Thursday, November 30, 2006


It really shouldn't be this warm out. When it is, I'm reminded that something is one whole hell of a lot of fun. Full-face helmets and 25 layers of clothing get you through the cold months, but they've got nothing on one day with the warm wind in your face.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


So I'm watching TV. Alone. (Hard to believe, huh?) I know. Shut up.

I'm not really expecting much, and I've kind of forgotten just what Tom Waits' whole deal is, but he comes on and does a song that, well, by the end of it, I broke into spontaneous applause. I just plain couldn't help myself. It was full-on awesome. For the record, if you're alone and you see something great and you feel compelled to express your satisfaction, clapping doesn't really make you feel any less akward than just talking to yourself.

But the thing is, this song kicked so much ass, I had to find a way to extract it from the DVR. That's something I've been thinking about trying to do for a while now, but this performance finally provided the impetus. So I went through a mental inventory of all the hardware and cables I own and thought of how I could extract just the audio.

I spent a few bucks on a digital soundcard a while back. That has an optical input, and the DVR has an optical output. Hey, that's something. Yup, it requires unhooking and moving my desktop computer downstairs for a bit, and that's a mess, but whatever. No guts, no glory.

And there's the whole stupid kabob. Optical soundcard hanging off the back there. Optical cable just waiting to plug into it. Red light of digital joy beaming entertainment onto the floor like that. Just plug it in and capture the goodness.

Um, no. Smartass. That red light is carrying a surround sound signal; six separate audio channels. Bringing the computer downstairs so there's an optical input available was a nice idea, but this optical input only records regular old two channel stereo, not surround sound. In short, it won't work and you are a loser. That $400 soundcard ain't so cool now, is it? Why don't you just put the computer, keyboard, mouse, cables, and all that other mess right back where you found it? Looking forward to that, aren't you?

Alright. So much for making digital copies of all the interesting music I hear on TV. Well screw those stupid little digits anyway. All they do is get people sued. Let's go low-tech.

There. A 99-cent cable, some analog stereo outputs and a weenie little mp3 player input. Ok, so not fully low-tech, but it hooks up in four seconds, requires no additional software, and isn't technically what you'd call a "digital" copy. In fact, it kind of sounds like hell. What have we learned here?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


If I were interviewed in "Home Genius" magazine (or paid a visit by the City inspector) it might go something like this:

We heard you did some of your own work recently. Mind if we ask a few questions?

What's with that huge glob there, and why is the whole fitting slathered in solder?

Oops. Caught that one on fire there a little bit, didn't ya?

Ouch. Caught this one on fire a litte too, huh? Oh yeah - and is a U-turn really the best way to route a pipe?

This was definitely on fire though, right? I mean, that one looks like a real burner, there.

How'd you get the flames extinguished - by the way? Just asking. You know, sweating pipes actually requires little heat. If you've got it set up right, the solder will just flow into the fitting.

Oh, look at that. That is a
sweet-looking solder joint. Seriously. That's textbook. Oh, wait - you almost melted the shit (literally, the shit) out of that plastic pipe behind it, didn't you? Right there, under the "A". Way to go, MacGyver. What - you can't smell burning plastic?

And it'd probably just get worse from there.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Awesome news; today's post is all about plumbing. In case you haven't been following (what?) I got myself in almost completely over my head with a hot water heater project. My old electric (electric? Holy shit!) heater has been leaking a little for a while now. I'm sure it's so massively corroded inside that it's been sucking up 100x more electricity than it would ordinarily need.

I'll keep the details short. Notice that the tool bucket is pretty much empty?

I quite nearly used every tool I own. I used some I didn't own. Most of this job went pretty smooth. Some of it was nervewracking (mostly the gas work.) At times, I was very pleased with the way it was all coming out. Other times, I thought I may have gotten in over my head (that would be the time I had it all together and found a small leak which took me WAY too long to fix.)

All in all - looks like this...

Those two copper pipes running through the middle of the photo are not part of the installation. Do not be fooled. In fact, those pipes serve no purpose.

I got all the little valves, pipes, and wires in all the right places and it all works. I can't believe how well the gas pipes turned out. Considering that, unlike the copper, the black pipe can't be cut on location, and I have to measure and figure out the bends ahead of time. You also can't be off by much because that shit doesn't BEND. And what if you've shut off the gas (heat) to the house, and you start disconnecting and reconnecting things only to find that something isn't lining up? Hey, you know what? Let's not even think about that. Hey, let's move on.

