The Random Yak

Wednesday…Frivol? (Read on and Sea…)

Filed under: Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 11:08 am on November 4, 2009

I’m in the weeds this morning, so expect very little of consequence on this side of the mountain.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch desert…

it appears the Ethiopian desert has decided to give birth to a new ocean.

Follow the link (as always, SFW and kids) and see for yourself.

And no, I don’t think we can blame this one on Global Warming.  Though I’m sure somebody will try.

Weedy. You?

Filed under: Just Yaks,Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 10:50 am on October 19, 2009

In case you didn’t know, the title’s intended to answer the question “How’s it going?” – which of course is the reason you stopped by.

At least, I assume that’s why you stopped by.  You didn’t expect me to entertain you, did you?

Oh.  You did.  Well, let’s see…

It’s Monday.  It’s raining, and I’m heading to court.  No, it’s not my case, but I’m known to second-chair on occasion.  Which really amounts to little more than making sure the chair doesn’t jump up and run away, and the floor stays approximately where it’s supposed to.  (In Warcraft, it’s known as “tanking the floor boss” – and I’m an expert, thank you.)

Oh, I’m also working on a trust accounting.

Math and judges.  Sounds like some kind of weird Shakespearean penalty box.  Add in the rain, and it’s a regular hat-trick of interesting.

On the other hand, I actually like accountings.  Numbers tend not to argue with you, and it’s easy to know when you’ve got them right.

And second-chairing in court is kind of like watching Law and Order on TV – but without the dead guy in the corner, the DA in the short skirt, and the crying spouse who turns out to be the murderer/accomplice/innocent bystander falsely accused.  (So, just like it, but totally different.)

And rain means I can build a fire in the fireplace when I get home.  (And by now, we all know how I feel about fire.)

So all things considered, it’s shaping up to be a pretty nice day.  Even with the weeds.

Some days, the weeds, they win.

Filed under: Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 5:56 pm on October 7, 2009

Today was one of those days.  It’s not so much that I didn’t think of blogging, and even less that I didn’t want to.  But the sun’s rapidly sinking in the west, at least to the extent I can see it over the weeds, and I find myself regrettably unblogged.

And so, some random cross-subject thoughts from the weeds:

1.  On Chemistry:  If You Give a Mouse A Cookie, he’ll want a glass of milk to go with it.  And if you give a Young Yak a Chemistry set before Labor Day…it’s a safe bet you’ll hear the word “thermite” by October.

2.  Corollary: By the time you hear it, he’ll already know how to make it.

3.  On History:  Public Education in the United States began when a group of concerned citizens decided to enact a law requiring all children to learn to read and write in order to ensure that all people would have a functional knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. History calls it “The Ole Deluder Satan Act.”  Given that most public school students have never heard of it, we could probably also call it Exhibit A in proof of the concept that modern history education doesn’t include a history of education.

4.  On Math: If two grey squirrels have, on average, one baby per year, and all the babies are also grey, and if both the squirrels and their offspring continue to inhabit the same backyard trees year after year, playing together in groups of two or more, how many years will it take for the parents to produce one overly fluffy reddish squirrel which hallucinates the presence of other squirrels and runs around the backyard pursued by its inner demons until it passes out on the ground, while the other squirrels watch from the trees, completely mystified?  (Yeah, I don’t know either but it’s amusing to watch.)

5.  Bonus question:  How long will it take the red-coated-psycho-jungle-squirrel (we’ll call him “Esau”) to drive a diminutive and equally delusional cat over the brink of sanity and into a plate glass window?

6.  On Culinary Arts:  Does anything taste better than a really hot Thai curry with steamed rice?  Some days I doubt it.

Some Days, the Weeds Win

Filed under: Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 12:23 pm on September 15, 2009

Today is one of those days.  Deep in the weeds, working my way out…unless this path leads farther in.  (Don’t follow me, I’m lost too.)

But while I’m struggling through, here are some things to keep you occupied:

Cake Wrecks (Think train wrecks…with cake.  Safe for work and kids, but probably not coffee and keyboards.)

Translation Party (Takes an English phrase, translates to Japanese, back to English, back to Japanese, until the translator ceases to make any changes in translation, at which point the phrase “reaches equilibrium.”  Yeah, I’ve broken it.  Give it your best shot.)

Hopefully I can get out of the weeds before you’re done there.

Please Read This – or That

Filed under: Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 1:49 pm on August 31, 2009

The managers of the office building where my professional work law offices are located recently decided to install a keycard-style access system on the exterior doors. Installation took place last week, and as one might expect, appears to have hit some (as yet undisclosed) snags. (Read: It doesn’t work. I’m not sure why, though it might have something to do with the fact that nobody’s given me an access card.)

