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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Five Things I Think, Aug 15

1) I think I’m no fan of the effects of stress on the human body.  The tail end of last week was a metaphorical shit sandwich served with a side of fuckyou fries and an extra large cup of “go broke motherfucker.” 

Our washing machine kicked the bucket, or at least became nonfunctional enough that we can’t use it.  Wifefish and I, both stressed to the gills, had one of our incredibly rare but always fiery Heated Discussions ™, and once the smoke cleared we realized we’d not gotten one inch closer to paying all the people that need paid. 

Thus do I feel like a truck hit me.  I could use a massage of the therapeutic kind, one of those that really digs the knots out, as opposed to those available at certain truck stops around the country.  Not that I know anything about those. 

On the plus side, I was able to work out some aggression by destroying the massive concrete sink that was doing nothing but taking up space in the laundry room via 10 pound sledgehammer.  I refer to it as “percussive therapy.”  It is hooked to nothing, and can be hooked to nothing in the foreseeable future, but was just sitting, canceling approximately 18 cubic feet of space in said laundry area.  It won’t do that again. 

2) I think it’s important never to take yourself so seriously that you’re not willing to hide behind ottomans with your 3 year old son portraying Iron Man to his Captain America.  He kept yelling at me to “Get the bad guys!” and throwing his shield to me so I could take my turn hiding from their bullets.  I guess he forgot that as Iron Man, I’m armored to the hilt and thus bulletproof.  Or maybe he just wants to protect me as much as I do him. 

 This is an artist's rendering of how cool Little Danger and I are in real life.  That's him on the left.

Either way, it was an absolute blast catching that foam shield tossed my way, beating down imaginary bad guys, and tossing it back to him so he could get the bad guys on his side of the room.  Take that, Hydra. 

3) I think it’s fun to send lead downrange.  Wifefish and I hooked up with a good friend on Saturday and shot a few guns.  Little Danger thus got his first instructions on the difference between toy and real, and why real guns are never to be used as toys, and always to be used safely.  And not by him until he’s old enough, just like driving a car. 

He was quite impressed with the gravity of the situation, staying with mommy or daddy while the other went to the firing line, and not complaining even one little bit.  He did take a few shots at the target from said safety position with a bright green water gun, though. 

For Wifefish’s part, she did pretty well as a first time shooter, putting some .22 rifle shots dead center…by which I mean 5 in the red center ring out of 13, and all 13 on the target. Not bad at all. 

For my part, I managed to put in a good showing despite some time away from the range.    

4)  I think I’m building up to some true rants.  I’m waffling between fatigue from the news and a desire for activism of late.  I just get sickened by all the idiotic BS we the people put up with, and maybe it’s time for me to start getting it off my chest, instead of sticking my head in the sand.  I know that may turn some folk off, so if I go that route I’ll try to keep it entertaining.  If I do choose to engage in activism, I will not be supporting side A or side B, that’s for sure.  I’m a 3rd party guy, through and through, and I yearn for a party strong enough to challenge the status quo…because, as Dr Horrible once said, the status isn’t quo. 

Man, if only I had a freeze ray. 

5) I think you should read this article.  I find this reporter to be diligent and credible; what appears as occasional bias is in fact well-researched and documented.  It’s not hard to see his personal feelings on the subject, but I’m going to give him a pass on this one, because cops killing innocents by accident (and dogs on purpose) is bound to piss someone off.

Now that you’ve read that, I’m going to let you know that I agree with every common sense proposal he makes in that article.  I’ve met both kinds of cops: the protect-and-serve community cops and the tough-as-nails us vs them jackholes.  I prefer the former, in nearly every situation. 

It is inexcusable that we incarcerate such a high number of people for non-violent, and in some cases non-victim, crimes.  Hell, I don’t mind tossing a thief in jail, but the fact that you and I have to pay for three hots and a cot for a guy who likes to doob it up a bit is kind of ridiculous.  The fact that SWAT teams are busting in doors for recreational users, not even dealers but just pot smokers, is patently reprehensible.

Maybe it’s time for a change or two.    

So, gang…what do YOU think?  Oh, look, there's a comment button for you to share your it!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Beer, Beer, Beer vol 4

Good day to you!  It is time, my friends, to take another stroll through the alcoholic haze together.  Today, we’re going to be taking a trip over the pond to jolly old England.  We’re also going to depart from the grain and hop, and move solidly into Johnny Appleseed’s territory.  Today’s offering is Strongbow hard cider.

Let me start with a one word description: yummy.  I know that’s got all the sophistication of an episode of Honey Boo Boo, but bear with me here. 

For me, a glass of Strongbow takes me into a nostalgic trip in the avenues of my mind to Headington, and the Royal Standard Pub.  This is the first place I ever had Strongbow, unchilled and on draught. 

We visited the Royal Standard, just a short jaunt from a house with a fucking shark sticking out of its roof, on the first day of our trip.  A good dry cider, it turns out, is a fantastic way to tell your jetlag to “buggar off”. 

  No, really, a fucking SHARK.

The cutest little bartender greeted me when I sidled up to the bar, a lovely brunette who schooled me on the methods of tipping at British pubs…one doesn’t tip money, one offers to buy the barman or barmaid a half-pint of their own.  When I asked for her suggestion for a warm summer day, she pointed to the Strongbow tap.  She poured my cider and with an overly bright smile said “Here you go, guvnah!” 

Despite Wifefish’s presence not 11 feet from me, I fell in love for a moment.  Then I sipped my cider, and it happened again.  I bought the barmaid a half-pint in lieu of a dozen roses.

Fortunately for me, Wifefish has a forgiving soul, so she forgave me my trespasses and chalked it up to jetlag, and jokingly told me I was free to date the dispenser of my drunk-nectar.  The family laughed it up at my expense, which really was just fine by me…I had a full pint of crisp apple goodness in a glass.

