Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Like Everything

Unlike my friend that blogged I Hate Everything, I have the problem that I Like Everything. This is especially an issue when it comes to food and entertainment. Anyone who has eaten out with me knows of my legendary indecisiveness. How many times has the Jeopardy theme been hummed for me? I just can’t decide, I like it all… Marriage has simplified some of this, if I hesitate for even a second when ordering, my wife will say, “you’re getting the special.” At home, “what sounds good for dinner” is almost a trick question. “Anything” isn’t the right answer, but neither is “Tacos!” usually. Beverage selection can be difficult, too, so many choices, all of them good. Beer, wine, cocktail… with multiple choices each and that is just when I get home from work!

I also like movies. I like action, drama, thriller, romantic, comedy movies. I like indie film and blockbusters. While I disagree that Titanic was the best movie of whatever year that was, I did like it. Witty movies, stupid movies, I am just pretty easy to entertain. When it comes to reading, I just want to be entertained, and edutainment is good too. I like I like I like. Just look at my Goodreads ratings, nothing less than a 3.

And I like TV. Deprived as a child, I grew up with one fuzzy channel on a small B&W TV until we moved to Lawrence. And when the picture tube went out, my sis and I would listen to Saturday morning cartoon, but that was too pathetic and soon that went away and for the next 10 years I grew up in the TV-less household. I remember renting a TV for the Olympics, and getting the TV from the school in a couple summers, but nothing was cooler than the friend with cable! Once we got TV and cable, I bought the nicest VCR my $1000 at the Army Exchange would buy and recorded… and watched and recorded some more. Now the major factor in my TV viewing is time. I have to pick and choose what I want to watch, sometime a really hard decision needs to be made. External factors, DVR space and time conflicts seem to be the most important decision making tools.

One of the best filters I have is price. If I can decide how much I want to spend, that can narrow down my choices. When I picked out a car, I factored price, performance, utility, economy and style into the mix, but that wasn’t defined enough, I like so many. So I weighted the top three factors, then threw out price, since I knew how much I wanted to spend, and got Utility and Economy, which lead me to one car, well, 2, the Matrix and Vibe. The duchieness of the Toyota dealer pushed me into my happy Vibe. Similar decision tree for food and beverage happens too, but I have minutes not days to resolve. I think I am getting better, tho.

Multiple Tasking

I like multitasking. It seems wasteful to only do one thing at a time. Surf the internet while watching TV, shaving in the shower, walking and chewing gum all fine task doublers. My favorite is when it involves work. For years I have listened to audio books while making maps, each just enough distraction from the other to help me concentrate on both. I find it difficult to listen to an audiobook without multitasking, my mind wonders and I realize I have no idea what just happened. This happens while working sometimes, when I come upon a challenge that requires little more brain power than I have dedicated to work, and have to steal thought cycles from the listening part.

Recently I have been multi-processor multitasking. With 2 computers on my desk and a network that allows me to take control of several others, I can really get some work done. Yesterday I could be found with a mouse in each hand, setting up processes on both machines at the same time. After kicking those off, I remotely connected to a third machine and started up another batch. I had 3 computers, a total 6 CPU/core’s doing my bidding!! (Of course they where windows 32 bit machines, so really only one of the cpu’s on each machine was working for me, the other against me…) I was connecting to another machine, a quad-core beast when others needed one of my (like that, mine, all mine) machines for some little process…psh. Oh well, they crank away, making maps, while I blog, multi tasking again. Ooo, and soon I will pick up with my audiobook. Stephen King, here I come!


For the first time in our current old house, we found a mouse. I think maybe the brown recluse colony, no, civilization, in the basement had been keeping them out, but now with that in better control, the rodents can compete. We heard a scraping noise and isolated it to the cold air return where this little mouse was trying to scramble up the pipe. We watch in amusement at it would get to a certain vertical angle then slide down again. So I grabbed a towel, lowered it down the pipe and replaced the grate, the thought being that it would get itself out and the kids would find it.

The “kids” being the fur-kids, 2 cats and the dog, Annie. Annie and the older cat, EO (Ebony-Obsidian, guess what color she is) are proven mousers, having racked up multiple tag team take-downs at the previous old house we lived in. Ixxie, aka “Kitten”, however was untested. Since showing up at our house 2 years ago, the skinny, skittish, broken-tailed little thing has grown to be the next vowel in our clan. She has a playful streak longer than what EO will put up with, so she can be found making friends with sticks. Not “so to speak”, but really sticks, and weather stripping, and earrings, even coins. I watched her one morning, pick a penny up in her mouth off the slate bathroom floor, carry it out the door where she dropped it and proceeded to play hockey on the hardwood. That helped to explain the change that was found on the floor everywhere, even in the cold air return.

