Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Where Are My Waffles?!?!?

CHAPTER ONE: The End Is Near...
Lovely day. The sky was a beautiful shade of light blue, and there wasn't a cloud to be seen. The thermometer hung right around 80 degrees for most of the day, and a light breeze kept things comfortable. For a while I just sat in my chair in the garage doorway, sipping an ice cold Coke Zero (shameless product placement), and wearing as few clothes as is permissible by law. The cicadas were buzzing in the trees, and I was just sitting and watching the world go by.
But even while enjoying this situation as much as I could, I had no choice to acknowledge that it would soon be ending. Along those lines, I had a chance to think about the list of things I had said I was going to complete during this time off. You could say that about none of it got done. If you look at that as being at all important, then I guess you would say that these days off were a waste. Then I would say that I don't freakin care and you should go back to watching American Idol and leave me the hell alone.

CHAPTER TWO: Divided I Fail?
Just sitting here, I can tell you that the flowerbeds are looking especially ratty this year. There is still furniture downstairs that I haven't refinished yet, and who knows what I could find should I look much further beyond that. Seems like it's once again time to concentrate on focusing my efforts into the things that I say are important to me. There's nothing wrong with watching Cash Cab (more product placement), or playing Momentum Missile Mayhem 3 (still more product placement), but if that's what I'm doing instead of working on a sketch or a carving, then it becomes fairly obvious which has the higher degree of importance to me. I think it would be also safe to conclude that might be a large part of what continuously twists my brain into tiny little knots. So, it would be safe to say that there are enough hours in the day to do what I want to do. I just have to be more aware of what it is that I really want to do. The TV and the computer have to become consciously less important before that time to work on art will appear. And if I do end up having a sales outlet on the left coast, I think I will need that extra time. Right now, I would rather be back outside with a nice cool summer breeze blowing up my kilt, but the mosquitoes have come out and that could be a bit problematic.

CHAPTER THREE: Am I Gonna Have To Hire Richard Dawson?
Be sure to vote on the new poll that I have posted on the left side of the page! You, my loyal (!?!?), and in some cases, rather strange, readers will decide what form my next major art project will take!The categories are as follows:
  • Log/Round Tiki: See the slideshow down at the bottom of the page for an example of this. Of course, scale and theme will be left to my discretion if this ends up being the winner.
  • Painting: Um, this should be fairly self explanatory. Most likely it would be an arcrylic from my current Bluegirl series.
  • Plank/Flat Tiki: Same as the first entry on this list, but a lot less round.
  • Marble Coaster: A mixed media track on which marbles travel from top to bottom propelled by gravity.
  • Scrap Sculptures: 3D mixed media figures usually of a somewhat creepy appearance.
Poll will remain open until the 5th of next month, so go ahead and put your two cents worth in!

CHAPTER FOUR: Hasta La Vista, Tiki
Well, it seems that I may have actually completed a project ahead of schedule. Should that actually be the case, I fully expect that pigs will begin taking to the air. More likely is the idea that I didn't really have a set schedule, and it just seems like I finished early. If you've checked out my online photo album at all, you may have seen the project I've been working on and bitching about for most of the summer. Well, it's done. Or at least as done as I intend to make it. And, if you can't find the pics I've posted, I have no intent of telling you where they are.
So far, the only things lacking on this piece are a name/title, and a signature. So far, a name has eluded me, and the stain hasn't really cured enough for me to sign it. Hopefully both will happen by Friday, as that is the completely arbitrary date I have selected for it to be shipped out to it's new home, a private collection in central IL. If I don't have a name for it, or the stain isn't cured, or it hasn't been signed, well, then that date could be pushed back a week or so. But beyond that, I can't wait to see the expressions on the faces of the people at the shipping place when I walk in with that over my shoulder.
But now that that piece is done, I find myself in a bit of an artistic clearing. Hence the somewhat pitiful request for anonymous guidance in the form of a poll. Bluegirl is still providing me with plenty of material to work with, and I have no intention of refusing any more that may come my way. Those types of things I do like to let sit for a while before I start to work with them, though. Perhaps some poetry or generally creative writing will fill the void until I hear the voice of the people.

CHAPTER FIVE: I Feel Like Rip Van Winkle


Never in my life, and I do mean never, have I seen jack-o-lanterns out at the same time as back to school supplies! There seem to be a large number of people out there who are in need of a serious WTF slap, and I am more than willing to volunteer my time to such a wonderful cause. Makes me feel like the natural order of things has once again spun way off kilter. But then I realize that the basic premise of things being on kilter at some point in time is most likely wrong. So, the only thing I can rationally conclude is that SOMEONE OUT THERE IS JUST FUCKING WITH ME!! That being said, I realize I must consign myself to being surrounded by the brain spinning reasoning of average folk.
Mind you, I am a HUGE fan of H'ween (as all of us in the know call it), and it fills me with great glee to wander through the stores looking at all the wonderful things that will cause me to part with large sums of money. But H'ween knows it's place. It's place is nowhere near green trees, corn in the fields, and open swimming pools! More distressing is the notion that after this brief nod to my favorite holiday, the shelves will be stripped bare (in the next day or two, most likely), to make way for all the Christmas stuff. I would be willing to bet that if I even wait until October starts, I will be more likely to find Santas instead of skeletons. Got to make sure I get my LED light up animatronic inflatable Hannah Montana and baby Jesus yard display while I'm still mowing the yard, I guess.
Suddenly, I am inspired to have a party. A party at a time of year when there seems to be nothing on the horizon. A time of year when people are back to being the people they pretended not to be in December. A Dead of Winter party. Keep your eyes out for details on this one....

