Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Good Work, Karl!

A great big congratulations to Karl, my lime tree, for producing his very first lime, ever! It is just a baby now, but in a few short months, it will be ready to debut as enhancement to a bottle of Caguama beer. Hopefully my grape vines see this as encouragement and will start working more fruitfully toward production. Fantastic job, Karl! I knew you could do it!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Assassination of The Jerk: The Sequel

When the alarm went off this morning, I was fairly certain that this was just going to be another day on the hamster wheel. My day was probably going to look like this:

Though I'm not certain things have improved, per se, they are certainly starting to change:

In fact, since I have called the exterminator, a crushing admission of defeat, frankly, I'm kind of hoping for this to happen once he arrives:

See, I've been playing hide and seek with a rodent. This game started last summer, when I noticed a tarantula hole along one of the walls in the back yard. I was thrilled! Tarantulas are not only cool, but they are also awesome. Some might even say, well, super awesome. Their holes look like this:

Tarantulas, in all their glory, look like this:

Since I am such a friend to nature, I decided to pour a tiny bit of water into the hole to see if the tarantula would pop out. I had no intention of actually killing the spider; I merely wanted a good look at it. One cannot give a tarantula a suitable name unless one has actually personally seen the individual in question. I began making a mental list of possible tarantula names. Tula. Tim. Trevor. Tina. Tristram Shandy. I slowly started to add water to the hole, excited to be naming the first tarantula ever to be seen in my back yard.

When a rodent bolted out and ran across my foot, however, I screamed and started to worry about hantavirus. After concluding that I was having trouble breathing not because I was in the last stages of drowning in my own lung fluids but because I was panicking, I turned the hose on full blast and created a cement-like tomb of the hole. The dirt in my back yard is chemically the same as most concretes; to activate it and make sidewalks, only water is required. Not useful when cultivating a garden. Very useful when entombing a rodent.

Of course, this was merely a laughable obstacle in the life of The Jerk, which is how I started to refer to the rodent. My mother began calling for daily updates about my dealings with The Jerk, so often did I worry about the looming threat of death from hantavirus. She would reassure me that short of putting my face into the hole of the rodent, stirring it up and then breathing deeply, it was unlikely that I would contract hantavirus. It was a good effort on her part, but I really never believed her. Ask anyone. It was clear to me that the mouse had to go or I would die a painful death brought on not by scurvy, which had been my dream disease, but hantavirus. Ick.

Anyway, The Jerk, thinking that he was Jason Bourne, started to move his holes around the back yard. He dug a hole underneath a flower pot. Instant entombment via garden hose. Next, a new hole under the wood pile. Not only did this give me good reason to have a bonfire and eliminate his little nest, entombment via bleach was the obvious next step in the war.

After a few weeks of obsessive perimeter checking at all hours of the day and night, hopes that that I had finally killed The Jerk started to grow -- the yard had remained hole free. Until I found a new hole, in the front yard, prompting the Poison Battle of 2007. Nothing was out of bounds in this war: nail polish remover, Avon's Skin So Soft, Comet, Ajax, laundry soap, shaving cream, oven cleaner, Windex, kerosene, human urine, old paint, toilet cleaner, dishwasher soap, paint thinner. Finally, he either gave up and moved away, or died. Either way, I won.

As of a few days ago, I had been telling the story of my epic victory to anyone who would listen. And then I noticed the new hole, right underneath the faucet next to the garage. The Jerk had returned.

I was ready -- lye went into his hole, followed by water followed by heavy destruction of the hole via shovel. I was cautiously optimistic that this would be the end of him.

How I underestimated this new soldier.

The Jerk moved into the backyard, digging a hole next to the sliding glass door, in full view of all of my cats. Who, by the way, received an immediate reduction in pay for not bringing this transgression to my attention. I brought out two trays of tempting poison pellets, certain that The Jerk could not refuse the heady ambrosial smell. He responded by digging another hole underneath one of the trays.

This morning, I poured an entire gallon of bleach into both holes and then smashed all of the surrounding dirt into a compact mass. Within twenty minutes, The Jerk had redug another hole, mere centimeters from the last one. It is clear that this new version of the The Jerk is a Cylon. He has downloaded all of his knowledge into a new, super powerful rodent body, and just.won't.die. I think that he knows that I have both choco-mint cookies in the pantry as well as a can of cherry pie filling and he is determined to have his share.

So here I am. Waiting for the exterminator. My pride punched full of holes. My morale causing my head to hang in shame. Perhaps, though, this is actually a sign of a strong general. Maybe I just need fresh troops. Yes -- this thing will end. I will again be victorious, soon planting a spike with The Jerk's corpse dangling in the wind, as a warning to other rebel Cylon rodents. I will defeat him.

Note: Check out the fantastic art of Graham Roumieu, who has clearly also done battle with rodents. My money says that he won, too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

An Apology To My Next Door Neighbor

It has become too boorishly tiresome to complain -- at heart, I am a rare visitor to the Land of Frustration and Anger. I much prefer a good solution; it makes moving on that much more satisfying and simple. When that doesn't work, I can always turn up the volume on Ignore.

Lately, and by that, I mean the last, oh, two and a half years, I've not been able to let go of the fact that I work with someone whom I find deeply frustrating. While I realize it is not at all her fault; everyone happens to have a Work Place Nemesis and she is mine, something has to be done. No more complaining. No more whining. No more! I just can't stand listening to myself on this topic any more.

Last night, I was inspired. I just need An Angry Mix CD. It was obvious, really. Sure, George can soothe my feathers after even the most trying of days, but a loud-angry-guitar-screaming-angst-festival is better suited to this particular purpose. It was just so obvious I couldn't see it. I'll modestly say it is some of my best work to date -- really, since the days of cassette tapes and late night Test Department Shows on KLPX with Susie Dunn. Yeah, That.Good.

