Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pookie Cat Strikes Back

Don't Mess With A Sofa Cushion-Sized Cat!

Hey, Mr. Opposable Thumbs! Get over here and rub my belly!

Betsy Cat can have all that salmon. It gives me the winds somethin' fierce!

Do you think I could have a coupla bites of that owl, maybe?? I loves me some tandoori owl!!

Oh, ditto on cleaning out that pooper-tray, you schmuck! I'll unload behind your closet door again if you're not careful!

Betsy Cat Exerts Her Will

I Done Been Hip-Mo-Tized By Dat Fee-Lion!!

Look into my glowing eyes, you lowly opener of food cans!

You are powerless before me!

You will put away that bag of dried kibble, for it tastes like ass! You have seen me groom, I know what ass tastes like!

You will go to the cupboard and get that big can of pink salmon right now!

You will spoon feed it all to me, and give none to that awful Pookie Cat that I loathe so much! It disgusts me that you pet her short fur. Only Long-Haired Cats can rule this house!

Obey me, lowly human!

Oh, and clean out my pooper-tray, you schmuck. It's been three days!

2001: A Blog Odyssey

This Post Is Too Important For Me To Allow You To Jeopardize It, Dave...

Oh, waitaminnit... Damn, this is supposed to be the content for post #2001. Crap, not quite there yet.

Never mind, my mistake.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Post #1000!!!

If I Had A Penny For Every Post, I'd Go Buy A Really Big Beer

Welcome to the 1000th post at Baboon Pirates!

I hope y'all have enjoyed the ride so far, 'cause there's no end in sight.

Thanks for your continued support!

Well, That's Just Too Creepy...

Is Soylent White Made From Shmoos?

Christina was a-prophecyin' about life amongst the Blogerati some 20 odd years down the road. Naturally, I had to inject some of my usual snark into her comments, choosing the old cliche about Soylent Green for my dystopian prediction.

Imagine my surprise when I look up Soylent Green in Wikipedia, and find out the timeline in the movie is set only SIXTEEN years away...

Well, at least it won't be Soylent Grey. Make it out of oldsters, and it's just kinda gristly and tough.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Give A Hoot!

Owls Are Falling From The Sky!!

Last week my friend Zibig's parents were pelted by falling owls. Well, there weren't exactly a lot of owls. In fact, there was just the one.

Their cats alerted them to a bird flapping about in some bushes. Turns out it was a baby screech owl that decided to sneak out of the nest, only it lacked that critical flying ability to return after its daylight jaunt. I suppose if juvenile owls do sneak out when the parents are sleeping, it makes sense that they do it during the day!

Anyway, they rescued "Bob" the owl, who isn't quite at big as he appears below. Owls fluff up their feathers quite a bit, and he's probably only 1/3 as big as he looks. "Bob" got a towel wrap to keep him (and people's fingers) safe, then got transferred to a luxurious cardboard box in preparation for his trip to the local Owl Rescue agency.

At any rate, here's "Bob".

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Early Onset Senility

My Halting Steps Toward Curmudgeonhood.

It's 4:42 a.m. I'm fully dressed, cell phone in my pocket. I'd been pulled from a deep sleep by a rhythmic thumping, more felt than heard. I was all set to go pound on my neighbor's door and tell him to have his damn kid turn the music down. The only thing holding me back is the recurring mental image of one of my favorite KISS concert T-shirts from 10-15 years ago. You know, the one with "IF IT'S TOO LOUD, YOU'RE TOO OLD" printed on the back? I'm just having a severe crisis of conscience over making my first complaint to a neighbor based on Houston's noise ordinance. Can it really have come to this??

Still, it DID wake me up. The *thump...thump thump...thump...* followed me down the hall. Echoed back & forth amidst the ceramic tile in the bathroom as I offloaded last night's 44 oz. of ice tea. Kept going as I tried to go back to sleep, finally swelling to a crescendo... *thump...thump thump...thump...thump thump...thump...* Faster & faster. Christ, the kid's a Goth, how in the world could he be playing John Bonham and Led Zep? I thought 70's cock-rock was to Goths like crosses and garlic to a vampire...

I finally said to Betsy Cat "Enough is enough", and wandered into the living room to find my shoes. Glanced at the clock on the way. Shit. It's not 4:42 a.m. It's 9:42 pm!!! Damn! I thought I'd slept all night!

The thumping has stopped too. As my brain slowly kicked in to gear, I put it all together. It wasn't the kid next door making all the racket! It was the Memorial Day fireworks show down at the mall, 2 miles away. As humid and still as it is down here tonight, the fireworks had enough punch to carry all the way and rattle me out of sleep.

Well, I'm up and dressed. Maybe I'll go wake up my neighbor, just to screw with him.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

'The New World' Order

A 45 minute After-School Special Stretched To 2 1/4 Hours...

Bloody hell... If I have to see one more shot of sunlight through the treetops, or the wind rustling tall grass, I think I'm gonna hurl.

I just endured Terrence Malick's 'The New World'. After seeing 'The Thin Red Line', I knew what I was in for. Beautifully shot but excruciatingly long scenes of grass growing. Characters doing a whole lot of deep, important introspection. Oh, I'm sorry. Did I say deep, important introspection? What I meant was endless self-indulgent navel-gazing.

I mean, really! Who's got time to constantly obsess over what kind of person you are? All the main characters look like they spent 95% of their time gazing off into space while running a personal monologue in their head, with the lush and impeccably recorded soundtrack swelling in the background.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Metaphors, deeper meaning, symbolism, yadda yadda yadda. My opinion? Malick can't decide whether to make an art film, a documentary, or a costume drama, so he goes for all three, and makes a beautiful bowl of pabulum.

Pass this one by.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Trolling For Goths?

I'll Never Drive In That Neighborhood Again...

Good deeds never go unpunished.

So, there I am, tooling around in an un-air conditioned Caddy at 4:30 pm, it's gotta be 94 outside, and not a cloud in the sky. Sun's beating down like it's trying to make up for lost time. I've been running errand after errand, and this is after the slow drive from over by the University of Houston south of downtown up to NW Houston. I'm sweating like a whore in church.

Finally, the last task gets accomplished, and I'm heading home. I try to avoid traffic by taking a back road over by Northbrook high school, but it's jammed up as well with everyone getting off work.

Looking up ahead, I see some skinny dude dressed completely in black walking by the side of the road. He's got a girl (very broad in the beam) walking with him, and he's combing his long hair, which is also completely black.

Oh! Hey! That's gotta be little Azrael Abyss, that Goth kid from next door! I've lived here several years now, and I've never seen him wear anything but black. The girl looks like his main squeeze that I've seen hanging around the cul-de-sac. They frequently have late-night snogging sessions on the bench swing we've got hung on the tree in the center of the circle. Dunno her name, but Circe Nightshade is probably close enough.

I really don't like this kid too much (He hammers my bedroom wall with stereo emanations at all hours), and I really don't like his parents. Still, it's just too hot to be walking the two miles back to our street, and they *are* wearing all black... I decide to be nice and offer them a ride.

I pull alongside and yell "Hey, need a ride?"

The couple turn and face me, and it's NOT the kid from next door. Nope, this is a Mexican Goth, and he's very curious why a fat old dude in a Caddy is trying to get him into his car.

From both of them came a torrent of Spanish and some finger gestures. I'm pretty good at getting the gist of the message. I know what 'maricon' is, at any rate. The other bit I'm pretty sure was 'fat boy lover'.

I wasted no time applying foot to gas pedal, and changing zip codes in a rapid and forthright manner. Something tells me I'll be a bit more cautious in the future!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Google Weirdness

More Search Term Amusement

Still busy today, so just a quick perusal of a few of the search engine queries that brought people here to Baboon Pirates.

After seeing a few of these, I really don't want to meet some of these people.

Ahem, let see what we have here...

"flinging squirrel" - OK, fair enough.

"phantom shitter" - Yes, I did write an ode to The Phantom Shitter. The search query came from Google UK, though. Odd, what?

"pirate match shoot" - No friggin' idea.

"hand jobs for both partners" - Well, it's an egalitarian searcher, anyway.

"red baboon butt" - A perennial favorite.

"Long John Silver's parrot was trained to cry out what phrase?" - Eet Mor Chikin?