CHAPTER SIX: No, I Don't Wanna Take It For A Test Drive!
Something seems to have gotten under Pinklady's skin regarding cars of late. We've got until January or so to pay on her car, then we own it. Yay! That means no more car payments. Double yay! But all the offers of low rates, customer loyalty bonuses, and ridiculously long loan periods seem to have caught her attention. This results in us not quite seeing eye to eye, yet again. My premise is that after we're done paying her car off, the money that we would normally send to Ford could instead go to one of the other people we owe money to for all the remodeling. Not to mention that the purchase of a furnace seems to be almost necessary this year. Her premise is that it would seem to be somewhat stupid to not take advantage of the financing offers, especially when we owe less on the car than the Kelley Blue Book says it's worth. Also, she has a deep seated fear of having two car payments going on at the same time (should we both need to replace our respective vehicles). I can't say that her point is invalid, but I have a hard time taking on a new multi-year car loan when the end of the current one is in sight. I'm sure we'll be skirmishing more on this one in the near future.

**Have I mentioned how enjoyable my allergies are? No, really, I mean that. They're so much fun, I'd gladly donate them to anyone who would be interested in sharing the joy!

**Mayhap the game group notion could be back on track thanks to an unforeseen e-mail.

**As a general rule, one's dinner should not consist entirely of Triscuits.

**The past few days have been rife with hinkiness. Practically loaded with hinkosity. And, if it weren't for Dimples, I would think something was quite hinky with my blog comments.

**As nice as Bailey seems to be thus far, I am still not that much of a cat person.

**Spam Spam Spam Spam
Spam Spam Spam Spam
Lovely Spam!
Wonderful Spam!

** Back to work in about 18 hours. Has five days really gone by already? And will that five days have made any perceptible difference in the overall situation?

**Soldering while wearing sandals: NOT recommended.

Monday, August 25, 2008

And Then Came The Asparagus...

CHAPTER ONE: Unemployed For Five Days
Day two of my mini vacation is drawing to a close. Once again, a cool summer breeze is drifting in through the window, and a migraine has relegated Pinklady to bed. I was a bit disappointed to have gotten a bit of a late start to the day, but I seen to have gotten a couple of things done, and a couple more started. The one sour not would be the lack of artistic effort that was present in the day. That will be changing tomorrow. There are several sketches that need to be worked on, and others that need to be revised. The poetry well seems to be running a bit dry, but the notion of doing some sculpture work has been been coming to the fore lately. And I seem to be getting quite tired of sanding. After mostly completing the 80 grit pass on the current tiki (up to date pics have just been posted), the wood is smoother than I would have thought possible after only two passes. I may skip the last pass and finish at 120 (no pun intended), just so I can move on to the staining stages. Be nice if the stink of the stain is off of it before it gets cold outside.

It was odd to find myself out last night and seemingly at random to find myself perched on the doorstep of a 10 year high school reunion. In context of upcoming events in my life, it seemed almost unreal to be observing that type of event up close, but without being a participant. The possibility does exist that it is not unlikely that I will have an experience that, in some ways, may mirror this odd little encounter.

CHAPTER THREE: Unexpected Explosion
The storms avoided the area this week. Except for one. The cluster bomb that shredded my train of thought this week was the one and only Bluegirl. She blew onto my radar this week without warning, scattering all my neatly arranged concerns like a five-year-old stomping a puddle. Focusing my eyes and intents elsewhere with a barrage of words, she came and went as she pleased, here one second and gone the next leaving vivid images burned into my the backs of my eyes like a lightning flash. An interesting change in the weather at an unknown distance.

CHAPTER FOUR: Have A Spot Of Tea Instead
I just finished reading a book titled "Brass Monkeys" by some British author whose name eludes me at the moment. This was another book that found its way into my hands by way of the discount book store. I may have disliked it more had I knowingly paid full price for it. It proved to be a bit of a challenge to read, given my lack of knowledge regarding the workings of Britain's political system, as well as my intolerance for proper English spellings (ie tyre, kerb). The pacing of the book was quite jerky and the overall tone wandered from mystery to comedy to political satire without ever being able to smoothly blend any of them. While not something I will ever go out of my way to read again, I don't really feel compelled to set it on fire and run away screaming, either. I must say, though, it did provide the single best juxtaposition of a paparazzi, a primate, and a politician that I have ever read. If you want to get your hands on this one, check the book exchange at work. I have a feeling that it will be there for quite a while.

