Thursday, July 28, 2011

Forecast, Fivecast ... Whatever It Takes

I find it amazing sometimes that I have a “job.” As I may have mentioned, I’m one of those “shiftless no-good gubmint workers” that suckles at the public teat and provides absolutely no value whatsoever, all the while spending your hard-earned tax dollars on hookers and blow. Alternatively, from a non-Republican/Tea Bagger point of view, I work in a department that houses dangerous criminals and attempts to provide them with needed programming and education so that upon their eventual return to society, they will remain there as law-abiding, employed, tax-paying citizens. Meh … al-KAY-da, al-KI-da, as they say.

One of my primary duties in my position as Principal Number Maker-Upper is the generation of the annual forecast, which, in reality, is about 15 minutes of work just adding a few percentage points to whatever happened last year, but of which I’ve created the impression of requiring several months of spreadsheet manipulation and being left alone. (There’s no way in hell that that sentence is grammatically correct, but I’m going with it.)

Part of the aforementioned forecast generation process is convening an Advisory Committee, comprising several judges (including a Supreme Court Justice), legislators, various members of the law enforcement community, and just a bunch of big-shots in general, in order to get their advice on various legal and policy changes that may influence the prediction of the number of “guests” we may be having over the next year. It’s one of the rare occasions that I shave, put on a tie, and wash my coffee cup.

Unfortunately, the meeting was scheduled on a Thursday (I did not do the scheduling), which, on our Gregorian calendar, follows Wednesday (and comes before Friday, Friday, according to Rebecca Black). I say unfortunately, because Wednesday is the afternoon of Alive After Five, a free weekly beer/music/scantily-clad-people-watching fest held downtown during the summer.

Needless to say, I attended the event, and had a wonderful time enjoying the beautiful weather, partaking of a dram or two of lager, and listening to a great band I’d never heard of (Hey Marseilles – link includes a song you can listen to/download). This led to me smuggling in a bunch of beer to work this morning, using only my bloodstream. Ten minutes into the meeting, this exchange took place between me and the county sheriff:

County Sheriff: You know, Dead Acorn, whatever numbers you come up with for your forecast, I think you can add one to the Male Commitments in the Alcohol crime group.

Dead Acorn: Wha … (hic) … whathafug you mean?

County Sheriff: Just trust me on this one.

I eventually got through it, and, having “nodded off” only once or twice, repaired to my car for a congratulatory “Natty & Vladdy” (Natural Ice beer and Vladimir Vodka). I mean, my god ... I had to tie a tie (it only took me two attempts - a new personal best!), find matching socks, shave, and actually talk to people. What more do they want from me? I mean, I give, and I give, and I give until it hurts ... and then I give a little more.

The fact that I wore my Pez dispenser tie has to count for something.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Go Ahead, Bite The Big Apple ... Don't Mind The Maggots ...

The Live Acorn has been in New York City for the last couple of weeks, and is finally returning home tomorrow. She stayed with a close friend of the EMDAMOTLA* in some place called Manhattan (apparently New York City is a bit larger than Boise, and is subdivided into a number of neighborhoods referred to as “burros.” I’m not sure if they’re all named after alcoholic beverages). I’m also not sure what kind of parents would let a 15 16-year-old doe-eyed innocent girl from Idaho ride around on the NYC subway by herself, but I AM sure that Social Services ought to be notified.

The primary reason she was there was to attend something called “Camp Broadway,” which I’ve been assured is an essential step in the process of her becoming a star of stage and screen, which presumably will result in great wealth, thereby allowing me an early retirement in which I do nothing but putter around in the garage turning nice pieces of wood into sawdust and watch baseball games (much like Mother Teresa, most of what I do and think is ultimately self-serving). Apparently, one of the workshops was with an actor named Daniel Radcliffe, who, I’m told, was in a series of documentaries about a ceramics fanatic whose love for clay was such that he wouldn’t even take time away from the wheel to shave … The Hairy Potter, or something like that.**

A major milestone for her also took place during the trip, in that she turned Sweet 16. It’s a bit shocking, I must admit, to suddenly realize that “my god, it’s been 16 years and nine months since I’ve had a physical relationship with a woman” “holy mackerel! I have a 16-year-old daughter! Why the hell doesn’t she have a job?” As nice as it would have been to be able to celebrate her birthday with her, though, it’s nice she got to have such a wonderful trip. You know where I spent my 16th birthday?


Anyway, she’ll be back tomorrow, regaling me with stories of lavish debutante balls, wild nights on the Great White Way, and the general sense of magic and mystery that courses through the Big Apple. She’s been gone too long for my comfort, and I can’t wait to see her at the airport.

If she’s become a Yankees fan, she’s dead to me.

* Ex Mrs. Dead Acorn, Mother Of The Live Acorn
**I’m really, really sorry for that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bye! Bye! Cell! Cell!

For the third consecutive year, I’ve failed to remember my blogoversary (July 10). It’s less a day of celebration, of course, than it is a reminder of the freedom that the googletubez provides to self-publish all sorts of inanity and foist jibberish upon unsuspecting websurfers who find themselves having mistakenly clicked into my little corner of the interwebz. Still, it’s one of my three favorite July anniversaries.

