Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Clarification

I've been getting a lot of queries about yesterday's swimming pool post. So, let me try to clear up a few uncertainties and misconceptions.

First, yes, Swimming Pool is available from both Netflix and Blockbuster. In fact, Blockbuster even has the used DVD for sale for just $7.99 for standard riff-raff and $7.19 if you're a vaunted "subscriber". But, just between us, I can point you to a website where we can do a lot better for that kind of money, if you know what I mean. This is really a rental-quality film.

Second, the conversation between Dad and Mom at PF Chang's was purely fictional. I know you people like to think I spend a lot of time transcribing my real life into the blog, but not all my material is autobiographical. Here are some clues that this was a dramatization:
  1. The characters were named "Dad" and "Mom." If it were a factual event from my life, they would have been named, "Me, CherkyB" and "The Mrs.," respectively.
  2. The "Mom" character used the phrase "lunch date". The Mrs. would never use the word "date" for fear that I would, shall we say, expect something.
  3. The "Mom" suggests PF Chang's as someplace nice. The Mrs. would suggest Outback, then after being reminded for the 34 bazillionth time that Outback is not open for lunch, she would suggest Red Robin.
  4. The "Dad" is surprised that the kids are along on the date. The Mrs. has not been separated from The Childrens for a meal with Me, CherkyB since poor DaveyB and MaryB offered to babysit once as a dry run for their own family-building. That was a little over 2 years ago.
  5. The "Dad" remarks about the baggy, olive drab sweatshirt and locker-room gray pants. While this is without question The Mrs.'s favorite wardrobe selection, I've long ago learned not to mention it for fear of triggering a tirade much like that in the story.
  6. During her tirade, the "Mom" notes that "[her] mother was right." In real life, The Mrs.'s mother is quite happy with the selection of Me, CherkyB as a husband for her daughter. And this is not just in comparison to the, uh, questionable choices she has made in husbands for herself, but because I am truly an exceptionally wonderful man.
  7. The rant included the phrases, "f'k you", "you bastard", and "asshole". The Mrs. actually greatly prefers the term "cocksucker" when she's berating me.
So there you have it. Next time, you can use some of the above clues to separate journalistic accounts from dramatizations.

Monday, October 29, 2007

64

The number of ounces of Diet Mountain Dew you have to drink before you pee exactly the same shade of yellow.

Swimming Pool Observations

No, I'm not talking about that dreadful French film that you are thinking about renting because Mr. Skin named it "Best breasts in a foreign film" in 2003. Which it may very well have been, mind you. No, I'm talking about little things that came to mind as I sat in the bleachers during HannahC's swimming lesson this evening. See, I am assigned the task of taking her to swimming on Mondays because MaxieC has a hard time sitting for an hour in bleachers with nothing to do, and because The Mrs. still labors under the misconception that being "The Dad" involves more than just holding down a steady, decently-paying job, and I don't have the heart to tell her otherwise.

I took my laptop to her lesson a couple weeks ago to do the first installment (and only thus far) of Diversity Corner, but this week I did not plan to blog from there. I planned instead to go to Lowe's to return one of the two 300W-equivalent compact fluorescents I bought yesterday. The one that worked for about 10 minutes. For $19, I expect my lightbulbs to last more than 10 minutes. Then, I also planned to hit Liquor Max cuz I was out of vodka (on account of the sudden popularity of the screw yu driver) and white wine.

Turns out that was about 20 minutes total, so I had a while to sit around and observe. As all of you who have blogs (well, those of you have have decent blogs (well, none of you)) know, you can't just sit around and observe anymore. Everything is material. Not having my laptop or any means of writing things down, I had to take notes on the notepad application on my cellphone. This surprised me, as I thought I had a voice memo feature on my phone. I guess that was the previous phone.

So I'm going to cop an Andy Rooney style here. Which means annoying little observations with little underlying theme tying them together. I hope to make Andy Rooney money off of it, but if I'm lucky, I'll make $1.

First off, it is not OK to pound on the window directly behind me when I am playing Asphalt Urban GT 3D on my cellphone because you want to be let in the exit door. The door that is always always always locked and that you can't even see from the parking lot, so the only way you know it is there is because you've been inside the building before, in which case you know it is going to be locked because no one leaves an exit door open that lets you get in to the pool without paying at the entrance, even if you don't have to pay today because it's lesson day.

Then, if I get up to let you in, it is also not OK to say, "I didn't want to interrupt your texting, but I was outside." Finally, all of this becomes especially, wildly not OK if the next thing you do is start talking to your 25-year old son who is sitting literally 4 feet over from me in front of the exact same window doing not a damned thing but sitting, but you didn't decide to bang on the window behind his head.

Oh, and while we're at it, once inside, it is not OK to set your goddamned backpack down in physical contact with me, even more so given that there are a grand total of two people besides you on this two-row, 24 ft-long bleacher, and the OTHER one is your own son. And it's not OK to set your grandchildren down at my feet and not their dad's. And none of this is made "all better" by looking me straight in the eye and shrugging your f'ing shoulders.

I wonder exactly what it is that would motivate a pretty, young woman to have a Playboy Bunny tattooed on the back of her neck. A pretty, young woman with improbably large headlights given the relatively slight frame. If you really are a Playboy Bunny (maybe, maaaybe a "college girls" or "girls next door" edition), does this actually improve your stock to have this tattooed on your neck? And if you're not, how pathetic is it that you put this permanently on your neck? If you're hot, people can tell you're hot without checking the back of your neck. This just says, "trash." You need to set your sights higher. You could have scored a dentist or a podiatrist or maybe even a tax attorney. I mean, this is Fort TomCollins. It's not like there's a lot of competition.

Hey bikini mom in the "mommy'n'me" baby swimming class, everybody hates you. I can see it in their eyes even from up in the balcony. The other moms resent you because you have gotten your flat stomach (mostly) back despite having a 1-yr. old, and the dads are upset because your mere presence costs them untold hours of grief:
[ring ring]

Dad: "Hello?"

Mom: "Hi honey. How about you meet me for a lunch date? I feel like doing something special today!"

