Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Friday, June 27, 2014

Do Not Challenge My Elephant!

You Will Lose.  Badly.

I wish we could have Christmas 3 or 4 times a year.

Not for the presents on Christmas morning or holiday food.  I just want to play the White Elephant Gift Game more often.

Every year I meet up with friends the night of Xmas and we do the White Elephant Gift Exchange.  Everyone supplies one wrapped gift, approximate value of $20 or so, and we pile them on a table.

Numbers are drawn, and people pick a gift in order.  When your number comes up, you can either unwrap a new gift, or steal an unwrapped gift from someone who has gone earlier.

There are limits on how many times a gift can be swapped in each round, and there's plenty of backstabbing and deal making.  (It helps that the wine & eggnog are flowing freely!)

With 15-20 people playing, it gets to be quite a circus.  It's one of my favorite holiday traditions.

The White Elephant part deals with the fact that the gifts are usually something completely out of left field.  Something you really don't want to take home.  Things that are so ugly, they're cute.  Things that are tacky or kitschy? In marginally poor taste?  Even better!

Most years, I bring gifts that have a high gift-theft value.  They're beyond unique.  Most times, I can stick with a poultry theme and do great.  Last year's plush chicken hat was a big hit.

Some years, I strike out.  A few years back I found a new-in-box Ronco Pocket Fisherman that I thought would get a lot of laughs, but it went to some old lady who got kinda pissed about it.  Oh, well.

This year?  Oh, this year I've got it nailed. No pun intended.

Check this out:

A plastic copy of Michelangelo's 'Pieta'!

But look, it gets better!  See what's attached??

Oh, yes, my little blog squirrels!  It's beyond tacky!  It's a LAMP!!

I've got this one SO sewed up, it's not even funny...

Can't hardly wait!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Trip To Potter's Field

Out Seeing The Sights

I've been on the road for a couple of weeks, touring some of The Man's far-off facilities and bringing pearls of wisdom to the poor schlubs that work out in the sticks.

You'd be surprised how many facilities get tucked away in the odd corners of the region.  Sites that by virtue of their location are just about useless as a commercial site usually work out OK for storing heavy equipment, or placing a large infrastructure depot.

On one of the far-flung outposts, I misjudged the time required to get there and had 45 minutes to kill before showtime, so I decided to drive around the area and put eyeballs on land I'd never seen before, and might not see again.

The county landfill is out near that area, a Brobdingnagian tumor upon the earth that makes the giant trucks and dozers that crawl on it look like Hot Wheels cars.

There's a couple of urban truck stops, not surprising being near the junction of railyards, highways and the Port of Houston, and all the assorted petrochemical "distilleries".  There's also lot lizards, a.k.a. truckbunnies.  First free-ranging prostitutes I've seen in ages.  (No, I did not avail myself of their services.  Meth-ravaged skin & teeth are a deal breaker...)

Saw a sign that read "County Cemetery - 3 Miles", and thought "Why not?"  There was a news article not long ago that said it had just about reached capacity.  With 500-600 dead indigents each year, even cremating them fills it up quick.

It's on Oates Road, with a tiny entrance and one lane blacktop road that winds through the small property.  Deep ditches flank the road, so steer carefully or you'll be there longer than you intend.

You don't get a lot from the county when you die.  A 3'x3' plot of ground and a little concrete marker, maybe 6 inches square.

Infants are packed even tighter.  They've got several areas marked as "Babyland".

It's not a lot, but it beats having your corpse gnawed by coyotes or hogs, I suppose...

Friday, June 20, 2014

No Wonder It Sank...

This Is Why I'm Not An Engineer.

Well, crap...

A few months ago, Nate from Wasted Electrons got me interested in the Metal Earth scale models.

I've built about 10 so far, and I've got another dozen waiting to be built.  Fun, but can be extremely tedious if you don't have reptilian patience and some attention to detail.  And tweezers.  Gotta have tweezers...

I got about 90% finished on a tiny little scale model of the Titanic, and I just discovered I've left off part of the weather deck and superstructure.

I got in a hurry to match up the upper deck with the hull, and left off a crucial step. Now, I can't see a means of retracing my steps.  Once you bend the little metal tabs, they don't like to come undone.

So, call it quits, and buy another copy?  Or just shitcan the thing?  To be honest, it's one of the less impressive models in terms of being an accurate representation of the original.

Here's a pic from the website.  It's about 4 inches in length, which makes it about a 2600:1 scale model, if I didn't bollix up the math.

Also, I'm totally stoked about starting the Apollo Lunar Lander.

Might just have to scuttle the Titanic!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Damn You, Carl!

And Your Little Junior, Too!

Are y'all familiar with the burger chain called Carl's, Jr?

It really ought to be called Carl's Senior Satanic Pit of Delicious Gluttony and Unholy Shrine of All Things Fattening.

As I understand it, Carl's, Jr is a West Coast chain, and merged some time back with Hardee's, which you see all over the Midwest.  So, two burger chains, one identical menu.

Texas was lacking in either Hardee's or Carl's Jr until recently.  There might have been a few, but DQ, Whataburger and the BK/Wendy/MickeyD Big Three have had a good lock on Texas for some time.

