Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bronzed God

Bill Clinton likes to say that he was the first black President. I guess that's a moot point now. Likewise, I was the first colored kid in my town, and just like Bill Clinton I am Caucasian. Back in the 1950's and 60's people didn't consider sun-block, in fact I don't think there was even such a product available back then. Instead, people slathered on oils and fats that amplified the rays of the sun and gave you that Coppertone tan. When I was a kid I ran around all summer, swimming and playing in the sun without any protection of any kind, and by the end of the season my skin was always a deep dark brown. Sure occasionally I would get sunburned, and my skin would peel away in sheets, but that was the price you paid for fun in the sun. As an adult I have been a little bit more careful about the sun. I still don't use sun-block, but I try to limit my time out in the sun to less than a half an hour, and in the twenty years I have lived in Florida, I have never been sunburned. That is, until now.

Last week Mark, a couple of friends, and I, went to see a Marlins spring training baseball game. It was a pleasant day, with fresh breezes and moderate temperatures. After two hours of sitting in the sun, drinking beer, and eating sausage sandwiches, we decided we had seen enough and left. Unfortunately I hadn't protected myself with sun-block. Hours later as I was getting ready for bed, I realized that my knees were burning. I looked down and saw that both knees were a lovely, flaming fuchsia. I quickly put on some burn gel from the first aid kit, and hopefully, I won't get knee cancer from this act of stupidity. I figure the skin will eventually just peel off and a fresh epidermis will take its place. I will just have to stay out of the ocean for a while. I wouldn't want my knees to be mistaken for lobsters by some spear fisherman.

In Florida, this is referred to as a tourist tan.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hummmm.....

What kind of guy isn't satisfied with a Cadillac Escalade or GMC Yukon, and feels compelled to buy a Hummer H2, a truck designed for military use? The other night I took Chandler out for his late evening walk before I went to bed. It is usually a nice quiet walk, where Chandler can poop on peoples lawns and I don't have to pick it up because it's dark. On this particular evening we were approaching the end of the block when a giant yellow Hummer H2, with all the chrome bells and whistles, came speeding around the corner. I find it quite intimidating to have a four ton truck bearing down on me as I walk my dog in the dark, and I yelled out, "Slow it down!" as it whizzed by. Over my shoulder I could see the brake lights come on and the Hummer shift into reverse.

From inside the cavernous, darkened vehicle, came the voice of a man yelling at me, "Don't walk so close to the edge of the road. I can't see you there!". In other words, he thought that I should walk my dog in the middle of the road so that he could see us as he sped around a blind corner, or maybe he just wanted to have a better crack at hitting me. I yelled back, "Just slow it down!". He shouted back accusing me of trying to get hit, and this awoke the Big Al in me. I immediately started channeling my father, and words like asshole, and jackass began spewing out. I am generally not afraid of walking late in the evening, most people won't challenge a guy walking a large dog, and I didn't have to worry about this dweeb in a Hummer. As he drove off yelling and shouting, the last word I could make out coming from inside the Hummer was "Faggot!". Faggot? Is it really that obvious?

So why does somebody need to spend over fifty thousand dollars on a vehicle that can't be parked in a standard parking space? Why a vehicle that gets under ten miles per gallon and has less usable space for hauling things than most other SUV's? Besides a self image that is wanting, and a need for people to notice you, I think the answer might be obvious. Overcompensation for what is known in medical terms as 'Micropenis'.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Photo Friday

Dad

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fast Money

Now that we have started on remodeling our bathroom, I have to find the cash to finish the job. My first thought was to sell Mark, but I have been told that was outlawed way back on December 18, 1865, something called the thirteenth amendment. Another route could be for me to not eat so much. I figure I eat about a hundred dollars per week of unnecessary food. That would actually be doubly beneficial, because it would cause me to lose a lot of weight, and then I would be skinny enough to rent myself out as a gigolo. I know, I would have to make love to rickety old women, and I am already a rickety old man, but isn't that what Viagra is made for?

Okay, gigolo is out, let's go back to Mark. I know I can't sell him, but how about renting him out. He is a really good cook, and I think I could get a fair chunk of money from that. I certainly couldn't rent him out as a housekeeper, so he would have to be kept in the kitchen. The only problem I see is who would clean up after him? When Mark cooks, the aftermath is incredible, the kitchen looks like a hurricane and flood hit it. Usually I just send the dog in there to lick the lower areas clean, while I clean the counter tops.

