Monday, December 31, 2007

This Is Mean

This is Christmas

Oops! Died again. Sorry. Weird, yes, but weirder still that it didn't take.

Maybe I don't understand Christmas. If it passes and the primary thought left in my head is, "Have I permanently damaged that relationship?", I think I might be missing the point. Or, I just don't get how it works. Either way, I don't want "Christmas" to happen at my house again.

Whatever it is, it isn't working.

Brother was thoroughly depressed/depressing. Mom was hostile. Dad was as ever. Even though Mom and Dad have the Golden Anniversary on the bubble, Mom's decided that leaving Dad is going to be the answer to her problems, or at least it's going to serve as a trade for a better set of problems. Great, but whatever way you want to look at that, none of it is my fault. Take it outside.

And as for Mr. Wallow In Self-Pity, I don't know how to cure your problems, but I do know that moping isn't a cure for anything. Neither is the plan of WAKE UP, TAKE NAP, SHOWER, TAKE NAP. You've got to give the Prozac a fighting chance there, Admiral Shuteye. Well, at least you got SHOWER in there. Count it.

To put it as eloquently as I can muster, the whole affair really sucked really bad. It sucked. No - after last year's pukefest, I can see that my daughter is "off" a certain restaurant. I'll give her that one. The fact that you guys keep trying your damndest to make Japanese food a Christmas Eve tradition only further proves your complete insensitivity - towards your own granddaughter/niece for fuck's sake. Find a Hibachi place in your town and get your fill some other time of the year. Here's another hot tip: It won't kill you to make a 1/2 hour appearance with my wife's family and have some food, but it will be embarrassing for me to try to explain that "they just didn't feel like coming." Morons. How about doing it for my wife?

Yeah, let's definitely do this again next year.

Mom just couldn't wait to leave. It was, again, pretty embarrassing to see how anxious she was to get the hell out, and she did a LOT of moping on the 26th, when my brother decided he needed one more day up here. When the morning of the 27th came, Mom put whatever could obviously fit in the car, threw the rest in a box and told me to mail it. She assured me (with some hostility) that there was no way it was all going to fit. Right, except I spent five minutes and got it all in there without problem. Didn't even keep anybody waiting. That's how bad she wanted out of there. And to do what? I'm not really sure.

Of course I don't want to do this again, but there's little chance of any other option because my brother's got nothing going on down where he lives and his whole plan is to just bring his kids to someone who has a plan (and then ignore them while he mopes and looks for pity and continues to not have a plan.) I don't travel during the holidays because travel ruins holidays. I always say my gift to everyone is that I'm not going to ask them to travel. Stay where you are and enjoy yourself! That's what I always say. Never works.

Not that this worked....

But I had an awesome Christmas. The Wife and daughter kicked total ass and got me something great. I got my Dad the fairly interesting and amusing gift of a home security system, which I thought was the perfect thing to both satisfy his addiction to gadgets, and properly serve his paranoia. (As an interesting side-note, I called Mom a couple weeks ago looking for ideas for Dad, or at least looking to go in on something with her. She had nothing. I told her about the lame security camera idea and she said to get it and then asked to split it with me. B-A-C-K-F-I-R-E)

I also did well for my wife this year, and when I reflect on the simple and thoughtful gifts we gave each other, that's enough for me to go on.

Everyone else can go fuck themselves.

Merry Christmas, bastiges!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Beyond and Back

The real-time updates stopped because I died.

...for a little bit. I came back. Actual death would've been too easy.

Pretty sure the final report will appear by the end of the year. Look for it at a blournal near you.

Monday, December 24, 2007

How Come You're Reading My Blournal?

Something good has come from this holiday visit. Twice now, I've heard a person pick up a ringing cell phone and greet the other person with simply, "How come you're calling my cell phone?"

Not even a "Hello" or a "Hey (Tom, Jane, etc.), how come..."

Now, I don't own one of those infernal devices, but if I ever do, well, now I know how I'm going to answer it. I recommend you do the same. We could really start something awesome.


Okay - don't help Dad with either of his bags. And I know there are three boxes left in the car and I can only carry one of them, but go ahead and just head right for the house empty handed. When we get to the house and I haven't yet gone back to the car (which I left open) feel free to get on my ass about making a fire.

When eight cups of coffee sit in the pot starting at 8AM, wait until we dump it out at 3PM before you come in and go, "Aw man, someone dumped all that coffee? I was gonna nuke me some of that."

Otherwise, let's just spend all day watching "Great Weapons of the Bible" on some TV channel I didn't even know I had.

"Happy" Holidays

A new day is a chance to try again. Since it's bound to be a really long day, that means plenty of chances.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Not Even 15 Minutes Later

Those of you who are familiar with my affinity with Sparkle Moose know that it probably wasn't a good idea to say, "Hey, can I unplug this moose to charge my phone?"