There's a half-dozen or so Carl's scattered around town, and they're all way out of my way.

This is a GOOD thing.  Otherwise I'd be there everyday and looking even more like an elephant seal than I do now.

They have a $6 bacon guacamole burger that's just about the most decadent thing I've ever stuffed in my pie hole.  This is only topped by their $6 Pulled Pork BBQ burger, and thank God that's only available every so often, or I'd figure out how to liquefy it and stuff it in an IV for 24 hour consumption.

I was across town on business, and stumbled upon one right at breakfast time.  I tried their "Loaded" breakfast burrito.

OMFG...   Take a grilled tortilla.  Pile on eggs, cheese, hash browns, smoked sausage & sausage patty chunks.  Sounds good?  Oh, no.  Not yet.  Now, ladle on a scoop of sausage gravy.

It's so gloppily delicious you have to eat it out of the foil wrapper with a fork, then use the rolled-up tortilla to sop up the gravy.  The only conceivable way to make it better would be to get a prom queen to give you a handjob while you eat it...

And now, there's this:

Mashed 'taters & gravy.  On a burger.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Looking For Recommendations!

Ayudame, Por Favor!!

The time has come to replace a few aging and/or obsolete items.  I'm hoping some of y'all can point me towards one that has worked well for you.

I'm plowing through customer reviews, consumer reports, and so on, but a lot of times that hidden gem comes out due to someone's endorsement.

So, I'm looking for the following:

1)  Car stereo & amp.   The old 200 watt amp that came with the truck went *FZZZT* and the single-CD Sony head unit is woefully out of date.  Looking for something simple, non-satellite radio and a USB & miniplug input.   The amp doesn't need to set off seismic detectors, just push some sound.

2)  Blu-Ray player   Better to get a "dumb" disc player and go with either Roku/AppleTV/Amazon FireTV, or do the "smart" disc player?

3)  Inflatable Sex Toy.   The "Love Ewe" sheep is a time-honored classic, but it might be time to think about something bipedal.  Do they make a vinyl ostrich?
(I'm totally pulling your chain on #3...)

4)  Summer's here, and it's Gin & Tonic season.  It's hard to go wrong with Bombay Sapphire, and it's my usual go-to for a top-shelf G&T.  Every so often, though,  I like to go wallow in the gutter with a bottle of Gordon's and some past-their-prime limes.

Anybody got a nice tasty gin they like? 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Back On The Air

Who The F#$& Do You Think Was At Fault???

Back on the road, as well.  Back to work, back to the daily commute, betcha know I'm glad to be back! Back in black, number one with a bullet, I'm a power pack...

OK, you get the point.

I think this is the longest I've let Baboon Pirates go without a post since I started it back in 2004.  Once upon a time, I'd just turn the keys over to another blogger and let them post some silly shit, but of the three that I can remember guest-hosting, one quit blogging, another died, and the third lives mostly in Facebook-land these days.

So... the wreck.

Kind of a Perfect Storm, when you get down to it.  A situation that required about 3 dozen different variables to all line up in perfect array, at which point the accident was destined to happen.  My personal quirks about when, where and how I fill the gas tank when the "Add Fuel" light comes on, the crappy roads in my area of town, the ultra-light back end of the truck with an empty gas tank, the location of the gas station that takes my particular flavor of gas charge card, the light rain that hadn't had time to wash down the grease slick on the road, blacktop instead of concrete, and so on.

Or, you could just say the back end broke loose during a left turn on a rainy day, with an eventual emergency deceleration and vehicular rotation that resulted in a nose-to-nose impact between a full-size pickup and a full-size SUV.

I have no idea what the damage will be on the other guy's rig.  We both smooshed the passenger-side bumper and fenders on the respective vehicles.  The SUV was 5-6 years newer than my 1998, and I'm sure it'll cost 2-3 times the $1200 that the body shop billed Triple A for my repair.

But that was just the cosmetics...   The big Kahuna was a 3 years overdue replacement of ball joints, tie rod ends, shocks, struts, and the assorted crap that keeps the truck balanced, level, and aimed whichever way you spin the wheel.  And insurance picked up not a penny of that $2600 bill.

Thank God I had money in the bank.  I'd been asschewed advised in the past for not saving money, but in a rare instance of taking advice, I'd been squirreling away cash instead of spending it.   Thanks, Zibig...

Monday, June 02, 2014

I Ain't Dead Yet, Nor Is The Truck

You Wouldn't Know It By Looking At Either...

Big fun in Swamp City...

Anyone know how long it generally takes to get an insurance adjuster to show up and verify that, yeah, that's a busted truck?

Going on 5 business days now since the rainy day Tilt-A-Whirl.  The repair shop and body shop are poised and ready to begin, but they won't say "Boo" until they get the go-ahead from the adjuster.

I don't know how much of a shoe pebble/squeaky wheel to be in this case.  After 10 years of flawless driving, I suddenly have urgent need of that whole Comp & Collision thing right as my policy is up for renewal, and I also don't want to joggle any elbows as they're cutting checks...

Dammit.  I fucking hate hate HATE being a pedestrian...

How about a bribe.  Do bribes work?