilarious. Hmm, maybe you need the visual. Go watch the movie then we'll talk.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This is where I roll

This is less than 20 miles from my house. I still can't believe I live here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Lessons learned

Lesson the First, learned while riding Clickwheel:

Don't sneeze with the helmet face shield down.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Zoom zoom

There's a new toy in the house. This is the first gadget I have ever bought with which I can cause physical harm to myself and others, text-walking injuries notwithstanding. I am now the zippy owner of a scooter named Clickwheel.

Original photo at Motorcycle Philippines

I've been riding it for about six weeks now and it is a hoot. What a blast! Zoom zoom.

Yes, zoom zoom indeed. And I haven't even gone faster than 30 mph yet! This speed limit has not meant a limit on unadulterated joy, however. I am restricted from, ahem, riding it like I stole it so that the engine is broken in correctly. After reading a little about this on the interweb, I am happy to maintain STL* speed in return for payback over the life of the engine in higher mileage and less pollution. I have only 200 more miles to go before I go to 31 mph and beyond!

I have washed Clickwheel. I have not even washed the Prius which cost seven-and-one-half times more money.

I have successfully changed Clickwheel's oil. This is an event that The T thinks of fondly as evidence that I am fried from the academic year. It took multiple trips to multiple stores for me to successfully acquire and return and try again to acquire all the materials I needed to swap used dinosaur juice for new dinosaur juice.

First I bought a drip pan and a funnel and oil. I stood Clickwheel up on her kickstand and quickly realized that the drip pan was not going to fit between the rear wheel and said stand. So the drip pan was returned. This accounts for two trips. I went to a different store to find a drip pan substitute. I found a six-inch wide roller pan used for painting. I also found a 21-piece socket wrench set with a 17 mm socket perfect for removing the oil plug. However, always the conscientious consumer, I looked around and found—for only a dollar more—a 40-piece socket wrench set. Nineteen more pieces for a buck? What a deal. I verified that the 17 mm socket was in the 21-piece socket set, placed it back on the shelf and made my way home only to return immediately once I realized that the 40-piece socket set did not have a 17 mm socket.

If the oil didn't need changing before, it sure as hell did now.

You might think that the story ends there. Depending on where you are on the Funny vs. Pedantic spectrum at this moment, you're either reading on for more or you may have already abandoned this page for something more entertaining. If you're still here, please laugh with me as I share with you what I should have thought of at the beginning of the oil saga: there is a tool kit in the stowaway zone. Yup, in the caboose where the iPhone charging port (!!) can be found is a collection of wrenches and other forged from steel items suitable for wrenching and other tasks associated with scooter engine maintenance.

I foresee future oil changes taking far less time.

* Sci-fi fans may know FTL as faster than light. STL would be the opposite.