Tuesday, November 27, 2012

G ... G ... Giving Th .. Th ... Thanks ...

I don’t travel much, and don’t read much about the goings-on of the world outside of my house, so I’m not sure if other areas have a holiday known as “Thanksgiving.”  For those readers whose cultures don’t participate in the celebration, it’s a day of “Giving” of  “Thanks” for the things one is blessed with (or has earned through hard work and hard work alone, thankyewverymuch, depending on your religious/political views) in life.  The “Giving” of “Thanks” generally takes the form of stuffing one’s face with food from the moment of waking and watching three games of American Football, before rushing to Walmart for the holiday sales.

I spent a few days with friends a bit north of home, which was delightful.  Our gracious host had created an announcement/invitation for the event on a social networking site, which allowed updates and comments and general discussion to take place.  As I was unaware of the competitive nature of participation, I was a bit taken aback when he posted this graph a week or so prior to the big day, tallying attendees’ “Spirit” and “Traditionality”:

Above:  I can only assume that offering to bring corned beef and Li’l Smokies fell outside of the operational definition of “traditional.”  Also, I’m pretty sure that this was the host’s first attempt at using bar charts in MS Excel.

I eventually finished with positive points by offering to bring six folding chairs, but still in last place, which, unbeknownst to me (else I would have made a greater effort), carried no small consequence.

The host’s house, while quite comfortable, is not palatial in terms of sleeping area, and the number of people requiring bed space exceeded the capacity of his home, necessitating that I, as the low point scorer, and the unfortunate soul with whom I was attending, sleep in the overflow quarters:

Above:  I believe that by spending the night here, I can now increase my percentage of Native American lineage from 1/1024 to 1/512.

The tepee did have a small wood stove, which, while offering little in the form of actual heat, at least introduced the possibility of death by asphyxiation, which would presumably solve the problem of being cold once and for all.  (A particularly humorous event was the lighting of the stove, which was done by a guest who was a firefighter, who insisted upon performing the task, and who was extremely intoxicated, and who proved far less adept at starting fires than at extinguishing them.  At one point, I thought "well, it's going to be spring soon, and we'll warm up then.")

After a long day of revelry, we finally felt bombed out of our gourds enough to pass out it was time to retire, and crawled under our stack of 30 or so blankets and nodded off.  I must say that I was far more comfortable than I had expected to be, despite being woken several times by the unfortunate soul with whom I was attending; once to take her shivering dog inside, once to retrieve her barking dog from the house, and finally, as she was attempting to re-light the fire, which had apparently gone out.  As I recall, we had a conversation along these lines:
Dead Acorn:  “Sugarplum snookums, what are you doing?”

Unfortunate Soul With Whom I Was Attending: “Tr … tr ... trying to st … st … start the fire …”

DA:  “Gee, you look really cold!  I’ll keep the bed really warm so that when you get it going, it’ll be all cozy!  I know if we both do our parts, we can get through this night!”

USWWIWA:  “I fu … fu … fucking hate you.”
Anyway, we made it through relatively unharmed (and the dog was fine, so don’t go all SPCA on me), and were even promoted to the house the next night.

The entire trip was pretty dang fantastic … the Thanksgiving crowd for the meal comprised an eclectic mix of city folk, hill people, between 5-8 dogs (ranging from an 8 lb. Chihuahua to a monster golden Labrador) and an extremely vocal cat, with plenty of champagne, beer, rum, whisky, and who knows what else for the bipeds (and one of the dogs).

By the way, the corned beef was devoured, and is, I would argue, well established as a tradition, so I have high hopes of at least getting to sleep in the garage next year.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Time To Vase Reality

I recently celebrated lamented noted, with existential neutrality, the occurrence of the sun making another orbit around me (in the spirit of those who deny that climate change is occurring, I likewise maintain that there is insufficient evidence on the relative movements of celestial bodies to draw a conclusion one way or another, at this point.  Suck it, Galileo).

As is the custom around the North End of Boise, Idaho, I spent a good portion of the day with friends in a locale that offered spirits (well, beer, at least), with the group growing louder and more boisterous as the evening progressed.  (To those of you outside the area who may find this a tad foreign, just try it … there are no hard-and-fast rules, and you may soon find it a practice that need not be limited to the anniversary of your birth, nor to that of your friends.  Go on - try it!)

There was even (at my advanced years!) a bit of the traditional “gift-giving,” and this year, I was especially touched at the thought behind a particular bouquet that a couple of very good friends presented to me.  One’s first reaction might well be “isn’t it a bit odd for a man to receive flowers?” and if so, one would properly be chastised for maintaining outdated and sexist stereotypes.  Why do you hate progress in the realm of social equality?

Anyway, this was no ordinary bouquet, as you can see:

Above: Spatules magnifique, non? Très touchant …

For those who are unfamiliar with the fact that I reside with a demon dog: I reside with a demon dog.  One of her demonic characteristics is an unbridled lust for spatulas, and the transport outside thereof, and I awake each morn and immediately concern myself with whether I will have a spatula with which to stir my daily hash browns or not.  “Has she made off with yet another in the dead of night?” I ask aloud.  “I heard not the tell-tale tapping of toenails, yet her secretive stealth should not surprise …”

And so you see the reason for my somewhat emotional reaction to the gift.  No longer was I to be a victim of her ravenous habit.  Let her steal a spatula!  I would care not, for I now possessed a plethora of these magnificent utensils!  It … it … it was the gift of rest, of serenity, of mornings of awakening to calmness, free of trepidation.  (Also, the Necco wafers as baby's breath?  Brilliant!)

At least for a week or two.

[UPDATE:]  Oh sweet jeebus … I was looking at some of the other photos I had taken of the bouquet, and saw this:

Above:  Nothing different, except it’s lacking the tasteful arrangem OHMYGOD!OHMYGOD!OHMYGOD! …

Here’s an enlarged version of the section at the top, above and to the right of the black spatula:

Above:  Well, there goes my peaceful sleep.

The absence of a camera to my eye discounts the explanation of it simply being my reflection in the plate glass window.  No, the only possibility is that I’ve caught the very image of whatever minion of C’thulu is possessing poor Indy.  O sweet puppy, I shall try to understand your torment and swear to rid you of it …

I’ve yet to hear back from St. Mary’s on scheduling a priest.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ahoy, Polloi ...

I hob-nobbed with the 1% a bit a couple of weeks back (technically, I AM part of a 1%; just not the 1% ... probably somewhere around the 30th percentile or so).  It was an interesting experience, to say the least.

A friend of mine was getting married (and since has, costing me $20 in my ill-advised wager overestimating the persuasive skills of the lovely and seductive Bambi, who was “catering” a pre-nuptial "luncheon"*), and I was invited to participate in a round of golf at a local private country club in advance of the big day.  Boy howdy, I was as excited as cousin’ Hoss before the pie-eatin’ contest down to the county fair!

I was heading out with another friend of mine, whom I believe has more experience in interacting with that stratum of society, and I have to say write that I was a bit insulted by the fact that he felt it necessary to send me a few orders suggestions via text message concerning the afternoon:

Friend With Whom I Was Heading Out:  “So, umm … it’s sort of required that you wear a shirt …”

Dead Acorn:  “Well, duh … I’m not completely white trash.”

FWWIWHO:  “Let me finish, please.  You need to wear a shirt with a collar.”

DA:  “No problem!  In fact, I don’t even HAVE a collar-less Hawaiian shirt.”

FWWIWHO:  “*sigh*.  Ok, I guess.  And you can’t bring a case of Schlitz hidden in your bag like you usually do, as the club pro is playing with us, and we, you know, might want to show just a BIT of respect and gratitude for them providing this opportunity.”

DA:  “This is a fucking joke, right?  RIGHT?”
As it turns out, it wasn’t a joke, but I supposed that I could suspend my fiscally responsible approach to golf course hydration for just that one day.

So we pulled into the parking lot, and removed our golf bags from the back of the car.  To my astonishment, it was no more than a minute before two young hooligans, obviously gangsta ruffians, judging from the fact that they wore similar colors, approached us, and attempted to steal our clubs!  Their cocky nonchalance was unsettling, as they aggressively said “Good afternoon, gentlemen!” and began to walk off with our property.  They may as well have said “it’s OUR shit now, right?  You got something to say, old man?  Yeah, didn’t think so.”

Luckily, my friend is quite a large fellow, and has obviously dealt with this type of situation before, because, sensing my befuddlement and anger at such an outrageous act, he said (with well directed intent toward the thieves) “Hold on, there, Dead Acorn.  These young men are just carrying our clubs up to our cart.  Isn’t that right right, gentlemen?”  They both nodded nervously, and sure enough, I watched them load our bags onto a golf cart near the clubhouse.  Having a large friend can be handy.  (The young thugs were obviously impressed with me as well, as I could see them looking at the various clubs in my bag in awe – they almost seemed to giggle uncontrollably in their amazement with regard to my eclectic assemblage of hardware.)

