Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Must Be A Recessive Gene

Recess is over for now, I guess, as opposed the to Great Recession, which apparently is just getting started. But that's not the point of this post. The other night, I put in the last of the 6 recessed lights that I had planned - 4 in the kitchen and 2 in the future bathroom. I’ll be honest, though … I’m jonesin’ bad. Once you get started putting in recessed lighting, it’s all you want to do. It’s like that first time you really nailed that armpit fart – you just want to do it again and again and again. I imagine that learning to talk like Donald Duck is similar, but alas … I can only aspire and keep trying on that front.

So I expect a little post-recession depression, I’m confess…ion. I’m already catching myself standing in other rooms, gazing up, thinking how nice a row of directional 4” eyeball recessed lights would look there … then I realize it’s the furnace closet, and I know I’m out of control. I’ll be okay, I think, eventually. I’m just asking … you friends who read this … keep an eye out for me, and if you see me glancing up and getting a little misty around the corners and pulling a jigsaw out of my man-purse fanny-pack ruggedly manly waist-mounted canvass toolbox - talk me down, man … talk me down.

God, I love recessing me some lights.

As an aside, recess was indeed my favorite subject, except for 8th grade*, when it was math class, and I’m pretty sure that was less about geometry than it was about that smokin’ hot Jana Bingham**.

*There’s not really recess in 8th grade, is there? But there’s shop. And you know what you can learn in 8th grade shop? How to put in recessed lighting.

** I think that actually might be a real girl from 8th grade. If I'm right, she really was smokin' hot. I can't even really remember the other night at the K-9, though, so I'm not going to sit by the phone waiting for her to read this and call.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

See You In Hell, Sparky

I don't know a whole bunch about electricity. My friend Chris has said that he "knows two things about electricity - one, it's invisible, and two, it can kill you." Tru dat, tru dat, and right there is reason enough to just not mess with the wiring in your walls. Still, it has, on the surface, an inviting simplicity: black-gold, and label the whites when they run to a switch. Maybe try to shy away from it when you're riding the horse, but on a lazy Saturday? C'mon.

Well, I got into it a little bit today, and I want to know: was there some sort of unspoken competition back in the day to see which electrician could shove the most fucking wires into a single box? Is there some legend still floating around about Sparky McWattsvolt capping 8 #12 hots together with the fuse in place into a 3" diameter box? Is there some corner of a retirement home somewhere where they cackle on about the poor sunovabitch who has to try to unbraid that spaghetti bowl someday?

You know, I'm no big city electrician, but fuck you, Sparky. It's a fucking attic. It's not like those boxes are getting in the way. It's okay to use a 4" square box for only 3 wires. I don't want to hear your shit about "we didn't have that back then ..." and "there was a war on! Steel was precious!". Jesus. I'm not even going to start about how your tendency to wire one outlet in the master bedroom on the same circuit as the washing machine 200 feet away is so obviously oedipal that it makes a first year psych major puke.

Listen up, Sparky. I know you didn't have ground back then. But you'll be in it soon, if you're not already. And I'll dance on that little piece of land. I won't be surprised, though, knowing your work, if your gravestone is in a whole different cemetery than your body.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Fried Day

It's been an interesting day so far.

The Live Acorn and I set out for Salt Lake City to visit another branch of the ole oak tree, and as the grey ghost is really more of an around-town vehicle, we borrowed the ... the ... ummm, I'm not sure what to refer to the Ex-Dead-Acorn-Mother-Of-The-Live-Acorn as. Maybe just EDAMOTLA - it does have "damn it" in its pronunciation. In any case, we borrowed her car, and I swear, I had every intention of returning it.

So we're cruising along just outside of Burley, and I hear a weird little sound that, over the subsequent 10 seconds, grew into a louder weird sound, a rapid crescendo that quickly culminated with a sharp thump and the visual accompaniment of smoke billowing out from everywhere around the hood. Luckily, I was in the passing lane at the time, so we got the added thrill of cutting across both lanes to get to the right shoulder. Many thanks to the understanding drivers behind us.

