Tuesday, November 25, 2008
It should come to no surprise that my latest disappointment was so ... well disappointing. The culprit, Chocolate Lucky Charms. You see Lucky Charms was always a favorite of mine as a kid (it's why I grew so tall--kinda ironic since the leprechaun stays so small), and the notion of replacing those bland oaty bits with something like Cocoa Puffs or Cocoa Pebbles, well that's a match made in heaven--sorta a Count Chocula with all the magical Irishness of Lucky Charms. So why is it my hell?
The chocolate bits aren't chocolatey, rather they're just brown. Brown in color, but worse yet, brown in taste. You see when I close my eyes and think of the color red, I can taste Hawaiian Punch (Fruit Juicy Red), and when I do the same with orange, I taste McDonalds Orange drink. With brown, well I picture shit and a taste those oddly shiny crap nuggets that someone must have randsomed a leprechaun into putting in the box (better than giving up the pot of gold I suppose).
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
I'm a PC
Thursday, November 13, 2008
What a bunch of crap
I'm not alone. I imagine most seventeen year old gals are rather bored by Seventeen Magazine, and I know that the folks I see in Forever 21 aren't, and I also there's nothing innately American about American cheese. Don't even get me started with Waterbeds and Stuff, which should be called Bongs and Stuff, with the stuff being old dusty and moldy tobacco to go in all those water pipes. What happened to the truth? At least The Dollar Tree, still has stuff that costs a dollar (no trees however).
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
hypermilers, damn you!
What's worse is that the nerds who write the OED, who are one notch above WoW players and two above hypermilers--unless they happen also to be in those other groups, decided that hypermiling is the word of the year. Kinda jumping the gun in mid November, eh? Anyway I was rooting for schadenfreude, which is my favorite word. I suppose it's not the end of the world, as I know sooner or later I'll be hypomiling (my word of 2009) and I'll get to watch some hypermiling jackass rear end a semi they're tailgating while their engine is off and their power brakes aren't so powered. Then I'll roll down the windows (keeping my AC on) and yell, SCHADENFREUDE! Don't think they make any hybrid hearses, nor have I ever seen any with any bumper stickers.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
My knight in slobbery fur
Kuma, my knight in slobbery fur!
Before I knew it, I was being attended to, and for once not leaned upon, as Kuma was there for me to lean on him! He was like a big lumbering walker, which is more than I can say for myself, as I was just big and lumbering. Kuma led me to a more modern lifeline, my Blackberry, which brought Liz and then the wonders of Columbus' wonderful ER experience. I just wish Kuma had his barrel, as I could have just drank my way to good health and bypassed the ER. Or I could have just went to his vet, which could have been cheaper and offered a less feral waiting room. Good to know in case this ever happens again, and I hope it doesn't.
I'm fine now btw
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Feeding giraffes, rhinos, and mammoths
Day five of our epic California safari
It almost never got this far, as we arrived for our "10am" flight at 8:30--too bad it really was a 9am flight! Amazingly we ran, breezed through security, and luckily all was well. Despite a few minor calamities at rental car counters, over aggressive valets, and bum fights, we made it! Sadly these delays made us too late for the zoo, but we did get to go on a hippi safari in Balboa park.
We sought adventure on our first full day in San Diego, and we went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Being on vacation we spluged on a African Photo Safari, where we got to drive amongst the gazelles, antelopes, rhinos, and giraffes. We actually got to feed giraffes, but the cutest thing was watching the rhino rub his itchy back on the truck we were in. Almost as amusing as the rhinos was watching the people and their interactions with the animals. Sadly we really wanted to feed the rhino, and that was another tour. We had a blast nonetheless.
Afterward we got to chill with Liz's peeps, eat great mexican food, and watch a shitty movie on an awesome TV.
Another day, another adventure. This time the San Diego Zoo was open, and the place is huge! We trek through the humble Columbus Zoo often, but this place is off the hook. The rate paths for novices, intermediate, and experts--some have warnings for those with wheelchairs. We hiked and hiked, and finally, we fould the pandas! Damn things don't do much. They're sleepy pacifists (the speghetti monster gave them the digestive system of a carnivore but they eat bamboo). During our journey, we passed three different meerkat enclosures, and a whole lotta pigs. We've never seen so many pigs (or types of pigs) in our life.
We still wanted to feed the rhinos, and that's where our next day would take us (back to the Wild Animal Park). The rhinos are absolutely adorable, and they just sit there and chow apples. Well, first we had to track one down, and after some coaxing, we were chucking apples into their huge heads. They're a bit bashful at first, and once they're full, its time for a bath (ever see a rhino roll on his back--we have!). The rhinos actually reminded us a lot of our big dogs.
All in all I took thousands of shots (see below), and he had a blast. We did everything we could have wanted to do, plus a bunch of fun work stuff (dinners, conference, and a hokey conferment ceremony). After all was said and done, we began our trek north. Along the way, we stopped at a favorite restaurant of Liz's, and I got a t-shirt for winning the Gamblers Challenge (eat a 35oz sirloin). Kinda sad a rhino gets some apples and I get a sirloin the size of a cat!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
PMPin Ain't Easy
Last week I decided to make an honest pimp of myself. Well I decided a while back, but I made it happen last week. You see a pimp friend of mine--names will remain anonymous to protect the guilty--joined me in a crash training course for the pmp exam. Little did we know that meant a crash diet for some, a crash course in mathematics for others, and a crash head first into boredom.
