How many times can I say ‘moist’ before you just can’t take it anymore?

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Mornin’ all.

We got some rain last night. I’m hoping that it’ll break this heat wave, but at the moment, it looks like it just made things more moist out there.

I can’t believe I’m saying it, but the air is moist. Warm and…moist.

“Ew, Bethie. Stop saying that word.”

Can’t. There isn’t a word more appropriate for the ickiness. Walking outside yesterday was like walking into a limp, warm, moist sponge.

And now, though cooler, it’s so moist out that the light from the street lamp at the end of my drive is struggling to illuminate anything else. There’s a dense, moist miasma hanging around and…

*squeak of chair*

Wait. Where are you going?

“I’m out.”

Okay okay! I’ll stop saying it!

“*quirks the eyebrow of dubiousness*”

I promise. Besides, you don’t want to leave today. I have some delicious cake to share. Look at it. Smell it. Mmmmm. It’s not a bit dry, either. In fact, one might say it’s…

“*GLARE OF WARNING*”

…at the peak of freshness!

“…”

Cake?

“…*sigh*…”

Come on. Sit back down and have a slice. I was only playing. You wouldn’t want to leave anyway. I’ve got the band ready to go and I thought we’d…

“*plunks down in the chair**grabs a slice of cake* Stop grossing me out already and get to the…

* * * HEADLINE ROUNDUP ! ! ! * * *

You jumped the gun, man. No one was ready! The band blew the intro, and the dancers legs all got tangled. Look, I know I owe you for the whole m-word debacle, but just sit there and eat your cake and let me run this, okay?

“*waves fork in my general direction*”

Philipe? Could you be a lamb and put down your tuba to help untangle the ladies? I think the rhinestones on their fishnets got twisted together. Thanks.

Okay, now that the cluster of dancers is in Philipe’s capable hands, let’s get to the Roundup. For those who don’t know, the world itself has become entwined and tangled. Every day the news seems more and more horrible. However, once in awhile, there are headlines that crack me up. Like the streetlamp outside my window, these beacons of ridiculousness shine through the moistness of society.

“…Actually, I’ll allow that one. Continue.”

Thank you.

Sometimes the headlines are dumb. Sometimes they’re poorly worded. But more often or not, they just give me a mental image or a gut reaction I feel I need to share. As always, the headlines themselves are completely real. I just supply the snark.

Everyone up to speed? Excellent. Let’s get into it…

– Trump to Clinton: ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’

I missed Mr. Nice Guy? When was Mr. Nice Guy?!?

– Doherty Breaks Down Over Breast Cancer Battle

Pfft. Weak. Suck it up, Shannon!

editor’s note: Sarcasm, people. The tone of the article was snarky and sassy, as if a woman battling breast cancer has no right to get upset about it. Sarcasm, the second best -asm there is.

editor’s note about previous editorial note: I didn’t make that line up. I saw it on a t shirt and it always stuck with me. Heh.

– Trump: I Wish Ivanka and Chelsea Weren’t Friends

Holy shit stop the presses!!! Trump and Clinton AGREE on something!!

– Trump: I Wish Ivanka and Chelsea Weren’t Friends

I’m not surprised. I imagine the thought of a positive influence in the lives of his children terrifies him.

– 2 Chicago Officers Relieved of Powers Since Death of Suspect

“Relieved of powers?” What an odd way of putting it. It’s almost as if the media has grabbed hold of a national narrative that seems to sell papers and decided to disproportionately fuel an issue that’s actually not nearly as bad as they have made it out to be or something. Weird.

editor’s note: Shit, really? Okay, guess I have to say it. I’m not anti cop. In fact, I’m VERY anti BAD cop. But, I’m also pro facts, and the fact is, FEWER people are killed by cops now than they were in the past. You want to cringe? Look at the stats from the 1970s. Is it an issue? Yep. Is it as dire as it seems? Nope. Is the media running with it because it’s so much easier to point to an authority figure instead of the thousands of citizen on citizen murders that are the real problem? Oh, no. No WAY they’d POSSIBLY do that.

– Latest Pokemon Go Worries: Sex Offenders

I can’t say I’m surprised. Look at Mewtwo. That ass is thick as fuu….

– 4 Simple Tricks To Beat The Heat…And If They Actually Work

What the hell kind of article is this? What even IS this bullshit? Have we really gotten so lazy as a society that we allow this type of “journalism” on a mainstream news site? I mean, this list could literally contain anything. “Stand in front of an open oven! It won’t work, but it’s something you could try.” My head hurts.

– This Test Will Make You Rethink Ice Cream

Do you like ice cream? If you answered “no”, then you probably should stop eating it. Thanks, Buzzfeed!

– Trump: I Wanted to ‘Hit’ Dems’ Convention Speakers

WHY IS ANYONE VOTING FOR THIS KINDERGARTENER!!!???

– Muslim Blasts Extremists At Friday Prayer With Christians

…perhaps not the best use of words, there.

– Russia Accuses Google Maps of ‘Topographical Cretinism’

BAHAHAHAHA!!! “Topographical Cretinism??” Oh, Russia. You so zany.

– Brussels Can Still Sweat the Small Stuff

You may be worry at your leisure, peons. So said Bloomberg, so shall it be done.

– North Korea Says Decision on Nuclear Tests Depends on US

Awww! The world’s second most annoying toddler wants some attention. It’s okay, Unie. We still know you’re a bad ass. Yes, who’s a wittle bad ass? You are. YOU are! Now go eat a cookie and let the grown ups talk.

– Report: Cops Mistake Krispy Kreme Glaze for Meth

So many questions, so little desire to actually have them answered. I’d much prefer to go with the scene in my head of a guy hoarding a baggie of glaze crumbles while Barney Fife freaks the hell out.

– Clinton Wooing Blue Collar Workers With Bus Tour

Then let the “blue collars” actually on to the bus to see your “humble” ride. The gauntlet has officially been thrown down, Hillary.

– Officials Encourage Travelers Not to Shun Florida for Zika

I’m with the officials here. If you’ve ever read the news, there are far more valid reasons to shun Florida than the off chance of getting a virus. Come on, people. Let’s keep it real.

– Don’t Play Pokemon Go on the Railroad Tracks, Bulgaria Says

Holy shit I never would have thought of this strategy. Thanks for the pro tip, Bulgaria.

– Pence Slams Obama: Politics Is No Place For ‘Name Calling’

Is this guy for real? I mean, is this guy literally a real human being? That’s an honest question. I NEED to know. He’s an android, right? Because there is no way in HELL a real person could possibly have the chutzpah to try and say this when Donald Trump’s name is on the same ticket.

– Her Shot: Clinton Share Vision of America Straight Out of ‘Hamilton’

I thought panders were rare? Didn’t I read somewhere that panders were getting scares in the wild? Maybe China could have some of ours. Seems we’ve got plenty to spare.

– Mass. Motorist Drives Up Utility Pole After Following GPS in Vermont

Cliches become cliches because they’re true…

*fistbump to New Englanders who understand*

– 4 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About GPS

1. GPS directions are difficult for Massachusetts drivers to understand…

– Facebook Agrees to Refunds for In-app Purchases By Minors

How magnanimous of them to follow the law. Gee, that Zuck is a real stand up guy.

– You Can Buy A Sentry Robot for Your Home

I. Need. This.

– Elon Musk Says You’ll Be Able to Decide Who Can Use Your Self-driving Car

Sooo….like a regular car, then?

– ‘Rain Bomb?’ Seriously? This is the Kind of Thing That Gives Weather Reporting a Bad Rap

Show of hands: Who would read an article about a “rain bomb”? Everyone’s hand is raised, Washington Post. Jealous much?

– Sony Releases Playstation VR Space Requirements: Is Your Room Big Enough?

*sniff* No. *sniff sniff* No it is not. *lone tear*

– Pokemon Go Can Help Address Psychological Disorders

Wait, what? No! That’s not actually what the research shows. In fact, it’s not even “research” so much as one doctor’s opinion! The game could possibly help in cases of mild depression or anxiety because it takes one’s mind off their problem…TEMPORARILY. Gawd I hate irresponsible headlines like this! Don’t stop taking your meds no matter WHAT Pikachu tells you!

