Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Hotel Lounging

(from earlier last year)

Dear Friends:

I'm sitting in a hotel lounge in Vancouver on a wireless LAN for a quick email-check before I head up to bed. Just moments ago a lady walked straight through the lounge to the bar and asked the bartender (in a very annoyed tone) "WHERE is the hotel lounge?" as if he, personally, were responsible for misplacing the hotel lounge. I couldn't see his face from across the room, but I'd give all the crazy Canadian money in my wallet for a better seat to that show.

Now, I'm not a smart man, but I know a hotel lounge when I see one. You'll know it too when you're there. It’s a magical place. You will hear early-80s-vintage bar music. You will see a very large blonde woman in a business suit. There will be too many candles. Shrimp will be referred to as "prawns." Massive windows will look out upon a deserted pool. Garish houseplants will be in abundance. A rather shortish man in his late 30s will approach you and say, "welcome to the hotel lounge at the Hilton." Then, this man will call you "sir."* Only THEN, my friends - if the sign out front, the bartender, the maitre'd, the baggage drop, the elevator, the valet, and the patrons were no indication to you….THEN! You will know you're in a hotel lounge.

I don't know how you feel about it, but if I ever ask a question that dumb in public it should be an indication to you that I am never going to be useful again. If that happens and you are my friend; you will immediately take me out back and beat me until I either come to my senses or scream, "UNCLE!!!" - whichever comes first...

All the best from Canada.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Malaria Vs.

I think I am specifically not going to attempt any heavy dating topics in this little blog. Not because I'm immature, not because I lack the depth to understand why I act the way I do, not because I am hardheaded. Not because I am bitter, or confused, or angry with women. I am none of these things (except hardheaded).

Because its boring.

My new years' resolution is to quit dating and start smoking. Every time I feel like going on a date I'm going to light a cigarette, take $100 out of my wallet, and put it in the bank. In two years I'm going to take all that money out and go hunt lions in Africa with a bow in a malarial swamp.

It will be much safer than dating.

Heres a fun game. I call it "Malaria vs." You decide which you'd choose given the scenario "Malaria vs." Here is an example and my personal responses:

Malaria vs. accidental pregnancy? Malaria. I'm afraid of babies.

Malaria vs. crying at the dinner table? Malaria. I don't carry a hanky.

Malaria vs. $300 shoes? Malaria for obvious reasons.

Malaria vs. public displays of affection? Double Malaria.

Go on, draft your own answers and give it a try. Stay tuned for my newest game "Beartrap vs."


The Reason for it All

Funny - the things that end up standing out in your mind as defining moments in life. I wish I could predict it, prepare, and appreciate it when it happens, but it rarely happens on the days you anticipate.

Weddings are big events I guess, but they don't usually move me unless they happen on a Saturday in October or November; in which case I'm moved to helpless fury that I have to sit in church in a tie when I could be hunting. Send me pictures, call me from Maui, save me one of the little baggies with birdseed in it, Lord save me - I'll even watch your ridiculous slideshow, but don't make me play dress-up on a Saturday in the Fall.

I don't go to funerals. Nobody has ever invited me to a bar-mitzvah.

I'm a huge fan of birthdays, but mostly for gift-related reasons. Christmas is another big red circle on my calendar - also gift related. I like Fathers Day, Mother's Day, the Fourth of July, Easter, and Labor Day - but none of these days may reliably be expected to provide a truly defining moment. They might. Then again they might not.

So, I'll tell you what really moved me this week: my taxidermist called me at work.

Put simply: I have a taxidermist, and he calls me at work.

I am officially an Outdoorsman.

So, to Jerry Mosely at Buckmaster Taxidermy all I can say is this: you complete me.

That is all.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Growing the Family

So, it turns out: I'm an accountant.

I'm not really sure how that happened, but I'm certain of its veracity. Why else would I have so many red pencils and binder clips? I know, red pencils do not an accountant make, but they are definitely a warning sign. Sometimes in life you have to knuckle down and admit to your faults. I, am an accountant.

And thats just if I start with the "a"'s.

Even in the face of the recent unpleasantness mentioned above, I am quite pleased to announce the arrival of two very important new members to my family. Thats right: cowboy boots. Two of them. Chippewas. They're crunchy. And I dig 'em.

That is all.


Important Warning


It has begun.

I'd like everyone to carefully note that Deer Season typically begins Saturday the 3rd weekend in October and runs until January 1 in the Northern half of the state. It extends into mid-January in the Southern half of the state. Many of you are unfamiliar with the crucial importance of these dates, so please take the time to familiarize yourself with them. Please also note that the Latin name of the Whitetail Deer is Odecoilus Virginianus, the Cherokee name of my favorite rifle is Blasteronimo, and as you've always feared: there IS a monster under your bed, but its a very small one.

