Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'll Have What He's Having, Please

Things Handsome did today:

  • Wrestled
  • Played soccer
  • Played tag
  • Rescued a baby bird in distress
  • Went to Plaster Fun Time
  • Went for a drive
  • Wrestled some more
  • Played basketball
  • Went on a 'ring-and-run' rampage through the neighborhood
  • Played more basketball
  • Played hide-and-seek
  • Went swimming for a couple of hours
  • Took a shower
  • Watched a movie
And that's just the high points! There was more, this is all I can rattle off off the top of my head. My question is: Where in the world does he get the energy? Is it something he ate? Just looking at that list makes me need a nap, and that was on a day off! A day where he was taking it easy! I fold a pile of laundry and I have to sit down and take a break! I've almost dozed off three times just writing this little blog! When did I turn into 'Old Tired Guy', and why didn't I do anything about it?
Okay, I'd love to rant about this some more, but after that paragraph above I'm just exhausted!

Talk to you...

...I can't even finish it. I'm just too tired.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

But I'm Not Thirsty!

Tonight on the way home, Handsome was thinking about my anhidrosis. Our conversation made him laugh quite a bit, so I'll try to recreate it here, for you.

"Dad," he said, "I think it's weird that they thought you were dehydrated when you weren't sweating. Where did they think it was all going?"
"They didn't know I wasn't sweating yet," I told him. "All they knew was that I was having signs of heat stroke and it was barely 60 degrees out that day. Usually, when someone gets heatstroke it has to do with them sweating all the water out of their system until their body just runs out. Then, with no water cooling their system, they start to over heat really fast and *bam* they get heatstroke."
"But couldn't they check you?"
"Oh," I replied, "they did. They took some of my blood and checked to see how much water was in that. I could have just peed in a cup, I guess, but I had been drinking water all day and not sweating any of it out. I was going to the bathroom every fifteen minutes, and the water that was going into me was coming out right away, practically unchanged. I could have peed it right back into a bottle and still sold it as spring water, for crying out loud!"
In the seat beside me, my son started laughing.
"I probably could have peed in a cup for them, but they would have said "Hey, slow down there, pal! You just took this from the tap, didn't you!""
"'No,' I'd have said. 'I'm just super hydrated is all. I'm sloshing. Look, I've been drinking grape flavored water all day, right? Well smell that sample! Does it smell like urine to you? Nope, smells like grape, doesn't it? Enticing, right? Make you want to try a sip?"
Beside me, Hansome was laughing fit to bust. Feeling like a funnyman, I went on.
"Put two bottles side by side! In one we put grape Propel, in the other we put some Propel that's gone through me! We'll call it Propee! Propel and Propee, a blind taste test! What do you think?"
The passenger window rolled down suddenly, and Handsome stuck his head out.
"What are you doing?"
"I was laughing so hard," he said, "I threw up a little in my mouth!"
I took up a bottle from the cup holder between the seats and held it out to him.
"Wanna wash it out with some grape Propel? I promise it's Propel."
I made an evil face.
"...or is it?"
He started laughing again, turned a little green, and his head went back out the window.

He is my best audience.

Nothing says funny like vomit in your throat!

Talk to you later!

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's Called 'Underwear' For A Reason...

Okay, what's the deal with the way some women dress?
Ladies, please, help me out here. I seriously want to understand, if I can.

I stopped at a BJ's Wholesale Foods last night on my way home from work. I had gathered my purchases, and rolled up to one of the registers; I started unloading my cart onto the cashier's conveyor belt when I noticed the family at the register next to me. It was an extended family, what looked to be a woman of 18 or 20, her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother.There was also an older man, obviously the grandfather, and a very young boy who may have been the young woman's little brother, but could have been her son. I never found out.
I noticed them because they were pretty loud, and they were such a large group they kept spilling over into the line at my register. Especially the younger woman, who seemed to have a lot of energy and just couldn't stand still. She especially caught my eye.
Well, not her exactly. More her underwear. She was wearing white bikini briefs with a pattern of little hearts on them.
How do I know this?
Her underwear was clearly visible beneath the amazingly tightly stretched cotton fabric in the shorts of the one-piece jumper she was wearing. I think the jumper had started out as terrycloth, but terry is thick and in no way see-through. This terrycloth had been stretched so tight I think it was in danger of Total Reality Failure; one more ounce of pressure on this jumper and it would puff into non-existance and Reality would have to Reverse Engineer itself so that the cloth had never really existed.  The Emperor's New Clothes had been written about just this kind of stuff. It was stretched so tight I was afraid to bump her, with either myself or my cart; the slightest nick in the fabric and it would have burst like an over-filled balloon, leaving the poor girl wearing naught but a raggedy necklace while the rest of us picked little bits of partially imaginary cloth out of our hair and clothes.
And through this peach colored cloth that had been stretched to the very edge of self-destruction, much to my dismay, her underclothes were clearly visible.
Through all this I was looking a bit sideways at the other women in the group. Here were the mother, aunt, and especially the grandmother of this girl, and they knew you could see through her clothes too. They could see what I saw, and (this was the part I was having trouble with), they were okay with it! I send Handsome back to get different pants when he outgrows them because his socks are showing!
This is something I've seen before, and I didn't understand it any better then. Are there any women out there willing to take a stab at explaining it to me?
Am I just an old, disapproving fart?

Talk to you later!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


So, as I think I've said before, aside from this blog I spend my mornings writing fiction; short stories which I try to polish up and submit in various places for publication. I've been trying to write fiction in the morning, the blog at lunch. When I can. One day last week I didn't write the blog at lunch; I had a surprise waiting for me.
I stopped in to the library that day, just as I did today. I sat down at one of the carolls that has an outlet next to it and fired up the laptop. The first thing I do when I sit down is check my email. As the laptop connected to the library's network my little email checker program threw me a pop-up telling me I had mail. I had a few, so I read them quickly until I got to this one, from the editor of Dark Moon Digest:


Looks like we will be using "Playmate Wanted" in Issue #5 of Dark Moon Digest. Just need a short bio (50 words or less) to include with the story. Thanks for the work you put into it. With Franny's edit and your changes, I think it will fit nicely into our first anniversary issue.

So one of my stories is going to be in a magazine. In print. I have one that was chosen to be in an e-zine soon, but this will be the first time I'll be in a printed magazine that people will have to buy to read...

I felt a huge grin spread across my face as I read the email again. My heart swelled with a combination of pride and excitement, and air rushed into my lungs as I prepared to let out a huge whoop of triumph -
-and I was in the library.
I held the breath and pumped a fist quietly.
It wasn't enough.
I let the breath out slowly as I pretended to pound violently on the desk, stopping my fist about a quarter inch from the wood with every blow.
Still not enough.
I added a kicking foot that stomped the floor in time to the almost pounding fist.
Not enough, and I noticed two library personel looking at me strangely. I quieted down before they called security. I looked around wildly, then started typing as fast as I could.


In other words, I had me a quiet little freak-out right there in the library.

You may have noticed that they asked me for a short (50 words or less) bio for their magazine. Here's what I came up with: 

"At 22 years old, Rob graduated with a BA in English from Salem State College. Now 42 , after years of people saying he tells a good story, he is trying his hand at writing some of them down. “Playmate Wanted” is his first time in a print publication."

That's what I sent in, and that's what they are going to use. Does anyone out there have any suggestions that may help me in the next bio I have to send out? Any ideas? Funny, serious or in-between? If you have any suggestions or ideas, please throw them in the comments section below. I'd love to hear from you!

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yup. Street Level.

