31 March 2006

License to kill

James Bond really gets on my tits. “Ooo, look at me! I’m wearing a £5000 silk Armani suit bought by you, the taxpayer. I’m going to tear it when I boff some random hotel maid in a broom closet and you lot are going to have to buy me a new one! Why? Because I’ve got a license to kill, that’s why!”

Riiiiight, even though Bond is after me, I’m supposed to help pay for his suits. Yet if I tear one of my hoodies, I have to buy a new one out of my own pocket, or batter a chav into unconsciousness and swipe his.

While the last option would cover the “public service” bit in my plea bargain, the hoody would then be covered with unsavory chav-fluids and teef, rendering it unwearable.

So, as much as I hate the Department of Motor Vehicles, off I went to get my license.

There are three lines at our DMV; two for motor vehicle related items, and one clearly marked “OTHER LICENSES” to which someone had added “IF YOU WANT A DRIVERS LICENSE YOU ARE IN THE WRONG LINE”.

Of course, it would be too much to ask for people that want to be operating tons of speeding steel death to be able to actually read.

“I’m here for my driver’s license!” Announced the first person in line.

“Sorry, I can’t help you.” Replied the clerk pointing at the sign.

The supplicant looked up and read it, lips sounding out the hard words.

“But I been in line for an hour!” he said, thrusting the application towards the clerk.

“Then you had an hour to read the sign. Next!”

The next person in line was wearing a wife beater and a stained trucker cap. (He was also wearing pants; this isn’t Alabama, you know) “I’m here to get mah license back and I ain’t drunk this time!” He stated proudly.

The harried clerk stood up and shouted “LOOK, I CAN”T ISSUE DRIVERS LICENSES! IF YOU ARE HERE FOR ONE, GO TO ONE OF THE OTHER TWO LINES!”


There was no movement from the queue, other than the writhing of fingers deep in nostrils.

And so the morning progressed. The fellow in front of me was wearing a NASCAR tee shirt bearing the number three with angel wings and a halo. His attention was entirely focused on the driver’s license application that he was filling out in pencil, so I wrote “Rest in Pieces!” on his shirt. Hopefully that would get him beaten up when he went back to the bar.

Finally it was my turn.

“I can’t give you a driver’s license.” Said the clerk in a defeated tone.

“I don’t want one. I want a license to kill!

The clerk looked startled, then started to chuckle. “Good one!” he said.

“No I’m serious! I want a license to kill.”

“Listen, we can’t issue licenses to kill, or half of these booger-picking morons would be on the floor drowning in their own blood!"

“And this would be wrong on what level?” I asked.

There was a full minute of silent contemplation, after which he issued me a learner’s permit. I must be accompanied by a DMV employee, and for now may only bludgeon irritating people into unconsciousness. He gave me my first lesson on the spot.

I did very well. The DMV clerk said that I was a natural and after a few more sessions, I’d be a shoo-in to get my license. We agreed that I would come back every morning next week.

In your face Jimmy Bond!

29 March 2006

Chapter 5. Homeward bound.

It seemed the low point of our trip. We were without alcohol. Franklin was mourning the loss of his cheese and A.J. his shirt. However, the news of our dye escapade reached the ears of the staff, and off we were sent to the psychiatrist specializing in troubled youths.

We were a little offended, as he had earned a PhD in Bovine Psychology, but hadn’t actually worked much with people.

Oh, it all makes perfect sense now. I get frequent bovine looks from teenagers. “You were caught, at 3AM, releasing skunks into the teacher’s lounge” I say to them on what seems to be a weekly basis. “What do you have to say for yourselves?”

In response, I get a cud-chewing ungulate looks. “Whhhaaaaa?” they respond.

Seriously, that’s damn near a moo.

“Sneaking out of the house that late on a school night!” I continue scolding “I am very disappointed in you both!” Alas, it’s in one cow-like ear and out the udder.

Be that as it may, we understood that a surly, bovine response would only land us in deeper hot water. Our only hope was complete, total and utter dishonesty. We informed him that we were rushing at a fraternity and this was part of our initiation ceremony.

“Which one?” He asked.

“Tappa Kegga Day” Well, Duuuuh…

He’d heard of it. We were free to go. We asked for our robes back, but to no avail. They were infested with crabs and had been burned. We were to see the nurse for some Qwell cream on the way out.

“What about my cheese?” “And my shirt?” Frank and A.J. queried almost in union.

They could have them back as the hospital staff refused to burn them, citing toxic combustion gases.

We were each given bus fare, a pair of hospital-issue skivvies, a tube of Qwell and sent on our way.

We entered the bus station apprehensively. As usual, it was filled with furtive heroin addicts that have achieved the minor miracle of looking more unsavory than Charles Manson on a bad-hair day. They edged away from us. “We don’t want no trouble, guys…” They said, eyeing up our hospital gowns and the now throbbing cheese.

Now the good side about having blue skin, wearing hospital gowns, skivvies and paper slippers is that we got the very best seats on the bus; back by the commode where no one would bother us. Franklin pushed the cheese under the seat in front of him and we all tried to get some sleep. Sometime, during that hot July night,the pressure and heat proved too much for the abused wax rind. Half of the now liquid cheese poured into the heating duct and the rest oozed down into luggage compartment.