On the other hand, I can’t say he’s absolutely virtuous, because we walked in to sign up, and he grabbed a handful of tees and a divot-fixer-thingy from the counter and walked off without paying!  His explanation of "no, dude, it's free.  Trust me on this." did little to assuage my associative guilt.  I know that it doesn't sound exactly like a Brinks robbery, but I still felt a little uneasy.  My guilt was only compounded by the fact that we drove over to the driving range and he seemed to have no issue with hitting a bag of balls that someone else had obviously paid for and had left on the range while running off to the loo or the snack bar.  I’m still struggling with my mixed feelings concerning his behavior.

Criminal acts aside, the afternoon went very well, and the repressive elite overlords that ran the club pulled off their required act of appearing to be extremely nice and accommodating to the commoners with admirable skill. The next time I storm a palace in an attempt to reinstate fairness and justice for the bottom 99% of the population who actually do the things that make the world work, I will do so with fond remembrance of that day.

The golfers among them shall die the quickest.

* Tolly not true.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Just Another Day In The Life ...

There have been some strange goings on lately around Casa de Acorn.  I walked out of the house the other morning to find this li’l speedster on my driveway:

Above:  Behold the mighty THUNDER!

He was over a foot across, and he certainly had some attitude about him, as you can see from his expression.  My first thought was that I was suspected of being a replicant and that this was one of the tests:
Dead Acorn: "I've never seen a turtle... But I understand what you mean."

Holden: "You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back, Dead Acorn."

Dead Acorn: "Do you make up these questions, Mr. Holden? Or do they write 'em down for you?"

Holden: "The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping."

Dead Acorn: [angry at the suggestion] "What do you mean, I'm not helping?"

Holden: "I mean: you're not helping! Why is that, Dead Acorn?"
Luckily, he had a dog turtle tag with a phone number on it, and his person only lived a few doors down (which means he must have been wandering for days), so I was able to convince myself that I'm not a manufactured worker-bot.

I’ve also been trying to get a little work done in the hellscape behind my house backyard.  It’s essentially hard-baked ground in which nothing can grow but the hardiest of weeds.  While I can respect them for their tenacity, it was time for them to go.  So I start to pull these out (remember the shed project?  As you can see, it’s coming along right on schedule for completion around 2014!) …

Above:  After the nukes fly, it’ll be just the cockroaches and my backyard foliage left.

… when I discover this:

Above:  Perhaps the toughest fruit/vegetable that’s ever grown.

I assume that the seeds blew over from the neighbor’s yard, because I’ve certainly made no efforts at active cultivation.  There’s just the one cherry tomato, about an inch in diameter, having grown with absolutely no water or care of any sort.  I’m not a fan of tomatoes, but I think I’ll squish it into ketchup.  The corn dog that has the honor of bearing it will be one proud Pronto Pup, I’m certain.

Lastly, I believe I’ve mentioned that The Live Acorn has secured gainful employment, which, as it turned out, was excellent in terms of timing, as she was able to use her first paycheck to pay a fine for her jaywalking ticket, which she received as she was trying to goad her friends into crossing against the light as well.  We had the following text message exchange:
Dead Acorn:  “Way to go, outlaw.”

Live Acorn:  “Yeah, I’m a badass.  How many times have you jaywalked?”

Dead Acorn:  “Jaywalked?  Thousands.  Ticketed?  Zero.  I generally try to not make a show of it.”

Live Acorn:  “Dad, it was a motorcycle cop!  I couldn’t even see him!”

Dead Acorn:  “You should tolly plead not guilty.  The judge will buy that, I’m sure.”

Live Acorn:  “Shut up.”
Other than things like this, life is normal.  Not sure if that’s good or bad.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

We Tried So Hard To Raise Her Right ...

The Live Acorn spent last weekend in the rugged heart of Idaho, listening to a bunch of hippy-folk play some twangy-ass music volunteering at/attending the Sawtooth Music Festival, which is a “festival” with lots of “music” that takes place near the “Sawtooth” mountains, which are apparently appealing to some people:

Above: Meh. Whatever.

I’m led to believe that she thoroughly enjoyed herself, as evidenced by this text message exchange we had prior to meeting at Boise’s “Alive After Five” weekly musical extravaganza last evening:

Live Acorn: “Father, will you be attending tonight’s “Alive After Five” musical extravaganza? I do so look forward to seeing you.

Dead Acorn: “o hllz ya 4 shr. Blugrass band. C U l8r!”
(I love modern technology and how it affords us the ability to communicate meaningfully disirregardless of our differences in expressive style.)

Live Acorn: “O Father! I truly am excited, for bluegrass music has literally changed my life!”

Dead Acorn: “Do u have any clu wat “literally” means? Dnt thnk so.”

Live Acorn: “Of course I do, Father. I refer to an incident in which I was struck in the head by an errant banjo at the Sawtooth Music Festival, which rendered me left-handed and speaking with a Sudanese accent!”

Dead Acorn: “Mad propz 2 the Boise skool sys.”
Actually, she’s always had very good taste in music, even though she’s had her short spells of listening to horrific Top 40 (it never lasts long, thank jeebus). After her profession of love for the bluegrass genre, I posted something along these lines on teh Facebook:
My daughter came out and told me that she loves bluegrass music today. I told her that there’s nothing wrong with that, and that she was born that way, and that even though haters gonna hate, the only thing this changes is the radio station.
It’s really too bad that Earl Scruggs didn’t live to see full acceptance of the gut-bucket as an instrument equal to others, but someday, Live Acorn … someday.

As it turns out, she’s learning life’s hard lessons about discrimination in more ways than one. She had recently applied for employment at a downtown ice-cream parlor, only to be told that the purple streaks in her hair are at odds with the image the parlor is trying maintain. I’ve only been into the establishment a time or two, but it’s apparently a Barbie-Doll-Stepford-Wives-Chik-Fil-A-Only-With-Hair-Dye-Instead-Of-Gay-Marriage kind of place fostering purplephobia, and even if they had a liquor license and gave away free Ouzo, I wouldn’t set a foot ‘cross their threshold. (Sure, I might have someone sneak me out some, but you know what I mean.)

On a positive note, she did land a job at a ceramics/art place, which has far more social value than a bunch of look-a-like bimbettes-in-training schlepping overpriced “artisan” ice cream to the overstuffed Americans gorging …

Ok, you know what? This may have more to do with me projecting my own experience at being forced to take out my 4th earring back in my days as a line cook. I should address the inner demons of my past openly and honestly.

On the other hand, what else are kids for?

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Look In The Mirror, And It's Not Me Looking Back ...

While one might assume that given my astounding level of productivity, blogwise (almost 1 nonsensical string of unrelated words post a week!), that I must be at the keyboard every waking hour, breaking only for the shortest times for necessary sustenance and hygienic functions, that is not the case.  I have, on occasion, been known to take in a ballgame on the television at the local tavern, partaking in a beverage or three, whilst chatting with various acquaintances.  Further, even in the realm of the Googly-Tubez, my activities are not limited to this little web-log, but extend to an area of what are called “social networks.”

A current development on one called “Facebook” has got me a bit rattled. (For those unfamiliar with teh Facebook, one can sign up and become “Friends” with other people and inform them as to the contents of your latest meal, and post vague and angsty “status updates” upon the discontinuation of a romantic relationship.  One can also designate “Friends” as “Close Friends” by marking them with a star in order to more closely track their activities.  I would think that even the most cursory knowledge of WWII would have quashed this feature, but who am I to say?)

Anyway, for some reason or another, I became “Friends” with a bloke* in Jolly Olde England with the same name as mine (The Dead Acorn is my given legal name, but on Facebook, I’m known as Beauregard Wilthingham III).  The other Beauregard Wilthingham III seems like a very nice fellow – though eerily, he claims to enjoy beer and cheesy jokes, does woodworking/carpentry projects around the house, and has a shot of his dog as his profile picture (as do I).  Fortunately, I believe he actually finishes his projects; otherwise, that would just be freaky.

The disconcerting part of the whole situation is that he’ll post something, and I’ll see it as something new from myself, and immediately panic over what I was thinking and assume I was on-line after the aforementioned “beer or three.”  My blood pumping, brow perspiring, hands a-tremble, I, without fail, go combing through my email outbox searching for ill-advised messages to ex-significant others and potentially obnoxious comments on the posts of others.  Last night, he apparently “Shared” a picture that another friend (who (whom?  whatever ... (but trebly-nested parentheses! Woo!)) I really know) had posted, so that it provided even stronger evidence that it was actually my action, not his.  Worse, the picture was an unflattering image of a woman wearing cutoff jean shorts that were likely not as well-fitting as they perhaps once were … that type of humor is not generally my cup of tea, and I wasn't particularly proud of myself for having “Shared” it. “That’s IT!” I said to the hound dog. “I’m off the hooch for good!”

