Jan 31, 2006

Mending The Drum

A long time ago I learned that I was not one of those people that are commonly called "trendsetters." The corporate book-writer guys call them "mavens" now, but either way I'm just not one to start the stone rolling.

Talkies Tuesday, as you might have noticed, had a less than stellar day today. Oh yes, my friends, my brainstorm of bringing audioblogging to a silly new level has pretty much collapsed under it's own weight. Unsurprising, really. Why? Well then, here's the list!

1) No nudity. If I had a lovely pair of breasticles to show off, perhaps I could suddenly take off as the Next Big Thing on Blogger's Blogs Of Note. As I do not have a lovely set of breasticles I am going to hold off on the nudity. You can thank me later.

2) Lack of a catchphrase. I don't know if this is as vitally important as a nice pair of wahoongas, but I think it still ranks pretty high up there. I thought the joke that leads off the blog would do it, might catch the attention or such, but apparently it's not that funny of a joke. Who wouldda thunk it?

3) Did I mention a complete lack of nudity?

4) No originality. I know that's a crippler, but in the world of blogging let's face it, another semi-funny blogger isn't going to pull the Moon out of the sky and hand it to anyone. Audioblogging is not new, even when you call it podcasting, and having a strange old-man voice only creeps my wife out.

I do think that one of the positives I have going for me is the lack of a google ad thing over there on the sidebar. Never had one, and never will. I can't sell an Irrelephant T-shirt to save my life, so why should anyone buy something from google through me? So see, I've saved you that grief!

Perhaps if I had a lot of blinking things, or some really profoundly obnoxious colour scheme...

Talkies Tuesday - All The Cool Cats Are Doing It

It's the gateway drug to bigger and better audio drugs like public radio, overhead announcers positions in Wal-Mart stores, and professional Bingo Callers. You know you wanna. Join us this Talkies Tuesday for:

Irrelephant's diatribe on Indie filmmakers and Victorian science fiction writers.

Vulgar Wizard's lament on the development of the new Ford Firnk hybrid vehicle, which operates solely on flatulence.

Hannibal The Hampster discusses the ramifications of creche births versus leaving children outside on windswept cliffs, thereby allowing wolves to raise your new infant.

Strange Cousin Susan discusses the complexities of modern architecture as the new blank canvas for militant women's rights activists in light of the new Chrysler Building, unofficially named the "All Men Blow Moose Building."

and our newest member, Strange Cousin Susan's friend **blank** speaks to our very hearts about whatever it is she or he (I don't even know yet!) needs to share about something incredibly touching that I can't imagine what it's going to be about yet but I'm certain it's gonna be good I can tell you that right now.

You can tell this is gonna be a regular piece that I do every Tuesday because it looks all cool and builds excitement for the reader, but that I'm also up wayyy too early, because I think thus far I'm the only TT poster yet, so I'll have to fill in the filler bits from work I suppose, where I can't listen to Talkies Tuesdays, so I'll just have to go out on a limb and make some s**t up until I get home tonight to listen and enjoy. Durn. Until then--

Everyone within the sound of my voice--Keep checking those links! Keep your ears open! Look to the skies!

Talkies Tuesday - Biting Off More Than They Can Chew

In which I hold forth with a somewhat thought-out, rather rambling diatribe about amateur film-makers and why they shouldn't aim THAT high.

this is an audio post - click to play

Jan 30, 2006

Oh yes--

Happy Chinese Year Of The Dog!

I think this bodes particularly well for me getting a Borzoi, don't you?

Cave Barrus

And if you're up on your Latin, you might just be smiling right now.

And if you're not up on your dead ancient language skills, hopefully you're good at Googling. I'll even start you off--"cave" up there is pronounced "KA-vay."

I have been a terrible Irrelephant. Not a blog in sight for days now, skipped the entire weekend and was well on my way to missing today, too. I know, I'm a complete barstard. Too many things happening at one time, and no time to stop and sit to write a few lines.

In short?

A housewarming party for a friend on the most foul-weathered night we've had since Hurricanes Rita and Katrina came through. The house? At the ass-end of about seven consecutive dead end roads in the armpit of utterly nowhere. By the time we reached the place I was ready to reach for a shotgun and a banjo. But all's well, because it was a lovely house, it was a nice party, and I scored yet ANOTHER ivy-style cap from friends who thought I had left mine at their house. I hadn't, but since the newest black ivy cap fit, well then, I wore it. Home.

The AKC came through our tiny town this weekend, too. The Cat Fancier's Society had last week, this week it was canines abounding. It was a real blast, and I had such a wonderful surprise, which all my local friends know about because I've been babbling incessantly about it for days now. I saw, befriended, bonded with, and am likely to someday own a Borzoi, which is the new name for a Russian Wolfhound. Utterly beautiful animals, elegant as sculpture and huge big tall creatures. All because I befriended a lovely creature by the name of Jesse. Borzoi's are by nature a little stand-offish around strangers, but Jesse thought I was the greatest thing since back scratchers, and I thought he was the coolest thing since wolves quit being wolves and decided that the campfire looked awfully tempting and Neanderthal let him chew on the leftovers.

So a too-brief chat with Jesse and owner/handler/breeder Rita and one business card and one eager heart plus some good chemistry betwixt me and man's best friend seems to equal me owning one of these lovely graceful creatures at some point in the future. We'll just have to see.

And work in the vineyard, a birthday party for a cousin, housecleaning, eight piles of laundry (I do so much laundry on weekends that I have a separate pile for 'greys' and sweeping and vacuuming and in general just trying to keep the place from the rubbish bin...I don't know where the time goes, but it's sure going there fast.

Be sure and check the link at the Talkies Tuesday site, or simply check here, because I think we have yet ANOTHER Talkies Tuesday site, thanks to Mickey Glitter over at Strange Cousin Susan. Seems she's been out spreading the good news of the microphone! Way to go Mickey!

Roight. I need to do some more Borzoi research.

Jan 27, 2006

Dilithium Crystals My Rosy Arse

The future is here, and I want to know where my long-legged wide hipped mini-skirted personal yeoman is at, because she's late, and she dang well better be wearing a blonde beehive hairdo and tons of blue eyeshade too.

Star Trek foresaw a lot of things right, and a lot wrong. I was sitting here killing time for what seemed like forever because our corporate IT department was having difficulties getting our new router installed properly. I know I did my job right, because my job entailed unplugging two cables from the old router and plugging them back into the new router, and pulling the plug on the old one, to replace it with the new power plug. Tough stuff.

I was sitting here killing time watching the copier print out 13 colated books, copies of the On Call list for tonight and the week to come, so that all the nurses will have our patient info on hand in their cars if they're on call or if there's a need to find meds or other important info. The copier was steady shooting out pages, twenty or so a minute. We've got one of those big commerical jobs, you see. Dozens of copies at a time, colating, stapling, double sided, touchscreen, it does email, copies, faxes, everything as long as you plug in the right module. It even has that big sliding sorter on the side that weighs copies as it prints, and adjusts itself to the load while keeping count of copies made, copies to go, percent complete, and someone came in and added their copies to the ream and a half of paper that I was running, all without stopping MY copy job. Nice.

I was sitting here killing time waiting for the office to be back online and my syster sent me a few text messages and then called my cellular flip-phone, and I sat on the front step in the cool talking to her while she and her son went through Kroger's and got some milk and such. She was using their automated checkout machine when I had to get off the phone to work with the young guy at corporate about putting the final touches in the file server here to get our new router going. A few keystrokes, a pat on the flank to calm it, and it was off to the races. Better bandwidth, faster connections, the works.

