May 05

Relics of a Geek

Earlier today I stumbled across a Facebook conversation regarding those wedding dress shopping shows on TLC and what not. Like my friend, I fail to see the allure of something like Say Yes to the Dress. Beachy, however, is steadily moving away from Disney Channel and towards TLC. That show is one of her favorites.

“I’m pretty sure second-graders are in TLC’s target demographic now,” I commented to uproarious approval.

Then the conversation turned to what sort of things we watched or played with at that age. Some like to play “marriage.” Others liked to play “doctor.” I suppose I had more in common with the latter.

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Although I’ve never been terribly fond of roleplaying.
Image source: crackedmoon

They were my sister’s Barbies. Weirdos.

Anyway, Beachy’s sometimes odd behavior has plenty of precedent. In 1981 my class made Easter Bunny figures out of eggshells. Naturally most of my colleagues went with springy, pastel and/or religious themes. Finding that shit boring as hell, I dressed mine as figures from the then-recent assassination attempt on President Reagan.

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“Chasing Jodie Foster’s tail, up and down the bunny trail ….”

Then as now, not all of my interests revolved around the prurient and/or borderline psychotic. Not even close. My most cherished childhood possession? That’s a no-brainer. It’s my copy of the 1976 World Book Encyclopedia, which I still possess. Every time I sit down to write SB they’re on a shelf less than five feet away, acting as something of a talisman of a simpler time. Or one when Jerry Ford was still president, anyway.

Although I don’t refer to them anymore in this era of Wikipedia, they still rest in a place of honor here in the Command Center, all 22 splendorous volumes. I also have the complete 1945 Book of Knowledge, an encyclopedia set originally owned by my grandmother.

So while other kids were reading stuff like Charlotte’s Web and various Judy Blume titles, this was what I was reading. A lot.

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A LOT.

I wasn’t entirely a mutant, though. As a matter of fact, I have an original Optimus Prime from around 1985 in the staff car trunk right now. It’s not in Antiques Roadshow quality to say the least, but I still can’t bear to part with it.

I also can’t figure out where else to put it. It’s been in my trunk for over four years now.

Apr 14

Time to Cut Back?

I’m considering making SB a weekday-only venture, or at least allowing myself to take Sundays off. There was no inspiration in the 2T this morning. There was no inspiration on the long, dull road back to the Command Center, either. That worked before. Not today. Not even old Ministry or relatively new VNV Nation could summon the Muse.

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This is actually one of the more interesting scenes on that drive.

Well, it did give me a few ideas for tracks on the upcoming Taxil and the White Noise EP. I recently came across a cache of public domain newsreels from the early 70s. I could totally sample some of those. Maybe I could play a couple notes on the bass and mix it all together. Hell, I might actually produce something halfway interesting.

Like yesterday thoughts also turned to the weather, especially after I hit the Boise city limits. I beheld a sure sign of spring despite the recent cool weather. There’s running water in the Ridenbaugh Canal, which flows just a little north of the Command Center on its way to Lake Lowell in the dreaded 2C. For the canal-illiterate, they keep them dry around here during the winter months.

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“Dem taters ain’t gonna water themselves, ya know.”

So, um, I’m home. The Pyramid Brothers are well. I’m OK. My audio software isn’t, as it decided to take a 10-minute newsreel track and compress it down to one second. That’s not gonna work. Let’s see if it can bring it back. Perhaps, but it apparently needs all my CPU power, which means I need to shut down Firefox. That means this post is over. See y’all tomorrow.

Apr 13

Treatise on a Boring Saturday

The worst enemies of a blog like this are boredom and mediocrity. Unfortunately, today is rife with both. A day to drink water, get a headache and contemplate the depressing silence enveloping you. It’s bland, blas√©. Dare I say stagnant?

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Yes, comrades. I dare.

Although it’s sunny out, it’s one of those windy days you’d just as soon not be a part of. You know it’s cold. You don’t have to go outside or look at the weather. Crispness is seen in the air by those in the know. That in turn keeps you inside … where absolutely shit bloody nothing is happening.

It’s that time of year in the 2T. Especially during March and April, southern Idaho has a hard time remembering what the hell season it is. One day it’s an idyllic spring wonderland. The next, your internal barometer wonders if the Idaho State Bengals lost their football game yet, or if the ass-whipping this week has an evening kickoff. Many other places experience this phenomenon, but it’s here where I grew up and therefore here I write about.

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It used to be worse.

Back in the 80s a day like this was made to watch golf, mainly because nothing else was on. Also because to this day that’s pretty much all Dad watches on the weekends. Yes, even now I can hear the announcer’s forebodingly soothing intonations as Craig Stadler‘s ball finds the water hazard on 16. “Deep into a watery grave.” So much for his chances at that year’s Bob Hope Desert Classic.

