Thursday, December 30, 2010

To K*******, Wherever You Are

I still remember that night like it was yesterday. Most of my memories from back then are gone now, or full of holes, at best, but damned if the scratches from that hedge we crawled through don’t still hurt to where I look down sometimes expecting to see blood. I remember seeing the cop lights flashing from where we hid, unable to keep a nervous giggle down – I’d never done anything like that before, and I swear, I still don’t think I’ve been so afraid and so excited at the same time. You shot me a glance that said “you better shut that thing,” but your eyes were kind of sparkling and you had a little grin that I’ll never forget.

I could never figure out why you asked me if I wanted to do something in the first place. You were about the scariest girl at school – maybe “scary” isn’t the right word, I guess, but I didn’t talk to too many girls anyway, much less someone like you, who was always cutting class when you weren’t suspended and smoking in between classes and that kind of thing. It didn’t help that you had some kind of strange beauty about you, too – you just always seemed a little different than everyone else. I don’t suppose that even half the stories they told about you were true, but I’d heard them anyway, so yeah, I was more than a little scared when you sat down.

You asked me what I was doing, and I told you about some project I was working on for something, and you said you sometimes liked to hang out in the library when you didn’t want to go to class, and that Ms. Jensen never said anything to anybody about it. I don’t know how we got around to it, but I remember you asked if I wanted to go do something later, and for some reason, I said yes. Maybe I was scared not to. I don’t know.

I never told anyone about what we did that night, and I guess you didn’t either. Nobody ever asked me about it, at least, and nobody ever asked me about you, even after what happened a few weeks later. There were all kinds of stories about why a girl would go and do that … shoot her father and then herself … and the police never said anything about what really happened, so people just kept talking and making shit up for a while until they got tired of it. I never did pay much attention to what they were saying. And I didn’t go to your funeral, but I did go talk to your mom a few months later. I told her that I hadn’t known you very well, but that you had been very nice to me once, and that I wished I could have known you better. She just stared for a moment with her hollow eyes, gave me a sad little smile, and went back inside.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Spirit Of Christmas Is In The Air

Ah, House Sweet House.

The Live Acorn and I made it back alive from the modern-day Sodom of Salt Lake City, Utah relatively unscathed. We spent a few days there visiting my brother and his family, which is always a good time. Three nephews, five (or so) cats, three big dogs … how could that not be fun?

The hell hound, naturally, caused a bit of trouble … we bar-b-cued steaks on Thursday, and my brother naively (bless his heart) thought that putting the uneaten cuts on top of the microwave pushed way back in the corner of the kitchen counter would be sufficient to deter her and her ravenous meatlust. Needless to say, she made short work of it, which, unbeknownst to us at the time, was the first in a series of dietary events that made the weekend slightly less than ideal.

Cindy, my sister-in-law, is of the opinion that dogs should get to eat anything they want, anytime they want, and, in fact, keeps hot dogs on hand at all times just for treats, and dispenses them in whole form several times a day. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with this – I only point it out because sudden changes in a dog’s diet can have gastrointestinal effects that manifest some time later as a brutal assault on the olfactory system of anyone within a mile or two.

Indy continued eating anything she could get a hold of all day Friday, and that afternoon, her occasional … ummm … releases, let’s say … started to become stronger and more frequent. That night, sometime around 3:00 am, she actually woke me up with a protracted blast, then got up and left. I now feel a certain kinship with the doughboys of WWI, who endured the mustard gas-filled trenches in the fields of Europe.

Saturday, of course, was Christmas, and the house was filled with many friends and Cindy’s family, all invited over for the traditional holiday brunch. It would have been a monumental letdown, comedically speaking, if Indy’s odor issues had not peaked during the meal, and fate did not disappoint. Furthermore, her body chose that time to collapse from exhaustion, so that she wouldn’t get up when I called her, and I had to literally drag her by the collar from the kitchen, where the guests were gasping for breath and frantically wiping the tears from their eyes.

It was not my proudest moment.

Eventually, people filtered out, and in the early evening, we drove over to another relative’s house for a quick visit. The five pounds of ham that was left on the table would have been lovely for sandwiches and snacks for days on end … as it turned out, the stripped-bare hambone that remained upon our return wasn’t really good for much of anything. It was at this point that The Live Acorn burst into tears, crying “Dad, I really really REALLY don’t want to drive home with Indy tomorrow!”

I’ve been tracking the shipment on UPS’ website, and she’s due to arrive today.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's Only A Matter Of Time Before She Finds The Liquor

I know I've been posting a bit too much recently about my stupid dog, but frankly, her life seems way more interesting than mine as of late. And today, I came home to one of her sliest maneuvers yet. This was truly impressive on a whole new level.

I've been leaving the entire house to her these days (rather than closing her in the laundry room, with access to the backyard), and she's been pretty dang good. I do my part by making sure she can't get at the garbage or any (other) food, and she usually leaves me some beer. We're all cool.

Last night, though, I popped up some popcorn to make some popcorn balls (this sentence just ... pops! doesn't it?), and ran out of time, but I made sure it was in the middle of the dining room table so that she couldn't get to it when I left for work this morning. This is what I came home to:


Above: Those apes and their rudimentary tools they show on The Discovery Channel are pretty much a joke compared to this.

I know I exaggerate from time to time here, but not now. The goddamned dog moved that end-table at least two feet in order to be able to climb up on it to get to the popcorn. I couldn't even really get mad, it was such a work of genius.

Clever girl, she is.

NOTE: I did clean my dining room the other day, and it was immaculate for at least 10 minutes before I moved stuff from the living room in to make room for the Channumaskwanstice tree. The dolly usually stays in the garage.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Slacker Once Shamed, My Honor Reclaimed

A couple of weeks ago, I posted something about International Post Your Poem In A Shop Month (IPYPIASM), which, if you haven't heard, involves writing a poem and clandestinely leaving it in a shop (hence that part of the title) where it will be enjoyed by all and will add to the merry mood of the holidays. My effort was a bit lame at best, as I neither wrote the poem that I displayed, nor did I make any effort to leave the pub to display it. Still, it was something, and actually fit quite naturally with my half-assed approach to things in general.

Well, it turns out we're being graded! "We" as in THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! In fact, the entire North American continent has provided just two (2) instances of IPYPIASM celebration, while Scotland and Ireland have been slowing down the googletubez altogether with their constant uploading of versal verification.

So to you, 'Murka, my apologies for shirking my patriotic duty. And to the pioneers and tireless poets of this movement across the pond, I apologize as well for not representing my country in the manner that I should have. It is truly appalling that while the U.S. consumes over 25% of the world's oil, it produces less than 3% of the poems posted during IPYPIASM. This is unacceptable.

In my first step toward what I hope is redemption, I wandered down to the 2x4" section of the local Home Depot:


Above: Stopping By Wood On A Snowy Lunch Break (it was a bit Frosty outside today)

Be honest with yourself in life
And think ‘bout what you told your wife:
“I’m just going bowling with my buds …”
But you’re here alone, and eyeing studs.

Yeah, it's pretty bad, but, you know, baby steps toward Poet Laureate.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In Which I Prattle On Endlessly And Without Direction

It’s often said that the two topics that should not be spoken of at bars are politics and religion (it goes without saying, of course, that if you’re drunk at church just prior to an election, then by all means, go to town). I’m not sure why that is … I’m perfectly capable of having a calm and rational discussion of the issues, as long the backward-ass, sky-fairy-fearin’, no-compassion-havin’, difference-hatin’, Beck-watchin’, war-lovin’, strong-daddy-needin’ dipshit on the other side of the table is as well. I mean, I’m an open and reasonable person when it comes to those sorts of things.

Personally, I think that the taboo is a little overblown, because no matter how vociferously we argue on about "grace of god vs. deeds on earth," "virgin birth vs. best liar EVAH," "resurrection vs. heaven/hell vs. dirt in the ground," or what have you, in almost every case we’re going to buy each other a beer at the end of the night and thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that we’re not Scientologists.

There certainly are topics that aren’t discussed in bars – not really because they shouldn’t be, but because there’s just no point to it. There are some divides that just cannot be spanned, some chasms simply too deep to be bridged. For example, there will never be even the most begrudging agreement between a real human being and a Yankee fan; nor can there be even the slightest concession between the natural enemies comprising devotees of Red Vines and Twizzlers.

Crap.

Ok, never mind … you know what? This was supposed to be a few words on the new Grape Vines licorice (grape-flavored Red Vines! Woo!). Yet I’m four paragraphs in, and I haven’t even set the stage for that topic. I’m certainly no fan of brevity for brevity’s sake, being a student of the “why use 10 words when you can use 100?” school of writing, but sweet jeebus, this is ridiculous.

Grape Vines: pretty good, though the initial flavor burst could be a tad stronger. They have a larger hollow cross-section than Red Vines, which detractors will suggest is intended to reduce the actual candoric mass while creating the perception of the opposite. Hogwash. The net weight is the same, and the larger bore allows a freer flow of bourbon when used as a straw. Twizzler shareholders should be extremely nervous at this development.

Why couldn’t I just say that in the first place? I swear, the second thing I do upon winning the lottery is hire an editor.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Move To Table The Motion

This is it. This is the weekend. This is when I start to begin to initiate the onset of a new tomorrow. I speak write, of course, about reclaiming my dining room table.

