Cookie-Cutter Tiny Houses

You know it’s a first world problem when your efforts to curb consumption are co-opted by copycats:

Are tiny houses becoming too “cookie-cutter”?

That’s the fear of Phoenix Vo-Dinh, a tiny-house renter who fears the rise of “miniature McMansions.” And she knows from McMansions: Before her current home, she lived in a Maryland house 10 times its size. The Maryland house had four bedrooms and four bathrooms in its 3,500 square feet, with seven entry doors.

Vo-Dinh now lives with her 24-year-old son, Christopher Lollar, in what she calls a “witch’s cottage” in Portland, Oregon. Its interior walls are papered over with Trader Joe’s grocery bags and pinto bean and flour sacks (coated in linseed oil); the exterior makes use of a local pizzeria’s tomato-sauce cans; and flowerboxes are made from discarded stove hoods turned upside down and poked with drainage holes.


 “In Maryland,” she says, “the size of the house — it was too big! It was a big house with no hiding places in it! It was the weirdest thing. I didn’t know that would happen.

“And this is huge. This is 364 square feet.”

No hiding places. Now that makes me wonder about Ms. Vo-Dinh. And everybody else who thinks tiny houses are the “it” thing. Didn’t they have playhouses or the imagination to create one from blankets and a table when they were children? And just where does she think she’s going to hide from her son in that tiny, though chic and fashionable space?

And what the hell is her son thinking? Perhaps… “Well, Mom is a bit nutty, but she still controls the purse strings. And the apron strings.”

Cobwebs, the Way I Talk, and Shallow Rabbit Holes

So, yeah… it’s been a while since I posted anything. I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and just in case I decide one of my resolutions is to resume blogging, I thought I should see if everything is still working. It is.

WordPress is updated and it took most of the afternoon to rid the place of spam comments. I’m not sure I got them all. I also updated the spam blocker.

To get things started, here’s something that has caught my interest this week: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk.

Big picture last q roundabout

Oddly enough, I did not answer “y’all” to the first question. It’s still “you guys” most of the time even though I’ve lived in the South for over 40 years after growing up in SW Colorado. So, the general geographic area is OK, but the shading is all wrong. I have never lived more than 10 miles east of the Texas border. I have never been to Columbus  GA, I drove through Mobile AL once about 20 years ago, and visited Montgomery AL for the first time this past September.

I was so surprised by the results that I’ve taken the test several times. My very first results were Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile. When I answered “y’all”, I got Jackson, Birmingham, Columbus. The results can’t be compared exactly, because the questions vary a bit each time.

So many things to question about this test. First, the ultimate map puts me so firmly in the South when more than half my answers to questions were accompanied by small maps that either orange or light blue all over. Two other questions yielded maps that were decidedly blue in the area the test decides I’m from, my choice of “you guys” being the prime example.

Several cousins took the test and we compared the results on Facebook to further reduce the scientific validity of this whole thing. It was fun. Some of the results were exactly where the person lives now and has for his/her whole life, along with their parents. Where the results got interesting were among those of us who were born well away from where we now live. Even though we don’t perceive our speech changing all that much, the fact that there chinks the test noted but classified in ways that stuck us as odd is interesting. Interesting without much depth, but I am noting the results in the genealogy file just for kicks.

Sandra Tsing Loh Should Watch Bonanza

Apparently she thinks her Mr. XYZQ ideal man is a new and original idea. Nope. Not only that, she’s a letter short.

The ideal man is Ben-Adam-Hoss-Little Joe-Hop Sing all rolled into one. It irritates me that everybody forgets Hop Sing. If he’s not included as part of the ideal man, then what is he — the wife? Of course, wife (or girlfriend) is rather a dangerous role to play in the Bonanza script.


What does it mean to say that something causes 16% of cancers? Not as much as journalists and especially, headline writers, might think.

Smelling like a man. Could be a good thing. Or not. I wouldn’t mind a candle with the fragrance of freshly cut wood, but one of the reasons for using a candle or room deodorizer is to lessen odors like fish, beer, booze, or tobacco.

Just watched the finals of the National Geographic Bee. I feel so inadequate now. While I couldn’t recall the name of the city on the final question, it was at least something that I “sorta knew” unlike most of the other questions where I had NO idea. Yeah… I said to my husband, “It starts with R, I just can’t think of the name.” What brilliant children! Of course they’ve studied long and hard for this. Congratulations to Rahul Nagvekar of Sugar Land, TX.

Have you eaten venison? (via Bad Data, Bad which you should be reading if you aren’t already)

In general, 65 percent of people have eaten venison. But among those who have mistakenly used the public restroom of the opposite sex, 80 percent have eaten venison.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read. Unless you read it here.

Crisis Cleaning For Last-Minute Guests. From a new site called Housewife How To’s by an old internet friend of mine. Even if you’re like me and not likely to do any housecleaning, you’ll still enjoy her writing:

The best way to deal with unexpected guests is prevention: train them to give a week’s notice before coming over. Unfortunately, some folks won’t listen.

