Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Slacker Saturday

Did I Sleep With A Sock In My Mouth???

Meh. Should have stopped after the first two glasses of Pinot Noir.

Going back to bed for a few hours.

I'll leave you with this silly $#!t:

I like bacon, but I'm NOT eating this...

Hipster Frodo

Kermit The Perv

Ruh Roh!

It's not easy being green!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Axe Falls...

And There Was Much Weeping, Wailing & Gnashing Of Teeth

The first round of pink slips went out this afternoon.

Word from one of the local news stations said 18 people got sacked.

There will be more, I assure you.

Here's the press release from the Dark Tower:

Information Regarding Implementation of Departmental Layoff Plans

This is a sad day, as it marks the start of the various departmental layoffs needed to reduce operating expenses in order to balance the City budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2011. We have known this day was coming for weeks, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

These are very tough decisions for everyone involved because we know that lives are being impacted – that people are losing their livelihoods due to no fault of their own. Unfortunately, we have to make these tough decisions so that we can move this great city through the tough times.

There will be some service reductions as a result of these layoffs. However, every possible avenue is being explored to minimize the impact of those reductions on citizens.

The budget for the coming fiscal year remains a work in progress, with public safety being our number one priority. The goal is to avoid layoffs in that area.

We are forced to begin providing layoff notices to the employees in non-public safety areas now in order to meet all legal requirements. Each employee must be given notice at least 45 days in advance of his/her termination date.

The current plan calls for departments to issue layoff notices between now and May 17, 2011.

All affected employees will remain on the payroll through July 1, 2011. Some will continue reporting to their job sites until that date. Exceptions will be made on a limited basis consistent with the best interests of the City.

Department directors have been instructed to be lenient with employees who may need time off for job hunting responsibilities between now and their termination date. Various job placement services and counseling are being offered.

We have kept the HOPE Union informed throughout this entire process. In addition, HOPE is working with our legal and human resources departments to provide additional transitional assistance for its members.

Economic improvements seen in the last month or so have allowed us to reduce the number of planned layoffs by more than half. If there is further improvement, it is possible that some of the remaining planned layoffs could be reversed.

Houston is still better off than most other cities in the nation. The signs of economic improvement we are seeing today provide assurance that the brighter tomorrow we wait for is just around the corner.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Enough, Already!!

Grinding A Fad Into The Dirt...

I've just about had it with "Tactical".

It's been a shooting sports buzzword for the past few years, and it's gotten to the point where there's fewer items on the market that don't carry the descriptive term "tactical" than those that do.

F'rinstance... You can get tactical trousers. Tactical underwear. Even tactical bacon. No, really. You can.

Adding to the tactical feeding frenzy is the marketing strategy that every sport shooter wants to be a door-kicking, high-speed/low-drag MOLLE'd-up operator. Just about every firearms manufacturer has jiggered their products to include as many tactical rails as possible, in most cases completely effing up the look of the gun.

The object of the rails is to be able to hang everything from a cupholder to a boombox off the side of your weapon. They even make rails that attach to rails.

Well, they've gone too far, I tell you!

This is my coach gun. A shorty double 12, with absolutely no need for any tactical accessories.

Apparently my gun isn't cool enough. I need rails on it.

Look at this silly shit:

Brought to you by the same fine folks that make laser sights and bayonet mounts for the NAA mini-revolver...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Buried In A Book

El Capitan's Latest Obsession

This is all Leslie's fault...

Every spare minute for the past two weeks I've had my nose stuck in one of the first three novels in George R.R. Martin's 'A Song Of Ice & Fire'.

HBO's currently running a miniseries based on the first novel, 'A Game Of Thrones'. Leslie had blogged about the series a few times, but her recent post tweaked my interest, so I started hunting the local Half Price Books looking for a copy.

Others must have had the same idea as me, and I was unable to get a used copy. So, I went to the local Barnes & Noble and got a new copy.

I got lucky at the Half Price in San Marcos with volumes 2 & 3. It's a college town, so the Sci-Fi/Fantasy selection is typically a lot better than in Houston.

Each one of these big mofos runs 750-900 pages, and they're one hell of a wild ride. The theme of the series is "When playing the game of thrones, you win or you die".

And they die in droves. Martin's not at all shy of killing off main characters. The ones you think are gonna live? Nope. They die. The body count is something you'd find in a typical Crusade or Mongol invasion...

