The Hess Report

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I Iz a Dog, Not a Person! 

This has been my screen backround off and on for a while. No reason that I should be the only one to bask in its glory.

Poor Piper.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Mystery 

Did you know that if you're driving along on a beautiful day and the Scorpions' Rock You Like A Hurricane comes on the radio, the car turns up the volume and drives faster all by itself?

A mystery, that.

Friday, July 10, 2009

She Didn't See That One Coming! 

Oh, it is to laugh.

You'd think someone in the spirit world would have had a clue.

It's like:

A police station getting robbed.

A bank manager having to file for personal bankruptcy.

Symantec getting taken down by a virus.

But the beauty of having something really bad happen to a psychic/fortune teller/etc. is that anything bad that happens to them at all, regardless of category, fits the bill and makes them look like the pathetic charlatans that they actually are. Maybe her chakras were out of alignment.

If I were a fortune teller, I'd be doing my own fortune all the time. For everything. Which way should I go to the grocery store? What color shirt should I wear today? At dinner tonight, should I eat my peas five at a time or seven at a time? It's those little things in life that can make all the difference. Of course, these goofballs will claim something like "No one can tell their own future, blah blah, lie lie..." So, why don't they use their powers to find another real fortune teller, and then they can exchange fortune telling services? That would work.

Or maybe it violates some kind of fortune teller ethics, and no one wants to get brought up in front of the Fortune Teller Ethics Review Board. They're real ball busters, from what I hear.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Animal Extravaganza 

The pond across the road is kind of yucky. It's shallow, greenish, and sports those water lilies that look nice in Impressionist paintings but make you want to scrub yourself with a Brillo pad in real life. A pair of ducks makes an appearance every now and then, which is fine. I like ducks, both as observable wildlife, and shredded and fried in a Thai salad. There is also a beaver. Probably a family of them, but we've only seen a single one, twice, swimming across the pond with a long stalk of grass in his mouth. A Beaver Aside: Do you suppose that a single male beaver will work harder on his lodge than an already mated beaver? I'm not sure what the beaver incentive structure looks like. When it comes to beavers, what is more important? Keeping your mate and protecting home and hearth with a strong lodge, or attracting a mate with a tricked out beaver pad? Also, what if this beaver is gay and spends all of his time in his finely-appointed lodge planning awesome block parties and watching Beaver-Bravo? In the end, I guess there's no way to discern a beaver's family situation by watching it swim across a pond with a stalk of grass in its mouth.

And then there are the Canada geese. I believe I have spoken of them before. Foul creatures. Worse than pigeons. I consider Canada geese an infestation. The pond holds three families of them. Several months ago, there were only six. Those six paired up and had babies, about three or four each. The babies were adorable (cf. my non-baby-killing policy even for pest animals), but I knew that soon I would grow to hate them. And so I have.

Every morning, I walk the dog across the road and around the pond. Before the goslings came, I would let her have a full leash and chase the geese away. I hate them, and she loves chasing them, so why not? But what if she went off leash and killed one, you ask? What then? Then, I say, doggie gets a treat. However, with the babies around we've temporarily dialed the goose-terrorization down to zero. Someday soon, though, they'll all be full grown, and it might be time to make a midnight trek into their territory, hockey pants, gloves and a sword in tow. I'm sure the local coyotes would clean up the debris in a day or two.

Occasionally, the pond's two ducks will get pissed off about the quickly growing goose population and have a quack/honk off in the middle of the pond. I have affectionately dubbed this situation "Duck versus Goose," and it is something to be hoped and cheered for. It's been in the back of my mind to try to teach the ducks to use weapons, but I've heard they're not the fastest learners, so it's probably not worth it.
This morning, the dog and I scored the pond wildlife quadrafecta. As we crossed the road, I saw the two ducks taking off and the entire clan of geese running across the field and into the pond. Hoping to see the beaver again, Piper and I slowly picked our way along the edge of the pond. As we were in goose territory, I remained peripherally aware of where I was stepping. Canada geese do little more than crap constantly, and it's nasty when it's fresh and you don't want to squash in it. I'm glad I was watching, because something a few feet to my right caught my eye. I reigned Piper in just as she lunged at the large snapping turtle on the ground, an arm's length away from us. She was about a foot across, and her head was as big as my fist. She could easily take a man's fingers off or snap a little dog's leg like a twig. I had almost stepped on her.

I backed away and pulled Piper with me. She figured it was Go Time, and wanted nothing more than to have at it. Stoopid dog. She's used to picking on mice, voles, chipmunks, birds and the odd raccoon, soft targets basically, and had no idea what would happen if she took on an animal that used armor and weaponry. We gave the turtle a wide berth and continued up the hill.

Piper sniffed around for a bit, did her business, and we headed back toward home. The turtle was gone. I noticed the geese clearing out of the pond, and figured that maybe the turtle was about to terrorize them, which: awesome. I watched for about half a minute, but couldn't see her. That's when I noticed why they had headed for the shore. The beaver was cruising the pond.

Go beaver!
Go ducks!
Go turtle!
Boo geese!

Friday, May 29, 2009


If you've read The Hess Report for a while, you'll know that I occasionally brew beer. For some reason, I've always messed up somehow or other at the bottling stage, which resulted in a substandard final product. It probably goes back to not doing well in labs in high school. Oh well. My options were:
  1. Give up brewing
  2. Continue to make semi-crummy beer
  3. Skip the bottle and go straight to the keg
Kegging allows you to skip a number of laborious bottle preparation steps. Basically, it's one giant bottle. And, since you use a CO2 tank for dispensation pressure, you can also use it to carbonate. This allows you to skip the whole priming thing, which was usually what I didn't get right.

I'm sure the science-practical types reading this are thinking "How can you screw that up? It's a freaking recipe!" Well, science-practical has never been my thing. I can build stuff. I can code. I can figure things out. But for some reason, mixing things in just the right amounts and in a certain way just didn't make it into my wiring.

So, kegging is a great solution for me.

At this very moment, I'm drinking my first beer pulled from my own keg. It's an American amber ale -- almost red, rather hoppy, very smooth. Of course, it's room temperature. I don't mind a cold one from the fridge, but for some reason I seem to prefer homebrew "in the shade."

Oh, and it's fantastic.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Two Simple Rules for Pet Ownership 

This article reminded me of one of my rules of pet ownership. I usually say it as a joke, but really I'm kidding on the square. The rule?

Don't own a pet that you couldn't kill with your bare hands if you had to.

Of course, the level of empty-handed lethality will vary from person to person, so there's nothing to say what kind of pet you personally can or cannot have. Pee Wee Herman gets a snail. Maybe. Chuck Norris can have a Polar Bear.

The other rule?

Get a shelter dog. Don't go to a breeder. I've heard the arguments for breeder dogs. Whoop-di-do. Get a shelter dog.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Psych Experiments at the Soda Machine 

The soda machine at work is conducting psych experiments.

A soda costs 60 cents. I have a quarter and four dimes (65 cents). When I put in my money, the machine says "Please use correct change," which means that it doesn't have proper change to dispense. Fine. I push the coin return button so I can bug our accountant to switch my one dime for two nickels.

Clinkety clink. The money falls into the hopper.

It's two quarters, a dime and a nickel.

Which I promptly put back into the machine, save the nickel.

I put my mouth close to the coin slot and whisper "Nobody likes a smart ass.*"

There is no response.

I get my soda, though.

* I was lying. The only person who doesn't like a smart ass is the priss of the group. Everyone else loves the smart ass, but I wasn't counting on a soda machine to know that.