I like to think I'd have had more tolerance for that if I hadn't already hit my limit 15 minutes ago.
...guess we'll never know though.

Four and One Half Hours Later me.

Real Time Holiday Updates

We are pleased to bring you, for the first time ever, family crisis updates in real time.

Family Visit - Day One:

I came home from a basketball game to find a car full of people sitting in my driveway. They had been parked there for about 20 minutes.

Perhaps your decision not to extend the courtesy of an arrival time was not the best plan.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

How To Holiday Shop

First, clean your windshield. That could be a real hazard.

And, I know this is the very last place on Earth you want to go, but late-season desperation can often lead to



And there she is. It's old-lady-with-empty-cart-moving-real-slow. Yeah, and you can't get past her, either. No you can't. Yes, it does look like you'd be home free if you could just get in front of her, but if you believe that can actually happen, you really need to firm up your understanding of "intelligent design". Still not a believer? Her moves in the parking lot will change your life.

Alas, my trip to this most unfortunate place would bear no #10 can of fruit. The whole day was unsuccessful to the point that I couldn't even find a bag of kindling wood at the damn lumber store, which was pretty low on my list of things to do.

On my way home, I did manage to take this cheery little snap.

Oh... sorry. Here it is in color.

Thank you, recycle bin. You sure know how to brighten up the season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I hate to think of all the time I've wasted on the stupid Interwebcomputernet, because it'd probably have to be measured in years and might even involve use of the word "dozen". Worse, maybe even "bakers." Let's not think about it. Let's instead think about the fact that after all that wasted time, I've now found a way to turn the Intercomputerwebnet into something that brings $25 to my mailbox on what's becoming a pretty regular basis. Oh yes - let's talk about that. My dormant PayPal account suddenly sees some activity, and I decide to leave the cash in there.

Now, regular readers will know that a couple months back, I scored myself a pretty cool piece of gear. I got it used because they don't make it anymore. I found a good one, but, like many, it came without all of its original parts. The lens hood is what was missing. Not usually a vital piece, but I wanted one for some protection.

One turned up on the eBay a while back, but it ended up selling, in classic eBay fashion, for way more than it should have. I even bid too high on it and I lost. This is an item that should sell for $45 is as-new condition. Some yokel ended up paying about $80 for it. Dumb. Ass. You go eBay!

So I made this model number a part of my everyday search for porn. Lo and behold, I found a lot of porn. But yesterday, I found the part at a reputable dealer.

Click click click, oh look! There's a "Pay here with PayPal" option. I just got me some PayPal. Clicky-click, porn, click, boom, done. $18. Well, didn't that all button up quite nicely.

Intercomputerwebnet, I take back every bad thing I ever said about you.

Wait - no I don't.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Fred the Tobacco Store

A lot of people call here asking if I can please take a look at their piss for them. I know I'm just a few simple and well considered responses away from having a sample sent to me via bonded courier, and I know there's a serious gag to be played here somewhere, but I'm not so sure it's one I want to be part of. Still, the invitations keep coming.

If you work in the medical field, you really should verify just who the hell you're speaking to before you get to the, y'know, "business" at hand. In other words, don't be so damn quick to send off some really important piss as soon as someone picks up your call. If you don't hear "Urology lab, this is Cathy" or similar, proceed no further. Heed this advice my pee-pee friends; get a name up front. Also, when it comes to urine, be suspect of anyone named "Cathy". Could be short for something really painful. Just a heads-up.

Pizza is another story, though. Most misdialers have the excuse that they're drunk (or at least their intoxication is understandable.) Then again, working around whiz all day, I guess I can see how you might want to hit the sauce now and again just to cope. Then once more again, pizza drunks tend to call during the "wee" hours of the morning... I don't know. Something's up.

Anyway, here's your classic pizza call from 3:30AM:

"Yeah... I didn't call Leonardo's! Shut the hell up! NO, dude! Yeah, I need a large barbeque chicken."
"Yeah, try calling Dominoes."
"Oh, okay."

And like that. My number, which I've had for damn near 20 years, is only a few drunken digits away from the fastest and most horrible pizza $5.99 can buy. I could just as easily take orders and few on the collegiate drinking squad would ever know, but where's the payoff for me - another call in 40 minutes wondering where the fuck's my pizza, dude? I'll pass.

So I guess you've got your everyday non detail-oriented healthcare workers, your drunk pizza lovers (seriously, barbeque chicken pizza at 4AM and then, what - bedtime? I believe this combination has the potential to actually kill you) and then there's this guy, which is a new one on me.

9:30AM, weekday morning
"Oh - do I have the wrong number?"
"You might."
"Is this Fred the tobacco store?"
"Alright. Heh-heh. Thanks."

