Thursday, July 26, 2007

Stuart and Kuma's Big Adventure

Probably the most consistent part of our lives is the existence of our two largest pets: Kuma the bovine like St Bernard and Stuart the goat in a Bassett Hound's body. Both have their charms, and I suppose we love them equally (I'll never say that under oath though), but we definitely like Kuma more. His unassuming self deprecating manner (much better than a dog with a self defecating manner) and overall need to please us makes him so much easier to deal with. Anyway, this isn't an ode to our dogs, though I suppose it could have turned up that way.

You see this past Sunday, which started like most Sundays--well except for the fact the weather was beautiful and we opted to not go to the zoo. We were just too doggone tired to do so. I had a wild and crazy night out with my friends who seemed to need to get away from it all. Being young and crazy we ended up parting ways and going home around 11:30pm. I returned home to see Liz immersed in the world of Harry Potter (I had finished earlier that afternoon). I ended up staying up with her past 3am (two nights in a row after 3am--what's next--hosting a Harry Potter rave?). Ok, back to Sunday, we pretty much lounged around the house, finding one sound reason after another not to exert ourselves. Once dinner time approached, I fired up the grill and braced myself for what was to come (having a 170lb St Bernard jump on you is never easy, but bracing oneself can keep your head above your feet). Oddly enough what was to come never did.

Hmmmmm. Where's Kuma (oddly enough I wasn't that worried Stuart was no where to be seen, as I know he is our cross to bear and will always be there)? I called for the big beast, and still I couldn't see or hear him. I looked in nearby yards for a confused pony sized dog (he probably could somehow step over the fence (not much of a leaper, but he is THAT tall). I even called for Stuart against my better judgment. Sadly it all was for not. Desperate I looked over to the gate, which was not closed!

I half expected to see an exhausted St Bernard laying under the tree in the front yard panting like crazy and a Bassett Hound head deep in our trash can, but neither was seen. After alerting Liz, I began my hunt. Knowing that a dog the size of a growing buffalo is not something that disappears stealthily I stopped the first car that roamed by our house. After trying to not look like a car jacker, I got them to roll down the window. Before I could finish asking they nodded rapidly and pointed to the corner not far away. They weren't much for words, but after seeing a giant dog a giant human likely wasn't what they wanted to see next. The hunt continued.

I ran ahead to the corner they pointed to, and there was someone watering their lawn. Only in Ohio do people stand in their front yard with a hose and manually water the grass--quite a bizarre practice, but they smiled and said you own that big thing and pointed to the next corner (which wasn't that far away, but I still couldn't see them). I ran ahead (well maybe I walked fast), and just at the next corner was some kid doing something--can't recall, but he likely thought he looked cooler than he really did. Anyway, he said what's his name and asked which dog was mine. At this point I realized I had only asked folks about Kuma, but I'm not 100% sure I was acting on my greater affection for him or my knowledge that Stuart is a curse that we must bear--most likely it was just the logical reasoning that it's 100x times easier to see a dog that's closer to the size of Mr Ed than Lassie. In any event, it wasn't long before I rounded this corner to see a happier than he should be St Bernard bounding about and a dutiful Bassett Hound sniffing a trail to god knows where.

That pretty much ended Kuma and Stuart's big adventure. I wasn't smart enough to bring collars let alone leashes, so I had to verbally wrangle them--easier said than done, but it didn't need to last for too long, as Liz appeared in her trusty CRV to serve as animal control. Thus their moments of unbridled freedom ended safely. Stuart continues to hound about the gate, and I'm sure he won't forget the endless world of smells out there. Kuma quickly became beyond exhausted after he not only walked farther than he's used to but did so jumping and galloping like a horse with hemorrhoids.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Friday Freak Show

Last Friday was a day many people have been looking forward to for some time--myself included. You see many of us dorks, especially those of us who have read books bigger than Myspace for Dummies, have been waiting for the last Harry Potter book to be read--well what for now will be the last Harry Potter book--my money is on a god awful septology prequal, with a whiny Voldebrat and Jar-Jar Wizard. Let's hope I'm wrong. Anyway, the book came out; lots of people pre-ordered books; and there were huge masses of people waiting to get their book--kinda like the iPhone launch but with costumes and people getting their money's worth.

While I do enjoy a good book every now and then, and I find the Harry Potter books to be worthwhile reading material (a one way ticket to hell would be reason enough), I mostly put aside my usual wild and crazy Friday nightlife aside for a week to freak watch at Borders, and I looked forward to it. I had some pre-work to do, as one needed to get their line position during the day, and when I showed up at 9:30am (they open at 9:00am) and saw a line of people who looked a little too much like they called the sidewalks there home, I was a tad bit scared. We (Liz was just as eager, but for reading every bit as much as people watchin--perhaps even more so) got place #116 in line, which altogether didn't sound bad. We planned on showing up around 11 to claim our place in line, gawk, and get out.

