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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Sunday, January 30, 2005

And Now, for Something Completely Different

Q: How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: None. There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day. Any reports of its lack of incandescence are a delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. Why do you hate freedom?

That's my (Plagarized) story, and I'm sticking to it. Stolen from:

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Nearly Bored of the Rings

The Return of The King computer game is now available at used game stores. The $10 price sucked me in. The game is very cool looking, with lots of clips from the movie. The game itself is pretty much about sword fighting with orcs, running around, and killing more orcs. I got through the first level pretty easily, but can’t seem to pass another level. Time to face the facts; I suck at gaming. I bet this would be a great game if I could play through a level in a couple or three attempts. Maybe I’ll try it a couple of more times before I give up completely. I know the problem isn’t the PC keyboard controls, because I have tried to play games with controllers, and I stink at that too. A really frustrating aspect of the game is that you can save your progress only at the end of a pretty long segment (the entire game consists of about 15 segments). How many fictional characters will die needlessly before I figure out it is hopeless?

I watched the World Juggling Federation competitions on ESPN yesterday. These guys (they were all guys) want to do a sports competition with juggling. What a bunch of highly talented idiots! They had a scoring system as complex as gymnastics, Pen Gillette (from Penn & Teller) as the sports announcer, and no sponsor except Jason Garfield’s “how to be a great juggler” videos. Jason is the producer of the event. Jason wasn’t selling his previous video, “Juggling Kung Fu Master”, which I thought was at least entertaining. Juggling as competition in really dull, even though it is amazing to see guys doing tricks with seven balls or eight rings. However, with their emphasis on athletic prowess over entertainment and showmanship, it looks like a guy throwing and catching a bunch of stuff really fast. Ho hum. Note, please do not expect me to juggle more than four of anything.

Went to MIL’s house to watch Monk last night. I really love that show. 4 stars. However sometimes it is disturbing that Monk’s obsessive compulsive behavior reminds me of so many people I know.

A sunny day in Sacramento! Sunny days in winter here are perfect, except the ground feels like a sponge. I sink in if I step on the lawn. We had lunch at Plaza Hoffbrau (the Hoffbrau formerly known as Sam’s). I love that place, and their famous roast beef “samwiches”. It feels like someone took a small piece of Milwaukee and dropped it in Sacramento. That place is such an institution that people in Sacramento call cafeteria style service Hoffbrau service. The walls are covered with old photos. I found a photo of a men’s brunch group in the early 1960s including the then mayor, several county supervisors, and the old patriarch of one of the MIL’s long-time neighbors. Although it looks like LA now, Sacramento was a small town in recent memory.

I am still enjoying work. Every day, I am more and more amazed, entertained and baffled by the weirdness of teenagers. Had one girl last week who sat down and commenced to honest to goodness crying out loud bawling. We couldn’t do anything to help her, so we sent her home to return for a make-up session. The latest fashion appears to be wearing black hooded sweatshirts indoors, with the hood pulled up over the head. Several of the kids don’t say anything, and several never shut up. Earrings are about equally divided among boys and girls. Last week, I commented that someone’s earrings looked like corkscrews. She came in this week without earrings. I was surprised that she would care what I think, however maybe she just forgot to put on earrings. I guess since I am not a parent, they might occasionally listen.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Get A Life, Like Mark Trail

Mark Trail is in big trouble today.

The seemingly unharmful Birdy has knocked Mark out with a bottle, trying to protect her drug dealing husband. He smuggles cocaine inside his taxidermy fish trophies They plan to dump the body in the bay! I can’t figure out why Mark didn’t just call the cops. He is such a Yenta, he has to mind everybody’s business.

If I had a life, I don’t think I would care about this.

Monday, January 24, 2005

At It Again

First they came for Tinky Winky, but I was not Tinky Winky, so I said nothing. Then they came for Sponge Bob. . .

Brief Encounter - He Followed me Home

While driving down my street, I saw a suspicious character nosing around the neighbors’ houses. Being a good neighbor, I stopped to check him out. As soon as I opened the car door, he walked over and licked my hand, and wagged his tail. This was the start of whirlwind romance.

