Wednesday, August 29, 2012

it didn't please sir

Do yourself a favor and read the reviews for the hilarious product "Bic Cristal For Her Ball Pen."  I can't decide which is my favorite, but "a pen strong enough for a man, but made for a woman" is up there.  I think maybe the brain trust in Bic's marketing department didn't think this one all the way through.  It's not really the best year for marketing that can be construed as pandering and sexist.  The womens, they are on edge a little bit.  One might even say hysterical. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

a box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid

Blessed first day of school.  Boy do I feel good.  I'm full of energy and I think I'll go buy that cotoneaster that caught my eye at the nursery the other day.  I hear bees and birds love them, and I have found that birds are kind of fun to watch after all.  My grandma was very into birdwatching, and when my stepmom gave me a bird feeder for Christmas I filled it right up and have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it.  If you give them food, sometimes you get fancy birds with red and yellow and blue feathers!  What a time to be alive.

Last week was our county fair, and I loved every second of it.  I love that the whole area emigrates en masse to the fairgrounds, and you run into all your friends and neighbors washing and grooming their animals.  Ike entered Biting Martha, and she won fourth place, but Emmett got a blue ribbon for both his eggs and his pickles.  We're trying to decide if we want to take on the crushing responsibility of showing a steer next year.  Goats would be easier, since we already have them, but they're still so new around here that they're really just for looking at, and we'd hate to lose our family's slot in the steer barn!  It's a primo spot, too.  But oh, the many days of expensive hassle, and then you try to sell them for enough to recoup your costs, and off they go to the knacker man.  One of my young women was saying on Sunday that while she was taking care of her pig on the last day, there was a little boy across the aisle from her who got in the pen with his pig and sat down next to it, and he was petting it and sobbing, "I'm going to miss you!"  Isn't that sweet?  That's what Ike would do.  He'd probably make us buy the animal back and put it out to pasture for the rest of its natural life.

I'm irked that they're splitting The Hobbit into three movies.  That's pretty indulgent, and I'm afraid that they're going to waste my time with a whole bunch of songs and poems. At least Beorn is better than that nut Tom Bombadil. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

what do I stand for? most nights I don't know

A while ago I came across those Kid History videos on YouTube--you know, the ones where kids retell some story from the family lore and in the process misspeak and get the details wrong, while the adults lip synch and act it out.  They're okay.  They're not the least funny thing I've seen, but it's not like they're Guy on a Buffalo or Neature Walk.  I regret to say that when asked about the Kid History videos I exaggerated and made it seem like I enjoyed them more than I did.  I should have been honest.  I heard a guy on Diane Rehm the other day say that when people have a conversation they tell an average of eleven lies, or something like that.  I don't remember, but I was surprised and tried to recall the last conversation I'd had, and if I'd told a lie in it.  ANYWAY, when people in my family were talking about the Kid History videos I was peer pressured into lukewarm praise of them.  I wish I could go back and say that I thought they were okay, but one was enough.  Now I see that the Kid History people have branched out into something called Kid Snippets--one of the Gawker writers I don't respect (as a writer, not sure as a human being) linked to them, and he loves them.  WHY?

Why are these videos so popular?  I have a theory, but it only covers Mormon enjoyment.  I think Mormons like them because they're clean, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the creators are Mormons.  In fact, I figured the videos were only popular within Mormon culture.  But no, there's a lazy Gawker writer who, if the negative comments about him are to be believed, spends his time cutting and pasting from other articles and curating YouTube videos, and he likes the Kid History/Snippets too.  Is he lying to fill columns, or does he legit like them?  He doesn't feel like a Mormon to me, and I cannot understand the attraction.  The kids are cute, but not that cute.  The videos are funny, but not that funny. 

I cannot comprehend.  But go ahead on, Kid video people.  You be you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

things beyond the ken of mortal man that shouldn't be trifled with

Last night was back-to-school night.  TOTAL NIGHTMARE.  Not really, but it was sort of flustering.  Lots of receipts to fill out, and nobody knew how much anything cost, even though I made a poster with all the prices on it.  It was baby blue, and I think it wasn't eye-catching enough.  I tried hard to hide my bitterness when somebody came through and didn't pay for a PTA membership.  You have fifteen dollars for a yearbook (or thirty, or forty-five, because you have multiple kids in the school), but you don't have six bucks to help us pay for bus fare and drug-prevention assemblies?  Maybe you don't deserve a yearbook, which, by the way, would not exist if not for the PTA.  I have always paid for PTA membership, because it's what a responsible parent does.  We had sign-up sheets for classroom help and events throughout the year, and here's how John put it:  "So, out of the hundreds of parents who came tonight, there are about eight different parents who are the volunteers for everything."  As in other communities, there's a handful of people who do all the work, while everyone else leeches off them.  GAH, the more involvement I have with people, the more I hate them.  About the only feedback I got about scheduled activities was an accusatory question about why we aren't doing the pumpkin walk.  Umm, look around.  NOBODY IS HELPING.  I can't get help for the stuff we have to do, let alone an extracurricular logistical nightmare like the pumpkin walk.  So she is going to organize and execute the pumpkin walk herself.  I hope she has a great time.

