Thursday, January 22, 2015

More On The Microwave Oven Debacle

So I did a bit of experimenting with the microwave oven last night.

I'l spare you the technical details as they would involve barrowsful of dense jargon that you would never need again. In layman's terms I plugged the microwave's power cord into a heavy-duty extension cord1 then plugged the other end of that extension cord into various different power outlets in the kitchen, attempting to coax the microwave into showing signs of life at each one by hitting it smartly in the time-honored Slap of Electrical Implement Repair and then muttering some class one Words of Power to ward off anti-handyman demons in the vain hope they would go away so the microwave would start working again.

What I gained over the course of the twenty minutes or so this took was the following insights:

a) There are too many empty soda bottles littered about the floor of the kitchen. Someone could turn an ankle.

2) There is never an Ace Elastic Bandage around when you need one to strap up a turned ankle.

♣) The malfunction of the sockets might have been the result of a treacherous mutiny on the part of the microwave inducing a short that threw the breaker, said breaker perhaps being in need of replacement as the latch is dodgy and doesn't reset properly when recycled. I found one such breaker when the coffee machine refused to start the other day and it is quite possible the outlets involved are on the same circuit as those the fridge and microwave used to be plugged into.

So a bit more poking around with a voltmeter is needed, in conjunction with a bit of work inside Mr Breakerbox. Lovely.

All of which will have to wait ten days because tomorrow Mrs Stevie and I head out for our second annual trip to Florida. We are fed up to the back teeth with shouting and arguing with each other in Chateau Stevie, which leaves us with only two choices: Major dental surgery or relocation to somewhere not inside Chateau Stevie for a bit.

And it's so hard to find a dentist on Long Island these days.

  1. Originally intended to couple car block heaters to power outlets in Canada2
  2. To stop the engine freezing solid and rupturing or the oil going so hard the engine won't turn over for luvner money

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Operative Word is "Late"

I just received an email and a text (formatted as a slide show for reasons I can't begin to fathom). They are identical in content, which reads:

The 4:51PM train from Penn due Ronkonkoma at 6:04PM is operating 11 minutes late due to a late late ahead experiencing equipment trouble.

I wish I could invent stuff half this good.

I wish I didn't have to ride the Bloody Long Island Railroad even more. Fortunately, the said mass-transit joke is working tirelessly to reduce the incidence of trains to help me reach that goal.

My day has been so full that I shall now be forced into traveling into Penn Station, there to catch the late late late or possibly the late late late late, depending on how late the subway system is running.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Stop The New Year, I Wanna Get Off

Gad this year is sucking and it's only two weeks old.

I already mentioned the busted camera fiasco and the dinged Steviemobile debacle. Those happened last year, but turned out to be harbingers of the levels of complete and utter suck that would prevail in 2015.

Example: On the 7th I left my car at the body shop to be fixed. Freezing weather immediately moved in so that any delay in being met by whoever was picking me up became an exercise in not dying, there being no windbreaks or shelter in the area after dark. When I picked up the car on Saturday, it turned out they had removed my car antenna, probably to put it through a car wash. When I found it on the back seat and went to screw it back into its mount, I found that the rubber mount seal had become brittle over the 12 years I've owned the car, and it had cracked in several places. So I have that to replace.

Example: That night we got a call from the Mrs Steviemom saying she had crashed her car into her house. We drove over with visions of the car sitting in the living room. It turned out the car was not in the house, but in the driveway. The house had only a small dent in it. The car however was looking much sadder. It had hooked up on the jamb of the garage door, and at that point probably only about a couple of hundred dollars of cosmetic dings and broken plastic clips had been done. But then, in a move last seen in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World it had been backed away from the garage, ripping off the entire front of the car. About two grand's worth of damage.

Example: Yesterday, at around 10 pm, the circuit into which the fridge and the microwave are plugged failed. An hour screwing around with a voltmeter in the breaker box showed no problems there. Somewhere a wire has broken, or burned through, or been gnawed through by varmints. I have no idea which of the fossil breakers in the box control those two outlets (and apparently only those two outlets). I put in a new circuit a few years back to accommodate the dishwasher and toaster oven so that the breaker would stop tripping when the fridge compressor kicked in, but I never labelled the breakers. I know where the new ones are but Azathoth alone knows which of the damn things operates those dead sockets. Fun lies in the near future for me in a rewiring job from Hell.

