Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gun Shy.

Today I was at work and I realized that we were almost completely out of earplugs. Normally I order them online with my credit card and my boss reimburses me, but we've been quite broke lately (thanks to an overweight dog and a wonky axle) so I haven't been able to get to it. Then I realized that we have two very loud shows coming up in the next week, and the four remaining pairs of earplugs won't even outfit the staff, much less any customers who might choose to preserve their hearing.
So we went to the gun shop. The people there were very nice, tremendously helpful, and, of course, armed. I do not have a problem with this. Of course you want people to be armed when they work in a gun shop. I mean, we wouldn't want them getting robbed, right? Of course not.
The b.h. was kind enough to come with me. The transaction was fairly quick and easy. We were in and out of there in five minutes flat. But the thing is, the ear plugs were all the way in the back, in a room behind a counter. While I waited for the extremely helpful gun guy to find me the right case of earplugs, I was staring at a wall- a very long, very tall, wall- full of ammunition. And the glass counter in front of me was home to around fifty or sixty hand guns. It was weird.
Again, I don't really have a problem with guns. I have been to a shooting range. I have fired a few. And shit if it isn't a lot of fun. But being in the gun shop was to me lot like being in a butcher shop: Nothing there for me. And all of it in one place is, for some reason, very disconcerting.
Neither of us said much the whole time we were in there. I'm sure the guys that work there had to realize how hilariously out of place we both were. As soon as we got in the car, we both kind of exploded with sighs of relief and remarks about how weird it was. Next time, I'm sending somebody else for the ear plugs.


I just finished the first of P.G Wodehouse's Jeeves & Wooster series. My friend M loaned it to me and I loved it. As soon as I read the first ten pages I jumped on Netflix and added it to our queue. Love that, too. I also got a book from M called Doubt. Religion and skepticism and whatnot. throughout history. Just barely scratched the surface of it, and it's a big one, but so far it is interesting. Also started This is your Brain on Music(?-not positive of that title and not near the book, but that's the gist). I got it for Christmas from my friend T. It promises to explore how and why our brains respond the way they do to music. So far it is very easy to read and understand, even to my feeble and very unscientifically inclined mind. I love the idea of approaching something that is so left brained from a right brain perspective.
I also recommend the Best American Non-Required Reading 2007. Not only do they mention two of my friends' band names, but they have poetry about Ed Asner. Fantastic.

The Fly's the Limit.

So it seems that 0kkervil River is touring with Neko C@se as well as the New P0rnogr@phers. And they're coming to The fucking theater. Awesome. I've been meaning to check out Neko Case forever and ever. I am embarrassed to say that I am only now doing so. And I love it. Ah well, better late than never. We have forty gigs worth of stuff on the iP0d, so it's not like I'm totally sheltered. Now, off to see what TNP is all about.

And now for some random silly shit that probably only bartenders will find funny. You know how people (kids, mostly) have a habit of totally fucking up drink names because they don't really know what they're ordering? My old favorites were the "Amarillo Sour" (rather than the Amaretto Sour, which is as it sounds: Amaretto and sour mix) and the "Mattress" (which should be Madras, made with vodka, cranberry, and orange juice). My new faves are "Umbrella Sour" and "Stellar" (Which is supposed to be "Stella"- as in Stella Artois, which is WRITTEN ON THE BOTTLE. That guy only had to repeat himself three or four times before I figured out what the hell he was saying.
Yep, the fun never ends.

So there was this band what played the other night. They were young, they were dumb, and they were not good. This is not unusual, honestly, so I didn't think much of it until they started being kind of shitty to the sound guy. Not knowing what the fuck you are talking about is excusable until you start getting shitty with the guy who does know, who is only trying to help your shitty band sound better. So they were on stage soundchecking, and one of them would ask a question, and as the sound guy was trying to answer, the Douchebag Guitar Player would start noodling around on his guitar, thereby making it impossible for anyone to hear the answer to the question. He did this repeatedly. The SG was patient. The DGP was adamant that he have what he wanted, and at the same time making it more difficult for the SG to help him get it right.
When the band finally started, the GP was acting like a sullen little brat. He was wearing a white polo shirt and boat shoes, and I swear if he had just popped his collar up he could have been the James Spader character in any teenage 80's movie. (This begs the question: Do frat boys even realize that That Guy in those movies is the character that nobody likes? And if so, why would you want to look like That Guy?) Anyway, he started posing and preening while his girlfriend was taking pictures. Then he was really acting like he was bored because, you know, he is such a good guitar player that the shit was so easy. And then he did something so hilarious that I almost fell out behind the bar. He pulled it up and started playing it behind his head. I felt so sorry for the other guys in his band...
And then I realized that his fly was wide open.

