NEW 106

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."
--Flannery O'Connor

6/22/11

      "Ladies and gentlemen! Behind me you see a curtain of the finest satin that the worms of China could excrete! But, you ask, what astonishing amazement lies behind the curtain? What finery is this, that it hides a treasure even greater?
      "Dare I to say that it will startle some and awe others? Yes, it may shock those of a lesser constitution, and frighten the truly simple-minded. But I feel, as I have never felt as strongly before any audience, even when I was before the very crowned heads of Europe, that no weaklings or lackapates reside amongst you brave folk! Is my appraisal of your countenances correct?
      "I thought as much! I hold before you a sight unseen by mortal eyes. I have future audiences before King and Kaiser, Tsar and Sultan, but before viewing this marvel, their inbred blood may need bolstering from the knowledge that fine, hard-working North Americans such as yourselves have--the 'hoi polloi,' Latin for 'dirty scum,' as these effete monarchists no doubt consider us--No, sir, you in the back! I hold no truck with their snobbish ways! That is why I am here today! I shall show you the veritable Eighth Wonder of the World, for the price of a mere dime for adults, and a penny for children!
      "You protest this offer? Why, I have turned down an offer from the Frenchie Emperor Napoleon III, and he offered me the princely sum of five dollars for the briefest glimpse! Perhaps I should indulge his rich blood before I reveal this secret to you, who he so callously called 'les Norte Amercaines du la stupidos'!
      "Ha ha! We'll show that snail-eating regal despot the same rough treatment the Mexicans gave him that Cinco de Mayonnaisse! Simply deposit your coins to my lovely assistant, the stunning Irma, who is accompanied by my very good--and very large, very muscular--friend Brutus! Don't be shy, children!
      "And so we come to the unveiling! Ladies, grasp the hand of your husband, and children, take the hand of your mother, or her skirt, as most of you have near a dozen siblings...and prepare to GASP at what NO MAN HAS SEEN BEFORE!"

      

      "BEHOLD THE BELLY OF BYRON! For an extra quarter, we have provided fainting couches in the rear of this facility."
      ...Meanwhile, in the 21st century...
      What? You jaded internet nerds! Okay, so maybe it has been seen by human eyes before--mine, when I took the picture. Byron is quite zealous at keeping his tummy from sight. It took years for him to let me touch it. No, I don't even have a theory as to why. And when I finally did get to touch it--wait, what's this? A weird, big lump. Apparently without nerve endings, as he gets more bothered by me stroking his belly then he does when I squeeze the Lump. It's been there for years and never changed size, so we assume that it's benign. No vet has ever survived long enough to get a look at it and be sure. It's barely visible, pointed at by his left thumb--thick, a bit bigger than the size of his thumb, with a hard bit at the top. The next time he's due for his shots, I'm just going to bite the bullet and have him get knocked out so that it can get looked at.
      Hey, where you going? You all owe me a dime!

6/23

      Also, this:

      

      

6/24

      Did Shakespeare Smoke Weed? Let's Dig Him Up and Find Out

      I apologize for my title in advance: Never Mind the Bollards, Here's Doctor Who

6/25

      Also, this:

      

      

6/27

      Besides the paycheck, the only thing I'd miss about my job would be the exercise. Putting a few hundred cases of booze away is a workout. The stockroom's on the second floor, and I make it a point to run up the stairs. Why pay a gym when the gym pays me?
      I took a pedometer to work, and I walk 1.45 miles every hour I'm there. Like a shark, I have to keep moving or I'll die. But the pedometer also told me that when hiking the woods, I walk a mile in 18 minutes. Why does it take less time on a day off?
      I decided to walk the woods behind the condo yesterday, and walk it as fast as I comfortably could. If I didn't have a job, that's where my exercise would come from. I finished by running up the 45 degree hill, heart pounding, and got home feeling great and just in time for Ebert Presents. I gotta do this every day off! But at the end of the show, I found myself unable to leave my chair.
      Because DJ was asleep in my lap. And, y'know, feeling a mite tired myself...a nap wouldn't hurt...
      Oh, yes it did! I was waking up and falling back to sleep and waking up etc for the rest of the day. What a waste of a day off.
      And the alarm awakened me from a dream where I was living in Nazi-occupied America, which indicated that my unconscious mind knew how badly my body felt. I felt like death. But I had to go to work; too much beer coming in. Oh boy--exercise!
      I was glad when the deliveries came early, as I was going to go home as soon as I was done with them. But it ebbed after 3 hours, and I felt better. Not good, better. What was it? No idea. Maybe I sucked in some pollen that didn't like me very much.
      You can see why there was no post yesterday. I did leave myself some helpful notes before passing out for good. I'm getting constant emails from the Democratic Party for a donation. First they would match my dollar for a dollar, but then I got the first one claiming that they would match two dollars for every one of mine. I was planning on donating anyway, but this made me--wait, what's this next email? I'm no longer a member of some group I never was aware of being a member of? And it's from "Robby Mook"? Was the name "Thievey Mafioso" too obvious? But today I discovered that, yeah, he is the chairman of the DCCC. And the 2-for-1 deal is real.
Contribute here if you'd prefer not to live under President Palin and the corporations that own the Republicans.
      "Robby Mook" was 1 note I left myself. The other was, and bear with me, as I will quote it in full:
      "cats"
      Thank you, message sent to Future Me by Past Me. There are cats here. Noticed that. Probably made more sense at the time.

6/28

      As always, the 3 cats came running to greet me when I got home. After de-suiting (removing everything work-related from my body, including changing clothes), it was time for wet noms! As I spooned the food out, our most voracious gourmand DJ abruptly ran to the window. BUG! I'm not sure what it was--wasp-shaped, but all black. No stinging insects are tolerated in my home, and I followed DJ around, restraining him at one point. But he'd corralled the bug behind the stuffed Bullwinkle doll hanging on the wall (oh, like you don't have one, too) and I gave Bullwinkle a good, hard smack with a magazine. It was gone off to join the choir invisible, and I still don't know what it was, as it fell behind a bookcase. I congratulated DJ on our tag team effort. And reminisced with Kill Kill and her glory days of bug hunting. In those days, I'd say "BUG!" and she'd immediately cry "WAAIIRR!" as if saying "WHERE is it?!" She would ruthlessly, relentlessly hunt them down to their destruction. She pondered this conversation. Among the cats, only she ponders.
      And something buzzed by my ear. A fly! "BUG!" I cried, for DJ's benefit.
      But his vocabulary is limited to "food," "treats" and occasionally "DJ." The fat fly swung close to Killsy, laying on her old computer box. She took a swing. "HA!" said the fly, and swung by her again. A swing and a miss! But she was trying! She understands many words, and I think me saying "BUG!" and "WAAIIRR!" in close proximity fired a decade old memory. The mighty hunter of old had awakened!
      "Old fool of a cat!" sneered the fly as it made its next swing. "Go to the senior center, you graceless--" whap! "Oh...fuck..." said the fly.
      It wasn't dead, I think. She turned her head under the chair by her, and DJ joined the fight, now that it was over. There was a long 5 minutes of them watching what I assume was a flightless fly crawling around back there, not a buzz to be heard. She was content to watch, while DJ eventually got in the final blow. I guess. He made a swat after a long stalk, and Killsy lost interest.
      Until the congratulatory cat treats came out! Byron got some, although what the hell did HE do? But if he'd seen either bug, he would've been point man, of course.

6/29

      Seven...Wonders of the World...Seas...um...Years of bad luck after breaking a mirror? That's all the groups of 7 I can come up with. No, wait, Snow White and dwarfs! Duh, DAYS OF THE WEEK, criminey, I'd have sucked at that show.

      Beautiful day off, so to the park! And they were already charging admission. I ain't payin' no 4 bucks to go in, find out that the trails are muddy and it's just humid enough to bring out the bugs, and turn around after 20 minutes! (Note: exactly what happened) But there's a free back door, if you know of it. Actually, 3, but last year they figured out the easiest one, and kept it guarded.
      Having successfully infiltrated, GAAAHH HUGE INVISIBLE SPIDER WEB! get it OFF!, and WHOA, almost stepped in a pair of piles of DEER SHIT! *ahem* but I didn't. Later, I came up behind a woman with a pair of dogs, one a German shepherd and one a smaller, poodlier thing with a crimson-dyed tail. I was downwind so the dogs didn't know I was there. I wondered what would happen when I passed her. I said "Excuse me," and the German shepherd--named Bear, which was an accurate name--began growling and barking. "But I said 'Excuse me'!" Probably just startled, and embarassed that he'd failed to protect his Master.
      Then I went home to play End of the Bush Administration and throw a shredding party! I thought it'd been a couple of months since the last one, but there were bills from Xmas and pay stubs from a year ago. I mention this just to show you my shredder, which has an apropos pic from my Cat of the Day calendar:

      

      
      Forgot to mention this SHAWT yesterday: if you have 2 DUI convictions and had your license taken away, it's prly not best to go to your court appearance in your car. While drunk. You could end up, as you did, as a SHWWBAWFAM. A Stupid Human Who Won't Be At Work For A Month, as you're in jail. Although "SHWWBAWFAM" sounds like a sound effect Nightcrawler from the X-Men would make teleporting from the shower.

6/30

      The sales tax in CT goes up incrementally tomorrow, from 6% to 6.35% (or 3.5 cents for every $10), as does the price of liquor. Thanks to an article in the Hartford Courant, everyone thinks it's going up 20%. Err, yes, sort of. 20%, but based on "proof by gallonage," i.e., the higher the proof, the more it goes up. A big bottle of an already expensive brand of 80 proof liquor will likely go up a dollar, but much less if it's a cheaper one. My 30 packs of low-proof Genny will cost me about an extra quarter, including tax. But because of the Courant, we're getting panic buyers, mainly the elderly, and especially people who come into liquor stores rarely.
      SHAWT:
      CUSTOMER: Do you have Libe Fried Milk?
      ME: I'm sorry?
      C: Libe Fried Milk!
      ME: ...Liebfraumilch?
      That's a German style of a light, semi-sweet white wine, and the name literally means "Milk of the Virgin Mary." And since milk comes from humans only one way...ew! And if it's not literally milk, then Jesus was raised a drunk from birth.

7/1

      SHAWT: The sales tax went up today. A woman called the store angrily insisting that we'd charged her the new tax on her Newports rate yesterday. No, we did another thing the state is forcing us to do, and raised the price of cigarettes by 42 cents. Our store manager, for once thinking with his brain and not a gutfull of beer, told her to come in and he'd refund the difference in the sales tax (that we didn't charge her).
      Cigarettes are expensive--before taxes, her smokes cost her $8.77. And the tax difference is...3 cents. She could've got a free pack of cancer sticks, if yesterday she'd only bought 300 packs!

      Cats love their catnip, and some like...second-hand smoke from the human equivalent, so I don't find it surprising that Animals Get High.

7/2

7/3

      Every Sunday morning, I listen to the Ambience show on local station WWUH. Good background music, or, as its inventor Mr B. Eno described it, "Music that doesn't demand attention, but rewards it."
      Hey, remember rockin' out to that old Ron Geesin rockin'-outie song "Several Species of Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict"? OF COURSE YOU DON'T. You were sane, back in the day.
      I just found out that there are many old WWUH shows, each 4 hours long, on archive.org. Sadly, I found this out because the dj who was uploading the shows, Dave DeMaw, suddenly died. But it's great music, perfect for a Sunday morning, a weekday afternoon of computer work, or a late night of surfing. It's never that bland New Agey crap and sometimes it's rather odd music, so that it rewards your attention when you want to step back and give it yours.
      "Several Species of Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict" turns up within the first 30 minutes of this 2004 show. You'll know it when it starts.
      EEP EEP SQURORGLE.