Turns out I blew a rod in the car the car blew threw a rod. I knew there was a good reason I bought the extra-bitchin' extendo AAA package, though I certainly expected to use it on the ghost. We got towed on back to Twin Falls, and the EDAMOTLA was kind enough to drive over and pick us up. Had I gone one more level with AAA and got the 200-mile coverage, we could've rode that truck all the way home. It was pretty funny to see the devil dog, riding in the car, going to town on all the snacks we had left back there. I'm sure she had a great time.

The car was emptied out and abandoned without so much as a goodbye hug, and the search for a replacement begins.

Well, we're all home now, and getting back to business as usual, doing such mundane chores as vacuuming the freezer:

I do so love that shopvac.

And life goes on.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I was picking up the driveway this afternoon (and boy are my arms tired!), and found this in the stack of extra patio rocks:

I thought hearts of stone weren't supposed to break, but this one looks like it's seen better days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I ... I Have A Problem ...

Oh god oh god I couldn't stop. I couldn't stop. I just kept opening can after can ... there was this voice deep inside of me that kept saying "that's enough, that's enough ..." but I didn't listen and I just kept opening can after can after can and I couldn't stop and then I was cutting and oh my god the knife felt so good slicing through and it was so sharp and there were so many peppers and they were red and green and so many cans of tomato sauce and there were onions so many onions and then the celery and oh my god oh my god the garlic ... the garlic ... I couldn't stop ... I'm so sorry ... and now I'm just sauced ...

There's another row of sauce behind what's shown here, which means there may be some experimentation with spaghetti sauce over Cheerios for breakfast. With a popsicle on the way to work, and a Skinny Cow when I get home. That's one good looking freezer selection, you have to admit.

Your Love Is Like Bad Poetry, Bad Poetry Is What I Need

two fortnights passed to wax from wane
and now the moon is full again

and lovers with romantic airs
look heavenward and think it theirs

they contemplate the other's love
beneath the glow from moon above

let them stand ‘neath luna’s glow
it hurts them not that they not know

'pon but one love her light is shone
the moon, when full, is ours alone

I was going to say something about its color, but the only thing I know of that rhymes with orange is door hinge, and I just couldn't make that fit. I wonder what the moon looks like from Nantucket, 'cause I KNOW I can work that in ...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pasta Dutchie On The Left Hand Side

I've been hauling around a pasta making machine for almost 20 years. It's been in at least 9 kitchens in 4 different states, and I think it got used about 10 times. A tragic waste of awesomeaucity, to be sure. Well, I've decided to bust it out.

The instruction manual, of course, has long been lost. The owner's manual for the ball of twine I bought in 7th grade? Still got that. Useful instructions for a cool machine? Gone with my youth, hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

So I fire up the googlewebs to see if I can find the basic recipe. The first thing I see is that there's been a recall:
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Creative Technologies Corp. of Brooklyn, N.Y., is voluntarily recalling about 50,000 pasta machines to replace some of their lids. When the safety cutoff switch on the lid does not activate, consumers' fingers can be severely injured if their hand is placed into the mixing bowl.

CPSC and Creative Technologies are aware of 11 incidents of the machine unexpectedly turning on, resulting in nine injuries including cut, crushed and severed fingers.
Great - I've got something out the Stephen King Culinary Collection. I've already lost a couple of fingers in table saw mishaps. Luckily, I was born with 12, so I'm typing this with the standard issue 10. I think I'll try to avoid making pasta when I'm all liquored up and lacquered down.

Above: Possible outcome of mixing Ouzo and pasta making.

Above: Me trying to flip someone off post-accident.

I couldn't find a .pdf of the instruction manual, but despair not, gentle readers* ... there's a video tutorial on the YouTubes that, in additional to being extremely educational, is freakin' hilarious:

We've also enclosed this high tolerance, technologically advanced cleaning probe for removing dough from the holes in the dies. Our engineers cleverly designed it to resemble a common push-pin to thwart the shocking incidence of cleaning probe theft in North America.

