Archive for the ‘Shiny Randomness’ Category

Just last Friday night, while sitting in a bar with friends, I made the astute connection between hurricanes in the gulf and the cooling of temperatures here. Think it was something along the sophisticated lines of “Fuck them. They can tread water as long as it brings me cooler weather.” I also seemed to be shouting a lot about going to a tittie bar but that’s probably not relevant to this story. Anyway, ask and you shall receive. Evidently karma can be a bit of a bitch at times, and a hurricane named Ike left us a little present.


At the bright and bushy-tailed time of 5:45 am, I heard a slight thump on the roof to go along with the howling wind I’d been hearing for a couple of hours. Thinking I was going to have to climb up on the roof during Hurricane Bubba to remove a large limb from the top of my house, I went outside to discover what you see in the picture above.  I immediately jumped into save-the-house mode which consisted of me walking around with my hands to my head saying “Fuck, fuck, fuck” over and over.

I then remember that we had a chainsaw in our storage building and I raced off to save the day.  A lightening quick 15 minutes later, I finally got the saw started and attacked the huge chunk of tree ensconced in the house.  In a matter of mere minutes, I had a fire log sized piece cutoff and the chainsaw perfectly stuck.  Apparently catching nearly all the episodes of Axe Men on the History Channel doesn’t make you proficient with a roaring chainsaw.   I was then joined by a neighbor from down the street who was wondering who the hell was running a chain saw at less than 6 am.  In the dark.  During a windstorm.   I was glad he was there so we could both stand witness to my stupidity.

Not knowing what else to do, I called 911 and asked for the fire department.  They made a quick response, looked at the house, asked if we had gas or were all electric, scratched their 3 collective heads, and split.  Next came a phone call to a tree trimmer who arrived, scratched his head, and left.  I finally called a friend of my Father’s who is a contractor to please come and take a look.  He showed up about 30 minutes later, looked, scratched his head, and said he’d take care of it.  Which he did after a couple of hours.  Somehow it was deemed highly necessary that I should man some chainsaws again.  I was more triumphant this time but lumberjakin’ ain’t easy.

Despite the attempted snark above, it was honestly a scary event.  My Father was out of town for the weekend, which in the beginning was a hassle.  You see, as The Ex recently pointed out, I’m fairly worthless.  That’s pretty much a paraphrase but that was her sentiment, which probably isn’t too far off.  I had no idea what to do, who to call, etc.  I just wanted to try to save the house.  It was an honorable thought but in retrospect, I could have done more damage than good.  But the scariest part of all this is that the parts of the tree crashed the ceiling of my Father’s bedroom.

Think that picture kind of speaks for itself but if it doesn’t, here is another view.

Just in case you can’t tell, that’s his bed in those two pictures.  The big pile of brown stuff in the second picture is insulation, which was piled high enough to completely bury him.  I’m not saying he would have been killed had he been sleeping there, but he would have been seriously injured.   It was a definite miracle that we was gone and that no one got hurt during the storm or during the clean up.

The contractor, with the help of myself and the neighbor, did a good job of getting the tree parts off the house.  It took a couple of chainsaws, a tractor, and a trip to the visibly rickety-assed roof for me to get it done but we did it.  This is the aftermath of the aftermath:

Both the insurance agent and an adjuster have both been by to asses the damage and I think everything will be ok.  The adjuster did not seem bent on low balling us and the agent seemed to genuinely concerned for our well being despite our just recently becoming customers of his.   Dad gets to sleep on the couch for unknown amount of time but the rest of the house is good and inhabitable.  I’m sure that one or both of us will take the adjuster’s offer of a hotel room once reconstruction starts, which should be within the week.

I would like to thank my neighbor (name withheld because I’m sure he wouldn’t want to be affiliated with some of the fine, upstanding discourse that takes place on this blog) for coming to help someone he had never met.  Also longtime friend Dolph who not only left preparations for his baby girl’s first birthday party to come help, he even offered to call in to work Monday to come and help shore up the house (to which I told him hell no).  And finally, to Gann for checking on me and offering me a couch to crash on if needed.  I may just take him up on that couch, and some of you others, you all just don’t know it yet.

And just so your information, it is currently an oh-so-cool 56 degrees with clear skies.  The stars look kind of pretty through the ceiling hole.


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9/11/07 . . . .

Below is a letter-to-the-editor that I wrote on the day following the events of September 11, 2001:

Just as it must have been after Pearl Harbor, our nation finds itself, perhaps irrevocably, changed.  I awoke Wednesday to air that, despite the 1186 miles between here and New York, no longer smells, feels, or even tastes the same.  And just as in 1941, our nation again stands at a crossroad, one that surely leads to war.  I have read Kurt Vonnegut, seen such movies as Platoon and Saving Private Ryan, and I have seen all episodes of M.A.S.H., all of which conclude war is horrific, devastating, and ruinous.  Simply, to quote General Sherman, “War is Hell.”  And it should be declared today.

Our Nation, the ideas and principles at its very core, as well as its people both as a whole nation and as individuals, has been attacked.  It’s an attack that should be returned ten-fold.  It has been reported that authorities are 99% sure that the man behind these tragic events is Osama bin Laden.  Excluding Tuesday’s attacks, Bin Laden is a man personally responsible for the death of and injury to at least 7000 people across the world since 1993.  The only punishment to follow these transgressions were a couple of indictments and trials and some missile attacks on various camps and facilities.  All basically amounting to the slapping of a pestering child’s hand.  It is time to stop slapping and start eradicating.