– Yorkshire Wants its Own Emoji to Celebrate the County

Okay. Like, no one’s stopping you. Why do you feel the need to appeal to the masses for support through the media? Just…make one. Do you not know how this works, Yorkshire?

– Larry the Lobster, 110, Spared From the Pot, Died on the Way to Retirement

Candlelight vigil for Larry! Don’t mind me if I just put a pot of boiling water over my candle. Could I see Larry for a sec?

…too soon?

– Barack Obama: I Don’t Eat Exactly Seven Almonds Every Night

Someday when your grand kids ask where you were and what you were doing when you heard that President Barack Obama sometimes ate 9 whole almonds in ONE sitting, you can tell them about this moment we shared. I proud to be part of this with you, my friend. We’ll get through it together and come out as a stronger nation.

– ‘Donkey Whisperer’ Translates ‘Eee-aws’ Using Technology

I mean, I guess? Who’s going to refute it?

– Father Lets 8-year-old Twin Daughters Feed Pet Gator Pizza, Cookies

Do you see what I mean about Florida? #don’tsweatthevirus

– The Pokemon Go Baby Name Boom Has Arrived

I will punch you in the face if you name your kid Charmanda.

And finally, the headline of the day:

– Trammin’ In the Name of the Lord: Pope Takes A Ride

Trammin’.

In the name of the lord.

*sniff* Beautiful.

Thus concludes a Roundup for Saturday, July 30, 2016. The sun is up now and it’s still looking fairly miserable out there. Maybe it’ll clear off? Hopefully?? Or maybe it’ll just be another moist…

*DOOR SLAM*

…fair enough.

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If anything, Fred sat on a mammoth to mine the quarry.

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Mornin’ all.

I just read a statistic that makes me sad.

41% of adults in America believe human beings probably coexisted with dinosaurs.

“Um, Bethie? Are we just going to pretend it hasn’t been forever since you’ve posted?”

…is there a problem with that plan?

“I’d kind of like to know where you’ve been.”

Life was shit for awhile. I had my hands full. It’s hard to type when you’re sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the other shoe to drop while simultaneously ducking a falling piano. But it’s getting better. I can juggle a few things at a time again. Eye of the storm and silver lining and yada yada…

FORGET THE CLICHES!!! DIDN’T YOU HEAR WHAT I JUST SAID!? How can you possibly sit there so calm and collected when 41% of Americans believe human beings roamed the earth with dinosaurs? Nearly half! 14% believe we “definitely” did, while 27% think it was “probable.”

Nearly half of the adults in this country think the Flintstones was a history lesson .

I’m weeping into my coffee, folks, and not just because the miasma wafting off the top of this nasty brew makes it burn every time I inhale.

“Made your own coffee this morning, did you?”

Yep. If I go into convulsions, send help.

Gawd that stat is depressing. And I don’t just mean in a general “I fear for the future” kind of way. It’s a huge step backwards, and while there have been other leaps back in recent years, this one cuts deep.

As a kid, I loved dinosaurs. LOVED them. I had dino books, knew the stats of all the cool ones, had several dinosaur figurine sets. I had this really cool set of glow in the dark ones that I used to put under my sister’s blanket to scare her at night. They were pretty bitchin’.

You know what I never learned as a child of the 1980’s, with no access to the internet and the world of knowledge it could provide? I never once learned that dinosaurs roamed the earth with people. Didn’t happen. Not a single dino set came with cavemen. There were precisely zero cavemen pictured in the dinosaur books I read, and if you went to school and talked about dinosaurs, you were encouraged, not hushed up.

41%. Damn.

I was very lucky as a child to have academically-minded parents. Frequent readers of this blog might remember me mentioning a time or dozen that my mum was a librarian for most of my childhood. My dad was an engineer, but his degree was in geology with a side passion for paleontology. We grew up hearing about the geological history of the earth and what the changes did to the various incarnations of dominant organisms through the eras, and were always encouraged to learn more on our own.

I still have some of my dad’s fossils. There’s a huge one he chipped out himself when he was a young adult that he was so proud of. Wide and flat and kind of shaped like Kentucky, it was a section of a lake bottom that had fossilized through the eons, locking in dozens of small plants and animals that had settled into the mud upon death. I take that one out and look at it a lot. I rub my fingers over the biggest trilobite, the one that has some very inept chip marks from his untrained chisel in the rock around its base.

I can remember sitting with him at the dining room table before bed in my Underoos and robe listening to him point out the different species. I was probably six at the time. He had a magnifying glass and was carefully inspecting every inch of his prized treasure, even though he knew each millimeter of that chunk of geological history by heart. I remember it clear as day, the look on his face, his excitement at having that slice of the earth as fresh and sharp then as it was the day he found it.

And even then, I knew without question that humans didn’t live with any goddamn dinosaurs.

What happened, America? When did we get to this point where 41% of you refuse to grasp what a 6 year old with the attention of a tse tse fly knew to be fact?

You know the answer. I know the answer. Everyone knows the answer, even if they won’t say it. Religion. We’re in the grip of a blind religious fervor at the moment and people are froggy to get all het up about anything.

I never understood why science and religion can’t coexist, at least on some level. Take whatever religion you follow, whichever deity. Now, think of every new scientific discovery as proof that your Creator is even more clever than you imagined. Voila. Easy.

“That’s not how it works, Bethie.”

Why not?

No, I mean it. This is a serious question. Why doesn’t it work that way? Why is a new scientific discovery scary? Or a lie of the devil? Or inherently discordant with a singular creator?

The plain truth is that it’s not. Or, at the very least, it doesn’t have to be.

Is it a matter of fear? The discomfort the unknown brings? Or is it simply easier for people to cover their ears instead of learn, absorb, and adapt new information into their ethos?

Damned if I know. I’m just a blogger hopped up on too much caffeine trying to type through the spasms and twitches.

41%. *heavy sigh*

I suppose I should take comfort in that number. Could be worse, right? 41 is still less than half. And it’s bound to improve now that the dinosaur-denying Canadian has zero chance of being our next president. At least we won’t be led by someone whose father pretty much spearheaded the “dinosaurs are lies of Communists” movement. There is that.

Other odd beliefs that fly in the face of proven science are already waning in popularity. Less than a decade ago, 80% of Americans didn’t believe in global warming or climate change, even though it was demonstrably proven in their own lifetime. Now that number is only about 38%. That’s a huge shift in thinking in just a ten years.

Maybe in another ten years, we’ll be back to understanding that there’s no way Fred rode a diplodocus to mine in the quarry.

Imagine the progress we’ll be able to resume making then.

Thus concludes a quick Musing for Wednesday, May 4, 2016. I just want to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to Ted Cruz. By dropping out, he’s pretty much assured the nation of another 4 years with a democrat in office unless the Republicans have a magic rabbit in the hat. Thanks, Ted! I know you get a lot of heat for being the Zodiac killer with a face like a squished depressed muppet, but in my book right now, you’re okay.

If you think I look like shit now, you should have seen me on Monday!

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Mornin’ all.

I’ve been sick all week with an infection. It has been less than fun. In fact, it was a big ball of NOT fun.

I hate being sick as a grown up. When you’re sick as a kid, you get to lay on the couch and watch The Price Is Right and let your Mum worry about fevers and medicine and taking care of the household while you hover between consciousness and fever dreams. When you ARE the mum, it’s much less Price Is Right and more As The World Turns…and Turns…and Turns…and OH GOD Why Won’t The World Stop Spinning?

Yuck.

Ah well. Everyone’s gotta go through it. And hey, I’m on the other side. Not feeling prime yet, but most assuredly getting there.

Yesterday I resumed the cleaning attempt of the car part/ tool/ formal dining room area. I got a good amount done last week, but still had more to go when bacteria had other plans.

While working, I unearthed an injection pump I forgot I had! It’s from an I5 OM617 diesel engine and since we removed it without making sure to note the position of the crank shaft in relation to the…

“*zzzzzzzz*”

…oh. Right. We had a deal. My bad.

Okay, so it’s a car part that squishes the diesel into the engine. It’s huge and heavy and greasy and complicated and completely useless to us since we didn’t take note of certain things when we removed it. What I’m saying is, I get to take it apart!

I love taking things apart. You can look at a schematic all you want, but the very best way to learn about how something works is to strip it down and have a look.

