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.