Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Friday, June 30, 2006

"You Have No Idea..."

I Think I'm Rating Low On This Quiz

You Are 40% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!

The title of this post is lifted from 'Reversal Of Fortune', for which Jeremy Irons won an Oscar. There's a great scene in it that I quote very often...

Alan Dershowitz: "You are a very strange man."
Claus von Bülow: "You have no idea."

Almost a motto for me, really...

Gummy Bear Racism

This Post Is In Such Poor Taste...

I have a confession to make...

I'm a Gummy Bear racist.

I've tried to like them all, honest I have! I've tried to judge each bear on its individual merits, and not the color of its skin.

After finishing the bag, though, I've come to a sobering realization. Orange Gummy Bears kinda suck. They lag far behind the other colors in desirability. I'm pretty sure they have illegitimate Gummy Bear kids, too. No-good shiftless orange bears!!

The red ones aren't much better. The yellow ones taste OK, and the green ones are pretty good too.

But the white (clear?) Gummy Bears? They rule!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Rob Smith - A Remembrance

Sic Transit Gloria Rincon

Today, while a fortunate few attend the memorial service for Rob "Acidman" Smith, untold numbers of bloggers all over the world who can't make the trip to Savannah are putting our words on a screen as a way of saying farewell to the man behind the Gutrumbles blog.

I can't say that Rob and I were friends, but we'd traded a few emails now & again. He gave me my first "Tall Dog" link when I was wavering in my resolve to make it as a blogger.

I can't recall the first time I happened across Rob's blog. It was probably mid-2003, when I was deep in unemployment hell, and spending a good deal of my time idly websurfing instead of actively looking for a job. Might've been a link from Lileks, but I kinda doubt it. More likely it was a link to one of his more outrageous rants from somewhere on Usenet, which was my main source of time-wasteage prior to getting into blogs.

Compared with the Usenet world of cutesy flirting, clueless flamewars and wink wink grin grin emoticon drivel, Acidman's direct, speak-no-bullshit verbiage was eye-opening. Someone who calls his ex the 'Bloodless Cunt', and damn well means it! Someone with the intestinal fortitude to tell the world about incontinence and injecting boner-juice into his cock. Sure, I'd read more lurid tales from the hyenas on alt.tasteless, but this stuff was honest and direct, not an attempt to one-up the other guy.

I found myself coming back day after day just to see what would turn up next. I followed Rob's links, and slowly my daily reading list grew. Many of those blogs in my sidebar under 'The Main Course' are ones I found through Rob's site.

Next thing I know I'm dipping my toe into the blogosphere, and Rob was one of the trio of blogs that I wanted to emulate. Not a blogfather per se, but a "Dutch uncle" who dispensed good advice, even when it was sometimes a bitter pill to swallow.

Here's some advice he posted that I particularly liked:

For all pedants of the blogosphere, I'll give you a few strict and unbending rules for being on my blogroll:

1) I have no fucking rules. I'll link you if I like you, but just because I don't put you on the roll doesn't mean that I don't like you. Check your referrals. I lurk a lot.

2) If you don't post, I'll dump you. Period. I don't consider once-a-month posts blogging.

3) Come to a Jawja Blog-Meet. That act GUARANTEES you a spot on the roll, even if you suck as a writer, as long as you continue to blog.

4) Send me red toenail pictures if you're a woman. Damn right! I can be bought.

5) WRITE instead of posting a series of links. I wanna know who you ARE, not what you read.

6) Cuss every now and then. I agree with Redd Foxx on this issue. Anybody who slams a car door on the hand and doesn't cuss is someone NEVER to be trusted. If you can't find something to cuss about in the world today, you ain't paying much attention.

7) DO NOT post pictures of your adorable, widdle, fuzzy CATS!!! I fucking HATE cats. I've made a few exceptions to this rule because I really like the writers and I have no rules anyway, but don't push me on this issue unless you're really GOOD.

8) Don't email me asking for a link. I've never begged for a thing in my life and I don't like people who do. That may sound harsh, but that's the way I see life. If your blog is any good, people will find it. Just keep throwing it out there, like a good fisherman. If your bait is any good, you'll catch a few.

9) Be yourself. I've never met the person behind a blog I liked when I didn't like THE PERSON after I met them. Honesty counts, and it shows in a good blog.

10) Forget where you rate on some ecosystem or somebody's bullshit popularity contest. If you're out for a sales career, try insurance or used cars. I like the blogs I like because I am NOT dealing with salesmen there. I think I'm dealing with real people.

I ignored him on #7, and he blogrolled me regardless. Guess he thought I was good!

Thanks for that boost, Rob. Thanks for all the inspiration you freely gave to untold numbers of people. There was a heart of gold under that crochety exterior, though I know you would never have admitted to it!

Rest well, Acidman. You'll be missed.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How To Freak Out A Cat

Ever See Two Cats Imitate A Spin Cycle?

I was holding Pookie Cat last night, tickling her little pink toes and rubbing her belly. She's not too fond of this activity, but since *I'm* the one that puts kibble in the bowl, gives her kitty treats twice a day and scoops out the pooper box, she can suffer the occasional indignity in return.

Usually she starts to yowl after a minute or so, but she was resigned to her fate last night, and allowed me to hold her for quite a while. Until the pile of containers fell over, that is...

I'd stacked up three Rubbermaid bins, each about half full of various objects. One is my recycling bin, and was mostly full of empty cans and bottles. They fell over for some reason, creating quite the clangor. Pookie Cat just about leaped out of her skin.

Poor Pookie's never been a docile cat. She's the prissy, nervous high-strung type, and it was like watching a cartoon of a cat losing it, with its eyes bulging out of its skull and all the fur afluff.

