Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What Price Beauty ($68)


Isn't it funny how you kind of expect things that, well, that it's kind of silly to expect? I've been blaming my lack of blogs on the fact that I was Oktoberfesting it all over the place, running here and there with dirndl and clarinet, and I just didn't have the time or energy to blog.

And so I sat down at my computer tonight and realized that that's not necessarily the case. I seem to have something of a case of Blogger's Block.

It's not that I don't have anything to write about. Well, I don't, actually, but that's never stopped me before. I can write 500 words on trying to find a pencil. I just don't have any ideas. I haven't tried to find a pencil in weeks, nor anything else I feel is worth telling.

But I'm on vacation this week, and I had a few things I wanted to accomplish on my five days away from TheCompanyIWorkFor. They were:

1. Have my car serviced. (Doing that tomorrow morning.)
2. Go to my doctor's appointment in R'noke on Thursday. (I didn't really want to do that, but I have to, and we all know how much I like to write about visiting the gynecologist, so maybe it will serve a purpose.)
3. Do a little shopping after the appointment. (This is providing I have a paycheck before I leave.)
4. Drink coffee, stay up late, and sleep late. (Check that off, doing it, but have to get up early tomorrow for the car.)
5. Do a little housecleaning. (Including some organizing, which is pointless, as in my home, organizing is done then lasts for approximately four days.)
6. Shampoo my carpet. (Which I've never done before, and have lived here for almost six years.)

My carpet is beige, and six years of dirt on beige, well, you get the idea. My plan was to go Sunday night to rent a carpet shampooer, spend Monday on the carpets, and bang-zoom, that little task would be crossed off my list.

I didn't go Sunday. I wanted to be lazy. And by damn, I was. I took a long nap. I took a nap so long I didn't bother to eat all day. I took a nap so long I may as well have just stayed in bed till morning.

I didn't go Monday, either. I didn't leave the house. I cleaned, did laundry, puttered around. I was hedging renting the carpet shampooer because of something Mr M had told me. He told me I could probably buy a carpet shampooer pretty cheaply, then I'd have one whenever I wanted it.

Now, I know what you're thinking, because I was thinking it, too. "If I've gone six years with the filth of feet embedded into my carpet, why would I want to purchase my own carpet shampooer?" But oddly enough, I only thought that for a few minutes.

If you've read my blog with any regularity over the years, you probably remember my fabled and storied past with vacuum cleaners. I have owned, in my nearly six years at the Poderosa, six vacuums. Part of the reason for this is because I seem to kill them. It was pointed out to me by my friend, workmate, and mother figure San that this is because for about a year I used Love My Carpet on my floors, and this powder one shakes onto a carpet is never fully sucked out again. This is true. Six years later, I still get white chalky residue when I vacuum. Cleaner Number Seven can't be far behind.

The other part of the reason for this is that I am an incredibly lug-headed soul. I don't know what it is about vacuum cleaners, but they seem to attach themselves to me and I can't shake them loose. I currently have three vacuums. A big one, one I bought on the cheap as I know I'll kill it within the year. A small one, which is a hand-held vacuum that fits into a larger frame one can use to actually vacuum. And when Kellie with an ie was moving, she had a pile of giveaway items she offered to those who helped her pack, and lo and behold, in that pile was a cute little "three in one" model. I jumped on that baby like a rooster on a junebug and brought it home. I now have more vacuums than I can shake a stick at.

So after the initial reaction to Mr M's suggestion of buying my own carpet shampooer wore off, I became quite enamored of the idea, and spent all of Monday having a good think about it. I did some research on prices and user reviews, decided that it didn't really even matter that I've not gotten that aforementioned paycheck yet, have credit card, will travel, and so I went out today to buy a carpet shampooer.

I knew I didn't want to spend over $100. Well, truth be told, I didn't want to spend over $50, but I knew that wasn't going to happen. I found two models for the same price, $68. They were made by the same company, one was a cannister model and one was an upright. The upright wasn't familiar to me and the cannister had a basic four-star review from users. The upright had a lot of writing on the box and the cannister had a picture of a dog and a cat on the box. I went with the cannister.

I'm now the owner of three vacuum cleaners and a Bissell Little Green Machine.

I brought it home, in its compact dog-and-cat box with the plastic handle, and got out my instructions. Sounded easy enough. Fill the water tank with water and Little Green cleaning solution, sold separately at $7 a bottle, put on the spraying/sucking brush attachment, plug it in, and let the good times roll.

I should have read a little more between the lines of those user reviews when everyone mentioned the fact that this Little Green was "compact and perfect for stairs and those hard-to-reach places." And while this is true, it's... well, it's a little too true. Because although this machine calls itself a carpet shampooer, I have a feeling it's more for spot-cleaning and not for the whole schmeer, carpetically speaking.

Now, the spray of solution (sold separately at $7 a bottle) that comes out of the spraying/sucking brush attachment is quite wide. So wide that I had to wipe down my books and albums with a paper towel. I wouldn't say it's necessarily a thick spraying, but it's wide. However, because the machine is small, so is the solution tank, and by the time one half of the dennette was sprayed with solution (sold separately, etc), I'd refilled the tank four times and used about one third of the bottle.

One half of the dennette sprayed, I took a break.

The other half of the dennette is where my television and computer desk (the Nerve Center) are, so I got away with only two refills of the solution tank. I let that gel while I went back to the other side and began the business of sucking. And that's where I decided that the Little Green was not so much green (it's a white machine) as it was little.

I mean, the machine itself being small and having to do all those refills, well, that was just minorly annoying. But the spraying/sucking brush attachment is exactly three inches wide, and the hose it attaches to is four feet long. Think of those dimensions in relation to a room of carpet, even the small room that is the dennette, and it's something akin to mowing your yard with a pair of manicure scissors.

So I assumed the position, which was bending over so far that my t-shirt took a dip over my head, and began to suck. And it did suck, I watched water dirtier than the doody water at the local sewage plant go into the dirty water reservoir (which thankfully, doesn't need to be emptied as often as the other is refilled). But it's a slow process, people. I finally took to leaning on the handle of the base of the machine with one hand, and sucking with the other. Blood was rushing to my head like the rush at Niagra Falls.

It took about 90 minutes to do the sucking. Which, in retrospect, doesn't sound so bad, but you try standing on your head for 90 minutes when you're in your mid-forties and then get back to me. If you can.

And imagine my disappointment when, even after emptying out that filth from the dirty water reservoir, I couldn't really tell that much of a difference when I looked at the dennette carpet. However, as I write, it doesn't look half bad. Maybe it was still damp before, or for mental health reasons I've convinced myself now it looks cleaner, or the blood in my head caused me to have a cerebral hemorrhage and I can't think clearly anymore.

After getting my car back from servicing tomorrow, I'll start on the bedroom. That's the smallest carpet space in the house. If I still have any solution (sold separately at $7 a bottle) or water left, I'll get started on the living room. I'm anticipating passing out somewhere around the midway point of that room.