Example: Six o'clock this morning I woke up sneezing. My nose hasn't stopped itching like crazy inside all day and I've produced about 20 gallons of snot from it. Just in time for the three day weekend.

Example: Seven o' clock this morning Mrs Stevie announces that the burner in the furnace has shut down and the house is noticeably cold so I agree with her. A quick check with Mr Thermostat: 65°f. I do all the quick and easy things and then say we need the furnace repair guy to come and put in a new thermocouple. Mr Stevie arranges this1 and the furnace repair guy arrives just as I leave for work.

So, as far as 2015 is concerned: I want my money back.

  1. She called him and he said "Oh yeah, I remember you. You're the people who have a problem every year. So much for Slant Fin furnaces

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Xmas Report 2014, Pt II

In The Aftermath Of Santa

Christmas Day dawned and the sleepers of Chateau Stevie were not brought out of hibernation by an excited child as in previous years, so we slept in.

We got up late, whereupon Mrs Stevie announced we were going to church to see The Stevieling do a turn as Assistant Pastor. I did some pro forma whining but the truth is that I'm always in the mood to watch The Stevieling in action, being about as proud of her as it is possible to be1, and even though I have no belief that anything in me will survive death I like to sing the carols so a Christmas Service isn't such a terrible thing to endure.

The service was short too, which was good because we'd come out with no breakfast inside us. The Stevieling did very well except for the bit where during her reading she read something twice, then interrupted herself by saying "Oh, I read that already", after which I was plagued by the image of the angel going over to the shepherds and saying "I bring you tidings of great joy! To you a savior is born this night in Bethlehem! I bring you tidings of groh I did that bit already."

It certainly made keeping my mind on the sermon hard.

There was also the question of the tunes. Lutherans sing all the same carols normal people do, the same ones I'd been forced to learn and sing in my youth in those glory days of Mandatory State Religion Worship. But they sometimes use the wrong tunes to sing them to. This makes singing the blasted things hard.

I used to just sing the tunes I knew louder than everyone else, a task made easier than might be thought by the fact that most of the congregation sing carols and hymns softly in case they wake up God and annoy him, whereas I don't think there's anyone to wake and so belt out Oh Little Town of Bethlehem and Silent Night in a voice Ozzy Osborne would be proud of2. Naturally, this could cause problems if, as has happened, I dropped the hymnal and simultaneously forgot the words, but in that event I simply sang "Lobster Thermidor" over and over3 until I remembered where I was in the song.

However, Mrs Stevie had put her foot down after the humiliation of The Away In A Manger Fiasco some years before and I had to read the music and work out how it worked or shut up. So that's what I did, and it was a great triumph as I was in fine voice. A little flat, perhaps, but what I lacked in accuracy I made up for in decibels. Mrs Stevie complained, but then again she always does.

Back home and it was present opening time.

We had agreed that we wouldn't go crazy with presents this year, so naturally the pile of boxes under the tree had grown to huge proportions as each person tried to smuggle their present ambush munitions in unseen.

I had presented Mrs Stevie with a large flat screeen TV, a surround sound soundbar, the furniture to put it all on and a Blu-Ray player. She was a bit put out that this meant deep sixing the old surround sound, which was actually better for the sound panorama, but the old system a) was part of a malfunctioning DVD player that annoyed the living heck out of me, 2) would not connect easily or well with the new TV and þ) was too big to fit in the new TV stand anyway. She became more enamored of the system when she found out she could watch Netflix on it, as the TV integrated with our WiFi network out of the box.

But I knew she'd like a stocking stuffer or two so I bought her an Elton John concert on Blu-Ray and a copy of Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing, a favorite movie of hers. I also bought her a book called Diabalries, which was a collection of digitally restored stereoscopic pictures of dioramas of scenes from Hell, first created at the end of the 1800s. The book contained lots of text about the pictures and included a sturdy steroscope with which to view the panels. It was the sort of quirky and neat present we used to find for each other when the world was new, we were newlyweds and Mrs Stevie knew nothing about Starbux and their mood-altering products.

I gave The Stevieling a book on the art used in the movie Frozen, a thumb drive disguised as one of the characters from that movie and the cash she needed to go and see her boyfriend5.

They bought me the Hess Trucks I'd asked for and an iPad air - something I'd looked at but dismissed as unattainable. Given our "no presents this year" pledge I thought my TV ambush had won the bragging rights, but I had been undercut and overtaken by this breathtaking iPad Ploy.