Besides, the day of cleaning was, perhaps, a tad premature. By dinner time last night, I was utterly wiped. It’s probably a good idea to sit and stay mellow today. I’m just starting to feel better. Wouldn’t want to undo all the hard work my white blood cells have put in.

In celebration of their effort, I feel like we should do something. Those cells are heroes right now and they deserve a bit of thanks. We could have a parade. I haven’t given them a parade in awhile, and they certainly deserve it. However, I’m still a bit touch and go, and I’ve only had enough coffee to make a small effort in gratitude, not lead an entire parade. I know! Let’s do some headlines.

*** HEADLINE ROUNDUP !!! ***

“No music and dancing, Bethie?”

Nah. I’ve still got a bit of a headache and I’m not so sure I could handle the band and the go-go dancers today. They want to do a cha cha routine. Do YOU want to watch a flashy cha cha routine with a headache and only half a cup of coffee in your system?

“I see your point.”

Then we’ll shelf the pomp for today and do an acoustic version.

As regular readers of this blog know, once in awhile (and more frequently of late) I see headlines that jump out at me. Some are poorly worded. Some are misleading. And some just give me a funny or weird mental image that I am compelled to share. I round them up and present them to you. As always, the headlines are completely real. I just add some jokes.

Up to speed? Good. Let’s dive in.

-Arraignment Set for Pianist’s Wife Accused in Kid’s Death

*fist bump to all you other band geeks who read that as “Arrangement Set for Pianist’s Wife”, too. Hey, if we burn for it, we burn together.*

– Study: More Than Half of What You Eat Isn’t Real Food

So what you’re saying is that I should go ahead and eat the other half of the box of chocolates, thus making sure I have consumed 100% real food? *munch snarfle munch* Thanks for looking out for me, Science.

– Nations Rush to Condemn Brussels Attack

My gut instinct is to scoff and say, “OF FUCKING COURSE THEY CONDEMN IT!! Is it even necessary to say they do?” But, since the attacks actually made some nations happy, I guess that sadly answers my question.

– Sugar Overload? 15 Candy-free Ideas for Easter Baskets

Um, anything but candy. Come on, people. It’s not rocket science.

– Tiger Woods’ Injuries Self-Inflicted, Says Ex-Caddie

Quit hittin’ yourself Tiger. Quit hittin’ yourself…

– Ten Surprising Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight

Bacon is tasty and kale is disgusting. There’s really no mystery here.

– 5 Things to Know About the Costco and AmEx Breakup

AmEx was totally doing Kohl’s on the side. *gasp* Bitch please. Don’t act like you didn’t already see the pics on TMZ.

– At Microhotels, the Price is Right and the Space is Tight

That’s like one word away from advertising a very different kind of hotel…

– What People Wore When You Were Born

I’m hoping a hospital gown and scrubs. It WAS the 70s, though. OMG. Was my doctor wearing a leisure suit? I change my mind. If that is an option, the mental image of my own birth just got ten times more awesome.

– 8 Ways You’re Drinking Water Wrong

Fuck off.

– 8 Ways You’re Drinking Water Wrong

No, for real. Go away with this bullshit right now. I mastered the art of drinking water 37 years ago. I am officially a pro. I do not need Common Core Water Drinking Instructions to over-complicate what even a housefly knows how to do.

– Brussels Airport Attack is 2nd Major Bombing for Utah Teen

It’s true. He was also at the Boston Marathon bombing. Now, I’m not saying this kid’s bad luck, but I’m also not inviting him to dinner anytime soon.

– Angry Man Spends $200 at Sushi Restaurant, Leaves 13-foot Python Instead of Tip

What are they mad about? That’s way more than 15%.

– Sarah Palin to ‘Judge-Judy’-Style Over TV Courtroom

Aw HELL no.

– Speaker Ryan to Give An Address on ‘State of American Politics’

Ryan stands, nods to the control room. An image of a giant garbage can projects onto the wall. Ryan drops mic, walks off to live the rest of his life learning the ways and customs of deep Appalachia on an unmapped hill in Kentucky.

– Kasich Reveals Partial Tax Returns for 7 Years

Kasich, revealing your taxes should not be done strip-tease fashion. …Actually, scratch that. Revealing your taxes should ALWAYS be done strip-tease fashion. Cue the band! Anyone got some spare tassels? Size 1040.

– Zebra Runs Amok in Japanese Golf Course, Dies in Lake

Well. That took a dark turn.

– Avocado Can Do More Than Guacamole

It’s also highly skilled in the dying art of silver-smithing and has a passion for collecting and cataloging indigenous folklore. But you never take the time to get to know the real Avocado, do you?

– 4 Reasons Why You Should Be Watching Underground

Because the threat of Mole People is real. #thethreatisreal #fearthemoles

– These Identical Twins Share Everything- Even A Boyfriend!

All together now… “UGH.”

– Paris Gets Sausage and Steaks from 24/7 Vending Machine

France you zany bitch.

– Nun caught Stealing $23 Worth of Shampoo and Snacks

*having a hard time keeping it together and not saying something wildly inappropriate right now* Uh..heh heh…*sweat breaks on brow*…maybe we should just move on to something else…

– Theaters to Take Aim With Lasers to Shame Phone Users

I love this. I want this to start happening in every theater immediately.

– “Japan Positive About New Sri Lanka”- Minister Harsha

“Guys, I’m telling you it’s there. I’ve seen it with my own eyes!”

– Can Students Sue “Grossly Ineffective” Teachers?

I was very lucky to generally have great teachers when I was in school, but I gotta be honest, one or two names come to mind right about now…

– Shakespeare’s Skull ‘Missing’

No biggie. Everyone knows it was really Bacon’s skull anyway.

– North Carolina to Limit Bathroom Use by Birth Gender

What are you going to do? Put a ‘gina checker in every restroom? This is utterly stupid. Grow up, North Carolina.

– What Would Happen if Americans Were Paid to Donate Kidneys?

There’d be a lot of one-kidneyed mofos running around, that’s what.

– Feds Mull Medicare Changes After Big Success in YMCA’s Diabetes Program

*cue music* YOUNG MAN, take that insulin now, I said YOUNG MAN, get that blood sugar down…

– North Carolina Man Arrested for Not Returning 2001 VHS Rental of ‘Freddy Got Fingered’ Could Have His Fine Paid By Movie’s Star Tom Green

Eh, whatever…as long as he uses the right bathroom, who cares?

– Rise of Trump is ‘Scary’, Says France’s Sarkozy

I’m not sure if you’re up on French politics, so I’ll put this in context. Sarkozy being afraid of a Trump presidency would be like Freddy Krueger saying, “Norman Bates freaks me out.”

– Flight Attendant Who Tried to Sneak 70 Lbs of Cocaine is Arrested

As well she should! That bitch has to pay for cocaine like everyone else.

– Arizona Voting Lines so Long People Started Ordering Pizza

I think they may have unwittingly stumbled upon a great idea. Free pizza for voters. Admit it…you’d be happier to vote if you knew you’d get a slice while you’re there.

– Bernie Sanders Blasts Donald Trump’s Foreign Stance on Jimmy Kimmel

…Donald Trump HAS a foreign stance on Jimmy Kimmel? I thought Kimmel was American?

– 184-year Old Tortoise Gets His First Bath

A man took a bucket of soapy water and car washed the famous tortoise. Because it was there, that’s why.

– Bingo! NH Law Would Allow Adults to Join Children’s Games

“You might still have a working bladder and all your teeth, but I just got BINGO!” *sniff* “But…but…” “Stop cryin’ like a little bitch. Nana’s gettin’ the juice box and cookies today!”

– Son of Wrongly Cremated Woman Comes Forward

I sure hope she was dead first.

– US Bill Targets Babies Born Dependent on Opioids

It’s about time the government cracked down on these druggies. I, for one, am sick of going into a nursery expecting to ooh and ah over the cute newborns only to be faced with drooling, lazy, useless lumps who do nothing but nod off and hit the bottle all day long. #warondrugs #lockemupyoung

– Obama Weighs Republican Nevada Governor for Supreme Court

Finds Him Too Heavy for SCOTUS Weight Class

– University of California Softens Anti-Semitism Statement

“We didn’t mean to say we’re absolutely against anti-semitism. Of course you can still single Jews out for their stinginess, nose size, and bizarre religious rituals. We simply meant to draw a line between good humored racism and Hitler jokes. Everyone knows it’s too soon for Hitler jokes. We apologize for any confusion.”

