Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stupid Saturation Coverage

Is it just me, or every time you hear "White Christmas" do you think of Tiger Woods?

...and may all your mistresses be whiiiiite.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Trepidation

Tomorrow is the big day. The day we've prepared for for weeks, working our fingers to the bone. Yes, tomorrow is when the in-laws arrive for their Christmas visit.

Not just any in-laws, mind you. Of course, Grandmother Moo and Ellie are cherished, but they've been here before and therefore are No Big Deal. The Big Deal is Ellie's new husband. He's never been here before, and thus he doesn't know what slobs we are. Apparently, we want to keep this a big secret, as we've been cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. I even had to put up a bunch of towel bars in some of the bathrooms so that there wouldn't be any draping of towels over shower doors to dry.

Plus, we bought all new towels. And a new toilet seat for the basement bathroom (which is where the guest room is). I even splurged and bought a full tank of gas for the truck.

I'm sure he'll be completely fooled.

Movie Review - Inglorious Basterds


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Something Not to Do 21

Tonight was an odd night, as I ate dinner out with one of my old cohorts from Santa Clarabelle who was here to take my job away from me (don't fret - it's a crap job, and I have much better jobs lined up to replace it. As far as you know), plus, The Mrs. had a migraine today. It ended up that all of us had eaten before HannahC got out of gymnastics, but I sat with her while she ate dinner cuz I like to do that.

But it went badly.
HannahC: "Dah, this is something that Momma is going to talk to you about. But, well..."

Me, CherkyB: "Yeah?"

HannahC: "You see, Miss Mickey has this tarantula that she doesn't want anymore, and..."

Me, CherkyB: "No!"

HannahC: "But..."

Me, CherkyB: "Oh, Jesus Christ."
At this point, HannahC burst into tears. That, dear readers, is Something Not to Do.

Update: It has come to my attention that it is not clear to some of my readers what the "something not to do" was in this episode. It was actually a two-fer. First, as a parent, even if you are not particularly religious, you are not supposed to blaspheme in front of your childrens. Second, you're also supposed to be more gentle and not cause your childrens to burst into tears.

Though I suspect that females use the tears thing as a technique for manipulation more than as an expression of emotion.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saving the fishies

During the cold snap we've been having this past week, the front koi pond decided to freeze. That has never happened before, as the combination of the pump running and the floating heater has always kept it going just fine. But during our multi-day sub-zero spell, the pipe from the pump to the waterfall froze, blocking water circulation. Then, we got a nice layer of ice across most of the pond except right around the heater.

Today it finally warmed up (much of the day over 40), so I set about trying to figure out how to get the pond running again. First thing I did was inspect the pump too see WTF.

Well, the old pump inlet was quite clogged with leaves. Plus a 3" crayfish (who perished as a result, sadly). So, I'm guessing that the flow of water was pretty severely restricted, and this was enough to allow a pipe to freeze. I may need to upgrade the pumps to what they call "sewage pumps". Those are designed to pump water that has crap in it, which they just grind up as it passes through. The pumps I have now are water pumps, and they sieve out any foreign matter in the water and thus clog with leaves all the damn time. I don't know how the leaves get in there - the box is covered and there is both a skimmer net and a 1" thick nylon mesh filter that everything has to pass through to get to the pump, yet the pumps clogs a lot.

I got to use my early-Christmas present from moother-in-law insulated waterproof gloves to screw around with the pump. My fingers stayed nice and dry and warm. I can put my hand in boiling water for up to 20 seconds and handle dry ice with these gloves, too. I'll let you know if that comes up.

Restoring the flow on the pump, though, didn't restore flow to the waterfall. Something was definitely frozen downstream. So I dumped a 5-gallon bucket of hot water into the waterfall box. This softened up the filter screens in there enough so that I could remove them, but the water stayed in the box. That box is higher than the pump, so normally if the pump is off, water will flow out of the box back through the pump. Nothing doing.

Next, I got another bucket of hot water and poured it over the ultraviolet sterilizer. It's about a 2-foot long PVC tube with a UV lightbulb down the center. I figured it might freeze given it's not really buried (cuz you have to change the bulb every year), but just has some rocks piled up on it. Still, the water stayed in the waterfall box.

I went inside to refill the 5ga bucket with hot water. When I returned, I noticed that the water level in the waterfall box was suspiciously lower than it had been earlier. Could it be? It couldn't be this easy. Could it?

I poured the hot water into the waterfall box, and I watched the level slowly go down. Sure enough, I could see the water flowing back out of the pump box at the other end of the pond. When it had emptied itself out, I turned on the pump. Voila! Waterfall.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A picture is worth 1000 words

But a picture really doesn't capture the real art of a weather report.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Something Not to Do 20

Facebook, in my opinion, is pure evil. Now that I've figured that out, I've decided to start blogging again.

Lucky you.

Anyways, having been almost 9 months since the last installment of "Something Not to Do", I believe that we are due for an update. And do I ever have a gem for you today.

See, yesterday I was unloading the dishwasher so that I could load it with the dinner dishes. Nearing the end of the unload, The Mrs. (who had been making an annoyance out of herself all day long - she gets overly worked up around the holidays) swooped in and grabbed a couple Rubbermaid containers (the new ones where the lids snap onto the bottom for easy nesting - cool as hell, really) to put away. These go into a lazy-susan corner cabinet right next to the dishwasher that can't really be opened if the dishwasher door is open. So, The Mrs. shut the dishwasher that I was in the middle of unloading, opened the corner cabinet, and bent down to fiddle with all the storage containers. I stood there, watching, waiting.
The Mrs.: "Don't you have anything better to do than to stand there watching me?"

Me, CherkyB: "Well, I was unloading the dishwasher, but I can't get to it anymore because there is this enormous ass in between it and me."

The Mrs.: "I am tired of you telling me I'm fat all the time!"

Me, CherkyB: "Huh? I wasn't talking about your weight."
That, gentle readers, is Something Not to Do.

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

A long day ahead

HannahC made it to the state gymnastics championship this year, and it's today. We have a nice seat in the bleachers near the door so that when MaxieC gets bored, we can split for a break.

There's a Mardi Gras theme. I don't know why.

I'm trying a new blogger android app called "blogaway". I have no idea where it will put the photo.


So, apparently I need to activate a picassa web account for my blogger account before I can post pictjures from the phone. But you can't activate it from the phone. Humgub.

Meet is halfway through. HannahC is doing ok, but she's not going to win.

Battery is at only 30%. I am plugged in to an outlet in the cafeteria between events.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ah, Womens

As the old saying goes: you can't live with them, you can't.

Today was my last day of my Thanksgiving vacation. I used 4 vacation days, and I got 10 days off in a row. Yeah, I know. But The Mrs. likes when I'm home so that I can "see what her life is like."

From what I can tell, her life consists of making hand-crafted Christmas gifts, yelling at The Childrens, and going from store to store spending money without a care in the world as to where it came from, occasionally broken up by cooking microwave taquitos for dinner or making a ham and swiss sandwich. Yes, it's time for me to return to work where I am sheltered from this and can concentrate on keeping that free-flow of money running.

Today being Monday, The Childrens were in their one-day-a-week school for homeschoolers, so we had to spend the entire time shopping. The Mrs. wrote out a list of six stores to go to, plus the library and out to lunch. Oddly, none of the stores involved buying groceries because we apparently plan to have nothing but turkey and turkey byproducts for the next week and a half.

Anyways, as I was performing my required chauffeur duties (I made the mistake of having The Mrs. drive somewhere once during my vacation, and she threw quite a hissy fit about not being mentally prepared to drive her own minivan in the middle of the day - she really pours on the fake dependency when I'm around), she was consulting her Google calendar on her Motorola Droid.
The Mrs.: "Oh shoot."

Me, CherkyB: "What?"

The Mrs.: "I was going to call Coldstone to find out what time they opened on Wednesday."

Me, CherkyB: "So call them."

The Mrs.: "I didn't write down their number. When we stop, I think I have a phonebook in the back."

Me, CherkyB: "Why do you need a phonebook?"

The Mrs.: "I don't have their number."

Me, CherkyB: "But you have the internet on your phone. You have a web browser. You have a Google Maps app that you can just type in 'Coldstone', and it will show you the nearest location. You can click on it on the map, and it'll give you the phone number. It'll probably even give you the hours."

