Blue Moon; the Cubs

Well I had no intention of writing anything today. I decided that in the spirit of getting off my ass “once in a blue moon” I would go ahead and do it even though I really didn’t want to. Speaking of blue moons, I was googling a bit earlier to see if I could find some really great definition of the term; for instance, had I found that the first recorded occurance of what people called a “blue moon” happened to be the second full moon in a month, and there happened to be a catastrophic event (volcanic eruption for instance) that actually blocked the reflection so much that the moon appeared to be a subdued color, possibly blue, through volcanic ash, that would have been something that I could have really understood and expected. Unfortunately, if that information exists on the internet it is not in me to find it. There have been so many songs written with the words “blue moon” in them that a search results in only the top few items for the day followed by a ton of old song lyrics. I would probably take the time to sift through all of the riff-raff to try to find the ultimate answer were I not crutched by a 56k modem. Even at that, when most of the things that I am able to find regarding the “blue moon” are coming from sites like Slashdot, the self-proclaimed “News for Nerds” website, I suppose that I really shouldn’t find it surprising that the discussion over there is about how the blue moon is Not all that rare, considering that they do occur about once every three years, which is about the same as the frequency of sexual encounters for the people who post at Slashdot (autoeroticism and Real Dolls being excluded).

• I have been a pretty faithful Chicago Cubs fan for most of my life. It was not like I really wanted to be a Cubs fan, it was more like it was forced onto me. When I was growing up in Oregon we didn’t have a baseball team, what we did have was a WGN station on our local cable. Any baseball that I watched was always the Cubs against someone else, and the commentary was always leaning towards the Cubs. Hell, it was Harry Caray doing the play-by-play, if you don’t know what he sounded like, or his passion for the Cubs, you simply need to watch any Saturday Night Live show from the last two decades, he (Harry Caray) is likely the most impersonated person who ever lived, except, possibly ELVIS.

I grew up watching the Cubs, and I likely will die with a Cubs jersey in my closet. I do root fot the Diamondbacks now that I am in Arizona, but I don’t seem to have the same passion for the D’backs that I have always had for the Cubs. When Harry Caray died several years ago, I thought it was akin to Blasphome that they were going to have someone else sing the song in the seventh inning stretch. I know that we must move on when someone dies, but come on…That was what Harry Caray did so horribly that none of us will ever forget him. I just googled “ozzy take me out to the ballgame” and got a lot of results for it. You could hear his rendition of that song, even see the video, if you happened to be registered through some of the sites. Of course the registration turn-around time seems to take well over an hour and I don’t have it in me to sign up and then try to follow this train of thought on another day. If you do happen to get the audio of Ozzy singing the song just keep in mind that it is the most realistic cover of Harry’s singing ever. Neither of them seem to know the words, they both seem to be really drunk while singing, they get great crowd response. I think Ozzy really nailed it!

While still on the subject of the Cubs, I guess I should mention that they acquired Nomar Garciaparra today. I don’t really have a solid opinion on Nomar, mostly because he doesn’t play for the Cubs, wait, he does now. I know that the Boston faithful are pretty pissed off at the loss of him, that alone should make me think that he is going to be “the one” to turn the Cubs around…Yet, I can still remember the Cubs trading away all of their good players over the years in the hope to get better hitting, when the hitting was great the pitching sucked. It works vice-versa as well. The Cubs, evidently, haven’t put a really good team on the field since 1907, that is a damn long time. Will the addition of Nomar be enough to push them to the top? NO.

The five year plan for the Cubs, in my mind, runs as such: They currently have pretty solid pitching, but no hitting, so they get a gold-glover who can hit. They finish just out of the wildcard this year. Next year they bolster their hitting with another guy, maybe second base, and still finish just a bit behind. The next year they will trade one of their dominant pitchers for a quality guy to play third base. The following year they finish last in the division, one of the marquee pitchers is injured and gets traded, the aging in/outfield is pretty pissed that the team has all but given up on them, so they don’t really even try. No one really wants to play for the Cubs (the ‘lovable losers’) so they aren’t able to sign their draft picks for a couple of years. Then, in about 2007, they are going to have a few really good pitchers, they will nurse them for a year or two, you know, until they are really good, then they will trade them for aged, has-been position players. This will be the cycle for the next, well, eternity really, for my Cubs if someone doesn’t step in and say NO. Although I do hope that they prove me wrong, I have a bet going that the Cubs will be the first team to ever win the world series exactly 100 years after their last title…That is a bet that you can’t make in most western sports, and I want my damn dollar!

oddities in lexicon

Not only have I missed several riveting installments of this page in a row, I have also forgotten to update the little sidebar additions on the last few posts. If I didn’t know any better I would think that I am really starting to do a really half-assed job with this whole webpage thing. I did spend a little bit of time trying to makes sense of some of the stuff that I do not yet have indexed in the archive page over the last couple of days. I didn’t make enough headway that I really felt like uploading the additions though, My page, my rules.

The reason that I haven’t put anything new up here in the last few days is pretty simple, I didn’t have anything on my mind worth bitching about. Usually I can look at the Yahoo news to get some bitching fodder, but with the Democratic National Covention going on I have not been able to find anything that I really cared about. No point in discussing the Democratic convention here when 1) I just don’t care, and 2) you could find a lot better coverage and opinions anywhere else but here. I know my limitations.

I usually don’t go into writing these with any idea what I am going to say at all. When I do get the occasional email, whether agreeing or disagreeing with what I said, it makes me smile. The funny thing is that I usually get emails regarding the little anecdotes from my childhood, while I rarely ever get one if I voice a strong opinion on any item that can be found in the news. Even when I went on a rant about mandatory birth control for women on government assistance (which I can’t find right now since some jack-ass is lazy about archiving) I didn’t get a single email about it. I know that my readership could easily be counted on one hand, but still, why do people feel the urge to send the email when I share a story from my past, yet not when I voice a strong opinion about a pretty controversial issue? That’s people for you.