Fuck, The New P0rn0graphers sound great, too. I'll have to make sure I get tickets to that show.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Upstairs, Downstairs; or Cultural Differences.

Last night I learned something about myself. After having viewed four complete seasons (I saw the first two seasons twice) of The Wire, it's official: I speak jive.
This is not a judgment about the validity or artistic merits of the American Urban Black vernacular, it is simply an observation. The shit is hard to understand. But thanks to the incredibly compelling nature of the aforementioned TV show, as well as the miracle of modern technology that is the DVD Subtitle, I am able to communicate successfully with people with whom I do not share a common language or life experience.
I am still unconvinced that rap and hip hop are going anywhere (by which I mean artistically, not in popularity, as it is obvious that they are more popular than ever). And I still think that an expensive "grill" is possibly one of the dumbest things I have ever seen up close. It was nice, though, to hear some of the performers getting onstage and encouraging their audience members to register and vote. I guess after the flogging that B@r@ck Ob@m@ gave She Who I Refuse To Name Out Of Principle (and a lack of desire to have unwanted traffic here on my tiny little blog) in South Carolina last night, there was more likelihood of the message getting through.

Hilariously, there was a frat party upstairs last night. N said that there were more fake IDs up there than there were gold teeth on the first floor. I wish I could have been outside at two am, watching the two worlds collide.

The other night I got to see Lake City and Five-Eight at the Mental Health benefit at the Forty Watt. I can't remember the last time I have seen either band, and I enjoyed them both immensely. My friend R came in midway through the Lake City set, as drunk as I have seen him in ages. He invited me to a Super Bowl party at a guy's house that I don't particularly get along with.
"Why would I be invited to his party?"
"Because- you're you," he said, glossing over the obvious in favor of the excitement he was feeling. "And you guys have to come," he shouted over the music, "because I'm making cookies (he made the international symbol for cookies, a "c" shape lying flat) "with p0t in them" he gestured as if he was taking a joint out of his mouth and crushing it out in his imaginary cookie. This he shouted very slowly, as if speaking to a particularly thick-headed deaf person. R is one of the few people that I find not only tolerable but downright entertaining when he's shit-faced.
Also, I got to see Jamie for a bit. We were out and about, drinking adult beverages and living like normal people, which is not something I am accustomed to on a Friday night. We had a very long discussion about gardening and seed catalogs while backstage, until I glanced over and realized that our friend M was almost asleep on the couch. (Sorry, M.)
Can't help myself, though. I have spent days poring over these catalogs. Can't even begin to decide how I will narrow my choices. I could plow under our entire yard and still not have enough room to try everything that interests me. And of course, with the drought situation being what it is, it would be both selfish and impractical. *Sigh*
Anyway, I am spending the day today doing laundry, catching up on some housework (and reading and blogging). Am currently listening to Centro-Matic's Fort Recovery on vinyl. Did I mention that the b.h. got me a record player for my birthday? Yep- I love it. There is something nostalgically satisfying about the sound of a record. I know there are various arguments about convenience (about which I care little) and sound quality (about which I know little), but I love the very slight hiss and the act of setting the needle on the edge of the record, of flipping over to the other side. I'm not giving up the iP0d anytime soon, but this is a lovely way to spend a Sunday.
Later the b.h. and I are going to make Kolachkys and light a fire and watch movies. That is of course, after we walk the boys and go find some movies. Which means I need to be going. Happy Sunday, everybody.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Why, in a bar, directly in front of the bartender who just gave you the drink you ordered, would you possibly reach into the fruit tray and get your own goddamned lime? Why, after your friend just did the same thing a minute ago, and the bartender ran all the way down the bar, gesticulating wildly, and telling you that it was extremely bad form, and that in the future you should simply ask for the lime, and she would be happy to get it for you? Why would a person do that?!

