assorted rants, cougardom, creative writing, gratuitous self pity, misanthropy

Sports, Spectatorship, Wine (without the “h”) and Alternative Activities

I am not a sports fan.  I can appreciate the aesthetics of men’s swimming and men’s figure skating, (even though those sports are generally not popular with straight men) but as far as organized sport in general goes, I would have to side with my Dad.  Sports are only fun if they have the word “motor” in front of them, and I’m not talking about NASCAR.  Three hours or more of a continuous left turn is only fun to watch when they wreck.  I can imagine that it would be more fun to watch the redneck freak show in the stands than to watch the actual race.  I don’t think I could bear to hear that much country music or see that many visions of inbred, badly dressed,  poorly tattooed, dentally challenged, over-fed humanity.   The denizens of Wal Mart take a field trip!  I think I’ll pass.

When I refer to worthwhile motorsports, I am talking about ones to participate in- such as off-roading, rally racing, drag racing, or boating. 

For instance, I would get into off-roading big time if I had an FJ40 like the one pictured above.  Old Landcruisers are awesome.  I always liked the Landcruiser guys when I worked in Toyota dealerships.  Landcruiser guys are generally easy to work with, willing to pay whatever it takes to get all the goodies for their trucks, and technically knowledgable.  The bad thing is, Landcruisers- at least the old FJ40 series-are virtually indestructible, but they’re difficult (and expensive) to acquire and maintain in Central Ohio.  I would have to have plenty of money and time to get into off-roading in an FJ40.

But because I’m a poor old cougar, I have to entertain myself on a budget. 

I don’t care much for football.  I just don’t have the attention span, and they wear way too many clothes.  I think I’ve figured out how guys do it though.  I’ve never seen a guy watch a football game without sucking down lots and lots of brews.  Apparently beer makes it more exciting.  Since I’ve never been a beer drinker, watching football just doesn’t work for me.  I like wine, (without the “h”) but who goes to watch football over a vintage cabernet- or as is more likely in my case- a bottle of Gallo or Sutterhome?  MD 20/20, maybe, but that’s not technically wine.  And I generally only need a small glass of Gallo or Sutterhome to go to sleep quite nicely. 

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cougardom, dogs, misanthropy

Oversight at the BMV, Avoiding Attracting the Attention of Law Enforcement, and “Sexy Time”

 

Just when you thought you’d seen it all, it appears that my Mom, or someone else at the same level of naiveté, got a job at the BMV approving vanity plates.  For some reason the Central Ohio area is notorious for not only the number of but the rather “saucy” variety of vanity plates one sees every day.  I’ve seen some good ones, but this one takes the prize.  I don’t think that the registered owner of this vehicle was talking about Boysenberry Jam. (the quality of this video isn’t the greatest, and the scene I’m talking about begins at 3:59- Granny and her boysenberry jam…right…but it’s funny as hell.)  I can’t see any clean reference that would go with these plates.  They remind me of Borat and the “sexy time” reference.  Now I’m stuck with the Borat in his singlet bathing suit thing image in my head.

Not such a sexy time after all, eh?

I’ve never really been tempted by the whole vanity plate thing.  In my opinion the only thing that having a vanity plate does for you is help to make you cop bait, and I strive not to attract the attention of law enforcement.  I really don’t want my vehicle to be memorable or easily identifiable.  Granted, no one is ever going to mistake a Yaris sedan for a race car, and I’m enjoying the bland anonymity that is one of the perks of middle age.  When I was a young punk I really would have enjoyed having my VW Rabbits painted hot pink, but Dad never let me do that.    I did enjoy- much to Dad’s disdain- affixing every bumper sticker I could find to my distressed old Subaru. 

I don’t think pithy pro-conservative, pro-America tidbits on bumper stickers would raise a cop’s eyebrow any more than an FOP booster sticker would, so I have no qualms about displaying my political commentary for all to see.

One of the nice things about cougardom is that the world at large regards you as harmless.   I can sit back and stare at the young stud muffins as much as I want and fantasize about their hot bods with impunity and no one’s the wiser.  I blend right into the wall.  That reminds me how necessary a pool membership just might be this year.  I enjoyed the cougar pool last summer, but the scenery wasn’t exactly stunning.  Perhaps I will compromise and take a couple of day trips to the lake, or to the indoor waterpark, which I have been meaning to do and haven’t yet.   There is something to be said for going down a waterslide in the middle of winter.

