Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ack... Allergies...


    Yesterday was a great day here.  The sun was shining, the weather was unusually warm, and with no snow or rain in the forecast, I raced out of my house to enjoy some of the gorgeous weather. 

    I worked in the garden by moving some stuff around while cleaning up all the dead plants that were too damn weak to survive the winter.  I even took my chainsaw to the dwindling old apple tree and lopped off as many dead branches as I could find. 

    After that nonsense, I joined the neighborhood chorus of lawn mowers by yanking mine to life, and I took a quick walk around the yard as though I was pushing a baby stroller filled with a comically gassy little infant.  And, when everything was all said and done, I cracked open a beer and admired my handiwork. 


    Then, I took a shower and somewhere between toweling off and getting dressed, I suddenly began to feel as though I had just bathed myself with smallpox soap and bird flu shampoo as my eyes began to get watery and my brain seemed to be pouring out of my nose.

    One of these days, spring will come, and I will actually remember that I do, in fact, have allergies.  And, I'll try to be more prepared with Kleenex and Benadryl (which should make the chainsaw work a little more interesting, I think).

    As it stands, I'm still getting used to the fact that I am allergic to something.  Right now, I've only had this problem for the last two or three years.  It's weird; I know.  What kind of person develops allergies when they are in their thirties? 

    On the plus side, as a result of feeling as though I spent the weekend French kissing disease-laden poultry in Thailand, I think I can honestly say, without a doubt, that winter in Wisconsin is officially over.  Sure, it may snow one or two times between now and August, but by-the-by, I think we Cheeseheads have turned a corner.  Huzzah!

    In other news, it's Sunday.  It's a day of shameless laziness, and the only thing on my agenda is to grab a beer and a box of Kleenex and hit the patio to absorb some of the sun.  I'm hoping you all had a great weekend, and if you haven't, well, there's still a bit of time before it ends. 


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Shaky English Understatement...


    England is turning into Los Angeles!

    Now, I don't mean to pick on England all the time.  I like England.  It's a beautiful country, and the people, so long as they're not in their cars, are actually pretty damn friendly. 

    The thing is, could you guys maybe get a little more crazy or freaked-out when things like an earthquake hit your country?  I mean, we get a rare, feeble tremor here in Wisconsin, and it clutters up the local news for two weeks with quotes detailing the terror and panic of fluorescent light-bulbs shaking loose and the tragedy of some poor bastard's Hummel collection tumbling from a shelf like an army of lemmings leaping off a cliff. 

    I like this guy's quote about the quake the best.

Paul Smye-Rumsby, who lives in Dover, said: "It was about 08.15 when suddenly the bed shook violently.

"I thought my wife had got cramp or something but then I saw the curtains were moving and the whole house was shaking."

    Just what kind of cramps does this guy's wife have if he's going to confuse them with a 4.3 magnitude earthquake?  He should be running out of his house in his underwear with his arms waving over his head screaming as though he awoke to find his neighborhood infested with brain-eating zombies. 

    Earthquakes are kind of rare in England, ya know?  So, you guys have no excuse for treating them as though you live in Southern California.  There should be chaos and looting.  Brandy should be served just to calm people's nerves.    


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bad Form, Old Bean. Bad Form.

It's all beans..
    Here's a picture of Hugh Grant throwing a container of baked beans at a photographer.  A friend of mine sent me this picture today and said that it reminded her of my softball game (only reversed because I'm left-handed). 

    Apparently, I throw like Hugh Grant.  And, unfortunately, Hugh Grant throws like a girl.  So, to follow that particular syllogism, I'm sorry Hugh, but we've seriously got to work on that arm of yours, old chap.  If I'm going to be compared to you in the future, please...  let's butch it up a bit, okay?

    I see a lot of potential, thankfully, and his form's not half-bad.  In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that he, like me, either throws like a very masculine woman, or a very feminine man.   The arm's in a good spot, but the shoulder is all out of whack.  Hugh needs to learn to step into the throw.  And, there's no way he could ever throw a successful slider into a photographer's giblets with his thumb being where it is.  You're just begging for Tommy John surgery with a throw like that. 

*update*   I've been informed by a loyal reader via email that the object Hugh Grant is holding in his left hand is, in fact, the keys to the only remaining unlocked chastity belt in the greater Cardiff area --currently being worn by a very frustrated intern at the BBC. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gads... I'm Nutty.

    It's a little after 9 PM here.  I'm watching Mythbusters.  I have a bag of Doritos opened.  And, I really think a belly dancer would complete the evening perfectly. 

    And, no.  I really don't understand how my mind works.  But, I just thought I'd share that with all of you. 


What to Write... Hmm...

I'm a brain-dead monkey.

    I'm kind of at a blank today as far as things to scribble about in this little online journal thingy I have here. 

