Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How To: Steps For Washing a Seriously Backed-up Pile of Dishes

  1. Acknowledge there is a problem and that problem is you. Sit on the kitchen floor with the scent of some sort of awful mold wafting over you from the sink and cry, preferably while staring at the overhead track lights. Cry fresh tears as one of the bulbs flickers and dies.
  2. Get up and put on pants for once, you lazy bastard. Go to the bathroom and stand around wondering for a moment what you intended to do once you got there. Mash an ant crawling on the basin, flick another ant into a spider web. Remember why you're in the bathroom.
  3. Run a tub full of hot water. Contemplate how nice it would be to listen to Evanescence and cut yourself. 
  4. Realize you're not 14-year-old emo girl. Cry about that.
  5. Start putting soiled dishes in the tub. Try not think they're some sort of three-dimensional avatar of your hideously soiled mental state.
  6. Remember you should probably wear rubber gloves while moving dishes from sink to tub so things don't start growing on you, enter your pores and eat your heart or something. 
  7. Remember you don't really give a shit and audibly say, "fuck the gloves."
  8. Keep moving dishes. Become vaguely unfocused like you did that time in the broom closet with Truffles The Gropy Party Clown, AKA Uncle Dickie.
  9. Stop for beer. 
  10. Finish moving dishes. Take no time whatsoever to contemplate what that green fuzzy shit on the Corning Ware might have been in a previous life.
  11. Let the dishes soak for a while. 
  12. Go away and tweet stuff like, "What no one foresaw was the great unveiling of cats' ulterior motivations all these years: they really were just fucking with us." Accept that no one thinks that's funny and go back to your fuzzy dishes.
  13. Clean the sinks in the kitchen carefully, using that bartender's friend stuff. DO NOT TRY AND SNORT IT, IT IS CAUSTIC. Trust me on that.
  14. Run one side full of hot, soapy water, the other side just plain hot water. Run to the fridge upon remembering you still have vodka.
  15. Begin with the least soiled stuff. If you're lucky that's cups and glasses, maybe flatware. Have a bristly thingamajig (your wife's toothbrush will do) to get into the picky spots, where death resides.*
  16. Avoid thinking there's nothing bristly enough to truly cleanse your own soiled soul.
  17. Tackle plates and bowls. Tackling them will likely destroy a number of them, reducing your workload.
  18. Pick plate shards out of your skin.
  19. Handle cooking stuff next. Be sure to be thorough, but also remember this stuff gets hot when you use it on the stove top or in the oven, so that'll probably kill any deadly botulinium or clostridium you've missed.
  20. Hours later, as you're methodically sliding the bristles of your wife's toothbrush through the tines of a fork, realize you're actually done. 
  21. Survey the sparkling, newly clean dishes arrayed in the drainer and on bath towels on every counter surface in the kitchen. Drink more vodka and audibly say, "fuck putting this up."
  22. In the morning just grab shit and start using it, beginning the cycle all over again. 

  • Be sure to swap one of the kids' brushes with your wife's and throw your wife's out. "I accidentally knocked it into the toilet" is a pretty good excuse and not that far from the truth.
  • Vodka is actually a great cleaner of especially burned-in matter (some hibachi chefs use it to clean the cooking area) but who the hell wastes sweet, sweet vodka like that? Other than hibachi chefs?
  • If you find bones, just tell yourself they were part of a chicken or something, and not a rat that fell into the piled dishes and died from immediate toxic shock.
  • Generally speaking, ALWAYS have paper plates and plastic picnic knives, forks and spoons around to excuse not getting around to the actual dishes themselves. 
  • Vodka.
  • Beer.
  • Possibly an iPhone or iPod with a large selection of music so you can take yourself far, far away from the horrors before you. 

*I would never actually use my wife's toothbrush for this because I value my life.

Kids are home due to snow

An unusually big snowstorm and cold snap have combined to keep my kids home for a 2nd day from school.
Currently I am avoiding all jokes or mentions of the Donner Party. Or The Shining.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords' Alleged Shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, Was Just As Crazy As You'd Think

The video below comes from the Youtube account of classitup10, aka Jared Lee Loughner: YouTube - Classitup10's Channel. Loughner is the man who allegedly shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords today in Arizona. The Democratic Rep. is in critical condition after surgery: as many as 6 others were killed.

Loughner introduces himself above and something he calls "conscience dreaming," which is "the greatest inspiration for my political business information."

Loughner may have been politically motivated, yes, but he was also just plain crazy, based on a look at his videos. This is a still from the video above that should handily illustrate that:

(Loughner's name was given out as "Laughner" by some members of the press.)


This is a screencap from Loughner's Youtube page, which lists among other things his favorite books: "Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Pulp,Through The Looking Glass, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver's Travels, Mein Kampf, The Republic, and Meno."

Loughner's perfectly normal book selections will doubtless be ignored due to his also listing Hitler's Mein Kampf.

I'm still looking at his Youtube account and may update this post as I go.

