Woke Up This Morning, Got Yourself A Neologism….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 1:34 pm

So we decided to go to the New Jersey Aquarium in Camden the other day, since we didn’t have anything else to do. What the heck, it’ll be an adventure. It’s even named the Adventure Aquarium, so how could we not? The answer, and the resulting experience, are the source and subject of today’s Neologism.

We headed up 95 North to the Walt Whitman Bridge, then switched over to 676. My Aunt told us that there were signs everywhere for the aquarium, we couldn’t miss it. As we crossed to the other side of the bridge, we saw a sign over an exit ramp reading “Camden Waterfront”.

“I think we need to get off here,” Margaret said.

“But there’s nothing saying ‘Aquarium,'” I replied. “Joan was very specific about that. I think we should stay on the highway for now, until we see signs pointing us to the aquarium.” We drove on.

Five to ten miles later, as the signs began announcing the immiment approach of Atlantic City, I capitulated, and we pulled off the freeway into some anonymous New Jersey suburb (Blacksburg? Blackfoot? Black Lung?) and called my Uncle for directions. We jumped back onto the freeway in the opposite direction. As luck would have it, the Camden Waterfront exit was in fact the one we should have taken; it’s just that every single one of the signs indicating it as the exit for the aquarium are on the southbound side of the freeway. We had plenty of indicators on the way back.

Upon exiting, we soon found a series of signs pointing us towards the aquarium. These signs led us further and further into Camden’s industrial waterfront area….where they suddenly disappeared. We wandered for about twenty minutes, with the city’s loin growing ever-tenderer around us, until I called another time-out and pulled into the closest parking lot to check my GPS. At that very moment, my sister called me to let me know that her flight from Albuquerque had been cancelled. Also at that very moment, a security patrol for the Harbormaster pulled up to findout why I was loitering in the Harbormaster’s lot, peering at a GPS and talking into a cell phone. I hung up on my sister, pocketed my GPS and asked the nice man with a gun if he knew where the aquarium was. “Yeah, it’s right over there,” he said, and pointed to a building some three hundred feet to our right. Oops. “Thanks very much,” I told him gratefully, “You’ve been more help than two relatives and a GPS.” We pulled out and found some parking closer to our target.

The Adventure Aquarium originally started as a showcase for the fish of New Jersey, but quickly discovered that no one was willing to pay $17.50 to see displays of bottom-feeders mutated by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and organic solvents. So they added a bunch of colorful non-native species (including hippopotamuses [hippopotami?]) to liven the place up. As of late, the powers-that-be decided to include colorful non-native species who live in a pineapple under the sea,  in the form of the Spongebob Squarepants 4-D Adventure; a movie-like, quasi-edumacational attraction. This naturally attracted scores, shoals, and squalls of children. Couples with children. Summer-school groups of children. Children Having Children there with their chidren. Wave upon fulminating wave of thundering, drooling, squealing, screeching, pop-eyed sticky-handed klaxon-throated children. We couldn’t escape them; everywhere you turned you were run over by strollers, plowed into by ballistic toddlers and had your eardrums crenellated by the piercing shrieks of children exclaiming over the sharks, the hippos, the ice cream stands.

Margaret and I both thought the place was well-put-together, visually captivating and more than a little educational. Kudos to them. They even offered attendees a chance (for an additional fee) to help feed the sharks. I could not help but think that the aquarium could combine two of their problems–too many children, how to pay for shark food–into a single, Jonathan-Swift/A Modest Proposal-style solution. One that any voluntarily childless couple like ourselves would be delighted to spend some of their lavish extra disposable income to subsidize.

Which brings me at last to the neologism:

If adventure means, “an exciting or very unusual experience” (from the Latin future participle of advenīre, to arrive; or “what must happen”), then what we underwent at the Camden Aquarium was by any measure an abventure; an experience from which one must move away with all possible haste.


Filly Del Fia

Filed under: @ 1:00 pm

So it actually all started on Sunday night when my official Five Corners Wrap party happened. We showed up at RM’s house to be simultaneously assulted by her dogs (they’re sweet and enthusiastic, but not notably bright most of the time) and large volumes of alcohol. For all that I kept telling people that we had to get up at 0500 the next morning to get to the airport, I had a continuous procession of bottles of beer, glasses of wine, shots of tequila, and this weird Chinese liquor that smelled like little other than fermented miso broth (I steadfastly refused to drink that one however) trotted out to me.

