Feb 28, 2006

Fat Talkies Tuesday




this is an audio post - click to play


Talkies Tuesday - A Dash Of Restraint






Tuesday morning. I think The Moody Blues sang about Tuesday Afternoon, which might be more appropos for me, since I won't be joining my Talkers this morning. We found out last night that J.'s tumour is inoperable cancer, spread throughout his liver and the doctors are fairly sure it's gotten to his heart, too. They've given him (and us with him) six months of life. You'll forgive me, I'm sure, if I'm not able to rouse the jubilant spirit I usually have for Talkies Tuesday.

Be sure and join our other Talkies Tuesdayites:

Vulgar Wizard.

Hannibal The Hamster.

Strange Cousin Susan.

and our newest (and most educational) Talkie--

Leesepea.

Thank you, won't you?

Feb 26, 2006

I Gotta Say It Was A Good Day

And if I were Ice Cube I'd be saying something about not having to use my AK, but then again I'm not Ice Cube. I'm not even Ice T. Heck, I don't even have mad rhymes.

What I do have is a clean house, or as clean as it usually gets. I also have closets full of clean, dry clothes and none of them are currently piled on the couch in the den, nor are they lurking in the washing machine or the dryer.

I've got a china cabinet not only moved but refilled with an eye towards order, and a gun cabinet moved to the other side of the window to make a more harmonious balance.

I've even got a lovely (bunch of coconuts?) dart board case that has been sitting on my office floor for the better part of 8 months hung up on the wall in the newly-cristened game room, at dart competition height (that'd be 5' 8" to the cork,) and I even moved two of the antique daguerotypes of my long-dead cousins to more prominent places.

And if that weren't enough, I've recovered the grapes because it's going to freaking freeze AGAIN tonight, refilled the bird feeders so that the goldfinches, house wrens and the redwing blackbirds won't starve, and so the cardinals will have someone to fuss at. I even cleaned the filter on my air purifier. Damn if I'm not making tracks today.

I forgot to lock the shed back up, though. Will have to take care of that before dark falls.

Oh, and I even organised the master bedroom closet shelf, getting rid of a bunch of old clothes and things I had tossed up there in one of those "Maybe I can use them again someday" frames of mind. Yeah, whatever.

Lesse, what else is there that I can bemuse you with?

Did a little reading--for those of you who are Neal Stephenson fans, he's got a new book out in paperback, apparently it's the first of I think he's already titled eight of them. Bastard. It's called Quicksilver, if you're curious.

I guess sometimes you just can't be clever, or maybe today I just had one of those days when I wanted to work, and funny is hard to come by when you're working. Or at least when I'm working. Don't know about you, I've always found it hard to giggle with a broom in my hand, unless of course I'm playing like it's my steadfast horse, Excelsior, but Excelsior for all his heroic ability is rotten at sweeping with any sort of skill.

Feb 25, 2006

Further Excursions From The Truth

Our childhood holds so many keys to our busy, modern lives and the behaviours we engage in, doesn't it?

I remember when I was a kid in grade school, that time taught me so much. There were a bunch of us, eight or ten boys all decked out in our dark blue uniform pants and our white button-down shirts, all good Catholic boys, busy laying the basis for the rest of our lives then. We didn't know that, naturally, being young. All we knew was that school was school, the weekends meant cartoons on Saturday morning, Sunday was church, which was cooler if you were an altar boy, and we knew exactly how long eternity was, because summer vacation was an eternity away each year.

The school didn't have a big budget for toys and such, as I recall. We had a steel jungle gym and a big metal slide, and a big cardboard box full of sports balls, but we could bring things like frisbees if we wanted to, and one of our little group always showed up for recess with a big, bright red Wham-O, one of those 120 gram professional models that made all other Frisbees look like dwarves, and we'd stand out in the grass field in a big rough circle and we'd fling that red Frisbee back and forth like some huge lifesaver candy from boy to boy, laughing in the sun, thinking that this time would never end.

It was a day just like that when one of our little gang, a young boy by the name of John Setliff, walked up with a surprise. John was a tow-headed blonde kid with big ears, skinny as a fence post we'd have said back then, and he had a tube sock full of the coolest cats-eye and steelie marbles you could imagine. He walked up to the group, this gaggle of boys in the summer sun, playing off the taste of the day's school lunch. It was strange because as boys in the seven to eight year old age group, running was the thing to do. You ran everywhere, but John (we always called him 'Jon Jon,') Jon Jon was walking toward us. The Frisbee was already flying, but we all stopped when he walked up, because we could see that he had a sling on his arm.

Any bodily injury to a boy that age is automatically worth several cool points and bragging rights for a week or more, but Jon Jon wasn't playing it like that. He didn't want to talk about it, didn't want to admit anything, and being boys that age we didn't press him, we just went on with playing Frisbee. The next afternoon's after-lunch recess found us back out there in the field, tossing that big red Frisbee back and forth, and Jon Jon came up to the group, this time not only in an arm sling but with a big bandage on his cheek. We all crowded around trying to find out what was going on with him, but like the day before, he was quiet and not very forthcoming. And naturally we lost interest pretty fast, and back we all went to our game playing, but you could tell Jon Jon's heart wasn't in it.

The next day, a Friday I recall, Jon Jon didn't even come to school. There was a lot of talk, of course, amongst us boys in the yard because anything different was ripe for the picking, and opinions flew back and forth. Come to find out none of us was right. Nothing could have entered our world views like this, not yet. We were all too young.

The weekend passed like all weekends passed when I was a kid--far too fast. Monday morning rolled around, and Jon Jon was back in class, but I didn't sit by him through those first few interminable hours, so all I could do was sort of look at him and wonder what had happened. When lunch came he was nowhere to be seen, but by recess time I found him out on the playground under one of the big pecan trees that lined the farthest part of the fenced-in playground, right next to the street.

The rest of the boys were out in the grass field already playing Frisbee, the spinning red disk flashing out across the green field from hand to eager hand, but Jon Jon was standing under one of the big pecan trees, picking up the big paper-shell pecans that littered the ground, cracking them slowly in one hand, favoring the other that still resided in it's dark blue sling. I sort of sidled up next to him quiet like, being the sensitive one of the groups, and I sort of kicked pecans along under the rubber soles of my Converse tennis shoes, picked up a few, and start cracking them. I can still recall how sweet those pecans tasted, flavoured with summer sun.

I finally asked him what had been happening to him, and he told me that the past few days he'd been beaten up each night. Nothing he had done to provoke it, he told me, it just happened. Every evening his father would get home from his job at the sawmill and his mom, who was a housewife, would serve supper. They'd eat together, and afterwards his dad would drink a few beers while he and his mom would wash dishes, and after the dishes were all put up they'd go and join his father who was already sitting in the living room in his big recliner, beer in hand, and they'd watch tv.

And one night, Jon Jon said, there had come a knock on the door. He had gotten up to answer it, he told me in a quiet voice, very unlike his usual shout of boyhood, without asking his father's permission, and when he had swung the door open wide there stood on the doorstep a six foot tall cockroach. It had beaten him up, punching him with four hard, sharp legs while it stood on it's hindmost two, and when it had hit him more times than he could count it tossed him across the room and slammed the door behind it. The same thing happened the next night, he told me in a trembling voice, and the next. At this point I wasn't sure if he was just making up stories to protect himself or what, but what he told me next put the proof to it.

His parents, Jon Jon said, deeply concerned about him had brought him to the hospital that Friday instead of letting him go to school, and he told me in his quietest voice that they had told them after his exam that it was really nothing to be concerned about, because, as the doctor had said, "There's just a bad bug going around."

Comes The Dawn

Winter is almost over. I can tell by the rain, you see. In other parts of the world, more northern parts, the last week would have been one of snow and ice. Down here it's rain. Rain and more rain.

But this means that spring is right around the corner, which is always welcome.

Have you ever noticed that feeling of being uplifted, that huge sigh as you pack up the winter clothes and go walking around in the sunshine? I had a mini one of those this morning when I opened the house up. When it's cold I usually leave the drapes and things closed to keep the heat in, but today is warm enough to forgoe that precaution, so I opened up everything. And granted it's still very murky out there, overcast and grey, but there's some small bit of light filtering through the clouds, and my self-imposed darkness was ended by the house filling with light. Okay, with dim, but you get the point.

