Tuesday, September 30, 2008


==In which our hero counts his syllables==

Reunion looming.

Another decade has passed.

Who are these people?


==In which our hero hastily writes a poem of sorts==
Can't keep a video in play
It's there, then gone the next day.
The code I embed
Ends up being dead,
Because YouTube takes it away.

Monday, September 29, 2008


CHAPTER ELEVEN: Possible Overload
==In which our hero tires to make sense of things==
There is a chest in my garage that contains all sorts of reminders of my past. The ticket shown above is one of them. It's from a date I went on with Number One. The calendar date is pretty obvious. That bit of paper is almost 20 years old. Why do I still have it? I have been asking myself that a lot as I pull one thing after another out of that chest in a reunion induced frenzy. With that come the questions. Why do I still have this? Why did I keep this in the first place? And occasionally, what is this supposed to remind me of? OK, I admit to being a pack rat, but does anyone else still have any of their class schedules from high school? I have two of them. Along with that I have two or three of my high school ID cards. Those are followed by what seems to be an endless stream of junk. Notes from girls, old computer programs, and the decor from inside my locker. Old balloons, newspaper clippings, and a baggie full of salt packets. Does a normal person keep any of this stuff? I get the feeling there is something desperately wrong with me, even more so than usual. And scattered through all this stuff are the odd little bits that don't seem to connect to anything. Ticket stubs and matchbooks, candy canes and earrings. I kept them for a reason. Should I feel bad that I don't remember why now? And who can I possibly share these strange things with? I had intended on taking some of it to the reunion, but who knows if any of the people they have relevance to will even be there. Better question: is it even relevant to me?

The ticket shown above I don't specifically remember, but the event I do. The tickets were given to Number One and I by her parents, and I remember being almost frantically nervous about going with her. I remember wearing a tie. I vaguely remember the event being in some great old stone building. I do remember that one of the events was a member of the opera wandering around the floor where we were all sitting and singing "C'est Moi" form "Die Fledermaus". I remember being covered in nervous sweat while praying that my crappy tan Dodge Omni would make it up Germantown Hill without overheating. I remember Number One saying that it was OK when I had to turn the heat on to bring the water temperature down. I stuttered and stammered and blathered like an idiot when she was close to me. I still have such a pang when I remember how I felt when I was around her. That's why she'll always be Number One. So, I guess I can understand why I kept this.

But why? Does it matter to anyone else? Should it matter to anyone else? The lesson I learned last year seemed to be that what was a big deal to me wasn't diddly to other people. Should it all go into the trash? What kind of dreams will all this stir up? How long will it be before it comes out of the chest again?

Too many questions. Too many disconnected bits swirling around in my head to a backdrop of 80's music. A cigarette and a drink was what made everything better then. Half tempted to see if they might do the trick now.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

How Old Do Redbirds Get In The Wild?

CHAPTER ONE: The Cost of Hot Air In An Election Year

==In which our hero learns that furnaces aren't cheap==
The call has been made. The company has been chosen. The guy is coming by on Monday with all the paperwork, and hopefully by the end of the week (better be done before Friday....) a more reliable and efficient furnace will be in residence in the basement. Do I sound thrilled? Because I am, you know. I could just poop I'm so gosh darn ecstatic about this. Realistically, I keep trying to not cringe at the cost. I remind myself that it would cost a lot more if the current furnace were to blow up the house. I don't think my insurance covers being reassembled from tiny little gristly charred bits, so I guess I'll go a bit more into debt to try and keep that from happening. All I know is I damn well better see some freakin awesome saving on the bills this year! If I don't I may well sit quetly in a corner and weep ever so softly in to my delcately folded hands.

CHAPTER TWO: For Want of a Pocket...

==In which our hero comtemplates the nature of need==
Are cargo pants/shorts evil? If not, are they a symptom/sign of evil? I haven't quite made a decision on this yet, but I think I'm leaning towards once again putting the blame on society as a whole. This particular line of reasoning first appeared when I was in line at the store and was totally unable to locate anything that I needed within my plethora of pockets. I could feel my keys, but the multi layered design of the pockets on and in my shorts made it impossible to tell what layer actually contained them. Some are protected by velcro, some a zipper, some gape wide open, but I still don't know where the hell my sunglasses went. The list of things I needed to pick up could have exited into some interdimensional rift caused by the alignment of all these pockets for all I know. I gave up on trying to find my phone, as it rang repeatedly from the general vicinity of my outer left thigh. And I swear I had a pen when I left the house.

Are the shorts evil? I would tend to think that in and of themselves they lack the capacity to be inherently evil. But the societal compulsion that causes us to feel the need to have things to put in all those pockets is more closely aligned to evil. I hate the fact that I can no longer leave the house with two keys and a five dollar bill unless I'm just out riding around on my bike. On a somewhat realted side note: keyrings that weigh more than your average guinea pig are evil. No question there. Anyway, I don't want to have to take a class of some sort to be able to figure out what the hell is supposed to go in all those pockets. Wallet, and keys (phone optional) should be all that you need to leave the house with. That's two pockets by my count. Or, if you have a D ring, one pocket and a belt loop. And that is most certainly far less evil.

CHAPTER THREE: And The Gods Were Well Pleased
==In which our hero puts more graven images on display==
In the course of cleaning out the garage, I found myself with enough breathing room to begin reconsidering other projects. One of which was the long stalled tiki lounge. So, in the interest of starting to move things along, I unearthed a shelf unit I had been saving and just got the darn thing mounted up on the wall. It took me less than an evening to do, and it looks pretty darn spiffy. I think that once I have some stripped cane from the grasses out front (I threw all I had away, go figure) I'll use that to trim out the edges and make it look a tad more 'islandy'. But for now I have a great new space to display twelve more pieces of my collection. I'm thinking that since the wood of that shelf is lighter in color, it will be a good place to display the darker items in the collection, as they hardly show up at all on the almost black room divider.

With that bit of encouragement under my belt, I have moved back to contemplating the corner shelf/display unit I was hoping to be able to put together out of old cabinets. I know they fit where I want to use them, but figuring out how to put the floating shelves on is proving to be a bit of a mind bender. That and I haven't really figured out how to do the top, or the edges of the top. Still, it's cheaper than making another run to Ikea. Unless it ends up not working at all after I've spent all kinds of money on lumber and stuff, and I still end up going to Ikea. Just trying to not think about that possibility.

CHAPTER FOUR: The Return of Not-So-Big B
==In which our hero ends up with another guitar==
Right toward the end of my time off, I was greeted upon my return to home one day by a mysterious message on my answering machine. Not sure exactly who it was, I kind of put it out of my mind until I came home the next day and Pinklady told me that BigB had called and I should call him back. Next thing I know, there he is on my doorstep telling me that he has something for me. Turns out that the reason he'd dropped out of sight was that he'd been off of work with a bone infection (Yikes!!). In the course of his time off, he'd managed to drop twenty pounds, beat the infection, and make yet another resolution to take better care of himself. I hope he sticks to it this time. Anyway, he reaches into the back of his truck and pulls out a guitar and hands it to me. I was a tad surprised. Usually he has a board game for me, so this was not what I was expecting. Combine that with my almost total lack of any musical talent whatsoever, and you can understand my surprise.

