Monday, June 28, 2010

Going To The Dogs

The Devil Dog has had her boyfriend over for the last few days. Indy weighs in at around 70 lbs (31.75 k), and Cooper goes around 90 lbs (40.82 k) … this makes for greatly displaced furniture as they rumble around the house gnawing on each other. They hold to a fairly strict 15/5 schedule, wherein there are 15 minutes of fierce battle ...

Above: Michael Vick ain't got nothing on me.

followed by 5 minutes of sweet tender make-up lovins ...

Above: Oh, baby, I didn't mean those things ...

The cycle continues during all waking hours. They're ... "special" dogs.

And yes, that is a pink wooden bicycle in the background of the first picture. Sometimes I get bored.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chair Man Of The Bored

On craigslist, there are pitchers, and there are catchers.

Wait … let me start over … let's just go with "buyers" and "sellers." I mean, I think there are “pitchers” and “catchers” on craigslist, but in all honesty, I think this is an instance where the saying “ignorance is bliss” really holds true, and I try not to venture into certain subdirectories of the website, lest both my ignorance and my bliss be torn from me like duct tape by a dominatrix (a service, I’ve heard, that is available on craigslist … sweet sufferin’ safewords, I’m growing less blissful with every click of the mouse!).

Anyway, I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of craigslist, and have found multitudes of fantastic bargains there (my offers of marriage every time a trailer home comes up in the “free” section remain unaccepted; it’s almost as if she doesn’t realize the sincerity with which I ask … as if she can’t picture me typing the email, as I do, on bended knee). However, all of my experiences, all of my transactions, have been from the purchasing end (much like my forays into the world of prostitution). Never before had I attempted to sell or give something away there, but damnit, I had a chair that had to go, and I wasn’t going to let my apprehension stop me! Not this time! No sir!

The chair itself was this oversize bamboo thingy that was just too big for Casa de Acorn, so I thought I’d give it away. I took a picture of it, and excitedly transferred the image to my computer. My hands were trembling as I pushed the “Post” button, and I giggled nervously with each step completed. I was posting my ad just prior to leaving for work, so I knew that I wouldn’t know the magnitude of the response until I arrived home in the afternoon. Nine hours of nail-biting, wondering if “Big Ole Comfy Chair” was a catchy enough title to attract any interest. What if I simply wasn’t an adequate wordsmith for the free-stuff-notice genre?

It turned out my worries were for naught, because upon opening my email, I found 140 messages waiting. I felt like Sally Field at the Oscars. “You like my chair!” I sobbed. “You really like my chair!”

I wish I could say that this story ended on such an emotional peak. I called the person who responded first, thinking that the fairest approach. Sure enough, he wanted it, and we arranged a time for him to stop by and pick it up. Oh, would that I had simply deleted the other messages. My heartstrings would remain even now unpulled, had I not succumbed to the temptation of glancing at the inquiries of the unfortunate chair-seekers whose quests remain unfulfilled.

“My wife and I just had twins …”

“My husband lost his job, and we just moved here, and we don’t have any furniture …”

“I’m a single mom trying to get a new home set up …”

“My mother had a chair just like this, and seeing the picture brought back so many memories …”

“Dude, I could totally bake for, like, days in that chair.”

I’m not quite sure why I’m writing this. Maybe I’m just overwhelmed by being reminded of all the heartwrenching stories that everyone around us has – friends, acquaintances, strangers – stories that are unique to each, but that in some way ... if not forgotten, if not ignored ... make us all a little more like family, and that ignorance of the stories of others is not bliss, but rather, a curse, often self-cast, that makes us a little less human.

More likely, though, is that I’m just bored at work.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's A Legal Matter, Baby ...