Ok, great. How does it work? Works ok, I guess. The main issue with tankless heaters is their flow rate. A shower uses about 3 gallons per minute. A golden shower requires substantially less flow, but that doesn't have anything to do with this. Anyway, here's the rundown:

I bought a small one because there are only three of us here, and we have only one full-bath. I don't notice a change in water pressure in the shower, but this thing is working full-out just to run that one shower. Not a big deal in our house. But, if you need hot water in two places at once, buy bigger.

It's pretty quiet. Thank you very much for that.

The preset temperature options are lame. 113° is the first choice (not quite hot enough) and the next option is 122° (2° above what most places consider the maximum allowable tap temp. Dumb.) For $100, you can buy an accessory that will let you set 117°. Did I say "dumb" yet?

Last night I woke up around 2AM or so and I thought about all the money I was not spending to heat a tank full of water that I was not using. That was not a bad feeling.

But, as with most of my endeavors, I'm a hack, and this is art...

Seriously. Look at that. While everyone was upstairs all partying up on dairy vegetables, I was down in the basement getting my mind blown. Seriously. What kind of savant did this?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Greatest Song Ever Written

"I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Do Not Swallow

Yeah, I partook of a little "Black Friday" mayhem. Well, just like three stores, actually. I still don't understand the whole philosophy. Most places offer insane discounts on extremely limited quantities of certain products, and they literally require that you camp out in order to get the discount. Those deeply discounted items are sold out within minutes and the rest of the day is the usual stuff at regular prices. Why did you ask people to camp out? I honestly am not getting the concept. Perhaps I am not an advanced shopper.

Case in point: I walk into a store (not a store that I chose) which seems to me to be filled wall-to-wall with utterly useless junk; a veritable cornicopia of injection-molded plastic items, possibly with some kind of light inside them or something. A store filled with things that basically just take up space until they break. Some of them are even broken already, which is nice because you can take it home and throw it out right away, thereby saving you a step.

Regardless, this store is also packed wall-to-wall with people evidently looking to buy this stuff. This sort of thing makes my head almost literally spin just trying to figure out what's happening here. For example:

Most of these people look like they may not have much money. Is this what you want to spend it on?

Who is the genius that knew these folks were out there and rounded up all this shit to sell to them?

These type of folk... what would they do if they came into like $50 million? Would they even know where to begin?

Who's to say how anyone should spend their money? Maybe some of these people have pretty mediocre jobs that they just kind of grind away at, and they enjoy spending their presumedly hard-earned money on things like this because things like this amuse them.

Is this the kind of shit people are getting themselves into all kinds of credit card debt over?

Who is the genius that knew these folks were out there and rounded up all this shit to sell to them?

If this store burned to the ground tomorrow and everything in it was destroyed, would anyone miss any of it?

Who is the freakin' genius that knew these folks were out there and rounded up all this shit to sell to them?!?!

Maybe I can sum it all up like this: If I lived to be a thousand, I would not guess that a "product", like the one pictured below, would even be considered something to sell, yet there were at least six people swarming around these when I walked in.

I did not swallow the novelty egg, but the store still managed to make me feel dumb.

Friday, November 24, 2006


All I know is, it wasn't even 10AM and people are telling me we have to go so we can be there by 11AM, and even that will put us there late. I understand so little anymore. I just fired up the family truckster and we hit it. When I arrived on the scene I saw this...

Right. Pies. No problem. Next to the pies, I saw this...
which I did not so much get. It appears to be a "24" cake, perhaps in a hockey motif. Perhaps this is pilgrim related, somehow. I don't know. Best to just keep moving, I'd say.

Table looks nice. That's a good sign.

Of course, there was football.

...and kids.

...and people taking pictures of kids.

...and pictures of kids. Here Mom and Dad each take a picture because... because I really don't know why. Trust issues?

Almost seems like a competition between them now. Dad's all about the angles, though. Well, the angles and the stance.

But the festivities don't begin officially until the Lapping of The Property.

There. That's better.

Back inside, it looked very much like a social gathering. "Keys Guy" was there.

