Thursday, September 30, 2010

Farmer Joe Bob

Yesterday, Bill suggested that the Lastname family put an apiary out back so we could cash in on the fantastic world of beeswax and honey. I replied that I would respond in today's post.

The other day, Neighbor Rusty approached me and told me that since his kids would be moving to Small Town from sunny Chicago soon, and since our property taxes have gone up significantly recently, he wanted to get his land rezoned to agricultural rather than residential. He figured that he would need to have me come along on this Magical Mystery Tour with him in order to get enough land to qualify for agricultural zoning. This is a picture of the land in question.

The red area is a rectangle that encompasses the back half-ish of both of our properties. The longer sides of the rectangle are about 460 feet, and the shorter sides are about 250 feet. All told, this would require about 1420 feet of fence to enclose about 115,000 square feet, or approximately 2.64 acres. Why would you need to enclose 2.64 acres, you ask?

To raise alpacas, of course.

Alpacas, according to alpaca-promoting web sites, are sort of like nature's accountants. They're docile, undemanding, quiet, clean, orderly, true-hearted, good-looking order-takers who ensure a positive cash flow. They never pose any problems, and they're fully insurable. I think they may also imbue their owners with eternal youth, the ability to emit strawberry jam from their "areas," and an almost overwhelming force of personality that ensures love at first sight, on demand. At least, Rusty seems to think so.

I think I like a combination of Bill's idea and Rusty's idea. I'd like to crossbreed alpacas and bees. Behold the beepaca!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Bees' Knees

Something I learned at the Renaissance Faire is that beeswax candles have these properties:

  • They don't produce smoke or soot.
  • They don't pollute the air.
  • In fact, they emit negative ions, which clean the air.
  • They burn for a LONG time compared to other kinds of candles.
  • They smell naturally of honey, and therefore don't have additives, preservatives, or perfumes.

I think I walked away before I could learn that they remove toxins and improve your circulation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Visual Pun Again

What's this?

Isn't it apparent? (A pear ant?)

Monday, September 27, 2010


From an idea provided by friend Eggbert Terwilliger, here are a pie chart of my friends' favorite bars and a bar chart of my friends' favorite pies.

Click images to embiggen.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ren Fest Again

We went to the local Renaissance Festival. This time, we took Son's friend, A.J. A.J. is also known by several other names.

Pictures and commentary will follow, but one noteworthy comment is that the festival is much nicer at 70 degrees than at 50 or 90.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Foto Saturday

In response to M's comment from yesterday, here is a modified photo of the peanut butter lid.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Foto Phriday

These little peanut butter single-serving cups (Go Environment!) have nearly the same pattern of splashed peanut butter on the lids almost every time I open one. It's frequent enough that it's noteworthy when it doesn't happen. Son and I noticed a similar effect on a different brand when we were in Canada.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Old, Old Story

Son is trying to grow up faster than I'm comfortable letting him grow up.

GDad is worried about Son's friends and how those friends could exert a bad influence over Son.

There is a bit of conflict.


Teevee Producer: What is this garbage? After School Specials went out years ago!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Power of Pixels

At work today, there was a giant p!$$!ng match over whether certain text should be 10 pixels high or 11 pixels high. It started to get to the point where I thought people would come to blows, but the kinds of people who argue about pixels are unlikely to land punches, so it seemed OK.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


When I chatted online with the representative from our teevee manufacturer, which I won't name, but which is a two-letter abbreviation rhyming with Smell Me, the representative, who may be named either "Rodrigo" or perhaps "Heather Murphy," depending on whether I trust the chat screen or the e-mailed transcript, advised me that s/he had set up an appointment with a local authorized repair shop for Tuesday, at some point from 8a-noon. I was to call this shop on Monday to narrow down the timeframe to an hour. I was very pleased with Heather "Rodrigo" Murphy's assistance.

I called the local shop Monday morning. The woman who answered went on a two-minute rant about how the manufacturer should not be giving out times and dates, because they don't run the show, the local shop runs the show, and how dare the manufacturer try to give the customer a real answer, and things were so much better in the old days, and my hip hurts, and those kids are too loud, and what about the Russians?

I asked, "So will someone be coming to my house on Tuesday from 8 to noon? I have arranged for someone to be at my house from 8 to noon for this purpose." The lady didn't need to know that GPop works a late schedule on Tuesdays.

She started to launch into another rant, but I reeled her back in with some murmuring, and she calmed down a bit. She told me that their field rep would call my house "sometime between 9 and 9:30." He would then give me a two-hour window where he would be available to come to my house that day, which is defined for their purposes as running from 9 to 5. My guess is that if he calls between 9 and 9:30, the two-hour window will not be from 9 to 11.

At least the teevee is still under warranty, but now I wonder about the service of the big manufacturer. Should they have promised a time and date? If so, then the little shop is offering pretty cruddy service. If not, then the big manufacturer is offering empty promises. Either way, I'm now a little apprehensive about the experience.

More to follow as events unfold.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Itinerant. No, Peripatetic

I still don't have a desk at work, but it's becoming less important. And to think... when I was 27, and I had my own closed-door office, I thought I was all that.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Android Aplications

Today's effort is a first pass at creating a custom exercise log. The user interface should include:

  1. Start button.
  2. Stop button.
  3. E-mail address entry field (persistent across sessions).
  4. Check boxes for types of exercises (legs, arms, chest, back, etc.).
The back end should have a database and knowledge of the system time and date.

