Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Think I'm Going Bald

They didn't do this in r30.

This best rock band in the world just might be Canadian.

Take a piece of my mind.

Books for the Holidays

Looking for that special gift for that special someone in you life? Next time you are in Barnes & Noble, be sure to ask for this by name.

I don't know about you, but I could sure get into some battered testicles.

The Testicle Cookbook: Cooking With Balls has been hailed as the world's first testicle recipe collection and includes testicle pizza, battered testicles and barbecued testicles with giblets.

For the first time in my life, I'm actually turned off by the thought of pizza.

Crossposted at B3

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Machines Have Drawn Near To Our Home

I came here to tell you how it's going to begin.
Where we go from there is a choice I leave up to you.

Ask And Ye Shall Receive (With Some Elbow Grease)

My Thanksgiving weekend got off to a rather sour start late on Wednesday when I got an email from the dude at the roofing company who gave me a quote back in May for a new roof and replacement windows. He said he showed a balance due of $500 and wondered when we would be paying.

Yes, there is a balance due of $500. The guy who was here supervising the work during the summer installed the roof (excellent job!) and the windows... not so excellent. We waited quite a while for a broken bedroom window to be replaced and when it was, we felt it was not fitted properly.

I explained this to the guy and told him to come back out and investigate, plus there was still a lot of unfinished caulking to be done, and various other drywall repairs.

I haven't seen him since the summer. He did apparently call a representative from the manufacturer of our windows who contacted us and said he would send a guy out to check the situation. Several weeks passed and no guy. I called him back, and was told the guy had been on vacation and would catch up to us soon. That was probaby four months ago.

So, I got this email from head honcho wondering about his $500. I wrote him an email similar to this post, and attached some pictures. We have cold air seeping in around many of the windows which were not sealed properly. And it looks like shit. I bought a box of joint compound which I could use to repair this "job" as well as some caulk, but this is not my responsibility, and I'm glad I haven't started the project.

If "Bob" wants his $500, he can send someone out and do this job correctly. Because I seriously doubt he wants me giving his local Austin company the kind of bad publicity I'm prepared to do.

Here's just a sampling of the photos I sent to "Bob" today and asked him if I should be satisfied with the many thousands of dollars I spent on this project.

What do you think? Am I right or am I unreasonable?

This is the window in my bedroom... the one in which the frame is possibly bent as well.

This is a window in the living room. Minor repair, but should it be my responsibility to do it, while paying head honcho $500 for a job not completed? I don't and didn't expect them to paint it, just REPAIR it and I'll tidy up.

But the best has to be the window in the garage with that gap across the top of the window. Did they think we wouldn't notice? That it wouldn't matter because it's.... the garage?

And I haven't posted photographs of the various uncaulked windows where cold air seeps in. These windows were supposed to improve our energy efficiency.

I'm livid. Bob will get his $500 only if he sends someone out to fix this shit.

You want your $500? Come do your fucking job. Right, this time.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Virtual Outhouse Is Open!

After two days of feasting I believe it's time for everyone to sit a spell. Purge.

How did you spend your day? Stimulating your local economy? Not me. I bought two items at a nearby hooch mart: tequila and some freshly ground, locally roasted coffee. That's it. No big-box retailers on my agenda today.

Friday Pussy Blog: Lazy Black Friday Edition

I made a quick run to the hooch mart this afternoon and when I got home, txrad was vacuuming the medallion. I just wanted to say that because how many people on the planet have come home and found such a scene?

The vacuum cleaner always has Sissy a little freaked out. She gets freaked by the sound of plastic shopping bags or the folding of paper bags. I found her in the living room wishing txrad would just shut off that contraption.

Meanwhile, Tater Tot was undisturbed on the bed. That is, until he heard my camera's tone when I turn it on. That woke him up because he knows it's Friday and that daddy is going to make him famous (again) the world over.

Bleak Friday

Ahhh yes. It's that favorite day of the year for retailers and those people just crazy enough to get up at 4:00 in the morning to go shopping, and those apparently are the lazy ones.
At the Best Buy store in Syracuse, N.Y., a line snaked past stores and around walkways on the second floor of Carousel Center a few moments before the store's 5 a.m. opening — about eight hours after some people near the front of the line had arrived.

This woman apparently has a towel fetish.

And there has already been a shopping frenzy casualty -- at a Wal-Mart naturally.
A worker died after being trampled by a throng of unruly shoppers when a suburban Wal-Mart opened for the holiday sales rush Friday, authorities said.

At least three other people were injured.

Wow. That just makes me want to hug a flag and sing God Bless America.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Very Very Gay Thanksgiving

I'm starting to understand the opposition to same-sex marriage. My afternoon in the kitchen is proof that gays do indeed pose a threat to the sanctity of marriage.

The making of cranberry sauce went off without a hitch except for the contrary faces made by txrad at my finished product. You see, he's not much of a berry guy whereas I worship all berries. He likes the flavor of them but doesn't care much for the texture, especially if they have seeds like blackberries. But he'll eat some cranberry sauce tonight if I have to shove it in his mouth.

I started with this orange juice and brown Turbinado sugar concoction with some fresh grated ginger. This recipe is one posted by Minstrel Boy back in 2006 with an update today at Group News Blog in which I noticed he was using brown sugar, so I decided to give it a go. (Of course I fucked up and didn't use a wooden spoon as per instructions but... I'm a Taurus.)

Once that came to a slight boil I tossed in the bag of cranberries. In a few minutes you start to hear them squeaking and popping. I stirred frequently and they soon turn into delectable glop.

I added in the 1/2 cup of pecans which I had toasted a bit earlier, stirred, and then it was ready to pop in the fridge.

