Tuesday, August 30, 2005

on vacation

will return soon...

Monday, August 22, 2005

spiders

It seems every morning when I'm in the shower, there's a spider that's on the floor of the tub, or clinging to the tile wall in the strong mist and spray from my p.s.i. 200 shower stream. These spiders are the big weird daddy longlegs ones.I don't notice the spider at first, then notice that I've almost killed it, and try to bring it to safety somehow. I hate touching bugs, and try to avoid it whenever possible, but I feel so bad for these spiders, I've been holding them with my hand and so far they haven't bitten me. Of course they might be in shock, too. I only hold the spider for a few seconds, maybe 10 seconds. Just long enough to ferry them over to the counter safe from the shower environment.

I've heard that while the average person sleeps, over the course of a year 6 spiders crawl into and out of everybody's open mouth. I don't know many spiders get accidentally eaten.

not enough to do at the IRS office

Something else I am taking more personally is the harassment the IRS has been doling out to me. I fill out my W-4’s claming nothing, so I either break even or get a refund, and I usually do and submit taxes early because if I’m getting a refund, I want to get it as soon as possible. I think I received my refund for this year in February or March. I spent the refund as soon as I got it; I think I bought glass with it. I continued with life, with nary a thought about taxes crossing my mind.

Sometime in June I received a letter from the IRS stating that I didn’t pay my taxes, and will be late unless I fill out the enclosed form and return it. At first, I thought I forgot to do my taxes and scrambled to locate the information to process them with. As I was searching for documents, I came across some proof that I did them and submitted them. A little more investigating, and I find bank statements documenting the direct deposit of the refund. I gathered and photocopied these materials, and mailed them to the IRS along with the completed form outlining my situation in detail. “That oughtta settle that,” I thought to myself as I handed the outgoing mail to Bob our letter carrier.

[Digression]

I applied to be a letter carrier, but I got my current job first. I didn’t pursue it because the process to apply to be a letter carrier is more involved and inconvenient, (unless you’re unemployed, then you got nothing better to do). I didn’t take the test on the scheduled date, and if you are hired, they only start you off temporary, which guarantees nothing.

--anyway--

I get home from work today, and notice a pile of mail on the table. I look through it; it’s a letter for the previous tenants (we’ve been in this house for 4 years), a couple of things to “current resident”, and one official looking envelope addressed to me. I open it, and it is a threat letter from the IRS that they are going to take legal action against me if I don’t call them or pay my taxes, and I had to fill out the enclosed form and return it (the same form I mailed back to them in June).

This really offended me, so I called the 1-800 number on the form to resolve the situation. After navigating my way through a hell of voice-automated answering menus, I get put on hold. I was expecting this, and started to read. The hold music was an uplifting mélange of classical favorites, occasionally interrupted by an evil sounding, icy voiced recording of a woman, who mocked, “Please don’t hang up. If you hang up, you will have to wait longer, because calls are answered in the order in which they are received. Someone will be right with you.”

After about fifteen minutes, I thought I could relieve the kink in my neck and multi-task better if the phone was on speakerphone. Trying to figure out what the trick to make it work was, I accidentally hung up.

Damn!

I redialed, this time with the speakerphone, correctly. After about 10 minutes and somewhere in the middle of the Romeo and Julie Love Theme by Tchaikovsky, I became impatient. I thought I could be more productive if I clipped the phone to my pocket, and did some errands in another room. I was holding the phone trying to manager this, and while I made a quick movement, the phone just shut off! This was completely unexplainable; I envisioned a call center with a variety of people all hanging out in one person’s cubicle, gossiping about the new guy in the office, or discussing what was watched on TV last night. The boss is probably not around; they are all smoking cigarettes, and laughing about how long they’ve kept myself, and hundreds of other innocent victims on hold for. The whole situation is getting to be very frustrating. Somewhere in a back office a maniacal young middle-management type is frantically printing out letters threatening legal action, to be sent to people like me who have received a refund months ago.

It’s all a conspiracy.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Epilogue?

Discovery gets a piggyback trip to Florida


BEIJING, Aug.20 (Xinhuanet)-- SPACE shuttle Discovery gets a piggy-back on a specially modified Boeing 747 on Friday for its journey home to Florida.

The modified Boeing 747 carrying the shuttle lifted off at 8:31 a.m. PDT for Cape Canaveral. It will make several stops to refuel during the 3,600-kilometre trip, which was expected to cost NASA at least $1 million.


Discovery landed in the Mojave Desert on Aug. 9 after a 14-day mission to service the International Space Station. NASA diverted the landing to California after low clouds and lightning prevented the shuttle from returning to Florida on four earlier attempts. It was the first shuttle flight after the Columbia tragedy two and a half years ago.

Discovery's homecoming has been clouded by uncertainty about the shuttle's future. The same foam issue that doomed Columbia 21/2 years ago showed up during Discovery's liftoff, prompting NASA to ground all shuttle flights until 2006 so engineers could solve the problem.


shaving math

I finally located razor refills. I can’t wait to not cut myself when I shave. I purchased the overpriced razors, at $10.00 for four refills, and each cartridge provides about 5 shaves before it starts cutting you. That equals about 20 shaves per package, divided by the cost of $10.00 per package, works out to 50 cents a shave.