Well there's a first-timer. That one may actually have been just a wrong number.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Wisdom of Children

Children often have a way of summarizing important life lessons in a very plain and succinct way. As we grow older and learn the many exceptions and conditions placed on the things we once thought pure and virtuous, the wisdom of a child can occasionally remind us that some things still remain black-and-white.

For example, a three-year-old tells me that "hogurt" gets placed in the "fittifater."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


After a few months of losing my shirt and wasting gas, I believe I've hit upon something and found a way to turn photograhs into actual money.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Countdown to Christmas Partytime

I think I've figured out how to deal with the family visit; tune out. For three days, I'll more or less be Peter Gibbons to my family's Lumbergh. With this plan, I can't miss.

Then I'll write a blournal entry all about it with some photos and that should just about do it for "This is NOT a blog" V1.2 (I wasn't kidding about the paper trail thing, and the Christmas entry will undoubtedly seal the deal. Then I'll hide the body.)

After that, this will probably turn into more of a photo blog type of thing, as in the case of the previous entry. Then the only harm I'm potentially bringing upon myself is posting pictures without consent, which is - what? only a felony? That's not a big deal.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Do Not Disturb

...a local hockey fan enjoying a concession stand cheeseburger and a game.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I'm gonna lose my shit. Christmas is at my place again this year. There'll be a few less people this time, but not few enough to stop:

Meatballs, Fox & Friends, six different kinds of non-dairy creamer left out on the counter all day, breakfast that lasts (in spurts) from 6AM to 1:30PM, CSI: Miami, people who think 10PM is a good time to get donuts, people who still don't know where the mugs are kept after three days of using them, random arguments (conversation), repeating an offhanded comment up to three times until all the funny has run out of it...

Family trouble, or just a house that's to small?

I'm not so sure a big enough house exists.

Friday, November 23, 2007

So Normal It Was Odd

Ever have one of those years where you just let it go? After you've gone through several hundred Thanksgivings, you get pretty familiar with some of its pitfalls. Overeating is what I'm talking about here. It happens. It usually doesn't feel good, but did you ever have one of those years where you just let it go? Just eat it all. If it's afront-a-ya, eat it.

I volunteered to carve the bird this year. Someone handed me an electric knife and I completely went off on it. Thankfully, the jackass from last year never showed. That's good news. A couple people bothered to compliment me on the awesome carvage. Thanks. Electric knife makes for thin slices with a rim of sensibly-portioned crispy and delicious skin, which makes for happy Thanksgivingers.

Cups and cakes. Oh what good things mother makes. Just eat it all. Let it go.

...and digest for a while.

And that was it. All in all, strangely normal. Kind of leaves you feeling uneasy, doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Deer Hunter

Here's a fact of life; if you buy a gun, you're going to want to shoot it. If you hunt, you may not see anything the whole time you're out there, but you wait all year for this, you bought all this outdoor gear, you've been sitting out there all day, and hell if you ain't gonna fire off a round or two.

"I guess I'll shoot that tractor way out there. That'll make a noise." And boom, off goes the bullet. Except there was a guy in there and now you shot him. And now you're in the paper. And now you're going to jail.

That's deer season, and something like this happens every year. An anxious hunter sees something, he shoots, someone dies. It always makes the paper and someone always goes to jail.

Last night, I saw a delightful high school play with a particular scene in which some of the kids dressed as hunters with antlers on their heads and orange vests with bullseyes painted on the back. They had all died and just arrived in heaven, trying to sort out just what happened. Of course, they all shot each other and the parents and teachers who wrote the play made a whole slew of really fucking hysterical jokes about hunting accidents. The audience howled with laughter. Easily the highlight of the evening.

Though this raises many questions, I have to wonder, why are you just hanging out in your tractor in the middle of deer season?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

That Guy

I really hate to be "that guy", but sometimes I just don't know what else to do.

Sometimes people invent parking spaces. If I'm trying to drive out of one row to turn and drive in another, and you invent a space in the road right in front of me, I might be inclined to give you the hands-turned-upward universal sign for "what the hell?" if only because your selfishness was an immediate inconvenience to me, not to mention a full-on hazard since it forced me to use the oncoming lane to make any progress. But you, being the righteous type, can't let something like that slide without comment. No, I won't really hear your comment, but if we should meet in the store, bet I'll hear it then.

Good thing we didn't meet in the store, because I really don't want to have to be "that guy".

If you stop (not park - "stop") your UPS truck right on the narrow city street like that and get out and make your delivery, and this forces people to either wait for you to make your deliveries or use the oncoming lane to get around you, and this happens to be in a school zone, and you're doing this right during dismissal, I might mention as I pass by that you really shouldn't be parked there. You might retort, "Shad-dup" and keep on hand-truckin' down the sidewalk, but I'll call 1-800-PICK-UPS and keep shouting "customer service" into the phone until the automated system connects me to a human. Yeah, I got your plate number, but I really hate to have to be "that guy."