Upon returning to the office this afternoon, I saw a sign posted on the right-hand side of the double doors leading into the front of the building. The sign read “USE THIS DOOR” … with an arrow pointing to the left.

Wherein lies the riddle.

Does the sign want me to (a) use the door upon which it was posted (“THIS” door), (b) use the opposite door (The left-hand door, alias “THAT” door), (c) the door to which the arrow points (Yes, some unfortunate soul managed to place the arrow in a position which pointed directly to the handle of the right-hand door), or (d) none of the above, because this is clearly a sign that it’s time to go home. (Yeah, pun intended.)

The answer, for those of you paying attention, is (b). In the presence of a sign telling you to use THIS door, but indicating by means of a leftward-pointing arrow (pointing only indirectly to the opposite door, by way of the current door’s handle) the intelligent, well-informed reader should automatically assume that the sign’s creator did, in fact, intend for you to use the opposite door. The other door. Yeah, this door.

But you all knew that already, didn’t you? I didn’t even have to mention that the sign was written in what a somewhat chauvenist yak might consider female handwriting. Might. If I knew any such creature.

Please forward all complaints to this yak. The one standing next to me.

Grappling for an Answer

Filed under: Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 3:40 pm on December 15, 2008

Whatever did we do before the Internet?

Always a font of useful (if largely unprintable) information, the Internet also sometimes provides unintended insight into the nature of cultural reality (as distinct from “Reality” – which does not live on the Internet, no matter what Blizzard Entertainment might tell you).

Today’s epiphany relates to grappling hooks.

I occasionally have reason to look up certain esoteric topics on the Internet.  The ‘why,’ though interesting, is irrelevant.  Earlier this afternoon, I needed to know about the origin and history of the grappling hook.  But when I let my fingers do the proverbial walking Googling, I uncovered the following interesting and unexpected facts:

1.  The Internet does seem to know what a grappling hook is, and what it’s used for.  (As a curious aside, all four of the most common definition pages seem to have plagiarized the definition from the same root source, which could be any of them, or none of them.)

2.  You can purchase a variety of grappling hooks online, suitable to meet all your ninja-assassination-and-castle-storming needs.

3.  Grappling hooks feature prominently in a variety of video games, though it’s apparently wickedly hard to discover them.  (At least, if the number of Zelda cheat pages is any indication.)

4.  Google knows of at least eight featured websites that will sell grappling hooks to anyone capable of fogging a mirror and clicking a few keys.  (Of course, the same goes for chainsaws, so that shouldn’t really surprise.)

But wouldn’t you know, with 494,000 site references retrieved, Google apparently has no real idea where the grappling hook actually came from.  What it is, yes.  Where to purchase one, yes.  And don’t even get me started on its frequency in pixellated space.

Which leads me to the following inescapable conclusion: the grappling hook has existed, more or less in its current form, since the dawn of time.  In the Beginning, God created the heaven, the earth and the grappling hook.  If it were otherwise, Google would have known.

All of which, hopefully, distracts the reader from the underlying (read: fundamental) question why a recalcitrant yak would need to Google grappling hooks ten days before Christmas.  I have nothing at all to say on that topic – but if someone doesn’t get these pipers out of here post-haste, I’m taking matters into my own hands.


Notes from the Weeds: The Ghost of Law School Past

Filed under: Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 12:45 pm on December 12, 2008

I’m always busy at this time of year.  Between the tax deductible nature of attorney fees (we’re showing a profit for ’08 – quick, make the lawyer do something), the mutable nature of tax laws (we’re going to have profits in ’09 – quick, make the lawyer do something) and the general “get it done” attitude that prevails near the close of the calendar/fiscal year (we’re another year older! - make the lawyer do something…) late November and all of December always see me running to keep half a step ahead of the giant snowball(s).

But once in a while, duty doesn’t just call.  It sneaks up, silently, with a scythe and a long, black robe that can mean only one thing: I’m receiving a visit from the Ghost of Law School Past.  And as a transactional attorney and former law professor, I frequently find myself visited by spectres that make most attorneys quiver in their snakeskin boots.

This morning it was that old favorite Bogeyman of Property Past: the Rule Against Perpetuities. (more…)

Notes From the Weeds, 11/24

Filed under: Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 1:37 pm on November 24, 2008

Just some of the thoughts bouncing around in the echo chamber this morning:

1. If your friend Aladdin tells you he found an ancient lamp on the beach, but swears there was nothing inside, how do you know if he’s being … disingenieous?

