Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Life Is Harder On Me Than Anyone EVER

Okay, this might not be the most lucid post. I’m chapped as all get out, but I guess I have some things to say, and I told myself I was going to post more often, since an anonymous commenty person said he/she liked this blog. Bastard.

I now own two jacuzzi tubs, and they’re both in a room that has no plumbing. I have no idea why, but I think I may have a problem. Booze? Narcotics? Keep your interventions for yourselves, my so-called friends. But please … please … someone take this post as a cry for help about the fucking jacuzzi tubs.

More stupidity on the kitchen remodel front … I stopped at the store to get some lag-bolts (I think that’s what they’re called) to attach this thing to the actual wall. “Three is enough,” I tell myself, as the $.16 that they cost will surely throw my personal financial portfolio way out of kilter if I bought more than I need and had to keep them on the books as unmoved inventory. I also figured that 15’ of quarter-round was enough. My god, that would be enough trim for the largest cabin in Sun Valley AND the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team!

Needed five bolts, came up short by 2” on the trim.

THEN, I got home from listening to some music, and I talked myself out of Taco Time into the more responsible option of dinner at home, and I was out of spaghetti noodles! I might not be the most Italian guy in the world, but damnit, my heart was set.

Let's see ... what else? Maybe that’s all that I’m chapped about.

So to recap: I got a fantastic deal on a nice jacuzzi tub. I bolted down my counter-top, which turned out WAY better than my skills should have let it, I get to go see my buds down at the hardware store to get a bit more quarter-round, and I also saw a bitchin’ band tonight … “Or, The Whale” … down at the Visual Arts Collective. And I busted up some lasagna noodles, so dinner was not only saved, but new and interesting.

Lots of other good stuff happened too. Like I didn’t get a flat tire. All of you have permission to slap me if you ever hear me complaining about life.

Metaphorically slap, of course. I’m kind of a wuss.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Odds 'n' Ends

"You're getting too skinny. You need to drink more beer."

This was said to me the other day, and I only mention it here to refute those who claim that there are no perfect women.
I got carded for beer yesterday, and not at the airport where they seem legally bound to card 105-year-old men in wheelchairs with oxygen tanks. I'm not a young man, having seen a few beyond two score years. I guess I could say that I've scored twice in this lifetime, but that sounds like I'm overstating the case a bit. Anyway, it must be my youthful exuberance at the ability to legally buy a mind-altering substance that makes me seem so young.
I went camping last night ... I'm not sure why. I drove 80 miles to set up a tent, start a fire, ride 8 miles to the bar to chat with Marla, ride back, and sleep. Still, it's nice to get out of town. I stopped in at the South Fork Lodge in Lowman, where the immigration folks had just stopped by to deport one of the guys who worked there. He was from England, has been in the United States for 15+ years, has a green card, has done 3 years in our military ... good times all around. Nice folks.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sowing My Wild Oats

This has been a rough couple of weeks for me on the cereal front.

First, as I’m sure you’re all aware, the FDA has classified Cheerios as a dangerous narcotic that needs to be closely regulated. As I’ve related in a previous post, I do so love my Cheerios in the morning. More than once I’ve lost a potential soulmate/life-partner/bitchin’ sweetie by serving up a romantic breakfast of champagne over Cheerios. Try as I might to explain that, as orange juice and Cheerios are both breakfast fare and therefore essentially interchangeable, she should really just consider it a Cheermosa and maybe try to be a little open-minded for once in her life, or at least for once in the most recent 12 hours, there always seems to be a hasty departure with mumblings of “oh my god oh my god why do I always find the freaks?”

I guess I should have known. Anything that good, that also has measurements in grams on the side of the box, has to be illegal. Plus it’s sold by General Mills, and a General is obviously a major player in the drug wars. I just hope I’m not in too deep to get myself out with my knees intact.

When the word came down from the Feds, I immediately thought about my options. I knew I had to quit – I lived life in the shadows, you know, off the grid, back in the 70s, and it’s no picnic. I’ve worked hard to put that behind me, and I’m not going back. Cold turkey wasn’t really viable, either – once was enough, and it almost killed me back in the day, and that was when I was a young man. [Personal note to Spider and The Professor – thanks again for hangin’ with me that night, my brothers … you guys are true friends, and Spider, tell your mom I haven’t forgotten that I owe her for the azaleas.]