We were made to walk the last few miles and haven’t been allowed on a Greyhound since. We promised ourselves we would never do anything that stupid, at least until the next weekend when we were going to have a hard liquor and trampoline night, and finish testing our latest invention; the self-adhesive, prosthetic unibrow.

Epilogue:

After graduation, A.J. decided that neither Philosophy nor Physics was challenging enough, so he went to medical school and is currently the chief neurosurgeon at Cedar-Sinai hospital. He frequently offers to perform brain surgery on me at a greatly reduced rate.

Franklin went into the Navy’s nuclear program and retired last year after a successful career culminating in the command of an LA class fast attack boat. He still mutters to himself, at least he does when I’m around.

I own a very profitable Herpestidae ranch and sell mongoose and ferret dairy products to lactose intolerant folks world wide. I also sell Amway, Tupperware, Mary Kaye Cosmetics and navy blue Speedos.

Greyhound Bus Lines adopted our “Über-ripe sheep’s milk gorgonzola/burnt transmission fluid” aroma as their official company fragrance. Judging by the smell of their buses, they must have spent millions to equip their fleet with atomizers.

The bastards never paid us a penny in royalties.

28 March 2006

Chapter 4. We break fast at the hospital

Hospital cooking, we decided, had a bad rap. To be sure, it was difficult to identify what some of the grub (it might have been grubs for all we knew) but it was far superior to dodgy fish-paste sandwiches, catfish sushi and the well fermented sheep’s milk gorgonzola the hospital staff had disposed of. We also could drink as much fountain soda as we wished.

Well, teenagers Vs. Free soda; not really a fair match, though the soda put up a valiant fight. However, pretty soon we had to get rid of it. We got up to go to the bathroom, and damn me if everyone didn’t follow us.


Now, I don’t have a bashful bladder. I’m male and that makes the whole world my bathroom. It’s one of the perks that we get to offset longer female lifespan, male pattern baldness and those burdensome karmic mortgages called “kids” that keep saying things like “Dad, do you have two tens for a five?”, “What note from the principal?”, “I think I’m going to be sick!” and “Urrrrp! What do you know? I was right! Sorry about the cat, your paper work and whatever is under your bed that is not the cat.”

Regardless of the world being our oyster, commode-wise, I must admit that we all had problems whizzing whilst wearing those posteriorally vented hospital gowns and having the entire schizophrenia ward as an audience.

“Puta Geriny!” one of them shouted.

Now, despite this apparently Spanish insult, urinal etiquette demands that the pissor must examine the tile immediately in front of his eyes as if it were the most fascinating thing in the world. This prevents straying eyes and meandering streams. After all, no one wants a wet shoe or leg, especially if the pissee is the fellow next to you, and he just happens to be a very large Samoan. We strived to ignore them.

However, focusing on the tiles became increasingly difficult with the increasingly loud choruses of “PUTA-GERINY! PUTA-GERINY! PUTA-GERINY!” so I spun around and demanded to know what the hell they were talking about.

“You have 'Puta Geriny' written on your asses!” replied a spokesloon.

“Well, not really.” I began, “You see…”

“Oh yes you do!” interrupted the spokesloon “P-U-T-A, then on the next line, G-E-R then a wee, hairy asterisk, then I-N-Y. So I suppose it really ought to be pronounced ‘Puta ger*iny’ instead.”

I explained the whole “Put a Tiger in your Tank” debacle and noted that they could only see a portion of the message due to the hospital gowns. They seemed put-off.

The spokesloon turned away muttering to himself. “I told you, John, didn’t I?" he said "There are some real nut-jobs in this place!”

27 March 2006

Chapter 3. A kind tradesman gives us a ride

“I’m starving!” A.J. announced as our buzz started to wear off. The problem was, there was not much opportunity to buy food between Monmouth and Amity, save a diner in Rickreall, which was unlikely to provide much food at one in the morning in exchange for some love beads, a few packs of condoms and an eighth ounce rather sticky bud that we had found stashed in the robes. A.J. turned to Franklin. "The cheese..."

Franklin clenched the softening cheese to his bosom and bared his teeth. “No!” he hissed. “This is for later!”

“Well, we need to do something.” A.J. replied. He turned to gain my support.

I wasn’t there. I had seen a fish hatchery.


I can tell you now, that fish are easier to catch with the proper tools; poles, nets, dynamite, etc., and we spent quite a long time cursing and splashing (once I almost achieved Nirvana when a few thousand fingerlings got trapped immediately below my waist sash) but soon we had caught enough for a fine dinner and slunk of to a nearby barn. It was there that we discovered nobody had any matches. It was also were we discovered that there is a very good reason why nobody serves catfish sushi.

Come the morning, we dusted the hay, fish bones and barn cats off of our robes and set out to hitchhike. We stood, ripening in the sun for almost three hours before anyone stopped. It turned out to be a septic tank pumping truck driven by an elderly gentleman. “Hop in, Boys!” he said cheerfully.

The morning’s Monmouth Examiner lay on the passenger seat, with the main headline proclaiming “Hare Krishna Convention Marred by Indecent Exposure Arrests” and a smaller one saying “Locals Claim Don Ho Visiting Area”.


As there was only room for two more in the cabin, we decided that Franklin and his cheese would ride on a rumble seat located at the back of the tank.