Ah, the dining room table … perhaps the most important piece of furniture, with regard to the construct of Family, and thereby Society, that exists. The place where, as sunlight fades, all come together to share their experiences of the day, to laugh as one over silly happenings, to empathize and give support in hard times, to show love and appreciation for what and who one has, where it need not be spoken aloud.

I’ve not seen the surface of my dining room table in months. There are stacks of papers, spindles of CDs, a disassembled ceiling fan still waiting to retake its place in the remodeled kitchen, a substantial portion of my collection of hand tools, an impressive (if unintentionally assembled) beer can collection, a pink cowboy hat (wtf?), several stuffed animals that the dog has liberated from The Live Acorn’s room, a number of pots and pans (also originally put there during kitchen construction and subsequently forgotten), and a banjo.

That’s just the top layer.

But I’m done. I’ve had it. In fact, I started putting a few things away last night, and almost immediately found my favorite 5 mm allen wrench, which I thought was lost forever. Already the rewards are overwhelming! I’m a bit giddy at the realization that, by Sunday, I will be supping in the evening, not at the coffee table staring at the TV, nor leaning against the kitchen counter with a spoon and a can of Spaghettios, but at the goddamned dining room table, listening to the hell-hound recount her day’s adventures, laughing uproariously as she regales me with tales of mischief, sitting together again, after far too long, as a family should.

[Update:] I’m not sure if The Live Acorn still reads this, but if she does, I’m sure she’s thinking “Well, crap. No more Facebooking during dinner, I guess. At least for a week, until the table's covered up again.” She knows me all too well.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mawwiage ... Mawwiage Is What Bwings Us Togethew Today ...

I believe I’ve almost recovered from the weekend’s activities, and though there is some residual achiness, I don’t think there will be any permanent scars.

Some friends of mine got married Saturday evening, so of course, the groom was out Friday night pre-gaming the ceremony. It was not a bachelor party per se; while there were adult beverages involved, the festivities took place in a couple of bars populated by numerous members of the various sexes. There were no strippers involved, nor any other practitioners of the erotic arts, nor even, for that matter, a single woman who glanced at me twice without having that “oh god I wonder what happened to him?” look in her eyes. Damnit.

So pretty much a regular Friday, but with a few more shots.

I knew that Saturday had the potential to get a bit messy (I made sure I wrote my sermon on Thursday – I’m fortunate in that my congregation is very forgiving when it comes to me showing up Sunday mornings either hungover or still drunk), and sure enough, somehow I found myself once again forgetting to eat, and at the pub with friends around 2:00, continuing our Sisyphean attempts at emptying the place of beer (sweet suds-a-streaming, it's almost like they keep making more!).

Without going into too many details, the night involved a lovely wedding, getting to hang out with dolled-up friends, playing pool with strangers (one of whom called the next day informing me that they had the hat that I lost – I still don’t know how they knew my number), almost getting into a fight with another stranger (this is why I don’t go south of State Street, people …), a couple of ill-advised text messages, a three-mile slog home in tennis shoes through the slush (which took such physical effort that I am still a bit sore four days later), and a Sunday morning pocket full of crumpled-up receipts that I'm still afraid to look at.

It reminded me a great deal of my own wedding.

So a toast and well wishes to the newlyweds, and to whatever couple decides to go next … please have the common decency to wait at least six months.

Monday, December 6, 2010

MmmmMMMmmm Snow Cones ....

My goofball dog is no longer wearing the cone of shame, but I was able to get some video of her in it:

video

Above: She's ... she's just not right.


How 'bout them mad editing skillz, huh?

Friday, December 3, 2010

For Better Or For Verse

You’re probably already aware of this, astute and culturally attuned readers that you are, but for those still living in prose-bound caves, December is International Put Your Poem In A Shop Month (IPYPIASM – go here for the official announcement). The basic idea is to take a short poem (preferably of your own creation) and post it in a shop in such a location that it will be read by the clientele and passersby, whose spirits will thereby be lifted, causing them to perhaps wear a subtle smile for a time, which will be seen by strangers, who will, as that sort of thing can be somewhat infectious, themselves be uplifted a bit, and so on and so forth, and then the wars end.

So try to avoid anything Plath-esque, if you will.

Since I’m not much of a poet, I opted to share a goofy little piece by Dr. Seuss. As I was intent on going full-bore on this project, I printed off several thousand copies, bought 3 boxes of thumbtacks and 4 rolls of cellophane tape, and headed downtown.

Many of my grand plans have “stop and get a beer at the pub” as a first step, and this was no exception. Unfortunately, it was also no exception in that it was derailed there as well. So no, it wasn’t my own poem, and no, it wasn’t a shop, but yes, it’s in a location that virtually guarantees its reading:

Above: Who doesn’t like a little Dr. Seuss during business hours?

For those lacking the visual acuity to make out the words:

Above: That quacks me up.

So don’t be shy … scribble down a verse and hit the streets, people. These goddamned wars ain’t gonna end themselves, you know.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Speaking of procrastination (which I was a couple of posts back), I got a replacement credit card in the mail a month and a half few days ago. My current card had an expiration date of 11/2010, so it occurred to me at around 7:00 pm on November 30 that I should probably bite the bullet and go through the activation process on the new one (those 2 minute phone calls can be exhausting!).

The call itself was not unpleasant; the person seemed very nice, and she walked me through the steps of peeling the label off the front, signing the back, and cutting up the old card. Even the way she said “for the last time, I am MARRIED!” had a certain gentle kindness to it.

We said our adieus*, I walked out to the desk where the scissors are kept, and promptly cut up the new card.

Luckily, I didn’t speak to the same woman when I called back, because such a display of idiocy isn’t all that productive in the infancy of a relationship such as ours. The new person was fairly successful at stifling her giggles, however, and she informed me that a new card should arrive in 3-5 business days.

Consider what that means: I am without credit during the holiday season in the United States of America.

Reckless spending with borrowed money is what we do! It’s what defines us as a people! What if there’s a sale on 60” HD televisions while I’m in my current credit crisis? I’ve never felt so vulnerable; so exposed … I felt naked (and not just because I was). I’ve already paid a price, in fact – I was squaring up at the pub last night around 10:15 pm, and handed N*88 my old card, knowing that I had an hour and 45 minutes before the river ran dry.

Did you know that the credit card companies base their business activities on Eastern Standard Time? Me neither.

To his credit, N*88 was very subtle about handing the card back and informing me that it had been rejected. A bar being fairly close quarters, however, it was inevitable that he would be overheard. The whispers and stares spread like a wave across the room, and while I thought I could sense some sort of sad sympathy from those I would call friends, the overwhelming reaction was pure, hateful scorn.

“Creditless cretin!” they screamed. “Debt-non-enlarging douchebag!” they spat. “Asshole!” (That last one may have been unrelated, though admittedly, not undeserved.)

And so homeward I rode, ashamed and alone, ostracized, a man without a tavern. For without credit, just what is a man? Can he even call himself that? God, these next 3-5 business days are going to be the longest of my life. I only hope that I can soon again gain acceptance in society.

* Gesundheit!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Such A Hipster

I’m a bit surprised at the speed of the healing process at my advanced age, especially since the area of my body undergoing said healing is one of my hips, a notoriously vulnerable area for us centenarians. I bashed myself up a bit on Thanksgiving, having opted to ride my bicycle around to a couple of parties, rather than drive, knowing that I would be most likely end up being coerced into drinking a beer.

The roads, as it happened, were icier than a woman’s stare at the pub upon being approached by me, and once that front wheel decides to go out from under you (notice the externalization of fault … I love me some anthropomorphization when laying blame), there’s just not enough time to come up with and vocalize an appropriate cry of despair, much less unclip from your pedals. So onto my hip it was. Several times.

I was called out on the folly of my decision at the first stop:

Party Host: Dead Acorn! Glad you could ma … umm, wow, did you ride your bike?

Dead Acorn: Yeah … I’m freezing, and I’ve already fallen once, but I didn’t want to risk driving on these roads with all the kids out.

PH: ummm … kids?

DA: Yeah, the trick-or-treaters. Usually I like to stay home for a while to check out some of the cool costumes, but I just left a plate of sliced beets on my doorstep and a sign reading “Please Only Take One.”

PH: Is … is that why you’re dressed up as Snow White?

DA: Nice, huh? When are you going to get dressed?

PH: I think you're a little confused ... Halloween was a month ago. Everyone will be inside tonight spending time with friends and family.

DA: So, what you're saying is, I could totally drink to excess and drive around and be perfectly fine?

PH: (yelling into the kitchen) Honey, we have to move and find new friends!
Anyway, after a couple of more falls during the course of the evening, I could barely move on Friday morning, even after I was able to wriggle out of the ropes (I’m still trying to reconstruct the evening as to how that happened). I spent the day limping around, mostly just whimpering, but occasionally sobbing openly – the dogs* were confused, but wholly unsympathetic. Saturday, though, I felt surprisingly spry, and by Sunday, I had returned to my baseline level of non-specific physical achiness and my mental mixture of despondence and apathy.

Baby, I’m back!

