Monday, September 29, 2008

Stay Away From My Ferrari!

If you live in an urban area, one of the indices of a declining economy is the increase in 'street people' (I put the phrase in quotes as people living/hanging on the streets may or may not be homeless). There is also often a decrease in the mental health of said group, particularly if they are homeless. Living in the U District, I have had ample opportunity to observe these folks over the years. I noticed this during the dotcom crash and shortly after 9/11.

In recent months a younger man with dreadlocks has been hanging out near a shortcut I use to access The Ave. We've been saying "hello" and nodding and such since April. His mood and state of mind have been quite consistent until the last week, when he apparently developed a serious case of paranoia. Serious enough that, when I walked past him today, he yelled at me to stay away from his Ferrari, a request to which I acquiesced easily. I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a Ferrari (although maybe that's where he sleeps), but what the heck. I said, "Sure, no problem." And he began to yell again, "You just stay away from it!"

"Understood!" I said as I was trying to make my escape.

"If you don't stay away from it, I'll have my military kick your ass, the military from my country. It will come here and kick your ass!"

"Yeah, no problem, you got it," I said with my most cooperative voice, hurrying to get away from him and vowing to never use my shortcut again.

And no, I did not call the police. They don't exactly patrol the U District religiously (in spite of what they might say), so even if they came and hauled the guy off, I'm sure he'd return. I don't care to risk calling and having him deduce that I was behind it (which would probably happen if the cops showed up on a call five minutes after he'd yelled at me). I have a friend who owns a nearby business who may do the dirty deed, but for now, I'm going to forgo my shortcut. And needless to say, if I see any Ferraris in the neighborhood, I will indeed steer clear of them, ten foot pole and the works.

In other news, the job offers are pouring in - if you consider being asked to be a test subject for a vaccination a job offer. Am I willing to risk my long-term health for short-term gain? You bet. If I get accepted, I'll get a minimum of $300. Since I bet none of my readers love me enough to give me $300 to keep me from being a human guinea pig, I'll risk turning into a 50 foot tall woman, or giant rabbit or reptilian creature of some sort.

To keep my readers apprised of each other's activities, I'm pleased to report that Goat Hostage's cunning plan to respond to the Prion News with vegetarian recipes was thwarted by the Cadbury chocolate recall. Yep, poison chocolate will take the fun out of a good taunt, rendering it very much a Pyrrhic victory. (For the full account, check the comments for "Not Enough Prion News In Your Life?".)

In final news, I understand that there have been payroll issues at MegaDyneCorp Technologies, the result being some folks receiving their compensation in the form of bushels of kohlrabi. Watch out, though - a kohlrabi much bigger than 5 cm in diameter can be woody. Hopefully the PeopleSuck software issues can be resolved and y'all will go back to being paid in wooden nickels.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Not Enough Prion News in Your Life?

I've got some exciting Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy news stories to relate, thanks to Annie's Annals. I enjoyed checking out Annie's BSE update, and look forward to future ones. And no, it's not possible to know too much about TSEs - really, it's not.

In early August, The Guardian newspaper from the UK printed an article about a second wave of vCJD outbreaks due to BSE. I could rewrite what they say, but instead I'll just quote the good parts:

But scientists warn that the worst may not yet be over. 'We must not forget that almost every person in the UK was exposed to the agent that causes variant CJD,' said Professor John Collinge, head of the MRC's prion unit in London. 'It went through the entire food chain, not just in burgers but in cakes containing gelatins made from meat products. Even cosmetics contained beef-derived chemicals then.'

In fact, the extent to which people were brought into contact with a deadly human pathogen was unprecedented. Hence the insistence that while some relaxation of BSE monitoring was now acceptable, there should be no reduction in efforts to understand CJD. Certainly it is far too early to assume that Britain - the country most affected by BSE and vCJD - is in the clear, say researchers. They believe a second wave of cases will probably occur, based on studies of a closely related disease, kuru, which affected tribes in New Guinea.

Researchers have found that a key gene shapes the body's defences against kuru and this exists in two forms: version-m and version-v. These gene versions produce different responses to kuru. Individuals who have two m-versions (one from each parent) are the first to succumb to kuru, while those with one or two v-genes have a delayed onset.

Crucially, scientists have now found a similar picture among vCJD patients. Every victim to date has possessed two m-versions, a point stressed by Professor Chris Higgins, chair of the government's Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC).

