knox snooze

Succotash my Balzac, dipshiitake.

The queen and her throne

Monday, February 28

The queen and her throne
Originally uploaded by ashby.

See you later, dog house. It was nice.

Behold, my wife and her pleasure with her new toilet that, upon flushing, "gulps down" everything you put in it in impressive fashion. Seriously, this thing is almost scary. It almost makes me want to get a goldfish.

Please note the not-quite-complete drywall work behind the new happy seat. I was so anxious to get the stupid crapper in, I forgot that I need to sand and prime the wall behind it still. I'm sort of getting to like the greenboard and joint compound look, though. It's like proof that I actually did this all myself.

It's a good thing I don't work on my own car. I'd change the oil and rip the hood off, just to prove to everyone that I had been there.

yeah, I tile now

yeah, I tile now
Originally uploaded by ashby.

In case you have seen me in the last few weeks, and I have complained to you about the trials of gutting and replacing my only bathroom, here is some proof that I actually have been doing so. And look, it even appears that I may be doing it right. And appearances are everything.

This is the tile that we just finished this weekend. We have actually had the tile, adhesive, thinset mortar and backer board for about a month, but we just now put it all together. Get off my back.

Thus far, I have learned to shim and straighten walls, plumb a bathroom from the ground up, hang drywall, lay tile, and of course demolish a bathroom. I've also found that I can do all of these things while drinking a beer.

Course, now that I've spent all my money on a bathroom, I can't afford beer for a few years, but that's beside the point.

Be proud of me.


Friday, February 25

Originally uploaded by ashby.

This is the headline of the local mainstream newspaper today. Considering the loads of baggage that comes along with a conversation about leadership in the Catholic church (see also: Boston Diocese), don't you think that they could have come up with a headline that was a little lighter on innuendo?

Maybe it's just me. It often is.

Mater Haid

Mater Haid
Originally uploaded by ashby.

My wife and I were actually able to go out for a meal together last night. It was amazing. We had great food (mmm..Tomato Head), great beer, and great conversation. At least two times when she was talking to me (not that I wasn't giving my undivided attention to everything she said), I couldn't think about anything other than how much I really like this chick. This must be why we're married.

Our waitress was one we have seen lots of times before at the restaurant. She is one of the ubiquitous semi-hippies who roam around there all the time, looking busy. I swear, they must have 25 people on the clock at all times - and it is a rather small restaurant. This was the first time she served us, and I noticed halfway through placing our order that she has an accent. It was only vaguely British, though. Whenever she said "hi" or "thanks," I couldn't notice it at all. She read our order back to us, though, and pronounced tomato like "toe-mah-toe," but it was the only word that really stuck out. It was like she was only sort of British, except for the word tomato. Let's be honest, though. If you're only going to have a British accent for one word, tomato is a good one.

We never could figure out if it was real or not. We decided, however, that if it was fake, it was ok. Being a waitress is a crappy job, and she should be allowed to entertain herself with a little anglophilia if she wants.


Thursday, February 24

Originally uploaded by ashby.

My new power adaptor for my notebook arrived today. I noticed Tuesday night that my computer was flipping out, going back and forth between battery and AC modes. Naturally, I assumed this was the result of the battle between the demons of Windows and the Seraphim of the open source programs I use. Turns out, it was actually because the power cord was yawning open. I don't think this is good or normal.

So I ordered the new one - $100. I didn't have much choice, though. I couldn't go for more than a day, maybe two, without AC power, and I have to use the machine every day. And I didn't want to get some aftermarket universal thing that would be as likely to saute my Vaio as not.

So now I've got this *extra* AC adaptor, and the only thing wrong with it is this tiny section of cord that has come loose. Does anyone know how to fix this? Am I going to blow up if I try to crack the adaptor open and re-attach the cord?

Something you don't care about

Wednesday, February 23
I'm not sure why, but I have been waiting until really late in the day to eat lunch this week. That usually means I'm stuck ordering delivery because I feel bad about taking an hour off for lunch at 2:30, only to come back to work for an hour and a half. What a stupid thing to feel.

