11/27/2009

Peri-Prandial Neologism

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 1:16 pm

We had ourselves a lovely holiday, starting with Thanksgiving I over at the in-laws’ with family and friends, good food and good company. A few of our pack were unable to attend due to their work schedules, so after a few hours we picked up the show and took it on the road to our house for Thanksgiving II. The sequel was all about my personal favorite part of the Turkey Day ritual: sammiches. Big, thick, slablike turkey sammiches with mayo and sweet pickles and provolone cheese. And pumpkin pie. But not on the sammiches.

All in all, a highly enjoyable array of holiday brouhahae. Wishing yours was as well. 😀

This particular neologism came about as a result of a dialog with one of the attendees at Thanksgiving I (and Thanksgiving II, for that matter), Curt. Curt is a—well, actually, here’s the heart of the problem. One wants to use the term “vegetarian” to describe his eating habits, but that’s not really the case. He has for many years now and for reasons not entirely clear to me (nor are they really any of my business) forsworn the consumption of the larger and more motile aggregates of organelles that fill the land and the skies, but has no such compunctions when it comes to the denizens of the sea. I have watched Curt tackle a mountain of boiled crawdads, gleefully sucking the brains out of the heads. I have attempted to eat him under the table at sushi restaurants, resulting in a stalemate and an agreement to maintain diplomatic relations.

In short, he is one of those “vegetarian-except-for-fish” guys, a concept as seemingly self-contradictory as being “pro-life-except-for-the-death-penalty”, though not nearly as asinine or potentially destabilizing to society.

Anyway, up to now, “‘vegetarian-except-for-fish’ guy” was about the best term I could come up with for this unique gustatory niche. That is no longer the case.

Ladies and gentlemen, to eschew the tasty bits of the flesh of animals of the land and sky but not the sea, shall henceforth be known as the quality of being bi-epicurious.

11/19/2009

The Infinite Improbability Drive

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 12:59 pm

There are 22 controlled intersections on the approximately 10 mile route that I drive home from work, 25 on the route I drive to work (don’t ask why I take a different route to work than I do to get home, it’ll just make you dizzy).
So seeing as there are literally millions of variables, starting with the simple: i.e. the light being either red or green (I count amber as “red”) and expanding to the incredibly complex: i.e. the amount of traffic going in the same direction that I am, the amount of traffic going in the perpendicular direction, and, to a certain extent, the time of day that I leave work….

What are the odds that I’ll catch every single one of those damnable traffic lights RED? And, if we assume the odds as being fairly equal that I’d catch every single one of them green, why is it that I seem to catch them all red one hell of a lot more often than I catch every single one of them green?

Since I started keeping track about 18 months ago I have had an entirely green trip exactly once. I have had entirely red trips maybe as often as once a month.
If there’s someone out there with a better head for statistics and probabilities than I, I would welcome an attempt to explain. Just the thought of trying to put together the mathematics of this makes me want to hide in a corner and whimper.

I think I need more tea. 😛

11/17/2009

Nom Box II: The Cattening

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:21 am

As my darling (and patient) wife said in her previous post, I’ve been  r e a l l y  busy lately. But I thought I’d post a little animation I put together from some photos I shot.

In truth, there is no “Nom Box I”; it just sounded better as a sequel. 🙂

11/13/2009

Dead Air

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 10:23 am

Yeah, sorry about that.
It’s been not much more than work, eat, sleep, work, eat, sleep on my part. As for Andrew, the only reason I know that he’s been eating is that he’s been cooking and if he hadn’t been cooking then *I* wouldn’t be eating so he must be. Other than that he’s been spending a LOT of time in his man cave pointing, highlighting, moving, pointing, highlighting, moving….. Now that the holiday catalogue is done, printed, and sent out he’s building online stores and websites in between arguing hotly with the new mail order software that FP is bringing online.

So a few random neural firings before I go outside to (hopefully) finish the fall garden cleanup.

