The mostly humorous ramblings of my day to day existence.

Monday, October 31, 2011


While sitting here listening to “I Ran” by A Flock Of Seagulls I was thinking about outer space, specifically outer space TV shows and movies. Over the years I've become quite a fan of letting myself get amerced in space dramas. Star Trek with it's military order, and all of that exploration. Star Wars with it's Good Force vs Dark Side bad Force theme. Like all good nerds my very favorite was Firefly that lasted for 14 episodes and a movie. It was like the space wild west with smuggling.

Ever since I first saw Han Solo I've loved the space smuggler, and often played one in space games. I've joined virtual smuggling gangs, and have lived out my space smuggler fantasies. We would work together to smuggle contraband through space patrolled by the police, the navy, and groups that weren't too happy with us supplying to people that they didn't like. All of the unimaginative smack talk, and the “HALTs” as I ran away from my pursuers with my load of embargoed contraband always gave me a terrific rush. I always talked to my pursuers when I could to give them complements on their piloting abilities, or ask them about their intimate relationships with Wookiees. This usually threw them off long enough to bust a smart move and land at a friendly base.

I have no doubt that aliens live among us, have you taken a good look at your neighbors lately? What is that strange panel in the front yard, and what is living in that pond on the other side of the berm? Baby aliens? Space chickens maybe? Does a space chicken cluck? Do they taste good with barbecue sauce? That's a silly question we all know everything tastes good with chard on barbecue sauce. And those things growing in your neighbor's front yard, are you sure they are zucchini, and not body snatching pods?

Of course a lot of what you see on a show like Star Trek is a little implausible, inter species mating with half this, and half that as offspring. I mean hell you don't see half cat, half dog combos running around.
“Meow, rar rar rar” Is what a Chihuahua / Maine Coon would sound like before it bit and scratched your ankle to shreds. Give it a space helmet and call it an alien, then send it out on a little space ship with a crew of Guinea Pigs. What would happen if the Borg tried to assimilate their ship?
"We are the Borg, you will be assimilated." and "We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own..."
The Borg scan their ship.
“Oh, um, never mind.”

Maybe there are places on earth filled with aliens, and maybe they have erected huge antennas like the Eiffel Tower, or the “Space” Needle to talk to their planets. Maybe they congregate on earth in hot spots like San Antonio with its Tower of the Americas. All of those places serve food that could be contaminated with mind control powder that makes you shake your head up and down when Glenn Beck talks. Maybe the ten gallon hat is really an antenna to relay messages to the mother ship! Maybe “YEEHA!” really means “We are the Borg resistance is futile.” It's just a theory, you never know.

Tonight I'm going to drink three beers and stick my thumb up in the air while wearing a towel on my head; maybe I can hitch a ride to a new world. I could just toddle around experiencing all of the wild things there are to see without the expense of an expensive spacecraft. I'll watch out for those damn Vogons, they might recite some poetry and I would be in real trouble. But I think if I drank enough beers I wouldn't really care, I hear Vogons like to sing drinking songs.

But if it weren't for the expense I would love to have a space ship. It would have to be able to visit other solar systems without taking a life time to get there. I'm not to worried about the Borg, alien probes, or Siths. The universe is unimaginably vast, completely amazing, and we are all bits of it. I can feel it coursing through me when I lay quietly in silence, even without wearing a ten gallon hat.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Treasure Hunt With a Map!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Here is a short pictorial journey of a trip I took with my family a couple of years back through the Oregon Outback. It was a quest for the Steens Mountain, the Hart Mountain Hot Spring, and Plush sunstones.

Located between French Glen and Plush in the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge in south western Oregon the Hart Mountain Hot Spring is an oasis in the middle of nowhere, and a welcome refuge in the wilderness to wash off some of that desert dust. We spent a few days at the base of the Steens Mountains fairly close to Frenchglen, and were making the 80 mile trek across the desert to Plush, a so-called town that has a Store/Gas Station/Bar combo.
But Plush is no ordinary place, it's the last place for gas and supplies before embarking on the washboarded road to the sunstone mines. Sunstones can also be collected for free on Federally owned land managed by the BLM. Here is a treasure map so you can find your very own trinkets. We camped out in the desert and picked up stones for an entire day.
On the Steens Mountain road
On the Steens Mountain road
A dry lake bed
Hart Mountain Hot Spring pool
Hart Mountain Hot Spring
Hart Mountain Hot Spring pool
The desert can be beautiful
Entering the Refuge

An Antelope
The road down to Plush

The road down to Plush
A flat just as we hit pavement
Finally at the sunstones
The ground is full of them
My treasure

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rosemary Potato Soup

With Autumn in full swing, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite soups. This flavorful potato soup will warm you up on those chilly Fall evenings, and have you coming back for seconds.

Rosemary Potato Soup

12 strips of thick bacon
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, chopped
2 tbs of oil
¼ cup of flour
½ gallon of whole milk
6 russet potatoes, diced
2 tsp. Rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Cook bacon until crisp, break it up into small pieces, then set aside.
    • I usually cook bacon on medium heat with a lid. This helps the bacon cook uniformly, but you will need to keep an eye on it because it doesn't take long for bacon to go from crisp, to -setting the fire alarm off- burnt.
  • In the pot you're going to make the soup in saute the onions and garlic in your oil of choice.
    • You can use olive oil, but peanut oil works better for cooking, and is still heart healthy.
  • Add flour to the sauteed onions and garlic to make a rue.
  • Add potatoes, rosemary, milk, bacon to mixture.
  • Heat until potatoes are done while stirring frequently.
Yes, that is a lot of soup, you can cut the recipe in half or better yet, freeze small containers of the soup and enjoy it whenever you want.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Eggs, Drunken Birds, and Peeps, Oh My!