Hopefully current and future governments in the UK will continue to support research into the mechanisms behind BSE and vCJD - research that has proven useful not only for these two diseases, but also for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Not to be outdone, the US is still in the previous century in terms of dealing with the potential of BSE to get into the population:
  • The USDA is proposing not letting downer cows into the food chain - wow! How radical is that?
  • The Bush Administration doesn't want beef companies to test 100% of their cattle, and went to court to stop them - of course that doesn't make any sense, unless they're afraid of what might happen if all cattle farmers started testing all their cows.... (I may have mentioned this one before, but it's stupid enough to mention twice.)
  • This article is less interesting to me for the BSE connexion than it is for the image of women bidding on vials of Danish sperm...the struggle to choose between the 30 different lewd comments running through my just ended with a decision not to post a one of them. Dear reader, you will have to come up with your own naughty comments. Feel free to send them to me.
Of course, when one is perusing articles, one notices links in the sidebar that pique one's curiosity. I noticed two in the process of reading up on my favorite disease. The first was Thermy (TM) Thermometer, a character developed by the FSIS division of the USDA. He tells you what temperatures your meat should be cooked to for it to be safe. Mind you, he neglects to tell you that prions pretty much cannot be destroyed by cooking (unless you like your roasts heated to about 800 degrees Fahrenheit). Thermy also mentions that the temperatures given are in degrees Fahrenheit, which means I'll have to throw out my Kelvin meat thermometer.

The second turned out to be a huge disappointment - I thought the headline read "Dad chases nude boy from daughter's room with pie". I mean, that's a great headline, right? Was I let down when I found out it was a pipe, not a pie, that was used to threaten the nekkid laddie. The one thing I found interesting was that this had been going on for a year before Pops caught them in the act. So kiddies, let this be a lesson to you - be ever vigilant. Don't become complacent regarding parental stupidity!

And finally, one of the most wrong things to cross my path in recent weeks, a photo sent to me by one of the chair-moisteners at MDC. The photo was sent in regard to not taking candy from strangers; however, when I look at where the handle is placed on this man's gumball machine outfit, I'm thinking candy ain't what I'm going to get for my nickel.


I suppose one could use the Z-machine at Sandia National Laboratories to cook one's roast or steak to a temperature that would destroy all prions (2 billion kelvin), although I bet it would be a little tough to chew.

Well Said, Blue Llama!

Blue Llama is one of my semi-regular readers and commentators, and left an excellent response to my "God's Away On Business" column, which I think worthy of sharing:

The song is an apt tune for our MDC. I hear a lot of "D*mn that last CEO" downstairs. People are reminiscing about the happy times of yesteryear and lamenting the instabilities of the future.

Well nothing is sacred at MDC. We knew that!

Yep - there's always free cheese in the corporate mousetrap - woo hoo!

Also, let me know if I should reset my Blogger settings to have the comments show up automatically, instead of youse guys having to click on them. It's not as if I get hundreds of comments, but I do get them, and some of them are enlightening.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

God's Away on Business

Having been laid off, I am immune to the ups and downs of workplace rumour mills - but I still like to hear them. Perhaps I enjoy hearing them even more now - I know longer have to worry how they will impact me. So in the last day or so I heard some big rumours about MegaDyneCorp Technologies which brought to mind this little ditty from the (sometimes) wonderful Tom Waits - but I have to confess, many big corporation rumours I've heard over the years bring this song to mind, and not just ones about MDC.

I'd sell your heart to the junkman baby
For a buck, for a buck
If you're looking for someone
To pull you out of that ditch
You're out of luck, you're out of luck
The ship is sinking
The ship is sinking
The ship is sinking
There's a leak, there's a leak,
In the boiler room
The poor, the lame, the blind
Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves, and lawyers
God's away, God's away,
God's away on Business. Business.
God's away, God's away,
God's away on Business. Business.

Digging up the dead with
A shovel and a pick
It's a job, it's a job
Bloody moon rising with
A plague and a flood
Join the mob, join the mob
It's all over, it's all over, it's all over
There's a leak, there's a leak,
In the boiler room
The poor, the lame, the blind
Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves, and lawyers
God's away, God's away, God's away
On Business. Business.
God's away, God's away,
On Business. Business.

Goddamn there's always such
A big temptation
To be good, To be good
There's always free cheddar in
A mousetrap, baby
It's a deal, it's a deal
God's away, God's away, God's away
On Business. Business.
God's away, God's away, God's away
On Business. Business.

