Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Off To Dallas/Ft. Worth

Not Very Quickly, Though

OK, kiddies! I'm off. My 8 a.m. departure has not quite worked out. It's now looking like 10 or 10:30. Hell, I'm on vacation now. My time is my own until next Wednesday! If you get bored waiting for me, there's a great game called "Sit on your thumb and rotate!"

It's better this way, letting the morning traffic clear out. I'll be up in Arlington around 2-3 p.m. now, it looks like.

If I come across an idle computer somewhere, I'll post something, but otherwise blogposts here will be kinda thin on the ground until Sunday.

Happy New Years, everyone!

No Yacht Today

Damn The Bad Luck!

I am not a millionaire today. I didn't think I would be, but stranger things have happened.

I ate at a Chinese place with my buddy Zibig recently, and at the end of the meal, we cracked open our fortune cookies. Turned out they had identical fortunes. I've eaten at a lot of Chinese restaurants with a lot of people, and NEVER had that happen before. Turns out the lottery numbers printed on the back were the same too. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I'd always assumed they just cranked out random numbers when going through the printing press.

So, there's a big sign that Fate is having a bit of a giggle. I'm not one to believe in signs, unless the sign dresses up in drag and sashays around on your tabletop with a kazoo up its wazoo and a big neon sign saying "I'M A SIGN".

So, I played the Texas Lotto with the numbers, even knowing that your odds of being struck by lightning are greater than winning. What the hell, I figured. Maybe we'll just match a few numbers and make enough for some more Chinese food. Bought two identical tickets, gave one to Zibig.

Results? Nothing. Well, a good blogpost, maybe.

Signs. Feh.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Song Names

I Miss My 17 gigabyte MP3 Collection...

I lifted this blog idea from Jenni's place. It's pretty self-explanatory.

Take a look at Jenni's choices, then mine. Talk about 6 degrees of separation!

Try it! Bare your souls for our amusement!

Tell me what the first song that comes to your mind when you read what it's for...

1. Hate song? Das Lied der Deutschen - Fuckin' Illinois Nazis

2. Love song? In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel

3. Crush or Flirt song? Smart Woman (In A Real Short Skirt) - Jimmy Buffett

4. Fuck song? Hold On, I'm Coming - Sam & Dave

5. Goofy song? Anything by Weird Al Yankovic

6. Dance song? In The Mood - Glenn Miller Orchestra

7. Rage song? Fight The Power - Public Enemy

8. Slow song? Night And Day - Frank Sinatra

9. Make-up Song? We Belong - Pat Benatar

10. Redneck song? Longhaired Redneck - David Allen Coe

11. Make-out song? Once we're at that point, I couldn't give a fuck what's on the radio. Hell, it could be Sousa marches or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for all I care.

12. Break-up song? If She Would Have Been Faithful - Chicago

13. Happy song? Take A Chance On Me - ABBA

14. Sad song? Tomorrow, Wendy - Concrete Blonde

15. Corny song? Ebony & Ivory - McCartney and Wonder

16. Christmas song? Merry Xmas From The Family - Robert Earl Keen

17. Perverted or Horny song? She's Tight - Cheap Trick

18. Boring song? Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan

19. Favorite song? The Wino And I Know - Jimmy Buffett

20. Funeral song? Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain - Willie Nelson

The Need For Selective Deletions

Since We're Lacking In Do-It-Yourself Immolation Pits

Do ya ever think that sometimes you ought to be able to immediately address social faux pas malefactors with immediate and permanent results? I'm not talking about the Mom who won't quiet her shrieking kids in the restaurant, or the butthead who insists on taking a cell phone call in a theater. Those types would be better served with some time in the stocks, and possibly a public scourging.

No, I'm talking about the times when someone commits a grave offense against his fellow man. Something that clearly shows that they don't give a rat's ass about having to share common facilities with the rest of the general public.

Take a scene at the Metro Transit Center on a recent morning, f'rinstance. I'm sitting in the car listening to talk radio as I wait for the 8:44 Express into downtown to arrive. My car happens by chance to be facing the bus circle, so I'm given a fair view of all the comings and goings. Once again, I get a glimpse of more "going" than I needed to.

Many of the waiting areas for particular routes have these big shelter/wind guard thingies made of glass & regular brick enclosing 2 or 3 concrete benches. They look like a capital I from overhead, and the glass brick lets you see motion on the other side, but not anything very clearly. The one I'm nearest to is the shelter for the 214/216 Downtown routes, the one sheltering the benches I'm about 5 minutes away from walking over and plopping my butt down upon.

From the other side of the shelter lurches a prime specimen of humanity. Probably in his late 50's, he's got an untucked button-down shirt that's stretched to bursting over a cannonball belly, and the bottom two buttons are either undone or snapped off from excessive tension. It's filthy, as are the polyester pants, worn shiny in the ass and the cuffs. Feet are jammed into nondescript athletic shoes, but the shoe heels have been crushed down, so they look like some sort of house slippers. The heels hanging out are crusty and poxy-looking. I'm suddenly glad I stayed to listen to the radio, otherwise I'd be standing there, and no doubt this guy smells like a Sonoran rendering factory during Roadkill Week.

I'm usually the only one that picks up the 8:44 here, so there's no one else at that shelter. This fact is not lost on our fashion model, who takes the opportunity to unzip his scuzzy drawers, whip out his schlong and commence to spraying a ropy piss stream all over the brick wall and the benches. Motherf#&%er. That's where I usually SIT, you asshole!

I can't honk my horn at this dude, 'cause it's still on the fritz. I contemplate jumping out and yelling, but by the time I get the radio turned off and the windows rolled up, he's finished his irrigation project and has wandered over to see what's edible in the garbage can.

Now, this is not the first time I've seen someone relieve themselves at the Transit Center. The other time, however, it was this 182 year old geezer who obviously had some incontinence problems. This bunghole, OTOH, did this deliberately, rather than walk the 75 yards to the Port-O-John over where they're doing road construction.

As I walked over to the bus waiting area, I thought about how nice it would have been to send this guy a message. Not a horn honk, or an angry yell, but instead an Easton GameGetter II, 'bout 32 inches long, off a 80 lb. recurve bow, tipped with a triple-razor broadhead. I'll bet the occurrences of piss on waiting benches decreases dramatically when offender's hoo-hahs are pinned to their thighbones.

Alas, I would inevitably be seen as the Bad Guy if I followed that course of action. I'd be convicted in the Court of Public Opinion (aka the views of the Mass Media reporters and editors) for failing to respect this man's individuality and his need to express himself in an unconventional manner.

Sigh. At least give me a 007 license with a cattle prod, fer Pete's sake! Someone's got to make the effort!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

YAR!!!! More Pirate Movies!!!!

Well, Blow Me Down!

If you haven't seen the teaser trailer for the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie (Dead Man's Chest), I suggest you stop what you're doing, go here, and watch it! (Yar! Get ye some Quicktime installed first, ye scurvy dogs!)

The first movie was all kinds of fun. This one looks to be just as amusing. Unfortunately, the rumored appearance of Keef Richards as Capt. Jack Sparrow's father is just that... a rumor.

Oh, check out this sketch of the chief baddie, Davey Jones (no, not the Monkee!)

Looks like the conceptual artist reads a bit of H.P Lovecraft!

Monday, December 26, 2005

El Capitan Travel Update

Just In Case Anyone Gives A Damn

OK, I'm booked into the Quality Inn and Suites in Arlington TX from Thursday until Sunday. I plan on leaving Houston early Thurday, and hopefully getting to Arlington no later than noon, but y'all know how that usually works out.

Connecticut Yankee has dibs on me Thursday, and I'm over in Carrollton for a New Years bash starting Saturday at 6 pm, but everything in between and a bit of Sunday afternoon are fair game.

If you need to know my meatspace identity and/or cell #, email me (addy on sidebar) and I'll let you have it. I'd like to hang out with everyone, but I'm just gonna have to arrange everything on the fly, and I'll be computer-impaired the whole trip! If it doesn't work out this trip, we'll do it next time!

There's an off-chance my friend Chainsaw is in town, visiting from Alaska this week. I haven't seen her in 5+ years, so if I do manage to hear from her, you'll understand if I pre-empt things for a quick visit. We've been missing each other in transit (or through my dumbass scheduling errors) for far too long.

UPDATE: Damn, almost forgot... please include all YOUR contact info in the email. All my old emails and records are still stuck on the dead iMac, so I'm not sure how to get in touch with a lot of you. Thanks!

A Pastafarian Xmas!

Deck The Halls With Cappellini!

I'm seriously hurting right now, I'm laughing so hard!

Samira sent me this Xmas greeting e-card! The Flying Spaghetti Monster as Santa! Bwahahahahaaaa!

Thanks, Samira! This is great!

Xmas With Sammy

Damn, That Kid Took Home Some Loot...