The Mrs.: "No. The hours aren't on the internet. I checked when we were at home."
So much for America's most extensive 3G coverage.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Over the years, I've had a lot of trouble with the old HO train set. In particular, it has been very difficult to get the track all laid out nice and straight and even, and it seems like there is always some joint that is opening up or has a bump that throws the trains off. This problem is particularly acute when trying to set the train up under the Christmas tree.

Last year, I made a wonderful base for it that I thought would cure the problems. It helped, but not enough. It was still tough to get a train around the track more than a few times without a derailment. So this year, I bit the bullet and bought Atlas Super-Flex track. It comes in three foot sections rather than the 9" sections I had been using - so 1/4 as many joints are needed. I did the whole layout (with more track than last year) with just 10 pieces of it. And because it is bendy, you can make more gentle curves than you can with the sectional track. It took me a bit of time to get the hand of how to trim it and how to attach the couplers (which I had to google), but once I got it down, it went quite quickly. So far the only derailments we're getting are when a very light car goes over a switch. I need to add some weight to some of the cars.

Haven't tried any very long trains, yet. It got dark as I was finishing laying the track, and I didn't get to hooking up all the electrical accessories (whistles, lights, switches) so I haven't gotten all the cars out yet as they'd just get in the way.



Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Live Blogging

The thing with a live blogging is that you have to update the same post again and again with new information as it happens "live." I don't actually plan to update every couple minutes. Sorry. You'll have to enjoy Thanksgiving with your own fambilies.

First, I'd like to open up with a reflection upon what I am personally thankful for this year. Yes, that's right, The CherkyB is capable of being serious on special occasions. As you all know, the last year has been a tough one around here with a lot of seemingly unnecessary and gratuitous stress that had driven me to a state of quiet desperation and, quiet honestly, way too many liquor store owners and bar wait staff knew me by name. Which, on the surface, would seem like a good thing but turns out not to be.

However, all that has changed. So this year, for Thanksgiving, I would like to say that I am thankful that the daemon who has haunted me for so long, driving me to the brink of destruction, is gone, and I'm back to my cheery old self that you may remember from my childhood.

Unfortunately, she just ran out to Safeway to pick up a couple onions for the stuffing, so she'll be back in about 20 minutes.


Morning in the Cherky household means a hearty breakfast prepared by The Mrs. This morning, it was a can of mandarin oranges for MaxieC and two cheese danishes from Sam's Club for Me, CherkyB. We might be eating lightly due to the feast later.

MaxieC then did his post-breakfast chores. Just because it's a holiday doesn't mean that the house is going to clean itself, after all.

HannahC cheerfully greeted everyone and wished them "Happy Thanksgiving!" in her own special way.

Later, after non-stop bickering between The Childrens, I forbade them from speaking to one another. MaxieC then said, "OK. Sooo....Hannah, what are you up to today?"

Here is MaxieC staring at the countdown timer on the bar microwave waiting for his time in Naughty Corner to expire.

I need to clean the bar. Luckily, we never, ever have company.

The Mrs. got right down to her daily routine, which involves spending about 10% of her time cooking, cleaning, and hollering at everyone and the remaining 90% of her time talking to her mother on the phone. If she can squeeze it in.


For the first time ever, we got all the outside Christmas lights up before Thanksgiving. We didn't turn them on like many of our neighbors did, though. I replaced a bunch of the older lights with LEDs - I do a little every year. In this case, it was 9 boxes of C9-sized LEDs for the front fence and 4 boxes of "normal" mini-light LEDs for one of the pine trees.

As The Mrs. was removing the first set of mini-lights from the box and taking off all the twist ties that the poor Chinese child laborers had put on, she announced,"

The Mrs.: "Oh. This box already has two sets strung together."

Me, CherkyB: "No. It's one set. It's just plugged in ummm..."

I couldn't for the life of me remember the phrase I was looking for. So I used this:

Me, CherkyB: "...ass-to-mouth."
Yeah, that wasn't it. Turns out either "head-to-tail" or "end-to-end" would have been acceptable phrases. But we did have quite a conversation trying to decide which end of the lights was the ass end and which was the mouth end, and how "head-to-tail" syntactically translates to about the same thing, but has a completely different meaning.


I've used this joke before on the blarg, so I'm gonna let it slide without comment.

One of our Thanksgiving traditions is to make stuffed mushrooms. There used to be a bar in Barfalo named that where they had lots of "battle of the bands" events, but it's apparently long gone. MaxieC snagged on of the mushrooms prior to stuffage.

HannahC made the traditional alive and pickle tray. I think this tradition started because they had a great olive bar at Cosentino's.


It's good to know that a couple hours into this, not a single person has read this so far. You may be the first. That's good, because it means you may all have lives.


We just walked the dog. I would have taken pictures, but I forgot.

It's my job to baste the turkey, cuz I'm the master baster in the fambily.

This despite me never having even taken a single womyns studies course.


Ellie and The Locksmith just got Motorola Droids. I guess The Mrs. and Me, CherkyB aren't so special anymore. I still can't believe there's no Blogger app for android and that the WYSIWYG "compose" window doesn't work in the android browser, either. I mean, WTF?, they're booth Google. You can only use the "Edit HTML" function, which is fahbulous if you like to blog in HTML from a goddamned phone keyboard.


The Mrs. wants me to say that she didn't forget the onions, and that the story about her going to Safeway was merely a plot device and not literal truth, as only an idiot would forget the onions.

The rest of the story she does not dispute.


Oh. Only The Locksmith has a Droid. Ellie has the lowly Droid Eris. I say at most a week before she realizes what a huge mistake that was.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Worlde of Paine

Today is Lego Robotics day. HannahC is on a team that will likely not win. My job is to watch Max. Apparently, I do it very poorly, as The Mrs. is constantly directing me to do it differently.

There needs to be a blogger app for Android. I don't get why there isn't, given they're both Google products. This is a pain.

[Update: Their robot came in 19th out of 48, but overall scores were not yet published. The team won the coveted "Most Professional Courtesy" Award. Which is bizarre. Both the award and that any team containing HannahC could win it.]

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jou got to choot jour gunz maign

Yes, I have used an old quote from the cousin of a feller who was arrested about two years back for killing someone with a bullet that fell from the sky after he and a bunch of his buddies decided to celebrate New Years by firing off about 40 rounds into the air. Tragic event, really. And an opportunity to trot out that old wives' tale about how a bullet shot into the sky lands at the same velocity that it left the gun. No, it doesn't. I leave the Newtonian physics to the reader, but I will note that, unlike when you were a freshman, this problem does not contain the phrase "in a vacuum" anywhere.

But ever since they splashed that soundbite all over the radio for a week, everyone 'round these parts has managed to latch on to it. As in:
Me, CherkyB: "Hey. I'm going to the gun range tomorrow. You wanna go?"

Friend: "Oh yeah? Jou got to choot jour guns, maign?"

Me, CherkyB: "I got to choot my guns."

Friend: "Yeah, jou got to choot jour guns."
Years later, the details of the case are fuzzy, but the soundbite lives on.

OK, mostly because of me.

I did finally manage to get to the gun range on Friday. This is the first time I have chot any of my guns for over two years. It's sad. And, even sadder, I still didn't get to choot my shotgun cuz we only had two hours. I got to choot all the pistolas, though.

Plus, I got to choot four of someone else's guns. That's always fun. I'd like to just say, for the record, that I'm going to add the S&W scandium/titanium .44 magnum to the list of guns I don't really enjoy chooting all that much. Or standing one lane over from when someone else is chooting it, given its ability to throw hot gasses and particles six feet sideways, where they burn the arm of the person in the lane next to you.

I did, though, manage to set up to the left of my buddy, so I got to land hot shell casings on him from my USP .40C as payback. That'll teach him

Now, funny story here. The gun range I belong to is waaay out in ranch country, and on a Friday afternoon it is largely deserted. Plus, not much is labeled. We took up residence on the 25 yard pistol range, and I set up a 17"x22" target area. (That's a 2x2 grid of 8.5"x11" paper targets from Midway USA, for those of you trying to figure out the dimensions.)

And then I proceeded to miss the targets completely with about half the shots. "Well, I haven't shot in over two years, so I'm a bit rusty." I improved a bit during the session, but not to how well I used to be able to shoot at 25 yds. But, you know, that was always indoors, and this was outdoors (though calm and sunny), and I used to shoot a lot more often than I do now. Like once a month as opposed to the once every couple years now.

