Posts Tagged ‘oddity’

Personal Miscellany

Sunday, 5 July 2009

The major muscles around my left shoulder — trapezius, deltoid, latissimus dorsi, and especially pectoral — have been hurting a great deal whenever I've moved that arm in the last few days. I hadn't recently engaged in any major physical activity nor been in an accident. I'm wondering whether I've injured a nerve with my back-pack.

On Thursday night or Friday morning, at the Hillcrest CVS/pharmacy, I noticed that bags of pistachios, regulary priced at US$3.99, were on sale for US$4.99 for those with a loyalty card. I brought this problematic sale to the attention of a supervisor, but the offer continued at least through Friday night.

On Friday night, I was walking to my car, when I spotted a feral mouse running ahead of me on the side-walk. All of the feral mice that I'd seen before were wood mice or deer mice, and all back in New Jersey, on property adjacent to woods. Here in San Diego, the only feral rodents that I'd seen were pack-rats (about the size of domesticated hamsters or gerbils[1]). This little creature looked like a house-mouse. At one point, the mouse was cornered in a door way. But, of course, I had no intention of hurting it and wouldn't even have wanted to catch it — it might have pups back in a nest somewhere, and I'd have to worry about the diseases that a wild mouse might carry.

This morning, near my home, I came across a relatively young immigrant man and woman, trying to figure-out how to start her car. They had another car with them. I asked if they needed jumper cables, and the man said yes, so I got mine. (Most people in this area don't have jumper cables; I keep long, heavy-duty cables in my car.) I let the guy do the connecting — I just discreetly watched to ensure that he didn't wire the batteries in series — because I neither wanted to make him seem ineffectual in front of the woman nor wanted to be blamed should something go awry.

He really didn't know what he was doing. He connected the negative line directly to the batteries, repeatedly clacked clamps together as a way of ensuring that the connection to the running car was good, didn't listen to the car that wasn't starting, and didn't seem to understand that a bad battery wouldn't explain the inability to start the parasitic car.

I couldn't hear the solenoid. I tried to explain to them that there was a problem with the ignition or a blown fuse. Anyway, they eventually gave-up on trying to jump-start the car, and returned my cables. I wished them good luck. The car is parked in a metered spot, but they have until 8 AM on Monday before that meter has to be fed.

I have an intermittent, vertical, purple line appearing on the display of my note-book computer. This tells me that the LCD panel, only about a year old, is beginning to fail. Bah!

[1] I'll rat myself out: One night several months ago, thinking that a rodent (which I could not see well) might be an escaped pet, I caught one of those pack-rats with my hat. A neighbor told me that the creature was a rat; it plainly wasn't a domesticated R. norvegicus, so I released it. The Woman of Interest noted to me that I needed to do something about mites and what-not that might have been transferred to the hat. I felt foolish.

No one sees the things you do

Monday, 10 November 2008

[images of two mules (footwear) on a sidewalk] Oddly enough, these were well away from the corner.

Hard on the Socks

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

On occasion in Hillcrest, I find footwear on the sidewalk, at some corner. And I don't mean a lone sneaker or flip-flop; I mean a matched pair of shoes or of boots, one placed beside the other. These were at the corner of Washington Street and Third Avenue this evening: [image of a pair of women's boots]

An Economic Fluke

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

To-day's mail brings a catalogue from MAT Electronics. I always enjoy going through their catalogues (though I fear that one day they will break my heart by offering the very Motorola chip that went-out in my Mitsubishi television set years ago, which I was unable to replace through Motorola, through on-line parts dealers, or through Mission Hills Radio & Television).

Catalogue #117 presents one of the Mysteries of Capitalism. On page 101, they are selling two Fluke multimeters, the Model 10 and the Model 12. The description for the Model 12 declares

The Fluke Model 12 is everything the fluke model 10 is and much more!

What makes this claim interesting is that the Model 10 is priced at US$149.50, and the Model 12 at US$149.95. So apparently the marginal cost of much more! is 45¢.

In fact, the explicitly described additional functionality of the Model 12 is that one can hook it to the circuit and walk away, and the device will thereäfter record maxima and minima, noting the time of each. That could indeed be a very valuable feature. In any event, it's a feature worth considerably more than 45¢ to almost any sort of technician who would have been willing to pop for a Fluke meter in the first place.