It would be a lot easier if I could just sit down while I'm doing the sucking. But that's impossible because of the solution (sold separately, etc) already on the floor. I'd end up with a bad case of the dampass, and my jeans would soak up the solution and I'd have to refill even more often.

But in any case, I now own a carpet shampooer. Because, you know, in six years I may want to do this all over again.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, what are yall going as this Halloween?
- Honorable Mentions go to the DeepFatFriar, with his, "Fried plaintain on tapioca aspic" (somehow I think you could pull that off), and Duke, with his, "Flaming Pile Of Toenails, Alamode!" (although you'd better stick with your original and go as David Dickinson).
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with her, "Fruity Pebbles -- orange, tangerine, apple." (You know, that could be done. We're counting on you, Lily.)
- And this week's winner goes to Kellie with an ie, and her, "Feathers. Pointed Orifice. Talking Albatross." (Albatross! Albatross!)
- Thanks to all who played - you've all done very well!


Monday, October 29, 2007


Hello, Monday people, lovers of letters. Welcome to another round of acromania.

Well, it's almost Halloween. And we've done it before, but it bears repeating. After all, I've got a basket full of letters to choose from, the possibilities are endless. (I originally typed that, "The possibilities are empty," which may be more apt.) This week's acrotopic, "What Will Your Halloween Costume Be?"

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic above, but also the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. In a stunning turn of events, the acrobasket is going as a letter tile this year. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners, who will get treats. Candy eggs, possibly.

So the topic, "What Will Your Halloween Costume Be?" The letters:


Now, get your treat bags out and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Vacation - Day One: Cleaning.

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to a very late indeed round of Picture Sunday.

This is because I've wasted my entire day! And I wanted to waste my entire day. Because I'm celebrating two very special things. Oktoberfest is over, and my vacation from work has begun.

Yes, last night was the last night of Oktoberfest, and now I get my life back for awhile. You know, I always whine about the Oktoberfest season, how it kicks my ass, and then I have my nervous breakdown, and at the end I get all sentimental and talk about how much I'm going to miss it. I don't think I'm going to miss it this time around. It wasn't particularly fun, it was more of a job than ever before, and frankly, after Friday night's performance by the band, I was ready to drive down the mountain never to return.

In other words, I love my Sauerkraut Band buddies dearly, but sometimes a little of our schtick goes a very long way, and Friday was long on schtick and short on musicality. I left the mountain and got home in a very foul demeanor. I got to thinking about how hard the season had been. How I didn't have any band quotes for the guys to vote on for Quote of the Year. (I'm the quote keeper all season.) How I wasn't going to have a final night gift for the other band members like I've had in years past. I don't know. Odd, but I suppose I'll get over it.

Anyway, that said, let's go to a picture or two just to show you that I did in fact this year to go Oktoberfest.

Sherman made a special friend one week when a table of revelers brought their snake. His name was Sneak. Sneak the snake.

Sneak must have been a Hokie snake, judging by his colors.

The two most fun weekends were, of course, the weekends we got a visit from the one, the only, the vivacious SB. SB is now teaching in Michigan, but still made the effort to come and spend a couple of weekends Sauerkrauting with us.

The trumpets, needless to say, were happy to have her back.

Not to be outdone, however, Mr M had the final word on being photographed as a pin-up girl.

You know what people are always saying to me about Picture Sunday? "More pictures of you!"

Actually, that's a total blatant lie, I don't think anyone has ever said that to me. I just felt like I needed some justification for these next three pictures.

First of all, here's me and our Fearless Leader, Ed, on the final night of Oktoberfest. Look at the relief on my face knowing it's just about over.

Now here's a picture of me and a big chicken.

That was Hans, by the way. Hans the trumpeter, former Sauerkraut Band member who now lives in California but comes to visit us once a year on the mountain. The chicken suit, however, was a new wrinkle, but it gave a little oomph to the Chicken Dance.

And finally, here's me and a giant bottle of beer.

This was also the last night. One of the guys who works up on the mountain decided to celebrate Halloween a little early, and when you're at a Sauerkraut Band gig, what costume would make you more beloved than a giant bottle of beer.

He was a nice guy. He didn't even seem to mind that I spent the entire night calling him "Mr Giant Bottle of Beer."

And so it's over. And I'm on vacation!

Oh, wait - you don't want to hear about that, do you? You want me to start talking about the recipe du jour! Well, your wish is my command.

You know, Halloween is in a scant few days. I hope everyone's gotten their candy together to give to the trick or treaters. If you haven't, I have a suggestion for you, by way of cardland. It's from the "Halloween ... Treats?" file, and say a scary hello if you will to Candy Eggs.

Candy eggs are simple to make. They're just potato slices with a Lemonhead stuffed in the middle as the yoke. Be daring, like me, serve them in a cast iron skillet! Yes, just hold that skillet out when the trick or treaters come to your house, then proceed to watch the toilet paper fly into your tree limbs. And hope the little ones aren't strong enough to wrestle the cast iron skillet away from you. If they are, I suggest running away.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update
* As I'm typing this, I have no fucking internet! Comcast went out about 30 minutes into things, and never came back. I finally hauled it to bed, and came back to check things at 11 am Monday, and still no service


Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Hey, lovies. No blog tonight. No energy tonight. No brain tonight.

However, I will name the acrowinners, since you were kind enough to enter. The topic was "What Stinks in Stennie's Fridge?" The letters were A O N P E S.

- Honorable Mention goes to Marla, with her, "All of Nancy Pelosi's extra socks."
- Runner-Up goes to Michelle, with her, "Antelope organs, nasty peppers, eyeballs, sulfur."
- And this week's winner goes to DeepFatFrair, with his, "Ancient onion-nutmeg-prosciutto-endive sandwich."

Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well.

Now I'm going to go drag my tired carcass to bed.


Monday, October 22, 2007


Hello, acroites, acroees, acrophiles, and lovers of letters. Welcome to another round of acromania.

Just have a second before podcast time, so let's make it quick. My buddy Stennie's fridge stinks. She told me that, but she didn't have to. I smelled it all the way over here in Virginia, and she's in California. She's trying to find the culprit. Let's help her out.

This week's acrotopic is, "What Stinks In Stennie's Fridge?"

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can than not only matches the topic above, but also the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket has a keen sense of smell. He thinks he may have figured out the problem already, but won't say till after the acros are entered. Then at 10pm est tomorrow I shall read the entries and name the winners and non-winners, all of whom get a free trip to Stennie's to clean out her fridge.

The topic, "What Stinks In Stennie's Fridge?" The letters:


There you go, stinkers. Acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* They caught the renegade gun-totin' thugs in our town. I'm safe again.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to yet another round of Picture Sunday.

Yep, it's already Sunday night. It was an activity-filled weekend.