• In a random, out of the blue, thought that I had today (which I can not take full credit for, since it was initially brought to my attention by a girl named Tina that I used to work with), why is it that people always substitute O for 0 when speaking? I don’t know how to do the special characters to make the phonetic o sound on a keyboard, but follow me. Most people will say their phone number like five, five, five, O, three, two, two. So that is six numbers and one letter? I know that it is simply a force of habit for us lazy Americans to cut any corners that we can, but come on ‘zero’ has only one more syllable than ‘o’, if you are in that much of a hurry you might have other issues. The reason that this came back to mind today is that we have a money transfer service thing where I work, it is strictly for sending money to Mexico and overseas, while the operators that run it are all bilingual, they get confused when you use the letter o instead of the number 0. While I was on the phone with one of the operators today I caught myself doing that very thing (which I have myself pretty well trained against) and she asked me to repeat myself. I said, “seven, o, four, o, one”. When she again asked me to repeat myself I realized that I had made that mistake, and when I said it again, but as seven, zero, four, zero, one, she immediately was able to access the information.

The reason that I bring this up is that it made me think about yet another thing, Pig-Latin. When I was growing up we used to use it all the time and thought that it was pretty funny, especially so in the movies where there is some dumb crook who doesn’t understand it. Until today I had never thought of the possibility that someone who has a different first language might also not be able to understand it. Think about it. If you learn all of the words in the English language from a book, but don’t hear a lot of people speaking the language, then someone throws out the word “ishway”, for instance, it probably wouldn’t pop immediately into your mind that the word was “wish”. I am certainly not meaning to imply that this is a really complex code or anything of that nature, but imagine if you were using a similar or even different method of talking to friends around someone who wasn’t “in the loop” on the method.

There was this really weird thing that my friends started doing, just for fun, back in the late eighties. They called it “op talk” which is pretty self explanatory when I make the following example “mop e top a lop lop i cop a”, of course all of the vowels sound like someone saying uhh. I don’t know where the whole thing originated but it sure was fun to screw with my parents using this method. This sort of thing continues, varying by generation, to the point that if you don’t take in enough television or popular music you might just get lost in the whole thing. Sort of like the Rap moguls now using terms like “shiznit” which is a pretty obvious one, but branching out into using only the first letter of the word like they do with heazy heezy, forget that example…How about “hizouse”, I hope I spelled that one right…

Boy do I ever rop a mop bop lop e.

House guest

I am sure that I have mentioned at least a few times that the house that I live in is well over 100 years old. A lot of your average, better-than-thou type people think that it is silly that I would choose to buy a house that is that old. The simple fact is that this house is made out of pretty solid material, adobe, that has been standing in the middle of this desert for over 100 years. The exterior walls are all eigteen inches thick, and it has recently been outfitted with the most current double-paned, energy efficient windows. This means that the heating cost in the house never goes over a hundred dollars a month during the winter, and while I do not currently have a central air-conditioning system I would find it hard to believe that it would cost much more. It is sort of like living in an ice-chest; the walls are so damn thick that the heat/cold can’t seep out of them. And, honestly, would you rather live in a house that has stood in the same location for 100 years or buy a “manufactured home” that is going to decay to nothing by the time you pay off your mortgagae? Regardless of what the Real Estate Agent might tell you, aluminum does not insulate against heat, “manufactured home” does mean “trailer” (although they do take the wheels of for you), and the value of trailers depreciates every year. While the value of any home that is fixed to the ground with a foundation will appreciate every year, even if it is 100 years old. Of course the value of this old house is not what I want to get into today…

I have not changed any of the locks since we moved into this place some three years ago. Truth be told, I never had the keys to a couple of the locks, a fact that I only found out yesterday. The house has three exits, one is through the back and the one that we use the majority of the time. One is through the front door, that is usually only ever used to get pizza deliveries and the such. The third enters directly into the room that my brother-in-law is now inhabiting. I wanted to change some of the locks around so that my wife and I would have access to the house through both the front and back doors while adding a different lock to the third door so that the brother-in-law wouldn’t have to worry about his privacy. I happened to have an old doorknob/deadbolt set that I put up on the “guest room”. I then took the recently removed locks from the guest room and was installing them in the living room, which would make it so that the front and back doors were keyed the same. That way if the back gate didn’t open the wife and I would be able to enter through the front door instead of the guest room. Midway through that process I had forgotten which doorknob was which and had my wife bring me her keys so that I could check. It turns out that neither one of us had a key to the doorknob that used to be in the living room, nor did either of us have a key to the doorknob that used to be on the guest room. I guess, then, that it is pretty good that we are both so forgetfull about our keys that we never lock a knob before we close the door; You have to have a key to lock the bolt and that is how we lock up the house whenever we leave.

The result of all of this is that now my wife and myself have a key that will open the front door and the back door, my brother-in-law now has a key that will open the door that goes directly outside from his room, and if we ever lock a doorknob we are all fucked. The only doorknob in the house that matches the key to the deadbolt, on the same door, is the one that I put into the guest bedroom yesterday. I briefly thought about changing all of the locks when I found the problem but two things popped immediately into mind. The first is that I have lived here for a few years and I don’t know what key does what, so how could anyone trying to break in, even if they had the keys, figure it out wihout being noticed. The second is that lock sets really cost a lot of money, not the type of thing I am willing to spend just to add a visitor to the house.

Then there was the issue with the interior door. The door that had previously separated the “guest room” from the rest of the house was a weird, wooden, luovered kind of closet door thing. It gave no privacy at all, added to the fact that, even when locked, my dogs could open it up with a couple of head-butts. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any other doors in the shed the correct width to fit that space, but, the closet door in the same room was exactly the same width. I set to work trying to swap the louvered door for the real door at about noon on Sunday. After an hour or so of trying, I was able to make the real door fit in the space that was previously occupied by the louvered door. I then put a lock on the door (doorknob) that had only a single key, if he dies in there before he gets us copies of the keys I will feel a bit sorry for him. Also, this is probably the most freedom he has ever had. If he locks both of the doors he will not be disturbed, unless, of course, we are concerned for his health, at that point we might dig out the keys to that room and make sure that he is not just dead, that should probably seem to be quite a small price considering his previous accomodations.

