Monday, September 26, 2011

Flowers For The Dead Acorn

One of my favorite weekend rituals is sitting down at my breakfast counter, with spuds a-sizzling on the stove and a half-gone bottle of Old Overholt rye whiskey pot of fresh-brewed coffee on the counter, and taking a stab at the crossword puzzle that appears in the local newspaper.  I rarely complete them, especially the Sunday edition, as they become increasingly difficult as the week progresses, and in fact, the Sunday clues often seem to be written in a language entirely unbeknownst to me.  Still, rituals being what they are, I persistently write down squiggly little symbols in the little boxes, symbols which, for the most part, are indeed part of our commonly accepted English alphabet.

It’s well-established that doing (or attempting, in my case) crossword puzzles can be beneficial, at least as relating to certain mental aspects of our lives.  Crosswords have been linked to increased memory retention, reduced risk/delayed onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, and tolly knowing the name of Nick and Nora’s dog.  Of course, they’re of no benefit whatsoever, and in fact, can be quite harmful, in the context of getting things done around the house, but there are costs and benefits to all things in life, and I’ll leave it to the reader to ponder them as they relate to her own life.

Of course, I enjoy doing the crosswords during the week as well, and even though I am but a “weekends-only" subscriber to the paper, I am fortunate enough to have a coworker who does something called “exercise” before work, and who brings a gymnasium-supplied photocopied facsimile of the weekday version into the office each morning.  Thus, I am able to continue to stave off the onset of (further) idiocy the other five days of the week as well.

Or, rather, I was.

Friday was that coworker’s last day, and so, at the time of me typing this, it’s been almost 30 hours since I did a puzzle.  I think it’s like 30 hours, at least, but I can’t really remember when I did it on yesterday.  I’m pretty sure it was yesterday and not the day before, because it had the comics that I like with the colors and I know that happens on the Sundays accept that dumb doonsberry that don’t make since and its still in black and wite and my favrit one with pig iz gone.  Plus thers lots of extra pages that look like comics at first but then you go and look for the talking aminals and their arent any animals at all much less ones talking funny stuff.    But im gonna go to wendys after i go home from werk becuz i no they have the puzzle things and the mazes too i like the mazes and i try to stay in the lines but somtimz the crans brake and i never find wutz difrent in the too picherz either but i still lik the choklat frosty things but Im going rite after i say hi to my dog (i rilly say bark becuz she dont no peepel tok) cuz i dont want to turn into a stoopid hed so im gon do puzelz

With apologies to Daniel Keyes, of course.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Many Are Cold, Few Are Frozen

I took a glance at the Weather Bureau National Weather Service website last week, and saw that the projected low for Friday in Garden Valley, ID, was 32 F (273 K). Much like milk goes horribly, convulsion-inducingly bad when the clock strikes midnight on its expiration date, all fluids, including blood coarsing through one’s veins, instantly freeze when the temperature dips below this level, and I recognized that that night might be my last opportunity for a sleepless 8 hours of terror, clutching my axe and waiting for the wolves to attack peaceful slumber in the woods until next spring.

So I went and did a little shopping at lunch, took off from work around 2:00 pm, haphazardly threw a bunch of crap into my car, and headed north. After a stop at the grocery store on the way out of town (“Ding-dang it! I need ice! Oh, and probably some more beer. OOOOH! And pistachios!”), once more in Horseshoe Bend (“You know what would be a good snack? Fritos! Oh, and I probably should get some more beer.”), I neared my destination and saw this:

Above: Undoubtedly the inspiration for Stephen King’s “The Mist.”

I’ve never know the NWS to be wrong before, so I was quite confused, as that, dear reader, is not simply a low-lying cloud, but a fog of razor-sharp ice crystals ready to shred one’s lungs with each breath, otherwise known around these parts as Rocky Mountain Liquid Nitrogen. After a few minutes of somber reflection, I decided that I’d lived an okay life, and pressed on, though surely death awaited.

I must have chosen a spot in a small high-pressure zone, because I was able to function well enough to get things set up in short order. I posted a while back about buying a new camp table, which has independently telescoping legs, allowing leveling of its surface on uneven ground. BEHOLD:

Above: The best $40 dollars I’ve spent outside of Reno.

Note the extreme slope of the ground (almost 70 degrees, I would guess, and akin to bivouacking on Halfdome); and yet, the stove is in no danger of sliding off. (I don’t suggest trying to adjust such a surface while the grill and a lantern atop it are both lit, and after several beers have been consumed. Seriously.) Also note the strategic placement of the camp chair, directly upslope from the fire pit. I really probably shouldn’t camp alone.

I did make my way down to the Dirty Shame to watch a quarter of a football game in which the local collegiate “team” was playing. This was an actual conversation I had with the comely, albeit surly, server after two beers:
Comely, Albeit Surly, Server: “Would you like another one?”

Dead Acorn: “No, I think I’ll square up and head up the road.”

Comely, Albeit Surly, Server: “No, you’ll have one more, then you can go.”

Dead Acorn: “ummm … yes, ma'am.”

Maybe I don’t really go up there for the camping.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm Sure Locusts Are Next ...

Every once in a while, in this otherwise bleak world in which we subsist, something happens that gives me hope, even if it’s just an ever-so-faint glimmer, that things might be improving just a bit, and that continuing on for another day just might be the thing to do. A smile from a blue-eyed baby, the sight of a tatted-up, body-pierced, mohawk-sportin’ teenaged punk holding the door for an elderly woman, the return of $1 draughts from 10 am – noon at the Parilla Grill – it’s really the little things that, while easily overlooked, make it fun to carry on.