This morning a friend on FaceBook asked me my thoughts on what people are saying about the Postal Service. She was referring to people on the news and such, but I don't watch TV very much and had no idea what she had just seen on the news. Instead I went off on a rant about the way the Postal Service is trying to micro manage everything, and the Big Guys are trying to run the whole system like it's a Big Buiness, and that they are failing to use the street level workforce as what it is: A street level presence for the customers with a street level knowledge of our business and how to keep our customers happy. I said that if we kill that bond that many of us have with our customers then we'll lose those customers, and they are the root of our business. I finished with a line that I was just all kinds of proud of. "Any gardener can tell you that if you kill the root, you kill the tree."
Sounds good, huh?
So I blasted that message out on FaceBook, finished my other writing for the morning and headed off to work. As I walked in the building to clock in I saw two guys in suits up at the supervisor's desk. I immediately thought what I then heard my co-workers grumbling as they walked by:
Terrific. Another service talk from some suits from the District who are here to tell us how they're going to do something bad to us for 'the good of the Service', and how we're going to have to just do it and deal with it.
I started sorting my mail and only got about 10 minutes into it before the Postmaster called a service talk.
I put down the mail I was working with and turned to park my butt against the edge of my workbench. I folded my arms across my chest and tried to set my face into immobility.
(I've been told that I have a tendency to  make faces and snort derisively during these things, and I'm trying to not be so obvious about it)
The Postmaster and our manager made their Safety talks, and I managed to keep quiet and not make faces.
I was feeling a little proud of that.
Then the two suits introduced themselves and one of them started their pitch.
"We're here today to talk to you, the carriers, about using your street level presence and intimate knowledge of your customers to help us in the Sales department."
My mouth dropped open.
I had to check later, and it turned out that I was okay, but at the time I thought I might have wet my pants a little. I didn't, but honestly, if he had gone on to start a 'tree' analogy things may have wound up being horribly different at my bench and I would have had to go home for fresh clothes!
I listened intently to their talk, and the Q&A afterward. I was so pleased to have someone talking to us who wanted to work with us rather than trying to crack the whip and convince us that we work for them I didn't know what to do!
Thank You, God, I thought. This just about makes up for the sweaty tickly ears, You practical joker You!

Then I went into the bathroom to make sure I didn't have to go home for fresh clothes.
The state of my shorts was good.
Well ... pretty good.
... well, ...good enough.

Sometimes it's almost like I know what I'm talking about.

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chubby Knievel

This weekend, Handsome and I were at a park. He and some kids were playing tag on the climbing structure. You know the things I mean, those big things you see at the park or playground that has platforms, bridges, ladders, slides; just all manner of things. He was playing with a bunch of kids he had never met before, in that uncaring way that younger kids have.

"Hey, can I play?"
     "Do we know you?"
"No, but I was -"
     "TAG! You're it!"

So anyway, there was a kid who started playing with them who was there with his mother and little brother. No, wait, I misspoke. He was there with his younger brother, since he wasn't really little.
He looked like a downscaled version of some of those guys you see competing in those "World's Strongest Man" competitions you can see on television if you have insomnia. He had a body shaped like a barrel, not a rib in sight. When they were handing out necks, he thought they said "next", and he just moved along to the next window. He had some powerful, if short, arms and legs, and his feet, when he removed his sandals, were thick bricks of flesh with five little tiny toes clinging haphazardly to the front end of each. He was chubby, but there was some muscle in there. Football teams should start keeping an eye on him now, and I don't think he was quite two years old. He may have been younger, I'm not sure. I do know that instead of words he was getting by on a lot of pointing and grunting, and he easily out massed his older brother.
Anyway. The older kids, the ones who could run, were playing tag, so this pint-sized powerhouse went off with his mother, who was carrying a little 3-wheeler push-bike; basically a tricycle without pedals. The two of them went to over on the far side of the structure so he would have room to push his bike, and they were out of my sight for a while.
The next time I saw the half-pint he-man he was pushing that bike along... on top of the structure. The whole structure was quite long, with three platforms connected by bridges, and the platform at the far end from me was attached to a long, gently sloping ramp all the way to the ground. This binky-sucking strongman had made his way up the ramp and along the structure until he was crossing the second bridge onto the platform I was leaning on. Seeing me, a wide smile creased his wide face and he muscularly motored his way over to me.
"Hi," he said, one of the few words I  heard him use.
"Hi," I replied. I had been leaning on the platform at one of the open spots in the railing atop it, where one of the climbing ladders was. His smile widened even further, causing me to become nervous about the possibility of the top of his head falling off. I didn't have a lot of time to worry about that, though. Grinning like a pumpkin -based Halloween decoration, sturdy legs churning, he sent that push-bike straight through the break in the safety railing.
"Whoa there, Champ!"
I caught the front wheel of the bike as it left the platform. Since the wheel was right about at the height of my face, this moronic little muscleman was trying to drive his bike off a ledge better than 5 and a half feet off the ground! Since he was only about three feet tall himself, I could see no good outcome from this course of action. I shoved the bike backward, placing the front wheel back on the platform as the smile dropped from the little daredevil's face so fast there wasn't any transition time. One instant there was a wide smile, the next an intense frown.
"You're going to get hurt this way, Kiddo." I pushed the wheel a little to turn him in the right direction, and pointed. "You have to go back down the way you came, okay?"
I don't think this was a lad who was used to hearing "no" aimed in his direction. Face a thundercloud, he thrust the bike back toward the opening, jamming the wheel back into my hand. I dialed up my "Father" voice.
"No! You have to go the other way. Go on."
The change in tone got his attention, but after a moment's shock he just set about pushing harder against my hand, shouting things at me that, while not words exactly, clearly expressed his displeasure.
Well, now I was stuck. I couldn't get him down without getting up there, and I couldn't get up there without letting go of the wheel. I looked around and saw some of the other children watching.
"Anyone know where this kid's mother is?"
Handsome showed up on the other side of the platform, using the same connecting bridge that Young Suicidal had.
"She's over there, Dad!" He was pointing off toward the other side of the structure, somewhere I couldn't see. He came over and tried to reason with my pudgy problem.
No luck. All that happened was that he started shouting at the both of us, still pushing the bike at me with one hand while pushing at Handsome with the other.
"Hey, Handsome, can you get his Mom?"
In answer, Handsome simply stood straight and shouted off in the direction he had pointed.
"Hey! Your kid's trying to drive off the cliff over here! He's gonna get hurt!"
A few moments later a woman strode up the ramp and across the entire structure, following the same path as her erstwhile offspring. When she got there she didn't yell at him, nor did she try to pull him back. Instead she tipped him sideways, rolling him off the push-bike. Rather than trying to drag him, kicking and screaming, back to where she was sitting, she simply carried the bike away just a little faster than he could go. Still bellowing his wordless displeasure he followed in her wake, waving his arms and marching with a stiff, no-kneed stride. He looked for all the world like the villain in a Mexican Midget Wrestling match.

Footballer? Wrestler? World's Strongest Man?
Doctor? Physicist? Great man of words?
I don't think so.

Talk to you later!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Here, Kitty!

This was my last morning watching my sister's cats. I had to feed them before I left for work. My instructions were to feed George first, then Charlie. No problem! In the past day or so they have stopped hiding all the time, so I figured they'd come out to the food bowls no problem!
Well, half a problem. Charlie was out there like a shot, but there was no sign of George.
Okay, still no problem. I'll just take the bowl of food and show it to George. That'll get him out here!
So I took George's bowl, put the food in it and began to walk around the house calling him.
No George.
Under the bed?
Behind the couches?
Under the toilet or in the tub?
No, I didn't manage to flush him out of the bathroom.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)
Windowsills, closets, under tables, under chairs, on top of the refrigerator, behind the laundry equipment, back in the bedroom to check in the bed, under the spare bed ...
That's when I vocalized what had been nagging at the back of my mind as I searched. Something I had been afraid to look at as a real possibility. I looked at Charlie, who was pacing me the entire time, just praying to whatever Greater Being cats pray to that I would drop that bowl of food.
He looked at me.
"Do you think George got out?"
His response was to replace his unblinking stare on the bowl I still held, so no help there.
I started moving faster, looking in all the places I had just looked in the vain hope that I had looked right at him and just not seen him the first time. In the bed, under the bed, couches, toilet, tub, windowsills, closets, under tables, under chairs, on top of the refrigerator, behind the laundry equipment, under the spare bed. The whole time I was waving the food and calling his name, again and again; in my mind however, a different mantra was playing.
She's gonna kill me ... She's gonna kill me ...
But still, I found nothing.
I was running out of time, and I had to leave for work. That's when I remembered a place that my sisters cat used to get into when we were kids. I went over the end of one of the couches, the end that has the recliner built into it, and carefully pulled the leg rest up.
There, inside the couch I had previously only thought to look behind, was George.
Trying to remain calm and have a nice, calm voice, I asked him, "What the hell are you doing in there?" In answer he casually rose and stalked out of the couch through an opening in the side of the frame, just so I'd know that he was never trapped or anything, but had chosen to remain in there while I searched the house frantically. Twice.
...and then some.
As I knelt there, watching George vacate the furniture, Charlie bumped my hand roughly with his head, trying to jostle me into dropping the food bowl I was still carrying.
"You were not a lot of help," I told him.
He meowed and licked his lips.
I finished getting ready and managed to be only 10 minutes late for work.
Yup. Cats. What fun!