It all seemed nice from afar, a course provider promising a success on the test with the added carrot of a week away from the office. Well sometimes the cheetah catches its prey because its just lame or retarded, and that doesn't make for much of a chase. I went to a cheetah course and it was lame, retarded, and more gulag than gitmo, but that's hardly reason to bust out the sparklers and champagne. Oh, and then there's the preechy no caffeine or carbs bs. Are you kidding me!?! That's how I graduated college in two years and have enough hokey financial services certifications to do a decent game of scrabble with the letters behind my name.
Sadly those letters don't matter, as afterall who's a better merchant than a pimp. At least I got to study under the tutelege of a savant who even tried to pimp me! Pimpin a pimp, who would havr thunk it?
So anyway I was trapped in Stalag 17 for a week and all I got was this blog. At least you got Hilton Rewards points at the Hanoi Hilton, let alone the bones miles doled out for suffering through "1 Night in Paris". Oh fyi. They could have called it five minutes in Paris.
Monday, August 25, 2008
I'm 17 years ahead of the world
We read the play, watched the movie (yeah the one with the chick with nice hooters), and afterward we had to do some lame creative project. Dioramas, mobiles, scrapbooks, and other shit were heaved upon our teacher. Not being one to be outdone, I decided to fight fire with fire, and do a bit of writing--a new ending to "Romeo and Juliet". Sure it's rather adolescant, but for a good reason. I was like 13 or 14, and I was heavily influenced by what I saw on TV.
One day MacGyver and his boss Pete were out fishing. They caught marlin on MacGyver's homemade line. Pete was sea sick and he had already puked three times on "Phoenix I," the corporate boat, so MacGyver drove him home. MacGyver wasn't tired, so he decided to read the book he got this month. The book was a Shakespearean play, "Romeo and Juliet," to be exact.
After reading the play, MacGyver dozed off. He was saddened by the tragic ending. He wished he could do something. "WAIT," he thought, "Maybe I could build a time machine." He thought about what he would need.
He decided to call Dr. Bruce Banner a buddy of his; the good doctor was an expert on many time traveling theories. The doctor could warn him of any dangers. The doctor was not as smart as MacGyver; nobody is.
MacGyver knew he needed to travel to modern day Verona so he called the "A-Team." They could get him a plane and help fly it. The A-Team could build anything, but not with as few resources as MacGyver. MacGyver needed their help due to the little amount of time in a 60 minute episode.
Face, Murdock, B.A., Hannibal, and Bruce arrived. MacGyver acquainted them of his plan. The "A-Team," will build the plane and MacGyver will build the time machine.
B.A. quickly pulled the van up to the garage. Hannibal told Face and Murdock to unload the welding equipment. They did so. B.A. congregated the spare sheet-metal and steel tubing that MacGyver has lying around. Face detached the engine from MacGyver's truck. Murdock went up to MacGyver's attic to get the excess carbon fiber MacGyver has up there. B.A. welded a large frame. Face bent the sheet metal to form a fuel tank. Murdock modified MacGyver's truck's engine. He made it into a jet engine. Hannibal and B.A. weaved the carbon fiber around the frame B.A. made. Face took the glass from MacGyver's truck to form a windscreen for the plane. Murdock took the gauges from MacGyver's truck and put them in the plane. B.A. welded the engine on. Face welded on the fuel tank. Murdock connected the fuel tank to the engine. Hannibal cut a door in the plane's body.
MacGyver gathered ten coathangers, a potato, and a touch-tone phone. First he stretched out all the coathangers. Second he tied all of them together forming a loop. Next he separated one connection, putting the potato between the ends. Finally he wired the phone up to the potato. The machine would get its power from the potato. The date would be entered into the phone's keypad. The coathanger loop would be the gate between now and then. Bruce warned MacGyver of the ramifications of altering history. The group went out to the plane.
B.A. said "Good-bye," to the others. B.A. got into the van. Before he could start the van, face gave B.A. a shot that put B.A. to sleep. They boarded the plane. Murdock moved into the pilot's seat. B.A. was dumped on the floor. The plane whizzed down the street. Eventually it became airborne. The plane would just barely make to Italy.
During the flight MacGyver sewed some period appropriate clothing. The plane made it to Italy, but the plane did not make it to Verona. They had to ditch the plane in the middle of an open field. They did not know that Rambo IV was be filmed on that location. Explosions were occurring to the plane's right. B.A. woke up. Then Rambo came running towards them. He did not know that the plane was not supposed to be there. He sprayed lead into the plane. Fortunately all of Rambo's bullets were blanks.
"Cut," said the director, "I said cut dammit." Rambo ceased fire. The director approached the plane. MacGyver went to Rambo, while Hannibal tried to make up an excuse for the director.
"We have supplies for the Pope," said Hannibal.
"The Pope you say; what supplies do you have," said the director.
"Parts for the Popemobile," replied Hannibal. Meanwhile MacGyver persuaded Rambo to divert the director while the A-team fixes the plane.
