Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'll never get this thing done!

I'm sure I'm not the first and won't be the last to feel like time's a-wasting and I'm not getting any closer to getting my airplane done no matter how much I try. I looked at the in-dash thermometer while driving home from the paying job this afternoon and saw a passably comfortable 28F degrees. It looked like the snow we've had over the last couple days had abated, so I wouldn't have to clear the lengthy driveway of stately Gamble Manor again. Yep, nothing to keep me from just changing my clothes and heading straight to the hangar to finish up the riveting on the bottom of the left wing. It should be easy - the middle skin is already clecoed into place, a task I took care of last time I was out there.

It wasn't to be. Co-pilot Egg, who truth be told really struggled with the "backing up between some traffic cones" portion of her driving test, had had a little incident while backing out of the driveway earlier in the day.

Here's what met me as I turned into the driveway:

It's pretty clear what happened. When I had cleared the driveway last night, her car had been parked over in the corner of the apron and I had to work around it. When she got in it to go to school this morning, she couldn't see the edge between the driveway and the hill sloping down to the creek. She got a front tire off of the edge of the driveway, and because it's a front wheel drive car, the tire just started spinning when it got into the snow/grass of the yard. At that point it was pretty much pre-ordained that the harder she tried to get back on the driveway, the further the car was going to slide down the hill.

So, rather than go to the hangar and pull some rivets, I'm instead going to have to find a way to pull that car back up onto the driveway.


And I was in such a good mood, too. I've been chuckling the last couple of days over what has to be the best practical joke ever.

A couple of days ago, I was having lunch in the little kitchen we have at the office. One of the ladies I work with was very excited about her recent discovery of Grapples. What's a "Grapple?" Well, in short it's an apple that tastes like a grape.

Now if you're anything like me, you're wondering why we need apples that taste like grapes. I've always thought that grapes were doing a perfectly fine job of tasting like grapes and no assistance was needed from other fruits to fill that niche in the taste spectrum. It's not as if we need bananas that taste like tuna fish or pears that taste like artichokes, right?

Alas, someone disagreed with me and invented the Grapple. Naturally, the discussion veered around to the question of just how they get an apple to taste like a grape. The co-worker postulated that they must cross the apple seeds with grape seeds. I found that hard to believe, mostly because the Grapple looked exactly like an apple. If it was a true grape/apple hybrid, one could fairly expect it to look like something a little different than an apple.

To prove my case, I returned to my office where I Googled "grapple." That found many instances of the word 'grapple,' so I narrowed my search to "grapple fruit." Ah ha! A hit! And there it was: a "How Are They Made?" tab. Great! And the text is conveniently copyable:

How Is A Grāpple® Brand Apple Made?

Grāpple® brand apples begin either as Washington Extra Fancy Gala or Fuji Apples, depending upon the season. These "premium apples" are the ones that take on the grape flavor best. This Patented Process is complex and the ingredient mix primarily includes concentrated grape flavor and pure water (USPP #7,824,723). All ingredients are USDA and FDA approved and the process has been licensed by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
There is nothing but flavor being infused into the apple. A relaxing bathing process prepares our apples for you or your kids. The apple takes on no additional sugars or calories. They are not genetically altered in any way. The apple is as healthy as ever but now has the new exciting grape flavor. The process is better explained by the Food Network's "Unwrapped" show entitled "Grapeful". Check your local listings orclick here to find out the next time it is on in your area.
Apples are a fantastic snack. Grapes are a wonderful snack. Try a Grāpple® brand apple today, and enjoy the best of both of them in one!

The fact that the text could be copied started me thinking, and that usually leads to trouble. I thought that maybe I could enhance that text a little bit and have a little fun by emailing it around. Interestingly and provocatively, it turned out that not only could I enhance the text, but I could also paste it back into a screen shot of the web site. A few minutes in Paint and the deed was done:

You'll have to click on the picture to make it big enough to read it. Basically what I added was that formaldehyde and carbon monoxide are used in the processing but that consumers needn't worry about any ill effects unless they are elderly or very young. I printed off the screen shot and took it back down to the kitchen. I honestly thought that it was so outlandish and that these folks knew me so well after a decade of working together that they'd never fall for it. Even so, I went in with a stoic game face and cavalierly handed the screen shot to the lady with the Grapples, acting for all the world like there was nothing at all special about it. As she was reading the first paragraph, I could tell when she had gotten to my additions by the amazing heights her eyebrows were reaching. I struggled to keep my face neutral as she passed the page around to some of the co-workers that had tried slices of the Grapples, apologizing profusely for having fed them formaldehyde.

I wasn't able to keep up the charade any longer and burst into laughter. And I'm still laughing about it today!

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