Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Yes, folks, it's that very special day, the day one turns another year older and does all those birthday-type things.

First off, thanks to all who remembered me, whether it was with presents (which rocked, believe me), cards (which also rocked, believe me), or good wishes (which rocked as well, believe me). I've said it many times though it can't be said enough, I have the coolest friends in the world.

Now to the real thoughts of birthdays. See, the older I get, the less I want to have big birthday celebrations. It's not that I hate the thought of getting older, though I can't say I'm overly enamored of it, it's just that the whole deal becomes a little more tiring with each year.

I realized when the Dear Nephew was graduating back in June that your so-called "special occasions" turn out sometimes to not be so special for the honoree but for those surrounding the honoree. There was the Nephew trying to blow off steam, say goodbye to his classmates, enjoy the end of twelve long years of schooling, and everywhere he turned he had family and friends of family wanting a piece of his time. I was one of those, but I tried to keep my distance and let him have his day. Because by that time, I was coming to that realization.

And it's the same with birthdays, weddings, awards ceremonies, and the like.

Last week I made something of a mistake when I casually asked the folks, who are preparing for a return trip to Florida, when they were leaving, and if they'd be around for my birthday. My reason in asking this was actually quite innocent. I had a pedicure scheduled for tonight, and I needed to know whether to keep it on tap or cancel. It turned out to not be such a small deal, for the folks took this as a plea from yours truly for them to please stick around and indulge me in a Big Birthday Bash. I promise you this was not on my mind. But they thought too hard and loved too much and postponed their return to Florida for my day. So long, Birthday of Quiet Solitude.

I was of a fairly foul demeanor when the day began. It's a standing TheCompanyIWorkFor rule that we get our birthdays off. Well, my friend, workmate, and mother figure San was off yesterday with the flu. The same flu I've had for God knows how long and shows no signs of leaving my body. I had a feeling she might not show today, and if that was the case, bye-bye day off. The boss told me she'd call me this morning and let me know if she got the sick call from San. When the phone still hadn't rung at 8 am, I went ahead and got up and ready for work. At about 8:40, I got the call saying no sick call had come, so it was assumed San was coming to work. By that time I was already dressed and had several work items I really needed to get to today, so I said I'd come on in, finish those up, then it was adios, chums.

I got to work. San was not there. She never showed up. Yes, folks, what does it say to the kind of work mule I am that the same strand of flu she's taken two days off for, I took approximately two hours off for. Ah, well. Such is my lot.

(I'm saving that birthday off, though, and will pull it out at the appropriate time. Possibly San's birthday.)

Anyway, I moped around work, was way too busy for my liking, especially on a day when I wasn't even supposed to be there, and came home and prepared for dinner with the family. The whole family, minus the Nephew, which would have made things so much nicer, but university calls, and he must answer.

Now that my folks are officially Old People (wait for it, people, you'll love it), going anywhere with them is an adventure. They order wrong, they complain about everything and everyone, and it gets really tiring. I still love them both dearly, we all know that, but sometimes I just want to scream. At least I sat on the same side of the booth as they did, so they couldn't sit across from, and stare at, me for a couple of hours.

After dinner, we all convened at their house, and when Granny & Paw went upstairs for a bit, my sister, the brother-in-law, and I stayed downstairs and got a helpless case of the giggles over this. We call it "falling through the crack." This came about because several years ago they made a flight out west, and the sister and Nephew took them down to the airport and made sure they got on the right plane at the right time. It was apparently a herculean task, and when they finally entered their boarding area, Taylor turned to his mother and said, "I know we're not allowed back there, but should we just stay and watch to make sure they don't fall through that crack between the loading ramp and the plane?"

We all laughed so hard after dinner that I took on a massive coughing fit, but it was worth it. Once the laughing started, I realized that that "special occasion" thing was indeed true. I'll have other birthdays, hopefully, possibly more than either of my parents. Let them have this birthday of mine. I'll have a Night of Quiet Solitude another time.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinner. We have acrowinner. Yes, only one of you took up the gauntlet. So, what are you going to do to wake me up?
- This week's acrowinner is the DeepFatFriar, with his, "One megaton explosion generated near acrobasket." Friar, it doesn't matter if no one else entered, I have a feeling it would have won anyway. It was a brilliant acro. And the arobasket thanks you for his place in the spotlight.
- Thanks for playing!