2. Unpacking boxes in the garage over the weekend (four years after moving in), I discovered one marked “kitchen” that contained various food items, including some cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and garlic powder.  After checking them all out, with no satisfactory results, I’m left with the question:  just exactly which “Old Spice” are they using, anyway?

3.  Do criminals’ families have ”out-laws” visit for the holidays?

4.  Considering all of the circumstances … why do they call them “chilis”?

Having offloaded those, back to work.

Everyone Has a Purpose

Filed under: Just Yaks,Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 10:12 am on November 20, 2008

…and I have apparently discovered mine.

When I ceased blogging shortly before major surgery last summer (yes, it was a great success, and yes, those who know me say the last-minute lobotomy The Random Spouse approved after they put me under has made me infinitely easier to live with) I wondered whether my time had run.  Whether The Random Father’s death, combined with the pressures of work and other (read: un-named) factors had finally put an end to The Random Blogging Adventure.

I thought about it.

I prayed about it.

I considered whether I wanted to reinvest so much of myself in it.

I read and listened to the comments of The Random Readers, and pondered whether, in the end, anyone would care if this website went quietly into that good night.

And in the end, I decided not to decide.  Sooner or later, I would just know the truth, and I could accept it, wherever it lay.

Well, the end has come - but I confess, it is not the end I had grown to expect.  The blog will not die.  It will continue, as will I.  Today is the first day of the rest of my blogging life…

And we owe it all to toilets.

Thanks to The Random Cousin, I now know that today is World Toilet Day, and that the powers that flush would rather we didn’t.  After years of bemoaning the “thousands of litres of wasted drinking water each year” that we waste in flushing … the same, toilet “experts” now inform us that flushing toilets represent an “unsustainable” concept.

Now, I don’t know how things go down in your home, but none of The Random Family (with the possible probable exception of Smallest Cat) actually consider the toilet bowl a significant source of drinking water.  I can’t recall the last time I shook my head sorrowfully after a flush in mourning for anything but the lost opportunity to watch the water swirl the other way.  And as for sustainability, I’m willing to bet that most residents of first-and-second world countries would consider a return to the open latrine a far more *cough* unsustainable situation.  (Yes, I know what it’s like in China.  But even there, a flush is considered a beautiful thing.)

I understand concern over wasted water.  I appreciate the need to act as good stewards over the earth and its resources.  I share a definite desire to improve the efficiency of water reclamation efforts and the functionality of the loo.  I even installed “low flush” toilets in The Random House, despite their somewhat irritating tendency to choke at inopportune moments.

But to those who say it’s time to revisit the “flush and forget attitude” that accompanies the use of the modern commode, let me say this: you’re welcome to come over and share the revisitation after The Random Niece tries to flush a tinkertoy airplane, or when a Random Guest disobeys the old Native American saw and leaves more than just footprints in the Random Room of Repose.  But – as anyone who has ever ‘revisited’ the issue understands only too well – “flush and forget” represents one of the greatest achievements of modern times, and those who would have us return to the outhouse might be surprised how fast they end up in the doghouse instead.

That said, it seems clear that the Yak…is back.  It only took potty humor to make it so.  Great thanks to the Random Cousin for helping to make it so.  (But no, this doesn’t mean I’ll pay his toilet tax if they impose one.  Some things, a guy has to do for himself.) 

Open Trackbacks on this post to celebrate the return of the voices in my head.  
Trackposted to The Pink Flamingo, and Faultline USA, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

Notes from the Weeds: Sacramento Sasquatch

Filed under: Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 1:37 pm on June 11, 2008

RIP an excellent post.

We hardly knew ye.  (Especially around here.)

The graffiti artists formerly known as our blogjackers took this one down when they spammed their HTML across the site last night, but I’m leaving it up in honor of The Post it Might Have Been.  After all, it sacrificed itself to provide us with notice of what the spammers had done, and that alone deserves a tribute of some kind.

I’ll also take this opportunity to send the following message to the embedded text spammers.

Thank you, drive through. 

Or, on second thought:

WEEDS! Weeds everywhere!

Filed under: Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 1:06 pm on February 5, 2008

The groundhog may have forecast six more weeks of winter, but on my side of the mountain, spring seems to have come a little early.  (It’s not a tumor global warming. It’s not global warming at all.) The evidence?



On the work front, I went from “not much to do” to “even if you implement that 32 hour day, I’m still behind” faster than you can say “overworked Yak.”  At home, the literal weeds have attacked anything and everything.  Granted, it’s the greenest the gardens have looked in months, but at some point the neighbors are bound to start asking why I can grow beautiful grass in the flowerbeds and none on the lawn.  Clearly, something must be done.

