Happy Wintersday!

I was at work late last night when Ed, who is a manager at the connected Arby’s, along with another man walked up to me. I didn’t know who the other man was, just an older guy, I would have guessed in his sixties. He was wearing work boots, heavy, black jeans, a sweater, a green jacket, and a beanie cap. Ed said, “Hey, Donnie, Phillip is looking for a place to stay tonight.” I was midway through my hotels on Chandler Boulevard monologue before I even knew it. As I ended with the “There is also a Sheraton at the casino across the freeway, but it is a bit expensive.” part, the look of abject horror on Ed’s face, as well as the smile on Phillip’s face told me that I was going the wrong direction with it. “Oh,” I said, “You are just looking for a warm bed for the night?”

“Yeah,” Phillip said as he handed me his I.D. (which I didn’t ask for or require, but he insisted I take), “I just got a ride in from Houston. I’m on my way back to Washington, but there aren’t many trucks running on account of the holiday.”

“Let me see what I can find.” I said to him as I offered him a seat near the payphones.

I don’t live anywhere near where I work, and in I don’t know the first thing about local homeless shelters, but I wanted to find the guy a place to stay. I called the local police department, assuming they would probably know since they are frequently called to escort vagrants from local businesses. Unfortunately, the local police department was for the Gila River Reservation, and they could only give me the number of the Chandler Police Department, who also couldn’t help, but were able to give me the number of the Phoenix police department. After a half a dozen phone calls, I was able to get the numbers of three area shelters. Since it was Christmas, though, each of the shelters informed me that they were already full. The last man I spoke with told me that a local church had opened its doors to shelter the “overflow” from the other shelters and gave me their number. The church was willing to take him in. Great. Except that the church was a good twenty miles away, through the heart of Phoenix. They also gave me the number of an emergency shuttle service to try, but said that it was unlikely they would give him a ride, since it wasn’t an emergency. I called their number but was only able to leave a message, and wasn’t too sure I was even going to get called back so late on Christmas Eve.

After I hung up the phone, I made my way to where Phillip was sitting. I told him that I had found him a place to stay, but that I was still in the process of finding him a way to get there. I offered him a cup of coffee and something to eat. He declined the food, but did get a cup of coffee. I told him he could sit in the restaurant while I found out about his ride, and went back to the phone. I called back the church, but this time I asked for driving directions. If I couldn’t find someone else to take him there, I was going to take him myself after I got off of work. He began to give me directions, then stopped and asked for my phone number. He said he would call me right back.

When he called back, he said that “since it was Christmas Eve” he had called the shuttle service himself and arranged for them to drive Phillip to the church. He then said, “You certainly seem to understand the spirit of Christmas.” I laughed. All I did was make a few phone calls to help a guy find a warm place sleep, and I would have done that regardless of the date on the calendar.

Holidays and birds

So, just a quick recap of my last couple of posts. I/we own birds, Diamond Darrel died. Yup that pretty much sums it all up.

That all led me to remember about the little headstone that I made for the first bird, Elvis. Which you can see here. It doesn’t look quite the same in digital form as it does in person, however, that really bad writing on it looks just the same either way. I never realized how difficult it would be to use a small brush to write on concrete before I made this little headstone. Now that I do know, I will likely never try to do it again. As the little pine needles in the front make it a bit difficult to read, I will mention that the date on the stone is 5-20-02. Which was, obviously, the day he died.

Never in my life did I ever imagine that I would feel such an emotional attachment to a pet that I would actually place a headstone above the grave, yet, in this case I did. I didn’t even feel that close to the little bird Elvis, but I did have to bury him. While it would be nice to not feel any emotion while performing such a task, I was overcome with emotion when it got to the point of putting the little bird into his grave. My eyes teared more for my wife than for myself, but they did tear. That is why I made that little crappy headstone for Elvis; It is extremely difficult to deal with the death of a pet, especially if you have to play the role of the one who lays the pet to rest.

