Friday, November 27, 2009

Time To Get Started

It was the best of Thanksgivings, it was the worst of Thanksgivings.

It was the best because of the good friends, good food, and good times. There were about 10 people or so, 3 big-ass dogs, a deep-fried turkey, corned beef, ham, various strudels and side dishes, and the Live Acorn made apple pie.

It was the worst for reasons probably best not blogged about.

Anyway, I think I’m going to try to be a little more productive with all the time I have. The asbestos linoleum is coming up today, mesothelioma be damned. Maybe I’ll even get to start laying some tile so I can get on to refinishing the floors. I want this house to be nice when it becomes a home.

I’ve got some other projects I need to get going on as well. I may try to figure out what those fucking voices are saying instead of keeping them all liquored up ‘n’ lacquered down. I also need to memorize the tachometer-to-speed conversions for all five gears so that when the speedometer cable snaps this winter, I’ll have some idea of how fast I’m going. There’s one huge-ass project that I really have no idea about how to get done, but I’m gonna give it a shot anyway. There’s no asbestos involved, as far as I know, but I’ll have to dig around and see what I need to do to shore up the foundation.

It’s kind of drizzling outside, and the sky is a dreary grey. Perfect.

I guess I’d better get started.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Don't Get Optimistic Quite Yet

This will probably come as a surprise to most readers, but one of my dirty little secrets is that I occasionally enjoy a frosty cold beer. Of course, I also enjoy the 90 degree Schlitz that I occasionally discover in my golf bag from two years ago, but that’s not really germane to this particular discussion. But “occasionally” in this case means last night.

I went out to watch the much-touted Tennessee Titans/Houston Whatever-Their-Team-Is-Called-Now football game (for my European friends, I mean American football, of course … there is a single game played on Monday nights that is responsible for a considerable lack of productivity Tuesday mornings). Anyway, the local pub was abuzz with talk of power tools and other such more-beer-prompting topics, and I ended up having thousands more than I should have.

I, of course, did the responsible thing and didn’t show up to work hammered, instead opting to sleep in for an extra hour or so, so that my head would be clear, my wits sharp, and my unbridled lust for my career … umm, unbridled, I guess. I happen to work for a government agency (I won’t say for what government, or for what agency, as my blog-psuedonymity is of the utmost importance to me, and, dare I say, the security of the nation). Unfortunately, the fact that today was our quarterly all-staff meeting had slipped my mind, so when I rolled in 10 minutes late, a bit concerned that my coworkers might become somewhat inebriated by simple proximity to me, I secured a wall in the back of the room to lean against, away from prying eyes and oversensitive noses.

That's where things went south.

One of the segments of the meeting is announcing various awards, such as 5, 10, and 15 year employees, Employee of the Quarter, things like that.

“… and I’m pleased to announce that the Employee of the Quarter is …” says the Director …

At that point, I was debating whether to have more coffee, pop some more Everlasting Gobstoppers, or go to the bathroom and throw up.

“… The Dead Acorn!”

I’ve never said a more disheartened “Aww, crap …” to myself in my life.

I had to go up and get some certificate thingy and a gift card, so I took a deep breath and held it the entire time, determined to not breathe on anyone. I still have a job, so I guess it worked. For now.

This country, as we all know, is suffering through some difficult times. Some recent events, however, might lead some to believe that we’re in a process of recovery, and that we’ve seen the worst and put it behind us. I guess my purpose in relating this little story is to let you know that if we're still in a time in which I can be a governmental Employee of the Quarter, we are still fucked.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Hero, Zero

Life seems to be pretty much a zero-sum game. Obviously, in the grand scheme, you’re born, and you die. That’s about as zero-summy as you can get. But even on a smaller scale, there often seems to be a “good thing happening/bad thing happening” coupling that occurs outside the likelihood predicted by chance (referred to within the scientific community as the “2-GL phenomenon” for the oft-encountered “get-laid-get-lice” co-occurrence).

Lest my karmaphilic readers become all up in arms about how bad things happen because of bad deeds perpetrated, let me state that I’m referring to NKEs (Non Karmic Events). I don’t really have a stance on karma, though I sort of hope it’s a myth, as I’ve done far more bad than good in this world, particularly as of late, and I’m due for a karmic ass-whoopin’ any time now if it’s not. If you deny the existence of NKEs, well, you can just head back over to

As an example, I recently bought a new sled, and had to get the proper Q-Clips for the roof racks. (For those of you who own box vans, and therefore transport bikes/skis/rotting corpses of dead hookers inside your vehicles, Q-Clips are a car-specific attachment for the Yakima Q-Tower rack system.) The Yakima rack system is not cheap, and a set of 4 Q-Clips is generally about $70. As it turns out, the Q-Clips for a 1992 Suzuki Sidekick are no longer made (this may or may not be a karmic event). Without them, I would be looking at the Yakima “Landing Pad” system, which would be upwards of $300. (I don’t know the cost of a Thule system, as Thule racks are for squares … the only other acceptable rack system is a set of 40-year-old Barrecrafters.)