I must have lost my sense of wonder somewhere along the way here, because I've been standing in this Star Trek world for almost a year now and still don't quite recognise it for how very cool and flashing-lights Flash Gordonesque it actually is.



One Red Paperclip.

Why don't I come up with these ideas? To go from a freaking red paperclip to a 24' Cintas truck, working his way up to a house. Where will the madness end? And is there no limits to the human foolishness gland?

Apparently not. Thank your lucky stars for that.

Jan 26, 2006

Pearls Before Swine

Masculinity And It's Discontents (MAIDS)

Ever seen a fish-hook? They're bright shiny brass, exquisitely barbed, points honed to a sharpness that defies the eyes ability to pick out that last tiny needle-sharp end. And they promise a lot, while delivering quite a punch. MAIDS has hooked me in it's infancy (they're not even ten posts in yet.) Intelligent, team-written, and it promises a lot in the exploration of the male in the 21st century. Me, I'm going to keep a close watch and see where this goes.

What You Need, What You Need To Know

They having kicked it to the curb, I feel reasonably free in using Orrifice Depot's old slogan for this post's title, since it does, in a vague sort of way, involve office supplies.

From the
What Does Irrelephant Have On His Workstation Computer Monitor Department:

What Does Irrelephant Have On His Computer Monitor:

  • The Green Brain
  • The Official "Obey The Green Brain!" Avery 5160 label*
  • The Unofficial Logo Of The Green Brain translated into Latin (Obedecer Cerebro Verde!!! 'or something') written on a square of paper
  • A 1/72 scale model of my Interceptor, appropriately coloured with Sharpie markers* for a more realistic look
  • jumbo paper clip*, gold in colour
  • a 1/144th scale model of a Fokker Dr. 1 Eindecker
  • my lucky fortune cookie fortune--"Your ability to find the silly in the serious will take you far!" My lucky numbers I shall hold secret
  • one tiny, silver sticker of a fish
  • a 1" square B&W cutout of a generic 50's man's face with "'Fo Shizzle!" underneath it
  • two inches of adding machine paper* that has a total of $3.50 and the word "about" handwritten over it in Vulgar Wizard's handwriting
  • two rather disturbingly coloured stickers of ostomy pouch cartoon characters, one on a big-wheel and one flying a balloon, both of which have the word "firnk" carefully written on them.
  • a pair of ballpoint pen clips.
  • The Skeleton Paper Stick Puppet(tm)

And remember, forewarned is forearmed, so arm yourself with knowledge!

* an office supply--see, told you office supplies figured in this post. That'll teach you to doubt me.

Smoke And Mirrors

What with all this uproar around our previous local Monsignor being implicated in a pedophelia/immoral conduct scandal, I went and spoke yesterday to our local Bishop.  I had to leave after only a few minutes, though, because he was an obvious fraud himself--he never once moved diagonally.
I've finally returned to my roots, so to speak.  I left the Christian church behind me when I reached 18, or The Age Of Reason, as I like to call it.
You see, in all the time I was raised to be a good little guilty Catholic boy the only two saints who really appealed to me (and that's out of a LOT of saints) were Saint Francis, the woodland guy who preferred the company of animals to that of people, and St. Thomas, whom everyone refers to as "Thomas The Doubter."
See, Thomas must have been a Virgo, because he questioned everything.  He looked under every stone for a motive, and was probably the original skeptic.  I'm pretty certain he was also the first movie critic, but I could be wrong on that count.  Thomas is the one who, when presented with the newly resurrected Jesus had to stick his fingers in all the gooshy spots just to be sure.
I like that.  If I were Hebrew and lived 2K years ago, give or take, I'd be standing right behind Thomas saying "Okay that's enough son, it's my turn.  You know it's all a trick, don't you?  I saw Abdul Hallazari The Magician do the same thing last week at the Brown Derby.  It's all done with stewmeat and mirrors."
So at the tender age of 18, I decided to shop around and see what I liked in the way of moral codes and ethical behaviour guides, to supplement the groundwork that my father had laid for me the previous 18 years.  And like many, I found the Eastern mythologies.  And the key that turned the lock for me?  The majority of them did not promise salvation or sugar-cane heavens.  Instead, most of them centered on people bringing themselves to the goal, and in some cases even dismissing the idea of a goal at all, and instead offering an ongoing path of growth, developemnt, and inner contentment.  Me?  I was all about inner contentment, having never found any sort of contentment at all prior to this eye-opening revelation.
And so I meditated, I learned Tai Chi, I contemplated Yoga and my bad back and knees, and I began studying Zazen and Enlightenment, as well as Buddhism.  And I found the beginning of the path that I think might lead me to contentment.  And I even found something like inner peace.  And then for some reason, I stopped.  I don't know if I thought I was healed for good, or if I got married or if I otherwise lost my mind, but I stopped. 
And went downhill from there. 
For about a decade.
So join me in witnessing the birth of a New, Improved Irrelephant.  Hopefully one more compassionate, more mindful, more stress-free and centered, and now with 20% less calories than similar irrelephants.

Jan 25, 2006

The Grapes Of Irrelephant

Thinking wrath, were you? Well, I never read the book, so you take what you can get, right? At least it wasn't some obscure song quote or movie line. *s*

The grapes are showing promising signs of growth out in the vineyards du Irrelephant. Babes though they are right now, mere sticks in the ground with mounds of mulch carefully heaped around them, they are definitely growing. Not a whole lot, I don't have bushels yet, but there are a handful of tiny white buds starting on some of the canes, and the raspberry bush canes are a beautiful deep emerald green already, promising a heavy load of branches and berries.

It's going to be an interesting season.

The professionals tell me that I shouldn't expect to harvest actual GRAPES for the first three to four years. The reason being, I have to carefully train, heavily prune and in general do some serious cutting damage to a whole small vineyard of promising, up and coming grape plants. And while I am NOT a complete by-the-book sort of guy, I think this time, at least for the first season or so, I'm going to have to follow the guidelines laid down by my grape-growing predecessors. And don't worry, I certainly shall bend gently where I can, in more ways than one, but I think I'm gonna have to stay pretty close to the regs here.

What is killing me here is my memory, which is faulty. My father had, as my brother recollects, some seriously big Concorde grape vines. And knowing my father, he simply bought some bare root canes, stuck them in the ground, gave them his touch, a little water and some homeopathic trick of rural Mississippi folk, and over the course of 15 or so years he had vines whose trunks were as thick as your calf and runners and canes that had taken over 30 or so feet of fenceline each. And I promise you he never cracked a book on grapes, nor did he check the internet for instruction, direction, and/or guidelines.

Sometimes I wonder if life wasn't better before the 'net.

Jan 24, 2006

On Getting A Clew

And that's the Olde English spelling of "clue," so no-one gets to call me a moron on THAT count.

Found out something interesting--if you happen to be a Talkies Tuesday participant, or just a plain old audioblogger, you actually have to wait for the little automated Audioblogger Voice Guy Thing to finish saying "Goodbye" and let IT disconnect before you hang up, much like you cannot push in numbers faster than they ask for them.

See, I hate that. I hate automated phone systems, but I have to live with them. I also can usually outsmart them (or at least shorten my exposure to them) simply by punching in numbers faster than they ask for them. MOST systems let you do this and can read those numbers without having to wait for them to finish their wooden little delivery before accepting an imput.

I'm gonna start wearing wooden buttons on my all black homespuns, I swear to Blog I am.