Much on a side note, I buried Elvis outside of the block fence, since we had just acquired our first dog at about the same time. It turns out that my paranoia was reasonable, as our second dog is prone to digging holes all over the yard. The last thing that you want/need to see is one of your pets carrying the mummified or rotten corpse of a different pet towards you.

I really haven’t liked the birds since we first got them, and I don’t think my sentiment has changed much in all these years, however, I did create the only headstone I have ever created for the sake of one of those birds. In thinking about it, I realize that I created that much more for my wife than for myself.

Hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it?

• Being damn near Christmas already, I went ahead and took care of the festive house light situation. Since I didn’t take the lights down last year, you would think it was easy. Unfortunately, time had knocked off a major strand in the back, screwed up the arrangement on the ones on the side and made the string in the front take a bit more coaxing to get going. If you are going to be lazy, make sure that you buy strands of strings that can handle your laziness. They should absolutely be waterproof, windproof, sunproof, hell everything proof. If you can’t find lights that meet those criteria, maybe you should just leave them up for the christmas season and store them away after.

• There are ways to avoid the Christmas decoration Snafu. Most of them involve the death of at least on relative, and are not recommened. However, if you can kill only one person and make a perfect Christmas, I would really like to shake your hand (LOL or email). That would take some doing.

One must remember that the majority of people who celebrate Christmas are parasites. No one ever offers their home or services for the purpose of the meal right until it is on the table. Of course they only offer to butter bread after that. Which sucks, since they aren’t gonna stay around to wash the butter off of the dishes either.

Holidays Suck

Christmas trees and puppies

Holy Fuck! When did it turn into December? Damn it, last I knew it was still July and I was dealing with issues that didn’t relate to last minute Christmas shopping. I suppose I should have seen December coming, what with the whole passing of Labor day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving. Yet, somehow, I am still caught a bit off guard. Christmas is only supposed to happen near the end of December, and while it concerns me (in the gifting portion), it is not to be thought about or spoken of for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, that time is now upon us, that means that my usual cop-outs don’t really apply. Damn this modern society.

Thankfully, my wife is far more into the spirit of Christmas than I am. She is a crafty little devil, and makes some sort of trinket for most of the friends and family every year. Usually, she just hand paints some of the ceramic ornaments (which are really cheap at every craft store), but this year she decided to do something a bit different. That something different involved this particular item on the right.

It is not, as I had assumed, some sort of a weird, French, sexual device, no, no, way more mundane than that. Just her mock-up of a christmas tree. Note that it is complete with a little pot to stand in, and it is painted the traditional color for the said tree. Note also that the top is adorned with a star, as opposed to an Angel (while I did not ask the wife if there was any significant reason why, I am pretty sure that there are exactly two reasons. The first is that she, also, is not religious. The second is that I bet it would be damn hard to find an angel that small to top a tree.). The whole thing stands about, roughly, 10 or 12 inches tall, and never makes it past being about three inches wide. Well, never until she starts to decorate it. That little sucker looks better and better as the ornaments go on, and not just visually…

Here we see the finished product (placed on the left side of the screen for the purpose of variety). For some reason it looks like everything was photoshopped onto the initial picture, I assure you that that is not the case (likely the reduction of color depth makes it look a bit cartoonish, but what am I to do? The image would have been 1.4 megs if I hadn’t tried to reduce it…). Her little Christmas tree is ornamented by a whole bunch of little candies, which she attached to it with straight pins. I am really not sure where she got the idea to try it, but it really does look nice -much better in person-. Between the little pots, the foam cones, the stars and all of the candy, not to mention the paint, and the time that it took her to build them, she is probably, monetarily, about five dollars into each one of these little guys (not counting for time spent, of course). Of course, as with anyone with an ability for crafting, the end result seems to be the payoff.

What are the odds that you are going to be opening up presents this year, come to one from Uncle Jed, and find something so unique? It certainly beats socks, as a gift.

