The mostly humorous ramblings of my day to day existence.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A note to all of my idealist friends:

If you want the world to be the perfect place that you have in your mind then follow these steps to get there from here:
  1. Take a realistic look at the world for what it really is.
  2. Listen to information from sources that you don’t normally get it from.
  3. Stop demonizing people who have different views than your own.
  4. Have pleasant conversations with people who have different views, and try and understand where they are coming from.
  5. Start questioning your beliefs, and check to see if they are factually accurate. The truth can’t hurt you.
  6. The world is the way it is today because of things that happened yesterday. Pay attention to history.
  7. Problems in the world have a root cause, and those causes usually aren’t what you think. For example if a person is sick with cancer you may think that cancer is the root cause, but why the person got cancer in the first place is the real root cause.
Why did I write this? Because I think the world would be a better place if people started thinking about what they say and do, and stopped relying on others to think for them. If everyone started doing this then the world would become closer to the perfect place I would want it to be. But I’m not an idealist so I won’t hold my breath.   

Friday, May 25, 2012

What's with that Daryl Chronicles thing?

Writing covers a huge gambit of expression and functional need. Everyone knows that there is a big difference between reading a medical journal, Dr. Seuss, The Wall Street Journal, and a paperback novel. I think writing can be one of two things. Functional like a news story, commentary, of how to do something. Or creative, as in Poetry, or story telling. I'm probably over simplifying but you can beat me up later if you really feel the need to.

The Daryl Chronicles is a way for me to write with my imagination and to tell an off the wall story. Simply put it's fun to do. Am I trying to please anyone? No, I'm not. If someone like it then great! It's always nice to have someone like something you have done. But I'm really trying to just write the story that is stuck in my head, and to put it out in a way that I myself like. Does that mean I won't listen to what anyone has to say about it? Nope. I view it as a journey where as you get better as you go along, input helps you look at it in a different way.

Right now I have been posting my episodes on Expats Post but I do have plans for the story and have been thinking about grouping episodes together then putting them on Scribd and other places so people can read them on their e-readers and computers, and more focusing what I'm writing to niche audiences.

I'm going to start using this blog for more that just my articles going forward please feel free to drop me a note.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Weekends Are A Blast!

The weekend started with a blast! My neighbor Daryl blasting 70s music from his car radio that is, and no Daryl to be found. I didn’t see his rusty step van / shuttle craft sitting around, and being from outside of this world Daryl probably got an urgent call from the mother ship. My other theory was that there was a beer festival, or a weirdo convention someplace that he had to rush to. I think I’ll go with the mother ship explanation.

The rest of Saturday was a rollercoaster ride of grocery shopping, the library, little league, and ending with me bringing my boys to sing at a gala charity event. I felt a little under dressed as I watched them perform in my shorts, and sweaty T-shirt but we barely had time to get the boys changed after a baseball game, and unfortunately I was still in my baseball watching duds. They enjoyed singing to the –half paying attention- group of wine sippers, and I’m glad the crowd was drinking it up because their money was going to support autistic kids. I think my boys enjoyed being at the ritzy affair even for a short while, but as we were walking back to the car they inexplicably started bugging me about buying them cake. Fortunately for me in my rush to get them to the event I left my wallet sitting on my desk at home, so no cake today! All I wanted to do is go home and sit down; sometimes kids have to give dad a break.

Sunday started off with the usual Sunday newspaper comics, and a cup-O-Joe. I then move on to other news, like the story about the 40 pound cat. At first I shook my head and then I remembered I had a cat named Bear, he was a mild mannered black cat that was great with kids but had an eating disorder. Other cats would stop eating when they were full but not Bear, that cat could really put away the kibble. One day I actually saw him get stuck in the cat door while he was trying to chase some feline interloper, he made it through the door but it wasn’t pretty. Bear was a hearty cat, and one day I accidentally backed over him with my car! He survived, and I rushed him to the cat emergency room, and after several hundred dollars in X-rays they couldn’t find anything wrong with him. He was a bit crooked for a while but he was OK. I just loved that cat.