Luckily, I discovered the truth in fairly short order (short enough that I hadn’t dumped all the hooch down the drain and taken an axe to my backyard still), and had a nervous chuckle over the whole incident.

As writer (and noted bedeviling scamp) David Thorne has noted, the internet is a playground.  And sweet jeebus, playgrounds can be confusing and traumatizing places.

* I hope that "bloke" isn't an insult in Jolly Olde England.  I'd hate to be responsible for some type of international incident yet again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Zero Score And Four Years Ago ...

Happy Blogoversary to me!  Twenty-eight years ago today (the Hell Hound made me write that in dog years) was my very first post.  Woo!  Sure, the frequency of new posts has dwindled over time, but I assume my reader takes that as a good thing.  You're welcome.

I think I've only had to delete one post, and shut down comments on only one as well (probably because most of what I write is done at work, which is, as a general rule of thumb, my least intoxicated time of the day, and therefore least offensive).  Both of those factoids are on my résumé.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, July 6, 2012

It Was Not In Tents At All

One might conclude by the dearth of new posts that there’s nothing very exciting going on in my life as of late, and one would be correct.  Plus, the Ada County Jail doesn’t have wifi.

I did finally do a little camping a couple of weekends ago, which was quite lovely, despite the fact that the combined levels of ability-to-plan-and-communicate between me and the person with whom I was camping is somewhere around … umm … something that has very little ability to plan and communicate:

Dead Acorn: (unloading the stuff from the Zuke Of Earle) “Umm … where’s your tent?”

Person With Whom I Was Camping:  “In my storage area at home.  You were going to bring your tent.”

DA:  “Well, no … you said you were going to take care of all the bedding, Little Miss I-Have-A-4”-Air-Mattress.”

PWWIWC:  “And I did, dumbass.  A tent is not bedding.”

DA:  “One could make that argument, I suppose.”

So we slept out in front of god and everyone, which afforded us a beautiful view of the clear night sky (“my god, it’s full of stars …”).  Luckily, we had this ferocious guard dog to fend off wild animals:

Above:  “Oh gawd is that a squirrel?  I hate squirrels!  Where’s the tent?  I need to be in the tent! Ohgodohgodohgod …”

Indy didn’t make the trip, as she actively seeks out wolves and bears to invite back to camp.

Of course, sleeping outside greatly increased the importance of liberal use of mosquito repellant, which led to us having a conversation extraordinarily similar to the one about the tent, and eventually having to buy a can from our camp neighbors (they were extremely pleasant, and wanted to give us their extra can, but we insisted on giving them $5  (3.23 £), as if we could buy our way out of our shame and embarrassment.

It tolly worked.

The rest of the trip was calming and uneventful, as such trips should be (other than running out of vodka during breakfast, initiating yet another conversation about roles and responsibilities …).  Forest GOOD.

I did get something of a letdown on the drive home.  We stopped in Crouch, which is a westerny little town, with log buildings and hitching posts and all that kind of cowboy-ey stuff, and while I’m about as far from being an actual outdoorsy westerner as one could imagine, I still enjoy the good feel it has.  "Had," I guess I should write, because I discovered that it’s all just a façade:

Above:  an affront to all that is right and good.  And the name makes no sense (click to enlarge) … it’s all Greek to me.

I snapped that picture, then slowly trudged back across the street to The Dirty Shame, where I was consoled by the person with whom I  was camping and the ebullient breakfast bartender Mario.

Oh Crouch, I could never stay mad at you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

There's Something Fishy Going On Here ...

I don’t think it’s any big secret that I have, as a general policy, a goal of setting as low of expectations in other people as is humanly possible.  In a phenomenon known among psychologists as “Achievement Relativity,” this renders even the most mundane accomplishments on my part on a par with creating desktop fusion.  Some of my proudest moments come when I hear someone say something like “Hey, Dead Acorn!  You tied your shoe on the very first try!  Good job!” without the slightest hint of sarcasm.

I had a fairly good pay-off last night over dinner – one of the low expectations that I’ve set is that no one thinks I’ll ever try any food out of my normal (and limited) dietary standards.  And of relevance to the current tale, I wouldn’t say that I hate seafood, because technically, Skipper’s Fish & Chips fillets are seafood, but outside of those, I would absolutely say that I hate seafood.  And very high on the list of hated seafood lies raw seafood … it’s fair to say that I’m not a sushi fan.  (As far as meat goes, I mainly stick to chicken … not because I like chickens, however; on the contrary, I hate them.  A number of chickens were involved in one of the tragic failed romances of my youth, and I have sworn to devour them even unto my last breath.  Damn you, chickens!  Plus, chicken tacos …. mmmMMMmm … they’re delicious!)

Anyway, I got to have dinner with The Live Acorn last night, and I was suggesting various places we might go (“Chicken Shack?”  “No …” “The Rooster Dome?”  “No …” “Poultry-Geist?”  “Dad, NO!”).  I knew where this was headed, as she loves ... loves ... sushi.  Finally, I bite the bullet, and agree.  To be honest, I was certain that they’d have something that wouldn’t actually make me shudder just thinking about it.

Ummm … no.

Really, Fancy Schmancy Sushi Restaurant?  You can’t keep one goddamned chicken in the back for your wussier more discriminating patrons?  You can’t keep a corn-dog in the freezer in case of emergencies?  Well, add one more to the list of reasons I don’t go south of State Street, boy howdy!

So The Live Acorn, fighting back tears, quietly offered to eat somewhere else.  “It’s okay, dad …” she said, in between stifled sobs.  “The Wing Nut is just around the corner.”  She arose slowly, staring at the ground.

“Hey, Live Acorn?"  "Yeah, dad?"  "I’ll be fine.  This is just fine.

I spoke the words with the tone of a true martyr, someone willing to make an heroic sacrifice for the sake of his beloved and only daughter.  She looked at me with eyes that said “All of the dads on this planet who drink out of coffee mugs that say ‘World’s Greatest Father’ are lying to themselves.  They’re all just playing for 2nd place.”

So yeah, I ordered whatever looked like it had the most spices, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that “wasabi” is Japanese for “horseradish.”  Between that and the numerous cans of Kinmugi, I could barely taste that squid, or carp, or whatever the hell they use.  And afterward, I got more high praise from The Live Acorn, a “Good job!” text from The EMDAMOTLA*, and general accolades from all those who heard about my selfless act of love and generosity.  Ah, the magic of low expectations.

Look up Achievement Relativity in the new DSM-V when it's published.  I'm the case study.

* Ex-Mrs-Dead-Acorn-Mother-Of-The-Live-Acorn

Thursday, June 7, 2012

If You Billed It, They Will Come

There are many things in this world that stick in my craw – someone verbalizing the fact that a no-hitter is potentially unfolding in the 7th inning; doctors who won’t perform life-saving surgery on a child because not enough people “Liked” that child’s mother's pleading Facebook status update; when I can’t find my shoes and I have to wrap my feet in duct tape to go to work … I just get so infuriated!  I’m getting a little worked up just thinking about them!

One thing that REALLY gets my goat, however, is people who don’t listen to authority.  This shouldn’t be a difficult issue: if you’re told to do something, then do it.  If you’re told to not do something, then don’t do it.  I’m sure you agree, and I’m confident that you’ll understand my anger when I describe what I encountered just yesterday evening.

I was walking through the Hyde Park area of Boise, enjoying a lovely night, unwinding after an afternoon of music downtown.  Had you challenged me at that point to imagine a way to make life better, I would have been hard-pressed to think of anything.  My beer was nearly half gone, but that’s really about it.

Well, my bubble of joy was soon burst, as I strode by an empty store front with a number of “POST NO BILLS” signs in the windows.  I simply cannot fathom how this could be misconstrued - how could it be more clear?  But someone ... someone didn’t understand.  Why, if I didn’t know any better, I would almost think that they were purposely going out of their way to disobey!

Take a look:

Above:  The text actually SAYS "Don't Tell Me What To Do!"  Damn scofflaws.

Above:  Methinks the culprit could use a good billy-clubbing.

Above:  My rage was bill-ding.

Above:  I’m guessing this blog post isn’t everything it was billed as.

Above:  Some men just want to watch the world burn.

I sincerely hope this urban terrorist is brought to justice.  What kind of world would it be if people didn’t just do as they’re told?  Anarchy!  Chaos!  Cats and dogs, laying down together!