This will all have been rhetoric until the brother-in-law makes good with his promise of saving money for an apartment. No one can ever know how sincere the person was with their statements until it has all come down. I certainly hope that he was being truthful about trying to get into an apartment, family love/respect can only last so long.

Harry Potter and Diablo

There was nothing posted yesterday. I guess you have grown used to me making a half-assed excuse why not by now that I am sort of obligated to throw one out. Here it is in a nutshell. My Parent’s-in-law have washed their hands of me since I stood up to them while we were on vacation. Neither myself or my wife have spoken to them since. My brother-in-law has had an open invitation to use our guest bedroom if he ever wanted to escape the parents, mostly due to the fact that they would not sign the necessary paperwork to allow him to take certain college courses -thus making him a grunt, despite the fact that he is very bright and could have done whatever he wanted if he had the education-. I am not sure about all of the exact details regarding why he chose yesterday to walk out on his parents, but he did, and I am not the type of person to turn my back on family.

It really is pretty poor timing for this all to happen. The in-laws have thought that I was the spawn of Satan since the day that I actually lashed out at them last week. I am sure that, in their eyes, it will seem to be a pretty convenient time for their son to go ahead and move out. My take on that is that without my wife to bitch at they focused all of their bitching on their son, who was the only one in their house that had a job at the time. I don’t mean to pretend that I know the thoughts of any of my wife’s family, that is just my best estimation of why it all went down like it did when it did. And, as I said, I am not the kind of person to turn my back on family.

The majority of last night, after I got home from work, was spent with my wife, brother-in-law, and myself discussing what had happened that actually pushed him straight over the edge. That is something that I am not going to post here since 1) I only have one side of the story, and 2) that would be airing a bit too much of the family laundry. I have no problem with talking about my life on this page, even my wife’s when I feel the urge, I do not want to try to speak for people that I don’t know all that well…Even if I have already formed an opinion that will not change unless the second coming of Christ proves that everything I believe is wrong…That seems doubtfull, but still I must have limitations to how many people I offend.

• This morning I read a bit more of the Fourth Harry Potter book. I must say that Rowling has been progressing pretty well with the whole trying to make the book a bit more readable for adults. I am not entirely sure if that was her intention but it certainly should be. The series started out talking about a little eleven year old kid, which was certainly adored by all of the little eleven year old kids of the world, but by the time the fourth book came out those little eleven year old kids would have been what, 16? 17? It is certainly seeming a lot more complex than the other novels thus far. I hope that in this one she just doesn’t fuck the whole thing up by writing a great story and kind of doing the ending in a hurry to get another check (at least that seems to be what she had done with the previous novels; the endings didn’t make sense, stuff was left out or ignored). Of course everyone in the universe has said that the books really start to get interesting in the third/fourth book so I think I will probably be pretty happy with it, maybe this will be the first time that she doesn’t fuck the ending up so badly that you wish you had never read it at all.

• I played a bit more of the DiabloII today. It was not really that I wanted to, more like the draw of an addict. I must say that I was a bit surprised with the outcome of the session. I was playing through the river of flames and into Diablo’s lair (I forget the name) and I really didn’t have any problems along the way. Hephasto the armorer went down without ever using a potion, I was able to take care of multiple blood maggots by using the Jade Tan Do on weapon switch. The only place I reall had a problem was when I cracked the first seal. The Venom-Lord looking guy (infector of souls?) killed me a couple of times before I even got in a swing, hell before I was even able to use a potion. It took a lot of artful reatreat to get my mercenary to pull them and kill them one at a time, but after a half an hour I had managed to get back my body.

I thought I was going to be in for a real rough time after that. I usually only ever have problems with “Lord de Seis” after all. When I cracked the left seals and didn’t even have to drop a potion I began to wonder. Then when I cracked the top seal to release “Lord de Seis” I was able to dispatch him and his group easily. I even killed Diablo himself without much of a problem, though I did have to go back to town once to re-belt on potions. Why was it that one of the little pit-lord/venom-lord scumbags can cause so many problems while the prime evil himself goes down faster than an intern in the White House? Was there an intentional change made to make that particular Boss harder or was it that 62 fire resistance just wasn’t enough to sustain the first blast from the guy and all his minions? Questions that will likely never be answered…

The character that I am now playing is a Paladin at level 27. Unfortunately I don’t have any gear that I can twink to him until he gets to level 45. I am not going to spend a lot of time trying to level him in act 5, I do hate doing the same board repeatedly, so I assume I will be about level 30 by the time I get to nightmare. With a bit of luck (of which I have none, unless you count the bad kind) I might find a Goldskin or Vipermagi armor along the way. That or I will still be wearing the same cracked quilted armor I have gotten by on so far…As far as you know…

Job frustrations; Megadeth

Another day has come and passed. I am certainly in much better spirits today than I was yesterday, what that amounts to really isn’t much. I did receive yet another bitching session at work, but this time it was in a much more tolerable way. It was in a calm, firm voice that I was bitched at. This makes it more of a conversation than a bitching, which meant that I was able to get a few words in, in the same calm, firm voice. No one died, no one was injured, and I think we both were able to understand each others position when it was spoken about instead of being shouted about. I guess I am probably still a useless piece of shit, but I at least got to get in a word or two, and even surprise the boss when he found that I had not actually been wandering aimlessly the day before, but completing a task that he had assigned me earlier in the week. Of course none of that means that I am any less useless, but it was a day of relative calm that I absolutely needed.