Srsly, if people would just help, just do anything at all, they would realize 1)how integral parental involvement is for a school to be successful, and 2)how much easier it is than they feared, 3)especially when everyone pitches in. I super-duper hate it when people abdicate their responsibilities.  What's that word for people who hate people?  I'm one of those. Misanthrope!  That's it.  The luckiest people in the world. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

the more you suffer the more it shows you really care, right? yeah!

I am going to be so senile when I get old.  I think I was supposed to go visiting teaching last Friday, but I didn't put it on my calendar, and then I was in Salt Lake with John, celebrating our upcoming fourteenth anniversary, and whoopsie, sorry Janie and Catherine.  If I don't put something on my phone calendar so it will yell at me when I'm supposed to do it, then you can probably guarantee I'm going to flake on it.  I'm a flibbertigibbet. 

John bought me a gift certificate to a spa, and I wasn't in the mood for a massage, so I went and got my nails did.  You know how I feel about mani-pedis.  They are a fine indulgence, but as soon as you start thinking they're a life necessity, you get a corner torn off your Decent Human Being Chit.  I hope you enjoy being sentenced by the inmates of Arkham Asylum and forced out onto the frozen river to die.

In goat news, I took Traci to the vet today, and brought Sophie along because she has a little lump by her mouth now, too, OF COURSE.  Traci's is a series of lumps on the side of her neck.  There was nothing there two weeks ago, and now they're huge.  The vet took some blood and drained some pus, and he's going to do a culture and a blood test to see what we're dealing with.  Neither of them got lanced, because he wants to know for sure what they've got before they go digging around in there.  Worst case scenario, which looks like the most likely scenario to a black-hearted pessimist like me, is they all have CL.  I was afraid we'd have to cull the entire herd, but from further reading it looks like that's probably not necessary, and it's similar to a worms situation, in that you just have to manage it and not let it get out of hand.  So, regular lancing and draining of abscesses, then irrigation of same with 7% iodine solution, pretty much.  Sounds like a party. This is one of those times when I start to suspect that maybe I'm not a very good farmer.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I hope she doesn't pee while she's unconscious

Probably when you woke up this morning you were thinking, "I could really go for some abscess and pus talk right about now."  Well, you've come to the right place.  I was talking to one of our fellow goat people in the hall at church the other day, and when I told her about the weird abscesses that my goats have been getting she wondered if it was CL (Caseous Lymphadenitis).  I bet it is.  It's really contagious and common.  So we may have given our neighbors a contaminated goat, which is awesome of us.  Except Rita's weird throat growth had thick, fibrous walls, but it was full of thin liquid, not pus, which is not like CL, from what I've read.  Hazel's was full of pus, and Traci's got a new one on the side of her neck that I guess we can lance and find out if it's full of pus, but I don't want to.  I'm afraid of a) accidentally slitting her throat, and b) spreading the infection, if it is CL, which contaminates everything it touches for months to come, according to the internets.  It's not terminal, but I can't imagine it's great for your goat to be constantly forming abscesses that burst and spread infection to the rest of the herd.  I could be wrong.  None of them has had an abscess burst, though, thankfully, so I'm wondering how it's spreading.  I'm going to research treatment options.  I certainly don't want to be hauling my goats in to the vet every month to get their abscesses drained for a hundred dollars a whack. WHY IS MY LIFE SO HAAAAARRD?  My poor goats, having to put up with my ignorance and incompetence.