Society is crumbling before our eyes, and no one is doing a damn thing about it.

In order of appearance:  Bill Buckner, Bill Maher, Bill Gates, Bill Of Rights, Bill Clinton, I'm Just A Bill, Bill Murray, Bill Cosby, Buffalo Bill, Mr. Bill, Bill Nye The Science Guy, Bill O'Reilly.  Also posted but not shown:  Utility Bill, Bill Shakespeare.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Got The Shaft ...

Being a little on the white-trashy side is something of which I’m neither proud nor embarrassed – it’s simply one aspect of who I am.  Some people have red hair, some people have their patellae on the backs of their knees so that they have to have special chairs made in order to sit down, and some people are just a little white-trashy.

For my reader who hasn’t had the traumatic and emotionally scarring expericnce pleasure of visiting Casa de Acorn, I’ve provided some visual evidence ...

Below is a view from my front steps … sure, the irises (irii?) are okay, but the flower bed is clearly untended, and the hose, which is actually a conglomeration of segments from a number of hoses joined together, lies strewn willy-nilly on the lawn and has more than a passing resemblance to the Gordian Knot.  The tree has a rope tied to it to which the Hell Hound gets attached when we’re lounging about; the rope is knotted together in several places, as she snaps it with great regularity – there’s really no stopping 80 lbs of idiot when she wants to scare the hell out of neighborhood children on bicycles say hi to passersby and their dogs.

Here’s a shot of the driveway in front of the garage.  Note the propane cans scattered around the grill ('cause Safety First!), and the 2’x4’ remnants from the shed project (which is proceeding right on track, with completion anticipated around August ‘14).  Power tools out front are considered de rigueur among the W-T set, of course.  The hose is not confined to the lawn, as you can see.

Every house needs a Home Security System, and mine consists of a menacing Guard Flamingo, darkened by years of exposure to the harsh Idaho elements.  Girl Scouts tremble in fear as they stammer through their cookie sales pitch … ain’t nobody gonna fuck wit’ Bad Bob, yo.

All of this is well and good, and as I said, I’m neither proud nor embarrassed, but I had a realization the other day that may have me at least attempting to class up the joint just a wee bit.  I recently obtained a round outdoor table for my patio (free on craigslist, of course – that’s how we W-Ters roll …) – one of those with a hole in the middle and in the base to accommodate the restaurant-style umbrella that I’ve had for some time (also free, from the pub during a remodel, and requiring only slight repair).  Here’s a view from inside the house:

Yes, that’s right: there’s a giant pink penis on my front patio.  I’m not sure what to do, other than to leave it open all the time.  I’ve already heard the mailman refer to my house as “the Johnson place up on the corner,” and my neighbors saying “he should clean up that yard.  What a dick.”

Though I’m pretty sure they said that before …

Friday, May 25, 2012

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead ... Which Could Be Any Moment Now

I may have mentioned before that I’m not the soundest of sleepers, for what I assume are a myriad of reasons; reasons which I have no real interest in exploring, preferring instead to toss and turn and plow forward through the mornings fueled by pot after pot of the cheapest coffee that the Piggly Wiggly sells.  The cause of last night’s sleeplessness, however, was quite clear, and I fear that I may never slumber again.

Being the lone resident (human resident, I should say) of Casa de Acorn, I, on occasion, and to no one’s surprise, I’m quite sure, fall just a tad behind on what the more priggish among us might call “a schedule of household chores that meets the minimum EPA standards for avoiding designation as a Superfund site.”

Yeah, I can be something of a slob.

The thing that led to last night’s incident, though, isn’t a complete breach of lifestyle protocol logic, I would argue:  Why should I take the simple process of “clothes get dry ==> clothes get worn” and inject an intermediate “clothes get taken from the dryer, folded, and put into a dresser” step?  It’s an obviously wasteful endeavor, and while some would label me as “lazy,” I prefer to think of myself as an “energy conserver.”  Why do you hate the planet, dresser users?

Every once in a while, though, I conform to societal "norms," and gather up the clothes that are half in the dryer, half in the basket, half on the floor, and take them back and dump them on my bed, where they stay for another few days, as there is plenty of room in my big bed for me to lie awake in a cold sweat pondering what torment tomorrow holds sleep on the other side.  And so it was last night.

Here’s a conversation I had with someone about what happened next (I was speaking from atop a chair in the kitchen):

Dead Acorn:  “So I’m gonna fold clothes, and I dump the clothes out on the bed, and I’m reaching for a t-shirt, and this GIANT-ASS SPIDER COMES RUNNING OUT STRAIGHT AT ME!  He must have crawled up on a piece of clothing that was touching the floor!  He was HUUUUGE!”

Person To Whom I Was Relating The Story:  “Whatever.”

DA:  “He was brown!  And RECKLESS!”

PTWIWRTS:  “Oh, for shit's sake.  The word is ‘reCLUSE,’ and 1) it most likely wasn’t a brown recluse, as they’re not all that common, B) they’re called “recluses” because they are not aggressive, and Γ) even if it were a brown recluse, and it bit you, it’s extremely unlikely anything remotely serious would even happen.  God, you can be a sissy.”

DA:  “Nuh uh!  They’re called brown reckless spiders because they have no regard for their own lives, instead attacking without hesitation or forethought anything they can get their monster fangs into.  The little bastards are the only creature a honey badger won’t mess with.”

PTWIWRTS:  “Just fold your stupid clothes and go to sleep.”

Well, as they say, fuck that.  I finally mustered the courage to gather the clothes back into the basket (using a broom handle), push the basket to the laundry room, and get them back into the washing machine.  I used the same process with the sheets, and indeed all of the clothes in my bedroom, clean or not, as the brown reckless ejects its eggs aerially as it walks, onto any surrounding fabric within 20 feet, so that an infestation can occur in a matter of hours.  I had to drown them all.

Well, I wasn’t taking any chances, knowing that there could have been a survivor or two, so I’m sure you understand why I’m a little tired today.  It’s hard to sleep standing on a kitchen chair, after all.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Scrabbled Eggs

[UPDATED BELOW w/Hasbro response]

I am generally, I believe, a fairly laid-back and relaxed person, preferring to not get worked up over trivial issues.  I would, for example, never get my dander up over something like politics or prejudice in our society, as such topics seem so inconsequential in today’s utopic environment of kindness and concern for others disirregardless of our differences.

That said, there are certain things of such great import, bearing such relevance to the state of our world, that I find I can no longer remain silent on them in light of their egregiousness.  The issue of which I currently write is this:

Above:  That is bullshit, Hasbro ... utter bullshit.

The image above is from the official rules of the board game Scrabble, and shows examples of "legal" plays. For those unfamiliar with the game, players take turns creating words with letter tiles.    In the first, a player has played the word “FARM” on the existing word “HORN.”  Words can be formed one of two ways:  by either using a letter in an existing word to make the new one perpendicularly (as in the example), or by extending an existing word (e.g., by adding an 'S' to make a plural form).  Aside:  I played over the weekend with someone whose credo seems to maintain that “there is no object noun that cannot be turned into a person noun by the addition of ‘R’ or ‘ER’:
Person With Whom I Was Playing:  (plays ‘R’ at the end of the existing word ‘AXE’)

Dead Acorn:  “AXER?  WTF?

PWWIWP:  “Yeah.  It’s someone who axes things.  You know, a guy who uses an axe.  Duh.”

DA:  (stunned silence for a few seconds)  “Wow.”

Now take a look at the second example in the image.  Do you see what they’ve done?  DO YOU SEE?  They’ve first pluralized the word ‘FARM’ by adding the ‘S’ … then continued on to make ‘PASTE’! A second word!  That’s two turns!  That’s outright cheating!*  Those BASTARDS!

Well, I’m done living with this sort of abomination, this assault on civilized society.  Are we not a nation of rules and laws?  Are we not a people who embrace common decency, or do we accept those who would build upon the honest work of another (the FARMer, in this case) and flout the spirit of the “one turn, one word” philosophy with all the greed and disdain for their fellow humans of a JP Morgan executive?  This will not stand!

To that end, I’ve sent the following letter to Hasbro, the parent company of Parker Brothers, the marketer of  the game in the United States:

Dear Hasbro:  I find that I can no longer keep silent about the undeniable illegality of the tactic known as “hooking” in the game of Scrabble.  It is a manuever, inarguably, that allows a player to take two turns – by first (for example) creating the plural form of a word (turn one), and then creating a second word based on the tile that they themselves have just laid (turn two).  I’m quite certain that this was an oversight by Alfred Butts during the inventive process, and further, I believe it likely that it was the reason that Parker Brothers originally turned down the game.

