Monday, October 1, 2007

Animal Planned It (If you get satellite, you'll get it)

I like the pipes. The flying windows, the flower box, not so much. I can stand the Marquee for a while, but it gets old, and it’s a pain to keep changing it. But I like the pipes, and you can change them easily and quickly for a seemingly endless variety. So I’m sitting here staring at the pipes, with custom texture and color, as they twist and grow and worm their way into and around each other at a speed custom chosen by me. The screen saver came on about five minutes ago, after ten minutes of not coming up with a blog idea, but gamely keeping the computer turned on anyway.
I know it’s been a while since I did a blog…but things keep coming up and interrupting. Like two days ago, for example, when the cat came. I guess she’s not a cat yet, but she will be before very long. Right now, cleverly disguised as a kitten, she’s ensconcing herself in our RV home. She even has Clancy, the famously anti-cat dog, snowed into thinking she’s “the baby”. The poor mutt’s been licking and protecting her since they were introduced at the Gift Shop.
We were in the middle of a routine work day when a young lady named Destiny arrived in tears, cuddling the little ball of fur. She’d found her on the side of the road, and thought she might have been hit by a car. The kitten was bleeding from the nose, and a little punchy, so we nurtured her, and she eventually fell asleep. After a while, it was apparent that she wasn’t seriously hurt, so we gave her some milk, and tried to figure out who got to take her home. (Looking back on it now, I’m not totally convinced the aspiring cat didn’t fake the whole thing as a clever ruse to get adopted.)
I know all cats are naturally diabolical and insidious, but this one is exceptionally talented. Without any apparent effort, she got Clancy (who has a history with cats that is both painful and humiliating for any dog) to nuzzle, lick, and worry about her almost at first sight. By the end of the day, it was obvious that the kitten would be going home with Clancy. (And…oh, yeah, with us.)
As I sit here, Destiny’s Child (named in honor of the young lady who picked her up from the road) is washing her face with her paws, after polishing off Clancy’s food and water. Earlier today, I caught her checking out our bed, probably so she’d know how to get there tonight when we’re asleep and unaware of her activities. So, she may have the others fooled, but DC (which can also stand for another name ending in “Cat”) isn’t putting anything over on me.
OK, I did buy the new stainless kitty bowl, the expensive kitten chow, the kitty litter and Special Scooper.

OK, and the Bouncy Mouse.

But she’s not fooling me. No sir.
So, stuff like that happens, and I get distracted from writing fresh blogs sometimes. I’m thinking about it, though. I have ideas. I’m working on it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Momentousness Happens When You Least Expect It

I know I'm supposed to be blogging about our recent adventure in the land of Winnebago, and the fine, epic adventure that has brought us to our present realm...But sometimes events of the day just overwhelm, and something must be blogged out of sequence. This is one of those times.
I'm sitting at the computer, and on the TV at the other end of the room a gazillion photojournalists are clawing and jostling each other, focused on a skinny blond in pigtails who has just been released from captivity. Yes, dear readers, Paris Hilton is free at last.
The “changed woman” benefited from her “time out” in the slammer, she tells the puzzled Larry King. Well, we're all glad to hear that. It's nice to know she got some benefit from an experience that was SO unfair. She had to serve jail time, just because she was driving on a suspended license. Doesn't everybody know that spoiled rich people are SUPPOSED to get community service? Imagine her dismay. Imagine her lawyer's dismay. Imagine her lawyer looking for a new meal ticket.
Oh, well. All's well that ends well...and there is that million dollar deal awaiting our heroine...that's got to take some of the sting out of it. (Oh, right. I forgot, she drops that much in the parking lot looking for her keys in the bottom of her Gucci purse. My bad.)
Anyway, it's time for a commercial, and...what's this? I just learned that All State is going to forgive me if I have an accident. Imagine my bliss...official forgiveness, and I don't even have to whisper the details of the mishap to my agent in a little closet with a curtain for a door. Just file my paperwork, and of course pay my premium. Forgiven. I'm all choked up. Is it really so? But you have to believe it...after all, the news comes from a guy who's been president of the United States, served two seasons in Special Ops, and is now selling insurance on T.V. You've gotta believe a guy with that kind of diversity in his background.
Speaking of insurance, the Geico Cave Men are getting their own series. I haven't felt this much anticipation since the first Ernest movie came out. And Pee Wee Herman's on the comeback trail. See? Everything works out in the end, doesn't it? Everything important anyway.
Remember when things like real news made the headlines? Kids starving in Third World countries? Genocide? Terrorism? Corporate larceny? Me neither.
After all, the Focus Groups have taught us nothing if not that you don't sell product by depressing your audience. If it doesn't happen within 30 seconds...45 tops, it doesn't happen. Simple as that. Keep it moving. Make every newscast a Feel-Good newscast. Paris Hilton/Troops in Afghanistan? No-brainer. Get that happy ending. Hollywood is right.
  • Paris is out of the slammer,
  • Pee Wee's coming back,
  • All State will forgive you.