As I put the greatly sought after razors into my shopping basket, I noticed a fully stocked product peg of razor cartridge refills for my recent former razor. It figures, after accepting the situation and moving on to a new razor, I threw out the old, thinking the razor industry had deemed it obsolete, and it was doomed to become a plastic future piece of landfill.

I am beginning to take this personally.

Mt. St. Helens is about an hour drive from here


and most of the trip is spent on treacherous mountain passes in the foothills of Mt. St. Helens. There’s been all kinds of volcanic activity lately, so everyone's been closely monitoring it. The most it has done is sent plumes of ash up into the sky, and it has a pulsing slow lava drip going on inside the crater, slowly building the volcano's peak. Every now and then the news channels dominate with various coverage of the latest activity and opinions from experts. They’ve said on the news that nearby communities to Mt. St. Helens, such as Cougar, WA, has had such an explosion in tourism they don’t know what to do with all their prosperity. I’ve been through Cougar a bunch of times, and it’s definitely a one-horse town.

I don’t know at what point they are not letting people further up the mountain, I know they’re not allowing spectators near the crater opening. At least I don’t think anyone is. I know they fly helicopters around it every now and then and we can see the glowing pulsing lava cracked like orange lightning over the dark and light gray surface. I know they are letting people go to the observatory; I’ve never been there, but it’s on the north side of the mountain, facing south. I think that’s the side of the mountain that blew out back in 1981.


I’ve been on a couple of hikes on Mt. St. Helen's and I’ve been there just to see snow. We’d drive to where the snow made it impossible for the car to go any further, then get out and tromp up the hill in the snow, thigh deep in parts. The snow up there is fun because it is all clean, and when you get tired, you leave, it’s warm at home, and you don’t have to shovel snow or be cold. I’ve been through the Ape Caves on Mt. St. Helens. They are caves formed by lava from the 1981 eruption, very long and very dark; you need to bring flashlights with you.


When we were exploring through the cave, I was starting to feel freaked out. I felt like we were going to be trapped, or there was no way out. Some parts of the caves it seemed as if the ceiling collapsed, and to continue on the path through the cave you need to traverse a pile of large rubble, boulders and rocks. While scaling this mass, at the highest point you can easily touch the ceiling, which is usually unreachable, if even visible in the darkness beyond the beam of your flashlight. When I went to the Ape Caves, I went with Ric, my brother, and his friend Jeremy. The only person who owned a flashlight was Jeremy, and it was a small one you’d find in a gimmicky car safety kit. It looked like a glorified pen light. My brother, Ric and I bought flashlights from this discount and stolen tool place, called “The Tool Shed.” We got three flashlights, complete with many D batteries for a great low price. We teased Jeremy about his flashlight, and when we first set out our lights were clearly illuminating the way. About half way through, my brother’s flashlight unexplainably stopped working. A little while later, Ric’s flashlight stopped working. We became concerned, especially since we didn’t’ know how long the cave was, or if it even came out somewhere. We carried on at a hurried pace, and my light flickered. We quickened, and my light died. Huddling around Jeremy, we made our way down the path and soon we saw daylight, and the end of the cave. The cave opened up to a ladder to climb out, and was at the foot of a path through an Alpine Swamp leading back to the point of origin.


My landlord took the pictures displayed in this entry. The activity you see started about 5:15 PM on March 8th, 2005. It has been occuring on and off since. The last picture (beside this paragraph) is a still saved from the Oregonlive Volcano Cam. I'm not sure if I know where the pictures of the cave excursion are. This cam is set up at the observatory. It's been really nice out lately. Mt. St. Helen's is really cool becase there is a whole phenomina occuring with the landscape transformation. The lava tunnels, for example, and some other unusual lava formations. There's one hike that goes through a lava field, and it totally looks like a moonscape. And on the other side of the volcano, it's a recovering and new alpine forest, reaching through and growing from under downed fir trees and weird high altitutde brush.


on a whim...

I was picking up some take out food the other night, and I happened to go by Safeway. I don't usually shop there, but my bank is located inside the store and I thought, what the hell, maybe I'll happen down their razor aisle and see if they carry refills for the new razor I bought (I still haven't gotten refills).

Well, they carry the starter pack that I purchased a while ago, that included the new razor and two complimentary razors, but the pegs that should hold the overpriced super razor refills were empty! There was a tag placed on the empty peg, that mocked "Sorry, item coming soon!"

I had visions of shoving the whole display shelf with all of my might, which in turn would cause a domino effect throughout the store. "CLEAN UP ON AISLE 5!" would be an understatement, there would be a inconceivable mixture of crushed cookies, smashed boxes of shake n' bake, a scattered assortment of back to school specials, including notebooks, writing utensils, popped carpi sun drink pouches, and snack sized bags of frito lay products all mixed into a big technicolor dusty mass, and all paper products and sanitary napkins turning brown with absorbed liquid mixtures including fizzy foamy soda, household cleaners and condiments.

I hate shopping at Safeway anyway.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Hasselhoff turns to rap music!

Former BAYWATCH hunk-turned-London theatre star DAVID HASSELHOFF is turning his attentions to rap music in a bid to become a chart sensation.

The actor, who is a pop superstar in Germany and Switzerland, has teamed up with rapper ICE-T in a bid to become an international music star.