So I'm getting a #15 Club Tuna on wheat from Jimmy John's.

Dirty Mouse

Tuesday, February 22

pocket mouse manual
Originally uploaded by ashby.

The touchpad on my wife's notebook has finally started acting weird. It was inevitable, though. They always do, so at least we don't have to wait for the other shoe to drop anymore. I bought a mini USB mouse for her to use for the next few weeks until we get it fixed. It's nice: optical, small, scrollwheel, and it comes in its own carrying case. For some reason, though, I decided to look through the owner's manual - I guess that was just in case I forgot how to plug things in. I didn't find any good Engrish, but I did find a disturbing warning label - the sticker kind that you know they had to slap on there after they printed all the manuals.

The cord on this product contains lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling.
Holy crap. Hole. Lee. Crap. I didn't know I had to specify that I wanted unleaded computer accessories.

Price check

Monday, February 21

Dannon Yogurt
Originally uploaded by ashby.

Last week I spoke with the manager of the cafeteria where I eat at work. I asked him why the yogurt cups were $1.59, which is so much higher than retail in local grocery stores. He replied that he didn't think it was much higher, if at all, but that he would consider dropping the price 10 cents or so if I brought him some local prices that were much lower.

Your honor, exhibit A.

Somebody failed SPAM 101

I get tons of spam, especially at work. It's fun to see what ridiculous subject lines you get, what creative spelling they come up with to dodge filters. I got one this morning that I have never seen before:
Wow, thanks for the offer, but I think I can pretty much do that one on my own without too much effort.


How many times have you been asked if you have heard about Hunter S. Thompson this morning?

Well, have you?

It is sad, but perhaps it is more sad because it is hardly surprising. Tell you what, you don't shoot you and I won't shoot me, and we'll try to make this place a little more cheerful so that good people like HST won't be in such a damn hurry to get out of here.

A donnybrook, a little bru-ha-ha

Friday, February 18

Hockey night
Originally uploaded by hensonkid.
I've got tickets to hockey. Do you?

Suck it, NHL.

Bela, who is a cat

Originally uploaded by hensonkid.
This is Palmer and Tina's cat, Bela. That's her name, not what I'm calling you, by the way.

I'm trying out flickr, so let me know if this shows up all funny.

Redefining "Limited"

I bought a new pair of earbuds at Best Buy last night. I pondered really nice, foldable, noise-canceling, studio-style headphones, but in the end I just need a pair that will fit in a backpack, and that I won't feel bad about accidentally crushing underfoot in a drunken stupor. Not that I ever would.

So I got a nice, cheap pair of Koss earbuds. $5.49 cheap, in fact. Also, they have a "Lifetime Limited Warranty," which sounded like the solution to both of my problems - cheap and guilt-free upon destruction. I actually read the fine print of the warranty (which you can only get to if you buy the buds and open the package) after I got them into my truck.

" or replace the defective product if you send it in a secure package, along with a check for $6.00 to our offices at..."



Wednesday, February 16
I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

I've worn these pants four times in the last week. They're cargos, though...lots of good pockets for carrying whatnots.

Don't tell anyone, please.

No way

It's only 3:37?

It's going to be a long night.

Things, being what they are

Tuesday, February 15
I have a house, but no bathroom to speak of. There is a shell of a bathroom with all kinds of loverly new plumbing and sheetrock. The floor is rid of its former vinyl filthiness, and is now covered in mortar and cement backerboard (a word I never feel cool saying, by the way). All it wants is for me to tape and mud the drywall, put tile on the floor and shower walls, and put the sink and toilet back and call it a day.

But that takes time and/or effort and/or knowhow (not actual word). And I just haven't been able to put that combination together correctly yet.

It's getting old. Don't take this the wrong way, but I really want to poop in my own house. I want to shower my filthy self in the bathroom I plumbed.



I just finished an exam this morning. Why do instructors insist on constructing exams out of questions that are of a rather inaccessible and complex structure?

