Judging

Standing somewhere, let’s say train station, I caught myself judging a man by the cover of the book he was reading.

A couple hours ago, in a bookstore, I was attracted to a book by it’s snazzy cover. I opened it to the sentence, “But her oneiric world could be intuited; it grew into a city around her bed.” Due to that sentence, I bought the book, “The Heavens”. Waiting at the cash register, I saw the author is Sandra Newman, whom I follow on Twitter and whose tweets generally get a Like from me.

So far the book has been delightful. But I am on page 25, 90% of the book remains to be read so a lot can still go wrong. But on the basis of the cover and that sentence I am optimistic.

Made for walking

As an experiment (to determine the effects, if any, on my health, weight and mind), I am maximizing my daily walking and using two different apps to monitor my steps and am battling someone named Inga for first place among the (10) commuters to Vienna using one of the apps. I generally now get off the subway a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way, depending on weather. Or eschew public transport entirely and just walk, depending on available time and distance.

Also, this morning, in order to save the environment, I got dressed in the dark and put on my squeaky shoes by accident.

Adulthood, part 239897490780981234

You may recall the Microsoft 3-D pipes screensaver. If you imagine that leaking uncontrollably from every joint, you have an approximate idea of what it looked like under my kitchen sink last week after I tried to fix a leak and then, as a test I guess? turned the dishwasher on.
I had two buckets under there catching the water, and still had to hold a dish to catch what they missed.
On the bright side our ant infestation is slightly better, maybe they had been taking a short cut under the sink.
I called a plumber and told the woman who answered the phone, I would try to fix it myself but my wife has forbidden that. She LOL’ed.
She said the earliest someone could come was the following day. I said, I’ll take it. Then I called a second plumber, and when he miraculously was able to come the SAME day, by NOON, I called the first plumber and cancelled (as I had warned them I might), AFTER the other plumber had finished and I was satisfied everything was okay.
“Two gaskets were in backwards,” said the plumber’s helper, when he presented me with the bill for signature. “That may have been me, but it may have been someone else,” I said, and signed.
When I checked under the sink, everything had new gaskets AND they had rearranged the pipes in a more rational order. I don’t recall who did the original plumbing, but it looked somewhat random, where the sink trap had been placed and the angles of the pipes. It looks better now.
My wife was impressed that I managed to get a plumber to come on short notice, and says I may deal with plumbers from now on.
I guess it was the desperation in my voice, combined with my generally jolly yet panicky nature.

Goofy’s Backyard Debacle

Disn3y scriptwriter 1: (Drains martini, lights a new cigarette from still-smoldering butt of last one, glances around lunchtime crowd at bar, returns script to scriptwriter 2) It’s not that I don’t like it. I love it. It’s hilarious.
Scriptwriter 2 (Snubs out his own cigarette in ashtray): But…
Scriptwriter 1: Go ahead and pitch it to Him if you want. But he’s not going to like it. Put a phony name on it and pitch it to Hanna-Barbera – I can totally see something like that happening to Tom, you know what I mean? You can pitch it to Him if you want, but if you do he’s gonna say…

(Cut to new scene, in W4lt Disn3y’s office)
W4lt: …it’s not realistic enough!
Scriptwriter 2: With all due respect, Mr. Disn3y…
W4lt (to blonde boy sitting on his desk): Give us some fire, Timmy. (Timmy light’s W4lt’s cigar with teapot-shaped lighter) Tell me, Timmy, do you like Collie dogs? (Turns back to Scriptwriter 2) Okay maybe I missed something. Walk me through it again. You have a minute (looks at watch).
Scriptwriter 2: It’s a Goofy cartoon, Mr. Disn3y! Realism is not in the nature of a talking dog!
W4lt (looks at watch): Fifty seconds.
Scriptwriter 2 (Holds hands up as if framing a shot): Goofy’s Backyard Debacle. Goofy is barbecuing. I dunno, like his wife has invited people over. Important people, of course, to raise the stakes.
Timmy: Ah! High-stake barbecue, I like it. Get it? Barbecued stakes? (The others ignore him)
Scriptwriter 2: Goofy’s nervous. His old grill didn’t get hot enough and so he got a new, bigger one that he’s still figuring out, reading instructions et cetera. Oh and BTW Goofy has long white hair and a bushy white beard.
W4lt: Why.
Scriptwriter 2: It’s necessary to the… dramaturgy. Maybe he’s a wizard or something. Anyway. He tries the new grill and it doesn’t get hot at first either because it’s using this new system with hot and cooler zones right, and for the life of him he can’t get it to go over 500F/260C, if that and his steaks just don’t cook right and he’s getting frantic so the big day comes…
W4lt: Wizard. Okay. I like it.
Timmy: I like it too!
Scriptwriter 2: …the big day comes and he goes for broke and like just fills the grill up with charcoal and lights it and it gets hot as hell. Like, he puts on the lid and the thermometer needle goes all the way around, past 600F/315C, all the way back to zero. So it’s hot. And Goofy is like, uhoh. And he cooks in this order: vegetables, sausages, ribs, steaks last. And it takes, like, a minute per vegetable. He just throws them on and basically they immediately turn black and he takes them back off. Same with the sausages. Black. And he’s desperately trying to find a cooler corner of the grill to move them to but the heat of the coals singes the hair off his arm whenever he tries to move them and he’s like getting frantic like Goofy does, right?
W4lt: I dunno… it’s not realistic.
Scriptwriter 2: And then he throws in some wood chips for fragrant smoke and puts in the ribs and closes the lid. And the smoke comes roiling out. He reads the directions on the rib packaging, they say 30 minutes on the grill and he’s like, no way. He wants to turn the ribs after a minute, or at least check them for blackness, but when he lifts the lid from the barbecue a huge cloud of smoke and steam roils out and envelopes his face and he pulls back and is like, Holy Shit and he smells a smell he hasn’t smelled since he played with fireworks as a kid: singed hair. And Goofy is like, oh shit.
W4lt (just shakes head): mmm.
Scriptwriter 2: He takes the blackened ribs back off the heat. He checks his eyebrows which just crumble. He goes into the bathroom and looks at himself in the mirror and his formerly white beard is brown and crumbles away when he touches it, from a long white beard to a short white beard. See, this is why we need Goofy to have long beard and long hair. Some of the long hair gets singed off too.
W4lt: Yeah, no. It’s not realistic.
Timmy: (sits silently, shaking head)
Scriptwriter 2: What’s not realistic about it? Why does everyone suddenly care about realism in connection with a fuck1ng Goofy cartoon? Goofy is a fuck1ng talking dog fuck1ng married to a human woman!
Timmy: What about Clarabelle the cow?
W4lt: That was old Goofy. Modern Goofy was updated.
Timmy: Why?
Scriptwriter 2: Who the h3LL cares, Timmy? It’s a hilarious script. Goofy. Social panic. Barbecue. Fire. Panic. Series of catastrophes. Hilarious.
W4lt (presses button under desk. Security drag away Scriptwriter 2. W4lt Disn3y shouts at him through the open door): It’s unrealistic! It’s impossible! It could never happen in reality! If that ever happens to someone in real life, cut off my head and freeze it under the Pirates of the Caribbean ride!
(Turns to Timmy). Scriptwriters. (Shakes head)
Timmy: Scriptwriters. (shakes head) Sure, I like Collies, Mr. Disn3y.