Dad: "OK. Where?"

Mom: "Somewhere nice. PF Chang's." [it's Ft. TomCollins - ed.]

[Later]

Dad: "Oh, you brought the kids. How wonderful. And I see you got dressed up in your baggiest olive drab sweatshirt and the matching locker-room gray sweatpants, too!"

Mom: "So maybe you'd like it if I pranced around all day in a bikini like Ms. All-that? 'Oh lookit me, I just sit around all day going to the gym and getting my nails done while the nanny raises my kids. Oh, don't I have the most marvelous flat stomach!' Well f'k you, you bastard. Maybe you should try chasing around after these kids all day long. Or maybe you should have been smarter so you could have gotten a better-paying job and gotten yourself a trophy wife like you always wanted. And maybe a hot nanny too since your trophy wife is a f'king alcoholic because of the sheer boredom of being married to you. And then you can dress her up in diamonds and a slutty cocktail dress and take her out to PF Chang's, where she can show off her big, fake boobs that you paid for for all the other people to look at. Is that what you want? Well, I'm sorry I don't live up to your lofty expectations. Maybe you can go marry Ms. Thang and her bikini, except you probably don't make enough money or have a big enough dick. I can't believe you called me a fat slob! You're such a pig. My mother was right. Asshole. And in front of the kids, too."

Dad: "Uh. I have a meeting during lunch tomorrow."
Save us all the trouble and get a modest one-piece for the mommy'n'me classes. Save the bikini for when you're getting drunk on the speed boat on the weekends. You'll thank me for this the first time little precious gets terrified of "swimming" on her own and lunges out in a panic to grab a hold of the only thing within arms reach. And everyone in the place has a camera on his cellphone.

Speaking of one-pieces, hey teacher in the hot pink one piece, it's now about week 9 of the swimming lesson season. You haven't figured out by now that your bathing suit becomes transparent as soon as it gets wet? Nobody has mentioned it to you? Nobody at all? One of the other teachers, maybe? Have you ever wondered why there are so many dads in your mommy'n'me class? Dads who apparently recognized your Mark Spitz-like mastery of swimming and need lengthy private consults with you at the end of each class to go over exactly how Johnny is progressing?

Newsflash - it's not because Ms. All-that Thang is in the class. If you must wear pink, perhaps you should consider a slightly darker shade. Women just aren't fluorescent hot pink in those areas, I don't care what you've seen on your boyfriend's Hentai DVDs.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Gourdo

Today was the great pumpkin carving day. We decided on today because it was pretty warm and because HannahC has classes that run pretty late on Monday and Tuesday, so we wouldn't have time after today.

MaxieC claimed the largest of the three giant pumpkins from the garden, and he drew up a picture of how he wanted it carved. HannahC was at first livid that he claimed the largest, but she was OK once it was decided that she could have the other two.


We lobotomized the pumpkins out in the yard next to the garden where they grew. This way, we avoided the sticky mess on the kitchen floor we have most years.


To HannahC, everything is a potential gym apparatus.


The Mrs. raked up a pile of leaves for The Childrens to jump in. Unfortunately, she did not clean up the dog poop from the yard first, so when MaxieC jumped in, he landed in a pile of poop. Not to worry, as he had his dog poop cleaner-upper handy.


Now this one is a design study in unrealized potential. See, I saw these two pumpkins sitting on the wagon queued up to be moved to the front porch, and I said to The Mrs., "Go kneel down behind those so I can take a picture."

She started to, then she realized what was going on and said, "No. You do it. If you do it, it's funny. If I do it, it's just trashy."

The Mrs. has absolutely no sense of humor, in case you haven't figured that out already.

So, trying to make lemons out of lemonade, I kneeled down behind these generous orbs, and then I stuck my head between them.

The Mrs., again with the impeccable sense of humor, refused to take the picture. Thus, this crap is all you get. This is what The Mrs. considers "funny."


We had some little dinky pumpkins that were free from some farm field trip I didn't go on. These also got carved up, and the seeds are soaking to be cooked tomorrow. Big giant pumpkin seeds taste terrible.


Here's the porch in "all done" mode. We didn't carve those two medium-sized pumpkins. Six was all we could get through. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

Something Not to Do 13

Let's say, purely hypothetically, that you're on a hike through the mountains with your fambly, and the day is cooling off due to an incoming cold front. You wife happens to say to you, "I'm a little cold."

The correct response, no matter what your finely honed interpersonal relationship skills may tell you, is not, "Ha! A little?"

That would be Something Not to Do.™

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A mish and mash

I know it has been a while since I posted. I normally blog starting about 10pm. But I'm on vacation, you see, and thus by the time I would normally start blogging, I'm too absolutely insane to do anything other than play web sudoku. And maybe have a nightcap or more.

But for some reason, today both Childrens are sitting peacefully watching Cars. So, I sat down and installed the software for our new digital camera, a Canon PowerShot SD850 IS that we picked up at Office Depot on Monday. Office Depot had a great sale on these this week (20% off a very competitive price to begin with - cheaper than anything I found mail-order), so we nabbed one. Only had to go to two Office Depots to find one in stock (the last one). Which is good, cuz there are only two Office Depots around these parts.

It warmed up a whole bunches during the week, so we hit the zoo Tuesday. Here is where I discovered that MaxieC really enjoys his condiments on his hot dogs:


We managed to swing by the bird house in time for the 2:00 bug toss, which is where they give all the kiddies handfuls of meal worms, and then the kiddies toss them to the rainforest birds. The birds weren't all that hungry, but a good time was had by all. All but me. I got pooped on. A big, giant, steaming-hot rainforest bird poop. Luckily, it just hit my arm, so I was able to wash it right off.


Today, it was time for more wacky hi jinx. The Mrs. had been yapping about going for a hike or something the last couple days, so I decided it would be cool to hike up to this local landmark called "Horsetooth Rock" that we can see out our back window. However, when I started to read up on how far a hike it was (5 miles round trip), and how it was pretty steep and involved some bouldering, I decided that my back wasn't in the kind of shape it would need to be to carry MaxieC through all of that. So I found an easier trail in the same park that went to a waterfall and showed up as one of the recommended local hikes for kids. The descriptions were non-committal about whether there would actually be water in the waterfall at this time of year, but whatever. Off we went.