I'm just about finished with #3, and #4 is due to show up via eBay in the next few days.

As for #5, well, who knows. It turns out that GRRM hasn't been keeping up the pace of writing. There's even a website called "Finish the book, George" dedicated to haranguing him to complete the series. It's supposed to be released in July, but I've played this game with Robert Jordan's 'Wheel Of Time' series, so I'm not holding my breath.

Anyway, if the HBO series is half as good as the novels, you might want to give it a watch. I'm HBO-less, so I'll be buying the DVDs when they're released, hopefully this fall.

Thanks, Leslie!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

SMLE Baboons!

I'd Hate To Be A Leopard Right Now...

Good choice, baboon! A surplus SMLE makes a great sporter rifle!

Friday, April 22, 2011

They're Always Cute As Babies...

They'll Giggle Your Ass Off!

Too bad they don't stay that way. Look how these turned out!!



Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Kind Of Sandwich!

Better Than The KFC Double Down!

I'm gonna have to make one of these real soon.

Hey, it's low in carbs!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This Might Hurt A Little...

El Capitan's Random Rifle Review

If you're looking for a handy little truck gun, this one might fit the bill, assuming you've got shoulders of steel and a high tolerance for pain.

It's an Italian Model 38 TS, so it's likely never been fired and only dropped once. Converted from whatever weird cartridge the Eye-talians used into the manly & effective 8mm Mauser, this one is sure to light up the neighborhood.

No, seriously. Out of that little bitty barrel, the flash and bang ought to be impressive, even if you are holding your fractured shoulder and sobbing like a girl.

Only $289 + TTL at Collector's Firearms. Get it before it's gone!!

(Click pic to embiggenate)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Coup De Grace

One Down, Thousands To Go...

I shot a squirrel in my backyard the other afternoon.

I would have much preferred to remain lounging in my camp chair, reading my novel and smoking my cigar, but sometimes life throws you a curveball.

I kept hearing a rustling in the monkey grass that lines the sidewalk by the front porch, and thought it was one of the neighbor's kittens stalking my shoelaces. I eventually leaned back to see what was keeping the little bugger from pouncing, and saw just the bare tip of a furry tail poking out of the grass.

I ran through the list of known neighborhood cats, and the tailtip didn't match. It also didn't move, other than to twitch a bit.

Eventually curiosity won out over sloth & indolence, and I heaved myself up to go investigate.

It turned out to be a badly torn-up squirrel. From the size, it looked to be one of last year's crop of kits. It was curled up in the monkey grass, and every so often tried to move, but it wasn't going anywhere quickly. There was a huge gouge in the squirrel's back above the shoulders that looked like someone had taken an apple corer and cut a clean slice all the way through. Kinda like this:

The front legs weren't working, but the tail still twitched and the back legs moved, so I guess the spine was intact. It was pretty beaten up.

It had probably been there a day or more. Big blowflies had already laid eggs in the wound, and I'm surprised that Tiger or Puff or one of the other local cats hadn't eaten it.

So, what to do... Too far gone to go to a vet, even if I was inclined to part with $$ on behalf of a tree rat. Still, as much as I dislike 'em, I'm not going to let it suffer.

I went and got a long-handled shovel and scooped up the skwerl, and went out to the back yard and dropped it into a 5 gallon flower pot half full of dirt. It would be reasonably safe from the cats until I could go get a pistol.

It's kind of funny... You can hardly hear a .22 at the gun range. It gets swallowed up by the big-bore banging going on. In a quiet suburban neighborhood, though, that thing is awfully damn loud!

One head shot, with the bullet burying itself in the potted dirt, and the deed was done. While I usually subscribe to the "You kill it, you eat it" credo, I'm not such a hide-bound conservative that I won't make an exception for a maggot-ridden squirrel.

I am sorta curious what got the squirrel in that condition. I was tempted to put on some rubber gloves and do a post-mortem, but as I mentioned earlier, I had a cigar and a book waiting. It wasn't a cat or dog bite. It looked more like a blade cut than anything else.

Who knows? Maybe the silly thing had climbed up in a car engine and got smacked by a fan blade.

Well, whatever's left in the flowerpot Friday morning gets dumped in the bin for trash pickup. If you want some squirrel jerky, I'd say that Thursday afternoon it oughta be nice & ripe...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Two Good Weekends!

A Brief Ray Of Sunshine In The Economic Storm

Well, spring has sprung, and in the midst of drama and turmoil at work, I'm blessed with two good weekends in a row.