Beautiful and DELICIOUS!

Then came the pie dough episode. I did everything right and I'm sure my pie crust will be the best I've ever made. The only minor malfunction was that I used a recipe for a deep-dish pie and we have a regular pie dish. I poured the pumpkin mixture into the pie dish -- every last precious drop. I asked txrad to hold open the oven door while I moved the pie into the oven. After about two steps the pie filling began to roll back and forth and I heard a few splatters on the floor near my feet. So I instructed him to close the door and I retreated back to the counter to reassess the situation.

I got tons of grief over this along with insinuations that I was an imbecile. I gathered my nerves and made a second attempt which was successful without even one small spill. Then I began cleaning up during which time another round of squabbling ensued.

I had rolled out the pie dough on a marble slab after being told not to use the cutting board due to the grease in the butter. There was a small ball of dough leftover which I was using to wipe up excess flour. Oh, this did not meet the approval of my Virgo mate.

"You're smearing fat around," he proclaimed.

I said, "I'm using the dough to mop up flour."

"But your smearing fat all over the slab," he continued.

Then I mashed the dough between the palms of my hands to lock in the flour before tossing it outside for whatever varmint might want to eat it.

txrad was horrified. "Now both your hands are greasy! Let me get open the door. I don't want grease on everything."

"I'm about to pop you over the head with this pie dough ball," I retorted.

Then I started wiping off the marble slab with a sponge and txrad blurted out, "you need to use soap!!"

I was fighting the urge to say "pack your shit and get out!"

I should know better than to allow him anywhere near the kitchen when I'm doing any cooking. He can be highly critical when we go to a restaurant as he observes every motion of the staff and especially if he has a view of the kitchen area. I suppose I could have tied him up to the bed while I was doing all my feastly Thanksgiving duties.

All of this caused me to have a revelation late this afternoon. Gay couples cannot be fit for legal marriage because no straight couples EVER have such an episode in the kitchen. Heterosexual couples function in the kitchen as one -- we all know that is a fact.

I'm going to start calling him "collardhead."

Thankfully, my kitchen chores are done except for boiling the collards. txrad is in control of the rest of the meal.

If I hadn't already seen Home For The Holidays again just a few weeks ago, I'd be in the mood to watch it tonight.

Ummmm, Cranberries!

Cranberries are on my agenda today. Then I'll be making up a batch of Minstrel Boy's special sauce which happens to be one of the funnest things to do in the kitchen!

Tonight we're planning a big soul food dinner involving some collard greens I'll be plucking from the garden this afternoon, probably a macaroni & cheese casserole, black-eyed peas perhaps, and most definitely cornbread. And the cranberry sauce.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Punk & Shallow

That's what I used to call pink and yellow when I was a kid. At least one of my favorite colors. And maybe two.

innocence mission

The Honeymoon Won't Last

I admire President-elect Obama for his involvement in the economic arena, particularly since W is hunkered down in Hussein's spider hole, but this bullshit about $7+ trillion devoted to bailouts and the naive folks in and around Wall Street who keep staging rallies around Obama's speeches, is more than I can comprehend.

In short, I'd like to say we're fucked. I hope I'm wrong, but where the hell is this money coming from?
The Federal Reserve and the Treasury announced $800 billion in new lending programs on Tuesday, sending a message that they will print as much money as needed to revive the crippled banking system.

It's rare that I have a slight disagreement with Rachel Maddow -- i.e. "it is probably necessary to spend such a huge amount of money on this problem..." -- emphasis on probably. And if we actually have the money. And who is we?

Beware of shit hitting the fan soon. Don't stand in front of any fans.

And I don't think I'd count on China to bail us out of this one.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Life Could Be Worse | At Least I Don't Wear a Tie

But I am sooooo wanting to behave badly. My job is making me insane. Need humor... fast.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Other Names Meme (for lack of a better post title)

From Bob, comes the Other Names Meme! Just what I needed after an 11 hour workday.

1. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names): Ann Winfred
2. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother’s dad, father’s dad): Robert Vetau
3. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 2 letters of your last name, first 4 letters of your first name): Fawinf
4. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Yellow Cat
5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you live): DeWitt Austin
6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite alcoholic drink, optionally add “THE” to the beginning): The Green Tequila Sunrise
7. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name): Wifa (not to be confused with WiFi)
8. GANGSTA NAME: (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite cookie): Fudge Chunk Geneva
9. ROCK STAR NAME: (current pet’s name, current street name): Tater Tot Lauralan
10. PORN NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on): Samantha Dirt Road

There you have it. I especially like the porn name.

A Church I Could Believe In

A church, right here in Texas, encouraging couples to have sex every day of the week. My God, once a week would be a delight!
Mr. Young, an author, a television host and the pastor of the evangelical Fellowship Church, issued his call for a week of “congregational copulation” among married couples on Nov. 16, while pacing in front of a large bed. Sometimes he reclined on the paisley coverlet while flipping through a Bible, emphasizing his point that it is time for the church to put God back in the bed.

“Today we’re beginning this sexperiment, seven days of sex,” he said, with his characteristic mix of humor, showmanship and Scripture. “How to move from whining about the economy to whoopee!”

Oh, but there's a caveat. "Married couples" are encouraged to get it on. Gay couples can probably go fuck themselves. That's my guess. I'm using the word fuck in one of its many other permutations here, obviously.

But it's a nice thought, being told by a pastor to go have sex to strengthen your relationship. But only those relationships which are deemed of value. The rest of us can (and will, in their eyes) go to hell.

I agree with Nina. I love Rio too.

Cash? What's Cash?