The real pisser is, I still like the both of them.

Talk to you later!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Driver

Handsome has been seeing commercials for a local place that dies Go-Kart rentals and Mini Golf. Today I decided to take him there as a bit of a surprise. He was happy to go, and was jumping up and down at the idea of driving the Go-Kart.
"I'm gonna beat you," he kept telling me, a huge smile on his face.
Now, for those of you who have never been out to a Go-Kart track, as I had not been before today, I'll tell you that there is no 'starting line'. You roll out of the shed and go, they start you one at a time. Since I was last in line, I entered the track being lapped by the first one or two drivers. Handsome, who had started right in front of me, was a half a lap ahead of me when I started.
I never got any closer.
I wound up trapped behind a girl in a yellow car. There were "NO bumping" signs all over the track, including the rear of all the cars, so I had the feeling that they were taking that rule pretty seriously. I was trying to avoid bumping this girl. She, on the other hand, seemed determined to hit everything! She hit me, the sidewalls, the kid in front of her, just everything. I'm almost positive that a couple of times if I could have avoided being hit by her she would have just spun out. I was having a hard time avoiding her, and when she wiped out the kid in front of her I almost ran right into the poor boy, but I managed to avoid him. Eventually she wiped out the next kid in front of her and they both went spinning out of control. I avoided the both of them and figured I had gained a couple of places, at least, between me and Handsome.
Then the person in front of me spun me out as I was passing him. He didn't 'bump' me, he drove into me continuously, grinding me into the guard rail until I went into a spin. He was about six years old, and the only reason he was even allowed to be in the car at all was that he was in the two-seater with his dad, but he took me out nicely.
When the other two spin outs happened, they threw some switch in the shed and sent out some signal to the little electric cars we were driving, turning on a speed governor and we all slowed to a safe crawl until one of the attendants could make his way out onto the track and push the car back into position.
Not so when I spun out. When I came to rest with my nose to the guard rail, unable to back up as the cars have no 'reverse', the other cars were left at full power. Handsome told me later that he was saddened when he saw that I was spun out, and worried that I was okay.
While I was stuck, unable to move, however, he flew past me in his full-powered car with a huge grin and a "Hi, Dad!".
Twice. The attendant was not into moving fast.
Since then, my 'saddened' and 'worried' son has told everyone we know, and quite a few that we don't, the story of how he lapped me twice his first time ever driving a Go-Kart. His grin gets bigger every time he tells it.
I really don't know where he gets his competitive streak from.

... but I made sure to beat him in the mini-golf. Not by a huge amount, but by enough that he knew who won.

Funny, how he leaves that part out of the story when he tells it.

Talk to you later!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dr. Frankenstein

Yesterday, my jeep was dead. Well, if not dead, then dying. Could not drive it. I had an appointment scheduled with the dealership for Tuesday and had pretty much resigned myself to spending a whole lot of money that I don't have.
Then DW called.
I have been impressed with DW before, as I mentioned in my post "Motors and Magic".
He called to say he had been to the junkyard and had some parts. He came by with those parts and opened my Jeep. When I say "opened", I mean it in the surgical sense. He pulled the valve cover off, and that's where my knowledge of 'what things are called' ends. From where I was standing, what was exposed by the removal of the valve cover looked a little like a metal spine. DW proceeded to remove that spine, piece by piece, inspecting the parts, pronouncing them crap (well, the term he used was 'worn out') and cast them aside.
He then opened the plastic wrapped package he had brought with him. One by one he removed parts from that packet (He was calling them stuff like push rods, lifters and rockers. I'll just call them 'parts'.), cleaned them thoroughly and laid them aside. He then cleaned the old sludgy oil out of the top of the motor with a shop vac and a screwdriver.
Honest to God, it was like a TV surgeon asking for suction.
He took those parts he had gotten in a junkyard and re-assembled the spine right  before my eyes.
He put everything back together, "closed up" they would have called it on "ER" or "MASH", and told me to fire it up.
It ran better than it had in the past 2 years. There was a squeal that I had been living with for the past 9 months or so that we all thought was coming from the belt somewhere. It was gone.
It still is.
Like the mad scientist in Mary Shelly's novel, DW had just taken parts from a buried corpse, put them into the body of my Jeep and brought it back to life. He made it better than it was before it died, and he didn't even use lightning!

Now I ask you: How the #$%* is that not magic?

Talk to you later!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cats On The Prowl

Dear diary,
I've been at Sisters house for a few hours now. I made dinner for Handsome and I to eat, then we watched a movie and he got ready for bed. He's in bed now, and here I am, effectively alone in the house. There had been no sign of the cats since we got to the house. They both met us at the door, surprised and unhappy when it was me who came in rather than my sister when they heard the key in the lock. They disappeared, and that was the last I saw of either of them for the rest of the night.
Until now.
Once I was settled out here with my computer, Handsome having gone to sleep in Sister's bedroom, I have seen one of them. George, the smaller of the two, has been lounging in the hall like some sort of ghost. Every time I look out there it's different.
He's lounging against one wall.
He's gone.
Walking toward me up the middle of the hall.
He's gone.
Strolling in from the kitchen.
He's gone.
I'm almost positive that he's being a distraction for me. I'll be all trying to figure out where he is and what he's doing, and then wham! I'll fall victim to a surprise attack from Charlie, the larger of the cats, the one who was looking at me with hate the other day when Sister was making 'introductions'.

So. If I die before I wake, I pray my Blog some sense will make. Tell Handsome I love him.... and good night.

Talk to you later! ( I hope)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hot, Hot, Hot!

I'm sitting in the library right now, on my lunch. It's just after 5pm, (yes, I take lunch way late) and the heat of the day has passed. The little weather doohickey I have in the sidebar, however,  says it's still 94 degrees out.
94 degrees. And that's on the way down. Luckily, my anhidrosis seems to be almost gone. I'm kind of counting on it coming back, but for now I'm sweating enough to survive this heat, and it happened just in time!

So, for all those people who wondered today, and all those people who actually asked:

Yes! It's hot enough for me!

Yes! It looks like summer's here!

No! It is not a great day to be a mailman, you jackass! You broke a sweat during our 20 second conversation before you bailed for the comfort of your air-conditioning! Think about it!

No, the mail trucks you see do not have air-conditioning, unless it's the van that my bosses drive around in to make sure we are all okay and still working.

And as a special little side note, to the woman who met me at the door to get the mail wearing a winter coat and a big smile who complained that her house was "just so cold",  ... that's a good way to wind up on a milk carton, lady! They don't call it "going postal" for nothing! Think about it!

Okay, I have to go finish my lunch. I'd take a nap, but I just don't have the energy.

Talk to you later! (And winter coat lady? I have my eye on you!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Introduction

My sister will be going away this weekend, and she has asked me to stay at her house and look after the cats while she is gone. One of the cats is named George, and the other is Charlie.
I'm using the cat's real names. It's late and it's been a long day and they're cats. I don't think they give a furry fart whether I use their real names in the internet or not.
Now, George I have met before, but I'll be new to Charlie. He's a bit of a scaredy cat (pardon the pun) and Sister wanted him to get to know me before I showed up to care for them for three or four days. I walked through her door, and Charlie was already hunkered down on the floor, his eyes huge, staring at me with the "you make one move toward me and I'm gonna run my #$$ off!" look.
I chose not to make a move toward him. I'm not a crazy cat person but I know enough to be fairly sure you can't force a cat to do anything. It's their way or the highway, and unless you can somehow trick them into thinking something is their idea, then you have to wait for them to come to a new idea on their own. I held quite still and let him sniff me, which he did. Barely. Then he took off. I sat and waited for Sister to give me the Cat Care rundown. Food, litterbox, doos and don'ts, that sort of thing.
It was while I was waiting that she walked up beside me. I looked over to find that she had Charlie held in both hands, and she was holding him out to me.
Charlie did not look happy.
The above is an example of massive understatement.
Charlie looked like he would have cheerfully ripped me to shreds if it would have meant he could just get away from me.
"Go on, sniff him," Sister said to Charlie, but he was having none of it. As she continued to push him nearer to me, Charlie put down all four feet, dug every claw at his command into the cushion, and his skeleton... stopped. Sister continued to push at him, trying to force him closer to me, trying to convince him to sniff me and decide that I was alright. Charlie, however, was not moving. His claws were sunk in and his muscles were all straining to keep his skeleton locked into position. Sister was pushing him, but all that would move was his skin, which slid up his body and bunched up around his neck like some horrible turtleneck sweater gone awry. From the midst of this rumpled, wrinkled and humped-up skin, Charlie's face stared out at me with a clear expression of hate. "This is all your fault," his wide, wild eyes said to me. "I hate you!"
"Uh, I don't think that's such a good idea," I said to Sister.
"Fine," she said, and let him go.
Charlie's body flowed back into shape as he sprang away from me and fled. He paused only once in his flight to look back at me over his shoulder, and now his expression clearly said "You just wait! You have to sleep sometime!"

