Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Real Hobbit (with bonus features!)

So, in case you haven’t seen those horrid Hobbit films, my five-year old has been working on a project to forestall you should you even have even a soupçon of an inkling of a hint of a desire to waste a moment of your life viewing such cinematic offal. We’ve been reading through the Hobbit and, over the weeks, I find him illustrating the episodes we have completed (plus some bits from the 1977 vibrato cartoon)— from Hobbiton, to trolls, to Gollum, to the eagle’s eyrie, to Beorn, to Mirkwood and beyond. He’s even created some bonus features. His artistic mastery, combined with his faithfulness to the tale puts that bearded, CGI-obsessed kiwi to shame. Look! And Behold!

But there’s more! Whenever we’re caught waiting for a bus or taxi, or just on a long drive, I tell the boy other stories from the Tolkien world as I can recall them. Mayhaps the aesthetic glory will compel you to read further?

The Felines of Homebrew

The cons of having cats in the house of a homebrewer?

The perks of having cats in the house for a homebrewer?

… None. There are none. Cats are terrible.

Simian Rhinoplasty Made Easy!

From our trip to the monkey forest in Ubud: There are no words… So here are some pictures instead!

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“The Orphic Locality of Spider Toots”— OR— “Praxis: Obviating Jurisprudence”

One of the many difficulties that companies face in trade with Indonesia is the (often) blatant disregard for trademark and copyright laws. This crystallized for me the other day after receiving a gift from a colleague in the form of “Monopoly Junior: Spiderman” edition. In addition to the fact that the game board was nothing more than a laminated, construction paper version of a photocopied original, the game pieces, box materials, and rules were laughable forgeries.

External normality, but the secrets lie within

External normality, but the secrets lie within


What nearly incapacitated me, however, was the unsubstantiated promise at the conclusion of the rules. I searched at great length, but found the box lacking.

Hasbro! You owe me some farts!

Attercop! Attercop!

I could hear them breathing, even chuckling…

IMG_0669 IMG_0839

I stopped her from going through with the high five. What can I say? I’ve got an enthusiastic wife.

Unusual Tangling Flavor

The joys of those things lost in translation:


It is always a pleasure if chicken mingled with creamy mushrooms. For those of you without pleasure, try dominating a sausage or the unusual tangling flavor of duck meat.


Accept no imitations, folks. This is the legendary, original source of heated udder-juice.

Robocop’s Strawberry Socialism

For the majority of you out there who have been wondering how Cousin Frank would read a story to a 3-year-old, your prayers have been answered. It is nothing short of epic. Cousin Frank, we miss you every day.

WC Flatware

Due to what we assume is a traditional and convenient design feature of Indonesian housing, we have been doing the dishes in this room:

Downstairs Terlet

The multi-functional sprayer

… don’t come over for dinner.

Periplaneta australasiae: Warfare Strategies of an Unfamiliar Wife

As you may well know by now, our family has traversed the globe and landed in the island nation of Indonesia, thereby finding ourselves on the (very) distant outskirts of Nottingham. Though more shall certainly follow regarding the migration itself, today I limit myself to a singular event of our first evening.

Unable to sleep on that first night, wife found herself downstairs migrating in a sleep-like daze toward the kitchen, most definitely compelled instinctually by her womanly genetics and ontic state to wash some dishes, weave, or some similar lady-task. As a native Oregonian (and perhaps for said female disposition), she was ill-prepared for what would meet when the execrable compact fluorescent bulb eventually flickered to life: a sepia-shaded, prickle-legged, crêpe-paper-winged Australian cockroach— Der Kakerlak.

Why couldn’t the land down under gift us with an infestation of some less repulsive nocturnal pest— like koalas? Imagine the same scenario: you’ve wandered into the kitchen at night, observe the distinct sound of scurrying, and flick on the lights only to find a fuzzy koala mama and baby in the sink snacking on your dinner scraps. You laugh pleasantly out loud, maybe scratch mama’s head, and then go look for a sandal to smash them.