It all started on Friday, when - our little town was plagued by three renegade, gun-totin', policeman shootin', bank robbin' thugs. All day we had to sit in our office with the doors locked, and town looked like a western ghost town. As of Friday evening, they hadn't been caught. So I got the hell out of there.

Well, I had plans to get the hell out of there anyway. Because I had a date with the Hackensaw Boys!

October marks my 2-year anniversary of becoming a Hackensaw Boys fan, so it's only fitting I'd go see them this month. The total of concerts now stands at (I think, it's easy to lose count) 14, and this past Friday it was back to the tiny but teeming town of Floyd, Virginia, to the Sun Music Hall.

And it was a very special occasion, because in tow would be The Nephew. I've been trying to get Taylor out to see the Hackensaw Boys since I first discovered them, and something's always been in his way. Graduation, 21-year old age requirement, prior engagement. In his thank-you note to me after graduation, he ended things with, "I promise to go see the Hackensaw Boys with you this year." And here was his chance.

He was coming along with his friend Paul, and was to meet me in Floyd. I got there about 45 minutes early. I waited. I waited some more, right outside the venue so they'd see me when they drove through town. (The Sun Music Hall neither looks like a music hall nor has any identifying signs on it.) I waited until the doors opened and people were streaming in. Finally, I decided to go on in, and keep checking back at the door for them.

Once inside, I saw Justin (Salvage Hackensaw) and Ward (Cousin Spits Hackensaw), exchanged pleasantries, met a few other nice people, had a couple of glasses of wine, and, well, waited. I kept going back to the door, through the door and outside (I snuck, it was forbidden), and no Nephew or Paul. I cussed. I declared them both dead men to all I met. I finally decided that was it, I had no nephew anymore, and went to the front of the stage.

And for a brief moment, I actually forgot all about them. Because the Hackensaw Boys came onstage and began working the magic that is their music.

They sounded great, looked great, and there I was, dancing like a woman possessed. When about two songs into things, I got a surprise hug from behind, turned around, and it was Taylor and his friend Paul.

Seems they had a bit of a Thomas, WV Moment (remember that blog?) when they decided to use Mapquest to get directions to Floyd. (I offered to have them follow me, but they declined.) They got hopelessly lost, but stuck at it and finally found the hall. All was now perfect. Nephew behind me, Hackensaws in front of me. I really don't see how it could get much better.

Plantain Hackensaw is still playing banjo with the band (and got his own song to sing Friday), there were a couple of new songs in the set, and the boys seemed to be of good spirit. Then again, Floyd is the moonshine capital of the state, and as we were standing outside, a man walked into the hall actually carrying a mason jar of moonshine. Not hidden or anything, just toting it inside.

I told Mr Nephew to follow me during the encore, so he could get close enough when the Boys made their foray into the audience for the last few numbers. You know, Salvage Hackensaw is a kind soul. Or else he must really like Sherman. Last time around, in Morgantown, he got Sherman up on the stage with them. This time he waited until they were out in the audience to let Sherman hang with the band.

This was probably my favorite shot of the night. Baby J & Ferd during "Sales Tax Blues" out on the floor.

And how about Mahlon and Plantain Hackensaw during "Poor Thing?"

And finally, Spits and Baby J.

I think Taylor and his buddy really enoyed the show. (The word "awesome" was thrown around more than once.) Afterwards, I got to introduce them to Spits, Ferd, and Salvage. I was hoping I could introduce Salvage and The Nephew, so they could have a meeting of the drummer's minds. And low and behold, Spits went to Radford University, where Tay goes now. So they had lots of talk about.

A great, great time, but soon enough it was time to start back home. I arrived back home to my renegade thug-infested town. It was almost 2 am. The building beside my house is now abandoned. I was smart. I drove past my house into town, found a police car (several of them, actually), and rolled down my window to ask them if, "The bad people had been caught." They said they hadn't, but didn't think they were in the area anymore. I still explained I was a woman alone, and asked for an escort to my house. Not only did I get one, but three policemen came inside with me, looked through every room, and even looked through my closets. Good thing the house was relatively clean.

Then it was back up the mountain on Saturday for Oktoberfest. I was so sore from dancing all night I don't know how I made it through, but I did.

I mentioned my sore ankles to Taylor on the phone Saturday, and he mentioned his sore knee. "Sore knee?" I asked. "Yes. Stomping," he replied. So maybe he really did have a good time.

I'm telling you now, blogees, Oktoberfest is absolutely kicking my ass this year, but there's only one more weekend to go. Maybe after that I can get back to halfway decent recipes du jour. But I went for one tonight. Let's chalk it up to lack of time, energy, and ingredients. I tried, though. (By the way, the DeepFatFriar has given me a couple of good ideas, which I want to try when I have more time to devote to them. And if you have ideas, by all means, send them in.)

This week's recipe features Good Luck Baby Lily. See, she's too small to go swimming in the ocean, or even the creek in my back yard. So we have to make her a little swimming hole. And though the recipe should be from the "Better Luck Next Time" file at cardland, it's not, it's from the "Grab and Straw & Cracker" file, please say hello to the Protein Pond.

This recipe came about because some weeks ago I decided to buy some organic peanut butter. I'm not so fond of peanut butter as a rule, so I thought maybe the organic kind my tickle my fancy. Boy, was I wrong. After the interminable stirring, I spooned some out. It looked like mud. It tasted like mud. And I knew that the rest of the jar would make it into a recipe du jour one day. And so it did. I made a pond bed from it, and added some Crystal Sky Nectar protein drink (aka Blue Crapius) to the middle of it. Then decided to float a rubber duck in it. Lily's sunning by the pond there, and Melf just couldn't help himself, and popped into the picture at the last minute. Elves are like that, you know.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* My update is that today I'm even more sore than I was yesterday. I'm the walking dead. No, I'm not the walking dead, because I'm so sore I can't walk. I'm the limping dead.
* Lord, I really am losing it. The recipe du jour card is crooked. I apologize.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Three Completely Unrelated Things, Which Is About Par For The Course For Me These Days

Hello, blogees.

I've got this problem. See, I read something once, and it said this. Well, it said either this or this. It said either smokers were generally smarter than the public at large, or that the public at large were generally smarter than smokers.

I just don't remember which it was. And it doesn't matter, really, because I've already decided. It had to have been that smokers were smarter. Because since I've stopped, I can't remember a damn thing. My head is mush. It's not even good mush. It's just mush. Jumbled thoughts roll around in there, never coming to any sensible conclusion, and I'm really a mess, brainiacally speaking.

Two Saturdays in a row now, I've left for B'burg and Oktoberfest only to get 14 or so miles out of town, realize I've forgotten something too important to continue without, and have had to go all the way back home again. That's quite annoying. Coming home from B'burg Sunday afternoon, I had it in my head that it was May. I'm not sure why, I just did. And it took some concerted effort on my part to remember, driving around there in all the fallen red and yellow leaves, what month it actually was. Last night when paying my bills, I had to tear open not one, but two sealed envelopes when I remembered I hadn't put account numbers on my checks.