I rarely use cash for anything. I am a credit card or debit card guy primarily because I like having all my expenses payable at once when a statement arrives. I don't spend cash and I rarely write checks except for vehicle registration renewals, property tax payments, etc. Besides, checks are expensive and I'm amazed that so many people scribble those things out as often as they do. I may be on my 2nd box of checks since I opened an account in 1997.

Question of the Day:

When did you last use an ATM machine and how frequently do you use one?

This may come as a shock to some of you, but as far as I can tell, the last time I used an ATM was June 12, 2006. I track all my transactions in Quicken, even ATM withdrawals. That date actually surprises me!

Now granted, it does help that my mother occasionally slips $20 in a letter she sends me. But that cash is spent very slowly. I simply abhor the ATM fees which at a nearby machine runs $1.50 per withdrawal. If used an ATM once a week, I'd be paying $78 a year in fees! I can't help but wonder how many people use an ATM twice a week, or three times a week.

Ridiculous. And how much is a box of checks these days? I don't have a clue.

All I can tell you is I have about $120 in cashback rewards sitting in my Discover card account to use at a variety of online merchants. I should be rewarded for every dollar I spend, not charged for it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Everyone Gets Their Visuals

Through some medium.

After that it's get it while you can.

I'll say it again, get it while you can. Sniff me out like I'm was... Roger Moore?

You know that I'm not good. And that's why you continue to come here.

Lick your lips as I soak my feet.

I Love Austin

Last night txrad and I went to a dinner party with some friends and after a little much-deserved pleasurable indulgence I brought up the subject of Arlo Guthrie. I guess because Thanksgiving is coming up and I am, if nothing else, a man of tradition when it comes to his Thanksgiving feast.

I was blown away when it became clear that no one among the six of us adults knew Arlo Guthrie or Alice's Restaurant except me and txrad.

I'm not sure if it was the discussion or the pleasurable indulgence, or a combination of both, but when I woke up this morning I was craving an Indian thali. We jumped the gun by four days and went to Swad for lunch. There was no Arlo Guthrie on the radio. But there was some weird Indian rap music playing at the restaurant. And we were seated near a group of orange-robed Buddhist monks who began chanting softly after they finished their meal.

I wish the vast majority of Americans had the benefit of experiencing life in a vibrant and multi-cultural city. (Going to lunch at a McDonald's staffed largely by people whose native tongue is Spanish doesn't count for much in the multi-cultural arena.)

Our lunch experience today, from the atmosphere and ambience, to the medicinal aspects of the spices used in the cuisine, was simply sublime.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Bonus Cat Blogging

I guess we have official approval on the choice of medallions for the floor.

That's all for today. I've accomplished quite a bit of office work today and we're heading out to a dinner party.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Virtual Outhouse Is Open!

What a week!

TGIF! You know work is hectic when I don't even have the time or the inclination to visit my own blog from Tuesday until Friday. But I'm back!!! Did anybody miss me?

Friday Pussy Blog: Where's My New Floor Edition

"Daddy, I'm sick of these concrete floors! Where's that travertine you promised us before Thanksgiving?"

And the orange fella adds:

"Forget that concrete. This vinyl is the ugliest shit I've ever seen. Rip it up!"

Sorry, Kitteh's. There's a bit of a delay on the floors. Installation won't start until Wednesday, December 3. Bummer.

But the medallion was delivered today. And we selected our grout!

A Lost Opportunity in California

As if the passage of Proposition 8 wasn't enough to piss me off with 52% of California voters (not to mention the Mormon Church), there's more to annoy me in the Golden State.

The stark contrast between this story and this one is startling.

Emphasis mine:
Reporting from Sacramento -- State lawmakers began moving toward a deal this week to close California's deficit with the help of steeper car fees that would cost many drivers hundreds of dollars annually, according to people involved in budget talks.

Under the plan, GOP lawmakers -- most of whom have signed anti-tax pledges -- would vote to triple the vehicle license fee that owners pay when they register their cars every year in exchange for a ballot measure that would impose rigid limits on future state spending. Motorists' annual license fees would rise from 0.65% of the value of their vehicles to 2%. For a car or truck valued at $25,000, the increase would be $336.

The higher fees would generate $6 billion annually, helping to fill a budget gap that is projected to reach nearly $28 billion over the next year and a half.

While California apparently has no recourse but to tax the hell out of the citizens in order to fill the gaping budget holes, at least they can be proud of another victory, one which obliterated an opportunity to plug 40% of that budget hole.
The Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, a local and federal task force, closed out the marijuana growing season by announcing that it had destroyed 2,905,232 plants, a slight increase over last year. The street value of the plants is estimated at $11.6 billion. Outdoor crops are usually harvested in California in late September or early October.

Not only that, but the state will incur the expense of herding 143 people arrested in connection with this farming operation through the courts and perhaps, in some cases, the bloated prison system.

Sorry, California. I just lost all sympathy for your economic plight. And yes, I am aware the Feds have your hands tied in that regard, which is why I have little sympathy for the nation's economic turmoil.

Crossposted at B3

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Alan Parsons Project Booger Blogger Album Project

Blame my beloved Hill for this tripe.


1. Post your list of the seven best albums, the seven booogers bloggers you will tag, a copy of these rules, and a link back to this page.
2. Each person tagged will put a URL to their Blogger Album Project post along with a list of the seven best albums in the comment section HERE at Hill's Country. Rules, rules, fucking rules!! Enough already!
3. Feel free to post the “I Contributed to the Blogger Album Project” Award Graphic on your sidebar (even though I couldn't find it), along with a link back to this page.
4. Post a link back to the blogger who tagged you.

