Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
The Day The Earth Was Offended
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Seymour On South Park
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The Plutonium Shovel II
I arose early on Thursday, December 21, and gandered out the winder to see what awaited me. More storm. It had snowed and blowed all night. It was continuing to, as I looked on this bleak Thursday morning about 6:30am.
But by 9am, the winds had died. The snow still falling looked more like a picture postcard than an active part of a blizzard. After a second cup of coffee and a resigned "oh hell", I donned/grabbed the essentials -- boots, backbrace, parka, gloves, and my trusty shovel -- and descended the three flights of stairs to examine my work ahead.
And yes, wiseacres, I remembered pants.
I was confronted with a grim scene: a parking stall width, about 25 feet to the plowed lane (from the night before), varying in depth from 18" to about 4 1/2' from drifting. About 45 minutes to an hour of digging to clear it, by my reckoning. It would include not piling snow in the way of fellow residents with stalls on either side of me. It meant, in essence, shovel, walk, dump, repeat.
I'm getting too old for this sh...stuff.
As I began, I remembered the bad disc in my L4/L5 region, and remembered my chiropractor's recent admonition regarding shovelling: it's best left to a 16 year old with a snow blower.
Great advice from a chiropractor I lean toward adoring (forget it, matchmakers; she's married), save for one wee thing: there weren't any of those around. In fact, no one was outside at this time and in this place but me. So I figured to let the uncomfortable backbrace be my reminder, and my ergonomically-designed shovel to prevent me from exceeding my limits.
After about an hour, I had my stall free and clear, and a nice start on Mount St. Snowphfffft, next to the stairwell entrance. I figured I was done.
I looked around. No one in sight.
Psssst. Hey. Down here.
It was my shovel.
Hey, you yutz...I ain't tired. And you ain't done.
"Says who?", I snapped, not thinking about how stupid it was to be hallucinating out loud.
What about the poor folks on the other side of you?
"Ain't they got their own shovel?"
They ain't got one. And they certainly don't have one like me!
"And what the hell is so special about you?"
I'm a plutonium shovel! I can shovel for HOURS!
"Fine...you shovel, and I'll go up stairs.."
What a candyass...if I can do it, you certainly can, you old fart.
What was I to do, being shamed by a talking shovel that claimed to be plutonium? Yeah, I know: the obvious answer was to throw it into Mount St. Snowphffft and let it go to town. But it needed me, much as I had just needed it. So I went ahead and dug out the parking space next to mine. Mount St. Snowphfffft was gaining in both size and stature.
Psssst...nice job. Now let's do the two handicapped folks' spots on the other side of the stairwell.
"Where do you think they're going? They can't even get to their vehicles!"
We'll fix that next, candyass.
Being too useful to bend around the stairwell framing, I resisted the urge to forever reshape Mr. Plutonium and resignedly went to it.
After digging out those two, it was about noon, and I felt spent. But not my maniacal "plutonium" shovel:
Ah ahhhh...get their sidewalk next.
"Shovel, there's a property maintenance crew for that.."
They ain't here...we are. And I'm not tired. Now get to it.
Why the hell I had to wind up buying a talking, pushy shovel I'll never know. Maybe that was the price I paid for avoiding married life, but I digress. At any rate, I dug out the sidewalk.
"Now are we done?" I asked the Plutonium Master of the Snow.
Nope...there's the two stairwells...yours and the other one. Get to it.
"Shovel, I don't know about you, but I'm beat".
I'm fine. And if you hadn't noticed, I'm the one carrying the snow.
"But who's carrying YOU?"
Details, details...get to it.
By this time, a number folks were out and trying to get about, looking at their buried cars with looks akin to "Mommy, make it go away...". Worse, I noticed that almost none of them had a snow shovel. They were trying to dig out with trash can lids...catboxes...buckets...even ice scrapers.
I was going to ask one particularly forlorn-looking 20-something female in ski gear, wielding a small trashcan and flailing rather hopelessly at the drift encasing her vehicle, if she didn't have an Xbox to use on the snow, but my shovel kicked me in the shin and shamed me into helping her.
Help her out; she's a babe.
"I don't care about that; she's half my age!"
She isn't half mine!
I don't think anyone noticed me kicking the shovel back. I don't care if they did.