I hear it's like that for folks who have real winters. A whole season of dark and gloom, people killing themselves by throwing their bodies in front of snow blowers and off bridges onto frozen rivers, and blankets of ice and snow. One of the perks of living in the south, I suppose: winter lasts all of three weeks here. But the glorious respite comes for you snow-bound folk when spring arrives, clad in flowers and green grass, and the glorious light comes back, and you get a whole body-full of the feeling I had this morning, only in Technicolour and surround sound.

I was cleaning my two aquariums out this morning, in preparation for adding fresh water. I fed the fish first off, so they'd have a full stomach to be stressed on, and then I got in there with a sponge and some elbow grease and scrubbed off all the accumulated algae from the glass and wiped the sheet of algae that always grows on the bottom of the glass top, directly under the lights. It's a naturaly function of life to spring up wherever it can, and a bright, direct source of light + dampness will always = green algae. So I cleaned and scrubbed, and like always there was a long sheet of pukey green algae that fell off the sponge and settled to the bottom of the aquarium, playing havoc with the fishes idea of What Life Is All About.

What Life Is All About For Fish



  • Sun rises instantly at exactly 6:00 each morning
  • Giant frightening blob appears in front of the place at about 7 am
  • Food appears at water surface immediately after blob exits
  • For three minutes eat like there's no tomorrow
  • Swim
  • Giant frightening blob appears in front of pond at about 7 pm
  • Food appears at water surface immediately after blob exits
  • For three minutes eat like there's no tomorrow
  • Swim
  • Sun sets instantly at exactly 8:00 each evening


So my theory then begins to run thusly--that it's Winter into Spring for the fish, only every morning. Darkness, death at the very door, then suddenly the sun flickers into being and it's Spring, glorious Spring, light flooding into every nook and cranny, the little nocturnal catfish fleeing back to their bushy shrubs and their plastic tree roots to hide out and await the setting of the sun. And this morning it even went a step further--the sun rose, Spring came, and suddenly the ground was covered in a carpet of green. Granted it's not grass, but what fish really knows the difference between grass and algae, and frankly they're almost the same thing, at least they are when it rains for a week and the yard starts to smell like rotten mud.

Okay, so I didn't say it was a GOOD theory.

Feb 24, 2006

Proof!

I finally have proof that there is no such thing as a guiding intelligence behind Life, The Universe, and...well, you saw the movie.

And the answer is most definitely not 42.

Attend me: For a supper snack while watching Star Trek:TNG on that gaming channel or whatever it is, I toasted a plain bagel and put a thinish slice of cheddar cheese in the middle, waited until the cheese was just soft, and ate it.

Delish.

You ought to try it one day. It works better with egg bagels, but plain works pretty well too. Just toast it good, not so much that it's burnt or too crusty, and don't stop when it's just cool inside. You want it good and finger-scalding hot. Cut a slice of your preferred cheddar about a quarter inch thick, making sure that you have just enough cheese width to cover the whole bagel--no plain bread, please. Let the whole thing melt for a minute or two, then eat, preferably with a big glass of sweetea*.

Know how I found out this marvel of the snack food world? A woman I met online.

I'm not going to say "a friend," or something like that, because I don't count her as such. She was a chat companion way back when I was single and miserable, and I met her in a chat room. Her picture spoke of a lovely, curly-headed brunette, middle-aged, with a come-hither look in her big brown eyes and a pair of incredible long legs. I knew the first time I saw it that the picture was either twenty years old or was someone else. But we chatted pretty constiently in the same room with about fifteen other regulars, and we all had a lot of fun.

Well, things progressed, and this woman and I became close. We chatted often, we chatted intimately, and a relationship grew. Then one day she told me that she was coming down to my neck of the woods from Ohio, where she was residing, and she wanted to meet me. I was all for it, having found out that not only was she pretty and intelligent, she actually WAS the woman in the picture, and I was falling for her like a blind roofer.

The magical day arrived, she arrived, was exactly as the picture described her, and we spent a tempestuous week together. In bed mostly, but we did have normal upright times, too. She was witty, funny, and sexy. And she introduced me to a new taste by preparing toasted bagels and cheese for us for breakfast each morning. As a morning meal it was just right; a single bagle would fill me up, or a single serving made a delicious, easily-portable workday snack, plus it was cheap and easy. True love all around.

And like all good things, that week ended. I found out a few weeks after her tear-strewn and promise-filled separation from my life that she had not come down to see just me as she had suggested the entire time, but that she had made a sort of round trip around the south to see four other guys and to sleep with them, too. At least I was the first, which was and still is small comfort indeed. When she got home after her sexual tour of the Deep South she had a sudden vision of Gawd and was reborn or dipped in the lamb or whatever the hell it is those people do, she got back with her ex-husband, and I was told not to speak to her ever again because "it offended her husband."

Ah. Well, there you are.

So there I was, my dreams of post-divorce happiness crushed, my male attractiveness tossed aside like a soiled condom, and my year of honest, painstaking relationship building was suddenly revealed as a year of posturing and posing and opening my heart just so I could pick up a five dollar hooker. But through it all, through the months of malaise afterwards, through the bitterness and the resolution within myself, and a full decade later I still have my new-found love--cheddar cheese bagles.

"So now," you ask, "where is your magical proof that there is no god?"

"Right here," I shout, "Right here in my cheese-greasy hands!" No god in it's right mind would move, pun intended, heaven and earth to arrange for a woman living 14 hours away from me to show me her appetite for sexual excess, reveal to me what seemed like genuine love, make me marvelously happy for a week in every way then crush my entire existence with a practiced flirt of her soft curls just so she could introduce me to melted cheddar cheese bagels. No intellgence of any measure would go through such extreme lengths just so I could enjoy a cheesy morning refueling, when all it would have taken was a commercial or a food show to turn me on to the marvels that is the combination of bagels and Cheddar. No, you can't tell me that there is any sense there, no matter how much you show off your pair of long, smooth legs, and I didn't even have to show you my wee-wee to help you understand how good a cheddar cheese and hot bagel can be together.

Class dismissed.

And Debbie? Fuck you, you silly whore. You were too bony to be really enjoyable.

______________________
* Sweetea: n (pronounced "SWEE-tee") A Southernism for "a glass of sweet iced tea please ma'am," widely considered to be the single most important donation to world cuisine the South has ever made.

And Now Abideth Strength, Ability, and Proprioception, But The Greatest Of These Is Love

Having just received a corporate email telling us that VW was to do the job she's been doing since she started at the company, she sent this email out. To understand part of the joke, I need to say that "proprioception" is a word used by occupational therapists, which I have to enter in orders about three times a day. I finally got curious and looked it up--in general it means knowing where your body is in space, sort of a personal spatial awareness that we all have in varying degrees, courtesy of nerve receptors in our joints. So, the email from Vulgar Wizard:

VW: Just in case either of you encounter any errors with doctor's information in *the data entry system*, I'm the go-to girl for fixing this stuff. Yay, me!

So naturally, I had to be a smart-alec.

Irr: So, it's business as usual then?

VW: Yeah, you know, what I've been doing all along since I figured out that I could. That's what being proactive means, right? My god, how do the other joints survive if their BOM's (*Business Office Managers*) are stupid?

Irr: Not proactive, proprioactive.
As to how? Beats me, sweets.

VW: Propriopecia.

Irr: For people who can't tell where their hair is.

VW: Whoa! Am I bald? Where the h3ll did my hair go?

Irr: Why is my hair falling over?

VW: Why is my hair made of cheese funk?

Irr: Whoa! Bread spread!

VW: What?

Irr: Head-bread. Bread spread=butter which is made of milk which also makes cheese. Funk.

Head Spread.
Thus ends Lesson #147 of How Irrelephant's Mind Works.

VW: Butter Troll Head?


Oh yeah. Dare to be stoopid. *lol* Sometimes it's the only way to get through a particularly difficult intrusion of Corporate Think.

More Medical Hijinks

Thursday was strained. The Butter Troll, She Who Is Also Lazy Susan was behaving like a five-year old in the sandbox since Adrenaline Junkie (our Director O' Operations, you remember him) was out of the city getting his new job arrangements, his brass buttons shined, and for all I know his knob polished, and we were all strained to put up with it (Butter Troll, not the knob polishing,) because we didn't have a shovel to dig a really REALLY big hole to toss her ass into when one of us snapped and killed her. As a means of venting off some steam, VW and I, who as you may recall sits about ten feet away from me separated by a door-frame, spent part of the afternoon emailing each other, and giggling like schoolgirls inbetween reads.