“He took your stuff, he took your stuff!” is the sound of Sunday morning in my house. Sundays is when my 12 year old talks to his friend -who is in Sweden- on Skype while they work together in an online game called Minecraft. His 8 year old brother is his cheerleader as he makes his way through the imaginary world they are playing in.

“How much pork do you have? And how many arrows?” he shouts. I take two ibuprofen tablets and decide to do some writing. The sound of a blender mixing waffle batter also enters into the noise.

The words “I’ve got a set of gills too, and guys we are going to have to stay together” echoes in my brain.
“Can you refill my coffee cup?” I ask my lovely spouse as she takes her turn working in the kitchen. I did the dish cleanup to get everything ready for her waffle making.

“No I’m not shooting at you I’m trying to hit the spiders! Oops, sorry I think I hit you with an arrow senior” hit’s my brain.

The timer is set for one more hour and I kick them off of the computer so they can enjoy the beautiful warm spring day, being a cave trolls at the keyboard is not an option. To drown out all of this noise, I have my ear buds in listening to the old 70s group “Heart.” My wife is in Graduate school and has me proofreading her papers, ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz. “Coffee, fill er up stat!” I say as I try and keep my brain from daydreaming about fun things like sandy beaches and drinks with little umbrellas in them while I'm proof reading.

I received a political advertisement for Matthew Robinson on Saturday, and was looking at it Sunday morning. I had compared Matthew to Opie Taylor in “Opie for Congress! And Other Batshit Crazy News!” and was wondering when I would see some of his Koch brothers funded advertisements. When it arrived Saturday I immediately scanned it and sent the picture of Opie –Matthew- to a gentleman named Bob who is making a film. He was searching for a larger picture and this was serendipity. I’m helping to spread the word about the Robinson -whack job- duo and their quest to feed me radiation. The funny thing is that I actually agree with one of his talking points in the flyer. Apparently he believes in only using our military to protect our country in case it’s attacked; which I basically agree with. But, he and papa Robinson also want to balance the budget by cutting out school funding, and putting senior citizens in poverty. I think they have been sampling way too much radioactive waste over at the Robinson household.

Sundays have always been my favorite day of the week, Saturdays are busy but Sundays always seem more peaceful especially when you get to sit outside and read under a big umbrella in the sunshine. In the evening the doors were still open, and a chorus of a thousand and one frogs could be heard emanating from the yard down below. I saw two garter snakes today, and our little dog visited my neighbor next door, not Daryl but Daryl’s buddy, you know the one who threw fish on my roof. She barked at him for a while before crawling under the fence when I called her to come back home. She gave him a good talking to; it’s funny how people seem to get what you deserve sometimes.

The weekend is now over and the kids are in school. Spring has sprung, so I don my tool belt and start swinging my hammer. I have a room to finish, half a house to paint, and endless other things to do. If I see Daryl I’ll let you know, and for some reason I have a feeling he’s up to no good.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In Case You Haven't Heard, Mondays Suck!

