Category: diary

Intro to the Darkness

Well, friends, fans and foes, the time has finally come. The time, that is, for me to make the announcement you’ve all been waiting to hear. For like three years. Yes, that’s the one! My fourth novel is finally finished! After you finish celebrating by banging pots together and doing jumping jacks and lighting off fireworks on the back patio, come back and read all about it! I’ll wait!

Okay, you’re back. I hope you didn’t burn your hand or lose any fingers. Or shoot the dog with roman candles. So as you might remember, I was closing in on finishing the novel back in January of 2016. Actually, that’s when I was actually technically finished with all the edits my Ideal Readers Group gave me. That’s literally three years ago. Wow. Anyway, alls I needed to finish at that point was the cover. I just needed to shoot a model wearing a blindfold and edit the file in Photoshop. That’s it! That should not take three years.

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A Soft, Gentle Reset

It’s morning. You’ve just woken up. It looks warm outside, the sun is shining, but there’s a thick blanket of snow on the deck. A large mug of coffee sits on the window sill, sunlight illuminating the steam as it lazily escapes the heat of the mug. You may be cozied up with your chin on your knees, a thick blanket wrapped round you as you stare out the window from the overstuffed leather chair. But it’s not a happy time. It’s sad. You’ve just lost a friend, finished the final legal hoops of a failed marriage. It’s a pensive, reflective moment. All cried out. Alone. Relieved, at peace, but saddened and forlorn. A complex web of emotions hangs stagnant amidst the lingering aroma of the coffee. They’re all real. Every bit of it as real as the snow outside. The sun, too far away to melt it, serves as a reminder that it will warm someday. This ain’t the last rodeo. The fingerprints on the window also serve that hope. There is life. And when the bell rings and the kids come traipsing in the front door, your silent melancholy will be abruptly shattered.

I’ve come to find that winter is my favorite season. I do like that cold. But that’s not it. It’s like a hard reset for planet America. Or at least planet North Texas. My world. It gets cold, freezes off the trials of the summer and the first nine months of a year, drops the leaves in the street and starts over. Let’s give it another chance. Let’s see if we can get it right this time. A perpetual trial and error in small, annual runs, like caption bubbles popping, saying “Once more”. Every year I contemplate what I could have done differently to make it a better year. Have I achieved what I set out to achieve this year? Have I grown as a man? A husband? A father? Am I where I wanted to be in life? On that third-grade questionnaire, where it asked ‘where do you want to be at forty-five’ what did I answer? Rich with a mountain home and a private plane? Warm with a red-haired wife and a black dog in a small cottage? Alone with a television blaring nonsense at a sub-audible level while I play solitaire on a sticky TV tray?

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The Voices in My House

It was two o’clock this morning when I heard the voice. I was lying in bed playing poker on my tablet because – well, for two reasons really. Number one, my red-haired wife is traveling. So I’ve no motivation to go to bed early. And secondly, because I’m insomniac, so there’s rarely any sleep for me these days. And thirdly, because I – wait… I only promised you two. So that’s that. I was, therefore, not awakened by the sound of a voice. But I was startled by it. That’s for sure.

It sounded at first like a woman talking in my kitchen. I was alone in my bedroom with the door closed. So it could have been coming from anywhere. But it sounded about as far away as it could be while still being inside my house and downstairs. The kitchen is the answer to that. I perked up and listened a minute. Then I went back to my poker game. Some people get arrested for taking other people’s money. I get badges. I was well into another good hand when I heard the voice again. And this time it was louder.

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The Legacy of an Antique

I’m not very big into antiques. In fact, I think I don’t much care for them at all. I’ve stopped at antique stores before, and browsed through the old roll-top desks and the antique china cabinets. I’ve seen the old grandfather clocks and the coffee tables that were built back in the early nineteenth century. And I do a whole lot of yawning, but not much else. That stuff just doesn’t do it for me. But I got a phone call yesterday that changed everything.

Well, not everything. That’s just a cool way to close the opening paragraph of a column. It changed something though. My grandmother called, you see. And she’s the last living grandparent I have. She happens to be my dad’s mother. Happens to be. I mean, I guess she happened to be the one to marry my dad’s dad and thus, happened to end up becoming my dad’s mother. Funny how that happens. She actually didn’t even call me. She called my dad. And she had something she wanted to pass down.

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The Tree House Bar

I’ve been thinking a lot about tree houses lately. I’m not sure why this is. But Stavi and I have been sitting out on the driveway drinking beer and looking up at my massive trees in my front yard, and it has come to our attention that those are some damn fine tree house trees. I’ve been thinking, therefore, that maybe we should construct a tree house up in one of them there trees.

I’ve long been obsessed with awesome tree houses, and used to try to build them all the time when I was a kid. I was also always jealous of those friends of mine who had really nice ones. My Pop built me a helluvatuff fort when I was a kid. My sister and I had our own two-storey house in the backyard. But it wasn’t a tree house. There’s just a difference. Maybe a tree house can be hidden in the trees. Heck, I even wrote a poem about a tree house when I was younger. Don’t hate.

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Here be Space: Collector of Collections

I’ve been home since Saturday. But I’m still getting used to it. Like I said before, it feels like I’ve been in a different airport (and hotel) every week. And indeed, I pretty much have. It’s nice to get home and know you’ll be staying there for at least a little while. Our next trip isn’t scheduled until August, so I have at least a month here before I have to use a suitcase again. Gah, I’m so tired of putting stuff into suitcases.

But you know what I’ve found about being back in the house? Well, besides the fact that when you’ve been gone for a week you get to see what your house actually smells like. I’ve found that it’s too big. You know, 7500 square feet can just get overwhelming for a guy like me. No, seriously it’s only about 2500 square feet, but when you’re home alone, it feels like a whole helluva bunch of wasted space. Of course, when you’ve been living out of a suitcase in a hotel room every other week, you start realizing that you’re doing just fine without all your big luscious space. And furthermore, all your stuff.

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Lest Ye Be Judged…

The church I attend is spread across two campuses. I go to the North Campus. Not sure why I capitalized that, but there you are. It wasn’t always like that, though. Not the capitalization thing, the two campuses thing. There used to only be one campus. It was the South Campus. But of course, back when it was the only one, it wasn’t called the South Campus. Or the south campus. Or even the campus. It was just called the church. And if I capitalize that, you’ll start thinking of Under the Milky Way.

Anyway, the point is that when it used to be just one building, and that’s where I went, I was married to a different woman than I am now. I have nothing negative to say about my ex-wife. She’s a lovely gal. We just weren’t meant for each other like I used to think. When we went through our divorce, which was one of the most difficult times I’ve ever gone through, I stopped attending that church. I also lost forty-five pounds. That should tell you how stressful it was, and – therefore – how seriously I took it. I hate divorce, and can often be heard saying I don’t believe in it. But that’s a whole other column.

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New Discovery: Beer of the Month Club

Beer of the what? Seriously? Beer of the Month Club? How have I not heard of this before now? Actually maybe I had but I didn’t know what it meant. Or maybe I thought you had to go to a bar to get them. Either way, what I do know is that my ridiculously awesome and hot red-haired wife joined the Beer of the Month Club in my name for Father’s Day. Now there’s a wife who cares!

The idea of this is extremely attractive to me. So if you haven’t heard of it, you get your red-haired wife to join you up, and she can pick monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly delivery. It’s pretty expensive. If you sign up for monthly for a year, it’s upwards of $450 bucks. It ain’t cheap. But you can find coupons and save yourself a little cash on shipping and whatnot. So then they just pick two microbreweries per month and send you two varieties (three bottles) from each, for a total of four unique beers that you have probably never heard of. What’s not to love?

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More Strange Coincidences

I like to pronounce it co – in – `SIDE – ence. I think it sounds a little more swass. Kind of like saying “shed-yule” instead of schedule makes you sound intelligent and business-like. See, saying certain words a certain way keeps people on their toes. ASS – per – AG – us is a rich way to say asparagus, for instance. See? Try them out. See what works best for you.

But speaking of coincidences, I have another couple to add to the list of weird, almost impossible coincidences I’ve experienced. Check this out. You remember the column where I talked about a couple of the crazy things that happened to me? Well here’s another one. When I first moved into this house, my washer went out. See? Crazy, huh? No seriously. It went out, so I got on craigslist, blah blah, met the woman at a storage place that ends up being RIGHT BEHIND WHERE ONE OF MY BUDDIES LIVES TODAY.

Seriously. Well, that’s not the cool coincidence part though. So I brought it home, hooked it up, and of course it doesn’t come anywhere close to matching my dryer. But who gives a shit, right? I like buying used because it helps a brother out when he needs to get rid of something. And as long as it works, and you get a good price, why the hell not? Am i rite? :shobon:

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BrewHouse Site Gets a Facelift

Cross-Posted from Tapped Relic Brewhouse

Have you noticed that all these beer websites ask you for your birth date before they’ll let you in? I find myself wondering what the point of that is. Is there a growing concern for the number of children and adolescents visiting beer sites and getting drunk? I understand not letting underage peeps into the liquor store. Or not selling them alcohol. But they can’t even look at your site? And if they really want to see it, what keeps them from rolling the year down a few notches? Nothing. It’s a waste of time, and it’s ridiculous. Trying to make your beer or brewery website look responsible like you care about kids is better accomplished by other means. Well, you’ll never see an age block on SpacePort. No way, ho, say!

But we’ve been brewing a lot of beer lately, friends. That’s what good breweries do, right? And with all the new beers and recipes we’re brewing up, I thought we could use a new logo. So I designed a new, more robust and colorful logo set. You can click here to see the new logo in full size. The Untappd page got a modified version, and there’s a small one at the bottom of this page. Let me know what you think!

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Farewell to the Help Desk

For the last 18 years I’ve been working on computers in some capacity. About eight of those years were server engineering and data center operations, but the rest has been help desk. I’ve always preferred the help desk because it’s more hands-on with people. I have the great privilege to make people happy, one person at a time.

Help desk obviously doesn’t pay near as well as the server side of things, but it’s always been enough to support my family and me. And you know me – I’m not greedy. I only want to make enough to cover what I need, plus a little allowance for toys and beer. I have no desire to drive a fifty-thousand-dollar luxury automobile, or have a summer cabin in the mountains. Though that does sound quite nice now that I think about it.

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How I Conquered Heartburn

I know a lot of people who are permanently on some kind of acid reflux medication. What is it about today’s people – or today’s diet – that is so much worse for us than back in say, the 70s? Were people riddled with perpetual daily heartburn back then the way they are today? I would guess they were, but no one has ever confirmed this. My real question, obviously, is what did they do before Omeprazole?

Well I’ve been on it for at least twelve years. I think closer to fifteen. I know they took Propulsid off the shelves back in April of 2000. And I was on that. Apparently it caused heart attacks and all other kinds of bad schlit. But I know I was on permanent daily medication already at the point when I started taking this deadly medication. And I don’t remember how long I’d been on it. So at least twelve, possibly as much as fifteen years of my life, I’ve dealt with GERD. And I’m son-of-a-bitching tired of it.

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The Year in Pictures

Happy Friday, friends. Another year has almost come to an end. Well, maybe I’m a little precocious in saying that – seeing as we still have thirty-one days until it’s over. But it’s almost over. Eleven-twelfths of the way through. So that’s close enough in my book. So I figured I’d go ahead and close out the year with a special photos column, recapping some of the things that happened this year. Some of these pictures are relevant, some are not. All were taken this year. But not all of them actually have anything to do with anything. Some of them, in other words, are just cool pictures.