All's right with the world. Good line up. We all feel right about it:

Everything has a solution, and if you hurry, it's available for a limited time at reduced interest. Remember Simon and Garfunkel? What do you suppose made me think of them just now? Huh. Oh, well. Probably just a brain fart.
Blog at you later.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Noble Quest -Gone, Somehow, Horribly Wrong

Well, the Rolling Home made a two-day foray into the Kingdom of Winnebago this week. It was supposed to be a three-day, laid-back kind of trip, but somehow the Force conspired on a number of fronts to make it not so.
I suppose I should start at the beginning, in which case I've already digressed, so I'll take us all back in time to January, and the promising beginning of a new and glorious year:
We were a bit nervous financially, because our water heater had stopped working, and we really had no idea how serious the problem was. So we travelled some 70 miles to an RV repair shop, and to our delight, found out it was a quick, 38-dollar fix. Very nice. So we happily paid the bill and headed to Wally World (because that's where RV'ers go when they're happy) to pick up a few things and head home.
We picked up a few things, got in the rig, then headed for the gas pumps to fill the tank, still happy, still smi...then it happened.
I know for a fact that sign posts are supposed to stay where they are planted...and normally they do, especially in Wally World. But this time, we were blatantly and unmercifully attacked by one of them: Blind-sided as I was making a perfectly-executed left turn. The sign post jumped into the middle of my lane and slammed itself into the rig, just as it entered my blind spot. Either that, or I took the turn too tight, but that makes no sense because I am an EXCELLENT driver.
Anyway, we still needed gas, so we headed for the pumps...a little more slowly and tentatively. After filling up and leaving the gas cap behind, we returned home, went to bed and tried to have happy thoughts about the nice new year ahead of us. (I subsequently was able to surreptitiously replace the gas cap without my wife finding out....uh...oh. This is on the Internet, right? Yeah....uhhh).
Anyway, the insurance guy came, did his thing, ball's in my court now...find somebody to fix it. Long story short, the Land of Winnebago is a few hours along the Freeway...time to set up a trip to go get an estimate. So here we are in late March, ready to do that, and take three days off work for the project so we can enjoy the environs of Winnebago Land in the process. Good plan. Arrangements made. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off, so we can "get 'er done" (as we say here) and maybe find a tow car and visit some local attractions we've been wanting to see.
  • Monday...

Wake up kinda groggy. Wife says she's been up all night with the dog. Neither one could sleep because of all the thunder and lightening. Torrential rain. I hadn't noticed, but now I see rivers running around the back of the RV. So I turn on the Weather Channel. Flash floods in the Kingdom of Winnebago. Not goin' today...uh-uh. One day down the drain.

  • Tuesday...

OK. This will still be alright. Two days instead of three. We'll start nice and early...get 'er done (see above), still have a day for fun and car hunting. We hit the road...pick up the mail...grab a couple breakfast burritos, and eat them in the rig to save time...finish up...good to go. Turn the ignition...Turn the ignition......Turn...the......#$%##***............#$##***#####%&^&&***. Not only that, but %$#%%###***$#**!

