Thursday, October 26, 2006


Due to a drawing project snafu I needed to buy a small light box today. I arrived home with my new purchase and tore open the box. I nearly tossed the instructions right into the trash but stopped short, remembering that my last failure to read instructions involved the melting of a large piece of aluminum foil to the bottom of my electric oven. Did you know that aluminum foil could melt? Neither did I, but page 17 of the oven manual sure did, and in great big letters, too.

Anyway, let us take a walk through my new Artograph Lightracer’s instructions together, shall we?


1.) Read and understand all instructions before operating.

You’d think that if the Artograph Company was truly concerned about this, it would have stamped this instruction all over the product itself. Instead, it was printed in 10-point Times New Roman, and positioned one-quarter of a page down on the very document that the Artograph Company suspected I wouldn’t read in the first place.

2.) Supervision is necessary when used by or near children. Do not leave unattended while in use.

If I’m using my Artograph Lightracer near children, does that mean that I need to be supervised? And, man, if I were a pot smoker, “Do not leave unattended while in use” would’ve messed with my head for hours. Don’t bogart that instruction manual, m’friend.

3.) Do not operate this equipment with a damaged cord, or if it has been dropped or otherwise damaged, until it has been examined by a qualified electrician.

So, after the qualified electrician has examined it and confirmed that it is indeed damaged, I can go ahead and operate it, right? Fair enough.

4.) If an extension cord is necessary, be sure it has a suitable current rating. Cords rated for less amperage than this equipment may overheat. Be careful to arrange the cord so that it will not be tripped over or pulled.

A sticker on the bottom of the light box warns that there’s a whole .2 Amps
surging through my Artograph Lightracer. What kind of extension cord wouldn’t be able to handle that? Perhaps a wee extension cord replica that was snagged from the parlor of a Victorian dollhouse.

5.) Always unplug from the electrical outlet when not in use. Disconnect by grasping and pulling the plug from the outlet; never yank the cord to disconnect the plug.

Sound advice, this. The wiring inside those cords is fragile. To be extra cautious, I will avoid touching the cord altogether and instead use a butter knife to pry the plug from the socket. Now, that’s using the old melon!

6.) Do not immerse in water. If the unit receives water damage, do not use until inspected by a qualified electrician.

Again with the qualified electrician. I’m beginning to suspect that these instructions were written by a qualified electrician with a weakness for the dog track.

Here’s another warning that you’d think would’ve been plastered all over the place. I mean, if the Artograph Company made a point to include this bit of common sense in its list of IMPORTANT SAFEGUARDS, the company must have fielded complaints related to it at some point. You’ve got to figure that at least one Poindexter thought it wise to run his Artograph Lightracer through the rinse cycle before using it for the first time in order to get rid of the scratchiness. You know -- like sheets. Otherwise, why include it at all?

And for that matter, why not include other common sense warnings like these just to make it an even 10?

7.) Avoid contact with bandsaw. Contact with bandsaw may cause the equipment to become cloven in two or more parts, which may affect the usefulness of the tracing surface.

8.) Do not spread with hummus and attempt to ingest. This equipment is not tasty or edible.

9.) This equipment is not a suitable substitute for a parachute or other aviation safety device.

10.) Do not affix to forehead with glue gun. Doing so may impair vision and make passing through low doorways difficult or impossible.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I Don't Have a Single Original Thought In My Head

It's true. All work and no play makes me a complete lump of crap as a blogger. I did manage to avoid work long enough today to snap this photo of Number One Dog, Lebowski. (Number Two Dog, Daisy, declined to be photographed.)

I'm no Evenstar, but I do know a handsome beast when I see one. As a photo editor I stink out loud, but I did at least manage to clone out some stray fuzz and dog goobers.

Believe it or not, digital fuzz removal was one of my great triumphs today, the other being the devisement and execution of a plan (Plan A) to remove my sweatpants and put on proper trousers. Now, three hours later, I am in the midst of devising a second plan (Plan A Sub-1)that will reverse the outcome of my previous plan, Plan A. Plan A Sub-1 is far more complicated than Plan A, however, as it includes the addition of a shower and change of underpants. In fact, it is becoming clearer to me by the second that the success of Plan A Sub-1 hinges on the creation of a detailed diagram, drawn to scale.

I'd best get on it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ann Taylor Joins Dark Forces, Commands Minions to Spread Evil

Among the pile of crap that disguised itself as e-mail today, I found a message from Ann Taylor, designer of affordable and practical ladies’ fashions. While I can’t say I’m much of a dress horse, I admit to having a weakness for Ann Taylor’s tantalizingly roomy size sixes (which, if I understand my UK sizing correctly, is the equivalent of 23 shaftments and a King’s knuckle).

I was just about to open Ann Taylor’s e-mail, when I noticed its subject heading:

Support Breast Cancer and Reward Yourself

To say that I was shocked by this endorsement of nefarious hedonism would be an understatement. Needless to say, I trashed the message without viewing its full contents, as I did not wish to be tainted by its Mephistophelian funk.

Hear me, Ann Taylor, you wicked Betty Crocker of the fashion world . . . . I will not join your evil campaign to support breast cancer for my own personal fun and profit. It is not right, and I will not stand for it.

Good day, madam.