Is This A Relief, Or Something Else To Worry About?

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:13 am

Many years ago I heard an interview with musician Ray Charles in which he was asked his opinion of rap music. His reply went something like this: “It’ll never survive, because there’s no way you can imagine a seventy-year-old married couple hearing a rap song come on the radio and have one say to the other, ‘oh, listen, honey. they’re playing our song!'”

I happen to like a lot of rap—and dislike a lot more—but I had to admit that ol’ Ray might have a point there. I continued to agree right up until last night.

Picture if you will, a thirty-eight-year-old creative/technology worker, standing in the kitchen of his three-hundred-thousand-dollar house, wearing fuzzy socks, preparing kalbi ribs for dinner….while singing The Dead Kennedys’ “Too Drunk To Fuck“.

I don’t think rap is going anywhere any time soon; there seems to be nothing in this world that people can’t get all nostalgic over.


A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:32 am

Take this picture, for instance:

Ha Ha!

I can think of a great many words that this picture is worth. Such as, “Ha ha”; “You dumbass”; “Your plastic-carbuncle-encrusted Hummer H3 is neither an unopposable force of nature nor an indestructible triumph of military technology”; and of course, “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha”.

Amazingly, the driver of the H3 was not killed in the crash. Kind of a pity, in a way; given that this is a rear-ending on what appears to be completely bare-and-dry blacktop, (s)he is almost certainly at fault. I’m not sure I want this person using the insurance money to buy another self-esteem-mobile and take to the roads again, using that same brain, only more concussed.

On the bright side, look at how little damage that bus suffered in what must have been a spectacular crash. Other than the seats probably needing a serious steam-cleaning, it looks just about ready to go back on the road. Nice to see American motor vehicle companies are still building some things right.


Credit Card Nation

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 1:14 pm

Seen this ad yet?

This has got to be one of the foulest lies, one of the most unlikely and shamelessly misrepresented corporate depictions of reality ever foisted upon the American videocracy. Worse even than the Call of Duty 2 debacle. This is just pathetically, monstrously wrong.

Where to begin? Well, let’s first address the bizarre environment presented to the viewer in this commercial: busy little worker bees droning away at their food-service tasks, with swarms of consumers lighting just long enough to purchase their freshly-minted insta-meals before buzzing off to their next task. Perfectly meshed cogs in a vast, thrumming machine of nourishment-based commodity exchange. The poor denizens of this world seem to do everything but follow actual scent trails to decide where they should be going.

The more you watch it, the more disturbing it is. Other than the poison-dart-frog-bright colors of everything (including the food), the whole thing has a creepy, slightly dystopian air to it, like the movie Brazil with a slapped-on false color palette of toxic paint.

Throw in the apparently compulsory use of a credit card—that traceable, analyzable, 100% privacy-free form of currency—and the scenario grows creepier still.

Woe to the poor citizen who should elect, against his better judgment and all social convention, to fumble out his wallet and pay for his yummish foodlike comestibles with (click the play button below)cash.

What’s wrong with this guy, anyway? Too high and mighty to have his every purchase logged and analyzed by his credit card provider, is he? Well, lah dee dah! Isn’t he just all special and King-of-France-like with his *snort* legal tender.

In fact, ya gotta kinda suspect someone who is unwilling to have the details of his every purchase routed to Visa’s central mainframe. What has he got to hide? Is he a drug dealer or something? Ooo ooo, maybe he’s a terrorist! He does have suspiciously dark hair and eyes, after all. Got a little of the Sunni Triangle in you, fellah? Well, think again, Osama; not in this nightmarish vision of an information economy gone wild! ‘Round these parts, you either pay a 25% APR on your purchases along with a $24.95 per year user fee, or you’re against us.

And as for Ms. Supercilious Q. Rolleyes behind the counter there, lemmetellyou folks: no real merchant out there in the world would ever turn up their nose at cold cash, because unlike the credit card it doesn’t come with a 1 to 5% merchant surcharge attached to it.

No, the only way you’d get that kind of reaction out of a vendor would be if the vendor were actually in the direct employ of the card provider.

Which is really the point of this ad, isn’t it? The whole weird scenario takes place in a credit-company CEO’s fondest (and wettest) dream: the United States of Visa. Where voices are joined in perfect harmony, gumdrops fall as rain from butterscotch skies, and every person on the planet is tied to your corporation by chains of insurmountable debt.

Keep dreaming, Mister CEO: a few more years of business as usual, and you may very well see your vision come to pass.