Oh deer.


This spider, which was about 4 inches from tip-to-tip, reared up on its hind legs and scared the living hell out of a girl in the family that was a few hundred yards ahead of us. She was probably 8 or 9. I don't know what kind of spider it was. I'll look it up and get back to you.


Very early on into the hike, HannahC found a rock that she really loved. She carried it with her the entire way. It possibly slowed her down some.


MaxieC needed to climb to the top of every boulder we passed. This drove The Mrs. fabulously insane. It was my job to climb up with him to assure safety. I also tried to teach him how to pose like a true adventurer whenever he was at the summit of a boulder and someone took his picture.


It's possible that my role model for a true adventurer is Captain Morgan, though...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

MaxieC, Chip off the old Block

MaxieC: "Momma, Momma, do you know what?"

The Mrs.: "What?"

MaxieC: "Your momma."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What comes around

Today after I picked HannahC up from gymnastics and The Mrs. brought MaxieC back from grocery shopping, I happened to mention while we were standing in the garage that I had not completed the yard work during their brief, two hour absence. MaxieC then said he would help me. HannahC asserted, no, she would help me. Then they proceeded to yell at each other a bit.

HannahC hollered, "Don't you understand that I'm the older one, so I'm the one that is big enough to help with the yard work?" MaxieC got angry and ran out of the garage into the front yard. She proceeded to run after him, taunting him about being too small to help.

Then, I heard a splash followed by a whole lot of screaming from HannahC. MaxieC darted across the front of the garage away from the noise. I went out to investigate.

I found HannahC screaming her head off and dripping wet from head to toe.

MaxieC had pushed her into the koi pond.

Let the Suffering Begin

23 hours before the arrival of her mother, and The Mrs. has cranked it into high gear. She's bossing everybody around and huffing and puffing that the house isn't clean. I 'splained to her that her mother already knows she doesn't keep a tidy house, but I just got yelled at for that.

So my role is apparently that of scapegoat. It is my job to watch MaxieC and "keep him busy" while at the same time making more forward progress on cleaning the house in an hour than The Mrs. makes in an entire week, because she can't make forward progress while watching MaxieC.

I better go. I hear growling.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A New Milestone

Fat Camp reached a new milestone yesterday: a new waitress at Lucky Joe's now recognizes us well enough to know what we drink and to not require a credit card to run a tab. This is an important milestone, as the previous waitress that knew us got moved up to bartender recently. While it's always good to have a bartender that knows you, if you don't sit at the bar, it's better if the waitress knows you.

As a result of a funny series of events touched off by this post, we now have a new catch-phrase: "Boom...Muffler!" That post was intended to just be a stupid throwaway filler post with no deeper meaning, but thanks to Bozzetto's dogged determination in searching for deeper meaning where none exists, we've managed to actually laugh so hard that it has brought tears to our eyes.

The beer may have helped, too. But I was still laughing today.

I'm not going to explain the catchphrase, as this is a fambly blog. The answer can be found on the web if you need it. It can be found much more easily than my now defunct super-secret blog. I really recommend you not look for it, though.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

OK, Let me explain

Monday, I was having dinner with the fambly as I always do, and The Mrs. and I somehow got to talking about my craft. About halfway through, she gets this look of revelation on her face and says, "Oooooohhhh! You put Yukon Jack in a screwdriver. That's why you spelled it, 'Y-u'."

So I think to myself, "Self, The Mrs. is the smartest of all your readers, as evidenced by her intelligence in capturing such a great husband. I bet others also did not understand this as well, as is often the case being that your humor is so advanced."

Then, on Tuesday, I happened to be chatting with Rico and Bozzetto. I told the story of The Mrs. and Her Revelation to Rico, who is not a regular blog reader as he spends most of his evenings curled up in a ball with a wine hangover from the one glass he has at dinner or something. As I'm telling the story, Bozzetto goes, "I don't get it. What's a screwdriver?"

Then, he asked me for like the 100th time if there was some other definition of muffler that would make this post funny.

Now, Bozzetto and I work together for the same The Company. He's been there about the same amount of time I have, and he and I are both at the exact same level of advancement within the hierarchy of pay grades and titles. So, either there is great injustice within The Company, or he is considered to be as remarkably intelligent as I am.

For the record, I'm going with the injustice thing. It's also the only thing that explains The JohnnyB.

But, at any rate, here are the only two readers I ever converse with in person, and neither understood the drink title. So I figured I better apologize before all my readers stopped reading cuz they didn't understand my posts anymore.

There you have it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Cherkypology

It's very rare for me to do this, as I am largely infallible, but I am going to issue an official apology today. Here it is:
I apologize profusely for greatly overestimating the intelligence and worldliness of you, my loyal readers. I'm sorry if I made you feel bad or stupid or like a slack-jawed, mouth-breathing bumpkin. It was not my intention. I assumed facts not in evidence, and if that made you uncomfortable, I apologize.
See, in my most recent DrinkPact, I assumed that people would already know what a screwdriver was, and thus I assumed that if I posted a drink recipe that was a screwdriver plus Yukon Jack, people would understand where the name "Screw Yu Driver" came from.

I was wrong to assume that. I am very sorry if I made you feel stupid or moronic or simply idiotic because you did not understand the derivation of "Screw Yu Driver". I often forget what a big bunch of morons, excuse me, a Diverse bunch of readers I have. I will in the future try to dial my cleverness back from 11 down to a more reasonable 4 or 5 so that only about half of you are lost.

You have my heartfelt apologies.

Monday, October 15, 2007

CherkyB, Unlikely Parenting Hero

I was sitting in the hot tub with HannahC tonight while The Mrs. surfed the web and left snarky comments on everyone's blogs. Nobody beats The Mrs. and snarky commenting. Present company excluded, of course.