"YO, Direcduh," said Rambo. The director went to Rambo. The A-team took all that was worth keeping. All was loaded on three Jeeps. The A-team, the doctor, and MacGyver boarded the Jeeps. Rambo jumped in one of the Jeeps. MacGyver grudgingly let Rambo come along. After three tense hours they arrived in modern day Verona.
MacGyver set up the time machine. Dr. Banner warned MacGyver once again. B.A. did not want to have anything to do with a time machine, so he suggested that he stay back, I mean forward, to guard the machine. Murdock called B.A. a coward. B.A. decided to go along. The group walked into the loop. Upon arriving in the past, they noticed that their hair was standing up. B.A. was not affected, as his hair stands up anyway. They were 100 ft. from the gates to the city. As expected, they arrived on Thursday, Juliet's second wedding day. MacGyver suggested that they all wait by the gateway, while he went to Friar Lawrence's cell.
Rambo had another idea; he grabbed as many weapons as he could. He raided the gates of the city. He sprayed lead into the guards that tried to stop him. He then ran into the first building he saw, and then he set a bomb to blow up five minutes from then. He ran out of the building carelessly mowing down anyone he could find, enjoying it. Meanwhile, Dr. Banner could not stand the violence. He got bigger, greener, and meaner. He became the "Incredible Hulk." He ran into the city randomly taking care of anyone Rambo hasn't killed. Rambo stormed the Montegue's home. He did not shoot anyone; he instead pulled out his trusty survival knife. He began gashing people with it. He cut into people, then pulled up with all of his strength. One by on he killed all the Montegues, but one, Romeo. He then pulled out three grenades, and then ran out of the house throwing the grenades on his way out.
B.A. encouraged the A-team to do the same. Hannibal instructed B.A. to retrieve a cart. B.A. did so. Hannibal told Murdock and face to gather wood. They did so. Within ten minutes the cart and the wood became a wooden tank. Hannibal retrieved a nearby horse and hitched it up to the cart-tank. The A-team boarded the tank. Murdock controlled the horses. The tank stormed the town.
Meanwhile, Hulk stormed the Home of Paris. He sought out anyone. First he picked up a servant, then he threw him 20 feet. Next he saw Paris; he then picked him up and crushed him. Hulk continued.
Concurrently, MacGyver arrived at Friar Lawrence's cell. He told him that Romeo will not be informed of the Friar's plan. At first the Friar did not believe MacGyver, but finally MacGyver convinced him. The Friar then went immediately to Capulet's tomb. MacGyver, believing his job was done, returned to the porthole.
As this was going on, Rambo stormed Capulet's place. He did not know that the A-team was attacking from the back of Capulet's place. The A-team fired at servants, and at Rambo. Rambo was hit by a bullet.
He turned and ran into the building spraying lead all over the place. Rambo had lost touch with reality. He no longer had full control of his body; primal instincts took over. He became the ultimate killing machine. He shot and killed all the A-team. He killed Capulet, Lady Capulet, Nurse, and anyone else he could see. He set bombs all over the complex. He stormed out of there. He ran into neighboring homes doing the same. He no longer knew why he was killing, he just knew he liked it.
Rambo saw Hulk; he immediately shot twenty, thirty, forty times. Hulk did not fall; he attacked Rambo. They fought hand to hand for minutes. Then Rambo pulled out his knife and stabbed Hulk with inconceivable power. He drove the knife upward. Hulk had a twelve inch gash stretching from his lower chest to his neck. Hulk then bit into Rambo with his last strength. Hulk fell.
Rambo, wounded, stopped for a minute. He stuck his knife in the hole from the bullet. He cleaned out the wound by twisting the knife. He then pulled out the bullet and the knife. He opened a bullet. He poured the powder in the wound. He then lit it. The ferocious heat sealed his flesh shut.
While this was going on, MacGyver arrived at the porthole. Only Colonel Decker and his merry men were there. "Where's Smith and the A-team?" asked Decker.
"Good question," returned MacGyver.
"Cut the crap kid, where is Smith?" yelled Decker irately.
"Colonel, I brought them here, and then they left. They refused to listen to me. Good luck finding them," said MacGyver.
"Put Mr. Angus MacGyver in cuffs," yelled Decker violently. "Damn you Smith," whispered Decker. "C'mon boys lets go after them," cried Decker. The group spread and searched for the A-team. MacGyver stayed behind handcuffed to a tree.
Rambo began his onslaught again. He attacked people, animals, even trees. He threw grenades everywhere. After destroying every building in town, he returned to the porthole. On the way he ran into a few of Decker's men. He slaughtered them with rapid bullet fire.
Back at the porthole, MacGyver used some lint in his pocket to unlock his handcuffs. He then waited for the rest to return. MacGyver saw Balthesar. He ran to him rapidly. "Balthesar! wait!" he yelled. "Juliet is still alive," he blared.
"What be you sayith," responds Balthesar. "I saw the fair Juliet put in her final resting place, she be as dead as Elvis," he replied angrily. "Do you hath say my dear eyes lie to thy?" questioned Balthesar.
"No, and you are right Juliet is as dead as Elvis," MacGyver stated with authority. MacGyver explained what happened to Juliet. Balthesar finally understood it all. MacGyver sent Balthesar on his way. Rambo returned. Upon seeing a familiar face Rambo got back in touch with reality. MacGyver and Rambo exited the past and entered the present.
