Nov 30, 2004

Flashpoint Alpha

R'okay, this is it.

This is the day you need to get off your bum and email a link to this blog to everyone on your email address book. I kid you not. I know what you're doing at all times, the monitors don't lie. I know you come to the blog, you read the post, you smile or perhaps giggle a bit, then you move on to Homestar Runner or Red vs Blue or even, but you don't tell anyone what a fountain of strangeness and humour you've found in your daily hit of Irrelephant.

This is going to change NOW.

This is the flashpoint. You people are going to be my mavens, the ones who become the meme for this blog, the ones whose opinion is important to other people. You are the gasoline poured on the front porch of this abandoned house. I guess that makes me the match, or maybe the insurance agent, but that's not important right now. What's important is that you email EVERYONE you know, everyone, heck, you need to go and find some of those old forwarded jokes you've got from friends and take all THOSE email addresses, too, and stick THEM in an email. And don't suggest, don't mention, DEMAND! (with at least one, no more than three exclaimation points) that they follow the link you will thoughtfully provide to this site.

Then sit back and warm your hands at the bonfire as Irrelephant goes up like a bomb.

Artists perform better when they've got a big audience. Watch me fret and strain to retain a large one.

Nov 29, 2004

Another pic of Irrelephant

Pic of Irrelephant on Strawberry Bitch II

Zen And The Art of Removing a VFR 800 Fi's Front Wheel

With apologies to Robt. Persig.

Those of you (that'd be you) who got this as an email, feel free to simply skip over, because there's very little new here. In the interest of expressing my pent-up whatchamacallit over my recent foray into sport bike maintenance, I post the letter I sent you here because I thought it was fun enough to share with the rest of the world, billions of strangers who can feel my pain. *lol*

Okay--this bit is for all you strangers out there.

I love motorcycles. I've ridden since around 1992, when a divorce from my wife of the time lost me my new car, and a friend had been riding me (no pun intended) for a while about buying a bike, so I looked into it, got approved, brought a brand new Yamaha Seca II home with me (in Dark Metallic Blue III, which I always thought of as deep green,) got on it in my driveway, and learned to ride. I haven't looked back since. Since that time, I have self-taught myself a lot of motorcycle maintenance, too, because it saves a lot of charges by a local shop that I simply cannot ABIDE, and because most of it is easy.

At least, in my past experience it's been easy.

No, really. It's been easy.

This, then, is how the letter ran.

I feel like an explorer out on the raggedy edge of things.

I've been removing the front tire on the bike.

I shouldn't feel like an explorer out on the raggedy edge of things at all. I should feel like Honda Motorcycles of America feels like I'm a loved and integral part of their company as the End Consumer, and that as that person who is giving them lots of money I should be loved, cared for, and my new Honda motorcycle should be designed with me in mind. I felt that way when working on my old Magna, where every piece seemed to have been designed perhaps not inherently with me in mind but at least with me in passing mention, so that my knuckles would not get broken on strange jagged bits of metal hanging out for no other intent and purpose BUT to cut me open, or that I would have to have hands the size of a twelve year old girl's to be able to fit it into places with wrenches and Special Honda Tools.

Not so the high-end sport bike. Enter Honda's VFR 800 Fi Interceptor.

Removing the front wheel to bring it to the shop to have a tire changed out should be an easy and fairly simple procedure.

Removing Front Wheel To Change Front Tire:

1) lift the motorcycle onto it's center stand
2) loosen the front axle pinch bolts
3) remove the front axle
4) roll the front wheel forward out of the brake calipers and clear of the forks
5) bring front wheel and new tire to shop to let them install tire
6) reverse process to reinstall wheel
7) save shop fees of $55/hour labour by doing it yourself