My top seven are (in no particular order since asking me to do this is like pulling teeth, considering I could list 50 favorite albums depending on any particular mood, so I'll just go with the mood at the moment):

1. Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks

2. Black Sabbath - Paranoid

3. Ella Fitzgerald - Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book

4. Cassandra Wilson - Blue Light til Dawn

5. Alice Cooper - Love It To Death

6. David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

7. Deep Purple - Fireball

8. Jethro Tull - Aqualung

9. Joni Mitchell - Court & Spark

10. Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

Oops, supposed to stop at seven.

My 7 seven victim friends are:

Mauigirl | Kelly | Toast | Maurinsky | Minstrel Boy | Joolz | Jacq
Hey, don't blame me.

Nothing To See Here

Move along, move along.

Due to overwhelming demands of my time at work, particularly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, don't be surprised to see light blogging on these days. It sucks because that's when the Sitemeter tends to spike most.

If you are unhappy with this situation, call my boss and tell him to hire someone.

This song always comes to mind on days like this. I loved Martha & the Muffins from the early 80s, and how many people do you know who have Martha & the Muffins on a cassette tape?

"Working, working.."

That line always reminds me of "working, building, never stopping, never sleeping, some for selling, some for keeping.."

But any mention of stools makes me want to take a dump. It's just word association. I can't help it. And yes that is Craig Crawford on the left. I think.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Am Roughage Deprived

And txrad came to the rescue today with this $1.44 purchase. The picture doesn't do it justice. This head is HUGE!

Dust Bowl Daze

I know we're all weary with the current economy. I'm ready for it to improve and I know you are as well. But when I hear people say they expect things to turn around in 2009, even late in 2009, I'm thinking to myself, don’t bank on it.
Citigroup Inc. is cutting approximately 53,000 more jobs in the coming quarters as the banking giant struggles to steady itself after suffering massive losses from deteriorating debt.

And if GM falls before the end of 2008, we will be facing grim times as Obama is being sworn in to the Oval Office. While there is talk that foreign automakers could take up the slack, there are no guarantees on timing or where those replacement jobs will land, and at how much of a reduction in pay from the jobs lost.
The transition to that new equilibrium would surely be painful. The big American companies employ about 240,000 workers, and their suppliers an additional 2.3 million, amounting to nearly 2 percent of the nation’s work force.

The outright failure of General Motors would eliminate the biggest auto employer and more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs. That is roughly the number of jobs already lost this year at the nation’s automakers and their suppliers.

This is the other version of trickle-down economics. I won't be surprised to see a complete reshaping of the retailing landscape which in the long run will be a good thing, just painful at the outset.

I wouldn't even be surprised to see another big department store chain bite the dust.
"I don't know if this company can survive the next five years as a free-standing company," said Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz & Associates Inc., a national retail consulting and investment banking firm in New York. "Dillard's is a troubled company, and they're getting killed. They're going to somehow have to come up with some answers."

Buckle up! Just because the elections are over doesn't mean we're off the wild ride.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vein Cut

A decision has been made on the flooring project. We are going for the gold! I just really like the vibe being generated by the vein cut travertine as opposed to the traditional cross cut in which the veins are literally just that. Cutting to expose the veins makes for some added interesting features.

After having 7 or 8 various travertine tile samples in the house for at least a week, I think it's a good sign when my attraction to one actually increases over that time while my enthusiasm for the others diminished. My gut instinct before we started this was that I wanted some red tones in the kitchen. But once I had a few samples on the floor, they just did not spring to life like the yellows & golds. And the walls in our den and foyer are green and the contrast between those colors and the red tones made it feel like we were decorating for Christmas, but permanently.

However many thousand pounds of that rock will be delivered as early as Tuesday and then the fun begins. We'll have vinyl being ripped up in the kitchen, and tiles being demolished in the foyer. Expect blogging with pictures!

A Worthy Tax

You don't hear me pushing for higher taxes very often. I try to avoid paying sales taxes (even though I know they help the state and local communities) by ordering online as much as possible. And federal taxes are on a lower rung of my ladder because of how many of those tax dollars are spent.

However, I would not be against a variable gas tax, especially if the proceeds were used not just for a bailout of the auto industry, but to remove the bloat in that industry and force them to start producing high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles which would clearly be in demand if we knew gas was never going to cost less than $3.50 a gallon.

I've been an advocate of this idea since at least 1980 when I suggested we should add a $1.00 per gallon tax on top of what was then a $1.20 gallon of fuel for two reasons: reduced consumption to wean us from imported oil, and as a source of funding for alternative transportation methods and building more efficient cars.

Twenty-eight years later, here we are. Daniel Sperling and Deborah Gordon, writing in today's New York Times, have the right idea.

The best bailout is one that weans us off oil and sets us on a path to reduced carbon emissions. Congress and President-elect Barack Obama are not qualified to protect shareholders’ interests, nor can they build a better car. But they can ensure that society benefits from our investment in the automobile industry.

One way to do that would be to establish a price floor of $3.50 per gallon on gasoline. If the price drops below that, as it recently has, the federal government would impose a variable tax to bring the price up to $3.50. If the price goes above $3.50, then the tax disappears. The money raised by the variable tax would be used, at least in the short term, to provide loan guarantees to the auto companies. (To ease the burden of higher gasoline prices on low-income taxpayers, some of the revenue would be provided to them as tax credits or vouchers.)


At current prices, a floor of $3.50 per gallon would generate more than $17 billion in one month — a big chunk of a $25 billion bailout. If, without the floor, gasoline averaged $2.50 per gallon over the next year, revenues would amount to $140 billion. That money could pay for a sound transportation policy agenda beyond the bailout.

I think we have demonstrated we can live with a $3.50 gallon as most of us were paying more than that in late summer. It's a tight fit financially for those struggling, and there are ways to provide assistance to those people truly in need.