I made it back from my trip to my sister's place more or less intact. Somewhat short on sleep, though. I declined to get a hotel room, figuring if the Baby Jesus could sleep in a horse trough, I could crash on a couch. The couch was about 6 inches too short, though, and I was dead center between the crying baby in one room, and the baby monitor on max volume in the other room. Crying kid in stereo. At 3 a.m. Joy to the world!

Here's the tree at my sis and BIL's place. All those gifts look like a lot, but at least 80% went to the baby!

Here's Santa's littlest elf!

Sammy wasn't too sure about what was going on, but he could rip up wrapping paper like a Christmas pro! He got all sorts of goodies, from jumpers to sleepwear to gigantimous plastic toys. Most made some sort of electronically generated noise, and might drive my BIL insane if the batteries don't wear out soon!

Look! Santa left a baby under the Xmas tree! The elf suit was making Sammy hot & cranky, so he got to go almost nekkid for a while.

Through it all, the ever-so-demure rat terrier Ashley showed off her best side to the camera!

It was a great Xmas, in spite of the miles I drove. Hope yours was great as well!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas To All!!

And A Long Road For El Capitan...

I'm packing my Caddy, and checking it twice,
'bout to drive out into the snowfall and ice...
Santa Cap is driving to Kyle!

OK, there's not really any snow predicted. I took a bit of poetic license there!

I'm gonna drop in on the party over at The Cisco Kid's place up in far north Houston, then excuse myself about 9pm to shoot over to San Marcos for a late night Xmas Slurpee. Then I'll wind my way outside of SM up into Kyle, TX where my BIL and sister ought to just be getting back from midnight Mass. I'll be crashing on the couch (and be covered in hound dogs, more than likely) to await the morning and my nephew Sammy's first Xmas. My folks have already been there for days, dumping the majority of their IRA accounts into geegaws for the grandkid, as is their solemn grandparental duty!

Xmas day I'll head back to Houston around 3-ish, in order to get back in time for the annual party over at the Happy H***** Home, where all my high school cronies that still infest Houston wind up every year.

A busy 30+ hours, it seems! Well, I'll get to sleep all day Monday!

Best wishes to you and your loved ones over the holidays!


Friday, December 23, 2005

Well, This Should Surprise No One

This Is Good For About An Eon In Purgatory

Found this at Pammy's place. Take it if you dare!

I gotta stop with these quizzes. With results like this, no one's gonna invite me over anymore... Well, as they say, it may be your purpose in life to serve as a warning to others!

Sloth:Very High

Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I Got Nothing

Complete Brain Drain

Sorry to disappoint. Trying to get things at work squared away before the break, and am not making a good go of it. Too many people have cut & run already, won't be back until after Jan. 1, so the phone tag games are getting ridiculously long.

Maybe something tomorrow.

In the meantime, go read this excellent piece by Kevin Baker of The Smallest Minority. It's long, but well worth your time.

What Kind Of Lesbian Are You?

Inquiring Minds Want To Know...

I saw this over at Samira's place, and just couldn't resist taking the test. I'm pretty sure the results are skewed, because faced with a question like "You consider your vagina to be a beautiful flower and treat it as such.", well, you pretty much have to answer that in the negative, being possessed of 'outie' rather than 'innie' plumbing.

Some of the questions just made me giggle... "A good meal consists of barley and goat meat", and "You pride yourself on your coke habit."

So, go find out what kind of lesbian you are, even if you're not!

You scored as The Magic Earring Ken Dyke. You're tough, mysterious and extremely butch. But you love who you are and often consider it a compliment when someone thinks you're a male.

The Magic Earring Ken Dyke


The Pretty-Boi Dyke


The Surprise! Dyke


The Bohemian Dyke


The Student Dyke


The Quasi-Gothic Femme


The Stud


The Vaginal-Reference-Making Dyke


The Sprightly Elfin Femme


The Little-Boy Dyke


The Femme Fatale


The Granola Dyke


The Hipster Dyke


What Type of Lesbian Are You? (Inspired by Curve Mag.)
created with

Oh, the Earring Magic Ken reference is explained here. In a nutsackshell, it was a Mattel Ken doll, meant to represent the rave scene. As it happened, the gay community embraced the doll as a symbol, dubbing it (in Dallas, anyway) Cock-ring Ken for his neckwear, rarely seen outside of gay bars.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Two Reasons To Support The Death Penalty

It's A Scumbag Two-fer!

Suggested musical accompaniment: Johnny Cash's version of Nick Lowe's 'The Beast In Me'.

Shitbag #1 - Reynaldo E. Rapalo, 34, charged with raping seven people, ages 11 to 79, and attempting to attack four others, escapes from jail.

Shitbag #2 - Evandro Doirado, 28, kidnapped and viciously raped a Framingham woman in front of her toddler son over nearly 48 hours.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Some creatures ('cause I will not call them men and lump them in with humanity) show by their very actions that they are not worthy of sharing the same oxygen supply as the rest of the world. I can only hope that Rapalo "resists arrest" so he can get the 9mm sendoff he so truly deserves courtesy of Florida Law Enforcement, and spares us the necessity of a trial and the subsequent care and feeding for the next 40-50 years.

I'm not one of those yay-hoos you see on TV, waving a "Burn in Hell" sign outside the Death Row unit, blathering on about "You oughta hire me, 'cause I'll throw that switch on Old Sparky!!" OTOH, if I was forced to put my money where my mouth was, I feel pretty certain I could step up to the plate if it was required of me.

Let's say in some alternate reality you must check a tickmark on your voter's reg. card saying "I do/do not support Capital Punishment". If you do, that throws your name in a hopper and everytime some skell comes up for execution, a random name gets drawn, and BINGO! You're the designated headsman. Can you do it? Makes you take a closer look at your values and commitments, doesn't it?

Over the past few years, I've given quite a bit of thought to where my mindset and overall personality would end up if I ever had to kill someone. That's a pretty big leap to take. It's not quite in the same class as your first kiss, or first legal beer. To quote Eastwood's film 'Unforgiven', "Hell of a thing, killin' a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have." All the dead man's future laughs, smiles, questions, answers, loves, hopes, fears, regrets, all gone. Taken by you. Rather sobering thought, that.

No doubt it's traumatic, but to tell you the truth, the first deer I ever shot wasn't an especially pleasant experience. Made a shot through thick brush, caught the spike buck across the hips, breaking the pelvis. By the time I caught up to it, the deer was struggling to get away by dragging itself on its front legs. Damned pitiful sight that I can still see in Technicolor. Taught me two valuable lessons. A) Never take brush shots, and B) shoot spike bucks and does in the head so they drop on the spot.

I got over it. Deer tasted damned good, too. Didn't keep me from killing many deer in future seasons. FWIW, my buddy Chip, fresh from Gulf War One, said about killing men that "the only thing you feel is the kick of the rifle butt against your shoulder". So, I dunno what to think about that. Mostly, when I think about having to shoot an intruder in my house, I first think about getting a towel underneath his head so the blood won't ruin the marble tile. This prioritization concerns me more than a little bit.

Taking an objective look at Rapalo and Doraido, I have no doubt we'd find both were likely products of broken homes, were probably abused/molested as youths, and had they had the loving supportive household like I grew up in, they'd be upstanding members of society.

Knowing this, I worry sometimes about the lack of compassion I feel towards them. All I can think about though, is the fear and terror of the victims. For Chrissakes! Raping an 11 year old! Raping a 79 year old! Raping a woman in front of her toddler! Fucking animals! The only thing that lessens my rage is the thought of kneeling these pusbags down and shooting them in the throat with a .32, so they slowly strangle on their own leaking blood. Hell, it's almost worth taking up chewing tobacco just so you could jet some Red Man juice in the shitbag's faces just before they expire.

Sometimes I worry about what's really inside me.

The beast in me
Is caged by frail and fragile bars
Restless by day
And by night rants and rages at the stars
God help the beast in me

The beast in me
Has had to learn to live with pain
And how to shelter from the rain
And in the twinkling of an eye
Might have to be restrained
God help the beast in me

Sometimes it tries to kid me
That it's just a teddy bear
And even somehow manage to vanish in the air
And that is when I must beware
Of the beast in me that everybody knows
They've seen him out dressed in my clothes
Patently unclear
It it's New York or New Year
God help the beast in me

The beast in me

Shitbag #2 story courtesy of Wizbang

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ha Ha, Very Funny M$^#@%&$*#r!

I'm Now Depressed...

This would be funny if it didn't carry the raw stench of reality...

Via Charming, Just Charming

Good News For My Waistline

I'm Still PO'ed, Though

Damn Taco Bell! Damn them to hell!!!

I've got a confession to make. I eat at Taco Bell every so often. OK, I should know better, but along with Pancho's, Taco Bueno, Taco Banana and the local gatos fritos en burritos taqueria, I've just got a now-and-then yen for subpar TexMex comida.

I've had continuing problems with this Taco Bell location. Mostly they screw up orders, leaving items out, forgetting to put in sauce, etc. They "forget" that I order the $.99 Bean Burrito Especial, and give me instead the regular bean burrito. Pinche cabrones!