Okay, renting Mark out as a cook is actually a good idea but very hard to implement. So, I have decided to go with the old tried and true way of making extra money, a yard sale. I went out to the shed and took a look. It is incredible how much useless crap Mark has accumulated out there. I think if I drag all that stuff out to the front of the house and put some nice low prices on it, I can make enough to finish the bathroom, and if someone happens to want a skinny cook for a day, I think we can put a price on that too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Money Hole

Big plans are afoot around here. I am going to remodel our bedroom bathroom all by myself. I have the paint, and a new sink all ready to go. The only problem is that the money I budgeted for the new shower enclosure is gone. As is the norm, just when you think everything is going along just as you planned it, crap happens. In this case it was the clothes dryer that the tenants use that stopped working. Unfortunately, because I promised the renters that they would have a working laundry, I had to actually do something about it.

My first idea was to fix the thing myself. I figured it would be easy to fix a dryer, and I was right. Within a few minutes I had the back of it off, and identified the non-working component which I then removed and took to the appliance parts store. It seemed so easy. I handed the part to the man behind the counter, and he dutifully looked it up on his computer. After a few clicks on the keyboard, the man looked up and told me, "Five to ten days, I have to order it. Oh, and it costs $100.". A hundred dollars, for what? It's a cheesy piece of crap that was made in China for pennies by ten year old children. I walked out of there and went over to the Home Depot. For just a hundred and thirty dollars more, I was able to purchase an entirely new dryer.

No problem. I figured I still had enough money to buy the shower enclosure for the bathroom. Almost as soon as I had the new dryer in place, a loud, horrible, shrieking sound filled the back yard. No it wasn't Mark. The bearings in the swimming pool pump were going bad. Another three hundred and fifty dollars to fix the pool pump. All this has put my bathroom remodel on hold until I can refresh my saving account. It isn't all bad though, Fat Kitty has found that the box that the new sink is in makes a wonderful place to snooze safely out of Chandlers reach.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Smell Wet Dog

After three months of no rain, the skies opened up last Wednesday, and it rained for two days. Chandler, does not like the rain, and refused to go out, preferring to keep everything in until he exploded or I allowed him to poop inside the house. Luckily he did not explode, and I didn't allow him to do it in the house. Instead I pushed him out the back door, and dragged him over to his favorite pee spot. As a courtesy to Chandler, I did bring an umbrella to help keep him dry, but as I am finding out, Chandler is afraid of many things, and you can now add opening up an umbrella to that list. Snapping the umbrella open terminated all of Chandler's desire to go potty, and he ran back to the door begging to get back in. As I stood there in the downpour, pleading with him to please go 'poopies', the harder he pressed against the door.

After thirty six hours of Chandler holding his bladder and clenching his sphincter, as a tactic of last resort, I decided that I would take him walkies. That usually gets him so excited he just can't hold it in any more. So in a light drizzle, off we went. Half way around the block, in front of a neighbors house, finally Chandler started doing the poop dance. Around and around in a circle until he found just the right spot, directly in front of a 'Clean up After Your Dog' sign, where he proceeded to drop two days worth of crap. I was so happy, I didn't even mind picking up his gigantic turds, and we proudly walked back home in the rain with Chandler's treasure in a neat little sack for all to see.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Video Thursday

One of the 'perks' of living in Florida is that you can occasionally see a rocket ship take off.


If you look real close you can see the trail of the rocket through the trees. My life is so exciting.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Pukin' of the Green

Yesterday we celebrated one of the most solemn of holy days in the Catholic Church, Saint Patrick's Day. This is the day that young people, dressed in ugly green clothing, pay homage to Saint Patrick by going out and slugging down gallons of green beer, until they see snakes. It is continued the next morning when many kneel before the porcelain altar, and pray to God for relief. It's all very religious.

I have never liked drinking holidays like New Years and St. Patty's because it always brings out the amateurs and results in carnage and mayhem. You don't really need a specious excuse to go out and drink too much, the bars are open all year long kids. Spread it out.


There is one part of Saint Patrick's Day that I do like, dinner. Last night Mark made his traditional corned beef and cabbage with potatoes. As it is with everything Mark prepares, the corned beef was delicious. I'm not sure about the cabbage because I don't eat cabbage. To me cabbage is fine in coleslaw or as something to feed a goat, but on it's own it is nothing more than a soggy, flavorless, mess. One reason I know cabbage isn't supposed to actually be eaten is because Chandler won't touch it, and Chandler eats everything including cat poop, and toilet paper.