We got there around our planned arrival time, but to be honest I don't know when, and the parking lot was packed. Ugghhh! The store not surprisingly was packed too. It was loud, crowded, and there were more than a few annoying people. People can be annoying due to their loudness, their tone of voice, their sense of self importance, their smell, or sometimes for just being too ugly. We experiences all of those kinds of annoyances--sometimes in just one person! It wasn't all bad, as we got to see would be Quidditch players (complete with brooms), wannabe witches and wizards in their Hogwarts garb, wannabe Malfoys and other specific characters (including someone WAY too old to pull off Tonks), and lastly folks who thought their gear for the renaissance festival needed to be wore twice this year (what no theme weddings to go to?). beyond the annoying folks and those dressed up, we encountered people who obviously haven't left home in a while (I suppose when the last Harry Potter book came out), and they were overwhelmed by it all. Some of these folks were shaking (then again they could have been that pumped about Harry Potter). Anyway it all was good fun, but we were very happy to get the hell out of there.

Of course after all that fun there's nothing else to do but head home and start reading, which we did.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm a Genius

Few things survive through the millenniums as pyramids, and few things can be guaranteed to succeed as those that have made it through the millenniums. These two facts are relatively benign on their own, but when a genius puts them together, well you have brilliance. Bask in my glow.

While others have built pyramids in recent years, they have made them into various trivialities as casinos, arenas, or entrances to museums. These aren't structures for the ages, and all in all, they are just rubbish. Greatness demands more, form must follow function. Pyramids, the structures people visit, the things on the dollar bills (which is what it is all about--money that is), and the structures one can see from space--they were the final resting place for royalty--ney gods who walked the Earth. What made them gods? The fact that they were buried in pyramids! We all want to be divine (that's why there are so many Mormons), and we all want to walk among the gods (that's why Zeus was such a mack-daddy--no real answer why no one wants to invite Mormons into their homes), so why not sell divinity?

Sell divinity? Yeah, that is my scheme dream. I need some help from investors, but why not take some abandoned land, scare off the hobos and shit, and build a giant pyramid. We could use prison labor (to make it authentic, we kinda made slavery illegal, but it seems to be a good compromise) to get it done, and when done it would be a giant mausoleum. If people pay thousands to be hacked up and frozen, why wouldn't they want to be hacked up and put in Canopic jars? Want to kick it old school and take it with you? We can offer treasure rooms, space for your loyal servants (you'll have to make arrangements to kill them, as I'm not a murderer--a scoundrel yes, murderer no), and even a fancy curse if you pay enough. Given that it would be quite an addition to the cityscape, I know I could get taxpayer funding for most of it, and hell it would be quite an urban revitalization. We could open up a Valley of the Kings shopping mall, a Nile River waterpark (crocs optional), and a Cleopatra's beauty school (she wasn't really that pretty, but we all have room to improve).

Once this works, I can sell franchises in other cities. Soon there will be pyramids everywhere and a whole prison system of really buff and rather tired inmates. Gosh watching COPs has become much more practical, as it is a form of job fair. I need to get to work! Anyone want to be my HR manager?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I guess I like Craig more than that dude Tom

As y'all know, I'm an avid photographer, and some might say a good one (my philosophy: if you take enough pictures, one has to be good). For the past 3+ years, I've enjoyed my trusty Panasonic FZ10, which somehow came to be known as the "Fluzi" among its owners. Now, it wasn't some cheap fluzy--it cost most of my bonus a few years ago, but it certainly paid for itself through not having to buy/develop film. It also made the film camera I got just a few months before rather unnecessary. Anyway, I got a new camera a few weeks ago, one camera to rule them all!!!

Believe it or not, this blog isn't so much about getting a new camera as it is about an odd phenomena--Craig's List. While I got my new camera along with a lens, the combination is best for nearer subjects, not the distant critters one sees at the zoo and other places I wander. I knew this getting into the whole affair planning on using the proceeds from selling my two cameras to buy an uberlens. That's where Craig's List comes in. I had sold things via the company classified ads (they're online), but I knew the bigger net I cast, the higher price I could get. I really didn't want to mess with eBay, so I instead posted a few ads on Craig's List. at first it seemed too easy, offers started pouring in, then I realized that when you filtered out morons who thought a 35mm camera was digital, scams involving mailing it to Nigeria as a wedding gift in exchange for some dubious money order, or people who got cold feet and suddenly needed to tend to sick puppies (heard that a few times), it wasn't as easy as it seemed. In the process I mentioned Craig's list to a coworker who sold a boat in a manner of hours. Frustration set in, but in the end I got rid of both cameras and a PS2. Not bad.

All in all the place really seems like quite the active marketplace, and I suppose I'll use it again (you can't beat the price). I'm still amazed how close to the price of a new item someone will pay for a used one. Geesh. Oh, for you camera buffs out there, I got a Nikon D70s (refurb--yeah I'm a cheap German bastard), 18mm - 135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S lens, and a 70-300mm f/4.5 - 5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR lens.

All of my newer pics can be found here.