Ice-T says, "We are going to show a new side of him. The Hoff will surprise people with his rap skills."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

work in progress

Here's the latest batch of what my brother's been working on.
He still has to add texture, but here's where it's at.
~~~~~

~~~~~

Z.Z. Wei

Here's some of Z.Z. Wei's pictures. I've seen his a lot of his art around town, and I really like it. From what I understand, he was raised and trained in China to produce traditional Chinese paintings, and anything that deviated was frowned upon. Below is a biography I found about him:

Upon his first arrival from China to the Northwest, Z.Z. Wei could not believe the beauty that spread out before him. His first experiences in the Pacific Northwest were visual revelations. Feeling completely libertaed from the stringent boundries placed on him since birth, he embarked on an artistic oddesy in a quest to paint powerful images of rural America. He found the strong and unique landscapes in this region, and the spirit which moved through them, mirrored his inner passions and the art ideas he sought. This explosion of awareness coupled with his own memories of home having created a visual text in his work that is an intoxicating sensation of the past and present.







Wednesday, August 17, 2005

bootleg conversation solo

I have a bootleg copy of a Tool song performed live with the dearly departed singer/guitarist from Alice And Chains -- Layne Staley. Together they perform Opiate, and you can barely tell that Layne is singing with them. The guitar solo is a lot longer than it is on the album, or even other live versions I've heard. I don't actually know if Layne is playing the guitar or if it is Adam Jones (sounds like Adam). The thing that makes this solo great, is that during the guitar solo, there are a few people near the illegal concealed recording device, and they discuss the whereabouts of a friend they arrived with, but haven't seen since before Tool came on.

I like listening to live music. I used to hate it, but recently I prefer it. I turn it up really loud, and find that if you close your eyes you can pretend you're at the concert (except no sweaty people in your personal space and nobody passing a joint around in front of you). I like to sing really loud along with the live music (I enjoy singing, I never claimed to be good at it). I also like to scream and yell "WHOOOO!" and other things I would actually yell at a concert.

This behavior receives great reactions in traffic.

hot lava

Well, it seems our house is aware that we haven’t been faithful. Behind our house’s back, we have sought out a possible long term relationship with a smaller, svelte, one bedroom duplex. It has everything the house can offer, but is nicer looking, more accommodating, and cheaper.

As a result, we are beginning to endure our house’s passive wrath. First, the refrigerator crapped out on Sunday. The technician should be coming by today to fix it (we’ll see what actually happened later). The kitchen faucet only works via the valve turnoff (and on) under the sink. Marcus’ fat cat butt squeezed through a hole in the screen door, making it a gaping maw gateway in which every insect in a square mile radius must pass through. I noticed yesterday or the day before that our basement flooded, and it may or may not be related to running the washing machine. That’s okay; I don’t have to do wash. I’ll just sniff test everything in the morning, and put my shirts and suits back on hangers after I get home from work.

Just when I thought that things can’t get worse, I noticed Ric meticulously cleaning the floor behind everywhere he’s walked through our house.

“Did you walk through the water in the basement at all?” Ric inquired.

“Why no, I didn’t want to get my shoes wet, so I hopped around to get what I needed down there.”

“Good,” Ric replied, “The water down there is sewage back up. Don’t walk in it, and definitely don’t track it through the house.”

Gross.

Remember the Hot Lava game you’d play as a kid? If you don’t, let me refresh your memory. The object is to not touch the floor, which is hypothetical Hot Lava. You can achieve this by hopping on furniture, tables, stacks of phone books, whatever is around that is a buffer on the floor. We would get creative over big expanses of floor, and throw pillows around and hop from pillow to pillow.

I had to get some things in the basement this morning and Hot Lava’ed to my hanging and dry laundry, a couple of my tools, and some CD’s. I did not use the pillow method; I just relied on the available furniture and milk crates.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Officer Friendly

I went to my Kung Fu class this morning, and as usual it was fun. I sustained minor injuries: a punch to my left eye (which is a relief because my right eye kept getting it for a few weeks in a row), the usual aggravated shin bruise (as a result of someone blocking my incoming kick) and I was punched in the front of my jaw, so my lower lip is a little puffy. The funny thing about the jaw punch is that I was in a car accident in 1995, which left me with no injuries, other than whiplash, and a jaw issue, which caused it to crack and pop. The popping was kind of a novelty, I would do it at parties and during down time at work, and explain the car accident I was in. It was a pretty incredible car accident. My car didn’t roll or anything, and I walked away from it to help the others that were injured.

The car accident went like this: I was in Florida, and was in my 59 Ford. I was completely stopped at a three-way intersection, signaling to make a left hand turn. A woman in a pick up truck sped up behind me, and slammed into my car, throwing into the oncoming traffic lane. I jerked the steering wheel to the left hard, and my right headlight and quarter panel swiped the oncoming vehicle on their right, as they were veering to the left to avoid a head on collision. My car went into a drainage ditch, but not a deep one and I was so pumped with adrenalin, I put it in neutral, hopped out and pushed it onto the road and into a nearby church parking lot. At that moment, it began to rain thick, sloppy, big wet bullets. I ran to the pick up truck that initially struck me, and upon impact it crunched up like an accordion. I asked the woman who was driving if she was okay; she was sitting there in shock. She nodded, and I told her to get out of the car. Some other motorists, witnessing the accident, stopped and helped push her mangled aluminum can like truck to the side of the road. The person who I swiped in the oncoming lane was okay, and was able to drive her car to the side and park it. Before long the police and tow trucks showed up, reports were made, and we were all on our way back to our briefly interrupted lives.

