Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spooning Leads To Forking

There are no words to accurately describe the grief I currently feel, so I’ll just say it bluntly and without grace:

I broke my spoon.

My Kool-Aid spoon, to be precise. True Kool-Aid aficionados don’t need to be told that the only legitimate way to mix a pitcher is by using a wooden spoon, preferably one made from birch. And such was my spoon, hand-carved by my great-great-grandfather and handed down through the generations.

Interestingly, it was first used solely for punishment purposes (Kool-Aid wasn’t introduced until 1927), as, when ordered by great-great-grampa Eustace to “go cut me a switch,” great-grampa Festus would often disappear for hours, after which time great-great-grampa Eustace had inevitably gotten into the jug-o’-shine and forgotten that there was even a punishment waiting to be meted out in the first place. So eventually great-great-grampa Eustace shaped himself a whoopin’-spoon so that he’d always have something at the ready when great-grampa Festus acted up or got into the jug-o’-shine himself.

Eventually, though, as brutal torture became less accepted as a form of discipline for children, and as our society’s addiction to Kool-Aid swept across the nation (did you know that Kool-Aid originally contained heroin? True story.) the spoon became dedicated to one purpose, and one purpose only: stirring the ‘Aid.

Every time it was used, the spoon would soak up a bit of the flavor, and in turn, add a bit back to the next pitcher. The flavorical history was woven like a rich tapestry; indeed, the spoon was as much a living document containing our familial history as it was a simple method of inducing chemical dissolution. Even so, its use caused some contentious moments. I remember the first time my younger sister used it to mix up that new high-falootin’ Oh-Yeah Orange-Pineapple crap. While the OYOP incident is still something that’s not spoken of during our all-too-rare visits (I compare the new flavors to the introduction of cousin Oliver to the Brady household, which, and I’m sure that I don’t need to explain this to my educated readers, is NOT a compliment), we eventually realized that blood is thicker than Kool-Aid*, and we carried on.

As broken hearted as I am over this, I’ll pick up the pieces (not literally; the Devil Dog picked up the actual pieces and chewed them up), and find another spoon. Maybe I’ll even carve one myself – I’ve yet to whittle on my front porch, but it’s on my list of Things To Do. A friend of mine offered to create an elaborate water-wheel type of mixer with servo-motors and pulleys and mirrors and a little bird from a cuckoo clock that would cheep when the mix was sufficient (though quite brilliant, she’s a bit ... off, let's say), but I guess I’ll always be a little old fashioned when it comes to this kind of thing. No, I’ve always been a spoon man, and I guess that’s what I’ll always be. I still remember the folksy wooden sign mounted on the cabinet in the house where I grew up:

‘Tis no sign of sick depravity
To stroke and caress your birch concavity.
I’ll miss you, old spoon.

* Occasionally, when my older brother did the mixing, this turned out to be untrue, as he liked to only use one quart of water, and would add chocolate syrup (and sometimes marshmallows), so that the resultant goop was slightly thicker than blood. Tasty, though.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

There's Not Mushroom In Here

I had some fairly major things happen in my life over the last week. Most were good, a couple bad, but even the bad ones will be good in the long run, I imagine. I’m a “hey, my glass is only half full – can you top this off, please?” kind of guy, and this blog thingy I’ve got going here certainly isn’t where my legions of faithful readers come to hear me talk about my personal life. But suffice it to say, it’s been interesting.

And so, of course, I did what any person with a lick of sense would do … I ingested some hallucinogens for the first time in over 25 years. As I’ve been removed from the drug culture for a score and a quarter (oh, how clever is that?), talking to the guy from whom I was pretty sure I could get this stuff was a bit awkward:

Dead Acorn: I’m, umm, looking for, you know, some Scooby snacks.

Guy From Whom I Was Pretty Sure I Could Get This Stuff:
Scooby snacks? Did you just say Scooby snacks?

Dead Acorn:
Umm, maybe … why? Is that wrong?

GFWIWPSICGTS: Jesus. Jesus Chr … it's just that no one .. no one says that any … look, okay, I know what you want. Just shut up.

Dead Acorn: Is it still in grams?

Yeah. Yeah, it’s still in grams. But still ... shut up. Seriously.

So I’d like to thank the drug culture for succeeding in teaching the youth (and former youth) of America about the metric system, where the public education system so obviously failed (with the exception of the cross-county athletic team). Oh, and Schoolhouse Rock, without which I would not know that a gram weighs about as much as a paper clip or a raisin.