The next thing I knew, I was helping another stranded female resident..then two gents of Arabic extraction...another female who tried unsuccessfully to use her Kia Sophia as a battering ram, when she tired of using a drinking glass as a shovel...an elderly gent who was rather amused that I was talking to my shovel...a trio of lads who had combined to attack a drift with a broom, dustpan and catbox...some poor fool who's rear-wheel drive Audi needed a push after being dug out...and finally, a young couple's Toyota Camry. In the midst of all this carnage (pun sorta intended), a couple of 7 year olds approached me tentatively:
"Mr., can we borrow your snow shovel?"
"I and it are kinda busy right now...what do you want it for?"
"We're trying to make a snow tunnel over there (where the plow truck I'd helped liberate the night before had been pushing snow in this part of the lot)".
"I'm sorry, but my snow shovel is plutonium, and says no...it has more important things to do".
I did NOT say that.
The kids ran screaming from the talking shovel.
I'll get you for that.
"I'd a sworn you already had".
It was nearing 5pm by now, and I was at a point I was sure I couldn't climb my stairs to fall face first on the floor.
Okay, candyass...I guess we can call it a day. But I could go on all night long.
"I think I can find the energy to put your plutonium ass up for bid on Ebay..."
I'm just kidding, candya...er...fella.
So I dragged me and my plutonium shovel up three flights of stairs, and wearily called it a day. And the shovel worse.
Next morning -- predictably -- I felt my age, times two. If it didn't hurt, it wasn't attached to me. I limped into the front room in the unsteady direction of the coffee pot, when I heard IT: I'm ready and raring to go! Who're we digging out today?
I buried the shovel scoop-first on my still snow-bound patio. Last I heard, it was still grumbling...
Thursday, November 19, 2009
The Snowseidumb Adventure
*from the March 2003 archives*
*2009 Writer's note: picture the snow at the right (a photo I shot during a Christmas storm in 1987). Now double it, and that's what the Spring Storm of '03 did in and around Denver. To the west, it was worse: one location in Gilpin County (where I work and where the upcoming epic took place) got 11 measured feet of snow from this storm*
The winter of '02-03 hadn't done much to relieve the drought conditions that had stricken Colorado the previous summer, bringing on record forest fires and water restrictions. Then, in early March, our local weather forecasters began to predict a 'potentially powerful' snowmaker, bearing down on us from the Left Coast. Phfffft.
In my over 30 years in Colorado, almost without exception, every prediction of 'The Big One' amounted to squat. On the other hand, one Christmas Eve forecast of a 'trace of snow', became the biggest snowmaker in my personal lifetime up to then: the Xmas Blizzard of 1982. One I'd never forget, having found myself at the time, trying to dig out a full-size Ford Bronco from where two of us buried and high-centered it. Not once, but four times, trying to get to work.
On the Monday before 'The Big One' was due, I marvelled that they continued to talk it up with comments like 'this one's for real, folks'. Though I was all prepared for a local version of opening Al Capone's vault, I did let a bit of my old Boy Scout creed take hold (Always be prepared...with food), and stocked up. At the store, I bantered with the cashier and others in line about the doomsayers and storm prediction in general. As I went to bed that night -- and not a flake of snow to be seen -- I fully expected to awaken to another meterological 'six foot chicken at the fair' outside my window, and little else.
I arose at 0500 that Tuesday morning, March 19, and looked out the window, only to double-take: it was snowing. It was snowing hard. So hard, it convinced me of the wisdom of the previous night's grocery stock-up, and leaving my auto today under cover of the carport. With snow falling at a reported rate of 2-3" an hour, more than a foot was already down in the parking lot below, and the few trying to extract their cars were already having a bitch of a time of it.
"What the hell", I thought, "we need the moisture". Little did I reckon on how ironic that thought would become, hours hence.
By mid-afternoon -- with no let-up in the storm -- I figured to go dig out my car. Not to go anywhere: my tortured logic suggested that any snow moved now, would be snow I wouldn't have to move Thursday morning, when I'd have to at least try to go to work. Once I got down to ground level, if I had need of a nitro pill, the sight would have done it: to cut to what was left of the plowed lane to exit the lot, I would have to move snow from a lane 10' wide by 20' long, ranging in depth from 2 to 5', depending on drifting. I must have looked rather ridiculous to anyone looking out their window, as I began the process.