It’s days like today….

Filed under: @ 2:23 pm

Well, okay, it was yesterday really, but since I work 13 hour shifts and couldn’t even conceive of what a computer was let alone how to work one when I got home from work yesterday I’m writing this today. Give me a break for the sake of literary artistry. This is ranting, not reality.

Anastasia has a common malady of young girls, one I am happy to encourage and nurture, called “Iwannabeavetitis”. This leads her to have some, at times disconcerting, hero worship of me, and makes her absolutely passionate about her computer game where she gets to run her own veterinary clinic. I have to give my props to whoever wrote the game since I’m convinced they’re in the field or closely connected to someone who is. Anastasia deals on a daily basis with some of the same weird shit at her computer clinic that I deal with at my everyday clinic. Things like having lunatic staff, a weird homeless guy that comes in a mooches coffee and blankets (although unlike my hospital, Anastasia eventually ended up employing her weird homeless guy), and clients that complain and whine a lot. Anastasia LOVES this game.

But the watered down computer version isn’t anywhere near the lunacy of the real thing and there are days that I want to tell her that, for her own sake, she should just forget it and go and develop her artistic skills so che can be a graphic designer or something where she doesn’t have to interact with the general public.

I’ll set the stage for yesterday. I either didn’t set my alarm on Saturday night or didn’t hear it on Sunday morning so I woke up 40 minutes later than I should have and ended up doing my morning routine in fast forward (which led to me trying to slice the tip off of my left thumb with a bread knife).
I actually ended up at work only a few minutes late and swung into the routine of getting patient rounds from the night doctor, checking all the ICU patients and seeing incoming patients. A routine, if busy, morning.

I had spent almost 3 hours on Saturday mucking around inside a Golden Retriever’s abdomen. It started as a fairly routine foreign body removal. She chewed up and ate, God knows why, lava rock from her back yard and her stomach was impacted with this semi-pulverized gravel. I opened her abdomen, knowing what it was that I was looking for and happened, just in passing, to find that she also had a biggish mass on her spleen. Crap, crap, and double crap.
I had someone call the owners for permission to remove her spleen while I was removing her rocks. Permission granted, spleen, God help me, removed. I HATE splenectomies.
I spent another (ergh!) HOUR digging around inside her stomach pulling out bits of lava rock, plastic, grass, and other unidentifiable goo. I flushed a couple of liters of saline through her stomach, took one last feel and was confident that I had removed everything, then I closed her the hell up and went home.

Sunday morning she wasn’t looking as well as I would have liked. Still a little dumpy, not eating yet, just not recovering as fast as I would hope. This isn’t unusual, I always want my patients to be up and bouncing the next day and they only infrequently are. So I wasn’t terribly concerned except that she was also having some discharge from her incision. Also completely explainable, probably not something to worry about, but since I wasn’t convinced that I’d not dropped a few fragments of lava rock out of her stomach and into her abdomen I was worried. Welcome to the paranoia of the surgeon. Convinced that she was developing peritonitis from having pebbles roaming around amongst her intestines, I had my assistant take an x-ray of her abdomen. The dog wasn’t developing peritonitis, I’d left some of the bloody rocks in her stomach.

Well the owners came to visit and I showed them the x-rays and discussed the next options. We decided that we’d wait to see if these relatively small pieces would pass and then if they didn’t we’d pursue endoscopic retrieval. They were completely cool about it, I was amazed. And pleased, and relieved. And I started feeding the dog large volumes of cat hairball lubricant in the hopes that we could slip the rocks through.

Then crazy IRS lady showed up. Crazy IRS lady is a sometime client that we haven’t seen since about 2003. She was coming in with her cat who she insisted had been attacked by a raccoon. I don’t usually bother arguing with people about why their cat is much more likely to have been fighting with another cat or have been hit by a car than been attacked by a raccoon. I know that when cats and raccoons get into it there’s usually not much cat left at the end, but if the owners want to believe that it’s marauding wildlife rather than their neighbor’s 16 year old behind the wheel of his new SUV, I don’t really want to take the time correcting their impressions.

Sensitive readers may want to skip the next bits.

The cat was basically intact except for his left rear leg. A large degloving (peeled the skin and soft tissue off of the bone) wound over the top of his foot had not only torn tendons and muscles, but had dislocated all of his toes. The bones of the foot were pulverized, his ankle was fractured, the tibia was fractured and I can’t prove that the femur wasn’t fractured. Dirt, grit, and plant material were ground into the open wounds, it was gruesome. And it was beyond repair.

