Well, Slap My Face and Swipe My Candy….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:56 pm

Given last year’s dismal then-new low of three Trick-or-Treaters, I didn’t hold out much hope for this year. By seven o’clock—well into the mooching hour, by my experience as a child—I had yet to see a single kid. Imagine my delight then when a—what term does one use to identify a large group of teenagers; a bother? An acne?—mass of Da Youf descended on our doorstep like a hormone-soaked wave crashing upon the shore:

[flv width=”640″ height=”500″]http://www.uncle-andrew.net/blog/movies/halloween_horde.flv[/flv]

Thirteen teenagers (the unmoving character in the background is Fernando, our zombie). All friendly, all, polite, and all, amazingly, in costume; not an underdressed sponge in the bunch. I was duly impressed When I complimented one girl on her Steampunk getup, one of her compatriots expressed appreciation that I was familiar with the term. To which I replied “I’m old, not ancient.” That got a laugh out of them.

All told, we got maybe twenty or twenty-five kids tonight, which is a dang good haul for this vicinity. Hope your Halloween was at least as fruitful….sans fruit.


The Return of Roominations

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 6:01 pm

….but don’t necessarily get used to it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s been ages since I posted anything. I’ve been working like a 3-legged sled dog in the Iditarod, so if you’ve been missing the opportunity to bask in the glow of my dulcet prose, that’s just too baddy Daddy, so saddy.

In addition to cranking out this year’s catalog, of which I am fairly proud (renowned mushroom photographer and friend of FP Taylor Lockwood emailed the office to tell us that he liked the cover so much that he tacked it to the wall of his office, which is high praise indeed), two weeks ago I and my IT cohort moved the electronic guts of our call center from its long-entrenched farm setting to a proper GMP-compliant business park, sporting such uptown features as actual conditioned power and real business-class Internet access. This was a serious upgrade from our previous digs, and took a mammoth effort on the part of the entire staff to accomplish. And yet all of our preparation seemed to pay off in a move that went way, waaaaayyyy smoother than I think any of us expected. We’re still ironing out the wrinkles, but so far, so very much gooder (“more goodly”?) than it might have been.

Outside of work (is there really anything outside of work anymore? I simply cannot tell) I’ve been indulging in a few domestic projects. One chief one was to finally address the problem posed by my cat’s constant desire to sit on my lap while I work. I can plompf myself down in one of our overstuffed chairs in front of the TV for hours and she won’t want anything to do with me, but sit in front of a computer keyboard and all of a sudden I am the cat’s pajamas….or in this case, the cat’s Snugli. She first tries to ensconce herself between me and my slide-out keyboard, resulting in the grandpappy of all PEBKAC errors. When that fails to actualize her goals she’ll most often attempt to perch herself between the back of my chair and the back of….well, my back. This works for about three minutes until she begins her inexorable scootch downward, prying open an ever-widening gap between me and my chair and forcing me to hunch forward in increasingly greater discomfort.

After about a week of contemplation and another week of testing, retesting, scrapping and restarting and re-re-retesting I finally perfected a carpeted wooden platform that clamps to the back of my chair, allowing Flit to rest sprawled out directly behind me or, just as often, plastered right up against my shoulders:

Took her about a week to get completely used to it, but now whenever I sit down to work she immediately gravitates to “the catform”, which is a great load off both my mind and my back.

Margaret and I also just barely managed to pull ourselves out of our stress-induced hermitage to throw our world-famous annual Pumpkin Pogrom, which we held last night. About 15 of our friends came over to eat chili and carve Jack-O’-Lanterns. Apologies to you if you were not on the invite list, but this is the kind of event that can really suffer if there is too great a participant-to-table-space ratio.

The hands-down winner this year was JauntHie’s zucchini slug, with baby pumpkins for eyes on Cyalume stalks and blinking LED spots on its back.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Lastly, if you have not yet seen MC Frontalot’s new music video “Critical Hit” of the most recent album Solved, I highly recommend that you do so, provided you are a fan of geek culture. Many thanks to YakBoy for turning me on to The Front.

[vimeo width=”400″ height=”235″]http://vimeo.com/28173775[/vimeo]

That is all. More dispatches to follow as they become available. Please return to your homes and places of businesses.


Sometimes people don’t suck.

Filed under: @ 6:24 pm

I’ve gotten very cynical about people — working with the general public will do that to you — but sometimes people don’t suck.