14) Which of the following is not unrelated to topics we discussed in the third and fourth chapters, but not in the fifth chapter?
a) Concept b
b) Concept c
c) Concept a
d) Both a and concept c
e) Neither d nor a
f) All of the above
It is usually at this point that I begin to understand precisely why this is a dry campus. Because I could have totally understood the question after a flask and a half of bourbon. And that sort of advantage would be just unfair.


Monday, February 14
Well, I did it again. I was coerced into signing up to bring something to an office party, despite protesting that I would inevitably forget to bring it. I proceeded to secretly swear that there was no way in hell that I would forget this time. I even picked something retardedly easy to get, something I was bound to have on hand, something that would require no preparation - spring mix.

And, dammit, I forgot.

So now I'm back from the store with not one, but two (count em -TWO!) bags of spring mix. PLUS a bottle of salad dressing (clearly, my co-op takes credit cards). In your face, people who remembered to get your stuff before you came to work this morning. Who's laughing now?

Why in the hell am I having a Valentine's Day lunch with everyone in my office anyway? This was my argument to begin with. No one here is my valentine. Even my actual valentine is getting lame valentine treatment (How about a romantic trip to the library to study for an exam, baby? Wear somthing naughty.). I am completely non-valintinish. I object to you forcing your valentinism upon me in my place of work. What ever happened to the separation of church and state? How about the equally important, though less discussed, separation of work and retarded things?

Also, I got a bag of candy on my desk this morning from a "secret" admirer. I can tell it's secret because they wrote the "from" portion of the attached message in a numeric code. Seriously. I only wish I was kidding. The best part of their plan was planting a similar bag of candy on everyone's desks as well. Hmm...sneaky.

I almost have it decoded. _ome Jacka__ up_tair_. I'll keep working on it.

Not that I'm ungrateful. Luckily, KitKats are totally on my Bale-ification programme (that's right. I dropped the QE on you, bitches.).

Do I come to your happy place and shout?

Saturday, February 12
Why in the hell are you in the library, you loudmouth, cellphone-toting, redneck piece of crap? There are so many places where your volume and deficient vocabulary would be welcomed, so why are you here, where the eleven of us losers who have decided to make the reserve room our home on a Saturday night deserve to have some quiet in which to study?

Fall down and choke!

Dammit, I knew I shouldn't have dropped out of Jedi school. Where's a ninja when you really need to send a shuriken through someone's larynx?


Friday, February 11
I was hoping to go see The Machinist tonight, but I just found out that the only theater in town that had it no longer does. In an effort to explain my frustration to my wife, we managed to have a conversation about Christian Bale.

Wife: Christian Bale...what else was he in?
Me: I can't think of anything, but when you see him, you immediately recognize him.
Wife: Wasn't he in that one movie...the one where they find that on some island?
Me: Was it Treasure Island?

Together, we are brilliance incarnate. Look out world, we will stumble our way to domination, and there is nothing you can do to stop us. Except ask us a lot of movie trivia questions.

Hey, hey, it's the weekend

I joined Blockbuster's online DVD rental service earlier this week, and I am having my selections shipped to my office. Unfortunately, I forgot about the lag between the time that packages arrive here, and the time that mail processing manages to bash them around a bit and send them my way. So that means no first two seasons (or "Series" as those crazy biscuit-nibbling Brits say) of The Office, and no Rashomon for this weekend. Damn. How am I supposed to be lazy and dorky now?

Oh well, time to go see how well this medicine mixes with happy hour.

Comfortably numb

I had lunch at the arena today, and I decided to walk a few laps with the balance of my hour after I had eaten. Since my head has detached itself from the rest of my body in response to my booger meds, it was a totally awesome experience. Not that walking laps at the arena is a big workout, but I was so spaced out that I sort of lost track of what I was doing. It was weird - kind of like my brain was chillin out on a big couch in my head, just watching my body go for a walk.

Check it out, I'm walking. There I go.

Oh yeah, Bale-ification update:
Breakfast: Pint of lowfat chocolate milk and a slice of something called "Chocolate Chip Bread," but which more resembled pound cake.

Lunch: Cup of tuna salad, cup of cottage cheese, bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper, and an oatmeal cookie.

Ok, so I've done better. Let's pretend it's making up for the 500 cals a day I had on Wednesday and Thursday.