Instead, it began something of a 'block party': suddenly, everyone and their prodigy was outside, trying to extract hopelessly buried vehicles. Before I had finished my own excavation, I had been borrowed to assist in extricating a Subaru wagon, a high-centered Ford 4x4, a Toyota Cor-no-rolla, a Dodge Ram pick up, the Nigerian luge team, two Yetis and a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. With the exception of the Ram, the Ford and the two Yetis, nothing else was able to leave their parking stalls. But at least you could tell what they were, as opposed to mere lumps in the snow. Exhausted, I mounted the stairs, and figured that I'd accomplished the lion's share of my work for Thursday morning.
Then I heard the updated forecast: the winter storm warning had been changed to a blizzard warning; the worst of the storm was due in Tuesday night and Wednesday. After taking a moment to use the kitchen counter as a convenient place to bang my head, I drew solace in the notion of an extra day off from work, and the fact that "we needed the moisture". As I went to sleep Tuesday night, little did I know what was in store for me Wednesday, March 20.
Wednesday began with me deciding to examine the damage from overnight at about 0600: all the shovel work that I and others had plied, had been obliterated. With steady 35 mph winds and snow continuing to fall at 1-2" per hour, the parking lot now looked like the Arctic Ocean, frozen, with 4-6' "waves". But, what the heck: I wasn't going anywhere, and besides, "we needed the moisture".
Then at about 0700, the phone rang, and I was about to step unknowingly into a 21-year time warp. Work was calling: a supervisor from another department had a 4x4, lived nearby, and was getting ready to try to come in to work, and did I want to come in early and help out? Glancing out the patio window into NeverNeverAgain Land, my mind said "NO!"; but before my two brain cells engaged my audio function, out of my mouth came "Sure". I threw together a quick kit, in case I found myself snowed in at work for a couple days, and awaited my chauffeur's cell phone call from the street.
And thus began the self-inflicted absurdity of the next four and a half hours.
Getting to his vehicle -- another full size Ford Bronco 4x4, which should have been a tip-off for me -- was a chore. I'm 6' 2'', but my legs aren't, and I used every manner of crossing the twin parking lots to the street, including a back stroke, before I finally made it to the street, soaked and exhausted. But, what the hell: in a full-sized 4x4, no worries.
I'd forgotten about '82. But not for long.
After stopping off for gas and coffee, we were off. So what if it took us three attempts to break through the plow cut across the ramp onto US 6 West? We were two guys in a 4x4 with hot coffee, chains, two cell phones and a shovel. We could handle it. Until we reached the turn-off for Clear Creek Canyon, that is: it was closed.
We already knew I-70 was closed in every conceivable direction. So while the supervisor conferred telephonically with the boss, I pondered the options: (a) run the blockade, and try US 6; (b) turn around and go home, as the boss was urging us to do, or (c) take a look at Golden Gate Canyon, a couple miles up the road. A more winding road, it wasn't as prone to rockslides and other hazards as was US 6. My partner in pending absurdity mulled it a moment, then with a maniacal grin said, "yo, dude, let's do it!", and we were off yet again.
Arriving at the turn-off for Golden Gate Canyon, we were enthused to find that the road had been plowed. Thus, we plunged forth, two guys in a 4x4 with coffee, chains, two cell phones and a shovel. Less than a mile in, our ne'r be daunted spirit received a boost, in the form of a road grader, plowing the road from the direction we were headed. Further fortified by a second plow coming from the same direction, we reckoned we'd make work about an hour and a half after departing on our intrepid journey.
Then the bill for all of the self-inflicted absurdity came due, as we reached the Jefferson/Gilpin County line, and the plowed road.....disappeared.
From a nearby resident, we learned to our consternation that Gilpin County didn't plow this end of the road, as it "wasn't a priority". We'd have to get to the fire station, about 7 miles further on, to reacquire a road we could discern.
But our "we've come this far" overrode our "which is far enough", and we decided to go for it. For about 3/4 of a mile. Then, drifting a bit right of the unbeaten path, we just flat buried the Bronco, period.
And there we sat, two guys in a high-centered 4x4, in the midst of a raging blizzard, with cold coffee, two cell phones that were "out of service", chains, a shovel, and a "oh wow, I coulda stayed home!" look. With a couple of heart-felt "aw sh**s", we got to work.