The way it goes in

Irrelephant's Reality

1) lift the motorcycle onto it's center stand
2) realise that the weight of the motorcycle on it's center stand is more than 50/50 balanced across that point, and is in fact more like 55/45 in favor of the front, so it's resting on it's front wheel. Heavily.
3) realise that this just got a lot harder, because the motorcycle isn't going to rest on it's back wheel for you
4) try to figure out a way to make the motorcycle rest on it's back wheel without someone there to hold it in place while you work
5) end up stacking bits of scrap lumber and a brick underneath the exhaust headers, so that the motorcycle will rest on the wood and not on it's front wheel.
6) loosen the front axle pinch bolts
7) try every socket you own trying to find one big enough to fit the axle nut
8) fail to find one large enough
9) swat at mosquitoes (this IS Louisiana, remember. It's still 70 degrees at noon)
10) trek through the rain to the shed to find a largish crescent wrench (it also rains about once a day)
11) shoo giant shop rats away who are taking a smoke break in the doorway, watching it rain and being glad they're not out walking in it (real rats. BFRs. About two pounds ea)
12) return to bike
13) turn axle nut a few times
14) realise bike is designed to have the right pinch bolt tightened so you can remove axle nut
15) tighten right pinch bolt
16) remove axle nut
17) loosen right pinch bolt
18) remove axle and set aside
19) swat at mosquitoes who are trying to carry off the axle nut
20) chase down the axle spacer you didn't see the first time, which has made good it's escape and rolled away under the truck
21) pull wheel forward, stopping when you realise the fender is in the way
22) trek through the rain to the shed to obtain Allen wrench to remove front fender bolts
23) remove front fender bolts
24) trek back through the rain to the shed to find correct sized Allen wrench
23) ignore tiny laughter of smoking rodents who realise you'd gotten the wrong size wrench again
24) remove front fender bolts
25) swat at mosquitoes who are trying to remove the front wheel by force
26) pull wheel forward, stopping when you realise Honda designed the VFR with specifications so tight it includes putting both brake rotors somewhat INSIDE the circumfrence of the front wheel
27) trek to the shed through the rain to find big Allen wrench to remove brake caliper nuts
28) attempt to strike rodents immobilized by laughter with big Allen wrench
29) remove brake caliper nuts and swing caliper away from one fork
30) pull wheel forward, bending front fender ALMOST to the point that it breaks because you didn't see nor can you reach the two other bolts way in back of the fender
31) reverse process to reinstall, thinking of all the money you saved by NOT bringing the entire bike to the shop and by NOT paying a professional mechanic to do all this himself
32) weep inconsolably


Putting it back on entailed having the brake pads fall out of the caliper when I tried to reinsert the rotor. Spent the better part of an hour reinstalling the front tire. Then I went for a ride, and everything got good again. Everything got WONDERFUL again. And I've already managed to forget how horrible the whole incident was. Until about 9K miles pass and it's time for new tires.

The Truth

The Truth is out there. I'll tell you now, though, that it's gonna be hard to spot. It's wearing a grey tweed three-piece suit and a matching fedora, and when last spotted was walking with it's hands in it's trouser pockets down Main St. It bought the suit at Gus Kaplan's Menswear last week, during that big sale Kaplan's held when they realised that they had mistakenly ordered not 10 but 100 of the grey tweed three-piece suits they were getting so cheap from one of the big houses in Burligton. So, as you may recall, there was a big sale on grey men's tweed suits that week, and Truth, along with a lot of other opportunistic guys, bought nice winter-weight togs. And to add insult to injury, it's National Dress As Your Favourite Raymond Chandler Story Character, as well as Saint Humphrey Bogart's Feast Day, so everyone who is anyone is going to be dressed as Phillip Marlowe, Private Detective; grey suit, matching fedora, long face and hands thrust into trouser pockets.

I tell you, there are days when I wish I still worked Vice Squad.

Nov 27, 2004

Study In Black

Sitting at the traffic circle today, watching up the road to find an opening to fling my elderly truck into, I caught sight of a woman, all in black, riding a black cruiser. Being a hardcore motorcycle guy, and one who appreciates women riders, I watched her pass.

She was a big lady, bigger than me, which is difficult but not impossible. And what there was of her was black. Her thick black braids were floating in the wind behind her, flowing from her helmet like slivers of night. Her skin had the dark sheen of walnut that has been lovingly polished for generations, and she was wrapped in glossy black leather; jacket and gloves with short fringe rippling in the wind, chaps wrapped around her thick thighs, and black calf-high boots without ornamentation. No conchos, no studs, nothing foolish, just the necessities.

