My brother has made a coordinated effort to maintain contact with our maternal grandmother who lives outside of Atlantic City, NJ.  After 50 years she still has a strong brogue and never got her citizenship which puts her at odds with some diminutive Sicilian in her apartment complex that keeps threatening to submit her to ICE, apparently not realizing that there is a large space between citizen and illegal alien and his miss of this is rendered even more farcical by the fact that he himself is not native born.

Regardless, Ryan has done admirably in keeping her up to date in the goings of our lives and even does a passable impression of a late octogenarian Irish expat when relating stories and once I found particularly moving.  When my parents were getting married, she questioned the wisdom of my Catholic mother marrying a generic Protestant as she still describes such non-specific members of the Jesus Brigade the cause of the The Troubles that had occurred from her birth to the time of her emigration.  This dislike had apparently worn away over the decades as my brother mentioned that he was now a Methodist to which she simply responded with an emphatic and genuine “Good for you”.  There’s also the non-trivial likelihood that she’s not familiar with Methodism, but I’ll take my chances.

Dad: So you’re rescheduling it for next Saturday?  Who’s running it?
Me: …me?
Dad: But it’s your brother’s wedding.
Me: But it’s the Klondike Derby.
Dad: He’s only going to get married once.
Me: One, that’s presumptuous, two, my obligation to the 300 participants outdoes watching my brother get married.
Dad: *grabs wooden spoon*
Me: What are you doing?
Dad: Scratching my back.
Me: That’s my wooden spoon, please don’t do that.
Dad: It’s my backscratcher, don’t worry, I wash it.
Me: Before or after you scratch your back?
Dad: Before, why would I do it after?

Note to Self: Buy second wooden spoon.

My father and brother succumb to what I call the “Roomba Paradox” which is that any time saved by using the device is lost to simply staring at the thing operate.  My father has faithfully followed mine around to three rooms on our ground floor to watch the pattern and my brother will physically relocate dirt in front of his rather than just letting it roam about.  I appear to be immune to this phenomenon and in polling other Roomba owners the brake seems to occur sharply with those born in 1983.  Maybe additional data will narrow it to a particular month.

Compared to the rest of Lower Southampton Township I live in the middle of nowhere.  Halloween as a child involved renting a friend’s neighborhood and trying to avoid apples, Good ‘n’ Plentys, and Necco Wafers.  My brother purchased a house this past winter and he was excited to celebrate his first Halloween where he’d dispense rather than strictly gather candy.

I was over early in the evening to drop off some stuff but hung around to notice a trend.  He started off with a pirate hat on and demanded each kid say “Trick or Treat”.  He complained about the hat and stopped wearing it but still excitedly answered the door and demanded the candy pass phrase.  After another hour he’d simply hand the bowl of candy out the door and only demand “Trick or Treat” from kids over 12.  I didn’t stay long enough to see the candy dish left on his stoop with a white flag in it.

Who knew Halloween wasn’t a holiday but an endurance trial?

I get a good number of photos passed to me from people who’d like a little tweak or are looking to do something specific outside the realm of picasa or Microsoft Image Editor.  Apparently an estrogen bomb went off in PA as these were the Adobe Lightroom folders I added today:

Ryan’s Kitten
Apollo’s Rainbow
Kyle’s Sunset

My man license would have been revoked if I received a request to edit “Mike’s Daisies”.

I was transferring my brother’s personal files to a new hard drive after doing a system upgrade for him and came upon a folder named “work”.  This struck me as curious as my brother does operations at a nuclear power plant and never has work to take hope.  I popped open the folder and found three links: one to his employee benefits, one to some work phone numbers and one to the article for nuclear power plants.  Good to know those entrusted with our nuclear safety are well informed.

I’m pretty principled when it comes to not buying things that people I don’t like buy.  But I may have to change that.
Ryan: How’s the camera working out?
Me: Pretty well.  I’m shooting about 100-200 pictures a week.  I’m thinking of getting a macro lens.
Ryan: Yeah, *guy I can’t stand* just got one.
Me: Damn it!  First he makes me stop reading New Scientist and now this.  He’s really is a jerk.

I really want that macro lens though.  I heard he got a telephoto lens too but that was 3rd hand so I think I’m safe.  I may have to abandon photography to avoid more of these heartbreaking losses.

Ryan’s gone.  With the exception of the attic which stores the offal of my family’s collective experience and now a lot of Scout stuff, the trails he made have been largely over trodden and the upstairs bathroom is clean for the first time since Reaganomics.  This was the impression under which I operated until I took a closer look.  One still can’t open the microwave without a shiv, talons or telekenesis (I use the talons option when the cat’s cooperative) but luckily there’s a sign in Ryan’s handwriting of “Handle Broke, will fix when I get back”, the “back” to which this refers was his November (?) trip to Scotland.  His collection of 2″ x 2″ wrapping paper squares still lie under the pool table waiting to shroud a regifted spider ring or to act in concert to sheeth a pez dispenser.  And then finally, the curio filled with shot glasses.  My favorite being one that’s just a set of acrylic boobies.  Gone but not forgotten.

I asked my brother for recommendations on a camera stand. He responded that I hadn’t taken enough pictures to justify looking for one. Hm… In the past 10 days I’ve taken 1547. I guess I’m new at this.

32 invites, 21 respondants, 11 cancelled same day, 5 cancelled within an hour.  So, gradually the sex imbalance went through the successive stages of nidged, unbalanced, sausage fest, sausage convention, International Congress of Sausagists.

The event of the evening was the making of the pimp chalice as seen here, because nothing says party like arts and crafts.


These pimp challies were best used to inebriate our former family scion:


We also learned that the Spanish word for bling, is bling.


The bounty of the evening was rich and cost a mere $60.00 a person.  Needless to say, I have leftovers including 1/3 square yard of brownies.


The countdown was properly spent as all should, by watching a score of attractive women sing “La Cucaracha” on Spanish television.

So now I have many bags of chips and about 12 unused pimp chalice blanks.  Looks like I’m holding a party for when by brother moves out.