Eyes of the Storm

One of the benefits of being involved “behind the scenes” with science fiction conventions is that I frequently know who the guests are going to be a day or two before the general public finds out. I sometimes wind up having photos emailed to me.
More than once I’ve opened a photo attachment without realizing it was a high-resolution scan. It’s a pleasant surprise to open one of those and suddenly find myself staring into a gorgeous, life-size (or larger) pair of eyes.

One of the downsides is that I sometimes find myself falling in love with someone quite unattainable.

Oh No! My T-Shirts Have Gone Stale!

One of the consequences of my new job was that I needed to buy some new clothes. I’m not one of those folks who goes out and buys a new wardrobe at a whim, but my first day on the job convinced me that the jeans and polos that been “business casual” at the old job weren’t going to cut it. (For the first day of the job, I’d worn a tie and jacket, and thus put off clothes shopping that much longer.)
While I was buying dress shirts and slacks, I also picked up some new T-shirts to go with them. Standing at the checkout line, I noticed something most unexpected about the T-shirts’ packaging. Along with the usual size and quantity, Hanes had also prominently labeled the shirts as “tagless.” I’d discovered a few years earlier that they’d stopped putting tags in the T-shirts (because they itch!) and that was enough to make me choose them over another brand. But what really got my attention was that the bag was also labeled as resealable.

Six weeks later, I’m still trying to understand the marketing angle on this. What are you going to store in it besides T-shirts? I could see using the bags to keep things dry on a camping trip, but that’s not a common use, is it?
All I can think of is the old commercials for Zip-Lock and Glad bags about how you could reseal the bag to keep the contents fresh. Is that a problem for T-shirts?

Safe House

Frequent visitors to Known Space are aware of the General Products Corporation. The company is entirely owned by the Pierson’s Puppeteers, arguably the most cautious species in the universe.
The company is perhaps best-known for building spaceship hulls. General Products hulls are built in four standard sizes, are transparent to light ranging from infra-red up into the ultra-violet range, but are otherwise impermeable and absolutely guaranteed to never fail.
The Puppeteer presence on Earth isn’t well known as of yet, but there have been rumors of a puppeteer sighting in Indiana. I’ve also found proof that they’ve set up shop in the eastern United States.
My house (photo below) seems ordinary enough…
Just an ordinary house
but check out the name of one of the companies involved in its construction…
Manufactured by the General Products Corporation
This is great news! My house can stand up to anything the universe dishes out!* That’s a great feeling of security.

*Well, almost anything. General Products hulls have been demonstrated to be vulnerable to anti-matter. Happily, there isn’t very much of that stuff available in all of Known Space and even less in Maryland.

Polygamous Wombats

Did you know that wombats are polygamous? I had no idea one way or the other but for some reason that phrase popped into my mind today. A quick Google search for polygamous wombats however reveals an extract from the Australian Journal of Zoology which says that yes, wombats are polygamous.
Who knew?
So that’s the useless fact of the day, but it really has nothing to do with anything. Today’s goal is best summed up as, “I’m just messing with Google.”
Back before she fell off the planet, Z. would send the occasional email to bring me up to date on what sort of ads Google was currently displaying on my site. (Everyone needs a hobby.) For example, when I wrote about the evil Ice Cream store, Google reacted by displaying an ad for the very same chain. (Currently, reading about my war against the Red Cross reveals ads for various donor banks, histories of the American Revolution, and companies offering to trace any phone number.)
So I’m curious what Google do when confronted with the wombat situation. My guess is they’ll do what they usually do in these situations. But is there really a market for Wombat Ringtones?

My Secret Identity

It’s been obvious for a while that I need to disguise my true identity when I’m out protecting the planet. One of the more obvious reasons is the need to protect my loved ones. How can I be an effective guardian if the bad guys take my family as hostages? There are some practical concerns too. How do you keep your day job when every little kid in the city is calling you for help when their cat goes up a tree? (And believe me, you’re going to need that day job. Adamantium armor is expensive, and there aren’t very many grants available.)
So you’ve got to keep your identity to yourself. But how? Continue reading My Secret Identity

The Schweitzer Chronicles (pt 5)

Three months after we “sleighed” the shuttle, it became clear that folks thought we were still a going concern. So, it was time to enter another status report. I still wanted to have some fun with it though, so returning to form, I looked up the dialogue for the “Dead Parrot” sketch. I started off trying to rewrite the entire thing, but eventually decided to go with something a bit shorter. Continue reading The Schweitzer Chronicles (pt 5)

Oh Boy! Dog Food! That's my favorite!

I keep Wylie’s food in a plastic bin by the front door. The manufacturer promotes it as a way to keep pests out of the food while also keeping the food fresh. I’m more concerned about Wylie getting into the bag and knocking it over than I am about any sort of pests. As for freshness, the food doesn’t generally sit around long enough for that be an issue. (And is freshness really an issue with kibble?)
The main selling point for me was that the container seemed somewhat unlikely to fall over and create a mess for me to clean up. Open bags of dogfood aren’t generally all that stable. As a bonus, if anyone ever opens the closet door, they’ll immediately get the impression that I’m somewhat organized. That impression won’t last any longer than it takes them to look at the odds and ends stacked on the living room sofa, but those few seconds in between are what I’m shooting for.
Wylie’s usually pretty indifferent to the evening routine. We come back from our pre-dinner walk and while I go and get his dinner ready, he runs upstairs and jumps on the bed. He’ll get around to eating dinner in his own time.
This evening was special though. I’d just bought him a new bag of dog food and this evening I poured it into the storage bin. Wylie was fascinated by the entire procedure and by looking at his eyes, you could see what he was thinking: “For me? All of that’s for me?!”
Wylie’s very excited right now. I think he’s decided this means he gets to stay here for another month.
I hope he’ll stay quite a bit longer.