Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Woods Have Eyes (And Stomachs, Too, Apparently ...)

This has not been the Summer Of Camping that I had hoped it would be. I think I’ve only made it out four times, and one of those ended with a late night return home, due to the fact that every site but ours was occupied by a large and extremely loud single party, with pit bulls roaming around, the threat of gunplay, and a blood-lusting Doberman pinscher who spent three hours straight staring at us, unblinking, as individual fibers in his ever-taut rope snapped every few seconds with an audible pop. Ah, sweet, sweet Idaho.

Last weekend, a friend and I ventured out for a little relaxation just up the road:

Above: Super Secret Campsite … somewhere in Idaho, but most definitely not 13 miles past The Dirty Shame up FSR 698.

I was especially excited for the jaunt, as I had just purchased a collapsible camp table, and this was to be its initial outdoor use (I did set it up in my living room when I first got it, where it somehow was, within minutes, covered in CDs, dog hair, and old issues of the New Yorker magazine). It performed beyond my wildest dreams (and believe me, my wildest dreams, with respect to flat surfaces that are merely required to support a fairly light camp stove, are pretty dang wild), and a delightful meal of steak (marinated overnight in teriyaki, and served with sautéed onions, of course … being in the woods doesn’t mean one need dine like a heathen) and baked potatoes was thoroughly enjoyed. Of course, being completely liquored up on cheap gin and cheaper beer somewhat exhausted from the exhilaration of collapsible camp table food preparation, all sorts of edible and aromatic items were left about the campsite.

Normally, I think that the forest creatures are asked to not bother the campers (at least through September), but the succulent smells of the remains of dinner must have overwhelmed them, for I was awakened as the person with whom I was camping crashed through the tent door from what I assume was a late moonlit stroll:


Dead Acorn: You know, I was thinking about that ... what would you rather encounter at night: a skunk or a porky-pine?


Dead Acorn: Neither would be pleasant, I imagine. With the skunk, there’d be no sharp barbed quills piercing your skin, of course, but on the other hand, it’d be kind of a long stinky drive down to the store to get the tomato sauce to get rid of the smell. Tough call.


Bear Outside Munching On Leftover Steak:
Could you guys keep it down, please? And did you bring any horseradish?

Both the skunk and the bear evidently grew bored with the discussion and waddled off their separate ways, but I’m definitely going speak to the Forest Service about their manners. If everyone can’t agree to some basic guidelines for a civil society, can we really say we’re any better than the Minnesota Vikings?

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Want You ... To Want ... ME!

The little hamlet in which I reside has innumerable qualities that make one pause from time to time and say to oneself “Jeepers! The little hamlet in which I reside sure has innumerable qualities! I’m fortunate to have found my way here!” To be sure, it has its negative aspects (not the least of which is that the house in which I live is attached to a foundation, rendering it immovable, and thereby enabling that damn dog to find her way back to it disirregardless of the section of desert in which she is left), but one gaze upon the full moon rising above the foothills renders them all but trivial.

One thing that I particularly enjoy is the broad spectrum of choices available with regards to live music. Boise has everything from large stadium (and quite costly) shows featuring geriatric rockers whose fans’ interest in anything new stopped a quarter-century ago and can now afford to pay $75 to hear Billy Joel sing “Piano Man” again long-established acts to hard-core punk venues in which the sound can barely cut through the haze of smoke from American Spirit cigarettes and the stench of stale PBR. There is a beautiful botanical garden that lends itself to the relaxing date-night sounds of such artists as Lyle Lovett, and an open space downtown where weekly free concerts by talented-but-as-of-yet-generally-unheard-of bands take place so that the masses can dance and rejoice unbound, albeit it temporarily, by life’s realities.

A place for all music, and all music in its place.

Every once in a while, however, there occurs such an odd matchup of music and location that one does a spit-take of the beer one is drinking upon hearing of it, and exclaims “Why, THAT’S an odd matchup of music and location! It’s almost as if there’s a rip in the genre-venue continuum!” Such is the situation tonight:

Cheap Trick is playing the Western Idaho State Fair.

Perhaps “genre-venue continuum” isn’t quite right, as The Fair certainly has had Teh Rock And Teh Roll groups before. Traditionally, however, these tend to be such acts as Loverboy, who had a two-album bright-but-brief moment of greatness but who have since been mid-week attractions in lounges in the border towns of Nevada, or LaToya Jackson*, whom I once saw perform what amounted to a medley of her brother's songs there mid-day to a crowd of about 15. They do not tend to be such acts as THE GREATEST BAND TO NOT BE IN THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME. A discussion I had yesterday with my boss’s boss’s boss:

Dead Acorn: I can’t believe Cheap Trick is playing The Fair tomorrow. Clearly the greatest band to not be in the hall of fame.