“Yup.” the old fellow stated with pride as ha ground through the gears, “Honey Dippers, Inc. are number one in the number two business! In thirty years of service, I’ll bet there’s not a septic tank in three counties that I haven’t pumped dry with this here rig.” Judging from our low speed, it hadn't been emptied in that time either. We crept along at barely 25MPH until noon.

About that time, we heard Franklin singing from the back of the truck. In retrospect we should have stopped and flogged some sense into him, but as long as he was happy, he wasn’t bothering us. The truth was, he had smoked all the weed and was operating the load release lever like an engine telegraph. “Damn the torpedoes!” He’d roar between snatches of H.M.S. Pinafore. “Full speed ahead!” He’d slam the ‘engine telegraph’ fully forward and leave a brown streak on the road before signaling ‘full astern’ a few hundred yards later and cutting off the flow. We had a long way to go and he wanted to conserve his ‘bunker oil’.

Now, all this wouldn’t have mattered too much as the residents of Rickreall are used to such behavior being located fairly close to a University, but the governor was up to visit a vandalized fish hatchery and Franklin managed to douse the gubernatorial limo.

“Yarr!” Franklin screamed delightedly. “Swab down your poop-deck ya scury dog!”

The state troopers had no trouble catching up to us.

I wasn’t too worried, mind you. After all, Oregon’s state motto is “Don’t harsh my buzz, man!” and the state officials mean it (unlike Missouri; the “Show me!” state, where if you do show them, they immediately cart you off to the slammer. Bastards.)

A.J. and I decided to let Franklin do the talking. If he aroused the trooper’s suspicion, we could claim that we were kidnapped by a dangerous, cheese-molesting lunatic.

“Hi gents!” the trooper said genially, eying up our robes. “You wouldn’t have been involved in that riot in Monmouth last night, would you?”

We assured him that we were just your average fun-loving blue-skinned teenagers in fishy smelling, orange robes and knew nothing about any riots.

“Them are you boys dressed up early for Halloween?” asked the state trooper, not unkindly.

“No, we’re physics students.” Franklin answered in a churlish tone.

“And what, pray tell is that?” asked the trooper, pointing to the wheel of gorgonzola that had seen better days.

“It’s my cheese!”Franklin responded hotly. “And please keep that mountainous Samoan away from it!”

There are watershed moments in one’s life. Times when you attempt to cross the Rubicon but are swept away to places unexpected. Instances that you can look back upon and say things like: “Yup, that’s exactly when the trooper decided to take us to the mental hospital for observation”, or “Gosh, Franklin is truly an idiot.”

This instant was a convolution of the two.

Before the trooper closed the door on us, he gently placed the cheese on my lap.

It squirmed like a clutch of hatching cobra eggs, and gurgled ominously.

26 March 2006

Chapter 2. Motel No-tell

Finding a hotel that would accept us proved more difficult than we had anticipated. For some reason, the night staff seemed reluctant to give us a room. “Besides,” they said, “we're full. There is a Hare Krishna convention in town.”

“Aw, shucks! We don’t care about sharing a hotel with Hare Krishnas!”

“No rooms!” they insisted. “We don’t want you Mormons duking it out with them! Now, Git! And take Don Ho with you!”

Outside of the lobby, A.J. reasoned that we might have better luck if we could borrow a hose and get cleaned up before attempting to check in. We stole around the back of the hotel by the pool and found a faucet.

Now, I’m not the type of fellow that enjoys spending an evening in cold, wet Mormon missionary type garb going from hotel to hotel, so I hung my semi-clean clothes across my bike and snuck into the hot tub with a bottle of wine. This was a purely a survival tactic and had nothing to do with the young ladies that were already present. Franklin and A.J., being well aware of my superior wilderness skills soon followed suit.

You’re probably wondering how we could get away with jumping into a hot tub already occupied by young ladies that did not know us from Adam, without a good deal of screaming, slapping, and/or calling of the police. What you have to understand is that thanks to two events of that decade we were quite safe.


First, Miami Vice had pretty much killed boxers as a skivvies option. The second serendipitous event was an Exxon promotion gone horribly awry. Our local filling station had ordered a few hundred tee-shirts emblazoned with the logo “Put a Tiger in your Tank!”

And that would have been just fine and dandy, had not the Chinese underwear company gotten confused and delivered a few hundred briefs instead. It seemed that very few motorists wanted “Put a Tiger in your Tank!” emblazoned across their arse, so as poor college students, we were able to buy them cheap and dye them navy blue to obscure the lettering. In the dim lights, they looked just like Speedos, so there was very little screaming, slapping, or police summoning.

In fact, there was quite a bit of drinking and teen-agerly bravado. We told the young ladies of our wealth and sophistication. We were on a bicycle trip across wine country, rather than going in a limo, we said. “You see, it’s a rather more authentic experience that way!” We posited earnestly. The young ladies did not discourage us, so with each refill of the wine glasses, we avowed our eternal love and gave up offerings of increasingly lavish terms.

“I would grow you the most exquisite and rare Orchids, should you deign to sleep with me this night!” A.J. whispered to one his very best Barry White voice.

“And I shall buy you a forest green silk camisole and a string of pearls two yards in length to match your auburn hair!” I remarked to another while filling her glass.