CHAPTER FIVE: A Smallish List Of Various Sized Bits
**Flowers form the left coast provided a nice start to my day.

**Congrats to MSD and the Giant on finding a home out in IN. Good luck with all that wallpaper, and thanks for all the junk.

**The surveys on the left hand side of this page are there for a reason, people!

**Lifted above the others, she held me in awe. A vicious and righteous edge, glowing and gleaming with all the subtle depth and fire of an opal. A phantom of promise, slowly disappearing over the horizon. A singular pale jewel guided and girded by the intangible.

**Crusty allergy eyes, runny nose, sneezing-I just cannot keep the women off of me during allergy season.

**Another home maintenance chore I can add to my list of things I really really really dislike: caulking.

**Speakers in the garage: functional. Sweet!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Prearranged Terms and Conditions Apply


**Term I had never heard before just the other day: 'Steampunk'. From what I've found out in the course of a very brief investigation, I like it.

**Be interested in seeing what Jaws pulls out of the stack of my CD's to listen to. Maybe a dozen different bands, and the only one she had heard of was ZZ Top. Will someone hand me my cane?

**To Snaps in my own defense: That is a perfecly reasonable place to put a pocket. The function of pockets is to have things put into them. That's just not the best place to have a boob.

**Oddly addictive games of late: Momentum Missile Mayhem 2, Gemcraft, Pillage the Village, and Bubble Tanks 2. All of which you can play for free at

Tastes More Like Real Writing!

Seems that my wireless internet connection has been getting a bit hinky lately-again. There seems to be no end to the low signal strengths and constant modem resets. To the point where I think I have reached my patience threshold. That frustration, couple with the half-baked success that I had at getting RCA cables pulled into the office have got me thinking that I could probably manage to snake one more cable into the office. If i can somehow complete that task, then all that remains is to swap out the wireless modem for a cable modem. And, with any luck, that should help solve the problem.

CHAPTER TWO: Codename: Peek-A-Boo
It seems that I get fairly regular comments from readers who want to know the real identities of the people I name in my various rants. There are those who have figured one or two out as well as those who haven't figured out any. Along with that are a large number of people who would have no reason or means to know the names of any of these people. So then the question becomes, why bother with the aliases at all? Partly, I find it quite amusing. As someone who has never been in possession of a socially repeatable nickname, I get a few grins handing out nicknames to other people. On a more realistic note, I figured that there would be someone out there who wouldn't be terribly thrilled about me plugging an exploit of theirs/ours into the web. Hopefully for anyone out there of this mindset, the pseudonym gives a small degree of anonimity. A very small degree.
But, the more that I thought about it, I hit on a notion that struck me as being a bit more credible: everyone has some degree of voyeurism that is part of their personality. You may have read your sibling's diary. You may listen to the next door neighbors arguing. You may listen to the private conversation going on just over in the next cubicle. You may be hooked on 'reality' TV. A really good gossip session may make your day. I won't even mention the vast spectrum of porn out there. Aside from the fact that I did just mention it.
So everyone has something that they love to do that fulfills this need to know secrets. To have knowledge that you shouldn't or wouldn't normally have. To see something that is usually hidden. It's all some form of cheap thrill that comes from voyeurism. So, I kinda decided to play with that a little bit in my blog. you get that sense that it's OK to look. And, oh boy, here's a cast of mysterious characters! Oooo! They must be up to no good if he's not using their names! (And, yes, sometimes they are!) Throw in the sneaking suspicion that you think this character is really this person, and it becomes a fairly potent recipe for addictive reading. The part that makes for the repeat business is when you start thinking that such-and-such a character is really truly for real this specific person, and then what you thought about the original story just goes right out the window as you try to cram what you know of the person into that situation.
So go ahead, peek in the windows of my brain. It's OK. I left some of the shades up for you.

CHAPTER THREE: A Long Stretch Of Letters and Punctuation
I was doing something of little or no consequence on the computer the other day when something I hadn't thought of in years came rolling down the halls of my brain and ran smack into my line of conscious thinking with a meaty THWACK! It was a slightly different flavor than I remember it being, but age tends to change the flavors of things like cheese, ideas, and fish. So there it was again the idea of The Novel. Or in this case, more like the seeds for The Novel. If I find myself feeling somewhat peppy, it actually becomes the idea of The Novels.
It was literally (no pun intended) something that I hadn't considered in more years than I can remember. Unlike so many of my other creative idea of unbelievably huge proportions, this one seems to be sticking around a bit more than the others. At least to the point that I felt compelled to sketch out a few developmental ideas, a plot point or two, and a bunch of questions that I would have to address during the process. Should I decide to pursue this project, I will definitely have a character named 'Skeeter'.

