Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Oh, Sacred Shit...

This Might Prove Awkward...

Well, I wanted fame and fortune. Not like this, though. Nothing like the hometown newspaper's website plastering your bitchy holiday post front & center.

I'd say go check it out, but it'll likely be gone by tonight.

Those All-Important Decisions

I'm Such A Geek...

I almost ordered my iPod this morning along with the G5 iMac, but couldn't figure out what to engrave on the back. My initial reaction was to have my name and Texas driver's license number engraved, but I quickly smacked myself in the head for being a major tool. After all, if someone wants to steal the iPod, they'll have to pry it from my cold dead fingers, AFTER they step over 8 of their dead homies and pry the 1911A1 out of the cold dead fingers on my other hand!

I consulted with my favorite iPod-equipped pirate on a proper inscription on what is soon to be my constant companion. He had an excellent suggestion, shown here:

Cool idea, pulling from the Baboon Pirates blog tagline, but not quite what I was looking for. Believe it or not, I'm more than the sum total of my blogposts!

I had to get some Parrothead lyrics on there. I really wanted the whole verse from 'The Wino & I Know', which is one of my all time favorite Buffett tunes. You know, "Strange Situations, Wild Occupations, Livin' My Life Like A Song!" Damn thing won't all fit.

So, We'll pull a bit of online 'net piracy, a generous helping of SOG-giness and more than a touch of poor taste, and Voila!

The perfect iPod for El Capitan!

Littering And.... Littering And...

Smokin' The Reefer!

If you didn't get the title reference, go watch Super Troopers.

Dax Montana has some of his staff smokin' the marijohoonie, it looks like.

Dax claims it smells like Kind Bud. Having read his extracurricular exploits on his blog for quite a spell, I'm inclined to believe his ability to identify by smell alone that the weed in question is some quality herb, but I just HATE that term. "Kind Bud", my ass.

I've heard so many clueless idjits go on and on about their "Kind Bud" or "hydro", and the 14 hour psychedelic comas it produces after a single bong hit. When the baggie gets pulled out, though, it's always the same old Mexican ditchweed, glistening with Paraquat instead of resin, and so full of lumber and seeds you could build a floating pot farm with it.

Look, kiddies, if you live in British Colombia, Northern California, Hawaii or your uncle's got a growroom in his basement, I might believe your hype. If, however, you're living in the suburban Midwest, there's a 98.25% chance you're just smoking schwag, and that's all you'll ever get.

Sigh. Goddamn piss tests. If it weren't for that, I'd have a greenhouse full of indica hybrids and be a lot more relaxed at the end of the day. OTOH, I'd probably never leave the house, either.

Harry Anslinger, I hope you're enjoying your extended roast in hell. Hope the fires stoked by pounds of hemp don't upset you too much!

Gripy Whiny Pissy People

I'll Never Make This Mistake Again...

OK, I'll admit I forgot the prime rule of workplace survival... never volunteer for anything! Still, I've not yet managed to crush the last surviving specks of optimism and goodwill out of my soul yet, so when the request went out for people to plan and organize the departmental Holiday Feast at the last staff meeting, I was somewhat amazed to see my hand raise up in the air as if possessed...

It seemed simple enough. Organize a sit-down meal for 35 people, find a caterer, get a quote, then collect the funds. On the appointed day of the event, sit back, let the caterer do the heavy lifting, give him/her a nice tip, then accept the laurel wreath of praise for a job well done!

Heh. Yeah, right.

The first thing people here had to know was "What kind of food are we going to have?", and then threaten to boycott the event if certain caterers/cuisine choices were not up to their approval.

Second, these are the most stingy, tight-fisted group of skinflints I've EVER worked with. OK, we work for The Man, and he don't pay all that much, but still... For $30 per head, we could have had champagne and caviar, truffles and turbot, rolls of yeast and rare Roast Beast. For $20 a head, we could have had smoked turkey, yards of trimmings, and fantastic desserts.

Nope. Too rich for these folks. All people want to spend on a once-a-year event is $10 a head, and a lot had to have their arms twisted to pay more than $5 each.

You know what kind of meal you can get catered for $350? Ooops, sorry. $330. Two people already said they weren't attending since they won't share a meal with infidels. Well, that's not what they said, but you get the underlying gist of the message.

For $330, we'll get some el cheapo caterer that'll warm up some #10 cans of green beans, slice up some rubbery ham, and mix up a couple of gallons of powdered mashed 'taters. It'll all be served in those cheap aluminum pans that get icy cold in 10 minutes. Maybe if we're lucky we'll get some day-old rolls and a couple of gluey pumpkin pies.

So, when we finally get to the meal, people will bitch and moan at the poor quality (just like last year) even though they whined about the cost (just like last year) and refused to take part in the planning (just like last year).

If it was up to me alone at this point, we'd be having Pizza Hut and a couple of cases of scotch delivered. I doubt I'll ever do this again.

Update: This post got picked up by the electronic edition of the local paper, the Houston Chronicle!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Acidman On The Loose!

Hide The Red-Toed Wimmens!

Rob's been cut loose from Chateau L'Addiction.

Go welcome him home, or at least lay a catbomb on him. I'll recycle one from the past...

Thanks... And Full Disclosure

Money's Burnin' A Hole In My Pocket!

Thanks to everyone for chiming on the computer purchase options. I've learned a valuable lesson, though. When you get up at 5 a.m. to pee, and you decide on a whim to fire up the decade-old PowerMac 7200 and surf a bit to pass the time, and suddenly see the computer you want is available, you BUY IT RIGHT THEN!!!

I thought I'd wait until I got to work, see what the commenters had to say. Of course, by the time I'd arrived at work, saw the comments and got my credit card out, they were sold out of the model I wanted. Sigh. Strike while the iron is hot, blogger buddies, lest ye be left behind! I may not get it this weekend, but I'll be all over the next available batch like a buzzard on roadkill.

Rorschach has made a couple of suggestions that I forego the Mac and be seduced by the Dark Side of computing. I really do appreciate his logic and zeal, but you would have an easier time convincing Jerry Falwell to dress up in a French maid outfit and fellate Pat Robertson on national TV than you would getting me to switch platforms.

Sorry, dude. I have wrangled this wrangle for years with my buddy Zibig and Cisco Kid. Yea, verily, I have drunk deeply of the Cupertino Kool-Ade, and shall follow the path of The Jobs and The Woz unto the end of my days. Seyla.

Refighting the PC/Mac argument over and over for the last 15 years has become deeply tiresome. There are a thousand good reasons to switch to a PC. There are also a thousand good reasons to switch to a Mac. Be content with your chosen "religion", and let me go my own way. In return, I promise not to snicker too hard when the next worm or virus or proprietary rootkit wreaks havoc on your registry.

Looks like the 17" iMac and an iPod, and if they get here in the next week, I'll just be $hittin' in tall cotton!

Is Bigger Better?

Can't Judge On Technique & Stamina This Time...

I need your opinion. Yes, that means you, Mr/Ms Lurker. Drop the coffee mug and click the comment button and weigh in.

In an unexpected act of charity and kindness, my father has offered (without my asking, mind you...) to loan me some cash at an interest rate far below what my abysmal credit score deserves in order that I can get another computer without having to wait until the beginning of the year.

To that end, I've got the machine picked out, but there's a question hovering around my brainpan. I'm unbelievably neurotic about making big-ticket purchases, and will dither until the deal disappears if left to my own devices.

The question is simple... Given virtually identical computer models, is a 20" monitor worth the extra $250 over a 17" monitor? Particularly when considering the $250 could be spent on a video iPod that I've lusted after but could never afford before?

Do I go for the monitor real estate and get the 20" version? Or the smaller iMac and an iPod? The only other difference between the two is hard drive size, 250GB vs 160 GB, but adding a 60 GB iPod makes that just about a moot point.

Please help me quit dithering! You've got until noon today!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Body Hacks

'Cause Sometimes You CAN Fool Mother Nature

Found a link on Boing Boing for fun little body hacks you can do to tweak your system in various ways.

Here's a sample:
11. Stanch blood with a single finger!

Pinching your nose and leaning back is a great way to stop a nosebleed -- if you don't mind choking on your own O positive. A more civil approach: Put some cotton on your upper gums -- just behind that small dent below your nose -- and press against it, hard. "Most bleeds come from the front of the septum, the cartilage wall that divides the nose," says Peter Desmarais, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Entabeni Hospital, in Durban, South Africa. "Pressing here helps stop them."

I've actually known about this trick for years. I've been susceptible to nosebleeds since I was a small kid. Constant allergies and the havoc they wreak on my nasal cavities and sinuses mean I get a bleeder every time the humidity levels drop significantly, or sometimes when I just sneeze too hard. Once, I got a little too much wasabi on my California Roll, and had to make a dash to the bathroom!

By age 8 or so, I was a nosebleed pro. Point me towards a bathroom, and I'd drip and wipe and swab on my own until it finally quit. As you might guess, I have no blood phobias at all. I am greatly amused at people who faint at a single drop leaking from their own epidermis.

