Question of the Day:
Curse of the Day:
of the Moment:
Over the months it's become ritualized to the point that any time we hear any loud, interrupting noise, at home or elsewhere, I can say, "Did you..." and she'll immediately reply, "Nope." -- January 14, 2004
|Friday January 30, 2004|
of the Day -- QotD Archives
Washington D.C. is the only place where sound travels faster than light.
-- C. V. R. Thompson
we're starting right in with the random news items, since I'm working on
other stuff (mostly holding a TCP/IP game so Malaya can sort through her
50 old D2 characters that she's just copied off disks) and ain't in the
mood for blog writing all night.
¤ Article about an amateur stripper contest in Australia is sort of pointless, but I liked one quoted portion. The concept is that tons of young adults, mostly Brits, head off to Oz and backpack around for months, working odd jobs to earn money, sleeping on the rough, sleeping in hostels, etc. Hey, any excuse to get away from English weather is a good one, I guess. Despite these kids going very low budget, they do spend some money and various industries in Oz are springing up to provide a service, including some bars that are having half-assed strip shows for the girls and guys. I suspect the article is primarily being read due to the one highly-ranked photo of the girls taking it off.
It's a long way from diamante tiaras, satin sashes and a heartfelt desire for world peace, but competition at Miss Backpacker 2004 is hot. At the KingsX Hotel in Sydney's notorious red light district, around 200 mainly British backpackers lured by the promise of "ravishing bosomed beauties" crowd the low-lit bar to see four girls battle it out in the latest heat of Miss Backpacker and the chance to win A$1,000 ($781).
Sweetie, I'm sure that by the time the stripping began your kidneys were floating in a lake of Foster's, but giving your real name, home town, and saying that your mom would kill you if she found out isn't exactly the best way to get away with it.
The rest of the article is about the whole backpacker scene, and most of the things I summarized in my opening paragraph, so it's worth a read, especially if the whole "drunk amateur girls on holiday strip" angle bores you.
¤ Nazis... the gift that keeps on giving.
Fun to think of pulling one of those up in your fishing net, or knocking it loose while laying an undersea phone line, and it floating up on a beach somewhere, a month later.
¤ Just in case you had managed to forget the mad cow problem with American beef, here's some encouraging news.
So until now, it was okay to feed cows, which are rather famously herbivores: 1) cow blood as a substitute for milk, 2) ground up processed chicken shit, and 3) restaurant scraps. You'll note that they've also banned feeding them ground up cow by products, however, that's not exactly cutting into their meat consumtion:
Enjoy that cheeseburger.
¤ I've still not found a useful article about that freaky dragon in a bottle that I posted about a few days ago. Here's an article about it from an Australian site, and it's got a quote from an actual scientist, but adds no new info.
yesterday's breathtakingly boring home repair discussion, I've got a
follow up today. Don't worry, it's brief.
So I hooked up the garbage disposal without a problem, and it worked fine. Included in that hooking up was connecting the hose from the washing machine to the outflow in the disposal, just as it was in the old broken unit that I took out. And hook it up I did.
What I neglected to do was read the instructions for installing the disposal, which would have told me that the dishwasher inflow tube came with a solid plastic plug blocking it on the inside of the unit. Since you wouldn't want a hole there if you had a garbage disposal that wasn't connected to dishwasher.
I hooked up the hose properly, and all was well, but when we ran the dishwasher on Friday, it finished and when I looked inside it had about three inches of warm water and floating food pieces inside of it.
The real tricky part was that the dishwasher has been buggy lately; not working right until we close the door, sliding back or forwards in the counter and needing me to lift or push it to get it properly seated, etc. So we couldn't be entirely sure that the drainage problem (or lack of drainage, to be specific) was due to the garbage disposal change, rather than to the dishwasher's problems deepening.
I did some quick research online, as did Malaya, and when she went to the site for our dishwasher and read the problems list, they had a link to "did you just install a garbage disposal" and about the first thing on that list was, "did you remove the plug over the dishwasher to disposal pipe." And I read that and went, "What plug?"
Fortunately it was pretty easy to fix, and there wasn't any huge water leak from the dishwasher. I did have to take the garbage disposal down again, after unhooking the dishwasher hose, but as I said yesterday, that's quite an easy process. Once I had it out I looked at the garbage disposal instructions and found that Step Eight was the "remove the plug" part. And it was illustrated with a rather funny picture; one showing a guy holding a screwdriver with the pointy end inside the tube, and pounding on the other end with a hammer. Quite subtle.
Of course the directions are like, "Lightly tap the screwdriver..." Which is um... bullshit. I knocked the crap out of it, repeatedly, and succeeded only in scarring the very hard plastic end of the plug, until after about 3 minutes of steady banging, the plug finally broke free, cleanly, at least.
From there it was a simple task to put the disposal back in and hook the tube up, and when we ran the dishwasher again... all was well, and it drained properly.
The amusing side bonus was that when the dishwasher was first discovered to be full, I found a clear plastic lid, like for a very small piece of tupperware, floating in the water, and about 1/3 melted away. The last couple of times we'd run the dishwasher we'd smelled burning plastic near the end of the cycle, when it was doing the "get really hot to evaporate the dishes" part. We were worried, like a cord was melting underneath it, but weren't worried enough to pull the whole thing out of the wall and look. If we'd called one of the appliance repair places to come out and fix the disposal, we would have had them look at that also. I'm glad we didn't, since it would have been pretty insulting to have him reach inside and pull out this lid and say, "That'll be $40, please."
The cardinal rule of broken/malfunctioning machines is to look for something obvious first. And it's easy to remember that today, after failing to do so on two different things, less than 12 hours ago.