Talkies Tuesday - Return Of The Bride Of The Son Of The Revenge From Beyond The Grave Of The Man Behind The Trunk Part IV: A New Hope

this is an audio post - click to play

Seems to have worked. Well now.

Luddites Unite!

I'm angry at Audioblogger.
And I assure you that I will be trying today at some point to get a fo-real Talkies Tuesday post up, because it's not right for the founder of Talkies Tuesday to miss a post on that very important day, Tuesday.
Gah I hate technology sometimes.

Jan 23, 2006

Talkies Tuesday - The Man Behind The Trunk

Speaking of masks, trunks, tall tails and some assorted miscellany, you can see why I never actually make much headway on much of anything unless I really concentrate, which I'm not really good at. Me, I'm more of a stream-of-conciousness sorta guy.

Speaking of masks--a very favourite quote from a very favourite author:

"The badger's empty head lay on a chair, dead and silent. I knelt and touched it. I waited for it to whisper secrets to me, but it said nothing, and my grandmother took my hand and pulled me away. Later it occured to me that i should have put the badger's head on: then i would have become the badger, a tiny stumbling thing with a huge head, uttering vast truths i dared not think as a child."
Neil Gaiman, Mr. Punch.

I guess at some point Audioblogger will find THIS post, too. It's still Monday night here, and I'm waiting to assemble the whole Talkies Tuesday thing for release tomorrow, or my tomorrow now, you're right now time. I hope it arrives soon.

Until then, bear with me.

And as of Tuesday morning, no audioblogs. What the hell is going on, Audioblogger? Three lost audio posts?

Talkies Tuesday PSA Followup

Okay, so my Public Service Announcement/Vulgar Wizard Joint seems to have dissapeared into the mists of Audioblogging whatever.

Which disgusts me, because it was funny, in that running-joke sort of way. Which I'm fairly good at. Not as good as I am at that sort of impromptu, situitational comedy that I'm better at, but it was still cute.

And now it's gone. Like my virginity, only not involving a high school teacher.

So you see, Regal Monkey, I was in fact just priming the pump, as it were, for the For Real Talkies Tuesday, which will occur tomorrow.

And if you guys happen to be looking closely at the blog, or get really lucky when you bookmark over to it, or if you've got me on your RSS feed, which I know none of you do, you might catch the fact that most times I do Talkies Tuesday late Monday evenings, then save it as a draft so I can stick in the lovely and unique Talkies Tuesday header as well as any other scathing commentary I want to add. So keep your eyes peeled, you might get lucky and enjoy a sneak-peek of TT on Monday.

And Regal Monkey? Dear gaseous one, you think you're so tough? I hereby Double Dog Dare you to do Talkies Tuesday with us tomorrow.

*grin* A Double Dog Dare. Nobody can knuckle under to a Double Dog Dare.


Talkies Tuesday - PSA

Since the actual AUDIO portion of my audio post this morning has not arrived, I guess I'll have to settle for letting you know that it should be on it's way.

To Be Quite Frank With You

I think I took an extra vitamin tablet this morning or something; I'm wandering around sort of dazed and confused, and can't seem to make my eyes track properly. Either I'm way over the limit for Vitamin Q or I've got Ebola, one or the other.

I'm going to try and have a bowl of oatmeal and get to work, and see if I can't get a coherent blog post from there. Work seems to have that way of desperately sharpening my irony blade.

If you don't hear from me in a couple more hours then I'm lying in my breakfast bowl bleeding from the ears.

Jan 20, 2006


It's so good to be loved.

Note to self: change ALL passwords.

Oh, you will pay, wee man!

I've hacked your f-ing blog!


Stupid little man!
If you throw one more goddamn thing at me I will fire your ass!!!! Do you hear me???? You stink of fear!!!!!

I Been A Workin' Inna Coal Mine

So how is your ancient Egyptian trivia? Up to par, or not what it could be? Mine just got expanded, and if you're not careful reading this, you might learn something, too (that's a Fat Albert joke for you kids out there.)

The ancient Egyptians were all about the stars and astrology. Not only were they completely aware of the seasons and the progression of the planets, they're the same folk who gave us the zodiac symbols. And they weren't just pretty darn good astronomers and architencts, they also used a calendar that matched the revolution of the Earth around the sun. Their calendar, like ours, had twelve months. Their calendar, like ours, even included regular divisions of weeks. Their calendars unlike ours only accounted for three hundred sixty days, though, so the last five days of the year were set aside for partying and worshiping their pantheon of gods and pharoahs and all that good stuff. Also unlike our calendar, their months consisted of THREE weeks, each ten days long.

Three ten-day long weeks. Imagine what a work week that must have been! Three more days of working your fingers to the bone at the marble yard, being baked in the desert heat, chiseling and carving and sanding so Ramses The Living God could have a new portico for his vacation pyramid. You get to go home two days to rest and recouperate, maybe have some goat's milk beer from the local brewmaster, and then right back to work for eight more days.

Those guys sure were slave drivers. (that's a little joke there)

The other interesting thing is this--their calendar only accounted for 365 days, and not the extra 1/4 of a day that occurs year in one complete orbit of Earth. We have Leap Day every four years to account for those lost quarters, but the Egyptians didn't realise anything was amiss until their seasons no longer matched their calendar.


So what did they do? In typical bureaucratic fashion they simply instated ANOTHER calendar, so that there were two--one for the people, and one for the holy days and their attendant gods.

Ye gods.

"Excuse Me Monsignor, That's My Anus."

Being a twisted little Irrelephant isn't easy. It's helped by the fact that I was raised Roman Catholic, and am therefore very prone to feelings of guilt, damnation, and I have an abnormally developed fear of women in black and white.

I was an altar boy for a very long time in grade school, too. And no, I was never molested, but I think that's only because they knew I was a talker.

You see, the Monsignor who was running the church when I was there has long since moved to a different diocese, where he became "ill" and retired from the active life of a priest, and then allegations began to surface just here of late that he was involved with molesting boy children in his old parish. The one I went to school and church and altar boyed at. Wow. What a shocker. The man was so gay that I was often surprised that he didn't burst into flames on the altar, or wear bright pink under his robes. But my Mom tells me that he gave really good homily and that she really enjoyed Mass when he was preaching, so I guess things could have been worse.

In retrospect what really gets me down about that whole time is the fact that they were already training us (the altar boys) to understand the corporate ranking structure that the Catholic Church runs on, just like any big business, except Bill Gates doesn't wear a funny hat and robes, nor, to my knowledge, does he carry a curved stick. We all wore the same 'uniform' on the altar, but different enough that there was a painfully obvious (to us) separation of the senior altar boys from the junior ones. And I got to first-hand explore it all, because I was blessed (?) enough to spend my last four years (the only four years allowed us boy kids) as an altar boy.

When we served the priest on the altar at Mass, the basic uniform was a white cotton robe, which we belted with a brown silk rope, and we wore a cross on a ribbon. That's it, you just wore regular Church Clothes under it. But there were four different kinds of belts, and four different kinds of cross ribbons, and that's where the rankings came in. If you were a fifth-grader plebe, you wore a cross with a plain, single-coloured maroon ribbon and a plain brown silk belt. Your second year you were required to wear the crosses that had TWO colours of ribbon layered over each other, and one of the brown belts with yellow threads scattered through it. Third year added a third color to ribbon and belt, and the senior-most altar boys, the eighth graders, wore a cross with a ribbon so thick that it looked like something the Czar of Russia would wear to the opening of a new missle factory, and the belt had so many colours of silk thread in it that you would think it had been cut from Joseph's Technicolour Dream Coat.

