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June 30, 2005
SOMEBODY PAYPAL ME A DOLLAR IMMEDIATELY WANT TO BUY A CHERRY COKE FROM MACHINE AND ONLY HAVE A TWENTY!!!
June 29, 2005
I've been reading a lot of Winnie The Pooh books to The Squirrelly, and, I gotta tell you, Kanga is looking pretty fine. Got some junk in the trunk, if you know what I'm sayin'. And makes blueberry muffins at the drop of the hat.
There doesn't appear to be a Mr. Roo in the equation. Gets a guy to wondering ...
Update: Contrary to the baseless assertions of a few emailers, I am not a quote-unquote "furry." I'm just a guy who wants to have sex with an anthropomorphized marsupial, okay? Apples and oranges, people.
June 28, 2005
I got stuck in traffic the other day. Sitting there at a complete standstill, and at a loss for anything better to do, I started counting carpool lane cheater. At one point six singly-occupied vehicles in a row zoomed past me.
Apparently they've just given up on HOV lane enforcement. I don't really blame them, considering the number of violators. And, in a way, it's kind of nice that all the aggressive drivers self-select themselves out of traffic and into the HOV lane. But, still, the Department of Transportation ought to do something.
That's why I propose they simply rename the HOV lane the "Asshole Lane." That more accurately describes its contents now anyway. Furthermore, drivers should have to apply a bumper sticker reading "I AM AN ASSHOLE" to their SUVs to indicate that they are an authorized user of the lane.
It will be nice to have all the assholes clearly labelled. And hey: if we can get them all into a single lane, those of us in regular traffic will only have to contend with, like, a dozen cars on our morning commute.
Speaking of which ...
Last week on the freeway I got stuck behind one of the few idiots not in the asshole lane. Indeed, he was in the far right lane, and since I intended to take the next exit I had no choice but to follow him. The guy was in a pickup, travelling about 15 miles per hour under the speed limit, and completely preoccupied with something other than driving. He kept leaning way over to the right, so far down that I couldn't even see his head anymore, as if he were reading fine print off of a clipboard lying on the seat next to him, or giving a blowjob to his imaginary passenger. During these periods he would drift wildly, and when he occasionally popped his head back up he would abruptly wrestle the vehicle back into his lane before disappearing again.
As we reached the off-ramp he again began to drift rightward, well out his lane. In fact, he was heading straight for the median between the freeway and the exit. In my mind's eye I could see him slamming into the barrier at his oh-so-pokey 40 MPH and I was thrilled at the image.
Then I snapped out of my reverie and reached for my horn to warn him, just as his head popped up and he frantically jerked the truck to the left, missing the median by a couple of feet.
But, still: totally wishing death on some guy because he'd added forty seconds to my commute.
Dude, what's up with that? And I know that's not the first time I've felt The Evil creeping up on me in the middle of rush hour.
What is it about traffic turns us into rageaholic bastards? Or does it just trick us into revealing our true selves? Suzanne Necker once said "fortune does not change men; it unmasks them." Maybe the same is true of Interstate 90.
Bush On Iraq: Blah Blah Blah Blah
As his poll numbers continue to sag, Bush gave The Speech again today before a military audience at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home to Airborne and special operations forces.
"Blah blah blah blah blah blah," said the President, probably in reference to freedom or democracy or something. "Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah."
"Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah," he continued to sporadic applause.
The Speech comes at a time when just 40 percent of those responding said they approved of Bush's handling of the war, while 58 percent said they disapproved. In an attempt to shore up public opinion, Bush reiterated his central message regarding the war in Iraq: "Blah blah blah."
"Blah blah blah blah blah," he said, struggling to explain why the effort is important to U.S. security. He undoubtedly mentioned September 11th a few times, somewhere in there.
Bush concluded the 30-minute Speech with "God bless America," we're guessing.
The next recitation of The Speech is scheduled for October 14th, 2005.
June 27, 2005
Apparently Nike swiped the art from a Minor Threat CD and turned it into an ad. So some folks over at iXor.com started a photoshop thread, imagining "other evil corporations ruining famous album covers." This was my contribution.
I found the iXor thread via Waxy's links
June 24, 2005
The Bad Review Revue: Burned At The Stake
Critics are enchanted with Bewitched!
"Unrivaled in modern times for smugness, vapidity, and condescension. To spend even 10 minutes in the movie's universe is to experience the Sartrean nausea of an utterly hollow head and heart." -- Michael Atkinson, VILLAGE VOICEThanks to Jack Stapleton for bringing this debacle to my attention.