I’ve run across a couple of patient names in the past couple of weeks that I just love. Both cats. One named “Squonk” and another named “Crash”. See, I’m firmly of the opinion that cats especially need to have names that reflect their personalities. It took us weeks to come up with Scamper and Scrum and we bounced all sorts of names off of them before their true names really showed up. Baird was onomatopoeic. Flit and Pogo were easier, but they’re both so much more extroverted than Scamp and Scrum ever were that their names were much more apparent.
I can put together a picture in my mind of how Crash got his name. Squonk is a little more difficult to picture as a stranger just interacting with him from the outside, but…. Well, the name fits Squonk perfectly. He is just simply a Squonk.
So many times the name comes before the pet — I used to see a pair of (very) fat dachshunds named *shudder* Angelica Joy and Montgomery Fitzwilliam. Granted we had a Johann Sebastian Barch which was a name that my dad had wanted to use on a dog for years. Weirdly, as those of you who knew him will remember, Barch was a remarkably apt and descriptive name for that dog. I’ve never known one who was louder.
Or the pet is named based on an aspect of its life “Precious” or “Lucky”. By the way, in the veterinary community it is well known that pets named “Precious”, “Sugar” and the like are all bloodthirsty land sharks while those named “Lucky” are invariably NOT. I knew a Lucky that, during the time I knew him, had been abandoned on a logging road, hit by a train, had to have a leg amputated (not because of the train accident by the way), and had eaten three poisoned rats. Naming your pet “Lucky” is a great way to invite chaos and destruction into your home — or at least your pet’s life.
Pets are named for celebrities or popular movie characters all the time. That’s a cop out so far as I’m concerned. We saw waves of pets named Nemo, about every third Shih-Tzu I see is STILL named Gizmo. I neutered Steven Segal, I neutered Ken Griffey and most recently I neutered Barack Obama (although his owners are calling him “Rocky” now since Barack Obama is rather a hard name to say in casual conversation with your pet). I’ve got a friend who spayed Paris Hilton. These are invariably interesting pet/name pairings. Steven Segal, for instance, was a standard Poodle and Barack Obama is a Yorkshire Terrier. But the name never really speaks to the person or the personality of the pet. The last Nemo I dealt with was an inveterate little ankle biter, and the grey cat named Gollum that I used to see was the sweetest thing on four legs.
People try to be clever naming their pets. We see an awful lot of dogs named Deohgee (D.O.G.) though I have yet to meet a cat named Ceeaytee. There are a lot of “O.C.” (Orange Cat), a lot of black cats named “Midnight” or “Spook/Spooky”, and I can’t count the number of chocolate Labs we see named “Hershey” or “Cocoa”. A word of advice. If you’re trying to be clever in naming your pet….work harder. The ones that you’re going to come up with first have already been used. Although to give credit where credit is due, I did have a client who named her cats “Charlie” and “(Bad, Bad) Leroy”. You can guess her last name.
The first time I ran across transsexual names for pets was a pair of Doberman Pincher sisters that were in at WSU to be spayed when I was a senior on my anesthesia rotation. They were named “Fred” and “Floyd”. To this day I’m sorry that I didn’t ask why they were named what they were named. I had a guy with a (very) male cat named “Daisy”, and there was one dude who brought in this incredibly obvious tomcat (big jowls, thick skin, beefy shoulders and *very* prominent testicles) named “Dolly”. When I pointed out that “Dolly” was a male he said that (and I quote) he’d “noticed the balls but since I didn’t see a penis I just figured she had to be female!”. He continued to call the cat Dolly even after he realized that Dolly was a boy, but what’s weirder is that the owner continued to refer to the cat as “she” for the rest of his life.
The weirdest ones for me to understand, that is to say, for me to TRY and understand, I’ve not figured this out at ALL, are the people who continue to name subsequent pets the same name. There was a sweet little old lady I used to see who had been through three dogs named “Baby” (the last being a balding and completely hyperactive Keeshond) and a disturbingly weird little old man who was on his fourth “King” by the time I knew him. In both of these cases the subsequent dogs were totally different than the previous ones of that name. The third “King” was a fat, blonde Cocker Spaniel, the fourth was a pushy and poorly mannered black Lab cross.

Anyway it’s stopped raining so I’ll stop ranting about pet names and go out and do something more useful….. Once I get Pogo off of my lap.

11/1/2009

Quite The Halloween

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:23 pm

That was one of the better Halloweens we’ve had around here to date. To begin with, the newest addition to our Halloween decor, a Shishka Bob Torture Box from Gore Galore, was a big hit. We decked out Fernando with a bloody chef’s apron and hat and set him and Shishka Bob out in their usual place on the front stoop. The video below doesn’t really do the tableau justice, but it gets the general idea across:

Secondly, this was easily the best year we’ve had for Trick-or-Treaters since we moved to this neighborhood in 2001. We must have had 15 or 20 total, of all ages, spread out over a four hour period. Sounds pretty meager, but when you consider that 15 kids is 15 times more than we had last year, it changes one’s perspective a bit. We actually had to refill the candy bowl this year….a real red-letter Halloween. As significant is the fact that every one of them was actually in some sort of costume, versus years past when teenage moochers have come to the door with nothing but a tennis racket as a prop (“I’m a tennis player!”. A tennis player in a raincoat, no less) or the year when half of our traffic was teenage girls whose entire getup consisted of a—*shudder*—pacifier. This year’s crowd was diverse, amiable and polite; one kid even shook my hand and congratulated me on our decorating acumen.

The third thing that made this year a topper was the presence of family and friends. Our usual m.o. for Halloween night is to order pizza and sit around eating junk food and watching horror movies. Since this was exactly what more than a few of our contemporaries were planning on doing at their own homes, we decided to band together and do it as a group. We managed to wade our way through Night of the Creeps, Return of the Living Dead (a classic schlock horror movie, and the origin of the meme of zombies craving brains), Blood: The Last Vampire, and then washed it all down with Shaun of the Dead. All the while gorging ourselves on pizza, candy, chips, coffee, soda and mixed drinks.

The nice thing about sitting down to a terrible movie or two with friends is that you can feel free to talk to each other throughout the film, occasionally dipping into the narrative to comment on some particularly egregious bit of acting or special effects. It’s a form of socialization that only really works when everyone is on the same page as to the overall horrbileness (horribility?) of the flick in question. We were all more or less compatibly aligned last night, conversing animatedly throughout Night of the Creeps and most of Blood: The Last Vampire while remaining companionably attentive through most of Return of the Living Dead and Shaun of the Dead.

All in all, this was probably what I would consider to be the absolutely ideal Halloween night. While I am perfectly happy to both attend and throw parties, I am not a big costume person. Nor am I the type to want to construct elaborately-themed soirees of mind-bending depth and scope, the way my sister Meg does on Halloween, Christmas, Flag Day, Yom Kippur, etc; I just don’t have the energy. And with the amount of dough I invest in these studio-quality Halloween props (in lieu of expending any creative energy myself), I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of either leaving them unattended or declining to put them out at all. So spending Halloween night in with a few friends and a giant bowl of Kit Kats and Almond Joys is just about as good as it gets. Many thanks to those who came over and helped to kill off some of our candy.


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