Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Carnival Of Cordite #10 Is Up!!

Go read this week's Carnival of Cordite, the weekly round up of all things firearm-ish. There was a bit of a bobble last week, and Hotmail ate all the submissions, so it's a do-over.

Check 'er out!

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Party Never Ends?

More Music Talk To Help Make Up For A Content-Free Week

So I'm listening to iTunes the other night, and the random rotation brings up some Robert Earl Keen. Always a good choice, but I've got a beef with the tune that came up.

If you're not familiar with Robert Earl Keen, it's likely because you're living outside of Texas in some sad imitation of a real state. He's one of our resident Texas troubadors, most often found in honky tonks, juke joints, and the odd music festival. While his albums are great, he's at his best at live shows, especially if you can catch him at Gruene Hall in Gruene (outside New Braunfels), the oldest dancehall in Texas.

The live shows are part of the problem, though, at least for me. Keen's shows, like Jimmy Buffett's shows, have become less an event for fans of the music, and more of a magnet for drunken yahoos to show up en masse for the sole purpose of drinking until they puke and whooping and hollering over the music. Sure, it's rowdy fun when you're 19, but for those of us starting to go grey (or bald), it's starting to get real old real quick.

Now, the song in question I had a beef with is "The Road Goes On Forever", probably Keen's signature tune. It's a great song, but somehow I think all the Silver Bullet-swilling shitheads really miss the point of the song. Or maybe I do, who the hell knows.

I'm not gonna quote the song in full, but here's the basics in a nutshell:

Small town Party Girl boozes it up with friends, works in a bar.
Loser Boy sells dope, does jail time, gets out, sells more dope.
Drunk grabs Party Girl's ass, Loser Boy cleans his clock
Party Girl & Loser Boy run off together, drink copious amounts of gin.

Cash runs low, Loser Boy plays Let's Make A Dope Deal
Deal gets busted by Johnny Law, Loser Boy gets caught holding cash.
Party Girl kills a cop to free Loser Boy, they run away.

Loser Boy gives all the money to Party Girl, tells her he'll take the heat.
He skedaddles for parts unknown. Party Girl goes back to town.
Months later, Party Girl continues to booze, sees notice in paper.
Loser Boy is caught, and gonna fry.
Party Girl get in her new Mercedes, goes on with life.
The road goes on forever and the party never ends.

This is NOT a happy song! You've got two amoral shitheels out on the loose, dealing drugs and killing police officers, and one gets away clean, reaping the benefits of the other's demise!

My guess is that with all the cheap beer polluting the concert-goers brain cells, the only part of the song they know (and holler at the top of their lungs) is the chorus, "The road goes on forever and the party never ends." Well, that verse and the verse about selling dope.

Look, I'm not a Puritan. I like beer & pot just as much as the next guy,(assuming the next guy likes beer & pot!) but I just have to wonder about the people that remain blissfully ignorant of the full lyrics to a song.

A similar example is "Every Breath You Take", by The Police. Untold hundreds of dimwitted couples used it as their wedding song, completely clueless of the fact that the song is really about an obsessed stalker.

Another misunderstood song example is "Born In The USA" by Bruce Springsteen. Co-opted by Reagan and the Republican Party, they seized on the easily remembered chorus, and while waving flags as hard as they could, ignored the lyrics about Vietnam vets unable to reassimilate into American life.

I'm sure there's plenty of other misunderstood songs out there, but I'm a bit too full of paint fumes to think of any more right now.

Hell, I'm probably being hypocritical about all this. It's entirely possible all the times I've slurred along with "Margaritaville" after imbibing most of a bottle of cheap tequila, I've completely missed the point that Bubba was driving at: We should all clearly label our salt shakers, and keep track of them at all times. Oh, yeah, and we should keep trash off the beaches so no one cuts their heel on a pop-top.

Heh. Like anyone under 20 has any idea what a pop-top is!

OK, enough bitching. Go listen to some Robert Earl Keen! You won't be disappointed!


Yep, I'll admit it. I grew up listening to 70's & 80's rock & roll. This test confirmed it, more or less.

Your Taste in Music:

80's Rock: Highest Influence
Classic Rock: Highest Influence
Progressive Rock: Highest Influence
Adult Alternative: High Influence
80's Pop: Medium Influence
90's Pop: Medium Influence
Country: Medium Influence
80's Alternative: Low Influence
90's Alternative: Low Influence
Hair Bands: Low Influence
Heavy Metal: Low Influence
Punk: Low Influence
Ska: Low Influence

It's kinda funny. I read a couple of posts on A Small Victory this morning where Michele trashed Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell, and gave a low (but deserved)opinion of Pink Floyd's The Wall. As a result, I was working out a post on my musical 'eccentricities' when I ran across this quiz at Dax's place.

Well, I'm too fuzzed on paint fumes to pursue this further. Maybe later. Now I gotta go listen to some Night Ranger and Van Halen. Maybe dig out some Cheap Trick too.

Groovy, Man!

Well, I'm just high as a kite right now. Buzz paid for by The Man, to boot! I came back from a meeting to find a crew painting my new office. They had all the furniture moved to the center of the room, and were busily rolling the walls in a paint whose color is not found in nature. Well, actually, it is found in nature. It's the kind of grayish/off-white color that's just like the thin layer of enamel over a grey rotten tooth.

I went out for an hour to grab an early lunch and let them finish, but I should have just packed it in for the day. I'm now sitting here with a serious paint-fume buzz, and the ensuing headache this evening is gonna be a killer.

Damn, I wish I remembered to bring some Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd CDs and make a party of it. Expect any further blogging this afternoon to be somewhat off-kilter and/or incomprehensible.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I Wish I Had This Much Fun At The Doctor's Office!

Little Sammy had a checkup at the Doc's place recently. Apparently he's cooked evenly, so they won't have to stuff him back in the oven for a few more days to finish things up.

He looks like he's enjoying the cold stethoscope treatment. Heh. I bet his tone changes when Doc breaks out the immunization injection kits!

Glad This Day Is Over!

Yeeks. What a nightmare.

Since February, I've been scheduled to go speak on behalf of The Man to a citizen's group in town. So, the past few days I've been working my bunghole into a diamond-producing knot, polishing up a presentation, whipping up interesting yet informative handouts, the whole 9 yards.

I'm expecting someone from the organization to call and confirm, but the woman who set up the gig is a local legend in her circle of civic activity, and if it's got her stamp of approval, then I'm content just to show up and do my thing.

So, I show up (45 minutes early, mind you) to do my thing, only to be informed that the organizer has retired a month ago, has informed no one of my planned visit, and generally left everyone in the lurch in terms of communicating her planning for the past 4 months. Oh, my. What a pickle.

They still managed to squeeze me onto the agenda, getting second billing behind one of Houston's Finest. This cop may be one of the Thin Blue Line saving us citizens from the barbarian horde, but in all other respects he was kind of a serious dunderhead. At least I was ahead of the refreshment break, otherwise anyone not snoozing after Officer Bob had finished his soporific lecture would have been comatose from the post-feed drowsies.

Well, I now have a goal to shoot for. The year before my retirement, I think I shall cease all recordkeeping, forward no information whatsoever, and generally stay as secluded as I can in order that my successor can enjoy the adventure of tying all the wayward knots together. It'll be nice to leave a legacy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Ahoy, Cap'n! Massive Time-Waster On The Horizon!

Oh, my... This is gonna suck up all my free time.

Pirates of the Caribbean to go massively multiplayer.

Here's the scoop!
Disney Online, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Internet Group, has revealed that it is currently working on a new massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

The game, which is being designed by Disney's VR Studio, will allow gamers to create their own pirate character and team up with others to form a crew, battling both other players and the evil undead pirates roaming the high seas.

Yar! Hoist the swingin' boom! Moisten the wenches! Set sail for Pillageville!

If they don't release this for Mac, I'm gonna have to keelhaul 'em!

COTV #136 Is Up!

The 136th Carnival Of The Vanities is up over at John Bambenek's blog.

It's been styled as the "Blogger Refugee" edition, and I'm not quite sure how that's supposed to be taken. From all appearances, though, it's emulating the crowded state of a ship full of Haitian refugees. John, buddy, it's called a Return key! Look into it! At least toss us a {br} tag every so often!

Go have a gander! (Just don't bother the goose!)

UPDATE: A better link is to be had here. It's not as scrunched up as the first one.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Damn, That's One UGLY Dog!

Well, I've been wanting a puppy for a while, so I dropped by the SPCA this afternoon, and helped myself to the first thing I could grab out of their Bargain Bin.

Ain't he purty?? I think it's a Pomerschnaudachshugrifferdoodle!

Hehehe! Actually, that's a baby porcupine from the National Zoo!

Grand Rounds #31

I couldn't resist, had to throw my beetpee story in with all the other medical tales over at the weekly Grand Rounds, hosted by the ever-inclusive Dr. Tony! Now, the Grand Rounds is primarily a place for Doctors, med students, and the like, but they'll welcome most tales with a medical slant!

Go take a look, and don't forget to turn your head and cough!

Bonfire Of The Vanities #95

Time once again for the Bonfire Of The Vanities, the worst the blogworld has to offer! It's hosted this week over at Boxing Alcibiades, which is an improvement over the other options like Boxing Day, Boxing Helena, and boxing the Jesuit.

Go take a peek! Join in the fun of lambasting the misguided efforts of complete strangers!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Going All Partisan On You

OK, I said I wouldn't turn into an issues screamer, and I'm not. Still, there's a short message that needs to be sent out.