The application should perform these functions:
  1. When the user presses the start button, the application creates a new database record that has the system time and date embedded so the record is unique.
  2. As the user checks the types of exercises, those records are added to the database.
  3. When the user clicks the stop button, the application creates an "end of workout" record and
  4. e-mails the results to the user.

So far, I've created user interface items 1 and 2, and actions 1 and 3. This is kind of fun!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Technology Woes

The new HD teevee has a line on it. Fortunately, it's still under warranty, but it makes me curious to see whether we will see a second defect soon after the warranty period.

For an illustration of the defect, please see below.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dream Dinner

I dreamt that Bill invited us to dinner. I had a key to his house, so I let myself in. He was out getting some last-minute things. Unfortunately, I did not have the code to his alarm system, so Son and I ran back home to call the police.

In real life, we live in an area that is covered by one major metropolitan area and a smaller metropolitan area, so we get both of those phone books, along with the Small Town phone book, the Neighboring Burg phone book, and the City Over Yonder phone book. I can hardly keep track.

In the dream, none of these phone books had the police non-emergency number listed, and I didn't have Bill's cell phone number. Weird.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dangers of Abbrvtn

I just finished a quick instant message session with a coworker in another building. I usually type complete sentences, but I'm familiar with many of the abbreviations people use. However, "yw" threw me for a loop for a moment or two.

"Yeah, whatever?"

No. "You're welcome."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Eyes

Today was my annual eye exam. Because it's a medical eye exam, and because I've been through it before, I decided to take the day off.

I don't know how he does it, but Son manages to sniff out when I've taken a day off for myself, and he gets legitimately sick. I ended up taking him to the doctor. Negative on the strep, but my throat hurts now.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not with Keith Olbermann

T minus 14 days until Son is eligible for his temporary learner's permit for driving. I just heard his alarm go off. The buzzer buzzed for about four seconds, and he got up. So, to be honest, he is demonstrating maturity. It just makes my stomach hurt to think about it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Four Word Movie Review - Inception

Mind screw? Not really.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What Is This?

This is the fruit and leaf from a neighbor's bush/tree.  The fruit is maybe more of a pod.  The penny is to show scale.  Any ideas?

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I got a haircut at a new barber school that recently opened in Small Town. It appears that kids who may have been in trouble can find good employment as barbers. The young man who was assigned to me seemed a bit timid at first, but I tried to shore up his confidence.

"This is your free pass. If you don't think it looks right, just put on a #2 guard on the clippers and go over my whole head. No pressure at all, since Plan B is easy enough."

The instructor thanked me for being so flexible.

The haircut was good, but it took about an hour. By way of comparison, I once got a haircut that was in and out in about 7 minutes, according to the timer on the workstation.

It was $4.00.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Foto Phriday - Canadian Crosswalk

This picture of a crosswalk in Toronto shows that the little walker is having a great time with his or her jaunty gait. Not like the ones in Capital City, where the walkers look like they are trudging to their doom.

Click to embiggen.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Braces Be Gone!

Son got his braces off yesterday. While we were working on his algebra homework, he must have detached and spit out the retainer at least a dozen times. GPop and I made it very clear that a lost retainer is his responsibility to replace at $150. I really hope it doesn't come to that.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Algebra II

Son's attitude this school year has improved dramatically. Except for the bit about the skinny jeans.

He studied hard for an Algebra quiz this evening. I see how hard he tries, and when he can't catch onto some topics as quickly as he can to others, it hurts to watch him get frustrated. Fortunately, I think he's going to do well. I hope so, because this new ambition is still nascent, and I hope it grows stronger.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


As I was leaving work today, I overheard some men talking about the coming storms.  One indicated that he had just washed his car, and "it never fails."

My thought was that the rain could wash dust off my car, and I hadn't washed my car.  Thanks, anonymous coworker with weather control powers!  Bawk, bawk!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Moving Out

I moved my stuff out of the desk where I've been since February. The last couple of moves have let me toss some of the more absurd detritus I've collected, but today revealed to me that there was still more to be done.

I found some old files of reports for projects that were cancelled years ago or for people who had moved on some time back. I tossed the project reports and shredded the people reports. I'm down to two bins of crud. I should be able to pare that down to about one small stack of paper that I can scan and keep as PDFs or whatnot sometime.

Some of the training materials that I've kept are for classes that I'm not sure I remember attending, but I got my certificates of completion, so I obviously attended them. I ended up throwing them away. There's not a lot of sense in keeping them at this point.

I'm starting to understand why my grandmother is giving away old photos of people she doesn't remember or places that all start to run together after almost 90 years. Our own memories fade after a while, and those physical reminders almost start to seem like other people's memories.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Android App Builder

Google granted me access to the Android App Builder. I built the HelloPurr application (touch the picture of the cat, and it meows), and started an application that will announce when I am home. This is fun!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Foto Phriday - Duck!

I may send this to

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Teen Shows

I can stomach iCarly. Drake and Josh is OK for up to one full episode. Anything with Zach and Cody should be required viewing in the City of Dis.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It Sofa Knee

My manager set up a "go away" lunch (she called it "going away") today. At the lunch, I kept trying to get people to read this out loud.

Voorhies at Charlie gut fell, hoe.
Witch nope, Eddie candy nigh.

A couple of people did, and I thanked them profusely. Then I tried to make them say, "Kltpzyxm," but nobody fell for that one.

1600, but not Pennsylvania Avenue

Blogger tells me this is my 1600th post.