Garfield the cat has always warned us about Mondays, but has anyone listened? Nope, I don't think so. But it's the truth, they suck, and they especially suck when you get two in a row. How can you get two Mondays in a row? Monday is a sneaky bastard, when it's a holiday, or even an extra day off from school. Tuesday then fills in for Monday. So sometimes you get two, count' em two, Mondays in one week.
Monday was a real bastard this week. Monday was the last day of Spring break for the rest of the family. Preparations had to be made for Tuesday, the first day back from a week off. This in turn made Tuesday a Monday. But Monday is a hog and couldn't just let it go this week, as it had to have both days. So while I was out getting ready for Tuesday, (the real Monday), Monday reared it's ugly head to show everyone who's boss. After the boys urged me to wash my Chevy Blazer because it sat under a tree for a week that made it dirty, I caved in and went to the car wash. Monday wasn't happy with me cleaning my rig Monday needed to take down a Toyota Prius.
Now you may have heard me call the drivers of the Hybrid gas and electric cars “Pious Prius drivers,” but I'm going to have to take it back this time. With my Blazer still dripping from it's car wash I decided to try to make a left turn onto one of the south bound lanes of a busy 4 lane road that had a turning lane in the middle. Monday decided that it would complicate things, and as I pulled out to turn all Hell broke loose. Monday made a driver decide to turn into the lane I was to go through, Monday turned the driver behind him into a speeding maniac, and made a south bound Prius appear from nowhere all at the same time. With very little time to react I hit the Prius with the corner of my right bumper.
The driver of the other car made it to the curb, and I followed and parked behind him. I screwed up, mainly because I shouldn't have tried to go left at that spot in the first place. He was simply traveling down the road, and I hit his car. I waited for traffic to clear and opened my door. I noticed that I had a dent in my bumper and that was about it. Not a big deal at all, but his car was a mess. His front end was messed up, and his driver's door was crunched.
The other driver got out of his car. He was a gentleman that looked to be in his 60s, and he headed to the sidewalk where I was standing. I started apologizing profusely. Everyone was OK, the man was smiling and told me “don't beat yourself up it was just an accident.” But I kept thinking I shouldn't have made a left in that spot and should have gone right and figured out how to turn around someplace. We exchanged information, and even had a witness show up. My kids couldn't help themselves and had to get out onto the sidewalk and see what happened. They were fine, everyone was fine, and Monday had it's big laugh.
I mentioned that my insurance agent was just down the street, and I suggested that we head there and just take care of everything at once. The driver of the Prius agreed, and we paid a visit to my insurance agent of many years. She was on the phone when we arrived but was off shortly afterwards and I explained to her what had happened. She was fantastic, she gave us accident forms to fill out that she would mail to the DMV for us, and started taking care of my victim. She even recommended a body shop for him to visit. If I had to run into someone this was the guy I wanted to run into. I apologized some more, we shook hands, and he headed to his car. I chatted with my insurance agent a bit about my overall coverage then headed home.
After using a couple tie straps on the plastic of my bumper I finished my errands with the boys. We headed to Wendy's hamburgers for lunch, and I broke my no beef eating diet just this once. The rest of the day was fine, but Monday was waiting for me again on Tuesday.
No, I didn't crash into anything Tuesday morning, but 6:30 a.m. felt like it crashed into my head. I was used to getting up late for the week of Spring break, and now here I was having some coffee and making breakfast for everyone, lunches for the three that had to go to school, and starting off my week in a daze. This morning actually felt more like Monday, and I have way too many things to do. If only I could deal with it like Garfield and put a blanket over my head and sleep through it. It was a frantic morning but then with everyone gone I had my serenity.
I took time to relish the one triumph that I had on Monday. I found the right mixture of boric acid, sugar, and water to wipe out my ant problem. I placed the mixture right on their trail in a small dish, then the pesky little buggers drank it down like tainted Kool-aid. They took doggy bags back to their queen, then died later from lack of insect Pepto-Bismol. BWAHAHA, I am an Ant Bully! It serves them right crawling into my box of granola, and just for your information ants taste like crap.
“Die you little bastards die! BWAHAHAHA!”
As a Chihuahua uses me as a ladder to get down from the back of the sofa I am thankful. Instead of telling Monday to stick it, I'm going to use this hour to write before I start working on my daily drudgery and I'll ask Monday to be kind to me. I'll buy it a doughnut if it's good. I'll write praise for Monday and stop condemning it.
Nah! Monday can stick it where the sun doesn't shine! Up yours Monday! Pfffffffft!
I'm a dead man.

Dan's A#1 sugar ant killing sauce:
Make a mixture of:
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons boric acid
Mix and serve. It takes a couple of days for them to fill up and croak.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Opie for Congress! And Other Batshit Crazy News!

You may remember Art Robinson from my travel guide to Lane County Oregon. Well he's at it again! Art, also known as Old Fart Robinson, ran for congress as a Republican a couple of years back. Art, a self proclaimed expert on nuclear waste, had stated that “a little nuclear radiation is good for you.” He lost to the incumbent Pete DeFazio. It's election time again and the “Old Fart” will be running again but this time he has a devilish plan. Art's plan involves his son Matthew Robinson, (with a striking resemblance to Opie Taylor) who will be running against DeFazio in the Democratic primary. Art's plan for Republicans involves them changing party affiliation to Democratic to vote for his son. If Matthew won, then Art could run against his son instead of DeFazio. Call me nutty, but I would think any self respecting Republican would have enough integrity not to go along with such an overtly dirty plan. I can only conclude that Art thinks people are stupid. The Koch brothers, who are hell bent on having the world run by crazy people, are financing both “Old Fart's” and “Opie's” campaigns, so we should be seeing many, many, many, bulletin boards, Facebook ads, and magnetic signs on car doors representing these two yahoos. I'm turning green just thinking about it.