Of course, I was holding her when this occured, so my chest got used as the acceleration lane as she shifted into high gear. As she headed from my gut up to my neck, looking to scrabble over my face on the way over me to the bed, I decided to save some plastic surgery bills and launch her off my epidermis.

Pookie made a graceful arc over my shoulder as I boosted her away from my face, and landed square on top of Betsy Cat, who'd bounced awake at the initial crash. They share no great love for each other, and each assumed the other was on the attack. Suddenly there's a complete "Auntie Em! Auntie Em! It's a twister, it's a twister!!" moment occuring on my bed as two cats commenced to form a whirling blur of snarling, spitting fur, then as quick as it began, each shot away in a separate direction.

Alas, the door was shut, so neither cat could retreat out of the room, leaving Betsy to burrow under the bed while Pookie perched on the edge of the bed, nervously trembling.

Poor Pookie Cat... I really need to look into getting some kitty Valiums. One of these days I'm gonna drop a dish, and she's gonna stroke out.

Here's Pookie Cat in calmer times.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Check Engine

I Just Can't Seem To Catch A Break

Compared with dying, I suppose I ain't got much to bitch about, by comparison. Still, the Powers That Be seem insistent on driving in the spike and twisting before breaking it off.

Not a week after buying the truck, the Check Engine light comes on. I know, I know, it generally means very little. Bad O2 sensor, or cruddy gas, or a loose oil filler cap. OTOH, it might well be the harbinger of the flaming death of the engine, with which I have too much experience lately.

It's just another whiplash across my mind to remind me that I've always had shitty luck with vehicles, and I always *WILL* have shitty luck with vehicles. I oughta just give up and move to an apartment near a food store and a METRO line.

Fear not, Walrilla. I'll be in Austin if I have to rent a dogsled.

You good Christian folk avert your eyes for a moment...


OK, I'm going to Hell. In a shitty vehicle.

UPDATE: OK, the truck got delivered to the mechanic this morning, who hooked up the code reader and determined that it's either:

A) A faulty MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor - $150
B) A dirty MAF sensor - $10 for cleaning spray and #20 Torx screw to open the thing up *OR* (and this one just kills me...)
C) A faulty gas cap - $18

OK, so that's annoying, but liveable. Correspondingly, the gratuitous profanity has been reduced by 80%.

BlogShoots & Birthday Parties

If Ya Can't Make One, Show Up At The Other!

Just another reminder of the mini-meet in North Austin Pflugerville, TX this weekend. Walrilla and I are gonna meet up at Red's Shooting Range about 1:30 or so this coming Sunday for some shooting, then we'll find a local watering hole and sit down & shoot the breeze. I imagine we'll all part ways around 6-7 pm.

In Rob's memory, I'll try to find some cat-shaped targets we can perforate. I know my cat-owning friends will be aghast at this, but it would've amused Rob, and it's the least I can do after cat-bombing him once or twice!

OK, if ya can't make the shoot, can you at least show up for my birthday party? OK, *OUR* birthday party. A bunch of July babies are getting a themed party thrown for us by this super-extra-coolishious sweetie (who's a July baby herself!)

It's a WHITE TRASH birthday party up in N. Dallas on July 15th from 6p-??, so grab your cousin, pull on your overalls and NASCAR cap, shake the goatshit off your galoshes and come hang out with some rednecks and redneck wannabes. All you D/FW types, like Zippo, AOM/AOD, Rockhauler, Kosher Red, and the Kilted Liberal, c'mon out and have some fun! I can't guarantee people won't get nekkid in the pool, and there may be one or two folks doing things that would make your Bible School teacher blush, so be warned.

Email me for details. Obviously, I'm not gonna post them here!

Editor's note: Redacted a bit about the possible goings-on at the party. No use getting the Buttinsky's and ol' Bertha Better'nyou worked up into a lather. Which they might actually enjoy, God help them...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Well, That Sucks

Usted Lo Toma Fácil, El Hombre De Acido...

Just read a blogpost from his daughter that Rob "Acidman" Smith is dead. I never played the blogparent/blogchild game, but Rob's blog is one of the first I read on a don't-miss daily basis, and I sure wouldn't have started writing mine if I hadn't been hooked into the blogosphere by Rob and a few others.

Only met the man once, at the Austin blogmeet. I'd hoped to do so again at future meets. Never even heard the man play guitar.

Condolences to his son Quinton & daughter Sam. Your dad was one helluva guy, and he'll be greatly missed.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

My Parents Have Given Me A Marital Aid.

At first glance, what does this remind you of?

Yeah, that's what I thought, too...

My Mom & Dad went to a home & garden show, and brought me back a flashlight they picked up as a freebie. It's designed to use either D, C or AA batteries, which strikes me as rather useful. OTOH, it kinda sucks as a flashlight, being neither particularly bright, waterproof, or impact resistant.

If I can find the "vibrate" button, though, I'll bet it'll make some lucky person real happy!

I think perhaps we'll have a contest. One of the really immature variety that I love so much. Readers, write in the comment section the name of a blogger that'll get the most 'mileage' outta this thing, and I'll mail it off to whoever gets the most votes, assuming they'll willingly pony up their address after being selected.

Am I A Sociopath?

I was certain I'd Score MUCH Higher...

Found this at Leslie's place.

You Are 48% Sociopath

You're not a sociopath, but you're very prone to antisocial behavior.
Other people's opinions matter little to you. You live your own fringe life - for better or worse.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Speaking Of Trucks...

One From The Vaults

My friend Connecticut Yankee dropped a comment in my new truck post about his old Ford Ranger pickup. (aka The Blue Streak Of Doom) I gotta tell one of my favorite stories about that old beater.

It's a late 80's-early 90's Ford Ranger "extended cab" pickup truck, which means there's a space behind the front seat about 12" wide that's useful for carting around your dog, providing it never tries to turn around, lest it rupture a gut folding itself in half... Conn Yank had a camper shell on the back, but for the life of me I can't remember more than a handful of times we ever put anything back there. He also had a pretty damn loud stereo in the truck.