They’re good people, they’re excellent medical staff, they’re good friends. In these last few weeks when I’ve been working full time at Spring Glen and part time at Five Corners while using up my vacation and sick time I really have realized what a blessing it is to have a staff who knows how you work and whose skills you know and trust. I’m not going to say that I’ll never have that again, but if I manage to find that sort of synergy wherever I end up working for the rest of my career, I know that it’s going to take a hellova lot of time to build up. I’ll say it again. I’d have been happy to work at Five Corners for the rest of my working life. The current success of that practice was built largely with my (not mine alone, but mine nonetheless) effort and I resent the hell out of essentially being forced out because the company for whom I work was so damn inflexible. There are a number of people for whom this following curse will be relevant, they know who they are, but my friends let us all make the correct hand motions and do the correct dance steps while chanting: “MAY THE BIRD OF PARADISE HATCH A VULTURE IN YOUR NAVEL!”

Thank you.

I’m going to miss all of my peeps (they know who they are too) a whole lot.

Only slightly pickled (that last shot of tequila was a doozy) we managed to get home and in bed by (shudder) midnight much to the disapproval of the cat whose republican notions about bedtime have only become more solidified now that he gets to sleep with us.
Regardless of the time of year 0500 is really a miserable hour, but we did want to get to the airport early so we could hopefully change out our (presumably) miserable seat assignments.

Let me take this chance to rant a minor rant about Travelocity. I have come to the conclusion that Travelocity sucks balls. You can’t escape their e-mails, their prices (at least for the last two trips that I’ve scheduled through them) aren’t any better than those that I would get through the airlines’ websites, and they didn’t give us any seat assignments for our Seattle to Philly flight. When (three weeks after the tickets were purchased) I noticed the lack, the only seats that were left together were a middle and a window seat.
We tried consistently for about a month to change our seats, to upgrade our seats, or to….I don’t know, invoke some sort of deity to have them magically transmogrified into two bulkhead/exit row seats or at least two aisle seats, but nothing worked. Last ditch attempt was check in at the airport.
Which of course did not work. The flight was very full, there were no first class seats left and while we could have gotten two aisle seats one of them would have been in row 12 and the other in row 27. SIGH.

As it turned out though it was a remarkably comfortable flight. I don’t know what specific Airbus jet US Airways flies on their cross country trips, but they’ve got more front to back room and wider seats than any coach flight I’ve taken in a long time. It also helped that the woman in the aisle seat was a wee tiny little grandmotherly type that can’t have weighed more than 75 pounds soaking wet.
There was a small child in the row across from us, but remarkably the only time he squalled was when we hit the ground in Philly and we had to wait half an hour or so to deboard because we were right at the very back of the plane.
The flight left on time, it arrived on time, it was a damn smooth landing, and even though our suitcase was overweight they didn’t charge us for it because (and I quote the desk agent in Seattle) “I’d usually charge you for it, but we’re so busy right now that I won’t.”
The most unpleasant part of it was the hideous jerky like feeling of my nasal passages and eyeballs courtesy of my scopolamine motion sickness patch. Fortunately once we hit the ground in Philly the wonderful wonderful humidity set in and I soaked up ambient moisture like a bloody sponge.

We got in at about 1630 and managed to (finally) get off the plane and get our suitcase by about 1700. The Hawaiian delegation was scheduled to hit the ground at 1700 and the plan was that we would meet them, Uncle Jeff, and Aunt Joan at the baggage claim for their flight. And oddly, that is, oddly for this group that is made up of strong willed individualists each with their own idea of how best to proceed with plans, that’s how it worked. Joan, Tony, Libby, Vinny, and the nieces all came down from their arrival gate looking like they’d been squashed. They’d left Honolulu at 2200 Sunday evening and were arriving in Philly at 1700 Monday afternoon which is about as much time on a plane and as many time zones as I’d ever care to experience thank you very much. We got all the bags, we didn’t lose any carry ons, any stuffed animals, hats, books, glasses, sunglasses, or members of our party. There was enough space in the two cars that no one had to sit in the middle and all the luggage fit without anyone having to keep anything on their lap. It was remarkable.

