Thursday, March 21st, 2013

The inside of the coffee mug that I use at the office as a tea mug had acquired such a rich patina that it was impossible to tell what color it had once been, so I brought it home and gave it a good going-over with a Brillo pad, which I thought would take forever but ended up lasting no more than a couple minutes, and that was including the time it took to rinse it and scrub again when I noticed I missed a spot.

I’ve never let a coffee/tea mug go for so long without washing it out, but in my experience there is a long tradition among coffee drinkers for this sort of thing, and I’ve heard that tea drinkers will do the same thing with their teapots, so I didn’t feel my health was in danger. No one was looking into my tea mug and saying things like, “Geeze, Dave, better get your tetanus booster if you’re going to keep drinking out of that mug!”

But the other morning as I was giving the mug a rinse at the sink in the kitchenette in preparation for making my morning cuppa, I noticed that the bottom of the mug had taken on such a rich dark hue that it looked almost like the bottom of a post hole I’d dug in the garden last year. Didn’t smell like dirt, but it didn’t rinse away and I couldn’t scrub it off with ordinary paper towels, so when I was packing up after work yesterday I stuffed the mug into my man-purse and brought it home.

When it came time to wash the dishes that night, I waited until I had cleaned up all the other glasses, bowls and utensils before giving the tea mug a dunk in the dish water and letting it soak for a couple minutes, thinking that might somehow loosen up the stuck-on tea even though my efforts in the kitchenette that morning should have indicated that no magical loosening-up was likely to occur. This was a job for Brillo pads, pure and simple, and I just happened to have a box of them squirreled away under the sink.

I truly did anticipate that, even with the combined power of steel wool and chlorine cleanser, aided by a generous helping of elbow grease, I would be scrubbing the insides of that tea mug for the next generation to get every last bit of the stain out. No such thing. Two minutes, tops, and the whole operation was finished. After making one quick swipe all the way around the sides, the Brillo felt as though it was gliding silky-smooth across the surfaces, so I wadded it up in the bottom of the mug and gate it a couple quick twists, then rinsed to get eyeballs on the situation and zow! All but the ring around the bottom was gleaming back at me, bright and shiny as a new quarter.

Drinking tea the next morning was a new experience, even though I drink the kind of tea that comes in bags stapled to a little string with a paper tag.

So, what do you do with a soggy Brillo after you’ve used it to clean just one thing? Stuff it in an empty cat food tin and save it for later? Yeah, me too. Those things are like gold to me. It seems like a waste to toss it when I can see even a little bit of blue clinging in the deepest recesses of the steel wool. I usually don’t toss ’em until rust starts to take hold.

tea mug | 4:25 am CST
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Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

In spite of daylight savings time I was in bed by nine last night and couldn’t keep my eyes open past nine-thirty, so why am I awake at four o’clock this morning? Well, part of it is because we have cats, of course, but it’s also because I woke up gasping for air after my sinuses blocked up. I can’t blame the cats for that.

Wait, why can’t I? I can blame the cats for virtually anything. They’re defenseless! They can’t speak for themselves and there’s no one to speak for them! I can lay blame with impunity! They are guilty! Guilty, guilty, GUILTY! Bwah-hah-hah-hah!

Okay, the cat-blaming’s out of the way.

I made a pot of coffee, fired up the internet and started surfing. Ironically, caffeine turned out to be an unclogger of sinuses. After just a few sips I was able to take deep breaths again without being forced to gasp … and then I had to grab most of the kleenex out of a nearby box to wipe up the torrent of snot that was clogging me up until the caffeine, or something, set it loose. Rarely have I ever been so relieved and so disgusted at the same time.

Although I could finally breathe easy, going back to bed after I’ve had a cup of coffee would be pointless. It was an immutable fact of the universe that I was up for the day. There was no more shuteye in my future, only a shower and some breakfast instead. In the words of Peter Green, Oh Well.

ramblin | 5:03 am CST
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Friday, March 8th, 2013

bodyHow honest is advertising? Check out Kate Upton’s Body! To hell with the winky-winky stuff, check it out! Her body! Hey! It’s Kate Upton, whoever she is! Check her out! NOW! CLICK ON HER BODY! DO IT!

This little foursquare advertisement has been popping up in the sidebar of Wonkette’s web site for as long as I’ve been visiting and has always included at least one link with a photo of a pretty girl doing something more than a little suggestive, or wearing clothing that has almost but not quite peeled all the way off her boobies.

The first one of these I noticed was a photo of a girl in profile with her mouth open as wide as she could get it, holding up a cucumber as if she was about to stick it in her mouth for some reason. “What do you suppose I get to see if I click on this?” I asked My Darling B.

“Probably not what you’re thinking,” she answered, leaving her implication open for debate.

I did click on it once. It took me to a web site that was one big collection of links to diet scams and celebrity gossip.

