Clandestine Observations, Weed Whacking While Drunk-and-Stupid, and Hooray for Technology!

I never realized how much more affordable covert surveillance equipment has become in the past few years.  Some of Jerry’s drunk-and-stupids would be positively You Tube gold.  The time he tried to start a fire in the fireplace with gasoline would have been right up there with the stuff you see on World’s Dumbest or 1,000 Ways to Die, only flashpoint doesn’t kill you, (usually) but it does burn off body hair.

Speaking of 1,000 Ways to Die  today I had to explain to some Uncle Dad (ill-educated backwoods redneck) that there’s a reason why one does not install a remote start kit on a vehicle with a manual transmission.   Something about disabling the neutral safety switch (the gadget that keeps you from starting the car unless you have your foot on the clutch) is one of those Not Very Good Ideas.  Just color me ethically cautious, but 20+ years in automotive have made me both cautious and cynical when considering the average person’s ability to understand simple directions, i.e. being 100% sure the car is in neutral when you try to start it without having your foot on the clutch.   If I’m telling you a particular modification is not a good idea, chances are I’ve either tried it (lots of experience in the School of the Burned Hand) or observed the carnage when someone else did.  I spent way too many years of my life in mechanical shops and in close proximity to body shops. 

It  does beg the question why would anyone want a remote start kit (even if you don’t drive a manual transmission car) to begin with.  I don’t want my car running without me in it.  This is Ohio, and winters can get cold, but it does not get cold enough here to warrant letting any modern car run unattended for any length of time.  That’s why vehicle manufacturers came up with all the nice innovations such as computer controlled idle and timing and electronic fuel injection.  The electronic controls make the necessary adjustments to idle, timing and fuel mix to adapt to the ambient temperature, so that puppy is going to start and run even if it’s cold.  Start the bloody thing and take off already, that’s how newer vehicles are designed.  It heats up quicker that way (both the engine and the heater, which gets hot because the cooling system from the engine gets hot) and it saves gasoline.  It’s not like back in the day when you had to play with carburetors and chokes and mechanical distributors and such, only to put the car in gear and have it stall out if you didn’t let it sit and idle and get relatively warm first.

Believe me, I don’t miss carburetion or conventional ignition one bit.  The scary thing is I am old enough to remember both- and know how they (are supposed to) work.  Rube Goldberg had nothing on 1970’s and 1980’s (blecch!) domestic carbureted vehicles’ fuel and emissions systems. It’s a bloody engineering marvel if and when they DO work.  Most of the time they didn’t, especially in the the depth of a wet, cold Ohio winter.  There’s a reason why nobody is still driving their old 1982 Chevette- many reasons, actually, but I don’t think there are very many of those old turds left that still can be driven- even if the floorboards by some Act of God failed to rust through.

I may be one of the last surviving women on the planet who knows how to decipher GM carburetor (and differential, and speedometer gear) charts.  Just because I know how to look up the component parts for these old carburetors in the old GM charts doesn’t mean they are available (most probably aren’t) but it’s a quaint old skill, sort of like using a slide rule, or writing a letter using pen and ink.  The guys who play with vintage/classic cars will understand exactly what I’m talking about, but most people will scratch their heads and wonder what the flying thunder I’m talking about.  Have fun rebuilding that four barrel Rochester for your Chevelle.  There are vintage suppliers who still deal with that old stuff, but as for me, progress is a good thing.  I may be many things, and not all of them lovely, but I am certainly not a technophobe- especially as it applies to the automotive world. I want to see a car that gets 100MPG (if it’s not too dorky- like the Smart Car that has no room but still doesn’t get any better mileage than my 4 door Yaris sedan- or expensive I would probably buy it) and for the most part I like the electronics and gadgetry available today.

However, I don’t need a remote start, even if it were safe to use them on a manual transmission vehicle (and trust me, it’s NOT!)  I really don’t mind being a bit cold for a few minutes while the heater warms up, and there are few things I disdain more than wasting gasoline.

Speaking of wasting gasoline in creative ways, I got to observe yet another drunk-and-stupid adventure last night.  Joy!  I am afraid to look in the back yard.  Jerry found himself a very sweet high-faluting John Deere weed whacker.  Now, I don’t get excited in the least about yard implements.  I don’t like yard work, and I’m doing good to even start a lawn mower or a weed whacker.  But Jerry loves yard work, and he loves the lawn tools, with the passion that middle-aged men have for all things lawn, and he gets even more excited about dangerous gasoline-powered toys when he’s good and besnookered.  After a twelve pack, and after Bob showed him how to put line in this particular weed whacker, Jerry was out to weed whack everything.  I stayed in the house with the dogs.  I am only hoping he steered clear of the tomato plants, the eggplants and the zucchinis.  I will have to go investigate tonight when I get home and can see the carnage in the light of day.  I am hoping he kept his whacking activity limited to the weeds around the sidewalk and the hedges, but redneck + alcohol + gasoline powered lawn toy is bound to equal some sort of mass destruction of plant life and anything else he could reach with the whacker.