Her bike was black and chrome, a big Honda Shadow American Classic, thrumming that dark V-twin grumble through an exhaust pipe big enough to put my fist in. The heavy aluminum rims sparked dim sun dogs, as though they were afraid of being too bright for the black-wrapped lady.

She rode with the effortless skill of the long-time rider, and I found myself grinning to see her as I leaned my elbow in the open window. As I watched her roll past she caught my eye (as an experienced rider will do, to make sure YOU see THEM,) and she easily saw me smiling to myself. She looked dead at me and gave me a return grin, an instant comraderie, her smile appearing like a sudden moon from behind dark clouds. As she swept by effortlessly, I pulled out into the opening in traffic, and grinned in spite of myself to see the teddy bear in biker's leather and black half-helmet, riding comfortably attached to what I dare not call her "sissy bar."

Isn't that better? I love, utterly love to see words used well, and I utterly love to use them well. When words are crafted, they are a reward unto themselves.

I saw

a lady on a motorcycle today. She smiled at me. I smiled at her. She drove off.

Nov 25, 2004

notes scribbled to myself on the back of an old shopping bag

study these characteristics more thoroughly

Squeaky wheels -- do they actually get the grease?

Cart Boys -- must look into their traits. Much like old West Gauchos?

Pecuilar coloured markings on 'handle' and side areas of most species


Super One Foods

Rite Aid

Toys 'R' Us

Occurances of 'plastic' Shopping Carts. Possible new subspecies or simple environmental adaptation

Any relation of Shopping Carts to paper vs plastic argument? PVP? PVC? P2P? WTF?

Nov 23, 2004

New Orleans A'ints bashing

I read in the news yesterday that the New Orlean's Saints had a scare--during a practice session, one of the players found some mysterious white powder on the field. The head coach naturally called the FBI, who came out and did a spot analysis of the substance. They told the coach that the mysterious white powder was in fact the goal line, and that they had nothing to worry about, as it was completely harmless, and that the Saints would likely never see it again.

47 Meeeelion Footnotes

--Driving slowly down the wet avenue, I saw a monstrous flock of crows in the street ahead. As I approached, they took to wing, unhurriedly, and I found myself driving through a storm of wings.

That's how I'd do it.

Nov 22, 2004

Tough room--

I guess the massive amounts of viewers I have hourly don't as a group much care for the "Who Is The Bigger Scene Chewer" poll, there was a tie, between Ricardo Montalban and William Shatner, with one vote each, and since I voted for Ricardo, I guess that means no more polls. *lol*

From the Observations Notebook

Some More Observations: Today I spent a fruitful hour lurking on the roof of my local Brookshire's, mapping and studying the physical appearance of the Shopping Carts (as they are called in the common idiom.) In this particular location I noticed a great deal of reddish tinge on the bodies of these sleek creatures. My first assumption was that their chromium hides were showing signs of rust, and therefore neglect or poor feeding habits.

I couldn't, as it turns out, have been more wrong. Upon closer inspection it turns out that this 'rust' was not a physical surface feature, but was a naturally occuring colour trait of the creature's hide itself.

My exhaustive studies indicate that it is a basic trait of these creatures to have a small ability to alter the outer colour of their hides -- in this case, to the appearance of rust, much as some lizards can alter their skin colour to better blend in with their surroundings. This serves as protection, in that the 'rusty' Shopping Carts are better able to blend against rusty cars (which naturally appear in their habitat, especially in Louiaiana) as well as making themselves appear much older and perhaps damaged, so as to make themselves less likely to be chosen for shopping use. This, of course, leaves them free to roam the open herds of females to choose a potential mate.

What wiley and beautiful creatures these Carts are!

Nov 21, 2004


I decided that the best place I could begin my journal concerning these amazing animals would be to cover some of the more obvious behaviour patterns.

The chromium shoppus vehiculous vulgaris commonplaceius or chromium shoppus vehiculous vulgaris commonplaceius trolleyus as the British refer to them, are a herding creature. They can often be spotted clinging to each other front to back, in what could be taken as a very sexual manner, although this is not their mating method.

