Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Friday, October 30, 2009

Phriday PhotoShop Phollies

I May Use This For A New Blog Logo!

And now, for something completely different...

(Click to Embiggenate!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Trip That Almost Wasn't

Infernal Luck With Internal Combustion

Y'all are going to have to help me out on this one. I've pushed this problem through my puzzler 'til my puzzler was sore. Seriously, I ruminated on this dilemma for 1800 miles, and just can't make sense of it.

Here's the deal...

As I've blogged about many times before, I have the absolute worst luck with motorized transport. Whether they catch on fire, chew up a transmission, develop a fatal case of colic, or just die quietly in the driveway, one thing remains constant. If I acquire a car or truck, within weeks it will develop numerous major issues requiring thousands of dollars to repair, or it will beshit itself to the point it requires replacement.

This is in spite of my diligent efforts at maintenance. Look, I've got the receipts from the oil changes and other regular upkeep. I don't drive like a maniac. Hell, I drive like an old woman, to tell the truth. No burnouts, no sliding around corners, no shrieking stops, just slow, steady driving. I'm just too cheap to buy excess gas and pay for speeding tickets, if you wanna know the truth.

Over the past few years, I've had numerous family & social events scuttled due to car troubles. The last two BlownStar blogfests, the 2007 & 2008 Hysterics, gatherings at Feisty's place, the last 3 Thanskgivings and Xmas at my sisters, and so on.

After a couple of pay raises and the payoff of most of my student loan debt, I had some extra coinage to throw at the truck. I switched to a repair shop that could differentiate between shit & Shinola, and finally started making real progress. New tires were purchased, the front end & brakes were replaced, and things seemed to be running smoothly.

So, with a healthy vehicle at long last, I load up the truck and head for Tennessee.

That was the plan, anyway.

Leaving my subdivision, I felt something not quite right with the engine. A little extra vibration, and the acceleration was off just a tad. At the last stoplight before the freeway, I knew something was wrong, and I got that damned cold chill in the pit of my gut. Sure enough, as I'm heading up the entrance ramp to I-10, the "CHECK ENGINE" light comes on, and the engine starts to shake & sputter.

At that point, I didn't know whether to shit or go blind. Shit, because I've got the truck fully loaded and gassed up for a long out-of-town trip, or blind due to blind rage at being cornholed once again by the automotive gremlins that have plagued me since I got a driver's license.

I mean, think about this! What are the cotton-pickin' odds that out of all the days that the engine could go wonky, it waits until I am literally on my way out of town?? This can't be random fate! Not this many times... Surely, some entity in a position of power has me in their crosshairs...

There was much cursing, wailing and gnashing of teeth as I steered for the mechanic's place. Yet another of my ignition coils was dead as fried chicken, and it took 3 hours and $279 to set things straight.

As I'm pounding my head on the counter at the auto shop, the service manager was saying "Look, this is a good thing! At least it went out here in Houston, and not halfway there!"

He had a point...

So, here's the dilemma I can't puzzle out...

A) How cosmically unlikely is it that something broke just as I leave town, and...

B) Is this just my infernal bad luck once again, or has the worm turned, with this breakdown occurring at a (relatively) benign moment, sparing me much trouble and drama in West Bumfuck, Alabama?

Your thoughts are welcomed...

Why Cats Hate The Beach

Fred Heads For The Seacoast!

First rule of fishing: Try to be bigger than what you're catching.

(Clicky for embiggification!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Wednesday WTF

Say... That Guy Looks Awfully Familiar...

Saw this posted on the FBI website. Keep a sharp eye out!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bits & Pieces

Random Observations From 1800 Miles Of Highway

I was disappointed that the big torches weren't burning in Lake Charles, LA, either coming or going. There's some gigantimous petroleum refineries in Lake Charles, and they have some tall gas pipes that flame off their by-products. There's one right by the Interstate that's at least 10-12 stories tall, with a burner capping it off about the size of a hot tub. You can see it from miles away, and it lights the way home to Texas. Probably some anemic tree-hugger complained about global warming, and they shut 'em off...