The strange thing about what happened yesterday is that I got too angry to drink. Not really, I did imbibe a few of the frothy nectars, but not as much as normal; I was too angry to get drunk. This was certainly an unprecedented event around here. This fact was evidenced by my wife’s statement that she was pretty sure I was going to quit my job, which she told someone that she works with. She based that assumption on the fact that I said that I was going to quit, and I said it when I was sober and in a very matter-of-fact tone. This didn’t actually happen today, and with luck it won’t happen for a while. As for yesterday, that was exactly what I felt and I guess it was pretty obvious.

If I can make it through tomorrow without actually walking away from the job I will have all of Sunday to take care of things around the house and kind of cool down. I do hope that happens. I haven’t actually had to look for a job in about a decade and do not look forward to the thought of it. There have been dozens of people who have come into the store over the years and told me to look them up if I ever need a job, I am not sure how sincere they were, and hopefully I won’t have to find out in the immediate future. Enough about that.
Megadeth’s new song “Die Dead Enough” hit the air in Phoenix a few days ago. I have been reluctant to make any mention of the single since I had only been able to hear it over really crappy radio reception. I heard the song today, in my car -which has way better reception than the pseudo radio I have in the room with my pc- and all I have to say about it is that it kicks unholy ass! The drummer is going ballistic with the triplets and quintuplets on the bass drums, the guitar is rocking in a way that Megadeth has not matched since their “Rust In Peace” album, it is fast, hard and in your face. It is, in a word, MEGADETH.

I guess that when Mustaine got injured he started to realize that he threw a few albums out there just to get the money. Then he had the time to listen to what Metallica is calling music these days, added to the fact that he is listening to the same radio station that I do, Phoenix-based and it never plays anything off of Metallica’s last few albums, or any of Megadeth’s for that matter. I guess it hit him that he needed to really hit hard with his next album. I do hope that it is as heavy as the first single would indicate, it has been a long time since I have had a cervical injury and it would be way cooler if it happened when I saw MEGADETH returning to their former glory.

When I used to visit Megadeth’s website frequently the address was, which is no longer an address at all. The site that was called “” was nothing more than a fansite. I guess the buzz about Megadeth kind of died when Mustaine got his injury, also Megadeth either sued the guy who was running (which seems really unlikely since it was the best fan site I have ever seen, even to this day), or just gave him a job (the webmaster of, I mean). Whatever happened, seems to be the official Megadeth site. Which sucks for me.

It was just one little thing that I had in my life, but it was important to me. I was the first ever moderator of the “Official Megadeth Chat”, which was through the now dead megadethcyberarmy website. For a simple man, like me, that was power. I suppose that I should be happy with the fact that I was the first, but with the old site gone, as well as the java chat that I was in charge of, how would I even go about trying to prove it? I suppose that I just kind of gave up hope at some point. That point would have been long after I wasted a lot of time to create This. I had no idea how to make the images pre-load at the time, I also had to crop the sound from cds that I actually had and save them in some weird ass format to work with java-enabled browsers at the time. I bet you can download the whole thing and see all thirty different images being displayed in less than thirty seconds on a current broadband connection.

I guess I am a bit less into Megadeth than I was in the past, but when Megadeth is making actual songs that kick ass, while Metallica is making drippy folk songs, I guess I have to hope/choose that Megadeth is going to lay something heavy on us. Right?

Job related stress

I had wondered how long the nirvana-like work environment would last after I returned from vacation. It started to fade away yesterday and then just completely disappeared today. Yes, I am back to being a useless piece of shit that they don’t even know why they keep around, or so it sounds from the screaming I endured today. What I wonder is, if that is the way my employers really think of me, why don’t they just can my ass and be done with it?

I suppose that I shouldn’t be so upset with the situation at work that I bring it home with me, yet I do and can not stop. This is the only place in the entire world, in my entire life, where my best was not only ‘not good enough’, but not even worth the time to try, apparently. I am constantly being bitched at about ‘Don’t start another job until you finish the job that you are working on’…then getting the same bitching about why I didn’t do ‘X task’ before I continued on with the job that I had already started. How can I ever be right in that situation? The simple answer is that I never can be. I just have to say that I am stupid for assuming that when they say to finish one thing before I start another that that means that they want me to finish one job before I start another. There are a lot of times when this particular statement not only doesn’t work, but is also impossible. Unfortunately I don’t know about the particular rules regarding it until long after I have been bitched at and demeaned for a good half hour.

There are many tasks that I need to do when I get to work, tasks that I was easily able to take care of within an hour or two when they used to have me come in at 9:00a.m. every day. Unfortunately, since I had the neck injury some time back, and asked them to please not make me be on my feet for more than four hours at a time, they have had me working straight shifts ever since. Previously, back in the days where I was able to do all the stuff I needed to do before I started being a little bitching bag, I could have all of my day to day stuff done within two hours and have the rest of the day to do whatever they wanted. Now, I try to start to do the day to day stuff that I usually had completed by 11:00a.m. and get stopped to go and do different things, yet still get the bitching of a lifetime about why I never finished with what they specifically told me to stop doing.

Bleh. I would probably find more sympathy if I shit in a soda can and sent it to the president.

Since I am on the subject, though, I am going to throw out one more thing. I have gained about ten pounds since they have had me working these shifts. I have gained ten pounds and not been able to do my job since they have put me on these shifts. The reason I have gained weight is pretty simple, too much food in the evenings. The way it is currently I don’t eat a scrap of food until shortly after 6p.m., that is when I enjoy a treat from the local circle k, my first meal of the day. Of course I am getting home at just about the same time as my wife is ready for dinner, so there is usually food awaiting me. Food which I don’t eat until a couple of hours later, but I do fill the time between the two meals with a healthy amount of hops and barley, which is fermented, and gets me by. When I used to take a lunch I used to take in about 400 calories with a can of chili each day around noon, this left me feeling a lot less hungry and meant that I would likely eat a bit less when I got around to re-heating the dinner that my wife had cooked for me. Now I just eat whatever is left, regardless of portion size, since I am so damn hungry after not eating anything but a circle k treat all day.