I started my spiel about how the leg should be amputated to save the cat’s life and crazy IRS lady came unglued. “I do NOT want to amputate this cat’s leg!” I spoke soothingly about how well most three legged cats do, explained again about the severity of the injuries, discussed the fact that not only were there fractures the wounds were hideously contaminated, the soft tissue was unsalvagable etc. etc. etc.
“Well I want to have his leg fixed!” she replied. I told her that the leg most likely could not be fixed, that the best surgeon in the world wasn’t going to be able to put everything back together without the cat losing his foot at the very least. That at a conservative estimate, attempting to repair the leg would cost in the range of $5000 and he’d probably end up losing the leg even if they did spend all that money.

This is where things started to get surreal.
“Well can’t he just live with four legs?”
Um, didn’t I just finish telling you that he can’t?
“I want a second opinion!”
I offered to have the other on duty doctor step in and evaluate the cat.
“I want Dr. Regular DVM to see him! Call Dr. Regular DVM!”
I explained that it was Sunday and that Dr. Regular wouldn’t answer the phone.
“Well just call her! Can’t you just (emphasis on the next word) call her?”
I explained that Dr. Regular’s office was closed and that I didn’t have Dr. Regular’s home phone number.
“I’ll just take him home then!”

And that was that. I can’t force treatment when an owner refuses, so we gave the cat a whopping slug of morphine, flushed his wounds as much as was possible, pulled some of the bigger pieces of grit out from between the bones of his foot, bandaged his leg up and sent him home with antibiotics. Crazy IRS lady claimed she’d take the cat to Dr. Regular this morning.

Now the (only) nice thing about this is that our local Animal Control Officer, Pam, is a wonderful woman. I called Pam once crazy IRS lady left, gave her the details of the case and the owner’s contact information. Usually when I report abuse/neglect cases like this Pam, ever diplomatic, will contact the owner with the excuse that “a concerned neighbor” has reported their pet’s condition. I told Pam that in this case I’d be happy if she told crazy IRS lady that I was the one who had reported her.
My technician, who was livid at the idea of this cat going home in that condition, is calling Dr. Regular’s office this morning to see if crazy IRS lady has an appointment to have the cat seen. If she doesn’t, Pam will be contacted and will go over to her house to open a can of whoopass. I love Pam. She is first and foremost an advocate for the animals and she isn’t shy about expressing her opinions when animals are being mistreated. You do NOT want Pam mad at you.

Cans of whoopass notwithstanding, the whole experience, dog, rocks, cat, crazy IRS lady and all, is enough to make me want to go and become a nun. Although considering my verbal response to the bread knife in my thumb, I’m not sure the Catholics would take me. I wonder if the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster has nuns.


Grab Bag

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:03 pm

I don’t have much to talk about right now, but I thought I’d get a couple of things down in—print? packets? whatever—that have been rolling around in the attic.

First of all, you may or may not recall how my article about my minor crush on Erin Esurance, and the resulting flood of incoming referrers from search engines looking for, shall we say, immodest depictions of same. Well, on the 27th of September I put together a script that recorded incoming requests for that article that came from search engines, along with the search query used. The list, to date, is astounding. 475 hits, as of this writing. Boy, that’s a lot of pervs! On the Interweb; whodathunkit? 😉

Second item comes once again from Fark: A study conducted in Ohio among 355 dog owners showed that every single owner of “aggressive” breeds such as chows, pit bulls, Akitas and Rottweilers had at least one brush with the law (ranging from a traffic citation to a criminal conviction), and 30 percent of them had at least five. This compared to one percent of owners of breeds not considered to be aggressive or vicious.

Let’s file that under “D” for “Duh”, shall we? People who want a dog for companionship don’t naturally gravitate towards dogs bred to be efficient at mauling children and joggers. Factoring out those individuals who have legitimate need for a guard dog, the majority of people who want to own attack animals tend to be those who

  1. think that an undertrained, poorly socialized wood chipper with fur will keep local kids from breaking into their house to steal their meth stash
  2. have a fascination with dangerous animals the way that adolescent boys have a fascination with guns and monster trucks, or
  3. watch too many rap videos

There is, of course, the occasional exception to the rule. But in the vast, vast majority of cases, the owners of these walking weapons tend to be the paranoid, the emotionally stunted and/or the mediapathic.

That’s all I got. Have a good weekend, everybody!