It’s just lately that the advertisements have moved away from girls in suggestive poses with phallic fruits and vegetables, baiting their links instead with eye candy like “Check out Kate Upton’s body!” Okay, it actually says “Check out Kate Upton’s body-” as if the caption ends with something like “body-building tips,” so we’re not 100% of the way to honesty, but it’s at least 99% of the way, you have to admit.

oogle | 6:14 am CST
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Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Seriously, how does Radio Shack stay in business? I go there pretty regularly to buy solder and micro-switches and geeky stuff like that, but nobody else does, from what I can tell. For all the times I’ve been there, just once have I seen anyone else in the store, shopping for a phone. I wanted to walk up to him and ask, “Really? You needed a phone and the first store that popped into your head was Radio Shack? How?”

Every other time I’ve been there, I was the only customer in the store. Which has its up side. The clerks always say “Hi” when I walk in the door, and they very nearly demand to show me to the very spot where I can find what I’m looking for. On the rare occasions when I don’t already know where it is and take them up on their offer, they’ll take me up the correct aisle, pull open a drawer and take out several examples of, say, terminal lugs, describing each type and finishing up by letting me know that, if these are exactly the right kind of terminal lugs I’m looking for, they’ll be happy to call the other Radio Shack stores to see if they can find what I want.

I took one of the clerks up on that offer, too, when I was looking for a big spool of wire. Unfortunately, I have to report that her call did not start with, “You’ll never believe who’s here! A customer!

howzat | 6:00 am CST
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Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

I stopped at Radio Shack at eight o’clock this evening to pick up some wire and terminal lugs. I was the only guy there; I’m always the only guy there. How does Radio Shack stay in business?

There were two guys behind the counter. They had the radio on loud, playing their favorite tunes. They both said “Hi” to me, then went back to texting their girlfriends on their phones while they let me do my shopping.

I need that job.

dream job | 9:11 pm CST
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Thursday, February 28th, 2013

neenerHave you stockpiled supplies for The Day After The Sequester? Because that’s tomorrow, you know. If you didn’t have the foresight to make sure there were a couple extra cases of gin, whiskey and vodka in your basement, you messed up big time. I’m not coming home without a 2-liter bottle of soda water and a glacier-sized bag of ice from the corner store so that, when the power goes out at midnight, I’ll be on my second or third mixer. Then as the house slowly cools because the furnace isn’t running and the sun rises on chaos in the streets, I’ll just snap a nipple over the mouth of a vodka bottle and nurse myself into oblivion. With any luck, an alcohol-induced coma will force me to stop wondering how our country ended up being run by a pack of infants.

“Your plan to balance the budget is stupid!”

“No, your plan is!”

“Nuh-uhhh! Yours is the stupid plan!”

“I’m rubber, you’re glue, stupid!”

*sigh* Pass the whiskey.

infants | 5:59 am CST
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Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

I flew down to Arkansas last weekend to visit Mom. I used a web service to book my flight because I know bugger-all about that sort of thing. For instance, I was naive enough to think that I could simply call the airline on the phone and ask them to book a flight for me. They’ll do that, but they’ll also charge twice what an on-line agency charges without mentioning that teensy tiny little factoid.

I ended up booking a flight through a web service that helped me find the airport near the town where Mom lives. When I searched for flights into the nearest airport, it spat out a list of a couple dozen, showed how much they cost, where they had layovers and how long the flights took. Since the prices were all about the same, give or take ten dollars, I picked the ones that I would have to spend the shortest time on. The only way to fly is the quickest.

I flew down to Arkansas on American Airlines. That flight went very well. We boarded on time, we arrived at O’Hare on time with more than an hour between flights so I didn’t have to run from one end of the airport to the other to catch my connecting flight, which also boarded and landed on time.

I flew back from Arkansas on United Airlines. That flight did not go well AT ALL.

I got to the airport an hour and a half before I was supposed to board, leaving me plenty of time for a proper Wisconsin good-bye. Mom and I hung out in the terminal lobby chatting for a solid twenty minutes before we hugged and kissed and then talked a little longer about the next time I’d visit. Then we chatted a bit longer about how nice it was to see one another again. Then one final good-bye before I climbed the stairs to the security checkpoint to take off my coat and shoes, everything but my pants, although that’s probably coming soon.

After I was through the checkpoint and had put all my clothes back on, I consulted The Big Board to see which gate my flight was boarding at. The Big Board said Gate A6, so off I went. There were a few people already waiting when I got there but I snagged a seat near the desk, pulled out a book and settled in to read until they called for the first group.

They usually start boarding about a half-hour before the scheduled takeoff time but not only was there no boarding announcement then, there was nobody at the desk, the screen behind the desk was dark and, most crucially, there was no plane at the gate. Felling a tad nervous, I strolled down the hall a ways to double-check The Big Board. My flight was still listed as being at Gate A6 and departing at ten-thirty, right on time. I went back to my seat and tried to read some more, but the persistent lack of anybody at the desk or any information appearing on the screen made me so uneasy that I couldn’t concentrate. I eventually gave up and put the book away.

Fifteen minutes before my plane was supposed to leave, I still didn’t see an actual plane parked at the gate outside the window and there was still nobody at the desk to explain why. I went back to The Big Board: My flight was still scheduled to leave on time, still at Gate A6. Hmmm.

There did seem to be a lot of activity at Gate A5, right next door, where four airline representatives were working at the desk. I didn’t want to bother them, though, because a long line of people were waiting to talk to them. At one point, one of the representatives got on the PA to tell the people in line that they were working as fast as they could to re-book everyone.