For fuck's sake, it's like putting your mouth around the whole bowl.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sticker Shock.

Note to Self: The next time we combine two kinds of veterinary appointment, pay attention and ask questions while the doctor is recommending and describing various drugs and treatments for the various doggie illnesses and afflictions with which the dog is afflicted. Specifically, asking how necessary and how much are very important, so as to avoid the choking noises while you write the check in the reception area, as well as the mad scramble to cash in all of the change in the house and run to the bank while praying that said check does not bounce.
Wyatt is doing fine, thanks for asking. He's just expensive is all.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Constant Struggle.

Now that the beavers are back, the b.h. is once again having to clear out the drainpipe in our pond every day. And then, every night at dusk, often when we are returning from a walk with the dogs, we spot the beavers out there packing it back up again, and he shakes his fist in their general direction and curses loudly.
Right now he is out there with a length of PVC pipe trying to loosen a giant clump of pine straw. I daresay (and I only dare because he is outside) that he enjoys this a little.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Great Moments in Rock Club History.

So awhile back we had a very, very loud metal show. It was excellent. Late that night, when we were trying to close up, we had a lot of lingerers. Usually (at a private party or a pop show) the method employed to disperse these people is to put on an incredibly loud crunchy metal CD at top volume. Clearly with this crowd that would have no effect, except possibly to make them feel like the party was about to really start. So I turned to my boss and requested The Carpenters, at top volume, stat. He dutifully went to the S1rius Satellite box and found exactly that. The room was mostly cleared before the song finished. Now only the bands and the staff were left, and since we were not legally bound to get everyone out just yet, we all started chatting while we cleaned up and broke down the bar. In the meantime, the volume was turned down, but the channel did not change. The next song that came on was Almost Paradise.
I started singing along - loudly, as I am wont to do when it is late and I am tired and feeling a bit punchy. The guys from the first band just sat at the bar and looked puzzled, then mildly amused.

"Don't even try to pretend like you don't know the words," I chided them.

Immediately the three of them burst into song, adding hand gestures and gyrations where appropriate. They not only knew the words but how they were sung.

Yeah - that's what I thought. Beautiful.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Customer(s) O' the Night #472 & 473: The Salesmen

So the other night I got to work at the usual time. The happy hour bartender was finishing up, and there were three guys sitting at the bar. The band was soundchecking. The guys at the bar were louder than the band, they were drunk, and I already knew they sucked.
I tried my best to avoid them, assuming that they were probably done drinking and that when they saw that the bartender was leaving they might pay up and leave. No such luck. When they waved for another round, I reluctantly obliged. Two of them were obviously more drunk than the other guy. They all had drinks in front of them. They tried to order more but were busy arguing and calling each other pussies so I slipped away. One of them went and got food. Fabulous. For the record, I don't mind when people bring food into the bar, but spreading it all over the bar and smelling up the joint is gross. And when drunk people bring food in, they invariably make a giant mess and leave their trash on the bar. It's offensive to me, it's gross for the other customers, and it's fucking rude. If we're not making money on that food, we shouldn't have to deal with it. Anyway, one of the guys was apparently playing in one of the bands that night, so I couldn't very well ask him to leave. I just waited for them to finish eating, cleaned up their shit, and silently thanked the gods when they finally went away. They sat on the other side of the club, so after about ten minutes I completely forgot about them.
It didn't get very busy that night due to the weather (or rather, due to the threat of weather, which is enough to keep people indoors in these parts). The first band was good- not my thing, but good at what they do, and I wished like hell that more people were there to see them. They seemed a little disappointed, but honestly I was surprised that anyone was there at all, and I told them as much later on. Anyway, right at the end of their set, the lead singer says
"This one is for those two guys."
I looked over and realized that the drunk assholes from earlier were both sound asleep, sittng just a few yards away from the stage. Fuck.
I motioned to one of the door guys. My plan was to wait until the band was finished and get rid of the guys. I didn't want to do it while the band was playing because I thought it was an unnecessary distraction on an already fairly dismal night. The door guy informed me that he had already kicked the two guys out earlier, and that they had been obnoxious to both him and the happy hour bartender. Apparently they had told him to go fuck himself because he asked for their IDs. Nice.

