Grocery Store Weirdness

Ever find yourself buying some weird and seemingly random combination of items at the grocery store?  Typically it’s because you ran out of some critical items needed for dinner that night and didn’t want to make a full trip.  And while you are at the store you remember a couple of other things you’re almost out of.  So you stand in line looking sheepish as the 16 year old cashier eyes your half and half, worcestershire sauce, peanut butter, aspirin and tampons.  It’s okay, I’m sure he’s seen stranger things.

Lately it seems like I’ve frequently been in line behind people with some bizarre dietary habits.  While unloading my cart at a SuperTarget one day, I noticed that the man in front of me had nine cans of beef ravioli, a gallon of milk, six Hot Pockets and a block of cheddar cheese.  I’m guessing his typical breakfast consists of coffee and cigarettes.  I was concerned that he might actually have a heart attack before leaving the check-out lane.  After the cashier rang up the cheese, he put it in his jacket pocket, rather than having it bagged.  A small snack for later, perhaps?

At another grocery store I stood behind an elderly man who was purchasing eight boxes of store brand shredded wheat and little else.  His colon must be as clean as a whistle.  And of course there was the woman who had two large cases of cat food but little human food.  And no, don’t go there.  At Costco a few days ago, I stood behind one couple purchasing only a case of water and in front of a family buying only a three pound block of cheese.  Neither of these was odd in and of itself, but who buys one item at Costco?  It’s the last place I would go to pick up a single item, especially on a weekend.

But today I saw a purchase that may just take the prize.  We were out running a number of errands and made a quick stop at the grocery store on the way home.  Our purchase was rather pedestrian – a package of bagels and some club soda.  The middle aged woman in front of us?  Two frozen pizzas and a bottle of Jack Daniels.  I hope it’s a date night.

Locos Por el Arte

Sorry to keep you in suspense.  Yes, our floors did get finished.  They finally left at 6:30 PM, too late for us to make our usual Tuesday Happy Hour stop at Padre’s.  The floors look great but the collateral damage was higher than I expected.  We have someone coming next week to repair the drywall in our stairwell.  There is also a lot of paint touch-up that needs to be done.  We spent all day Wednesday and Thursday cleaning and putting all of our furniture back in place.  I’ll be finding sawdust in crevices for the next month.  But things are finally getting back to normal.

So today we went to the Tempe Festival of the Arts.  It’s a huge art fair that takes place twice a year near the ASU campus in Tempe.  Being a large show, it covers a pretty broad range of stuff.  You can buy anything from handmade kid’s clothes to metal yard art to cactus jelly to fine jewelry or paintings costing thousands of dollars.  I always park in the same spot and walk it in the same pattern.  I skip past 80% of the booths with barely a glance.  Hats for dogs?  Really?  Handpainted refrigerator magnets?  No thanks, I’ll pass.  Flattened wine bottles as wall art?  WTF??

To be fair (pun intended), even the kitschy stuff looks reasonably well made and not like total crap.  Although I can’t say I’ve looked at any of it that closely.  We did find a few nice paintings.  One artist did brilliantly colored paintings on silk for very reasonable prices.  Her subject matter was primarily southwestern scenes.  It’s really tricky to do fun and whimsical art without crossing the line into cutesy.  But this artist nailed it.  I could have bought out half her booth but settled on one painting for us and one for a gift.  The other piece we bought for ourselves was a HUGE painting of 5 kachinas.  Don’t ask how we managed to get it home.

We also found a great Thai restaurant nearby.  Or at least it seemed nearby when we drove past it in the car on the way to the art fair.  It seemed a lot farther away when we decided to walk to it instead of taking the car.  But it’s always nice to get in a little walk after lunch.  We have this ongoing quest to find great Thai food in any city we visit.  (Number one so far was in Amsterdam, there’s also a great place in Memphis)  This place is definitely worth a return visit.

So tonight we relax, for tomorrow we hang.  The paintings, I mean.

The Siege Continues

Day two trapped on the third floor, food running low, suffocating on dust, constant noise assault…

It’s really not fun being a prisoner in your own home.  The floor installers worked until 6:00 PM yesterday.  I was really starting to fade from hunger by the time they left.  I had planned to make something simple for dinner (pasta) but when we went downstairs and surveyed the chaos in progress, which included a thick layer of dust over EVERYTHING, it just seemed too overwhelming to clean the entire kitchen and then make dinner.  So we ordered from Dominos.  Now I need to work that off in addition to the five pounds of turkey from Thanksgiving.