He was gorgeous Samoyed, about 7 years old. I called county animal control with his license number, but they claimed the number was not valid. We walked around the neighborhood for a couple of hours trying to find his home, with no luck. He is a very sweet dog, the kind of dog a kid would dream of having. He followed me everywhere. I named him Ellisar and we fell in love. He knew all the commands, although he is a little weak on “heal”.

We brought him inside, using interior doors to keep Elisar and Evita, our resident cat, apart. Evita is never very pleased to see another four legged member of the household. We locked Ellisar in the kitchen and den, where he did alright until his loneliness made him howl at 2:00 AM. Kathleen allowed him into the living room and slept on the couch so Ellisar wouldn't be lonely. Ellisar is one of those dogs with “separation issues”; he can’t stand being separated from people. He tried to squeeze on the couch with Kathleen, but after much hand licking by him and persuasion by Kathleen, he settled for the loveseat. He was too pampered to consider sleeping on the floor.

Kathleen called the county again in the morning, this time they were able to locate the dog’s owners from the license number. She called the owners and we walked Ellisar back home. They call him Billy, how dull. I am so relieved we were able to find his owners, since I had bonded with Ellisar to the degree that I would not ever want to surrender him to the SPCA or the county. Evita was relieved to see Ellisar leave. She is now firm in her role as four-legged queen of the house. The next night, I dreamed about finding dogs and dreamed about what life would have been like with Ellisar as our best friend.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Sunday in the Sierras

We had a new and different experience yesterday. Our Friends needed to go up to their cabin in Soda Springs near Donner Pass to prepare for some winter guests. We came along to help and share the experience. There’s a lot of snow up there. More than I have ever seen before, about 8 feet where it isn’t drifted. We carved the snowdrift in front of the house to make a staircase to the second story balcony. This is the first time I have spent much time outside in the mountains in the winter.

Just getting ready for the trip brought back memories of life in Wisconsin, gathering heavy wool socks, stretching a waffle-weave underwear shirt over my head, lacing on clunky boots, with a parka over everything. I came quickly to realize that I do not miss cold weather.

The drive up Interstate 80 was fine, and the snow cover started at elevation of about 4,000 feet. By the time we got to Soda Springs, the road felt like a canyon with high walls of snow on either side. Driving the last couple of miles on more narrow local roads was even more shockingly canyon-like. The roads were filled with dopey weekend skiing types, since this is the neighborhood of Heavenly, Sugar Bowl, Squaw (now renamed Olympic) Valley, basically the Sierra ski scene that doesn’t border Lake Tahoe, which lies about 20 treacherous iles away.

The actual shoveling work was pretty easy, since the snow made a nice and even slope to the balcony all on its own, we just needed to do a little leveling.

Looking around at all this snow covered terrain made me think: I really like the mountains better after the snow melts, mountains are threatening enough in the summer. Winter in the sierras is just too threatening, with the exception of the clear-cut ski areas, which are a part of the outdoors in the same manner as is Disney World. Any uncrowded trail leads to dangers of avalanche and other snow-related calamities. The ski areas are a lot like outdoor shopping malls, except the shoppers are more polite than skiers. Downhill skiers come to consume the outdoors, rather than to enjoy one of the most beautiful settings on this planet. They also make big traffic jams on Sunday nights. Thank heavens they are somewhere else all summer.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Let's Get to the Point Here

Got a cold today, feeling pretty sick, not much to do. Today's entry is some of everything.

I had more students yesterday, and teaching was fun. I can verify that I found absolutely no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in the classroom or on the students’ persons. In addition, I refrained from torturing students, although certain acceptable methods of persuasion were necessary to extract needed information (e.g., determine the length of the third side of this triangle). Given the vital and timely nature of this needed information, I did use forceful persuasion. It's OK, since no student suffered major organ failure (yet).

The kids all behaved and I got to hear all sorts of gossip from several local high schools. Man oh man, discipline at parochial schools around here sounds pretty strict. It’s not too hard to get expelled from Christian Brothers. One of my students won a jacket as a prize in an internet PC gaming tournament. What in the world can I teach a kid like that?