Not to be outdone, Franklin, who had been drinking straight out of his bottle, belched and said “And I’ll tattoo your name on my penis!”

We looked at him aghast, sure that he had spoilt our chances, but the young lady simply remarked “My name is Loretta-Marie Jonston-Smythe-MacKinesson.”

Franklin seemed crestfallen, but then brightened.

“Hey!” He said. “How about if just I do your initials?”

The young ladies whispered amongst themselves and got out of the hot tub. “Stay here!” They commanded. “We’ll be right back!”

And so we waited.

And waited.

Pretty soon a group of Hare Krishnas stalked by, glaring at us on their way to the sauna. Now, these weren't your normal "Would you like a flower?" tambourine-beating, happy-dancing Hare Krishnas. No, these were the "What are you looking at, tit-face?", gut-slashing, head-stomping, Provisional Wing of the Hare Krishnas; mean bastards that would as soon glass you as look at you.

“Fucking Mormons!” one of them muttered.

We decided not to make them pay for their insolence. After all, the ladies would be back soon and we didn't want the place splattered with blood. So we settled back to wait some more.

After a while, it became clear that our young ladies were not coming back. Reluctantly, we climbed out of the hot tub and dried off, only to find that the dye had run, turning our skin a lovely Prussian blue (accept for A.J., who looked like a slightly bilious smurf) from head to foot, except in the bits covered by the lettering. Furthermore, no amount of scrubbing seemed to remove the dye.

Well, no matter. We ditched our wet skivvies and went to retrieve our clothes.

Unfortunately, all of our clothing, our bicycles and packs were gone.

The only thing left was A.J.’s shirt, the cheese and a note from the young ladies stating “You may keep these.”


We stood about shivering, six blue-dyed cheeks proclaiming "Put a Tiger in your Tank!" in pasty white, yet quite legible, lettering.

We were trespassing, under-aged and drunk, naked and now penniless. There was only one thing to do.

We stole the Hare Krishnas' robes and ran like hell into the night.

24 March 2006

Chapter 1. We begin our journey.

What follows is comletely true. Even the names have not been changed as those involved were far from innocent.

Deep in the past century, before some of you lot were even born (it is important to establish that the stature of limitations has long since expired) I embarked on a bicycle trip across the wine country of Oregon accompanied by two other students.

I must say, we were an odd looking group. Franklin “Dark Satanic” Mills was a stocky, olive skinned fellow physics student with the habit of muttering to himself and a predilection for lederhosen (which he insisted was native Australian garb). Arthur-John Tatupu (A.J.) was a powerfully built philosophy student of Samoan ancestry, who decided to minor in physics so that he could get some “easy A’s”. I rounded out the group with my rugged good looks and impressive physique. To be sure, their descriptions might differ, but what else would one expect from a couple of pathalogical liars?

The plan, like most other Brilliant Plans™ was born of a bottle. We would ride from winery to winery, partaking in free samples and bring home a few bottles of plonk to impress the ladies. We would dress up for the trip to aid our credibility and gain access to samples of more expensive vintages.

The exercise would help sweat out the alcohol as we rode, so there would be no way that we could get to drunk. We would camp out under the stars, eat trout, crayfish, filched new potatoes and whatever else we could lay our hands on.

It was a fine plan, and it may have worked had not Franklin brought along a bottle of Southern Comfort, and had A.J. decided not to wear a Hawaiian shirt that looked like Walt Disney had thrown up on it. We looked like two drunken Mormon missionaries accompanied by Don Ho in full pimp regalia; hardly the picture of sophisticated wealth that we had originally intended.

As night approached, we decided to partake in whatever solid food the final winery offered. This turned out to be cheese and crackers.

Now, to my uncultured beak, the sheep’s milk gorgonzola smelled like a chili cheese omelet that had been left outside in a dirty sweat sock for the full span of an Arizona August. Franklin, however, stated that “it had a strong head, pointy feet and a delicate schnauzer” or some such. He insisted that we should buy one of the 40 pound wheels to take back to our apartment. A.J., ever the philosophical epicure, agreed.

I was out-voted. We left the winery with the wheel stuffed in one of Franklin’s panniers.

After a few more unsteady miles, we decided that we were still hungry. We pulled out our supply of fish-paste sandwiches only to find that they had fared none too well in the heat.

You are probably well aware that teen-aged boys will eat almost anything if left to their own devices. This is because the part of the male brain that is used for common sense does not develop until after we are married and have our own children, but by then it’s far too late to do any good.


Call it serendipty then, for this is the only time we made a sensible decision. After one whiff we voted against projectile vomiting and dysentery, even though our alternatives were few.

“We could break open the cheese…”A.J. suggested hopefully. “NO!” Franklin and I shouted, albeit for different reasons.

There was a cow in an adjacent field. We would have milk instead.

It was decided that Franklin would distract the cow, I would do the milking and A.J. would carry the buckets of milk back. Franklin crept towards the animal, proffering a sandwich.

“Here, Bossy, Bossy…” He whispered in a creepy cow-molester tone.

Now, I don’t know very much about cows other than the fact that they make a very acceptable tofu substitute, but I do know that: A). Cows don’t eat rancid fish-paste sandwiches and B). A cow’s udders are located amidships and are equipt with six uddlets. This particular animal had but one massive udd, and that was located well aft.