We must seek out and destroy terrorism, starting with Bin Laden, Afghanistan, and any nation that has helped or harbored him in any way.  America needs make a strong and decisive example to prevent this from occurring again.  We may be the only remaining super-power but years of pacifism and facile retaliation have revealed the cracks in our armor.  These times call for full-scale war, not just the impotent tossing of missiles.  If America does not take a stand now, we can expect more acts of terrorism in more ingenious ways and with even higher death tolls.  In the words of Senator John McCain, “God may have mercy on you, but we won’t.”

Six years later, I still stand by that sentiment.  My information may have been hastily gathered and may/may not be totally accurate, but I feel the point I was trying to make is a valid one.  And sadly, a forgotten one.  I hoped that in the wake of 9/11 that this nation would pull itself up by its bootstraps as it did in the months and years following the attack on Pearl Harbor but that wasn’t meant to be.  Our country is too caught up in ugly celebrity moments and the hot-missing-blonde-of-the-week to notice all the coming together we did that September day is gone.  9/11 is now a day for the networks to trot out the tear jerking specials for sweeps, the President to whip up a couple of percentage points for his approval rating, and now class action lawsuits.  I think that says all it needs to about America when even in the face of a tremendous tragedy, we can still be litigious.

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I got the football pool sheet filled out with definite winners, my team in both fantasy football leagues built for a championship, and I’ve got 50 wings ready to be grilled to caribbean jerk perfection.  Let the geekness begin . . . .

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The Weekend . . . .

I had five days off to memorialize my Memorial Day weekend.  What did I do? Basically nothing.  I watched a couple of movies.  Grilled some wings and watched the first big college football game of the year.  Got laid (yay, me).  That’s about it.  Well, there was one other thing.

The highpoint was when I went to visit The Ex Friday night.  I got there around 11 and the kids were still up.  MowHullet had a headache so I didn’t get to hang with him much.  Tried to convince him that me thumping him on the nose would cure his headache.  He was highly doubtful until I asked would I lie to him.  He didn’t figure I would.  They are so cute when they are young enough to still be naive.  I let it slide.

My Toes decided it was time to get my hair did again.  Despite my protests that I didn’t have enough hair for it, her inspiration that night was to make my do look like Elvis’s.  Evidently it took a big brush, 4 ponytail holders, a small clippy, and a barrette to get The King of Rock and Roll’s hair in shape.  Thankfully (Sadly?) there were no pictures this time.  I think I left with less hair than I came with.

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Had a shit night at work. Hand started hurting, it was hot as hell, I actually had to work while at work, and everybody decided to pick today to be an ass. I am too much of a pleasant, dedicated employee so it surely had to be THEIR fault, not mine. Decided to medicate at least some of the bs away. It’s a wonder how much more tolerable work can be when chased with a couple of 7.5 milligram oxycodone (taken a prescribed 4 hours apart, I’m not a junkie).

Stopped in to see the head of Human Resources on my way out this morning to tell him about my hand since it started hurting more during my shift. Normally I would have spoke to the Safety Coordinator for this kind of situation but he is on a leave-of-absence fighting a life threatening disease, whic means he’s got way more important stuff to worry about and that I had to deal with the head idiot. I told the asshole what happened, that I had told my immediate supervisor minutes after it happened, and that I just wanted to give him a “heads up” in case it turns into something worse. I assured him I wasn’t trying to make it a big deal, that I had four days off so it most likely would be fine by the time I got back, and that it was basically my fault. His response was “Well isn’t there a safer way to do that?” Well, obviously, or there would be no need for the conversation we were having. “Well you need to inform your supervisor.” As I just told him, I had already done that. When it happened. Three days ago. “Well, I am the one you need to talk to if you need to see a Doctor.” I know, which is why I am having this mind-numbing discourse instead of devouring a couple of Croissan’wiches and mega-miligrams of ibuprofen so I can put me and this shit day to bed. Just think, he had to attend many college classes and I had to skip many college classes just so we could have this conversation.

I really don’t think it will be a big deal. It’s still a little swollen but everything moves as it’s supposed to. I just wanted to be sure to dot and cross all the appropriate letters. I should have plenty of time to heal since I am taking off a day early to go see Queens of the Stone Age with Gann take care of a sick relative. My gimp-ness even gives me a valid reason to defer any moshing. As if me being too old and too wussy (and it’s just plain stupid) isn’t good enough.

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Who knew . . . .

. . . that if you took a roll of paper weighing more than 2900 pounds with a diameter of roughly 50 inches, spun it at a speed of 1260 feet/minute, then placed your hand in the less than one inch space between it and the apparatus that is making it spin, that shit would hurt?   Guess I should have been a bit more attentive when we covered this in high school science.

I am fortunate that I didn’t break it or worse.  My arm was also pinned under a long metal bar which prevented me from pulling it out.  Fortunately I had the sense to take a step down after only a couple seconds and got hand and arm free.  Which is ironic because if I’d had “sense” a few seconds earlier, I would’ve found way to some way a little safer to accomplish what I was trying to accomplish.

These are after a little more than 24 hours of “healing.”  It’s a kind of hard to tell due to fuzziness but it’s a little swollen and I have an industrial version of carpet burn.

(Note to self:  Please clean fingernails and find a damn tan before posting pictures of self on internet.)

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Houston, I think we have a gin and problem. . . . If my ass was strapped in with millions of pounds of rocket fuel in a vehicle made by the lowest bidder, I think I’d need something to take the edge off, too.  It’s not like they actually drive the fucking thing.  At least not until the shuttle is out of the atmosphere.  Probably sober by the time that ride is over.

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