One day, I suppose I was 9 or 10 years old, I was in a church bathroom having a devil of a time getting my schnozz to stop dripping. Wasn't even our church, we were there for some function my Dad was involved in. This really old man shuffled into the bathroom, took a look at me trying to keep my head back, and said "You're doing it all wrong, son!" He came over, pulled a length of paper towel out of the dispenser, tore off a strip, folded it up and handed it to me. "Wet that in the faucet, son, and jam it up under your upper lip," he said. "There's a blood vessel back there that's feeding that leak, and you need to block it for a while so the blood can clot."

Damned if it didn't work like a charm. I've got to the point now where I can get most nosebleeds stopped and be all cleaned up in under 5 minutes. For me, three squares of a double-ply bogwipe, folded to fit and wet under the faucet is the perfect size. Your mileage may vary. Be sure to make a small tear or indentation in the middle of the wad so that there's room for that ligament that ties your upper lip to your gumline. Lean over the sink, turn the water on low so the blood won't splash on the porcelain and spatter, let it drip, and just wipe off the blood every so often. It'll slow, then stop pretty quickly.

It's not an instant stop, but it sure speeds it up. Next time you get poked in the snoot, give it a try! It beats having blood leak down your gullet 'cause your head's tilted back!

Read the rest of 'em here!

The Black Hole Of Suckularity

Wherein The Suck Is Jabbed In, Twisted, Broken Off, And Then Generously Salted

My iMac blew up Saturday morning.

It had been fidgety since Wednesday evening, but I nursed it along, hoping the usual disk repair tools would suffice for a cure. By Friday night, I was getting freezes and kernel panics in programs that were usually rock-solid. When the DVD player started locking up, I knew the problem was pretty bad.

Saturday a.m. I ventured out into the pouring rain to go get Apple's latest OS install disk for OSX.4, or "Tiger". I had borrowed the install disks for 10.3 "Panther" quite a while ago, and no longer had them available. Had to go to more than one place, too, which increased my frustration and overall moisture level. After sales tax, it was a $140 purchase. Still, I reasoned, it was necessary and probably long overdue.

Got back, and the install DVD would not boot. Hung during the restart process. Tried setting it as the startup disk, and promptly got more kernel panics from the OS. After a while, it got real twitchy about restarting.

Finally gave up and called Apple tech support. Got a "tech" that was very diligent about tippy-tapping on her keyboard to log the call, but somewhat less efficient about knowing what to do. During the repeated restarts she requested, the power light on the monitor quit coming on, as did the startup chimes. "Oh, well", she chirped. "If it's not powering on, you need to take it in to an Authorized Apple Service Center!" Gee, ya think?

So, I've got a computer that spins its cooling fan and optical drive, but exhibits no other signs of life. Great. It's not like I don't have backups, but the last (partial) one was done in June, and a lot has happened since then. All the iTunes purchases, all those blogfest pics, all my nephew baby pics, all are there on the drive. Oh, and that pricy install DVD? Stuck in the optical drive.

A friend of mine had a hard drive implode not too long ago. Cost him about a $1000 to get his data back. I'm hoping this is a logic board or other hardware issue, and not the drive.

I'll lug it down to the Apple Store this weekend, I guess. No time to do it during the week. Fortunately, I've got a friend that works there, and he can be relied upon not to format the drive. I'd sooner put a new one in if that's the issue, and set the bad one on a shelf until I can save up the shekels to have the data pulled off.

God, this sucks. I even looked at external drives to do a backup a month ago, but decided not to buy one since I was getting a new iMac in January. "It'll be OK until then! Crashes are something that happen to other people!!!"

Sound FX: (Fade in: bourbon bottle being uncorked, loud glugging sounds - Sound of head being banged against desk repeatedly, followed by anguished moans.)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Turkey-Induced Comas!

Looks Like Tryptophan Works On Cats, Too!

Here's Betsy and Pookie following their gorging on the odd bits of leftover bird.

Betsy twitched a bit when the flash went off.

Pookie didn't even notice!

Thanksgiving Tidbits

I Love My Digital Camera!

Here's a few pics of the feast for you!

I AM ROAST TURKEY, KING OF HOLIDAY MEALS!! Look upon my crispy skin and succulent flesh, ye vegans, and despair!!!

This is one of my cousin EmDub's kids. I bet him a five-spot he couldn't drink three cups of coffee in a row. What you see is "Sparky" starting to tweak after two cups. What you can't see is the layer of sugar that's just under the surface of the coffee/milk mix. Probably no more than a tablespoon of actual coffee in each cup, but all that sugar coursing through his system on the ride home probably thrilled EmDub and his wife to no end! Best $5 I've spent in years!

Fishin' off the dock on the bayou in my great-aunt's backyard. A couple of park benches out there makes for good socializing and pretty good fishing. There's lots of wildlife, too. Herons, turtles, ducks, geese, gators. Once upon a time, we had a paddleboat, but the years took their toll on it. We used to do amphibious assaults on the houses across the water!

The Mighty Anglers and their haul! The baby largemouth bass couldn't have been more than 4 inches long. By the time they'd run it around to show everyone, it was past the point of recovery, and had to be used as bait. They didn't actually hook the thing, either. The poles were loaded with catfish stink-bait rigs, and Baby Bass somehow swam into a loop in the leader line and got snagged!

Hope your family had as good a time as ours did!

Getting Sick Sucks

I Hate Germy People

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, left me with some good memories, gravy stains on my shirt, and a cough from hell.

Tradition demands that we all meet down in Sugarland at my great-aunt's house for the meal. I volunteered to drive my parents down, since we're rarely in the same place long enough to have a decent conversation. BIIIIGGGG mistake.

See, Mom's got some sort of temporary ailment that's got her hacking up a lung every 10 minutes or so. It's painful to listen to, and has to truly suck from her POV. Still, she swore up and down "the Dr. says it's not contagious!"

In spite of her being in the back seat of the Caddy, she still expelled enough cough juice up into the front seat for me to get a good dose going there & back.

I've already got a chronic cough, caused by my blood pressure meds. Some little gizmo in the drug mix interferes with the enzyme that controls your cough reflex, making mine more sensitive than most folks. It's not that big a deal, just a dry *kaff kaff* every so often.

Well, now I've got a nice deep chest cough, full of those juicy little morsels of phlegm that just beg to be hawked across the room at the cat. Fortunately, I like my cat, and she gets enough fur tangles as it is, so Kleenex suffices.

The real test of whether I'm getting sick is the fever dreams. Any time my body starts getting out of whack, my already surreal dreams increase their weirdness by a factor of 4. It's almost enjoyable, if it weren't for the achy body, night sweats and general feeling of having been massaged by a 10 lb. sledgehammer.

Take last night f'rinstance... had a doozie where my Beantown buddy Flygirl decided to get involved in historical re-enacting with a middle-aged spectacled accountant as a partner. For whatever reason, this involved her wearing those ridiculous Stevie Nicks-ish shawls over a hoop skirt, dyeing her hair a brassy blonde color, and hanging out in a campsite full of old canvas tents and Civil War-era camp chairs. She had a booming business selling historically accurate lapdogs.

It's hard to say which weirded me out more, the shawls, the accountant or the blonde dye job. The lapdogs? Well, yeah, I could see that happening.

At any rate, it looks to be a horizontal weekend, accompanied by plenty of fluids and sleep. Might be light blogging as a result.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Gobble Gobble Gobble

Don't Bobble Your Knobble In A Turkey Day Squabble!

Last time Bush pardoned a turkey, he got an unexpected treat from a grateful fowl!

This year, Bush takes no chances, preferring to choke his chicken turkey himself!

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Politically Correct Royal Navy

As Long As I'm In A Bitchy Mood, Lay On The Sarcasm!

Found this in a post over at the Gun Guy's hideaway. Some rifleman named AlanC posted it.

Imagine the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic era, if they operated by the rules we currently are expected to abide by...

Nelson: “Order the signal, Hardy.”

Hardy: “Aye, aye sir.”

Nelson: “Hold on, that’s not what I dictated to Flags. What’s the meaning of this?”

Hardy: “Sorry sir?”

Nelson (reading aloud): “‘England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability.’ What gobbledygook is this?”

Hardy: “Admiralty policy, I’m afraid, sir. We’re an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil’s own job getting ‘England’ past the censors, lest it be considered racist.”

Nelson: “Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco.”

Hardy: “Sorry sir. All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free working environments.”

Nelson: “In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the main brace to steel the men before battle.”

Hardy: “The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. Its part of the Government’s policy on binge drinking.”

Nelson: “Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we’d better get on with it........ full speed ahead.”

Hardy: “I think you’ll find that there’s a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water.”

Nelson: “Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow’s nest, please.”

Hardy: “That won’t be possible, sir.”

Nelson: “What?”

