Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Snow Drifts into Everything

From the NOAA Winter Storm Warning posted this morning.

It even gets into our words.  (You just can't see it here because of the white background.)

The snow also does a good job of covering the lilac bushes in front of the house.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Self check-out - a solution in search of a problem

I loathe self check-out.  Loathe it.  There was a time when the big box home improvement stores tried to go fully self check-out, but I noticed recently they've backed off from that and have brought back a few human beings.

Today at the grocery story the clerk minding the self check-out terminals hooked me in before I could sneak past her to the express lane.   And you know, she had trouble with the process.  She couldn't get the frozen orange juice to scan (nobody can.)

From a user experience point of view, you have to be seriously wall-eyed to be able to keep track of what the register terminal wants as opposed to the payment terminal, which, unlike the example above, is easily two feet away.

Why do we think it's a good idea to abandon the social contract between the well-trained customer and the well-trained check-out clerk?  My responsibility is to bring bags that stand up by themselves and to put all the cans of orange juice together on the belt.  The clerk is responsible for memorizing all those mysterious produce codes and for balancing the weight evenly across my bags.

I want my check-out clerk, darn it!

Friday, December 30, 2016


While looking for something else this morning I came across an enormous stack of postcards I'd collected over the years.  I thought this one of Gromit was a cheerful offering for a winter morning.  I've always admired Aardman's attention to detail, from the bones on the wall paper to Gromit's carefully tensioned yarn.

I've gotten out of the habit of sending postcards.  If we don't send postcards to one another every once in a while, then the only thing posted to the refrigerator will be the grocery list, and where's the fun in that?

Postcards also make good bookmarks, particularly for very dull books.  Finding a years-old postcard when you pick up Henry Esmond (the Very Dull Book currently on my night stand) briefly takes your mind off the fact that you're still reading the darned thing.

While art print post cards are probably in the best taste, I think one ought to loosen up now and again and send a silly post card, particularly to somebody who's not expecting it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


In the process of going through some books to see if there were any candidates for Goodwill, I thumbed through my 1985 paperback edition of The Modern Researcher, wondering when I'd last opened it.  Out dropped this fern frond and some weed leaves.  The weed would have been new to me when I moved to Oregon,  and I remember thinking its leaves were quite beautiful (the effect is better when they're bright green and edged with dew drops,) so it appears that the last time I opened this  book was Spring, 1997.

Despite the demonstrable lack of use in my household, I'm hanging onto The Modern Researcher, for both its content and its leaf-pressing capabilities.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas, Everybody

This is as dressed up as I plan on getting today.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Calling the Sun

On the Winter Solstice I invoke a little magical thinking and hurry the return of the sun by eating things that are the color of the sun, or the shape of the sun, or, most magical, both.  This often turns out to be saffron bread baked up into a round loaf.  However, I've got a lovely round loaf of pandoro tucked away, so I didn't think I needed any more bread in the house.

But this year's holiday baking resulted in two left-over egg yolks.  Try as I might, and I try different things different years, I never seem to be able to make just enough egg-yolk things to correctly balance out the egg-white things.

So this morning I invoked the color and shape of the sun in a very special, three-yolk fried egg that should certainly get the sun's attention.  It was tasty if a little rich - definitely something to eat only on special days.

For dinner - a nice, round-like-the-sun pizza bianca.

Have a fine Winter Solstice yourself.

Monday, December 19, 2016

We get a little tired of snow

We've had snow off and on since last Wednesday.  Not much - just enough to close schools and be annoying.  In this strange news season, Portland even made the national news because of it.

We're all ready for a change, including the forecasters at NOAA:

It will be nice to see the good ole rain.