"hairball solutions for Maine Coon cats" - Wear shoes all the time.

"vaginal tighteners that men like" - Alum? Kegel exercises? Not being a ho'?

"world's ugliest dot" - Ah, that would be Dorothy "Dot" McGill, of Hackensack, NJ.

"Pirate song sung to tune of 'This Old Man'" - I have no freakin' clue.

"volatile gas baboon" - Come around after I've had broccoli and cabbage, and I'll show you.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hard Slogging Ahead

Number Crunching Without Any Lunching

Got the nose to the grindstone today, kiddies. It's after 6 pm and I'm still toiling away. No end in sight...

Reports to various Fed Alphabet Agencies are coming due before June 1, and I'm snowed under, so I've gotta be brief with the posting.

If I didn't actually have to do this for a living, I might find it interesting. F'rinstance, didja know that there are 870 Male American Indian Non-Hispanic Service Maintenance workers in the Greater Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area? How about the 15 Female Native Hawaiian Or Pacific Islander Skilled Craft Workers?

You couldn't give a damn, could ya?

Yeah, me neither.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Come Ride The Danger Train!

Oh, No! Not Another Song Parody...

Citizens of Houston,

An evil force has entered our fair city,
and threatens to expand unless it's stopped!

Commuters! Travelers! Hear me out!
This could happen to YOU!!!

(Sung to the tune of "MTA" by the Kingston Trio)

Let me tell you the story
Of a man named Laurence
On a tragic and fateful day!
He put a daypass in his pocket,
Kissed his cats and family
Went to ride on the Danger Train!

Laurence scanned in his daypass
At the Bell Street Station,
And he changed for Holcombe & Main.
But the train got T-boned near the Medical Center
Laurence couldn't get off of that train!

Did he ever return?
No he never returned,
And his fate is still unlearn'd...
He may ride forever
On the streets of Houston
He's the man who never returned!

Now all day long
Laurence rides up and down Main Street
crying, "What will become of me?
Will I ever get to see my lizard-hunting Nardo
Or little Piper or even Frisky??"

METRO promised that the train
would be a boon to commuters,
World-Class travel for all to see!
But a grade-level track,
and some wonky traffic signals
made the ride extremely scare-eeee!!

Did he ever return?
No he never returned,
And his fate is still unlearn'd...
He may ride forever
On the streets of Houston
He's the man who never returned!

Laurence's wife goes down
To the Reliant Park station
Every day at quarter past two
And through the broken window
She tosses Laurence a kittycat
As the train comes rumblin' through!

Did he ever return?
No he never returned,
And his fate is still unlearn'd...
He may ride forever
On the streets of Houston
He's the man who never returned!

Now you citizens of Houston,
Don't you think it's a scandal
That the people have to pay and pay
For a vanity project from an absentee mayor.
Get poor Laurence off the Danger Train!

Or else he'll never return,
No he'll never return
And his fate will be unlearned
He may ride forever
On the streets of Houston
He's the man who never returned.
He's the man who never returned.
He's the man who never returned.

(Ed. Note: Laurence is the only other Houston blogger I'm aware of that regularly endures METRO in order to get to work. He's actually ridden that foolish train, though, which is why he's the subject of this song!)

Bah, What A Crock O' ....

Maybe I Should Go Stand In The Corner.

The latest Carnival of the Recipes is up over at PractiGal.

It appears I made the cut only on sufferance. In spite of a timely submittal, my two submissions was relegated to the Ass-End Charlie position, in spite of one of the recipes clearly being a legitimate food/appetizer. The comments by the host were less than gracious as well. Hey, they asked for Crock-Pot recipes, I gave 'em Crock Pot recipes.

Hmmph. Moms. Some of 'em got no sense of humor...

UPDATE: Well, those Crockpot wranglin' moms may not have a sense of humor, but they do have a sense of fair play and decency! The entry got a slight edit, and now I don't appear to be quite the sleazebag I did previously!

Muchas Gracias, Señora PractiGal!!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Izzat You, Lynnie-Lou Who?

I Just Gots Ta Know...

I don't ask requests too often, but I just gotta know...

Who from Methodist Hospital in Westfield Indiana is tearing through my archives like a starving vaquero going through a platter of tamales?

Seriously, you've spent hours and hours reading my stuff. Can you at least let me know who ya are? I promise I'll keep it between thee & me!

Email to baboonpirates2 AT gmail DOT com

I always like to meet a person who can easily digest my inane scribblings!!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Injectable Lizard Spit

Beats A Sharp Stick In The Gut... Oh, Wait, It Is. Damn!

I rarely talk about personal (physical) matters here on my blog. Mostly 'cause it tends to be none of your fargin' business, but I'm also a fairly private person in that regard. More so than most, anyway.

Some folks have no problems airing their medical issues, but I just get a little embarrassed/flustered/self-conscious talkin' about ingrown toenails or butt pimples. Just seems a little crass. Your mileage may vary. I guess when I get to be an old man, I'll have to be one of the surly "Get off my lawn" variety, and not the ones that sit around playing checkers and discussing coronary bypasses and bowel movements.

I'm breaking my silence in this category, 'cause I'm about to embark on a treatment that is so farookin' interesting, its potential as blogfodder outweighs my reserve about discussing medical stuff about myself.

Those of you who've met me know I make the Michelin Man look svelte. In spite of the weight I've been generally healthy, but the older you get while obese, the faster you start to break down. Kinda like piling 5 tons of garbage in your trusty ol' pickup truck... you'll run OK for a while, but when the shocks wear out, you're basically phuct.

I've been on blood pressure meds for awhile, and doing OK in that regard. This year, the doc unleashed the Evil Prescription Pad of Doom, and isn't taking "No" for an answer.

See, once upon a time, there were two kinds of people, diabetics and non-diabetics. If you weren't diabetic, but your blood sugar was elevated, you fell into the "Borderline" category of non-diabetics. As long as you didn't cross the line in the sand of 125 mg/dL of blood glucose, you were OK. Well, not OK, but no one was mentioning blood testing or insulin, etc.

In the past few years, there's been a shift in thinking regarding this "Borderline" category. The current wisdom says "To heck with waiting until you cross the line, attack now!!" So, "Borderline" suddenly became "Pre-diabetic" in medical terminology and suddenly I'm deluged with pills and blood-glucose testing strips.

OK. I can deal. It's a pain in the ass, but I've got insurance and it's not like I've got much of a social life to interrupt, anyway. Most of it's been OK. A good deal of nausea every so often, but anything that keeps my eating in check ain't all bad.

This new stuff, though... Doc wrote the scrip this morning. The drug's called exenatide. It helps regulate blood sugar levels via several mechanisms. You have to inject it via one of those pen-looking injectors twice a day.

It's supposed to be real good at suppressing your appetite. Most people taking it report losing 50-60 pounds a year. Of course, that's mostly due to nausea, I'm sure. That's the leading side effect. I powered through Metformin's nausea curve, so I'm sure I can deal with this one.

What's so cool about it is where it comes from. Though the commercial drug is synthezised, the protein component that does the actual work was originally found in Gila Monster venom!

Yes, friends & neighbors, you heard it right. El Capitan will be injecting himself with lizard spit twice daily.

Other than the nausea, there aren't too many other side effects. Mostly just uncontrollable urges to bask in the sun & the occasional craving to swallow small rodents whole.

Oh, and one more thing...

Ladies, my email addy's on the sidebar.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

30 Random Questions

Feel Free To Steal This Idea. I did!

Don't ya just love those days when you've got nothing to write about, and someone on your blogroll has a nice tasty little meme you can heist?? This one is courtesy of Jenni, who I'm hoping won't forget about my standing invitation to come hang out in H-town!

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?
Yup. Nothing like getting handed back your own pistol by a cop saying "Show me how to unload this thing."

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coaster?
Nope. In fact, I'm leaning over the edge of the front rail or halfway out the side!

3. When's the last time you've been sledding?
Wow. 1978? Nope, had to have been 1983, on a ski trip in Colorado. It was actually snow-tubing, but that's close enough.

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
Define "sleep with." If it's knockin' boots, then a partner improves the situation immensely. As for actually sleeping, I gotta confess to needing my space. Besides, I snore.