Anyway, I ate my little mushroomy things, and went out to spend a lovely evening on my front steps. I really can’t imagine what type of lifestyle anyone reading this might think I lead; probably that of a continent-hopping jet-setter doing lines off of the curvaceous bodies of Hollywood starlets, but it's really not like that, for the most part. My existence is one of simple beauty: here’s what I get to see from my steps:

Above: A bit of a cliché, what with the neighbor having the white picket fence and all, but I’m comfortable as a cliché.

I can hear you even as you're reading this: "Oh my golly, how relaxing! Gosh, The Dead Acorn is so lucky!" Yeah, well check this out:

Above: Not disturbing whatsoever.

THIS IS WHAT I HAVE TO LIVE WITH! Menacing curmudgeonly flowers threatening me (or at least passing judgment in a really condescending fashion). There's no way in hell that thing's not gonna mess me up in my sleep. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT, HAUNTING DEVIL-FLOWER!

I think I'll tape a post-it note with "EDIT BLOG" written backwards on it on my forehead before I go to bed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Into The Wild (But Not Too Far From A Store, Just In Case)

Well, the first camping excursion of the summer (spring?) is out of the way. We in the Boise area are pretty dang lucky to be able to drive an hour or so and be out with the bears and wolves and their bloodlust for human flesh. The Payette River is also home to the ravenous Freshwater Mountain Piranha, which makes the 5:00 am cobweb-clearing head-dunk a little exciting.

I did take the Devil Dog, after being guilted into it by the person I had asked to feed her Friday night. It’s not that I didn’t think she’d enjoy it; it’s that I knew she would wander off, make friends with all of the vicious wildlife, and bring them back to the campsite. That’s just her way – many is the time when I’ve woken up at home only to find a bunch of beer cans strewn around the kitchen and some passed-out raccoons that she invited in during the night. Sure, she’s evil incarnate, but she’s very friendly.

She did seem to have a good time … there was another dog along, and it was his first time camping, so they were pretty goofy together. They disagreed about fire-starting methods (Indy’s a log-cabin girl, Bolt’s a tepee guy. I explained that it’s not the style of kindling prep, it’s the amount of gasoline that determines the success of the blaze). We had a fine fire, with eyebrows largely intact.

The only rough moment was when it was time to go to bed … Indy was having no part of getting into the tent. She had the classic front-leg-lock going on, with me inside trying to pull her in. She wound up sleeping in the car, but the next day walked willingly into one of the other tents, so obviously the problem wasn't that she didn’t want to be in a tent, but that she didn't want to be in a tent with me. It’s nothing I haven’t experienced before. I'm not saying it doesn't hurt; just that I'm used to it.

All in all, it was a nice little escape from the burdens of city life. Garlic burgers, plenty of beer, no digits lost, no creepy banjo music from three sites down. There may even be a song coming out of this ("lyrics" "written" early Saturday morning):
She said that I’m worthless and a mother fucking douche
I said yeah, I got my flaws
But you know what baby? At least my dog ain’t got them … muddy paws …

She asked what’s your favorite scary shark movie of all time
I said I don’t know, but it sure ain’t Jaws
And one more thing darlin’ … my dog ain’t got them … muddy paws …
Sure, it may need some finessing, but that's all part of the creative process. I mentioned there was plenty of beer, right?

[UPDATE:] As we were up and out pretty early (in the grand tradition of Flash Camping), I heard words that I never thought I'd hear from the bartender at The Dirty Shame Saloon: "Sorry, we're not open yet." I've never been so proud.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oil's Well That Ends Well

I mentioned the other day that my life is somewhat “one of mindless meandering, with no goals of any substance, and no real sense of purpose.” While this is certainly true, I’ve always had an Owen Meany-esque feeling that I must be here for some important reason. Don’t even start with that whole “yeah, but that’s just a psychological self-preservation tool that lazy-asses like you possess to excuse … nay, justify … your pathetic existence by identifying your slacker lifestyle as part of a grand plan in which you ultimately save the planet through action entirely dependent on your sloth.” You know why? Because fuck you, that’s why … it’s true.