BBB: Yeah, they were pretty good … I suppose you could make an argument for that.


BBB: (moves slowly away)

In actuality, I’m not a rabid fan (no CT bumper stickers adorn the Zuke Of Earle), but I do have much respect for the fact that they’ve put out great music for so long, and sweet jeebus, I get to see them tonight, in between inhaling Pronto Pups and trying to keep them down while riding The Zipper.

I’m almost as excited for the music as I am to see the pygmy goats, and that's saying a lot.

* Yes, I know that's pop and not really R'n'R, but you get the point.

Monday, August 22, 2011

We Need The Funk ... We Gotta Have That Funk ...

I’m quite certain that my reader is fully aware of the meaning of “pre-funk,” but on the slim chance that I am mistaken, I’ll include the definition according to the Oxford English Dictionary:

Pre-funk (v): to imbibe alcohol or other mood-altering substances prior to an event, often a sporting event or social gathering.

As mentioned in the OED, pre-funking often takes place before a ball game or a party, but there are few occasions that are not amenable to pre-funking. Weddings, funerals, LSATs, bris’ (though not suggested for the mohel) ... all of these are perfectly fine times to "prime the pump" before the event proper. (The birth of your first child is NOT an acceptable pre-funking opportunity ... trust me on this.)

And so it was yesterday that a number of us showed up in the park an hour before the party celebrating the 5th birthday of Oliver, laden with the necessary trappings to hold the maiden instance of the Bacon & Mimosa Park Extravaganza (we commenced at 11:00 am, as pre-funking is only made better when occurring before noon).

Well, believe you me, missy, it was every bit as good as it sounds and more. I believe there were three pounds of bacon of varying flavors and thicknesses, and plenty of bubbly for all (being conscientious and law-abiding morning drinkers, the champagne was poured into plastic pitchers, as the local constables frown on glassware in the park. It also boosted our white-trashiosity, so it’s really a win-win). We did our best to make sure that the youngsters present only poured from the actual orange juice containers, but some of those kids are pretty dang goofy anyway, so it’s hard to say with certainty that we were 100% successful.

There was a bit of tension when it became known that I had brought both pancake mix and ... sausage. There was an audible gasp from several revelers. “What kind of man brings sausage to a bacon party?” asked a fellow attendee, clearly upset at what he perceived as an unforgivable breach of porkly protocol. Fortunately, I was able to explain my views on non-exclusion, that it was all part of the same pig and that we should embrace differences rather than propagate divisiveness, and convince him that the additional items would only add to the merriment. It didn’t hurt that, apparently, champagne tickles his nose, and he kept giggling.

One of the highlights came when the birthday boy showed up at noon with another pound of bacon, which neither his mother nor her husband had any idea from whence it may have come. That kid has promise.

All in all, it was a splendid Sunday, both pre-funk, funk, and post-funk (now that I think about it, I did have a beer whilst mixing the pancake batter at home … I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s a pre-pre-funk, or just a pathetic cry for help). There are calls to make it a monthly, or even weekly, event, rather than an annual one. I can’t say that I see a downside to that notion ... there certainly have to be other children with birthdays we can work with, even if nobody actually knows them.

Interested parents with kids they’d like to volunteer can contact me at thedeadacorn [AT] gmail [DOT] com.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Different State Of Mind

I am of mixed emotions in this matter: on the one hand, I am thrilled to have had an enjoyable couple of days in Utah and to have returned relatively unscathed; on the other, I’m a bit upset that my tax dollars are paying the salaries of Federal Agents who are so inept that I was allowed to cross state lines despite having made absolutely no effort whatsoever to conceal my intentions of doing so. Maybe I’ll post a “Looking for flight instruction – Take-off Only” ad on Craigslist and see if they notice.

The purpose of the trip was manifold (though simply traveling with The Live Acorn is reward enough, of course): first, Bright Eyes was playing on Thursday night at the Twilight Concert Series, which is a weekly free music show in a downtown park. I would guess that there were about 30,000 people (22.6 kilopeople) there – my nephew Alex (The Big Alcorn?), who is about 8’4” and around 320 lbs (pretty good-sized in metric, too), said that he’s been up front a couple of times and won’t go again, due to the crushing nature of the frenzied mob. The Live Acorn, oddly enough, didn’t want to hang out with me and my brother, so I consented to let her wander around alone, after extracting a transparently insincere pledge of safety-mindedness and common sense. We met after the show at the exit:

Dead Acorn: So what did you do?