The last straw was last night, when they had Chili Cheese Burritos (which I ALWAYS get) on the drive-thru menu, but told me they no longer make this item.

This is a deal-breaker. I loves me some Taco Bell CCBs. Nothing like a splash of mediocre chili and rubbery cheese wrapped in a tortilla that's then blasted with live steam so it's all gooey and delicious. The CCB's reheat in the microwave extremely well, making them ideal for a late night nosh when you're up at 4 a.m. looking for porn conducting web-based epidermal variance research.

There was a website a while back fighting for the return of the CCB to all Taco Bells, but I think it's lost momentum.

Well, just so we're clear, Taco Bell... No CCB, no more $$$ spent at your stores!!!!

Xmas Not-So-Funnies

Depends On Your Point Of View, Really...

Normally when I get a funny email from Dad, it's already been around the 'net 82 times, and I probably saw it way back in 1997.

This one's new to me, though.

Nazareth Carpenter Being Held On Charges Involving Underage Mother

Authorities were today alerted by a concerned citizen who noticed a family living in a barn. Upon arrival, Family Protective Service personnel, accompanied by police, took into protective care an infant child, who had been wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding trough by his 14-year old mother, Mary of Nazareth.

During the confrontation, a man identified as Joseph, also of Nazareth, attempted to stop the social workers. Joseph, aided by several local shepherds and some unidentified foreigners, tried to forestall efforts to take the child, but were restrained by the police.

Also being held for questioning are three foreigners who allege to be wise men from an eastern country. The INS and Homeland Security officials are seeking information about these wise guys who may be in the country illegally. A source with the INS states that they had no passports, but were in possession of gold and other possibly illegal substances. They resisted arrest saying that they had been warned by God to avoid officials in Jerusalem and to return quickly to their own country. The chemical substances in their possession will be tested.

The owner of the barn is also being held for questioning. The manager of Bethlehem Inn faces possible revocation of his license for violating health and safety regulations by allowing people to stay in the stable. Civil authorities are also investigating the zoning violations involved in maintaining livestock in a commercially-zoned district.

The location of the minor child will not be released, and the prospect for a quick resolution to this case is doubtful. Asked about when the child would be returned to his mother, a Child Protective Service spokesperson said, "The father is middle-aged and the mother definitely underage. We are checking with officials in Nazareth to determine what their legal relationship is.

Joseph has admitted taking Mary from her home in Nazareth because of a census requirement. However, because she was obviously pregnant when they left, investigators are looking into other reasons for their departure. Joseph is being held without bond on charges of molestation, kidnapping, child endangerment, and statutory rape.

Mary was taken to the Bethlehem General Hospital where she is being examined by doctors. Charges may also be filed against her for endangerment. She will also undergo psychiatric evaluation because of her claim that she is a virgin and that the child is from God.

The director of the psychiatric wing said, "I don't profess to have the right to tell people what to believe, but when their beliefs adversely affect the safety and well-being of others - in this case her child - we must consider her a danger to others. The unidentified drugs at the scene didn't help her case, but I'm confidant that with the proper therapy regimen we can get her back on her feet."

A spokesperson for the governor's office said, "Who knows what was going through their heads? But regardless, their treatment of the child was inexcusable, and the involvement of these others frightening. There is much we don't know about this case, but for the sake of the child and the public, you can be assured that we will pursue this matter to the end."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Mission Accomplished!

Damn, We're Good!

I'm totally stoked over our Ghost Recon tournament last night! Tie a broom to the masthead, baby! The SOG crew made a clean sweep!

I spent most of the day Saturday getting the new iMac up and running, and installing all the software and mods I'd need for the game. Big thanks go to Zippo for sending me most of it on DVDs, making the job that much easier.

I got everything tweaked down to my satisfaction, and was really enjoying that new 128 MB vidcard. It was really nice to set all the graphics settings up to the max, and still get framerates in the 45-60 frames per second range. The level of detail is astonishing.

Sunday evening we inserted into the scenario minus one member. He was the designated captive, and was whisked off at the start of the mission to be held in a guard tower. Our initial objective was to sneak up near the OPFOR camp, let one guy crawl in and boobytrap a truck, then back off and wait for the fireworks. Once the distraction pulled most of the OPFOR tangoes away from the camp, our sniper fired the one and only shot of the mission to cap the tower guard, then our captive was able to grab his gun and escape.

While that was going on, Zippo, myself and Sparrow were hauling ass to get into place on the top of a ridgeline, in order to creep in behind an OPFOR team as they ran their patrol pattern. We managed not to trip on any loose shoelaces, and Zip was able to sneak into a storage bunker and locate and acquire the nuclear bomb 'cores' that were our main objective.

As we were hightailing it back from that job, 1st squad was laying demo to cover our tracks and wreak some havoc. EVeryone made it back to extract, no KIA's, and we never broke stealth.

150 points awarded out of a possible 150! Wooohooo!

Can't wait for the next one! We may not win this tournament, but if we take the next one like we did this one, we'll be in the top 5 for sure!

Tilting To Starboard

Like Being Drunk, Only Without The Booze

Damn. My sinuses are still infested with this funky goo that refuses to go away. It's now got my ears kinda messed up, in that my inner-ear balance dinguses are getting shoved and jostled by the constant pressure changes and hydraulic shifting. So, I'm staggering about just a bit, and the world spins an extra half turn whenever I move my head too quickly. Almost enough to make me queasy if I dwell on it, but mostly I just plow ahead and do whatever needs doing. All that drinking practice in college finally paid off, it seems.

All through this, my body steadfastly refuses to warm up even one degree. It's enough of an infection to hang around for a while, yet not enough of one to spark a fever. I will say this, one benefit of being a plus-sized person is that there's a bumper crop of white blood cells always at the ready to swing into action.

On the plus side, this is a four day week, so the desk-bound torture will only go on for so long. Friday and next Monday off, then back to work Tues & Wed. following Xmas, then off that Thursday until the next Tuesday after New Years. Sweet!

Friday, December 16, 2005

To Gift Or Not To Gift?

Just Don't Call It Charity...

This is not a gun post, so non-shooters don't need to be scared off by the next few sentences!

I've noticed that the Gun Guy has morphed his site again. It's now "The Other Side", and there's a weird split between the old and new forums that I've not figured out yet.

Kim & The Mrs. spilled the beans about the recent changes to the old site and the Nation Of Riflemen replacement this past fall in a post the other day. It clears up a lot of questions about the relative chaos over there, and lays out (in more detail than I'd be comfortable divulging!) exactly how deep a hole they're in. It's pretty farookin' deep, and for the life of me, I have no idea how they'll manage to keep the dogs in shoes and the kids in kibble unless money falls from the sky.

They'll manage somehow, I'm sure. I've never met them, but I've talked with lots of folks who have and by all accounts they're genuinely decent people. That type tends to stay afloat no matter how heavy the storm.

Their idea is to form a not-for-profit organization to promote shooting sports and the 2nd Amendment, goals that I support wholeheartedly. Problem is, I'm feeling kinda burned about giving money to bloggers, due to two specific circumstances which I'll get to eventually.

As far as charitable donations go, I've gotten a lot looser with my spare change since my extended unemployment ended back in '04. I won't say I was a skinflint beforehand, but after the years of pedestrian-level poverty in college, I was more concerned with acquiring stuff than I was with spreading the wealth. I've always been good about dropping wads of cash on family and friends, but not so much with the anonymous public.

When I became re-employed, I was immediately hit up for a paycheck deduction donation to various charities, as part of a drive for 100% departmental participation. I resented having my arm twisted that way, but managed to find suitable organizations amongst the list of charities so that I didn't begrudge the money spent.

I've donated a good-sized chunk of money to various causes since I started blogging. Whether you look at it as El Capitan just being a decent person, or whether he's casting bread upon the waters just to keep karma at bay is a matter for debate. I dunno what turned up my donate-o-meter, but I really don't miss the cash, and I like knowing that someone's life is made a little easier as a result.

Now, let's talk about where the money goes. First, there's the big charity drives like the Bloggers For Boobies, Spirit Of America, and the like. Professionally run with low or no overhead, they're the type that eventually turns your cash over to the needy who have no way of ever knowing who it came from. They're just glad you donated. I don't expect any sort of recognition or even acknowledgement for that sort of donation. It's like dropping your change into the Salvation Army bucket, just doing it gives you all the reward you need.

Second is for surprise gifts. Every so often, someone will say "Hey! So and So needs this! Let's all chip in and buy it!" Staying anonymous is fine here, too. Sometimes you get a thank you note posted on a website, or mass-emailed, but sometimes not. It's a group effort for a specific task, though, and I wouldn't expect the recipient to track down every last donor that gave 50 cents to the cause for personal thanks.

