SOMEone up there thought that was funny…

Filed under: @ 8:36 am

Yesterday we had to have the plumber come out.

We had to have the plumber come out because for some bizarre reason the hose bib on the front of the house developed a GREAT ENORMOUS LEAK over the winter and every time I turned the water on half of it came out the hose and the other half came out of everywhere else.

Enter the nice Ukrainian plumber. He’s a good guy, he’s done a fair amount of work for us, he’s good, he’s not horribly expensive, and he’s reliable. I like him.

Also we can talk tomatoes, edged weapons, and Subarus while he’s here so I’m never *too* put out when we have to call him.

NUP was done with his work yesterday morning and came into the house to get paid. I wrote him a check and on his way down the stairs he noticed, for the first time, the snake tank in the living room.

“What’s in there” he asked “a turtle?”

“No,” I replied “that’s Sally.”


“Yes, Sally. Salisbury Snake.”

It was then I realized that NUP is one of those folks who is a little wiggy about snakes. Always being eager to reduce peoples’ anxiety about reptiles I went over to the tank and started to unearth the snake so he could touch her and find out that instead of cold and slimy, snakes tend to be warm and dry.

“Is she dangerous?”

“Oh no. Sally is a Ball Python. They’re a small African constrictor. They eat mice and they’re very placid, even tempered snakes.”

At which point Sally, whose flowerpot I had just picked up, reared up and bit me in the hand. 😯
And since I had skipped work on Monday to go see the hand specialist and have a couple of tendons injected, that particular hand has been a little inflamed and the blood vessels somewhat larger than they are usually.

Which meant that when Sally nailed me in _exactly_ the spot that had been injected four days ago, I started bleeding like a stuck pig.
I don’t think I reduced NUP’s anxiety about reptiles at all.

It was, however, a decent reminder that I needed to go to the snake snack store and purchase a half dozen mice.


Laugh of the day!

Filed under: @ 6:36 pm

Wait! Wait!! Hkscxklfffttttt! (snort snort snort)

Do you really mean to tell me….. Snckxlffffftttttttt!

Okay, okay. I’m better now.

You’re feeding your dog a home cooked diet whose ingredients are (you pointed this out) certified organic. You’re feeding your dog an assload of unnecessary vitamins and supplements all carefully researched (on the web) to be pure, and natural, and beneficial and all that good shit. You’re giving your dog BOTTLED WATER so she’s not exposed to the chemicals and pathogens that are present in municipal tap water. Your dog has her own room and her own memory foam bed.

And then ksklkfxxttttt! (SNORT)(pant, pant, pant)… And then you tell me that your dog’s treats consist of turkey hot dogs and pepperoni.
Possibly two of the most chemical and pathogen laden, inorganic, lips and asshole based meat products available on the market.


Whew (wiping brow). Thanks, I needed that.

Youth is wasted on the young and irony is truly wasted on the oblivious.



Filed under: @ 4:46 pm

I’m not certain whether this is ironic, an epic FAIL, or merely spooky.

On my way home from work this afternoon I stopped at our local QFC to get some toothpaste. Andrew and I favor Tom’s of Maine and we ran out a few days ago. Lemme tell you, after Tom’s, Colgate Total (a gimme from my last dentist’s appointment) is NASTY.
Beyond the point.

I was at the QFC getting toothpaste.
It’s on sale! YIPPEE! Let’s grab three tubes of toothpaste while it’s 30% off!

I went to the U-Check line because after a long day at work I do NOT want to talk to anyone who is paid to be chirpy.
In the U-Check line, at least in the U-Check lines at our QFC, there are little coupon printer thingies that start spitting coupons at you when you start ringing up your purchases.

I scanned my QFC card, I scanned my first tube of toothpaste.

The printer spat out a coupon for Private Selections brand Premium Strawberry Harvest Ice Cream.

Irony, FAIL, or an attempt to boost toothpaste sales.


It’s not antisocial, it’s grammatically correct.

Filed under: @ 9:13 am

I’ll talk later about my hopeless addiction to my computer Scrabble game, but this just came up and I couldn’t resist it.

The official Scrabble dictionary defines the word “EVITE” as “to avoid”.