It seems that I can not talk enough about my dogs puppies. Today I will present the other side of the lovable little guys.

Here we see one of their faux death matches. While it appears that Zelda (the nearer one in the photo) has all four feet on the ground, the reality is that Warlock has one paw on her neck and one paw on the ground, while Zelda is swiping at Warlock’s front leg. She did hit that front leg at the conclusion of this little sparring session, that left Warlock on his back and pretty much defenseless. Then they both got up, drank some water, went outside and started barking at the world in general.

I think that I, more than most, understand that the dogs are just playing. However, when you see this nice little shot of Warlock, you might think that his intentions are not to be playful. Zelda was going for his throat, of course, but man that is a really menacing smile (with pearly white teeth, I might add, we do take care of our little dogs puppies). Of course, Warlock was on the bottom of that battle, as he always is. Warlock always submits to Zelda, regardless of the fact that he weighs almost twice as much as she does. My wife tells me that it is ‘normal behavior’ for pack animals. The Wolves are always led by a dominant female, that sort of thing. I got nothing against that, but, dear God, Warlock is damn near 80 pounds. Zelda, on the other hand, is like 40 pounds, soaking wet. Gain some machismo, Warlock.

Yet, I suppose, at the end of the day, if you are going to be getting your ass kicked this badly, you may as well concede victory. If I am ever in a battle, then take on the fetal position, I will likely begin to beg for my life. I am only as proud as my circumstances dictate. The most thankfull part of that whole scenario is that I have the knowledge and ability to use a doorknob. If dogs ever decide to stop licking their asses, hell, cats even, for an extended period of time, they may figure out that doorknobs are just not that big of an obstacle.

I certainly fear the day when our pets rise up and overthrow us, mostly because there will be cats involved. I don’t really have anything against cats, per se, but my wife is allergic to their fur, and I have never felt the need to have one around me. Not that I dislike cats, just that it is nice to point to something and have your pet stare at something other than your finger.

I suppose my two cents isn’t worth much.

Thanksgiving thoughts and National Treasure

To begin by finishing where I left off on Thursday, the remainder of the Thanksgiving went rather well. It was unfortunate that my Mother-in-law was not able to sit at the table for the meal (due to extreme pain in her hip, something I certainly can’t/won’t fault her for), but the food and the company were both good. I might add that this is the first time that one of the guest actually did the dishes before leaving, which was nice (especially for the wife, who had been busting her ass for the last couple of days to get everything ready for the feast). Of course when I think about it, no one except my wife ever seems to have to put so much time into the preparation of the meal, which includes washing most of the pans a couple of times along the way to use them to make additional dishes. Perhaps in the future we should require additional help in the final clean up. Now that is something that we could truly be thankfull for.

• Having nothing of any substance planned for this Sunday, I decided that it would be nice to go and see a movie. There were three movies playing that I had an interest in seeing, those being “Saw”, “National Treasure” and “The Incredibles”. Our theatre of choice (which is only our theatre of choice because it is always slow, especially on Sundays.) was not showing “Saw” at all, and the nearest other theatres were only showing it much later in the day. Left with the choice between “The Incredibles” and “National Treasure”, I went to check the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes. “The Incredibles” has an amazing 96% positive rating over there, while “National Treasure” is being beaten to death. I was thinking that we would go see the former, however, when I presented the options to the wife, she chose the latter. You guess which one we went to see.

How was the movie? It was pretty good.

A lot of the critics are ripping at National Treasure for being basically Indiana Jones meets The Davinci Code. That might all be true, since I have yet to read the Davinci code there is no way for me to know. Of course critics have only opinions, and opinions are not to be taken as fact. When almost every major critic is saying the same thing, however, it seems to push it from an opinion to a more-than-likely that the plot is ripped off from the aforementioned book. The fact that I didn’t read the Davinci Code might have made it possible for me to enjoy the movie, as such, I just hung on for the ride.

