August 12, 2010
June 13, 2010
May 13, 2010
The Drivers became fans of Culver's while on vacation in Minnesota. On a highway just north of Moose Lake, we saw a billboard that advertised something called a "ButterBurger". We weren't sure what that meant, but we were certain that we needed to find out.
Note: The Driver later learned that the inspiration for the "ButterBurger" might be this place — where the burger is actually served swimming in an obscene amount of butter. Culver's might put something similar to butter on its buns prior to grilling, but in no way does that compare to an actual "ButterBurger". The Driver will be trying a true "ButterBurger" as soon as possible.
Anyhow, The Drivers also learned that the Wisconsin-born burger chain sells not only "ButterBurgers", but frozen custard as well. And that in addition to chocolate and vanilla frozen custard, Culver's offers a Flavor of the Day.
All that to show you this — a photo of a Culver's sign:
The Drivers opted for chocolate custard over "BBQ Brisket".
And as long as we're dissecting the Culver's sign, it has always been The Driver's opinion that the company should have paid the extra $5 per sign for an ampersand after the word "Custard". Or perhaps splurged on the word "and" in front of "ButterBurgers".
Instead, The Driver pores over the concept of a "Frozen Custard ButterBurger".
Mmm... Frozen Burger...
May 12, 2010
May 3, 2010
April 18, 2010
April 3, 2010
The Driver wanted fish. More specifically, he desired to have a beautiful aquarium full of peaceful, docile fish. And he envisioned those fish calmly meandering through a relaxing, soothing landscape of rocks and plants. To be even more specific, The Driver wanted to sit on his butt, stare at the fish and enjoy a little peace and quiet.
The Drivers' friends — we'll call them the Hatefuls — had plenty of fish. Their several aquariums (aquaria?) were always pristine, and always teeming with an assortment of cute little tropical creatures. Mr. Hateful even had an aquarium in his classroom at the school where he taught science or history or something that made sense with having an aquarium in the classroom.
The Driver told Mr. Hateful that he enjoyed staring at the Hatefuls' aquariums (aquaria?), and that he was considering setting up an aquarium at home. And so, Mr. Hateful offered The Driver a couple of fish.
First problem: These weren't just any docile, passive tropical fish. These were Convict Cichlids. Cichlids are a family of tropical (fresh-water) fish – characterized mainly by their horribly aggressive nature. The "Convict" cichlid is named for its black stripes that resemble an old-timey prison uniform. Plus, being cichlids and all, they are horribly aggressive.
Second problem: Mr. Hateful warned me that in a 10-gallon aquarium such as The Driver's, it wouldn't be wise to go with more than two Convict Cichlids. Any more than two, and it would be anarchy. And if the two fish happened to be a male and a female… Well, then prepare for domestic violence on a grand scale.
Heeding Mr. Hateful's advice, The Driver opted for two baby Convict Cichlids.
The details of how The Drivers acquired said fish aren't important for the purposes of this post. All you need to know is that A) Mrs. Hateful brought the fish to her office (where she worked with Mrs. Driver) in a glass vase; B) Mrs. Driver drove the fish (in the vase) home in her then-new German luxury sedan — fastening the seatbelt around the vase in an effort to minimize spilling and/or sloshing; C) there was sloshing; D) the fish hadn't been in The Drivers' home more than five minutes before the Surly Cat thrust his entire right paw into the vase and tried to kill the fish.
For a few short months, the two Convict Cichlids lived in relative peace (more of a cease-fire, really). Then, as the fish matured and grew, it became apparent that A) The Hatefuls had managed to give The Drivers one male and one female; B) The two fish didn't like each other.
By this time, The Driver had given up on any delusions of a peaceful, soothing aquarium environment. For the next few months, the female Convict Cichlid chased, attacked, bit and otherwise tormented the male.
On occasion, The Driver and Mr. Hateful would talk about the aquarium and the Convict Cichlids. Mr. Hateful assured The Driver that the life expectancy for Convict Cichlids was about two years. The Driver looked forward to Nature taking its course.
At some point during year three, the male outgrew the female. And then the problems started. Same violence and chaos, now just reversed. And now, both fish had grown to at least three times their original (and much cuter) size. The male fish grew increasingly hostile toward the female. Something had to be done. The Driver prepared for a good old-fashioned fish flushing. Mrs. Driver rejected this solution.
And so, The Driver was forced to install an ugly, clumsy mesh "fence" to divide the 10-gallon aquarium into two sections — the male fish occupying roughly 2/3 of the space, and the smaller female relegated to the remaining 1/3.
Side note about aggressive fish: When they're not trying to kill each other, they generally hide under rocks. Again, not exactly the kind of relaxing, entertaining aquatic environment The Driver had hoped to enjoy. Instead, The Driver was left to basically maintain a box of water containing a few rocks, some fake plants, an ugly fence and two of the meanest, sorriest, most sociopathic fish he had ever seen.
It didn't take long for the male fish to breach the fence and attack the female. And finally, after a few such attacks, the unthinkable happened. The Drivers came home one day to find that the female fish had lost her final battle.
Now, there was nothing left for The Driver to do but remove the ugly fence, return the entire aquarium to the male fish, and count the days for the dang thing to die of old age.
It lived another year.
The Driver took this photo the day before the Convict Cichlid's body was found awkwardly floating among the fake plants. Rather than a burial at sea, Mrs. Driver recommended a return to the Earth — where it could become fertilizer for plants, or a delicious treat for the local wildlife.
Whatever works, Mrs. Driver. Whatever works.
The aquarium is going into storage. And The Driver will never again make the mistake of believing that the way to peace and quiet is through more pets.