With owning chickens comes collecting eggs. Fresh eggs was one of the excuses that my wife gave me for springing the little pecking, clucking, escape artist surprise on me a few years back. With six chickens you we usually get three or four eggs per day. They have to be cleaned off, then packed away in the refrigerator. Now one thing I learned while working with assembly lines for many years is that you want to use your oldest stock first, in a production environment we call this First In First Out or FIFO. So in order to ensure we were using our stock of eggs properly I instituted a FIFO process by taking a marker and marking arrows on the top of the carton. Eggs come in one side and get taken out from the other side, this seemed to provide ample amusement for my wife. If I can't manage suppliers in Singapore anymore, then I damn well will manage the feathered suppliers that poop all over my back yard.
And speaking of birds, our Mountain Ash out front is starting to drop it's berries, and you know what that means? Drunk birds of course. Every year our Mountain Ash, also known as Rowan in the UK produces bright orange little berries. The berries get ripe, then they start to ferment on the tree. Flocks of Cedar Wax Wings swarm the tree, get drunk, and start hitting our windows. We have tried stickers of hawks on the windows, and all sorts of other things to try and make them stop breaking their drunken necks but nothing works. Our cats have started their own restaurant under the window. The other neighborhood cats show up at their reserved time, get seated, then wait for dinner to fall on their plates. I guess it's an efficient way of taking care of the suicidal little drunkards. But I would rather they joined a twelve step program.
This week I had my oldest son home for a couple of days with some sort of stomach virus. I took him in to see the doctor, she said he would live and off he went back to school the next day. It's really amazing how one child can throw off your whole day. It's hard enough trying to get things done without someone hanging around making comments about everything you do. I like to talk to myself when I'm researching or writing, and my son will pick up on whatever I just mumbled and make a song out of it.
"Um, alright, uh huh, that's interesting, uh, huh ,uh, huh" he will start singing. Talk about throwing your train of thought out of the window.
And this has been upgrade week, I turn on Ubuntu, and it wants me to upgrade from 11.04 to 11.10, I turn on iTunes and it wants me to upgrade my iPod to version 5, Windows is downloading a boat load of updates. Don't I have better things to do with my bandwidth than down load hours worth of updates? I don't see any real improvement, but I'm sure they are there. I can't tell any difference at all between iOS 4 and iOS 5. Maybe iOS5 contains Steve Job's consciousness.
Meanwhile on the home improvement front, I got the opportunity to replace our stove top that had one more burner finally give up the goat, so the taste of power tools is fresh. That taste got me working on plan. Even though I have a small two bedroom house, it has two garages. The space isn't being used efficiently, and I need another bedroom, a man cave, and more storage. So I drew up my master not so evil plan today. Oh the thought of shopping for more power tools, it just doesn't get better than that. Well, maybe shopping for more computer hardware would trump it. Which reminds me I'll have to wire my man cave workshop, so I can listen to tunes, and do research. I really need a little place to escape to.
Well I better get busy, and if you aren't able to read this right away because you are protesting "The man" on Wall street, or some other street around the world, then I forgive you.
"Power to the Peeps!"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Firkroy Is Getting Into a Routine!

My transformation into the house frau is almost complete. With my spouse as a full time student it is now up to me to ensure that the household keeps running, the kids are fed, the homework is done, and that pigs don't start moving in to play monopoly. It's no easy task when you consider that we have two school age children, and a menagerie of pets.
I spent the entire evening for the past few days helping my oldest son -who is now in middle school- get caught up with his homework. Apparently when he came home last week and declared that he had no homework, or that it was done in ten minutes, he was sadly mistaken. Well the jigs up and it's not only sad for him, but it's also sad for me having to be the flame under his butt that helps him play catch up for the next few days. To his credit he understood the error in his ways, and spent the hours needed to keep him out of Saturday school for students that don't like to do homework.
The real saving grace in all of this is the fact that he has some very proactive teachers, and most of his assignments are on a web page that I can access. I can even print out an assignment if he somehow neglected to bring it home. I was up late last night answering email from my son's teachers, and took a short nap after the kids got off to school. Anyone who thinks our teachers don't work their asses off is smoking Wacky Tobaky. I was writing and getting answers to email messages from two of his teachers at 11:00 PM at night. I saw my oldest son's math teacher at the end of the next day, and she looked beat. I think a lot of parents of sixth graders are trying to dial in the school routine for their children. I can only hope that maybe, just maybe soon, some of my son's teachers will actually be able to have some sleep when the rest of my fellow parents of sixth grade students get a clue.
Building a routine from scratch can be a painful experience, but I'm a process guy. Or well I used to be when there was a manufacturing industry to speak of in this part of Oregon. Gone are the days when I managed repair departments, built assembly lines, and ran customer support departments. I used to develop systems for quickly turning around broken barcode scanners, and how to manage customer support issues with a high level of integrity. But now I create check lists for my son in hopes that he will remember to wear pants to school. Not that I think a middle schooler would be caught dead walking to school without pants, but I don't want him to be late.
After having to run back to school to get text books, and knocking on windows to get the attention of the school janitor, he started to understand this was not something he could let slide. We now go over a check list when I pick him up, leaving stuff at school is no excuse for not getting homework done, it just means he has to go back in and get it.
In between dropping off kids and picking them up from school I do glamorous things like grocery shopping. I started doing more frequent smaller trips verses a large grocery run once a week. I'm having a hard time with planning meals for the whole week at the moment; I'm not sure if I'm just being resistant to the new task, or maybe I have bigger things on my mind. I do enjoy thinking about what we should have today for dinner, and then going out to get the ingredients. My wife really doesn't care as long as she doesn't have to cook it. But if you get a large basket of Italian prunes from the Farmers Market don't be a glutton, because you will pay, and I'm not just talking about the price of that extra bottle of pink stuff you'll have to drink.
I've melded the dinner cooking with the homework schedule in a way that gives predictability to the children, and time for me to actually accomplish making the meal. My first child gets his "back from school down time," then I pick up the second child. The first one does homework while second is getting his down time, then dinner prep, dinner, then second one does homework.
Meatloaf was on the menu last night! Well actually two of them. If you make one large meat load it takes too long to cook, so I like to cook two smaller ones. I mix lean ground beef with ground turkey, then add sauteed onions and garlic, along with raisins , spices, and bread crumbs. And don't forget the Ketchup!
A meatloaf sandwich sound pretty good right about now doesn't it, but no Italian prunes on the side. I don't think I can take any more of them... Although they are pretty tasty hummmm...
Now some of you may have recalled that my neighbor Daryl a few months back was distressed. He was walking up and down our street in agony after a doctor fresh out of vasectomy school botched the job, and left Daryl with a grapefruit sized scrotum. Now, when I was in the Air Force they used to scare new recruits by telling them that the inoculation they were about to receive would be administered by getting a square needle in the left nut. Well guess what, that treatment cured Daryl!
After receiving the square needle in the left nut treatment Daryl hung up the sweat pants and started wearing jeans again. Gone are the days where he wanders the streets thinking "will I ever ride my 10 speed again?"
Have a good one everyone, and watch out for Daryl, he rides that 10 speed like a maniac!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Firkroy Has an Aching Back!