Another thing they all have in common is that they were all taken with my phone. So I didn’t go digging through my digital photo album looking for good pictures. Just my phone. Meaning these happened while I was out and about, or generally too busy to pick up my DSLR. Anyway, have fun, and enjoy walking back through the year with me. In no particular order, of course.

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Public Transit: A Gloryhole for People-Watching

I ride the train to and from work on most days. Well, I should say public transit. Because part of my trip sometimes involves a bus. In the past I would have thought that only poor and homeless people used the DART buses around here. Boy was I wrong. A couple of guys from my work ride with me, and this one really classy, foxy woman rides our bus too. She’s always reading on her phone. These aren’t the only non-homeless people on the bus. Just the ones I care about. But it has nothing to do with being poor. It’s actually to do with being smart, and wanting to free up your hands to use your time the way you want. I get to ride and read instead of drive and cuss. Anyhow, I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen a homeless person on the bus. Now the train, on the other hand…

But I do ride the bus for part of the trip because it gets me closer to my building. I have a nice little walk up the hill when I get off the bus. But taking the bus (and the train for that matter) every day makes for some interesting encounters with humanity. And since I’ve now been riding for about seven months, I’ve seen some very interesting people. Let me tell you about some of the most interesting encounters:

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Life Comes At You Fast (And So Do Cars)

It’s weird – I never thought it would happen to me. I am so defensive and cautious and alert, and even what one might call ‘super-ambulatory’. But none of that matters. I even saw it coming. He was turning left, but looking right as he pulled onto Lemmon heading Northwest. I noticed he was turning wide, into the center lane, obviously swerving wide to avoid me. But then at the last second, he changed course and started aiming for the inside lane, right where I was.

People have these theories that if ever a car bears down on them, they’ll jump in the air, do a fancy football juke, or a double-back-flip over the car. Well I just thought I’d be able to dash out of the way real fast. Well, as it turns out, time isn’t very elastic, and it just marches forward, second for second. And by the time I realized he wasn’t seeing me, I was out of options. So I turned and faced the truck. A Tahoe, it was. A white one with a black driver. And faster than lightning, he hit me.

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Jesus Made the Jack Bees

It’s hard to believe the summer is coming to a close already. Well, technically I guess it already has. Have you noticed how quickly the years fly by when you get older? It seems to me that only a couple of weeks ago, the State Fair was selling all things fried. Well it was a year ago. Which tells me I’m getting old. I saw a sign the other day Continue reading…

Summer Synopsis 2012

What have I been up to lately? I know I said in my beer page bio that I was done with blogging. I also know that all three of my readers knew as well as I did how long that phase had the potential to last. But until humanity has cleaned up its act and I see random people helping other people on the street; people waving at each other on the highway – not riding each other’s asses; people in flooded, hurricane-hit towns helping with the cleanup and not looting… Once all that starts happening, I may run out of things to talk about. As long as human beings are a hive of scum and villainy, I will blast about it on the web. Not sure what motivated me to use a Star Trek quote there, but it is fitting, and there you have it. And there’s your opening paragraph.

Anyway, yes, I have been making beer. I brew two to three batches of beer per month. Let me explain this to those of you who don’t already know. If you do know all about homebrewing, then feel free to skip ahead a few paragraphs. I had a buddy of mine swing by the other night to hang out and catch up, have a few beers, the usual. And I happened to be turning out a batch of beer. So he says, “When will it be ready?” and I replied, “Oh, about four weeks or so.” So he says, “Really. I thought we’d be drinking it tonight.” This is just plain ignorance. Not stupidity. Most people are just completely in the dark when it comes to making beer, having never been told. So here’s my very brief rundown of what happens:

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The Craft Beer Movement

I remember the first full bottle of beer I ever enjoyed. I was fifteen. My buddy and I had a twenty-one-year-old friend, and six dollars. This guy ran up to the beer store with our six dollars with instructions to buy as much Michelob Dry as he could get. Well I don’t know what happened – beer was a lot cheaper back then – but somehow he only came back with two bottles. Well my friend and I enjoyed those two bottles of beer out on the driveway behind my house. We drank it like it was liquid gold. And it did taste good. So what happened?

I can no longer drink BMC. The Big American Three. But that’s what Some-Large-Percentage of the American population buys, in massive amounts, every weekend. I hand one of them my glass of Newcastle, or Full Sail IPA, or Arrogant Bastard and they make a terrible face and some comment about how gross it tastes. I handed a bottle of Newcastle to my cousin’s boyfriend the other day. He thanked me and offered a sip to my cousin, Lara. She took a pull of the rich brown beer and screwed up her face like she’d sucked on a rotten corn dog. She said, “Oh my God, that’s nasty.”

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Space and the New Independence

I recently took a new job, as all the computers at my old company were finally fixed. Nothing left to do, time to move on. And though my new POE, or Place of Employement is in uptown Dallas – much farther than my previous commute – I am happy to make the trip for two simple reasons. Number A, it’s good to be back in my old stomping grounds. I’ve worked for several companies over the years that were based here around this area, and have gotten to know and love it. Letter two, working in uptown makes it possible (and logistically preferable) to use public transit.

Taking the train to work does not save me any time. On the contrary, in fact. It takes me probably an extra half- to three-quarters of an hour to get to work. But it saves gas. To the tune of over seventeen hundred dollars per year. One might also, though, say that it saves my sanity. I no longer have to worry about traffic jams and road rage; douchebags in oversized Chevy pickups who think they own the road. Continue reading…

Dear Lord! Is It Already 2012?

Now that my baby girl is old enough to take care of herself (she’s almost three), I’ve been given back some of my evening time. It’s nice when they’re potty-trained. No more diapers. They tell you when they need to go potty. This means no diaper bags packed with pull-ups and wipes. This means you can do fun things like family bike-rides, visits to the basketball court to play some round ball, and little trips out into the channel in the boat.

I also have a lot more personal time as well. Not that I spend it locked up in an office or anything. In fact, I don’t even have an office. Hmm. I guess I need to remedy that. But my personal time is spent in my reading chair, or on the couch solving my cubes. Or sketching or writing. I actually resolved this year to read more books than I’ve ever read in a year. Now that I’m very rapidly approaching “the hill”, I have finally been able to slow down a little and start reading a lot more – just like I’ve always wanted to do.

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Stumbling on a Musical Gold Mine

Winter is historically my season for inspiration. Everything is dead or dying, cold and gray. It’s a blank slate for creativity and thought. I adore these months. My writing, drawing and music all come alive in the winter. I also listen to a lot more country music in the winter. This stems from spending winter months in Germany when I was in the service, being couped up in a barracks room with one other American guy, snowed in and unable to go anywhere, and all we listened to was country music. I love it.

I understand sometimes it gets annoying and begins to all sound the same. But I have very little respect for people who just automatically dismiss it as if none of it is worth listening to. “I listen to everything but country and rap.” Yeah, yeah, you’re too cool for school. So if this describes you, then you probably need not read on. The column ends here for the closed-minded. If, however, you have an ear for talent – whether or not you actually listen to country music, then read on, dear reader. I listen to everything. This even includes Tejano and Irish polkas in which cases I can’t even understand what they’re saying – so long as the music itself is tolerable and attractive.

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There’s Got To Be A Better Place

I had a most peculiar experience in the men’s room this afternoon. And I think I should tell you about it, because A) that’s what I do here, and 2) you can get a good chuckle. There aren’t very many times one can say he had a ‘peculiar experience in the men’s room’ without getting funny looks, but trust me: this was great, and it had nothing to do with anyone soiling his pants. For once.

It all started when I was in the men’s room, sitting on the toilet. There was another dude in the second stall. These stalls are arranged where you can’t see the feet of your neighbor unless you bend way down. And you don’t want to do that, because your junk touches the water. So basically, I didn’t know who it was in the other stall, and he certainly didn’t know who I was.

So I sat in there and did my thing, got finished, and was about to dismount, when all of a sudden I started hearing some soft moaning. Like the type where you are trying to supress it. Like when you don’t want someone to hear it. Heavy breathing and a little shifting around of the khakis. Yeah. I was pretty startled by the thought myself. I frowned and looked at the wall, thinking, “No way. There’s no way someone’s jerking it in here.”

Well, no sooner did I finish that thought than a loud clack, clack, skid, and voila! there’s a phone lying on the floor in front of me. So in the midst of someone’s payoff, he dropped the phone. It tumbled and cartwheeled into my stall and landed right in front of me.

Face-up.

Sigh. Yeah, of course I looked down to see it. Yes, I was in fact, expecting to see a picture of some hot, oiled-up woman with her mams hanging out. Or perhaps, a pregnant woman taking it from a nameless muscle-bound stud. Twin Asian girls smiling at some lollipop between them. Anything. But not some nameless muscle-bound stud oiled up with his hand on his own lollipop. Alone. OH GOD NO.

I was done with my business, so I stood up, stepped over the phone and made hasty exodus from the bathroom. There was no way I was going to touch that phone. I bet dude hurried up and cleaned himself up to get over there and get his phone before someone else came in to see it, though. But I’ll tell you one thing: he’s now going to be walking around the office in a paranoid craze, wondering who has discovered him. Wondering whether or not someone recognizes the bright red Otter Box. Oh yeah. He’s screwed. So to speak.

I’ve always suspected this guy was pulling taffy in there, because one time I went to use the stall right after he had walked out, and was very surprised to find that the odor he left behind was not that of excrement at all. It was, in fact, the overwhelming smell of bleach. And you know what else smells like semen. I mean bleach. Dammit. I was trying to let you guess it without telling you.

So anyway, now it’s confirmed. I know who Bam Stroker is. The question is, what will I do with that information?

So he was like :fap: and I was like :what: and he was like :doh: and then I was like :gonk: and now he’s like :ninja: and I’m like :cool:

Time Machine Status: Repaired

Some time ago, I requested your help with finding the cause of my failing Fonga Plug on my time machine. I’m sure you remember the column. It ended up not being the Reticulating Cockball Assembly, after all, and instead the Hyperflux Induction Modulator. And since you cannot buy one of those at Auto Zone, I had to craft one myself.

So I started with the basics. Of course you have to have the Hatford Loop. Without a Hatford Loop, your temporal course will never stabilize. You can literally get lost in the ether between seconds, trying to find your way back to 2254. I have heard horror stories about guys tearing off into the mezazoic period with a camera and a dream of photographing a dinosaur and turning up fossilized in the future. Don’t even ask.

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The Summit of Mount Nerdly

It probably doesn’t come as any big surprise to most of you who know me that I call myself a geek. I am familiar with computers, one might say. I have dabbled in code and graphics design and network administration, internet systems, databases and even paintbrush. Heck, this very site you see in front of you was hand-coded from scratch to finish using nothing more than Notepad++ by yours truly. Meh. Not a large achievement there, but I’m proud of it. I like it. Anyway, I still do some things sometimes that make me step back and blink, and sometimes even go so far as to turn my head and frown, thinking, ‘Damn! I really am an insufferable geek. A ridiculously overboard, head-to-toe nerd to the highest power.’ This here’s one of them stories.

