Thursday, April 24, 2008

BBQ hint, Mouse Preference, & Zoey: The Irritating One

Having trouble lighting the Barbeque? Try this

As a good american, I’m sure you have one of them charcoal fire-starting devices. You know, “the chimney” as I call it and probably many others. Well I always manage to still have a hard time getting it to light. Not sure if it’s the location or what, but for whatever reason the newspaper snuffs itself out. The instructions say to insert two newspaper pages crumpled up, but if I do that many it just goes out, and if I do less then I am really just going to stand there lighting newspaper forever.

Well one day I was out of newspaper but didn’t want to go get some just to start this one BBQ adventure. So I reached around the corner and grabbed a brown grocery bag that I had saved. Well it turns out that – at least for me – the brown paper bag works quite a bit better. It seems to light better and
stay lit, which is important to the cause.

So anyway here’s the exact routine: I rip a a full-sized bag in half. I then crumple and insert into the bottom, and light. I walk away, put away the charcoal bag and otherwise occupy myself for a minute. Then I go and crumple the leftover half of the bag, and insert it into where the first half used to be, before it burned itself out of existence. I usually don’t need to use the lighter or matches again, as there’s enough ember from the first half that I can just blow and get it to flame and catch the new half-bag on fire as well. At this point I go away, and check back in a few just to make sure that the bottom-level coals are indeed white, signaling that they have indeed caught flame and are going to do the rest for me.

I have no idea why it works better. Maybe it burns hotter I’m not sure, but it does the job faster and better than newspaper. Newspaper just snuffs itself out every time I try it.

So next time you need to light the barbie, and you don’t want to babysit the chimney and the newspaper, try the good ol’ brown paper bag. Works wonders for me.

Grab life by the tail
I have been trying for the last few weeks to force upon myself a “no mouse” policy. However, I think that as of today that policy is over. I prefer the mouse.

But nevertheless the experience has been good. I have made myself more productive on the trackpad than I was previously, and I am more likely to reach for it now. But still, I’m more effective with mouse-in-hand than hand-on-pad.

Yet getting back on the mouse today and doing some unofficial tests, I found that for the most part, I spent less time fumbling when I had the mouse; I can just get right to the place I want to be, faster and more precisely than a trackpad can afford. I like this level of exactness. So when the place I’ll be will have room for a mouse? I’ll mouse it. But I will no longer sweat not having it, nor will I bother to try and take it with me when it might prove an inconvenience. Basically, if I’m at my lair and in “my spot,” it’s there. If I’m not there, it’s no big deal.

Zoey: Irritatingly dumb
I call Zoey “The Dumb One” because it’s a funny-yet-accurate assessment of her critical thinking abilities. Don’t get me wrong, she’s very cute and very lovable and has quite the personality on her. But she’s dumb. This is how dumb she is:

OK so I’ve had the 4Runner for the better part of 3 years now. In that time, we’ve gone everywhere from the mountains & Deserts of So Cal to the Mountains & Beaches of Nor Cal. This whole time, not a problem we’ve had, we get ready, they get excited, we open the back and they jump right up. Crap, since we got up here, keeping them out of the back whilst I get it ready for them has been a real challenge (not an issue any longer with the addition of my
$200 floor mats). All of that ended recently, however. At least for Zoey.

A couple of weeks ago, I was getting everything prepped to go, got them around back, and was trying to get them to calm down before allowing them to jump in. Well as I was getting
Miles to sit down (he’s really excitable, as you probably know). Out of the corner of my eye, I see Zoey break from her sit and try to jump in. Well the problem is that she missed. She missed, and fell. And then started yelping like… well, like someone kicked her I guess, which was amusing to a degree at the time, but has created issues that really just bug the living sh!t out of me now.

She won’t jump into the 4Runner anymore. She won’t do it. Which means that on occasion, if we’re parked in a less-than-stellar spot, it becomes dangerous because she wiggles and cowers and hides…. Anywhere. And it’s annoying as hell because I have to pick her dumbass up and throw her in myself, which if she’s wet and smelly means I too am now wet & smelly.

What the hell? I mean, this isn’t rocket science, you know? It’s jumping into a car. And, uh, let’s not forget that we’ve done it successfully for…. 3 YEARS!
3 years! So what, we throw away 3 years-worth of success because we failed once? And didn’t even have a bump or bruise to show for it? OK fine. But yes, that makes you unequivocally dumb. Zoey, the Dumb & Irritating One. Oh my. How Frustrated I have become.


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