I’m no big city lawyer, and by no means should any reader ever interpret anything I write as legal advice. Still, as one who has had some experience with legal processes and law enforcement*, I believe that I have ample standing to comment on certain aspects of our legal system. Having firmly established my authority in such matters, then, I would like to state that whichever Congress passed (as well as whichever President it was that neglected to exercise the power of the veto on) the Second Law of Thermodynamics were all a bunch of assholes.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics (they couldn’t even use “under” instead of “of,” so that we'd at least have a giggle-inducing acronym? The Salt Lake City, Utah City Council exhibited the same spinelessness when they declined to name their light rail system “Salt Lake Urban Transit.” I mean, come on … “I rode the SLUT this morning?” How could that not be good for a community?) states that “the entropy of an isolated system which is not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time.”

In other words, this shit’s gonna fall apart.

I really hate that law. If anyone is “an isolated system which is not in equilibrium,” it’s me. Currently, 30% of the bicycle tires in my house are flat, I’ve somehow forgotten to put the garbage out on the curb for three weeks in a row, the backyard weeds are as high as an elephant’s eye, and my personal life is in complete and utter chaos. While I certainly respected former Idaho Congressman Bill Sali’s effort to repeal the law of gravity (I would have finally been able to slam dunk, though admittedly, only once, as I would have then continued to float upward into space …), his priorities clearly were misplaced. Not that he’s entirely to blame, of course … Richard Nixon established a precedent by instating a price freeze via Presidential Order, and President Obama could certainly do the same with levels of entropy. I suspect that he is a closet conservative, holding the notion that it’s an individual’s responsibility to keep his or her life from falling apart, and that it’s not the role of government to come wash the dishes when they get so overwhelming that it’s too depressing to stay in the house and there’s a baseball game on at the pub so wouldn’t it be a good idea to find a bike with two full tires and ride over and have a beer? That’s cold-hearted plutocracy, if you ask me. As Marie-Antionette famously scoffed: “Let them drink Schlitz!”

For the life of me, I can’t understand why people don’t want to discuss politics with me at the bar.

* Not to boast, of course, but there's a certain Box Elder** (Utah) County prosecutor who rues the day that he decided to move forward with those trumped-up charges. He probably still hasn't stopped crying.

** What do you call a mormon gynecologist? A box elder! HAHAHAHAhahahehehehehe

Monday, June 14, 2010

Le Tour de Nampa

I can only assume that The Live Acorn got her competitive spirit from The EMDAMOTLA*, because trying to be the first to say “I give up” is about as competitive as I get. That, combined with the fact that I try to avoid any physical activity not involving a refrigerator and resulting in a fresh frosty beverage being in my hands at all costs, would lead one to logically conclude that my voluntarily waking up at 6:30 am to go on a 35-mile bicycle ride would be highly improbable at best.

Inexplicably, the LA and I found ourselves lined up for the 9:00 am start of the Bob Lebow Bike Tour on Saturday, two cotton-clad lost souls awash in a sea of lycra, pilgrims in an unholy land. Much of the lycra was aesthetically pleasing and worn well, though some was an affront to humanity (to be honest, I was wearing lycra shorts, but had regular shorts over them, as I like to believe that I am a considerate cyclist).

The ride itself was not without incident. I heard the tell-tale “ping” of a broken spoke early on, though the wheel stayed as true as a love-lorn traveler pining away for his betrothed in a lonely hotel room. (It had a slight wobble, so we can allow the traveler in our analogy to splurge for some pay-per-view softcore.) I had a lapse in judgment regarding beverage choice, and the quinine from my gin-and-tonic made a mess of my bottom bracket. The Live Acorn’s water bottle cage snapped off, causing a massive crash in the peloton a little panic when she stopped fairly abruptly with a couple of riders close behind her, and finally, she was the victim of a flat tire at around mile 20. Oh, and perhaps the Weather Bunny can explain how there can be a headwind the entire time on a goddamned loop route!

