I have fixed the toilet. Almost. I'm still having some minor flapper trouble but at least jiggling the handle actually helps now. While it may have seemed as if I was obsessed with my toilet there for a while, I came nowhere close to the fascination the Japanese enjoy. In today's Los Angeles Times there is a Column One piece describing their enthusiasm for the throne.
The article says, "scientists... are working on embedding technology in the porcelain that will catch a urine sample, shoot it full of lasers and in short order test it for glucose, kidney disease and eventually cancer." Lasers in the toilet! Woo hoo! The article goes on to say "future smart toilets will compile and compare medical results day by day, allowing doctors to spot important changes." This future isn't difficult to imagine. Someday soon all toilets will be connected to the Web where subscribers to medical analysis services can download their latest issues. Doctors will be inundated by this stream of incoming data and thereby forced to rely on support personnel, contract workers whose job is to sit in front of screens and filter through it all. Let's do the math here. Given the number of people, multiplied by times per day, factoring in various disorders and/or complications, this will do nothing but jam the already-clogged phone lines. Some people may see this as a way to simply squeeze out more productivity, streamline health care, and relieve already overworked lab workers, but to me it's just a colossal waste and... okay. Sorry. You know how it is, when ya gotta riff, ya gotta riff. And hey, I'm allowed.
Plans have not been finalized yet, but most of the Neighborhood Y2K Extravaganza has been conceptualized, formulated, and brainstormed upon. Here's the deal -- eight or nine of the households around here will be participating in a moving party similar to the one we held last year, but instead of having just a run-of-the-mill party, each house along the way will have a theme portraying a decade from the 20th century. Viv and I have chosen the '40s, with the '60s, the '50s, the '20s, the 00's, the '70s, and the '30s already spoken for by others so far. We'll work our way from house to house chronologically and spend the last hour before midnight at the top of our cul-de-sac where most of our homes are situated. There will be fire pits and music and lights and food and, if we're lucky, some partial nudity.
We're telling ourselves it's for the kids.
Now, I know some of you out there will find this jejeune, or maybe even insipid, or maybe even both. Feh. I know your type, heck kids, I've been your type. Believe me, I know what it's like to boogie-oogie-oogie till you just can't boogie no more, and then go puke off the balcony. Besides, the missles fly at midnight anyway, right? I want to be calm and clear-headed when the big mushroom cloud is on the rise.
The main advantage of all this is that it keeps us off the streets, at least the ones that have thru-traffic on them. Last year's round-robin party worked out well. The only flaw was that we had way to much food and by the time the third or fourth house rolled around we were rolling around too, and pretty drowsy come midnight.
We're also preparing a time capsule. The neighborhood kids decorated it a few weeks ago and we've all been sniffing around for just the right items to place inside come New Year's Eve. If you have any suggestions please let me know. We're going to bury it "somewhere in the neighborhood", I won't say exactly where, and we're not sure when we're going to dig it up again.
A new family moved into our cul-de-sac this weekend. Seven or eight of us neighbors got together yesterday afternoon and walked over to introduce ourselves and welcome them to the neighborhood. I hope we didn't seem too forward. We figured it was a friendly thing to do, although we did feel a bit like a mob, but instead of carrying torches and rope we took a poinsettia as a token of greeting.
They didn't punch us or throw anything when we told them we'd be having a big Y2K party right out in front of their house, so we're taking this as a good sign. They seem like friendly folks, and I detected a hint of an accent from somewhere in the British Empire, so they're probably not averse to things like fire and music and partial nudity.
"Get The Wow" -- Shonen Knife -- LET'S KNIFE
"The larger and more complex a machine, the more unforgiving it is when something goes wrong."
photo purloined from L.A. Times