Peach season has finally started for real.  Redhavens are almost over, but don't worry about it because for a semi-cling they really do not like to let go of their pits, which is irritating.  Reginas are on now, and though they are not as flavorful as some, and their texture is not as dense and firm as I like, they are still a good peach, and worth eating.  I have now reached the status of "regular" at Sumida's--when I wrote them a check for the peaches and Armenian cucumbers I bought there the other day the girl working the till said, "You don't have to show your ID.  You come here a lot."  It made me so happy!  This has been one of my goals, as long as I've lived here:  to show Mr. Sumida that his stuff is good enough to inspire loyalty and devotion in his customers.  I hope the money I spend there helps, because if they go out of business in this foul world that doesn't appreciate good produce, I will rend my clothes and despair in sackcloth and ashes.  I feel a tremendous responsibility to keep the fruit stands solvent, because I can't face the alternative. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

hiding behind the bones of a dead super

So that article was irritating.  I don't want to summarize it, but here it is if you want to go read it, and then come back for a discussion. 

I've harangued most of the people I know about this already, so I apologize if this is old territory for you.  I'm a big believer in hard work, and my brother-in-law used a great quote when we talked about this concept recently:  Effort is a strategic substitute for ability.  I'm not a stupid person. I've read Outliers, and I agree with a lot of the stuff in it.  But this nonsense about how Michael Phelps used ability and not effort is pure bull.  He is tremendously gifted.  He's also worked his fool head off for pretty much the entire time he's been alive.  So let's not be acting like the last four years when he put in a tiny bit less time in the pool is somehow cheating Ryan Lochte (a fratty, arrogant buffoon) of an Olympic medal that he deserved because he went out and flipped tires or whatever.  Michael Phelps is that rare person who has natural talent and works anyway, so even if he did scale back, he's still spent years perfecting his craft, and he's still going to swim circles around everybody.  That's why he's the greatest swimmer in the world, doofus.  I get pretty darn tired of the idea that any two people who put in the same amount of effort will end up equally proficient at a given task.  Not true.  Talent is a real thing.  But effort is an imperative factor, because, as John and I say to our kids, the world is littered with talented nobodies who never learned to work.

The other day I was reflecting on the different movies "inspired by" Dr. Seuss books, and it reminded me that a number of years ago I saw Katie Couric interview Jim Carrey before the release of that awful Grinch movie, and she was saying what a great movie it must be, because he was able to get Audrey Geisel's blessing to do the movie, and Audrey Geisel is supposedly terrifically protective of her husband's memory and never gives her approval for anything.  But from where I sit, it looks like Audrey Geisel gives her approval for pretty much any bastardization of Dr. Suess's intellectual property that crosses her desk.  So either she's not really that protective, or she has a price, or that was just Katie Couric making crap up.  Could be a combination of all three.  An apt response to this came from Rainn Wilson, who tweeted alongside a link to Lorax-themed pancakes at IHOP:  "Dr. Seuss would vomit into his hands." 

You should see how shiny my goats are right now.  I've given them one dose of the hard-core three-day wormer, which you intersperse with the weekly wormer, and I cannot believe the difference.  They are so glossy.  Maybe I'll try some myself.  I would enjoy shinier hair, not to mention lowering my parasite load. 

Ugh, it's almost time for school and I haven't fully appreciated my summer!  I have done a good job of eating shaved ice, though. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

I'm going to be gone for a minute, but when I get back, remind me to talk to you about work vs. ability.  Some dummy wrote an article about Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, saying that being the greatest swimmer of all time is a pretty decent substitute for hard work.  Because I guess Michael Phelps got to be the greatest swimmer of all time by not working at it. 

Friday, August 3, 2012


Boy, I remember a few years ago when I decided to plant according to the moon phases, as outlined in my Farmer's Almanac.  I didn't get a bumper crop or anything, and as far as I know the food I did get did not contain more vital energy.  The chief benefit was it broke the planting season into manageable chunks.  Maybe my modern life, disconnected from the Earth and the growing things upon it, has rendered me incapable of seeing lunar magic.  Too bad.  I dreamed the other night that we were weeding and found a clump of bindweed with a root ball the size of a cabbage, and in the dream I looked at it in despair, and said, "Well, I guess we can try cooking it."  Bindweed is the bane of my existence.  Well, one of the banes of my existence. I have a bunch of banes. 

Our neighbor came and cut our wheat.  I'm glad we're done with it for a little while, because watering wheat is way more stressful than alfalfa, and we are sucky irrigators.  The kids crossed the field to climb the ash tree, and they found a crazy caterpillar that looks like this: 

What is it?  I am very sicked out and curious.  I described it to a plant pest lady at USU, and she thinks it's probably a kind of swallowtail.  That doesn't help much, since there are like a million billion kinds of swallowtails.  But I think she's right, because it does have little forked horns that come out when it's mad, and I think only swallowtails have those.  (Osmeterium, they are called.) If only I knew what it eats, and we could keep it in captivity and find out what kind of butterfly it makes.