So when we ignore any evites that come our way, we’re just obeying the dictates of the English language. 😀


Irony Supplement, Part 16

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 5:32 pm

I was nosing around my Netflix account the other day—somewhat off-topic, I really hate what Netflix has done to their user interface. Someone needs to tell the giants of the Internet that, amazingly enough, it is indeed possible to overuse Flash. Sometimes plain old HTML, or some hypertrophied variation thereof, is just fine. Amazon seems to get that; just I wish more companies would. I don’t need my DVD selections to whip past me on a virtual conveyor belt; static pictures with text-box mouseovers work just fine, thank you, and they take up less bandwidth and fewer processor cycles. See this article for a good list of reasons why Flash should be avoided for many if not most Web sites. Funny how an article dating back to 1999 can still be mostly relevant today….though I do think that many sites have reigned in their slavish and superfluous Flashification. And no, I am not just saying this because I am so antiquated that I still use nested tables instead of <div> tags, so shut up! 😡

Anywho, that’s a completely separate gripe. Back to the post. I was looking around the Netflix site and spied this entry in the New Releases section:


After I’m done renting some Newly Released Classics, I’m going to mosey over to eBay and see what’s hot in the field of freshly-minted antiques.


A Comment on the Current State of The U.S. Economy

Filed under: @ 6:24 pm

(click for a larger picture)

‘Nuff said.


It’s not PURPLE…….

Filed under: @ 7:01 pm

So for the first time since I’d learned about it, I actually managed to show up for the Sequim (pronounced “squim” for those not cognizant of the pronunciation of Northwest Native American languages) lavender festival this year.

Sequim is, for those unfamiliar with western Washington, along the very northern end of Puget Sound before it flows into the straits of Juan de Fuca just south of Victoria BC.
It’s about a two hour drive (or ferry ride and drive as the case may be) from Seattle sitting in the warm rain shadow of the Olympic mountains. Which means, for some odd reason, that the climate is ideal for growing lavender.

I don’t know how long there have been lavender farms in Sequim. I do know that the festival has only been around for twelve years. And every single dang year for the last -oh- 10 years or so I’ve been occupied during the weekend of the festival. Mid-July is absolutely the right time for lavender. Most varieties are in full bloom and those that aren’t blooming have mature pre-bloom flower bracts that are ideal for culinary or scent use. And if you are, as I am, a major garden geek, spending the day snorfing at lavender bushes while wandering absolutely stunning gardens and interacting with a wide variety of other garden geeks…. well…

Sheri and her mother in law, Nancy, and I started out from Sheri’s house at 0800. We caught the Bainbridge Island ferry from the Coleman ferry dock downtown before heading basically northwest across the Hood Canal and up along the sound almost all the way to Dungeness.

There are eight major lavender farms involved in the festival as well as a number of minor farms, a biggish street fair, and more garage sales per square foot than I’ve ever seen. People in Sequim must save up their garage sales for this weekend knowing that there will be literally THOUSANDS of tourists driving through town with wads of cash willing to purchase anything from anyone that has lavender anywhere close to their wares.
Sheri and Nancy and I hit our first farm, Sunshine Lavender, at about 1030. We got our tickets and spent the next hour wandering through the gardens, inhaling lavender and honeysuckle (a charming combination) brushing leaves of various herbs that were inter-planted with the lavenders, and drooling over the smell of the grill that was going next to the plant stand which was turning out some type of lavender spice rubbed meaty yummies.
Since Sheri and I had good reason to visit the plant stands (very good reason, honest, I’ve still got big empty patches in my front garden), neither of us really tried to restrain ourselves or each other from purchasing plants. I thought I’d seen most of the varieties of lavender, I was absolutely wrong. I’ve got seven or eight lavender varieties in my collection, I am WAY outclassed. I think I counted forty seven different sub-species. I did not, in fact, purchase one specimen of each of the ones I don’t have. But I got a lot 🙂