"So why are they here?"

"S let them back in."

"Why the fuck would he do that? Did you tell him what they said to you?"

"Yeah. They told him to fuck off, too."

""Great. We'll make S kick them out. Please send him in."

I asked S what the fuck was going on.

"I know they're assholes. My plan was to take their money for the bands and then kick them out."

"Well I can see that went swimmingly."


"Stay here. When the band is done, we're kicking them out."

The band finished, and I took a metal bottle opener and an empty plastic pitcher and headed straight for the drunk guys. They were seated about five feet apart, so I positioned myself between them and started banging on the pitcher with the opener, as hard as I could, right between their heads. The rest of the people in the crowd laughed and clapped.

"Time to go!! Wake Up!!!"

They didn't move. S came over and shined a large flashlight into their eyes. One of them finally stirred. The other guy fell over. The friend (remember him, from earlier? the less drunk one?) rushed over, explaining that he was their ride, imploring me to leave them alone. I explained that they couldn't sleep in the bar. He pleaded with me to leave them alone. He had to sing, he explained, then he would take them home. I relented. in the meantime, the second band was setting up. I watched as the now awake jackass and the singer argued all the way out the front door. The other guy was still asleep. The one asshole left. I walked up to the singer as he came back in. I explained that his friend was acting like an asshole, and that it was really uncool for them to be passed out and why. He apologized. He said the guy was an arrogant asshole. I asked him why he was friends with an arrogant asshole.
"You must know each other from way back," I said, thinking how many people I knew that I put up with only because I had known them for so long.

"Nope. We work together. He's an arrogant jackass."

"Really? And why do you feel obligated to hang out with this arrogant jackass from work?"

"Because I'm an arrogant jackass, too."

"And where do you work?"

"Hyund@i of Athens."


The singer was actually only a singer, and not even the main one. He sang on approximately two songs, then stayed for the rest of the set. Afterward, I got to watch him try to steer the passed out guy out of the bar. The passed out guy was easily eight inches taller and outweighed him by at least seventy pounds. I only wish I had seen them getting in the car.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Still Going.

And jeez if it isn't after 5am. My internal clock is totally screwed. I blame the weather.
Tonight I dropped the b.h. at work, read the new issue of Playboy (Boring! The 20 Questions interview was with some chick from The 0C and none of the political stuff was very intriguing, though I did rather enjoy the Matthew McConaughey interview), then came home and started cutting out squares for my t-shirt quilt. I guess what I am probably looking at is multiple quilts, because I unearthed a big tub of shirts and two fairly sizable bags, and those are only the ones we have stopped wearing. I am thinking of making the b.h. an all ReM blanket because we have so many of those. Once I get them all cut I can arrange them by region, band, or theme, depending on how it all works out. As it is I am going to have a hard time deciding which ones to use first, because my skill level is absolute beginner. I am pretty excited about it, though.
Got an invitation to join some friends of ours for Moosefest this year. Having just watched the second season again just this week, I am seriously contemplating it. It's close to Seattle, so if it isn't fun we can always bolt. But how could it not be totally hilarious? I dunno. But it really sounds like the best way to ease our way into football season next year.
Ah well, I guess I'd best get in the shower and get to bed before the sun comes up and I have no chance of falling asleep.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Lately Kilgore has taken to hiding things under a rug in the living room. Rawhides, Nylabones, and various stuffed and squeaky friends have been discovered in a lump under the coffee table. Now he's kicked it up a notch: The b.h. found a dinner plate, which had been left on the table the previous night, licked clean and tucked away. Fortunately it didn't break when he stepped on it.
The blueberry pie is absolutely fantastic. I am allowed to say so because I had absolutely nothing to do with it. The b.h. made the whole thing himself, including a vodka crust and whipped sour cream topping.
I hurt my knee the night before last, so after staying in bed way too late yesterday, I spent almost the entire day on the couch with an ice pack. The pecan pie will have to wait until Tuesday. I did shell some pecans to prep for it. Man, is that a pain in the ass. Now I understand why pecan halves cost seven bucks a pound even though they grow on every street in the whole state.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I had forgotten how much I loved Music Hates You. It has been at least a year since I last saw them play, and they have only gotten better. I wish Noah would post their lyrics on the MySp@ce page, because if they are anywhere near as interesting or funny as the shit he says between songs then they would be a great read.
Anyway, I don't have much to say except that the whole show was great and I am very happy that there is a metal scene here in Athens. It isn't something that I listen to at home, but that's all the more reason why a good loud live show is perfect every once in awhile. Zoroaster is also kickass. Last time I saw them was with The Dumps a few months ago. Love it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Business As Usual.