It's gonna be a long weekend.

Talk to you later! (I hope...)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Bags! They're Blue!

Okay, what's the deal with the dog-poo bags? I understand the need to clean up after your dog, but in a thin little plastic bag? I've cleaned up after a dog before, lots of times when I was a kid, and I'm of the opinion that something a little more robust, a little more sturdy is needed.
What if the bag breaks? I see people who have cleaned up after their dogs, and some of them have their hands thrust through the handles of the bag so it's hanging off their wrist like they're shopping at the mall. What if you get someone like that who talks with their hands? That bag winds up waving around at the end of their arm like a cross between a semaphore flag and a pinata from Hell! What if the seam gives out? What if they inadvertently whack the guy in the green and black spandex suit with the camel-pack drinking system and those weird neoprene shoes with built in toes who's just running by, and the poor guy winds up covered in canine by-product? All he wanted to do was dress up like a superhero and run 25 miles today, and instead he winds up needing therapy!
And why do they carry them around like that? If I'm walking along and I see someone with one of those bags, and there's a suspicious lump in the bag, I know what it is! They're not hiding anything! I'm never going to mistake one of those things for a small bag they may have just gotten at the store, say while picking up a prescription. Never! Especially when the light hits the bag from the other side, and they haven't double-bagged it, and the light just passes right through the bag so that you can clearly see the contents. There have been times that has happened where I've almost stopped to ask the person carrying it if what's in the bag is supposed to be that color. "I mean, wow, are you sure your dog's okay? What have you been feeding him? Is that really a partially digested sock in there?"
And the bags are blue. They're all blue, and they're highly visible and we all know what they're for. I see some people who are trying to be conscientious dog walkers, and they have the bag at the ready. It's not in a holder or anything, but tied to the handle of the leash. Sometimes they're really ready for action, and the blue bag isn't tied to the leash, but just sticking through the loop of the handle like it's in a speed-holster. They're walking along behind their dog in a quick-draw stance, ready to throw down with the dog dirt like they're going for some sort of record.
The second scariest thing I've seen in a long time was a little woman who was walking a Great Dane, and in her hand she had one of those bags.
One bag.
Not a holder full of bags, one bag! For a dog the size of a Clydesdale. What she needed was a dump-truck and a containment suit! She was not prepared!
Now, the one thing I've seen that was even scarier than that, was a woman who was ready for some serious action. She had about ten of those bags shoved through the handle of the leash. Not tied on, but shoved through the handle and ready to go at a moment's notice. This lady should have been walking that Great Dane.
She was walking a Pomeranian.
Holy cow! What did she feed that thing!?

Talk to you later!

Monday, July 18, 2011

And The Tale Gets Taller...

We sure do have some powerful weather here in New England, and that's no lie. Today was the most humid day we've had in a while around these parts, and it tends to get real humid around here. When I went out to the parking lot this morning to load up my mail truck the air was so thick it took almost a full minute to pull in each breath. All the carriers were out there open-mouthed, gasping like goldfish. I watched as one of the clerks inside the building rolled up one of the bay doors on the loading dock and called out to one of the carriers that he had forgotten a package. Well, the fool clerk, being inside in the air-conditioned building, didn't know how thick the air was out in the parking lot, and he tried to toss that package out to the carrier. We all watched as the package sailed out of the processed air inside and into the humidity outside, and came to rest about eight feet off the ground sitting on a packed pile of that thick air.
Well, we weren't sure just how to get that package down, what with it sitting there on nothing but air, other than waiting for the weather to break. The clerk went into the building, though,  and came back to the loading dock with a long pole. He reached that pole out and pushed that package down like a man trying to sink a basketball in a pool. Eventually he managed to shove the package down into the carrier's waiting hands and, since the show was over, we all hit the road.
I was walking along, delivering my route, and I had to lean forward at a 45 degree angle just to make any headway through the atmosphere. I was struggling step after step, trying to breathe and wishing it would just rain and get it over with, when the sky opened up and water came dumping down.
It was raining hard. I mean hard. And raining hard around here may be a little different in this part of the country than it is wherever you're from. The water was falling so solidly that I heard a splash and when I looked to see what it was I found a bird that had just fallen out of the sky. It must not have been from around here, was probably just migrating through, and hadn't yet learned the knack of breathing where the rain wasn't. The poor thing had started to drown while flying through the air! Well, I got it under the shelter of someone's porch and held it up out of the knee deep river of runoff water while I gave it artificial respiration until it recovered.
By this time, some of my customers were coming out to get the mail from me in canoes and kayaks, and one old guy had a rowboat, and I gave the little bird to one him to take care of as I slogged on through the flood. I was making progress in my route slow but sure. Then, just as I was figuring that the rest of my day would be like this, the rain stopped. The clouds parted and the sun came out like God himself had flipped a light switch.
Well that sun came down so strong and hard the water from the rain runoff (which was waist deep by then) started to boil. Great clouds of steam rose up, and I took refuge on another handy porch in order to avoid cooking my legs, not to mention my 'unmentionables'.  It was while I was on that porch waiting for all that water to boil off that another customer came out to get her mail. She's an older lady who came here  from somewhere's else when she retired, and it's taking her a while to get used to our weather. She came out to get that mail from inside the house where she had been keeping dry. So dry, in fact, that that new and powerful sunlight set her shirt on fire in about a half a second. She started flailing her arms and hollerin' away, but I just hustled her inside and put her out with the vegetable sprayer in the kitchen sink.
Well, it alternated the pouring rain with the burning sun for the rest of the day and I managed to keep wet enough to avoid bursting into flames myself while I finished my route. When I got back to the Post Office, my boss wanted to know what had taken me so long. I told him it was the weather.
"Well," he says, "I was in a meeting all day in a room with no windows. What kind of weather did we have?"
"This is New England," I answered. "It almost goes without saying that you name it, we had it!"


Sorry. I read a book recently where one of the characters tells a lot of Tall Tales. It kind of stuck in my head.
Basically, when it wasn't pouring rain today it was hot as hell.

Talk to you later!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Random Thoughts

Okay, I can't think of anything at all funny that happened to me today, and it's getting late. Instead, here are some random thoughts that I've had over the past couple of days. I was keeping track of them to use in just such an emergency. 

When am I going to stop giggling inside whenever I hear the word “boobies”?

Why are there Crazy Cat Ladies, but no Insane Dog Men?

What would I do if my boss actually started listening to me?

I don't care how chunky it is, does anybody out there really want to eat their soup with a fork?

Why is it that, frequently, if someone says “This is gross! Look at this!” we look and are grossed out? We knew it was gross going in!

Whoever said that dogs are "man's best friend" never slipped in a freshie in the dark, that his "best friend" just dropped right in front of the door. Best friends don't do that to each other, do they?

I don't get the concept of an 'acquired taste'. If you don't like it, unless someone is forcing you, why would you eat it again? And if you are being forced, it's more 'forced adaptation', isn't it?

Where did the idea that rabbit's feet are lucky come from? If you have a rabbit's foot, that's a clear indication that somewhere out there there's a rabbit who's missing at least one foot. Think he feels lucky?

Why are the Three Stooges seen as unintelligent and violent, when there are Looney Tunes episodes where Elmer Fudd shoots Daffy Duck in the face? Multiple times? And that's okay?

...and that's it. At least for today. Just a quick little post before today becomes tomorrow.

Talk to you later!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Voices ... The Voices ...

I see guys in movies and on television sometimes, guys who I kind of identify with. They're the crazy guys you see standing on street corners, sometimes with signs, sometimes without, but always with a nifty tinfoil hat to help shut out the voices. The voices seem to come from different places, depending on which madman you are talking to. Below, I have isolated what I like to think of as the Big Three in the 'where the voices are coming from' department

The Government:
-Secret agencies with 3 letter names performing strange mind-control experiments and planting thoughts in their heads. These guys are all about hiding from the government agents who are after them because they are resisting the control and spreading the word: "The government is trying to take over the world!"

