Saturday, December 21, 2013


Well, I made it home. Still not dead! No thanks to the ravens. My diversionary tactics worked perfectly. I sailed through security, sans corkscrew, and even had time to suck down some hooch at the airport bar. My second glass of crappy but overpriced merlot was so loaded up that I dumped it into an empty water bottle so I could take it on board and introduce it to the mile high club.

It seemed like pure absolute zero torture at the time but now as I look back on it through the haze of retrospect, maybe it wasn't so bad. Isn't that always the way?? I learned some stuff, for one thing, and I always appreciate that. I was so sick one day that I turned on the TV. My energy gave out just as I clicked on 'Extreme Cheapskates'; have you seen this show? They had this woman on, she looked totally normal, but then she cooked a lasagna in the dishwasher WHILE IT WAS WASHING DISHES.  It might not be so weird if she was just cooking, BUT THE SOAP!!!!!! And the lasagna was for a party; a party at which the guests had to use a candle to find the bathroom because she wouldn't let them turn the lights on. I mean, my party guests always hate me, too, but it's only because I live in a swamp. I know better than to be stingy, too.  I actually don't think cooking in the dishwasher is all that strange, but maybe I come by it naturally.  My dad doesn't have a dishwasher, so he recently tried to cook some sausage, noodles and broccoli in his coffee maker. I don't think it's because he's a tightwad, though. If he was he wouldn't buy clothes for statues and food. Disappointingly, the coffee maker meal was not a success, but I think he might just need a new model. So, that's one lesson: my family is not NEARLY as strange as I thought they were.

Here's another one: you can make a candle out of used motor oil, steel wool, and an empty beer can. I would totally do it, too, if I could force myself to drink beer out of a can. That one comes courtesy of a mechanic who lives in his shop. He just sleeps in cars people bring in and bathes himself in his car wash bucket. The candles were for a blind date. Lucky for him, too; if she could see she'd know he lives in an auto shop and be out of there like a shot.

And here's a little silver lining: I was too weak to buy neither a single pair of boots nor nary a touristy trinket. Not that the local wares are all that appealing, but the locals do push a certain kind of specialized knife. It comes with a DVD, or so the sales pitch goes. I don't know about you guys, but none of my friends or family members need a sharp implement that requires an instructional video.  That adds up to tons of extra Christmas thrifting cash for me; I think my dad could use some new kitchen appliances. If I don't have to spend it all on antibiotics, I mean. And those stupid fines to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Who knew ravens were so valuable?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ravens of Doom

Maybe you've been wondering what's become of me. Or maybe not. Whichever, I don't care. As it happens, though, I have been working out of town. WAY out of town. And since I have been traveling I thought it would be a good idea to do some travel writing. What is that called? Travelogues? Something like that; watch out Rick Steves!  So, hmmmmm, where to start? A good beginning is so important when it comes to good travel writing. Otherwise it would be super boring: I got on an airplane and the seat was too small, then I went to this place, and saw some stuff and ate some food. Snoresville, am I right?  In fact I should probably just admit right here I have never read one single word of any travel writing, ever, because it is so deadly dull, and therefore have not even the slightest idea how to do it. Oh well, that never stopped me before! I'm just gonna jump right in, how bad can it be?

First of all, the stupid TSA confiscated my corkscrew. And they didn't just take it quickly so I could be on my way. No, it was a whole ordeal.  See, somehow,  I have NO clue how, it had found its way into the backpack I use to tote my computer back and forth from work.  The backpack had to go through the scanner TWICE, then they searched it by hand, STOLE my corkscrew, and then ran it through AGAIN.  In the meantime, I was forced to stand there with my collection of two computers, iPad, and multiple phone/devices. It was very depressing to confront the fact that I should have been able to launch an array of satellites or at least hack into the FoxNews website to endorse gay marriage across the land but instead my efforts will produce nothing but a prodigious stack of questionable paperwork.  And me without a corkscrew, sigh.

