The mostly humorous ramblings of my day to day existence.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Save Me From My Neighbors!

Today was a beautiful winter's day, a little chilly but nice enough to enjoy the out of doors. The only problem was that my neighbor Daryl was enjoying it too. Is there any way to escape your messed up neighbors?
Today I come driving home from the library with my two boys in tow and what do I hear blaring out of Daryl's work van parked in front of his house, The Little River band at 125 decibels! And just so you know, 125db is when pain begins, and my head was throbbing. He's made sure that we can all enjoy his FM radio station complete with commercials. Every door of this van is wide open, and he has the volume turned all the way up. I guess the boombox that is connected to a car battery, that's connected to the solar panel in his front yard must be out of order, so he had to improvise. He's walking around moving lumber from here to there and doing all sorts of other crap.
As I walk into the front door of my house I notice that my wife has the windows open to let in some fresh air as she works at her computer, and she looks perturbed. She informs me that she's been looking for a boombox to blare classical music out of our front door to drown out Daryl's noise, but she couldn't find one. I think for a moment and come up with a solution. I attach my iPod to a set of amplified speakers and we are in business. I hang the speakers out the front door and start broadcasting Mozart as loud as I can get it.
It was rather pleasant in our house for about an hour with Mozart tickling our ears, most of the music was going outside so it wasn't overly loud in the living room. Outside was very different story, Mozart from my iPod was competing with Classic Rock from “BOB FM.” It didn't take long for Daryl to give in and turn off his tunes. He closed the doors of the van, then rumbled down the road in ole Rust Bucket. I'm still convinced Daryl's not from this planet and his rusty van is an alien space craft that makes frequent trips into outer space. But what was really puzzling me was why did Daryl spend days sanding the rust spots on his van? He even had his buddy -who threw fish on my roof years back- out there sanding with him. What do you think he did after he was done sanding away all of that rust? Absolutely nothing, no primer from a rattle can, no Scooby Doo paint job, nothing, not a damn thing. His van is now half painted, and half bare rusting metal. Maybe he needs rusting bare metal spots to be able to make contact with the mother ship, I don't think I'll ever know.
So for the moment I had relief from Daryl's noise pollution, so I called my sister in Florida on Skype. She had recently moved there from Oregon and her and her family are now enjoying the nice weather. While we are talking she stops and yells to her husband “He's at it again!” I ask her what's going on, and she tells me that their hillbilly neighbor is shooting off his guns. That's the trade off you get when you move to the country. You may be away from cities and the annoying neighbors named Daryl, but you trade Daryl for a neighbor named Floyd who likes to shoot at critters in his yard when he's not doing cookies with his ATV. It's America and our hillbillies have got to have their guns and motor sports damn it!
I've decided what I want is land out in the country, with no hillbillies, no vegetation to have to constantly whack, and no chickens! But I don't know if that's even possible. I suppose you could do chicken farming in a way where the chickens eat and peck the vegetation down, then it might be a possibility. And I suppose if you do your homework you could limit your exposure to hillbillies. I would think if a sign in front of the house next to the one you're looking to buy reads “No Trespassen, Git!” would be a good indicator as to why the house you are looking at is such a fantastic buy. Also look for the presence of teeth in the local inhabitants, or lack there of. Missing teeth is always a good indication that you may be in the middle of a hillbilly infestation. I will admit that the prospect of cheap moonshine produced by the locals has it's appeal, but I would rather buy my booze from the store.
Not all of my neighbors are crazy nut jobs. We have always had a great relationship with our neighbor Bill next door to our right. We watch their miniature horse when they go on trips, and their daughter and her boyfriend house sat for us while we took a trip to southern California. They did a fine job and the dog and the two cats were only slightly traumatized from the experience. I thought our little dog was going to need CPR when we arrived down the street. He was out being walked, and if he had been wearing doggy pants he would have crapped them when my son called out his name as we drove by.
I don't think you can truly get away from having neighbors unless you are in the 1% and can buy enough land to be out of hearing range of hillbillies shooting at varmints. Personally I'm hoping for an island with a mountain tall enough to avoid Tsunamis. That's were my house will be, right on top of that mountain. I could go down from time to time and collect coconuts, bananas, and go fishing like Gilligan. Maybe I would make my own rum so I would have something to sip as I lay underneath my big umbrella at my mountain retreat. Well hell if I could afford an island, then I guess I would have my rum delivered by porpoise. I would probably get very bored living on the island because I wouldn't have any nut jobs to write about, but I suppose I could hope for some castaways from a ship wreck, or maybe a pirate invasion.
Ok scratch the island idea, the thought of having to dig tiger pits to protect myself from pirates sounds like too much work. For the moment I'll just put up with Daryl.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's Just Another Rainy Day

This morning when I dunked a bag of Irish Breakfast tea, together with a bag of Pomegranate Green into the same cup, I wondered to myself “do you think this combo might make my cup explode?” Then I pushed the thought out of my head. It's a dreary rainy day that would make even the Walmart happy face cry. The tea packed a nice punch, but needed some honey.

