Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Another Teevee Post

This is kinda like the ol' Teevee Dinner, where you just haul it out of the freezer, pull the foil back over the frosty mystery cherry pastry dessert, and heat for a Tasty Nutritious Meal from the Future. Yes, another drive-by tagging has occurred, and I am the latest victim. The only way to break the curse is to foist the tagging upon you, gentle reader. Then, only then will I be free of it. Thanks for your help, 'ppreciate it. 1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Multiples. Proper name after my Dutch great grandfather. Nickname after my mom's cousin. Middle name after Sean Connery. 2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Monday. 3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Yep, when I'm writing for something other than myself. I'm a draftsman, write in all caps and like it to look good. When I'm journaling, however, it's sloppy uneven bastard script/ printing that even I have trouble reciphering. 4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Pimento loaf. No, salami. No, roast beef, shaved thin. Anything with fully cooked animal parts and sacks of dextrose, and goes with firm ripe tomatoes and mayo. 5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? One of each. I'm immensely proud of them both. 6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? For a little while. Then we'd drift apart, calling infrequently with enthusiastic cries of 'We should get together more often!' 7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? No. Have trouble trusting people who do. 8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes. In a jar. 9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Depends on who with and where. Victoria Falls maybe? I just don't want to be this guy. 10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Fruity Pebbles, up until recently. Got a box of Krusty O's, surprisingly good. Maple & Brown Sugar Malt-O-Meal, always the best. 11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Usually not, but sometimes. Just to mix things up. 12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Yes. Until it comes to self-control, then I'm strong like jello salad, with bits of mandarin orange and marshmallows. No coconut though. Bleah. 13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Hudsonville Moose Tracks with a sprinkle of malt powder on top. Or French Vanilla with a sprinkle of instant coffee. 14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Posture. 15. RED OR PINK? Whatfor? If you can paint it, red. If not, pink. 16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? Lack of follow-through. 17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My kids. 18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO pick up 3 pieces of feral litter today? Yep. 19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Olive pants, brown Red Wings boots. 20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? A chocolate chunk cookie, with fresh hot coffee. Breakfast of champeens. 21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The Media Player's on random, spinning one of 3570 tunes. Currently it's Kutless, Winds of Change. And the secretary chewing her breakfast. 22. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? The melty green-red-blue one that's scraped out of the armrest after a long day in the sun. You might call it bruple. 23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Cut grass. Cut pine 2x4's. Fresh coffee and OJ in the morning. Old attics. The neck of someone you love. Campfires. Lilac bushes. Eucalyptus trees. 24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Coworker 25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? OMG - yes!!! 26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? The occasional football game. Or the ones that end up on "World's Worst Injuries Caught On Tape." 27. HAIR COLOR? Is 'dwindle' a color? If you're asking favorite, it's red. 28. EYE COLOR? Blue. Like the sky. Earth sky, not Martian. And not when there's a tornado coming, that's more green-brown-yellow-gray. 29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Have 'em, but prefer glasses. Which have been busted and sitting in a drawer for 3 years, doing me lots of good.The world has soft edges and blurry signs, as far as I know. 30. FAVORITE FOOD? Home cooked. Any thing that starts with 'You gotta try this!' 31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy Endings. Mostly. Hey, isn't that the name of that massage parlor down the street? 32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Die Hard IV. Entertaining, sure. Quit caring about the characters after they survived the gas plant blowing up (their 14th explosion survival) by climbing into a van, which was then tossed through a wall. Of course, they walked away from it. 33. FAVORITE FLOWER? Venus flytrap. Or dogwood blossoms. 34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer. Shirtsleeves trump parka every time. 35. HUGS OR KISSES? Kisses. Hershey's or French, again depending on who with (whom?) 36. FAVORITE DESSERT? Wordnerd's Onion Souffle. It's like savory cheesecake. O.M.G. 37. MOST LIKELY TO discover latent superpowers and save the world? JC 38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND to spam of any nature, including for products I actually buy? Me. 39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Just finished Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett. The list of his books I haven't read is growing alarmingly small, he'd better get cracking on some more books. I'm shopping for my next read tonight. 40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? A set of drawings, files, coffee cup, dual monitors, dual Aquafina bottles, ridiculously stylish desk lamp, and an assortment of formerly airborne lint. 41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? Didn't. No teevee. No time to watch anyway, worked twice. 42. FAVORITE SOUND? I can't tell you that here. 43. FAVORITE CANDYBAR? Butterfinger Crisp, when absolutely fresh. 44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Indonesia. 12 time zones to the west (or east) and 43 degrees south. 45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I have a pretty good BS detector, combined with a strong filter. I think lots of things that never get said. Play drums and bass, but not at the same time. I also have other powers, different from the ones previously mentioned. 46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Grand Rapids MI. They haven't named a wing of the hospital after me yet, but I'm hoping to get my name on the eyeball shelf of the spare parts closet some day. 47. WHOSE Smoking Fish tee-shirt did you get in the mail this week? My very own, with a personal note from Jeff Kay. Holy crap in a Bundt pan! OK, you are now IT, unless you did the proper ONETWOTHREENOTIT! chant, in which case you're off the hook. 18, 37, 38, and 47 are Do-It-Yourself questions, you can ask yourself anything. G'head, it's easy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Oh Hai

