A Fan

Nov. 24th, 2012 09:48 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
[I'm experimenting with copying a post from Google Plus to Dreamwidth/LiveJournal. Pasting the text and photo from G+ into the Dreamwidth Rich Text editor seems to work, although I had to get the public link for the photo. For some reason the LJ-to-Facebook connection doesn't seem to be working.]

My dad came over today. We've been having a couple of electrical problems, and he was trained in electronics by the army. Plus he's handy, which I, unfortunately, am not. Or not very.

The first problem was the ceiling light in the den. It kept flickering and making buzzing noises. He took things apart and figured out that the problem was that the contact in the base of the socket was depressed; it wasn't making proper contact. He pried it up, and now the light works perfectly. I'll have to look into getting a shade for it.

The second problem was the ceiling fan in Sebastian's room, which is next to the den. The light tended to go on and off randomly, and the ceiling fan rarely worked; instead, it hummed and made a burning electrical smell.

So we took it down. Dad examined and tested the wiring, and it seemed fine. But the motor was burned out on the ceiling fan. We went over to Lowe's. Teri and I wanted to get a fan much like the one he'd had, but Sebastian insisted on a short-bladed and admittedly cooler-looking fan, an allen+roth. The salesman said the fan would be virtually imperceptible, but eventually we gave in.

When we got home and opened the box, we got worried. It was complicated; the estimated assembly time was two hours! Dad and I spent a lot of time trying to figure it out. I don't know about Dad, but I'm pretty sure that my shoulders will ache for days! And toward the end we were working in darkness, since the circuit breaker for that lamp also covers the whole room.

But we got it put together and mounted. Dad did the wiring, which is good because wiring makes me nervous. It was great when the light went on! And when we turned on the fan, go figure: the breeze was far stronger than our old fan's had been. It blew papers right off Sebastian's desk.

It feels good to get something like that done!

bobquasit: (Default)
A very nice weekend. On Saturday we took Sebastian to a penguin class at the zoo - he got to see them and draw them. I picked up a cap at the gift shop that actually fit my head, for a wonder.

Later, Sebastian and I drove up to Boston. We got choreg and lahmejun from a couple of Armenian markets in Watertown, then went over to my parents' place.

We had a nice family get-together at my sister and brother-in-law's new place (they have a harpsichord, which sounds amazing - I played the one song I know, and it came out great) and then drove home.

It was pretty late, but Sebastian stayed awake through the drive. He'd read the first Harry Potter book all the way to Boston, and finished it on the way home.

On Sunday we went to Foxwoods with Teri's mother. I hung out with Sebastian while they gambled. We went back and forth several on some people-movers (like the ones they have in airports). Then we spent some time at the arcade. After dinner at the Hard Rock cafe, we headed home.

I was pleased with myself tonight. Sebastian was watching a live-action Scooby Doo that he's seen before, but I insisted on a family movie night; we had Mary Poppins from Netflix. Neither he nor Teri had seen it before, and in no time he was laughing and laughing. Teri really liked it too, although she fell asleep before the end. Now Sebastian is interested in reading the Mary Poppins books.

Now everyone is asleep. My computer is still in the shop (I hope it will be ready tomorrow), so I'm going to sleep too. Good night!

Posted via LjBeetle
bobquasit: (Lo Pan)
Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous WebsiteInside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website by Daniel Domscheit-Berg

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A difficult book to judge. In large part, it seems to be one side of a battle over a broken relationship. Not knowing the other side, how am I to judge who's right? And why should I bother?

In this particular case, the dispute is between the book's co-author, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and famed Wikileaks director Julian Assange. I'll credit Domscheit-Berg and/or his co-author Tina Klopp (who I presume is a ghost writer), with showing some restraint; they paint Assange as an arrogant and irresponsible egomaniac, but you can see them trying hard not to seem too obviously one-sided.

As for the truth of the details, how the hell am I to know? It's believable that Assange is an asshole. On the other hand, that's just if you go by Domscheit-Berg's word. Frankly, there are a million stories like this out there: a working relationship gone sour. I've had a few of them myself. Unfortunately this one isn't terribly more interesting than, well, any of mine for example! It's only the celebrity of Assange and Wikileaks that got this book into print.