I'd forgotten about the zombie plant from hell called kudzu. That crap was all over the place in Georgia and Alabama, like a big green blanket over the landscape. They ought to issue hedge trimmers and flame throwers to the local school kids, and award prizes for the most acres cleared.

Near Hattiesburg, MS, there's an area on the west side of I-59 that's just infested with travel trailers. I suppose it's a FEMA storage area, but you just can't imagine the amount of trailers. Acres and acres of the things.

The official recreational sport of Louisiana seems to be "Drive your truck 90 mph in the rain, then crash into a tour bus and delay traffic for 3 hours". I spent longer trying to get through Baton Rouge than I did traversing the state of Mississippi. Slow down, you coonass idjits!

We really need to look into the creation of wormholes or tesseracts along the interstate to speed up arrival at the border. Once you get past Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, there's really nothing in Alabama but miles of nothing. Same deal for Mississippi south of Meridian. At least put up a few Burma Shave signs for amusement...

I debated heading south into New Orleans Sunday evening and seeing if I could weasel my way into either Galatoire's, Brennan's or Commander's Palace for a fancy dinner. Alas, I was without jacket or tie or reservation, so dinner was some beef jerky, Diet Mountain Dew and a bag of pretzels from a Pilot truckstop.

There's a time zone change somewhere along the Alabama/Georgia border. I'm used to the clock on my truck stereo being an hour behind, but it was two hours behind the whole weekend. Also, I'm not sure who told my cell phone to change time zones, but it did without me punching any buttons. I'm still not sure what my exact travel time was, btw. I suppose it evens out over the course of the trip.

I saw mostly dead armadillos in Alabama, dead raccoons in Mississippi, dead possums in Louisiana, and dead skunks in Georgia. Quite a lot of roadkill along the highways, including several coyotes, a red fox, several hound dogs and at least one deer. There were numerous examples of "I don't know WTF that was, and I ain't stopping to find out!"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Back From The Blogmeet

890 Miles Each Way... My Ass Is Numb!!

A gathering of bloggers in Tennessee... How do you tell a story like this?

Let me 'splain.


No, there is too much. Let me sum up...

Yeah, that about covers it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Five Years Of Baboon Buccaneering!

I've Had This Thing Longer Than Any Girlfriend...

I'm heading off to Tennessee today to carouse with some bloggers, so I'm unable to post this on the actual anniversary (Friday).

Thanks for hanging out on my little corner of the Intarwebs. Doesn't quite seem like five years, but as the bullfrog said, time's fun when you're having flies!

Here's the best of the past year, IMHO. Previous anniversary Best-Of lists are below!

I've Read Every Blog!

Rum, Sodomy & The Lash

The Wreck Of The Crimson Volkswagen

More Foul Doggerel

2009 Cockpunch Awards

Still Life With Jimbo

And Then, Depression Set In...

Friday Fiction - Chapter Three! (Emerald Eyes)

Riverbend Remembrance

If At All Possible, Involve A Cow

Old Crow (In A Plastic Bottle)

Sleeping Beauty

"Best Of" Archives

Best of Year Four

Best of Year Three

Best of Year Two

Best of Year One

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Colt 45: The Malt Liquor That Cares!

Creating Alternate Realities One Pixel At A Time!

Kinda slow at work this morning... I had plenty of time to doctor up a photo of Elisson from a previous Tennessee Adventure. He posted about a Sommelier Guild event, so I felt that called for a booze of a different flavor.

Due to his insertion into a meadow in Jollye Olde Englande, I call the piece of art below "Yank Wit' A Drank Dat Sorta Stank".

Looking forward to the trip to Tennessee tomorrow, and meeting a few new faces on Friday, in addition to all the Usual Suspects that have been haunting these bloggy get-togethers.