I need to get some of the spy camera and micro DVR stuff.  Jerry out running amok with the weed whacker would have been priceless You Tube fodder.

Funky Food, Shutting Up Is Hard to Do, and Some Cheese for That Whine?

This sign is from the frozen custard shop across the street.  Frozen custard is somewhat like ice cream or frozen yogurt only a bit thicker.  I have not ventured to try the chicken salad boat.   The sign simply struck me funny for two reasons- one, that it would have been a lot funnier had they been extolling the wonders of a tuna salad boat, (I simply adore double entendre as a form of humor,) and that chocolate covered strawberry anything does not generally go well with meat salads.  The chocolate covered strawberry frozen custard is good, but not necessarily with a chicken salad boat.

I am not a huge fan of meat salads, as most of the time they are usually made with vast quantities of mayonnaise.  I am not a picky eater for the most part, but there’s something about mayonnaise that gags me.  When I make tuna salad for my own consumption there is usually more mustard in it than mayonnaise, and the only mayonnaise I use is the low fat Miracle Whip, which doesn’t taste so much like congealed lard.

One fun food I have actually tried- and like- is spaghetti tacos.  Spaghetti in a taco shell, while messy, is quite tasty.

That makes me hungry just looking at it.

Jerry has been on a roll this weekend, and not in a good way.  I shouldn’t have indulged him.  I felt guilty about avoiding driving him around on his little forays into garage sale land the past couple of Saturdays, so I got up early, (forgoing my much anticipated Saturday nap,) fixed him breakfast, and took him out for six hours of delightful incessant bitching as we were trolling for garage sales in the wind and rain.  The only bright spot in that for him was that he did finally find a lawn mower, though it’s not quite what he wants.  I did find a nice long black sweater which I had been looking for but hadn’t been able to find in my size and/or price range.

But there’s only so much whining even I can take.  I know I’m in trouble when I just plain tune him out as he prattles on and on about how he doesn’t like his shoes (his own damned fault for buying those cheap ass velcro sneakers from Wal Mart) and I don’t do _________the right way or I do too much___________ or not enough_________ .  I’ve already tuned out all of his commentary on my driving.  That’s automatic, otherwise I would have to reach over and throttle him good.   I have driven many more thousands of miles than he has in my lifetime, AND, I wasn’t the one who got completely shit faced at the hell hole the previous evening.  I didn’t wake up forty proof.  If he had chosen to drive yesterday morning, he could have still got popped for DUI.   It would have been a miracle to find blood in his alcohol stream. As the sober one,  as far as I’m concerned, if I’m driving, I have the express privilege of ignoring all the drunken whiner’s comments.

I will say about the cheapo Wal Mart shoes, that he gets what he deserves for refusing to wear the good New Balance shoes I bought him.  At least I was able to send the New Balance shoes back and recoup my $70.  He can do a Howard Hughes and wear Kleenex boxes on his feet for all I care if he wants to be that way.

Jerry has continued his whiny diatribe into today.  I should have known better than to waste my time fixing him breakfast (again.)

But I don’t want hash and fried potatoes…”  He wanted to say it, but I think some little glitter of intelligence way back in the reptilian part of his brain warned him that if he did, I would smack him into next Tuesday.  He didn’t need to say it.  He just ate a couple of bites-reminiscent of Pee Wee Herman eating breakfast cereal (Mr. T Cereal, to be exact)  in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, then gave the rest of it to the dogs.  I’m sure he laid some kind of sob story on his Mom to end up coming home from her house with a big bowl of pinto beans and cornbread.  Fine.  If she feeds him, I don’t have to listen to him whine about the food.  The irony is that his Mom could give him dog food and he’d like it, and I could give him shrimp and steak and he would bitch about it.  More fun with yet another POMC.  I hope I’ve done a better job with mine.  At least Steve-o knows better than to pull the whiny shit with me.

Now he is engaged in the Dandelion War again- running around with the pesticide sprayer in thirty mile an hour winds like some deranged mental case thinking he’s going to make the yard look better than the insurance agency next door- never mind that they can afford to hire a team of Mexican landscapers to do their yard work.

All that hard work so the freakazoids from the Drunk and Domestics can use the yard as their personal disposal for their cig packs, food wrappers, drinky cups and, yes, trucker bombs.

At least if he’s outside I can’t hear him whine.

If Jerry whines in the forest and nobody hears him, is he still whining?

I would say yes.  If he’s breathing and conscious, he’s whining.

I have some Colby cheese in the fridge for him but a.) he might have to look behind something, guaranteeing he won’t find it, or b.) he won’t want Colby cheese, or he might refuse to eat the store brand.


Clara is not amused.  Clara has no problem eating store brand cheese.