Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, August 31, 2011



Why on earth didn't I think of this??

Imagine! A smooth even layer of deliciously fiery Rooster Sauce shpritzed over your noodles or eggs or even your ice cream!!

OK, perhaps not the ice cream...

Still, Sriracha tastes good on almost everything else!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Few Beats Too Many

Where's My ObamaCare??

Well, that was an expensive bit of fun...

I woke up just before midnight on Sunday with not only an extremely fast heartbeat, but I was getting some extra beats thrown in for good measure.

No chest pain, nausea or other symptoms of a heart attack, but while you can go to sleep on an upset stomach and see if it's better in the morning, when the ticker starts hiccuping, you really ought to go let the docs take a peek under the hood.

I'm used to the occasional cardio hiccup. I got diagnosed with premature atrial contractions probably 12 years back. They're mostly harmless, unless they start to gang up on you.

Anyway, a quick jaunt to the Memorial Hermann ER soon had me hooked up to an IV, various monitors, and the Machine That Goes PING. (You see, they lease it back from the company they sold it to and that way it comes under the monthly current budget and not the capital account!) (Sorry, old Monty Python addiction...)

Eventually, they consulted the oracle and determined it was atrial fibrillation. Not as bad as ventricular fib, and a whole lot better than an infarction, but still not something you want to continue any longer than necessary.

So, they dosed me with drugs, but none that were any fun, and the waiting began.

Did you know it's just about impossible to get any rest in a hospital?

There's a constant stream of visitors in & out for various purposes. I didn't mind so much the ones coming to check vital signs, or do some tests. I'm sorta ambivalent towards the phlebotomists. Most were good, but one bad one last night must have taken sadistic glee in poking many, many holes up & down my arm.

The ones that made me want to beat them with a bedpan were the "patient advocates" & various other Quality Control wonks who would wake you from a fitful sleep on the crappy hospital bed just to find out how well you were being treated.

I was much nicer than I felt like being. I even resisted the urge to have the cute Russian ultrasound tech say "Moose and squirrel" when she asked if there was anything more she could do for me.

They cut me loose around noon on Tuesday. My BP was back to normal. OK, high, but normal for me. The arrythmia had disappeared, hopefully to never reappear.

So, long term prospects are good. I'm on a new batch of ticker pills, and they added an anticoagulant just in case the A-fib returns. A blood clot turns into a stroke PDQ, so better safe than sorry.

I'm going to take it easy the next couple of days. I might go back to work Thursday, but maybe not. It's tempting to just blow off the rest of the week, and cruise through the Labor Day weekend, but I hate making my co-workers cover for me like they had to today...

Anyway, thanks for the support on Facebook. I appreciate the kind words!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blogmeets Are Where You Find Them!

Go To Gaido's & Get Crabs!!

Leslie of Leslie's Omnibus dropped into town this week on a whirlwind social tour, and I was lucky enough to catch up with her for dinner last night.

Leslie and Nancy France are busy tearing up Galveston Island in a whirlwind of shopping and hijacking cruise ships. OK, maybe they'll leave the cruise ships alone this time...

We met up at Gaido's to do a face-plant in some deelishus fishus, and swap stories from around the blogosphere.

If you go, I'd recommend the Red Snapper Michael, but leave off the topping. It was good enough straight out of the skillet. The bisque wasn't as good as I remembered, but do try the crab cheesecake appetizer. It was quite nice.

I'm hoping we can round up Jerry for dinner up in my neck of the woods later this week.

Here's Leslie & Nancy under the huge Gaido's crab!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bad News, Worse News

Damn, Damn, Damn, Damn, Damn...

Well, there's no easy way to say this, so I'll just say it.

Pookie Cat has lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes. It's progressed to the point that trying chemotherapy is a long shot, and an expensive one at that.

She's not in a great deal of discomfort at the moment. It's mostly that of an older cat recovering from surgery. She's had her stitches out, and one paw has some swelling that I'm hoping the corticosteroid pills will help with.