After the United Airlines golf sign-off the day invariably degenerated further into the likes of a bad TV movie or worse, The Love Boat followed by Fantasy Island. There are very few specific memories from these ordeals. It’s all a blur of Charo, polyester and toothpaste commercials.

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“Abandon all hope, ye who sail with Gopher.”

Later on I’d try to break the monotony with bike trips to the neighborhood Circle K and/or 7-11. But Big Gulps only go so far in terms of entertainment value. Barring something unexpectedly cool such as a hailstorm, the day would lethargically and mercifully.

Sunday might be a better day, but after Saturdays like this the odds were never good.

Apr 08

Resetting the Circadian Rhythm

For years my sleep schedule has been off. Every few months or so, it gets so FUBAR I find it difficult to function during daylight hours in any capacity. I’ve found the best remedy for this is to stay up all night and as much as possible the next day, completing tasks as I go. When I was in college I occasionally extended these “reset” sessions to 60 hours, but I can’t do that anymore.

Well, the time has come to make it happen. Again. My agenda before any thought of sleep is as follows:

– Take care of the daily SB post. If you’re reading this, check.
– Stay up until at least 11 am.
– Call the paramedics and answer their questions about my head injury.
– Pick up a prescription and get some stuff at the supermarket.

That’s it. It may not sound like much, and frankly it isn’t. But when you’re bipolar and on the down side like I am right now, it’s a busy day. I don’t want to let any of this go until Tuesday, y’all. If I let myself sleep until 5 pm again, it probably will.

With that in mind, here’s the timeline of the previous night … and the day. Yup, this entry is going to be even more stream of consciousness than usual.

12:52 am

Caffeine plays a major role in these resets. I have some Cherry Coke, but soda doesn’t really do the job. Nope, this calls for a hot caffeinated drink, and lots of it. My caffeine of choice for a situation like this is Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend coffee.

Unfortunately, I’m out of Peet’s. The only coffee I have in the Command Center at the moment is a contemptuously cheap, obnoxiously bitter store brand “100% Colombian” blend I unwisely bought a couple years ago. Juan Valdez’s goat wouldn’t touch this stuff.

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And it’s seriously expired too. Score.

Well, I guess I’d better try tea. I know I have some of that around here somewhere ….

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Dammit.

Next attempt, an unopened box of Fred Meyer Tea Bags. The date stamp was very faint, too faint to photograph. I think it said … “BESTBY AUG2606.” Holy shit, I haven’t even been on my own that long. That’s bad even by my standards.

One more shot: the Red Rose Earl Grey.

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Qapla’!

A truly embarrassing trip to Jackson’s avoided, I press on.

2:27 am

On my third cup of Earl Grey, I began playing Civilization IV: Warlords, which is a great way to kill a few hours. With my Pandora app up, it’s time for some empire-building. Yes, I’m well aware there’s a Civilization V and has been for several years. I’m not much of a gamer.

7:24 am

Wow, that worked better than I expected. These Civ IV games eat up time, but rarely last five freakin’ hours. I won. Then again, I always play on the easiest setting because I’m a wanker like that. Ha ha.

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Chairman Mao thought he could take me on. He was very sorely mistaken.

Time to change the Pandora station. The likes of Yes, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd – as much as I dig them – are getting old. Some Erasure perhaps? Nah, too poppy for my current state of mind. Gabriel & Dresden it is.

7:39 am

Contact lenses aren’t meant to be worn for this long, at least as not as far as I’m concerned. Switched to glasses. Also changed underwear. I’m not incontinent or anything; it’s just those damn chafing waistbands ….

8:29 am

The paramedic office has been contacted. I’m glad that’s out of the way.

10:02 am

I’d say I’m about seven cups of tea into things at this point. I started coming down with a headache and a sore throat, so I took some ibuprofen to knock that out. It seems to be working. In the meantime I verified this site with Google, Bing, Pinterest and Alexa. I really don’t get the appeal of Pinterest, but whatever.

10:36 am

Went downstairs to check the mail and take out the trash. I figured this would be a good time to see if there was anything else expired in the kitchen. Turns out there was. To wit, cappuccino mix, microwave popcorn, rice, Pasta Roni, a loaf of bread, horseradish, three cans of soup, two bottles of pancake syrup, mini ravioli, peas, olive oil, garlic pepper, Italian herb seasoning … and a can of spicy Indian poppadum chips. Yeah, buddy.

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Apparently salt doesn’t go bad. That’s probably just as well.

11:40 am

Just read Margaret Thatcher died. In recognition I’ve been watching old Spitting Image clips.

Why can’t they import this concept from the UK instead of crap like American Idol?

1:07 pm

The day’s stated agenda is complete. As an added bonus I changed the cat box and did the dishes. My supply of Peet’s is replenished, so I can dispense with the Jean-Luc Picard schtick.