Special Double Entendre
If they do it's going to be a major victory for advocates of gay-marriage and polygamy.
June 23, 2005
Sorry for posting so late today but, oh man, I was totally hung over this morning. Me and some buddies were out all last night doing rhetoraoke. I hadn't done rhetoraoke in years, but my friend Randall is way into it and he suggested that we head over to The Oration Station, and since I'd already had a few beers I was, like, whatever, that sounds cool.
We got there around 9:20 and ordered a pitcher and started looking through the selection book, but of course Randall already knew what he want to perform and put his slip in right away. There must not have been very many requests in because he got called, like, 20 minutes later, and did Mahatma Gandhi's "Quit India" speech. He did a spot-on impersonation too, with the gestures and everything. I felt totally sorry for the girl who went after him and did just a so-so version of Elizabeth Glaser's address to the 1992 Democratic National Convention.
I didn't know many of the speeches in the book so I just did the old standard, Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address". I was pretty tipsy by then and screwed up the cadence in some parts, but I managed to get all the way to "we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground" before I had to start looking at the TelePropter, which was cool. It went so well that I put another request in and did "Tear Down This Wall" by Reagan because, you know, I'm into that 80's stuff.
Bruce was bummed that The Oration Station didn't have any lectures in the book, so after Martha did Queen Elizabeth I "Spanish Armada Speech" we headed over to another rhetoraoke place, Pints & Prelection down in Pioneer Square. Bruce was pretty shitfaced by then and he still tried to do Feynman's "Motion of Planets Around the Sun," and he, like, forgot half the words and totally fucked up the equations. It was pretty embarassing. After that he was kinda pissy and wanted to go home, but then Randall did a really good "The Ballot or the Bullet" by Macolm X and that got the crowd all fired up, so we decided to stay a little longer.
Then we started doing Tequila shooters and everything's pretty hazy after that. This morning Randall sent me an email and said that I was so drunk that I tried to do Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" address later that night. Fuck, I don't remember that at all. I hope I didn't make an ass of myself, but I probably did.
June 22, 2005
Because I love being on the cutting-edge of technology, I got me a Flickr account. Only, like, a year after it was cool to do so. Oh well, better late ...
June 21, 2005
Dull As A Spoon
Oveheard on the bus:
Girl 1: So what happened with XXX after we left?
Switching to a new host; dy will be down for a bit this evening.
Update: Well that certainly didn't work. Maybe I'll try again on the weekend. On the up side, while my email address was pointing to The Void I saw a significant decrease in spam.
June 20, 2005
We're having one of our rare bouts of sunny weather here in Seattle, and man am I exhausted. I must suffer from some kind of reverse photosynthesis. It's, like, the more direct sunlight I receive, the less energy I have.
Maybe it's an adaptation, having been raised in the perpetually overcast Pacific Northwest. Maybe our bodies are trained to think that there is only one explanation for a bright light in the heavens: God has come to take us home. So just lay down, lay down and sleep.
June 17, 2005
How To Watch Attack Of The Clones
The general consensus is that Attack of the Clones, while not great, is much better than The Phantom Menace, though I've heard a few people express the opposite opinion. I think it basically comes down to one question: what do you find more excruciatingly unwatchable, Jar-Jar's slapstick or the Anakin / Amidala romance?
Me, I found the latter much more forgivable, thanks to something a reviewer once wrote about Titanic: while he conceded that the romantic dialogue in Titanic was atrocious, he pointed out that it was also a fairly accurate depiction of how young people in love actually talk, i.e., maudlin, dramatic, and as cliched as all get-out. I don't think for a moment that Lucas wrote lines like "you are in my very soul, tormenting me" because he was trying to emulate what 16 year-olds say when they are trying to convey the sentiment "holy shit, being a virgin sucks!" but if you pretend like that was Lucas' intent the film is much more bearable.
That said, skipping all the love scenes detracts not at all from the movie -- we didn't need to see the nitty-gritty of Han and Leia falling in love to know it was happening -- so feel free to do so.
Here, then, is the cheat-sheet for fast-forwarding through Attack of the Clones. As with the previous guide, this is intended for folks who have already seen the film and are only interested in refreshing their memories about the plot in anticipation of Revenge of the Sith. Again, my goal was to get the film down to about 90 minutes and to axe anything that wasn't integral to the story. I've also included tips on removing much of the love story, for those who can't abide it.