It is so fantastic that, after giving it a trial listen at 1:00 am, I couldn't sleep for another two hours. Heck, I could go into war after listening to this. Or at least jump into the ring with a WWF fake wrestler. Probably be able to shoo away a Jehovah Witness who rings my doorbell on an early Saturday morning -- even if she looked just like my Nana. Workplace Nonsense? Hi-yah!

Track List of Doom:

Queens of the Stone Age - You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire
Linkin Park - Faint
Fugazi - Merchandise
Pearl Jam - Go
Limp Bizkit - Break Stuff
And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead... - Caterwaul
Live - Lakini's Juice
Alice in Chains - Would?
Beastie Boys - Sabotage
Clipse - When The Last Time
Rage Against The Machine - Know Your Enemy
Ludacris- Stand Up
The Prodigy - Poison
The Gossip - Fire With Fire
Fiona Apple - Fast As You Can
Gogol Bordello - Dogs Were Barking
Kings of Leon - On Call
Ben Folds - Rockin' The Suburbs

Just in case you wanted to make one for yourself.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Year, New Obsession

I'm fairly certain that I am in the middle of birthing a brand new obsession. Scurvy, evil eyes, the perfect piece of cherry pie -- y'all are going to have to ride in the back seat for a spell. I'm welcoming Big Foot and Yeti into the front seat.

I have to admit, I've been wondering about a mysterious sound that I'll occasionally hear in the middle of the night, which seems to come from the back yard. I used to think it was just the army of ants who have sworn a blood oath against me, staging a new formation in their tiny theater of war. It has become increasingly clear, however, that I have no conclusive evidence to support this assertion. However, as I do have a window, a home computer set up next to said window, a digital camera, and, since I regularly stop at Target as part of my daily sacraments, I can easily buy a microphone -- the analysis is set to begin soon!

If it is what I think it could be:

I no longer have to do anything more to 'advance' my current career. The new course will be obvious -- like Brian Epstein, I'll ride the coattails of this new super group to fame, fortune, and, what's another 'f' word that will work here? Yes -- federalism. No. Fourierism! Yes! Fame, Fortune and Fourierism!

Until then, I have a yeti to shave.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'll Take a Rain Check

It is that time again. Pencils. Paper. Long lines at Target. Crazed suburban stay-at-home moms dueling to the death over the last $1.49 stapler on the rack, their children learning a valuable lesson in elbowing and dagger eyeballs. Lurking motorcycle cops, seemingly cloned overnight. The random seasonal 'college' furniture display in the grocery store, which, really, who actually buys a room-sized rug from Fry's? "Let's see, eggs, milk, rum, toilet paper, ohhh! A room-sized rug! In grey and red! With a 1/16th inch pile. For only $60! I know it wasn't really on my list, but it is such a great deal!' Setting the alarm clock every night -- then checking it 2,000 times to make certain that it is set to the radio station that I like, the one that plays classical music, not classic rock. Going to bed at a reasonable hour.

I'm not ready.

It is only Tuesday, Day Two of the New School Year, and I am just not ready. I want a rebate coupon on my summer. Can't I have just another week? There is just so much I meant to do!

I suppose it does make logical sense, though, to end the summer at this point. Heck, even George Michael has returned to Europe for the final three shows of his concert tour. But still. I haven't yet done it all. I have a few more items on my list.

What about the rest of my Europe Trip photos? Some of them still need to be uploaded to Costco's Photo Center. It isn't just that, though. They have to be printed so that I can collate them into their proper albums. I was going to select the best ones and frame them. I even bought the frames. On Sale! I can't possibly return to work with that looming over my head!

And, my bookcase! I was going to sell my entire collection of Psychology Books. I had finally come to terms with the idea that my collection of Classical Therapeutic Literature was never going to actually have a starring role in the background of a therapist's office in a film version of The Sopranos, even though I happen to know of a therapist who was able to rent her books to a movie studio to provide just such authenticity. I get it, Universe, most film production crews don't know or care about the fact that I have a well-rounded bookcase with such super-stars as Rollo May and Piaget, covering topics pertinent to the entire human life span. I was going to figure out a way to sell them all, though. Oh no, returning to work with that task still on the agenda does not bode well. I'll come home from work, and there they will be, staring at me. Making me feel guilty for keeping them trapped on the shelf, where I no longer feel impressed with their titles and classic binding. They could have a home with some other person. Someone more enthusiastic and appreciative. Instead, they are stuck here, gathering dust, feeling unloved. A bad omen, indeed.

I never spent an entire day on the couch, reading a book, dirty dishes gathering around me.

Or baking a batch of cookies from a new recipe that was both healthy and delicious.

Or deep-frying egg rolls that I had made from scratch. I just never got to do that this summer.

Or getting a massage. I had sworn up and down and all around the town that this was the summer I was going to get a weekly massage -- because I'm worth it, don'tchaknow?

Or do 30 Days of Pilates. My abs are only going to go downhill from here -- in fact, I think my posture is starting to suffer. Am I growing shorter? Great -- I'm starting a new school year and I'm shorter. Perfect.

What about organizing the garage? Well, maybe next year, I guess. That one I can, in good faith, let go. I hadn't really believed myself when I promised to do that. Plus, I was crossing my fingers, so I'm pretty certain that doesn't count. Right?

And my blog! I have all of these great stories about my fantastic adventures from this summer. Are they anywhere on this blog? Nope. Not even a photo. For all anybody knows, I made a tent out of blankets and camped under my dining room table all summer.

Did I say one week? I need nine. Nine weeks. At least.