To celebrate the upcoming season: I just built myself a hunting stuff closet. Thats right, a closet devoted entirely to hunting stuff. It smells strangely reminiscent of acorns and deer stinkum. I really like it.

Now, I know many of you like to watch The Foosball on Saturdays during the fall. The Foosball isn't really that interesting, especially when UGA almost loses to Arkansas in what was supposed to be a blowout. Who needs that? That guy breaking his leg during the game the other day was sort of neat, but I mean really - how often do you see that? Mostly its just up-and-down-the-field, cut to cheerleaders, yea!, whoops there goes the ball, look out, whammo, ouch!, and kick. Afterwards you've spent all day at a sporting event and didn't get a single chigger bite, tick, or mosquito. Never once did you fall off anything high while sleeping, cut your finger, fall in a creek, drop your $2,000 rifle barrel-first into the dirt, spray animal gland secretions all over you, put a deer in the back of your mom's minivan, back over your rifle with your truck tire, or get lost in a thicket.

My recommendation is this: turn The Foosball off, buy a gun, and lets shoot some stuff.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Flying TurkeyRat

Dear Friends:

I was preparing to retire last night when I heard the distinct sound of a squirrel chewing on something in the attic over my bedroom. Ordinarily I object to wildlife taking up quarters in my immediate vicinity, so I went to investigate.

My original plan was to enlist Matt's help and pretend to carry on a conversation in the den to avoid suspicion, while simultaneously sneaking outside to have Matt flush the squirrel out onto the roof whereupon I would pick him off with my trusty pellet gun. The plan looked great drawn out in crayon. Matt, however, was unable to assist due to the sudden surprise appeareance of Rick Flair on the Monday Night WWE Wrestlemania Smackdown. The sound of the melee was so profound that I was forced to exit the den and forge ahead on my own.

So, quite alone, clad only in bravado and boxer shorts, toting my trusty Benjamin Pump rifle I made my way to the attic in search of adventure.

I stuck my head up through the drop-down stairs and panned my excessively-large flashlight around. Nothing. Back around (mimicing a searchlight). Nothing. Back around again and I spotted red eyes glowing at my from a startlingly close distance. There sat a huge norway rat on a beam about 8 feet away eyeballing me like I owed him money*. This critter had actually climbed up on a beam to get a better look at me. He was sizing me up and sported a really indignant look on his face, as if I had interrupting something important with all my clattering around. I looked to my left and realized the entire attic is now tiled in large, dark-hued feathers. All I could think was "How did this thing drag a flock of turkeys into my attic without the neighbors noticing?"

Then it came to me - this furry little beast had EATEN ALL of my turkey fans (I've been storing them to mount in a shadow box) from my last 3 years of turkey hunting. He ate the base off the feathers, the beards, the legs, AND the spurs. It looks like a flock of kamikazee turkeys exploded in my attic. Solid turkey feathers from end to end. Everywhere. In impossible places. Destined to remain for all time. We will come to be known as the "turkey house" on River Springs Court.

I hefted my old Benjamin Pump, lined up the sights, and let him have it. Before I had time to reload the miniature carnivore roared like a tiny lion and CHARGED me! Fortunately it was a perfect heart shot so he ran out of steam before I was mauled.

I'd estimate him at about .25lbs with a 5" tail and 1" tusks. A wallhanger. Once we get him back from the taxidermist I'll have everyone over.

In the meantime - beware the flying turkeyrat.


*"like I owed him money" borrowed from Robert Ruark's writings on Cape Buffalo in Africa. Thanks Robert.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

'Twas the Night Before Thursday

My sincerest apologies to Clement Clarke Moore for his wonderful poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and the poetic butchery to follow:

'Twas the night before Thursday when all through the house,
not a roomate was stirring, not even Matt's louse.
The gym socks were slung on the floors everywhere,
In hopes that the maid would just clean and not care.
I walked in real' late and got ready for bed,
then I thought to myself "no, go downstairs instead."
"I have washing to do and its not such a blast,
But I'll run to the basement and dump clothes in fast."
I grabbed hold of my wash and shouldered it up,
"no whites with the darks" and soap less than a cup!
I walked down the stairwell and what did I see?
A river of sewage rushing straight up at me.
I swore oh-so-loud at the miserable sight,
and woke up my brother to clean up all night.
We plunged and we roto-ed and we rooter-ed around,
but by 2AM the problem couldn't be found.
So to the plumber I went and I hugged him real' tight,
he just backed away quickly and said "its alright."
"I'll take all your money and dig up your yard,
with this great big bulldozer it really ain't hard."
"I'll kill all your shrubs and your trees just for fun,
to get me to finish you'll need a big gun."
I say all this now, but know when I'm through,
when its a plumber you need - no one else will do.
So on plungers! On rakes! On cleaners and spools!
On buddies with trucks and big racks full of tools!
On door locks! On rat bait! On old ceiling tiles!
On Pergo! On slate! On rails with no stiles!
On drip pans! On French drains! On sagging brick walls!
On wall lights! On mildew! On too-narrow halls!
On Mark Andy and Matt! On Bud (when awake)!
On Mom George and Dad who helped clean up the lake!
To the top of the roof! To the end of the hall!
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!
We've braved unimaginable strain and cleaned many a mess,
so you all have my thanks - I could wish you no less!
The house is still standing and we all still live there,
The thought of it dark and cold gives me a scare,
But when I turn in the driveway I am greeted by light*!
So I say - Merry Basement to all, and to all a good night!