One of my favorite people in the entire world (that I haven't actually met in person), Mr. Penn Jillette, is lending me a hand in sending a short message to the following individuals:

  • ANWR anti-drilling whiners

  • People who think Whacko Jacko is innocent

  • Gun Fearing Wussies {Thanks for the great phrase, Kim du Toit!}

  • PETA-rds

  • Michael Moore

  • Flat-Earthers

  • Vegans

  • That noisy kid next door

  • People claiming that proper discipline hurts children

  • Tax & Spend politicians (That's you too, Republicans)

  • Anyone at a "Poetry Slam"

  • CAIR and associated Islamic terrorism apologists

  • Barbra Streisand

  • Mariah Carey

  • Michael Savage

  • George Soros & the MoveOn fun bunch

  • Nancy Pelosi

  • Anti-Semitic "intellectuals"

  • Any J-school grad currently working in MSM

  • The "Bush Lied, People Died" crowd

  • Andy Rooney

  • The "Rev." Fred Phelps

  • Dr. Laura

  • Rick Santorum

  • OK, got that list in mind? You sure? Go back and read it again, just to make sure. After all, you might be on it!

    Here's your special message! Practice your lipreading until you get it right!

    That is all!

    Who Are The Sex Criminals In Your Neighborhood?

    Well, I thought I was done blogging for today, but something Denita at Who Tends The Fires wrote jarred my keyboard back into action.

    Apparently, there are sex offenders in her town. Imagine that!

    As a non-parent, I'll admit that I'm not keyed into the notion that creepy folks are lurking in the underbrush waiting to snatch up my child and teach him/her to play Hide The Salami. In fact, as a fairly sizable male with a fairly sizable gun collection, I have to admit that sexual predators rate really really low on my personal worry list. The only realistic chance I have of being sexually molested in my lifetime is if I somehow get sentenced to a Federal Pound-Me-In-The-Ass prison.

    So, I'm probably guilty of a bit of insensitivity, here. The fact of the matter is that rapes and molestation happen a lot, perhaps more than most of us can imagine. Here's a scary little map for your viewing pleasure:

    That's my neighborhood. The star in the center marked with "Harris" (for Harris County) isn't my house, it's the house I lived in back in 9th grade. I've since lived in 2 other houses in a 500 yard radius of that star, though, and still live there today. Each of those little red dots indicates the residence of a registered sexual offender, be it for rape, attempted rape, kiddy-diddling, solicitation, maybe even giving a vice officer too much of a lap dance.

    That's a LOT of dots. Now, consider that most offenders will (on average) commit the same or similar crime anywhere from 3-10 times before they are apprehended and forced to register after their conviction. Consider that many rapes and molestations go unreported. I'd say you could easily triple the amount of dots on the map and not be too far from the truth.

    So, Denita's got a right to be worried. She's also armed, and ready to blow the shit out of anyone even looking squirrelly at her kid, so I'd just recommend steering clear of Tinyville, TX!

    OK, on a related note I just can't ignore, let me call your attention back to the map...

    Notice the big black line about 1/3 of the way from the bottom? That's Interstate 10. Now, I'll freely admit to a lifetime of living on the wrong side of the tracks. OK, so they pulled up the Katy railroad line that ran along I-10 a decade ago, but the fact remains that the north side is distinctly seedier than the south side. Drop south of I-10, and suddenly home values shoot up by 50-75 thousand bucks, you see much fewer apartment complexes, and homeowner associations actually enforce their deed restrictions.

    Now, notice the relatively few amount of red dots. Whassup wit' dat?

    I'm tempted to say that it shows that the rich folk, bearing wisdom gained from proper rearing, good education, and excellent jobs that give them money to pay for hookers have less incidents of sex crimes as a result.

    The cold hard truth, though, is that they're just more likely to be able to afford good lawyers.

    If you're a Texas resident, go here and take a look at your neighborhood. That ain't Mr. Rogers living down the street, I reckon!

    OK, No More Pee Stories

    I seem to have scared everyone off with my little tale of a steakhouse and their beety shenanigans. Needless to say, in order to make sure the remaining two or three readers stick around, I will NOT be participating in Acidman's Carnival of the Crappers. I'm sure they'll have a hoot sharing their tales of defecatory achievement, but my temperament for endless "Me Go Plop-Plop!" stories has waned a bit since I quit hanging out at the alt.tasteless newsgroup.

    Mind you, I'm not averse to the occasional tale of matters rank and vile, it's just that the constant necktie wearing of the last 8 months has probably choked off the blood level to my brain, rendering my sense of humor only tweaked by Socialist Idiotarians and their lunacy, horrible puns, and the odd fart joke. (the one exception is probably a joke Rockhauler told the other day that floored me... Why does the Easter Bunny hide all his eggs? He doesn't want anyone to know he's been banging a chicken!)

    I'm probably gonna be light on posting this week, there's a lot on the burner at work, and as much as I'd like to just coast through it all, I kinda need to do more than the bare minimum, since there's a bit of public notice on things right now.

    No posting yesterday. Can't blame that on anything but a great day to get out and go shopping, and the bad timing to hit a bookstore first thing, leading to getting buried in a trashy novel for the rest of the day. In other words, a perfect Sunday afternoon!

    Saturday, April 23, 2005

    Half A Milestone

    Why only half? 'Cause six months isn't quite a full year. It can't really be called an anniversary, since it's missing the 'annual' part.

    Still, I'm surprised how quickly time has passed. It really does seem just a few weeks since I dug out the almost forgotten password of the Blogger account I started back in May '04, and started blogging for real 26 weeks ago.

    I haven't gone back and counted posts. I suppose I could paste everything into Word and do a word count, but I'm not that interested in knowing. I'm just glad I've stuck with something this long, and not gotten tired of it yet.

    If 6 months can generate this many friends and blogging buddies, I can't wait to see what the next 6 will bring. I peeled off my 'loner' armor for a weekend this spring and met all kinds of cool folks at the Texas Blogfest. I've got comment & email conversations going with a dozen people at any one time. I can honestly say that blogging has been the best thing for me in terms of a motivational exercise in many years. My long stint of unemployment back in '03 & '04 really cranked up the antisocial stay-hidden-in-my-house traits that I've always carried around. Going back to work last summer really helped some, but not nearly as much as actually doing something I liked on a daily (or almost daily) basis.

    So, thanks to all who drop by daily, even the thousands that are just here as a result of Google searches for 'red-assed baboon'. The content is about as good as it's gonna get, I'm afraid. I'm not going to morph into a partisan issues-screamer, or start catblogging every Friday. Nope, whatcha see is whatcha get. I'm just glad y'all are along for the ride.

    Thanks again for hangin' out with the Baboon Pirates!!

    I Notice They Didn't Have d100 As An Option!

    I can't argue with this result, though.

    I am a d10

    Take the quiz at

    Friday, April 22, 2005

    Fun With Beeturia

    Oh, you filthy bastards!!! Don't scare me like that!!!

    Had a tasty London Broil for dinner. A London Broil, for the vegans who might wander here (and they had better be few!) is a large top round steak marinated for a long time, then cooked and cut into thin slices for serving.

    It was most tasty, but there was an odd sweetness to the meat I couldn't place. I assumed it was sugar or honey added to the marinade. The beef was cooked to perfection, with a dark red interior common to cow that's been just barely warmed up. Moist & juicy, still dripping from the broiler pan, it looked for all the world like meat cooked just to the Rare stage. Turns out, it was cooked more than I thought.

    So, I get home after dinner, putter around the house as usual, get some websurfing done and then go to bed. I've been pounding down the Diet Rite soda all evening, so, as expected, I get out of bed about 3 a.m. to take care of a little plumbing problem.

    Imagine my horror when the product of said plumbing exercise is bright red in color! Immediately, thoughts of bladder and or kidney cancer spring to mind, along with a host of other ailments that all have a end result of having my johnson carved upon. Horrorshow!

    Now, I'm not a complete hypochondriac. I've pissed blood before after getting a good hard shot in the kidneys playing football, and once after getting kicked in the crotch back in grade school. Neither one of those had happened recently, so I fire up the iMac to see what I can find on the Internet about symptoms and possible causes of my apparent bodily malfunction.

    After a bit of research, I'm not seeing any warning signs for anything bad. In fact, aside from whizzing in U. of Alabama colors, I'm the picture of health. WTF???

    So, as a last resort, I Google up "red urine". Well, guess what! Turns out eating beets can make you pee red. The problem was, I hadn't eaten any beets. Hate the damned things. I kept thinking back to what I did eat... That juicy London Broil, dripping with red juice. Lots of red juice. No fucking way! Surely they wouldn't gaff their meat by soaking it in beet juice to give it a darker red color, would they?

    Yup, that's exactly what they did. I called the restaurant to confirm their cooking methods, and apparently I'm not the only one that's made an inquiry of this nature. As it happens, only 14% of the population is susceptible to Beeturia (the excretion of red beetroot pigment betalaine in urine). So, out of a group of let's say 100 people that eat at this steakhouse, only 10-12 people will typically order the London Broil. Of that smaller group, you can only expect 1 or 2 to ever show signs of beet-juice ingestion, so they use it to color the meat, add sweetness to the marinade, and rarely does anyone notice. Pretty sly!

    I wonder how many other places do this with their prime rib or other meats? I guess the pee test is the only way to find out, but it's kinda hard on your nerves!

    Thursday, April 21, 2005

    More Food Blogging

    I sure hope you've had lunch already!

    My my my! That was a tasty lunch. So good I gotta tell you all about it!

    I'm pretty sick of all the eating establishments in the downtown tunnels near my building. I'm either burnt out on them, the food really sucks, or the employees are buttheads. I'll make an exception for the new Thai place nearby, but I'm limiting myself to eating there no more than once a week, lest I burn out on that too. I'm not sure one *can* burn out on their Panang Beef, but I'm not willing to risk it!

    Rather than make another lunch out of microwave popcorn or my emergency stash of Starkist Herb & Garlic Tuna, I thought I'd venture up the north tunnel and see if the salad bar restaurant was crowded or not.

    Naturally, the rabbit food place was stuffed full as a tick, but the line was really short at the Cajun takeout place called Treebeards.