* Indy's got her boyfriend over for a few days. Two hundred pounds of dog pushing me off the bed at night. Boneheads.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I KNEW It!

I’ve long suspected that the North American Booze Hound with whom I share a home knows where I keep the key to the fridge and helps herself to the frosty cold beverages while I’m slaving away to keep her fed, but I’ve never been able to prove it, since a few more empties strewn about the house when I get home aren’t really noticeable (imagine trying to discern a few extra grains of sand on a vast beach).

Thanks to the recent necessity of her having to wear The Cone Of Shame, however, I believe I have the evidence I need:

Above: She is SO busted!

I guess I’ll have to start keeping the beer up in the attic or something, though I imagine that whatever plan I come up with (Operation Dry Dog), she’ll figure it out in short order, necessitating a perhaps-daily alteration in hiding spots. She’s a sharp one, she is, and I fear it will take cleverness far beyond me to stay a step ahead of her. My only hope is that my love for lager will unleash some heretofore unknown creativity within me.

Let the battle of wits be joined.

Cone Of Shame information: I think she may have been bitten on the eye by a spider. It heals up pretty well over a day or two, then I get home in the afternoon to find that she’s gotten it off and re-aggravated it, starting the whole process over again. Plus, she walks around behind me poking me in the back of the legs with it … this is getting old.

Above: I’m thinking about just riveting a steel eye-patch into her skull, like that guy in Water World.

Friday, November 19, 2010

There's Always Tomorrow ...

I am, by any measure, one of the great procrastinators of our age. (I have, in fact, been putting off writing this post for several years.) Being something of a behaviorist, it’s clear to me that procrastination is a rewarding approach to most tasks; otherwise, I would stop doing it. (See? It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s just sciencey stuff about positive reinforcement!) The very fact that I was allowed to go to college, much less graduate, is a testament to the power of the hastily written research paper:

EMDAMOTLA*: Shouldn’t you be working on your dissertation?

Dead Acorn: I’m formulating.

EMDAMOTLA: You’re watching the Bears game, drinking beer in your underwear at noon.

Dead Acorn: I’m a multi-tasker.

EMDAMOTLA: I want an annulment.
I guess my completing college could also be viewed as a damning indictment of our educational system in general, though. The jury’s still out, as they say.

That’s certainly not to say that procrastination always results in mimosas and strawberries, of course. For example, I’ve been putting off raking the leaves, rationalizing this by noting that there are still a few left on the trees, and by god, I ain’t rakin’ that consarn lawn twice! In a related procrastinatory process, I’ve neglected to call and have my sprinklers blown out for the winter. Unfortunately, I’m informed by the Weather Bunny that it’s going to snow this weekend, with temperatures in the 255-260 range (in Kelvin ... 0 to 10 F, -17 to -12 C), so now I’m pretty much guaranteed busted pipes and rotten leaves come the spring. Worse yet, any snowpersons that I construct this year are going to be covered in maple leaves, which will serve as a constant reminder of this country’s blindness to the advantages of the universal health care system enjoyed by our neighbors to the north.

[UPDATE:] I’ve found a lawn-care person who can do the job this afternoon! Woo, I say! Woo, indeed! So let’s see: Stimulating the local economy? Check. Creating an excuse to leave early on a Friday to meet him at my house? Check. Metaphorical mimosas and strawberries once again?

Check and mate.

* Ex-Mrs-Dead-Acorn-Mother-Of-The-Live-Acorn

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Suppose That Unicorns Aren't Real, Either ...

Do you remember finding out that Santa Claus isn’t real?

(Ok, I should have had a “spoiler alert” at the top of this. To my 5-year-old-and-under readers (and Walter, down at the pub) – I’m sorry. Try to think of Santa not so much as a real person, but, you know, as that holiday spirit that makes people a little cheerier around Christmas, ok?)

Anyway, while things like Santa and the Kwanzaa Kangaroo seem to be important for kids, we eventually grow out of the need for them, and into a more reality-based world. That’s how it’s supposed to work, at least.

I never thought that at my advanced age I would once again have to go through the agony of being told that something wonderful, something that made life really worth living, was simply a lie, but I had this conversation last night:

Dead Acorn: What a great day! The Silo Fairy visited me again last night!

Girl With Whom I Was Conversing: (after a spit-take with the beer she had just chugged) I’m sorry, what?

DA: The Silo Fairy!

GWWIWC: What the fuck are you talking about?

DA: You know … the Silo Fairy! Every once in a while, she visits at night, and leaves a 24 oz. can of Bud Light in the water bottle cage of my bicycle!

GWWIWC: (silence)

DA: Doesn’t she ever visit you?

GWWIWC: Dead Acorn, I need to tell you something. There … there is no Silo Fairy. That’s you leaving here all hammered and buying a can at the Stinker Station and forgetting about it on the ride home.

DA: Wh ... what?

GWWIWC: Yeah.

DA: (putting my hands over my ears) SHUT UP! SHUT UP! THAT’S NOT TRUE!

GWWIWC: Look, Dead Acorn, I know this is hard. But take a look in your wallet.

DA: (fighting back tears) Wh .. why? Why are you doing this?

GWWIWC: Just do it, Dead Acorn. You have to.

I pulled it out and opened it up. Nothing caught my eye at first – there was the customary lack of paper money and the ever-growing stack of business cards from people I don’t recall meeting. Then I saw it … a crumpled up slip of paper wedged way down in the corner. I caught my breath, and slowly drew it out. Deep down, I knew what it was, but I couldn’t make myself uncrumple it, so afraid was I of the horrifying truth I was facing.

My friend reached over and took it from my shaking hands, then flattened it and placed it in front of me. My eyes were filled with tears, but I could still make out the words ... those terrible, terrible words:

Hyde Park Stinker #2754
Date: 11/14/2010 01:37 AM

24 oz. BudLt .......$1.49
Tax ................$0.09
Total ..............$1.58
I think my sobbing caused a bit of a scene, because she led me out to the parking lot so that I could compose myself. “Hold me …” I begged. “There, there,” she said, and while I knew my life had been irrevocably changed, her embrace provided much needed solace, and I knew that somehow, I would be able to go on.

We eventually went back inside and finished our beers. I guess I’m okay with knowing the truth, and in all honesty, I’m sort of pleased that hammered Dead Acorn has the foresight to make such strategic late-night purchases.

There’s no way in hell, though, that I’m going to tell my friend about the Bacon Bunny.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sh*t Don't Even RHYME!

[UPDATE:] I've been told by an actual poet that it needed a title ...

a short poem of longing

i see your face when the moon rises high in the night sky
i feel your embrace when the warmth of the sun washes over me
i hear your voice whispering in my ear when the birds sing as daylight breaks
i see your eyes sparkle as the stars shimmer in the heavens
i feel your fingers on my back when the autumn winds bring a chill

i sense you at my side when I am alone

oh, that I knew who you were ...


But I did use all lowercase, at least.

Monday, November 8, 2010

This Is The Last Straw

Every once in a while, I take a short trip at lunchtime down to the local grocery store and pick up a meal from their delicatessen (while stocking up on Progresso Low Sodium soups for the days on which I don’t take a short trip at lunchtime down to the local grocery store). The fare isn’t bad – I usually go with some type of chicken and cole slaw, which has no relevance to this post whatsoever. What is of relevance is that a drink is included in the price (about 3.59 euro).

The beverage dispenser is around the corner, and next to the soft-drink machine itself is a large rack with the plastic lids, forks (here in Idaho, we drink our pop with forks), straws, and sundry items to assist in transporting and consuming the food. Without fail, I slide the straw behind my ear to carry it, much as one might slide a pencil at work, or a cigarette (if one was a hoodlum in 1950s America).

Also without fail, at the moment just prior to the actual slidage, I find myself gripped with fear that the razoresque seam of the paper wrapper is going to slice my ear open, unleashing a crimson torrent of blood, drenching my clothes and slowly spreading across the tile floor, horrifying the other customers, who will want to turn away but who will find themselves unable to do so, so shocked will they be by the hideous sight of the dark red ooze continuing to pulse from my ear, while I stand there in utter disbelief, like Carrie on prom night.

And yet, rather than place the straw in the bag with the food, the fork, and the sweet’n’sour sauce, I slide that straw back, each time wondering if it’s going to be the last; some dark part of me relishing the adrenalin rush and feeling dangerous and somehow more alive, even feeling pity for those around me who never experience such thrills – those poor souls who go through lunch and life with their straws safely tucked away, far from any vein or artery, never knowing the sheer exhilaration of taunting death with such abandon.

[UPDATE:] I really should probably quit drinking at work.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I Was Blind, But Now, I See

As my Jewish friends say, oy vey (which, according to yiddish-to-english.com, translates roughly as "jesusfuckingchrist"). This has been quite a way to kick off the weekend.

It being a normal Friday, I was sitting around this morning, and, having pored over all of the new content on the googlewebz, was searching for new methods of procrastination. “Hey!” I said to myself (okay, not totally to myself, but not loud enough to be heard over the music). “I’ll clean my whiteboard! I can avoid actual work, while looking productive to any bosses walking by! And maybe even catch a good buzz off of the fumes!”