And all of this information was very clearly marked out on the closet door that housed all the altar boy paraphernalia, so that you were reminded constantly, without mercy, that you were less than the older boys, and once you were an older boy you were still merciliessly less than the deacons, and they were far below the priests who themselves were mere worms underneath the Monsignor's boot who himself was a peon to the Bishop and so forth and so on up the corporate ladder. I'm still surprised that the altar boys weren't assigned windowless cubicles and rationed out rubber bands and staples.

But, at age 18 I finally broke out of religion, before I could sign up as a lay deacon (no dirty minds, you people) or worse, *gasp* enter Seminary to become a priest myself. I guess I realised that I liked plain colours and women far more than church.

Jan 19, 2006

Many Happy Returns

Very happy birthday wishes (posthumously) go out to the first man other than my parish priest to scare the tee-total shit out of me: Mr. Edgar Allen Poe.

"For the love of God, Irrelephant!"
"Yes. For the love of God."



So what it is with daytime dramas vs nighttime dramas? And why is a daytime drama a 'soap opera' while a nighttime drama is a "gripping, edge-of-your-seat festival for the eyes."?

I refer, of course, to Lost. That tempestuous playground filled with riddles, questions, enigmas, and even a dog's butt. The story is driven just like the 1930's cliffhanger serial movies--give the audience a good eyefull, put the heros or heroines in danger, then at the moment of supreme anxiety, stop. Tune in next week for dot dot dot. The stories are full of intertwining plots, interesting characters whose sordid pasts are revealed to us a spoonfull at a time, and there's always danger, confusion, anxiety, and nearly non-stop questions. What is the black smoke? Who are the Others? Why is Pippin on the island and not back in Hobbitown?

Soap operas are the same thing, oddly enough, no longer with the laundry detergent commercials that gave them their name, but the same critter under the skin. Multi-twined plots, interesting people (well, big ta-tas,) evil, good, relationships, questions, cliffhangers, and sordid pasts. The only real difference to me seems to be that soap operas take reality and make it so malleable that you could roll it out thin and copy pictures out of the Sunday Comix on it.

They seem to revel in a sort of over-the-top foolishness, comas that people suddenly come out of after three seasons of them being behind the scenes (at Betty Ford Memorial in the Detox Ward) and dead people coming back to life, but then again, that template almost exactly fits Lost--polar bears and horses on a tropical island, black 'intelligent' smoke threatening people, and hugely bearded guys who come out of nowhere to steal children.

I could push the idea further, but I'd be on weak ice since I don't watch any other nighttime dramas, but just seeing the commercials I'm pretty willing to bet that you could make the same soap opera template fit 24, Invasion, Battlestar Glactica, Alias, The Shield, most any other show like that. The big difference being that most of those shows don't purport to string their stories together day by day, except for 24 which goes beyond that and shoves an entire day into one season, which is an interesting concept. Still and all, they're the same seven basic plots that someone postulated a long time ago, with the same human dramas, the fighting, the loving, and the comas.

But this does not mean I'm going to start watching The Young And All My Children Turn.

But where exactly does Reality TV fit into the equation? In the toilet, I hope.

Jan 18, 2006

Hijinks, Tomfoolery And Carrying-Ons At Work

You know you're in real trouble when you say "Awright--stop being stupid, computer" to your workstation monitor.

Out loud.

Where more than one other person can hear.

And they agree.

Don't Be That Guy

That was my promise to myself when I started all this blogging thing. I promised myself solemnly that I'd never fill my blog with poetry or gothic ramblings, I wouldn't turn this into a dream diary, and I strongly promised myself that I'd never yell 'theatre' in a crowded fire.

Well, I'm going to bend one this morning.

Dreams. What is it with dreams? Reoccurring dreams that is. I haven't had that many here of late, that seemed to be a thing of my childhood for the most part, but last night I dreamed a previous dream wherein I was a zombie. An honest for-real zombie.

As a brief aside, for those of you who don't know me, I love zombies. Everything about the genre appeals to me. My favourite T-shirt is bright red and has a black pistol-gripped combat shotgun across the front, with the words "Zombie Repellent" emblazoned below and shotgun shells across the back.

So it was strange for me to dream of being a zombie. Stranger that I was a normal person apparently in a movie because not only was I me and aware that I was being filmed, I was also aware that the 'friends' with me were not really my friends, were in fact just another white guy and a token Asian guy. And when I got bit (as I had to be to become a shambling dead Irrelephant) I didn't feel anything, didn't remember any of it, was suddenly just like normal, only dead.

What a great line: "...was suddenly just like normal, only dead." Gotta love it.

So anyway, the dream proceeded with me and my 'buddies" as zombies, which meant we were still people, but like European soccer fans we were allowed to kill anyone we wanted to, and we really wanted to. And I've dreamed this exact dream before. That's the strangest part. Deja vu is odd enough without having it in a dream sequence.

And for those of you wondering, the answer is "no," I didn't get dispatched. I woke up before the theater-full of angry gun-toting zombie hunters got their tank all the way through the back wall.

Please Join Me

In welcoming a new Talkies Tuesday participant, even though Audioblogger seems to have hung her post out to dry somewhere past the Twilight Zone--

Strange Cousin Susan!

Check with her often, see if that Talkie ever came back from the Wild Blue Yonder, and scroll back through some of those old posts, most definitely if you're a big fan of The Avengers or Doctor Who, or most especially if you're a fan of the era when starlets were actually something special.

Mmmm....Dianna Rigg.

Jan 16, 2006

As Fast As I Run To Meet Death He Kindly Runs To Meet Me

It's a dark subject, death, and it's spectre haunts us all. We are born, we live, and we die, and the beginning and the end are tied up one in the other.

These past few days have been occupied with thoughts of death. Not my own death specifically, but that of people around me. I won't be specific, but suffice to say that there has been an unusual lot of it about, and being a mortal being, as we all are, it has been in the back of my mind.

I wish I could sit here and write some soulful, stirring words about it, some romantic whimsy or a deeply philosophical view of it, but no matter the number of funerals I attend or the number of friends and family I lose I cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. The best I have been able to do is come to some sort of grips with it, in that it is going to happen whether I like it or not. It is the sentence that is pronounced when we are born, and it is the great equaliser.

Isn't it said, time and again, that it's not how you die but how you live your life that truly matters? Isn't it said that the only immortality lies in how long people remember your name, or how many people you have touched throughout your life? We live forever through our children, our friends, our family, and the footprints we leave in the gardens of other people's hearts.

Neil Gaiman once said, rather poetically, that Death is a pretty girl that he wants to meet, only once.

I would like to be able to meet death with strength and purpose. I'd like to be cheerful as an Irishman at a wake, laughing and drinking. I'd like to rend my beard and clothing like a Jew sitting shivah at a family member's services, to rid myself of the pain and the loss. I'd like to be able to bear it all ramrod straight and with a stiff upper lip, with as much pomp and circumstance as a British Army Colonel at the burial of a superior officer, but all I can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, and hope that death finds me with open arms, secure in the knowledge that I did what I wanted to do, lived how I wanted to live, and died with dignity. I would think that that's all any of us could wish for.

I have attended too many funerals for being a young man. I have seen friends and family rendered immobile by untimely deaths, and have myself been driven to the brink of screaming uselessness by the deaths of those closest to me. I have seen it at a distance, have seen it up close and personal, and through the magic of television I have seen it wholesale, in numbers far too large to count. Death. It's the only thing in life that we can be certain of.