However, I have big news here at the Poderosa. This afternoon I received my latest bank statement in the mail and decided to have a go at balancing it. And for the first time in approximately five years, it worked. My checkbook is by-God balanced, and to the penny. For those of you who've been around a while, you know that this is in fact a big deal. I've done blogs (try 7/18/06) about my utter hopelessness in the Banking World. I'm up $400, I'm down $150. I'm everything but even.

I decided a few months ago that my Next Big Project was going to be a complete doctoral thesis researching the past three years of my Banking Life, just to see if I could get at the root of the problem. I started that project, and it got very old very quickly (too depressing), and after about 14 months of rehashing (it didn't take 14 months, I made it through 14 months of the bankbook), I quit. I'd already realized from whence the problem was coming, anyway. The old debit card. Apparently my memory wasn't as good as I thought when I was smoking, either, and I wasn't recording enough of those debit card purchases. I finally waited for the next statement to come, balanced it in the area on the back of the page, subtracted the five hundred million dollars I was off, and started anew. Then last month, I did the same thing, and ended up exactly six dollars off. I chalked it up to math error and added myself six dollars to the till.

Then came today, when I was in balance. It was a happy occasion. I wrote on the balance sheet, in pen, "Hats and horns!" and filed it away, though for a few moments I considered framing it.

Now, sometime last week I was playing Text Twist. This is nothing new, and please don't sigh heavily and read ahead, because this bit isn't about Text Twist. It's about the banner ads I have to deal with while playing Text Twist.

The latest ad to pop up at the top of my screen while I'm searching for words is for a new car by Honda. It's called the Fit. The Honda Fit. I have no idea why a car company would want to name their newest automobile the Fit, but that's what they chose, and there's not a thing I can do about it. Maybe they mean "fit" as in, "It's a good fit for you," or, "It's fit and in tip-top shape," but around where I live, a fit is an all-out temper tantrum. It's like naming your car the Honda Epileptic Seizure.

The slogan for the Fit is, "The Fit is go!" They stole that directly from the old puppet TV show "The Thunderbirds." Because the Tunderbirds were go way before the Fit ever dared to be, and it pisses me off a little bit. Not to the point of having my own fit, but to a certain extent. In the banner ad, though I can find it nowhere on the Fit's website, the Fit is placed beside a cartoon drawing of an angry and frowning Tiki head. This confuses me, and kind of makes my head hurt.

For years in the poundsqueeze chat, we've longed for a car to be named the Snit or the Huff, just so it can be said that so-and-so "left in a Huff," or "left in a Snit." This is about as close as we're going to get to our dream, I think. One could actually "leave in a Fit," I guess, and I also guess it might behoove me to consider buying this latest Honda so I myself can be the one who does this.

And although Honda is known for being a very dependable and reliable vehicle, I can see what comes ahead if the Fit turns out to be riddled with mechanical problems. It shall be lovingly dubbed the Honda Shit, or the Honda Shit-Fit. And people who own them will be having fits, so maybe they knew what they were doing when they named it ("Oooh, this car's going to be a piece of shit!"), and the Tiki head is angry for a reason.

I finally did make it up the mountain to Oktoberfest on Saturday, after having to retrace 14 miles of steps, check to make sure I'd turned my oven off (I had, of course - a useless retracing of 14 miles, though it is the same number of miles to Cumberland Gap), and head out one more time. It was a fun night, shots of Jagermeister, Goldschlager, and Baronjager flowed, the weather was nice and cool (unseasonably cool for May, actually), and Mr M drove us back down the mountain and home.

When we got there, the DeepFatFriar was waiting for us, and Mr M suggested they put in the DVD they'd been watching for the past few days. It was some TV treatment of "Dune." "Dune" is not only science fiction, but was one of the worst movies I've ever tried to watch in my life, starring one of the worst actors I've ever tried to watch in my life (Sting).

Needless to say, I wasn't the least bit interested in seeing any of this, but who am I to piss on someone else's Science Fiction Parade, and I'd already washed my face, taken out my contact lenses, and put on my pajamas, so I was very comfortable and still a little buzzed, and I curled up on the couch and half-tried to understand anything that was going on on the screen.

I didn't, much.

Mainly what I didn't understand was this. And it's probably the main thing I don't understand and despise about science fiction shows. Why do the people who make these things goon out the aliens? They're regular humans, only with metallic eyes, or black lips, or (as was the case on Saturday) donning headpieces that look like giant taco shells. They wear long, flowing robes, or biblical-looking burlap bags tied at the waist with a rope. And they always have kings and queens. Wouldn't you think some alien planet of a supposedly higher intelligence would have a braintrust, or a cabinet, or a junta? No, they have some hoo-hah king, and he always has a big stone throne he perches upon, made just so his giant taco shell hat doesn't come off as he sits in it. And they always speak English. And that's just wrong. Shit, half our planet doesn't speak English, but otherworldly aliens speak it.

I see aliens as looking like little moths, flying around, darting here and there, and at their higher echelon junta meetings they say things like, "Neeeep. Ftttt Tffff Eeee eee eepneep."

I might watch science fiction more if it was like that.

My version of "Dune."

[fade in]


Earth Man: How did I get here? Where am I?

Alien [flitting about]: Neepneep.

Earth Man: What?

Alien [flitting about Earth Man's head]: Neepneep. Ssssssstang ptui!

Earth Man: What??

Alien [landing on quartz wall]: Shurururururururh neepeep puputwan.

Earth Man: Oh, I've had enough of this.

[Earth Man smashes Alien flat with his hand.]


[fade out.]

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Sorry for the lack of blogs, blogees, but time has been short, and the brain is mush. Happy May, though.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Nervous Breakdown

I mentioned in Sunday's blog that my yearly nervous breakdown arrived a little early this year.

As you all know, my nervous breakdown always happens during the middle of Oktoberfest. It comes just around the time I realize I'm traveling to Sauerkraut Band gigs, traveling to Community Band practices and gigs, and trying to live my regular life (whatever that means) at the same time.

It all happened a little differently this time around.

It was just a rotten day, Saturday. And it all began with shoes.

I have precisely five pairs of Sauerkraut Band shoes. They're all Mary Janes of one kind or another, and they all match my dirndl. Four pairs are black, one is brown. Three pairs are Merrells, the most comfortable shoe on earth normally, one is Rockport, also a reputable shoe. One pair are a three-dollar pair of what I call "Chinese Laundry shoes." Now, Chinese Laundry is a brand of shoe nowadays, but I don't mean those. I mean, they're those little cloth Mary Janes with a rubber sole, no arch support, and shouldn't be worn for more than 20 minutes at a time.

