Saturday, March 06, 2010


My cousin Drew had a birthday party today. I was there. I skated. It was fun.

He turned three, so he's a bit young for the skating thing. So was Angel, but my nephew, now a talented fourteen years of age, ruled the rink.

I challenged him to a race, but he beat me early. I tried for a second heroic charge, but my skates got out from under me and I fell flat on my ass. The left cheek, kind of high and mostly on the hip. It's sore now but not bruised. The bruise would be on my ego.

I also fell trying to ram into Uncle Jim. That one wasn't so bad, just lots of flailing and a kind of not-so-graceful Elvis kneel. Just another bruise to the ego. Who cares?

My other cousin Cori challenged me to a game of tag, tagged me, then skated off. Of course, when I finally caught up to her --four laps later-- she called time out. So unfair!

Here's me and my Angelita. She really loves me for some reason. It's not because I'm all sweaty from racing and falling and playing tag. Maybe it's just because I look funny.
And speaking of looking funny...
That would be my nephew, who kicked my ass in speed skating. He asked me for a hundred dollars and I opened up the checkbook I asked for what. Then he tried to low-ball. Thirty bucks? A 70% reduction in the shakedown! What a deal! I better take it.

For a new skate deck, he says. A new one? In addition to the fifty he's procured for himself over the years? Yeah, a blank one so he can put some custom art on it.

A noble goal, young man. Here's your thirty bucks. Well, I do have some branches I need to have trimmed down and bundled up. And I've got some raking and stuff to do. I know I've got thirty bucks of work laying around here...

Friday, March 05, 2010


Karl Rove has a book coming out. Titled Bald Men With Bold Ideas (not really), it defends the decision to go into Iraq. From this article:
“Having seen how much carnage four airplanes could cause, Bush was determined to do all he could to prevent the most powerful weapons from falling into the hands of the world’s most dangerous dictators,” Rove wrote.
To a certain stripe, I guess that's persuasive.

But seriously? Read that again.

"Having seen how much carnage four airplanes," which aren't even weapons if used properly, flown by terrorists can cause, our genius leader decided that he had to do something about "the most powerful weapons" being used by "the world’s most dangerous dictators."

What a mental leap! Instead of focusing on how terrorists can use non-weapons as weapons, he got worried about dictators and the weapons they didn't have!

Yeah, I think history is going to look kindly on this courageous example of failure...

PS. I knew Iraq didn't have any WMDs before we launched the invasion, not because I was reading the (astoundingly wrong) intelligence reports, but because I watched a silly documentary called Uncle Saddam. It's on Netflix.

Watch it and tell me how that two-bit gangster was going to get his hands on a nuclear weapon...

Oh yeah, right. Yellowcake from Niger. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Quote of the Day

Nowadays, if you’re not on Facebook, it’s possible you don’t actually exist.
- Kashmir Hill, True/Slant
Confirming something I've long suspected.

That my existence is largely an illusion, predicated by my stubborn refusal to set up a Facebook page.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Reinventing the Blues

At the end of the Austin City Limits episode featuring Them Crooked Vultures (which I saw, thanks to Sean), Dave Grohl is relating a story about how Josh Homme (pronounced Hahm-ee??) called him up and said something like "Hey, I got this new thing now. I'm going to reinvent the blues."

It's been sticking with me since I watched it the other day, and after much thought and reflection, I think that Josh Homme should have set his sights lower with Them Crooked Vultures.

If you're trying to "reinvent the blues," you should make a record that is somehow recognizable as blues. I'm not sure blues is the right reference. Glam rock, maybe?


Oh glorious day.

The first place I drove this morning was K-Mart, not the most glamorous of locations nor the furthest. But we are rapidly approaching planting season and I wanted to check out their seed selection. And now that I'm a free man, I did.