Forgetting for a moment the dire circumstances, the scenery round abouts was most impressive: a foothills canyon vista, snow-filled and silent, save for the sound of the wind and blowing snow through the trees, sullied only by our occasional colorful metaphors, as we struggled to dig out enough snow from underneath the Bronco so the tires could have something other than snow and air to get some grip on. At one point, my cohort bemoaned the fact that he'd forgotten his camera; I took a different view, and was glad that this was so, not wanting self-taken and damning photographic evidence for our upcoming competency hearing.
Time was clearly of the essence: not 100 feet ahead of us was the remnant of a plow lane, where a truck with a plow had apparently cut from the canyon road into a subdivision, before we happened along. That visible track was rapidly disappearing, hastening our efforts to dig snow that seemed to be procreating beneath the vehicle, faster than we could shovel it out.
After digging out what I was sure was the Grand Canyon equivalent of snow from beneath the Bronco, there we were, lying underneath the vehicle, trying to chain it up. The absurdity of the moment -- two thoroughly soaked guys, with a stuck 4x4, frozen coffee, uncooperative chains, two 'out of service' cell phones and an inadequate snow shovel -- finally reached the sublime with the following conversation:
"What was that about needing the f***ing moisture?"
"We don't need the f***ing moisture. The ground does".
"So what are WE doing, sucking up the ground's f***ing moisture?"
"Putting on these f***ing chains".
"Then let's get these f***ing chains on and let the ground have it's f***ing moisture".
"F***ing works for me".
After another 30 minutes of chaining, shovelling, shivering and making poignant, pointed comments about the f***ing moisture -- and a little over two hours after we buried it -- the Bronco successfully broke out. Now we had a little over 6 miles to negotiate to get to, hopefully, plowed road again. Since my driver couldn't make out what was left of the earlier plowed track in the road, and I almost could, he drove and I navigated:
"You're in the track...bear right...right...your other right...bear left...switchback ahead...bear right...right...center it...left..."
"Just remember, we need the f***ing moisture".
"How could I forget the f***ing moisture? Your left...your other left, dammit..."
When we reached the fire station in Golden Gate Canyon, we found a plowed road that looked like gold to us. A quick 'high five' and we were once again two irrepressible thoroughly-soaked guys in a chained-up 4x4 with frozen coffee, useless cell phones and a drowned shovel. The rest of the drive was an anti-climax, as a normally 40 minute drive had taken 4 and 1/2 hours.
With our arrival at work -- and plenty of astonished looks greeting us -- I went to get dried out and give back some of that f***ing moisture that belonged to the ground. Meanwhile, my cohort regaled all who'd listen of our epic journey. Later, I was approached by two or three employees who had pretty much the same question and answer:
"Are you who was with Jack in Golden Gate Canyon?"
"You guys are f***ing idiots!"
"And your point is what?"
I wound up staying at work the next four days and three nights, until the roads were fully re-opened. The parallels to the Xmas Blizzard of 1982 were far too many, including the seminal one: I shouldn't of answered the phone then, or in '03. If my phone rings in 2023 in similar circumstances, I might just have hearing loss. Perhaps I won't even have to fake it by then.
Whatever else you take from this true story, just remember this: we really did need the f***ing moisture. Well, at least the ground did.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Seymour On Leonid, Yeti, Dishes
Seymour, for a pet rock, is easy to read.
For a rock, he's also got good ears, for something without 'em.
Seymour, for example, listens to the radio when I do at home. Not only does he hear the news, he grasps it, to some level of juvenile comprehension. For example, Seymour just heard that the Leonid Meteor Shower is happening on the evening of November 16.
And he wants me to stop it.
"Seymour, it's a celestial event, quite beyond my ability to affect. It's going to happen. No power on Earth can stop it".
"AlGore can stop global warming! So I figure he can stop the slaughter of all those helpless meteors!"
"Seymour...AlGore is scamming you. He can't stop global warming, except by shutting his mouth".
"Yes, Seymour...he is. Why?"
"Uh..don't check your credit card bill too closely next month...".
*rrrrr*...Life with a pet rock.
During the recent two days of snow locally, I made reference to yetis and yak, snarling traffic on my commute to work into the mountains. Seymour saw it this way:
"What yeti? Where?! I wanna see!"
"Seymour, they're out there. But they're scary. You know, like that creature you saw on the first The Outer Limits (TOS) episode that had you hiding under the love seat for a week".