I remembered this belatedly because it was also around that time that I gave up my old rotary telephone and land-line.

Above: Phone sex just seemed ... better somehow back then.

Unfortunately, the reason that this occurred to me is that my cellular telephone is currently not in working order. As soon as it boots up and updates the time, it shuts down and reboots, cycling through its startup routine over and over again, until the last electron in the battery has left the cathode and the anode is bursting with negativity.

In other words, shit doan work.

There have been brief periods where I was rendered phoneless in my relatively short time here in the 21st century, but those times, while stress-inducing, were easily remedied by a quick trip to the local cellular telephone store to get a new SIM card. My current situation, however, requires that a replacement telephone be sent via over-the-ground delivery. Hello? M.I.T.? CalTech? Is anyone even working on teleportation these day? Where the hell are my tax dollars going, anyway?

Anyway, my not-so-enjoyable-to-speak-to service technician (who had quite an odd accent for someone name “Jane”) informed me that the replacement phone would arrive within 6 days.


One hundred and forty four hours of brutal isolation, of relentless loneliness with no interaction save the nonsensical voices in my head. I don’t even have a soccer ball to anthropomorphize! I mean, yeah, the Jews were out in the desert for forty years, but at least they could chat with each other to pass the time. My god, my god … o, that I had just one more day with my phone. I would cherish every syllable spoken, letting the smooth vowels wash across my ears like a lover’s touch on a soft cheek, anticipating the shock of the hard consonants with the giddiness that one does the impending submersion into a cold mountain lake just before splashdown. Phone, o sweet, sweet phone, on my good dog’s ashes, I promise that never again will I take you or what joy you bring for granted.

*lonely sigh ...*

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Under Pressure

I made my second trip to see Dr. Quacky McQuackenstine in as many weeks yesterday, though this time just for a regular ole checkup (the voodoo antidepressants don’t seem to be resolving my Meralgia Paresthetica, by the way). When you get to be my age, and various vulture-esque great-great-grandchildren email you scary videos and then call to see if you’re still alive on a daily basis, you start thinking about taking care of yourself.

Prior to the examination proper, a nurse asked a few questions and took my blood pressure and pulse. “Yeah, baby … it’s milkshake time!” she exclaimed after the test. “Excuse me?” I replied. “Oh, nothing … it’s just that whenever someone here takes a blood pressure that beats the current highest recorded, the other nurses have to buy her a milkshake. Congratulations … you’re the new number 1!” I can’t remember the exact numbers … something like 560/375 or some such thing.

So finally, McQuackenstine comes in and starts mumbling about and tapping his computer screen like he knows what he’s doing, and asks about my BP.

Q McQ: Your blood pressure seems a bit high … do you eat a lot of salty foods?

Dead Acorn: No, in fact, I do my best to avoid them.

Q McQ: I see. (taps on his computer, no doubt looking up on the internet what else could cause hypertension.) Are you under any stress lately?

Dead Acorn: Well, let’s see … my sprinkler system is all messed up, and I’m going to have to dig up my lawn to repair it.

Q McQ: Well, that doesn’t seem too …

Dead Acorn: And we just finished the fiscal year at work and I’m essentially doing the jobs of four people, as my new boss and coworkers are somewhat clueless.

Q McQ: I can understa …

Dead Acorn: And a friend of mine has been staying with me since the beginning of June, and will be there through the end of July.

Q McQ: That cou ..

Dead Acorn: And his 16-year-old kid.

Q McQ: Yes, I …

Dead Acorn: And their 6-month-old puppy.

Q McQ: Very we …

Dead Acorn: And you’re about to stick your finger up my ass perform a rather invasive colon cancer screening.

Q McQ: I don’t think you nee …

Dead Acorn: And The Live Acorn is going to New York City for three weeks without either parent.

Q McQ: But …

Dead Acorn: And I think I’m out of beer at home. And …

At this point, he got up and shuffled slowly out of the examination room, head hanging low, like George Costanza walking out of Steinbrenner’s office. He returned a few minutes later, actually performed the exam, then informed me that the nurse would be in shortly to take a blood sample for some other tests, and that he’d have her retake my blood pressure afterward.

The nurse came in and got through all of the preparatory procedures (tourniqueting up my arm, pouring some whisky over the vein, wiping the needle on her pants to clean it) … then proceeded to stab at my arm like Tony Perkins in “Psycho.” She wiggled the needle around under my skin for at least a minute, and had the temerity to blame me for “jumping like a little school girl crybaby and making [her] miss” on her first attempt. Granted, there may have been a violent recoil in anticipation of searing pain slight twitch, but she’s supposed to be a professional phlebotomist, not some sadistic stabstress.

She finally gave up on my left arm, which at this point was shredded and bloody (“I can’t use blood that’s already on the outside, silly!” she explained), and at last was successful drawing from my right. At this point, she remembered that she was supposed to retake my blood pressure, and proceeded to take the measurement. “OH MY GAWD!” she squealed. “TWO MILKSHAKES IN ONE DAY!”

I figured that it was time to take this seriously and start addressing the stress-inducing issues in my life, so I bought a keg on the way home.

I’m already down to 120/80.