    It's weird, when you think about it. We've got a plethora of pseudo-Tolkien-related restaurants in Houston, and they've all been here for quite a while. I'd expect that sort of thing in Austin or San Francisco or NYC, but not here! Anyway, there's five locations of Treebeards, and a sandwich shop called the Hobbit Hole. I ought to open up Gollum's Sushi Shack and Beorn's Mead Hall just to add to the fun. Maybe even Farmer Giles' Spiral Sliced Ham, Maggot's Mushrooms, Shelob's Dried Meat Emporium, or Boromir's Shishkabob Grill. (ouch, that last one was was awful!!)

    I got the baked catfish with the shrimp etouffee topping, a side of broccoli with shallots and a side of mustard greens. I had skipped breakfast, as usual, so I added a small side of red beans and rice to round things out.

    Now, I'm sitting here trying not to nod off after that awesome feed. The catfish was perfect, and aside from the nasty piece of okra that invaded my food carton, the etouffee topping was good. The broccoli was a little limp, but the grilled shallots more than made up for that. The red beans & rice were perfectly acceptable, though I do like mine a bit spicier. They came with a length of Cajun sausage as big as my... well, it was sizable. Let's just leave it at that.

    The greens... oh, man, let me just stop here to mop up the saliva flow. I prefer collards or turnip greens, but these mustard greens were perfectly fine. The pot liquor (or pot likker, if you're a hick) was both plentiful and tasty in the styrofoam cup the greens were served in, and best of all were two sizable shrimpies that were tucked in all that green leafy goodness.

    All that, and a giant chunk off of a loaf of fresh french bread, real butter, and a free glass of iced tea came to $10 and change. Pricy for a lunch, but well worth it.

    Hmmmm... now I got to go get a big mess o' greens, and cook 'em up with a ham hock or two this weekend. Maybe some onions and garlic tossed in for more flavor, and some vinegar/pepper sauce to drip on top. Definitely some cornbread to throw in the bottom of the bowl to catch all the juice. I'll bet that pot liquor aroma will pull folks in from 10 miles out!


    My Life Is Over!

    Hot dogs may raise risk of pancreatic cancer

    Oh, my Ghod.... My life is over! My beloved tube steaks and red meats are gonna cause my pancreas to explode!

    The horror... the horror...

    But wait! What's this? I'M SAVED!!!!!

    Chili, broccoli help prevent cancer, studies show

    Looks like the chili on my chilidogs will cancel out the ill effects of the hot dog. Hell, I like broccoli, too! Mmmmm... chilidogs with cheesy broccoli chasers!

    I'm gonna live forever! At least until my aorta ruptures...

    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    Monkeys In Mesa (Nose-Spewage Alert!)

    Crime Dog is the latest culprit in the spew-Dr-Pepper-on-my-monitor contest. Apparently, some cop shop out in Arizona wants to put a monkey on their SWAT team. Not a cool, asskicking Baboonpirate kind of monkey, either...

    Here's the money quote (and pic) that had me laughing and spewing DP on my poor abused monitor:
    I'm not talking about a big ol' I-don't-take-no-shit-off-nobody silver back gorilla, or even a couple of those mean bastards with the bright red ass and fangs that scares the shit out of everybody. That would be kind of cool. Let me put it this way: If you were holed up in an apartment, all liquored up, wearing your wife-beater tee shirt and NASCAR ball cap, and threatening to dice up your girlfriend with a meat cleaver, and the SWAT team shows up and says:

    "Come on out, shit hook, or we're sending this really pissed off monkey with a red ass in there to get you. Your choice."

    This standoff would be over yesterday, baby. Over!

    Go read it all! And let's hear it for red-assed PO'ed monkeys with pirate hats & cutlasses!

    Missing Slush Fund Found

    Or, A Fool And His Money Are Soon Reunited

    Sigh. I understand now why I dropped General Accounting twice in college. I just have no sense for numbers. Double-entry bookkeeping might as well be Differential Equations for all the sense it makes to me.

    Let's take my checking account, for example. Now, I'm not so ignunt that I bounce checks, 'cause I grasped the concept of "Overdrafts cost lots of money" early on in the game. Still, my check register is a marvel of confusion, mostly due to my "slush fund" method of record keeping.

    I've never been one to balance my account to the penny every month. Can't see the point. As long as there's as much or more money actually in the account that there shows to be in the checkbook, I'm good to go. Usually, I check my bank statement for things that look out of place, but I'm a creature of habit, and any charges made outside my usual haunts are so few that I can keep track of them. Mostly.

    I ensure that there's more money in my account than I show in my check register by deliberately overstating the amount of purchase when I record the transaction, always rounding up to the nearest dollar. F'rinstance... a purchase of $35.22 gets entered into the register as $36 even. A slipup at the gas pump where I squeeze a bit too hard on the nozzle and get $24.03 just gets entered as $25. Over the months, those quarters, nickles, dimes and pennies add up to a tidy sum. After a year or so, I'll have a "slush fund" of anywhere from $75 to $200, just from rounding everything up.

    Sure, it's sloppy, but comparing the monthly statement to the online account record and my check register lets me know from month to month how much is really in there, and every so often I'll pull out $50 or $100 from the slush fund, go have fun with it, and leave a bit to start over again.

    What happens when your slush fund goes missing? Well, this is the downside of using Creative Accounting (a subsidiary of Tyco & Enron) to balance your books. Usually, it means that I've forgotten to mark down a large purchase in the register, which happens infrequently. This month was a doozy, though.

    I was showing a balance of $152, and Wells Fargo Online said "Nope, sorry, dude. You're down to $97 in your operating account." Damn, not only am I without a slush fund, I'm seriously out of whack on the balance.

    A little hunting in the statements, and some judicious use of a highlighter to check things off in the register turned up some interesting omissions. Two accounts of online pizza purchasing totaling $41 failed to get entered, as did a couple of checks and last weekend's oil change. Damn. Sloppy work! Bad Capitan! No whiskey for you!

    I've been spending like a drunken sailor this month, what with new babies popping out all over the place, wedding consolation gifts, and buying a new pistol. (on that note, did you know that .45 Long Colt ammo made by Black Hills Ammunition Co. costs $23 per 50 rounds???!?!! Dayummmm!!! I gots to start reloading!) Still, it's been a long time since I've slid into a Payday Friday with only $59 in the account. The good news is that my slush fund is back up to $38!

    I'm sure all the CPA's and bookkeepers out there are just pasty-white in terror at my inaccurate methods, but they work for me. Haven't bounced a check since 1991!

    2nd Amendment Conundrum

    How Much Is Too Much?

    I've been a pretty fierce 2nd Amendment supporter for a long, long time. I've been interested in firearms since I was a grade-schooler, and would often arrive home with a huge stack of library books on WWII armaments, and mowed plenty of lawns to raise money to pay off the overdue fees when I’d forget to return them on time. I blazed my way through high school speech & debate tourneys with my fiery (but *way* too emotional) persuasive speech on gun rights, winning no awards, but probably seriously alarming the judges. I can only imagine what horrible fate befalls the kids who've tried that topic in the post-Columbine era.

    I'll stand up to anyone on the issue, often seriously derailing some hoplophobe's arguments when I catch them pontificating with facts they've extracted from their posterior. Since I'm generally known at work and in my social circle as a pretty easygoing guy with a decent intellect, most anti-gunners are hesitant to try to stick the 'violent ignorant redneck' label on me, making it easier for me to sway opinions through facts & logic.

    I'm proud of the times I've taken non-shooters out to the range, and let them find out for themselves that those "eeeevil hanguns" are actually kind of fun, and not likely to jump off of the range bench and start randomly killing people all by themselves.

    The one debate on the 2nd Amendment that I got sorely whipped up on, though, was one where the other side was even more adamant on the right to keep and bear arms than I was.

    The conversation started off easily enough. Rockhauler & I were discussing the AWB sunset, and the attendant splash that had made in the blogosphere. I mentioned that I would be attending the upcoming gun show, looking specifically for high-capacity pistol magazines, and for lower prices on some "eeevil black guns". Naturally, the conversation turned to our common desire for belt-fed armaments (in my case, just 'cause I hate to reload after 20-30 rounds) and then onward to bigger weapons. Somewhere along the line we got around to discussing the magnificent 16" rifles that grace the (sadly) decommissioned Iowa Class battleships.

    Rockhauler wanted to own one. I scoffed a bit, asking "Where would you store it, or shoot it?" He replied that that was not the point. If he could swing the coin for the purchase, he ought to be able to own one, in full workable condition, not a dewat or disabled piece. After all, it’s not like he could conceal it. The ATF is gonna know exactly where it is at all times.

    I thought about it for a moment, but in spite of my rabid 2nd Amendment stance, just balked at the concept of a private citizen owning a firearm that threw 2700 lb projectiles 24 miles. Yeah, it’s one hell of a conversation piece, but there’s really no point to owning it. This is where my innate pragmatism interferes with my rationalization. I have no use whatsoever for gigantimous pistols like the Desert Eagle, or Smith & Wesson’s new .500 Magnum. I just can’t see the point in owning them. You’d be better off with a carbine or rifle if you need to launch a round that big, and you’ll get better velocity and accuracy as a bonus. I made this point known on rec.guns newsgroup, and got vilified for it. Apparently my lack of use for these handcannons translated into “I don’t think you should own them”. Nothing could be further from the truth. If carrying around a 5 pound revolver on a shoulder strap trips your hammer, be my guest. I’ll just quietly assume you’re compensating for some shortcoming.

    The 133-ton rifles off an Iowa Class battleship fall into the same category for me. While I don’t doubt there are those who could set up a firing range for them, I just don’t see the point. If you want a big bang, a truckload of dynamite or ANFO is much cheaper, and you don’t need 26 miles to the nearest fenceline to shoot it off. I digress... back to the discussion:

    “Nope,” I told Rockhauler, “there’s just no way you need to have that kind of firepower.” His answer? “Need’s got nothing to do with it,” to which I had to agree in principle. I don’t “need” my Ruger Vaquero. I already have a .45 ACP caliber 1911A1 clone that’s more efficient, accurate and cheaper to shoot than the .45 LC sixgun. Still, the Vaquero’s a hell of a lot of fun, and I’d be really pissed to have to give it up if someone decided I didn’t “need it”.