"Ooooooooooooooh..*shudders*...but if they were out there, then why won't you let me fix the DVD remote to better defend us?"
"Seymour, remember when you did that with my old VCR remote, and didn't tell me?"
"Uh, no...remind me.."
"Uh...I accidentally vaporized the refrigerator...and the apartment next door.."
"That's not my fault!"
"Seymour, relax...yeti avoid people. They won't bother us up here".
"But the yaks will!"
"The yaks won't bother us, either".
"Uh-huh they will!"
"Everytime you get sick, YOU yak!"
"TMI and not the same thing, Seymour..."
Life with a pet rock.
And, of course, there was the time I forgot to power down the computer before I went to work. When I got home...
"Seymour, what are you doing?"
"Surfing the 'Web!"
"How is a pet rock surfing the 'web? And look what you did to the key board!!!"
"Uh..yeah..buy a stronger keyboard next time, you cheapskate!"
*Ugh*..."So, what did you learn on the 'web?"
"I learned that your dishes reveal your personality?"
*OMG*..."Okay, Seymour...what do my dishes tell you?"
"That you're chipped and haven't been done in a month..." *rimshot*
There's something really wrong with a pet rock, having access to a *rimshot*. Besides...it's been longer than a month, and I digress.
"Not funny, Seymour".
My offer to pay the shipping for anyone who wants a pet rock, still stands.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Da Newoik Connection
*First published on this hyar blog August 2, 2006*
Proof, if any were really needed, that sometimes it does, indeed, get cold even there.
*Blogger's note: True story upcoming*
It was February, 1990. In my then corporate job as a wee cog in a vast corporate machine, I was sent to Richmond, IN, for a pre-labor dispute survey (ie., to prepare a plan for the facility to operate in the event of a labor dispute at contract time, later that summer). One can tell that I was a junior in the org, since I 'won' the honor of travelling to nowhere fit to travel to in February. But I digress.
I flew into Indianapolis, and drove the hour and a half or so it took to get to Richmond (on the IN-OH border along I-70). It was cold and blustery, but no biggie until the next day, when an ice storm beset the area.
It was early that morning, shortly after I skated to the plant, that I got a phone call from Corporate: I was needed to travel to Poughkeepsie, NY, to interview a client on a billing issue. ASAP. I would have to drive back to Indianapolis, fly into Newark, NJ, and drive up to Poughkeepsie. That day. Ugh.
So began what I least expected: a journey to Hell. Twice.
As it was about 9:45am, I had little room for error: my department's corporate secretary got me booked on an 12:30p flight out of Indianapolis to Newark. So I hit the road in my rental car, skating the miles back to Indianapolis along an ice-sheened and accident-laden I-70. Don't ask me how I remained apart from any of the collective nonsense in the ditches and medians.
I made Indy with time enough to check in and board the friggin' plane. Which, after de-icing, only took off about 30 minutes late.
Interestingly enough, the ice storm hadn't extended itself to the East Coast; but the rain, drizzle and fog had. Newark was marginally visible.
That could have been my worst luck of the day. Alas, it 'tweren't.
Got down, off-loaded, found my luggage and kept it in hand (one of my cohorts had warned me that Newark was, er..."not a nice place"), got my rental car, map, and was on my way north toward the very near border with NY, where I'd be skirting the western edges of the monstrosity of culture, business and population, NYC. Which, in the drizzle and fog, I couldn't see a lick of.
At the border, I inquired of the toll booth babe (I'm being overly generous hyar) as to if I was on the right road to "PoughkEEpsie" (my pronounciation). She brusquely corrected me -- "it's PoughKIPsie!" (her sharp prounciation) -- and abruptly followed it with a sharp "stay on this road an' follow the signs", along with a look of "move on, cretin".
The corrected cretin drove on.
Amazingly, I found PoughKIPsie, after crossing the Hudson River on a rather impressive bridge span. Even more amazingly, after a quick call to the business I needed to find, I found the business on the opposite bank of the river in a run down-looking industrial park. Interview conducted. Answers obtained. Results phoned back to corporate. Badda boom badda bing, a snap, y'knowadda mean?
It was now about 6pm, and I had but a short journey back down the turnpike to the Newark Airport, where I'd dump the rental cahr (the toll booth Gestapo fraulein's prounciation), get a hotel room for the night, and return to Indianapolis on the 'morrow.