It's inevitable that Loughner's act will be politicized--has already been politicized. I assumed he might be an especially insane right-winger. It's just as likely, the more I think about it, that he was more crazy than anything, and his politics could be defined as "fringe" for the left or the right. Swing far enough around the political spectrum on either side, you eventually collide in crazy land.

As an (attempted) assassin and mass murderer, this may put Loughner more in league with past killers like John Hinckley, who shot Reagan, and Charles Whitman, the ex-Marine who killed a number of victims from a campus bell tower at a Texas university in the late 1960s. Whitman's behavior may have been influenced by a brain tumor that caused him to behave erratically.

Friday, January 7, 2011

And Another Thing...

Long-time readers (I have at least two, maybe) as well as my wife have reminded me more than once of how often I begin and then quit blogs. Here's the thing about that--I don't mean this in a combative way, but I don't really care. They're a comparatively (to the rest of the Internet) modest bunch of bytes on random servers here and there. Much of that blog writing also wasn't worth saving. I've been pretty good about saving my own copies of writing that really mattered to me--the other stuff could just sit.

I do think I've gotten to a place where I finally like having a stable presence online (my Twitter account, for instance, has had the same name and been online for over 2 years). If it's my own blog, however, I'm not going to feel tasked to update every single day and I'm not gonna go nuts worrying about traffic.

This is the part where I should wrap this up in a pithy bow but this is the time of night when my brain completely fritzes out. Y'all go play or beat up mimes or whatever it is you kids do these days, with your smartphones, vajazzlers and random, horrific violence.

Purposeful Purposelessness

Ali Smiles/Flickr
I was fretting about what to do with this blog and then, like a bolt from the blue, it came to me: you will write whatever you want.

I sat stunned for a moment after this revelation, contemplatively picking my nose. What, I wondered, did that voice mean?

It repeated, you will write whatever you want, dumbass.

Having no luck with my nose, I pulled my dainty pickin' finger out and said to it, "Seriously?"

My finger, still recovering from the horrorshow that truly is the inside of my nose (left nostril in particular), said nothing. It simply shook and wept as silent tears coursed down the smudged, sad little face I'd drawn on it in fine-point Sharpie (which also gave me the most miniscule of buzzes as my finger roamed about in my nose). I left it to its misery and drank a Pepsi.

Write whatever you want, dumbass.

Like, in a blog.


Here's the thing, though. I certainly do write personal, even emotional stuff. I seem to save that for Tumblr, if I do it at all, because Tumblr is a nice community and it feels almost like some of those folks who read my blog and vice-versa are pals who may actually give a shit, as opposed to the rest of the Internet, which is mostly just the sock puppets of one or two computer-savvy sex offender party clowns living in dank basements somewhere in the Midwest.

In general, though, I like to write about other stuff, or fiction (or I like to make jokes). Sometimes people even pay me for that writing. So I think the deal here is I won't be writing fiction, because that's one kind of writing I do that I've never been asked to do or paid to do and I'd like to get paid for that one day, so I don't want to give it away for free. I won't put much personal stuff, though never say never. I'm an emotionally unstable mess of a man, so that shit is total wild card territory. I'll save simple one-liners or two or three liners for Tumblr and/or Twitter. Here I'll be exploring dumbass, acid-flashback-inspired tangents from the depths of what's left of my brain, how-tos about everything (I'm fucking into how-tos these days, even though I never do anything), weird news, weird people... really, whatever. I don't think there'll be a common denominator. This certainly won't be a GOT-DAMN crime blog (though I actually have a new blog set aside for crime-related stuff I can't sell to an editor), but I'm not ruling that out, either.

Hopefully anyone who happens by will be marginally entertained before they really start to wonder what the hell is wrong with me and get scared. Most importantly, I'll be entertained.

It's a great, freeing philosophy, this "Blog whatever the fuck you want" thing. I wish I'd thought to do it sooner. But seriously, there's something wrong with me, so I didn't.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Great Year Ahead

Image by Kathy Archbold/Flickr
Since everyone is wishing the yawning universe a Happy New something-or-other, here is my wish for you, in the New Year, no matter who you are: It is my fondest hope and desire that you are never run over by a steamroller piloted by crack-smoking circus clowns covered with the blood of virgins and cute baby kittens as you lay in the street fondling a broken mannequin from a burned-out Abercrombie & Fitch.

And I really mean that.

Here is my promise...

... To you, mostly nonexistent dear readers: I will try earnestly to never be too earnest here.

I'll probably save it for Tumblr, if I post anything earnest at all.

Which, you know, I probably won't.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Blogging With a Possibly Completely Obscure Purpose or Something

How to pick a lock, for those of you interested in breaking & entering.

I was recently trying to think of a good use for my personal time and I had what seemed a wickedly good idea: starting a local chapter for furries who like to fondle mannequins in basements. Then I realized I was terrified of furries and unwilling to share my mannequins and conceived of a blog dedicated to my learning one fundamental, useful thing a month. Some essential skill, or discipline. I got this idea while poking around on YouTube and watching a bunch of "how-to" videos (see above). Many of them were about completely useless, gadget-y stuff, which was surprisingly deeply appealing to the cave-dwelling, mammoth-slaying arrowhead-carver wearing pelts in my soul.