You know him, right? He's at most every function. Got the hip-mounted action pack loaded and ready to go, giving him immediate access to any of a dozen doors within a hundred mile radius of where he's currently standing, in case he needs to spring into action. And yeah, that looks like just a regular cell phone, but it also gives him the ability to melt things with his brain. You can get the whole shpiel at Radio Shack for like sixty bucks.

There was also plenty of holiday pinball, because that's what the Pilgrims would have wanted.

Later, a young girl was presented with gifts, though today is not her birthday, and she is not 24.

She received (among other things) a pair of soccer cleats. Pink on white. There exsist certain incompatabilities between some personalities in attendance at this gathering. Mr. Motorcycle, finding so-called "men's soccer" something of an oxymoron, made a comment that soccer cleats are only available in one other color option, that being pink on purple. Turns out, Keys Guy is something of a soccer fan. Mrs. Camera did not take kindly to the comment in any way whatsoever, and she tried to melt Mr. Motocycle's face just by using her eyes. Thank God she doesn't have a hip-mounted "cell phone".

Moving on, it was soon time to carve the bird. It was carved by a man who admitted he had no idea what he was doing, yet volunteered for the job, but he is a lawyer. This man also didn't seem to know that you could set something aflame just by microwaving the shit out of it. He shared the story about, ha ha, how his five-year-old boy put a bag of popcorn in the microwave and accidently set it for 23 minutes. They caught it after about seven minutes. The subject turned to catching stuff on fire. As if a light went on in his head, he asked, "Can you actually catch something on fire in the microwave?" which reminded Keys Guy of his very favorite show on cable, which happens to be my wife's least favorite show ever. We had to revert to a lot of polite smiling, which I suck at. Later, Turkey Lawyer suddenly became a fire expert and declared "People don't realize gasoline is an explosive, it's not an accelerant!" which is one of those comments that, well, you know he's wrong, but you don't have an encyclopedia handy to tell him exactly why. Anyway, he...

Well, yeah. He hacked the shit out of this thing. I actually took a pass on having bird this year. I don't eat a hell of a lot of meat anyway, so this was a pretty easy decision to make. I don't have any ethical issues with killing animals and eating them, but... I'm all set today, thanks. I'll stick to the trimmings. Let's have a look at those.

Uh... ok. They look like potatoes, but I can tell you that's more dairy than potato. Hey - is that the green bean/onion thing you always hear about? I thought people just joked about making that. There's a vegetable in there if you search hard enough. It, too, is covered in non-descript dairy product, because that's what the Pilgrims would have wanted.

Maybe I'll have another look at that bird.

To wrap up the festivities, Keys Guy and Mr. Motorcycle enjoyed a friendly game of traditional foosball. It was important, for family relations, that Keys Guy emerged victorious.

It's my opinion that Mr. Motorcycle recognized this and I believe he did a fairly suave job of ensuring a slightly happier Thanksgiving for at least one holiday couple. And it turns out, the cell phone thing wouldn't work on him.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

How to Shop for Values

No, I'm not getting up at 5AM to shop. Stop asking me to do that. Stop asking me every 13 seconds. I'm just trying to watch a little post-Thanksgiving-dinner TV, that's all. Stop asking. No, seriously. Stop.

But while we're at it, what's the deal? So you're selling a decent laptop computer for $250. Ok. Now why are you asking me to get up at 1AM so I can buy it?

In case you don't know, here's how it works:

The store opens at 5AM. There will be a line at 5AM, so you are advised to get to the store at 1AM and wait outside. At 4AM, employees will hand out vouchers to the people in line. If you're at the front of the line, you'll probably get to buy what you want. Wait another hour for the store to open and you can buy it. Otherwise, you're not getting what you came for. Bet you're pissed.

Is the store guessing you'll get over it and just come in and shop for something anyway? Worse - is the store right?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Click and, uh...

You can't see, but there's another monitor sitting right alongside the one in this picture. Have a look at the screen; that should give you the idea. There's a lot of information on there, and a lot of things to adjust. No problem though. Just click SAVE and you're all set, right?


This "industry standard" piece of software sucks my superfluous nipple. Turns out, there are some things it doesn't save, and once you find this out, you have to go through, double-check, and reset all the shit that it decided to forget for you.

Good news? It really only forgets one thing.
Bad news? You use that one thing all the time.

Fuckers. How did this ever get released?