Anyways, HannahC suddenly jump out of the hot tub and says, "I want to see what that bug is!"

It's a big, giant roly-poly. HannahC then proceeds to wax warmly about all the fun she's going to have with her new pet. After a few minutes of listening to her go on about how she's going to play with it by holding it in her hand and petting it, I say this:
Me, CherkyB: "You know, HannahC, roly-polies don't understand 'playing'. All they understand is 'eat', 'sleep', and 'try not to get eaten'. They don't have brains. It's going to say, 'This isn't eating, this isn't sleeping, I better try not to get eaten.'"

HannahC: "They understand 'pooping,' too."
At this point I pretended to have gotten some spray from the jets in my eye, because I didn't want my daughter to see me cry. Even if they were tears of joy.

Later, inside:
HannahC: "Roly-polies must have brains. Otherwise how could they live?

Me, CherkyB: "Democrats live."

Diversity Corner #1

Welcome, adoring readers, to the very first installment of a new, recurring feature here called Diversity Corner. For those of you who don't remember when I first described it (and, who are we kidding, my readers are by and large not bright enough to remember what they had for breakfast two weeks ago Thursday, much less some casual aside I tossed in to some otherwise-riveting post), I'll lay the foundation for this segment again.

My new building at The Company has bowed to the pressures of the Diversity crowd and has established a "multi-cultural" room at work. As can be expected wherever there is a multi-cultural room, the room is decorated with such things as Islamic prayer rugs, copies of the Koran, and literature about Islam being a religion of peace. To go along with this standard fare, there is also a little bookcase labeled "Diversity Library" that has a shelf labeled "Diversity Reading". One glance at the titles contained in said library lets you know immediately that you are in Colorado, not California. In Colorado, people still think that "diversity" includes diversity of opinions, whereas in California they have given in to the widely-accepted definition that it refers entirely to the race and/or culture of the speaker, and that to achieve "diversity" you must have the one and only one wacko-Marxist "correct" opinion presented continuously by different peoples.

So, amongst the standard leftist group-think drivel in our Diversity Library, one is able to find a few eyebrow-raisers. I am thus going to kick off Diversity Corner with a discussion of one such book. It's a book I have been wanting to read for a long time, but is always checked out of the public library. Imagine, if you will, my excitement at finding Dr. Laura Schlessinger's "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" just sitting there on the Diversity shelf!

Now, those of you who know me know that I am a calculating sort. I did not immediately grab the book and run home with it. No, I first had to spend a good deal of time trying to figure out if The Mrs. would consider it a personal affront for me to be in possession of such a book. But, I eventually decided to risk it, in particular because I needed some blog material, and either way we have a winner. I did decide, though, that I would read the book myself despite it being targeted at wives (and therefore womens, despite it being in the Diversity Library) on the pretense that I was trying to make sure that my actions were not unreasonable as a husband. Much like if you could actually get your car to read the owners manual so it would say to itself, "Self, my driver has followed the prescribed maintenance schedule faithfully, my fluids are all within spec, and it's only 25 degrees out. Hmmm... This means I better f'ing start this morning."

Also, because I've given that recommendation to a couple dudes I know, and I wondering if such rot actually works in real life. I always suspected that the womens would see right through it, but that it would establish the level of plausible deniability that is necessary in order to escape punishment. For my part, The Mrs. saw right through it, but not only did she only act with snide derision a couple of times while I was reading it (lamentably predictable stuff like, "Oh, are you planning to get a husband, cuz we could sure use someone to do some housework around here?"), but she also then read it herself. That worked out exactly as I had assured folks in the past that it would.

I am, oddly enough, a relationship guru.

Now, for those of you who have not heard of this book (i.e., the womens in my readership who are deep in denial), this book purports to be a user's manual about husbands. Once you get to reading it you realize, hey, yeah, this is actually a user's manual about husbands. It's amazing how the good Dr. could take a series of anecdotes from her radio show and weave them into a fabric that is dead-nuts on in so many ways. In fact, if there's one great comfort in reading this book as a husband, it's that your wife isn't the big mean ogre you thought she was. She's just a normal wife who never read the manual and is getting by on the advice of her bitter mother, bitter friends, and the odd collections of freaks and weirdos she comes across in the normal course of business. And Russian mail-order brides almost always secretly swipe your money so that they can import their boyfriends from Russia and then divorce you the second they get permanent residency.

OK, that last part wasn't in the book. But it's something topical to keep in mind.

The book is comprised of a total of eight chapters, so it's a pretty quick read. The first couple chapters do an excellent job setting up the theme, and the book finishes quite well. The middle chapters are a bit repetitive, in my opinion, but it could also be that they just didn't speak to me as personally as the others.

I found in this book a remarkably adept description of the transformation from loving wife to completely-child-consumed mother that I have witnessed happen to so many of my dear, dear friends. Sadly, the recommended fix - to put your husband back at the top of the priority list instead of at the bottom - seems to be one that is almost laughably unworkable given that the situation involves a woman.

My favorite chapter is Chapter Six: "What's Sex?"

This [...I wanted him to love me and accept me just the way I was] is not an unusual sentiment for me to hear from women, who express hostility that their husbands would like them to clean up, dress up, and tone up. They act like their husbands are selfish, sex-crazed, superficial, insensitive barbarians, which isn't the case. The, "If they loved me, they wouldn't make a fuss about such things" point of view is simply irresponsible and destructive.

There's a lot more good, naughty stuff in there, but this is a fambly blog.

The Mrs., while she was reading the book (the whole book, not just chapter 6, you perverts), gave me 4 of the happiest days we've had since we had children, so I can say that the advice contained therein is actually useful. Unfortunately, as soon as the book was completed and the cover shut, it evaporated as though it had never happened. Thus, I question the long-term applicability of the advice.

Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 Diversity Stars.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

DrinkPact #2

It has been a while since I have shared my creative energies in the mixology field with you my multitudinous fans. In fact, it has been nearly a year since I posted the one and only entry on the topic.

I started out thinking it would be a good time for a Halloween drink. So, what would make a good Halloween drink? Clearly, there is a whole world of cider drinks already on the books. And the only way to make a drink "scary" is to set it on fire.

