Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head

There really are nice people in the world. Yep, we met one today. While we were out running errands the sky opened up and a horrendous rainfall began—so hard that even with the windshield wipers on full blast (and in our truck, that’s pretty freaking fast) visibility was about 2 inches. We decided to stay alive and pulled off into the KFC parking lot to wait it out, and figured what the heck, while we were there we’d go in and get a soft drink, and maybe split a small order of chicken fingers.

A lady in line ahead of us had a fistful of coupons, and having already torn out the one she wanted to use, turned and offered them to us. Totally out of the blue. Very nicely. So we split a 3 piece meal instead (and gave her back the rest of her coupons) and saved about a buck and a half. It wasn’t like winning the lottery, no, but her offer of the coupons was a very nice and unexpected gesture.

And it even took the sting out of knowing we were headed to pick up my little purple car from the garage. Again. $$$.

I love my little purple toy, but cripes, it’s more expensive than feeding a teenage boy.


Where Did I Leave My Brain?

I’ve got this short story… I started writing it at least 10 years ago, and recently found it on a floppy disk. It was in Word Perfect 5.0 format, so I know it was written when we were last stationed in San Antonio. I cleaned up some crappy looking code out of it, and then sat down to read it—and I remember starting it—but it’s unfinished and I have no idea where I was going with it. And that sucks, because up until the point where I stopped, it’s actually pretty good!

I found a bunch of old unfinished shorts, but most of them are painfully awful. Not even in an amusing sort of way—they just stink. I think I’ll file those under What Was I Thinking??!!?? and leave them there.

This week’s discovery: last minute plane tickets are horrendously expensive, and that really bites.

This week’s reality: finding a way to tell someone that those tickets are much more expensive that the web sites say they are.


Entitlement 101

This afternoon I sat at the BX food court pretending to be absorbed in an issue of People Magazine (no pretense at going there to write today—I totally craved an egg salad sandwich from Robin Hood Sandwiches), trying to mind my own business and not get annoyed about the screaming two year old who seemed intent on torturing every single person there.

I was doing a fairly good job at drowning out the sounds of the obviously too-tired toddler; what could be more enthralling than reading about Angelina Jolie’s deep and moving love for the new man in her life, 2 year old Maddox? It didn’t take long for me to find out; a couple roughly my age sat down right next to me (um, crap, there were like 20 free tables and they picked the one only 18 inches from me…) and began Bitching In Earnest.

Their complaint? One of them has an elderly mother who is, I gather, a widow. And this woman apparently only has a year or so left to live (and while curious, I never figured out what is about to cause her imminent demise.) Her egregious crime? She is spending her money.

Yes, her money.

Male Assmunch: She bought a car. A goddamned forty thousand dollar car.
Female Assmunch: She always wanted it.
MA: Yeah, but how long can she drive it? Maybe six months?
FA: I know, it’s a waste of money.
MA: And then there’s all those stupid things. She doesn’t need more clothes or stupid knick knacks. She keeps this up and there won’t be anything left.
FA: She has insurance…
MA: You know what I mean.

I knew what he meant. It pissed me off to no end, but I knew what he meant, and as they continued to talk, it became more clear: Mom was spending her money, and it pissed him off because he wanted an inheritance.

What a complete obnoxious prick.
No, make that Prick. With a capital P.

Do people really feel this way? They’re a year, maybe less, away from losing a parent and they’re worried that they won’t get an inheritance? Holy freaking shit. I can’t even blame “those young people” because they were both obviously close to my age.

Here’s my take. If you have an aging and/or dying parent, get a clue—don’t just get it, but absorb it. Swallow it whole. It’s not your money/house/car/whatever. You are not owed an inheritance. Your parents probably worked long and hard for whatever they have, and it’s theirs to do with as they please. Buy a car. Buy a house. Buy every freaking CD they can get their hands on. Buy a Play Station. A Game Cube. A screaming, kick ass computer and an assload of software to go with it. It is their money. All of it.

And if you’re one of those aging or dying parents—blow it. Spend it. Have as much fun as you can with whatever you can. You don’t owe your kids an inheritance. The only thing you owe your kids is what you’ve already bestowed on them throughout their lives: love, respect, and an example of what a Good Person should be.

Fortunately, I did learn restraint somewhere along the way… I really wanted to get up and bitch-slap the little weasels, or at the very least dump my Diet Coke all over their lunch, but I didn’t. I finished my sandwich, wiped off the table, and left.

I hope the old lady dies broke.


