And Some More Alarming Thoughts


With another week since the strange disappearance of our leaves I feel less unsettled by it. Naturally enough. The more you live with something the more you think it’s normal to live somewhere people rip off your bagged leaves. I’m worried that it’s getting me complacent, though. What’s needed are some new alarms. Obviously for leaf thieves, or as my love puts them, “leaves”. But for more things, too.

And I know you’re figuring I’m going to put up a bunch of nonsense here. No. These are all alarms to reflect real problems that real people really have in reality. I mean if I count as a real person. I’m open to arguments on the matter, but if you win, how can you possibly feel proud?

So the first is about the phone. This morning my phone told me I had voice mail. A lot of voice mail. It had a bunch of messages going back two months to when we had the phone company out to do phone things to the phone line. Also the dentist reminding me about an appointment I went to anyway. Also about three hundred messages in which a robot from account services warned my Windows was expiring but we could get the extended warranty if I pressed five now. Also something where my boss called. So, yes, it’s a good thing that I check my phone for voice mails once a year, whether I’m using it or not. But also there needs to be some way that phones send you some kind of notice about there being voice mails.

Here’s another one. The other day I needed some cellophane tape. I was using it to … you know what? I’m not sure that’s really your business. I don’t mean to insult you. I just don’t know how much of my business I want the world to know. Anyway, I needed some cellophane tape and there was none in the house. I know tape was brought into the house. I would bring it myself. It’s not here, though, not when there’s things to be taped. What’s needed is an alarm that we are almost out of tape and therefore should do something about that. We could either get more tape or commit to getting fewer things that need tape. That’s hard given how Christmas is coming up. I suppose we’d have to switch how we wrap things up. Maybe staple the wrapping paper on. That’ll work out fine for me giving calendars to everybody I know. It’ll be less good in case someone is trying to give me, oh, a soap bubble. So maybe this is not practical. Anyway I handled this by going to the store and buying — here I am not exaggerating — ten rolls of cellophane tape. I have put one in every room where we might need to tape a thing to another thing or itself. I cannot find any of them.

While we’re at getting alarms where we need them, we should do some alarm-balancing. We have two kitchens in the oven, one a microwave and the other a real one. When we set the timer on the real oven we get this kind of alarm:

“[ whispering ] (bing.) Oh, well, that’s done. I suppose if no one comes check on me I’ll just sit here pouring 450 degrees into the curly fries until something burns down then.”

Whereas the microwave oven alarm has this level:

“BEEP! BEEEEEEEP! BEEEEEEEP! HEY! HEY HEY HEY! DO YOU PEOPLE NOT REALIZE! THERE IS A MUG OF TEA SITTING IN HERE! AND IT’S BEEN TURNING LUKEWARM FOR A WHOLE [ checks notes ] EIGHTEEN SECONDS! BEEEP, DARN YOU! BEEEEEEP! IS! NOBODY! GOING! TO! DO! ANY! THING! ABOUT! THIS!? BEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

I’d like to balance these two out a little bit if we could.

Also I have to admit telling a fib there. I almost never let a mug of tea get lukewarm enough to put in the microwave. Coffee, yes, but not tea. I hope you don’t think worse of me for that.

It’s Probably Safe To Read Funky Winkerbean For A While


I’d warned in mid-September that Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean was about to do a storyline about a character’s suicide. I’d promised to give a follow-up when the immediate storyline seemed to have passed.

Well, the first part of it seems to be done. It was in a baffling manner, though, one which managed to not make clear that the character even did deliberately suicide. Someone who read only the comic strip and not supplemental material like my essays might reasonably think the character had a terrible but ordinary accident.

My understanding was that the suicide storyline was intended to run about twice as long as it has. So my hypothesis is that Tom Batiuk wanted the character’s death to happen in an ambiguous way, and then have characters eventually discover it was suicide. If that is so, I will try to give warning when the story resumes.

In the meanwhile this week the strip seems to be doing a whimsical Halloween zombie story. The previous two weeks it’s been doing a gruesome zombie storyline, resurrecting the Movie Of Lisa’s Story. Lisa’s Story was, in-universe, the book Les Moore wrote about his wife’s dying of breast cancer. (In the real world it’s a collection of the comic strips detailing this story.)

For about 36 years there in the early 2010s there was a story about a cable-movie production company trying to make this into a movie, with Moore as the novice screenwriter unhappy with … absolutely everything, at all times … until the project collapsed for some reason. So I can’t say that I’m happy that Mason Jarre, star of the abortive First Lisa’s Story Movie and of the in-universe Starbuck Jones science fiction intellectual property franchise, wants to do a new movie only Right This Time. But, as ever, I’m hoping for things to turn out good. There’s very few premises so bad that a good story can’t come from them.

Dream Preview


I suppose this is properly speaking a dream. But it’s a cryptic note from the dream world. It was mostly just a “graphitic content” warning for the dream to come. I’m excited by what that means. My guess is some of those neat charcoal-sketch animation like you see in Disney cartoons from back in the 70s that nobody cares about, or cared about when they were making them. I like the aesthetic.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index popped up seven points today as some leftover chocolates were found and the whole trading floor agreed that things just don’t get better than this.

377

Statistics Saturday: What Warren Buffett Is Warning Americans About


'Warren Buffett Just Gave Americans A Big Warning' ... also there's a tooltip warning there's a breakthrough causing people to lose too much weight.
I forget what the breakthrough was that causes people to lose too much weight.


Biggest ones: 'Nothing is happening in Apartment 3-G. NOTHING'. Also: 'handled in a facility that contains ingredients', and, 'That's no ordinary guinea pig!'
Just missing the cut: ‘You’ll find Fallen London a way more interesting game than you expect’.

