Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Monday, October 31, 2005

2005 Ghost Recon Stealth Tourney

An Hour Of Crawling, A Second Of Dying...

The group of SOGgy Ghost Recon fanatics I associate with had our first throw-down in the 2005 Alpha Squad Ghost Recon Stealth Tourney last night.

For the record, groups such as ours are commonly known in the gaming community as "clans", but since we lack kilts, Scottish brogues, and blood ties, I'm not sure "clan" is really accurate! Gaming clans come and go, rarely lasting 6 months, but we've been hanging for 2 solid years and most of a third, albeit with a few folks who've come in or gone away.

I resisted the pull for the longest time, preferring my status as a Gamma Delta Iota than to being at the beck and call of a 13 yr old "clan leader". Fortunately, the SOGgies are an older, wiser crew, and (for the most part) past all the adolescent BS that make most clans repellent to me. Zippo applied the final arm-twisting, and got me to change my handle on Gameranger from El Capitan to El Capitan:SOG.

Ghost Recon is a Special Forces-styled First Person Shooter game, set in the near future. You kit out with the latest in equipment for killing people and breaking things, then drop into a scenario to do your thing, be it assassination, reconnaisance, rescue or demolition missions.

SOG (Special Operations Group) specializes in cooperative missions, requiring teamwork and stealth. Ghost Recon allows for huge 36 person team against team shoot-em-ups, but the endless run & gun gets old after a while.

So, we're in this year's stealth tournament, a series of 4 games where you get an initial briefing, a quick run around on a sand table, then you're dropped into the shit. We'd been practicing sporadically the past few weeks, and spent all of Sunday afternoon laying out our plan of attack, and practicing as best we could on similar scenarios.

Technical glitches were minor, limited to one headset that wouldn't transmit, but could receive.

We had three objectives, and split our 9 person crew to deal with each in turn. My squad got chosen to sneak & peek around the perimeter of the map, stealthing into a tent camp to whack a terrorist running the OPFOR's communications.

Our sneaking was perfect. We low-crawled past groups of tangoes, laid our motion sensors as needed, timed the patrol patterns of the tangos, and got everyone into place just prior to Weapons Hot. Zippo's plan was for Sparrow to lay the sensor, then back off and join Zip and our sniper Ballard in covering me, and I'd injun into the tent camp and grease the tango. Everything was going good until the tango looked out the tent window, and put half a dozen AK rounds into Sparrow. At this point, the shit well and truly hit the fan.

I poked my head into the tent, double-tapped the tango, then tried to pull back. Zippo had been whacked by the alerted camp guards, and I only managed to get one more of them before I got whipsawed. Once you're dead in tourney, you have to exit the game, so we could only sit in the Loser Lounge and listen in on our teammates.

We'd blown stealth by getting one of our guys shot before we killed the commo terrorist, so a lot of points got dropped there. Each of us dying cost -5 points. With our squad dead, the others had a rougher time of it, and one after another got detected and eliminated by the tangoes. I think we had 3 out of 9 make it to extract.

So, an unauspicious beginning to the tourney. We'll have three more chances to make up ground, and despite our poor score on Game One, the tournament judges were impressed by our tactics and professionalism. We just hit a big chunk o' bad luck this time around.

Carnival of Cordite #36

More Firearms Talk From Assorted Gun Guys

The latest Carnival Of Cordite is up over at Gullyborg's place!

Drop in and read a while!

It's A Baboon Birthday!

Celebrating One Year Of Waving Our Colorful Butts In The Air


"Happy Birthday to you!
You belong in a zoo!
You look like a monkey,
And you smell like one too!"

Heard that sung to me every birthday by my Dad, from as early as I can remember until well into my teens. Nothing like growing up in the pre-self esteem era!

I alluded to this blog's milestone in this week's Carnival of the Vanities post, but I'll make it official here.

Baboon Pirates has survived its first year!

12 months of blogging, almost 700 separate posts covering everything from politics to recipes to guns to free-ranging watermelons.

I've seen a lot this year. Many blogs have been born, a lot have given up the ghost. Hell, this week alone, we lost Catalano, Spoons Experience and most likely Graumagus. Both Christina and KDT disappeared, underwent a metamorphosis of sorts, then returned to us. There's been joy and sorrow aplenty all up & down my blogroll.

It's hard to say what's coming in the weeks and months ahead. I've met some great people through the local blogmeets and I hope to meet a lot more. I'm one of those folks that enjoys the status quo, and I'd love to see us all ride into the sunset together, blogging as we go. I know that's not gonna be the case, though. Meatspace always intrudes into these online personas, and you either accept the natural ebb and flow of life, or it'll drive you bananas.

A blog's only as good as its audience, and I'd be remiss if I didn't thank everyone for dropping in here from time to time to see what I'm gonna spew out next and/or keeping me amused through their own writings.

So, to Rob, Zip, Jenni, Dash, Serena, LC Beth, Samira, Rorshach, Lynnie Lou Who, Jim, Donny, Dax, Christina, Andy, Eric & Denita, Crimedog, Kurt, Grau, Kevin, Sheila, Steve, James, Velocidude, Cowboy Blob, George, Tiffany, Jeff, Daniel, Bert, Lila, Eric, AoM, AoD, Pammy, Sam, Tanker, Leslie, FlyGirl, Tkay, Connecticut Yankee, Cisco Kid, Kosher Red, Rockhauler, Zibig, Nelly, Nate, Kevin, Kathy and all the others I'm too scatterbrained to recall just now...


Looking forward to Year Two!

Friday, October 28, 2005

El Capitan's Favorites, 2004-2005

Best Of Baboon Pirates? Oh, Please... Spare Them Your Ego!!

OK, perhaps it's a bit overdone, but I trolled through 52 weeks of posts to do this, so you're getting it whether you want it or not!

Each post is not necessarily the best bit of writing I've ever done, but these are my personal favorites from Year One.

Hope you like 'em as much as I do!

The Broom Was Jumped!

Yours, Mine & Ours

Top 10 War Movies

A Winter's Tail

I Never Forget A Face

I'd Walk A Mile For A Camel

Commies Are Invading Downtown Houston!

The Nose Knows

Cocktails For Five

The Eyes Of Texas Are On YOU, Rob!

88 Lines About 44 Women

Two Thumbs Up

Planting Grandma

Sex Sex Sex

Favorite Fictional Characters

Ars Gratia Artis

Ode To A Temptress

Baby Evaluation Report

The Great Cat Treat Challenge

For Your Friends Who Worked At Enron

Take Two

The Case For Space (Guest post at Andy's blog)

Raising Cane's

I've Found Religion!

A Most Unusual Thank You Note

Jehovah Strikes Back

Done My Duty

Buying A Shootin' Iron

Wanted: Sominex, Ambien Or Valium

Blow, Gabriel, Blow!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Just Call Me Bwana Capitan

Baboon Pirates Go On Safari

OK, that's a bit melodramatic. Still, heading out into the Texas brush after whitetail deer is about as close as I'm gonna come to an African hunting adventure this year.

Got a call from the Cisco Kid last night, asking me if I'd like to join him up at his deer lease this season. He's got some land out west of the DFW Metroplex that's apparently overrun with cute widdle Bambis that need to be exterminated and then eaten. I've not been out after whitetail in several years, and this could be a lot of fun.

I suppose I've still got everything I need for a hunting trip. Basically, you just need a rifle you know how to shoot well, a sharp knife, some binoculars, warm clothing, and the ability to sit quietly for several hours at dawn and dusk. Oh, and a bottle of hooch in case it gets a little nippy at night. Maybe some cigars.

It's be cool if our friend Zibig was into this sort of thing, but I can just see him bouncing off the walls of the deer blind after 15 minutes, dying for a cigarette.

It's not a 100% done deal, though. I might have some irreconcilable schedule conflicts. The Cisco Kid's got three windows of opportunity to go out this season, one in November and two in December. The November slot isn't gonna work for me, and the December ones are kinda fuzzy right now. I need to get the family to commit to a Xmas schedule, and there's a lot of foot dragging happening at the moment.

Adding to that is the tiny detail that I keep neglecting to go sight in the rifles I possess that are capable of dropping a deer. The Savage .22 can hit 'em in the eye out to 100 yards, but I'm about 100% certain that hunting deer with a .22LR is illegal in Texas.

The stock on the custom Mauser isn't finished, and I still don't have any .257 Ackley Improved ammo for it. I'd have to shoot .257 Roberts ammo and see how that worked out, accuracy-wise. That rifle's a longshot at best, but it does have some good glass on top. The Czech Mauser is in excellent shape, and 8mm Mauser soft point rounds will drop little Texas deer in their tracks. No scope on it, though, and the iron sights are not far from ideal. I'd only feel comfortable out to 150 yards or so. I do have the bayonet for it, though, for when those sneaky evil deer make their banzai charge!

