Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Schlitz and Giggles

While buying essential liquids at my favorite liquor-mart today I did a double-take - was that Schlitz long-neck bottles? Yes indeed. On a long and entirely worthwhile quest to sample as many beers of my dad's generation as possible, hopefully on tap or in bottles, my only brush with Schlitz was chancing across a $5 12-pack of cans circa 1999; it was swill, and low-grade swill at that. But now Schlitz is trying a comeback with the original recipe which was abandoned circa the late 1970s - they sped up the brewing process, had hops problems that kept the brew from foaming, and the death knell came when they tried to fix the foaming problem with a seaweed derivative that over time hardened into chunks at the bottom of the bottle... a turnoff to even the least choosy beer drinkers. So now they're back with the "1968 recipe" and a bottle with a 1950s style logo. And the first bottle's pretty good. Now for the next five.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How Drive Car Good Down Road

(I stole this image from another Blogspot user and I DON'T CARE!)

I feel it's time to gently share a few observations I've made while traveling the highways, byways and whyways (why did I take this route???). So here goes.
1) Why it's called a "merge"/"acceleration" lane - the concept is that you pace your speed to merge (ie join the flow) of traffic. This isn't accomplished by stopping at the end and CERTAINLY not by stopping at the beginning of the lane and looking helplessly at the cars streaming past. Hint: adjust your speed in the lane so as to pop into a gap between cars as you reach the end of the lane.
2) Making a right-hand turn. This is especially noticed on my highway commute home. You do not need to slow to a stop before turning - your car WILL NOT fall over. Practice taking your right turns a few miles an hour faster each time you do so. When you hear rubber screech and hubcaps fly off, back it off a bit.
3) Similarly to #2 - when going through a parking lot in your big-ass SUV you do not need to slow to one m.p.h. to cross a speed bump. Although you clearly do not know this your SUV has features such as a rugged suspension system and increased clearance between wheels and fenders that, ironically, make it ideal for hitting speed bumps at 30. Any slower and you're cheating yourself.
4) Conversely to #3: Slow the fugg down in parking lots - especially you damn kids that are texting, chugging Red Bull and watching Tokyo Drift on your dashboard DVD player! Ever had to clean a bird out of your grille? Yucky, right? Believe me, cleaning a toddler out of the grille is much worse.
5) What's up with this? I drive @25 miles of a two-lane US highway every weekday. A lot of people coming the opposite direction pull right to the point they're almost in the gravel shoulder when they meet oncoming traffic. Which can lead to all kinds of unpleasant things. Here's a tip: just stay to the right of that line down the center of the road, and I will too - and we won't collide!!!
I'm sure I forgot a thing or two - but will add them as I think of them. You've been warned.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vacation Vignette #3 - American Idyll/Wrap-up