    Rockhauler then asked me, “OK, what’s your cutoff limit then? How about machine guns?”

    No problems there. If you can afford the price of the gun and the ammo for it, go for it. Ditto for .50 cal sniper rifles, Napoleon fieldpieces and even miniguns.

    I finally reached my comfort limit when he started into various types of explosives. I just have a hard time seeing where anyone outside of a standing army would need an RPG. Sure, they’d be a blast to shoot. I’d love to be able to go to an RPG range, take aim at an old Toyota and blow it to hell. OTOH, knowing one of my neighbors has a couple of RPGs stashed in his closet might give me pause. How do you have an argument with the guy over property lines and not fret that he’ll take out your entire kitchen one morning? What about the guy that wants to build a Civil War torpedo, with 200 lbs. of black powder crammed into a wooden barrel? Or the guy that scrapes off the radium from 3000 watch dials and makes a mini-nuke? What’s the limit gonna be?

    Now, the anti-gunners say the same thing about my handguns. I’m aware of this. I’m also aware that logically, I’m backing myself into a corner. After all, if my reservations about someone owning a rocket or grenade launcher are valid, then my wussy neighbor that pisses himself at the sight of an uncased shotgun ought to have a point too, right? I could fall back on the “legitimate sporting purpose” meme, but that’s a rocky path. Who gets to decide what’s legitimate? Certainly not the gun-grabbers, as long as I’m drawing breath!

    I don’t know that there’s an easy answer for this one. For the control freaks that want to see the entire world foam-padded and run by the “qualified”, they’re not gonna be happy until anything remotely dangerous (and by extension, fun!) are done away with completely. For the anarcho-libertarians, life is untolerably repressive if we can’t own several cases of hand grenades and have a 5” naval gun mounted on the back deck. We’re going to have to meet somewhere in the middle.

    From my POV, I think I’ll have to go with destructive devices as the cutoff point. There’s no doubt that there are plenty of well-balanced law-abiding citizens out there capable of owning such things, but the liability to the public just gets too great if a trunkload of 40 mm grenades and a launcher goes missing. I’d love to have a claymore mine pointed towards the skeezy apartment complex north of the house, in case the assholes who broke into my neighbor’s house try to jump the fence again, but I can’t guarantee that the kid across the street won’t set it off with the frequency from his radio-controlled car. There’s just a comfort limit that I have when it comes to high explosives in the hands of the public at large.

    Where’s your cutoff point, or is there one?

    Tuesday, April 19, 2005

    Damned Adware, Scumware and Spybots

    It took 3 hours, but I finally got my office PC cleared of the vicious little brutes that have been hijacking my processor time as they merrily mine data at my employer's expense.

    OK, let's assume I want to take on the role of Spy-ware or Ad-ware. I would wait until you tune into your favorite TV show, or call the pizza guy for a delivery, then I'd piggyback in on the signal and/or pizza box and set up shop in your living room. I'd set up a videocamera in your living room, and watch what your TV viewing habits are, and whether or not you pick your nose during commercials. I would tape your all phone calls so I can keep dibs on what you order over the phone. I kind of blend in with the wallpaper, so you don't really notice me, but you wonder who's leaving the refrigerator door open and eating all the Poptarts. Eventually, your sharp-eyed kid spots me, but I've chained myself to the stair rails, and refuse to leave.

    Now, if this happens in real life, you would (in Texas, anyway) be perfectly justified in taking a baseball bat to the intruder's kneecaps and then tossing him bodily out the door. If it was an evil pernicious type of Trojan that had intruded and was trying to set fire to your living room carpet, you could ventilate the bastard with your favorite shootin' iron, and then bury him somewhere out in the south 40.

    These malware and spybot authors keep getting away with their evil programming, and that pisses me off to no end. These data miners and tracking cookies are done for commercial reasons. Someone is compiling the data, and selling it to other companies. This means there's a financial transaction, and I highly doubt that these are done via manila envelopes full of cash and a midnight rendesvous at a shady saloon. Nope, these are B2B xfer of funds, which means tax records, which means a physical address, which means accountability. Why are these assholes not being pulled from their houses and tarred and feathered for all the grief they're causing?

    If I visit your website, I'm not gonna gripe if you put up a banner ad as a way to make revenue. I'm not even gonna quibble if you make a note of what browser and OS I'm using, or record my IP address. When your foul little bots self-install on my machine, though, and cause some POS search engine page to be installed as my default home page on every launch of IE, that's going too far. Sending little pop-up ads I can live with, but redirecting me to porn sites when the link looks like a legitimate safe-for-work link is again crossing the line.

    Hmmmm... I wonder if any of the old Japanese internment camps are still available. If not, I'll be OK with a huge hole in the ground. I'd like to see a nationwide sweep done, and all spammers, adware authors and the related shitbags consigned to a deep dark pit for a few decades, while firefighting planes with tanks full of pig shit make low-level drops every hour or so.

    Assholes. I finally found someone I despise more than telemarketers and ambulance-chasing attorneys.

    Nose Spew Alert

    I'm wiping little drops of Diet Dr Pepper from my monitor due to this gem from Laurence at IFOC.
    ROMAN: Pope Benedict XVI
    ORDINAL: Pope Benedict the Sixteenth
    DECIMAL: Pope Benedict 16
    HEXADECIMAL: Pope Benedict 10
    BINARY: Pope Benedict 00010000

    Monday, April 18, 2005

    How Many Is Too Many? More BlogAngst.

    From The Master Of Angst & Anxiety.

    I'm just looking at my blogroll, and wondering how many of the little graphics tags I'm gonna have to make before I cause some poor schmuck's 56k modem to crap out, 'cause it has to download 200k of linky-lovin' before a word of actual content shows up.

    I like my little tags. Most folks do a text-based blogroll, but I wanted to be unique. Well, maybe not unique, but different from most of the BlogHorde. This guy, one of the first to link me, had nice things to say about it. It's getting longer and longer, though. Sooner or later, it'll get to be a problem.

    I've got a lot of people on the blogroll that I read every day without fail. I've got quite a few reciprocal links. If someone found my stuff good enough that they want to link me, the least I can do is return the favor. There's a list of folks from the Texas Blogfest that I felt I had to put up, though it's become annoyingly obvious that some of them do not share that feeling. Feh. Sic friat crustulum. I always attach too much importance to things that are mere bagatelles to others. That's my problem, not theirs.

    I'm getting blog-bound, though. Too many to comfortably read in one day, and still get stuff done. I know I could increase my blogintake by setting up an RSS subscription feed, but I kinda like the way I'm doing it now. Some blogs I only get to once in a great while, though. I won't say who, I don't wanna trod on any egos. Other blogs are growing to be less palatable as time moves on, and a few are hardly posting enough to justify a link, IMHO.

    I'm thinking about dropping the tags from here on out, and moving to a text-based blogroll for any new additions. I could do one of the automated Blogrolling setups, but I kinda like the idea that someone likes my drivel enough to go into the template and hand-tweak the code. Sure, it's a PITA to do, which is why I only update every 14 days or so, but it's a sign that (for a while, anyway) they like you! They really like you!

    OK, the Sally Field moment is past.

    I'm also debating whether or not to shitcan the Booze Reviews. I haven't done one in weeks, they don't pull a lot of hits, and I honestly don't drink that much anymore. Plus, there's a buddy of mine who's in the middle of either jumping on or off the wagon from day to day, and it seems a bit crass to flaunt my own booze intake.

    This ain't no democracy. What the Capitan decides is what flies, but I'm interested in what the 3 or 4 regular visitors have to say.

    I know, you're not a talkative bunch, but come out from behind the Lurking Blanket, and drop me a line. You know who you are... You're here every day! The visitors from:,,, 31 flavors of, even the poor bastard on the last remaining computer hooked up to Let me hear from you, at least once! Oh, yeah... the guy from I know who ya are, so there's just no excuse! ;-)

    Does the graphic links cause long load times? Does anyone give a rat's ass about Booze Reviews? How many links is too many links, particularly when people won't reciprocate unless you smooch some posterior?

    This enquiring mind wants to know...

    El Capitan's New Office

    Well, amazingly enough, the movers managed to get my new office laid out exactly as I requested, and other than a huge pile of boxes that'll need to get emptied in a somewhat timely manner, the only thing I relly need to do is re-hang my cork boards and get a longer phone cord & network cable. Right now, my phone's about 5 feet away sitting on a chair, and I need to get a 20' network cable so I can route it behind me instead of draping it across my desk and have it running across the floor to the wall jack. $10 says I trip on it before the end of the day.

    I've just about got too many things to do in the next 3 weeks. I'd like to say I'd reduce the amount of blogging I do to keep up with it, but I don't blog enough as it is, and if I'm not procrastinating, I'm not happy. So, I'll do the usual slide into home plate just as the ball hits the catcher's glove. I get called 'safe' more often than not.

    Dunno if I'll take pictures of the new digs. I'm already straying too far from anonymity as it is. Still, it's a nice office, once you accept the fact that there's no money to be had in the budget for new furniture. I think the two guest chairs I have here are relics from the Eisenhower administration.

    Heh. One more funny bit... I really scored in terms of location. Right across the hall from the men's bathroom, 20 feet from the breakroom, 20 feet from the elevators. Great spot! Or so I thought...

    Unfortunately, the traffic in & out the security door is driving me nuts, someone's cooking something in the breakroom that smells like Death warmed over, and we're missing the door to the bathroom.

    Oh well. Life could be much worse! I could be asking you if you wanted fries with that burger...