She's limping heavily, but she can still get to the litter box & the food & water bowls. She's set up camp under the bench in my office, but every so often I'll find her under the couch or next to the armchair by the fireplace.

The vet said she could live two months or two years, but given how fast the tumors grew and the third one they removed from the opposite leg, I'm not too optimistic.

What sucks is that if she does die before it cools off, she's going to have to be cremated. There's just no effin' way I'm giving myself a stroke digging a deep hole in the backyard. I suppose I could hire Carlos the Unreliable to do it, but I'd have to store her in the freezer for a month before he'd get around to doing it.

Nah, better a fire than freezer burn.

Well, I'm not going to get ahead of the situation. I'll just stock up on some really nice canned cat food and make her as comfortable as possible until it's time to end it.

That being said, given that she's spent the last decade making herself as comfortable as possible, how do you tell if you're achieving that goal??

Sigh. This sucks. First Betsy Cat, now Pookie Cat.

I think I'll start keeping mayflies as pets. With a 24 hour lifespan, you just can't get attached to them...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On!!

Rumble In The Political Jungle!

In the wake of the 5.9 earthquake in the Washington D.C. area, the Washington Examiner posted a collection of the funniest Tweets Twittered by Twee Twits:

@TPCarney: Krugman says it wasn't big enough.

@comradescott: Evidently the quake occurred on a little known fault line outside of DC called "Bush's Fault".

@calebhowe: Breaking: Obama administration points out they "inherited" fault lines from previous administrations.

@MaizeBlueNation: Fox News claims the Washington monument is leaning to the right, MSNBC claims it's leaning to the left. More news at 11.

@charliespiering: I won't stop shaking until Obama makes a speech telling me that everything is ok and that he has a plan

@Ben_Howe: As all of DC leaves work at the same time, the United States experiences a brief economic recovery.

@daveweigel: Was all set to loot in Dupont circle, then realized all we have are taco and cupcake stores.

@politicoroger POLITICO had the earthquake story yesterday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Photoshop Phunday

Malibu Beach Was Now Free Of Dead Seabirds & Rotting Fish!

OK, I'm aware this is kind of silly.

I blame Tam. She put the idea into my head!


Marabou Barbie!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

One More Book Meme

Read To Live, Live To Read!!

I'm fairly certain I've done this one before. Still, it's a lazy Sunday, and it's either this, or go take another nap. Boy, my life is hard...

Anyway, as previously seen on Leslie's, LeeAnn's & Mostly Cajun's blogs, here's the NPR Skiffy/Fantasy Book List Meme:

To follow the NPR (US National Public Radio) meme, copy this list, putting in Bold those you have read.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Plus, The Hobbit, Children of Hurin, Unfinished Tales, etc.

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Plus, the rest of the series, the Dirk Gently books, etc.)

3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
All 6 Dune novels by Frank Hebert, & 6 prequel novels by Brian Hebert

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
Haven't read the 13th book. Doubt this series will ever end...

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
Plus Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, The Bridge Trilogy, Burning Chrome

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
Plus everything else the man wrote in his lifetime.

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
Plus 2010 Odyssey Two, 2061 Odyssey Three & 3001 Final Odyssey

25. The Stand, by Stephen King
Plus about 18 others

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
Plus Zodiac, The Baroque Cycle Trilogy, The Diamond age, & Interface

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
And 3 or four others. I was young and naive...

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
Plus Ringworld Engineers, Most of the Known Space series, the Man-Kzin Wars, & the Niven/Pournelle & the Niven/Barnes novels.

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
Plus most of Sagan's non-fiction

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
Only the first one and a half. Then I died of boredom and quit reading.

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
As noted above...

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
And 6 or 7 others, 3 of which I regret.

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
And the King Kull series

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
Plus the other 4 books in the series, and Agent To The Stars

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
It's on my shelf...