Yes, it's nice to receive something free, but does it really have to hurt so much?
My wife is in the other room on the phone when I hear “We got it! Yaaa Hooo!” We were the first ones to respond to a message that was put out to the parents of my son's social group for autistic kids. Long story short, the organization owned the large wooden play structure, but it had been used by a family who lived on top of a steep hill behind an automated gate. I thought it was a strange arrangement but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
I called the woman that lived in the house on the hill, and after a brief conversation she told me that she would text me the phone number of her nanny, so I could make arrangements with her to get in the gate. She is a doctor, and texting is her preferred way of communicating.
Now I may be Mr. Technology, but I really don't like texting, and being constantly tethered to something like a smart phone is not my idea of a good time. I had a Crackberry when I was on the road selling processors and diodes to most of the state, and it made sense for me to be able to see my email on the road, or to be able to find directions to a factory. But most people don't really need these things, and I'm constantly getting stuck behind some jackass staring at his wiener poking away at his gizmo as the light turns green.
A well placed “HONK!” usually gets him rolling, but I really think smart phones are the worst things that have happened to traffic in recent history. I use a $10 Virgin mobile phone that can painfully spit out a text if I really have to, but it's small and makes clear calls.
For two days I wait for the text message from the lady on the hill that never came. Finally I decide to use my cheap ass phone to send her a text message. “7777” gets me an S, “666” an O, this is just painful. I finally get the message out, and she finally responds back to me with the phone number of her nanny.
I contact the nanny, then go out to the house on the agreed upon date. The nanny let's me in the gate after a buzz at the intercom, and I maneuver down a narrow winding driveway with a drop off on one side, and stuff to run into on the other.
“Backing into this place with a trailer is going to be a nightmare” I think to myself.
But it's what has to be done, and “No guts, No glory” has always been my motto. The play structure was old, a little rotten where it had touched the ground, but I decide I could just make it a few inches shorter and it will be OK, so I decide it's worth the effort. I then made arrangements to come back the next Monday to start work.
Monday rolls around, and I drive out with the my old trailer that's made from half a Toyota pickup in tow. I have to drive into the wrong lane in order to back the trailer into the driveway entrance, but I manage to do it without getting killed. I get out of the car and hit the intercom buzzer. Then I wait, and wait, and wait. I then hit the buzzer again, and wait. Finally a man's voice says “yeah.”
“Hello” I say cheerfully, “I'm here to start taking away the play structure.”
“Oh, OK” the voice says as the gate starts to swing open. Backing my Blazer down that driveway was a real nightmare, with the drop off, the turns, and shrubs in pots on the other side, I really had to put my skills to the test. The man of the house was standing by the garage, a tall man that looked as if he had spent some quality time at the gym pumping iron. He watched me back up with a little concern, but once I stopped, he introduced himself, we shook hands, and he headed back into the house.
I had hoped that Mr. “Arnold wanna be” might have helped me with the dismantling of the kid castle, but it wasn't in the cards. I got to work wrenching off nuts, and loading seventy pound wooden chunks into the trailer. After a few hours I was sweaty, dirty, and experiencing new aches and pains, but I had managed to load the trailer, and made arrangements to return the next day.
I started driving down the hill, and across town looking like Jethro Bodine; a soak in a cement pond sounds good right about now. Everything was strapped down with bungees, and I'm sure I violated some sort of laws by having things stick out all over the place, but luckily no officers of the law were interested today.
The next day I once again arrive at the house on the hill. I back into the driveway entrance out of traffic, and hit the buzzer. I wait, and wait, and wait, buzz again, and wait... no answer. I resort to (yuck) texting the doctor again, “222” for C, “33” for E. It just sucked texting this lady. No reply, so I just sat there.
About ten minutes later a different lady arrives, this time it's the maid. She asked how long I had been waiting, and I pleasantly told her about ten minutes, and it was no big deal. She lets me in, and I slowly back the trailer down the trail of death once again.
It had been raining the night before so this time it was muddy around the play structure. When I got a chunk detached, I would make my way up the slipper wet grass and run it through the garage to the trailer. But today it seemed like the maid was adding obstacles. There were two open buckets of what appeared to be paint thinner that I had to tip toe around, bicycles that hadn't been ridden very much, and all sorts of things that could get bumped and fall down.
I worked for hours, and was starting to imagine driving away from this house of pain, and never coming back. A slim smile was coming over my face when with about fifteen minutes worth of work left, the sprinkler system came on.
“What the hell, you've got to be shitting me.” I say to my self.
I'm muddy, sore, skinned up, this was just icing on the cake. Do you think they could have at least turned off the (insert favorite profanity) sprinklers while I was out there? I guess not.
Well, I've only got to do a few trips through the sprinklers, so I trudge through getting a few nice cold showers lugging up the last pieces; at least some of the mud got washed off. With my mission accomplished I strap down my chunks, and do another Jethro back home with my final load.
I get a text from the doctor at about 7PM saying “she thought you were coming at 10”
I wasn't sure who she was, but I poked at my $10 phone, and thanked her.
Sometimes the things that you have to do are hard, but the satisfaction of knowing my kids will get years of enjoyment from this play structure (after I fix it, and put it back together) was well worth getting hit with the lawn sprinklers, and trudging through mud.
Yesterday we headed out to a farm, and I lugged two fifty pound pumpkins into the minivan for my kids, I guess I must really love the little stinkers. And who knows if I keep lifting heavy crap maybe I too will start looking like Arnold.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Firkroy Is Dealing With Those Firken Chickens Again!

My allergies are acting up, and I think I'm starting to imagine things.
Today was a three cupper, well maybe a five or a sixer if you count the cups of Earl Grey I made after the coffee pot was drained. I love to to take the tea bag and put it against my nose, then breath in the aroma before dunking it in a microwaved cup of water. The smell alone invigorates my morning; Jean-Luc Picard would be proud.
You've probably heard about a lot of great things about Oregon, but what you may not know is that the Willamette Valley is allergy central. With all of the greenery comes pollen of every sort, and mold spores to boot. My allergies have been acting up, and I'm not happy about it. My best friends right now are antihistamines, and a plastic bottle. It squirts salt and baking soda water up the nose that will soon be enjoying an Earl Grey embrace.
The house is empty, and I'm going about my domestic duties. I need to run to the store later so I can get the ingredients for turkey chili, and corn bread for tomorrow, “Mm mm mm.” But tonight we are having chicken in a crock pot. But as I'm tossing in a few more onions into the pot, and a cup of white wine, what do I hear? Chicken noises coming from the front yard? Are the ghosts of chickens past coming to haunt me for roasting up yet another of their brethren?
Nope, one of our chickens escaped from their gulag, and found its way into the front yard.
With some strategic gate opening, and herding of the dumb cluck, I manage to at least get it into the back yard. If plucking wasn't such a hassle I would have herded it onto the gas grill, and given it a bath with a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce. But if I had done that I would have been branded a pet murderer, and family harmony trumps finger licking good every time.
Meanwhile back at the Firkroy command center, I'm working on my media empire. Spending time adding content to Google plus, and adding more people into Twitter. One of my goals is to have everything pointing at each other. My blog, Twitter, BrooWaha, and Google plus all working in harmony, like some sort of the digital circle of life. My Facebook account is the red headed step child, and isn't getting any love; I'm only using it to check on relatives from time to time to see if I need to attend a funeral.
Facebook still calls to me though, “Come and play Farkle Firkroy.”
“No you evil voice, go away.” I think to myself.
But it persists, “Uncle Del just scored 22,243 points! He's whooping your butt, you better come play.”
“No, no, back un-clean one! Do you see this? Yeah, that's right GARLIC, and I'm not afraid to use it.”
I come out of my daydream, and find I have the garlic powder shaker in my left hand ready to douse my laptop. I quickly grab my left wrist with my right hand and jerk it away, just in the nick of time.
It's funny how people who deal with technology start to look at certain institutions as villains, and others as their buddies. Facebook, Microsoft, and HP are on my stinker list right now. Microsoft has been on my “PU” list ever since they tried to take over the world in the 90s. I will have to admit that Bill Gates has been really trying to make a positive difference in the world lately, but his successor Lord Ballmermort is another story. When I see the current Microsoft CEO -Steve Ballmer- I see an uncanny resemblance to “He who shall not be named.”
“Doh!” Now I'm screwed, I named him, Steve Ballmer that is, and his VPs are going to swoop in on their Segeways, and start shooting me with their Windows 8 wands, and I'll have to use my magic Google Chrome shield to protect me.
“Curse you Lord Ballmermort you, you, screaming Cue Ball!” I yell, pointing my papermate wand into the air.
I've really got to stop this day dreaming nonsense. I blame it on allergies, I think all of those little white pills are making me loopy.
I think I'll go and check on that chicken that's cooking in the crock pot, I think it needs more wine.