The closeness of the chromium shoppus vehiculous vulgaris commonplaceius / trolleyieufundus in these 'sexual' groups is quite similar to the manner in which other herding creatures gather -- instinctually, to offer protection and a group strength to the whole. They interlock themselves when they feel that they are in danger of being rolled away for some light shopping or if they are standing on an open parking lot (called a veldt in the idiom) in high winds (Higheus freakingus blowingei.

Nov 19, 2004

By the way, my cat hates you

My SPAM email this morning was offering to sell me "Riddlin, Pr0zac, and human growth hormone." What's wrong with this picture, other than the spelling intended to get by my SPAM filters (which it did not?!) Human growth hormone. Have these people been sneaking around my lab?

I'm definitely going to have to make sure the Triffid field is unbroken and healthy, and that the leech cannon is tracking properly. It's so hard to find good, reliable equipment these days. I wish Honda was still producing their "Home Fortress" line of goods. Now THERE was some reliable devices. And the Sony ES product showcase, tht was some nice protection-oriented consumer goods. Liquid Propellant Flamethrowers. Advanced Tactical Vehicles. Poodle Guns. And they all came painted in that great satin black colour, with the little discreed chrome silver "Sony ES" badge. Classy!

You just don't get classy anymore.

Nov 18, 2004

Want Ads


Pilot needed to fly vintage European Monarchs. Experience with Henry VIII and Richard Longshanks models (manual only) preferred but not required. Must have own jherkin. Apply within.

Nov 17, 2004

Wide World of Trolleys

I have decided, after my suprise viewing the other day of the shopping cart group (chromium shoppus vehiculous) to begin keeping a record of these wonderous and curious creatures, in order to make their often commonplace appearance in our parking lots and drainage ditches a rare and wonderful happening for everyone, and to help foster understanding of these oft misunderstood creatures.

Nov 16, 2004

Swifties abound

"My grape juice has fermented," Irrelephant whined at breakfast.

"There are tiny bugs in the dust," Irrelephant said mightily

"Nay, nay, and again I say nay," Irrelephant said hoarsely.

"The Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria, and the Titanic" Irrelephant said forbodingly.

Nov 15, 2004

Deus ex machina

Or rather, verminus ex machina. I've got a bug in my box. At least it's a handy excuse for not posting yesterday, and it's all the excuse you'll get, so you might as well get used to it.

That's enough audience aside for now--back to the madness.

You see, I was going to plug something USB in the back, never mind what, when instead of an open port I found a huge wickerwork structure rising out of my PCI card slot; a towering, shaky, helter-skelter construction of bits and pieces of my lucky bamboo plant, some stalks from my cornbroom, and yards and yards of old speaker wire. At the very top flew a tiny flag, so small I could not make out the device, but rest assured I will be looking into this pretty darn closely.

I just hope it's not pixies. Last time I had pixies I had to hire an exterminator to fumigate the whole house with DDT, and when I could finally go back inside the entire place was littered with tiny lace-winged green bodies.

And talk about stink? Utterly horrid! Repellent!

Nov 12, 2004

I like SPAM

I don't often read it, SPAM that is, because often it's penisenlargementherbaldrugsfreecabletelevision
fullerthickerbetter, but once upon a time, I received this in the accidentally opened body of an e.

gave grossly their expression shifted loud companionship succession sheltering awkward has ever journey angling nineteen unhappily sober landspr perfect assumed write together rage easiest bows designedly articulate laboring waterside pictured confrontsunremitting belief reserved future depressed pity centered porter lines fear surgeon bridge vision parents negative attaches clean welshfiercely marveled corner servant ruined deceiving adopt denied highroad incurable race assume arm sightdeclared playing yonder seen deeds confronts contained france detect passes taking cutsystem wanted recovery vacant wistful rself prudish stability spare approaches since tracing faltered staring recollected exclusively

overcome epitomizes chills grabbings whispers growers ridgepole municipal
chilled sink cheeks unguided endure resemblance flock provocation hundredth amuses space became timid routine firesidestrangely telegraphs rid directly medically equable vise narrating ngs fireside vienna if twinedghosts wife serve errand habituated reformation sadness ones stress color sweet welfare