But I will.

And together we'll make the world suck for both of us, even though chances are only one of us will even notice.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Chosen Pew

I've pretty much lost almost all interest in writing. I've moved on to frying other fish. I'll probably regain interest at some point, but that point is not now. In any event, I have a story to tell.

Five-year-old boy in church. Time comes to kneel. Boy, between kneelers, steps on one kneeler with one foot, and the other kneeler (which is in the upright position) with his other foot. Upright kneeler slams into down position and scrapes shin of middle-aged woman to his right.

The woman does not hold back in her vocalization of the pain. The entire mass is disrupted by the groaning. Every eye in the church turns and fixes (in that really Christian sort of way) on the "injured" woman, the boy, and the boy's family. The flock is far more interested in watching the melodrama play out. A woman from the boy's family turns to offer some help, but the horrible over-actor shouts "No! Get away from me! Don't touch me!"

"Your mother!" she says.

While the injured woman writhes in agony and demands much attention, someone finally turns around to see the young boy sitting there with a bloody nose. An elderly woman nearby begins weeping.

The boy is escorted to the bathroom with his head tilted back. The woman is offered a tissue to absorb her blood loss. Meanwhile, a young lady, heretofore having absolutely no involvement with this situation whatsoever, has been temporarily abandoned by her family while they help tend to all the injured parties. She is left sitting there alone with the sensation of 1,000 eyes upon her, silently demanding some sort of explanation.

She simply offers "Your mother."*

After mass, the injured woman walks to her Jeep without so much as a limp. She drives herself to the hospital and a member of the boy's family has gone along for the ride. The hospital applies topical antibiotic and a Band-Aid.

And that was church.

*denotes writer embellishment.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday Night

"Hey! The shower isn't draining! I'm standing in a puddle here!"
"Must be clogged."
"I thought you said you fixed it!"

Well, in fairness to me, I did clean some hair out of the drain not long ago. That made a difference. All the easy fixes weren't going to work this time though, and out came the plumbing snake, hacksaw, tees, wyes, and priming and cement compounds - all of which I just happened to have handy. Can you even believe that?

Pretty far down the line, we find ourselves this little gem...

Oh yeah - the squeamish should look away. Sorry. Although it did succeed in taking away 90 minutes of a weekend evening, this snotty mass of hair will plague my home no more.

And to save future hacking, an awesome new cleanout is added...

Awwwww yeah.... Next time this sumbitch gets plugged, I'm be all up in its face like a balloon animal. We'll be back up and running in under five minutes.

It will take me slightly longer to figure out why I'm losing hair in massive, gooey clumps.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Drugs Are Cool

...and stealing shit to buy drugs is also cool.

Some kids like it so much, they'll try to bust into your house.

They may crack your door with a swift kick.

The swift kick might have enough force to knock a plate off the wall and break it.

They'll take a serious whack at the door handle to get it to break.

They will be scumbags. They'll be ill-informed, overconfident, and very eager to brag to their friends 'bout how easy it was to do in broad daylight.

They'll also park the getaway car right there on the street, leave the algebra books in the backseat (very low miles on those) and come a little too close to an alert and suspicious mailman who knows how to take down a plate number.

They won't get in - least not at my house anyway. My neighbor up the street would not be so lucky. But in the interest of providing a public service, here's what to do with three teen fuckups:

The young men will be carted off to the rural, northeastern Connecticut town of Ashford. For 12 weeks, they will serve as volunteers at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and learn a great deal of humility in the process.

Hey, this could be worse. It could be algebra.

The idea will never, ever fly, but it is awesome. Do I need to run for President?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Take a Number

Recently, I opined that I encounter a lot of people who don't like me. I later decided that is a rather foolish thing to just say without any proof. Although it's pretty difficult to ask the average guy on the street to take the time to write down the reasons why he hates you, the Internet does excel in this regard. (I use "he" in this context, but many women are quite annoyed by me as well, though that usually turns out to be a sexual thing masked by hostility*.)

In light of all this, transcripts from some of my Internet friends.

"Wow. Hostile. Nope, I don't share your priorities."

"To my ears, that just reeks of entitlement. And yup, hostility."

"I say we stop giving this guy the time of day. Not very nice manners for a newbie. First post right outta the box was mean and downhill from there."

"Geez, buddy. Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? This is a pretty friendly community, for the most part. It'd be nice if you'd learn to grant folks the benefit of the doubt and assume they're not trying to ruffle your feathers. [Edit: Oh wait. You're the guy who called me a "fascist" in a thread not that long ago, after I disagreed with you on a flat-earth scientific revisionism argument *you* started. I think from here on out it'd be best for us all if I just pretended we had twit filters on this board. And it's probably best for you if you consider some kind of professional help. Take out rage on strangers much?]"