Yarr, things be reeee-diculously busy around here, so I'm just poking my head in to point you in the direction of the Monkey Barn. Hyperion's orchestrating a sort of campfire story with a Harry Potter theme, and I for one am interested to see how it turns out. I contributed a chapter, and a bunch of other Barners are too. Go! See! Have a nice day! I'll quit bossing you around now!

Friday, July 13, 2007


I was up all night again last night. Can anyone tell my why microwaved pizza rolls are so very gross, all leathery and oozing molten mystery goo that tastes vaguely freezerpizzalike, but after the 3rd one you get a craving for the rest of the box? I'm sure they'd be reasonably tasty if toasted properly in a real heat oven, but I was at once disgusted and enthralled by these highly nutrutious lil' suckers. And no, it was not a case of the munchies, simply lunch. Real dinner last night was something I'd never concocted before, but boy oh boy was it some kind of spot-hitting good. I had a pair of round steaks defrosted, and had to cook 'em up. I'd planned on grilling or broiling, but got no grill and I've no experience broiling. No proper veggies for a stir-fry. Rooting around in the larder, I found some bleu cheese, potatoes, onions, and yon steaks. Sliced a pocket in the steaks, stuffed in some cheese (a very carnal experience, that), and set it all to fry... 15 minutes later, the yummiest of quickdishes. Leftovers will be just as good. I watched someone dump 15 (fifteen!) liquid creamers into a 16 ounce coffee this morning. Then added a shot of 'cappuccino' (the powdered machine-made fake sugary stuff) to the mix, and a small handful of ice. In my first office job (a draftsman for a church architecture outfit), I started having coffee every day. It'd be doctored up very precisely, with 1 1/2 sugars and a splash of cream. It HAD to be the right color, or t'were no good. Several years later, I started to realize there were just to many variables to manage, and more hassle than enjoyment. It's crap like that which taught me to drink my coffee black. That way, I'm in & out, no waiting, nobody making faces at me, no mess to clean up - and the bonus is that I can actually tell if the coffee's any good. Turns out I like good coffee. Any particular way you have to have your coffee (or tea)?

Thursday, July 12, 2007


This is my 137th post. Why is that number significant? It ain't. I just wondered how many I've done here, so now we all know. Remember the bug story from the other day - the moth that invaded my personal space? That was nothin'. I was riding home on a very hot, very windy Tuesday. I parked my bike in the garage and noticed something prickly in my leather jacket, on the sleeve. Nothing new, as there is a mesh liner with some Velcro which sometimes pokes at my bare skin. But it kept poking me, so I tried to adjust the sleeve while unbuckling my helmet. That didn't help; in fact it got worse. I made it to the door, with neighbors watching as I dropped my backpack and jacket and began beating the sleeve against the wall. I had collected a very angry wasp up my sleeve somewhere in the last 2 miles of my commute. The little bastard stung me 8 times on the soft, frogbelly white underside of my forearm. Never found it, I think she survived to sting again. If you see one, squish it for me, won't you?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I'm late.