There are two things that could have redeemed this book. One would have been great writing. I can't speak for the original German edition, but the translation in the English edition was merely workmanlike. Oh, it was handled well enough that it didn't jump out at me as a translation; whoever went over the translation did a good enough job, as far as that goes (and incidentally, I used to touch up and in some cases re-write poorly translated articles for a magazine myself, so I have some experience in this area). But the writing simply isn't anything special. Nor is there, for example, any particular humor to the book.

The other potentially redeeming factor would have been some really insightful details about the workings of Wikileaks. There's some of that here, and it is somewhat interesting. If it's credible (and I have no particular reason to doubt it) then Wikileaks is in a real technological pickle. But again, although I support openness and the stated principles of Wikileaks, technical issues don't mean a lot to me here.

The book is remarkably current. It's about issues that took place as recently as five or six months ago. That's a bit jarring! It gave me the feeling that I could have been reading the whole thing on some online forum.

I also have to say that I can't help but feel a little bit taken advantage of by Mr. Domscheit-Berg. His book seems to be little more than a veiled continuation of a running battle with Julian Assange. Okay, if his account is accurate, then Assange is an irresponsible egotist and bastard. But I wasn't involved in this battle, and why is Mr. Domscheit-Berg making money off of me in pursuit of his war? Apart from anything else, that seems a highly ironic act for someone who professes such high ideals.

Incidentally, the book was a birthday gift from my sister and her husband. I'm quite sure they hadn't read it themselves. It was a thoughtful gift - if you're reading this, sis, I hope this review doesn't hurt your feelings - because I am interested in openness, politics, and Wikileaks. I just wish Domscheit-Berg had produced something more worthwhile and in-depth.

View all my reviews
bobquasit: (Sebastian Riding)
It was a lovely day. Teri and Sebastian woke me up for breakfast and gave me beautiful cards. My parents and my sister and her husband came down from Boston for a cook-out. We had a downpour (with lightning and thunder) after I lit the coals, but I dragged the grill under some thick leaf cover. The weather was strange, with the sun bursting out several times in the middle of the storm. But it stopped raining completely in time for me to cook.

I wish every Father's Day could be like today!

We're back

Sep. 8th, 2009 12:15 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
It was a nice, relaxing vacation. I took a lot of pictures. I'll write more about it later.


Jul. 25th, 2009 11:41 pm
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I was determined not to waste another summer Saturday, so I got us all in the car and we drove to Mystic Aquarium this afternoon. Google said it would be an hour and a half, but we made it in just under an hour. I hadn't realized it was so close!

We didn't see all that much of the aquarium itself. Sebastian refused to touch the mantas in the petting tank. He touched a starfish, though, I think. We saw a white beluga whale, and some sharks and jellyfish.

Teri wasn't feeling well, so Sebastian and I went to the XD Motion Theater by ourselves. The line was long, and we were in it for at least 30 minutes. Unfortunately we were the last two in our group, so when we got into the theater we couldn't sit together (there are only 18 seats!). He was in the leftmost seat in the back row, and I was in the rightmost seat in the front row. I kept looking over at him and waving when I could.

The show itself...well, it was a bit cheesy and computer-generated, but okay. The 3D effects just didn't work for me much. Maybe it was my glasses, although other 3D movies have worked tolerably well for me. The chairs jerked around very violently, and I didn't like that much.

But when the lights came back on, Sebastian was crying and had a very scared expression on his face. The 3D creatures had really scared him. He and I hung around the Titanic exhibit for a while after that while he recovered; he was really interested in the video they were showing of the undersea wreck.

The aquarium was going to be closing soon, so we hurried over and met Teri near the gift shop. Sebastian had a bit of a scene there. He was crying and begging for two different stuffed animals, a manta and a penguin. They were just too expensive for us to buy both of them, so I hustled him out of the shop and Teri bought him the penguin. It was a little embarrassing, although it wasn't a real scene.

He got over it pretty quickly, and we made it home in about an hour. Oh, Nibbles Woodaway (the big blue bug that overlooks I-95 in Providence) had a giant Awful-Awful in front of him, and was wearing red-tinted sunglasses. Sebastian told us that they were 3D glasses, and he was watching a 3D show: us, the cars driving by him on the highway.

(I just found out that Newport Creamery is doing a promotion in conjunction with Nibbles. They have a special Nibbles Woodaway Awful-Awful, vanilla with blue jimmies and blue food coloring. I have got to get Sebastian to the Newport Creamery in Greenville to have one!)

He stayed up a bit late, I read to him, and he fell asleep. Not a perfect day, and Mystic was very expensive, but I'm glad we did it. We really need to do things. I want to find other places to take him. Soon I'll try to take him to Westport, the town where I grew up.