I spent the morning getting the kids off to school, running to the grocery store, then made nachos for lunch with the wife. We enjoyed them while watching an episode of Scrubs on Netflix. I'm sure I spotted a periscope in the lake in my driveway, I would have suspected the Russians but the Cold War has been over for years. I think the squirrels have gone high tech and are simply going after the nuts that are buried somewhere under the water.
In my local newspaper (The Register Guard) there is an article about two young activists who are suing the governor of Oregon for “violating his duty to uphold the public trust and protect the state from impacts of climate change.” Yes, I too wish the governor would get on that big bubble dome he promised for the state. It would protect us from climate change, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and speeches spewing from the mouth of Newt Gingrich. While our two young friends are at it could they also sue Newt for making millions of people vomit. It's just a thought.
In other news an 82 year old bush pilot from Willow Alaska was being chased by an agitated moose when he was saved by his 85 year old wife who hit the beast in the head with a shovel a few times. Grandmas are tough as nails in Willow. I wonder if they make moose strength Tylenol?
Another granny in Connellsville Pennsylvania said a bearded stranger in a pointy hat gave her the seeds to the four-foot tall Marijuana plants growing next to her tomatoes in her back yard. She just wanted something pretty to accent them. Sheesh, let the old lady have her pot plants for gods sake. And speaking of pot, The New York times reported that the reason that Australians are so laid back is because they consume more marijuana than anywhere else on the planet. Intoxicants -the article states- are at the center of most social life in Australia. I guess down under really means down under the table.
To tell you quite honestly this is the news that I enjoy reading in my local newspaper. The rest of the news is just too grim. The news is full of megalomaniacs trying to further themselves in the public eye, and the side affects of their destructive sociopathic ways. The people in charge of us -for the most part- want to have it all, and spend most of their time working to convince the rest of us how they deserve to have it all. Most of us want to live our lives in some sort of peaceful manor while being able to feed and cloth ourselves; but for a few, that's simply not good enough. They call their troop to war! “Our enemies are your enemies” they say. “If you're not with us then you're against us” they proclaim. “Greed is good” is printed on their flag.
I tire of those greedy bastards, and it's a rainy day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

An Inspirational Moment

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
I'm not a religious person, and you won't hear me saying “It's God's will” or anything resembling it, but when deaths and layoffs happened at the same time I was in for a ride with the aftermath. It was like getting my slate wiped clean to start over again. I decided to embrace the changes, listen to my inner voice, and then unexpected things started to happen.
I've come to the conclusion that for the most part I don't have control over my life. I may think that I do sometimes, but for the most part, life seems to be driving me. But before you say to yourself “Dan you're so full of crap” let me tell you this, if someone would have told me that a series of events would result in me staying at home running the household while my wife goes back to school a couple of years ago I wouldn't have believed it. But one thing lead to another and life guided me down the path that I'm now traveling. I suppose I could have fought the changes and tried to force some other kind of outcome, but I don't think it would have lead to a better outcome. Staying at home washing kids cloths is a drag, but I also am able to do things that let me be creative, and to help others.
So how does railing about how politicians that are really Coneheads fit into the “help others” category? Sometime pointing out the lunacy of a situation makes people think about it. When we take a step back and think, then magic starts to happens. Sometimes the “Oh shit!” moment happens, and a realization that the world is a more messed up place than anyone could have ever imagine. At this point, we can either become alcoholics and drown out the world, or decide on how we can all by ourselves make some sort of positive difference. The way I started doing this was by doing a self assessment.
I took a good look at myself and wrote down what I really love to do, my passions, my strengths, and the things I'm obsessive about. Being obsessive about something is important to me because if I don't have a drive to do something, then I'll stop doing it. If something is too painful to do then I won't do it well. If only I could use that excuse to get out of washing dishes, or changing the Guinea Pig cage. I'll never admit to doing a good job of cleaning animal cages.
One day many years ago something clicked in my head and I decided I wanted to be a writer. I had atrocious spelling, and had to re-teach myself most of what I blew off in school. Years ago when I was in the military I took a couple of composition courses through University of Maryland that helped me get back on track, and then I started self-teaching myself how to write. Now I compulsively tap away at my computer to give myself personal enjoyment, and hopefully some of what I write may actually help someone. I put my passion for technology to work in other ways, by helping friends with their problems, and helping my veterans group by building them a web site. I've just started working on it, and will turn it loose on the world in the near future. Most of the members of this veterans group are technologically challenged, so by doing something that I enjoy and is relatively easy for me to do, I get to help this group reach out to help many more people. It's not that hard to make a difference in our messed up world if you are doing something you love to do.
Going with the flow, not fighting things that I can't control, and putting my heart and soul into the directions that seem natural are bringing me down the ever changing path in a way that I feel good about. I'm not sure about what's around the corner, but I'm sure it will be an adventure. Hopefully there is a dish washing, cage cleaning robot in it, I can only hope.