Monday, February 25, 2008


Well. Well, well, well. Hello, acroers, acroites, acroboys, and acrogals. I haven't done acro in ages, and I don't even know if anyone's still out there checking my blog. My life's in disarray. (Helpful hint to you all - don't get the flu.)

I can't seem to stay awake. The flu will not let go of me, and the most irritating result of this, even worse than the coughing, is that I fall asleep if I'm idle for more than 2 minutes. I slept this entire evening. Four hours.

Tonight's acrotopic - "How Are You Going To Wake Me Up?"

Please, I need it badly. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can, one that matches the topic above and the letters below, which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket is tired of my being tired. He feels neglected. I'll read the entries and name the winners at 10:00 est tomorrow night.

The topic, "How Are You Going To Wake Me Up?" The letters:

O M E G N A (and a clothespin which was in the acrobasket)

That's omega, but with an "n." Now, acro and wake me up!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I'm sleepy.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Picture Tuesday

I'm a pod. I know this, you know this.

And as a pod, I have certain irrationalities I live with. I may not be proud of them, but there's no reason to deny them when I know they are true. One of these irrationalities is the fact that I just go flat-ass batshit crazy when my house is in upheaval.

I learned this fact a few years ago when Mr M and I decided to paint my kitchen cabinets. It was great - the first weekend. We were tearing off doors and taking off handles and painting ugly varnished brown stuff white, and having a ball. Then the weekend ended and Mr M had to go back home, and the job wasn't finished. I had paint and plastic tarps and half-done cabinets in the floor and cabinet contents all over my house for the next week, and I was one hinky individual.

At the beginning of the year I decided my Next Big Project was getting rid of some stuff. I have way too much shit for one person. I have stuff I'll never use. I have too many clothes, too many shoes, too many handbags, too many sheets and towels, too many hair products. Too many dishes and pots and pans, and too many everything.

I decided the best way to start this weeding of objects from my life was to get the spare bedroom, aka The Beast, in shape. I've had this project before. The Beast is the place I store everything in my house I have no other place for, which of course I have way too much of, and so I'll work like mad to get things put away and look around six months later, saying, "I really did clean this place up a while back, didn't I?"

But lately, The Beast has just become completely unmanageable, and I decided that the only way I was going to get any kind of handle on it was to have a room of shelves. I've toyed with this idea before, deemed it too much trouble, and let it go, but since the New Year I haven't been able to let go of it. So I earmarked some money for Beast Improvement, made some plans, and finally got going on it this past weekend.

The problem with this is that to adequately clean and sort, the entire room - and believe me, folks, it's a full room - has to be turned upside down, moved elsewhere, sorted through, judged, and thrown away or kept. And again, since Friday, my house have been upheaved. And I've been on the verge of, well, heaving ever since.

Since Friday night I've not been able to walk through my house. There's something pretty much everywhere. And to be honest, since I've been sick (what, two weeks now?), the house hasn't been in its cleanest state, anyway.

So now, going to the bathroom involves stepping over the footstool and do-si-doing around the step ladder. Getting anything out of the closet involves moving the fan and one of the three vacuum cleaners, and going from the living room to the bedroom via the hallette - well, that's nigh-on impossible. Instead, I have to go around into the kitchen, through the laundry room and into the hallette, stepping over the footstool and do-si-doing around a set of shelves I have no place for. The Beast is still an ungodly mess, though it's slowing falling into shape, and having this morning as trash day helped a great deal when I was able to get rid of three huge shelving boxes and four leaf and garden bags full of trash that were also cluttering up the Poderosa for the past four days.