It's an old (er) guitar, and had seen better days, but on the body is this neat painting of a hula girl. And that was what BigB thought would go well with the rest of my collection. So while the guitar may not really be playable (the bridge is twisted, needs new strings, etc, etc), it sure does look nice just leaning up against the wall in the midst of all the other tropical items. And to this day, I have no idea how he manages to find all these neat things.

CHAPTER FIVE: An Orange Wrapped Disappointment
==In which our hero relives a massive ego crushing==
It's been somewhat interesting to be wandering down memory lane lately. Not always pleasant, but interesting for the most part. A fine example of the not pleasant aspect jumped up and bit me in the ass this past week. I've been going through all the bits of stuff I've hung on to over the years, and among these are, of course, some photographs. In particular are some photos of a trip I took with the Amazon and Wolfboy when we went up Chicago way to see the Amazon's college roommate. The important things to remember here are as follows: the Roommate was HOT, and I was an incredibly horny socially inept geek that drank too much. Can you see where this is going?

So, we all drive up to the roommate's house, which was somewhere near Chicago, with the intent of going into the city the next day. Of course the night before, there was a party. Mind you, I had already met the Roommate before, and was so smitten that I showed her how I felt by getting ridiculously drunk and passing out on her floor in an alcohol induced stupor. But that's another story for another day. At the present moment, and even after looking at the pictures from that weekend, I can't quite put my finger on what the roommate's ethnicity was. Middle Eastern, maybe? Italian, Greek, beats the hell out of me. But I didn't care. She had dark eyes, dark wavy hair, an olive complexion, a great smile, and a bit of attitude. I was a goner from the minute I met her.

So during the party I amused myslef as I usually did at such events by being a wallflower (can you do that when you're outside?), drinking, and smoking. Oh, did I mention I spent a good deal of time fawning after the Roommate? The Roommate, in the meantime, was all over the place. I mean really, we were in her neighborhood. So while I sat there and stewed about her not just falling all over me, she got interested in another guy who was there. Go figure. He was in the military, or going into the military, something like that. All I knew is that he was not me. I found this to be upsetting. So at some point during the night we all headed back to her house to try and get some sleep before the next day's activities. Once things had settled down and all the lights were off, the Roommate came quietly downstairs with an unusual question. "Does anyone have a condom?" was the whispered query.

Mind you, I did have a condom. I had hoped that I would be the one getting to use it, though. It would have been the first time for both of us. Even though it had been residing in my wallet for quite some time, I did think that I might get to use it sometime proir to my death, even though there was strong evidence to the contrary. But now I was faced, once again, with the notion that I would be assiting someone else to sleep with the person that I really wanted to be sleeping with. I hate that feeling. I hate even more that I have been involved in that feeling multiple times. It seems to be a side effect of 'Third Wheel Syndrome', which I had a major case of in those years. So the question was, do I pipe up and give this person that I am hot for the thing that will encourage her to have sex with someone who is not me, or do I just pretend to be passsed out? Well, those of you who understand that I possess a crippling degree of niceness can predict the ending. She got my one lonely Trojan condom, and I got to stare into the darkness after she left the room and wonder if I did the right thing. Which I seem to still be doing, to this very day. The icing on the cake (poor choice of words, I know) was the gleeful recap of her night's events the next morning that she gave the Amazon while I was not quite out of earshot. I would have rather had her run me over with her car.

I'm not even sure why this bothers me anymore. A missed opportunity? Well, yes. Another seed of regret for me to constantly tend to? Definitely. Beyond that, I really can't say. I seem to be running a tad low on insight at the moment.

The Knights who say 'Nee!'
==In which our hero hears that most cursed of phrases==

It seems only fitting that in this time of getting ready to be immersed in memeories of the past, that there would also be things that would arise that were not so pleasant. Maybe not unpleasant to you, dear reader, but to me. But you may also think that they would be based firmly in the past and easily dismissable. But it seems that a good deal of the past has followed me to the present and seems to be quite intent on letting me know that it's still there. Case in point, my most hated of phrases: 'You're a nice guy, but...' and all of it's annoying variants.

I have had this one dropped on me this very week, and the nostalgia factor just made a tiny bit of vomit come up into the back of my mouth. I don't want to be nice. I think. I don't want to be an ass, but there seem to be great limitations to being nice. Maybe I can can get niceness declared a recognized medical condition and then just say that I have a disease. I could even start the Niceness Awareness Foundation. But WTF? I tried being not nice, and those years were a total disaster (all 15 or so of them). So, what do you do? I can be nice and be ignored, or I can be an ass and be miserable. Having done both, I can't say which is better. Is it that difficult to rewrite what seems to be one's own nature, even if you don't really like what that nature is? But, on the other hand, why bother with trying to change it now? I know I'll get to hear that lovely phrase at least a dozen or so more times this weekend, possibly moreso now that I've mentioned it here. It must just be the mental linkage of that phraseology to a period of time that I'm not completely fond of that makes it so distasteful.

That still doesn't mean I have to enjoy hearing it....

CHAPTER SEVEN: Boomerang(s)?
==In which our hero tries to figure out how to cut his losses==
I fell for it again. Pretty pictures and slick production lured me into buying $120 worth of the most recent and up-to-date manuals for a game I've been playing since '86. I didn't need them. The ones I have are perfectly functional. That didn't stop me from buying them though. Of course, after spending all that money, I got them home and was promptly disappointed by the content. I could almost hear the giant flushing sound as I kissed that money goodbye. All that's left is to wonder if I can take the books back to Borders and get my money back. The open box set I know I'm stuck with. All that and as a final slap in the head you can tack on the fact that I haven't heard from Trotz in a couple of weeks, so I don't even have the hint of having a regular game group anymore. When will I ever learn? And why are there practically no female gamers? And why am I even bothering to complain about gender based discrepancies in the sub-population when it seems far more relevant that people as a whole don't play games any more?? And why would anybody but a nice guy be concerned about such a bizarre topic?

CHAPTER EIGHT: Sadness in Aisle Seven
==In which our hero bemoans the nature of society==
If you were to ask me, I would be hesitant to call this writing. Just from a purist format, it does't involve paper, pen, or pencil, so it isn't technically writing. But it is assembling words into a somewhat coherent form for the consumption of others. So I guess by that definition it is. Even at that, people don't really write to each other anymore, which makes me wonder how the greeting card industry stays in business. And that is what I thought while trying to find a few cards the other day.

I mean, whoever came up with the idea of the greeting card in the first place removed the need for someone to use their own words to express how they feel regarding just about any given situation. You just pay your money and sign your name. All you're sending as a representative of yourself is your signature, and maybe a line or two. That strikes me as being a bit sad.

I had tried, as recently as a year ago, to keep some good old fashioned send-a-letter correspondence going with some people, but it very quickly became a one way effort. Now when I go out to the mailbox, I know there won't be anything there but bills and junk mail. People have wondered why I have hung on to old letters and notes form the past. Well, how often do you get a letter or a note in the mail anymore?