So I was left with weaning myself slowly off the Devil’s Rings. I figured I’d go with something similar to the Os, just taking baby steps back to the clean life. I remembered enjoying Froot Loops as a kid – and while it occurred to me that maybe it was that cereal that first started me down this road, I also thought that maybe it could bring me back. Same shape, similar texture, but multiple colors … yeah. Yeah. I would ride the Loop back home.

I went shopping, making sure I had plenty of milk and a clean bowl, and woke up the next morning after a fitful, sweat drenched night, nervous and shaking, but ready for my first day back in the world. Red-eyed and barely able to see, I poured the cereal and milk and sat down.

What happened next shocking.

Rather than a spoonful of loops, there was a collection of heretofore unknown configurations of what I can only assume was the same material as what I had previously known as Froot Loops. There were some loops; I won’t deny that. But at least half of the shapes could not be defined as “loopy” even by the most forgiving topologist. I was shattered, to say the least. It was too different, too much change too early. I couldn’t finish, I couldn’t get up … I couldn’t really do anything but sit and weep. I had put my trust in Kellogg's, and Kellogg’s had stabbed me in the back.

As I type this, I haven’t had Cheerios for 3 days. Maybe I’ll make it. Who knows? Then again, if "making it" means life without them, maybe the question is really “Who cares?”

I don't actually have to become a Quaker to eat oatmeal, do I?

Monday, May 18, 2009

If You Can't Beat Her, Joiner

I pulled a quad on Saturday.

No, I didn’t injure a quadricep through overexertion, as reaching a state of overexertion requires that one first pass through exertion, which I strenuously avoid. Oh, the irony. I did, however, get to use four of the major power tools, which always makes for a nice day.

I suppose that people define "major," as relating to power tools, differently. As with nearly everything, there are clear-cut cases and those that are a little harder to categorize. Table saw? Major. Cordless drill? Not major. I would say that a decent rule of thumb is that bench-top and stand-alone devices are major; hand-helds are minor. I bring up the issue of tool classification only because I’m counting my biscuit joiner as a major tool – while it is hand-held, it’s generally used in major projects (as was the case on Saturday). If you care to disagree, and can present a cogent argument as to why I’m wrong, please do so in comments. I will then have you banned from the googlewebs.

Anyway, it was a beautiful weekend afternoon, made only more so by the opportunity to use the biscuit joiner, the table saw, the miter saw, and the joiner.

"What’s that, Dead Acorn? Did you say ‘joiner’?"

Why, yes I did!

I’m a regular peruser of craigslist (the personals aren’t available at work, so don’t worry about your tax dollars funding my M4Carnies debauchery), and I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a decent joiner. Used ones are generally $150 or more, so I’ve been a bit hesitant, but when I saw a bench-top one for $35, I was all over that like sturgeon on a fencepost.

It’s often said that if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. For some reason, that never really sunk in with me. So when I asked the gentleman selling this thing about obtaining new blades, I didn’t think to question the veracity of his "Oh, you can get them on the internet!" response. In my defense, you can get a LOT of things on the internet. Joiner blades aren’t even illegal in ANY state, so why should I doubt their availability? As it turns out, of course, you can’t get new blades for it – I even called Sears (it’s a Craftsman), and they said that they had been discontinued and weren’t available anywhere. I thought I detected a note of condescension in the guy’s voice, as if I was a second-class citizen for using such an ancient tool. I told him that his mother was an ancient tool and hung up.

It’s too late to make a long story short, but I ended up taking the blades to Boise Carbide, where they were sharpened up for a very reasonable price, and I feel a little less stupid for my impulsive purchase.

The project I’m working on is the counter top for my kitchen arch thingy. I’m making it out of 2x4s, which I’ve cut up into short pieces, and am piecing together sort of like a butcher block. This is in accordance with my "rather than doing it the proper way, try to do it myself and end up with an inferior yet more costly in the long run result" approach toward such endeavors. It’s turning out okay so far, but it definitely introduces a "rustic" component to the house. I guess I’ll start looking for log furniture and stuffed jackelopes on craigslist.

Above: future lawn decoration.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Am NOT A Whack Job!

An important part of my weekday morning routine is The Reading Of The Comics, an activity that runs concurrently with The Eating Of The Cheerios (Or A Generic Cheerios Knock-Off), unless I’m out of either Cheerios or milk, in which case TEOTC(OAGCK-O) is replaced with The Anger About Being Out Of Cheerios Or Milk.

Why yes, I DO multi-task!