I was on my way to the post office, to get stamps for postcards, because I was leaving with friends to go to the mountains in West Virginia. This accident set me back a couple of hours. Luckily, I wasn’t driving, and my friends had no problem waiting for me to finish what I was doing.

I never saw the accident coming, I was stopped on a hill after the apex, and the crash was deafening and instantaneous. My overactive imagination thought somebody’s vehicle would blow up if we didn’t all get out and to safety. When I was hit, I was smoking a cigarette that I crushed in my hand. At the same moment in time, my broken and never-able-to move bench seat flew back three feet, and I was barely able to reach the brake, gas or clutch.

That’s the car accident. The only one I have ever been in (well, I’m not counting minor rear-ending fender benders).

Fast forward to today, I got home from my Kung Fu class and took a shower. When I was done, I went into the living room to put some music on, and I noticed outside of my window a cop arresting a young looking punk. Officer Friendly put him in handcuffs, and dumped the contents of his backpack out on my sidewalk. I couldn't see what kind of contraband the punk was packing. I watched this situation play out for a few minutes, then the cop walked the punk to his cruiser, which was parked a few houses up the street.

Wonderful.


I’m glad we’re moving. (did I mention we're moving?) When I saw the cop, I was secretly hoping he was arresting someone next door (one of the bitches) or maybe Billie The Angry Border Collie finally ate a neighborhood kid.

I will never look at border collies the same again.

Friday, August 12, 2005

security candidate

Maya was a lady who came in to my office to apply with temporary staffing, but ended up applying for security. In the state I live in, you have to have a state certification to be a security guard, and my company teaches a training course that can put people to work after they earn their certification. I am the intake interview for security so I came over to the office where Maya was interviewing for staffing with Betty, my co-worker, and gave her a security application to fill out. At the moment I saw her, I remembered making her appointment for the temporary staffing intake orientation.

When she called the day before, she was nervous, and hesitant, but talking quickly and exhausted because, in addition from recovering from a horrible accident and sustaining brain and shoulder surgery, she had been shut down in her job search because of her issues. She experienced severe memory loss, and couldn’t retain anything in her short-term memory. She had to write everything down, or needed the opportunity to study something for at least a half hour to remember it. She also had spinal and shoulder surgery recently, and can’t lift more than 10 pounds. After talking in more detail about her specific conditions, it seems she is on the upswing and in recovery. She had been receiving physical therapy, and should be back to lifting things and living normally again.


She told me her husband was upset with her because she doesn’t remember their time together before the accident. I felt bad for her, and awkward, and said something dumb like “you’ll remember, it will come back.” Maya explained that her memory isn’t getting worse, but coming back very slowly. I set up her appointment to come in, and instructed her on what to bring and what to do when she got here.

When I interviewed her, I looked through her application, and asked her why she wanted to be a security guard. She lit up, and began explaining: she remembers being in the Army, and one of the jobs she remembers doing is security. She explained some of the outposts she worked at, and she was enthusiastic about having remembered that piece of her life. I think when she saw the word security on the staffing application she had an epiphany. She wanted to have the opportunity to earn her certification, and apply some concrete techniques. Observation. Procedure. Awareness.


She seemed to be in her early 40's, was well dressed, and had a military style short women's haircut. I was reading her military resume, and she was in many different places throughout the world. I think she was in the Army from 1978 to 1989, and was on a lot of different campaigns. She spent most of her time at various locations in Europe, and some time in Asia somewhere. I asked her about what she remembers, and she became very animated, remembering specific events and details, and relaying them to me. She self-consciously stopped herself after talking for a few minutes, and I ensured her it was okay to tell me more, it was interesting, not annoying or boring. I could see in her face that she was getting something back, even if it was a tiny little piece.

We talked for about a half hour, and I gave her the next instructions (wait for the security training supervisor to call you). She thanked me profusely, and left.

Today I talked to the security training supervisor about Maya, and he’s going to invite her into the next class. I hope this works out for her, and helps her retain her memory.

- elaboration -

I was going to reply as a comment, but the reply became pretty lengthy. It sucked sleeping at the rest stop, and I was pretty scared. It was also humid and hot, and I definitely didn't want to sleep with the windows down, being at a creepy rest stop and all. Luckily, when I broke down, I was able to coast into the rest stop, and spent time talking to the service people who worked at the service station there. I met a guy named Ray, who worked the graveyard shift, and looked under my hood. He determined that there was some leaks in my radiator. Now, here's the cosmic part: Ray drove a tow truck, and had another job working at Hinton's Radiator Shop in Ft. Pierce, and offered to coordinate me getting towed over there (just the next exit down the turnpike). At 7 AM the next morning, Ray woke me up by tapping on the window of my Pontiac, towed me down to his other job, and spot welded spots on my radiator. All for FREE. Isn't that amazing?

Just when I lose faith in human kind, something like that happens.