Space Aliens Who Walk Among Us:
-There are aliens from another planet among us. They aren't 'little green men', but have managed to look just like us. They also have human zombies; men and women who's brains have been taken over by strange mind control beams from the Mother Ship which is orbiting the Earth, undetectable to normal human technology. These men are constantly dodging space aliens, and their human zombies, who are after them because their minds are free (thanks to their shiny foil headwear) and they are spreading the word: "Space Aliens are trying to take over the world!"

Angels Sent By A Vengeful God:
-The world is a cesspool of sin and vice, and for some reason God's angels have decided to let these guys in on His plan to destroy the world. Unlike the other two types, these madmen are not being chased to shut them up; rather, they are being told again and again to spread the word. The foil muffles the Voices and allows their only respite; otherwise,  they are not allowed to eat, sleep, or rest because the angels are in their heads, constantly spurring them on to spread the word: "The end is near! Repent! Doom is nigh! God is going to destroy the world!"

Now, all of these guys are hearing voices from different sources, and all are different from the voices that I hear; Mine are the characters of the stories I write, all clamoring to have their tale be the next one told. All of the men in the examples above turn to the same thing to protect them from the voices, no matter what the source.
Nifty, shiny tinfoil hats.
What I want to know, for when the voices in my head stop telling me stories and start telling me what to do, is this:

When I make my tinfoil hat, does the foil go shiny side out, or shiny side in?

Anyone? Anyone?

Talk to you later!

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Age

So one day, I started to lie about my age.
It's not what you think. I put some conscious thought into the decision.
Here's what I thought:

Ladies, you have it wrong.
You, some of you, get to be about 29, or 30, and you just freeze right there. You're telling people that for your next birthday you're 'hitting the big 3-0', or whatever, and people around you are telling you "No! You don't look that old! Aren't you like 25?" and you feel good. You want to hold on to that feeling, you don't want to get older, so you continue to tell people, you're 'hitting the big 3-0' even though you are 31. And 33. And 35.
Or maybe you're not at any particular number, but you decide it's time, and you start to shave a year. Or two. Or five.
Either way, it eventually reaches a point where, when you tell people your 'age', they aren't saying "No! You don't look that old! Aren't you like 25?"  Instead they're just looking at you kind of funny, kind of uncomfortably, and saying "Really? ... really?"

Now I thought about all this, and I thought I'd figured a way to get that  "No! You don't look that old!" feeling all the time, in a way that would never run out. I figure, if you're looking for that "you don't look that old" feeling, you need to go the other way; You need to tack some years on! That way you should always get people saying you don't look that old, because you aren't that old! You'll always have that "you don't look that old" response, thus you always get that good feeling!
Thinking that I had come up with a foolproof plan to get myself some good feelings on a continuing basis, I decided to go a little overboard and tack on 12 years. If the responses I got were too vehement I could always trim it back to 10, or 8...  So when I turned 40, I started telling people I was 52. When my birthday was coming up, and I mentioned it, people asked me how old I was going to be. It went something like this:

"Yeah, my birthday's at the end of the month."
"Really? How old are you going to be?"
(Expectantly) "Fifty two."

Nice? Okay? That's terrific? These were not the responses I was looking for!  So much for my 'foolproof plan'! It never occurred to me that I actually looked 52! Talk about depressing!
Now, like someone poking a bad tooth with their tongue, I've stuck with this. I'm now 54 ... or 42 ... and when people are completely accepting of my claim that I'm 54 it barely hurts at all. I don't twitch and sob anymore, which was getting me some odd looks. Instead I just grin and walk away ... and wait until I get home to cry.
By the way, a couple of years ago when I began to occasionally get my grandfather's AARP magazine in the mail by mistake I did not think it was funny. I do now... occasionally. I still get emails from them sometimes. At the time, though,  I was pretty pissed. I was on the verge of slapping some fresh tennis balls on my walker for the trip to their office to complain, but it was nap time, and by the time I got up, drank my prune juice and watched my stories, the day was almost over! The day after that there was a birthday party down at the Senior Center, and by the third day I had decided to leave the AARP people alone. If I piss them off they may be able to get my excellent parking privileges rescinded!

Talk to you later ... if I'm still around. You never know, at my age!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Saving the Horror

For a while now I have been working on my own little ghost story anthology project. I wanted 12 stories and I'm 6 in at the moment. Handsome had been asking about them, but I haven't been able to read them to him, or give them to him to read himself because they haven't exactly been appropriate for an eight year old. The last two however, numbers 5 and 6 in the series ... might be. Especially #5. The working title is "My Pal Stinky", and since I sometimes call Handsome by that name as well, he thought for a  while it was a story about him.
It's not.
It is supposed to be funny, though. For the most part. I think he'd like some of it, and I like the story itself, but it has some technical issues and I think it's going to need a lot of editing. A lot of 'cutting', since I tend to overwrite and make things very wordy. I'm working on that.
So anyway, I offered to read "My Pal Stinky" to Handsome this evening, and he said yes. I warned him that it is the 1st draft and may be wordy, and that if it becomes too much for him he can call a halt to it without hurting my feelings or anything. He said okay, and I went to take a shower.
After the shower I approached him with he rough draft in my hand.
"Can I have it tomorrow instead?" he said.
"Tomorrow? Sure," I said, "but why?"
"I might not be in the mood for the horror. I'd rather try it tomorrow."
"But this one's not really scary," I told him. "This is the one that's kind of funny."
"Oh," he said, "it's not that. You said it might stink, and be too wordy, even for you ..."
I looked at him blankly for a moment.
"Ah," I said, finally. "That horror."
"Yup." He grinned as he watched comprehension dawn on me. "That horror!"

The little smart-ass!

I can't complain, really. He gets it from me.

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yes, It's 'Selective'

Last night after I got out of work I picked up Handsome and went directly to the pond. When we arrived we saw that the boat ramp which was our destination was already a little crowded. There were maybe a half-dozen kids already swimming, and they of course had their assorted adults. handsome went right in the water to play with the kids, who were right in the middle of the cleared area in front of the boat ramp. I grabbed a rod and some bait and went to stand in the water by the edge of the cleared space, making cast after cast along the weeds by the bank.
Although I was, as I said, making casts along the weedline, my attention was split. My hands and eyes were busy with the rod and reel, but my ears were locked onto handsome and his new friends. I frequently do this when I'm there while Handsome is meeting new friends, or even hanging out with old ones that we know can cause him trouble. I have something with me that seems to be taking all my attention, like a fishing rod or a book, but I'm really paying attention to what's going on with Handsome. If someone is giving him trouble, I want him to be able to handle it on his own, so I pretend not to be there. I listen to how he handles it, and I'm there to jump in if he needs me. Or if another parent tries to take him to task, thinking that his parents are either absent or uncaring. More than one snotty parent of a snotty child has been very surprised at my 'ambush of interest'.

If you are reading this, you know who you are.
I'm watching you.

Anyway, eventually the crowd thinned out and it was just Handsome and two other boys, who I believe were brothers, swimming and playing in the water. As the new kid, Handsome was the odd man out. While I fished and listened, I heard the boys start to tease Handsome. They were both older than Handsome, although the younger brother was probably the same size as my boy. I listened as Handsome handled himself. he asked them to stop, and when they did not he tried to swim a little ways away from them. When they followed him he asked them to knock it off again. The younger brother seemed to be the driving force behind the teasing, and Handsome picked up on that. He started asking the older brother to get the younger to leave him alone. The older brother kept trying to play with Handsome, but the younger one kept getting in the way and picking at my son. It was all verbal, and in all honesty they were lucky that it didn't  get physical at all.  I was standing over at the weedline having a very hard time not sticking my nose in.
Eventually, Handsome outlasted them and their father came to take them home.  The two of us stayed for a while, fishing and swimming until sundown. We had gotten in the jeep for the ride home when Handsome turned to me.
"Dad? You remember those kids who were here?"
"Yes," I said as I pulled the jeep onto the road.
He paused, looking uncomfortable. I won't go into what the younger brother was saying here, but I could see hoe Handsome might not have wanted to talk about it with his father.
"They were teasing me. A lot."
"I know," I said.
"The mean one, he was saying -"
"I know what he was saying," I interrupted. "I heard every word."
He looked at me funny.
"You did?"
"Yup. Why?" I looked at him with one eyebrow raised. "Did it look like I wasn't paying attention?"
"Um ... yeah." He was still looking at me funny.
"And yet, I heard every word." I smiled and looked back at the road. From the corner of my eye I could see that he was still looking at me, not really knowing what to make of this..
"Remember that," I said, still smiling.