Flat-earth scientific revisionism argument? What? That's not Internet porn. How did I even get in here?

That one was pretty choice. I actually took the time to reply:
"Cool! Except that totally wasn't me. Must have been a different argument you got into here in this pretty friendly community. I enjoyed the use of the word "rage" in your last post. I'm reviewing now and trying to pinpoint the exact moment I flew into "rage". For the record, I think the Earth is an oblate spheroid. That's just how I roll."

"Instead of knocking others why don't you show us how it's done and post some of yours. And no I'm not going to go to your site, post them for C&C."

I don't have a "site".

"You mention the mere word "18-200 VR" and this guy comes out of the woodwork. He seems to systematically search for the above lens to trash it. Manual Garcia, if you don't like the subject or the thread.......move on. I haven't read a positive or constructive response from any of your recent posts. You don't bring much to table here."

Manual Garcia?

"My guess is you are perhaps unfamiliar with how reggae music is. The down beat is on the third beat of the bar, where rock it is on the 2 and 4. Most people think all reggae sounds the same because of Bob Marley. All white people who claim to be reggae fans, when asked about their CD collection, always say they own the Marley Legend CD. That is the caucasian reggae CD to own. No disrespect to Bob Marley, but people's ignorance can be a little trying when a new type of reggae sound is heard. And I do not consider Sean Paul to be anything at all like reggae."

This one's tough. Technically, he's arguing with himself here, but I was the impetus for the bat-shit-crazy rant, so I guess we'll count it.

Just a snippet is all that's needed of this next one to know probably isn't headed in the most friendly of directions

"Let's get one thing clear, right off the bat..."

...and so on, but if there's a lesson in all of this (aside from "The Internet is a colossal waste of time") it's... wait, "Sean Paul"? What the fuck is going on?

*remember I said you should expect this whole blournal thing to go away sometime fairly soon? Statements such as this help draw the time nearer.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


The lens that sunk Old Ironsides.

Yeah, so I went for it. Turns out that I've decided I'm in this for the long haul. Also turns out that I sold exactly 92 photos from this year's football season, which I guess ain't bad. The income from said photos is, using economic terms, "lame", and it doesn't even make a dent in the price of this used lens that I bought. But, I am puh-syched about this thing nonetheless.

Why is it cool? Three simple reasons:
It focuses extremely fast, doesn't need much light, and takes a very sharp picture. There are more reasons, but those are the simple ones.

I could get away with manual focus for football, and even baseball, but not hockey, pal. Unh-UH. See this shot here?

I just turned to shoot and the focus instantly locked on. When I pressed "go", I got the shot. It was awesome.

"But that shot isn't really in focus" you might say.
"Shut the fuck up!" I would quickly retort.
"And what's with the composition?" you'd add.

Then things would get pretty ugly from there, but the point is, the lens was able to quickly focus on something. What do you want? I mean, first, I was shooting through the plexiglass, and I was shooting at an angle through the plexiglass, and I'm pretty sure I was still moving the camera when I took the shot. Despite all that, this sleek and sexy lens gave up a pretty damn workable image. All Old Ironsides would've done is just piss me off - oh, and add some of that wicked awesome purple stuff to all the white edges. That comes free with your $75 investment, and it gets the equally expensive-sounding name of lateral chromatic aberration, which almost makes it sound like a feature.

"Do you have to explain all your pictures like that?" you might then ask.

And then that's it. It is go time.

Monday, November 05, 2007

This Is The Ladder That Killed Me

What - circa 1952, maybe? All wood. Weighs 3 metric tons. Completely non-functional pulley system. Guide rails exhibit some "play".

Every time I take this thing out I swear is the last time. Man this thing sucks. It's not really fear of heights so much as it's a distaste for all the flexing that goes on as you climb toward the half-way point, which is also about the point where you start to think about how old this bitch is, and about how far it is to the top, and how come freakin' squirrels are such a pain in my ass anyway? Man, my chimney is up there. This sucks.

Since it doesn't have any ropes on it, I have to try to extend it while I'm on it. I can only get so far with this, and the top hits the brick detail on my chimney. That means I get waaaay the fuck up there and I run out of things to hold on to. That's when I start to hug the chimney a) because you can't just walk up a ladder - you need to climb, and b) because I know this fucking thing is going to snap on me. I know it.

See how the right side sits just a bit higher than the left?

The ground isn't so level here, but this is where I need to use it, so that's what you get. This sucks.

Anyway, you can't put a critter screen inside the chimney cap because there's just no room.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Year In Review

I know this blournal has really played out.

like one big cliffhanger, so here are the answers to some of the open-ended issues I've left hanging this past year. Your patience is so rewarded.