But I guess Martha Stewart isn't down with K-Mart anymore because all they had were the Burpee seeds you can get at Wal-Mart or the Veggie Tales seeds you can get at Home Depot. They're perfectly good seeds all of them, but rather common. They're the seeds you can get anywhere. (Someone said there would be a pea shortage this year...yeah, right.) At least the Martha Stewart collection, which no longer exists at my local store, used to have some oddities...

After that, I rolled up to the thrift store on Mississippi. I took a bus trip up there a few weeks ago and it was a pain in the ass. It was nice to drive this time. I spent about six bucks and got a fistful of Heinlein paperbacks, a coffee-table book about Machu Picchu and another one about Norman Rockwell.

Then I ventured over to City Floral, a great local store. It can be a bit pricey, so I drool more than shop but I picked up some seedling pots and a cactus.

There was also some comedy in the store, too. We were there, scanning the seeds, me on side, the overbearing mother and her young daughter on the other. Mom says, "Ooh, let's plant some red carrots."

"I don't like red carrots," the daughter says. "They make me sleep."

I couldn't help myself, I just started laughing. It was one the cutest things I've ever heard. The way she said, "They make me sleep" was so sad and drawn out. They make me sleeeeep.

Hell, I'm laughing now.

Red carrots make you sleep.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Year of Living Busly

Today I took my last bus ride.

Don't worry, I took it in stride. I was barely awake when he dropped me off at the train station. The train was packed. I squeezed into a seat amidst all the college kids returning home from class and stuck my nose in a book.

I didn't even look up to take in the ambiance. I'm all too familiar with the ambiance.

When I got off the train, I saw the Call N Ride short bus sitting there. To hell with it, I thought. Even though it's the last day, I didn't feel like walking up that hill.

So I hopped in and the kind lady dropped me off at the office.

Tomorrow, I'm taking a personal day. Thursday, I can drive again. I'm not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow, but I'll tell you what I won't be doing.

Riding the bus.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fun With Google Earth

So check it out, my house. It's the third one from the left. The pic is from Jul of 07, and the ghetto garden is in full bloom. There is a car in my driveway but I can't think of whose it might be. My truck is not there, so I'm probably not there.
Maybe I'm at work. There are several vehicles in the parking lot that could be my truck, but at this resolution, I can't be sure. That's it for "Where in the World was James on July 31st, 2007?" Better luck next time.

(Check the duckpond and the fountains in the lower right.)
And now, to places I'd like to visit. First up, McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The chance of me getting there? Zip.

You have to get government clearance, and they don't let you go down to sight-see. I'm not even really sure I'd want to go there anyway. The long ass flight, the cold, the snow, the weird people. Yes, weird people. Watch Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World if you don't believe me.
And now, where everyone wants to go...Egypt, to see the pyramids. Right outside the green neighborhoods of Cairo, a three thousand year old tribute to vanity and engineering. Three of them, in fact, all lined up in a row like ducks. Oh, and the Sphinx, too. She's down there somewhere.
I've always wanted to go to Machu Picchu, until I saw the road you have to take to get there. Switchbacks the whole way up, fourteen hairpin turns up, and fourteen hairpin turns down. All of this driven by a Peruvian bus driver who doesn't care if you get car sick.

I still want to go, but I'd almost rather just walk up there like the Incas. Yes, even the Inca king had to walk up that mountain.
The Forbidden City in Beijing, if only because it's "forbidden." And also for the grand scale, the architecture, the I-can't-believe-they-built-this-factor.

A Strange Story

On three separate occasions, a man has broken into an unnamed woman's home in Fort Collins and beaten her senseless. She claims that she doesn't know the suspect, but it seems that he certainly knows her. He doesn't steal anything, he just beats her.

And he follows a strange schedule in doing it too. Every four weeks or so, he busts in, fists-a-flying. Almost as if it's punishment for some past misdeed.

Perhaps she doesn't know him, but knew him as a child and left him with some damage he's working out with therapeutic violence. Perhaps she did something to someone he cared about, and now he has some kind of vendetta against her. You killed my dog!

Perhaps he thinks she's someone else who wronged him.

Perhaps, based on this sketch, it's aliens.