You Don’t Know Jack-O’-Lantern

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 1:07 pm


Many thanks to everyone who helped make Pumpkin Pogrom 2006 a success. That was quite a party….chili, zombies, Nerf blowguns and all. 🙂


My Review of Silent Hill

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 7:56 am

I haven’t played the game, so I have nothing to compare it to but actual movies. This film is visually beautiful, with gorgeous sets and special effects, and that’s pretty much it. The plot is either drawn directly from the game, proving that there are very few video games that have enough meat to sustain a feature-length film, or else the director extrapolated–some might say excreted–this whole weird, convoluted story that will leave you on the edge of your seat because you almost can’t stand to remain in place watching anything so uninspiring. Decent to good acting all around, with Sean Bean in probably the most uninteresting role of his life. Kudos to Jodelle Ferland for her performance as little girl/demon child: a less accomplished child actor would have easily moved this film from the realm of the boring to that of the unbearable. I didn’t hate this movie, but that’s the best I can say about it.



Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 1:59 pm

I drove over to Arcane Comics yesterday afternoon with Shawn and Anastatia to pick up some stuff that had arrived for me and so Shawn could check his box as well. I’m not habitually a comic-reader, but I had ordered the complete trade-paperback set of Akira so I could finally read the whole thing cover-to-cover.

My brother-in-law Matt had introduced me to Akira in about 1990, and I was smitten. Katsuhiro Otomo’s imagery and plot line were completely enthralling to me. I was determined to land a full set of the colorized Epic Comics publication. As luck would have it, the owner of a (then) local comic shop in Pullman had a nearly-complete set he sold me for a song. Of course, I wasn’t about to damage these gems by actually reading them, heavens to betsy no! I put them in archival bags and began purchasing the Marvel trade-paperbacks, which was pretty financially painful at the time given my salary as a sandwich-slinger. In fact, I never could afford to complete the set.

Now that I’m older and money isn’t as much of an object any more, I finally got my shit together enough to look into picking up where I left off. Sadly, the full-color TPs are no longer available, but an English-translation version of the original black-and-white compliations is, and I set about to pick up the complete collection. Which brings us back around to yesterday at Arcane.

I picked up my purchase and went out to set it in the back seat of my car while Shawn and the Bug poked around in the shop. Shutting the door, I took a moment to study the tableau: a station wagon with a hatch full of WiFi equipment–access points, clients, antennas and cables–and a back seat littered with comic books.

Perhaps I’m not the Dilberttante I thought I was. 😀


Lost Your Cat? Check The Back Of My Car

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 2:28 pm


If you live in my neighborhood and think it’s okay to let your cat wander freely, chances are decent that your kitty is on its way to the King County Animal Control Shelter in Kent.

It’s no secret that I’ve pretty much given up on people. If I can’t reasonably expect someone to keep their child from sucking on the spout of a ketchup bottle in my local diner (personal experience? Why yes, thanks for asking!), then I sure as hell shouldn’t be surprised that they keep little Frisky outside all day and night to shit in our garden and eat our wildlife—the wildlife that we invited onto our property, thank you very much.


Caught this little booger in a live trap this morning, shortly after he tripped the motion-capture on our driveway camera (yes, yes, yes, I’m the quintessential Besieged Suburban White Guy, I fully stipulate this. In fact, I’ve even blogged about it. Look for an upcoming review on my new day/night infrared network camera.)

Fortunately, I do not have to wait for the owners of these animals to grow, rent or otherwise acquire a sense of compassion and responsibility for their furry friends. Our municipal police department loans out live traps for just this sort of situation. Few people know (and probably fewer care) that letting your pet wander on to other people’s property is against the law in King County, so I am fully within my rights to humanely trap any univited guests and cart them off to the shelter. There they will stay until they are

  1. reunited with their owner, at a cost of $35.00 and a mandatory spay or neuter if the cat is intact (mega-kudos to KCAC for instituting this policy!)
  2. adopted out to another owner (heck, maybe the second time’s the charm. Not much chance of getting a worse one, IMHO) or
  3. determined to be unadoptable, in which case they will be euthanized.

Cruel? Um, no, actually. Cruel is leaving an animal to fend for itself against cars, dogs, FIV, FIP, Feline Leukemia, unwanted kittens and twelve-year-old apprentice sociopaths with BB guns or Bic lighters. We own two indoor-only cats; they are fifteen years old, one of them is undergoing chemotherapy, and they look younger and healthier than just about any outdoor cat I have ever met in my life, including the one I just caught.