Speaking of green, I'm writing this on Saint Patrick's day and there's nothing more appropriate than a good beer, and a shot of Jameson. Well, many of our local drivers have been warming up for Saint Patty's day by drinking a few too many pints of Guinness and crashing their cars into stationary objects. On March 5th a car slams into a house, and on March 7th a car runs into a tree, but last Thursday a drunk smashed into the Serenity Lane substance abuse treatment center. There were a couple more drivers that ran into trees and traffic poles, but running into Serenity Lane has got to take the cake. I'm guessing the driver had blurred vision and saw “Abusive Substances are a Treat,” and was just stopping in for free samples. I'm sure all of these drivers are feeling pretty miserable right about now, and are probably out tyeing one on to drown out their misery. Telephone poles should be very afraid about now.

In other Old Fart news, do you remember Harold Camping, the California preacher that hustled money from people to put up billboards all over the country proclaiming the end of the world? He predicted Christ would come and get him and other followers on May 21st of 2011. Well, the world didn't end, and it didn't end on his revised date either. It didn't end on any of his revised dates. Anyway, the 90 year old preacher is giving it up and asking God for forgiveness for the sin of trying to predict Judgment day. I wonder why he bothers, as very soon he should be able to tell God personally.

Ah, here is a nice piece of news. Marilyn Hagerty of North Dakota is an Internet sensation after writing a glowing review of The Olive Garden in the Grand Forks Herald. She normally reviews such fine establishments as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Subway Sandwich shops, but this time she was going for a classier establishment. She was surprised when her review went viral and stated “I don't get it, I mean, I'm sitting here minding my own business yesterday morning, trying to get my Friday column finished off so I could play bridge. And all of the sudden, all Hell breaks loose.” I envy Marilyn, and maybe I should start reviewing big chain restaurants. I'm heading over to McDonald's later for a McSalad. Do you think if I gave a glowing review of that dressing squeezed out of the packet my review would go viral? I can only hope.

In the category of “Can you be a bigger Dumb Ass than this” news, bigamy and Facebook don't mix. The headline read “Facebook “friend” offer reveals that man has more than one wife.” Facebook, in it's effort to connect users through “friends” they may know, lead two Washington women to finding out that they were married to the same man. This lead to Alan L. O'Neill, a corrections officer, being slapped with bigamy charges. Wife #1 went to wife #2's Facebook page and saw her husband with another woman and a wedding cake. BUSTED!

That's all the news I have for now. Have a great day.

Friday, March 16, 2012

BBQ Tofu, Onion, and Pepper Burritos

I've been changing my diet more toward being almost completely vegetarian and I  thought I would share with you a burrito I invented that is pretty yummy.


2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
Soy Sauce (I use low sodium)
1 Red Pepper
1 cup of water
Burrito size tortillas
1 container of firm Tofu
BBQ sauce

I takes a day to prepare the Tofu so I will go over that first. Drain all of the water out of the container of Tofu. Place the Tofu brick between layers of paper towels, then place a heavy weight on top. Here are instructions for doing it. I use a frying pan with a tea kettle full of water. It's important to do this so the Tufu will soak up the liquid from the marinade.

While the Tufu is being drained of water finely chop onion and mince the garlic and add it to about 1/4 cup of soy sauce to make the marinade.

When the Tufu is ready slice it into about 1/4 inch slices. Place the slices into a bowl or plastic bag with the marinade and let it soak overnight.

Warm your oven to 280 degrees Fahrenheit, spray an oven pan lightly with oil then place Tufu strips into the oven flipping them when they are brown. It should take about an hour to dry out the moisture from the Tofu. Cut the Tofu into the desired size and had a coating of BBQ sauce, mix then it's ready.

Dice the remaining onion and green pepper and place into a pot with the one cup of water. Boil the onion and peppers until they are tender.