This is how it ran.



Vulgar Wizard wrote:

Dear Snappahead,

I'm writing to inform you that the Butter Troll lives; beware.


Irrelephant wrote back:

Dear Etruscan Earwig,

Thank you for your recent submission of warning. Unfortunately at this time we do not require further warning that The Astoundingly Stupid One is, ipso facto, still alive. She has been sighted tramping around our desk all day, leaving behind a foetid smell and a distinctly snail-like trail in our carpeting.

Sincerely,
on behalf of The Submissions Department,
Mr. P.D.Q. Snappahead, Director.


VW:

Dear P.D.Q.

The Great Bald PN just ventured into BT's realm. Let this letter serve as a warning that body parts my fly toward the front of the office at any given time, covered with butter of course.

Thanks,
EE.


Irr:

My dear EE--

Ew.

Yours etc.
PDQ


VW:

Dear PDQ,

Whoa, man, that was close, I swear to God it was.

Thoroughly,
EE.


Irr:

EE--

Dingo's kidneys.

pdq


VW:

PDQ,

Cancel 'dat.

~EE.


Irr:

e

OK, you win.

p



What's really sad is that this maneouver only killed about ten minutes of an interminable day.

Feb 23, 2006

Medical Hijinks And Hilarity Ensue!

Tonight on Channel 485 at 7:00 pm: House St. Pachyderm ER. Be sure and tune in to tonight's season finale episode when new internist Dr. Irrelephant mistakenly calls a Code Violet over the intercom instead of a Code Lavender, throwing the entire hospital into panic as they begin to prepare for an Ebola epidemic! Which doctor will be losing their license AND their life? Tune in for this edge-of-your-seat can't-miss episode. And be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a Special Guest Cameo by Frederico The Ferocious Badger! Fun for the entire family.

Sometimes a sense of humour is not necessarily the essential ingredient to have in a medical office.

Part of my job entails the entry of medical orders in the computer system so we can keep track of each patient's medical needs. When I enter each order part of the process is to note what type of order it is. This is done with simple five-letter abbreviations, such as "DME" for Durable Medical Equipment like walkers, wheelchairs and oxygen equipment, or "PTPO" for Physical Therapy Physician's Orders, which would be therapy goals and directions, and even abbreviations as convoluted as "PTOTE" for Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy Evaluation.

The problem for me arises when I get bored with the same old same old, or if an order is a little vague, or if I simply feel like stirring the pot just a little bit. I had an order recently for a lab sample to be taken, which should have been abbreviated "LAB" in the system. The body of the order usually runs like "PT/INR x 2 weeks" or "Draw labs weekly - CBC; BMP; Magnesium level." This order, however, was for a stool sample to be tested for occult blood and such. It wasn't a big step for me, then, to abbreviate it as "STOOL." I got a giggle out of it, which is the extent of most of my humour. Naturally VW knew instantly who had entered the order, and she corrected it AND disciplined me (through the doorway no less) by saying one word: "stool?" Go go Gadget nonverbal communication skills!

My whole humourous-order-abbreviating schtick has't gotten out of hand yet, but I was busted for it again this morning, this time in a slightly less amused voice because I had entered an order that said, in general, "May leave Fleets enema by bedside." I was told in a stern voice that it should have been entered as "SUPPL" for Medical Supplies, but I couldn't help myself--"ENEMA" went into the ordering system, and the lack of enjoyment on my boss' part came from the fact that there was some confusion with the order and it had to be forwarded to corporate's attention with "ENEMA" blazing across the entry.

I hate to say it, but I'm surprised that there actually are times when potty and bum jokes simply won't carry the day. There it is, staring me right in the starfish*.
____________________
*Other popular terms include:

  • Brown Eye
  • Turd Cutter
  • The Toothless One
  • Trumpet-playing Frog

Feb 22, 2006

I Can't Seem To Keep A Man In My Life

For those of you looking for a funny, off-beat post, please skip this one, because I'm going to be using this post to really turn out the pockets of my heart, and I doubt there'll be many smiles here this go-round. Try next post, hopefully.

The men in my life, the important men, have always gone too fast. I never knew my maternal grandfather; he was dead long before I was born. All I have is a few pictures of him and a few things he built, and my mother's stories of him.

My paternal grandfather was a powerful old man, a Primitive Baptist preacher in a tiny rural town in Mississippi. He died when I was twelve, and just starting to understand what an incredible fountain of wisdom and knowledge and compassion he was. His casket was the first I ever carried to a gravesite, and I have never felt the emotional weight of that duty as strong as that day when, clad in my dark blue suit, I felt truly like a man, performing a man's duties. It struck me that day just what I had lost--I longed to have had more time with him, so that I could appreciate what he had to offer, the stories and the words of encouragement and his faith in a higher power. All of it taken just as I was realising it was all there for my asking.

His son, my father, was a quiet man like his father before him; reserved and introspective. He was always there, always strong and quiet, working hard at his job, working hard in his garden, working hard at crafting and building things. I live in the house he built with his own hands. I was never as close to him as I was to my mother as a young boy, though. He grew up rural and rugged, living close to the land and to danger and loss, and my mother tried desperately to protect us from harm, so I didn't get to spend a lot of time with him hunting and fishing and building. When I was older I was riddled with all the problems of a young man, and I rebelled against my family as hard as I could. When I finally got my head clear and was starting to see the path in front of me my father had an already fairly advanced case of Alzheimer's, before that disease was the common killer it is now. When I most realised that my father was the key to all that I wanted to be he no longer recognised me.

As a child, and as I grew up, I was always closer to women than to men. My friends have always tended to be women, and my closest friends are women. My best friend is a woman. There have been men friends in my life, but for different reasons those relationships have either been distant or have ended before too many years. Seems most times the men I like end up being so shallow or so full of shit that I simply call it off, disgusted.

So now I hear that one of the two very important older men in my life, my wife's grandfather, is deathly ill.

J. is what I can safely call a powerful man. Big of stature, big of personality, unforgiving but capable of infinte compassion. The sort of man against whose will you could bend iron bars. In short, the sort of man to whom I look up to as a role model, the sort of man who I want to impress with my ability, my strength of will and purpose. When something takes his fancy he goes after it like a terrier, and hangs on like a pit bull. And when he does something, he does it WELL. He doesn't settle for half best, or somewhat good. He drives himself until he's excellent at it. No half measures for him, he has in the past struck me as a Hemingway-esque character. I have no problem seeing him in Africa in safari khakis, rifle butt shoved into his leg, posing for a photo over the body of a massive game animal. "Larger than life" could be used to describe him, and over the course of a few years I feel I've just started to be a noticable factor in his life. The day he complimented me on my skeet shooting ability (questionable at best,) was a desperately proud day for me. It was the pride of a grandson who has been patted on the back by his grandfather, the pride of someone who feels he is living up to a very important someone's high expectations.

He's had some medical problems here of late, but no rock-solid diagnosis as of yet. Today, after he failed a stress test he was given a CAT scan. The doctors found a tumour in his liver which stretches behind his lungs and surrounds his heart, including his vena cava and into the atrium. They don't know if it's cancerous or not at this point, but to point out how unusual it is, the pulmonologist didn't even know what he was seeing when they first spotted it. The oldest resident doctor in the hospital had only seen one other case in many decades of being a physician. The liver transplant folks from LSU Medical are coming down tomorrow to talk to him, to see if he's a candidate for a transplant.

I know it's useless to rail against fate and life in general. I know that there's nothing I can do that will change the course of this man's illness. He will either improve under whatever treatment the doctors prescribe, or he won't. What really, truly galls me is that it is happening again--when I finally open my eyes and see how important someone is in my life he is being taken away. If there was a god in whose face I could shake my fist I would be doing it right now, railing against the unfairness of it, cursing and spitting and swinging with every ounce of my spirit and my rage. This cannot, WILL NOT happen to me again.

As it is, all I can do is write about it.

Drunk Blogging

Oh yeah, bay-bee. Drunk on a Wednesday morning, in control of a keyboard.

Whatever. It sure sounded interesting for a second there, though.

A friend of mine with whom I have kept loose connections (he lives in Arkansas for gawd's sake) came out of the blue yesterday and asked for my address so he could send me his wedding invitation.

OMG.