I may not be able to face you and say it in words, but I want you to know that I was with you, am with you, and will be with you.

"I Can't Come In Today, I'm Dead"

That used to be my old excuse for a sick day, back when I was young and inexperienced, and unfamiliar with the difficulty inherent in having to follow up that line with "I'll be in tomorrow, day after tomorrow for sure." The resultant quiet on the line was always enough to break me, as well as the thought of how I might come up with a doctor's excuse for a personal death, and I'd end up going in to work with a hangdog expression and repentance in my heart. Until the next time I wanted to sleep in.

But with time came wisdom and sneakiness, and I have since engineered quite a few more excuses that not only are more believable but can be delivered with a certain aplomb that makes it easier to say things like "I'll be fine in the morning," "I'll see you guys first thing Monday am," or "The doctor's tell me that I won't lose any sensation in my fingers after they reattach the arm." So without further ado:

A few excuses you can use to call in with:

"I've got leprosy." This is a sure-fire winner in my book, having used it almost three dozen times in the past few decades. The symptoms of leprosy are so unfamiliar and the commoner's mind so full of nonsense concerning this disease that simply mentioning that you have it can often garner you anything up to a full month off with pay. Your symptoms can be described as anything from a mild fever to your extremities having fallen off. The only down side is that it is completely unusable if you work in any sort of medical environment. Also, sometimes angry supervisiors will require that you supply a digit or limb to prove the illness, or require you to show evidence of prosthesis, which can cause difficulties if you don't own a table saw.

"I've got *cough cough sniff*" This is an easy one to pull off on impatient or harried bosses. Instead of naming some specific disease, you simply speak in a soft, rough voice, and when it comes time to name your illness, simply insert a cough or other horrible lung-butter noise, thereby disguising anything you might have said ordinarily. The effect is better managed if you can make a few consonant sounds mixed in with the sound effects, thereby allowing your busy boss' overworked and strained imagination fill in the medical blank for you. The downside of course is that you actually have to have a diagnosis and symptoms handy if the boss isn't THAT busy or has no imagination to speak of.

"I'm vomiting." Far and away the best generic excuse disease, all you have to have ready is a rough voice with a desperate edge to it, as though to say "I've been vomiting all night, and I'm about to hurl again in just a few seconds, if you'd like to stick around you can listen to me heaving my guts out." This one works over all others because A) everyone alive has vomited at least once and has memories of how horrible it can actually be, and B) it's a common enough symptom that it has taken on the status of a disease unto itself. Works best if you have a portable phone and call from inside your tub or shower, as the echoes will make most people think you are calling with your head inside the toilet bowl.

Take these few excuses, mix them liberally with a little sincere but misdirecting truth such as "I really can't make it today," "I feel really bad about this," and the ever-green "Are you sure you guys can make it without me today?" and you'll have a shoe-in excuse for absences whenever you need them, be it a holiday you were scheduled to work through or that month in Aruba you were really looking forward to taking.

With a little forethought and a finger down the throat you too can be home free, enjoying the fruits of your labours.

Jan 15, 2006

Beaten Like A Red Headed Stepchild

I feel like I have been pushed through a blender feet-first, so everyone could see the expression on my face.

It's a good sort of hurt, though. Don't you always hear that from those work-out guys and the ones who fall off mountains for a living? Well, you'll hear it from me now, and I haven't touched a single freeweight or fallen off even a slight incline.

Yard work. That's the name of my poison. At least this weekend it was. Specifically grapes, more specifically grape arbors. And a pool table, and an entire formal dining room, and some more furniture moving, and so on and so forth. Keep reading, you'll see what I'm on about.

As a starting point, Saturday morning I rescued two climbing Don Juan rose bushes from my old homestead and planted them up around my front porch posts, with the hopes that in a few years they'll be thick and long enough that I can twine them around the columns. And that in itself took some doing, what with digging up and transporting and redigging and bone meal and all, not to mention having to remove one fire ant bed and one azalea that did NOT want to be moved. And then I had to go back to the old home place and move about thirty Pavestones from my old 'red flowers bed' at the old place back up here, to continue a little retaining wall for the herbs bed. Now, convert the minutes it took to read that into hours for me to do it and you'll have a fair idea of what I had to get into. And all that was only part of yesterday, all serving as a warm up for today.

Today was planning for and fetching posts for the arbors on which to grow grapes, which at this point in time haven't actually come up. Or shown any growth or anything at this point, not even buds, but then again that's just life. Of grapes, you see. They're still kinda dormant, just now putting roots into the hopefully just-fertile-enough soil. Gawd I hope. I've spent enough hours out there and on the Internet, trying desperately to put things together juuuust right for them to multiply and, well, be fruitful.

So anyway, the precursor to being fruitful for them involved me and lots more digging, more transporting (of posts, and tools) out to the vineyard (hah!) where I had to put to use the old back muscles and a post-hole digger, specifically to dig a bunch of holes to put posts in, fancy that, upon which metal eyelets have been stuck, through which wire will be strung as needed for grapevines to attach themselves to. Which right now is not at all since there aren't any growing just yet.

The pool table (also today) was just as fun--employing my brother the mechanical wonder to take apart the twenty year old family pool table, the table I learned how to play on, so that we could move it from the den to the now-empty formal dining room. We spent part of Saturday moving a serving board, a buffet table, eight velved covered chairs and a massive dining table out of my formal (and unused) dining room and over to his house, where he supposedly will put them to use and hold them for me until such time as I need a formal dining room again. Possibly never. We'll see.

The best part of the weekend? Asking my grape-loving co-conspirator wife to fetch a 'tamping stick' by which I meant a metal fencepost by which to force the dirt into the arbor's holes. No concrete for me, that's too permanent. So she returns dragging a green metal post. And carrying a three or so foot, twisted up pecan branch. I didn't think anything of it, thought she was going to throw it at the yapping neighbor's dogs or something.

No, that was her tamping stick. I finished digging the hole I had been working on, and turned to see her gingerly packing dirt with the wide end of her pecan branch. I asked her what she was doing, and she said "I'm tamping!" I couldn't stop laughing long enough to tell her that I had intended her to use the metal pole and not a finger-thick branch to pack dirt into a three foot deep hole. She, on the other hand, didn't beat the tar out of me for laughing myself to tears over the sight of her kneeling on the grass, determinedly packing dirt with a twig.

Ah, the life of a grape grower.

This Is Not A De-Lurking Week Post

Because I'm lead to believe that De-Lurking Week is long past, and I missed it completely. *shrug*

This is something borrowed from another blog (as everything on the Internet is, actually) which borrowed it from ANOTHER blog, but it's a wonderful idea that I really enjoyed participating in. It's a sort of writing exercise/imagination stretcher, and a lot of fun.

It beings here--

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often or don't really know each other) please post a comment with a completely made up and fictional memory of you and me. It can be anything you want - good or bad - but it has to be fake.

When you're finished, post this little paragraph on YOUR blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people don't actually remember about you and them!

Simple stuff, eh? Just make up a memory involving me and thee, post it in the comments, and then you can simply blog it or forward it along in an email and see what interesting things you get back. Much better than a meme, and I think a lot more creative.

So. Get to thinking, peeps! What have a fictional you and I been up to lately?

Many thanx to my Strange Cousin Susan who interestingly enough is not my cousin but is certainly strange in that good sort of way that we all can enjoy for the idea which she borrowed from someone else that she credits in HER blog that you can go see if you really want to and if nothing else you can see what folks have been remembering about HER and get some starter ideas maybe and I'm about finished with this run-on sentence yeah.