Hardy: “Health and Safety have closed the crow’s nest, sir. No harness. And they said that rope ladders don’t meet regulations. They won’t let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected.”

Nelson: “Then get me the ship’s carpenter without delay, Hardy.”

Hardy: “He’s busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the fo’c’sle, Admiral.”

Nelson: “Wheelchair access? I’ve never heard anything so absurd.”

Hardy: “Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled.”

Nelson: “Differently abled? I’ve only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn’t rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card.”

Hardy: “Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency.”

Nelson: “Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons.”

Hardy: “A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won’t let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don’t want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven’t you seen the adverts?”

Nelson: “I’ve never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy.”

Hardy: “The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral.”

Nelson: “What? This is mutiny!”

Hardy: “It’s not that, sir. It’s just that they’re afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There’s a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks.”

Nelson: “Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?”

Hardy: “Actually, sir, we’re not.”

Nelson: “We’re not?”

Hardy: “No, sir. The French and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn’t even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation.”

Nelson: “But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil.”

Hardy: “I wouldn’t let the ship’s diversity co-ordinator hear you saying that, sir. You’ll be up on disciplinary report.”

Nelson: “You must consider every man an enemy, who speaks ill of your King.”

Hardy: “Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it’s the rules. It could save your life.”

Nelson: “Don’t tell me - health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?”

Hardy: “As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu! And there’s a ban on corporal punishment.”

Nelson: “What about sodomy?”

Hardy: “I believe that is now legal, sir.”

Nelson: “In that case ...kiss me, Hardy.”

The Latest From Austin

Remind Me Again Why We Don't Tar & Feather These Types?

What an absolute prick...

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'll defend to the death his right to say what he says... right after I get through jamming 32 frozen turkey legs up his bunghole, just 'cause he annoys me so much.

Trouble is, these types are so inherently masochistic, they'd probably enjoy it... treat it as 'penance' for being a member of the ruling class.

Schmucks. Enjoy your tofurkey. Tomorrow, after gorging on dead bird, I'll be teaching my younger cousins how to oppress the poor & disenfranchised without spilling their beer in the process.

Found at Malkin's place.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

El Capitan's Wubbulous Weekend

I Want My High-Speed Rail Line!

The only downside of driving to Dallas is... the driving to Dallas. Been that route so often, I'm tempted to do it blindfolded. I used to get off I-45 outside Madisonville and drive up the old 2 lane Hwy 75, but the shine wore off that diversion 10 years back.

Nope, nothing but 4 hours of staring at the white stripes in the road. I managed to leave my stack of travel music CDs at the house, too, so the one CD in the player had to suffice. I got those songs committed to memory for life.

After dodging some effed-up traffic on Central Distressway in Dallas, I joined the crowd I was meeting at Cafe Amore in Richardson. Nice little place, run by Armenians with a tenuous grasp of customer service skills, but quite the good cooks.

The occasion was a baby shower for some college friends that decided to finally procreate. As showers go, this one was pretty good. All the wine you could quaff, and no silly party games. Just talk, eat, give gifts, leave!

We retreated back to the dad-to-be's family homestead for more beverage intake and bonhomie. I've known the prospective parents for years and like 'em quite a bit. This buddy of the dad-to-be that seems to always be around? Not so much. I had to head outside for a cooldown midway through to keep myself from jamming a Grolsch beer bottle down his gullet. The dislike was pretty widespread, too. Another person let me know they had no use for the guy after he made their roommate cry back in 1989. Damn, and I thought *I* held a grudge...

I like smart people. They're fun to be around, especially if you're a smart person as well. You can converse on a wide range of subjects with a smart person, and not have to backtrack and bring people up to speed. This guy IS a smart person. Brilliant, in fact. However, he uses his intellect like a bludgeon. Any opportunity to expound upon an obscure topic or reroute the conversation in an oblique manner is eagerly seized upon. The result is usually a conversation that peters out in an embarrassed silence 'cause half the crowd has no clue what's being referenced.

After a simple discussion about politics got roiled up by Mr. Wizard with his extended reference to Juvenal's Satires cannonballing in the deep end, I'd had about enough. Dude, look. This is NOT the Algonquin Round Table, nor the Hotel du Cap, or even a grad student skull session. It's a dozen thirtysomethings drinking beer and chatting in a ranch house in suburban Dallas. Lighten. The Fuck. Up.

Afterwards, I retreated to Castle BarkingDog in Garland with The Kilted Liberal, his wife & child for an overnight stay. They were most gracious to allow me to occupy a guest room, though I fear their dog Buzz may never accept me as a member of the pack. He growled, but did not bite, which was nice of him.

Andy was kind enough to let me raid his music stash and burn a few CDs for the trip home. It was great to be able and sit & chat and only occasionally spat over the whole Red State/Blue state mess! I got to play with baby Anwen quite a bit, and she's a very sweet baby indeed!

The next morning, we met with Jenni and Zippo and the Army of Mom/Dad bloggers over at Cafe Brazil. I continued my role as the jinx upon Zippo's dining out experience. Last time, my evil mindwaves crisped his steak from medium-rare to shoe leather multiple times between the kitchen and table. This time, I mentally urged the waitress to shortchange him, then claim to not know the manager's name. I fear he will never eat out with me again... He bought my meal too, so I feel kinda bad right now!

I'd never met AoM/AoD in person before, but they're a lot of fun. Army of Dad's got a pretty wicked sense of humor, and Army of Mom is every bit as open and opinionated in person as she is on her blog. Her eyebrows did hit the ceiling when Jenni mentioned one of her previous work gigs, but I think she took it in stride. They'll fit in real well with the rest of the Texas BlogFest crew! Oh, in spite of AoM's nonchalance about Anwen in her write-up, she looked to be groovin' on that cute li'l baby pretty hard! Hehehe! Moms are like that!

After brunch, everyone went their separate ways, and I chased Jenni back to her place to wake up her hubby and chat for a bit. We were stuck on opposite ends of the table at Cafe Brazil, and didn't get to chat there a whole lot.

We had some beers and I got crawled on by her skinny kitties Rory & Cinder while we watched VH1 and made fun of all the 80's music videos. I haven't had a better time in ages. It's hard to say why Jenni & I get along as well as we do. You truly couldn't find two people more different in all of creation. Well, I'll just chalk it up to being sympatico and let it go at that.

I shuffled out of there about three-ish to seek some Taco Bueno and a Slurpee, neither of which is available within 120 miles of Houston. Properly fortified, I sought out my old 'hood in Carrollton, the same mean streets that spawned that Lord of Gangsta Thugz, Vanilla Ice. It's changed a bit, but remains quiet and extremely Caucasian. Some rat bastards shut down Herrera's, my favorite place for cheap Tex-Mex. They had a bean soup so good, you wanted to puree it and inject it into your veins.

All in all, a good weekend. I'd like to do events like that more often!

Write-ups by the other participants here, here and here!

More Holiday Goodies

A Moment On The Lips, A Lifetime On Your Hips!

For my final offering of pre-Thanksgiving recipes, I'll turn to one of my family's pre-meal treats.

Most years, we gather at my great-aunt's home in Sugarland, TX for the Thanksgiving meal. While we're waiting for my Dad to quit poking at the turkey and carve it, and while last minute items like the gravy and dinner rolls are getting cooked, most of the rest of the family is swilling cheap champagne and nibbling on a few appetizers.

Usually, the pre-meal treats consist of fruit or veggie trays, or something savory like sausage balls or cheese straws. Every so often, though, someone remembers how to bake, and we get homemade breads served sliced with preserves or jams.

Here's one of my favorites, another of my grandmother Gigi's specialties. I just may have to make some myself this year!

This one's easy, y'all! Even I can't screw this one up!

Strawberry Bread

You'll need:

1 1/2 cups corn oil
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
3 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups strawberries, crushed (frozen is OK)
1/2 cup pecans

In a mixer, cream the oil & sugar together. Add the eggs, and mix well. Sift the dry ingredients together and slowly stir in the oil/sugar/egg mixture. On a low speed setting, add in the strawberries and nuts.

Pour into 2 greased loaf pans and bake at 350 F for 1 hour.

Let cool, slice, enjoy!

To be extra-decadent, spread this with some strawberry butter. Thaw a frozen carton of strawberries, then put in a food processor along with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar (sifted, not packed!) and 2 sticks of room temperature butter, then whip till smooth. Serve with warm sliced strawberry bread. There will NOT be any leftovers!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Lopsided Range Report

Tomorrow's Gonna Be A Stone Cold Bitch...

Took the day off today to decompress after my jaunt up to Dallas. More on that tomorrow.

Right now, I'm sitting here trying to type mostly one-handed, 'cause my right side's not quite up to the task. See, I went with my buddy Zibig to the shootin' range this afternoon, and my right shoulder is now mostly pureéd.

Remember that shotgun I just bought? Well, no time like the present to run it through the wringer and see how it handles. After doing a bit of target practice with the .357 Blackhawk & the .22 pistol, it was off to the shotgun area.