"Well, we don't quite have the SAVE thing worked out, but we think it's otherwise pretty full-featured."
"Great work! Let's go to press!"

Reminds me that I've always considered the phrase "industry standard" a bit of a red flag. Wish I'd remembered that a few days ago.

p.s. Am I the only one who wants to see a copy of this video?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dear Old People

Dear Old People,

The freezer just freezes things. It doesn't stop time. You actually can't just put anything in the freezer and expect that it will come out good as new. If your goal is simply to eat food that doesn't have mold on it, the freeze-storage technique will help, but some foods don't take well this method of preservation. Donuts are a good example.

I know it's that much less for you to have to deal with on, say, Thanksgiving, but cooking the turkey the day before and then just reheating it for the holiday doesn't count. Consider setting your sites a little higher.

Yes, there are myriad ways to accomplish the task of just getting the food down the collective holiday gullet, but for that matter we may as well just get together and have a sandwich. If it has in fact come to that, I think I'll probably pass on the whole thing as I had a sammich just yesterday, thanks.

My guess is that when today's oldsters first saw the freezer, their first thought was, "Oh, snap! All the food I just bought will last forever!" Not sure what they did 'afore that.

Hey, look. Kitty wants to come in.

Sorry, Kitty. This isn't your house.

Monday, November 20, 2006

"Your Total Is $111.08"

Really? I see maybe eight dollars worth of junk. The other $103.08 has got to be pure profit.

This is why a trip to the Depot requires momentum. It's bullshit like this that will just suck the life right out of you.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Oh, That's Right - I Hate This

I've got a pretty awesome bucket of tools. I sold my truck (which I still kind of miss because my truck was awesome, too) to a contractor, and he looked at my tool bucket and asked, "Who's the electrician?" I wasn't too psyched about confessing any level of electrical skill to him because this guy had just gotten a look at my attempt at auto body repair and was fairly nonplussed by my combination of bondo and spray foam. I can't blame him, but the goal was just to remove any rough edges that render the otherwise awesome vehicle uninspectable. He did buy the truck anyway, because he knew it was awesome. 1993 2WD F150 with the 8' bed, bench seat, dual gas tanks, awesome vent windows, and 4.9L straight six. Automatic. And this was before they got all curvy and dorky-lookin', as if they were going to make those sum'bitches all aerodynamic and whatever. Here it is serving as backdrop for a 1963 Ferrari 250GTE.

Anyway, the tools...

I needed all these tools when we bought this place. We bought your classic fixer-upper. I remember one Thanksgiving, the sight of smoke coming from a wall outlet made one of our guests a bit uncomfortable. It really wasn't much smoke at all, but I unplugged the toaster oven so he would shut up. That Christmas, Mom-in-law decided to gift us some cash and told us, "Use it for whatever you want. New wiring... you know, whatever." She's a worrier. What're ya gonna do?

So I did all the wiring and a lot of the plumbing myself. I learned a lot from a brother-in-law who is a contractor, and I learned a lot from watching and working with a plumber who I had to call before I knew anything about plumbing. It was all very rewarding because the results are very tangible. I was also kind of getting off on the whole "Fuck! I figured that out!" aspect of it. I still like the fact that when I run the water in the kitchen, a) the water gets there, and b) it drains. I did that. Cool.

But I'm done. Just about a year or so ago, I got sick of spending time and money on the house. The work just became work, and the thrill died. The house is actually looking pretty good, so the reward is pretty minimal for me. And, I know what I can do, and what I really can't do (and in the "can't" column, I'd like to place "sheetrock taping and sanding", thank you. That shit is so much harder than you think) so it isn't a matter of proving much to myself. It was all just stuff I thought I should know as a homeowner. I've got a handle on it. Next, please.

So installing this "Christmas gift" is a real ass pain. I've got zero momentum. If I could deal with yet another trip to The Great Satan, I'd be working on it right now. To top that off, I'm catching plenty of shit for doing my own gas work, too. This isn't the first time I've done it, but I didn't exactly tell anyone about it before, and now I remember why. Here's a tip for all of you people (who aren't really out there) reading this; the gas part of this whole installation is possibly the most simple part.