CHAPTER FOUR: Class Warfare?
Seems that I'm not the only one who's somewhat indifferent to the notion of the whole reunion thing. Even others have also hit on the idea that it could have been done a bit, if not much, better. The first complete expression of this notion other than by myself, came this week from Johnny Law. The idea of the 'Anti-Reunion' was born. (Cue dramatic music) The breakaway splinter cell of MTHS '88 grads opting to dis the established powers that be and go their own way. At least as far as Steak 'n' Shake. Now, a live action version of Les Miserables this won't be, but it will be interesting to see how much momentum this idea can gain in the month and a half before the reunion. Could make for an interesting weekend.

CHAPTER FIVE: The Dark Knight
The police came knocking on my door this Friday night. They told me that my choice was simple; either I go to see The Dark Knight, as has been mandated bylaw, or I get sent to a reeducation compound somewhere in New Jersey. I opted for the choice involving less travel and headed off to the theater for a late show along with Pinklady. If nothing else, there is a lot to be said for having a theater almost all to yourselves. The downside to that would be that the volume level was set to such an astoundingly loud level, even I had to cringe a couple of times.
As this movie has been reviewed by practically everyone else on the planet, I shall spare you my analysis of the deep and layered pathos of the end credits. I shall keep my comments brief. The cinematography of all the locations in Chicago: gorgeous. At the same time, you still got a sense that the city felt rather bleak, almost deserted.
My main problem with the film is that I won't get to see a further continuation of this version of the Joker. While not quite up to the level of Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lechter, this still qualifies as a villain of the highest caliber.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot how much I liked the sticky grenade gun. I just kept thinking of the scene in Saving Private Ryan where they made the sticky bombs to take out the German tanks.

CHAPTER SIX: That's A Little Rough, Don't You Think?
The chisels have been laid aside for the most part in regards to my current tiki project. The next step: sanding. Which, if I do it right, is a three or four step process. Right now, I'm doing a 60 grit pass along with cleaning up corners, stray splinters, and other small chisel work. Then comes more and more and more and more sanding until the whole thing is ready to be prepped for staining. I just may end up being done before the month is over. Or not.

Once again, in synch with the return of the NIU students, Corn Fest will soon be upon us. For those of you who may not be familiar with the concept, Corn Fest is the yearly festival/carnival here in DeKalb.
The big fight over it this year centered around the city council's plans to move it from downtown to the municipal airport out on the east side of town. Apparently, if the city decides to move the festival, they give up the ability to ever have it downtown again due to some law that says you can't block off major roadways (like Lincoln Highway) to have a carnival or fair. When this law came into affect, DeKalb was grandfathered in because Corn Fest had been running for so long in the same spot. Not any more. Now the downtown bars and merchants are pissed at the whole thing because a huge yearly boost to their sales were the crowds that Corn Fest attracted.
Anyway, Pinklady brought me a brochure for this year's event and I must say that at first glance, my interest has been piqued. The band lineup actually seems to be worth more than just a passing glance, and if you happen to have an extra $425 laying around, you can go for a 30 minute flight in an actual B-17 flying fortress (bombs cost extra). For those of us less well off, helicopter rides over the city will be available for $25. I guess those last two things would be the advantages of having your festival at an airport.
So, perhaps this year, instead of avoiding the whole event like the proverbial plague, I may actually truck out that way and take a peek. Did I mention the free sweet corn??

**Almost managed to have lunch with the Pirate Queen the other day. Almost.
**Continued luck to Dhawk as she revises her plans to be more vertical (mapwise) and less lengthy (distancewise).
**Some of my plants now seem to be afflicted with some type of vine boring insect. Come October, if I fail to have any home grown pumpkins, I shall be most put out.
**Deer and karoke do not mix, or so I was told by Dimples recently. Happy belated birthday to her as well.
**How can you not love pesto made with home grown basil?
**Off to Springfield for Lady Justice. I'll try to keep the book recommendations heading her way.
**Chain and forwarded emails are fast becoming a high priority source of pissyness for me. All the promises of love, bad/good luck, and popularity are as inconsequential and as pointless as a letter to Santa Claus.
**I really don't like the fact that even after knowing someone for a ridiculous amount of time, it still ends up being a Herculean task to try and figure out what to get them for their birthday.
**MIA: Bluegirl. Dammit, you better check in soon!
** Naturegirl is not writing. The tiki gods are not pleased.

Monday, August 11, 2008

No Linen Jacket Required

Sunday night. Not too far past 11 PM. Lights are low in the studio, and my mind is pacing the cage. Daryl Hall is playing on the stereo, on cassette, no less. There's a cool night breeze coming in through the window. The house is pretty quiet. Just got done watching 'Grosse Pointe Blank'. Seemed appropriate as it combines both the '80s and a high school reunion. Near perfect fuel for my agitation. The whole notion of the upcoming reunion has been moving restlessly from one corner of my mind to another, never seeming to find a place to rest. My choice is to dose myself with music that I used to try and ease my melancholy 20 years ago. Mind you, these are the same tapes, not just copies of albums that I used to have. Which reminds me I should return the Amazon's copy of that Enigma album I borrowed from her and never returned.