One hopes they allow snails and abalone.

It's been a while since I've done any shotgun shooting. We're talking years, mind you. Even then, it was using light skeet loads. I haven't shot anything heavier than #7 shot in longer than I can remember.

Heh. It all comes rushing back... straight into your shoulder bone! I launched a box of 00 Buck downrange, followed by most of a box of heavy game loads. Out of that 6 lb. shotgun, the recoil is fargin' BRUTAL!

Let me state for the record that it's quite probable that the next time I voluntarily shoot full-power buckshot loads outta that gun, giant mutant orangutans with radioactive hoo-hahs will be in the process of breaking into the house to administer Death By Boon-Dah!* upon the occupants. Otherwise, forget it.

The game loads weren't as bad, but it still bucks a mite. The bruise on my shoulder tomorrow will probably have 82 shades of red, purple and blue.

I will say this... once your shoulder numbs a bit, it's a hell of a rush!

*If you haven't heard the Death By Boon-Dah! joke, ask around. It's pretty ancient. Not quite as ancient as "Rectum? Damn near killed him!" but pretty ancient nonetheless.

Ammo Day Acquisition

Not Nearly Enough...

Had to go to Gander Mountain to get my ammo this year. Meant to pick up the Winchester white box mega-packs at the local Walmart, but some rat-bastard bought every mega-pack of .45 ACP in the joint. Damn, dude! That was MY Walmart! Go find yer own!

It's all good. Gander Mtn. was on the way out of town for my little road trip up to Dallas this weekend. Stopped in and bought 700+ rounds, ranging in size from .22LR to 12 ga. The store was completely out of .257 Roberts and 8mm Mauser as well, so that dropped the total by 40 rounds.

My usual money crunch was a little crunchier than usual, so I didn't get nearly enough. Guess I'll have to ask Santy Claus for a few boxes come Xmas time.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Ammo Day Bonus Buy Unveiled!

Y'all Have The Sleuthing Urge Of A Banana Slug...

I promised I'd reveal my National Ammo Day Bonus Buy this weekend, and since I'm on the road on Ammo Day tomorrow, y'all get it a day early!

I posted a couple of teasers, trying to see if anyone could guess the make & model in return for fame and cheap trinkets. Only one person got in the ballpark, a dude named Dinklemeyer guessing a side by side scattergun. Ballpark gets ya fame, Dink, not goodies! For the prize I needed at least the maker!

I purchased a Stoeger Coach Gun in the very manly Gauge of 12 from Collector's Firearms here in Houston. I talked about buying one way back in March, and saved up my pocket change and small bills ever since then.

Here it is! Ain't it cute?

I sold my only shotgun a couple of years back and needed another one to replace it. I've never been much of a bird hunter, so I bought this one planning to use it for Cowboy Action Shooting and goblin repellent. Heck, I may even try to shoot a duck with it, if I can coax one inside arm's reach.

One barrel's got Improved Cylinder choke built in, the other barrel's got Modified choke. Of course, that means precisely doodly-squat when the barrels are only 20 inches long. If I can put 50% of the pellets inside a barn door at 30 yards, I'll be shocked. I foresee very few pellets smaller than #1 Buck getting launched outta this shotgun, unless I'm doing the Cowboy Shoots, where you gotta use #4 or smaller shot.

Fit & finish is acceptable. There's some "variations" in the satin nickel finish in a couple of spots, and the metal/wood fit is pretty good for a gun in this price range.

Two things sold me on this particular one. First, it fit. Very few times have I pulled a shotgun off a rack and have it fit perfectly when I bring it up to my shoulder. Usually I get the heel of the shotgun butt snagging in my armpit, or the forearm is too far out for comfort. This one feels like it was custom made for me.

Second, the English (straight) stock. Always been a favorite with me. This one really needed a splinter fore-end instead of the beavertail, but with the short barrels, it's not a weight issue, just aesthetics!

So, there it is! This year's Ammo Day Bonus Buy!

Your Honor, You're SO Busted!

I Hope She Gets Some Jail Time!

Get this...

A local Justice of the Peace gets popped for using fraudulently obtained accessible parking hangtags. Her mother used to have them legitimately, but the old lady decided to die, and Ms. J.P. Entitlement-Queen decided she didn't want to have to go back to parking with the hoi polloi.

So, she forges her dead mom's signature, files for new hangtags, and someone eventually put two and two together. She got suspended from the bench, and just got found guilty of tampering with official state documents.

Wait... it gets better!

After launching the usual smokescreens of "it's a conspiracy by people with dirty hands" and "It was perpetrated by disgruntled ex-employees", the best one comes out during the punishment phase of the trial.

Turns out she told the Grand Jury that she was actually conducting an undercover sting operation on the employees at the Harris County office that issues the applications.

Heh. Add perjury to your list of accomplishments, Your "Honor".

She's eligible for up to two years in the pokey, but judges hate to turn on one of their own. My guess is she'll end up with probation, lose her seat permanently (convicted felon, ya know...) and then write a tell-all book blaming it all on Bush, Rove and/or bloggers. After all, it worked for Mary Mapes.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hmmm, Maybe I Should Have Enlisted...

Damn, I'd Be A General By Now...

Which Soldier Type Are You?

You scored as Officer. Officer, you're the brass. The leader of the bunch. You have leadership qualities, or you have a really big ego. Most likely both. You know how to get things done, and don't care who you have to kill to get them done. Your a man/woman with a mission and to stand in your way means pain. You have gumption and intelligence to back it up.
Hold the line!!! AND SOMEONE GET ME COFFEE!!!



Combat Infantry


Support Gunner


Special Ops










Which soldier type are you?
created with

Found via Geek With A .45

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Oh, No! Not More Of This Crap...

And Well You Might Say That!

Dammit, now Batman and Robin are getting mixed up in this bukkake stuff!

Stop it! For the love of all that's holy! Just knock it off!!!

I've bitched about the PoMo retconning exposing the alleged homoeroticism in Batman before.

Not just once.

Not just twice,

But yea verily, we did it thrice.

Guess the fourth time's when I give up all together and admit that Batman comics are just a decades-long sausage party. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

'Cept it pisses me off. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a superhero is just a superhero.

Oh, belated thanks to Grau for pointing out the source site. It's a riot!

Damn! This Sounded Great!

El Capitan Goes Job Shopping

Perusing the Help Wanted postings this afternoon. Came across a good one, and it was right up my alley!

Job title? Party Chief!

Gorram bait & switch bastards. There wasn't a single mention of keg-tapping, Zombie Punch-mixing, or barbecuing in the job description. Instead, you're applying to be The Man for a street repair work party.

Not much of a party there, I'm thinkin'.

The Silly Season Approaches...

What To Do, What To Do???

I considered buying a couple of boxes of Xmas cards the other day. See, it's time for my annual agony of indecision about whether or not to mail 'em out this year.

I griped about the Great Xmas Card Game last year, so I won't do it again now. Suffice it to say, if you'd like a card from me, my email addy's over on the sidebar. Drop me a line with your snailmail address, and then expect a bit o' Xmas cheer in the next few weeks. Or not. I might get petulant and spend the money on eggnog and glögg.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ha! No Soggy El Capitan Today!

Canuckistan-ians, Please Send More Cold Fronts ASAP!

I actually paid attention to the weather report this morning, and took the trouble to pull my umbrella out of the Caddy's trunk before hopping on the bus downtown. Usually, I'm clueless about the weather, and end up getting soaked waiting for the bus ride home.

So, I'm sitting here listening to the thunder and wind outside, feeling all smug 'cause I got my bumbershoot with me, and in 2 hours I'll get to go home without getting drenched.

Of course, this means the 2" hailstones they forecast are now going to beat the crap out of me and my Caddy on the way home... Remembered the umbrella, forgot the foam padding...

The Great Baby Swindle

The Rant That Occurs After El Capitan Goes Baby-Gear Shopping

I'm more than a little amused by the activities of the new parents around me. By some twist on fate, my sister and one of my best friends from college both hatched their first bundle of joy just weeks apart earlier this year, and another friend is expecting just after the calendar flips to 2006. I haven't spent enough time with the friends to see how badly they're infected with the babyrabies, but Sis has a full-blown case of it.

From the moment little Sammy hatched, he's been bombarded with dozens of geegaws meant to "stimulate" his tiny little brain into feats of astounding growth. The first time I got to hold him, less than a week old, my BIL was handing me some noisy blinking light stuffed toy to wave in front of him. That apparently not being sufficient, Sis popped in a DVD of some proto-Teletubby garbage, and urged me to turn the chair that direction.

Far be it from me to let her know that newborns can only focus mere inches form their nose! I shrugged & complied, thanking my lucky stars that I wasn't made to autoclave myself and dress in a biohazard bunny suit before seeing the sproglet.

Looking over the wares at the online Babies R Us store while shopping for this weekend's baby shower, I'm constantly amazed at the thousands of critically important items you absolutely MUST own, lest your child grow up to be like.... me.