I lost track of all the names of the six farms that we ended up going to. The ones that stand out were Sunshine where we heard a remarkable twangy honky tonk country band. The Purple Haze Lavender Farm, which is on Bell Bottom Drive (of course), where we heard what I originally thought was Jimi Hendrix on a PA system but what turned out to be a guy playing a didjeridu that was longer than he was tall. The didjeridu band played for the best part of the hour that we were there and I can attest to the fact that the didjeridu (that’s a fun word) did NOT stop. At all. Ever. I’m not sure there was an actual human on the business end of the instrument, I think it was a human shaped air compressor. That dude REALLY had his breath control down.
On the subject of breath control, I present this which was displayed prominently at the didjeridu booth which was one of the artist’s booths present at Purple Haze.
I’m not sure whether it’s better to annoy your bedmate with snoring or to annoy your neighbors by practicing the didjeridu.
At the last farm there was an all woman marimba band. These were, by far, the most animated musicians I’ve seen since the last time we went to see Taiko and they were making some remarkable noises. They had several of their marimba tubes doctored so that when the plank was struck the resultant noise would be resonant and buzzy, rather like a kazoo. It was wonderful. So was watching this lady. I think my father would have tried to appropriate her for his ecstatic dancers series.Happy Marimba Lady

We spent seven hours touring six farms, eating lunch at one and, of course, sampling lavender ice cream at others. For the record I’d seriously recommend blueberry lavender ice cream, it’s really something.
Andrew wouldn’t have enjoyed it, basically a seven hour garden tour and shopping trip, but Nancy, Sheri and I had a lovely time.

These are not, by any means, all of the photos that I took, but a good representative sample thereof. If you want to go next year please let me know, we’re already planning our next outing.Ladybug LavenderLavender StripesLittle Girl LavenderLodden Blue Lavender


Irony Supplement, Part 15

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 7:26 am

Irony Supplement Part 15

Snapped this one at my local Subaru service department while I was waiting for them to finish with my car. The picture’s not fantastic because I took it with my phone, but this particular Legacy is what Subaru is calling a PZEV, or Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle.

Partial what? Zero what?

Okay, so this particular vehicle produces significantly fewer emissions than the average, according to Subaru’s propaganda, and I’m willing to accept that with maybe a grain—or cup—of salt. Good for them. And heck, I love their cars.

But what genius in Marketing came up with the term “Partial Zero Emissions?” What exactly is part of zero? Presumably by Subaru’s reckoning, part of zero is….well, some. I guess.

Not by the reckoning of most folks, but I guess that’s the magic of advertising in action.


Irony Supplement, Part 14

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:28 am

Mahalo Nui Loa to my coworker Steve for lending me his copy of the April edition of US News & World Report:

Irony Supplement, Part 14

Like Steve, I just love the happy congruence of themes between the front cover and the back. Exceptionally ironic is the fact that the back cover addresses one of America’s other major addictions, possibly even more pernicious than stimulants: credit. Of course, the ad on the back is peddling the addiction in question rather than decrying it. Perhaps the editors at USN&WR felt that this added balance to the outer shell of the magazine as a whole. 😛


Irony Supplement, Part 13

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:33 pm

Irony Supplement Part 13

Courtesy of my local QFC. Ironic indeed; do any of the three women depicted on that bag look like they spend any time at all at their local McDonald’s? I suppose they could all be bulimic….


Irony Supplement, Part 12

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:06 am


Our Spring REI catalog arrived about a week ago, and Shawn was leafing through it on Saturday when I happened to spy this over his shoulder.

“Solar powered UV water purifier”. I know that our economy lives and dies by its middlemen, vestigial organs of capitalism that do nothing but get between the producer and consumer to interrupt the smooth flow of commerce and jack up the prices, but this seems to be an example of the middleman at its worst.

“Water purifier”. Well, that’s pretty straightforward; something that purifies water. “UV”; it must use ultraviolet rays to purify the water. Okay, so far so good. “Solar powered”. Ooh, that’s pretty cool. That means draws its energy from the sun—um, wait. Solar powered….ultraviolet rays….

In a perfect world, wouldn’t a “solar powered UV water purifier” consist of nothing but a clear container you fill with water and set out in the sun?


Irony Supplement, Part 11

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:03 pm

Unfortunately I do not have a photo to go with this installment of Irony Supplement; I was not sufficiently swift with my cell phone camera when the opportunity presented itself this morning.