Then, there's the unapologetic plea for cash. Sometimes people get in a jam, and they post a message asking for whatever help people can provide. Unlike the first two examples, there's rarely any accounting for the money at the conclusion of the drive. Lots of times there's no end to the plea, it's just a constant outstretched palm. For all you know, it's being spent on liquor and whores.

Now, according to El Capitan's Rules Of Order, when you make a request for cash on your blog to help foot the bills ("blegging"), and someone drops a wad in your Paypal account, it's not an anonymous donation. You should know to the penny who donated what, and you also have contact information and a way to get a message back through the pipeline. Seems to me some form of acknowledgement is in order.

No, a universal "Thanks, everyone!" post doesn't cut it. Not for me, anyway. I'm parting with my dollars to support your personal needs, based on my regard for you as a person, as evidenced on your blog. The very least you can do is say thanks. Hell, make it a form letter, just acknowledge that you received it if nothing else.

Last year sometime, at a point when I was still hip-deep in my personal money hole, a blogger posted a bleg that was sufficiently dire that I parted with cash that I really couldn't afford in order to help out. This blogger was known to be a stand-up guy, and I looked forward to an email of thanks so I could add words of encouragement that wouldn't fit in the Paypal comment box.

One was not forthcoming, though. That really chapped my hide, given my own financial situation. Now, it's entirely possible that 500 people sent cash, and emailing each one individually would take a year. Fine. Extract all the email addresses, slap 'em all in the BCC field of your favorite email app, then do a mass mailing. At least you've acknowledged the support. It's what I'd do, anyway.

The second time I feel that I got burned was earlier this year. An unnamed blogger's shit wasn't wired tight, and I happened to have an extra shitwire tightener back at the house. I volunteered to donate it to the cause. Hadn't used it for years, so it was no sacrifice to me, really. All that needed to be done was to locate it and ship it. When the "shitwire tightener" couldn't be located, I was a bit peeved. I had promised to deliver the item, and even though I'm sure the recipient would have understood if it was lost in the caverns of the garage, that's not the way I operate. I might drink up all your booze, teach your parrot nasty words, and then pass out on your lawn, but if you need something badly, I'll rupture myself in an effort to get it to you ASAP.

So, I go online, find the only vendor of shitwire tighteners, order a new one, then remail it as soon as it arrives. We're not talking a great deal of money, either.

Know what I hear back from the recipient? Dead silence. Nothing. They knew it was coming, and would have asked about it if it didnt' arrive. Again, I'm not looking for flower bouquets or fancy linen envelopes, just a quick email saying "Thanks".

Once bitten, twice shy. Twice bitten? Screw it. I'm keeping my damn cash.

Am I being unreasonable? If you're not able to thank a person face to face, or by a reciprocal gift, is a note (or email) of thanks just no longer deemed necessary in today's culture?

Your thoughts are welcome.

Oh, yeah... I most likely will end up donating some $$$ to KDT's venture, though I can't say how often or how much. I bitch a lot, but find that I usually end up putting my money where my mouth is!

The End Of The iMac Saga?

Let's Hope So...

I finally got the replacement iMac last night. It's still in the box, was just too tired to deal with it last night. I'll play with it tonight. Keep your fingers crossed that it's not a DOA unit!

I'd thought to go get some dead cow for dinner last night, but every damn restaurant in town was just stuffed to the brim with inconsiderate people who didn't know they needed to go home and eat mac & cheese 'cause I was eating out and didn't want to wait. Bastards, all of 'em!

I kept driving down the road until I spotted a place that didn't have a line out the front door. Place called Rockfish on Westheimer. It's a weird place, kinda wanting to be a mountain cabin/wear flannel/eat grilled trout place, yet there was a good dose of Cajun and a bit of generic seafood restaurant thrown in.

I wasn't much impressed. Service was OK, and I liked the shrimp cocktail (served with fresh grated horseradish for spiking up the sauce! MMM!!!) The clam chowder was unremarkable, aside from the empty clam shell they tossed in the bowl, presumably to let me know I wasn't eating oyster chowder. The grilled shrimp were overdone and a bit chewy. The catfish filets had more cornmeal than fish, but the waffle fries with a cayenne sprinkle were a nice touch. Price was more than reasonable had the food been a bit better. Maybe I caught them on an off night. They had Key Lime pie for dessert, but I caught a glimpse of it on another table,and it was the kind with the cream/meringue layer on top. NOT a proper KLP, IMHO. Went by Beck's on the way home and scored a chocolate shake for dessert. Damned tasty stuff!

Oh, while I'm reflecting on what a disjointed post this is, I oughta let you know... Posting is likely gonna get weird and sporadic over the next few weeks, just so ya know. Lots going on, and I'm off the reservation quite a bit as well.

Now, off to lunch. I hear a taco calling my name...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Looking For Amusement In D/FW

No Hippies, Vegans Or Penguins Need Apply!

I've got a couple of days to kill in D/FW, and I could use some help figuring out how to pass the time. I'm gonna meet the Connecticut Yankee on the 29th in Arlington, then Jenni's invited me to a ritzy New Year's bash over in Carrollton on the evening of the 31st. That leaves a sizable window that needs filling.

I'll be staying in Arlington this time around. I found a nice cheap fleabag motel over by Six Flags, and that oughta do for a place to crash for three nights. One of these days my D/FW friends will move in from the sticks and all settle in Irving or Grand Prairie. To get from Rockhauler's place in far NW Tarrant County to Andy's house over in far NE Dallas County requires at least 52 hours of driving, it seems.

I may end up parking myself at a Cineplex and catching up on all the movies that have been released lately. Either that or sneak onto the UTA campus and dump 5 gallons of dish soap in the fountain, just for old time's sake.

I don't particularly want to haul a bunch of shootin' irons up to Dallas to go shooting while I'm there, though it would be fun to load up some .45 Long Colt ammo up to magnum levels, and show Connecticut Yankee what a "cheerio of fire" really looks like!. I don't think he'll have his .357 popper with him, though, since he's flying down from the Frozen Wasteland. I have a sneaking suspicion that the double shotgun makes quite a spew of flame when fired after dark, too!

I suppose I could always go to the gun range and pick up a dozen or so really tarnished 6.5 mm Carcano rifle cartridge casings and then head over to Dealey Plaza and stomp them into the dirt in various spots on the Grassy Knoll. That's always good for a giggle, especially on days when the Dealey Lama is preaching and there's plenty of conspiracy nutcases poking about. I just know there's a bunch of people who've found shell casings I've buried and have them squirreled away in a safe deposit box, absolutely sure they've got the missing proof of a 2nd JFK shooter.

The holidays are just too hectic to try and schedule a large get-together, but if you're free that Friday night or Saturday noon-ish, drop me a line and maybe we can get a few folks together at a place where they sell slices of dead cow and flagons of brewed barley.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

On The Downhill Side?

A Momentary Respite From Extreme Suckitude

That light at the end of the tunnel had better not be a damned train...

No blowback from yesterday's food heist so far. I guess the caterer decided that double-billing employees of The Man wasn't a smart thing to do. After all, the health inspectors are just a speed-dial away, and they loooove anonymous phone tips of roaches in the prep area and sliiiiiime in the ice machine!.

The usual grumbling on the part of the chronically malcontent cube-dwellers was diminished by an abundance of leftovers. They'll probably start bitching 'round about July about how bad the holiday meal was, but I've got photographic proof of the same people loading up to-go plates and bowls with whatever was edible. Hell, even the turkey carcass and ham bone disappeared. I'm assuming someone wants to make a stock out of it, and not suck the bones clean in their cubicle. I could be wrong about that. Bunch of savages around here!

I think I'm about to shake this tangle with the grippe. Got a little more sleep than usual last night, probably due to mixing medications. I can't recommend everyone cure a cold by taking a slug of NyQuil, then following it up with a snifter of single malt scotch, but it's working for me. I did have to get up at 3 a.m. for an emergency dose of antacids. I'm getting a little reflux in my advancing years, but a couple of tabs of "chalk & plaster of Paris" seemed to do the trick. The nosebleeds caused by excess noseblowing and dry heated air have mostly slowed to a trickle, pun intended. I'm sort of tempted to have a doctor pave over my sinuses, and install a miniature sump pump to blow this crap out my earholes whenever it starts to back up.

Apple Computer swears that my replacement iMac is in Houston, on a FedEx truck being delivered today. The tracking number they supplied seems to confirm this. We shall see. I'm in a bit of a dilemma about what to do about the $108.25 they refunded to my account last week to make up for the slower processor on the original shipped unit. Now that I had to have the whole shebang replaced, I should be receiving the exact machine I ordered, and they really have no obligation to give me any discount at all. I personally think my inconvenience and annoyance level is worth $108.25, but they may see it differently.

In the interest of customer satisfaction, they ought to cut me a break. I'm a bit low on goodwill for the company at the moment. Amazing how 15 years of loyal patronage and support can mostly evaporate after a go-round like I've had these past 3 weeks.