Motorcycle man did not get his face melted after all, but a new deadline approaches.

The mouse did not return and bring any of his friends/cousins.

Rachael Ray is still on the air.

Most all of my neighbors have shifted their priorities, but a few have shifted the other way.

It costs about $25/month to run, saving me about $40/month.

The scars remain, maybe because people still ask to go to that restaurant every time they come up.

That dumb little picture took so much longer to get than I'll ever admit.

My house still has not exploded the kind of explosion you would undoubtedly read about for years to come.

That dude will always be annoying. Count on it.

The cheap version is totally better, and it saves you almost $2000.00

I'm going to need that info within the next year, and - ha ha, this is all fun, but you just watch; I'm gonna end up being the one who saves up to four lives, including my own, and I'm not even the guy in charge. You just watch.

Of course I'm the problem. Called bullshit on that a long time ago.

Summer is a great time to forget what a computer is.

Even though much, if not all, of this blournal has been pure gold, leaving a paper trail is a stupid, stupid thing to do. Expect this all to disappear before too long.

Seen here for the very first time, allow me to be direct and straight to the point;
A great many people don't like me. When that day comes that I (of course, completely innocently) piss someone off so bad that they finally decide to do something about it, say, in a court of law, I'm going to feel much better off knowing that this thing is not available for misinterpretation and subsequent incrimination.

But I hope it's been fun for you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Magically" Delicious?

Lucky Charms - Marshmallows = Meow Mix

This could explain why the Charms are 9 for 9 in making me feel sick afterwards. Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Things You Really Don't Want

See this?

Yeah. You don't want this.

That ain't the Wall of Death in there, you furry little rat. Scram.

Right, except the little fucker can't scram. That's why he's... never mind. I got a fuckin' squirrel in my fireplace, alright? And I mean in my fireplace. Now what? I need a plan, that's what. I have no idea what the plan will be, but I know it will require a motivational soundtrack in the form of

"The Sound Waves Reversing" by Man Or Astro-Man? This will set the tone/provide the proper motivation, should you ever find yourself in a similar situation. You need just the right piece of motivational music to afford you the level of aggression you need to really get your head in the game. Find yourself a copy of this and I think you'll agree. Now picture yourself in the car on the way to the hardware store, where you're going to find something...

Rat poison? Maybe I can just toss some of that in there. Great, except I can't exactly find rat poison and the D-Con I found promises results in four to five days, and that's just for mice.

Rat trap? Waaaaiit a minute...

Yes indeed. Rat trap it shall be. To the VICTOR go the spoils of dead squirrel.

And this is where I skip the part about almost losing a finger trying to set this goddamn thing.


What - did I have to open the fireplace doors with a squirrel in there that was trying to get out?
Did I do that with one hand and try to place a really, really touchy fucking rat trap in there with the other?
What - and I didn't take a picture of that?

Sometimes he would get the shit scared out of him and scramble his way up to the flue. I opened the door and got lucky that he didn't jump at me and pull a vein out of my neck while the doors were open and I was holding an armed rat trap.

Let's not revisit that concept, 'kay?

Everything likes peanut butter, but squirrel-ass could not be persuaded. He wasn't interested. I went to bed. I heard no trap go all night. Next morning, nothing. I took off for a couple of hours in the AM, and when I came home the trap was tripped, but no sign of Moose or Squirrel. No way did little Rocky wriggle his way out of the trap. Not sure what's up now. Are you telling me this nasty little trap isn't going to work?

I saw someone on the Internet had a huge page on dealing with squirrels in your fireplace, and they put in huge letters "DO NOT TRY TO SMOKE A SQUIRREL OUT OF A CHIMNEY" so I figured I ought to give that a try.

(Well, the advice came off the Internet, right? That should've been your first sign.)

But this one sheet didn't make that much smoke and Furry McParasite didn't seem to give a shit. I didn't feel like pushing my luck with the door thing, either.

So I go in again with the trap, only this time with a couple of pumpkin seeds stuck in some peanut butter. It's freakin' Spago in there for that glorified little rodent. I opened the fireplace doors and we weren't going to revisit this concept, right? Right.

Nothing. All day long, nothing. I take off again for a couple of hours only to return to find this:

A dead squirrel. A tripped rat trap. Two separate locations.

What. The. Hell.

My guess is severe tachycardia possibly accompanied by a magnesium deficiency. But that's just a guess. I honestly don't know. Let's not question it. Let's shut the chimney cap and just move on.

No, let's shut it all the way this time, okay? Yup, the fireplace guy told you that "You might want to leave that open a little, just to create an upward draft so you don't get any soot odor in the house."

Yup. Wouldn't want any of that.