– Brussels Bombing May Have Targeted Americans: US Lawmaker

OH FOR FUCKS SAKE. This is not about us. At all. In any way! Get over yourself.

– US Prosecuting Fewer Drug Offenses: Justice Deptartment

…except for ones committed by babies. #alwaysvigilant

– Rookie Iditarod Musher Battles to Last-Place Finish in Alaska

“Sure, we could do an article about the winners, but we need to feel better about ourselves this week. Let’s run this story detailing just how much of a pathetic loser this lady is.” “Good idea, Sal. Make sure you talk about how much money, time, and effort she put into it for nothing.” “Wouldn’t dream of leaving that out.”

– Ga. Parents Offended by Yoga, Get ‘Namaste’ Banned From School

I can see why a greeting of respect might rub these people the wrong way.

– Here’s What Happened When Homeowners Used HARP

The clouds parted in, and rays of light shown down on the cherubs descending from on high.

– NC LGBT Law May Mar NBA All-Star Game

At first I was all “huh??” because of the two seemingly unrelated topics mashed together, but then I read the article. The NBA is officially taking a stance against a new NC law that bans local municipalities from making non-discriminatory ordinances designed to protect Ls, Gs, Bs and Ts. The NBA just called out NC. Well played, NBA. *pun ALWAYS intended*

– As Tensions Escalate, Cruz Calls Trump A ‘Sniveling Coward’

Look at that Canadian, trying to be all tough like a big kid. Aw.

– Scientists Create Tiniest Life Form Yet, Not Sure What It Is

The science equivalent to a kindergarten art project.

– Scientists Create Tiniest Life Form Yet, Not Sure What It Is

You know, I joke, but the more I think about this, the more unsettling it becomes. They’re making ORGANISMS. Life forms. BEINGS of some sort, and they’ve got no idea at all what that being is. What its intentions are.

– Scientists Create Tiniest Life Form Yet, Not Sure What It Is

…okay, maybe I’m overreacting a little bit. I mean, how bad could it really be, right? It’s just a tiny little organism in some petri dish in a lab. I’m sure it’s secure. I’m sure the lab follows standard clean room procedures and there’s no chance of the new being dividing and spawning, somehow gaining sentience and finding a way out of the lab stuck to the underside of the scientist’s briefcase, thus being unwittingly released into a world that doesn’t understand it and that it does not understand in return, which will no doubt cause feelings of turmoil and confusion that quickly escalate to frustration and anger, igniting a desire for revenge on those who took the identity of Creator without understanding the true responsibility they had toward their creation…

– Scientists Create Tiniest Life Form Yet, Not Sure What It Is

I was wrong. There is no other hand to this. RUN!!!!!!!!!!

Thus concludes a Roundup for Friday, March 25, 2016. I’m off to get all greasy. Not in a sexy way. Unless you’re a freak, you sicko.

And so, we meet again…

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Mornin’ all.

Pat Benatar is belting it out on the radio right now giving me the urge to snap my fingers and jerk my shoulder in a sassy fashion. I’m drinking my coffee tempered with chocolate milk this morning, the delicious result of my man’s store ordering way too much and having to sell it at half price just to clear the shelves…

*Top Tip: If your SO comes home with two gallons of chocolate milk, definitely add it to your morning coffee. I feel fancy. Like I’m drinking those International Cafe drinks the ads used to make seem so sexy. I’m still drinking it out of an old salsa jar, so not fancy fancy. I’m not letting it go to my head or anything. But I’m definitely feeling upper middle class redneck. Ooh la la. Maybe I’ll really treat myself and let Calgon take me away later.*

…and the pup is going to try it on Special K for breakfast. It’s going to be an icky weekend for me. I know this. However, I can’t fault the start. Perhaps it won’t be so bad after all.

So how’s it going?

I feel like I haven’t been on in ages. This week we had beautiful weather.

Let me clarify. It’s been March in NH beautiful. No Bermuda shorts and tank tops or anything, but it was perfect weather for working outside on the cars. I was doing repairs on two of them, and a mad-dash stripping parts out of another so we can get it out of here before the next one arrives.

*Important message: These are hoopdies I can make money off, folks, so don’t get the wrong idea. I know I already put on airs about my coffee, but let’s keep it all in perspective. Salsa. Jar. Coffee cup. We didn’t hit powerball. It’s not like I’m having to Tetris Lambos around Ferraris to fit them in the drive. We just got lucky and hit a string of rusty money makers.*

I was scrambling to get $$ off the parts car, stacking bits and doodads up like a pro. And then yesterday hit. We’ll call that chapter, “The Day of Reckoning,” in which our brave heroine literally becomes the victim of her own hoarding when parts go a’tumblin’ to and fro and on her foot.

“Oh, Bethie.”

Hey, in my own defense, we stripped out three cars over the winter. People don’t buy car parts for their projects until spring. I went into the deal knowing I’d just have to…uh…creatively stack the stuff. I knew space would get temporarily tight again.

A couple weeks ago, my man looked at the room and said, “We need one big tool chest instead of all these small ones.”

He was right, because we’ve got tools spread far and wide and it would be lovely to have them all in one location so every repair doesn’t turn into another round of “If I was a wire cutter, where would I be?” Don’t get me wrong. I like that game. I just get sick of playing it every fucking time.

Gets old.

The tool chest is a three part-er he got at one helluva deal from Harbor Freight. I don’t know how many of you use tools, but if you do and you don’t shop online at Harbor Freight, you’re missing out on sweet, sweet savings. Even with the shipping, the unit cost less than half of what it would have cost locally. Taking the price as a sign of organizational fate, he ordered it.

The Tool Chest of Awesomeness arrived.

It arrived before I could sell some parts.

It arrived amid the mess, sitting empty, eyeballing the piles of tools longingly.

“I can be so useful if you just let me,” The Tool Chest of Awesomeness said as I stood stirring regular milk into my coffee yesterday morning like some uncultured swine.

That combined with the alternator deciding to obey physics and crush my toe gave me a reality check. It was clear that I had to put the wrenches down for the day and dive into the hoard. The Tool Chest of Awesomeness is right…it CAN be useful. I would definitely have more usable space if I can get the other tool boxes out of the way. I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

…and then rolled one sleeve back down to mop up my tears of helpless frustration a few hours later when it felt like nothing would ever be right in the world again.

I get overwhelmed, folks. I think it’s part of the hoarding deal. I reach a point where it honestly feels as if there is no hope. That point used to stop me.

Let’s be clear. That feeling, that brick wall, is not a matter of boredom. It’s not like I get halfway through an organizational project and am like, “Meh, screw it. I wanna go glitter something.” I mean, of course I *always* want to glitter something, but that’s not what stops me in a cleaning project. Glitter can wait.

No, in those moments, it’s not a matter of boredom, nor is it laziness. It’s a war inside, because I most definitely, absolutely want to finish the task. I just get an almost consuming feeling that I cannot do it. That I, personally, do not have the ability to put things in a sensical order and that I’m an idiot for even trying.

Like I said, that used to stop me. Now, if I’m working on my own, I step back, wipe my tears, and make a list.

*Sidenote to my big sister: Yeah, yeah…yuk it up You win. THIS TIME.*

I’ll write down the ideas, take a break, and wait until I can go over it with someone before continuing.

Yesterday I didn’t need the list because I had something better: The kids. The teens had no school, and the pup had a half day. Boy, are the kids good at talking me out of my own head. I called Teen Prime in when I started to feel like it was too much and I wasn’t enough and he knew what to say to keep me moving forward.

I just need to know in those moments that my idea will work, because my head tells me it won’t so loudly that I get muddled and can’t tell the difference. If I can tell someone else the plan and they think it’ll work, I get rejuvenated. I just need someone else to say, “I agree.”

“You just need to learn to tell yourself you can do it, Bethie.”

Dude, I just rolled my eyes so hard it put every teenage girl throughout history to shame.

See, that’s the thing, folks. If it’s not your issue, of course that’s what you think. Of course you look at me and say, “Just believe.” I’ve heard that over and over about all kinds of my, uh, we’ll call them “quirks”. “If you just…” “You don’t need someone else to validate…” “You need to love you and embrace your inner power and trust in your feministic magic vagina yadda yadda yadda blah blah…”

GAH ENOUGH!!!