It wasn't until I was relaying the story to a different co-worker, who has been a member of that gun range a lot longer than I (and has been there more than three times), that I discovered this wasn't the 25 yd range. He swore up and down that it was a 50 yd range. So we fired up Google maps and measured on the satellite view, and from that it appears to actually be a 50 meter range when measured vs. the scale on the map. It is also 1/4 the length of the 200 yard range, which is also advertised as being 200 meters, depending on which sign and/or web page you consult. All I can say is that things look smaller when you're out on the plains than they do indoors.

Oh, and I can never set foot in California again, as I fired off quite a number of rounds in his new SIG AR-15 and enjoyed it quite a bit. I declined to let him shoot the tracer-rounds, though, as the berms were completely covered with dried grass and tumbleweeds.

Yeah, that's right. I'm the one with the good judgment.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


If you ever decide you'd like to have a nice Koi pond, I have a little advice for you: you're wrong. Yes, I know, this may come as a shock to many of you who are used to always agreeing with Me, CherkyB. But I call it like I see it. And you're wrong.

That said, this week all but one of our trees decided to drop all of their leaves. Now, this year was going to be different. This year, I had a plan. Yes, I was going to get the bagging kit for my beloved lawn tractor, and then suck everything up with that. I googled the living shite out of my lawn tractor, and I couldn't find the bagging kit anywhere. Heck, I couldn't even get a model number from the manufacturer's website (which is a pathetic website, as you can't even get the model number of the bagging kit for any of the tractors they sell today, much less one from 3 years ago).

So, after a while, I found this nice little bagger on Amazon that was a Poulan. But it said it fit all Poulan, Poulan Pro, Husqvarna, and a couple other brands they make that had 42" decks.

I have a 42" deck on my Husqvarna. So, since I have Amazon Prime, I got it delivered in two days for free.

Of course, it didn't fit. Not even close, really. Completely wrong mounting bracket. Amazon was nice enough to send UPS out to get it for free, since it was technically a listing error on their website.

Then I decided to look in the packet of stuff that came with the tractor, and lo, there was an accessory guide that had the model number. Googling that model number came up with many, many places selling it. All for $450. Plus shipping. And it's big.

Now, I'll be damned if I'm going to pay $450 plus shipping just to rake up leaves. I don't bag the rest of the year, as I've swallowed hook-line-and-sinker that eco-liberal claptrap about mulching being better for your lawn. Better, shmetter. I like it because, like a top-notch prom date, it's cheaper and easier.

So it was back to the Echo ES-210 Shred'n'Vac. I have very mixed feelings about this leaf vac. The second time I used it, the choke lever broke off (it does have a 5-year warranty, though, so if I could just find the receipt, I could get it fixed for free). Other than that, it seems pretty well-constructed, despite being made in China. The design, on the other hand, is questionable. There's really one Achilles heal to the design - too much clearance between the blades and the housing means it is prone to clogging.

There's about a 1/4" gap where stuff can get around the blade, and the stuff that tends to do this is twigs. Little, 1/4" diameter, 4" long, flexible twigs. And when they slip in there, they get wedged in and wound up around the blade, and the motor stalls. This wouldn't be so bad if there was some way to clear the clog that didn't involve requiring a screwdriver to loosen the worm screw on a metal band clamp in order to get the feed tube off, and then having to tighten up the band clamp again when putting it back together. If there were a lever to release the clamp, I would say I actually like this leaf vac. But having to carry around a screwdriver is annoying, and the worm screw clamp is needlessly time consuming.

Doubly bad when you consider that one of my trees doesn't just drop leaves. It also drops tons and tons of little twigs that are exactly the right dimensions to clog this. If I'm lucky, I can make it 5 minutes without a clog. If I'm unlucky, 8 seconds.

I decided to grind up everything under that tree with the lawn tractor, and then just suck up the mulch with the vac. That worked pretty well.

I managed to get 3/4 of the leaves up today in about 5 hours. I left the last 1/4 for the kids to play in. Plus, I couldn't move my arms anymore, and my hands were tingling like crazy from the vibration of the motor. So screw it. Those leaves are all trapped by our fence in a corner where they have formed a 2.5' deep leaf drift that is about 10' long. Perfect for jumping in.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I met my wife in school

It's true. I distinctly remember because there was this new kid in class on the first day of seventh grade, and the school had put her name down as "Dennis," and so for the entire day we got to hear all different teachers trying to make witty comments about how she didn't look like a "Dennis".

It's sad when teachers try to make witty comments. It's not that there weren't teachers with wit (remember, this was nearly 30 years ago, when schools were populated with teachers who had gone to college prior to the 60's). It's just that it's a bit of a humor-constraining environment. It's not like you can just blurt out, "I've never seen a rack like that on anyone named Dennis. Well, not since our '72 blowing league championship, at least," to a seventh-grader. The best you can really do is something like, "Oh. I guess the 'e' is especially silent in this case."

But that's probably not going to get many laughs.


I've decided for Christmas what I really want is one of those electronic rim shot/applause boxes. That way, I could better punctuate my continuous stream of "your momma" jokes. Except I can't find anyone who sells one. I mean, I've checked Amazon, plus both Google and Bing, and nothing. Closest I can come is a stupid iPhone app. And iDon't have an iPhone.

If you find one, send a link to my wife.


I miss wine. We had this spectacular roast beef on Sunday, and I didn't have any wine. I ran out of wine about 2 months ago, and I never replenished the supply. I decided it was an exceedingly bad value in terms of alcohol/dollar, so I cut it out of the budget. I ended up having to drink a combination of Diet Coke, Captain Morgan, and Jack Daniels with the roast beef. It tasted nothing like red wine.


Today, three different people commented on how "loud" my sweater was. All three were dudes. So I need to decide if (a) suddenly all my co-workers have become flaming homosexuals, or (b) it's time to update my sweater collection. I'm leaning towards it being (a), though honestly, most theories that require simultaneous failure of a number of unrelated systems turn out to be wrong.

I just don't get how it could be (b) though. I mean, my fashion sense is just spectacular. Like fucking awesome levels of spectacular here. You've all seen pictures of me. It's just got to be (a). There's no other credible explanation.


I need to defrost my bar fridge. I can barely get the ice tray in the freezer anymore. My next-door neighbor has a tap system in his bar. I am mightily jealous. Except the tap said "Bud Light" on it, so I'm jealous in a sad "how can you waste such a gift?" kind of way.


No, you can't retrofit a 2003 Dakota with the rear-seat headrests from a 2010 model. The only option is to buy a completely new truck. Damn shame, really.


I think the fact that Sam's Club sells cheese balls in a 3-gallon jug (which is only 35oz of cheese balls by weight) is affecting how well my pants fit. Though, honestly, if you eat 35 oz of cheese balls over the course of two weeks, will you really gain 35 oz?

I should probably do some sit-ups.

"Sit-up" is what men call crunches, for you womens out there reading this. I know when I do a sit-up, nothing crunches. I also know that if things start crunching while I'm doing sit-ups, it's time to stop and see an orthopedist.

Or it's time to see if any of the giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches have escaped.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sigh - I'll give you a little taste

OK, since there apparently are those out there in my ever-shrinking fan base who don't believe that I have lost the ability to blog, I'll give you my best material.

You will learn to trust me.


As you all know, we here at CherkyB Headquarters homeschool our childrens. Now, one thing that every homeschooler encounters when talking to a non-homeschooler is the question "why?" One quickly learns that there is no point in answering this question completely truthfully, as the person is not asking because she cares at all what your reasons are. She is asking so that she can isolate some little factoid that she can use to believe you are some kind of wacko, and thus she won't have to confront her own inner daemons of guilt for sending her childrens to an institution that is so steeped in crazed liberal group-think that it thinks having a pocket knife in a survival kit locked in the trunk of your car is an act of violence.

It's only a matter of time before some kid gets expelled for having a built-in cigarette lighter in his crappy old car, because having a lighter in your car is an act of drug use. And it's probably some kind of enviro-crime, too. After all, you burned fossil fuel in order to charge the battery that powers the lighter, which is clearly an act of global warming, and then, as if out of spite, you're using the lighter to create heat from electricity by just dumping it through a resistive coil - the most inefficient use of electrical energy. And creating heat is also an act of global warming.

Liberals are soooo stupid. And they run our schools. Well, at least to the extent that the creationists haven't taken them over.

But I digress.