So why should this event have me feeling so unanchored? Is the return to the area that was once where I lived but not really quite home? I know that when I go back, it won't be at all as I remember it Such is the nature of things. It's not like I can keep a whole town in stasis in order to keep myself at ease. But if it were to stay the same, would I be scornful of it for not changing? Might just as likely be that I feel my own inability to separate myself from this element of my past is some sort of weakness. Why is this set of events so difficult to disentangle and distance myself from?

There is a scene in the movie where John Cusack's character avoids a fight with a former classmate by saying 'You can't be mad about 'us'. There is no 'us''. This seems to be a recurrent theme for me lately. Things I see as barbs in my flesh are seen by others, including the participants, as unmarked chapters in history. That sort of leaves me adrift. Connections. Is that what all this is about? Isn't that the point to all the things people do that annoy the piss right out of me? Small talk, crazed sports loyalty, pointless political party dedication; isn't all that about being able to instantly associate yourself with a group? A way to identify strangers as friend or foe? Am I seeing this as a return to those days when my desperation to fit in lead me to abandon who I really was and in the process obliterate many, many years?
But I also know that those images, those places, those people, don't really exist in that form that I remember any more. Time has erased, altered, and distorted all those things from the past. A fear of milling around in a group of people all struggling to use those same damaged memories to try and hang together as a group, perhaps?

Those shadow monsters on the walls are cast by my own hands and still they drive me to sit here in the near darkness and find the cause of seemingly unhealed wounds from long ago. Is that an overly romantic way of saying it? Maybe. But with as many years gone by as have, my way of remembering it is now no more or less correct than anyone else's. This time I'm just not half stoned scribbling on the back of a Lums menu in the middle of the night.

In the other corner of the room from where I sit, in the shadows I can make out a small figurine. It sits on the edge of a shelf, and even though I can't quite make it out from here, I know pretty well how it looks. It's a wizard in a grey cloak, three, maybe four inches tall. There's a crystal ball in his outstretched hands, and a white beard on his chin. Another physical link to those days. All I can say for sure is who it came from. I no longer trust that the story I remember about getting is really accurate. On the stereo, Daryl Hall is singing 'Someone Like You'. The wizard continues to peer into his crystal ball, as he has done for almost two decades. A deep aches revives itself with the guitar solo and memories of a walk in the dark in Germantown Hills. As much as I wish I could, I just can't cram her memory into the role played by Minnie Driver. And I sure as Hell am no John Cusack. Again with the connections. Where is the point in trying to connect with a fragment from so long ago? Is that fragment rocket fuel, or an anchor? How great would be the tragedy of having that fragment destroyed? Is that fear of being free worse than the pain of being shackled to it?

How much regret can I create and ingest before I implode? Who has gone by unnoticed while I walked around staring at my shoes? What great epiphany, what Gordian solution do I hope to find in that bar in Washington? Will visiting the old places, or the places those places used to be, somehow propel me forward? Will taking dozens of pictures enable me to find some meaning lurking in the background? Will any of it change the way I put the chisel to the wood? Will my brush hit the canvas differently, or my words take on some strange new cadence? Can there ever really be a storybook ending outside of the storybooks? Sade continues singing on the stereo, and waves of the past keep washing through my mind, overtaking even the thoughts of work tomorrow. Outside, the crickets chirp, oblivious. And so, to bed I go. Wondering what dreams await me there.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pocupines!! Everywhere, Porcupines!!

CHAPTER ONE: A Brief Announcement
I'm not wearing any.

CHAPTER TWO: Look Around
In case you hadn't noticed, and even if you didn't care, there is now a link posted on the left hand side of the page that will take you to a web album where I will be posting pictures of ongoing projects, as well as things I may occasionally finish. Thanks to Cromag for the constant prodding it took to finally get me to figure out exactly how to do this. And yes, I will post update pictures this weekend (I swear!!).

CHAPTER THREE: When Will It Stop????
Once again, I have been bitten quite painfully in the ass by the bane of my existence: the 'You're a nice guy, BUT....' phrase. This most ancient of curses was this time leveled at me by Ninjagirl. How oddly appropriate that this should rear its most venomous head right at the same time I'm contemplating my 20th high school reunion. That string of words has caused me untold grief throughout my life. As I have tried the route of not being a nice guy, which I failed miserably at, and as I have no interest in not being a guy, it seems like this will be the spiritual cheese grater grinding away at my soul for all eternity. Or at least until I cease to exist. But then, any philosopher worth his salt would question the brazen assurance that I seem to have regarding my own existence. On the other hand, most philosophers would have been on the receiving end of that curse numerous times in their own lives as well. And that leads me to wonder if you can reject something that does not exist. Perhaps by the virtue of my possible non-existence I would then become more interesting to the opposite sex. Fascinating theory, but a tad difficult in practical application, I would think.

