Archive for February, 2008

Testing testing testing

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Phew…

The laptop from which I am writing this fell off an arm wrest today.

Can I just say I had a near cardiac arrest when it fell so hard, the screen when blank for a moment?

This is really a test to see if angelic reasonance is being displayed and no damage was incurred.

But it was a good reminder that I need to buy a USB hard drive and back this sucker up. Add that up to another overhead cost of living that I hadn’t thought about.

Which is an interesting debate I had today with someone. He was arguing that he made exactly what the cost of living adjustment is and that all the gas prices hype is dumb. It had gotten expensive in line with the inflation of his paycheck over 35 years.

Sorry old fart. Try paying for basic cable, internet access and keeping computers running. Or the fact cell phones are an expense, and that just to get a basic repair job on a post 1990 vehicle involves more computer power than the last Apollo mission.

So when my bread and butter laptop hits the ground and blinks, I have fear.

But, knock on wood, it seems like it’s ok.

Doh!

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Five times this week I was asked for a very basic thing in the business world…

…a card.

Five times, I didn’t have one on me. I need to go make some very, very simple cards on white cardstock that don’t say anything other than the simple facts.

This is a note to self…

Ramble alert! Ramble alert! Not sure where this is going…

Friday, February 29th, 2008

I was watching an old episode of Mythbusters last night about putting Mentos candy in a Diet Coke bottle and blowing it up. But it played into my feeling in the last post that vegetable-based stuff and a single beer has some effect that calms the body. I’m not kidding, I might submit this and see if someone can prove me wrong.

There’s my follow up to the last post…I sound like a freak, but I think there is something there…

Forward…

The hermit crabs are still alive and well and I have to admit they interest me now more than ever. They actually do rebuild their whole environment all day. And I watch sometimes. They move things around the way they want them…plates, logs, water sponges, they work on it together and get it just the way they want it and go to sleep for the next 6-8 hours.

OK, I know, P knows, Big A knows they might be dead in a month (week?), but as watching bugs go, they are pretty interesting in that they cooperate and rearrange so much. Everyday we’ve had them, they seem to pick a project in the morning and accomplish it when no one is looking. They burrow, plunder, move, and arrange until they get tuckered out and just stop. But then they finish things up when they are rested until it all gets messed up with feeding/cleaning by Big A at the end of the day.

Speakng of pets around the house…

Rabine is going to be a cat we need to really put on the radar screen for Green Mile watch. I don’t really care that she just barely eats and is crabby and doesn’t want to be picked up, but I do care that she is older than I think we think she is because of how fast this has gotten worse the last few months.

The other thing is that Peanut is getting more agressive lately. See, Rabine is the alpha cat and has been for more than a decade. Peanut wants to be alpha, but Rabin could have kick the crap out of her if push came to shove. Rabine has jumped the shark in that role so much, Peanut is kind of a pain. Not that those are related, but I have watched Rabine in the last few weeks just start to act too old to get pissy about much of anything, and that wrries me.

Told you a ramble…

Which is kind of a fun indoor ecosytem to have around. We have two ferrel cats, Rabine and Peanut, who both have wanted to be top dog, but one is to old and the other is too wound up, and another which is a show cat (Bushy) that just likes being under the radar and could kick both of their asses if he wanted to, but really doesn’t care. We have one dog who knows she is top dog (Scout) who just wants to be friends with everyone that is small enough she knows she can kill, and another dog (Dill) who is small and doesn’t want to really be friends with anything that is not female. And we have crabs.

That’s my animal world. It’s like a retarded Brady Bunch episode getting to watch them so much as they divide up our house into a weird biosphere.

Here’s the kicker though…Scout and Dill are the two most sensitive pets I have EVER owned. I bitch about it a lot, whether it is Scout no listening after I scold her or Dill just peeing when I raise my voice, but those two dogs are pretty amazing at knowing how the wind blows for a big swath. In fact, we have been having a huge amount of work done in our house lately, and I am in awe of the fact both dogs know exactly when a car pulls off the main (busy) road and parks in the driveway. I’m talking before the engine stops, they are both on “watch” mode.

Cool…but a pain…

Speaking of things cold…

Me and talking politics. I am a superduper wonk with this stuff like a great POTUS election, and I am bored at the moment. I still am into it, but I am old school and I see it. I just don’t see how people who really care about things can be so stupid that they are swayed by all the dumbshit things thrown out on the internet. I have friends that I see on TV, and they bring up things that are so completely dumb, I just can’t stand it and then they quote people that have about as much credibility as I do telling you this.

