Category Archives: Lifestyle

Virtual No Gravity – Space Dating

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So this hit FB today.  It’s fun, funny and potentially makes a blind date survivable.  What sez you?

VR Dating 083017

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Wierded Bunder

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Beard

I can’t afford a Porsche. My home life is good. So what’s a slumping middle aged fart to do?  Grow a beard naturally.  Quickly becoming one of the dumbest moves of my life; one that leaves me scratching my face wondering how countless males over thousands of years indulge in what I am finding to be a facial fiasco.

There is really no serious backstory to my latest indulgence.  I went on vacation for a week, didn’t shave, saw a picture of Michael Stipe online and thought, to myself; man, something like that would drive my mother nuts.  In reality, she could not care less, but clearly I am harboring deep childhood resentments; and while the idea of growing a beard is quite manly, I am finding it quite childlike in oh, so many ways.

Friend: “So, you are growing a beard?”

Me: “Just channeling my inner Hemingway,”  (can’t you tell by the quality of these prose?)

There are many aspects to this new endeavor that leave me scratching my face (including scratching my face).  For starters, my upper lip has become a pulp filter for  my daily glass of OJ.  And I like a little pulp.

Additionally, at my age, I have an ongoing battle with the hair growing out of my nose.  Now I have to contend with it growing up my nose.  To make matters worse, it feels like there are spiders crawling up my nose.  It does kind of tickle but terrifying when it wakes me up in the middle of the night.

And how the heck does anyone manage one of these things come winter and more specifically, cold season?  Are there even enough hankies to deal with the drip?  If mine lasts that long, there might be another article in the offing.

My lower lip is becoming like cactus.  The constant prickling into my upper lip finally drove me to break out the razor on my lower lip.  I was in constant fear of cutting my lower lip in the process.  Just thinking about the pruning makes my flesh crawl.

And what about wild hairs?  Vanity and desire not to be confused with Ted Kaczynski, Charles Manson or white supremacists,  is preventing me from going full Grizzly Adams on this thing.  I thought shaving was a pain in the ass, but pruning is far more dangerous and time consuming.  Shaving around the edges is proving to require the steady hands of a brain surgeon.  I am not a brain surgeon.  I am shaving 1% of the area, yet my cut ratio has gone up 50%.

My face has become the bread basket of the world.  Besides a gathering spot for orange pulp, it’s like fly paper for bread crumbs, hamburger juice, condiments, dressings, and pretty much anything else that does not enter my mouth via a straw.  Domino’s kitchen sink pizza’s got nothing on my face.  And it’s not just food, when I go outside, the thing is like a shrimper’s net, hauling in all kinds of flotsam and jetsam.

When it gets wet, it stays wet.  I suppose I should have anticipated this.  Drying the mop after bathing is not too bad, but as soon as I set foot into the 98% heat and 100% humidity of the sunny south, my empathy for Samoyed’s goes off the charts.  At least Samoyeds are cute.  I have no excuse for the sweat dripping pizza hanging off my face. It is as if my face has sprung a leak.

And what is going on under all this fur?  Is my complexion returning to that nightmarish wreck that was my face from the ages of 15 through 20?  The Horror. The Horror.  And what about nits?  Am I going to have to buy a monkey to pick the critters off my face?

Certainly, there are some reasonable arguments for the beard.  At least, unlike my (regrettable) tatoo,  when I can’t stand it anymore, I can go buy some Proactiv and a new razor and get rid of it.

So how long will my indulgence last?  Hemingway’s beard did not end well.  But that Michael Stipe thing?

Maybe I’ll let my mom decide.

 

 

 

 

Rude Sandwich

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In the waning hours of the holiday season, we decided to squeeze in one last activity by heading out in the pouring rain for a matinee showing of The Accountant.  Perfect rainy day activity but ultimately a bit more interactive than I anticipated.