Potsdam localizing buggers imaginably library tenure

propounded belayed loudness overlooked anvil scarcely

Great sudden all inclusive windfall from Sarah or your comrade and assistant Randy Stiller. You either signed to free Internet resource lately or someone entered your address for you. To halt send any email here:

hundredth affects manuscript dreadful county stern courier conclusive weakly help poorer closer few trainworst occupations pages nine wild brother administered george encouraged entertainment measures paths tattered wrinkled commercetastefully dare ns mirror officers dermody throwing collins sardonic searches other hysterics prudent penetrating pour



The artist as a brightly-painted target

I spent Hallo'een wandering around several small residential areas dressed quite snappily as a zombie, recently hung and escaped. What did I receive? Derisive snorts, off-colour comments intended to bolster tiny egos, and children all too willing to tug on the very real hemp noose I wore as decoration, children who came all too close to having a zombie come alive into very real nightmare mode to strangle them for their insolence.

I have been guilty of dressing in a giant fish suit and lurking around the X__ X______ Aquarium of the Americas, hidng in the shrubbery alongside the parking lot until the last of the staff leaves, so I can walk back and forth in front of the locked doors, flapping my fins and squishily shaking door handles.

I have often worn The Mad Hatter outfit; beautiful grey top hat, purple suit coat with red pinstripes, grey herringbone pattern slacks, a slate blue weskit and bright yellow shirt, and more often than not received blank stares, or people who went one step further and furtively cut their eyes away, afraid to meet the madman's bemused gaze.

I have slathered oil pigments onto canvas stretched tight over boards, picturing the obscene, the tortured, the pieces and bits of my dreams that I have been able to rake out of my sleeping mind, only to have people ask if I could paint something that would match their couches...

I have driven boldly across secured airport tarmacs with warm pizza, have leapt headlong into piles of packing styrofoam, have shouted inanities at the top of my lungs in inappropriate places and times, have performed one-man flash mob behaviour in Malls, have let my imagination live as surreal as it possibly could, daring to push further and further into the depths of my mind, and still the coin I am paid in is silence, averted eyes, embarrased coughs, and only very occasionally, all too rarely,

a smile.
quiet applause.
from someone afraid to cross the slashdotted line of accepted behaviour.

I need an audience.

Nov 11, 2004

HMS Roadmaster

I made an interesting observation today. After I told that immensely fat lady how immensely huge I felt she actually was, I was getting groceries from my local vendor (may they all be damned to eternal vegetal Hells,) and lo and behold I spied four elegant silver shopping carts, obviously a dominant male and his three females, quietly milling around in the parking lot near my car. I spent a few moments hiding myself behind a large Buick, which gave me a good view of these elegant, shy creatures. I never cease to be amazed at the wonderous diversity of Life, and the myriad directions and solutions that evolution takes.

Nov 10, 2004

Scientific Method

There I was, a frog in one hand and a blowtorch in the other. How was I to know that the laboratory had a gas leak?

Nov 9, 2004


There I was, flying along through the silence, watching clouds pass by underneath the aircraft. How was I to know that both engines would conk out at the same time?

Nov 7, 2004

Not so swifties

I was going to play cards with some friends last night, but ended up stopping the entire thing and tossing everyone out on their ears. "Someone removed all the twos from this deck!" Irrelephant had deduced.

I was intending to post this much earlier, but we lost the power grid out here. "I just love power failures," Irrelephant said, darkly.

Aah, the joys of cheddar. "Thanks for shredding the cheese," Irrelephant said gratefully. " I do so love Velveeta," Irrelephant added, craftily.

Nov 6, 2004

Republicans? I love them, slow basted for a few hours with a honey glaze...

So George W. Bush dies, and is ushered to the Pearly Gates. Saint Peter meets him, and says "George, you were a good man, you died without sin, and so now you have a choice--Heaven, or Hell."

George W. is curious, so he asks "Can I see both before I decide?" Saint Peter willingly agrees, and opens the Pearly Gates to show him Heaven. George W. sees people involved in deep philosopical discussions, worshiping God on high, working diligently, and in general basking in the blessings of Heaven. When he's done looking, Saint Peter opens the clouds at their feet a bit, and lets George W. see Hell. It's filled with people doing all sorts of exciting things--laughing and dancing and dining on thick steaks and baked potatoes overflowing with butter and sour cream, wearing beautiful clothing, drinking exotic drinks together, making love on huge overstuffed couches and beds, or driving fast Italian exotic cars.