I've worn all these shoes over my Sauerkraut Band years. And all of them, even the three-dollar ones, have done me well. Until this year. This year, every damn pair of them hurt my feet. I don't know if we're standing more this year than usual, or my feet have turned on me, or all ten shoes have decided they don't like me anymore. Whatever the case, I've been in agony every show we've done so far.

And they say when your feet hurt, you hurt all over. And whoever they are, I guess they're right.

That's how Saturday began. With hurt feet from Friday night. Hurt feet, and being hot. My heat pump was still broken (the new one was installed today, and I'm writing in cool comfort, thanks for asking), and when I woke up on Saturday, my hurt feet were also swollen. They were so swollen I could feel the skin from my leg resting on the top of my foot. I ambled into the bathroom, and the first thing I saw was my face in the mirror. It was magenta.

I knew it wouldn't be a good day.

And it wasn't. It started bad, got worse, and slid into total disarray. But I'm not going to tell you about it. Great story that it is, I'm not going to tell you about it. Not right now, anyway. It's still too new, nerves are still raw, feelings are still hurt, and danders are still up.

Boys are fighting overseas. My dad has cancer. People are poor, unemployed, sick, lonely. I had a bad day. My yearly nervous breakdown. No one died. No one even cared that much, save for me. The world isn't going to stop turning, just like it doesn't stop turning every year during my annual nervous breakdown.

In fact, once Saturday's Oktoberfest began, I even found a way to laugh.

So let's just file this year's story of my nervous breakdown away for a while. It might be funnier a couple of months from now.

Instead, I thought I'd show you a picture. He's very elusive, but over the weekend I caught sight of my nervous breakdown long enough to get an image for you. He's not pretty.

Yep, there he is, frowning and stomping his feet. He's a sight, isn't he?

But it's OK. I stuffed him back in the closet, and won't have to see him till next year.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, what is up with the weather lately?
- Honorable Mention goes to KaraBeth Mahaffey, with her, "Hot? Teeming! Frying! Too much sun!" (See, I told you I might name those who didn't even enter.)
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with her, "Hotter than fuck, this mugginess sucks." (The profanity was just enough, dear.)
- And this week's winner goes to the DeepFatFriar, with his, "Heated tropical flatulence turns mountains steamy."
- Thanks to all who played (and those who didn't)! You've all done very well!


Monday, October 08, 2007


Greetings, acroites, acroees, and acrophiles. And welcome to another round of acromania.

It's Autumn. The leaves are turning, the wind is blowing them off the trees - and it's a hundred damn degrees. The world's gone nuts. And that's where our acrotopic comes from. "So - Just What Is Up With This Weather?"

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic above, but also the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket is even a darker color of wicker than normal - he's burned to a crisp! Then tomorrow night at 10pm est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners and non-winners, the good the bad, the also-rans, and possibly the did-not-even-enters.

This week's topic? "So - Just What Is Up With This Weather?" And the letters:


So, there you have it. You can fan yourself first, but please, acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I keep losing the acrobasket! I swear he's moving around. He's playing tricks on me. He just saw "Gaslight."


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to another action-packed (heah me? action-packed!) edition of Picture Sunday.

Not action-packed, actually. (Heah me? Not action-packed!)

But yes, my friends, it happened this weekend. The miniature nervous breakdown I told you was coming. I had it, and I think it's over, though I didn't have a bed at the time to lie down and boo-hoo upon. More about that in another blog, though.

Because it's sorely needed around Betland, though, we have a very special round of Picture Sunday. Yes - it's Picture Sunday - The Silly Edition!

I love finding silly things. Silly things like the store coupon I found some months ago for "15% Off Everything in Our Store" at Belk, with the fine print that named the exceptions to the 15% off. It was basically everything in the store.

Monday, I found a picture in our local newspaper. It was on the front page. It made me laugh.

OK. The picture itself is funny enough. But the caption - "The landfill's new mascot, Stowie [a landfill needs a mascot!], dressed in green...." Thanks for letting us know. We'd never have identified him otherwise. (And was there an old mascot? Smello? Trashford?)

I see a bleak future for Stowie. Showing up at local events and having kids throw garbage at him. It's going to be a tough row to hoe for Stowie.

Then later in the week, I had a most fortuitous happening. Found money! Found money is one of the great joys in life. You know, you get out your winter coat when the weather turns, and there's a five-dollar bill in it. That's high livin', man.

Well, imagine my joy at unzipping the seldom-used compartment at the back of my pocketbook and finding a neatly folded - fifty-dollar bill! Yes, it was weeks ago my mom, heady with a bingo win, slipped me a fifty and said, "Buy yourself something with this you need. Like gas or something."

And so I did just that. I went on a spree of dennette improvement. I've been working on the dennette since the cigarettes ceased, and so I decided to continue the sprucing by buying a nice blue rug for in front of the door, one that matches the blue walls, and a smaller matching one for in front of the TV. (I need one there to cover the wire from the wall to my modem.) Then I bought a magazine rack to sit at the computer desk to hold cardstock, photo paper, and the occasional stray album. The wood matches that of the computer desk, aka the Nerve Center. Finally, I bought two cheapie little end tables that also match the Nerve Center. One to hold my printer now that a turntable has dislodged it from its rightful place, and another for near the door, to hold books and magazines.

The tables came in a big, square, flat box, so it was no surprise that assembly would be required. No matter! I got out my trusty hammer and tool kit, opened the boxes, and prepared to have at it.

I pulled out the instructions. They began:


Read each step carefully. It is very important that each step of the instruction is followed carefully and in the correct order. If these steps are not followed in sequence, assembly difficulties will occur.

Sounded foreboding. I girded my loins as I turned the page to see what they had in store for me. Here are the dangerous and difficult-to-follow instructions.

Well, let me tell you, it was a struggle, but I managed to do it. And in the correct order, thank you very much.

I'm a genius.

OK, now time for a recipe du jour. And tonight, we have a brand-new contributor to the du jour world. Let's see, we've had entries from Mr M, the DeepFatFriar, LilyG, suggestions from many of you, and now it's Duke's turn.

Duke sent me a suggestion for a recipe, complete with picture, and well, if ever there was a time I needed a recipe, it was right here in the middle of Oktoberfest season. And it fits in perfectly with our silly theme. So from the "Dine With The Stars" file at cardland, will you please welcome it into your homes, Mickey Rooney & Cheese.

It looks fairly easy to accomplish. All you have to do is make up some macaroni and cheese, Duke seems to prefer that awful boxed kind, which is odd since he's a fellow southerner, but we won't try and hold that against him. Then before stirring and putting into the oven, you add your Mickey Rooneys. Duke has added six, two less Rooneys than there are Rooney wives. Then (and I'm assuming at this point) you bake the whole concoction till the cheese is melted and creamy and the Mickey Rooneys have a nice brown crust.

Good, good eatin'. Perfect meal for after putting on a show in the barn. Thank you, Duke!