Live Acorn: I just went up toward the stage a little to listen.

Dead Acorn: Yeah? Where were you?

Live Acorn: About 4 people back from the stage, right in the middle.

Dead Acorn: Well alrighty then. (shakes head; gives up last bit of hope)

Friday evening, we attended a friend’s wedding – a thoroughly enjoyable affair all ‘round. It was a fairly short ceremony proper, with fellers in pink-vested tuxedos and bridesmaids in non-taffeta dresses – a lovely sight indeed. The Live Acorn was quite stunning with blue eyes a-sparkling and red hair a-flowing, and many were the occasions that the cautionary phrase “ROB THAT’S MY GODDAMNED DAUGHTER GET THE HELL AWAY FROM HER” left my lips.

Speaking of lips, I think that “drunken attempt at tango, rose in lips, with the mother of an ex-girlyfriend” is really all that needs to be said (and though it was only five steps out, a botched attempt at a turn as she laughed hysterically, and five steps back, she did wear the rose in the neckline of her dress for the rest of the evening).

On a completely different subject, I’ve written a 3-act, 1-person play:

Act 1: (Fade to light … a man, sitting in a Suzuki Sidekick in front of a pub, has just rolled the window up and suddenly realizes his door handle is broken, and he needs to roll the window down in order to let himself out. He sighs heavily and does a facepalm. Fade to black.)

Act 2: (Fade to light … the man has successfully opened the car door, and has rolled the window all the way up, only to have the car door shut upon the final turn of the handle. The man inhales deeply and slowly exhales while rubbing his temples with his thumb and middle finger, muttering “fffffuuuu …” as he tries to abate his frustration. Fade to black.)

Act 3: (Fade to light … the man is sobbing uncontrollably) Why? WHY? My desires are known well to me, and known no less the path to attain them. They are within my visions, the vision both of my eyes and of my heart, yet though it is with great clarity that I recognize the way to pure joy and true nirvana in this life, I find myself unable to render tame the obstacles I face and cross the portal to that happiness. From whence this vile demon, by whom I am kept from destiny?

Some may see this as an extremely poor metaphor for larger issues, but I assure you, it’s just a simple story based on actual events.

I’ll give your regards to Broadway.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I think that, in general, I’m a fairly level-headed individual, not usually prone to outbursts of anger. Oh, to be sure, there are the moments when I’m in my car and I’m red-faced, screaming “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” to the person in front of me, who had the nerve to sit at the light for more than a split second upon it turning green. And of course, I’ve been known to fly into an assaultive rage whenever I encounter someone who’s* opinion differs from mine. And yes, I’ll routinely throw dishes at my kitchen walls when I discover that I’ve only got one teaspoon of baking powder when the recipe calls for two. But who amongst us can truthfully claim otherwise?

There’s nothing that sets me off more, however, than an error in the daily Jumble. In the August 3rd puzzle, the words were simple enough to unscramble:

I’m sure that you, as cinematically astute readers, immediately recognize what drove me to hurl my bowl of Cheerios through the plate glass window and begin a violent assault on the dog upon reading the clue:

George Lazenby followed Sean Connery, not Roger Moore. George Fucking Lazenby.

I expect this type of sloppiness from the New York Times, but my god, this is the Jumble. I was able to stop shaking after about 20 minutes, at least enough to compose a scathing, violence-threatening, and profane email to the Jumble co-creators, David L. Hoyt and Jeff Knurek, whose internet biography has the temerity to state “Jumble is one of the most widely known and trusted word-game brands in the country …” [ed. - bolding is mine].

Trusted? TRUSTED? Perhaps that was once true, but no more. If we can’t depend on the Jumble to do even the slightest bit of fact-checking research, then how can we depend on anything in the newspaper? Indeed, such is the devastating blow to my faith that I don’t know who to trust or what to believe anymore. Just typing these words is enough to bring back the rage to the point where I am no longer able to maintain my composure.

You will feel my wrath, Jumble co-creators. You will FEEL. MY. WRATH.

* Used in error on purpose, as explained in comments. Ummm ... yeah, that's what happened.