I started to back away.

“Hurry up with the milking!” Franklin hissed. “She’s starting to lose interest in the sandwich!”

I decided not to educate him on the whole male/female issue as I figured he’d find out soon enough. A.J. and I ran.


Franklin, finally connecting the dots, followed close behind. We vaulted a fence to safety and turned to look at the bull that had since broken off pursuit and was now busy pawing our abandoned gear into the mud.

There was much back slapping. This scrape would make an excellent heroic story with which to regale our girlfriends. Amidst the celebration, Franklin’s face suddenly clouded over. “I smell cheese! Did one of you bastards cut into the wheel?”

“That’s not cheese.” A.J. answered blandly. “We’ve landed in a muck pile.”

It was decided that we would stay at a hotel, just for this one night, mind you, and get cleaned up.

22 March 2006

Preface

Look, I’m not pulling an El Barbudo or anything. I’ve just been dealing with lawyers and accountants for the last few weeks and have had little time to write.

Which is a damn shame, as I am clearly a brilliant writer on the level of Faulkner, Hemmingway, or that fellow that does the Penthouse Letters.

In any event, I’ve been working on an explanatory piece covering my formative collegiate decades. It details how one might contract, through no fault of their own, nor male-to-male contact, a case of crabs, ambulatory freckles, or “French lice” as they were known in the vernacular of the day (today they might be known as “Freedom lice”) whilst on a bicycle trip with two (male) college chums.

Yes, I am aware that was a run on sentence. But it made you re-read the paragraph, whetting your appetite about the posts to come. Besides, aren’t you at least slightly curious about how the wheel of sheep’s-milk gorgonzola fits in to this?

I thought so.

20 March 2006

Balder is dead!

Loki has killed the sun-god, and all the world is darkness...



UPDATE!

Sorry! False alarm. The damn breaker flipped again. Fucking sub-standard wiring.

17 March 2006

Pennsylvanian Whines

We just poured our French visitor onto a plane. He is a nice fellow that was more than happy to help us in our St. Padraig’s day celebration. For one without Yankee style girth, he kept up with us valiantly.

“All these beers are brewed locally, No?” He asked, barely slurring.

“Right on the premises” I assured him. Since our phone lines were down, we went to the brewery to work as they have free wi-fi. Pints of stout appeared before we even got the chance to open our laptops.

“I see that people are drinking wine. Is this also made here?” He asked.

“No, they must be local Pennsylvanian wines, by law, but they are not made here.” I answered.

“Are they any good?”

“They compare favourably with the very best Scottish wines.” I answered and he promptly lost interest in the subject.

I thought this was a safe response as there is no way there is a Scottish winery to offend.

I was wrong. I’ve always thought of the Scots as woad painted barbarians, pouring out of the north, with a claymore in one hand and Mons Meg under the other (as opposed to my peaceful Oirish ancestors who were woad painted barbarians that poured out of the pubs with shillelaghs in one arm and a sheep under the other), but it turns out that the Scots are all peaceful and civilized now, and I’m the prat.

Upon further investigation, I’m quite poorly informed about the Scots. Edinburgh is not the home of the Hobbit Edin. Rabbie Burns is not Scottish for “sexually induced rug burn” and “Partick Thistle Nil” is not the name for one of Glasgow’s less famous Footie clubs, despite what they keep saying on the radio.

I was only up there a short while and I spent most of my time in the whisky mines so I don’t remember any vineyards. Perhaps a kind Scot could educate me. What in blazes do you make wine out of? Neeps and haggis gizzards, with a Sassenach or two thrown in to give it body?

And how do your wines stack up against the Icelandic vintages?

16 March 2006

Blow me if I wasn’t right after all.

And lucky for TelCo management, I was.

Our T-1, the telephonic/data backbone of our office; our lifeline to such essential business tools as Sudoku and Word Whomp; our gateway to the magical realms of Jell-O porn (“There’s always womb for Jell-O™!”) was been mostly down for the last month.

This makes it very difficult to sell the company, or more importantly, blog from work. This has been exacerbated by the fact that I’ve had to chaperone two accountants that are entirely too competent for my comfort. More on them later.

So, as I was saying, we have this intermittent outage of all our telephony. I called our T-1 provider on the 16th of February. They promised that they will test the lines immediately. I pointed out that since the lines are currently up, their tests may not be as fruitful as they think. “No problem!” They reply. It turns out that their testing will shut down our lines. Sorted!

Erm, not really. I call them again.

And again.

And a few times after that.

Finally, I find one tech that has a demonstrable IQ. He is not an eggplant like the rest of the TelCo employees, and he quickly determines that the problem is between the Verizon Smart jack, and TelCo's internal equipment in our facility. A technician shall be dispatched to us, forthwith, who is also not an eggplant.

Now I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I’m a vegist, or anything like that. After all, some of my best friends are Vegetable-Americans. But let’s face it; eggplants are rather stupid. I eagerly await the non-eggplantish tech.

It turns out to be an eggplant after all. He replaces some of the equipment and promises to come back for the rest of it. Sadly, he must have been jumped by a celebrity chef and ended up babba-ghanoushed, for he never returns.

Days pass. The Eggplants determine that it must be their cabling that is at fault. I wonder aloud if they might come out and replace it.