We got back to Jeff & Joan’s (there are two Joans involved here, it does get a little confusing) and had some dinner while Jeff took another pilgramage back to the airport to pick up Ray Ann who is…… lessee, how is she related….. She is Jeff and Joan (Lenzer’s) cousin which means that she was Gramma Kay’s niece. I think. Anyway, Jeff went to pick up Ray Ann and when they got back we all piled back into the van to check in at the hotel.
Nice hotel. Free breakfast, free internet, game and exercise room in the basement, swimming pool, and these lovely horizontal flat things with blankets and pillows where you can collapse and snore for hours on end. Also the air conditioning, unlike that of our hotel in London last spring, WORKS.

Yesterday was Lucy’s (the youngest niece) birthday. We had planned to pack everyone up and take a trip to the Camden Aquarium, but there were traffic advisories so we quite sensibly did not. One group went shopping (with Joan, Aunt Joan, and Libby around you can’t not go shopping at least once), and the rest of us (Andrew, Jeff, and I) went to Best Buy to find some (what else) computer parts and then to the Brandywine River Museum to wander along their hiking trail.
It is a lovely museum, it is a lovely hiking trail but I swear the last time we were here we were on a different trail because what we found was a remarkably short hike. This was not a bad thing as it turns out. The trail we were on was nettle choked, I hadn’t gotten nettle stung in years, moderately overgrown with other vegetation (a tick risk), and the weather has been (remember my comment about the air conditioning?) HOT! We saw some nice birds and got some great shots of dragonflies, but with temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s and 95% humidity it is not ideal weather for doing stuff outside.
Fortunately Jeff and Aunt Joan’s house is well ventilated and well air conditioned and Aunt Joan makes a mean pot of iced tea. There’s been a lot of sitting around talking story and drinking iced tea.
I spent a good deal of yesterday evening in front of the computer with Jeff showing off our pictures from the Jersey Zoo, the London Zoo, and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park. After viewing the show, Jeff (as Aunt Joan had predicted) wandered over to where she was sitting and informed her that they were going to have to get to Jersey so he could go to the zoo. I believe Aunt Joan’s exact words were: “Thank God we’ve already gotten our tickets for this summer or we’d be going to Jersey!” It was very cute.

Anyway, I’ promised Andrew that I’d leave today’s entry for him so you all will have to wait for the next installment until I can get him out from behind his book.



Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:58 pm

I thought I’d take a moment to fill everyone in on the situation with my back. After two MRIs and an EMG (a test in which someone sticks you with pins and runs electrical current through your body to see how your nerves respond; much like acupuncture, but with a Western-style dependency on computers and maybe just a whiff of Marathon Man sadism thrown in for fun), the verdict is: I have new herniations in my discs at L3/L4 and L4/L5. I also have either a massive herniation at L5/S1, or just as likely, a bunch of scar tissue left over from the surgery I had in 1998. Either way, the effect is twofold: I continue to have serious weakness in my right leg, as I have since shortly after the surgery, and I have new pain and mobility problems stemming from the new herniations. The latter have, over the last couple of months, gotten much better on their own. I can now stand up straight, and walking to the mailbox is no longer a painful ordeal. I’m also finally able to get a decent night’s sleep, which was easily the wort part of all this. I spent two months in a perpetual fog of sleep-deprivation, driving on the sidewalk while arguing the finer points of Talmudic Law with my imaginary friends. That’s how fucked up I was; I actually thought I knew anything about Talmudic Law.

Furthermore, this last Friday I underwent the first in a new round of cortisone shots to help reduce the inflammation and speed up healing. Those are always fun (this is my fourth cortisone treatment in about a two-year period for this sort of condition), but the magic of Versed made the ordeal only slightly painful and nerve-wracking. I’ve never been so fascinated with the floor of a clinic before. 🙂

Once we get back from Pennsylvania in a week or so, I’m going to start some physical therapy that my doctor thinks should help with the overall weakness left over from the surgery. He seems optimistic that we can do a lot to alleviate the situation. I’m psyched about that, while kicking myself for having taken the word of my initial surgeon that this was just a fact of life for me and that I would have to accept it. If this turns out not to be the case, I have nearly twenty years of atrophy to try to make up form a concept that has me just giddy with anticipatory pleasure, lemmetellyou.

Anyways, I just thought I’d post a little something for those who might have been wondering. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled program of rants, bizarre photographs and mildly witty observations, already in progress.