I am not sure whether the fact that I don’t watch a lot of movies made me enjoy it more than a seasoned movie-goer, but I must say that it kept me entertained from start to finish. There were a couple of pretty dull moments in it, as well as a couple of times where completely abstract clues were solved just a smidge to fast (putting it mildly). But in my rating system I judge only by how many times I check my watch. I checked my watch about a half a dozen times during this one, however the watch checks were not based on boredom, but on curiosity as to how much time had passed since I last checked. The first time I looked down was over an hour into it (counting the previews), so I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t having some weird episode with ‘missing time’ or something. The rest of the times that I was checking the watch were much later in the film, and then just because I really, really, wanted to see exactly what the treasure was, and wondered how much longer they could hold out on letting me see it.

Being a veteran of a lot of video games, I was not surprised to see references to the Knights Templar in the film. There have been rumors of the wealth of the Templars forever, tons of books have used that as a premise, as well as a lot of point-and-click adventure games. It is good solid mythology to base them on. Not quite as popular in the U.S. as it is abroad, I think the movie will do extremely well overseas, where they really eat these stories up.

The tie-in of the Masons was certainly meant to draw in the conspiracy theorists here in the U.S. The Masons are a society that is pretty well known, yet not many people over here know exactly what they stand for. While it is certainly true that some of the forefathers, George Washington for instance, were Masons, it is pretty likely that a lot of people who opposed the U.S. having independence were Masons as well.

Trying to combine the Legend of the Templars from centuries long ago with the Masons of today (or 200 years ago) just doesn’t fit. The Masons have set up a helpfull little page on their website for those who watched the movie and thought that every minute of it was true.

Just to venture a guess, I am gonna say that anyone who knows anything about early American history is going to have a lot of problems with this film. I don’t know much about it at all, but I still know enough to doubt the Templar/Mason aspect of it. There is also the fact that some of the clues are on printed money. While the bills have remained (virtually) the same for quite some time, there were not paper bills going back as far as necessary to make that premise work for this film (this was, I think, a way for them to avoid having to find the actual paintings that the bills were based on, which would have made the movie go a lot longer.).

Further, anyone who knows anything about modern science will point out that the shadow that is cast from the tower at independence hall will vary not only by the time of day, but also by the day of the year. My wife pointed out (and I noticed) that the place the shadow was pointing to was pretty clearly marked when viewed close up anyway, the problem with that is that the film made you believe that it could only be seen at exactly 2:22p.m. (and why p.m.? The moon will make things cast shadows on clear nights). That is not even bringing to light the fact that if 200 years had really passed since the original clue was left the shadow wouldn’t fall the same anyway. A couple of hundred years can make shadows fall a bit different, if you know what I mean.

Finally, at least as far as ripping the movie apart, the opening sequence is all too easy. Why would an old, wooden ship be anywhere near the Arctic Circle in the first place (I understand it is a bit chilly up there). Even if it was, why would it be common knowledge to everyone who signed the declaration of independence? How did the Hero in this story find information to lead him to the ship when all his ancestors had failed? (that part is not touched on at all. No mention of why he was looking there as opposed to looking at the South Pole.) Yes, ocean currents could dictate the direction of the ship, but when the ship is lost it is usually because of catastrophic disaster, not sailing into a little nook that then freezes over trapping you. Even if that did happen, why did the people die in the ship? It is then solid ground (well ice, but ice that huge motor vehicles can traverse), why not try to find a way out? Ohh, right, had they done that, they might have lived. Had that happened, I would not have had a movie to watch in the first place.

Wow, that sounds pretty brutal, and I actually liked the movie.

The movie flows pretty well. There are some times when there are far too many cut-scenes, which I suppose add to the drama, but kind of fall flat in the greater scheme. The movie is pretty long (which was a good thing in this case), which kept me wondering how much the good guys would be able to find before the bad guys got the upper hand again. The ‘riddles’ are all a bit too unbelievable, especially in the solving portion of them. Yet, it was entertaining from beginning to end. That seems to be a difficult thing for a film to achieve.