All The Pretty Things…

The UPS man got here right around 3:30 this afternoon, bearing gifts. Well, bearing the proof copy of the new edition of Charybdis. It looks so good. I knew the new cover would be much better than the old one, but I couldn’t believe how amazingly perfect it is. Hopefully it won’t take too long to pop up on Amazon—I want a couple more copies myself, but I’m not going to buy 25 from the printer. Well, maybe not. Depends on how many other people want a copy.

Next up… a cover for As Simple As That and getting it uploaded to the printer. And I need to finish proofreading the 3rd book. It was originally titled Father Rabbit, then Finding Father Rabbit, then Being Naked (after Finding Nemo hit the theaters), but I’ve decided to go back to the second title, in spite of Nemo.

Yesterday Spouse Thingy and I went bike shopping. I was looking for that spiffy recumbent trike, and a couple places around here actually carry them, but they didn’t have any in stock. What one bike shop had was the 2 wheel version, a straight, entry level ‘bent. And they had a decent sized parking lot, on which I could test ride it (I really didn’t think I could keep it balanced, but I did, and it was fun)

We didn’t buy it, though. We left and drove up to Springfield to check out a mall there (not worth the trip.) After buying a pair of jeans at Old Navy (gotta get ‘em when I can find overdyed black in my size) we drove all the way home, where Spouse Thingy threw ribs on the grill (he makes awesome ribs) and discussed the bike a bit more. It would, he said, be fun to be able to take bike rides together.

So he called the shop to see of they were still open—while I’m sitting there saying “It’s after six, I’m sure they’re closed all ready”—and they were. So off we wentm back to Kettering, where the mighty Spouse Thingy bought me a spiffy red recumbent bicycle (turned out to be much cheaper than the trike.) It was almost dark by the time we got home, and rain clouds were forming, so I didn’t get to do much more than ride it around the court a few times… and I bravely decided to try to go up the hill that is our street.

I made it. Several times.

So this afternoon we put our pretty little helmets on :::eyeroll::: and headed for the bike path behind base housing. It’s a nice path, but very hilly. We rode down it about 2.5 miles before turning around to come home… but I did it. I not only rode without reams of pain, but I managed those damn hills—all but the very last one coming back into the housing area (I admit, by this point I felt like puking.)

I haven’t been able to ride a bike in a good 12 years, not really.

This was just too freaking cool! And Spouse Thingy took it for a spin later, and really liked it. It’s much easier on the butt (his main complaint about biking) and it’s easier on the knees and back (my main problem.) Once he gets paid from his moonlighting job at the end of the month, he just might have to buy one for himself. Only he’ll probably get his in blue.

Between the swimming at the Y and the bike, gosh darnit, I should get into shape. A shape other than round!



Another thing to add to my list of I Want. And I want a lot it seems. But this is sooooo cool—a recumbent trike! I can’t ride a regular bike anymore and I’ve played with the idea of a recumbent for a few years, but the good ones are expensive. And difficult to learn to ride. This thing is only about $600. That’s right! ONLY about $600! And it’s got three wheels! I wouldn’t fall off! Can I use any more exclamation points?!!!???!

So, thus far, I’m coveting, in this order:

  • A convertible
  • A recumbent trike
  • A Honda Elite Scooter (not sure if I mentioned that yet or not…)
  • A portable word processor

  • $100,000 cash

  • Really, I’m either going to have to get a Real Job ™ or stick a Tipjar on here. Or start, in the words of the HMIC, a “cam-whore wishlist.”

    Still, the trike would a cool thing, and it would be beneficial and healthy. Healthy!

    Convertible first. Though if I got the $100,000 first, I could be debt free and get the ragtop. Eh. I know my priorities.
    Toast This

    Know what I miss? A good toaster. A toaster where you can put your bread in, or a Toaster Strudel, and have it not only brown nicely, but not come out mangled. A reliable toaster, one where you set it on medium and you get a medium-browned piece of bread. A toast that does not pre-eat your food for you.

    We recently had to replace a toaster. We found this nice spiffy, shiny metal Toastmaster for a really good price, and bought it. After all, a toaster is just a toaster, right? And all the new ones have these wide slots so you can toast bagels if you want.

    The problem… all those new wide slot toasters also seem to come with these really narrow thingies to “support” whatever you’re toasting—and support they do not. If you have anything narrower than a bagel, it slips past the support bar and gets mashed between the heating coils and the basket. Frozen waffles, Toaster Strudel, thin bread … it all gets caught up, which means you have to unplug and fish it out with a fork.

    Hating the Brand New Shiny Toaster, I went looking for yet another one. I peeked inside all the model before buying one, and guess what? They’re all the same! No one seems to make a toaster designed to hold bread anymore.