The FN49 has got much better sights on it than the Mauser, but it weighs a bloody ton. I don't need a 10 round magazine to hunt deer, either. 7mm Mauser hunting ammo is usually more expensive than the 8mm, and harder to find as well. The SKS is perfectly capable of dropping a deer, but the accuracy is just not acceptable to me. Last thing I need is to have to trail a gutshot deer over and around Texas hills and arroyos.

I really need to start looking in the local pawn shops for a decent lever-action Marlin or Winchester in .30-30 and slap a 4x scope on it just for these occasions. Heh. Just one more excuse to buy a new rifle!

Some Movie Reviews

El Capitan Takes In Some Flicks

I've caught quite a few movies recently. I hit the video store for the first time in ages and rented a stack, and also caught a couple on HBO that I didn't think were worth spending movie theater money on.

Let's do the HBO flix first. First up was the teen dramedy 'Napoleon Dynamite'. It's well on the way to becoming a cult classic, and I'm not exactly sure why. As it happens, I'm not supposed to get it. According to some of the fan sites, if I find it perplexing, I'm just too old to understand it.
I didn't find it perplexing as much as completely pointless. There were a few cute scenes here and there. The subplot with Napoleon's brother and the brother's online girlfriend made me grin from time to time. I spent most of the movie with a fervent desire to slap most of the actors upside the head for terminal buffoonery, though. That, and a wish for a cattle prod so I could zap the lead character and get him to quit squinting. I can't really recommend this flick, but if you do have to watch it, at least stick around for the final dance number. I did laugh out loud at that scene.

Next was 'Sideways', an utterly useless film in almost every regard. Basically, it's about two guys that spend a week roaming around in California's wine country as sort of an extended bachelor party.
This film got a lot of press when it was released, and likely increased California's DWI offenses by boosting the number of people who think it's nifty to get potted tasting samples at wineries before driving to several more. It's also made the wine-drinking sheeple out there switch en masse from merlot to pinot noir. (Hint: they both suck. If you're gonna drink a red, drink a Cabernet or a Syrah)
I couldn't finish the film. Both the lead characters were unlikeable in the extreme, and about halfway through, I just said "Enough! These assholes deserve each other!"

For the DVDs, I rented 5, and watched them over several nights.

The first flick, I'd seen before in the theaters. 'Sin City'. I'll recommend this one, but you do need the ability to stomach some really extreme violence. This has to be the first film out there where you see a guy grab ahold tightly to another guy's hoo-hah, and rip it off entirely. It's a comic book graphic novel brought to life, and you can see that director Robert Rodriguez truly respects Frank Miller's source material. Very well done, and it needs to win all kinds of awards for technical merits. Not for the faint of heart!

'Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' sucked so much ass, there's a worldwide run on vacuums and donkeys. If you're unfamiliar with Douglas Adams's Magnum Opus, you really have no business watching HHGTTG anyway. I'd actually prefer to watch the BBC version, cheesy production values and all. Bill Nighy steals the show as usual, playing Slartibartfast. I'd watch that guy recite the dictionary.

'A Day Without A Mexican' was recommended to me by... a Mexican. It's a cautionary tale of what would happen in California if the borders were sealed, and everyone of Latino descent were to suddenly disappear. It's a cute story, but a bit too preachy for my taste. Then again, I'm a gringo. Don't miss the parts with the lady who's certain that Mexicans were God's Chosen, and the disappearance is actually the Rapture.

Next up is 'Layer Cake', a gangster film of the British persuasion. I enjoyed this film immensely, right up to 2 days after I watched it. That was when I learned that the lead actor, Daniel Craig, (who is poised to become the next James Bond) is a pantywaisted gun-fearing wussy. Really put me off my bubble & squeak, eh what?
It's a fun movie to watch, perhaps a bit too convoluted plot-wise for its own good, but it keeps you guessing right up until the end. If you hate the ending (appropriate as it may be) there's two alternate endings on the DVD to choose from!

The last flick is called 'Crash'. Set in Los Angeles (big shocker there), it's a story about many intertwined lives and racial relations in the city. I dunno what you'll see here that you didn't already see in 'Grand Canyon', 'Short Cuts' or 'Magnolia'. While the film moves quickly, and is not overtly biased towards blacks, whites, Hispanics, or Arabs Persians!, the director's message begins to come through pretty clear very early on. His message seems to be not that there's racial issues, not that these issues can be overcome, but instead that every single human being in LA is a contemptible asshole, completely beyond redemption. Oh, yeah, the director thinks guns are Eeeeevil, too. It's a 2 hour series of racial cliches. Pass this one by.

Until next time, the balcony is closed! (Heh. Balcony. Who am I kidding? I watch these sitting in an office chair in front of my iMac...)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Yielding To Temptation

The Lure Of The Instalanche Was Too Strong To Resist...

I tried to play it cool, be nonchalant. Ride the waves of the Carnival and let them take me where they may. I kept telling myself that I host the Carnivals for the HTML coding practice, the fellowship amongst bloggers, the new avenues to arcane knowlege. Surely I'm beyond the need for a few extra hits on the Sitemeter logs...

Didn't work. I was weak. Emailed the link to Perfesser Puppyblender tonight after telling myself I wouldn't.

This'll probably backfire. I sent him the link for my Carnival of Cordite hosting effort this summer, and was soundly ignored.

Sigh. Where's my hair shirt and scourge? I must do penance for my weakness...

Will Wonders Never Cease?

You Can't Keep A Good Blogger Down!

My my my.... Look who's back online!

Despite the name change, there's still definitive traces of Feistiness lingering!

Glad to see you're back in your own digs, Christina! I'll get you back on the blogroll ASAP!

An Overdue Range Report

Darn Carnivals Suckin' Up all My Time...

On my mini-vacation last week, my buddy Zibig and I took advantage of my weekday out of the salt mines to go fling some rounds downrange at American Shooting Centers over in West Houston.

Spending part of a weekend there is nice, but going on a weekday is a shooter's dream. The firing line is barely half-full so you can spread out your krep across another station if you need to, and you can hang multiple targets, as long as you don't get too prolific in your paper hanging. The atmosphere is not more relaxed, they still run a pretty tight ship, but with fewer people to monitor, it takes less time between each round of shooting.

This was a .22LR caliber session, for the most part. Zibig brought his S&W 422 with the 6" barrel along with a Marlin Model 60 autoloader topped with a nice Bushnell scope. I had my little S&W 2214 autoloader and my Savage bolt-action .22 rifle. I brought along the .45 auto and the SKS, but we had so much fun with the .22s that I only put 50 rounds through the .45 and we didn't even get around to shooting the SKS.

At the last shooting session at ASC, Jim of Smoke On The Water suggested I benchrest the 2214 to see how it would perform. There were a few range sandbags laying around, so I grabbed a couple, along with a chair, and set up at a 15 yard target.

I started off with some really slow fire from the sandbag rest, trying to keep as tight a group as possible. I was using Winchester SuperX .22 rounds. It's not el cheapo stuff, but it's not premium fodder either. Regardless of how careful I was with breathing, trigger squeeze, follow through, etc., the best grouping I could get out of that pistol measured around 5.5 inches. I guess that's all you can expect out of the 2" barrel sporter pistol. Not great, and my freehand groupings are only an inch or so larger than the benchrested groupings.

I switched to Zibig's popper, which is essentially the same firearm with an extra 4" of barrel, and the groups shrunk down to the 2" range, apart from the occasional flyer. Looks like it's definitely the gun. Well, I bought the 2214 as a tacklebox tool/last ditch gun, so I'm not looking for MOA accuracy from it. It shoots well, is easy to control, and as long as you feed it decent ammo, it's reliable.

I alternated between shooting the rifle and pistol. The .22 rifle I brought this trip is a family heirloom, owned by my grandfather back when he lived on a farm in Arlington Texas, on land now occupied by Interstate 30 and Six Flags Over Texas. Countless rounds have been put through it in the '40s and '50s by my father and his 3 brothers, and it's easily got another 100 years of life left in it.

It's a Savage Model 19 NRA Match rifle, and even at 75+ years of age, it still lives up to the "Match" name. When Dad & I re-discovered it 8 years ago, moldering in the back of a closet in my grandmother's house, it was jammed into an old leather saddle boot, and was missing the magazine. A good cleaning put it into proper order, except for a worn safety mechanism that'll fire the gun if you move it from 'S' to 'F'. It took a while, but I found a replacement mag at a gun show up in Mesquite TX 4 years ago.

The micrometer rear sight has seen better days, but still holds a zero as long as you don't bump it too hard. The trigger is just about perfect, with a crisp break at maybe 3 lbs of pressure.

Once I got it dialed in, it was shooting groups consisting of one ragged hole right in the X ring. Wherever you placed that front sight, you just breathed on the trigger and a .22 cal hole appeared instantly above the sight post. Even Zibig's scope-sighted Marlin on 9X zoom couldn't outshoot it.

It was the first time I'd had the old Savage out in several years, and I enjoyed it immensely. There might need to be a little shootin' contest at the next blogshoot! This old gal still has what it takes!