CHAPTER FOUR: Sometimes a Table Is Just A Puzzle Stand
About the time I was all set to start getting grumpy that there is an incomplete jigsaw puzzle taking up the entire top of my gaming table, I realized that since I'm not playing games with anyone right now, it doesn't freakin matter. Although I do at some point intend to take Kittyluv up on her offer. There will be no rolly chairs present, though.

CHAPTER FIVE: Dude, That's Like In Wisconsin, Right?
Off to Elkhorn on Sunday? Maybe. Even thought I paid the bills and did the books today, I'm not sure running up to a huge flea market would be the most fiscally responsible thing to do. I think I only made it up there once last year, and I haven't gone at all this year. This particular show is one of the best flea markets going, and it really suck to have to be an adult and say the we shouldn't go. That's been the same story basically all summer. Poured all that money into the house, now people expect to get paid. So, no flea markets, garage or estate sales, and no antiquing this year. Guess I'll mow the yard tomorrow instead.

CHAPTER SEVEN: It Is Not a Flip-Flop, By The Way
Pinklady has finally redeemed herself at the video store, at least somewhat. She recently rented "The Onion Movie". For those of you who are not aware of what The Onion is, let me fill you in a tad. The Onion is a satirical newspaper based out of the U of W in Madison. Filled with spoofs and send-ups of current events and the general stupidity of people, it has a national following. So, they made a movie. If you at all liked "The Kentucky Fried Movie" or "Amazon Women On The Moon": rent this movie. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Just rent the movie. Now for those of you who may have read my somewhat harsh review of that last piece of trash I saw that I can't even remember the name of may well say that "Kentucky..." and "Amazon..." both had their share of raunchy humor and simply stupid gags. I would have to admit that this is true. The primary difference would be that in the case of "The Onion", they realize that a joke about a gay cruise liner is 3 minute sketch funny, not 90 minute movie funny. Just rent the damn movie and quit your whining.

* It would seem that most people have a far looser definition of the word 'friend' than I do.
*I know I've mentioned it before, but I feel it bear repeating: I. Hate. Creeping. Charlie.
*There are some people out there who have no idea how nauseating their perfume is. Then there are a few whose fragrance is so intoxicating it makes you weak in the knees. Usually, these same people tend to find it odd when you stand close to them and breathe deeply while making happy noises.
*Thanks to MSD for the swag! I'm still waiting on pins and needles to see what my reward is gonna be, by the way.
*Wondering if asking the Amazon about the whereabouts of Number One was a wise thing to do.
*Awaiting my next inspiration from Bluegirl. Even thought the fact remains that I still have things in the works from previous inspirations.
*Work SUCKED this week in ways I have yet to be able to fully comprehend. Round 2 starts on Monday. I could well be comatose by Wednesday.
* I need gasoline, thumbtacks, and Miracle-Gro. There is no one single place that I know of in Dekalb to acquire all three of those items in one stop.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Miracles and Crap

CHAPTER ONE: Glory Hallelujah!
I have actually kinda surprised myself. I finished a project in one day, and at least 50% of it seems to work correctly. Since I discovered this morning that the old computer has the wrong type of USB ports on it, the notion of running out to Best Buy and picking up an external drive went right out the window. Which, incidentally enough, may be the same place that old computer will be going in rather short order. Unable to approach the music problem in that manner, I sulked for a while. Pinklady suggested getting a laptop, but the notion of a $500 fix to something that was supposed to be a no cost project really seemed to be a bit off. That left me with the one option I was hoping to not have to revisit: pulling cables.
Mind you, it's the finished ceiling in the basement that makes this such a pain. If there was a dropped ceiling down there, I'd probably run cable just for the fun of doin it. I have almost no access to get into the ceiling as it is, as well as a huge steel I-beam that runs the length of the house, along with all the HVAC ducting as well. So after the morning's raging thunderstorm, I spent hours looking in closets and peering in really tiny access holes to try and figure out how to get 2 sets of RCA cables from the computer in the office to the stereo in the studio. What I managed to discover made me quite irritated. There seemed to be no real way to do what I wanted to do in any manner that would be anything other than ridiculously difficult.
After many hours of climbing on step stools, running up and down the stairs, drilling holes in the floor, and making several unsuccessful attempts at fishing a lead wire through the ceiling, I was actually set to try and pull the cables up to the office. The only problem being that I didn't actually have the cables yet. And, as I was on my way out the door to head for Radio Shack, the warning sirens started going off outside. Funky greenish skies and furious winds along with driving rain and near constant lightning confirmed to me that the sirens really did mean business this time. We gathered up the Herd and headed for the basement, complete with a freshly made batch of cinnamon rolls. For about half an hour the sirens wailed, the radio told us to take cover, and we huddled in the crawl space with at least one highly gaseous dog.
Once the sirens stopped and the tornado warning was lifted, I resumed my attempt to get this project done. After placing a call to make sure the store was still there, I dashed out to Radio Shack to get the stuff I needed. I could see a thin ribbon of clear skies right at the horizon off to the northwest. Over the city, the storm seem to be reluctant to move on. Lightning seemed to be everywhere, and even with all the rain that had fallen, the humidity seemed to be about the same as when the whole thing started. Seemed to be a decent amount of limbs down, and the whole atmosphere felt just unsettled enough that I was out and back home in about 20 minutes.
After sitting on my ass for a couple of hours watching TV with Pinklady, it was back to my fight with the ceiling. But for once, it seems I had actually come up with a decent plan. The pulling of the cables went fairly smoothly, and after putting furniture back and closing up holes in the ceiling, I tested the layout in 'send' mode. Damn if it didn't work. I was so freaking happy my nipples were hard. Of course, that could have been the air conditioning. I have yet to test the 'send' mode, but I would hope to have the same degree of success with it as well.
The whole thing may seem to have been a paltry accomplishment, but it made me pretty damn happy.

