Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Pussy Blog: Saying Goodbye Edition

This has been one crazy week. I had Monday off, then a physical exam at the doctor's office on Tuesday morning before going to work. That led to another doctor's appointment this morning for a colonoscopy consultation. I've been insanely busy trying to get caught up on everything before leaving tomorrow for a quick trip to Arkansas to visit with my mother for her 87th birthday which is today.

Three weeks from today my colonoscopy will be a day behind me and I'm looking forward to what I hope is the last of the medical inspections and procedures for 2010! I may try and squeeze a dentist in before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, I have dragged out the bags for packing and I do believe the Tot is going to miss me. And likewise. But txrad is staying behind on cat duty!

Happy Friday everyone! See you mid-week when I return, unless I can squeeze in a post while on the road via a wi-fi connection.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We're Killing a Harmless Snake

A few years ago I saw a snake in the backyard. It was something I'd never seen before, definitely not the harmless thin garter snake. This one wasn't particularly pretty and it was fat. It was coiled. And it hissed a lot.

The cats seemed intrigued and I was freaking out for their safety. Rather than take the time to consult the Snake Book, I got the hoe and dispensed with the fucker in short order, thinking it was out to get all of us.

It was a harmless hognose snake. I have never forgiven myself.

And this is what I see happening in the 2010 elections. We are all so freaked the fuck out, angry, scared, fearing the other, that we are willing to do damage to innocents, just to get the thing out of our midst, even if its intent is good, and even if it isn't being very successful at the moment.

Thus concludes today's lesson.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Flower Power

Back when I was around 8 years old I went to visit my grandmother in Dallas. She was a manager of apartment complexes in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in the 60s and 70s.

I had been out there for some reason....the Texas State Fair or something. And for $5 I bought one of those mechanical sunflowers that would move to the sound of music.

I took it back to my grandmother's office where her hippie girl hired help saw it and was impressed. Hippie Girl wanted to buy it from me. George Harrison was playing in the background.

I refused to sell. Hippie Girl offered me a profit..offering to give me $8 or $10 for this piece of trash which, oddly enough, was not made in China at the time. Probably made in the USA.

But I refused to sell. Because I did not believe in the profit motive. I thought it was dead wrong. And I steadfastly refused. I felt like I was cheating her.

Not much has changed since I was 8.

Friday, September 17, 2010

John Lennon Was It

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then the world will be at peace."

- John Lennon.

Friday Pussy Blog: Tot in a Box Edition

What a week! We're all tired and ready for the weekend.

Sleepy Tot with all his pretty pink parts.

Yawning Tot with all his pretty pink parts.

Does this box make me look enormous? Or just silly?


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dinah Needs Dollars

A friend of ours of rather limited means has a sweet little kitteh who is celebrating her 9th birthday by spending two nights in a vet's office and receiving antibiotics.

Got any loose change floating around in your PayPal account? I'm sure Dinah would appreciate any help with her vet bill which is currently around $250. Maybe if we can exceed the vet bill in donations, Dinah might even get some special tasty treats when she does come home.

Click on Dinah and she'll quickly whisk you to a blog where you can contribute in the sidebar.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Let's Dress Up and Go Shopping!

No further comment...

And in the anxiety-I'm-glad-I-don't-have department:

I did set up a Vox account at one point 2 or 3 years ago but never did anything with it, thankfully. Dealing with the demise of Haloscan was enough drama for me, thank you very much.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Boehner Fails in Cigarette Promotion

Too bad the Boehner doesn't share the same attitude about pot, something which actually has some benefits.

Mr. Boehner said he and other Americans should have the right to decide for themselves.

Yeah, tell that to the tens of thousands (and I'm being nice) of Americans serving time for marijuana convictions.


Saturday, September 11, 2010


Let me tell you a simple fact: I don't deal with limbo very well. I feel as if my life has been in limbo for several years. I've basically given up on seeing any progress on the political front, and that has caused me to focus on areas where I have more control over the limbo situation -- my personal life.

I can't even seem to figure out if I'm depressed or just incredibly frustrated with this feeling of stagnation. I know a huge part of it is related to my upcoming bankruptcy. I'm not depressed that I'm doing it. On the contrary, I can hardly wait to get it behind me. And I keep putting it off for what appears, to me at least, to be valid reasons; I'm just not at all sure they are worth the wait.

For anyone reading this who isn't aware of the circumstances, my financial woes are not the result of a reckless spending spree beyond my means to pay. I had maintained an impeccable credit record through the years and by 2005 I was basically free of debt, aside from the mortgage, for the first time since I was around 20.

It was in 2005 when I was running my own advertising agency when things got seriously out of control. Where I had been very practical and conservative in the management of my personal budget, I was the exact opposite in the management of business finances. My quest for success, even in the face of impossible odds, completely blinded me to my dire situation. Imagine compressing 18 months of a frantic desire to achieve what wasn't meant to be down to a single intoxicated night in a casino with a wallet full of credit cards and an ATM machine next to the craps table. That is how it seems in retrospect. $150,000 in debt and nothing to show for it except for boxes filled with television station invoices which I would seriously like to remove from my sight.