Keeping farm cats outside is another matter entirely. While I would personally find it hard to do—not that I’m likely to be living on a farm any time soon—cats as rodent control in an agricultural setting is a time-honored tradition and makes practical sense. I dare any suburban homeowner to apply the same rationale to their eighth of an acre on the corner of Oak and Sycamore. What, are mice threatening the Stachybotrys harvest?

I have trouble believing that cat owners who let their animals roam free put any thought into it whatsoever, but if they do, I imagine their rationale would go something like, “but living outdoors is much more natural for a cat than living pent up all the time. We even tried keeping little Muffin inside, but she just cried and scratched at the door until we just had to let her out. She wants to be outside.” Oh, no doubt about it. And your kids want to eat only Snickers bars, so by all means let ’em have at; no point in restricting their behavior just because it’s good for them, right?

For that matter, human beings didn’t evolve in split-level ranch houses either, so our current living conditions aren’t any more “natural” than the cat’s. Maybe you should force your kids to sleep outside too. Hell, I’ll even vote to fund restocking the neighborhood with indigenous black bears, just to make it more “natural” for everyone.


Try To Say This Without Giggling

Filed under: @ 3:01 pm

For years Matt and I have played a game we call “Pretend You’ve Never Had Any Medical Training”. The focus of this game is to one-up the other as regards some of the dumber-ass shit that we are exposed to on a day to day basis as medical professionals. One of us will call the other and say “Pretend you’ve never had any medical training…..” which is a recognized preface for “Damn, you won’t believe the dumbshit that I saw today!”
Thus I called Matt the day I had a client who had been treating his dog’s weepy eye with drops that he himself had been prescribed after a corneal transplant. For the record, immune suppressant anti-rejection eyedrops don’t do a bit of good when your dog’s got a grass seed stuck under his third eyelid.

And Matt won some years ago by calling me when a guy walked into the ER in Tacoma where he was working with the complaint of not having been able to urinate for the previous five days. Not that the guy didn’t need to urinate, but he couldn’t. He said, as I recall, that he had thought about going to the doctor around about the third day, but he figured he’d wait to see what would happen. I have yet to top this one.

Which isn’t to say that we don’t still call each other with these things, but Matt still wins for the biggest dumbshit.

Which brings us to the reason that I called Matt while on my way out of work about a week ago. It doesn’t really qualify as Pretend You’ve Never Had Any Medical Training because it doesn’t involve a person, but it was still very much worth a dumbshit award.

So try to say this phrase, out loud, without giggling.

Rubber chicken head.

(*snort* *giggle*)

Last Saturday morning I was presented with a 4 month old kitten with a history of vomiting for the past three days. Kitten had been seen by one of the other doctors on the previous day and had some injections and some medication prescribed after the owner declined advanced diagnostic testing. Where kitten felt better for a few hours after the medications, once they wore off he started feeling really rotten again. I told the owner that we absolutely had to do the recommended diagnostic testing at that point and she, fortunately, concurred. Ran my tests, took my x-rays and found a large-ish radiodense object lodged in the kitten’s small intestine.

Well there’s the reason he’s been vomiting.

Called the owner, told her what I’d found and told her I needed to do surgery that afternoon to remove this whatever it was. Received consent for surgery, got everything all prepped and opened him up.

Now for those many of you who have never done intestinal surgery on a kitten, the procedure is to start at one end and “run the gut” i.e., examine the entire gastrointestinal tract from stem to stern at least twice so you know you’re not missing anything. I ran the gut, found the whatsis in the proximal duodenum and when I didn’t find anything anywhere else in the intestinal tract I set about to remove the whatsis.

Made a single small incision through the intestinal wall over the whatsis and out poked…..a rubber chicken head.

Really. Honest.

Now granted it wasn’t a rubber chicken head like one would find on a rubber chicken used in the old comedy routines to smack people with, this was obviously the head off of a rubber chicken kitten toy. But the whole head, neatly bitten off at the neck, came poking out of my incision beak first.

Which gave me an incurable fit of the giggles.

This isn’t the oddest thing I’ve removed from one of my patients. There have been rocks too numerous to count, marbles, string, ribbons, casette tapes, clothing of all sorts (including the “Low Rise Thong Size Large” from the labrador retriever of a woman who still can’t look me in the face), and for a while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were VERY popular. But I’ve got to say, it’s darn close to being the silliest.

