Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Monday, May 31, 2010

Vacation Project

My Cigars Have A New Home!!

I've been keeping my stash of cigars in an old Tupperware sheet cake container for far too long, and this weekend I finally got most of the materials together to make some progress on my homebuilt humidor.

My friend Flygirl gifted me with this spiffy pirate's chest some years back. It was once full of edible goodies, and had recently been serving as my stash box. No, not weed, just my prescription meds...

I've been wanting a decent humidor, and with some minor mods, the chest would suit well in that role. I found a local woodworker's supply shop, and bought $35 bucks worth of Spanish Cedar veneer, and some brass handles for the sides.

The veneer was too thick to cut with scissors, and too thin to cut with a circular saw. I have a coping saw somewhere, but discovered that two or three passes with a utility knife will score the 1/8" veneer deeply enough to snap it cleanly.

Lining the sides:

Can't find your gluing clamp? Use the glue bottle and the pestle from your spice grinder! The black gizmo on the bottom weighing down the veneer is a wrought iron replica of the family cattle brand.

The veneer didn't really want to bend to fit the curve of the chest lid, and it was too thin to cut relief notches and force the bend. So, I glued some strips into place across the top of the lid lining sections, and when they're dry, I'll glue a flat piece of veneer to complete the interior. Once it's all dry & stable, I'll drill & seat the handle hardware, then rough sand the interior to bring out the cedar oils.

I should have enough veneer left over to make a holder for the gel humidifier. I probably ought to rig some sort of way to hang the gel container from the lid, instead of leaving it sitting in the bottom of the chest. I'd be able to store more cigars that way.

Still, it's gonna be a workable humidor, and cost much less than buying one from the local cigar store!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Race Day!!

800+ Left Hand Turns @ 200 MPH!

Howdy, y'all!

It's Race Day at Indy, and once again I'll be parked in front of the tube once again from the time Jim Nabors sings "Back Home Again In Indiana" to the moment the checkered flag comes down after 200 race laps.

Haven't decided who I'm gonna root for this year... It'd be fun to watch Helio Castroneves win his 4th 500, only three others have managed that feat so far. He's sitting on the pole position, but that's no guarantee.

There are 4 women in the race this year. A more enlightened soul might applaud the increasing percentage of women fighting their way into a male-dominated sport with grit, skill and determination. Me? I just think they're all pretty damn hot!

Mmmm... Danica!

I'm getting set to go to the store to pick up a pound or two of jumbo shrimp and some horseradish & lemons to spike the cocktail sauce. Might even have a beer or two. Yeah, that's me, livin' on the edge...

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Perfect Evening For Batfishing

Sittin' & Thinkin'. But Mostly Sittin'...

Ever have one of those moments when you suddenly drop what you're doing and head outdoors for no apparent reason?

I was futzing around on the web, looking for hardware to complete my home-built cigar humidor, when I go this sudden urge to go burn a stick and have a beer. I'm so glad I did...

I hauled my camp chair out to the driveway, and poured a Guinness and fired up a Macanudo 1968. Facing west out into the cul de sac, I had a nice view of the last of the setting sun, punctuated by the low rumbles of thunder and flashes of heat lightning over my left shoulder. The bright light of Venus slowly dipped down below the treetops as the local bat population did gyre and gimble in the fading light, snatching up bugs as I sipped my beer and contemplated the evening.

The cigar had a near-perfect draw, the Guinness was cool & foamy, and Muttface, the neighbor's dog, shit in someone else's yard for a change.

All in all, an auspicious start to the holiday weekend!


My, It's Fun Being An Uncle!

I think I'm gonna have to buy this set for my niece & nephew, even though it'll put me on my sister and BIL's shit list for a looooong time!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Extreme Nastiness Alert

We Test This Stuff So You Don't Have To...


If you've been chewing Orbit Lime-Melon gum, and then take a sip of Diet Dr Pepper, the resulting taste is almost exactly like soap suds (specifically, Dial bar soap)mixed with the tiniest tinge of what I imagine Bounce dryer sheets might taste like.

