Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Flame On

After desultorily shopping around, we stumbled onto a new gas cooktop for a very good price. We didn't have gas in our kitchen so we had to hire a plumber to bring the gas to the cabinet.  Because I wasn't sure about the wiring, I hired an installer to put the cooktop in, but the wiring in our house* is so ancient that we ended up hiring an electrician after all. Put all together, and brought to a boil, it would have been cheaper to just order in for the next few years.

*not our house

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sadder, But Wiser, The Voice Of Experience

Not the pain of this but its unfairness was what dazed Peter. It made him quite helpless. He could only stare, horrified. Every child is affected thus the first time he is treated unfairly. All he thinks he has a right to when he comes to you to be yours is fairness. After you have been unfair to him he will love you again, but he will never afterwards be quite the same boy. No one ever gets over the first unfairness; no one except Peter.” ~From Peter Pan by James Barrie
In case you've forgotten, extended warranties don't cover what you think they do, and if they do cover something, there is a deductible that subverts the whole point of a warranty.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

On The Level

If I were a cock-eyed optimist, the grab bar from the last post would look great. In fact, even if I was a cock-eyed pessimist, it would look okay. It's only if your eyes are at the same height that it looks so bad. I feel like Homer Simpson, "Why? Why must life be so hard? Why must I fail at every attempt at masonry?" without the masonry.

I'm The Only One That Will Even Notice. Except I'm So Tired Of Living In A House Where I Constantly Have To Avert My Eyes From My Own Handiwork

Five years ago, I wrote a post about a lovely bike ride, and how it could make someone sad to see so much beauty. I thought, eventually, that that was a form of nostalgia in prospect. Tonight, I feel really bad, but it's more a sense of regret in prospect. I'm hanging a grab bar, and the only thing that I've accomplished totally so far, is to drop the bit, and have it completely disappear. On the floor. Right in front of me. I have a good idea how this is going to look when I actually start drilling. And it's not pretty.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Boy, Was My Face Red? No, But My Hands Are A Shade Of Metallic Gold

So, after typing a post implying that our Governor is a tool, I went out to the garage to paint some wood trim pieces we bought. The paint spreading implement (not a sign of Alzheimer's this time, I just don't want to dignify it by calling it a sponge) that I bought at True Value for ten cents didn't really spread the paint so much as heap it up. It looks really bad. But does that make me a poor workman?  Maybe poor workmen blame their tools because they are poor. Maybe if I could have afforded their fancy pants $1 brushes it would have looked better.

The Governor's Picnic Is Today

I bet that somewhere a poor workman is blaming him right now. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Not Today, Goldilocks

We haven't gone on any long bike rides this summer. The reasons seem to fall into three categories: It's too hot, it's too cold, or it's too perfect. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cranky And Bored

Objectively, of course, I've got nothing to be cranky about. A quick scan of the headlines shows millions of people that would gladly trade places with me. The existence of that much suffering, so much of it needless, just makes me crankier.
For example, the House Republicans have once again passed a bill to eliminate the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The individual mandate that was originally designed by the Heritage Institute to eliminate free riders on the health care system and that Republicans themselves originally proposed to eliminate the "Socialism" of treating everyone for free in emergency rooms.
The Atlantic talks about how much more effective government spending could be if they did cost benefit analyses, as if the lobbyists that control our Congress would ever allow that. The Atlantic also reports that fertility studies are generally flawed, and that women up to the age of forty have a much better chance of getting pregnant than was previously thought, but never explain why a woman of forty would want to have children at that age.
Synthetic rage is all over the zeitgeist about Rolling Stone's picture of the Boston Bomber and whatever Paula Deen said. In Florida, white people can stand their ground after chasing down a black man, but if the black man stands his ground, he contributes to his own death. Jenny McCarthy, who has probably killed way, way, more people than Zimmerman gets a stint on the View. The pumps on my 20 month old furnace are failing, but are out of warranty, and the plumber has managed to slow the drip from the water heater, "way down," and I forget what else, just as memory loss is the latest predictor of Alzheimer's.
So, cranky yet, or just bored?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fulfilling A Promise

When I got the news that Jennifer Graham had been tapped to write the novel adapting the new Veronica Mars movie, it was in my kitchen, from Jennifer Graham! I have told her for years that I would tell people, "I knew Jennifer Graham before she was famous," and now, here I am.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Resistance Is Futile, But So Is Everything Else.

I was telling people the other day that  it had been 40 years since I first went to work for the Postal Service on July 10, 1974. I was leaving out the three years I was gone back in the 70's when I still thought I had a future, and doing the math wrong, but still. When I realized it was only 39 years, I was all, "Oh, 39 years, maybe I haven't wasted my entire life here, after all." Or yet, more likely.
If you just met me, you'd find it to hard to believe that I was a fat, uncoordinated child. "Someone as old and bald as that was never a child," you'd say. But I was, and it was a challenge for my mom to come up with something to say that would be flattering. "You have such nice hands," she settled on. I ran into some of my customers the other day at Costco. I was doing a riff on how long I'd worked at the post office and what a failure I was, blah, blah, blah. They said, "But you're personable," which I took to mean that even my hands aren't all that anymore.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Definitely Off

When I was spraying mosquito repellant yesterday, I wondered what happens to a mosquito that gets covered in it. Do they suddenly repel themselves? Do they fill with self-loathing and start to regret every single decision they ever made from dropping out of college to wearing those ridiculous love beads in the 60's? I wonder that, but hey, that's just me.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

In This Post, I Don't Let The Perfect Be The Enemy Of The Good. In Fact, I Also Keep The Peace Between The Good And The Not So Much.

I've taken so long on this post that, paraphrasing Karen Russell, it's embarrassing that it doesn't cure cancer. At least when she was done, she had a best-selling novel. I don't even have my best post. Anyway, here's what we've got so far:
I'm a nice guy, and the fact that I have to keep telling you that makes me just want to slap you. But, I don't. However, the woman whose mail I forgot, has put her mail on hold again. I have to admit; I'm judging her a little. I only mention that so that I can smoothly segue into judges, as in our Supreme Court's recent gutting of the Voting Rights Act. This law was reauthorized just a few years ago almost unanimously by a Congress that couldn't even agree on the spelling of unanimous (to be fair, spellcheck and I initially disagreed) better yet vote that way. But they did, and President Bush signed it. We live in a state that is covered by the Act, and violations used to occur as recently as right this very minute. So, nine unelected people that serve for life, Supreme Court, or garden variety junta?

The NSA revelations came out and people are "shocked, shocked, I tell you," by them. I wasn't, because I read the (unclassified) cover story in Wired back in March of 2012.  I haven't even read the cover story of the latest issue yet, but I can tell you right now that we're going to be shocked in about six months when it turns out that while we've been complaining about the Chinese, we've been waging cyber-war. Remember you heard it here first.

That's all irritating enough, as is the fact that the hottest, driest June ever, ended  with me buying two sprinklers and watering for hours, only to have July open with rain.

Death or dishonor is a question that circumstances might pose, but let's do both isn't always the first answer. But June also ended with an episode of This American Life, that is just infuriating. According to the List Project, Iraqis that worked for the Americans during our invasion and occupation were supposed to be allowed to leave when we did. Instead, they are trapped in a State Department recursive customer service spiral, and in a literal Iraqi death spiral.