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.