I pondered a moment over how little progress we’ve really made as a society, still clinging to our differentiation between “whiteboards” and “blackboards,” but I have hope that by the time the Live Acorn’s children are grown up and procrastinating the day away in their own dead-end gubmint jobs, the boards will all be rainbow-colored and they’ll ride to work on unicorns.

Soon enough, though, I got to the task before me, and with my dry-eraser in one hand and the spray bottle of board cleaner in another (the third was holding my drink), I set about the cleaning proper.

This may or may not surprise you, but I don’t put a whole lot of effort into keeping a tidy office. I like to think that the reams of paper strewn about the floor gives the impression of busy-ness and deters people from wandering in. This being the case, the bottle of board cleaner had not been used in … well, quite some time. Apparently, it was long enough ago that the spray plunger thingy had seized up, so that when I pressed down firmly, rather than emitting a fine mist onto the whiteboard, the top of the sprayer broke off and was forced down into the bottle itself, displacing the cleaning fluid quite violently, which resulted in my face and head being drenched.

Luckily, a coworker was nearby.

Dead Acorn: AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!!

Coworker: Sup, dude?

Dead Acorn: AAAAAGGGHHH!!! MY EYES!!! MY EYES!!!!

Coworker (clueing in to the situation, and picking up the
broken bottle):
Hmm. Let’s see … directions … ingredients … oh, here we go: Mild Eye Irritant. In case of contact with eyes, flush for 15 minutes.

Dead Acorn: AAAAGGGHHH IT BURNS IT BURNS IT BURNS!!!!!!!

Coworker: I don’t know what flushing for 15 minutes will do, but okay. (walking toward bathroom)

Dead Acorn: I think it means flush my eyes, Jim. My eyes.

Coworker: We have to stick your head in a toilet for 15 minutes? Dude …

Dead Acorn (sighing): Just lead me to the sink, please. I’ll take care of it.

So I’ve spent the last little while with my head under the faucet, trying to wash out the hydrochloric acid that I assume they put in that stuff. I’m also wearing my hat at my desk, as that is my primary method of hair management. I’m fairly certain that no one would blame me if I went down to The Flying Pie for a slice and a beer for lunch.

I wonder if they have discounts for the blind.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another Butchered Post

In this life, you have to be ready to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. You know, that business about it only knocking once, and all that. You can hope and fantasize all you want about finding yourself in the perfect situation where something you immensely desire presents itself, where you have a chance to really do something you’ve dreamt of forever, but if you aren’t ready to pull the trigger when that moment is upon you, then just what, really, are you even living for?

Luckily, I was prepared when I found myself over the weekend in a situation for which I’ve been waiting over 6 years. It concerns the hell-hound. I’ve never told anyone this, out of fear of being ratted out by one of my so-called “friends” to her, but I’ve been carrying a meat cleaver around for a long time, harboring hope that she would eventually let her guard down for just a split second and give me just the slightest chance to end her reign of terror.

That time came on Sunday, as we sat in our my living room; she on the couch growling menacingly (as always), and I on the chair next to her, fearing for my life (as always). I’m not exactly sure what distracted her – perhaps a squirrel she caught a glimpse of in the yard, maybe an unfamiliar demonic voice inside her head – but I saw her furrow her brow in what seemed like a bit of confusion, and for the briefest of moments, she took her eyes off of me.

I didn’t even think. Had I hesitated even in the slightest, I’m sure the outcome of the next few seconds would have been far different. I reached behind me and grabbed the handle of the knife ever-so-smoothly, ninja-like, as I’d practiced in my mind countless times, and brought it down upon her neck as swiftly as a guillotine’s blade, ending at long last her cruel, brutal dominance over my entire existence:

Above: The lack of blood only reinforced my belief that she was not of this earth, but a beast from the bowels of hell.

The sad look in her eyes in the picture, at her end, gives me faith that, as she took her last breaths, she regained some part of whatever soul she once had, and somehow felt gratitude for being freed from satan’s shackles. It was as if, while shuffling off her mortal coil, she became once again just a simple puppy, longing only to chase rabbits, romp with the other dogs, and maybe get a little belly-scratching once in a while.

Shoulda thought of that earlier.

Note to my younger readers: That’s not a real knife; she just likes to dress up on Halloween. So dry your eyes, little ones, for the demon dog remains alive and well, my antagonist for many more years, I’m quite sure.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Ocean Doesn't Want Me Today

The little weekend getaway to Oregon ended up a success. Of course, by “success,” I mean “no one died.” That’s not to say that the effort wasn’t made.

I certainly won’t bore you with the mundane details of the trip; suffice it to say that there was beer and bourbon involved, both of which were contributing factors in the decision to walk down to the beach during a break in the storm (“a break in the storm” in this instance means “the rain was actually falling toward the ground rather than traveling horizontally”).

I’m fairly certain that Pat didn’t drink too much more than anyone else, so I’m really not sure what caused him to think he could wade to Japan, but for some reason, he started out toward the waves, which led to this scene (click to enlarge):

Above: I could have made it, if it weren't for that meddling Dead Acorn.

(Note: Due to my position as a high-security top-secret gubmint double-naught spy, I’ve chosen to obscure my face in the pictures – my head doesn’t really look like that.)

You can get a feel of how rough the ocean was in the next shot, but you should also note that Pat was still wearing his pajamas mid-afternoon (though just barely at this particular moment):

Above: We all had different ideas about what constituted appropriate attire for the conditions of the day. I obviously prefer fashion over function.

I should mention, at this point, that Pat is a professor of chemistry at The Ohio State University, which really underscores the independence of intelligence (in the academic sense) and everyday common sense. (Pat also coached the swim team for a short period, but was removed from that position after 3 athletes drowned in their first meet, despite the fact that they were wearing waterwings.)

Above: C'mon, big fella ... there's beer back at the house.

I've asked the other guys, and why, yes, we are available for rent!

Friday, October 22, 2010

And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon

I think I’ve identified a major source of the angst that fills my every waking moment:

Dinnerware.

I’ll use that term to include flatware as well, so I’ll ask any pedantic kitchen-knowledgy type of readers to let my lack of distinction between the two slide. (Oh, and by the way, if there really are any readers like that – Phil Hartman’s “The Anal-Retentive Chef” was a comedy sketch, not a real cooking show. Sorry to have to be the one to tell you.)

My current “set” of dinnerware comprises bits and pieces of no less than 15 distinct lines, gathered over decades, with such a variety of colors, shapes, and patterns, that compared to it, the U.N. General Assembly looks about as diverse as a cocktail party in the Hamptons. It includes dishes from my childhood, silverware from the Idaho State University dining hall, a silver serving spoon from a certain not-to-be-named royal family in Western Europe (if the Duchess reads this blog, I’m screwed) … it really is a trainwreck (if, you know, trains were made out of a whole bunch of different styles of dinnerware).

“How charming!” you might be thinking. “How delightfully eclectic!” Well, no. It sucks. Try to imagine the ulcer-inducing uncertainty that comes with each meal: the fear of grabbing the spoon that’s too circular and therefore not suited for Cheerio-scooping that gnaws at me in the hours before breakfast … the knowledge that the plates with raised and textured borders make eating a simple green salad nearly impossible ... I mean, sweet fluted flatware! You try meal planning under that kind of stress! Still think it’s charming? No? Not so keen on the Dead Acorn dining plan anymore?

I thought not.

But that’s the world in which I live. And it’s certainly a relief to finally recognize the underlying cause of my anxieties, and know that salvation can be had with merely a drive to Pier 1, or Cost Plus, or wherever it is that people go to buy that stuff (I’d probably have to enroll at Boise State to gain access to their cafeteria). Corelle, Oneida, Royal Daulton … it doesn’t matter to me, just as long as I finally have some consistency, some continuity, as I sup my way through this life.

Waking up to a different cereal bowl every day* can really wear on you.

* Totally not a metaphor, but if it was, it would certainly rise to my historical level of metaphoric atrociousness.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where's The Beach?

I’m heading off on a bit of a vacation this weekend, traveling over to the rainy and dreary beautiful Oregon coast to visit a few friends that I haven’t seen in quite a while. We’ve rented a house for a couple of days – just 5-6 buds surfin’ the giants, like we used to do when we ruled the beach down at Big Sur.

Ok, I think maybe Steve has surfed one time - we’ll probably just drink beer.

There was a lengthy discussion in our email exchanges as to whether we were going to bring wives/girlfriends, a topic which I was never really asked to chime in on, like they just assumed that it was a moot point with me, as I, in all likelihood, would have neither at the time of the trip. I mean, yeah, it turned out to be a pretty good assumption, but still, way to drive it home that I’m all alone in this world, assholes.

I've discovered that our destination is a bit farther down the street than I had guessed. I fired up the ole Google Maps to check the distance, and was shocked to find that I’m looking at about 560 miles (9 hours by their estimation – probably a bit optimistic for the Zuke Of Earl, but in the ballpark, I’m sure). My original plan of getting on the road at noon and arriving in the mid-afternoon may need revising.