And it was that cold air return where we found the mouse, and Ixxie was in the next room, making us wonder if she had been playing with her new friend before knocking it into the grate. So fast forward 45 minutes, we are watching TV and suddenly Annie is guarding this little grey thing… oh my, with a tail… on the floor, with Ixxie a couple feet away looking on, blankly as she does at what I suspected she had played with all the way into the living room. The mouse was moving slightly and breathing fast, so Annie gave it a quick little nibble, pick it up and repositioned herself further from the cat, mouse between her front paws. Implored by my wife to get rid of it, I pick up the tiny little thing in a paper towel and after showing it to EO, who had just wondered in the room, tossed it out side.

With winter approaching, the little creatures looking for someplace warm might be better served to find accomidation elsewhere, this old barn is hostile!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I stayed home to get some work done this fine Saturday, but my remote connection to work was down so the fall back was house work. after getting the old bed broken down and out of the way, I resumed cleaning the spare bedroom where it will be going, eventually. I made some headway and then moved the foot board and box springs (split-queen) into that room. I don't want to get too carried away, as there are some repairs needed in the wall and ceiling. First week in the house, we hear a loud noise, and when we looked, a section of ceiling had collapsed. Hum, right over the water damaged section of flooring. Nice disclosure. When we investigated further, the upstairs shower/tub sliding doors didn't drain in the correct direction, with the water in the trough leaking OUT of the tub, down to the, and saturating the ceiling until collapse. I guess the previous owner didn't shower... Then we lost hot water in the upstairs and then a leak started to show up in the basement, so we cut a floor to ceiling gash in the wall to fix... plumber called and replaced all upstairs pipes, requiring more ceiling demo...
So, i check again, still having network issues, so I mow. I realize there are a few acorns on the sidewalk and they are kind of like marbles, making the already tricky brick treacherous, and with delivery men showing up, i decided this would be a good time to join the safety police. I grab my new blower, and get the nuts and leaves off the stairs and short walk to the house. I now have several inches of acorns collecting in the low spot of the brick, so i get the vac attachments for the blower. OMG! that didn't work very well, the aerodynamics of the acorns pretty slippery. So I upgrade to the Billy Goat, electric yard vac! That will work, right!, big powerful thing... not really. It sucked up leaves and sticks, but really struggled to make headway against the pile of acorns, and not any better on the scattered ones. Back to the blower, and I blow them into a large pile and go old school, push broom and dust bin. Then the small scoop shovel, then the snow shovel! I fill the first trash can and drag up the next and fill it, too. There were some leaves and sticks, but mostly nuts. A couple hundred pounds, 6 bushels I estimate. Much more to come, I am sure, not to mention the piles in the grass. What a productive tree this year, I cant wait for the leave to fall...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's Just a Flesh Wound...

Not that it explains any of my oddness, but I was once shot in the head. It was a friendly fire incident, the worst of all reasons to get shot. It was Easter of 1982, I think, and the emergency room was quiet compared to many of the other times I visited there. They saved the projectile that they dug out of my skull for me in one of those urine sample jars, which is now labeled and lost among the boxes and drawers of memories. I was so lucky…

My friend Adam lived in KC with his dad during the week and came out to his mom’s on weekends. We would pal around, hiking, hunting, camping, stalking, mini-biking and all that other fun stuff on the quarter section of wooded hillside between our houses. We build hay forts and tree stands and hydro-engineering projects in the ditch just for the fun of it. Anything we could figure out to do with firecrackers, we did. He brought some bottle rockets from home and we would take turns shooting at each other as we zipped by on the mini-bike. Being the young engineer I was, I made a launcher with a flag pole, capped at one end, a hole cut to light the fuse, and a tennis ball can as a flash suppressor, which gave the game some surprisingly close calls. But it was all harmless.