Carnival Of The Vanities #162

I Got Your October Surprise Right Here...

Welcome to Baboon Pirates and the 162nd Carnival Of The Vanities! My nom de blog is El Capitan, and I'll be the ringmaster/sideshow operator/skeevy carny for this week's festivities.

This is a milestone of sorts for me. It's my 3rd time to host a blog carnival, and by the good graces of Bigwig at Silflay Hraka, I'm able to host the grandaddy of all Carnivals on the week that Baboon Pirates turns over the odometer from Year Zero to Year One

So, let's do this thing...

Rorschach of Red Ink: Texas gets the top slot this week via a blatant act of nepotism on my part. He's been a regular visitor and commenter here for a long while, so I'm happy to present his piece entitled Evolution and Homosexuality: Does one prove the fallacy of the other? (LINK FIXED! Mea Maxima Culpa!)

Next, the Miscellaneous section. Most time these odd ducks get stuck at the tail end of the Carnival, read by very few visitors. Not here! They get a jump to the front of the line!

Everything Else

Elisson at Blog d'Elisson just beats the submission deadline to bring us an excellent question. Does hate come naturally to people, or is it learned behavior? Elisson takes the position that You've Got To Be Taught.

Rachel at the Tinkerty Tonk blog wonders if Women are crazy. Uh, yeah! Well, at least as crazy as men, just in a slightly more diabolic way.

Phil Whitley via his blog Writing Keechie asks What Genre Do You Write About? Ummm... all of them? Phil, whaddya recommend for writers that back-burner their Great American Novel to blog all the time? Not that I know anyone like that, or anything!

At Et Tu Bloge Neal Phenes reminds us that according to some, Every Dictator Does Some Good . Yeah, yeah, they made the trains run on time. Heard that one before!

Laurence Simon at This Blog Is Full Of Crap is still tracking the Astros run for the World Series championship. He'd really like to know Who is rooting for whom?

Over at Adam's Blog, Adam Graham is not too pleased about the latest round in the ongoing title fight, Hollywood v. God.

The Great Game

Our first contender in the Politics category is Brad of the blog Unrepentant Individual. He submitted a pair of posts that reveal him as a huge Neil Boortz fan, as well as a libertarian. This is pleasing to the Simian Horde, so he pulls this section's pole position!
A free Guv'mint ID is NOT a poll tax! And if it is, it's cheap at half the price!
Separation of Church and State (Use a crowbar...)

Next up is Stephen Littau representing his blog, Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds. He describes getting an earful of a politician he didn't vote for:
Town Hall Meeting with Senator John McCain

Rob B. from File It Under is pretty certain that All your culture are belong to US!! I think he may have a point. After all, I go to United Nations meetings for endless obfuscation, dithering and finger pointing, not cultural enlightenment!

Over at Mad Kane's Notables Madeleine Begun Kane pens little ditties skewering politicians that lean to the right. In all honesty, despite the "Mad" moniker, she seems relatively rational rather than having the blue-dyed leftist's cross-eyed moonbattery. Here's her ode to Plamegate: Fitzmas Madness!!

John Ray of Dissecting Leftism gives the Carnival a hard swerve back the right with a demonstration of the leftist tendencies of pre-war British Fascists.

The Man (who is not The Man that I labor for daily, but is nonetheless still The Man) at GOP and the City presents 6 Degrees of George W. Bush. I knew that Kevin Bacon guy was squirrelly ever since I saw 'Footloose'!

Matt Johnston, on his blog Going to the Mat tells a tale of Why Racial Gaps Persist. For what it's worth, the Gap over by me at Memorial City Mall seems pretty non-prejudicial...

Around The World

Barak of Information Regarding Israel's Security starts off the international segment of the Carnival with some news in support of the Iron Lady. He got good reviews on it from, so let's just show it off to the rest of the blogosphere!
Debunking the "Lady Thatcher Revealed Doubts about Iraq War" Claim.

Conor Friedersdorf at the very impressive Beyond Borders Blog asks some Tough Questions regarding immigration status and our continuing need in the U.S. for new blood.

While we're on the subject of immigrants, Isaac Schrödinger at his eponymous blog lets us know that not everyone learns the same history lessons.

At Western Resistance, Isabel de Castilla reminds us that Hindu Kush means: Hindu Slaughter. It's a good reminder that there's centuries of bad blood between cultures in areas other than the Middle East.

On a lighter note, Mark Rayner at The Skwib warns us of the impending Furry Blitzkrieg of Nazi raccoons invading Europe. They'll feast on your brains, but only after they wash you off in the nearest stream...

Money Matters

Sammler at The Stone City blog gets the lead-off spot in the Economics section 'cause I really liked his post. He tells us just what The Great Motivator is that keeps the wheels turning. Give it a read!

Beginning the section on all matters economic, Ironman who writes the blog called Political Calculations shows us a tool for Paying Off Your Credit Card Bill. After punching in my numbers, it appears that I'm on the hook until 2498 A.D.

Steve Pavlina offers up an essay on his take on What Is Productivity. His blog, Steve Pavlina's Personal Development Blog says it's only for smart people, so if you think that the Apollo moon landings are a hoax, or that Communism is a viable form of government, please don't visit it!

Next week's Carnival Of The Vanities host, Free Money Finance, tells us exactly how much millionaires pay, on average, for a suit. Heh. Forget Syms or Men's Wearhouse. My next suit is coming off of eBay!

Yaro Starak who writes the Entrepreneur's Journey blog, brings us Online Marketing Outside The Box. Count me as surprised! My sum knowledge of Aussie entrepreneurship stops at knowing they sell us their swill beer (Foster's) while keeping the best stuff for themselves!

Barry Welford at The Other Bloke's Blog writes about the Montreal Bagel Blog, and how traditional brick & mortar businesses can find a place in cyberspace. Next up, (keeping my fingers crossed)!!

Over at Big Picture, Small Office, Big Picture Guy goes cell phone shopping, and he knows EXACTLY what he wants! And so should you!

Just What The Doctor Ordered

Kicking off the Medical Matters section, Dean Esmay offers an alternative source for a monograph by a dissident scientist questioning orthodox thinking on HIV.
Here it is: Duesberg/Bialy Torrent.

Josh Cohen at Multiple Mentality shines a light on the booming gastric reduction business, with his post on The Negative Truths of Gastric Bypass Surgery. Eye opening stuff for this chilidog addict, I can tell you...

Jon P at Liberty Cadre chimes in with a cautionary warning about bird flu, entitled Lets not run chicken about the flu...

Elisa Camahort of the HealthyConcerns blog writes a really great post called Mother in denial? Or in a better position to judge?. I'll have to lean towards the parent's observations in this case. Doctors, though they are loathe to admit it, are not all-knowing!

This Just In: News and Current Events

Don Sürber really likes ümlaüts, and is amazed to see one in a MSM headline! In the first of his posts this week, he writes on his self-titled blog Don Sürber aboüt how being übersexüal kicks metrosexüal bütt!! Don, call Motorhead. Lemmy wants his umlauts back...

Dan Melson at Searchlight Crusade spins a tale on Ruling the World as an Information Aggregator. Yeah, Google's poised to roll past Microsoft as the dominant life force in the universe, but there's always a niche to be found!

Obi-Wan over at the Forward Biased blog wants to Turn 'em all out! There seems to be too many pols voting to keep shoveling pork for his taste. I prefer the Rope/Tree/Some Assembly Required method of politician eradication, but I'm odd that way.

Two Dogs at the extremely amusing blog called Mean Ol' Meany shines a spotlight on Those Damn Great Democrats Part XI - Barack Obama. But he's not a racist. Honest!

While reading PoliticalCP's submittal email, I thought "Oh boy... get out the tinfoil hats and UFO detectors." I was WAY off base. At his blog The Politics of CP PoliticalCP presents a Digest of Jamaat ul-Fuqra Coverage Read it all. I'd never heard of these ul-Fuqra guys, and it's extremely unnerving, to say the least.

Mike at Interested-Participant brings us more in the ongoing saga of that gangsta that jacked the NOLA schoolbus. Geez, for a movie and book deal, I'll commandeer the METRO bus tomorrow morning...

Chris Jenkins at DubiousProfundity and Abnu from Wordlab both offer memorials to Rosa Parks. Please read both of these excellent offerings.

The Funny Pages

"Poca Dot" starts off the Humor section with a pic that's just right for the season! His submittal email reveals a secret identity as a previous poster this week, but we'll just keep calling him Poca Dot for now. He shows us what happens After The Halloween Party.

Buckley F. Williams at The Nose On Your Face blog brings us the Worst Halloween Costumes Of All Time. I dunno, dude. This one comes pretty close in inducing the maximum amount of horrified groans. Heh. Helter Skelter! I'm just sad I didn't think of it myself!

Bussorah Merchant at the Wicked Thoughts blogs gives us THE BITER BIT. Moral of the story? 5 day waiting periods aren't always a bad thing!