Luckily, they had sag-wagons, and the LA finally showed up at the post-ride bar-b-que, just as I was getting ready to drive home. Maybe next year she’ll be more prepared – I truly considered giving her my spare and letting her use my pump, but sometimes fathers have to invoke a little “tough love” to teach life’s lessons. There’s no coddling in cycling! You know who coddled his kid? Hitler’s dad, that’s who.

She rode extremely well, keeping her cadence up around 90 rpm, and seemed hell-bent on turning my lovely spring jaunt into Paris–Roubaix. At one point, a gentleman passed us and asked “Are you having fun? Because that’s all that counts!” She apparently didn’t take that well, as she asked “Is he saying we’re going slow?” and climbed out of the saddle and took off. Thanks, buddy. Thanks a lot.

So we’re now at four years in a row participating in the ride, and I don’t think I’ll be able to dissuade her from the metric century (62 mile) event next year. I guess I’ve got a year to come up with an excuse – it was a true bit of good fortune that the US/England fĂștbol match was that afternoon, though the eye-rolling as she sarcastically muttered “yeah, dad, you’re such a huge soccer fan …” led me to believe she may have doubted my sincerity.

Maybe I’ll try to bluff her and suggest we ride the full century … what could possibly go wrong? It’s not like she’s competitive or anything.

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

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Rise And Fall Of Fred And Ginger

It shouldn’t come as any surprise to readers who haven’t actually witnessed the horror to find out that I’m one hell of a bad dancer (I sincerely apologize to those who have seen it). So naturally, I felt fairly confident upon entering last night’s “Boise’s Worst Dancer” competition.

Of course, I wasn’t taking anything for granted. Overconfidence can be disastrous, and there appeared to be some extremely unskilled hoofers in the crowd. Just to be on the safe side, I thought that I’d perhaps gain an advantage by distinguishing myself from the other competitors … but how? To the drunken onlookers who were serving as judges, I might appear to be just one more rhythmically challenged doofus, dancing a waltz to a rhumba beat!

It occurred to me that the competition was for Boise’s Worst DancER, not DancERS, and that if I could somehow manage to find a partner, surely that would do the trick. The person with whom I was there has far too much grace and elegance to dance at my level of atrociousness, but, as fortune would have it, there was a woman at the next table practicing some truly awful material. I somehow, despite my usual oafishness, and likely due to some defect in her mental circuitry, managed to strike up a conversation employed my ever-smooth charms and general suave-osity to engage her in conversation, and soon, we were set to trip the light fantastic heavy tragic.

Our names were called fairly late in the evening, and we had seen some formidable non-talent, but we still felt strong going in. Sweet bounding Baryshnikov, what a spectacle we were! She was busting cheerleader moves and rocking The Elaine, I pulled out The Sprinkler, The Sailor, and The Swim … she blew the crowd away with The Grocery Shopper, I jazzed things up with a couple of tap moves … we threw in some attempted swing dancing, along with The Robot, and the routine ended with the Awkward Junior High Slow Dance. This was all done to “Hollaback Girl,” by Gwen Stefani. It was sublime.

Sadly, I had overestimated her lack of talent. It turns out that she really was a cheerleader in high school (not currently; back when she was in high school ... duh ...), and obviously, a good one, because we didn’t even place. I really shouldn’t blame her, of course ... I mean, I could have left my cycling shoes on (god, what was I thinking?). But we fell victim to one of the classic blunders ... the most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well known is this: Never compete in a bad dance contest against fat guys with no shirts.

[UPDATE:] Word on the street is that there's video. Oh, sweet jeebus, no ...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sleeping The Sleep Of The Innocents

I’ve got to figure out an effective way to get to sleep. Lying awake from 2 am to 5 am night after night really isn’t doing me much good. The whisky method, while certainly capable of inducing “sleep,” has certain ramifications the next day, not the least of which are what I refer to as “appearance issues.” (“Appearance,” in this context, includes not simply a certain level of dishevelment in the visual sense, but also a certain … aura, if you will … of an olfactory nature. Reeking of Talisker at 7:30 am when the Big Boss strolls into your office is frowned upon, apparently.)