Working To Serve You Better

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 5:09 pm

I’ve been noticing a lot of weird servers crawling my blog, jumping from category to category, topic to topic. As a precaution, on the hunch that they are spammers attempting to harvest email addresses, I have added a Javascript-based email address scrambler to my blog. It should work fine with any Javascript-enabled browser, which is damn near all of them unless you elect to disable Javascript yourself. If anyone has any trouble with it, let me know.


Dear JoAnn Fabrics….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 2:53 pm

Jo-Ann Store Guest Experience Department
Jo-Ann Fabrics

To Whom It May Concern,

I am not known to frequent fabric stores as a rule; my contact with them over the years has been, at best, sporadic and tertiary. So perhaps my recent experiences are not as unique and noteworthy as I take them to be. However, short of some “Freaky Friday“-type transferral into the body of a Jo-Ann regular, my own perceptions are all I have to go on. So I think I’ll take the plunge and let you know about them.

I have tried three times in the span about about two months to purchase some Velcro at two different Jo-Ann stores, in widely different locales; twice in Olympia, Washington and once at the Tukwila, Washington store. The procurement of bulk Velcro would, at first blush, seem a relatively simple endeavor: 1) locate Velcro; 2) cut Velcro to desired length, and 3) purchase Velcro.

And so it would have been, if not for the Cutting Counter. Alas, it was at The Cutting Counter that my dreams of Velcro acquisition died a slow and unfulfilled death.

Allow me to paint a word picture, to describe the scene I witnessed three separate times at two geographically disparate locations: a massive counter, gleaming like an iceberg in the blinding fluorescent light. Before it, five to ten customers shuffling in place, their furtive movements not unlike waves lapping the Formica shore. Stacks, bales, sheaves of fabric of every conceivable color and pattern rise in precarious towers on the countertop. Behind its white expanse lies a single, exhausted middle-aged woman, who toils with shears and scanning gun, gamely but futilely striving to make headway against the ceaseless tide of humanity.

One. Employee. The single most crucial nexus of customer activity in the entire place, staffed by a single, overburdened worker. There were four times as many people staffing the cash registers—with only two or three customers in line—than were working to break up the logjam at the Cutting Counter. I gave up after twenty minutes the first time, fifteen the next, and by the third I had only to glance in the direction of the Cutting Counter, with its lone matron embroiled in her Sisyphean pursuit, to drop my purchase and head for the door.

I started this missive by admitting that I am not a frequent patron of fabric stores, and I did so for a reason. It may very well be that those more deeply enmeshed in the sewing-and-crafts lifestyle may be attuned to a calmer pace of life than I. In this modern instant-gratification-addicted society of ours, perhaps some of our more enlightened citizens choose to while away a few—say, twenty or thirty—precious moments in quiet reflection in the line at the Cutting Counter. As you travel Life’s aisles, make sure you take time to stop and smell the remaindered paisley ultrasuede for $2.95 a yard, etc. If so, I salute them, for they walk a calmer and more contemplative path than that of which I am currently capable.

As for me, I’m going to order my Velcro online. Even if it ships UPS Ground from Rhode Island, it’ll probably be faster than waiting in line at the Cutting Counter. Who knows, maybe I’ll even order it from you, though I won’t take any pains to do so; it wouldn’t seem right to reward you for short-staffing your retail stores.



Yikety Yike Yikes

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:18 am

In case you aren’t a Fark or Slashdot reader, allow me to pass along a truly disturbing article posted on Wired:

Robot Identifies Human Flesh as Bacon

Not a great day to be a technology buff, lemmetellyou.  😯


Backyard Buffet

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:01 am

Caught this little feller parked on our bird feeder the other day. I’ve often said that our backyard bird feeder is a two-stage affair: seed for the small birds, small birds for the big birds.


This is a Sharp Shin Hawk, one of the smallest hawks in North America. We’ve seen this little guy—or his twin brother—in our yard on and off for a while now. We occasionally find little birdie bits scattered here and there in the yard, and it always makes me smile a little, for reasons I don’t quite understand. I mean, we specifically go about trapping neighborhood cats who come into our yard to do this very thing. I guess I resent them more because they all have a regular food source at home….they’re just in our yard to relieve their boredom. Well, how about a trip to the Animal Shelter to liven up your humdrum life a little, pal?

