April 2009 minutiae

  • A car alarm that went off every two hours overnight started going off every ten minutes once the sun came up. Are they making car alarms photosensitive now or something?

  • When I was getting my root canal I noticed that there was a machine in the exam room marked "OBTURA". Isn't that a little close to "OBITUARY"?

  • The follow-up to my adventure in endodontics: the front of the tooth was saved for the time being, but there came a point at which it was supposed to feel like it was back to normal and that didn't happen. Any time I engage in any physical activity — e.g., walking a few steps — the tooth starts to throb. It isn't painful, exactly, since the nerves have been removed, but it's pretty uncomfortable, and I get the sense that if the nerves hadn't been removed I'd be rolling around on the ground screaming. A fair amount of phone tag ensued, during which I developed other symptoms: pinprick pains in the back of my sinus, pins-and-needles feeling encompassing the back of my head, general unwell feeling and decreased mental acuity. I was finally put on amoxicillin; too soon right now to say whether it's had any effect.

    And this only covers about a third of what's gone wrong with my body over the past few weeks! I'm starting to get the sinking feeling that my warranty has expired.

  • I was astounded to discover that Google Street View is available for the polygamist commune of Hildale/Colorado City.

  • It's weird to think that a significant percentage of Foo Fighters fans are too young to get the "Big Me" video.

  • Advice from the manual for Intellivision's Shark! Shark!: WATCH OUT! NEVER TOUCH A SHARK'S HEAD OR FINS! If you do, you'll regret it immensely!

  • You know, people said virtual reality was just a fad, but I think that after a distinguished fifteen-year run, VR.5 has proven them wrong.

  • Fun fact from mit.edu: After her death, it was found that [Marie Curie's] laboratory notebooks were strongly contaminated. Even her cookbooks, at home, were radioactive fifty years after her death. "There is one more ingredient to this battle: our secret ingredient, the theme on which our chefs will offer their succulent variations. Today's secret ingredient is: PITCHBLENDE!"

  • I dreamed that I was trying to negotiate with my boss, Mitt Romney, for a raise. Twice he invited me over to his mansion for a meeting despite the fact that we loathed each other, and twice the higher-ups (for Mitt was strictly middle management) declined to show up, greatly embarrassing Mitt and putting him in an awkward situation.

  • But How Do You Feel About Kale Dept.: You know how people will sometimes spraypaint graffiti on stop signs? Underneath the word STOP you'll see "WAR" or "DRIVING"? This month I was driving around and came to a stop sign that had been tagged to read STOP CHARD.

  • The stores along Euclid Avenue now have signs in the window warning that in case of earthquake they're going to collapse like they were made of peanut brittle. Sobering.

  • Overheard in Elk Grove:

    Dad: "Do you want them to bring out a high chair for you, or do you want to sit in that chair there next to Mommy?"
    Two-year-old child: "No!"
    Dad: "You have selected neither option."

  • Crossposted from my work message board: I have long been of the opinion that public school classrooms should each be staffed by two people: the first, an actual teacher, and the second, someone to deal with discipline and handing out frickin' bathroom passes and taking attendance and all that other crap that has nothing to do with actually educating people. Not only would it make teachers' lives a lot easier, but it would create literally millions of jobs in our wintry economic climate.

  • I was playing an online game in which you're given letters and have to make words out of them. At one point my tiles spelled toaft and I thought, dang, if this were the eighteenth century I could clear my board.

    Later I was playing a different game and ZOMG came up. How could that not be considered valid?

  • I have found that for some reason I prefer to drink out of glasses that are only as tall as their diameter.

  • There's a commercial that plays on Hulu sometimes that shows a family on an outing to a natural history museum. The parents and son are looking at a lion diorama, while the 13-year-old daughter ignores them and the exhibits and stands there tapping out a text on her fucking cell phone. This rude, bratty behavior clearly merits a grounding, and yet this turns out to be a commercial for... Sprint! Do they not realize that they're portraying their services in a really terrible light?

  • Matthew Amster-Burton has a book out about raising his daughter to be an adventurous eater. This book received one of the weirdest jacket blurbs I have ever encountered:

    "I actually found myself thinking: if Matthew were my dad, I don't think I'd mind being a little girl..." —John Thorne, author of Outlaw Cook

    Er, what? (And was I the only one who immediately thought of this?)

  • I've been following the swine flu story reasonable closely, not because I'm scared of it but because the book I was working on before switching to novelizing the screenplay was about a pandemic. AP reports: Asked why there were so many deaths in Mexico, and none so far among the U.S. cases, Cordova noted that the U.S. cases involved children — who haven't been among the fatal cases in Mexico, either. "There are immune factors that are giving children some sort of defense, that is the only explanation we have," he said. ...Ratliff Gas!

    Also, if you want proof that we are all doomed, don't read news articles about swine flu. Read the comments sections underneath those articles, which are invariably full of nuts touting silver colloid.

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