Romeo talked with Balthesar. He then returned to what was Verona. The town and its residents were gone; only corpses remained. The only people left were Romeo, Balthesar, Friar Lawrence, and Juliet. Together with new residents, new town was built. Romeo ruled the town. Everyone who lived, lived happily ever after.
MacGyver woke up. He looked around. He realized that he was dreaming and that none of this really happened. He still felt dejected by the tragic ending.
Ok, the ending is a cop out. Throw out everything after that last "LATER", and it's so much better than the real thing. Still tragic, but kinda happy--right? The Tivo of life is 17 years behind me. Time to fast forward through commercials!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
High School was a bunch of crap
Yeah that's right, I took a class in recreation. We "studied" volleyball, badminton, tether ball, and ping pong. Anyway, I suppose I should have felt guilty that as Americans we not only have such luxuries and time to enjoy them, but also that folks in China slave away just to make those toys for us. Whatever, I didn't care, and I enjoyed the fruits of their labor and kicked ass in badminton.
Why do I think about this day back in high school? Well today I saw the Chinese win gold and silver in badminton, watching the winner drop to her knees in tears afterward. Yesterday I saw the Chinese dominate in ping pong, in the only purpose built ping pong stadium. The day before--you guessed it volleyball. Damn! What a load of crap, they're not slaving away. They're just sitting around playing recreation sports. Is Napoleon Dynamite's tether ball prowess all that's left for America to be proud of? Time to get out the croquet set!
Friday, August 15, 2008
Tom Jones, Niel Diamond, and Magnus
I suppose it makes sense, animal attraction to of all things an animal, but Magnus is so much more than an animal. I imagine maybe the Dalai Llama or some other quasi deity strolling through Tibet may get as much attention as our dear Magnus, maybe on a good day, but I doubt it. You don't believe me? Mom's abandon babies in shopping carts, cashiers leave their tills, and grown men become as sappy as a little girl with their first little pony. Even people used to being around puppies are compulsed to touch him, to dote over him, to merely be near him. Other dogs feel the lure too. Everyone wants to be near the Magnus, though ironically enough, Magnus just wants to lie by my (or Liz') feet and lay low.
I suppose he's a bit like a fluffy (1980s) Michael Jackson. Gosh, I hope his fur doesn't turn all white. He does has a high pitched bark, and I've seen him playing with my gloves. Hmmmm
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Emulation is the sincerest form of flattery
You know how guys facing various facets of aging take on long forgotten aspects of their youth such as buying that sports car (or pimped out minivan) of his childhood dreams or reliving the memories of scoring four touchdowns in a game playing for Polk High School. For me, its more geeky. Since I've been banned from watching Jeopardy, I've taken on other pursuits. Yesterday I liberated our Wii, itself a flashback to a mispent youth. Now I can take on Bionic Commando, Pro Wrestling, and even Contra! That's right:
"Congratulations! You've destroyed the vile Red Falcon and saved the universe. Consider yourself a hero."
How's that for a pat on the back! Plus all those years where I remembered ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A and was led to believe those brain cells had a greater purpose, well look who's typing now---byatch! It's great to be alive!
Monday, August 04, 2008
The End is Near
Liz and I both like to cook, but we love kitchen gadgets. You name it, we've owned it, and with no one holding us back for sanity's sake, its a miracle we're not smothered in gadgets. With a solid household income, Amazon Prime, and infomercials, it's really only space that's holding us back. It really was an issue when her gadget collection united with mine, and until recently we were hovering at that rather restrictive ceiling.
We decided to kick things up a notch by building a new wall of cabinets to house gadgets plus a counter top to display our prized possessions. Out came the breadmaker and the blender, Cuisinart, and KitchenAid had proper homes. We really shouldn't get more, lest we go back to shuttling stuff to/from the garage, but there just had to be a better option. We need more stuff!!!
Like most folks, we have a microwave (two actually), and I'm not sure if this is normal, but we NEVER used it--err either of them. Our solution? Get a new (third) microwave. A cry for help? Not really, as this one can go over the stove. We needed a new vent anyway, and this hardly cost much more, and it's a gadget!
Oh boy, is it a gadget. You see it's a microwave, a vent, and a light ... but wait there's more: it's also a convection oven! But if you order in the next 20 minutes, we'll throw in the ability to cook with halogen lights! Geesh, how could we resist (especially on clearance). We couldn't, and the next thing you know, we're tearing out cabinets, running wires through walls, and rebuilding cabinets to make room for ... The Advantium.
The geniuses at GE (the company that brought us Lexan, Borazon, and ALF!) created this triumverate of cooking, and the halogen bulbs are the real advancement (seems a lot like a heat lamp at Mickie D's to me). The real kicker is how the thing thinks. It knows what you want to do, and then outsmarts you. It's more human than human, and all to scary. The end is near.
Now I just need to figure it out.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Let's step back a second while you're cleansing your mind. Every day I swing by the Laake casa to fatten up our little warrior Magnus. Magnus gains about a pound a day in lean muscle mass (well bones too), so squeezing 5-6 meals in is a must (as he poops out 95% of what goes in). While he does his Eukanuba Dyson routine, I scavenge the DVR and channel guide for something ... anything to watch.