5. Do you believe in ghosts?
Nah, not really.

6. Do you consider yourself creative?
Sure. (Gasp in awe of the inherent creativity of that reply!)

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?
Yeah, he sliced & diced the pair of 'em.

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
Aniston. Jolie's a Grade-A hottie, but carries that slight whiff of skank. Besides, you could never scrub all the Billy Bob residue off of her.

9. Can you honestly say you know ANYTHING about politics?
Enough to simultaneously disgust and amuse myself.

10. Do you know how to play poker?
Yup. Deal 'em, podner!

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
I think I made it to to 42 hours one time back in college.

12. What's your favorite commercial?
That Superbowl "Herding Cats" one from a few years ago. Oh, and the one where they launched gerbils out of a cannon.

13. Who was your first love?
Who can remember that far back?

14. If you're driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around you, do you run a red light?
I'll wait through the light, generally. I'm pretty law-abiding on the road.

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?
If I told what it was, then everyone would know!

16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?
Screw the Yankees. For that matter, screw the Sox, too.

17. Have you ever been Ice Skating?
Yes. It was not a pretty sight.

18. How often do you remember your dreams?
Quite often. I ought to write them down, they'd make great short stories.

19. What's the one thing on your mind?
Staying reasonably healthy.

20. Do you always wear your seat belt?
Never wear the effing things. I'm gonna die by being flung through the windshield, probably.

21. What talent do you wish you had?
I wish I had some talent in drawing/painting/sculpture.

22. Do you like Sushi?
I confess a squeamishness with the salmon eggs and the raw quail eggs, and don't much like eel & raw squid/octopi. Otherwise, it's all good!

23. What do you wear to bed?
Usually just some skivvies.

24. Do you truly hate anyone?
Those that desire to control the thoughts and actions of others.

25. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?
Heh. I seem to recall blogging one time about an idle whim about banging either Jane Austen or Emily Dickinson, just 'cause if ever a famous female needed a thorough rogering, it's those two. OTOH, I'm not into necrophilia, so let's just go with my usual objet de polissage de poteau, Monica Bellucci.

26. Do you know anyone in jail?
Not at the moment. My cousin's out, and this asshole rode the needle a few years back.

27. What food do you find disgusting?
Organ meats. Liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, etc. Nasssssty!

28. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?
One day the Deluxe DVD edition of myself and Connecticut Yankee doing our impressions of 'The Limey Bastard In The GreyBar Hotel' will be released, at which point L.B. will kill us both.

29. Have you ever been punched in the face?
Yup. Not much fun.

30. Do you believe in angels and demons?
I believe there are people motivated by Light and Dark, Good and Evil, Order & Chaos, etc. Not so much in a halo/wings & horns/pitchfork sense, though.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Elusive Green Dragon

El Capitan's OTHER Crockpot Recipe

OK, this one's a hypothetical recipe. In other words, it's possible someone somewhere has made this recipe, but if they did, they're not admitting to it. God knows I'm not 'fessing up to anything.

Rumor has it this recipe was found scrawled on the back of a Grateful Dead set list torn off a stage monitor back in the mid 80's. Or, it was the result of several brainy stoners with too much money and free time. Hard to say, really.

OK, here's the obligatory disclaimer. COOKING WITH HIGH-PROOF ALCOHOL IS COMPLETLY EFFING INSANE!! DON'T DO IT! In fact, don't even read any further. Just say no. Go here, and give thanks you've got some self-control.

Still here? OK, it's your ass if you mess this up. You'll likely burn down your shack and live out your life inside a crispy yet oddly tender shell.

This recipe has allegedly been done over a bunsen burner, then a gas stove, then an electric "hotplate" burner. In neither case did the ChemLab/rent house/dorm room burn down, but that's due to being extremely lucky. Doing it in a Crockpot will take longer, but should achieve similar results with less risk of SUDDEN UNEXPLAINED DETONATIONS AND ALL-CONSUMING CONFLAGRATIONS!!!

Into a Crockpot, pour 750 ml lab-grade ethanol. If your Chemistry grad student buddy has graduated and no longer raids the ChemLab supply closet, then substitute 190 proof Everclear or similar high-proof ethanol. Don't use anything lower than 100 proof, and Bacardi 151 Rum is not recommended due to taste reasons. Stick with vodkas. To my knowledge, neither Slivovitz nor absinthe have been tried as the extracting liquid, but you're just asking for trouble there.

Turn on Crockpot set to low, cover, and seal lid with plastic wrap. You don't want all your alkyhol drifting off into the atmosphere as fumes. Oh, speaking of fumes... PUT OUT THAT G-DDAMNED CIGARETTE! PUT DOWN THE BONG, IDJIT!! No open flames anywhere near this stuff! Those fumes are flammable, @$$hole!

When your alcohol is quite warm (don't go for the boil, which is actually at 172 deg. F), carefully peel off the wrap, open the lid, and drop in about 1/2 ounce of your favorite green aromatic herb, finely chopped. Stems and seeds are OK. You can probably guess which herb I mean, and it ain't tarragon. Stir until it's well mixed, then cut off the heat, re-cover and let it steep.

After it's cooled, pour the liquid into a separate container, straining out the vegetation. Repeat the process with a second 750 ml bottle of alcohol, using the same batch of herb.

After the second steeping, you've gotten everything out of the herb worth getting. After straining, wrap the "tea leaves" in a coffee filter and go stash it in your boss's car. Combine the two brews into one container, preferably one with a tight fitting lid. Keep this stuff in the fridge.

Now, you've got 1/2 gallon, more or less, of a sickly green looking brew. If you're smart, you'll go pour it down the drain and avoid a lot of trouble. However, you've read this far, so your smart-meter might be on the low side!

You can toss back this stuff as shots, but bear in mind that if you do more than 2-3 ounces, you're gonna be hanging on to the carpet for dear life for the better part of 6-8 hours. You're getting all the benefits of high-proof alcohol, AND the added thrill of extracted THC. Oops, I meant oregano extract. Basically, you're drunk & stoned using the same liquid.

Now, rumor has it you can mix up an entire can (makes 2.5 gallons) of powdered Gatorade drink mix according to the can recipe, add enough crushed ice so it's slushy, then add in 32 oz. of simple syrup and the 1/2 gallon of your herb brew. That's got enough horsepower to get a whole herd of hippies turned on, tuned in and dropping out for several hours.

There it is, kiddies. The long-fabled recipe for Green Dragon. Approach with caution, and ingest at your peril!

Can't Beat This Meat!

Slurp On My Hot & Sweet Party Balls

So I get this email asking me to submit my favorite Crock Pot recipe to this week's Carnival of the Recipes.

I'm just about done with most of the Carnivals, to tell the truth. I hosted a few early on in the blogcareer, hoping for the elusive Instalanche. Naturally, the weeks I hosted were the weeks the Grand Poobah Reynolds forgot to check his emails and/or negelected to mention them. Fargin' puppyblender!

This spring I've entered blogposts in several carnivals, only to get 5-7 hits total each time. Hardly worth the effort of cutting & pasting links into the Canival submittal form. Hell, I got more hits playing dress-up with Livey.

Still, Carnival of the Recipes is generally a fun read for a confirmed food addict such as myself, and the Carnival of Cordite is always good for some gunny goodness. So, I'm not giving them up completely.

This week, it's Magic Meatballs. I learned this recipe from the hippest couple in Dallas many years back, who also taught me the trick of freezing a vodka bottle inside a half-gallon milk carton stuffed with ivy vines and water, for a festive 'Eff you up' party pourer once you peeled the carton away from the ice.

I've tried explaining this recipe several times to other bloggers, but each time there was enough alcohol coursing through our systems that I'm fairly certain they thought I was having them on. I assure you, this recipe's for real, and makes for a delicious party dish!!

OK, it's real simple...

Into your Crockpot, pour in:

1 package pre-made frozen meatballs (40-50 count)
32 oz jar of grape jelly (I prefer Smuckers, it rhymes with...)
2 - 16 oz bottles Heinz Chili Sauce

Double or triple ingredients as necessary depending on whether you have the Slowcooked Squirrel model Crockpot, or the Stew-A-Moose jumbo sized model.