Thursday night I saw the Truckers at the 40 Watt. I was worried that it would be packed and my claustrophobia would kill me, but I managed okay. I got there later than I meant to, so I missed Bo Bedingfield. Got there about three songs into Don Chambers and Goat's set. They were fantastic as usual. The Truckers were great, too. It wasn't sold out, to my knowledge, but it was packed and I'm sure they raised a lot of money for Nuci's Space. I did spend a lot of time chatting with folks I never see anymore, but I caught more than half of the set.
Afterward I stopped down at Trapeeze, which is a lovely new bar that has something like two hundred different beers. A friend of mine works there, so I just popped my head in to say hi and get a look at the place. I didn't drink any at the time, since it was late and I was about to have to drive home, but I am certainly planning on stopping in there again soon. I love discovering new beer.
Friday was a bit chaotic. I slept late and we ran a bunch of errands, stopped to eat at Speakeasy and rushed home to watch the last two episodes of The Wire (season four) on DVD before I had to rush off to work again. Now my language has gone to shit (it didn't have that far to go, quite frankly) and we'll have to wait another year for the final season to come out. I think the second episode is airing tomorrow night. Luckily we have another disc of Benson on deck. I need some lighthearted comedy after all that.
Still plodding through Thunderstruck. Finished Bill Bryson's Shakespeare and am very close to the end of Terry Pratchett's Going Postal, if only I could stay awake long enough.
Tonight we're going to see Music Hates you at Tasty World. I look forward to seeing Noah Ray as both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
In food news, two things: Discovered that if you put a MOrningst@r Farms spicy black bean burger on top of a bowl of Annie's N@tural mac and cheese, it tastes pretty effing good.
Also, tomorrow the b.h. and I are going to make pies. I'm really looking forward to it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Night of the Record Industry Douchebag (Jim ,this one's for You).

I was at a show the other night featuring one of the better Athens bands to arrive on the scene in the last year or so. I will avoid using their name in this post so that my rant doesn't come up if the douchebag in question does a G00gle search for them before deciding whether or not to sign them to a "deal".
Anyway, the band was playing last on a three band bill. In Athens, shows don't usually start before ten p.m., so that means that it's going to be a late night. Industry douche was made aware of this before attending the show.
The band that played second was having their last show- possibly ever, but at very least there is going to be a very extended hiatus. They knew that the headlining band was playing for a Label Douche, so they did their best to be quick. They were. They tore through their set with minimal talking in between, and they sounded fantastic.
During the set, I was looking around the room playing "Spot the Label Douche" with the b.h.
"Its either Leather Sleeves or Track Suit," I said confidently.