Later on, once I had gotten him home, I managed to 'not hear' Handsome asking for a snack, even though he was standing right in front of me. Both times he asked.

Just trying to keep him on his toes!

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Did He Say?

Sometimes people use sayings or cliches to express themselves, and with me it backfires a little. Sometimes they say things, and although I know what they mean by the saying they choose, the saying itself doesn't make sense to me.  Not in the way they are intending.

Sayings that make no sense to me

  • "She's as pretty as a picture!"
    • I know this is supposed to be a compliment, but it doesn't have to be. What if the speaker is thinking of a picture of someone's gross, hairy butt? Eww!

  • "He was sweating like a pig!"
    • Um... pigs don't sweat, that's why they roll in the mud to keep cool, so, um ... What?

  • "He was moving like a bat out of Hell!"
    • Okay, this one is supposed to make us envision someone streaking along with amazing speed, but that doesn't work for me. When I picture a bat flying out of Hell, I see one that's fluttering here and there, not really making good time because he's all distracted by his ass being on fire.

  • "What are you, some kind of smart ass?"
    • I know this is a question rather than a saying, but it still makes no sense to me. If the person you are asking actually is a smart ass, then asking that question is a little like walking into the ring with Mike Tyson while wearing a "Punch Me" sign on your chest, and really, why would you do that to yourself?
  • "He was really shooting his mouth off!"
    • Usually this is in reference to the above smart ass and his ilk, but all it does for me is conjure images of a failed suicide attempt where the guy tried to 'eat his gun' and had really bad aim...

  • "They stood eye-to-eye."
    • Um ... eww? Toe-to-toe, okay. Nose-to-nose even, okay. But eye-to-eye?
      1st guy: "Ouch!"
      2nd guy: "What's the matter?"
      1st guy: "I have something in my eye!"
      2nd guy: "Yeah, I know. It's me!"

Okay, that's enough. I don't want to punish you too much; you may not come back!

Talk to you later!

Monday, July 11, 2011


To continue in the 'questions' vein, there are sometimes that I'm asking 'who', rather than 'why'. It's usually along the lined of "Whose brilliant idea was this?". I'm going to run with it for a little while, and see what turns up.


-Who was the first person who thought to eat an egg? I'm serious. Who was the guy who looked at this roundish, white thing that just slid all warm out of a chicken's butt, and he said "Dang! That looks tasty!"
     -Better yet, who was the 1st guy to actually eat an egg? I'll bet they were not the same guy. I picture the 1st guy to think of it trying to convince his friend, the one whom everyone knows is gullible, to eat the egg. "Come on, just eat it! I'll give you my favorite club. Okay, your favorite club. And I'll tell all the females how daring you were. You know how they love the daring cavemen! You'll have a date for the Mastodon slaying for sure!"

-Who was the first guy to call it a 'penis', and what the hell was he thinking? I'll bet he was embarrassed about it afterward, after it started to catch on. I'll bet his friends were all Gibbs-slapping him in the back of the head and asking him why he didn't call it the Glorious, or the Massive, or the Importance; something that at least sounds important! Why did he choose 'penis'? It sounds like the name of a clown that does kids birthday parties, for cryin' out loud! "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, put your hands together for Penis the clown, and his trick dog, Scrotum!

-Who was that insanely brave, or possibly just insane, man who was the first to use a parachute?
It may have been mathematically proven to work, and designed extremely well, but who was the first guy to stand by the open door of an aeroplane watching the ground streak by thousands of feet below who said "Well, this seems like a perfectly good idea!" and jumped? This one may actually be documented. I'll bet if we could follow the family trees back far enough we'd see that the designer and the tester of the parachute were actually descendants of that first egg duo!

...and, last but not least for today,
-Who was the first guy to drag a Christmas tree into the house, and what do you think his wife said?
Wife: "Hey! What the heck are you doing? You wipe your feet before you come in but you drag in this whole tree with you? You don't think that's going to make a mess? Pine needles everywhere, tracked all over the hovel? I just cleaned the hovel! What were you thinking?"
Husband: "Well, I was going to drag it into the best room in the hovel and stand it in a pot in the corner for the next two or three weeks. That way it will be really dead and dry, a huge fire hazard what with us using torches and candles at night. That way it can be an ongoing mess for you for most of the month with those pine needles going just everywhere. Especially at the end of the month when I pull it out of here while it's tinder-dry. Those pine needles will really fly then! You don't mind, do you? Maybe you and the kids can dress it up and make it pretty. That would give you something to do, like you already don't have a full day taking care of the kids and the hovel. What do you say? Someday it'll be all the rage!"
     And the wife, beaten down by his unassailable logic, or maybe it was just his dogged stubbornness, went along with the plan. So now, thanks to her, millions of woman all over the world have to deal with this nightmare annually. The men didn't get away scot-free on this one, however. I'm almost positive that, in retaliation, it was a woman who invented the phrase "Some Assembly Required", a phrase which has brought their male counterparts to the verge of tears every Christmas, all through the ages!

Okay, that's enough rambling from me for the day. Just like yesterday, if you, dear reader, have any 'who' questions of your own, please feel free to share them in the 'Comments' section below. I'd love to hear from you!

Talk to you later!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


This is just a quick list of questions off the top of my head. Questions occur to me all day, but I don't have anyone to ask, and I generally forget them after a while. I'll just see what comes out of my mental mulch-pile on the question "why".


Why is it that when you get to the mechanic the car simply won't make the strange noise you were describing to him over the phone?

Why is it that, and back me up on this one guys, no matter what you do dogs and small children always manage to do something painful to our testicles?

Why is it that no one on the road is ever going my speed? Most of them are annoying bastards who don't seem to feel the need to be anywhere, but just meander around taking up space on my road. There is, of course, a small percentage of bastards out there who are going just way too fast to be driving safely.
     -Why is it that the bastards who are going way too fast always seem to be able to blow past me and the guy I'm stuck behind? Why can't I blow past the guy I'm stuck behind?

Why are all other children so annoying and ill-mannered when my child is just clever, assertive and precocious?

Why do all the other parents think their annoying children are just clever, assertive and preco... hold on. Oh ... I see. Um, never mind.

Why is it that we, men and women, tend to ignore advice we get from out significant others with just a smile and nod, but if our friends give us the exact same advice we get all "Wow, that's a great idea, why didn't I think of that?"

Why is it that people that have money talk to themselves and it's "thinking out loud", but people who don't have money are "crazy"? (I am firmly in the 'crazy' camp on this one!)

Why do I sound like a rock star in the shower, but I step out into the bathroom and I sound like a rock star's tone-deaf grandmother?

Why, oh God why, do Barry Manilow songs get stuck in our heads so easily?
     (Just me on that one? Really? C'mon, admit it ... 'At the Copa... Copa Cabana....')

Why can a child be in the house with you for hours, watching TV, playing with the dog or their toys, and not talk to you for one blind second, but the very instant you get on the phone they suddenly realize that they have to talk to you, talk to you now, right now?

Why are you still reading this when I know you have your own "why" list running through your own head? Just for giggles, please feel free to leave you own "why" in the comments section below. I know you have at least one, and I know I didn't get them all. How could I? Go ahead and share, I'd love to read 'em!

Talk to you later!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Blue Dong

When I look back at today nothing jumps out at me and screams "blog about me!", so I'm going to give you an older story. It's about me and TR, a guy I work with, and the way we think.
To illustrate this, I'm going to tell you a little bit about the movie "The Watchmen", and what we thought about it. 
"The Watchmen" came out a few years ago, and is a movie about superheroes. It's kind of a dark movie, but it has lots of action and some vaguely mindless violence, and we agreed that we were both pretty happy with all of that. We also agreed on the part of the movie that kind of stuck with us for a while. I'm not certain how to refer to it here, so I'll just use the words that TR and I used when we were discussing it; clean enough for the workroom floor, clean enough for the blog.
The Blue Dong.
(Sorry Mom, it's gonna be one of those blogs today)

Alright. The character of Dr. Manhattan in the movie, and remember this is about superheroes, is no longer human. He's not using gadgets, like Batman, he's not an 'altered human' like Spiderman, he's no longer human at all. He's recreated himself, and so he still has a basic human form, but he's blue, and large, and... naked. Having evolved beyond the need for clothes, for most of the movie, the character of Dr. Manhattan is naked. He's large, and blue, and has, for want of a better word, a large blue dong.
That's not the part that made us laugh.
When they made the movie, they decided that since the dude was so non-human looking, they wouldn't have an actor in make-up running about the set. Instead, they used a Computer Generated Image, or CGI. They usually use CGI to create special effects, etc, and lots of films nowadays have a CGI budget. 
This is the part that made us laugh. It wasn't an actor out there in the buff, dangling and waggling his way around each scene, it was a computer generated man. Someone had to design him. that means someone had to submit a design, and then someone had to approve it.
Can you picture the meetings?