Anyway, the whole project began on Friday night, when I decided that although an entire room of shelves would be fun, I have clothes I don't want hanging out in the open. So I decided that maybe I should keep my chest of drawers after all. See, I have a chest in The Beast, a chest so old I remember having it in my bedroom when I was in the seventh grade. There was no reason trying to get rid of it, because 1) it would serve the purpose of housing clothes and 2) no sane human being would take it, and it was too big to set out as trash. So I decided to give it a makeover.

Here's my original old chest of drawers.

Ick. And after Friday evening, here's my Extreme Makeover chest of drawers.

Not bad. Clean, matches the room, and minus the handles that look like they were forged in 1865. I also weeded three of those four drawers empty, and the clothes are safely at the mission.

Saturday I headed, as usual, to B'burg and Mr M's, to visit, play clarinets, and get the shelves I'd earmarked money for. When I got to B'burg, Mr M and the DeepFatFriar were sitting on the sofa. They were watching golf.

Now, when those two men are sitting watching golf something is terribly, terribly wrong, and it took me no time to realize that the both of them were suffering a good dose of the flu I'd been fighting for the past two weeks. They both looked, acted, and sounded miserable, and I stayed a little while, went out to get the shelves, came back for a bite of Chinese, and headed back home. I didn't want to sit and look at them in their zombie-like state, and I doubt either of them felt much like company. (However, the Friar did go with me for the shelves, and was so kind to help me load them into a basket and into my car. At great physical cost to his ailing body.)

I got back home by about 10:30 on Saturday night, and immediately set about the shelving task. I started with the larger set. They were - large. Very easy to put together, but not really a one-person job. I now have three blood blisters and a rather large knot on my head. However, I kept at it, and by Sunday afternoon had one nice full set of shelves.

This is a marvel, folks, because that side of the room was where I had piles - I mean piles - of stuff thrown on top of itself. I half expected to find rats, a bird's nest, or possibly Jimmy Hoffa by the time I finally reached the carpet under all that stuff.

I stopped taking pictures at that point, and got to working. As of tonight I have all three sets of shelves up, two filled, and one almost filled. But I'm not through. I still have things to rid from my life, and much cleanup, and, well, I don't see an end to it until about Friday, and that's a lot of hinkiness from Poderosa upheaval. I'll survive, though.

In the meantime, would anyone like some movies on VHS, or a handbag? They're free!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* And I haven't even mentioned that I cleaned out the linen closet before all this began. It's beautifully clean, but you can't have any of the 8 sheet sets I got rid of (Granny got those), or the bath towels promised to Mr M.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bob and Ray and Mr M and Me

Hello, blogees. I've been gone. Not physically gone. But I'm still sick.

Not only have I been limping along, sickly, but last night I had a full-blown relapse. Both my fever and sore throat returned in full force, and I spent most of the night sleeping in the Comfy Chair. And this was all smack in the middle of my round of hefty antibiotics. I'm giving Community Band a pass again tonight, and am considering trying the "burnout" method of getting rid of my germs tonight by downing a goodly portion of hard liquor.

So before that happens, I'd better blog.

You know, in the old Hucklebug podcast we have our weekly feature, Fuck Offs and You Rules. This is the portion of our show where we tell people/entities who've made us mad to Fuck Off, and people/entities who've made us happy that You Rule. And in last week's podcast I gave a hearty You Rule to Bob and Ray.

For the uninitiated, Bob and Ray are one (or two) Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding, radio comedy team of the 50s. Well, the 50s were their original decade of fame and fortune, they made something of a comeback in the 70s and 80s. I'd known about Bob and Ray forever but didn't know anything by them, didn't care to, really, until I met my best buddy and worst tormentor, Mr M. Mr M is an avid Bob and Ray fan, and was always telling me of their genius, and every time I mentioned a comedian or TV show that made me laugh, he'd counter, "You know where they got that bit? Bob and Ray." Frankly, I was getting a little sick of Bob and Ray.