When ten-thirty came and went without any further announcements, I went back to The Big Board one last time to check on the status of my flight. The Big Board said that it had departed. At that point I thought, To hell with worrying about bothering people. I stopped one of the representatives when she came over to A6 from A5 to use the computer.

“Excuse me, is this where the flight to Chicago will be boarding?” I asked, showing her my boarding pass.

“No, this is Houston,” she answered, glancing at my pass. “Chicago’s over there.” And she pointed at A5, where the long line of people where waiting.

Oh. Okay. Thanks for announcing that. Good thing I didn’t need to ask.

I went next door to Gate A5 and, flashing my boarding pass, asked the woman behind the counter if this would in fact be the gate where the flight to Madison would be boarding. She said yes, it would, so I stood to one side while she fiddled with the computer while answering questions from a bunch of other people.

When she announced that they would begin boarding the aircraft for the flight to Madison, she used a flight number that was not the flight number on my boarding pass. Marching back up to the desk with my boarding pass held out in front of me again I asked her, “Excuse me, you said this was the flight to Madison? Which flight is it?”

She looked at my boarding pass, then at her computer, and then she picked up the microphone again and announced that the flight to Madison – and here she said my flight number this time – would begin boarding.

Sweet Jesus.

We took off forty-five minutes later than we were supposed to, yet somehow we arrived in Chicago only twenty minutes late. I’m not sure how they pulled that off, but I’m not going to complain about that, especially considering what happened next.

The flight pulled up at Terminal F. I went straight off the plane up to The Big Board to find where my connecting flight was supposed to board. It said F12, right down the hall, but when I got there the screen behind the desk said that the flight was going to Frankfort, Kentucky, so once again I held out my boarding pass and asked the guy behind the counter where I could find the flight to Madison.

“Oh, yes, let me just check,” he said, tapping keys on his keyboard. “Ah, I don’t seem to have your name here … wait a minute … oh, yes, this is the flight to Frankfort. You’re on the flight to Madison. They’re a little different, Kentucky and Wisconsin.”

Oh! Hello! We have a comedian! Very funny! Hah! Hah! Hah!

“I get that, thanks. Where can I catch the flight to Madison?”

“Right over there,” he said, pointing to the next gate over.

“No, this flight’s going to Georgia,” the lady behind the desk at the next gate said. “To get to Madison you’ll have to catch the flight at Gate B1.”

Sweet Jesus Christ on a bicycle.

So, with less than twenty minutes to spare, thanks to the comedian, I had to run from Terminal F to Terminal B. I’m pretty sure they’re in separate counties because I barely arrived on time to catch my connecting flight to Madison, a flight so short that they didn’t serve drinks or I would have bought at least two and as many as six before getting into a fight with a flight attendant and ending up being led off the tarmac in handcuffs, so maybe that’s the one thing that went right on that whole trip.

flight risk | 9:20 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, Mom, O'Folks, play, travel, vacation, yet another rant | Tags: , ,
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Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Sorry, I got nothing. It’s been a long week already and I’ve got a lot to do still, and it’s all pretty boring stuff, nothing I’d want to blog about. And cats, but I’m sort of burned out on blogging about the cats.

mea culpa | 6:07 am CST
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Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Why do we call clothes “laundry” after we wear them, while they’re in the wash machine and the dryer, and all the way up to the point where we fold them and put them away in drawers or hang them on a pole, after which they become “clothes” again? Is it really all that confusing to keep referring to them as clothes? Do you think it’s clearer to say, “I’m doing the laundry,” instead of, “I’m washing clothes?” If so, how? It’s not shorter. It doesn’t even make sense, if you’ve never heard anyone say it before. What does it mean to “do” a “laundry?” Sounds like you’ve got a weird sexual thing going with a whole building full of people who wash clothes.

doing the laundry | 2:40 pm CST
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Saturday, January 19th, 2013

I just heard a radio advertisement announcing special deals at McDonald’s, but only for their ‘a la carte’ items. When did McDonald’s become so frou-frou that they started advertising in French?

Frrronch fries! | 11:02 am CST
Category: daily drivel, food & drink, play, restaurants | Tags:
1 Comment | Add a comment

I’m not sure I understand one of the arguments against the regulation of guns. Help me out here.

I’ve read on teh intarwebs that The Most Holy Second Amendment says that we, the people, should all be allowed to have guns so we can shoot tyrants. Either my copy of the bill of rights is completely different from everyone else’s, or it’s the same but I’ve had a stroke that swapped around the meanings of all the words in my head, because I don’t see how the second amendment says that at all. There’s something about a militia, security, bearing arms, but no mention of shooting tyrants.

Assuming that it does, though, and that a citizen’s right to own as many guns as he wants of any kind is absolute: What, exactly, is the objection to registering guns? The one I’ve heard used most often is, if we let the government keep a list of everyone who owns guns, then the guns can be speedily taken away when the tyrants take over. But if one of the reasons for owning a closet full of guns is shooting tyrants, then when the tyrants show up to take the guns, wouldn’t they just get shot? Or am I not understanding how the ‘shoot the tyrant’ thing works?

what then | 10:09 am CST
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Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

world of tanksI got very excited this morning about the little box on the computer screen beside the news article I was reading, headlined “World Of Tanks.” World Of Tanks! A video under the headline showed a whole mess o’ tanks racing back and forth across rocky terrain, blasting away at each other.