Return to the present and the scenario in which wife has found herself. Despite Leonard Nimoy’s protestations otherwise, logic is not a factor in such a situation. All coherent thought and rationality disappear simultaneously with the encounter. The insect must die, or it will certainly murder you. Accompanied by a series cockatiel-like shrieks (maybe closer to Skeksis), wife, as a trepidatious Xena type, took hold of the nearest object— a small cutting board— and swung for dear life with her tiny, bird bone arms. With the creature out of sight under the implement, wife made a mistake that belied her inexperience. Most Floridians and southeasterners generally follow Zombieland rule #2 when it comes to roaches: the double-tap. Or, more correctly, swing erratically, forcefully, and repeatedly until you see the object of your ire has given up the ghost— and then strike it 17 more times for a good measure and your time. Contact MUST feel solid and level, and you MUST hear and feel that distinctive (satisfying) crunch of a ruptured exoskeleton.

Wife’s post-impact, split-second of satisfaction vanished as her nemesis scurried further along the kitchen counter. A wise kung fu master, wife reached for another weapon, in this case a plastic KFC bucket— a gift from the international office at my university. With a quick shift of plan from death to entrapment, perhaps with an eventual plan to domesticate and house it as a pet (we would name him Sibellius), she brought the open side down over the six-legged fiend. This would have worked (?) had she not underestimated its life-preserving speed and only captured a few of its legs. Husband asleep and roach squirming in desperation, wife returned to violent tactics and suddenly became a surgeon with a wooden spoon. She brought the utensil down with such precision and force that we are still finding roach splatter in various rooms of the house.

Satisfied, yet nerves shattered, wife eventually stumbled out of the main kitchen into our “dirty kitchen.” Light switch on, her peripheral vision told her she was not alone. Her head snapped in the direction of some movement and settled on a single gecko near the ceiling. Already worn out from the previous engagement, Bethany could only involuntarily shout, “Daniel!”— perhaps as some sort of Christian profanity, or as an appeal for aid from the biblical saint— and faint.

Thus I found things when I awoke in the morning: A cockroach in the sink turned on to its back in the telltale sign of its expiration. Wife was unconscious on the floor of the dirty kitchen, surrounded by reptile scat, and mumbling, “Hi-ya!”

But When I Became a Man, I Gave up Childish Ways… Again

Some years ago, I enumerated a list of behaviors common to babies and toddlers that would be regarded as socially unacceptable if performed by an adult. The tally extends ever onward. Here is Part II of infinity on “Things babies do that are not socially acceptable for an adult to repeat”:

1.) Make eye-contact and then deliberately, slowly, and methodically step on the face of a person who is laying on the ground; or, just sit on their face.

2.) Banshee-shriek-demand that your best friends attend to your mirth-related needs at 5 a.m.

3.) Shout for the nearest person (again, likely your best friend) to come in to the open-door bathroom and wipe your bottom.

4.) Meet strangers in your underwear, all the while rubbing your belly.

5.) Insist on entering the bathroom, no matter who is in there, to inspect what is happening (or has happened).

6.) Stand outside someone’s fence and bark at their dog for fifteen minutes.

7.) While supposedly taking a nap in a room where you are a guest, spending your time instead drawing on the furniture and walls with crayon.

8.) Transition from hugging a person to climbing their various joints and engaging in a full-body wraparound strangle-embrace.

9.) Grab strangers as they come within arm’s reach, maybe tug on their neck mole.

10.) Get your friends to help you put on your trousers and then just crane-kick the crap out of their chin.

11.) Smear your entire meal all up ons your face and then go socialize with company, maybe burp.

12.) Open-mouth sneeze with such force that the vacuum created nearly sucks out your internal organs, but somehow only manages to leave a vibrantly colored mucus trail across your face, and stare at the now-drenched friend in front of you with your head bobbling and eyes vacant for at least 23 seconds.

13.) Find a tube of some sort of health product (e.g. toothpaste, Neosporin, A+D cream) belonging to your friend, then just squirt it all out to see what it is. When you still can’t figure it out, smear it on items that are not adequately lubricated or pasted.