This straight white guy was amused by my "manly handling" of Sparky the Flaming Cadillac, but he'd shit a paving stone if he ever rode with Connecticut Yankee in that Ranger. Connecticut Yankee made every effort possible to put that thing up on two wheels every time he rounded a corner. I think he succeeded most times. There were two speeds in that Ranger, Dead Stop and Bat Out Of Hell.

One day in '94, Connecticut Yankee & I needed to go somewhere with the Limey Bastard, and neither LB nor I wanted to ride in the bed for fear of bone fractures and concussions caused by being tossed around. The Limey Bastard volunteered to squeeze himself into the back "seat", where he had to lay flat and on his side just to fit.

Connecticut Yankee takes off, and fires up the new CD he'd just gotten. From the speakers comes the booming sound of Green Day's "Longview". LB's crumpled up in the back, and he's got the speakers pointed right at him. Connecticut Yankee takes a couple of hard left turns, still accelerating. The music's really cranking now, and the truck takes a sharp right doing about 50 mph. We list about 50 degrees to starboard, and the Limey Bastard is just about stood on his head back there. ConnYank & I barely hear over the music some frantic screaming in the back.

Oh, shit. Maybe LB broke his neck. Better check. He lowers the music as I turn around to see if he's still kicking.

"NO!! Turn it back up! I said louder, LOUDER!!!"

Heh. All is well. We crank the music and continue abusing LB for the next 20 miles.

Pots & Kettles Of An Ebon Hue

Some People Just Need To Shut Their Yap

Just had one of our office busybodies take me to task for buying my second $1 bottle of Diet Dr Pepper out of the breakroom machine. Apparently I'm unaware how outrageously overpriced they are, and I'd be better off buying them by the case at Sam's and bringing one or two every day.

She says this without a hint of irony, all the while swigging on a Starbuck's cappucino...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

El Capitan's New Ride

Looks Like The Austin Blogshoot Is A Go!

Found a bargain that I just couldn't walk away from last night. I went to a dealership looking for a Dodge Ram pickup, came out with a nice red Ford F-150 4x4 pickup. It seems buying red trucks is popular these days!

I've never been much of a Ford fan. Flirted with a '71 Mustang way back in the 80's, but never bought it. I had a '76 Ford Ranchero with an insanely large engine very briefly in the early 90's, but swapped it to Dad for a couple of weeks to let him move some stuff in it. It came to an ignominious end when my sister "borrowed" it and ran it under a parked semi one dark & stormy night. (She's OK, thanks for asking. Closest I ever came to premeditated murder, though...)

All the Dodge Rams I looked at in my price range either had too many miles, or too many issues that I'd have to deal with for the next 3-5 years. So, the Ford came out as the best vehicle I found, after a frantic online search that lasted too many late nights. It's actually roomier than the Dodge Rams, which I didn't expect.

My mechanic gave it a thumbs-up, provided I keep up the regular maintenance, which is always a good idea. The CarFax VIN report came back clean, and when compared to similar trucks for sale in a 50 mile radius of Houston, we got a pretty good bargain. Naturally, the dealer made a better one, I'm sure. Those guys always do.

So, El Capitan's back driving a pickup truck after a 2 year stint in Sparky the Exploding Caddy. Yeeehah! See y'all in Austin next Sunday afternoon!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

O for 3

#4 Isn't Hardly Worth Mentioning...

Well, today's truck buying expedition was a complete bust. I'm too PO'ed to go into great detail, but here's the rundown.

Bear in mind all trucks are some variation on the Dodge Ram Club Cab pickup, with mileage in the 75000-90000+ range, and priced between $5000 and $9000.

#1 - Located about 5 miles north of Humble, which means its 30 miles outside of downtown. The guy *KNOWS* I'm on the way, 'cause we talked on the phone just prior to my leaving. I get within a mile of his house, call for directions, and am told that someone showed up with cash 30 minutes earlier and he didn't want to lose the sale. (*&^#$%*#&^$@*&^#*@&$^)@#(*$!!!!!!! Effin' wasted trip.

#2 - Sales guy leaves us out in the hot sun while he searches for the keys. We eventually ooze inside before we melt away, and are told that there's a problem with their key security system, and they can't get access. After waiting 15 minutes, we get up to leave (I have to be back at work) and finally learn the truth, a salesman kept the keys from a showing last night, failed to return them, and he's not in today. They offer to cut keys if we'll wait 30 minutes. I say my time's worth $75 a minute, and I'll stay if they take it off the truck. No deal. We leave. It had bald tires anyway.

#3 - The "Bargain" model. Located in a shabby dealership lot over by the Hardy Toll Road. Looked like someone used it as a golf ball target. No, wasn't hail damage. Only the sides were divoted. Paint severely faded, engine sounded spiky, and there's a hole in the dashboard that looked like an Alien chestburster had exited after spawning in the AM/FM stereo.
A/C barely worked. Just a poor bargain, especially considering the high mileage. 0 for 3!

BONUS!! #4 was the bonus we spotted on the way back to the office. 97 model, completely beat to shit. Giant dent in right rear quarter panel, tailgate looked like it had been used as a dozer blade for clearing hedgerows in Normandy. Interior full of burn marks and heavy smoke smell, tears, dings, etc. The immaculately clean engine and new tires couldn't make up for the 128000 miles and the $6700 price tag.

We're back at it on Saturday, which means I'll miss the LAN party with Zibig, the Cisco Kid and the Radioactive Oncologist.

I forgot how much I dislike car shopping...

How Joisey Are Youse Guys?

Me? I Ain't Hardly Joisey At All

Found this at the home of the Guy With Farookin' Great Hair and fine taste in gin!