Although it’s rather crisp outside, for the first time this year I saw noticeable leaves on the neighborhood deciduous trees. The HOA also had the sprinklers going. That was a nice way to end things for the day. I’m going to try to stay up a few more hours, but I daresay mission accomplished.

I just hope I don’t have to do this again for awhile.

Apr 06

My Festering Feline Fracas

There are advantages to having cats. Once they realize you’re not a threat, they’re very loyal. They pretty much take care of themselves, so leaving them alone for a couple days is no big deal. I haven’t had a dog since I was 10, so at this point I’m just used to having them around.

They’re also royal pains in the ass. Especially my cats. Especially lately.

A couple weeks ago I mentioned my allergies and the havoc they cause to my upper respiratory system. A primary cause of this is the Pyramid Brothers, who both revel in such things as waking me up by sticking their faces into mine, as well as giving the sheets a nice, thick coat of cat hair.

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“You’re welcome.”

Because of the way the Command Center is laid out, I have to keep my bedroom door open to allow them access to the cat box. There’s simply no other place to put it. However, I have a second bedroom which is strictly off-limits to the Pyramid Brothers. It’s the room Beachy uses when she’s here. When she’s not here it’s simply left vacant. Until recently, that is.

A few days ago I got the bright idea to sleep in there to alleviate my allergy problems. I can close the door, and kitty cats can’t get inside to irritate me in every sense of the word. Brilliant! Why the hell didn’t I think of this earlier?

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Nothing but clear skies, chirping birds and shit like that now!
Image credit: David Benbennick

Well, you’d think that, but no. Both cats, Djoser in particular, have become particularly clingy and codependent since I made the switch. I can barely go 10 minutes on the computer anymore without him nosing my hand in a blatant attempt to be petted. He’s done so once already during this writing.

Periodically during the night, they try to break into the room. When I wake up in the morning, they’re both sitting in the doorway. When I go to the bathroom, I always have company. During the few moments they’re not in my face, they’re chasing each other, tearing ass all through the Command Center. Yeah, they did that before, but not to this extent or ferocity. They run as fast as they can, claws fully extended, back and forth, over and over again. I’m surprised they haven’t torn a hole in the carpet yet.

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They didn’t exactly install high-end Berber in here.

Feline behavior modification techniques have proven futile. Neither one likes cat treats. Neither one responds to being sprayed with water (hell, Sneferu actually LIKES it). At this point I merely hope they mellow out as they age, as the late, great Loki did.

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He didn’t give a rat’s ass about much of anything.

Problem children they are, they’re still my buddies. I guess I’ll keep them around for awhile.

Mar 25

What’s in the Air Tonight?

Ah, spring must be in the air. The last clumps of snow in the parking lots have melted. The HOA is planting pretty flowers. Furry creatures are scavenging anew. Blooms are threatening all over. It’s like one of those old Disney cartoons out there, with dancing trees and shit.

And my nose is running like liquid waste from a paper mill, probably replete with all the environmental hazards that entails.

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“You won’t find Bambi here, son.”
Image credit: Pollinator

Yes indeed. Allergies have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. This first occurred to me when I was four years old. A stray kitten wandered into the backyard, and like any four-year-old I was completely enamored with it. That is, until my sinuses went haywire, my face became became blotched red and swollen, and my eyes damn near sealed shut. No kitten was adopted that day.

Ultimately I was put on a prescription allergy medication and remained on it until I was a teenager. Beachy seems to have inherited this trait from me. Accordingly she can’t play with the Pyramid Brothers unless there’s a bottle of Children’s Benadryl nearby.

Fortunately my allergies have subsided somewhat since childhood, which in turn has allowed me to be the cat person I am today. Nevertheless, the constant presence of cat dander here at the Command Center is not exactly helpful for my sinuses.

Upon waking up with a head full of self-produced, off-white brine at three in the morning, I knew today wasn’t going to be particularly pleasant. This was exacerbated by Sneferu’s nightly chore of annoying the ever-loving crap out of me, which he performs dutifully.

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“Purr! You know you love me! Now let me claw your back!”

Ironically, Sneferu also has allergy problems. While they don’t seem to slow him down, they do often make him sound like Bill the Cat. So I’ve come full circle. I once sniffled and sneezed because of a kitten. Last night I sniffled and sneezed WITH a kitten. Who saw that one coming?

Naturally, I used up the last of the allergy meds when Beachy was here last weekend. Time to hit Albertson’s for a refill. I’ve dealt with my allergies long enough to know they’re not going to succumb to some candy-ass homeopathic remedy. I need to break out the heavy duty stuff. The stuff that takes down an elephant at 100 meters. I’m not screwing around here, dammit!

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Eh, close enough.

The allergy medicine seems to making a little bit of an impact. I was able to write today’s entry without having to squeegee snot off the screen on a regular basis. That’s a good thing by any author’s standard, right? Oh, I do love my craft.