Total time saved: 41:21
Analysis: I so loathed Phantom Menace that I swore I wouldn't see Clones in the theater, but when my in-laws hornswoggled me into going I was surprised by how much I liked it. It's mediocre to be sure, but mediocre is still one infinity better than Episode I (though I realize that "better than The Phantom Menace" is damning with the faintest of praise, like saying "more delicious than echinacea!"). Watching it again on DVD gave me a glimmer of hope that Revenge of the Sith may be as good as some are claiming.
Some have claimed that the
But the big big problem with this whole trilogy is that I don't give a rat's ass about any of the protagonists. The Jedi -- Obi Wan, Qui-Gon, Yoda -- are too noble to be endearing; Anakin is a rageaholic jerk; Amidala isn't even much of a character, just the obligatory catalyst for Anakin's lovelorn dramatics. Furthermore, these first two movies aren't even about these people -- they are about Darth Sidious and his subtle machinations to seize power. This is in sharp contrast to episodes 4-6, which really were about the heroes: Luke, Han, Leia -- even Chewbacca felt like your buddy by the end of it all. I wouldn't want to go for beers and pinball with anyone in Phantom or Clones, except for Anakin's mom who was kinda hot until the Tusken Raiders got to her.
Lastly, I'd just like to say that Ewan McGregor's impersonation of Sir Alec Guinness is just shy of miraculous, and almost makes up for the fact that all the other acting sucks.
Plot Points For The People Too Smart To Rewatch This: Again, a complete summary of the film can be found at sf-worlds.com. But for those who just want the highlights:
Random Revelation: Hmm, an angst-ridden young man learning to cope with his extraordinary powers and being tempted by the Dark Side? The novelization of this movie should be called Harry Potter And The Order of the Jedi.
The Bad Review Revue
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D: "There's sad news to report about The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D: Put on the cardboard glasses, and you can still see the movie." -- Make Clark, USA TODAY
High Tension: "An inept Gallic version of an American psycho-killer/stalker movie, the movie is a model of multinational incompetence." -- Michael Sragow, BALTIMORE SUN
The Perfect Man: "Crawls hand over bloody hand up the stony face of this plot, while we in the audience do not laugh because it is not nice to laugh at those less fortunate than ourselves, and the people in this movie are less fortunate than the people in just about any other movie I can think of, simply because they are in it. " -- Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
Ice Princess: "This movie wasn't just made for 11-year-old girls; it seems to have been made by 11-year-old girls. " -- Kyle Smith, NEW YORK POST
The Bridge Of San-Luis Rey: "After watching this movie, I was moved only to find my own bridge to leap from." -- Desson Thomson, WASHINGTON POST
June 16, 2005
Bush plays the Nazi card, June 28, 2004.Hey, you know what these teapot-contained tempests have in common? In none of them did the person who allegedly compared X to Nazis actually compare X to Nazis. But apparently "Nazi" has joined the rarified ranks of Words That Are So Bad That Just The Sound Of Them Is Offensive Regardless Of Context.
It's convenient that you no longer have to go through the trouble of actually calling someone a Nazi anymore. All you have to do is say the word "Nazi" and then, sometime in the subsequent 24 hours, mention a person or group of people, and then OMG ARE YOU CALLING ME HITLER??!! Hooray for modern political discourse!
Joseph Biden, D-DE: Some Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee requested more American warships for the Persian Sea and Oman Sea, so I reminded them that those bodies of water are technically 'gulfs' and not 'seas.'"Or who knows? Maybe it's one of those words that's only offensive when outsiders say it, but okay when used amongst people of the same group. I can see John McCain strutting into a Republican fundraiser and being all, like, "yo, what up my nazis?"
June 15, 2005
The Big Chill
I was thumbing through the yellow pages this morning and I saw an ad for "Universal Refrigeration." Man, those guys must be awesome. Keeping the whole ball of wax at zero degrees kelvin can't be easy.
It would be fun to get a space heater and turn it up to "high," just to fuck with them.
June 14, 2005
This may be the last post ever on defective yeti, as I started this blog with one main objective and that objective has now been fulfilled.
Yes, O envious Internet: I met Mighty Girl.