Last night I had to take poor Lilo back to the Vet for her stinking allergies.  I know, she’s part Chow and they are horribly prone to skin allergies, but I’ve tried everything I know to keep her cleared up.  The dogs’ food is corn free.  They are clean and don’t have fleas and crud on them.  It’s winter so there’s no pollen.  The only thing I can think of now that could be bothering her is cigarette smoke.  The other two dogs beat feet when Jerry lights up, but Lilo doesn’t leave the room.  So Lilo is stuck with another month’s worth of Keflex (so she doesn’t get another inner ear infection) and prednisone to clear up her ass crusties and keep her from gnawing her hide to pieces.  The only good thing about all the pills is that Lilo (also known as “Lilo the Inhaler,”  the “Food Ho,” or just plain “Ho,”)  is easy to pill.  She will take anything if it’s sitting on top of a spoonful of cottage cheese, or mashed potatoes, or gravy, or ice cream, whatever, as long as it’s food.  Sheena is the same way about meds- it’s as easy as sticking a pill in or on a bite of anything she likes to eat.  Clara is exactly the opposite.  She will find and spit out the pill regardless of what you try to put it in- even peanut butter.  By the time Clara finished the 30 day course of Keflex she had to have when she was hit by a car and had the seroma where the skin over her armpit was torn open, I was burying pills inside a melty warm cheese sandwich to get her to take them.  I never thought dogs were picky eaters until I got Clara.  Unlike most dogs, she actually inspects and chews her food.  I wonder if all Belgian Malinois are that funky about food.  Ironically, she’s not nearly as fussy about sticking her nose in our friends’ crotches (her nose is right at about crotch level on an average sized person) or up the other dogs’ butts.  But she is a dog after all.

It’s hard to believe that my granddaughter’s arrival is merely days away.  If I had to speculate I would say give it a week or two.  I think she will be a bit early, but who knows?  The baby shower is Sunday.  I have a boatload of stuff for her.  I wish they would come up with a name for her, or I might just have to do it.  I don’t think they will appreciate me calling their little girl “Princess” for very long.

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cougardom, creative writing, gratuitous self pity, historical interest, misanthropy

Putting the “SH” in IT, Central Ohio Winter, (Behold the White Death,) and Nasty ’70’s Cars

Why is it that technical people (and being a techie type I have to include myself in this critique also) can be so dour?  Computer professionals, especially, seem to have especially shitty attitudes.  I can’t blame them based on the capricious nature of IT in general, but a joke?  A smile, maybe?   Perhaps it has to do with being emotionally stunted or having an undue emphasis on the life of the mind versus the life of the heart.  It’s just not a balanced way to live, and sometimes the emotional demons break through at the most inopportune and irrational times.   I trust my mind most of the time- it keeps me on the steadfast and staid (though often boring) path of reliability and predictability.  When I “follow my heart” it almost always leads me to trouble- although the path to trouble often includes some intrigue and adventure.  Though it defies my sense of rationality and order, a little unpredictability and intrigue is essential for mental health.  So from time to time even I have to go off the deep end, even as much as I despise maudlin displays of emotion. 

I think it’s interesting that it’s occasionally necessary to simply take a mental vacation (especially when a physical vacation isn’t feasible) and just do something goofy for the hell of it.  Perhaps this is the logic behind the human need for humor.  All work and no play makes me even more boring than I am already.  Lately I find myself so boring I put myself to sleep- so I have had to find a few irrational pursuits.

Target had some novelty fart putty cups for $1 apiece in their discount section.  Of course I couldn’t pass up something this crude and sophomoric at such a discount price. Fart noises are always funny, so I have periodically been annoying my coworkers with fake flatulence.  Everyone needs a hobby.

Vacation is one of my favorite movies.  The car is a modified (tackily, but that’s the point) Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon.  Mom actually had one of these (without the modifications.)  I think that was the last V8 Dad let Mom have.  It was a typical old Ford in that the steering was horrid (the wheel had about 2 inches at least of play in it) and the suspension was spongy- but it would go like a bat out of hell in a straight line.  I think Mom got the 95-in-a-25 violation in the ’77 LTD sedan, but both the ’75 station wagon and the ’77 sedan had the 351 Windsor engine that Dad liked.  Both cars were horribly fugly, a handling nightmare, and did good to get 12MPG- if you kept your foot out of it.  I think Dad disengaged the secondary advance on the ’77 after Mom got busted in it, which is sort of like closing the barn door once the horse has run away.

70’s domestic cars were most abysmal.  FYI: The “wood grain” was actually adhesive stickers.