The latest is the whole McCain and Article II of the Constitution.

This is actually a legitimate constutional law question that gets thrown around like Mudd (pun intended). John McCain was born in Panama while his father served the military in a demilitarized zone along the Panama Canal. My opinion is that unless there is a amendment, he is not eligible. And I swear, and most of you know me, I like McCain, but I don’t think that’s what they meant and we should amed the constitution to fix it immediately. But it is a serious law question, because the actual constitution says that you are only eligible if you are a “natural born citizen” of the United States. The Republicans, I’m sure will argue that this means military kids are all being born on US soil…but this is a pretty deep question that in popcorn democracy is going to get treated as another pain in the ass that the constitution is providing. And why not take it to a Supreme Court that wants to be strict? Does natural born mean born in the United States or on a military zone anyplace we decide?

See…I wonk on this stuff. I think this is a legitimate question but it gets so sucked up in “he said she said he said” I just have tuned out. Fix the fucking constitution so it’s clear. The way it is written, natural born, I think, means the placenta hit you on the way out onto to United States dirt.

Seriously, this could just be put to rest if we would change the damn thing so every person born to active military overseas could be president. But make it legal.

Wonk…go home…I hear you all saying it…

But I won’t…

I really want to put my name on the ballot for something just to see if I could get elected to it without campaigning too much. But here is the thing…I have to much respect for people that do campaign and spend lots of money for earning the right to vote on your bhalf to just do it for “fun.” I get told all the time what I should run for, but I know that, unless I really cared about it so much, and I was going to be balls to the walls over it for several years, I shouldn’t do it.

This was a big moment on my end when I saw this; when I really accepted it. I could be a Ralph Nader-type and just play “fuck you” politics, and play it well, I might add, or I could just admit that, for now, it would be stupid to try.

Here’s the thing, though, I think I would be good as an elected official. That’s the bothersome thing. I really think I could be good at it. I just don’t want to campaign and play politics in the arena as its defined at the moment. I tease myself, I guess. But I swear, I could be really, really good at being an honest, transparent and no-nonsense elected official.

And I guess that’s my problem. Even on a local level most people don’t want that.

Finally…

If Hillary doesn’t get 60-percent of the delegates in both Texas and Ohio on Tuesday…this Washington delegate is flopping to Obama. BUT BUT BUT if she does, I am going with her as far as I can go in the process.

Here’s the issue…if she doesn’t trounce Obama in Texas and Ohio, then the idea she can trounce in the GE against McCain is weakened so much, it’s time to just rally behind Obama. But if she is strong enough there…let’s broker the thing just before Denver and actually put it in the Super D’s hands.

My angst is that it will be brokered by the biggest futz in politics in Dean. Crap. But that’s why I am willing to help not get it that far and switch my vote to Obama at the earliest possible moment I think he should get it…which means being practically heads-up in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday.

If our househole switches to Obama in April, that’s two more votes to show the Super Ds that the tide has turned.

My ramble.

You’ve been a great audience.

Connected?

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

One last golf thought. When I got home today, and I was thinking about something. When I had lunch after playing horrible, I ate a green salad and drank an amber beer. Veggies and a beer. Connection to anything?

Not very P.C., I know, but I wonder if there is a mix in there because this really is a mixture that helps me golfing. Sometimes it’s actually hummus and a beer. I do think about that and what those chemicals do with your body. I mean, your not on some vegetable high, are you? And one beer doesn’t make you drunk to not have motor skills you control consciously, does it? I really have wondered about that. When I am travelling I eat a lot of various humus from grocery stores with pita bread; I have used that for jet lag forever in travels around the world.

I’ll leave it to scientists, I guess…but veggies and a single beer just mixes in a way I can’t explain. And, actually, now when I think about it, when we go to Hawaii I use kimchee and a beer the same way. There has to be something about the chemical reaction, the gasses, or something, that the body likes in mixing greens/vegetables and hops, or something.

Just an odd thing.

“This one time, at band camp…”

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

So today I spent most of my time over about six hours getting my golf game into decent enough shape that I would (a) not be slow, (b) not hurt anyone and (c) not fall to a heap in pain and exhaustion anywhere on the golf course.

I was terrible. Just terrible. But I loved it. I’m fast terrible and proud of it. I barely hit any fairways, my putting sucked and I generally posted a high score that doesn’t even count because it’s not March yet.

Anyway, when I was waiting for P, after playing 18 holes and having lunch with my dad and a friend of his, I went and teed it up again with a some guys who were going off in the afternoon.