A long while back, a fellow I used to work with gave me the line that I have tried to use for years, with not as much success as I had hoped: "Don't let the enemy educate your childrens."

See, the problem with that line, despite - or perhaps because of - its stark and succinct truthfulness, is that it feeds right into the person's desire to compartmentalize you as a wacko. If you're lucky, she'll go away. If not (or, if you're as incredibly good-looking as Me, CherkyB, as always), she'll want to engage you in a political debate. Now, there is no real winning of a political discussion with a leftist - they are immune from logic. They live on Hope and recycled 60's campus radical rhetoric.

And 60's campus radical chic is even harder to bear now, 40 years (hell, almost 50) after the novelty (and drugs) wore off it. If 60's campus radical chic had to get a real job, the best it could hope for is a lounge act in one of the older casinos in Atlantic City. Not one of the nice Trump-owned places. One of the older, smaller places like the Claridge.

Or, it could repackage itself as "Change" and fool a bunch of wishful thinkers into believing it's new and different, as opposed to old and failed. You know who you are.

Anyways, given that the whole "enemies" tack doesn't work, I had been searching for just the right line that says, "none of your fucking business," but in a nice way.

And I stumbled upon it last night:
Q: "Homeschool? [gasp] Why do you homeschool?"

A: "Because I met my wife in school."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Creeping Death

Yes, folks, the mighty CherkyB has been struck down in his prime. Well, not so much in his prime, given that the moment he turned 40, his whole body went right to hell. Except his looks. He still has his good looks. By "prime" we'll use the definition that womens use: he's making a lot more money than he spends on medical bills.

On Thursday, I came down with the flu. I hadn't intended to come down with the flu, but there it is. I have spent the last 50 hours in bed, relegated to the basement guest room so as to not infect the rest of the fambly. I only get out of bed to use the terlet or to take a shower or to fill up the giant suck-bottle with water.

During this time, I've had plenty of quiet reflection time, and here are some of the little gems that have resulted from that:
  • No matter what it feels like, sinus congestion is very unlikely to actually pop your eyeballs out of their sockets. And no, that liquid streaming out of the corners isn't the jelly from inside.
  • Be careful what you watch before retiring to a night of feverish restlessness. For instance, watching a bunch of video reviews for the Sprint HTC Hero might make it so that you spend your entire night swiping your finger back and forth across its screen in an hallucination that seems so real you are, by morning, not only completely convinced that the Sprint HTC Hero is more responsive than the European version, but that Sprint might actually be a viable mobile phone service provider. That's your clue that it's just a hallucination.
  • Writing down when you took your medicine helps you keep track of when you can take it again.
  • Not writing down when you took your medicine means you can take more as soon as you start to feel crappy again. This is an altogether substantially more satisfying method.
  • It's important to avoid medicines, like acetaminophen, that will destroy your liver if you take too much of it if you're going with plan B up there.
  • It's nice to have a dog. A dog will lie down and nap next to you no matter how sick you are and when the rest of your fambly is avoiding you like the plague.
  • All in all, I appreciate the rest, but I would have enjoyed not being sick more. The lawn isn't going to mow itself.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Wonderful Word I Learned


I heard it on the radio.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Yippee Yippee-aye Cowboy

On the lone prairieeeee...

Like other members of The Mrs.'s siblingry, somehow Ellie managed to scam a trip out of her employer to come visit us. Something about a "conference" in "Denver."

Naturally, being the fantabulistic host that I am (when I'm awake, at least), I began planning a whole week ahead of time. On our way to Rocky Mountain National Park last weekend, as we entered Estes Park, I said, "Look. There's a riding stable. We should take Ellie horseback riding."

Only HannahC heard me. "Could we Dah? I love riding horses."

I should note that HannahC had never ridden a horse. She had been to pony camp and ridden ponies. Apparently, though, one of them was a "full size pony" whose back came up to, like, her chin. So she referred to it as a horse.

We talked about it every day for the week. The night before Ellie's arrival, I looked up the availability and found it to be good - didn't seem to matter what time I selected on the web page, rides were available.

HannahC happened to ask her mother if we were taking Aunt Ellie horse riding, and got a flat response of, "No." The Mrs. later claimed that this was the first she had ever heard of this scheme and had thought that HannahC had thought it up all by herself.

HannahC later took full credit for thinking it up.

However, Ellie has this Dude Ranch fantasy, where she goes to a dude ranch and enjoys herself (yeah - that's the fantasy part). Now her loving husband does not have this same fantasy, so I figured that for the good of their marriage, she should try to get some of this out of her system whilst here in Colorado.

Plus, I'd never ridden a horse despite listening to country music for years and owning a pickup truck, albeit a small one.

So we packed our sorry butts back up to Estes Park this Saturday to hit the riding stable. These folks have a nice bunch of land on the side of a mountain that they've put a bunch of trails on, it's quite picturesque, and the prices are pretty reasonable.

We paid our money, signed our wavers, and picked out helmets. Then there was a bit of milling around while they put together a few more riders to fill out the group. We went out to inspect the rides, as they were all lined up in a row. The first two horses were substantially larger than the rest of them - a good foot taller, I'd say, and with very large hooves. The first one was a bit skittish, but the other one was calm and friendly. We pet it a bit.

Then the cowboys came out to tell the women and children to choose their steeds. MaxieC decided it was too scary for him to have his own horse, so he rode with me (which save $35). I didn't get to choose my ride, as those two big, giant horses were reserved for double riders. A nice German lady and her son Max got the calm, friendly one.

I got Bam Bam. Bam Bam was so tall that the stirrups were almost at shoulder height. They brought out little steps to help poor old me climb up on him. He was the biggest horse I'd ever seen that wasn't pulling a beer wagon.

Ellie picked out a horse named Dr. Pepper.

The Mrs. picked out a cute little painted horse whose name I don't remember.

And to round it out, HannahC got a friendly little dark brown horse whose name I also do not recall.

HannahC had a long chat with our guide, Levi (in theory, not a fake name), in which she learned that he had been a karate instructor in San Schmose not too far from where we lived before moving to Colorado to become a cowboy. All the ladies had a thing for Levi.

That's Long's Peak over Lake Estes. A scenic overlook. Lake Estes was created by putting a dam across the Big Thompson River. The snow was new - having fallen roughly Wednesday.

We rode for a bit over two hours. You would not believe how much biotching went on afterwards about being sore. I, oddly enough, didn't feel all that sore. I just felt like I had sat on my ass for two hours while I was carried around. MaxieC, on the other hand, gave me all kinds of graphic descriptions during the ride of what he though the saddle horn was doing to his "nutsack."

Next time, he'll need to get his own horse.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It has recently come to my attention

that I haven't blogged in a while.

Well, I had decided to not blog unless I had something masterfully entertaining to say. Which I don't. However, I have just been informed that all that is required is a heaping dose of sarcasm.

I'll chat with The Mrs. to see if she'll let me borrow that.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I didn't think they'd breed.

Another gem of a quote from The Mrs. when, after finding little baby Giant Madagascar cockroaches dead around the cockroach tank (note - outside the tank), and wondering if they could possibly live in the walls, I inquired as to why she let HannahC get a male and a female cockroach.

"I didn't think they'd breed."

Cockroaches. Didn't think they'd breed.

Yeah. And we'll pay for Obamacare by cutting unspecified waste and corruption out of Medicare sometime in the unspecified future without having to raise taxes on anyone.

It's amazing how people can delude themselves. Or perhaps how well they can flat out lie to your face in order to avoid explaining gross lapses in judgment.

Not that I am accusing The Mrs. of lying. However, at the time she originally came home with the cockroaches, she did happen to tell me that HannahC was planning to breed them so she could sell the babies. Apparently, this was HannahC's plan, but The Mrs. didn't think that the cockroaches would breed if kept in captivity. You know, in a glass tank with an electric heater to keep it nice and warm and with a continuous supply of food and water that requires no effort whatsoever to find. Cuz, you know, if there's one drawback to cockroaches that everyone always notes, it's that they are very hard to get to breed. That's why they're on the endangered species list. They're like little, creepy panda bears. Only cuddlier.

Well, today The Mrs. schlepped The Childrens back to CSU, where HannahC exchanged Hallie (who she believes is incubating another little of eggs right now, given the swelling of her abdomen that matches the swelling that occurred shortly before all these baby cockroaches showed up) for Henry. She also turned over all the babies.

When asked why, she apparently said that she didn't want baby cockroaches all the time, to which the kindly old professor replied, "You know, if you get a male and a female, they're going to breed."