As a general rule, I try to avoid drinks that are on fire. Not because I'm afraid of the fire or afraid of anything catching on fire. No, it's because having a fabulous background in engineering and the sciences, I know that the only thing that burns in a drink is the alcohol, and the alcohol is the only reason you made the damn drink in the first place. It's like buying a beer, then pouring the top third of it out on the counter.

So then I got to thinking that maybe I should just do an orange drink. Orange is a nice Halloween color, plus it doubles as an autumn color in case you can't think of a Thanksgiving drink, or in case the Thanksgiving drink starts like this, "Take 3oz of turkey gravy..."

I didn't go quite as adventurous with this one as with Minty Fresh, instead making just a minor modification to an existing favorite by mating it with old friend.

Here is your special CherkyB Halloween concoction:

Screw Yu Driver

6 oz. Orange Juice
1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Yukon Jack

Mix. Stir. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Make it Quiet

This is the muffler on The Mrs.'s minivan. It makes the van quieter. In theory. To tell you the truth, I've never actually tried the van without the muffler to see if it was any louder.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

One of these things

Is not like the other.
One of these things
Just doesn't belong.

Can you tell me which thing
Is not like the other?
Tell me before my song is done.
And now my song is done.


The Mrs. has a new hiding spot for her stash. She hides it from MaxieC cuz he's an obsessive cleaner. That makes her feel inadequate, so she hides the cleaning stuff and makes him go play outside. It's like we've been blessed by god with the gift of a child who likes to clean, and we are spitting in god's face.

Oddly enough, Sesame Street stopping singing the "doesn't belong" song because they felt it made diversity uncomfortable. I never let my children watch Sesame Street because it was taken over by one world gub'ment socialist pansies. And I never felt particularly uncomfortable despite being a diversity.

Today was a wonderful chest-thumping day. It was a day when I finally, finally got to shoot that new gun I bought back in April. Six months in the safe, sad and lonely, sad and lonely.

See, the Iceman and Tinfoil were going to go sporting clays shooting today, on account of it's almost bird season or Halloween or something, and I weaseled my way in for the trip (never having shot sporting clays). I figured it'd be a good excuse to get to buy a scattergun. But then Tinfoil got sick yesterday. After a whole lot of hemming and hawing by Iceman, we decided to head out to his members-only range in the middle of nowhere to do a little handgunning and high-powered rifle shooting. He also invited Seiborg, who wanted to shoot his slightly newer but at least he used it once .22.

However, the logistics of this are complicated. I work at one of those places where they fire you if you park in the parking lot with a gun in your vehicle. Even an unloaded, field stripped, locked up gun. None of us wants to get fired too terribly, so the choices are to leave the guns at home until you're ready to go, or park on city streets. Unlike any of the previous locations I have worked for The Company, there is actually a city street that allows parking within walking distance to the plant. However, someone at work swears that neighborhood (which is all apartments) is loaded with drug dealers.

Now, I've lived in neighborhoods loaded with drug dealers, and they look nothing like this area. But it stuck in my mind, so I decided to leave the guns at home lest they get ripped off while parked in a drug-dealer infested apartment complex. Everyone else made the same decision.

Then, when the time came to go, neither Ice nor Seiborg were ready. In fact, they delayed roughly two hours. That's the kind of thing that happens when you're single or married with no children. But i was on a strict deadline. Thus, despite packing up the .40 and the .300 Win Mag, I only had 45 minutes of shooting time, so I could only shoot the new .40. The dear moose gun sits another year unused. Year 7. I have not shot it since HannahC was 4 months old, which is the last time The Mrs. allowed me to go hunting.

I got home 6 minutes late, which I didn't think was bad given I was 30 miles away at some place I had never driven back from. It took a little longer to return than it took to get there. I don't know why. The Mrs. appeared to be fuming at my lateness, but then I decided she was just cranky cuz it was late in the day, she was hungry, and she spends all day every day with The Childrens who will literally drive you insane within about 16 hours. Then you just kind of hang on for the ride the next 18 years. I don't think it had anything to do with me.

Tonight, after HannahC did her homework and MaxieC was in bed, I taught HannahC how to field strip and clean the .40. The Mrs. walked in in the middle of the lesson (which took place at the kitchen counter), and told me she now understood why I seemed so unusually animated this evening.

She's not used to me being happy.

Don't worry, though. I'm sure it won't happen again for a long, long time.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Gone Fishin'

Some people, including certain brothers-in-law, get to go on multi-day, backwoods fishing trips with their buddies. I, on the other hand, am married with children. Thus, when I go fishing, it means something that can be driven to within about a half hour, isn't too terribly dangerous for childrens, and where the predominant fish species is quit happy eating worms.

After yesterday's fiasco fishing, HannahC really wanted to go back again today to give it another shot. At least,that's what she told me when she woke me up from a very happy sleep this morning.

MaxieC was right there, too, so he got it into his head that he'd go fishing as well. This in turn caused The Mrs. to huff and puff in her very best put-upon fashion and come along as well. After a nutritious meal of Easy Mac, we were off. We didn't even have to stop for worms, as we had plenty left over from yesterday.

When we got there, we had the whole pond to ourselves. Just us and the water. No other fisherpeoples.

No fish, for that matter, either.

Yeah, we got a primo spot on the back where we could spread out a little and cast into the center of the pond without snagging trees or each other, but there were simply no fish. I'm actually starting to sense a pattern around here. Whenever I've gone fishing around 9, there are no fish. The fish seem to wake up around 10:30.

Today was cold and windy in the morning, so maybe that had something to do with it. Though I can't for the lift of me figure out why a fish would care if there was a little wind.

MaxieC fished with a real hook for the first time in his life. He can cast like a pro. He out-cast HannahC quite handily, though don't tell her that. He cast about three times, didn't catch any fish, and decided that was plenty of fishing for the day. He and The Mrs. then spent the rest of the time leaf hunting and chasing ducks.