George thinks it over, and says "I think I'll choose Hell, Saint Peter."

George W. is cast into Hell, and the first thing he sees is people chained to huge boulders, flames licking their bare flesh, demons and devils of every horrible description whipping them with straps covered in broken glass, rending their flesh, and in general working every kind of horror on their souls. As he's lead to his own burning boulder, he turns to Satan and says "But what happened to the people drinking and dining and making love?"

Satan says "That was the campaign, this is the reality. It's too late, you've already voted."


My sweet gold-plated offering-hungry riding around in a dumptruck god I'm so angry! I woke up this morning, stumbled into the shower, brushed my teeth, got into my uniform for work, slipped my boots on, and found that someone had put a god-forsaken starving, angry, very ruffled Peruvian Boot Weasel in one of my HighTek Magnums! It chewed my foot to ribbons! And it's poisonous spines! It took me the better part of an hour this morning with pliers to get them all out! And the swelling is going to take DAYS to go down! If I ever find out who did that, I'm going to kill them.

Nov 4, 2004


My Peruvian Boot Weasel in a Pouch arrived today! JOY! I unpacked it, shook it out, gave it some sugar water filtered through an old unwashed sock and it perked right up. It took stock of it's surroundings and immediately sequestered itself in one of my size 13 HighTek Magnums. I can't wait till tomorrow morning when I stick my foot into my boot. The poisonous spines! The razor sharp teeth! Boy will I be suprised!

Nov 3, 2004

Constipated Clown Monthly subscriptions here!

I sent the check today to the eBay folks. I just hope the man who calls himself "The Mailman" delivers it properly this time. The last time I ordered an exotic animal by mail he left it in the garage, and I didn't find it for days.

As an interesting side note, to get my mind off recent events (I STILL cannot hear "Fields of Gold" without gritting my teeth) I had the local circus freaks out to my house for supper last nite. It was quite a nice little event--drinking, dancing, barbecue, and I even got a little nookie from the bearded lady.


Nov 2, 2004

Lithuania's main export is electricity.

Seems they ship it out to other countries in these huge military-green trucks with just the word"Lithuania" on the side in small yellow letters, so they don't get hijacked. Aaaaah, intercountry commerce.

Quite interesting. I recieved the mailing address from the person I won the Boot Weasel from. Apparently there's a huge Eastern Bloc mega-corp called Badger-In-A-Box (IG) (tm) that breeds and exports many rare and dangerous predatory animals packaged in some sort of nifty manner. Amazing what you can buy on the internet these days.

Nov 1, 2004

I bought it on eBay

Wow. Hallo'een, spent worrying that Amnesty International was going to toss me in a dark, rat-infested jail cell somewhere and forget about me for eternity, leaving me only a slop bucket without a handle and a pile of mouldy black bread. Thank heavens they don't know of any good jails. Nope--nstead of corporal punishment of any sort I received three hard smacks on the back of my hand and a good stern talking to. Boy, do I see the error of my ways.

I've relocated to another undisclosed location, since I think it's going to be best for both me AND Sting to let the mice have the old place. *shrug* It could be worse. Let the landlord deal with it, I say. Perhaps he has a way with rodentia. He did tell me he owned a pan pipe.

The important thing is that I still have my internet connection! My umbillicus to all things important, newsworthy, and true. Aaaah, Homestar, you're a funny guy, but you have so much to learn.

Oh, and I found the wonders of a place called "eBay"! What a marvelous site. Blog, I wish you could see it--it's an online site where you can purchase almost anything, as long as you are the high bidder. And how was I to know that I would be able to find a mint-condition NIB Peruvian Boot Weasel? I got into a fierce bidding war with some Buddhist monk in the Andes, but he was on the old AOL, not that super-hot fast-as-buttered-knives new-and-improved-not-the-same-old-pap broadband AOL, and I had the upper hand! Hah! Take that, baldy!