I mean, this guys is (was?) the ultimate bachelor. Crusty, hyper-intelligent, financially well-off, and he was even a snappy dresser. And he has a long history of being a bartender. How can you go wrong? And while the word "misogynist" doesn't really fit him he did have that aura about him that any woman he met had damned well better be able to be all woman as well as know how to build a mainframe from scratch and plot the orbits of seven major celestial bodies in her head. His feelings certainly made for some interesting drunk moments in the backyard, what with him having women bouncing off him like moths to a lightbulb and me wondering how a slightly dumpy woman-hater like him had found The Secret. And why wasn't he sharing?

And suddenly (at least for me) he's getting married. I'm rather afraid to see the lucky lady, actually. I'm worried that she'll be a 17 year old Swedish supermodel with a doctorate (magna cum laude) from Harvard, a sprinkling of Russian cosmonaut, a competitive triathelete and a side order of nymphomaniac. The best assumption here is that she's actually an android (dreaming of electric sheep no doubt) assembled piece by painstaking piece in his secret underground labora-tory and this is her, so to speak, maiden voyage.

So at some point in my future I'll be in Arkansas, probably drunk, wishing him and his new wife long lives and big fat babies. It's funny how your idols seem always to have feet of clay. *lol* Even the mighty fall beneath the invincible sword of romance.

Oh gawd, let her be an android.

Feb 21, 2006

My Lady Nicotine

I promised myself that when I opened my tobacco shop, I would proudly display a sign on the door saying "Thank you for smoking." At the rate that we're losing our liberty to smoke tobacco, though, I think my dream is moribund.

You see, I'm a smoker. Not cigarettes, pipes. And the occasional cigar, but they're usually on the side or during drinking parties. I love my pipes. I love my pipe tobacco. The most favourite job I ever held? Hands down it was working for Old Grey Mare's husband at The Tinder Box in our local mall. I've smoked a pipe since I was around 20 or so, and don't plan on stopping.

That "Thank you for smoking" sign came from The Tinder Box, actually. The boss had taken a black marker to a standard ADA sign and blacked out the word "not," and placed it on the register. TB was the only place in the mall where you could smoke, you see, and people of all walks would come by to stand and smoke when they didn't want to go outside, or if they just wanted to hang out amongst like-minded people. I loved the talk that would flow freely among this very diverse group of people, and so when I opened my online shop, I bought a black ADA plaque, markered out the word "not" and hung it over my doorframe, to honour all the folks who still enjoy the company of Old Toby.

And yes, I know what tobacco does. I accept the risk as freely as I accept the risks inherent in motorcycle riding. And the same as my bike I love my pipes. So don't preach to me, I'm a grown boy. Thanks.

I love the ritual of my pipes. I love the choosing of tobacco, the choosing of the pipe. I become engrossed with the simplest actions inherent in cleaning the bowl, packing tobacco, and finding my tamp, which is forever running away to hide. I love the smell of pipe tobacco in the room, and I love relaxing in my chair smoking, putting the final touches on a big, filling meal. And I love blowing smoke rings, thinking slow, lazy thoughts of Bilbo and Gandalf sitting on the front step of Bag End.

The history of pipes is a long and involved one, as is the modern pipe and pipesmoker, and I won't even try to go into it, nor will I get on my soapbox and start decrying the tighter and tighter restrictions on our freedoms that tobacco is suffering. I simply wanted to make someone smile when they think of a favourite person in their life to whom they are tied even more tightly because of a bowlfull of a common plant.

I'm going to smoke a pipe now. I think perhaps the big rusticated bulldog, and my antler and cocobolo wood tamp, the box of wooden kitchen matches, and some nice rich McClelland's "Frog Morton."

Talkies Tuesday - Many Happy Returns




this is an audio post - click to play




It's that time again! Time to brush off grandma, let Mom off the washing machine treadmill, and take Junior out of his pit, gather them all around the computer and listen to Talkies Tuesday!

Join us today as:

Irrelephant discusses the relevant issues surrounding adoption from the black market: "Does skin colour really matter?"

Vulgar Wizard delves deeply into the baby food industry--sythetics vs home grown goodness.

Hannibal The Hamster answers your burning questions about urine.

Strange Cousin Susan quests for the perfect birthday present: leather or vinyl?

and our newest Talkie--

Leesepea gives us her take on the subject of wire frame mothers: Which terry cloth should YOU be using?

Join us, won't you?

And Happy Birthday, Renegade!

Feb 20, 2006

And Away We Go

So here I am now, freshly-skinned (ew that sounds nasty) and ready to roll. Welcome to the new digs, compliments of Kelly at Nello Design.

Yesterday evening, while doing the evening ritual of tooth-brushing/face washing I happened to notice something in the mirror--I've got wrinkles. They've been there for a while, but I just officially Saw them last night. This morning I Saw them again. That's the difference, you see. I SAW them, not just noticed them and kept going. And before you freak out and call an intervention down on me, no, I'm not going through a mid-life crisis.

I am at that point, however. I've lived to 38, and am balanced carefully on that hilltop. I'm at the age where more than a few men sense the inevitability of life and go insane, emptying out their savings accounts and cashing out the 401(k) so they can go buy a new Corvette, hair plugs, gold chains, and order a case of tan-in-a-can so they can move to Florida to pursue some sort of mythical Eternal Spring Break. No, I'm not one of those guys. My mid-life crisis came and went last night in the space of about four minutes, inbetween trimming my beard and peeing.

I can see why some men go crazy, though. It struck me last night and again this morning that, were I to decide to focus on it, my life is now half over. I've reached the mid-point, the top of the hill. Everything else is, metaphorically, down hill. And the anger, I can see, comes from the understanding that the entire first half of your life was spent learning how to deal with life; how to make friends, how to work, how to plan and make goals. It's all been about the How of life, and not the Living of it. I guess the next half here is all about Living it. Beats me, honestly. I've been living it all along, this is just an interesting point of reference, really.

So no Corvette for me in the future, no spray on tan, and no galloping off to Florida to find some bubble-headed blonde half my age to make me feel young again. I never stopped feeling young, you see. I've felt like this since I was about 20, and seem to have come to a coasting stop around that point. I always feel like burping at the table, always feel like making strange noises, and I have never gotten over the itching need to yell in church.

And quite frankly, I like it.

Feb 19, 2006

Weird And Pissed Off

Not me, The Thing. Just finished watching John Carpenter's The Thing. The first time it freaked me out was 1985. I watched it again this afternoon, for the second time. I'm freaked out again.

It's been a wild and hairy past few days. I got the feedback from I Talk Too Much and went into quite a funk. I'm surprised how hard it hit me, but then it made me think of an old joke:

A sailor walks into a whorehouse. He picks out a girl and they go upstairs. In her room the whore jumps into bed and gets naked, waiting for the sailor. He undresses, and proudly displays a 4" long errection. The whore goes off into gales of laughter, points, and says "Who do you think you're gonna make happy with THAT thing?"

The sailor looks her dead in the eye and says "Just me, ma'am. Just me."

So here's to making me happy!

It's been a bleak-ass weekend. The temperature has plummeted into the low 30's and seems intent on staying there. The rain poured all Friday night and most of Saturday, and the high today has reached a balmy 34 degrees in the city, which means it's still freezing here. Unstoppable, though, I spent Friday evening and part of Saturday morning putting on my new Micron exhaust system, which has been an event.

If you remember any of my old motorcycle posts, you know that I am not mechanically adept. I can get by, but that's about it. Well, the removal of the old Honda exhaust off my Interceptor and the installation of the new Micron system was quite frankly a walk in the park. I had read a comparison when I got the cans, trying to see what I was up against, and the guys who reviewed the Micron assembly seemed to think that they were the most offensive things going, lacked clear instructions, took at least two men to install, and were not worth the exorbitant price. You'll have to forward thru a few pages to the Micron pipes, but the whole thing is an exercise in how not to write a review.

They were wrong. Not only were my cans and connector pipe delivered in professional, strong boxes but the assembly went exactly as the instructions described. Painfully easy is the term I would use, especially when you consider I did the work in three layers of shirts, two layers of pants, gloves and a hood just to keep warm. And the first half of the install was done in the garage at night with only a trouble-light to light the way. I won't go into the particulars of it all, at least not right now, but suffice to say I have never had an easier time, mechanically.

I started it, she sounded DIVINE, just like the sound bite you can get off the comparison sight's link. At least it sounded divine once. See, it's now so cold that my four-year old battery had gasped it's last after I started it the first time. When I went to start it again to show the wife, it wouldn't. It consistently refused to start, which made me consistently curse and scream.