7/4

7/5

      Jesus Himself has chosen for you to be Raptured to Heaven! In May. Okay, so that didn't work out as you planned, and coworkers are joking with you about that. WWJD?
      Shoot a bitch!
      Nice mugshot, too. Looks like the Howard too stupid to be the Fourth Stooge.

7/6

      Free stream of Brian Eno’s New Album, Drums Between the Bells. Doesn't do me any good, having already bought my copy, just before CT's new Amazon tax went into effect (why should I pay state sales tax on something that I didn't buy in this state?). I like it. Not as good as his last, "Small Craft on a Milk Sea," but I do like it. Give it a test drive.

      "If good when die, GO TO MEATLAND!"

7/7

7/8

      Just because you're a genius, it doesn't mean you're not an idiot: Don't try this at home: The eye-popping tales of the mad scientists who nearly died in their quest for knowledge

      Also, this:

      

Who's Afraid of Mr Greedy ? from maxime mary on Vimeo.

      

7/9

      As a guy who, early in the internet, wrote some of the only fanfic on a certain subject, I heartily endorse a mainstream article not condemning fanfic, but celebrating it.
      Wait, what? My Sisto stories don't seem to be anywhere! Not from the bad links I gave, but anywhere, anywhere, on my page or hard drive. I know I uploaded it all as soon as Geocities was going down...But where is it?
      Oh well. Maybe I can find it somewhere. Everything you love dies eventually, but life goes on.

7/10

      And, as always, a heartfelt thank you to Kitsplut, who took the time to find the old Sisto stories on the Wayback Machine! I'll fix that page on my next day off. This day off was a bit busy.

      There's your hint why.

      The day began with a hacking cough. Nothing unusal there, sadly. My lungs get congested when I sleep, and I violently cough when I get up and after leaving the shower. You'd think I smoked a pack a day, and the cats barely react to it now. But today was special! The coughing became brutal, then dry heaves, then TA-DAA! mild vomiting. YOUNG'S SYNDROME THE SEQUEL, NOOOOO!
      Let's hope not. Jessica's narcolepsy has gotten worse, and 20 minutes is now the upper limit to her driving. So I drove from Vernon to Sturbridge (35 miles), picked her up, then drove from Sturbridge to Coventry (33 miles), and then back to Sturbridge, and then back to Vernon. Glad I have a car that gets over 38 MPG now.
      After 4 years, we were finally able to coordinate going to the Coventry Farmers' Market, where the pics above were taken. On the drive there, her condition required her to ask if she could take a nap. I asked if to wake her up, I should fondle her knee, which got a laugh and a "No!" She conked out immediatamente. Well, I thought, now I can post on my blog that she slept with me! (or have I done that joke before?) Then she began making this freakishly high-pitched whiney snore. Which turned out to be her ringtone, of the feral kitten Pinkie she rescued. She checked her phone, and CLAP OFF she was asleep again. 15 minutes later I said, "Auntie Jessica! Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey!" and CLAP ON instant full consciousness.
      A beautiful day, bright sun, a slight breeze, minimal humidity, a nice walk to the market. Mobbed as always. I grabbed my usual garlic butter rolls, then some fruit filled baked goods, while she got an apple cinnamon canoli (I think) and devoured it, pausing only to exclaim about its awesomeness. She got maple peanut brittle, some penuche fudge, and a disappointing pickle, eating them as she went, and a handpainted stone pin of a country store that was amazing in its tiny, precise brushstrokes, and only $5. At various booths I got jalapeno and hot mustards, garlic hummus (a gamble, as they had no samples), goat cheese, farmstead and "name I forget" cheese. The taqueria cart that was having technical difficulties the last time I went was up, but the line was too long, so I spent a few seconds in line getting one of those incredible veggie samosas from the India booth. The longest time spent in line was, as always, at Cato Farms getting my 2 cheeses. I fumbled with my wallet and zipped-up freezer bag, and the guy joked "HURRY UP HURRY UP!" I said, "If I was behind me right now, I'd be saying 'What's up with this spaz and his bag?!'" And we turned around and the 4 person line we started in was now about 10 long.
      As we left the parking lot lawn, my Fit hit some shit! I could hear it grinding under my new car. CRUNCH! Looking back, there was a huge, long block of wood and a carpet. WTF? I was doing 10 MPH (for non-American readers, that's like 42 KPH) and neither of us saw it. The lot was full, so was this to show that? A thing that you don't see? The guy running the lot didn't seem too concerned, but Jess was, and at the first safe spot I pulled over and she checked. Nope, nothing.
      After eating a nice meal, where else to go but--the cemetery! We're into old gravestones, and this had Revolutionary War veterans' graves. Oddly, the entire front half of the little cemetery was empty, with the newest grave being from the 1830s. If they were paupers' graves, why were they in the front? Walking carefully, Jess theorized that there were sunken graves beneath our feet, and the tombstones taken away for some reason. She's really into this graveyard stuff.
      So much so, that she she ran into the guy in charge of her town's historical society (not here, but in her home town and several days ago), and they had a long talk. She's going to have some of her professional-quality photos blown up and put on local display! Awesome!
      Next we went to the rather sprawling Coventry Antiques. And OH MAN, IT'S SO LOUD IN HERE! About a thousand, give or take a billion, motorcycles roared by the open doors for some charity for like 10 minutes IT WAS REALLY PLEASANT AND WE HAD TO TALK LIKE THIS TO BE HEARD while she searched for fabric to make a wedding dress for one of her next cat figurines. Oh, there's a Humane Society craft show she'll be at for the benefit of cat shelters, so maybe she'll finally get the recognition and business she deserves for all her work. I found a few hand-painted cat magnets, which weren't priced, but it was decided that they were a dollar each. Y'okay, I'll get 2, and also this "Wrench Wizard," a metal jar opener that I bought for utility, not antiquery (at $3, it prly had more value that way). Jess made fun of me for buying it, "What, are you that weak now?" and I offered to test it on her neck, to see if her head came off.
      The next building was sweaty hot, but Jess spotted a cheap, vintage Genesee Beer can for me. They trusted enough to not even make us pay for it until we were "in the white house."
      Then the barn. Nothing of great interest, until she gasped--KITTY! He was Razor, a very friendly medium-haired cat of Byron color and minimal size. She was sure he was a purebreed of some kind; I put him as the best of all breeds, a mutt. Surely meant to keep the barns free of pests, but off of a very busy road. "You stay away from that road, sweetie!" she said as she left, with true concern. Outdoor cats live only 5 years on average...
      And then to the white house, where another sweet cat awaited, laying on the front counter, wearing a lovely little doll hat. The ladies who cared for her said that she had to go the "doctor" tomorrow, and Jess, stroking her, asked about her kidneys. "Are you a 'doctor'?" (they were clearly not using the "V" word) No, just a feral cat colony manager, who's dealt with many a cat health issue. There was a long 3-way cat lady discussion of this. "I cry when I lose one," said Jess, "and I cry when a saved one gets adopted, because I love them! It's so much work, but so worth it!" We didn't buy anything, but I paid for my empty beer can.
      Next: another cemetery! Can't have enough, I say! And CRUNCH! Jess warned me a tad too late about the big dip in the driveway. Another underbody inspection revealed a minor scrape on the...whatever she called it. I am secure enough in my masculinity to admit that a woman knows more about cars than me. Squirrels know more about cars than me, and they only know "GAH DON'T GETS RUNNED OVERS!"
      An odd place. It's still in use, with a quarter of it very recent graves, another quarter early-to-mid 20th century ones, another 1820-1890, and the most interesting, the rest are of 18th century graves. One stone read that it was of th first person buried there, in 1725. She left her good camera in her car, but took lots of pics with her smartphone, so I may post some here if she makes them available. We're still trying to figure out why "Here my corpse lies mouldering, as will soon yours" inscriptions stopped around 1810, and with it the weird face at the top that looks like a cross between Kilroy Was Here and Popeye's Alice the Goon (sorry, I ain't going through a million image searches to show you the tombstone image I mean), and then why the "Blessed by the Creator" inscriptions started circa 1820. There was even an abrupt, obvious change of fonts around then. Did the old stonecarver die, and a new one come in? I was able to explain one thing she didn't know, the Revolutionary era "long S," the S that looks like a lower case f, stretched out, or like S and f mashed into 1 letter, Sf.
      Worst stone: a wife who died, and her baby "A[ge] 7 hours," obviously both in childbirth. Best: all the people from the 18th century who lived until their 80s, and it was a surprisingly large number (maybe only they could afford a nice stone?). Best worst: the inscription "Died From a Fall From a Tree." Seriously, that's what you wanted the guy to be remembered for, 220 years later? The invention of the Darwin Awards, before the invention of Darwin? Why didst you not carve the inscription, "EPIC SfAIL"? "Herein Layest He Who Choked Upon a Cherry Pit. DUMBASfSf."

      Hey, New RiffTrax theater event! In August, Kev & I will be there!

7/11

      I'm not going to pass any judgment on the USA's for-profit-and-nothing-else health care system, but Jess told me how her meds cost. And she actually had to pay for them out-of-pocket for a while, while awaiting approval.
      A THOUSAND DOLLARS.
      ... for a week.
      BUT USA NEED MORE TAX BREAKS FOR BILLIONAIRES!!! Um, not "billionaires," but JOB CREATORS!
      Taxes are at the lowest point in FIFTY YEARS for billionaires and corporations, so WHERE ARE THE JOBS? Oh, wait, we need LOWER taxes on the super-rich! Maybe NEGATIVE taxes! The 90% of the USA that has only 10% of the wealth, we should give the upper 10% our money, just to show how grateful we are that they don't eat our babies for dinner! YET

7/12

--Downtown Radio, Northern Ireland

      Alley Cat Allies, one of my favorite charities, gets some face time on last night's Daily Show.

7/14


      Wasabi peas are the greatest shit ever. Well, after cats, obviously. And one neither eats the cats nor pets the peas.

      MUPPET DR WHO! By...well, who else?

7/15

7/16

      5 years ago when I became aware of Freebie sites, I vowed to never order anything I didn't need, especially if it was an offer from a charity site. I almost feel bad having joined the ASPCA, given the amount of beggings I get in the mail from every other anti-animal abuse charity. Okay, I feel sorry for those abused horses, but, horse people, I think you picked the wrong species for me. So, nothing free from charities.
      Unless it's a religious charity, as they have money to burn given by the gullible, and are less interested in helping people than they are in converting and then exploiting them. Our Lady of Fat-Heads Fatima sent me 1 chintzy thingie, and then sent me twice-weekly "GIVE US $$$!" mailings for 4 years. Oh yeah, if they can do that, they obviously really need the money.
      I also don't have a problem having people I hate giving me free stuff and reducing their own profits. Like Wal-Mart. Or right-wing sites. Fuck those guys!
      And so I heartily encourage all of you who read this site to go to Daily Bread and order some free freeze-dried food. Just LOOK at the millionaire loon pundits who "endorse" their products! Yeah, Beck and Ingraham, I'm SO SURE they think they'll be living in a bunker gnawing on that dehydrated shit. They sell that crap to their idiot audiences, but they expect to spend the rest of their lives in Gorgemghast-sized mansions, their petulant screams echoing down the marble hallways, about how their food was placed the wrong way on their plates by their personal chef and served without proper subservient deference by their undocumented maids. They make their millions claiming that NEGRO PRESIDENT will destroy civilization, while pretending that the thing that could--and probably will--doom humanity, climate change, isn't happening.
      So, please, go steal some food from the rich. C'mon, it's even called "Daily Bread," because JESUS wants you to buy CRAZY BIGOT MILITIA MAN NOMS. It's for U.S.A.mericans only, though! The rest of the world doesn't DESERVE our freeze-dried food--look at how ridiculously fresh the pictures make their reconstituted crap look, especially the pancakes--and the rest of the world also ain't so retarded as to buy it. Also, buy some gold! SUCKERS.