Imagine my disappointment when I realized it wasn’t exciting news about the discovery of yet another exoplanet orbiting a distant star and inhabited entirely by sentient tanks doing battle with one another 24/7. It’s just another on-line video game. Looks like a really cool one, but the exoplanet thing would have been so much more awesome.

tanks | 5:47 am CST
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Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

corkedPut a cork in it, bozo.

corked | 6:00 am CST
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Thursday, December 27th, 2012

I sure like saying “pesto pasta.” I’ll bet you would, too, if you gave it a try. Go ahead, try it: “Pesto pasta.” See how much fun?

Pesto pasta
Pesto pasta
Pesto pasta

Man, I could say that all day long, or until I feel like saying “spackle.” Spackle spackle spackle spackle spackle.

Here’s another fun one: Try saying “toy boat” over and over as fast as you can.

Toy boat
Toy boat
Toy boat
Toy boat
Toy boat

You couldn’t say it more than three times without changing it to “toy boit,” could you?

I once new a woman named Cheryl Shimmel. I tormented her by turning her name into a tongue-twister and repeating it every day for weeks until she wanted to strangle me: “Cheryl Shimmel sits in shirt sleeves schlupping sloppy Slurpees.”

We named our oldest cat “Bonkers,” but we hardly ever call him that. Among other nicknames, such as “Bonky Boy” and “Bonky Moon,” we very often call him “Bonkers Bonkers Bonkers.” If you ever call him that, you have to say it real fast in a gruff tone of voice, as if you’re about to tickle a very small child.

This is the kind of drivel you get when I’ve been up since four-thirty drinking coffee and eating pie for breakfast. You’re welcome. Have a nice day.

pesto pasta | 5:25 am CST
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Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Recently on an Amtrak train, a fellow passenger across the aisle from me in the Quiet Car was involved in an animated cellphone conversation about a real estate transaction. The conductor came through and said: “Sir, I must ask that you refrain from using your cellphone. You are in the Quiet Car.”

Annoyed, he looked up and said: “I can’t hear you. I’m on the phone.”

New Castle, N.H., Nov. 18, 2012
Letter to the Editor, The New York Times


can’t hear the quiet for the trees | 9:10 am CST
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Friday, October 12th, 2012

I don’t know how many times I played this scenario out in my head: I set the coffee cup on the arm of the sofa, I sit down on the edge of the sofa, I prop the laptop on my knees, I begin to settle back, making myself comfortable, the cat decides to make himself comfortable by climbing into my lap, I try to shoo him off, my elbow jogs the arm of the sofa, the coffee cup tips and falls, and coffee, cat, computer and cup go every which way.

As I’ve seen these events play out over and over in the part of my brain that’s always cooking up worst-case scenarios, I’ve done everything I can think of to avoid this catastrophe (sorry, unavoidable pun) and, until this morning, was entirely successful. When it finally went wrong, though, it went wrong exactly the way I thought it would. I’m not sure whether to be impressed with how totally right I was, or depressed because the universe would screw with me like that.

catastrophe | 11:55 am CST
Category: Bonkers, coffee, food & drink, O'Folks, play | Tags:
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Wednesday, October 10th, 2012



If you went to school in the 60s and 70s, you almost certainly heard this guy’s voice telling you about the wonders of magnesium oxide, maybe with a slight tremble caused by a short loop that made the audio track in the 16mm film jump as it rattled through the projector.

That, and the way most of the technological jargon almost, but not quite sounds real (“prefabulated amulite” is one of my favorites, for some reason I can’t quite pin down) until he throws in a “dingle arm” or “girdle spring” that trips up my brain and makes me think, Wait a minute, that can’t be right!

For a little background on the turbo encabulator, this wikipedia article summarizes its development nicelly. I found this updated version with modern science video narrator Mike Kraft, after reading an interview he gave to a technical journal.

[ADDED AGAIN] There’s made-up technojargon that sounds real, and there’s real technojargon that sounds like it’s made up: “Martian spherules are the abundant spherical hematite inclusions discovered at Meridiani Planum on the planet Mars. They are found in situ embedded in a sulfate salt evaporitic matrix, and also loose on the surface.” (from a Wikipedia article on Martian spherules)

turbo encabulator | 9:24 pm CST
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Monday, September 24th, 2012

You can’t imagine how cross-eyed I am right now. I spent practically the entire day with my nose against a computer monitor, making links between web pages I’d previously copied from our agency’s current web site to the future web site. I sat down at seven-ten this morning and, except for potty breaks, mid-morning cup of tea, and a half-hour to heat up and eat the weenies I brought for lunch, I didn’t stop until around one o’clock.