But almost everyday, I hear about "what if something goes wrong and blah, blah..." and "Well, I don't want my kid over there if here's monkeying around with that gas." Hey, I wish I were at the monkeying around with gas phase of this project. That's the end for cryin' out loud. I mean, excepting for a second that I turned the gas off and replaced a tee, gas doesn't have anything to do with what's going on at the moment. And hold on a sec... you mean that you're happy to have some reacharounder come into your house and hook up your gas and not have a fucking clue about what he's doing, or if he's really even competent? Bet your ass you won't be around to sue if it turns out he's not competent.

Look, it's pretty simple. Do you know how to line two things up and screw them together? Ok. Do that, but put some goop on the threads to seal it airtight. Don't smoke. Put some soapy water on the connection and look for bubbles. Do you have bubbles? Then I guess you don't know how to screw two things together. Why did you lie to me like that?

Yes, gas explodes. Know what else explodes? Your hot water tank.

Yup. Most people have one of these in their house right now. And if your relief valve is fucked, so are you. And you probably won't even get any free Gatorade out of the deal like the lucky crew who cleaned this mess.

But here's what I'm gonna do; I'm not going to be offended. I promise I won't be so stupid as to endanger myself and, more importantly, my family. I won't even ask some people to try and be less nervous and have even a little bit of faith in return.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Red Kryptonite

Here's what I know; you can't wear the hippies out by putting them up on stage and letting them dance while you play. That only supercharges them. It's like Superman getting too much sun - he just gets out of hand. Not only that, but so many hippies dancing in such close proximity for so long could quite easily result in spontaneous hummus. (If you think you're going to name your hippie jam band "Spontaneous Hummus" now, please at least send me a Thank You card.)

Such was the scene last night when I went to see Los Lobos. It was a very interesting show. Things just kept happening. Los Lobos is home to my favoritest guitar player ever, and he was in a sort of destructive musical mood last night. It was awesome. He was generally trying to stir up trouble in the band by stretching out endings and segueing into songs that weren't on the set list, and he did this pretty much all night long. I think he was really just airing it out, so to speak. And good for him, I say. Glad I was there to see it.

They played for two solid hours. For the encore, he called a song the band had never played, told the other guitar player what to do, and launched into "Sunshine of Your Love", which they nailed pretty easily. So, again, while stretching out the ending of the song and generally just free-associating via awesome guitarness, he played a little bit of "My Generation", so he quick ends that song and tells the band they're going to play "My Generation", which they also quite nailed. The bass player knew all those little Entwistle bits in the middle there, and one of the band guys reaches over and just cranks the bass amp up for it. Like I was saying; all pretty out of hand.

They played "I Got Loaded" and the guitar player asks for "help from some friends for this one" and proceeds to pick out every hippie dance girl in the front of the audience and get them all up on stage to get their hippie groove on. This just worked all those gals into a massive hippie frenzy which resulted in nothing more than spontaneous muffin tops. I can tell you, hippies really seem to like this band. Actually, hippies like just about every band, don't they?

I kind of doubted that cameras would be allowed, so I didn't bother bringing one. All in all, it was a very odd and entertaining evening.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Still Here

Had that job done in two pretty painful hours. Those pipes come apart a lot harder than they go together, that's for sure. Thankfully, I scored a 24" pipe wrench and that was the tool. Sweet! So Phase One is complete and I have a 3/4" gas feed available for my awesome fun Christmas gift (shown uninstalled here in the ugliest photo ever, foreground, with leaky old electric heater in background.)

A word of caution regarding shutting your gas off; it's a pain and isn't nearly as accessible as you might hope, should you find yourself in some sort of gas emergency. For all the safety they think they've got covered, I'm not sure how that one has slipped by. Major tip #2: Turn your gas back on slowly. There's a bladder there in the main and if it senses gas rushing into it quickly, it will break and stop the supply. Then you have to call the gas company. You'll also want to have a pretty creative excuse handy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Today (more so than usual) holds potential for a big fire at my house as I prepare for my Christmas gift.

14" Pipe wrench. 12 "Adjustable.

"Industry standard" Rectorseal 5 thread sealant. 3/4" Tee. Plug.
(Plug is temporary and not for anal/erotic use, particularly when used in conjunction with Rectorseal. Do not let the name fool you.)

Meter in "lockout" position.

Should that have been Step One?