    Sunday, April 17, 2005

    My Weekends Are Too Damn Short

    I finally get comfortable, and it's time to go back to work. Damn.

    Well, at least I got a new batch of Sammy photos in my email Inbox, so I can cause your blood sugar levels to soar while you look at my excessively sweet little nephew.

    Saturday, April 16, 2005

    Broadband Speed

    I'm not sure whether to believe this or not...

    I went to one of those online broadband speed tester sites, and let it run. According to the site, I'm getting 4093 kilobits per second downstream, and uploads of 354 kbps. I did the test near 8 pm, when people are likely to be online, so it should be a fair representation of the shared load on the cable line.

    Well, whether it's accurate or not, I'm still gonna dig out my old 14.4 modem, and hit it with a hammer out of sheer spite for all the downloading I did at prehistoric speeds.

    After, of course, I set it next to the cable modem so it'll get a good case of baudrate envy before I kill it. Adding insult to injury is a skill worth practicing!

    RIP Manny Moe & Jack

    I never thought it would be hard to find an auto parts store...

    We've got two in the neighborhood, an O'Reilly's and an AutoZone, but both are just incredibly skeezy, populated with the type of clientele that spend a lot of time in auto parts stores out of necessity, not just 'cause they need a new bottle of Turtle Wax or a set of wiper blades. Nothing against such folks, I used to be one myself back when I bought cars for $500 and drove them until they exploded.

    Nevertheless, I've grown a bit accustomed to shopping in places where there's not engine grease ground into the front counter, and the floor gets acquainted with a broom more than once a year.

    I just needed 4 sets of lugnuts, so I could swap out the old rust-colored ones with some shiny chromed ones so that the next time I lose one by the side of the road, I don't spend lots of pointless time hunting for it. So, off to the Pep Boys down the highway. Except that it's not there anymore. Shuttered up and moved on. Nor was the one that I just *knew* was on Westheimer Rd. I think they've all disappeared.

    Well, that's what the web is for, finding things. Of course, I'm doing this after the driving around, not before, like the true genius I am...

    Jeebus! The nearest one's like 15 miles away. Pep Boys, you suck.

    Well, looks like I keep my nasty nuts for a while longer.

    Friday, April 15, 2005

    Star Wars: Revelations

    Wow! Talk about a labor of love! A 45 minute all-volunteer fan film, and the FX looks great!

    I was a huge fan of the 'Troops' parody done a few years back. I recall reading about dozens of other fan-produced films, ranging in quality from crappy to wondrous, depending on the tech skill and/or budget available to the filmmakers. Turns out they're all hosted here.

    This one, though, blows me away. The acting skill about what you would expect from a group of amateurs, but it's still worth a look.

    Go watch the preview, and download the whole 45 minute film starting tomorrow!

    Heh. And I thought I was a hopeless sci-fi geek...

    3rd Annual Buy A Gun Day - I Bought One!

    Well, I teased you about it, and now the day of the Big Reveal is here!

    And here it is! A Ruger Vaquero single-action revolver in .45 Long Colt with a 4 & 5/8" barrel.

    I've since shitcanned the ugly fake ivory grips shown, and put on the walnut grips from my Ruger Blackhawk.

    For the 3rd Annual Buy A Gun Day, I originally started out shopping for a .22 autoloading pistol. I had so much fun with Little Bee Boy's Smith & Wesson 422 at the Texas Blogfest Shootout that I realized my arsenal was seriously in need of a .22 LR handgun.

    While I really really like the Ruger Bearcat (a gun that falls into the "It's so CUTE!" category), and was sorely tempted by the Ruger Single Six, which has an extra cylinder so you can shoot .22 Magnum in addition to .22 LR, an autoloader is a lot easier to load & unload compared to a single action. It's easier to clean, too, with one chamber instead of six.

    So, off I went, on my usual jaunts through pawn shops, gun stores, and that shady-lookin' guy on the corner downtown. I'm a shooter, not a collector looking for resale value, so while a shiny new NRA 99% finish is nice to find on a bargain, I'm more interested in the mechanical condition. That lets me be a little more flexible in where I go gun shopping.

    I didn't find a lot that I liked. I was hoping to stumble across a Walther P22 for less than $250, but outside a gun show, that was a long shot. I did find a couple of decent S&W 22A autoloaders at a pawn shop, but they both had a royal blue synthetic stock, and were priced way above market value at $225 each. They were dirty as hell, too. I can do ugly & cheap, ugly & dirty, but a mix of Ugly, dirty, and pricy just doesn't wash.

    I'm about to just go pay retail at Carter's Country for a Ruger Mk III when I find a local guy selling the Vaquero for $200. The problem is, I see the ad at 8 a.m., and I'm leaving to go to Austin at 9! I email him and let him know I'll pay cash on the spot, and please give me a call. We trade emails and calls, and I met him last Sunday on my return from Austin and bought the gun.

    So, for those of you gun-savvy folks wondering "OK, for $200, what's wrong with it?", you are correct in your suspicions.

    Mechanically, the gun is perfect. Excellent bore, tight lockup, immaculately clean. Aside from the hideous grips that needed to be immediately replaced, the gun's ready to shoot 50,000 rounds.

    Cosmetically? Hooo boy... there's the problem! Our genius previous owner apparently got some bug up his ass, and decided to alter the look of the revolver. He dismounted everything from the frame, except perhaps the barrel. Then, using a buffing wheel, he removed every bit of the case-hardened coloring from the frame. I'm kinda glad I didn't have any ammo with me. The poor soul needed to be put out of his misery for abusing a revolver like that. It doesn't look too awful until you get right up close, and you can then see the patterns that were too deep to buff out. The barrel and grip frame are still deeply blued, with just a hint of holster wear, and there's one small ding in the bluing underneath the barrel next to the ejector housing.

    I'm gonna drop it off at a local gunsmith to have the cylinder gap measured and the revolver timed. I have no way of knowing if he dismounted the barrel or monkeyed with the timing. I know he's had some trigger work done, 'cause it breaks crisply without a hint of creep. I might also have a couple of coils cut off the mainspring, to lighten the hammer pull a bit.

    I've found a company that will re-case harden the frame, but it'll cost me $175. Add that to the amount paid, and I might as well have bought a new one. Nope, gonna just pump a lot of ammo through my two-tone blue & silver Vaquero, and have a blast doing it!

    I can't wait for Buy A Gun Day #4!

    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    More Job Blogging

    Why do I keep doing this to myself?

    I'm still in lunch-digesting mode, so even though I'm supposed to wait 30 minutes before jumping back in the blogwaters, I'm gonna risk a nasty cramp to bring you, the 4 or 5 devoted readers, the content you deserve!


    OK! Thank ya! Thank ya ver'much!

    Last night was one of the Big Two events of the spring I'm involved in that have been keeping me so busy lately. I'm still doing my best to stay semi-anonymous, so in spite of my repeated self-destructive job-blogging habits, I won't say exactly what or where the event was. I can say it involved months of planning, scheduling, grunt-work, pleading, bitching, hair-tearing, and moments of stark terror. OK, not really terror, just gobs of Maalox Moments that usually accompany event planning.

    We had a good turnout:

    (You're not seeing the huge standing-room only crowd at the rear corner by the entrance. We tried to point them towards the chairs, but were largely unsuccessful)

    I think we pulled it off rather handily. We even got a visit from The Man. Here's The Man:

    (Note, in your town, he might look a bit different. The Man is tricky that way... He's pleased to meet you! Hope you got his name!)

    Well, 3 weeks until the next one of the Big Two, then hopefully it's a slow downhill coast through the summer.

    Back to the packing!

    I'm Taking A Break...

    ...'cause I'm just sick of packing boxes!

    Hey, didja know that when you spend hours packing files into boxes, all the contact between your skin and the paper and cardboard makes all the natural oils leach out of your hands & fingers? That way, not only do your hands look like mummified monkey paws, when your skin gets nice & dry, every little snag rips your cuticles or cuts a knuckle crease, and you don't feel it until you look down and see blood dripping on the files!

    So, as you can tell, I'm having just a peach of a day, here. It's about 85% done, but as anyone who has moved know, the last little bit is the absolute worst. Plus, unlike a home move where you can leave loaded boxes mouldering away in the garage for months, here you need to know where every thing is, in case you have to refer back to it should you get a request. It's not so bad for me, but the poor contracts folks are just about phuct.

    I'm about to walk down to my boss's office and make a bet that Telecom & IT screw up the order, and I'll end up having to move my desk nearer to the ethernet/phone jack, 'cause they're not going to have a long enough cable set available. We asked them 2 months ago for 30 foot cords, and they have yet to deliver. Hmmmph. If I had a crimp tool, I'd just go get a spool of Cat5 and some RJ45 connectors and make my own. I suppose I could always just pass on the connectors and hardwire right into the wall, but that'd probably piss someone off.

    OK, break's over... Back to the packing!

    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    Another Movie Review

    I went and saw Sahara last night. I'm going to give a two-part movie review. The first is for those who have never read any book by Clive Cussler, and are ignorant of the literary characters of Dirk Pitt, Al Giordino, James Sandecker, et al. The second review is for those that have, obviously.

    First off, I liked the movie. It was mindless adventure fun in the same vein as Die Hard, Romancing The Stone, National Treasure and similar flicks.

    Matthew McConaughey and Steve Zahn are completely believable as a couple of treasure hunters who have known each other for years. The dialogue was very similar in nature to the banter that my friends and I trade back and forth, and hence very authentic, IMHO. It seemed natural, not scripted.

    Penelope Cruz is still sexy/cute as ever, and for some reason gets more so when she's covered with dirt. Maybe I have a sand fetish that I didn't know about. I hope not. Sex on the beach is only a good drink, not a good idea. Ouch.

    William H. Macy is pretty good as Admiral Sandecker, though not my first choice for who should have had the role. There are a few other recognizable characters here & there, notably Delroy Lindo and Lambert Wilson (the Merovingian from Matrix 2 & 3).