Witness the gift a client brought me on Wednesday evening. It was at the end of my day, I was cranky and tired, and I really wanted to be home where it was quiet and the bloody phone doesn’t ring every thirty seconds.

I euthanized the client’s dog in July. Part of my act, for a lot of the time it is acting, when I’m injecting the euthanasia solution is to tell the dog that there are plenty of bunnies to chase on the other side.
I’m pleased to know that that statement, something that I’d just developed as a habit in the hopes that it would bring some comfort to the occasional client, actually brought comfort to someone. Maybe more people than I think?

The painting is of Miller, the wee brown dog in the bottom center, and one of Miller’s predecessors watching the bunnies on the other side.

I went home happy.


A really great way to NOT wake up!

Filed under: @ 6:14 pm

So most of you will be familiar with my opinions about mornings.

I like my mornings quiet, dim, and routine. And especially this week, since Andrew spent most of last week working godawful shifts and driving to and from Shelton every day, mornings need to be QUIET so that Andrew can sleep off some of the deficit from last week.
The rule this week is Thou Shalt Not Waken The Andrew.

So I’m comfortably bumbling around after my shower clothed -um- appropriately for someone who is about to dress for work and lives with only one other person. Hair wet, towel on my head.
Tiptoe from the shower into the master bathroom (which isn’t actually a bathroom since there’s no shower), reaching for the moisturizer and my toothbrush.


The alarm is going off!

My adrenal glands immediately go into ohshit mode. I drop my toothbrush and the glass of water I was holding and go slamming out of the bathroom to shake Andrew awake (amazingly with his ear plugs the alarm didn’t wake him. I told you he’s been tired.) and fumble around in the dark for the bigass knife I keep by my side of the bed.

Losing the towel at some point I go bolting down the dark hallway stark naked (BLOYBLOYBLOYBLOYBLOYBLOYBLOYBLOYBLOY…. Sorry, that’s still banging around inside my head) with Andrew a few steps behind me with the bigass knife that he keeps by his side of the bed.

Light switches get thrown. I’m not sure who turned on which lights or how often one of us turned off a (BLOYBLOYBLOYBLOYBLOYBLOYBLOYBLOYBLOYBLOYBLOY) light that the other had just turned on, but there’s light everywhere, absolutely NO cats, and Andrew and I both bolting down the stairs to the control panel for the alarm to shut the noise up while looking for the malefactor that broke in and set the alarm off.



And, thank god, no one.

And then we notice the pair of battery operated eyes that we bought for Halloween that had been sitting on the counter top in the dining room. That HAD been sitting on the counter top in the dining room. That were, at that point, sitting on the floor in the dining room.

It’s nice to know that the glass break sensors for our alarm work. It’s nice to know that we can both find some sort of working weapon in a blind panic in the dark.

I am, however, going to slaughter the cat.

And just for the record, having your adrenal glands on high alert at that hour of the morning is a great way to spend the rest of the day absolutely exhausted.
Andrew, after he slugged down a soda to compensate for the fact that his entire supply of blood sugar had been used up in the panic and he was abruptly hypoglycemic, went back to bed and slept –Flitter carefully and quietly at his feet — for another two hours.
I got dressed and went to work, but was drooling into my keyboard by 9 a.m.
I’m not a coffee drinker, but I think I’ll stick with coffee, thanks.


Further Musings of a Sickie

Filed under: @ 5:14 pm

So I came down with some sort of respiratory FUNK last week. Sneezing and runny nose on Wednesday, congested and sinusoid by Thursday. I spent much of my last hour at work Thursday evening running around with a bottle of disinfectant spray trying to de-cootie-ize everything that I touched.
Spending three days sleeping as much as I needed to sleep and not talking unless I felt like it has absolutely been helpful, but it’s still going to be rather a sucky week at work.
I HATE having to try to suppress a tickly throat cough, a sneeze, or a runny nose when I’m in a room with a client. I always feel like I should wear a giant ‘COOTIE’ sign around my neck because to my recollection, I’ve NEVER seen a human physician with the sniffles.
But you have to have arterial bleeding, a blazing fever, hallucinations, or projectile vomiting to be a veterinarian and not come to work.

In my next career I’m going to work somewhere that I can take off from work and not feel guilty about it if I’m unfit for human company.

Sorry, I am being rather a whiny little drama llama here, but I truly LOATHE being sick.

That said, I do get strange when I’m ill.