I also got scads of chocolate goodies, which I ate and made myself quite ill because I'd run out of my statin drug of necessity and the avalanche of fat caused the onset of the unmistakable signs of an attack of pancreatitis a few days later. But as I always say: what's the point of being given life if you can't throw it away stupidly?

We put ourselves in a good mood by watching Much Ado About Nothing on the new telly, then went over to the Mrs Steviedad's place so Mrs Stevie could make Xmas Dinner for everyone. We do this because the in-laws are too old to come over to ours as they did in former years. I took my laptop and new iPad so I could start moving some of my pdf textbooks over to it.

Upon arriving we carried in all the food and made our hellos, then, while Mrs Stevie and her Mom chatted I figured out how me and the Mrs Steviedad could watch an episode from the Band of Brothers Blu-Ray set we'd given him. We got about three minutes in to the running up Currahee bit before the women arrived in-theater, unloaded Band of Brothers and replaced it with some insipid movie about Christopher Reeves going back and forth in time so he can conduct an unbeliveably tedious affair with a woman.

I decamped for the front room and my iPad. Mrs Stevie did attempt a Don't you like this movie?6 gambit, but I cut her off at the knees with a heartfelt You must be bleeping kidding!7 and she retreated to leave me the bleep alone.

It took me about an hour to get the books moved, some of which was finding out that iTunes was the conduit for all PC-iPad communication (at least, hardwired communication) and then finding out how to work iTunes all over again, since I had foolishly allowed it to upgrade itself after months of nagging in full knowledge of what had been done to me the last time I was so idiotic as to say "OK". Once again the interface had been completely changed and it had taken me a long time just to find out how to display my music collection the way I want to in the bloody thing.

Why the bleep do software providers foist this never-ending unwanted set of changes on the user? Microsoft do it every time they upgrade Office to the point I won't use it any more if I have the option because I can't find anything in the revamped and completely bleeped-up menu. I can understand Apple wanting to fiddle about under the hood, but why would they assume that they know better than me what I need from my music player software?

It's not as though the changes fix any of the borked and unuseful user interface stuff anyway. All they've done is make everything different for difference's sake and force me to learn a new set of operations, typically making them harder-to-use, to get the same effect.

Building a playlist used to be a simple drag-and-drop thing. Then they changed the main window display and everything became tedious, as the window was never scrolled to where I needed it, or if it was the sidebar was scrolled to hide the playlist.

The cure? Not fix the display because, well, that was new and by definition "better". No, what had to change was the drap-and-drop mechanism. Now you build playlists using a drag and drop from the other side of the screen. Nothing is improved by this. Just annoyingly different. All the problems gthat the old method had are present in mirror image in the new one.

And yesterday I had to work doubletime to clean up a mess originally precipitated by the Amazon Music App, which sports an interface so mind bogglingly unfit for purpose I wonder how the Bright Young Things responsible haven't been found face-down in the mud of some tidal estuary.

My problem with it is this: There is no clear way to find the music I just bought from Amazon in mpeg format and differentiate it from music I bought weeks or years ago in CD form but sold with the "Autorip" value-added feature. Briefly, when Amazon sells one a CD they sometimes offer a downloadable version of the recording for free.

This is an excellent service, one I approve of, and certainly is not cause for approbation. Unfortunately, when one is forced to buy a downloadable version rather than a CD, one is then forced into installing the Amazon Music App in order to get the music from Amazon's cloudy goodness into one's personal electronic device.

"But Stevie", I hear you say. "Why not just stream it in from the cloud?"

"Because I do not have - nor do I accept the need for - a permanent persistent connection to the internet just to play an album Chris Squire recorded before you were born!" I rudely reply, cueing you that perhaps my tolerance for new technology has hit some Old Person arbitrary limit and I am not going to be susceptible to "reason" concerning persistent internet issues.

Anyway, when I pull up this bally app it shows me a button to download my purchases - say the Squeeze album I had a passing yen to hear again. When I click on that it downloads my Squeeze album, and every other album I've bought that has Autorip enabled.

The app is a nightmare of one-way navigation paths too, so if I move away from the download panel - perhaps to look for some help feature - I cannot find a way back to it again. This is annoying because I've already sucked those albums into iTunes the old-fashioned way, and have folders of mp4a files under the iTunes "music" folder.