And, no, they can't live in your walls in Colorado. It's too dry and too cold (in the winter and in the summer if you have A/C or keep them in the basement (and we do both)).

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Attack of the Mad Axeman

Monday was orientation/schedule day at the Options school for home-schoolers, a school which is itself an interesting development. See, the longer we homeschool, the more convinced I am that the primary function of schools was originally intended to be preventing parents from eating their young. It was really only recently that they morphed into their current primary function of marxist indoctrination.

Well, these Options folks have figured out that most homeschool parents (out of the unschoolers) are actually over-parenters - a bizarre malady where you insist that the childrens be with you at all times, so much so that their mere presence begins to grate on your nerves and throws you into oscillating bouts of depression and anger until the idea of eating your offspring, common in the hamster world, and, apparently, also the porcine world, beings to look like not such a bad idea after all. But lo, the options people swoop in with a one-day-a-week program where they teach things that are reasonably specialized enough that many parents couldn't easily teach the matter, but not so specialized that you actually need some sort of professional degree to understand. And, as an added bonus, even one-day-a-week qualifies the school for the federal per-pupil money that they wouldn't get if your kid stayed home every day and you ended up eating him or her.

Now, I'd just like to say for the record that I am sitting here eating cheese balls from a 2-gallon bucket of them from Sam's Club, and I can't imagine how any child could taste anywhere near as good as this giant bucket of cheese balls does. But, then again, I'm at work most of the time, and the homeschooling thing wasn't really my idea, so maybe, just maybe, I'm not the one you should all be worrying about.

Nudge nudge. Wink wink.

MaxieC will be starting one-day-a-week kindeygarten. HannahC, on the other hand, will be something like a 4th grader. (Yeah - I don't actually know. How suck am I? Clearly, not an over-parent.) And she got all her classes.

One of those classes being guitar. This is, of course, a very touching thing given how her daddy is an accomplished guitarist.

If by "accomplished" you meaning taking twelve years of lessons but not remembering how to play any song whatsoever from beginning to end and whose greatest accomplishments as the lead guitarist of the tumultuous "Flo Jackson" were, in order of importance:
  1. Naming the first album (never recorded) "Go with the Flo"
  2. Firing the lead rhythm guitarist
  3. Quitting
So we had to run right out and get her a little mini-Marshall MS-2 amp and a 3/4-size Squier mini Strat copy. Now she wants me to teach her how to play something. I figured something that is just the standard I-IV-V progression (a staple of both rock and folk) in D would be just the ticket. So I'm teaching her this.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Wife Spent my Gun Money

Yesterday, The Mrs. woke up angry. That is to say, it was the start to a typical weekend.
Me, CherkyB: "OK, well I'm going outside to put the cap back on the truck."
You see, I take the cap off for the summer cuz that's when I get all my mulch and compost and move all the big stuff around. Autumn comes crashing down quickly here in the foothills, and the leaves on the aspens are beginning to turn already. Plus, if I trade in the truck, I'll want to trade it in with the cap on it, cuz it's a major pain to sell a used cap, especially for a not-ever-all-that-popular truck model.

And, as an added bonus, I can keep my fishing gear in there so's I can sneak off fishing on the days when I need to pick up HannahC at gymnastics at 8:30pm. I've only been fishing three times this year, and the best I've done was a little 5" bluegill.

Now, those of you who know The Mrs. and Me, CherkyB, probably know why I made this announcement on Saturday morning. I've made it a habit of informing The Mrs. of my weekend plans very early on so that, with some luck, she can run out of ideas of ways to keep me from doing what I want to do before I run out of weekend. True to form:
The Mrs.: "Oh. I wouldn't do that yet."

Me, CherkyB: "Why not?"

The Mrs.: "Well, something's been bugging me for a while."

Me, CherkyB: "..."

The Mrs.: "I feel like I'm missing something."

Me, CherkyB: "Your sanity? Your girlish figure? The best years of your life? Your pleasant personality?"

(OK, I didn't actually say that out loud.)

The Mrs.: [waving her arms about in the front entrance way] "You see this wall here. It's sooo ... empty."

The Mrs.: "What it needs is a giant set of shelves. I want some antique shelves. See, now wouldn't it be silly to put the cap on the truck if you're going shopping for something like that? Why, you'd just have to take it right off again. Now why don't you run along and do something else while I make breakfast for everyone but you."
Oh. Dear. God.

I decided to clean the pond filters, as nothing takes your mind off antique shopping faster than does carp crap. Thick, gooey brown carp crap sucked into the skimmer boxes and deposited onto and into the nylon fiber mesh pad filters.

While the back pond was getting topped off by the hose, I called The Mrs. from my cell to launch evasive maneuvers:
Me, CherkyB: "Have you been pricing these things?"

The Mrs.: "No."

Me, CherkyB: "Don't you think we should stop in at American Furniture Warehouse to see what a brand new set of shelves costs so, you know, we don't pay too much?"

The Mrs.: "Yeah. That's a good idea."

Me, CherkyB: "OK. The thing is, American Furniture Warehouse is kinda in the opposite direction from the antique stores. I don't know if we'll have time for both."

The Mrs.: "You know, the furniture there will be cheap crap."

Me, CherkyB: "OK. We can go to Ethan Allen, then. It's just about as far away, but in a different direction."

The Mrs.: "The prices there will be outrageous."

Me, CherkyB: "OK, but then we could see the low price and the high price, and we can bracket what we should be paying."

The Mrs.: "It'll be $1000 at AFW and $5000 at Ethan Allen. I already know what they charge."

Me, CherkyB: "How?"

The Mrs.: "I've wanted one for a long time, so I've been following the prices."

Me, CherkyB: "You said you haven't been pricing them."

The Mrs.: "No, I didn't."

Me, CherkyB: "Yes you did. Just a minute ago. I asked, 'Have...'"

The Mrs.: "No, you didn't. Look, I know what they cost. I just want to go to the antique stores. Why are you attacking me? Why can't you ever do what I want?"
So we went to the antique stores.

Now, never having been to the antique stores before, I knew they were on a strip of road that used to be outside the city limits to keep the sales tax low, but that the city annexed last year in order to generate sales tax revenue, which promptly drove about half the businesses out of business because the sudden combination of double the sales tax as well as double the property tax, plus a higher electric rate and water rate kinda cut into the slim margins a lot of the stores along that strip were barely surviving on.

But, anyways, I stopped at the first place. Now, this place turned out to be more of a flea market than an antique store, and they had no giant sets of shelves for sale. But we did manage to load up on chotchkies - I got a pair of old steel nippers for $4.99.

We kept working our way up the strip one shop at a time, hitting both flea markets and antique stores (plus stopping in the feed store for guinnea pig food), when finally in a consignment* antique store, The Mrs. stumbled across an Amish step-front cabinet from, according to the tag, 1870. It was originally marked at $2500, but the price had been cut in half. The Mrs. talked to the owner of the store, and he said that it had been in the shop a while and the lady who owned it had been cutting the price to try to get rid of it. He thought we could get it for $1000.

* (Let me explain what I mean by consignment antique shop here. It was a big, giant building where various antique dealers each had an area where they exhibited their stuff with their own price tags on it. The shop keeper would call them if you made an offer lower than the price marked to see if they'd take it. So, it wasn't like a bunch of people selling their old stuff. It was all professional sellers, just none of them owned the shop.)

We kept looking, but The Mrs. had fallen in love. I did manage to drag her to Woodley's Furniture, which was across the street, to price new ones, and they had a really nice floor model that was similar for $2100. But, of course, it didn't have the original wavy glass, the hand-cut dovetailing, or the hand-made nails. So we went back to the shop and made an offer of $1000. He called her and left messages on her home and cell, but she didn't answer.

We went home.

The moment we walked in the door, the phone rang with an $1100 counter-offer. Sold.

However, this thing looked big and heavy. I didn't want to pick it up myself, as The Mrs. has a bad back and most of my friends are spindly engineers. So the store owner put us in touch with Leon. Leon and his nephew brought us our furniture this morning and set it up in the entrance way for $75.

The Mrs. cleaned it all up with orange oil, put a table runner over the top, and then put decorative junk on it. The basket of yarn we got at the first flea market for $6 (well, the basket, not the yarn), and we grew the decorative gourds in our garden this year. They were about the only thing to survive the hail storm.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I can't teach you to be a man

Or, Poor CherkyB.