That happened traveling to Miami, but on the way back I ended up breaking down again, and spent some time in a place nobody should ever break down in, called Yeehaw Junction. It's where the Florida Turnpike met S.R. 60, which I planned to take west towards Tampa and home. I ended up getting ripped off by some rednecks who installed a new water pump, and made me accompany the mechanic for the ride out to Vero beach to pick up the part (Vero Beach is on the East coast of Florida). After several hours, they said they fixed it and I was on my way. In Lake Wales, Florida, just off of S.R. 60, I overheated and broke down again, and learned those dopes in Yeehaw Junction didn't prime my water pump. Assholes.

My father was pretty worried about me, and I called him collect several times to give him an update. The saving grace that ended up getting me home and keeping my car cool was the torrential downpour I had to drive through during the final hours of my commute. When I arrived, my father had dinner ready, complete with dessert and I was really happy and relieved to be home.

expressway

I was driving on the expressway the other day, and for some unknown reason, traffic grinded to a halt. This really miffed me, because I took the expressway for the sole purpose of cutting across town quickly and efficiently. While stopped in the parking lot that was supposed to be streamlined auto travel, I noticed several interesting looking cloud formations, just kind of hovering in the sky over the river or the highway. I came to the conclusion that they are probably alien space ships, optimally camouflaged for maximum observability of the crazy human race.

I also think that it messes with your head to be stopped in traffic on the expressway, because you have a chance to closely observe things that were meant to only be viewed at high speeds. In my case, I noticed each individual pebble embedded in the asphalt, as I sat still on a high overpass, which was on a freaky angle I imagine isn't noticed when traveling normally.

When I was 18, I drove from Tampa, Florida to Miami, Florida, after I graduated from High School as a present to myself. I was with a couple of people, and we had friends or family down there we were going to spend time with. I was driving a 1981 Pontiac LeMans, that was the biggest piece of crap on four wheels. A five or six hour trip ended up taking two days, and involved me sleeping at a Turnpike rest stop in a broken down car. None the less, I did gain something from that negative experience. I am now fully acquainted with a car’s cooling system, from radiator, to water pump, and everything in between. I can troubleshoot anything that overheats, and if I can’t fix it, I can at least identify the problem.

correction - Chicken Fried Steak Day

Safety Ray is on the phone at his desk, but through our shared window he can see me staple my bra strap to the inside of my tank top strap. He’s great. He also can't help but watch me comb my hair and put deodorant on. I use the reflection from the window to see if my part is straight.

I made a mistake about the Chicken Fried Steak day – It’s Tuesday, not Wednesday.

No Tail and Son Of No Tail

There are two cats that live next door, and we’ve named them No Tail, and Son Of No Tail. I’m sure by the names we’ve given them, you can ascertain that they have no tails. No Tail is an old female cat, kind of fluffy and bitchy, and Son Of No Tail would spray our doors and windows, fight with Jim and Marcus, and sneak into our house and eat their food. He was a cute looking cat, all beige with a black face, but an asshole.

We haven’t seen Son Of No Tail for quite a few months, and we are beginning to speculate that Billie The Angry Border Collie ate him.

the little boy next door.

Boy, there's a little boy who lives next door to me, and recently he's been really aggressive. It's sad, and it's one of the reasons we're moving. There's three generations of assholes who live there. This is the same house where Billie the Angry Border Collie lives, along with two other dogs (one of which we've never seen but hear barking all the time) and two other cats live in disharmony together. The cats are a whole other funny story I'll get to later, I've been working on not digressing as much. In any event, this little boy is the sole male (with the exception of his not involved grandfather) in a house full of bitchy women, aged from 9 to probably somewhere in the mid 50’s. I hear his mother, his sister and grandmother yell at him all the time. They make him take groceries into the house after they’ve shopped (I never see them help him) and will yell and berate him to do it quickly. Sometimes on hot days when we all have our windows open, I can hear women’s voices yelling at him, and him yelling and screaming back. I hope he’s not being physically abused. We’ve called protective services on them a few times, when their family squabble left their house and took itself outside, and played itself out in front of our home. I haven’t seen any indication of change if protective service has intervened.

The little boy seems lonely, and has been trying to befriend some of the neighborhood kids. There are a couple of boys his age two houses down from me, that he plays with, but those boys are smart and are scammers, and are teaching him all kinds of new things. One thing that’s been happening is they boy next door will approach me in my driveway when I’m getting home from work and ask me if I want to buy a pen or some junk mail addressed to his parents for a dollar and things like that. I politely decline and he takes off in a hurry.


The new aggressive behavior that has been causing me some concern is that he has been playing basketball in the street with bigger kids (these kids must be at minimum 13 and up). When I am driving down the street to go home, the 5 year old will throw himself on the street, as if he fell but it seems more like he’s throwing himself in front of my car. I’ll stop, at a distance, of course, and he’ll get up and put his hand up like he’s traffic control and ordering me to stop. I see a future for this kid as a Flagger on a rural highway that is being repaved or something similar. Well, after he’s successfully gotten himself off of the road and to the side, I proceed slowly, smiling, I try hard to be friendly to this kid because I feel bad for him, and I have been watching his development take a dark turn at an early age. At this point of our interaction, he picks up the basketball and acts as if he’s throwing it at my car, but it just barely clears the top of my car. He’ll look into my eyes when he does it, and has a really piercing, angry look that burns a hole into my soul.