(since B'spot loads the photos weird, we have: vintage liquor store sign in Longmont, hummingbird eating lunch at River Spruce, Trail Ridge Road snow in Rocky Mtn. Natl. Park, bull elk in RMNP, river view at River Spruce)
Well, there hasn't been much time for blogging lately, but I figured I'd better finish the vacation series while I still remembered it. We pulled out of Ft. Morgan Sunday morning for an easy two-hour drive up Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park. I got the jimjams driving up the canyon like I do every time I'm there, thinking about the horrendous flood of 1976. Donna wasn't familiar with it so when we hit EP too early to check into our cabin we went to the library and got online and found this (very sobering) video account of the tragedy that killed 140+ people: http://www.coloradoan.com/news/thompson/
I also looked in old phone books to find the cabins I stayed in with my parents and my mom's family back when I was an incredibly cute three-year-old; I found that "Mrs. Baldozier's Cabins" were actually called "Triple R Cottages" but there was just a road listed, no address, so I couldn't visit the site. Fooey. We killed enough time to go to the superlative River Spruce cabins. Ever checked into someplace based on their website and found out what can be accomplished with strategic photography? Not here!! Twenty feet from a rushing mountain river... uh-oh, the Big Thompson River... oh well... cabin in fine shape, our own hot tub, home-made rolls or banana bread every morning delivered to the door, neat as a pin, well-furnished and lots of extras... attentive proprietors, they even bought a four-wheeled cart for guests to haul luggage down the wood-chip path to the cabins after they saw the horrendous amount of STUFF we brought along. We settled in, found out the bonus feature: cell phones don't work here! - and relaxed. Of course, after about 16 hours relaxing, I was going somewhat nuts, feeling the need to disassemble an old lawn mower or something along that line. I left Donna to revel in natural bliss and sought out EP's thrift shops. At one I found a bunch of Judy Collins albums (don't laugh, she used to be real real good) and went up to pay. The elderly lady running the cash register was hooked to an oxygen machine, fair enough, but balanced on top of the machine were two half-pints of Ten High bourbon (fuck metric, I'm not saying 200mL!!) WTF?? We went to a miniature golf course that had been in business since 1966 and the elderly owner remembered the Baldoziers!! There were a series of great meals at the little pub a mile toward town, the Dunraven Inn just a few hundred yards south, Mary's Lake Lodge where we were unprepared for the mountain of food placed before us. Every night we drove up the road just for the herds of elk and mule deer we could stop and observe up close. I went on another solo excursion, got lost, and found.. the Triple R Cottages, alive and well about, ummmm, 42 years since I last visited them! My memories are pretty faint but they did ring a bell, searching old photos to compare to the ones I took.
All good things come to an end and we left EP for Woodland Park for our old haunt, a group of duplex cabins.. well, they call them suites... which are fine in their own right but the people that used to own them sold out to a pair of evil commie infidel zombies... if I'm not being too judgmental. We managed to work around them and enjoy ourselves in Woodland, Manitou and C-Springs, hanging out and guitar hunting with Fred-o, then subsequently drinking a tad too much at the Loop wiff him, an annual tradition. Our last night there we headed for Mollica's Italian Restaurant and Deli but they had fiendishly started closing earlier than listed on their website so we ended up at Outback... which is fine when that's where you're headed, not so good as a substitute, especially when at the booth across the aisle there's this SCREAMING LITTLE BRAT BOY and that picture of the Lindbergh baby in his shallow grave keeps flashing across your mind and then you find out they quit offering SHRIMP ON THE BARBIE but somehow you make it through and the next day it's five hundred miles home and you find out that the neighbors mowed your lawn while you were gone and you even find peace with the screaming brat, sort of, and you dig out the bottle of Piping Rock schnapps.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vacation Vignette #2 - Drive-In Me Crazy!

Leaving Cawker City and the Big Ball of Twine sadly behind, we hit Hill City and headed north to Hwy. 36 west, Colorado-bound via a corner of Nebraska. The next day would be Sunday so I stopped in some small town, not even sure which side of the border, to replenish my peppermint schnapps supply (I've got a lot of Austrian blood, folks). Everywhere in the USA I've been there are two brand choices: Hiram Walker's and DeKuyper's. This place had "Piping Rock" made in St. Louis. Oh well, I gave it a shot (NPI). After driving through some remote Nebraska backcountry we arrived in Ft. Morgan, Colo. along Hwy. 34. This stop was carefully orchestrated by me because Ft. Morgan still has an operating drive-in theatre. We'd been wanting to attend one for years. All my careful orchestrating couldn't do anything about the feature that night... Hannah Montana. But I'd known that going in, and figured sneaking a couple drinks before/during the show would help ease the pain.

First we needed dinner though, and picking were slim. I found one likely sounding spot in the visitor's guide. Unfortunately when we got there it appeared to have been closed a couple of years. The guide also listed a bar and grill with the following features: "Big Screen TVs, Pool, and toilet seats on the wall." Not among my major requirements , but novel, so we headed there. Row of Harleys in front and a big "Biker-Friendly" sign. We decided to forego the toilet seats and look elsewhere. Maybe we could have made friends and invited everybody to go see Hannah with us, but oh well. We ended up at someplace that called itself a pub. Word to the wise - anyplace that calls itself a pub in the USA very likely sucks. This one sure did. My wife ordered a Crown Royal shot and got something totally not Crown (might have been made by Piping Rock though). They charged like it was Crown though... five and a half bucks. Enough of this mediocre meal. Let's go to the movies!