Let me explain …

I’m sure that after reading everything I’ve written about the hell-hound, you often ask yourself “Why? Why does he keep her around? Even the staunchest dog-loving-SPCA-card-carrying animal rights activist wouldn’t blame him if she had some type of ‘accident’.” I’ve often wondered that myself, and I’ve concluded that, ironically, it’s out of sheer laziness. I just can’t work up the motivation to make the call and have her capped.

I say “ironically”* because my laziness is, along with the aforementioned devil-dog, an integral part of the situation I currently find myself in; the situation which has finally revealed to me my true purpose in this life. You see, in addition to the dog being extremely bloodthirsty (and quite sharp of tooth, I might add), she also sheds. Not the “oh, spring is here, perhaps I should give the dog a quick brushing” type of shedding – that’s not even close. If you watch closely enough for a couple of minutes, you can actually see new hairs pushing out through the follicles, launching the old ones into the air, where they form giant dust-bunny hairballs before they even reach the ground. (This is ill-advised, however, as she is distrusting of people who stare at her, and doing so will often result in a loss of a digit or two, if not a full limb. I'm typing this with my nose.)

Ummm … Dead Acorn, you’re kind of rambling here. Cut to the chase.

Anyway, while surfing the net on the taxpayer dime keeping myself up to date on the topics of the day, I read that hair can absorb up to 3 times its weight in oil, and that there is a call for donations to aid in the cleanup of the oil volcano currently gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Yeah, baby ... six years of constant shedding + Dead Acorn too lazy to ever have swept = environmental disaster averted. Of course, I assume FEMA will send people over to collect it, because my lazy ass is busy watching Glee**.

* I'm pretty sure I don't know exactly what "ironic" means, but ironically, I don't think anyone else does, either. Like all those people who make fun of the Alanis Morrisette song "Isn't It Ironic" by pointing out that her lyrical situations aren't examples of irony. Umm, I think some of them are. Not that I'm a big fan of Ms. Morrisette ... far from it ... it just seems that "ironic" is a label used quite often inappropriately. Luckily, since no one really knows a precise definition, it's not really a point worth expending much time arguing about when you could be drinking a beer, though the same cannot be said about blog post footnotes, where I think it's safe to say that enough can't be said. Ironic, huh?

** ummm ... not really. That one time when you stopped by unannounced, I don't even know why the tv was on, much less why it was on that channel.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Do You Believe In Miracles? YESSSS!

The Live Acorn’s volleyball team had their final tournament of the Club season over the weekend, and oh, what a season it was.

To truly appreciate the team’s achievements, we have to go all the way back to before the civil war the end of the school season, when Club tryouts, teams, and locations were being announced. Much to the disbelief of the athletes and parents of two schools in particular (one of which is attended by The Live Acorn), all of the Club teams were excluding them from tryouts. Oh, except for, you know, the two really tall girls. They're okay ...

(Note: I would imagine that some of my less gullible readers might suspect that not everything I write here is fully based in reality, and I will concede that they may be correct in their suspicions. Unfortunately, in this case, I am not embellishing in the least.)

Well, obviously, this could not stand! One of the parents, in an impressive display of moxie, took the initiative, lined up a practice gym and a coach, and got them on the Club schedule. “We don’t need them!” she exclaimed. “We’ll put on our own show! Gosh, we can build a stage back in the barn, and we’ll make our own costumes! After all, what is a heart, but just a mechanical pump? And are the veins not merely tubes, and the liver but a filter?” We let her ramble on a bit, then noticed that some of the girls were getting a little frightened, so we walked her over to the bar and got her some whisky. In any case, they had a team!

Turns out they lost every game and never even scored a single point. So great was the humiliation, a majority of the young ladies are currently in counseling. The organizing parent has been forced to move out of state, her life in ruins.

Ha ha! Not really.

No, this ragtag collection of castoffs and misfits practiced their butts off, which paid off in continuous and vast improvement over the months. There were several weeks where I would have sworn that it wasn’t even the same team. (One of those weeks, I went to the wrong gym, where a 2-on-2 beach volleyball tournament was being held, so it literally wasn't the same team; that was a little more confusing than most weeks.)

Back to the final tournament: The first preliminary round took place Friday evening, and determined which teams would be in the “Gold” bracket, and which would be in the “Silver.” Three matches, three victories. Oh, I’m sorry … that’s three matches, three victories, bitchez (try to picture me moving both my head and finger back and forth as I type this, ala Phylicia Rashad), including wins over a couple of the teams from which they were "disinvited" from joining. And before you start criticizing me in the comments (did you know you can leave comments? Of my millions of readers, only about 4-5 ever do ... odd ...), let me be clear: I am not calling 14-year-old girls "bitchez" … it’s just a figure of speech meant to emphasize one’s superiority over others. Oh, and the other teams were pwned, too, whatever that means.