    The overall plot has believability stretched so thin at times as to be beyond transparent, but this is a popcorn-muncher of a action/adventure flick, so no points lost there. There's humor added in appropriate spots, which serves to lighten the tone without distracting from the story.

    The actions sequences are exciting, the villains are sufficiently villainous, the plot moves quickly, and doesn't move too deeply into "preachy" mode, as is often the case when a director wants to make political points. (Tears Of The Sun pops into mind here as an example)

    The soundtrack was fantastic, a great mix of '70s classic rock and modern North African pop music. I'd definitely consider purchasing it.

    Overall, I was satisfied with the film. For people who have never read Cussler, you'll enjoy it.

    Now, for the Cussler/Pitt fans... (Full disclosure: I own just about every Cussler work of fiction and nonfiction in hardcover edition, and I buy them at retail the 1st day available. You might say I'm a fan...)

    Matthew McConaughey and Steve Zahn go way beyond "wrong" as people to play Dirk Pitt & Al Giordino. It is a travesty to see Pitt played by a bongo-playing, dope-smoking Austin hippie. Pitt is a no-nonsense kind of guy, with a dry humor that is tinged with cruelty. He has a merciless edge that McConaughey could never hope to approach. Pitt would not shoot a guy's hand with a speargun to make him drop a gun, he'd put it through the guy's eye. It irked me (as a Cussler fan) to hear Dirk Pitt say "It'd be a lot cooler if..." which immediately brought to mind his character Wooderson from Dazed & Confused.

    Zahn does well as a slacker-type sidekick, but he's no Giordino. Too young, for one, and he plays him as a goof, which Giordino never is.

    William H. Macy is OK as Sandecker, but I weep that Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian, 'Mr. Hand' from Fast Times at Ridgemont High) was not offered the role during his lifetime. He would have been perfect.

    They have combined Rudi Gunn and Hiram Yeager into one character that takes the worst qualities of the pair. Not a good sign, and definitely unfair to the character of Rudi Gunn.

    Now, what they did right was stick (mostly) to the basic plot of the book. They included the following items from the book: the ironclad, the Calliope, the Massarde facility, the train into the facility, the Avions-Voisin car, Kitty Mannock's plane, the "plague", Yves Massarde and Zateb Kazim.

    They left out a lot... The whole Lincoln thing, the prison, the fight at the fort, the US special forces, the fact that the Calliope is a gunboat, and numerous other bits and pieces. They included a group of Tuaregs from out of nowhere as a plot-assist device, but that actually worked out OK.

    As a true Cussler fan, you'll join me in screaming "ANATHEMA!!!", but I'll bet, also as a true Cussler fan, you'll kinda dig seeing a Cussler film that's SO much better than the godawful 'Raise The Titanic'.

    Give it a watch, just to say you saw it. They left open the possibility of making another one in this film, and though Cussler himself is opposed, I am not.

    I'm Such A Tease...

    Well, Buy A Gun Day is nearly upon us...

    I've mentioned that a surprise might be offered up. Like last year's purchase of the 1911A1 .45 pistol, I can't resist laying down a little tease in preparation for Friday's unveiling!

    So, here's a tidbit for your puzzling pleasure. First one that gets it right (and that I have not already told about it, natch!) gets first dibs on shooting it at the next Texas Blogger's Shoot-Em-Up! We're looking for maker, model, and caliber!

    As to why I made the purchase early as opposed to waiting until Friday, sometimes a deal comes around that has to be jumped on, so jump I did.

    Full report on Friday!

    Tuesday, April 12, 2005

    Oh, No!! More Stuff About Me??!?!!?

    I'm kinda pressed for time this week. I've got about 47 irons in the fire, and to top it all off, I've got to pack my office and prepare to move to another floor in the building by Friday at 3pm.

    So.... not a lot of original content this week. Usually I can take a break, squeeze out from under the thumb of The Man, and post during lunch. Lunch this week is mostly Diet Dr Pepper out of the vending machine. So, as I suffer, so will the blogging, unfortunately.

    I'll shamelessly steal this blogidea from Dash of Boiling Point, who shamelessly stole it from his friend Tanker at Mostly Cajun. What the hell. It ain't plagiarism if you cite your sources...

    Here we go!

    What time is it? 3:45 on a Tuesday afternoon. I'm on lunch break, and conforming to the Electronic Communications Acceptable Use policy, so quit whining about wasted profits!

    Name as it appears on birth certificate? Nope, Anonymoblogging is the way we play the game.

    Piercing? Left ear lobe. Did it myself when I was 18 with a Bic lighter-sterilized safety pin, and a couple of ice cubes.

    Eye color? Blue. Ranges from gray-blue to bright blue depending on mood and what color I'm wearing.

    Place of birth? Dallas, TX

    Favorite food? Chili dogs.

    Ever been to Africa? Nope, though I've always been attracted to the Dark Continent. I applied for work on a freighter hauling peanuts and mineral ores from the Ghana/Ivory Coast region when I was 18. Needless to say, I didn't get the job. In 1995 I explored the possibility of spending a summer running khat into Somalia from Ethiopia, but our principal investor/pilot got cold feet and pulled out of the deal. I still say we could've made serious coin, and come home with a planeload of AK-47s to boot. I maintain a fervent hope that Robert Mugabe will get attacked by rabid baboons and have his entrails scattered all over Zimbabwe, in preparation for the re-establishment of Rhodesia. The place ain't been the same since they threw out Ian Smith.

    Favorite clothing? Linen slacks and cotton shirts. I'm embarassed to admit it, but after getting used to formal business dress at work, I feel odd not wearing a button-down shirt and tie when I'm out in public.

    Ever been toilet papering? Many, many times. Never got caught either.

    Have you ever had a speeding ticket? Three in my driving career. Don't ask how many tickets I've had for expired tags, though.

    Been in a car accident? Yes. Been rear-ended twice, and tapped a lady's bumper once, knocking off a bit of plastic trim. No injuries, though.

    Favorite day of the week I've always kinda dug Fridays.

    Favorite restaurant? Tough to make this call without breaking it down by cuisine. Though it is a chain, I'm quite happy eating at Texas Land & Cattle as often as I can afford it. I'ma huge fan of their smoked sirloin steak and baked sweet potato with cinnamon-butter.

    Favorite flower? Bluebonnets.

    Favorite sport to watch? I watch three, and only three. The Superbowl, the Kentucky Derby, and the Indy 500.

    Favorite drink? Iced tea. I consume it by the half-gallon.

    Favorite fast food restaurant? Sonic Drive-In.

    What color is your bedroom carpet? Grey and ground-in cat-hair color.

    How many times did you fail your driver’s test? Passed it the first time.

    Favorite perfume? Hoppe's #9

    What do you do most often when you are bored? Read. Websurf. Eat. Play yet another game of Age of Empires.

    Bedtime? Between midnight and 1 a.m., most nights.

    What is your favorite color? Dark green.

    How many tattoos do you have? Three. See 100 Things About Me for more details.

    Ever run out of gas? Yes, but always within spitting distance of a gas station. Usually because I'm heading there to fill up when I run out.

    What is the last book you read? 'The Confusion' by Neal Stephenson. Vol. II in Stephenson's Baroque Cycle.
    Can't speak highly enough of his work. Fantastic stuff for them folks that's got the gumption to stick with it.

    Monday, April 11, 2005

    Hitchhiker's Guide To Movies That Suck

    Well, I could have told you it was going to suck. What I failed to realize was the high degree of Transgalactic Suckularity that would be applied to the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy movie.

    Sigh. I loathed the BBC TV version of HHGTTG, mostly due to the cheesy/low rent FX that are the hallmark of a government-run venture. The radio show was OK, but for me, nothing beat just picking up my old dog-eared copies of Hitchhiker's Guide and reading a few chapters. I said copies, 'cause I was always loaning it out, and never getting it back. I finally bought two copies, and keep one wrapped in a towel (so I'll know where my towel is) under the bed, and I refuse to loan out the other.

    Oh, well. One less movie to go see this summer. Up yours, Disney! Stick with animation.

    I'd thank Laurence of IFOC for the link, but I'm kinda sorry I clicked it now.

    Sunday, April 10, 2005

    Baby Evaluation Report

    Well, I have finished my inspection tour to evaluate the progeny of my female-type sibling, and I have determined that she can indeed produce the most wonderful snuggly little babies I've ever seen.

    You, of course, will agree!

    Little Sammy was a joy to hold, mostly because he didn't yak on my new shirt, nor did he excrete from the other end all over my slacks. He didn't even cry, just made those baby faces where they skrinch up their face, then yawn real big, then go back to sleep.

    I got to see Sammy's first impression of a water fountain, when during a diaper change he launched an impressive column of pee high over his shoulder to piddle on his Mom & Dad's bed. I was pretty amazed he got that much velocity through the little gizmo they've got on his tiny little hoo-hah to help the circumcision wound heal.

    Heh. Speaking of tiny little hoo-hahs, my brother-in-law was feeling very superior. Apparently the only circumcision-healing gizmo that would fit properly on Sammy's hoo-hah was the largest size they had available. I started to tell him about the wound swelling factoring into the sizing, but he seemed so proud, I just let the matter drop. Suffice to say, Sammy's hung, well, like a baby, as far as I can tell.

    Sammy's still a bit fussy about taking to the breast for feeding, which is an ego-hammer for my sister, especially when her husband shows up with the formula bottle and Sammy shuts up and starts chowing down. They'll get it worked out, though.

    We took Sammy on his second car ride, and all the excitement must have wore him out. He slept almost 4 hours straight, giving Mom & Dad some much needed rest.

    Sammy & I had a long chat where we discussed matters of great importance. For example, he's free to root for the Rangers or the Astros, but the Yankees and the Braves are Evil Incarnate. He now knows not to draw to an inside straight, and to never bet the rent money on a pair of jacks. We talked about how to keep the weather gauge on an enemy ship, and that all good pirates use Macs and listen to Jimmy Buffett.