Let me back you up a little bit though, just for the sake of the journal. I took a computer lit and a computer programming class when I was in seventh grade. I did exceedingly well at both, as the language and theory just sort of “clicked” with me. It just made sense. The hot teacher, therefore, invited me back the next year to be her lab assistant. I wish this had some kind of awesome twist to it where I told you stories of being stuck in the lab alone with her on several long, late nights, but alas – nothing like that ever happened. Now my English teacher, on the other hand…

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The Trifecta of Idiocy

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can’t do anything right? Well I haven’t. Everything I ever do is right. Ahem. Okay, well sometimes maybe I make a mistake or two. But… Okay, well sometimes I have those days too. And it seems especially bad when it happens to me because usually when I start messing up, people start getting hurt. I’m not sure why, but it just seems to work out that way most of the time.

For instance, the other day at my nephew’s birthday party, we all went to Blortbortham’s Seafood & Sausage House over on Cooper Street. I was carrying my two-year-old princess on my shoulders, walking around the restaurant so we could see what people were eating. I would stop by a table and bend over to examine their plates and ask them if it was any good. “How’s the squid bladder with octopus semen sauce?” I would ask, for instance. Some of the patrons seemed put off by the fact that I was asking them what they were eating, but come on – you’re in a public eatery! You should expect to have some human interactions with strangers.

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Happy Monday, Planet Earth

There are several things on my mind this morning, all of which I intend to share with you. Well, except one of them. One of them isn’t appropriate for this website. But the rest of them are. In fact, the rest of them are part of the core values upon which this website was founded! Humor, entertainment and a good dose of pissed offedness.

First off, I’d like to award the SpaceBrew Movie of the Week award to Despicable Me. If you haven’t seen it, you should run out and rent it. Or buy it, hell. You’ll end up watching it several times. The other day my kids and I watched it in the morning. We then ended up at my Pop’s house and they wanted to see it so we watched it again. And I still laughed at all the funny bits. I’m still not bored by it.

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A Sour Taste in my Mouth

I was going to write this column yesterday, but got really busy and didn’t end up having time. And now, it seems that delay might have been serendipitous, at least in that I might use fewer curse words in my text. You see, my faith in humanity has once again plummeted. Which is odd on the whole, when you consider the fact that it was already so low as to be considered subterranean. In fact it hit the base rock and got out an auger long, long ago. But you know, that’s the great thing about humanity: it never fails to amaze me with how shitty it can get!

But like I said, I’m glad I ended up waiting, because something terribly awesome happened last night that restored a little tiny bit of that faith. That faith in humanity is strengthened when you realize there are businesses out there made up of human beings who care about people. Or at least they care about money and are so good at making it that they can afford to give away free stuff. Like laptops. Yes, I am, in fact, writing this on my new Google Chrome CR-48 laptop. Thank you for asking. It just arrived on my doorstep last night. I had even forgotten I signed up to be in the pilot program. Yes. Google sent me a free laptop. And it’s probably the most awesome notebook I’ve ever seen. Slicker than whale snot on an ice rink.

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Tales from a Repo Man

Thursday night when my phone rang and a friend asked me if I could do a favor, I said yes. But I had no idea it would make for such an interesting weekend, and with so many stories. Of course, some of those stories are better told in person than in writing, so they won’t be mentioned here, but overall, it made for a very entertaining and interesting weekend. Will you allow me to tell you about it? Good. And there’s your opening paragraph.

So the call I got from a friend, who shall remain nameless (and genderless) called to ask if I would run up and repossess a vehicle for him/her. Well, I’ve never been called the Repo Man. And the only experience I have with repossessing a vehicle is when my truck got stolen when I was in the service. I came back home for a weekend, discovered my pickup had been stolen out of my dad’s driveway, and went and got it back. I happened to know where it was, who was likely to have stolen it, and so I got it back. But I’m not really much of a repo man. Well, I wasn’t… until yesterday.

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Area Man Refuses To Grow Up

So I had a birthday party Friday night. This isn’t very peculiar. However, there were a few items of interest that do make that list labeled peculiar. First of all, as most of you know, I’m almost thirty now. So let’s just for ease of conversation, say that I am “twenty-seven” now. And then allow me to elaborate on those items I found peculiar.

First of all, I had a birthday party. That in and of itself should not be viewed as out of the ordinary. I wanted to have a few friends over, listen to some music, stand around and drink beer and tell each other war stories, and compare tattoos. Without necessarily taking our shirts off. It’s not even really all that odd that there would be a cake for me. I mean, well, actually I specifically told Haycomet not to make me a cake. But she wouldn’t have any of that. “If I make one for everyone else, of course I’m going to make one for my partner in rhyme.” She does have a valid point. So thus, I had a cake at my party. No candles, of course. But there was a cake. A ridiculously extravagant cake, no less. A Cake. Capitalized. One that someone might have paid perhaps upwards of a couple hundred dollars for. So what was so odd?

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Space Vs. The Heater Bot

I’ve just ended my weeks-long battle with my heater bot. And while it might not be an interesting story to some, I feel like I should write about it in case anyone else ever runs into the same problem and needs some ideas for a fix.

You see, I’m of the opinion that if I can pay someone to come out and fix something in my home, I can darn sure fix it myself. Or I can at least try. I am not afraid to enlist the experience of my buddies and neighbors if they know something I don’t. But so far I’ve found I’ve been able to repair everything myself, and the only detriment to doing it myself is that it takes a little longer. Since I’m not an expert in any of these things that typically go wrong, I just have to use common sense and work backwards on the issue, troubleshooting and just figuring out what it could possibly be. Which, if you don’t know the system, takes a little longer. But it’s a lot cheaper than calling someone out and paying a trip fee and their marked-up parts cost and whatnot.

So you remember when my cooler bot went out during the summer. Well, my cooler bot and heater bot are part of the same physical unit. And in repairing the cooler bot part of it, I disabled part of the heater portion. So here’s what I did, how I eventually came to repair it, and why it took so damn long.

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A Visit to the Toys Store

Welcome to Thursday, SpaceBrewers. On this historic Veteran’s Day, I’d like to salute all of you who served our country in war and at peace, past and present. Thank you all for your time, service and selflessness. God bless you and your families.

I’d also like to remind you that this is National Toy and Breast Appreciation Week, so every column this week has been about toys. We figure we cover breasts enough here on the site. They don’t need a special week devoted to them. Actually, I… Never mind. So Monday I wrote about the new toys with which I find myself playing. I wrote Tuesday about the age of growing out of playing with toys (which I haven’t apparently reached yet), and Haycomet wrote yesterday about her daughter and how she doesn’t play with toys anymore either.

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The End of the Toy Age

Today is my daughter’s birthday. In fact as of 8:05am this morning, twelve years ago, I became a mom. We had a small party so she could celebrate with her friends this past weekend. There’s nothing like having five hormonal “tween” girls all sugared-up on cake and orange soda in your living room. I’m surprised I didn’t have my hair pulled out and blood dripping from my ears by the time I reached Space’s house that night. Back to my story… since it is her birthday, that means I had to shop for presents last week. Now that she is almost a teenager, it wasn’t as easy as it used to be.

With earlier birthdays, I would head to the toy section and just start grabbing toys. She preferred play sets because she loved pretending and making up stories to go with her Hamtaro, and Littlest Pet Shop toys. She could play by herself or with friends and family for hours with those little plastic things.

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The New Age of Toys

As you no doubt noticed, this is National Toy And Breast Appreciation Week here on SpaceBrew. And since we spend plenty of time already appreciating breasts around here, we’re dedicating every column to Toy Talk this week. Even our Bacon Talk is gonna be full of toyful awesomeness. We’ll talk about what toys we like and which ones we played with as children – and maybe even which ones we play with as adults.

My daughters love toys. They play with the pink, girly things like Barbies, Polly Pocket, Disney Princess, and everything that is pink and girly looking – even if it isn’t supposed to be a girly toy. They are your basic standard American kids: suckers for good toys that fit their age and gender. Now my boy, on the other hand…

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Silly Kid, Toys Are For Adults

Good morning and happy Veteran’s Day week, friends and family of the Brew. This Thursday, of course, is Vet’s day, and I’d like to welcome you to another edition of the soon-to-be-award-winning segment here on SpaceBrew, called the Monday-Morning Magic. It’s basically where I write a column on Monday morning that magically changes your mood, and your day. It is sure to either make you laugh, make you angry, or make you bored. Studies have not shown that this segment actually posesses any sort of magical ability, or that it changes your mood at all, in fact. But it completes that alliterative title, so we’re sticking with it.

But I wanted to talk today a little about a new hobby of mine. We’ll go into this a little more on this week’s Bacon Talk, but I thought this was interesting enough to mention this Monday morning. My friends and I – all being intellectuals – have taken to a new hobby. And before you laugh and point your fingers at us and call us immature and gay, just finish the column. Yes, the being intellectuals has something to do with the new hobby. We like to find new and interesting things in which we can get involved. Most of these revolve around drinking and spending time standing around the diner table or the bar in the Space Bar. So what’s this new freak time-waster we’ve found?

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Second Gun Not Necessary

I was awakened abruptly by the sound of the front door being closed forcefully. You have to slam my front door for it to close all the way. Someone had slammed it. Many times I’ve been awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of something that could have been a door, but this time, I knew. You know how they say when it happens, you’ll know? Well, this time I knew. My eyes had popped open as the sound of the door in the otherwise quiet house echoed in my head.

I jumped out of bed where I had been sleeping hard. I had been asleep for around forty minutes. I slung my headlamp over my shoulder because it was the first light I was able to find in the darkness. I also don’t want to be wearing a target around my forehead when I’m clearing the house. Then I grabbed my pistol and turned on my bedside lamp. As I’m standing there naked by the bed, my red-haired wife rolls over and says, “What’s going on?”

“It’s go-time, babe.”

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Here’s Your Sign

You always hear people asking, “Why do drive-up ATMs have Braille on the buttons? Do they think blind people will be driving? LOL”. But my question is far more simple. Why do ATMs have Braille on them? Do they think blind people will be pulling out cash? The buttons don’t have assigned functions and values, and their purpose changes with every option you select. So how would a blind person know when to hit which button?

It seems we as humans are advancing technologically into areas our parents’ generation only dreamed of. There’s that damn preposition at the end of my sentence again. But at the same time, we’re getting dumber and dumber. Think about it. Do you know any rocket scientists, personally? Do you know anyone who actually has contributed something to the technology revolution? It’s sort of just something that happens when we put our minds together. Yet, I don’t know any single individual who isn’t susceptible to being an idiot sometimes.

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I’m not real proud of myself right now.

For one who considers himself on top of the technology game, I sure did just pull a major blunder. Now I don’t purport to know everything about everything, or everything about all the new tech coming out, but I do keep up with it fairly well. I stay abreast (God I love that word) of all the latest schlit coming out and I’m pretty well aware of the value of technology. I guess maybe I just lost a little of my touch. Or went dumb for a minute.

You remember my talking about getting rid of my iPhone, right? Yeah. I wanted to sell it. Then I decided to keep it. Then I thought maybe I should sell it. I went back and forth like a bi-curious virgin trying to decide which orientation to break chastity with. I know, that was a poorly worded sentence, and I ended on a preposition – but I thought the analogy was worth it. And speaking of analogies… Well, let’s just stick with the story.