Thus we end up watching Hurl! Do I need to describe Hurl!? Well since I suffered through it, let's go into detail. For starters they eat food that looks like barf. Pot Pie innards do the trick. They get measured on quantity consumed, in pounds. The top performers move on to the next round, where they are spun around until one spews. Then more food, more vomit, and lots and lots of slow motion replay. Oh boy! Oh, the title of this blog, that's how G4 promotes this drivel.
What are they competing for? $1000!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
My little Fight Club
Do I show up to work with shiners, spit out needless extra teeth in meetings, or try to pick fights at work? Maybe, but that's beside the point. Fight Club is bigger than Tyler Durden, it was an institution--a way of life. That's what I'm on to. While the soap making has yet to kick into full gear, the ass kicking is alive and well. I guess my fight club started when I had two eager disciples who weren't separated by bars, but bloodlines tended to quash matters more than steel bars. Fresh blood, new blood, hungry blood really livened things up.
Michael Vick really got into a quagmire with his whole operation, but he had it all wrong. Rather than train animals to be aggressive, violent, and hungry, one can just adopt ones who have that potential. Then all you have to do is feed, nurture, and support them. In time it all takes care of itself; all you need is a camera. Leo and Adler (above) sometimes have epic cat fights, but they are nothing compared to the earth shaking chaos that is a Kuma and Stuart bout. Kuma is sorta like an Emo Andre the Giant. Big, strong, but somehow not that menacing. Stuart is rather like X-Pac, little, greasy, and really really really hard to root for. At first Stuart defied logic and all reason, by whipping up on Kuma. Poor Kuma wasn't getting enough calories to have the energy to fight back. A hearty diet, some encouragement, and maybe a little goading, and Kuma the Giant found himself. Stuart was never the same.
Things got worse for Stuart, as little Magnus is fast becoming the Kimbo Slice of Columbus. He's never ran from a fight, and I've never seen fear in his eye. The little warrior tears toys from Kuma's mouth, makes Stuart run like a coward, and has even tried to gnaw his daddy into submission. His training has just began, and he's gaining a pound a day. We may have to bring in Godzilla to give him a good workout or fly him to Spain to run with the bulls. Until then, Kuma and Stuart will have to do. Poor Stuart!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Time to light a cigar
At first our new child was just a glimmer in our eyes, but through lots of planning and consideration, we found the perfect addition. It wasn't quick, nor was it easy, and it certainly didn't keep us close to home, but it was well worth it. Cuter than Knut, almost as strong as Tim Tebow, and built like a tank, I give you Magnus.
Magnus was 25lbs and just under 10 weeks when we picked him up for the first time. He's a big boy, with paws and shoulder bigger than most dogs (even bigger than our fat 70lb bassett hound), but he's all puppy on the inside. If his 200lb+ daddy (serrogate--not me) has anythig to do with it, he'll be huge. Heck if I have anything to do with it, he'll be huge too! He's already holding his own with Stuart (the bassett hound), and Kuma (our 174lb St Bernard) will soon have his paws full too.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Putting the cart before the horse (part 4)
After strolling through town, and buying some umbrellas (Guinness of course--too bad it wasn't raining Guinness), we made our first journey around the Dingle Peninsula. While I was unsuccessful in my berry quest, we did rind roadside shrines, beehive structures, stone forts, and lots and lots of sheep in our first go round. We didn't stop for too much, as we were killing time (ouch bad pun, you'll see) while our B&B proprietor was attending a funeral. It was unfortunate, as when we met her, we discovered she had quite the attack plan for seeing all there is to see in the peninsula (and saving a few bucks with local knowledge and tricks). We also began our strategy for the next day's mission, the Ring of Kerry.
The Ring of Kerry, is a route around the Iveragh Peninsula, which has a spine of mountains, glorious valleys, and beautiful lakes. Oh, it overlooks the ocean too. We initially decided to follow the advice of the B&B proprietor and bypass the full blown ring, focusing on the Gap of Dunloe and a few other chunks of the ring without going whole hog on the 170 kilometer (105 mile) journey. On our way to the Gap of Dunloe, we saw goats (sadly the only two we saw in all of Ireland) on the roadside and followed signs to a nearby castle. We should have known that having goats lead us to a castle might make the castle a bit more WT than average, and the doublewide trailer, broken cars, and the "Villa Roma" sign indicated either we were in some long lost (very lost) Roman Villa, or in the land of Irish Rednecks with a sense of ironic humor. I'm not sure which would have been the better option.
The Gap of Dunloe is a valley that's composed of grazing land for sheep and a narrow road that's closed to traffic, unless its hoofing it. When we say hoofing it, we mean allowing an animal with a hoof to do the dirty work, in this case a horsee names Beauty. Bueaty was driven by a dude with a heavy Kerry accent, lots of stories to tell, and aparantly a cell phone with awesome coverage. We rode into the valley and back, passing folks who really didn't understand "hoofing it", running into horse traffic, and watching silly Americans develop saddle sores that will make them walk like the survived Deliverance.