    He seemed to take the advice well, though he did poke his tongue out at me a couple of times and blew some spit bubbles. That and a couple of tummy gurgles were all he contributed to the conversation.

    Grandma hijacked the digital camera on her way out to Austin before I got anything downloaded, so no pics of me & the SammyBaby for a few days.

    Oh, my. I just realized I've joined the BabyBloggers. Eeeek. Next I'll be doing knittingblogging. Well, Buy A Gun Day is fast approaching. There just might be a surprise to counteract all the baby stuff!!

    Saturday, April 09, 2005

    Off To Austin!

    Well, Kyle, TX is actually where I'm going, but few people know where that is.

    Gonna go see the new nephew, and take him out to a titty bar or something equally tasteless. You can never train bad behavior into them at too young an age. After that, we'll go to a tractor pull or swamp buggy racing. My sister shouldn't have a problem with me carousing around town with a 5 day old baby, should she?

    I wanted to find a pair of baby-sized Groucho glasses so we could both wear a pair for a funny picture, but not only could I not find any, my sister put the kibosh on the idea until Sammy's a bit older. OK, Mom, but I'm still gonna get us matching gorilla suits for Xmas.

    See y'all in a day or so. I'll post pics when I return.

    El Capitan's No-Good Horrible Very Bad Day

    Some days, you get the bear. Some days, the bear gnaws half your ass off.

    So, while I spray Bactine on the holes in my posterior, I'll sum up.

    I went to a public forum yesteday where people were supposed to provide testimony to a Fed. agency on a certain Federal law, and how it has affected their lives for good or ill. I was immediately reminded of how petty, venal and whiny most of humanity is when 80% of testimony consisted of either people asking for handouts, crying because the guv'mint won't provide for 100% of their needs from cradle to grave, or else they used the opportunity to shamelessly plug their business. The best (or worst) example was the asshole who sat on the front row yammering into his cellphone, in between his frequent whines that no one would give him the necessary funding so that he could run for Mayor.

    Compounding the misery was the bush-league organization running the event. When getting valid testimonials is the primary purpose of the event, having all your staff disappear and not be available for moderation and crowd control means the mob quickly overwhelmed the facilitator, and quite a few people left in disgust after 4 or 5 professional agitators took over the event. The staff actually departed the event with 3 hours still left to go, leaving no one to maintain control over the wireless microphones, except the facilitator who was behind the table up front.

    I thought I would be there all day, but it kind of disintegrated into chaos about 3 pm, and broke up shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, I now had to go into the office since I had 3 hours left on the clock, and I'm still on probationary status in my first year. This time next year, you better believe I'll skip out the last three hours!

    So I drive as slowly as possible into downtown. Parking's gonna suck. The lot next to the building charges $16.50 for 90+ minutes. Fuck that. The underground garage will involve a long hike, and it's $9 for 2 hours. Damn. I can do better. I finally find an open parking meter. They only allow 2 hours max at 25 cents per 10 minutes, but I got a pocketful of quarters, and it's now 3:45 pm. No problemo.

    I pull up to the meter, see the sign that allows parking from 7a-6p unless otherwise marked. Ok, good to go. I see a "No Parking" Sticker on the pole, but it says 7a-9a. We're still OK!

    So, get out of the Caddy, pump in $3 worth of quarters, and I'm off. I return with 10 minutes to spare on the meter, but wait! There's a little white envelope tucked under my windshield wiper! WTF?!?!?

    Sho 'nuff, El Cap's got a parking ticket. It seems that if you were to look all around the meter pole, you would see a very small sticker saying "NO PARKING 4p-6p TOW AWAY ZONE". That sticker is not visible from your car when you pull up to the meter, and when you're out of your car, it's so far down on the pole you don't notice it when you're feeding the meter. Bastards. Well, at least they didn't tow the Caddy.

    Sigh. $65 ticket. Now, $16.50 for 90 minutes seems like a pretty damned good bargain.

    Thursday, April 07, 2005

    Baby Pics! We Have Baby Pics!

    I've probably already spammed your email box with this, but I'm just all atwitter with being an uncle, so...


    That is all!

    Pookie Cat sez: "Babies. Feh. Smell like milk, but taste like baby wipes. Bleah."

    From The Texas Department Of Really Bad Ideas

    The Texas Legislature has long been known for the quality and quantity of its elected nitwits. In fact, when the TX Lege is in session, the only way to get a higher dose of nitwittery is to go to Washington D.C. for a Congressional gathering.

    One prime example of a Grade AA nitwit is this piece of armadillo dung, Rep. Larry "Hermano Grande" Phillips of Sherman/Denison. Rep Phillips wants to put transponders in all our cars. He says it's to make sure we all have valid insurance. Yeah, right, Larry. Got a bridge you want to sell me, as well? The device would transmit information like the vehicle’s VIN, insurance policy number, and license plate number, and the car’s owner would be mailed a $250 ticket if their insurance was found to be expired.

    Now, I'm a big fan of people carrying liability insurance. I've been hit twice by uninsured motorists, and it's a pain in the ass to get your car fixed on the proceeds from selling their blood, gold fillings, jewelry and eyeglasses after you've beaten the shit out of them. That's not what this bill is about, though.

    Aside from the jack-up of insurance premiums to pay for this boondoggle (if it passes), here's some other scenarios to keep in mind.

    These transponders will need base stations scattered around, much like cell phone towers. They need to provide coverage over most TX roads, otherwise uninsured folks will avoid the transponder checkpoints.

    So, match up cellphone-like coverage area, and GPS technology, and what do you get? The Man is now watching you wherever you drive.

    So, didja tell your insurance co. that you only drive 3 miles to work, but it's really 30? Pony up more cash, Jack. They're on to you!

    Park in the dodgy section of town while at the baseball game? Whoops! That's unacceptable risk for theft and vandalism! Your rates just jumped!

    Exceed the speed limit a bit driving around town? Uh oh... There goes your 'Safe Driver' discount! GPS knows all, & sees all!

    Nah, this is another suckup to the Insurance lobby, pure & simple.

    Y'know, most times when our lawmakers go to felch on the insurance industry they at least have the good sense to disguise their actions a bit. In this case, Rep. Phillips is in prime anus-polishing mode, and his tongue is making a high-pitched hum as it speeds around the posterior of Big Insurance. One can probably assume Rep. Phillips is getting a world-class reacharound, too.

    Via Engadget

    Wednesday, April 06, 2005

    Blogroll Updates

    Just a heads up, since I'm so horribly lazy about blogroll maintenance.

    Added: Alan K. Henderson's blog - I'm way overdue on adding him to the the TX Blogfest list.

    Savannah Sam Formerly known as Poor White Trash. This is Samantha, who tells very good tales, and is very much Acidman's daughter, so be nice, or he'll mop up the mess after she gets done with you.

    Head's Bunker Blog. Any Texan that can build an AK-74 from the ground up is worthy of mucho respect!

    That's all for today. Now, back to the self-mortification and auto-flogging.

    When You Fuck Up, Make Sure It's Spectacular!

    That way, no one will ever forget it.

    I am about to hurl on this keyboard. I'd try to go to the john, but I'm so weak-kneed from self-loathing, I don't know if I can make it.

    I just took a look at the wedding invite for this weekend, to make sure I had the time right so I could arrive in plenty of time. See, at the wedding of the Maid of Honor for this weekend's wedding, I arrived just in time for her to walk down the aisle. Bad form on my part, and one I didn't care to repeat.

    So, I pull out the invite. OK, it's out in Hockley, Tx, so about 30 min travel time. 6 p.m. kickoff, so a 3:30 call time gets me cleaned up, spiffed up, time to go get the gift, and out there with time to spare.

    Nice day for a wedding, a Saturday. A day that will be their anniversary for years and years. Need to mark that down. April 2nd.


    Ahhh, the glorious feeling, knowing you've fucked it up REAL GOOD! No way to fix this one. Just plain carelessness and a profound lack of wall calendars. Cap flakes out again. I've gone the last 2 months thinking it was on April 9th.

    God, I am so disgusted with myself right now. Now I understand why monks wore hair shirts and whipped themselves.

    Grrrrrr.... (flog flog flog flog flog)

    Tuesday, April 05, 2005

    El Capitan Visits South Park!

    Via Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, and Cowboy Blob at Cowboy Blob's Saloon, we find the way cool South Park Character Generator!

    Behold... El Capitan of Baboon Pirates as a South Park Pirate!

    Go here and play, then submit your work to Beth's Gallery!

    BabyWatch: The Finale!

    A New Addition To The Family!

    I am pleased to announce that as of 1:45 pm this afternoon, my sister delivered a healthy baby boy!

    Samuel Allen S-- (anonymous blogging, sorry!) weighed 8 lbs 1 oz, with a full head of brown hair, and is apparently good at crying already. He also managed to avoid the Red Wrinkly Baby Syndrome.

    My sister is doing fine, as is my Mom, who I thought would be passed out in a puddle of joy right now.

    Uncross those fingers, y'all, and pat yourselves on the back! The good wishes came through!

    Pictures posted as soon as I get 'em!

    BabyWatch II - Parentis Dizzinus

    Just got a breathless call from Mom, she's getting caught up in all the drama.

    They got my sister in the stirrups, decided to administer some kind of go-juice to kickstart the baby-ejecting process. Apparently it worked too well, and they had to inject some stop-juice to keep the kid from dancing the frug in the confines of the womb. It was also making my sister wiggle like a possum strapped in paint mixer.

    Between the go & the stop, the Chief Baby-cotcher decided it would probably be best if they carved a hole up top and pulled the kid out through the roof. It appears to be a sizable sprog, and since it hasn't fully assumed the head-down position, they're afraid by the time it does the turn on its own, it'll be too big to come out the regular way. There's also some worry about placenta previa, so they're thinking the sooner they get the munchkin out, the better for all involved.

