31 December 2009

Because we are hard core partiers, and the Spouse Thingy finally had a New Year's Eve off, we decided to go all out and celebrate in a major way this year.

Which means, basically, that we were all, "Maybe we'll go to a movie and then go get some Chinese food," which eventually became, "We really should have picked a movie sooner because it's getting kind of late," and then "Well, call and see if the Chinese place is still open."

I mean, it was 8 p.m., who eats that late?

We headed out to find this brand new Chinese restaurant/Sushi bar (yup) and behold, it was right where the last Chinese place was located in beautiful downtown Dixon. We peeked in the window and decided that we might be able to get a table, what with the 5 other customers inside spread out between the 6 foot long sushi bar and two of the booths.

This is one of those spectacular places, where the decor is mid-century modern with dashes of duct tape on the vinyl booth seats and unlit paper lanterns dotting the ceiling. When we walked in we were immediately taken with the heavy smell of grease in the air, and the 19" TV perched behind the cash register that probably had full use of its color spectrum in 1985 (the TV, not the cash register. I could rephrase that but I'm too lazy to. Also, I dangle participles. Or articles. Whatever.)

It was so inviting that of course we stayed, and because I am hard core, I ordered the Kung Pao chicken because it had a little hot pepper drawn next to it on the menu, and some chicken chow mein. The Spouse Thingy, being slightly less hard core, ordered sweet and sour chicken, the yardstick by which he measures all Chinese restaurants.

He surmised that this end-of-year dietary blowout just might wind up being a cause of massive amounts of weight loss, in the form of bodily evacuations of the unpleasant sort. And hey, what a way to start a new year, ten pounds lost in one night.

The thing is...the food was excellent. The chow mein was not too oily (as it is at the other place we've tried a few times) and the sweet & sour chicken was just right. The Kung Pao was awesome, and not too spicy.Well, not until the Spouse Thingy
pointed to a red pepper on my plate and said, "Go ahead. Take a bite of that."

The red pepper in the Kung Pao Chicken
The red hot chili pepper in my Kung Pao Chicken

Now, because I am hard core I forked one of these bad boys up and bit off the end. And it wasn't so bad, kind of spicy and not much flavor...


Almost instant fire. The pain began at the tip of my tongue, and with the force of a culinary blowtorch it spread to my lips and the roof of my mouth. It was burning piled upon a vice clamp being squeezed over my lips and tongue with fire ants and a sadistic kid with a magnifying glass under the sun.

The Spouse Thingy laughed, until he realized I was in some real pain.

And then apologized, and then laughed some more.

Liquid did not help. Chow mein did not help. A bite of sweet and sour chicken did not help. But, as minutes ticked by slowly, the fire abated and I took another bite of my Kung Pao, and then,


I shoveled in the rest of the chow mein, because hey, it certainly couldn't hurt. And then there was the fortune cookie, which when sucked upon, actually did help. As did the promise of ice cream...when all else fails, give the hard core New Year's Eve partier some Dreyer's slow churned chocolate ice cream, and pray that the fact she is also lactose intolerant doesn't rear its ugly head.

After all that--again we have this hard core nature--we headed home to feed the kitties.

At 9 p.m.

Because that's how we roll.

Happy New Year!


27 December 2009

I wound up at Wendy's this afternoon, because I needed socks. I left the house at 2:20 and headed for Walmart, because they have socks, and because--conveniently--Wendy's shares a parking lot with them and I wanted chili.

Ok, mostly I just wanted to get out of the house, but socks and chili made for a good excuse.

I sat there with my hot chili and plain ("are you sure you don't want butter and sour cream?") baked potato, minding my own business. Still, I couldn't help but overhear the woman at the counter demanding to speak to the manager. I have no idea what she was upset about, but from the tone of her voice and the venom she spit while demanding him made it pretty clear she was super pissed.

He was not in; she wanted his phone number. His personal phone number.

Wisely, the shift manager refused to give it to her, but did offer her various other numbers to call, as well as the time the manager would be in.

That apparently was not good enough. She stomped off in a huff and tried to slam the door on her way out...not so easy when the door has a slow-stop hinge. It whooshed slowly, forcing a burst of cold air to wash over me.

It was a diversion for 2 minutes. And while there were plenty of other people around, I wasn't sitting close enough to eavesdrop on any conversations. What I did was eat my chili and curse myself for sitting so close to the door, because in spite of my spiffy neon orange sweatshirt, by that point I'm pretty sure my nipples were close to be able to cut glass.

(Apologies to my kid. I'm pretty sure he thinks I don't have nipples. Or that they ever stand up and get perky.)