Which is to say, the RV wouldn't start. It would click, but it wouldn't start. Click, click, click. #$##%%&, ##*#$#$%^&%%, #$#$%&**##*. Click, click, click.

"Hello, Good Sam?" Time to put that roadside assistance plan to work. Paid an arm and a leg for it. OK. Made the call. Nice young lady. Sounds friendly. Sympathetic. She'll get back to me soon.

Fifteen minutes...half hour. They're going to have to look out of town for a mechanic. OK. Half hour later...Someone will be on the way soon. No later than 1:30 this afternoon. O....OK.

Sit. Wait. Sit.

Mechanic's running a little late. OK.

Sit. Wait. Sit. Wait...

2:00 o'clock. Here he comes.

Bad starter. (We're in luck! Auto parts store right here! We go get the part. $200.00...with the core. O...uh...OK.)

$85.00 for the mechanic. .....ok.

Time to leave town...3:15. Day's shot. Into Almost Winnebago Land. Found a campground. Pretty tired. Did laundry. Slept in. Got papers...looked up cars, we'll call 'em after the estimate's done. Won't take too long. How long can it take to look over the damage and fill out the estimate? Right? Half hour...45 minutes. Tops.


We pull into the Kingdom of Winnebago. The Gatekeeper meets us at the entryway (actually he is paged by a fellow Gatekeeper not assigned to us, and arrives about 15 minutes later...this does not bode well). We fill out papers, I sign in several places...and now the papers go the The Master Winnebagan, who will prepare the estimate. "Just wait right there, and he'll be with you soon." (I've come to really dislike the word "soon". Its definition has evolved to mean "not soon", but people still say it as though it means "soon" in the original sense.)

We sit at the gates of the Kingdom, awaiting the Winnebagan. We sit, and sit, and sit. And finally the dog MUST go for "a walk" (universal euphemism, known by all pet owners). No sooner do we get to the square foot of available grass, than we see the Gatekeeper heading in our direction, out of breath, with a worried look on his face. The Master Winnebagan must speak with us. Now. We approach the rig only to see the M.W. half way back to his Keep. Alas, we've kept him waiting too long. How inconsiderate.

The Gatekeeper calls in supplication, and reluctantly the M.W. returns to our rig. The finish is all wrong. It's an old rig. He can't possibly match the color if he applies the Clearcoat. He doesn't HAVE to apply the clearcoat, but he apparently wants to apply the clearcoat, but then, we have to understand that the color won't match.

But you can match it without the clearcoat?

Yes but you see the UV protection won't be there.

What caused the color to fade?


And if you apply the Clearcoat the UV won't affect the new part?


But the old part will look really bad next to it?


But you can match the color perfectly if you don't apply the clearcoat?


So don't apply the clearcoat.

But I want to apply the clearcoat.

But then it won't match.


So why do you want to apply the clearcoat?

Because I take pride in my work.

But we want the colors to match. Don't apply the clearcoat.

Well...OK, but there won't be any UV protection.

Is there any on the rest of the rig?

No. That's why I can't match the color with clearcoat.

Right. No clearcoat. Match the colors.



You have everything else you need?

No, I just wanted to make sure you understood that before I went any further. I have to go back and get my measuring tape now.

And the Master Winnebagan returns to his lair in search of a measuring tape. We head for the rig. We look at the clock. We despair of both car purchase and visit to local attractions, and concentrate on where to get supper en rout back home.

Time passes.

I return to the Gatekeeper, to enquire about our estimate. As if by some Mystical Clairvoyance, the Master Winnebagan delivers the fruits of his labor to the Gatekeeper, only moments after my arrival in the office. It is nearly closing time.