After our horsee trek, we had plenty of time left, so we decided to throw caution to the wind and take on the ring. Along the way we had pancakes, visited some forts (being cheapskates and not paying), snapped a lot of pics of sheep, and enjoyed the breathtaking scenery. One of the most vivid moments was watching a bunch of tourists who were congregated in an incredibly windy break in the mountains try to take a picture. It must have been a sustained 50mph+ wind with stronger gusts--it was rather funny. Beside that we saw more trailers, surfers, lots of big ass buses, and more sheep. We made it through the ring in good enough time to make it home to Dingle for dinner, and another journey (remember it stays light until 10:30pm!).
After tapas, you know the traditional Irish dinner, we decided to re-do the Dingle Peninsula. I had the brilliant idea to go the opposite direction that we were given directions in, which likely would have just been novel had the map been more accurate than One-Eyed Willy's treasure map. Despite our wanderings, we visited an oratory that was 1400 years old (ie not built in 1400AD, rather 600AD) and still holding up well, some ruins that were ruined, and caught a glimpse of the Sleeping Giant. By then we were actually seeing the sun set, and it was soon time to retire. Our two days in Dingle, along with our journeys in County Kerry were wonderful. Sadly we only had one more night in Ireland.
Our last night was in Bunratty, which is conveniently (and I doubt not coincidentally) close to the airport. We made decent time, including another visit to Limerick, but alas when we left the charming company of our B&B there, we were too late to visit the local castle. Having already heard Sinead, or gracious host fail to get us a reservation at the castle for dinner, this was a rather crushing disappointment. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and damnit it was our honeymoon. In a land where divorce has been only legalized in my lifetime and where having kids out of wedlock is still tantamount to being shunned, I knew the power of marriage and being on a honeymoon had to have some traction. Fortunately our efforts to fly standy at the catsle paid off, and we were able to feast on soup, ribs, capons, and other medieval fare. Ironically enough, we were seated accross a family from Powell. Before you know it, the night was over, as was our Irish honeymoon. The memories will last forever, and we'll likely find ourselves back in Ireland someday.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Putting the cart before the horse (part 3)
One thing that was omnipresent from our time in Connemara through the rest of the trip belies visualization, as relies moreso on other senses--notably smell. Ireland has a unique way of fueling fire, almost as creative as Cleveland's use of flaming rivers, they burn the dirt. You read that right, they dig up peat in bogs, slice it into bricks, and dry the lot. The dried bricks of peat can be burned. You can even buy peat briquettes in grocery stores. The sweet smell of peat permeates the landscape, and homesick Irishmen can even buy incense that smells like peat.
So we drove south from Connemara, smelling peat, and enjoying the countryside. Friday was a disappointing day, as everywhere we ventured seemed to be closed, off limits, or a secret place to park and fornicate. We spent an hour looking for the legendary Castle Mattrix, but we were unsuccessful in finding a way there.
Putting Friday's disappointments behind us, we set off from Adare and headed toward Dingle. The last words of the gentleman at the B&B were to warn us to avoid a certain town (Castlegregory) if it was cloudy. It was cloudy--Ireland and all, and we decided to head there. It wasn't that bad--how bad could it be? Well Castlegregory was fine, though the clouds and rain tempered the view quite a bit. We were able to see surf shops, surfing school, and lots of tourists. It was almost like Florida--well not really. Anyway, we had survived Castlegregory. We then set out to get to our final destination, Dingle. We had no idea what we were getting into.
There's only one vaguely direct route between Castlegregory and Dingle--the
We then made it to Dingle, and were ready for the final days of honeymoon. To be continued...
Friday, July 11, 2008
Putting the cart before the horse (part 2)
In Doolin we noticed a lot of hokey Irish souvenirs playing up the sheep as an iconic symbol of Ireland. They were cute and all, but gosh, we saw 100x more cows than sheep. Maybe after one too many Guinness the sheep and cows start to blur together.
After the two joyful days in Doolin and the surrounding area, we trekked to Connemara. The region is divided by several mountain ranges (yes Liz they're mountains, not hills :p) and dotted, nee blanketed with sheep. Sheep on either side of the rode and on the rode. Fences seem to be more a suggestion of a boundary than a real indifference, and the sheep's brazen attitude toward oncoming traffic made Canadian Geese look timid. Maybe it's the punk rock inspired spray-painted doos? Regardless, they really are the most striking memory of our journey--well that is if you ignore the bizarre inhospitable manor house we stayed in (imagine the hotel from the Shining with a Frenchmen pretending to be Irish running the show).
The Zetland Country House really was in the country, which we found out when the only available lunch offerings was their own (based on their 60 Euro dinner prices and the readily apparent creepiness, we passed). Our wanderings led us on a 10 kilometer trek to a marginally less isolated place which featured a gift shop/pub/restaurant. Given that was our only option, we begrudgingly took them up on their lackluster dining options and watched an Irish soap featuring chlamydia and statutory rape as the main story line. Sadly the TV show was better than the food.
After this lackluster beginning to our Connemara stay (which we drove forever from Doolin to get to), we saddled up our mighty Getzy and drove on. We barely made it to the gorgeous Kylemore Abbey before closing time, but alas the gardens that interested us more than the abbey were already closed. The abbey itself is now home to an exclusive girls school--you know the type that you see in horror movies. We took pictures (and a passer by was kind enough to take our picture) and moved on (to the gift shop).