Persistence paid off, though. By quitting time I had the satisfaction of knowing that all the links that were supposed to be linked were linked. Unfortunately, all that linking came at a price. It made my brain feel like a lump of wet coal that would never light a fire ever. Meanwhile, my eyes burned and scratched at the insides of my eyelids. It’s just not fair to have to suffer mixed metaphors clashing in my head like that.

linking, linking, I’ve been thinking | 9:04 pm CST
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Thursday, September 20th, 2012

image of a chair by the curbThe neighbor put this chair out by the side of the road, and it’s been there ever since.

Go anywhere in this town and there’s usually furniture by the side of the road, but it usually doesn’t last as long as this chair has. Someone comes along and decides it would look great in their basement or on their porch, loads it onto the back of his truck and drives off with it, typically within a week, very often in only a few days.

The neighbor’s chair, however, has been out there for more than a week, even after its value went way up from having been rained on. For some reason, a lot of furniture doesn’t get hauled away until after it gets rained on at least once. Maybe some people think that kills the bed bugs.

So anyway, if you’re looking for a nice wing chair that’s been rained on twice already, I can point you in the right direction.

free chair | 5:53 am CST
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Sunday, September 16th, 2012

image of trunk full of goodwill donationsThe basement’s a mess. What’s new about that, right? Just this: I started doing something about it today. I started gathering up all the stuff that’s been laying around for years that nobody’s laid a finger on in all that time and dragged the mess out to the garbage can. It’s one of those flip-top trash cans the city gave us so the robot trucks could pick up our garbage. Huge. 55 gallons at least. Filled it to within a foot of the top.

How did we manage to hang on to a big plastic bucket full of 2.5-inch floppy disks until this moment? Didn’t those things stop being useful years ago? None of the computers we have now even have slots for them. If there was something on them that we might want, we don’t have the hardware to check for it now. Out they went. So did the two keyboards and the trackball mouse. The joystick. The two router hubs. I’m hanging on to the very impressive-looking video card until Tim can take a look at it, but I have the sneaking suspicion he’ll tell me it’s so old (at least two years, maybe three) that it couldn’t possibly be of any use to anybody now. It’ll probably be in the bin by tomorrow morning.

It didn’t all go in the trash, though. If any of it looked like something somebody might be able to use, I stuffed it into the trunk of the car and, when it was full, drove it all down to Goodwill and gave them the whole kit and kaboodle. There must be somebody out there who wants an electric guitar, or will buy one for his kid on the off-chance it might strike a creative spark. That’s how we ended up with it, after all. And the desk lamp will surely find a good home.

I had thought briefly about advertising the lot on e-bay or Craigslist, but I killed off that thought almost as soon as it entered my head. Killed it with extreme prejudice. Strangled it, really. Snapped its scrawny little neck while I was doing it, too. Posting all that crap, then boxing it up and taking it all down to the post office in the event that somebody actually bought it was something I really didn’t want to go through, even if it did net me a couple of bucks. I wanted to get it out of our basement now!

And so I did. Not much of it, but It’s a start.

goodwill | 1:03 pm CST
Category: Our Humble O'Bode | Tags: , , ,
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Monday, September 10th, 2012

image of a typewriter ribbonI finally got a typewriter ribbon for the most recently-acquired typewriter in my collection.

Did you know you can still get typewriter ribbons from Staples? You can, but only one at a time. That’s all I ever find on display at the Staples down the road. Just one. They must have a great big box of typewriter ribbons in the back because there’s always one on display, but they seem to be taking only one at a time out of the great big box to put it on the rack.

For a while I was afraid it was bait and I was going to be pranked for a YouTube video, or a trap door in the floor would gulp me into a subterranean pit of part-time wage slaves. Those were the only logical reasons I could think of for hanging just one typewriter ribbon on the rack, but no prank has ever been played on me and the trap door hasn’t sprung open yet, so I think they’re just being stupid. Unless you can think of a more reasonable explanation.

1ribbon | 5:54 am CST
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Sunday, September 9th, 2012

A truck with a mustache.
image of a truck with a mustache
That is all.

truckstache | 9:24 pm CST
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Saturday, September 8th, 2012

A list of things I should get done this weekend:

  • mow the back lawn
  • pick up all the crap laying around in the back yard (should probably do that before I mow)
  • clean up all the crap that’s accumulated on the deck
  • mulch the branches I’ve pruned off bushes over the summer and piled in the back yard
  • mow the front lawn
  • prune the ivy that’s overwhelmed the front porch
  • clean the crap out of the garage (there’s a lotta crap around here)

What I’m going to do this weekend:

  • ask My Darling B to go to breakfast with me
  • ride my bike
  • ask My Darling B to ride bike with me
  • play with trains in the basement (I’m going to stay up all night, if I have to, to make sure I get to this one)
  • mow the front lawn, if I can work it into my busy schedule

Laziness: It can be quantified.

measurable laziness | 7:33 am CST
Category: daily drivel, food & drink, hobby, LoCo Rwy, Our Humble O'Bode, play, restaurants, yard work | Tags:
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Friday, September 7th, 2012

Next time I win the Power Ball lottery (you didn’t know I’d won it before?), I’m going to use my winnings to rent a storefront in town. I’m going to hang a big sign over the door that says “Typewriter Repair Shop” in Courier Bold and set all my typewriters in the window.