With prices at the pump currently hovering just above $2.00 per gallon it would be an ideal time to bite the bullet and make a genuine effort to get ourselves out of this mess.

Meanwhile, Chevrolet is planning to introduce the Volt in 2010.
The Volt, which the company plans to begin selling in November 2010, should easily double the fuel economy rating of today’s mileage hero, the Toyota Prius. The Prius, which carries a 46 m.p.g. rating in combined city and highway driving, is a conventional hybrid that uses modest amounts of electricity to minimize the fuel consumed by its gasoline engine.

The Volt takes the opposite approach, relying mainly on electric power, with its gasoline engine running only when needed to stretch the driving range. The 100 m.p.g. automobile, which once seemed an impossible dream, will become an official E.P.A.-rated reality with the Volt’s arrival.

It's a shame GM didn't roll this thing out in 2007. Had they done so, maybe a bailout wouldn't have been quite so urgent.

Five Things (Perhaps Interesting) About Me

I have been challenged to a duel meme by ex-lion tamer. I thought I had already done this one awhile back but after a quick search of my blog, I cannot find it. Oh wait…never mind.

But no harm in doing an update. And this one is just slightly different in that it's five interesting things about me as opposed to find things no one knows about me. Same difference here I suppose.

1. You may think you've never seen me except for my sidebar photos, but if you'd ever watched the film Biloxi Blues, you might very well have seen me. I am clearly visible in the theater scene sitting 2 or 3 rows back behind Matthew Broderick, munching on real popcorn while pretending to be amused by an unreal movie we're supposedly watching.

2. I am obsessive about Microsoft Excel. I remember the first time I ever opened the program at work about 18 years ago. I was curious to see what it did. When a big white screen appeared before me filled with empty boxes I wasn't sure what to do. I typed in a few words and thought it was ugly. I didn't really know if it was of any use to me.

While I am still not an expert user I would certainly consider myself advanced and I use it for all sorts of things like noting the square footage of each room in my house and using it to calculate the price of different types of flooring in each room. I have also created some amazing spreadsheets for use at work to make life easier. For instance, I created one which lists almost every commercial television station in the country, its network affiliation, the market, the person who is the sales rep for advertising, his or her phone, fax, an email hyperlink, and their assistant.

I have also created one for my present job which lists all the cable networks in the US and Canada along with the same info mentioned above, plus a small hyperlink to each of their websites, and a color-coding feature so I can see at a glance exactly which ad campaigns are on the air at each network.

But here's the funny thing. I absolutely hate using a spreadsheet created by anyone else unless it is user-friendly for me, especially if it has a lot of formulas. I am about to take on some additional responsibilities which require me to use a formula-heavy spreadsheet. I have tried to work with it a few times and it literally has my stomach tied in knots. Aside from it being ugly as hell, and font sizes not being all uniform, the data is scattered all over the sheet requiring lots of scrolling up and down and sideways to get at it. I spent several hours yesterday completely redesigning the thing so that I can even stand to look at it. All the summary data with formulas stays locked at the top now and as I scroll down making changes to data, I can observe the totals at the top as I go along. Way better.

The bottom line is this: if I didn't have Excel, I'd probably have to pick a different line of work. In fact, I'd probably have to be institutionalized.

3. My kindergarten teacher wrote my mother a note saying she thought I was retarded and my parents should probably look into it. My mother was very pissed off about it.

4. I really have no friends with whom I socialize on a regular basis. I could easily be a hermit. The few people in Austin I call my friends I will only see once every few months, if that often. They are all people I met through work with the exception of a blogger. After living in Los Angeles for seven years, we have one friend with whom we stay in touch. I have one friend from high school I converse with via instant messaging almost daily. This is why I love Facebook. I can do a "drive-by" every so often, drop a note and be on my way.

It's not that I dislike social scenes or that I'm too shy to get out. I usually enjoy myself when I'm in the company of my friends; it's just not something I feel compelled to do frequently. We have lived in this house more than 11 years and have never had a party with friends over. We're thinking about having one once we get the new floors installed.

5. I absolutely hate it when someone reads something to me. One sentence is about my limit and then my frustration grows exponentially with each additional word. After one paragraph I'm about ready to scratch myself to death. I once had a pen pal who sent me a few of those audio tapes by authors who were reading their books. Guess what? They NEVER got played. I still have them around here and just thinking about it makes me want to locate them and get out my hammer.

Tagged: Bob | Blueberry | Jami | Seventh Sister | Tracy

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Virtual Outhouse Is Open!

Somebody, please take a dump for me because I haven't had time.


Friday Pussy Blog: The Cat Loaf Edition

I just got a photo of Tiger and the Tot moments ago, one cat inside and one outside, both assuming the Cat Loaf position.

The poor Tot has a pretty bad case of ear mites and txrad went out to get some drops to take care of that problem. But the instructions say to clean his ears first with a cotton swab and then apply the drops.

txrad wants to know if anyone else has ever attempted this procedure and what you would recommend. The instructions suggest holding the cat wrapped in a towel. This sounds complicated and potentially lethal.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

2012 (As Opposed to 2112)

While watching Keith Olbermann tonight I had a revelation. The Republican Party has a surprise in store for the 2012 elections. Forget Huckabee, forget Romney. Texas Governor Rick "Goodhair" Perry appears to be positioning himself as well as Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (literally and figuratively at the Republican Governors meeting in Miami) as the surprise "leader" for the next (s)election cycle.

The big question is, who will be down ticket? My guess is: Palin.

Perry seems to have a handle on things.



Both sort of have a ring to them. But I can't for the life of me imagine Perry dealing with a Palin/Perry ticket, nor can I imagine Palin dealing with a Perry/Palin ticket.