I narrow my eyes like a coin slot baby,
Let her ring, let her ring
God's away, God's away,
God's away on Business.

With any luck, I won't be singing this song about the fine folks at the unemployment office ;-)

Sorry, I just can't help it!

I try not to do too much political/economic/philosophical ranting here. The first reason is that I don't want to be going off like some half-assed moron, so if I were to start blogging on the p/e/p end of things, I'd need to spend much more time reading on these topics than I currently do. (That may change, of course, but not in the near future.) The second is that my readership, whilst not unenlightened, are not the hardened p/e/p junkies I've been known to be. So I don't want to bore y'all with every p/e/p observation I come across that has merit.

Having said that, I have to share a little quote with you, gentle reader, from a recent Ted Rall article on Sarah Palin. Ted Rall is many things to me - political cartoonist extraordinaire, brave traveller and lover of Central Asia, a man with an incredible grasp of history, a man who wrote the most accurate predictions regarding the actions of the Bush Administration of any pundit out there. I mean, these essays are scary accurate. So when Mr Rall writes something like the following, it gives me a stomachache of fear, dread - the kind I would get before a PPE Zone meeting. The kind that has me running for the plastic forks (Mubbs knows, don't you?).

Asked about rumors the Alaska governor was being considered as McCain's running mate, she told CNBC: "As for that VP talk all the time, I'll tell you, I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? I'm used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we're trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question."

"Working real hard"? Doesn't the University of Idaho require its graduates to learn English? Does she know that she isn't running for VP of Alaska? Or that the VP presides over the Senate*? With the nation facing enormous economic, political and military challenges, do we need another numbnut in the White House?
Ted points out that intelligence and open-mindedness are the traits that seem to produce the best presidents. It seems that neither one of these is Sarah's strong suit and, in fact, I'd like to suggest that she's really and truly just another Dan Quayle, except her stupidity doesn't express itself in nearly as amusing forms as Dan's did. She's compared herself to a pit bull (not my words, don't get all hivey just because I'm quoting her), but I know I've seen smarter pit bulls than Sarah Palin.

*According to Al Gore, the Vice President's role is not only to preside over the Senate, but "... protect the space-time continuum. Read the Constitution."
-- from Futurama, Anthology of Interest 1

Monday, September 22, 2008

If Only It Were "Thus Sprach Zarathustra"!

It should be no surprise to readers that my only complaint about this is the piece of music they selected (article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer).

LANCASTER, Calif. -- Residents of northern Los Angeles County are not grooving to this music.

Lancaster city officials said this week that they're paving over a quarter-mile strip of asphalt grooved to play the William Tell Overture when auto tires speed over it.

The road was completed this month as part of an ad campaign for Honda. It's engineered to play the overture - also known as the theme to "The Lone Ranger" - at perfect pitch for motorists driving Honda Civics at 55 mph.

But neighbors aren't amused. One says the road music sounds like a high-pitched drone. Another says it keeps him and his wife up at night.

Lancaster officials plan to pave over the grooves Tuesday.


Information from: (Los Angeles) Daily News,

Will This Show up on the MegaDyneCorp Cafeteria Menu As Well?

Mad Cow Disease at Next Clarkson University Science Cafe Wednesday
Clarkson University News (press release) - Potsdam,New York,USA

Certainly the title in the link doesn't really mean that some cafe at Clarkson University will be serving up Mad Cow Disease on Wednesday...right? Right? Maybe they are serving up one of my nightmare foods, the Oz omelette which features brains, hearts and kidneys. The only thing that would make lunch better is Vegetable Medley Jell-o salad - made with lime Jell-o, of course.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Latest Slang Finding

Thanks to the Comics Curmudgeon, this Geoduck grad is going to add 'bivalve' to her vocab to indicate calm, cool, mellow, chillin', etc.:

"Clam down" is going to be my new all-purpose reaction to people who sound like crazy men. If they are actually crazy, it'll freak the hell out of them. "CLAM DOWN, MAN! CLAM DOWN! OYSTER! CLAM CLAM! BIVALVE!"

From The Evergreen State College

The Geoduck Fight Song

words and music by Malcolm Stilson, 1971

Go, Geoducks go,
Through the mud and the sand,
let's go.
Siphon high, squirt it out,
swivel all about,
let it all hang out.

Go, Geoducks go,
Stretch your necks when the tide
is low
Siphon high, squirt it out,
swivel all about,
let it all hang out.