The other day, I was chatting with one of my co-workers. He was trying to convince me to buy from him at a rock-bottom price a Remington R-15 Predator that he accidentally bought with a low-ball bid on GunBroker when he turned out to be the only bidder. But he also won another bid on the same gun in a different auction. So he accidentally had two of them.

I was 'splainin' to him how it was that I would have a hard time spending that kind of money on another gun given that I have still not even gotten a chance to shoot the last gun I bought. And then he was 'splainin' to me about how his wife knows better than to question his gun purchases and how it sounded to him like I, "just need to go home and put your foot down."

I chuckled, saying how he clearly didn't know how things worked in my house. And that's when he threw up his hands, exclaimed, "I can't teach you to be a man," and then stormed off.

So I delicately broached the subject with The Mrs. this weekend. What I got was a 20 minute tirade about how The Childrens have all outgrown their violas, and she doesn't like their bows either, and they're going to need thousands of dollars in new instruments, plus the piano has needed tuning ever since we moved, and how could I possibly spend that kind of money (despite being rock-bottom pricing) on a gun I'd never shoot when the kids needed instruments they'd never play?

Well, honestly, I feel like now I should buy it not just because Obama doesn't want me to own it, but also because The Mrs. doesn't. Before, when it was just Obama that didn't want me to have it, it wasn't quite as compelling a proposition. I mean, how much damage can a one-term president really do?

Maybe, though, I should downgrade to a Lariat from a King Ranch on the new truck. But only the King Ranch gets heated and cooled front seats plus heated rear seats.

Cooled seats. AR-15. Cooled seats. AR-15. Man, it's a hard choice.

I mean, cooled seats. Like, cold air blowing through tiny holes punched in the leather. Just imagine.


I realize it has been a long time since I have blogged. The Mrs. has been a bit under the weather for a while now with some kind of ailment her doctor hasn't been particularly interested in getting to the bottom of, and it has cut into my free time quite substantially. She has a new doctor now (my doctor, in fact), and it looks like it may be trending towards an allergy/chemical sensitivity to something, as she cut a bunch of things out of her diet and improved quite a bit. Possibly sucralose poisoning, which causes a buildup of chlorine in your body that produces a wide range of bizarre, seemingly-unrelated symptoms.

On the pet scene, Hally and Bozo, the giant cockroaches, had babies last week. So we now have like 20 of these things. I'm not as happy about that as I seem.

Also, somehow Trixie, the single crayfish we put in the front pond, has now turned into at least four crayfish. And they nip me every time I try to clean the filter.

I need to get a deep fryer.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Frances and The Board of Doom

Once upon a time there was a girl named Frances. She was nine years old and was a rather smart girl. But, like many smart girls, she often kept to herself, lost in her own thoughts. This made many of the other kids want to tease her, which Frances did not like at all. And there was one particular thing she did not like most of all - when people made fun of her name.

One fine Wednesday, Frances was on her way to school when two bigger boys turned the corner across the street for her on their way to school - Steve who, well, after the fire ants Steve wasn't so much of an annoyance anymore, and Paulie, who had just moved to town from Brooklyn.

Steve waved.
Steve: "Hi, Frances."

Frances: "Hi, Stevie."

Paulie: [to Steve] "Her name is Frances?"

Steve: "Yes."

Paulie: "Frances? I knew a guy back in the city named Francis. He always made us call him 'Frankie'."

Steve: "Oh. I wouldn't do that. She doesn't like to be called Frankie."

Paulie: "She's a girl, man. You scared of a little girl? What's she gonna do?"

Paulie: [yelling across street] "Yo! Yo! Frankieeee! What choo dooooin'? I ha'n't seen you 'round much, Frankie. You been hiding from your good buddy Paulie?"

Frances: "Please don't call me Frankie. I know you're new here, so maybe you didn't know, but I don't like to be called Frankie. My name is Frances with an 'e'."

Paulie: "OK, Frankie with an 'e'. I'll certainly try to remember that. I hope it won't, you know, slip my mind, Frankie."
Frances looked at Steve, and Steve shrugged his shoulders.

And maybe he smiled. Just a little smile.

Well, all day long, Paulie was bragging about his skills on the skateboard. A regular Z-Boy he was, if you heard him tell it. In fact, at lunch, Frances heard him going on about how he would show all these country bumpkins (Paulie, being from Brooklyn, considered everyone who lived more than 20 miles from there to be a country bumpkin) what a real ripper looks like in action. So they should meet him at the back steps after school to be bathed in awe.

Frances may have smiled. Just a little smile.

Shortly after lunch, Frances asked her science teacher for a hall pass. He said something snarky, "Why? Do you find my class to dull for your big brain?"

"No. I just kind of have some...ummm...female..."

All the color drained from her teacher's face. He quickly tore off a pass and handed it to her.

She chuckled on her way out. Men were so easy. She headed straight out of school to pick up some supplies. Upon returning, she headed to Paulie's locker.

She dug in her backpack and took out an automatic lock pick that, for whatever reason, she had seen at a flea market and decided to buy. In 20 seconds, she had Paulie's locker open (it helped that the school had been built in 1952 and had 1952-vintage locks on the lockers). Her eyes lit up.

She found Paulie's helmet right on top. Digging in her backpack again, she came up with a can of 3M Super 77 and quickly gave a fine coating to the inside of his helmet. Then she was on to her next task in a flash.

She grabbed his skateboard, flipped it over, and removed all the screws holding on the trucks. With a small rat-tail file, she enlarged the holes just enough so that the screws could barely grip. Then, with a little dab of Super 77 on each screw to hold them loosely in place, she re-installed the screws.

Finally, she grabbed his knee pads. "What a big tough gumba. Did your mommy make you bring knee pads?" She took a small pocket knife and cut a slit in the elastic on the bottom. Then, she removed a box of thumbtacks from her backpack. Carefully reaching into the slit, she installed tack after tack into the knee pads, pushing them into the foam pad from the front, but the foam was just thick enough that they did not poke through to the back. She then sealed up the pads with a shot of the Super 77.

She really liked that Super 77. It was something she had stumbled across just by chance. One day, her father had come into the living room with a DVD and had said, "Honey, now that Obama is the president, I think it's time you learned about Illinois Nazis."

Except the movie didn't seem to be about Illinois Nazis. Illinois Nazis seemed to have a small role in a couple of scenes, but mostly the movie has been about a fat guy and a skinny guy who were trying to put a band back together to help someone they called "The Penguin" but who didn't seem to be at all related to The Penguin from Batman.

They had, however, at one point sprayed glue on the accelerator pedal of a pickup truck in order to take out a rival country-western band.

Now that was useful information. She liked her dad, even though he had a strange sense of humor and her mother was mean to him and complained about his drinking. She thought her dad was a genius. And a hell of a nice guy, too.

She closed up the locker and waltzed back to class.

After school, everyone gathered on the lawn outside the back steps. Paulie eventually crashed triumphantly through the door, holding his board above his head like it was the Vince Lombardi Trophy and his last name was Manning. Stevie came walking out behind him with his iPod carrying an iPod Boom Box playing The Beastie Boys "Sabotage".

"Oh, the irony. The delicious irony," smirked Frances.

Paulie blew kisses at the crowd. The he hopped on his board, ollied it into some air for a quick grind down the railing to a picture perfect landing on the concrete sidewalk below.

Or, well, it would have been if his trucks hadn't fallen off, dropping him hard to his knees. Knees that were protected by knee pads that, upon compressing, drove scores of thumbtacks into his kneecaps.

Paulie howled in pain, writhing on the ground. When he recovered a bit, he stood up and tore his helmet off.


Much of his hair went with the helmet, thanks to the Super 77. He saw Steve out of the corner of his eye, and Stevie just shrugged his shoulders.

And maybe he smiled. Just a little smile.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just how old am I?

And, more to the point, why are my friends so humorless?

So, I was sitting there at Fat Camp sipping a 5 Barrel, like I do every Thursday night. It was regulars Rico, Fletcher, and Me, CherkyB, plus we had The Dudda Crowd, too, for reasons unknown to me. The musical act (a guy named Jesse Turner) did a cover of a Pink Floyd tune. I don't even remember which tune. Probably "Money". Anyways, the bar is packed with college-age kids, and they're drinking their LoneStars and PBRs and dancin' and hollerin' like a bunch of ranch hands who just got paid.