Bring it on.

Let the brutish pouts begin.

No, dear Google, I didn't. British poets will be covered in a later post.

Bad Bad Children

My work week has been unlike anything I've experienced in a long time and it's draining me creatively. So I'm just going to default to a Question of the Day this evening.

I was just discussing with txrad what a brat I was as a child. We had several old houses moved onto our farm property when I was a child. They were used for storage or whatever. One of them which was pretty much in shambles anyway still had windows, and one day while a fellow brat friend of mind was over, he and I proceeded to shoot out and break most of the windows in it. Windows are fun to smash, as are light bulbs which was what got txrad and I onto this conversation.

My worst transgression as a child had to be the time my father had bought my mother a new Buick. I was probably not more than 5 years old at the time. My mother remarked that she might have liked the car in a different color.

I did her a favor and went out with a can of spray paint and tried my hardest to give her car a makeover.

I don't even think I got spanked, unlike the window-shooting episode. I think my parents thought it was funny. The next time I talk to her I want to ask her about this. I'm curious as to how they rectified the situation.

So, my obvious question to my readers is this: What is the most awful thing you did as a child, did you get punished, etc.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Nothing Left to Experience

The last surviving member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience has died.
Mitch Mitchell, the jazzy and versatile British drummer in the Jimi Hendrix Experience, died on Wednesday in a hotel in Portland, Ore. He was 62 and had recently finished a national tribute tour, Experience Hendrix.

The cause was unknown, said Bob Merlis, publicist for the tour.

Mr. Mitchell was one of two Englishmen in the Experience, the group that catapulted Hendrix to fame in the late 1960s. Along with the bassist Noel Redding, who died in 2003, Mr. Mitchell was recruited in a rush in the fall of 1966, after the journeyman Hendrix had been discovered in a New York club and whisked to London by Chas Chandler of the Animals.

Thankfully, the memory lives on in video.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Isn't it ironic that the artificial satellite (txrad's words) orbiting our planet is the exact size required to create a full solar eclipse?

What are the odds? Is there foul play? Converse amongst yourselves. Tart is forbidden from avoiding the numerology outhouse on Friday.

Normally, if I were doing a Craig Crawford video and a Eugene Levy video, I'd encourage you to play both at the same time. Not in this case.

My Inner Mafia Is Coming Out

txrad is so PISSED tonight. He was in the running and had a 25% chance of winning tickets for the opera tonight in Austin. (Yes, we have an opera.) He did not get the tickets. Obviously, or why would I be here posting?

My first reaction was, if you can't win tickets with a 1 in 4 chance, then please don't waste your money on the lottery.

The cheapest tickets are $20. I told him I'd buy the fucking tickets since he's never been to an opera before. I'm not sure I have either but I may have in London, but that was a long time ago.

20 fucking dollars. Hell, if we're going to the opera I want GOOD seats, not the giveaway shit. I'll pay $40.

And it better be good. And it better be in Italian.

It's something about Cinderella set in the 1950s. Is that anything like Tracy Turnblatt?

More on the Arkansas Adoption Ban

I'm glad to see this getting a lot more exposure for just how mean-spirited the passage of the Arkansas proposition against unmarried couples from adopting can be IS.

Dan Savage, editorial director of The Stranger, a Seattle newsweekly, had an excellent piece in today's New York Times.
That state’s Proposed Initiative Act No. 1, approved by nearly 57 percent of voters last week, bans people who are “cohabitating outside a valid marriage” from serving as foster parents or adopting children. While the measure bans both gay and straight members of cohabitating couples as foster or adoptive parents, the Arkansas Family Council wrote it expressly to thwart “the gay agenda.” Right now, there are 3,700 other children across Arkansas in state custody; 1,000 of them are available for adoption. The overwhelming majority of these children have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their heterosexual parents.

Yes, read that last line again. That one man/one woman combo which the various "family" groups proclaim as being the only way to raise a child. The hypocrisy is astounding.
Even before the law passed, the state estimated that it had only about a quarter of the foster parents it needed. Beginning on Jan. 1, a grandmother in Arkansas cohabitating with her opposite-sex partner because marrying might reduce their pension benefits is barred from taking in her own grandchild; a gay man living with his male partner cannot adopt his deceased sister’s children.

Social conservatives are threatening to roll out Arkansas-style adoption bans in other states. And the timing couldn’t be worse: in tough economic times, the numbers of abused and neglected children in need of foster care rises.

For all the good outcomes in the elections this year there are still plenty which make me seethe with anger.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Question of the Day

What one simple thing would you do to make life easier for some if you were President of these United States?

I would utilize wasted space around highways to grow food. This could also be extended to the right-of-ways for power transmission lines, etc.

We have a major intersection about 3 miles from our house where there are half a dozen or so homeless people. We call it the "Y" because it's one main artery that splits into two directions. In the middle is a large open area used for nothing except grass and the occasional wildflower. I would have fruit trees and nut trees growing there for the homeless to feed themselves.

txrad told me he would require anyone with a yard of a certain size to grow at least one item they could eat or give to others to eat.

Imagine what we could do if we set our minds to it.

What would you do?

(This sounds very Socialist, doesn't it?)


Fun with numbers. txrad just looked at our digital clock and it was 11:11 on 11/11.

Three years from that moment, it will be 11:11 on 11/11/11. And that will not be repeated again until 2111. And a year after that we'll be celebrating the 136th anniversary of the release of this album.

Rush fanatics, plan your parties now.

The Icing on the Political Cake

Not only did we make history on this day last week, we elected the better team to move us forward. And we unearthed some rather ugly facts about the electorate which hails from what I call America's red vein.