I just remembered last night that the last "roll of film" I pulled off my digital camera, the pics of my trip to see FlyGirl and Sammy, were left aboard the iMac that got shipped back. Gone forever. Took most of an hour to scour every bit of personal info off that machine before packing it up, and in the process I completely forgot the iPhoto files. Oh, well. Shit happens. I'll get a decent pic of FlyGirl in another decade, I suppose.

The loss of the Sammy pics is extremely galling. Truth be told, FlyGirl will look much the same the next time I see her. (assuming she doesn't succumb to the tragedy of the hair-cutting disease, which is woefully commonplace among married women in their 30's...) Sammy's only gonna be that size for another week or so, then he'll grow some more, and that moment's gone forever. No one to blame but myself, but honestly, who backs up a week-old home computer? Hell, I hadn't even taken the plastic wrap off the mouse yet...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Holiday Dinner With A Side Of Bacon

You Just Can't Make This Shit Up...

Today was the day of our big holiday dinner for the office staff. Despite a few last-minute items that had to be purchased (utensils, plates) we had everything in place for a flawless meal.

I even stopped by the store last night and bought a selection of olives and pickles along with serving trays, since IMHO it's just not a feast without those tiny sweet pickles and a couple of pimiento-stuffed olives to toothpick in place on top of your food to have it "look" at everybody.

We were scheduled for a quick staff meeting at 10:30a to get a little of The Man's work accomplished, then the caterers would drop in at 11 am and we'd feast and chat for an hour or so.

So... 11 am rolls around, and there's no food. 11:15, no food. 11:30, ditto. By 11:45 we've finally got the caterer on the phone, and he's claiming he doesn't have a street address for this building. Ummm, it's right there on the receipt, pal. The copy of which we're holding in our hands! OK, he's 30 seconds away, he claims.

20 minutes later, we've got staff that work in satellite offices bailing out and heading back to work, asking me for refunds in that joking manner that means they really DO want a refund. The delivery guy's cell AND the caterer's business phone are no longer being answered. We finally ring them up on a private cell phone that won't Caller I.D. back to The Man, and find out they're waiting in the loading dock area, when we've been very specific about coming to the front of the building.

Two of the admins are in place with a cart, and load up all the food to get it upstairs ASAP, though as far as I'm concerned, delivery means "bring that food to me!"

Mr. Delivery Guy suddenly starts waving a bill in the air claiming we owe him the full amount, plus a $30 delivery fee. Yeah, right, asswipe. I think not. That was all paid in full last week. Check with your boss!

Mr. Delivery Guy tries to reclaim the food, but it's already past the security gates and heading up the elevator. He can't get in without our OK, and as far as I'm concerned, we've concluded our transaction. I had a nice tip for him, but the Tip-O-Meter has long since expired. This guy's lucky to not get my foot in his ass. (Note: the caterer's shop is literally 5 minutes away if you catch all green lights, 8 min. if you don't)

I get back to the conference room, and people are grumbling about filing in Small Claims Court for a refund since the food's 90 minutes late and getting quite cold. We're also missing the giblet gravy and the cake we ordered for dessert.

OK, finally the staff's all in place, getting ready to feed, when who steps off the elevator but one of Houston's Finest, looking for "two women who stole a cartload of food". Unbefuckinglievable. Mr. Delivery Guy has found a cop to try and extort money out of us.

Of course, we've got our receipt handy, and nowhere on our copy is the handwritten part at the bottom about a $30 delivery fee. Methinks Mr. Delivery Guy is trying to weasel up some Xtra Xmas cash, counting on us not being willing to make a fuss and just fork it over.

Mr. Cop studies the receipt for a minute or so, asks a few questions, then departs to go run off Mr. Delivery Guy. He will not, sadly, use his Taser on Mr. Delivery Guy's testicles.

The food's lukewarm, but OK. It would have been in the "Very Good" category had it been on time and therefore hot.
In case you're wondering, I can't recommend "It's All Good" caterers for future events based on today's performance. I'd slag on 'em more, but I don't have their version of events just yet.

No more Holiday Planning Committees for me! I learned my lesson about volunteering this year!

Monday, December 12, 2005

It's A Conspiracy

All We Lack Are Black Helicopters

I do realize, of course, that there are people in the world with worse problems than I. Where some people are dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes, tsunamis, grinding poverty, virulent disease, or living in a Blue State under socialist dictatorship Democrat rule, I merely have to contend with a minor respiratory infection and the pedantic fumblings of the incompetent proletariat. Still, it's my weblog, and I'll whine if I want to. (You would whine too, if it happened to you! Doo wop, doo wop!)

I drag my sickly carcass out of bed Saturday for the sole purpose of getting the iMac to the FedEx office before noon, so I could catch the early pickup and have my replacement winging its way to me no later than this afternoon. The folks at Apple swear on a stack of old IIvx motherboards that as soon as FedEx takes possession of the iMac I'm returning, they'll release the replacement so I can get back to computing ASAP. All this requires on the part of FedEx is a swipe of the barcode reader, and I'm free of any responsibility. What could possibly go wrong??

Turns out the FedEx/Kinko's is a 24 hour store, so I should be even better off, right? Nope. No pickups until 6 pm that night. I ask for a receipt so there's some record that I've no longer got this Mac in my care, but am told to not worry, it'll be tracked in the system!

As of last night at midnight, it wasn't in the system. Hmmm... No tickee, no washee, as they say.

Called the FedEx/Kinko's shop this morning about 10-ish to see where the breakdown was. Took 15 minutes on hold, then another 10 minutes for the genius in charge to locate my box, still there behind the counter. They had no record of it being entered in the system. Of course, they're most apologetic, swear they'll scan it in immediately, and it'll be on the 6 pm freight wagon heading west.

It's now almost 3 pm, still no record in the system, and I'm getting pretty steamed. I have zero means of proving that I actually turned this over for shipping. What stops some FedEx dude from seeing that it's a computer, deciding to just hide it on the back dock for a few weeks, then debone it and part it out for drug money?

Sigh. Back in the day, I could've just swept into their village in the dead of night with a horde of fellow consumers, had the malefactors put to the knout before herding off the women and raping the livestock (Uhhh, lemme rethink the order there...), then burning their damn huts down.

UPDATE: Package is finally in the FedEx tracking system, 52 hours after initial dropoff. Incompetent mule molesters, all of 'em!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

More Fun With The Manolo!

The Barrel Of The Monkeys, It Is Far Less Amusing!

While it is true that El Capitan is somewhat sensitive to the jokes aimed at the sizable persons of the bigbutt, The Manolo still manages to get a giggle started on a cold Sunday morning!

Witness for your own selves:
The Big Stars of the Country

Manolo says, two of a kind, working on a full trough.

El Capitan wonders whether the alter-ego of Garth Brooks, the Chris Gaines, is OK with the marriage to the fashion-inpaired Yearwood, and is not silently inside screaming for The Garth to marry instead Terri Clark, who is equally sizable, but much, much hotter!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Moping Around

Not An Atypical Weekend, Mind You..

The iMac's being shipped back to Apple to be replaced as I sit here typing away on an obsolete Powermac with barely enough processor speed to run the bare minimum web browser available these days. Blah.

I've got some form of creeping crud that migrates from my sinuses down to my lungs and back up, oozing yucky goo the entire way. It's got me coughing and wheezing pretty much constantly, with the occasional eruption of guacamole-colored ick from way down deep. This all makes sleep an unlikely proposition, so I'm starting to get woozy from being awake too long.

I've been fighting a holding action by dousing the crud with healthy doses of single malt scotch whenever the crud is in the vicinity of my throat. Kinda like tossing water on the Wicked Witch of the West. I don't know how much real effect the scotch is having on the germs, but it's putting me in a better frame of mind, that's for sure. I'll have to do a Booze Review on this stuff FlyGirl got for me (Aberlour 10 yr old) when my taste buds are in better shape. It's totally unlike any scotch I usually drink, much heavier and earthier. Very very tasty, though!

Had a terrible dream I got busted for blogging from work. I'm hoping it wasn't the prophetic sort. Still, I need to revisit my blogging habits. I've gotten way too relaxed about it in the past few months.

See y'all in a couple of days when the new replacement iMac arrives.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Anyone Got Any Asslube?

BOHICA.... RUTA!!!!*

Well, all you Apple haters, get out your whetstones and sharpen up your "Told Ya So!" pokers...

Got deeply ass-boned this time. What could have been a simple fix to THEIR mistake is now gonna cost me another week without a home computer, and quite possibly force me to miss another tournament round with my online gaming group.

Apple did right by me when I found out they'd sent me a slower processor. Honestly, I'd never have been able to tell the difference between a 1.8 and a 2.0 GHz machine. The 1 GB stick of RAM installed in the iMac instead of the usual 512 MB helped ease the pain, and the $100 discount made me think all would be smooth sailing from here on out.

Until this morning, of course, when I went to burn a DVD and found out that they'd effed it up again, and sent me a unit with the Combo CD-RW drive instead of the DVD-R Superdrive. Goddamned. Kool-Ade Drinkin'. Bastards.