Last weekend was my "On the road" Saturday. Early in the morning I wandered down towards Reliant Stadium to do a speaking gig. I dunno if it's politically correct to call the event a beauty pageant these days, though the contestants were quite beautiful!

The speech went well. It's a variation on my usual spiel I give to the mid-level managers who work for The Man.

After that, it was time to head to San Marcos for my nephew Sammy's 6th birthday party. Kid's growing like a weed!

Last year was the big bounce house in the back yard. This year it was water balloons, silly string and a big ol' piñata. Oh, and the usual collection of 20 & 30-something MILFs, which is why it's easy to talk El Cap into driving out there in the first place...

This weekend began with the ribbon cutting at the new accessible playground built at one of The Man's community centers. It was quite the do, with a lot of top-level muckity-mucks, some of Houston's well-monied movers & shakers, and a speech by The Man herself.

The playground is a marvel. It allows kids in wheelchairs (as well as parents in wheelchairs) to get the playground experience, and not be stuck on the sidelines by a sea of gravel or bark mulch, and equipment that doesn't allow a kid with disabilities to play.

I have to say, this was one of those events that makes my Grinch-like heart swell a bit. I wish I'd gotten a pic of the little blind girl going down the slide, her white cane in her hand.

I got to hang with a three-legged miniature horse, which was given a chance to avoid the dog-food factory by some creative adaptation of a human prosthetic leg and an artificial hoof.

Had my first Sno-Cone in maybe 25 years!

Later that afternoon I headed up north to Serious Cigars for the Texas Cigar Festival. I'd bought my ticket several weeks ago, and I'm glad I did. They sold out, and the Cisco Kid missed out on the 'do.

And quite a 'do it was! They put up two humunguloid tents out back, and stuffed them full of food, beer, liquor and turned us loose.

It's a hell of a bargain, and if you like a cigar, you might want to jump on this next year. For $100, you get a huge sampler bag o' stogies, and they pour all kinds of booze and serve a nice buffet.

Most of the major cigar brands were there. I got to meet Nick Perdomo, Rocky Patel, and the guys from Cain, Drew Estate, La Flor Dominicana and a bunch of others.

The line to get in the tent as it began:

Inside one of the tents:

My stash! I haven't priced the bag's contents, but in addition to the copious amount of Stella Artois & Saint Arnold beer I drank, there's 28 cigars, easily worth twice what the ticket cost.

So, a pretty good pair of weekends, and the weather was spectacular.

Hope yours was good, too!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just Like Old Times!!

Bad Vehicle Mojo: The Saga Continues

Well, there's nothing like being stranded by the side of the road with your truck's hood up in the air!!

Hasn't happened in a while. I suppose Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration has been satisfied with the burnt offerings coming out of my tailpipe.

Fairly pain-free this go-round. I've got AAA and it occured next to a McDonalds, so I sat in the A/C and drank iced coffee while things got sorted out.

Just a dead battery. It was having trouble holding a charge, and a test showed a bad cell. So, back to AutoZone for a replacement.

They would only give me $24 on the trade-in, but instead of the $119 price tag, they only charged me the $69 price paid back in 2006. So, a new battery for $50, once you factored in the tax & assorted installation odds & ends.

Of course, this means that the next thing to go wrong will occur 50 miles from nowhere with no cell coverage, and cost the equivalent of Gambia's GDP...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lessons In Diplomacy

Ah, She Never Liked Me Anyway.

Like rats leaving a sinking ship, more & more co-workers are cranking out CVs, surfing the job boards, and every so often, landing a new job.

As I've mentioned before, I got relocated from one department to another at the first of the year. I'm still officing up on the old department's floor until room can be found. I could move tomorrow if I wanted a cubicle, but as I told the Asst. Director, "An office door that shuts & locks is easily worth $5k in annual salary."

Besides, I did cubicles at my old job. They're highly overrated. More on the cube game in a future post...

So, as I was saying, co-workers are finding employment with someone other than The Man.

Last Friday there was a going-away party for one of the departing peons. We'll call her Lucia. She's going to work for some minority business conglomerate that somehow still has money coming in to allow hiring. Probably Federal grants...

Another co-worker poked her head in my office Friday, and asked if I was going to attend the going-away party for Lucia. The conversation went something like this:

"Hey, Cap! You going to come eat some cake with us and say goodbye to Lucia?"