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
Plus, all the Dresden Files series
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
Just the first five or so.
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Wow. That's a lot of bold type.

Missing from the list:
David Weber
John Ringo
The BattleTech series
Star Trek series
Star Wars series
And hundreds of others...

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Yen For The BREN

If I Ever Have A Daughter, I'll Name Her Brenda!


Collector's Firearms has a semi-auto BREN gun for sale!!!

Among the contenders for my favorite light machine gun, the BAR and the BREN would duke it out for top position.

While my preference will always be for the John Browning (PBUH) design, the BREN is just drop-dead sexy!

The top-fed box mag, the quick-change barrel, the offset sights, the manly and effective caliber of .303 British, I could go on & on...

Should I stumble upon $4000 on the way home, I swear it shall be mine!!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oh, This Just Sucks...

Don't Make Me Do This!!!

The problem with doing a good job is that you'll get noticed and asked to do more things.

Some of those things you will not like. I guarantee it.

I did a series of legal-type lectures for some mid-to-upper level managers recently, and I have to admit, it didn't entirely suck. Not everyone gets my uber-casual approach to learning, (no Podiums, no PowerPoints, no Pontificating) and a few seem somewhat bothered that I include a healthy dose of humor in a Very Serious Business Class, but overall it went pretty well.

So, it was decided that I ought to go deliver Diversity Training for one of The Man's departments.


I *DON'T* do diversity training! No! Nyet! Non! La! Ne! Neen!

They're insistent. I've countered with a suggestion to deliver "How Not To Fuck Up In The Modern Workplace And Get Your Dumb Ass Fired For Being A Complete Cocksucker, Gigantimous Dick and/or Sycophantic Douchebag" training. I might even call it something work-safe.

If they insist on some hot mess of a touchy-feely multi-culti love-thy-asshole-neighbor-even-when-he-cornholes you sort of class, I'm going to explode.

If I end up doing this, I swear to you I will be having everyone hold hands and sing Kum-Ba-Yah as a closing exercise...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Get A Grip

"I'm Your Huckleberry!"

Question time for all the lurkers!

Now, I'm not sayin' I'm buying another gun. Lord knows I've got more than I can keep fed, and housing is becoming a problem.


Should I put something on layaway with the intent on having it home by Xmas, which of these do you feel would look the best sticking out of a floral-carved crossdraw holster from El Paso Saddlery?

The smooth walnut grips?

The checkered walnut grips?

The faux aged ivory fleur de lis grips?

Comments are welcome!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Carving On Pookie Cat

Only $450 This Time. It's Getting Cheaper!

Hmmmph. You'd think two doses of Ketamine inside of a week would improve a cat's mood...

Well, maybe not.

Pookie Cat is back from the regular vet's office. This one wasn't quite as expensive as the emergency vet, but still pretty damn pricy, all things considered.

Pookie knew things were amiss when she saw the file box/cat carrier this morning. It's amazing just how well a big fat kitty can hide when she has to.

That tail always gives 'em away, though, and it was sticking out just a smidgen behind the gas log in the fireplace.

The cat was dropped off at the vet, where they shaved her leg (it looks hilarious, like Pookie forgot to put on one sock) and dosed her up with sleepy juice.

The vet sliced out the cyst over her paw joint, and did a biopsy of the soft mass on the side of her leg. I ought to know by Monday whether it's malignant, or just a random tumor.

Pookie ought to recover in fairly good health, but her jumping days may be behind her. I'll have to build her a set of steps to get up on the bed, or just put some carpet squares on top of some stacked file boxes. I've got dozens of the damn things full of books. Might as well put them to a second task.

Here's Pookie Cat sleeping it off:

If y'all want to donate canned salmon, flightless birds or really slow mice to the recovery fund, let me know!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Top 20 Obama Bus Tour Names

How About "Quantitative Easing On Down The Road"?

Saw this over at the Doug Ross Journal.

#5 made me spew iced tea on the keyboard, so I thought I ought to share it...

