Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Breeding Ignorance And Feeding Radiation

I’ve never been able to fathom why anyone would let someone else know what bugs him/her. People, your enemies are EVERYWHERE, and they all keep an amazingly detailed dossier on your pet peeves. You ask a coworker if he could try to eat a little quieter, or maybe eat in the breakroom instead of the next cubicle? It’s a safe bet that that person will very quickly become a rabid fan of celery, peanuts, and bubble gum. It’s just human nature to want to annoy the hell out of others.

That being the case, I hesitate to relate this, but … I find it extremely irritating when someone opens the microwave door with a few seconds still on the timer, and fails to hit the “Reset” button. More than irritating, actually … when I put my food in and push the “Quick Minute” button and nothing happens, I assume that the thing is broken and actually leaking radiation, and I immediately panic and flash back to my brief stint in Chernobyl, from whence I narrowly escaped just as the meltdown was happening back in April ’86 (no liability on my part was ever proven). It was the same month that the Indians signed then-46-year-old Phil Niekro at the end of a brilliant career. He never pitched over .500 again. My god, what a tragic time that was.

Anyway, I’m usually convinced that the room is starting to glow and that I’m growing a third eye, and I’m pretty sure that the 911 operators and the people at the Health Department are losing their patience with my calls, which occur on the order of 2-3 times a week. One of the 911 people, Brenda, has actually threatened me with physical violence. Something in her voice leads me to believe that she is quite capable of it.

So there’s my little secret. When it does happen, I try to figure out who the culprit is and walk by their desk and “accidentally” bump into them, causing their “scalding” bowl of soup to spill into their laps. I guess “scalding” shouldn’t be in quotation marks, as there have been several coworkers that have ended up with 3rd degree burns. Hmm. You’d think they’d learn to push that “Reset” button, wouldn’t you?

Above: A quick finger-push or blistered privates? Your choice.

In the spirit of community and openness, feel free to list YOUR pet peeves in the comments section ... I promise nothing will go in the dossier.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cycle Killer, Q'est-ce que c'est?

Every once in a while, you get to see an entertaining little disaster unfold right in front of you. I’m not talking about driving upon a wreck on the highway, where you’re forced to imagine the circumstances, I’m talking about seeing the whole thing develop right before your eyes, and, recognizing the amusing incident about to take place, regretting not having brought popcorn.

Such was the case on my ride into work this morning. Boise has a nice bike/pedestrian pathway called the Greenbelt, and I can get to my job riding about two-thirds of the distance on the path. It’s a great way to clear out the hangover nice relaxing way to start the day. There are always a few cyclists out, and while most are very courteous and seem to be riding safely, there are always exceptions.

So today, I was almost to work, at a point where the Greenbelt ends for just a bit and crosses a road before it picks up again. I’ve included a high-tech Google Map image to describe the physical layout:

Above: Green is Greenbelt, grey strip is a fence with an 8 foot pole where it ends, and to the right is a road. The red dots are pylons separating the road from the path.

Many riders, riding toward the top of the map, will swing out on to the road after the fence. Likewise, many riders coming toward the bottom of the map will stay out in the road and cut in to the path just before the fence. As I was reaching the end of the fence (I’m depicted by the number 3, which is apparently how I appear from space on Google Maps), I saw a biker on the path (number 1) and another in the road (number 2), apparently racing each other, and I made the assumption that at point number 4, biker number 2 would cut in to the path. I also made a quick calculation, by which I estimated that this fucking dumbass was going to cut in at the exact moment I would be reaching the end of the fence.

Yeah, baby. Oh yeah. Train wreck a comin’.

Sure enough, the kid didn’t realize I was there until we were each about 5 feet from the fence pole, and he was starting to make his cut. He looked up at the last minute, locked up his brakes, and apparently decided to stay on the road, but also apparently made that otherwise reasonable decision just a skosh too late to pull it off. He rode directly into the pole and pulled a classic header over the bars. Luckily for me, he went on the road side of the fence, leaving me unharmed to fully enjoy the awesomenaciousness of a normally earthbound human in unaided flight.

Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt, and he and his friend were laughing about it. I alerted him to the fact that he was a fucking dumbass, wished him a sarcastic “good luck with Darwin,” and continued on my way.

Kids today and their bikes. Y’know?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Practically HILARIOUS!

A friend of mine recently related the story of the time she fell victim to a variation on the old “saran wrap across the toilet” practical joke. I’m sure you’re familiar with it – a piece of plastic wrap is stretched across the toilet beneath the seat, so that when someone sits down to do their business, they become soaked with their own urine, being unaware of the barrier below. Ideally, this takes place at an elegant business dinner at a posh restaurant, with the victim emerging from the restroom dripping and reeking of their own waste, and, unable to graciously acknowledge a prank well played, runs crying from the building, and, envisioning the inevitable and shameful arrival at the office the next morning, hurls him/herself off a bridge into the icy waters below.