Harry: "Okay... this is what I've got so far."
Bill: "Oh, that's pretty good! One thing... we want people to be able to see this thing from the back row. Can you make it a little longer?"
Harry: "Sure, I can do that, no problem. What about the hang angle? Is that okay? I had the team working hard on that part. That and the veins."
Bill: "The hang angle is great! The veins are a bit much for me, but then I'm no expert in this stuff. Hold on - Denise? Can you come in here a second, please?"
Denise: "Yeah, Bill?"
Bill: "Check out the veins in that thing. What do you think? Too much? Not enough?"
Denise: "Wow! Um... ok... well, can I see it walking around a bit? "
Harry: "Sure, just let me hit 'Play' here."
Denise: "Okay ... Whoa! Wow, look at that swing! Okay, the veins are good, but that swing just looks painful!"
Bill: "My God, you're right! Okay, Harry, keep the veins, but tone down that swing. It looks like he's threatening people with it!"
Harry: "Okay, Bill. I'm on it! Well ... not really on it, but you know what I mean. Jerry? Come here, Jerry, we're changing the dong!"
And they all turn toward the corner where Jerry is sitting. Jerry's the 14 year old computer graphics genius they have working on the project who hasn't stopped blushing or giggling since he took this job!

Yeah. To TR and me the thoughts afterward are actually more fun for us than watching the actual movie!

Talk to you later!

Friday, July 8, 2011

There's No Pool Like an Old Pool...

A couple of days ago, in my post titled "Doesn't it Just Melt Your Heart?" I mentioned an Easy-Set pool that I was attempting to set up in the back yard. It's the kind where an inflated ring forms the edge and floats on the water to hold up the walls. It's supposed to be easy, thus the name: Easy-Set.
That was Wednesday. This is Friday. To my knowledge the pool is still nothing more than a vinyl puddle on the back deck.
Wednesday, when Handsome requested that I set up the pool, I should have manned up and just said 'No, we're going swimming in the pond'. Now I'm stuck in the middle of it all with no good way out.
I cleared the space for it.
I got it out of the shed.
I cleaned it up.
I cleaned it again.
I inflated the floating ring that forms the top.
There was a hole.
I went out to the store and found a vinyl patch/repair kit.
I patched the hole.
I inflated the ring.
There was another hole.
I found the hole. I patched the hole. I Inflated the ring.
There was another hole.
Last night after work I found that third hole using a little soapy water and a whole lot of luck.
I patched the hole. I inflated the ring.
There was another hole.
I moved a ways away from the house and did a strange little dance for a while. It involved a lot of jumping up and down, shaking my fists and chanting curses.
I was quite inventive with the curses part.
I went back to the house and put all my stuff away and left the triple-patched pool lying there, looking for all the world like some funky giant's discarded sock. When I get out of work today, I am going straight to the house, breaking out the soapy water and finding that 4th hole. I'll patch it and inflate the ring. If it's good, I'll fill the pool. If there is a 5th hole, I'm grabbing Handsome, driving to the pond and throwing him in. He can swim there, like always.
A 10 minute drive vs. 3 days of pool set-up? I'll take the drive, please!

Oh, and as a side-note; If I ever meet the guy who came up with the name "Easy-Set" for this pool, I'm punching him in the mouth.

Talk to you later!

P.S. - I had to came back to tell you: There is a 5th hole. *sigh*

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mail Bag! 7-7-11

Well, another month's gone by, and I decided it was time to take a look at my junk e-mail folder and see what ridiculousness has been transferred to me through the ether without my permission in the past 30 days. Like I did before, I'll just choose a few, tell you who sent them, why, and what my thoughts are on the matter at hand. Just for fun, I'll put them in alphabetical order.
On we go!

AARP Renewal:
How can I renew my subscription to AARP? I may look 54, but I'm really 42. I've never even had a subscription to AARP! How can I renew it? I'm thinking that there are some AARP members running things over there, and they're not quite with it...

CVS ExtraCare:
Look, I don't care what they're trying to tell me. I object to the whole name: ExtraCare. I've dealt with those people, and maybe it wasn't the people involved, maybe it was the system they had to work in, but 'ExtraCare' seems like a bit of a fabrication. 'CVS IDon'tCare' seemed more like it! If you want to know what I'm talking about, check out my blog entry titled 'Here's Your Medicine ... Psyche!'. You'll see what I mean.

Digital Deals: Perfect Portion Plates:
These are apparently plates for those who are unaware that they are overeating. Oh, I know I'm overeating! You give me a small plate and all that happens is I have to fill it twice! Unless I'm going to lose huge amounts of weight from walking back to the stove time and again, these plates aren't going to do a thing for me!

Language Learning: Trick Your Brain into Learning a New Language!
Why in Hell would I want to trick my own brain? I can get by with English, I have so far. Now, if I was going to travel to another country, then yes, sure, I'd be interested in this. But I'm in America, dammit, and as long as I have a forefinger so that I can press 1 for English, I think I'll manage.
By the way, have you seen this blog? I think I have enough trouble just with English. You throw another whole language in there and my brain might just trick me back and explode!

Pogo Games: New Clue Episodes, Just for You!
Dear Pogo people, please listen closely: I have never played Pogo! Please stop sending me emails like I just logged out of a 27 hour gaming session on your site!

Satellite Internet: Find a Provider Near You!
Okay, try to pay attention, Satellite people. I have internet access. How else do you think I am reading this email advertisement of yours? You may be trying to tell me that your service is better than what I already have, but your ad doesn't inspire confidence. Not when you tell me that "Satellite Internet works just as good as DSL or regular cable internet."
Just as good?
Isn't it 'Just as well'? And this complaint coming from a guy who claims that English gives him trouble?
Why don't you just say "Satellite Internet: It's just gooder!" How about "Satellite - It's the bestest!"

Wen by Chaz Dean: WEN - Your secret to great hair days!
Ok, Wen, I have a secret too: I'm completely bald! How's that for a secret! Way to rub my nose in it, Wen! Like I'm gonna buy anything from you now, you insensitive $#&*!!

Okay, that's it for tonight. I have to stop, I'm all worked up at that Wen thingamadoodle up there!

As a side note: I believe that's the forst trime I havde ever tried to spell out "thingamadoodle", and I use that word quite a bit. There you go, a WYMOP first, and you were here for it! That'll make quite a story to tell the grandkids!

Ah, who am I kidding. Most people are too ashamed to admit they read this schlock at all, never mind bragging about it!


Talk to you later!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Doesn't It Just Melt Your Heart?

Today was my day off, so I headed over to the house that once was mine to have some fun with my son. I called in the morning to find out if he wanted to go to one of the local ponds that we frequent, a place where I can fish and we both can swim. His answer was 'yes', so I said I'd be there and set about working on one of my stories for the rest of the morning. I was planning on getting there in time to make him lunch, then getting his stuff together and going to the pond.
It was not to be.
I got a call from Wife a while later, telling me that Handsome didn't want to go to the pond any more.
"Okay," I said. "I'll figure out something to keep him busy for the day when I get there."
She said that was a good plan, and we hung up.
When I got there, Handsome seemed to have his own ideas about what we should do.
"Dad, can you put up my pool? The one in the shed?"
We have one of those "Easy-Set" pools in storage in the shed behind the house. You set the thing out, and blow up the inflatable ring that forms the top lip of the pool, and then just fill it up. As the water rises, the inflated ring floats, pulling the walls up under it, and the thing just sets itself up. 12 feet across, three feet deep and holds 500 gallons. Sounds easy, right?
In theory.
The theory doesn't take into account having the thing in storage in the shed for two years, getting more and more dirty all the time.
The theory doesn't take into account having to clean off the deck first, including about a half-ton of big rocks and stones that were still on the deck from the time Handsome decided to make a waterfall out there.
The theory stinks.
So Handsome and I started to get rid of the stones on the deck. I got the wheelbarrow out and began ferrying them to the pile behind the shed where they had come from originally. While we were working, I asked Handsome why he didn't want to go to the pond today. If we had left for the pond right when I got to the house, we would have already been in the water by the time I was asking the question.
"Well, if we go to the pond, then you get busy fishing. You get all -" he made a motion as if he were casting - "and I can't get close to you. This way I get to spend more time with you."