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. 😛


Recently Sighted

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:18 pm

Shot this one with my phone outside the Top Foods in Olympia:

Full Service Bank

Now that’s what I call a full-service bank. 😉


It’d Be Funnier If It Weren’t Real

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 7:37 am

In case you’re not a fan of the Public Radio program Weekend America, here’s a little something they mentioned on Saturday’s show:

Sixteen Words

Very clever. Very depressing, but very clever.


ZOWIE it’s spring!

Filed under: @ 10:41 pm

What with the tummy weasels, my job, Andrew’s back, and the cat…. to say nothing of the unmentioned (and unmentionable) week that included me running over a chunk of wood on I-5 south of the Tacoma dome and taking out the air mass sensor in my Subaru to the tune of about $700 just two days before the CPA called us and told us we owed the IRS $1800….it’s been a pretty grumpy spring.
And now they’ve started development on the property behind ours, destined to be a 3 home mini-complex sometime late this summer or early this fall. In between times there are bulldozers, dump trucks, chainsaws, and lots and lots and lots of dust just over our south and west property line. We’re losing some very very valued quiet and privacy.
We are (at least I am) going to continue to be pretty grumpy for a while (although I did promise Andrew I wouldn’t bitch too much about the construction…… we are getting a sewer connection out of it after all).

So I thought I’d take a moment to share a bit about what brings great joy to me. Or, to put it in somewhat less syrupy English, I thought I’d take the opportunity to bore the pants off of y’all with tales of how my garden grows!

Tomatoes went in during the first part of May. I have ten plants in five self watering containers following the same feeding and watering protocol that I did last year. Planted them half in worm castings from our worm bin and half in new potting soil with one Mycogrow tablet per plant. Fed them with Gardners’ Supply Tomato Food and covered them with Territorial’s Red Mulch. I only just today managed to get the supports up for them before they crawled into the yard. The tallest is approximately 2 feet and already has little green tomatoes.

I had intended to take what I was referring to as my spring break (the 10 day stretch between ending my full time employment at Five Corners and starting my full time employment at Spring Glen) really easy. I’d just finished working a hideous stretch of days, I’d been ferociously busy, and I was exhausted. On the first day of my break Andrew had a press check at dark:o’clock and I figured I’d just sleep through his alarm to wake up at a decently decedant hour to drink tea, eat toast, and then slope off into my garden to enjoy the spring.
Except it didn’t work that way. Roo’s alarm went off at some hideous hour and I did, in fact, go right back to sleep as soon as he got up. Only it’s seriously spring. Sunshine oozing through the blinds, robins bellowing, and the ferslushinger flicker GLEERT-ing his head off only allowed me to sleep until about 0700. And I got up. And opened the blinds, and the windows, and spring came pouring in at me.

I was in the garden rototilling by 0900. That is, after I spent almost an hour digging up volunteer potato plants out of last year’s potato patch. I SWEAR I went over that patch with a fine tooth comb last summer, but even still I dug up 20 plus volunteer plants.
So I ground in all of the mulch from last fall and pulled up a few noxious weeds and planted FORTY FOUR potato plants (twenty three volunteers and three pounds of seed potatoes).
The potatoes are currently occupying what used to be the dahlia bed. I spaded up every single inch of that section of the garden and found three, count ’em, three dahlia tubers out of what must have been forty or more that were there when we moved in. The rest must have frozen to death over the winter of 2004-2005. Anyway the potatoes are enjoying the area and since that corner of the garden is pretty seriously shaded by the evergreen tree that is just over our south fence line, I’m really rather afraid of what’s going to happen when the developer (at my request) takes that bloody great tree out. Get a little more sunshine into that corner and it’s going to be a potatolanche.

I managed to overwinter a large-ish section of lettuces which are currently burgeoning and remarkably tasty. As I finish harvesting a row (Andrew eats salad for lunch on work days) I’m tilling up the row and re-planting so that hopefully we won’t have to purchase lettuce again until sometime next December.

Since I was somewhat disappointed by the beans last summer… there weren’t really very many of them and I do love black bean soup in the winter…. I -um- expanded our bean patch this year. Close to 120 black bean plants are currently at the two leaf stage. I have great hopes for PLENNY black bean soup this winter.