Jack over at The People's Republic of Seabrook thinks it's pretty Amazing what some people will do to get on TV, eh?. Not really. Just wave dollars in front of most people, and they'll eagerly debase themselves for paltry sums. For others, the mere wink of the lens is enough to generate some seriously outlandish behavior!

At The Peace Moonbeam Chronicles, Peace Moonbeam doses herself with an extra hit of patchouli oil and presents for our pleasure: Raging Fists Of Fury With John McCain!

Crime and Courts

Ferdinand T. Cat (who we strongly suspect of lounging around and forcing his pet Bruce to write this) stretches and yawns from his perch at Conservative Cat and coughs up some information on a New Phishing Scam. Unfortunately for Ferdinand, this sort of phish is not suitable for rolling in.

Brian J. over at the Musings from Brian J. Noggle is wondering What If Saddam Hussein Goes O.J.? Well, as far as I'm concerned, if the man's a dick, you must convict!

Different River at the self-named Different River blog asks some questions about Regulation by Lawsuit? My opinions on most attorneys have been well documented here, so I'll keep mah mouf' shut.

That's All, Folks!

Thanks to everyone who participated, and a big box of kitty treats goes to Ferdinand D. Cat for having the ultra-spiffy Carnival Submit form that made this hosting gig a whole lot easier!

Next week's Carnival is hosted by Free Money Finance and you can be part of it by emailing him the usual details. Or, you can use the handy submission form at the Conservative Cat mentioned above.

Deadline for submission is Tuesday, November 1 at 6:00 pm ET

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Come Back Later! I'm Busy!

It'll All Be Over Soon...

Can I just mention that there's a huge amount of effort that goes into hosting a Blog Carnival? My copy/paste fingers are getting worn out!

Got a good supply of posts for tomorrow's Carnival Of The Vanities, though. Very little (read that as ONE) offerings from any of my regular horde. For shame...

There's still time! You got two hours to get your Best. Post. Ever. in to this addy:
baboonpirates2 AT gmail DOT com

If ya gotta have some El Capitan rambling in the meantime, go read this again. It's pretty cute!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Long Lazy Weekend

As Usual, I Did As Little As Possible

I'm feeling some extreme guilt pangs for not posting this weekend. I feel I ought to be doing more to plug the upcoming Carnival Of The Vanities that will be ready to roll on Wednesday.

Still, the Carnival will sink or swim largely on the quality of the posts submitted. All I'm doing is putting them in an easily-digested format. I'm still dithering between two forms I've picked out. Either the COTV Dead Cat edition (complete with pics), or just a straightforward delivery according to subject matter.

Most times, I wouldn't blatantly wave a red cape at another blogger by considering posting pics of dead cats on the COTV, but I'm still a bit peeved at the comment left here by Laurence following his "Avignon" edition of a really poorly-hosted COTV a while back.

If I fuck it up, then you get to lambaste me, Larry. Until then, however, please go back to grilling asparagus, podcasting, bitching about METRO, sneering at fat people, catblogging or whatever fills your litterbox. We'll try to use our inferior skills in a manner pleasing to the überbloggers.

Sigh. I wonder if I oughta mention that my Lidge voodoo doll is cancelling out his Qualls Ooga-Booga dance? Nah, I'll wait until Game 4 for that...

Blow, Gabriel, Blow!

So Much For Never Quoting Show Tunes. I Guess Anything Goes!

The cooler weather this morning was a blessing, or so I thought.

I've been having intermittent troubles with the horn on the Caddy, where the slightest touch anywhere on the steering wheel sets off random honking. Normally, it's just an annoyance, but every so often the contact gets stuck and you get an extended blaring until you pound on the wheel long and hard enough so that it breaks the connection.

This morning, I ease into the driver's seat, and as soon as I reach around the wheel to insert the key, off goes the horn. I suppose the colder weather caused some odd piece of metal to contract, and now this thing ain't shutting off, though I'm beating the steering wheel like a rented mule.

Now, a Caddy's horn ain't exactly understated. In a marque long used by Men of Renown and Captains of Industry, the horn is meant to command instant attention from the plebians, lest they intrude into the path of their betters. Even today, when you're likely to find the Cad in the hands of even wage-slaves such as myself, the horn is still ruthlessly efficient. I've heard foghorns and steam whistles that were less effective at cranking out the decibels.

In no time at all, I'm surrounded by neighbors, mostly wearing bathrobes and looks of extreme disgust. The colder weather has not only set the horn to squalling, it's also dicked with the hood latch linkage. I can't get the damned thing open.

I employ a neighbor child to lift on the hood latch inside the car while I whale on the hood, and sho' nuff, it pops the catch loose and I raise the hood to start pulling wires to the horn. As I let go of the hood, it promptly conks me on the head on its way back down to the securely latched position.

I can't even curse properly, surrounded as I am by a growing crowd of women and children. Spit. Corruption. Dirty Drawers. OK, the hood support hydraulic thingies are getting hit with the cold weather too. They won't hold the weight of the hood.

So, we fiddle with the latch again, get the hood up, and one-handed I root around until I can get the wires pulled on the dual horns tucked in behind the battery. The sound of silence reigns once again. I slam the hood. The horns start up again. Motherf^#$^%#r!!!

Open the hood again. Guess what... There's TWO MORE horns on the opposite fender well, blaring in a slightly different key. Yank, yank. Dead silence once more. Well, there would be, if not for all the neighbor's grumbling. I decide that spraying them down with the garden hose will not help matters.

I'm at a bit of a loss as to why things on this Cad are quickly expiring. It was in perfect condition a year ago. It's not like I abuse it. Hell, I drive like an old woman most of the time. I change the oil every 3K miles, keep the fluid levels up, check the tire pressure, etc. OK, I got a little loaded and backed it into a fence and removed some fender trim, but that's purely cosmetic. I guess it just dislikes me.

I'm gonna buy me a tractor. That's all there is to it. One of those cast-iron Ford farm tractors that still use the basic Model-T engine and tranny, and will run on gas, diesel, kerosene or corn squeezin's. No horn on 'em either!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

3 Down, One To Go...

Wonder If I Can Get Monday Off Too?

Sorry for the lack of posting. I've been making the most of a 4 day weekend. It was nice waking up this morning after having Thurs & Fri off and realize that I still had a full weekend ahead of me before my parole is revoked and I head back to the salt mines.

My boss was kind enough to call and let me know that The Man decreed that the lazy hazy days of summer are OVER and we are to report to work in full Corporate Armor Monday morning. No more Business Casual, except on Fridays. Sigh. I'm not even sure I know where my neckties have gotten to...

More posts later. Got a range report and a few other odds & ends to chat about.

Now, I'm off to watch the Astros kick a little Chi-town ass.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Alert: Redhead Dancing Madly In NYC

Do Not Attempt To Apprehend, Just Offer Battery Recharge!

Actually, I'm kind of concerned about pointing this new Apple iPod advert out to Sheila for fear her head will asplode through sheer delight.

Well, she'll manage, I'm sure. Her neighbors might be miffed when she puts the ad on autoplay until 2006, though...

Enjoy, Red!

Note: Link probably has short lifespan...

Highly Eclectic?

Heh heh.. heh heh... heh heh... He Said 'High'... Heh heh...

Just perusing my daily linky-log on Technorati to see who's attached themselves remora-fashion to this Ship of Fools. Turns out there's a link from a guy promoting the Carnival Of The Vanities (Here next week!), and set up a pointer my way.

He described this place as "highly eclectic". Never quite thought of it that way. I was always of the opinion that things here were running a lá blogging without a net" or "Themes? We don' need no steenkin' blog themes!"

Heh. "Highly eclectic". This bears further thought...


God, I Love My Cable Modem!!

Please forgive my geekery. All of you who started out with modems where you jammed the phone receiver in the suction cup thingies will understand, though...

Just finished downleading the Fall 2005 Ghost Recon Stealth Tournament mod from our team leader's site. 150 MB all zipped up.

Got sustained downloads in the 480 Kbps range, with a top speed of 489 Kbps. Knocked that sucker out in less time than it took to get a fresh glass of iced tea and feed the cats.

Sigh... almost brought tears of joy to my eyes! No, not quite T3 speeds, but considering it's courtesy of a company that insists on using a cartoon bird for a mascot, it ain't all bad!

Now I must go smash my old 14.4 modem with a large hammer and scatter the bits around the cable modem as an offering to the bandwidth gods...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wanted: Sominex, Ambien, or Valium

My Subconscious Is Getting Bizarre On Me

Dreamt me some tremulous dreams last night. Woke up feeling like I'd been trod upon by a herd of wildebeest. Dreaming may be your brain's method of having a little holiday, but occasionally it wreaks havoc on your daytime psyche.

The worst part is, I can't even blame this one on late night ingestion of Train Wreck Stew, Kitchen Sink Pizza, or just one 'lude too many. Nope, this is one of those clear-as-a-bell persistent memory journeys through la-la land that keep my puzzler puzzling. Wanna hear about it? Sure ya do!