But the hawks, they need this food, and heck, there’s plenty to go around. Plus, Margaret and I are totally smitten with raptors. We both volunteered at the Olympic Wildlife Rescue Project back in the day, and were active with the Raptor Rehab Club at WSU while Margaret was attending Vet school. We even hacked an injured Kestrel we named Symphony at our home, nursing it back to health and releasing it into the wheat fields behind our trailer. (“Symphony our Kestrel”; we just couldn’t resist. :-D)

I felt kind of sorry for this one. He looked pretty disheveled sitting out there in the rain. I’d have donated a mouse to him, had I one handy. Or at least a tiny umbrella.


Was It Good For You Too?

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:22 am

I sat out on our back deck last night, grilling steaks and listening to the NPR commentators report the election results as they came in. It was nice, really quite an American feeling, and also quintessentially Northwest, seeing as how I was decked out in my Gore-Tex in anticipation of October rain. I think I’m going to make it an election-night tradition.

I wish I could feel like what happened last night signified a real change in tone for the capitol and the nation. I’m afraid that what it really was was just the other end of the pendulum’s swing. Short-sighted people deciding they didn’t like the last bill of goods they blissfully swallowed and turning around to bite the hand that fed it to them. Lather rinse repeat. Oh well, at least maybe abortion rights will be preserved for another term. Hell, if we take the Senate we might even get some actual work done.

I tried a new spice-rub recipe that I cribbed from some or another PBS cooking show. The idea was to recreate the flavor of tea-smoked duck without spending 48 hours smoking your meat (besides, I threw out my last pipe years ago). Turned out to be really tasty when applied to steak. Here’s the recipe:

one and a half cups Lapsang Souchong tea leaves
half cup red chili powder
half cup green chili powder
quarter cup onion powder
quarter cup garlic powder
eighth cup chipotle powder or flakes
3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

Flumph your steaks around in the mixture, then grill. Throwing the extra spice down on the flames will give the meat an extra smoking. The rub blackens in the fire, making a lovely, smoky piece of cow. I can’t wait to try it on salmon or pan-seared scallops.

Here’s to you, Voting America. Thanks for making about forty percent of your voice heard. 🙂


Gimme A Couple’a Noids In A Dirty Election—Er, Glass

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:47 am

Okay, so, with stuff like this and this—oh, and these—going on all over the country, I’ve been stocking up on matched sets of Noids this past week or so. Today, with the rain in Washington State having reached record levels, I finally cracked, and started asking myself: could the Repu Party be controlling the weather? I mean, on one hand, this state tends to vote overwhelmingly Democratic, so suppressing voter turnout in general would tend to hurt the Democratic candidates more. On the other hand, the majority of the flooding has taken place in the outlying areas, which tend on average to lean more to the Repu side than the cities. On the third hand—or the particularly nimble foot—or heck, a prehensile tail, if you have one—the Repus out in the sticks are more likely to be driving big ol’ Chevy Tahoes or Ford Excursions, which means they are more likely to be able to ford the high waters to get to the polls than their lefty neighbors with the aging Super Beetles or Volvo 240DLs.

I don’t know, Man, I just don’t know. Maybe another pot of coffee will help soothe my jangled nerves. Get out there and vote your mind and your heart today. And maybe take a break to watch “Hacking Democracy“, now available on Google Video. Also, try to get out and play in the rain a little; it’s quite refreshing.


Not Timely, But Nonetheless Funny

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:32 am

I’ve been meaning to put up some sort of mention of this site for at least four months, but circumstances today—which are elaborated below—dictate that I finally do so. So, without further ado, in the spirit of Bonsai Kitten, allow me to introduce:


I don’t even rightly remember where I first got wind of this; all I know is I laughed my ass off and bookmarked it for later consumption.

The reason my awareness of this bubbled back to the surface has to do with my addiction to AM radio. I work at my desk in my home office all day, and I desperately need something to occupy at least one other sense during my nine-plus hours of staring and typing. Talk Radio fits the bill nicely. I am also lucky enough to live in a region with a lot of decent programming at my disposal. Three hours of Dave Ross, followed by an hour of Ron Reagan (no, not that one, the live one; my receiver doesn’t get EVP, that would have cost extra), then either the afternoon lineup on KUOW—or perhaps a DVD playing on one of my three monitors—is plenty of tertiary stimulation to keep my brain from glazing over.