CHAPTER TWO: There Is No Justice
Another turd in my day was when I learned of the departure of Lady Justice from the belly of the beast known as KHS. True enough, here being there was a waste of her time, talent, and brains. My concern, of course, is my own situation when she departs. When I consider what I may be left with, it sets off a low, but intense, headache. Tonight will be my first night working with one of the new full time 2nd shift tech, and that feeling of dread is starting to rise to the surface. Now I get to couple that with losing one of the people who actually had some interesting things to say, and could hold their own in a conversation. Not happy. Not happy. Not happy.

CHAPTER THREE: The Good and The Bad
Big hugs go out to Kittyluv, who is both celebrating her anniversary, and mourning the loss of the family member responsible for inciting the anniversary.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


My tolerance is shrinking, my headache is growing, and there are a lot of people nearby who seem to be begging for an incredibly vigourous pummelling. All that and now products of conception to process. I wonder if I could punch myself in the head hard enough to knock myself out.....

Cotangent Over Sine

CHAPTER ONE: The Recording Studio Blues
Crap. I have plunged headlong into yet another project only to come up short, stopped by the simplest of problems. After lugging the turntable and stereo back downstairs, and dragging the old computer out of its somewhat dusty storage space, I run into the incredibly simple problem of no memory space. If at all reasonably possible, it seems that the old computer system (running Windows 98Plus) only has a 20 MB hard drive. I was stunned. It may be a very good reason why its been in storage instead of in use, but still. I'm pretty sure that most battery powered toothbrushes out there have more memory than that. The option of unhooking everything and taking it all back upstairs isn't really available, as Pinklady has already redesignated the space where the stereo once sat. So, I sat back and considered my options. I think I've settled on getting an external hard drive to augment the secondary computer. Seems I can get a 250 GB drive with a USB hookup for around $100. What really caught me off guard was the rather large size of the uncut WAV files I had been working with while doing the Giant's project. Get a few LPs worth of those in one place and it eats up a lot of memory. The notion of the external drive does also give me the option of portability. Since the backup computer doesn't have a CD burner in it, if I was intent on making a CD, I could just unhook that drive, take it to the upstairs computer, and do whatever burning work I needed to do there. My main challenge would be to avoid cluttering up that portable drive with crap like games and other misc stuff. I do like the idea of having all my music in one place, in theory. The potential of what could happen if I got that drive fully loaded and then it died on me is also not beyond my imagination. But I think I just may take a stroll over to Best Buy tomorrow and use the past two year's worth of gift cards from work that are sitting in my drawer collecting dust and get me a drive. Maybe then I can get this whole notion of having all my music in the same place as all my other junk going. Of course, I also now find myself wandering in circles and scratching my head while trying to figure out where the hell all the cables I had have wandered off to. I'm starting to remember that I did use the speakers that are now hooked up to the upstairs computer were integral to getting sound from the computer to the stereo. Otherwise, I may need to get a cable that goes from a 1/8 mini jack to a split RCA lead. Something else I could pick up at Best Buy, or if that fails, Radio Shack. End up spending a little more money on something that was supposed to be a no-cost project.

CHAPTER TWO: Worth the drive?
After months of rumor and speculation, I finally received an envelope containing the itinerary for the MTHS Class of '88 20 year reunion. The plan is to go to a sports bar. In Washington. End of story. To say that I was unimpressed would be a hideous understatement. I almost feel like the victim of some great practical joke, but for the fact that this skimpy event has been confirmed by others. I realize times are tight for everyone, but c'mon. I'm half a tank of gas away, and I'm thinking about skipping out on this one. I had been looking forward to this, in my own rather angst ridden way, but now I just feel disappointed. Are any of the people who have kids going to want to come from more than a town or two over to go hang out at a local bar for the evening? I also have to acknowledge that it is easy to criticize from a distance, and setting up something like this can be a huge undertaking that involves more that just a little money. Still, hitting a local bar is something groups of people would do after the actual reunion type event. Not even a tour of the high school or anything like that. Had hoped to kinda make a weekend of it, get away from the house for a while, maybe see a few folks from the old days, hang out with Cromag, try and get Dimples and Haikublonde to come out-just a lost weekend type thing. Now I'm not even sure if I want to spend what it would cost in gas to go down there. Got a whole two months to figure that out though.