One October evening several years ago the two of us were heading Up The Mountain to Oktoberfest. We were in podmobile I (RIP), which had a cassette player in it. And Mr M was beside himself because he'd found some of his old Bob and Ray cassettes, and he was going to force me to listen to them. And I'd decided that while he could force me to listen to those guys, he couldn't force me to like them. I made up my mind not to laugh.

And so we listened. And I must admit, there were definitely a few times I wanted to chuckle. But I gritted my teeth, looked at Mr M, and rolled my eyes instead. This was, however, until we were halfway Up The Mountain, and I heard the beginning notes of what has now become my favorite B & R skit of all time, "Lloyd Fletch and his All-Male Orchestra." ("Live from high atop the picturesque Skyline Room of the historic old Frimmler Hotel, overlooking Evansville, Indiana." "Join us here for late afternoon dancing every weekday, but not Saturday or Sunday, because those aren't weekdays.")

There comes a point in one's life from time to time where one has to give up, admit defeat, and giggle like a schoolgirl. That was my point, and I did all those things, and realized that Mr M was right, and there was nothing wrong in his discovering them first or my admitting he was right. He was right. Bob and Ray are funny. Once I realized that, life was a lot easier and I had much fun discovering the gems on those cassettes. And the CDs I took to supplying Mr M with for birthdays and Christmas. And stuff I found on iTunes and on the web.

The best way I can describe Bob and Ray is this: sheer, inspired silliness. Nothing to make you think, nothing edgy, nothing profane, nothing profound. Just a lot of silliness. And I'm a sucker for silliness. There are recurring skits and characters, like Wally Ballou, Webley Webster, and Biff Burns, and "Garish Summit," "Tippy the Wonder Dog," "Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife," and "Squad Car 119." ("He was convicted of leaving Los Angeles by a back road. Leaving Los Angeles by a back road is punishable by life imprisonment in the State Penitentiary.")

Their skits seldom go anywhere, come to any finite conclusion, and they're often filled with incredibly inane conversation that means nothing. ("I just swallowed a peanut the wrong way.") And while there's not much I despise more than a stand-up comic who laughs at his own jokes, listening to Bob and Ray getting tickled at themselves or each other is incredibly endearing, and I find myself laughing at that as hard as anything in whatever bit they might be doing.

Anyway, I'm now an unabashed Bob and Ray fan, and I have to admit that Mr M was right, not only about their being funny but also about, "You know where they got that? Bob and Ray." I'm convinced that every person bordering on funny for the past 40 years was influenced by Bob and Ray in some form or other. My TV Hero Keith Olbermann admits to it, and I don't know if Garrison Keillor does or not (he's not my Radio Hero, so I'm out of his loop), but he needs to, because he lifted the use of the name Natalie Attired right from Bob and Ray.

And back to that You Rule on the Hucklebug podcast. That You Rule came when it did simply because Mr M and I had been on a trip, and Bob and Ray is now required listening whenever we are in a car together. He can listen to my music, I can listen to his - for about 2 songs - but together, we can listen to Bob and Ray for an entire trip, be it 45 minutes or six hours. It's always fun to look over at each other to see who laughs at what. And it's also more fun to listen together, although I have to say that this past Thursday, the worst day of my strep throat, the day I was ordered home to bed by the doctor, I loaded up as much B & R as I could fit into an iPod, got under the covers, and laughed till tears were rolling down my face. They're even funnier when your tempertaure is 101! (Although, please, I'm not suggesting you induce a temperature of 101. Disclaimer, there.)

Mr M and I talk just about every night of our lives over Messenger, and sometimes I wish I could save every chat (I can, I know, but I never do), because we crack ourselves up and sometimes I think they'd make great blogs on those nights when I don't feel like writing anything down. Several weeks ago, though, I got to thinking about something. Our Messenger chats are basically Bob and Ray skits. Bet and M. From that thought, my brain meandered to the fact that our conversations are often Bob and Ray skit-like, and in fact, I think neither of us would disagree when I say that possibly 80% of our entire relationship is one long, continuous, neverending Bob and Ray sketch.