I was on the road just south of downtown Seattle when I spied a purple 2000-something Honda Civic with a bumper sticker that read,



This sort of smarmy slogan is just the kind of thing that gets under my skin. Like that other, more common deity-oriented bumper sticker, “CHRISTIANS AREN’T PERFECT….JUST FORGIVEN,” the text above positively drips with a particularly rank sort of irony. The irony that comes from someone choosing to use their bumper to broadcast a deep-seated sense of their own superiority, poorly masked as humility. Sort of a “Hey, I’m WAAAYYYY more modest than YOOOOU” kinda thing. Seems to me to be a particularly un-Christ-like sentiment, canyoudigit.

For some reason, I found the bumper sticker I spotted today to be even more ironic–and annoying–than its more popular cousin. There was something extra-super-mondo-king-size stupid about the concept behind this particular proclamation, considering that:

  1. The idea of attempting to draw attention to one’s vehicle as an object of opulence and source of envy is a highly materialistic and not very spiritual attitude to take, and
  2. As objects of opulence and sources of envy go, her car was neither.

Not helping to reduce the overall irony quotient was the fact that she drove like a total asshole. Made me wish I was sporting a bumper sticker reading, “JESUS HATES THE WAY YOU DRIVE.” 😉


Irony Supplement, Part 10

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:52 am

I caught this screen capture off of an episode of Iron Chef America that I had recently DVRed. (Not, I might add, TiVoed. TiVo is great, really, quite revolutionary and all that, but I truly hate the fact that it’s a push/pull device; while you’re happily programming your TiVo to record the newest reruns of Happy Days, TiVo is taking note of your programming choices, uploading that information to the mother ship, and next thing you know, ValPak is sending you a coupon for 10% off an authentic replica “Arthur Fonzarelli” motorcycle jacket. Personally, I prefer a DVR based on TV Guide On Screen, which is a passive system deployed over the incoming TV signal, with no way for information to travel back upstream. It’s not quite as feature-laden as TiVo and it sometimes goes out due to problems on the cable, but it does much everything I want and nothing I don’t. Like deciding that I’m a gay Nazi based on my viewing choices.)

Anyway, what the hell was I talking about again? Oh yeah, Iron Chef America.

Margaret and I are big fans of the show, and apparently this sentiment is widespread among the TV-viewing populace. The folks at Food Network seem to be aware that they’ve got a true hit on their hands, and they’ve undergone some changes in recent months that seem to reflect an urge to squeeze every drop of benefit from this vastly popular program that they can. Hence, the appearance of annoying little brand-badges such as the one visible in the top left corner of the screen capture above.

Once relegated to less, shall we say, prominent positions on the screen—both in relation to space and time—Food Network seems to have decided that any company with cash to burn can slap its moniker onto any old place on the screen. Even to the point of partially obscuring a prominent gourmet chef’s visage with the logo for a purveyor of plasticized lipid-sodium-and-high-fructose-corn-syrup delivery devices.

I have to wonder if Mario Batali was made aware that he would have a McDonald’s logo sticking out of his forehead, like Zeus giving birth to a garish, greasy Titan. My guess would be no. I would like to think that, had he been made aware of this development in advance, we would have had a spot of fun with it, perhaps waiting for the moment at which the offending badge appears to slap his hand protectively to his forehead and scream “oh, God, it burns!!!


Irony Supplement, Part 9

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 6:46 pm
Irony Supplement, Part 9

This was in my box at work and I just couldn’t pass it up.

Now, I don’t know which of the two commonly-known phrases composing the acronym POS came first; “Point of Sale” or “Piece of Shit”. But irrespective of the original title-holder, you’d think that the people whose livelihoods are dependent on the promotion and sale of point of sale equipment would wise up and find a new acronym. Front-End-Retail-Presence (FERP). Saleshuman Interface Terminal (SHIT). Something, anything but POS.

Not only does Dell cop to selling a POS on this catalogue cover; they brazenly admit they’re selling a “complete POS”. Does nobody proofread these things?

The fact that this catalogue happened across my path today at the office is of particularly delicious irony, as at the time I was heading out the door with another POS from Dell in my possession; an Optiplex minitower whose less-than-two-year-old power supply had just gone kaflooie. I had a spare high-quality Enermax PSU on me, but of course the non-standard Dell case design prevents one from installing a power supply that includes a rocker-type on/off switch. Something present on almost every single after-market power supply. “Complete POS”, indeed. 🙄


Irony Supplement, Part 8

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:31 pm
Irony Supplement, Part 8

This edition of Irony Supplement is a bit subtler than most, and would probably be indecipherable to anyone who hasn’t been in face-to-face contact with me over the last few months.