You’ve ignored this far too long, Hasbro.  It has been the elephant in the room of board gaming since 1948, and you, as a Major Power in the industry, have the power to fix things.

Please correct this as soon as possible.  I would also appreciate it if you could issue an official statement establishing that any victory over me due to the use of “hooking” is to be considered null and void.

Do the right thing, for the love of all that is good and fair, and you’ll be well on your way to being a real bro instead of just a has-bro.

In Gaming Sincerity,
The Dead Acorn

To be honest, I don’t hold high hopes for justice to be served.  But I tried to make a difference, and I guess sometimes that has to be enough.

[UPDATE:] Well, paint me orange and call me a pumpkin! I heard from Hasbro:

 Response Via Email (Rob)
05/15/2012 03:58 PM

Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your taking the time to share your feedback with us regarding the Scrabble rules.

Please be assured we have forwarded your comments to our management team so that they are also aware of your views and request.

We want to assure you that we are dedicated to maintaining quality products and service. We hope you and your family will continue to enjoy our products for many years to come.

Again, thank you for contacting us, and for your comments.

And so you see, sometimes a little activism and protestation really can make a difference.  I expect a news conference announcing the changes tout de suite! Many thanks to Rob and the rest of the Hasbro Board of Directors for giving this the level of attention it deserves.

* This is known as “hooking” in the Scrabble world.  Yes ... yes, of course it is.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

No One Knows My Pain

I’m a wreck.  Emotionally, obviously, but that’s not really anything new.  Physically, however … well, that’s not really new, either, but I have had a few incidents as of late that have me hurting a bit more than usual.

Firstly, at last week’s softball game, I was hustling out a weak-ass grounder smokin’ hot liner to 3rd, knowing that my efforts were of great importance, as our team had pulled to within 15 runs, and we were down to our last couple of outs.  Keep the rally alive, baby!  So I reached the bag, stumbling somewhat, as our game didn’t begin until 9:00 pm, and I some idiot thought it would be a good idea to bring a bunch of beer beforehand, and I tripped and went careening through the air, turning at least three airborne summersets before landing squarely on my shoulder.  I now have quite the contusion, and am generally unable to move my arm about without squealing in pain like a little girl.  So I don’t want to hear from any mothers about how horrible childbirth is, because this hurt pretty dang bad.

Secondly, the Cinco de Mayo Booze Cruize was held on, oddly enough, May 5th.  The CdMBC is a short bicycle outing during which riders travel to a number of bars in the downtown area, enjoying the day and raising money for a good cause.  (Bike O’ The Day:  a couch set upon two frames, welded together side-by-side, carrying the owner and his dog.  Brilliant.)  The person with whom I was riding got a flat tire, and we were forced to walk … WALK! … for quite a distance.  Those are muscles that, quite honestly, do not get a lot of use, and they are reminding me in an excruciating fashion of the meaning of the word “atrophy.”

Thirdly, I have (had?) a splinter of unknown origin in my thumb.  I’m not sure if it’s still there, as I took a needle and gouged out all of the flesh around it, so that now there’s a Grand Canyonesque gash there, and I’m not sure if it hurts because of the splinter or because of the damage done by my autosurgical urges.  Stupid splinter.

Lastly, I went to a friend’s house for jambalaya on the lawn the other day, which was extremely lovely, save for the fact that she has a tree with a large branch that’s exactly ½” lower than the top of my head, into which I ran multiple times, drawing blood from my skull at least twice.  I’m fairly certain that she rented that house for that exact reason, though I have no way of proving it.  But I know.  Oh, I know.

Softball, walking, splinters, jambalaya feeds … life truly is fraught with danger.  Maybe all those people who tell me that I need to wear a helmet everywhere have a point.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


About a week ago, the hell-hound started to act a little funny – well, she thought she was funny, anyway, but to be honest, a dog wearing a joy buzzer when I tell her to shake wears thin pretty quickly.  But she also stopped eating, and was moping around and just not being her old self.  She didn’t dig through the garbage when I accidentally left it within her reach, and nary a spatula was carried out back for three whole days.

At first I was pretty pleased, thinking of the money I would save on food and cooking utensils were she to continue this behavior, but then I thought of my future political aspirations and the damage that Mitt Romney’s campaign has undergone for his treatment of Seamus (the guy’s a big enough douche-canoe in the first place, but how he’s polling above 10% with the dog debacle hounding him baffles me), and decided to take her in to see the vet.

Well, I dropped her off and went to work, and they called back with all kinds of crazy stories about her liver being all out-of-whack, and how they needed to do an ultrasound to get more information, and unfortunately, she had apparently pulled her “act really good and cute and friendly for strangers” routine, because they seemed appalled when my first reaction was “Can’t you just put her down?” and prattled on and on about what a sweet girl she was.  Sweet pickled pretzels, people can be so gullible.

So they did their doctor stuff, and determined that her gall bladder was all backed up or some such thing, which wreaks havoc on the liver (or so they say).  Oddly, they didn’t ask about her drinking habits, which was my first thought when they mentioned that specific organ.  Let’s see … I seem to run out of beer faster than I should … she has a bad liver … yeah, I think I know the problem.  But it didn’t occur to them that she might be part North American Booze Hound, instead leaning toward some crackpot theory involving the non-digestability of chicken wings and flapjack-flippers.

They seem to think she’ll be okay, and all I have to do is administer an incredibly complex and wildly expensive regimen of 4 different prescription pills for a few months and make sure I feed her bland food, like boiled hamburger and white rice.

Yes, I have to boil hamburger for her.  I’m down a thousand dollars and counting already for her majesty, and now I’m cooking her gourmet meals and bleeding from the bites on my fingers that she inflicts when she grabs the pills from me (she’s not the most gracious of eaters, and is especially aggressive when there is peanut butter involved as the vehicle for the medication).

Well done, Indy, well done – I never would have guessed that you could expand your abuse of me to include a loss of dignity and economic ruin.  Well done, indeed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Don't Have Cable, I Said, With Great Pretense

I don’t know what sort of inner demons inhabited the tortured soul of the previous owner of Casa de Acorn, but based on the decisions made concerning landscape architecture, they were some nasty ones.

As part of my efforts to get this blog to appear on the first Googly page when people search using the keywords “home repairs don’t do it yourself,” I’ve been chronicling a bit of my effort to build a quaint picket fence around most of my yard.  I haven’t, as of yet, described the horrific fence-like structure that currently runs along one of the streets; an abomination that even when newly constructed would have been well-placed in a tale by Poe, a seemingly ineffective structure providing no barrier to objects of the physical realm, but most assuredly having great importance to the beasts in the netherworld just beyond our perception.

The posts appear to be old railroad ties, about 10”x10” cross-sectionally, sunken straight down into the earth with about 2’ left exposed, as though that area of the yard marks the graves of long-dead riders on a doomed ghost train.  There are holes drilled near the top of each, through which runs a rusty steel cable from one end to the other, probably salvaged from some wrecked ship.  Several of the posts are now broken, yet still the cable passes through, so that the fence as a whole looks not unlike a suspension bridge ravaged by earthquakes and tsunamis, that whole section of yard eerily evoking images of death and destruction.

So anyway, I finally resigned myself to doing some actual labor and getting rid of that monstrosity.  I had to saw through the cable somehow, as it had large steel pieces at either end preventing extraction through the holes.  The cable itself was at least 2” in diameter, and so, recognizing the Herculean task before me, I readied myself with my hacksaw, a healthy supply of Schlitz Malt Liquor … and then called my buddy Don to come over with his electric metal saw.

I actually had made an attempt at severing it a while back.  By “made an attempt,” of course, I mean making The Live Acorn sit out there and try to cut through it with a dull-bladed hacksaw as repayment for past loans I had made to her, while I sat supervising, sipping an Old Fashioned.  After learning firsthand what it took for two strong, muscular men sorta tipsy buffoons using a power tool to get the job done, I’m extremely impressed that she made as much progress as she did.  I guess her endless sobbing about the burning pain in her arms wasn’t just a show.

But last night, I finally got the whole cable out, and with no small effort, loaded it up into the back of my car for a trip to the recycling yard.  I hadn’t given a great deal of thought to how much I’d get for it up until that point, but after hoisting it and judging its weight to be several tons, I must admit to some amount of excitement and thoughts of to where I should retire.  My giddiness only grew when I pulled into the warehouse, at which point they told me to pull back out and drive to the truck scale!  “I must be sitting on a goddamned gold mine!” I said to myself (and then admonished my inner voice for its gratuitous use of profanity).

Well, I got my “in” weighing, unloaded the cable, got my “out” weighing, and waited impatiently as the clerk did some calculations (I felt like a contestant on “Let’s Make A Deal” waiting for Monty Hall to open Curtain No. 3!).  "Well," he said … "Yeah?  Yeah?" I panted.  "That'll be exactly ..." "YEAH?  OH GOD SAY IT!" “... $12.60.”