Doesn't it just melt your heart?

I gave him a huge hug, and told  him I love spending time with him, and we should try to hurry up and get the pool set up so maybe he could use it before bedtime. We spread the pool out and I grabbed the vacuum from the house and started to clean the interior, picking up sawdust and little piles of dirt. I was working away industriously for a while, all sounds drowned out by the whine of the vacuum. Eventually I turned it off and looked around.
No sign of Handsome anywhere.
No answer.
I went and opened the slider to the kitchen. Still no sign of Handsome, but I could hear the television. I whistled for him. He came strolling out into the kitchen holding a snack bowl.
"Yeah, Dad?"
"So, I guess all that time you wanted to spend with me doesn't include work-time, huh?"
He had the grace to look a little abashed.
"Yup," I said, flatly. "Just melts my heart."
"Never mind."
He tried to peek by me to see the pool lying there in the deck.
"All we have to do is fill it now?" he said, his little voice full of hope.
"Nope," I said. "Still going to be a while."
"Okay." He turned and strolled back into the TV room.

Yup. Melts my heart.

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What's Circumcision?

Long ago, Wife and I used to babysit for the people who lived down the street from her. One of these times, We rented the movie “16 Candles” for the girl, whom I'll call 'J-' here, to watch. Her two brothers were out somewhere, and the three of us, Wife, J-, and I sat down to watch the movie. I believe we ordered pizza for dinner, and at some point Wife left to pick it up, leaving me watching the movie with J-.
J- was 9 or 10 at this point, making me about 23 or 24. I don't know if it's just a timing thing that all children have or if she was simply gifted, but as soon as Wife left the situation went dowhill.
There is a part of the movie where the characters talk about circumcision. I was a bit uncomfortable, being in the room with this young girl while they were having the discussion. I was supposed to be the responsible adult, but 23 isn't really all that old. Hell, I wish I was that age again! I wasn't really much more than an older kid at that point. So I was uncomfortable, but I just locked my eyes on the screen and ignored the rest of the world until the scene was over.
There, I thought. That wasn't so bad, was it?
Nope. Not yet.
From beside me, I heard J-'s voice.
What's circumcision?”
I froze.
What?” I said. Barked, really. I had heard her, but couldn't believe it. I had gotten through watching the discussion with her, and now this? I couldn't believe she had asked me that, and I asked her to repeat it in the hope that she would lack the courage to ask me again.
What's circumcision?” she repeated.
I stared hard at the television, hating the movie, hating the actors, hating the whole thing. Why in hell had we rented this particular movie?
I mean, I think I know what it is, but I'm not sure.”
Okay … just stay focused and you can do this. You're the grown-up here …
I just stared at the television, not seeing the movie anymore but using it as something to look at. So that I wouldn't have to look at J-.
Well,” I said, “when a baby boy is born, he has some extra skin on his penis.”
Okay!” I saw her throw up her hands with my peripheral vision. “I was right! Okay!”
Did she think she could get me to say 'penis' to her and then just turn off the explanation like a light switch?
Think again, Kiddo! You opened this door, I'm not stopping now!
This skin is called his foreskin. Circumcision is a procedure where a doctor, or sometimes a Moyle, cuts off a lot of that extra skin. If it's a Moyle it's for religious reasons, and if it's a doctor they say it's for hygienic reasons; it makes it easier for the boy to keep his penis clean.”
J- sat there, silent, staring at the screen just as I was doing. I don't think she was actually seeing it any more than I was. We sat there, rigid in our chairs, avoiding eye-contact like it was a Jehovah’s Witness. A few minutes later, Wife came in with the pizza. She noticed that, aside from the noise from the television, there was a stiff silence coming from the TV room. She called through the door.
Everything okay in there?”
Fine!” J- and I said in unison.
Let me help you with that stuff,” I said, scrambling to my feet and practically running to the kitchen. As soon as I got out there I leveled a finger at her from across the room.
You are not allowed to leave me and J- alone again! Ever!”
She was understandably confused.
Why? Did something happen?”
So I told her.
I'm sure she would have been just as horrified as I was … if she could have stopped laughing.

Talk to you later!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Registering Time

There I was, in the checkout at the supermarket. I was in a bit of a hurry, since I was just picking up a couple of things I needed to make dinner and it was already getting late. I had opted to go through one of the manned checkout registers rather than the self checkout. Every time I'm in a hurry the self checkout goes all wonky and I wind up having to wait for someone who gives the impression that they're way too busy to be helping me. Instead of going through that I went to the only manned counter. Since there was only one open, it wasn't like I had a lot of options. I only had five or six things in my hands; it wasn't even one of those trips where I get halfway through the store and start wishing I had a basket or cart.
I threw everything on the belt and moved to stand in front of the cashier, my little shopping club card held at the ready. She thanked me when she took the cart, I thanked her when she gave it back. Then she saw my shirt.
I picked this shirt up on my one trip to Georgia, for my aunts wedding. The trip was for the wedding, not the shirt. The shirt has a large picture of a redfish across the back, with the slogan "Your Bait Sucks and Your Boat's Ugly - Savanna GA." I was replacing my shopping club card in my wallet and pulling out my debit card as the cashier, a slightly older woman, said, speaking slowly and distinctly, "Oh, do you fish?"
I looked up from my debit card to see the woman looked at me and holding the first item to be scanned in her hand. She was not scanning it, she was looking at me. Beside me a gentleman was throwing his purchases on the belt behind mine, slapping that the separator bar down with all the authority of someone also in a rush.
"Yes, I do."
She lifted my first item in the air, but then it settled back down into place, on stand, as she said "My husband and I went on a trip one time, on one of those big boats."
"That's great," I replied. "Maybe I'll take one of those trips someday." I immediately, and pointedly, returned my eye focus to the debit card reader in front of me. The screen on the reader said "please wait for cashier".
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Mr. In-A-Hurry checking his watch.
I feel for you dude, I feel for you.
The cashier paused for thought for a moment. A long moment. Or two. She is not a multi-tasker. She dod not scan and think at the same time.
"My husband, he caught one of those big fish. You know the ones I mean? The ones with the big thing?"
 She was waving my first purchase behind her back, indicating the "thing" to which she was referring.
"A sailfish, or swordfish," I said, before returning my attention to that debit machine like a dog on point, card at the ready.
She swung the item down and over the scanner, which beeped.
She put her hand to the second item, then stopped again.
Mr. In-A-Hurry sighed loudly.
"Oh, it was huge, and then we did the thing with that guy."
Okay, I have to admit that when she said that it threw me for a bit of a loop.What thing with what guy? All kinds of things to ran through my head at that one, up to and including this short, round and bespectacled older lady and her husband having some strange sexual encounter with the boat captain. Thus it was that I believe I sounded completely stunned when I said "What?"
"The thing with the taxidermist." She paused. "And the fish."
"You had it mounted?" I said.
She scanned another of my items.
"Yes, that was it."
Beside me, Mr. In-A-Hurry had begun to mutter under his breath. I could not make out what he said, but it sounded vaguely as if he were praying that the wrath of some sort of hell would suddenly befall either myself, the cashier, or both. I wished him luck.
I realize that at this point I still had two or three items to go, but in all honesty my memory of that small portion of my life is completely blank. Whether I entered some sort of fugue state or have just repressed the memory out of sheer horror, the result is the same. The next thing I knew I was standing beyond the cash register with my bagged purchases in my hands. I looked up at the clock on the wall and did the math. I believe that I'm missing 7 min. of time there, 7 min. of my life that I will not get back.
Somewhat dazed, I looked back at the register. Mr. In-A-Hurry was standing in the exact spot I had been in. His debit card was in his hand, and a look of utter defeat was on his face. The cashier was holding his first purchase in her hand, unscanned, I believe, and she was talking.
"Sorry, but better you than me pal," I said aloud. "I did my time."
I turned and hustled toward the door, late for starting dinner but feeling lucky to be making dinner at all.

I have to learn that when I'm in a hurry I should not go shopping. No matter what register I go to, it's going to be broken.

Talk you later!