In my friend's case, the variation involved a beer can, so that the result was merely a confused “why no beer?” moment.

Everyone loves a good practical joke. Properly done, the victim will be so impressed with the ingenuity behind the gag that he/she will laugh loudly along with everyone else, and buy the perpetrator an ale or two! Unfortunately, the perfection required to elicit such a response is rarely achieved, and a far more common result is a serious ass-kickin’. Wear good running shoes when you attempt a practical joke. That’s the “practical” part.

Anyway, my friend’s recollection of the incident brought back some memories for me … fond remembrances of some of my (in my humble opinion, of course) better pranks, any and all of which you are welcome; nay, encouraged, to try:

1) We all know bicyclists. They’re wonderful people, with wonderful intentions, whether they ride for health, environmental reasons, or pure enjoyment. But many have an odd habit at intersections, in which they look not at their traffic signal, waiting for it to become green, but at the cross traffic to slow down as if the car is approaching a red light, to know when it’s their time to cross. So upon seeing such a cyclist, clearly identifiable by a fixed gaze down toward you as you approach, slow down and come to a stop at the crosswalk (even though your light is still green). The cyclist, assuming he/she has a green light, will begin to ride across, only to be crushed by a vehicle coming the other way. Ha ha!

2) This next one takes some dedication, and is really only applicable in mountainous regions. You’ll need a steep pass where there are runaway truck ramps every so often. Pick one that relies on deep gravel to slow the truck down (some are quite lengthy, and simply go up the side of the mountain, stopping the semi using gravity). Buy a whole bunch of cement mix, and sprinkle the mix over the whole ramp. Eventually, a rain will come, and the cement will set in such a way that the safety ramp will appear completely normal, but will be as solid as a driveway. Believe it or not, brakes do fail, and after some period, a semi (hopefully a triple-trailer hauling chemicals!) will use the ramp … I’ll leave it you to imagine the ensuing hilarity!

3) My last offering involves the magic of chemistry. It’s a bit counter intuitive to think of water causing an explosion, but believe it or not, the reaction when water and sodium are mixed is quite violent. Acquire some sodium – maybe 50 grams or so. Not sodium chloride (table salt), but real sodium. Next, buy some headache medicine that uses the little red and white caplets that make it easy to swallow, but that dissolve quickly, once in the stomach. Open the tablets and replace the medicine with the sodium. Then place the joke tablets in the shower head of your victim. He/she will get the water the right temperature via the tub spigot, then redirect the water to the shower, and step in. Approximately 15-20 seconds later, a hellish inferno will take the place of the previously soothing stream of water. Awesome!

Some people like puns, some like bawdy jokes, still others the wry humor of cowboy poetry. I’m an unapologetic fan of the practical joke – I hope you get an opportunity to try these out! Feel free to share your own crazy acts of hijinx in comments.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Pop - World's Greatest Mouser

Interesting times last night around Casa de Acorn. The Live Acorn has a new kitten, who apparently followed her home she found in a gutter last weekend while babysitting (the kitten was in the gutter – the gutter was not the locale of the babysitting gig). She (the kitten) is very small and very cute (though those adjectives, at least “very cute”, also apply to the Live Acorn), as kittens, much like beagles, must be, so that people will feed them despite knowing full well that they (the animals in question, not the people) will grow up to be standoffish buttheads (in the case of kittens) or house-destroying idiots (in the case of beagles).

I’ll allow you a moment to parse that sentence, if that’s even possible. Me no take writing class.

Yesterday evening was the introduction of the kitten to the demon dog who keeps finding her way back to my house from the desert. Four ounces of furry fuzz vs. 80 lbs of hungry hound. I promise I will get good quality pictures up soon, but I only had the cell phone camera last night – however, here’s an image of what must have been Indy’s perception:

Above: Let's be friends, little puppy!

That dog spent a lot of time in the backyard last night.

The Live Acorn, the kitten, and I had the inaugural dinner on the new kitchen arch countertop (pics soon), which consisted of bbq teriyaki chicken burgers and salad with Buddy’s dressing*, which is by far the world’s best.

Soon after supping, we headed back up to the EMDAMOTLA’s** house, as the Live Acorn had not slept since school let out 5 days ago, and she is battling a nasty chest cold. The kitten was exploring the dangerous yet irresistible jungle that is the interior of my car.

A conversation as we were driving:

Live Acorn: (sniffing) Father, I believe the kitten has shat ‘neath my seat.

Ok, that’s not quite right.