Over the weekend it hit me that I have evidence of this. It's from a blog I did a few years ago. When I was recording some blogs for my dad as I do each year (I did it once for him and he now demands a new set every Christmas), I made sure to grab Mr M and record this one. I still had it around, sitting in my iTunes. I thought you might like to hear Mr M and I being a Bob and Ray skit without even knowing it.


So there you have it. I encourage everyone to discover Bob and Ray. And it's OK if you grit your teeth at first and pretend they're dumb. Sooner or later you'll hit that point, too, and give up and giggle like a schoolgirl. If you're having trouble, may I suggest "Lloyd Fletch and his All-Male Orchestra."

Betland's Olympic Update
* A howling congratulations to Uno, the first ever hound to win the Westminster Dog Show. A beagle, Uno is, and as charismatic a dog I'm not sure I've seen before. I squealed with delight at his victory, and I want to drive to New York, scoop him up, and bring him home with me. "Ahrrrrooooo," indeed.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Such Nice Boys


For those who care, I'm feeling better today. A visit to the doctor, a big fat prescription of antibiotics, and a diet of soup and green tea has me feeling human again. My throat is still extremely sore, but the fever is gone, and I don't fear falling down when I try to walk.

However, I'm not feeling well enough for a trip. Which stinks, as I had one planned for tonight. My very own Hackensaw Boys are playing in Huntington, WV tonight. That's a mere 2 ½ hours away, way too close to give a pass to. But I'm giving it a pass. I'm just not up to it, I couldn't stand in a club for a few hours, and even if I forced myself, I know I'd end up as sick as I was two days ago. And my doctor basically forbade me to breathe on anyone.

So I left a comment on their myspace page. I did this to be funny, and because I told Ferd I'd see him tonight. The comment was along the lines of, "I had a great time in Morgantown, but was felled by strep throat and won't be in Huntington. If you'd like to stop by on your way there and play 'Gospel Plow' to cheer me up, you're welcome to, but I can't breathe on anyone, so you'll have to do it in my front yard. I'll wave from the window, though."

Ha ha. Ain't I cute.

Imagine my surprise when I checked my myspace page today. Yes, I have one of those awful things too, mainly set up so I'd have an easy email route to the Dear Nephew (this was before he became a college student and got his own .edu email). I noticed not an email from The Nephew, but a comment. From the Hackensaw Boys! "Feel better soon."

I keep telling you all they're such nice boys.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* It's Friday night, and I'm getting bold. I'm celebrating by eating solid food. There's a salad in the fridge with my name on it.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Leak That Fixes Itself, or The Strange Nature-Defying Powers of the Poderosa

Hello, lovelies. Your humble blogger here, doing something of a remote. I'm at work.

Now, let's get a couple of things straight. First of all, I'm not blogging at work through Blogger. I'm not quite that brave. I'm writing all this down to save on a disc and load into Blogger when I get home.

Also, as I'm writing this at work, I know that I have no business being at work. I'm still sick, I'm still running a fever, joints are still achy, throat is still sore, and I feel like someone had at me with a ball peen hammer. However, the boss is out this afternoon, so I don't have much of a choice. I'll live, though. I'm drinking chicken bullion.

Well, I think I'll live.

I got the final word today in the whole Poderosa Water Debacle. This has been going on for some three months now. My water usage - and therefore water bill - quadrupled in November. Overnight. Well, overmonth, but it went from small to large very quickly. And I've been working on finding out what's going on ever since, but only in a fairly half-assed way, which is why I've paid four times more than I should for water the past three months.

It all started with a call to Barbara at the Water Office. I've spoken to Barbara so much lately I feel like I should be inviting her over for Sunday dinner. She did confirm that, yes, my, my, my, my water bill had risen dramatically, and said she'd send someone out to re-read the meter. My meter has been read more times than the Bible, by the way. Every time I'd call back for the results, Barbara would tell me that, yes indeed, the meter was running when I wasn't at home, which meant that water was running when I wasn't at home. But she'd always conclude with the same thing. "But in this reading, your water usage is down almost two thousand gallons, which leads me to believe it's not a leak. Because, you know, a leak won't fix itself."

