Friday, December 2nd, 2016

I have this new theory that the naked corruption, nepotism & lying that’s been swirling around the new administration is something that’s always been going on in Washington, except that before it was happening behind closed doors, and now it’s happening right out in the open. Because the American people apparently find that refreshing.

It’s a new theory and I don’t have much to cite in the way of proof, other than the fact that almost every single politician seems to be okay with it.

unclean | 6:20 am CST
Category: daily drivel
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Thursday, December 1st, 2016

When B was having trouble sleeping night before last, I didn’t hear when she got out of bed, and didn’t wake up until I heard something go bump in the next room.

“Oh, it’s only the cat,” I thought to myself, “not the axe murderer finally come to slay us both in our bed.”

And then I heard the door open, and when I rolled over, I could see someone standing in the doorway. I almost peed myself.

Bump in the night | 6:19 am CST
Category: daily drivel
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Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

My cat just ate some random garbage of the arm of the sofa, a piece of acrylic thread that I tore out of the lining of the glove I was mending last night. It was still there this morning because I’m lazy and careless and promised myself that I would clean it up today. Well, now I don’t have to. Scooter jumped up onto the arm of the sofa to keep me company, sniffed at the thread, decided it might be good to eat, and scarfed it down. Why he did it is anyone’s guess. It sure wasn’t because it tasted good. More probably because, Scooter being Scooter, once he got an idea in his head he couldn’t shake it, no matter how weird or stupid. That’s our new cat.

Garbage | 6:45 am CST
Category: daily drivel
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Monday, November 28th, 2016

I mentioned that we went shopping for a new car about three weeks ago, and when I said “shopping,” I meant we drove to a dealership and took a test drive in a Subaru Forester. Why that particular car? Because My Darling B’s coworkers drive Subarus and they just love them to death. That was the extent of our research into buying one of the most expensive things we will ever own. We knew nothing about Subaru Foresters going into the game and, practically speaking, we still don’t. One of B’s friends drove a model she vaguely remembered was named “Cross Track” (it turned out to be “Crosstrek,” whatever that means), but that was a smaller, sporty-looking car. The Forester looked more like the kind of car we would be seen driving, so that’s the one we took for a test drive.

I hate the process of getting a new car so much that I was willing to buy the Forester the minute I laid eyes on it, but of course the sales staff would never let you do that. B and I both had to drive it around while the salesman described the engine and the transmission, as if those were things either one of us ever concerned ourselves with. My one and only question about a car’s engine would be, “Has it got one?” If the answer is yes, fine. If no, then I don’t want to buy that car.

After driving the car around for a while, we went inside to the salesperson’s desk to “talk about a price,” as if they have no idea what the damned thing costs. The salesperson scribbled numbers on a very official-looking worksheet, explaining that he had to add so much for options and take away so much for special discounts. The final price looked pretty good, but B wanted a day or two to think about it, the salesperson said no problem, we shook hands and that was all the shopping we did that weekend.

For the next three weeks, B would fill a quiet space in the day by saying, “We should probably buy a new car before the snow falls.” And I’d say, “Okay, let’s go buy a car now.” And she’d say, “I want to do some more research first. I don’t want us to buy the first car we test drive.” Which sounded very reasonable to me, so I’d say, “Hoe-kay!” Then two or three days would pass before B filled a quiet space in the day by saying, “We should probably get a new car soon, if we’re going to get one.” And I’d say … well, you know. Procrastination: It’s a skill that we’ve developed into an art form.

Then last Friday morning while we were still in our jammies, sipping coffee while the sun slowly rose over the back of the house, she said, “We should do something about getting a new car,” and I said, “Okay, let’s get dressed and go buy one now.” And she said, “Hoe-kay!” You could’ve knocked me over with a feather.

So we showered and dressed and drove back to the dealership we visited the first time, because we hadn’t done any research in the three weeks since the last time we made a serious move toward buying a new car, so we really didn’t have any reason to look anywhere else. The salesperson we saw before was there, even remembered us from last time. When we said we wanted to talk about what it would cost to buy the Forester with a certain option, though, he wanted to find a car with the option installed and take it for a test drive. God DAMMIT.

After we came back from the test drive, we had to go “talk about the price” again, and that’s when things got weird. First, they added a bit more than nine hundred dollars to the cost for crap like floor mats and bumper guards that we didn’t ask for but were installed in the vehicle after manufacture. Then then gave us a customer discount that was less than the amount they quoted us for the basic version of the same car. When B asked him how they got that amount, they shrugged and, I swear I am not making this up, said they didn’t know.

But the part that made us grumpy and eventually convinced us to walk away from the deal was when they offered us fifteen hundred dollars for our trade-in, a ten-year-old Toyota Camry with one hundred ten thousand miles on it. It wasn’t in immaculate condition any more – I’m not the kind of owner who washes and waxes his car every Sunday afternoon – but it was worth one hell of a lot more than fifteen hundred dollars. They wouldn’t budge on their offer, though, so out the door we went.