No problem. Amazon's app uses its own folder to stash this content as mp3 files. It's all organized so you can sort it out.

Unfortunately, iTunes finds them and copies them into folders in its library folder. But wait! There's already a folder there containing mp4as of that content! No problem, iTunes will simply interleave the mp3s from Amazon with the mp4as it made itself. Then, in a move so stupendously unhelpful it beggars the imagination all over again, it imports the tracks into the iTunes user interface so whatever album it is has each track listed twice. And if I play the album, it will play each track twice8.

Convinced that this was in fact behavior caused by some switch I'd set, or perhaps that had been set for me when so much else of the bloody thing was changed, I rooted through iTunes to see what was what. After 20 minutes I was convinced that all the switches were set properly and that this was some dimwit functionality Apple was doing behind the scenes with one of the umptytump "helper services" it installs silently when you install iTunes9.

Lest you think I'm being harsh, consider: The music library My Music contains both the Amazon folder and, nested a few levels deep, the iTunes one. Windows media player can find both without any problem. The Amazon Music App can find both without any problem. And the secret Apple file buggerer-upperer can find both, which poses the question; why can't bloody iTunes find both and simply link without copying content around?

You see, in order to sort out this bleeping mess, if the content hadn't moved I would just need to delete the folders in the Amazon library folder that were duplicates. But because iTunes makes copies, wasting space for no good reason, screwing up the album experience for no good reason, I had to drill into the iTunes library too and delete only the mp3 files that were duplicates - a lengthy and manually intensive process - then pull up iTunes and delete the albums from the user interface, then re-import them.

People have stopped gibbering the Apple Mantra10 at me because I interrupt them by snarling the word "iTunes".

Anyway, all that messing around with iTunes tired me out almost as much as recapitulating it all here has, so, overcome with ennui and fed up with typing I'll just say we had a nice dinner11 and then went home.

  1. Even if she is breaking my heart by quitting school in NY and moving to another state and maybe emigrating to Canada but she's not sure and I'm not allowed to be negative about it all because she's a grown woman now so that's that
  2. Assuming Mr Osbourne had a tin ear, no sense of timing and a problem staying in the same key as everyone else
  3. A trick suggested by someone who had been in congregations featured in Songs of Praise4
  4. A televised service from a different church each Sunday evening for those unable or unwilling to actually go to church but still of a mind to partake of a weekly dose of Mandatory Religion
  5. This so she would stop trying to hijack our us-only vacation and repurpose it to her needs
  6. This an attempt to throw me on the defensive and make me explain my reasons why I didn't think Christopher Reeve is a compelling use of my time
  7. Which, of course, is as much of an explanation as any reasonable person would need
  8. Remember the Apple Mantra: It just works
  9. A practice Microsoft and Symantec (Norton) and McAffee get screamed at in public for doing for much better reasons than Apple have
  10. ibid
  11. Mrs Stevie makes great dinners if she can keep her urge to experiment with the ingredients tightly under control, but Mrs Beaton help you if she gets creative

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Xmas Report, 2014

Ho! Ho!

It's Christmas Again!

Or was, about three weeks ago. I'd have posted my usual effusively gushing report of merrymaking and excessive consumerism in a World Gone Mad but stuff got in the way.

Christmas Eve was the usual family affair, with Mrs Stevie at work, The Stevieling making herself scarce and me, having taken the day off, trying to make a dent in the crap strewn about our house in an attempt to achieve scenic congruence with Bikini Atoll shortly after the Castle Bravo event.

I shoveled and vacuumed and swore until about 4pm, when The Stevieling swanned into theater, announced she was going to her grandmother's and demanded to know my own ETA at that venue of in-law reunion, once yearly catching-up and loot exchange. I may have been a little short in my response, as I was feeling a bit out of sorts having been waiting in vain for her to join me in removing her crap from my Xmas Eyeline.

In any event she hotly denied any of the stuff on the kitchen table was hers1 and stomped off leaving me searching my lexicon for the exactly apposite Word of Power to express my lack of confidence in her denials of ownership.

Some time later Mrs Stevie hove into view, her attitude somewhere south of "Blitzkreig" owing to a day long surfeit of idiots and Starbux Xmas Cinnamon Triple Clawhammer Latté Grandes, which it appeared she'd been hitting continuously since around 11 am in defiance of good sense and medical advice.