20. Downgrade One
19. BusT Tour
18. 57 States
17. We have to ride it to know what's in it
16. Spinning the Future
15. Obama, the Bachmann Slayer
14. Rolling Blunder
13. The "Bus-driver acted stupidly" tour
12. Debt Race 2012
11. Titanic on wheels
10. StimuBus
9. America Under the Bus Tour
8. The "Not a Corporate Jet" Tour
7. Tragical history tour
6. Sputnik Moment
5. Blunderbuss
4. Blame Bush Tour
3. Barackisalosa 2012
2. The "McDonald's Is Hiring" Tour
1. The "Free iPods for the Battleground States" Extravaganza

Important note: the second bus is for Michelle's clothes and servants.

Random Silliness

What You Post When You've Got Nothing To Post

When math geeks need help from a superhero, they don't use a spotlight!
One complex equation will suffice!

Jimbo learned the hard way to NEVER order the Cajun Omelette...

This explains all those tumor-ridden woodpeckers and beavers.
Y'know what else causes cancer? California Environmental Regulators.

When food labeling regulations go too far:

It takes a brave man to eat chili out of this mug:

I wish that U.S. papers could be this truthful when covering our politicians:

Monday, August 08, 2011

Now, That's QUALITY!!!

A *Glass* Bottomed Elevator, OTOH, Would Be Pretty Cool!

Yeah, we're a world-class operation!

Check out the elevators in The Man's high-rise:

There's something vaguely disconcerting about zooming up to the 25th floor while standing on plywood...

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Heh. Almost Forgot This!

Fun & Games While You Wait For The Cat Doc

I get some grief every now & then for always schlepping around my carryall bag (aka oversized Man-Purse).

I blame the Boy Scouts. That whole "Be Prepared" idea sunk in so deep, I just function better knowing I've got sharp cutty things, firestarters, flashlight, first aid supplies, and whatever else I might need to rebuild civilization close at hand.

Among other things, there's a handy pocket for my digital camera, and I've always got a Sharpie or two tucked inside.

So, when you're stuck in an examining room at the veterinarian's office for a long while, your brain can cook up something amusing to pass the time.

Like this, f'rinstance:

(Full disclosure: I do own one of those little travel cages, but it's buried out in the garage somewhere. In a pinch, a file box makes a suitable cat carrier, though you do need some duct tape to keep a King-Hell Pissed-Off cat inside during the trip to the vet's office...)

Friday, August 05, 2011

More Cats & Vets

Yet Another Minor Cat-Astrophe

Well, just when you think you've got your financial house in order, the cat gets ill.

Pookie Cat was favoring her right front leg Tuesday night, and by Wednesday evening she had disappeared under my bed and wouldn't come out.

When she did make an appearance, she seemed to be limping heavily, and wouldn't jump up on the couch or the bed as per usual.

So, off to the vet.

I was anticipating the $95 exam fee. I didn't quite foresee $300 in Xrays and lab tests, and $100 in cat meds. Plus other fees totaling $550. At 2:00 in the morning, no less.

So, I'm destitute until the next payday, at which time Pookie goes to the regular vet to see about removing the icky growths on her leg. And, I'll be broke again after that.

There's a soft mass on the side of her leg, and a harder one just above the wrist joint. The vet didn't seem to think it was cancerous, but might be a bone infection. The diagnosis said "granuloma" and "neoplasia". I'll hit Wikipedia after I finish this to find out what those mean.

Anyway, below are some Xray pics of the inside of Pookie Cat. In the paw closeup, you can easily see the big mass on the side of her leg. It looks huge on the Xray, but you can barely see it poking out of her fur. She's a very fuzzy cat!

The harder mass is very faint, just a bulge on the top of the leg. Fortunately, it doesn't look to be attached to the bone.

Anyway, I hope this turns out to be easily fixable after a week of kitty antibiotics and feline painkillers. I'm kind of tempted to sample the painkillers after Pookie gets done shredding my arms when I medicate her.