So, I'm driving along with my buddy Connecticut Yankee in his much-abused blue Ford Ranger. For some reason, it's missing the camper shell. Probably flung off the vehicle on one of his many high-speed up-on-two-wheels cornering exercises. We're out in the middle of nowhere, just driving for hours, talking about nothing much in particular.

Suddenly, we come upon a town. It's the bump in the road known as Arnett, Oklahoma, hometown to my friend Rockhauler. I've been to this town only once in my life, just as the sun was coming up on an overnight trip from Denver to Dallas a decade ago. Stopped just long enough to take a picture of the Arnett city limit sign and drive by the high school. Somehow, in the dream, it's all clear as a bell 10 years later.

We pull into a gas station that suddenly morphs into a roadside food stand/motel. All the employees seem to be small Mexican children. Connecticut Yankee insists on getting something to eat off the grill, a disreputable looking piece of cooked dead animal put on stale white bread, which he insists on slathering with mayo out of a gallon jar that looks to have been sitting in the sun for a year.

I tried to object to his choice of cuisine, but he was intent on the snack. I go inside the motel, since I'm sure we'll be there for the night. Place is a dump. Right out of the Saturday Night Live skit 'White Trash Bed & Breakfast', complete with the dead dog in the sink and the car transmission in the bathtub. ("Breakfust?? OK, we got ketchup on white, or ketchup and onion on white!")

The shower curtain is an old bedsheet so torn up, I'm not sure it'll survive a soaking. Connecticut Yankee has a zero-capacity GI tract (food goes in, something HAS to come out immediately), and he and I start arguing over who gets to use the shitter first. It's also behind a bedsheet/curtain. We pull down the curtain, and it's so filthy that it looks like the place has been tarred & feathered, only using hair instead of feathers.

We bolt out of there, and hit the road again. I get the vague sense we're off to see the Limey Bastard in Clovis, N.M., only Connecticut Yankee doesn't seem to realize that LB's in Roswell or Ruidoso or wherever he's moved to this month, and I can't get Connecticut Yankee to change course.

About that time I wake up, with a desperate need to offload that 44oz. iced tea I had with dinner. Betsy Cat is not at her usual perch at the head of the bed, so I've probably been tossing and turning so much she got annoyed and left.

Now, I'm not the kind of person that puts a lot of stock in dream interpretations. There are plenty of books out there that'll tell you that seeing a bunny rabbit in your dreams means you're about to get pantsed by unruly Norwegians, or that seeing a rose means you're about to contract a raging case of piles. For the most part, I think those books make excellent boat anchors.

Connecticut Yankee showed up in the dream, no doubt, since I got an email from him a few days ago, and he's been on my mind lately. Well, not so much him, per se, but the memories his email stirred up have me thinking a lot about our college years and in particular, his ex-girlfriend, The Sock.

She got dubbed The Sock by my friend Rockhauler since he felt she had the personality of a sweat sock. She was a soccer player, a bit of a tomboy, had a serious Star Trek fetish, and was pursuing an engineering degree so she could invent the warp drive. She also had the roundest, firmest soccer balls of anyone I knew.
(Private note to ConnYank: "EMERSON!")

Connecticut Yankee was her first real relationship, and since he & I were pretty tight, I saw The Sock quite often. More so, in fact, than I suspect Connecticut Yankee realizes. See, she occasionally needed advice on the whole dating game (among other things), and since I was considerably older & "safe", I could be the pseudo-father figure that wouldn't go telling stories later.
We spent a good deal of time chatting, and as time passed, I began to realize that it wouldn't take a great deal of effort to proceed from "Tell me what to do when..." to "Let's just show you how to..."

Like Seth Gecko said, "I'm a bastard, but I'm not a fucking bastard". I have just a handful of morals I live by, but "Don't fuck your buddy" is right at the top of the list. As long as they were together, I'd be the perfect gentleman. Once they broke up, though...

Connecticut Yankee, aside from being a Yankee, was no fool. He let me know shortly after they broke up that he wasn't sure how he'd react if I was to start dating The Sock, so I know he'd given it some thought. Hell, for all I know, I kept my mouf' shut about our chats, and The Sock blabbered it all to Connecticut Yankee as pillow talk.

As it happened, I talked to her maybe once or twice after their split, then never saw her again. The age gap was the primary reason I didn't pursue. Sure, she was sexy as a stump-broke sheep, but you've got to be able to talk the other 12 hours of the day you're not mattress-dancing, and there just wasn't enough commonality to ever fill that gap.

I'm kinda surprised she didn't make an appearance in the dream. The Arnett locale was obviously a reference to the mutual disdain between Connecticut Yankee and Rockhauler, and my stress at having two close friends of mine not like each other. The road trip was just wish fulfillment. We've never had a successful road trip with the Connecticut Yankee & the Limey Bastard that didn't end with someone in police custody. The food Connecticut Yankee gets but I object to has got to be his immersion in the frat-rat culture, which I bitched about endlessly, but turned out all right in the end.

The Mexican kids and the no-tell motel? I don't even wanna speculate on that. Sometimes it IS just your brain having a night out at the movies.

OK, I've rambled enough. I've got two comp days tomorrow and Friday, so tonight it's tequila slammers until I pass out. I need a break from my subconscious!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

¿Dónde está Anarchangel?

Él ha desaparecido!

Anyone know where Anarchangel is?

I'm gettin' a big ugly 404 Not Found off of Blogspot.

That jihad didn't get him, did it?

UPDATE: Never mind... it's up. Blogger must have hiccuped.


Dammit! I Must Have My Sammiches!!

I knew things were going too well when the boss granted me the OK for two comp days this week. Dame Fortuna giveth, and that ol' bitch Fate takes something away.

I just saw this piece in the Barnacle...

Seems that Randall's is closing down a bunch of underperforming stores around Houston, and mine's on the list! I'm so pissed!

It's the only Randall's on my route to work, it's got a branch of my bank in the lobby, so I can stop and get cash without an obscene fee attached, and to add insult to injury, I'm about to be fresh out of submarine sammiches!

This Randall's makes what has to be, hands down, the best sub sandwiches EVER. Crusty bread, with enough heft to stand up to the pounds of meat and cheese inside. Homemade mayo spread thin, sammiches are fresh made every morning. I usually stopped once or twice a week to get them for lunch, and would swing by Friday afternoons when they marked them down to have weekend snackies.

Doggone it, if Randall's weren't one of my favorite stores, I'd boycott!

Sigh, back to eating lunch in the downtown tunnels.

Oh, here's the full list of the stores to be closed, for any Houstonites lurking here:

• 13350 Jones Road.

• 7320 Antoine

• 12555 Westheimer

• 6805 Highway 6 South

• 11021 Fuqua

• 7098 Bissonnet

• 1302 Blalock Dr.

• 4880 Louetta

• 1306 W. Davis

• 13140 Louetta

• 3126 FM 528 in Webster

• 570 El Dorado Blvd. in Webster

• 4610 Highway 6 South in Sugar Land

• 4802 Fairmont Parkway in Pasadena

• 2800 E. Broadway in Pearland

• 3047 John Redditt Dr. in Lufkin

New Apple Toy!

Get Yours Today!!!

It's well known that I'm a certified Mac fanatic, but this fake ad still makes me laugh!

There's a rebuttal ad here!

Found at: Cold Fury

Monday, October 17, 2005

Blogmeet Factions

So, Are You "In" or "Out"?

Hmmmm.... it seems that there's already a blogmeet in the works for the spring, and I'm just now hearing about it.

This is not surprising, as the planner is one of the TX/GA crowd. That's my designation of the folks from here (Lone Star State) who've ventured over to Georgia ( Red Dirt State) to play with the SE bloggers at their blodger-fest, whatever that is. I had my shot at joining in last July for the TX/GA meet in New Orleans, but bowed out due to heat, money, and general wussiness on my part.

No worries, it's all good. I got nothing against Jawja bloggers headin' over here. Heck, I even got a few on my blogroll, and vice-versa. It's just that the North Texas Blogfest/Bacchanal on the Comal crowd isn't on the same wavelength with the TX/GA crowd just yet.

I'll wave an accusatory digit at Her Feistiness for that. Since she hung up her blogging spurs, the main link (well, mine, anyway!) between them & us evaporated. Thanks go to the Omnibus Driver for pointing out the upcoming fiesta so we can bumrush tha joint politely join in the frivolities.

I'll drop a message on LC Beth, our TX planner extraordinaire. She needs to know about this! Zip, no worries, my brotha! We'll make this happen, or we'll pour on a broadside, board their ships, and keelhaul the lot of 'em! Yar!!!

This is the only link with info so far, AFAIK. If I hear back from Miss Shoe, I'll post more on the matter.

What Does El Capitan Need?

And Just Where Are The Chilidogs & Tequila In This List???

Kathy at An Arizona Cheesehead's Thoughts picked up the 'Serenity' quiz here, so it's only fair that I grab a game from her!