Jan 13, 2006

Video May Have Killed The Radio Star

But DJ's live on and on.
What is it about radio that seems to imply that it will always be here?  No matter how old radio gets as a medium, no matter how advanced video and CGI and VH1MTV2CMTGAC and all that guff gets there's still something about sitting in your room with the radio playing, or the morning commute with the morning guy (or gal) giving you the news and weather.  I think a big part of it is that we all know that in most cases (unless your local station is automated) there actually IS a guy or gal sitting up in some studio somewhere in front of a console with stacks of CDs arranged around, or maybe just some big wooden racks full of vinyl and a couple of old turntables.  Either way they're there; taking requests, following a playlist, or just keeping you company in the midst of your morning drive, your late shift, or simply a long sleepless night, talking to your heart with their voice over the radiowaves.
Every Friday morning our local pop station does a Friday Flashback, hosted by a Dynamic Duo called "Ron And Riley," and they play nothing but requested songs from the 80's and early 90's for a couple of hours.  It's a lot of fun, a nice break for me from NPR, and being a child of the 80's I get to relive those halcyone days when all I had to do was ride around in my old truck and listen to synthesizers and sax solos, imagining girls with big, winged back hair and leather body suits driving around in a Lamborgini looking for nerdy guys with center-parted hair and glasses.  Me and Vulgar Wizard and Adrenaline Junkie have a lot of fun in the office during those two hours, yelling at each other up and down the halls when a particularly good song comes on, or when we recognise a request from a certain ex-coworker who shall remain nameless.
Except for the moniker "Mighty Mighty Thick Suet Boy."
And of course we spend the entire morning bombarding poor Ron with phone calls, emails, and faxes, after having spent the entire previous day beating our heads together trying to come up with that perfect 80's song.  And if we're lucky, or say just the right thing, we end up on the radio, to the cheers (and jeers) of the other people in the office who really want to hear THEIR voices on the radio. 
So what is it in these days of instant communication, webcams (and camwhores,) podcasting and video communications that's so magical not only about your local DJ but about hearing your voice on the radio?  As often as I've heard my own voice on Talkies Tuesday and over intercoms and recorded here and there I still get a grin out of hearing myself on the radio, requesting One Night In Bangkok from Murray Head or Rythymn of Love from Yes. 
All I can assume is that radio instills the feeling of a one-on-one between you and the DJ.  It's such a strangely intimate thing, and mixed with music it has a powerful emotional strength that we sometimes take for granted.  Every other medium seems to be, strangely enough, public.  Very public.  And even though radio reaches as many people in a day as email and video conferencing and all that good stuff, they all seem to lack that sense of intimacy, that tete' a tete' that radio brings.  And hearing YOUR voice on the radio meshed with that faceless voice out of your speakers gives us a real validation, a feeling that we really ARE someone, since our voice was right there just a moment ago, and for a brief few seconds we were up in that steel and glass broadcast tower, spinning the platters that matter.

Jan 12, 2006

Change Is...

Well, it's not new curtains and a rug, but it's something. I was looking for a change. You tell me if it's better, worse, or indifferent.

Me, I think it's just a little bit melancholy and just a little bit sweet, and strangely appropos.

Kind of like me.

Whoa Bo-Boki

A little light humour to show you that your life could be much worse than it actually is.
Two British gents are in a pub drinking.  One turns to the other and says "You know, I used to know a chap with a wooden leg named Smith."
"Oh really," replies his drinking buddy.  "What was the other leg named?"

Virgin In The Fog

With a lead-in like that, this post is going to have to be pretty damned good.

And it's likely not going to be as titilating as all that, unless you're one of those people who, like me, giggle over the word "titilate."

So there I was, day before yesterday, taking the back tire off Miranda, enjoying the wisdom of Honda engineering. And yes, those of you who remember the "Honda Special Tool" blog entry will be laughing your heads off at me right now. This is allowed. So anyway, I was enjoying the engineering of Honda's single-side swingarm on their (and my) VFR Interceptor. See, being single-sided means no more fiddling with chain adjusters, pinch bolts, drive chains or recaltricient brake pistons to do something like remove the back tire. No, Honda engineered everything on the VFR swingarm to mount to one side; brake rotor and caliper, chain and sprocket, the works. Four bolts hold the rim to the bike, and I spent more time yesterday looking for the right tools than I did actually doing the work. It MIGHT have taken me all of five minutes to complete the task, and that included cleaning the rim off so I wouldn't be embarassed to carry in a rim made flat black by layers of brake dust.

The local shop took care of the tire swap, mounting in the old bald tire's place a lovely new glossy Pirelli Diablo 185. Sexy. And yesterday evening after an at-school meeting for my daughter's forthcoming ILEAP test I stepped back out into the garage, spent a chilly three minutes remounting my tire, and all was said and done. All, that is, except for the feelings of eager anticipation that always preceeds riding with new tires on my bike. Those feelings set in the day UPS brought the beast to my front door, and suddenly it was upon me--the first ride this morning on my new tire.

The t'ing is, you see, is that a riding on a new motorcycle tire is like being with a virgin.

(Yeah, you really want to see where I'm going with this, don't you?)

Riding on a new motorcycle tire is like being with a virgin because you have to be really careful with it. Fresh from the factory they (tires, not virgins) are covered in a slick, oil-like substance that helps them release from the vulcanizing mold and keep the rubber from drying out while they wait for installation, not to mention the fact that they have zero wear on their surface to help produce the necessary friction (again, I'm talking about a tire here, not a virgin) to keep them in good contact with the road. In essennce, and sometimes like a virgin, a new tire is slick as glass. I have seen many a rider go down trying to horse around on a new tire. And no, I won't make any wry remark about going down while trying to horse a virgin around. Nor will I say anything about virgin horses.

So anyway, this morning was to be the first ride on the new virgin. Er, tire. Yesterday was promising, with the rain stopping at noon and a beautiful sky coming up, and temps in the low 70's. This morning? Fog so thick you could have spread it on your toast, and a temperature of 28 degrees. Oh yeah. Prime riding.

So what did I do? What I had to do, naturally. Wore protection. I suited up, put my thermals on and rode the entire way with my visor open because it fogged up instantly and I couldn't see more than ten feet anyway.

And unfortunately, I did so very slowly, very gingerly, and very, very patiently.

Jan 11, 2006

Brown, You Guys Suck!

Because you don't have a hidden arrow in your logo!

Secrets Of The FexEx Logo

This is NUTS. I had no idea there was anything hidden in there. I'm so lame.

Welcome Peculiar People!

I missed my opportunity yesterday to wish everyone a Happy Peculiar Person Day!

And speaking of, I'm very proud to welcome Hannibal the Hampster of "Sleepless In Louisiana" to Talkies Tuesday! Be sure and treat yourself to her discussion of her husband's wishes to turn their daughter into a gun-toting life-taker and heart breaker.

And if you're REALLY desperate, tune in to Vulgar Wizard's dual entries for Talkies Tuesday, in which RMB awakes with a third nipple and a special guest Talker offers his own humble rendition of RMB's concerns with corporate procedures and policies.

Jan 10, 2006

Talkies Tuesday -- A !FREE! Bonus !FREE!

this is an audio post - click to play

Talkies Tuesday -- Really Reaching

this is an audio post - click to play

Think you can do better? Actually after today's post I'd bet you probably could. So prove it to us! Give it your best voice, and let us know!