Comedy platinum.

Of course, making pasta this way will undoubtedly be more expensive, messy, time-consuming, and obviously far more dangerous than just buying spaghetti off the shelf. But that's the kind of life I live ... I'm out on the edge, baby. Out. On. The. Edge. Plus, what the hell else have I got to do?

* I realize that the use of the plural "readers" is an exercise in self-delusion. Hey, a Dead Acorn can dream, can't he?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile When I Really, Really Don't Feel Like Smiling

  • A pair of shoes thrown over a utility wire.
  • The person in the giant cellphone costume dancing and waving on Orchard Ave. in front of Wireless Toyz.
  • The way that the two-word messages on the green belt are placed so that when you're pedaling along at 75 mph you perceive them in the proper order:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Say, Could You Hand Me That Loofah?

Here in the ritzy North End*, it's all the rage to remodel, add on to, or upgrade your home. Seriously ... you can't bury a dead hooker without seeing some kind of construction going on! As I've long been a trend follower, I'm on this bandwagon like Boston Baked Beans on a belly button. I am SO keeping up with the Stuttlehaures. (I was going to use the more traditional "keeping up with the Jones--", but I'm not sure whether to use "Jones'" or "Joneses". I'm pretty sure the former would be used as a possessive, but better to err on the side of not exposing ones one's self as some sort of grammatical buffoon.)

While most of my efforts have been toward the interior of the house, what with the drywalling and the hole-cutting and all, I've made a sweet addition to the exterior ... a bitchin' ass hot tub:

Granted, it's more of a bathtub than a traditional hot tub, but it does have jacuzzi jets and room for 4 (2 people, 2 silos of Busch Light), so I'm pretty happy with it. Plus, with the luxurious patio chairs that I acquired from a crime scene (note the remnant of the "POLICE LINE - DO NOT CROSS" tape) and my imported wicker table, any time spent out of the tub will assuredly be nearly as enjoyable as time spent in, as you swap tales with old friends and reminisce about the good times past and those to come.

*Technically, I'm not in the North End by about a block, but I'm sure that folks to the East will see their property values affected as well! Heidi-ho good neighbor!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Nemesis Arch (Part I)

Well, after my one-time meth binge, I took stock of things. Not global, big picture, life kind of things (I know I'm pretty much screwed there), but just of the structural integrity of the wall I had apparently ripped out. While it was somewhat reassuring that I didn't actually cut through studs in my addled state, it was less so that I did when I was a bit more lucid:

Since that picture, I've pressed on, and decided to cut through the other side of the wall. To be honest, I'm not sure what I was thinking ... you can now see into my kitchen from outside the house, which, while it adds light and opens up the space, puts something of a damper on my cooking environment preferences. I'm a nudist, not an exhibitionist, for crying out loud. And if you've ever sautéed naked, you know that I use the phrase "for crying out loud" quite literally.

I've got pics of the various stages and the (soon to be) finished wall, which I will post eventually, but I should establish now that I am honoring the beliefs of the artisans of the Middle East, which posit that to achieve perfection is an affront to God. That's right, Miss "Oh look at my $7000 Persian rug", there's a missed stitch in there somewhere ... and it's on purpose. So imperfections are an honor to the G-man. Let's just say that, for an atheist/agnostic*, in this particular project, I have honored him/her a lot.

I mean A LOT.

* I could go either way**, depending on with whom*** I'm arguing. In general, I think atheism is a belief system just as deism is, and I just don't have the strength to stick with it. I'm one lazy sunovabitch, so agnostic fits me pretty well.

** Talking about religion here.

*** I have no fucking idea what the rules for the use of "who" vs. "whom" are.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Kirby's Giggling

Holy crap.
AP (March 6, 2009): Major League Baseball has announced that it will enforce an obscure rule, written over 80 years ago, that no one ever thought would be a factor in the game. The Minnesota Twins will soon learn otherwise.

