I ate my wafer...


So...someone in Minnesota has a 14 foot inflatable sheep. That sort of speaks for itsself, though I supect that the completely clueless owner hasn't taken into account the prank possibilties inherent in a giant inflatable animal, espicially if there are any 30 foot fiberglass statutes in the area to intimately combine with the sheep.

Sort of like the animated christmas reindeer...


Lawyer Day Camp and flat tires

So, last week I attended lawyer day camp, actually a weeklong seminar class mostly intended for people from developing countries. It literally did resemble day camp, with name tags, snack time, activitity time, and social interactions that were similar to a co-ed summer day camp for high schoolers. It was a lot of fun, a learned some stuff, met interesting people and made a cool macaroni picture in craft time. (Just kidding on the macaroni picture.)

Anyway, driving home in the GMC one night, I stopped to offer assistance to a broken down car, which is something I probably do once or twice a week. I pulled up behind the car, hopped out, and asked the driver if she needed anything, offering my tools/cell phone/knowledge. About halfway through my speil, I noticed that the passenger front tire was flat and asked if I could help change it. When I stopped talking, I noticed that the driver was staring at me in complete confusion and shock eventually mumbling that roadside assistance was already coming to change her tire.

It was at that point that I realized that I was still in full business attire with a dark grey suit, conservative red tie and white shirt. With my nametag from day camp hanging out of my shirt.


My Grandmother's Blacklist: Go Back Outside With A Gun And Kill It

Since people seemed to like the Grow-A-Frog post, here's another weird Bob story from the same time period:

So, when I was very young, I spent quite a bit of time living with my paternal grandparents when my mother was ill. Somewhere, I have a photograph from one of these extended visits where I'm sitting on my Grandfather's lap running a 9" Logan Lathe. Once I got older and started school, my parents decided to move into the country, which mostly by coincidences in the 1986 real estate market happened to only be about 400 yards down the road from my Grandmother. The result of this is that I got to spend a lot of my formative years spending time at my Grandparents, especially Saturday mornings in the machine shop. (I've had a hard time as an adult figuring out how to explain on resumes that I'm a competent machinist and toolmaker, but that I simply grew up around it and never was part of a formal apprenticeship/journeyman program.) Anyway, during this time, as part of a 30+ year period, my Grandparents had a succession of Black Labradors, and I obviously got to spend lots of time playing with them. When I was 2ish and staying with my grandparents for extended periods, the current Lab, Haussa, was fascinated by my toys and apparently spend long hours exploring the mysteries of my "Busy-Box". The last Lab we got when I was in Kindergarten, and I named him Tiger, since he bounced around like Tiger from Winnie the Pooh cartoons.

I certainly liked Tiger, though admittedly, he was not perfect. He was a bit unstable compared to his predecessors, and prone to eating non-edible objects, drinking binges involving fermented apples, and destroying trees via methodical urination. On the upside, he was my dog, and his faults at least made him interesting when compared to the Grow-A-Frogs. Up to a point, as an only child in a rural area, that's about as good as it gets. I have all sorts of stories I could tell about Tiger antics, but mainly I just wanted to introduce him.

Likewise, a bit of background on my grandmother: she is the first generation of her family born in the United States, worked through World War II as a millwright eventually becoming a skilled machinist. Following the War, she met and married my Grandfather, and eventually bought a former Blacksmith's house and buildings, which became a small tool and die shop that she actively worked in alongside my Grandfather. Somewhat in contrast to her technical background, she retains a variety of German farm traditions and superstitions, including a secret, internal, blacklist of wild animals that simply shall not be permitted to live due to their propensity to violate her standards of cleanliness by spreading disease, or her standards of efficiency due to their propensity to eat garden plants.

I first discovered the blacklist during a Saturday morning visit when I was about 11. Apparently during the previous week, Tiger had been trying to communicate that there was "something" in the small barn that had originally held horses waiting for new shoes, but was now used to store the tractor and various lawn equipment. At my Grandmother's instructions, my Dad and I checked the building, and discovrered a very large Raccoon had taken up residence on the second floor. At this point, my Dad, either concerned about the urban setting, or out of ethical concerns about the possibly pregnant raccoon sent me to talk to my grandmother for instructions. I found her in the kitchen, merilly baking and cooking lunch. She was in kindly grandmother mode, with a spoon in one hand, smiling, looking every bit like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting:

Eleven-Year Old Bob: Ahh, Granny, we looked in the barn, and there's this big raccoon


She enunciated it very slowly as if I was probably switched at birth, and at a minimum extremely stupid, that I even asked what do with a blacklisted animal. She then immediately turned around and went back to whatever she was doing, at which point I slipped out of the kitchen, feeling like I was a mafia minion just receiving instructions to whack an informer.

There's some funny parts about the events inside the barn when I returned, but in the interests of brevity, the actual mechanics of the raccoon's death were handled by my Dad while I backed him up with my grandmother's shotgun. Once we had removed the raccoon's bullet riddled corpse from the barn, my grandmother appeared, took a look at the raccoon (I assume to make sure that she didn't need to go kill it herself), presented us with a pie, and sent us home for lunch.