Finally, a little advice for you young ones. If you are going to go out and drink green beer until the world is spinning and ugly is the new pretty, don't eat a lot of gassy cabbage before hand. You'll only be looking at all that green again in the morning.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's Naked Night

While paging through our photo album of our trip to Paris a few years ago, I wondered what the hell is wrong with some Americans? Why do so many of us speak ill of the French? Why the name calling? Why the freedom fries? The truth is that we are a lot like the French. We should appreciate that both they and we are nationalistic, patriotic, and think our shit doesn't stink.

In some other ways the French are different from us. For instance most Parisians speak two or more languages, with the second one usually being English. That, I think, is so that they can make fun of Americans like Mark and me, in a language that we would understand. It did happen that they mocked us on more than one occasion. There were some Parisians, however, who were very nice and treated us well, but that might have been because we were paying to stay at their hotel.

While we were in Paris we visited an area known as Les Halles. We should have known something was up when the cab driver refused to drop us off in front of the club we were going to. He stopped at a corner and pointed, telling us in French to walk "deux rues". After strolling past prostitutes, drug dealers, and all sorts of sketchy types, we finally found the little club we were looking for. We entered the front door, and were stopped by the door man, who then pointed us toward what looked like a coat check room. The man at the coat check room told us that there would be a cover charge as he handed us two black, plastic garbage bags. I stood there with the bags in my hand and asked him, "What are these for?". "Oh, gentlemen, tonight is naked night!", he answered, "Thee bags are for your clothes.". Mark and I looked at each other, knowing what the answer would be, "No Thanks, not for us.", and I handed the bags back to him. Just to be sure though, I reached over and pulled the little black curtain aside, to see if maybe it might be interesting. What I saw has been permanently burned into my memory. There sat two, old, wrinkle-assed men, stark naked on bar stools, casually having a conversation, smoking cigarettes, and sipping their drinks. Vinyl, old man butts, and cigarettes. I grabbed Mark and ran.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Milk

Tuesdays are movie nights at our house, and this last week Mark and I watched "Milk", the story of a San Francisco politician in the 1970's. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay politician to be elected to a major office, in a major American city. What I found so compelling about the movie, is not so much Harvey Milk's story, I already knew most of that, it was the fact that I took part in many of the events that were depicted in the movie. In 1978 I was living in Oakland California, and worked in San Francisco. In my mind it is all still very clear and vivid, but in the movie they used archival movie footage of the events of the day, and honestly, it made me feel extremely old. The historical footage was all scratchy, grainy, and faded and I have to ask, am I also that scratchy, grainy, and faded?

A couple of the events that I participated in that year, were the gay pride parade that is shown in the movie, and the candlelight march and vigil depicted at the end of the movie. I looked closely to see if I was in the footage, and the only time you can see me is during the candlelight vigil outside city hall. I am the dark indiscernible spot 359 people from the left and just three inches above the bottom of the screen.

One other interesting thing about the movie was Emile Hirsch's glasses. They were very ugly, and very much in style back then. I know, it was the first year I started wearing glasses, and I had the same hot style.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dogsicle

In 1970 I had one of the worst jobs ever. I was an ice cream truck driver for three days. When I was a kid, the sound of the ice cream man's truck signaled happy times, but I managed to learn to hate that sound after three days of snotty brats calling me names, and handfuls of sticky pennies. Not to mention the repetitious ting a ling a ting a ling of that stupid music blaring from the loudspeaker. It all finally came to a halt when the decrepit van that they had given me, died in the middle of a suburban cul-de-sac. I left the key in it, walked to a pay phone, and told them where to find it. I assume that the children on that street enjoyed free ice cream until the tow truck showed up.