I was more than a little flattered at their prediction of cycling time (Google Maps now does bike routes as well!). Two days flat – I mean, I ride to work every once in a while, and used to race a little back when I was but a lad, but assuming riding 12 hours a day, that comes out to … let’s see … carry the 2 … just over 23 miles an hour (37 km/h). I’m not sure that I’m up to the task, to be honest. I mean, sure, Eddy Merckx did 30.7 miles in one hour, but his bike was a little lighter than mine, and he was riding at high altitude.

Above: I AM riding from about 2500' elevation down to sea level ... maybe they're taking into account that it's mostly just coasting. (click to enlarge)

Teh Google also provides alternate routes. The time difference for the extra 33 miles in the second route is 3 hours, which seems a bit inconsistent with their initial estimate of my physical prowess, unless they’re calculating that extra distance at the end of the ride. After a 2 day full-on sprint, well, yes, I probably would lose a little oomph there at the end.

I think I’ll go ahead and drive – I don’t need to prove anything to anybody by riding. Google thinks I’m in fine shape, and that’s better than having some stupid girlfriend around making fun of my beer belly.

Monday, October 18, 2010

And A Little Rain, Never Hurt No One

Well, the little jaunt into the woods on Friday was relatively without incident. No bears, no wolves, no satyrs playing pan pipes as the moon shone through an eerie fog. I did ride the seven miles down to the Dirty Shame Saloon to watch a bit of the ballgame, a ride during which I was reminded that it’s somewhat important to eat during the day, and that nothing but a belly full of beer combined with a little physical activity can lead to lightheadedness and near-crashes.

The Dirty Shame was as charming as ever, and Jenny the Bartender was delightful (I’m afraid Nadine is history – my troth is now pledged to the beer-servin’ beauty of Crouch, Idaho). Unfortunately, her enchanting presence captivated me for an inning or two longer than I had planned to stay, and the ride back to camp in the dark on the narrow, windy, unpainted road filled with people driving home from the bar on a Friday night was somewhat nerve-wracking. (What more do I have to do to prove myself worthy of your affections, Jenny? What?)

That was pretty much it, excitement-wise. Some time later, after one of the best garlic burgers evah, a couple of succulent ears o’ corn, and an eternity staring into the glowing embers of what was left of the fire, reminiscing of loves long lost poking a stick into the fire for a bit, I stumbled into the tent to stare up at the stars. As is always the case, even a night as close to perfect as Friday was can be made better if you get the opportunity to gain a little new knowledge, and after several hours of deep sleep, I was thrilled to learn that the rain fly is likely far more effective when it isn’t shoved down by your feet in the tent when the skies open up.

Heaven, I tell you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Doing The Write Thing

According to a number of writers, it’s good practice (more of a requirement, actually) to force yourself to write every day, whether you have something to say or not. I’m not so sure that that’s a healthy approach for someone who posts stuff on a blog, stuff that is generally (at least loosely) related to happenings in their day-to-day life. Sitting and staring at the flashing orange cursor (I type this stuff on a TRS-80 with an 11” monochrome screen – sort of the digital analogue of an author who will only write on a 1943 Royal typewriter) might only serve to force into consciousness the until-now-repressed recognition that your life is pretty goddamned boring.

On the other hand, one might find one’s self typing the words “digital analogue” where one would otherwise not, so if one has a very low bar for defining "accomplishment", that’s a win.

I realized yesterday that I haven’t gone camping this summer (there may have been an early spring trip, but yeah, right, like I’m supposed to remember that far back), due to traveling on most weekends (a practice which has recently become unnecessary). Maybe a trek into the woods will result in a story or two to relate involving an ax murder or stumbling into a fire or getting into a heated argument with a bear over macroeconomic policy or some such thing.

Beats doing nothing, I guess. And anyway, I feel I owe my reader a bit of self-damaging buffoonery, and damnit, I intend to pay that debt. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Believe I'll Try Being A Vegetarian

As I’m usually one to be completely into the cultural thingy du jour, I’ve been more than a little distraught lately that I haven’t fully immersed myself into the whole vampire phenomenon. I mean, I haven’t even decided whether to go Team Edward or Team Jacob yet. And the glitter just keeps falling off … is there some sort of glue or shellac that I’m supposed to use? You can imagine the pressure I feel, knowing that people often look to me as an example of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior in today’s society.

The best I could come up with is to go give blood (free snacks!), which I did yesterday. (I can’t believe I wrote that whole first paragraph just to get to the point of me going to give blood.)

Down at the local Red Crescent Cross, I went through the whole screening process, after which the nurse led me to the bleeding area. It's very relaxing, with nice comfy beds set up, and small TVs playing to distract you from the fact that you’re doing something that’s entirely diametrical to your normal instincts of remaining 1) pain-free, and 2) alive.

So the nurse was setting up the barbed spikes and whatnot, and I was trying to relax, when I noticed that the TV program was addressing the topic of eating penises (penii?)!

Seriously.

It was some PBS show that explores exotic dishes from around the world, and that episode dealt with varying aspects of preparing and consuming penii (I’m going with that) from a number of different animals and the challenges that each poses. There were several enthusiastic diners, and a host who seemed very knowledgeable about such things as texture and cooking times and temperatures. It was a very professional production, which I'm sure required a large staff.*

The nurse picked up on the audio after a few minutes, and suggested that perhaps we change it. “It’s better than the surgery program you had on last time I was here,” I said. Still, she called out another nurse and asked if she could find something else to watch. The channel-changing nurse said something about maybe putting ESPN on, but then looked over at someone who appeared to be in a position of authority, and said “we’d better not … we got in trouble last time.”

She finally turned the station. And what was the grand compromise between watching Cliff Lee of the Texas Rangers pitch a gem against Tampa Bay on the opening day of baseball's post-season and learning how to best prepare and serve Hippopotamus penis**? An Animal Planet take-off of MythBusters, during which I learned that earwigs do not really crawl into your ear and bore into your brain, where they lay eggs, before continuing across and exiting via the other ear.

Or so they claim. I trust Animal Planet about as much as I do Fox News … the duct tape stays on my ears at night.

* Like I'm NOT going to make that joke - you know I have all the maturity of a 14-year-old.
** Sautéed, served with snow peas over rice. Best with chianti.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My New Nemesis

Even a chucklehead like me isn’t so naïve as to think that the Trilateral Commission that runs the googletubez isn’t collecting all kinds of personal information based on the online activies of users. Certainly the targeted ads on the various websites I visit indicate that they know all about the goats and the fruit-juicers and the fur-lined bear traps (note to self: clear cache/delete cookies more often). But this email I received really shook me:


Above: They’re apparently able to smell cigarettes and stale beer through this blog. (Click to enlarge.)

I realize that you are a barstools connoisseur :)

That’s pretty spot on, and, to be honest, something of an understatement. “My god,” I thought. “What else does Susan realize about me? Has she the prodigious insight to peer into one’s soul after reading but a few rambling paragraphs?”

As disconcerting as those thoughts were, I was able to calm down after a bit, and I started trying to think through the situation rationally. I realize that she didn’t know everything about me; otherwise, I’d already be dead. No, she wants something from me, and it’s not just opinion/feedback on their bar stools. That’s how a less critical reader might interpret that question – as a request for my opinion about their restaurant furnishings. But someone such as myself, with vast experience reading subtle hints and come-ons into seemingly innocent statements from strange women, sees it for what it really is: an invitation to meet with her and discuss things, over drinks, while on their bar stools.

I’m not sure what I’ll do. She’s clearly dangerous – the use of both “barstools” and “bar stools” indicates some sort of psychosis – but I can’t deny that I’m intrigued. So Nadine (I’m certain that “Susan” is an alias – it’s too early in the game for that level of honesty) – if you read this, know that I’m aware that you’re out there, watching. I won’t visit your website (I can only imagine what kinds of horrors might be unleashed by clicking your link), but you … interest me, lets say.

The ball, as they say, is afoot.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Indeed It Does, Francine ... Indeed It Does.

I showed up at work WAY too early this morning … somewhere in the neighborhood of 6:00 am (this has been happening far too often as of late, due to my employer seemingly having forgotten that my boss retired 6 months ago, and that an appropriate response to that would be to find someone to replace him, as I’m still only actually being paid to do one job). Anyway, I had forgotten my key to the outer door, and my little swipe-card-magnetic-secret-door-opener thingy was in my desk, doing absolutely no good at all.

I waited around a few minutes, certain that someone a little more prepared than me would come along directly, and sure enough, Francine from Finance came strolling up the walk. I haven’t really spoken to Francine all that much, but she’s always seemed very nice – a sweet little grey-haired grandmotherly type, in her 60s, that kind of thing.
Dead Acorn: Good morning, Francine … I’m afraid it’s a little early for my brain this morning … I’ve forgotten my keys, and I’ve left my badge upstairs.

Francine (pausing for a few moments): Sucks to be you.
The smile that I halfway expected, letting me know she meant it in jest, did not come. She did let me in, eventually, but believe you me, sister, I’ll not be forgetting my key again anytime soon.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Through The Past, Eye-Assaultingly Brightly

Saying goodbye can be extremely difficult, especially when you know that it’s forever, and it’s to something that’s been in your life for so long that you don’t really have a sense of living without it.

But such times are inevitable; try as we might to pretend that things can last for all eternity, there comes a day when we must face facts and accept that all things are fleeting on the grand stage, and try to carry on with naught but the memories of them that we hold so dear, treasure more valuable than any earthly holding.