One post has been set to go up tomorrow morning, and the next post probably won't be until Monday. Try to hold yer water until then.

Y'all have a great weekend! I certainly intend to!

(Click On The Pic For Embiggification!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Five Weeks Of Hell

I Will Kill You For Your Burrito Supreme...

A while back I made passing mention of a project I was working on. I was hesitant to mention anything in great detail lest I throw any monkeys into the wrench.

I'm still not at the point where I'm gonna explain everything, but I'll give you a hint...

So far, I've gone 5 whole weeks without:

Chicken Fried Steak
Hamburger (ground beef)
Baked Potatoes
Patty Melts
Breakfast Burritos
Tater Tots
Hash Browns
French Fries
Fried Chicken
Potato Chips/Fritos/Snackie Chips
Ice Cream
Ranch & Blue Cheese Salad Dressing
Miracle Whip
Deep-Fried Anything
Cinnamon Rolls
Sugary Sodas
Sonic Slushees
98% of available Fast Food**

And about 1000 other delicious tasty calorie-laden foods...

So far, I'm none the worse for wear, excepting the feral gleam in my eyes whenever someone comes close bearing food composed of raw carbohydrates and/or refined sugars. Driving by the Sunbeam Bread bakery in the morning is sheer torture.

There's no outward sign it's having any effect, but as big as I am, that's no surprise. I doubt y'all will notice much of a change until this time next year. I can see small signs of progress, though. The tops of my fingers are all deflated & wrinkly, like an elephant's trunk. I can step into my shoes instead of having to squeeze them on. My belt needs to be tightened a couple more inches.

Anyway, If I wave off a third plate of food, or decline to guzzle beer until I fall over, don't take it personally. There's some slack built into the system to have an occasional Cheat Day, but that still doesn't mean I get to pull a Mr. Creosote.

More news as it happens...

** The only fast foods (i.e. served in a paper bag via a drive-thru) I can have now are Sonic Grilled Chicken Wraps (400 calories, 14 fat grams) and occasionally, a Jack In The Box Mango Smoothie (450 calories, no fat grams)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Travel Preparations

Where The Hell Is My Road Atlas??

T Minus 68 hours until the Big Maroon Ford rolls out of the driveway and heads for Tennessee...

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit apprehensive about making the drive. Oh, I have no doubt I can stay awake and alert for 14 or 15 hours until I reach Birmingham or Chattanooga, and with Mr. Switchy and my .45, I fear no lot lizards or slackjawed yokels at the truckstops.

It's that nagging fear that all the automotive gremlins haven't been completely shooed away... I had a $10 off coupon at NTB, and took the truck in for an oil change Saturday. That NTB store had put the tires on last summer, and did some brake work. The manager handed me an estimate for replacement of the shocks, ball joints, and assorted other items necessary for steering and holding the tires on, and it came to over $2000.

Now, I didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday. Blindly accepting what a national chain store says regarding repairs is a sucker's game. A second opinion will be had, but I can't do that before I make the trip.

Still, there's new tires, the alignment seems to be holding, and barring that weird rattle from the exhaust, the truck isn't making any new and unwelcome noises. Just hold out for 3000 more miles, that's all I ask!

Dad was skeptical of me putting any more money into the truck at all. Still, parts wear out, and I suppose I'll have to fork over another chunk of money sometime next month.

In the meantime, I've got my Triple A card handy, and a couple of paychecks banked in case the gremlins strike during the trip...

Wish me luck, y'all. I'm gonna need it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

More Photoshop Phriday Phun

A New Victim This Week!

I've been picking on GuyK and Elisson quite a bit. Today, it's Erica's turn!

I call this one "Erica Guards Her Harem"...

(Click to embiggify!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Occupational Hazard

My Cats Wouldn't Know What To Do With A Fish...

GuyK says the fishing is getting better up at Lake Waurika. After a slow start, he's starting to reel 'em in by the boatload.