Twelve dollars and sixty goddamned cents.  That doesn’t even cover the Schlitz.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Just Even Up The Sides A Bit ...

I got a haircut yesterday, which, in and of itself, is not really blogworthy (though I most certainly have written about far more mundane topics), but it was just a bit different than my normal cosmetological experience, due to the … oh, quirkiness, let’s say … of the person administering it.

Due to shear* laziness, I usually go quite some time between cuts, which results in what some refer to as a goddamn rat’s nest that makes Medusa’s hair look prom-ready bit on the shaggy side when I finally go in.  I also get a pretty short cut, so as to maximize my intercut latency.  Without fail, the person makes one conservative pass at it, perhaps sensing that I prefer a longer ‘do (understandably so, of course, given my appearance upon entering the establishment), and I am left to ask them to make it a bit shorter.

Not so yesterday.

Yesterday’s stylist sat me down, and asked the regular questions about desired length and style, and I gave my regular answers, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  She then, however, asked if my past stylists used scissors or clippers.  “Scissors,” I responded, assuming that my answer would have some influence on the current cut.  “Okay!” she said.  “We’ll do a number 5 on the side!”

I didn’t know what that meant (outside of certain establishments in Reno, of course), and before I had time to inquire about it, she had grabbed the electric clippers and cut a large swath up the back of my head:

Above:  Agricultural equivalent of her opening salvo.

She proceeded to buzz-cut the rest of the back and around the sides, then mercifully switched to the scissors.  With each snip, she seemed to become more gleeful, making statements like “OH MY GOD THAT LOOKS SO MUCH BETTER!” and “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU LET IT GET THIS LONG!”**  She was extremely vocal about how much she disliked unkempt hair, and while she was otherwise very nice (not to mention pretty dang cute), I was more than a little disturbed that I lived in a society that would allow her to possess sharp objects.

She finally finished her work, and said “What do you think?  I left it a little longer on top than I wanted to, because I thought maybe you liked it a little bit long up there.”  (Her idea of “a little longer” was that I could actually grasp it between two fingers.)  I resisted the urge to say something like “Well, it’ll grow back someday, I guess …” or “My phrenologist will be ecstatic!”  and instead nervously stammered “it’s … it’s … perfect” while being careful not to make any sudden movements.

Because, as they say, discretion is the better part of valor keeping a crazy girl with a razor from cutting you to pieces.

* HA!
** Seriously - she held nothing back in letting me know how trashy I looked before.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Eventually, I'll Just End Up Ripping Out The Foundation And Building A New House.

Maybe it is turtles all the way down.  I realize that that’s not the best analogy, what with the turtle thingy being a line of logical questioning in an argument against the construct of a First Cause, but I’m really getting a strong vibe of infinite regress on what it’s going to take to get a simple picket fence built.  I’d probably be better off comparing the process to peeling an onion, with each layer representing a barrier to a step in the overall project, and the exposition of one leading only to the recognition of a deeper barr …

Ok, you know what?  What I really should compare to an onion is my ability to form analogies:  it stinks and it makes me cry.

Anyway, here’s a rundown of how I got to where I am currently re: fence-building:

Initial Goal:  Build a picket fence around the perimeter of my yard.  (This will keep the big dog from wandering off when she’s out of sight on the north side of my house, which will ease my stress at wondering what she’s up to over there, which will lower my blood pressure, which will reduce the chance of stroke, which will increase the odds that I stay alive to feed her.  So really, this is all for Indy.)

In a rare instance of forethought, I had purchased the pickets last fall, and had only to cut them in half to prepare them.  The sawing process, however, brought upon the recognition of a necessary precedent step, which brought upon another, and another, etc., et al, ipso facto, e pluribus unum:

If I’m going to build a fence, I need …
  1. a clean and uncluttered shop within which to work, which necessitates …

  2. a storage shed in the back yard in which to put a lot of my crapola, which requires …

  3. digging up the sprinkler system so that the area upon which the shed will sit is no longer watered.
(“But Dead Acorn!” an astute-and-landscaping-savvy reader might say.  “You could just turn the flow off at the sprinkler heads to deactivate them!”  And while yes, that’s technically true, I’m pretty sure that there are some cracks in the system that need to be repaired; plus, I’ve got to dig out some pretty big weeds-turned-trees anyway, and I just know I’ll end up plowing under the whole damned back yard by hand as some sort of self-imposed penance for my general Life Of Sinfulness.  I’m tellin’ ya, being an atheist with overwhelming Catholic guilt is no mean feat.)

So here’s what I had “accomplished” prior to the weekend:

Above:  With my any luck, I’ll  hit the discover natural gas line and get sued by the city live the rich’n’easy life like the Beverly Hillbillies!  FUCK! SWEET!

As of now, the black tarp thingy is gone (the neighbor, understandably not wanting to be able to see into my bombed-out-Beirut of a backyard through the spaces in the fence, inexplicably put that up by taking off each board and stapling it to the back and reattaching it.  I just moved the boards together.  Crazy, I know).  I’ve also removed all of the pipes that aren’t supposed to be there, and turned all of the dirt out to the near side of the steps.  All without any adverse encounters with the 220 volt line that runs buried across it!

I’m pretty sure I’ve reached the center of the onion, as it were, and that I’m now working back outwards, reassembling the onion, reattaching the layers with hot glue and staples so that my pickety dreams will be realiz …

Sweet jeebus, there has to be an online course in analogy creation out there somewhere.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Time To Shed-dle Down

I’ve been in a bit of a weird sleep cycle as of late – going to bed at 10:00 pm, waking up at 5:00 am, that sort of thing.  I’m not all that happy about it, but it’s a byproduct of trying to implement some reparatory behavioral changes, so I accept it, and try to focus on the sunrise (the fact that I get to see the sunrise, not literally focus on the sunrise, as that would lead to permanent vision damage, and if I’m going to do that, I’m at least going to wait until June 5th, when I can see Venus transiting ole sol.

So what to do, what to do, with all of that time on a weekend morning, when spring appears to have sprung, and the bars don’t open until 10?  Why, home projects, of course!  (If you’re expecting an update on the fence project that I wrote about a week or so ago, then you just don’t really know me.  This is a brand new endeavor.)

Actually, that’s not quite true … there’s a bit of a relationship between the fence project and the new one.  To build the fence, I recognized, I need to rid the garage/shop of its winter weight, comprising all of the junk that was strewn willy-nilly over the cold months when I was too much of a pansy-ass to put anything away.  So over the course of several evenings, I did just that, and it was during this process that it occurred to me:

I need a shed.

All of the junk cluttering up my workspace?  Stuff I use twice a year (in the case of my golf clubs, “use”) or things that I should, but for one reason or another, have yet to, get rid of.  Spare bike parts and tools, the lawn mower, my table-top fusion experiment … shit be blockin’ my fence-buildin’ strategy, yo.  A shed it would be!

And so came Saturday morn, and I drove my chipper little early-bird self up to Home Depot to get materials for the base and the floor.  Wood, nails, and cinderblocks sounds like a fairly straightforward list, but sometimes complications arise, doncha know.  I did make the purchase proper in a relatively incident-free manner; it wasn’t until I reached the parking lot that things began to go awry.

My first issue was with how to transport things.  Being the only person in the state of Idaho without a pick-em-up truck, hauling large items can pose something of a problem.  I do have roof racks on the Zuke Of Earle, but space is a bit limited due to several attachments (none of which I really use, of course).  Eventually, though, I got all of the boards to fit up top, and reached for the tie down rope in the back …

… and spent the next 20 minutes untangling the rat's nest that it had become.  There were people giggling and smirking as I wrapped myself tighter and tighter, and one nice young man even came over and gave me a cinch-strap to use instead (seriously).  “Keep it, dude … just … just … oh, wow” he said, shaking his head, as he walked away.

After I finally got everything road-ready, I was getting ready to go, and a couple of women walked by.  I heard one say “Pathetic.  In this whole row of cars, there’s only one Made In America.”  So of course, the next 30 minutes were spent arguing with them about how if the U.S. wouldn’t have put out such crap 25 years ago, maybe they wouldn’t have ruined their image, and besides, cars are really a global product now, and they’re all “AMERICA LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!11!1!!” and I’m all “AMERICA!  I DO LOVE IT AND I’LL TRY TO CHANGE IT FOR THE BETTER BECAUSE I HAVE THE MENTAL CAPACITY TO REALIZE THAT MY OPTIONS RE: AMERICA ARE NOT OF THE BINARY FORM!”  and I think they took that as more of an insult than I intended, because they called me a socialist and stormed off.