Naturally everyone wants the best for their child, I won't argue that. Still, it seems that those most desperate to do a good job are the ones most likely to fall prey to the hucksters and snake-oil salesmen. Like the wedding industry, it's a house of cards built on insecurity and fear. If you don't go overboard, you're not keeping up with the Joneses, and your precious bundle of joy will have to go to a cow college.

Pshaw, I say! Bollocks!

$20 says that Albert Einstein lay in a crib with nothing more than an old pork chop bone to play with. Another $20 says that Isaac Newton got his stimulation by plague-ridden rats crawling over his teeny little noggin. Hell, I had to amuse myself as a kid, most of the time. Once I could crawl around the house, I got into everything. Even managed to eat a couple of fistfuls of dog kibble, and I still turned out OK. Well, there's that tendency to pee on trees whenever I can, but that only bothers the neighbors when they forget to turn their electric barrier fence on.

My point is, for untold thousands of years, humans have managed to raise fat healthy babies without $150 crib decorations and $80 baby intercoms and color-coordinated diaper pails. I mean, for crissakes, does it matter what color a plastic bucket is when all you're gonna do is toss shitty diapers into it?

I'm sure I'll get my arm twisted into the 'proper mindset' and lose my pragmatic ways if and when I procreate. Until then, though, I'm of the opinion that as long as you keep 'em warm, clean, fed and loved, the baby'll turn out all right. All that other foofuraw is money better saved up for orthodontia and college!

As usual, your mileage may vary...

Monday, November 14, 2005

That Just Ain't Right...

Damn Sicko Perv Comic Writers!

I forget where I found this, and it's likely taken out of context, based on just the single panel. Still, it's a sign o' the times when you look at this and think "Well, I never figured Sabrina the Teenage Witch went for that bukkake stuff!"

Seriously, what is it with bukkake? (No, no links. Use Google or Wikipedia if this is a new term and ya just gotta know.)

I mean, the 'money shot' is a given, if you happen to accidentally watch one of those evil sinful filthy adult films. Of course, your saintly host has never seen a single one! Not at all! I spend all my time in solemn prayer! OTOH, a dozen 'money shots' in close succession on the same recipient is kinda effed up, as far as I'm concerned. If that sort of thing gets you off, I'm thinking you've got some serious unresolved issues.

Then again, maybe it's just a ploy by the paper towel industry to sell more product...

Guns, Food And Cats!

Yep, It's Carnival Time!

For the weekly collection of shootables, edibles and pettables, please be so kind as to visit the following Carnivals! The hosts put out a lot of effort to put these together (trust me on this...) so drop in and say hello!

Muchas Gracias!

Carnival Of Cordite #38

Carnival Of The Recipes #65

Carnival Of The Cats #86

Sunday, November 13, 2005

So Much For Graceful Cats...

Damned Silly Beast

I can NOT believe what just happened.

I'm laying on the bed, reading a novel as I am wont to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Betsy Cat is grooming herself at the head of the bed, causing the occasional tuft of grey fur to come wafting across my face on the fan's breeze.

Suddenly, there's this 'Ka-THUMP'! sound behind me, followed by a weird grunting sound. I roll over, and all I can see is Betsy's back feet and tail tip poking out over the edge of the mattress. The rest of her is down between the bed frame and the nightstand, as far as I can tell.

There's no movement, and I'm suddenly scared shitless, so I pop out of bed and get a closer look. She's head-down, wedged in between the mattress, the bed frame and the nightstand. The mattress has a tendency to 'walk' and has left a big gap just the right size for a cat to take a nosedive into.

I grab her back feet and yank her out of there, laying her on the bed. I'm really scared by this time, 'cause she's not moving at all. Fuck, I'm sure she's broken her neck or something. I'm petting on her and calling her name, and she suddenly lurches up and starts meowing.

I'm giving her a quick pat down, feeling for broken bones, but she darts off towards the kitchen. Well, at least she's not dead. She parks herself in front of the food bowl, and gobbles down 1/2 a cup of kibble.

I'm guessing maybe she caught the edge of the lower shelf of the nightstand with her head, and got her bell rung. Maybe the quick downward slide of her poochy belly forced all the air from her lungs when she was head down. Who knows?

I've been watching her for a while now, and she's not twitching or acting like a chihuahua. She's tracking motion and sound OK. There's no bleeding from ears or eyes, nor has she yakked the food up, so unless she starts doing anything like that, I'll hold off on the kitty emergency room visit.

Foolish cat. Guess she was so intent on licking her butt she lost her sense of balance.

Update: It's been a week, and she's still her usual self. She still grooms herself in the same spot, too. I've stuck a cardboard box in the gap. Looks like hell, but ought to prevent anymore kitty nosedives.

Brunch With Bloggers

A Completely Spur-Of-The-Moment Deal

I'm going to be up in Dallas next weekend, and I'm completely jonesing for a dose of Cafe Brazil's empanadas and rosemary 'taters.

So, I'm planning on bum-rushin' tha joint this coming Sunday and seriously depleting their supply of comestibles. You, of course, are welcome to join in the carnage.

I'm gonna try and have this guy and this guy show up, subject to the whims of their spouses (spooses? speece?). There'll be one or two surprise guests as well.

There's a bunch of Cafe Brazil Locations around Dallas, but I'm going to the one near the intersection of Central Expressway and Campbell in Richardson, on the west side of the freeway. It's closest to where I'm staying, and easy to get to.

I'm thinking a kickoff time of 10:30 a.m. ought to give people enough time to shake off the hangovers yet still beat the post-church crowd.

Here's a map link:
[ Yahoo! Maps ]

Map of
2071 N Central Expy
Richardson, TX 75080-2706

So, Cafe Brazil in Richardson, TX Sunday Nov. 20th, 10:30 a.m. I'll be in the brown Caddy, and I assure you, you won't miss me in a crowd.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Building A Cat Nest

Next, She'll Be Ordering Anchovy Pizza On My Visa Card

Pookie Cat, not being content with leaving a thick layer of cat fur on every horizontal upholstered surface in the house, takes advantage of time I'm out of sight in the shower to rearrange some clothes and make a little cat nest. Naturally, this nest requires lots of fur to be laid down... for comfort, I suppose.

I swear I'm singlehandedly keeping the stickytape roller people in business. It's a shame those hairless cats creep me out, they seem like they'd do well down here in the subtropics.

Pookie was most annoyed that I disturbed her slumbers. She's lucky I grabbed the camera and not the electric clippers! I've never seen a cat with a crew-cut, but I'm awfully tempted to try it sometime...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

To Hump Or Not To Hump

'Cause I Dunno About Banging A 150,000 Volt Transformer...

I've been mystified by a sign on the side of a piece of electrical apparatus that's being erected on the outskirts of downtown. They're putting in a step-down transformer right next to the HOV lane exit near the Aquarium, and that 1/2 block area is just chock-full of gigantimous cables, big towers with 8 foot long ceramic insulators, weird drum-like spool thingamabobs suspended from wires, and two huge transformer-looking things covered with about 2 dozen cooling fans and assorted machinery.

Attached to the side of each of these giant transformers is a sign saying, in big block letters,


Uh, if you insist, señor! No way I'm getting jiggy with that monstrosity!

I thought to ask this guy about it. I asked my brother-in-law, who's an electrician, but he said his area of expertise ends at light commercial and residential power levels, and he's not hip to the really supercharged stuff.

I found my answer, though, in Google. The always useful 'Straight Dope' by Cecil Adams had the answer,

Turns out that it's not electrical at all, but rather a railroad term. These big-ass transformers are shipped on flatbed rail cars, and are sensitive to being banged around. "Humping" is a term for using natural hills in a railroad shipping yard to let gravity shift cars around instead of a switching locomotive. The downside to "humping" is that you can't decelerate a car that gets to moving too quickly, and it rams the next car in line pretty hard. This damages cargo, and sometimes overturns freight cars.

The last thing you want to be going is cracking open the innards of electrical transformers stepping down that kind of power. We'd have crispy critters for blocks around if that thing starts arcing!

So, there's the reason you shouldn't hump transformers! Well, one of them anyway.

Buy Some Ammo!

Or We'll Huff & Puff And Blow Your House Down!

Just another quick reminder of National Ammo Day on the 19th. Buy at least 100 rounds of ammo that day!

Last week, I posted a sneak peek at my Ammo Day bonus buy, hoping someone would hazard a guess as to the identity before I unveil it next week. All you gun geeks out there failed to even try! Only one guess was made, this by a woman who lives in Taxachusetts! For shame, guys! Left your cojones in your other trousers that day?

Here's your chance at redemption... First correct guess wins some random item picked off my desk, if they email me their meatspace address! A small hint... it's of current manufacture, and loves a good carnival.

Good luck, and buy lots of ammo!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More Food for "El Dia De Gobleador"

Break Out The Rolaids, You're Gonna Need 'Em!