But we still wanted a car, so we went to a Toyota dealership to see what they would offer us, where we met one of those super-aggressive car salespeople who kept saying things like “So, can we write this one up for you now?” and shoving a contract and a pen at us. We took a test drive in a Rav4 because she wouldn’t let go of my leg unless we drove something, but we frankly didn’t think it a very good car and once she let go of my leg, we got the hell out of there.

It just so happened there was another Subaru dealership right next to the Toyota dealer. I mean, it was *literally* right across the street. B wanted to go there to test-drive a Forester again so she could compare it to the Rav4. I wanted to go home and drink gin, but I said we could go for one more test-drive if we could head straight home after that. She agreed.

While we were out for our drive, B told the salesperson that we came within a handshake of buying a car from the Subaru dealer on the other side of town but left empty-handed because we weren’t satisfied with the service. The salesperson wanted to know what was unsatisfying about it. “Well, to be perfectly honest, we weren’t happy with the offer they made for our trade-in.” Back at the dealership, he asked for our car key so he could have it appraised. I don’t know what they did to appraise the car at the other place, but here they gave the key to the dealership owner, who got in our car and drove it around the block, then spent five minutes talking with our salesperson.

“Out of curiosity, what did they offer you at the other dealership?” the salesman asked. When B told him, “Fifteen hundred,” he seemed genuinely surprised, then offered us three thousand. I was suddenly a lot less grumpy and a lot more ready to buy a car, but B was still cautious. She asked the salesperson to write up offers on the basic Forester, the mid-range Forester, and the mid-range Forester with lasers. (Yes, lasers. I’ll tell you about it later.) They happily agreed and spent about a half-hour printing out window stickers and filling worksheets with lots and lots of numbers.

After talking it over, we went back the next morning to buy the mid-range Forester without lasers. And it still took all day, because of course they had to draft a big pile of paperwork, then make us sign each page in three places, and then show us what all the knobs and buttons in the car were for. Seriously, cars are as complicated as space ships these days. The salesman spent a half-hour with us in the car just to give us the quick & dirty version of how everything worked. The owner’s manual for just the radio is as thick as a phone book.

But when the last paper was signed and the last button was explained and we drove off the lot, it wasn’t over. Somewhere on the other side of town, as B was finishing up her shopping and opened her purse to pay, she found the check book and wondered to herself, “Did I write a check for the down payment?” It’s one of those things you ask yourself even when you already know the answer. She didn’t. We had to drive back and write a check so the finance officer wouldn’t get in trouble with his boss. I guess even those people get a little dazed & confused by all the paperwork sometimes.

O-mobile | 7:00 am CST
Category: daily drivel
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Sunday, November 27th, 2016

I woke up from both of these dreams early this morning, thinking, “What the hell was that?”

In the first dream, I was free-diving with Sheena Easton. Apparently Sheena had abandoned her one-hit career as a pop star and taken up free diving, the sport where you take one deep breath and swim deeper than most human beings can go. She had a pool in her back yard that was hundreds of feet deep where she practiced. When we came to the top, we walked dripping wet to the restaurant where My Darling B was having dinner with Tim. “Hey, look, that’s Sheena Easton,” I said to B, pointing at a table on the other side of the restaurant. Sheena stood up in a spotlight and began to sing “9 to 5 (Morning Train),” probably because that’s the only song I know by Sheena Easton.

In the other dream, I was watching a horror movie, but it wasn’t on screen, it was right in front of me, as if I was in the room where the scene was taking place. But it was definitely a scene from a movie, composed of different shots with creepy background music. A bunch of kids were sitting on a king-sized bed drinking soda pop when their dad walked into the room. His sudden appearance frightened them all so badly that they all swallowed their cans of soda. With a whole aluminum can full of soda in their stomachs, they couldn’t breathe and they all slowly suffocated to death while their dad wailed and moaned.

After I woke up from that dream I had to get out of bed to ask the Google if swallowing a can of soda was even a thing. It’s not, thank goodness.

wakey-wakey | 5:42 am CST
Category: dreams
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Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

We went shopping for an automobile yesterday, which is kind of a weird way to describe what we were doing, now that I think about it. “Shopping” seems to imply that we know something about cars, that we’re looking for a particular car, and/or that we’re comparing one car over another, or one seller over another. None of those things are true. We know nothing about cars, other than the basics that most people know: they have four wheels, and when you get in them and turn the key the engine goes vroom and you drive it away.

And we’re not looking for a particular car, or rather, we are: we’re looking for a red car, or an orange car. In a pinch, we’ll take a green car. Anything but a car that is gray, black, or white. We’ve owned a gray car for ten years and you know what? Those fuckers are everywhere. Every parking lot is a sea of gray cars that are all roughly the same shape. I don’t know how much time we’ve spent looking for our car while it was just ten or twenty feet away, hidden in plain sight. So our next car is going to be orange or green or blue or red.

