My brother is quite the grill master so when I visited a somewhat world-famous spice house in Vancouver, Washington, I bought some stuff for him.   Today, I went to his house and he asked where his shot glass was (his normal souvenir when I travel).  I presented the grilling spice, Tsardust; he laughed.  He then walked over to his spice rack and pulled out a slightly larger jar of the same mixture.  One of his friends gotten him a spice sampler pack through the store’s mail order catalog for Christmas.

The Pinewood Derby is a blessedly straight forward event.  This year, registration was done almost entirely online which was going to reduce the number of certificates I’d have to print on-site.

Corrections Required in 2009 When We Had to Read Handwritten Submissions: 12
Corrections Required in 2010 When Leaders Input the Names Directly: 16

I bring my printer with me so I can print new certificates there, but was stopped when I found out that Office 2010 Business edition doesn’t include MS Publisher, so I used the Mall Wifi to try to download the 600 meg install.  I started the download at about 9 AM; when we left at 7:00 PM the download bar was at 39%.  I also found out that when I switch my printer from network to USB I have to install a new set of drivers.  Seeing the awesome speed that I received getting Publisher, I remoted into my home router, wake-on-LAN’d my main computer, moved the drivers to my home server, and downloaded them to on-site laptop via FTP.  Easy as pie.

There was one venue issue: we weren’t allowed to hang the American flag from the second floor railings despite having done so for a decade.  This completely disoriented the children.  There are awesome pictures of kids saying the pledge looking in four directions despite the flag clearly being in view.

The secret to a cheesecake is that it’s not a cake.  The leavening agent is strictly egg rather than baking soda, baking powder, or yeast, and to get a smooth top one must coast over the finish line rather than dashing over it.  I put the cake into a roasting dish partly filled with boiling water and cooked the cheesecake with the residual heat of the oven coasting down from a few hundred degrees.  The cake finished and had a gorgeous uncracked top.

Bad Part: I had no one to share this with.
Good Part: I had no one to share this with.

The Pinewood Derby is this Sunday and a leader contacted me about changing his participation line-up:

Him: I have two kids dropping, is that a problem?
Me: Nope, we’ll just change the pairings.
Him:  Ok, can I pick up their car, patch, and certificate on Sunday then?
Me: Sure, except the certificate.
Him: Why not the certificate?
Me: It’s for participating in the Pinewood Derby.
Him: So?  They won at the pack level.
Me: Yes, but they never participated in the actual district race, so they shouldn’t get a certificate for something they didn’t do.
Him: But they deserve a certificate.
Me: *realizing that logic is of no use* How about this, if they show up to race, I’ll give them a certificate ?
Him: Sounds goods.

My Roomba appears to get beached on carpets thicker than 1/2 inch so I now move those before running it.  Also, it clears 3 out of 4 fixtures in the living room but not one chair.  After these disappointments I’ve tried to use it as a table cleaner and a way to do corridors.  My final disappointment: I thought the Roomba would do a better job as a pool table cleaner.  I sense a market opportunity.

As an hourly employee, I’m not a terrible fan of snow days.  Like most closings, it simply a way of saying “try and get 40 hours in now, bitch” while the full-time staff blows a holiday to make-up the difference.  Late openings are a different beast entirely as the calculus of presence changes.  If one shows up and one’s supervisor doesn’t, the work time is entirely unverifiable.  Alternatively, some may expect their wards to arrive on time in spite of the delay and yet others use it as an excuse to try to force time out of people later.  So, what was the outcome of the snow day roulette?  By some stroke of amazing luck all three of four of the full time office members were sick today.  What are the odds of this happening?  I wanted to find out:

The average American gets 1.7 colds a year lasting on average 3 days generate 2.8 sickdays a year.  Let’s assume most colds come in a 4-month window and that colds that are start at the same time are independent of one another.  What’s that come out to?  About 0.00041%.  Sure glad I trudged through the snow to get in my time and to see that statistical miracle.

Notes from seeing The Watchmen:

  • Ozymandias is an idiot.  He speech is slurred and he looks stoned, I’m also confident he wouldn’t hang out with David Bowie.  Anthony Hopkins + Time Machine = Correct Ozymandias.
  • Both the young and old Walter Kovaks/Rorschach look uncannily like…. Walter Kovaks/Rorshach.
  • I almost cried during the opening credits.  I normally hate the montage, but this one dripped with detail.  And it also had to overcome the fact that I hate Bob Dylan.
  • Bubastis came out of nowhere and looked out of place in a movie where a 200 foot tall blue guy with an jangly dong was pulled off reasonably well.
  • Joe and I expected Dr. Manhattan to be more otherworldly in voice, but after thinking about it, not sounding crazy weird makes sense.  His cool delivery of text reinforces the unimportance he attaches to most things.
  • If there were an Academy Award for Respectable Acting in a Comic Book Recreation Night Owl II would get it.
  • Flamethrower as proxy for orgasm: Best. Innuendo. Ever.
  • There was a lot of butt in the movie.  A lot.  And blue dong, but a lot of butt.
  • The riot scenes from the comic seemed much grander.  Less “angry band” and more “crush of humanity”.
  • The poisoned scientists make more sense than when they just kinda die in the comic.
  • The opening panel occupied like 15 minutes of the movie.  No wonder they couldn’t fit everything.
  • Why did Manhattan pop people?  Seemed like he could have just vaporized them.
  • The Frontiersman magazine was never explained.
  • The smiley face on Mars is really the Galle Crater.  It exists.
  • Captain Metropolis’s package showed up enough times that it joins the Smiley Face, Clock and Gordian Knot lock company as a motif.

If you saw the movie, Gizmodo had a wonderful photoshop contest around it.  Our photoshopping skills have come so far.

On the drive into work, I sneezed so hard I had a nose bleed and while I was pretty quick with the paper towel cork some of sanguine nasal fire hose got on my shirt.  I fully zipped up my winter coat despite it being a balmy 42°F and wore a lab coat for no reason until I’d have a chance to tackle it at lunch.

Through the whole morning no one said anything about the red trail down my shirt even through two rather lengthy conversations.  At lunch, I unbuttoned my shirt and began applying and wiping off hydrogen peroxide to lift the stains and over the course of 30 minutes or so with people walking in and out no one said a thing except for “hello” or “thanks for the brownies” (which I had brought in).

I always assumed blood on clothing was rather identifiable as it keeps a distinct red until it turns rusty brown. Had I traded brownies for my coworkers ignoring ominous blood stains?  Did they think that imposing would have stemmed the tide of pastries?  If I accidentally kill someone it’s good to know I could cover for it by hosting an omlette bar or a really nice cake.

The day after election day was a bit duller at work that I imagined but somehow I because a generic everyman.  When ever someone discussed election results with me I was part of the “we” regardless of their position.  I was told that “we did what we could” to get McCain elected and that “we helped turn the tide” by electing Obama.  I didn’t observe this with any other colleagues.  I’m not sure what to make of this.