Yes. I *should* be able to know that I can clean a fucking room, for gawd’s sake. I mean, it’s just a room. It’s stuff. Put it in stacks that make sense, throw out what I don’t use, and move on. It doesn’t have to be such a goddamn ordeal.

But it is.

That’s how my head works. Logically I agree 100% that it’s “just” and I “should”. Thinking about the car work I did this week, all of it is arguably much more difficult on the skill scale. Don’t take this the wrong way, but can you weld a cracked door panel back together without warping it when the break goes through not one, but two critical bolt holes? Because I did. I didn’t even think twice before diving into the job, either. I saw the crack, got out the welding supplies, and went for it.

Yet, I see a messy room and it’s like I’ve been dumped into the middle of someone’s brain surgery, handed a scalpel, and told, “You’re his only chance now. Don’t fuck this up.”

Don’t you have those “things”? Isn’t there something you look at another person doing and think jealously to yourself, “It looks so easy. WHY can’t I do that?”

So no, I’m not enough to be my own pep-talker. Maybe someday it’ll be easier for me, and I will be enough to talk myself out of that rut. For now, I need an “attaboy” from another source. At least I understand and accept that. At least I figured out how to work with what I’ve got, not just wish for something different.

Have you had enough of my personal psychoanalysis? Yeah, me too. Let’s get back on track.

Anyway, I got a good chunk done yesterday. Today is going to be jam packed, but this evening I should be able to finish up with the parts organizing and get to where I can roll out all the other tool boxes and fill the new Tool Chest of Awesomeness.

I can’t wait to get that puppy all set up. I get to use a label maker for its intended purpose, not just to annoy the kids by labeling all of their stuff. I mean, I’m still going to do that, too. How else would they know a pencil is a pencil? But I finally have something that actually requires legit labeling.

Pat Benatar was a fluke. The radio station went to something very Bieber-esque, so I decided to switch to the pc and Sia is now blasting through my headphones. Fire is meeting gasoline right now and it’s a beautiful thing. It’s getting me pumped. That’s a good thing. I need to be jazzed right now.

Sia. Fancy coffee. Tool Chest of Awesomeness. A label maker locked and loaded. And you putting up with my shit for awhile to help me clear my head.

Okay then. *deep breath* Unto the breach!

Thus concludes an emo Musing for Saturday, March 19, 2016. *clickity click* Hear that? I just made a label that says, “fancy milk.” …what? I have to warm up the label maker somehow.

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably just the illuminati screwing with you.

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Mornin’ all.

Holy mamajama am I awake. Maxwell House was on sale. I hate Maxwell House, but it was on sale. Sale trumps taste buds every time. We decided to give it another chance, so we picked up a blend called “Smooth Bold.” It was half right. Hooo baby is this shit strong. You ever feel your heartbeat in your eyeballs?

Go ahead and grab a cup, but please use the spare high test ceramic crucible today. I don’t think the titanium one I normally provide will withstand this kind of abuse.

You know, now that I’m used to it, the twitchy beat in my vision is kind of soothing. *siiiip* *spasm* *slight frying sound* Yeah. I can dig it.

Hey, guess what I got?

No, really. Guess.

Come on. It’s no fun if you don’t play along. I’ll help you out with a hint: It doesn’t rhyme with “turtle shell.”

…nothing? *sigh* Fine. I’ll just tell you, killjoy.

I got my new computer parts! They’re right over that way *nods right* and if you could see them, you’d be oohing and ahhing. We started light and just replaced the most likely culprits. So far so good, though, and I’m hoping we eenie meenie-d correctly. I haven’t crashed once this morning, knock wood. The old beast has life in her once again!

So what’s new? I feel like I haven’t done this in ages. It’s been kind of a clusterfuck around here. I had a mad dash to get two cars stripped of parts so we could get them to the scrap yard. Did you know that mixed scrap is going for less than $50/ton right now?? Oy. I wish I had pulled MORE parts off since the weight didn’t matter all that much.

Anyway, after they were pulled, I spent a few days getting all the tidbits cleaned and ready to photograph for the eBay spread. It’s hard to make a CCU box look sexy and alluring, but I’mma do my best.

Hmmm…..I wonder if draping a feather boa over it would sell it faster? I said I want the parts to look sexy and alluring to be cheeky, but now I am legitimately curious. Think I’m on to something?

The hardest thing about selling used car parts on eBay is taking pictures that make them stand out in the crowd. Think anyone has ever tried the sexy angle? Lusty feather boa for the CCU. Flirty Mardi Gras mask for the uncracked and unfaded OEM MBZ-tex visor set (buy it now for only $75! Wow what a steal!) to give them that “come hither” look. I could stick fake lashes on the tail lights…but come on. They’re TAIL LIGHTS. Nothing more needed to make those babies break the internet. Hubba hubba.

*strokes beard in contemplation* I bet they would sell better. Hm…Sounds crazy.

“IS crazy, Bethie.”

Potato, potahto.

Anyway, if I decide to stage a glamour shoot for sexy car parts, I’ll be sure to let you know, perv.

Aside from car stuff, there’s been kid stuff, life stuff, and house stuff. Kid stuff can be nutshelled: pup won an M&M guessing contest, and teens are growing up WAY too fast. Life stuff…nah. We’ll ignore it and hope it goes away. That’s my go-to plan, and it’s been working for 37 years, albeit with varying levels of success. I see no reason to mix it up now. The house stuff is a same-story-different-broken-oven-handle kind of deal.

So, what do we do when we want to gab but don’t really want to get into anything real, serious, or really, seriously boring? Why, we search the internet news sites to see if anything fun, stupid, or silly pops out at us, of course!

Ladies, if you would take the stage. Michaneaux, you ready? (He’s our guest conductor. Doesn’t speak much English, but he can count the band into a catchy theme song like a mofo.) Then drop the balloons and shoot off the confetti cannon, because it’s time for a…

* * * HEADLINE ROUNDUP !!! * * *

*wild applause* See? See what I mean about Michaneaux? Not a single trumpet player lagged on the crescendo, and you know how much skill THAT takes! It’s like trying to wrangle cats! Well done! Bravo!

Wow. With a start like that, how can this be anything but amazingly fun? Regulars know the routine. For any newbs, a Roundup happens when I want to gab, quip, or be snarky. I scour the internet news sites for headlines that jump out at me. Some are bad. Some are stupid. Some are just plain funny. I round them up and present them here for your amusement. These headlines are 100% real. I just add the commentary.

Shall we begin?

– GoFundMe Campaign to Help Kanye Out Of His Debt

If you donate, I will never speak to you again. I mean it. That’s my no give.

– Hockey Player Penalized for Ridiculous Flop

As well he should be! There was no style, no flair, no pizzazz. If you’re going to fake an injury, at least put some heart into it.

– North Korea’s Girl Band is Back, Celebrating Rocket Launch

I wonder if they all tripped and fell in a pile of failure when they tried to begin their routine. You know, keeping with the theme and all.

– Conspiracy Theories Swirl Around Justice Scalia’s Death

Say, remember when conspiracy theories were fun? Or at least a little plausible?? Gawd I miss the 90s.

– Val Kilmer Spotted Without Breathing Aid Amid Health Rumors

Watch it, Val. They’re gunna git you next! #fuckinilluminati,man

– Which Candidates Scare Americans the Most?

At this point, I’d say damn near all of them.

– “Monkey” Spotted Sitting Atop Rocks on Mars

90s flashback!! Yay!! Okay, let’s play along. Was it a macaque? No! I got it. Spider monkey. Right? #we’reontoyouNASA

– Obama: “I Intend to Do My Job. I Expect [Senators] To Do Theirs As Well.”

BOOM. Argue it, GOP.

– Teen Accused of Running Fake Medical Practice

I’m torn. I know it’s bad. Bad, Doogie. Bad. But, admit it. You sort of think anyone who fell for it kind of deserved what they got, too, don’t you?

– 100-million Year Old Ant Fight Preserved in Amber

If you didn’t instantly picture these ants in full armor with the score from 300 playing in the background, then I don’t know if our friendship can last.

