Sunday, June 16, 2013

Compendium of Links #42

I’m pretty well settled into my new house – have mowed the yard a couple of times and pulled a lot of weeds after the recent rainstorm – and now I’m just waiting to get the internet modem hooked up! In the meantime, I spend a lot of time at the library and actually get my browser cleared of the following tabs….

Top 10 reasons I’m actually a man – from a woman, of course. Hilarious.

*6.5 SMALL TALK. WHAT EVEN IS THAT. DON’T WE ALL ALREADY KNOW WHAT THE WEATHER IS LIKE (WE LITERALLY JUST WALKED IN OUT OF IT) & IF I REALLY WANTED TO KNOW WHAT BRAND OF MASCARA YOU WERE WEARING – IF, GOD FORBID, I COULD DISTINGUISH THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MASCARA BRANDS – DON’T YOU THINK I WOULD ASK YOU. Somehow though, as much as women can generally small-talk me under the table and I abhor it (I tend to take it as a sign that you don’t actually want to know me), I have to believe that a skill that inane must be a societal construct and hardly something I can blame on any particular gender. However! We are talking about why my interests mandate my being a man and so therefore: NO SMALL TALK = INHERENTLY MALE.

Everyone’s favorite Avengers scene. With the hilarious addendum, and in comic form.

What if evangelicalism succumbed to celebrityism? Oh wait. It’s happening.

Proof that Doctor Who is based on actual events. In visual form, of course.

Joe Carter, a Christian writer whose blogging I’ve appreciated in the past, asks is the news making us dumb?

Most of us realize that the events of last week's news cycle—just like the previous 51 other news cycles this year—will probably not have a significant effect on how we live. Indeed, if we're being honest with ourselves, most of us would have to admit that what is sold as news—on newspaper pages, the Internet, or cable news programs—is rarely newsworthy at all.

It’s billed as “news” and its context’s importance reduced in order to sell, Carter argues. If the importance of the larger context were properly understood, he adds, then the daily news items wouldn’t be near so marketable. I counter that it’s precisely the daily news items that make up the larger context which is far more valuable – at least at the level of local news. The work necessary to understand the larger context and its importance is precisely keeping up with the news.

Another Christian blog addresses the introverted evangelist.

Why are so many adults adopted in Japan? It’s part culture, part economics.

Although Japan’s post-war code no longer upholds primogeniture, business families find the habit hard to kick. The country's declining birth rate has further limited the likelihood of a male heir for many of them, who often select sons from among their most promising top managers. Toyota and Suzuki, both carmakers, Canon, an electronics firm, and Kajima, a construction company, have all adopted sons to manage them. Incentives are high for prospective adoptees, too. Their parents sometimes receive gifts of many million yen. To be selected as a mukoyoshi is to be awarded a high executive honour. This prompts fierce competition among managers, which means that the business has access to as good a talent pool as non-family companies.

And the Evangelical Outpost echoes my own thoughts on why writing by hand is worth it. I’d love to have an easily searchable journal, sure, but I can’t imagine switching to journaling on computer… It’s so not the same. You don’t have the drawings and the changes in handwriting to observe as you peruse old journals!

What if we dressed classical sculptures in hipster clothes? This! (via a FB group)

No video today. Just trying to clear out my browser. Smile with tongue out

Friday, June 14, 2013

Life on my own #41: Mowing the lawn

I’ve always wondered who invented the lawn. Regular wide-open areas are covered in woods and underbrush or two-foot-tall prairie grass – or they were (now it’s mainly suburbs).

Then in front of houses, you have two choices: garden or lawn.

I’ve often been in favor of having a massive garden on a city lot (my miniscule green thumb notwithstanding). At least they have pretty flowers. A lawn is just a boring unbroken swath of green.

Yet here I am, the new homeowner with a medium-small city lot and the lawn that goes with it. It even has a devil’s strip.

So I bought a lawnmower. I had thought about getting a gas mower – no cord required (and I get enough of cords vacuuming). There isn’t anywhere to plug an electric mower in on two to three sides of the house, anyway. On the other hand, I’ve rarely had more than a 50% success rate getting my dad’s gas push mower started. Mind you, I’m not talking about starting it on the first try. I’m saying at all. (I usually coaxed my brother into coming out to start it for me.)

And then my cousin talked me into a reel mower (otherwise known as, mower-whose-only-power-is-you-pushing). I had to use a reel mower at least two summers back home, somewhere there in high school/college. I did not like the reel mower. In fact, I hated it. It usually left the grass a bit scraggly , and I had to take extra passes over what I’d already mowed because the grass was so long. (Yes, we kids tended to procrastinate on the mowing.) And that’s not even considering the roughly one-inch width of each pass… Well, anyway, it was so narrow I had to make about twice as many passes with it as with the old gas mower

Not that the gas mower would start. I’m talking about a best-of-all-worlds situation here.

But, my cousin said, the blades on a reel mower are great if they’re sharp! They cut the grass so cleanly! You don’t have to power it with gas or anything and there’s no motor to fiddle with!

So I reconsidered, noted that my lawn is significantly smaller than my folks’, considered the chances that I’d ever get a gas mower started, and decided to give a reel mower another shot.

This is where online shopping websites come in handy. I had no intention of ordering a mower online – I had waited too long to buy one already – but at least I could find out which mowers were rated more highly by both amateurs and professionals.

So I settled on a reel mower available at a local store and bought it Monday. A 20-inch one – just as wide as the gas push mowers I’d originally thought of getting. And far better than a 16-inch average reel mower.

After putting the handle together (piece of cake), I tackled the back yard. The grass was pretty high back there so I had to make a couple of passes in several spots… make that more than half the yard… to get the grass cut. But it did get cut.

I noticed my forehead getting really hot when I was about halfway done with the front yard. And then I realized I’d imbibed exactly 0 cups of water so far that day. That’s when I beelined it to the kitchen for lots of water and a banana.

Properly refreshed, I finished the last of the lawn and headed inside. And it really did look mowed when I checked it through the kitchen window (while drinking yet another glass of water).