I drop my wife off in front so she could avoid the rain and get tickets. I then wade off to find a spot in the crowded parking lot to dock my vehicle.  50 yards from the theater, I wedge in between two other U-boats; but before I step into the monsoon I get a txt from my wife advising to skip the line and just find us a seat in the theater.  She notices there are no ticket takers, and with 5 minutes to the show if one of us doesn’t grab seats we may be watching the movie with our necks at a 90 degree angle to our bodies.

She’s not kidding.  The lobby is wall to wall-to-wall wet wool and bad breath.  I serpentine through the lobby masses and head for the entrance to our theater.

Somehow on my way in, I get sandwiched between three larger than life characters (husband/wife/child).  The woman in front of me is unaware I have slipped in front of her husband and is narrating her thoughts on seat selection at full volume.  Clearly thinking hubby is right on her heals and having selected her preferred row she barks, “How ’bout this one?”   At the same time she wheels around and finds herself face to face, with me.  Apparently she thinks I am a big white ghost because she lets out a, shriek, then immediately breaks into this humongous HAW HAW HAW when she realizes she has been blabbering absentmindedly to a total stranger.  She and I do this little dance in the aisle, and I step into the row immediately in front of her selected row.  BIG MISTAKE.

Anyway, the woman, her husband, young daughter (I’m guessing about aged 8 – in an R rated movie??), tub of popcorn, large drinks and assorted luggage sit behind me and continue their conversation through the previews.   I put my wet umbrella in the cup holder of the seat next to me and a minute later my wife lands.

A man and woman in front of me are also working through a large vat of popcorn but not 5 minutes into the previews, the man gets up and heads for the snack bar.  He returns as the opening scene appears on the screen and I miss the set up for the movie.  He then proceeds to sit (thankfully), pauses briefly before tearing into a grocery store size bag of something.

Could have been candy.  Could of been Calamari. But whatever it was, it was two hours of crinkly loud.  Like nails on a chalkboard, how someone could occupy themselves with a bag of such volume is unimaginable.

Now this is no spoiler, but The Accountant is about a high functioning man with Autism who is also a trained killer.  As you might surmise, the movie builds around the eccentricities of this unlikely combination of behaviors.   Pretty much every time the Accountant mumbles some inappropriate comment or puts a bullet in some nasty guy’s head, the trifecta behind me bursts forth with hearty HAW HAW HAWS,  MYUCK MYUCK, MYUCKS, and HONK HONK HONKS.  Even the eight year old.  Between the inappropriate comments, head bullets, and GUFFAWS there is the occasional “jump out of the closet/big white ghost” scene met withheld now familiar womanly shriek followed immediatley by a stereophonic MYUCK MYUCK, MYUCK, and HONK HONK HONK.  Oh, and of course there is the ringing cell phone during the final head/bullet scene.  She answers it of course.

Between the the incessant CRINKLE, CRINKLE, CRINKLE and HAW HAW HAW,  MYUCK MYUCK, MYUCK, HONK HONK HONK, I feel a bit like week-old turkey in a rude sandwich.   To say the rain must have driven all the rats out of the sewers would be a huge overstatement, but I have to chuckle at the world in which we live today.

A few additional thoughts:

  1.  The Accountant is worth seeing in the theater or in home.
  2. Next time I choose the long ticket line over seat selection.
  3. “All you had to do was pick a freaking decent seat and you picked the two between the Three Stooges and Willy f’ing Wonka.” (reprimand from my wife)
  4. When I get a little uptight.  I write.
  5. If I put the words, “Donald Trump” in my blog post will I get more views?

Take a Right, at the Speed of Light and Head for Proxima b

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If you got past the conspiracy theories, mud slinging, “softening” on positions, media frenzy and general acrimony of the the 2016 election that was all the news yesterday, (I think they should load  both candidates up with beer, escort them to a mud pit, let them go one-on-one and winner take all, but that’s a rant for another day) you may have stumbled across an article about potentially habitable planet Proxima b.  Located outside of our solar system, Proxima b is apparently the closest potentially habitable planet to Earth at just over 4 light years away which, by my bubba math, is about 24 trillion miles.  That’s one hell of a road trip, and reminds me of my 1979 Honda Civic which looks and drives like its traveled a couple trillion miles.