The only problem with catching a bunch of catfish is that when you clean them, you tend to attract a whole lot of feline attention!

(Bonus Points to whoever can name all the cats in the pic. Most are easy, but there's three that are somewhat obscure!)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wanted: One Old .22 Rifle

Helping Out When & Where We Can!

Hey, all you far-flung readers!

Take a peek in your gun safe, closet or other storage location, and see if you have something like this:

Does it have a nickel-plated frame and operating lever?

If so, you might have Nate's old rifle, and he'd like to buy it back!

Go read the whole story over at Wasted Electrons, and help a guy get some childhood memories returned!

Good luck, Nate!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hey! That's My Fish!

Reusing Old Internet Memes For Fun & Profit!

Riffing on the old "Bitch stole my fish!" pic...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

Should Be A Store, Not A Federal Agency!

I still smell like a Gurkha...

No, not the Nepalese soldiers, the Gurkha cigars I smoked over the weekend!

This past Saturday was the 13th annual Houston Smoke & Powder Crawl, an event for cigar enthusiasts and shooters alike.

I stumbled upon the group a few years back, and this was my 4th outing with the crew.

We had a great turnout this year. I never got a firm count, but we had 12 or 13 shooters, and 6 or 8 others that popped in and out during the day's activities. I was hoping the Layabout Sailor would be there, but I guess he was being a layabout!

Each participant got a nice sample pack from the sponsors, including a sweet little stick direct from Havana. Freebie samples were to rain down all afternoon! I went home with a huge stash of top-shelf cigars.

We started at 9 a.m. at the American Shooting Centers pistol range. After a couple of hours of blasting away, we hung fresh targets and had a shootoff. Entry fee was a primo cigar from each shooter, and the winner split the stash with the #2 shooter, along with some other cigar-related swag from the sponsors.

My buddy Cisco Kid showed up again this year. Last year he & I placed first & second in the shootoff. This year, we placed at the tail end. OK, I was the tail end shooter. Only 80 out of a possible 100 points. I blame the nicotine shakes. I shouldn't have sparked up that Perdomo Criollo until *after* the shootoff...

Afterwards, we headed to Paul's Boat for lunch, where for the second year in a row I had the delicious stuffed red snapper, served once again by the delicious Czech/Russki waitress Deánna, who I'd gladly volunteer to stuff... Arrr! Cute EuroBlondes with knee-high leather boots! Shiver me timber and hoist me pegleg! Arrr!

The buzzard made a repeat appearance out by the dumpster, but it was probably a bit cold for Mr. Gecko to hang out on the back patio with us.

After lunch it was off to Cigars of the World up by Hwy 6 & Clay Rd. This is a great cigar shop, and they had an amazing collection of Gurkha Cigars, which are becoming my cigar of choice. The staff at Cigars of the World were gracious and hospitable, and practically shoved us into deep & comfy leather chairs to smoke our stogies. They handed out freebie cigars, soft drinks and scotch whiskey, and had a sleight-of-hand magician in the store for entertainment.

After that, it was off to Santa Barbara Cigar & Tobacco for more cigars and a coffee break. Alas, their Cuban Coffee machine had gone tits-up, which was not such a catastrophe for me, as I don't drink coffee that often. I bought a sampling of Macanudo & Perdomo cigars, and then it was time for dinner.

We went down the street to The Fox and Hound, a pub-style place on Westheimer. We had a bit of a problem with service. One waiter for 4 tables out on the patio kept him hopping, and it took quite a while to get everyone served. The other thing that might have kept the waiter hopping was THE HUGE F#(%!$G RAT that crawled out of the bushes and onto the patio deck, nosing about for food and completely unconcerned that 20+ people were sitting 15 feet away.

The food was just so-so. Can't recommend it, and probably won't be back, unless I can bring a rat terrier.