One guy was a member I didn’t know and the other two were his guests. They were strapping-shaped 50-somethings that had about a dozen games they had decided to bet on. I just wanted to see if I could play three or four holes without slowing them down.

See, that’s the key with me. I knew I was never going to be good at golf, or much above average, but my goal in the world of golf was to play with anyone, no matter how good, and not slow them down and be a good time to be social with if they wanted it. This is advice I have passed on like a saged veteran to other new golfers…suck at it fast. I have two basic swing thoughts: right shoulder is tucked enough to hold a folded sleeve in places and my goatee is touching the right side of my clavical through the whole swing.

Anyway, I go off with these three guys and they are GOOD. I proceed to drill my initial drive into some very familiar trees way off the fairway. I practically start jogging to the sight while they all leisure to the their balls in the fairway. I should just get a special award someday from forest rangers, or even Ranger Ric magazine, for how much time I spend in the woods of this course. So I get to y ball and, sure enough, it’s way short of the others and behind a line of very tall trees.

Deep doo doo.

The smart play might have been to just punch out, take my licks, and move on. Here’s the kicker, though. I knew this shot. I knew that a 60-degree lob wedge with all my might could go over the trees, two bunckers, and hit the green. And that’s what I did…a perfect shot to eight feet. We’re talking 125 yards straight up and it stopped on a dime.

Sunk the putt for a birdie. The other guys had par.

Second whole, I pop my drive up in the air and it bounced of a tree in the dogleg back into the fairway, about 170 yards from the 375-yard hole. Ugly. I hit a seven-iron into a front bunker fat. I then used my lob wedge and knocked it to two feet for a par. The other three guys got caught in the trees and all bogeyed.

The humor was not lost on me. I am not this good.

The third is a long par three. I think it’s 192 yards. Bunkers in the front, but a big slope from back to front. You want to play it long. I played a seven-wood, and stuck it about 30 feet from the whole on the green. The other guys were short.

I made the freaking put for birdie and they all made par.

I was two-under through three holes and it was a good place to quit to meet P.

So I was kind of getting my cart together and one of the guys asked where I went to school. (?!?!?!?! Where id that come from.)

I told him.

He asked if I had played amateur golf. Yeah, I said: “I lettered three years in college.”

This would be like going train surfing in India and getting a college letter for not falling off between stops (although, I did get some money for the effort). It was the very low end of the low end of college athletic programs at the time, other than with connections, we played some high of highest in golf courses in New England.

I chuckled all the way back to the clubhouse. I had NEVER EVER NEVER played those three holes under par. And I did it so ugly, it was beautiful. But I had a hop in my step. I did letter in golf three years as a collegiate athlete…I was once pretty good at this game.

I guess that’s my point…some things that are really, really positive get so far behind you, it’s hard to remember how good they were at the time. I had forgotten how I was actually pretty good at golf for about 10 years and by thinking I wasn’t good anymore because I couldn’t do the things I could do almost 20 years ago, I just had decided I sucked at it. I got home today and realized I have more golf trophies than everything but soccer combined. I had also gotten so hard on myself with my declining golf skills, I was forgetting the old rule of just having fun and playing fast and not thinking to much….just have two thoughts when you swing and move on. It was like a bolt of lightening.

This one time, in college, I lettered in D-III golf…

I might never fly again

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

The headline on CNN was “Don’t feel great? Rethink flying.”

First of all, I have grown up around flying and logged more than a million miles in teh air, but I never feel great about flying. That’s the cheesy comeback to the headline.

But I have gotten on a plane were I felt so bad I thought I would just assume die. And I think that is what they are referring to, maybe. I have actually puked in the barf bag before the plkane left the terminal, I was so sick. I onced puked tomato juice so far on a flight from LaGuardia to Boston they had to clean it up two rows away.

I had a flight once from Beijing to Hong Kong where I was so sick, I was delusional with a fever. And I still reported for work the next day.

But that’s the problem when you tell the marathon traveler to not fly; we ignore it.

I never new what made me so sick on any of those flights, but I sure as hell was going to gt where I was going.

Death becomes me and now my daughter

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Big A is now the proud owner of two hermit crabs.

My initial thought was that it would be more exciting to put the ashes of Billary and Boo in a fish tank and watch what happens.

But there is no denying that I have bought, nurtured and killed my share of critters smaller than a fist. And Big A should get that chance, also. Sheesh…I have practically been a dead pet walking of these little pet store gems.