Okay, so last month Wordsmiths Unlimited came back online. And I was all excited, since I love that outfit and I'm a big fan of the idea, the creative fun, and reading all the concoctions that come of it from other writers. It's like a chili cook-off without the beer, pain, or flatulence.

And then I watched the deadline come and go. I've got lots going on, sure, but I still hate being late.

Rather than mope about it and offer a weak shrug and "Oh well, there's always next month," I figured I'd write the story I'd half-baked when there was still time.

For those new to the premise: The Wordsmiths come up with a photo and a challenge. You write a 500 word (or less) story to go with it. Open to all. Easy peasy, right?

Patience The creak of old rope was barely audible over the gentle thrash of surf. A crackle and pop, then the rattle of various tools as one of them rose from his hammock. "Think it's a good year?" "Hard t' tell, they cert'ny look hardy enough. But sometimes the runts surprise you." The younger one packed up buckets and toolboxes with ziploc bags full of multi colored tags, a tagging gun, shovels, and a large knife. His floppy tan hat flapped about his ears in the breeze. The older one stayed in his hammock, greasy hat pulled over his eyes, a toothpick wobbling around under the brim. A hairy foot hung out one side, lazily rocking his large frame back and forth. "Boy, that was a good hatch. Did you see how many made it? It was better than the year they put up nets, so many got in! Those ‘no trespassing’ signs sure cut down on traffic, we practically have the place to ourselves!" "Yep," came the grunted reply. Too much talking could ruin a good afternoon, he thought. "Well, I s'pose it's time to git," he said as he hefted himself upright. He took the large cast iron pot off the tripod and set it in the sand, doused the embers, and took another spoonful of soup. “Sure did turn out good this year, I think 40’s about the right number.” They were here every year at this time, a tradition going back three generations. The turtles would hatch, they would tag as many as they could and observe weather and predator activity for the university, and then they would enjoy dinner on the beach. They earned a small stipend for their work, but the perk they looked forward to most was the meal. The older man covered the pot and hoisted it into the pickup, strapping it in. He tucked a red plastic tag in his pocket, and tossed a large empty shell in the cab. The sun set over the beach as a herd of new turtles swam deeper into the ocean. Many were picked off by much larger, hungrier creatures who were expecting them. One finally made it to a safe resting place in the brave new world. He was sporting a shiny new red tag.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

So Much Interest

Since Hypnotoad is getting more comments than I ever did, here's more. And, in case you didn't know, it's no fun to catch a bat in your full-face space helmet while cruising down the boulevard. Okay, maybe it wasn't technically a bat, but it did have a wingspan and batlike color and silent flight. And when it crawled along my chin to have a look outside, I freaked out like my face was stuck in a hot oven full of bees. The mothbat nonchalantly flew away, and that was that. I have more exciting bug encounters, I'll tell you about those next time. Got any YOU'D like to share, to set the mood?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Shorty McShorterson

Cuppa tings as I speed through on my way to enormous productivity: Last week there was a Fark animation contest for all the Photoshop wizards. Some really good and inventive stuff there, but this one really got stuck in my head. If you've lurked in Photoshop contests before, the jokes will make more sense... but still worth a visit! Hyperion asked about Hypnotoad... I'm not hardly clever enough to make that up, but thanks for thinking I could. A brief summary is here (Wiki knows all). All glory to Hypnotoad! I'm here to serve, baby. Have a great day!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Spiffytown Times

Well, it HAS been a while, hasn't it.