And I still can’t say “rubber chicken head” without giggling.



Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:20 pm

Came up with this one after I finished my previous post:

Dilberttante: someone who merely plays at being a nerd.

Nerds That Make Nerds Want To Punch Them And Steal Their Milk Money

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 2:23 pm

Oooookaaaaay, so….

Anyone who didn’t see the triumphant return of South Park really ought to do so; then you need to locate the subsequent episode and erase it from your DVR before it harshes your South Park buzz. Man, what a turkey!

Anywho, the season premiere aping World of Warcraft was just fabulous, but as one might expect, the WoW community has banded together to denounce the inaccuracies contained therein. Here is one such missive.

This alone would be bizarre enough to set me off, but it comes on the heels of Thursday night’s nerdscapade, in which Shawn came upstairs to say to Margaret, “I’ve been poring over the Harry Potter books again, and I think I’ve decided that Dumbledore is really dead, no matter what my family says. I also think that Dumbledore’s brother is really the blah blah blah blip bloople blatch bliderp blingity blorp.” Or whatever; my ears folded up and pulled themselves protectively into my skull shortly after the phrase “Harry Potter” hit them. It was like listening to the ruminations of Kennedy assasination conspiracy nuts. I wanted to ask, “So, do you believe that Lee Harvey Voldemort was acting alone, or was there a Second Wandman?”

Shawn accuses me of having no imagination, but really, I have serious trouble seeing the difference between being obsessed with a series of children’s books and being obsessed with an MMORPG. At least the WoWsters are holed up in their bedrooms and offices, jabbering to each other over their headsets, instead of conversing in my kitchen, making my eyes glaze over and my brain start to smolder.

*Sigh* This is my problem, I’ll deal with it. There are just some variants of genus Geek that grate on me more than others. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve suffered the junior-high-schoolish impulse to give someone a serious Native American burn, but reading the above, I can feel my hands curling into claws, itching for some spindly, pasty white, RSI-weakened WoW nerd arm flesh. I know better, I celebrate other people’s diversity, but Man oh Man, how much Poindextrose can one community secrete before the members’ keyboards get too sticky to type?

It’s quite possible that I’m guilty of similar eccentricities, but honestly, none come to mind. I mean, I work with computers and run my own Web server, but I didn’t write a long online manifesto about the practical innacuracies of, oh, say, The Matrix. (Though I must admit that I, like many, was tickled to note that Reloaded featured a real live exploit called nMap. I did not, it must be noted, email everyone I knew upon discovering this fact, and am only posting information about it online some years after the fact. I think that should count for something.) I enjoy playing Unreal Tournament and even host a game server myself, but I don’t spend days at a time on the virtual field of honor, or post to UT message boards lauding my l33t skillz to all that may choose to read. Hell, I don’t even play that often any more. Try as I might, I can’t think of anything I do that I do to that level of obsessive involvement.

Does that mean I’m not a geek? Hardly. Does it mean I’m more grounded than my housemates or those who choose to lambast Comedy Central? Mmmmmmmaybe, I’m not sure. I certainly don’t entertain the notion that I’m a better person than any of them. It may very well be a simple question of degree of focus. Maybe I’m not a real geek at all, but some kind of sub-par hybrid, a Dilbertian dilettante, so to speak.

All’s I really know is that, for whatever reason, whatever peculiar twist of fate that might have meant the difference between being the Andrew I am and the kind of Andrew who would send letters of correction to the producers of TV comedies, I am totally, eternally grateful. 😉


A Report From The Kama’aina Faction

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 7:39 am

Just in case anyone out there might be interested (old school chums, friends of the family, currently-unoccupied Internet stalkers), following is a note I received from my Dad regarding my sister Elizabeth’s wedding this past weekend. I post this in lieu of a wedding present (bastard, aren’t I? Well, that’s what they get for not including an online gift registry with the invitation). Also enclosed is a really cute picture of the lovebirds, taken by Archer, one of Lib’s long-time cohorts.

Go Libby and Vinny! You da—um—couple!

Aloha, One and All….