So apparently I’m okay with using clickbait advertisements as inspiration. Not sure how knowing that makes me feel about myself.

Also, happy National Day, Singapore. That hasn’t anything to do with anything here, but how often does a nation observe its 50th National Day? Except the nations that claim they’re 50 years old every single year, like some of those Caribbean islands do.

Brotherly … uhm … Something?


My family’s got a Birthdays Calendar shared through Google I Think, which is great because with all the marriages and children added to the family the past decade-plus I’ve realized I really don’t have a grip on the birthday of anyone who joined the family after 1979. The only thing that could make this a more useful service is if I ever remembered to look at it.

So, now, this is why I’ve found it suddenly alarming that I got a mail reporting my father had made an update on the birthday calendar, to wit, “CANCELLED @ Annually” for a couple weeks from now. It’s definitely not the birthdate of any of my siblings, so I have to conclude it’s the birthday of one of my siblings-in-law that’s been cancelled. I haven’t heard of any sources of particular tension in the family lately either, but it’s easy for me to miss that sort of thing either. Part of me feels like I should be warning them not to take any blacksmithing and shaving offers they get the next couple days, but part of me does feel like, well, my father must have pretty good reasons even if I haven’t heard them yet, right?

It’s so hard to know what to do when you get a mail like that.

Warnings From The Dream World: Trans-Dimensional Travel Edition


So, yeah, apparently I’m getting warnings about possible troubles while I’m dreaming again and I share this one with you because it seems like it could be of use to pretty near anyone. I’m breaking up what is really one sentence into a couple paragraphs for easier reading. You’ll thank me when you see the wisdom my subconscious is depositing on you.

Suppose that you should happen by some means to fall into an alternate timeline and are in the San Francisco of a much more totalitarian, police-state United States.

If the only way you have of getting home is to make a desperate cross-country trip to New York City, with your only real guidance a crude, placemat-type mat that promises if you head far enough north from San Francisco you’ll meet I-75, which in this abomination of a timeline then goes more or less due east towards Manhattan …

And if you reason that before setting out with precious little of the cash currency for the alternate-United States that it’s worthwhile stopping in to a relentlessly average San Francisco-area shopping mall to take in a movie at the multiplex …

And if you try to pay for the movie using your credit card from this your home timeline and the cashier keeps fingering it curiously and ultimately has to go back to discuss it with the manager and this sets off a long series of negotiations among the multiplex’s staff about the validity of this curious negotiable instrument …

Then you should really cut your losses and just give up on seeing the movie, because the argument with the multiplex staff about it after they’ve swiped your card and whether your payment is in a valid tender or whether it’s even remotely compatible with the credit card swiping devices of this alternate history is not a productive use of your time. Bluntly, even if you argue yourself into the theater, the kerfluffle is just going to attract the local police — as it likely would even in our non-dystopian timeline given how heated it is getting — and their report is just going to call attention to the really terrible secret police, and the movie just is not worth it. Seriously. Let it go. Save the argument about the negotiability of a credit card from another timeline for something worthwhile, like the gas station.

I probably shouldn’t have to explain all this, but believe me, it’s very frustrating especially when you realize that the movie ticket argument is not the one you should be having right then and there.

An Embarrassing Clarification


My Dearly Beloved was reading over my little warning from the dream world, about racing whilst under-clad into Target to catch my father before he makes a terrible mistake about buying milk as the music of odd group Sparks plays on the public address system, and it turend out, didn’t understand something, so I felt I had to clarify. Yes, the dream happened as such.

But the important thing is: this wasn’t a humiliation dream, the kind where you go out in public and everyone starts laughing at you, or you realize you’re doing something that brings eternal and unending shame upon you, like misremembering which manufacturer produced the Intellivision game console. (None did. It simply appeared, from space, for a time, and then supplies stopped, which was fine because the unknown entities producing it also gave us the video game Frog Bog for which they should feel embarrassed.) No. Running through Target in nothing but underwear and maybe a T-shirt does not here produce embarrassment; it just produces a sense of frustration that people keep pointing this out to you, as if you weren’t aware, and as if the path to my father wasn’t going to take you through Men’s Wear (or, if you prefer, Women’s Wear) anyway so you could put on something sensible then if the milk situation didn’t require fast action.

I apologize to anyone who has, in the past couple days, found themselves in the parking lot of Target with my father sorting out the salad dressings and other contents of their car’s trunk-kitchen and raced in without enough clothes on and found themselves incorrectly embarrassed when they should be mildly irritated at others.

A Targeted Warning From The Dream World


According to my subconscious apparently this is an important problem, so, let me put the advice out for anyone who finds themselves in this situation:

If you ever find yourself with my father in the parking lot of Target, and we’re working out just which of the bottles of salad dressing in that little cubby-hole we used to use for storing compact discs back before everyone got over compact discs still have any salad dressing to speak of in there, and he goes in to buy new salad dressings, and you go around back to the trunk and discover the milk in his Toyota Something Or Other is not spoiled after all, despite how hot a day it’s been, plus there’s like a third of a bottle of light vinaigrette left and you need to rush in to warn my father about this, then, remember to put on some pants and a shirt. Even if you’re just rushing in through the pharmacy door to get word to him, people are going to pay more attention to your running through Target in your underpants with a carton of unspoiled milk than they are going to notice that the speaker system is playing songs from Sparks’s 1974 album Kimono My House.

I just hope we can all take a valuable lesson from this, and that is, to not put the vinaigrette in that weird cubby-hole underneath the stereo where nobody knows what’s supposed to go in but it accumulates old papers and unneeded receipts anyway, because it’ll spill all over the papers you don’t need.