2008 Notebook: Weak V
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30 January 2008
No. 4,526 (cartoon)
Are you listening to me?

Did you not see me yawn?

31 January 2008
Driving Blind
When Walter and I were walking through Berkeley this morning, Walter asked about the chirping sounds at an intersection.

“It’s for blind people,” I explained, “they can tell by the different noises whether the traffic light’s green or red.”

Walter looked puzzled, then he looked alarmed.

“They let blind people drive here?” Walter asked incredulously.

“Of course,” I lied. “Don’t worry about it. It’s warm out, and almost everyone has their windows down.”

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1 February 2008
Rice Cooker Death Ray
I recently bought a Panasonic rice cooker. Like so many other purchases, this one came with all sorts of dire warnings. Don’t put the Panasonic rice cooker in the bathtub while you bathe. The Panasonic rice cooker gets really, really hot, so don’t burn yourself. Do not use the Panasonic rice cooker for birth control. The usual caveats.

And then there’s this: “Do not leave the [clear glass] lid overturned in a place where it can reflect the sunlight.” The advice came with an illustration of the sun shining on a lid, with its rays focused into a pinpoint of light burning a wall of the house.

I don’t think my Panasonic rice cooker can also double as a death ray, but I’ll have to test it on passing cars blasting horrible music. But only after I’ve enjoyed a nice meal of rice and fresh vegetables.

2 February 2008
A Plethora of Gobbler’s Knobs
Gobbler’s Knob is one of my favorite hiking destinations. The small peak above Lake George is a wonderful place to get a clear view of Mount Rainier. I’ve made a number of visits to Gobbler’s Knob over the decades, and didn’t think too much about its unusual name until today.

It turns out that there’s also a location called Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. After discovering that, I had a look at the Internet and discovered that there are all sorts of places called Gobbler’s Knob. I can only conclude that stupid names are more popular than I’d imagined.

3 February 2008
Computers Can’t Work, But Do
Colleen called me up because she was having problems with her computer. That’s the main reason I like computers; they rarely work, so my stellar friends keep calling me to ask what went wrong.

It seems that Colleen was working on a book last summer. She glanced at the manuscript in progress a month ago, and decided to work on it later. “Later” turned out to be yesterday, but when she went to look for it, it was gone. No more. Ceased to be. Expired. Essentially, Colleen’s work had joined the choir invisible. It’s a familiar story.

Or so she thought.

“Let me get this straight,” I asked. “Your work was there last summer, and it was there a month ago, but it’s missing now?”

“Afraid so,” Colleen confirmed grimly.

“Look at your computer monitor,” I said. “What’s the date?”

“Sunday,” she replied. “Today.”

I told her to change her computer’s internal clock to 22 November, 2007, then to copy her work before resetting it to the present.

“It worked,” Colleen reported, “but it couldn’t have!”

Of course. I know that computers can’t work, but they do. That’s the difference between most of my friends and me: they appreciate the former, but I understand the latter.

4 February 2008
Colin’s Reward (With Extra Guacamole, Even)
I was stuck, stuck, stuckfo on a recent project, and Colin provided an elegant solution to what seemed to be an intractable problem. And so, I offered to take him out to dinner, and told him that cost was no object.

“Really?” he asked skeptically.

“Absolutely,” I replied, “as long as the total’s under twenty dollars for both of us, including a large tip.”

Colin looked crestfallen, but that was a silly reaction. Even with inflation and Sans Frisco’s inflated prices, we could enjoy any of San Francisco’s finest taquerias.

And so, we did. With extra guacamole, even.

5 February 2008
An Expensive Nap, Untaken
Megan invited me to join her and her father Jerry at the opera for a performance of Casu Marzu’s masterwork, Cadaveri.

I declined her offer, and lied that I had a previous commitment. In fact, opera’s an expensive nap I didn’t want to take.


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©2008 David Glenn Rinehart