But before I leap back into the swamp water I’ve been sucking down so liberally for the past 48 hours, permit me to leave you a few Notes From the Weeds:

1.  To all the Patriots fans out there:  The Superbowl was a good game.  A close game.  You made some plays, we made some plays.  But at the end of the day YOU LOST! NEENER NEENER NEENER.  (Yes, I know I posted about this yesterday but I’m not mature enough to let some things die that fast.)  Congratulations on ”Eighteen and NOT QUITE.”

2.  Today is Super Tuesday, which means I have to get out of here in time to vote.  Not that I have a good candidate.  From what I can tell, there aren’t even any weevils running on the Republican ticket, so I’m going to have a real hard time picking the lesser one…

3.  You know you’ve been too busy when…you forget to turn in the continuing education compliance card you prepared months ago, because you plain-and-simple forgot what day it was…for five days.  Ugh.  I’d like to think the associated late-fine will keep me from doing it again, but although this was the first time, I know myself too well to think it will definitely be the last.

Notes from the Weeds

Filed under: Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 4:30 pm on January 10, 2008

2008 is upon us, and so are the weeds.

Funny, I didn’t think they grew so fast in winter.

I should manage to whack the worst of them by Monday, so expect more lively discourse next week.  In the interim, let me offer today’s weedy offerings:

1.  Someone told me Hillary Clinton’s tears actually swayed some undecided (I’m guessing female) voters to her side.  (I’m guessing she lost an exponentially higher number of males, but that’s another post.)  Open letter to any woman so influenced:  What Were You Thinking??  Note: Crocodiles cry too, but I still won’t hand-feed them cookies.

2.  Think you’re having a bad day? At least you didn’t accidentally marry your sibling(Psychological trauma, party of two…)

3.  Word Problem of the day: If one yak and one spouse decide to hold a LAN party (read: party for geeks), and 24 gamers descend on the house at approximately 4:30 this afternoon, each bearing 1 chair, 2 food offerings and 5-30 assorted (non-alcoholic) beverages, how long will it take 72 egg rolls to disappear?

Notes from the weeds: The Christmas Edition (part 1)

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 11:06 am on December 14, 2007

In the weeds bigtime today, because I don’t want to spend the next-to-last weekend before Christmas in the office.  That said:

1.  Antique blown-glass Christmas balls belonging to beloved but deceased relatives don’t really impress pre-teens – but the idea that people once hung nothing but “plain” colored balls on their Christmas trees does. 

2.  Nothing ruins the last weekends before Christmas quite like a telephone call reminding you there’s still one more present to buy … for the Random Cousin you picked in the family gift exchange … and that ‘someone’ has to go to Macy’s to buy it.  (Corollary: if YOU are the one who drew said cousin, nobody else will go to Macy’s and get it for you. Not ten days before Christmas, anyway.)

3.  On an ordinary day, I would rather go to the dentist, the bank, and an IRS audit than set foot in Macy’s.  This goes quadruple after Thanksgiving.

4.  What time does Macy’s open on Saturday?

5.  A practical math problem:  If 1 yak tries to set up a 9-foot noble fir, weighing roughly 200 pounds, in a living room with 8-foot ceilings – how many cookies will it take to mitigate (I won’t say ‘erase’) the negative memory of the experience?  (Bonus: how much of the tree’s tip will said Yak need to remove in order to make the tree stand up properly?)

Friday Notes from the Weeds

Filed under: Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 11:07 am on July 13, 2007

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Friday Notes From the Weeds: Pre-Fourth of July Fireworks Edition

Filed under: Notes from the Weeds — Random Yak @ 1:30 pm on June 29, 2007

1. The local firework stands are now set up, stocked and operational.I sometimes question the wisdom of storing thousands of pounds of high explosives in small shacks constructed primarily from 1/2″ particle board and secured only with padlocks – not to mention the irony inherent in use of said padlocks to protect a structure capable of dissolving in heavy rain.

2. Why is it that every time the firework stands go up, I spend far too much of my time anticipating the purchase and use of high explosives? (In a safe and sane manner NOT involving trebuchets, of course.)

3.Daily Word Problem: If1 attorney who should know better buys1 large box of fireworks containing approximately 23 cones, 36 sparklers, 30 Piccolo Petes and 12 flash grenades, intending to share said fireworks with 10 males between the ages of 18 and 40 after barbecuing 20 hot dogs and 30 hamburgers but before watching a 30-minute local fireworks display from the front porch, how long a hose will be needed to put out the inevitable fire on the front lawn?

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