Most brilliant thing I've said today

A co-worker notices me spacing out during conversation.

Co-worker: Ashby, what kind of medicine are you taking?

Ashby: and yellow?

I am so on drugs right now. I wonder how hard it would be to keep one of these pills lit.

Back to (snort) work

I'm back at the office today, though I could have legitimately stayed home again. I have that awesome tennis-ball-lodged-in-face sinus congestion thing, and I'm using my nostrils to shop-vac mucus off of my upper lip every thirty seconds or so.

It's important for me to be here, though. I don't know if it's some kind of underlying tendency to feel guilty or what, but I feel like I have to prove that I was sick. Crawling around the office, messed up on cold meds and theraflu, and breathing noisily through my mouth, I feel totally justified in staying home for a couple of days. Not that anyone else cared.

So now I'm chap-lipped, boogery, tired, AND I'm stuck in this office until five. But at least I get to do some data entry. w00t!

New diet

Thursday, February 10
Sorry I haven't posted, but I'm on this special new diet called "the flu." It's actually the South Beach Flu, but I just call it the flu. Here's what you do: eat nothing because your throat is too sore to cope with anything passing through; sweat your ass off all the time, burning calories like there's no tomorrow with a special metabo-booster called "fever"; and when you finally do choke some food down (most likely frozen yogurt with a TheraFlu chaser), get close to the toilet, but don't commit to an end - all you know is that it's going to come out of one them really fast.

Oh, and do 1000 crunches a day.

Gotta weewee

Tuesday, February 8
In my ongoing Christian Bale-ification (not to be confused with Scott Baio-fication when I part my silky locks down the middle (hockey-style), smile charmingly, and move into your basement, but you don't think that's creepy) I am drinking water by, by the .5 liter nalgene bottle actually, but I want to say it more impressively than that.

I am drinking water by the ocean. If the ocean was full of fresh water. No, I don't mean "by the ocean" as in a location. I mean it as a measure of volume.

You know what, forget it. Long story, short: I'm having no trouble staying awake today because I'm sprinting to the bathroom down the hall every 20 minutes.


I just ate lunch:
Scoop of tuna salad, dumped unceremoniously into a little black foam bowl.
Cottage cheese, probably 1-1.5 cups and some more of those melon chunks and grapes.

All of that together cost less than $4 at another cafeteria run by the same people who gouged me for $5 this morning. So take that, cornrow girl.

I've got food, but no service

Look, if you're working in a corporate cafeteria, I understand that you have no control over the menu or the prices or the hours or whether credit cards are taken. In fact, you don't even get to choose your own clothes. I'm not picking on you. But when I express a touch of dismay at finding out that a 12 oz cup of cut fruit and a small cup of yogurt will cost me $5, try not to tell me that I should go to the grocery store.

For one thing, I have no idea if you mean that if I think these prices are bad, I should go to a grocery store to get an idea of what "real" prices are like, or if you are trying to tell me to take my business elsewhere.

If it's the former, then shut up. There is no way that a cup of yogurt costs me much more than $.70, let alone the $1.59 I threw down for this one. Also, eight grapes, a few hunks each of honeydew and cantaloupe, and a single rancid strawberry do not constitute $3 of fruit. If it was organic, maybe, but since the most distinguishable flavor on these is DDT, I think we can rule that out.

If it's the latter, then shut up. I didn't put you in that hairnet.

God, I'm so petty.

Not so much a diet as a method of suicide

Monday, February 7
See, I just want to lose some pounds. Who doesn't? You know you do, unless you're that kid from my high school basketball team who had to take fatty acid pills because he never had fat and was so damn lean you could watch his heart beat through a sweaty t-shirt. In that case, you need to shut up and go eat a ho-ho anyway. Get off the internet.

But back to me. I want to lose some weight. Has anyone seen The Machinist? I'm not freakish, unstable and obsessed to an unhealthy level with losing weight, but you have to admit that it is utterly fascinatiing that Christian Bale could lose 63 freaking pounds off of an already fit body for a movie role. It's insane, but it's just so...actually, I think insane covers it.