I am handed the Sacred Papers, then accompanied to the Keeper of the Funds, where I pay another $98.00 to appease the Master Winnebagan for his efforts. I return to the rig with a piece of pink paper informing me the work will cost twice what the Insurance guy estimated, and that I will need to work out the difference before arranging for a Major Audience later this year. At that time, the Master Winnebagan and his Minions will execute the necessary repairs, provided all arrangements are in order. It will take several days. Perhaps I'll have a tow car by then. Let's hope.

Home again, Home again, Jigity-Jig. (I'm not sure where that came from originally, but I remember it from Blade Runner, and it seemed appropriate somehow). We stopped for ribs and beans. The dog ate well, we ate well, and there was some left over for lunch the next day. Pulled in around 11:00 pm. Had to work early next morning. But the rig didn't need any levelling.

So there was a silver lining after all.

Blog ya later.



Sunday, March 4, 2007

Our elected representatives: Salt of the earth; Backbone of our country.

Blogmaster's (not recognized by spell check) note: The cybergods (not recognized by spell check) have deemed that I cannot have access to the internet (not recognized by spell check) for some indeterminate span of time. The reasons are unclear, but the lack of access is undeniable. Therefore, I am storing my new post (which follows this blurb directly) in an OpenOffice (gramatically incorrect, but recognized by spell check) document pending publication.(sorry Bill, but the preloaded Microsoft Office Suite they bragged about in the Presario (not recognized by spell check) ad turned out to be one of your phony-baloney 60-day trial versions and I'm not about to pay good money for the privilege of using something I thought I was buying with the computer. You're being uninstalled (not recognized by spell check) along with several other pieces of preloaded adware (not recognized by spell check).

I am blissfully unaware, and intend to remain so, of the minutiae surrounding and embedded in the world of American politics: national, state, local, whatever. That was one of the things I promised myself when I walked out the door of the Motherlode's News Station and of Radio in general one noontime a long time ago. I have never broken that promise. ( I have broken other promises: I still buy far too many DVDs and would buy more if I could get away with it; I spend an inordinate amount of time in the electronics department of any and every store I enter; and I have been known to stand at the HDTV display at Wall Mart for multiples of “a couple of minutes” while being paged in vain by my wife...well you get the idea.)
The foregoing notwithstanding, I have heard of, and intend to react to, the latest version of spine-challenged Congressional behavior to pop up along the 'ole beltway. I am referring to the time-honored “Non-Binding Resolution” on the Iraq war (pardon me, conflict).
It's election time, folks, and there isn't a double-speak, mealy-mouthed abomination that's off-limits from now until we get to the polls, so get used to it. We'll hear the PC clones in their most sincere tones of voice talking about how “concerned” and “appalled” they are. We'll hear a miriad of strong statements, all of which mean one thing: “I want to get re-elected” (or “I want to get elected” in Hillary's case).
Unless I am totally mistaken, a resolution is pretty much non-binding to begin with, especially if it's worded in accordance with the accepted language of, say, the U.N. But just to be clear, stalwart makers of the Law, let's call it a NON-BINDING resolution so nobody gets the wrong idea. After all we just want to “send a message”.
Certain questions keep coming to me as I listen to the statements and discussions of this “important” activity...questions like: “To whom is this "message" being sent?” (show of hands, those who know the answer), or “Why are these morons being paid exorbitant salaries with MY TAX MONEY to prance around spouting this crap instead of doing actual work?” or “Is this clown really going to retire with a pension that would make an Enron executive gag?” ('scuse me, former Enron executive, now sheltered from consequences because you can do any damn thing you want in this country if you're clever and ruthless enough...but better not be late filing your income taxes if you're a working slob with a family to feed) Is that a sentence? Do I digress?
Anyway, when I want to send a message I use email, a post card, a letter...any of which take a lot less time, and cost a lot less money than a non-binding resolution. I guess the disadvantage is that whoever gets that message knows specifically that it comes from me. (Am I being unfair? Let me know if I'm being unfair.) Does public office come with automatic deniability? And finally, Why doesn't my spell checker recognize the word “deniability”? Could it be a made-up word to justify certain...naw! They wouldn't do that (must be a Microsoft thing). But what do I know...I'm not a professional Citizen Legislator. I've never spent any time at the public teat. (Is this unfair? Am I being a Cretin?...Cretin-American?)
Once upon a time, there was a guy who worked at a grocery store. He came in each morning carrying his lunch in a brown bag. He sat down at the employees break table, took out his lunch, ate it, then sat for the next 7 and a half hours complaining about the job. He told all his fellow employees about how poor a job the owners were doing running the store. He had a complaint about every aspect of the operation, from cash register procedures to the way inventory was taken. By the time he finished complaining, moaning, groaning and rolling his eyes in meaningful ways, his shift was over. He got up, punched the clock and went home. He did this every day for several months, collecting a paycheck every month. After a while, many of his fellow employees agreed with him. They'd sit around in the lunch room nodding their heads and smiling, and telling him how right he was, and how terribly the store was being managed.
One day, the boss came into the lunch room and said to the guy: “You're fired. Get your stuff and get out.” The guy was stunned. Now he was out of work. How could this happen? How could he pay his XM radio bill? Woe was him.
Far fetched, I know...but hey! It's just a story. We all know that in the real world that kind of behavior is rewarded, because, after all we're the fellow-employees. We nod our heads and smile and vote for the guy, 'cause he just makes such a great speech. Doesn't he? Golly. Geewhiz. Sure. It's the American way.
Reminds me of the words to an old song:
“Our leaders are the finest men,
and so we elect them again and again,
And that's what I learned in school today,
that's what I learned in school.”
Oh, yeah. The truth is in the music, ain't it?
(PS- Please pardon the un-pc use of the word "men" in the above quotation. The song was written in the pre-enlightenment period of American folk Music. -Gg)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