On another topic, Malaya and I had some fun with after-Xmas and New Year's sales. Not for clothing or cars or anything major, unfortunately. No, we found deals on candy canes, and calendars.
The calendars were recent buys, when all of the bookstores dropped them way down in price. It's sort of painful to buy yourself a calendar in December for $13, and then see 10 of them stacked up in early January for 50% off, and then a week later for $3 each. The Calendar Store at the mall was dumping merchandise, and had all remaining wall and desk calendars for $3 just a few days ago. I got one for mom, one for Malaya, and a "Wine Facts of the Day" desk calendar for dad, all for $3. Malaya got a Michael Whelan calendar (fantasy/sci-fi book cover guy) to hang in our hallway also.
I should just make a tradition of that; buying people a calendar as a late Xmas gift every year, in mid-January. Seems silly to pay 3 or 4x the price just to get it a few weeks sooner.
The candy canes were an even bigger discount, but were entirely unplanned. We were in Longs Drugstore a few days ago printing out some photos from the digicam (Use the automated machine and pay 45 cents each; pretty cheap.) and looking around before we left we saw a small selection of left over Xmas stuff at close out prices. Chief among them were boxes and boxes of candy canes, 18 per box. Those sold for around $2 a month ago, but now? Ten cents. Yes a dime. That's essentially free, in my opinion, so I got five boxes for some change in my pocket, and carried them out, feeling like the most Christmasy elf ever.
Four boxes of peppermint, and one of the mysterious and exotic green spearmint flavor. I soon found out why they're mysterious and exotic... it's because they aren't any good.
The other problem is that a grown adult human can eat maybe one candy cane a day, and you're pushing your luck to maintain that pace for more than a week or so. I've had about 4 of them in the 2 or 3 weeks since we got the boxes, and that includes the one spearmint flavored one that I consumed about 1/10th of before throwing in the trash. So we've got one package of the peppermint ones out now, with a rubber band wrapped around them below the curved necks. It makes a neat, umbrella-like shape with a dozen of them all pointing outwards. And four boxes on the top shelf in the closet; the spearmint box having a small opening in the plastic cover and two empty slots inside.
Why two gone, when I just ate part of one and threw it out?
Do it yourself Goldschlager! Minus the gold flakes, which can't be tasted anyway.
Malaya has a big jug filled with moonshine, sent here from a friend of hers in the Philippines. We've had shots from it a few times, but never more than one or two at a time, since it's very strong, and doesn't taste any good. It's definitely alcohol of the "drink it to get drunk" style, and since we hardly ever want that, it's mostly a conversation piece. It was utilized during our one, long ago, legendary night of drunken Scrabble. It's coconut vodka, and smells like rocket fuel. The taste is probably similar, though I've never actually consumed rocket propellant.
Anyway, the original coconut vodka was very strong, very rough, and clear. Like paint thinner. After our first time drinking it, we decided that it could use some more/other flavor, and started dissolving Jolly Rancher candies in it. Mostly red ones, to give it a better hue. They dissolved very quickly, almost frighteningly quickly. It was reminiscent of the old poisoner joke where the spoon used to stir the stuff in turns black and shrivels up as quickly as it's stirred around.
We went on dropping the occasional cherry or watermelon Jolly Rancher in for some months, without ever doing anything more than smelling the vodka to check the changes wrought upon it. After a dozen or more candies were gone, and we had some (pre post-xmas bonus buy) candy canes lying around, it occurred to me that we could/should dissolve one (or more) of those in the vodka to see how that went. So we did, and it was pretty nifty.
At first we hung the candy cane over the lip, with the lower portion of it submerged, but that part was dissolved away fairly quickly, leaving the rest of it hanging above, like the pilings on a rotting pier. So we broke off the hooked part and dropped the rest of it into the liquor, where it sunk like a mobster into the East River. Unlike the East River, our bottle of vodka has a clear bottom, and through it we could see the stricken candy cane segments lying amidst the other partially-dissolved sediment, their sugary exteriors rapidly dissolving away to nothing.
This was repeated several times before Xmas, and since then we've added another couple of candy canes from the post-xmas "almost free" sale, including one spearmint one. All dissolved quickly, and are entirely gone now, but their essence remains, turning the formerly bitter vodka into a much sweeter, peppermint-scented party drink.
Well, I wouldn't go that far, but it does smell quite a bit like Goldschlager, which is why I linked to it above. It even tastes a bit like it, and while it's far too harsh for comfortable sipping, you no longer feel like you must swallow it quickly before your tongue is permanently withered by the liquid.
So I'm bringing this up to let you know that 1) candy canes can be purchased in bulk for almost free in the days shortly after Xmas, and 2) you can turn very cheap, very potent rot gut vodka, or gin, or other nefarious clear liquors into something that's far tastier, or that at least smells better, by adding half a dozen candy canes. I'm not really recommending this, I mean if you're going to drink and you don't drink that often, drop the $28 on a bottle of good stuff, like Goldschlager, for instance. But if you happen to have a bottle of something clear, alcoholic, and barely tolerable, try dissolving some peppermints or other hard candies into it. The taste and odor will probably be greatly improved, and if not it certainly won't be any worse than it was to begin with.
And come to think of it, I might as well go drop another couple of candy canes into the vodka now. Can't hurt, and the stuff might become sippable yet.
Not that either Malaya or myself are likely to ever sip it, since neither of us drinks other than a sip of wine from time to time, or to get out and out drunk, and that's only happened once in the 7 months I've been here.
Yes, we're quite the life of the party.
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