It was right down the street from the vintage motel we were at. Got through the gate no problem, was expecting a car search like when I was in high school. Picked a good spot. A dozen cars were there and more filtered in. And I began to see why there aren't many drive-ins any more: there are too many frigging idiots. Okay, it could have been worse, but people were backed into spots and turning their headlights on, at least two cars had some drive-in-unfriendly feature where every time a door was opened (i.e. almost constantly) the brake/parking lights would blink three times... a couple geniuses managed to set off their car alarms in mid-show. I fortunately was able to drink enough to tune these maroons out and concentrate on Hannah. I learned that she leads a regular life as country girl Miley Cyrus and almost nobody knows she's Hannah even though she spent most of the movie doing a very shaky job of covering up her alter ego.
Most memorable time at the drive-in was when I was @17 and managed to drink enough Jim Beam and Coke to a) Cry at Steve Martin's The Jerk - and that's a lot of Jim Beam - and b) vomit a rather nasty brownish fluid all over the side of my friend's car as he drove me home (and he left my parents' lawn chairs sitting there too, thanks, Paul!) As Miley sang a poignant song about how her dad Billy Ray used to compare her to a caterpillar, I felt a tear or two trickle down my cheeks. History repeats itself, minus the puke.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Vacation Vignettes #1 - Fine Like Twine

Summer's just around the corner and we managed to find time to hit the road in search of new vistas and fresh annoyances. It seemed our journey had hardly begun when we found ourselves in Cawker City, Kansas: home of the world's largest ball of twine!
Well, not so fast. There's a long-standing dispute with Darwin, Minn. because they have their own big ball o' twine (Kansas in general has problems with Darwin but that's another story). This one's bigger but has been added onto by townspeople after creator Frank Stoeber died in 1974. So Darwin's is the largest wound by one person, Francis Johnson, who spent four hours a day winding it. Obviously this is some kind of rare psychosis that manifests itself in twine-winding. Although the sign in Cawker claims "Thrift + Patience = Success." I guess it's success of a sort.
Here's the whole sordid story for those who want to know more (anybody?): http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2128
Next installment: We go to the drive-in movie and get irritated!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

31 flavors and instant death on the highway!

Wow, it seems like only last night that I was posting about soon there would be new weirdness and annoyances to write about! In fact, it was last night. And about not posting about food. Oh well. Crappy day at work so I stopped at Baskin-Robbins for a cone on the way home, first time in maybe six years or so. I ordered a single-dip waffle cone (black walnut) and found that 1) a single dip only half fills the cone, and b) the girl making the cone was hanging her medium length hair above all the ice cream as she scooped, unencumbered by a hairnet. There's your annoyances right there. So I continue home trying to taste a little black walnut amongst the cone, finish it and a few miles later, on the highway, an oncoming car drifts onto the gravel shoulder, turns sideways, and goes hurtling past me maybe two feet away. Ends up sliding backward into an embankment. There's your weirdness. So after I got home, I'm thinking: skip the ice cream, I'm miles away when the car wipes out. But if sloppy ice cream girl had screwed up counting my change, maybe I'm 100 yards back and that car hits me. Think I'll go back and tip her.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's been a while...

...since I last posted. Work has been busy and so has home... don't write about food again... no topics have jumped into my head lately... NO FOOD!... so I'm just checking in to assure the multitudes that I will return... not with another food post though!... spring is just around the corner with the promise of new weirdness and annoyances to write about... no more stories about getting po'ed at restaurants because that's still FOOD!... anyway I'm having trouble concentrating so will sign off here... let's go get a snack!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hot Dog Blog

Georgia hot, Coney Island, dog, footlong, frank, coney, frankfurter, redhot, sausage, weenie, wiener. To paraphrase Shakespeare, a hot dog by any other name would taste as sweet. (After I had titled and mentally written this part of the blog I went looking for pictures and stumbled upon The West Virginia Hot Dog Blog which uses the Shakespeare quote in a different context as well as containing my title. But tough toenails, I am already committed to this.