In a strange twist of events/ideas, I think that I might actually lose weight in my current situation if I were to switch back to sugared sodas. My body is currently waiting for me to eat way too much late in the evening, just about the time that my metabolism is about to call it a night. If I were to take in a bit of sugar over the course of the day it could possibly give me a bit of energy to burn while not actually adding to my waistline. Something to consider, but I have been repulsed by sugar ever since I found that I was not only borderline Diabetic in my teens, but my Father and his Mother both died due to complications or eventualities of that disease.

Long story short(er), if they really think that I am such a fuck-up that they can’t employ me, why don’t they just fire me? I think I might take the initiative and ask them about it tomorrow. If they truly believe that I am a liability to their business I do not want to be there to be their punching bag.

I am not entirely sure how I should phrase the question. Should I ask if they feel that I am a liability to the company, or should I ask if they feel that I am a liability to their profit margin, or should I ask if they feel that I am a liability to their ever making a profit again? Perhaps I will find out what I did so incorrectly that I have put the future of the store in jeopardy. All I know for sure is that I would take a job for half the pay if it were in an actual chain store where you are not able to verbally abuse the employees.

While still on the topic there is one more thing that is pretty bitch-worthy about this job. No time clock. They do round the numbers, of course, everything short of 30 minutes gets rounded to the previous whole hour. Everything from 31 to 59 minutes gets rounded down to the previous half hour. If you come in fifteen minutes early and work fifteen minutes late, you get paid for the particular hour you came in until the particular hour that you left. The 15 minutes on either side will just not count. Hell, I got shorted for an hour and a half of work in my last pay and just didn’t say a word. Why? You have to sit there for half a damn hour while she (the boss’ wife) figures out your pay. I am usually at least a week behind on pay so I will take whatever they give me, if I were to dispute it she would break out a piece of legal notepad where she wrote down what hours everyone worked. Unfortunately, she is prone to take several naps during the course of a day and has no idea when anyone actually comes in or leaves.

Of course I forgot to factor in the fact that I often have to go and do things to maintain the boss’ rental properties. You know, water the trees, clean the carpets, that kind of shit. Of course that never makes it onto a paycheck. He does say that if I write him a receipt for doing all of that stuff that he will pay me. My question is “why didn’t he write a work order for me to sign”? That document would protect us both, yet he doesn’t do it. One must certainly understand that I have done a lot of work on rental houses, on my own time, for the guy which I have never gotten paid for. I assume that the work that I did for him in the last year is going to go the same way. I really thought that spending my own time to repair shit for him would make him think that I was actually trying to be helpfull… I was dead wrong…

Diablo; Huge hot dog; writing

I had every intention of having a new post on Monday, but then we decided to go out to dinner and I lost the interest to write anything. Yesterday I would have posted but there was a DOS attack at the server that made it so that I was not able to check my email or view my site, not to mention killing any hopes of getting an ftp connection. So I said screw it and played some DiabloII instead.

Funny thing, DiabloII, it is just so comforting to play. I think it is sort of the way that people really long for their favorite foods from childhood when they are really starving, something familiar and comforting. Just like DiabloII. What could be more comforting than beating the ass of the most powerful beings that Hell can come up with? Nothing, damn right.

Of course I have been playing on a newer character for some time now and as I lost most of my characters to inactivity some time ago I am having to go virtually untwinked. The gear that I still do have is all of the must be level 50 or more to use variety so it doesn’t really help much on a new player. I did twink the guy an amulet (can’t remember the name, +1 to skills is basically its only real attribute), and a belt (nightsmoke maybe? 10 to all resistances), of course these are just worthless crap that I would gladly give up in favor of better resistance or a bit of life leech. I also gave him a Spirit Shroud armor that he can’t use, and likely never will since I will be into nightmare by the time he can actually wear it and it has not resistances, so it will be all but useless.

So why do I like to play this damn game again? I suppose it has been challenging to play with inferior equipment, but challenging just means frustrating. I can see why people like to get turboed past all this crap. I still have a few characters that I can take in and walk all over hell Baal, yet I have another character that gets killed in one hit by your garden variety Venom Lord. I don’t know if they actually made the resistances matter more when they put out the patch, but it sure seems like it. The first time I played the game, which was pre-LOD, I beat Diablo with almost no resistances and most all of my skill points wasted in the Thorns aura. Now I can’t even get to Diablo with 30ish resistances across the board. Hell, if it weren’t for my mercenary firing cold arrow I likely would never be able to kill a group larger than two people.

• Now on to disgusting food stories. Of course Las Vegas is famous for a lot of things, gambling, hookers, the fabled UNLV basketball team…But what they really should be getting a lot more credit for is the most disgusting hot dogs on the planet. Now I now that the ingredients that go into hot dogs should be enough to keep me from ever eating them in the first place, in fact I saw a special on PBS about how they were made when I was 15 or so and didn’t eat one for at least five or six years after. Just something about it being a dull grey paste before the coloring is added, ewwww.

Anyway, the Westward Ho casino in Vegas advertises a 3/4lb. hot dog for 1.49 and I figured I would give it a go. I did go the extra 59 cents to get them to add chili thinking that I would never be able to eat that much hot dog by itself. Boy was I ever right. The hot dog is served on a paper plate, my best guess is that the plate was of the 10 3/4in. size. The bun covers the plate from edge to edge, while the hot dog sticks out of the bun and off of the plate by about 2inches on each side. When you add to that the fact that the hot dog is about the same size as a half dollar you will get an idea of how big the thing really is. The worst part is that without the chili I would likely have taken about one bite and thrown the whole thing away. It was just so salty, it didn’t taste like a grilled stadium frank or anything of that nature, it tasted like a boiled salt lick. I guess salt is about the cheapest spice you can get your hands on and likely the only one they used judging by taste.

