Sunday the 29th
Even though this morning’s temperature was borderline freezing, Donna and I still bike rode over to our usual Sun-day breakfast spot, Ridgecrest Coffee Bar for a panini. We were the only folks in the place until we were just about finished and a family of five came through the front door.
It was a man and woman probably around 30-years old, two boy kids maybe 5 & 6 and a infant in one of those car seats with a basket handle. The parents had on puffy vests, car seat infant was under a blanket, but the kids were just in flannel shirts. As the group approached the counter, the younger of the two kids, noticing the sliding window behind it, said, with as much exasperation as a person that age can muster, “They have a drive-thru!”
I’m not sure whether his annoyance was because he had to get out of the car and walk 15 feet to the door (in the cold) or because this was the first time in his life he had ever been in a restaurant that had a drive-thru and and they hadn’t used it.
Decades Old Fantasy Fulfilled
Friday the 3rd
In the early Aughts when the X-Files was on TV every Sunday night I developed a little crush on Gillian Anderson. Somewhere in there I started a minor little gallery of photos that I culled from the internet. Everything from her early modeling days to then current magazines to show screen captures. If any of you were around then, and I can’t fathom that any of the tens of people of might see this now were, at one time I thought it might be fun to add one of her pictures to each of my posts. There was no correlation to whatever I was writing about to whatever picture, but anyway, it was fun for a while.
I would point you to that era if I could, but in a move from one blogging platform to another or one server to another I opted not to put the pictures back in place. The picture collection is long gone too, probably dumped in the bit bucket on a PC move or due to hard drive space requirements. I don’t have the compunction to blog stalk her with photos anymore, but somewhere deep inside my addled brain is the thought that if I wasn’t married to Donna and she wasn’t married to whoever, I’d have a chance.
I got to sleep with Gillian Anderson. Not in the same bed. Well, I don’t know, it might have been in the same bed, but it definitely wasn’t the same time. It was the same house though, well, it might have been the same house. It was on the same property, well, maybe it was the same property, but I definitely slept in the same B & B that had an autographed picture of her on their brag wall downstairs.
Using the same logic, I also got to sleep with Shirley MacLaine & Hugh Jackman. It is kind of hard to tell, but that is Shirley in the pink jacket in the photo above and to the left of Gillian and Hugh is the photo above and to the right.
Who’s Guarding The Fort?
Thursday the 23rd
My sister and her husband live in a gated community so to deliver her the breakfast bagels we reminded her to call down to the gate house and let them know we were coming to visit on Sunday. So, when we turned into the access road to Carriage Park I drove right up to the left gate to identify myself to the person on duty. To my surprise, at 8:30 AM, it was empty. Hmmmm, now what?
I backed up 50 feet to the call box and tried to figure out how to get to their name using a keypad and no scroll bar. Donna said, “Just call the house.” Ooh, that’s right, I have a smart phone of my own now. I call the house phone. No answer, so I leave a message, ‘We are at the gate, but there is no one to let us in, what’s the code?’ ” As we are idling there waiting for any sort of response, another car pulls in the access road and stops a few feet behind us. They must not live in the sub-division either or they would have driven up to the right-hand gate where their little transponder would automatically cause the arm to raise letting them in.
As Donna and I are discussing our options the car behind me loses patience and whips around me in a big hurry and sudden stops at the gate house to display his anger at my inaction. About this time a resident pulls slowly up to the right gate causing the arm to start to go up to let them in. I throw it in first and time my run to hit the opening at the same time as the back end of the resident’s SUV. We’re in! Leaving frustrated man stuck outside, now possibly even more so.
Sunday the 16th
From the song “Trial Before Pilate” on the soundtrack of Jesus Christ Superstar:
Don’t let me stop your great self-destruction.
Die if you want to, you misguided martyr.
I wash my hands of your demolition.
Die if you want to you innocent puppet!
Friday I watched Jesus Christ Superstar on the TV in the living room. Donna poked in a couple of times as she like the music, but doesn’t really care for the movie. Last year I watched the movie on the laptop and the video quality was not that great, but my rip of the 720p resolution DVD which in of itself was made from the 1973 movie film really looks fuzzy only 9 feet away from a 52″ TV. I’ve read there is a blu ray version of the flick available, but I have also read it wasn’t remastered in any way so I’m not to keen on buying it. There is probably a torrent out there of it. What Would Jesus Do? Would he download the torrent to see if it worth maybe buying it?