The simple fix would have been to send out an onsite-repair flunky to swap out the drives. They wouldn't do it. OK, fine. I'll carry it into the Apple store in the Galleria (lugging a 40 lb machine 1/2 mile to get to the very middle of the frickin' gigantomous mall) and the techs there can swap it out.

Nope! That would involve ingenuity and initiative on their part. Can't have that! Only way to fix the situation is to do what I DIDN'T want to do, and RMA the damn thing, ship it to Cupertino and get a new one whenever they get around to it.

In all honesty, this is not really an Apple issue. This shit happens all the time with any manufacturer, and it just happens to be my week in the RMA barrel. Still, we're not talking brain surgery here. This could have been fixed if the peripheral departments were allowed the creativity and flexibility that the design departments at Apple get.

This is the sad truth of a lot of companies. Every corporation preaches personal accountability for Quality Service, and Going The Extra Mile To Win Customers. In reality, once you get to the fringes of the company, it's all about doin' it by the numbers, 'cause you'll get canned if you break routine.

You've disappointed me today, Apple. I expected more from you. Oh, that iPod I was gonna buy? Shove it up your ass. That way we can both get that same AppleCare feeling.

*Bend over, here it comes again... Right up the ass!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

New Xmas Gift Idea!

Bling Bling To Make Her Bell Ring

Now, I don't want to give the impression that I advocate violence towards women, 'cause I don't. In this case, though, I'll make a rare exception.

Wouldn't it be just delightful if someone were to apply this in a rapid and forthright manner to Paris Hilton's cranium?

More than a little apropos, I'm thinking. Maybe we'd finally find out if she can make more than one facial expression.

via Boingboing

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Spring 2006 Texas Blogfest

Get Your Groove On With Some Cracka-Ass Crackas

Chouchope has posted the particulars of the upcoming Tejas y Jorjeya Blogger Meet & Greet & Eat Treat in Austin.

Go here for the scoop, or just read it all here.

What: Texas & Georgia Bloggers Bash

Where: Austin, TX

When: April 28-30, 2006

Who: Everybody who is somebody, plus a few hippies & dragworms we'll grab off of Guadalupe St for amusement.

Why: 'Cause You Ain't Got Nothin' Better Going On That Weekend!

Shoe's got a stack of rooms reserved at the Holiday Inn on Town Lake in Austin. The tab's $85 per night. There are 15 rooms on hold until April 7th, but they'll go quickly. "Texas Blodgers" is the password, call 1-888-465-4329.

It's time to come out of your shells, Texas bloggers! We need to crank up the apeshit-ometer and show these peanut farmers how to hold Fiesta Mas Grande!! Time to match up LC Beth's frozen whiskey sours against that fabled Chatham Artillery Punch as a medium of subtle and insidious ethanol-inspired buffoonery.

Oh, and if I have anything to say about it, we are not taking those crackers out to eat sub-par BBQ! No County Line, no Rudy's, no Stubbs! We need to drag these pilgrims out to Salt Lick, where we can get an outdoor table for 40 and carry in all our boozable beverages in coolers for a proper Texas feed.

Bookmark this site, y'all. It'll have all the gory details in the months ahead.

BTW, wtf is a blown-eyed blodger? Sounds like a refugee from a prison gang rape...

Aiyeeeee! They Got Me!

Consarned Nosy-Ass Lawyers

Damn, so close to dodging the bullet, too.

I didn't think I'd get hit with a subpoena with less than 24 hours until tomorrow morning's hearing.

WRONG!!! Process server caught up with me as I was heading to the copy machine.

Never been to a Federal Court before. I think I ought to wear my fish tie, or at the very least, my Duff-guzzling Homer Simpson tie.

Sigh. This sucks ass. OTOH, attached to the subpoena was a $50 check from the plaintiff's attorney. WTF is that about? The process server said it was a witness fee, but as a drone for The Man, I can't accept any sort of recompense or gratuity from anyone, and I'm on The Man's clock, to boot.

Shame, really. That $50 would've upgraded me to 25 yr old single malt scotch...

Free Gifties From Apple

Didn't Get Any Bumper Stickers, Though...

Apple finally pulled the money for the iMac out of my account Monday at midnight. Bizarre accounting methods they use. Ordered the computer on Nov. 30th, they didn't record it as a sale until Dec. 2nd, and didn't get their cash until the 6th, four days after I already had possession of the machine.

So, I finally get this thing mostly set up and for whatever reason, I don't remember to run the System Profiler until last night to take a look at what hardware is actually installed. Imagine my surprise when the 2.0 GHz processor that I purchased registers in the Profiler as a 1.8 GHz version. Ooops. They're both Rev.B models, but there's a difference between 'em.

M9843xx/A 17-inch iMac G5 (Ambient Light Sensor), 1.8 GHz
M9844xx/A 17-inch iMac G5 (Ambient Light Sensor), 2.0 GHz

On the plus side, however, the 512 MB of RAM ordered has mysteriously increased to a full gig. Fancy that, and welcome to the dilemma.

I've already got this thing mostly tweaked to my satisfaction, software of various types loaded, and I really don't want to deal with the hassle of getting an RMA # and returning it. OTOH, if I have any warranty issues, I want the computer in my hands to match the one I ordered in their records.

I called Apple, let them know the facts (yes, even the part about the free 512 RAM stick) and left the matter in their hands. They put me on hold for about 10 minutes, and came back offering a $100 credit on the order. Woohoo!
I would have settled for a stack of Apple stickers and a T-shirt!

So, all's well that ends with me having an extra C-note. That bonus Benjamin's got a dose of prime aged ribeye and 12 yr old single malt scotch written all over it!

Vanilla Frosted Chicken Chunks

Boy, That'll Put You Off Your Feed...

This ain't my day. Besides the late start, (2nd day in a row) I didn't have time to gather up a lunch before leaving the house. So, instead of doing the usual thing and grabbing a couple of burgers at the Jack In The Crack or Booger King on the way to the bus stop and reheating them this afternoon, I pulled into a Walgreen's and made a quick dash through the snack aisle.

Unfortunately, at a drug store your protein choices are usually limited to either canned Danish hams, ancient tins of Paraguayan mackerel, dodgy looking cans of sardines or 18 varieties of jerky.

Not being a huge fan of canned fish, I went for the jerky. Chose the Tyson Teriyaki Chicken Chunks. I figured as long as I'm eating oversalted meat products, I'd save myself the coronary wear & tear and get poultry instead of beef.

Well, that was a mistake. I couldn't resist tearing open the package for a quick sample after getting to work. Immediately upon opening, a foul aroma wafted out. Peeking inside, it looked as if each little nugget had a thick coat of cake icing spread on it. The goopy kind, with little green sprinkles on top.

I managed to get the ziplock seal closed before my gag reflex kicked in. Good thing, too. There's probably some emetophiliac wandering around the office just waiting for a Technicolor Yawn to occur. Damn fetish freaks are everywhere these days, according to what I'm reading on slightly disreputable blogs, anyway...

UPDATE: A very annoying helpful nitpicker loyal reader emailed me to let me know that Paraguay is a landlocked country, and the chances of that country exporting a canned pelagic fish is slim at best. In this case though, I'm pretty sure these were cans of the little known Patagonian Pampas Mackerel, herded by very short gauchos riding shaven llamas. So there.

The Gay Buffet

Tonight's Special: Cream Of Sum Yeung Gai!!

Had a hankering for some Chinese buffet tonight. Every so often, you gotta have an overdose of curry chicken, rubbery wonton and that bizarre collection of desserts.

Normally I go to one of the Lucky (insert noun here) shops. They put on a good feed, as long as you go to one of the newer ones. Tonight, though, I was outside of my usual stomping grounds and took a chance on a steam table Squat & Gobble on Westheimer called Lam Bo Buffet.

I'm thinking Lam Bo must mean "Weener Party" in Cantonese. I wasn't even seated when my Gaydar starting jangling. There were just too many tables full of impeccably groomed buff men to be a coincidence. The fact that Lam Bo is also right across the street from House of Guys might also be a clue. The collection was quite diverse, ranging from black men out on the "down low" to some amazingly beautiful trannies. Like The Man said, the woods is full of 'em!

Now, this is normally not a problem for me. I've got too many gay friends ranging in stages from deeply closeted to prancing down the Pink Pike to give a shit about who's sitting next to me at a restaurant.

So, why even bring it up? 'Cause there's one thing that DOES piss me off, and it's a goddamned bitchy queen pushing for a confrontation.

I've known more than a few "divas" in my adult years, and when they're a friend, ain't no better friend to have. They'll keep you in stitches with a non-stop barrage of sarcastic snark, and since you don't have to play the "Who's the Alpha Male" game like you sometimes do with another straight male, your conversations can actually make some headway without frequent stops to see who's the Big Swinging Dick in the room.