And my experiment with starting onions from seed, I was seduced by Territorial’s cipolinni advertising, seems to have been a remarkable failure. I’m good at growing onions from sets, but have NO luck at all starting them from seeds.
So in one insane trip to my favorite nursery in Olympia, the Bark and Garden Center, I purchased what turned out to be a truly frightening number of red onion sets. I got two flats of them because I didn’t think that one flat looked like quite enough. Two flats looks like it’s going to be LOTS of onions. My bean patch is outlined in onions, my lettuce rows are punctuated by onions, and I’ve got a couple of spare onions at one end of my squash patch.

Oh, and squash. I planted acorn squash this year. I’m passionate fond of acorn squash. I’ve also planted additional planters full of two different types of cucumbers (more pickles!), loofahs, and a really cool little heirloom pumpkin called ‘Batwings’ which is supposed to be a green and orange variegated and a decent pie pumpkin to boot. I’m very excited.

On that same lunatic trip to the Bark and Garden Center I also found a lovely rosebush for Scamper. A hybrid double English scarlet climber called “Crimson Dawn”. We held our Egyptian burial that evening. I think the rosebush is enjoying the funeral offerings (a bowl full of tunafish) since it’s put on 3 inches and one whole new cane in the bare month that it’s been in the ground.
I ended up with an anonymous bulb from that trip as well. It was on the checkout counter as the guy was tallying up my purchases. I commented to him that only at a garden store would you find some anonymous ugly thing on the counter and not have the health department having fits. The guy grinned, waved his hand at me and said “Take it home and plant it, see what comes up!” Which I found charming.

The north end of our raspberry patch was looking a little hagridden last fall so this spring I ordered 10 new bare root plants from Raintree. They also came in early May, with big burly canes and really extensive root systems. I grubbed out the old canes, which is apparently something that needs to be done every 10-15 years anyway, and planted out the new ones. They have, shall we say, adapted nicely. The loganberry patch is terrifying, and I’m up to my eyeballs in rhubarb again.

But I think what’s best?
It’s only mid-June and my gardener’s tan is well started. 😀


I’m No Expert….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:24 pm

….in the field of search engine optimization. I mean, I’m aware of the basics of how search engines like Google and Yahoo! determine where to rank pages in terms of their relevance to a particular query. Clever stuff, that; way beyond my own skill set.

So perhaps one of my contemporaries with more experience in this field could lend their expertise in answering the question as to just how the fuck my blog got to be the number-one-ranked site on Google for the phrase, “ventilated pith helmets with fan“? I’d really like to know.

Of course, by the time y’all are reading this, my page ranking will probably have dropped. I imagine I’ll have to settle for somewhere in the top five.

The Neologism of Luuuuuuv

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 7:34 am

I was talking to our housemate on the phone this afternoon, about his new romantic interest. Shawn has been on a bad woman tear–or perhaps a bad-woman tear–for some time now. Abandoned by the baddest (that is to say, the worst) woman in the Universe, he then went on to date a string of women who, irrespective of whether they were or were not bad in and of themselves, were nonetheless bad for him. This new one seems like a real keeper; we wish her and Shawn the best.

Anyhowitzer, Shawn is naturally very cautious with his heart these days. Nonetheless he confessed to me that he thought he was, to quote him, “cautiously head-over-heels in love.”

That turn of phrase made me laugh. If ever there were a self-contradictory expression, “cautiously head-over-heels in love” would seem to be it. There had to be some more semantically appropriate term, something that helped to convey the same dizzy ecstasy but with a more restrained affect to it.

In five seconds I had it. “Dude,” I told him, “You’re not head-over-heels yet. You’re just neck-over-knees.” 🙂



Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:16 pm

We had a small party in celebration of Margaret’s birthday this weekend, sort of a low-key affair. I tried to keep the guest list short because I couldn’t handle preparations for a large group, so if you weren’t on the invite list please accept my apologies. A group of us sat around stuffing our faces and flapping our jaws….fortunately in alternating intervals or I’d still be scrubbing the chewed bratwurst out of the carpet. All things considered a good time seemed to be had by all. Thanks to everyone who helped to pleasant up the place for a few hours.