There's apparently a new Google game running about the Interweb. You put your your first name and the word needs within quotes and record the first 10 results. Like so: El Capitan "needs"

And we get:

El Capitan Needs Spaz (????)

El Capitan needs new liver, please help (OK, too much booze, I admit it!)

El Capitan Needs Money (no $h1t, Sherlock!)

El Capitan needs Tasks (No, he doesn't!)

El Capitan needs someone to bend him over and give him 20 paddles in his shorts (WHAT ?!?!?!?)

El Capitan needs a job (A year late on this one)

El Capitan needs Merch (??)

El Capitan Needs to Stay Awake (True, true...)

El Capitan needs prayers (Can't hurt)

El Capitan needs help (with all of the above)

(Confession... "El Capitan" didn't have anything funny at all. Therefore, El Capitan used his meatspace name to generate the above list, then moved back into anonyblog mode!)

Not Looking Good For Fall Blogmeet

Darn Holidays...

I'd hoped we'd get one more blogmeet before we wrapped up 2005. You always think there's more time left than there really is. I didn't quite grasp how close we were to the end of the year until I was watching the preview for the new Harry Potter flick, and saw that the release date (Coming Holiday Season 2005!!!) was just one month away. As soon as all the Halloween crap gets swept out of the store aisles, we'll start seeing wreaths, poinsettias, and jolly white-bearded fat guys start to proliferate in retail establishments.

Oh, just for the record, there's only two white hairs in my beard so far, and I'm more curmudgeonly than jolly. Call me "Santa", and I'll belt you one!

So, between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, all those assorted Homecoming games and holiday parties, not to mention the usual business-related Silly Season activities, I'm thinking that barring a miracle, we won't see another full-scale blogmeet until spring.

On that note, I'd like to ask the collective readership that haunts the blogroll but doesn't attend blogmeets, what's holding you back? What can we do in planning the next one that'll pull you out of your shell and get you to join the crowd? Where's the best locale for the next meet? Back in Dallas? Austin? Houston?

Your thoughts are welcome!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Carnival Of The Vanities Next Week!

Are Your Nipples Tingling Yet???

OK, I'm the host for the über-carnival on October 26th. By some strange coincidence, that's also the one year anniversary of the Baboon Pirates blog!
(Well, close enough, anyway!)

The World According To Nick hosts on the 19th, so any submissions prior to that date will likely end up on his version of the COTV. Nothin' wrong with that! Enter both weeks!

If you want your best blogblather to appear on my week at the wheel, starting on the 20th, use Conservative Cat's nifty Carnival Submission Form to send in your entries, or fire up your email program and send to....

baboonpirates2 (AT) gmail (DOT) com !!!

The COTV is meant for blogposts you're really proud of, so winnow out all the cheesy jokes and 2 line toss-off posts, and submit some bloggy gold!

I'm counting on you! Help me make this a good one!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I Hate Ohio Nazis

They're Just As Bad As Illinois Nazis!

Caught a glimpse of this of the satellite feed... the MSM websites appear to be foot-dragging on reporting it. The only web news site so far is this one:

Riots Erupt in Ohio
October 15, 2005 02:58 PM EST

by Sher Zieve – As a neo-Nazi group began to march through the streets of Toledo, a riot almost immediately broke out. Rocks and other objects were propelled toward the marchers, causing them to stop. However, the protestors continued their violence.

Police were called into the area but, as of this writing, the riots continue and appear to be increasing. Fox News video shows that rocks are now being thrown into homes and businesses and widespread looting is occurring. Rioters have now begun to rush homes in the area and are breaking into and looting them.

Site: The Conservative Voice
Well, congrats, you fucking Nazis. Your march may have failed, but you pretty much got your message across. All that looting and rioting? Let's just say it's not being perpetrated by the Aryan Brotherhood.

Friday, October 14, 2005

A Dismal Dinner

An Open Letter To B & B's Village Cafe*

I had a really hard time deciding where to eat last night. I knew I wanted chicken fried steak, but the important question was who's going to get my business.

I like the CFS at Salt Grass, but their restaurant layout really annoys me. What kind of ignoramus puts the only door to the restaurant on one side of the building, and all the parking on the other end? By the time you've hiked 1/2 mile to get inside, you're almost too tired to eat! That, and their wait staff is just too darned perky for a curmudgeon like myself.

The Mason Jar has an OK CFS, but it's the size of a manhole cover. Not quite that hungry tonight! There's supposed to be a good one at Steak Kountry Buffet, but I make a habit of never eating at places that use gratuitous 'K's in their name. Cracker Barrel's too far away, and Goodson's Cafe, which had the best CFS in Houston, has been gone for years.

This leads me to your restaurant. My father had mentioned to me that he'd eaten a CFS there recently. Dad's no gourmand, but his opinion can usually be relied upon. So, I pulled into the parking lot to see what kind of place you have.

Upon entering, I was pleased by the wide open spaces. I dislike crowded restaurants, and your decision to leave an open floorplan is admirable. The old belt-driven ceiling fans, each the size of a Spitfire propeller, are really great! Upon first glance, the restaurant seemed clean and well-lit, and the addition of couches and comfy chairs in a separate section for the coffee drinkers is a nice touch.

I had to wait a while to get a host to seat me. If it wasn't for an observant customer at the bar noticing me and calling to the waiters in the kitchen, I might have passed the 5 min "drop dead" limit which has me walking out the door permanently. Unfortunately, this lack of visible waitstaff was a recurring theme throughout the evening, and especially distressing since one of your staff was sitting at a table outside, and not only watched me come in, but continued to sit out there even though I was standing by the host area and visible from his location.

I was finally seated by a waiter that could have been no older than 16. That's not a bad thing in and of itself. He was certainly nice enough, but his inexperience in serving diners showed up a little later in the meal.

The first thing I noticed upon being seated was a table that dipped and swayed. When this is so easily remedied by a folded drink coaster and a bit of duct tape, it's a mystery why it is allowed to remain in this condition.

The young waiter got me some iced tea very quickly, then took my order. I requested cheese sticks with marinara for an appetizer, a side salad, and CFS with mashed 'taters and spinach for the entree.

First to arrive was the salad. Not too many experienced waiters attempt to deliver the side salad before the appetizer, but this young man did. As it happens, the salad was one of the better parts of the meal, once I got the waiter to supply me with a normal amount of dressing, as opposed to the miniscule amount in that ridiculous plastic cup. OK, the timing's off on my meal, but I can adjust. Surely the waiter will hold off on the appetizer until I can eat the salad, right? Wrong.

I had no sooner applied the dressing to the salad when out comes the cheese sticks. Six ordinary freezer-to-fryer breaded sticks laid on a rather dodgy piece of lettuce, accompanied by yet another little plastic cup of sauce.

OK, time to shift gears. Must eat the cheese sticks before salad, lest they get cold! So, pop the piping hot cheese stick into the marinara, and take a bite. Adding poor planning to bad timing, the marinara sauce was icy cold, obviously just taken out of the cooler. NOT a good match with the hot cheese sticks!

I had just finished the second cheese stick, when Mr. Johnny-On-The-Spot reappeared with my entree. Great. Just fantastic. Now I have to delay on the salad yet again, essentially forcing me to have it for dessert, since I don't like eating hot foods that have cooled off.

OK, what the heck. Let's just eat this thing. I reach for the salt & pepper, only to discover the pepper grinder is just about empty. There's maybe three peppercorns rattling around inside. Your waitstaff should be refilling those nightly!!

Oh, yeah. The waitstaff. Almost forgot. After serving the entree, my waiter dashed outside to join the other two. Didn't see 'em again for nearly 10 minutes. Fortunately, my tea glass was full, as I have a habit of wandering back into kitchens looking for the tea pitcher if no one is available to give me a refill.

The CFS is OK. Not world-class, but certainly acceptable. The mashed 'taters are pretty darned good! There's just a hint of horseradish to them, which I really hope is intentional, and not the result of the prep cook failing to wash the mixing bowl!

The spinach? Nasty beyond words. Poured right out of the can and heated to lukewarm. After tasting the potatoes, I'd hope for a similar tweak to the spinach, maybe some bacon & onion, or curry & cream. Alas, I got the plain old Steam Table Special.

The hot yeast roll was a nice touch. It was tasty, and came in useful for sopping up the cream gravy. When I could finally get to the salad, it was not bad at all. Your "No Iceberg Lettuce" credo ought to be used more often elsewhere! I'm just sorry I had to eat it at the end of the meal.

Overall, I'm sad to say my first visit to B & B's Village Cafe was a mostly negative experience, and one that will be hard to overcome to return again in the future. This is a shame. I like the ambience of your establishment, and the service was good, at least when the waitstaff was inside the building. I prefer to give my custom to neighborhood restaurants, especially non-chain eateries. I also use a "three strikes" rule before giving up on a place, so sooner or later I'll probably try you again. Here are some things to consider:

Hint #1 - Ditch the plastic cups, and pick up a gross of stoneware ramekins. They look nicer, and since you can't just snap a lid on 'em you avoid the temptation to fill them early and store in the walk-in cooler. Portion-control your meats and liquors to hold your margins, not the sauces!