I really enjoyed the film, even when it tried to tie the Templars to the Masons. It kept my curiosity high enough that I wanted to see the final frame, just to see how it would all turn out. There was never a doubt as to whether the good guys would win, yet, the bad guys were close enough to get the upper hand quite a few times. There are a couple of unexpected twists (unless you have read the Davinci Code, evidently), that don’t really throw you off, but at least make yoy question your theory about how it will all work out.

Long story shorter, I watched this film for more than two hours and I think I got my money’s worth. You might want to make sure that you get it at matinee pricing though. Not great, but a good ride for sure.

Ebert actively hated it. A quote from the final paragraph in his review:

Cage, one of my favorite actors, is ideal for this caper because he has the ability to seem uncontrollably enthusiastic about almost anything. Harvey Keitel, who plays FBI agent Sadusky, falls back on his ability to seem grim about almost anything. Jon Voight calls on his skill at seeming sincere at the drop of a pin. Diane Kruger has a foreign accent even though she is the National Archivist, so that our eyes can mist at the thought that in the land of opportunity, even a person with a foreign accent can become the National Archivist. “National Treasure” is so silly that the Monty Python version could use the same screenplay, line for line.

What, did this film kill his mom?

Turkey day and Rollercoaster Tycoom

Turkey Day!

Technically, I think it is only turkey day in the U.S., but since I am relatively sure that my readership has yet to venture beyond the state that I live in, let alone to other continents, I am pretty sure that all eyes upon this page celebrate thanksgiving (or at the very least acknowledge it).

This year, the wife spent hours and hours over the last couple of days trying to get everything ready, and did a marvelous job of it. Unfortunately, being that it is a holiday, things must go awry. Nothing terrible this year; the turkey is done, as are the rolls and other such fare, we are simply waiting on the potatoes. The unfortunate part of this is that the potatoes are my responsibility, at least in theory.

We were up at about 8 this morning to start with the turkey, you know stuffing it and getting it into the oven. That task was completed by about 8:40, and with about five hours until it would be cooked. That was a pretty ideal time, I thought. Have the turkey ready by about 2 so that you can start to use the oven to make the sides (sweet potatoes and the such), and such it was. Even as I type this I can smell the pleasant aroma of the turkey that shall soon be on the plate in front of me. The rolls are golden, fluffy and beautiful. We are waiting on my mashed potatoes to begin the meal. Unfortunately the potatoes have not yet arrived at the house. Makes it a bit tough to cook them.

The potatoes appeared just after I finished the last sentence and have since been peeled and set to boil. The Thanksgiving feast should be here within about thirty minutes. That makes us just about an hour and a half from our goal of eating by 4, but what are you gonna do?

• On to discussing horribly outdated video games!

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that it seemed that roller coasters was not really the meat of how to win the scenarios in roller coaster tycoon. Today I tested that theory, albeit on only the second scenario. I was able to meet the goal (barely) with only roller coasters (and some bathrooms, food, etc. No other rides though). Unfortunately, I still have not found a way to build one of my own that people actually want to go on. If I use their pre-fabricated designs, there are people lining up to ride them. If I build them myself, even when I am trying to make them tame, I get intensity and nausea ratings that are ‘very extreme’, while the excitement of the ride remains unusually low. I am still working to remedy that problem.

There is yet another annoying aspect of the game (which would have been solved had it come with the instruction booklet) regarding the trash in the park. I did not know that you could build trash cans. Who would think that you would list trash cans under the ‘Scenery’ option? As a result of that little oversight I was forced to have at least double the amount of mainenance guys that I needed. Once again, it was a lesson learned, and a lesson that anyone who plays the game probably learned a half a decade ago. At any rate, I did discover that a bunch of trash cans can easily replace a bunch of idiots that just walk around looking for trash to pick up. It turns out that some of the people will put trash into a bin if it is available. Of course there are others that will throw it on the ground three steps from the can, but this is America…What do you expect?

