19 October 2006

They Booted My Car!


This isn’t the same type of car boot that you ultraviolent Brits are so fond of stuffing dead bodies into, this is a car immobilizer. And just because I had a few dozen unpaid parking tickets!

Bastards! Arse-fiddling bum-monkeys! Vile Meter-Nazi Scum!

In retrospect, I guess those home-made diplomatic plates were not such a good idea. But $450 to get the damn boot off? That’s highway robbery!

After all, I can buy a plasma cutter for less.

Sadly, the manufacturers of the car immobilizer have thought of this too and I couldn’t very well go home with a $450 ticket and a brand new plasma cutter.

Hmmm. I took a good look at the car boot rod that went through the tyre. Turns out it wasn’t a rod that went through at all...just a hook that grabbed the inside of the rim. By prying the top plate back and holding it open with my big toe, I was just able to get the cutting torch inside the car. I could cut off the lug bolts! I’ld pop the booted wheel off, borrow one lug bolt from each other wheel, pop on the spare, then drive off, leaving the booted wheel for the perplexed and none-too-bright Meter-Nazi.

Egad, I’m brilliant!

Now, you’ld think that the sight of a fat man alternately cackling and cursing (when the sparks burned my toe) whilst cutting off a car boot with a plasma torch would garner some attention, and normally you’ld be right. But this is central Pennsyltucky and we are used to such sights.


I completed the rest of the tasks and hopped into the car only to find to my horror that the Meter-Nazis had disabled the ignition!

And changed the colour of my upholstery!

And left a bunch of tacky beanie babies in the rear window!

Erm, that’s right, I drove the truck today.

Sorry, Judith Wheaton, whomever you are.

18 October 2006

Support the Venetian Blind

It all started with me sleeping on the couch for some trifling domestic infraction like making disparaging comments about George Clooney’s masculinity or comparing Gretchen’s posterior with that of a Wildebeest.

Sleeping on the couch is really not such a bad thing since the couch is more comfortable than the bed, and it is in close proximity to both the TV and the beer-miester.

The down side is of course cat related. In the living room, one is regaled nightly with the sounds of furball manufactury, cat box depositions (it's in the basement but there is an open heating duct) and curio destruction. Occasionally a cat will go so far as to jump upon one's delicate bits without advance notice.

This time, I was awakened by the sound of a cat licking the Venetian blind. Cats seem to like the taste of plastic because, well, they’re idiots.

“Knock it off!” I yelled, to no avail.

I tried to push it off with my foot. It just moved out of reach.

Slcritch. Slcritch. Slcritch. Slcritch. Slcritch. Slcritch. I hate that damned sound.

I kicked out a few times with all the grumpy vigour of a severly constipated badger. I didn’t hit the damned cat, but he decided to leave.

Unfortunately, I did hit the Venetian blinds and ended up with my foot entangled.

Now, you lot may not realize this, but it’s almost impossible to get back to sleep with your foot tangled up in a Venetian blind three feet above your head. I tried reaching up to free my leg, but this is like actual exercise. I fell back supine, grunting with fatigue. Then I tried again.

“Clatter!” rang out the blinds as I hauled myself up. “Grunt!” as I gave in to fatigue. The cat, having sensed that I no longer posed a threat, returned to his ecstatic blinds-licking session.

“Clatter! Grunt! Slcritch! Slcritch! Slcritch! Knock it off!”

“Clatter! Grunt! Slcritch! Slcritch! Slcritch! Knock it off!”

“Clatter! Grunt! Slcritch! Slcritch! Slcritch! Knock it off!”

“Clatter! Grunt! Slcritch! Slcritch! Slcritch! Knock it off!”

Soon the lights were flicked on.

“The cat did it!” I exclaimed guiltily. Of course, by this time he was feigning innocence by delicately licking his rump.

“Feel the burn, Dad!” encouraged Lout the Elder, while Lout the Younger snapped pictures.

Gretchen shook her head. “You’re buying new blinds tomorrow!” was all she said.

Do you lot have any idea how much those things cost? I shall have to start a fake charity. “Give to the Venetian Blind!” I’ll tell my coworkers.

And they bloody well better, or I’m giving them all cats.

13 October 2006


They aren’t much to look at when they first pop out or the hatch; looking more like they’ve gone five rounds with a slime monster than anything you’ld feel comfortable showing your family. This is patently unfair considering how large slime monsters are and how little a new-born is. I said so at dinner last night.

“Hah!” I was told. “Little?!? 8 Lbs 12 oz and 9 Lbs 8 Oz? I’ld like to see you pop out something that size!”

Though certain (disturbing) responses did occur to me, I kept my mouth shut until she assured me that women would be perfectly happy should babies emerge the size of a mouse and spend the rest of the gestation period in a pouch.

Naturally, (in the interest of peace making) I offered to make two lout-sized pouches with which to secure them until such time as they matriculate from medical school or marry an heiress, whichever comes first. Then we can present them with a bill and retire to the Seychelles.

I can tell from the bruising that I must have said something wrong, but back to the subject at hand.

I admit to being fascinated with babies. Not only are they unlikely to borrow one's truck without asking, then leave it parked carelessly in a river, but they are nature’s perfect little garbage disposals. In fact, if one could permanently plumb the effluent end into one’s drains, one’s kitchen waste dilemmas would be permanently sorted.