We exchanged a few desultory insults and got changed, she into a Christmas-themed sweater and me into a golf shirt and the same jeans I'd been cleaning house in, and I drove us over to the Mrs Steviedad's house, parking behind The Stevieling's car.

From the fleet of cars parked in the driveway I could see that BiL the Younger was there with the crew

They had driven down from somewhere barely not in Canada that day, so his kids (all grown up into late teens and early twenties) were all tired and shagged-out after having gotten up in the middle of the bloody night in order to get here.

Now it had been asked of us that we get together at four, but no-one who had a job could manage that, not Mrs Stevie, not BiL the Elder, and not me either given that my day off had been spent working twice as intensely as I would have if I'd gone into the office - and if I had they'd have been lucky to see me before 8pm. So we'd apologized and said we'd get there as soon as we could.

I could understand that the Northeastern Maritimes crew would want to get started on dinner and present exchange etc as soon as possible as they would be dead on their seats by 9pm, but the scheduling is all their own doing and is predicated on their not wanting to spend more time than absolutely necessary with Mrs Stevie's side of the family.

I can sort of understand why, my Mother-in-Law having been a little more critical of my Sister-in-Law than Pope Paul III was of Henry the Eighth, but the time squeeze and long day was, as in previous years, not of my doing and I have little patience with being given a hard time by whoever is out of sorts this time, which turned out to be the middle daughter, who gave us the bounty of about two whole sentences the entire evening and avoided returning my greeting to her by playing Minecraft at me.

Oh well, maybe she'll have come around by next Christmas, though the reasons for meeting are becoming less compelling as the years go by and it may be this was the last we'll see of each other. Her loss.

BiL the Elder and spouse rolled up eventually and the adults enjoyed themselves having fun while the various younger "adults" interacted or not with each other and sometimes everyone else. I felt sorry for The Stevieling, who was at one time inseparable from The Minecrafter and who was probably feeling the snub harder than anyone else.

Eventually it was time to eat, then time to exchange gifts. Now the kids are grown this has become a much shorter ceremony. It used to take about an hour as each person took it in turns to open up something and show it off. This time we were done in about twenty minutes - gift cards are not as time-intensive as Easybake Ovens or Barbie Doll RV Campers or whatever else the kids got over the years. At some point in the proceedings Mrs Stevie passed the camera, which she'd schlepped over there after ascertaining that my interest in playing Lord Snowden this year was nil, to BiL the Elder and asked him to take a picture of me, The Stevieling and her as we sat in an obviously contrived pose of family unity.

A sad mistake.

BiL the Elder is no stranger to digital SLR photography for he has a top-of-the-line SLR gifted to him by his wife some years ago. He was, however, completely thrown by the fact that my SLR is a bottom-of-the-barrel model that does not offer the facility to swing the viewfinder mirror up in order to allow the rear screen to act as a viewfinder itself. My camera requires you look through the viewfinder, which contains more dials, indicators and flashing warning lights than The Predator's Space Goggles do, and press the shutter release like you used to do on a film camera.

The conversation went like this:

Mrs Stevie: Would you please take our picture?

BiL the Elder: Sure. How do I get the screen to work?

Mrs Stevie: You don't. You use the viewfinder.

BiL the Elder: But how do I get the screen image?

Mrs Stevie: You don't. You need to use the viewfinder.

BiL the Elder: What? You mean you can't use the screen as a viewfinder?

Mrs Stevie: No. You have to use the viewfinder.

BiL the Elder: So you can't use the screen as a viewfinder on this camera?

Mrs Stevie: You can't use the screen as a viewfinder. Use the regular bleeping viewfinder!

BiL the Elder: But on my camera ...


Which he did, grumbling about screens and viewfinders the entire time. Apparently, BiL the Elder doesn't know that the mirror swing-and-lock feature (which also enables the taking of movies as a free extra benefit) is only available on very expensive SLR cameras like his, and is not available on cameras like mine that cost about a third of what his did.

I considered telling him but then realized that he would press me for the reason why this feature is such an expensive option, and given that I have no idea why swinging the mirror for viewfinding is so much harder than swinging it for taking the shot (which has to happen anyway, just like in a film SLR) that it should cost one arm and most of one leg, and that I would be trapped in a second never-ending exchange, so I let it slide.

Later that evening I discovered my camera under a side-table where someone had placed it. Why it wasn't on the side table was a bit of a puzzler, so I picked it up and was rewarded by seeing the front element of the lens wobble from side to side.