You Are 31% New Jersey!

You are not New Jersey, based on this score. You're probably not from this great state. And if that is true, then you are missing out, my friend!

How New Jersey Are You?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I'm Not A Complete Muppet!

Some Brain Cells Remain, Apparently.

I am SO relieved...

I saw this math quiz over at the Anarchangel's place. I have to say, it filled me with consternation and a general feeling of dumbassery.

See, I've never been all that quick in math. Well, some of it I did OK in. I whizzed through Geometry. Business Math I aced. I kicked Statistics ass all over campus.

I also failed out of Algebra I. Twice. OK, the second time was because I refused to do homework, and was busy chasing Cindy Hathaway. But I digress...

Most of my fear came from 8th grade math, where I was never sure I had that fraction thing down, and the whole "solve for X" stuff seemed OK, but then those bastards rolled in Y & Z and square roots and irrational numbers and I just threw in the mental towel. Algebra just wasn't logical, and required a leap of faith that I was never able to perform.

So, I gritted my teeth, and took the quiz. Know what? It wasn't all that difficult.

Next step, digging up an old Algebra I book... Not!

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

Anybody Wanna Buy A Cadillac?

Runs Great! Stops... Eh, Not So Good.

The verdict is in on the Caddy. Got the laundry list of problems this morning from Mr. Goodwrench.

It's off to the wrecking yard, I'm afraid.

The computerized ABS hydraulic thing-a-ma-bob on the brake system is kaput, and a replacement unit will run around $1800. That doesn't include labor, either. The A/C won't ever run again unless I toss in another $2200. It needs another $200 in brake shoes & turned rotors. Another $500 to fix various odds & ends, including seeping oil & transmission pans. They're still not sure what causes the defrost and heater to come on at random intervals, but they're pretty sure $400 will clear that right up.

What are we up to, now? $5000? Shit, I only paid $2600 for the damned thing.

So, I'm back in the car market. Hopefully I can find something quick. Every time I get in the Cad, it's about a 50% chance whether the brakes will work at any particular stop.

My super-mojo powers of cheap car finding are out of kilter this week. Must be all the rain. Usually I can stumble across a little-old-lady car pretty quick. Guess all the old biddies are staying healthier and driving longer.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Floods, Fires & Famine

Just Another Day In The Big City

Typical Monday for me... Brakes on the Cad finally went out. My usual mechanic won't touch the ABS stuff, so I had to take it over to the local Cad shop to get an estimate. If it's more than $1000 to fix it, I have a feeling some terrible no-goodniks are gonna steal it and set it afire some dark night.

While the car was at mechanic #1, I managed to get to the METRO transit center to catch a bus into work. Got a call on the cell phone, it was a message from The Man saying all non-essential personnel should stay home today. Hmmmph. I was 'essential personnel' when a hurricane was bearing down on us last fall. Guess they heard I was having car issues.

So, a quiet day at home abusing my cats and searching eBay for a new ride. Found a Caddy Deville for $6000. I'd prefer a full-sized Buick or Chevy, just so spare parts don't have that pricy gold-plated Caddy logo on 'em. I can live without the bells & whistles, but I do need a roomy ride.

This might affect my July travels, kiddies, so please be patient with me until I get this ironed out. I thought I could nurse Sparky the PimpSled through another summer, but it looks like this might be all she wrote.

Dammit. I do not need to be making car payments. Wonder if I can find a cheap mule somewhere.

Friday, June 16, 2006

I'm Gonna Be Rich!!!

First, I'm Gonna Buy Me A Hippopotamus...

Just got an email from a Rev. Fr. Peter Clark. Dunno quite what a Rev. Fr. is, but he seems most eager to mail me a huge crate of cash. All I've got to do is open it up, give $500,000 to my favorite charity (Hmmm... howzabout "El Capitan's Home For Wayward Tequila Bottles?") and the rest is mine to keep.

Yeah, yeah, I know. you're thinking this is just another one of those Nigerian 419 scams. I beg to differ! This upstanding man is from SENEGAL!! If he was Nigerian, he would've emailed this guy, anyway.

Read it and get a good laugh. I especially like the way he's gonna ship 10 million dollars in a "security-proof" box. I also didn't realize all my problems I'm having are interest groups. Smart guys, these Senegalese!

Please let me know if you can figure out what a 'parastatal' is. I also might need some assistance disposing of bodies after I "do away with those officers" that apparently have been extorting money from me.

I can't wait to get my box of money! Like the Rev. Fr. says, I "have notting to worry about"!!

DAKAR,SENEGAL. TEL:+(221)4488469.

Dear Friend,
I am Rev. Fr. Peter Clark, a senior staff with the UN special duties office,my office monitors and controls the affairs of all banks and financial institutions.
I have before me list of funds, which could not be transferred to some nominated accounts as these accounts have been identified either as ghost accounts, unclaimed deposits and over-invoiced sum etc; I have the opportunity to write you based on the instructions among others i received days ago from the officer in the computer section in person of Engineer Peter Cliff,to bring out part of your total pending payment with reference number(LM-05-371) amounting US$10million. The (Ten Million Dollars) is been arranged in a security-proof box weighing 75kg. In order to get the
box shipped to you.

As I found out that you have met all the statutory requirements in respect of your pending payment. The problems you are having is that of interest groups. A lot of people are interested in your payment and those people are merely doing paper works with you and that explains why you receive different kinds of untrue fax and phone messages from different people everyday. Also we found out that some of the officials of the parastatals have been extorting money from you with the pretext of helping you receive your money. I can assure you this will keep happening if you do not do away with those officers. For security reasons you do not have to tell anybody that your have your payment on the way until the payment gets to you.