Firkroy is Stayin' Alive, Stayin' Alive!

Firkroy is hitting the path, and getting things moving.
Part of the “Keeping me alive program,” along with eating bowls of oatmeal in the morning, and not eating big chunks of cow, is bike riding. With the kids in school, I now have more flexibility with my time during the day. I ride my bike with my older son to his school, and then continue on for a thirteen mile trip along the Willamette river, on the bike paths of Eugene.
It's a pleasant ride along the river, groups of elderly people can be seen walking along the path, as well as bike commuters, hobos, and falling leaves. There are also people selling hand made jewelry laid out on blankets in the grass as I ride by, community gardens, parks, and that big “O” on Autzen stadium. I slow down as I go through the delta ponds, a small wildlife refuge with Western Pond Turtles that like to sit atop logs, beached on little islands in the middle of the water. There's also a beaver dam with ducks bobbing up and down trying to get at whatever is beneath the ripples. The Oregon State Beavers and Oregon Ducks may have a contentious rivalry on the gridiron, but in this pond beavers and ducks are in harmony.
I have a Fuji cross bike that I've had for several years, and I've made a few modifications to it. I've added fenders, changed the peddles, and replace the seat post. All in the name of making my bike fit me just a little bit better. My wife gave me a pair of black mountain bike pants, and later, a matching black long sleeve bicycle shirt. Mountain bike pant look more like regular shorts than Tour de Pants bicycle pants, which is good because I'm not ready to look like a ballet dancer wearing tights. I look a little more like Darth Vader, and if I added a cape and helmet, I could practice using “The Force” as I'm riding along. I could pick up and move whole groups of strolling old ladies out of the way, or I could part clouds of hobo cigarette smoke like the Red Sea, with a wave of my hand. Oh so many possibilities, but alas I can only use “The Force” for good.
Other bike paths in the area have less traffic, and you can find big packs of the Tour de Pants riders clad in their colorful advertisement laden bicycle gear. Just don't get in their way, they would rather run over babies than break formation. They're getting in shape for the Tour de France so watch out... Most won't even make the Tour de Springfield, but I suppose they can have their fantasy.
Upon arriving at home after my commune with two wheels and nature, It's time to go to work. I've ramped up my eBay sales, and like a Ferengi searching for a profit, I've been sniffing around for things for sale that I can pick up cheap, and then resell on eBay or Craigslist. Sales as a profession is hard to do correctly, but the challenge can be rewarding. But, selling to some of the people on eBay is anything but rewarding; some of them are real pieces of work. I've had a few people who didn't pay after winning my auctions, and I've had to go through the process of getting my selling fees back from eBay on more than one occasion, after buyers renege on their end of a deal. About six years ago I had one individual click on a “Buy it” button on a Vespa like scooter I was selling, he then turned around and give me negative feedback because he was confused by how the system worked. I had a not so pleasant conversation on the phone with this Ding Dong, and it wasn't pretty. As a result, I try and avoid selling anything a dumb person might want. I have a low tolerance for financial dealing with idiots; if only someone would invent the IQ filter. Craigslist is a little better, but sometimes I ignore email replies that I know are from people that I don't want to deal with, or Spammers.
And we all know what we would do to Spammers if we could just get our hands on them around here, “spit.”
Here lately, I've been getting the itch to throw some pots; I'm a potter amongst other things, and the kids have reeked havoc on the dishes that I made years ago. But first I have a bedroom to add for my oldest son, and more house painting to do. I've forgotten what boredom feels like a long time ago, and I have a feeling It may have something to do with that little voice in the back of my head, coming from my spouse with her honey do list in one hand, and a cattle prod in the other. But it's just a hunch.
The zucchini that I purchased last week was made into zucchini bread! Oh the splendid aroma of zucchini bread, with a chunk of melting butter running all over it. “Mmmmmmm.” Oh, if only I had more zucchini, then maybe we could make more of that wonderful nutty bread.
But Wait! Maybe Daryl from from across the street has more zucchini he wants to unload...
Run run run, “Knock Knock Knock,” on Daryl's door.
“Anyone home? Yooouuu Hoooooo!”
“I'll help you with more of those zucchini Daryl!”
“I see you hiding behind that curtain!”
“Open up! I need more zucchini!”
“Come on, be a pal!... Buddy?...”

In This Corner... Firkroy!

It's Firkroy vs Hackers. Now go to your corners and come out fighting…ding, ding, ding!
One of my laptops started barking out “Warning, Warning Will Robinson!” at least that's what it felt like when the Microsoft Security Essentials popped up the first bubble that said I had a threat. I clicked on the resolve the issue button, but of course a few moments later it popped up yet again. Like a dog scratching off a flea I may have picked off one, but there are a hundred more hiding between the hairs.
So I resign to going through the drill by updating my free malware elimination software (Malwarebytes, and SuperAantispyware), then I re-booted the laptop in safe mode, I then ran a full scan with the first one with not even a burp, then they appear, 547 bad nasties detected! So after over an hour of scanning, and using the digital equivalent to a Raid bug bomb on them, I do another complete scan this time with the other checker, and find nothing wrong. I'm now safe to re-boot my laptop, and use it.
If hackers would keep their bad behavior targeted on big corporations I wouldn't mind them so much because they would be helping to keep hard working IT people employed on a regular basis, but these ass wipes pick on everyday people.
“What kind of punishment should they be subjected to?” I think to myself.
“Hummm, let me see:”
  • Death by hanging? No, too quick.
  • Death by Guillotine? Again, too damn quick for those bastards.
  • The electric chair? Now that would be entertainment! Maybe cook some eggs on their foreheads as they fry.
Here is my list of more creative ways of killing perpetrators of malware:
  • Being kicked in the nads by their victims to death! But only after being force fed a bottle of cheap Viagra purchased from a spammer. Then the victims get to repeatedly kick the Viagra spammer.
  • Being turned over to 1000 jocks for wedgies until dead. Then hung from a school flag pole.
  • Made to watch replays of Notre Dame making touch downs until dead. Actually making them watch any kind of football on TV would probably kill them.
  • Made to give Tech. Support to hillbillies until dead. That's just mean.
  • Made to stand in sunlight until dead, I think it would only take 10 minutes tops. I don't think they go outside much so they would quickly become a pile of ash, like a vampire hitting sunlight.
  • Deprivation of all Sci-Fi involving space ships until dead. (that one might even kill me)
  • Take away their computer for life... then they would kill themselves.
The nad kicking event sounds like a real money making opportunity, and I could sell tickets. Now how to get the word out without spamming, hummmm.
Now I can understand the interest in cracking a code, breaking into something that is supposed to be secure, and there are groups of hackers that are actually helpful, and help organizations find vulnerabilities in their systems. But most of the time, malware is created by criminals; the type of people who want to steal your personal information, your habits on the Internet, your credit card numbers, or any other nefarious thing this bunch of bastards think up to rob, or make money off of you.
If you haven't figured it out by now, the criminals sort of piss me off. Yes they have given me plenty to write about, and lots of opportunities to help people solve their problems, but I would much rather not have to deal with these jerks.
One way you can limit the damage these punks can do to you is to not use Windows. You can go and go out and buy a MAC, and that can be a bit spendy if your on a limited income, or you can check out the latest version of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a completely free Linux operating system that I highly recommend. The computer I'm using right now is completely running on Ubuntu 11.04 Linux, but you can download a CD image, and try it on your own computer without making any changes to it at all. You download the CD image, burn it to a CD, then boot your computer from that CD to try it. It can also be installed to work side by side with your windows installation. I've tried many versions of Linus over the years and this is the first time I can actually say that I like a Linux installation over Windows.
On a completely different subject, and to those of you who read Firkroy's Revenge regularly. I did the grocery shopping this week, and guess what was on the list... zucchini. I had to buy six of them at the grocery store. Sigh, now I wish I hadn't hid from Daryl last week when he was going door to door unloading them. They were pretty cheap at the store, so I guess they was trying to unload them too.
Monday is kick a malware punk in the nads day, so get busy!