It also won't go away... I need some Tabasco sauce.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Project LOLA: Day 250

Keep On Keepin' On...

Almost forgot to blog this...

It's day 250 of the Long Overdue Lifestyle Adjustment. Had a bit of calorie creep over the last week, but nothing too outrageous. I've got to find someone else to portion out the pretzels and mini rice cakes. I keep getting to the end of the bag, finding not quite enough to make the 200 calorie serving, and scarfing them up.

Well, at least it's not a cheeseburger...

Day 250. Hmmm. Seems like a lot longer. LOLA may end up being like Ann Boleyn, with 1000 days until I get to my goal weight. It's a little under 3 years. I'd like to try and pass the Police Dept. physical before my 44th birthday if I can. Don't fret, my past sins will keep me a civilian, but I'd like to say I was physically able to do the job before I reach the upper age limit for recruits.

Without getting too maudlin, I'd like to tell y'all that I appreciate your support in this adventure, perhaps more than you realize. Knowing there's a group of people out there that are cheering me on is a huge help in resisting the urge to backslide.

So, thank you, from the bottom of my ever-more efficient heart!

Now, since I can't have the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip sandwich, I think I'll go looking for a nice healthy roast turkey sandwich...


The Jury Has Spoken...

Sigh... No deelish sammich for me.

Maybe next year.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Airport Taxi Service

Thank Heaven For The Hardy Toll Road!

Gonna be a short day at work. I'm taking off at 1 pm to pick up my parents from the airport. They've survived their Caribbean excursion, and seem to have come out no worse for wear other than the lack of a cell phone, now serving as a barnacle repository somewhere off the coast of Puerto Rico.

I've enjoyed bombing around in their Dodge the past week. It's a bit small for my taste, but the mileage is way better than my truck, and I could really get used to the satellite radio on long trips. Did you know they have an all-Elvis channel?

Y'all don't forget to vote in the Sandwich Poll in the previous post. Right now the "Hell, NO!" team is ahead. I need a few more permissive, tolerant souls to chime in on the side of Liberty & Justice & BBQ sauce...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's Baaa--aaack...

Satan Sammich! Get Thee Behind Me!!

OK, it's time once again for that limited-time offering of the most godlike of sandwiches, the Whataburger Honey BBQ Chicken Strip sandwich. This time around, the evil SOB's have put it on Texas Toast. I'm drooling as I type this.

I'm facing a serious dilemma, people. Every time I pull off the freeway to head home, I've got to drive past a 30' billboard with one of these sammiches in glossy detail. You can almost smell the BBQ sauce... Actually, you can, 'cause there's a Whataburger right underneath the sign.

I really, really want to eat one. I know I shouldn't. I can probably tough it out. It's only for 4 weeks, or thereabouts.

I'll let y'all decide. Please leave your vote!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hits & Misses

The Lard Ass Chronicles: Chapter 4E85

One of the challenges to losing weight is finding appropriate meals to suit your taste and your schedule. While I like to cook, after a day at work I don't really want to muck about in the kitchen for an hour or so and then have to do the cleanup afterwards.

The other thing that wasn't going to work for me was the nitpickery of most diet plans. I'd tried several diets in the past that wanted you to measure out 3 ounces of this, half a cup of that, and so on. If I can't be bothered to haul out a steamer or saucepan after work, there was no way those plans could work. Plus, you had to pack up all the leftover portions, and unless it's cold pizza, leftovers mostly suck.

So, I opted for the "whole foods" plan. No, not the Whole Foods Market (aka Whole Paycheck). Place is full of hippies, yuppies and douchebags, anyway.

No, the "whole foods" plan just means you pick up a package of something agreeable to your palate and consisting of a reasonable amount of calories, and eat the whole damn thing. No measuring, no leftovers. This sort of limits your choices, but with some diligent supermarket searching, you can do pretty well.

F'rinstance, there's just a boatload of soups out there that clock in at around 200-250 calories. A couple of cans nuked in a big bowl make for a pretty filling meal.