Saturn's Day

I can't believe it - it's raining outside! Woo hoo! It seems like it's been months since we had rain here in the rain belt. I woke up quite early and thought I heard rain, but I've been fooled more than once with the sound of dirt softly blowing across the concrete being interpreted by my desperate brain as rainfall. I'd have gotten up at 5 AM (which is when I first awoke today) and stayed up if I'd known my precious rain had returned; instead, I crawled under the blankies and returned to the arms of Morpheus. It looks like rain again tomorrow morning - I'm very excited about that!

So yesterday, in the middle of blogging, Egon (MSG, to y'all) called me and asked for my help in choosing a birthday present for a mutual friend - her birthday celebration is today, and we are both attending. This worked well for me, as I was facing a long trek into Madison Valley today to fetch her gift, but instead, Egon kindly drove me down there - in icky Friday afternoon traffick, no less - so that I'd be spared the task today. I'm pleased that I was able to get my task completed. After our chores we went for dinner - more sushi. No sake for me last night, though. I'm looking forward to trying something tasty on the single malt menu at the place we're going tonight, so I thought I'd give Mr Liver a day off. Egon, however, had his first taste of Wakatake Onikoroshi and agreed that it was delightful and refreshing. We had the pleasure of running into a couple of friends of mine at the sushi bar, and thus had some delightful conversation to accompany the tasty fish.

My Freya day began under much more mundane auspices, though - I trotted up to Whole Foods for some dairy products (milk, yogurt, eggs - eggs count as dairy, yes? No?) and some fresh veggies. They also have these lovely bouquets of locally-grown organically-grown flowers, and the colors and textures were so gorgeous that I had to spend $10 of grocery funds on a bunch. My photo doesn't begin to do them justice (damned sun wouldn't get out of the way), but here goes:

As I said, the photos sort of sucks. But I've got them placed next to me here where I sit and type, so that I can enjoy them when I actually look away from the screen and around the room.

I lost a few hours on Thursday and Friday to the Comics Curmudgeon. Excepting Dilbert, Boondocks, and the occasional Non Sequitur, I have considered daily newspaper comics a form of soporific at best, a form of torture at worst. However, Mr Curmudgeon has shown me that, in the right hands, daily comics can be a source of great amusement. I read about three months of entries before the site went from being hysterically funny to mildly amusing. I recommend visiting Jeff Curmudgeon when things at work get so painful (or painfully boring) that you desperately need a good, snarky laugh to improve the mood. And now that I'm no longer at MDC, folks, I know that the snark level has definitely decreased. (In some regions of the building, the backstabbing level has gone up - I don't think CC could help with that unless you can disarm your disgruntled coworkers with naughty remarks about Mary Worth's private life.)

I do want to say that I was seriously saddened by the suicide of writer David Foster Wallace; a man of great insight (I won't waste verbiage on shallow speculations that perhaps he had too much insight), he was full of wise quotes such as this:
"...learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. "
We've few enough thinkers around these days, and I always mourn the loss of one of their number.

I came across another interesting passage in the course of researching one of my many novels. I'm reading a book of letters written during the British expedition up the Scheldt River in 1809 (who says life isn't exciting when one is unemployed - look what I'm doing? I'm reading about obscure, failed military expeditions of the early 19th century!). The author is an excellent writer, his prose clear, and his world view is very liberal (as we would say now - I've no idea what adjective would have been proper back in the day). Anyway, I came across the following passage, and was impressed - and saddened that such arguments have been made for two centuries now and still fall upon deaf ears ultimately.
Congreve is very busy with his rockets. I need not inform you that we are not very much prejudiced in favour of this new invention. I really think that they are scarcely fair weapons; and the principle, that of the introduction of more destructive instruments into the practice of war, should not be encouraged. They must necessarily become common; both parties are men on a level, and humanity only will be the sufferer. War, already destructive, becomes more cruel. Such is our military opinion of Colonel Congreve's rockets.
Plus รงa change, plus c'est le meme-chose.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Looking pretty good for a hungover chick!

I've not blogged since Sunday - bad Viviana! Bad, naughty Viviana! So today I catch up - again, after an evening of heavy imbibing. What does that say about my readership that I can only face them when I'm hungover?

In truth, though, I'm actually feeling quite well; I took a couple of aspirin last night before bed, and this morning consumed a hang over lozenge* whilst showering, so that when I finally left the house I was ready for my morning caffeine fix.