He has done this a few days in a row, and yesterday I stopped and backed up, and rolled down the window and gave him a few words of advice. I told him to be careful, because he could hurt someone seriously, or hurt himself seriously, especially with the way most of the punks in my neighborhood speed down the road. I also told the little boy that I knew he lived next to me and I didn’t want to have to talk to his mother or grandmother about this. He just looked at me, and didn’t break my gaze and didn’t say anything. I pulled away, and into my driveway.

I talked with Ric about this whole situation, and I expressed I didn’t want to bring his family into what he was doing because they would just yell at him, which we believe is the source of his aggressive behavior. Ric suggested when I see the kid (without the basketball or other such projectiles) to smile, and strike up conversation with him. I’m going to try to do that, but usually I don’t even like to get involved. That’s why I haven’t talked to him more before he started trying to smash out my car windows while I was driving.

There was another angry little boy named Dakota who lived on the other side of us (but his family has since been evicted for manufacturing and using meth). I befriended him, feeling really bad for him, and it didn’t make a difference. He would smash windows (not mine, thankfully) and I believe he broke one of my cats’ tail. His dad was a psycho that I could write about for pages, and his mother looks like Rod Stewart looks now, except she is my age. Dakota has issues, when his mother would lay out in her backyard to sun tan, he would run up to her and punch her in the face, or hit her with objects (there was a lot of trash and scrap metals in the backyard). There was a lot of physical abuse going on over there, and the cops were there more times than I can count.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

funny stuff!

picutre of my brother...


Here's a picutre he sent me last year. He's been working out...
________________
I guess while we're at it, here's a picture of my dad and step mom:
________________________

coffee maker


My brother made this at school and sent it to me.


Shuttle Discovery touches down in California

We woke up last night, and I, barely coherent again, barely remember hearing anything on the radio regarding the Space Shuttle. I remember having a vague conversation with Ric about the cancellation of the Cape Canaveral landing, and then going back to sleep. I am glad they successfully re-entered the earth's atmosphere and landed. This below is an exceprt from CTV.CA, Canadian news:

"The space shuttle Discovery and its seven crew members touched down safely in California Tuesday, marking a successful end to NASA's first mission since the Columbia tragedy in 2003.

The aging shuttle survived a fiery re-entry into the atmosphere, hurtling across the Pacific at more than 27,000 km/h before gliding to a smooth landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert."

Wow.

Monday, August 08, 2005

new landing plan

I found this about the Space Shuttle surfing the news at Xinhuanet Chinese News online:

"Tuesday landing opportunities are at 5:07 a.m. EDT (0907 GMT) and 6:43 EDT(1043 GMT) in Florida, and at 8:12 a.m. EDT (1212 GMT) and 9:47 a.m. EDT (1347 GMT) at the Edwards Air Force Base in California, where the weather conditions will be better.

The last backup landing site is the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The choice of landing sites other than the KSC where the shuttle was launched means to cost the US space agency much in transferring the shuttle back home."

We will be setting the alarm clock again tonight, to see what happens...

If, for some reason the Discovery can't come down tomorrow morning, I read the astronauts have supplies until Wednesday. I guess after that they'd have to go back to the space station. I'd personally be afraid to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. Especially if I was the woman sitting by the window with the thermal heat blanket flapping around and burning up during re-entry. I'd be pretty damn nervous. And probably pissed at NASA, too.

I'd be like "Those fucking jerks."

What if you started the landing sequence and had to pee really badly? I bet those space suits are equipped to deal with that. I'd hate to have the job of cleaning the space suits. I wonder if they make the astronauts do it themselves? If it was their responsibility, I wouldn't expect them to do it minute they get back, of course. I'd probably fast while I was on a mission just to reduce that kind of voiding activity as much as possible.

Remember that movie that came out in the 80's called "Space Camp?" It was pretty dumb. The premise was a diverse, but white group of teen agers meet during summer camp at NASA, and win an opportunity to go onto the space shuttle and sit in the seats and stuff. It was a pretty big deal, I think they spent half the movie winning the challenge or whatever to get this opportunity.

Well, this group wins, and gets the chance to go onto the Space Shuttle. Guess what happens next?

The launch sequence is accidentally activated, and is launched into space. Subsequently, the group of gangly, argumentative teen-agers work together and land the space shuttle.

I can't think of anybodies name who starred in this fiasco of a film. I don't recommend spending money to rent this movie. Maybe if you are home sick from work for a long period of time, like, if you have mononucleosis, or are recovering from surgery or something. If you werew sick, you couldn't sleep, and it was on cable, it's probably okay to watch.

I guess now all we do is wait...

postponed until Tuesday

As I am sure you are aware, the Space Shuttle landing has been postponed until sometime early Tuesday morning. The reason it was postponed today was due to a variety of weather reasons I've read about, from cloud cover all the way to a tropical storm. I personally think it's propaganda, I am providing a link to the Two Palms Cape Caneveral Cam, which shows clear blue skies. There is also a link at this site to access the Kennedy Space Center Cam.