It may well be nostalgia that gives my taste buds so much to say about Strongbow; the fine folks at Beer Advocate score this one with a paltry 14, due to the use of artificial flavors.  I was surprised to discover this, actually.  For my part, I find the flavor crisp, a bit dry, and just sweet enough.  It’s my favorite cider thus far, and let me tell you I’m a samplin’ sumbitch.  Toss something new and boozy in front of me, and I will try it, within reason.  (If you serve me something called a “sweaty crotchfruit”, I will push it back to you unsipped.)

Here in the States, the ‘Bow is available both in pint cans and lower capacity bottles.  Why anyone wouldn’t opt for the full pint is beyond me, but some cretins prefer bottles just because they’re bottles, and whereas they are far better for hand to hand combat once you’re deep in your cups, I’ll take the can every single time. I urge you to do the same!

Strongbow Cider:  give it a try, and Bottoms Up! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Five Things I Think, Aug 8

1) I think I never tire of singing Little Danger’s praises.  It’s kind of amazing how little kids level up like intrepid adventurers sometimes, how one day something may be beyond them and the next they are masters in the making.

We had another Lake Therapy session this weekend, and a more eventful than most at that.  On Saturday, we anchored the pontoon boat in a cove that has a lovely little waterfall on the left bank. It’s truly a pretty spot.

My brother in law and I set out from the boat to said waterfall, a good 70 yard swim.  As we made it to the trickling water, we noticed his kids, Lizardbelly and the General, behind us.  What surprised us most, though, was Little Danger and his Memaw swimming toward us as well. He was in the lead by a good 6 feet or so.   

Little Danger made the entire 70 yards (we were all wearing lifejackets, but he still had a good strong stroke going) and insisted on swimming up under the waterfall on his own, giggling the while.  He didn’t want to leave the waterfall, but as there was a good deal of drift and trash under there, we didn’t linger.  He then insisted on the return trip with no assistance as well.

 Little Man loves the lake

He further spent the next 40 minutes jumping off the boat into the lake with his cousins, an endless cycle of jump to Memaw, swim to the ladder, climb the ladder, run to the bow, jump to Memaw…

This from the kid that 2 days earlier didn’t want to get his face wet in the lake.  They grow up so fast. 

2) I think I didn’t want another dog.  Alas, sometimes we are chosen.

We spent part of our Lake Therapy tied up in a cove, houseboat beached in the wayback with little to no traffic.  On our second day, we were visited by two strays, skinny little things with no collars. 

Try as we might, they never left.  We did that thing you aren’t supposed to do, and fed them.  They inhaled the food, much as we suspected they would. They slept on the bow of the boat, and when Little Danger woke up he said “Where my Lake Dog?”

Our third day on the lake was interrupted by a trip to the vet for the strays.

One came home to us, the other to the General and Lizardbelly’s house.  SUCKERS.  That’s us.  

But how can you say “go away” to this face?  They have a semi-clean bill of health, now that the ticks have been killed.  They have just about every worm that a dog can host, so we have to keep her semi-segregated from Oberon the mighty for a while, especially her poop. 

She might be at the office with me right now.  I might be a pushover.  I didn’t want another dog. 

Whereas my son loves the Avengers, and insists that he is Captain America and I am Ironman (and Wifefish is Hulk…evidently you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry), and whereas I am a giant geek, we have decided to call this girl Pepper, as in Pepper Potts.  Extra added geek cool factor:  We rescued Pepper, and Pepper Potts got an armor suit in the comics, which was called Rescue.  Recursive fun for the win.  

3) I think things are about to be tighter than I like again.  Like whoa.  I get to deal with the end of a foreclosure on the rental house, which marks the endcap of my failure as a landlord.  I’m not thrilled about it, but it is what it is.  2014 will be the year of trying to repair fucked up credit, amongst other things. 

Getting to 2014 is going to be a challenge.  Whereas things have been looking up, the loss of the rent income is definitely something we’re going to feel.  There’s too much long term opportunity and not enough make shit happen right now, and I need to move some of column A into column B here.  To that end, I’ll be testing for one of the licenses I need at the end of the month.  Hopefully I can keep the upward trend going, even with the current challenges. 

4)  I think I like lunches at the office now.  I was gifted a new grill, so I brought my old one in to the office.  Now, I can go to the local market and buy about 4 pounds of chicken drumsticks or thighs for $7, a few veggie packs for $1, and make dinner for a week on the same amount of money it would cost me to get a chicken sandwich value meal for one day.  And it’s grilled.  Bonus. 
Downside?  It feels absolutely fucking unnatural to grill meat with no beer in hand, to eat said seared flesh with no beer near.  A nice tall glass of water suffices, but only barely.  If hashtags were a thing in blogs, this would be the next entry: #firstworldproblems.  But they’re not, so that should be the last hashtag you see here.  If not, feel free to shoot me in the big toe with a paintball gun. 

5) I think you should brush up on your civil rights.  You can read many sources and discover some disturbing trends.  Many of you are familiar with my feelings about the TSA, but did you know their VIPR teams are now at sporting events and highway rest stops?  You should, and you should know your rights.

You should know your rights when speaking to the police, regarding anything.  You should know each and every one of the Ten Amendments, and even if you don’t like some of them, you should think about why they are important.  You should get to know a defense attorney, even if you think you’ll never need one.  I know three, and they are the only lawyers I’ve ever met that are actual warm human beings. 

This last thought isn’t really about anything specific, just a reminder to my readers…look at the civil liberties you are supposed to have, and then please reflect on the liberties you give up every day.  It’s a bit frightening, really. 

So, gang…what do YOU think?

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