CHAPTER NINE: An Angry Street
==In which our hero lets down the entire neighborhood==
It has come to my attention that there would be those people on our street who are not happy that I/we are not having my/our Halloween party this year. Just in case they were wondering, I'm not freakin happy about it either. The money just isn't there to be able to do it, and that pisses me off. I may not even decorate this year, and the thought of that pisses me off. Realistically, it's getting hard to find decorations, AND IT'S NOT EVEN OCTOBER YET!!! Which, of course, pisses me off. Stores are selling off what minimal H'ween stuff they had to be able to get the C'mas stuff out. Makes me sick. The trees are still green, the grass is still growing-does no one pay attention to the calendar any mor?? Almost half of the year is now dedicated to getting people to purchase C'mas items and systematically guilt anyone who doesn't into depression. The other half of the year seems to be deditcated to making you feel like you have to go out and but all the things you didn't get as a gift lest you be left behined my humanity as a whole. But I digress. Back to the party that won't be happening. Which pisses me off. I guess I'll just start putting away money now towards next year's event. If I give myself a calendar year, I should be able to bank a nice chunk of change. Pissy part is, now that I've actually been taking vacation time at work, I won't be able to cash in all those extra hours, which would have been a nice starting point.

So, as much as I know they were sort of kidding, there will be no neighborhood party this year. There will be no small personal party. Even if I had the money in hand, I don't have the time to get anything together. And since I have spent about zero time doing anything with the neighbors in any context this year, I do not feel bad for them. I am only feeling bad that I don't get to do all the things I like to do to celebrate the holiday. Oh, but I was SOOOOO thrilled to hear that another one of our neighbors does intend on hosting their annual Valentine's Day party. I'm practically tingling, I'm that excited.

CHAPTER TEN: "Run Fatboy Run"
==In which our hero laughs out loud==
I like Simon Pegg. Maybe it would be better said that I enjoy Simon Pegg's acting work. He could be a right bastard for all I know. Even if that is the case, it wouldn't have kept me from enjoying this movie. Sure, it's predictable. Sure, it's overly sappy at points. Sure, I could have done without seeing Hank Azaria's naked ass. I still liked this movie. I think you too, should rent and enjoy this movie.


*It was really nice to get to see MSD, if only briefly.

*Anxiety mixed with excitement. An interesting way to be looking at a reunion. Or anything else for that matter.

*The back window almost fell out of my car. Can't wait to see how much that'll cost to fix.

*Haven't seen so much as a shadow of Dhawk since the move. Hope things are going well out there.

*How does one react when someone else's good news ends up taking a huge steaming dump all over your day?

*Nope. Never did finish all that paperwork.

*The folk's cat is not at all fond of fireworks.

*Bluegirl seems to have vanished for the moment. So has Kittyluv and the Princess Cowgirl.

*I could use some coffee right now.

*Tomorrow is going to be a busy freakin day....

*Not sure how I feel aout the possibility of the Goalkeeper moving to a different field.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Too Wierd For A Tuesday

I needed some brackets to hang a shelf downstairs, so off to Menard's I went. Since I was out I went by the folks house to check on the cat. Then I came home. I was gone about an hour and a half. In that amount of time someone took most of my garbage off the curb.

Mind you, there were about 8 boxes of misc stuff that I had removed from the garage and various other areas that was, for all intents and purposes, trash. And if I think it's trash, it's trash. It was there, now it's gone. Beats the hell out of me why anyone would want it. I'd already stripped out all the copper, aluminum, brass, and stainless steel that there was. If nothing else, the garbageman won't be so pissed off at me tomorrow. I just find that odd beyond reason that someone would take all that stuff. More power to them I guess. Double bonus for being able to get me to scratch my head in total confusion.

So Not the Point....

I have no idea how many days I am into the whole Purge Project, but I think I'm finally running out of steam. By last tally at the scrapyard, they've taken probably 700+ pounds of scrap and recyclables off my hands. Add in what has gone into recycling, and out to the regular trash, and I have to be well over half a ton of stuff that has either left my possession, or is on it's way towards leaving my possession. After I set stuff out for garbage tomorrow, I hope to be able to get a better view of what's left. Maybe it would be better said that I should be able to get a better idea of what I can do with the space that has magically appeared.

Still, it's not been a completely easy process for someone as openly pack rattish as I am. Every box I sorted through I saw things I had saved with the whole notion of 'gee, that would look cool as part of x, y, or z.' Some of this stuff came over with me from the old house, and that has to be 5 years ago. I can only think that if the project never left the conception stage, it can't be all that meaningful to me. That's kind of an upsetting statement to me. In the course of listening to NPR today, I heard a story about an artist residency program in San Francisco. One of the biggest draws to the program is that those chosen to be part of it have 24 hour a day access to one of the city's dumps. May not sound great to most of you, but it sounds like a great deal to me. Just being out at the scrapyards again, surrounded by the smells of rust and oil, the clanging of the metal, and seeing one interesting form after another in piles of scrap that seem to go on and on, was quite comforting to me. A homecoming of a very odd sort. But after hearing this story, I also got a stab of guilt. Here were theses artists going out and searching for the very things I was getting rid of. The big difference was that they were actually using them instead of just hoarding them and waiting for some perfect moment of creative bliss. So, whatever excitement I had for the program was doused by realizing that I couldn't be a part of such a thing right now. For some reason, I seem to be waiting for something. I just hope I don't end up waiting too long.

That daily dose of regret and self loathing led me to stick my face in a bag of Mrs Fisher's chips and sit in front of the computer for a couple of hours. When I realized this behaviour wasn't doing anything to help correct the problem, I added scones and pouting to the mix. Still no luck. I have noticed though, that having the clutter, the mess, on the retreat has made it more mentally easy to be in that space. I haven't been able to take the next step, the harder step, and sit down (or stand) and get to work. The notion of hiding behind the straw man of 'lack of inspiration' is wearing pretty thin, too. There are so many scraps and scribbles, so many imperfect finishes, so many untested techniques, that I could spend many many lifetimes and not even get to most of them. So what's the holdup? I have no legitimate reason to offer you. Fear is always a good backup reason. If you can think of anything better, just let me know. I'd prefer a reason that took the crux of blame off of me though.

Along with bits and pieces of things that never got started, I ran across a whole pile of finished pieces that have also followed me from the other house. I think they're all chalk on cardboard pieces of varying dimensions. In my current mode of purging, I will gladly send these along to either anyone interested in having on or two or ten, or to the garbageman, should no one care for them. I'll get some pics posted in the next couple of days. Let me know if you see something that strikes your fancy. Otherwise, everything strikes the trash can.