Mom actually had a 70’s car worse than the LTDs.  At least the LTDs would start and run.  The Dodge Aspen wagon generally wouldn’t even do that if the temperature dropped below 60 degrees F, which is quite often in beautiful Central Ohio.  If it got hotter than about 70 degrees, the thermostat would stick shut and it would overheat and/or the fuel pump would vapor lock.  I can’t remember how many times Dad had this POS towed, or how many fuel pumps, carburetors and thermostats he put on it, but when all was said and done I think he wanted to fire bomb it.  It was simply a piece of really shitty engineering.  The plus side of the Aspen, at least as far as Mom’s driving record went, when it did run, is it was a very underpowered 4 cylinder.  If you were lucky enough to get it up to 60MPH it would shake and shimmy like nobody’s business, then it would sputter and die.

Fugly, and not terribly functional.  The 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon.  Now you know why I drive Toyotas.

These things, by comparison at least, made a beat up old VW Rabbit look like (and perform like) a freaking sports car.

Today we are supposed to get some snow and freezing rain.  I’ll believe it when I see it, but I am sure that the local redneck population will be clearing the stores out of Velveeta cheese and Marlboros before the end of the day.  Some things never change.

At least the cop got HIS smokes.

I sincerely thank God I don’t smoke anymore.  And I already have Velveeta cheese.

 

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assorted rants, cougardom, gratuitous self pity, misanthropy

Ode to the Winter Funk, 54 Going on Two, and I Need a Cougar Cruise

Shit Happens.

The bad thing about the recent cruise ship disaster is that it’s a reminder that almost every time I plan a vacation and either a.) take Jerry with me, and/or 2.) spend money doing it,  that disaster is exactly what I end up with.  Taking Jerry with me simply means I will spend three or four times more than I’d budgeted for as well as I will be treated to a “vacation” of catering to him.  Oh, how I remember the 20 mile excursion through rural West Virginia to find a KFC, only to return to the hotel and discover they neglected to put eating utensils in with the dinners, and the lovely evenings spent in the smoking cubicle of the Niagara Falls Hooters because they were the only restaurant within walking distance that served American beer.  Believe me, Canadian cuisine leaves a lot to be desired anyway, (the food tasted greasy and bland with a faint hint of Clorox everywhere we went in the Niagara Falls area) and Hooters’ wings are way overrated even if you get them in the States. 

I will have to do some research if and when I ever get the opportunity to go on a cougar cruise.  The idea of being on a cruise ship (statistically, boating on an ocean liner is safer than driving, so why not?) still appeals to me even if I am the type of person who has to wear Factor 50 to walk out the door in the daylight.  Nobody said I had to use the outdoor pool.  However, I will make sure of a few things.  First of all I am not really one of those people who wants an iron clad schedule.  I understand that the ship stops at certain ports and you have a definite timeframe should you wish to go ashore.  That’s fine, a loose framework.  But to follow a group around in a micromanaged sort of fashion does not appeal to me at all.  Give me two hours to go investigate something and let me wander around and come back. 

The last time I took any time off for any type of what could loosely be called vacation activity was last June when I took Mom and Dad to NC.  In a curious turn of events, it seems when you do the math, it can easily be discerned that my soon-to-be born granddaughter was conceived right about that time.  That’s what I get for having Steve-o come to watch the dogs and leaving them free food and movies, but they are adults.  Sometimes things happen when young adults get bored, even if you do leave out the good movies like Super Troopers,  The Jerk, Beavis and Butthead Do America, Clerks I and II, Porky’s, and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.   I know it’s been a long time but even I can (distantly) remember young lust.  There was a time in my life (when the air was dirty but sex was clean- if and when I could find a compliant partner-) that any excuse was a good excuse to get busy.

I still need a real vacation, as in 1.) getting away geographically, including turning off the farking phone, 2.) getting away from being a babysitter, which means Jerry will have to fight the dogs for food for a few days, and 3.) going somewhere interesting to do interesting things. 

The problem with this is that in order to do any of the above for any length of time, one needs cash.  With Mr. 54-going-on-two going on his regular throw money away pity parties at the hell-hole every time he gets the least bit irritated at work I don’t see this happening.  It’s pretty sorry when you can’t trust a grown man to stay out of a rip-off gambling joint.  I would leave him at home alone for a few days if I could take most of his cash, all his plastic and his debit card so he wouldn’t be able to go to the hell-hole.  I figure he could eat on $10 per day, but he would have to do without beer and smokes.  Pity that….

I guess that’s enough of me channeling my inner bitch, although it gets aggravating.  I know winter in Central Ohio is depressing especially when you can go from torrential rain to frozen tundra in 24 hours or less.  One thing about January weather is that odds are, it’s going to suck.