So Christian Bale eats a can of tuna and an apple every day to lose weight for this role. I thought I would give it a try. I had a scoop of tuna salad (no plain tuna available in the cafeteria at work) and an apple for lunch. It was actually quite good. I lasted until about 5:30 when I got home and plowed through a can of Spaghetti O's. This, incidentally, is the best way to eat canned pasta: starve yourself and the eat it straight out the can at room temperature. Wipe face.

I don't know how he could do it. I think I'll try it again tomorrow.

Don't be worried. I'm too in love with food for this to be a pattern.

Everybody's favorite Fotogerman

Though I haven't updated any of those crusty-ass links to the right over there, I have changed Palmer's. He now has a fantastic blog featuring pics that did not make the cut for the newspaper for which he is the photographer.

He also does a good bit of photo art and other stuff (web design, 3-d shizzle) if you are interested.

And his wife is hott (spelled with two t's on purpose to indicate extra hottness). Huzzah for another dork who married waaay out of his league.

Sooo Sleepeee

Ways I am combating the afternoon snoozies:

- Listening to radio
- Drinking cold water
- Giving up and just takingsank;nzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

What did I miss?

As a result of the aforementioned geographic and cinematic fiasco, I was unable to watch any of the Super Bowl or, more importantly, the commercials. USA Today has them all available online in case you missed them too.

What I can tell so far:
1) Some office supply place (great ad - I totally forgot your company name) pretty much phoned it in with the "easy button" commercial they've been airing for at least a couple of weeks.
B) Verizon managed to land a quartet of the least savory celebrities (Kid Rock, Christina Aguilara, Shaq, and Deion look-at-me-I'm-a-total-tool Sanders) to endorse their new VCast service.
III) Richard Somethingorother (the Virgin Atlantic dude with the show that's a ripoff of the apprentice, only more life-threatening) is going to ship the winner of a lovely new Volvo SUV into space. That's right, someone with the world's safest passenger vehicle is going to get in a spaceship with some coked-up Brit, and fly deep into the cold, dark death of space. I entered the sweepstakes, but I almost don't want to win.

I watched all 55 of the commercials (what, you're judging me now?), and I have to tell you, outside of the monkey with the whoopee cushion, the whole night pretty much blew.

Time constraints

One of the pleasures of being a *ahem* "non-traditional" student (see also: old, married, fully-employed, and mortgaged to the buttcheeks) is getting to take the 101 classes again with a little better perspective. Namely, the ability to recognize how little work is required to pass. I am in a Geography 101 course, which meets twice a week - Tuesdays and Thursdays (or T-R in timeteablese). Of course every class requires students to do some outside work, but this one requires online chat groups (via a suspiciously endorsed AIM) at specifically scheduled times, as well as movie viewings.

The movies are screened in the library auditorium on Wednesday nights so that everyone has a chance to see them. Except me, of course. I have another class on Wednesdays. And my second job. Fortunately, if a movie is shown in the library, it is nearly guaranteed to be available for individual screening in the media center at any time.

Except when you really need it.

The way this works is that you watch the movie, and then join your group partners online (here's to you, AIM) to discuss the film, generally answering 7 or 8 questions written by the instructor, taking no less than 40 minutes to do so. But when my similarly non-traditional friend and I went to library to get the movie: no dice. I quickly shat myself and we drove to a reliable local video rental store. They had a copy, but it was checked out. This turned out to be the case for six Blockbusters as well. Borders was sold out, the used video store didn't have it (or they did and it was buried deep in their entirely uncatalogued inventory), and the amount of time we had to watch it was waning quickly.

It was finally found at a video store 10 miles from campus where I did not have a membership. We watched the last 15 minutes of the film during the chat. It was intensely lame.

So all that to say, if you're a geography instructor and you assign a movie for students to watch, why don't you haul yourself up to the library to make sure it is within the scope of reasonable efforts for your students to watch it. Or else you'll continue to be blogged about mercilessly. Consider yourself completely unaware of this warning.


Thursday, February 3
Alright then. Let us consider this the make-up post.

Heh, keep your shirt tucked in there, Tiger. I ain't making no promises.