Punxsutawney strikes again

I was eating breakfast at my hotel this morning, and the news was playing. Imagine my surprise and delight when they aired an interview with the gentlemen in charge of the Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania!

It’s not often you see someone in a coat and top hat, being interviewed while holding a large groundhog. The reason I thought it was so noteworthy is because the garb these guys were wearing, and the ceremony they showed (last year?) were just like the movie Groundhog Day. Watching that movie continues to be an annual tradition for me and Pepper, so I’m warmed up for this year’s showing…

Ice: 1, us: 0

For the past week, we’ve had (relatively) warm days where the temperature soared to the high 30’s and low 40’s. The thick layer of snow outside has been slowly melting. Then at night, it generally drops below freezing again. The result: our driveway is quite literally a sheet of ice.

Sure, there’s some gravel peeking through, but the bulk of it is ice roughly an inch thick. And when it’s warm during the day, there’s a thin layer of water on it. As everyone knows, a thin layer of water atop a smooth layer of ice is about as close to frictionless as you can get.

Sooooo… driving up and down the driveway is fraught with peril. This morning, heading out at 6am, we just sort of glided down it. Now and then the wheels would catch on some gravel, or we’d intentionally drift over near the edge where there’s still some slushy snow which provides a bit more grip. But overall, it’s pretty freaky.

After returning home and barely making it back up, we decided to break up the ice. Pepper pulled out our industrial ice chipper, I grabbed a sledgehammer, we donned our crampons, and marched down the ice to see what we could do. The results were… not good.

I banged away on this little patch of ice with all my might, slamming the sledgehammer into it, and succeeded in making a few good-sized dents in the ice and blasting a few chips off. Pepper, meanwhile, toiled beside me, banging the ice chipper into the unyielding surface. We spent about fifteen minutes working, at various points along the driveway, before concluding that we simply weren’t going to make a dent in it.

I love my house, but wow do I hate my driveway.


So I guess “livestreams” are all the rage these days. That’s where people broadcast themselves doing mundane things, and other people watch them. In some cases, “other people” could be hundreds or thousands. Apparently you can make money livestreaming.

Dirk has been building a “channel” on YouTube over the past year or so, and has become pretty popular… I mean, as far as having nearly 2,000 subscribers could be called popular. (I was one of his first subscribers!) A few weeks ago he invited me to join him for a Star Wars “watch party” which he’d livestream. Basically, that means the two of us would get on a video chat call, watch the original movie, and talk about everything from the movie to our childhoods together. I’d never done something like that, but hey, what are friends for?

Tonight we did it, and basically just talked for two hours while anywhere from seven to ten people (!) watched and made comments in the YouTube chat section. Although I don’t pretend to understand why people do that, it was fun to “hang out” with my friend for a couple of hours, reminiscing about the many many times we watched the Star Wars movies together during sleepovers.

The best part was probably when someone named overlap618 made this comment:

“Nooch your friend is much funnier than you and better looking. What is his channel? UNSUBSCRIBE”

My screenshot above doesn’t exactly capture Dirk (aka Nooch) in a very flattering pose, but it does capture the comment on the right side of the video. Hilarious. I like this overlap618 character.

Anyway, it was a good time and apparently we’re going to do The Empire Strikes Back in a few weeks.

Also, he has some “notes” for me about how to do better on a livestream. Because apparently I’m now a YouTube sensation.

Snowplow names

Last night I stumbled on the greatest web page I’ve seen all year: the Michigan Department of Transportation’s “Snowplow Names” page! Yes, apparently in the Great Lakes State they officially name their snowplows (and publish it for the world).

This screenshot really doesn’t do the list justice, because it goes on for hundreds more. Some of my favorites:

  • Snowbegone Kenobi
  • Plowasaurus Rex
  • Truck Norris
  • Darth Blader
  • Edgar Allen Snow
  • Gordie Plow
  • Jon Bon Snowi
  • Pillsbury Plowboy

Brilliant! If only I had more machinery around the house in need of names… I mean, we already have Nebula and Ruby, and our jet skis are named Trixie and Lil’ Pepe… and everyone tells us we need to get a plow for our driveway…

What time is it, really?

Our power went out the other night. When it returned a few hours later, we reset all the clocks that had dropped off. Later in the day, we noticed the oven and microwave in the kitchen were showing strange times. We reset them again. A few hours later, they were wrong again. But they weren’t wrong like “a few minutes fast”… instead, they were wrong like “many hours off, and completely different”.

For example, now it’s 7:52pm. I took a picture of these appliances, one of whom insists it’s 7:58am (so it’s now 12 hours off) and the other who says 1:45.

I don’t know what to make of it. They’re either really fast or really slow, but at different rates. How could a power outage cause something like this? And why in two different appliances? Are we in some kind of time vortex? Could it be aliens?

Well heck, whatever the cause, it would just be nice to have our clocks working. Argh.