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assorted rants, cougardom, creative writing, gratuitous self pity, historical interest, misanthropy

Lachrymal Musings, Intersecting Spheres, Defying Entropy (and a Rear-End Thermometer Too!)

I thoroughly enjoy historical places- especially ones that have been tastefully restored.  Usually one of two things happen to historical places and either option breaks my heart.  Either they are completely razed to the ground or are left to rot with maybe a haphazard or architecturally and/or aesthetically poor attempt at restoration.  The Harding Hotel pictured above by and large is a tasteful restoration of a building that had been left to rot for over 25 years.  The lower floors have the original restored woodworking (very lovely and I should have taken pics the last time I was there…) and are used as reception halls and conference rooms, while the upper floors have been converted into senior citizen apartments.

Ironically the hotel hadn’t even been finished before President Harding died, so it was never really used for its intended purpose, which was to be a high-faluting hotel for dignitaries and others to frequent when President Harding came back to town.   What ended up happening is that the hotel builders built that day’s equivalent to a Hilton in the middle of nowhere.  Once President Harding died, nobody was looking too much to Marion, OH as a high-faluting tourist destination.  Granted, today the Popcorn Festival brings some local crowds, but these aren’t the kind of people who go for four or five star digs.  These are rednecks in Dale Earnhardt wife-beater t-shirts, whose behemoth women sport too-small tank tops and tacky tramp stamps, whose kids don’t wear shoes until they have to go to school, and for whom silverware at meal times is a formality.  If one lives far enough away (or drinks too much beer to drive home) the Super 8 has cable, an indoor pool, and it’s really close to both the Steak-n-Shake and the exit ramp to US23.

Perhaps I shouldn’t diss redneck culture the way I do, but there is a small part of me that bemoans the lack of civility and grace in society that seemed far more evident in the past.  If one looks at photography from the 1950’s and earlier one does not see tramp stamps, tank tops, large women wearing no bras, wife-beater t-shirts or just general slovenliness.  All those drugs in the 1960’s must have warped people’s brains.  Granted, they gave us Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, but I could have done without the whole hippie no-bathing-let-it-all-hang-out trend which really hasn’t completely gone away.  Some things resist entropy until the very end, or perhaps slovenliness and unkempt appearances are the butt-end of entropy, and therefore it remains the same because it has achieved its chaotic goal.  I would have liked to think that an age of enlightenment would have involved clean clothes and soap, but my priorities are never the same as the rest of the world’s.

The 80’s weren’t bad from a general clothing perspective, (especially buff dudes in Spandex) but if I  had to pick a fashion decade it would have to be the 1940’s.  Fashion designers were probably still queer, but they weren’t designing everything so it only fits and looks good on emaciated 12 year old boys.  I think by 1965 or so somebody forgot that women are supposed to have boobs, and some women with ample chests like to wear clothing that said boobs don’t fall out of.  At least it is still possible, with a little work, to find bathing suits that do not expose midriff or have such huge leg holes that the whole world gets to see most of your butt cheeks as well as most of your surgical scars and/or stretch marks.  I need a bathing suit to do a couple of important things- restrain the puppies so that they don’t fly up out of the top of the bathing suit when I go off the diving board, and cover everything from my boobs to as far south as mid-thigh.  That’s what I need to both prevent “wardrobe malfunctions,” and to keep from revealing things better left unseen, such as surgical scars and stretch marks.  I don’t want to share the pool with projectile vomiters.

 

Above  is an example of  acceptable swim attire for me.  It’s the only exception I ever make to the “shirts must have sleeves” rule.

Below is an example of swimwear that will never be acceptable to me, even if I were as anorexic-thin as Calista Flockhart (which I am definitely not.)

Nobody on God’s green earth would ever want to see me in one of these things.  Speaking of swimwear, I simply had to notice that Target was right on it with the swimwear display.  On January 5th.  This is Ohio, people.  Unless you are lucky enough to belong to an indoor pool, or to vacation in the Bahamas, I don’t see the point in buying swimwear now that won’t get worn until at least Memorial Day.  I find it rather impossible to think about buying bathing attire when there’s three feet of snow outside and it’s 10 degrees.

Fashion has taken some rather abysmal turns in recent years, especially with the lack of coverage.  I would be a lot happier if it suddenly became trendy for guys to refrain from displaying hairy butt cleavage and boxer short waist bands.  It would thrill me if teenage girls would refrain from dressing like scantily clad prostitutes, and that it would again become trendy for dresses and women’s shirts to have sleeves.  I could do the Stevie Nicks 1985 or thereabouts look just fine, including the platform shoes. I also wish it were more socially acceptable for women to wear hats, for instance.  I enjoy wearing hats.  Perhaps I should have been born in England, where it is perfectly acceptable for white women to wear outlandish hats.

