22 Jun

Meal Possibilities for the Coming Week

(We’ve frozen 8 pounds and we turned another 8 into jam, but we still have about 15 pounds left, so we’re planning accordingly.)

1. Strawberry and spinach salad.
2. Strawberry pancakes.
3. PB&(strawberry)J.
4. Fondue (with strawberries).
5. Strawberry-encrusted salmon.
6. Strawberry au gratin.
7. Strawberry kebobs.
8. Cordon strawberry.
9. Strawberry sandwiches.
10. Strawberries and rice.

20 Jun

My God, What Have I Done?

Eileen and I went strawberry picking today. We ended up with almost 31 pounds. We actually didn’t have enough cash to pay for them, but the nice people at Carandale are allowing us to send the rest. This is embarrassing on so many levels, not the least of which is that we have no idea what we’re going to do with our 30 pounds of strawberries now that we have them. I think I’ve already consumed two pounds today.

27 Apr

Well, this meme is long past.

But I’ll do it anyway.

A couple months ago, I got tagged by a friend on Facebook with the following message: “Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.”

In the weeks that followed, everyone was posting their lists. I didn’t. Partly because I shy away from anything remotely like a chain letter. But I also admit to having a brief gut reaction that it was too trendy and that I would thus not participate. After reading just two or three of the lists, however, I realized it was a great idea. Especially for those of us over 30, who have Facebook friends we haven’t seen in 5, 10, or 15 years. And to avoid that which is trendy because it is trendy is kinda stupid.

So I got to work on my list. I bet there’s a lot of stuff here you didn’t know about me.

1. I double majored in Ornithology and Cartography.
2. I once got caught illegally smuggling a Komodo dragon into the country.
3. I rescued a little girl from drowning in a river in a small town in the Czech Republic. They named a street after me.
4. I collect My Little Ponies.
5. Given nothing but my hands and a blade of grass, I can summon at least twelve forest creatures.
6. I once ate a discarded sandwich right after running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
7. If I ever have a baby boy, I’m going to name him Ed Zachary and explain to people that it’s because he looks ed zachary like me.
8. I met my wife backstage at a Motley Crue concert. She was totally flirting with the drummer.
9. I was going to propose to my wife via a skywriter, but when I saw they’d misspelled her name, I directed her attention elsewhere.
10. I had a brief stint as a columnist for a magazine about apples.
11. I dressed up as a devil while in France for Le Tour and got on international TV as a result.
12. When I cut off my ponytail ten years ago, I donated it to Locks of Love.
13. I have four piercings – none of them visible.
14. People often mistake me for Eddie Vedder.
15. I once used a urinal next to Bill Gates.
16. Whenever I shop at REI, I speak with an Australian accent and call the salespeople wankers.
17. I once went to a Star Wars convention dressed up as Spock.
18. I have a habit of counting people’s verbal pauses and reporting the number back to them at the end of the conversation.
19. I like to tease my wife about her lisp.
20. I paid my way through college by doing ventriloquist acts at children’s birthday parties.
21. I drive a moped which I’ve named Sparky.
22. I can imitate the Jolly Green Giant’s laugh perfectly.
23. I just got a new alarm clock that will allow you to wake up to any sound you record. I recorded my old alarm clock.
24. I once dated Miss Mississippi. She dumped me because I kept spelling Miss Mississippi out loud.
25. I’m a vampire.

10 Mar

Wrongness Theory: Or, When It Rains, It . . . Oh My God, Did You See the Size of That Squirrel?

We take a break from our scheduled examination of digital fiction to bring you these words from our sponsor, Discontent™.

We’ve all heard of Murphy’s Law, right? There are some variations in the wording, but the concept behind the law is that things go wrong frequently. Well, I recently did some research to figure out if there’s a different law, or maybe a corollary to Murphy’s Law, that describes how wrong things tend to congregate in groups (like teenagers who smoke), or, in other words, “when it rains, it pours.”

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a name for such a situation. Finagle’s Law gets close. It states that “whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way.” But it doesn’t state explicitly that wrong things pile up.

Home owners are surely familiar with this fact. It’s not just an issue of the plumbing leaking; it’s that your furnace also stops working that same week. And then all the lights in your house burn out simultaneously. And, no, it’s not because a leaky pipe is drenching your circuit breakers in water. It’s just that everything goes wrong at once.

I’ve written about this before, but this time, I decided to do some hard research rather than just complain about the squirrels we trapped in our attic, the soffit we had to get repaired, the inch of standing water we had in our basement, the five hours we spent vacuuming it up, or the huge electricity bill that will be coming this next month as a result of said vacuuming (with a 6 HP shop vac).

I’ve also decided to remain pessimistic, since, according to the Non-Reciprocal Law of Expectations, “Negative expectations yield negative results. Positive expectations yield negative results.”

Not that I won’t act. I got an estimate from a basement flooding guy, who’s coming on Thursday to install a sump pump. But I know that I can be assured of a couple other laws governing the repair project. First, there’s Parkinson’s Law, which states that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” And coupled with the Ninety-Ninety Rule of Project Schedules, I can count on the job taking longer than expected since “the first 90% of the job takes 90% of the time, the last 10% takes the other 90%.” And I can also be sure that the job will result in other mandatory home improvement projects since Zymurgy’s First Law of Evolving System Dynamics is true: “Once you open a can of worms, the only way to re-can them is to use a larger can.”

Of course, the mere fact that I’m vocalizing any of my pessimistic predictions is problematic; the Unspeakable Law notes that “as soon as you mention something, if it’s good, it goes away; if it’s bad, it happens.”

And I’m also sure that somehow, most of this is my fault. Hanlon’s Razor, a corollary to Finagle’s Law, admonishes, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” I’m definitely stupid when it comes to home ownership and repair. I mean, I heard those squirrels a month ago. The flooding has happened before (though never this bad). And I just don’t like paying lots of money unless I absolutely need to, so I’ve put off things like the soffit repair and an upgrade to our gutters and downspouts (which I’m probably going to add to the list of hired-out jobs soon).

Ultimately, though, it’s sad that I can’t refer to this whole series of unfortunate events with a less clichéd phrase than “when it rains, it pours.” Enlightened though I am by my research here, I have found “no answers, only cross-references” (that’s Wiener’s Law). Of all my options, though, Jenning’s Corollary might fit best: “The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.”

I’ll let you know how much that carpet costs once I get an estimate.