Turn on Crockpot. Stir every so often as you prepare for the party. When the sauce bubbles, stir some more. You've probably got frozen meatballs still in the center. Eat a meatball every so often to test for quality control. Damn, that was good! Have another! Crack open a beer. Put your feet up. Have some more meatballs. Get another beer. To hell with vacuuming before the party, your guests have dirty carpets too. 10 minutes before the guests arrive dash over to Kroger's to buy more meatballs. You're such a pig...

That's it! Quick, easy, and I don't think I've ever had any leftovers to clean up!

Off The Reservation

For A Couple Of Days, Anyway...

I'm gonna be stuck in this conference for one more day. 8 more hours of fun and games paid for by YOUR taxpayer dollars. We're accomplishing very little that I can see, other than making some folks feel better about themselves by providing the illusion that forward progress is being made.

I won't go into specifics, but in a nutshell, there's representatives from various gummint entities and alphabet agencies from around the state working as a focus group for Policy Group "A", that's in turn contracted by Policy Group "B" to produce an advisory report for Federal Policy Board "C", and said report, involving commentary from 14 cities across the US, will be duly submitted, copied in triplicate, foldled, spindled and mutilated, before being filed away in that gigantimous warehouse shown at the end of 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark'.

"Best" moments so far:

1) The decision that discrimination and ill will towards (Insert maligned socio-ethnic group here) will be completely alleviated through strategic performances of semi-professional stageplays written/produced/directed/performed by (Insert another maligned socio-ethnic group here), bringing us all closer together in an explosion of puppies and rainbows.

2) The phrase (uttered in a small group session by a fiery yet completely immature advocate) "so, I asked his girlfriend if he needed help holding his cock while going to the bathroom..." Words fail me. I'm trying to hang on to the last shreds of my professionalism here, and this woman's griping about getting turned down for a threesome.

3) The raging debate over how to enact special legislation to protect (Insert maligned socio-ethnic group here) without admitting that such legislation will conflict with existing legislation enacted across a span of 20 years to protect (Insert several maligned socio-ethnic groups here).

Sigh. I've got to get back in the private sector. Rape the environment, oppress the proletariat, make a profit. What could be easier?

Monday, May 15, 2006


We Commence To Doin' The Happy Dance!

Mondays are not always a Very Bad Thing!

Got a call from the Parental Units following their return from doing the morning mall-walk. It seems there's a new store opening up in Memorial City Mall, and they knew I'd get a kick out of hearing the news.

Now, I've successfully avoided Memorial City Mall for years. If I needed some tools from Sears, or my Dillard's charge card needed some abuse, I'd sneak in those stores via the side doors, get what I needed and leave without ever setting foot in the Mall proper. I've never been much of a mall person, even when I was younger. Just too many teenyboppers ditzing around, and hordes of oldsters taking up 8 lanes of traffic.

Zibig & I used to roam around the now-defunct Town & Country Mall, but we were generally making asses our ourselves, mainly by smoking the doobage in the service access hallways. T&C Mall was supposed to bury Mem. City Mall under a flood of modernity, but a poor location and a crappy layout eventually made it implode. Nowadays, it's a grassy plain interrupted by three intact parking garages and a Needless Markup that became a standalone store.

Aiyyeee! I digress. Back to the tale.

Nowadays, the mere sight of mall-specific shops, like Visible Changes, a Gap, or Brookstone can induce a case of the screaming fan-tods. Malls are just so... (and I HATE using this word, makes me sound like I'm 50 years older than I am...) so.... TACKY! You don't even get the benefit of an Orange Julius or the Corn Dog Shack anymore. Heh. I'm dating myself. Those two shops used to sit side by side in MC Mall for YEARS. I can't count the number of people from my high school that used to work in one or the other. The Corn Dog Shack used to take this humungous chunk of cheddar cheese, swirl it around in the corn dog batter, then deep-fry the sumbitch until it was golden brown. Needless to say, I never ate one. Not that I'm opposed to battered and deep-fried cheese chunks. It's just that I knew that sometimes "taste enhancers" went into the corn dog batter...

OK, I digress yet again!!! Cutting to the chase, we're getting an Apple Store! Friendly, knowledgeable tech support just two miles away! No more schlepping all the way over to the Galleria to visit the Shrine of Computational Superiority!

This is gonna be sweet!!!

(Oh, don't even bother to attempt to explain why your PC/Linux/SPARC/Cray is a better platform. It's a wasted effort. I drank deeply of the Apple Kool-Ade long ago...)

Warning! Excessive Cuteness!

Kinda Looks Like Me Eating A Chilidog...

No particular reason for posting this, except that Zibig probably hasn't had his Recommended Daily Allowance of Hamstahs!

Plus, it made me laugh. Good enough reason!

Via Cute Overload

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I May Never Sleep Again!

Coke's New Brew Can Wake The Dead!

I tried the new Coca-Cola Blãk. Truly an odd drink. It's a mix of Coke & coffee, and enough caffeine to make your eyelids retract back behind your brain.

If you like Coke, and you like coffee, there's a good chance you won't spew out the first sip. It's odd how the initial sip tastes like Coke, and you don't get the coffee flavor until after you've swallowed.

The bottle's small, just 6 ounces or so. You can finish it in a few gulps if you're so inclined. I drank the bottle while sitting in the parking lot of the CVS pharmacy where I bought it. I started up the car, exited the parking lot, and that's all the time it took for the caffeine jolt to hit. Felt like little chemical fingers pushing my eyeballs out of their sockets from behind. The whole ride home I'm waiting for my heart to skip a few beats 'cause of all the stimulants I'd just ingested.

If you're a regular caffeine junkie, you'll probably enjoy this stuff. If you regularly avoid caffeine like I do, best keep away.

Something's Rotten In Denmark...

Also, Strange Things Are Afoot At The Circle K!

Much drama encircles Casa Capitan. Andy has ceased blogging due to some calamity I'm not aware of yet. I may not be able to reveal the details once we have a chat following his return from Colorado, but anything dire enough to send him towards the parental units can't be good.

Flygirl's irked at the squirrel-flinging idea. I was quite snarky in my reply to her comment, which probably did not digest well up in Liberalville, MA. Still, one wonders at the ensuing reaction when I put the smack down on a delicious Bambi this fall. Admittedly, I won't be flinging said Bambi into the next county with a catapult, but still...

El Capitan chose to avoid the family gathering last night honoring Mom's birthday. Mom is not pleased, but Mom shares a birthdate with my hoodlum jailbird cousin, who was also being honored. First, the gathering was down in League City, which is quite a trek just to have cake & punch, and I'm not all that enamored of my aunt anyway. Second, I'm fairly certain I might not have been able to refrain from inquiries into the condition of the cousin's sphincter following his recent stay at the Federal Pound-Me-In-The-Ass prison up in Bastrop. Fisticuffs and a pistol-whipping hardly ever improve family gatherings.

Zippo the Grey-Plumed Parrothead has been silent again for weeks. Much drama for him as well. Hopefully he'll be back up and blogging before too long.

I find myself in a bit of a deep blue funk, knowing the next Blogfest will be far in the future. I know I wouldn't enjoy them nearly as much if they were a weekly event, but 2007 in Vegas is a looooong way off. Methinks a mini-meet in Dallas and a toobing fest in New Braunfels might be in order for summer & fall.

OK, off to complete the 3 S's before going out to lunch with Mom. It IS Mother's Day today! Go call your Mom!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Shade Tree Mechanics

The Holy Trinity: Baling Wire, Duct Tape & JB Weld

The car mechanic I'm using these days is a firefighter by trade. For those not familiar with firefighter scheduling, they're usually on duty for 24 hours straight, then off for 2-3 days, then back on for another 24 hours straight.

Seems like a cush gig, except for the bit about burning houses falling on you. Oh, and the paramedic duties. Scooping up brains has got to suck major ass.

Forget what you saw on 'Emergency!' back in the day. No longer are there separate paramedics and firefighters, at least not in Hizzoner's realm. Every one of our local firefighters is trained as a paramedic, and gets rotated through the meatwagon duties. Oh, and the falling burning houses part is becoming less of a problem. The new policy is 'containment', which means if the fire has a pretty good headstart by the time they get there, they'll spend most of their effort keeping it from spreading to neighboring structures, instead of risking lives trying to extinguish your burning meth lab. Moral of the story? Buy sufficient fire insurance coverage!

