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Is this happening in the States, too?

I ordered something from Amazon — a knapsack, to be specific. My shoulderbag gets heavier by the day and it’s making me list to port. As usual from Amazon, my order was dispatched within a day.

Then I waited and waited and waited and it didn’t show. So I check the order, got the tracking number and…if you haven’t figured it out, SFC stands for “Send From China.”

Increasingly, our goods from Amazon and eBay are being sent directly from China. Sometimes they tell you up front, sometimes they don’t (I think eBay always says where the goods are located). The economics of this are interesting.

Sometimes my only clue is the product seems unusually inexpensive for what it is. Even the postage is often cheap or free!

I’m conflicted about this. I don’t really like cutting out the middleman when the middleman is my neighbor. On the other hand, I don’t feel like handing him money for being my neighbor. The goods are coming from China anyway…what exactly is the benefit…?

So far, I’ve been happy with everything I’ve gotten directly in this way. Good quality stuff, cheap. No customer service issues. And it takes longer, but rarely more than a week longer than locally warehoused goods.

Does this happen where you are? How do you feel about it? Oh, and — good weekend!

April 24, 2015 — 8:31 pm
Comments: 13

Bad day at the office

AND he came in second.

So jockeys don’t wear underpants, huh? Must be a weight thing. That view could easily have turned a lot more interesting.

Happy St George’s Day. It seems England doesn’t celebrate it any more. But we got a Google doodle, which is nice.

April 23, 2015 — 9:17 pm
Comments: 12

Absolutely haram

Found this in a search of old novelty postcards. Abdul Hamid (1725–1789), Wikipedia tells me, was the 27th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He was very devout and something of an Islamic saint.

And this is an old postcard of him composed entirely of half-naked ladies.

It’s like, weren’t we better off when nobody gave a shit what blasphemy people got up to halfway around the world?


April 22, 2015 — 9:36 pm
Comments: 13

Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos

It’s great fun watching Hillary! try to pass, isn’t it? She’s uploaded HumanBeing 2.0, but she hasn’t worked all the bugs out yet.

Kang and Kodos, ladies and gents — my favorite cartoon political metaphor. Sure, bigger and in color.

April 21, 2015 — 8:08 pm
Comments: 5

So I got to be a Chinese guy, which was cool

I just finished Sleeping Dogs, an excellent open world shoot-’em up game set in Hong Kong. Sadly, it isn’t a meticulous building-by-building recreation of the town (like some of the Grand Theft Auto game settings are supposed to be), but it’s broadly faithful to the layout and lots more fun to drive in. On the sidewalk? Be our guest.

Yeah, I know most of my readers don’t do games, but I’m clearing the deck of a backlog. May, as you might remember, is my Birthday Month and I plan to play a lot of new stuff to celebrate.

Anyway, Wei Shen — your game dude — is forever stopping at a street vendor for duck or ice cream or noodles. Or the one that always gets to me in the movies: pork buns. Makes me crazy hungry for Chinese. Has anybody had one of these pork buns? (I’m looking at you, Bob). For some reason, they look so soft and squidgy and appealing, but I didn’t have the courage to cook something I’d never seen in the flesh before. Also, I don’t have a steamer.

So I made pot-stickers, AKA Pekin ravioli, AKA Pekin dumplings. They were delicious. I think I ruined my dinner.

April 20, 2015 — 9:25 pm
Comments: 16

Accidental shepherdess

On the walk home from work today, I stopped to watch a local farmer round up his flock of sheep to move to another field. No dog, no ATV — he just drove forward and back across the grass in his 4×4, honking. Got them all right where he wanted them to go, including stragglers. It was masterful.

When he got them all bunched up and headed out the drive, I gave him a round of applause. He leaned out of the car and yelled, “stop them — they’re headed for the crop!”

Yes, dear readers, today I was an accidental shepherdess. He had three or four guys in the road directing traffic, but the sheep (being sheep) tried to bust out in just the wrong place. Or just the right place, since I was standing there gawping and waving my arms.

They do this several times a season in our area, move a big flock from one field to another for better grazing. Just the unwed ewes — I don’t think they’d dare try it with excitable lambs — rushing right down one of the busiest roads in the county. Step out, stop the traffic, chase hundreds of sheep down the highway.

If we’re out when they do it, we know they’ve done it. They close the gates at the end of our drive. That’s how Uncle B heard the commotion and came running with a camera. That’s me in the circle back there, having done my bit.

Good weekend, y’all!

April 17, 2015 — 7:35 pm
Comments: 14

The view out my back door

This year’s crop is coming along. Last week, they were tiny babies. Today, they looked positively adolescent, popping around the field. The picture is Uncle B’s and is a few days old.

Everything is weirdly accelerated this year. The mayflowers are out, the wild flowers are moving through their yearly succession at a brisker than usual pace.

We’ve had an unseasonably warm week. We took sammiches to one of our favorite picnic spots yesterday and couldn’t work out why we were so hot. Then we realized — there was no shade, because the leaves aren’t on the trees yet. Very mixed signals.

This probably means May will be shit ‘n’ chips.

April 16, 2015 — 10:25 pm
Comments: 9

Happy hump day

Hump day? Quasimodo? Ah, suit yourself.

I dug up this picture because I spent my work day moving heavy things from one storage area to another, and I feel at least quasimodo myself. Searching for this image, I discovered there might have been a real life hunchback who inspired Victor Hugo to write the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Huh.

My mother grew up rural, far from the nearest library, and tHoND was the first book she ever fell in love with. She found it on her parents’ bookshelf (I still have the very book), sat down on the living room floor to read it and stayed up all night until she finished.

While she was reading, she looked up to see a mouse skitter across the floor in front of her. It was brown with white blotches.

Pointless story, but it was going to die with me, so I thought I’d read it into the public record.

April 15, 2015 — 9:17 pm
Comments: 15

One for the Whovians

I’m indebted to Feynmangroupie for this one (bigger). I’m not a Doctor Who fan — I tuned in a few times back when the effects were crudest and thought, “nah” — but this is a deeelightful character.

Lady Cassandra O’Brien.Δ17 (that’s pronounced “delta 17″) is a human so old she’s been kept alive by 709 plastic surgeries. She’s nothing but a brain in a jar attached to a piece of skin with a sort of face. Though she’s reduced to a CGI mouth and two eyes, it’s easy enough to recognize actress Zoë Wanamaker in the role.

Do watch the introduction to this character — it’s funny enough to be worth your time.

April 14, 2015 — 10:12 pm
Comments: 24

So it begins…

Saddle up, here we go heading into the 2016 election (or as bloggers call it Easy Pickin’s Season).

If you missed this weekend’s bonus Photoshop, do feel free to spread it around should you find it worthy. I’ve seen it in the wild once already, which feels me with deelight. (Forgot to sign it, tho).

That was a Photoshopper’s dream: a strong, simple idea, lots of big hi-res photos to choose from, close correspondence between the thing and the thing you’re morphing it into. Mutilating poor old Chelsea was so easy; the hard part was eliminating the type in the original Elle cover. Thanks again to RD Brewer for sending me the idea.

Hillary! isn’t so easy, but if ever aristocrat needed mocking…

April 13, 2015 — 9:43 pm
Comments: 7