Suffice it to say, neither my Honda not any conventional spacecraft is going to be humping it to Proxima b anytime soon.    We’re going to have to come up with a new mode of travel more in line with the make believe world of Star Wars or Star Trek.

So here’s a question.  Have you ever seen a cockroach either appear or disappear?  If you are like me, the short answer is, NO and YES respectively.   Where I come from, lots of folks call the big ones Palmetto bugs and when they appear they generally cause women and adolescent girls to scream, old folks to swoon, men to go for a shoe or magazine, and children to ask their parents if they can hop on and go for a ride.

Anyway, I have never seen a cockroach enter a room.  Not once in my life.  They simply appear.

Walk into a room, poof, they are in the middle of the carpet.  Turn on a light, poof, they are traipsing across the wall, look up from a book and they are strolling along a counter top.

Unless you nail them with a shoe or magazine (which requires light speed, I might add), more often than not, they simply disappear into thin air .  You aim, fire, miss then lift up the sock they just ran under and poof, they are gone, or the notebook, or the chair or the wall hanging.  They simply vanish.  Get my drift?

So I am thinking, perhaps the best way to Proxima b is by way of understanding the cockroach.  If they appear from thin air and then disappear into thin air, who’s to say they aren’t the ticket to understanding long distance space travel?  If they can do it, why can’t we?  Heck, they are probably already Proxima b already.  Light years ahead of us.

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Not Just Another Sea Shanty – Random Randomness

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I don’t know if the crew was singing and dancing below decks, but there was definitely a lot going on above the waterline on my recent vacation.  Just got back from a 7 day Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas which really should be renamed the Mother Ship of the Seas.  Ain’t no sea monsters ever gonna mess with that mother for sure.  Anyway, the cruise line did a wonderful job, the boat (yeah, I call it a boat) was spectacular, clean, had amenities on top of amenities, a crew so friendly it gives the Mouse a run for its money.  Definitely one of our top 10 family vacations.

I sound like an ad for RC right?  Hey they did a great job.  That said, with 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew on a boat that big I did make a few observations which alternatively disturbed, amused or left me scratching my head. Let’s talk a little bit about the people, the food, the boat, and politics.

THE POLITICS:

This was one of my favorite parts of the cruise.  Because I was too cheap to pay for wifi, neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Trump were able to join me on my vacation.  I missed neither and picked right back up on my favorite soap opera upon my return.  Like I never left. Thanks RC for pricing your wifi so high that I was not even tempted to know what was going on outside your bubble.

THE PEOPLE:

There were three types of people on our ship.  The reasonably healthy, the chronically unhealthy, and the critically unhealthy.  About an hour after we set sail we had to turn around and go back to port to unload a “critically unhealthy” passenger. People were huffing an puffing all over the ship.  There were scooters everywhere.  With a helicopter pad above deck and a morgue below, the cruise lines make it a perfect vacation option for even the most unhealthy folks.

95% of bikini clad women on the Allure of the Seas really shouldn’t be wearing one, and 100% of bikini clad men should not be wearing one.  Modesty suggests we tuck it in or cover it up people!

The diversity of the passengers and crew was like a jar of jelly beans.  I liked that change from my daily bubble a lot.

While touring the ship, I stumbled into the Gym (hidden behind the Spa) where I saw a sign up sheet for an on board seminar entitled “The Secret of a Flat Stomach.” All I can think is the only way I’m getting a flat stomach is by laying face down on the deck with some critically unhealthy person standing on my back.  Apparently, the flat stomach is still a secret because no one signed up.

I saw a little narration Morgan Freeman did on a late night show on a guy with a selfie stick and was struck on my cruise by the role of the selfie stick on the cruise.  Is narcissism one of the seven deadly sins?  Apologies for going down this rat hole, but is it me or is there is something very dark about this whole thing?