We also had to pass on the nearby national park. Irishmen take note: if it's daylight until fucking 10:30pm, don't close your outdoor activities at 6pm--that's lunacy! We enjoyed the the rest of our journey by driving through the countryside, taking in the beautiful vistas, and driving on the stunning Sky Road near Clifden. We finished our day by enjoying a delightful dinner on the patio of a pub.
Even more to come ...
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Putting the cart before the horse
After whirling through two dozen or so roundabouts (and a few roads not on our Garmin) we arrived weary and jet-lagged in Doolin, a seaside town known for its music scene. A uber power-nap revived us for a trek to the Cliffs of
I had been not so much persuaded but rather goaded into the Irish Breakfast, which is likely what the wicked witch fed Hansel and Gretal. It's huge, but I suppose you gathered that already, but it's also heart and well ... fatty. Irish folks love bacon (well they call it that, they like our confused friends to the north--and I don't mean Michigan-- call this odd hammy stuff bacon), and they love sausage (bangers in Gaelic) just as much. A few clogged arteries later, and we were off on our journey to the Burren. Ever wonder what the moon would be like with lichen and sheep? Well we were there, and we took pictures. Its really hard to describe, but its really amazing. What's sad is it's really just some giant ad for conservation efforts, as cave men (and cave women--time for you cave gals to stand up and take the blame as well) apparently damned themselves by felling a few too many trees. One thing led to another and everything lighter than boulders blew off into the sunset. Oddly enough conversationalists had to stop yuppies from boosting these rocks for zen gardens.
More to come ...
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I'm grabbing the bottled water and heading the the basement
There will be a Cornhole game for the Wii! I've written about this exercise in laminess and idiocy, before. What is the world coming to! I'm still waiting for a decent curling game for the Wii. Now that's a sport worth promoting.
Gosh, no wonder I get headaches, it's like some tangle of wires thrown in a drawer! Still with me? Ok, my dream, the Cryptozoo! Duwha? We've all been to zoos, and most of us live to tell (those jackasses who harrass innocent and rather bored tigers excluded), and well they're big expensive, and the market is rather saturated. Yeah, elephants are adorable, Sun Bears are cute, and we've all seen monkey masturbate. Been there done that. My dream is so much grander, a zoo for animals that don't really exist! A cryptozooological paradise!
Who needs an orangutan when you can have a sasquatch? Who needs goats in a petting zoo when you can have the goat sucker! Who needs a zebra when you can have a unicorn! This is stuff P.T. Barnum can only dream of, and now I can only dream of! The beauty of my innovation isn't the wonderous nature of the critters, as others have already made them up (moonshine, marijuana, and other vices may have played a role as well--is it a coincidence that big foot gets sighted in forrests with shrooms or Nessie gets spotted by drunken fishermen?), rather it is the limited overhead. Yes this is a business (I suppose that's the American aspect of the "American Dream"), and there are costs and consumables.
The costs, next to none. It's a cryptozoo, so once the animal actually exists, well then it belongs in a real zoo. As long as it's a zoo for make believe animals, there only needs to be make believe exibits. A fenced in area with trees, large foot prints, maybe a nice pile of poo (readily available thanks to owning a Saint Bernard) and voila! an exhibit of a sasquatch. Set up some interesting sound effects, pay a cryptozookeeper to stand there and talk about seeing the sasquatch a little bit ago (heck there are whack jobs who would do it for free--and not even know how full of shit they are!). Next to that a pond, with a smoke machine running full tilt, maybe a few odd shaped logs floating around (and a beer cart selling concessions to boost "sightings"), and you have a Loch Ness Monster display. A few gnawed up goat carcased, a stand selling souvineer barf bags, and you have a chupacabra lair. The list goes on and on ... Oh, and don't forget the nightly alien light show!
As for the consumables, well that's the souvineer stand. Who would want to go to the worlds only crytozoo and not come home with a cute plush Abominal Snowman or the even more Abominal Snowwoman? How about souvineer sasquatch poo (time to turn Kuma into a cash cow)? T-shirts, lunch boxes, goat meat, the list goes on and on.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
A flame is extinguished, but never will be forgotten
Every morning I'd go check on her, and like clock work, she'd check on me. I guess this ritual goes back to when she was pregnant and I'd check on her every morning (well every afternoon, evening and night too). They weren't my babies, but she was, and I helped raise them like they were my own. She didn't need much help, as she managed to sneak out little Boris, Natasha, Ewa, and Felix on one of the nights I wasn't by her side--I guess a gal needs her privacy. What's more amazing is that despite having an extra 50% of body mass, she managed to hold on to her bladder for astonishing periods of time while I had her on my lap massaging her sore joints and back. She was my little girl.
As her pretty daughters (they got their good looks and cute cow-lick from their mommy) grew up, a bit of jealousy and a bit of "grow up already and move out" set in, but I think she just wanted her daddy all to herself. Heck, she'd sometimes nip at or give golden showers to others, but not her daddy. Even in her old age, outliving even the most optimistic of expectations, and half of her own offspring, she remained true. This morning when I checked on my little girl, she was there waiting for me, eating her food, but no longer in this world. My little Sophie was gone.