Note the fact that on Friday I pulled out the ironing board and *gasp* I actually IRONED something. It’s probably been 10 years since I’ve ironed a piece of clothing. And since I couldn’t go out in my garden and play, ironing the wrinkles out of one of my doctor coats seemed a good thing to do at the time.
I still can’t explain why.

Also I would like to offer a wee piece of advice for those who may come up with an upper respiratory FUNK over this winter (or for the rest of your lives, actually).
Don’t, that is *DO* *NOT* succumb to the temptation of Chloraseptic throat spray. If you’ve got a sore throat you’d be better off cutting your own head off to make your throat stop hurting. Gargle salt water, drink hot lemon with honey, drink straight bourbon, suck ice cubes, whang yourself on the finger with a balpeen hammer do ANYTHING but use Chloraseptic throat spray.

That is, unless you like to suck on old athletic shoes in which case you should go ahead and have fun. But don’t come to me for any, I poured the rest of it down the sink (and I’m still thinking that I should have a priest in to exorcise the drain trap just in case).
DAMN that shit’s nasty!

I promise I’ll be less grumpy sometime after my next nap.



Filed under: @ 11:16 am

It is my understanding that you can be sure that you’re eating a well balanced diet if you eat a very colorful diet. The more colors that you eat, the healthier your diet.

Weeeeeeellllll… to a certain extent. I guess the axiom doesn’t fit very well with the advent of modern foods, bright neon food dyes, and “froot”. But if you imagine yourself eating a very colorful diet 100 years ago then you can imagine that you’d be eating a pretty healthy diet.

Do you think this would count?

(and for the tomato nerds out there, those are, in clockwise order from the top, Pineapple, Golden Banana, Green Zebra, Striped Roman, Chocolate Cherry, and Sungold)

I had a lot of fun with my tomatoes this year.


I didn’t think they were that intelligent.

Filed under: @ 11:16 am

Our cats sleep at in a different room than we do at night. The cats sleep separately from us for a few reasons. The first of which is that cats don’t tend to sleep at night and humans like to. There’s far too much of the “stomp stomp stomp stomp…..ppppprrrrrrrrrrrrr……Ooo! What’s that on the headboard? I wonder if I can eat it! WAIT! MONSTERS UNDER THE BLANKETS, MUST POUNCE AND KILL THE MONSTERS UNDER THE BLANKETS!” train of thought to make sleeping in the same room, let alone the same bed, with cats too rewarding.
There’s also the fact that Andrew sleeps rather like a tilt-a-whirl which means that any other creatures in the bed would sleep with ME rather than with US and I like to do things like -say- breathe oxygen rather than the hair of the cat heavily asleep on my chest at night.

So that having set the scene, allow me to recount the following.

We were putting the cats away the other night. Usually the cats get herded into the basement and we’ll spend a few minutes petting or playing with them before we turn in.
Pet a cat, it’s good for your blood pressure.

So we’re in the basement talking with the kitties when I spy a spider trundling across the floor. Now y’all will know that I’m not a big fan of spiders. In general I’m willing to let them alone so long as they don’t get too close to me or startle me, but spiders in the basement have the unfortunate classification of “cat amusement” and so I pointed out the spider to the cats.
Flitter is, by far, the better hunter of the two. Pogo is interested in bugs, but generally only because he can sing at them, then stomp on them and walk away when they stop moving. Flitter likes to be sure that a bug is actually not moving anymore then she’ll eat it. This is a big benefit.

Pogo took his traditional poke or two at the spider, but then Flitter muscled in and actually stomped on it.
A few seconds pass and Flitter lifts her foot.
On the floor is what appears to be a ball of mooshed spider. It’s not moving anymore so Pogo walks away. Flitter pokes it, sniffs it, then looses interest.
Unwilling to pick the danged thing up myself, I continue trying to engage Flitter’s interest. No joy.
The ball of mooshed spider just sits there. Both cats wander away.

At which point the ball of mooshed spider, rather like the battle droids in the Star Wars prequels (probably the only thing I will ever find to be notable or quotable about those hideous movies), unfolds itself and goes scuttling off again.
The spider was playing dead! It was actually waiting until the threat had passed it by then running like hell to escape!
I didn’t know that something that is mostly legs and a hydraulic system could be capable of semi-intelligent (or at least something higher than instinctual) thought like that.

Unfortunately for the spider, my higher intelligence cats were capable of learning from the experience, so when Flitter stomped on it and it folded itself up into a ball of “mooshed” spider again, she hung around until it unfolded itself then she stomped it and ate it (good kitty!).

But it was pretty cool all things considered.

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