"When did this happen?" I asked Mrs Stevie, as an experiment in prediction.

"It's always been like that" came back the entirely expected (and entirely ridiculous) response.

I was disappointed. Mrs Stevie has been known to ignore wobbly steering wheels, strange noises from the engine and flames shooting out of the air vents of her car, and to respond to my queries as to the length of time the car has been exhibiting signs of immanent catastrophic failure with vagueness or outright denial of the visual evidence of same six inches from her nose, but she has a background that includes photography and I expected more acumen concerning cameras.

I expressed extreme doubt as to the normality of the main light-gathering and focusing mechanism of the camera having always waggled a quarter of an inch from side to side, then switched on the camera and pointed it at something, pressed the shutter and watched all the lights, dials and flashing indicators in the viewfinder die.

"what's the matter with it?" she sweetly asked.

"I can't say for sure" I replied. "It's either been dropped or kicked. It may even have been drop-kicked. Either way, the lens is now a casualty of The Family Christmas. Let's hope the body comes back to life when we get home and I plug the other lens into it. As for now, we have no camera. You are going to have to use your phone for recording any more happy memories. Why didn't you put it back in its case when you were done using it?

She then deployed Spouse Ploy #1 : I gave it back to you which I countered with a hearty and firm No you bloody well didn't. The camera was your responsibility. You brought it. You were supposed to take care of it. I told you that in so many words before we left home and I hold you responsible for the damage and refused to discuss it any more. I knew that I had just been handed a $200 bill for expenses and was not a happy camper.

It infuriates me the way the women in my family treat expensive technology. They casually deal out all sorts of biffs, bangs and clangs to stuff, then have the brass nerve to look surprised when it breaks.

We scored this camera as a "freebie", inasmuch as I got it using the frequent spender points from a credit card to obtain gift cards that I used to buy the camera, but I at least am always aware that it cost about $500 in real terms. It isn't a toy, even though it is the low-end-of-the-range model. It is a very good quality camera as suitable for the budding shutterbug or photojournalist as for a point-and-shoot clod like me. It is stuffed with features that make life unbelievably easy compared to what I had with my Minolta SLR film camera. The lens alone is a technological miracle, with autofocus and an outstanding vibration reduction feature that lets me take hand-held non-flash pictures at speeds four times slower than I could with a film SLR2, and it has an 18-55mm zoom range that makes picture composition a doddle.

Not that night, of course. It had been turned into a bunch of scrap metal and glass by a passing foot.

We grabbed some more food and chatted a bit more and then it was time for people to start leaving. BiL the Younger's crew was assembled and they departed into the night, yawning. We did some tidying and then BiL the Elder and Wife left.

The Stevieling took the tablecloth out to the front garden to shake off the crumbs, came back in and said "Dad, come outside please". I figured she needed help with the spinnaker-sized tablecloth, grabbed my shoes and walked out into the cold. "Uncle BiL the Elder has hit your car".

I was unprepared for this and so without thinking shouted an incredulous "How?" to the neighborhood reflexively. You see, BiL the Elder had moved his car so that BiL the Younger's convoy could leave earlier. As far as I could see he must've then been parked alongside The Stevieling's car. To hit mine, he'd have had to swing directly into it as the first thing he did. To miss it all he had to do was drive back one car length to the clearly visible road. I couldn't see how it was possible to have a direct collision between his car and mine.

But when I got there, indeed he had done the impossible and put a deep dent in the fender I had replaced only some months before when some other clod in an SUV had backed over me in a spectacular demonstration of driving with all power to the brain switched off3.

BiL the Elder was making noises about paying for it, so I waved him off and told him we'd sort it all out later, no, it wasn't important so long as no-one was hurt and so forth. Then I went back inside before my natural tendencies became too much and I deployed some totally deserved class four Words of Power in his direction. The car was, after all, driveable, so other than a spectacular inconvenience to come and some steep out-of-someone-else's-pocket expenses, there was no real need for a family feud.

So: one Minecraft-themed snubbing, one destroyed camera and a thousand-dollar-or-I'm-a-scotchman4 ding in The Steviemobile; not a bad haul for Xmas Eve.

  1. A blatant falsehood
  2. Where the rule of thumb is 1/30th of a second is the slowest you should try without a tripod
  3. "I could hear your horn blowing but couldn't see anyone so I just kept reversing"
  4. And I *never* drink scotch