Last week, in the first entry in the 2005 Pre-Thanksgiving Pig Out Planner, I offered up a recipe for Green Beans Oregano. This week, we spice things up a bit with another favorite of the family. This was Gigi's (my maternal grandmother) specialty. I loved it, but I like things spicier than she did, so I swapped out her usual sharp cheddar cheese for pepper jack cheese. If you've got Yankee tastebuds and black pepper makes your eyes water, feel free to switch back to boring old cheddar.

Spicy Cheesy Grits

1 cup quick-cooking grits (NOT INSTANT!)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups Pepper Jack cheese, grated/shredded
1/2 large jar of Cheez Whiz (6-8 oz or so)
1/3 stick of butter
1 tsp. garlic powder
cayenne pepper to taste
4 cups water
2 large eggs

In a decent-sized saucepan, dump in the water & salt, bring to a boil.

Stir in grits slowly, and stir constantly or you'll get big nasty lumps. Reduce heat to a simmer, then cook for 5 minutes, stirring every so often. Remove pan from heat.

Zap the Cheez Whiz in the microwave to soften it up, then pour in pan over the grits. Add in most of the Pepper Jack cheese, butter, red pepper & garlic powder, stirring as you go. Keep stirring until everything gets gooey.

Now you need to temper your eggs, or you'll get a wad of scrambled eggs in the grits. This is easy...

Crack eggs in a small bowl or mug, beat slightly, then take a large spoonful of the hot cheesygrits and stir it into the eggs. Keep stirring the egg mix as you pour into the pan, then stir the panful until it's all mixed well.

Pour the mix into a buttered small square baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for half an hour or so. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, then pop it back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving so it'll thicken up the last little bit.

Good stuff! We usually make a double recipe to feed 12-15 people, and there's never any left over!

Update: I forgot that this week's host of the Carnival of Recipes had asked for a Red White & Blue theme. I can fix this...

The cayenne pepper's red. The grits are white. It was too hot to eat right out of the oven, so I blew on it. So there!

More Tales Of Juvenile Foolishness

I've Got A Million Of 'Em...

The episodes of Rockhauler and myself doing something foolish could easily be the subject of an entirely new blog. It's hard to imagine that in the almost 20 years I've known him, we haven't been whisked away in the dead of night by a large horde of assorted armed agents from a dozen Alphabet Agencies.

The issue is that each of us has a broad streak of... well, the Brits would call it "cheek". The nearest Yank translation would be a heavy dose of recklessness and contempt for (inept) authority that tends to amplify in each other's presence. What neither one of us would dream of doing solo would often become de rigeuer when we hung out together.

Case in point... A simple visit to a friend ends with us involved in a late night pursuit by a pissed-off Sheriff's deputy.

It started out, like most of these episodes do, with a basically good idea. "Hey! Let's go visit the PolkaBrit down in the Hill Country!" PolkaBrit is a buddy of ours we worked with whilst employed by the BSA as summer camp staff many years back.

Rockhauler and I were "not invited back" that summer due to our previous summer's efforts to be a constant burr under the camp director's saddle. PolkaBrit, however, still remained in SHAC's good graces, and had a gig at a camp right near Canyon Lake, TX.

We called up PolkaBrit, let him know we were coming, and got him to secure the OK for us to stay on the reservation overnight. This was done, or so we thought. We made our preparations, and left D/FW as soon as Rockhauler got off of work, which should have had us rolling up to the main gate of the camp about 9 pm.

We had the essential travel supplies, as follows:

1 Chevy Nova Sedan
2 intrepid adventurers
1 bottle Jim Beam bourbon
1 dozen assorted bottled alcoholic beverages
1 S&W Mod. 459 9mm pistol
1 pair binoculars
1 Qbeam spotlight
2 lbs. assorted fireworks
1/2 dozen homemade bombs (more on these later)

In our defense, the dozen bottled beverages didn't join our little caravan until we stopped for gas and 'refreshments' in Austin. They were, however, in the process of being rapidly consumed as soon as we were outside the revealing glare of city lights. Now that I think about it, I don't think we bothered packing a change of clothes. After 6 weeks of camp, everyone on camp staff is covered with ground-in filth anyway, so no one would notice if we were a bit rumpled.

The trip went without incident until we left Austin, coincidentally also the time we started ingesting alcohol. By the time we hit Dripping Springs to make the turn off to Wimberly, we were in a fairly convivial mood, and the spirit of adventure was upon us.

If you've never been on that stretch of road, it's a nice piece of twisty-windy going through the edge of Texas Hill Country. Lots of deer, armadillos, and great fun to take at about 90 mph. Even more fun to take with the headlights off, with one of us pointing the Qbeam spotlight on the road ahead to light the way, while the driver squinted through binoculars for "telescopic vision". We had about 3 miles of this fun, and had avoided any nosedives into local crevasses. Unfortunately, as we rounded a curve not too far outside of Wimberly, the Qbeam swept across the hood of a Sheriff's Deputy driving in the opposite direction.


As he rounded the curve behind us, we saw the glow from his brake lights. The accelerator of the Nova hit the floor as the headlights came back on and any open containers were quickly jettisoned. If we could make it to town before he caught up, we could duck into some shop or B&B, kill the lights, and let him roll on by.

Yeah, as if.

He was on our ass faster than a Democrat creates a new social program. Ain't no 4-banger getting away from a V-8 equipped Crown Vic. He pulls us over, gets our ID's, then asks the magic question:

"Y'all got any weapons in the car?"

Rockhauler reluctantly points to the glove box. Thus began a long, long time standing around on a dark road lit up by pretty blue & red rollers on a hot July evening. Rockhauler and I being fairly sizable specimens, intoxication was not an issue. What the real issue was involved that pistol and the Qbeam. See, Johnny Law thought we were out jacklighting deer.

For you city folk, lemme explain. When you throw a bright light on a deer at night, the deer does not run away. Instead, it stands there motionless, trying to work out with that tablespoonful of deer brains just what that big bright shiny ball is. An opportunistic poacher can use that 30 seconds of processing time to line up a shot, and drop the deer.

Rockhauler and I had no intention of trying to poach a deer. First, whitetail's out of season, and while we ignore a lot of silly laws, we don't ignore that one. Second, we've only got a 9mm handgun, and it's just not sporting to shoot a deer with the 9mm Europellet. You'd just end up wounding it, most likely, and then be obligated to follow a blood trail in the dark of night through rattlesnake-infested hill country.

Johnny Law does not follow our logic. He's certain he's cracked the international jacklighting conspiracy, based on the evidence at hand. We do not disabuse him of this notion, because as he's fixated on the gun, he's NOT peeking into the paper bags in the rear floorboards concealing a couple of depleted sixpacks, and a shitload of fireworks and explosives.

See, back when I was on camp staff, I ran the black powder program. Took kids out, taught them how to load and shoot muzzleloaders, that kind of thing. As a result, I had access to all the black powder I could use.

It didn't take long to figure out that I could pack lots of powder into plastic film cans, after boring a hole in the bottom and inserting a length of cannon fuse. After cramming it with powder, you wrapped the whole thing as tight as you could with about 20 yards of duct tape. If you got REALLY creative, you could run hotglue over the outside and then roll it in a plate of BBs or carpet tacks. Not that I know anything about that. The plan was to go to a remote location, and throw the little boomers out over a canyon, to see if they would echo.

So, every time the cop shined his light around the car, our blood pressure spiked 30 points. The alcohol and fireworks, no biggie. The boomers? Genu-wine Dee-structive devices, there. 6 of 'em. Get us some jail time for sure.

Johnny Law can't find anything on SCMODS worth holding us for, so he lets us go after a severe verbal lashing. The next time you saw such a similar display of nodding and agreeing between me & Rockhauler was when Clinton got impeached. "Whatever you say, Mr. Law. We're sorry, we suck, we'll never do it again... Can we go now???"

Unfortunately, the rest of that weekend followed in a similar vein. PolkaBrit couldn't seem to give a shit that we were there, the camp directors were surly and officious, and we ended up sleeping in the Nova in the middle of a cow pasture.

Still, any road trip that ends without a ride in the back of a police cruiser is a winner, as far as I'm concerned.
The bombs? Dismantled. Burned the powder in a BBQ grill. No, really! That's what happened!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More Stories From Long Ago

As Long As We're On The Subject...

I don't think I've told this one yet. It falls under the category of unexpected announcements, though, so it's as good a time as any. If you've heard it before, well, here it is again.

Back about '91 or '92, Rockhauler and I are out late at night. Really late, like 2 or 3 a.m. I don't recall what we were doing, probably up late being gamergeeks playing Advanced Squad Leader or Hell's Highway, or just out dabbling in deviltry.

I was about on my last legs, and needed a spike of caffeine and refined sugar to keep from falling asleep. I remember being really scatterbrained and groggy at the time.

We're out in Rockhauler's little Nova, back when they looked like Toyota Tercels, and decided to hit the local convenience store.