Place the pepper and onions onto tortillas with the BBQed Tofu and roll into a burrito.


Batshit Crazy! And Firkroy News

have said it before and I'll say it again, my neighbor Daryl is a batshit crazy nut job.

Now before you jump all over me for being unfair, I will say this. I've seen Daryl come to the rescue of a spider walking on the back of his sofa, and one year he actually gave away the same kind of squash he has rotting on the berm in front of his house. But when was it that I decided that Daryl indeed was a crazy SOB? Was it when he cut all of the limbs halfway up his trees, and then spent months running three wood chippers in his front yard? No, that wasn't it. Was it the solar panel that's attached to a car battery that runs his boom box in his front yard? No that wasn't it either. “So when the hell was it Dan, AKA Firkroy!?” You may be asking yourself right now. Well let me tell you, it was when the glowing grid of lights that crisscross his so called front yard illuminated for the first time. Of course the Christmas lights running back and forth on the cargo rack of his Toyota minivan did add to my opinion, and the glowing orb on his flag pole, and the other glowing orbs on the roof of his house. I'm still waiting to see the minivan lights glow, but I'm sure I will see them glow soon. What the hell are you waiting for Daryl? Make em glow baby!

OK, so now your asking yourself “Didn't you say Daryl was a space alien Firkroy!?” Yes I did make that statement, I truly did, and I stand by it. Daryl is a batshit crazy alien dropped off on our planet because he annoyed his neighbors in the Alpha Centauri star system. The glowing grid of lights in his front yard are a pitiful attempt at trying to get his fellow ETs to pick him back up. Of course they simply say “pffft, Fat chance!” but he still feels he has to try.

What I'm still trying to figure out is if his wife is an alien agent put here on earth to make sure he doesn't get out of hand, or just a codependent earthling who hasn't gotten enough therapy to allow herself to leave yet. Well if she's an alien agent put here to keep him in line then she's failing miserably. So she must be a codependent batshit crazy human! Batshit crazy or not I wish that she would put a leash on her man. In reality other than her inability to control her crazy alien mate, she does seem to be the sane one in the house.

OK, on to other batshit crazy stuff. Today's The Register Guard had a story entitled “Free-spirited mayor shakes up small Washington town.” And below the title it read: “The pony-tailed, pot-smoking leader is feeling some resistance.” Mayor Eric Strawn of Tenino Washington wears Bob Marley T-shirts, streams reggae music from his laptop, and has a medical marijuana card. He gets paid $600 per month as mayor and works at a beef-slaughtering plant. When asked about his work at the plant he said “People ask me. 'Oh, you kill cows?' I say 'I just cut their heads off.' It's a job that has to be done.” Strawn wrote a proclamation honoring military veterans from Tenino but Dawna Kelly-Donohue a city counselor of 14 years let loose with an email about his grammar stating it was full of grammatical and contextual errors. Strawn fired back at her email message by stating that she had written “a metaphorically troglodytic message to the new Mayor.” I guess he's adding a new bike/skateboard/basketball area to the city park, cool. I love small town politics.

In Deer Park Texas a sting operation on the police department break room netted one of their own. Officer Keven Yang was caught on tape stealing his fellow officers food and drinks from the break room refrigerator. Yang was suspended for 30 days without pay for the thefts. When questioned Yang said he was merely taking it upon himself to clean out the old items from the fridge. Maybe he shouldn't have used his mouth as a garbage disposal.

In Hendersonville North Carolina a man had his entire $49,000 venomous snake and lizard collection confiscated. The authorities found out about the reptiles when Walter Kid was hospitalized after being bitten by one of them. When the police inspected his house they found the reptiles stored in unmarked Tupperware containers. Kidd's attorney stated that they weren't a danger because he kept them at his home. But I would have to agree with the authorities that mixing up a container that contained a Cobra with yesterday's meatloaf could be a problem.
In other North Carolina news, I want to send my condolences to the family of Gary Banning of Havelock who accidentally drank gasoline from a jar sitting by his kitchen sink. After taking a gulp he spit out what was left in his mouth and got gasoline on his clothing. This was upsetting for Mr. Banning so he went outside to have a smoke... he will be missed.

That's all of the batshit crazy stuff I have for now, have a great day.