*turn it off. it costs me money.

Acrylic Goeth Before a Fall


It is with mixed emotions that I report to you my constant battle with the basement has taken a turn for the worst.

As many of you know; my experiences as a homeowner have ranged in effect from dangerous (even disasterous) to quite pleasant at times. Sure, we have had some good parties, a few laughs, more than just a few quirky mishaps, and perhaps an occasional slip with the beard trimmer (resulting in a rakishly cut eyebrow or sideburn). I have fallen off a few things, dropped some heavy stuff on some fragile stuff, slammed my fingers a few times, bumped my 'ol head hard enough to knock myself out in the driveway (twice), punched some holes in some drywall, dug up things that ought not be dug up, buried things that ought not be buried, and improperly installed a whole host of gadgetry, but it is only recently that I have turned my deft hand-of-disaster towards fumes.

And I do mean fumes.

Perhaps it is not until you have found yourself in an enclosed space clad solely in boxer shorts, black socks, goggles, and a WWII gas mask; standing in a puddle of rapidly-curing acrylic exterior concrete sealer that you will appreciate my meaning.

Sure, the indications on the jug loudly advertise such (clearly) alarmist suggestions as "outdoor use only" and "proper ventilation required", but in today's litigous society can one rely solely on the indications lithographed on a metal container as a source of proper direction? What about expertise and real world experience? To what extent might conditions and weather dictate usage?

In a world where coffee must be clearly marked as "hot," wet floors must be designated "slippery," and forklifts "beep" in both forward and reverse; is it safe to assume fumes might cause drowsiness, dizziness, unontrollable vomiting, blurred vision, asthma, shingles, central nervous system disorder, rickets, vitamin C deficiency, shortness of breath, angina, and death? Am I really concerned that I might drown in this five-gallon pail? Will my head even fit in there? What is "adequate ventilation" anyway? Adequate for me might well be inadequte for the average homeowner, mightn't it?

These are the questions that plauge a mind not to be troubled with direction books, instructional videos, and cleverly-printed pamphlets designed to ward off misuse by lesser men. It is a question of ethos. Do I really need Big Brother to dictate my application of household products? Ha! I scoff at the mere suggestion.

MY will shall never bend under the onerous burden of product liability. I will blaze my trail of personal responsibility and reliance on individual wisdom and ingenuity. I will throw away directional booklets and remove safety valves. I will mix Clorox and Lysol. I will store shaving cream above 78 degrees…I will be getting out of the emergency room on Monday.

Memorial services for Seth, Matt, and Andrew J. Waters will be held Wednesday afternoon in front of Home Depot.

Devil, Thy Name is Basement.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Darth Basement


I am not in a good place. I have crossed over to the dark side. The way before me is in shadows. My eyesight is dimmed by a shroud of paperless statements, efile-taxes, and 68yr-old-home improvements. Mr. Bill Statement gets his mail at my house.

Yea thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of my basement,
I will fear no plumber,
For credit art with me,
My discover and my visa they comfort me,
They preparest a bankruptcy before me in the presence of my contractor,
My drains runneth over.

Surely root clogs and electrical shorts will not plague me all the days of my life,
And I won't dwell in the poorhouse for ever, and ever.


Had you come calling last night at 12:30AM you'd have found my basement ankle deep in a substance that can only be described as "not at all unlike chili."

Had you come calling last night at 1AM you'd have found me ankle deep in a substance that can only be described as "two gallons of $35-per-can paint" (surrounded by a substance not at all unlike chili).

I don't know how I did it, but between roto-rootering around and frantically moving hunting paraphrenalia - I found time in my busy 12AM-2AM Thursday night schedule to explode two brand-new, full, gallon paint cans all over creation. If you lit a match in my dining room the paint thinner fumes boiling up out of the vents would blow my house to the moon.

I don't know if Big Shane Biggs, Roto-Rooter Professional, has ever had a full-grown man hug him and sob openly before, but he handled it well for 8AM.

To quote everyone's favorite movie*** "AAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!! HELP MEEE!!!! WHAT AM I DOING HERE?"

Just thought I'd include you, my friends, in what has been the least enjoyable experience of my young life.


*** The Notebook, of course. What, you didn’t love it?

Friday, February 10, 2006