      If you're interested in getting free stuff, I posted these links years ago, but here they are again: Absurdly Cool, Shop4Freebies, and the email list MySavings.

7/17

      

7/18

      My new car is supposed to get an average 31MPG, but it gets 38.6. Or did, until I drove about 120 miles at 75MPH with the air conditioning on last week with Jess. Not knowing which caused the drop all the way down to a measly 38.0MPG, I reset it this morning to get a more accurate reading. It varied hilariously--from 0.0MPG out of the garage to 7.6 to 12.5 in the course of 20 seconds.
      ...And I immediately got into a huge traffic jam. It took half an hour to drive half a mile, or, to put it another way, a quarter hour to drive exactly nothing. I sat there, glumly watching my MPG drop every minute in real time. I certainly wasn't as glum as the people whose day started off as part of a 4-car accident. With 2 cars on each side of the road; that must've been an unpleasantly spectacular experience. There were a dozen emergency vehicles, and did they need 2 firetrucks when nothing was on fire?

      SHAWT:
      MY BOSS, late in the day and deep in his cups (11! Heineken!), pulling something from the printer/fax from our main store: What the fuck is this? "Sent liter but charged me for 750 [milliliter]"?
      ME, unlucky enough to be present: I don't know. Call him and ask.
      BOSS: WHAT THE FUCK! What does this mean?! Liters of WHAT?!
      ME: It also says "3 Jadot chard," I think all he wants is for us to send 3 bottles of that to him.
      B: WHAAAAT THE FUUCK?! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT HE MEANS?! LITERS OF WHAT?!
      ME: There are only 3 things on the page. The only liter is Cuervo. I think he--
      B: And what's this scribbled out part?! WHAT THE FUCK DOES HE WANT?!
      ME: I don't think it means anyth--
      B: WHAT THE FUCK?!"
      ME: I don't think it means anything! He just wants 3 bottles of Jadot chard! Call him up and ask him!
      B: THAT DOESN'T COME IN LITERS! WTF!!
      (Repeat the above exchange for several, very long minutes)
      B: WHAT THE FUCK DOES HE W--oh wait. This is my handwriting.

      I eventually convinced him just to send 3 Jadot. 5 minutes later, he called me back to the office.
      B: This scribbled-out part said "What is this." WTF?
      ME: He wanted to know what you bought a liter of. There's only 3 items, and only 1 is a liter, so he figured out that it was Cuervo and crossed it out.
      B, after a long pause: ...Well, how hard is it for him to figure out THAT?!
      ME, thinking: It took you 10 minutes with constant assistance to figure it out, including 5 to recognize your own handwriting.

7/19

      You may have to be somewhat famliar with unIntelligent Design arguments to get the joke, but whatever: "We then come to the issue of the Three Bears. Note that the parameters are incredibly fine tuned. If there had been only 2.99999999999999999999999 bears, the story would not work at all."

      From KitSplut, via Facebook:

7/20

7/21

      It took him long enough to realize "DJ" meant "Yeah, YOU!" so I think I won't rename Don Juan de Youngo after what he always says, after he follows me to the bathroom and flops on the floor: "ArYarMarGarYar".

      In unrelated kitty news, Mr Byron Bigfoot has a cowlick. On his butt. Or is it a catlick? It's the point where his licking of both his sides ends, so I guess it's just a coagulated, dried-up swamp of cat spit. Yes, a lovely thought.
      I can't find the old flea comb, so I tried picking it out. Then Byron decided to jump from my lap while I was holding his "butthawk," as it's a mohawk on his butt. And as he jumped, a big piece was left in my fingers. And he didn't seem to notice. And after 3 jumps from my lap, it's all gone, and when I pet him, he seems to have noticed--that it's gone. And he likes that.

      42 years ago, humans walked the Moon:
      "It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small." --Neil Armstrong

7/22

7/23

      I not only pay no attention to celebrity "news," I actively avoid it. But we're surrounded by this useless non-info, so it creeps into my brain via osmosis. So even with only the merest sliver of knowledge about her, I can say that I never pictured Amy Winehouse going on her 20th Anniversary Tour. Recommendation to other rock singers: Rehab, Yes, yes, yes.

      The trailer for Captain America--where Cap fights Nazis, the Skull and Hydra--looks mighty awesome, but that means little. But the only review I've read is very positive, and it's by Ebert. I may pay to see it rather than wait for the DVD, even though it's only in overpriced 3D 'round these here parts.
      It certainly looks better than the 1990 movie version, which wasn't released until 2 years later. The link is a review of the comic book adaptation, and holy crap, if that's even 50% accurate as to the content of the movie, it's so bad that even I wouldn't want to watch it ironically. The article is long, but quite funny, and mouse over the pics for more jokes.

7/24

      There are 2 obvious, easy-to-manufacture cat products that no one has ever made. If I had some start-up capital, I'd make them myself.
      #1: Tuna juice. Everyone knows cats like the water tuna is packed in more than they actually like tuna meat. There must be millions of gallons a year that could be made from soaking the less edible bits of the fish in water. Just pasteurize it, then bottle it. Pour it in a bowl, or over dry food. Instant best seller.
      Carefully conducted studies indicate that 2 out of 3 cats love to chase laser pointers (sample size: my 3 cats). And yet, every pointer has a button that must be constantly held down for it to work. I guess that's to keep them from them turning on in your pocket, since you use them to...um, what do you use those for? Pointing in a lecture? No, most people use them as cat toys, and boy does your thumb begin to hurt after a minute of constant positive pressure. An "always off" switch is like outfitting every car in the world with a battering ram on the front, just in case you need to sink an enemy frigate that's sailed into the middle of the highway. Or to blind pilots with? Does that actually happen? Something flying thousands of feet in the air at hundreds of miles an hour, with cockpit windows on the top, yet in your few seconds-long window of opportunity, you blind the pilot? You'd think that if the laser was that powerful, it'd simply slice the jet in two. And where are all those jets with blind pilots crashing? You'd think that it might make the news once in a while.
      I've always wrapped my pointers with a pony tail holder, so I can put the elastic over the button to hold it down. When it works, that is, and it can be a struggle to center it just right. Why don't they make pointers with a switch that stays on, until I turn it off? One that needs to be turned, just like my keychain Maglite?
      Wait...maybe they did make one. There's that 1 I bought for $2 at Job Lot as an emergency backup for Byron. Let's finally open it after 2 years--Hey! It locks on! And...wow, that's lame. It's not a point until you hold it 2 inches above the floor. Otherwise, it's a cloud that fades to near invisibility at 2 feet. And it comes with a "collar"? WTF? There are usually reasons why you find things at closeout stores.
      Killsy: "I disdain any toy that can't be mercilessly gutted." DJ: "HEY O BOY THIS IS FUN I COULD PLAY WITH THIS ALL...minute. BO-ring!" BYRON: "Well, this is different. This is--MUST KILL AMORPHOUS BLOB THAT VANISHES! AND FOR HOURS!"
      Why? Maybe because he's deaf, and the brain of every mammal that loses a major sense rewires to heighten its other senses, so he can see the Blob better than the other cats. A simpler explanation may be: he's Byron. Just like Killsy is Killsy, DJ is DJ, and you are you and I am I. We all have our particular ideas of Fun.
      Wow. Two hours of Blob Chase, and Bigfoot has finally decided he needs to sleep. 2 hours of constant activity to an 8 year old cat is like 2 weeks to you or me.
      Oh, the collar. The instructions say to put the velcro collar around a loop on the light, turn it on, then put the collar on the cat. I see why these ended up at Job Lot. It's borderline animal abuse. The longest any of my cats wore a collar was 20 minutes, and that was the amount of time kitten Killsy spent trying to gnaw it off her neck, before I came and cut it off and threw it in the trash.

7/25

      It suddenly hit me that I never saw any signs for Vernon's annual JesusFest. Turns out that they're "taking a breather", as one would assume from their clipart graphic showing people crossing the finish line in a foot race. If they "retired from old age," they'd have clipart of a baby.
      Since I can't go (and also wouldn't) to their Fest of Jesus and also Gutter Replacement, I see that the American Family Association, a super right wing Xtian fundie hate group, has declared Sunday August 6 as a "Day of Prayer and Fasting for Our Nation." Well, I'm going to change all my plans to celebrate that!
      ...by gorging myself on food, maybe Indian takeout, and then boozing and weeding it up! And not praying. And I encourage you to do the same as I do, and do
      ...whatever the hell you want! Following someone else's demands is for conformist sheep. I'll prly forget that it's even a "Day" when it arrives. Although you know...mmm, haven't had Indian since mid-May...

      "The programmer who came up with the name 'cookies' was really a manipulative genius. What if they called them 'potholes' or 'turds?' If the popup window read, 'your browser must accept turds,' people might think twice about what they're receiving."--Kate Deimling

      Experience The Planets, ambient music.

7/26

      The good news is, no one's going back in time and making the Nazis win the war: Time Travel Impossible, Say Scientists. The bad news: I'm never going back to 1960 and having sex with Dawn Wells.
      This is because apparently Einstein was right, and nothing can go faster than the speed of light. Yet the article includes a link to Warp Drive Engine Would Travel Faster Than Light. Actually, no it doesn't. The ship doesn't move, it moves Space around itself. "The Alcubierre drive, as it's known, involves expanding the fabric of space behind a ship into a bubble and shrinking space-time in front of the ship. The ship would rest in between the expanding and shrinking space-time, essentially surfing down the side of the bubble."
      Wait--Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim gets no chrono-synclastic infidibulum, but Harrison's Bill the Galactic Hero (no relation) gets the Bloater Drive? The most deliberately retarded science fiction starship FTL thingie ever? Bloater Drive worked by, well, bloating the ship. You'd start at Departure Planet A, then expand the gaps between its molecules from the back of the ship until it was hundreds of trillions of miles long and the front reached Destination Planet B. Then, you'd shrink it back down at the front. As the ship takes a now-gargantuan Bill from his seemingly marble-sized home planet, it floats by his face and he waves and cries "BYE, MOM!"
      And that's now the likelier of the 2 sci-fi scenarios.

7/27

      The Bulwer-Lytton Awards for 2011.

      World's Creepiest Ex: A Revenge Plot So Intricate, the Prosecutors Were Pawns.

      Why do so mnay people think that facts of climate change aren't true, and yet still believe that Obama is a "Secret Muslim"? "Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society."