"No, probably not."

"Why not?"

"Well, three reasons come to mind."

---10 second pause while co-worker processes this info---

"And those three reasons would be??"

"Since you asked...

a) I wasn't invited

b) I'm not in this department anymore


c) Lucia wouldn't piss on me if I was on fire. For almost 7 years now any interaction between us consisted of me saying hello, and her ignoring me. So, thanks but no thanks. Tell her Buena Suerte and don't let the door hit her capacious ass on the way out."

"I see..."

Naturally this got back to Lucia. Fortunately it got back to her yesterday, after she officially was no longer an employee and couldn't call shenanigans with HR.

Got a lovely email, though. I'm debating sending it back to the minority business conglomerate from whence it came to let them know what's being sent through their email server...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More News From The Man

Y'all Hear That Giant Sucking Sound??

First of all, a big THANK YOU to the citizens of Houston for actually paying your property taxes.

The budget deficit, projected at 130 million bucks has been reduced, largely due to the fact that the expected defaults on property taxes haven't been happening.

So, instead of 130M, now we've only got an 80M dollar shortfall.

The good news is that the various departments will have to redo their layoff plans, and the overall carnage will be lessened. Instead of 2300+ pink slips, we may only be looking at 1500 or so.

The bad news is that the various departments will have to redo their layoff plans, and they'll all have to be re-approved, checked, double-checked, signed, sealed and delivered,and it all has to be done before May 1.

Oh, well. That'll keep me occupied for the next few weeks...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Is Here!

Invasion Of The Amphibians!

OK, spring has been in Texas for a while now...

This is the first green frog of the year that I've found clinging to an improbable perch. I cleaned out my truck one morning, and upon lifting the lid to the trash bin, found Mr. Froggy here perched underneath the lid.

On second thought, maybe it's not so improbable. What better place for a frog to find tasty flies than inside a trash bin?

A handsome fellow, isn't he?

Friday, April 08, 2011

No More $70 Fill-Ups!

Drill, Baby, Drill!!

Well, the high cost of gasoline has caused me to make a change.

I'm gonna have to pull the big-ass 360 ci V8, and replace it with a straight-6 diesel.

Yeah, It'll smoke & stink a bit, and I'll have to get used to the idle rattle, but the mileage ought to be pretty good.

I think this will just squeeze in under the hood...

(Click pic to emBIGGify!)

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Still Cuttin' Heads

Knee-Deep In The Bloody Mess

The horrorshow continues unabated here in The Man's realm...

The first department handed in the proposed RIF plan, including before & after org charts and the collection of "Get Out Of Jail Free" letters. Only three people were deemed worthy had irreplaceable skills, and the Angel Of Unemployment left them alone.

My estimate was off. I'd expected them to cut 41 people, but they came in under that amount. I heard through the grapevine that there was at least one person who elected to retire.

I went over to The Man's Tower Of Power for a meeting with the Chief Legal Beagle and quite a few of the HR types. They're quite concerned that this all go smoothly, but I can already see this turning into a shambolic affair.

F'rinstance, they assumed there would be someone from the Employee Assistance Program on hand when the pink slips are given out. They're trained for crisis intervention and post-axe counseling, but someone neglected to tell the planners that there's only three of them on the payroll. So, more money will need to be spent to bring in contractors. Last figure I heard was $175/hr. Times however many people it takes to process a couple of thousand...

Other fun facts:

This will be the largest layoff since the city was founded, and the first one where police officers and firefighters will get the axe.

The 2000+ figure was confirmed. The airport system was a recent addition to the list, and it was leaked to the press even before the news got to us. There's plenty of PO'ed bigwigs over that one. The Big Chief Muckity-Muck in HR promised he'd take scalps if any further leaks got out, specifically names and numbers. So, don't look for those here!

The employee's union wants to be a part of the procedure, but that won't happen. They'll be allowed to offer post-layoff support & whatever else a union in a right-to-work state can supply, but they can't be present when the axe falls.

There's untold amounts of $$$ that'll be have to be paid out in vacation time and sick leave. The saving grace here is that those people short on tenure and low on performance usually don't have much time saved up. God knows the shitbird employees I used to manage used up their vacation time as soon as they accrued it...

The decision on whether or not to allow a laid-off employee to work their last 45 days will be left up to the department director's discretion. This is an improvement over the previous plan that had everyone sent home on Admin Leave. As the Legal Beagle sez "If it's in the best interest of The Man to send them home, then that's what you do."