Anyway, the schedule the firefighters run allows them to run a side business, if they so choose. In my case, I have to call and leave a message to see if he's in that day. Usually he can deal with the car problem right away. Since this is a sideline for him, there's usually no backlog of cars ahead of you in line.

He's got a really nice shop tucked away in a hidden corner of the Spring Branch area. He shares the property with a paint & body shop, also run by another firefighter. He's not Mr. Goodwrench, more of a auto-repair generalist, but he's good at coming up with innovative fixes.

In this latest case, instead of hitting me up for an entire new A/C compressor, he was able to replace just the main bearing. Unfortunately, the spindle had worn down where the lock-ring attached, the result of my driving with a damaged compressor for however long it's been wonky. This meant the pulley holding the unibelt on could spin free at any time, leaving me up shit creek 50 miles from a paddle. As I said, he's good at coming up with innovative fixes. I suspect he's a graduate of the Congolese School of Engineering.

He took most of a tube of JB Weld, and managed to re-create the original contours of the spindle, then did some more fiddling around with the unibelt pulley, making a JB Weld flange to keep the belt from hopping off. Yeah, it's an ugly-looking kludge, but it does the job, my Caddy runs almost silently again, instead of sounding like a Joad-mobile dragging a muffler.

Total fee? $360, of which $250 was spent on parts. Only 2 hours charged for labor, where a dealership would have socked me for 5-6 hours @ $60/hr. (which is what I suspect it really took to do all that JB Weld sculpting).

I've got my eye on a replacement compressor on eBay. Only $250. It'll have to wait until the next paycheck, though...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

PimpSled No Longer...

Names Are Earned, Not Selected!

Bwahahahaa!!! Pammy of Lollygaggin has had a brilliant idea, and I'll be in her debt as long as I drive this Cadillac.

I tried to dub it The PimpSled, due to the Caddy marque, the unaccustomed plushness, and the mini-mirrorball and tiny spotlights that are still stuffed in the console since I never mounted them in the roof.

Nope, the true name was eventually revealed. It just took a while.

The PimpSled is Dead!

Long Live Sparky!!!

Thanks, Pammy!

Squirrel Flinging

So Many TreeRats, So Little Time...

OK, this film clip is just laugh out loud funny, knowing a bit about physics and 'squoils'. The treerat was completely enclosed in the slingshot's cradle, the launch velocity is fairly low (relatively speaking) and the squirrel's mass is such that it won't land with a splat. Squirrels do some amazing leaps just farting around in the trees for fun. By the time this critter hits the top of its arc, it'll reorient itself to maximize wind resistance and slow its fall. Unless it gets impaled on a tree branch, it ought to scamper away none the worse for wear.

Now, this film clip, OTOH, was a bit rougher on the squirrel. Those clay pigeon flingers take quite a bit of effort to cock, and I've seen one shatter a man's wrist who got his arm in the way of the flinger. That squirrel was probably bisected upon launch, or at least lost a few parts on the way out.

I'm gonna have to build Squirrel Flinger #1... I'm fairly certain I've got a spool of surgical tubing in the garage. I can use an old archery bowstring trigger for the release catch. I just need a big colander and a bag of peanuts!

Hey! Quit blubbering! Squirrels are just rats with a nice hairdo and a better PR agent! They gnaw into the soffets, nest in the attic, and crap in the heating unit before dying in some inaccessible location. I leave 'em alone in the trees, even though they eat all my pecans. They come on the porch, however, they're getting flung!

Found at: Cruel Site Of The Day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cadillac Flambé Redux

My Life Is An Endless Cycle Of Suckularity

Last night I got stranded for the second time due to pyrotechnics emanating from the engine room of the Caddy. The little fiddly bits of the A/C compressor that had been merrily freewheeling along as I baked in the no longer air-conditioned interior decided they didn't want to play nice anyore. So, they commenced to get themselves out of kilter, flagellating themselves against each other and any other engine part they could reach, all the while making sounds like peacocks wearing chainmail being massaged by a stumpgrinder.

No flames this time, just gigantimous sparks arcing all over the place. Looked kinda like the time I got bored playing with a Zippo lighter and ran the striker wheel down the leg of my jeans, making a huge trail of sparks. I was close to the Chevron gas station at Beltway 8 & Memorial Drive, so I was able to get in off the road before calling AAA for a tow back to the casa, which was only about 2 miles away.

The mechanic's taking a look at it now. He seems to think he can torch or grind the offending bits off of the compressor, so they won't be gyrating. He also wants to replace the uni-belt. Still no A/C in the near future.

The wrecker driver was a piece of work. Oh, he was friendly enough. Offloaded his girlfriend and his dog to wait at the gas station while he ran me home. He was extremely polite and efficient, and was not only there by the promised time, but got me home and the car offloaded in near-record time.

He was also tweaked to the gills. Probably enough methamphetamine in his system to power Cleveland for a week. He chattered on a mile a minute (particularly about how he'd been working for 18 hours straight), had them crazy ol' speed eyes and the nervous twitches. Ditto for the girlfriend. The dog, however, seemed OK. More of a Valium type, I'm guessing.

He wanted me to call AAA and let them know if I was pleased by the service. While I wouldn't rat the guy out, neither do I feel the need to endorse his behavior. So, I tipped him ten bucks, and he can be content with that.

Sigh. I'm getting tired of owning cars that go all freaky and then explode. The Dodge pickup had the rear end go out... the VW GTi shredded itself annually, the old Chevy BelAir aka "Aunt Pearl" had an aneurysm, my sister wrecked my Ranchero and then she burned up the AMC Concorde. OK, I didn't really own the Concorde, but had to throw it in so people know that cars burning for no apparent reason are a family tradition. I'd list the 5 other cars from my past, but I'm already depressed.

Maybe I ought to start blegging to get a down payment on another car. Nah, that's even more depressing...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's...

It's Another Overbudgeted Hollywood Spectacle!

By now, if you're even remotely connected to pop culture, you've probably seen adverts for the latest Superman film.

If not, go have a look: (click the big ol' "S")

With 10 years of script rewrites and a revolving cast of directors, I suspect the film has a strong potential to suck donkey dick. I'll still be there opening weekend, more than likely. I just can't resist a comic book movie, even one starring the Big Blue Boy Scout. (However, I did manage to avoid 'The Hulk', which I gather was the smart thing to do...)

When I was actively involved in comic book geekery, I tended to shun Superman in favor of Batman and Spidey, etc. Still, Superman is and always has been excellent fodder for the big & small screens. I've already confessed my addiction here on the blog to WB's "Smallville" TV show. I'm kinda irked that Tom Welling from Smallville wasn't tapped to bring the role of Clark Kent/Superman to the big screen.

OTOH, Kevin Spacey's playing Lex Luthor, which is a free license for him to ham it up. Should be fun to watch! Lex Luthor ought to be played as a larger-than-life villain.

Big summer for fun flix, I'm hoping. Got the Xmen making appearance #3 on May 26th, then SuperDude on June 30. We get more pirate fun in July, when Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean sequel-izes itself.

Aug. 18th will be my personal movie-geek day. The Samuel L. Jackson fan-appreciation flick Snakes On A Plane debuts (GET THESE MOTHERF#%$ING SNAKES OFF THIS MOTHERF#%$ING PLANE!!), along with Clerks 2 from Kevin Smith. Aug. 25th sees the return of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard (Super Troopers, Club Dread) with 'Beerfest'.

Wow. Looks like I'll have to give up my DVD habit for a while and get back into the theater!

Putting Down Roots?

Probably A Clone Of Cattails and Catalpa

I appear to be sprouting a cat. Take a look.

For 8 days running, I've walked out the front door, and the cat in the picture has been lazing around in that potted plant at the end of the porch. He/She's there in the morning, nowhere to be found by the time I get home.

Knowing how generally particular cats are about staying clean, it makes little sense to me that this one prefers sleeping in potting soil, and rather moss-laden and icky potting soil at that. Still, I once found one of my sister's kittens sound asleep in the middle of an odiferous litterbox, so who can say what felines prefer?