A leak won't fix itself. I kept telling myself that titillating tidbit of hope.

In one of those leak not fixing itself phone calls, Barbara gave me a suggestion. I'd told her previously that my problem couldn't be a running toilet (you'd better go catch it!), because I'd just replaced my toilet innards. She said, ah, though, you can have a leaky toilet when you're sure it's an impossibility, and she told me all about the Food Coloring Test. For the uninitiated, the Food Coloring Test is a test wherein you take some food coloring, drip a few drops into your toilet tank, wait 30 minutes, and if you have color in your bowl - and here's the kicker, this is important - and that color's the same color as the food coloring you dripped into the tank, then you have what is known as a leaky toilet. (If you have color in your bowl that's not the same color as what you dripped in your tank, well, frankly, I don't know if there's any help for you.)

And here's the part of the story where I became half-assed about the whole thing. I probably flutzed around six weeks before I ever did the Food Coloring Test. I was always busy. Always going somewhere. It's odd how one can't make time in one's busy schedule to drip a drop into one's toilet tank. It was always somewhere in the back of my head, and would come to the front of my head when I had to pay a $58 water bill instead of a $13 one, but then it would amble back in my head and lie down.

But this past $58, which was last week, I decided I needed to get off my procrastinating ass and drip some drops into my toilet tank. I did. I used blue. And my toilet - and therefore my talents at toilet-innard-installing - passed the Food Coloring Test with flying colors. There wasn't a hint of blue in my bowl until I flushed, and when I did it was so pretty it almost made me wish I used TidyBowl, although I suspect I'd have cross words with that man in the boat in short order.

So Monday I called Barbara back, and once again she said she'd have someone read the meter, and once again it was lower than it had been but still over 6000 gallons more than it should be, and once again she said, "A leak won't fix itself." And she scheduled a meter reading with me there, with the water main turned off, for 8:00 this morning.

I came home from work yesterday, and now, it's quite odd because when I left work yesterday I didn't feel the least bit ill, but I left work, stopped by the grocery, unloaded groceries into my kitchen, went to the side of the house to make sure I knew where the water main cutoff was, and went back inside. Within 20 minutes I was playing Text Twist and falling asleep, to the point where I finally let my head drop to the keyboard and began snoozing, mouse in hand. I woke up, did a few yoga poses (which is a whole new story I've yet to enlighten you with), and went to wash my face and take out my contact lenses. It was at that point when I realized, "You know, I just don't feel right," and decided to take my temperature, and got more than a little shock when I saw it was over 99, and my normal temperature runs about 97.

And so the rest of the night was a complete haze of aches, pains, and chills, with the thermometer rising as high as 101 and as low as 99.8. I'm hovering today in the mid-99s, thanks for asking.

Anyway, this morning at about 8:15 the Town Water People came and turned off my water and opened up the meter and played with crowbars and frolicked around in my yard for awhile, then came back to the door to tell me, "When the main's off, the meter's off. When the main's on, the meter's on. You have a leak either in your yard or under your house. Bye!"

"No!" I wanted to scream. "No! A leak won't fix itself!" But I didn't, and in fact, I didn't quite get the whole thing. Seems to me that if your meter was running when the water was off, that's when you'd have a problem. But I let it go, mainly because I felt like absolute shit and had to be at work within the hour. When I got to work? Phone call to Barbara.

"Well, sounds like you do have a leak," she said, and I really wanted to call her on the whole leak fixing itself and leading me down the primrose path, but frankly, at that point I was losing the will to live. She explained to me that "no water, no meter - water, meter" was a bad thing because it meant if the water main was on and the meter was running - with no water running in the house - that meant water was coursing through your pipes that shouldn't be. And so Barbara suggested I call a plumber, and if I'd had about an inch more gumption and a degree less fever I might have said, "Why do I need a plumber? Apparently I have a leak that's fixing itself!" But that wouldn't have been fair because even though she did lead me down the primrose path, Barbara was a hell of a nice lady and I'm way too kind (read: chickenshit) to say anything like that anyway.