It's not everyday that someone asks you more than once what kind of wood you want.

I think I need to mow the yard again.

I know I need to vacuum the house.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Topsoil Or Loam?

CHAPTER 1: An Unmarked Passing
It seems that the odometer/speedometer on my bike is having issues. At leastI'm not the only one. Either it is dying, or the battery that powers it is dying. After being peeved for a while that I was going to have to shell out $5 for another battery, I decided that I didn't really care to. All that thing gave me was numbers. How far I'd ridden. My top speed. How much time I'd spent on the bike. Not what cool thing I had seen, or the fun I'd had just riding, or who I'd gone anywhere with. Just numbers. And none of them of any real significance. Sure, it would be occasionally impressive in the right company to say that I'd ridden X number of miles so far this year. Well, whoop-te-freakin-do-dah. That number might seem like a lot to some people, and might seem like small time crap to others. Either way, it does nothing to alter the quality, or quantity of my bike rides. They're just numbers. I think, rather than being upset when these numbers aren't the numbers that I think they should be, I'll just concentrate on enjoying the ride.

The giant's project is complete! And only two and a half months behind schedule! I should seriously consider working for the government with a track record (no pun intended) like that. 15 or so full length albums converted into 9.06 gigabytes of WAV files that were then trimmed, sectioned and converted yet again into less than 700 megabytes of MP3s. (Oh look! More numbers!) This project does let me add quite a bit of classic rock from the early 70's to my collection. The whole conversion process actually moves along pretty smoothly once you get all the actual albums recorded.
Kinda got me thinking that I'll set up the old computer in my studio. I can hook it up to the old steroe and record player, and once again be using that as my whole house system. That also lets me clear out of the office for the most part, which means Pinklady and I will spend less time tripping over each other in there. I'll just use the old computer basically as a stand alone music center. That will give me even more reason to spend time in the studio. Could also help me get moving again on my inventory. Before Pimpdaddy SC sends Milt to rough me up in order to recover his tripod. Spending more time down there would also help me work my way through the heaps of vinyl of my own that needs to be recorded and converted.
If I managed to figure all that out, all that would be left would be pulling all the speaker wire terminals into the studio so I can start reusing all the speakers again.

I really don't like spending too many of my days off like I spent this last one. I also have absolutely no remaining desire to have any type of monitoring device snaked into my body in any way, shape, or form. After a few hours of being knocked out, numbed, biopsied, and scoped, I had had as much of those particular events as I could ever hope to enjoy. And, from the results that I have thus far been able to lay my hands on, it would seem to be all for naught. Once again, I seem to be mostly normal, with only a few notable oddities. (NOTE:Anyone having a problem with the previous statement can send your complaints elsewhere) About the most that I can say is that until I have my follow-up appointment with the doctor, it seems that there is no current problem, I may be on the road to Ulcerville. Whoopee.

Just having an off day today. Yesterday really mucked things up, and the sedative they gave me made me want to little more than just lay around and nap once I got home. Poof! There went another day off! Been uneasily toying with the idea that I may need to change to some other med(s). Don't really like the thought of that. But that thought, combined with the return of the dreams, and my hodgepodge manner of taking my meds leaves me thinking that I may be coming close to the edge of the envelope of effectiveness. Again. Maybe it's a good time to take a chance to see if I can get out from under this whole mess. Make a run while the sun is high, and all that jazz. Alternately, I could work on changing my mind instead of changing my meds. That, of course, would be me operating on the assumption that the issue(s) that I have are software realted. I really do find the notion of having hardware issues much, much more disturbing. The meds can correct some hardware issues, and muffle some of the software issues, but that would mean I would be dependent on them for semi-normal function. Or, I could just hold my breath and see how deep the rabbit hole is. Why, oh why, would I want to take the red pill?

CHAPTER FIVE: Nauseating 'Wilderness'
This movie was so bad that my brain refused to even remember the whole title. It was released by Adam Sandler's production company (Happy Madison), and was apparently written by a team of 7 and 8 year old boys. Bad, Bad, bad, it was just way way way way damn bad. Worse than monkeys with a camera could do while stoned inside a garbage truck bad. Bad to the point that if I could remember the name of this so callled 'film', or even one person in the movie (Ernest Borgnine excepted. And I thought he was dead.), I would advise you to not even approach this DVD lest its toxic aura render you senseless and cause you, in a fit of uncontrolled stupidity, to rent this sorry mess.
Did I happen to mention that this was not at all good in any way?

**Naturegirl can sure get maximum impact from a minimum of words.

**Before she embarks on her epic journey, a quest for Dhawk will soon be revealed....

**Thoughts of kissing the Goaltender.....How interesting....

**Bananas do not travel well when unprotected in a backpack. Nor do peaches.

**A stray chair has become a target for my restless thoughts.