I'm willing to bet the cat doesn't want to be watered...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Pigeons & Pizza

Kinda Like Chokin' Yer Chicken...

I may never feed pizza to pigeons again. Almost killed a brace of the buggers this morning whilst waiting for the METRO bus to arrive.

I'd packed a Ziploc baggie with some of last night's Pizza Hut leftovers, figuring a cold pizza lunch couldn't be any worse than my usual afternoon repast of no-name pastry and stale chips from the vending machine.

METRO being METRO, I was waiting longer than I needed to, so as I passed the time watching a few pigeons fighting a squadron of sparrows and a gang of grackles over a pile of picked-over sunflower seed hulls spat out by some uncouth barbarian, I thought I'd up the ante by a crust or two.

I pulled off the "pizza bones" from a couple of slices, and began tearing them into peanut-sized wads before sending them arcing into the melee.'

Immediately the grackles and sparrows used their superior speed and maneuverability to grab some crust chunks and retreat to a safe place before tearing into them. The pigeons, OTOH, calmly head-bobbed their way to the nearest morsel, and gulped them down.

At least, they tried to. I first discovered something might be amiss when I saw a pigeon doing something I'd never seen before. It was hopping around on one foot, one foot frantically kicking against its beak. I couldn't fathom what it was trying to do, until the flailing foot finally dislodged the wad of crust. I gather a general lack of lips amongst the pigeonry means they can't just do a "ptoo!" and spit something out.

Apparently, Pizza Hut's thick crust approaches the maximum density of breadstuffs. Already compressed to the limit by being torn from the crust, when the pigeon went to force it down its gullet, there as no give left to it. About the time I figured this out, pigeon #2 was doing the pizza gag dance.

Pigeons being pigeons, they tried again. Second verse, same as the first. This time, they'd gotten better at the "kick the crust loose" game. I finally started tearing off tiny chunks, just so there wouldn't be piles of dead pigeons remaining behind after I caught my bus.

So, lesson learned. Next time, we go with thin crust pizza. They won't choke, but they'll probably puncture their gizzards on the sharp edges!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

We Have Proof!

Or At Least A Convincing Facsimile...

Livey has been forced to fib a little in order to make an old lady feel good. Little does Livey know that she didn't have to fib at all! We have photographic proof that she really DID wear that wool blazer while she was in Texas!

Take a look!

Damned if that jacket don't fit quite right... Maybe it was made for someone with 10 lb. boobs...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Blogroll Update #252

Better Late Than Never

OK, blogroll update's done. Last weekend's crew is under 'Blogfest Alumni', everything else should look familiar.

If I missed you, let me know!

Kong Is Just So Wrong...

Peter Jackson Musta Been Hitting The Bong!

I finally got around to watching King Kong last night, and reached a startling realization. At this point in my life, I'm willing to trade a thrill-a-minute rocket ride for some decent acting and coherent dialogue. It was about an hour too long, and while it was worth the money I spent to rent it (about half what it would cost to see in a theater), that's 3 hours of my life that I'll never see again.

Good stuff: The ape. Naomi Watts. 1930's New York.

Stuff I have a problem with:

Rifles and subguns using hush-a-boom propellants. Where can I get .45 Auto and 8mm Mauser ammo that sounds like a suppressed .22?

No Ape Splat. Look, let's not sacrifice physics for a tidy ending. When you drop a 25 foot ape off the tiptop of the Empire State Building, it's gonna scatter gorilla goo from Chinatown to Central Park. Ever see David Letterman drop watermelons off the Late Show rooftop? Same deal.

Jack Black. Dude. Go back to doing Tenacious D. Your mugging for the camera got old way back in High Fidelity.

Headhunters. Diversity is beauty! Let's take a moment to reflect on the rich and spiritual culture of the Skull Islanders. All done? Good. Now let's grease every last one of those filthy mofos and render 'em down into Monkey Chow.

The bugs... OK, I could handle the giant mosquitos. Ditto for the giant crickets and crawdad/silverfish things. The centipedes creeped me out, but not too bad. The trapdoor spider only showed its legs, or I might've shat myself. Those fanged penis worms, though... that was just wrong!

Friday, May 05, 2006

A Little Dab'll Do Ya!

Courtesy Of Medieval Medicinal Purveyors

Velociman is expounding on the merits of Bactine this week. Claims it's good for everything from sunburn to Dutch Elm disease. Maybe even the heartbreak of psoriasis.

Lucky sod. We weren't so lucky as to have Bactine for our little cuts, scrapes and assorted boo-boos of youth. Oh, no. We weren't even given the mercy of hydrogen peroxide.

Mom was a firm believer in nipping any potential infection right in the puckered rosebud. Show up in the house with any part of your epidermis unzipped, and you were whisked off to the bathroom for your treatment.

First, the dousing in hot water, to clear away the blood, grass bits, and gravel/glass/macadam that obscured the path to cleanliness. Then, the liberal pouring of the isopropyl alcohol. Full strength. At a cost of 49 cents the bottle way back when, she'd splash on sufficient alcohol to degrease your average diesel locomotive, ignoring the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth of her offspring.

Then, it was time for the Magical Unguent of Healing. Stuff called ichthammol. Came in a crinkled & dented aluminum tube that must've dated from the Eisenhower era. The ointment was as thick as toothpaste, and black as coal. She'd smear a dab of that gunky stuff onto a Bandaid, then slap it on tight, so the ichthammol oozed out the edges. Stuff used to freak out the neighbor kids, who all seemed to use nice clean-looking Bactine or Neosporin.

Got to the point we didn't mention any of our bumps & dings to Mom. We feared the taunts of the neighbor kids about her "voodoo axle-grease treatment" more than any incipient infection.

Turns out you can still buy ichthammol. Nowadays it's sold to veterinarians.

For horses...

I Need A Litterbox

Or At Least A Large Potted Plant...

What is it with people camping out in the office bathrooms? I mean, I know it's Friday, and as loyal subjects of The Man we're all in full-on slacker mode, but still!

I'm about to pop here. Eyeballs are turning yellow. Back teeth are swimming. I'd go to the can on the other side of the building, but it was installed back in the Pleistocene Era when the average human stood 4 foot 3 and weighed no more than a nanny goat. Trying to squeeze into those stalls is about like fitting a country ham into a Spam can... you can do it, but you tend to shave off big chunks around the edges.

It might be time to have the emergency potted plant installed in the unused cubicles down the hall. Damn diuretics.

Update: Problem solved. Camper has exited as I typed this, and wonder of wonders, actually carried in a can of Lysol and made good use of it.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Big Hair, Big Heads in Texas!

Just What Houston Needs, Another Concrete Head...

Local artist David Adickes has unleashed another of his concrete creations on an unsuspecting public. Famous for the gigantimous statue of Sam Houston on the Interstate outside Huntsville, as well as the Virtuoso (aka "Cello Guy") over at Lyric Center, the latest is entitled 'Elegance' and it's a sculpture of a woman's head over by the Metro tracks on Main street.

Oddly enough, I know the model who posed for the artist for this sculpture. She's the older sister of a friend of mine from way back in the day. He and I used to blow off church services and go hang out in a nearby playground, then sneak back in just before the benediction. He never caught caught, 'cause his mom was the organist, and she couldn't exactly go out looking for him. I, on the other hand, got busted regularly by parents who were determined to have me sit through services even if they had to nail my butt to the pews. That's a rant for another time, though...

Anyway, Skip's older sister Julie was (and likely still is) a primo hottie of the highest order. I'm sure she's got plenty of other fine qualities, but when you're 13 years old, the only thing you're noticing is how drop-dead gorgeous she is. I'm not kidding about the drop-dead part, either. Back when she was competing in the Miss Texas pageant, I happened to be over at Skip's place eating some of his Mom's fantastic homemade peppermint ice cream. Julie came in from the back yard wearing a bikini so skimpy it looked like it was made of dental floss and band-aids. She bends over and starts playing with the dog. I distinctly remember time standing still at that point. Whatever Julie, Skip and their mom was discussing was reduced to a background hum, and I was having trouble getting the spoon from the bowl into my mouth. I'm pretty sure half the bowl melted due to the sudden increase in body heat.