The concept has not occurred to them. After mulling it over, they think that, yes, replacing cable might just solve the problem of the faulty cable.

Huzzah! We are getting somewhere!

Then I get a call from their manager. I shall not use his real name, for I have no desire to be sued. Besides I have always enjoyed the act of Rogering. For the balance of this narrative, he shall be known as “Mr. Bugger Mansfield” as I trust I would enjoy Buggering substantially less than Rogering. Anyhoo, Bugger intimates that their line is no longer their problem, but Verizon’s. Verizon shall be dispatched to fix it.

There is a problem with this. Verizon has responsibility up to the Smart Jack. TelCo owns the lines up to their equipment. Our responsibility is on the other side of TelCo's equipment. Verizon politely demurs resposibility and states that Mr. Bugger Mansfield must be an eggplant, or worse. I cannot disagree. I call Mr. Bugger back and he now states it’s our problem as his techs used an old existing line when they installed the T-1.

“Would that be the old line with the exposed crimp splices that are under the leaky gutters?” I ask.

“Yes. That line was pre-existing, so it’s your problem.” Bugger replies.

“If that line were not there during installation what would you have done?” I ask.

“Well, obviously we’d have put a new one in.” He answers in a tone that indicates he thinks I’m dimmer than an Irish setter.

“And, considering the installation was free, how much would that have cost us?”

“Well, nothing.”

“So, you’re penalizing us for the fact that your install techs did a shoddy job.”

“Yes.” He says. “That’s company policy.”

Three cheers and a tiger for globalization! We’ll be running the world in no time with companies like these!

Well, as long as we can get a dial-tone, that is.

UPDATE!!

Roger has had a change of heart and has his techs out here in force to solve the problem. It shan't cost us a penny, either. Apparently,my bitching, moaning and whinging hit a nerve and rather than having to keep listening to me, they decided to replace the entire cabling.

See? Being an annoying whingy bastard hath its benefits.

14 March 2006

Choosing the burrito that is right for YOU!

I was cleaning my office this morning…I know, I know! Trust me, it won’t happen again. But at the time, our T1 was down so I could not perform my usual arduous work-a-day tasks like Sudoku and porn surfing.

Anyway, where was I before I was so rudely interrupted? Ah yes; I was cleaning my office and I found a sticky note message to myself.


This is not unusual. I send notes to myself all the time; “Pick up the cleaning”, "Fix the cat", “get bread and milk”, “If Bob doesn’t shut up I swear to God I’ll strangle the SOB”. Normal, mundane messages.

So normal and mundane that I usually just leave them up year round as I usually have cleaning / milk & bread pick-up / Cat-fixing / Bob-strangling duties to perform each week. But this note was different. It stated (in my hand writing, no less):

“Choosing the burrito that is right for YOU!

This must have had some meaning to me at some time, but I’ll be buggered if I can remember what it was.

And I’d think I’d remember it. Personal burrito specifications are far enough outside of my daily purview that I really ought to recall it. Perhaps I was going to write a paper on "Burrito Specs and Acceptance Criteria" for the Mexican Journal of Dyspepsia. Or, perhaps one of the girthier programmers was ambling by. Who knows? It's a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a tortilla.

I’ve got absolutely no idea. Can any of you lot shed some light on this?

12 March 2006

Retard Day at Sam’s Club™

Well, no, not really. Special needs folks generally display far more common sense than our local Sam’s Club™ shoppers.

For you non-Yanks out there, Sam’s Club™ is a massive warehouse store that sells everything from bog paper to scallops; all in industrial size quantities.

Have you ever needed a 10 gallon container of mayonnaise? Sam’s Club™ has it.

Anti-VD drugs en-bulke for your regimental reunion? Sam’s Club™ carries ‘em.

Enough bog paper to last the century (or a week’s visit from your Mum-in-law). Sam’s Club™ will fix you right up.

A 100 kilo bag of cat food for your 97 cats? Well, you get the picture.

It is an amazing store that is entirely populated with people that act as if they have spent the last four years sniffing glue.

Well, except for me, of course. I had to go there since I am batching it this week and have no desire to mess up the kitchen for one person meals. I bought a variety of cased frozen sandwiches, including some “Jumbo Buffalo Chicken sandwiches” (a massive 30g ea.) that just scream salmonella. While they only bear a passing resemblance to the picture on the box, they prove to be very tasty in a dodgy carny-food sort of way.

I picked up a case motor oil, one of assorted fruit juices, a crate of 30mm cannon rounds (you’ve just gotta love this store, eh?) and headed for the cashier.

Easy peasy, right?

Well, no. Queue the glue-sniffing plague zombies. Tomorrow turns out to be the first day back to school for the college students and apparently the 48th Olympiad for competitive inbreeding is also in town.

A Sam’s Club™ employee announces Free Schnitzel samples, and instantly the main aisle is blocked with abandoned carts as the masses, and I do mean masses, scramble for the free vittles.

“For crying out loud, people. Show some consideration.” I say. “Do you people drive like this?”

Bloodshot eyed hephelumps consider the question, and nod. I have seen the parking lot and they are telling the truth.

I wrestle the cart to the left, hoping to escape through the meat department.