Local political wire – I am disappointed in our own recently departed Congressman Robert Matsui. His widow is now running for his seat in Congress. He ran in last November’s election with full knowledge of his terminal condition. Therefore, it seems he ran solely so his wife could inherit his seat. Since when are congressional seats considered community property? I hate to say it, but I hope the local Republicans come up with a surprise candidate who wins this seat. That is not so far out in left field, since Ms Matsui has some stain on her hands from questionable fund raising activities while she worked for the Clinton administration. Remember the Chinese monks scandle, that’s our girl!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

There's a Place in France. . .

There’s a place in France
Where the ladies wear no pants.

This little tune, also associated with cartoon snake charmers keeps coming back up since I heard a radio blurb on the origin of the tune.

These words keep on coming to my mind:

There’s a place on Mars
Where iguanas play guitars

This image haunts me, twang twang.

Finally, I am looking forward to a few days without rain, just morning fog followed by sunshine. I am enrolling with another tutoring program. This program features independent contracting, and hopefully higher pay, although I will have to travel to the students. My next scheduled tutoring is tomorrow, with three 90 minute sessions back to back from 3:30 to 8:00 PM. I am a proletariat for one day a week.

I am working my way through a sinus cold, yuk. No more to say about that except I like Nyquill.

. . . . Newsline Interzone. . . .

Anyone out there remember Naked Lunch. Is it just me or does occupied Iraq look a lot like Bill Burrough’s Interzone? Sex abuse and manufactured criminal threats to society, what more could you want? A word for the wise, stay away from the limestone caves.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Shame on Congress

Guts, it’s all about guts. Yesterday in Washington we witnessed two displays of gutlessness, with the exception of Representative Tubbs, our Barbara Boxer, and too few others.

The challenge to the joint confirmation of the electors’ ballots. Everybody knows a challenge will not change the outcome of the Federal election. Why not stand up to assure that We, The People are not subject to the threat of voter intimidation? If there are questions about intimidation, lets get them in the sunlight, and figure out how to allow We the People to exercise our right to vote. Shame on Congress.

Senate hearings Re: Albert Gonzales. Let’s challenge his memoranda that prevaricate and apply sick, tangled logic to make a case that torture is OK. Do you think his testimony might be more candid if we tied him to a board and dunked him? Alright, that’s going too far, but geezopete, the senate needs the truth. How about at least willingness to question in a provocative measure. Words I would like to hear:”Mr Gonzales, the memorandum I hold in my hand, signed by you on. . . states . . Please further explain these findings to the American people.” C’mon Democrats, how hard is that? What are you afraid of. Whatever intimidates you, your cowardice scares the living daylights out of me.

Remember George Wallace said there’s not “ a dimes worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats”? Please do something to prove him wrong.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

It's All About Me, Me, Me

It’s time to catch up with news about me from the New Year. After all, it’s all about me.

Readers, if you are looking for my thoughtful and insightful political commentary, look at Jesus and Jobs in this blog. For those who understand that what happens to me is what’s most important in this world, read on.

My dad got through his heart surgery over the holidays. He is home and resting. This was really scary. In my next incarnation, I want to live free from sickness, like the Elves in Lord of the Rings. However, I would probably be the butt-ugliest elf of them all. Maybe I could be called Uglibastard. I’ve been doing OK myself, but I don’t know if I will ever reach 100%. I still always have a stomachache. Enough complaining.

I have my first math tutoring classes on Thursday. I have classes from 3:30 to 8:00 PM. Three classes of 90 minutes each. I spent some time reviewing High School textbooks. Thrilling. I think I have it all solid except I didn’t bother memorizing all the trig identities and the general formulas for conic sections. Geometry was the most fun review, the other stuff was a drag. Trigonometry is no longer a separate course, and what was called College Algebra or Algebra 2 is now called pre-calculus. I wouldn’t have chosen that name.

Kathleen is back at work at the City. She claims she killed the computer today. Their system dies almost weekly, it is like a lottery to find out who’s application I guess Kathleen won this week. Their next holiday is ML King’s birthday in January. They get President’s day in February, followed by Cesar Chavez’s birthday in March. I suggested they should also get Eamon DeValera’s (Ireland’s first president) birthday on October 14. We’ll see, but for now, I will boycott all States that do not this recognize this holiday.

It’s still raining here in Sacramento, time to build an ark.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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