    Today is one of those ridiculously quiet days so far.  I say so far simply because in my life, there's always a good chance that all hell could break loose at any given moment.  For example, the phone could ring...  And, if I'm foolish enough to answer it, I may find my brother on the other end. 
    "I need to borrow your super-cool new mop."  He may say.
    "Why?"  I would respond.  "Your basement doesn't leak."
    "Yeah," he will say.  "But my garage is filthy."
    "Oh.  But, my basement is leaking because it's raining out, and I need it."
    "Fine!"  He will say.  "By the way, do you have any limes?"

    This is my oldest brother --The Number One Son.  He does very odd things from time to time.  For example, he's dropped by my house on his way to the grocery store to swipe a lime out of my fridge.  And, he's also come over to swipe a handful of washers or nails or screws on his way to the hardware store. 

    It's really puzzling.  I mean, what happens if he goes to the pet store?  Will he drop by and steal my cat?  Where does the madness end?  How do I draw the line and say "Ya know?  I'm pretty sure they sell limes at the grocery store, man." 

    In other news, Scalzi's out on a book tour.  Yeah...  It's THAT John Scalzi --AOL's very own "Blogfather."  The poor guy is dragging himself around the nation to plug his latest book in the Old Man's War series: The Last Colony.  You should all go check him out in a town near you.  I plan on catching up with the Grand Scalzification Tour when he gets to Milwaukee on May 4th.  I've also promised myself that I won't heckle him, but I will admit, it will be nice to finally meet the three-dimensional version of the guy.

    So, if you do go see him, bring friends.  Me?  I have no friends; so, I'm bringing a stable of lawyers and prostitutes.  It should be a fun time.

    Well, that's about it for today so far...  It's cold and damp here, and I'm afraid it's settling into my bones and creating some obnoxious, pointless aches in my fingers and toes.  Indeed, summer just can't get here soon enough... 


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hmm... What Can I Say?

    I guess I'm just a sucker for the classics...

   Think what you will, and please feel free to discuss... 

DogCat For Dawn...

Free DogCat!
    Dawn needs a bit of perking up, and since she's not only half a nation away from my little cheese hamlet, she's also unfortunately happily married with kids, my usual tactic for cheering up a pretty lady with troubles goes flying right out the window, and I'm thus reduced to writing about my pets. 

    It's not a bad thing, mind you.  I love my pets.  We have a nifty relationship, and like all relationships, it takes a hell of a lot of work, patience, and compromise.   In other words, so long as I understand that I am only being kept alive for the simple fact that I have opposable thumbs which are to be used for things like opening doors, opening cans of cat food and cleaning the litter box, we all seem to get along just fine.  No one gets hurt, and no one winds up with "surprises" in their shoes. 

    And, in return for my loyalty, I get a cold, wet nose in my ear at night, the occasional assault upon my toes, minor blood loss, and no end of something called "unconditional love." 

    Anyway, several days ago, that love was utterly, devastatingly betrayed when I came home to find DogCat chasing down a rather pesky squirrel who's been raiding my bird feeder (for the record, DogCat generally ignores birds and squirrels).  At first I was somewhat happy to see what I believed to be the impending demise of the villainous little rodent.  I accepted it as the way of Nature, survival of the fittest, and all that silly "circle of life" stuff that tends to happen in the wild of my suburban backyard.  And, as I was getting ready to cheer on my beast of a pet, something strange happened...

    Both cat and squirrel stopped dead in their tracks.  Then, the squirrel turned and started chasing DogCat --an animal several times its own size. 

    To say I was puzzled would be an understatement.  My cat is not a cowardly animal, and he tends to lead with his head when it comes to any brawl.  In fact, whenever I take him to the vet's to get one of his occasional head wounds tended to, the vet usually runs down the long list of his medical history and remarks on the complete and utter lack of a single wound to his back end.  "Your cat needs to learn how to run away, Dan," he always says.  "A good swat on his ass would be a refreshing change of pace, ya know?" 

    Needless to say, after watching a squirrel chase my cat, I was hurled into a bizarre world where nothing made any sense whatsoever.   Rodents chasing felines is just not normal on ANY part of the planet, so just what the hell was happening in my backyard?  I mean, what's next?!  With this sort of weirdness going on, it's entirely plausible for me to answer the door to find a cow standing there holding a tenderizing hammer and a bottle of barbecue sauce while wearing an apron that says "Kiss the cook!" 

    As it stands, I've only known my cat to be afraid of two things:  Garbage trucks, and street sweepers.  He's terrified of them, and every Tuesday when the behemoths lumber down the alleyway with brakes squealing and hissing, DogCat bolts into the house to find a safe, dark corner of the basement and doesn't come out until Wednesday. 