The human impersonator

A woman *roughly* my age was walking a little dog.
Is that your crow? She asked.
Technically, it’s a jackdaw, I said.
(I didn’t really say that.)
No, what I said was, Actually, I don’t know who belongs to whom. Why do you ask?
Because it looks like you’re taking him for a walk.
The *jackdaw* had been following me for about a block.
On foot. The other crows do more swooping and flying. The jackdaws walk more, it seems. This one walks most of all.
A couple days later, he caught up with me again, a few blocks away.
I gave him a peanut, he followed me.
He had a comical waddling gait.
He stuck out his chest/belly and sort of waddled from side to side.
I tried to take his picture, but as soon as I held up my phone he turned his back.
I had to bribe him with another peanut, then he let me take a profile shot.
I sent my wife the picture and she said, Is he impersonating you?
I, what, huh?
Are you impersonating me, bird? I asked.
The way I see it, there are three possibilities:

  1. That’s just the way jackdaws walk.
  2. He thought he’d get more peanuts if he acted more like a human, and that’s the way humans look to him.
  3. He really was taking the piss.

Now the weekend is coming

Life has been terribly interesting. I made potato salad and barbecued hamburgers for Gamma’s birthday, my wife’s parents came over for the event.
The cat has been distant.
I went to the barber and had my beard trimmed; I decided to do that after drinking a Sodazitron (soda water with lemon juice) and getting only soda because my moustache filtered out all the Zitron. Now that everything is trimmed it’s easier to eat in general, and the barber gave me Jameson while I waited. (I generally try to get to the barber early for this reason).
I went to an electronics supply shop for the first time and bought some transistors and stuff.
How to buy electronics supplies:

  • Go to the information desk
  • Give the guy your diagram and say, does this mean anything to you? Because I have no idea. I’m building a device to make irritating sounds. Do you have all this stuff?
  • He will then check and have all but one thing and that costs 23 cents at some place online. He will box up everything else and give it to you.
  • “Do you have circuit boards too?” you ask.
  • He will point to the next aisle and say, Over there under the sign that says ‘Circuit Boards’
  • You wonder how you will be able to figure out what is a transistor and what is something else, when you look at all the little parts.

That’s it. That’s how easy it is.
The electronics shop also had the batteries for an old camera that are said to be hard to find? Dunno. Anyway they had them.

It’s raining out.
I saw a guy crash a motorcycle this morning. He passed me in the rain in the Vienna Woods, then nicked an oncoming car less than a minute later and laid it down. I stopped my car and turned on the blinkers and helped move the motorcycle out of the street, and the broken off motorcycle pieces. The guy seemed okay, he could stand and walk. Shook up, of course. Someone else was taking pictures, someone was calling the cops, or an ambulance. I wasn’t an actual witness to the actual accident so I left after that.

Now the weekend is coming.

The first rule of peanut club

A man is walking to the store on his lunch break. Because he has run out of peanuts, he takes the only street where the crows don’t know him yet.
Two crows (one hooded, one regular) land in the grass next to the street and watch him expectantly.
Man: Fuck.
Man: This was my secret street, dudes.
Man: You guys are like a block away from your territory. Were you watching from your tree or something?
Man: I’m really sorry, but I’m all out of peanuts today.
Hooded crow: The first rule of Peanut Club is, always have peanuts.

So I bought a bag of peanuts, still in the shell, because that gives the crows something to do, cracking the nuts.
But they were nowhere to be found when I got back.
So I filled my pockets today on my lunch break and walked down their street and they showed up.
I tossed a peanut to the hooded crow, which is about 40% larger than the black crow, at least in this case, and it caught it before it hit the ground.
“Hey, nice catch,” I said.
They got a couple more nuts each, then a different, larger, black crow got a few.
Sometimes I give them more than they can hold at once to see how they solve that. They can hold 2 easy, sometimes 3 with a little time spent arranging the peanuts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one hold 4 at once.
The first two crows opened and ate their nuts on the spot. The larger crow, who might be new to this, carried his peanuts to some scaffolding around a house across the street and ate them there.