I headed south, still in the drizzle, and in traffic that was much heavier than I'd reckoned with coming north. That was my first hint that something was amiss in the mist. The next hint I should have grasped: as I crossed the line back into NJ from NY, there wasn't any toll booth stop with a Gestapoesque grammar wench awaiting me. I should have grasped the significance of the difference, instead of merely muttering an insincere "thank ye" to no one in particular.
About 30 minutes later, I could see activity that indicated an airport: aircraft, low in the sky, dropping toward somewhere off to my left (east), without the tell-tale fireballs that would suggest they were falling instead of landing. So I began to look for a sign for the airport turnoff.
One that never materialized.
I knew there'd been signs leaving the airport; but I was danged if I could fathom there not being any to guide some western grammatically-challenged schlep back to the same airport. So after driving far enough to no longer see in-bound planes landing somewhere to my left, I exited and returned north, only to see the same thing: planes now landing somewhere off to my right, but not a sign to guide me how to get there.
There was a reason for this; it only took me two hours to figure it out.
So there I was, driving north, hearing an airport somewhere nearby off to my right (it was dark by now), with not a road marker telling me how to negotiate the seemingly short distance east to get to it. After driving far enough north to decide I'd missed something again, I went back south.
The only change: the airport and falling planes were now off to my left again.
I wanted to go back north and find that Gestapoette and scream "PoughKEEEEEEEEPSIE!" at her fifty times, but that was for another lifetime. Right now, the only thing that mattered to me (and my becoming disgruntled sphincter), was finding the friggin' airport.
So when I got about center to where the airport seemed to be off to the east in the still foggy mist, I exited, and headed east on a surface street. About 20 minutes later, I was pulled over by a police officer, who apparently recognized a lost soul when he saw one; particularly a lost white soul in a 'burb that was predominantly ethnic (Elizabeth, NJ). Unfortunately, my relief at being pulled over rapidly vaporized when he started to tell me how to get where I wanted to go, got another call, and in a hurry just pointed and said "go that way and turn right!".
Back where I'd come from. With some degree of reluctance, I did.
See previous north/south refrain.
Now I'm not frustrated anymore; I'm nails-bitten-in-half angry. So much so, I tell my sphincter to suck it up and just f***** deal with it. I go south once more, and take another exit, north of the previous one, to try again a probe to the east.
20 minutes later, fugettaboutit. No airport. But I can hear planes just to my north.
So I head back west. North. Next exit. East again.
It was later that I learned that I'd gone north on one interstate (turnpike), but come south on one more to the west of the other somehow. Hence, the lack of signage sayin' "Hey Youse..yahr, youse finoke in da rental cahr: dis way over heah".
I finally find the cahr rental place, and blow an enormo sigh of relief as my sphincter is allowed a bigger sigh of relief. Then I happily hop aboard a van to my hotel, a Holiday Inn near the airport.
As we approach it, I turn to the driver and ask in mock horror, "is this the Holiday Inn or Newark Correctional facility?": in the lights of the facility, I see that the first two floors of the building had bars on the windows.
She didn't seem to appreciate my sense of humor. Perhaps I should have given her the eyebrow wiggle afterward, but I began to suspect she mighta had "dat type of dem connections, 'ey...".
What she appreciated even less -- as I would gain another snippet in my rather lacking northeastern etiquette education -- was the fact that I didn't offer up a generous tip after I disembarked at the hotel front guard tow...er...entrance. In the words of Heart, "if looks could kill..."
Fortunately, I drew a room on da fourth floor with a view of nothing, though at least the windows weren't barred this high up. Guess the gangstas ain't got no ladders that high. Better still there was no apparent curfew or bed check.
Early the next morning, I was ready with tips (aka, bribe money) to get me to the airport, and aboard my flight back to Indy. The shuttle driver -- a bent nosed Soprano-lookin' sort widda penchance for grunting in lieu of forming woids -- seemed singularly unimpressed widda fin I left widdem. At least he delivered me to the ahrpoht, an' not da East Rivah, y'knowadda mean?
Needless to say, but say I will: after arriving back in Indianapolis, the drive back to cold, blustery Richmond was a joy. Really.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Possession Is Nine-Tenths Of the Problem
Demonic appliances? Surely this is something of an overreach. Only in the minds of Stephen King, Hollywood, or a retired coworker who hates the computer age, does such go from imagination to a degree of reality, right?