I generally don’t sleep all that well, waking up every few hours or so, awash in sweat, knowing that it was real, certain that the beast was really in the room this time, frantically flipping on the reading light to look for the trail of vile ooze that would be left in its wake* as it crept slowly towards me whilst I slept.

Sometimes I just wake up to get a radish to snack on. Still kind of scary, though.

In any case, I find that reading the online funnies is one of the better ways to shake off the predawn scaries and start the day; at least those days when I’m expected to show up at work on time and not drunk. Having to walk outside to find a street sign to figure out where you are? Ok on Saturday, not so much on Monday. Plus, as Reader’s Digest says, “Laughter Best Med.” Wait, that’s Reader’s Digest Digest. Reader’s Digest says “Laughter, The Best Medicine.” At least, I assume it still runs that feature … I cancelled my subscription when they moved the table of contents off the front cover. Bastards. I’m sure the publishers think that whole brouhaha has long since faded away, but I’m still biding my time. The restraining order expires in just two years, and let me tell you, my story-shortening, tome-trimming friends … it’s not over. Not by a long shot. Or, in this case, not by a somewhat-less-than-long-but-still-containing-all-the-critical-elements-of-being-long shot.

My current lineup includes (read in this order) Frazz, Get Fuzzy, and Pearls Before Swine (links to all can be found over on the right). Get Fuzzy was once brilliant, but seems to have been in a rut for a spell, and I’m starting to think Darby Conley may need a few months’ sabbatical. I’m not one to forsake someone when they’re down, though, so Get Fuzzy stays in the number two hole. Frazz is consistently funny, and is also an elegant commentary on the priorities we set in our lives and the ways that happiness can be found anywhere if perhaps we just discover where to look.

Pearls Before Swine, though, is truly on a different level. The Stephan Pastis story is a gooder, and I would not hesitate to place PBS in the pantheon of comicdom alongside Calvin & Hobbes and Willy’n’Ethel. The child-like naiveté of Pig, the cruel cynicism of Rat, the endearing oafishness of the Crocs (with the tear-jerking backstory of the croc son who, while not having inherited the debilitating idiocy of his father, loves him unconditionally despite his many, and obvious, failings. Hmm … I wonder why I like that part of PBS so much …) – the world of PBS is truly a beautiful place.

Had I written that last paragraph yesterday, it would be as true as an arrow shot from Cupid’s bow. You know, the shots Cupid takes when he’s not all lit up on peppermint Schnapps, not the ones he takes that make you fall in love with that girl three barstools down ‘cause you think it’s awesome that she can take her glass eye out and waterfall three shots, the last one being on fire, without spilling a drop.

Today, though, everything has changed. I think a few pictures will explain it all:

Above: Grey Ghost**, Exhibit A.

Above: Grey Ghost, Exhibit B.

Above: Today’s Pearls Before Swine.

Oh, it’s on, Pastis. It. Is. ON.

* Yes, I know a slow-moving nether-beast on a hardwood floor will not leave a "wake." I couldn't think of the word I wanted. You want precise and well-thought-out writing, with a tad fewer hyphenated words? Get off the fucking blogs and go to the library, lazy-ass.

** For readers outside of the four square-block area to which I attempt to limit my driving, the Grey Ghost is my chick-magnet of a sled.

Dead Acorn Action Item: If your local newspaper carries PBS, or any other comic strip you truly enjoy, please send them a note/email telling them that it really is the one thing that keeps you from ending it all, and that it should be continued. If it doesn’t, please send them a note extolling its brilliance (the comic's brilliance, not the paper's - the paper has already exposed its lack of brilliance by not carrying the strip in the first place, duh) and request that it be considered for inclusion.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Death Takes An Extended, Open-Ended Holiday

As I'm sure I've mentioned previously, I had a routine medical checkup last December. Everything seemed okay, except that my cholesterol was the highest in recorded medical history a bit elevated. I’ve always had fairly high levels, but the ratio of good:bad has generally been okay, so I’ve never been prescribed anything for it. This time, however, the "doctor" said it had crept up to the point that we needed to address it. I said "Well, I’d like a second opinion." He said "Ok, you’re ugly, too!"

Ah, the classics.

Anyhoo, we gave a four-month shot at the "exercise" and "healthy diet" approach. I swear I had no idea that this quack was one of those holistic voodoo druid faith healers. With that kind of thinking, I’m surprised he didn’t have me handling snakes. Well, I went back in last week, and while the numbers had come down a decent amount, they still weren’t quite in his comfort zone.