So now it's on to my plumber, who hangs upside down like a bat 23 hours of the day, and who returns phone messages when the blood rushes back out of his head and he's not tooling around town in his truck drinking coffee. I don't know when I'll hear from him, and don't know what I'll find out when he comes. In the meantime I think I'll try out the other hues of food coloring in my toilet tank. I really got to thinking one night, if I could drip different colored drops in the right places and flush, I could have a toilet rainbow.

And that was before the fever struck.

Oh, how I do love the Poderosa so very much.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. Many entries, you've warmed the cockles of my heart. So, what's your advice to Britney Spears?
- Honorable Mention goes to Duke, with his, "Party down until Neurons explode." (Personally, I like that someone's advice is to just go out in a blaze of glory.)
- Runner-Up goes to Kellie with an ie, with her, "Perhaps, Dear, Underwear. Nifty Experiment!"
- And this week's winner goes to the dishy Michelle, with her, "Protect down under: no exposing!"
- Thanks to all who played - you've all done very well!


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Acrowinners Delayed. Blog Delayed. Everything Delayed.

Hey, my kind and understanding blogees. I'm under the weather. Fever at 100.6 and rising, sore throat, achy limbs. I thought originally I'd come here, call the acrowinners, and go to bed. I've been sitting here 40 minutes and I can't distinguish one acro from another.

Now, that says nothing about your acros, because earlier in the day when I was lucid, they were some fine entries.

I'm going to call it a night, and I'll judge tomorrow 'round lunch time.

Sorry. It always seems to be something with me, doesn't it?


Monday, February 04, 2008


Hello, acroites, acroees, acrophiles, and even acrophobes. Welcome to another round of acromania.

This week, I'm going to jump on the bandwagon, and you're all going to jump with me. Yes, Britney Spears has finally been hauled away to the bin for awhile, two weeks they're telling us, and I'm hoping the public's attention span is 13 days. I doubt it will be, but at least we'll get a little breather from her. In the meantime, everyone seems to be weighing in with their opinions on what could be done to save Britney from herself.

This week's acrotopic? "My Advice For Britney Spears."

You know the rules, you get three entries to come up with the best acronym you can that matches the topic above and the letters below. I'll be doing the judging tomorrow night at 10:00 est. The letters come courtesy of the acrobasket, who doesn't like Britney's music, but did look twice when she wore that Catholic schoolgirl outfit.

The topic, "My Advice For Britney Spears." The letters:


So acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Boy, Mondays are hard, aren't they?


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Picture Sunday - The Director's Cut!

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

I seem to have been a little bit absent from your lives this past week. I didn't blog one single time. Now, first of all, I have to confess that the lack of acrochallenge was simply forgetting. I meant to do it Monday night before podcasting. I forgot. I meant to do it after podcasting. I forgot.

I've also been in something of a funk this week. It happens, you know. You get to thinking too much, about your lot in life, and before you know it, you're right smack-dab in the middle of a funk. I endured the blue haze around my psyche for days, hoping that if I waited till the weekend, I'd have just the outing to break me out of it.

And I did wait, and it worked.

Because Saturday I went to see the Hackensaw Boys! It had been an achingly long 3 ½ months since I've seen my favorite band. That time was in the tiny but teeming town of Floyd, VA, and included the added attraction of my Dear Nephew and his friend coming along.

Last night was at my favorite Hackensaws venue ever, the good old 123 Pleasant St. club in Morgantown, WV. And guess what. My Hackensaw crusading has paid off, because not only did the Dear Nephew and his buddy come along to this one, but they brought two more friends.

Mr M was kind enough to come along with me, we got to 123 early enough to grab a booth and have a couple of beers (well, me, Mr M was ever the teetotaler). At one point dear ol' Ferd ambled in and told us that there would be no opening band (yea!), and because of that the Boys wouldn't start until 11:00 (boo!). It was 9:15. Due to some unforseen circumstances which I shall not mention, Mr M announced a trip back to the hotel was needed, so I handed over the keys, grabbed another beer, and stayed in my booth a while.

