Least I Could Do (Could Have Done)…

Sometimes, even my little niche literature of Alternate History gets noticed on a wider scale:



Bullshit is all organic…

It’s been pointed out before, but it’s pretty obvious that few who use the words “organic” or “natural” or “chemicals” or “environment” have a clue what the words actually mean.

Most recent example: While watching a food show on steaks, one of the chefs was describing their aging room for the beef and started talking about the wall blocks of pink Himalayan salt that they used in it…
…at which point he said that the salt was “all natural and organic…”

…The Stupid, It Burns…

Boys and girls, if you don’t know that salt is a rock – and about as far from “organic” as you can get – then please leave the room and go and get a real education. As a clue where to start, they’re  called “books.” Oh, and until you do, don’t bother to vote, you’ll only make the wrong choices.

Quite apart from the bizarre concept of salt as “organic,”  the “all natural” is a wonderfully pointless addition to the description. All salt is “all natural” (using the depressingly standard meaning of “natural” as “not man-made”). What, does he think somewhere there is a big factory where truckloads of sodium and chlorine come in, and “artificial” salt comes out the other end?


And don’t even get me started on “chemical free” or the wildly vast misuse of the word “organic” in other contexts – or even the meaninglessness that is “all natural” in any context. We’ll be here all week. And doing a quick Google on “pink Himalayan salt” itself will bring up more woo-woo info than your mind can handle (including the information that “regular” salt has “added preservatives” – ’cause you know, otherwise it’ll break down into sodium and chlorine or somethings…).

The level of stupid out there is pretty horrifying…

Stupid signs are everywhere…

I see many stupid things as I wander the world, here’s one of the stupidest from today:A drinking fountain at work had a bit of a problem (well, a huge problem, actually – all the stuff from the sink on the 3rd floor was coming out the fountain in the basement…). So they removed it (hopefully to fix it) and capped the pipes. So far, so good.Then they put a sign over the capped pipes…one that says “Out of Order.”No, really? And here I thought the total absence of a drinking fountain in that spot meant we had actually gotten one of those new, invisible ones…


In other news, I’ve just spent the last two days trying to set up all the new student computers here at work before I leave for winter break…since when I come back, we’ll already be in session (okay, it’s only the stupid Intersession, still…). Mind you, two weeks ago we didn’t even know we were getting new computers to replace the old Gateways, so it’s not like I could do any planning for the changeover or anything.

And it didn’t help that, while they said they’d be installed on Monday, they didn’t actually start until Wednesday.

Anywho, I’ve basically been doing nothing for the last twelve hours at work (over two days) but configuring computers – and that’s with most of the work done by downloading an image of everything they needed! This wouldn’t be so bad, but I also have a bunch of regular, end of the semester/year stuff to do as well. Still, it’s all basically done now. I just have to make sure all the plants are watered and I’m off for two weeks of holiday fun…

…or, at least, two weeks of not being at work.

A surprise afternoon off…

Well, I’m home early from work today. It wasn’t planned, but there it is…What happened is that around noon, the Library Directory was talking to someone who happened to mention that “the power was going to be turned off at one.” Mind you, no one had done anything like warn us about this ahead of time, so we were all quite surprised.

So, Loretta goes down to Administration to see what’s happening and we sorta sit around wondering if we should be shutting everything down, or just going on with work. Around 12:30 she returns with the information that, yes, the power’s going off at 1:30 and that we’ll all be going home for the day (nicely, still paid for the hours we weren’t going to be there).

So I run around, shutting off computers and monitors and printers and such.

Quarter of one, and someone in Administration actually sends out an email warning everyone the power will be turned off. You would have thought that was the first thing they would have done…but then, you obviously don’t have had experience working for Rio Hondo.

At 1:15 with everything off, we leave the building, crossing our fingers the elevator will reach bottom before hands reach the “off” switch…

…and now I’m home, doing fiddly things. Like this blog entry.

Only the third post and already I’m doing movie reviews?

bolt1Headed out this Friday morn to see Bolt – In Digital 3D.

It’s actually not that bad of a movie. We’re not at Pixar level, of course, but it’s fun and the cgi works without being annoying or overly glitzy or anything. Heck, even the 3D works pretty good (better, in fact, than the live action Journey to the Center of the Earth a few months back – which is odd, given that used actual three dimensional people rather than computer graphics…). Basically, the plot is “Homeward Bound meets The Truman Show,” but it’s well done without getting too smaltzy.

Oh, and their cgi Los Angeles actually looked like Los Angeles (I went, “hey, that’s the Pasadena Freeway” once).

Mind you, while 3D is a lot better than the old red & blue glasses days of the 50’s (or the, what was it, early 80’s?), you still need glasses and it still gives me eye strain after about an hour. When are we ever going to get some proper holograms! 😉

One reason, though, we finally went out to see it this Friday was that the first Cars short was showing in front of the movie – and also in 3D. Tokyo Matter is essentially a “tall tale” as told by Matter to his friends, where he goes to Tokyo and gets involved in a drift race.