So, I went to the local bike shop to get a battery. They were closed. Had to go to the Offensive Bike Shop because they were still open. Come to find out I had to order a battery (five working days shipping) because my Interceptor battery is SPECIAL. It's a sealed battery which is, I'm told, filled with some sort of gel instead of water. Which makes it expensive. Chokingly so. Try $137.

Though so.

So now I get to wait a week before I can RIDE with these spanking new state-of-the-badass-art pipes on lovely Miranda. Which works out well, I guess, since the temps seem to be refusing to rise too much, and the forecast is calling for rain for the next few days at least.

Anyway, in a sort of karmic way I guess I had it coming. If I had knocked the bike off it's center stand or perhaps put a wrench through the windshield then the battery would have just so happened to be in the right place to hit a stray cosmic bolt which miraculously rejuvenated it until I happened to be far from home without a phone, or until the day I decided it was time to run from one of Louisiana's Finest on the interstate.

That's how things work in the Land Of Irrelephant. That's also why, having promised a brand-new blog skin I am still wearing the same old blue jumpsuit. I feel like a stripper who can't find his buttons. But, I shall persevere. I write this blog because it makes me happy to do so, and I'm not going to let a little negative feedback bring me down. Besides, I've got about five of you who read all the time, so I can't be all THAT bad, right?

And as a close, if you like Neil Gaiman or Dave McKean you NEED to buy Mirrormask, now out on DVD. It's utterly beautiful.

Feb 18, 2006

Well then--

I seem to have fixed some of the FF problems, simply by erasing huge chunks of script that I had intended not to be displayed. And it's all irrelephant anyway, because Kelly should be along shortly to install the new skin, so we'll just see what we shall see, right?

Feb 17, 2006

Charred, Watch This Space

Kelly from Nello Designs is going to be working here today, implanting or surgically reconstructing, in general doing whatever it is she does to stick a new skin on here, and I do mean skin. I've already seen it, I like it, it's not too high contrast but it's eye-catching, and it's not a Blogger standard template, so cross your fingers, chant some mantras, and think of a good 80's song for me to request for this morning's FlashBack Friday on the radio, and I'll see you this afternoon in my new suit.

Irrelephant

Feb 16, 2006

If Nothing Else

I'll give my pretty poor review this much--it's tripled my traffic thus far. Now three times as many people can see how on-again/off-again a writer I am! Damn, the wonders of the Information Age. No wonder I'm a Luddite.

So all you new readers--have any of you ventured back into the archives any, or are you giving me a cursory front page once-over, deciding you don't like what you see, and leaving for good? I'd honestly appeciate any constructive comments.

"Meh."

That's what I seem to have earned from the folk over at I Talk Too Much. Seems Bryce was stunningly unimpressed with my writing skills and the too blue background.

A few things I can't figure--someone commented about the header appearing twice...I don't get that, it's only there once. The too blue? Being fixed, I've got a new template on the way. The Cafepress stuff has been gone for a while, so I REALLY can't figure that. All I can assume is that Firefox is displaying everything really wrong, and I can't figure Firefox, just not that good at programming. Hopefully the new template will take care of that problem.

So. *shrug*

I'm a hit-or-miss writer, someone can't tell if I'm a man or a woman (the picture didn't help there, sparky?) and I earned a whopping one smack. Ah well. Such is life, eh? Me, I'm going to hold my head up high, keep on plugging, and not be one of those spoiled-brat kids on American Idol who go out cussing and spitting about the unfairness of the judges. I asked for critique, I got it. I'll take some steps suggested to clean the place up, and I might even resubmit, but I guess if my writing sucks so badly it won't help.

Meh. *S*

Feb 15, 2006

Hump Day

It was most definitely a Hump Day today.

We swapped two offices, three people's worth of furniture and books and boxes and telephones and everything else, and I found out that as soon as we acquire another Business Office Specialist I'll be moving into the offices of...wait for it...VULGAR WIZARD! Rock and/or Roll!

And I'll unofficially become the Unofficial Business Office Manager Jr.! Cooooolio.

And join me in welcoming our newest Talkies Tuesday member Leesepea! Or is that LeesePea? Or Leese Pea? I'm not sure. *lol* Anyway, the thing is, this is the young lady who has been on the outskirts of Talkies Tuesday, the very person whom I have been prepping for and then not finding.

Well, I've found you now, and kith and kin, we'll see her next Talkies Tuesday!

Notification - Inappropriate Content

Yeah, you guys got to see four of these, didn't you. Or three, if you were slower than most. Faster than me, obviously, because I didn't see until tonight that I had gone and had FOUR of these damned warning messages sent up from work. The firewall/whitebox got me, Big Brother tromped on me, and I STILL don't know why. I changed that post FOUR TIMES, and finally VW posted it for me.

Ah well. As one of my very favourite people in the world likes to say, "Live proceeds."


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thanks,
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The Moderne Man

Remember back when you were a kid, and taking a bath was fun time? You had plenty of water, a good assortment of toys, you were easily excitable, fashion wasn't even a remote consideration, and above all you didn't have to choose your own fragrance.
Yup, you heard me right. Fragrance. And don't look all surprised, you know full well what I mean.

I took a shower this morning like I always do, but this morning I had to open a new bottle of shampoo. And I'm a guy who doesn't worry about his shampoo much past the question "Is it less than a buck?" This morning's new dollar bottle of shampoo was pretty far out of my usual realm, though. See, Suave is cheap and plentiful, which coincidentally is also what I look for in a good Chinese buffet, but that's neither here nor there. For some reason, the last grocery shopping trip landed me a bottle of VO5 shampoo, though, instead of the usual red or yellow or orange Suave. Little did I realise that I was opening myself up for some serious VO5 Tea Therapy.

Their words, not mine.

Why does everything you shower with have to smell? Back when you were that wiggly kid in the tub with your GI Joes or your rubber ducky or whatever, there was a plain white bar of soap, and one of those pear-shaped bottles of Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo, and that was it. It was yellowish orange, it didn't burn your eyes, and it smelled kind of bland, like, well, like that bar of plain white soap. And that was back when "smelling like soap" meant that it smelled clean and vaguely greenish somehow, and that was that. My soap now? Depending on what I've been given for the last holiday it either smells like the Pacific Coast, a breeze out of a Mountain Glade, or a Coniferous Forest.

My shampoo used to smell like strawberries, back when I was in the familiar if boring land of Suave shampoo. Before that I think it was Apple Mango or something, but this morning my high-and-tight smells like the inside of a Chinaman's teapot. My shave gel usually matches my soap thank goodness, or I'd have the odor of salt water and jellyfish on my body and the smell of a Fresh Meadow Zephyr on my cheeks, mixed with the Pine Woods of my aftershave gel, which would be trying unsuccessfully to blend in with the Etruscan Coast Green Tea scent from my hair, the musky smell of wet rope from my Old Spice deodorant and the wafts of Guatamala Antigua on my breath from my toothpaste.

What's really sad about all this is that my wife is about ten times as bad with the Scented Soap Sensation. She's got more products for more different parts of her than we both have parts together. The corner shelves of the shower shudder under the combined weight of forty-seven plastic bottles of ungents, creams, soaps ointments and oils. When she steps out of the shower she smells like Carmen Miranda's hat laying siege to a Tahitian Farmer's Market. I don't even want to know what she spends on a weekly basis on this stuff, but I know for sure that she's on a first-name basis with every employee of the Soap And Shampoo department at our local Target store. Just last week she received her Platinum Sponsor card at Bath And Bodyworks. It's gotten to where I can usually figure out what's for supper by how she smells in the morning.

But what do I know about soaps and shower products and scented powders? I use whatever is in front of me, and I figure I'm doing well if nobody checks the trashcan when I pass by. Hey, don't blame me, I still like Paula Cole.

Thank you, thank you all so much. I'll be here all week. Be sure and try the pork roast, and tip your waitperson or you're liable to get something foul in your drink.

Feb 14, 2006

Talkies Tuesday - Valentine's Day Special Edition

In which I hold forth about ancient Aztec rituals and why love stinks. So! Get ready for a big dose of Valentine's Day Special Edition misery as---

Vulgar Wizard reveals the true meaning of Valentine's Day--buying overpriced flowers and cheap candy to impress someone who should really know better.