I did manage to eat the entire bun, all of the chili, and maybe half of the hot dog. I suppose that I shouldn’t have been expecting gourmet cuisine when paying two bucks for 3/4 of a pound of food, but I will know in the future that if the price of an entree seems ridiculously low that likely means that the quality of the entree is likely also ridiculously low. This could also be just because I am really sensitive to the taste of salt, there were dozens of other people there eating these horrendous things with nothing on them but ketchup and mustard, perhaps these people had taken in a few more cocktails than I had? In short, Westward Ho hot dog, do it once for the novelty, never eat another hot dog as long as you live.

Let’s see. I have talked about video games and huge weiners, what more must I do to attract the middle aged nerd demographic?

• In other news, I have just surpassed the $1 mark on my Amazon associates account. Of course all of the purchases were made either by my wife or myself so I am not entirely sure if that is a good thing. Hell, I’m not even entirely sure if that is a legal thing. I just figured that if I am going to buy something off of Amazon and someone is going to get a bit of money for the transaction it might as well be me. Prior to having this page I always clicked through BlackChampagne for all of my Amazon purposes. It is not like I am actually trying to make money with this site though, if that was the case it would be nothing but hardcore porn, probably have a lot of scumware and that sort of thing. This is just my little soapbox from which to say whatever I want.

Funny how it has changed. I started this site with every intention of typing all of my short stories onto it, with the hopes that people would read and enjoy them. Then I actually read some of my short stories with fresh eyes…All that just went right out the window. I do still enjoy writing the Arthur Witles stories, and people do still email me to tell me how much they enjoyed them. I think this is simply because we just don’t expect nearly as much from a story that is meant to be humorous as we do from a ‘real’ story.

I really should sit down someday and start to type up a few more of the Witles stories. As I wrote more of them I expanded on the little nuances of his character, as well as the Dr. Ampere character, and found that it was probably more enjoyable for me to write than it ever could be for anyone to read. I think the thing that makes that possible is that since it is a humorous story a lot of really absurd stuff happens, not impossible, just extremely unlikely. With paramaters like that it is really easy to surprise the reader, even make them laugh in a way that I would probably never be able to do if I were trying to cause the same emotion with a more by the book approach.

Isn’t it strange how it can take someone so long to realize the actual limits of their ability? I have a file cabinet full of absolute crap that I have written which will never see the light of day. From the time I was in my early teens until the mid twenties I really believed that I was going to be a writer, I really believed that I was going to get a novel published, I really believed that I was a pretty good writer. I have now kind of sobered up to the fact that I am likely never going to see a book in print, if I do it will likely be with my paying all of the costs of publishing for the sole purpose of gifting it to friends and family. I suppose that is a sort of pessimistic view of it, but it seems to be the most realistic. All that being said, when is the last time you saw an author that really came into success before they were in their mid thirties? So maybe I should just scrap everything that I have done previously and start with a clean slate. I had a really bizarre dream a few months ago that would make a great premise for a novel, the problem is that I don’t think I would be able to make it anything better than mediocre, and mediocre doesn’t meet the mark when you are competing against established authors.

When it comes right down to it, I will never know if my writing is any good unless I try. I know that my grammar is far from perfect, but as for my ability to tell a story how will I know unless I actually complete something and test the waters? If I do try, and ultimately fail, it will at least be something to be handed down from generation to generation, that is what I have to tell myself for motivation to at least try…

Vegas vacation w/photos

We got back home from vacation a couple of days ago. This ranks as possibly the worst vacation of all time, not just counting my own personal experiences, I mean the worst vacation anyone has ever had. It was not all that enjoyable at all and I am not going to get into it. Best just to try and forget.

I did manage to write quite a bit of stuff while I was on vacation but I did not have a connection that allowed me to really try to upload anything. It is a miracle that I was able to get the two pictures in the last post uploaded. It took about thirty minutes for them to upload, thankfully I was occupied with other things or I would never have had the patience. As far as the stuff that I wrote while I was away I am not sure how I am going to handle it. I could just slap it all on the page here, but it is even less organized than usual so I really think I better edit it a bit. That is not going to happen today, or tomorrow, so don’t hold your breath.

I guess my few site readers grew bored of not having anything to read and they all started to go away. Judging by my site statistics I have had only one visit each of the last three days, one of those days I know that it was me that visited; I wanted to see how the pictures looked on a real monitor instead of the one on the laptop. I hope that as I began to post on a regular basis my meager fan base will find its way back to me. Time will tell.

• Well here are a few photos that I took while we were in Las Vegas. I had wanted to see some of these old Las Vegas landmarks for years. We have been going to Vegas on vacation every year for the last four years and only just found them this year. I guess that just tells you how stubborn I am about asking for directions, eh? Especially when you take into consideration that the hotel we stayed in last year and this year is owned by the same company that owns a number of the casions on the old strip, where the photos you see here were taken.

The first photo I really just wanted to take the picture of the horse, but I decided to go ahead and get the shot of the 7/11 sign at the same time. To anyone who has never visited Las Vegas I think it would be a bit surprising that damn near every shop on the strip has a sign that is lit up with hundreds of lights and neon. The 7/11 one is a pretty good example, but some of the more humorous ones were at places like McDonald’s and Walgreens. Just imagine them with signs lit up every bit as much as the 7/11 one, it is something to see.

The picture on the left is, of course, Vegas Vic. This is surely one of the most recognizable landmarks in Las Vegas, of course it took us four years to find him, but find him we did. Here is the photographic proof. Vic’s arm doesn’t wave anymore and some of the neon lights don’t appear to be working, other than that he is just like I imagined him.