It's always been my take that when a home appliance goes phffft, it's defective, worn out, or -- in my case -- improperly used. Fix it or replace it, and that's that.
Or is it?
Murphy's Law says that "if anything can go wrong, it will". Nothing out of the ordinary there. But having done a wee bit of research on ol' Murf, I uncovered an obscure, little-knowd Murphyism as addendum to the original: "the devil's in the details".
I 'spect the devil is moving beyond the detail stage.
Look at it with the same twisted logic that I regularly do: if the "devil" can possess Man, why wouldn't it be able to possess anything that Man creates? In the Stephen King short story The Mangler, the devil possesses a large steam clothing iron. In Hardware Wars, the Dark Side of the Farce -- arguably demonic -- made tactical use of toasters, waffle irons and electric hair curlers. In Star Trek (TOS), the devil took over the main computer of the Enterprise, until cast out by Mr. Spock's devilishly clever math question.
Don't think that for a moment, the "devil" -- whatever you conceive it to be -- doesn't have access to cable, and learns a thing or two from shows like The Jerry Springer Show.
Recently I received a letter from a friend in Texas, wherein she noted that her sewing machine was "acting possessed". I considered this most ominous: imagine the havoc that demonic spirits could do from within a sewing machine, seamlessly sabotaging critical buttons and stitches that fall at the most inopportune moments (forgetting Janet Jackson for a mo'). It seems to me that this was a stitch in bad need of a cross.
So I made one up.
Always willing to extend the hand of politically incorrect and dubious assistance to a damsel in a dissed dress*, I personally designed and field-tested an exorcism ritual, targeting not specifically only her sewing machine, but a variety of other common home appliances:
1. First, make sure that absolutely no one else is home. You don't want the ejected spirits to have an escape outlet, nor do you want to be made fun of at the next 30 or so years of family reunions.
2. Unplug all other potential "host" appliances (see #1).
3. Shut the door to the room; shutter the windows and turn out the lights.
4. Light three candles, placing them in such a manner as to not set the room on fire, lending aid and comfort to the enemy, let alone enhancing those family reunion stories.
5. In a pleasant, conversational tone, introduce yourself to the possessed appliance. Calmly tell it what you intend to do: you're going to recite the following litany until the demons vacate the premises (note: you must maintain a straight face at this stage; sincerity, real or imagined, is important).
6. Start by telling the possessed appliance this: did you hear about the skeleton that clattered into a local bar and ordered a beer and a mop? (if you hear a tiny shriek from within the device, don't be dissuaded; continue)
7. Follow with this one: did you hear about the constipated mathematician? He worked it out with a pencil (any noise from the device signals progress...continue).
8. Then hit it hard with this one: avoid dangerous cults by practicing safe sects (the device will begin to tremble, the shrieks will intensify; don't back down now).
9. And follow immediately with this one: what do you get when you cross a Jehovah's Witness with an atheist? Someone who knocks on your door for no reason (the machine should really start rocking about now...you gottem' on the run).
10. Now it's time to show the demons you mean business: what does an elephant use for a tampon? A sheep (the shrieks should now be at fever pitch, and if the machine had eyes to roll, they'd be spinning like tops).
11. Now go to full-court press: a bear and a rabbit are taking a sh** in the woods. The bear turns to the rabbit and asks, "Mr. Rabbit, does sh** stick to your fur?" and the rabbit responds "why no, Mr. Bear, it doesn't", so the bear wiped his bum with the rabbit (the demons within are now beyond shrieks, and it seems as if the device is about to explode...).
12. Now for the set-up for a knockout: what's the difference between a saloon and an elephant passing gas? A saloon is a bar room, and an elephant passing gas is BARRRROOOOOOOOOOMMMM! (sometimes, this will negate the need for #13 in and of itself; if not..)
13. And now for the pastry resistance as they say in France: if a sheep is a ram, and a donkey is an ass, why is a ram in the ass a goose?
Like Ahmadinejad and his Iranian imam, fleeing a hog stampede, you'll hear one last, tortured spasm of groaning agony, and with that, your appliance will be demon-free.
I must conclude with a word of warning, however: do not try this with possessed computers, especially if possessed with Windows Vista. Haven't found a counter for that 'un just yet...