Apr. 9th, 2007 02:02 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Weird Easter.

On Saturday Sebastian was being a bit loud, so Teri and I took him to the playground. It was a bit cold, and there weren't many kids around. But the few who were there told us that there was going to be an Easter Egg hunt soon at the church down the street.

Sebastian wanted to go, so we took him. I felt a bit weird - me being an atheist and all - but it's not like we had to join the church or anything, or even give them our names. It was a Catholic Church, incidentally.

We have an advantage in that we look quite Catholic, incidentally - Sebastian and I look like big Irish redheads, although of course I'm not Irish at all and Sebastian only has traces of Irish ancestry from Teri. Teri IS part Irish, and she could certainly pass.

It was a decent hunt. They'd put out a lot of plastic eggs with candies in them, plus a few odd religious tattoos. There were two separate areas, one for children 6 and younger, the other for older kids. Teri was quite impressed at the quality of the candy in the eggs: it was all brand-name stuff. Sebastian picked up a huge number of eggs, and there were plenty for everybody.

Hmm. You know, it strikes me that the demolition of American neighborhoods and communities has probably greatly enhanced the growth of churches, particularly churches that include "tight" social networks (I might say, more "cult-like" churches). But I digress.

Later that day Teri took Sebastian back to the playground for a play date with his "best friend" from school. While they were playing, a little girl wanted to play with Billy. Apparently this hurt Sebastian's feelings, but she eventually decided to play with both of them and peace was restored.

Anyway, we spent much of the weekend with [livejournal.com profile] stairflight. On Sunday morning we dropped her off at the bus station, and then headed over to my cousin's house for Easter. My parents and my brother and his family were going there, too.

When we got there, we had a really nice surprise: my aunt and uncle were there! They live in Florida, and we don't get to see them very often. My mother in particular was so surprised and happy to see her sister.

Sebastian was in heaven. He does live a lonely life - there are no kids in our neighborhood that he can play with - and now he had FOUR other kids to play with. So he ran around and they all had a ton of fun.

In the meantime I helped my cousin's wife beat a few tough areas in Zelda: The Legend of the Wind Waker, and told them about the Wii.

When the time came for us to go, Sebastian almost threw a fit. He cried and cried, and begged to be allowed to stay - or even to sleep over! He needs a little brother or sister so badly, or at least a good bunch of friends in the area. Teri told him that we had to go right away, at which point he shouted (as I wrote earlier) "Then I'll run into the woods and let the coyotes and wolfs [sic] eat me!". At which point he dashed off towards the trees.

I was paralyzed with laughter and pity, but Teri chased him down and grabbed him. We let him play a little tag, and then a little soccer, but it was getting late and we really had to go. So we ended up having to grab him and drag him by main force to the car. He got angry and tried to hit both of us, but once he was in the car he calmed down and was good. The traffic on the way home was pretty awful, but eventually we got home; Sebastian was asleep, of course, but Teri managed to carry him into the house.

We still have a lot of Easter eggs. We'd planned to do an Easter Egg hunt at our house in the back yard on Sunday morning, but we were too rushed and it was too cold to do it. So we'll probably do it sometime soon, weather permitting.

And that was our Easter weekend!
bobquasit: (Me)
First, I'd like to wish a very happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] unquietsoul5, and many happy returns.

Second...I took a walk through the past on Saturday with Sebastian, and I'd like to remember it.

I've told him a lot about my maternal grandparents. Unfortunately I don't really remember my paternal grandparents; they died when I was quite young. But I've told him a lot about Ma and Hyrig, and their house in West Roxbury.

We had a lot of fun in that house. Kids could run all around the house through the hallway, and we did, often. Particularly during large family get-togethers, which happened often. We'd listen to Armenian music, eat Armenian food, and me and my brother and sister and my cousins would run around like crazy. Sometimes we went down to the basement, which was pretty much finished with carpets; my grandfather kept a lot of oriental rugs down there, too. They had shelves with tons of canned foods, as do (did) many people who survived the Great Depression.

The place was magical. On the second floor the roof made the ceiling slope in on the sides; two small doors in the sides of the two bedrooms led to crawlspaces in the attic. The house was filled with all sorts of unusual and interesting things. And I only regret that I can't capture the smell of the place.

Not to mention the wonderful things that my grandmother cooked.