So it's the evening of my 60'th birthday, and we're sitting in an RV park about a hundred miles from work, on a 3-day weekend. I helped a guy struggle with his new awning this afternoon...held a chair for him while he used it to get to the roof ladder, and watched with interest while he figured out the problem for himself. Having exhausted my technical expertise, I bid him "good evening" and headed for my rig.
I'm seriously considering, no, I'm definitely planning to strongly suggest my long-suffering wife cut a piece of sweet potato pie for each of us now and put some whipped cream on them. After all, it's my birthday, and I have been using the anniversary of an event for which I cannot take any credit as an excuse to receive all kinds of treats ever since I can remember. Why not tonight?
I just dropped a hint, and she went for it (heh-heh).
It's pie time.

That was good. Birthday pie with whipped cream in the shape of a "60". The bigger the number, the more whipped cream.
So for the night, we'll kick back. I'll do some laundry in the morning and we'll probably tool around for a few hours before heading back to work. This kind of life is great. We work a season or two at a time and move on, choose the jobs we really want to do, and enjoy perks of the non-cash variety, which are the best anyway.
Some people get depressed when they hit a milestone like 60. I think it's great. I'm just reaching the point where I can appreciate the things that really have value, and I'm ready to take full advantage of it. A hundred, or even 50 years ago, reaching this age was a sign you had one foot in the grave. These days it's the start of a richer and more rewarding life, lived from a deeper perspective than ever before.
If you're all weepy now, you'll just have to provide your own tissues.
See Ya,

Friday, January 26, 2007

Hello Bloggees

Here I am on the verge of another weekend in the world of professional hospitality. For the past three years my wife and I have pursued the life of full time, short term work at various tourist destinations, and have left behind the ties to "Career", "Community" and the other conventions generally associated with stability in this country. As a result, we've both felt happier, less stressed and more stable than ever before.
I have no idea at this point how long I'll keep up this blog, or whether it will produce anything of value, but it seems like a good idea at the moment. It's a sort of journal of editorial comment, or personal viewpoint on whatever might occur to me.
I give tours at a commercial cavern right now, and actually get paid to share one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen with people from all over the country and the world. Next time, I'll probably talk about that. Tonight, I'm just saying "Hi". So, Hi.
Blog at you later,