On Saturday, in the Gold bracket, the morning session comprised each team playing three games to determine the seeding for the single-elimination portion of the tournament. They dominated the first two, but were finally defeated by a team two years older and about a foot (.3048 meters) taller, on average. No matter … they earned a favorable seed, and looked good going forward.

Sure enough, they beat a tough team in the first match, losing the first game, but winning the second and crushing their opponents' very will to live in the tie-breaker. My god, my heart was pounding like a Zulu’s war drum the night before a missionary slaughter. The whole situation was eerily similar to the 1980 Olympic Hockey tournament. Unfortunately, the volleyball analog of Finland was a group of 16+ girls from out of town who regularly played against 18+ teams, and who beat them pretty soundly.

But in the end, they finished 4th, had a great season, lots of fun, and they walked out with their heads held high.

Boise Blaze, you ROCK.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Let The Healing Begin ...

As longtime readers of this little bloggy thingy know, my life is less an example of long-held dreams pursued with focus, drive, and determination, than one of mindless meandering, with no goals of any substance, and no real sense of purpose. But while I say this with no slight trepidation, I believe that may have changed yesterday.

I was down to the Winco (I recently took an on-line test of regional accents, and apparently I don’t have one, even though I’ve lived in Idaho most of my life, so I’m trying to pick up some of the local colloquialisms … so yeah, I was down to the Winco …) doing a little post-work grocery shopping. As I was heading down the pasta aisle, I walked past a couple of elderly women, both in wheelchairs. I heard one of them say “oh, I bet this gentleman will help us,” and though the term “gentleman” is rarely used in reference to me, I went out on a limb and asked if I could be of any assistance. Sure enough, they were trying to get a couple of bottles from one of the higher shelves, and I was more than happy to be of service.

As I said, I was shopping directly after work, so I was wearing one of those shirts that has buttons up the front, on the collar, and on the sleeves (dress shirts? Is that the term?). Further, my cart was full of vegetables, so that, while I don’t clean up all that well in general, I would guess that I was as close to respectability as I ever get. Usually it’s a stained t-shirt and a cart full of cheap-ass beer. In any case, one of the women said to the other “oh my … a nice looking young man who shops! Someone must be very lucky!”

Now, I’m fairly certain that both of my readers are aware of my long and pathetic history of failed relationships, so it should come as no surprise that a statement such as that would bring to the forefront all of the angst and trauma that I usually keep stuffed away in the dark recesses of my subconscious. I immediately fell to my knees and began weeping openly. “Oh, that it were so!” I cried. “Would that I were so fortunate …”

I began regaling the women of my tales of lost love, of Jenny Slottenheimer, who, back in the 6th grade, kissed me on the cheek before kicking me in the shin ... of Marcie Millingford, in junior high, who broke up with me but didn't tell me for 5 weeks ... I told of the tear-filled days of high school, and the heartbreaks of my sophomore years in college.

Well, I hadn’t even gotten into the 1990s, but there was something of a crowd gathering. It almost appeared as if the women were desperately trying to move out of the aisle, presumably so that we could go to a quieter area in which I could continue my narrative, but the influx of fellow shoppers made movement of their wheelchairs impossible.

It was at this point that something happened that I suspect will change my life forever.

They walked. They pushed themselves up, arms quivering and in obvious pain, and walked.

To be perfectly clear: I’m not attempting to draw any comparisons to any other healers in history, and they were obviously somewhat delerious from their efforts, but I’m pretty sure they were saying, almost imperceptibly, “Jesus Christ,” as they struggled out of their chairs and down the aisle toward the front door. One of them was so inspired that she used the more colorful “Jesus Fucking Christ.”

Just then, someone in a Winco shirt approached me and said “sir, you … you … you need to leave.” “I KNOW!” I replied. “I’m sure I’m needed at the hospital!”

And so it appears that I’ve found my purpose on this earth. As I think back, it does seem that many times when I’m conversing with people, they find the inspiration and motivation to get up and go do something else, so perhaps I’ve been doing what I was put here for all along.

Glad to be of help.