The (CSO)and i Yesterday went to this four courier companies Dhl, Ems, FedEx and Ups to make arrangements on how to get the box shipped to you by courier, but to no avail the above courier companies all made us to understand that they will have to
open the box for inspection by the customs before shipment. This is something we want to avoid because this box is been padded with synthetic nylon and to open it you will have to cut the pad before you will meet the button that you will press to open the dial code-lock. There is no way you can open the box and be able to close it again because it was padded with machine. We told the courier services that the box contained film materials and when open will spoil the materials. we did not declare money.

Today a friend of mine who is a diplomat disclosed to me that there is a security courier service company that is specialized in sending diplomatic materials and information from one country to another, which also has diplomatic immunity and consignment such as this cannot be checked by any customs anywhere in the world. I
have therefore met the official of the security courier service and concluded shipping arrangement with them, which they will commence as soon as I have your go ahead order. The diplomat who will be bringing in this consignment to you is an expert and has been in this line of work for many years now so we have notting to worry about. After all arrangements we have concluded that you must donate Five Hundred Thousand United States dollars (US$500,000.00) to any charity organisation I designate as soon as you receive your money. To this effect, you will send to us a promissory note for the donation along with your address where you wil! l like the box to be delivered to by the courier. Please maintain topmost secrecy as it may cause a lot of problems if found out that we are using this way to help you.

Am helping you on this because something in me tells me that you are an honest person. May almighty God bless you, Please maintain topmost secrecy as it may cause a lot of problems if found out that we are using this way to help you. You are advised not inform anyone about this until you received your money. When you conclude this we will help to ship the final part of your money to you. Feel free to call me on my private telephone number above for further discussion.

Yours Faithfully,
Revd. Fr. Peter Clark.
Director, Special Duties.UNO/WBF.

Fiction Friday

Go Ahead And Read, Give Solitaire A Rest!

I've been a bit lax about promoting the Friday Fiction lately, and I'm participating in the "Psychevella" event this go-round, so I sirpoze I oughtsta toss y'all some linkage.

Here's Part One, from non-bloggin' Bob.

Here's Part Two, courtesy of Christina.

Part Three in 7 days from this fine writer!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mini-BlogMeet and ShootFest

Where The Elite Meet & Pack Heat

Just a quick heads-up about a mini-meet & shoot-em-up.

I'm in Austin the 1st weekend in July for a family reunion,
and I've been talking with Walrilla about meeting at Red's
Shooting Range
up in Pflugerville on July 2nd, a Sunday afternoon.

We're gonna meet there at Red's between 1pm & 2pm, shoot some assorted bangy things, then go find some cool refreshing beverages at the nearest icehouse afterwards.

If you were smart, you requested the following Monday off from
work so you've got a 4 day weekend! Spend a day on a road trip and meet up with two bald bearded gun-toting bloggers!

I emailed all the Hill Country blogcrowd, and all the Texas
gunbloggers I've met/linked. If you think of someone who'd like to be there, by all means invite them.

Hope to see y'all there. Drop me a comment if you can make it, and we'll know you're coming!

Traveling With Oldsters

I'd Rather Play Pick-up Sticks With My Buttcheeks...

Since my Caddy is still without A/C, I traveled to last weekend's family reunion with my parents. This was a mistake I shall never repeat.

I started a huge ranting post about it, but then I bitched about it to my friend Zibig, and that sorta took the wind out of my sails.

Suffice to say that the only thing more exhausting than traveling with pre-schoolers is traveling with retirees. You take just as many bathroom stops, they bicker constantly, and you get the added benefit of Dad occasionally swerving into oncoming traffic lanes 'cause he's fixated on some livestock in a field just off the highway. Oh, and he never drives faster than 60 mph.

I love my parents dearly, but I think they can travel on their own for a while. I'll just suffer in the heat, but get there quicker.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Booger Blogging

The Nose Knows...

Acidman started it, Ellison continued it, and now I'll jam my finger into this nostril of blogdom.

After all, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't wipe your friends on the back of the couch!

I won't go into too much sticky detail, but here's the worst 5 booger days of my life...

5) Trailrides on hot, dry days.
Many was the time I'd be stuck riding drag behind 25 Boy Scouts on some godforsaken rattlesnake-infested trail. Even with a bandanna over your face, you'd still inhale lots of dust and powdered horse doo. In the evening, you'd shower under the spigot on the windmill catchtank, and blow out enormous crusty dirtwads that had been lurking in your sinuses for days.

4) 1997 - The Year Of The Flu
Had a really bad year with the allergies, culminating in the first case of the flu I'd had since I was in grade school. Rather than blow my nose and inflame it further, I'd end up snerking and sniffing to keep the ooze from flowing, and sooner or later, it backed up and caused a snotjam. I ended up peeling out long strings of boogers, kinda like that oozy glue they use to stick coupon insert pages into magazines. 'Course, mine were an attractive green color!

3) Hay Hauling
On the years at summer camp that I wasn't dealing with livestock, I still got roped into the annual hay-haul, due to my ability to toss square bales up into the hayloft for hours on end. While the pencil-necks got to teach arts & crafts or dabble their footsies in the river, the real men were jogging behind a flatbed trailer as it wandered over a 200 acre field, heaving bales of hay into 12 foot stacks. The dirt, grass dust and diesel exhaust combined with your apparently inexhaustible mucus supply to form almost concrete-like boogers that not only clogged your nostrils, but formed in the corners of your eyes as well.

2) Laying Insulation
Removing old water-damaged insulation batting. Blowing in new stuff. Using surgical masks instead of respirators. You can figure out the rest...