– Police: Japanese Mom Made Teen Eat 30 Pet Goldfish

Forget “helicopter parenting” or being a “tiger mom.” The parenting style for the new age is Spetsnazing. Make sure you force your kids to name their pets before eating them, or else you’re totally disrespecting the spirit of the movement.

– FBI Finds Trench of Human Feces at Cultural Site of Oregon Standoff

In fairness, where did you want them to shit? Of all the available choices, in a trench away from the artifacts was probably more than you should have expected.

– Americans Divided on Military, New Poll Shows

Old poll shows, ALL polls have EVER shown. Why is this news?

– The Parmesan You Sprinkle on Your Penne Could Be Wood

The first line of the article is, “The cheese police are on the case.” I didn’t read any further. It was perfect with that one sentence.

– The Army’s Runaway Blimp Escaped Due to…Dead Batteries

I clicked on the link only to get bummed out when I saw no one had photoshopped an Energizer Bunny onto the pic yet. I’m disappointed in you, internet. I expected more.

– German Shorthaired Pointer Wins 140th Westminster

I’m sure that trophy will be a comfort to the dog when he’s suffering and bedridden at a young age due to the chronic health conditions from inbreeding. His hips might already be giving out, but hey…didn’t his nose look perfect.

– Trump Is A ——-: Candidate Plays Fill-in-the-blanks With Voters

Too easy. Writes itself. Pass.

– An Underground Fire Burns Next To Toxic Waste…Don’t Worry, Says EPA

Conspiracy friends, HOW can you possibly have time to make shit up about Scalia when THIS IS ACUTALLY HAPPENING?? Why, with just a little effort, this can be Obama’s fault, too! Do you even want to be credible anymore? It’s like you’re not even trying.

– Eagles of Deathmetal Performs in Paris for Attack Survivors

Seriously? Haven’t those poor folks been through enough already?

– Jesus Does Not Want You To Be Hit Men, Pope Tells Mexican Youth

This pontiff sure doesn’t shy away from setting new Vatican policy, does he?

– Inmates Develop Passion Through Photo Class

Uh, what kind of photos you takin’ over there?

– Cops: Wife Beat Man With Bat Over Lack of Valentine’s Present

With such a kind and loving disposition as she clearly has, I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t get her a gift.

– American Army Develops Pizza That Can Last Over 3 Years

And folks say American ingenuity is dead. Pfft.

– Where Does Clicking On TedCruzForAmerica.com Take You?

Canada.

– Where Does Clicking On TedCruzForAmerica.com Take You?

AW SNAP! I said that for a joke, but…it does! It takes you to a pro-Canadian Immigration page! Faith in the internet RESTORED!

– Clinton’s Candidacy Reveals Generational Schism Among Women

Actually a really good article with surprisingly astute analysis. However, this is the internet, so I think I have to throw out a passive aggressive sarcastic “schism? Uh, next time a TRIGGER WARNING would be nice!” quip. You understand.

– Rapper Killer Mike Faces Flak for Comment At Sanders Rally

He said that “a uterus doesn’t qualify you to be president,” and a few Twitholes flipped their shit. He’s right, though. No one should be elected because of the type of reproductive organs they’ve got. Period. …or no period.

– Cruz: No Gluten-free MREs For the Troops

That’s what you’re going with, Ted? That’s the straw you’re grasping to try and save your campaign?

– The Best AI Still Flunks 8th Grade Science

Dude, do you have any idea how long it took to invent pizza that will last three years?! Some projects are simply more important than others, and when dealing with a tight budget, sacrifices have to be made. In the future when you don’t yet have a functional AI life assistant, BUT can still eat that leftover pizza you forgot about in the back of the fridge for a year and a half, you’ll see it was money well spent.

– DICE Summit a Chance For Game Creators to Refresh, Reflect

Gaming now has corporate team building conferences. *heavy sigh of defeat* Let the sadness sink in.

– Now Children Can Print Their Own Toys Thanks to Mattel ThingMaker 3D Printer

My birthday is in April. If you order now, there’s plenty of time for shipping. Just sayin’.

– The First TEDx Talk Is Happening On A Plane, But You Weren’t Invited

Wow, it’s like prom all over again.

– Three Reasons Why Your Cybersecurity Plan Needs Revised

What cycbersecurity plan?… But that’s not my real problem with this headline. Is this a British thing? Ignoring “to be”? “Your cybersecurity plan needs revised.” It reads like a robot, which we know is silly because they’re not even as advanced as 8th graders yet and wouldn’t care a whit about something as adult and boring as cybersecurity. The trend seems to be popping up all over the news sites. What’s the matter with “to be?” Why leave it out? What did “to be” ever do to you!?

– The Men Who Stare At Laundry

Men? What men? Who are these men? Why are they staring at laundry? Whose laundry is it? Is it mine? It’s mine, right? Are they going to steal my panties out of the dryer again!? GODDAMN IT FRED.

– Just 2 Protesters Show Up for Anti-Beyonce Rally

I know it’s not nice, but I love a failed protest. Can’t help it. Imagine those sad social justice warriors waving their floppy little banners while literally everyone else did not give a damn. Heh heh. Warms the cockles.

– Service Puppy Meets Pluto and Can’t Believe It

“Are you shitting me with this crap? It’s a man in a fucking suit. I’m a dog, not a moron.”

– Woman Did the Most Bizarre Thing With Her Passport

Aaaannnnd we’re done. That’s it. Pack up. Go home.

“Aw, but Bethie…”

NO. This is the internet. You know where this is going. I know where this is going. And once it’s taken that turn, there’s no coming back to decency and honor. I’m sorry, but instead of wallowing in the gutter, I’m just going to have to call this one.

Don’t blame me. Blame Obama.

Thus concludes a Roundup for Wednesday, February 17, 2016. I’m off to go take pictures of the car parts like one of my French girls. Should I go modern, with 3D, or keep it classic with the hazy filter? You know what? I’mma just be in the moment and see what happens. That’s art, baby.

Oh, the electronics I’ve fried…

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Mornin’ all.

Boy, has it been awhile or what? We had happenings, folks. HAPPENINGS. And they have royally messed with my Joyous January plans. I’m hoping to get through this without smashing the computer, but after the hell this beast has put me through…

Hang on. I think I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

It was a dark and drizzly morning in early April, one of those days that carries on the winds a feeling of importance, as if the very air itself knew that a pivotal moment of beginning was about to occur. A twinge, a spasm, a gripping pain seared through a woman’s belly, the lone harbinger of…

“Oh dear lord, Bethie. Are you talking about the day you were born?”

…too far back? Hm. Yeah…I can see it now. You’re right. That’s probably a little too far back for this story. Fastforward almost 37 years…

THIS story began on a cold day in January, just a few weeks ago. The breeze carried with it not a sense of importance so much as a tangible fear of frostbite…or, at the least, the slight worry of chilly tootsies.

It was a busy day mostly spent on the go, but I had a half hour before I had to leave to get the youngest pup from school, and a granny square was just itchin’ to be finished. I popped a butterscotch into my mouth, turned on The People’s Court, sat on the couch, grabbed up my crochet, and got to work. I was only a few stitches in when I shivered. Fortunately, we have a cute little faux fireplace heater we got at a great bargain (no, really, half price! Can you believe it? I told Mabel she really MUST get one herself, but you know Mabel. Course, she got that oil radiator ten years ago and is still going on and on about how great the heat distribution is. I suppose I can’t blame her. Look at her husband. I’m not one for gossip, but if I had to choose between the oil radiator and Hank to keep me warm at night, it’s the radiator. How they ever managed to have children is beyond me. The man is an utter pill, not that Mabel ever turned heads on the dance floor herself…)

*Author’s note: I felt that since I was already sucking a hard candy, sitting down to watch The damn People’s fuckin’ Court, and crocheting a granny square, I should just give up and BE an old lady for awhile. Just seeing what’s coming down the pike for me in a couple decades. I can live with it. Back to current events…*

I reached over to turn on the heater and unwittingly set off the Electric Apocalypse of ’16. As soon as my finger hit the “on” switch, everything stopped.

Long and short, our ancient circuit box quit, melting the main circuit breaker switch. If the burnt, melted, and RUSTED wires are any indication, it had been going for awhile.

Because the thing is old enough to have a calligraphied paper label hand-pasted inside, we could not find a new part to fit. The unHandyman that Landlord uses (longtime readers remember both Landlord and unHandy-handyman) got a part from a “guy” in a parking lot.