I’m not a big fan of ingesting non-recreational prescription drugs in general, but Ambien in particular seems to me to be something of a “chick drug.” Sort of the pharmaceutical equivalent of a new-style convertible Volkswagen Beetle, I guess … an over-the-counter alternative is Benadryl, which hospitals purportedly use to calm infants and children. I would estimate that I get called a “baby” about as often as I get called a “girl” (both occur with remarkable regularity), so what the hell, maybe either of those would suffice.

I’ve heard hypnosis works, but there’s some paranoid part of me that is positive the hypnotist will be some sort of prankster, and that one night at The Cactus, someone will say “rhododendron,” and I’ll climb up on the bar and start squawking like a goddamned rooster (not that I haven’t done that before; it just wasn’t due to hypnotism in the past … also, if someone could let me know if they’ve taken my picture down from the DNS board behind the bar, I’d appreciate it).

So I don’t know. Maybe just biting the bullet and getting up earlier would be exhausting enough to get me through the night. That seems less new-agey than special herbs or a bubbling-brook sound machine, and safer than autoerotic asphyxiation, I suppose. Still, it’s good to know I’m not quite yet out of options.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Woods Too! Woods NOT!

As I am continuously striving to better myself, and to avoid complacency and simple acceptance of the status quo at all costs, I take great pride in being able to report that I have set a new personal best in one of the basic camping statistics – Longevity Outdoors, Start of Excursion to Return (LOSER).

I drove up to Garden Valley on Friday at around 2:00 pm … just me and the Hell Hound in the Great Outdoors (the budgie was left at home). It promised to be a much needed relaxing evening of reading around the campfire, and the Weather Bunny had promised that the skies would clear up at some point during the night, so I even harbored just the slightest hope of some star-gazing.

I was feeling especially optimistic as I drove through a blinding sleet-storm about halfway there, thinking that that was the worst of it, and it would be nothing but blue skies and daffodils at the campground, the Payette would have magically turned to champagne, and in all likelihood, a pillow fight would break out amongst the scantily clad sorority girls who would most certainly be in the adjacent site.

That turned out to not quite be the case.

It kept drizzling, of course, but it wasn’t too unpleasant ... at first. I got the tent all set up, with no help from Indy, who was on a 30 foot rope and kept getting wound up in the car tires and bushes and trees and what-not. Every two minutes or so, I would have to disentangle her from whatever the hell she’d gotten herself wrapped up in, but eventually, the stove was set up, the fire was lit, my camp chair was situated just so, a frosty beer awaited me in the can holder, and nirvana would be mine, if only for one night.

“Reah, right …” Indy muttered, and proceeded to drag the rope across the picnic table, knocking over and breaking the lantern. So at that point, I was not only wet, but without a light source in an ever darkening forest … with a beast who was staring at me quite menacingly, and who, it then occurred to me, had been paying an inordinate amount of attention to how to work the clutch on the way up. “My god,” I thought to myself. “She means to … she means to …” I couldn’t finish the sentence, even to myself, so horrific were my imaginings. Her demonic grin, from across the fire pit, will haunt me to the grave and beyond.

Above: The Dead Acorn unwinding next to the warm glow of a pleasant fire (as seen by Indy).

Well, it took less than 10 seconds to have that tent torn down and everything loaded up in the carrier. I was able to get the dog into the car by diving in the back, scrambling up to the front as she nipped at my heels, then closing the door behind me as I ran around and slammed the rear door as well. She finally seemed to accept that it would not be the night of her Feast Of Feasts, and we were able to drive back to town without further incident. She didn’t even complain when I stopped for a couple of minutes at the Low Down Dirty Shame Saloon.

So as I mentioned, I set a new LOSER record … out by 2, back by 10. And when it comes to self-improvement ... that, my friends, is what being a rugged, fearless, wilderness-ey kind of guy is all about.