There is a canopy over the top of Vic’s head that now runs along three solid blocks of Freemont Street. I think that it was constructed in 1999 or 2000, can’t remember for sure. This was the other reason that we wanted to find the old part of Las Vegas; To see the light show at the Freemont Street Experience. If you are ever in Las Vegas you should definitely take the time to make it down there after dark to watch the show. It lasts about ten minutes and is pretty cool. Due to the length of the canopy where it all happens it makes the show look 3d if you look down the street. I tried to take a photo of it but it certainly didn’t look like it should, I really think it is something that you just have to see in person to enjoy.

The final photo is just a closer photo of the girl that is across the street from Vic. I am not sure if she has a name, if she does I don’t know what it is. This photo was hard to take because of all the pillars around the sign and the fact that there was a huge chicken dressed as Elvis blocking it from the other side. A lot of the lights are out on this one but I still wanted to get a picture since I may never again get the opportunity. I should also note that just below this sign there is a large video screen that shows women stripping. Even though it puts little stars over their nipples, I think that it is a bit wrong. This particular part of Vegas had more kids there than anywhere else that I can think of. The only possible exception would be Circus Circus. Still, should they really be able to show stripping women on the outside of a building where anyone can see it? It is Las Vegas…

I guess that is just about all for today. Hopefully I will get back into a regular routine with these updates now that I am back. With a bit of luck I might even sift through all the crap I wrote while I was in the hotel room and get some of that posted in the next few days. As always, don’t hold your breath.

Vegas vacation ’04

Vacation has officially begun. I got a call shortly after 6:30am from the boss at work which forced me out of a sleep that I had barely gotten into, having gone to bed past 2am and not sleeping well due to overwhelming heat and humidity. Thus we were on the road bound for Las Vegas by 9am.

The drive went relatively quickly, at least at first. We had made it from Florence to Sun City in only about an hour, better time than we have ever had previously I think. We even had to make a stop at the Wal -Mart over there to buy myself some jean shorts and some extra batteries for the digital camera. Trust me, you do not want to have to buy batteries at the littly sundry shop in a hotel on the Vegas Strip, nor do you want to buy them at a convenience store where either way you are paying at least four times what they are worth. I am just glad that I remembered them while we were in the store, as my camera only uses two batteries and when I say uses, I mean uses.

As for the road-trip itself, it was pretty uneventful. That means that we only nearly died twice, a new low for the drive. Once was due to someone in an SUV trying to pass three cars when he didn’t have nearly enough time to do it, which forced us, the car in front of us, and three oncoming cars to all move over onto the shoulder. That kind of driver is the reason there are so many fatalities along this stretch of road. The really irritating thing about it was the he did that when we were less than five miles from getting onto the Interstate, why would someone be in such a hurry that saving ten seconds would be worth their life and the lives of people in at least five other cars? Retorical, I guess. The other near death experience was while we were on the interstate and apparently a tow truck to vehicles ahead of us lost the tread off of one of his tires. My wife swerved to avoid it, but hit it anyway, and the truck and trailer behind us did the same thing, nearly jack-knifing which would have been really bad for him and us, as he was following us pretty closely. If he actually had lost control there would have been nowhere for us to go, and since we were going downhill he would not likely have been slowing at all whenthe weight and inertia of his trailer started pushing the truck along. Gosh this is a fun drive.

The Hoover dam is usually the worst part(as far as time) of the trip. It went pretty well today with the 8 miles (four on each side of it) taking only about 25 minutes. I even snapped a few photos in the hopes of illustrating the point that I made some time back about the drought having made the water level in Lake Mead drop several feet. I am only able to view the photos on my laptop currently, but as I was in a car that was in motion when I snapped them, I think they came out pretty damn good. We may actually stop there on the return trip since it won’t be a Sunday so there won’t be nearly as many people there, that could allow me to get some even better photos of it.

I mentioned several days ago that I would not be able to update the page because of charges at the hotel, as it turns out I could be wrong. They are now charging us for “unlimited local calls”, and as I use MSN for internet access that means that I have both a pc (laptop) and a local number to dial. I am a bit nervous about it, as I won’t know if they are charging me until I try to check out and then have to wonder why I spent so much on internet access when I could have treated myself to multiple prostitutes for the same price, or less depending on the quality of the prostitute.

Update: after having spent a few hours out whiling away the time on some penny slots, then eating breakfast at 9pm (honestly, where else in the world can you get an omelette and hash browns at that hour), then spending an additional hour or so playing some video poker, I started trying the internet access thing to see if it worked. I spent a bit of time on the phone with customer support for my ISP to make sure that I would be able to do it without having to dial a toll free number (which cost a buck a pop through the hotel), and then got online just long enought to check my email. I am going to inquire at the desk tomorrow about phone charges and if there are truly no charges for the local calls, this post will likely go online at that point.

Another thing, or two, or three, about the vacation and the photos and the website and all of that stuff is that I completely forgot that I have absolutely no imaging software on the laptop. What that means, basically, is that all of the photos that I take while I am here are going to have to be sorted by whether I think they are usable, then transferred to one of the other pcs once I get home for some editing, thumb-nailing and the such. If it turns out that the internet really is free for me to use while here, I might upload some of the full size photos and link to them through my updates so that I can then download and thumbnail them when I get home since there is no way that could take more time than trying to transfer them from pc to pc when I have to do it a couple of images at a time on 3.5″ floppies.

A few other things that you should keep in mind while you are reading this. First, the laptop is the only computer that I have used in the last three years or so that does not have a v-shaped keyboard, so typos are to be expected (even more so than normal). Second, it is 11:30pm right now and I have been up since 6:30am after going to bed after 2am, so I am not operating on a lot of sleep to begin with. Third, one day we will all look back on this and laugh (I am only saying that in case I do something horribly stupid and end up in prison or something).