The house was sold in the 1990s, by the way. I was living there at the time; I stayed with my grandmother after I graduated from college. All in all, I lived there at least six months or more.

I've told Sebastian a lot about that time. And when I went up with him this Saturday, he told me that he wanted to see it; that he was going to live there when he grew up, and I'd be living there with him.

We go near West Roxbury on the way to Brookline, so I said "what the hell!" and went up a road that I hadn't been on in a decade. I found Joyce Kilmer Lane quite easily, but had to call my mother to make sure that I had the house number right; I knew that I was looking at the right house, but it looked impossibly small. And it couldn't have been that I'd grown since I'd last seen it; after all, I lived there for six months or more when I was in my twenties, and if anything I've shrunk since then.

But that was the house, for sure. I took a couple of photos while Sebastian watched; I had to explain to him that we couldn't go in, which bothered him a little (it bothered me, too).

Then...I was in a nostalgic mood. We weren't far from an old bakery that's a favorite of my family, Hanley's. Parking was a real pain, but eventually I managed to find a spot at the nearby commuter rail.

Stepping in was like stepping back into my childhood...or even further back, into the forties. Apart from the modern clothes that the girls bhind the counter were wearing, the whole place could have been lifted bodily from fifty years ago and transported there overnight.

We got four muffins and three half-moons, and took them over to my parents' place. They were just as good as I remembered.

I have to remember not to wait so long before I go there again...
bobquasit: (Default)
Long weekend. Short post. Boredom anticipated.

For readers, that is. Sorry.

Who am I kidding? Unless someone is holding a gun to my head, I'm not going to be brief.
Read more... )
We all slept. Sometime in the night I was woken again; the power had come back on. Back to sleep until morning, and my vacation was over.
bobquasit: (Default)
Announcement: You're going to see less of me online here. That's because I need to spend more time working, and less time writing. I will try to find some way to make posts from home in the evening, but realistically there's no way I'll be able to write as much as I have been - not without cutting deeply into my sleep time, and that's something I cannot do. I desperately need sleep.

I will also have to use that meager free time in the evenings to do political writing, when I can. Yes, that means that I will be writing a lot less. No, I'm not happy about it. But I don't have a choice.

More and more of my posts here have been friends-only; that will continue.

This is an exception because I know that some non-LJ friends read my journal. And I'm only writing this now because it's absolutely dead here, thanks to the holiday. Even so, I'll keep this short and find some sort of work to do. I could always clean my cube, I guess.

The "killer storm" dumped about 9-10 inches of snow on us yesterday morning. Teri and I shoveled out the driveway, her car, and our front walk. Unfortunately my car was on the road overnight, so I got a $50 ticket. Fortunately we were given some money for Christmas, because I'd feel awfully stupid being taken off to jail for a parking ticket.

I hate being desperately poor.

I did not go to work yesterday because my father's cousin Mary passed away on Christmas Eve, and her wake was yesterday afternoon. It was a terribly sad day, even more so because her mother had died only a few weeks before. Mary was awfully nice; one of those rare people that everyone just naturally likes. But at least she's out of pain now.

I wish I could see extended family at other times, and not just wakes and funerals.

Other news: Sebastian is well, and Teri is too. She and I went for her first workout at the health club recently; she was a little nervous. I think it will be good for us both, though.


Dec. 20th, 2004 09:44 am
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On Saturday Teri's father took us to the New England Aquarium. Here are some photos - ten of them.

Read more... )
After the Aquarium we walked to Quincy Market, passing a seemingly psychotic guy in a wheelchair who had been dogging us all day (and brightening the trip by screaming curses at the top of his lungs). We had lunch in the basement of the Salty Dog, where Sebastian and his cousin Margo were pretty naughty. Then we walked to the State Street station, and headed to South Station to wait for the train home.

My timing was off, so we had to wait a little more than an hour. The train display was still up, so Sebastian and Margo killed time by screaming with delight and running around and around it. Finally the train came, and we went home.

The funny thing is that when we asked Sebastian what his favorite part of the day was, he said "South Station".

The next day Teri's mother took Sebastian in the morning, and for the first time in years I was able to persuade Teri to join me in sleeping late. We woke up at 11am, feeling great. Teri's not good at relaxing, but we were both suffering from a huge sleep deficit exacerbated by the strenuous Saturday expedition. I told her I want to sleep in like that every Sunday...well, I can dream, can't I?