Every life needs one great purpose. I've found mine... the search for the perfect hot dog. Here are my credentials: up until about age 11 I refused to eat hamburgers - we had to go to places with hot dogs. Which was a bit easier in the 1960s (I guess that's just one credential. Well, I'm always eager to sample the local hot dog fare when traveling. Slaw dogs in Georgia, the Wienerschnitzel chain out west, Whistle Dogs in Canada (with bacon, cheese and relish!) and the Indiana Trinity: Dog 'n' Suds, B&K and Peru's pride, Mr. Weenie). Finally about 1974 I was at my best friend's dad's hog farm trapped without food and his mom showed up with hamburgers - most likely a planned technique of indoctrination (at least they were from the obscure and long gone chain Drummer Boy). Anyway, my search at present has yielded the area chain Freddy's Frozen Custard. It not only has hot dogs, it has three varieties - a Chicago-style and a chili cheese dog in addition to the classic HD. All three are worthwhile; the Chicago dog is a bit of culture shock, it's "dragged through the garden" and includes (if I recall correctly) mustard, onion, relish, pickle, tomato and sport peppers (which get removed from mine, because WHAT the HELL is a 'sport pepper'???). But the plain ol' hot dog is what I'm here to celebrate: toasted English bun, and with relish, ketchup and the classic zigzag stripe of mustard, it's too pretty to eat. SNARFFFFFFFF... oops, almost too pretty. Order me another, willya? Even if you only eat a hot dog or two a year, make it one from Freddy's!!
This is far too fascinating a subject for one post, I could fill the entire internet with hot dog ramblings, except I type too slow. Reveries of campfires and Eckrich cheese dogs... the search for one remaining A&W that can still cook a good coney dog... the worst hot dog in town (available at KSU sporting events)... damn, is it it suppertime yet?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

For I, too, have known suffering (another Saturday night)

There are a lot of people hurting out there right now: they've lost their investments, their retirement, their job, or their home. Now I can be added to the list.
We went to the local bar and grill Saturday night (yes, I know I said I was going to stay home Saturday nights but I thought perhaps for once things would go well). An acquaintance's band was playing and he'd mentioned some interesting covers they did like old Jefferson Airplane and Jethro Tull songs. I ordered a fried chicken salad because I had my heart set on pie ala mode for dessert. The band was playing some pretty dorky country songs -- turns out the old rock songs don't come out till late. Oh well, there's still the pie. I finally caught the attention of the waitress (who was pretty worthless, and was named - brace yourself - Cayenne!) She consulted her pad and said they were down to lemon meringue and gooseberry. Yikes. Meringue was out of the question so I ordered the gooseberry. I've seen geese in the fields the past week as they come back north for the spring, so I guess there's a good supply of gooseberries. The waitress reappears about five minutes -- empty-handed -- and says they are totally out and nobody told her. I gave her a steely glare and asked for the check. Which had a $3 charge for pie on it. Feh.
Do you understand how terrible this was? To be promised pie and then have it taken away?
I don't think losing your house can really compare.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Modest Proposal Re The Impending Crisis

Okay, gentle readers (all three of ya), the U. S. of A. is headed down the toilet. It's time for bold strokes. And that's why we need to...


It may sound radical at first. But let me outline the benefits vs. the drawbacks. .

Forget your little bubbleroof car that can only do 50 uphill. Think Road Runner, GTO, Shelby Mustang, Chevelle SS, Cougar, Charger, Corvette, Camaro, 442. Think 426 Hemi, 440 six-pack, 428 Cobra Jet, 427 and 454. Or if you're into comfort, not speed, think Lincoln Continental, Cadillac Eldorado, Chrysler Imperial. Maybe you think I'm wrong to start with the cars. But they're all made 100% in America. And gas is about 4 gallons for a buck. One more thing - they all had WING WINDOWS!

Some will miss the cell phones, video games and the internet. I, for example, will not be able to blog. These longings will pass in about two weeks.

Then there's the food. There will be tons of great little one-of-a-kind cafes and burger joints. There will be chains but they'll be solid contenders like McDonald's (the Big Mac was introduced in 1968 - I picked the year very carefully!), A&W and Kentucky Fried Chicken (where chicken will be eaten fried with the skin on it as God intended, NOT GRILLED). It'll beat the hell out of what we've got now. F**k Chili's and Applebee's. It will be full of fat and cholesterol but it will not kill us because a) nobody will be telling us it will, and b) we won't be nearly as sedentary in our swinging 1968 lifestyle. At the stores you'll only find one kind of Fritos, one kind of Cheetos, but that's all you need. Coffee drinkers - there will be four options: black; w/sugar; with cream; w/sugar and cream. Oh, and you can get those decaf as well. For those who long for their cappuccinos, lattes and espressos, these are readily available too... in Europe. Grab a plane (no security checkpoints!) and don't hurry back.

Well, MLK and RFK are gonna get shot right off the bat. But that's pretty much it in major assassinations till John Lennon in 1980, so that's a nice break.

Rock and roll might have peaked a couple years earlier but is still plenty good. Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison are still alive in varying states of decay. The Beatles are still together. Songs by rock bands, R'n'B artists, country performers and pop singers all make the same chart.

