(no subject)

We had a similar problem wit AT&T. They kept sending flyers to our address about their wonderful internet service, but then when we checked our address on their availability list, they said we couldn't have it.

Pacific Rim vs. Johnny Sokko

Over the weekend, Sandy rented "Pacific Rim" for us to watch. Coincidentally, I had just received the first disc of "Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot" from Netflix earlier that week, so the kids watched that in parallel with Sandy and I watching "Pacific Rim".

While both movies involved human-controlled giant robots fighting with alien monsters, I think that the girls enjoyed their movie more than we adults enjoyed ours. As weird and disjointed as Johnny Sokko might be, I think its plotline was better thought out, its characters more believable, and the paramilitary organization that the heroes belonged to had a more plausible command structure and better discipline than anything in Pacific Rim.

Even the one area where you'd expect Pacific Rim to win out hands-down (the special effects) wasn't as much of a walk-away as you'd expect. They did a really good job of making Johnny's Giant Robot look like a huge robot, and it was actually possible to watch the monster fights without thinking about it just being a guy in a cardboard suit fighting with a guy in a rubber suit.

Sometimes, just throwing vastly more money at it does not actually make for a better movie.

Fruit salad and vegetable salad (botanically speaking)

Sunday night, Sam and Rosie made "fruit salads" for dinner. These included things that one doesn't normally think of as being fruits, like tomatoes and avocados. It was good, although it got me to thinking that if you wanted to mess with people's expectations you could make a "botanical fruit salad", which might be:

Maybe season with allspice

(that actually sounds pretty good)

One could also make a "botanical vegetable salad", where by "vegetable" I mean plant structures that are not derived from the ovary of the flower. It turns out that a lot of things that we think of as "fruit" actually grow from part of the plant that is just behind the flower ovaries, so we can make our vegetable salad out of:

Lemon grass or sorrel

Any other good "fruity-tasting" things that are not actually botanical fruits?

Some idle thoughts

1. How many songs are there that prominently mention a particular musical instrument, but do not actually use that instrument in the song? Two that come to mind are:

"Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" - has a verse devoted to the didgeridoo, but actually uses a "wobble board" for the odd sound effect.

"Mr. Tambourine Man" - doesn't seem to include a tambourine, at least not when Bob Dylan sang it.

Any others that spring to mind?


2. How many movies that feature a rope bridge, don't end up with the bridge ropes breaking or getting cut before the end? The only one I can think of is the one in "Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail", which just has people hurled off of it.

Jobs Creation

So yesterday, I was listening to the radio while NPR had a long eulogy about the huge impact of Steve Jobs, including a bit about Apple's kind of secretive efforts to "institutionalize his management style" (which almost sounded like they are trying to simulate him in software).

And then they went immediately to President Obama's efforts to sell his "jobs bill", with frequent statements that "We need to create more Jobs".

And I couldn't help picturing this approach to Jobs Creation: Apple manufacturing swarms of Steve Jobs androids, and creating hundreds of thousands of Jobs to take over management duties at companies all across the US . . .

"We bought an iJobs to manage our company, and our profits increased 30%!"

Well, hello, what are *you* doing here?

So here I am in my office, when I happen to notice a small movement on the floor. I look down, and there's a chipmunk. Who notices me looking at him, and then dashes back out the door and down the hall. I think he's currently in the powder compaction lab next door.

Maybe I should bring in our live-catch trap tomorrow. This is no place for a chipmunk. He's not likely to find his way out on his own, all the building entrances are either one floor up from me, or five floors down.

Update: I had to try twice. The live-catch trap we use at home for squirrels turned out to be too big, he could squeeze through the wire grid sides. I had to get a smaller trap, and caught him on Friday night. Sandy went in to the lab and released him outside on Saturday morning, very angry but apparently no worse for the experience.

The lilies of the field comment on Matthew 6:28

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
They toil not, neither do they spin.”
“Hey!” cry the lilies of the field,
“Hold on a minute. What’s with this
‘Toil Not’ crap? Here we are,
Juggling Nuclear Fire from the Heavens
and wresting our sustenance from the very
Air and Soil, so that you Animals
can sustain your parasitic lives by drinking
our nectar and eating our bodies,
and you have the gall to claim
we ‘toil not’? Where do you get off, anyway?”

- something that occurred to me over the last few days while looking at the flowers gamely struggling up from underground and blooming, after a long, hard winter.

An open letter to the manufacturers of consumer electronic devices that contain clocks

Is it really strictly necessary for every clock, including those integrated into other pieces of electronics, to have an audible alarm function? Even a weather station?

And, if such is really necessary, is it also crucial that they not have a way to turn off the alarm so that, say, a 2-year-old child cannot go around the house turning on all of the alarms[1]?

And, if there is really some absolute necessity for an alarm that is not child-resistant, is there really, really an excruciatingly overpowering need for the default alarm setting to be either midnight or 2 AM? Rather than, oh, say, 8 AM, or maybe even noon?

[1]Rosie's score in the last week has been one weather station clock, one bedroom alarm clock, and one small desk clock. All of which went off in the middle of the night. Luckily, she can't reach the timers on the radios, the stove, or the microwave oven.

(no subject)

Well, as I threatened promised, here they are: pictures of my appendix:

Basically, he inflated my abdomen with carbon dioxide, stuck a camera through my navel, put in a couple more manipulators through two other incisions, grabbed the appendix, sealed it off, and then snipped it and fished it out with what looks like a tiny little butterfly net.