7/28

      Recently Rented:

      Jackboots on Whitehall: In an alternate WWII 1940, the entire British Army is captured at Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain is lost, and the Nazis invade England by using a giant drill to burrow under the Channel, and the first to smash out through the roadway in Tralfagar Square is a Tiger tank commanded by Himmler himself, with the goal of capturing Churchill, and this is all performed by stop-motion Barbie and Ken dolls. Yes, it's obviously a fantasy, as we all know that Tiger tanks weren't produced until 1943!
      It's a comedy, and you may have guessed, a strange one. The first two-thirds is funny, but the last part--I asked myself "Did this just become a parody of Braveheart?" a few minutes before a Ken doll with a half-blue face and an Australian accent screamed "I AM BRAVEHEART!" so yeah, I guess it was. It kinda looked liked "Filmmakers ran out of ideas 2/3s through, but not out of production money." I found it strange and strangely enjoyable, despite the weak ending, and (half-blue) face it, you either decided to rent it after my first sentence, or you didn't.

      Well, might as well go backwards through my Netflix queue:

      Gormenghast, the TV series: I heard about this trilogy after reading Lord of the Rings, but never came across it in book form. A friend in college said that only the first book was good, which was not a ringing endorsement.Turns out that someone made it into a TV show. And it features Christopher FUCKIN' Lee! Speaking in the same staccato, fractured, definite-articles-deficient style of speech normally seen from internet trolls and badly translated Chinese instructions. "Tab B to Slot A will young master do!" I don't know how close it was to the original novels (weren't all the aristocrats, including main character Titus Groan, supposed to be horribly deformed from inbreeding?). In fact, it should've been a sitcom titled "Oh, That Steerpike!" as it was about some ruthless "Kitchen scum!" scheming and murdering his way up the royal ladder. Was it something about the British class system, or...shit, I dunno. I enjoyed it enough to watch it all, but for all I know, it was like someone enjoying the Ralph Bakshi version of Lord of the Rings. Nice scene where it rains for like 5 minutes, and the high towers of the vast castle Gorgemghast are flooded up a hundred feet. Is Gormgemghast in a bowl? I do wish that someone, anyone, I know would watch it, just so we could bark "KITCHEN SCUM!" randomly in a C. FUCKIN' Lee voice.

      Rango: I never get big-budget CGI toons the day they come out, but this was the exception. Really, the kids today, they aren't into westerns? They weren't into westerns when I was a kid, FIFTY FUCKIN' LEE--err, FUCKIN' YEARS AGO! Well, I did like me the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns, just like every child under the of 12 today. HMM--maybe to spice it up for the younger generation, we should throw in some sweet, rad, gnarly refs to Chinatown! Yeah, they didn't think that one through. But it was funny. Leone fans may find it funnier. And we now leave the "3 Stars on Netflix" part of our list.

      True Grit, the remake and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: Wow, them was good! And we now leave the "4 Stars on Netflix" part of our list.

      ...And enter the "1 Star, meaning I turned it off halfway through" part. Uncle Boonmee: All the critics loved this, but the critics also need to prove how much more sophisticated than you they are. BTW: Nice monkey suit, but Robot Monster wants it back.
      RiffTrax: Carnival of Souls: Please be better than this in 2 weeks, when I pay to see you in a theater.
      CJ7: FU2.
      Burn After Reading: Or, Return Before Renting. Even the Coens screw up sometimes.
      Hair: Snore.
      Don't Drink the Water, the remake: Don't Watch the Movie.

      And thus we end our Netflix reviews. I give me 3 stars--well, a high 2 anyway.

      

      

7/29

      Holy Gourd, the next Mars mission involves lowering the lander on a hovering sky-crane?

7/30

7/31

      I watched The Adjustment Bureau today, which I highly recommend. Just as I don't recommend starting a 107 minute movie 97 minutes before "Ebert Presents At the Movies" begins, if you want to watch both. I had to cut away from the climatic (and only) action sequence. A smart and entertaining sci-fi movie with actual ideas, and the leads had a real chemistry.
      "Ebert" was mainly the Worst Movies So Far This Year, so I wasn't going to miss it, and I have no TiVo or working VCR, so I had to watch it in real time. Not as fun as when Gene & Roger did it, and viewers of said show: Action Jackson, Kid Critic (he looks about 12), do you find yourself both liking him and finding him a bit uncanny-valley creepy? So far he's reviewed movies someone his age would want to see, but some day he'll review Tarantino or Fellini and it'll just be weird.
      I did everything early, as I had a hot date: dinner with Mom! Dinner was stir-fried seafood (scallops, shrimp, swordfish) with peppers and bacon, rice pilaf, and strawberry shortcake. We talked about the usual: our liberal politics, our jobs dealing with the crappy public, and the family. In my case, this included the cats, and it gave me a chance to point out that 12 years ago today, Miss Kill Kill joined my life, and 8 years ago tomorrow, Mr Byron did. Feeling old now? Me, I'm feeling grateful to have adopted my best friends.

8/1

      Hitler cat 'overlooked for adoption because of markings.' Really? That's why? And not because you named her Kitler? Couldn't you have named an innocent kitten something more neutral, like "Auschwitz" or "Gas Chamber" or "Zyklon B"? At least the last would've been somewhat more obscure. Yeah, stay away from "Oona," because that would invoke the terrible memories of history's greatest monster, Charlie Chaplin's wife.

      Speaking of Chaplin and That Guy Who Looks Like a Cat...

8/2

      WOOO! Google says that I'm the world's #5 result for "what is a good wood finish for dildos other then butcher block and mineral oil"!!
      Wait, umm, doesn't that mean I need to give an answer?
      It's Miracle Whip and gopher wood!

8/3

      I saw Captain America today, and Netflix sent me the 3-hour DVD of the latest season of Doctor Who, so I'm running a bit behind. More tmw.

      Speaking of movies: Guillermo del Toro vows to out-Godzilla Godzilla. Hell, I'd watch that! Even if he says things like: “Only because I am barren, otherwise I would bare Legendary’s child,” said Del Toro as the panel opened. Before adding, “Applaud the balls, always applaud the balls.”

8/4

      I had yesterday planned out 2 weeks in advance. I was going to the 11AM showing of Captain America 3D--as there was no 2D version--then do stuff in the same area as the theater, since I'd be there. That plan lasted a day, as the earliest showing this week changed to 1:20. I couldn't do the other stuff earlier, as it involved buying perishable food, so I created a new plan. I'd do the other stuff another day, and go hiking in the state park first, then the movie, then buy groceries, next use a coupon to buy a Dunkin Donuts chicken salad croissant, then grab some more DD coupons from the all-ads local paper's kiosk.
      On the way to the park, I saw the all-ads paper hanging from mailboxes. Apparently they'd stop delivering it on Thursdays, and switched to Wednesdays, and me getting more coupons wouldn't happen (which turned out to be true). At the park, I hiked for a wonderful 7 minutes of bug infestation before quitting. Too early to go to the movies, but maybe just enough time to buy groceries, get them home, and make it to the theater as the trailers started. Which I did, although I had to run in, throw the bag of groceries in the fridge unsorted, and run back out past 3 befuddled kitties.
      The indoor marquees said AMERICA 3D 1:20 on 1, and CAPTAIN AMERICA 2:20 on the other. Wait, what? Does that mean...
      "One for Captain America."
      "3D?"
      (through gritted teeth): "YES."
      3D adds nothing to the movie experience beyond a $2 upcharge. But it was pay that, or wait another damn hour. 3D is dead, as it always will be, until it gets rid of the glasses and uses holograms, just as God and Jem intended. 2D versions now outsell 3D ones, and I've skipped 2 or 3 movies simply because I didn't want to pay to see a muddy picture. The fact that Rave Cinemas finally had it available in both formats proves that. The fact that Rave keeps that a secret until you get into the theater tells you that Rave is run by greedy shits.
      Saw some trailers for movies I won't watch. Such as the nth iteration of The Three Musketeers, this time involving zeppelins. Because the kids today, they love the pre-steampunk, just as they love the Pokemons and Pogs and that boy wizard movie, you know, The Last Airbender. Also, a movie about some nerd raised by his aunt and uncle and named Peter Parker who gets bitten by a radioactive spider, and when he put on a blue and red uniform, some girl behind me said, "Oh, it's Spider-Man!" Y'sure you wanna be at a Captain America movie, honey? "Who's this guy attacking Germans with a chafing dish? Oh, it's Caterer America!"
      It was the best superhero movie I've seen since the 1st Iron Man. Very fast-paced, but it also had a story and characters, not just dialog linking special effects. There were shout-outs to the geeks, both to the Marvel ones (the 1st shot of Arnim Zola) and the WWII kind (a Hollywood B-picture war movie has a "German" tank that's an M3 Stuart, obsolete before the war began--the good tanks were out there fighting). The historocity pretty much begins and ends with "There was once a big war with Nazis in it," as the bad guys are the Red Skull (that name used only once) and Hydra, and they have Cosmic Cube-powered ray guns. And can't shoot worth scheisse. They're as bad as Imperial Stormtroopers, so, all you Evil Madmen, don't give your guys helmets that cover their entire heads. There's a brief shot of a "V-E DAY!" newspaper, and when the DVD comes out, I'm freeze framing it to see the date on it, as the last date we see in the movie is 1943, and it seems as if the war ends only months later.
      A fun movie, and worth seeing BIG, but not worth seeing 3D.
      Then I went to Dunkin Donuts for my croissant, as my Great Plan hadn't included eating anything before leaving. And they were out of croissants. "Seeing a movie" was the only part of my plan that didn't gang aft agley.

8/5

      The Fucking Moon: "Okay, listen up, moon, I don't like you and you don't like me."

8/6

      Dr Who infographics, in a nice cartoony style that also makes me feel like I don't have a big nose:
      The Doctors
      The Classic Bad Guys

      Could you fall to sleep as a child listening to this track? And stay asleep with this playing in your bedroom? Rosicrucians, their ambient music is "Kind...kind...kind..." of creepy.

8/7

8/8

      My wonderful neighbors below me complained to the people who own their unit about "my" leaky pipes ruining their ceiling again. An owner came to talk to me about it Saturday. I was about to go to work and was worried about Byron escaping, but I assured her that there was no indication of even dampness, let alone the obvious flood that would have to go through my carpet, my floor, their ceiling, their sheet rock. I should've let her in to check herself, but, Byron was clearly hoping for an adventure. So I decided that it was time to tell them, and the condo association, that yeah, there is an ongoing issue with the plumbing:

      

      My tub that filled with food waste from their clogged-up plumbing, and does so about every 6 months. It's currently a long series of phone tag. And I have no idea if it even means anything, me not being a plumber, or even ever played Mario Kart. It's also currently been...6 months since the last clog. We're due.
      Oh jeez, the owners were just here, and really didn't care a tub full of shit about all this. They claim that the last tenants left because my cats are too noisy. Seriously? Fuck you, then. And they made a thinly veiled threat to rent it out to noisy tenants themselves if the losers downstairs leave. Yes, they want me to not use my floor.
      Wonderful.