Live Acorn: (sniffing) HAHAHAHA OH MY GOD (cough cough cough) SHE HAHAHA SHE TOOK (cough cough cough) HAHAHAHAHA SHE TOOK A DUMP! (cough hack hack) HAHAHAHA OH MY GOD HAHAHA (hack cough lung-toss) HAHAHAHAHA


Live Acorn: HAHAHAHAHAHA (cough hack cough) HAHAHAHAHAHA

Dead Acorn: You are SO cleaning this car out!


Dead Acorn: I’m serious! I’m not helping!

Live Acorn: HAHAHahahahaheehehehe (cough cough) heee heee (finally settling down)

Live Acorn: You know, this car is really a mess anyw …

Dead Acorn: NO NO NO! You are CLEANING IT! BY YOURSELF!!111!

Live Acorn: (losing it again) HAHAHAHAHAHA (cough hack)

Stupid-ass cat.

* The inaugural dinner consisted of those items. The new kitchen arch countertop consisted of, and indeed, remains consisting of, wood.

** Ex Mrs. Dead Acorn, Mother Of The Live Acorn

Monday, June 8, 2009

It Was A JOKE ...

So a couple of posts ago, I may have suggested that the big bible guy is something ... well, less than entirely honest. Something about having promised no more floods, but then he went and flooded my garage. I may have used stronger language than is indicated here.

Well, apparently, s/he's PISSED, because on Saturday, there was a torrential downpour of rain, which turned briefly to hail, leaving enough on the ground for me to make a couple of snowballs and not be able to hit the tree that was 8 feet away. A friend and I had been working in the garage, but finished up just before the heavy stuff started coming down. We got the table saw back in, he took off, and I was watching the incredible forces of nature from the front steps. Pretty darned impressive.

After about 15 minutes, I thought I'd go see how the seal at the bottom of the garage door was holding up, as I couldn't see the door from the porch. I walked into through the house to the laundry room, opened the door leading to the garage ... and saw through the garage, out to the driveway, past the car, and out to the elements. (The weather ... there weren't actually multiple Hondas out front.) The garage door was wide open, with an inch or two of water all the way back to the laundry room door. Son of a bitch.

You wanna play this way, god? Fine. I'm in. It's go time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Dogs Of War

I got bit in the face by a dog the other day. That takes my lifetime count up to three.

The first time was when I was a kid back in Pocatello, and for some reason, thought that our dog Fred would enjoy a lively game of no-hands tug-o’-war with a hambone he was chewing on. He must not have believed my assurances that I was just playing and wasn’t really going to take it away from him. Or maybe he just didn’t understand the rules. Either way, there was lots of blood. None of it his.

The second was about 6-8 years ago in Salt Lake City. Some friends and I were enjoying a nice breakfast up the canyon at Ruth’s Diner, which happened to have an elaborate Bloody Mary bar. It’s possible likely as certain as the sun sets in the west that we weren’t completely … ummm, “church-ready,” let’s say … when we walked in the place. After breakfast, on the way out, we noticed a dog sitting in a pick-em-up truck with the window about halfway down. A friend and I walked over to say hi, and my friend seemed to pick up some sort of indication that he didn’t really want to say hi. Something about the snarling and teeth-baring and whatnot.

As I believe that a kind word and an honest gesture of friendliness can solve the world’s problems, I said something (I’m told) like “oooh, the little puppy just needs some kisses!” and proceeded to lean in for some sweet loving licks.

I guess some creatures just aren’t ready for the kinder, gentler world of which I dream.

Due to the aforementioned conditions of the morning, there wasn’t much pain involved. “What a fortunate time for this to happen!” I thought to myself. Stepping back, I turned toward my friends and some people entering the diner, and calmly said “Odd!” Apparently, the strangers hadn’t seen that amount of blood before, because they seemed a bit shocked and (overly) concerned. But we were all having a good laugh about things, my friends explained that I was a product of the Pocatello public school system, and we drove on back into town.

The latest incident took place outside the neighborhood pub that I frequent. Lest you think I’m a complete idiot incapable of learning, this time I asked the people if I could pet him first, then held my hand out for him to sniff. As god as my witness, I swear that dog wanted some kisses. This was, I discovered, not the case. Dang.

While things happened a little too fast for me to actually snap any pictures, I found some fairly accurate representations of what unfolded on the googlewebs:

Above: Approximate size of my new buddy.

Above: Sweetly asking for kisses.

Above: More kisses, please!

Above: Strolling into the pub to order a nice beverage.

Above: Hanging out with my new friend.

As it turns out, the dog belonged to one of the servers there, and she bought me a couple of beers, so no regrets!

I was told that immediately after the incident, someone hurried inside and told the bartender what had happened:

Customer: Someone just got bit by a dog outside!

Bartender & inside customers: Oh my god! Who?

Customer: The Dead Acorn!

Bartender & inside customers: Oh. (All go back to what they were doing.)

I'm truly blessed.