For the antiwar types we're now fighting in Vietnam rather than Iraq. We're trying to stop Communism rather than terrorism. Just make some new signs, and you'll find there's lots more protests to participate in. There's one coming up in a couple years at Kent State you might want to pass on though.

We'll still have a democrat president redistributing wealth to the nonproducing members of our society. But all the kids will hate him. Later in the year we'll take a turn for the better, with, umm... anyway...

Schools will be housed in buildings dating to the early part of the 20th century if not older. There will be no computers. Few classrooms will be air-conditioned. Students will receive an education far superior to the the one they would receive today.

The druggies will need to step carefully. Sure, there's pot, acid, and all kinds of stuff. But get caught with a couple joints and you're in jail till... 2009 - OUCH!! Groundhog Day!!

Kids will ride everywhere on their bikes instead of vegetating in front of a DVD or video game. They will never wear a helmet and none will ever receive a head injury in a bike wreck. Their parents will have little idea of where they are when they are out riding, and the kids will have at best a vague warning of "men in cars offering candy" but they'll always be home in time for supper. Or maybe ten minutes late.

Sorry, there will be no revolutionary Segway scooter. But you can get a Vespa, Cushman or Lambretta scooter and have a hell of a lot more fun, and not look like a total dork.

There will only be three television networks. But most of the shows will be pretty damn good. And no reality shows!!

Electronics will be expensive, sometimes as much or more in 1968 dollars as they are in today's dollars. On the other hand, they will probably last years and years without repairs, will be made in the USA, and if they do break, you pay a small charge to a repair shop, not throw them away and buy another.

Oh, also, you probably won''t know anyone who is unemployed.

I know we'll need a few months to set this all up, but I hope I've made my case. Gotta go, there's a new episode of The Monkees coming on!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chevrolet saves the day!

Amidst fears and speculation of the venerable motor company's impending bankruptcy, GM engineers have come through in the clutch (no pun intended) with a futuristic design they plan to introduce in 2010. Dubbed the "Corvair," it's a radical rear-engine design (so the trunk's in front, folks!) with an air-cooled flat-six engine. In the promotional photo above, the Corvair is shown undergoing rigorous testing on the barren surface of the moon.
Perennial presidential candidate and irritating gadfly Ralph Nader quickly dubbed the new Chevy "unsafe at any speed." A GM spokesman quickly fired back "We drove it on the frigging moon and nobody got hurt, for godsakes!"
Stay tuned for updates!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reservations about reservations.

I'm beginning to wonder why I bother. A couple of weeks ago we were going into town on a Saturday for dinner and then to catch some music. To avoid a long wait I called the restaurant and made reservations; we had a limited amount of time for dinner to make the show. We ended up getting slightly delayed so we called and said that we had a 6:30 reservation and would be a few minutes late. They told us not to worry, there was a wait anyway. Hmmm. We showed up and got handed a pager like the other shlubs who were wandering up, who were being told 45 minutes to get a table. I stewed for a while, then one of the waitstaff came up to ask if'd we'd like drinks brought to us. I unloaded on him about what was the point of taking reservations if no table is held... etc. For once it worked and that pager was vibrating like a sex toy with new Duracells within a couple of minutes.

So last night, another Saturday and Valentine's Day to boot... we're just going to the restaurant in our small town, but it's kind of popular in the area so I had reservations, even let them pick a time when it might be a bit less busy. We got there and the owner tries to seat us at a table where another couple is sitting. Ye gods. What a romantic evening that would have been. He actually convinced a couple of people to do so but we held out and got a crappy little table of our own eventually, hurray. Remind me to stay home next Saturday night.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A thousand possibilities!

A few weeks ago I picked up a Gibson electric guitar at a good price, a fairly nice model with the fancy hardshell case which includes a combination lock on one of the latches. I took pictures of it to sell on Ebay and when I went to take it out of the case to type a description this weekend... uh oh. It hadn't occurred to me but the lock was set to the combo when I got it apparently and got spun after I took photos. So I put something good on TV and sat down on the couch, pulled the case into my lap and turned the dials to 000. and 001. and 002 (I'll skip a bit).
I started thinking it would have made more sense to start higher where it might have been set to a phone prefix or something. And I kept turning digits. Did I mention I had to slide a button after each combo?
I became convinced that I'd accidentally skip the ONE NUMBER that was correct and hit 999 with the latch still closed. I wondered how much prying the latch off would affect the value.
And I hit at 175 - pretty frickin' lucky actually.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sometimes I feel so uninspired...

as Traffic once sang. I haven't posted in a while. I had one that was too political, then another one about my hometown that was coming out too pissy and not funny, so neither of them made it. And now I'm sick as the proverbial dog. But when something bloggable happens, I'll post! There's always my music blog, which is of the same questionable quality as this one:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One Adam 12...