This is to let you know that the Libby-Vinny Nuptuals (Saturday) came off splendidly, if somewhat delayed, due to the fact that the Groom-to-Be (who, in one of his many guises, is an expert repair person) had to fix the stove that was to cook the wedding food instead of getting himself dressed for the Event. The Bride-to-Be was cool as a cucumber, assuring various nervous guests, the Minister, and the Band that Vinny would in fact show up. Which he did, in his snazzy old red Mustang convertible, “Molly,” only a little over an hour later than when the wedding was supposed to start.

I should tell you that the Wedding was at “Senator Fong’s Plantation and Gardens” in Kahaluu, a lovely site with a huge covered pavilion and lush (and slightly buggy) lawns. Sen. Fong, now deceased, was the nation’s first Chinese American Senator, and himself something of a Party Animal…which is supposedly why he built the place. Being somewhat concerned about the bugs, wedding guests were welcomed with a smile and the offer of a shot of “Deep Woods Off.” As it happened, the bugs petty much behaved themselves, but it rained on and off, so the ceremony (and about 150 chairs) got moved indoors.

The Ceremony was beautiful, and made more so by the fact that our two Granddaughters, Caitlin and Lucy, were brought into the proceedings. Vinny pledged his love not only to Libby, but to the girls, and believe me, there were few, if any, dry eyes in the assembled company. During the ceremony, Vinny gave the girls jade pendant necklaces, which complemented the exchange of rings. Lucy had the honor of sprinkling flower petals as Libby and I moved up the aisle. It took her a little while to get the hang of delicately scattering the petals; she thought it would be more fun to just grab handfuls and fling them! Another nice feature was that Vinny got to stomp on a glass, and we heard both “Mazel Tov” and “Banzai,” so all sorts of traditions were honored. The wedding tables had beautiful flower decorations, courtesy of the hard-working Lenzer girls.

As most of you know, Vinny (aka Vince, Vin) is a genuine, certified Foodie, having had Chef’s training here in Honolulu, worked in a restaurant, and would have gone on to the Culinary Institute of America, had he and Libby not met via Match.com. As a result, the wedding feast was wonderful. It was put together by Vinny and one of his chef friends here, plus numerous helpers. Wedding prep started weeks ago, and involved purchasing an extra fridge and a freezer to accommodate the makings of the feast. The Wedding cake was also spectacular, having been assembled by Vinny’s nephew, Tom, in Colorado, shipped here frozen, and assembled and frosted by Tom on site. Live flowers were part of the decorations. Joan and I both thought it was the best wedding cake we’d ever tasted.

It was also a time for the Gathering of the Clans, ours and Vinny’s. Sara and Danny came from Kona, Meg from Santa Fe, my niece Abbe from San Francisco, as did Libby’s old friend Shelly Pearson. We got to meet some of Vinny’s clan from Wisconsin, as well as sharing the occasion with his local (i.e., Mililani) family, his sister Ellen, husband Jack, and nephew and family. Vinny’s family and friends did a tremendous amount of work, as did our folks, and the results were spectacular.

Libby and Vinny honeymooned – very briefly – at the Turtle Bay Hilton, returning yesterday afternoon for a big backyard BBQ. And, yes, it rained again, but not much. Sara, Danny and Meg left for Kona this morning, and Abbe went home also. Everyone is exhausted, but feeling that we have been part of a wonderfully loving event.

With Love,

Tony and Joan



Not Listening, La La La La La….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:04 pm

At 9:39 this evening, someone from the United Arab Emirates managed to get to my blog via the following Yahoo! Web search:

rectal exam other procedures sufficient shower before

Aaaaaa! My eyes! Must gouge them out of my head with a melon baller!

On the other hand, the person making the inquiry is, as Margaret pointed out, being rather courteous to his/her doctor. I suppose I should offer my kudos. Instead I am going off to bleach my brain. Cheerio!


Um, Eew?

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:31 pm

I’m posting this entry from my suite at the beautiful Downtown Motel in Eugene Oregon, in my sixth glorious hour waiting for my GOD DAMN FUCKING SHIT ASS POOPY PANTS press check for our 2006 holiday brochure to commence. I picked this particular establishment in a misguided effort to save my company some money; never again. If I have to come down here again, I’m staying at the Waldorf Astoria. Yes, the one in Manhattan. They can fucking well fly me out to Eugene for the press check. Gawd, what a fleabag this place is. Want proof? Here ya go:


Yes Billy, that is indeed a coin-operated massage bed I’ll be sleeping on tonight. If I don’t kill myself falling asleep behind the wheel while driving the five hours home in the middle of the night, rather than sleep in this bed. Thank God I don’t have a UV flashlight on my keychain. Don’t laugh; I know people who do.