In the front room I’ll have a big table with typewriter parts and about a dozen teeny-tiny little screwdrivers spread out all over it.

In the back, I’ll have a reading lamp dangling over a recliner where I’ll park my butt all day and read books until the cows come home.

On the off chance that someone actually walks in with a typewriter that needs repairing, I might have to subcontract.

winnings | 5:43 am CST
Category: daily drivel, entertainment, hobby, play, typewriters | Tags:
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Thursday, September 6th, 2012

image of yours truly mugging it up for the camera It’s a face that’s a lot easier to make after your mouth’s been shot full of novocain. Try it next time after you get back from the dentist’s.

novocain | 3:55 pm CST
Category: daily drivel | Tags: , ,
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Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

image of blog comment

Most of the comments I get here on the drivel blog come from spam robots. My loyal readers are a very reticent bunch, to the point that I don’t even know they’re out there. Really, I can’t even hear them breathing. But you’re out there, right? Right?

Spam robots generally have quite a lot to say. I’m amazed at how much they can squeeze into a comment box sometimes. And typically it never makes even the tiniest bit of sense. If I have to read any more than the first three words to decide whether or not it’s a valid comment, then it’s probably not from a spam bot.

Every once in a great while, though, I get a comment from a spammer like Glass Dildo here that just floors me.

“The day the routers died – who put the 4 inch nail in the circuit breaker and poured coffee over the servers? The Bastard Operator from Hell.” Wow. Who among us hasn’t dealt with an IT department that made us want to do that at least once in our lives? I almost didn’t want to delete it. Had to think long and hard about whether or not I wanted a link to Glass Dildo on my blog.

Whoops. Long and hard. I didn’t even mean to do that.

commentary | 6:26 pm CST
Category: current events | Tags: ,
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Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Did you know that pimentos are chilis and not just some random red vegetable matter dangling from the middles of olives like naval lint? I have to admit I never thought about it until today, when My Darling B served pimento cheese spread for lunch.

“Where did you get pimentos?” I asked her, pondering for much longer than I should have the mental image of B hunched over a jar of olives, cursing as she plucked pimentos from them and dropped them into her blender. She fetched a jar of them from the kitchen and brought it back to show me. You can buy them all by themselves. Just pimentos. No olives. Huh.

pimento | 1:52 pm CST
Category: food & drink | Tags:
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Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

I think My Darling B and I may have crossed the line and become Old People. Not just older people, but certifiably Old People, as in crotchety old, cane-waving, get-off-my-lawn Old People. The evidence is mounting, and seemingly irrefutable. See if you don’t agree:

We both wear glasses now. I’ve been wearing glasses for dozens of years, and My Darling B has had a pair ever since about 2005, but she only recently starting wearing hers while driving and discovered, to her surprise, all the things she could’ve been seeing! The other night during dinner at a local restaurant, she amazed herself once again by putting them on and found she was able to read the labels of all the liquor bottles over the bar, about twenty feet away.

We talk to our cats as if they are children. They come to the door to meet us after work and we call their names and coo over them and make woojy-woojy noises. We never ever talk to them, we sing to them, usually repeating their names or the same phrase several times as if that’ll make them smile or laugh. This probably seems normal to some pet owners and by itself isn’t necessarily a warning of impending fossilization, but in combination with other signs it’s very definitely one of the warning signs that we are Old People.

We groan when getting up out of our chairs, or out of bed, and especially when we have been sitting on the floor and lever ourselves, slowly, to a standing position. The groans are louder the longer we have been sitting. We do not groan occasionally but EVERY TIME, like it’s hard work. And it is.

This evening, My Darling B referred to cancer as “The Cancer,” as in, My best friend, Myrtle, she has The Cancer, poor dear. If that’s not a dead giveaway, I don’t know what is.

aging | 6:58 am CST
Category: Bonkers, Boo, daily drivel, damn kids!, My Darling B, O'Folks | Tags:
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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Wowzers, thirteen hundred words on how I stink. And I even got a poop joke in there. I might as well just rename this Dave’s Poop Blog and find a five-year-old to write it, then sit back and watch the money come rolling in.

IN THE COMMENTS I’ve received the following adoring message from Purificadoras de agua: “Now i’m too very happy to check out this. This is actually normal you should be gifted instead of the random untruths that’s been generally toward the supplemental blogs and forums. Be pleased about your favorite sharing with us which better doctor.”

I will thanking you most volume, Purificadoras de agua, how so biggest sweet your saying it is to me. Such a name you have prettily. Commenting, you have left me too very happy as well. My giftedness randomly generates a thought of warm quality. My doctor is a frog. He is sharing pleasingly and well. Can you suggest my poop joke?

poop | 9:24 pm CST
Category: daily drivel | Tags:
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Monday, June 20th, 2011

I’ve recently become afflicted with old man smell. I’m going to assume you know what I mean by that and just plow ahead with my story. This is going to get pretty gross, so what I’m going to do is babble for a little bit here about how gross it’s going to get so you have a few minutes to think about how badly you want to read this and have plenty of time to bail out before any serious psychological damage has been done, because once you read this it cannot be unread.