If I learned anything in all of this, it's that it feels quite odd to pick up a dead squirrel before rigor mortis has set in. Usually when you pick up an animal, it uses some of its muscles to, well, to generally keep its shape, I suppose. A dead squirrel is kind of like a lumpy bag of Jell-O brand gelatin without all the fun.

There. That's my advice for when you get one in your house. You're welcome.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I'll save you the trouble. Just put a large, empty bowl on your porch with a sign...

"Take One"


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Compact Fluorescent: Um... no.

Did you go buy your compact fluorescent light bulbs yet?


Don't go buying into all that CFL B.S. That isn't what's going to save the planet. Yeah, you'll be all impressed that they use only 25% of the power and last ten times as long as incandescents, but keep looking, Pecos Joe. There's more story to hear.

They keep working on it, but the light they produce generally looks like shit (what, with the subtle strobing and slight blue cast.) Oh, and the bulbs contain mercury. Oh, and they give off small amounts of UV, which really isn't good for the eyes and also eats your Vitamin A. Oh, and there's a much better solution. Oh, and the solution is crazy expensive.

LED bulbs are awesome. Compact fluorescent bulbs look like energy hogs next to LED's that use less than half the power and last at least five times as long. They don't get hot, either. They're also really, really expensive. Did I mention that? Google it.

Do you have a 70W light bulb in your lamp? An LED bulb that's just as bright uses 9W. That's about 1/8 the power. There. You just cut your light bill by 87%. Get 100W of light from a 10W LED bulb. There. That's 1/10 the power. Better? Oh, and the bulbs will last you 12 years @ 12 hours/day at least. 100k hours is not out of the question.

Do you like Christmas lights? Notice they don't make any compact fluorescent Christmas lights? You haven't noticed that? Well they don't. But they do make LED Christmas lights, and yes, they use a lot less power, and yes, they don't heat up and burn your tree -> house down. Wait, you live in a tree house?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Novel or Memoir?

Either way, here's the cover.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


If, while totally minding your own business just driving along, you ever get completely cut off in traffic and someone displays the most lengthy of their digits to you, don't make the mistake of following them into the parking lot where they turn off. Here's why:

1) Why are you doing this?
You're upset a little, huh? Yes it was the car in front of you that was the hold up. Yes that move did have just the right combo of asininity/defiance, but...

2) What are you going to say?
Better have a plan. Might be best to just leave it at "Pretty confused out there, aren't you? Take it easy on the middle finger, sweetheart" and then drive off. You could swear him up and down, yes, but then you'd better be prepared for something.

3) Where's it going to go?
In the grand scheme of things, would it be really smart for it to lead to something? I mean, even if you did manage to sucker-punch him right in the diaphragm and you just drive off while he sits there and enjoys a couple of minutes without breath, courtesy of you, you've got a license plate on that car of yours, and guess what? The parking lot he pulled into happens to be that of the DMV. Not so good.

4) You don't want to hear the explanation.
I suppose the shit-eating grin you got when he got out of his car and saw you there is about all you're really going to get out of it. Better be happy with that, because all you're going to get beyond it is pretzel logic that, well, it turns out I'm actually the asshole.

Hey - how about that?

Monday, September 24, 2007

The $1,400 Mistake

Hello, and welcome to 1972.

Well that was my approach anyway. I wanted a good zoom lens, but as Beaver Cleaver might have put it, "Lenses are kind of expensive and junk." Gee whiz, Beav. You're right, you little goof.

"Quit bein' such a creep" he'd no doubt retort, and skip off to go toss the football around.

And I'd be there trying to take picture of it, except I didn't spend four figures on one of them fancy-ass lenses that it seems everyone else on the sideline owns (and "Leave It To Beaver" was totally NOT set in 1972.)

Nope. I went to the cutout bin and, for $75, pulled out Old Ironsides here.

Their lenses have ultra-fast autofocus. They have built-in gyroscopic stabilizers to reduce camera shake. They have electronic aperture control. They're impressively huge. They're impressively sharp. They're incredibly expensive. And they seem to be everywhere.

I went out to take a sunset picture and for Christ's sake, that dude's even got one. It's just laying on the rock there.

Cripes. Wish I had that lens so I could take a nice sunset picture. My lens is only good enough to take pictures of people taking nice pictures.

Right. Old Ironsides doesn't autofocus. There's nothing electronic in it. It won't even let my camera use its own light meter. It doesn't even let my camera know that it's attached. It weighs like five pounds and just sits there like the load that is Eddie Haskell. It doesn't do anything I don't take the time to make it do. I have to actually set my focus and exposure and then click away.

Oh, right - and not only does my $75 lens NOT autofocus... also doesn't zoom. or out.

Yup. Doesn't take much to make Old Ironsides look like a complete waste of money.

Except sometimes it works.

...and when it does, the reward is twice as sweet.