Firkroy is Thinking About a Big Bang! And the Annihilator.

This week started off with a BANG! And ended with a SQUASH!

Tuesday is garbage day, the day I put all of the bins by the curb. The drivers of the lumbering trash trucks don't like getting out of their cabs to pick up refuse, they simply drive up, and a mechanical arm grabs the plastic bin and Whoooosh, away goes the trash. It would be nice if once in a while they would closed the bin lids that stay open after a dump, but nope, it's on to the next house.

The night before trash day I routinely move my SUV, and place the plastic containers out on the curb where I was parked. But I was sloppy this week, and I parked my Blazer semi sideways behind our minivan. A poor parking job indeed, but it's my driveway, and I can park all wonkey if I feel like it... That was mistake number one.

The next day I see people rummaging through my recycle bins before the trucks show up to collect cans and bottles that they can turn in for a nickel a piece. No big deal, times are tough, and they are at least showing some initiative; I go back to reading the paper. My wife says she's bringing my son's friend back home after a sleep over. I wave as I sip my morning brew, and go back to reading Dilbert. Wally is being his usual malingering self when all of the sudden there is a big “BANG!”

“What the hell!” I say jumping from my chair and heading outside.
Oh no! My wife who thinks the gas peddle is an on/off switch has run the minivan into my cockeyed parked SUV.... That was mistake number two.

If your going to run into something with your car you may as well run into another one of your own vehicles, it's less messy that way, and your insurance premiums won't go up.

I assess the damage, and it doesn't look too bad as I pick tail light chunks out of the Blazer's molding.

“Sigh, no big deal. This should only cost about $50 to replace the tail light lens” I tell my wife.

She apologizes for crunching our rides. She said the backup obstacle alarm was going off but it was too late.
“Back up the Enterprise Mr. Sulu, warp nine!”
“Ay Captain.”
I think to myself.

I call the Hyundai dealer's parts department. “Ay Carumba!” The new lens cost $225!

The tail light lens is part of the tail light assembly, and you have to buy the whole thing! What a racket, “Sigh.”

I reluctantly pull my credit card out of my wallet. “Yes I will be paying for it with Visa, yes overnight it, the expiration date is...”

It took me a whole 5 minutes to replace the lens assembly.

It's time for breakfast, and 98% of the time I have oatmeal for breakfast, with blueberries, walnuts, and other assorted super foods to help keep me alive. Yes, I know oatmeal conjures up some horrific thoughts (and only God knows why) of Hannibal Lechter in some people. But oatmeal is good stuff, but my mind wanders off, and I start thinking of doughnuts, Voodoo doughnuts.

A thought bubble appears above my head. Ah the Voodoo maple and bacon bar, oh how I would rather have you than oatmeal. My mind starts to wander, they make a doughnut shaped like a joint called the Maple Blazer Blunt, with maple frosting, and red sprinkle ember.

“It must be for stoners that have the munchies.” I think to myself.

Then I think about the Old Dirty Bastard doughnut with chocolate frosting, Oreo’s, and peanut butter that never really appealed to me. And what kind of pervert at Voodoo developed the Bavarian cream shaped like a Willy called the bleep-N-bleep with bite me written across it.

“POP” goes my thought bubble... let's go on to another subject.

Coffee! Dutch Brothers makes my favorite on the road coffee called the Kicker with 3 different espresso beans, Irish Cream, and the secret “Kick Me Mix.” They also make the Annihilator which is the same as the Kicker but with Chocolate Macadamia Nut instead of Irish Cream. Some of the Dutch Brothers baristas are packing, and recently one of their baristas in Eugene shot and killed a would be robber, dead as a door nail. A little severe but that'll teach that bastard not to mess with our coffee providers.

Speaking of injury by weapon, later in the week I tried to cut my thumb off chopping sweet potatoes to make sweet potato, and black been burritos. I need to slice a body part about every ten years to remind me that knives are sharp.

OK after crunching up my cars, chopping up my thumb, and paying that outlandish price for a stupid tail light lens, it was time for a beer. My favorite local Eugene brew comes from Steelhead Brewery in Eugene, they make a fine porter called French Pete that is dark brown, creamy, and is all malty and smooth. But if you like beer that makes you pucker, then you must try a Hopasaurus Rex. Billed as “the king of Imperial India Pale Ales, and is extra bitter!”

You have to have some serious nads to drink that sort of thing. The thought of a Hopasaurus makes my tongue cringe, and I start getting a headache.

Another of my favorites beer joints is McMenamins. Now for an authentic stout you would have to travel to Ireland and get a real Irish Guinness. The Irish hoard the good stuff to themselves, and they don't let it leave the country. But if you can't afford a trip to Ireland for a stout, then a McMenamins Terminator is my favorite choice, and it's cool because it's called Terminator. Hasta la vista baby.

Now you may be thinking, what kind of people are these crazy lunatics that name their drinks Terminator, Annihihlator, Hopasaurus Rex , and shoot would be coffee hut robbers deader than that racoon on Donald Trump's head? Well that's a good question, and I would tell you but, it's a secret.

Looking across the street I see my neighbor Darryl picking a bag of zucchini. He has 11,373 zucchini squash in his front yard, and what? He's headed this way, he's giving away zucchini!

I'm closing curtains, and pretending I'm not home.

“Shhhhhhhhhhh!” I'm hiding.

Firkroy is Too Firken Hot!