The whole thing got me to pondering about the nature of our various friendships. Everyone has friends that fit into assorted categories: college friends, childhood friends, work friends, et cetera. In the past, Margaret and I have been somewhat leery of mixing our various friend groups. I’m not really sure why. I think that, on some level, we were afraid that people from different aspects of our lives would not find sufficient common ground to enjoy interacting with each other. This is, of course, ludicrous. It’s not like we have one bunch of friends from our hippie-liberal-arts-college days and another with whom we attend our weekly Klan rallies. There’s not even a difference as minor as, say, blue collar/white collar, though I hardly think that alone would be a deal-killer either. All of our friends are college-educated professionals, with or without children, and if we don’t all pivot on an identical political/religious/philosophical axis, we all respect each other’s opinions and the right to both have and share them.

This was borne out by our experience at the party, where friends and family from every aspect of our collective lives came together, ate, drank, chatted, and laughed our asses off. I’m hoping that I can keep this in mind for the future, because it sometimes seems a lot easier to manage to get together in medium-sized groups than it is to make–and keep–lots of individual dates with our friends. Lots of reasons for this, not the least of which that we’re agoraphobic homebodies with a pathological fear of rush-hour traffic. (Okay, I have a pathological fear of rush-hour traffic; Margaret has a severe allergy to putting up with my reaction to rush hour traffic.) Barring extenuating circumstances such as my current back problems, I’m usually happier putting in the work to feed and entertain a group of ten or fifteen friends at once than trying to get up the momentum to make it to five or six different get-togethers with smaller groups. Plus there’s an added bonus: if we’re having everyone over here, that means we’ll be forced to clean the house. Never hurts to have five or ten of your closest friends to help twist your arm. 🙂

This is by no means to say that we won’t be making dates to hang out with each and every one one of you, individually or in family groups, in the near future. But if it gets to be two or three months out and we have yet to get our schedules coordinated, would somebody please send me a link to this post, and tell me to scrub out the bathroom, clean out the grill and send out the invites? Thanks in advance.


MAN what a stinker!

Filed under: @ 9:33 pm

Inspired, or perhaps deranged, by having watched the History Channel’s work up on Star Wars (in honor of the 30th anniversary and all that), Andrew and I decided that we really should see Episodes 1-3 again just to find out whether they were as stinky as we remembered.
We remembered them as being pretty darn awful, but we only saw (each of) them once, and we were so disappointed by how little they blew us away that we figured the disappointment may have fueled our opinions.

Having finished watching Episode 1: The Phantom Menace for the second (and, let me assure you, LAST) time I am now in a position to say unequivocally that Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was a menace for many reasons and none of them phantom.
The story did have some merit I guess. I won’t go into the hours worth of editing that I think it needed to be a basically decent film, but I think one of the things that bothered me the most was Lucas’ dependence on in-jokes, slang, or jargon that are based primarily in 21st century English. For a story that was written about a time “long ago” in a galaxy “far away” there sure were a lot of spontaneous vocalizations and planned statements that sounded a lot like they came out of a junior high or high school of the early 2000s. Throw in fart jokes, poop humor, *SHUDDER* Gungins, and that noxious little bowl headed sprite that they cast to play Aniken and it was a really bad film.

We are going to continue our odyssey and watch the other two….. I’m not really sure why, probably as an exercise in self discipline, but then we’re going to purchase the un-retouched originals on DVD and try to forget that Lucas ever made the first three in the series. Luke Skywalker may have been a whiny little noodge in Star Wars, but at least Mark Hamil could act his way out of a wet paper bag.


A Couple of Interesting Animal Experiences

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:52 pm

I had two separate, notable animal experiences yesterday.

The first occurred as I was driving along Old Olmypic Highway in Shelton on my way to the farm. I was driving along a stretch of road with a high embankment on one side when I noticed a fawn, a really young one, tottering along the side of the road. I slowed down, of course, both for the safety of the young’n and so I could scope out the situation. About twenty yards from the fawn I spotted its mother up on the top of the embankment, some six or eight feet above the road. It was immediately obvious what had happened: Mom and Tot had been working their way along the ridge line when the kid lost its footing and tumbled to the road. Now both of them were trying to figure out what to do about it. I guessed that Mama would work something out, perhaps leading her baby to a place where the slope wasn’t quite so steep. I certainly didn’t feel confident about intervening, as I wasn’t sure how either of them would react to it and didn’t want to see the poor little thing run over when it dashed away from me in a panic. But the thing that really caught my attention was the fawn’s reaction as I passed slowly by in my car. Out there in plain sight on the side of the road, the fawn, spotting my car, immediately folded up its legs and plopped down onto the asphalt. It sat there, stock still, ears folded, all, “No Sir, no fawns here, everyone return to your tasks.” There was no tall grass to cover it, but the instinct kicked in nonetheless, the critter unable to deny an impulse totally unsuitable for its current circumstance.