My partner and I set our alarm clock to wake up at 1:30 our time to turn on the radio and hear the live landing sequence as it was happening. I remember getting up, and that's about it. I don't remember re-setting my alarm clock for 5:40, although my partner remembers me doing that, and having an interactive dialogue speculating the reasons for the Space Shuttle postponement. I don't understand why they couldn't land at any of the other places designated for Shuttle re-entry, like Houston or Arizona, or where ever they do it. Wasn't Columbia en-route to the alternative landing site when it disintegrated? I really enjoy reading all of the overly positive articles from many of the US media outlets.

I wonder how this whole thing will pan out?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

chicken fried steak and other musings

I read an article where the astronauts said that they could see the effects of widespread deforestation, and could see that the ozone layer was really thin. That makes me feel weird, nearly despondent in a detached way, almost as if I was reading a sad part of a story, such as “Where The Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls, when the two dogs Old Dan and Little Ann die at the end.

I wonder what aliens think, when they view and observe our planet. They probably think we’re a bunch of jerks. I can’t believe it’s so bad it’s visible from space. I heard (and I may be wrong) that 99% of the worlds water is undrinkable or polluted. That’s a crazy number if it’s true. I think I am going to follow up on the situation.

My cubicle is a funny area. At work, we have these half cubicles, and on my left I have the computer support guys (there are two who sit there during the week) Tom and Tim, and on my right I have a glass wall, and Safety Ray sits next to me. I’ve been working on a number of different critical projects lately, so I have been tacking notes and information up on the divider window. I have been strategically placing the notes on the window, so I can see if the boss is walking down my aisle, just in case I’m reading about the Space Shuttle I can quickly click onto my database or something.

I have some visible squares that allow me to be peripherally aware of Safety Ray, and what he’s doing. He smokes a lot, so he sounds like he’s coughing up a lung sometimes. That’s when I’m thankful there’s the window between us. He also has certain lunch rituals I’ve observed, and one of them is getting take-out food from Kentucky Fried Chicken on Wednesdays. I think they have a Chicken Fried Steak Special meal that he gets, which is a hunk of fast food restaurant quality steak breaded and deep fried, along with Ray’s choice of side items (mash potatoes and baked beans), a biscuit and a soda. He really likes his Chicken Fried Steak meal. Our state lottery can be played on CD-ROMs that can be purchased, and I think while he’s eating his lunch he plays the lotto games on his computer.

People I work with make fun of how I eat. I told my boss I was going to Sushi Land, and he asked me why I’m paying to eat bait. I usually eat tamari seaweed rice cakes, with sun dried tomato hummus and Thaichi ginger raw sauerkraut, carrot sticks and a few catamala olives. Or a bowl of cereal. Anyone walking by when I am eating will make a comment or sound like “ewww.”


That’s okay, though. My colon isn’t rotting. And contrary to popular belief, the things I eat taste good.

misnomer

Lewis and Clark didn’t discover the Northwest. They were shown by the local natives.



exasperation

I went to the grocery store today to buy razors refills for my new razor. There were three pegs designated for my brand of razor refills, but all three pegs were empty.

Friday, August 05, 2005

NASA Announces Space Shuttle Discovery Landing Schedule

NASA Announces Space Shuttle Discovery Landing Schedule

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Commander Eileen Collins and the six-member Space Shuttle Discovery crew are scheduled to land at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at approximately 4:46 a.m. EDT, Monday. Discovery began the 13-day Return to Flight (STS-114) mission July 26. Landing at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) is planned for orbit 201 at mission elapsed time 12 days, 18 hours, 07 minutes. The deorbit burn is at approximately 3:43 a.m. EDT. A second KSC landing opportunity is also available Monday at 6:21 a.m. EDT, with a deorbit burn at 5:19 a.m. EDT.

Two landing opportunities are planned for the back-up landing location at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB), Calif., on Monday. The first opportunity is 7:52 a.m. EDT; the second is 9:27 a.m. EDT. If Discovery lands at EAFB, an augmented KSC convoy team will be on-site for post-landing processing and disembarking the crew. The turnaround team will be deployed to EAFB by charter aircraft on landing day.

If Discovery must stay in orbit beyond Monday, two landing opportunities are available at KSC on Tuesday at 5:09 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. EDT. Two additional times are also available at EAFB on Tuesday.

If landing occurs as scheduled, it will be the 62nd at KSC and the 15th night Kennedy landing in the history of the Shuttle program. About an hour after touchdown, the STS-114 crew will be taken to their KSC quarters to meet with their families and for initial physicals.

A post-mission press conference with select members of the STS-114 crew is scheduled at the KSC News Center no earlier than six hours after touchdown.

Media should check with the KSC Press Site for details.

The KSC press site opens for landing activities at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7. Accredited news media on the approved list to view Discovery's landing from the SLF should be at the KSC News Center beginning at 2 a.m. EDT, Monday for transport to the landing site. The last bus leaves the Press Site at 3 a.m. EDT. Media must sign up for the SLF prior to bus departure.

Launch/mission badging requirements and security restrictions for the media remain in effect. Mission STS-114 accredited U.S. media may drive directly to the KSC News Center. Foreign media must ride a bus to the Press Site from the Pass and Identification Building on State Road 3. Buses begin running at midnight.

For the latest information about the STS-114 mission and Return to Flight, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/returntoflight

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/home/index.html

Thursday, August 04, 2005

www.christianbikergear.com

I just placed an order for a belt buckle..

Here's another funny website: http://mockery.org/notmensa, or this funny Ebay auction, Would Anyone Really Buy A Peg.