Though it's clearly a bit late to make a long story short, I fortuitously found what must be the last 4 appropriate Q-Clips in existence on eBay, and was able to purchase them for a mere $30. At least that was the financial cost … as anyone even remotely familiar with 2-GL would predict, something bad was bound to happen. Sure enough, with days of receiving the goods, the People Of Walmart website was blocked at work. A high price to pay, to be sure ... go take a look, if you don't work for some oppressive government agency. I think if I had a chance to change things, I’d even buy a set of Thules.

A zero-sum game indeed. As the Beatles so eloquently put it in an early draft of their final verse:

And in the end,
The racks with which you carry the boards on which you ski …
Are equal* to
The number of white-trash fat people in tiger striped lycra pants you see …

* It has long been theorized that by "equal," Lennon meant "perfectly and inversely correlated." George Harrison's influence is responsible for the far more karmic and infinitely more gag-inducing version that made the album.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Out With The Old, In With The New Less Old

Jane F’Honda is dead, and I’m glad.

It’s clear to me now what she was, but as in all relationships, one’s viewpoint is not always as objective as one might think. In retrospect, it seems so clear … I mean, I had such a long and beautiful relationship with the Grey Ghost. We spent upwards of 10 glorious years together, through frigid winters and brutally hot summers, across mountains and desert, with only the occasional lover’s quarrel. Even then, the drives after we’d gotten her fixed back up were always extra special. She saw me through a number of girlfriends, with nary a sign of jealousy (save that mysterious “leak” on Veronica McAllister’s driveway, and she turned out to be something of a bitch, anyway).

All things must come to an end, though, and eventually she up and left me. I drank a toast purchased with the $50 check from the junkyard, and I’d be hard-pressed to recall a more bittersweet moment than that last Bud Light we shared together (even though she was miles away, and presumably a 2'x2'x2' block of crushed steel by that time).

I handled our parting the way many do … I went out on the internet and found a cheap whore. “$500 OBO,” the ad read. My god, I don’t know what I was thinking. It hadn’t even been a week, and I was looking lustily at anything that moved. And there was Jane F’Honda, all old ‘n’ smokin’, with her come-hither valve tapping and her half-exposed timing belt. I know now that I was subconsciously longing for the Ghost – I mean, really … another mid 80s wagon from Japan? Gosh, what a coincidence!

Friend of Dead Acorn: Hey, Dead Acorn – your new girlfriend seems nice.

Dead Acorn: Thanks!

FODA: You, uh, don’t think she looks a bit like Darla, do you?

DA: Darla’s gone, okay? I don’t know what you’re talking about. This one has slightly greener eyes, and her name’s Marla, and she’s like two months younger, so they’re not even close to the same.

FODA: Whatever, dude. I’m happy you’re happy.

(3 months later)

DA: Hey … how come you never said anything about Marla being just a cheap substitute for Darla?

FODA: Dude, you were in love. Or drunk. Or something. You needed to figure it out by yourself.

DA: You’re a good friend, FODA.

Anyway, it’s over, she’s dead, and I’m glad. For some sick reason, she’s still hanging out in my driveway, where I look at her with alternating scorn and pity, but as soon as I pull that stereo, she’s gone.

So I had my rebound fling, which I guess was necessary as part of the healing process, but now I’m really in love again. A 1992 Suzuki Sidekick* JX … what a sweet-ass ride. Not really like the Ghost at all – she’s boxier and higher off the ground, like an SUV (but with good gas mileage), and there’s not as much room behind the seats as a station wagon. Still, though, I’ll be able put the Yakimas up top to carry stuff.

Taller, smaller rear end, same spectacular rack. Oh HELLZ yeah.

Not everything’s perfect, of course. The Zukester (you didn’t think I was going to call her Suzy, did you?) is the first car I’ve owned made after the 1980s, so I feel as though I’ve lost a bit of my youth. Plus, my long-time dream of dating someone younger than my car has just gone from “laughably improbable” to “felonious.” But all in all, I know these cars are good, because an ex-girlfriend of mine had one just like it. Same year, same color, same …

Aw, crap ...

* I've always wanted a Sidekick. Now I kind of feel like a superhero:
"Gee, Bob, we've got all this beer to drink! I don't think we can do it!" "Don't worry, Fred, here comes The Dead Acorn, and his trusty sidekick, Zukester!"