HannahC and I headed down-pond to the end at which everything piled up because it was down wind. There, we saw maybe 15-20 fish in the water. So we started fishing them. Naturally, there was about 8 feet of space for us to stand, it was under a tree, and down a slightly steep bank. The fish couldn't hang out where there was some room. Nooo, they all have to crowd in the weeds at the tip of the pond.

Now, I gotta tell you, these bluegills in this pond are the craftiest little bunch of worm-stealing bastards I've ever come across. They sit there and study the worm very carefully, them grab it on the side and go, never touching the hook. The picked worms completely off the hook despite these being "bait grabber" hooks that have barbs all the way up the shaft, and despite the worms being threaded onto the hook from head to toe, not just stuck through the side.

We couldn't set the tackle and bait boxes down by the pond cuz of the slope, so they were up behind us about ten feet. At one point, I was fishing, and I heard this commotion behind me, and then something bumped into my legs from behind. It was HannahC, who had lost her balance coming back from getting a worm and had log-rolled down the hill and come to a rest at the back of my legs. If I hadn't been standing right there, I think there would have been substantially more moisture involved in that roll.

HannahC, bless her heart, didn't cry or scream or anything, she just expressed deep concern for her fishing tackle and immediately checked it out. It was fine. I suppose we should be quite happy that she managed to fall over, roll down a small hill while holding a fishing rod with baited hook, and come to a rest on my legs without anyone getting injured. But I thought it was funny as hell. So I said, "Hurry up and get that hook in the water. You can't catch fish if you're lying on the ground with your hook in the dirt."

I managed to catch three fish. One of each, to quote Fat Moother.

The first was a little bluegill. After quite an argument with HannahC over whether it was too small or not, we kept it to eat. It later turned out to be too small, as it shriveled into nothingness upon cooking.

The second fish was identified as a carp. I'm not positive it was a carp, but given the Mr. Stinkyfish episode, we decided to err on the side of caution and let it go. It was too small to eat at any rate (though bigger than the bluegill). HannahC complained a whole mess about letting it go, as she claimed to have loved the taste of Mr. Stinkyfish. I also regretted letting it go, as carp destroy the habitat of normal game fish.

Shortly thereafter, I landed what was again identified as a carp. This time, I slit its throat, as I was not going to let our new fishing hole get overrun by stinky slimy carp. I ditched it under a bush. But then I got to thinking. Hmmm... The thing about Mr. Stinkyfish was that he had the wrong number of fins for a bass. But this fish had what I though was the right number.

So I retrieved him, and laid him out on the fillet board. I got out my Colorado fish identification guide, and damn did he look exactly like a smallmouth. The only problem was that the fish ID guide has the smallmouth as having red eyes, and this one had black eyes. But the shape was right, the fins were right, the jaw was right. All of that was wrong on Mr. Stinkyfish.

So we kept him.

HannahC likes to gut the fish. I slit them open, she rips out the guts with her fingers. She got guts in her hair today. We found them later.

Anyways, upon returning home, I smoked the bluegill and smallmouth with Sugar Maple wood. I compared the smallmouth with the picture of the one that The Mrs.'s brother caught, and they looked the same, except my fish was smaller. Both had black eyes.

The Mrs. and The Childrens ate my fish. I was given one tiny morsel about half the size of a pencil eraser by HannahC. I hear it was quite good. Much better than Mr. Stinkyfish. I can't say for sure, though. I can say it didn't stink up the whole neighborhood when being cooked like Mr. Stinkyfish did.

I also spent about 6 hours blowing out my sprinkler system today. The Dave Guy lent me his air compressor in exchange for me loaning him my lawn tractor (his is dead). It was only 4hp and not a lot of flow rate, so it was like 30 second of blowing the line, then 4 minutes to regenerate, repeat 3-4 times. 34 zones like that. Ugh. The Childrens discovered a spot where "bubbles are coming out of the ground" that turned out to be a leak in a join on the supply line for one of the boxes. I dug it out a bit, enough to see the problem, but not enough to fix it. It's 2" PVC, and they have two lines coming together at about a 10 degree angle, but used a straight coupling. The coupling leaks like crazy at one end (the one angled off by 10 degrees) and is glued on perfectly to the other. I'm not sure exactly how to fix that, as I don't think I can buy 10 degree angle couplings. I may have to go with one of those flex couplings, but I'm not sure those are supposed to be used on lines that are always under pressure.

We shall see.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Nonsense

HannahC and I tried to go fishing today at a new place. It was a fiasco. The place we tried to go was surrounded by a barbed wire fence, so we fished in the lake next to it. That lake doesn't have any fish, it seems. I knew that, as the recent reports on Fish Explorer reported a lack of fish. HannahC immediately got bored and decided to try to play with the ducks that were living there.

After a while, we packed up and left. I called Tinfoil, who had told me about the barbed-wire place to try to figure out if there was some way in that we were missing, but he didn't answer. Then he called me back about 15 minutes later and told me where the hidden entrance was. It was like 50 yards from where we were fishing, but there happened to be a truck parked there blocking any view of it from the road.

So we did a U-turn and headed back. The place was absolutely lousy with little kids who had showed up all in the previous 15 minutes (we say them driving in as we were leaving), so we ended up way off at one end of the pond. The pond was loaded with bluegill. Bluegill who were remarkably adept at eating the worms off hooks without getting caught. We fed them about a dozen crawlers plus a preserved cricket without catching any.

HannahC, though, had to be at gymnastics practice at noon, so we only got in about 20 minutes of fishing before having to pack up again to leave. I managed to get behind an RV going 10 mph below the limit, then I got boatloads of red lights, then got caught behind an old man in a Cadillac, so we were a couple minutes late to gymnastics, but whatever.

HannahC wants to go back tomorrow. The Mrs. tells me that it might snow tomorrow. I think that's hokum.

The Childrens and I washed the truck today. I had taken it through a carwash last weekend twice (the second time for free cuz the first time it came out just as dirty as it went in) before giving u on trying to get it clean in the carwash and washing it by hand. Touch-free carwashes are the absolute stupidest idea ever come up with. Well, other than Code Pink.