Today we watched the totally forgettable movie The Intern. From the title I thought it was that stupid Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson thing, but the trailer had Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway and it seemed kind of fun. And it was, but at 2 hours it was about 15-20 minutes too long. We didn’t need the interns Ocean’s Eleven side trip, Ben at the kid’s birthday party and we didn’t really need the whole infidelity sub plot.
In between we had breakfast out with a small contingent of the MMC, lunch out with a friend, a three mile walk in Hitchcock Woods and plenty of screened porch time. The 3-day holiday weekend is winding down and tomorrow it will be back to work for me and back to the grind of retirement for Donna.
Another Exciting Day at Work
Tuesday the 16th
Two of the Valve Store’s engineers were standing outside my cubical discussing a housefly problem. The engineer with the problem had tried a couple things with little success, so the other says, “Have you heard about air-power gun that shoots salt that kills them.” “Nooo..”, came the reply. “It is sort of like a shotgun water pistol that fires table salt.”
I hadn’t either, so I looked it up. It’s called Bug-A-Salt, cute, huh? So, the housefly host says, why don’t you get a couple of them and bring the boys over (non-fly guy has 5-year old twins) and they can hunt the flies down. I’ll offer up a bounty. At this point I jump in with, “Hey, I want in on this bounty. How much is it?” The answer is $50 a ton. This is a perfect answer because the kids will jump at the size of the bounty and not really have a sense of how much a ton is.
I on the other hand know how big a ton is and how big a fly is, so I’m no longer interested in hunting houseflies. But I am now curious as to just how many flies it would take to get a ton of them. A quick search turns up these figures in a couple places, so they are going to be accurate enough for our little math problem.
Typical housefly: Adult size: 5-7 mm = 0.005-0.007 m Adult mass: 12 mg = 0.000 012 kg
1 Imperial Ton = 1016.05 kilograms, so we divide 1016.05 by .000012 = 84670833.333, or just a mere 84.7 million flies in a ton. Not nearly as many as I originally thought, I would have guessed some number followed by about 10 or 12 zeroes.
Next I guess we will also need to figure out how big a bucket we are going to need to hold ton of flies. I couldn’t find a volume for a house fly, so I’m going to take a SWAG and say if the fly is 6 mm long and it is roughly cylindrical shape of about 2.5 mm in diameter. This gives me, fudging for wings and legs, let’s call it 30 cu/mm per fly. So the 84670833.3333 x 30 = 2540125000 cu/mm. Converting to cubic feet gives us 88.90437499965 or a slightly overfilled 3-yard dumpster from California Waste Services.
Jedi Mind Trick
Wednesday the 14th
This morning Donna went along for a ride in the Miata, which she misses, to the local Dunkin Donuts for a quick breakfast. She wanted to go this particular morning for two reasons, 1) the a fore mentioned Miata ride and 2) be-cause the local DD has free copies of the Aiken Standard for customers and Wednesday is the day there are grocery coupons in the paper.
We are getting away cheap because we bring our own drinks and all we buy are a muffin for me and some doughnut holes for her. When the girl waiting on us asked what we wanted I said, “I’ll have a Coffee Cake Muffin and my wife will get 4 Munchkins.” As I was about to say, ‘Two glazed and 2 chocolate glazed’, as that is her go to order for the doughnut hole variety when Donna said, “I want 4 chocolate glazed.” I repeated to the server, “Four chocolate glazed Munchkins”, all the while thinking, ‘She usually gets 2 glazed and 2 chocolate glazed.’
We sat down and when Donna opened her little bag and showed me – 2 glazed and 2 chocolate glazed.
*The force is strong with this one.*
Cicada Siren Song
Thursday the 27th
Remember last Friday when I said I had two things on my honey-do list before I put down the garage floor tiles? The tiles were installed on Sunday and those two items are done, but for the life of me I can’t remember what day I did them. Might have been Saturday afternoon or heck even Monday after work, I do remember it was during the day.