I found myself feeling sorry for the deer for a moment, pitying them their inability to adapt to changing situations like us big-brained pinnacles of evolution, with our top-of-the-food-chain power to plan and strategize, our tools and technology, our factories and, um, our pollution, our sophisticated weaponry, er, our preemptive wars….erm….uhhh….okay, so bad examples. But I damn well would have been able to get back up that hillside. Even if I probably would have been promptly eaten by a mountain lion.

The second auspicious animal experience occurred later that evening at home. Everyone in the house had noticed Scrum acting a little wiggy that day, but we assumed he was just a little wound up for one reason or another and thought nothing further of it. I was presented with another possibility while chatting with Shawn as he cleaned up the kitchen after dinner. He was standing by the fridge when I heard him say, “Wow.”

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, “this will sound kind of weird, but I just saw Scamper standing right here at my feet.”

Shawn has some Native American blood, and participates in numerous Native American ceremonies and follows their belief systems. I, on the other hand, do not, do not and do not. Nonetheless, I too have seen Scamper once or twice around the house. I assumed that it was just my eyes seeking out patterns they were used to perceiving. But after talking to Shawn, I’m not so sure, He thinks Scamper’s spirit is lingering around the house, and he believes that this is a good thing. I’ll have to take his word for it, and I’m pretty much willing to do so. Personally, the idea that my cat might decide to hang out with his family for a while after his death makes me happy. But after hearing this news, I had to go outside and sit in with Scamper’s rose bush and cry for a while. Good kitty.


Not Exactly Balm For The Ego

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 7:35 am

First I’m compared to the Tick, and now this:

31%Mingle2Free Online Dating

I’m with YakBoy; I think the ridiculous number of edged weapons and blunt instruments in the house should have counted for more. Plus if the alignment test is right, I’m somewhat low on brains, and therefore culinarily less desirable.


Dear CBS….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:13 pm

It was with utter delight that I tuned into the premiere of [the American version of] Nick Park’s Creature Comforts. This is easily the best prime-time-ready program to come along since the original Looney Tunes cartoons debuted in the movie theaters in the ’30s.

In a time slot dominated by pap, pugilists and pudenda, this program is as clever as it is hysterical, showcasing the very best of the sense of timing and whimsy that made Aardman Animation such a force for good in entertainment.

Here’s how serious I am about my praise for you in choosing to air this wonderful show. My wife and I DVRed the program, as we do most of what we watch on television. However, we are so determined to reward your excellent judgment–and do our part to keep Creature Comforts on the air–that we specifically sat through the commercials, looking for something we might want to buy from your sponsors. Unfortunately, there weren’t many things advertised during the show that were even in a loose parabolic orbit around our shopping list, not being big aficionados of anti-aging lip cream, fast food or Fantastic Four movies.

It took a while, but we finally found something that we might actually use. I pledge to you here and now, that before the week is out we will own the largest container of Resolve Carpet Cleaner I can find at my local supermarket.

Thank you, thank you for helping to bring this gem of a program to the airwaves. Please give your programming department our heartfelt kudos. And tell Reckitt & Coleman that if they keep advertising during Creature Comforts, I’ll throw an economy-sized can of Brasso into my cart next week.

Most Gratefully,


UPDATE: I am as good as my word.



Micromanage Your Advertising Dollars For Maximum Impact

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:11 am

It became pretty obvious this week how advertising is bought and sold on our local radio traffic reporting service, Metro Traffic Control….or at least how it is not. Advertising air time (“Support for traffic reports on KBLAH is provided by….”) is purchased in blocks based on factors such as frequency of insertion and time. The ad time is not, repeat not delineated by the station on which it will play; ads purchased for a given time slot play on all the stations that employ a traffic report during said time slot.

This fact became readily apparent this week, when I was treated to the following on local NPR station KUOW, after the standard morning traffic report:

“Support for traffic reports on KUOW is provided by World Extreme Cagefighting.”

That was nearly enough to give a good NPR listener the bends. As it was, I nearly drowned laughing myself into a seizure in the hot tub. 🙂

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