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  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 ...