I shit you not.

He couldn’t find the part, got talking to a guy in the aisle of a hardware store, and met up with him in a shady parking lot to buy a couple questionably legal parts. You have no idea how badly I want to believe they had code words for this illicit electrical transaction.

When he got back here with parts in hand, one was rusted, one was slightly less rusted. unHandyman honestly seemed confused as to why we selected the less rusted part. He said, “But this is probably an original.”

Now folks, you weren’t here, but I can assure you that when he said, “an original,” what he meant was THE original. As in, the very first circuit breaker ever. I was positive the Smithsonian would like to have it back, so we chose the seventy year old after-market part instead. I know that not having a parts-matching circuit panel probably devalues it for collectors, but I’m one of those crazy folks who believes in actually USING electricity in the house. I’m just zany like that.

Before he installed it, a couple things happened…

My bathroom is off my kitchen. It’s small, with no windows. As we had no power, I had a lantern in there so people could see when they needed to use the bathroom. We three, unHandyman, my man, and I were in the kitchen insisting the less cruddy part was our choice. unHandyman said he’d install it after he “takes a pee.” He then proceeded to walk into the bathroom and start peeing. Right there. Not five feet away. DOOR OPEN.

He’s a groaner when he pees.

There is no reason in the world I should know that.

I said, “Uh, there’s a lantern right there…” He says, “Nah, there’s plenty of light.”

With the door open. RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.

The other thing that happened was that my man actually had to convince unHandyman to shut off the main power into the house before he did the job.

The main power lines were hot. They were not the problem. It was the breaker the thrumming, humming electric wires screwed into that was bad. Think about that for a sec. Let the idiocy sink in. The dude was actually, legitimately, 100% planning on taking his metal screw driver and unscrewing the hot, fully functional power lines. He needed convincing NOT to do this.

His plan to keep safe? He was going to “not slip” with the screwdriver, and make sure to grab the part of the wire where the insulation hadn’t completely melted off to steady it all.

I…I just…*blink* I mean, there are no words, right?

We were without power for about 24 hours. Not too bad considering unHandyman had to slip seamlessly into the seedy underworld of black market circuit breakers to get the job done. The lights are on. The after effects, however, continue.

The Surge, as it will now be called for the rest of all time, fried our computer. Blitzed the power supply and fried the hard drive. And before you say anything snarky, we DID have a surge protector. A super fancy one, actually. It did nuthin’. NUTHIN’. So annoyed with CyberPower right now.

Yes, I specifically called out the brand. We paid a mint for that because my computer is so important to me. And YOUR product is SHIT, CyberPower.

“Uh, Bethie? Shouldn’t you be pissed at Landlords instead?”

Oh worry not, mon ami. There’s enough ire to go around! I just wanted to give my own product review of CyberPower’s fancy schmancy surge protectors. They’re utterly useless. Don’t buy one. Don’t let your friends accidentally buy one. A dollar store hunka would have done the exact same job.

Anyway, The Surge took down my beastie. It’s limping along now. At first, we thought it was just the power supply and hard drive that took the brunt of the meltdown. Now, though, it seems to be randomly having USB problems and freezing/crashing the computer. I keep tweaking things in the BIOS, and today is the very first day I’ve been able to use this writing program for more than five minutes straight. Some things work flawlessly, though, complex programs you’d think would crash. It’s making it very hard to determine which part is still flaking. It’s vexing.

I am vexed.

We’ll get it figured out. Worst case at this point already happened, right? I lost my hard drive.

Now, I’m not an idiot. I did a full backup on an external drive not that long ago of my documents, music, and pictures. I didn’t, however, save the marathon writing session I was in the middle of when The Surge happened. I had revised a book I was working on and added…god…I dunno, at least 60 pages, maybe more. I was in a writing frenzy and didn’t back that up.

I also lost old emails. I could never figure out how to save them.

…okay, in fairness, that’s on me. When the pc wouldn’t just let me copy them to the drive, I said, “Eh, I’ll figure it out later…” and didn’t. That’s on me. I get it.

But all my emails. *heavy sigh*

I’m a hoarder, right? I mean, I’ve touched on it before that I don’t just hoard things. I hoard songs. I obsessively listen to them over and over. I’ll “hoard” a painting or piece of art I like. I’ll look at it…not just look, but feel a compulsion to stop and seek it out throughout the day, no matter what else I’m doing. Maybe it’s all part of hoarding emotions. I dunno. I don’t get paid enough to be my own therapist. And I hoard emails. I keep every correspondence from a friend or family member.

I mean, ALL of them.

Even the stupid ones. Even the links to dumb shit I’ll never actually look at again. Even the ones that piss me off or hurt my feelings. Especially the ones that make me laugh, or give me a feeling of being around that person, no matter how many miles or metaphysical planes may separate us.

I can replace the other things. Hell, I even have a “it wasn’t meant to be” attitude about the writing I lost. Maybe the cosmos thought the book sucked. I’m actually not that bummed out about losing that. But my connection to folks that are now forever in my past…that has been very hard.

I’ve got the dead drive in my drawer. The thing won’t even spin. Utter destruction on the circuit board. Physically fried. I can’t get power to it. I can’t even trick it into working when hooked up to another system. I don’t have the skills to digitally ninja that shit. So it’s in my drawer. Maybe someday the technology will exist for me to breathe life back into those files. My junk drawer is the cryogenic chamber, my hard drive is Disney’s head.

*Author’s note: Yeah, yeah, I know. But it’s such a fun and horrifying urban legend, why not use it?

That’s the skinny on The Surge and all the frustration that has happened since. Putting in a new main breaker was just a stop-gap. The whole things needs to be readdressed when warmer weather hits. If the main was so bad, you know the rest can’t be faring much better.

What should happen come spring is the complete replacement of all the wiring in the house. What actually will happen is another trip down in our scary-beyond-all-reason cellar with electrical tape to wrap everything we can reach. I mean, rust can only hold wires together so long before it crumbles, right?

Hey, on the plus, I now have an “in” with the black market circuit panel parts dealers in the area. Didn’t have that before. I think I’ll start calling them the Voltaic Underground. When I need a part, I’ll shine a lightning bolt symbol into the clouds. Maybe they’ll let me make t-shirts.

“Slow down, Bethie. No one likes it when a newbie comes into the group and starts trying to run the show.”

…fair enough. I don’t wanna Yoko the Voltaic Underground. If I piss them off, what will I do for the next Surge?

Still, I now know they are there if I need them. It’s a small comfort, but it looks like that’s the only one I’m going to get out of this experience.

Eh. I’ll take it.

Thus concludes a Musing for Saturday, January 23, 2016. I got through this entire thing without crashing! I hung for a minute, swore, and scared it back into motion. Maybe that’s what I’ve been doing wrong. I’m treating this beast with kid gloves when I should be yelling and threatening like I do with my cars. In that case, I better whip out my best old timey sailor impression while I try to upload…apologies if it gets a little salty in here…

Another year without a nuclear meltdown has got to be making them rethink the calendars…

Standard

Mornin’ all.

We done went and had ourselves a bit of winter this week. It was sleeting so hard that when I got up the other day that it sounded like a pipe had broken. I had a momentary flashback to last years’ Pipes of Hell winter production before I got a grip and realized that it was a balmy 30 degrees, and the water was coming down from above, not up from below.

I took a look outside. A couple inches of snow, then ice pellets as far as the eye could see. What an awful mess! Fortunately for us, no one had anywhere they needed to go. Kids were home from school, man was home from work. There wasn’t a single reason any of us had to go out.

So of course we went out.

…what? Oh come on. It’s a New England tradition. The plows had already come through, so we weren’t clogging up the roads and getting in their way, and there was almost no traffic. As soon as you can, you get in your car and chug the mile to the local grocery store to make sure every other redneck congregated there still agrees with your assessment that winter is wicked fahkin’ shitty. It’s just what you do. I don’t make the rules, people.

Besides, we were low on milk. Not quite out, but low enough that the morning joe would be tan, not khaki. Couldn’t have that first world problem, now could I? I mean, I chipped a nail this week, too. There’s only so much one person can take.