8/9

      It took me a long time to get to sleep last night. When I have trouble sleeping, I usually take half a Benadryl. I ended up taking 2 whole ones. Every conversation I've had with the Russian mobsters who own the unit downstairs seems to involve them bringing up my cats, saying basically "You better do something about them, or something bad could happen." If they were human children, the cops would already be involved. But they don't care about pets until after the unthinkable happens. If someone broke in and murdered them, the cops would only care about the break-in.
      When I awoke, as always, my brain picks some random song from the oldies station I hear at work to earworm my brain. My first coherent thought (after "7AM already?") was "Wait, the last renters didn't move out because of my cats! The owners told me the tenants moved out with no notice, leaving a bunch of broken furniture behind! They never said anything about my cats! LIARS!"
      The can of Red Bull I chugged at work didn't defog my mind much. Then "BILL, PHONE!" bellowed over the store loudspeaker. I hope it's not those assholes, I thought, then realized that they don't know where I work.
      The condo association does. The guy I'd left a voicemail about the plumbing wanted to talk to me about the whole situation. I assume that there had been contact between them and the owners, and I also had a feeling that I was on speakerphone. The 1st thing they asked was how long I've lived here ("Almost 25 years"), how long the neighbors had ("About 2 years"), if there'd been conflict between me and them ("Me to them? No. Them to me? Yes. In 25 years, no one below me has ever complained.") and what I thought was going on. After apologizing for my diminished mental state due to lack of sleep, I said "They're trying to pull something, and they want either me or you to pay for it."
      I can't say I can remember much of what I said (next time: one Benadryl), but they're coming see the stain on the neighbor's ceiling (stain?! the owners made it sound like the ceiling was about to collapse!) early tomorrow. That's my day off, so I'll be home, but after last night, prly also asleep. I got the feeling they're on my side on this, but who knows?
      I wish my groggy brain had thought to say this: I have almost called the owners, not the condo, about the plumbing nightmares 3 times. If someone was damaging my property, I'd want to know. I gave them the whole story about their tenants, even showed them the pic above of my gravy-filled tub, and they didn't care. At all. If you crash a rental car into a brick wall, Hertz isn't going to go after the guy who built the wall. Why don't they care? They instead turned the conversation back to me, the condo association...and my CATS.
      We'll see what happens tomorrow. No matter what, I'm going to Cabela's.
      They sell guns.
      That oldies song that earwormed me this morning? For some reason, my brain scanned the mental playlist and picked "Only the Strong Survive."

8/10

      This was the morning that the condo association was to visit my neighbors and check the ceiling stain/imminent disaster. I told them it'd be my day off, so if they wanted to see the utter lack of damage in my place, they were welcome. But they didn't knock on my door, so I have no idea what did or didn't transpire.
      I went to Cabela's to shop for a handgun. I assume you can guess why. It's the only one in the entire state, or even within hundreds of miles, and yet only 2 towns over from here. Do store websites ever proofread their directions? I looped through town before I found it--it's one left, Cabela's, not 2. And why say it's "by the stadium" when it really shares the same road as the aircraft engine factory?
      It's pretty damn big. And an alien world to me. I eat meat, but that doesn't mean I want to go out and personally slaughter it. And the place was decorated--if that's the word--with literal hundreds of stuffed corpses. Check the photo gallery, and know that it doesn't include all the heads on the walls. Ca-reepy, and yet the place was incredibly busy for a weekday, with parents taking their kids there.
      Wow...there were a lot of guns. Hundreds just of handguns, with magazines running up to 19 rounds. Multiple pink guns for the wimmen folk. Didn't see the Tommy guns, however, although they're listed as a retailer.
      It was overwhelming. This is no impulse buy, so I need to ask people who have guns (thanks for your Facebook rply, Zef!). Friend Scott the Gruntled Postal Worker has about half a dozen, and I know a co-worker has a bunch (and he's on vacation this week, of course).
      I thought that I'd some snark to share, but the place kind of left me bewildered and sad.

      Here's some snark! You've prly seen a few of these already, but there's a bunch I hadn't:
      Worst Comic Book Fails Ever, and
      Most Hilariously Convincing Gay Marriage Signs.

      Legos--IN SPAAAACE!

8/11

      The condo's carpenter called, making an appointment to check my unit tomorrow, and after talking to him, the condo called, too. They think that my AC is the problem, even though it's a little 5200 BTU. The wall is dry, the windowsill is too, and the carpet's only damp, but that's what they're saying. And the "ceiing about to COLLAPSE!" will only need paint. Really? That's the reason why I didn't believe those people.
      They say that I'll have to pay for it, but paint? I can afford that. And be glad to get this shit behind me.
      Still buying a gun, though.

      SHAWT: We only take photo IDs, and this guy had only a birth certificate. From Central America. Look, if you made it to the register, we take it as a given that you've been born. Then M. noticed that he's 21...in a month.
      This led to him repeatedly insisting "But it's only a month!" Yeah, and it's only a crime for us to sell to you. He finally gave up after about 3 minutes, just before I was going to suggest that we call the police station across the street to see if they gave him permission.

8/12

--Real Housewives of New York City star Ramona Singer      New Anti-Censorship Scheme Could Make It Impossible to Block Individual Web Sites

8/13

      The condo's carpenter came here yesterday. He said that yeah, my AC was the horrible culprit of history's greatest crime, the flood of water downstairs that, according to the owners, would cause the roof of their condo to collapse. Ah, no, he said, it's a tiny strip of water stain. My AC was tipped the wrong way, and the moisture sneaks through a crack in the window sill that I can't see without sticking my head through the window with a magnifying glass. So that's the whole source of a week's worth of much ado and sound and fury: NOTHING.

8/15

      State Fair Scavenger Hunt

8/16

      

8/17

      

      TV shortens life by 22 minutes per viewing hour, says study

      Well, off to see Rifftrax Live now.

      Aaaand--I'm back!
      Kevin and I went to our new favorite local brew pub, Tullycross. Not cheap, but such good food and beer! At one point during our heated discussions on everything and avocado chicken sandwiches, a guy walked by our table and named our beers: "That's the stout--no, that's the Irish Red, and that's the stout!" and they looked the damn same in the glasses to us. It was the owner, working the tables. Simply introduced himself, shook our hands, and left. Nice!
      BEST RIFFTRAX LIVE EVER. Never heard of Jack the Giant Killer, which is prly why it made such a good choice. And the "special" effects--okay, super-deluxe-extra-cheezy now, but they would've been very good 50 years ago. If it had turned up on TV back in the late 60s when I was little, I would've LOVED it. And unlike a lot of those old movies, this one's plot ran along at a very fast clip. No "Rock climbing, Joel. Rock climbing." The last RT, House on Haunted Hill, included a 10 minute "climax" of the camera panning around a basement, no lie, and nobody can make that funny for long. This was actually a movie that would be entertaining on its own.
      But they riffed it outta the park! Even had Four Loko and Brian Eno jokes.
      There was only a couple of months between the 1st RiffTrax Lives, and it's been almost a year since the last. Which is a good idea; no one's going to pay extra to see these if they aren't perfectly honed.
      The usual not much of a much of digital goodies, but there is the short, "What is Nothing?" I haven't seen the online version yet, but those are usually not the final version that they perform. Not sure why anyone felt the need to show this to children in classrooms, unless they had just handed out "My First Golden Book of Sartre." Hell is other children!

8/18

8/19

      25 Foods You’ll Never Be Able To Eat Again, as they were discontinued years ago. I've only had Numbers 1, 4, and 22, and I haven't missed them, as the list is all junk food. But Apple Newtons were the BEST of the Newtons!

8/20

      SHAWT--and it was sent in by my Mom! Not at my current job, but across the street at my old gig at the DumpStore.

8/21

      I planned on going to the Farmers' Market for 2 weeks, but it's rained those Sundays, and today they predicted thunderstorms due to the high humidity. So I knew that the place would be mobbed, and any long lines too uncomfortable to stand in. My plan was get in and out quickly, and not queue up more than once. I was even going to skip my usual delicious samosa.
      I was behind a Jeep with a bumper sticker that read "God Bless Our Troops, Especially Our Snipers." Yeah, our heroic "shoot-people-in-the-head-while-bravely-hiding" guys. What about our poor Predator drones? No one asks god to bless them! Does Saudi Arabia sell stickers that say "Allah Bless Our Suicide Bombers"?
      I parked 2 "spaces" over from where I usually do on the lawn, and the guy running the lot told me "That's not a good place to park! Park over there!" And I did, while thinking (correctly) that the place would fill up in 15 minutes, including that exact spot. Which happened. God Bless our parking lot attendants!
      I bought hummus from "Yummy Hummy" last time, despite the gag-inducing name. One bite and--wait, what? It's made from garbonzo beans? Who the fuck makes hummus from GARBONZOS? It wasn't bad, it just wasn't hummus. So I tried...let me check the flyer he gave me...Lazizah. Not a word that comes readily to a one-language American. Rather than young white hippie wannabes like Yummy, this was run by a middle-aged, Middle Eastern character. And I do mean character.
      "What kind of hummus do you have?"
      "Hummus is there! Don't ask me what kind! I only have hummus."
      "So...it's hummus flavored?"
      The label said chickpeas and garlic for $5.50, so, sold. I gave him $5 and reached into my pocket for the change, but he didn't ask me for more.
      "Don't I owe you 50 cents?"
      "What? I do not run my business that way. I trust people. You tell me what you owe."
      (paying) "I think I owe you 50 cents."
      "You must come to my place! It is in Yantic!"
      "Yantic? Is that near the shore?"
      "NO! It is on Route 2. Take Route 2! Come to my place! It is not for the money that I do this."
      "It's for the love."
      (shakes head, says firmly) "It is to make the world a better place."
      Much as I'm in favor of that idea--it's certainly how I try to live my life--a 30 mile drive to New London county (on the shore) isn't going to happen. The flyer turned out to his restaurant's very tasty-looking menu for "The village bakery With International flavors," "Where you find hard to Find Spices." Well, if I'm ever in Yantic, I stop by.
      Then, the usual goat cheese, then my only long line at Cato for Dutch farmstead cheese. They really need to do 2 things: put a third person there to take care of people who just want to taste, and to take their list of cheeses and cross off the ones they don't have that day. No farmstead for me! I got the Brigit's, as I've learned to make a backup plan.
      Other lines--too long. I left. Next month is the big visit, as it'll be the first day of my vacation.
      Once home, I took a bite of Lazizah hummus and WHOA! BEST HUMMUS EVER! Well, if you're a fan of garlic like me. I'm still not going to Yantic, but I will def visit his booth again.

      Hey, comic strip time!
      Queen Victoria muses on how she would run the comics.
      Subnormality hits it outta the park with If the Media was a Person. Long, of course, as it's Subnormality, but hilarious, intelligent, and insightful. Of course--it is Subnormality.

8/22

      My hit counter has started a new thing where it tells me what number I was in the rankings if I get a hit via a Google search. Here's the bit Google chose. Can you guess the search?      Yes, it was for women and gut ripping dlidos. And I was ranked at #92!
      BARF--!
      Yeah, some dude--I assume that I'm correct in guessing that it was a dude--went through 92 hits of hoping to see...umm, well, I didn't click on any of the higher ranked sites to see what so disappointed him that he felt the urge to go 92 sites of bloody intestines or whatever and then visit my site based on that description.
      My clicking on that to get the info raised my site up to #85. So, at least there aren't that many dudes looking for...ugh. Maybe if all of you clicked on that link, we could really frustrate the dude.

8/23

      I was talking with a coworker when Our Boss the Drunk came down the stairs. "Did you feel that? My desk shook, the computer shook!" I thought, "...and then I got double vision and the room began to spin, right after my tenth Heineken!"
      But it was verified: other people felt an earthquake. Me and the coworker felt nothing, but we were standing in a doorway, where you're supposed to go during one. So you can take that advice to heart.
      The second one in 9 years! The last one, I was asleep and dreaming. In my dream, Killsy poked her head over the foot of the bed. And then picked it up in her front paws and shook it around. I woke up, thought "Was that an earthqua--? What, in Connecticut? NAH." and went back to sleep. Then I went to work and found out that there really had been an earthquake.
      I arrived home and expected the cats to be terrified, either running up to me or hiding under the bed. They did neither. In fact, they usually run up to me anyway, but they all sat quite quiet and unusually reserved. All "Hey, the house almost fell over, but we didn't care. We're tough." That's a thing cats do.