Jan 9, 2006

The Seven Memes of Sinbad

I know, that's not the name, and rather misleading at that, but hey, I'm stooping to a meme instead of giving you guys a 'real' post.

If there is such a thing as a 'real' post from La Casa du Irrelephant, I guess I should add, so anyway today was les Miserables the occurance and not the book because the network was as frail as a 107 year old Parkinson's patient, so things were, at times, strained. And at times utterly fun, but that was only because Vulgar Wizard and I were tossing paperclips and binder clips at each other across the office.

Endangering coworkers.

Refusing to work.

And saying "firnk" a lot.

So anyway, The Meme of Sevens.

  • 7 Things To Do Before I Die:
    1. Not die.
    2. Tour Germany speaking like a native.
    3. Do the things I do BETTER
    4. Be thought of as a good man
    5. Be published, or at least known in the literary world
    6. Paint a canvas that I genuinely love
    7. Read everything I can get my hands on

  • 7 Things I Cannot Do:
    1. Roller skate. I have the natural grace of a dead gazelle
    2. Hear "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes without crying
    3. Talk to my father again
    4. Catch a big bass
    5. Stop worrying
    6. Say "no" to a sincere person
    7. Work on a computer network. Gah. IT. Gah.

  • 7 Things That Attract Me To People:
    1. They're not part of the crowd
    2. Humour, the stranger the better
    3. Intelligence, the higher the better
    4. An acceptance of the need for silences as well as talk
    5. Wisdom, or much experience
    6. A willingness to trust deeply
    7. Not being afraid to touch someone else

  • 7 Things I Would Never Say:
    1. "I hate riding motorcycles."
    2. "I'm going to shave off my beard again."
    3. "I hate you." At least to someone's face. *grin*
    4. "Honestly officer? Yup, I was speeding my ass off and I'm VERY surprised you caught me."
    5. "Yes lad, you can date my daughter."
    6. "No, I've stopped eating fudge."
    7. "Yes, I'll start working retail again. At Christmas time. Selling toys. For a giraffe."

  • 7 Things I Cannot Abide:
    1. Cruelty of any kind, especially to animals
    2. Blind anger, even though I am a victim of it myself sometimes
    3. Roaches--ick, crawly scuttling dang things
    4. Waste, be it of a person, a meal, or a tree
    5. Stupidity
    6. People who don't know when to stop talking
    7. Religious zealots

  • 7 Books or Series I Love: (Let me just tell you now that there ain't gonna be enough room to list them all...)
    1. Armour, John Steakley
    2. Blade Runner, or, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, Phillip K. Dick
    3. Dune, Frank Herbert
    4. Time Enough For Love, Robert A. Heinlein
    5. The Sherlock Holmes canon, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    6. Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury
    7. The Nero Wolfe series, Rex Stout

  • 7 Movies I Can Watch Over And Over:
    1. Batman (the Michael Keaton one)
    2. Blade Runner
    3. The Matrix
    4. Casablanca
    5. Bridge On The River Kwai
    6. Night Of The Living Dead (the original)
    7. Young Frankenstein ('Cos I....ain't got no boooo...dy)

Well, I hope that's enough for you, because formatting all that in proper nested lists was enough for me.

Teknikul Duffahkulties

I was going to blog today from work, since I missed all weekend, but our corporate IT guys seem to have taken this opportunity to unplug everything and alphabetise the hard drives or some such nonsense, so the network is as frail as a glass jackhammer right now.  And with that in mind I shall blog tonight from home, where things are not so...erratic.

Jan 6, 2006

Herbology 101

There are times when I simply want to snap and start screaming, yelling, and in general I just want to be a complete arse to people.

We have a nurse here in the office who, in most respects, is just like anyone else, which is to say that she's fine as a coworker but I probably wouldn't cross the street to say 'hello.' A coworker, that's about it. That makes it particularly annoying when she decides to critique my plant-care techniques.

For Xmas, the CEO bought every employee in every office a little potted fir tree as a living gift, the idea being that you bring it home after a while and plant it in your yard. Very thoughtful, lovely gift, quite unexpected, and in general just a nice gesture. I've still got mine on the corner of my desk, situitated so that it can get a good dose of sunlight from the front windows and the door, and I keep it just a shade dry, because the last time I watered it, it got rather crispy, so apparently I had overwatered.

So what happens? Every time I turn around, this nurse is griping about how my plant is not doing well, is dry, is sickly, etc. QUITE annoying. Add in the little moues and faces and the 'ew, it's awfully dry' sort of stuff and it really genuinely gets my goat. Then we add into the mix her telling me about how she had this rare lemon cammomile something or other tree and how ultra rare it is, and how she's done this and that with plants, trying to impress me with her knowledge of common herbs, and I just want to knock the crap out of her.

And as an aside, let me tell you this--don't try to impress me by telling me how you got four transplants off one fig tree using Scotch tape. Uhm...unimpressive. I transplant my fig trees by pushing one branch down to the ground and laying a brick over it. Wait one season and the branch has already got roots. It's not rocket surgery. Hell, my father used to transplant fig and willow trees by cutting off a branch with his pocket knife. He'd whittle the stick's end to a point like he was sharpening a pencil, then he'd stick it in the ditchbank. At one point we had half a dozen willow trees lining our ditch, each about eight feet tall. Our thirty-foot high, forty-foot wide fig tree was planted in that exact manner, brought home from his parent's house in Mississippi. Get over yourself, you fat freak, it's not hard.

I have a problem, you see, with self-important people. You see, you silly bitch, I like plants a lot, too. I plant trees, and flowers, and I can even artfully arrange flowerbeds and gardens. Amazing. If you want to start talking smack, maybe you ought to check into who you're talking smack TO. Don't try to tell someone who loves plants how to take care of their plants, especially when you aren't all that.

It's time for some more rose beds.

Jan 5, 2006


I was griping with my boss after work today about how our children's world is so filled with things to get them in trouble, ie The Internet.

We were both using the place as the ideal image of dangerous places for kids, mainly because there is so much material that is not suitable for kid of any age, even teens, as well as multiples of multiples of opportunities for them to be taken advantage of in every sort and style of way.

BUT, there are times when the Internet shines, and I refer to my K&B question of just the other day. It seems that one of the coolest sites on the entire 'net, Wikipedia, lists an entry for K&B.

Utterly cool.