The guy in the Leather Sleeves was older, and he looked like he could have been one of the band member's dad. He had kind of mullet-ey hair, regular jeans, a t-shirt, regular gym shoes... basically looked like a regular guy who liked music and had better things to do than worry about his hair and his clothes. And his jacket was one of those H@rd Rock Cafe-type things, with the denim torso and leather sleeves. He could just as easily have been a truck driver as a Label Douche. He walked through the club without stopping at the bar, went to the back for a minute, then came back out front and sat by himself toward the back of the room.
Tack Suit, on the other hand, was pacing around furiously. He was wearing- you guessed it- an Adidas track suit. Also a white mesh baseball cap, designer horn rimmed glasses, and he had a fucking Blue Tooth sticking out of his head. Seriously. Because apparently when you're important, you never know who might call at twelve-thirty on a Tuesday night while you're standing in a rock club, and you are damned sure not going to miss a call. Oh yeah- he was also wearing a thumb ring. I thought those were reserved for guys with pirate shirts who had been to Burning M@n, but apparently not. As I said, he was pacing around like his ass was on fire, checking his watch, then checking his blackberry, then checking his watch again, and muttering loudly to himself, as if to convey to the rest of us that he was Somebody Who Should Not Be Made To Wait. He did not go to the bar for a drink.
When the middle band was almost finished (they were running very early, and were well within their set time, and could have played a few more songs), the band left the stage so the lead singer could play the last song solo. It is his band, and the songs are his, and this was his last show, at least for a very long time. And there were a number of us there to see him.
Track Suit accosted the guitar player for the second band, a total stranger, and proceeded to scold him for not loading his gear offstage immediately. He said they were being unprofessional. Loudly. Right next to the stage, where a solo acoustic song was closing the final set for a band that a lot of people were there to see.

Ding ding ding!! We have a winner!!

As it turned out, Leather Sleeves was also a record industry guy, but he was not a Label Douche. They stayed for about half of the set that the third band played. They seemed to think the band was good enough, but they (Label Douche in particular) did not at any time appear to be enjoying themselves. And I know that for them it is a job, but wouldn't you hope that a guy in that position actually enjoyed music? Somehow I doubt that he does, and this is what I believe is the problem with the music business. I had a flash of the Simpsons, of a scene where Nelson points at a newspaper guy and goes "Ha Ha! Your Industry is dying!!" I smiled to myself. I wanted to follow them out just so I could hear what Label Douche would say, but I didn't. I'm not sure what the band is looking for in a record "deal" but I hope that if they get one they don't have to rely on Label Douche too heavily.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Calling All Cars...

It never occurred to me before, but I guess linking this wherever possible might help.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Spring Break.

Well, not exactly. It isn't Spring, but it has been that warm for a couple of days now. And there were no co-eds, no exposed breasts, and no keg stands. My break consisted of doing the kind of yard work that I usually don't engage in until at least March.
Today I used my new wheelbarrow to collect pine straw and dead leaves from the further reaches of the yard and spread them over my garden beds and around the stones that line the driveway. I turned over a small patch and planted my new bulbs- crocuses, irises, and grape hyacinths, then covered them up with a very thin layer of mulch and marked the spot with my freshly broken rake (it's okay though - I was done using it for the day) so we remember not to mow over it when the time comes. Now I'm looking forward to yet another happy spot out there come spring.
It appears that I may yet see a gardenia or two out there. The bush that I planted last year, before our very late and very damaging frost, is still hanging on.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Yawn, Stretch.

Spent my birthday doing as little as possible, which was lovely. The b.h. made me pancakes with cranberries and apples and fresh pecans for breakfast. We went to visit his folks and picked up the wheelbarrow they got me for Christmas, along with some flower bulbs they gave me for my B-day.
We came home and watched the DVD of Hogfather, which the b.h. very cleverly acquired (and managed to hide from me) for me. It isn't out here in the States yet, so it really was a surprise. Our friend M. came to watch it with us. It was fantastic. I look forward to seeing the rest of the Discworld series adapted.
Got in bed fairly early last night, but that didn't make me get up any earlier. There's something about waking up late on a sunny morning and rolling back over. Even when it's a seventy degree day in January, sometimes you just have to be indulgent. And I was.
When I did finally get up, I took an entire carload of stuff over to Goodwill. Then I came back and vacuumed up the floor where all of it had been piled up for the last several days. After that, I decided to assemble my new wheelbarrow.
You will note that I said I decided to assemble it, not that I actually assembled it. There were no written directions in the box. The "directions" provided were in the form if three diagrams printed on the inside flaps of the box. Part of said diagram included an "actual size" drawing of various bolts, all of which were remarkably dissimilar to the actual bolts included in the package. I spent a few minutes cussing before I asked for some assistance from the b.h. As it turned out, it wasn't all that difficult, it was just a two man job. So now I have a functional wheelbarrow, and tomorrow I will have a well mulched garden bed.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I got Six Out of Ten.