And although we have no brand loyalty whatsoever, we went to a Subaru dealer yesterday because a lot of people we know own Subarus and love them. We own a Toyota. We bought it because we owned a Toyota while we were in Japan and we loved it. And we would buy a Toyota again, but now we’re probably going to buy a Subaru because everybody says they’re great and the one we drove yesterday was pretty nice. And it was blue.

Finally, we are not interested at all in comparing one car with another, much less several cars. The last thing we want to do — literally — is comparison shop for cars. We don’t even want to spend the time to look at one car. We would much rather get someone who enjoys shopping for cars, tell him what we want, give him a stack of cash, and wait for him to bring us a new car. That would be our dream. But since it doesn’t work that way, we decided to buy a blue car — or it could be red! — then we went straight to the Subaru dealer, because we heard people talking about Subarus, and we drove a blue one and we liked it, and that’s probably the one we’ll get. Unless they can get us a red one.

the blue one please | 6:37 am CST
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Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Just before I woke up, I had the kind of nerd dream I haven’t had since I was a hyper-hormonal 14-year-old. I was a redshirt leading a landing party from the USS Enterprise on a planet they’d never been to before. We were walking through what resembled a Greek temple, but every one of the columns was a 20-foot-tall woman dressed in the flashiest of toga-like garments, a la Maxfield Parrish. (Oh, like you haven’t daydreamed yourself in this episode, or one just like it, too.)

The rest of the party acted as if the women were statues, but every one of them smiled at me with a come-hither look in her eyes. “Do these seem especially life-like to you?” I asked the doctor, and after a pause just long enough for him to give me the side-eye, he told me that he was sending me on mandatory shore leave as soon as possible.

Each member of the landing party had an assignment that took them to various far-away parts of the temple, leaving me alone in the central room with the statue women. One in particular seemed to be admiring me in a way that I hadn’t been admired in years. She hadn’t a stitch of clothing on, and posed knee-bent with her hair gathered up in her hands on top of her head. I stood gazing up at her for longer than my whole adolescence, hardly breathing until she finally cracked a smile and stepped down off her pedestal.

Nothing good ever happened to a redshirted crew member suddenly separated from the landing party, but then no redshirted crew member ever ran from the woman statue who came to life, either, so I followed the script and stood my ground, waiting for the fadeout to commercial and the next scene when my corpse would inevitably be found by the doctor, face covered in blotchy red marks and all traces of one vital element or another leached from my inanimate tissues.

Strangely, that didn’t happen. The dream veered right into the kind of extraterrestrial relations that only Captain Kirk gets to have on a weekly basis, so maybe the costume department got my uniform wrong, or the uniform color was a TOS-TNG crossover. Whatever, I’ll take it.

Beam me up | 9:07 am CST
Category: daily drivel
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I can literally hear two lawn mowers and a leaf blower right now. Are people getting up early on Saturday just to piss me off?

Kmn | 8:10 am CST
Category: damn kids!
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Friday, September 23rd, 2016

There were people out mowing their lawns at seven o’clock this Friday evening. I don’t want to brag, but you wouldn’t catch me doing that even if I were going on a week-long vacation and I hadn’t mowed for three weeks. Friday evening is the start of Saturday, my day of rest. Mowing the lawn on Friday night is not just wrong, it’s a sin you can never get out of your soul. Let the grass grow!

No mo | 6:50 pm CST
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Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

B introduced me to the concept of too much fruit this morning. How this is a thing is beyond me, but she’s the foodie and reads about food all the time, so she ought to have the most up to date info on nutrition. Or, she’s reading stuff that’s bullshit. But whatever, she says there’s a thought that we shouldn’t eat too much fruit because the sugar’s bad for us, and although I concede it’s possible to eat too much of anything, I have my doubts that we or any two randomly-picked Americans have ever in their natural lives eaten too much fruit. Conversely, it’s very likely we or any of those same Americans ate too much sugar on almost any given day of those same lives, but they most likely get it from drinking Mountain Dew and eating candy bars, not from fruit. So I’m calling bullshit on this too much fruit idea. I can’t fathom how it could possibly be a thing any of us have to worry about for more than a moment or two.

Fruity | 7:49 pm CST
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Saturday, September 17th, 2016

So Donald Trump said that Barack Obama was born in the United States. Whoopty-fucking-doo. After years of saying Obama was not, why am I supposed to believe this is anything other than the most rank kind of cynicism? Why am I supposed to believe he’s not lying again? He said it, but why on earth would anybody expect me to think he believes it?

Whoopty-fucking-doo | 8:33 am CST
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Sunday, September 11th, 2016

I can’t look at Facebook today. There is so much 9/11 “never forget” death porn that I just can’t stomach it: jet planes flying into the twin towers, or the twin towers collapsing in clouds of pulverized concrete, or people diving from the tops of the towers to their deaths. Surely we can memorialize this event without being gruesome about it.

gruesome | 12:35 pm CST
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