We have the world’s lamest microwave. It came with the house, because it’s mounted above the stove and matches the kitchen decor, so we felt like we should use it. We gave away Old Trusty to my sister… that was a fabulous microwave that I bought at (where else?) Wal-Mart and used for ten years. It had great features, logical buttons, and it– get this– heated the food evenly.

Our current Oven O’ Doom not only has the lamest cook buttons and annoying messages (“FOOD … IS … READY …”) but it doesn’t seem capable of actually heating food throughout. You get one spot that’s practically ready to initiate fusion while the fringe spots still have lingering ice crystals. I have no idea whether this is some freak accident or intentional design, but boy it’s irritating.



Yesterday I received a mysterious box on the front porch. I opened it and found a Sony CyberShot digital camera inside– much to my surprise, as I hadn’t ordered anything of the sort.

Closer inspection revealed a note from a client of mine, who’d sent the camera as a gift for my “hard work, late nights, and extra help”. Sweet! It’s a nifty little thing that easily fits in the palm of my hand, weighs next to nothing, and is pathetically simple to operate. While it isn’t a top-of-the-line professional quality camera, it’s perfect for grab-and-go snapshots.

My clients are great. It’s times like this when I really enjoy my job.


Okay, so I got another letter asking for my URGENT ASSISTANCE, and like most of them I skimmed it because it’s so much fun. Boy, these guys are really starting to write up some interesting missives.

This particular note is from Mrs. Susan Shabangu, who writes:

“After careful consideration with my children, we resolved to contact you for your most needed assistance in this manner.”

Wow, she’s asking her kids! I can just picture it.

“Okay, gather ’round, children. (Bobby, stop hitting Kelly.) I’m setting up a scam and I need to know who to send it to. I’ve got a list of fifty million e-mail addresses here, so I need you to help me pick the right ones.”

Then she goes on to say:

“I make this proposal to you as a person of integrity.”

Hey, great! She chose me for my integrity (and presumably honesty), because a few sentences later I learn that she’s got $18.5 million– in U.S. dollars, of course– that she needs to, essentially, launder. Nothing like a person with integrity to do the dirty work!

I was all ready to call her when I learned to my dismay:

“…due to my sensitive position in the present government, it is not safe to communicate with me via phone or fax.”

Dang. I guess the government of (insert name of African country here) doesn’t let her use the phones to launder their money. Too bad.

Ahh, the joys of the internet!


I’ve started reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Silmarillion” (for the third time). Despite its reputation as a “dry history” of Middle-Earth, I always find it to be a fascinating story. It gives thousands of years of background for the whole “Lord of the Rings” story, and helps fill in the gaps. It also introduces some of the rather important characters– Galadriel, Elrond, Sauron– and fleshes them out in ways that help one appreciate their full story and the reasons they behave the way they do.

So Laralee thinks I’m crazy to read something so “dull”, but it’s just a prelude for my upcoming re-reading of the LotR trilogy. This will be my eighth reading– more than I’ve read any other book or series in my collection– and of course my target is to finish before the final movie comes out in December.