* ducking boos and throwd thimbles...
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
"Rabbit Tracks....Train Tracks.."
Monday, November 9, 2009
Anatomy of a Piss-off III
Neener F***ing Neener,
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Anatomy of a Piss-off II
"I am waiting for the wiring information of the company's balance. You will not withhold additional funds beyond what was agreed. If we do not get the company balance within 24 hours, we will take LEGAL ACTION AGAINST YOU".
I guess he wanted that to stick. So I responded as you might expect: I didn't. On Friday, June 8, comes this from the Ko-ster:
"I want you to realise this is business and no joke. The company is in very URGENT need of our funds which you are holding back. We offered you this job because we were of the impression you will be an honest representative for us. I am insisting that you hold to our original agreement and send the company balance immediately as we will brook no further delay (rather eloquent, ain't he?). I plead with you to be reasonable in your own interest."
So I decide to show him some reason, Oddball (from Kelly's Heroes) style:
Now there you go again...more negative waves. Have a little faith, baby...have a little faith. Now go on, get back down in your hole. Kelley, making threats you can't follow through on is foolish. It really is. You need to 'go widda flow', just like ol' Oddball I quoted there. Since you made an empty threat, I am going to up my withholding to 40%.
That drew a same-day retort:
"Uranus, I really do NOT appreciate the games you play here. I have warned you before. The company will go to ANY LENGTH TO SECURE ITS FUNDS. YOU HAVE 24HRS TO WIRE THE COMPANY'S BALANCE. YOU GOT IT?"
Ooooooooooooooooooh. Da poor puddy tat get mad. So let's make him madder:
Now I'm up to withholding 50%. You keep threatening, I'll keep upping.
On Saturday, June 9, comes this salvo:
URANUS, WHERE IS THE COMPANY BALANCE? YOU SHOULD ACT RESPONSIBLE AND KEEP TO YOUR JOB. THE COMPANY WILL GO TO ANY LENGTH TO SECURE OUR FUNDS. YOU WILL REGRET THIS.
Ooooooooooooooooooooh. Da poor puddy tat's madder. So let's throw somemore Oddball philosophy his way:
Kelley: WHY DON'T YOU KNOCK IT OFF WITH THOSE NEGATIVE WAVES! Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
So, "the company will go to any length to secure it's funds", eh? Whaddaya mean there, Kelley? Whatcha gonna do, Kelley? Hmmmm? Youse gonna come ta Houston, eh? Youse gonna bring soma da boyz in da hood, an' make widda badda boom badda bing, Kelley? Fuggetaboutdit! Youse don' know da town like I does, youse mug. But youse play ball wid me heah, an' mebbe I cut you in onna piece of th' action heah, y'know wadda mean, phinoke? In da meantime, I'm gonna keep 60% of da poke heah, Kelley. Ah'm gonna learn ya, Kelley, ya don' git nowhere makin' idle threats, putz.
Comes Monday, June 11, and Mr. Ko has gone from threats to something akin to grovelling:
"Dear Uranus: I beg you in the Name of whatever you believe to understand the plight of the company at the moment. This delay you are causing us is terribly affecting the operations. PLEASE wire the company's balance as agreed. We never expected this from you...and there are much more outstanding payments pending for you to take care of *TOING*. All can be forgiven but you must wire the funds immediately."
On Tuesday, June 12, he followed up with this further grovel:
"Uranus: Please keep the percentage you want and wire the company balance for the sake of peace. We are in urgent need of these funds. I never expected this from you. This behaviour of yours is extremely UNFAIR."
*TOING*...I'm being *UNFAIR*? Okay...so I am, in his realm. Therefore, I decide to let him think he hit a resonant chord with me there:
Kelley: a good friend of mine discussed with me this situation, and to my surprise, she sided with you. She says I am being most immature and unfair to you, and if my word is my buns, I should make good to you.
Since her opinion is one I have always respected until now, I have decided to adhere to our original agreement. I will withhold only 10%, and I will send the respective balance to the two designated company recipients you had specified earlier. I will do this on Thursday, June 14.
I do not expect you to retain my services in view of how I behaved; I am rather impulsive sometimes. But I am okay with you firing me. So...I will email you when the transaction is complete.
Next up, Anatomy of a Piss-off III.