Heh. That's almost 25 years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday. That's how much of a looker she is!

Anyway, judge for yourself. Concrete adds a few pounds, mind you...

I So Did Not Need To Know This...

The Lure Of Crapblogging Is Too Great To Resist.

Thought I was reproducing via egg-laying. Not to get too gross or anything, but it turns out that the peanut/corn kernel phenomenon applies to golden raisins as well. They, um... rehydrate. Look like lizard eggs more than grapes, though.

Let us speak no more of this...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I Will Survive!

At First I Was Afraid, I Was Petrified...

Would you survive a horror movie?

Find out @ She's Crafty

Blogroll Updates

Yeah, Yeah... I'm Workin' On It!

There's been a flurry of blogroll updates happening amongst all the Blown-Star Blodgers. Yes, I intend to add quite a few blogs and do some re-arranging. If you take a peek at my sidebar, you'll see that on my blogroll it's not just a simple matter of typing in a line of HTML.

Patience, my little cupcakes. It'll get done sometime soon!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Separate But Equal

Herding Cats And Watching Bats

There's these times in your life where you receive these flashes of insight that are supposed to make you a better person. Unfortunately, what it usually means when it happens to me is that I should have seen the obvious a long while ago. (Cue up Joe Walsh's "Life of Illusion")

I had one hell of a good time at the "Blown-Star Blogmeet". Just want to get that said right up front. Aside from some minor car flame-age issues, I don't know that I'd want to change anything about what went on, save getting by on less sleep so I could hang out some more with the other attendees.

The blogmeet as it happened wasn't the event I would have planned. In conversations this year and last year with Beth and Christina, I'd voiced my opinion for one huge gathering, where bloggers from all walks of life and political affiliations could attend, mingle, drink, smoke, bloviate, and then head home with maybe a bit more in common with other bloggers, maybe even those you don't ever read, or even like all that much. Hey, call me a consensus builder if you must. It's a big scary world out there, and having a few extra folks watching your back never hurts.

We had that for one night last weekend. A bit crowded & noisy, perhaps, but for one brief shining evening, the Jawja crew and the Texas crew and all the other bloggers from hither and yon came together for some righteous 'cue, copious brew, and wontons, too. In the cruelest backstab of irony since Abe Lincoln said "Hey, Mary! My headache's gone! Let's go see that new play at Ford's Theater!", I missed the whole frickin' thing. Hey, shit happens. Could've been much worse.

From there, though, the blogmeet split on two separate camps and never reconnected, aside from one guy in a slightly singed Caddy puttering up I-35 into north Austin for some shootin' and a picnic.

While the north Austin crew was shootin', grillin' and drinkin' up in Pflugerville and Round Rock, the south Austin crew was singin', pickin' and drinkin' back at the Holiday Inn. I think it's fair to say each group had a great time. I sure did, though it scraped at my anal-retentive soul that we couldn't all be one happy blog family all weekend.

I just got to the point where I wanted to latch ahold the each blogcrew in turn and say "Look! Those are good people up there! Sure, they're full of Red State piss & vinegar and whinge about the liberals and the hippies and carry big shiny weapons, but at heart they're solid citizens!" followed by "Hey! Don't be scared of the Blown-Eyeds sittin' aroung pickin' and grinnin'! Yeah, they drink like fish and curse like sailors, and maybe are a little laissez-faire on the political front, but damn, they're a fun crowd!"

Didn't happen, though, and maybe never will, and that's the point that got hammered into my oft-times thick skull.

People are gonna do what people are gonna do. Doesn't mean they don't get along, or that you've failed in your festivity planning. The agenda often gets set before you even arrive on the scene. No matter how logical and neatly-wrapped your ideas may seem, they might be the farthest thing from what anyone else wants. Which is another thing that scrapes at my anal-retentive soul, but that's MY problem to deal with, not yours!

So, lesson learned, and all that. I'm gonna try to take these things in stride, concentrate on the moment, and just let the blogfest work itself out. It doesn't need a guiding hand on the rudder, especially one that drives like mine! I'm pretty sure everyone will be happier that way!

See y'all next go-round, you crazysexycool Blown-Eyed Blodgers!! Can't hardly wait!

A Life Of Illusion
(J. Walsh, K. Passarelli)

Sometimes I can't help the feeling that I'm
Living a life of illusion
And oh, why can't we let it be
And see thru the hole in this wall of confusion
I just can't help the feeling I'm
Living a life of illusion

Pow, right between the eyes
Oh, how nature loves her little surprises
Wow, it all seems so logical now
It's just one of her better disguises
And it comes with no warning
Nature loves her little surprises
Continual crisis

Hey, don't you know it's a waste of your day
Caught up in endless solutions
That have no meaning, just another hunch
Based upon jumping conclusions
Caught up in endless solutions
Backed up against a wall of confusion
Living a life of illusion

Just A Few Blodger Profiles...

'Cause Ain't No One Exactly Like Their Blog Persona...

Y'know, it's almost overwhelming to dive into a blogfest with that many unique personalities running about. The fact that 80% of 'em are pretty well lubricated with fermented and/or distilled beverages makes it that much more fun! As they say: In Vino Veritas, so perhaps you really do get your best viewing of a person when you're both half in the bag.

Here's a sampling of the folks I met this weekend. I know I'm gonna skip someone through sheer ignorance, so if I do, let me know!

Confabulator - The man runs an extremely hi-tech blog out of Port Lavaca, and is a veritable wellspring of knowledge. Can't wait to sit down and jaw some more with him!

Rob - Heh. Waited so long to meet this guy, and when I make my grand entrance, I plow over a sidewalk curb and assorted shrubbery. About par for my usual performance... Never did get to spend a lot of time talking with him, we were just on separate wavelengths and trajectories most of the weekend.

Dash - Still waters run deep! Dash listens more than he talks, but when he talks, be listening! It's truly an honor & a pleasure to be called 'friend' by a guy like this.

Marcus - The ultimate stealth blogger. Hides behind a disarming smile, a big cigar, and a glass of high-grade scotch. Now if he would only post more often!

Ellison - At some point late one evening he guffawed and pelted me with a pack of cigarettes for being excessively snarky during Eric's extended needling of Knine. The man just oozes wit & charm, even if he does wear some pretty fruity-lookin' shirts!

Denny - Two blogmeets now with this guy, and I still have yet to corner him for some one-on-one conversation! Next time, I'll dust off my guitar and my singing voice. That'll do the trick!

Zonker - Wow. Is this guy cool or what? Nothing like I expected. He also kept trying to buy me a drink, and I think he got frustrated after a bit, 'cause I was either cutting myself off 'cause I had to drive, or I'd buy one for myself when he went out to smoke! Next time, Mr. Goat! First round's STILL on you!

Eric the Straight White Guy - This guy's on page #1 in my cool book! Aside from his paranoid delusions of tiny black bugs and a nasty backseat driver habit, Eric's just a heckuva lot of fun!

Boudicca - Charming, sharp as a tack, and one extremely nice person! I can't believe she remembered my chilidog casserole recipe!

Leslie - Look up "independent strong-willed woman", and you'll see Leslie's picture. Class act all the way, and she likes my writing, too! One of my favorite people this weekend!

Livey - I don't know that I can do justice here... She's nothing like she's described, except when she is, and every story told about her may or may not be true... Damn, let's just say she's a blonde whirlwind that careens through your gathering, shaking things up and refusing to settle down. More power to ya, hon! You can whale on our cops anytime!

Christina - What can one say about Her Feistiness? Heh. Kinda like that Miracle Whip commercial, she makes your sandwich complete! 'Course, those Latinas never use Miracle Whip, as I understand it...

Shoe - Shoe's comment: "To get to the Salt Lick, turn at the giant plume of smoke" sums up her sense of humor pretty well! Good seein' ya, Shoe. I'll take YOUR car next time...

Oddybobo - I don't think I met her until late Saturday afternoon, when I walk into Maudie's restaurant and see what looks like she could be Christina's younger sibling! Oddy's another person I didn't get to spend a lot of time with, but I salute her bravery for leaping into this mess o' blodgers and making a go of it!

Kelly - Didn't share two words with her the entire Meet, until I'm quite literally on the final elevator ride heading out the door towards home. Just too many bloggers there to get to 'em all! Still, in the brief moment we spoke, she seemed very nice and VERY pregnant!