The vet did mention the possibility of a leg amputation if it was a deep bone infection. With Pookie Cat's age & weight, I doubt I'll put her through that ordeal.

I just hope it doesn't come to that...

Hug your pets, y'all. You never know how long they'll be around.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

El Capitan Goes Dancing

Fun & Games On A Sunny Tropical Houston Afternoon

Every now & then, I do something that's just completely out of character...

F'rinstance, who could have guessed that yesterday afternoon I'd be getting my backside soaked and my shiny dome sunburnt 'cause I was out dancing with several dozen Houstonians and a world-traveling YouTube star?

Y'all might remember back in the summer of 2008, when this video was released by Matt Harding:

Where The Hell Is Matt? - Youtube

Better quality version - Vimeo

(My ancient Mac is not playing well with YouTube & Vimeo. If I can figure out how to embed those, I'll update this later. For now, just open in a new tab!!)

With over 38,000,000 views, it looks like I'm not the only one that enjoyed watching it!

I ended up bookmarking his website and following his journal. There's a link on the site where you can sign up in the off chance he comes to your neck of the woods.

"What the hell", I thought. "It's not likely he'll ever come to Swamp City. Might as well get on the mailing list."

Guess who came to town?

In 99 degree heat, I parked the truck and wandered over to the Williams Waterwall near the Galleria, where I joined a crowd of 150 or so who also wanted to join Matt in his latest video creation.

It went from being beastly hot to soaking wet once we got into position by the waterwall. The taller participants (that'd be me...) stood in the back, nearest the spray. By the time we were finished, I was soaked from my neck to my ankles and squished when I walked.

Afterwards, Matt took pictures with the participants and sold T-shirts and books. This trip around, he's doing it on his own nickel instead of getting corporate sponsorship.

I couldn't resist flashing my ID badge from The Man's Office and inquiring whether he had his permits in order. He got this concerned look for a minute before I let him off the hook with a wink & a smile!

So, sometime late this fall, keep an eye out on YouTube for the video. We may or may not make the final cut, but it won't be for lack of effort or enthusiasm!

Also, if you watch this KHOU-TV news clip around the 00:00:49 mark, you might see a familiar face a few rows behind Matt!

Pix from the event:

The crown gathers.

Matt arrives.

Matt explains the video shoot procedure.

Setting Up The Shot.

Matt interviewed by Channel 11.

The Book Cover. (Buy it here!)

I got my book autographed and squished back to the truck and its air conditioning, somewhat burnt and damp, but definitely with my spirits lifted. I thrive on the extravagantly absurd, so this was right up my alley.

Maybe it's not so far out of character after all...

Monday, August 01, 2011

Burn, Baby, Burn!!

"I'm Burnin', I'm Burnin', I'm Burnin' For You..."


And it was such a nice weekend...

What is it with me & vehicular combustion??

Driving into work this morning, I'm suddenly greeted by the acrid smell of high-amp electronics searing in their own juices.

Now, I've usually got a shitload of trash on the passenger-side floorboard, and some usually gets stuffed up under the seat.

That's also where the stereo amplifier lurks, a huge aluminum brick that's got a power cable as big around as a garden hose that goes straight to the battery.

I figured that something had finally got hot enough to catch fire. That's all I need, burning trash under the passenger seat...

I managed to get off the road without killing anyone, shut off the radio to kill power to the amp, popped the hood, and snagged the fire extinguisher just in case.

Nope, nothing burning, but that ozone smell was pretty fierce.

I got all the crap cleaned out, but it appears that the amp is dead. It's been 25+ years since I've installed a car radio, so I've got zero clue how to go about fixing this.

Guess it's time to get one of those newfangled setups with the iPod jack & a new amp.

Too bad I already bought a guitar and a pricy bottle of scotch for a birthday present. I could have waited a day more, and used the cash at a car audio store...