It is from the heady waters of the AM radio pool of advertising that I caught the very worst ad for a Lasik clinic ever, sponsored by the Luna Eye Center of Seattle (Funny….every time I hear that name, I hear it as “Luna’ai“, which is the name of a street in Maunawili, a small community on the Windward side of Oahu, where I grew up. Apropos of nothing, of course, save the bizarre cross-talk of miswired neurons in my over-stimulated head). They’re currently advertising 50% off any competitor’s price on Lasik. This may actually be a great deal. I’ll never know, because I’ll never, ever set foot in a medical clinic that thinks it can win me over by touting itself as having the lowest price in town on a sensitive medical procedure involving, of all things, my eyes. Never. Ever. Sorry, but I can’t help but wonder what it is I will not be getting with my super-saver econo-tastic discount-o-licious surgery. Anesthetic? Surgeons trained in actual medical schools? The power of sight? Makes me even more sympathetic to the plight of my wife the veterinarian, who has to deal daily with the cognitive dissonance of people who firmly believe that

  1. premium emergency health care for their pet is a constitutional right—and therefore Margaret must perform hundreds of dollars of surgery on the Chow they just backed over in the driveway irrespective of their ability to pay, or
  2. emergency medical procedures for pets are, for some poorly defined yet heartfelt reason, not as intensive nor as sophisticated as similar procedures performed on humans—and therefore Margaret must agree to charge only as much for her services at her top-flight critical-care medical facility as would be charged at the pet owner’s regular, scrungy, parvo-puppy-in-a-cardboard-box-in-the-reception-area, run-by-a-octogenarian-who-last-took-a-continuing-ed-course-in-1982 vet clinic—or, even weirder,
  3. all of the above.

In this topsesque-turvoid world of unrealistic expectations and quick-fix marketing, who wouldn’t imagine that something like Lasik@Home might come to pass, even make a killing in the lucrative niche market of questionable medical DIY products?

In fact, only three things kept me from being suckered in by this site. First of all, I am not a complete rube. Secondly, the site features Google ads for Lasik@Home’s “competitors”—highly unusual for an actual commercial enterprise.

And threethly, the “Scal-Pal™ Hand-Operated Combination Femtosecond/Excimer Laser” bears a more-than-passing resemblance to the handle of our vacuum cleaner:

Scal-Pal vacuum1.jpg

All in all, though, an “A” for effort. 😉


The Method School of Halloween Decoration

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:44 am

I was taking down our outside Halloween decorations this morning when I caught the picture below.


Now, I was already pretty impressed with our fake spider webs this year. For some reason, they just looked exceptionally cool and convincing. But hey, it’s always nice to get further affirmation from a third party, particularly an expert in the field.  😉


Worst Kid-To-Money-Ratio Halloween Ever

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:13 am


I have to admit, I was pretty disappointed. All in all, we got thirteen Trick-Or-Treaters this year—nice Halloweeny number, but still, what a cluster fuck. And seven of those came in a single group. Ah, well, more candy for me.


I went to great lengths this year, including purchasing a “real” studio-quality zombie, whom Shawn has christened Fernando. No, I have no idea why, but it makes for some amusing songs around the house. “There were zombies in the air that night, their eyes were bright, Fernandooooooo….” (Okay, so I’m the only one who sings that around the house. Turns out I am, in fact, related to my father. I even have a special ditty I sing while grinding my coffee.)

My personal favorite Jack-O’-Lantern

Had us some awesome pumpkins this year, too. But you can’t expect a bunch of surly teens to appreciate good vegetable art. Though a couple of the girls screamed really loudly when they saw Fernando. And what the hell was with the costumes this year? The guys didn’t dress up at all, unless you count the kid who wore a terrycloth headband (“I’m a tennis player!”) or the one who wore his normal Trenchcoat Mafia school gear and claimed he was actually black but he dressed as a white kid for Halloween. Cuh-lever, kid.

As for the girls, they were all, to a one, dressed as little children, all baby-doll pink and, in some cases, pacifiers. I felt embarrassed just looking at them. There’s something about even glancing at a fifteen-year-old girl with a pacifier in her mouth that coats you in a thin layer of psychic slime. I wanted to wash my mind out with soap.

[Here’s a random thought—and I mean really random—if you took two songs, “Carnival” by Natalie Merchant and “Lunch Box” by Marilyn Manson, and put them in a vacuum chamber together and they touched, would they turn to energy? I happen to have those two songs back-to-back in a mix on on my iPod, and the combination nearly gave me the bends on Interstate 5 this afternoon.]

Anyway, I hope you all had a happy and sugary Halloween. If you have any good pictures, send ’em my way and I’ll put them online.

This just in: my sister Libby sent this shot of her, my nieces, our mutual friend Heather and her kid. Teh cute!


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