Hannibal The Hampster discusses the ramifications of the ancient ritual of abandoning ill-behaved children on wind-swept mesas for Valentine's Day and why we need to start this time-honoured tradition again.

Strange Cousin Susan delves deeply into the whys and why nots of celebrating Christian holidays while enduring self-immolation at the hands of raging forest fires and the impact on the environment of burning candy and flowers.




this is an audio post - click to play


Feb 13, 2006

By Jove!

The Toy Group is showing, which is a complete yawner for me except for the Italian Greyhound. Worse, I'm going to miss the Non-Sporting Group, which means the Chow Chow is going to be utterly beautiful and is not going to win anything. As usual.

The star of the Toy Group for me has to be the judge, Dr. Harry Smith. According to our hosts, Dr. Smith is certified to judge ALL SEVEN groups, which makes him one of about 35 judges in the world so certified. Impressive by itself, but when I caught sight of this venerable gent I almost applauded for him. White haired, somber expression, for the evening he wore a claw-hammer tailed tuxedo, and on the judging table behind him I caught sight of a silk top-hat, a pair of white gloves, and a black and white cane.

Utterly gentlemanly, utterly classic, utterly marvelous. Bravo, Dr. Smith.

Great Caesar's Ghost!

Rufus, the Coloured Bull Terrier just took the Terrier Group! And Coco, the horrid little Norfolk Terrier got SECOND! HAH! Take that Coco you little witch!

It's going to be a very interesting final. I would have liked to see the Bedlington at least place, but the word is that Bedlingtons aren't bred widely enough to really make a big splash in the national eye. Pah.

Jesus Wept!

Shaka the Rotweiller just won the Working Group at Westminster! The winningest Rotweiller ever, shown by his owner/breeder/handler. That's the only type of person in the entire show who can blow smoke up his own ass.

My heart stopped for just a moment when the judge pulled the Rottie as first. If the Doberman had won first, I would have needed resuscitation.

If the Borzoi wins tomorrow night I am going to need an undertaker.

I's Been Tagged

Now, you guys know I'm not a big fan of memes, and not a big fan of forwarded emails, and not a big fan of much of the foolishness that goes on with blogs, but then again, I am a pretty foolish blogger, and I have been known to forward some pretty silly stuff, so I guess since I've been tagged (notice 'tagged,' not 'tapped') I'll be the good sport AND be a silly arse all at the same time.

Huzzah!

I don't know that this one has an official name, but I'm going to call it

The Proprioception Meme.

Four jobs I’ve had in my life:
1. Mushroom (left in the dark and fed shit)
2. Widget Degreaser (for WidgetCo, LLC)
3. Headlight Fluid Quality Control Officer for Ford Motor Company
4. Sacrificial Virgin (got kicked out of that one for less than obvious reasons)

Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. Stop, Drop And Roll--gotta love Dick Van Dyke
2. Your Toenails And You, Scholastic School Films
3. The Matrix IV: You Still Don't Get It, Do You?
4. Those 'specialty' movies you gotta pay for

Four places I've lived:
1. Under the stairs
2. Inside a hollowed-out Hugo from Lost
3. In my own head--by far the most rewarding, but awfully cramped
4. Older than my teeth but not older than my tongue

Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. That show with that girl...
2. That other show that's not as funny.
3. The little white dot show when you turn the set off.
4. The Static Channel. I can watch that channel for hours.

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Hanoi Hannah's Vietnam World
2. Portland General Hospital
3. Disney World Pakistan
4. Work

Four of my favorite dishes:
1. The big dark blue ones we use everyday
2. Those kind of oval ones you get at cheap Mexican places that's always hot.
3. Alton Brown's dishes, the ones that look like dice
4. That cute receptionist down at the bank, she's a real dish.

Four websites I visit daily:
1. www.whatastupidnameforablog.blogspot.com
2. www.jennhasadick.com (shout out to my Cur homies--representin'!)
3. www.firnk.com
4. www.onteatthatstevehomestarrunnerredvsblue.com

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. In Michelle Rodriguez's car when she's not drunk
2. That nice sensory deprivation chamber at the hospital
3. Disne...no, I'm not THAT Goofy.
4. Exactly twelve feet from where I am right now.

Four bloggers I am tagging:
1. Ah dude, I ain't tagging nobody. I don't KNOW anybody.

Racket To The Right Of Me, Cacophony To The Left!

I used to wonder why Adrenaline Junkie always came up front to sit and drink water and talk. I thought he was just bored, or hungry for human company. I know better now.

A long chain of events has lead to this point. Let me sum up.

Katrina and Rita blew through, removing a few shingles from the brand-new roof. The weather has been seasonably wet and rainy, and water, being water, has found the path of least resistance down, which instead of being down the shingles is now down through the plywood of the roof and down onto the suspended ceiling. It just so happens that Friday last we had a wonderous storm that lasted all day. I was allowed to leave early partly because I was done with my tasks and partly because our cracked-concrete/dirt composite parking lot was fast becoming a lake.

As I was leaving, I mentioned to AJ and to Vulgar Wizard that I could hear the water dripping in the ceiling. I should have stayed, because I'm told that very shortly therafter watery hell broke loose over my desk. Most everything was saved but for my desk calendar.

This morning I arrive to find my desk accoutremonts scattered around the office and out of harm's way, three acoustic tiles missing from the ceiling, large slabs of insulation here and there, and trash cans strategically placed on my desk to catch errant rain droplets, which thankfully have stopped.

The drawback to this arrangement? The attic of the building is, like most, open to the outside air via soffet vents and other carpentry tricks necessary to make an attic work. The outside temperature? 28, last I looked. The result? Not only is my desk scattered to pain and tarnation but there is an artic blast (quite literally) tumbling down out of the attic and onto my desk surface and the entire front area, for that matter. The heater? Blowing as hard as it can, but naturally physics is not our friend, and all that lovely hot air is rising rising rising right up to the attic, where it is doing me no good.

So where am I? I'm sitting in AJ's office, with my necessaries scattered hither and yon, trying to do my job, and learning just why it is that we see AJ so often in the front offices.

IT'S NOISY BACK HERE!

It's worse than sitting in a machine shop. I feel like I'm officing in a chicken coop with the fox right outside. Even with The Brandenburg Concerto running at fair volume I can't concentrate on numbers and visits. Instead I find myself being pulled hither and thither, accompanied by the cackling and giggling of most of an office-full of nurses.

I'm going insane. That's all there is to it. It's too farking noisy back here.

And I miss being able to joke with VW and Tobias when I want to, and I miss my printer being within easy reach, and I miss my view outside to the sunshine and the cars running back and forth like colourful beetles on the interstate. I miss the comfortable, familiar, efficient arrangement of my desk, and I most especially miss the quiet. When VW and Tobias and I work, it's done pretty quietly. Our jobs require a fair dose of concentration and accuracy, and quiet is the side-effect of concentration.


I'm going mad. I miss my desk.

Feb 10, 2006

It's Raining, It's Flooding

Yup, you got it. It's not just raining, it's not just pouring, it's flooding. Water, standing in the yard. Deep water.

Part of the problem, naturally, is that I live in Louisiana. All of Louisiana is under the water table, all the time. You can pour a glass of water in the yard and it'll puddle, because the water table is about half of an earthworm underneath the grass. The cicadas come up out of the ground from their seventeen year lifespan wearing tiny scuba gear. Birds that eat insects living in the grass usually do so wearing snorkels and masks. When replanting sod you dig it up from one place, move it to the new spot, then wring it out before you replant it. People around the world were astounded when Katrina and Rita burst the levees down south. People in Louisian were not surprised, because the only question on their minds was not "Will it happen" but "Is it going to make it to here, and do I need to get the motor reattached to the pirogue?"

It's raining outside. It's been raining all day. It's been raining like a blind cow pissing on a flat rock all day is how my father would say it, and he'd be right. It's a frog strangler out there. And it's coming down so hard so fast that it's not going anywhere, so everywhere you look there's standing water.

Tonight? A freeze. Shreveport? They're expecting snow. So is most of east Texas and Arkansas, probably. What are we going to get, here on the buckle of the boot? More rain. I think the topography of the state is such that everything from below Ruston is hot and tropical, and everything from there up is not. Ruston gets snow. We get rain. Shreveport gets freezing rain. We get rain. Arkansas gets fourteen inches of perfect powder. We get three feet of rain. On top of the previous rain, and all the rainwater that comes to us down the Red and Mississippi rivers.