OTOH, when you're on the receiving end of the verbal venom, it's a whole 'nother ball game. No sooner had I sat down when Miss Thang at the next table started in on the snark with two friends. It started off with a critique of my Corporate Armor, since I had not changed clothes after work, and quickly progressed to my receding hairline, my exceeding waistline, and all points in between.

I know how the game is played, having watched Masters (Mistresses?) of the Snark for years, so I said not a word, didn't even make eye contact. When Miss Thang's got her bitch on, she's looking for you to do one of three things.

First, you can attempt to "play the dozens" right back. This more than likely is a losing proposition for you. Odds are he's had people ragging on his homosexuality since grade school, and there's a layer of armor built up that you won't crack. Also, you might think you're witty, but sweetie, you got nothing on a Bitchy Queen. Trust me on this one.

Second, you can go in for some serious obscenities and verbal gay-bashing, which will: A) Get you tossed out of the joint, and B) Prove to Bitchy Queen that you are just another homophobe, and get him Pity Points for suffering oppression by The Man.

Third, You can go in fists swinging, which will result in you either: A) Spending the night in the hoosegow with an assault charge awaiting you, or B) Spending eternity in a pine box because Bitchy Queen's a member of the Pink Pistols.

Nope, the proper way to deal with this situation is to take a page out of the Gandhi manual and just ignore the whole thing. Bitchy Queen didn't like it, but that was his fault for assuming I'd get dragged into the Bitch Web.

Those trannies I mentioned earlier? Almost fooled me, and that's rare. The pair had some serious surgical work done. No protruding Adam's apple, jawline thinned down, liposuction, the works. Looked like women, walked like women, talked like women. Beautiful women at that. Know what gave 'em away? They ate like men! Bent over the plates, arm on the table around it, shoveling it in, eating far more at a sitting than a woman of that build would.

For what it's worth? The food at Lam Bo Buffet sucked. Poor selection and so-so quality. Doubt I'll be back.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Whatever Spins Your Lugnuts...

Faces Come Out Of The Rain, When You're Strange!

Let's talk about fetishes. It's been on my mind lately.

I'm sort of perpetually perplexed by the odd things that seem to wind people's libido up. I can sort of grasp the concept from an intellectual POV, but it's still not quite real to me. It's like understanding the Calvin-Benson cycle of photosynthesis well enough to pass the BIOL 3304 exam. You understand why it works, but not being a green plant, it has little real meaning for you.

I guess what set this train of thought rolling was a couple of items. One was my recent visit with FlyGirl, which always generates a flood of inquiries from another friend of mine who fantasizes about spooging on her long brown curly hair. I tend to be circumspect about publicizing such carnal urges, but my friend has no problem voicing his desires. This quickly led to a distinct cooling in diplomatic relations on the part of FlyGirl towards my friend. Still, I believe that there's a difference between saying you want to do something, and actually whipping out Mr. Lizard and doing the deed. No sperm, no foul, really.

The second item behind this post is this story that came up on the radar recently. A complete nutbag up in Wisconsin urges women to drink foul and toxic liquids while he videotapes them so he can have a visual record of the women vomiting. This is what turns HIM on.

Again, we have a range of acceptability. The Instant Hair Gel thing is kinda crass and icky, but getting off on women puking???!?! That's just farookin' NASTY!

It doesn't stop there, friends and neighbors. The list of fetishes is longer than my... Cadillac. Nurse outfits, chains, latex, whipping, bondage, food, peeking in windows, high heels, horses, expensive furniture, diapers, douche bags, stockings, jerkin' your gherkin in public, amphibians, scolding, fast cars, Nazi uniforms, Silly String, baby oil, Princess Leia slave bikinis... all these are triggers for flipping on people's switches.

As is usually the case when presented with odd behavior, the Psych community comes up with a theory to explain it.
Here's one:
Fetishes often linked to childhood traumas

OZAUKEE COUNTY - What causes one to become aroused by another’s vomit? Such a condition, clinically termed emetophilia, led Mequon resident Sean Kobin to convince a Grafton woman to consume a poison that nearly killed her.

While emetophilia is rare - Dr. Lynn Vice, a prominent Milwaukee-area psychologist specializing in sexual disorders, had not heard of such a fetish - a quick Internet search turns up thousands of sites with some type of reference to vomit fetishes (Caution: some sites are informative and clinical in nature; others are pornographic).

Although not specifically listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a vomit fetish, according to Vice, would be diagnosed as a paraphilia, an abnormal sexual behavior, the most common of which are voyeurism and frotteurism.

Although she couldn’t comment specifically about Kobin’s case, Vice said fetishes in general develop through a conditioned response during an unusual or traumatic childhood experience.

Various Internet accounts describe emetophilia in similar terms, as a condition that develops following an emotionally charged experience of vomit, often ironically combined with emetophobia - a fear of vomit.

Other accounts claim the emetophile forms a link between the convulsive act of vomiting and that of orgasm.

This story appeared in the Ozaukee County News Graphic on November 15, 2005.

So, one bizarre episode involving getting your leg humped by a schnauzer in front of a group of friends in grade school, and next thing you know, you're an investment banker chained naked to a sink, having carrots jammed up your ass by a dominatrix wearing plush puppy paws and a spiked collar? I don't know if I buy that.

Are we so fragile a species that one instance of misguided eroticism in childhood irrevocably earns us a one-way ticket to whack-a-zoidery? Surely if there's a trigger that flips a switch that easily, there ought to be a way to flip it back off. Unless, of course, you believe that all normal sexuality involves costumes and carrots up the poopchute.

I'm not immune to recognizing that people have different tastes, but I'd be willing to bet the majority of humanity are more mainstream in their turn-ons. I'm certainly not one for walking too far on the wild side. Tickling with a feather, I can dig that. Pull out the entire chicken, however, and you've lost my interest.

It's also entirely possible the problem lies not with the fetish-embracing society, but with me for assigning labels like 'nasty' and 'bizarre' to the mechanisms another human being requires to obtain sexual gratification. It may well be our ultimate fate for each of us to have a starring role in a series of German Scheiße videos. I'm not going to put money on that option, though.

I suppose that if you spend your life devoted entirely to dipping your wick (or being the dippee) as often as humanly possible, sooner or later ennui has to set in. Maybe after boinking a redhead, brunette, blonde, baldy, shorty, tall, thin, fat, black, white, old, etc. etc. there's just no more mystery left, and the only way to get your rocks off is to turn to the bizarre, or give it up altogether.

Feel free to chime in. This one's got my puzzler working overtime.

Oh, and for the record, I bear NO ill will towards that schnauzer! He was probably abused as a puppy.

Bonfire Of The Vanities #127

More Of The Worst Of The Web!

This week's Bonfire Of The Vanities is up over at Special Fried Rice. Go see this week's crop of craptacular posts that probably ought to have been red-penciled!

Can Openers

How's That For An Exciting Title!

Tanker over at Mostly Cajun is lamenting the impending demise of the P-38 can opener. With the replacement of canned rations with the PVC-bagged MRE's, there's not a lot of demand for manual can openers. Or at least, I thought so, until I saw what else Tanker said they were good for!

Not being an Army type myself, I was introduced to the P-38 by one of the camp rangers when I was a staffer at a Boy Scout summer camp. He called it a "John Wayne". I'd use one to crack open the big #10 cans of peaches or apples for making cobbler when we were out in the brush far from an electrical outlet, and believe me, you felt the pain after wiggling that little SOB around the diameter of that huge can.

On a pre-camp season work crew, we were cleaning out one of the old barn/storerooms at Bendover Acres, and I unearthed an old coffee can 3/4 full of those P-38 openers tucked in behind some old tack. We all helped ourselves to 3 or 4, but looking back , I wish I'd gotten a few more. I've still got one bouncing around somewhere in my junk drawer at home.

I used to carry one on my keychain, until that blade snagged a finger one day as I was digging in my backpack for the keys. That was enough of that foolishness. I can't even think of one time I actually used it to open a can. Most times it got used to clean gunk from under my fingernails.

I've since switched to this type of can opener:

It whoops the pants off of any other handheld opener, and can even give an electric opener a run for the money. I've got three of them, of which I can generally only find one at any given time. If you see one, snap it up. They're a hell of a lot better than those POS plier-style can openers!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Getting Low On Holiday Spirit!

PB&J On Week-Old Bread Is Too Good For These People!

Well, if you ever need all your holiday spirit sucked forcibly from your body, just plan a holiday dinner for your office. I'm needing to cut a check today to the caterer, and people are still footdragging on the contributions. I'm gonna start going cube to cube and chopping off a pound of flesh from these folks pretty soon.

I already put in $25 over my own $10 "entry fee", since that's what it cost to get the caterer to deliver instead of their usual self-serve pickup. For me, it's absolutely worth the $25 just to be free of the hassles of food for 35 people spreading itself all over your car, not to mention the absolute PITA of getting all that stuff from the parking garage over to the building. I had a buddy back in high school have 5 gallons of bean soup overturn in his car as he delivered it to (IIRC) a church function. The car was dubbed "Soupbone" from then on, and you couldn't stand to ride in it in the hot summer months, in spite of repeated shampoo jobs.