I’ll have more on what has since sidetracked the shed project (it involves electricity!  And sprinklers!  And neighbors!), but I did at least get the floor of it put together ... right after I took back all the 1” x 8” boards that I had bought and purchased the 1” x 6” boards that I needed.

I am SO not a morning person.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I'll Wafer You, I Promise ...

I wrote a while back on some changes that the New England Confectionery Company had made to the production of their delicious Necco Wafers.  Specifically, they had changed to all-natural flavoring and coloring, which was a bit upsetting, as the licorice ones were no longer as readily identifiable, and the lime ones were eliminated altogether.  I was livid!

On the drive down to Salt Lake City over the holidays, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find some of the old brightly colored ones in a gas station in Burley.  “How fortunate I am to live in a state where deliveries are so late that despised changes to product lines have no effect on inventory for years!” I thought to myself, as I bought all that they had.

As it turns out, even Burley gets updated shipments, and rather than being old stock, I discovered that the New England Confectionery Company had reverted to their old recipes due to faltering sales.  By this time, I had reconsidered my position on their change, and I was a little disappointed in their reversal.  I recently let them know my feelings on the matter:

Dear New England Confectionery Company:  I am writing to convey my disappointment in your 2011 decision to return to the use of artificial flavorings and colorings in your flagship product, the beloved Necco Wafer.  I will admit to being a bit distraught upon discovering the original change (documented at http://thedeadacorn.blogspot.com/2011/05/ill-wring-your-scrawny-little-necco.html).  Eventually, however, my rage transformed into respect as I realized that you were acting as Good Corporate Citizens, and taking the lead among confectioners in turning the industry into one more healthy and environmentally friendly.

“Kudos, New England Confectionery Company!  Kudos indeed!” I cried, after I got past my initial selfish resentment at not being able to easily recognize the vile licorice wafers.  “You are truly an admirable entity, and others would do well to emulate you!”

Unfortunately, your bold and brave actions did not stand the test of time, and it would appear that your decision to return to the artificiality of the past was driven by nothing more than profit motives.  This saddens me greatly, not only for my disappointment in finding that you lack the courage of your convictions, but for what I have discovered about myself; that I too am weak, as my craving for your wafers outweighs my concern for my health and for the planet, and I continue to consume them (except for the aforementioned vile licorice ones – those I give to my daughter, who will occasionally toss them in her mouth in a moment of inattention.  It’s quite amusing).

I hope that one day, you will again put goodness ahead of greed, and reverse your reversal.  Until then, I guess we’ll both sleep a little less soundly, aware that we’re not quite the person/confectionery company that we thought we were.


The Dead Acorn

I don’t expect a reply, as I’m sure they are rightfully embarrassed by the whole ordeal and just want it to go away.  Further, according to their Wikipedia article, the reversal was overwhelmingly popular.  It’s quite sad, really.

Our whole society has lost its moral candy compass.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Don't Fence Me In ...

OMG OMG OMG I did it I did it I rilly rilly DID IT!  I made progress on a home project!  WOOOO!

Those who know me well will recognize this as a rare occurrence indeed; one that is certainly a cause for, if not outright celebration, a begrudging acknowledgement that “well, at least he lifted his lazy ass off the bar stool.”  In any case, progress was made, which is a statement not often made in reference to my life.

The project of interest is building a 20’ high cinderblock wall topped by barbed wire quaint picket fence around my front yard.  The north side of my corner lot is out of view of my patio, so that when I’m sipping mimosas enjoying the sunrise, I’ve got to either tie the hell-hound to the tree or worry about her going on a little walkabout with the other neighborhood dogs.  She’s very friendly to all folks (save me, of course), and immensely enjoys saying hello to the local strollers-by, who don’t always share her enthusiasm about such encounters.

Last fall, I bought about 150 1”x4”x6’ cedar boards, and I’ll be damned if Saturday wasn’t an honest-to-gosh nice spring day.  And as perfect as that sounds for sitting in a nice dark pub, somehow I found myself saying “You know what would be cool to have, Dead Acorn, instead of 150 1”x4”x6’ cedar boards?  Three hunnert 1”x4”x3’ cedar boards, that’s what!”  I probably would have talked myself out of actually doing it, but at the time I said it, I was sitting alone at the bar, and my ramblings were making some patrons at the tables nervous, and the server asked me to leave.

As this was going to be a fairly simple and straightforward operation, involving only the chop saw, I didn’t foresee any problems, but being the ever-safety-conscious project-doer that I am, I checked the American Woodworker’s Society handy pocket guide to intoxication standards:

Above:  It being only around 2:00 pm, I was well within the allowable range for Compound Miter Saw use.  Norm Abrams would approve of my sense of propriety, I'm sure (click to enlarge).

A couple of hours later I was the proud owner of a large, well stacked pile of 3’ dog-eared pickets, ready to be made into a barrier further separating me from society, isolating me from human interaction and shielding me from the pain and cruelty of the outside world.  Or at least keeping the dog in the yard, I guess.

But it’s baby steps toward project completion, as I’m sure you know, and I’m excited about the prospect of finally putting my degree to real use, as the next step will be Post Hole Digging.  Then the relocation of a number of sprinkler heads, planting a garden, and widening the driveway … I’m so eager to get started I can barely sit still on my bar stool!

Vegas has put the over/under for finishing at August 14, 2014.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Music Hath Charms ...

I attended a musically-themed social gathering on Sunday at the home of some friends.  As it was explained to me in the invitation, there was to be a tournament in which 32 songs would battle head-to-head in single-elimination fashion over the course of three consecutive Sundays, culminating in the identification and coronation of TEH GREATEST SONG OF ALL TIME!!11!!.  Though this was the first time I would be attending, I was aware that the tournament had been held in years prior, which led to the following conversation:

Dead Acorn:  “Hey, I really appreciate the invite!  Sounds like a great time!  So we just bring what we feel is the best song released in the last year?”

Friend of Dead Acorn:  “umm … no … it can be any song you like.  It doesn’t have to be just from the last year.”

DA:  “But … but … if you identified The Greatest Song Of All Time last year, it stands to reason that only a song released since then could possible wrest its title!  And if no new song can mount a successful challenge, then the crown must then remain with last year’s victor!”

FODA:  “Ok … see … last year’s winner can’t be entered again.  Maybe you should think of it as ‘The Greatest Song To Be Entered Into The Tournament This Year.’  jesusfuckingchrist I told her inviting you was a bad idea …

DA:  “I didn’t quite catch that …”

FODA:  “See you Sunday, I guess … *sigh*

It occurred to me a bit later that the event was less about an objective method of ordering songs by quality, and more about creating a fun and lighthearted atmosphere in which people could interact while participating in a friendly competition modeled on the NCAA “March Madness” basketball tournaments, which are taking place coincidentally.

I am one socially astute sunuvabitch.  I can’t, for the life of me, understand why I don’t get invited to more parties.

Finally having a full grasp of the concept, I set about selecting a song to submit.  I didn’t want to completely dominate, of course, so I excluded some of my top-shelf material, and finally settled on Ry Cooder’s “Down In Hollywood.”  I had been told by the hosts, who are quite the audiophiles, that vinyl media was preferable, and I thought that a song from the album “Bop Till You Drop” would be appropriate, as it was the first major-label album to be recorded digitally – it would be a somber recognition of how much has changed in our world, even if not all for good.

My god, there was no way I could lose!

Alas, it was not to be.  I searched through my stacks of wax and my mounds of sounds, and was distraught to discover that I could not find my copy.  I was committed to the song, however, and resigned myself to burning a copy onto a CD*.  I arrived at the party and submitted my entry, and was asked if I’d like to make a second entry (extras were needed to fill the entire bracket).  Luckily, I had brought a few other albums**, just to establish my “vinyl cred,” as it were, and I drew out my 45 single of Bobby Darin’s “Mack The Knife.”  “It’s going to be a bit embarrassing to have both songs in the final round,” I thought to myself.

As I was not familiar with most of the other guests, I looked forward to the random drawing for the first round battles.  I began to feel a bit uneasy as the artists and songs were read.  “Who are ‘The Iron Maidens?’” I asked.  “Blackie Sabbith?  Was he one of the Backstreet Boys?”  There were other bands by such names as “Die Apokalyptischen Reiter” and “Embalmer” and “Ripping Corpse,” and I got the feeling that I was perhaps out of my element.

It’s far past the point of making this a short post, but suffice it to say that I did not advance into the second round (though Bobby Darin made a surprisingly strong showing – there must have been some Brecht/Weill fans there).  All in all, it was an extremely enjoyable afternoon, and quite educational, music-wise.

Maybe “Dead Acorns” would be a good name for a satanic death-metal band – I’ll get started on lyrics.