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You Can’t Trust the System

I’d like to tell you that this story is true, and that you need to believe it because I’m telling the truth here. This is not a work of fiction! But how do you say that at the beginning of a column, when the entire purpose of the site upon which you write is entertainment? A lot of what I write here is fiction. Heck, everything Haycomet writes is fiction. But this, my friends, is real. This is true. And it really happened. And I have witnesses.

So I’d like to tell you the ridiculous story of how my pals and I ran into a series of events governed by Murphy’s Law, and were unable to get out from under his oppresive thumb. If I ever meet Harvey Murphy, I have a few words for him, I assure you. And alls we were doing was trying to have a little lunch.

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Don’t Give Me The Bird

I’m not just now beginning to believe the birds are conspiring in some manner against humans. Now I’m not sure of their intentions, but my best estimates are that they’re either planning to take over the world by killing all humans, or plotting some massive attack in order to acquire more birdseed. Either of those scenarios is as realistic as the other. So it’s hard to tell. But for a long time, I’ve thought birds had some sinister plan. Remember, I mentioned it in my column about how people are becoming more like birds.

So what spurred this train of thought, you say? Well, hear this, friends. Grab a cup of coffee, maybe a napkin with a couple of strips of cold bacon on it, and a chair. Then pull up close to your monitor, put your elbows on the desk and prepare to read possibly the greatest tale ever of how a bird tried to assassinate and possibly take over the life of a human being. It’s about to get scary in here.

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A Spacey Definition of Fashion

Have you ever gone through your closet and just looked at some of the clothing you have in there, realizing that some of it is actually quite old? Well I did this the other day. I looked through all my nice clothing, all the Structure and Z Cavaricci fashion I have hanging on my closet poles, and realized that I haven’t bought new clothing in quite some time. Now I have plenty of new t-shirts. Seriously. But yeah, my double-belted purple slacks and other fine couture articles have been hanging in my closet now for close to fifteen years. I clearly needed to go shopping.

I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’m not wasteful. I will still wear my purple Z Cavs on occasion, because they still look really good. I only wear them on special occasions – not when I’m changing my oil or digging French drains in the backyard. So there’s no point in getting rid of them. But I felt like I could treat myself to some new fashion. It’s been a long time. It’s time for a trip to the shopping mall.

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Phone Call Gets Area Man Laid

Have I ever told you about how I lost my virginity? Well, it’s not the actual misplacement of my chastity that makes for an interesting story. Obviously, I could go into details about what happened in my pickup that night down by the lake, but really – you’ve probably heard very similar stories already. And heck, you may even have one of your own! Suffice it to say that it happened, and certain parts went certain places just like you imagine, certain motions were made (as were certain faces), then I very kindly told her she needed to get out of the vehicle and find a way home. I also explained to her that if I did indeed find her undergarments somewhere in the vehicle, I would mail them to her at a later date. See, you’ve all heard the story, and I’m not really interested in trying to prove to you that I actually did, in fact, get laid. Trust me. I’ve got two kids. I’ve done it a couple of times. :haw:

Anyway, the interesting story here is the events that led up to the main event, so to speak. How did you meet your first lover? (cheap date, one-night stander, whatever you want to call him/her) Well here’s how I met mine.

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Old People Like Applebee’s

There’s an old man who lives in my neighborhood, right across the street. He and his wife are probably in their late 70s, early 80s, possibly late 80s. I’m not very good at judging ages on old people. But yeah, they’re old. He’s a cool old dude. He was a sailor back in his day, so I know he’s got some guns in that house. I’m trying to get on his good side so maybe he’ll put me in his will, because I like guns too.

Anyway, he has this tree in front of his house that is notorious for losing branches. I mean, they’re easily found – it’s like it loses one, we look for a brief period, and say, “Oh, there it is, right beneath the tree from where it fell. How about that.” So it’s not really losing them as such… maybe not even really misplacing them. We’ll just say that branches have a tendency to fall off that damn tree quite often. More than the rest of the trees in the neighborhood.

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Can the 1300s get a little love?

Haycomet just wrote a very nice piece about living in the middle ages, and it sort of touched a soft spot in my emotions. Because like her, I too have always wanted to visit a different time period. I actually wrote an essay about my time machine in the SpaceBrew Scroll. You can read it here if you’re interested. You probably didn’t even know that existed, did you? Yeah? Well it does. You should go check it out. It’s a small series of collaborative efforts by the entire writing staff at the time. Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent, and there’s your opening paragraph.

But I have to admit something, friends. I mentioned where I had gone and what I had done with my time machine in that post, but it wasn’t really true. I don’t really own a time machine. I know, I know, I’m a bastard for misleading you and everything, but it was fun to pretend for a while. I really want one though, if that’s any consolation. I like to think I could go back and meet some of those really cool, influential people in history. Albert Einstein. Seka (when she was younger)… Adolf Hitler. You know, just those people you really kind of want to get to know. Find out what made them tick. Well, I know what made Seka tick, if you know what I mean. :perv:

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Coming Out of the Closet

During the Great Robot Fiasco of 2010 a couple of months ago, where my Pusher and Shover Robots malfunctioned and tried to push my red-haired wife down the stairs (instead of my grandmother), I spent a lot of time in my closets. I spent time in my water closet testing and replacing parts on my air handler. I spent time in my master closet testing and replacing circuit breakers. I even spent time in some of my neighbors’ closets looking through their clothing and enjoying the various scents attached to the legs of their slacks and dresses. But now, my friends, it’s finally time to come out of the closet.

Yeah, see, I really just wanted to say that. It feels good to say it. But it feels even better to finally be out of the closet. See, after several long hours spent in all these closets around my house performing repairs, I realized some of those closets could use a good once-over cleaning. I realized I had junk on my shelves in the master closet that had been sitting there for years. Just shit like picture frames and curtain rod holders, cabinet knobs and stacks of important papers, electron shufflers and relastics diodes. You know, the stuff you find in just about every closet in America.

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Wait. What birds? What bees?

A few years ago, when my nephew was still just a little shaver, we found ourselves faced with an uncomfortable confrontation when my sister mentioned something about sex. Now it wasn’t something inappropriate, to be sure, but rather something along the lines of “sex in a movie” or something equally as innocuous. So all she did was basically say the word sex. It might even have been something like, “what sex is the child?” or whatever.

Anyway, my nephew, hearing the unfamiliar word, piped up with this little gem: “What are secks?” Well, seeing that a possibly uncomfortable situation might abound, I went ahead and stepped up to the plate with a perfectly delivered response, when I said, “Well, son, let me tell you what secks are.” So as the boy sat on the couch and looked at me, I told him that secks were like different categories into which women are grouped to determine their eligibility. I said, “For example, your mother would be in Seck A. Grandma over there? Well, she’s in seck B. Now Step, my red-haired wife? Yeah. Hi-five. She’s Seck C.

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Universal Solvents

Have you ever heard of the universal solvent? Well basically it’s a solvent that will eat through anything. Or rather, everything. You pour it on the concrete and it will just fizzle away until it all burns up eating stuff. See that’s the thing, it won’t eat its way all the way through the earth. Think about it. As it eats away at whatever it’s eating away, it uses itself up. So if you pour some on a steel table, it will eat through it, then whatever drips to the floor beneath will be a little less. It then eats through the tile, then the concrete, then some soil, and it’s pretty much down to nothing left at that point. But you do have a nice little hole through your table, foundation and the ground beneath.

So, of course, the question at the end of the riddle is, “What do you put it in?” The old anecdote mentions a guy walking into his boss’s office and saying, “Hey, boss, I finally did it! I finally created the universal solvent!” And his boss looks him up and down and says, “Why isn’t it eating through the beaker?”

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I have the beat wife ever.

The title of this column was based upon a Facebook message my wife left me yesterday, for our anniversary. You know how hard it is to type messages on a cellphone when there is no real keyboard? Yeah. Well perhaps tomorrow when Haycomet and I get together for our Bacon Talk, we’ll have something to say about cellphones. Anyway, yesterday, as a lot of you may or may not know, was my red-haired wife’s and my first anniversary. Yes, friends, what that means is that we have been married for most of a year. Or close to a year. Something having to do with a year. And, as the title suggests, she is the beat wife ever.

You see, she says some things like that sometimes, when there are not even any keyboards around. She misspeaks and they become terms of endearment, naturally, for me. Like how she says, “Chipolte” instead of Chipotle. Or she’ll call me her “Knight and shining armor”. You know, cute things that red-haired wives do that make us smile. But yesterday, for our anniversary, she did what was perhaps to go down in history as one of the awesomest things anyone has ever done for me. She got me a lunchbox.

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The Law of Averages

I can’t recall how well I did in statistics class, most likely because of one of the few following reasons: I a) didn’t take statistics class in college, b) spent way too much time between the sheets with girls and not near enough between the pages of schoolbooks, or c) didn’t actually go to college. I can’t even recall which of the answers would be closest to correct, so I shall not bother. And there’s your opening paragraph.

But let’s just say that the odds of some things happening are almost statistically impossible. Like that time when my dad and I were at the driving range hitting golf balls, and we both hit at the same time, and our golf balls hit each other in mid-air about fifty yards out. Un-effing-believable. Seriously, we couldn’t do that again in seven hundred years. But it did happen. I wonder if that has ever even happened before to anyone out there at driving ranges all over the world. Surely it has…

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Bra Cups and Batteries

Here’s a list of stuff that’s been occupying at least a small portion of my small mind over the last few days. I want to break them down and share them with you. Tell me what you think.

Have you noticed that both bras and batteries have a lettering system that kind of defies logic? Why is A the smallest bra size, but in batteries there is no A? There’s an AA and an AAA, but no A, and no B. And the AAA is smaller than the AA. In bras, there is a B, C and D. But instead of jumping up to E, it goes to Double D. Hell yeah. All you women wearing Double D out there reprazent! Let’s see ’em! Just kidding. But not really. Even though I kind of am, I kind of ain’t too. Know what I mean? I mean, like, if you want to sh– okay, okay, sorry. I went off on a tangent.

But why is there a Double D? Why not just make the Double D be the new E? And they should have AA as well. For the smaller chested women, you know. And maybe even a AAA. And why the hell are there no B batteries? I love the B size. I think it’s my favorite. So it would probably be my favorite battery too. All you women out there with Bs on your chest, lemme hear you say “YEAH!” Hell yeah. Send your pics here. Okay, okay, I’ll calm down. I don’t really even like boobs that much. Seriously. I’ve just been kidding with y’all.

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End Stupid Construction

As I was driving back from the clinic today, I came across a few things that made me frown a little, tilt my head to the side, wrinkle my nose, and quite possibly quote the phrase that started the now world-famous acronym you all know as WTF. You see, I have to go to the clinic an average of two to three times a week. That’s how bad my genital centipedes have gotten. Oh wait. No, no, you see, I work for a company that has 22 clinics. Phew. Thank God it’s that. So maybe I don’t have genital centipedes after all.

Anyway, as I was driving I saw a couple of things that I thought I should let you guys know about, and see if you have the same reactions I do. Since I’m what some call an ‘intellectual’, and I’m terribly smart, I catch some things most people don’t. For instance, you know those concrete barriers they line up beside highways? They’re about 20 feet long and weigh like 40 tons. Yeah. Well, I thought about something, guys. Before they rebar those things together on the side of the highway, they just leave them all stacked in grids over on the grass, usually near the starting section of where they’re going to install them. I mean, no fence, no guard dog, no security cameras… Dude, we could totally just walk away with a couple of those. And who couldn’t use a twenty-foot concrete barrier to toss in his driveway? See? Told you I was smart, guys.