My heart sank a little when I saw the second floor.  The carpet was gone and a sound absorbing pad had been glued down, but not a single board had been laid.  Plus the expensive drapes and sheers had been tied into large knots to keep them off the floor.  I really wasn’t expecting the dust either.  It’s an engineered hardwood floor, so no sanding or sealing is required.  Which is great, because when we had our floors refinished in Minnesota, the smell literally drove me out of the house for three days.  What I didn’t account for was that the removal of the carpet and prepping of the subfloor would create a dust layer that will take a week of cleaning to remove.

When we ventured down to the first floor, I was gratified to see that the hardwood was installed there and only trim work remained.  There was a barricade of loose boards surrounding the floor, presumably to keep us from walking on it.  (The first floor is concrete, so the hardwood is glued down.  The second floor will be nailed down)  It looks AMAAAZING!!  So I am hopeful for the end result.  Wait, there’s the doorbell – got to run.

That was fun.  The front door was blocked by loose boards and a large bucket of glue.  I had to snake 2 large UPS boxes through the maze and back up to our fortress on the third floor.  Now my stomach is loudly reminding me that I haven’t eaten for almost six hours.  I’m not sure what option is better – trying to escape from the house and get lunch somewhere or trying to put together lunch in our dust covered kitchen.  Plus the dust is really starting to irritate my sinuses and throat.  Oh, did I mention that the dust set off the smoke detector this morning?  Dam, that thing is loud.

Oh please oh please oh please let them finish today.

A Minor Inconvenience

Right now we’re trapped on the third floor.  Okay, technically we’re not trapped, but 3 men have ripped out all of the carpet on the first and second floor and are currently engaged in some serious noise making.  Hopefully this means we will have new hardwood floors by the end of day tomorrow.  We shoved all of our living room furniture into the dining room last night, in preparation for what was supposed to be a 7:30 AM start time this morning.  Around 7:15 we received a voicemail informing us that the crew had to finish another job this morning and wouldn’t be arriving until 11:00 or 12:00.  Of course this meant they showed up just before 1:00.  So it’s not off to a brilliant start.  It’s supposed to be a 2 day job or less, but I’m not sure if that requires a 7:30 AM start on both days.

Our third floor is more equipped for sleeping than hanging out.  Two ensuite bedrooms take up most of the space.  Even I can only hang out in bed for so long.  Especially with all the banging.  Fortunately, we do have an extra wide landing area, which we saw fit to equip with a comfortable armchair and small desk.  The original thought was to provide a little semi-private space for guests.  The guest bedroom is only big enough to fit the bed and a pair of nightstands, so this is sort of an overflow area suitable for reading or working on a computer.  It also gives us a spot for a “real” workstation, because a laptop can get a little limiting at times.  It was a lifesaver when I did the final proofing on my latest photobook.  I caught a few cropping issues that I never would have noticed on my laptop.

Wait, did I hear a saw for a second?  That almost sounded like real work.  The guy with the truck had to run out and get the glue (something they were supposed to do 2 weeks ago) and I was starting to think that the remaining two guys were just sitting on the floor and making banging noises to create the illusion of work.  In theory, it shouldn’t matter how long this takes, since we are paying for a finished job and not by the hour.  But as a practical matter, maintaining sanity while being confined to a relatively small space is something best left to astronauts and prison inmates.  I’m not really aspiring to be either.

Thanks, I Think

Hopefully everyone survived the Thanksgiving holiday more or less intact.  I think it’s one of those love it or hate it holidays.  Although that’s probably true for most holidays, they tend to bring out strong emotions in everyone.  People with dysfunctional families tend to dread holiday get-togethers.  Thanksgiving doesn’t have the disaster potential that most gift giving occasions do, but there’s still the peril that comes when people overeat and drink, giving them an excuse to start pushing each others’  buttons.  And nobody knows how to push your buttons like your nearest and dearest.

I can’t say I have any epically bad holiday memories.  No drunken leering uncles or sloppy kissing aunts.  Most of my childhood holiday memories are pretty happy.  Utterly and completely dull.  Certainly nothing to blog about.  Sooo, what to write about?  I could write about things I’m thankful for, but that’s sappy at best and sort of braggy at worst.  So I’ll take a pass on that as well.  I could do something sarcastic about things I’m not thankful for, but it’s too easy to cross the line into obnoxious.  Besides, I’m pleasantly full of turkey rice soup and it’s making me kind of sleepy.  Not really the right frame of mind for sarcastic commentary.

