Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Far East Fun With Seymour & Jane

When I was a wee cog in a corporate giant, I had occasion to do some business travel. Quite a bit of it, actually. Most of the 38 states I've seen or set foot in came about because of my business travel. Once, and only once, have I ventured beyond the shores and borders of what makes the USA what it is (before Congress screws things up, but I digress). So I'm hardly what one would call a world traveller.

This, however, can no longer be said about my pet rock and earette of corn.

Y'all know about Seymour and Jane: my multifaceted pet rock and purloined-from-Iowa earette of corn. Well, since the early part of April...they've been overseas. In Japan. Guests of Japan Lite writer and talented entrepreneur Amy Chavez (pictured above). At the end of March, she was in Colorado, vacationing and property prospectin'. When we scheduled to get together to meet (we'd been exchanging website visits and correspondence since '00), Amy insisted I bring along Seymour and Jane.

See, Seymour -- besides having been totally taken by Jane since her arrival in September of '05, as well as having a 'thing' with Texas-based Monica -- was equally taken by Amy, and her stories of island living on Shiraishi Island (located in the Inland Sea), and her seasonal Mooooo! Bar (pictured above).

So I brought Seymour and Jane to the Buffalo Restaurant and Bar in Idaho Springs, CO, on the last day of March, hardly prepared for Amy's suggestion: that she be allowed to take Seymour and Jane back to Japan, to spend a season at the Moooo! Bar.

Seymour and Jane were so excited, I had to quickly agree, or wind up paying for the table Seymour was putting divots in with his eager "say YES!!!!!!!!!!" jumping up and down. Thus it came to pass, that my pet rock and earette of corn are now on Shiraishi Island, Japan (see beach shot above).

According to Amy, Seymour took right to island life (more photos to come), including getting chummy with the boulder that threatens to squash her quaint island bungalow (nicknamed "Fred" by Amy, in hopes that at least in this case, familiarity doesn't breed contempt). Seymour's gone sailing, visited a religious shrine, and become quite popular around the Moooo! Bar.

Jane, on the other hand, was slow to warm to the change in venue. She did come around, according to Amy, after she (Amy) and Seymour had a 'host to pet rock' chat on the facts of life in Japan, which helped Seymour get Jane more comfy with the new environs.

Though, that 'chat' had other unintended/anticipated consequences, leading to quite a surprise.

In the next related installment (aka, Part II): "I'm Gonna Be A WHAT???!"

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Simply Put

Nothing else need be said, save for thank you, veterans.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Romance (?!) In Bar Light

From about 1997 until 2004 (when it disbanded), I belonged to a small online writing group. Our facilitator would periodically (usually once a month) send out a writing 'assignment'. The group (it averaged between 6-9 members at any given time) had a week to ten days to complete the 'assignment', and share it with the group. Critiques were simple: only positive feedback.

It was a pretty interesting, diverse group. We had a couple of accomplished writers. A technical writer. A budding novelist. A poet. And several persons who passed through the group with varied writing abilities, but no lack of enthusiasm for digging in and giving each and every assignment a try.

And like with any group, there had to be a class clown: moi.

The group quickly on came to expect the most off-the-wall takes on assignments from yours truly. From mortal combat with fruitcakes to contact with new-age tennis shoes taken as alien life forms, I never failed to leave 'em scratchin' their collective haids.

Like with this one (from 2003) hyar.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Don't Send In The Clowns

No need (Judy); I'm here.

Saturn is the latest to figure that out. Again.

A couple years or so ago, a Saturn dealership -- not the one I frequent for auto service -- sent me an introductory and thank you letter for my having visited their facilities. In Fort Collins, CO. I live in Lakewood.

My written reply to them went unresponded to (view it hyar, if you dare).

This time, it's Saturn of Highlands Ranch who gets the edumacation.

In short: they sent me a letter, offering to buy back my Saturn 2000 SL 1, in return for "factory incentives and high trade-in values", resulting in "an exchange with little or no money down and a monthly payment that fits your (my) budget".

How soon they forget (and less they communicate): Saturn of Denver (my then and current service destination for my current auto) sent me "an offer ah couldn't refuse" in '03, even then seeking my '00 SL 1.

Since Saturn had the ad with the Ion and the clowns (aka, "putting the fun back in driving"...gag me with a front end loader), I thought working that into my "let them down easy" reply letter would help.

Probably not, but I digress. And yes, I actually sent them the following letter:

May 18, 2006

Saturn of Highlands Ranch
6828 E. County Line Rd.
Highland Ranch, CO

Re: Test Market/Buy-Back Event, May 18-20, 2006

Dear Saturns/ettes of Highlands Ranch:

I am in receipt of your very kind and generous offer regarding my 2000 Saturn SL 1. A most intriguing offer, to be sure. One I'd probably jump all over, save for one wee factoid: you're too late.

In 2003, Saturn of Denver (yes, your brat siblings) pitched me a 0% financing offer for an '03 Saturn, if I'd talk turkey with them over my then '00. After a few hours of practice with correspondence course language tapes, I was able to achieve a proficiency in turkeyese that left the SoD sales staff bearing the same collective expressions as the AFLAC duck after his run-in with Yogi Berra.

Same went for me, since I have no idea what I said or signed for, then or since. For all I know, they sold me an Ion and the ownership papers to Newark, NJ. But I digress.

Bottom line: my 2000 SL 1 hasn't been mine since June 9, 2003. I am the proud almost-owner (with 0% interest admirably assisting the process) of a 2003 Saturn Ion (and perhaps Newark); it didn't come equipped with clowns (to, in your words, put the fun back in driving), but it didn't need any. If I hadn't scared them all off with my tornado chasing in '04 and '05, I'm still all the clown this poor car will ever be subjected to. Unless, of course, I start dating again, and we're not going there in this letter.

