Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Zen-Like Day

I get a 3 day weekend and how do I decide to kick it off? By sorting out white office paper from "other" paper and manila folders in an effort to recycle this 5-year-old crap that's been sitting around our house for too long!

And people think I'm funny because I now work almost 100% paperless. Never do I want to go down that road again.

This is what it looks like when you go through 5 or 6 boxes of files and separate out the white office paper from other paper. Pulling out the white paper was like reliving the 2 years of time I spent working for my own advertising agency.

I got all the white paper neatly packed into boxes. One piece of paper is almost weightless. Several thousand pieces of almost weightless pieces of paper is absurdly heavy.

I also got all the manila folders packed tightly in a box. Each one of those represents a television station in the US! Each had a label on it.

What a waste of time that was. We made labels, we created documents tailored for our business, we printed documents, faxed documents, got signed copies of our documents faxed back to us, and all that shit got filed away.

I loaded up the car with all the stuff and headed out to the Eco Depot recycling center and feeling quite pleased with myself for spending over 2 hours getting this properly prepared for recycling rather than just dumping it in a landfill.

The attendant at the recycling center took one look at the paper and said, "Oh, that all has staples in it. We can't recycle it with staples."

So it had to go in as garbage. The huge machine that processes the garbage was about 10 or 12 feet below the deck where I was standing. As I began to empty my boxes directly into this rather dizzying square "hole" and hoping I wouldn't fall into it, I realized that I was taking all my delicate sorting work and mixing it all back together again. White paper, colored paper, cardboard, and manila folders suddenly became reunited.

And I had to pay $13.50 for the privilege.

I could have more easily put all this in my dumpster at home although it might have taken a series of weekly pickups until it was all disposed of, so I guess it was worth the $13.50 to get it done all at once.

But this really has me a bit disturbed by the realities of recycling.

At the end of my wasted day, the Tot was happy to have an empty box.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Pussy Blog: Orange on Orange Edition

What a day! Office closed at 1pm. I had a nice lunch out of the house! And on top of that, it's a 3 day weekend! Despite the fact that I came home after lunch and worked until nearly 3PM, it still feels like a Saturday already. I almost forgot it was Pussy Blog Friday!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday Bitch Blogging

I've been taking care of the sweet bitches next door while the neighbors took a jaunt out of town this week.

Rio rarely sits still for a photo, and when she does, she's usually urinating or taking a dump.

Scout decided to be a good bitch and pose!

Rio coming to me. I have to snap fast!

Finally calming down. Rio needed a back rub.
(Yes, she was rolling back and forth on her back when I snapped this.)

It's been a fun week. I've always been partial to Rio but this week I bonded a lot more with Scout than I have in the past! Rio still gets the belly rubs though which is similar to the pose above when she's ready for it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We Are Ancient!

This is embarrassing but I'm telling it anyway.

Sheldon was just telling me about his computer at our first job together, and he said it didn't have a mouse.


How can a computer not have a mouse??

Then I had to think back for a few seconds and remember that we were using pre-Windows units. All data entry, and tab over to the next field.

Could I cope with that now?

Might I also admit that I have enjoyed FM AM radio, 8-tracks, and the beautifully immediate editing capabilities of cassettes.

I'm not sure if I ever owned a recordable 8-track. How much do you think those might have cost?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Toad Shadows

Toads are so odd. Sometimes I walk out on the patio in twilight and I hear them crawling down the toad-hole plastic drainpipes. They see shadows.

Other times I will walk out and catch one empty-handed and exposed. They deal with the vulnerability of human companionship on an as needed basis.

Monday, May 23, 2011

5 Year Blogiversary! YAY!

I am tired of politics. I am tired of Republicans. I am tired of Democrats. I am tired of evil. I am tired of greed. I am tired of Netanyahu. In fact, I am tired of Israel. I am tired of war. I am tired of division. I am tired of terrorism. I am tired of weather. I am tired of the Pentagon. I am tired of media. I am tired of manipulation. I am tired of Wall Street. I am tired of speculation. I am tired of religion. I am tired of intolerance. I am tired of the Federal Reserve. I am tired of pointlessness.

I am tired.

Happy 5-Year Blogiversary to meeeee!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Pussy Blog: Waiting Around Edition

Everybody is just waiting around on a Friday afternoon...

I have teased teh kittehs enough! Time for me to go open up a can of whoop ass ocean seafood and then pour myself a cocktail.

Happy Friday!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Life and Death and In Between

Note from konagod: Wilf has contributed to my blog several times in the past. He and his wife, Netta, had a rather large loss recently. I asked Wilf if he would mind posting a diary of the event, and this is his submission. They are both very lucky people and I'm so happy they are a part of my life.

