July 2009 minutiae

  • Last month I mentioned that the people on Broken Picture Telephone always seem to know which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is being drawn. When Elizabeth read this, the following conversation ensued:

    E.: Can you not identify the Ninja Turtles?
    me: No...
    E.: Raphael wears the red mask, Michelangelo wears the orange one, Donatello wears the purple one and fights with a long stick—
    me: <horrified look>
    E.: Is this not a turn-on?

  • For dinner one night I made a dish with garlicky greens that came out way better than it usually does. I tried to figure out what the difference might be, and to my horror, I realized: instead of using regular salt, I had — purely because it was closer — used a fancy volcanic salt. Now I have to start budgeting for fancy salt!

  • I may never stop being amused by the fact that, for some reason, sharp cheddar cheese in Canada is not labeled as "sharp" but rather as "old." You can even get "extra old" if you like. Note that I'm not translating from French here — that's the English label. "Old." Not "aged" — "old." Ha ha ha ha ha!

  • Elizabeth got a haircut at some fancy salon downtown. While I was waiting for her I passed an old building with a very unassuming, recessed door. Curious, I took a look up close to see what it was. In small letters, a sign by the door proclaimed that it housed the anti-slavery division of the Canadian government.

  • My friend Mandy and her five-year-old daughter Charlotte may have supplied the epigraph to the Photopia book:

    M.: Well, girls... Christie is coming to babysit tonight for a couple of hours while I go to Sunfest. Won't that be fun?
    C.: A babysitter? That's not loving.

  • Another Facebook exchange:
    Paul O.: Is $1 still the right amount to tip the pizza delivery person, or is that too low now?
    Adrian H.: It depends on where they were delivering from. Say they were delivering from the '80s, that would be about right.

  • oregonlive.com: Calakmul Mayan ruins surprise deep in the jungle. I guess he didn't provide enough spoiler space.

  • Here's a fun fact for you: Karl Marx had four daughters and named all of them Jenny.

  • Deep Thought: If there were a commercial that showed someone getting splashed from off-camera with gallons of orange juice, and reacting with a refreshed "Ahhh!", probably not too many people would find it all that unusual. But if it happened to you in real life, maybe you'd be refreshed at first, but then you'd be all sticky.

  • I got back into Kdice a little bit. It's interesting to see the difference between the high-level games and the beginners' games. Novices tend to fight the game out until the conclusion is apparent to anyone. The experts sit there, not doing anything, debate how the game would be most likely to turn out, and negotiate an order of finish.

  • I saw a menu that had violets in one of the dishes, and I thought to myself, "Hmm, I wonder whether violets really smell like my memory of them." So for the next few minutes I kept thinking that I would pull up Firefox and go to that site where you type things in and it returns a bunch of results and you can smell them.

  • One thing about wrong numbers — and, in general, anyone who winds up calling me probably has the wrong number — is that rarely do they involve what I would consider actual communication. A wrong number should go like this:

    me: Hello?
    caller: Hi, can I speak to $NAME, please?
    me: I think you have the wrong number.
    caller: Oh, I'm sorry. Bye. click

    Instead, it pretty much invariably goes like this:

    me: Hello?
    caller: Blurg?
    me: Uh, hello?
    caller: Bluhh??
    me: Sorry, I don't understand...
    caller: HELLO?
    me: Hello!
    caller: WRONG NUMBER! click

  • For some reason I found going through the fruit check at the California border kind of cheering. I guess part of it is that I thought the fruit check had been canceled years ago for budget reasons.

  • Grocery prices in California seem jaw-droppingly low to me after spending two months in Canada. Pints of Haagen-Dazs were $6.99 or $7.99; at the local Safeway they're $2.49. Calabrian peppers took weeks to track down on Vancouver Island and went for around $15 for a jar; at Berkeley Bowl a large jar is $3.29. Cilantro went for $1.25/bunch at the "dirt cheap" produce store in BC and goes for $0.25 at the Food Maxx near my house. And I haven't even mentioned Trader Joe's.

  • I wouldn't make a very good political strategist. I know the birther conspiracy nuts are hurting the Republican Party, but I've still been relieved to see the GOP power structure trying to shut them down. I would rather see the GOP recover a little bit than have to listen to such abject stupidity.

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