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Space’s Shuttle Repair and Bacon Shop

I had to open two car doors yesterday. It’s unusual to have to open even just one in a given day. But two? Yes, friends, I’m as serious as a bowl full of mustard-covered lion feces. The crazy thing about opening car doors is that they all open differently. So you have to find the right way to do it. And yesterday, I actually had to get inside the pickup to be able to figure out how to open the back door. Well how about I just tell you what the hell I’m talking about?

My red-haired wife, Two-Step, Protector of the Grapefruits, somehow managed to break the back door of the pickup a few days ago. She said she broke a nail on the handle, because it just snapped back and wouldn’t open. I tried explaining to her, “Honey, the door handles aren’t held on by nails. It’s usually a torx screw or some very small bolts. But never nails.” I know. Isn’t it adorable when women talk about cars and shit? I patted her on the bottom and went outside to figure out what the problem was. I grabbed my toolbox, my iPod (yes I still have the damn iPhone), and one of those big ass 24-ounce cans of Schlitz and climbed into the truck.

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Another Week at Sunset Beach

Welcome back, everyone, from what was hopefully a glorious and wonderful Independence Day weekend. I, for one, can tell you that I was on the road for most of the weekend. That’s right, folks, I am NOT writing this live as of Monday morning. I’m writing it on Tuesday morning of last week, the day you all knew as June 29. I know, it seems crazy, but all writing is sort of like time traveling for the reader anyway. You read something that happened in your past, but was the writer’s present tense. It is a very powerful tool.

But yes, I am now (I hope, and by all means should be) in sunny Treasure Island, Florida for our Third Annual Watch Fireworks and Drink Beer On the Beach All Day While Women Bounce Around In Skimpy Bikinis Festival. The festival lasts about a week, and typically happens right around Independence Day weekend. Last year I attended and ended up married to a redhead. So some crazy stuff is known to happen during these soirees.

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Pusher Robot No Longer Moves Air

Part 2 of the Shover Robot Saga

After many calls to my father-in-law, I am now a certified Master Electrician. I’m also a certified Master Air Conditioner Repair technician. Siege is now also certified in these departments. So when I left you at the end of the last column, my air conditioner was not turning on and my microwave was out. It works fine, it just has that extra feature now that my red-haired wife found to be pretty shocking. Our new status here is this: my microwave is still out, my water heater is out, but my air conditioner is blowing cold mountain air, fresh from the Rockies.

I won’t go into details about how we got to that status, but – wait. Who am I kidding? Of course I will. That’s what I do here. I called an air conditioner company here in SpaceTown, and the dude told me I had either blown a fuse or a transformer on the air handler. I know how much a fuse is. But how much does a transformer cost? And I don’t mean one of the gay autobot types, but rather a Decepticon, like Megatron, Shockwave or Thundercracker. “Well we charge about 200 bucks for it.” Whew! You guys are proud of them puppies! I wasn’t happy about that, but I was determined to find out what was wrong myself. And not pay someone else to come out here and fix this shit for me. I like to be handy, you know. Just ask my red-haired wife how handy I get under the covers. :perv: Oh wait. That’s handsy

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Shover Robot No Longer Cooks Bacon

It’s funny how you never realize how much you count on your electric appliances until one finally comes alive, says, “PAK CHOOIE” and pushes your grandma down the stairs to protect her from the Terrible Secret of Space. Allow me to explain.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Step, my red-haired wife, had decided that she needed to clean out the microwave oven, which is I guess what red-haired wives all over the world do. I don’t ever really pay much attention to it, so long as it reheats my bacon and my bacon-bacon burgers. Though lately it has begun to take on some of the physical properties of a cave, what with the brown rock stalactites that cling to its ceiling, and the rocky crevasses and stalagmites all over the walls and floor. The plates still fit in there, though they sort of sat at an awkward angle on the rocky surface… But I digress.

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Team-Building Events That Work

The other night, while sitting outside with Siege, our discussion rounded upon the topic of women at work. We work with some cute women. Don’t know how many of them are “chicks” by Haycomet’s definition, but there are probably eleven women to every one man in our building. I’d say that’s pretty good odds if you’re single. Which he is. Ahem, ladies. So anyway, I came up with what I think is an excellent idea to break the ice a little and get things moving if you’re wanting to meet some people and find out more about them.

This also applies to building that “team feeling” you get at one of them really good jobs. A lot of companies out there are really suffering in the trust and teamwork departments. Now don’t go looking for the “teamwork department”. It’s just a phrase, dude. But if you work in one of these unfortunate places where the sexual tension is just through the roof and the executives oppress your right to free love in the bathroom stalls and network closets, you should definitely read on.

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The Beer CANundrum

My friends and I have this hobby we like to refer to as “Sitting Out On The Patio Drinking Beer”, which involves sitting out on the patio, drinking beer. We do this quite frequently. And we, being men who drink beer frequently, can drink a lot. So that you’ll know what a lot is, let me tell you what a lot is. When Siege shows up with a 30-pack, he sets it next to the 30-pack Two-Step brought home when she went by the Target’s earlier. So we have sixty beers in the SpaceFridge, which is a pretty good amount. Between the four of us – that’s Two-Step, Stout, Siege and me – that’s about fifteen beers apiece. I’m not saying we drink all sixty in one night. But I’m also not saying we don’t.

See, sometimes, Haycomet and Byron, Fletcher and Julie, Rines and TL, Bill and Amanda – sometimes they come by too. And sometimes they all come over. Sometimes Captain McRight will even come by. What I’m getting at here is that when that many people come over, sixty beers split twelve ways suddenly isn’t that much beer. We’re talking somewhere around five apiece. You know what that means? It means someone’s making a beer run. We’ve been known to drink as many as two 30-packs and a case in one night between our group. On a typical weekend, we go through an average of around 130 beers or so. That’s a lot of damn beer.

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Techmophobia

Have you ever had to provide technical support to anyone? Namely someone in their 40s or 50s? Well, if you have, you have probably noticed they had what I like to refer to as ‘Technophobia’. The root word of that is ‘tech’, which comes from the Latin word ‘teach’, which means to show someone how to do something. The ‘phobia’ part comes from the ancient Korean word ‘phear’ which means you’re afraid of something. So basically they’re afraid to teach something. Wait. I messed that up. You know what? Forget it.

What I’m saying is that most 40- and 50-year-olds are “afraid” of “techmology”. And I don’t mean they think the computer is going to wake up at night, start saying “PAK CHOOIE” and push grandma down the stairs. What they’re afraid of is that they will mess something up if they even dare click the Tools menu with the mouse button. And what this results in is technical support calls, wherein I am called upon to perform a rudimentary service on a machine to which I have no physical access. Usually when I’m sitting on a beach with a can of Corona in my hand and several pretty ladies dancing in their bikinis (or out of them) for me. Or when I’m on the back patio with a can of Bart’s Backyard Brew in my hand with my wife and all her hot friends dancing for me in their bikinis.

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Malt Liquor for my Truckers

I never told you about the time I was coming back from Abilene and a truck driver road my ass, did I? It was late at night, I was heading to Dallas and it was dark. Mainly because it was late at night. But it was also raining. And I was driving a shitty little four-cylinder Chevy Cavalier. And I had a truck driver riding my ass. So I will tell you all about it now.

He was riding my ass, kind of like someone would ‘ride your ass’ if you were giving them a piggy-back ride. Basically, this big ass semi was drafting off me. I don’t remember what had set him off, if anything, but something made him decide he was too cool for school, and he owned the road. And for some reason, he got on my ass. I think he was just screwing with the small car on the highway, because there was no other traffic that late at night. Maybe he was looking for something to do to keep him awake between jerking off in his sleeper at truck stops.

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Remember Memorial Day

So how was your Memorial Day? Did you remember? I know most of you did. And most of us remember by drinking beer and grilling out. Any kind of meat seems to be appropriate. Any kind of beer seems to be appropriate. And as long as a swimming pool is involved, people are enjoying the hell out of their Memorial Day. But are we really remembering why it’s even called Memorial Day? I hope so.

I know Siege dressed in his full Class-A Marines dress uniform and visited the Dallas Memorial Cemetery. He went to pay his respects to those who have fallen in the line of duty. Stout and I were going to go as well, but it was too short notice, and we found ourselves lacking parts of our uniforms. But that won’t happen again. Next holiday we will be ready.

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iPhone, it’s over between us.

First of all, I’d like to take a moment to stop down and say happy birthday to my insanely, ridiculously gorgeous wife. She’s officially a cougar as of today. Aside from that, yes, we’ve already had her birthday party. We had a combined party yesterday and killed one bird with three stones when we celebrated Stout’s, my sister Lisa’s and Two-Step’s all at once. That’s how we do.

So an update on the iPhone front: yes, it’s really over this time. I finally got fed up with the Kin. It was too much like a toy, or a child’s phone. I mean, seriously, no calendar? Even my old junk ass flip-phone had a shitty calendar on it. I tried, guys. I really did. I tried so hard to like this phone. I lied to people. I lied to my wife. “Ah, no, honey, I love this phone! Come on now! Look at how cool it is!” But it was all just lies. I always hated it. I like the way it looks and the way it puts your Facebook and your Twitter all right there on the home screen. I like – well, I guess those are about the only two things. I couldn’t take it anymore.

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I’m sorry, iPhone. I want you back.

I haven’t been using the phone part of the iPhone for the last six months or so. So I guess I’ve basically been carrying around an i. Heh. I got tired of AT&T’s bullsh, so I switched to someone with a more reliable network, and an altogether more affordable calling plan. Paying 200 bucks a month just so I can look cool carrying around my iPhone is ridiculous. Because I still didn’t look that cool. Not once did some hot chick with big boobs come bouncing up to me and say, “OMG you are so hot with that there iPhone, space.” So I dumped them.

So this other company, which starts with a V and rhymes with ‘horizon’ charges me 15 bucks a month to do all this great shit. Well, the phone was just a flip phone though, and – well, it didn’t have apps and all that glorious iPhoney stuff on it. Sniff. So I’ve been carrying around my iPhone and my phone. There’s just no service on my iPhone, so it’s like in permanent airplane mode. Which is cool. I mean, it’s like an iPod touch with a camera on it. Zing! So I’ve been pretty happy. Then came last week, when I made the mistake of my ife. (Get it? Ife? Like the beginning of iPhone… Yeah? No? Okay. Sorry, read on.)

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I don’t believe in the Goat Man.

After a weekend like I just had, you want to write about it. And the funny thing is, I happen to have a website, so I think I will. Saturday, Byron and Hayley and Step and I went to the horse races out in Grand Prairie. And now I can say with a cute little smirk on my face that yes, dear readers, I did bet on the Preakness. They had nine other races there at the Lone Star Park, but the Preakness was simulcast. You know, shown on the big screen across the track. It wasn’t near as exciting as the local races.

But we had good beer, great fun, and placed a few bets on the races themselves. I only won a few hundred thousand dollars, so it’s not that interesting, and I won’t go into details. Just suffice it to say, the Ones were Cold and the Sun was Hot. Whatever. The point is that we went to the damn horse races and that was the first time I’ve ever bet on them.