Baseball has long enjoyed an exemption from antitrust laws, based on a controversial congressional act in 1922. Team owners successfully argued that baseball was a unique business, and vital to the American way of life, that should not be viewed as monopolistic in the sense of contemporary cases concerning oil companies. Toward the end of the proceedings, as it became apparent that an agreement would be reached, Senator William Calder (R-NY) lightheartedly attached an amendment that stated “[T]he number of players allowed active at any one time by one Baseball Team in a Major League Baseball game shall be determined by the number of Senators from the State within which the Baseball Team plays its Home Games multiplied by 4.5. If a Baseball Team plays its Home Games outside of the United States, or a Territory unrepresented in the U.S. Senate, that Team shall be allowed a number of players equal to the Baseball Team allowed the most players.”

According to baseball historian David W. Smith, it was intended as a tongue-in-cheek reminder to the owners that the government still made the rules. Since each state has two Senators, of course, baseball carried on with nine players to a side.

Until now.

With the ongoing battle between incumbent Norm Coleman (R-MN) and challenger Al Franken tied up in the Minnesota courts, that state currently has only one Senator seated in Congress. This means, according to the scripture of Major League Baseball, that the Twins are allowed only 5 players on the field. The Commissioner’s Office has confirmed that this rule, like all others in the MLB rulebook, will be enforced.

Manager Ron Gardenhire seemed to take it in stride. “Well, you have to play by the rules, I guess. We’ll probably play a shortstop and two outfielders, with the catcher playing first, unless there’s a two-strike count. That ‘dropped third strike’ rule never really made sense to me, but like I said, you play by the rules. It’ll drag the game out a bit, with the pitcher having to retrieve his own ball, though.”

Ironically, it was the late owner of the Twins, Carl Pohlad, that alerted the MLB offices to the rule. According to team spokesman Barry McCockner, “Carl was an avid golfer, and truly respected the honesty that golfers show when enforcing the rules upon themselves. Apparently, he valued that enough to bring it to the sport of baseball. He foresaw this political struggle before his death and called [Major League Commissioner] Selig himself.”

Reactions of the players were mixed. Pitcher Francisco Liriano seemed nonplussed. “Hey, I get payed, right? I’m cool.” Catcher Joe Mauer was less diplomatic. “Say what? What the f***? Are you f***ing serious? F*** that.” When assured that the rule was, in fact, in the books, and would be enforced, Mauer sighed. “Well, at least we’ll still finish ahead of Detroit.”

Maybe Cleveland has a shot at second this year.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Van The Man Drunken Misogynist

I had Van Morrison’s song “Moondance” going through my head all day (I must have picked it up at the grocery store or in an elevator – I don’t want my hipster-alt-indie-post-apocalyptic-euro-hip-hop street cred sullied by the thought that I was listening to some oldies station driving to work. Shit, ain’t no sounds prog enough for the Grey Ghost anyhow, so she ain’t even got no tunes. Ummm … that and the wiring’s all messed up, so the stereo doesn’t work).

Well, I started thinking about the lyrics a bit:

“Well, I wanna make love to you tonight,
I can’t wait ‘til the morning has come …”

I’m thinking that Morrison must have had some significant other who was averse to sexual relations in the evening. Certainly, a reasonable interpretation of those lines is that the object of his amorous overtures preferred breakfast to dinner, so to speak. And while I’m all about smellin’ the flower no matter the hour, a consistent behavioral pattern like this (consistent enough that he put it in a song!) just seems … well, a bit odd. Odd enough that we Gladys Kravitz types want to know why.

My assumption is that he, being Irish*, is a hard-drinking man, and would often regularly always come home stumbling drunk; a drunkeness borne of an unholy trinity of cheap Irish whisky, stale Guinness, and whatever dregs he could squeeze out of the bar towels down at the Slaughtered Lamb, a drunkeness so vile that even the lepers and one-legged prostitutes in the alleys of Belfast would turn away as he staggered home, not wanting to risk a glimpse of his repulsive visage, nor ponder the gruesome horrors that doubtless took place when he eventually found the way to his door, and finally to his bed.

My god, it’s unimaginable what that woman must have gone through. I mean, I’d want to wait ‘til the morning had come as well.