Yeah. They were dancing to a Floyd tune. Really. Never seen anything like it.

Now, being the cranky old bastard that I am, I kinda just stared as I said slowly to myself,
Me, CherkyB: (to self) "Mu&^%r f*&^er, they're dancing to Floyd. Dancing."
Then, with a tone of utter disdain, I turned to my compadres and I muttered,
Me, CherkyB: (with utter disdain) "Look at these kids, dancing to Floyd. They're so young, I bet they don't even know which one's Pink."
And my posse looked at me blankly and blinked a couple times. Then one of them said, "Pink. Yeah," and whipped out his iPhone and started surfing the web.

The depth of my humor is lost on these people.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Frances and the Misty Cloud of Revenge

Once upon a time there was a girl named Frances. She was nine years old and was a rather smart girl. But, like many smart girls, she often kept to herself, lost in her own thoughts. This made many of the other kids want to tease her, which Frances did not like at all. And there was one particular thing she did not like most of all - when people made fun of her name.

One fine Wednesday, Frances was on her way to school when one of the bigger boys, Phil, saw her from across the street. He started to taunt her:
Phil: "Yo, Frankie! How you doin' Frankie?"

Frances: "My name is France-ess, not France-iss! Stop calling me Frankie!" [Perhaps too subtle a distinction to yell across the street...]

Phil: "Whatsa matta Frankie, you don' know your own name?"

Frances: "Stop calling me Frankie!"

Phil: "OK, Frank. Sheesh. Touchy today, aren't we Frank?"
Well, poor Frances had had enough, so she stormed off to school, trying to ignore the continuing stream of babble coming from Phil across the street. By the time she got to school, she was practically in tears. She found she couldn't concentrate in math class even though they were doing geometry - her favorite subject. She asked if she could go see the guidance counselor and was given a hall pass.
Guidance Counselor: "Frances, honey, you look upset. Is there a problem?"

Frances: "Yes. A boy is making fun of me."

GC: "Really? What is he doing?"

Frances: "He's calling me 'Frankie'."

GC: [blank stare]

Frances: "You know, cuz my name is Frances."

GC: [nods, blankly]

Frances: "Cuz, like a boy named Francis would be called Frank or Frankie, but not a girl named Frances."

GC: "Oh! [chuckle] Yes. That's terrible!"

Frances: "Yes. I hate being called a boy's name. I can't get him to stop, and I don't know what to do!"

GC: [Eyes light up - at last a question she's trained to answer!] "You should tell an adult!"

Frances: "Ummm..."

GC: [on a roll now] "Yes. When a bully is teasing you, you should always tell an adult rather than taking matter into your own hands."

Frances: "OK. So what should I do, then?"

GC: [confused, but with conviction] "Tell an adult."

Frances: "Ah. I see. OK, thanks."
Frances returned to class while mentally checking off education major with a minor in sociology from the list of things she might consider studying in college.

But it festered. It festered like an open wound in a pile of week-old ground beef in the hot July sun. But, trying to make the best of things, she resolved to tell an adult.

On the way home, she stopped at Phil's house. She knew he'd still be in detention, so she was hoping to speak to his mother. She rang the doorbell, and a very large woman wearing a Hawaiian print mumu answered.
Frances: "Excuse me. Mrs. Phil's Mom?"

Mrs. Phil's Mom: [in a voice that sounded remarkably like McGruff the Crime Dog, if McGruff had been a 3-pack a day smoker] "Who wants to know?"

Frances: "Well, I go to school with Phil, and he's been making fun of my name. You see, my name is Frances, and he"

MPM: "Frances? OK, pleased to meet ya, Frankie. Now what is this about my little Phil?"

Frances: "Well, that's just it. He's been calling me 'Frankie', and I hate that."

MPM: "Do you now, Frankie? Well, I'd say it's time you grew yourself a set and stopped being such a pussy. Now get the f*&^ off my porch before I sick the dog on you, Frankie."
Well, this whole 'tell an adult' thing was simply not working out as advertised. Frances would need another plan. And she knew just the thing.

That Saturday morning she got up bright and early, stopped at the grocery store to pick up a couple cans of sardines, then swung by the hardware store to get a couple humane small animal traps. She then hiked up her favorite trail into the woods to her favorite serenity spot - the one that always smelled faintly like skunk due to the couple of skunks that lived under the old tree stump. It was fall, and Frances knew that this year's litter had grown and moved out already, as she visited her serenity spot a lot, but Maw and Paw skunk would still be hanging around.

She set the two traps on the ground near the stump, then opened each can of sardines and placed it carefully in each trap. Then she sat around for a while thinking serene thoughts in between her meticulous scheming. Finally, she went home for lunch. Revenge is hungry work.

The next day, she returned to her serenity spot with two large tarps. She found a skunk in each trap, and they were kinda not all that happy, excepting that they were also kinda lazing around with their bellies stuffed with sardines (a skunk's favorite food), so they weren't too argumentative when she covered each trap with a tarp and gently carried them home.

She stashed them behind the garage because her hillbilly neighbors always dumped all their dog's poo at the back of their yard, and thus the area behind her own garage always stunk so bad that no one went near it. She thought how the freedom from an HOA always came at some cost. Then she went about her bidness.

At 3am, she got up and silent snuck out - retrieving the skunks as she went. She tossed them some bacon coated with peanut butter (a skunk's second-favorite food) to keep them busy as she hustled off to Phil's house.

She was in luck - Phil's mom had not locked her car for the night. She had noticed that the car was unlocked when she had visited before, and she was very happy not to have to resort to the slim-jim she had gotten on eBay, as she didn't have a lot of practice opening 1976 LeBarons.

Frances eased the skunks into the backseat - enticing them out of the cages with some more peanut butter bacon (skunks, oddly enough, have a diet very similar to Elvis. Fat Elvis.), and then gently closing the door. She then proceeded to the next phase of the plan - she killed the electricity.

This was easy, because the main breaker panel was on the side of the house, and nobody ever locks those. Sure, they come with a little padlock loop, but no one sells a rust-proof padlock that small. So you can lock it and have the padlock rust closed and never be able to open it again, or you can leave it unlocked and hope the neighborhood kids don't play a prank on you.

Wrong choice in this case.

Frances went home and snuck back to bed. She arose a half-hour early, made some excuse about having to look at new stories for the school paper, and headed to school. On the way there, she stopped at a payphone and dialed up Phil's house. She let it ring three times - just enough to wake them up.

Phil: "OMG, Ma! The power is out and the alarm didn't go off. I'm gonna be late!"

MPM: "WTF are you making such a racket for?"

Phil: "Ma, if I'm late one more time, I'll get a week's detention!"

MPM: "Damnit, Phil, your daddy was right. You'da made a better abortion. Git dressed, and I'll drive you to school."
Phil got dressed as fast as he could, and they both ran to the car and jumped in without looking. As his mother started the car, Phil tossed his backpack into the back seat. Then, he looked at his mother and queried, "Do you smell bacon?"

The looked into the back seat and simultaneously let out blood-curdling screams. Screams that were answered with a misty cloud - a misty cloud of revenge.

Needless to say, Phil was late to school.

Monday, August 03, 2009

No, really

A standard air conditioner has two modes of operation. In technical terms, they are called "on" and "off". When an air conditioner is "on", it will remove heat from the air and blow out air that is below the ambient temperature. When an air conditioner is "off", it will not do anything. If the fan is blowing when the air conditioner is "off" (possible in some home a/c setups and in pretty much all automotive applications), the air that is being exhausted will be the same temperature as ambient. An air conditioner that is "off" is indistinguishable from having no air conditioner at all as far as its effect on ambient temperature is concerned.

Now, a thermostat is a device that operates as a fancy on/off switch. You set a temperature (hence the whole "thermo" part of the name, which is derived from a Greek word meaning "heat"), and then the thermostat monitors the ambient temperature, and if it is above that temperature, it turns the air conditioner "on", whereas if it is below that temperature, it turns the air conditioner "off". (Note that for the operation of a heater, "on" and "off" are reversed.) Yes, there are some minor caveats around the above description in that there is general +/-1 or 2 degrees of hysteresis built into the system in order to prevent on/off oscillations that can be damaging to an air conditioner's compressor, but to first order, if it is hotter than the setting, it will turn the air conditioner "on", and it will keep it "on" until is is colder than the setting, at which point it will turn the air conditioner "off".