      An even less likely disaster: Inane Study Posits Alien Invasion as Reason to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions — Fox News Response Is Even More Inane.
      A more likely disaster: 8 Tiny Things That Stopped Suicides. Someday I may tell you about that one phone call I got.

8/25

      An earthquake, then a hurricane? Let the panic buying--COMMENCE!

      77 Ways You Should Know That You Are Way Too Stoned. Nothing I can relate to there.

8/26

      Hurricane? Let the panic buying--CONTINUE!
      1 coworker got a text from another, who also works in a grocery store: He'd just put out a whole pallet of bottled water, and it was already gone. Around 830AM.
      We saw a little of it. Most were seniors who didn't want to go out in the start of the storm tomorrow. Said one while putting 2 big bottles of wine on the counter: "These are better than water, right?"
      The media is hyping this "Historic Storm" (a Category 2 is historic?) because if they don't hype it, people will turn their TVs off. SHAWT Radio: The Fox "News" weatherguy kept talking about how "This hurricane will be much worse than Gloria in 1985!" over and over, until the DJ told him to wrap things up and he emphatically said "Irene will be marginally worse than Gloria!" WHOOPS told the truth by mistake there, didn't ya Fox guy? It's not like it's your job to keep the USA frightened and stupid, is it?
      As for me...well, what can you do, other than hope the power doesn't go off? (Which it will. But for how long?) I expect to lose mine for some amount of time. There's that convalescent home across the street, and while they have a generator, if the generator goes, so do any patients on life support machines, so we get power back pretty quickly...unless it's only our side of the street. That happened a winter almost 20 years ago, and it took 20 hours to get power.
      But, y'know, shrug. What happens happens. I gassed up the car, which I had to do within days anyway, and took some extra cash out of the ATM when I deposited my check, just in case we lose power for a day or more. I threw all the cold packs into the freezer and cooked some chicken so I can have something cold to eat, and, well...? What can you do, besides wait and see.
      Worst case is prly my home having no power for a week, while my job DOES. Since the job's triangulated by the police and fire stations and the town offices, oh, it'll have power, alrighty. And what could make a day at work any better than going there when you're stewing in your own unwashed-for-days crotch funk?

      Radio SHAWT: They ran an ad for a Four Tops reunion concert, saying that they had "Over 37 Top Ten Hits!" So...they had 38 then?

8/27

      Everyone's still aflutter over Historic Storm Irene, despite it being downgraded to a Category 1 and the warning for central Connecticut changing from Hurricane to Tropical Storm. But it's slow and already has dumped plenty of rain, so the ground will be too wet to hold some trees up when the winds kick in. If it keeps its current track, the eye could pass directly over my house.
      I got 2 robomessages from the mayor informing me that I lived at such a dangerous spot that I should relocate to the emergency shelter at the high school. Which is a whole thousand feet north of me. I'm sure they don't take pets, so I'll risk it here. A 3 story brick building isn't going anywhere (I hope).
      Work went as I expected; more panic buying followed by everyone running to hide once the rain started and then the dullest work day ever. We're just getting the outer bands of Irene, so we had half hours of downpours followed by half hours of drizzle. I was able to drive the 17 miles home with the wipers on intermittent.
      If I don't post for a bit, assume that my power's off and that I'm not washed to sea by a tidal wave that came in 999 feet south of the high school. This storm could end up as Historic Hype, but it's too early to sing "Good Night Irene" just yet.

8/28

      Good Morning, Irene.
      The newspaper site said that there were half a million households in the state without power, before the brunt of the storm even hit. I'd be suspicious if it said half a million people, given that CT has a population of 3.5 million. Irene skewed west and hit the coastline hard, with the storm surge coming just before high tide, so I assume that's where all the outages are. The eye passed over the NY/CT border, so here Irene just downed branches and baffled cats. I feel sorry for the people in the state's interior who stood in long lines stockpiling stuff for what basically turned out to be a rainy day. Ha ha! No I don't! You live in gourddamn stormy Connecticut, you should have that shit on hand all the time like I do! SUCKERS. I do feel sorry for the coastal people who have no power, and likely won't for days.
      Good Bye, Irene. And good riddance.

      Just cuz it's stupid doesn't mean it isn't funny!

      

      

8/29

      I thought that my town escaped any power outages because I didn't experience one. Until this morning, when I saw the long lines at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru near me. A lot of people couldn't make breakfast, I guess. Just now, I got another robocall from the mayor telling me of the second shelter opening in town, a whole 2.5 miles from here. Am I in the only part of town with power? Mayor McCoy helpfully added "Please stay 25 feet away from wires and assume any hanging, downed or burning wires are live and dangerous." And here I was, ready to stick a flaming wire down my throat and gain super powers! Thanks, mayor!
      I doubted the "half-million households without power" announcement yesterday, as that would be about half the state. But it was right; 48% of CT has no power. Not just at the shore, but in some chaotic crazy-quilt nonpattern. There were people I talked to today who had no power, while 2 streets over, others did.
      Our boss called out because he had no power, an excuse he'd never tolerate from any of his employees (the guy he called to cover him had no power, but he was expected to come in). He was "freaking out over the $600 in food he had in his freezer." What was he planning to do, stay home and eat it all?

      

      

8/30

      

8/31

      I normally instantly delete anything in my spam folder, but this one promised "Unique software bench". Hard enough to sit on, yet soft enough to ware!
      It was from www.greatriveruk.com.ua. I know where the UK is, but where's "ua"? United Arab Emirates? UruguAy? UzbekistAn? UtAh?
      It had some mildly entertaining Engrish--Golly, I sure wish that I knew how to speak Italy!--but the weird thing was how it looked after being cut'n'pasted from a plain HTML email:      Um, what?
      (.ua turns out to be the Ukraine, and there's no more reputable place to download something than one in a former SSR)

      I went to the park--why do hurricanes always leave days of perfect weather behind them? Much fewer downed trees than I expected. Most were already dead, one was clearly just waiting to die, and one was a huge and healthy old oak--50 years old? 60? But it had the misfortune of growing right by the edge of the pond. I wonder if it has enough roots left in the ground to survive.
      A broken log floated in the pond. Four little turtles sunned themselves on it.
      Next, I went to Target. I had a coupon that expired today for some free "Jif to Go" peanut butter. Memo to self: next time it's post-hurricane, pre-Back to School, avoid mall area. Snippet of context-free conversation ahead of me: "A unicorn is more expensive than school supplies." One would think so. The cashier asked me where I got the coupon, and I recommended searching for "freebies." She said "I'm afraid to search for stuff!" I thought "The whole net isn't porn sites in former Communist nations," not knowing what little jewel awaited me in my spam.
      My car crawled through the endless stoplights, always red, to BJ's, as my free trial membership expired today. Memo to self: take a dang shopping cart next time. Carrying 40 pounds of chicken in one shopping bad gets heavy real quick. So heavy, that I cancelled half my shopping list (BJ's Iams bags are 14 pounds? That would go stale before it was eaten!) One pack's UPC was a micrometer off center and wouldn't scan, and so I tied up the self-checkout line (not really; while waiting for help I bagged my stuff, so I would've left at the same time if it had scanned).
      Then I went to Dunkin Donuts, as I had a coupon for a cheap muffin that expired--yes, that's right, on 8/31, today. Wasn't really worth the 10 minutes it took to get it, but it was an Average American Portion Size, and took me a hour and a half to eat. I wonder why there's an obesity epidemic in this country.

      Good Bye For Now! Or, as we say in the old country, "Go th o d By e F e cak or e i s N o a w lie!!!!!"      

9/1

      Quote of the Day:
      "Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience."--Eleanor Hibbert      

9/2

--actual book titles

      Yeah, nuthin' worth speaking of round these here parts. So saunter up to the bar and watch some silly critters!

      

      

9/3

      

9/5

      

      I had a shrimp cocktail ring saved up for a special occasion, and yesterday was it! And my cats like shrimp, too! (Well, except DJ) It'd been frozen solid in the freezer, so I took it out to thaw.
      It occured to me that I'd bought it when it looked like shrimp prices would go up after the BP oil spill. A year ago. Hmm.
      There was some Meow Mix wet food unopened in the fridge, so yesterday morning I grabbed it. I've stopped buying those, as there's exactly enough food in one for 3 cats to not eat it all, and they're not resealable. It was tuna and shrimp, their fave! I doled it out, and decided to fold the foil cover back on it and stick the leftovers it in a ziploc bag. They loved it! And they'd get more shrimp later!
      Killsy the Einstein Cat knew the shrimp ring package as soon as she saw it, and meowed impatiently. DJ came up, just because she was excited. Byron Bigfoot was asleep somewhere, but he's the true shrimp aficionado and I'd awaken him. I put one in my mouth, crunch. Eww. Second chew verified that shrimp goes bad even when frozen. I spit it into the toilet, and rinsed my mouth out. Sorry, kids! Glad Byron didn't see it.
      This morning Miss K ate her leftover Meow Mix, DJ nibbled it and left, and Byron wouldn't even look at it. Even when kept airless, it doesn't keep.
      I had to go grocery shopping anyway (for cat food), but there were no packages of shrimp on sale. So 3 jumbo shrimp disappointments in a row.
      A week after Irene, and the shelves at the supermarket still had empty spots. I bought some of the last eggs they had. They were also still out of milk. Why do people respond to a possible power outage by buying perishable food? They still had plenty of food in cans.
      They shoulda bought chickens. Then they'd have eggs.

      In one of those "I knew it was in my Netflix queue, but how did it get to the top?" moments, I watched Myra Breckenridge, a legendarily bad movie from 1970. Myron (Rex Reed) gets a sex change into Myra (Raquel Welch) and hijinks ensue. Or did Myron become Myra? They're in the same scenes for most of the movie. Is she his female but also extremely gay man avatar? Dunno, Copper! Gerbils would've complained about the confusing continuity. I think it was Gore Vidal's wanking material when he wrote it.
      Check out the IMDB entry! It only acknowledges that a movie with that title existed. It was plotless, and I thought that it was meant to be watched under the influence of certain controlled substances--fuck, I SMOKED SOME WEED! THERE, I SAID IT! It's like a fucking parking offence to own less than half an ounce in this state now, just a small fine. Which made it more bearable, but no more understandable. An opening credit for Mae West made me think "cameo," but no, she "PLAYED" a major "CHARACTER," by which I mean an acient zombie in makeup mumbling little double entendres that would've been oh-so-shocking before the Hays Code in 1932, and she's just there, and then she's there, and oh wait, this shuffling fossil is here again! And if you've never had the eye-disemboweling pleasure of seeing Mae West in Sextette...Good gourd, how I envy you.
      This was in Michael Medved's "50 Worst Movies" book, and he wailed about how "anti-American" it was, because the Frenchie frog director dressed the bad guys in red white n blue. (Check above IMDB link...that's the main character) I think Moron Medved couldn't figure out that this was the gayest movie in the history of gays in movies, cause, wow, I ain't gay, but whoo! IT WAS GAY. Weird gay, as when the director's avatar Myra rapes a jock in the ass with a dildo. Just so slightly off screen, of course, or it'd be too gay.
      Racquel Welch's acting ability said a lot about her giant tits. Her star-making ingenue role cast her as a grunting cavewoman in a fur bikini. Her acting was as always as wooden as half the male crotches in her audiences, and here she's dubbed. Yes, dubbed from English into English.
      It's a bad movie, but the good kind of bad movie.