I love microwaving a bag of frozen veggies with a can or two of tuna (packed in water!) mixed in, or a packet of fake crab chunks. Tossed with a bit of soy and hot sauce, it's tasty, and usually under 400 calories.

My usual weekend breakfast is a jar of mixed fruit (packed with Splenda instead of sugar) mixed in with a tub of cottage cheese. It's 600 calories, and really fills you up.

I love sushi, but if you go the sashimi route, it's insanely expensive, and you're hungry again pretty soon. OTOH, if you go with the makizushi rolls, you pick up a lot of carb calories from the rice. The plain tuna rolls are around 180 calories for 6-8 pieces, but once you start adding avocado and cream cheese, the calorie count rockets up PDQ. I usually do the large rolls with the fake crab and veggies, and don't spare the wasabi!

Not every thing works out, however. I found out that a couple of cans of Italian stewed tomatoes and some fake crab chunks do not a bowl of cioppino make. It's not that it tasted bad, it just didn't come close to real fish stew. You can eat a sh!tload of sauerkraut for under 100 calories, but even if you rinse it before eating, it starts to pale around mouthful #5. Also, watch out for the amount of raw veggies you eat. I like a mix of carrots, cauliflower & broccoli spritzed with a vinaigrette dressing, but eat too many, and you'll feel like you're passing a coil of manila rope the day after...

I need to look into making some bean soup on the weekends, and then portioning it out for the following week. The problem with most canned beans is that they have way too much salt and/or sugar, and the calorie count is too high for the portions you get, especially with baked beans.

Keep an eye out for sugar-free desserts. You can make a metric assload of sugar-free Jello and stay under 100 calories. Ditto the sugar free pudding cups. If you have a sweet tooth twinge, a couple of those really help, and even if you f#ck up and eat three of 'em, you're still just at the 200 calorie mark.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kneedless Misery

I Want Bionic Legs...

It seems to be a race to see what happens first, my weight comes off, or my right knee implodes. Right now, the money line is 5-2 on the blowout, with the trifecta being the knee goes, and takes out an arm and a jaw when I come tumbling down.

I didn't do my knees any favors in my youth, but I wasn't terribly abusive, either. No long stretches of deadlifting or playing catcher on the baseball team. About 2 years ago, I went from having the occasional "Snap Crackle Pop" when squatting, to getting some serious pain twinges in my right knee.

The pain would come and go. No noticeable correlation to exercise (as if that ever happened...) or weather changes. Sort of a two weeks on, 4 weeks off deal. Mostly, it's just stiff & sore if I keep the knee in one position for any length of time. Once I get up and start walking, I do OK, up to a point.

Last summer, it got really bad. Like, go buy a cane 'cause you're hobbling everywhere bad. Dad kept talking about the glucosamine/chondroitin tablets doing wonders for his knees, but the price for a bottle was just short of outrageous.

I finally broke down and bought a couple of bottles, and for a while I thought it was helping. This week, though, it's back to its old tricks.

This lovely lady went and got herself a shiny new knee, but I'm hoping I'm not at that point yet. Then again, my legs would probably be improved with a big scar down the center.

We shall see...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Madder Than A Wet-Tailed Cat

If Cats Had Thumbs, We'd Be Up Sh!t Creek.

God only knows what Betsy Cat dragged her tail in last night, but it felt like she'd coated it in hair spray.

So, I scooped her up and stuck her back end in the bathroom sink and proceeded to give her tail a wash.

Man, you want to talk about one seriously pissed off cat!

She got her revenge. Though I tried to towel-dry her butt, she wriggled loose and disappeared under the bed. Sometime later, when I was just about to drop off to sleep, she hopped up on the bed, and whapped me full in the face with a soggy tail as she curled up beside my pillow.

I'm not sure if she was purring or chuckling...

Monday, May 17, 2010

That Probably Voided The Warranty...

You Can't Make This Shit Up!

OMFG my sides hurt...

I don't think I've laughed this hard in ages!