I've missed the community of bloggy friends and daily visits and ongoing commentaries. Here's a snippet of what I've been up to, no guarantees of any sort of regularity for now... but the daily post isn't coming back for the near future. Still no computer at the apartment, and there is no shortage of overtime to be done working on real work. I was assigned a project on Friday, and asked if it was another hot job. "They're all hot," said the boss.
So, I'm here on a Saturday to try to keep up and wedge in a little post.
A cuppa two tree weeks ago I had yet another trip out east to deal with a project that hadn't died yet. We started it in '05. Final final inspection, and my presence was required. We passed with flying colors, having gotten the inspector, the GC's new personnel, our installer, and our customer all on the same page. The success was overwhelmed by spectacularly bad performance by NWA (aka Nincompoops With Airplanes) yet again. This time it was a legitimate weather problem in my destination, but still... Is it normal to load 150 passengers on an airplane, let them sit a half hour (or until it gets up to appropriate temperature to bake a cinnamon roll, whichever comes first), then unload them, then do it twice more? After that, is it normal to leave the gate to the cheers of all hardy souls who haven't made alternative plans, then sit on the tarmac for 3 hours?
Naturally, all connections were broken. I got to spend quality time in Detroit's Metro Airport again... hours' worth. That's a long-ass airport, with a train running the length of Terminal A. I went to the rebooking gates, but the line stretched all the way past the mid-terminal shops and bars. With an average of 10 minutes per customer, and at least 180 people in line, I figured it'd be better to walk home. Or rent a car, either way. I went up to the nearest gate with an agent and asked if there were any flights to Grand Rapids. He said yes, it was at gate 76 - at the end of the terminal. I finally arrived there 10 minutes later to find the gate had been changed to gate 41, right next door to the rebooking gates. At least the agent at 76 got me a seat before sending me packing again, near the front of the plane. And there was time to have a beer in the only open bar. The plane arrived, it was actually going to leave the airport, and I discovered my seat was in THE front row, 1st class. It was my only time riding with The Privileged Class (did you know 'privilege' means 'private law?' Thanks Terry Pratchett). The flight attendants are way friendlier up front, and they give you snacks and free alcohol if you want it. Even if the 26 minute flight doesn't allow beverage service in the main cabin (where the peasants ride).
One good flight out of four ain't bad... is it?
I've put 1000 miles on the motorcycle since I got it. Everyone I know who has a bike has a story of near-death experiences, but I hoped to be the exception. Last night I decided it'd be a good idea to wear a flashing neon light after a car pulled up behind me in the left-turn lane rather fast. In fact, it pulled up so fast the tires screeched as it stopped centimeters from my taillight. I forgot momentarily that the thing has an engine and tried to paddle it out of the way by foot, like an overturned turtle.
In all the experience has been awesome (nevermind the bug collection on my shirt and knees). The smell of freshly mowed hay in the morning (it's much better before it goes through cows), the subtle changes in temperature I find sailing through forested areas, and the up-close sensation of speed are immensely gratifying. So far I haven't had to ride in the rain, but I got a rain suit just in case a July blizzard pops up. Could happen here.
I'm working overnights at the local Kwikee Mart to pay the new bills. It's changed my outlook about humanity: People are gross. Folks dumping Squishees all over the place, dropping litter as soon as they go out the door, and thieves of all stripes are highly irritating to me. Not to mention lazy or careless coworkers - or manager (the guy could win a Worst Customer Service Ever Award).

Although, the drunk people have been highly amusing. There are plenty every night, but especially on Thursdays. The store is at the entrance of the largest apartment complex in Michigan (around 1700 units), so the variety of humanity is stunning. Lots of regulars, but folks just passing through need their Squishee fix too. And when they get sloppy drunk and stagger around the shop, it's usually great fun for at least one of us.

One couple was walking around for 20 minutes. The hippie chick was just screaming about the prices of sammiches and candy bars. She was smiling the whole time, but badgering her highly pierced guy friend about every item he touched. She sashayed around in her ragged dress and silver bangles and hemp necklaces, unsatisfied with everything but laughing at it all. Finally their last item was on the counter, and the guy announced that he was gonna turn gay. She shrugged, paid for the stuff, and they left the store. I turned to get some coffee, and I heard her peek in the door and shout, "Hey, Mr. Slurpee Man!" I looked, and she had her tank top over her head, dancing like she was collecting beads on Bourbon Street.

I wasn't sure how to respond, so I gave her a friendly wave and they were gone. The hippies too. I observed that my rack is bigger, to my double dismay.

More drunk people and boobie stories to come, but I must go...

Won't you tell me what you've been up to in the last weekerso?