Hint #2 - Talk to your waitstaff about timing. Have them ask if we'd like our order out all at once, or in any particular order. You had all of eight customers last night, so there was no need to be turning tables.

Hint #3 - Pay attention to the little things. Fix the tables, fill the condiment containers, and PLEASE have your waitstaff develop a sense of situational awareness! The last thing I saw upon my exit was that young waiter bursting through the exterior kitchen door, obviously being chased by someone. Horseplay in view of customers is never a good thing!

Hint #4 - Keep that marinara sauce simmering on the stove! Nothing's worse than icy tomato sauce!

I sincerely hope you can take this as it's intended, which is constructive criticism aimed at improving a restaurant which has great potential.


El Capitan

* A slightly modified version of this is being mailed to the restaurant manager.

Is That What You Call It?

Be Sure And Get A Videotape Made!

Looks like Velociman is gonna hit the 'Reset' button and get his life rebooted. Do a full clean install of the software, and re-connect all the peripherals once everything's up and running.

OTOH, he may just be heading to a health spa for 2 weeks of high colonics administered by a sturdy Prussian therapist named Hildegard.

Hope it works out for ya, V-man! Just to be on the safe side, I'd learn how to say "No more goddamn horseradish extract in the asswater, you harpy!!" in Hochdeutsch.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Can You Believe This?

Another Candidate For Immediate Deletion

Here's yet another whack-a-zoid who wants a baby so bad, she'll conk you on the head and carve you like a Xmas goose:

Pregnant woman's belly cut in attempt to steal baby
(Associated Press)

PITTSBURGH — A woman clubbed her pregnant neighbor over the head with a baseball bat, drove her to the woods and cut her belly with a knife in an attempt to steal her baby, police say.

Police said Wednesday's attack on Valerie Oskin was stopped before her baby was taken after a teenager on an all-terrain vehicle came across the women.

Oskin, 30, later underwent an emergency Caesarean section at a hospital. State police Thursday said she was in critical condition and her baby in stable condition. She was believed to have been in her third trimester of pregnancy, authorities said.

I can already hear the touchy-feely types whining over this one... "Oh, that poor woman! (Note: they will not be referring to the beaten up and carved-upon woman...) She's sick! She needs help! We just need to understand her pain!"

Nope. We need to understand she's gonna be taking a dirt nap following a bullet to the brainstem. Some people are just too effed up to leave hanging around.

Like the comic Carlos Mencia said, (paraphrased) "There's two kinds of crazy people. The ones who do incredibly fucked up stuff and need to be removed from society permanently, and those who just sit around and roll their turds into little balls."

I'm not immune to the plight of the mentally ill. Not at all. If you're the type of person that likes to put a dozen cats in a gunnysack and toss it in a lake every Sunday, we might be able to help you. You like dressing in drag and whizzing on police cars? Might take a while, but there's treatment for that.

Cross the line dividing antisocial eccentricism and homicidal nutjobbery, and there's suddenly very little need for your genetic material to continue floating around in the murky pool.

Sorry, lady. Maybe you shoulda been one of the ones rolling your turds into little balls. If it was up to me, you'd already be cooling to room temperature.

What 'Serenity' Character Are You?

Well, At Least I'm Not A Reaver...

You scored as The Operative. You are dedicated to your job and very good at what you do. You've done some very bad things, but they had to be done. You don't expect to go to heaven, but that is a sacrifice you've made for a better future for all.

The Operative


Simon Tam


Jayne Cobb


Zoe Alleyne Washburne


River Tam


Capt. Mal Reynolds


Inara Serra


Hoban 'Wash' Washburne


Shepherd Derrial Book


Kaylee Frye


Which Serenity character are you?
created with

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

There's A Dire Need For Malts & Chiliburgers In West Houston!

The renovation of I-10 has claimed yet another victim... the West Houston branch of the 59 Diner has closed up shop, awaiting demolition so the freeway can be widened to allow suburbanites to get home 10 minutes faster.

I was first introduced to the 59 Diner back in the summer of '88, that crazy, wonderful season of new friends, new experiences and a $h1tload of lost brain cells.

After a Saturday night of multiple intoxicants followed by everyone passing out, Mike, Denise, myself and one or two others roused ourselves off the bongwater-stained floor of the Bellefontaine Ave. apartment, piled into "Buffy", Mike's glass-bottomed, multicolored Chevette to go get a little Sunday morning sustenance.

Walking into the 59 Diner was like stepping into a malt shop from the 1950's. True diner food, mostly fried and none of it particularly healthy, backed by a fantastic ice cream soda bar, complete with eggcreams, phosphates, and real ice cream shakes and malts. Deee-lish!

They opened the one on I-10 sometime in the mid-90's, and while it was never as good as the original on 59 & Shepherd, it was a lot easier to get to when I needed a chili cheese fries and chocolate malt fix.

Damn, gonna miss that place...

Robert Jordan Wants A New Yacht

Trollocs and Myrdraal and Draghkar, OH MY!

Hell must be getting a little frosty around the edges, 'cause Robert Jordan finally published Volume 11 of his insanely lengthy Wheel Of Time series. He insists that he'll get it all wrapped up by Volume 12, even if Vol. 12 has to be 1500 pages long. I'm of the opinion that his kids'll end up needing orthodontia and college funds, so expect vols. 13-20 to be the new goal.

When Volume 10 came out, I was still deep in unemployment land, with no relief in sight. My sister hadn't had her baby yet. In fact, she wasn't even pregnant yet.

So now I'm faced with a dilemma. I put in a lot of time & effort (which some would say was wasted on Volumes 7-10, due to stagnation and subplots) into his Magnum Opus. Unfortunately, I'm getting a little fuzzy on the details on what exactly happened to bring us to Big Number Eleven in the series. At an average page length per volume of 900 pages, ain't no way in hell I'm gonna re-read it all, unless I get incarcerated in the near future.
There's no Cliff's Notes for the series, either.

Wikipedia has a brief summary of each book that's better than nothing. I keep getting sidetracked into all the related links, and that's doing a good job of explaining characters and concepts.

Rockhauler called me late last night from Wal-Mart to let me know. He's picking up the hardback. After this long, though, I may just have the patience to wait for the paperback...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Plague On Both Your Houses!

The Torture Continues.

Got word this morning that the deposition was postponed. Apparently, Plaintiff Barracuda was being a butthead, and our barracuda wasn't buying into the drama, so we get to cool our heels until they get things worked out. At $300/hr.

So, all that frantic work gathering for a deadline was for naught. My week's schedule just lightened up considerably, though. It ain't all bad. Just no relief from the anxiety. My formal interactions with barracudas have never turned out in my favor.

More good news, kinda. Looks like I'll score a couple of comp days for my on-call duty during the hurricane. I wasn't going to ask for any, but if they hand 'em to me on a silver platter, I shall not refuse. Be a good chance to catch up on some flix.

More posting later. I've been either training future versions of The Man all day, or fighting traffic. I need a beer and a cigar, and I need 'em now!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Posting In Spite Of Myself

Almost Over Now...

I'd decided to ignore the blog and just crash after choking down some takeout lo mein. Biology and an off-kilter work ethic conspired to force me to get up and attend to pressing matters...

Been a looooong loooong day parked in front of the Xerox box, making triplicate copies of reams of material from 1991- present day. Likely none of it will even be glanced at, but Mr. Subpoena says I gotta have 'em. Now, they'll occupy cubic footage until the end of time, all the product of some nameless bureaucrat that pissed some plaintiff off. Happy customers who get decent customer service rarely sue, I've noticed.

Bit of a giggle today while excavating forms from Eisenhower-era file cabinets. Found a complaint made by my father years ago. A guy I work with daily quoted him as "Going ballistic and getting extremely sarcastic re: program and services." Yup, sounds like Dad, all right. Let's hope Mr. Plaintiff Barracuda doesn't pick up on the connection...

What really sux about this is my boss in on vacation this week, and I'm picking up the slack there in addition to all this court-crap. Oh, well. All over soon.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

This Post Is Evil!

Blogpost Of The Beast

Yup, my 666th posting here. Well, I certainly couldn't use this post # for catblogging!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Shooting, Salmon, Smokes And Scotch

El Capitan's Big Day Out

Home again, after a pretty good day wildly flinging my Visa card all over town!

This was the 9th Annual West Houston Smoke & Powder Crawl, which makes me kinda sad I've missed the previous eight. You couldn't ask for a nicer group of people to hang with, and aside from a self-inflicted booboo at the range, it was a perfect day.

I puttered down I-10, stopping to pick up a wad of cash at the Wells Fargo ATM at Hwy 6. One thing is certain, whenever bloggers get together, it's good to have lawyers, guns & money handy.