You might be thinking 1982, what were you doing with a firearm? But I was living “in the country”, a couple miles outside of town where boys and guns went together like, well, boys and guns! And our arsenal was comprised of pellet and BB guns, hardly lethal, at least to boys. Now pigeons and grasshoppers might fall prey to the mighty guns every now and then, a squirrel once and a lot of cans, but nothing much bigger than a shoe. This particular spring, we had gone down to the pond to shoot (at) frogs. I had left the nice .22 caliber pellet gun at the house, preferring the cheaper ammo of BB guns. The drawback of BB’s are their accuracy, saving the lives of countless critters. When we ran out of BB’s, we tried hunting them down with pocket knives, and when that fun wore off, we started to trudge back home, me in the lead. Adam had a CO2 powered BB pistol, with a 50 or so shot reservoir for BB’s, and you could shake and hear the rattle of your remaining shots. Well, since we had long exhausted our ammo, firearm discipline had lapsed, and for no reason that anyone can explain, Adam took aim at me from 30 feet or so and pulled the trigger. Hey, it was empty, right? Well that puff of compressed air pushed the real last BB out of the chamber on a trajectory towards me. Continuing in the series of unlikely events, the .177 caliber slug, travelling at hundreds of feet per second, founds it make, me, striking me in the back of the head, several inches behind my ear! I thought I had been stung by a wasp, and flinched, bringing my hand up to my head as I turned around. The shocked look on Adam’s face (and the gun pointed at me) quickly informed me to what had happened. Not content with giving me a welt or just a small flesh wound, the BB pierced my skin and imbedded itself between my scalp and skull a good inch from the entry point. I told Adam not to worry, I would tell the parents that it was a ricochet, so he wouldn’t get in (too much) trouble, and turned and ran the rest of the way back to my house, where I told my mom I was shot. Shocked, she cleaned up the blood, scalp wounds are bleeders, to find a tiny hole and a bump, and after tying for several minutes to move the BB back to the hole, decided this might be best left to the professionals, and loaded me up in the car and we headed to the Emergency Room. There, after a requisite wait, a local was injected and a small X was cut to remove the BB. And continuing the cover up, I had to get a tetanus shot (since it had bounced off the ground). After returning home, I found Adam waiting on the back porch with his mom, and a large basket of Easter apology candy.

Well, it sits in a plastic jar labeled “The BB that got me, Easter ‘82” and is packed away somewhere next to the chunks of cartilage from my first knee surgery, a reminder of how lucky I was.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Few of my Favorite Things

I don’t believe in absolutes. I will rarely be heard to say “best”, “worst”, or “favorite,” instead opting for modifiers like “quite possibly the best” or “my current favorite”. Favorite restaurant, don’t have one. Best beer, I wouldn’t even try to answer that, and my favorite beer changes faster than the weather. Seasonal changes don’t even begin to explain all the fluctuations, there are just so many variables. Once I was heard to say “that was the Greatest movie I remember,” a declaration that received quizzical looks until I clarified, “Great meaning big, not good…” that movie was T2.

Now I finally have something in my life that is “my favorite”!! My underwear! I might even call it “the best”, but definitely “favorite.” Exofficio boxer briefs. I was drawn to them years ago when I found them in the REI store in Albuquerque, a performance fiber with the right amount of support and comfort. And the tag line is awesome, “17 countries… 6 weeks… One pair of underwear.” That has been revised lately to add the line “(Ok, maybe two.)” The quick magic fabric can be hand washed and will dry over night. My wife doesn’t agree, but I think it is more magical than that, a good nights airing out and they are good to go! Barring accident, 1 or 2 pair will last the whole road trip, weeks vacation, or business trip, even without hand washing. Simply awesome!

And they are the most comfortable undies ever, too. Cut just right to allow room and support, chafing and problem of the past. And the waist band has a velvety touch that never binds. The magic fabric controls heat and moisture so the boys are always comfortable. Maybe too comfortable, as sometimes I notice a little shrinkage after a long hard day brewing. I guess like the magical, elfin stuff that it is, the shrinkage is a protective measure, that extra level of safety in a dangerous world.

I’m not sure how many have joined me in this bliss. My brew-partner is one. We wear matching “brew-panites” on brew days, Ocean blue of course. We each just grew our wardrobe when they went on sale and own at least one of each color! I hope that doesn’t mean we will have to coordinate that too, we already have to decide brown or green shirts.

They are a bit pricey, up to $25/pair for the boxer briefs, but well worth it. The first couple pairs I bought have been in regular use for almost 5 years, and except not being able to read the tag they are in perfect condition. They come in other styles, I did just buy a regular boxer, probably for use as PJs, a sport brief and regular brief, and 5 colors to choose from, manly colors like Black, Charcoal, Deep Palm, Ocean, and White. The women’s lineup is even more extensive, offering a Capri pant, bras, tanks, camis and panties from a full cut brief to a thong. I haven’t found a following of women for these yet, but I am looking forward to hearing about it (so slick and tactily pleasing…).

So whenever I am asked what my favorite ____ is, I think about my underwear, and I hope you will too. You wont regret it.