We hit the video store in an attempt to find something of interest the other day. Walked out with "The Forbbiden Kingdom" with Jet Li and Jackie Chan. It looked kinda interesting in the previews. You'd think by now I would know better. It wasn't horrid. It wasn't even really bad. Not great. Not even above average. Just average. Now, I must say I have a fondness for epic martial arts movies. I can remember seeing "Circle of Iron" when I was a kid, and just loving it. Then came the 80's. What a sad, sad time for martial arts movies. Van Damme, Dudikoff, Segal, Norris, Macchio, and the greatest villains of them all: Golan-Globus pretty much killed my appetite for the genre. And that appetite stayed dead for a long time. Then came "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", and I was hooked all over again. It was this incredibly lush, dreamlike vision with colors that made my head spin. I hadn't seen anything like it. Ever. I think it was the first time I realized what cinematography was. And I haven't forgotten.

TFK tries to hit this rather high mark, and doesn't so much as hit it, but does kinda splatter on it a bit. The story seems to be cobbled together from 2, maybe 3, separate scripts and doesn't really flow all that well. And from what I can tell, at least one of the previously mentioned scripts had to have been written in the 80's. Cornball one lines pepper a story that seems to be trying to take itself seriously, but ends up being almost a farce of the genre. The overly fantastical dimensional travel/encounters with immortals angle also pushes this story well beyond what even I will put up with in a martial arts movie. It really did seem that someone found a script from the 80's and just made a movie of it as it was written, with modern day technology.

All in all, not for me, thanks much. A chop saky movie on steroids, basically. A couple of great fight sequences, as you would expect, but not much of anything holding them together. Go rent "Hero", or "House of Flying Daggers" instead.

On the plus side, though, was "Smart People" with Dennis Quaid and that blonde from "Sex and the City" who's name I can never remember. I know she's married to Matthew Broderick, though. Anyway, this was another neat snapshot of the quasi-dysfunctional family of a widowed college professor and what happens when they start paying attention to the world beyond themselves. I have to admit that the whole thing held a bit more interest for me as I married my way into the family of a long time college professor. Still, I think that anyone who's ventured into the halls of higher learning can relate to the lead character in some way. I guess I also found an interest in watching the struggle of these characters trying to reinvent themselves, if only in the smallest of ways.

If your movies have to have big booms and big bosoms-do not rent this movie. Nothing blows up and the most skin you get to see is Thomas Hayden Church's ass. Twice. Otherwise, give it a try. Not to mention that Nuno Bettencourt did the music for the whole movie.

As usual, it is now late n the night, and my incredibly dry eyes are telling me it's time to go to bed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The State of Things

I knew there were things that have been on my list of things to do for way too long. One of them has been to check and see why the light in the laundry room flickers on occasion. Well, I finally got around to checking it. In retrospect, I should have done it a long time ago. When I puled the wall switch, I found that it was a mid circuit switch, which was somewhat odd. Whoever installed it also used the push in connectors on the back of the switch instead of the screw connectors. I changed the wires to the other terminals, but beyond that, I couldn't see anything wrong with the switch or the way it was wired. So, I got up on a stool and took the light fixture off of the ceiling. Didn't seem to be anything wrong with it. It was wired properly, and was even grounded like it should be. The socket threads seemed to be a bit chewed up on the inside, but not so much as to be a problem. I took the whole thing down to give it a closer check, and then that was when I saw that one of the lead wires to the socket had cracked insulation. And, when I poked at it with my finger, a large section of the wire's insulation just fell away. Not good. Worse considering that that wire was running right next to a metal frame element of the light fixture. Should that have arced when the light was installed, it could have started a nice little fire that would have gone right into the joist space and could have then crossed the entire width of the house in no time. What a comforting though that was. Makes me think I should really get to the things on my list sooner rather than later. Mostly because I'm sure that my insurance doesn't cover stupidity. But on the upside, that fixture is now resting in the trash, and a new one occupies it's spot on the ceiling. Now, if I could just bring myself to get all the paperwork done.

Seems that Dhawk has found a snazzy little nest in the hills of AZ.

MSD is currently outpacing me in the category of 'Completed Art Pieces'.

Knowing Trotz is costing me a lot of money, but I really like the new floor in my studio.

The folks are gone, and litter box duty has fallen into our hands (so to speak).

The Prius is growing on Pinklady, oddly enough.

The check has been sent, the die cast, and my commitment made to at least attend some part of my reunion.

I really don't want to have to pick out a new furnace.

Wonder what the Goaltender is up to.

The sale at St Peter's netted me a stack of LP's, but no games.

Gonna take a nice long ride tonight.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nope, no pistachios.

CHAPTER ONE: That's It??
As much as I had been anticipating it, vacation thus far has been somewhat anticlimactic. Started off Monday with a rousing day of arguments with Pinklady. Plus, it was day number five without any sun. No fun on either count. And even though I said I wouldn't, I went ahead and generated this massive and completely ridiculous lists of tasks. It's sitting right here by my elbow. I've actually gotten a few things on it done. Given, that is far and away not the point, but I suppose that's better than not getting any of it done. Tomorrow marks the halfway point of this vacation, so I've still got time to get things done. But the thought that then occurs is whether or not these are actually things I should even be trying to get done right now. Glancing over the list, I have to say that the answer is yes. The main impediment to getting things done is, as usual, me. I'd much rather say that having lunch with the folks today and going to see a movie tonight is just going to cause such catastrophic damage to my day that it wouldn't be possible for me to accomplish anything. Plus, when you figure that I'd rather be sitting here typing this than doing anything on that list, that kind of puts it in perspective, don't it?

CHAPTER TWO: Weight Loss
I can actually see the floor in the southwest corner of my garage. Not a big deal by most people's standards. Made me feel a bit better though. Finally just got tired of all the clutter and mess out there. Seems like I'm heading more in a direction of wood carving and 2D artwork right now, which has had me wondering what the point of keeping all the stuff in the garage is. The pack rat in me thinks I should keep everything. It will all have a purpose at some unknown time in some unknown way. So, stuff piles up. Then the piles start breeding. And then you've got little piles running around and settling down to become big piles. I just can't stand it anymore. There's so much crap, I just can't get to anything I may actually need to use. It makes me not want to be in that space, and, unless I'm in the space, there is no creativity going on there. I feel like I'm slowly drowning in the very materials I want to be working with.

I thought about this situation for some time. I hate to be dismissive of all the people who have taken their time and effort to save things for me, and in some cases, to bring them to me. That effort is representative, in my opinion, of some degree of encouragement for what I do. And for that I don't want to seem to be ungrateful. But that, combined with my low level of production has put me in a position where I can no longer be functional in the space I need to be using. After chasing it around for a few days, the first idea I had resurfaced as being the only realistic approach to the problem. It was time for a purge.

As of yesterday evening, I had hauled off over 600 pounds of scrap steel over to DIMCO. I've got piles of aluminum, copper, and a whole bunch of stainless steel that also needs to go over there sometime soon. I took a big load of stuff over to the folks to go out with their garbage and recycling. I don't doubt for a second that this process will be repeated at least two more times in the up coming week. But now, I can see the floor in the southwest corner of my garage. It's a good feeling.

This is not to say that everything is going away. I am still going to keep some basic stock material around. Just maybe about a tenth of what I had before. Just trying to clear the decks a bit. Restarting with a cleaner slate. All that good stuff. If I can get that done, all that remains is to do the work.