Tammi - Another person that time allowed just a few moments for introductions. Damn, we needed a 4 day weekend! Next time, Tammi!

Nancy - Nancy, sweetie, I hope we managed to put some sizable cracks in that shyness shell of yours! Come back next time, and we'll peel that sumbitch clean off! A true pleasure meeting you!

That 1 Guy - I've met quite a few Marines, but this guy's proof they do more than just break things and scream "Ooo-Rah!!" Told a quite personal story to a complete stranger over dinner, and told it well!

Tara - Don't get sidelined by her Rita Rudner-esque accent. Tara (aka TJ) is WAY funnier, for one. Plus, she fears no Port-A-Pottie and when you feed her pear cider at 1 a.m., she tells the most amazingly personal stories!

Jim - Tara's dad, and a blogger of no small reknown. I didn't get to hear him sing & play the gee-tar, but he tells a great story, and isn't shy about impromptu lap dances from vivacious blondes!

Presto Agitato - He was there, and then he was gone! The phantom blogfest attendee! Never saw him again after Friday night. Hope the bats didn't carry him off...

Redneck - Y'know, I don't care much for fishing, but I'd bet a stack of Benjamins that going fishing with this guy would be a hell of a lot of fun! 'Course, you'd have to get him to trade that palmtop for a fishfinder... He's a good ol' boy for sure, emphasis on "Good"!

Walrilla - I was all set to make sure he got tagged with the "Meester Wheeskers" nickname, but darnit, he's just too nice a guy to do that to! Walrilla also fell into the "Not at all what I expected" category. Can't wait to go shooting with him, since he napped through the Saturday shoot! Can't blame him, though! Staying up til 3 am ain't as easy as it once was!

Knine - Chose to hang out with the long-haired hippies at a concert on Friday night, but came to his senses and joined us on Saturday. A stand-up guy for sure! Took some gentle joshing like a man, and came back for more.

Eric & Denita & Zane - Always good to see the Tinyville Trio! Eric & Denita are always a pleasure to talk to, and then there's Denita's baked goodies! I promise I'll make it out that way before too long, guys!

Beth - Beth and I share a few things, among them bad backs, a fondness for .357 magnums, a mutant event planning gene, and the fact that she's raising two 12 year olds, while mentally I still am a 12 year old! (at least, I think they're 12... they certainly are tall enough!) A pleasure as always, Beth! See ya next time!

Misha - A gentleman, a scholar, a warrior, a devoted father. Damn, this is one likable guy! Don't let the Rottweiler fangs throw you, he's an asset at any gathering!

Spats - I have to say, it was most amusing to see Lord Spatula in dire need of a spatula during the picnic cookout! I kept a lid on it, though.... He's acquired quite the arsenal in just a year! Good seeing you again, Spats! Still working on that batch of Trainwreck Stew?

Delftsman - Dude, you're a trouper for sure. Anyone who can attend a blogmeet and shoot a chopped shotgun 2 months after your heart exploded is worthy of respect! Be well, my friend!

Deathknyte - This guy just cracks me up. He's all "I ain't shot a gun in 15 years!", then picks up my shotgun and BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM!!!! starts putting these thumb-sized slug holes inside an area you could cover with your palm! I think we've found your chosen boomstick, dude!

Krondax - Good guy, but really needs to get over the recoil-phobia thing! Dude! What does not kill you makes you stronger! Next time, I'm bringing the 3" magnum shotgun loads just for you! Hey! He started a blog!

BC - This is one hell of a guy, right here. I gots to hang out with him some more in the near future! Sorry 'bout that shoulder, dude! We'll make Deathknyte shoot your round next time!

Alan - My 2nd time to meet Alan. Kinda quiet, right until you get on a topic he likes, then stand back!

Tig - He & Mrs. Tig hovered on the outskirts of the picnic, so I never really had any interaction. Maybe next time!

OK, my lips are now chapped from excessive buttkissing. I now gotta go stomp on some ants & junebugs to get out of this hippie-dippie lovefest I've wandered into... See! I told you Austin would affect me!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Cadillac Flambé

Not Quite The BBQ I Was Hoping For...

OK, by now the word has spread that I had a bit of difficulty making it out to the Salt Lick Friday night. If you ask Eric, Livey, or Tara they'll probably say I got lost, due to their extended tour of Austin streets with me in search of flying bats. This was not the case!

It all started with an odd aroma... driving out from Houston Friday afternoon, I kept getting a whiff of something burning. Of course, when you drive the back roads like I usually do, you follow a lot of diesel-burning pickups and larger trucks, so I chalked it up to some nasty reformulation of the local diesel fuel.

I got to Austin, drove into the hotel parking lot, and immediately caught sight of a whole mess o' bloggers hanging out in front. Naturally, I completely forgot I was driving, and proceeded to bounce over curbs, and get myself completely discombobulated, and tried getting into the parking garage without the pass card. So, I backed down the ramp, much to the amusement of the assembled Blown-Eyed Blodgers. My driving would continue to be a source of gleeful derision as the weekend passed...

After checking in and hanging out in the hotel bar for a while, I went out towards the Lick to set up Base Camp. Along the way, I was gonna stop to fill the gas tank, buy some ice and the final fixin's for my Key Lime Pie shooters. (The shooter fixin's never did get purchased, so I've still got LOTS of liquor...)

So, here's El Capitan, heading for the Salt Lick. Notice how smug & self satisfied he is! Everyone's going to the restaurant he picked out! He's feeling just too damn groovy!

I stopped, filled the tank with 16 gallons of wonderfully flammable gasoline, got some ice & bottled water, refilled my travel mug and headed out again. I'd noticed that odd burning smell again while gassing up, but a check under the hood didn't reveal anything out of the ordinary. Besides! It was gonna be a perfect weekend! Nothing's stopping me now!

Well, the Fates, or the Gods, or just the Flying Spaghetti Monster having a bad pasta day noticed this solid wavefront of pride and hubris emanating from El Capitan, and were sorely offended. This would never do! And so, Flying Spaghetti Monster reached out with His Noodly Appendage and smote El Capitan's Cadillac.

Not 50 yards past the turnoff to the Lick, the Cad commenced to shakin' and smokin', and making sounds like two armored penguins doing the nasty inside a galvanized rubbish bin. By the time I got the Cad off the road and up into the parking lot of the hospital there at 290 & FM 1826, the smoke was pretty thick, and the engine was starting to hitch a bit.

I leaped out (which for me is an amazing feat) popped the hood, and ZOWIE! There's flames under there! Holy Shit!!! I ran to get the water I'd just bought, but completely forgot that I'd poured it into the travel mug. So, I'm cursing and freaking out...

Remember those 16 gallons of freshly-pumped gas? I sure as hell did! Keep in mind I've got $1500 worth of guns, about 2000 rounds of ammo, and 2 gallons of liquor in the car. At this point El Capitan's having some severe sphincter issues...

I run back up front, and try to beat out the flames with the towel I keep for when I check the oil. No luck there.

Finally, I remembered the travel mug, tore off the lid, and doused the flames, remembering at the last minute that pouring water on an engine fire is NOT recommended. Oh, well. Go with what you've got!

With the fire out, I'm thinking my whole weekend is shot, plus I'm gonna be out another wad o' cash to get the Cad running again. Fortunately, my parents were visiting my sister & BIL right down the road, so the cavalry was there PDQ.

Turns out the plastic clutch plate guard-thingie on the A/C compressor got jammed against the unibelt pulley, heated up due to friction, and caught on fire, along with all the rubber & oil sludge coating the immediate area. That threw the pulley out of whack, creating all the Sound and Fury.

My BIL was able to chisel out the burned mess, get the pulley centered, and I was back on the road about the time the Blodgers were getting their 2nd plate of BBQ.

After we got the Cad back to the hotel, I treated my rescue party to dinner at Serrano's, and since BIL was driving, I got REALLY hammered on tequila. The adrenalin rush didn't really wear off until sometime Saturday morning!

So, there's the story. Yes, the Cad did burn, but only for long enough to make El Capitan run around & shriek like an idiot.

More Blogfest Tales a bit later...