      Well, now to watch my last streaming Netflix movie, Killer Clowns from Outer Space, with a theme song by the Dickies and I haven't really seen it, as the last time it was on, I was getting a blow job, true story. It can't suck any worse than Myra Breckinridge!
      (Oh, I should've mentioned this earlier, as Netflix isn't intending to: When your bill comes due this month (mine's on 9/6), they will double charge you if you don't want by-mail and streaming. When I'm done with this movie, I'm done with streaming. Just a heads up! Because, umm, blow job joke)      

9/6

      Having a shiny new car was fun while it lasted!
      I looked both ways at the stop sign on a side street, then pulled forward into the intersection. Unfortunately, there was a large hedgerow on the right, so it wasn't until then that I saw the car speeding towards me. I came to a complete stop on my side of the road, but CRUNCH! I don't know how the guy couldn't have seen me, unless he wasn't looking.
      I looked at our cars and said, "It could've been worse. Are you okay?" meaning "not injured." "No, I'm not okay! This is at least a paint job!" I said "That's what insurance is for."
      A truck from the fire department happened by before I could call the police. Now I have a ticket for $124, minor damage to my car, a blot on my clean driving record, and an insurance rate that'll go up. It wasn't my fault; the cop wasn't paying attention to me. After the paperwork, he said "You told me you didn't see him!" I replied "I said I couldn't see him from the stop sign." When he originally incredulously said "He hit you?" I should've reminded him "How could I hit him when I wasn't moving?"
      Still, I had it better than the other driver. He was arrested! I sat there thinking Holy shit, am I seeing an instance of Driving While Black?and felt even worse when the cop popped the trunk and there was a child seat in it. He had a suspended license and an outstanding warrant, so why the hell he bothered to stay at the scene for the police is beyond me. I wasn't going to give chase; hit and runs are never the fault of the person who stays. I guess his paint job was important enough to risk jail. Or bail, as only one other cop came, so it was likely something relatively minor.
      So, claim filed online, wait for them to call me, get my lovely Fit fit again, wait 3 years for the ticket to drop off my record. Annoying.      

9/7

      I spoke twice to Farmers Insurance tonight, expecting this insurance thing to be "annoying." But apparently the other guy is now claiming "neck and back pain," the oldest scam in the insurance book. I'm pretty sure you get whiplash from being hit from behind hard, not a low-speed, glancing blow you caused that scraped the paint off your fender in a car with headrests. And I'm in the middle of it, no matter what I do.

      Something that made me feel better, and hopefully you, too: a terrible hoarding situation of 700 cats was caught by the Humane Society. They held an adoption event for 550 of them. Next time someone tells you "Cats aren't affectionate!" tell them to watch this video.      

9/8

.      9/9      My boss the Drunken Toddler is on vacation this week, HUZZAH! But Thursdays are paydays, and he came in for his check, drink beer, do some orders, have more beer, and also Heineken. Yay...
      A tropical storm did nothing to the store, but a simple rainstorm (well, record rainstorm for 9/8) knocked everything out. It took me and the other manager half an hour to drive 2 miles, as all traffic was diverted onto one road due to flooding. And then I discovered that the phone lines were down. Half our business is credit cards, so this was, as Bullwinkle once said, "Serious, but not surmountable." We did an 80s flashback, using the old manual card imprinters, hoping that no one took advantage and cheated us, while singing the theme songs from GI Joe and My Little Pony. Slow, but it worked.
      Yeah, till he came in. He immediately began freaking out over it, screaming at anyone in his path and apparently as a change of pace, drove drunk to the store. He did his orders, screaming about how it was IMPOSSIBLE!!! for him to call them in. I spent more time calling in my orders on my cell yesterday than I've used my phone, total, in the last 6 months. Yeah, he has one, but toddlers scream "NO WANT EVERYTHING NOOOOW!"
      He left, thank Gourd. And then came back, to drink and shit his pants some more. Lucky us.
      The brilliant comic Basic Instructions had this today:

      

      That's exactly my boss's idea of a "joke." He'll hand you your paycheck and tell you you're fired. For weeks in a row, during the worst recession in 75 years. He'll do it to salesmen whose company has been bought, and they have a real fear of losing their jobs. He'll tell you your car got wrecked, or you have to work 12 hour days all week. I'm waiting for him to tell me my cats have died. Oh, but don't do it to him! Then he flips out and screams at you, or if you're a delivery driver, call your boss and demand that you be fired. It's only funny when he's the fucking asshole douchebag piece of shit spreading misery to amuse his own miserable self.
      Well, I did manage to not be poisoned by him for most of this crappy week, and starting tomorrow, it's MY vacation!
      And then it'll end and I go back. Sigh.
      ...earlier, Killsy was purring loudly on her nest by me, DJ was purring in my lap, Byron was snoozing in the first sunbeam in a week, his left arm stretched to the sky in supplication. If possible, I would've purred myself.
      Good kind of sigh      

9/10

      SHAWT: There's a college up the road, much to the owner's profits and his workers' regret. Today, a sorority girl bought a single-serving bottle of cheap champagne. As she left the store, she fellated it.
      If even thinking about one glass of champagne does that to you, wow, you must be very popular!

      9/11

9/11: Never Forget
      ...that it's the start of my vacation! Ha ha!
      (What, too soon?)
      So today I (everyone reading rolls their eyes, says "You went to the farmers' market, then bought Indian food!") Whoa, am I really that predictable? Guess so.
      I was walking into the market when they announced over the P.A. "Let's have a moment of silence." I noticed that a woman was glaring at me. Because I was walking. Hey, they said "moment of silence," and I was silent! They didn't demand a "moment of immobility."
      Of course it's an important anniversary. Because the number is divisable by 5. No one noted it at 9 years; no one will note it next year at 11. And when it's socially required, it's not a "remembrance," it's rote duty. No one noted it yesterday, no one will note it tomorrow.
      If you read the comics, King Features required all their cartoonists to note it. Much as I despise the talentless wingnut-welfare hackwork that is Mallard Fillmore, a job so lame even a certain Mr Daveykins could do it, at least that's an overtly political strip and thus gets a pass mentioning it, no matter how much the hands doing so are made of ham. But, seriously, it's in Blondie? The comic that took 60 years to acknowledge that American suburbanites own cars, or that women work outside the home? Or Hagar the (always) Horrible, when 911 is the year? Or Beetle Bailey, who's been in the army since Korea and has yet to do an actual tour of duty in a war zone? Fuck those guys.
      I think the best today was Mutts.

      9/12

      My main goal for this fall vacation was to not be sick for more than half of it, spilling over into my work week, which last happened in 2008. Goal 2 was the goal of any vacation, to not do anything that I wasn't doing voluntarily. Let's hope I have better luck with Goal 1.
      I had to do the laundry today, which would be no big deal except for it falling on today. But I couldn't put it off, as I was down to my last clean pair of underwear. (I get why it's "a pair of socks," but why is it a pair of underwear? I don't put on "a pair of tshirt") then it was off to the wild roller coaster thrill ride of seeing the claims adjustor for my damaged car. WHEE.
      I found the car place without getting spectacularly lost. I was surprised that the adjustor worked from his car. I wish that it had taken 10 minutes less time--or that I'd picked up that issue of Time 10 minutes earlier--but it was a smooth transaction. My nonworking windshield washer system looks like it's just a popped-out tube, and the whole shebang will cost me only $250, and a $30 a day car rental for 2 days. He cut me the check right there, and Liberty Honda was minutes up the road.
      I managed to only enter 3 buildings before I found the right one, and they went to work instantly. A mechanic called somebody to see if they had a 2011 Fit headlight in stock. "No, I don't have an R.O. She's doing that now. (pause) Dude, I said we DON'T HAVE AN R.O.!" (hangs up, rolls eyes) She: "What is with that guy?!" He called back a minute later to give That Guy the paint number, and "No! She's getting the R.O. now!" (hangs up; rubs forehead) She, to me: "I guess we should make an R.O.!" "That sounds like the best idea," I said, but restrained myself from asking "So, does R.O. stand for Repair Order, or 'That Guy's REALLY OBNOXIOUS'?"
      So I get to do another involuntary thing tomorrow, go back to drop my Fit off and get a rental from Enterprise. Enterprise? It'd better come with PHASERS! And be an automatic.
      I stopped for groceries and bought a dozen things. For me: loaf of multigrain bread. For cats: everything else. At the checkout I was horrified to see mylar helium balloons in the shape of yellow ribbon car magnets reading "9/11 NEVER FORGET." What. The. FUCK. Were 9/11 greeting cards with soundchips of people screaming to their deaths for sale in the Hallmark aisle? IT'S NOT A HOLIDAY.

      9/13

      Another day of in-voluntarianism, as I took the car to the dealer for to be the fixing, then got a rental. A Camry, and DO NOT LIKE. I drove in Second for 5 miles before even noticing, thanks to the weird shifter. Took me much longer to even find the clock. And is the air conditioning always on? Hitting the AC button didn't turn it off.
      I have no idea what it's going to cost. It's $31.75 a day (plus tax), but the insurance company pays for $30, and I pay tax on...which, $1.75 or $31.75? And I got the $16 a day collision waiver, which saves me money if I do get in an accident, but wastes it if I don't. I should hit a tree just to make it worth it! And do I pay for gas, or not? Yeah, I should've asked before I left. And also adjusted the mirrors.

      God's Day Off.

9/15

      I was expecting to be awakened this morning by a call telling me that my car was fixed. I was not. So I called and was told it'd be ready at 430PM. 55 hours to fix a bumper, slap on some paint and plug a hose back in? Okay. Well, not "okay," but Okay, what can you do, right?
      Since I had to drop off the rented (and hated) Camry, I left early. That cost $71, for something that spent all of yesterday in the garage, but at least I slept in my own bed and had my cats. I was hoping that the dealership was doing the old pizza place trick of saying that your food will be ready in 20 minutes, when it will really be ready in 10, so that when you're there at 15 minutes, you're pleased that it's "ready early." At 4:05, I was told "It'll be ready in 30 minutes," and I thought "Well, I guess they didn't exaggerate." But they did! I found out when my Fit came out after AN HOUR. They didn't even fill up the washer fluid, so I won't know until I buy washer fluid if they even fixed it. I could pour water in it, and if it just pours out, I will not be happy. Oh, also, there's a bit of paint that they didn't sand out, but "Just bring it in when you need an oil change, and we'll do it." Okay, points to them for something I truly would've never noticed if it hadn't been pointed out by them. But spending a day of vacation waiting and then driving home in rush hour traffic--quite suboptimal.
      The only plus was that I was going to see Kevin after he got off work, so I would've spent all day sitting around waiting anyway. Dinner was, of course, chicken tikke pizza, sadly now defanged. No brutally spicy bite at all, although quite delish. And...we split the last can of fuckin' illegal FOUR LOKO still in the wild! I found it in the back of my fridge. He hated it, as anyone would expect, but I've had enough of these high-alcohol/low-taste malt beverages that I drank mine easily and was slurring words and being talkative after a few mouthfuls.
      We watched Troll Hunter, which is Netflixable. A low budget Norwegian film, pretending to all Blair Witch "This REALLY happened!" He had no expectations, but I'd read a few reviews that were all positive. It was GREAT. Its internal logic was perfectly thought out--humans were driving trolls from their natural habitats, forcing them to predate outside their regular hunting grounds. The government covered it up as "bear attacks," even importing dead bears from Croatia as evidence ("It very fresh bear!" enthuses a Polish dead bear importer at one point). I said "Any 5 minutes of this movie has more brains than all the Transformer movies combined, with a fraction of the budget." Well, if I keep going on, I'll just oversell it and you'll be disappointed. Its little SFX budget was so well spent, and there were so many little details it didn't need but had anyway, which is the big fault of Hollywood blockbusters: special effects cost millions, but words don't cost anything, yet can add so much to a film.
      Also...why do people comment on how much I talk sometimes, but never when I don't talk? Does it mean that they want me to talk, or do they want me to not talk? I never point out--or even notice--when other people talk a lot. Okay, I know that I don't talk too much, and I like people who do, because I don't...but I never say anything to them. His wife (who, I should point out, is truly an awesome person) saying, in essence, "Wow, Bill, I guess you're drunk on the Four Loko because you're talking!" makes me never want to talk again. It's like if I said something, and they said "Hey, for once you said something that wasn't totally retarded! Want some flowers there, Algernon?" The way to get introverts to talk is just to react to what they say, not point it out like they're the bearded fat lady at a freak show.

