Sunday, May 31, 2009

Testosterone Makes Men Crazy, Part MCCXXVi

Ever been to Palouse Falls in Washington? You know, the ones where the Palouse River falls 186 feet off of basalt cliffs into a bathtub shaped pool? Ever thought about riding them in a dinky little kayak? Me neither.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Weakened Further by Technology

Behold the pygmy jerboa and weep.

In Which I Soften The Frak Up

The high temperature today, freakishly, was something like 89 degrees.

I work at a home-based business. I share a room with a server, a computer, a copier, two printers and a scanner. The air conditioner in said home-based home went out this morning. At first, I just thought I had done a superb job at boosting my metabolism this morning with my little run. Then I was sure that I had a raging fever. I was finally told that it wasn't me, that the house was the one with the fever.

It was hot! I was sweating! And if there had been anyone there to complain to, I would have whined like an orange Ford Fiesta on a hill. Instead, I suffered in silence. And even though I kept telling myself that humans lived and flourished without air conditioning for 50,000 years before this particularly warmish afternoon in this particularly technologically superheated room, I still felt like a mini-martyr.

Luckily, our own famously tetchy heat pump is working today, so when I got home, I was able to relax and watch an episode of House that I missed when our cable went out by logging on to 

So I went from trying to channel our hard-bodied ancestors who once stalked the sun-scorched plains on the hunt for a scrawny gazelle, to snuggling on the plushy couch with my MacBook and my Nalgene water bottle, watching entertainment on demand and trying on my new Saucony running shoes.

All of a sudden, I felt pretty squishy.  But I'm not going back outside for a quick gazelle hunt.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Can See the Beauty of a Hermit Cave

Does it help that the next door demon's parents feel bad that their spawn is of Satan?  Not much. It would help more if they supervised their rug rats, instead of choosing serial apology.

It seems that the Bad Seed gets pouty when Scotty The Adorable gets bored with standing by the fence and getting fed wood chips and dirt, and so he throws stuff over the fence at him when Scotty turns away. It started with dirt clods (once so many that I came home to their father in my back yard, trying to sweep up the mess). Yesterday, it escalated to lumber. I happened to see him toss a pointy stick at Scotty, and I headed out the door with death in my heart, and a soft but firm voice.

I didn't think that his parents saw this time, but I guess I was wrong, as I came home from work today to this note in my mail box.

I just have a feeling that being made to apologize just makes this kid pissed off. I guess we'll wait and see.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ignore This If You Don't Need To Hear Complaints About Air Travel

Okay, that's pretty much everyone, including me, so I will be talking to myself. But that will be therapeutic (and probably why comics can't stop themselves from continuing to put airplane humor in their acts), so here goes:

The flights during our recent vacation were all equally execrable in their own way. They were all extremely cramped, with no leg room, no shoulder room, no ass room. It felt like we had been packed into a sardine can for convenient shipping. I kept wondering how 250+lb people manage to wedge their asses into those seats. I've flown next to beefy guys who hog the armrest (and invade my shoulder space), but have never been stuck next to someone who spilled over their seat in the bottom region. That must be really unfun.

Both United flights attempted to make us pay top dollar for cheese and crackers. I believe we declined en masse. I didn't see one sale. I wonder how long some of those "deli boxes" have been for sale. I bet some have logged more miles than the pilot.

Both Continental flights (two early morning ones) offered cereal, milk and a banana, which was nice, but difficult to eat in the traditional manner in those little plastic bowls with little plastic spoons. Only attempt to eat this if you do not care what you look like when bent over a tiny plastic bowl of desperation while being squished in an airplane seat, with the little tray of cattle steerage on your lap, trying to shovel wet, milky corn flakes into your mouth between bumps.

One flight allowed us to watch a movie - for free! - but the movie was longer than the flight, so we have no idea how it ended (actually, we can guess, since it was Yes Man, which was apparently made using the Movie-Tron 3000, an automatic script writing machine that hasn't seen an update to its software since the late 1980s. 

Okay, yes, I plan to watch it when it cycles down to TV, because I have a problem with not finishing things I've started.

One plane required us to pay for the movie, and again, no takers.  Again, revenue-boosting scheme foiled.

All flights required us to pay $15 for our checked baggage ($15 for the first, $25 for the second). This policy has had the effect of making the already crowded overhead carry-on bins into battle zones. We paid the $15 (actually, $15 x 2 people x 3 flights = $90) to avoid the overhead-bin real-estate rush, which was a good plan, because such breakdowns in common courtesy send Drew into the red zone, and he can think of nothing but revenge for days. 