I’m off to contemplate not cleaning my house. Later!

Admitting My Weaknesses

Let’s do this one at a time… and slowly. Next weakness to be admitted between 5/4/2032 and 5/4/3032.

Today I admit that I’m no good at driving a vehicle towing another vehicle… ever. At any time. Or place. I can do it if you make me and if there’s no one else available. But I won’t ever do it to anyone’s satisfaction.

It would be durn handy to blame this lack of ability on me being female, but I’ve witnessed males that aren’t any better at it than I am. I really feel sorry for those guys because they can’t get out of doing this as easily as I can.

Oh yeah, I do NOT mind playing the “but I’m a girl” card when it’s to my advantage. In exchange, I don’t mind guys playing the “but I’m a guy” card occasionally. (Occasionally… because I’m a girl and can also play the feminist card. See how this works? Yes… I knew you would :-)

Backstory: Our yard isn’t that big, but it has this ditch near the street. It was always a problem to mow, but since the city “cleaned” the ditch it’s much worse. It’s never been doable on a riding lawn mower. It’s been a few years since either my husband or myself have been able to mow the ditch with a push mower and now the city has made even that impossible no matter how young and strong the wielder of the mower might be.

To readers that know my husband, it’s no surprise that he tried to mow this small area with a riding lawn mower anyway.

Several times. Since the last time he tried it resulted in neighbors pulling the overturned lawnmower off him, he really has been more careful. Really. This time, he just got the lawnmower stuck and wanted me to pull it out with the pickup while he guided it around the tree guarding the ditch.

And I DID IT!!! Yay me! But before I got into the truck (after carefully surveying the situation) I extracted several promises from him. One is that he will never ever try to mow that part of the ditch. The second was that he will either get one of the (at least two, maybe more) weed-eaters that we own fixed and use them instead.

He’s off right now seeing about getting a weed-eater in operating order.

The third promise I asked for… well, he didn’t promise, so I won’t elaborate.

Get Your Links Here! Free!

Organic Water. Riiiiigghht.

Since I’m all out of organic water, how about some inorganic BS? Create your own at the Arty Bollocks Generator.

My work explores the relationship between Jungian archetypes and football chants.

With influences as diverse as Kierkegaard and Frida Kahlo, new synergies are manufactured from both orderly and random dialogues.

Ever since I was a teenager I have been fascinated by the theoretical limits of the moment. What starts out as triumph soon becomes finessed into a cacophony of defeat, leaving only a sense of unreality and the dawn of a new synthesis.

As momentary replicas become transformed through boundaried and academic practice, the viewer is left with an insight into the inaccuracies of our culture.

Telepathic soldiers. Well, not really, but very interesting research and development. I found it interesting that two of the sounds being initially researched are “ooh” and “aah”. These will surely be followed by “sh”, “i”, and “t”.

Eat Your Iron. I think distilled water should be substituted for tap water.

Yep, he knows what he’s doing. The course reminds me of the AZ driving test course that I would not have failed if I’d…. ohnevermind.

Helpful Household Hints.

I wouldn’t cry over spilled milk, but this is entirely different.

Should you ever need to cite this post in print, here’s how.

Where The Socks Are

Rather, what socks are explains their behavior. As recently as 30 years ago, it was assumed dryers erratically connected with a parallel universe and socks went randomly back and forth, most being destroyed somehow in the transfer.

Now,  new theory explains why that is not necessarily true — Socks are Fermions:

I have come to the conclusion that socks are fermions, and that this explains much of the behavior of disappearing socks. (There may be other factors at play, of course) Clearly they are not bosons; you cannot make two socks occupy the same space: Put two socks on the same foot and they wll be layered, and there is a finite number you can fit into a washing machine or a dryer. Socks worn in the normal fashion are distinguishable by being on the left or right foot (or hand, in the case of the sock puppet effect; I won’t be discussing the very interesting Lamb-Chop-shift one can observe). The individual socks in a pair, however, are indistinguishable and they must have an antisymmetric wave function and thus obey Fermi-Dirac statistics and follow the Pauli exclusion principle.

Physics may well be on the way to solving this age-old mystery.

Weekend Time Wasters

TV Tropes
If you have the least little bit, the teensiest smidgeon of obsessive compulsive disorder, don’t click there. They have categories and lists and sublists and… they are named so brilliantly you just have to click on them all. Don’t get sucked in, just click on “random item” at the top of the page.

Damn Cool Pics
From silly to awe-inspiring, with a few just a tad scary one thrown in for effect.

Ugliest Tattoos
They are all scary in some way, but some will make you laugh.

Awkward Family Photos
It’s amazing how much fun everyone was having!

I think I’ve wasted enough time on this post. Have a great weekend!