In some ways, the race through the neon Cars-World Tokyo is very Speed Racer (the Movie) like, in others, very video game like, and always with an interjection of Pixar humor through-out (“Donut shop”, *snort* gods thats a bad pun…). Undoubtedly, after they’ve done a couple more of these (I’ve heard there’s a total of three planned), they’ll end up collected on DVD and I’d recommend buying them. But then, I recommend buying anything Pixar, so that’s hardly a surprise…

Weekend amusements…

Ah weekend trips. They can be such…fun.This last weekend (Saturday, to be precise) we were heading off to Oak Glen to pick up something we had ordered at a small shop there. Oak Glen is basically a tiny town intertwined between apple orchards – historic ones – about seventy miles away from Pasadena…or about an hour and a half if you take it leisurely. It used to be quite isolated when my parents brought me there as a kid, but now the town of Yucaipa – just off the freeway and south of Oak Glen, which was about two-thousand people back then in farmland – has grown to more like forty-five thousand and newly built retirement condos and housing developments are filling in the empty between it and Oak Glen itself. Sorta depressing.

Anywho, we’d gotten a later than I wanted start that afternoon – which is of course, normal – but by 2:15 we’d done sixty-five of the seventy miles and were on the final stretch up from the freeway to Oak Glen itself when we came upon a road block by a couple of police cars. Obviously, something was happening ahead, so like everyone else on the road I slowed to a stop, pushing in the clutch to take it out of gear…

…and the clutch pedal went straight to the floor.

After pumping it a couple of times to assure myself that – yes – it was no longer doing anything with the clutch, I realized that the clutch cable must have broken (experience talking there: this is not my first rodeo…). I flicked on the blinkers and – using the slope of the road – rolled it over to park by the curb…

…then I called Auto Club for a tow. They said a truck would be there “in thirty-five minutes” – or about three-o-clock by that time.

They in turn called a local towing place who called me back (sometimes, I just love cellphones…) asking where I wanted to go. I said “Pasadena” (which I can do, since my Auto Club membership’s good for hundred mile free tows). They suggested a local garage instead…but then demurred when I asked “can you assure me they’ll have it fixed today.”

Surprisingly, we did not want to spend the night in Yucaipa.

Anywho, they went “well, maybe we better arrange for tow to Pasadena then.” I said fine and we both hung up.

Somewhere around quarter of three – with (we thought) about fifteen minutes till the truck arrived – Auto Club’s automated system called us and let us know the “truck will be arriving by four-oh-five…”


Note that we’re sitting by the side of the road, in a no parking area as it’s on a curve, basically amusing ourselves by guessing if any of the big SUVs coming around it at fifty mph will hit us. There’s a housing development on one side of us and a big arroyo on the other. The nearest stores, fast food, etc., are about a mile and a half back down the road. Oh, and I’ve had a super big gulp and thus could really use a bathroom by now.

So “three” becomes “four (oh-five)” and instead of fifteen minutes to wait, we now have an hour and twenty. I consider walking back down the road to hit a fast food place or something (we were going to eat in Oak Glen), but am not that clear on just how far “back down the road” is and I don’t want to risk being in route somewhere when the tow-truck comes.

So we sit and wait…and wait…and wait…

Around 4:15 – with no truck in sight – I call Auto Club again to basically ask “why?” They inform me that the first company they called couldn’t do it, so that they had to call another and the truck would be there “by 4:58.”


Note that it’s getting dark by now – and now the SUV’s are whizzing around us in the gathering twilight. Dee Dee at least had a book with her to read during this time, but by now I’ve been reduced to assembling the new cat box we’d bought before we headed out here…a process which is excitement personified and nearly lasts three minutes. Note also that – had we known – we would have had loads of time to walk down to stores and stuff and then walk back to the car long before the truck would arrive. But that now – once again – we are just short of having enough time to do that, so we’re stuck.

Finally at about 5:10 (and just shy of me calling Auto Club again) I get a call that the truck is “looking for us” – because he’s been given rather vague directions. We clarify them and two minutes later, he’s starting the process of pulling the car up onto the truck for the trip home.

That takes a while – as does the drive back – so it’s two tired, hungry (and in need of a bathroom) people waiting at 7:00 in my mechanics parking lot (closed by now, of course) for Dee Dee’s son to pick us up for the final two miles back to home.

Note that it’s Saturday night. The garage won’t be open Sunday, of course, so I’ll have to go down Monday morning and give them the keys so they can look at the car. The car itself won’t be done until 2:30 on Monday – long after I’ve gone to work – so I need a ride to and from that too. Heck, there were things I wanted to do this weekend…but they all had “driving to (here)” as one of their components. Instead, I’m out $120 bucks for a new clutch cable (and I just replaced the thing a year and a half ago!), with pretty much nothing on my “to do” list for the weekend done.

And we never did get to the shop in Oak Glen…