Why am I hungover? I went out last night with one of the mad scientists from MegaDyneCorp Technologies, Dr Moriarty, and his lovely wife Cleopatra. We started the evening at my favorite sushi bar, enjoying a lovely selection of premium sakes - Wakatake Onikoroshi (my favorite - if I could marry a sake, it would be this delightful beverage), Ichinokura, and Bishonen (f0rgive my mispellings if there are any). So yes, I had two boxes (masu?) of premium sake, and then we retired to the good evil doctor's home to sample some scotches.

A malt scotch (not single malt, but a mix of, say, three different single malts - different from blended scotch - don't ask me for the details, 'tis what The Google is for) with a name like "Extra Smoky Peaty" was the first sample. I do like the peaty, smokey single malts, particularly once the weather cools down. It'll warm ye up like nothing else in this world (except habaneros or being burned at the stake). I can't say I loved it, but it wasn't bad, and if you're feeling a little adventurous in the scotch department - and like it peaty - it's interesting to try it out and catch the differences in palate.

The next was some 12-yr-old Suntory (a Japanese single-malt). Not awful, but it reminded me of some Speyburn that I got talked into buying in my early days of scotch consumption. I ended up using the Speyburn for toddies (when your single malt ends up being used for a toddy, you know the owner dinna much care for it). I think the Suntory was better than that, but I wouldn't hurt myself to get a bottle of it - although the bottle itself was quite nice. I also had a taste of some sort of rice alcohol from China - gag! Rocket fuel! Yecch yecch yecch!

However, amends were made when I was given a glass of authentic absinthe, to be consumed in the 19th century style. It was rather like being in New Orleans, as we sat around and discussed Southerners and the importance of social hierarchy in the south.

Pardon me, readers - I ended up going on a shopping trip to get birthday gifts for a good friend, so I've totally lost my train of thought on this entry. I'll begin another one, and hopefully at some point relocate this particular stream of consciousness.

*Sweet Botanicals Hangover Drops are the latest and greatest cure for hell-on-earth hangovers. These delicious candies are made from real red fruit juices, bramble, lemon, orange, rose hips, and a smidgen of ginseng. {from a blog ad.}

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Bonney Sonday

Ah am a body hung ower quinie.

I had a nice day yesterday, hanging with my BFF, discussing my brilliant future as writer and celebrity (and I'll nae be telling ye whither or no' I've me knickers on until you see the up-skirt photos fur yoorselves).

Ye will hae tae pardon
my drifting into Scots dialect; not only have I been listening to Parcel of Rogues, but last night Ah enjoyed a leisurely steep in a hot tub by moonlight with about three shots of Lismore on the rocks. And I found the coolest English-to-Scots online translator, which has me mair excited than mah new Fluevogs!

However, you should add to the consumption of the Lismore a handful of Edradour Single Malt Whisky Fudge , a tasty treat fur sure!

An' finally, if ye huvnae hud enaw ay Scots dialect here, check out James Hogg's Jacobite Relics. Lang bide th' Scots separatist movement, as Rabbie Burns would hae said!

O, would, or I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay
Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour
I'll mak this declaration :-
'We're bought and sold for English gold'--
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Old Home Day

Dear Readers, all three of you, I went in today for my exit interview. It was a time of great sadness - seeing all my coworkers toiling away, dreading another pair of office moves and furniture refittings, laying bets on when Mega DyneCorp Technologies would fold up its tents and steal away in the night with the investors' dollars, worrying over continued deck chair rearrangings in the form of newly issued org charts...indeed, although I might be poor, unemployed, facing the frightening task of manipulating someone into hiring me, at least I don't have those fears haunting my dreams these days.

It was nice to see some of the old gang whom I hadn't seen in weeks (some I hadn't seen since the middle of July, on my last day). My faux hubby is still promising me my sausage alimony - and has yet to deliver. Now that I've no Mad Scientist to keep me in sausages, I'm really in need of my alimony. Heh heh, that reminds me, I need to check out the status of my roster for my Yahoo! Fantasy Football team, The Big Salamis, named after this fellow:

Brett Favre is my QB, which is pretty cool - even I know this, and I haven't payed attention to players in decades. I wonder how he'd feel about the team photo.

Well, I'd love to chat longer with y'all, but I've got to read up on TSEs - apparently they've managed to create a new species-jumping prion in a laboratory. As a long-time follower of BSE (Mad Cow Disease), I like to keep up on my prion news.