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Tomorrow's a holiday. Well, a legal one, not a TheCompanyIWorkFor one. However, mail won't run, and I want more CD Mix Exchanges!


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends - The Fifth Great CD Mix Exchange!

Hello, music lovers.

When last I left you, I was running around like crazy (still am), not smoking (still am not), and making CDs for the Fifth Great CD Mix Exchange. I got those made and in the mail, so I guess all that's left at this point is to publish my song list and let the good times roll.

Speaking of good times, be they rolling or in a distinct holding pattern, I'm still the recipient of only three CDs. It's a weird world, the mail. I got my first two on Tuesday. Tuesday, one day after the mailing date. One CD was from Duke, and I can understand that, as he's probably the closest to me in area, but the other was from Mike the Blogless. He lives a whole country away! He clings to the opposite coast over there!

Then today I received Stennie's CD. This is odd, simply because we always thought we had this super-duper divinely blessed mail karma wherein we put an item into a mailbox and Acme takes over and it's delivered in 45 seconds. Or less! 45 seconds or less, or your money back. I have my Stennie CD now, but it is Friday, and I'm asking Acme for my refund.

Anyway, as always, and this is why as much as I bitch and piss and moan about doing the CD Exchange I never fail to sign up, it's a blast listening to other people's music and hoping to get some feedback as to what they think about yours.

Mike had several goodies, two in particular, and one in very particular, which I'm now touting to anyone who'll listen as my New Favorite Song (it's his #5, for anyone who's participating in the Exchange). Duke had an array of music as interesting as I've found Duke to be in the short time I've known him, and I can't wait to see his song list, because there's an instrumental on there I know and cannot place to save my soul. Is it Bela Fleck? Is it, Duke? Stennie's #5 also rocked, and though her #1 was a very familiar tune from way back, it was a great way to start of a CD Mix. Oh, and her #11 was very fun indeed.

The #12 songs, though? Oh, dear. The infamous #12 song was "A Song Everyone Hates But You," and man, did people take that one to heart. I won't say anything to spoil it for anyone who's participating in the Exchange and may not have their CDs yet, but boy, I haven't heard such crap since, well, I guess since recording my very own #12 song.

But I'm rambling here. And it's not fair to ramble when I have five more CDs winging their ways to me. Yes, five more crapoid #12 songs to snicker about! So without further ado, and if you're in the Exchange and haven't gotten a CD from me yet, you may want to look away till it arrives, here are my picks for CD Mix Exhange 5.

1. A song with the same title as Track 18. In other words, two completely different songs with the same title. "That's Entertainment," from the movie "The Bandwagon." Though actually, I first knew this song from the movie, "That's Entertainment," the compilation film that pretty much made an old movie lover of me. I was 14, if I'm not mistaken. But of course, you're made an old movie lover, and you see the original source, "The Bandwagon," which has the best, happiest, and most emphatically positive song about shined shoes I've ever heard in my life.

2. A song about the moon. "Spaceman," Harry Nilsson. I spent a goodly amount of time looking for songs with "moon" in the title, and all of a sudden, during a random iTunes run through, I saw this one. This fun 3 minute little pop song may tell the story of a rather unfortunate fellow, but it also makes me giggle. You know, we Americans, with our short attention spans. Get all excited about sending men to the moon, then once they're up there, we forget about them. "Oh, there are still some up there?" Hey, who knows, there may be some still up there.

3. A song about an article of clothing. "New Shoes," Paolo Nutini. This is a very catchy little number, good for you Paolo, because everything else I've heard by you, I've roundly disliked. You got one right, though. However, not good on you, because I've now heard this catchy little number in not one, but two television commercials. Bad Paolo. And let's add to this the fact that, as I said on my CD insert, I totally disagree with this song. I'm definitely an Old Shoe Person.

4. A song about one of the seasons. "Springtime for Hitler," from the movie "The Producers." As I was juggling happy summer songs and depressing winter songs, this title popped into my head from nowhere. (Wait, that's the next entry.) I knew I had it on vinyl, and only balked at the idea of using it for about a half-second. It's one of those life markers, seeing the "Springtime for Hitler" scene for the very first time.

5. Title out of nowhere. A song whose title is mentioned nowhere in the lyrics of the song. "FDR," the Hackensaw Boys. Yeah, like I was going to leave them out. Actually, this was the first song I picked when I did my preliminary reading of the song list. This rollicking ode of Hurricane Katrina and what happened in the months after - or, well, didn't happen - mentions no hurricanes, no Katrinas, no FDRs, no Bushs, nor anything else. Just some people trying to survive.

6. Spell it out - song that includes spelling in its lyrics. "Ragg Mopp," the Ames Brothers. I resisted the urge to use the definitive spelling song of all time, "Gloria," or the parody of the very song I used, "Ratt Fink." My ipod loves this song. It comes up on just about every shuffle. I'm not sure exactly why a song needed to be written about a ragg mopp, but one was, dammit, and the world is a better place because of it.

7. A song from 2007. "All My Friends (Have Been Born Again)," the Beagle Brothers. I discovered these guys when they were supporting the Hackensaws last month. They were incredibly fun, and this was my favorite song they did. I guess the only thing sadder than the guy who's left behind because all his hell-raising buddies got married is the guy left behind because all his hell-raising buddies got religion. I mean, marriages can always bust up.

8. A song that says goodbye. "When I'm On My Journey," the Babysitters. Featuring not only no less a person than Alan F Arkin himself, but no less a person's son than Adam Arkin himself. You knew it was coming, stop making faces. I like this one because it's not only saying goodbye as in dying, it's saying goodbye as in growing up, too. Yes, it's all part of life's great cycle.

9. A song that reminds you of home. "King of the Mountain," Southern Culture on the Skids. OK, so I'm not a hillbilly pornographer, nor do I know any. But I chose this song because I do know my share of moonshine makers, tanning bed operators, and self-styled "Blue Ridge businessmen." My sister and I often have a knowing wink to each other where SCOTS are concerned. People listen to their songs and giggle because of funny people and absurd situations. We listen and giggle because we live around here - they basically sing our life.

10. A song that makes you sad. "Give Me Love," George Harrison. An alternate for the "song that makes you cry" track on a prior Exchange, this song just really wrenches my heart for some reason. Even more so now that George is no longer with us. Every time he sings, "Give me hope, help me cope with this heavy load," I go all teary-eyed.

11. A psycho song - mentions crazy, nuts, mad, loony, or anything else in the title. "Crazy Over You," Jools Holland. I've always loved this boogie-woogie number. It had a very interesting video, too. It was filmed in a men's public toilet in London. And there's a point during the video where some poor unsuspecting soul actually goes in to use the men's public toilet. And is met with Jools dancing around in a suit, a guy in a coonskin cap laying in the floor with a bass fiddle on top of him, dancing girls.... I don't know, it was just funny.