An extensive search through Interpol’s criminal database reveals no intoxication-related or battery arrests, so maybe Morrison has been able to keep his vices in check. I sincerely hope so. Still, he’s responsible for the phenomenon in which groups of 50+ year old ex-yuppies hopped up on chardonnay suddenly burst into song during the sha-la-la part of “Brown Eyed Girl,” and I’m not sure that even “Into The Mystic” quite makes up for that.

[Update:] Meddling asshat Critical Reader HW sends this:

Dead Acorn: It’s well known that you’ve enjoyed a dram or two in your day; further, you once penned, in a song bemoaning a condition causing painful coitus, the following lyrics:
Sex hurts, sex hurts, I’m a dyspareunic
Sex hurts, sex hurts, I wish I was a eunuch …

I find it a bit hypocritical of you to criticize another based on unfounded assumptions about their (ab)use of alcohol and their alleged sexual tendencies.

Needless to say, reader HW’s email address has been blocked.

* Nothing against the Irish, of course. I mean, hey, some of my best friends are Irish! And I love Lucky Charms!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

The devil dog that I share space with occasionally lets out some whimpers in the night, no doubt haunted by memories of her brief stint as Cerberus. I didn't realize that Cerberus was actually a series of dogs, much like the Dread Pirate Roberts, but yeah, she did a short shift keeping the damned from escaping Hades before winding up at the shelter. It still shows a little bit when she won't let me leave the kitchen without giving her a treat.

Either that, or she dreams about being chased by giant rabbits.

Anyway, whatever demons she may carry around, she's got nothing on this dog. This thing is seriously haunted:

Wow. (YouTube link found on Dooce.com) I guess with a name like Bizkit, though, I can imagine him having a few issues.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Jesus Shaves ... With Occam's Razor

I got an email the other day containing a mathematical brain teaser (Ooh! Ooh! Spoiler alert!) in which you were given a series of numbers, and the task is to figure out what the next number is. The answer is the password to a spreadsheet, and you put your name on the list and forward it. Everyone after you sends you a dollar and you’re automatically enrolled in MENSA and you get invited to secret meetings of the Carlyle Group to set global zinc prices and your dog stops biting you. All kinds of cool stuff, just for figuring out the puzzle!

So the numerical series is this:

1, 2, 6, 42, 1806 …

As an added incentive, there was a list of elapsed times that it takes for members of various professions to solve it. Mathematicians: 2 minutes, engineers: 4 minutes, lawyers: never, etc. I’m sure these times are well-researched and quite factual, seeing as how they’re cited in an email and all.

Anyway, I came up with the solution in about 20 seconds, which isn’t so much a result of anything resembling intelligence, it’s just that I like doing that kind of stuff and those types of puzzles are all pretty similar, so they get easier over time.

Imagine my shock, then, when the spreadsheet wouldn’t open. I was thinking I was all that and a can of spam, and was ready to start working on solving the Gaza crisis (which I figured would only take 2-3 hours, tops, because after all, I must be some sort of Super Genius on the level of Wile E. Coyote, right?), and the goddamned spreadsheet wouldn’t open. Talk about having your life ripped apart at the seams – I mean, the wind was literally knocked out of me. It was as if my whole cheerleader life had been a lie.

So I go back over my solution, which was simply that each successive number is the previous number multiplied by the next highest prime number:


Simple enough. Simple enough and fucking wrong.

Turns out the sequence is such that each successive number is the previous number multiplied by the next integer, disirregardless of its primacy, so the next number would be 1,806*1,807=3,263,442.

I have no idea why I tend to make things more complex than they are. It's the same with everything - math puzzles, relationships, whatever. Why can’t I grasp that sometimes things are just what they seem, and it’s pointless at best and potentially harmful to see things that aren’t there? Why must I try to inject some hidden meaning into everything, to chase those nonexistent ghosts around my head like so many mythical leprechauns?

Probably because I’m fairly stupid.

I was totally gonna solve that Gaza thing, too.