I mentioned, in a previous post, that I bought this game based on my enjoyment of the game ‘SimCity’. One of the things that always annoyed me about SimCity was that you could not control whether the buildings that you built would turn into condos’ or the projects. Well, you could, but that would require moving power stations, adding parks, putting police and fire services closer, etc., etc. That is not one of the issues in the roller coaster game. All you have to do here is build big rides, put in the shops, sweep the vomit off of the sidewalks, and build a few trash cans to be successful. That is my kind of game. More of the building of enormous rides, less of the worrying about where the local fire department is. Of course I did have 16 deaths in an accident that I could have avoided (changed the configuration on the cars on a self-built coaster), but that was just a drop in the pan…Knocked the price down on the ride for a week or two and it was back to normal.

Simulations are nice when they don’t simulate real life, only the way that life should be.

• It seems that my potatoes are almost ready for smashing….almost…At any rate, enough for today.

Christmas lights; John Kerry, Concert tickets

Yes, as the date clearly states, we are now officially in October. All site-related musings aside, time still seems to be moving at rather a rapid pace. The decorative Christmas lights that I put up on the house last year, and have been thinking of taking down every weekend, now seem to be less of a nuisance, as it now seems that I am just horribly well prepared, as opposed to horribly lazy, as they seemed just yesterday. The local radio stations are already talking about ‘shopping days before Christmas’, completely disreagarding the fact that it is still so unbearably hot that no one really ever leaves the house, unless forced. Of course that is sort of a trade off that one must make to live where I do; We have unusually warm winters, extremely hot summers, and the other two seasons seem to last about three days each. That is not an exaggeration either, last year there was one day that we were running the cooler (in the store) and the next morning it was the heater. So I am going to go ahead and blame the rapid passage of time on having only two seasons, regardless of the fact that winter goes about two months, while summer lasts the other ten.

Attempting to use the weather where you live as an excuse (like I just did) is a pretty poor argument. Everyone, everywhere, has different atmospheric conditions that they have to tolerate. While I really wish I would have made it to take care of the weeds in front of the house (and I mean once and for all, as opposed to using a weedeater every third weekend), at least I have the house, with the weeds in front of it, to bitch about. Practically half of the state of Florida is in ruins, and I am bitching about it being to hot to shoot a bit of RoundUp on them. I suppose that is why there are benfits and drawbacks to living in any environment. And those weeds had better watch out, I may just get off my lazy duff and take care of them next year!

• Now that the small talk about the weather is out of the way… I want to mention briefly that I may have completely underestimated John Kerry’s performance in the first presidential debate. All of the surveys that have been released so far show Kerry winning the debate handily. I would agree with that point, Kerry did win the thing, hands down, in my eyes, but I was actually disappointed in both his, and President Bush’s, handling of the questions. The entire debate seemed to be more of a press conference, each man responded to the question that they were given, but neither were ever allowed to actually ask direct questions of the other.

I may not be much of a pundit on politics, but I do know how to debate. When you do not allow the persons in the debate to ask each other specific questions related to the subject, the persons are not debating -they are ranting- much as I am now. The key to finding out someone’s stance on anything is to not listen to the stuff that they have prepared and memorized over time, you need to see what they say when they don’t have any more notes. While neither candidiate came in with notes, they surely knew the points that they wanted to make, and had likely practiced saying them in front of a mirror. I am not even sure that what I witnessed last night could be called a debate, at least not in the literal term of the word. Bush did his best to spin everything into his (obviously pre-rehearsed) ‘War on Terror’ shtick, while Kerry did his best to have good hair and answer questions that were never asked.