9/16

      Of course, the only late night activity of my vacation occured before the only day the alarm was set. But as long as I was in bed by 1AM, I could get 8 hours of sleep before meeting the divine Ms Jessica to go antiquing. And beddy-bye came at 12:45. Of course, it was also the only night that I drank Four Loko.
      It was the only night where I was staring at the ceiling until 3AM. And the only one when DJ and Byron decided to go on a rampage at 7AM. I shut them out of the bedroom, which always works as a time-out. This was the only time it didn't, with DJ scratching at the door. 5 hours sleep may be enough for some of you, but it's near half of what I like to get. Need to get.
      It was also the only day I had the time for only a single cup of tea, as I was already running late. It's not a Jess/Bill playdate unless one of us is late! But we both were, pulling into the parking lot at the same time.
      We stopped at a little place in a giant old bank to get some chai. "Chai?" said one of the clerks. "That's tea? I always wondered what people meant when they say 'chai.' Why not just say 'tea'?" Because...then we might not get chai? Do you go to a restaurant and order "MEAT"? Was she really that much of the stereotypical blue-eyed blonde braindead bimbo? I assume that there was caffeine in our drinks, but even a medium didn't wake me up much.
      We waited for the art gallery to open--even late, we were early--and she told me of her own show, selling her awesome cat figurines at a benefit for animal shelters. She sold one for $20, after paying $75 for a booth, but that money went to the Humane Society. And it left her wiped out the next day, thanks to her accursed narcolepsy. It's frustrating for her to not make sales, but she loves making her art, even the time-consuming commissions for friends, such as the "Sailor Kitty" and "Dr. Boo" ones she made for my friends. Maybe she could make one for you, you CHEAP BASTARDS. (that's what's called SALESMANSHIP!)
      We poked around the 2 stores left in what was once a thriving antiques nexus. Despite my dropped jaw, I decided not to point out the collectable framed autograph from John Wayne Gacy ("Clowns can get away with MURDER!" with his prison cell number WHAT THE FUCK WHO WOULD BUY THAT SHIT?), although I did say "Holy shit--that's a ring with Hitler's head!" Big enough to be a single brass knuckle, and who but some Aryan Nation slime would own it for a reason other than smashing jaws? yawn We always discover an unintended "theme" to our Putnam visits, and this one was "Lots of swastikas." yawn No, I'm not yawning at Nazism, I was yawning because I was so damn tired.
      We went to the main, 4-floored place, seeing, umm, Nazi shit, as well as both a customer and a dealer accidentally breaking stuff. Jess wanted to have lunch; I've mentioned her hummingbird-like metabolism before, but her medical condition requires her to keep her blood sugar up, lest she start to nod off. We went to our usual place, which in 6 months had completely changed its menu again, sadly removing that hummus wrap that I loved so much last time. Not that I'm a vegetarian, but they deleted the only vegetarian item that wasn't a salad? But it didn't matter. "I'm not hungry," I said, not adding "and the very thought of eating is making me nauseous." A year ago, we went to Putnam and we had to bail after 45 minutes because I was so sick. Not getting sick today! Just tired. So...so very tired...I ordered tea; her, a reuben and a side salad.
      Good thing that I wasn't hungry. Her food was delivered 30 minutes after ordering, WTF? I know the chef doesn't get tips, but it was a sandwich! As she ate, she asked "What are you thinking? You look like you're thinking." "Nothing. I'm just staring out the window. I'm tired. Really tired."
      For once--I mean the first time in like 8 or so years--the New Agey store Cosmic Cat was open. We'd stopped by earlier when it wasn't, and store mascot Phantom lazily looked at us from a chair. He's a little white-footed grey tabby with a damaged lip, found in a dumpster dying. He was now old. And nowhere to be seen when we returned. "Meow, meow!" said the clerk in a side room, who then added, "Umm, just talking to the cat!" "You're talking to 2 total cat people!" I said. Since I know my chakras are aligned (and also don't exist), I didn't buy any crystals or magic herbs, but a bit of translucent green slate with a word painted on it. Phantom came out, a bit slowly, and nuzzled us while being petted for a good 10 minutes. We are cat people. "What did your slate say?" asked the clerk, who hadn't looked at it. I said "Meow."
      So, back to the Big Store. yawn Wait...more than yawn. Wow, I feel kinda...NO, I do not! Jess was distracted, as she always is, by a box of Disney World postcards. One's hobbies should always be cheap. She'd just been to Orlando, and awoke to giraffes outside her hotel window. I left her lagging, thinking, Umm, I need to get a move on and...actually, sitting down would be nice, but there's no furniture not for sale...oh god, no. Please, NO
      and ran downstairs to the bathroom and dry heaved blood
      And thus ended my day in Putnam. Third year in a row, sick. She walked me to my car and went to buy her stuff at the store, and probably heard me opening my car door and puking.
      Of course, I didn't have enough gas for the long drive home. I put a gallon in at Cumberland Farms, and not only did the fuel gauge not move up, the Low Fuel light came on immediately. I drove dazedly many miles to the next Cumberland, put in 2 gallons, and the gauge now said I had half a tank. Fuck you, gauge.
      I made it home, ran up the stairs to dry heave, scaring the cats, then teary-eyed and gasping, called Jess to let her know I was home more or less intact. And then I puked again. And one by one, each cat came to see me, clearly asking "Hey...are you okay? Would me rubbing you make you feel better?"
      When you've basically become some kind of vomiting otaku like me, after those years of the inexplicable Young's Syndrome, you try to figure it out. Was it the lack of sleep? The Four Loko? Was it the pizza? Sure, I got that "ugh!!" reaction you get after thinking about something's given you food poisoning, but I was getting that from the very concept of food. Am I just fucking doomed to get sick every September vacation? WHY AM I SO DAMN COLD why is it sooo cooold
      And why am I kinda...okay now, 3 hours later? Food, NO THANK YOU, want none, and not cold because I've shut the windows, and put on a sweatshirt, flannel dorm pants, long socks and slippers (during the day in mid-September)...shit, what was that? Besides "no fun" on a vacation that a car accident had pretty much made No Fun anyway?
      Maybe I need to start taking vacations in October. Or align my damn chakras. They're due.

9/18

      Having slept too little and eaten nothing at all Friday, I wasn't surprised that I slept 12 hours Saturday. I was surprised that I still felt bad, still dry-heaved, and ate only some cheese and a pair of plums. Drinking that cup of Yogi Calming Tea didn't help. C-A-L-M-I-N-G...that's a funny way to spell Disgusting! I could still taste its bitter awfulness this morning.
      Today I was still sick, even worse than before. I ran to the bathroom so many times that I gave up and just kept a plastic bowl next to me to bark into, hoping that the dry heaving would just end in vomiting, so that I could possibly get it over with.
      Eventually I did, and felt better. I thought that I wasn't going to eat today either, but I had some chicken soup. Hopefully, it's over.
      Not sure which of the last 3 September vacations was the worst. Last year I was sickest the longest, but this year, the not-sick part involved getting my car fixed.
      Christ. Even after the soup, I can still taste that vile tea. Strontium-90 doesn't have this long a half-life.

9/19

      Well, today was pretty good for a first day back to work after a terrible vacation. The boss was in a good mood, I felt better--not good, I said better--and I ate some fruit and yogurt and eggs. I'll be on solid food soon! Whooza big boy, Billy, whooza big boy now, you are, you are!

      Who are the bigger nerds:

      

      

9/20

      I recently mentioned Jessica's awesome cat figurines that she sells to help recoup some of the money she pays out of pocket for her feral cat rescues. I hope no one thinks it's all "She gets to play with kittens!" Ferals do not appreciate the work she does for the love of them, and their own well-being; they don't like humans. If she gets the kittens early enough, they can be adopted. The spaying and neutering of the adults prevents more kittens from becoming prey or deathly sick in the wild. It's hard work, and sometimes, heartbreaking. This is from her yesterday:

      If there ever was a time you sorta kinda thought of buying something from Marjoriam's Colony, that time is now.

      My Family

      

      My Boys

      

      My Love

      

      My Best Friend

      

       Marjoriam's Colony

9/22

      Tuesday I picked a case of wine up about 3 inches from the floor and thought, OW! this is gonna hurt soon! And it did, within minutes. But I stayed careful the rest of the day, and yesterday was my day off, so I hoped it would be okay.
      Today there was a big delivery coming in. The Boss gave me a list of what we were getting, and asked me to see how many cases could fit on the floor, and what should go up into the second floor stockroom. I was kinda busy doing the beer part of my job, but "put everything else away" seems to also be my job, so yeah, sure. Less work for me in the long term.
      He looked at the list and cried, "What's THIS mean? There's 1 of this, none of that?" I said "The numbers mean the number of cases we need on the floor." Y'know, what he TOLD me to do. EMPEROR NERO: "Why are all these slaves bringing me PEELED GRAPES?!" GENERAL PATTON: "Why are those Sherman tanks shooting at GERMANS?!" DARTH VADER: "Why do I have to scream 'NOOOO!' yet again?!"
      And he sent random stuff upstairs that I said leave downstairs, left mucho merde downstairs that I said...yeah, writing it all down was a waste of time, as was my taking stuff off of the conveyor belt only to send it back down, or putting it on to send back up when...whatever. Inefficient. But it'll waste my time, and time will go by that much quicker.
      I used the handtruck to push some stacks of wine back and use up some unused space, but one case decided to be uncooperative. I pushed it back with my right foot, pushed a little harder, lost my balance and fell to the hardwood floor. Fortunately, I broke my fall!
      On my left leg. With my keys.
      If you've ever been a retail manager, you know that that's a lot of keys. The size of a fist's worth. Brass knuckles to the leg. And my back began immediately hurting again. And, of course, you'd think a Boss who spends all his time whining about "How my feets hurt!" and "Look at my owie! Look at my OWIE! KISS MY BOO-BOO!!!" would actually have the tiniest sliver of sympathy, but the guy's called The Drunken Toddler for many good reasons. He's the world; you aren't even in it.
      So I limped through the day, putting away many cases of booze. I feel better now, after 4 ibuprofen and not walking much since I got home. Beer also helps, as do cats. Hopefully, it'll be better tomorrow when I have 200 cases of beer to put
      Oh, WHO CARES? Whiny old man, just like my Boss! You read this far? Go back and read the post above this, and consider buying a sweet kitty tchotchke from Marjoriam's Colony! Her feral cats will sure appreciate it if you do!

9/23


      

      


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