Half a beer later, I saw the club was starting to fill up pretty fast, so I grabbed beer and coat, had a quick restroom stop, then headed to the main section of the club, where I ran into - I mean, ran face-first into - the Dear Nephew. He said he saw my car heading out of the parking lot and thought I'd gone, but there we all were, me, him, and the three buddies, and how lucky was it that we ran face-first into each other right at the stage. So we stayed there and talked till it started.

On the journey for one more beer, I happened up Salvage Hackensaw (what a nice boy), Cousin Spits (what a nice boy), Ferd again (what a nice boy), and Sean, who I've been calling Plantain Hackensaw all this time, until I recently found out he's actually Plang-Tang Hackensaw (what a nice boy). Since I was bolstered behind a few beers, I summoned up the courage to ask P.T. if he was now permanent (I had a strong feeling Kooky-Eyed Fox would be back with them tonight), and he laughed and said, "I do not know. I might be." I told him good, and headed back to the stage.

(It's strange, this banjo player thing. I have absolutely nothing against the Kooky-Eyed Fox, he's great, but Sean's such a nice guy, and I really like his style and what he brings to the band. I don't want him to leave. Maybe two banjo players? I don't know. I guess it's a win-win situation.)

The show was sold out. Now, I didn't realize that "sold out" applied to hole-in-the-wall clubs, but apparently it does. I do know that by the time the show started you couldn't have fit one more person in that place with a shoe horn. It was packed to the gills, and I never did see Mr M again till it was all over.

The band was in fine form. It was a blast, I danced, the boys behind me stomped, we all enjoyed it immensely. They did the greats and the great-greats, played for over two hours, and after it was all over I met back up with Mr M and we said goodbye to everyone. For now. It's never really goodbye, though. Just so long.

Now, as for pictures, I didn't take a single snapshot of the boys during the concert. And there was a reason for that. I decided earlier in the week that since I have this ultra-cool camera Mr M gave me for Christmas, with a movie feature on it, that I was going to become Cecil B DeHackensaw and see what I could do with that feature. I didn't know how much storage space I'd need, so I made the decision beforehand to try and get one song on stage and one out in the crowd. (Those in the know know the Boys always do a song or two out in the audience.)

So instead of Hackensaw Boys pictures this week, you get Hackesaw movies. The first is onstage, and it's a new song they've been doing lately, a song whose title I do not know.

Hackensaw Untitled New Song!

The next one is out in the crowd, as you can tell by the fact that it's pitch black dark. Thank God for people taking flash pictures, it was the only light we had. But you can make out some Ferd (that's him singing), Plang-Tang (that's his face right in my camera), and Baby J (what a nice boy). It does give a nice feel of what it's like to be down there in the thick of things, though.

Whatcha Gonna Do With The Baby?

So there. If that doesn't convince you ne'er-do-wells who haven't made it out to see the band yet to go, nothing will. Except maybe my foot up your fundament.

A great trip, just what my blue psyche needed.

Now for the recipe du jour. And now, don't get excited, folks. It's a dumb idea. It's a bad picture. I'm apologizing in advance in every way I know how. It's just that I spent most of today working on the above movies, I wanted to at least watch some of the Super Bowl (I hate pro football, but a local boy plays for the Giants), and all I had at hand was a bag of Brussels sprouts. So from the "Super Bowl Snacks" file at cardland, will you please give a smattering of applause to Brussels Sprouts Candle.

Yep, there it is, teeming like the heap of mediocrity it is. I liked the idea of flaming Brussels sprouts, but I didn't like the idea of burning my house down trying to set some on fire. So I made a base of sprouts into which I could set a lit candle. I figure the upside of this recipe is that if your electricity goes out and you can't watch the ball game, at least you can see to pick a sprout off the candle.

Yeah, I know.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Many thanks to Mr M who gave me some advice on how to get these videos formatted to upload. Points off though, when he laughed in my face when I told him how I was originally trying to do it.