I'm reliving my childhood lately. That is, assuming I ever left it. I've got the first two seasons of Adam 12 on DVD. I don't think I missed too many episodes as a kid. It starred Martin Milner as veteran cop Pete Malloy and Kent McCord as rookie Jim Reed. The shows are chock-full of two-bit crooks, abusive drunks, zonked-out druggies, with a sniper or saboteur thrown in to season the mix. And a parade of the worst-dressed, dumbest hippies ever seen - even in LA. One of my favorite episodes has Malloy and Reed called to an apartment building where the landlady reports that a single mom tenant has gone off and left her baby in the room... as well as a lion. They look at her like they're getting ready to slap a straitjacket on her when from behind the door comes a roar... and a baby crying. Folks, it doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

An anomaly

My wife bought a new SUV a couple weeks before Xmas. They didn't offer much for trade-in on her old Explorer so we kept it and I put it up for sale on Craigslist. First guy who called had cash but was a couple hundred bucks short of what I'd figured was the low price. He said he was a painter and offered to do painting for us to help pay.
We had a kitchen where we'd stripped most of the wallpaper but there were stubborn parts and we'd basically thrown up our hands and hadn't touched it for... well, time enough for a woman to conceive and have a baby, let's say (not to pin it down too fine). I sold the guy the Explorer, got the cash, and figured that was all I'd ever get. No carrot on a stick to induce him to come paint, he had the vehicle and the pink slip. But the $$$ were twice what the dealer offered for trade-in so screw it.
Today he showed up and painted our kitchen in lovely green and it looks @ a zillion times better. More naive people would have their faith in human nature restored.
I bet he comes back tonight to rob and kill us. Where's that handgun? ;)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

You dodged a bullet!

Despite my threat in an earlier post to start writing about music, I've decided not to alienate the doubtless tens of thousands of readers I've accumulated in my six days of blogging by writing music posts which will tend towards the obscure. So I'll do that in a separate blog and save this one for more relevant and sexier posts like:
Did you ever have a recipe that called for using leftover Thanksgiving turkey? And by the time you remembered to take the recipe when you went grocery shopping a couple-three months had gone by? And the turkey had freezer frost? And you defrosted it and went ahead with the recipe which was kinda a casserole? And when it was done you scooped out a portion and there's frickin' water in the bottom from the frosty turkey?
You never did? Hmmm... me either.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Drifting through the blogosphere

Wow, I've been a blogger for over 48 hours and already everything seems so... the same! But even if no-one is reading it there are consolations... when I get cruddy service at a store or someone passes me on the highway as I slow down for the car in front of me making a left turn (which happened today) instead of slowly seething rage that ebbs and flows inside me, I can just say 'here's something for the blog!' And with this groovy template and font, I can write stuff that ain't too good and it looks much more profound on the blog! Someday soon I'll probably start writing about music I like and weird experiences I've had... so be warned.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Brushes With Idiocy, #1 (of many)