    I just want non-mangled Toaster Strudels once in a while. Is that too much to ask?


    Ooooh. Pretty, too…

    I spent the entire day, pretty much, recreating the cover for the new edition of Charybdis, and then re-doing the interior layout. The new cover image (have I said this before?) was done by Mark Carpenter and is awfully danged spiffy.

    It’s all uploaded to the printer, so hopefully it’ll be ready for ordering by next week—but I really don’t want to cough up the cash for 25 copies, so anyone who wants one will probably have to order through Amazon (which might take 2-3 weeks before it’s up there.)

    Now… to work on As Simple As That, and try to cough up a new cover (I actually have ideas!)…


    Ooooh. Pretty.

    It’s torture. And I’m pretty sure it’s deliberate. The whole world knows I covet a convertible, and the more I want one, the more there are on the road. Tormenting me. Teasing me. Making sure I see that THOSE people have one and I don’t.

    We went to the flea market again today, and there’s a dealership that takes half a dozen of their used cars and sells the, there. Today the guy had a brilliant-white ’95 LeBaron GTC with only 84,000 miles sitting there. $4500. [snarl] I’m pretty sure he knew I was coming, and only brought it as a way to give me a good, hard, emotional wedgy.

    It’s a conspiracy, I know it.

    I think I’m addicted to the flea market. I have an urge to get a bunch of crap together and rent a booth. Every weekend. Only problem is I don’t have that much crap to sell… There are people there who have regular rentals, and they’re basically weekend-stores; that would be awesome. I could do that, if I could think of decent products. Something besides sunglasses, t-shirts, or swords. Too many people are already selling those.

    Yep. Swords. Lots and lots of swords. Most of them are cheap crap, but there’s one woman who sells some really nice stuff, and Spouse Thingy loves swords. He says he wants to get a collection going, but I’m pretty sure it’s just that he’s attracted to bright, shiny things, and those are masculine enough that he won’t get laughed at for having them.

    Gotta admit, I think they’re pretty cool, too.

    The convertible would be cooler. By far.


    $#@#$$^$ Part Two


    The whole point of print on demand publishing is that they can print and bind 1 book at a time. Ideally, they print it, and ship it to whomever the publisher requests.

    Yesterday I came to find out that the only viable printer for print on demand books won’t do that unless the publisher has 25 titles with them. Twenty five. Until that number is reached, the publisher is limited to ordering short runs of 25 copies or more.

    Kind of defeats the purpose.

    And can put me out of business before I even get started. Authors looking for POD don’t want to be forced into ordering 25 books at a time. Sometimes they only want 1 or 2 copies.

    About the only thing I can do—offer at-cost publishing to the first 25-30 people who want it. No frills, no bells or whistles, just a book with a rather generic cover, and I’ll make absolutely nothing. I can live with that—hell, it’ll get me launched and give me a catalog of books, but finding that many people willing to go this route… =sigh=

    I didn’t have a very good week, did I? :



    Yes, I’m >this< close to a meltdown.

    First off, the transmission on my car could crap out at any time. The brand new brakes are making a popping sound. It thrills me not, but it only has to hold out until the end of August. If it craps out before then, I don’t know what we’ll do, but I can survive—with a whole lot of whining—without a car for a few weeks.

    My computer is on its last legs. Various things keep going wrong, all leading to the inevitable purchase of a new system, but we can’t swing that right now, so we did the next best thing—we bought an external hard drive and I transferred my important files onto it. All my business files, my manuscripts, image files… everything important. The very last pictures we took of Hank.

    Last night I finished the new cover to Charybdis, with the intent of uploading it to the printer this morning. And I saved it to the new hard drive.

    This morning, I booted up my computer, and was ready to upload—only my external drive doesn’t work. Every application I try pops up with an error message “This drive is not formatted. Would you like to format now?”

    Well, ^&$^*&#, No! I would not! I want to access what’s already there!

    I rebooted my computer.
    I disconnected the drive, rebooted the computer.
    I completely shut the computer down. I shut down power to the hard drive. I booted back up with it both connected and disconnected.

    Nothing works.

    I am so freaking, unbelievably pissed off right now.
    And Here I Thought I Was Talking To Myself…

    It’s a little disconcerting, writing and thinking no one is reading it. The tracker is useless; it shows 1 person a day, even times when the comments showed several, and email showed at least 5 or 6. But in the last week or two, when I surf onto my own blog, at the bottom of every post is “Comments?” with no little numbers to let me know if anyone has left a comment for me.

    My poor feelings were hurt. No one had anything to say about my grandiose musings???