I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop since Sunday morning. My parents flew out late Saturday night from Houston to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Almost the same time as they touched down Sunday a.m., Puerto Rico was hit by a 5.7 magnitude earthquake.

"Cap," sez I, "This cannot be a coincidence!" I mean, if you turn two "seasoned citizens" loose on the Caribbean to putter around via airplane, cruise ship, and probably a mule cart, between their collection of Senior Moments and the unmerciful hands of fate, something weird was bound to happen.

Today I received the following email upon arriving home:
We did not get on the cruise with all the necessary things to charge my telephone, then Mother baptised her phone in the blue water of the Carribbean. We will stay in touch via email.

We will check our emails each day.
Love DAD and Mother

I gotta go get something to sop up the Dr Pepper spew off the keyboard...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Just In Time For Mother's Day

My Mom Definitely Needs One...

This is cute, and is probably appropriate for 99% of the moms out there...

Get it here!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Butter, Olive Oil, Cream, & Cheese

Feed Me These For The Rest Of My Life!

One of the most insidious forms of propaganda known to mankind is the restaurant or pizza chain television commercial. It's the siren song of the airwaves. They never show you the surly delivery guy, the cold food, the late night heartburn...

No, in Commercial Land, they're selling the sizzle, not the steak. It's the gooey strands of melting mozzarella dripping from a steaming slice of deep dish pizza. It's the perfect scoop of ice cream being drizzled with a thick stream of hot fudge.

Of course, for those who know how they film the ads, it's really just motor oil ladled on top of a scoop of Crisco, but it looks gotdam tasty, doesn't it! It's even worse when you've sworn off sugar/fat/flavor laden foods.

So, I see this commercial for Olive Garden the other evening. While I'll admit that 90% of Olive Garden's fare is boil-in-bag or microwaved crap, they do sneak in a tasty treat every so often.

This commercial was spotlighting their latest special, something called a Crespelle. It's chicken or sausage crepes, stuffed with a bunch of cheese and doused in a garlic cream or tomato alfredo sauce. I could almost swear when the commercial aired, I heard a heavenly host of angels lauding the flavor of these Crespelles...

I could eat Just One, couldn't I??? I had to go to their website to find out.

Sigh. I'd be better off with a Mickey D's Double Quarter Pounder and a pile of fries. That single plate will set you back around 1300 calories, and that doesn't even include the salad or a single breadstick.

Oh, those delicious breadsticks? 150 calories apiece. One serving of the salad? 350 calories.

In fact, just looking over their menu, you might be better off just injecting rendered lard straight into your veins. Check these out...

Tour of Italy pasta sampler - 1450 calories
Spaghetti & Italian Sausage - 1270 calories
Fettucini Alfredo - 1220 calories
Chicken & Shrimp Carbonara - 1440 calories
Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo - 1310 calories

I had to assemble the Death By Italian meal. It's the highest-ranked foods on their menu. I've included an appetizer, salad, entree, drink and dessert. If any of you get brave and want to try it, put me in your last will & testament, OK?

Lasagna Fritta w/ Marinara sauce - 1100 calories
Caesar Salad - 800 calories
2 breadsticks - 300 calories
Pork Milanese - 1510 calories
Strawberry/Mango Frozen Margarita - 350 calories
Zeppoli (similar to beignets) - 920 calories

Total: 4980 Calories

Mangia! Mangia!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Global Coolness

Redraw The World To Suit Your Fancy!

This is kinda cool! It's a globe with a chalkboard surface and no labeling, just the general outlines of the continents.

Maybe not $450 worth of cool, but pretty cool nonetheless.

Check it out here, if you're so inclined!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Project LOLA: Day 235

For Sale: Really F#&%!ng HUGE Trousers

Day 235 of the Great Weight Loss Game. Still managing to behave myself, though I did scarf up over a pound of shrimp last night.

Man, that was a joyous discovery! I loves me some shrimp cocktail, and it turns out that boiled or steamed shrimp have only 110 calories per 4 ounces, so my gobble-a-thon only set me back just shy of 500 calories, when you factor in the cocktail sauce.