April 25, 2011 at 7:18 PM. My wife has left our house in Vilonia to go to her Nephew’s house down Highway 64 because of the impending severe storm. My son has already left the house to go stay at his friend Cody’s house who has a safe room. Nothing left in the 108 year old house at 945 Main Street but me, my dog Daisy, and my two cats, Zoey and Kelly Pavlik. Kelly has spent the day in the house, as he usually does, but has decided not to foray outside, as is his nightly routine, likely because of the stormy weather; he has the good cat sense not totry to brave this storm!. Unknown to me, Zoey has decided that hiding in the master bedroom bathroom walk-in closet is a good idea, and she is safely nestled in my wife Netta’s side of the closet, in amongst some shoes.

I have decide to stay behind because frankly I hate having to go and spend time in a dark, damp basement for what inevitably turns out to be a non- event. Severe storms with possible tornadoes have come through this area since I moved here from Canada in May of 1999, and I have steadfastly refused to budge out of what I imagined to be my safe little home regardless of how bad things are predicted to be. “What are the chances of a tornado hitting this exact house”? I often joked, just before my family, often at the insistence of Netta’s mother, lit out to take cover. At first Netta would get upset that I refused to take these storms very seriously, despite having seen what damage a tornado can wreak. Eventually she became resigned to the fact that I did not have the good sense to realize that the low odds of a tornado hitting our house did not mean zero odds, and that despite her pleading, I would always stay behind. I was probably a little smug even when the family returned and once again, I had escaped the big bad weather bogeyman.

April 25, 2011 was no different. At 7:00 PM, before Netta left in her truck to go to her Nephews she asked, with her usually silly sense of humor, “If something does happen, is this double indemnity”? “Nope” , I quipped, ” I think a tornado is considered an act of God”. We kissed, and I told her to be careful driving, and to call me when she got there. Mason, our 17 year old had already left to ride out the storm at his friends house, west of where we live.

At 7:05, I post on facebook “”All of the family off to shelters. Ill ride this out with the animals. I’ll take snow over this crap any day!” Netta posts back at 7:10 “Love you Wilf”, follow immediately by “Its almost like we are together” I respond at 7:18 with “Love you too, Netta”. Lots of lightning. Worst storm I’ve ever seen.”

Lighting strikes close to the house, thunder follows immediately, followed by more lightning and more thunder.. The lights flicker, then go out. My IPAD from which I have been posting to facebook loses the WIFI connection. I am really alone. The lights briefly flicker back on and almost as quickly the house is once again pitched into near darkness as the electricity to 945 Main Street, Vilonia Arkansas is cut off for ever. As I sit in the double recliner my in my bedroom, a recliner Netta and I have spent hours on, with Daisy, our Great Dane, snuggled between us, in our bedroom with the perfect bed, in our house that we have poured years of love, sweat, and tear into fixing up, remodeling, entertaining our friends and family in, raising two fine sons, and numerous pets, at times loving, at times laughing, and at times arguing, and at times making up, I realize that I may have made the final mistake of my life.

A tree limb, or possible an entire tree, crashes on the deck out side the French doors of our bedroom. I know this is no ordinary storm.. The rain is beating on our tin roof and the wind is screaming. I know that something very bad is going to happen. Daisy is in the bedroom with me. I grab her by the collar, pulling her with me towards the bathroom door, and towards the one place in the house my dear and beautiful wife has told me to go if I need shelter against a tornado. The one place surrounded by four walls none of which are on an outside wall. The closet in our master bedroom. I run into the closet with Daisy, close the door, and lay down with my arms around here, and then notice that our sweet little rescue cat, Zoey, is peering up at me from the corner of the closet. Kelly Pavlik, the cat who showed up as a scared kitten four years ago and who Daisy the Great Dane carried around like her puppy, is in the bedroom under the bed.

Then hell comes to 945 Main Street, Vilonia Arkansas. The wind is furiously ripping at the house, wanting it gone. Unknown things are hitting the house, wood is creaking, glass is breaking, the entire house is shaking. I look up to the ceiling as it disappears and is replaced by a view of a putrid yellow sky. It is now raining plaster and debris on me and the two animals I am sure are going to die with me on this terrible night. I hold on to Daisy, the rescued Great Dane from Mississippi who survived being abandoned, brought to Arkansas, and being adopted , only to end up here in a closet with a stupid, stubborn old man clutching her and trying to protect her from this cruel attack from mother nature I think of my wife and my sons, and I think what an idiot I am to be dying this way. I know that I will die, and am strangely resigned to that. I am wondering, though how exactly it is going to happen.. A tree on my head, or worse yet trapping me? Will I be sucked out of the closet and end up impaled on something? Will it be painful, or quick? There is no life flashing before my eyes, no panic, just the thought that if I have to die, please make it merciful.