    This morning it occurred to me that the comments might be broken, so I clicked on one random post to leave myself a comment to see what would happen—and there were like 7 comments there!

    I don’t know what’s wrong, if it’s just me, if it’s YACCS, or Blogger. Thinking back, the lack of comments showing coincides roughly with Blogger moving everyone to the new servers, but that could just be coincidence.

    So, question: when you load up the page, is there a little number next to “Comments?” or not? It might just be me…


    When I Am Old I Shall Not Block The Aisles

    Military retirees in the commissary are something one must experience. There is, evidently, something about age combined with retiring from the military that causes one to stand in the middle of the aisle, shopping cart turned sideways, oblivious to the line of people waiting patiently to get around and out of the aisle.

    And yes, people tend to wait patiently for the retirees in the commissary. Because you never know what kinds of horrors they’ve already endured during their time in service; it would be incredibly rude to compound that by being, well… rude.

    I am determines, however, that I will not become one of those old people blocking the commissary aisles.

    Today I determined that I will also not become one of those old people who don’t watch where they’re going in places like Golden Corral Buffet or Ponderosa Steak House.

    We discovered today that Monday-Friday from 1pm to 3pm is Senior Citizens Discount Lunch at the Golden Corral. We walked in a little after 2 pm and other than one couple with kids, we were the youngest people there. It was packed with seniors determined to get their $5.00 worth—and God help anyone getting in their way. In my attempt to get some mashed potatoes I was blocked off by one old woman who just was not watching where she was going, bumped by another old woman who seemed fearful that I was going to take the entire bin of gravy, and cut off by two different old men while simply trying to get to the orange sherbet.

    These are all probably very nice people, I’m sure. But they were either oblivious to the people around them, or they wanted to be sure they got to everything before I did.

    The last time we ate there, about 3 weeks ago, I sat there munching on strawberries and watermelon as a Very Old Man started to walk past, and just as he was directly in my line of site, he barfed. Not just a little spit up, he heaved everything he had just eaten onto the tile floor. And he had eaten quite a bit.

    When I am old, I shall not stuff myself to explosion at the buffet—another promise to myself.

    Or maybe I will. When I am old, I’ll probably deserve it, and will just want to piss off all the young people.


    Nemo is in Newport, KY

    Yep. Nemo and several of his fellow Clownfish can be found at the Newport Aquarium in Newport, KY, just past the Ohio border. Along with Nemo you can see the surfer-dude turtle on whose back Nemo’s father rode the slipstream, and the jellyfish he braved whilst looking for his wayward son.

    Lesson learned on the way to see Nemo and all the other fishies and turtle and alligators at the aquarium: Cincinnati has a major traffic problem. It took almost as long to get from one side of the city to the other as it did to get all the way from Dayton to the outskirts on Cincinnati. Cars were bumper to bumper in the Interstate, and in places we were doing a
    whopping 20mph. It made the “Minimum Speed 40 MPH” kind of ironic.

    Amazingly, of all those cars competing for space on the freeway, there were only a few idiots. For the most part it was just people trying to get where they were going; I just would have been happier if where they were going hadn’t been in the same direction as where I was going.

    Anyway. We’re determined to see what there is to see in this little corner of Ohio. It seems like everywhere we’ve lived we haven’t done the touristy stuff, and probably missed out on a lot, so this time we’re going to explore. So far we’ve found a couple of really good flea markets and the aquarium, a decent art museum and a killer air force museum. Spouse Thingy has a week off coming up, and we’re going to check out a science museum and a Packard museum.

    I know there’s more around the area, but the Ohio Tourism site sucks…



    We have this huge tree in our front yard; it’s taller than the house, and the branches expand across our entire half of the yard and part of the driveway. It’s terrific for sitting under in the summer heat—most days I see kids playing out there, when they’re not running through sprinklers in their own yards. The big benefit to me is that all those leaves keep the sun off my car, so it’s not scorchingly hot when I get in.

    The birds seem to enjoy the tree, too. And they’ve devised their own little games to occupy the time they spend lounging up there in the branches.

    The main game: Hit The Car. Namely, hit my car. They hover on the branches, little asses aimed, and play their dirty little game. As near as I can tell, there are 3 different versions of Hit The Car. The main one is seeing Who Can Hit The Sunroof; plop a good one dead center and you win. The next is Who Can Land The Biggest Splotch on the car. Anywhere on the car. Double points for getting a huge one on the windshield. And the Prize Winning game is Who Can Slime The Driver’s Side Door Handle well enough that it can’t be opened without washing the car first.

    They play these games every day.
    Every. Single. Day.
    Freaking birds.

    Too bad they’re all too damned small to eat.