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Back to Our Roots

Happy Cinco de Mayo, friends! This year, it happened to fall on May 5th, which happens to be a hump day. Couldn’t have asked for better timing! And you can’t ask for a better topic than what I have for you today: music. I like music. In fact, some have said that I even “like it a lot”. I listen to all types of music, and don’t really tie myself down to one genre. Heck, I’m not even one of those guys who says, “I listen to everything except rap,” or “country”. I listen to it all – as long as it doesn’t sound like a bunch of untalented bullsh. There are some rap and even some R&B songs that I dig quite well. I’m very open-minded. Now one thing I cannot stand is that assy sounding crap where the R&B singer just holds out a syllable and tries to hit every note in the scale. You know what I’m talking about? Listen to the Fugees’ Killing Me Softly cover if you’re not sure. That crap makes me want to murder music in the face.

But other than that, yeah, I think I’ve made my point. I like music quite well. But here’s what this column is about: sometimes I like to break into a certain style reminiscent of times gone by. You know. Something like that. And here’s how I really explain it: I am not one who takes a radio with me when I go camping – even though I love and live and breathe music. I go camping to get away from techmology. I don’t want to be bothered by radio waves. But there is a growing list of music I would be okay with hearing while I sit round a campfire drinking Cold Ones and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. Let me show you this list.

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Where-Fi?

I’m sitting here writing this column on Friday night. I will schedule it for publication as soon as I finish it, for Tuesday morning, the 4th of May. Why, you may ask, am I sitting here writing a column on Friday night when I could be out slipping warm ones into garters and Cold Ones down my gullet? Well, like I told you on Friday’s column, I’m in the hospital with my recovering wife. No, that wasn’t a joke. She really did get surgery. No, it wasn’t really a whoopie cushion. But wouldn’t that be bad ass?

She’s doing well, I guess, or as well as well can be after getting gutted like a fish. She just went for her first walk and made it like twenty feet before having to turn around. She’s hurting pretty bad. And I know you guys probably think I’m an asshole for not tying her gown up in the back for her, and – in fact – telling her it was tied in the back. But I just figured I could give a little back to humanity. And that’s a good way to do it. The Hispanic family in the hallway sure appreciated it.

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The Art of Taxism

Happy Friday Morning, Brewists. Today is not only the last Friday of the month, it’s also Arbor Day. And my sources are also telling me that it happens to be National Oatmeal Cookie Day. I hope it’s a good day for all of you. For me, it’s one of those mixed emotion days. For today, as you’re sitting here reading this, I am in the hospital by my wife’s bedside as she undergoes surgery. She’s having her bladder replaced by a whoopie cushion (so she can hold more pee) and she’s finally having a computer chip put in like the one I got. That way we can text each other, keep track of where we are in the supermarket (what’s so super about the market, anyway, amirite?) and various other important tasks so many of you take for granted. But yes, she’s getting some new stuff put in and some maintenance done on her CPU, so keep her in your prayers.

In other news, it is indeed April 30. The Last Day of April. How many of you just had to touch your knuckles to verify that? I sure did. Thank God our knuckles were made like they are so they line up with the months. But being April 30, you know what that means. It means it’s time to start getting all of our stuff together to get ready to file our taxes. Because tax day is coming up soon. Now we’ve discussed several holidays here on the Brew here lately. Trash Day Eve, Camping Day, National Period Awareness Week, International 14″ Monitor Appreciation Day, etc. You remember them. But notice I did not capitalize tax day. Number 1, it is NOT a holiday. And B, the IRS is the only group who celebrates it. The rest of us hate it. (The IRS, not tax day.)

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The Day of the Turkey

I guess to those of you in New York, it would be Day of the Toikey. Well either way, I hope it’s a happy one. I thought I would sit down here on the sofa and write a little post to fill everyone in on what’s been going on lately. It’s nice to have a family day with Step and the girls. We don’t have the boy this week, but it’s still cozy. We’ve historically always gone to the parents’ houses or to be with extended family, but today we decided to stay home and have our own intimate little turkey eating experience.

I haven’t had internet connectivity at home over the last few months, and working the odd hours and schedules that I work now haven’t had the time or the passion to update the site. I brought home a modem last night from the Clear guy to try it out and see what kind of connectivity and speeds I get, and was amazed at how the first thing I wanted to do was write a post on the Brew. Lucky you.

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Connected

Everyone has a facebook now. Myspace, apparently, is dead now. It’s like an electronic wasteland scarcely occupied by the ghosts of old emoticons and status updates. Are we okay with that? Well, certainly we must be. So long as we have something to fall back on, like a twitter or a facebook, we’ll migrate like boids to the next big thing. So the cycle goes.

Remember the iPhone? Remember the long lines of people waiting to get them on the day they came out? Like the line of idiots waiting to be the first people ever to see Star Wars Episode I when it came out. And I’m not talking about the group of guys with whom I went. We only waited about an hour and a half – and I do admit, got a little excited about the long awaited new film, seeing as how it had been twenty years since its predecessor had arrived. Nay, I’m talking about the idiots who waited outside that theater for like two weeks. Asked off work so they could stand in line dressed as Boba Fett or a Stormtrooper and wait in line. Seriously, people.

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Fleas Flee, Please

Not too long ago, I had a dog named Daisy. Or Dixie. Something like that. You see, I’ve never really connected with her. Because see, she’s never allowed me to. She’s so scared of men that she wouldn’t come to me. Every time I would approach her, she would make a rather large puddle of this dark yellow liquid. I’m not sure what all that is about. But I couldn’t have a relationship with this dog like most people have with their dogs. You know, like petting it and saying, “Come here, Butch!” and have him actually come see you. So I’ve never connected with her, and thus – I don’t really remember her name.

Regardlessly, she brought some of her friends in a few weeks ago. And now they’ve taken over. Fleas. I hate them. I hate them worse than I hate golf. Thousands of them. You couldn’t walk through the grass to the back door without having them hop onto your legs and start biting. The little cocksuckers.

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Day One : 2009

We got up at about five ’til five today. Well, I say we – I actually slept until about 5:40. Stephanie got up at 4:55. We got ready and headed in to the hospital. This is so unlike Callie’s birth where Heather’s water broke and I tore off down the rainy highway at close to FTL velocity. This morning we were prepared, we know Stephanie is being induced – or having a c-section – and knew that there was no rush. We could just sort of drift on in. We needed to be there at a certain time, but that’s something you can plan for. If the water breaks, you gotta haul.

We arrived and they got started with an IV drip. Our first step in this process was to have the baby verted. Its head was still up as of 21:30 last night. We prayed that God would turn the baby so we wouldn’t have to go for the version. That’s a very dangerous process that can cause all kinds of bad things to happen. Things of nightmares. Bleeding, hemorrhaging, up to and including loss of the child or the mother. So yeah, mark me down for being a little bit nervous.

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Industry Standards

Why is it that when I walk into a barber shop, which is like twice a year at best, someone always turns to me and says, “May I help you, sir?” Yeah, I’m here to get my tires rotated and pick up a meatball sub for the girlfriend. What the hell do you think I’m here for? Yesterday (which was actually October 9 – I know, we schedule these columns way in advance) I walked into the local SpaceTown Barber Shop, which has been there for over thirty years. And this little Asian guy turns and says that very thing to me. “Can I help you?” So I looked about real quickly, and responded, “Uh, yeah. I need a haircut. You sell those here?” I don’t think he got it.

When I walk up to the fresh seafood bar at the local Snostrebla, I expect the worker there to ask me what she can help me with. There’s a variety. I could get the fresh jumbo shrimp, the frozen popcorn shrimp, the Alaskan King Crab legs, the lobster meat, the imitation krab meat (yes, it’s spelled with a K :rolleyes: ), the fresh Atlantic salmon, or whatever else they sell. Of course she needs to ask me what she can help me with. A barber shop sells one service. A haircut. Does anyone really go to the barber shop to buy their haircare products? I mean, obviously they try to upsell you while you’re there, and sometimes people buy the tea tree oil shit, but no one actually just goes there just to buy the products, right? Well this old town barber shop doesn’t even sell them. They, therefore, sell one thing. Haircuts.

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A Very Young Space

I thought I would post some old school pictures of me when I was growing up, just to reminisce, if you will. But mostly because almost all of these photos are laughable in some way. And in a lot of them I’m in some sort of costume, though none of these were Halloween costumes or photos.

But in digging through old photos, I found these and thought some of you would get a kick out of seeing what I looked like when I was young and innocent. After a week or two, I will move this post over to the photo journals archive, so it won’t be listed in my archives or anything, but you can always get to it through the “links” link. Anyway, hope you enjoy.

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Happy October

You all know that October is National Domestic Violence Month, right? Yeah. I don’t personally condone it, but it is a nationally recognized moniker for the month. So who am I to go against the rules? I do live in this society, I should abide by its standards. Sigh. So who are you going to abuse? Now remember, it has to be ‘domestic’, which means someone you live with. Yeah. I was thinking my sister-in-law, but I don’t live with her, so that’s out.

I know, I know, you’re telling me that domestic violence isn’t funny and I shouldn’t joke about such a sensitive subject. I say Bullshit! We have an entire month here (and it’s one of the long ones!) that we’re supposed to recognize and respect domestic violence! :shobon:

So let’s talk about some other things that are going to happen this month. Number one, and this one is most important to me, Stella is back! Seriously, I’m psyched about this, because I’ve seen a bunch of her writing already, and it’s all good. If you’ve read her other columns on file here, you’ve at least grown to like her. But these new ones will make you love her. God, she’s gotten cynical!

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Cleanliness is Next to Manliness

You know that guy at work (he’s usually Chinese) who you always catch brushing his teeth in the restroom? And you always almost crack a smile, thinking, “Heh. This idiot is bru–” then you stop short, realizing it’s actually probably a pretty damn good idea. So you keep your mouth shut. Well I have become that guy. Not Chinese. I bought a hygiene kit for work.

Well, they don’t actually sell hygiene kits – at least not that I’m aware of. I had to build my own. So I bought a school box for fifty-nine cents and loaded it full of goodies. You may be wondering why my box is pink. Well, apparently, girls don’t need school supplies as much as boys. Because the Retnec Repus Tram Law shelves are loaded with thousands of these pink pencil boxes. They don’t have any other colors. Not that I care what color my hygiene box is. I can decorate it with markers and stickers at a later date.

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I’m not a vegetable thief.

I went to the doctor last week because of a sinus cold. While I was there I asked him if he- –wait no, it was a she. A hot doctor lady who looks kind of like a librarian, but you can tell she’s hot. Like that one in Road House. Anyway, I asked her if she could look at my plumbing, because I had a couple of tiny red spots on it. So I dropped my drawers and she quickly rolled back in her chair and said something about my having her peas. Whose peas?

Here are some sample peas.Now my girlfriend was standing in the room with me. Well, she was sitting in the girlfriend chair over there. I looked back at her with a frown. My girlfriend doesn’t have any ‘peas’ that I know of. So the doctor couldn’t have been talking about hers. I asked her what she meant. She replied, “I think you might have her peas. Let’s take some blood and we’ll test you out.” She left the room quickly, hair blowing behind her like she was riding a white stallion into a milky orange sunset.

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And then we camped…

So let me tell you about our camping trip last weekend. It was hotter than a fresh pile of jalapeno-stuffed dog shit. We had fans in our tent, too. I also had a window unit air conditioner. I had it sitting on a TV tray, which was nice. Except that somewhere in the middle of the night, the cat ran into the TV tray, and the whole thing toppled over, crushing her. Rest in peace, Peachez. Damn, I’ll miss that cat.

