Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Well, now this is interesting. I think what interests me most about it is that Bob Woodward, the man who brought down Nixon, is now willingly being used as a military tool. Plausible! The device is genius, of course, and I bet it, or something like it, exists. Unfortunately, it will never fully work because of what I call the "squirrels in the garden" problem. The squirrels are eating my tomatoes! They sneak out there when I'm not looking and chow down on the grapes and such -I've seen them scamper away when I open the sliding door. The DistantStar could easily take them out, except that the squirrels don't use satellite phones to communicate. I guess what I'm saying is, Osama bin Laden is a squirrel in the garden.

ANYWAY, it was a swell weekend and I think I got a lot done around here, though if I look around it all looks like it did on Friday. Hm. Saturday was our big once-yearly garage sale which achieved a modest amount of success: over two-hundred dollars was raised! There was much discussion about how the family should spend the $200 and I believe we decided to just put it in the Little Ditchman's college account, which would bring the total up to about $220, (going to USC she is not.) I spent the rest of the day putting the old aquarium back together and on Sunday I went out for tank supplies and I spent about $100. Oh well. Time to start banking on that full-scholarship tuition to Scripps for an oceanography degree, little one.

Garage Sales are hilarious to me. Another one of those grand old American suburban traditions. You pile all your junk in the yard and hope someone comes by to offer you money for it. In my experience, you've got to get up early for these things. Gotta get out those directional signs at sunup, and the stuff should be on the lawn when you leave the house because people will make it to your place before all the signs are even in place (not kidding) so you have to double-team it with the wife. Also, the earlier you get out there, the better placement you get on the poles -you'll be vying for sign space with the other garage sales.

And then everyone tumbles in, most of them Mexican in my neighborhood. You get people who drive by and just look from the car and then you get people who walk up and fondle every last knickknack, asking the prices as they go. You also get a sad set of people who look like they're just out for the social occasion. Talkers. People could be shoplifting your stuff on the other side of the driveway whilst some old lady is giving you her personal history of small wicker basket ownership. And there are garage sale shoplifters. These heathen, these lowest of the low, stealing junk that costs nickels. Look, just come back later this afternoon! It will all still be here in the trash can on the curb!

Which is a funny thing. Everything out there is trash to me, is my rule. So I sell it for quarters. Sometimes people haggle me down! But at the end of the day, it all just stays out there for the garbage man or is plopped in a bag for the Veterans Assistance League. Just come back later for it! That is, if you want to chance it. The next guy may offer me fifty cents.

One thing that didn't sell: VHS tapes. We have a bunch of movies on VHS -good ones too, you know, like Austin Powers and The Godfather and Disney's Aladdin- but we couldn't move them. And you should have seen my wife trying to sell them: "No, it's a good movie!" So VHS is officially dead. If you can't sell them at a garage sale for a quarter a piece, they're dead. (Actually we did sell An Officer And A Gentleman so there's still a market for an aged Richard Gere flick.)

Ditchman Family Garage Sale ended at 11AM. They never make it past noon. Got caught up with all the neighbors and got a bunch of crap cleared out of the house. Napped away the rest of the afternoon and had a beer in the sun with the tortoises -tried to squeeze a little bit more summer out. I believe that's about all I'm gonna get this year.