    Clearly, this squirrel most certainly didn't resemble a city sanitation vehicle in any way whatsoever.  He's a louse-ridden, tree hopping rodent.  They cluck and chirp.  They don't carry guns, they don't breathe fire, and there's no good reason why my cat would ever run away from such a non-threatening little garden twerp like that.

    I stood there dumbfounded and watched as DogCat did one of his amazing I'm-a-Velcro-Cat leaps onto the trunk of a nearby tree which gave his pursuer a reason to pause.  When DogCat pulls out this sort of craziness, it's only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose, and I knew the squirrel was done for.  DogCat was merely having a bit of fun with setting up the obnoxiously bold little rodent for a little Ninja Kitty Madness which decapitates anything foolish enough to stand too close when he leaps from the trunk of the tree in a whirling torrent of razor sharp claws --think Chow Yun Fat with long fingernails and a thick coat of dense, black fur. 

    Unfortunately, things didn't quite turn out as I expected, and when DogCat lept from the tree, he spun over the squirrel and landed directly behind the chattering little vermin.  Then, he chased the squirrel up the same tree, and down the tree, and into the yard...  and when the squirrel went under the fence into the neighbor's yard, DogCat went over it. 

    Once there, I have no idea what happened.  My guess is that the squirrel pulled out a handgun because shortly after touching down in the neighbor's yard, DogCat came bolting back into my yard and straight up the apple tree as though his back end was ablaze.  And, as he sat there perched upon a safe branch near the top, I scratched my head and realized that my cat was just playing --yes, playing-- with a little rodent who treats my bird feeder as though it were an all you can eat buffet.  

    How do I ever learn to cope after such betrayal?  My backyard is supposed to have a food-chain for a reason.  And, that reason should be to keep me from spending more than $100 a freakin' week on bird-seed that my cat's new little chum simply throws around the yard.  I mean, it's bad enough that I've got tulips growing in odd places since that little rat decided that he's got a better eye for gardening than I do and dug up all the bulbs I planted and buried them God knows where (although, I will commend the squirrel for planting some by my garbage cans since it really DOES brighten things up, but that's still no excuse).

    Nonetheless, it's clear I am going to have to sit down and have a little "talk" with DogCat.  Perhaps we will sit on the couch and watch Animal Planet.  I will explain to him that cats are supposed to eat squirrels, and though I understand it probably will trouble him greatly to devour his new friend, it really is for the best.  


Monday, April 23, 2007

As a Matter of Fact, I'm Not Dead...

Mop... mop... mop...       
    Ahhh...  Spring.

    After the Winter That Would Not Die, I seem to have forgotten that my basement leaks like a sieve.  Fortunately, the other day, I scampered out and bought a spankin' new 42 quart, commercial-grade Rubbermaid mop bucket (with the wringer), and a white cotton cut-end mop. 
    I named my new mop Justice, and it slays the worthless little sponge-mop thing I used to use.  So, when the April showers arrive, I'm loaded for bear this year, and I am looking forward to dry ankles. 

    Anyway, thanks for the patience and understanding during my blogging hiatus.  I'll admit, I was surprised and somewhat overwhelmed at the amount of emails I received expressing concern, and I'm sorry for giving you all any cause to worry.  I just needed to step away to do a bit of catching up on the offline writing work that was piling up like dirty dishes in a crack-house kitchen sink. 

    I had a nice little break.  I didn't really do too much other than hole up and scribble like a freak whose mind was possessed with the echoes of silent words bouncing off the walls of his thick skull.  But it was fun to see just how far my imagination could take me.  And, there were more than a few nights where I powered down my little laptop to scratch my head and think what in the hell was that all about?

    Now, it seems like the world has gone to hell in a handbasket since I stepped away, and I honestly have no idea where to begin.  It's like staring into a bowl of mixed nuts trying to figure out which one I want to pick first.  So, I may just toss them aside and start fresh and new from here on out.  Whatever happened has happened, and though some of it has been good, a great deal of it has been heartbreaking in its sadness. 

    One thing that I just learned today is that Stephanie BamBam is no longer with AOL, and I am somewhat stunned by that.  Our conversations were always fun, and I am certainly going to miss them.  And, I am definitely going to miss her wisdom and insights.  She helped me pick out a laptop whichhas since almost doubled in price from the time I bought it.  And, when I was looking for a new digital camera, she was the first person I turned to for any advice. 
    So, Bamster!  I'm gonna miss ya bunches. 

    I also need to thank Cinzano for encouraging my wasabi pea addiction.  I loved the care package.  I tore through those and the sesame choco-burgers with the gluttony of Godzilla tossing handfuls of sushi bars into his mouth as he trundles his way through downtown Tokyo.

    Anyway, I need to scamper and either have a late-lunch or a comically early dinner.  So, if I have any readers left, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what's going on in your world.  I've tried to keep up with my alerts, but it's been difficult.  So, if you've got an entry in your blog or journal with news and whatnots, leave a link to it.