More news as I know it, but keep your eyes on the local rags. I won't be telling you anything you can't find out from there!

Monday, April 04, 2011

My, This Seems Familiar...

Only Took 54 Stitches To Patch My Face!!

Who can pass up a chance to motorboat a kitty belly?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Godzilla Crabs??

Don't Scratch! It'll Itch Even Worse!!


In breaking news, Japanese brothels inside the nuclear emergency zone have reported an outbreak of mutated pubic lice.

The crotch crabs have reportedly been affected by the radiation. If infested, please douse your genital-crotchible area with kerosene and light a match!!

Friday, April 01, 2011


Why The Man Is Going Broke, One Small Bit At A Time...

Here's an object lesson in the difference between accident and negligence, as well as the difference between direct and circumstantial evidence:

Sometime back in the mid-70s, a fairly well-to-do Asian family emigrated to the United States following decades of upheaval in their home country. The wife (we'll call her Liz, short for lazy, indolent zipperhead) somehow gained employment with The Man circa 1985, and has "worked" here ever since.

I say "worked", for it is common knowledge that Liz would sooner grasp an angry viper than a ringing telephone. Emails fester unanswered in her moldering Inbox. Watching her perform any task is akin to gazing upon a rat swimming in molasses on a frigid December day.

Despite over three decades in the States, her diction is disturbingly similar to an African Bushman attempting to speak Welsh with a mouthful of marbles. On the rare occasions you get her on the phone, it's a sure bet you'll ask to be transferred to an English-speaking employee. I know this to be true, it's happened dozens of times.

In addition to the lackadaisical work performance, her coworkers also get to experience what the servant classes in that far-off Asian land get to put up with.

See, Liz owns the building. Well, she acts that way...

Someone parked in the Ladies Room for 45 minutes? Liz needs a nap. Bowls full of congealed crud parked it the sink for 3-4 days at a stretch? Liz is used to having the help do her dishes. Back when we could afford 5 gal. bottles of Ozarka water in the cooler, Liz would fill up her coffeepot & 1/2 gal pitcher from the cooler, use it to make tea, water her plants, and take the rest home after work.

Water must be a luxury item in her home country, because she's certainly free with the usage. I can't count the times that I've been in the breakroom when she's come in, turned on the water in the sink, left the room, and returned 5-20 minutes later to use the sink. We've all turned off the water, only to have her scold us for making her use cold water, 'cause she doesn't have time to stand there and wait for the hot water to make its slow way up from the basement boiler.

She's well known for filling up the break room fridge with leftovers until you can't get the door shut, and screaming bloody murder when someone tosses her week-old crap.

Her most annoying habit by far is eating fruit over the sink. She parks by the breakroom sink with a knife and some kind of fruit, usually grapefruit or mango, and what doesn't get gnawed up gets spat into the sink. Note - there's no garbage disposal unit in the sink...

OK, so here's the deal... this past Wednesday morning, the breakroom sink overflowed. Someone walked into the breakroom about 9 am, and water was spilling over the sink and had covered the breakroom floor to a depth of about an inch.

Now it's Friday, and the dehumidifiers and blowers are still trying to suck the excess moisture out of the walls. The baseboards have been pulled up, holes punched in the sheetrock to air out the voids in the walls, and the breakroom is pretty much unusable since all the furniture and vending machines are shoved to the middle of the room.

The cleanup and repair will easily run 5 figures, once you factor in labor and materials.

OK, last month when a faulty fire-prevention valve cut loose and flooded the upper floors, that was an accident.

This mess? Nothing else but negligence. In spite of signs right over the sink saying "PUT NO FOOD OR ANY ITEM EXCEPT LIQUIDS DOWN THIS DRAIN", the plumbers found all kinds of glop, including coffee stirrers, Sweet & Low packets and food sludge clogging the drain.

Now, for almost 7 years I've watched Liz spit food into the sink, leave water running in the sink, and I'd bet my weight in cathouse tokens that she's the one that caused the overflow and subsequent flooding. That, however, is only circumstantial evidence.

Liz is denying everything, and no one actually saw her do it.

So, with no direct evidence that Liz is the negligent employee, there's literally nothing that can be done. She's free to flood the floors again.

I know this sounds mean and will give my karma a big smudge, but if she gets laid off, I'll dance a jig as she's walked out the door...