I also waxed it. It is shiny, but I noticed a number of little spots that seemed to be the start of rust. It's only 4 years old, and 3 of those years were in Sunny California, so I shouldn't be seeing any rust. Yet, I have a hard time explaining little wart-like bumps in the paint on the roof any other way. I shall keep my eye on it.

The piece of wood that is embedded in my leg is hurting less today. I wonder if I will have to have it cut out at some point. It doesn't seem to be dissolving on its own. It has been about two months so far. I'll give it until the spring.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Oh Heavens

We had to drop the winivan off at the dealership today so that the DVD player could be replaced. It stopped ejecting discs when it's warm. One could assume this is because it's a cheap piece of Japanese crap, except for the cheap part. But it may have been damaged that time HannahC jammed multiple DVDs into the single slot a while back. It's being replaced for free under warranty, so whatever.

On the way back, The Mrs. announced that we should stop to get some take-out. The standard problem immediately broke out: The Mrs. wanted Good Times/Taco John's, but I had eaten there for lunch, so I suggested the Arby's right next door, and HannahC was very excited about that, but The Mrs. has suddenly decided she hates Arby's, so she suggested KFC, and MaxieC started yelling, "Yeah! KFC! KFC!" much like Bozzetto does whenever we go there without telling his wife, but HannahC was yelling, "No! Arby's!" and The Mrs. was saying, "Well, I'll just eat leftover chili at home, so you decide wherever we'll eat," in order to make me the bad guy for picking one child's place over the other's.

We happened to be driving by the mall, so I suggested the food court there. HannahC had a burrito, MaxieC had pizza, and The Mrs. and I had Greek. Then The Childrens got Dairy Queen for dessert.

While we were eating, The Mrs. broke the news to me. Fat Moother aka Manly Lesbian aka Granny aka my mother-in-law is coming to visit us in just over two weeks. A surprise visit due to some unexpected airfare sale. HannahC was very upset by the protocol of a surprise visit, but we later figured out it was because she has recently moved into the basement guest bedroom so that she can sleep in a king sized bed, and she doesn't want to give it up for houseguests without sufficient advanced warning. And she doesn't consider 16 days sufficient.

Man, that child is so much like her mother that I am already pitying the poor man who marries her. I imagine many a day spent, he and I, sitting on one of our decks with some beers, staring blankly off into space and saying, "Yup," to one another every now and then.

I've decided to name him Steve.

I've given up referring to my daughter as "Kelly", my son as "Bud", my wife as "Peggy", and my dog as "Buck", though. No one seemed to get it.

But, anyways, for those of you who forgot, the last time The Mrs.'s mother visited us it made for great blogging. As a refresher, start here then read this and this and this.

We might go fishing tomorrow. Hard to say. The weather is supposed to be lousy, but better than Sunday.

I think I'll have the first installment of Diversity Corner ready tomorrow. The Mrs. is reading the first book, so I have to wait for her to finish in order to write my review so I can pull out choice burbs.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

CherkyB's Guide to Carpet Cleaners

Unlike many other things, I am not an expert on carpet cleaners. Though my fan base seems to think I am an expert on all things. Which is understandable given the general state of my slack-jawed, mouth-breathing audience. I wish I had half the talent of FrankJ so I could attract a higher-quality readership. But I don't. So you'll have to settle for better grammar.

Anyways, though not an expert on carpet cleaners, I have owned one for nearly FreddyC's entire nine year life. Or, more accurately, I have owned three during that time frame. Which brings me to the first point in my Guide to Carpet Cleaners:
  1. All carpet cleaners that you can buy without going to some commercial cleaning gear company are cheap, poorly-designed, Chinese crap. [Ooo - a correction. The Hoover, at least, is cheap, poorly-designed, Mexican crap.]
It's really breathtaking what big, steaming piles of crap these things are. Yes, they clean the carpet more easily than you can with a bucket of soap and water. But they feel cheap. They look cheap. And they are cheap. Except for the price. My rule of thumb here may be to divide the price of the carpet cleaner by 3 and then expect the build and design quality to be about equivalent to that price vacuum. Hell, my first carpet cleaner - a top-of-the-line Bissell ProHeat - had one of the gaskets begin to break apart after less than 20 minutes of use. The machine then continued to slowly consume itself, working more and more poorly with every use, until one day (about 2.5 years later) when it simply made a lot of noise but produced neither suction nor jetting water.

So I said, "Screw Bissell. The next one is a Hoover." I said that as I was staring at a big giant pile of dog barf and was holding a Bissell that produced neither suction nor jetting water, and I had houseguests from out of town.

Due to the nature of the emergency, I was unable to acquire the top-of-the-line Hoover SteamVac and had to settle for a somewhat lower model that was in stock (late Sunday is no time to try to chase down a specific model). Which brings me to my second tip in the Guide to Carpet Cleaners:
  1. Always buy a high enough model to have separate detergent and water reservoirs, not a model that requires you to mix them.
Despite what you might see in the latest TV commercials for some little tablet you drop into the water that dissolves into "perfectly mixed cleaning solution", it is actually trivially simple to mix the detergent and water yourself. On the Hoover, the lid of the reservoir had a measuring cup built right in. And really, what kind of idiot can't fill a cup up to a line, dump it in, and then fill the container the rest of the way with water? On the TV commercial, they've got some guy in the middle of his garage floor wearing rubber gloves (as though soap is somehow too noxious to get on your hands) and using a funnel (as though filling the container with water is so hard if you put soap in first as to require a funnel, but if you put the soap in second in tablet form, suddenly a funnel isn't needed for the water) and having the thing fall out of the machine and spill on the floor (as though some how it will mount in the machine more easily with tablet-soap than with liquid). No, that's all just marketing fluff. The real problem with mix-yourself machines is when you're spot cleaning - like the dog/child/drunken friend barfed on your carpet, but not enough to require an entire gallon of cleaning.