Where did the astronauts spend their last vacation?

All over Florida! (bad Challenger joke).

But seriously, Steven Robinson, the astronaut attached to the giant robot arm, was able to extract the two pieces of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of Discovery's shoe. Luckily, he didn't have to use scissors or build a hacksaw in space. I think the bigger, neglected question is, how can that be good, this "filler material" just coming out from between tiles like that. If I were up in space, I'd be having a panic attack.

Now there are new developments, of course. A heat blanket or something that is outside of a crewman's window is puffed up. NASA and other powers that be are deciding if this is going to warrant yet another spacewalk to repair, cut or rip off the offending blanket.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bird Shit and Paper Cut

These are two unrelated items.

  • Bird Shit will eat the paint off of your car if you don't wash it off immeadiately. I made the mistake of sleeping, and in the early dawn, my car was marked for destruction by a couple of teradactyls, I think. In any event, by the time I noticed it and washed it off, the splats of the shit's imprint had ate into the paint on the hood of my car.

  • Why is it I can get punched in the eye at class, and after a couple of minutes I can bounce back, but I get a papercut and it hurts for days?

old lady friends

I notice that I always seem to have an “old lady friend.” This usually is a woman in her 60’s and above, who lives alone and has a cat (or several). I seem to rotate old ladies every year or two. They are usually widows, and a couple of the old ladies were kind of sassy. This one lady, Pat, loved to go out drinking, she could definitely drink me under the table. She’s in her late 70’s I think she said she was 78 or something. She looked great; if I was an old guy I’d be hot for her. She had a mouth like a drunken sailor, and could run around and move with agility and grace at speeds the average overweight out of shape American a third her age couldn’t. I think Pat had a cat or two. She is the receptionist at the sheltered workshop I used to work at, and she used to go into Internet dating chat rooms at work, and email me dirty jokes. I don’t see her too much, maybe once every couple of months a whole bunch of us will meet at a bar and have drinks.

As far as being old and looking good, I think after a certain age you can’t tell hold old someone is, anyway. Old is old, unless you get some sort of facial growth. The thing that sucks about being old and having a facial growth, is that the doctor’s may assess that you are so old it might be a waste of their time cutting some skin flap off of your face. Of course they’ll tell you something like “The trauma of the operation may put you at increased heart damage risk” or something similar that will definitely deter you from wasting their time.

The last time I saw Pat, it was at Applebee’s, by the mall over here in the shopping district part of town. All the waiters and waitresses were really funny, these over enthusiastic college kids running around and really busy bumping into each other. We kept them busy, our every time our waiter would bring someone at our table a drink, another person would need another drink. Pat’s great when she drinks because she gets mouthy and loud. She’s got great commentary about everything around her, and her monologue goes between visual stimuli musings and gossiping about things that are happening at her work.

Pat’s really cool. I had a couple of other old lady friends that were annoying, with annoying families and mood disorders going on. It was too much. I feel guilty because I just cut the strings, but it was really too much. Besides, I’m not completely cut off, it’s more of a “back off.” There’s another angry old lady friend Ric and I had, named Judy. She was a frigging pistol. She was 65 and the toughest lady, old or young, I have ever met. She was stacked, I’ve seen her pick up a desk on her own and move it. She would curse like you wouldn’t believe. I think her favorite word was “Fuck.” She got hit by a car, mowed over and ended up having major surgery and pins put in her leg, and still got up right after the accident and shouted “FUCK YOU, FUCKO!” at the asshole who hit-and-ran her. She told you what she wanted to, whether you liked it or not, and tacked “fuck” in her statements as a verb, adjective and noun. She also drank a lot, and started drinking early. I got drunk with her early in the day once, we were drinking Hamm’s in the can and by 11 AM I was pretty trashed and just wanted to go home and sleep. She was making pasta salad.


That’s the only time I got that drunk with Judy.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Relay Operator #221513

Stuffy nose
Slow typist
Impatient with my quick replies
Reading correspondence from a teletypewriter

Relay operator
Is my multi-task paradise
Adding voice inflection
Where it doesn’t work
The last word of a broken sentence,
Accented into a question
He’s makes it hard to pay attention
I’m only half listening
The other half
Is reading about the Space Shuttle.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Space Shuttle update

Scanning the news pages, I see that NASA is now setting up their conference news coverage jointly about the Space Shuttle and Space Station. My guess is that would take the attention off of the dilemma orbiting the earth. They could present the bad news, “Oh, by the way, we’ve detected 2 gap fillers protruding from an awkward and vital part of the shuttle’s underbelly, and oh, the Space Station is doing really well!”

Gap fillers, made of heat-resistant alumina-borosilicate fiber, fill the space between the shuttle's tiles when they expand and contract due to extreme temperature fluctuations. If these gap fillers aren’t properly placed, that means that when the tiles are heated upon re-entry, heat will get inside and we’ll have another Columbia disaster on our hands. Additionally, the ones in question require a space walk to fix, and the astronauts have already gone on more “space walks” to fix shit than planned. I think the scientists at NASA are planning on having the astro-pit crew use scissors or pliers to cut or rip off the protrusions.

I just want to reiterate that heat shield damage was responsible for the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts on February 1, 2003. Haven’t we learned anything?