Such a day was yesterday. I had let the laundry duties slip a bit, and had become perilously close to not having a clean Hawaiian shirt to wear. Wanting to avoid a fashion crisis, I did several loads, and was preparing to restock my closet – I had a huge stack of bright colors and complex patterns, my favorite clothes hangers polished up and waiting to serve, a frosty cold tallboy, and maybe just the slightest bit of sinful pride, knowing that I was the best dressed guy in the room (Indy, while certainly stunning in her purple collar, does not technically count as a "guy").

And so I began, happily whistling “Aloha `Oe” as I untangled and smoothed each shirt, making sure the sleeves were all right-side out and the collars all creased just so.

It was at about the third shirt that I noticed the first tear … just a small rip, where the fabric around a button had worn thin. I thought nothing of it, at first … but then I noticed some fraying around the shoulder seam on the next one, and on the arm on the next. Panic welled inside of me as I realized just how few of my beloved Hawaiian shirts were nothing more than tattered rags, long past the point where even the homeless shelter would welcome them.

How could I have not seen this? Was I so blind to what had been before my very eyes, so deaf to the words of well-meaning others*, that I literally could not perceive the decay that had taken place? Am I clinging so vigorously to the past, a past likely constructed out of whole cloth and bearing little resemblance to reality, that I’ve kept myself surrounded with ancient relics to support my delusions? Are these decades-old shirts simply serving to prop up this façade, this self-deception, this refusal to let go?

Probably not … it’s more likely that I’m just not very observant about the state of my crappy clothes. That, and the fact that my relatively high level of laziness has kept me from going to all the work of throwing them away.

But on with the purge! Even tossing half of my wardrobe will still leave me with enough to go a couple of weeks without wearing the same shirt twice, and who knows? Maybe this endeavor will lead to a general life cleansing in which I shed all sorts of things I’ve been dragging around for all these years.

(No, P*77 & N*88, the Colnago isn’t going anywhere.)

* Believe it or not, I've had more than one significant other make less-than-flattering comments about my fashion sense. Crazy, I know!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chain Of Fools

This is just plain weird.

I wheeled my bike out of the house last night to head over to band camp, climbed aboard, and began pedaling furiously, as I was a bit late (when you’ve hired a string quartet to back you on your latest tear-jerking love ballad, every minute counts). Imagine the confusion I felt, then, when there were no corresponding changes in my visual field, as is usually the case when I am traveling forward.

“Well, Dead Acorn,” you might be saying, “those mountain bikes are geared extremely low for climbing steep grades. Perhaps you were in your 20-36 configuration, and it just seemed like you weren’t moving.” That’s a plausible explanation, especially given my tendency toward exaggeration in these posts, but last night, I was literally making no progress whatsoever. It felt somewhat like being on a date.

After about 10 minutes of spinning in place, I finally looked down, only to discover that my chain was gone. Well then! That certainly explained my lack of propulsion! Mystery solved!

While most people would be satisfied at this point, having discovered the source of the problem, I was not, for I am not most people, and my curiosity led me to ask another question: What the fuck happened to my chain?

There aren’t all that many possibilities. Chains do break from time to time as one is riding, but that’s something that the rider generally notices, as pedaling immediately becomes effortless, the bike begins to slow down, and there’s occasionally a crash involved (or at least an unfortunate interaction between sensitive body and bicycle parts). Unless it broke as I was coasting across my front yard at the end of my last ride home, I’m pretty sure I would have been aware of it (and yes, I’ve checked the yard - it’s not there).

The only other explanation is that someone entered my house and deliberately removed it. But why? Some sort of fetish, perhaps? If that was the case, why would they leave the other six bikes in the house chained? I must assume that it’s not just a case of run-of-the-mill theft, because the Monet that hangs just above where the bike rests was left untouched.

I suppose it could be a practical joke, and while not entirely without a dash of cleverness, the folks I know of the practical joking persuasion tend more toward coming up with them and giggling about how funny they would be while drinking at the pub, not actually following through and pulling them off. (If, by chance, it was a practical joke, then well played, fellas/fellasses! Ummm … can I have my chain back, now? Please?)

I guess it’s just one more thing in life about which I’ll wonder from time to time. I’m not going to go on some epic quest for the missing links (ha!), certainly, and with any luck, it’ll take my mind off of trying to solve the Collatz conjecture for a while. I swear, I've lost more sleep over that ...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No More Anchovy Pizza Before Bed

I had a terrible dream last night in which this blog played no small role. I’m still trembling a little.

I don’t harbor any secret dreams of becoming an actual writer; nevertheless, I do enjoy taking a few minutes now and again to scribble down some thoughts, especially while I’m at work, being compensated by the taxpayer, in the comfort of my home as evening settles in, to post out here on the teh googletubez. While I certainly don't have any particular schedule I try to adhere to, for some reason, I get a bit anxious as the “most recent post” indicator on the blogrolls that link to me (which is quite humbling, by the way) creeps up through “3 days ago” to “4 days ago” until finally the dreaded “1 week ago” appears.

Whatever the reasons underlying my odd anxiety, I realize that the dreaming mind can do some strange things with just the slightest bit of stress, so the occurrence of my recent nightmare didn't really surprise me. Still, the bizarre nature of it had me a bit shaken.

I dreamt that I received a phone call from a number that I didn't recognize. I often let such calls go to voicemail, as just as often as not, it’s a telemarketer or an officer of the court attempting to serve a subpoena. As Fate would have it, I chose to answer …

Dead Acorn: Hello?

Faintly Familiar But Unplaceable Voice: Is this The Dead Acorn?

DA: Why, yes! Yes it is!

FFBUV: The Dead Acorn who “writes” on an eponymous “blog”?

(note: in dreams, I can actually see the quotation marks around words sarcastically spoken by unseen characters. It's kinda weird.)

DA: That’s me! Who’s this?

FFBUV: This is Mrs. McGillicuddy.

DA: umm … Mrs. McGillicuddy, my high school composition teacher?

Mrs. McGillicuddy: That is correct.

DA: It’s, umm, nice to talk to you, I guess … can … can I help you with something?

Mrs. McGillicuddy: You cannot. In fact, it is the damage you have done and continue to do that necessitates this call. Your incoherent ramblings have come to the attention of the school board here, and they have deemed the atrocities committed each and every time you put pen to paper pixels to screen to be unforgivable, and in an effort to dissociate themselves from your “work,” they have summarily fired me.

(note: text strikeouts work just like quotation marks in my dreams.)

DA: Gee, Mrs. McGillicuddy, I’m sorry, but high school was over 25 yea …

Mrs. McGillicuddy: And as I too am unwilling to let persist even the slightest perception that my tutelage has contributed in any way to the unspeakable crimes against language that you sporadically commit, I have amended your grade, which has resulted in a revocation of your diploma.

DA: But … but … I already went to college, and even graduate school!

Mrs. McGillicuddy: Oh, trust me, they’ve been notified, as has your employer. All are in agreement; the former have revoked your degrees, and the latter has asked me to inform you that your “services” are no longer needed. Thanks to your “blog,” Dead Acorn, you have nothing left in life.


At this point, I sat up, drenched in sweat and gasping for air. There were a few moments of continued panic as I struggled to gain some sense of where I was, and then relief began to wash over me as I saw, in the dim moonlight streaming through the window, the familiar surroundings of my bedroom.

I got out of bed and walked to the kitchen for a drink of water to calm myself before trying to go back to sleep. It was on my return that I noticed my phone blinking … I had a new voicemail, from a number I didn’t recognize. I was unable to stifle the whimper that emerged from my throat, and I stared at the phone for what seemed like hours. “It was just a dream,” I told myself. “A dream, and that’s all.” Finally, I picked it up, and deleted the message without listening to it. I walked slowly back to bed.

“What was that, sweetie? I thought I heard something that sounded like a cry.” Mrs. McGillicuddy rolled over and softly stroked my cheek. “Nothing, Mrs. McGillicuddy … I guess I just don’t feel too good …” I replied. “’Well,’ sugar … you don’t feel too ‘well’. Remember that without the proper use of language, life means nothing.”

[UPDATE:] Several readers have emailed and asked that I not blog while so obviously hammered on cheap vodka. Umm, yeah ... I think that's doable. My sincere apologies.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sh*t Gonna Get Crazy Now

I’m a fairly boring person, as is evidenced by my eating habits during the noon meal. Approximately four out of the five “work” days, I heat up a can of Progresso soup (low-sodium because my “doctor” says it will keep my blood pressure down).

Dead Acorn: But doc, since both my systolic and diastolic numbers are high, doesn’t that mean my ratio of good:bad blood pressure is okay?

Doctor: Well, that’s cholesterol, which reminds me ... A) your numbers on those are too high, too, and 2) you’re an idiot.

Dead Acorn: I’m not the one who had to go to some off-shore medical school.

Doctor: Doing an internship in infectious diseases in a developing nation after graduating from Harvard is not generally considered going to an “off-shore medical school.”

Dead Acorn: Whatever. I want a second opinion.

Doctor: Fine, but every physician in town will agree that you’re an idiot.