The worst thing thus far during my time off occurred Wednesday morning. That was when I went to KMA with Pinklady. Thought it was going to be a regular checkup. Instead, Dr T came back with a diagnosis of diabetes. Wonderful thing to hear right before your 40th birthday. So, it's off to diabetes ed for her, and I, on Monday morning. We are both so not happy about this.

CHAPTER FOUR: The Last One For The Year. No, Really.....
I have figured out something very simple. If I spend most of my time at home, I don't spend a lot of money on stuff. It's when I start just wandering around out in the world with no real purpose that I start finding all kinds of neat sparkly stuff to spend money on. Kinda like when I was standing in Barnes and Noble the other day with all three seasons of Arrested Development in my hand. And, they were all 40% off! OOOOOOO! must ......buy......on.....sale..... So I was then wandering around the store with these DVDs in my hand looking for other ways to blow some cash. Then that voice in my head popped up to remind me that not only had I seen all these before, I already had DVDs in my collection that I hadn't watched, AND the last thing I needed to be doing was finding more ways to park my ass in front of the TV. Grudgingly, I put them down and left the store with nothing but a mocha.

My strength of will was not so strong at Borders. They've soaked me for about $120 in the latest and most up to date Battletech rule books. I'd really like to blame this one on Trotz. I mean, what else was I supposed to do when I meet someone who also plays, but has a different ruleset than I do? I've been playing since '86, and I love the game, so I'd really like to think this will be my last capital investment in anything for that system. On the other hand, I do think it will be the last new game of any sort that I buy for myself this year.

Once again, the last poll resulted in a dead heat. So, I think I'm just going to pursue a new project, and y'all will just have to wait and see what it is. Got two things going at the moment, but things have kind of been on hold whilst I proceed with the purge, which will also need to happen in the inside studio space as well.

CHAPTER SIX: A Walk With Monty
In an effort to combine my need for exercise with my want to watch TV, I have been starting my mornings with a brisk walk on the treadmill along with an episode of MPFC from the 16 ton megaset we got last year. I never actually watched all the episodes, so I opted to just start over at the beginning. And, with each one being about half an hour, it's a good way to time one's workout. I do still intend to get some more riding in before the season ends for good this year.

  • Off to St. Peter's Barn Sale on Saturday. Hoping to find some used games for a steal.
  • The weather, since Tuesday, has been freaking GORGEOUS!
  • Lots of rain=growing grass=me mowing the yard today
  • FYI: today is national 'Talk Like A Pirate Day', and no, I am not making this up. ARRRRGH MATEY!
  • Big Bri is still MIA.
  • Kittyluv wasn't quite able to hit the trail like she wanted.
  • Dhawk is somewhere east of Tahoe, but that's all I know.
  • For some strange reason, HVAC contractors really like the Miscanthus I have planted at the end of the driveway.
  • No new murmurs regarding the reunion. That reminds me, I really do need to send back my reply thingy.
  • Bluegirl has a pretty icky bump.
  • Had some good Indian food yesterday.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

WA to AZ

In boxes her stuff all does sit.
In the truck she hopes it will fit.
Just one road trip to go,
Till she's out of the snow.
Prescott just may be it.

Rhyme For A Dreary Sunday

When Bluegirl came into view,
She said 'It's purple, not red, green, or blue.'
But tan and some pink
I saw, I do think.
If I can remember it true.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Can't Get There From Here.....

  • Back to the grind tomorrow. Three days on, then 12 off. Like dad used to say, 'Just quit your complaining and get back to work'. Frickin yay.
  • Nice to spend some time out of the house and back into the world of gaming. May actually blow the dust off the collection yet. Even thought this second encounter may end up prompting me to drop $80 bucks on a couple of rulebooks. Thanks a lot, Trotz...
  • One estimate in so far for the furnace. Two more to go. Another 4K to spend that we don't actually have.
  • Kinda sorta touched base in a fleeting way with the Amazon. Can't help but think the cow scared her off, though.
  • Last time I checked, Oregon and Arizona are rarely mistaken for each other. That leaves me to chalk this change of plans up to the seeming wanderlust inherent in Dhawk's nature. Maybe after this, that restless wind will finally calm down. Either way, I better have a reserved space in the hot tub.
  • Bluegirl seems to be content to leave me running under my own power for now. Hoping I can keep that rolling.
  • Looks like we're gonna be in for a rainy weekend. That means no biking to work. Rats.
  • Had a lot of fun sparring with Dimples the past couple of days. Just hope I don't end up face down in a ditch somewhere in Peoria county.
  • No more WoW for me. In the end, it was just too boring. That just leaves me to find some other computer based thing to obsess over for a while. Any suggestions?
  • For no real reason other than the fact that I wanted to work outside in the sun, I edged the driveway and half the sidewalk. By hand. Now, if we get some rain, I can do the other half while the ground is soft.
  • I am out of cookies.
  • I still think Valerie Bertinelli is cute. Jennifer Beals, too.
  • After years of collection junk of every size, shape, and configuration, could it be time to clean out the garage and say so long to that area of artistic pusuit? Are brushes and chisels the way forward for me? Not sure....
  • The use of solder involves heat. The heat melts the solder. The solder is metal. The melted solder can drip. Drips obey the laws of gravity. Hot melted liquid metal solder dripping on your partially bare foot HURTS!!!!! Just in case you were wondering.
  • Free ping pong table for anyone out there who wants it. Complete with accessories. All you got to do is come and get it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Started off the day with a headache. Not a promising beginning. Managed to shove it off to the side with coffee, antihistamines, Tylenol, and Coke Zero. Forced myself to get rolling by a little after 10. Did some cleaning and pruning on the tank, which is looking really sad. Had lunch, and posted a bunch of stuff to BGG. Went outside, harvested some butterfly weed seeds for next season's plantings, mowed the front yard, and for no real reason other than I wanted to be outside in the sun, I edged the driveway. Came back in when Pinklady went to work, plopped down in front of the computer, and haven't moved since. The sun is startng to go down, and I still have things to to, so I think as soon as I post this, it'll be time for a cookie or two, and then back to business. Or maybe a nap. That's a tough decision. No one's around and ain't nothin going on, so I should get some stuff done. But a nap sounds really nice. *sigh* Cookies first, then work, I guess.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Knew They Were Bad....

Nose painted bright red,
The clown munched on the kitten.
Another dark dream....

Poof! Just Like That!