I don’t have my own little shop to work in, so I often do little projects either in the driveway or on the back deck. For cutting up that junk wood, the deck was used, because this way I could lay the long pieces of wood on the seat that runs around half the deck, stick the wood out about a foot, step on it and use the circular saw to cut segments off the the end.
The 12 feet of junk wood from behind the plant started life as a box top, so along with the 1/2 thick pieces I needed for my test, there was a border of 1″ x 3″ wood strips as support that had nails spaced about 4 to 5 inches all around. Rather than try and remove the approximate hundredty-million twisted nails from the 24′ of wood, I just hammered the bent ends down flat. Because of the nails I had to cut the 1″ x 3″ wood into about 60 pieces total.
After a little while I got a nice rhythm going; cut a couple pieces, release pressure on my foot, slide the board for-ward, repeat until done. About halfway through cutting up the second 6′ piece of wood a very large black bug dive-bombed by the front of my face and angled down towards my right hand. I let go of the trigger on the saw and dropped it to the deck.
There was a female cicada trying to mate with still spinning blade. After a few seconds the insect realized its mistake and flew back whence it came. I finished that board and started on the third 6′ piece and wouldn’t you know, my horny cicada took another shot at the saw. I dropped it on the deck again. This time when the bug flew back into its tree, I went inside the house and got my can of Raid Wasp & Hornet spray for the next time.
Sure enough, as I was finishing cutting the third piece, my love struck bug returned. I dropped the saw, grabbed the can and fired off a stream of insecticide at her. I’m not sure if I hit the cicada with any of the stream or she finally learned that the sound of a circular saw rhythmically cutting 1″ x 3″ pieces of wood was not a male of her species, but I cut the full 6′ length of the last piece without a return fly-ins.
Second Saturday in a Row
Wednesday the 30th
We have led a Masters Miata Club Event…this week was the annual Bug Splat.
When Donna and I put on this event for the very first time way back in 1999 I had devised it sort of like a rally style start, I would send each car out at 3 minute intervals to guarantee clean air in front of the cars for maximum exposure to bugs. When I tried that the next year everyone balked at it, so I handed out the maps and sent them all on their way. I had underestimated the Club’s love of driving all in one long line (which as it turns out is second only to the love of all eating at one long table no matter how big the group or small the venue.)
By the third year everyone wondered why Donna and I weren’t playing along. When I explained that we didn’t want to steal anyone’s chance at a prize, they all went, “Pshaw, you should have some of the fun too.” We have been leading the line of cars around the route ever since.
It took me a couple of years to figure out the group had ulterior motives for this. They just wanted someone to lead so they wouldn’t have look at a map and/or not get lost, but probably the most likely reason was to decrease their odds of winning the Biggest Bug Trophy which is so ugly it is kind of cool. You either love it or hate it, with the haters having the larger numbers.
As we were loading the trophy in the trunk to bring to the starting point on Saturday, Donna was looking over the list of names of those who have held it in the last 18 years and asked, “How come we haven’t ever won it?”
“Alexa: play ominous music”
That’s right, we won the trophy this year with a silver dollar size splat on the nose of the CTBNL right next to the Mazda logo.
Caffeine Has Flavor?
Tuesday the 12th
I’ve made no secret here that my drink of choice is Diet Dr. Pepper, usually the regular stuff, but I have come to enjoy the cherry vanilla flavor too (even though I sort of made fun of it at my first exposure.) There is always about 6 cans chilling in the fridge at all times. There is always a 12-pack box (at least half full) in the cabinet next to the fridge. Whenever the 12-packs of Diet Dr. Pepper goes on sale we buy a couple to stock up.
Weekend before last we bought a couple of 12-packs and when I went to put some new cans in the fridge I noticed that I had picked up Caffeine Free Diet Dr. Pepper. Eh, I figured, it wouldn’t make a difference. Caffeine withdrawal would usually cause a headache, but now that I’m drinking a coffee in the morning, that would prevent the headache. And it has, but…
The caffeine free has a slightly different flavor the the regular stuff and I’m not sure I like it. Who knew that the caffeine would affect the taste? The Internet did apparently, just not me.