It Has Come To My Attention That My Blog May Be Boring

Though it couldn’t have been said in a nicer way, I think my favorite bartender would like for me to get a life. Or something. Something like he way overestimates the blogging value of my accumulated sticky notes.

The most meaningful one (but one I actually threw away) was a series of question marks. I will reproduce it here for you:


“WTF” would have been somewhat more informative. I think. Perhaps what I really need is to spend more time drinking in bars employing really great and wise bartenders.

As noted here, I seem to express myself better in comments on others’ blogs. I hope that’s a passing phase.

I’ve Been Incomputicado And Here’s What I Missed

An impending wedding! Congratulations to Althouse and Meade.

An impending birth! Congratulations to Talina and N. Do not worry about not having the perfect nursery setup. My father tells me that his youngest stepsister did fine with a dresser drawer as bassinet. It’s the love that matters.

Interpret the data for yourself, but to me it says that older folks who majored in the humanities know more about the fox and the grapes than anyone else. Now, before you start thinking that older folks who majored in the humanities are smarter than anyone else, consider that the grapes might have been sour.

I won’t even pluck my eyebrows.

Obviously, I have missed more, but this is where my attention span ends.

In A Honda Civic?

Leadfoot is likely a genetic disorder found in most humans, though it’s precise location has not yet been documented. However, humans have much more information about the genetic code of a 1993 Honda Civic and it’s generally accepted that without unusual genetic alteration, you won’t clock one at 137 mph(via Drudge, via Althouse)

I once owned a 1993 Ford Taurus SHO, a pretty red one. I’ll have to look through my photos, but I don’t remember one of the car. But I loved that car. 220 HP compared to the 160 HP of a 1993 Honda Civic.

If I remember correctly, the highest speed on the SHO’s odometer was 140 mph. (NOTE: My children and any law enforcement officers must stop reading at this point.) I never pegged it, but only fear stopped me. There’s a great stretch of I-49 where you can see a long long way and it ends in a very steep exit. When there were no other cars in sight, I would floorboard my little red SHO and let her go. I usually got to the exit at around 130 mph and chickened out. The car would definitely have gone faster.

My husband maybe got the car up a little faster racing (again on the then relatively deserted I-49), of all cars, a Hyundai Sonata. At that speed, it didn’t feel like the tires were actually in steady contact with the roadway. We were, um… flying. Anyway, he chickened out then too saying “Our income depends on my CDL and we can’t afford a ticket!” The SHO “felt” best and drove best at 90 mph. I don’t think a cop would ever have accepted that defense, but it was true!

The only reason I’m not still driving my little red SHO is because the AC went kaplooie. We live in Louisiana. The estimate for repairing the A/C was about $4000 which was absolutely frickin’ ridiculous. My Dad was about to trade in his 1993 Sedan Deville which carried about the same Blue Book value as my SHO, so we switched cars and he traded in the SHO.

I’d probably still be driving the 93 Cadillac if someone hadn’t t-boned it in 2003. I’d finally learned that if I wanted to pass someone in that underpowered V6 hulkmobile, it had to be downhill and downwind. It did get excellent gas mileage. It was also difficult to keep on the road because of the strange steering system. Yes, I could make a U-turn on a two lane highway without using both shoulders, but the “drift and float” was horrible.

With the insurance check in hand, I went used car shopping. I almost got a 1999 Audi, but researching maintenance costs made me doubt it’s utility. After shopping for two weeks, I settled on another Cadillac, but this 1998 model has a Northstar engine. Mmm… horsepower! I can pass! I can merge! Oh yeah, baby all that is worth it even if I do have to back up to turn around on a two lane highway. Sixty thousand miles later, I’m still pretty happy with it.

We haven’t bought a new vehicle since 1991 – an F150 with over 400,000 miles on and still running. But… for the first time in AGES, I want a new car – a 2010 Taurus SHO.  I want. Barack, Daddy, anyone?

Saturday Surfing

Six Degrees of Separation theory may leak like a sieve. It’s still an intriguing idea and fun to play with, though it may be a Big World after all. (via Gene Expression)

Time Out.

“Is it a faux pas to make a gift of faux poo?”

Give Geese A Chance.

Meerkats, ferrets, children, and VapoRub.

2D reality in a 3D illusion.  (via Marginal Revolution)

Kudos to Jeff Skiles. This was a team effort of many people, some who had trained for it and some who hadn’t (the passengers on the plane and on the ferry boats, for example.) People were on the wings almost immediately after the plane came to a stop. Well, as much of a stop as it was going to come to in the river’s current. In less than 8 minutes, passengers were being taken about ferries and rescue boats. (via Rachel Lucas)

Strangest search term ever: 1a8846fefa19f4391919f99ef11ece80785de72a25fd20c9. But what’s really neat is that Google asks “Did you mean to search for: 1a8846efa19f4391919f99f11ce80785de72a25fd20c9” which returns no results, but might after I post this!