If you’re still here, I’m going to assume it’s okay to press on. Any time you spend on your analyst’s couch trying to talk-therapy your way out of what follows is your own responsibility. I won’t be paying for any of it, not because I’m an uncaring asshole, it’s just that I don’t have any money. Sue me from now until the planet Nibiru crashes into Earth and all you’ll get out of me is court costs. It won’t do you any good after an interplanetary collision, anyway.

Still here? Wow, you must be really bored. Well, you asked for it.

It began three, maybe four weeks ago after I had finished a particularly hard day of yard work, mowing the grass and clearing brush and I don’t know what else. Whatever it was, it left me stinking like a wet goat and I was so glad when I was done and I could peel off my sweat-soaked clothes, climb into the shower, scrub all over with plenty of soap, and then stand under the hot running water for ten or fifteen minutes. After a day like that, almost nothing feels as good as a hot shower, don’t you think? I sure did, until that day.

On that day I came out of the shower and, while I was toweling off, I caught a whiff of a sort of moldy smell that I thought was coming from the towel. It was the same towel I’d used the day before, so I didn’t think it was all that unusual. I just grabbed a fresh towel and kept drying myself off. And don’t tell me you’ve never used a towel more than once. If you’ve got the time to wash towels after using them just once, tell me how you do it. I’m just barely keeping up with washing my dirty underwear. Okay, actually I’m not.

A short time after my shower, when I should have still had that really good feeling from being freshly soaped up and washed off, I was sitting in the recliner in the living room with a beer while I watched videos on my laptop of kittens playing in boxes, the tell-tale sign of the imminent collapse of civilization. We have the technology to invent computers small enough to hold in our laps, built by semi-indentured laborers in China, and we’re using this amazing boon to view semi-amusing photos of kittens who speak in leet. In the big scheme of things, interplanetary collision is really not going to be the tragedy we imagine it to be. But I digress, as I always do.

While I was sitting there, suddenly, and I do mean suddenly, at once, without warning, out of nowhere, as if it were a message from the gods, although it was really more like the warning sign of a stroke, I was overwhelmed by the smell of old gym socks. It was so powerful that it distracted me from my kitten video enough to make me turn around to see if someone or something had snuck up behind me and was standing just over my shoulder for the sole purpose of emitting this powerful stench, because I certainly couldn’t believe for an instant it was coming from me. Even after I saw there was nobody else around, I got up out of the recliner and sniffed it, but it just smelled like upholstery. The odor of smelly old socks was gone.

But the smell kept sneaking up on me again and again, and there didn’t seem to be any common trigger. It would come back when I was brushing my teeth, when I was folding the clothes, when I was eating my lunch, when I was picking my nose … in a car, in a plane, in a box, on a plane! I began to smell that smell everywhere! But the time I caught a whiff of it that really blew my mind was when I was squatting on the shitter, pants down around my ankles, thoughts wandering idly around the vacant corners of my mind, enveloped in a cloud of my most vile stink, when I caught a whiff of WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? WHAT KIND OF INFERNAL ODOR CAN OVERPOWER POOP?

It drove me so crazy that, at one point, I actually asked My Darling B to smell me. I really didn’t want to, because that’s got to be the last stage of either dementia or decomposition, but I couldn’t stand it any longer. “Would you do me a favor?” I began, and then I realized what I was doing and almost couldn’t finish, except that I was already sort of committed. I guess I could have made up something on the fly, distracted her by chopping off my own hand, anything that wasn’t quite as weird as I was really thinking of doing, but I was so shocked at myself and so weirded out by that smell sneaking up on me again that I just bulled my way through to the question I really wanted to ask her.

My Darling B has a very talented and sensitive sniffer. Even if I’d been emitting a mild odor, she’d be able to detect it. Heck, if I was as rotten as I was starting to believe I was, she should have been able to smell me from another room. I’d been half expecting her to say something to me before now, or at least pinch her nose as she walked past me, but she’s too nice to do something as low as that. But she also happens to be honest to a fault, so if I asked her point-blank to tell me if I smelled like a moldy gym sock, I think she’d do it. So I did.

“Smell me, would you?” I asked, sitting down beside her on the sofa. “Do you smell anything, um, musty?”

Such a look she gave me. Like I asked her to pick my nose. Then, ever so daintily, she leaned in and sniffed. Closed her eyes and thought about it a moment. Sniffed again.

“Nope,” she finally said, and then, because I’d brought it up, she had to ask, “Why?”

Might as well admit it now and get it over with. “I think I’m getting old man smell,”

She sniffed once more. “No, I don’t smell anything.”

Well, if she couldn’t smell it, it wasn’t there, which made me feel worse because the only other rational explanation was that I was going insane. Almost better to have old man smell. I can’t tell you how long I brooded over what it would be like to slowly descend into a madness that would be made up mostly of rotten smells. Can you imagine waking up every day wondering what kind of stink would flood your senses for the next twenty-four hours? It was like that joke about the guy choosing his hell: “Break’s over! Everyone back on your heads!”

Then, early thing morning, I was combing my hair when I caught a whiff of eau de gym socks again and was about to get all freaked out about it, except that I happened to pause with my comb in front of my face and couldn’t help but notice it reeked! My comb stunk to high heaven! It was on my comb! My goddamn comb smelled like rotten old sneakers! And I was combing that stink into my hair! No wonder that smell was haunting me.