I can’t tell the difference between caffeine free and regular coffee. Why should the soda be any different? I’m betting that it is because I’m not drinking just straight coffee like I am the soda. I like just a bit of coffee flavor in my sweetened cream breakfast drink.
Who Likes Who Better
Friday the 13th
When I sat down at my desk at work this morning I looked down and noticed a bruise forming on the back of my hand at the knuckles of the middle and ring fingers. Took me a second, but then I remembered.
It is an immutable law of the universe that whenever there is a couple, each of the individual satellites surrounding them will seem to gravitate more to one than the other. Daddy’s little girl or the dog will come when called by one, but ignore the other. And it is not just people or pets.
Last night we went out for a drive in the Miata to grab a couple of Motoring Challenge points locally. The Miata was in the garage with the top up. I went to the driver’s side and Donna was on the passenger side and we both reached into disengage the top latches on our respective sides. Mine went easy, but Donna was having a hard time getting it to unlatch. She got it partially open and it snapped back closed, pinching outside of the hand between thumb and forefinger. Not hard enough to break the skin, but enough to turn the skin red and to hurt a bit.
Yesterday I drove the Mini to work to 1) show it off, 2) see how many people would think I’d bumped my head and got rid of the Miata and 3) see how many people don’t pay attention at all. The answers are: 1) a half dozen wanted to know about the car while one wanted to actually see it and sit in it, 2) two people, both today and 3) the other 250 or so.
My lunch box goes in the trunk of the Miata and went in the trunk of the Sonata too, but the Mini does not have an actual trunk per se, it has a hatchback with a spot behind the back seats and a little lid thing to keep stuff out of sight. When closing the Miata’s trunk lid I grasp the loop that goes into the latch mechanism and “throw” the lid down. The Sonata had a nice handle for this purpose molded into the underside of the lid. When I closed the Mini hatch before leaving home I just pressed down on the outside of the hatch and pushed. When I got to work, I noticed that the Mini, like the Sonata, had a handle for grabbing to close the hatch. When I tried it, it was sort of awkward to reach and when I “threw” it down I didn’t get enough force on it to totally overcome the upwards pressure from the 2 struts. The hatch went down 6 to 8 inches and bounced right back up and hit my hand. Hard.
This must be the cause of my bruised hand. And we now know for a fact that the Miata likes me better and the Mini likes Donna better.
Sorry Soda City Minis
Saturday the 18th
A couple of weeks ago, to compliment our MMC membership, we poked around looking for a Mini Club. The near-est group to us was a facebook group called Soda City Minis. They were going to have a meet and greet on Saturday, November 18th. The meet up spot was Sesquicentennial State Park and end up at a Red Robin for lunch. We were back and forth about attending for a while, but opted to go after the Miata Club event that day was going to a breakfast spot we didn’t care for.
The trip to the Soda City1 was two-fold, the Mini Meet-Up and a bagel for breakfast at Bruegger’s. We got up at our usual 6:00 AM to make the hour drive to Irmo to have breakfast. Before we left we checked the Soda City Minis page to double check the 11:00 AM start time and noticed that the event was called off because of lack of participation. There were only 4 people who had responded “Going.” I asked Donna if one of them was her and she said, “No. I don’t like to post on Facebook.”
Sorry about that Soda City Minis. Although I doubt that our one more, making 5 total, would have made the mini-mum participation level that had been set by the organizer. If it was me it would have been around 10…
Good News/Bad News
Monday the 4th
Somehow, through no fault of my own, the Angry Ladybugs have slipped into the EZEFFL Playoffs. I won the last game of the season by beating the only team in the conference with a worse record than me1 and was helped out by having the only combination of two teams, who I held the tie-breaker over, losing.
Another “I Really Am Old” milestone was passed today when I signed up for a Wheel of Fortune Spin ID number. Most nights at 7:00 PM we’ve finished eating and are parked comfortably on the couch, so after watching the net-work news, watching Pat & Vanna are the perfect mental pallet cleanser and blood pressure lowering tool. If you happen to be tuned in and see the Spin Id Number of BB6861302, let me know, I’ll split it with you.