12. Song everyone hates but you. "Shiny Shiny," Hayzee Fantayzee. Well, I don't know about you, but I'm embarrassed. This song was circa 1984, was some piece of studio-created tripe, was supposed to be "The World's Gonna Nuclearly Explode" edgy, wasn't even done by a band (I think the girl was a model of no fixed hairstyle), and it's an awful song. Dubs, fiddles, embarrassing lyrics. And it hooked me. It's catchy, and it makes me smile. So there. But go ahead and hate it, it won't hurt my feelings a bit.

13. Song whose title is a four-letter word. "Ouch," the Rutles. Ahhhh, the Rutles. The Pre-fab Four. The Rutles were, of course, the Python/George Harrison created parody of the Beatles, and appeared in a TV movie more years ago than I'd care to remember, "All You Need Is Cash." "Ouch" was from the film of the same name, the Rutles' second movie, the follow-up to "A Hard Day's Rut." The Rutles were Dirk, Stig, Barry, and Nasty. After their break-up, they all went on to have solo careers, including Barry's solo album, "When You Find The Girl of Your Dreams in the Arms of Some Scotsmen From Hull." The trivia I remember. Sad, really.

14. Song that says "Thank You." "Decatur," Sufjan Stevens. "Our stepmom, we did everything to hate her, she took us down to the edge of Decatur" begins this tale, then goes on to describe all the great things that happened. Then it all ends up with the lines, "Why did we hate her?" and "Stand up and thank her." I love the idea of the eager stepmom taking her husband's kids on an outing, and them trying their best to have a rotten time. And now, all these years later, they can admit it was a blast.

15. Song that should have been playing when you were born. "Brilliant Mistake," Elvis Costello. I don't know, I just thought it was the perfect song title to fit in this slot. I wasn't a mistake in the "oops" sense of the word, thank you very much, I was actually a make-up baby after my mom's first attempt at a second child failed. But let's go abstract, and forget the knee-slapping use of the title - it could be for parents who welcome a baby girl into the world in 1960, and think she'll be sugar and spice and all things nice, snag a good husband, bring grandchildren galore back to the fold. The song's chorus says it all: "It was a fine idea at the time, now it's a brilliant mistake."

16. Kickass cover song redux. A cover song of an original you used somewhere on another CD Mix Exchange. "Action Packed," Jonathan Richman. I had a very tough time finding something for this one, because I use so many damn covers! I went back through all my old Mix Exchange CDs, and everything was a cover song! I went back all the way to CD #1, though, for this one. I'd had it in mind fairly early on into the mix, and the only thing holding me back was that as much as I love the song "Action Packed" (heah me? Action Packed!) by Ronnie Dee (heah me? Ronnie Dee!), and as much as everyone else who hears it seems to love it, and as amazing as it is that there's even a cover of this song (heah me? Amazing!), the cover itself isn't really much. Sorry, Jonathan, you're a great guy, but there's just no beating the original. (Heah me? No beating the original.)

17. Song about the sun. "Steal My Sunshine," Len. This is a one-hit wonder of no repute from about eight or ten years ago, but I've always found it very catchy. It first came to mind for the Exchange because it spells, well, a bit, "L-A-T-E-R that week." I had better spelling songs, but then realized it was a sun song! And I was glad, because I was starting to feel like Stennie on a previous Mix. "Damn, there aren't any songs about the sun!" Hers, sadly, was, "Damn! There aren't any songs about cheating!" Happily, we both got over it.

18. Song with the same title as #1. "That's Entertainment," the Jam. Back in the late 70s/early 80s, the Jam were a real hit and miss band for me. I either found them brilliant or boring. This one's brilliant. Yep, it's entertainment, all right. But instead of the entertainment of Track One, "The clown with his pants falling down, the dance that's a dream of romance, the scene where the villain is mean," the Jam's, "Electric drill and a ripped out phone booth, paint splattered walls and the cry of a tomcat, lights going out and a kick in the balls" is followed by a sardonic refrain of, "That's entertainment." Not boring. Brilliant.

19. Amnesty song - song you've wanted to use on this or any other CD Mix Exchange and it just didn't fit. "I Love Onions," Susan Christie. OK, sit back, blogees, I'll end the list and the blog with a story. I've known "I Love Onions" since it came out in the mid 60s. My cousin Jacob had the single, my cool aunt (Jacob's mom) Nadine probably got it for her, and we used to play that record over and over and laugh our heads off. We were the only three people I ever knew of who had ever even heard the song. Cut to some 35 years later when one day, out of the blue, Mike the Blogless is in poundsqueeze chat with me and mentions "I Love Onions." It normally never surprises me when he knows some obscure song, I mean, hell, he owns every record ever pressed, but to discover a fourth person who knew "I Love Onions?" Amazing. He later sent me an mp3 of it, and it became an alternate for a "song about food" on the last Mix Exchange. Southern Culture on the Skids' "Banana Puddin'" beat it out, but here's my big chance to share "I Love Onions" with the world. The spoken word section in the middle is an added attraction. And Stennie's right. There need to be more kazoos in modern music.

So there you have it. The Fifth CD Mix Exchange completed.

I'm going to rest now - I'm tired. Oktoberfest is kicking my ass. With a steel-toed boot.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Red Alert!

There will be CD Mix Exchange song titles posted later tonight. Tried to get them done today before I had to leave to go up the mountain to Oktoberfest, but a busy workday forbade it.

It will be my first order of business upon arriving home tonight, I promise. Even before coffee.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Holy Smokes

You know, I didn't plan to just drop off the face of the earth.

I knew blogs this week would be scarce, and I promise you, my dear friends and blogees, I'd had all intentions of writing a little paragraph or so to tell you this. Then everything just crept up on me, from behind, like a thief in the night.

Let's go back to Friday.

I was feeling quite perky and well-rested after a week of trying to watch the PBS Ken Burns snoozefest "The War," and so on Friday I came home, changed clothes, and hit the yard. It was my last Friday Chill for a while, you see, with Oktoberfest changing from the Saturday nights of September to the Friday-Saturdays of October. I had one last Chill Night till November, and I was determined to make the most of it.

I mowed the lawn. And by the way, an unanswered comment answered, LilyG - mowing haberdashery? Generally the red cap emblazoned with the Mr Peabody patch, but occasionally the B'burg Community Band bucket hat. Depending on the mood. Friday was Peabody. I was feeling extra smart.

When I came in from mowing, though it wasn't particularly hot outside, it seemed rather tepid and moist inside. Or maybe it was just my skin and hair that were tepid and moist. In any case, I walked over to my thermostat, slid it downwards a touch, and - nothing. And I knew why it seemed tepid and moist, and I yelled, "Shit!" loudly enough for it to be heard all the way to the Town Hall, not the old Town Hall a medium walk away from my house, but the new Town Hall, which is definitely driving distance. And I yelled, "Shit!" for a reason.

My heat pump was acting up again.