A few minutes later the door swung open and this very nicely dressed guy walked in; suit, tie, neatly trimmed beard. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the previously pissed off woman in the parking lot, still looking pissed off, so it didn't take much to add 2 and 2.

So yeah, I paid attention, because it might be entertaining.

He marched toward the counter, stopped about 5 feet back, and huffed, "!" and then turned around and headed for the door.

I didn't realize I was saying it out loud, but what spun through my head and then slipped out my mouth was "What the fuck?"

He looked right at me and said rather proudly, "I said that."

"Yeah, I know. Very classy of you."

He threw the door open and left, and I watched as he walked across the parking lot and kissed his previously pissed off wife/girlfriend/hookup like he was some sort of hero.

This is the joy of living in a small town, because dammit, that was major confrontation...



22 December 2009

So far only for the Kindle:

For only $3.99...the first three books in the Charybdis series.

Not exactly worth your time if you've read them but still... I just like the cover image.

And there will be a print version next month. A massive print version...not sure what the list price will be.


20 December 2009

Found at FARK. It made me giggle...

Yeah, I know...hell, burning, my fuzzy little ass...


17 December 2009 has a slide show of the Decade in Pictures up right now...there are some really cool pictures there--some are pretty graphic but they give you a black screenshot that lets you bypass those is you want--and some are just outright funny, like Squirrel Kung Fu, and this one, my favorite:

Heck of an arm on that nun...


16 December 2009

Another new favorite site... Very Demotivational Posters...

A Party For The Family

It makes me LOL...

16 December 2009

Barnes & Noble, apparently because of the introduction of their Nook e-reader, has been embracing e-books written by other than A-list authors. This is a good thing, as it gives me another venue for sales.

They obviously have some kinks to work out, though, as evidenced by this:

That's not exactly the correct cover to go with Charybdis.

Of my other books, only 2 have the correct cover images; the rest are covers for my books, just swapped around. As Simple As That has the cover for Charybdis; It's Not About the Cookies has the cover for Finding Father Rabbit. Other indie writers are having the same issues, and it's become a "Who has the funniest cover error?" game.

Supposedly they're working quickly to correct the made me LOL a bit...


12 December 2009

I'm watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for the first time in years, and wondering how the hell this became such a classic. Face it, Santa is a douchebag, the elves are total dicks, and the reindeer are freaking sexist. Sure, there's redemption in the end, but really...Santa is someone who should have never needed redemption.

It really is a major suckage as far as cartoons go.

Just sayin'...


9 December 2009

Bulleted for the hell of it...

  • Max seems to be feeling better. He's eating for the most part; he's asking for food and slurping down more than half. That tells me he's not 100% because, face it, this is Max. he lives for his food.

  • My endocrinologist says I'm mostly normal; I can achieve optimum normalness with salt.

  • Christmas shopping is 98% done. Most of it is even wrapped.

  • No gifts will go under the tree, however. It's too visible from the front window.

  • We did our annual Toys for Tots shopping trip tonight. Spent a little less than last year, but got way better toys, I think. And we still filled two carts.

  • Our neighbor must be a life long Californian and not used to sub 30 temperatures, as evidenced by the ice covering her driveway because she forgot to turn the sprinkler system off.

  • I would like Santa to bring me a new lower back. He can do that, right?


7 December 2009

The good news is the new sofa was obviously treated with Scotch Guard before it was delivered.

The bad news is I discovered it when Max threw up all over it last night.


He was feeling sick most of today--couldn't even bring himself to eat breakfast--but he seems much better now and ate some dinner.

But...ugh...I hate cat barf, but I'm glad he did it when I was right there to get it cleaned up quick. The bathroom carpet didn't fare as well, but that I can toss in the washer...


6 December 2009

The economy is supposed to be in recovery, right? People are supposed to be out spending money? Are they shopping in droves near you?

I dragged my feet this morning because I had to head to Walmart to return a purchase that in hindsight was the not quite right thing to buy...I dreaded it because of the weekend holiday shopping crowds.

Except there was no crowd at Walmart.

I then went in search of blue LED lights, and while I didn't find them, I also didn't find long lines in any of the places I looked. On my way home I stopped back at Walmart for yogurt and milk, and the only people with loaded carts were grocery shoppers.

I hope it's just that people are waiting for better sales...right now it doesn't look like a recovery to me.


5 December 2009

Yesterday, I caved into a moment of blatant unkindness, but I don't feel particularly sorry for it.

It also happens to be this years holiday make-a-person-feel-bad moment, something at which I apparently excel.

In search of a particular gift, I went to several stores, including Sam's Club. The parking lot was surprisingly packed for a weekday afternoon (don't you people have jobs?) and one lane was jammed with oversized trucks crammed into compact car slots. Because really, who wants to walk that extra 15 feet when there's a perfectly good, way-too-small place to park right there?