Especially when you get a look at a picture taken through one of those $1,400 lenses and see that , hey sure, maybe it's horribly framed, but it's also totally out of focus.

Hell, at least mine is only a $75 mistake.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I was looking for some twisty roads to take the scoot on and I thought of the Adirondacks. I did an Internet search for "Adirondack motorcycle roads" and I found a link.

The closest one I found that I could do and still make it back home within my short window of time was on a short section of Rt 374, just outside of Plattsburgh. Dannemora, in fact.

I thought about this. Before long, it wasn't much about riding on a twisty road. All of us here on this side have looked across the lake plenty of times and seen all those lights behind Plattsburgh. Maybe it's time to finally go see that place for real. So off on the scoot I went.

Grand Isle ferry to Plattsburgh. About a 25 minute ride to reach the ferry. Maybe less. Total ferry time was probably 20 minutes from ticket to drive-off.
Drive ten minutes into Plattsburgh, pass under the "Georiga Pacific Welcomes You To Plattsburgh" sign, and hang a right. You'll be on 374 in less than one minute.
In 13 long, boring, and thoroughly disappointing (though I guess a little reassuring, considering the destination) miles...
(Seriously? This is in the Adirondacks?! Come ON!)'ll reach New York's largest and third oldest prison; the infamous Dannemora, technically known as "Clinton Correctional Facility".
Really? Right up against the main road like that? You wouldn't think they'd have a setup where you could just, I don't know, like maybe throw rocks at the prisoners or whatever. Maybe an M80 or similar. I don't know. Just spitballing here. Hey, spitballs would be funny and really aggravating.

The town of Dannemora was originally established as a mining community (iron) and the prison was built to use convicts as laborers for that industry.

So there it is. This is where all those lights are coming from. This is where people sit and rot their lives away.

Well, this part, too.
Hell of a place to just leave your keys hanging out the back like that.

But then, maybe that's just enough razor wire to hold them in.
I get the feeling that this is where the phrase "Man, they ain't kiddin' around" comes from. I believe they may have ordered the "Not Kidding Around" razor wire package. Okay, we're gonna need three rolls up the side, one that sits on top, and three down the other side. Closer look even shows some kind of long razor spirals that go to the ground. Right. $335 for 25 sq. ft. of that stuff.

Here's another one of the big wall from the other end.
I like the way that it's a big time prison with small town feel. "We got the Piggly Wiggly over here. A cute little store right there called 'Bloomers', the bank, that block is the prison, and..." Actually, the prison sits in full view of Dannemora Ford, which is down there just past the wall and on your right.

Dannemora is swarming with lots of dark vans and SUV's that are mostly unmarked. Me stopping to take pictures... I don't know - there's just kind of a vibe going around that makes you feel like it isn't a great, great idea.

But here's one with the service door open...
...and the ultra-vigilant guard. And hey, look! More razor wire inside. Sure, what the hell. Along the street wall, you can just see the arch that used to be the main entrance. It's since been filled in. And check it out - those are parking meters. I read that it gets pretty busy on weekends. You have to register with and be requested by a prisoner first, so you can't just pop in on someone, but visiting hours are 9-3 every day. Still, you really don't want a ticket out in front of this place, eh?

In 2004, someone figured out a way to declare the NY death penalty unconstitutional, claiming that it showed a bias toward the plaintiff in sentencing deadlocked cases. Because of that, there are supposedly only two prisoners in the State of New York on death row. One of them is here, in the "Unit for Condemned Persons". He sits in a 7'x9' cell, 23 hours a day, goes out (in handcuffs) for one hour of exercise, and he gets a shower three times a week. And lots of people read about things like that, but... well here it actually is.

Which, I guess, is why I went here. Can't imagine rotting your life away like prisoners do, but I know it happens. I have no sympathy for the convicts (the guilty ones, that is.) But as often as I (or anyone I know, for that matter) may have invoked the phrase "rot in prison", well... You haven't really captured the true spirit of that phrase until you've stood this close to a prison and said it (and no, you can't say it from any closer because of a little thing called "irony. ")

But hey, when you kill five Wendy's employees in Queens and use a mildly retarded guy as your accomplice, you can wait out your lethal injection in a place like this, too.

Alright. Prison is real. What about that twisty road I read about?
Um, no. How about just a big 'ol hill with a few very slight bends? Ugh. Damn Internet.

But on a clear day, there's a real nice view to see here. I
was here on a hazy day... I hacked the contrast in Photoshop just so you / I could sort of see what the view should look like.
Right. Then I split. I did see this on the way back though...
Parked. On the ferry. Hands at still locked at 11 and 1. Dock nowhere in sight. Looks like "I took the ferry to Grand Isle today" has a slightly different meaning for her. I mean, everybody says that, but how many of us have ever captured the true spirit of...

Ah, forget it.

Thursday, May 31, 2007