So, let's say you enter into an environment in which the air conditioner has been off for a while (like a parked car or a house after returning from vacation), and the environment is hotter than you like. You set the thermostat to the temperature you desire and then enable the air conditioner. You notice that it is taking some time to cool off.

Will setting the thermostat lower make an air conditioner cool faster.
I am a man, and thus I know with certainty that the answer is no.
I am a woman, and thus I don't care what the answer is - I'm going to set it all the way down until it's cool enough, and then I'll turn it off.
Free polls from

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A miracle, of sorts

Yes, that's right folks. The hand of God reached out and touched our little house today, rearranging the forces of nature just a bit such that the tiniest window was opened in which the laws of physics could be at least bent, if not outright broken.

Out family room has been cleaned.

I feel like I should say five Hail Marys.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comments on a Picture

The Mrs.: "Did you actually look at that picture of you standing in the lake?"

Me, CherkyB: "Yeah."

The Mrs.: [raises eyebrows] "..."

Me, CherkyB: "Well, at least my boobs stick out past my gut."

The Mrs.: "And you're proud of that? Nice comeback."

Friday, July 24, 2009

A brief pet update

We're all still sad about JackieC's passing, but life marches forward.

Apparently quite quickly.

Prior to our trip, (nee Sojourn of Suffering), HannahC released her two toads into our deepest window well. She did this cuz she had found two other toads already in there. Then, she moved another toad from another window well into that one.

Today, we had three really skinny toads looking in the window. There really isn't enough food in one window well to support five toads. So I told HannahC to let some of the toads go.


Instead, she decided to use some of her money to buy a 40-gal. fishtank off Craigslist tonight, and she's going to do chores in order to earn enough money to keep a bunch of toads alive on crickets. Now, we're not even sure if all five toads are still alive, as we haven't found the other two. But this window well is 6 feet deep and has a metal grate over the top, so I know a predator didn't get them. There are a bunch of dirt areas that the toads like to dig into to bury themselves.

But that's not even the good part. No. It gets even better.

Though "better" is in the eye of the beholder.

Our first day back at the ranch (Sunday), HannahC and her 4-H entomology group had a field trip to see an entomology professor at Colorado State University. Apparently, it was a spectacularly good time.

So good that they had to get a doggie bag to take home some of the fun.

And what did HannahC's little baggie of fun contain?

A male and female pair of live giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

This is the point in the story where, if I were less refined, I would say, "I shit you not." But instead, you'll just get a certification of truthfulness. HannahC specifically chose a male and female so that she could breed them.

She also informed me that until "they're tame", they will kick and hiss if you try to pick them up. I have yet to succeed holding one, as when I grab a 3" cockroach and it starts kicking and hissing, well, I guess I just kinda feel compelled to set it right the hell back down again and try to stifle myself from yelling, "Muther f*&^*^er!"

Though, on occasion, an "oh sweet Jesus!" might slip.

Naturally, she moved the cockroaches into the old toad tank, as they need to be kept quite warm, and the toads had an electric heating rock. Thus today when the toads were starving, we had to get a whole new tank for them.

I imagine they'll need a much more elaborate heating system, too. One rock was for one toad. Five toads will probably need something bigger.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Great Trip Summary

Being as that there were just so many bloggable moments on the trip, but I forgot them all, you're going to get a whirlwind photo tour. It turns out we didn't take all that many pictures, but I'm sure you'll live through it.

It's not like you care, after all.

We were in a race against the clock to assure we got to Barfalo in time to celebrate HannahC's 9th birthday. The plan had us arriving the evening prior, and we did not deviate from that plan. We also planned to go to Fantasy Island for her birthday, and we managed to do that, too. There had been some threatening weather, but it cleared up nicely. Uncle Locksmith rode a lot of barf rides with HannahC (and some I also rode, though I'm old and can't handle all that many like I used to when I was young - and no, before you ask, I don't look a thing like Jeeesus.). Auntie Ellie hung with The Mrs. and MaxieC on the kiddie rides.

That evening, we had a surprise party at a local chain restaurant. I can't exactly remember the name, but we did get this photo:

After that, things started to get very wedding-dominated. We were in town to attend the nuptials of Uncle Locksmith and former blogger Auntie Ellie (now Auntie Ellie Locksmith with no hyphen, but still a former blogger).

The Mrs. was one of the bridesmaids, and HannahC was the flower girl, and thus they all got to have manicures as part of the pre-wedding ritual. I believe this was HannahC's first formal manicure. This was done at some little day-spot place in a fancy-pants part of town where there was absolutely no parking to be found for miles and where The Mrs. decided I could just sit in the no-standing zone for hours while she yakked it up with passersby after she called me to "hurry my sorry ass up and pick them up".

Give or take.

I don't have any pictures of the wedding as I was simply crying my eyes out. I always cry at weddings on account of them being so tragically sad. Dr. Kevorkian must be a real heartless bastard to be able to attend so many such things.

But, afterwards, there was a party. I did manage to take a couple photos there, as there was an open bar of sorts. Here are the womensfolk of The Mrs.'s clan. On the left is Gordy, The Mrs.'s hillbilly brother's wife, then The Mrs., and then The Mrs.'s sister Auntie Ellie. Oddly for a wedding, despite looking happy in this picture, none of them are drunk.

Of course, the obligatory Chicken Dance photo. HannahC and MaxieC, being small childrens, are forgiven for their participation.

Here is Me, CherkyB fixing my hair after a long stint out on the dance floor. I worked up quite a sweat dancing like nobody was watching. But of course, everybody was watching. The CherkyB is quite a spectacle in person. I had to take a break when The Mrs.'s hillbilly brother, 'Billy, started doing a dance he called "scooping the cat poo".

Apparently, he does most of the cooking.

Days later, of course, I had to listen to a half-hearted lecture from my father about how I drank too much at the wedding. My dancing often gives people the impression that I am rightiously drunk, but as I like to 'splain, that's just how I look when I'm happy. If I was rightiously drunk, I'd be falling down a lot and belligerant.

Or, at the minimum, I'd being doing a lot of one-liners about your momma.

No, despite there being an open bar, CherkyB did not manage to even get much of a buzz on. The drinks came in 4oz. glasses which were filled to the brim with ice. Then maybe a thimble full of some nasty well liquor was added, and the glass topped off with coke or tonic or whatever. Unless one ordered 4 or 5 of these at a time, it was impossible to get a proper drink.

But, naturally, with both The Mrs.'s fambly and my fambly there, and both having prepped for weeks to tsk-tsk me about my drinking given that I am the last bastion of fun in either fambly, I couldn't very much walk away from the bar with a handful of these little doll tea party glasses. So I buried my grief (as I said earlier, I find weddings to be tragically sad) with endorphins released by getting my groove on on the dance floor.

Of course, the end result was the same. Tsk tsk.

A few days later, we hit Fort Niagara. This is the fort in NY State that is at the mouth of the Niagara River where it joins Lake Ontario and, until very recently, was the only defense that we had against belligerant Canadians.

Now, of course, Canadians aren't allowed to own guns, so they are no longer a threat to anyone other than people who consider fine cuisine to be a way of life. So Fort Niagara is a tourist trap where people go to take photos of their kids with cannons.

That particular picture was taken in the south gatehouse where the on-site guide gave us such illuminating gems as, "This is where the soldiers slept, like all next to each other. And those are shelves where they, like, kept their things and stuff. Upstairs, you can see Toronto."

One of the more interesting things was the three flags flying in the courtyard. You can see the Union Jack, Old Glory, and the solid-white surrender flag.

Wondering why the white surrender flag was up there, I opened up the handy-dandy self-guided tour pamphlet they gave us upon entry. It said,
"Flying in the courtyard are the British, American, and French flags, representing the three countries that have controlled the fort during its existence."
OK, now I get why the white flag is flying.

After our visit in Barfalo, we headed up to the Milwaukee area to visit my brother and his wife. Finding Wisconsin isn't too hard. You just follow any one of these:

We went to Mauthe Lake in Kettle Moraine for a nice picnic and some canoeing and swimming. Well, more standing around in the water than swimming.

On the way home from Wisconsin, we waved at the "Janesville" exit and yelled, "Hi, Rhonda." Just like we did last year. We stopped in Elk Horn, Iowa for lunch. Elk Horn is famous for having The Danish Windmill.

Then we spent my birthday at the Coco Key Water Resort at the Holiday Inn in Ohama. I don't have any pictures of that, as only a moron takes a camera to a water park.