Wednesday, November 29, 2006

You're Only As Old As...

My niece turned 16. Sixteen. She's old enough to drive. Nearly done with high school. She was the first, and only, child I've ever had to "baby-sit". Not that it was a big deal, as we watched TV. *Whew* Now, she's driving around maniacally... in my old car, no less!... and will soon be able to vote.

Yes, yes it does make me feel old. Thank you very much. However, I am comforted by the fact that my brother not only feels older, but is older. So ha ha!

Happy birthday, Beck! Should you actually have occasion to venture online, here's something just for you:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Scent of a Witness

I received a letter in the mail today. That in and of itself is odd, since I've gone to great lengths over the years to exist as much as possible in the electronic world. The envelope was hand-written, and the return address was a complete unknown. The contents of the envelope made me laugh, though I'm sure that wasn't the intent of the sender. The envelope contained a typed letter, and some literature from the Jehova's Witnesses. That just goes to show you how hot it gets in Arizona... they don't even peddle religion door-to-door. I guess a few books of stamps is a heck of a lot cheaper than having to deal with heatstroke.

On a completely unrelated note, I have a rant. I haven't ranted in a while, so I may be rusty. Bear with me...

My better half and I were out shopping the other day when we walked past a mom and her two kids. They went their way, we went ours. Normally, that's the limit of human interaction I have these days. And I like it that way. Unfortunately, the mother's perfume was trailing ever so slightly behind and decided that the best way to keep up with her was by going into my nostrils, transmogrify into a white-hot spear, go through my eye and out the back of my head in an explosion of pain and chemical flora-mockery. I hate perfumes. Not just "parfum", but scents that people slather on in the false belief that it makes them smell "better". There's this great stuff that can easily and cheaply take the place of all the perfumes, aftershaves, colognes, and powders out there. It's called friggin' water. Some people call it water, but you'd call it "friggin' water" too if you couldn't open your eye because some petrochemical skunk queen just wandered by. I mean, why even bother to bathe at all if you're just going to dowse yourself in crap? Just layer on the crap and save some time in your day. Plus, you'll be more susceptible to disease and die quicker. You'll still stink, but in a more natural way. If you're unsure as to whether or not you're using too much fake scent, here's a helpful hint: if you've never been bitten by a mosquito or other insect because they die upon entering your personal airspace, you're wearing too much. If you hear a lot of coughing, retching, or cries of "what the hell is that smell?" downwind of you, you're wearing too much. If people seem moved to tears by everything you say or do, or tend to turn blue because they're not breathing, you're wearing too much.

Feel free to come up with your own, but I think you get the idea.

Friday, November 17, 2006

High Speed Wild Kingdom

Where's Marlin Perkins when you need him? Oh yeah... still dead. We had an interesting bout with nature yesterday. (And no, this one had nothing to do with rattlesnakes.) We've had a hummingbird as a regular visitor since we set up a hummingbird feeder. My better half named him "Boris" because, well, just because. Yesterday, however, another male came to the feeder. Boris was not pleased. Turns out that hummingbirds are very territorial. We got to see that little tidbit of nature play out as the two of them not only cursed at one another in their tiny, squeaky hummingbird voices, but they also engaged in some high-speed aerial acrobatics as they fought. I mean fought. Boris knocked the newcomer into the wall a couple times, and zipped past him to knock him away from the feeder. It all came to a blockbuster movie climax when we heard a strange buzzing sound. One had the other pinned on his back, tiny talons locked in mortal combat. The buzzing was from their wings hitting the concrete patio at a bajillion beats per minute. Deb opened the door to startle them to get them to stop, while I started humming the fight song from "West Side Story". (Incidentally, that's a good song to start humming to get you out of a jam. Whether you're a dueling 3 gram bird or not.)

I only heard one hummingbird out there today, but never got a good look at him. We don't know if Boris prevailed, or if another has usurped his place at the feeder. If that's the case, feel free to suggest a new name. As long as it's not "Boris Jr."

Sunday, November 12, 2006


This makes for one nifty desktop, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In-Flight Drooling

We're back in scenic Tucson after a lovely visit to New York. The wedding went off with a hitch (get it?), it only snowed one day at my parents' house, and we got to remember what it was like to wear winter coats. It was great seeing all the work friends, and I have to apologize to them for laughing so much. We were regaled with work stories, and nothing has changed. If anything, it's gotten worse. I may be a bastard for laughing, but I'm a bastard who is thinner and hasn't had a headache in months.

Since our flight left at 6 AM, that meant we had to leave my parents' house at 3:30 in order to get to the airport on time. In other words: we did not sleep. No point in it. Once we were on our first flight, though, we were both unconscious. Unfortunately, it was only for a few minutes at a time. For some reason we were seated in exit rows for three out of four legs of our entire trip. Most people would be happy with this, as they'd appreciate the extra leg room. My wife and I are Shetland people, though, so we have leg room in regular airplane seats. (We could probably fit in the overhead compartment, but haven't tried that yet.) So, we were stretched out, would doze off, wake up with mouth agape and horrified that we were snoring and/or drooling, eat some peanuts, and doze off again. We did that for both parts of our return trip, so the whole day is rather blurry and peanut-scented.

We pretty much passed out after we got back home. Not that we were devastated by the trip. Sleeping at the hotel was awful, but sleeping at my parents' house was great. Two insomniacs who need a TV on in order to sleep in a place where the only sound you can hear at night is your own breathing? On paper, that's a recipe for disaster. In reality, we slept like proverbial logs. (Stupid lazy logs.) My parents should rent out my old room to people with sleeping disorders. (Other than us, that is.)

So, 30 degrees warmer, here we are. Back in the mountainous desert. Or deserted mountains. Or something having to do with cacti and heat.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Jet Lag

We're in New York for a wedding. Actually, we've been in the state for a few days, but the first few have been in the wilderlands of my birth. Internet access is rather slow. I can sum it up thusly: dial-up, "good connection" = 21.6k. I know I sound all haughty, but I'm addicted to my cable modem. I don't think I could handle dial-up again. Not for any great length of time, anyway.

We're currently in a hotel on Long Island, on what I believe to be a DSL connection. I plug it in, it works, it's fast, I'm happy. It's interesting to be in New York again, and especially on LI. The place really has an effect on me, due in a large part to the drivers. Bunch of arrogant, selfish bastards. (And this is coming from me!) I used to be patient, utilize a space cushion, all that stuff. It all went away the day I became a Long Island driver. I was just out of college, recently moved to and employed on LI. I lasted a week at my first job, all because of the drive. I had the audacity to use my turn signal to try and get off of the Long Island Expressway one day. I couldn't get over, because nobody would let me in. Not an inch. Not enough room to let my friggin' tiny little Horizon in. So I did something amazingly stupid, thanks to my amazing temper. I turned anyway, cursing and yelling the whole time. I made it, and I'm sure there was at least one horn to trumpet my success. Not to mention other curses. My heart was pounding, and I was furious. My driving patience left that day. It made driving on Long Island much easier, but it's made driving in Arizona a *whole* different experience.

Now I'm the crazy one.