I did hit two milestones today, which is making me feel quite smug and full of myself.  First, and most importantly, I finished my photo book.  WOO HOO!  That had pretty much occupied the majority of my time since we returned from Minnesota on Monday night.  To say it feels like 50 pounds off my back would be an understatement.  I’ve managed multi-million dollar software projects that were less stressful than doing this book.  I have gone over it with tweezers and a microscope, looking for flaws.  I’m sure I’ll find at least one in the printed version.  But for the sake of my sanity, I have to let it go.

My other accomplishment was completing my Christmas shopping.  Sure, I’m still waiting on a few things that are in transit and I have to buy a few gift cards, but the real work is done.  I even started wrapping today, something I usually do at the last minute.  So all in all, it’s been a great day.

Now I just have to start working off the 5 pounds of turkey.

A couple more of my detail photos from the book.

Answer Spam Part 4

Last post on spam comments.  (For now, anyway)

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Pretty sure you’ve never written anything close to one of my posts.  Nice try.

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I didn’t say I was looking anything.  If I was, it wouldn’t be called graphic bomb.

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So do I.  So do I.

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Feck off then.

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Twisted brain.  Nuff said.

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I guess that makes you stupid, Tilburg.

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Step 1 – install WordPress  Step 2 – start blogging  Feel free to express your gratitude by sending me large amounts of cash in small, unmarked bills.

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No.  All content is owned by me.  Copy anything and I’ll sue your ass.

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So do you like it genuinely or truly?  Make up your damn mind.

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Maybe.  If I actually used links.

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Glad you like my wite.

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I. Hate. Cold. Weather.  Can’t make it any clearer than that.  Say, do you know Tilburg?

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Answer Spam Part 3

My post on Starbucks seems to have generated the most spam comments, I’m assuming they used a keyword search.

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You’re doing a project on Starbucks and you found my snarky post to be useful?  Good luck with the fact checking on that.

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New coffee resources?  Starbucks is new to you?  What planet are you visiting from?

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I’m going to take a wild guess here – you work in the marketing department for Starbucks?

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I never dreamed I’d become such on authority on Starbucks, based on one blog post.  PS – if this is typical of your writing, I’m predicting you will fail this class.

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Actually, you can thank WordPress.  This layout is right out of the box.

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Don’t study it too closely.  It may rot your brain.

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The only related articles are in my head.  I don’t like to comment people my brain.

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No, I didn’t mention that.  What the hell blog were you reading?

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I hope you didn’t hurt yourself when you stumbled upon my blog.  I’d hate to get sued.

Answer Spam Part 2

My responses to more spam comments.

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You have a college assignment about flying to Miami to see the Indy Car season finale?  What a crazy coincidence!  Glad I could help.

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That’s really spooky, it almost seems like you actually read my post (Home Away From Home).  Wait, I bet you used a key word search to find posts mentioning Phoenix.  Sneaky devil.

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You know how I love to share informations.  Bookmark away!

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It’s a pleassure to be read.

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The really amazing part is that I essentially make seriously articles by doing research almost exclusively inside my own head.  It does make fact checking a real bitch.

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Thank yiu for reading.  Can’t say much about the spelling.

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One of the best bloggers?  You must not spend much time on the internet.

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I prefer not to steal any camera gear, lest I get arrested. (go with Canon)

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I don’t know Cornelius, but with a name like that, I doubt he’s the greatest at anything.

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From inside my own twisted mind.  That way no one can steal my material

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Okay, that’s just weird.

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Wow, you’re a real suck-up.  Glad you think my internet is wonderful.

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That’s nice.  Start your own damn blog about it and get off of mine.

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I’m pretty sure no one would pay me to write a book about this crap.  Only my mother would buy a copy.

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I didn’t understand any of that.

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Tell it to your shrink.

Answer Spam Part 1

Since we’ll be driving back to Phoenix on Sunday and Monday, I thought I’d queue up a couple more Spam commentary posts to keep you amused while I’m offline.  I put the Spam in italics for clarity, but really it’s not necessary because if I started writing like they do, you would be sending men in white coats to pick me up.

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No, thank you for sucking up to me.  It feeds my voracious ego.

Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success.

Wow, how profound.  Not sure how that relates to my blog, but thanks for the insight.

i’m making use of oprea web-browser

It might work better if you knew how to spell it correctly.

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Glad to know that my aimless rambling is useful to you.  Could you please tell me what field you think I’m in?

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I don’t waste my time playing mindless computer games.  I waste it writing blog posts.

