Home ownership and cats

A quick thought: One day, my wife and I realized that we were adults and we owned our own home and that meant we could do CRAZY things and the first CRAZY THING we did was put a cat door on our bedroom door.

It was amazing. Suddenly, we were able to both sleep through the night AND have a door guarding against hallway monsters because everyone knows hallway monsters are too big to fit through cat doors. Later, when we had children, the closed door also protected against children that wanted to come and sleep with us JUST BECAUSE and that just would not do, yet our cats could still come and go like little karma chameleons without disturbing us.

When you own your house (or if you’re just very, very casual about the concept of ‘damage deposits’ on rentals) you can do this. It is a good thing.

Battles in orthography: Damnit vs. Dammit

I think English is wrong, but it’s not for the usual reasons. No, today it’s wrong for a different reason, let me tell you all about it.

For a few years, my spellcheckers have flagged ‘damnit’ as incorrect. Chrome just did it now as I typed this, in fact, because apparently the blessed spelling is ‘dammit’.

“Dammit”? What kind of broken down, toothless word is this? When I say this, I’m commanding “Damn it”. I am summoning the powers of whatever gods are listening to bring their damnation onto the thing or situation I’m thinking of, so DAMNIT makes sense. ‘Dammit’ sounds like I’m gumming out a word only because I’m trying to work up enough saliva to reach a spittoon withnasty chewing tobacco juice. It’s not a focused word and it’s missing all the good emphasis it needs.

To be clear, I am not saying that I wish to “dam” it. This is not a water-control issue. If I’m cursing this way at something, I am not requesting that a river be controlled to ensure proper irrigation during the off-season or something like that.

Coming from a different angle, whenever I express any opinion about how things in language change there’s always THAT PERSON who comes back with the response that ‘language is constantly evolving’. They argue that by its nature, words change over time and it’s unreasonable to fight this. This is usually in response to an objection over ‘figuratively’ being now considered a legitimate synonym for ‘literally’. I don’t like the change in ‘literally’, but if we’re going to just let that in then I want to make this open door policy work FOR me.

How? I want DAMNIT to be a completely acceptable spelling of ‘dammit’. For years, using the “wrong” letter there been one of my dumb little protests against life though I doubt anyone here has ever noticed it. Any time I’ve accidentally used ‘dammit’ or let autocorrect have its way I’ve felt dirty, but NO MORE. There’s a line going into the sand here.

Join me, friends whom I keep close and the enemies I keep closer (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE), join me in driving the orthography boat up the right figurative river. Switch one of those ‘m’s out with an honest ‘n’. Don’t be spooked by Daniel Webster’s scowling ghost, this is something we can fix if we work together.


Suspicious Purchases

Some online asked if the retail registers do anything different if you have a ‘suspicious combination’ of items. ┬áThe general consensus was no, but I shared the following experience that led me to believe otherwise.

In 2005, I tried to buy two small jugs of denatured alcohol at the Cottage Grove, OR Wal-Mart for my flamecannon (started as a pneumatic spud gun but then when I found out it would turn liquid into an aerosol mist, I put a torch at the end and started shooting 40′ fireballs and mushroom clouds instead) and the system would only allow the cashier to ring up one because of whatever else I was buying along with it.

“What? Why?” I asked, probably in more words.
“Computer thinks you might be making meth, dude” is roughly what the response was. They couldn’t override it and I had an insufficient amount of denatured alcohol to get my flame on but what could I do?

Later that evening after we almost immediately ran out of denatured alcohol from my one tiny jug, my brother-in-law asked if I thought acetone was flammable because he “has that”.

“Sure”, I allowed, “I believe it is”.

We poured some down the barrel, lit the igniter torch at the end, and fired it into the air. Now with the alcohol, the aerosol would punch through the flame and be slowly and majestically lit from behind as the flame ‘caught up’. End result, a low “boom”, a big fireball that climbed into the sky, and a fine mist of whatever alcohol didn’t ‘catch’.

With acetone, there was a measurable difference. First, there was no unused acetone. It ALL ignited. Second, it ALL ignited i a roughly 2-3″ sphere of pure energy at the very tip of the barrel where the flame was. It was one of the brightest things I’ve ever seen, and to this day, if I squint my eyes, I can just barely make out the outline of the barrel to my long-departed flame cannon with a round cutout at the end.

So yeah, I think there is some amount of computermization of things people purchase.

Life's too short to be nice