Speaking of mad cows, I had my first Mexican sandwich today - so I now get the Krusty the Clown joke in the Simspons movie:
Hey hey! It's your old pal Krusty for my new pork sandwich, the clogger! If you can find a greasier sandwich, you're in Mexico!
In spite of the joke, it was an interesting and yummy eating experience. I've become very interested in non-European versions of the sandwich - anyone who knows me well knows I love the Vietnamese sandwiches.

Now that I've gotten everyone craving meat, let's go read about brain-wasting spongiform diseases - woo hoo!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Heartbreak of Large Hadron Colliders

Or, It Ain't Me, Babe...

Well, dear readers, I have to confess to a shameful fact – I’ve been dumped. Yes, the mad scientist has decided to move on to greener pastures. And I have to admit to being rather down about it; I was enjoying our dates. I thought he was too, but apparently the LHC has more appeal than I do with my paltry beaker mug and broken Geiger counter. Yes, he told me that he cared for me, but that his first love would always be the Higgs boson. And let's face it, no matter how good I look in a low-cut sweater, my brand of magnetism pales in comparison to 1,232 dipole magnets and 392 quadrupole magnets.

What’s next, you say? Well, I wasn’t looking for a relationship of any kind when the mad scientist asked me out, so I suspect I’ll go back to not looking for a relationship. That’s what I get for letting myself be distracted from my whaling novel. I am glad I went with the steam-powered submarine suggested by one of my readers. Nuclear is nice – but my Geiger counter doesn ’t work, and nuclear will simply remind me of my failures in the dating scene. My erstwhile beau was interested in nuclear power, not steam engines.

Of course, perhaps my three loyal readers can help me compose a nerd-friendly write-up for some dating sites....Yes, I said nerds. I don't want to date men who are a too much of a challenge. When I want a serious challenge, I'll study Cantonese.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Beeting and Plumming

My friend, her cat Drusilla, and yours truly enjoying morning coffee & email

Yes, more canning work accomplished this week. Two bloody days of scrubbing, boiling and peeling beets for canning. My friend wanted to do 25 pounds worth - we both agreed, never again. Our maximum is 15 pounds, folks. At least we've established a limit, which is good, and we've enough beets canned to keep the rebel alliance alive through the winter.

The plum jam - three batches, but I must say, it's really beautiful, lovely, gorgeous jam. Some lucky few might get a taste of it. The rest of you will be living lives of deprivation, not knowing what you're missing except for my effusive descriptions of jam and toast.

Right now I'm trying to convince my friend that I've earned breakfast; after all, I baked a batch of chocolate chips early today (around 7:30 AM), and feel that I've earned a fried egg and some toast with just a smidgen of homemade plum jam.

I must apologize for being gone so long; two days last week were spent with the mater, trying to find a refrigerator that would make her as happy as the one she got in 1964 - if you think tilting at windmills is a waste of time, I assure you, the hunt for the refrigerator like the one the mater had in 1964 is equally as futile and uses much more gasoline.

Sunday was spent helping Egon, my mad scientist friend, construct a small space for his next series of experiments. The actual lab work probably won't commence until sweater season starts. After all, one must wear the proper clothing for the task at hand. I did explain to him Washington Administrative Code for the use of PPE the other day; he stayed awake through the entire lecture, telling me that he truly is a nerd. However, since I have so much to say about PPE, SOPs, NIST-traceable weights and calibration records, it's just as well I'm spending time with someone who finds that information useful. Monday was spent delivering beets. 25 pounds of beets. I think it will be a couple of days before I want to have anything to do with beets again.

I've also been reading up quite a bit for my novels. Titles include: The Steam Engine, It's History & Mechanism, Crimes & Punishments, Reminiscences of My Military Life, and The Girls Own Book. One must be thoroughly grounded in the political, economic, technological and social activities of the era one writes about, otherwise one will sound like a complete wantwit. I'm enjoying my forays into previous centuries, and it's entirely possible that I won't even bother returning to the present.

I have to admit that I was excited last week when I saw the headlines, "Palin is McCain's Choice for VP" until I realized it was not Michael Palin. For some few brief seconds I was looking forward to a Vice President who would jump up and down and yell, "Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help, I'm being repressed!" No such luck, sad to say.

That's okay - Ralph Wiggum may yet end up being my choice for president in the end. After all, he's been a good boy!