Things are not perfect. I had a checkup at the doctor's office last Friday, and while he seemed pleased that I've lost weight, he's still talking up the gastric bypass surgery. I just don't think I'm gonna go there.

My blood pressure was up, no doubt due to my abysmal sodium intake. We're gonna try a new mix on the meds, and see what happens. Doc suggested buying the sodium-free products, and adding just enough salt so that they don't taste like boiled ass, and I'd still be getting less salt than manufacturers usually put in products. We shall see...

On the good news side, I've lost an 11 year old. I ran the numbers based on my average caloric intake over the last 8 months, and allowing for variables and the fact that I never knew exactly what my starting weight was, it looks like I've dropped close to 75 pounds since last September. That's close to the weight of an average 11 year old boy!

Here's another way of looking at it:

Imagine trying to pick that load up and carry it around with you everywhere. I've still got to drop that amount again before I get to even think about bacon double cheeseburgers...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Things Like This Make Baby Jesus Cry...

Order Now & Get Free X-Ray Spectacles!

Y'know, there's tasteless, and then there's OMFG that's just AWFUL!!!

Who would actually purchase something like this?

Probably the same folks who hang fake testicles under their truck...

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Green Buttpaper?

Fun Is Where You Find It!

There was a push at work recently to economize wherever possible. Office supplies were locked down, no more travel, no expenditures at all unless they were Director-approved.

They even put one of the analysts to work figuring out how to save money. After several weeks of study, the genius plan was to acquire a bunch of green-colored bins, put one in every office, and have people put all their extra photocopies and draft copies of documents in the bins, and reuse them as scrap paper.

My suggestion to move towards a paperless office was of course met with skepticism and given little consideration. After all, why listen to me? I'm not a $65K a year analyst, who crawled back to The Man to beg for a position after failing to pass the Bar exam 5 times in a row... (Am I bitter? Nah.)

Anyway, half the department uses the green bins as trashcans, the other half mostly ignores them. I thought about submitting an anonymous suggestion on a quick way to save $65K a year, but thought better of it. There's more than one way to get your point across.

So why bring this up? The other day there was a mixup with the custodial staff, and the bathrooms didn't get restocked. The women's bathroom ran out of buttwipe, and someone hung a sign to that effect.

I, of course, couldn't let that situation pass without remark. And, of course, I have a camera so I can spread the joy.

Things like this are why I probably keep missing the 'Outstanding' levels on my annual review...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Bastard Rodents...

They Shall All Drown In Lakes Of Blood...

This little turd was up in the tree right outside the front door this morning. Chattering up a storm, and probably bitching me out for the coconuts.

Try that in the back yard, treerat. My little .22 autoloader with rat shot will settle your hash, and no witnesses but me & thee...

On Any Given Sunday...

...You Can Expect The Houston Team To Lose...

I sure wish I could like the Texans.

As a dyed-in-the-wool 5th generation Texan, it bugs me that the local football franchise chose to name themselves after the state, instead of something unique to the Houston area.

And, to add injury to insult, they suck balls.

As a result, every time they lose, it makes my beloved state look like some pseudo state-like region, such as Delaware or Rhode Island.

This rant was brought on by a Texans 2010 schedule handed to me today. This is how I see the season progressing. I'd put some money down, but I just don't care enough about the Texans to bother...

8/14 @Arizona - Cardinals by 12
8/21 @New Orleans - Saints by 24
8/28 Dallas - Cowboys by 17
9/2 Tampa Bay - Texans by 7

Regular Season:
9/12 Indianapolis - Colts by 24
9/19 @Washington - Texans by 3
9/26 Dallas - Cowboys by 17
10/3 @Oakland - Raiders by 7
10/10 New York - Giants by 24
10/17 Kansas City - Chiefs by 7
11/1 @Indianapolis - Colts by 21
11/7 San Diego - Chargers by 10
11/14 @Jacksonvile - Jaguars by 13
11/21 @New York - Jets by 7
11/28 Tennessee - Titans by 10
12/2 @Philadelphia - Eagles by 7
12/13 Baltimore - Texans by 10
12/19 @Tennessee - Titans by 21
12/26 @Denver - Broncos by 3
1/2 Jacksonville - Jaguars by 10

They might squeak by the Chiefs & the Eagles, but I'm seeing a 2-14 season.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Doctah! Ain't There Nothin' I Can Take?

