Pop Culture Blind Spots

CBC’s Definitely Not The Opera had a ignorant-about-pop-culture theme today, with pieces about how people don’t know stuff the masses are talking about. I’m proud of my stubborn ignorance about some things, including:

  • I’ve never watched South Park or Survivor.
  • I know little about the entertainment industry nor do I have an interest in it. Who gives a shit what Lindsay Lohan is up to (who ever the hell that is; I just googled pop culture and picked the first thing listed)?
  • I rarely recognize anyone in the Top 50 (maybe 100 or more) music charts (and I loath to listen to most in it, too).
  • I don’t know anything about the Japanese cartoons or toys that I see in stores or on commercials my daughter watches.
  • I can’t comprehend why anyone would pay an inflated amount for clothes to wear a brand name advertising that brand.
  • I don’t own an iPod. Hell, I’ve never seen one.

But then…

  • I used to watch Friends faithfully.
  • I used to listen and buy Boney M. records (NightFlight To Venus anyone? Oh yeah).
  • I used to listen to disco, even winning a price for dancing. I was 11 or 12, and quite the ladies man.
  • I’m a married white male with two kids, a house, a car, and two cats.

A Dog Story

This morning after shovelling our walkway, I went in the backyard and took the dog for a walk in the woods behind our house. The powdery snow was up to my waist. The dog had trouble walking through it. Normally he walks well ahead of me, tearing through the trees, zig-zagging all over the place. But this time he seemed content to let me take the lead. I was breaking a trail through the snow, and he was simply walking in my footsteps.

He was tailing me so close, though, that I accidentally kicked him in the lower jaw with the heel of my boot a few times. With each step I had to pull my foot out of a leg hole I’d just made in the snow, drag my boot forward and across the snow with a bent knee, and then drive my foot down into the snow again. More than once, I heard a clump sound as the dog’s jaws were forced shut from banging against my boot. I’d cracked him like this a couple times before I realized what it was, but when I turned around to see if he was hurt, he didn’t even blink. He gave me one of those dog expressions that says, “Why are we stopping?”

At one point in our little sojourn, I took a step and was suddenly up to my chest in snow. I couldn’t move. The dog then tried to leap ahead of me but got stuck even worse than me. Immobilized is more like it. I yelled out a few encouraging words to get him excited, but he wasn’t moving. He was a big yellow dog with no legs lying on top of the snow. So with great effort I kept pushing myself through it, around the dog who still wasn’t moving.

The snow wasn’t as deep as we got further into the woods. I kept trying to get the dog to walk ahead of me but he wouldn’t. He got right beside me a few times, but it didn’t last. Only when he knew we were heading back to the house did he take the lead — by walking back through the path I’d just made through the snow. This is when I noticed that the inside of his mouth was blood red. His tongue was all bloody. He didn’t seem bothered by it.

Our house is up on a hill, so it was harder walking up the hill than it was walking down. The dog was following the least deep section of the hill where the drifts were shallow, but I knew this was the only walk he was going to get today, so I called him over to a high drift of snow where he could crawl through it and get a good workout. He made his path and I made mine, side by side. It took about five minutes to walk twenty paces in the snow.

I was out of breath by the time we got into the house. Once I shook all the snow off myself and put my wet pants in the hamper, I went to the upstairs closet and threw the dog two Milk-Bones, something he always expects after any kind of walk. While he was chomping on the Milk-Bones, I tried to examine his mouth to see if he was still bleeding, but he just looked me like, “Get away from me! I’m having a Milk-Bone.” So I did.

It’s a slow day, a slow week, a slow month at Steel White Table. Both Jody and I are busy with other things. It could be this way for awhile. This little snippet of my life didn’t actually happen today, but close enough… And of course I had to upload this post a couple times with corrections. It’s my way.

Bloglines Withdrawal

www.bloglines.com:

The owners of the domain name bloglines.com are accepting offers from interested parties willing to obtain ownership rights over the domain name. You may learn more about how to place your offer by clicking HERE.

WHAT THE?! Someone forget to mail the cheque?

I backed up my blogline feeds about six months ago. Did you back up yours?

Online Bloglines alternatives:

I think Yahoo! has one, but here’s a list of some web and client-based programs RSS readers.

Update: J-Walk reports it’s working for him. Maybe it IS a Canadian thing. Here’s a screenshot of what I get (click to enlarge):

Bloglines is down?

Using Vegetable Oil In A Diesel Engine

Vegetable Oil as Vehicle Fuel:

Using vegetable oil as fuel in diesel engines isn’t a new idea. Rudolf Diesel’s first engines were built to run on peanut oil for the developing world, which had no petrochemicals industry. Running your modern diesel car or van on veg is just going back to what the designer intended.
An ordinary diesel engine cannot run on 100% pure vegetable oil without conversion. Veg oil is too thick and gloopy to get through the fuel pump and injectors. Conversion is moderately expensive and is quite a commitment, so we’ll leave that to the experts.
Instead, we’ll try to thin down the veg oil so that it works correctly in the engine. There are two ways to do this: mix it with something, or convert it into biodiesel.

There’s no complicated science behind it:

The easiest way to do this is to run your tank almost empty. Then when you pop to the supermarket, fill up with diesel, and then add the veg oil. The drive home mixes it all up nicely.
How much veg oil should you use? Start with a light blend, and increase each time you refill. That way, if you notice your car sputtering, you know you’ve hit the limit and should use less next time, and you can top up with regular diesel to thin the mixture back down.

The article describes how vegetable oil should be introduced gradually, what types of oil to use (rapeseed is the best since it’s the runniest), and legal issues (the government will probably want to tax its use).

I’d love to do this, although even if I had a diesel I be hesitant to try it, fearing I’d screw the engine up.