I'm melting, I'm melting”, that's not the wicked witch of the north being hit by a bucket of water, but my face acting like a Snickers bar left outside in the sun.
It's 9PM and 91 degrees Fahrenheit outside. You can normally get away without air conditioning in western Oregon, but there are a few weeks when it's just too hot. I wouldn't care if it would cool down at night, but when the heat persists then it's just too hot.
I had an air conditioner mounted in our bedroom window before I demolished the old wall, and did a window replacement, I was reluctant about reinstalling the air conditioner because it would look crappy hanging out of the new window, but at the moment I would go for the crappy look to be a bit cooler.
I resorted to standing in the sprinkler in the middle of the backyard, and then tried to make snow cones with a Snoopy snow cone maker. I'm convinced that the Snoopy snow cone maker was developed in Siberia, and used in Gulags to re-educated wayward commie children. However today, the things are mainly an American parent torture machine. Children try to turn the crank that change ice cubes into snow, but then start crying about how hard it is, and how it hurts their fingers. The parents say “nonsense,” and start cranking, not wanting to let on about how big a mistake it was to get the stupid thing, or how much it hurts. They just keep cranking out snow cones, vowing to pay a visit to the head office of the manufacturer to give them “a piece of my mind!” Luckely for them, they're in China.
School will be staring soon, and I found myself walking around at Office Max looking at school supplies for my kids, just so I could enjoy their air conditioning. I found spiral notebooks for 1 cent on sale, and I had a nice conversation about HP, and Apple with one of the young sales guys. I always enjoy knowing more about the companies that manufacture the products they sell than they do. Some people follow college football, and others movie stars; I follow what technology companies do as one of my unexplained obsessions, we all have them, what can you do.
OK, today I got a treat, one of things on my to-do list was to performed open case surgery on another dead laptop courtesy of the infamous “Curtis the Cord Yanker.” It was a delicate operation, the patient's life signs were weak, but after about an hour and a half of working with a soldering iron, hot melt gun, Philips screwdriver, and with sweat pouring from my forehead (did I mention that it's hot) the patient woke up. Then there was the extensive physical therapy conducted with anti-malware software, the purge of worthless programs, and the removal of the vast array of tool bars installed in the web browser by the aforementioned sneaky worthless programs.
It's now one mean looking laptop, with its missing front tooth, eye patch, and scars covering its case. All it needs now is a peg leg, and a parrot, and it could be a pirate laptop. Nobody will mistake this computer for a My Little Pony sissy laptop.
Oh how I love laptop surgery, getting that “It's Alive! BWAHAHA!” Dr. Frankenstein experience is quite a rush.
Oh and speaking of Pirates, I spent last evening watching an Eugene Emeralds baseball game at the (courtesy of the founder of Nike, Phil Knight) University of Oregon baseball stadium. The Emeralds are our class A farm baseball team, and I don't go to many of their games, and was perplexed as to why the Pittsburgh Pirates Parrot was running around grabbing player's butts as they bent over to stretch while warming up to play. Apparently he flies around to other baseball games in the country in his spare time to play garb ass... I guess I'll never quite understand baseball.
So if you Pittsburgh folks wonder what happened to your parrot, don't worry he's sweating in Eugene Oregon, and eating all of our crackers.

Firkroy Is Thinking Of Bacon And Flies

The Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwich is one of my favorites, but can someone swat that damn fly before it lands on my BLT!
Uuummmm Bacon. Everyone loves bacon, even people who’ve never tried bacon love it; they just don’t know it yet. The human mind is programmed to love bacon, why even vegetarians love bacon; why else would they make phony bacon strips made out of beans.
If I wanted to do mass mind control, I would have my evil scientists develop a bacon mind ray that would transmit from my secret satellite down on the populous below. It would control the bacon centers of the brain, and make everyone powerless to my commands. I would rule the world! Bwahaha!
Sorry, I lost control of myself for a moment.
Do you know you can buy bacon soap? Yep, that’s right, you can get all showered up, and smell like breakfast. I suppose some guys would enjoy smelling like bacon all day, but maybe some devious babe is trying to catch her Homer by getting all odor de bacon. But why would she stop at bacon body aroma? She could brush her teeth with bacon toothpaste, add some bacon lip balm, pop a few bacon mints, and hang a bacon scented air freshener from the rearview mirror of her Camry. She may not get her Homer but she’s guaranteed to get tongue kisses from dogs.
Yes, you could buy all of those things, as well as bacon gumballs, bacon popcorn, and make a sandwich with Kosher -no pigs harmed- Baconnaise. I personally am looking forward to dipping some french-fried potatoes in a jar. I hear Baconnaise, chocolate, and peanut butter sandwiches are heaven on earth, but that may just be crazy crap that someone made up, you will just have to make one and see if it’s true.
I know you want to, don’t you.
Adding bacon to anything makes it taste better, no one can resist tossing some bacon bits on their salad, and you can get it on top of your doughnuts. You can also get bombed on bacon with Gentleman Ham’s Bacon Whisky, or Bakon (with a k) Vodka. How about Maple Bacon Toffee Apple Cheesecake, I’ve seen the recipe.
Do you know who else likes bacon? Flies, those pesky good for nothing flying pests. If you’re cooking up bacon, they will come. I think they would even die for bacon if you gave them half a chance, by doing a breast stroke in a pan of grease. What else do flies have in common with bacon? Nothing really, other than liking to buzz around pig pens. I just wanted to write about how much I despise them, after talking about the virtues of bacon.
The only flies I like are the suicidal type; you can give them a smack with the swatter then toss their little corpses into a web outside to get their juices extracted.
But really, are there any good reasons for these damn flying pests? Can’t spiders simply eat something else? Would the world really end without house, and other types of flys that bite you? I was looking in the paper yesterday and there was a picture of a young man from Springfield that had his face oozing because a flesh eating parasite was burrowing through his right cheek as a result from being bitten by a Sand Fly in Peru. That’s one fly that a spider would have spit out.
What I want to know is even with all of the screens I have erected around the house I still have flies landing on my face; it's just not fair I tell you. I know! If we get rid of all the flies then we make a fly substitute for spiders out of tofu. We can call it “Tofly” and shape it into juicy little winged morsels. Maybe the spiders could make fly sandwiches with Toflyanaise.
Well and maybe pigs will fly.