We’re halfway through the kids’ holiday break. For the most part, it’s been pretty smooth. They needed to clean their rooms to make space for fresh inventory after Christmas. I remember when that meant they played with the rediscovered toys while I sat buried under the heaps of long forgotten treasures, desperately trying to throw out the crap that the kids only suddenly NEEDED because it was time for it to go.

Now, even the littlest pup is old enough to mostly guide himself in cleaning.

I’m not saying I don’t have a couple in the litter who show the same hoarding tendencies I possess. Sometimes I’ll catch the pup sneaking a broken toy under the bed. “What’s that?” I’ll say. “I can fix it,” he’ll protest. “Put it in the trash before you end up with an hour long TLC special,” I’ll tell him, carefully creasing my brow in practiced parental consternation.

Aside from cleaning, it’s been mellow and game-filled. They are my little flock of geeks and got some cool games for Christmas. And while they got out and played before the shit weather rolled in, I can’t say any of them seemed the least bit disappointed to discover that Mother Nature made sure their time was free for digital adventuring.

Pokemons explored caves. Isaacs were…bound? I’m sorry, I don’t really know how that game works. Brain puzzles were solved, and, if the excited tittering wafting from the teen lair was any indication, large battleships were thwarted.

Looks like they’ll have that same kind of morning again today, at least. It’s raining and the snow/ice is getting a fresh, glossy glaze. Hey, I suppose I can’t complain. I mean, it’s the first real sign of winter, and it’s almost 2016.

Can you believe it? Another year out. Pfft, just like that. Seems like I cracked open my free 2015 calendar the nuclear power plant sends to all the folks that live in the potential fallout zone just yesterday.

…true story. Got next year’s unusual bribe all ready to hang in the morning. If the plant ever blows, at least I’ll have the warm memories of all the free calendars they sent over the years to temper my anger at their incompetence and give me comfort. Well, the warm memories and the literal warmth of the radiation…

It’s that time of year again when we look back and reflect on the old shitstorm we’re leaving behind before our hungover asses wake up to the first misting sprays of the new one. Everyone’s recapping the year as only the internet can.

Most sites are linking their favorite lists by category. The news this year was, by and large, fairly bleak. I’m looking through these lists of murders and scandals and jihads and arrests and it’s depressing as hell. There was a link on MSN to the “20 Cutest Internet Cats of 2015.” I was thinking that would take the sting off the hell hole we’re in and clicked on it. True to their word, some of the kitties really did have squiffy wiffy faces. I was feeling more positive until I clicked on the last cat. The last cat on the list looked like Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is now ruining the palate-cleansing ability of internet kittehs. Screw you, Donald Trump. #generalmessageof2015

Then there are the usual lists of celebrity lives that ended in the course of the year. The entertainment sections have lists of actors and singers that shuffled off this mortal coil. The sports section listed “7 Sports Heroes You’ll Miss Next Year.” What a set up articles like that are. I didn’t even know these people existed until you told me, and then as soon as I find out about them, you tell me they died. I was in a world of blissful ignorance before. Any emptiness and loss I now feel for heroes I will never get to know is completely your fault, sports writers. Screw you, too.

Science and tech sections also have their loss articles, but no one reads them. I think that’s probably sadder than the fabricated depression from the sports writers. This keyboard I’m typing on could have been invented by someone who died this year, and I’ll never know. I mean, I *could* know, I guess. I just won’t.

Hey, at least I’m honest.

Aside from the news bits, many of the lists on the internet are sponsored. “Top 20 Hairstyles of 2015,” brought to you by Wen hair care. Just guessing here, but I think these styles are going to be held in place with Wen’s Dr. MacGuillicuddy Formula Super Shiny Impossible-to-Muss All Purpose Hair Shellac Elixir and Floor Polish. They’re also linking their least favorite lists. “Worst Hairstyles in 2015.” Looks like there are many folks out there who didn’t buy Wen. Tighten that shit up in 2016, folks. Just call Wen and ask for “magic hair beans.” They’ll know what you’re talking about.

Here’s a good one. “50 of the Best Cars of 2015.” How about, “80 Great Breakfasts to Start off the New Year.” This is one you cannot miss: “101 Life Hacks We Learned in 2015.”

It cracks me up when I see lists like this. 50 Best Cars…so, like…ALL the cars of 2015, then? I think they just try to one up each other. I think the folks at BuzzFeed brainstorm or interface or idea-share or whatever they call it to try and come up with a list that cannot be topped.

“Let’s see if we can think of a list that will dwarf all other lists,” some asshole in an ill-fitting plaid shirt says as he pushes thick-framed, lensless glasses up his nose.

Stanley gulps, though whether because of genuine panic or simply discomfort the starched bow tie pressing against his Adam’s apple creates is undetermined. “Dave,” he rasps. “You’re talking about…the Golden List.”

The group gasps as one, but Dave is undeterred. He holds up a perfectly manicured hand, mostly to flash the sweet 1986 Casio calculator watch he found at a yardsale that sometimes even works, and the group stills. “Yes.”

The one word gets the hipsters riled enough to forget their corporate catchphrases. “That’s fucking nuts!” someone shouts. “It’s a pipe dream, Dave!” says another.

“This is it,” Dave shouts above the din of the crowd. Everyone settles back down. “I said it in January and I meant it. This is OUR year. We’re not leaving this office until we finally do it. I want everyone to network and give each other input and no one is leaving until we come away with the Golden List.”

Stanley hitches up his high waisted acid washed jeans he’s totally wearing ironically, duh, and takes a deep breath. “You do know that’s the top, right? That’s the pinnacle. If we create the world’s most comprehensive list, it’s all downhill from there. We’ll never be able to beat it.”

Dave removes the annoying empty frames, stares long and hard at his expectant hispt-herd, and finally utters, “Then we go out in a blaze of glory, my friends. Who’s with me?”

50 cars. 80 breakfasts. 101 life hacks… I tried to do a Google search for “longest compilation lists,” “longest year end wrap up lists,” and “longest dumb lists of shit that happened in 2015,” but I simply confused the Google Overlords. They still think I want a list of armed conflicts near large rivers. Should make my autofill even more interesting next time.

Things happened this year. More things did not. We were great at realizing problems, but really shitty at fixing them. We’ve got to work on that in 2016. We’ve had some deaths, some more personal than others, and some births. Folks set records, smashed records, invented records, and some even recorded records, though they won’t just call them “records” anymore and that’s super annoying. There was a lot to 2015.

I look back on the news, the media, the trends and stories and pop culture ebbs and flows. What do I want to talk about in terms of the year we’re leaving behind? I have spent the year blogging. I got most of it out of my system when it happened. Something grabbed my attention, I hopped on and “Mornin’ all-ed”, and walked away feeling lighter and freer. I generally don’t need to recap, since it’s all archived and anyone is free to look back on their own if they want.

However, there is something nagging me that I need to get off my chest before I can move forward. Somehow I missed the news when it came out, and then it became awkward to talk about apropos of nothing. But that’s what year end round ups are for, right? It’s a time to have one last chance to air your grievances before you close the calendar, throw it away, and start fresh.

With that in mind, here’s Bethie’s Huge Annoyance of 2015. I’m not even going to try and compete for the Golden List award. It’s really simple. Just one thing.

This:

hoverboard

THIS IS NOT A HOVERBOARD!!! It doesn’t hover. It doesn’t even come CLOSE to hovering. It’s on GODDAMN WHEELS for crying out loud. It’s AT BEST a crooked skateboard. It’s not innovative. It’s not the “future”. It’s just a board with spinny wheels on it. WHEELS. No hovering capabilities whatsoever. The emperor is naked and it’s time someone stood up and said something.

STOP CALLING IT A FUCKING HOVERBOARD!!!!! GAAAHHH!!!!

*exhausted panting* *deep breath* *slicks back crazy wayward lock of hair* *clears throat*

There. NOW I’m ready for 2016.

Thus concludes the last Musing for 2015. I say this every year, and every year some dope ignores the good advice. If you want to usher in 2016 by getting utterly shit faced, cheers! Now, grab a couch. A floor. Be the huddled mass in the bathtub moaning all night. Whatever you do, DON’T DRIVE AFTER YOU DRINK!! Any is too many. I hope everyone gets to wake up tomorrow morning with a headache, cotton mouth, and a nagging suspicion that the lampshade and goat weren’t actually a dream…