The irony of this photo is that, after three-plus months and almost thirty pounds of hardcore dieting, I can finally fit into my Krispy Kreme T-shirt.

I was totally stunned while poring over the selection at my friendly neighborhood donutorium at the relatively, um, “narrow” bandwidth of shirt sizes available for purchase. Why would an establishment dedicated to the distribution of sucrose-and-emulsified-fat-pods limit the size of their shirts to extra extra large? Don’t they realize that a good portion of their clientele start at double-X and work their way up? (Not coincidentally, with a little help from their very own yummy oleaginous comestibles?)

On the other hand, perhaps there is a method to Krispy Kreme’s madness. They may have decided—not without merit—that a three-hundred-fifty-pound guy in a 5XL KK shirt doesn’t convey quite the corporate message they’re looking for.


Irony Supplement, Part 7

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:24 am
Irony Supplement, Part 7

I took this picture at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, a not-for-profit wildlife parklet outside of Yellowstone. It’s part of a small gallery of so-called “bear-proof” refuse containers, all of which have had a serious can of ursine whoop-ass opened on them.

The fact that this particular container—ahem—”bears” the URL of the manufacturer makes it even ironicer. Er, more ironicer. Whatever. This particular model is even featured on the home page of bearproofsystems.com’s Web site.

What I’d like to know is: just what made the manufacturer think that adding a thin metal collar around the lid of a plastic trash can would suffice to prevent something as large and powerful as a grizzly from getting into it? Hell, I think I might be able to give that thing a run for its money, if I thought it contained a pic-a-nic basket.


Irony Supplement, Part 6

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 7:49 am
Irony Supplement Part 6

I took this picture at the office. The cabinet in question is our server cabinet—actually a converted office-supply cabinet holding five computers and a blower set in the top for exhaust, hence the admonition to refrain from stacking things on top of it.

This edition of Irony Supplement has a certain deliciousness for me, because the the sign is mine, as are the boxes stacked on the cabinet. My philosophy is, if you built the cabinet—as well as the computers within it—then as The Creator you are released from the restrictions by which mere mortals must abide. 😀


Irony Supplement, Part 5

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:58 pm
Irony Supplement, Part 5

I was toodling up northbound Highway 509 when I passed this car on the side of the road. I wasn’t 100% sure I had really seen what I thought I had seen, so I took the next exit, got back on 509 going south, took another exit, got back on northbound, and coasted in behind the car to take this picture.

Ain’t she a beaut? Reminds me of the age-old question of who cuts the barber’s hair.


Irony Supplement, Part 4

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:49 am

Irony Supplement Part 4

Shot at my local QFC grocery store. You may recall a previous Irony Supplement post that discussed the phenomenon of “sectoring”, where two or more genetically diverse tissue samples will battle for turf on a petri dish. This is another potential example of this sort of thing. Personally, I’m surprised that these two items can coexist in the same freezer without engaging in endless combat.

Perhaps they have reached some sort of modus vivendi. After all, these foodstuffs would seem to produce complimentary, rather than conflicting, results for the consumer. Overconsupmtion of one leads to desire—or at least a feeling of obligation, in the case of the Lean Cuisine—for the other.

Now that I think about it, those clever shelf-stockers may be on to something.


Irony Supplement, Part 2

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:40 am

Irony Supplement Part 2

Ain’t this a beauty? I snapped this picture at the Rockvale Square Outlet Mall in scenic Rockvale, Pennsylvania, during vacation last year. I’m not usually much for malls of any type—much less ones sporting warehouses brimming over with discontinued merchandise, separated by kilometers of asphalt—but the decision was not ours to make, I’m afraid. At least we came away with some cheap Doonesbury books and this picture.

There is a term used in tissue culture called “sectoring”. This is where two or more genetically divergent organisms growing on some sort of media (a petri dish, usually) meet up with each other. The line between the tissues becomes a sort of demilitarized zone, a solid line of demarcation in which the creatures slug it out for domination of the medium. I imagine that, were you to go into either of these stores and pull out the drywall that separates them, you would find just such a turf war going on, each side neither making headway nor giving quarter.

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