Last night it snowed; only a couple of inches, but under that the car was sheathed in ice. As we waited for the car to warm up, Sebastian and I looked at pictures on the computer. The one that really grabbed him was one of the last ones I ever took of our old cat, Sam. Sebastian stared and stared. He reached out and tried to pat the screen. Then he turned to me, pointed to the screen and said:

"Daddy, wait here a minute. I'm going to go in there and get Sammy back."


Dec. 4th, 2004 11:02 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
My monitor no longer displays the color red. Red comes out black, and everything is dark and dull, tending to bluish.

At a guess, the "red gun" in my monitor is no longer firing.

I am screwed.

On a separate note, yesterday and today I did a heroic task: cleaning out my father's computer. Ad-Aware found 251 contaminations, including over 60 registry entries and a process. It crashed when it tried to clean them.

I installed Spybot Search & Destroy, and it did a GREAT job - I recommend it highly. Also Spyware Blaster. Those two, plus the newest Ad-Aware afterwards, cleaned the system and seem to have secured it. You wouldn't believe how bad his system had been - constant pop-ups, to the point that it was unusable. Now it's just fine.

If only my monitor was...I'll have to dig out an old one tomorrow, and hope it works.

Gonna be hard to go back to 15 inches...
bobquasit: (Default)
We drove up to Maine on Wednesday afternoon. There was less traffic than we'd ever seen before, all the way up to Boothbay. Sebastian slept for part of the trip, then woke up and expressed a deep dislike of highways.

"Is this a highway?"


"NO! NO HIGHWAY!", accompanied by tears and shouts of dismay.

It was raining when we pulled up to the house. I unstrapped Sebastian, who ran to the house to see Grandma - only to experience a sudden attack of shyness. But that soon passed, and before long he was running all over the house.

Dan, Jen, William, Lily, and Craig came in at about 11PM; we were asleep upstairs.

Okay, I'm not going to get too detailed here, because I just don't have the time.

The kids had a lot of fun, running around, shouting, playing, etc. They listened to the Peter and the Wolf and Super Mario 64 CDs I'd brought up. Looking back, I wish I'd brought up the Nintendo itself; we'd have had some fun with it.

Both William and Craig want a copy of the Mario CD. Just a note for myself.

We went downtown and I got to hit the library porch. There were a lot fewer books than there are in-season, but I was still able to find ten good ones. Most of them were children's books, including another version of The Aristocats. Sebastian was quite pleased. We left some of them up there, and brought the rest home.

We took a long walk out in the fields and woods in the back of the house during a short lull in the rain. Saw the broken-down old turkey coops, the stream, and some big rocks. Sebastian soon decided he was tired and had me carry him. We all climbed up on a rock and Dan took a picture, but it came out very blurry.

During the walk Sebastian started telling a strange story. Something about "Uncle Dan and Craig and William [who were ranging ahead of the rest of us] all disappeared suddenly, but there was no wolf nearby." I have no idea what that was about.

I brought a length of birch bark back from the walk, but Teri didn't want to bring it home so I left it rolled up in the hollow of the old water-pump lamp that I made back in junior high.

On Friday Sebastian woke up at midnight, wailed "I'm going to throw up!", and did. Fortunately Teri was there with a plastic bag, so things could have been much worse. My poor little boy sobbed and sobbed. The attack was over after about ten minutes, and to my surprise there were no repeats. Once we got him quieted down and cleaned up a bit, he insisted that I sleep in his bed. It's an awfully small bed, so I was crammed up against the wall, but he fell asleep soon enough.

The animals and seagulls dined well on the Thanksgiving leftovers. There were lots of seagulls perched on the top of the house, and their shadows fell clearly on the hill in the back.

The trip home was uneventful; Sebastian went in Mom and Dad's car until we stopped and had lunch in York (ME), at Bosun's Landing. The food was excellent, as always, and we discovered that they were closing for the season the next day. Sebastian enjoyed showing Fred, the large blue fish with a big bulge on his head, to Grandma.

After lunch Sebastian came to our car, since we'd be heading for home. The boy objected to being on the highway, and made us take a potty stop at the state liquor store; after, as we were starting to pull out of the parking lot, he made us stop again, claiming that he had more to do. False alarm, it turned out.

