Sunday, July 29, 2007

Small Stuff

Just a nit, but worth a mention… My neighbor across the way got out and began mowing his lawn at precisely 0700 this morning. Sunday morning. I think that’s rude and inconsiderate. It’s the noise, Gentle Reader. Power mowers are loud and their sound is obnoxious at all times, but on Sunday morning it’s particularly so, especially in an environment where residents live in close quarters. I say this with the full understanding that it’s much easier to mow the lawn when it’s 68 degrees outside, vice 85 and up. But couldn’t you wait until 0830, say? I think you could.
Oh…I had been up since 0500, so the noise didn’t awaken me. Irritate me, yes. Wake me up? If it had been yesterday, yes. But not today.
On nerds…in today’s NYT (Who’s a Nerd, Anyway?):
By cultivating an identity perceived as white to the point of excess, nerds deny themselves the aura of normality that is usually one of the perks of being white. Bucholtz sees something to admire here. In declining to appropriate African-American youth culture, thereby “refusing to exercise the racial privilege upon which white youth cultures are founded,” she writes, nerds may even be viewed as “traitors to whiteness.” You might say they know that a culture based on theft is a culture not worth having. On the other hand, the code of conspicuous intellectualism in the nerd cliques Bucholtz observed may shut out “black students who chose not to openly display their abilities.” This is especially disturbing at a time when African-American students can be stigmatized by other African-American students if they’re too obviously diligent about school. Even more problematic, “Nerds’ dismissal of black cultural practices often led them to discount the possibility of friendship with black students,” even if the nerds were involved in political activities like protesting against the dismantling of affirmative action in California schools. If nerdiness, as Bucholtz suggests, can be a rebellion against the cool white kids and their use of black culture, it’s a rebellion with a limited membership.
Cue up the Geico caveman, please. To wit: “Yeah, I’ve got a response… uh … WHAT?”
It’s WAR! Normally I’m a live-and-let-live kinda guy, and my tolerance extends to creatures great and small. Included in the “small” community are various bugs, with the exception of flies and mosquitoes, which are terminated immediately with extreme prejudice…always. Take spiders, for example. Spiders are generally good, as they eat other small critters and generally stay out of my way. And I enjoy their webs, which are both small-scale engineering feats and supremely artistic, as well…as anyone who’s seen an early morning web covered in sparkling dew will attest.
My tolerance ends, though, when spiders begin to overwhelm my personal space and get presumptuous about territory and such, thinking it’s theirs for the taking. While I love and appreciate outdoor webs I don’t like to see the things hanging off my table lamp, or worse, have a small spider drop down on a gossamer filament right in front of my face while I’m surfing the other web (heh). And that’s just in the front of the house. Things get worse, much worse, as you move to the rear of El Casa Móvil De Pennington. Lately I’ve been involved in a daily ritual that involves wiping away webs that have been spun overnight in both the bathroom and the kitchen, and the spiders have become so numerous that they’re scurrying around in plain sight. It’s time for a new strategy: we’re gonna surge.
It appears that GHQ Arachnid is located in the bathroom. Yesterday I took extreme measures on the HQ… emptying both bathroom cabinets, thoroughly cleaning out the spaces, and finishing off by liberally spraying the interiors of both cabinets and the surrounding baseboards with Raid. Result: no webs in the bathroom this morning. The kitchen will be a little more problematic because I don’t want to engage in unrestricted chemical warfare in that operational area. The risk of collateral damage (to YrHmblScrb, hisownself) is just too high. So we’ll just content ourselves with applying forceful thumb pressure on the little terrorists as they transit from nook to cranny. And waging chemical warfare along the baseboards and other spaces in the kitchen where the risk of collateral damage is low.
We have evidence the surge is working, as noted above. There will be NO political settlement, and we’ll take no prisoners. All I’m asking is a return to the status quo ante, or in other words, if the spiders stay in their space, I’ll stay in mine.
Peace in our time.
Today’s Pic: A rather cheeky-looking SN3 in a restaurant on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. We were just finishing lunch and getting ready to go on a cruise around the Bay. And the following transpired as we were getting off the boat, after said Bay cruise:
Me: Well, what didja think?
SN3: It was kinda boring, Dad.
Me: (Dumbstruck silence, followed by a change of subject…)
June, 2002. (SN3 was five years old.)


  1. He may be just five years old in that picture, but he's already cute as can be! He's gonna be a heartbreaker.

  2. After reading the nerd thing a couple of times, my thought, "I don't know what you're talkin' about!"

    Funny you should mention spiders. I had a dream that there were small webs (the light fluffy ones) all over the ceiling of our house. I asked Jesse what she thought the dream meant. She thinks I should clean more often.

  3. Did you know that some spiders eat their webs in the morning and spin new ones at night. Talk about recycling.

  4. Great photo, Buck. SN3 may not have enjoyed his tour of the harbor, but he looks mighty pleased by that treat on his plate.

    Your spider campaign is hilarious. Love the writing! Save that one! Be careful of that Raid, though. I'd be more wary of that than of the spiders... although I do have to say that I am much less tolerant of them (I was an entomology major, if you remember) than I am now after having been being bitten by a brown recluse several years ago.

    About your early morning wake-up: We always have an assortment of equipment starting off around here at 7:30 (per city ordinance) but the thing that has been waking us up for these last TWO months has been a young raven who sounds like a duck. It's unbelievably irritating because of its pattern and tone as it demands food from its mom. I helped my dad raise a couple of ravens in my youth and they were never this annoying. We're beginning to wonder if there is such a thing as a mentally challenged raven? Why hasn't it grown up by now and left the nest?

    I'm with Lou and you about that research on nerds. Seems like the sort of generalization that academics will make and then try to build on so that it all fits into a neat and tidy box.

    But here's some great news!
    Iraq wins Asian Cup! Wonderful to read ITM, too, if you haven't yet.

  5. My secret weapon in my war against arachnids...... The Vacuum Cleaner. Yes I simply suck them up every chance I get.

  6. Becky: It'll be interesting to see how SN3 interacts with women in the future, that's for sure!

    Lou said: I asked Jesse what she thought the dream meant. She thinks I should clean more often.

    Didja suggest a lil help might be in order? ;-)

    Dan: Yeah, I knew that, courtesy of The History Channel, or Discovery, or TLC...or maybe even PBS. One of those places.

    Bec: Brown Recluse spider bites can be horrible! I first learned about them in part of my in-processing at Tinker AFB. No kidding: we were warned about them as being a "local danger." And one of my co-workers had this ugly, ugly, scar on her forearm from a Brown Recluse bite. Nothing to mess with!

    Your raven does sound retarded. Why did I think of EA Poe when I read that?

    ITM was good indeed, yesterday. Good for the Iraqis! Now if they could just get their political sh!t together...

    Laurie: Who empties the vacuum cleaner? ;-)


Just be polite... that's all I ask.