1) The Cleveland Nosebleed
This one barely qualifies as a booger, but it's the most supremely disgusting thing to exit my nose, so it clocks in at #1. I've had nosebleeds quite frequently all my life. I was a roadie for a band back in college, and we toured all over the country. One night in Cleveland, I got this nosebleed that just wouldn't stop. All night long, it kept dripping, in spite of every trick I knew for stopping them. Finally, about 5 am, I woke up the bass player to drive me to the E.R., since we had to be on the road at noon to reach Washington D.C. that evening.

I got the nostril packed with gauze, and we hit the road on schedule. I somehow managed to drive the van most of the way there while running about 2 quarts low on blood and 7 hours short on sleep. I had this annoying tickle in the back of my throat the entire day.

In the wee hours of the morning after the D.C. gig loadout, I felt it was safe to unpack my nose. I drew out about 8 yards of gauze, and attached to the ass-end of the gauze was a blood clot booger!!! that just kept sliming out of my nose! It was all blackish-red, probably 8 inches long, and about as big around as your finger. I actually gagged a bit as the tail end got pulled up out of my throat. I flicked the nasty thing on the trash dumpster behind Ford's Theater, and it stuck firmly. As far as I know, it's still there, unless the numerous rats ate it.

Crapblogging? Boogerblogging? Feh. Piece o' cake. With dingleberry topping.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Thank Ya! Thank Ya Ver' Much!

Some kind soul from Downington, PA dropped by at 12:55:59 pm from the latest Carnival of Recipes looking for my chili recipe. I can only hope they don't pour in half a bottle of ketchup or spoon it over spaghetti. Ya never know what them damnyankees will do...

Keep the hits a-comin'! At this level of traffic, I believe I can start charging ad rates of about a nickel a week! That ought to keep me in tall cotton!

Work Now, Bitch Later

I Am *SO* Gonna Slack Off This Friday...

Day 2 of my ass being strapped to the Divisional belt sander. My boss's little scheme of having our HUGE annual project out the door last week to be delivered to the Minions Of The Man was completely scuppered through either calculated treachery or abysmal levels of ignorance on the part of our department's lackey administrative assistant. More on that later.

As it happens, I happen to be pretty handy with a spreadsheet, and years of payroll and inventory in past jobs gave me magical powers of 10-key-by-touch, so I've been brought in as a pinch hitter to get this finished by today.

I'm of the opinion the person who is causing me to sit here and actually crack a sweat under the strain of appraching deadlines needs to have their workstation relocated behind my chair, so they can lavish kisses upon my fundament and also supply the occasional reacharound when I start tensing up.

Back to the grind...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Less Tasty, More Filling

Real Blog Content Sometime Soon...

Sorry, been out all weekend doing the family reunion thing. More on that in a bit. Need to do work now...

Chew on this in the meantime:

You Are 60% Cynical

Yes, you are cynical, but more than anything, you're a realist.
You see what's screwed up in the world, but you also take time to remember what's right.

Your Job Dissatisfaction Level is 68%

Your job is a total bummer, and probably the worst job you've ever had.
Your co-workers stink. Your boss is a jerk. And your company is probably in trouble.
Think about finding a new job quickly, even if it's just a not-so-great transition job.
You've got to get out of there as quickly as you can!

Robot Fun

I was assimilated after seeing this robot thingie at Redneck's & Leslie's sites! The other two? Stole 'em from somewhere...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Happy Birthday, Gigi!

You'll be happy to know your urn is still sitting on the buffet table...

To the best grandmother ever:

You never breathed a word to Mom about me sneaking out of the house that one time, and the time after that, and the time...;

You were never too busy to cook a huge stack of chocolate-chip pancakes;

You lashed me to the bone with an acid tongue when I deserved it, but your hands bore nothing but love;

You kept mum about me smoking in high school, as a "pay it forward" for your continual filching of my Camel cigarettes when I was in college;

For making dozens and dozens of handmade Xmas ornaments for all us grandkids;

For being our "Gallivantin' Grandma", traveling all over the country and bringing us souvenirs;

For being the cool grandma that managed a hotel in Hollywood, Florida only 2 blocks from the beach when we were kids.

For the 34 years that you were a guiding light in my ofttimes chaotic life;

Happy Birthday, Gigi. I miss you so much it hurts...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Fudge Factor

It's Not Sloppiness, It's Guesstimation!

Just had a 2 hour go-round with the boss over record keeping. Apparently I either mis-keyed or just plain miscounted some data, and sent one report one direction, and another report another direction, and the bottom line figure between the two reports was off by... one. Yep, a single digit. Less than .25% margin of error, when you factor in the total amount of data involved.

In my last job, this variation was known as the fudge factor. You could fudge the numbers a bit, and in the grand scheme of things, it didn't really matter. When your facility is taking 120,000 customer calls a month, and you're billing the client for millions of dollars per fiscal quarter, if a call record or two gets dropped between the cracks, the world will not come tumbling down. We understood that, the clients understood it, even the bean counters and the auditors understood it, and all was well.

Such is NOT the case working for The Man.

See, around these hallowed halls, the penalty for falsifying information on official documents could very well lead to some severe penalties, ranging from simple dismissal to a vigorous prosecution, depending on whether someone gets a bug up their butt or not. You simply cannot make stuff up, and going back later to cover things up correct the official record just makes things worse. Just about eveything we do (from email logs to the post-it notes tacked on case files) is available to anyone knowing the magic phrase "Texas Open Records Act request"

In my case, we finally tracked it down to a case I'd closed out in mid-May, then re-opened on June 2nd when new info came in. My report to my boss was submitted on June 1, the one to the Grand Poobah was sent June 5th, and that one single case caused a discrepancy that was threatening the stability of the Entire Universe, and send all known existence spinning into the Timeless Void.

My boss tends to get wound up tightly about these things.

Needless to say, my disenchantment with this place is growing. It's bad enough to do grunt work for poor wages (a full 30% below market wage rates, by last count). To add legal liability to the mix just seems a bit much, really.