Finally we got home. Sebastian was overjoyed to see Sarah; he kept patting her and saying how beautiful she was. Both cats seemed pretty pleased to see us.
bobquasit: (Default)
I'll be away and offline for a few days, having Thanksgiving with my family. Have a great holiday, if you're American, and if you're not - congratulations! Enjoy living in a democracy!
bobquasit: (Default)
On Saturday we went to the Bridge of Echoes in Needham, MA with my parents, my brother and his wife, and their kids. The videocamera died for some reason (I don't yet know if it's permanently dead), but I got some decent shots with the still camera.

On the way to the bridge we took a small detour to see this waterfall. Apparently that's some sort of restaurant in the shot; pity the water looks so dirty, as otherwise it looks like a lovely place.

It took a bit of climbing to get to the top of the aquaduct (the bridge is actually an aquaduct), but it was worth it. The part over the river must have been close to 100 feet high. Teri's agoraphobia kicked in; it didn't help that the walkway isn't flat, but rather has a peak shape that makes you feel as if you're being pushed to one side or the other. The view was incredible. Incidentally, those are the tops of very tall trees alongside the aquaduct. On the way back a couple of canada geese flew by, honking; they were high above the river, but actually just below the height of my head as they skimmed over the top of the aquaduct.

The iron railings on the sides were also quite interesting, because they were simply packed with yellowjackets. The railings are hollow and in some cases rusted out, and the bees were swarming everywhere. I tried to get some close-up shots of the bees, but maybe I was too nervous - when I downloaded the photos, the bees were just out of shot.

Creepy - you could hear the buzzing as you walked down the aquaduct.

Here's a shot from the middle of the aquaduct. That restaurant next to the falls is in the lower part, of course. Needham has some spectacular radio towers.

Another shot from the top of the aquaduct. These are the start of the steps down to the street. It's a long way down, particularly if you're carrying a 39-pound boy who's too tired to walk.

Top to bottom. It may not look that high in this shot, but that's because this is the shortest part; the river is actually well below the street level. That's my father down below, although that's not his truck.

Cross over the street and you soon reach the head of another staircase that leads down to the inner base the bridge, and the echo platform. I don't know what she sees in it, but since Teri likes this shot I'm including it here.

The staircase down to the echo platform. My father and brother are at the bottom, and Sebastian's head can be seen as refreshed (but not entirely willingly) he climbs down on his own.

An experiment: a composite photo of the entire span from underneath. I stood in one spot and started out with my head bent way back to get the side of the arch behind my back, then tried to space shots out evenly. Not perfect, but kind of fun to create, I guess.

The echoes were pretty cool; Sebastian enjoyed them, as did we all. If you'd like to know more about the bridge, here's an article about it. And here's a page with much better photos than mine.
bobquasit: (Default)
...but it never stops...

So I came home from the dentist, out the other side of the black pit of fear, and saw Sebastian sleeping on Teri's lap. He'd only been sleeping for half an hour or so, so she asked me to take him upstairs to his crib. I did, but as I carried him up the stairs he woke up a little and started fussing. I laid him down in the crib, but he was too awake now for me to jusst walk away - he wanted me to lie down next to the crib.

So I did, of course. There's a large stuffed toy lion that we use as a pillow in such situations; it's pretty comfortable. Quietly I lay still on the floor, listening to the boy stirring restlessly in the crib. Once his breathing deepened, I'd quietly leave the room.

It was taking longer than usual, so I made myself a little more comfortable. Wiggling onto my side a bit, I slid a hand under the lion, between the lion and the floor. And found I was touching something slightly rough; fuzzy, but a little rougher than most of the lion. I wondered what it was.

Suddenly a very loud buzzing filled the nursery! It seemed to be coming from whatever I was touching. Was it one of those damned electronic toys that people insist on giving us? I couldn't remember anything that made a sound like this. It was really loud, and there was no way an ordinary battery-powered toy could make a sound like this.

I tried feeling the thing, but I just couldn't figure it out - and then, with a dreadful suspicion, I turned the lion over. And saw the biggest bumblebee I've ever seen in my life, its stinger stuck deep into the lion. It buzzed furiously.

Need I say that I grabbed the lion and ran like hell? Down the stairs, out into the rain, and then an exciting thirty seconds or so trying to get that bee detatched from the lion and out of the house without getting stung. With a final sort of towel-snapping movement, the bee flew free and hit the ground. I jumped back and slammed the door.

I've never been stung, by the way; the closest I've come is a long time ago when I found a stinger under the outer layer of skin on my hand. It burned a little, but didn't cause any real problem when I pulled it out.


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