See, carpet cleaners actually only work with hot water. All you're really doing is washing the carpet with a machine (despite the fact that they all at some point reference "steam cleaning," there is no steam), and just like any other kind of washing, it works waaaay better with hot water. You'll also quickly note that the sucking up of the dirty water is an imperfect process, and if you clean with cold water, you can expect your carpets to take hours to really dry afterwards. So what do you do if you've mixed up a batch of nice, hot cleaning solution, but then only use half of it? You have just a few choices:
  • Throw it out. Bad choice. Cleaning solution is expensive.
  • Save it in a bottle and use it cold next time. Bad choice as none of the machines is designed so it's easy pour the water back out of the clean reservoir without a big mess. This is when you should be in the middle of the garage floor with a funnel. Plus, when you go to use it next time cold, it won't work well and the carpet will never dry.
  • Save it in a bottle, but heat it up in the microwave in a half-gallon Pyrex next time. Pain in the ass choice.
The second cleaner was the last one I ever buy that I have to pre-mix the solutions on. The other added benefit of an automatic mixing machine (at least of the Hoover I now have, but not the Bissell I had first) is that you can have the option of "rinse". The Hoover I have now had an auto-rinse function where it only lays down soap with water when pushing forward, and then just water when pulling back. This is because if you go from front to back of the cleaning head it goes suction, then jets, then brushes. So when pushing forward, the liquid hit the carpet, then the brushes hit it. Going back, the brushes hit the same, stale solution, then you get fresh "rinse" water which is immediately sucked up by the vacuum. So laying down soap on the backstroke is a waste of soap as it spends maybe 1/4 second on the carpet before being vacuumed up. I also have a switch to turn the soap off completely, which is sometimes useful if you've really saturated a barf spot and are just trying to get it rinsed out without adding even more soap to the mess.

Despite the lack of a segue, I bring you my third point in the Guide to Carpet Cleaners:
  1. The big powerful brushes on the bottom are largely decorative when it comes to spot cleaning.
Bissell has a roller brush just like an upright vacuum (and, recently, two roller brushes back-to-back on some models), and Hoover has a row of circular spinning brushes. My opinion, having owned both, is that the Hoover brushes are slightly superior, but not by enough to make much difference. Maybe $10 more superior. The bottom line is that these brushes are fine for going over your entire carpet a few times a year to get out some general tracked-in dirt and odors, but for serious spot like spilled food, drinks, barf, and poop, they don't do a damned thing.

They are designed not to exert too much pressure on the carpet, but serious pressure is what you needs to wash out these nasty nasties. So expect to have the accessory hose out with whatever cleaning head it comes with that's supposedly for upholstery and be down on your hands and knees working the living hell out of that spot. Best technique is to spray down the spot very very heavily using the accessory hose, then wait about five minutes for it to saturate, then just suck it all up without any brushing. This way you don't grind the mess into the carpet with the brushes. Do that a few times until it's "surface clean". At this point, start using the upholstery brush to get the stuff that soaked down in. When you're all done, you'll have a soppy mess of a rug. Now is the time to deploy the big upright-vacuum head with all the brushes and suction.

That's really all I've got. Good luck.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Blogging is Light

You may have noticed. The reasons for this are twofold: first, we've all been sick with a nasty cold for a couple weeks now, and I'm spending a lot more time asleep than usual; second, I have taken up reading again for no good reason. I imagine I'll have to put some book reviews up here soon. Speaking of which, I have a great new idea for a recurring feature here at Me, CherkyB.

You see, I was poking around in our "multi-cultural room" at work on Friday, and I noticed that they have now labeled the bookshelf "The Diversity Library." And each shelf is labeled something different to do with diversity, like "Diversity Reading" and "Diversity Pamphlets" and such rot. Being as I'm now officially a member of the diversity community at work on account of where a couple of my grandparents happened to live at some point in their lives, I figured it was my duty to work my way through the Diversity Library one book at a time.

Now, I figure if I'm going to all that pain to understand why it is that every year The Man doesn't give me that big promotion I've been on the cusp of for the last 4 years, you know aside from the fact that I'm kind of a wise-ass and nobody likes to put a wise-ass in a position of authority, at least I can do my part to spread diversity learning to the Me, CherkyB crowd. So keep your eyes open for "Diversity Corner with your host Señor CherkyB". I finished the first book last night, much to the consternation of The Mrs. See, being a white woman of traditionally oppressive Germanic/Scottish descent (or whatever the hell she is - she actually refuses to tell me when I query), she is extremely threatened by Me embracing my Diversity. Much the way Hillary Clinton or John Edwards or any other WASPy female Democrat with an expensive hair-do secretly loathes Obama.

Speaking of which, I was browsing at a sporting goods store today while HannahC was at her swimming lesson, and I couldn't decide between the "Smith & Wesson" and the "Got Beer?" trailer hitch cover. So I didn't get either. My trailer hitch remains unadorned after 4 years.

I did cast another glance at that little pink .22 carbine. HannahC would love that so much. Tonight at dinner she was quizzing me about when she could go deer hunting, and I told her when she was big enough to shoot either a .30-30 or a .308. Then I told her she was probably old enough to get her own .22, and she said (I'm not making this up, mind you), "Darn it! That's not big enough to kill a deer."

Then she asked me if there were any wild cows. Cuz she really likes steak. Then she asked about wild pigs, which really do exits though not around here. She also wanted me to teach her to roll her r's like a good diversity child (I happened to be discussing Diversity Corner with The Mrs. at dinner), but I didn't know how to teach it. I am a pathetic diversity father, but when the jihadis come for her, she'll shoot their eyes out.

I have a line on a place nearby where you can catch really big bluegills. Tinfoil told me about it, but has yet to disclose the exact location. He promised to send me a map. I'll have to pester him.

I got the cap on the pickup on Saturday. It didn't take long. Today, I was driving HannahC to swimming lessons, and I kept thinking how the truck was handling differently and even sounding different, and I was hoping nothing was breaking. Then I happened to glance in the rear-view mirror and saw the cap. Duh!

A friend of mine is getting married, but he hasn't actually admitted that yet. I hope I get an invite and there's an open bar. Actually, only the second one is necessary.