There’s – well, there’s really not much to talk about. I mean, we camped out. That was about it. We didn’t really sit around drinking beer or anything. I mean, it was just a camping trip. Anyway, I told you I would tell you about it, so there you have it. Now you want to hear something real exciting? Read on, dear friends. Read on.

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I Want to Believe

Man this is great. Peligro Pete just got back from Roswell and he brought me a souvenir! I’m liking all this free time he has now since he got canned from the force. Anyway, they spent some time in Roswell watching alien autopsy videos and dodging abductions left and right. Well I haven’t talked to him yet, but I’m almost positive that’s probably exactly what he did. But he took a little time to stop in to some alien store and get me a souvenir. What a guy!

OFFICIAL ALIEN BEERWhen I got home last night I knew to look in my fridge for the souvenir he had promised me. When he goes places he usually brings me beer. What a guy! So I opened my fridge and this is what was sitting in there. (Click on the image for a full-size copy.) And two things happened simultaneously.

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Roadside Memorials and You

Let’s talk briefly about the roadside memorial. Well, I’ll write a few words about it, and you can read them. Then, if you’re not too lazy, you can reply in comment form and let me know what you think. If not, then feel free to throw your hands in the muthafukkin air. Then I’d like to ask you to at least consider waving them around like you just don’t care.

This is sad.Okay. So what is the point of the roadside memorial? And here’s what I mean by that: What is the point of the roadside memorial? You see, if I were to lose someone on the side of the road, or someone I knew were to die in a horrible tragic accident on a highway, I would be pretty saddened. But I don’t think I would feel compelled to decorate the place of their demise with flowers and headstones and whatnot. Seriously, why would you want to decorate and commemorate the place they died? I’m okay with putting those same flowers and trinkets on a grave site. That’s where their final remains lie eternally. Or until the lease is up on the site. :rolleyes:

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Thank God it’s Friday.

No, it hasn’t been a really long week or anything. I haven’t had a series of bad days. I just don’t really like having to get up every morning to go to work. I’m beginning to believe I was duped into this career field. When they told me cleaning and emptying portable toilet systems would be fun and exciting, I believed them. I’m beginning to think differently though. Maybe I need a career change.

We’re going camping this weekend. And by camping, I mean setting up tents and sitting outside getting sweaty and drunk. And by we’re I mean a whole big group of us. Should be fun. I’m bringing my electric grindcoil and Stout is bringing the baby mouse livers. As long as the girls bring their marble guns, we should be all set for a helluva time!

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White Van Specials

You ever get accosted in a gas station parking lot by one of these gangs in a white van, trying to sell you speakers for cheap? I have. Probably four or five times in my life. I’m always amazed at how this person’s story is so similar to the last person’s I heard. “Oh yeah the guy at the warehouse accidentally gave us a couple of extra speakers and if I don’t sell them, then the guy I’m delivering to will take them for himself and sell them. I just need some extra cash man!” Uh huh.

I’m also always amazed at how rude and persistent these people are. And how when I tell them to go screw themselves they start cussing me out. Well let me back up – I don’t tell them to literally go screw themselves. I say, “No thanks, I have a pretty good set of Klipsch 8.1 surround sound speakers in my theater at home. They cost way more than the speakers you’re selling, and are probably better, therefore.” Then they say, “Well you suck and don’t know a good deal when you see one!” And I say, “Uh, yes I do. Which is why I’m going to have to pass on this one.” Then they get mad and start cussing me out. Then I tell them to go screw themselves.

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Junk Mail and Me

I get junk mail. You get junk mail. We all get junk mail. But lately, I’ve noticed a pattern. It’s hard not to notice when you’re getting the amount I’m getting, actually. But I’ve taken a new tactic here. I’d like to tell you about it.

So WAMU has been sending me shit, I guess to sign up for their credit card, or open a bank account with them. They have two separate mailers they send out. I get both of them. Two or three a week. Let me repeat that so you’ll understand better. I get both of their mailers, two or three times a week. That’s four to six pieces of mail from them, per week. I am not exaggerating here, dudes. It’s insane! I also get an envelop from Overland Mortgage at least once every two weeks. Clearly not as frequent as the wamu shit, but still enough to notice.

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Finally, I’ve something positive to say.

I’m always on here ranting about shitty customer service and how people suck so badly. So I figured you’d probably like to hear about a good experience I had as a customer. Wednesday afternoon, present tense.

I just got back from the barber. Actually it’s a salon. I was on my way driving to the Sport Clips when I passed by a shopping center that had a little salon in it. So I said, “What the hey.” I knew it probably wouldn’t be as busy as Sports Clip during lunch hour, and you really can’t mess my hair up. Even if you do, no one will ever know, because of the way I wear it. So the point being that I really have no preference when it comes to where I get my hair did, because I deliberately mess it up anyway, as a rule. That’s how I roll.

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Expensive Hobbies

I’ve kind of gotten into this photography thing. I have always had an eye for it, and a desire to get passionate about it, but just never had the equipment. Well, now I do. Anyway, I’ve been taking pictures of everything lately. You know, you have to take a hundred shots to get ten good ones. If you’re lucky. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. Well, I haven’t gotten to a level yet where I can make an exposure work no matter what. But I almost always can see when there’s potential for a good one.

A picture I took with the D40So I went to the dive shop the other day to get some equipment. This – uh, by the way, is a subject change here. Now I’m talking about SCUBA. A buddy of mine from work is a PADI instructor and runs classes at this dive shop. So he got me a discount on the SCUBA gear I needed, because I’m taking a dive trip here next month. I’ll be diving for sharks and buried treasure down in Key West. That’s okay, you don’t need to be jealous.

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Orange (Explosive) Candy

While sitting at the lake the other day, we had an interesting experience. I mean besides the BMW that drove by with the 20-inch low-profile spinners and the extra bassy speakers. My sister and her youngest boy were there. A couple of other friends had their kids there, and I had Callie. So all the kids were running around, getting in the water, splashing, shooting water guns and eating hot dogs. A good, relaxing time, it was.

Then my sister’s boy comes walking up with orange goop all over his mouth, face, neck and hands. Oh, hey, Evan, what you got there, pal? Well, it was a paintball. He had put it in his mouth and chomped down. It exploded, sending orange paint all over the place. Hey, at least it was orange, am I right? “Well why did you put a paintball in your mouth?” And his reply? “Well, I thought it was candy!”

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The Flaming Yawn

Get it?  It’s sort of a play on words that sounds phonetically like ‘filet mignon’.  You like that shit?  Well I do, and let me tell you why.  Because a buddy and I invented it.  And not just the term.  The drink.  I unfortunately cannot divulge the exact ingredients, but I will tell you it has a little vodka and a lot of flame in it.  Yes, you set that bitch on fire in the glass.  The Flaming YawnAnd yes you quaff it while it’s burning blue.  And yes – well, no, uh, I would um, probably recommend you stay away from The Flaming Yawn if you’re wearing a decorative beard.

We discovered this drink while sitting at the Space Bar a couple of nights ago.  I poured in the several key ingredients and attacked the martini glass with my trusty Zippo.  Poof.  The gorgeous flame covered the glass like a – well, like flame covers alcohol.  And then I drank it.  You’d be surprised how subtle and wonderful the taste is.  It’s exotic, yes, but very cool and classy in the flavor department.

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Still Life

Back from a crazy weekend. Sorry I’m tardy with the column. When you have a weekend as crazy as mine was, it’s hard to get up on Monday morning and write one before the sun comes up. It’s also damn near impossible to write one the night before because you’re tied up in the craziness of the weekend. I’m going to talk more about my camera though.

Oh, I didn’t tell you I got one? Well I told you I was going to get one. I got one. It’s only 6.1 megapixels. Not that impressive by number, right? But being an SLR, it really uses those on every picture. No digital zoom, no pixel interpolation, just plain bad ass pixelry. You like that word? Pixelry means ‘the ability to utilize pixels’. Anyway, this one is one of my favorites. Took Callie to the ice cream shoppe. And took 200 something pictures. Now keep in mind, I’ve sized these down to 800 by 600. The originals were 3000 by 2000. I hope none of the quality was lost.

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Relief? Check.

So by now we’ve all gotten our relief checks in the mail. Right? If you haven’t, then please stop reading here. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you.

Yeah, so I got mine this morning. Well, it didn’t come in the mail, as such. It just sort of came in my bank account. That sounds unnatural and disgusting. It arrived in my account. How’s that? And let me tell you what a relief it was.

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Join the Alliance

Some time last year, Kimbre and I inadvertantly formed the Huge Shades Alliance. Bring back beauty with offensively large shades™. Or some such. Well, her legacy lives on, and I’m on a mission to find the largest, most ridiculous – yet still stylish and somehow not gay – shades I can find. It has become a hobby of mine. Looking at and trying on the largest shades I can find in an effort to bring back the beauty.

How, you say? Well it’s really simple. The larger they are, the more space they reflect. And in those reflections you can’t see the ugly and inhumane scum we as humans have become. That’s probably kind of a lame (if not hippy) answer, but work with me. It’s all I got.

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Did you have to?

The Space CrocsMy office is pretty basic. Your typical cube farm with a few offices around the edges. For my own personal office, they knocked down some walls and joined a few of the smaller ones together so I have about 5000 square feet of space. Pool table, arcades, wet bar – just the essentials, you know. I’m pretty important here though. Anyway, it’s not like a corporate environment. We’re all professionals, but none of us is corporate – if you know what I mean. Shorts, crocs, t-shirts, women leave their bras in the car, the usual. It’s a fun environment to work in.

Anyway, even though it’s relaxed and comfortable and pleasant, it’s not conducive to concentration in a lot of ways. And it’s also not very private. For instance, when you enter the bathroom, you get the feeling the people in the next room can hear everything that’s going on in here. And they can. I can hear everything that goes on in the women’s restroom. So yeah, when Penny Nichols, the Hottest Girl in the Office, walked by me on our way to the restrooms this morning, she waved and said, “Hi Dr. Space!” and I smiled and said, “Wuddup, Penny,” and I went in to the restroom thinking all was dandy. Until I heard her stall door close. I was like, “Oh no. No. Please no.” And then that bowl breaker she ripped just about broke my heart. The echo was loud and forceful. I mean, I guess I should have known that since she’s so hot she probably shits with some amount of authority. But wow. I could hear every sonic detail of her encounter with the porcelain. And boy let me tell you, she laid a slab cracker in there. Son of a bitch. :gonk:

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Copperwound Chronicles Vol. 3

Here in the last week, my band has spent fifteen hours in the studio, recording cuts from our second album. We’re really knocking them out, too. We’ve recorded three complete tracks for the album in that relatively short amount of time. We also recorded a fourth song, which won’t be on the album. It’s a promotional thing for an event planning company. So technically, we’ve recorded four complete songs in fifteen hours. But let me tell you a little bit about what goes on in the studio.

People all the time ask if they can come hang out with us while we’re recording. Somewhere remote in their minds, I think people associate music studios with cocaine and strippers. It’s a helluva good time, all of us hanging out, snorting off their bellies and popping champagne into the air, confetti everywhere, a big wild orgy. It’s off the hook! But yeah, no, yeah, it’s really not like that. Continue reading…

I just joined the Darwin Awards.