Long-time readers know that I have based my entire on-line literary career on Margaret Mason's model: Mighty Girl started a blog devoted to conversations overheard on public transportation, so I started a blog devoted to conversations overheard on public transportation; Mighty Girl became a contributing writer for The Morning News, so I became a contributing writer for The Morning News; Mighty Girl launched a profitable website called Mighty Goods and started writing for The New York Times, so I often daydream about launching a profitable website and writing for The New York Times while squandering my life away playing Kingdom of Loathing. Fortunately, I hold an edge on Mighty Girl in one key category: production of small people. So when Mr. and Mr. Girl rolled into town last Wednesday, they requested an audience with The Squirrelly. It took some wheedling, but eventually they said I could come along as well.
We agreed to meet for lunch. The Squirrelly, perhaps sensing the momentousness of the occasion, spent all morning preparing. First, he woke up an hour earlier than he usually does. I realize that the non-parents in the crowd don't recognize this as Ominous Foreshadowing, but when you're going to take a toddler out in public around his usual naptime, any change in regular sleep patterns is as foreboding as a shark filled with nitroglycerin. Worse, The Squirrelly has music class on Wednesday mornings, which is applesauce's only serious rival for the title of "Best Thing In The Universe" in his opinion. During music class the two teachers play guitar and sing while the babies and their parents sit quietly and listen enraptured -- all the babies, that is, except The Squirrelly, who spends the hour racing around the room like an balloon released before it's tied closed.
So by our prearranged meeting time The Squirrelly was both sleepy and tired. He had, in fact, fallen asleep in his carseat moments before we arrived at the hotel. Unfortunately I had arranged to meet them inside the lobby, so I had no choice but to wake him up and carry him in. So Margaret and Bryan's first look at my child was as he was curled up on my chest, blinking sleepily and completely docile. I should have been wearing a t-shirt reading "WARNING: TODDLERS ON SHOULDER ARE CRANKIER THAN THEY APPEAR."
We headed down to The Bell Street Diner, got a table, and strapped The Squirrelly into a high chair. He immediately set about demonstrating the suitability of his nickname, squirming about with such velocity that I was afraid he might pull a Flash and vibrate himself into another dimension. In an attempt to calm him down, I pulled out his bowl of food and set in front of him. He immediately began grabbing handfuls of avocado and cramming it into his maw. Remembering that I was sitting across from a woman who writes columns on etiquette, I said, "uh, we read that it's empowering to allow toddlers to feed themselves like that, using their hands," i.e., his complete lack of decorum is the result of a deliberate philosophy, and not because he is being raised by a race of subterranean lizardmen who live in our crawlspace.
Fortunately, I had an unexpected ally in Bryan. "Wow, lookit him go!" he cried with genuine enthusiasm. "He's just shovelling it on in there!"
I spent the rest of the meal dividing my attention between my guests and my son, the former of which was politely asking me questions about my life and family, the latter of which grabbed everything within reaching distance and dropped it on the floor like he had been deputized to enforce the law of gravity. As a result, I have pretty much no recollection of our conversation. I do remember, though, that at one point The Squirrelly got so fussy that Margaret scooped him up and carried him around the restaurant, pointing out things and speaking to him quietly. Act like a savage and you get cuddles from Mighty Girl: take note, people.
(If "Touched By An Angel" has a spin-off show called "Cuddled By A Mighty Girl" I would totally watch it.)
All-in-all a complete debacle, I'd say! So we tried again later that evening, this time removing The Squirrelly from the equation and replacing him with The Queen and copious amounts of alcohol. We met at Cyclops for cocktails, and then moved on to the Dahlia Lounge for after-cocktails cocktails and six dollar doughnuts.
And I'm happy to report that Mighty Girl is every bit as charming as you'd expect, one of those rare Internet personalities that turns out to be as engaging in real life as they are on their site. And whatta great guy, that Bryan. If airplanes ran on charisma these two could fly around the world.
Naturally I have no photographic evidence of any of this, because I am a very poor blogger. But it all happened, I swear.
P.S. Seattlites will be pleased to know that I did my level best to convince the duo to move to our fine city. I think we have a shot, too -- so long as they never do the math and realize that Seattle will one day be home to a teenaged Squirrelly, roaming the streets.
P.P.S. Those six dollar doughnuts at the Dahlia Lounge were freakin' awesome.
June 13, 2005
Gringos is a novel. It is by Charles Portis who lives in Arkansas, where he was born and educated. Thr book is about brightly painted walls and men in hats reading books. Just regular men wearing hats, not the 80's pop group "Men In Hats." If I had to describe Charles Portis I would agree with Ron Rosenbaum of Esquire who called him "perhaps the most original, indescribable sui generis talent overlooked by literary culture in America." Though, to be honest, I have no idea what "sui generis" means ...