So, another great year for the Smoke & Powder Crawl. If you're in the area and want to join in next year, let me know via email and I'll make sure you get the word about the 14th Annual Crawl when it's announced!

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Seekrit Skwerlz Club

More Phriday Photoshoppery

The Omnibus Driver sent me a squirrel quartet picture for some Photoshop Phun.

Not my best work, but I was distracted by Eric's huge dangling scrotum...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Evil Bastard Academy

Our Motto: Oderint Dum Metuant

While thinking about how much I'd like to stake my student loan holders to an anthill, my mind flashed to other evil things one could do to the unwitting and/or deserving douchebags of the world. F'rinstance...

1) A thin schmear of Colgate toothpaste on someone else's white toilet seat is always good for a laugh. Denture adhesive and Ben-Gay are other alternatives.

2) It only requires 5 or 6 cans of expandable insulation foam to completely fill the interior of a car. It dries pretty much rock hard.

3) 3-4 raw shrimp in a mesh bag can be stapled in a discreet location prior to a long weekend. It's best to do this to someone deserving who works on a floor or building far from yours.

4) Saran wrap over a toilet bowl, stretched tight to avoid wrinkles and increase transparency is always fun.

5) I've always wondered how loud the screams would be if I dumped out someone's Astroglide (or similar intimate lubricant) and replaced it with Purell hand sanitizer.

6) Mom told me the tale of several unknown hooligans in her high school class who locked a mule inside a classroom with several buckets of green apples. Apparently, mules can squirt shit up to the ceiling. Mules are kind of thin on the ground in downtown Houston, but there's a couple of Councilmen I'd like to try that on.

7) If you jack up a car and place bricks under the axles, measuring carefully and using boards for shims, you can leave the tires about 1/2 inch off the ground. This usually goes unnoticed, and leads to much consternation when the engine starts fine, but the car goes nowhere.

8) A couple of big baking potatoes and a wooden mallet are a huge improvement on the old 'banana in the tailpipe' gag.

9) You can buy huge bags of rock salt (meant for water softening or ice melting) for very little money. Put in a fertilizer spreader set to max volume, this makes for a nice way to write a message on someone's lawn.

10) They sell lead foil to make cork wrappers if you bottle your own wine. You can also use a few sheets of that same lead foil to cut out an outline of a handgun, and tuck it inside the lining of someone's briefcase before they leave for the airport. TSA hijinks will ensue...

Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Bring Out Your Dead!

...So We Can Blow Their &%#$*! Heads Off!

I saw that new flick 'Zombieland' last night.

Didn't watch it in the theater, it was a bootlegged online version.

I suppose I should feel a bit remorseful about aiding and abetting film pirates, but the flick wasn't all that great. 'Shaun Of The Dead' was a lot funnier.

And there really should have been a LOT more zombies...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Wanted: Giant Anthill

Bend Over, Here It Comes Again!

I knew it was too good to be true...

When I sent in my last payment for my student loan, I didn't expect to get any sort of congratulatory letter from the loan servicing company. After all, I'd just turned off the tap, so to speak, and they weren't going to be able to squeeze any more blood out of this turnip.

Or so I thought...

The lack of correspondence or bills went unremarked by me, in the same way you don't really miss a horrible rash once it has faded.

Imagine my surprise when I get an email from the Texas loan guarantee folks telling me I'm 67 days past due on my loan, and they're three days from foreclosing on the loan.

Exsqueeze me? WTF??

I'd paid off one loan, all right. Somehow the loan servicing company took this to mean they could stop sending me bills for the second loan I was paying off simultaneously, and which was supposed to be paid off at the same time as the first loan. It didn't however, stop the late fees or overdue penalties on that second loan.

It took nearly an hour of patient wrangling over the phone to get them to admit fault for not sending another bill or payment request for the outstanding balance, for which they less-than-graciously agreed to cancel the stupendous sum of $14.87 in late fees.