Chandler and I were going walkies late this afternoon, and halfway down the street he stopped, cocked his head, and raised his ears. Off in the far distance he was hearing the unmistakable music of an ice cream truck. Ting a ling a ling a ting. Each time the music cycled through and started again, Chandler would stop dead in his tracks and look around to see where that sound was coming from. As we walked on, the ice cream truck suddenly appeared at the end of the street. I felt a sharp tug on the leash, and I looked down at Chandler to see why. He was trembling, and his tail was wedged firmly between his legs. It turns out that my dog is terrified of ice cream trucks. As the jangling beast slowly moved towards us, Chandler bolted. I felt my arm being ripped out of it's socket, as he dragged me in the opposite direction. We made it home in record time, and Chandler ran into the house, directly to the security of my bedroom where he stayed until he was sure the offending ice cream truck hadn't followed us home. It's probably just as well, because if he hadn't dragged me home I definitely would have had a Creamsicle.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mark's Bug

I can hear the cursing, and whining, wafting through the house like smoke from a fire, but there is no fire. It's Mark, totally frustrated and crazed, trying to cope with his computer. He's picked up a virus again. This time he swears that all he did was visit facebook, and click on a link someone had put in there. Even though Mark worked in information services for years, and was responsible for keeping the Broward Courthouse computer system running, his first instinct is always to come running to me for help.

For twenty five years I maintained other people's computers, and although sometimes it was extremely satisfying, at other times I wanted to kill someone. It never failed that on a Saturday night, when I wanted to go out, my pager would go off and I would have to drop everything to go fix a crashed computer system. This invariably caused me to stomp around the house in a fit of rage, shouting, and screaming every foul, mean, and filthy word I could spit out. That generally worked out okay, because it meant that I would get all of the hostility out of my system before I showed up in the customers computer room. To this day my friend Dennis thinks I had a customer named 'Southeast Frozen F*cking Foods'. Getting my hostilities out before showing up usually worked fine, except for the one time I lost my temper at a customer site, and let out a 'F' bomb. I was quite surprised to find out that you could be fired for swearing in front of a customer.

I really don't mind fixing Mark's computer. I don't have to leave the house to do it. I can get to it in my own sweet time, and I always get a good meal out of it. Most of all, I can sit there and call his computer all kind of nasty things, and nobody is going to tell me not to.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Time to Clean

I always hate changing the damn time twice a year. They call it Eastern Standard Time, but it's only around for four months. How standard is that? After going through the house this morning and adjusting about a dozen clocks, we are now on Daylight Savings Time. The one good thing about it is that Chandler doesn't bug me to go poopies until an hour later than before.

Saturday Mark had another one of his famous dinner parties. I think he has an ulterior motive besides feeding people, practicing his culinary skills, and having an excuse to sit around and drink wine. I think he also does it to get me to clean the house. I am a horrible housekeeper, and that is why I always kept my place quite simple when I lived alone. No clutter to collect dust, and clean under. Just a place to sit, and a place to sleep. Now with all the crap and clutter that Mark has brought to this house, it takes me a month just to work up the energy for cleaning it. There are some places around here that have actually never even seen a vacuum cleaner, or a dust mop. In fact there is one place that I have never, ever, had the courage to inspect. The space under my bed. As they say "Out of sight, out of mind". This time while cleaning the house in preparation for the dinner party, I decided it might be time to have a look under there. What I found was a collection of Chandler's toys, enormous dust bunnies, and one skinny little cat who had turned it into a comfy little nest for herself. So no, I didn't clean under there Saturday. I used the excuse that Carlotta kitty is terrified of the vacuum cleaner, and ignored it. I will have to clean under the bed real soon though, because now at night I am having dreams of dust monsters and wild animals living under there.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gesundheit!

This post will be short, because I will probably drift back to unconsciousness before I'm done typing. You see, right now there is a civil war going on inside my brain between the Nyquil I took last night and the Dayquil, (Is that what it’s called?) that I have been sipping all day.

The problem with having allergies, is that you can never tell if you are coming down with a cold or if the cat has been sleeping on your pillow while you were away. It started Monday morning with long fits of sneezing, and quickly was followed by a mucus tsunami of biblical proportions. Before I left to go walk dogs at the shelter, I took a dose of Claritin, but it didn’t seem to do the job and I continued to sneeze and spew snot. It was when I got home that I started on the Dayquil which allowed me to go bowling Monday night. The five vodka/sodas I had at bowling also helped me feel much better, and seemed to improve my skills. At least to me it seemed like I was more focused. Alcohol and cold medicine will do that. I’ll know if that is true next week, when I get a chance to look at my scores that were printed out. For now, I’m just going to go back and sit in my big fluffy chair and slip back into my Nyquil/Dayquil stupor.