You know, I've had my share of heat pump skirmishes before, throughout my storied almost 6-year hold of the Poderosa, skirmishes I generally win but they're costly victories. Costly money-wise and costly "The June Taylor Dancers Doing a Full Tap Extravaganza Complete With the Lying in the Floor Aerial Shot Inside My Nervous System"-wise.

I walked outside, and came face to face with a heat pump that was not working. I walked back in the house, and, in a last-ditch effort to get some results, hiked the temperature down a little more. I heard the thing cut on. I went to the kitchen and raised my hand. I felt cold air, which was about as exciting as it gets here at the Poderosa. I went outside again just for good measure, looked at the little heat pump unit, and it was trundling right along like a good soldier.

Until I came back inside. Then I started hearing noises, well, Lord Have Mercy, you just wouldn't believe.

It started when I'd been inside the house for about five minutes, I was sitting at the Nerve Center checking my email. Pops. Buzzes. Pwnngs, Fffffts, Pbbbbts, a couple of Weeeeheeee RrrRRrrrrRRRrrrs, and at one point I got up to look because I thought maybe a one-man band was marching by the house. But no, there he was, my little heat pump, trundling along.

Until the *Ssssssssss.* When the *Sssssssssss* came along, it didn't emanate from the heat pump. It was from the furnace unit inside my house. And it sounded very electrical. And when that *Ssssssssss* left, it just about took every appliance I had with it.

The TV, lights, and computer all dimmed. The refrigerator grunted. I gasped, and then did that deadliest of all deeds, went and turned off my heat pump. I'd rather eat live worms than do that. I'm a woman of a certain age. I don't care if it is officially Autumn, I need air conditioning! But I don't have it now.

I don't have it because this all happened on a Friday night, the (*whoooosh!*) Furnace Man couldn't come till Tuesday, and when he did, the prognosis wasn't good. In fact, the patient died. My compressor is out, and I can spend a whopping amount for a new one to put into my old heat pump, or a little more of a whopping amount for a brand new heat pump. At this point, I don't care, I'd go in debt for $20,000 for an entire new heating system for my house and the ones on either side of me, I just want cold air in the Poderosa. But they still haven't gotten back to me as to what's the "best way" for me to go.

If they haven't called by noon tomorrow, I'm calling and telling them if they can install the $20,000 three-house system by Friday, I'll pay cash. There has to be a bank somewhere around here with a lax security system.

So anyway, that little episode of my life began, and I must say, it was blissfully cool around here Friday night. I slept with the windows open and it was rather comforting. It's just the past two days that the temperature has risen back to where it was during summer. But back to Friday night. It was cool, my windows were open, and I worked on the Fifth Great CD Mix Exchange all Friday night. I mean that. All night. I finished up at 4:30 Saturday morning. I finally got all my songs matched up to their categories, made a playlist, recorded that playlist to try and get the sound levels even (I don't even know if it helped much), made my CD inserts, and recorded myself the first copy.

Played it going to B'burg and Oktoberfest on Saturday, and it's not too bad. Certainly not my best exchange, not by a longshot, but I can live with it. Listened to the CD all the way to Mr M's, where it was dirndls, lederhosen, and back up the mountain to Oktoberfest, Week Two. More fun than the first week. I didn't drink beer, I went with shots, tried something called a Starry Night, which is Jagermeister and Goldschlager, which sounds absolutely stomach-turning but isn't too bad. Then I had a taste of Fearless Leader Ed's Baronjager, a honey-flavored schnapps, and thought it was so good, all I wanted was a biscuit to pour it over. Needless to say, headed back down the mountain in the passenger seat of my automobile quite loopy, and slept fairly well Saturday night.

Sunday, back home, and - an early recording of the hucklebug podcast. We couldn't do Monday this week. So that pretty much shot the ass-end out of Picture Sunday, which was OK, because I hadn't taken any pictures and didn't have the slightest idea what I could do for a recipe. Sunday was also my buddy Stennie's birthday, so it was fun to record that night, even though we're convinced what came of it is the absolute worst podcast we've ever done.

We did, however, have a smokin' good time, because - it's the last smokin' podcast either of us will be doing. At midnight Sunday night/Monday morning, we both became "reformed smokers." Yep, Stennie wanted to quit on her birthday this year, and to be honest, I was getting kind of tired of living under the haze of a clove cigarette myself, and so I joined in the battle with her. So we smoked like madwomen Sunday night, I smoked while I finished up making the CDs for the Mix Exchange, and while I addressed the envelopes for same, and finally midnight came and I threw away my smokes.

Monday was not the usual podcast night, nor was it acromania night, but another Sauerkraut Band gig. A private party. For the Volvarians. Well, that's what I kept calling them, it was some private party for Volvo employees. It actually was a pretty fun gig as these things go, they seemed to enjoy us, and the only downside for me was the driving. The longer I drove home Monday night, it seemed the farther away from home I was. I didn't think I'd ever get there, and I'm perfectly willing to admit that this is because one of my two favorite smoking venues is the lengthy car drive. The other is the podcast. But in the end, I made it home safely, smoke-free, and just in time to go to bed.

Tuesday was not Blog In Earnest Day, it was Haircut Day. Well, before it was Haircut Day, though, it was Clean The Hell Out Of Your Dennette Day. See, I'd said about quitting smoking, the main reason I wanted to do it was to get my "stuff" back. My dennette, my car, my hair, my clothes. I wanted them to smell like they used to. Well, Tuesday I started with the dennette, the only room of the Pod I let myself smoke in, by the way. So you can image just how smokey it was. I dusted, vacuumed, threw away, sprayed, and removed all ashy remnants of what I hope will become my former life. Then it was the haircut. Then it was - no, I know you won't believe it - relaxation! I sat down for two hours and watched a movie. Then I went to bed, fan upon me, hot, panting, sweating, and cursing whoever invented air conditioning and got me hooked on it.

Today could have been Community Band Practice Day, it normally is, but I'm giving that a pass tonight. The reason for this is tomorrow night is Sauerkraut Band Retirement Home Benefit Day, and I'll be damned if I'm traveling to B'burg five nights of a six night span. So instead, tonight became Stay Home And Take Back Your Car! Day, which meant I cleaned the hell out of my car as well. Vacuuming, cleaning windows inside and out, cleaning all the surfaces - yes, the only reminders of a smoker's life in my car shall be the three ugly cigarette burns on the console, burns I gave Podmobile2 before he was even a year old.

Then it's Sauerkraut Banding it tomorrow night (see above), Friday night, and Saturday Night.

You know, I've told you many times before, there's always a point during Oktoberfest where I realize I've got more going on than I can handle and I have a miniature nervous breakdown. I lay on the bed and boo-hoo for a couple of hours, then it's all over with and I go back to living my life.

I see the miniature nervous breakdown coming a little early this year. Like maybe this weekend.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Dear Michelle,
I blogged.
Thanks for caring,