Anyway, I usually buy a bunch of cans of soup at one time and keep them in my desk drawer, and I generally only eat three kinds: Chicken and Wild Rice, Chicken Noodle, and Chicken Gumbo. I usually stock up more on the first two flavors, as they are more conservative in flavor, while the Chicken Gumbo is a bit spicy (dare I say bold?), which is somewhat antithetical to my rather pedestrian approach to midday sustenance. Nevertheless, I do maintain a small cache of the Gumbo just for those days when I feel like "coloring outside the lines," so to speak, just a little (I think I get this tendency from my Great Aunt Selina, who, every few months, goes on a whisky bender and talks some naïve college freshmen into driving her to Vegas, unfailingly landing in jail (though almost as unfailingly talking her way out of it) … we’re pretty much kindred spirits, she and I (but in spirit only; I don't regularly seduce college freshmen)).

Today was such a day, and to my surprise, there was nary a can of Gumbo to be found. Six cans of Wild Rice, four cans of Noodle, but nothing to sate my yearning for the 1 1/4 alarm heat that only Progresso can provide.

This, of course, got me thinking. I hadn’t altered my shopping list at all – I still bought the same ratio of the three flavors, which for years, has perfectly met my needs and desires – on most days, something safe and comfortable, but every once in a while, something just a little zany and dangerous. So if my buying habits hadn’t changed, the premature depletion of Gumbo could mean only one thing: my lunch, and, by extension, my life, is venturing more and more often into the wilder realms. I must be, without realizing it, bustin’ out of this cocoon of familiarity in which I've entrenched myself … throwing away this security blanket to which I cling … finally removing the safety harness I’ve been wearing my whole life, and goddamn it, walking the wire free of inhibitions, and to the devil with timidity.

Next up: switching to Crest Gel toothpaste, and having a beer in a bar south of State Street. Crazy talk, I know, and I'd be lying if I said I'm not scared. But watch out, world … there’s a new shooter holding the dice.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lesson Up, You ...

It occurred to me that rather than simply dirty up the googletubez with incomprehensible drivel as I usually do, at the very least, I could try to impart some wisdom, or, since it seems rather unlikely that actual "wisdom" will be found here, perhaps just some useful information. You know, maybe tell a story with a moral, à la Aesop’s Fables (though I would imagine that for my reader, a more appropriate reference would be to Fractured Fairy Tales).

So without further ado:


Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived all alone, except for a big stupid dog. He had gotten the dog from a place where people take bad dogs so that the bad-dog-place people can clean them up and make them look cute in a picture and tell unsuspecting other people that the dogs are only one year old and are really, really good and will never eat your whole pizza when you step outside for just a minute to talk on the phone.

The dog always wanted to be in the boy’s way, and would do things like walk in front of him in order to trip him, and breathe into his face from two inches away when he would lay on the couch.

She could be a very annoying dog.

One day, the boy was doing laundry, and was trying to pull the blankets off of the bed so that he could wash them. The dog, sensing an opportunity to be annoying, jumped up and laid down right in the middle of the bed. “Get up!” said the boy to the dog. “GET. THE. F*CK. UP!” But the dog continued to lay there, all 350 lbs of her nestled down atop the blanket.

Finally, after several minutes of pulling as hard as he could on the blanket and imploring the dog to move, the dog, with all the impeccable timing of Jack Benny, leapt into the air, causing the boy to slam himself in the stomach with both of his fists and knock the wind out of himself. As the boy writhed on the ground, clutching his belly in pain and gasping for breath, the dog looked at him as if to say "hey, I was just doing exactly what you asked!" and walked away laughing hysterically.

The Moral: Don’t get a goddamned passive-aggressive dog who thinks she’s all funny and shit.

There. I hope you've learned something.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bringing Down The Oligarchy? I'll Drink To That!

I went for some lunch yesterday at a nearby fast-food establishment and, while filling up my drink, noticed something that was both sad and somewhat disturbing.

The soft drink industry has had some legendary rivalries: Coke vs. Pepsi and Sprite vs. 7-Up are probably the most well known of these (I happen to be a fan of Royal Crown Cola and Fresca, as most contrarians are), but my favorite war is that which has been waged between Dr. Pepper and Mr. Pibb.

This epic battle of the beverages is, in a sense, symbolic of the class war with which our nation has always struggled. The elitist pretension of the educated, born into favor, against the blue-collar honest pragmatism of the working class. And for decades, the two have squared off against one another, neither able to land that knockout blow; a microcosm of our very society.

Until now.

As I approached the soda dispensary counter, I instinctively reached for the Mr. Pibb lever, as it’s without question the ideal complement to the Burrito Mexicano (con pollo e frijol negro). I was stunned when it registered in my consciousness that I was pouring not Mr. Pibb, but ... Pibb Xtra.

Pibb fucking Xtra. Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot.

I can only assume that the Coca-Cola company is trying to rebrand its product and tap into the youth market, what with their Gen-X and X Games and all things X. (Luckily, the movie industry had the foresight to change the “X” rating to “NC-17,” otherwise, all these kids might be watching pornography! Crisis averted! *whew*)

My first reaction to seeing the letters “XTRA” was that it was an abbreviation acronym for “Xylophones Totally ROCK! Awesome!” - a reaction perhaps unanticipated by the marketing department. I think that the Coca Cola company may want to run a few more focus groups before making a potentially bankrupting decision such as this. They clearly haven’t learned anything from the “New Coke” disaster of the 1980s.

But beyond the lame attempt at being all hep with the youngstas, what really hit me was that Mr. Pibb seems to have given up, and in essence, has said “yes … yes, you ARE better than me, Doctor. I admit it.” But you know what? For all we know, “Dr.” Pepper may have gotten that degree off of the back of Rolling Stone magazine, or worse yet, from some “university” in the Midwest run by Jesuits. It’s certainly not a medical degree – I wouldn’t trust “Dr.” Pepper to clip my nails.

So I don’t know what to do. Maybe this battle is lost, but the struggle for class equality goes on. You’ll be missed, Mr. Pibb, but your fight won’t be forgotten. In fact, the ranks of the upper-class elites have already been infiltrated by a clandestine agent.

Godspeed, Dr. Shasta. The workers of the world are with you.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm Pretty Sure It Happened EXACTLY Like This ...

Something happened today during a lunchtime shopping excursion that happens less and less often these days (and by “less and less often”, I mean that “this is the first time it's happened EVAH”): a beautiful young woman asked for my phone number. “But Dead Acorn,” you might be saying (in which case those nearby may be concerned about your mental health, given such a bizarre utterance, so it might be to your advantage to merely think it). “You were buying a new cell phone and she needed it to access your account and activate your new SIM card.”

While technically, that’s true, still ... you weren’t there to see the slight twitch of her lips as she fought to suppress a shy smile and just the faintest hint of a blush creep into her elegant cheeks. (Ok, I guess if you were in the store, then you were there to see those things … improbable, granted, but if that’s the case, you can verify these things in comments.)

Though our romance was destined to be short-lived, Monique taught me so many things about life that I didn’t know before – where the water-damage detector was, how to transfer saved text messages from my phone to the memory chip – it was if she was looking into my soul and could divine what I needed to hear.

She literally promised me whatever I wanted:

Dead Acorn: So this camera has 1.3 megapixels and this one has 2.0 … will I notice a big difference?

Monique: Whatever.

She told me that whatever choice I made, the world would still be ours, and things would always stay fresh:

Dead Acorn: So I can get to the World Wide Web with this phone?

Monique: duh … yeah, that and every other phone made in the last 5 years. Douche.

But in the end, we both knew that the powers that be would never let us be together, even though she acknowledged that I had crept into her heart:

Dead Acorn: Hey, will you call me real quick so that I’ll know what the ring tone sounds like?

Monique: ummm … I’m pretty sure that’s against store policy. Creep.

As I left, I told her that while I genuinely felt something for her that I had never felt before, something so real and so strong that it might be necessary to stop and imbibe a dram or three of spirits before returning to work just to calm my now-racing heart, that my heart did, in fact, belong to another, and that our yearnings and desires were destined to remain unfulfilled. She seemed a bit taken aback by that, as she was shaking slightly, and seemed somehow ... frightened, for lack of a better word … frightened, no doubt, by the weighty burden of loneliness that, at that moment, she knew she would be shrouded in for the rest of her life.

Monique … sweet, precious Monique … do your heart a favor, and forget about me. Throw away my number ... erase me from your memory ... I’m no good for you, damnit! You’ll find someone someday, and you'll experience the joy and happiness that you so deserve …

… and maybe, just maybe, in a peaceful sleep on a crisp fall morning many years from now, as the morning light washes your face, you’ll see me standing in the shadows of some sweet dream, and you’ll once again show that shy wisp of a smile.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Where's The Consumer Protection Agency When You Need Them?

It’s probably not illegal, but it is without doubt both immoral and unethical. I speak, of course, of the nefarious business practice of rendering obsolete time-tested and perfectly acceptable products by adding superfluous bells and whistles, forcing consumers to pay for something they neither want, nor need, nor will ever use.