I didn’t know these things actually existed. I thought they were dreamt up by sitcom writers in the 70’s for use as props in episodes of Laverne & Shirley. Who knew they actually walked–well, shuddered–the Earth among us?

I’m being too hard on this place. It’s clean, it has free WiFi, and it costs 50 bucks a night. You get what you pay for. But next time, mark my words, I’m going for a two-star minimum.


Meet Our New Bundle Of Joy!

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:35 pm

Today the Stork wore a uniform of scudgy industrial greenish-brown! Around eleven this morning the UPS guy delivered our bouncing baby My Pet Zombie from Gore Galore.


This is a full-sized, studio-quality prop. This particular model is called the Popeye, for reasons that will become apparent below. The body is a closed-cell foam, cast from a real person’s body (living, presumably) and reinforced with a welded armature of 5/8 inch spring steel. It’s bendable—just barely, this stuff’s quite strong—which makes this guy poseable, though getting him into a sitting position might require a bit of effort.


The head is a separate foam-filled latex mask, full head and neck, wtih a flap of “skin” front and back that you tuck into the shirt to make the head-body transition seamless. The hands are made from the same foam and are detatchable. The fingers aren’t poseable, which is a tiny bummer, but hardly a deal-killer. He comes complete with a set of clothes that have been antiqued for that fresh-from-the-grave look.

popeye-hand-1.jpg popeye-3.jpg

The attention to detail in this thing is just wonderful. I’ve been wanting a high-quality prop for some time, and this one fits the bill just about perfectly. Many of you know I built a life-sized articulated figure out of wood a few years back that I’ve used for many Halloweens, but My Pet Zombie makes the old one look, well, like a pile of lumber by comparison. I figure it can accessorize him six was from Sunday and turn him into a new Halloween prop every couple of years, making him versatile as well as alluring. And if I run out of ideas, there’s always Gore Galore’s Cadaverama line to avail myself of.

So if you’re in the neighborhood this All Hallow’s Eve, be sure to come over and check out My Pet Zombie. He’ll be easy to find; just backtrack along the line of fleeing, shrieking children.


What’s In A Modifier?

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:21 pm

Okay, so most if not all of you are already aware that the national Republican apparatus has decided that the Democratic Party shall no longer be referred to by its actual name, but instead by the neo-truncation “The Democrat Party”. And most if not all of you are no doubt aware that this is an intentional move on the part of the Republican spinerati to try to separate members of the Democratic Party from the meme embodied by the adjective “Democratic”.

To which I simply must pose the question: what, were the terms “Tree Hugger”, “Feminazi”, “Tax-And-Spender”, “Cut-And-Runner” and “Faggot” not sufficient for your needs, gents?

I tend to find this kind of gamesmanship tiresome and counterproductive. After all, it could be reasonably argued that the Republican Party of today is not properly bearing the torch of its namesake either (national unity, a well-funded infrastructure, not trying to get into the pants of sixteen-year-old congressional pages, etc.) but no one on the Dems’ side of the aisle–much less the collective publicity machine thereof–is fronting a movement to change the common moniker of the GOP.

The media picked up on it like the good little doggies that they are (what “liberal media”?), and began to use the modified, modifier-less phrase “The Democrat Party” almost immediately. If anything they seemed to adopt this new term even faster than they did the White House’s famously bizarre expression “The War on Terror”. (How does one go to war against an emotion, anyway? If bush wins the War on Terror, what will he attempt next? The Pogrom Against Insouciance?) Some media outlets initially attempted to use conditional phrases like “The so-called War on Terror”, but soon gave up, so War on Terror it is, now and forever.

And so it seems to be with this new turn of phrase. I knew the game was over when I head a correspondent on National Public Radio use it yesterday during Morning Edition. True, he was only a contributing journalist, and a foreign one at that, but still. I mean, Fox News is one thing, but NPR….

I would have liked to think that I and my Party were above such cheap tactics. Well, no more. I have taken upon myself to attempt to revise the name of the Republican Party in the collective American consciousness. And since they elected to pursue their objective via terminological circumcision, so shall I.

From now on, I shall refer to the GOP collectively as “The Repu Party”, pronounced “Re-Poo”.

We may no longer be Democratic, but they got nothin’ but the same old shit. 😛

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