* To make matters worse, I burned it as an .mp3 file, and it wouldn't play on their stereo.  A guy at the party had to stream it over his phone.  That's why I'm known as "Smoov D.A." on the streets.
** Other albums I brought include The Archies and David Soul.  Tolly serious.

Friday, March 2, 2012

They Said Come Down, And I Threw Up ... Ooooh, Ooooh, Growing Up ....

My raison d’blogre is, of course, as I assume is the case with all blogsters, the elicitation of comments.  Some are rich in comments, such as The Bloggess, who could type “yabba dabba doo” and have 500 responses saying “OMG your so funny we think exactly the same way!” within fiftee …

Ok, you know what?  That’s just the bitter jealousy typing.  The Bloggess is hilarious and uses her inestimable powers for incredible good.  And her commenters are funny as well, and they know the difference between "your" and "you're."  My apologies to all for being a petty butthead.  Let go of the bitterness, Dead Acorn ...

In any case, the 5-10 comments I get per post are worth more than any King’s treasure to me.  I bring this up because I recently had a comment that didn’t fall into one of the general categories:
  1. People who know me and know that if they comment, they’ll avoid me awkwardly seeking validation as a human being by asking them later if they’d read it.

  2. People who don’t know me personally, but for some reason or another read this stuff (self-loathing? Criminal sentence?)

  3. People with an intense dislike for me (surely defendably so, in large part, if not entirely) who usually post anonymous insults.

  4. Links in Japanese symbols that take me to soft-core hentai sites.
The exchange in question went as such:
Inge said...
Dead Acorn--I found your blog and it made me laugh but after reading some posts it seems you use humor to hide something deeper going on. Maybe you are only out for attention or laughs but I don't think so. It kind of makes me sad.

The Dead Acorn said...
Aww, Inge ... don't be sad! I'm glad it makes you laugh; that's pretty much the goal, I think. There's not any dark sad persona underneath (well, not much of one, anyway).

 Inge said...
Ok. I was surprised when I saw your picture because you look grown up but your life doesn't sound grown up. I do not say that to be mean but because that is why I felt sad for you.
So now I’m making people sad?  I have to say that that makes me feel akin to Dr. Altivore Straudius, the Luxembourgian biochemist who, while genetically altering a common and harmless microbe in an attempt to cure pancreatic cancer, inadvertently created a mutant super-resistant microorganism that wiped out 99% of the earth’s population back in the late 20th century.  It's like tolly opposite of what I meant to do!  (Ok, I’m not sure if that really happened, as I dun my histry learnin’ in eastern Idaho.  Also, I appreciate the irony of my remembering him as trying to cure cancer, when I myself have been referred to as “a cancer of the googlytubez.”)

It did get me to thinking, however, about what it means to have a life that “doesn’t sound grown up.”  (As she said, this wasn’t intended to sound mean, and I certainly didn’t take it that way.)  I don’t think I’ve mentioned (well, not more than in passing) my participation in a band that plays Teh Rock And Teh Roll and my juvenile hopes that I will become a RAWK STAR!1!!!11! at my advanced years, though that would perhaps be thought of as “not grown up,” by some standards.  Maybe my occasional post about camping alone could be interpreted as a need to escape from the pressures of society, which in turn could be thought of as immature, though I don't really think that's what she meant.  Maybe it's just the fact I am an adult who regularly types the word "tolly."

I’ll think about that some more, I guess, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll come up with as many positive aspects of having a not-grown-up life as negative ones … mostly because that’s what self-deluding chuckleheads do, but hey, I’m good with that.

So please don’t be sad, Inge … trust me when I say that I’m enjoying this life more than I probably deserve to (grown up or not), and I can even act like a grown-up when the need arises.  And thank you for your comment – it makes for a good world when strangers can show concern for one another.

Now if you'll excuse me, those damn neighbor kids want to have another snowball fight ...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oh, What Tangled Webs We Weave ...

I was reminded last weekend of a horribly tragic situation that exists in my family; such is the horrific nature of it that I have obviously stowed it away deep in my subconscious, ignoring that ugly little piece of reality, so that I might try to make it through each day without questioning the motives of whatever deity might exist in inflicting such cruelty and losing whatever tenuous grip on sanity I might have in the process.

My nephew, you see, is afflicted with syndactyly.  That's right ... webbed toes.

I write this not to elicit pity, nor sympathy, but to describe the heroic bravery with which he deals with his malady.  Imagine a young lad, being told that the school district had declared him ineligible for the swim team, citing “unfair advantage,” due to a condition completely beyond his control.  Imagine a boy having to learn that someone yelling “DUCK” was simply warning him of an object rapidly approaching his head, and not poking fun at his fused podial digits (luckily, his noggin is quite solid, and no permanent damage seems to have resulted from those miscommunications).

One can easily understand how such a condition would be difficult to deal with, at best.  My nephew, however, refuses to let it affect his well-being, knowing that if life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic if life gives you lemons, get some vodka and make lemon drops you might as well make the most of things.  With that in mind, then, take a look at the tattoo he had done a few weeks ago:

Above:  The awesomeness scale now goes to 11.

The suggestion has been made that on his other foot he get a person on a surfboard … get it?  Surfin’ the web?  Huh?  Huh?  Is this thing on?  I know you’re out there … I can hear you clicking the “Next Blog” button!

I, of course, being the self-serving weasel that I am, attempted to use his condition to my own advantage, and ventured down to the Department Of Motor Vehicles to apply for a handicapped parking permit:

DMV Woman:  “Can I help you?”

Dead Acorn:  “Yes, I’d like to apply for a handicapped permit.  My nephew has the webbed toes.”

DMV W:  “I’m sorry … did you say that your nephew has webbed toes, so you want a permit?”

DA:  “That’s correct.  I could catch it at any time, and I’d rather not have to walk across a huge parking lot when it happens.”

DMV W:  “I’m pretty sure that’s a genetic anomaly, and not something that you catch.  Also, it really has no effect on people who actually have it.  In fact, it can be quite the conversation starter, as well as being an incredible opportunity for creative tattoos.”

DA:  “Oh yeah?  Well, look what happened to my dog since we got back from visiting him!”

I showed her a picture I had taken of Indy the night before:

Above:  Oh, the humanity caninity …

DMV W:  “You … ummm … taped her toes together with masking tape and taped some hair on top of it.”

DA:  “Nuh-uh.”

DMV W:  “Next!”

As she was obviously deaf to my pleas and oblivious to the suffering of others, I walked out.  Slowly.  And limping.  I could almost hear her eyes rolling.

This world can be so cruel.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Buck Stops Here

Being the staid, boring schlub that I am, I have a very set routine in my everyday activities.  My morning schedule of events is unwavering, as is that of my afternoon.  I leave work at 4:00 pm, arrive home between 4:15 and 4:20*, and give the hell-hound big belly rubs upon entering Casa de Acorn.  I’m well aware of the chaotic world around me, and the constancy of my day-to-day behavior is quite comforting, providing an almost zen-like serenity against the background din of The Outside.

Things do come up, however, that require straying from the well-trodden path, and a few days ago, I found myself needing to run home at lunch.  “What a pleasant surprise this will be for Indy!” I said aloud in the car.  “Normally she waits patiently by the door all day in anticipation of her beloved belly scratching!  Her joy at this unexpected additional round of scratching will be quite amusing to watch!”

Imagine my shock, then, when I walked through the door to see this:

Above:  I’m not really surprised by the interspecies aspect, but based on her crotch-sniffing behavior around human females, I would have guessed she was a lesbian.  Whatever.

I was, of course, quite taken aback, as was she, apparently, for she just stared at me like a deer in the bed-lights.  After several seconds, I started stammering.  “I … I … oh god.”  “Roh, rit …” she mumbled.  Finally, I said something about going to the computer room for a few minutes to check my email, thinking that I’d at least be providing an opportunity for her to show her guest out in the least awkward manner.  After what I felt was a sufficient amount of time, I went back to the bedroom to have what would surely be an uncomfortable conversation at best, only to find this:

Above:  Ole Buck’s got a lot of chutzpah, I’ll admit.  And Indy can really give the stinkeye when she wants to.

I kind of snapped at that point, screaming something about venison steaks and deer jerky and going all “Bambi meets Godzilla” on him.  He must have taken the hint, because he hopped up and bounded past me out the door.  I turned to the whore-hound, and red-faced, seething with anger, managed to say “Not in my bed.  NOT.  IN.  MY.  BED.

We haven’t really spoken about it since, and while it’s perhaps not the healthiest solution, I imagine that we’ll just bury the whole incident deep in the dark recesses of our minds.

You can bet your ass I’ll never walk into that house unannounced again, though.

* Duuuuuude ...