And how about the Tattoos? There was more ink on that boat than squids in the sea.  I really don’t get it, but more power to the ladies and men who make a living off the canvas of skin.  For those thinking about it, just remember tattoos are NOT like fine wine.  They really don’t get better with age.

THE FOOD:

Ah, the food.  Guilty as charged.  I am not sure what is so compelling about what is basically cafeteria food, that one should be so inclined to binge upon it for 7 straight days.  I sent both my weight and cholesterol into the stratosphere.  With the exception of the lobster tails and the lamb chops, the mounds of food I ate were truly unexceptional.

The secret to cruise quisine, I suppose is in the gravy.  No matter the food, European, American, Asian, India, South American, Mexican, Canadian, Australian every cuisine from every country was smothered in its own gravy.  If you like the gravy and want it a la carte, just order the soup.  Light fare meant light colored gravy.  The only continents lacking their own gravies were the Arctics.  And the only arctic gravy was ice, and the only way to get that freely was to buy a beverage package.

Indeed, getting ice water on the Allure anywhere outside of a restaurant required either a paid beverage package, a great deal of charm, or a fare amount of sneakiness.  No lie, you can’t even get cold water out of the tap in your cabin because they pump in hot water through the cold tap just to keep you from drinking it.  Whenever I got ice out of the Freestyle Coke machine or charmed a bartender to spoon some over, I felt like I was practically stealing it.

They must have made the most amazing bulk purchase on asparagus prior to leaving Fort Lauderdale because for the several days it was asparagus at every meal.  Don’t get me wrong, I love asparagus but after a few days, the ship’s pools and hot tubs started smelling like asparagus (actually, I am just kidding, but they did serve a lot of the stuff).

THE BOAT:

Scale.  Everything is huge.  With one exception.  Cabin bathrooms.  This is actually a good thing because it forces organization in the tiny space, discourages lingering, and the proximity of the toilet to the sink allows one to ship and shave at the same time for maximum bathroom efficiency.  Oh, and the showers were tubular.  Kind of like a human jimmy cap.  Not quite sure how that was working for some of my shipmates.

That’s about all I’ve got.  Happy sails!

Hell Is A Forever 21

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Hell Is A Forever 21

Your time has come. You head on up to those pearly gates to meet good ole Peter. You boldly state your name, he looks through his list, and examines you gravely.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. You can’t come in. I’m afraid you have to go to…the other place.”

Being the gentleman that he is, he gives you directions. On your journey, you begin to imagine the terrors of the potential scenarios that await you: the classic hellfire, or perhaps an eternity of hard labor? You envision desolation, unimaginable heat, a jail cell. But as you round the corner and meet your fate, you see that it is even worse than you could’ve possibly imagined.

Before you looms a massive Forever 21.

As you enter, for a moment you are fooled.
You think, “I guess I haven’t been so bad! I get to shop the latest trends and pay next to nothing for them! This might be fun!”

You wander into the first cavernous room. It is “festival” themed, with racks of flower prints, fringe, and tie dye surrounding you. It’s not exactly your style, but you think you might find something you like.

But then you take a closer look. The racks have no organization; random clothes are all mixed together. You find a shirt you might like, but alas: XXL. You glance around, thinking there MUST be a rack containing your shirt. You carefully begin to dig and sift, like an archaeologist trying to preserve a bone (because surely there’s an order to this madness, right?? Someone must have a plan here….right?)

You search and search, but it seems that is the ONLY shirt of its kind in this god-forsaken room, despite the fact that the room is enormous. You begin to grow weary. You’ve exhausted this room’s many racks so you wander into the next space: club themed.

Somehow, despite the fact that club attire is not at ALL your style, the devilish pull of the store takes over your body and you find yourself once again desperately sifting through racks, shelves, and corners. You begin to succumb to the feeling that surely there must be something in this room for you to try on. I mean it’s so BIG! There are so many options! In your sheer desperation to get to the dressing room, you grab several items in varying sizes close to yours, thinking “Well, I don’t really like this on the hanger, but maybe it’ll look really great on!”