Sophie entered my world on October 28th 2003, and left it today, May 7th, 2008. She was a little guinea pig, but her heart was bigger than a capybara. I'll always love you Sophie.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
The White Death
So when these accounts began again on March 6th, foretelling a snowstorm like none other this year--one with 4-6 inches of snow on Friday March 7th, well Liz and I dismissed it, and we expected the usual weather Cheerio to save Columbus. Weather Cheerio: Liz's term to describe the phenomena where bad weather--notably rain and snow, tends to encircle Columbus, but not inflict its wrath on Columbus itself. Anyway, we both went to work and expected little if any drama. We even made plans to join my friend/coworker Shawn at a hockey game Friday night. In short, we heard the boy cry wolf before.
By mid morning, it appeared that they were underestimating the amount of snow, but it likely was just coming down sooner rather than later. After lunch rumors of my employer sending non essential workers home spread, and outlying school districts closed early. Then roadways began to get all jacked up, as folks couldn't see due to the whiteout, and the snow and ice were piling up faster than any plows could address. I dare not mention the overall incompetence of Columbus drivers. It was getting ugly. I let for work early, and Liz did too. This was before they declared a Blizzard warning.
We finally realized that they weren't crying wolf, but they were still wrong. We got the predicted amount of snow well before the worse was to be unleashed. Now they were forecasting 14 inches! Not being one to look a gift hockey ticket in the mouth, Shane persuaded Liz into braving the blizzard. Oddly enough, while 99% of all businesses were closed and the county recommended staying at home, it was clear and sunny--the calm before the storm.
After the game and for another 18 hours it snowed, and it typically was heavy. At times it was hard to see through the blowing driving snow, but the boys and I found some time to play in the snow and take pictures. I even ventured out to score some pizza, but that proved rather irrational.
In the end we got about 20 inches of snow, watched a whole lot of shitty movies, and suffered from cabin fever. While I got a bit of exercise shoveling snow, we were saved with some dudes and a truck plowing our driveway to freedom. Thank god for Mr Plow!
Our Bustrip to Florida
Things started out ominously as the impending "white death" led even the nickel-and-diming Skybus to offer free rebooking. Not wanting to forgo our $20 seats or worse yet face the wrath of my mother, We sucked it up and took on the elements. This seemed rather foolhardy when we faced a couple inches of snow while dropping our pups off at their home away from home, but we managed to make it out roughly on time.
After a couple hours of being in the concession stand of the skies, we landed at an airport I up until a year ago didn't know existed. My ignorance was vindicated with seeing what looked like a recently inflated terminal followed by seeing a novel new way to pick up baggage (just walk up to a train of baggage cars and grab whatever looks nice).
After these scary discoveries, we proceeded to go to the zoo, which as you know is a pastime of ours. Before long one day let to another, and our three day stay was over. At least Liz got to enjoy the wonders of cracker life through a meal at a fish camp, as well as the haunted happenings of St Augustine through shopping for a ghost tour (there were 9 or so being pawned off on passers by). We didn't get to take any of these tours, though we doubtlessly will one day.
This was all back in February (getting caught up with my backlog of blogs), and we've since actually enjoyed a "white death", which actually had more bite than bark, but that's another blog.
Don't Call it a Comeback
Oh well, enough of this nonsense, time to get started on my ABCs!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Return of an Old Friend
Sadly for me it was all too real. It's so hard seeing a friend disappear for so long; harder still seeing him come back in a box; and worst of all opening the box and seeing someone else. It's all so fucked up.
At least there was something in the box, as it led to closure, and ultimately new beginnings, but dammit there was a part of me that left, and while I looked for it in the box it was gone.
My consolation prize, one month of X-Box Live Gold membership. Well I can at least use it on the replacement unit they sent me, and I can go fight in wars online. God Bless America!
My strategy at Subway has degenerated to trying to disguise the taste of the meat type stuff as well as I can with jalapenos, banana peppers, and other fixin's. The Feast defeats this tactic by inundating one's taste buds with huge quantities of mediocre meat of various ilks. It all kinda mixes and mashes to form some dreadful ubermeat that likely will outlive us all (I really shouldn't anger it, should I?). Anyway, it was far too much work to try to pretend it was good. I vowed to never try that again.
OK, back to today. There was a huge line, filled with all of the usual Dublin cube-monkey cliche looks and styles, and lots of Bluetooth all around. I patiently waited my turn, and when I was second in line, the gal in front of me, a smallish seemingly human entity, ordered a double Feast. To which the "Sandwich Artist" gasped: "Oh My God" and offered a look of sheer disgust with a touch of terror. Other "artists" couldn't help but gawk at the meat-like monstrosity that she created. I merely tried to avoid vomiting.
Friday, January 11, 2008
I'd be dead without my pets
Pets: Good for Your Health?
So with 10 pets (two guinea pigs, three kitty cats, a bunny, two dogs, a turtle, and a chinchilla), I should be getting the full effect, for my physical well-being AND MY SANITY!!!!
Good Lord! I'd be schizophrenic or worse without them. I'd be comatose too. Time to get more pets. No wonder Jack Hanna always looks so healthy (Steve Irwin did too, but I digress).
Get yourself a pet! Stop by and help with mine!