As my credit score sank into the crapper due to my inability to make even the minimum monthly payments on the cards I had used for cash advances to fund my business, I began receiving notices in the mail from other cards that my credit limits were being reduced. This was happening with cards not used to fund my business; cards which in some cases hadn't even had a balance on them for months.

Ever since that world collapsed at my feet at the close of 2006, I have continued normal everyday life, using the "good" credit cards as I always have -- purchasing day to day necessities like groceries, and paying the balance in full every month. Only one card has never reduced my credit limit. I don't want to name names but it rhymes with uncover. It also offers a very lucrative "cash back" feature which I recently used to order gift cards from Loews and Sears. Most importantly, it was that card and the unaffected credit limit which allowed me to pay for my surgery back in March. So I understand the importance of having a card with a generous credit limit for emergencies.

Things get very tricky when you are filing for bankruptcy. You are required to report certain financial events and transactions, and the one I'm most concerned about is the requirement to "list all payments to any creditors totaling more than $600 made within 90 days immediately preceding the filing" for bankruptcy.

The last payment to that particular card was $1,300 on August 20 and I haven't used it since. My plan is to wait and file for bankruptcy the week of Thanksgiving which will eliminate my need to report that transaction and hopefully leave that card out of the process. Even so, there are no guarantees that the card won't be revoked once I am on record as having filed for bankruptcy. (This is why I redeemed most of my cash-back points for the gift cards!) I'm just hoping, since I have been a card member since 1989 and have a flawless payment record, they will overlook the bankruptcy, just as they overlooked my plummeting credit score and never touched my credit limit.

Part of me has to ask myself if it's even worth the wait. Life won't come to and end just because I have no credit, or very limited credit. Cash-back rewards are great, but in the grand scheme of things, that's not even a cherry on the cake of life.

There are other stressful financial aspects to filing for bankruptcy. I cannot have more than $750 in the bank when I file. These last 4 months of the year are when a lot of recurring expenses come due: car insurance, homeowners insurance, and property taxes. And while I have money to cover those, I have to plan this out very carefully.

The property taxes are the big whopper and I don't think that bill comes until sometime in November which is another reason I have opted to wait. It is possible to pre-pay early, but the funds go into an escrow account rather than actually being paid on the taxes, and then once the bill comes, I have to get on the phone and arrange to have them transfer the funds from the escrow account. It's probably not a big hassle but I'm using it as an excuse to wait. And as I wait, I torture myself.

I am also not dealing very well with the aging process and the resulting recognition of mortality, but if I were to get into that right now, it would double the size of this post, so I will just address it in a way which directly relates to bankruptcy.

My "American Dream" has always been to simply have a roof over my head, live in a comfortable home, and be able to grow a wide variety of vegetables in a large garden. Turning 50 this year made me realize I'm not quite there yet and that perhaps I need to get serious about it if I really want it. We both love everything about our home here in Austin, the neighborhood, and Austin itself. But the soil here, or actually the lack thereof, is not conducive to gardening, nor is the climate particularly accommodating in the summer.

It is also getting increasingly difficult to get away from here to go visit my mother in Arkansas and as she is aging, I should probably be going more often, not less. Living in Arkansas would facilitate having more frequent visits during the last few years of her life and would give me better growing conditions for the garden I so desperately want.

Unfortunately, in the context of my present reality (not to mention the economic reality), this is easier to fantasize about than to actually do. If we were to sell our house for top-dollar, it would not be a problem to pay cash for a house on a decent piece of land somewhere. I'm sure we'd need to since a home loan might be difficult or impossible to acquire right after filing bankruptcy. And then the reality of the logistics sinks in. We have to sell this house before we can buy another. That's likely going to involve a period of time in between with more limbo.

I suppose part of my problem is that I tend to pile too much on myself at once. I need to break this down into manageable segments and accomplish one at a time. Moving is something I should not even be thinking about for at least six months, and then it might not actually happen for another six. That is a worry I do not need to take on right now.

First priority is the bankruptcy. I have a hunch that once that is done, I can perhaps take a deep breath and proceed to take the next step in life with a clearer mind. In the meantime, I need to learn how to cope and focus on the smaller tasks at hand.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Pussy Blog: Apple Fanboy Edition

I can't believe I haven't posted a thing since Sunday. It was not a good week as I was having old router issues preventing me from steady internet access until the new router finally got here on Wednesday. And now suddenly, it's Friday.

The router is amazing.

As you can see, it's an Apple AirPort Extreme. Very simple, very easy to set up, and I'm sold on it! And I'm not the only Apple Fanboy in the house.

I do think amazon should have used a larger shipping box though.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sunday Bonus Pussy Blog: Liquor Kitteh

I'm always happy when I have an excuse to swing by Oak Hill Liquor because I get some lovin' time with Liquor Kitteh. I was in there yesterday and wishing I had my camera.