    So, looks like my folks will see Grandkid the First emerge this afternoon, barring any more drama.

    I'm sorry I'm not there to see the looks on my parent's faces. I imagine they'll have some sore cheek muscles from all the grinning, and red eyes from all the tears. They've been waiting for this moment for 37 years!

    I, on the other hand, can't wait to start buying the kid all kinds of noisy toys. Oh, and a Lifetime NRA membership. Maybe a subscription to Playboy. Ooo! And a big slobbery dog! Oh, wait, they got one of those already...

    Ode To A Temptress

    Once waxy paper covered your lean flanks,
    in days long past when disco rattled and thumped,
    now you are sheathed in silvery foil;
    Always in pairs, a trio at a time,
    Now offered in sextuplets for a dollar more,
    a bargain for the wallet, alas, not for my butt.

    I curse the day I first touched your smooth skin,
    Your sugary sweetness beguiled me completely,
    A mocha colored coating, perfectly serene;
    Never to be sullied by the fiery roar of toasters,
    No, you are best at ambient temperatures,
    Where the flaky crust remains soft and toothsome.

    I try to avoid you, but you chase me down the aisles
    waving Satanic offers, irresistably discounted on Double Coupon day;
    I look longingly at brittle bars of oat and honey,
    wishing for willpower to join the hippies of the Granola Munch;
    Nay, for me the silent chew of the fresh toaster pastry.

    Damn you, you cursed siren! You cinnamoned and brown-sugared nemesis!
    I am lost in the grasp of the evils of Pop-Tarts, but only of your kind.
    May heaven have mercy upon my unseen toes...
    Kellogg, Kellogg, why hast thou so afflicted me?

    BabyWatch: The Adventure Begins...

    OK, I'm not hip to all the gory details, but my parents called me at work yesterday to let me know they were leaving Houston at 5 a.m. this morning to travel to Austin. My sister is going into the hospital today so that the Ob/Gyn can have a peek under the hood and see how the sprogling is developing. If I understand this correctly, she's not really due for another week, but they aren't seeing the signs they expect by now, such as preliminary contractions and dilation.

    So, they may induce today, they may park her in bed for a week. I just don't know. Either way, I should have a nephew before too much longer.

    I've got to go to the bank at lunch today. I've been meaning to buy a savings bond for the munchkin and for Andy's kid as well. I better get on the ball, or I'll be too late!

    More news as I hear it!

    Monday, April 04, 2005

    Yeah, That's About Right

    Found at Acidman's bottle-strewn hovel.

    Philosophical Drunk
    What Kind of Drunk Are You?
    Brought to you by Rum and Monkey

    19th And 40th Reunions (LONG)

    Well, that was certainly an interesting weekend!

    I visited my old high school this past Saturday. The school district and the Alumni Association were honoring Spring Woods High School for the 40th year of service to the community, and invited back all the past students to visit and see how the old place had changed. It's been 19 years since I graduated in the spring of '86, and 23 years since I first set foot in the joint in the autumn of '82.

    I can't say I disliked the experience, but it wasn't all roses, either. Guess this is where the term 'bittersweet' comes in handy. Most of my high school memories were happy ones, but the flood of memories was almost overwhelming, and it was really an emotional day.

    The first thing that tweaked my pique was that the name of the place has been altered slightly. Back in the Pleistocene Era when I was a student, we had Spring Woods Senior High, and right down the block was Spring Oaks Junior High. Now, the P.C. Police have determined that calling anything "Junior" is a form of oppression, so we now have 'Middle Schools' and High Schools. C'est la vie.

    The outside of the school is completely different. Back in the day, the school was laid out in a giant "U" shape, with the library and auditorium in the middle. Now, they've bricked & barred up the open side, and built a new wing across the front.

    I parked out by the fieldhouse, and almost parked in the head coach's reserved spot out of spite. The coaches recruited me pretty hard when I was a freshman. I was already 5' 10" and 190 lbs as a freshman, with 3 inches and unfortunately, many pounds left to grow. For months they gave me endless grief for my insistence on staying with the marching band. For a lazy kid, though, which was the better option? Two-a-days in the Texas heat wrestling with sweaty guys, or a couple of hours every afternoon out on the marching field scoping out all the cute flag corps chickadees? The choice was clear, my friends!

    That cheery thought in mind, I wandered into the main courtyard through a new passageway created by the construction. I walked past the window in the band hall storage room that I used to frequently crawl out of to go on my numerous off-campus cigarette & donut excursions. Now, it's bricked over. What a shame.

    I found my way to the cafeteria to register and get an ID badge. Apparently, they're not as free & easy about visitors as they used to be. They had a pile of yearbooks laying out, so I confirmed that once upon a time, I did have a recognizable waistline and a full head of hair. Damn, that kid looked so young!

    The first official activity of the morning was a pep rally in the old gym. They've since built two additional gyms, one for hoops, and one for volleyball. The old gym still smelled like floor wax and sweat, just like always. Since marching band counted as a Phys. Ed. credit, I never had to take PE, so for me the gym was just a site of game day pep rallies and school dances. I found a spot on the bleachers near the band and marveled at how little things had changed. The drummers were still egotistical jagoffs, the woodwinds still herded together like sheep, and the Gods of the Band, the tubas and trombones, still radiated palpable waves of coolness.

    There were a gaggle of cheerleaders, who should know better than to wear skirts that short and make me feel like an old lech. When I was a kid, I suspected it, as an adult I'll confirm it. A good T&A display surely will sell some football tickets! The drill team also fielded a squad to shake their kazoos as well.

    We started off with the Star Spangled Banner, mostly to give the band a chance to practice it, I imagine. You don't get to play it as often as you'd think. Then on into the school fight song, which was odd to hear as a spectator and not blowing it on a horn.

    Somehow, they managed to round up the first person to graduate back in '65, and honored her for having the good luck to have a name staring with "A", I suppose.

    Next was a recognition of the veterans, and parents of veterans in the crowd. This was both the high point and low point of the event.

    When the vets had gathered on the gym floor, the standing ovation was a given. This is Texas, after all. I did not expect, though, the thunderous applause and hollers of approval from the students that were attending. I guess after reading about the pinko spawn up in the Northwest U.S. giving our troops a hard time, the unabashed approval these kids laid out was most uplifting, and was the best part of the day for me.

    The next bit, though, I could have done without. I would not have made those men stand out there on the floor while you played them a tribute song, and if I did do that, it would have been something fast-paced and recognizable. As it was, when you have people from the '60s organizing the event, you can count on them to pick something from their era instead of a contemporary ass-kicker like Toby Keith's 'Angry American'. As it was, we had to stand there in auditory agony as a CD played a badly dubbed copy of some whine-fest song by Gary Puckett & Union Gap.

    They repeated the gaffe later by insisting that we all jump up and do "what we used to do!" when they played 'The Lonely Bull' by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. Being a band guy, I knew the tune, but knowing I was supposed to scream "OLÉ!" would have put me about 20 years before my time. Here's a thought... you've got 40 years worth of students, organizers. Let's try and bridge a few gaps, huh? Make it universally accessible. Save the topical stuff for your own reunion!

    Next up was a thoroughly enjoyable talk by our most famous alumni, 7 time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens. After too many years up in Yankee-land, he came to his senses and is now pitching for the hometown team. For all his fame and fortune, from listening to him talk, he's still very much a local boy at heart.

    After the pep rally, we divided up into groups to tour the school. It looked so different from the outside, but once you got in, very little had changed. About 10 minutes into the tour, Little Bee Boy managed to drag his ass out of bed and meet me. We quickly ducked away from the tour group to wander the halls and relive some memories. I warned him about sparking up a cigarette in the bathrooms. One of the 'small changes' was the addition of dozens of security cameras covering everything! We got some good 'action photos' of us lurking around the halls on his camera.

    We ran into a classmate of ours who is now a teacher at Spring Woods. I don't know if that's a job I would like, but I'd at least know where all the delinquent students hiding spots were!

    We met another of our Class of '86 and marching band buddies a bit later. He's now moving back to Houston from Austin, so I guess I'll have to dream up a nom de blog for him as well. Hmmm... perhaps "RoboDan" will work...

    The three of us were walking to the new wing to show RoboDan the new band hall, and were passing the bathroom Little Bee Boy & I got busted in for smoking cigarettes, so naturally we had to stop in and pay it a visit. Heh. Place hadn't changed a bit. Still had some of the same grafitti on the walls.

    On the way out (and how weird is it to have three 37 year old guys yukking it up in a high school bathroom?) we naturally had to run into someone from our era. Serendipity and karma were in full flow that day. None other than our old band director and his son were making their way into the john. RoboDan and I managed to say our hellos and shake hands with a straight face, but we almost collapsed laughing when he went inside. My last words to "Mitta Win" (long story on the name...) was that there was surprise awaiting him inside. I'm sure he expected a noxious aroma, but I was actually referring to Little Bee Boy, who was still snapping photos of the inside. Little Bee Boy was the bane of our band director's existence for our 4 years there, so coming face to face after many years in a high school shitter must have been a treat.

    We died laughing once more when Little Bee Boy came out. I mean, what were the odds of that happening? Bee Boy managed to get a shot of "Mitta Win" peeing, which probably weirded him out to no end. God only knows what his kid thought.

    The three of us spent a while more chatting, then I had to take off to get some personal business done. They had a program lined up for the afternoon, with guest speakers and breakout sessions for some of the activities and the years represented, but I'd done what I came to do. There were only 7 of us there from my year, and I'd already talked to the 5 I knew. The other 2 were just faces out of a yearbook.

    Besides, I was about at my limit for nostalgia. I'm gonna get a full dose next year at the 20th reunion.

    So, there it is, campers. El Capitan's Olde Tyme Memory Weekend. I almost blew it off, but I'm kinda glad I went.