This is nothing new in our greed-driven world by any means. On the contrary – I remember, as a young boy, listening to great-great-grandpa Festus ramble on about the introduction of “safety switches” on rifles. “Consarn it!” great-great-grandpa Festus would cry out, shaking his trembling fist. “If I wanted something that didn’t go ‘bang’ when I pulled the trigger, I’da got me a Winchester!” (Great-great-grandpa Festus was a notoriously devoted Smith & Wesson man.) “When them durn revenooers come around, or god forbid, Ethel catches me takin’ up with the widow Muldoon again, and some new-fangled switchy thing gets me killed or landed down to the jail, I’m-a gonna …”

Great-great-grandpa Festus was over 110 years old at that time in my life, and he never really got further than that without falling asleep. I’m not comfortable speculating on what he would have done in either of the aforementioned situations, had he been unable to discharge his weapon.

Microsoft has long done the same thing with their operating systems (please don’t belittle me for my Windows-based habit … I assume that, since you’re technically savvy enough to navigate the intertubez, you’re either on a Mac or running Linux). There was absolutely nothing wrong with Windows 3.11 (Workgroup For Windows), and even those who found it a bit unfriendly could install Microsoft Bob to make any computing experience as joyful as hugging a newborn kitten.

But just you try calling Tech Support and asking for help for it now … some 17-year-old wet-behind-the-ears greenhorn will claim he knows nothing of a product by that name and will suggest that you spend your money on a new product that has a bunch of "features" you don’t need, like being able to run two programs at once. Seriously, WTF?

My current dilemma has to do with razor blades. I’ve been a Gillette Atra user for years. It’s a simple dual-blade cartridge, and it works perfectly fine. Don’t get me wrong - I’ve got no problem with Schick customers; I’m not trying to start a flame war in comments here. It just happens to be what I started with, and I’m happy with it. The issue is that replacement blades are getting harder and harder to find, and I fear that the manufacturer is purposefully underproducing them to force me to upgrade to whatever seven-fucking-blade system is the douchebag accessory du jour.

Before my older readers call me out as a hypocrite and wax poetic about the days of single solo blades with no lubrication strip that only cost a quarter, let me state that I am fully aware of the history of the razor industry. I know they had a single blade, and I know they were cheap, so don’t accuse me of being a solo-cost denier.* But that’s how they work – they bring in entry-level users with their slick ads for the latest’n’greatest cutting edge technology, and in doing so … this is the truly evil aspect of it … create an army of new hepcat users who belittle us oldsters by shaming us for not being “with it,” thereby minimizing the effect of our righteous and well-founded outrage.

I’ll see you in hell, Gillette. I'll be the one who hasn't shaved in a while.

[UPDATE:] I've thought about it a little more, and I guess I kind of see an advantage of a bunch of blades. It's certainly not a closer shave (... the 19th blade pulls the whisker even FURTHER out ... yeah, right ...), but the blade would be so wide that you could do your whole face with just a quarter-inch stroke.** Being an extremely lazy person, I'll say that if they added a beer holder, I'm in.

*That’s poorly set up and truly horrible even by my extremely low standards, and I hope you’ll have the kindness in your hearts to one day forgive me.
** Go to town with the quarter-inch stroke jokes. This is not the Center For The Refinement Of Humor's website.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Day Weekend In The Life

While this blog exists explicitly for the purpose of chronicling my quixotic pursuit of the lovely-and-not-seen-since-2nd-grade Daisy Ann Spinnamaker (it’s in my mission statement), lulls in my progress in that grand effort occasionally necessitate me jotting down some of the things that are happening in the shorter term.

I’m certainly not deserving of such an alignment-of-the-planets type of weekend, but sweet onion chutney, here’s what’s in the queue:

The Tour de Fat (tomorrow) – a crazy-ass day of bike stuff, starting with a parade of hundreds of seriously-not-quite-right people dressed up riding bizarre bicycles, followed by music, food, and general debauchery.

John Prine (tomorrow night) – an evening with The Live Acorn listening to a legendary songwriter. She’s currently in a “my dad has really good taste in music” phase (as opposed to the “can I change this?” phase of a year ago) and is really excited for the concert (hearing her sing the Iris Dement part of “In Spite Of Ourselves,” in which she states of her male counterpart that “he ain’t got laid in a month of Sundays, I caught him once, and he was sniffin’ my undies” is, well … odd, let’s say).

The Western Idaho State Fair (starts tonight) – pygmy goats, Pronto Pups, tube tops, and more blue eye shadow than you can shake a stick at. Imagine if Picasso hung out with rednecks during his blue period.

Purty Girl coming in from out of town (tonight) – She’s purty. And a girl.

And best of all – tomorrow is National Spumoni Day.

mmMMMmmmmm pygmy goats spumoni …

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kids Today ...

We’ve come so far as a society with regard to caring for our children and providing for them a safe environment in which to grow up. You may hear someone from an older generation bemoan the fact that, for example, more kids wear bike helmets these days, as if safety precautions are somehow robbing them of a crucial element of childhood, but I think that the worry that we have as parents, as long as it isn’t taken to neurotic extremes, is generally a not-unhealthy thing. Had it occurred to someone 35 years ago that letting children ride in the rearward-facing back seat of a station wagon for 400 miles with the window down and exhaust fumes being sucked in might not be the best thing ever, well, maybe I’d be able to grasp such concepts as imaginary numbers, proper usage of who/whom, and the icing rule.

So given the current culture of (perhaps over) protecting our kids, what the hell kind of parents would let a 15-year-old girl go off to San Francisco unsupervised for a week with three of her friends? My god, do we not even have Social Services anymore?

Well, though it perhaps puts off the “Parents Of The Year” award for the EMDAMOTLA* and me for a while, The Live Acorn has been out and about in the City By The Bay since last Wednesday. I asked very nicely if she would be sure to call or at least text me twice a day just so that I could sleep at night, and that went well for the first couple of days. Since then, our phone conversations have tapered off and can be summarized thusly:

Dad, I have a blister on my finger that’s surrounded by a red ring and it’s swelling up. The internet says I’ve been bitten by a brown recluse.
And
Dad, I dyed my hair.

The spider conversation was fairly amusing … listening to a teen-aged girl trying to be nonchalant as she’s asking what actually happens in cases of necrotic arachnidism and if she’s going to die is a bit comical. As for the hair … well, she described her new color as “auburn,” which I assume means that she looks something like Milla Jojovich in The 5th Element.

I did buy her a journal before she left and asked that she write some thoughts and notes about the goings-on of each day. It’s not like she does anything I ask anyway, but with any luck, we’ll have our first Guest Blogger EVAH here within the week, regaling us with sordid tales of the dark underbelly of The Golden Gate City stories about how she was asleep by 9:30 every night.

Like I really want to know.

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

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Drunk Post, Part I

Okay, I might be a little tipsy at this point. But I rented "The Bucket List," which is a movie.

By "movie," in this case, I mean (this is my opinion only, and I'm writing this now for the express purpose of seeing if my opinion changes) some goddamned excuse to make money by pairing Nicholson and Freeman together in a feel-good ... well, movie. I'd probably have some other way of stating that using the word "cinematic,", except, you know, I'm a little tipsy.

So I'm going to watch it, because I want to see if it actually turns out that there's some message about doing things while you're alive and having those goals as such, rather than thinking about things you want to do before you die. To me, those are really different questions. I assume that the movie will turn out that way, because, well, Hollywood people do that kind of thing well, and are smarter than me.

Me go watch. Me write later if not durnk.

[UPDATE:] Oh for hellz sake did THAT suck. I'm sorry I wasted 2 hours of my life, but I'm REALLY sorry that I ever even thought about posting about this, and I apologize whole-heartedly to my reader.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Can We Run The Video, Sal?

I’ve often written about my roomie here … the goofy dog with whom I share Casa de Acorn. To date, though, it’s been just that … simply writing (well, and the occasional photo). To truly appreciate just what a burden it is to try and coexist with her, though, really requires seeing her in her full live Indiocity. Since she’s not allowed to leave the country, however (it has to do with a failed, if ambitious, international diamond smuggling caper … the gag order prevents me from saying more than that), I’ve taken a little video of her so that my readers in the Congo can get a better idea of what I go through, day in and day out.

video
Above: She’s just not quite … right …

Let me point out a couple of things.

First, notice that she almost took off after I said “O.” I’ve lectured her time and time again on the dangers of making assumptions about what people are going to say, and trust me, it was a fluke that she stopped. Or maybe I was stepping on her tail. But for all she knew, I was going to say “O…..klahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plain …” (I often burst out into musical numbers while shuffling about the house).

Second, it’s clear that I DID say “OK,” despite the brief inter-syllabic pause. The fact that she had forgotten the “O” part by the time I said “K” indicates to me that she has an attention span of less than a second. My god, there can’t be much more than rudimentary brain stem activity going on in that skull. I think that “breathe,” “eat,” and “literally bite the hand that feeds me” are about the extent of her functions. Not being able to avoid plowing into me upon her return is certainly evidence that there's not a lot of neural activity dedicated to motor skills.

Luckily, she’s got her undeniable beauty to get her through life.

Above: The Paris Hilton of the canine set.

I ask not for your pity, but perhaps now, when you see me sobbing softly in the corner of the pub, tears falling one-by-one from my cheek into my beer, you'll have a slightly greater sense of the world in which I reside.