Snarky? Yes. Hilarious? Absolutely. Go ahead, try it.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Home for the Holidays, Part Two.

Did I mention the drugs? No, I guess I forgot. I got some herbal drops at the dog store before we left. They have chamomile and valerian and a few other anti-anxiety type things. I felt a bit weird about them at first, but then I reassured myself that they were as much for the boys as they were for me. And they worked like a charm. A few drops on my homemade organic peanut butter biscuits and all was well in doggieland.
Once we had had a few hours' sleep, the b.h. and I spent the rest of Sunday mostly lying around in our pj's and watching t.v. with my folks. They got a new hi def set. I think it's pretty cool, but I don't necessarily feel compelled to run out and buy one or anything.
Went out to my aunt and uncle's house for Christmas Eve. My dad's side. It was low-key and pleasant. Karaoke was in full swing when we ducked out. The dogs were left at home, and there were no fires and no bodily fluid accidents when we got back. Christmas was at my sister's house with the other side of the family. Good fun. Again the boys were good. I think my folks really liked having them around, which is great, because I was hoping against hope for mere tolerance of their presence.

(So I ditched that nasty IPA and now I'm drinking a Wolaver's Brown Ale. Certified Organic and Tasty, to boot, it hails from Vermont. I have been taking a close look at Vermont lately, and quite frankly, if it weren't for that whole Fucking Cold Winter thing, I think I'd already be there.)

The next couple days weren't quite as cold, and walking the dogs several times a day was a lot less painful. And my parents' neighborhood has sidewalks and a park just down the street. The boys loved it, though they found the snow rather confusing.

The rest of the trip was more of the same. We ate pizza, we did some (food) shopping, we hung out with family and friends. We got home in just over thirteen hours on Saturday. Wyatt had so much fun that he was back in the car before we had even finished unpacking it.

Sunday was more purging (got rid of a bunch of VHS tapes and various other shit we no longer need) and a quiet night by the fire watching new DVDs.

Dare I?

I mean really, dare I have just a little hope?
Yeah, I do. I know it's probably naive.

In other news, Shayne's Blog is pretty fucking funny. Check it out. I don't know how I kept missing it. (Was I just looking at your profile by accident? I dunno.) Anyway, good stuff. I can't wait to hear the rest of the Santa story.

In still other news, I am almost finished watching season one of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, which I purchased for the b.h. for Xmas. And the new season of The Wire (the last season) starts next Sunday. And we still haven't gotten through the one that just came out on DVD. Man that is good shit.
Right now I am watching Season Six of The West Wing, which one of us got from one of our sisters. It's like porn in our house. If you haven't seen it or you lean right politically, you wouldn't understand. It's okay. I know we're not normal.
The dogs are both passed out on either end of the couch. I am having a South American I.P.A. that I got from Trader Joe's in Chicago. It isn't that great. As soon as I am able to get off my ass, I am going to the kitchen to dump it and get something else. I got one of those mixed six packs so I could try some beer that I can't get down here.
Still reading Thunderstruck, which I got from K. I like it a lot, but I find myself constantly thinking about the comment that PMcB made a few weeks ago about it being an "NPR novel." He's right, and it's a little distracting. We got the new Shakespeare biography by Bill Bryson on audio book, and are most of the way through it. Same with Terry Pratchett's Going Postal.
More on our trip home in a bit.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Busy, Bigger, and Back.