This happens in room after room. Your arm grows weary from carrying so many items, at which point you get excited all over again. You think you MUST have something you’ll love in there, simply because there are SO many pieces! You begin to search for a dressing room. At this point, you are shaken from your concentrated stupor enough to notice the music: thumping, mind-crushingly repetitive pop music. Each song sounds exactly like the last, except that each NEW song is somehow WORSE than the last. You start to get a throbbing headache, both from the horrendous sounds you’re being forced to listen to and the sheer weight of the clothes you’re carrying.

You round the corner and FINALLY: you see a dressing room sign. You gleefully rush towards it and BAM, you get smacked in the face with the sight of a line so long it makes Disney World on spring break look like amateur hour. You hold back and join the end of the line.

Approximately 3,892 incredibly painful seconds go by as you stand there like a pack mule with your load. You have time to think about each minute of your life, each choice you have made, and wonder how you ended up in a place like this. Your head throbs, your feet ache. And just when you’re about to give up, you get a dressing room.

You walk down a dirty, dingy hallway and go into a small, cramped dressing room. The door’s lock is broken. Fluorescent lighting causes you to jump when you see yourself in the mirror: you look like an evil witch who did meth for 6 years. You take a deep breath and try on the first item. It fits terribly, with itchy fabric that somehow highlights all your worst qualities. Great. So now you’re a FAT evil meth witch. You try on item after item, each piece (like the music) worse than the last, until you’re utterly convinced that you were the most heinous creature to walk the face of the planet. The mirror becomes your biggest enemy.

And then: a tiny light at the end of the tunnel. An item that you normally wouldn’t think twice about: it’s plain, boring even. But it doesn’t make you look as bad as the others! Comparatively, you’ve never looked better and…look at that! Only $6.49, what a steal! Relieved your efforts were not for naught and energized by your “find”, you dump all of the other clothes with the pained woman manning the dressing room and find your way back through the maze of the store to the checkout. Hardly believing your bleary eyes, you are stopped in your tracks at the sight of (you guessed it!) another line longer than the Amazon river.

Brain about to pulse out of your head, with no self esteem left to give this terrible place, you decide maybe you should look around at the rooms you missed until the line dies down. You wander aimlessly into a room with western attire. And then one with workout clothes. And one with bathing suits.

…And you do this for the rest of eternity. Because hell is a Forever 21.

Sorry, But This Food Tastes Like Shitaki

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Tooth extraction, prescription meds, and a generally twisted sense of humor will do strange things to a blog.

Whilst sitting here half gorked out, not working, and generally feeling sorry for myself, I remembered when I was a kid how they used to sell fake Do Do at Six Flags. It was supposed to look like dog poop, but candidly looked about like what they were serving on cones in their “Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlors” back in the day.

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And then I got to thinking about how the Japanese have this thing for fake food; and how, when I was in Japan many years ago, I couldn’t get over the fact how it looked like crap.  In fact, the plastic displays were often pretty indicative of how the food actually tasted in the restaurants.  The display food was probably no worse than much of the stuff I choked down on my visit there.

Yuuuuuum! You know what on a stick.

Gag Reflex!  Insert your own sound effects here.

Hungry Man

Who the hell put the flash drive in my crab claw?  Now that’s taking a good idea and making it Tony the Tiger, GREAAAAT!.

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Excuse me…waiter…there’s hair in my spaghetti.

Yes, I’d like to order the eight piece bucket.  I don’t care if it’s chicken or not, just make sure it’s fried.

Where in the world did I put my necklace?  I can’t seem to find it anywhere.  Now let me think…I was making breakfast…

One tall stack please.  Butter and extra syrup.  Maple if you have it.

Anyone have a hankie?

Sir, will that be cash or American Express?

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Given the fact I am pretty much ewedsrcrayed in the food department for the next few days, all of these photos are serving as a good appetite suppressant.  It all pretty much looks like shitaki to me.  But maybe it’s the meds.

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