Sigh. Even a tasty pension & retiree health coverage seems a poor reward at times...

METRO Strikes Again

These Idjits Can't Get Anything Right...

Well, Houston's METRO pinhead collective are still in the lead for most bass-ackward transit authority in existence. Witness their latest in advertisements, currently pasted over most of the bus stops around town:

See anything wrong?

I've owned and/or operated dozens of different motor vehicles, ranging from mopeds to Caterpillar bulldozers. Not a single one had an analog gas gauge that had "Full" marked on the left side.

Typical dumbassery from the folks that insist that adding one light rail route and cancelling 20 or so bus routes actually helps Houstonians move around town better.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Trivia Time!

I Got Nothing Else...

OK, all you children of the X Generation...

Who can name where this picture came from?

Bonus: Name the particular episode title.

Bonus Two: Name what network aired the series!

Difficulty: Stay out of Google & Wikipedia!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Guess They Ain't Coming!

One Less Reason To Travel To N'Awlins

I heard something distressing today concerning New Orleans...

No, Not Mayor Nagin's plan to re-chocolatize the city. I could give a damn about the racial makeup of the town. In fact, let me rant a bit. I've got some good friends who rave about New Orleans. I've never seen the attraction, really. OK, some good restaurants and good music, but you can get that just about anywhere and not have to live amidst tropical heat & humidity, 3rd world-style corruption, and the better-than-even chance of being washed away in a hurricane.

At any rate, I've learned that the Lee Circle YMCA is no longer operating, and has been turned into a hotel. I'm not all that concerned about YMCA's, but that one has stood across from the statue of Robert E. Lee since the 1930's.

What's my point? The statue of Robert E. Lee sits in the middle of Lee Circle, on top of this huge marble column. It puts him (facing north, of course) at eye level with the giant YMCA sign on the roof of the Lee Circle Y.

The running joke for decades was that the "YMCA" stood for "Yankees May Come Again", and was the reason Lee's statue was facing north. I always got a chuckle out of it when driving by, and it was one of the few things I liked about New Orleans.

Well, if the YMCA sign is gone, maybe they can turn ol' Marse Robert northeast to face towards Arlington, Virginia.

Chili For Real Texans

You Cincinatti Punks Can Kiss My Texas Ass!

Kim du Toit posted a request for people to submit chili recipes to a buddy of his over in the UK who needed a good one for a chili contest.

I took a look at some of the submitted recipes, and was dismayed at the general pussificatiousness of them. They were either using ground beef, or tomatoes, or beans, or some other effed-up ingredients (orange juice? WTF????), and giving Texas chili a bad name. Heck, one doofus recommended using corn, chocolate and rice. Bastard ought to be shot.

Naturally, I had to correct the situation, and submitted one of my own, based on the recipes used by the "chili queens" of San Antonio way back when. I make it every so often, though my friend Rockhauler (who has eaten this, and since regrown the skin on his tongue) warns me that it's etching off the ceramic coating on my stewpot.

So, here's a real Texas chili recipe from a gen-u-wine native Texan, a real "bowl of red". Please note that the "red" comes purely from chilis, and not from tomatoes. Eat a big heaping bowl, then go get the bottle of Rolaids. You'll need 'em.

Oh, yeah... if you add beans to this you will burn in the everlasting fires of Perdition for all eternity. Beans in chili are an abomination before the Lord, and he will not tolerate it.

Seriously Hot Texas Chili

2 pounds of beef, cut in half-inch cubes
1 pound of pork shoulder, cut in half-inch cubes
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup lard
3 medium-sized onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 quart water
4 ancho chiles
1 serrano chile pepper
6 dried red cayenne chiles
1 tbsp comino (cumin) seeds, freshly ground
2 tbsp Mexican oregano
2 tbsp masa harina
Salt to taste

Flour the beef and pork cubes lightly, then put it in a heavy chili pot (no cast iron! Ceramic-lined or stainless steel!) with the lard and cook, stirring often, until the meat is getting to that greyish-brown stage. Add the onions and garlic and cook until they are translucent and almost caramelized. Add the water to the pot and simmer slowly while you prepare the chile peppers. Remove stems and seeds from chiles and chop very finely. Grind chiles in a blender (DO NOT inhale the powder while opening the blender lid!!) and add to the pot, along with the cumin, oregano and salt. Simmer another 2 hours. Skim off some of the fat, or your heart will explode. If the chili needs thickening, stir in the masa harina about 10 minutes before you serve the chili, otherwise omit.
Serve with chopped raw onions and oyster crackers for a garnish, maybe some shredded cheese.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Lose Weight Through Hate

A New Diet Plan Arises

Well, if you're going to cheat on your diet, might as well go whole hog. No pun intended. After eating the 2nd salad of the day yesterday, sans the diced ham and shredded cheese, since I'd already topped my protein/fat allowance for the weekend, I finally snapped last night and dashed over to Crap In A Box to get some real food before the season finale of 'The Sopranos'. I was gonna just cheat a little, to the tune of an Ultimate Cheeseburger and some of those potato wedges topped with melted cheese and bacon bits. Just a little, mind you.

I pulled up to the menu board, and Mirabile dictu! JITB now sells a patty melt! I do so dearly love a patty melt. Toasted sourdough bread, grilled onions, melted cheese... I knew I'd been right in blowing off the rabbit food.

Naturally, I ordered two. Of the double meat version. Might as well really abuse myself.

Turns out they taste like ass. Stale bread, icky meat, no onion flavor to speak of. Even a liberal dousing with garlic salt and ketchup couldn't save it. So, only 3/4 of one got eaten. The other languishes in the garbage can.

Sigh. Now, if I can only convince KFC to marinate their chicken in a Valvoline/vinegar mix, I'd quit going there, too.