I left Sam's empty handed; walking in the same lane in the parking lot as I was a much older couple. They shuffled along slowly, pushing a cart, probably going as fast as they could. They weren't walking down the middle; they were reasonably close to one side, just shy of the ends of all the vehicles parked there. Between them and me was another woman. An extremely obese--beyond morbidly obese, we're talking pushing 500 pounds here--waddled behind them.

No, waddling is mot my unkind contribution to this holiday season. It's an observation. Her legs moved in a static motion that didn't allow for the bending of knees and I was actually surprised she was mobile at all.

She was not a nice person, at least not yesterday. She was in a hurry to get to her van, and the old people were in her way. She berated them angrily: "Move the fuck over. Get out of my goddamned way, you're too fucking slow."

By then I was close enough to pass her up, and said as I went by, "Just go around them."

There's the rub.

She couldn't.

Between the trucks parked in the wrong places and her sheer physical size, she couldn't go around them. And the suggestion that she do just that pissed her off and she turned her ire to me.

"I can't, and they need to speed the fuck up or get out of my fucking way."

And then it came out, that which 1) probably embarrassed her and 2) made her want to deck me--I'm 99% sure she wanted to slap the hell out of me.

"It's not their fault you can't get around them."

By then the older couple was at their car, and I hope they didn't really hear any of that. Neither of them said a word or acted like they heard anything going on behind them, and if they did hear they were good about not showing it.

But Miss Congeniality certainly heard what I said.

Yes, it was mean. No, I don't feel all that bad about it. If she'd just been walking along and minding her own business, I wouldn't have said a word. If she'd been in my way, I just would have slowed down. But the way she sniped at that couple, her choice of words, pissed me off to no end. They couldn't have walked any quicker than she could have slipped around them, and didn't deserve the venom spit their way.

Hopefully, that's the only Feel-Bad holiday moment I'll inspire this year...but I am awfully good at it.


3 December 2009

Sunday night I was sitting here, in front of a nice fire with the TV blaring complete crap, with my laptop warming my lap. I was playing around at JigZone as I am wont to do when I'm avoiding doing anything that is actually productive.

I noticed that the battery icon came on, indicating that the laptop was operating off the battery; I didn't think much about it, because once in a while it does that. A few minutes on the battery, then it recharges.

But this time it kept right on working off the battery. So I set it aside and looked at the power adapter, and the little green power light was not on.

I shut down to preserve what power there was left in the battery, reasoning that the adapter was shot, and I would just go get a replacement in the morning.

It seemed reasonable at the time.


A new power adapter was not the answer, because it did not work. And the laptop would not power up at all. The Spouse Thingy has the exact same laptop, so I plugged the old adapter into it; no dice. I plugged the new adapter into it; it worked. I then plugged his adapter into my laptop; nothing.

This distressed me mightily, as I can't just sit here and watch TV. If I'm watching TV, I tend to have the laptop here, and I surf the net or do puzzles and JigZone. So we took the sad little dead laptop the the local computer geek, who said it sounded like the motherboard...but as it was a relatively new laptop, he suggested I save the bucks it would cost to have him open it and try calling Gateway, because it was still under warranty.

And this is where Thumper learned a lesson: when you buy a laptop, or any computer really, register it with the manufacturer. and keep the receipt. I did neither; Gateway had no record of my purchase, and I had no proof.

So I got online with my ancient desktop system and whined to Murf, who was only online to check email and peek at Facebook. He didn't have a lot of time, but he listened to the details of my favorite toy's demise, and called his friend Dack, who does unspeakable things to computers these days.

Dack asked a lot of questions, but in the end said he was fairly sure I'd gotten a power surge that took out the adapter and the motherboard. He asked what model Gateway I had and looked it up in his nifty database and reported back the price of replacement parts.

Almost the cost of a whole new computer.

He also recommended I get a much better surge protector, because, obviously, I cheaped out on the one I was using (and, um, yes...I did...)

Funny, more than one person suggested I get a better surge protector. My cheapness apparently shines through.


Now I sit here with a spiffy new laptop, but it is not with the thrill I would normally get from getting a shiny new toy. I got this one with replacing the ancient desktop system in mind, as it's not very happy about some of the software I ask it to run, and in the next year I plan on upgrading the publishing software.

No, I did not want to wait for Christmas to see if Santa would replace my laptop. Since this is at least 50% a business need, Santa could not be sure exactly what I would need.

Besides, as a business purchase, it's at least 50% tax deductible.

And yes, I registered this laptop. And I'm keeping the receipt.

Just in case.