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Oh please, tell me what you’re going to do.  The suspense is killing me.

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Great!  Let me know what you think after you check “it” out, whatever “it” is.



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Glad to know I included required Facts in my random thoughts.  Please return my guide when you finish with it.

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Awww.  You made me blush.

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A prime resource?  Now I’m really blushing.

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Oh, you’ll see plenty more about this.

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Funny, it works on my iPhone.  Must be user error.  I can’t really help you with that.

Hi there! Is it alright that I go a bit off topic? I am trying to view your website on my iPad but it doesn’t display properly, do you have any suggestions? Thanks for the help I hope!

Maybe you should talk to Angel.  You seem to have a lot in common.

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Could you people at least write some unique text when you’re fishing for my email address?

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Wow, you’re the second person who finds my ascendancy profoundly much an ardour.  I hope it’s not anything contagious.


My blog spam took a new turn for the bizarre a few months ago.  I started getting comments in Russian, Cyrillic alphabet and all.  So, just for fun, I’ve tried translating some of them online.  Here are a few examples with my responses:

Original version:  Отличная статья! большое спасибо автору за интересный материал. Удачи в развитии!!!

Translation: Excellent Article!  Thank you very much the author for the interesting material. Good luck in development!!!

I would be flattered if I was naive enough to think you actually read what I wrote.  Nice try though.

Original version: Кстати я нашел это видео и весь день ржал )) для сайта

Translation: By the way I found this video and all day ржал)) for the site

Wow, you found a video for my site, how nice.  Too bad I don’t use video and I’m not stupid enough to click on your link.  (Apparently ржал doesn’t translate well.  Probably a naughty word anyway.)

Original version:  Здравствуйте У меня есть проблема. У меня сайт учебной тематики про Рефераты и я хочу создать блог где будут собиратся новости с других блогов по рсс ленте.  Вопрос – можно ли я буду брать у вас новости 1-3 в неделю если они новые. ? Аудитория будущего блога люди 13-22 лет.

Translation: Good day from me there is a problem. I have web-site training of about referats and I want a блог where will собиратся news from other: the CCF tape. Question: Can I shall take you News 1-3 in a week if they are new. ? Audience future disk people 13-22 years.

I’m sorry you have a problem.  Unfortunately I don’t know what referats are and my online translator crapped out on блог and собиратся, so I’m afraid I can’t really help you.  Maybe you should try writing in English next time, since you must know it if you’re reading my blog.

Original version: Я не нашла гостевой поэтому пишу тут. Какой толк от регистрации у вас если можно писать комментарии сразу на новости ?

Translation: I have not been guest therefore write here. What is of registration for you if you could write comments immediately on news?

Hmm, I’m going to take a wild guess here and assume that you’re asking what it takes to get comments posted.  It takes a human being actually reading what I wrote and making a legitimate comment on it.  Pretty simple really.  Oh, did I mention the comment needs to be written in English?

Original version: У вас только 1 сайт – “” и все ?

Translation: You have only 1 site – “justjacque. about and all?

Yes, just the one site.  I’m not a robot and I’m not trying to make money doing this.

Original version:  Привет. Скажите пожалуйста как сделать так что на главной была короткая запись а не полный анонс статьи. Вот у вас я смотрел на главной лишь часть статьи а у меня она полная и читать неудобно.

Translation: Hello. Please tell me how to make that the main was short record rather than full Annensky, Innokenty article. That is you I looked at the main only part of the article and for me it full and read inconvenient.

Not familiar with Annensky, Innokenty article but it sounds like you’re complaining that you can’t see a full post.  Too bad you’re not a real person and I don’t help spambots.

Original version: Хотелось бы читать ГРАМОТНЫЙ текст! В словарях, например, пишется «ЕДИНИЦА». Слегка омерзительно читать тексты с подобными ошибками!

Translation: Would like to read literate text! In a dictionary, for example, goes «единица». Slightly омерзительно read texts with such errors!

Are you implying that my text is not literate?  How nice that your dictionary goes «единица», mine doesn’t.  I don’t know from омерзительно, but my read texts are without errors.

Original version: Красивый сайт мне понравился !

Translation: Beautiful site I liked!

Now that’s better.  At least your BS is polite.  Thanks!

And finally, one post in German (translated version only):

Hey, I found your site is at Yahoo. You really a class web site, will be the one or other times dropping here! Your Posts are also real top! Love Gruss

Why thanks, Gruss.  I look forward to you one or other times dropping here.