I have had,under my watch, killed baby birds, chamelons, crabs, hamsters, mice…golly, I think I must be on their hit list before I was 10 years old. I even screwed up and made a horrible mistake that led to the death of a litter of kittens, but that was just a horrible screw up. But Big A has to go through this stuff and see the fact it is a gross folly to try and keep it alive more than a few months.

But I have to tell you the funniest one I remember. I was maybe six or seven and my grandmother bought me a chameleon on the last day of the fair. It had a little noose around its neck and a safety pin, so you could attach it to clothing and watch it change colors to match. It was pretty cool, and I think she paid five dollars for it. That night I looked up everything in the encyclopedias about these salamnders.

But none of them said that I needed to unhook him from my pajamas before I fell asleep.

Dead.

Hey, wait, that might rank up there with my parents playing Scrabble (their version) and the dictionary falling on a nest of Killdeers I had saved from a road grating project behind our house. The funny part would have been if they were looking up some bird word, but I can’t confirm that…only that the dictionary falling off the arm of the couch crushed them deader than…

I actually think this is good stuff for her. She is great with the “big” pets (cats and dogs) and she knows that they die in proportion to how small they are, and she is ready for it.

But one last story…

I had a goldfish that lived a very long time in a bachelor pad in Federal Way. He was really, really hardy. The problem was, my roommate and I kept trying to add other fish, and they kept disappearing. I swear to God, we couldn’t figure out what was happening for about a week; neither of us had ever had a goldfish. Turns out our fat little pretty friend was eating his new mates during the night. So then we did the next bad thing…we put in another agressive fish and bet on which one would win.

We both lost, because they were both dead in the morning. But it was pretty funny. We cleaned the bowl out and made it a change jar in the kitchen.

To the two new hermit crabs: “Live long a prosper.”

Or don’t…since you are walking the Green Mile just by ending up in a pet store.

Wow.

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Ric Weiland, one of the five original New Mexico founders of Microsoft left more than $65 million to gay-oriented charities. I hesitate to call them that, they should be thought of as “human rights” charities, but it was still one hell of a gift.

I actually got to meet him twice and he was a great egg in person. I was startled to hear that he killed himself two years ago…but I am not shocked by the charities, all the types, he left a legacy to (this guy researched charities to the point that it was how I first talked to him, because he called me after I gave him a tour of something).

Oh, the balls of it all…

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Big A and I had a funny plan tonight. We took a sleeve of perfectly nice Titelist golf balls and a bunch of Sharpies and played with decorating them. I couldn’t take still pictures, so I am trying to upload the video.

The funny thing is that this was a great experiment. We played a lot with how you negotiate the dimples and play on a round canvass. Then it was looking at balance and color. Big A did two of them, I did one. They look pretty lumpy with color, I know, but I only used one new sleeve of old technology balls.

I have to admit I am kind of excited about trying them out on the course. It’s crazy, but they are cool just because they are so different.

I’m a champ, I guess…

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

So with the weather so nice and warm and sunny, we all went to the club for lunch, and then P and Big A left me to fiddle with the golf stuff. I needed to do a complete inventory of what I had for the coming season, take some swings, putt a little, and start to get the groove back, maybe.

I needed some new balls. That was obvious. I also needed a new glove or two.

The glove was easy. The clubhouse had exactly what I wanted. No problemo.

But their golf ball selection didn’t fit my preferences. So I went to a big giant local chain for golf and inquired about my balata covered balls that I wanted.

The man behind the counter said he could have helped me…seven years ago. That’s when I realized, I really hadn’t bought balls in years and years and years. And then I had bought a whole gross. (Long story short, it was when the Canadien dollar was at its lowest and it was their Thanksgiving week and I got them for half off even before the discounted dollar). Apparently, they don’t use balata anymore. OK, I said I wanted oversized balls (snicker to yourselves, please). He said that he could have done that five years ago.

But he added something that cracked Big A up: “Sorry, Champ.”

I was an old freaking fogey in this new golf world and my eight-year-old daughter even caught the humor.

So I plunked down $40 for a dozen of the Nike platinum whatevers, and slinked away.

But Big A still thinks that this kid’s comment was one of the funniest things she had heard in a long time. I see the humor, but I didn’t have to hear about it all the way home. Big A wouldn’t let it go…argh.

But there are three positives:

1) I got the stuff I needed for this season with no complaints from Pilar about spending (with giftcards) $25 dollars on the AmEx.

2) In 10 years of golf and hundreds of rounds, I had lost less than a golf ball a month.

3) Big A got the humor is a snot-nosed kid dissing me.

I asked her for help on something tonight and she responded, “No problem, CHAMP!”

Yeah, yeah, yeah…