We pull into the 7-11 over on Pecan Ave. in Arlington, just a block off of campus. I'm already fixated on the Big Gulp dispenser, and not paying attention to Rockhauler.

Just as I clear the front door of the store, Rockhauler comes up behind me, clamps down on my left arm with both hands, and says (quite loudly):

"Man, you said no killing this time! You said no killing!!!"

It takes about 2 seconds for that information to process, and since I'm painfully aware that the clerk has heard this come out of Rockhauler, all I can think to respond with is: (in a panicked voice)

"Dude! Shut the fuck up, man! Shut the fuck up!!!"

I'm sure this did not have the reassuring effect on the cashier that I'd hoped it would.

Rockhauler's laughing so hard he's almost in tears. The clerk is not amused, and I'm having trouble grasping the humor myself. I think I threw a pack of Twinkies at him.

It's kinda funny now. Hell, I probably ought to pull it one someone else. I'll just have to make sure the clerk isn't armed, since we've passed Concealed Carry since then!

Full Disclosure

Gadzooks, You People Are Nosy!

OK, for the record, (and thanks SO much for the emailed inquiries) I do NOT spend my hard-earned cash for the peddled poonanny. Never have. Probably never will.

I got no beef with the wimmenfolks & menfolks who trade cash for tail, but whatever personality quirk it is that keeps me out of Hooters, tittie bars and porno shops (99% of the time, anyway) also prevents me from soliciting prostitutes. Part of it's fear of arrest, that's for damn sure. Part of it's pride. The most compelling reason, though, is fear of an encounter with Mary Jane Rottencrotch and her collection of exotic venereal diseases. I'm very fond of all my assorted appendages, and have no wish to see one or more decompose whilst still attached due to a raging case of Lower Slobbovian Weenie Warts.

So, why the "LIQUOR! LIQUOR & WHORES!" in the previous post? Just a joke from long ago. Anybody remember Norm Macdonald's Bob Dole impression on Saturday Night Live? There was one skit where the Presidential contenders were going door to door, trying to drum up support. In the skit, "Bob Dole" is trying to convince a voter not to vote for Clinton, saying, "He'll raise taxes, then spend it on liquor! Liquor & whores!" The voter slams the door in his face. Later, the doorbell rings, and the voter opens it to see "Bob Dole" standing there with a Clinton mask on, screaming "LIQUOR! LIQUOR & WHORES!"

I dunno why it tickled me so, but for years I've been annoying Zibig & Rockhauler with unexpected announcements of "LIQUOR! LIQUOR & WHORES!" at inopportune moments.

So, there's the rest of the story.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Oh, Happy Day!

I'll Be Glad To Kick This Monkey To The Curb...

Just opened this month's statement from one of my student loan sharks firms. The two loans this particular company handles finally dipped from 4 digits each to 3 digits each. The light at the end of the financial tunnel is getting just a bit brighter!

I took out substantial loans in '92 '93, '94 & '95 in order to finish up my degrees and leave myself time for Student Congress and other extracurricular gigs. Having to get a real job just wouldn't have allowed that flexibility. Well, that and I was a virtual pedestrian through much of my college years thanks to the Mondo Gonzo Tripmobile (a '74 Dodge Dart w/ a psychedelic paint job) being in a constant state of dead.

I've been paying off those bastards for 10 years now. I'd be done already, but my lengthy unemployment a while back forced a period of forebearance, and I'm probably a little over a year from completion on these two. The other two are run by Sallie Mae, and might take a bit longer.

Man, oh man! An extra $184.28 a month... The possibilities boggle the mind. Now, a smart person would promptly invest this cash in low-risk long term investments. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you've been shown quite convincingly that I am NOT a smart person. At least financially.

I know what I'll spend it on...

Liquor! Liquor and Whores! Maybe some guns, too!

Yeah! Lots of Guns! And Steak!

Guns, Steak, Liquor and Whores!

Heh. I think I just found a new blog name.

Well, That Was A Bad Idea

More Adventures In Semi-Pro Cookery

I've been trying to come up with a good recipe for a tamale casserole. I really like tamales, especially the kind with shredded chicken and green chili peppers. I really hate the whole corn husk process, though, so I thought I'd experiment with throwing everything into a casserole dish and eating it that way.

I had all the ingredients. Even made my own masa. I spread layers of enchilada sauce, chicken, cheese, masa and peppers, then baked it all up. It tasted OK, but the texture was way rubbery.

8 hours later, the tamale pie revolted. No, no spewage on either end, just a low-level alimentary canal revolt that bloats you up and makes you feel like hammered dogpoo for a while.

I consulted with one of my co-workers, a specialist in Mexican food, and learned that I should have steamed the masa dough before assembling the casserole. He claimed I was "eating it raw". Hmmm. You'd think 45 minutes at 350 degrees would settle that "raw" business. Maybe not.

Oh well, I'll try again later. MUCH later.


'Scuse me.

Guns & Food

Doesn't Take A Lot To Make Me Happy

I have been remiss in promoting some online digests... Please drop in and give them a look-see!

Carnival of Cordite #37

Carnival of Recipes #64


Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Science Of Cow Tipping

I Recommend Tipping Only 10%, They Never Refill My Drink

Science has spoken, and all your buddies that said they tipped over a cow by themselves are completely full of $h1t. According to researchers at the University of British Columbia, it would usually take 4 1/2 people acting in concert to provide the necessary force to tip a cow. While it is possible for two people to do it, the cow would pretty much have to be paralytic.

Read it for yourself, tipsters.


Friday, November 04, 2005

More Fun With The Man

At Least It Won't Be Televised...

This summer, all the assorted divisions in our department had these little one-day retreats with the Director. Wasn't much a retreat, really. More of a tactical withdrawal.

We were tucked into a tiny conference room in the subbasement of The Man's lair, got a fruit plate, granola bars and some lukewarm OJ in return for sitting down and listing all the things that are going wrong/right, and what we ought to do about it. This should have taken 2 hours, tops. Naturally, it went on all day.

Now, I've only been here a little over a year, and the Director doesn't appear to think all that highly of me as it is, so I kept mum on my chief complaint, which is there's just a plethora of ignunt-ass people populating cubicles around here. Oh, they're nice enough, but to quote 'Time Bandits', quite a few are mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence.

So, this week I get the cheery news that one of the other groups had a complaint that "people weren't aware of what the other divisions did all day", and that we must rectify this situation.

Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ. It's only been gone over in three staff meetings that I can recall. It's in our employee guide. It's on the farookin' website. Still, some people apparently still don't understand why some of us go places and do things, while they remain in their little square habitats and shuffle papers.

To combat this lack of comprehension, one of the Division Managers (thankfully NOT the one I report to) had the brilliant idea that each division, at successive staff meetings, should... (get ready for it...)

Act out a skit to visually demonstrate to all employees just what we do for a living.

Oh... Mah... Ghod... Welcome back to Summer Camp. Only I don't get to be drunk for the opening campfire this time.

So, next week yours truly will have to perform like a trained monkey while my boss grinds on the barrel organ. I have my script ready. My boss already approved it. I also have my backup script, which I have not mentioned to anyone. It's different in oh-so-many subtle ways. I can't wait to see how my co-workers react when I start the ad-libbing.

Things like this is why it's patently unfair that we get pee-tested. I now have a legitimate need for medical marijuana, just to keep the top of my head from blowing out like a jack in the box.

Sigh. At least there's a fresh bottle of Maker's Mark waiting for me at home.

Rednecks Driving In Circles

Warning! Heresy Alert!

Army of Mom is apparently under the influence of the methanol fumes emanating from Texas Motor Speedway... She's got a bunch of NASCAR drivers plastered all over her site.

Now, in most ways, I deeply resemble a redneck. I like the BBQ, the hound dogs, the shootin' irons, the pick'em-up trucks, and have been known to get intoxicated and do something really stupid prefaced by the phrase, "Hey, watch this!"

One trait I never picked up, however, was an appreciation for NASCAR. I was brought up on a steady diet of open-wheel racing, preferring Indy cars, but I'll go with Formula One as well. In a pinch, I'll watch those little outlaw death-buggies on a dirt track, but I never intentionally tune in to a NASCAR race. Hell, it bugs me to death that some Indy 500 drivers seem to plow into the wall just so they can catch their flight down to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600. Pick a league and stick to it, guys...

NASCAR always seemed... hokey, for lack of a better word. Back when they raced factory-stock vehicles, I suppose it was all right, but building an 800 horsepower monster and layering a thin skin of fiberglass that roughly approximates this year's crop of sedans just ain't right. Go ahead and weld on some armor plate! Add spikes and smoke generators! Race on a figure-eight track!

I know, I'm horribly biased. IRL racing is just guys going in circles, too. Still, there just seems more to Indy Cars than in NASCAR rides. Sure, you can talk all you want about gettin' in tight in the corners and tradin' paint, but that's just sloppy driving, IMHO. Touch wheels in an Indy car doing 220 MPH, there's a good chance one of those cars is gonna come down in the next county.