An idea I did not write down
Gone now, replaced by a frown.
Try as I might
To bring it to light,
I fear that it has left town.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


A pirate, adrift on the seas
Can plunder whatever he sees
But the wenches in port
Will have none of that sort
When their booty he tries to sieze

Scooter's Revenge

CHAPTER ONE: Yet Another Quest...
It seems that if I'm left to my own devices for too long, I can find numerous ways to waste unbelievable amounts of time. The most recent came to me through that greatest conduit of wasted time: the internet. But before I get to that; a little backstory. I have always been a geek. Anyone who's known me for any period of time is well aware of the span and depth of my geekosity. That being said, it comes as no great surprise that D+D was a notable part of my history. With the advent of the home computer, it got easier and easier to play more and more complicated D+D style games with very little prep time, but usually a huge investment of playing time. I can't recall how long I played Ultima IV and was still never able to complete it. Through the years, and right up into the present, these types of games have always held some degree of interest for me. It was this interest that led me to download a trial version of World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft, for those of you who actually have lives and get out of the house on a regular basis, is what is know as a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). You log onto the game via the internet and can then basically play a limitless D+D style game with, against, or apart from people just as geeky as you from all over the world. Just like in any other game of this sort, you create a character and then try to build them up to be more and more powerful. Simply put: kill the monsters, take their stuff, complete quests, and gain levels. Repeat ad nauseum. That's where I start to loose interest. The repeating and repeating and repeating. Blech.

WoW is huge and pretty, and in spots, insanely difficult. There are seemingly endless skills to master and just as many ways to tweak your character as you could ever possibly want. I'm enjoying the trial I downloaded, but since the game is a subscrtiption based service, I doubt I'll continue on when my trial period ends. I can't say that the whole thing isn't an amazing accomplishment, but for all that it is, it's really still just a dungeon crawl. And a vastly huge time sucking dungeon crawl at that.

Apparently I hate my left hand. I seem to continuously allow it to wander aimlessly into the paths of pointy spinny sharp things that have nothing other in mind than to hurt it. This week proved to be no exception.

I was feeling a tad guilty about how much time I was spending playing games on the computer, so I went down to the studio to see what I could get to happen. I went through my usual round of aimless puttering, which is usually aimed at trying to bring a slight degree of order to the vast chaos that is present in that room. My attention finally settled on a nice heavy piece of maple wood that was way at the back of the workbench, and just like that, the decision to make a tiki was born.

The stock was a smallish tree limb maybe 8" long and at most maybe 2" in diameter. It still had a thin bark coating on it, and in the process of scraping that off, I realized that this was a freakin dense piece of wood. Much more so than anything I had been working with lately. I just kinda filed that info towards the side of my brain and went right on working on sketching the design out on the wood with a pencil. So far, so good.

As usual, I went through the junky sets of carving tools to see if I could find some that were up to the task. Some were dull, some were rusty, and all of them had handles that were too small to stand up to the force that was necessary to actually cut the wood. That was another piece of info that slid over to the side of my brain. As that was sliding, I was moving up the quality ladder looking for the right hand tools for the task. The two best sets I have had a couple of tools each that were sturdy and sharp enough to stand up to the rock hard maple wood. So I started to remove chips of wood with great enthusiasm, wedging the stock between my belly and the edge of the workbench. It registered that this may not be the best way to hold the wood, but that idea kinda rolled over into the same place the previous ideas had. It also registered that it was taking a lot of force to remove the the smallish slivers of wood that were starting to litter the floor. I think that last notion was lonely, because it very quickly ran off to join the others.

Now, I make no secret of the fact that I am nearly 40. I also make no secret of the fact that the first 30-35 years of my life were riddled with acts of such unrealistic stupidity it's rather amazing I have survived to become almost 40. I would like to think that part of the reason for this survival is that I have finally started to listen, at least in a minimal amount, to that voice in my head that tells me when I'm doing something stupid and/or dangerous. I guess that voice was on vacation this week. In a microsecond, the factors of a sharp chisel, really dense wood, and a cutting angle that was less than ideal combined to produce a movement that ended with the chisel going into the flesh on the side of my left thumb. Deeply.

I cursed. Then I bled. Then I did both quite profusely at the same time. While doing those two things, I managed to notice that there was nothing within arm's reach that was either clean or flexible enough to be used to staunch (gotta love that word) the flow of blood. This caused me to curse even more vigorously. I finally found a dust mask that I managed to get wrapped around the injured digit, which slowed the bleeding, but not the cursing. Standing there clutching my injured finger, I noticed two things. One; the floor in front of the workbench looked like a crime scene. Two; I had to be to work in half an hour. That was when I thought that this may not go down in history as my best day ever.

Soon, I will have yet another scar to remind me of why it is that I should pay attention to those voices that tell me when I'm doing something potentially dangerous. I would prefer to blame society. Unfortunately, I think even society would think that the whole incident was a display of gross stupidity. And society aint all that bright.

CHAPTER THREE: "The Hot Kid" by Elmore Leonard
I have read several of Elmore Leonard's novels, and I don't really recall disliking any of them. I may have just found an exception. Or, I may have just found one that doesn't really grab me. "The Hot Kid" is set in prohibition era Oklahoma and centers around the sons of two oil men and the different paths they take. One goes into a life of crime, and the other into enforcing the law. Pretty standard for an Elmore Leonard novel.

I think what makes this one a tough read for me is the setting. I have never really had a great interest in Thompson toting bank robbers, G-men, or bootleggers. If they happen to be your cup of tea, you may want to put this on your 'Short and Easy' reading list. As for my copy, it's already on it's way to the book exchange.

CHAPTER FOUR: Five Days A Week, My Ass!
Today finds me 2/3 of the way through another 6 day stretch at work. Yay. No, really. Yay. At least after that's done, I'll be off for three, then on for three, and then off for twelve. I'd like to feel that somehow this all makes sense, but I think I know better. Still, I can't help but think that if I had a set schedule my tolerance for work would be that much lower. I really can't think of anything else that would fill out this topic to a degree that would actually turn it into something resembling a real chapter. Oh, well.

CHAPTER FIVE: Death Amongst the Basil
It happened again this year. Pinklady convinced me that she would take care of the plants, vegetables, and herbs that she wanted to plant this year. I was skeptical, based on years of watching her plants wilt in the summer sun, but it was spring, and I was feeling good, so I played along. Mistake on my part. While I was out taking care of the things I had planted, I found myself watering and fertilizing all of her plants too. Flowers were never got dead headed, potted plants drooped in the heat, and vegetables over ripened on the vine. And, since I wasn't taking the best care of the things I had planted, the overall visual effect was fairly depressing. Mostly I was disappointed that she wanted all this stuff, and then never really took care of any of it. And would occasionally complain that it didn't look good. If this happens next year, I swear there is no way I'm taking care of the things she wants to plant. She does a lot better with the silk plants anyway. I'm gonna be busy replanting the front of the house next year, so I won't have a huge amount of extra time to take care of her stuff. Kinda like the brand new bike of hers that's been ridden maybe a dozen times since we bought it. That's going back up on it's hooks for the winter, and I think it went out of the garage maybe twice. Another expensive disappointment. Anyway, she's on her own with whatever she wants to plant next year. Period.

**Seems the bad mojo truck delivered to, and then ran over, Kittyluv and Dhawk recently. Hope things get back on track for them soon.

**I need to get my blue jacket cleaned for the reunion.

**Was finally nice to get a day's worth of rain after a month of dry conditions.

**Happy 13th to the number one member of the Thundering Herd

**Kane County is a poor substitute for Elkhorn, but since I, too, am somewhat poor, I guess that's where I'll be headed on Sunday.