For The Love Of Pete

I don't know how long an RN has to go to school to get their license and pin, but I know it's at least four years, not counting all the time they have to put in as flunkies in hospitals and things.  You think they'd learn not to use blue ink on medical records.
Don't ask me why, it's just One Of Those Things.  I don't even know if it's a hospital thing or if it's just us, but as far as it reaches ME, I know that we can't use blue ink.  Plain, simple.  No blue ink on medical records of any sort.  Just black.  So why do we still STILL have nurses who insist on using blue ink.  Nurses who have worked here for almost as long as I have.  And not all the time do they venture into indigo, just occasionally. 
Once in a while. 
Kids, I'm a college graduate.  I spent over 6 years there earning two bachelor's degrees.  Not only did I always write in black ink, I carried THE SAME DAMNED CHEAP FOUNTAIN PEN FOR FOUR OF THOSE SIX YEARS.  I think the last year or so I carried a different one because the $6 cheapie I bought at the local K & B*  finally broke and I bought a yellow one just like it.  For $6.  Gawd knows how many refill cartridges I went through.  Hell, I remember using one in HIGH SCHOOL, which I'm sure had to be pretty damned cheap.  It wrote in black, though.
My syster gifted me with a very slim, scalpel-like Sheaffer when I was at Toys Backward R Us in the mid 90's.  I used it for years, even when it leaked and I had to go fight Service Merchandise for a replacement, since that Sheaffer White dot means it carries a lifetime warranty.  It was black and gold, and I don't want to know how much it cost. 
It wrote in black. 
I still have it, even though I haven't used it in years and years.
I bought a new fountain pen around Y2K when I started at Orifice Despot, and really went hog-wild and splurged on it--$32.  I even bought the matching ballpoint for customers.  Know what?  I'm still carrying it.  It's still using black ink only.  And I have to carry a damned glass bottle of ink everywhere I go in case it runs out, and know what else?  I LIKE DOING THAT.
So why, RNs, can't you be bothered to carry around a dozen or so black ink pens in your car?  You can buy stick pens (biros to you Brits) for about 75 cents each.  For crying out loud, you guys earn like ten times my salary, and I'm sitting here with a $30 Waterman, and you can't manage to have a damned Bic stick pen in your car that writes in black.
What's the freaking deal, pickle?
*Yes, it WAS that long ago, and a bonus point to you if you know what a K & B is, one extra bonus point if you remember what "K & B" stands for, and a rubber stick pen if you remember their trademarked colour.  Syster, you're not allowed because I know you know the answers already.

Jan 4, 2006

The Flying Von Trapp Family

Don't ask me to explain that title, it'll be a lot easier if you just think of me as that guy who comes up with blog post titles so obscure that it would take a week's worth of digging through Wikkipedia and an extensive knowledge of 12th century Germanic tribesmen's hunting habits to make sense of.
I think I might forego the usual frivolities this morning and go straight for the frivolities.
I saw a pair of H2's headed down the Interstate this morning, one black, one white.  It looked like some sort of existential racial car chase scene.
I don't dare tell my coworkers that I miss having the fake ficus in the Men's room.  See, I'm secretly agoraphobic.  My restroom at home is just large enough for one half an adult and two cats, one of which is a kitten, so having a restroom at work that is almost as large as a prison cell (it's 7' X 8' here if you were curious) is kind of frightening, in a bowel-tightening sort of way.  The ficus helped to sort of break up that huge space between the toilet and the basin, and made it more natural, more 'bear s**tting in the woods,' which I found rather appealing.  Now that the Xmas tree is down the ficus had to return up front, and Vulgar Wizard laughed at my pathetic request for a new fake ficus.
A poo post.  How the mighty have fallen. 
Ah, what the hell, if Scaryduck can do it and achieve world-wide fame then why can't I? 

Crunch Time

It's time, you see, for the Annual Bloggies Award. Go forth and vote. All five of you.

Jan 3, 2006

Unidirectional Rotating Bezel

Tristain Tzara in the 1930's wrote that he lived life at that point where, rocking backwards in a chair, you suddenly lose balance and realise that you are poised on a razor edge of falling either one way or the next. This, I feel, is a load of dingo kidneys.

At least for me, that is. For all I know Tzara was a complete and utter fruitcake and did indeed feel like he was constantly falling off exceptionally tall things onto exceedingly pointy things. For all I know he was also a highly evolved bicycle. For my bit, however, I know how things are. Most times. And I most especially know how things are today.

Today for some bloody reason I've felt like I've gone utterly Off The Deep End. And it's not a pleasant, surreal sort of feeling, either. It's more that feeling that you get when you realise that the soft, warm sensation between your bare toes is not the first sensations of stepping into a hot therapeutic mudbath but is in point of fact the first sensations of stepping in a rather vile, worm-ridden, half-digested Wal-Mart-dog-food generated colon gift that the neighbor's Rotweiller has left on your front porch step. Which you are about to slip on. And for a very brief moment, you will feel just like Tristain Tzara feels like all the janking time.

It's been one of those days, you see, where I seem to have made a misstep somewhere on the escalator of my day and I'm still trying to regain the stability of the mezzazine, there perhaps to purchase a new fedora and a hot Chai. I don't know exactly where it all went wrong, as days like today often go. Instead, I suddenly realised about an hour ago all the work I had done up to that point was either wrong, missing vital bits, or was somehow routed through to a CIA computer and is even now being puzzled over in the Intelligence Director's office in a secret military prison deep beneath the frozen tundra of the Aleutian Islands. And our server is telling us that we can only do things this morning like surf the Internet or work on email, but the server that handles all the work-related things like payroll, data entry and any sort of productive work is currently refusing to talk to anyone and is in a corner of the server room in Baton Rouge sucking it's CAT5 cable and babbling quietly to itself.

So, with all that listed out and a brief walk in the mid-70's temperature outside, I have decided that I shall be removing myself from this existance and taking up residence in the body of a slightly odiferous and extremely cantankerous vole currently residing under the concrete steps which lead up to a disused grain silo in the middle of East Armpit, Nebraska, there to spend my time praying that the rats of NIMH will soon come and devour me whole.

Either that or I'm going to, Quixotically, take another joust at the windmill that is our server and try to enter some physician's orders.

Talkies Tuesday - Great Fun At Parties!

this is an audio post - click to play

Jan 1, 2006

Don't Touch That Dial!

Saint Vidicon of Cathode and all the gods of the Idiot Box have smiled upon me today.

Between the Biography Channel's "Sherlock Holmes" marathon and the Sci-Fi channel's "Twilight Zone" marathon and The Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters" marathon I have been the ultimate couch potatoe. Yes me, Irrelephant, who fights his man instincts every day not to spend too much time in front of the majority of mind-draining shows broadcast at me from 200 channels.

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know I'm a huge fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his consulting detective, Mr. Holmes. And naturally, being a fan of The Canon, the numerous forays of Holmes and Watson into radio serials, television, movies and the like have left me pretty disdainful. All that is except for Jeremy Brett's work with Edward Hardwicke, which I find extremely faithful and very watchable. And The Bio Channel programmers, in their infinite wisdom, often play everything BUT his adventures, prefering Midsommer Murders, Angela Lansbury solving enough murders to bury that tiny little town she lives in, and the utterly distasteful Poirot and his horrid little moustache and his horrid little grey cells. And so you see how today has been such a miraculous event--an entire day and night of Victorian politeness and dastardly deeds solved by cold logic, portrayed by Jeremy Brett's birdlike, socially incorrect, pipe-smoking violin playing Holmes.

And for when there's an episode on that I've seen far too often? Well then, a fast flip of the channel to Discovery and there lie Jamie and Adam, proving that buttered toast falls equally on it's buttered or unbuttered side, and that the Confederate Army could have potentially built a surface to surface missle of fair ability but limited range, all done with their Odd Couple humour. I cannot think of a much better use of television time than in the pursuit of debunking the foolishness that seems destined to be sent around the world daily via email and other, faster means.

And when I grew tired of science in the pursuit of truth and logic in the pursuit of justice today I could turn to The Horror Fi Channel...wait, sorry, the Sci-Fi Channel and immerse myself in the miraculous, wonderous, and sometimes very frightening world of The Twilight Zone, replete with young stars-to-be like Bill Shatner and Elizabeth Montgomery, all lead by The Voice of Destiny, the omnipresent Rod Serling with his ever-present cigarette and clenched-teeth delivery.

There are times, surprisingly, when television can be such a wonderous medium. Most times it can be utterly horrid dreck, but thankfully, beyond all reason and thought, today has been a most wonderful day to do absolutely nothing but smile.

Foolishness? Who Gnu?

Happy Gnu Year, my dear and beloved readers!