Three college “dudes” are blocking the aisle. They are, and I am not making this up, thumping the meat to check the freshness.

“Dude, check out this steak!” He is holding a leg of lamb and thumping it.

“Dude,” queried another, “Isn’t it melons that are supposed to be thumped?”

“Naw, dude,” answers the third, “That’ll get you a sexual harassment suit.”

I run them down with the cart; an act that you all surely must agree is in humanity’s best interest.

Fifteen minutes later I have braved the mass of slack jawed ijits and am at the cashier, some 50 scant crow flying meters from my starting point.

“Did you find every thing okay?” She asks.

I grunt and she hands me a complementary tube of model glue. I promise myself that next week I’ll not forget to sniff it before my trip to Sam’s Club™.

10 March 2006

Ah, the first robin of spring!

It was as tough as an old boot sole and very gamey; but no less a harbinger of spring, for all its flaws.

09 March 2006

Crimping the Chimp

It occurred during my third year in boarding school.

I still recall my father’s words to the Headmaster as he dropped me off.“You lot will beat the boy.” He said in even tones. The Headmaster seemed rather taken aback.

“We do use corporal punishment as a last resort, but we certainly don’t beat children.” He sputtered.

“You lot will beat the boy.” It wasn’t a demand, but a fact. Da delivered the statement in the dispassionate tone of a prophesying psychic.

I certainly didn’t hold it against him; I knew, even at eleven to take him at his word. When dad said “Don’t let me catch you….” or “Get us a beer…” I believed he meant precisely what he said.

Oh, he wasn’t always correct, occasionally he would say something absurd like “You aren’t nearly as funny as you think you are, boy...”, but usually, say 95% of the time, you could take his words as gospel.

I firmly believed that Nostradadmus was spot on in this case. They would beat me, or my name was not Evil (which it wasn’t at that time, but no matter).

Queue the Scripture and French master that we boys unkindly referred to as “Pilf”. He wasn’t a bad sort, but he seemed befuddled with the current crop of kids’ inability to care much about maintaining the British Empire, as we knew it was, well, dead.

His response to this insult was to wield a yard stick (meter stick to those of you concerned with inch/Yodel conversions) like a katana wielding Imperial Japanese army POW camp guard. I’m quite convinced that I should not be able to bend my knuckles today, if I had not been able to mimic the voice of the dim-witted lad that sat next to me.

Then one perfect day, we were taken to the zoo for a science field trip. The Science master, who was a smart fellow, called off, sick. Pilf was the designated replacement.

The whole zoo was great, but the primate building was by far our favourite. After all, they flung poo and did other, um things to each other; and I’m not referring to the Marlin Perkin’s style mutual grooming either.

One of them, a hefty male chimp with the moniker BoBo, seemed quite taken with Pilf.

Maybe a spark was passed when they made eye contact, or maybe he had a thing for sweat beaded balding pates. Maybe it was just spring; when a chimp’s fancy turns to French masters, but whatever the reason, BoBo embarked on an impressive onanistic display that resembled a palsied paint-shaker on amphetamines.

I’m talking about a screeching 150kg chimp indulging in a wank-a-thon that really ought to have been set to a über fast death-metal sound track. All the while, BoBo’s unoccupied arm was pointing to the increasingly red pate of Pilf, who was desperately trying to escort us away from the region.

We’d have none of that. At eleven, this sort of display absolutely fascinating. We squirmed and darted around him until the climactic ending of the show.

For the next couple of weeks we would, on occasion, mime “pulling a BoBo” in class, whenever Pilf’s back was turned.

And all was fine until someone added sound effects and got rumbled. Then it turned out that Da was prescient once again.

07 March 2006

Trust me on this one.

Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

05 March 2006

The Anti-Macassar Liberation Front

Newark International Airport. It is the gateway for the upper East coast of the United States. It has been said that if you wait there long enough, you will see all the types of people that travel to and from the United States.

I am not talking about the better, moneyed sort; those fly in and out of JFK. I am talking about the baser, vile, detritus of mankind. The sort of people that write blogs, or worse yet; read them.

As I was standing in a Continental ticket queue, I had the opportunity to test that theory. After only the third hour in line, I bumped into an old school chum, or rather, he into me.

“Hey, no cuts!” I proclaimed indignantly, before recognizing him. “Well, I’ll be! Thompson, is that you?”

“At your service!” He replied magnanimously, whilst cutting in front of me. “Have you heard from any of the gang?”

“Well, I did hear of Napier Minor.” I replied, really wanting to rag him out for cutting.

“Do tell?”

"Well, you recall that Napier Minor was a strange lad, chock full of odd thoughts like being a credit to his parents and bringing academic honor to the school. While he was clearly off his rocker, he was harmless and I felt sorry enough for him to want to help. " I always was the noble sort.

"Do go on." Said Thompson.

"Well, since Harry Wilson was at Number 10 at that time, the National Health wouldn’t treat such disorders, so we had to help him out as best we could. "

"Yes....." Thompson didn't appear to like where the conversation was heading.

"You must recall that the school’s wiring was too decrepit to be able to shock him back into reality. Though we tried valiantly; we only managed to burn down the gymnasium. It was then that we turned to a novel American treatment; the 'Swirly'."