Whatever. I fully intend to update this bitch tomorrow with all my parts intact. Bet you can't wait.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Two Things

Joe Walsh is the coolest. If the guitar strap of choice in this photo doesn't prove it, then how 'bout this; during a live version of "Funk #49" the band stops, he plays this short and kick-ass guitar thing, stops and shouts, "Dat's-a-so nice!" then keeps right on rockin'. For quality guitar and entertainment, you just can't beat it.

Today, I am married {gasp} 15 years.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dear Costco

Dear Costco,

Why can't I just walk in the store and browse? Why do you need to see a card for that? And when I don't have a card, why must you direct me toward the counter where I can get one, as if I don't understand the cryptic rituals involved in joining the Costco occult? Or let's say I even have a card. I just want to walk in and see what's up. I call it comparative shopping. Perhaps I'll buy. More than likely I'll leave because, though that 35lb burlap sack of M&M's is tempting, ultimately this place is a complete clusterfuck. A veritable orgy of savings.

So here's my promise to you, Costco; if I want to buy something, I'll have a valid card to present at the register. Until then, I'll walk in the store with my wallet closed.

Guess I have to hand it to them for knowing their customers. When I got back to my car, I saw this, and it made a lot of sense.

Lots of junk everywhere. Looks familiar. From the way these things are just stuffed in there like that, seems the last thing this person needs to be doing is buying in bulk. Let's have a look at the backseat.

No surprise there. Hey, is that a dead body under there? No. Guess it's just more junk. The John Denver book and a copy of Loretta Laroche's delightful romp Life is Not a Stress Rehearsal, might seem to indicate that this member of the Costco occult might be showing signs of waning, or at least that she's trying (I'm hoping "she".) In any case, good luck in your struggle, crazy-cluttered-car-full-of-junk person. I look forward to sharing the road with you.

Hey, look. It's kitty again.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Still Awesome

Continuing the trend of Things That Are Awesome, I came across some news the involves our government, more specifically, the FCC, actually doing something right. Hard to even imagine. At the risk of looking like a complete geek, I'll admit that I found this news pretty exciting.

Some time ago, Congress passed the Children's Television Act which basically said there ain't enough learnin' shows on the picture-radio, and they mandated more edumucational programming. Problem was, all the content providers could come up with was Pokémon, or maybe that Teenage Meathead Negro Turtle League or whatever it was. Flash forward 16 years, and a couple of months ago the FCC (moving with lightning speed, huh?) steps in and says, "Nope. Not even close." So, with nothing much to choose from, old shows are re-syndicated, and this is the good news. To sum it up in one word: Beakman.

One of the best shows ever to hit the TV waves. Science + Comedy x Lots of sound effects = Wicked pissah. And music by Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh, too. The show was so good, even PBS ripped it off. Of course, their version was nerdy.

I found an old VHS tape of some episodes a few years ago and showed it to my daughter, who has since been able to silently kill time in restaurants using two forks, a salt shaker, and two toothpicks. Thank you, Beakman. The payoff for her is when the waitress comes by and goes, "How did you think of that?" and stares for a second.

So, thanks to the FCC and Congress (WTF?), Beakman is back in syndication. Check your local listings and buy some toothpicks.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I can too be positive. This blournal isn't all about how everyone I meet is a douche. Don't read this if you're looking for Mr. Cranky Pants to rant about what an asshat someone was today. Maybe tune in tomorrow for that. Today is all about the goodness.

We order a pizza to go, walk over to grab a seat at the bar, daughter hops up on barstool and says (with some prompting) "I'll have a highball." The barkeep laughs and I say, "Wow. You just got laughed at. Not even a "can I see some I.D. or nothin'." Barkeep walks off. Comes back a few minutes later and says, "Do you really want a highball?" Awesome.

Some days, I think she could almost pull it off.

In a local store looking for a small appliance and ask the clerk for help. Clerk is a total scatterbrain and says four or five disjointed things, ending with, "I have a knife in my hand" which she sure as Hades does, and it's a doozy. The right thing to do here is become completely freaked out, but instead I just say, "Then I won't upset you." Not a word from scatterbrain woman (and she also didn't stab me at all) but it seems that was the funniest thing the other clerk had heard all day.

I do crap like this pretty much all day, every day, but mostly it falls on deaf ears.

But the weekend just gets better and better.