**Is it possible to count to 0?

**One of these days I will remember to get some salt for the water softener.

**By the way, the last poll resulted in a tie. The two options are being presented in a run-off poll which will determine my next major (if you care to see it that way) project. The run-off poll is active and will be closed in one week.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Factory Sealed For Your Protection

I was sitting t the kitchen table, sipping a cup of coffee and working on a jigsaw puzzle, when I heard a familiar sound coming from outside. I had to hear it a few times before I was able to figure out exactly what it was. It was the FFFFWHAP! of a BB gun. It was a sound I hadn't really heard since I moved away from home, but I sure heard it a lot when I was there. A quick peek out the patio door confirmed that was indeed what I was hearing. There was my next door neighbor, standing behind his house, pumping up a shiny, scope equipped BB rifle. Maybe 10 feet away from him was a piece of cardboard leaning against a steel fence post stuck in the ground, and it was at this which he was unleashing his fury. Ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ffffwhap!

This process repeated itself several times, with an occasional ping as the BB skipped off the metal pole holding the target upright. Of course, it could have been skipping of the chain link fence in the other neighbor's backyard, too. Really hard to tell the difference. At first, it struck me as somewhat amazing that someone whose yard is completely encircled by the yards of others would be shooting back there without any type of stop in place. Especially since just about every yards that borders his contains some mix of pets, children, or both. Then, I became slightly jealous as I remembered the rusty Crossman 760 that I had as a kid. My neighbor now had one of those nice shiny, scoped rifles that I had wanted for myself many, many years ago. Then the adult in me remembered that for most of my BB gun episodes (with notable exceptions), I was living out in the country. I also remembered the time when we were living in Sycamore and I stepped out into the backyard to find that the neighbor behind us had fired an arrow through our solid wood privacy fence and embedded it into the yard. Add to that the times that I have been witness to odd and unpredictable ricochets and I found myself thinking that I should say something. But, as I was trying to figure out just what to say and how to say it, he quit shooting and went indoors. Problem solved.

I passed the info on the situation along to Pinklady when she came home from work. Shortly, I came to regret doing this. She instantly made her 'I am not at all pleased about this' face. This was shortly followed by the question/statement 'You are going to say something to them, aren't you?' Guess I shouldn't have mentioned that I thought it was illegal to discharge a BB gun inside the city limits. So, concerned for the safety of the Thundering Herd, but not wanting to cause bad feeling between neighbors, I pondered my options over lunch.

After eating, I found myself fairly content to let the whole matter drop, especially since there hadn't been any shooting since before I sat down to eat. I truly believe that strategy would have worked had I not mentioned any of it to Pinklady. She asked me once again if I had any intent on speaking to the neighbors regarding the situation. I conceded that I should, and faced with a minimal amount of time remaining before work, I headed off around the corner.

I got no response when I rang the doorbell, but I heard that distinctive sound coming from the backyard, so I made my way around the side of the garage. All the rehearsing I had been doing in my head went out the window when I saw it was just one of their boys in the backyard. He seemed to be quite startled when I called out to him as he was quite intent on shooting holes in his target from 3-4 feet away. I told him I was a little concerned about the shooting and asked if his parents were home. Of course they weren't, and he asked if I wanted him to quit. I said I'd come back later when his folks were home and talk to them about it. Which is what I did yesterday. When I talked to the father, I had to admit that I wasn't totally sure if BB guns were allowed in the city of not. He seemed to be somewhat understanding of my concerns, and we left it at needing to find out if it is truly prohibited or not. To be continued.

Actually, this won't be continued. Section 52.10 of the DeKalb Municipal code prohibits the discharge of 'any air gun' within the city. Pretty cool what you can find online, isn't it?

CHAPTER TWO: Aw, Crap.....That's me.
This whole reunion business keeps turning up one strange thing after another. After talking to Cromag yesterday, I get the impression that there are probably quite a few people approaching this from the 'I'll go if you're gonna go' angle. Actually, his statement was more along the lines of 'Why would I go if there's not gonna be anyone there I gave two shits about?' Not only does that make sense, it's a similar echo to something I heard recently from another classmate who has made the decision to not go to the reunion. To loosely paraphrase her position, she asked why she would want to go and spend time now with people who didn't care about her then. Again, this makes sense to me.

Now, my problem with all this began when my overly analytical brain had too much free time to chew on these statements. I suddenly had the thought, in an irritating moment of self-awareness, that I was one of those people who didn't care. In high school, I kind of stumbled my way into the upper part of the lower middle class strata of my classmates. On occasion, people I knew gave me brief access to other levels at various points along the social spectrum. But I would not ever call the high school version of me even minimally insightful. I knew who I could pick on to boost my standing with certain other people. Others that I probably wouldn't have minded knowing, I avoided of tormented to maintain my minimal status in one group or another. Having myself felt both picked on and excluded, I passed both of those experiences along to other people.

While this was not a really pleasant revelation, it was hardly earth-shattering. In those days, and in many more that followed, it was much easier to do what seemed to be the socially appropriate, or even the personally appropriate thing, as opposed to what I really felt was correct. I didn't want to take the effort, or run the risk, or trying to be my own person. It was easier to move with the crowd, which even at that age I knew would end up being unsatisfying. So, without a doubt, I can say that there are most likely people out there who looked at the invitation to their high school reunion with trepidation, dismay, sadness, anger, and possibly depression, all because in those 4 years, I was one of those people who made their time in high school worse than it should have been.

CHAPTER THREE: How Can You Not Notice???
They were freakin 4" heels. And turquoise, no less. How is that something you can simply opt out of noticing? Of course, in the process of repeatedly noticing that fact, along with the other facts, I would say it was a mere matter of microseconds before I obliterated at least 2 of the 7 deadly sins. Good thing I'm not Catholic, or a would need a Pope selected penance team. Still, one has to cautiously consider, preferably from a great physical distance, the implications of being interested in someone so well armed (in every sense of the word). If the day should come that you do notice a lack of interest on my part when a set of 4" turquoise heels goes by, please check my pulse, as I may well be dead.

CHAPTER FOUR: "Delirious" A Video Review
I really can't think of anything I've seen recently that included Steve Buscemi that I didn't like. This proved to be no exception, even though it took me a couple of days to realize it. Buscemi plays a low level photographer who befriends a homeless man and makes him his assistant. The sleepy-eyed assistant then has a chance encounter with a lovely female pop singer who he then falls for. The plot would seem to be fairly predictable, but this Cinderella-esque thread is a mere fragment of the whole story. I found myself wondering through the whole film, right up to the climactic scene, which is something I wouldn't do with Cinderella.

I think now that this rags to riches element may have been included to make this somewhat jagged story more palatable to general audiences. However, Buscemi's performance, the fantastic set design, and wonderful cinematography take this on well beyond the realms of a mere Disney tale. One of the most memorable scenes for me was one that took place when Buscemi and his assistant go to Buscemi's parent's house to show off his recent success in selling a photo. The exchange between Buscemi and his father is so dead-on accurate to things I've experienced in real life, I found myself shifting in my seat and getting nervous.