The part that really gets me? My grapes are going to freeze. I have to cover them up tonight, preferably with old towels to keep the brand new tiny white buds from freezing and killing the plant. If it doesn't stop raining, though, it's going to be bad, because as much as I love the potential that my grapes represent I don't see myself standing out there tonight in a big overcoat and my gumboots holding an umbrella over each and every dry-towel covered grape.

For very long, at least.

Total Occupancy Limited To Two Cats

The Fire Marshall almost busted up in our bathroom today due to a wall to wall expanse of feline pultritude far in excess of the occupancy limit of our five square foot bathroom.
See, it's a normal occurrance for Egan and Fiona to appear in the bathroom every morning.  Well, actually it started with Cracker, our OBA, or Original Bathroom Attendant.  Whenever any of us would use the bathroom for any reason, Cracker would come from wherever he was in the house and attend us, which mostly included sitting there staring at us, but we had a running joke that Cracker was there to present you with warm towels, make sure the toilet paper roll was new and facing the right way, and to offer you a mint with his tip tray.
Like all things, though, it didn't last.  He got tired of his attendant duties around the time that Egan came into his own.  Egan is the main go-to guy for any sort of bathroom activities now.  Showering?  He'll be there, patiently sitting on the vanity, or meatloafed on the toilet seat waiting for some lovins.  Either that or he's yowling for you to turn the faucet on just enough that the flow is a tiny one, so he can daintily and sloppily drink his fill.  Bathing?  He's actually tried to join the wife during a tub soak, which elicited a howl of horror not from him but from her.  Egan's only concern?  That he couldn't rescue his mom from drowning.
It seems that Egan believes that we're in some sort of danger, you see.  If you make the mistake of reaching out of the shower for anything at all you're running the risk of getting a very long, very sharp claw hooked in whatever exposed part of you that you foolishly showed, and he will then proceed to throw the might of his 8 or so pounds into dragging you out of the shower.
Quite a surprise when all you wanted was to reach the shaving gel.
And then along came Fiona Applesauce, who is young enough to be very impressionable.  Watching Egan, who is next-to-youngest in the family, she has decided that The Place To Be is the bathroom.  Her role, however, is to sit in the direct flow from the heater vent and go into a heat coma as fast as possible.
So naturally, the patterns being established, this morning things had to take a sinister turn.  A flood of cat fur arrived, you see.  Not just the regular two, but Cracker the OBA and Delilah, who is rarely if ever spotted in the vicinity of tubs, showers, or other large standing puddles of water.  This morning it was physically impossible to step anywhere without encountering a furry tail, head, or some other feline bit.  The only way to make it around the area this morning was to drag my feet along the floor, scooting animals out of the way as I shuffled like a overweight grandma making her way through Wal-Mart's meat aisle.
Sometimes, like on cold nights, it's nice to have a bed covered in warm, feline fur.  When you get out of the shower, however, it's like trying to slip on a pair of very wooly socks.  Don't try it.  It'll only end in tears.  And yowls.

Feb 9, 2006

Because, You See,

Sometimes we really get bored AND creative at work.  One of the dangers of liking your boss...fairly stories.
You know what a fairly story is, don't you?  It's a story that's fairly intelligent, fairly well-written, and fairly as sharp as a serpent's tooth.
 

Tell Us A Story, Vulgar Wizard And Irrelephant...

Vulgar Wizard: One upon a time,
Irrelephant: in a land so far away that they hadn't even come up with a name for how far away it was,
VW: there lived a woman named "Poop Shoe."
Irr: She was a very pretty woman, but she had a peculiar smell.
It seems that the very evil Cankle Queen emptied her chamber pot upon Poop Shoe's person, causing her shoes to fill with refuse. 
Now this upset Poop Shoe very deeply, but never one to stay depressed for long she took a hormone pill and a Lexapro out of her purse, washed them both down with a generous swig of gin and tonic, and squished and squelched her way to her mighty chariot.
Suddenly, wings sprouted on the heels of her poopy shoes, and she began to fly high above the Kingdom of the Cankle Queen.
She flew and she flew for hours, high above the Cankle Kingdom, dripping moist chunklets of poop onto the heads of all the followers and admirers and oh so numerous (and foul) lovers of the Cankle Queen.
Suddenly, Cankle Queen shouted to the heavens, "Why hast thou shat upon my soul?!?!?" 
In response, the beautiful and gentle-hearted Poop Shoe shook off an unusually generous portion of poop which fell with the force of a big stinky rock and landed **KER-SPLAT** right in the Cankle Queen's cattle-gap of a mouth.
"Mmmph urrfff bmmmmpt murrrrmm," Cankle Queen loudly mumbled, but it was too late; Poop Shoe was far away, and the crowd of loyal subjects howled at and mocked the Queen.
While the Cankle Queen muttered and mumbled around her bulging mouth-full of human excrement, Poop Shoe's loyal and lovely friend Sexy Shoes and her loyal and handsome friend Beat Up Boots brought out a cart full of worm-filled human dung and began shouting at the top of their lungs "Get your free filth here!  Filth for the flinging right here!"
Poop Shoe declined the offer, for she had been served more than her fair share of filth that day, and instead flew home to enjoy many martini's with her new beau, Glass Slipper Man.
 
The End.
 

But Can She Dance The Polka?

A guy walks into a bar and orders a beer.  The bar is empty except for him and the bartender, but as he drinks his beer he hears a voice say "That sure is a nice tie."  He looks around but the bartender is way at the other end of the bar, and he's alone.  Shrugging, he keeps drinking his beer, when he hears the voice again.  "Say, you look like you've lost weight.  You look great!"  Freaking out a bit, he whips his head around to see if anyone has snuck in.  The bar as before is empty, and the bartender is still far away.  Turning to his beer again, he hears the same voice: "That haircut really suits you!" 
Ready to find the trickster, he angrily turns to the bartender and says "Hey, come here."  The bartender walks over, and the guy says "I keep hearing this voice tell me that my tie is nice and that I'm losing weight...what gives?"
The bartender nods, pointing to the bowl of nuts in front of the guy, and says "Don't worry, it's the peanuts.  They're complimentary." 
I realised a horrible thing a long time ago, and it's haunted me for a long time.  That thing?  The fact that you cannot compliment a woman.  Why can't you compliment women anymore?  Almost every time I make a sincere attempt at making someone's day, or try to appreciate someone's looks I get a wide variety of smirks, snarls, disgusted looks, excuses, and a whole gamut of needless comebacks.  It's rare as hen's teeth that I get a gracious smile or a demure "thank you."  WHY?
See, I'm the sort of guy who would prefer, ten times out of ten, to see a makeup-free face, freckles in a spray across cheekbones and shoulders, and the smell of sunlight and fresh air in her hair rather than an airbrushed perfectly symetrical face, makeup applied by a small army of attendants, presented like a vase under glass.  When I see a woman who has that 'commercial' beauty it makes me think of very expensvie surgeons grinding down cheekbones, inserting plastic chins and cutting away excess skin, when beauty that is natural and home-grown is infinitely preferable.  A smooth expanse of Barbie doll hard stomach reeks of days spent vomiting up lunch, while a round expanse of belly with the occasional stretch mark has for me all the hallmarks of life and reality.  So is it that I'm complimenting the women who least expect it?  Because ordinarily I wouldn't cross the street to look at a store display pretty girl.
So what's the answer?  Beats me.  All I can suggest, ladies, is that next time someone approaches you and tells you that you look nicee, or that your perfume is particularly suiting, or that you look fetching in your new frock, look them straight in the eye and say, with quiet grace and demure voice "Why thank you."
Sincerely,
A Gentleman

Feb 8, 2006

Snap!

Lost is on tonight.

I've heard that the writers are going to cut Anna Lucia from the show. Seems she's a prima dona, and the whole drunk-driving incident shines a bad light on the rest of the show, so they're giving her the axe.

I heard the actor who portrays Hurley on Bob & Tom this morning, and he says that they write the show about three episodes faster than the broadcasts, so it's likely to be soon. This is dreadful, the end must be near.

Maybe they could keep Anna Lucia as a love interest for Herr Doktor and they could kill Hurley off so that the newly-wed Doc and Anna could hollow him out and live in him.

Dude Man

Yes, Dude Man. Steppin' out of the East Side to do battle with slam-dancers, women who don't shave their pits, and bartenders who are skimpy on the alcohol in mixed drinks.