It’s a Firkroy Birthday, Happy Birthday To Me

What’s that I hear? “Happy birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like a monkey, and smell like one too.” <Sigh>, kids.
It was finally my turn, the nurse called my name (butchering it like everyone else does), and I go back into the maze of little rooms to get weighed, to have my blood pressure checked, and to be asked a few mental health questions. It’s the day before my birthday, and time for my yearly physical at the VA. I’ve had the same doctor for years, and I usually enjoy meeting with him for a brief chit-chat about things, going over tests, and listening to his latest bad joke.
During our discussion he asks me about my knee, I had surgery on it at the Portland VA hospital a couple years back, and he was interested in how it’s doing, and my experience at the hospital.
“Did they treat you well at the hospital?” he asks, as he thumbs through some papers.
“The doctors, and nurses were fantastic.” I replied. “But, are there supposed to be beans in gruel?”
“I think they hired the head chef from the Oregon State Penitentiary, the food was awful.” I added.
He smiled and took a note, then said “You’re 51 now.”
“52 tomorrow,” I interrupted with a smile.
“After 50 they recommend that you get your prostate checked for cancer every year.” He continues. “They want to check it every year?” I think to myself. “Oh joy, oh joy” Making a mental frown.
“I can check it out right now if you like” he says.
“Ah come on,” I think to myself, I really don’t feel like having an anal probe the day before my birthday, If I had no responsibilities I could drown myself in margaritas, smoke cigars, and skip exams like this. But I have a family to take care of, so I need to take every opportunity to stay alive as long as I can.
So I man up and say “OK, we may as well do it.” The doctor tells me to bend over while he snaps on the rubber glove.
“I had a patient ask me to apologize for doing this examination once” he says…
I head home with a clean bill of health, and with a little less dignity. When I arrive I have a big chore ahead of me, the day before my old GE washing machine decided to make a big “BANG!” noise, and break down.
“Curse you GE bastards!” I say as I shake my fist to the sky. I’ve had to fix this piece of crap way too many times; I’m going to throw you over the ledge at the dump! “BWAHAHAHAHA” I think to myself rubbing my palms together like the Joker getting ready to spring a nefarious trap on Batman. I find it hard to believe that GE manufactures jet engines, when they can’t even make a decent washing machine. If you’re reading this in an airplane, just ignore the big “BANGS!” I’m sure it will be ok. (rolls eyes and whistles)
With the GE *spit* washer declared dead, my family and I travel up to Portland to get a washing machine that was sitting in what used to be my father’s house. We make the 200 mile round trip with portable DVD player going in the back seat to keep boys entertained, and somewhat pacified. I loaded up my dad’s Kenmore (no spitting required) in my trailer made from an old Toyota pickup truck, and head home.
After unloading the heavy ass replacement washing machine, I use my hand dolly to push the beast into place. I have to get a new hose at Sears, but it’s no big deal. After a good scrubbing the replacement washing machine is up and running. “Score one for the good guys” I think to myself, and wishing a prostate exam on all of the upper management at *spit* GE.
I’ve been doing a lot of work this summer, and when my wife asked me what I wanted to do on my birthday, I immediately told her I wanted to sit in front of the TV, watch guy shows with my boys, and all around do nothing; and that’s what I did. But first I had to hook up some SaaWeeeet guy gifts, so I could sit around, and do nothing all day. “Thanks honey!”
My birthday is now over, and it’s back to work. I do more work now than I ever did working for the man. Today I have a guy coming over to look at some chairs I posted on Craigslist, and then it’s blueberry picking in the afternoon. Tomorrow I’m working on replacing a door, and other home repair wonders.
It’s been a great week, and my favorite part of all was getting to eat German chocolate cake for breakfast!
“Shhhhhhhh,” don’t tell doctor snappy gloves.

It’s Been Quite a Week, and What’s That Funny Glow?

Last week was long one, with bugs, painting, and Daryl, but get that Pepto Bismol ready, the county fair is just around the corner, Oh Boy Oh Joy!
The light post outside of our house is mostly out, only coming back on when it feels like it. I discovered an interesting thing with the street being dark, something funny is going on over at my neighbor Daryl’s house. Three more glowing orbs, for a total of four! OK, OK, I’ve figured it out, it’s so simple, why didn’t I realize this before… Daryl is trying to contact the mother ship, he’s phoning home! Soon there will be tones on loud speakers synchronized to the orbs then,
“Buzzzzzz ZAP!” Daryl’s out of here!
I can’t wait to see the mother ship, will it look like a saucer, or will it look like a shuttle craft from the starship Enterprise with a green guy at the helm? I’m just giddy; it’s going to be so exciting!
Well in more mundane, down to earth news. It’s house painting time folks, I finished up painting around my window replacement, and now it’s on to the back of the house. My house was built around 1960 and had some modifications done to it. One decorative extra feature that was added by the three stooges was plywood nailed up between the overhang and the outside wall of the house. It really isn’t too decorative, but it WAS a fantastic wasp apartment complex. I’ve had to bug bomb in between the gap they kept crawling into on several occasions, but this time all of that crap was coming down.
As I pried down the pieces of plywood I could see those creepy nests waiting to unleash a hell storm of flying stinging devil bugs! I cautiously proceeded prying down on the plywood, and amazingly (Whew) nothing attacked me. I could identify two different types of wasps judging by the nests that were hitting me in the face. Paper Wasps, and Mud Daubers that are the creepiest. The Mud Daubers had built little mud condos against the side of the wall, and the other nests were a sort of honey comb type made by the Paper Wasps.
I let them all have it with the hose, and mud dripped down the side of the wall. There were three very confused wasps flying around looking for the entrance to their mud Jacuzzi, but it was in a little brown puddle on the ground. I gave them directions to Daryl’s house, and I told them he would be leaving soon so they would have the whole place to themselves.
In other news, I’ve been doing a test of the EverBlade for Tony Berkman, the Big Kahuna of Blog Catalog and BrooWaha. I must say that this shaving gizmo is doing a fine job of keeping my razor sharp. The non-EverBladed razor that I’m using as a control is getting dull, and tugging at my whiskers. Now, I want you to know that I’m a Norelco man (mainly because I’m lazy) and not just saying the EverBlade thing-a-majig works to be a suck up, and to get more free stuff. When I’m finished testing I’ll be going back to my electric razor, but it’s been a lot of fun playing with shaving cream.
Tonight I’m watching the last part of “The Stand” on Netflix, they made a four miniseries sometime in the 90s of the novel by Stephen King. It’s our in-home date night when the kids go to bed, and I get to relax with my honey and watch the show. There’s nothing like a romantic evening at home watching bodies lying around everywhere after dying from a military engineered killer flu, and eating popcorn. I never read the book, so I can’t wait to see how it ends, Stephen King is a genius.
Speaking of entertainment in a couple of weeks I’m taking the munchkins to the Lane County Fair! It’s an exciting time of barf rides, cigarette smoke, inappropriate clothing, and best of all teeth are optional! You can get yummy taste treat sensations like elephant ears, hot dogs, and deep fried butter! Oh wait, the deep fried butter is at the Texas State Fair; sorry if you go to the Lane County Fair you’ll have to settle for some other deep fried oddity.
The fair usually has a band playing, and one year on my birthday, we got to listen to Weird Al Yankovic. Al was running around in a fat suit singing a parody of Michael Jackson’s song “Bad”. I felt sorry for AL in that fat suit dancing around on stage in the middle of August, but maybe that’s how he stays so thin. Weird Al appears to have a nice close shave, and I wonder, does Weird Al use an EverBlade?
Oh blast, it’s time to get back to painting the side of the house, the wasps are all gone, and things are shaping up. I had a bee fly into my paint bucket this morning and commit insecticide, I wish insect HMOs would pay for Prozac, and then maybe, just maybe, all of this insecticide madness would end.
Slurp…. “Oh this is some good coffee.”