Anyway, just had to speak my piece. I'll finish up with a cute little ditty by Tim Wilson. I'm sure you can figure out the title of the song!

Jeff Gordon's gay! Jeff Gordon's gay!
At least that's what them ornery Earnhardt fans always say.
They swear he's usin' Vaseline on the 24 Chevrolet,
Jeff Gordon's gay, he must be gay!

He wears rainbow colors, he's a handsome fella,
Standin' in Victory Lane, with a gorgeous little wife
with a check in her hand, sippin that gay champagne
Them Earnhardt fans up in the stands, all chokin' on bread & Spam,
say Gordon's gay every time he turns and hugs Ray Evernham!

Jeff Gordon's gay, he must be gay!
He's probably whistlin' Elton John or Spandau Ballet!
He's got them rainbow warriors singin YMCA,
Jeff Gordon's gay, he must be gay!

He's got 3 Winston Cup trophies sittin' home on his trophy shelf,
but I betcha he can't pick one up, at least not by hisself!

Jeff Gordon's gay! Jeff Gordon's gay!
At least thats what the people who lose on Sunday always say.
They swear he's usin' Vaseline on the 24 Chevrolet,
Jeff Gordon's gay, he must be gay!

and next year he'll drive the long pink Cadillac... for Mary Kay!!!

Barney Fife Strikes Again

Highly Trained Professionals, Indeed...

For the second time this week, the local gendarmerie have let a prisoner slip away from custody. The first one managed to unshackle himself and pry open a van window while being transported. Police captured him hours later.

The second one I found out about while waiting on a bus to take me home last night, well after dark. There's a cop chopper buzzing around downtown, and while I'm watching it hover, I almost miss the Harris County sheriff's deputy slide to a stop in his cruiser next to the corner. He hops out, and starts flashing a mug shot at everyone, demanding "Anyone see this guy?" To tell the truth, it looked a bit like my brother-in-law after a tequila bender, so I kept my mouth shut. Some lady asked what the guy did, and the deputy replied "He's just been sentenced to death for double murder, but he escaped from the county jail."

About half the commuters shat themselves, the others took another look at the mugshot, and commenced to stare at everyone else's face, just to make sure he wasn't trying to catch the Woodlands shuttle.

Later, after arriving home, I found out that this upstanding citizen somehow found a change of clothes and an ID badge, claimed he worked for the Attorney General's office, and walked right out of the jail.

He's still on the loose, btw.

What peeves me the most is that due to The Man's policy on "violence in the workplace", the only weapons owned by employees allowed in this building is on the hip of the cop in the lobby. Hell, he's out back smoking most of the time anyway. A Concealed Carry permit is OK for visitors, but not for those of us that work here. Since my car sits all day at an unguarded transit center, I don't feel comfortable leaving a pistol in it while I'm at work, and it wouldn't have done me any good last night if it was way out there.

I may suggest that we offer a bank of lockboxes down in the lobby, kind of like the ones used in jails. You come in off the street, put your heater in the box, use your lock on the door, and retrieve it whenever you leave the building.

The Man will never go for it, there's too many scared little bunnies that work here. I've gotta at least suggest it, though. It bugs me beyond belief that we have a "safe workplace", then get tossed to the wolves as soon as we step outside.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The First (In)Decent NOLA Joke

Warning! Nose Spew Alert!

I've got to learn to quit drinking iced tea when clicking on weblinks that say "Funny Joke"! The resulting spew has got me digging around the crevices of the keyboard with a Q-tip trying to get all the moisture out.

Read it yourself!

(If it doesn't seem that funny, you're either related to a floater, or have zero knowledge of doo-wop groups)

Found tucked between the seats on The Omnibus

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cute Baby Alert!

I'm Gettin' Hyperglycemic Just Lookin' At Him!

Just got the Halloween pics from my sister. Little Sammy took a page out of A.A. Milne this year, and bounced around the neighborhood as Tigger.
The most wonderful thing about Tiggers,
is Tiggers are wonderful things!
Their tops are made out of rubber,
their bottoms are made out of springs!
They're bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy,
Fun! Fun! Fun! Fun! Fun!
But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is,
I'm the only one!
Oh, I-I-I-I'm the only one!

National Ammo Day - Nov 19th

Warm Up Those Credit Cards, People!

National Ammo Day is almost upon us again, gun-o-philes. Time once again to send a message to the retailers that the shooting sports aren't just the province of the militia nutcases and the gangbangers.

Take the time on the 19th to drop by your local sporting goods store, Wallyworld, or gun shop, and pick up at least 100 rounds of ammo. You oughta be shooting that much every week to stay in good practice, but this is a great chance to refresh the stockpile and advertise our support for ammo merchants.

Last year I bought 220 rounds of ammo on the 19th, and promised to double the amount this year. My original plan was to have a 1/2 crate each of 7mm & 8mm Mauser surplus ammo shipped to my doorstep, but things have changed.

First, I've been out shooting more often than usual, and as a result, I'm low on .45 Long Colt and .45 ACP, and completely out of .357 Magnum, save for a cylinderful I kept on hand for unplanned emergencies. So, those stocks need to be built back up before I drop serious cash on rifle fodder. I've got plenty of 7.62x39 on hand for the SKS if the local squirrels get squirrely.

Second, I've been carefully tucking away my pocket change since last year in order to be in a position to afford an Ammo Day Bonus Buy. Last year, I added the Springfield Armory .45 to the collection as the Bonus Buy, and I wanted to do the same this year. It's a good thing I'd made a habit of dumping my loose change and small bills into the Baboon Pirates Treasure Chest every week. I've had some financial issues lately, and that accumulated nest egg (and layaway) made the buy possible.

Want a look-see? I won't unveil it until the 19th, but you're welcome to guess at the identity. (Except you, Zibig! You already know, so shut yer yap!)

I make a payment this week, and the final payment on the 18th when I'll take it home. Here's a peek:

Mark your calendar! Don't forget! Buy some ammo, even if it's just a brick of .22s!

Update: Yeah, I know those are last year's banners. Point me towards the new ones and loan me some server space for pics!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's A Damned Conspiracy...

Or, How To Make El Capitan Turn Purple

I shoulda known... Let one blogger pick a weekend for a blogfest, immediately other bloggers will set dates for similar (though faraway) events in close proximity on the calendar.

It's kinda like getting to the movie theater early, and picking a seat off to the side, far from the primo middle seats, in hopes of a good viewing experience.


Inevitably, the next patrons entering will be the tuberculoid family with the two Tourette's-inflicted yard apes who choose to sit in the row directly behind you. (See, if they sat in front of you, the little turdblossoms wouldn't be able to hammer away at your chairback with their Keds) Human lint, I say! Attracted, no doubt, by my magnetic personality. Whatever...

Here's the skinny so far: Shoe wants to do the Austin blogmeet April 29. If we get the Jawja crowd, this is one you just can't miss. No way, nohow. Gotta be there.

OTOH, out in sunny Phoenix, AZ, this guy (along with other gunbloggers) has set up the Nation of Riflemen Spring Rally for.... that very same weekend!!!

Excuse me, I don't do this very often in public, 'cause I know it upsets some people. I beg your pardon...


OK, I'm better now.

Sigh. Spread it around, people... spread it around! Lots of weekends still available in 2006!

Things To Feed El Capitan

Comida Por El Dia De Pavo!

I had to ask a Spanish speaking co-worker to remind me what the Spanish word for 'turkey' was. It bounced off my tongue-tip as soon as she said 'pavo', but I still think my first instinct 'El Gobleador' sounds better.

Well, Thanksgiving is getting nearer, and since I've been woefully deficient in posting anything foodie-related, I thought I'd make an effort to put up some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes in the coming weeks.

Mom first made this one back when I was still in short pants. It doesn't show up every year on the buffet line, but if it does, you'd better be in front of me, lest there be none remaining! I seem to recall asking Mom to make a bucket of it so I could finally get all I wanted. She declined, so my addiction continues unabated to this day.

Without further ado, here's:
Green Beans Oregano

2 boxes or one med. bag frozen green beans
(you can use the french cut, if you're into that sort of thing)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
(Non-condensed! I like Progresso Creamy Mushroom)
1 tsp. oregano (I love oregano, and use 2-3 tsp.)
1 can Durkee french fried onions
Fresh-ground black pepper

Heat green beans according to package info until heated through (not boiling) then dump beans into a sieve to drain the liquid.

In a 9" casserole dish, combine one and a half cans of the mushroom soup, the oregano and pepper to your taste, then stir until well mixed.

Add in the green beans, and carefully fold until beans are coated. Spread the leftover soup over the top. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees, sprinkle with the french fried onions and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Now, if you want to get fancy and throw in some pancetta, garlic cloves, fresh-sliced porcini mushrooms, or make fresh onion rings yourself (or get them from Sonic or BK), well, that's up to you! It's all good!