What happened yesterday was nothing short of a miracle. I was laying about in the afternoon after a fairly exhausting weekend. The “rock and roll” ensemble in which I am fortunate enough to be a member had its initial public performance on Saturday (I think the kids nowadays say “we had our first gig,” or something like that. Whatevs ...), and there were subsequent celebratory activities long into the evening, as is the custom, I’m told. (The Live Acorn was there and didn’t die of embarrassment, which I’ll take as a compliment.)

Though I had what I’m fairly certain was a touch of the Bubonic Plague upon waking yesterday, I heroically arose from bed and began my traditional fall Sunday activities, which include baking the lasagna that I had assembled a couple of days prior and riding to the aforementioned Parilla Grill to watch some American Football as it cooled. Some rituals are sacred that way.

Upon returning home, and giving thanks that the Plague was merely of the 2-hour variety, I realized that I was both a) hungry, and 2) tired. Now I’m not one to believe in karma, or a higher being, or anything like that, but the fact that my house had both 1) a freshly-cooked lasagna, and b) a couch seemed a little too coincidental. Odd. I didn’t dwell on it too long, however, and soon my hunger was sated and I was fading into a light slumber.

Here comes the miracle part ... consider the situation within my four walls at the time: a sleeping Dead Acorn, the pan with the remaining 7 pieces of lasagna sitting out on the counter, and the iron-stomached food-inhaling Hell Hound eating machine roaming about unrestrained.

And why yes, she IS Italian.

I awoke a bit later, and immediately realized what I had done. I sat on the edge of the couch, my head in my hands, sobbing, and in between tearful gasps screaming “Why? WHY? Why would I not put it in the fridge? Was sleep so important and urgent that I couldn’t take two steps to my left, thereby avoiding this catastrophe? Dear god, WHY?” After a few minutes of soul searching, I got up and tried to prepare myself for the carnage that I knew awaited me in the kitchen. I trudged slowly around the corner ...

... and found nothing of the sort. I mean, the kitchen was a mess, of course, but it always is, as I’m somewhat ... less than tidy, let's say ... in my living habits. But the lasagna pan remained on the counter, and an inspection revealed only a half-layer of one piece missing. That damn dog had finally showed a bit of restraint and only ate half a piece! As difficult as it is to fathom, she must have, at some point, said to herself “You row whut? Ri’ve had eruff!” (I marvel at her ingenuity in realizing that she could take the top half only rather than try to use a knife to cut it. Brilliant!) And getting back to my original point, it’s a miracle such as this that truly encapsulates the wonderment of our world.

Perhaps this is actually a teaching moment. Perhaps this is a lesson meant for me. Perhaps I can learn just a bit from her lack of lasagnatious avarice and incorporate such an attitude of self-restraint toward the 10 am – noon draught special.

Or, you know, perhaps not.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Button It, Blog-Boy!

Damn, I’m in a tight spot here, clothing-wise, and I mean beyond my acknowledged and accepted utter lack of fashion sense. (By “acknowledged and accepted,” I mean that yes, I understand that the Whole Of Society condemns my assemblage of plaids and stripes. The Whole Of Society is wrong, of course, but I understand and accept that people are not going to change their ridiculous opinions.)

I’ve got a large and ever-growing cache of clothes which share a common attribute: the lack of at least one critical button. On pants, the critical button is, of course, the one that holds them up, and while I suppose I could wear them to work and rely on a belt to avoid any unpleasantness, belts do break, and the resultant trou-dropping and subsequent exposure of my lily-white ass would be both embarrassing and blinding. On the shirts, it’s really just the second-to-the-top button, as that's the one that keeps a person from looking like a disco-era refugee from Studio 54, and a missing lower one just gives quicker access to belly-scratchin’.

In any case, I’ve long promised myself that I would have Button Day, on which I would take a couple of hours, sit down with the entire pile, and sew the damn buttons back on. I’ve long broken, and continue to break, that promise; hence the large and ever-growing cache of clothes. Instead, I opt for a quick trip to Ross (a discount clothier) every once in a while, where the prices are lower than a sophomore’s standards at closing time at the Fireside.

Plus, they have a bitchin’ advertising jingle:

If you spend all your dough
On hookers and blow
And your gambling habit’s your boss

You can save oodles
With Top-Ramen noodles
And irregular rejects from Ross!

Anyway, I’m down to about three pairs of wearable work pants right now, one of which keeps getting shorter with each washing. I thought these types of things were only supposed to shrink up once, but these have gone from just right, to having to skootch them down a bit, to me having to make sure my socks match … they’re currently manpris, and I’m fairly certain that by October, I’ll have a new pair of shorts. Stupid cotton. I never have this problem with my rayon Hawaiian shirts that I get from the grocery store.

So I think that the Day of Reckoning Buttoning is quickly approaching, my epic run of procrastination at long last reaching its end. I could just continue my visits to Ross, I suppose, but I think that it’s time to finally stop taking the easy route, live up to my promise, and mend those things that I can.*

I’ll just need someone to volunteer to come over and supervise, as I am not allowed to be alone with sharp objects. Stupid court order.

* Just talking about clothes here ... this is not a metaphor or anything like that.