I was just leaving the Pro Shop after paying my tab at the American Shooting Center when a guy came walking in wearing a Nation Of Riflemen shirt, and he looked extremely familiar. I turned around, and said "You gotta be Jim!" Sure enough, it was our intrepid yachtsman from the Smoke On The Water blog, looking none the worse for wear after his "Escape Rita" adventure.

I tend to be a man of few words (until I get good & likkered up), so I didn't get to shoot the breeze with Jim as long as I wanted to, but then again, the firing line on a pistol range isn't the best spot for extended conversation!
Still, Jim seemed like a very nice guy, and he's absolutely hell on wheels with that S&W wheelgun!

I'm still in the honeymoon stage with the .45 Auto and the Vaquero, having owned each less than a year, so my shooting (shown here) is perfectly acceptable for shooting an intruding goblin in my living room, but not quite up to competition standards.

Jim, OTOH, is no one you want to mess with! (Pic's a bit blurry, but you get the point...)

I was on my last magazine of .45 Auto for the day, when I let my ring finger slip out of place on the grip just as I was slamming in the magazine. The bumper on the mag caught the fingertip between itself and the mag well, and I ended up with a gloriously painful blood blister on the finger tip. Ouch! No pics, it's kinda icky.

My buddy Zibig showed up an hour into the shoot, and commenced to fling rounds downrange just as I was winding down. I left him after taking a few "action photos" to pack up my stuff and see who else was around.

I wandered down to join the rest of the Cigar crew at the end of the range. They had paid the extra $6 to shoot the steel falling plate targets, and were warming up for a shoot-out. I settled in behind my camera to watch the action.

The organizers figured out I was there as part of the day's event, and not just a casual wanderer, and commenced to showering me with cigars. Apparently this Crawl has sponsors who volunteer their wares to the participants. Bonus! I told them I was there for more powder than smoke, but they still gave me lots of gifties, which was much appreciated! Heck, there was even a gen-u-wine Habana Montecristo in the stash! I dunno whether to smoke it or bow down to it!

Back to the shoot-off...

The match was simple, just shoot at the steel falling plates, and when you miss one, you're done. High score wins. First prize was a Day-Glo hat and a pile o' stogies. Second prize was a tiny stuffed koala and a few stogies. Third prize is YOU'RE FIRED!! (OK, just kidding. A little Glengarry Glen Ross moment there...)

The plates don't always fall, especially with .22s, but you can hear the "PLINK" of a hit. The shooting was... not so good! Most people were hitting 1-4 before missing, and the high score was a tie at 8 hits.

Then, here comes Deadeye Jim. He knocks down some ridiculous number, like 42 or 48. I think he might have quit due to lack of ammo instead of a miss! Needless to say, he easily won the event! Bravo!

After the match, the group split up, some to shoot rifles, some to go smoke more cigars and eat seafood. Being fresh out of rifles at that moment, I chose the shrimp/stogie faction. As we're packing up, this guy introduces himself, and he's already got me on his blogroll! OK, I feel the need for a quick update to mine! I've read his blog from time to time, but his Friday Fishing pics make it NSFW, so he's now on my early morning "To Read" list! (Yes, I remembered his name for this writeup, but it's not on his blog, so I'm keeping mum!)

We repaired (minus Zibig & Jim, alas...) to Paul's Seafood & Oyster Boat, which unfortunately was completely out of oysters due to Katrina and Rita shellacking the Gulf's oyster beds. The food was passable, the company was better. I liked the stuffing in my stuffed salmon more than the salmon!

Despite my flirtation with cigars back in the '96-'99 era, I'm still very much a novice. These guys are cigar pros. Hell, if they knew how many boxes of Swisher Sweets and King Edwards that Zibig & I puffed away on back in high school, they likely would have pelted me with shrimp tails and beer bottles!

After lunch, we went over to Richmond Avenue Cigars, where I couldn't resist the pull of the Macanudo. I bought a trio of Ascots to add to my growing cigar stash. I prefer the Macanudo Petite Corona Cafe, but they had just run out. We got treated to a splash of Dalmore Cigar Malt scotch, which was most neighborly of the cigar seller!

After puffing a while, a few of us went to the Mecca of all things gun-related, that veritable cathedral to cordite, Collector's Firearms, conveniently located in the same shopping center. I drooled a while over the Savage 1907 and the Mauser HSC, both of which I crave for some reason, but the seller thought I might be better off (due to my huge meaty paws) with a Walther PPK in .380 ACP, if I wanted a pocket pistol. Heh. PPK. I'm Capitan. El...Capitan!

I had to bolt for home after that stop, but I had a great time, and can't wait for the next one!

Now, for a glass of single malt, a seat on the porch, and this tasty Hoyo de Monterey that a very nice man gifted me with!


The West Houston Smoke & Powder Crawl

Damn, Kinda Wished I Smoked Cigars...

I'm off in a few minutes to the gun range. It's the 9th Annual West Houston Smoke & Powder Crawl, but the first for me.

Hope to see a few other Houston bloggers out there. Not being a cigar aficionado, I'll probably limit my participation to the guns and the seafood feast afterwards.

Then, there's just enough time to get home, shower, clean the guns, download the digital pics, then go hit this blogger gathering! (Note: no permalink. Notice at top of blog probably gone after 10/08/05)

Damn, I'll have to turn in my Curmudgeonly Hermit membership card after all this social interaction!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Not Much To Tell

Time's Fun When You're Having Flies

Another day spent digging through files to satisfy some meathead's curiosity. Don't get me wrong, the Freedom of Information Act (and local equivalents) is a wonderful thing, but when you are faced with an archive room the size of Nebraska, you tend to lose perspective.

I've made a concerted effort to minimize any paper files in my possession, preferring to keep everything electronic and easier to index and reproduce. However, typewriters were still a key item around here as recently as Y2K, and we've still got one used for those few forms that haven't been converted to Word. Friggin' Neanderthals, I tell you!

I'll post something suitably manly and testosterone-laden tonight or tomorrow. I feel a shooting range trip might happen in the near future.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Where Can I Get One???

Of Course, I'd Probably Go Broke Feeding The Animal...

This is El Guapo! (OK, just Guapo, really. However, after seeing '¡Three Amigos!', the name "El Guapo" is permanently embedded in my psyche!)

He's a six week old jaguar cub at the Fort Worth Zoo, and I'm now going to have to make a trip up there as soon as he's old enough to go on display!

Boy, having a jaguar hanging around the casa would be great! No more stray dogs, annoying squirrels, or possibly even small children!

Heck, if the neighbors can have a goat and a duck, I oughta be able to have a jaguar!

More Public Service Announcements!

We're From The Government! We're Just Here To Help!

Did you know that every government decision is made with your well being in mind? It's true!

Did you know that your government always knows what's best for you? That's true too.

Did you know that as a reward for voting and paying taxes, the government is working day and night to make your life easier and better? Completely TRUE!

Skeptical?! See for yourself.....

(Note: Turn the sound down, and if you're at work and your boss is in the office next door, try not to rupture your spleen holding in your laughter when the soap hits the shower floor!)

More Attorney Troubles

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Lawyers..."

Sigh. I am starting to really dislike the legal profession. Our tame barracuda spends a great deal of time gnawing on our posteriors for not keeping our collective excrement wired tight at all times, while simultaneously running a law shop that's so loose that paralegals fall through cracks in the floor and get an early trip down to Perdition.

I'm supposed to meet the barracuda today for a run-through for the deposition next week. Got all my documents ready, I've practiced my canned responses, and I've got a boatload of questions regarding some requests on this subpoena duces tecum that I really, really need an answer for.

So, I hike over to the Den of Thieves through broiling sun and clouds of floodwater-spawned mosquitos, since METRO cancelled their oh-so-convenient shuttle service, and you either hike or pay for a cab. Get there all sweaty and funky, and race up to the proper floor to get there right at the appointed hour.

Naturally, there's no receptionist, just a desk, phone and directory, and none of the paralegals are answering. Finally call the barracuda directly, and get a nice dose of attitude for not ringing her paralegals first. The first bits of steam start trickling from my ears at this point...

I cool my heels for a good 10 minutes in the lobby before barracuda arrives and tells me I'm not needed today. Apparently, there was no valid signature on my subpoena, so it's up in the air whether or not I'm on for next week. They have apparently known this for some time, but it occurs to none of the barracudas or para-cudas to pick up a phone and let me know that I'm off today's docket. I am directed to show up next week at X o'clock, right when I have other things scheduled across town. Guess I'll need to tie myself in knots jiggering my schedule to avoid inconveniencing the barracudas even in the slightest degree.

None of my questions got answered to my satisfaction, but I'll bet a C-note that if I don't have everything 100% squared away next week, I'll get reamed for that.

So, I hike back, this time dodging horse poop from all the mounted police that have appeared downtown for some reason. I'm not in the best of moods right now, and I'm thinking it would be lots of fun to hire some bum to call in a bomb threat to ten random law firms, just to watch them scramble to their Beemers in the lunchtime traffic. Naturally, I will not do this, but it is pleasurable to think upon!