Dude Man. Able to disco the night through, and still have the strength to put on a Da-Glo condom when pleasuring his 'special' lady.

Dude Man. Still wearing a huge perm twenty years later.

Dude Man. Can breathe better than the Marlboro Man, but that's about all he's got going for him.

Dude Man. Owner of a 1972 Pinto station wagon. Colour? Faraway (Baby Cornflower) Blue.

Dude.


It's astounding how I can sit at work and come up with several blog topics and lines of discussion when I CAN'T get access to a computer to blog, but the moment I park the tail at home in the office, in my big comfy leather chair with the lights dim and just the white phosphor glow of the big Philips 19" to light my way....nothing. It all dries up, rather like Dude Man when he finds out that his 'special' lady of the night has Herpaghonnasyphillaids. And bad breath.

Exercise. It's actually been happening. After the disastrous first walk and the blindingly bad cramp I've found my walking distance and speed. Rather like my first serious drinking binge at age 17...drink until I almost pass out on the cheapest K&B brand burbon, and then next morning feel like thin-hammered dog crap. After that I realised that one has to PACE oneself. Exercise, same so. Walking a bit, and I'm already up to 16 pushups at one go, even breathing, so that's saying something.

Work. Crazy as an outhouse rat, but perhaps some relief in sight. A few new office staff, knock out a wall or two for new offices, and we'll be back in business. Until we grow too big again.

The Blog. Well, if any of you have been watching carefully, you've noticed things coming and going along the periphery. What's happened, you see, is I've submitted myself to a rather cuttingly strong critic group over at I Talk Too Much, and I've actually been reading to see what works and what doesn't, in hopes of garnering at least a single slap. I can't currently escape the dreaded Generic Blogger Template, but I have done a lot of surgery on it, and I actually have someone working on *gasp* a new, completely original, one-off template for me, based on my needs, my desires, and my Kosmik Konnection, whatever that is. Stay tuned for that. I've even done a fair bit of trim work on the sidebar, just to clean that all up nicely.

Now if only I could find my wide-lapeled ice blue velour evening jacket and my gold razor blade on it's herringbone chain.

Feb 7, 2006

FYI

Yes, I know it's Talkies Tuesday. And yes, I know I've already done a Talkies Tuesday post. Just think of this as a little extra, like a weird-shaped mole on your inner thigh or that potatoe chip shaped just like Jesus' instep that seems to have arrived on your plate of fish and chips seemingly out of nowhere.

A few posts back I mentioned jonesing for more tattoos, and that post engendered two comments, both from regulars. I never replied to those comments like I usually do because I was thinking about turning the comment into a post, which in my own slow-poking ass way I finally have.

Regal Monkey said...
I'm all about the rocking horse/carousel giraffe. Scrap the Ganesh... old ex had huge ganesh on one thigh... took up practically his whole thigh. Enough! Really, do what you want!

I laughed when I read about the ex's tattoo. Almost said "the ex-tattoo" there, which is kind of strange and implies laser light and lots of pork smells in the office. I think I'm still on for the rocking giraffe, it's a personal touch, like all of my tattoos are, and the Ganesh...honestly? I can be honest with you guys, right?

Kay.

I hate flying. I love airplanes of all kinds, but I'm not big on being inside them, if you dig what I mean. And the rules of my divorce keep me flying back and forth from here to Oregon at least once a year. Six airplanes at minimum, and to keep myself sane and centered, I carry a tiny pewter Ganesh statue in my pocket, him being the guy who watches out for travellers and over crossroads, he who is "The Opener Of The Way." I've always figured that if he can keep an eye out on crossroads then it wouldn't be much of a stretch for him to lay a tusk on airports and planes.

Plus, how cool is it to have had your head cut off as an infant and have your father who is also a god replace it with an elephant's head? An elephant's head that works! Damn...I should be so lucky.

And then

Strange Cousin Susan said...
Do tell about the other tats you've got! I've got a new one in mind, but I'm not sure where I'll have it done yet. Areas of my body where I can show it off when I want and hide it when I must are becoming very expensive real estate!


Oh, and then there's the possible lip piercing, or the area between my lower lip and my chin. =)

I'd actually love to tell you all about them, or post pictures, but honestly I'm one of those people who, like you, believe most sincerely that my tattoos are personal expressions of inner things. Don't feel bad, very few people have seen all my tattoos. More than a few friends of mine have seen my arm pieces, but I can count on the fingers of one hand the people who have seen all of my work (including me,) and that's the way I like it. The rest of them will likely be the same--I made plans a very long time ago for the extent of my tattooing, and it ends just shy of where my clothing ends. With care and planning (the hallmarks of my tattooing) I'll be able to wear my full suit of colours in public without anyone seeing anything of what I carry etched in my flesh.

Reading that sentence again a few times is making me feel like I'm implying some sort of smugness, or that I'm being coy. That's not it at all, and I don't mean to give that impression. It's just that my tattoos are visible representations of events that mean a great deal to me, representations that are, for me, given life as long as I because they are not just a collection of chemicals and electricity in my head, they are a visible collection of organic chemicals embedded in my skin, there for me to see whenever I care to, there for me to share with the few people that I have let all the way into my heart.

Talkies Tuesday - And Bob's Your Uncle

In which I hold forth about facial hair. I know, you can't wait to click that button, can you. Me, I'm still unsure if I should be audioblogging this early in the morning, because I seem to be awfully pedestrian this early.

BUT! Be sure and join our other pedestrians as THEY discuss their facial hair!

Vulgar Wizard gives us her opinion on women's roles in the development of facial hair as relates to important world events.

Hannibal The Hampster discusses the ramifications of infants wearing facial hair and the Chuck Norris sculpted look that has become all the rage in modern men's beards.

Strange Cousin Susan delves deeply into the whys and why nots of trimming facial hair into fanciful patterns, shapes and styles, as well as the use of chemical vs organic dyes on the chin.

and our newest member, Strange Cousin Susan's friend **HELP ME OUT HERE COUSIN SUSAN** whom I hope will join us this Tuesday, discussing the twelve reasons that beards look a darn sight like pubic hair.




this is an audio post - click to play


Feb 6, 2006

Sometimes I Sits And Wonders

And sometimes I just sits.
Like VW said this morning in her blog, it's been a Monday in here, which means all arseholes and elbows, everybody playing catch-up from the weekend
And yes, my worst fear has come true--I've become one of those people who get songs about them--"Everybody's Workin' For The Weekend."  I swore up and down that, now that I have an 8-5 M-F job I wouldn't become one of those people who moan and gripe all week, waiting for Friday afternoon and the weekend.  I've tried so hard to keep away that mindset, the one that tells me that I can only do things on the weekend, but the problem is that most EVERYTHING I want to do has to have it's own weekend, because, like my Xmas list, everything I need to do is BIG.  No more teetiny jobs that can be accomplished in ten minutes.  Those have LONG been done, or get done during the evening hours.  No, the week for me at work is as regimented as a British Army engineering corps.
And yes, that sucks.  *lol*  I'm measuring out my life in stages--first thing in the morning, get child on the bus, head to work.  Check the lab fridge's temp.  Run the hospital report.  Enter nurses visits for the previous day.  Return whatever orders came back in the mail.  Print the certification report.  It's all got a defined place to be, and what's sad is that it all works WELL that way.  I'm organised enough to manage that much, at least.  But of course now my entire day revolves around work with the precision of a Swiss clock.
Which is good in a way.  I like that sense of stability.
It's also bad in a way.  It's static, unchanging, and has the stink of death around it.
Creepy, ain't it!
It's me, you see.  Iffen I let it, my body will happily fall into whatever rut is presented it, rather like a cow will wander miles just to fall into a ravine.  And as long as it's comfortable, or can be made that way I'll stay there without even a 'moo,' so I find myself carefully guarding against that sort of thing.
So what's happened?  I've fallen, and have no desire to get up.  My day revolves along with the might and majesty and moribundity of a caliope, and I'm on for the ride.
Must!
Break!
Free!
 
"Moo."

 

 

The Soul Of Brevity

Why use fifteen words to say what you can say in six, and still arrive at the same meaning?
"Speech Therapy to visit patient for eval on patient having difficulty in swallowing at times."
Why not just say--
"Speech Therapy to eval and treat" and then you call or fax the speech therapist the patient's symptoms, or since we're in the medical field and are known to do all that abbreviating--
"ST eval/tx."
Cripes, people...