Am I the only person in the whole of the ‘United States of America’ that wants to see what the actual people, the ones that we are actually going to vote for on the second of November, actually think? I sure hope that there are a lot more people like me, people who are disappointed by the fact that the debate was no more than a staged media circus. Even though I really want Kerry to win this election (or even Nader, hell anyone but Bush) I still think that the people are getting the short end of the stick when the debate is all but staged. What the American people need is factual information, not rhetoric. Yet, It seems that facts are no longer the driving factor when we are letting the ‘Leader of the free world’ send our children to war.

• Now to really make you all drool.

It is hard to have a bad day, even though mine was horrible, when you come home to find the following email:

If I bought tickets to this would you be able to work early on Saturday or get the day off so you could go??

The link is now dead, but the concert in question is Megadeth at the Dodge Theatre (in the Phoenix area). If you know anything about me at all, hell, even you know nothing about me at all, you should know that I kind of Worship Megadeth. There is no force in the world strong enough to keep me from making it to see a new Megadeth show, well, I guess death would qualify, but I don’t think that death is really a force. You should all now just bow before me and hope/pray that your wife will ever be so cool as to offer you treats to such an event. Of course not all wives are built the same, so when I am watching Megadeth, you might be trimming hedges…which I would do, that is I would do it if I actually had a hedge to trim.
Not all wives are built the same, choose accordingly.

Independence day

I took a couple of days off, as you may or may not have noticed. No real reason for it, just didn’t feel like writing anything for the last couple of days. I suppose this is just a warm up period for next week, when I will be on vacation. I suppose I will likely write something down during our five days in Las Vegas, but I really doubt that I will try to upload anything, as there is a connection fee and per-minute surcharge from every major hotel on the strip, and we will be on the strip. There is also the matter that typing on the keyboard of a laptop computer really makes my wrists hurt, so I never do it for long, but that really won’t matter with the internet impossibility.

• Yesterday was the fourth day of July. That might not hold a lot of weight in most countries, hell even in the USA, but it is our symbolic day of freedom. I was really happy to wake up th is morning and find that there were no terrorist acts on the US soil. The threat of terroristic attacks has been on high for a long time now and what better day could the terrorists choose than our symbolic day of freedom?

Thankfully, the day has come and passed. In addition to no terrorist attacks, there were no firework related fatalities (at least none that I found on a news search). So that is a double wahoo for the day. There was an unfortunate spike in the “drunk driver’s” arrested over the weekend, but that is to be expected since 1) Every sober man knows that they shouldn’t drive on this weekend, and 2) every cop knows that same exact thing.

Locally, the fireworks display this year was by far the best they have done in the ten years that I have been living here. Normally the display will last a few short minutes, so by the time you hear the sound of the first, you are outside to see the light of the last, or so it seems. This year there were actual fireworks. Probably a twenty minute display. I had not seen so many since I was very young and living in Oregon. The only SNAFU to prove that it really is florence was the fact that after the big finale of the fireworks, after everyone waits ten seconds or so to make sure, one single one went up in the air popped, and fizzled out in green. So instead of the “grand finale”, we had the fizzle of green.

• I had rather a humorous conversation with my mother the other day. It seems that she can remember the celebrations of independence day, but she can’t really remember the injuries that I (and so I assume my brothers) sustained on that day. When dad and mom were together, so that would be until I was about six-seven years old, there was always a bucket of cold water nearby when we started to light our snakes and sparklers and the such. Snakes and sparklers are pretty lame though, so we started bending the sparklers and trying to see if we could make two or three headed snakes. I don’t remember exactly what happened, or exactly how, but I do remember that one of the sparklers got twisted to another sparkler and we lit it at both ends. This was the second time that I had gotten horrible burns on my fingers from one of them, the first being youthful idiocy as I just grabbed the wrong end. Are other families that different? Did I grow up in the only family where horrible burns were a part of the celebration?