Finally, my spirit adequately squashed, I was allowed to continue on my journey. In an airplane seat that was too small. Now, the purpose of this particular journey was to assess some disaster damage in a bunch of freezing cold and remote places.  Places that you have to get to in teeny tiny airplanes that are wired together with walrus guts and polar bear spit. If you don't die in an icy fiery crash first, of course.  Because I am opposed to dying in such an undignified fashion, I put the kibosh on the wings of deadly carnage and instead we evaluated damages remotely.  From a toasty warm office that was apparently riddled with bacterial pneumonia spores. It was a really tough choice, deciding whether to plunge into the frozen tundra at high velocity or hack up blood. I went with door number two, which has worked out relatively well for me so far. I weaseled out of a boring meeting because germs! And one of my coworkers brought me salami and orange juice and kleenex because I can't leave my hotel room, because the blood will freeze in the air on the way down because it's like 12 below, and then I might slip on it and hurt myself. Also, every time I leave the room there are ravens following me. Ravens of doom. They are waiting for me to die so they can devour my bloody flesh and peck my eyes out.  Actually, they might not even wait. Especially the big shiny one. He talks to me. Caw! Caw! Caw!

I have to go home tomorrow, though. In an airplane seat that is too small. So I'm working on a strategy.  I'm going to save all the hacked-up blood and use it to fashion what appears to be a bloody corpse out of pillows. This room has at least eight giant ones, they won't miss a couple. Then, when I get outside, I'm going to throw them at the ravens and make a break for it. Wish me luck! I'm leaving my new corkscrew for the maid, along with all my dirty clothes and a few books. I can't have that stuff slowing me down. If you never hear from me again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Well, dammit

My head hurts. I think it might be because I brushed my teeth with beer this morning. About ninety times. What? You don't brush your teeth with beer? You probably don't live in a swamp, then. That's why. You probably live in some kind of fancy ass house where water, glorious municipality-provided chlorinated fluid of the gods, flows out of the taps. See, it's freezing here in the swamp. The pipes in the well house froze up WHILE I was in the shower this morning. I had barely gotten last night's beer rinsed off and had just soaked my head and squeezed some shampoo into my hand when the pounding hot liquid fruits of my swamp-well slowed to a trickle, then stopped completely. I twisted the knob this way and that, and looked disbelievingly at the sticky clump of Neutrogena in my hand for at least thirty seconds before I figured it out. Guess how you solve this problem? After you brush your teeth with beer for a long time, I mean- yep, you hike out into the arctic morning with a soaking wet head toting some sort of warming device FOR THE WELL HOUSE. I felt like freaking Ma Kettle, or Ma Ingalls, or Ma Joad, or whichever Ma had the most agonizing collection of suffering combined with a demoralizing lack of sufficient beer and bad hair.

Then I had to go to work like that. Luckily I have been using this awesome deodorant made out of approximately equal parts coconut oil and baking soda mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil so I didn't stink too bad. My armpits, anyway. I'm not so sure about the rest of me, but that worked out well for our late afternoon staff meeting to develop performance goals and metrics. We don't have any right now so some people peak out with making it to work on time a couple of times a week.  Well, that's not quite true. We HAVE some metrics but they are (U) unsatisfactory, (S) satisfactory and (E) exceptional and everyone just gets S's because if you get a U or E someone has to do extra administrative work and no one is on board for that. So now, we get to write our own, and there needs to be two levels, 'meets expectations' and 'exceeds expectations', or something like that. I wasn't really paying attention. So, for example, 'meets expectations' could be 'responds to customer inquiry' and 'exceeds expectations' could be 'gives customer correct answer 90% of the time'.  These are not actual examples from today's meeting (these are totally actual examples from today's meeting).  Properly executed, this could work out well for me. The bar should be low enough that I can handily outperform the special snowflakes that are tardy all the time. I'm thinking of a 'meets expectations' goal of 'comes to work sufficiently hygienic when temperatures are above freezing'. Brilliant, right? Well, gotta go- I'm off to lay out tomorrow morning's beer!