It Puts The Lime In The Coconut Or It Gets The Hose Again...

OK, y'all remember that squirrel/coconut gizmo I built recently?

Turns out that coconut acts as a squirrel repellent. I never saw a squirrel near the nuts, and when I checked for signs of gnawage 4 days later, the coconuts had gone all moldy and rank. Back to the drawing board...

So, I had a coconut left over. It's still sitting here on my desk. I got to looking for coconut recipes, and found out that what I really needed was a green coconut, not a "ripe" brown one.

One trip to the Asian market, and I had a green coconut. It took a while to peel off the husk, and I had a slightly damp nut. I hacked inside with a cleaver, hoping to sample the gooey interior, but it was an older green coconut, and the meat was past the goo stage, and mostly solid. Kinda like the consistency of a fruit roll-up, just thicker and moister.

So, as a late night snack, I ate a few bites, and wasn't real impressed. The coconut water was good, but the meat was just barely edible, IMHO.

There was a significant side effect, however. Y'know how all the hippies kept trying to smoke banana peels to get high? They shoulda just eaten green coconut. I had some serious technicolor adventures in Dreamland. It was like the world's biggest blogmeet that kept morphing into a trip-hop version of 'Porgy & Bess', and I'm pretty sure that was Jimbo playing Crown, and Eric The Blade was Sportin' Life. Denny & Walrilla kept squabbling over who should play Porgy, and Vman's fuckmonkey was Bess.

I ain't never eatin' green coconut at bedtime again...

Monday, May 03, 2010

Music For Mondays

Something Different To Start The Week

It's been a long, long time since I've heard any new music that's worth recommending. My musical tastes have gotten less fluid, kinda like concrete drying. I'm not gonna say I'm stuck in any particular era, but lately I've made close to zero effort to dig up anything new.

These days, it seems I stumble bass-ackwards into something I haven't heard before. I was at the midnight movies Saturday, waiting for 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' to begin, and the theater was piping in a music program to the audience.

They played one tune that I really liked, and luckily, they announced the title, band and album name just before the film started. I looked up the band on the web once I got home, and I'm kinda digging their style. I may actually break down and buy a CD for the first time in months & months. It's a mix of country/bluegrass/folk with a dash of the old High Lonesome & a pinch of klezmer stirred in.

Anyway, check 'em out. They're called Black Prairie, and they just released their debut album "Feast of the Hunter's Moon" last month.

They're on Facebook & iTunes, or you can just Google them. It's worth your time, especially their cover of the Doc Watson tune "Red Rocking Chair".

Get Your Head Out Of The Clouds...

Am I Missing Something?

Can someone of a technical inclination answer a question for me?

With as cheap as RAM and hard drives are these days, and the price of flash memory starting to drop, we'll likely see very soon petabytes of storage in desktop packages for far less than the cost of leasing T3 lines and maintaining server farms.

Given that, why is everyone galloping towards cloud computing? Why on earth would I want to entrust data to be parceled out in snippets around the globe when I'll be able to have the Library of Congress (or its equivalent) backed up on multiple drives in multiple locations for less than what I'd pay an entry level IT tech?

Something tells me this concept was dreamed up by the same hucksters behind carbon credits...

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Starstruck? Not So Much...

Random Thoughts On A Random Morning

The next 'Iron Man' flick is out next weekend. The cast includes Scarlett Johansson, who has been lauded as one of the sexiest women in Hollywood.

Me? I don't see it. Maybe it's my preference for brunettes. Maybe it's the rumors of her diva-esque behaviour.

At any rate, while most of the world sees this,

Somehow, I just see this...