Saturday nights are slow where we live in Smalltown (come to think of it, so are Sunday through Friday nights) so we decided to go to Hometown where I grew up (and still work) for dinner and a movie. Showtime was 7:05 and we hit town about 5:45. Our first few choices of where to eat were packed. So were the next couple. I thought we were in a recession sliding into a depression... these people should have been home sitting in dark rooms shivering under comforters with the thermostat set to 55 degrees, with minds full of dread and fear, not paying somebody to cook dinner for them. Hmmph. So we went to a place that wasn't even on the list of possibilities, but had open tables. The first brush with idiocy was our very young waitress, who seemed to be mentally communicating with some alien civilization and was taken aback everytime we'd say something to her. The place was half-empty by maybe ten minutes after we sat down but nothing was forthcoming from the kitchen for us. Finally at five till 7:00 food appeared. It had interesting colors, let's let it go at that. So we wolfed it and got out of there at 7:05 but were only a few minutes from the theatre. We arrive and the acres of parking lot were so full that some people were parking at closed adjacent businesses. And there was a line I haven't seen since opening nights of the original Star Wars movies. We got into line and checked our watches much too often. Well, there'll be a bunch of ads and previews, it'll be okay. We finally reach the ticket window at 7:30 knowing we've missed the first ten minutes. Two for "Grand Torino" I said, with a foreshadowing of disaster. "Well, actually, that's sold out" said the kid at the window. I pointed out that it would be nice to tell people before they stood in line half an hour. "We're trying to make a sign" he said. Maybe I'm overconfident, but I'm pretty sure I could have fashioned a sign in two or three minutes, since all you need are a) something to write with, and b) something to write on. It might even be possible to send one of the pimply kid employees walking up the line announcing the sell-out every 5-10 minutes, and for a really high-tech approach, a new invention called a PA (public address) speaker could be mounted on the outside wall to make said announcement!
Thinking about this, I prefer when the theatres were spread throughout town - most of the time I'm going to a show that's maybe gonna have 50 viewers and I don't need to wade through crowds of people that are going to see Saw 36 on its opening weekend. Hurry to DVD, Clint, 'cause I'm not going back to that multiplex any time soon.

The Thing That Wouldn't Die

This fine piece of machinery is a 1981 Subaru four-wheel-drive wagon. I had a longtime, somewhat perverse desire to own one of these and about eight years ago the area vo-tech school put one up for sealed bid. Nobody bid as high as they had wanted (strangely) but I was closest and ended up purchasing it for $500. It had apparently quit running and was sitting in the parking lot for years winter and summer which led to interesting things like the dash developing @400,000 cracks and some of the plastic interior bits crumbling into dust. The automotive class got it running for the auction, at least sort of. After I got it I saw the odometer had a zero in front of the 52,000 miles clocked - I had assumed it was 152,000 from the appearance. I put another $400 or so into tires and repairs. Now it's hit 83,000 miles and sad to say is the lowest mileage vehicle I own.
But apparently in Japan they don't have rust. I'm losing the bottoms of the doors and the back hatch, and various holes including a sizable one under the back window. At least four times I've been going down the road on my 50-mile roundtrip commute to work and pieces detach themselves at 65 mph. I hear a CLUNK and watch the chunk of car cartwheel down the highway. I picture a day when I'll have only a chassis with seats tooling down US 77. The winters will be a bitch.
The car has developed more lovable quirks as the years go by. A hole in the floor is liable to let spray from the wheels through if the vintage Love floormat isn't kicked over it. The hood latch shot craps but a bungee cord hooked into a hole I drilled keeps it in place just fine. The right mirror got knocked off by a flying lawn mower (I choose not to elaborate at this time). The latest is occasionally no response when I turn the key, always at the least opportune moment. This can be remedied by violence: hit the battery connections and if that fails pull the spare tire out from under the hood and hit the starter. I've started carrying a ballpeen hammer (the Ass Ponys have a great song called 'Ballpeen' but I plugged them in previous post so I won't mention it). I added a bumper sticker to the hatch door: "Yes, It's Fast, No, You Can't Drive It." Whatever the opposite of ostentatious is, this baby defines it.
When the snow falls though, it chugs its way 25 miles into work, often past a lot of newer vehicles in the ditch, even a few big 4WDs. So it's not going anywhere.
I'm used to running cars into the ground and calling the junkyard to come get 'em. But this one may outlast me.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lights, Bushels and the Bible House

Came across this picture in my files... it was taken next town over from me and i don't know what the story is... if some slick salesman selling scripture siding (say that five times fast) came by one day, or the inhabitant(this must be a solo act) took that 'don't hide your light under a bushel' admonition a bit too seriously. but a lot of the verses seem to mention neighbors so it is most likely a new slant on the time-honored tradition of neighbor vs. neighbor feuds. We can get to the interesting yellow color splashes and the touches of red another time perhaps.
There's a great ex-band named Ass Ponys that had a cool song called Bible House. Too bad I can't sync it as the soundtrack for this post. Anyway, you'd be better off checking out the Ass Ponys than reading this.

I hate blogs... how ironic

maybe it's the name ... 'blog' just isn't a word that conjures up anything I want conjured up. Or maybe it's the ratio of good ones to sucky ones. yet i have found a few that are great. this one probably won't end up falling into that category. but as our state motto goes, 'to the stars through difficulty'