Firkroy Has Cars on His Mind

The cars of my youth tickle my brain as I look through old photos, oh to be behind the wheel of one of those rubber burning machines again.
As a young boy some of my earliest memories are from riding in the back seat of the family car. I had the window seat behind the driver, my sister had the other rear window seat, and my younger brother got a raw deal being sat in between us. Unlike today, parents back then usually put their youngest child up front with the misguided notion that they would be safer close to their parents, and that’s where you would find my youngest sister jumping around like a monkey with fleas.
Our step mother did a pretty good job maneuvering her Chevy through the streets of Portland with a cigarette hanging from her mouth, and keeping the monkey from flying out of the window. The cigarettes would be her undoing sometime in the future; she just didn’t know it yet. Before the Chevy we had a couple Rambler station wagons, hearty little cars with V8s. We had many a weekend road trip to the river in those Ramblers. Cell phones didn’t exist, but there were better distracters. Besides the bouncing monkey, my dad would have a cigarette between two fingers, and a can of beer between his legs, there were no beer can holders in Ramblers so he had to keep the can someplace as he drove. We usually met friends and family at some destination on the Clackamas River. Fishing poles and potato salad were packed for the trip, as well as the other 23 cans of Blitz for my dad and anyone else who may want one.
I loved those old Ramblers with the seat belts stuffed between the seats collecting gum wrappers, cookie crumbs, and sticky gunk. My first car was a 63 Rambler Ambassador that I purchased from my grandparents for $300. This car could burn rubber with its V8 engine and three on the tree manual transmission, but it was a car for geezers. I only drove it until I could purchase a cool car, a 1966 Chevy Impala SS.
My Impala had an AM radio, and I remember listening to tunes on KISN in Portland. I drove my Super Sport back and forth to my grocery store jobs, and out to go skateboarding with my friend Jeff and my cousin Casey. We were obsessed with skateboarding down big hills and were always on the lookout for new places to ride. If only I had that car now, I’d take it to Portland, and then cruise down 82nd just like the old days, with my arm resting on the open window nodding to passers-by. Then I’d sell that baby to a collector, and buy a new Jeep.
I stupidly sold my Impala before I joined the Air Force in 1977 for $900. I could have used that car at my first duty assignment, Beale Air Force Base in northern California. I had a bunch of cars at Beale. The barracks parking lot started to look like Firkroy’s used cars. I sold most of the cars and motorcycles that I had accumulated to others that lived in the barracks with me. One of the cars was a 1966 Triumph TR4, a British convertible with a few rough edges, and missing the rag top. I had to unbolt the hard top to drive around and feel the wind blowing through the little hair that the military would allow me to have.
I once took a trip back home to Oregon and had the coil burn out while driving through the Warm Springs Indian reservation in central Oregon. I luckily coasted into the only gas station in Warm Springs, and then got a ride from one of the employees who amazingly drove up in a Triumph Spitfire! We drove to Redmond to find a replacement coil. We knew there were no Triumph dealers in central Oregon, but luckily gas stations used to sell car parts in the 70s instead of bags of Fritos, and we found a coil that miraculously did the trick. I don’t know what coils where made of back then but they seemed to have a self destruct mechanism that waited for the worst possible time and then bang! They crapped out.
I loved those old cars, but let’s face it cars are a tremendous pain in the butt. The costs of purchasing, maintaining, and fueling them is a drag. Buying and selling them is absolutely nerve racking. I want to get around via Star Trek transporters, forget these annoying car money pits.
Beam me to a warm sunny beach Scotty; I hear a swizzle stick tinkling ice cubes, a drink with a little umbrella is calling my name.

Jibber Jabber Man

Jibber Jabber Man speaks with authority, he speaks with conviction, but it’s all just jibber jabber.

The energy of the universe courses through my being.
Quiet, and comforting, it guides my intuition.
Flowing, and ebbing, with currents of smoky waves I can feel, and see it in the night.
Confident in its guidance, no faith is needed; I know that it is real.

“Jiber Jabber, Jibber Jabber, Blah blah blah” says Jibber Jabber Man.
A self proclaimed expert, he asks for their faith in the rules he says they must follow.
Jibber Jabber Man you Flim-Flam Man, watch them all follow Jibber Jabber Man.
“Follow me or be punished, follow me to your reward.” He proclaims standing above them.
Jibber Jabber Man, what a sham, taking credit for what you don’t possess.
“Jibber Jabber, Jibber Jabber” goes the merchant of fear, pulling them all in close.
Leave them alone Jibber Jabber Man.
The universe will always be there, with or without you Jibber Jabber Man, and for anyone who stops to touch it.
Be quiet Jibber Jabber Man, and listen to the silence. It will speak to you too, when you let go of your fear.

A Firkroy Homecoming

After being on the road it’s good to be home. My neighbor Daryl is up to something, what could it be?

Driving up to your home after being away for over a week is always a good feeling, it was a fun trip but there's no place like home Toto. Speaking of little dogs there was Mausa, our little dog getting walked by the neighbors as were driving up. My oldest son stuck his head out of the minivan’s window, and stated calling his name as we approached the dog walking group. Mausa stopped dead in his tracks with ears at attention, and eyes all bugged out. I’m sure he thought we had abandoned him, he was just getting used to living with the neighbors with the little horse in the back yard, and a bunch of cats. He was in a jumping frenzy when the horde piled out of the minivan.

What's this? I look over at my other neighbor Daryl's house, there is a new platform under the solar panel in his garden, and on the panel is sitting a bunch off stuff. After parking the minivan in the driveway, and then unloading all of our things I get curious. I discreetly spy to see what secrets the platform has to offer, and what do I see? On the platform there is a car battery that is attached to an AC inverter, the kind that converts the 12 volt DC from the car battery into 120 volts AC. And what is all of this powering… a boombox.

OK so, let's see. In order to power a boombox in front of your house (so you can listen to Led Zeppelin) you can either:

  1. Create a stand-alone solar power station to power your boombox by:
  • Digging a hole.
  • Planting a pole.
  • Hiring a cement mixer to cement in the pole.
  • Purchasing and placing a solar panel on top of the pole.
  • Building a platform.
  • Buying and placing a car battery on the platform.
  • Buying and placing an inverter on the platform.
  • Plugging the boombox into the inverter.
  • Turning on boombox.

Or you could:

  1. Put in four AA Energizers into your boombox, and then turn it on.

Now I’m sure the permanent solar powered boombox station could be used for other things, like lighting up the glowing orb on top of his flagpole for instance, or for a charger for AA batteries, or maybe even an automatic beer bottle opener; the possibilities are endless.

After seeing the contraption that Daryl built I decide that my iPod is seriously in need of some more music. Lucky for me I’m over 50 so everything I like to listen to is cheap. I don’t buy music from Apple, I go down to CD World and get used CDs of Alan Parsons Project’s greatest hits for $5.95 and then rip the CD with iTunes. Hey, I’m thrifty what can I say, my blog address has cheap in its name. I inherited thriftiness from my dad that’s for sure; I just don’t have his fondness for duct tape and super glue.

While I’m writing this I’m listening to my iPod to drown out all of the kid noises that are usually being produced, especially during the summer with school being out. Today my oldest boy had a friend stay the night and they’re busy killing armies of mechanized robots at 8 AM. Ah, to be young with armies of robots with lasers mounted on their shoulders at your disposal. The sound of never ending explosions on a sunny summer day, not quite the smell of napalm in the morning but they’ll have to wait until they’ve moved out of the house before they can blow up real robots.

I was able to finally get caught up on my blog a bit, and review a couple pieces of free software. Next week I’m back to being a reluctant carpenter with all sorts of summer time projects to work on. I also have moss removal duty this week; moss will grow on anything that doesn’t move in western Oregon. It will grow on your driveway, your lawn, and it will even grow on your car if you don’t drive it enough. I’ll be scrapping moss off the roof of our house today; I couldn’t get the roof to move around so of course moss grew on it. I have to get in as much outside work as I can get done in the few dry months we have.

I’ll be enjoying my oatmeal this morning with strawberries sans bug killer, and I’ll be wearing my sombrero today so I don’t get sunburned while scraping moss off of the roof. Enjoy the rest of your Monday morning, and don’t drink instant coffee, it will melt your tongue.