Some of the following basic and vital areas came to mind:

CARS--I come from a long line of men who know how to fix and/or build things, including cars. I was always under the impression that my father, however, hated this (especially farting around with cars) and I never made much of an effort at it, even though I discovered in my 20s that I had a minor mechanical aptitude, after all. But what if I really made a study of home car repair? I never have, snobbishly agreeing with dad's disdain (even though he's a highly-skilled fixer and builder of stuff) and investing far too much in my education in heady shit like opera. And the truth is, the inner workings of car engines do fascinate me. Seeing how everything connects, how cleverly (or in some cases, ridiculously) engineers have designed products to specs that let them comfortably fit under the hood of your average 2 ton sedan is an intellectual pursuit of its own kind. Try changing the bulb in the headlamp of your average minivan and you quickly realize this shit is for real. There's a whole history behind the baroque design of that headlamp and how it is protected from the elements. There is easily a full year of blogging the meticulous and grubby details of cars and their care and repair, much less a month. There is also, as my wife wisely noted, a shit-ton of money to be spent on such an endeavor, money that might be better spent on meaningless bullshit like food, rent and utilities.

MARTHA STEWART SHIT--It's the 21st Century and men no longer need to feel like they've handed in their man card (and penis) if they can keep a mean house. It's perfectly okay for a man to know his way around  what I think of as "Martha Stewart Shit"--household decoration, organizing, cleaning, clutter removal, minor household repair, etc (actual poop? not involved). I point this out because my dad sure as hell didn't agree with that view until he and mom got old and her rheumatoid arthritis became too painful for her to manage much around the house anymore. That was when dad manned up, got hep to the housekeeping tip and hired a lady to come in twice a week.

I know how to do most of the necessary, basic stuff already, sometimes well (except cooking, but that's really a separate subject--see below). There is an art to keeping things not just neat but uncluttered, clean and presentable. Most days, though, no one in my household, including me, pays much attention to that. We're messy folks, and the messiness is compounded by having two children on the autism spectrum who seem constitutionally incapable of remembering to do much past flushing each time they use the potty (and we're still working on that, really). They are both precocious computer users and gifted artists, but forget about expecting them to remember when to take a bath or reminding themselves to change clothes now and then. Ultimately, I don't want to become a better housekeeper because I want to be Mr. Mom; I want to have a good knowledge base and a little extra moral authority (at the moment I have none, about anything) to back me up when I bitch about the house being a mess.

FOOD/KITCHEN--I say food/kitchen here and not "cooking" because it's all of a piece. To me, you need to know your stuff beginning in the grocery store all the way through cleaning up afterwards. I can handle the grocery shopping right now just fine. I can handle the clean-up. Cooking? Eh... I suck as a human being and since my wife is a good cook and seems to like doing it sometimes, I just let her. She doesn't believe I've ever cooked before but I have, and what I learned when I cooked was this: cooking drives me crazy. I suddenly turn into the anal-retentive chef and it's just horrible. I can't tear myself away from the kitchen and I fuss and worry over every tiny thing and it's just all really tense and no one wants to eat when I'm done not because the food is bad but because I've turned into King Shit of Asshole Mountain. I figure if I spent some concentrated time really learning my way around and getting comfortable with multi-tasking in the kitchen, I might relax a little and pull more of my weight at home at the stove. Plus, home-cooking is just good for you, psychologically and probably physically as well. I like to see the 4 sticks of butter that go into my morning bowl of chocolate chip cookies.

Those were some of the basic things I thought I might cover. Each in its own right could be a horrifically boring blog all its own, of course, but if I went the one subject a month route there'd be more variety and I'd add in less everyday stuff that's more specific, like drink-mixing, lawn care and taxidermy, for all the fuck I know.

No, I'm kidding, I wouldn't do mixology if you held a gun to my head. I know two shots of vodka in a coke and that's good enough for me.

I still like my overall idea but I've begun to doubt my ability to pull it off. There's my wife's point about money and there's my tendency to mess with good ideas like my cat messes with mice: she gets all excited, chases them around, plays with them, chases them some more and ultimately loses them down an air vent before she goes back to pooping in the tub. That's me with ideas, except the losing them down the air vent part.

So the question as to whether or not this blog will become more informative (and active) in the New Year is up in the air. And also, I've recently realized that at some point in all my flighty-ass Tumbling and Twittering I abandoned the first principles that led to me sometimes writing blog posts and articles for money: write about the stuff that interests me. I started a true crime blog lo these many years ago because I've always been fascinated with true crime. Less than a year after writing about true crime on a lark I was doing it for money.

So maybe I shouldn't worry so much about the subject matter, or having a themed blog that might draw a decent number of readers but perhaps not be so sustainable--maybe I should do the patently obvious thing that only people who over-think everything tend to miss: maybe I should just write about stuff that interests me.

Or maybe I should give into my impulse to really study arcane shit like picking locks. Not because that one neighbor's back door is so testy, no. Just to, well, know.

Whatever I decide, I'll go on too long about it here shortly, I'm sure.