Okay, okay. I didn't finish Gringos like I said I would. but that's okay, because you didn't either. So everyone gets another week before the review -- huzzah!
June 09, 2005
How To Watch The Phantom Menace
No, I haven't seen Revenge Of The Sith yet. Stop asking.
I had never intended to see it soon after it's opening, although I have resigned myself to the inevitability of seeing it in the theater eventually. Actually, I was kind of excited about it for a little while, but my enthusiasm seems to have peaked about a week ago, and my interest in the film has been dwindling ever since.
So in an effort to rekindle the Star Wars flame -- or possibly snuff it out entirely -- I decided to rewatch The Phantom Menace. I wanted to reacquaint myself with the story, and this seemed the best way to do it -- even though, truth be told, I was dreading the screening. I'd seen The Phantom Menace twice before, and pretty much hated it both times.
What I really wanted was an abridged version of the film, with just the plot and the cool scenes but none of the crap. Such a version is rumored to exist in the form of The Phantom Edit, but I had no idea how to secure a copy. The next best thing would have been a knowledgeable friend sitting next to me as I watched the DVD, telling me what stuff I should fast-forward through.
Well, I'm that knowledeable friend now. If you foolishly decide to watch The Phantom Menace yourself, here's all the skippable stuff.
I started compiling these fast-forwards with two objectives: to get the film under 90 minutes, and to eliminate as much Jar-Jar Binks as possible; halfway through the film I spontaneously added a third: to omit all the midichlorian flummery. (This might be a bad idea -- it's possible they play a role in Revenge of the Sith, though I'm guessing that, like Jar-Jar, Lucas is going to pretend like he'd never introduced them.)
Total time saved: 42:42 (although I'll admit that including the end credits in the time is kinda cheating).
Conclusion: Rather to my surprise, The Phantom Menace was every bit as bad as I remembered. I thought that perhaps it had gotten worse in my memory, but, nope: it's full-on travesty. The saddest thing is that the first 10 minutes of the film are very promising, making minutes 11-138 all the more tragic, like spotting a $100 bill on the sidewalk, bending over to pick it up, and having a piano dropped on you.
"Unlike you I am not an idiot and have no intention to rewatching Phantom Menace, so why don't you sum up?": You can find a very thorough summary here. In a nutshell, though, there are three main points:
June 08, 2005
I was in the car this evening listening to 103.7 The Mountain, and they played a song so funny that it had me laughing out loud.
I later checked their website for info on the song, but the track was omitted from the playlist. So I sent an email to Marty Riemer, The Mountain DJ who had played it. Not only did Riemer write back almost immediately (it wasn't even during his shift), but after informing me that the song in question was unavailable on CD he even went through the trouble of creating and sending me a MP3 of the performance. Whatta great guy!
The song is "Business Time" by a group called "Flight of the Conchords," who describe themselves as "New Zealand's 4th most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo." They don't appear to have an official website, but a comprehensive fan site can be found here.
And without further ado:http://www.whatthefolk.net/soundandvision.htm, and a CD of their stuff (but lacking "Business Time," alas) can be purchased here.
And while I'm heaping praise on 103.7, may I point out that one of my favorite programs, "The Chill Side of the Mountain," which used to air only on Sunday evenings, is now broadcast five days a week. Here is the most recent playlist. Good stuff for Seattlites.
June 07, 2005
Senate Agrees To Vote On Bolton's Mustache
While John Bolton's confirmation as US ambassador to the United Nations remains uncertain, the senate today agreed to a straight up-or-down vote on the judiciousness of Bolton's mustache. "We have a constitutional duty to advise and consent Presidential nominees," said Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of the six senators who brokered the compromise, "and while we're waiting to consent, we figured we'd take a crack at advising." The vote, originally scheduled for this afternoon, was pushed back to Thursday after a rift opened between the senators advocating an "aggressive trim" and the so-called "Norelco sixty-two" who urge Bolton to make a clean shave of things. "The color doesn't even match his hair," said Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas, who counts himself squarely in the latter camp. "Does he somehow not know what it looks like?" Thought a vote seems all but inevitable, President George Bush continued to stand by Bolton's mustache, calling it "the right facial hair for the right lip." Also rallying to Bolton's defense was Sen. John McCain, who called the mustache "rather dashing" and is expected to cast the lone vote in favor of its retention in an effort to preserve his reputation as a maverick.