The beavers, that is. We haven't seen them at all this year, and last year there were only a couple sightings of a very small pair - more like big bunnies than small dogs, they were back then - and who could blame them? Without much water, building a dam was rather beside the point.
Cut to Sunday morning. Five hours after we arrived home, I am awakened by an unfamiliar sound. It is very loud, and it seems to be coming from all around me all at once. I am momentarily confused, and then I realize that there is a very heavy rain falling on our tin roof. Fabulous. Wyatt grumbles as I roll over and burrow a little deeper under the covers. When i wake up again in another five hours, it is still pouring. Fabulous. This is the most rain I can remember having at once. By the end of the day. The pond in front of our house is back to a level that it hasn't seen this year. There is no standing water in our yard, though, because the ground is soaking it right up.
And today, not twenty minutes ago, we pulled into the driveway and saw a familiar ripple on the surface of the pond. At first we assumed it was the dozen or so ducks that have been hanging out lately, but then we saw them: The telltale lumps on the surface of the water, preceded by small branches that seem to be moving on their own.
"Oh no you don't," the b.h. says, giving the beavers the frowning of a lifetime through the car window. His voice is low and menacing.
"There are two of them," I say quietly. "And they look big."
"I will kick your ass" threatens the b.h. in a low voice, craning his neck to keep an eye on them as we round the curve in the driveway.

Roadtrip Recap.

As you may have noticed from that last post, I'm back. The trip was fun. It started out a little rough, very cold and raining sideways when we left on Saturday night. The first stop for gas was about twenty miles down the road, and as soon as the dogs had relieved themselves they sprinted back to the car and didn't so much as ask to be let out again. Our guys have always liked the car, but we have never driven them more than a few hours at a time, so we weren't sure what to expect. They were fine.
It was a bit of a white knuckle flight up to Chattanooga due to very light rain- not a good downpour that might cause people to slow down and drive responsibly, no. Just enough to wet the pavement and bring all the oil and grime to the surface, making it extra slick while allowing stupid people comfort at high speeds. (Also, this makes timing the windshield wipers a real bitch, and I absolutely abhor the sound they make when they scrape across too-dry glass, so I spent a lot of time flicking them on and off manually.)
We wasted at least an extra forty minutes by stopping a couple times to try to find new wiper blades. Imagine where you might have to go at 11pm two days before Christmas to get those. (I'll give you a hint: It rhymes with Tall Fart. Needless to say we sucked it up and stuck with the old ones.)
When we got out to refill the tank in Tennessee, the rain had stopped but it was colder and very windy. Again the dogs did their business and hopped immediately back into the car without complaint.
By the time we hit Illinois, the wind was blowing at 35 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 50. I was exhausted and therefore stopping quite often to caffeinate. I tried to nap at a couple points but couldn't. The boys were often sleeping through whole stops at this point. Just getting out of the car for a minute was a real jolt, though, so I kept from falling asleep at the wheel.
Finally, after a couple hours of this, they woke up and had to go again. It was about eight in the morning on the 23rd. We happened to be at an exit where there was a shopping mall. The wind was blowing with incredible force across giant piles of snow in the parking lot, making it seem like a small blizzard. Kilgore was crying- he really, really had to go. We finally got through the light, and I punched it into the B3st Buy- there were some trees and a bit of grass, so it seemed logical. Traffic was heavy and loud, and it was fairly close by. The dogs jumped out and immediately looked back at me through the windshield.
"WTF?" their furry faces seemed to say. "Where the hell have you brought us?" Kilgore is very shy. He will not poop in front of anybody unless he can't possibly hold it anymore. He will, however, piss directly into a fifty mile an hour gust. And that he did. He missed the tree completely, but luckily he also missed the b.h.
When we got to my parent's house at around ten-thirty, mom was already pre-heating the oven. Chicago's finest pizza had been purchased on the previous evening, and I couldn't think of a better brunch after a long drive.

Interesting Idea.

I just read this story about the Brits banning junk food ads from television shows marketed to young children. I love the idea, of course, but I think one could argue that we should ban ALL advertising to kids. Hell, for that matter we should ban all advertising. On the other hand, is it the role of the government? And if so, then isn't it also the role of the government to demand that giant food corporations actually put some food in our food? And tell M@cdonald's (et. al.) to stop putting additives in their "food" that causes addiction?
I wonder if the British food industry is as bad as ours. Additives? Over-processing? Fillers? If they do, and their government has the balls to try and do something about it, dare I hope that ours may someday follow suit?