There is yet another issue that I had not even thought of prior to the vacation. The character map on the laptop is way different than the character map on the other pc (likely due to fewer keys and a different OS). That has made it so that I am not able to use the little dot that I always have used previously to attempt to separate my thoughts. The alt commands just did nothing, so even if I typed it in and didn’t see the dot it was not like it was really there but I couldn’t see it, no, it was just not there. Whether I will correct this after I get back home is up in the air only if you think that I take a lot of pride in this page, which I don’t, ’cause if I did I would not have totally ripped off someone else’s layout to begin with. Though I must admit that it has been quite theraputic in a way, calming without having to resort to anger against those around me. It sure is fun to bitch.

A final note before I go read a bit more of Harry Potter (3rd book). I just looked over at the clock and realized that I am going to be 30 in less than a half an hour. No matter how hard I concentrate on that damn clock it just won’t stop. I think I would like to be upset or depressed about this so-called “milestone” birthday, but the truth is that every breath that you take moves you one closer to death. When you start counting things such as years you have been alive, breaths that you have taken, times your heart has beaten, that is the point where you are not really counting down to your death anymore, more like you are hoping for your death: No two people ever live the same number of seconds, no two ever take the same number of breaths, no two hearts beat the same number of times in a lifetime…Some people die of “old age” when they are over 100 while some die from the same affliction in their 50’s. Whether you like it or not, the 50’s are gonna be upon you about 2 decades before you want them.

I have finally gotten my ftp client tow ork correctly and so I am going to throw a couple of phots below. These are both taken for the illustrative purpose of showing the level of lake mead. The white that you see on the canyon walls in both photos is where the water level was a couple of years ago, while the water itself shows where it is now. I saved them at 75% size which is about the only option I have right now, so if they are huge on your screen I do apologize.

30th birthday related pining

As hinted about in a couple of my side bar additions yesterday, my birthday is coming, and quite quickly at that. It is now only four days until I turn 30. My body has been showing the signs of the forthcoming age for several months, I have put on about ten pounds in the last six months or so, my belly is appearing to be more of a barrel than an actual physical feature, some of my joints aren’t working with the fluidity that they once did… Whether any of this is directly related to the age I am going to be on Monday is not all that clear, it is just that I am noticing all of these little things a lot more as that age approaches.

The most annoying part of it is the weight gain. When I graduated high school, and thus no longer had physical education or the other after school activities, I ballooned from my normal 170 pounds to almost 210 pounds in less than a year. I was still working full time during this period, but the fact that I was working at a pizza joint, and thus my every meal was pizza I suppose that is to be expected. I switched myself over to diet soda at that point, that might not seem like a big change, but when you are guzzling down a 12 pack of coke a day taking away all of that sugar really does help. Another factor that helped me become a little less porky at the time was a new job that I got, at an ice cream parlor. I am not a real big fan of ice cream, so I didn’t eat the leftovers nearly as much as I did at the pizza place.

I got myself back down to a satisfactory 175 pound size, which went down to 165 when I was without a job or a home for a few weeks near my 19th birthday, but otherwise I have been that same weight for about 11 years. Even when I went into the hospital with a neck injury, that I talked way too much about, several months ago the nurse did not believe my 175 pound estimate of my weight and put me on the scale. True I did weigh 178 at that point but that was still pretty much in line with what I have weighed all of my adult life. I now weigh 184 pounds and I am not wearing it well at all.

I suppose what I really need is the discipline to put myself back onto the simple workout schedule that helped me to thin up after reaching the 205 pound mark. My excercise was simple. Before bed each night I would do 50 sit-ups and 50 (well it started at 20 and went up incrementaly until I was able to do 50) push-ups. In the morning I would do only the sit-ups, as the push-ups really killed my arms and I needed to have the strength to be able to throw around cases of dead animal at work, each case can weigh over 80 pounds, and after moving them around for ten minutes you really know that you did.

I really don’t remember why I gave up on those excercises. I began to live with my wife around the time that I gave them up, but she was generally always in bed long before me, and it is not like it takes more than about three minutes to do it. Exerting the muscles actually helped me to get to sleep when I wasn’t entirely tired before I laid down. I can not think of a single reason why I ever quit doing it. I suppose that it is just a routine that you get into and once you break the routine once it becomes easier to break it again, and again, until the routine is to not do it at all. What is worse is that it is a hard routine to get yourself into. Unless you are either already in really great shape, or a masochist, it is a lot of hard work that does not show any results for weeks or months. I think I will start doing it again, but, wait, I am going on vacation in a couple of days so I better wait until I get back…

In 30th birthday related things, I still find that I am getting asked for my ID when I attempt to buy alcohol and tobacco at the local convenience stores. I find that a bit humorous only because the people that are asking for the ID are usually ten years younger than me. I don’t see how anyone could look at me and think that I wasn’t 18, come on, all the grey hair should at least tell them that I voted for Dubya..gotta be 18 to vote..

I often look into the mirror and think (while I am combing my hair) that I don’t look much different than I did when I was 16. Thinking about it now, I bet a lot of people do the same thing as they are approaching a so-called milestone birthday. Of course I don’t look much different, my eyes, ears, nose, mouth, chin, hair-line (thankfully) are all still just where they were when I was 16. The multiple holes from the earrings that I wore in my teens can still be seen, though I doubt that they are still usable. The problem is that when you see yourself every day in the mirror you don’t notice all of the minor things that are happening, the things that basically erode you over time. I can see, in my face, very slight lines that were certainly not there 14 years ago. My eyes seem to be a bit deeper than they were all that time ago. If I actually smile, my face knows just where to put all the skin based on pre-creased lines.

I don’t really want to be young forever, I doubt anyone really does, yet, aging is something that we all seem to hate. I can understand why I hate aging, it is a sign that I am mortal and that death grows nearer with every passing breath. What I really don’t understand is why people who are very religious dislike it. In a religious person’s mind every breath means one less until you are in Heaven, right? Heaven is supposed to return you to your former beauty, so shouldn’t religious people look at wrinkles with love? One step closer to God after all.

• I had no intention of bitching all day about my age. I was actually hoping to throw up a news item or two, there was nothing worth bitching about.