June 06, 2005
Books: CivilWarLand In Bad Decline and Eastern Standard Tribe
Note: These reviews are part of the Booklist 2005 Project.
The Queen read CivilWarLand In Bad Decline before I did, and when I finished the first short story in the collection I was eager to discuss the book with her. "What did you think of it?" I asked her.
"Eh," she said. "It was kinda repetitive."
"Repetitive?!" said I. "Are you kidding? This is one of most original books I've read in a long time, and the author, George Saunders has a remarkably distinctive voice. I'm really enjoying it."
The Queen just shrugged -- her way of saying, "Come talk to me again when you realize I've won this argument."
So I read the rest of the stories. And, yeah: kinda repetitive.
The stories in CivilWarLand remind me of those found in Barrel Fever, the first book by humorous David Sedaris. Before he started writing exclusively about himself and his family, Sedaris cranked out a couple of very funny fictional stories (including one of my all-time favorites, "Glen's Homophobia Newsletter Vol. 3, No. 2"), full of cynicism and characters that act in widely inappropriate ways. But unlike Sedaris, most of Saunders' narratives have a science-fiction cast, set in a near future where business life and American life have become synonymous and the public vernacular has become infested with self-help affirmations and corporate jargon.
In almost all cases, the protagonists in the tales are average people struggling to stay afloat in Saunders's dystopia. And while each provoked me to laugh out loud a time or two, I did feel like I was reading the story over and over again by the time I reached the novella "Bounty." It didn't help that, halfway through "Bounty," I realized that I had read it before, ten years ago when it first appeared in Harper's.
An Amazon.com reviewer advises suggests that you read no more than one CivilWarLand story per month, and while that might be a little overboard, I'm inclined to agree that spacing them out somewhat is probably wise. Still: very funny in small doses.
Also set "five minutes in the future" is Cory Doctorow's Eastern Standard Tribe (which you can read for free, along with all of his other works, at craphound.com). While humorous, the setting for EST is much less absurd than that found in CivilWarLand, and the author seems more intent on provoking thought about the ramifications of our current technology than in waylaying the reader with non sequiturs in the hopes of generating belly laughs. But then, having laid the groundwork for a philosophical thriller, the book abruptly becomes conventional, alternating between a rather standard swindle story and a conundrum lifted straight from 'Catch-22' (so much so that even the novel's main character remarks upon the similarity).
EST is short, which is both its failing (in that it doesn't deliver on the promise of it's opening chapter) and its saving grace (as once the plot devolves into something unremarkable, the hasty conclusion keeps it from outstaying its welcome). I quite enjoyed Doctorow's writing style and there were plenty of great ideas to be explored in this book (even if, ultimately, I felt like they got the short shrift), and I look forward to reading more by him. If Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom is as good as I've heard, EST will have served as a nice appetizer.
June 03, 2005
Of Mice And Munitions
For a while The Squirrelly's favorite plaything was the Busy Ball Popper, a.k.a. the toy that parented our child during the Avery Flu. You drop plastic balls onto a platform on the top, they fall through a hole and roll down a curving ramp, and they eventually descend into the base of the toy, whereupon a battery-powered fan accelerates them until they pop out of the top and fall onto the platform, repeating the cycle ad nauseum.
The Squirrelly lost interest in the Busy Ball Popper for a while. Then one day he discovered that he could wrench the entire platform / ramp portion of the toy off. That left only the base, which contains a U of the tube and the fan. Then he began dropping things into the input side of the tube, to see what would happen to them. Some, like his square magnets, would go halfway through and get stuck; other stuff would get flung out the other side. In fact, things that weighed less that the balls supplied with the popper would come flying out of the tube with considerable velocity.
After some experimentation The Squirrelly found the perfect projectiles: the small mice our cats play with. He took to carrying the base of the Busy Ball Popper around the house, occasionally stopping to press the oversized red button that starts the fan, dropping a mouse into the tube, and watching it get shot across the room.
That's right: fifteen months old and my son has already McGuyvered up a rocket launcher.
I'd should find out where my college sociology professor is living these days. I'd love to bring The Squirrelly over to his house, let him loose in the living room to wreak havoc for 15 minutes, and say, "so all gender differences are culturally instilled, are they?"*
Update 06/08: Today The Squirrelly figured out that a handful of cat kibble dropped into the Busy Ball Popper will be expelled like buckshot. Science ... on the march!
*Of course, we did dress him in that camouflage jumper ...
June 02, 2005
Twenty-five Things I'm Glad I Am No Longer Required To Do