About a month late in buying the brother-in-law something for his birthday. Sat down and thought on it for a sec and came up with the perfect gift. Well, "perfect" by his definition would probably involve a busty ornamental - sorry, "Asian" chick, but those are pretty hard to come by. Sizeable girth in the chest area isn't usually accompanied by an epicanthus. What do you want - egg in your beer?

Anyway, I found him some much appreciated, ultra time-killing software that I was able to buy via debit card online, and he was able to immediately download. Cool experience to think of a good gift idea and have the actual product "in the hands" of the recipient within minutes. Let's just say he's very much into WWII, and this piece of software made his whole damned day, as I'm sure it will continue to make his middle-of-the-nights when he can't sleep. Honestly, next to the busty Asian girl (which would be almost impossible to clear with his wife) this gift is the next best thing for him. Felt good.

On rare occasion, I get paid. It usually takes forever. Literally, months. I received a check for something last Monday, which was pretty prompt by my standards, but of course, the check came with a warning from the payor; "Don't cash this until you hear back from me." I was just happy to have a check, and not have to wait for that once I do get the green light. Well, SCORE! I got a message on Saturday night, giving me the go-ahead. This is especially awesome since the quarterly property tax payment is due tomorrow, and these funds will cover that expense nicely.

Ok. So that last item makes for a pretty retarded form of good news, but I'm sorry - you just can't ruin this weekend (especially since it's already past 8PM.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hi, Neighbor!

In the past two months, these two houses across the street went up for sale. Both houses were snatched right up by young couples (gee, wonder if they paid too much?) and they both moved in within a few weeks of each other. I don't know that they are swingers, but it sure looks like it. I know that they have at least made fast friends. They seem to chat it up quite a bit. We, on the other hand, haven't even introduced ourselves yet. I had plans to do that, but they got a little sidetracked.

Look. There she is. She's out there raking. Go introduce yourself. Don't just take her frickin' picture, you creep. Go say "Hi." Wait... Is that Monica Lewinski? What the... That's the same hair, the same build, the same affinity for black wardrobe and its slimming effects. And you're embarrassed to admit it, but that excites you a little. Doesn't it?

No, you can't get the full Lewinsky effect from here. That'd involve getting close enough for an introduction, and here's the problem with that.

Just a few days after this couple moved in, someone comes knocking at our house. I open the door and a cat runs in. The person at the door makes a "Guess the cat wants back in" type comment. I say, "We don't have a cat", dispense with the door dude, and chase kitty around the living room for the next couple of minutes. Ok. Fine. Kitty just needs to get her bearings - learn the lay of the land.

Oh, look! There's kitty now. Looks like kitty found a squirrel.

Get him, kitty! Rip that thing apart. Then go home and let mommy kiss you on the nose.

Anyway a few days after this neighbor's pet introduced herself to us, my kid is playing outside and notices the cat hanging out in the yard again. Still seems that kitty enjoys our place a bit more than its very own new home.

So, thinking it might be best to nip this in the bud, my kid decides to shoo kitty back home. The Lewinsky's were none too pleased by the site of this and... well, I haven't met him, so I'll call him "Carl" Lewinsky shouts over, "Why are you chasing the CAT!!?" My daughter, not really intimidated by the assholyness of this act, replies somewhat innocently, "It was in our yard." Monica walks to the curb and strikes a pose that involves shifting her formidable weight toward one hip. If a drummer were nearby, you would've heard "buh-BOOM!" as she locked in. Then she snapped a Z, turned on her heel, and went back to polishing the turd that is their new house. (I made up the part about snapping a Z. Really she just stuck her arm out at a sort of, "What the hell" angle.)

Hey, more power to those kids. Hope it all works out for them across the street. I'm not going to make enemies out of my neighbors. I'll just write about it. Do I care that the cat is in my yard? Not really. I shoo it when I see it, and I'll probably end up shooing it into the road at some point, where it'll get flattened. Then I'll meet them for sure.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Hash - The Responsible Way

Sure, everyone likes to feel happy and relaxed, but you want to be careful not to let your muscles become too slackened. It's all in good fun, but no one wants to drop out of a window or from a balcony. So if you find yourself visiting the Netherlands, look for this handy and complementary Guide to Tripping, which you will find in your hotel suite - and really enjoy your trip! Like Winky Jay here says, "Dude! Let's get some cookies or something."