Doctor: Well, Dead Acorn, it’s entirely up to you, but we might want to think about starting you on a very low dose of a statin drug, which will lower the LDLs.

Dead Acorn: If we’re going to start me on a prescription, why not put me on a high dose so I can rekindle my love affair with bacon?

Doctor (after a long pause): Why the hell not, I guess? If that’s the type of logic you use in making everyday decisions, you don’t have long to live, anyway. Frankly, I’m surprised you’ve made it this far.

Dead Acorn: mmmMMMMmmmmm, bacon …

So I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I need to read around and see if the occasional late night Taco Bell* trip has a large effect on cholesterol or not. I’m told that alcohol mostly affects triglycerides, of which mine, ironically, are fine, so I see absolutely no reason whatsoever to change my lifestyle in that regard. If you can think of any, please mention them in comments.

[Note to self: turn off comments before posting.]

Actually, I’m not particularly worried about death, because I’ve long known that there are certain important things that I have to say to a certain few people before I die. I will never say them; ergo, I will never die.

Suck on that, Grim Reaper!

I’m sure you’re all in awe of my impeccable logic. And speaking of impeccable logic, and the fact that we can’t speak of impeccable logic without imagining Mr. Spock (smooth segue, Dead Acorn!), I stumbled across this on the googlewebs the other day:

Above: Rock-Paper-Scissors-Spock-Lizard, (from Sam Kass' website via Crooks & Liars)

Your homework is to memorize this, as it will be played for pink slips** at Le Pub.

* The last two times I've been on a late-night Taco Bell run, the girl at the counter has said "seven hardshells?" (apparently my standard order) as soon as I walked in the door***, so the visits may have been slightly more than "occasional." I've vowed to stop, and not just because there's a Taco Time that's closer.

** Not for cars. The loser has to actually wear a pink slip the next time he/she is at the bar.

*** This is absolutely true. I'm not proud.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Sun Melted The Snow, But I Did Nothing, For I Was Not Snow ...

I recently bought one of those child trailer thingies that hooks onto the back of a bicycle, for the express purpose of projecting the image of someone who is not uncomfortable around young children. I’ve all but given up on my goal of dating someone younger than my car (and no, I’m not going to buy a 1950s era Studebaker – that would be cheating (though the thought did cross my mind (triple nested parentheses – awesome))). I’m also going to rent P77’s youngster, who is as much of a chick magnet as any kid I’ve ever seen, when the weather finally gets its summer thing on and the park is teeming with wildlife. I’ve got to work on perfecting my delivery of "his mom died during childbirth," but I’ve still got time.

Ok, as I’m not entirely self-delusional, I realize that none of that’s ever going to happen, but I didn’t realize it until I’d already bought the carrier. It does add a bit to the white-trash décor that I’ve selected as my landscaping motif, as it doesn’t really fit in the garage all that well, but still, I thought it would be nice to actually use it for something. I tried putting the demon-dog in it and towing her, but she would have no part of it and immediately ripped through the duct tape and ran (pausing only to give me a quick nip on the calf).

Then it struck me … in the shin, as it kind of got spun around as the dog bolted. But it also occurred to me that this would be perfect for those trips to the grocery store. I’ve been meaning to shop less at the oversized convenience store masquerading as a neighborhood market (but that’s about 5 blocks away), and more at Winco, which is closer to 3 miles away, but way cheaper, and just seems like a better place to shop, but is of a distance that led me to drive if I needed anything heavier that a bag of radishes.

So yesterday I made the first jaunt. It was a nice ride over – a bit of a headwind, and a few raindrops, but all in all, very pleasant. The ride back was a little different. It wasn’t what you’d call hot outside, but it was certainly above freezing, making it a frantic race against time to save the Skinny Cows! I fought wind, fought rain, Fort Dix … and by the grace of Mabel The Milk Cow, the ice cream hadn’t melted by the time I got back home, and is now safely in my freezer.

I know that there will come a hot summer day when I’m not so successful. But now I have something to ride more for, to get in shape for … to stave off that day as long as possible. Damn you, Mr. Sun! I can’t fight you forever, but I won’t just lay down and give up. Much as Schindler couldn’t save all the Jews, he saved all that he could, and I, remembering his heroism and valiant efforts, will be just as passionate and relentless in my battle to save as many Skinny Cows as I possible can. I'll see you in hell, old Sol.