Now, a swirly is administered by placing the patient’s head in the bowl of a commode and flushing, sometimes repeatedly. The icy cold water would shock the patient while simultaneously styling his hair into a charming soft-serve ice cream cone appearance.

A few weeks of this treatment did the trick, and henceforth Napier would assiduously avoid the classrooms; especially if we were there.

The ungrateful boy never thanked us, and took up the hobbies of sobbing uncontrollably and bed wetting, but we all supposed that those were far less crippling social defects than blowing our grading curve.

"Yes, I vaguely recall it." Thompson repied uncomfortably. He damn well should remember it, he was manning the flusher.

“Well, sadly Napier's condition deteriorated and eventually he sank so low as to take a Nu Labour seat in Parlaiment."

"Ghastly!" Said Thompson, trying to edge away. I moved closer.

"It gets worse!" I said conspiratorially. "Last year, he came over all ‘Lord Byron’ and went off to join the Anti-Macassars in their struggle to free the Chaise region from Ottoman influence.”

“Are you taking a piss on me?” Thompson asked suspiciously.

“Actually, yes I am. Quite literally.” After all, I’d been in line for three hours and had a fullish bladder.

04 March 2006

The Piddling Pup

Certain recent, and rather smelly events make this topical. Author unknown.

A farmer’s dog came into town,
His Christian name was Rex,
A noble pedigree had he,
Unusual was his text.
And as he trotted down the street,
‘Twas beautiful to see,
His work on every corner,
His work on every tree.

He watered every gateway too,
And never missed a post,
For piddling was his specialty
And piddling was his boast.
The City Curs looked on, amazed,
With deep and jealous rage,
To see a simple country dog
The piddler of the age.

Then all the dogs from everywhere
Were summoned with a yell
To sniff the country stranger o’er,
And judge him by his smell.
Some thought that he, a king might be,
Beneath his tail a rose
So every dog drew near to him
And sniffed it up his nose.

They smelled him over one by one,
They smelled him two by two,
And noble Rex, in high disdain
Stood still till they were through.
Then just to show the whole shebang
He didn’t give a damn,
He trotted in a grocery store
And piddled on a ham.

He piddled in a mackerel keg.
He piddled on the floor.
And when the grocer kicked him out,
He piddled through the door.
Behind him all the city dogs
Lined up in instinct true
To start a piddling carnival
To see the stranger through.

They showed him every piddling post
They had in all the town
And started in, with many a wink,
To pee the stranger down.
They sent for champion piddlers,
That were always on the go.
Who sometimes did a piddling stunt,
Or gave a piddle show

They sprung these on him suddenly
When midway through the town;
Rex only smiled and polished them off,
The ablest, white or brown.
For Rex was with them, every trick,
With vigor and with vim.
A thousand piddles, more or less,
Were all the same to him.

So, he was wetting merrily,
With hind leg kicking high,
When most were hoisting legs in bluff,
And piddling mighty dry.
On and on, Rex sought new grounds,
By piles and scraps and rust,
Till every city dog went dry
And piddled only dust.

But on and on went noble Rex
As wet as any rill,
And all the champion city pups,
Were peed to a stand still.
Then Rex did freehand piddling,
With fancy flirts and flits
Like “Double Dip” and “Gimlet twist”
And all those latest hits.

And all the time, this country dog,
Did never wink or grin.
But piddled blithely out of town,
As he had piddled in.
The city dogs conventions held
To ask, “What did defeat us?”
But no one ever put them wise,
That Rex had diabetes.

02 March 2006

Unblocking Chakras

I lie, face down upon the massage table, awaiting treatment for a painful condition known in the medical community as “marriage”. It turns out that I am a pain in the butt.

I have been dropped off at the ex-Russian sports massage therapist, Olga Steroidovski, who has been given instructions to “hurt me” with a deep tissue massage.

“Brrrr, it’s cold in here!” I announce, in an attempt to forestall the inevitable Russian Vs. Irish member comparison. Honestly, Olga’s ancestors wore leggings, whereas mine wore kilts. Of course Mr. Happy will spend most of his time cowering in a turtleneck in such breezy conditions.

“SZILENCZE!” Olga demands, and believe me, what Olga demands, Olga gets. She begins the flab kneading, gouging and poking process, grunting with exertion.

“Your chakras are blocked!” She eventually announces with Slavic disdain.

“Do I need to call a plumber?” I ask.

I am given a quick course in Chakras.

Apparently, the first chakra; also called "the root chakra" is located near the base of the spine. It is linked to survival instincts and our ability to ground ourselves in the physical world. Blockage manifests as paranoia, defensiveness.

Despite my obvious paranoia, I can assure you that there is no blockage of any orifice located near the base of my spine.

In fact, I am rather mortified to admit that I demonstrated that after one particularly vigorous jab.

While covered with bruises, I must say that I am remarkably relaxed. I heartily recommend the process to everyone. Just do yourself a favour; don’t eat Mexican before the session.

01 March 2006

Frankenkitty stalks the house, looking for revenge!


While I secretly applaud the boy's hair trimming skills, I am less than thrilled with the fact that they shaved the cat with my hair clippers.

FrankenKitty has already expressed his dipleasure with the deposition of used cat food in their sneakers. His expresion leads me to believe that he has further plans for blody revenge.


This should turn out to be an interesting week.


And that's the way I likes it.