Then it is over. Somehow, I am alive. How can that be? I stand up in the debris filled closet. I grab Daisy by the collar. I look around for Zoey but cannot see her. .. I open the door, not knowing what to expect. The bathroom is destroyed, except for the two closets. My wife has saved my life. I grab a jacket and some shoes. Outside the bathroom, all that is left in the bedroom is the floor. Both outside walls have vanished. The king sized bed is gone. I notice a TV set on the floor as I make my way to step out onto the deck. The deck is no longer there. I jump three feet down in mud and debris. I gingerly make my way along the side of the grass by the house and notice the Catawba tree the one that used to shade our front porch and was the place Netta always took a picture of the boys on their first days of the school year, was completely uprooted, and now lay across the walkway to what was left of our heavenly littlie home. I make a mental note that my carport is gone. Of the two cars that were parked under it, the convertible seems to have fared better than the new KIA. The KIA looks as if some giant has stepped on it, crushing it, while the BMW with its cloth top and plastic rear window seems unscathed.

I start running down highway 64 towards where my wife had sought shelter. I hoped the thing that had tried it’s best to kill me had spared my nephew’s house and she and her family were safe. There are trees, all manner of debris, power lines and telephone pole all over the highway. I run a quarter mile until I get to the Captain’s Carwash” where I see two trucks and people. I make my way into the carwash, and immediately hug a stranger who suddenly not a stranger, but a brother. A brother survivor. That was the first time I actually cried that night.

I decide to continue east, and flag down an SUV, that somehow is making its way down the obstacle course that used to be Highway 64. Two women let an old man with a Great Dane into their SUV. I am soaking wet, I am exhausted, and it is the best truck I have ever ridden in. We make our way through a maze of destruction: a semi tractor rig is overturned, on the side of the road, it’s under side facing the highway, the cab wrapped around a tree. Power lines criss-cross the highway. The destruction seems utterly complete. Houses are without roofs, trailers have disappeared, every tree seems uprooted, and everywhere there is debris form a hundred people’s lives. As we drive further into Vilonia, the damage lessens, but is extensive. After what seems like an eternity, but is actually probably 30 minutes we arrive at my nephew’s house. I get out of the truck, and am greeted by the most beautiful woman in the world. My wife Netta is safe. I cry for the second time that night. It is April 25, 2011, 7:54 PM, and my life has changed forever.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Cost of Goods Sold

I'm fascinated by boxes and packaging. Some of it can be quite elaborate and I suspect some engineering team is paid quite a sum of money to devise the packaging so that a piece of cardboard or plastic can be constructed in such a way to facilitate a rather complex arrangement of products inside them. It's mind-boggling to me sometimes. And the only purpose is to get a product -- usually an electronic gadget of some sort -- delivered to us efficiently. We unpack and toss the box. It served its purpose. Trust me, I have a lot of experience with boxes and packaging.

This morning I went to the garage to break down some boxes that were stacking up in our utility room. They were beer boxes used to bring home six packs that we have purchased the last few months. Nothing too elaborate or complex there: four flaps on the top and four flaps on the bottom.

I often think about the beers we like being so expensive. Yes, they are high-end beers brewed with loving care by people who love the craft. And frankly, after breaking down a few boxes and contemplating this, I'm amazed they, and everything else we consume, aren't more expensive. I wonder how much of the $9 for some six packs is actually to pay for the 72 ounces of beer?

The bottles can't be cheap. There are full color labels on each one, and bottle caps as well. Sometimes clever stuff is printed on the underside of the caps. Six beers go into a carrying container which is covered with full color graphics promoting the brew. Four of these carrying containers go into a box. Each of the boxes are covered in ink promoting the product, and the bottoms and tops of them are glued shut for shipment.

Some graphics designer had to be paid to come up with the artwork, and marketing concepts take time to develop. All that cardboard had to be shipped from somewhere, as did the bottles, caps, and labels, and the glue used to seal them. Workers are paid to make the brew, and box it up for shipment. Equipment used to bottle the beers can't be cheap and surely requires frequent maintenance. These facilities require cleaning, and their utility bills must be enormous.

Large 18-wheelers come and load up hundreds of cases of these beers and prepare to haul them thousands of miles across the land. Truck drivers need to be paid, trucks require maintenance, insurance, and lots and lots of expensive fuel.

Upon delivery, some store clerk is paid to unpack the boxes and place the six packs attractively on the store shelves, and many of them sit in refrigerated compartments. Those of us craving a nice hop-filled brew will go to the store, select our brew of choice, and pay a clerk who is earning several bucks an hour to take our money. They place the beers back into a shipping box and off we go to drink it. We throw away our bottle caps, and toss the bottles into a recycling bin so another large truck can come every Wednesday and pick them up.

After a few weeks of this, I start breaking down boxes again, and thinking about all that ink.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Friday Pussy Blog: Mighty Fine Loaf Edition


The Tot is waiting on the feeding to commence.

He's being rather pissy and looking away.

Sissy is running around like a wild woman. She needed to scratch on something.

OK, now where the hell is my seafood entree??

Happy Friday!