Monday, June 29, 2009

Someone in Australia just purchased one of my Cheap Apolitical Pagan door signs (Hi Shari!) so I decided to put her address in Google Maps to see where my sign was going to make its new home. Through the magic of Google Streetview, it appears my sign will be posted on a red house with a tile roof in Whyalla, South Australia. Sometimes Google Streetview doesn't get the right house, but I'm going to assume it did this time, because I'm an optimist, and besides, how will I ever know if it's wrong. Right?

But the best part is, Google Maps gives me directions from my house to hers. First I asked for walking directions. There was a warning at the top that said, "Caution - This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths." It's 12,833 miles and will take 171 days and 22 hours. There are 922 separate instructions, three kayak trips (Note: how does Google know that I have a kayak?)(And don't I get to get out and walk a little in Indonesia? It seems not.), and steps 110 through 867 are in Japanese. On the other hand, the driving instructions say it will take me only 53 days, 23 hours and cut 822 steps out of the process. The kayaking instructions stay the same.

Isn't that wonderful?

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Whilst tidying up my old email graveyard, I ran across this reminder of what makes America the place it is, as recounted to my friend, David, a few months ago:

I just recently learned of the bench-to-table ratio as manifested in the modern American restaurant. My daughter and I went to a McMenamin's near Lloyd Center and did a Goldilocks routine. In the first booth in which we sat, both of us were miles from the table. Moving to the next booth, the table was a little closer, but still not within eating distance. Moving to booth three, the table is within an acceptable distance of our torsos with plenty of room for, say, a small child on our laps. When we inquired about the inconsistency, the waiter rolled his eyes and told us, "Most customers don't fit in a regular booth."

Which also reminds me of the big tub o' root beer that showed up in my car last week, purchased at a handy mini-mart on a sultry day. If the cup is too fat for your cup holder, that's too much pop. Enough said.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Three Things

Studies show that learning new things delays the onset of dementia (as does doing things with your fingers so, presumably, blogging will keep me cogent for decades to come).

Yesterday I learned three new things.
How to prime my lawnmower.
What causes monkeyface.
How many calories are in a pint of Hefeweizen.

Every time I start my lawnmower I count on the possibility of two things: I will dislocate my shoulder yanking on the starter cord. I will have a heart attack yanking on the starter cord. As an act of kindness, my lawnmower brake cable disintegrated last week, sending me, cable in hand, back to the lawn mower rehab clinic where I purchased said mower from the slow-talking, possibly Arkansas-born, mower guru. When I observed that starting the thing was likely to lead to my premature death, the mower-guru said, "Do ya prime it before ya start it?" "Uhhh, prime it?", I replied. He led me back through the lawn mower cemetery until we found one with sufficient superstructure that he could point out the priming button. Knowledge is power (mower).

People who only buy grocery store strawberries, those large, gleaming chunks of seed-studded Styrofoam, won't know what I'm talking about, but real strawberries sometimes look funny. They're bumpy and small and wall-to-wall seeds at the tip. I thought I had neglected my strawberry garden by poor watering (ok, I did) but the Philbrook Farms strawberry farmer told me that's called Monkeyface and it happens when the weather gets cold and the bees stay home in turtlenecks and long johns and don't go out and pollinate the berry flowers. His berries looked just as pathetic as mine.

The third thing I learned yesterday was that Hefeweisen beer has a whopping 1300 calories per pint! Wow! Jeepers! Holy cow! The best part of this factoid is that it is wrong. My source, a beer-drinking person who should know, was not, I'm pretty sure, pulling my leg. However, I looked it up. There are 210 calories in a pint of Hefeweisen.

There. Now you might have learned something new and my fingers are extremely alert.