There is a whole industry devoted to this. Food items that no self-respecting adult would eat (I know, I’ve tried) are pureed, coloured, place in tiny little jars and sold for about the non-narcotic portion of Bolivia’s GDP.

I spent yesterday afternoon shoveling this goop into Mandy, our overworked accountant’s one year old daughter.

“Do you want the purple goop, the orange or the green?” I asked.

“Agrubbel-shmurf!” She replied, chubby fingers grabbing at my beard.

“Right! All three it is then!” and spent the next half hour or so talking like an idiot and shoveling multicoloured goop into a happy maw.

It struck me as being very much like your average management meeting, really.

I’ld cleaned her up a bit just as the Boss-man came out of the conference room.

“Who’s this little beauty?” he said, picking her up and bouncing her.

“A goo-goo-goo!” He said, bouncing her up and down like a fizzy drink in a paint mixer. “Who’s a sweet baby? A goo-goo-goo!”

Now, I’m not normally a fan of Jackson Pollock and his ilk, but I have to admit; that girl’s got talent. Or maybe it was just her choice of an Armani suit as a canvas that appeals so.

10 October 2006

I get a new laptop.

My old one was sloooow. Way too slow to handle the modern high definition pornography that is so necessary in today’s business world. I’m talking about the sick, demented, ultra high-resolution "Eeeew, what kind of sore is that?" stuff that gains one an empty row in coach class flights. Low definition porn lacks the seat clearing punch with today’s morally decadent travelers.

I blame the Archbishop of Canterbury for this.

Be that as it may, our new corporate overlords have a laptop replacement policy that states that a laptop can not be replaced before it becomes archeologically significant. Being a European company, their ideas of this are different from ours. Replaceable items would include the Ten Commandments and Stonehenge; not my hippo with mononucleosis-like 3.2GHz P4.

My God, people; there are dual core machines out there these days!

No!” Brunehilde the Gargoyle from I.T. has macht eine ordnung. No laptop for me…

“But it’s really old!” I whine in my best put-out lout voice. She is immune to loutish whining and does not budge.

“May I have some Elmer’s glue then?”

Since it does not come from the I.T. budget I may.

I dollop it liberally on the bottom of my laptop and let it dry.

“Boss, can I see you? It’s about my laptop…” He nods and I place it in his lap.

“As you can see, it’s very slow.” He does not seem receptive, so I plow on.

“And the fan is out of balance, making the thing vibrate madly!”

“Pish and tosh!” He responds.

“No really, on the trip back from Dresden, I joined the mile-high club all by myself. Check the bottom.”

At the sight of the dried glue, he flings the hippo away from him.

“You broke my laptop!” I shout indignantly.

So, I get a new laptop, but have to pay for the glue.

Fair enough, I suppose.

02 October 2006

A disappointing weekend

The last few days have been tough on the old Doc’s psyche. While slaving away at work, I read a post somewhere and a brilliant response was germinated deep within my brain, itching and squirming its way to the surface. Alas, someone mentioned going to the local and the thought left me, not to return until three in the following morning.

I pad to the computer giggling.

“What on Earth are you doing?” I am asked.

“I’ve just thought of a brilliant comment!” I answer. “You see, someone had posted a story about a Lancaster pilot that had jumped without a parachute from 20,000 feet and survived. He bounced off a tree, through a roof and landed on a bed only recently vacated by a nun. The writer concluded that it would have been ironic had he died of dysentery before liberation.”

You all know the look, gents. It is a steely, expressionless stare that just oozes menace.

“I am going to point out that it would have been more ironic had he died of dropsy!”

The look is adjusted to include a rapid blink. I am losing her.

“Um, you see, he fell without a parachute… and erm, ‘dropsy’?”


I return to bed, my bon mot lost to humanity. I could weep.

But tomorrow is a new day, and the rising sun shall herald a tailgate. I shall be surrounded by people that appreciate my genius and free booze.

Now, for you Brits out there, a tailgate is the ultimate opportunity for male one-upmanship. The grille, menu and beverage selection must be more impressive than the next male’s. This must be some sort of mating display left over from Australopithicine times, but it doesn't seem to work for modern humans. At least not for this one.

No matter. I have been trapped in a place where good Scotch and bacon are hard to come by. Yes, they do have other extremely tasty foods. Hummus, for example, is a quite lovely paste of olive oil and minerals that I am told are mined in the Dead Sea region. It’s grand, but after a few weeks, one misses one’s comfort foods. My menu shall revolve around bacon and 15 year old Dalwhinny.

I acquire the services of a graduate student (they are the only group that can legally be paid less than an illegal alien) and put him to work wrapping quail breasts and attaching a skewer. Then it’s off to meet Flash and his fiancé at the tailgate.

“What do you have?” I ask nonchalantly.

“Oh, a chateaubriand, and some passable clarets.” Flash responds blandly. “You?”

I’ve got quail breasts!” I announce proudly.

“Well, then.” He replies, feigning professional interest while examining my chest. “Did you come by these genetically, or is this due to a procedure?”

I hate medical doctors.

“Well played, Sir.” I reply through clenched teeth and a very taut grin. I vow revenge, but neither the opportunity, nor adequate sobriety present themselves.

And that's the way I likes it.