If you contact your brat sib..kindly brethren at Saturn of Denver (start with the ever-efficient and charming Lorene), perhaps they can put you in touch with the person/persons who now have what was once my one-owner Saturn 2000 SL 1. Maybe you won't have to talk turkey with them; if you do, I can loan you some tapes to help you brush up. It's not that time of the year when blaze orange clothing is required to keep the conversation free of rude interruptions from Elmer Fudd, so now's the time.

At any rate (and I doubt it's 0% anymore), happy SL 1 hunting.


I'll be more than happy to share with you any reply I get from them. Which I didn't in the aforementioned case link.

In an unrelated (and not) note, Monica now has official bona fides to prove she's mentally a top her game (not that any of us had doubts); yall have this blog to unofficially prove I'm just the opposite. If you need further proof, ask Saturn of Highlands Ranch. Or Saturn of Ft. Collins...PETA...the British Royal Family... etc.

*running away in oversized shoes, honking a silly sounding horn...*

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Yep...She Dun It

Yep...she dun it.

I wasn't gonna say anything about it; but since she already did...

Not being much of a phone person, I don't make a lot of calls. I had, but no longer have, a cell phone that was so little used, it forgot what its' own number was.

But on this particular day, I 'dropped a dime' (fits the era in the photo, not nowadays) to Monica's cell phone. Which she answered. At the mall.

With FoN.

While we chatted about this and that, FoN -- discernible in the background and ever-eager to get on with the shopfest -- made it clear that delay wasn't getting the money spent. At which point, Monica 'realized she was missing something'.

Her cell phone.

A moment later she found it.

Right next to her ear.

I was a gentleman. Sort of. I didn't laugh. Not immediately.

Granted, we're all forgetful at one time or another. I know folks who 'lose' their glasses, only to find them perched on top of their haid. Missing keys in plain sight are a problem for many. I've been known to get up to get something from another room, only to forget what it was I was going after when I get there.

So misplacing a cell phone next to ones' ear is...*resisting a LOLfest*...unique. I have to admit, it's a first for me: talking to someone who's using the very thing they can't find.

Wait 'til I tell Seymour and Jane about this 'un.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Night of the Voice

I'm not crazy; I just write/act like it sometimes.

Granted, my friends and coworkers beg to differ; but just because I've been hit in the head with a bird house, and fell out of a tree getting firewood, that doesn't prove the prima facie case. At least, not to me.

Nor do the true-life episodes of the Poseidumb Adventure, or my efforts to defy Nature and get to work in two of the worst blizzards of my life (1982, 2003), nor my storm chasing for photos, prove that I'm certifiable. At least, not to me.

Then came the other night, and I was almost convinced the others were right.

In my current job as a landless serf, I work a mild variety of shift variations (aka, the hours suck). I can have start times that vary up to four-six hours, and end times that vary about the same. Right now, it's a mixed bag of late swing/early-mid graveyard hours. By the end of a 'normal' (snort) week, I'm a bit...off my game. Some folks refer to it as 'tired'.

Earlier this week, I was finishing up another stretch that amounted to 52 hours over 5 nights. It was about 3:30am, and I was driving along in mental autopilot along I-70, eastbound for home. It was quiet; I didn't even have the radio on. No music. No whistling or humming. I was just enjoying the sound of the wind against the car, the rubber against the pavement, and the occasional epithets from an elk who I'd barely missed near the Chief Hosa exit.

I guess he/she thought it was their road at that hour of the morning, but I digress.

At any rate, a couple of times during the descent into Lakewood, I ever so briefly thought I heard something. A voice.

Couldn't be: I was alone. My radio was off. I was miles beyond hearing range of cursing elk, and I wasn't even muttering suggestions about their dubious antecedence to myself.

Later, as I was exiting I-70 for US 6 east, I thought I heard it again. A voice. I glanced ahead, and was assured that I had avoided the cursing elk: no front end damage or gesturing antlers were gracing my grille.

When I exited US 6 for the frontage road and the backway home and had to stop for cross traffic -- of which there was none -- I was now certain.

I was hearing a voice.

I checked the radio. It was off. I turned it on. The voice sounded like the one on the radio. I turned it off. The voice persisted.

Danged fool piece of apparatus, I thought.

I turned it back on...I turned the volume all the way down, and then off. The voice persisted.

I looked around for someone's planted remote-controlled speaker; any day of April is fair game with the April Fools' crowd at work. But there was none. No hidden cameras. No Allen Funt, which is good -- really good -- since he's dead.

Still, the voice persisted.

As I drove the last couple of miles home, I pondered the options: (a) I had a short in the car's sound system, which would require $$$ worth of annoying repairs I could barely afford, (b) that it might persist after I shut the car off, draining the battery and furthering my annoyance, or (c)...I had finally achieved the official level of lost it.

At last I arrived home and parked. I shut the car off. Removed the key from the ignition, which usually kills the lights, radio, etc. Still the voice persisted.


As I wearily dragged myself out and began tallying the time and costs associated with some annoying repair bill, something went *TOING* in my head. Which made sense: pondering my fiscal fate, I stood up too quickly, clipping the edge of the car roof (I get a bit clumsy when tired).

Still the voice persisted.

Then a second *TOING*: I popped open the trunk and was confronted by IT. The Voice.

During my abrupt evasive action with the cursing elk, the contents of my car's trunk had shifted in flight: the handle of my emergency snow shovel had clipped the back edge of my emergency light. Where the on-off switch is for the AM emergency radio.


I turned it off; the voice silenced.

All was right with the world again...until I hit my head on the inside of the trunk lid.

At least the voice I was hearing was now my own... *#@*%@!

Somewhere, the elk laughs.