What really bugs me is that my office window is on the same level as the annex rooftop that abuts this level. If I had a sliding glass door, I could put a BBQ smoker out there, and we could have a real Xmas feast for very little money, and not have to mess with caterers. Of course, I'd also get the constant stream of smokers in and out of my office so they could go pollute their lungs outdoors without having to fight elevator traffic!

Next year, it's Viking food for sure...

Just A Bit Overdue

I Can't Even Blame The Booze...

I've been meaning to post an update on the mini-road trip ever since I got back to Houston Saturday night, but one thing after another delayed me. Mostly laziness, if ya gotta have the unvarnished truth.

It went well, as I expected. A 4:15 a.m. departure time put me at the Airport Holiday Inn in San Antone right at 7:30, since I didn't have to stop for anything. Kind of a wet, foggy trip out there. There were three rollover accidents on the way. Probably people dozing off, or just driving too damn fast on wet roads. One involving a pickup truck outside of Luling had every state trooper and county mountie in a 100 mile radius on the scene. If there was ever a time to pull a heist at the truck stop down the road, that was it.

I got to the correct hotel this time. We did this layover visit thing about a year ago, and I went to the wrong Holiday Inn. Express, Select, who can tell the difference! It doesn't help that they are literally next door to each other.

Flygirl was already up and about, and surprised me with unexpected gifties! A book on economics that I've heard great things about, and a bottle of scotch! Wooohooo! Bonus!

Flygirl was jonesing for some La Madeleine, so we ventured up San Pedro Ave halfway to New Braunfels before we finally found the one we were looking for. La Madeleine was one of our college hangouts, since we could buy a cup of coffee or glass of iced tea, then sit for hours scarfing up the free bread, butter and jam. They serve the butter & jam in these little white ramekins, and by the time we left (just before they threw us out) the stacks of those cups were almost a foot high. Yeah, we were pretty obnoxious about it! This go-round, we only managed to empty 7 or 8 of them. The Frog bastards swapped the old strawberry jam for a berry/rhubarb mix that ooked me out a little.

They still serve a tasty dessert, though!

On the way back, we spied a sign for a seafood shop that had to have one of the Worst. Names. Ever. Get this... Barnacle Bill's Seafood. WTF?? Name a restaurant after one of the foulest faux sea shanties ever sung? Who had that bright idea?

Let's see if I can dredge up a verse or two of 'Barnacle Bill The Sailor'.... I had to listen to the lead singer of the bluegrass band I roadied for torture us with it for days on end.

(In a sweet girl's tone)
What's that running down my leg?
What's that running down my leg?
What's that running down my leg?
Asked the fair young maiden!

(In a crusty pirate's tone)
That's the shot that missed yer twat!
Said Barnacle Bill The Sailor!
That's the shot that missed yer twat!
Said Barnacle Bill The Sailor!

Believe it or not, that's one of the nicer verses... It can go on for hours without repeating if you're creative enough.

After heading back to the hotel to get Flygirl back in her flying duds and on her airport shuttle, we chatted for a bit longer, then I left to go up to San Marcos. I-35 was populated by the usual crowd of over-medicated senior citizens driving 32' motor homes, Ritalin-stoked college kids in Daddy's Beemer, and NAFTA-approved Central American truck drivers with rattletrap semis and a tenuous grasp on the English language and local road rules. Big Fun!

Little Sammy's cute as ever. He's 8 months old today, btw. He's crawling everywhere, and was most fascinated by my beard. Stares at it as if possessed. I'm the only one he's in contact with that has one, so it's a source of wonderment.

He can pull himself upright if there's a table to hang onto. Also, you have to pull his socks off so he can get traction on the wooden floor. That's OK with Sammy. He'll just jam that sock into his mouth and chew on it.
We were giving him Cheerios to eat, but the dogs didn't want to be left out.

Every time Sammy would lean over to one side or the other, either Ashley (rat terrier) or Ellie (mutt) would dart in and slurp a Cheerio or two off the table. They're gonna get fat eating all Sammy's dropped food!

I stayed there for a few hours, but needed to get back before it got too late. I dropped in on a really cool old country market called The Bon Ton, where they specialize in meats. I picked up a pound of their chunk-style beef jerky, and it was not only inexpensive at $14.95/lb (for jerky, anyway) but absolutely fantastic as well.

I detoured through Smithville, and lucked out by guessing the right exit that would lead me straight here:

Got my Slurpee, and even a nice fancy cup for my next refill!

It's hard to see in the pic, but there's a battery gizmo in the base, and the whole cup lights up and flickers in different colors. Kinda ridiculous, but at $2.99, I just couldn't say no!

Made it back around 8 pm, so about 11 hours in the car all told. I'm sure feeling it today!

Next road trip, up to Dallas again after Xmas for some parties and get-togethers. The blinky Slurpee cup is comin' to a town near you!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Three Time Wasters!

Just Killin' Time Until 6 P.M.

Found the first one at Baldilock's place, the rest from the quiz site.

You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 9 out of 10 correct!

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

You are Agnostic

You're not sure if God exists, and you don't care. For you, there's no true way to figure out the divine. You rather focus on what you can control - your own life.
And you tend to resent when others "sell" religion to you.

Road Trip!

Hide Your Wimmen! Lock Up The Liquor!

El Capitan's hitting the road, boyz & gurlz! Goin' to San Antone to hang out in a hotel room with a married woman! We were gonna do an all-night chat party, but I can't stay awake for 36+ hours as easily as I could 10 years ago, and I also can't find my jammies with the little feet on 'em, darn the luck.

My globetrotting friend Flygirl (who I would link to, except for some perplexing reason she has not succumbed to the blog disease) has got a 14 hour layover until she gets back up into the Friendly Skies heading east, so I'm gonna head over there dark & early tomorrow morning and buy her breakfast and talk her ears off. Once she's airborne that afternoon, I'll sneak up to San Marcos and go play with my little nephew Sammy for a few hours until my sister kicks me out and I head back to Houston.

This all came about with very short notice, so I'm sorry I wasn't able to give some advance warning. It would have been nice to grab Kurt & Dash & LC Beth & possibly even the mysterious and elusive Christina for an impromptu blogfest, but this has got to be a quick there & back again adventure. There's a brand-new iMac waiting to be set up!

Hmmm... there's also a 7-11 in San Marcos that's sure to have a Slurpee waiting for me! Bonus!

I'll post some pics when I get back. I promised to try and get a close-up of Flygirl's long curly brown hair for another friend (who will go unnamed to save him embarrassment), as he has some irrational attraction to it. I'm thinking it's kinda like Burt Reynold's attraction to Demi Moore's dryer lint in 'Striptease', but I'm withholding judgement. Not quite sure how that'll play with Flygirl, but she's pretty open-minded...

More Money Shenanigans

Never Bank At Three Stooges Savings & Loan

Apple's pulling more of their bizarre finance games. Last year, when I got Mom her eMac, I blogged about how Apple billed my account, then refunded the money, then doubled my money, then pulled it all back out just as the computer was delivered.

This time, I paid for the iMac and the AppleCare package, and they billed my account accordingly. The next day, when my order status said there was a problem, I had to clear up a bank hold that allowed the $1100+ computer purchase, but declined the $170 warranty package. Go figure.

OK, Wells Fargo's Online Fraud department was to blame for that one, but it got cleared up after a quartet of calls to Apple and WF. On goes the order!

Yesterday, after the previous day showed a completed transaction for the entire order, there was suddenly no record of any transaction with Apple taking place on my online bank account. This time they didn't add double the amount, but my account's still $1300 more than it should be. FedEx tracking shows my packages on the truck here in Houston, and heading towards the house sometime today. At least I think it does. What's up with this?

Dec 2, 2005
4:18 AM At dest sort facility HOUSTON, TX
6:28 AM At local FedEx facility HOUSTON, TX
6:31 AM On FedEx vehicle for delivery HOUSTON, TX
6:52 AM At dest sort facility HOUSTON, TX

So, it's at the Houston sort shop, then at the local station, then on the truck, then... back at the main Houston facility? WTF?

I do not like this, Sam I Am. I do not like FedEx's intricate scam.
Not on my porch, not under my tree. Please, FedEx man, bring my iMac to me!

I truly don't understand why they have to play these games. Any bankers out there who might have a clue why they pull my money, then give it back, then deliver the item, then pull it again?

UPDATE: The new iMac's sitting inside my house as we speak. The money's still in my bank account. I'm sorely tempted to go pull all the money out and switch bank accounts, just to mess with Apple for playing such stupid money games.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

More Content Tomorrow!

Really! I Promise!

I've been plagued with end-of-month reports today, as well as various other odds & ends that have kept me from slacking off properly.

I'll get back into the posting game tomorrow, assuming another herd of alligators doesn't come rushing off the service elevator!