Tip of the hat to Rockhauler, for being the first to mention the "lose weight through hate" quote some 13 years ago in response to the infomercial shriekings of this harpy.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Hours And Hours Of Bauer

Can I Just Say What A Complete 'Ho Sherry Palmer Is??

Another wasted weekend...

Well, it could've been worse, I suppose. I could have been passed out in a puddle of vomit since Friday night. As it happens, I shuffled down to the local video store and grabbed the entire first season of '24'.

It was going OK until I got to hour 22 1/2, when the DVD crapped out, leaving me with a severe anxiety fit until I could get down to the store and get a replacement the next morning. Good thing they had a spare, or I'd been off to the local WalMart to buy the whole damned season to watch the last 150 minutes.

All in all, a good show. I dunno if I wanna get sucked into seasons 2, 3 & 4, but it was time well spent. OK, well spent in comparison to the whole passed out/vomit thing anyway.

Friday, June 02, 2006

OK, I'll Play...

Displaying Our Questionable Musical Tastes

I rarely carry my iPod to work on Fridays. See, it's casual day at work, so I don't have to be dressed in my monkey suit. Plus, it's freakin' FRIDAY!!! so I'm in a good mood, generally. Add some hoppin' music to the mix, and you get the horrifying spectacle of El Capitan diddyboppin' down the avenue, completely lost in the tunage.

I've got a bad habit of impromptu air-guitaring, and every so often the urge to do a Chuck Berry duckwalk while crossing the street is almost overwhelming. So, I save the iPod for days that I'm a bit more... reserved.

It's with me today, though, so I'll join in Ellison's little scheme of peeling off the next 10 random tunes and listing them here:

1. Susannah McCorkle - The Waters Of March
2. Faith No More - Epic
3. Old 97's - Doreen
4. April Wine - Sign Of The Gypsy Queen
5. The Jayhawks - Life Floats By
6. The Ronettes - Then He Kissed Me
7. Billy Squier - In The Dark
8. Fleetwood Mac - Tusk
9. Queen & David Bowie - Under Pressure
10. Roy Orbison & kd lang - Crying

The Waters Of March
Words & Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim
English lyrics by Susannah McCorkle

A stick, a stone, it's the end of the road,
It's feeling alone, it's the weight of your load;

It's a sliver of glass, it's life, it's the sun,
It's night, it's death, it's a knife, it's a gun;

A flower that blooms, a fox in the brush,
A knot in the wood, the song of a thrush;

A mystery of life, the steps in the hall,
The sound of the wind, and the waterfall.

It's the moon floating free, it's the curve of the slope,
It's an end, it's a bee, it's a reason for hope;

And the riverbank sings of the waters of March,
It's the promise of spring, it's the joy in your heart.

A spear, a spike, a stake, a nail,
It's a drip, it's a drop, it's the end of the tale;

The dew on the leaf in the morning light,
The shot of a gun in the dead of the night;

A mile, a must, a thrust, a bump,
It's the will to survive, it's a jolt, it's a jump;

Blue print of a house, a body in bed,
Car stuck in the mud, it's the mud, it's the mud;

A fish, a flash, a wish, a wing,
It's a hawk, it's a dove, it's the promise of spring;

And the riverbank sings of the waters of March,
It's the end of despair, it's the joy in your heart.

A stick, a stone, it's the end of the road,
The stump of a tree, it's a frog, it's a toad;

A sigh, a breath, a walk, a run,
A life, a death, a rain, a sun;

And the river bank sings of the waters of March,
It's the promise of life, it's the joy in your heart.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

WTF Is Wrong With Blogspot?

This Is Pretty Damned Annoying

I can't see any images other than Blogspot-hosted .gifs on my blog. It says they are loading, but none are showing up in my browser, just red X's.

WTF is going on here? This is most annoying...

UPDATE: It ain't you, it's me. Well, my ISP anyway. Their last remaining DEC Alpha server has breathed its last, and their webhosting capability has crapped out until they can get something cobbled together. All my 9.42 MB worth of my images are hosted through their server (except for 2 MB or so on Roadrunner Houston's server), so when you see pretty pictures on my blog again, you'll know Internet America has gotten their business rewired again.

UPDATE #2:OK, I'm even more confoo-zed. I still can't access my personal web page, all the blog pics are still hosed, yet I can connect and upload and download via FTP just fine. Damndamndamndamndamn....

Pineapple Bastards

Some People Will Do Anything To Make A Buck...

I'm in the local Walgreen's this morning buying some marmot oil, extract of iguana pudenda and the last dusty bottle of Romilar in existence, when I see a sign:


I'm a big fan of dried apricots and apples, and so I look a little closer. Hmmm.. kinda small boxes, only 5 ounces. The raisins and prunes looked really foul, as did the apricots. The only thing appetizing was the dried pineapple, 'cause it's really hard (I thought) to screw up dried pineapple.

Well, it was until now.

This wasn't just dried pineapple, it was mango-flavored dried pineapple. Why in the world would you take a perfectly tasty fruit and make it taste like another? I was soon to discover why.

Inside the box was not the usual assortment of wedge-shaped pineapple chunks. Nope, these were all fairly uniform oblong slices of a mango-colored substance. Looked kinda like carrots that had been chopped along the bias for stir-fry. How odd.

They tasted OK, strong mango flavor, if a bit fibrous in texture. Then, it hit me.

If you were to take the hard woody core of the pineapple, the part usually discarded, you could probably gin up a process where you slice it thin, douse it in a mixture of mango flavoring, sugar and some chemicals, then pop it in a pressure cooker for 18 hours until the vegetable fibers cooked down, you could then dry the chips and quite honestly sell it as dried pineapple. The mango flavoring replaces the natural flavoring cooked out of the fruit in the process of softening up the core.

You sneaky pineapple bastards. Y'all ought to be ashamed of yourselves!