Saturday, June 23, 2007

Slightly Weird Sign of Summer

One of the surest signs of summer, after the solstice and the onset of crepuscular bioluminescence, is when the classic cars come out to play. Today, we got the start of summer with a vengeance. You know it is going to be an interesting classic car viewing day when seeing a replica of the 1966 Batmobile cruising down the main shopping drag is not the weirdest classic car experience of the day.

Nope, weird car experience of the day goes to what happened when I exited Barnes and Noble. Parked next to my car was a banana yellow Triumph Spitfire, a car uncommon enough that the only other banana yellow Triumph Spitfire I have ever seen is the one my father owns.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Set Your Clocks

18:06 Universal Time today (that's 2:06 p.m. EDT, 11:06 a.m. PDT, 19:06 BST), summer officially begins. Happy Solstice, everyone!

As a special bonus, here's a link to Phil Plait explaining why you don't need to leave perfectly good raw eggs on the counter today. Unless you are really into that sort of thing, but in that case, you'll still be fine if you wait for the weekend.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hammy Goes Nuts

Did I not say that the rampaging German squirrel was going to give other squirrels ideas? This afternoon, I caught Hammy, as he has been christened (with my dishwater, but we're getting to that) taking a romp on the deck. My yard has been a squirrel-free zone for two years now, and not a week after the German Squirrel Rampage, one not only moves into the yard, but decides to test the waters for moving into the house. About 10 minutes after seeing Hammy romping around my deck rails, I rounded the corner into the kitchen to find Hammy throwing himself at the kitchen window--from the inside. This was a troubling development not only because I had a member of a recently-rampaging species running wild over my coffeemaker while I was wearing nothing more squirrel-proof than a skirt and a bikini top, but also because I had not opened any doors between the on-deck sighting and finding Hammy panicking in my sink. Lucky for me, Hammy kept it together long enough to eventually go out the way he came in, so tomorrow, I will be sealing what is apparently a gap behind the siding.

The squirrels have put us on notice.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

And on behalf of offspring the world over, I would like to say thanks for holding off on the vasectomy.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Time for Crepuscular Bioluminescence...

...and a $20 phrase to describe it. "Crepuscular" meaning "active at twilight," and "bioluminescent" meaning "what firefly butts do." Tonight was the first firefly sighting of the summer. Sigh. Firefly season gives Marmota Watch a run for its money.

Wildlife Gone Wild

Squirrel Goes on Rampage, Injures 3

The squirrel rampage was finally brought to an end when a 72-year-old man beat the squirrel to death with his crutch. At first, one might be tempted to think that a squirrel that can be taken down by an elderly man with at least one bad leg should not be considered much of a threat, but bear in mind that the squirrel got good bites in on three people first. More importantly, the news will spread through squirreldom, and once they get it into their rodent heads that they can pull something like this off, they won't be content with the nuts we leave in the bird feeders.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Easy Way, Hard Way, and My Way

The task was presented as a simple one. There were 8 PDF files on Emp. Peng.'s laptop that needed to be printed out and collated while he was off tending to other obligations this evening. However, tasks delegated to me are never quite as easy as the delegator intends, owing to my uncanny ability to find the most difficult way humanly possible to accomplish any given task. In a stunning display of efficiency, or at least what passes as efficiency when I am involved, I went through Plans A through D in just 20 minutes before achieving success with Plan E.

Plan A: Plug printer into laptop. Plan A failed when the laptop repeatedly failed to make a connection to the printer. An hour and a half and four plans later, Emp. Peng. pointed out that the laptop was trying to make a connection to a different printer. This revelation came too late to be useful.

Plan B: Save files to jump drive and print the files from the jump drive through the desktop. Plan B failed because I could not figure out which, if any, of the USB peripherals could be unplugged without sacrificing functionality vital to the task or the parallel task I had started (calling PengMom on the VOIP phone). The printer was also necessary, as were the mouse and the external hard drive containing the Windows side of the desktop. I might have done without the outboard speakers, but there was the slight problem of figuring out which plug went to the speakers.

Plan C: Combine plans A and B, taking the files saved to the jump drive and attach my laptop directly to the printer. Plan C failed because my laptop, recently upgraded to Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, was being fussy and not wanting to open PDF documents.

Plan D: Since the jump drive was already in my laptop, I would email the PDF files to myself, check email on the desktop, and print the attachments from there. This plan was discarded without trying it, in a rare instance of me discerning that it was unnecessarily complicated and stupid, even for a plan I came up with.

Plan E: Unplug the printer, plug the jump drive into the USB port formerly occupied by the printer, copy the files onto the desktop, remove the jump drive, reattach the printer, and print. Success! Please, no emails from smartypantses who would have tried Plan E closer to Plan A or B.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fun While It Lasted

So much for penguins' cinematic heyday. Surf's Up got soundly trounced at the box office over the weekend, proving that one needs more than just penguins for movie success. For starters, a plot that doesn't make people say "WTF?!" during the trailers would be nice. IMDB summarizes the plot as
A stylistically daring CGI feature, "Surf's Up" is based on the groundbreaking revelation that surfing was actually invented by penguins. In the film, a documentary crew will take audiences behind the scenes and onto the waves during the most competitive, heartbreaking and dangerous display of surfing known to man, the Penguin World Surfing Championship.
I really can't blame the penguins for that movie, though, even if it dooms other, better penguin feature presentations. Someone at Sony had to say, "An animated mockumentary about pudgy, ice-dwelling flightless birds having invented a quintessentially warm-water sport? Sure, let's throw a few million dollars at that idea!" I can only hope that person is scraping guano at Sea World.

Now, I am a certifiable penguin person, and even I looked at that trailer and said, "I don't think so." How certifiably penguin am I? I actually switched my laptop's operating system so I could Go Penguin, so getting me to say "no thanks" to anything penguin-related is quite the feat. In the case of Surf's Up, it was a battle between the penguinophile in me and my innate desire to not have something in my brain pop and start leaking out my ears after 85 minutes of cognitive dissonance.