Fear of the politician with the unusual name and look did not end with last Tuesday’s vote in this rural red swatch where buck heads and rifles hang on the wall. This corner of the Deep South still resonates with negative feelings about the race of President-elect Barack Obama.

The New York Times provides us with some visual imagery. No offense intended to hunters and fishermen (or is it fisherpeople?) who happen to have supported Obama I'm sure.

The idea of a "waning" South has me as excited as the outcome of the election. And it's about damn time.
The region’s absence from Mr. Obama’s winning formula means it “is becoming distinctly less important,” said Wayne Parent, a political scientist at Louisiana State University. “The South has moved from being the center of the political universe to being an outside player in presidential politics.”


Alabama, for example, experienced a heavy black turnout and voted slightly more Democratic than in 2004, but the state over all gave 60 percent of its vote to Mr. McCain. (Arkansas, however, doubled the margin of victory it gave to the Republican over 2004.)


By leaving the mainstream so decisively, the Deep South and Appalachia will no longer be able to dictate that winning Democrats have Southern accents or adhere to conservative policies on issues like welfare and tax policy, experts say.

That could spell the end of the so-called Southern strategy, the doctrine that took shape under President Richard M. Nixon in which national elections were won by co-opting Southern whites on racial issues.

All I can do is applaud and shout, "good riddance" to that negative and racist influence. I do not understand how some of these people even get through the day. What a miserable and pathetic life.
One white woman said she feared that blacks would now become more “aggressive,” while another volunteered that she was bothered by the idea of a black man “over me” in the White House.

Monday, November 10, 2008


It's just starting with the Mormon Church. But it's going to extend to the Catholic Church, and then all other churches.

You either embrace love or you fuck it over.

The choice is yours, as well as the unholy outcome.

IRS, are you listening?

How Sweet It Is

This just gets me all worked up. Michelle is like the tallest one of the bunch! That dress may be a tad too red though.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Remake, Remodel

[This post has been updated at the bottom.]

It's really strange to be very close to making a decision on the flooring material for the kitchen, utility room, den and foyer. Having had my heart set on hardwood for years, I recently had second thoughts and decided natural stone might look nicer. And it would add some character. I think it would transform the house into a rustic Italian country abode.

Having spent several days with both these yellow and peach/rose tiles, I thought the reddish peach looked better against our cabinets in the kitchen, but the yellow looked fabulous in the den and foyer. I'm starting to think the yellow might even look better in the kitchen if I repaint the kitchen another color besides... yellow!

I mean, seriously. Look at this! I can definitely imagine being happy with these throughout the kitchen & den. I love the different patterns and veins of color.

Here are the same three tiles in the den in front of the fireplace under a light. You can really see the yellows and golds pop out.

The contractor is coming back out on Monday and bringing a couple of additional tiles in a red tone. But in the meantime, what do you think? If you'd rather not comment for fear of offending me, use the poll to vote anonymously. Poll is located at the top of the sidebar.

Whatever. But that ugly ass 1980s vinyl has GOT to go and soon.

Update 11/10: The polls are closed. Thank you all for expressing your opinions. It was pretty much tied in terms of opinion but I think I'm about 80% sure this is what my kitchen will look like a month from now. While I love the peach/rose/pink, I think it might be a tad overwhelming in two adjoining rooms. Besides, I love Amarillo!!! Thanks to Rebecca for the Spanish lesson.

How Arkansas Screwed the Children

One thing we're all seeing up close and personal is just how dirty things get when religion gets mixed with politics.

It was true in California with Prop 8 and it is true in the passage of a proposition in Arkansas banning unmarried couples from adopting children or being foster parents. And gee, who are the vast majority of the unmarried couples?

A New York Times article today cites antipathy toward Obama as a major reason the amendment passed by such a majority, despite the fact that 55% of those polled were against it.
The measure, which voters overwhelmingly approved Tuesday and which prevents unmarried cohabitating couples from adopting or fostering children, won strong support from conservatives, exit polls found. The ban affects all unmarried couples but was written with the intent of preventing gay couples from raising children in Arkansas.

Unlike most states, Arkansas shifted to the right politically in this election. Senator John McCain won the state by 20 points compared with President Bush’s nine-point victory in 2004.

How in the bloody hell can a state have antipathy at such a critical moment in our history? I guess the voters were just preoccupied with other matters of importance. Whatever.

I certainly don't think Jesus would approve of the tactics nor the misuse of the church for political purposes.
A survey in October by the University of Arkansas found 55 percent of voters in the state opposed to the ban. But conservatives ratcheted up their lobbying before the election, distributing 350,000 inserts for church bulletins, and the measure passed with nearly 57 percent of the vote.

How very.. um... Taliban. And how very sad for the children.
Arkansas has three times as many children who need homes as people willing to adopt or foster them, said Brett Kincaid, campaign director for Arkansas Families First, a coalition of groups opposing the ban.

Religion and politics don't mix. When they do, somebody is gonna get fucked without any lovin' as my grandma used to say. I'm paraphrasing just a bit. Better to leave the children without homes than to have them living with the dirty godless faggots.

Crossposted at B3

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The More Things Change....

I don't mean to suggest I'm giving up already because I'm clearly not, and it's way too soon for that. In fact, I still can't quite believe Barack Obama is indeed the President-elect. It's like a strange dream and I keep thinking I will wake up one morning and find McCain and Palin decorating the Oval Office.

However, some of Obama's possible cabinet picks aren't exactly eliciting a big Wooooo-hoooo from me, at least he comes across as deliberate and serious about tackling our problems by selecting experience. It does beg the question: If this is the Obama cabinet, what would Hillary's have been?