Today I was checking to see if they have a Facebook page. They do, and I learned that Liquor Kitteh's real name is Maceo. But to me she'll always be Liquor Kitteh! I snatched a couple of photos from Facebook for your amusement.

She can only handle her booze in kitteh-sized bottles!

Heh..wherz my hooch?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Despair: 2010

I have got to distance myself somewhat from politics. That's not to say I'm going to stop reading or turn off the TV and pretend it doesn't exist. But I do need to get over this notion that my one vote can make a difference when I'm living in a country where 50% of us don't bother to vote, and 95% of those who do think the only serious choices are Democrats or Republicans, with the occasional independent thrown into the mix who, in most cases is either a former Democrat or Republican.

I am exhausted with watching the pendulum swing every election cycle in only two directions: left or right Democrat or Republican.

It was crystal clear to me in 2007 that the economic meltdown was going to be one hell of a bastard, and I could not fathom why anyone would seek the highest office in the land with the job of turning the country around after 8 years of the Bush regime and two wars in progress. For as much as I wanted to see Democrats get swept back into power, it seemed like a suicide mission. Lo and behold, my predictions are right on track.

Unfortunately, we seem dangerously close to returning those to power who helped get us where we are now, because of our frustration that the new guy hasn't restored health, vigor and free-wheeling prosperity to a nation which has been kicked in the gut and is spitting up blood. So let's vote Republican again and get back in the ring for another and final ass-whuppin'?

Well, be my guest. It's your country too. Although I must say I refuse to be held responsible for the outcome. I'm not one of the people who is going to sit out any election due to disenfranchisement with an impotent political system. I will vote, as I always do, with a sound and intelligent mind, for the best candidate on the ballot. I will come home, turn on the TV, and watch as the votes are tallied across this nation. And I will hope for the best. I will hope that ignorance does not prevail. I will hope that racism is not a factor. Without a doubt, in some races I am going to be disappointed. It seems inevitable.

For the last 25 years or so I have waited for the next generation to come of age and get involved politically. And now that the moment is here, I can't begin to express my frustration. Yes, they did seem energized in 2008 by the message of hope and change coming from a man who would make history as the nation's first black president. Whether that enthusiasm will carry on into the 2010 elections remains to be seen. The signs aren't looking very good.

This graphic cracked me up. A few days ago a Facebook friend of mine posted it to her page as-is, and without additional commentary. What soon followed was an eye-opening outburst from a guy hurling insult after insult at blacks, Muslims, gays, and people who work for a living but happen to have a differing political view. He essentially had zero tolerance for anyone who didn't share his beliefs. And this wasn't some fellow with white socks pulled up to his knees and tea bags hanging from his hat; this guy was young enough to be my son. Yep, that's right: the next generation I've been waiting on for two decades. And you can bet your chapped ass he's going to vote.

This was not some isolated incident either. I see this in one form or another on a regular basis, on Facebook and elsewhere. Whereas we once differed by party affiliation (or lack thereof), and on the issue of abortion, we now differ on sexual orientation, whether gay people should be afforded the same right to engage in a state-sanctioned relationship which conveys rights and privileges currently provided to opposite-sex couples. And lately, we have begun to differ over truly inconsequential issues like...where law-abiding Americans should be allowed to build a mosque, and in some cases, whether they should be allowed.

All of this plays perfectly with the building opposition to all things Democrat and Obama. Every single fringe issue does nothing but bolster the opposition and divide the rest of us.

So you'll have to pardon me if I sit quietly the next two months, watching and waiting. It's quite clear I'm not going to change any minds with my viewpoints no matter how eloquently and logically they are presented. So I simply won't waste my time. Besides, Americans of voting age are, by default, adults, and should have the wherewithal to make rational and intelligent decisions based on the plethora of available facts these days. If they, as a voting bloc, manage to usher in a different kind of change which is motivated by fear and hatred, so be it.

I have and will do my small part to prevent that madness from happening. Whether the rest of us of sound mind and body care enough to do the same remains to be seen.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Greatest Man In The World

Whisky, Tot, and Thurber. Can Friday nights get any better than this?

Friday Pussy Blog: 9 Lives Edition

I mentioned Tiger on my Facebook page a few days ago in joking that he's about 140 years old. He's gotten so feeble in his old age. However, I'm starting to think he wobbles when he walks partly because he's gone completely deaf in the last couple of months. Poor boy.

He says: "Fuck 9 lives; I'm gonna have 12, thank you very much."

And I kanz tuch me noze wit me tung.

Sissy. Relaxing on the bed. What else?

Sweet Pea waiting for the food arrival.

Tater Tot trying his best to supervise work today while feeling drowsy.

It was a week from hell at work. But today was a pretty good day, the office closed early for the long weekend at 2:00 (but I still had some work to finish up), and I won't have to do any this weekend! I get to enjoy a full 3 days off! YAY!

Happy Friday & Happy Labor Day, everyone!