And this is how the story ends: All my combs are getting a long bath in a beaker filled with vinegar and won’t be coming out for a long, long time. Happily ever after. The end.

old man smell | 9:21 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, damn kids!, yet another rant | Tags:
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Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

We took positions at our flip charts and prepared for the first round of participatory exercises at this morning’s leadership seminar.
“To let you know when it’s time to change positions, I will make a loud noise,” our instructor, Mary Kate, advised us.
Chuckles all around the room.
She grinned at us. “It will be a polite noise,” she added.
Laughter this time.

At the seminar I’m attending this week I ended up at a table of mostly women who were playing what I assume is a fairly common game among women called, “The last time I wore a dress was…” Although I could have won the game hands down by jumping in at any time and volunteering, “Summer of 1983,” I managed to restrain myself.

I was working for a summer in Wisconsin Dells to earn some money for college. One very sleepy weekday evening as I wandered along the main street looking for something to do, I ended up in one of those souvenir photo shops where you dress up in old-timey clothes and have your picture taken brandishing a six-gun and a bottle of Jack Daniels, or posed woodenly in front of a Model T. Two college-age girls were watching over the place, so naturally enough I poked my head in to ask them how things were going. It turned out they were bored out of their skulls. Apparently nobody had stopped in the shop until I came along.

In the course of chatting them up I said that I’d never posed for one of these photos before. They said they’d shoot my photo for free, just for something to do. I took them up on the offer because, well, they were two college girls who wanted to talk to me. The longer I could keep that going, the better.

When I couldn’t decide on a costume to wear, I asked them for suggestions. Well, they said, most guys like dressing up as gunslingers, or sheriffs, or hillbillies with a bottle of moonshine in one hand. Then one of them said, Hey, how about if we dress him up as a woman?

Excuse me? I asked. As as what?

But they were already getting out several long, full dresses and discussing the possibilities, and after they settled on a beautiful pastel blue dress they picked out a wide-brimmed hat and a parasol to go with it. A ruffled blouse finished off the ensemble.

I have to admit I can’t recall another time that I’ve had so much fun having two girls put clothes on me. They posed me in front of a backdrop that looked like a wooded park and snapped a photo that they presented to me with their compliments.

Yes, I do have a scanner. No, I won’t be posting a copy of the photo on this blog any time soon.

a tall tale | 5:59 pm CST
Category: story time | Tags: ,
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Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Time for a few stray thoughts. I haven’t done this in a while, and I can’t come up with anything but complete randomness right now, so the timing seems auspicious:

Granola. I eats it. I didn’t used to because I thought it was ucky, and I thought it was ucky because it was pretty bad granola. Dry enough to suck every molecule of moisture out of every cell in my mouth and gritty enough to use as traction if my car got stuck on the ice. I don’t know who made that stuff or why, but as granola it was crap. Or maybe that’s just the way granola was made back then, and now they know better. We started bringing it home from the co-op when Tim asked for it, and as he asked for it more and more I started eating it, too. Crunchy and sweet, it’s pretty tasty stuff and comes in more flavors than the multicolored plastic stuff they sell to kids as breakfast cereal. There was a spell after Tim moved out where we didn’t bring much home for a while, and then a while back we started stocking up every week because both My Darling B and I were eating it for breakfast in the morning, and neither one of us are breakfast-eating people. Or weren’t. I guess we are now.

We practiced our dance steps last night and we were freaking AWESOME! By our standards. And the bar’s still set pretty low, but only because we’ve been at it for just five weeks, folks. It’s not for lack of trying. We’ve got all the steps down, for instance, but that’s about it. Grace, poise, timing, that’s all stuff far in the future. BUT WE’VE GOT THE STEPS DOWN, OKAY? That’s gotta count for something.

I thought we’d be able to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep now the weather’s warmed up and the cats have wandered off to find other places to bed down for the night, but the recent cold snap brought them right back to cuddle up alongside us like a couple of heat magnets. Last night they had me pinned to the mattress like Lilliputians pinning Gulliver to the ground. They were purring like great big furry purring things. They were just like another metaphor that I can’t recall right now.

We had one of those weekends where we didn’t go out much and it seemed as though we didn’t really do all that much. I mean, we weren’t inert blobs of protoplasm; we washed some clothes, took out the trash, cleaned the kitchen and unblocked the bathroom drain, things like that. Stuff got done. Also, I finished a book I started last weekend (no prize for guessing what it was about) and My Darling B got herself up into the biggest snit ever talking to me about the book she finished.

And some of us had plans that were dashed by the cold snap that brought us that one last dump of winter (at least I’m hoping it’s the last dump). B wanted to break out her roto-tiller and turn over some soil in her garden so she could plant lettuce, and I think she may have been just a teensy bit bummed out that she couldn’t. With temps in the fifties all week, she was living in anticipation for too long not to be utterly gobsmacked by the change in weather. I’m pretty sure my head would have exploded, but I’m a little more excitable than she is.

strays | 5:59 am CST
Category: daily drivel | Tags: , , , , , ,
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