Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Laughable instructions

Have you ever noticed how instruction manuals can sometimes be hilarious?

There are the manuals that have been awkwardly translated into English from the original language by someone for whom English is neither a first nor second language. Think of the Russian "translator" in Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated and you'll have the idea. (If you haven't read the book, well, you're just a literary loser, clearly out-of-touch with the Young Turks of the publishing world and woefully behind on your contemporary reading list.)

Then there are the instructions that state the obvious. "You must switch the power button to the "on" position for the ______ to work." Uh, well, DUH!

Of course, there are also the instructions without a single written word--only pictures. Only pictures a chimp could decipher. Only pictures which lead one to believe that the instructions you are being given are for, say, a carburetor instead of the bookshelf you are actually trying to assemble.

Then there are the instructions that show incredible solicitousness for your well-being--like the ones I read today about loading a battery into a remote control:

"Gently insert a fingernail in groove [1] and pull out the holder in direction [2]." (If you saw the battery compartment on the remote, you'd note that this part of the instruction falls into the "obvious" category, as there is no other direction in which to pull the holder). Then under the picture in smaller print: "Take care not to break your fingernail." I kid you not.

Can't you just see some pissant (and rather paranoid) lawyer going through the instruction manual with a fine-tooth comb looking for potential liability? Can't you just hear the warning bells going off in the poor SOB's head? "Ooooh, Danger, danger Will Robinson, someone might break a nail--and sue us."

Or perhaps the manual was written by a woman who'd had her expensive and freshly manicured acrylic nails broken one too many times in her many battery changing adventures. Oh, the travails of modern life.

Or scariest of all, maybe the company really does care about each and every one of us--from nose to nails, and wants to do everything in its power to protect the sanctity and integrity of our bodies.

Uh-huh. Yeah. Right.

Fleeting Thought

I had a fleeting thought today in the car, a germ of an idea. Alas, by the time I got home, it had fled right out of my head. Bummer.

I must need to eat more sugar.

Who are you. . . .? Who, who. Who who?

Apologies to the Who. . .

You are related to me and left an anonymous comment re Wishing Star--don't you want me to know who you are? Or are you being coy and mysterious?

Thursday, August 10, 2006


So, once again I haven't been writing much of late. Too much to do, too little time to write. And frankly, I just haven't had much to say. I could talk about the mid-east--but it is too upsetting to me, and I don't think I would do it justice. Maybe I'll change my mind later. . .

The British Terrorist plot? Freaky scary. Do I want to talk about that? No. Too upsetting. And I'd need more unfettered time to really put some thought into both of these truly important topics. And we all know I'm really not all that into thought. . .

Anyhow, I'm pretty tired--I had an upper endoscopy yesterday, which I was looking forward to about as much as. . . .well, as much as having a camera on a tube shoved down my throat. Don't really need to compare it to anything else, do I? Pretty heinous in and of itself. Especially for someone, like me, who gags when brushing her teeth. Dental X-rays? Not pretty. Last time I had them done, my gag reflex resulted in a nose injury.

Huh? you might ask.

Basically, I was so close to loosing my cookies when they put in the x-ray film that I had to rush out of the exam room and into the bathroom, where I threw back the toilet seat so hard, it came crashing back down on my eye and nose as I bent over. I thought I'd just nailed my eye, but when I looked in the mirror afterwards, I saw a trickle of blood flowing from the bridge of my nose. It was so purty. And truly embarrassing to explain. I think the dental office staff thought I was pathetic. Funny, but pathetic.

So I told my doctor she better knock me out for this one. And so she did. Or she gave me a truly terrific amnesiac drug so I can't remember what happened anyway. Either way, I'm grateful. (Although there is something creepy about having your memory erased by another person--very "Eternal Sunshine.").

The whole thing, therefore, turned out to be a non-event. The worst part was the recovery from the anesthesia. I've been tired and out of it for two days now. (Yeah, yeah, those who know me can spare me the wisecracks about my always being out of it. . .). The doc took multiple stomach biopsies so my stomach has felt, much as one would suspect, like someone scraped out some of my insides. Unpleasant, but fully bearable.

I will be traveling to my hometown next week for a family visit, and I'm sure that will provide plenty of fodder for the blog. No more writer's block for me! In addition, flying cross country with children given the current terrorist alert could prove to be a life-altering experience. Let me tell you, my kids (preschool and above) will not be happy with the carry-on restrictions.

"Mommy, where's my drinky yogurt?"

"Shut up and drink your breast milk. Oh, you don't like breast milk?--well then drink your formula, then."

"But mommy, I'm SEVEN." Ack.

And they're saying no gels in carry-ons either. Does that mean I have to leave the jelly off the PBJ sandwiches? I'm sure jelly is a fine disguise for explosives. Gives a whole new meaning to "bold new flavor."

Yep, I should have lots to write about during and after the trip. Until then, Adios. I've got to pare down my hair care supplies. . .

Friday, August 04, 2006

Schedule complications

Does anyone who does not have children realize how hard it is to schedule anything, much less time with another mom? I swear it's more complicated than NASA's scheduling of the Space Shuttle. "Okay, I have 8 minutes between 1:07 and 1:15 for coffee, does that work for you??? Arrghhh.