We used to do crazy shit when we were adolescents. Seriously. My mother used to shout at me for jumping off the roof into the pool. Man, if she had seen some of the really crazy shit I was doing, she would have begged me to keep jumping. My girlfriend pulled up beside us on the highway one night, honking and flashing her lights. It was dark, there was no one else on the highway, but my pickup was very recognizable. The graffiti-style paint job was distinct. So she pulled up and rolled down her passenger window, waving at me and shouting something incoherent. Well, I’ll just get my buddy to take over driving!

So my buddy slides behind the wheel and I hop over to the passenger side, crawl out my window and into the bed of the truck (while we’re still moving). Then I did the whole acrobatic stretch between the two vehicles and slipped down through her window and into the seat. I guess I could have just waited, since we were going the same place, and both arrived some three minutes later. I missed her though, you know?

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Not That Kind of Pool

A buddy of mine and I were shooting pool last night. We were sharing a table with some lovely ladies we meet there quite often. I guess you could call them pool friends. Anyway, I was on my way to the restroom and walked by the foose ball table. There wasn’t anyone around it. But one of the handles was pushed all the way in on the far side, which made the long steel piece stick all the way out on the side I was walking by. I was about to run into it. So I reached out and slapped it in on my way by. So I wouldn’t impale myself on the foose ball table, you see.

And I hear this, “what the hell!” really loud. I looked over, still walking, of course, and see a guy standing there with his hands out. “Oh, sorry, chief. Didn’t know you guys were playing,” I said, and went into the lav. After I finished I returned to my pool table. And after about three minutes, I’m leaning over the table, about to make a four-rail bank shot on the nine. And dude walks up and makes a big show of scattering all the balls on the table, then stands there with his hands out again. Staring at me.

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The Dredge House Chronicles, Vol 6

Final Edition

Well I’m going to wrap up these here Chronicles, as I think I’ve told most of the good stories that happened in the Dredge House. So to recap, you know it was a party house. Someone was always drunk, having sex (even surprise sex), getting drunk, getting ready to have sex, getting into a fight, or playing nintendo. A lot of our Fry Street Friends would come by after long nights of drinking and having sex on Fry Street and hang out for a while to drink and possibly have sex at my house. Old Guy was somehow always cool with it. He never complained. And our dirt driveway always had plenty of room for more cars.

So one time I brought a girl home with me. She was a lovely little thing, cute and petite. She looked a little young, but that didn’t really catch my attention too much, because I had seen her buy cigarettes. She was at least eighteen. She came over and we turned off all the lights in the living room. I sent Wil to my room because some other couple was sleeping in there, and I was stuck on the couch. TJ’s room was occupied as well. Well this young lady I brought home wanted to hear the Lost Boys soundtrack while we discussed magic and drank popsicle juice. So I put it on. It got through Cry Little Sister and she told me to play it again. So I set the CD player on repeat track, and away we went. Well I won’t bore you with the details of our expedient congregation. But it lasted a while. Seriously. When we got done with all the uh – whatever I called it up above – the index on the CD player said 23. It had played Cry Little Sister, an almost seven-minute song, 23 times. I was pretty sick of it. But I hadn’t wanted to stop long enough to turn off the repeat mode.

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The Fall of a Masterful Empire

When I was young, I collected Hot Wheels cars. Matchbox too. I remember those John Cleese commercials where he’d slip one into his shirt pocket, and that always made me feel so good. I made my mother buy me a white dress shirt with two breast pockets just so I could stand in front of the mirror and slip into my pockets my two favorite Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars again and again.

I collected them. Like I do guitars, books, Elvis Costello albums, tattoos and Evan bottles, I collected every one of them I could find. They had realistic die-cast metal miniature automobiles with vibrant colors and awesome chrome wheels (and sometimes flake paint). It was magical when my mom would take me to the Wal-Mart and I had a five-dollar bill in my pocket. I could buy five new cars. They were 89 cents apiece. The only problems I ran into back then was which five or six to get. There were so many to choose from, and I knew that at any minute, Matel could go out of business and the Wal-Mart could burn down, and I’d be forever kept from completing my collection. So I had to select the best five.

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Where are the good cats?

This last Monday I took my folks to the airport for their trip to Hawaii. Yeah, I’ve heard it from just about everyone now: “Tell your parents they suck, dude.” Why, because they were smart enough to fly south for the winter? If only a week, at least… Anyway, I loaded them up with memory for their camera and Cheez-Its for their flight and sent them on their way.

That meant I was driving my mother’s Porsche for the last couple of days, because I was too lazy to make the trip back out to their house to pick up my trusty old Wrangler. It’s amazing how lazy one can get about things like that when he is driving a sports car. Either way, I took the wife and kid out to Red Lobster last night for a feast of seafood (OMG those lobster tails and crab legs holy god they were awesome…) and then made the trip out to Silent Hill to swap out the cars. I gassed up the Porsche (I tend to put my foot in it a little too often and turn what should be a one-gallon trip into a five-gallon adventure) and parked it neatly between the lines in the garage. After my wife hopped out and moved all the shit out of the way.

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The Dredge House Chronicles, Vol 5

Volume Five: Old Guy and The Onion Incident

The Dredge House wasn’t always fun. We did more than just party there. If you want specifics or anything, I’ll have to get back to you on that. But what I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t always fun and games. Sometimes we got serious. Sometimes people almost died.

At the time I was seeing a girl called April pretty regularly. Now I’ve told you what the word relationship meant to me back then. It meant that sure, I’ll call you my girlfriend and we won’t date other people. Just remember that the word ‘dating’ and the word ‘sex’ aren’t synonymous. So anyway, April was my girlfriend, and I loved her quite well. I don’t think I ever needed to see anyone else while I was with her. So it was all good. Regardless, that has nothing to do with the story, so I don’t know why I’m even telling you that except that maybe to establish that I wasn’t a complete asshole. But I was, so that point is moot anyway. So, moving on, I mentioned April because she had two friends with whom she lived a lot. These were Cammie and Cody. They had a pretty slick apartment in Dallas but were almost never there. They were pretty regularly not even in town. They stayed mostly in Houston, and just about every weekend, were loading up to go south. April didn’t though. She mostly stayed with me.

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The Coolest Places I’ve Worked

Being an unruly and independent sixteen-year-old means you don’t take shit from anyone. Or in the parlance of the age, you don’t take shit from no one. Ever. You do as you please. You wake when you want. You go to school if you feel like it. You listen to your parents if it suits you – because obviously you know better than they… How the hell should they know what it’s like to be alive in the 80s as a teenager? They were teens in like the 50s and shit. Trust me, Pop. You just don’t understand.

It also means you have to work in as many jobs as you can fit between your sixteenth and your nineteenth birthdays. Seriously. I didn’t quit because I got sick of places. Actually yes, I did. But I was going to say that I quit because I was ready for something new. I wanted to experience it all. And both are true. How long can you work at Skaggs bagging groceries before you begin to believe you could manage the store yourself? It can’t be rocket science, dude. That’s why you, Mister Store Manager, only make like thirty grand a year. When I grow up, I’ll make twice what you make in my spare time. I’m sixteen, all powerful, hear me roar.

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The Dredge House Chronicles, Vol 4

Beth, My Sister, and the Open-Door Policy That Failed Me

While I’m on the subject of my sister, I’ll go ahead and tell you about another incident that occurred involving her. This is a fun one! I had a girlfriend named Beth. She was German. She didn’t speak German, she just was one. In fact, she could have been full-blooded American and I wouldn’t have known because she didn’t have an accent or anything. She just told me she was German and I had no reason to doubt her. So for the purposes of this story, I’ll just ask you to believe she was German, and that’s that.

Beth and I got pretty close pretty quickly, and found our way into some rather embarrassing scenarios more often than I’d probably care to admit. Just by virtue of our being young and wild, I suppose. But she had a lackluster trust for me to begin with, and I can’t tell you why. I think she thought I was still seeing some other girl and couldn’t give her (Beth) my full heart. Uh, yeah. I was too young to be giving anyone my heart. I did, however, give them a different part of me, if you know what I mean. Wink, wink. Anyway, of course I was seeing other girls! That was none of her business though. I treated her like a queen, and gave her roses and all those things women love. She had no reason to doubt that I was for real. I just like to keep a spare account open on the side in case my primary account runs dry all of a sudden. Know what I mean? Anyway enough about her.

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The Dredge House Chronicles, Vol 3

Volume Three: Lisa, the Notorious Cereal Thief

Lisa, my sister, likes cereal. I actually used to call her Cereal Killa. No I didn’t. I just made that up. But I should have. Being that she lived right around the corner from me, she would skate up to my house (literally, rollerblades) and visit me in the mornings. However, I knew she wasn’t really there to see me. She was there to eat my Honey Smacks. Can’t say I blame her. That was some good ass cereal. I should place a hyphen there between good and ass. I’m not sure I’m fond of the thought of ‘ass cereal’. I digress.

So she would skate up and eat a couple of bowls of cereal just about every day. And I was finally like, “Why the hell don’t you just buy your own, then you wouldn’t have to skate a quarter mile uphill in your pajamas every day?” And she was like, “Then I wouldn’t get to see you.” Uh huh. At least the quarter mile home was downhill. Well, one day I was feeling particularly generous, so while at the store, I bought two boxes of Honey Smacks. And when she came up the next morning, I gave her one of the boxes. “Here, take this home and you can eat it whenever you want!” So she did take it home. After she had a couple of bowls at my house.

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The Dredge House Chronicles, Vol 2

Volume Two: The Great Mate-Swap of 1994

As I’ve told you, the Dredge House was always full of people. Mostly beautiful people, but sometimes people like you and me. Randoms, we call them. It was ridiculous how many times I would come home and see a living room full of strangers watching my television (13″ with no cable), playing my stereo or my guitar, and drinking beer that was undoubtedly from my fridge. Back then we did indeed have a beer fridge. Ask me how I afforded that on such a humble wage. Well, it came with the house. For rent. This is not to say that I had a normal fridge plus a beer fridge. No, we just had different priorities, and thus, called our primary source of food refrigeration the Beer Fridge. There was simply no room for anything in it other than a few ketchup packets and Beer. The Ones were always cold at the Dredge House.

So I’d walk in the door and everyone would look up and I’d scan their faces, looking for someone familiar. Some of them would smile, and an occasional voice would pipe up, “You must be Space.” To which I would reply, “Well if I must, then so be it.” And having not seen any familiar faces, I’d remark, “Where’s X?” And fill in X with a name of someone who lived there with me. Most of the time this was TJ. Stu was really never there. Not when I got home from work. And most of the time, this remark was met with something like, “Oh he left to go to Fry Street.” Oh. So he left to go to Fry Street and left my house full of strangers.

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The Dredge House Chronicles, Vol 1

Volume One: Weiland, the Racist Dog

My first story is about Weiland, the racist (and possibly homosexual, as Captain made mention to in my last column) pit bull I had when I lived in the Dredge House. When I first moved in, Blake came over one day with Easy E, his 80-pound pit and said he knew a guy who was getting rid of a brindle pit. Was I interested? Well yeah! Who doesn’t want a tough dog?

So we went to collect him. He was chained to a tree in this guy’s front yard and I actually walked up and took his chain off, put a lead on him and walked him back to my truck. The dog immediately took to me. He was beautiful too. I named him Weiland after the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, because they were very relevant in my life at the time.

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