Valentine’s day; Jesus making your rental decisions

That’s right, it’s Valentine’s day. This is, of course, the day that amatuer lovers do their best to make up for an entire year of neglect with a box of Russel Stovers. If your wife/husband/significant other is good with that, you have done well. I, unfortunately, am not in that situation. I did like I do every year. I waited until the actual day so that I could go and buy some flowers and a card at the shop down the street. I have done this every year since I met my wife and it has always gone smoothly. This year, for some reason, it all went to hell.

There was a “view historic Florence” event going on in town (Florence is where I live BTW) and that meant that there were literally thousands of people in town to visit. That is in a town with a population of like 3500 so it was a big deal. Most every business in town stays open late when they have this event, since the people are here to see the historic buildings, and almost every building on main street is over 100 years old.

For some reason the pharmacy (which is also the flower shop here in town) closed down early on a day that was both Valentine’s Day and the Historic tour of Florence day. This is the one day of the year when the businesses here in town are guaranteed to hawk their crap for twice the normal price, why the pharmacy would have chosen to close early escapes me. There are two draws for their goods. One being the tourists who will ‘literally’ buy anything that has the word ‘Florence’ on it, and the other being that people who have yet to acquire their valentines gift will pay any price for a flower (since we wait until the last minute and pay double so that we can give our wife fresh flowers).

I always pick up a card at the same time as I buy the flowers, since I would rather wait in line once than twice. End result: I have no flowers, no candy, no card, for my beloved on Valentine’s day. I would like to blame the local Rexall for not being open late enough, but, I could have picked the gifts up earlier. I mean, the best gift to give your Valentine is always flowers that you have been hiding in the trunk of your car for the last three days, right? The outside temperature here has only hit 71(Fahrenheit) in those few days, but the inside temperature of the car has made me actually turn on the air conditioning since it was so damn hot. So, that would mean that I could not have realistically hidden chocolate or flowers in my car, but a card? Christ, I am going to buy next years card tomorrow since I feel like such an ass right now.

Why is it that I can always have a birthday present, christmas present, anniversary present, hell any present at all a few weeks before the day, but when it comes to valentines I am always last second? I blame it on the flowers. This is the one day DESIGNATED to give flowers. If I give flowers on say May 7, they are easy to get, and they are far less expensive than they are this time of year. I guess I will chalk this all up to experience.

A quick note, why it is down here I don’t know. Once again Flux, has helped me overcome a few virtual problems. Well, they were real problems, but in the virtual world. My only prayer now is that he never like needs a kidney and tries to look me up to see how truthful I was about that ‘if there is anything you ever need’ statement, yet by that time I think the Shadowtwinian reign will be in place, so I will be able to pick any of a thousand from my stable and order her to donate the kidney. (pretending to be a megalomaniac is fun!)

I actually have multiple bitches today. I am torn between doing all the bitches now, or saving some bitches for later. I know me well enough to know that I am gonna do just enough bitching to really get me in the mood to bitch, then I am going to go to bed, and in the morning I will no longer care. So, I must Bitch forth.(I think that might actually be an original phrase BTW).

First Bitch

Where I work I am sometimes required to receive applications for home rentals from people. When I am the one receiving them, there are a few questions that the owner of the said home would like for me to ask the potential renters. I do ask the questions, mostly basic like; “How many in your family?”, “Do you have any pets?”, “How did you find out that this house was for rent?” it is all that sort of mundane crap when I ask the questions.

One of the people who spoke to me about the house had a wonderful response to the ‘how did you find out the house was for rent?’ question. She said, and I will quote “JESUS told me to call.”

It is not my intention to doubt any religion, but, I would think that the son of GOD had a lot better stuff to work on than making sure that you got into a house. I could be wrong, and I may burn in hell, but, MY GOD, how can you possibly believe that? So Jesus just goes from town to town trying to hook Christians up with good homes? Making sure that the people who happen to live in the United States have beautiful homes, while totally forgetting about the fact that he has left the entire population of Africa to die from a horrible disease?

Back to the original point, though, I am pretty sure that it was the ad in the newspaper that made her call that number. Whether Jesus made her read that number is certainly open to debate.