So, forget Cinderella. "Delirious" is a rough edged story populated with believably flawed characters and intensely real settings. You can only find this one at Blockbuster, so get going.
As a last note, I can remember having the exact same contact paper that's in the closet in my house when I was growing up.

CHAPTER FIVE: Great Moments In Short Film History
12 seconds. Most of the time, that doesn't even qualify as a station break. On the rarest of occasions, that minimal span of time can end up being highly memorable. Provided, of course, that you can keep that image or event in mind. With my rather sieve-like memory, this can be quite challenging. The only good thing regarding the loss of something like that would be that the degradation of memory is one of the constant themes in my art work. That, and the hope that I may sometime be graced with another memorable 12 seconds.

CHAPTER SIX: That Does Not Go There....
On the surface, it seems to be a fairly ridiculous premise: take a picture, chop it up into hundreds or thousands of bits, mix all the bits up, and then put them all back together. Someone somewhere along the line came up with just that idea. No doubt, that person was looked at strangely by many of the people that knew them. Then, someone else came along and decided that they could take this idea one step further and figure out a way to make money off of it. Guess you can file that under 'Wish I Would Have Thought Of That First'.

For some reason, I still get that sense of triumph when I finish a jigsaw puzzle. That's the feeling I got when I recently finished my 1000 piece picture of the Vitruvian Man. But realistically, there's no real good reason for that feeling. Anyone with sufficient time could sit down, and merely by testing each piece in the box sequentially against every other piece, end up with a completed puzzle. That being said, I still find the process oddly engaging, and at the same time, quite calming. It could have something to do with the idea of bringing order to a jumbled mass of seemingly unrelated parts. Maybe it feeds the need to assign, recognize, and resolve patterns. As someone has assembled tens of thousands of jigsaw pieces, I think I can honestly say that I don't care from whence it comes. It just seems to be something that I enjoy.

CHAPTER SEVEN: Maybe Tuesday
Thursday came and went. Friday did pretty much the same thing. Saturday was no different, and neither was Sunday. Today, being a holiday, is out of the question. Up next, Tuesday. That would seem to be the day when my latest tiki project leaves the relative security of the garage and heads out into the great wide world. Or at least into downstate IL. It would also seem to be the day when I get to challenge and annoy some people at the UPS store.

All that it needs before I send it off is one last coat of lemon oil. Gives the dark stain that shine, makes it look real purty. I have signed it, and decided it shall be called: Knottiki! May he bring much good mojo to the home where he wil be residing.

CHAPTER EIGHT: Meals or Meds?
For all my bitching and moaning earlier this year, here's a scoop for ya: I haven't been taking my meds for longer than I can remember. Oddly enough, I feel pretty darn good. What's different now is the question I tried to answer recently. The main thing I can think of is that I have stopped eating right before I go to bed. After having various tubes snaked down my throat, the diagnosis that was reached was mild chronic gastric reflux. Doc suggested that I not eat for at least two hours before going to bed. This eliminated my after work snack/half-meal. Seemed simple enough, and since it didn't involve medicine or the input of more tubes into my person, I was willing enough to give it a try. While it would involve a major change of habit, I really didn't enjoy the whole tube business all that much, so it seemed like a fair trade. So, I'm down to three meals a day. If I'm working, after I eat dinner, that's it. When I'm off, 2100 is my cutoff time.
The main problem here would be me giving this eating business a false causality. Just because the mental status change occured around the same time as the dietary change, does not mean that the latter caused the former. Still, something made a difference in my overall daily routine. Where before it was a struggle to get out of bed before 1000, now I usually find myself waking up around 0830-0900. Not only that, I feel rested and ready to go. No mega doses of coffee necessary. I also don't seem to hit that late-afternoon-must-take-a-nap-or-die tired spot. My overall mood is good, and I actually have an interest in not spending the whole day in front of the computer (except for entering vastly huge blog entries).

Maybe summer caught up with me. Maybe my late night Dorito binges were keeping me from sleeping deeply enough to recharge my brain. Either way, or if it's a totally different cause, I don't really care. It's just enough right now to enjoy feeling good most of the time. What happens when fall and winter come will be interesting to see, though.

CHAPTER NINE: And Another Thing...
In another half month or so, I will be hitting a pocket of vacation timeequal to an incredible 12 days off! Whoopee! Even in the light of this upcoming event, I am resisting the temptation to generate some obscenely huge list of things that need to be done (which reminds me that I need to mow the front yard). Not that there aren't plenty of things that need to be done, some of which are indeed left over from my last long weekend off, but I have every intent to not go crazy trying to quantify them in some arbitrarily concrete way. Who know, I may even get some of them done before I get to my vacation. Or not.

So, for now, no lists. Unless I get to the point of needing to make a lise to remind myself that I shouldn't be putting things on a list.

CHAPTER TEN: More Spiders, Dammit!
Flipping through the channels the other day, I happened to run across a movie called "Ghost Ship". I seem to remember vaguely when this movie came out, and I also seem to recall not hearing anything really amazing about it. That made it perfect filler for the 20 minutes I had to kill. Of course, a scary movie on network TV (even basic cable), usually ends up being far less than scary because of commercials and editing. That leaves trying to get into the plot, which is usually minimal in your average horror flick. Character development is also something you can usually forget about, especially when any of the central characters spends most of the film with an ax/chainsaw/machete/machine gun/plasma rifle in it's hands/claws/tentacles/pseudopods. That leaves the setting. Now, this is where video games have really outdone the major feature film. They seem to have been able to capture a really good sense of menace or foreboding in any number of games out there on the market currently. But the main setting of this film, the abandoned aged adrift ocean liner, was done really well. Pretty darn creepy. I think I may have to dig through my change container to see if I have enough money to go out and rent this one.

I think if the majority of a movie's budget is spent on fake blood and rubber intestines, it's a pretty good bet it won't be very scary. Graphic doesn't really equate to scary. Graphic can be shocking, but over time it simply becomes numbing. Horror films address this by exponentially ratcheting up the gore level and the body count. Boooooring. For example: Hannibal Lechter will always be scarier than Jason or Freddy Kreuger. Why? Hannibal Lechter can really exist. That's scary. Scary is what happens when something gives your mind a little push, and it starts to run wild all on it's own. Scary is what your own brain reads into something. You don't have to be told that you're scared, it just happpens and you damn well know it when it does.

**Labor Day weekend: summer's last hurrah? Not for me, pal.

**I really should do some tank upkeep soon.

**My two most recen encounters with the Pirate Queen have seemed only to magnify the increase in distance between us.

**A recently rediscovered guilty pleasure: 80's hair metal.

**LOST: one Kittyluv. Last seen in the area of Sandwich.

**Changing channels: Dhawk.

**Number of colons so far in this section:5

**Who the hell do I know in OH?

**The partial answer is Indianapolis. The next question would be to what degree I should pursue it further.

**Blowing the dust off of the Compendium could lead to the reopening of BTD Mechwerks, Ltd.

**There's just something inherently funny about the word asterisk.

**Thus far, I find myself deeply disappionted with the number of respondents to my poll.

**Cromag seems to be catching up to me in the 'rental of relatively obscure videos' department.