So, a draft of $185 over the phone, and I'm back current. Now, only another $312.95 to go.

Filthy bastards... I ought to stake them all to huge anthills and pour honey over their nekkid carcasses. (Carcassi?)

Monday, October 05, 2009

You Are Being Shagged By A Rare Parrot!

I Wish Stephen Fry Said That In His Gen. Melchitt Voice!

OK, this made me giggle...

Oh, the bird's called a "Kakapo". Never heard of it before seeing this video, but seeing as how there's only 125 or so in existence, that's not too surprising.

No Talking In Class!

Detention? We Don' Need No Steenkin' Detention!!

Becky shows GuyK the latest in Port Lavaca ISD's scholastic disciplinary equipment.

I had a teacher that used to throw erasers. It seems a more potent projectile is needed for the current crop of hoodlums students!

(No, Guy ain't kneeling! Becky really IS a tall drink of water!)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

To The Beach & Back

Highway Driving Is Overrated...

The trip to Port Lavaca went well. The truck ran smoothly, my only gripe was the gas mileage seems to have fallen off a bit, but that may just be the last of the summer-blend ethanol mix lurking in my tank.

I need to add a toolbox to the truck. I was sorely in need of a hacksaw. There was a nice-sized whitetail buck smooshed by the roadside, and even at 70 mph I could count the 8 points on his rack. I was still debating whether or not I wanted to lop his head off with Mr. Switchy when I saw a Chevy redneck rig running in reverse on the side of the road, backing up towards the deer. Apparently someone else saw Mr. Buck and was better equipped for looting the carcass...

I had a great time with GuyK, Becky and Coon-Ass, who drove all the way from Louisiana. Little Sister poodle wasn't all that impressed with me, however. We watched a BBQ cookoff contest, sat and jawed a while, and Guy treated to a Mexican feast, which was quite nice of him. Port Lavaca seems to be a nice little town, though I do fear the consequences if that ginormous plastics plant across the bay ever had a blowout!

I left earlier than I wanted to, but I wanted to make it back to Hwy 59 before full dark. I hit 59 heading north just at the tail end of twilight, then 10 minutes late ran into a heavy rain that continued all the way home.

So, the truck passed the shakedown cruise. Next up is a jaunt over to Tennessee in late October. Can't wait!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Day Trip

On The Road Again...

I'm heading to Port Lavaca in a few minutes to see GuyK & the crew. I am woefully unprepared for a road trip. Haven't gassed up the truck, have no snackies or a cooler. I'm definitely out of practice for this sort of thing!

Still, I'll muddle through somehow. Hopefully it won't pour down rain all afternoon.

Pictures when I return, I did remember to pack the camera and spare batteries!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

New Shooter Alert!

Do I Have To Do The Naked Happy Dance??**

I just had the damndest phone call...

My sister just called to let me know that she's on her way to a shooting class. My BIL bought her a Ruger SP101 in .38 Special, and she's going to learn how to shoot.

You could have knocked me over with a feather...

It's not that she's ever been anti-gun, or anti-hunting, but with two kids under 5 in the house, she's the last person I ever expected to be buying a pistol.

BIL has apparently also acquired a shotgun and a .40 S&W pistol, a fact previously unknown to me. I'm all in favor of it, but dread the day his tendency to be a know-it-all blowhard turns to how I need to ditch my beloved .45s in favor of a .40 autoloader!

They're well-stocked with gun locks, and they're shopping for a safe, so I'm not worried about tiny fingers finding triggers. Not for a while, anyway. I was wondering how I was going to broach the subject of buying little Sammy his first .22 rifle in a few years. That might not be a problem after all!

**Kim du Toit used to post New Shooter Alerts on his blog, and always finished by saying he was going out to do the Happy Dance, which consisted of prancing around nekkid while burning through a mag of AK ammo. I think I'll pass, if for no other reason that the neighbors would pass out from fear. Not from the gunshots, but the sight of me nekkid...