Robert Byrd stepping down from the Appropriations Committee is definitely a winner. Byrd will be turning 91 this month. At the risk of sounding ageist, that's pushing things, in my opinion. I hope like hell I'm not still working at 67 and I'm not sure what drives some politicians to plow on past 75. But check this out:
Mr. Byrd said that the time had come for new leadership, and that he would turn over the reins of the Appropriations Committee to Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, who is next in line and who turned 84 in September. Mr. Byrd will remain a member of the committee and will continue to serve as the Senate’s president pro tempore.

There are still plenty of reasons to be excited and some things are most definitely changing for the better.
The Obama-Biden Transition Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Virtual Outhouse Is Open!

Absolutely NO farting and smoking in the outhouse!

Seriously, I have been a bit too gassy this week.

And yes I did cheat and not put up the usual outhouse because I have not one ounce of creativity left after this week. I was even going to do a special election day outhouse and never had time. So this will have to suffice. And if you don't like it, well... as the saying goes, blow it out your ass. Honestly, who thinks of this shit and furthermore, who goes to watch it?

Friday Pussy Blog: Post-Election Pussy Edition

It's Friday and I'm craving me some warm pussy.

Oops. I said PUSSY, not possum! Get it right, kona. Eating cat food does not a pussy make.

Sweet Pea likes to peer through the kitchen window in the general direction of the cat food storage facility around feeding time.

Tater Tot enjoying a rest after a busy day of daddy supervision. He has perfected the slut-sprawl.

Is that not the cutest little pink mouth and nose?

Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it's FRIDAY, FRIDAY, FRIDAY!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

America's Backwater Racists

This graphic tells a million stories. I can only imagine some of the political conversations in these homes leading up to the historic moment on Tuesday. This might just as well be labeled, "The Worst Places to Live in the United States."

The New Republican Party starts here.

Gee, Thanks California!

My fears materialized. California voters opted via Prop 2 to provide more rights to farm animals (which I support, by the way) passed by 63% to 37% while voting 52% to 48% for Prop 8 which deals a blow to same sex couples who didn't tie the knot prior to November 5.

It's interesting how the Mormon Church, and all those they influenced, can be so against the recognition of same sex relationships and yet take pleasure in screwing us in the ass. But let's look at the bright side: we can't get married in California now, but the eggs may be a hell of a lot healthier and the farm animals will be happier.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The New York Times Got It Half Right

I was taken by the headline in today's New York Times (see post below): "Racial Barrier Falls In Heavy Turnout." I suppose they meant overall. Actually, it seems to me a racial barrier was actually raised across a swath of the Bible Belt.

Let's use Arkansas as an example, since that's where I'm from and I know the political landscape pretty well. In simple terms you can draw a line from northeast to the southwest and the northwest half is more Republican, while the southeast half leans more heavily to Democrats.

In terms of congressional districts, there are four. The only one represented by a Republican is district 3 in the northwest corner which is Wal-Mart country. That area has experienced phenomenal growth in the past 15 years, and in percentage terms represents one of the fastest growing areas of the country. Apparently that influx of new residents is comprised of more Republicans!

Take a look back at this time last year when Arkansas had such deep dissatisfaction with the Bush administration that it was as blue as a northeast or west coast state.

This actually gave me hope that Arkansas, which used to be considered a swing state, would swing to the Democrats this time around. Unfortunately, that was not the case. In fact, it went heavier for the Republican ticket than I have ever seen in my lifetime. Some counties went over 70% for McCain which is on par with Utah!

By using the nifty interactive maps from the New York Times, I now present you with a demonstration of just how far Arkansas is going away from the national trend.

Start with 1992 when Bill Clinton was running against George Herbert Walker Bush. Sure, Clinton was the home state boy, but Bush managed to carry the hardcore Republican counties. And Clinton carried the state in that year by 53.2%.

Jump ahead to 1996. The cum stains on Monica's blue dress may have cost him a few more counties which swung Republican, but Clinton's overall percentage actually increased a fraction from 1992. And maybe Bob Dole was appealing to those Arkansans who are more mid-western than southern. Northwest Arkansas is only a hop, skip and a jump from the Kansas state line.

In 2000 with Bill Clinton out of the picture, we start to get a more realistic view of a typical Arkansas voting pattern. George W. Bush of neighboring Texas prevailed over Al Gore of neighboring Tennessee by 51% to 46%.

In 2004 is when things get really interesting. Four years of Bush wasn't enough to get Arkansas to vote for a damn Massachusetts Yankee, even with John Edwards on the ticket. Bush jumped to 54% to Kerry's 44%. And a bit more blue disappeared.

Here we are in 2008. While most of the rest of the nation went for change, and told the Republican Party enough already, the Bible Belt deep south and a few others went wildly in the opposite direction. What happened to that "blue" Arkansas from 2007 when the voters were so overwhelmingly disgusted with the Bush antics?

I guess having that Negro on the ticket was just too much to swallow for most. A state with two Democrats in the U.S. Senate, one being a woman, and three of four U.S. Representatives being Democrats, gives John McCain from non-neighboring Arizona and Sarah Palin from a state which doesn't even border the rest of the US, a margin of victory exceeding that of Arizona or Texas! McCain carried Arkansas by a greater percentage than he did in Phoenix, and Obama even managed to carry Tucson.

Hell, McCain's margin in Arkansas was even greater than in Mississippi! But they've got more black folk over there. So that explains that.

I don't even recognize my home state these days. The blue is steadily disappearing while racism apparently is not going anywhere.

Go play with the interactive maps and see what you find. Although I am thrilled with the overall election results, I'm still rather nauseated by what I see when scratching just beneath the surface of it all.

And see that second county up from the bottom right? That's my home county. It will always be blue.