Here's a bright spot. We took the train from the Baltimore airport into Union Station in DC! What we learned:

  • The commuter train doesn't technically allow luggage bigger than carry-ons.
  • The train ticket seller laughed at us for worrying about it.
  • Track 3 is across the tracks from the station.
  • The elevator up and over the tracks is broken. There is a sign on the OTHER side of the tracks, but not on the station side.
  • My bag weighed 49.5 pounds (.5 more and I would have had to pay a $125 overweight baggage fee for each flight!), so Drew carried both his and my bag up the stairs and back down to Track 3.
  • Yes, I could have packed lighter. I bought a big new bag, so I figured I might as well use all that room. Too much.
  • Union Station is impressively grand.
  • Drew takes lousy pictures of Union Station.
  • It takes a long time to catch a cab from Union Station when it rains.
  • Unless you take a gypsy cab and agree on a fare up front. If it's a little higher, hey, you just escaped a 30-minute line for a ride.
Dinner and a hotel bed feel pretty good after a planes, trains and automobiles trifecta.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just Indulge Me

Watch this. You might also want to read Torture Team: Rumsfelds' Memo and the Betrayal of American Values by Philippe Sands.

It's wrong and it doesn't work. If it was wrong and it did work, I would still argue that we are better people than that, but that argument is moot. So shut up, Dick Cheney. You only made us much less safe (remember invading a NON-Al Qaeda -invested nation on trumped-up charges, making a new group of people hate us and kill our brave service men?).

End rant.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

So I Got Home and Cleaned Up the Dog Poop...

Our dog sitter is a trained vet tech. Maybe that means that she gets confused when dogs whine, thinking that could mean a number of things, other than what it usually means, namely that they need to go outside. Because she said that Scotty kept whining, but she couldn't figure out what he needed. 

Maybe that also means that she has developed an immunity to the smell of dog poop. She left us a note that she kind of smelled poop this morning when she got up, but could not find it. 

That's funny, because there was a Jackson Pollack painting done in ass-goo covering the dining room rug. And pee on the dog beds, because Annie leaks if she is not walked twice a day. And deep drifts of dog hair on the rug. And dishes in the oven.

So it's great to be home, but could have done without the vacuuming, rug cleaning and dog bed laundering marathon.

But still. It's great to be home.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Vacation Captain's Log: Colbert Edition

What we discovered today:

  • The CVS store by our hotel rakes it in when it rains. The garbage can out front was full of the little plastic sleeves that umbrellas come in.
  • The technical Nike pants that I was wearing are excellent at wicking moisture. I know this because the hem came out of one leg, and the pants did a bang-up job of wicking all the water on the sidewalk right up my leg.
  • All the tourists pile into the museums on rainy days. For the last three days, the museums have been light-to-slightly-crowded. Today, they were packed. We gave up on the Holocaust Museum due to crowds waiting to get in. We braved the crowds at the American History Museum, but they were thick and jostle-y enough that I wasn't really retaining or enjoying what I was reading or seeing.
  • Security guards either have lousy taste in restaurants, or get kick-backs for sending tourists to miserable pizza restaurants located in second-rate food courts.
  • The Stephen Colbert portrait is firmly fastened to the wall.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Vacation Captain's Log: Pooped Edition

We took a tour of the Capitol today. I would post pictures from the tour, but most of them were just pictures of the herd of people taking the mega-human-mover tour with us. So instead, here are some pictures of my favorite statues today. Lovely naked ladies riding mer-horses. Yes! The horses had fish tails! I'm not sure how these erotic delicacies got the OK for placement right outside the Library of Congress, but I'm not unglad. I love them.

Omigod, what is she doing to her mer-horse?

After mooing along with the herd at the Capitol tour, we knocked out the two-building behemoth that is the National Art Museum. Van Gogh. Manet. Monet. Lichtenstein. Mondrian. Picasso. Lots of other guys. At the Modern Art building, the poor art guards spend all day telling the tourists not to climb on this particularly lumpy but attractive Art Installation. Geez, what a job.

I know of a friend of a son who likes triangles and bicycles. Here are some of both.

We found a quiet spot on the side of a very busy Lincoln Monument for a breather before we headed back to the hotel. So tired right now. 

Good night.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Vacation Captain's Log: Panda Edition

We decided that the best way to get to the National Zoo from our hotel was via super-tourist double-decker bus. Thus we have surrendered to Full Tourist Status. Without shame. We are complete camera-toting tourists in a city of people who consider themselves Really Goddam Important. Thirty percent of the population of this city works in some form of government service and they all consider themselves to be running the country pretty much singlehandedly. That's okay. Passion is what we need. I just hope its the right kind of passion.

Today we had an Important Mission: Panda Sighting. Yes, we have already been to a zoo on this trip. Yes, I am a member of the Oregon Zoo in Portland. But important fact: neither of these zoos have Giant Pandas and the National Zoo does. Thus, we ventured. And thus, we conquered. Behold.


Also importantly, these little antelope were enjoying some succulent spring leaves:

I, however, was doing the opposite of enjoying the succulent spring pollen. It was thick. And so was my phlegm. Between the dinner drinks and antihistamines, I am currently completely Benadrilled.

Also importantly, we found the Dramatic Prairie Dog:

Also importantly, this tiger seriously wanted to eat us. Luckily, this was prevented.

Tomorrow we kick tourist ass at the Capital.