I’m trying really hard to stay out of my inevitable winter funk, but it’s not easy.  I don’t mind the cold- and it hasn’t been terribly cold so far as Central Ohio winters go- but I do mind the dark.  Dark when I wake up.  Dark when I go to work.  Dark when I go home.  Acck.  I only see daylight on the weekends, if I can stay awake long enough.   Maybe that’s why the world looks like such a hopeless and pathetic place by the end of February.  Snowbooger grey.

In Victorian times there were all sorts of maudlin displays surrounding death and mourning.  Particularly intriguing was the lachrymatory or tear bottle.  The idea was that when a loved one died you saved your tears in the bottle and on the one year anniversary of the death you sprinkled the tears on the grave.  I can’t help but think that the Victorians got this idea from a Biblical reference:

“Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” Psalm 56:8 (KJV)

I’m not much of a crier.  The only problem I have with my tearful outbursts is that they come out at the most inopportune and bizarre times.  I can’t do the tears on demand thing, and tears elude me at the point of pain.  I almost always go to funerals as a stoic, silent observer, detached from the surroundings, no matter how close I was to the deceased or how grieved I am over the death, but my tears come later, sometimes 20 years later, unbidden, like a sudden storm on a summer day. 

Sometimes I want to cry and I can’t, no matter how much better it would make me feel, especially when the weight of sorrow and longing and regret is almost more than I can carry.  I almost wish I could be a woman who wears her emotions on her sleeve- it’s probably healthier- but I usually have to deal with my heart in private and in the dark.  It’s more dignified that way.

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assorted rants, creative writing, dogs, historical interest, misanthropy, political commentary

The Year of the Apocalypse? Wasn’t That 1984,or 1986, or 1999, or 2001?

I have to say that I am somewhat amused by the plethora of 2012 doomsday predictions that are scattered all over the Internet, TV and pretty much everywhere else.  The whole bit about the Mayan calendar ending, as if people who were into human sacrifice (by yanking out the victim’s still-beating heart) were some kind of infallible authorities on scientific and/or eschatological issues, seems more than a bit nebulous to me.  I understand that the Mayans had a lot going for them in matters of astrology and astronomy, but even the modern understanding of either of these studies is incomplete and likely not as accurate as we would like to believe. 

Of course, this year we are offered the sublime public imperative to get Obama the freak out of the White House before he does even more damage. 

I am no fan of Mitt Romney either, but for comparison’s sake I would rather see Sheena elected president if only because she would do a lot less damage than Obama.

I can see it now: Sheena for President: At least I’m housebroken,and the only ass I lick is my own!  But I don’t think dogs are eligible to run.  Pity.  But they don’t go rambling on about global warming myths, and they don’t make pacts with terrorists either.

As recently as 1975 the scientific community was seriously concerned about another impending ice age- and that was back when the air was dirty and sex was clean.  If pollution was going to cause global warming, then why wasn’t Ohio a tropical paradise back in the 1970’s?   Today’s wisdom is to go from a couple decades’ (if that) worth of weather reports as sufficient evidence to claim “global warming” and blame “apocalyptic climate change” on the use of internal combustion, frequent bathing, and the Western world’s use of toilet paper to wipe our behinds.  OK.  If the use of internal combustion, frequent showers, scrupulous wiping and the inevitable pollution those luxuries supposedly generate is causing global warming, then I would like to know how the same creature comforts that supposedly are making the earth a stygian hell were paving the way for us to die on a frozen planet less than forty years ago.  It seems a bit fishy to me.

What do the tree huggers have to gain?  A world of people who smell like ass and can’t drive?  I can show you a whole room full of them down at the BMV waiting to take their driver’s tests, and it’s not a pleasant experience. 

Just because something is synthetic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.  Plastic, spandex (*on hot, buff dudes, I must clarify), computer chips, acrylic nails and McDonald’s cheeseburgers all come to mind as man-made items that are pretty damn handy.  On the other hand “all-natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “good.”  Arsenic is an all natural poison.  Ebola virus is an all natural disease-causing agent too.  So let’s all go snacking on arsenic-and-Ebola and see how those all natural goodies treat us?

I have to look at the end of the world with a pretty pragmatic eye.  No human being is more than a minute electrical charge away from the Dirt Nap.  Death is inevitable, whether it’s all at once with the rest of the world, or all by myself  at some random time when that little electrical switch in my heart decides to stop working. 

Like the Serenity Prayer says: Accept the things you can’t change.

Life is a lot easier that way.

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