Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Stennie

You know, I had another little picture blog set for tonight, but I made Stennie a JibJab birthday card today because, well, you know, today's her birthday! I'll save the other little picture thing for another night. Maybe Picture Sunday, since I never seem to have pictures for that anymore.

Anyway, Stennie's Birthday Card!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Now, for the uninitiated, that's Stennie's fave Stephen Colbert, and Sherman, of course, and no less a person than Mr President Barack Obama, Jeremy Clarkson from "Top Gear," and Marcello Mastroianni. See, I wanted to convey that everyone everywhere, human, cartoon, living, dead, all wanted to wish her a happy birthday.

I'll be away for a few days, so no Picture Sunday or Acro in the next week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, school days, school days....
- Honorable Mention goes to LilyG, with her "Using rulers, calculating new angles." Geometry was one of my favorite subjects.
- Runner-Up goes to Kellie (with an ie), with her "Upsidedown Rs. Cindy's New Astigmatism." Um, pardon me, but you might want to tell Cindy to get checked for dyslexia. (and I should have blogged last night, but I didn't, and anyone can join in before I judge.)
- And this week's winner is Marla (marlamarla), with her "Underwater Reading Class Needs Air." It conjures up a nice picture.
-Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well!

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Acrochallenge!

Hello, lovers of letters, and welcome to another round of acromania.

Ahhh, the fall. School is back in session. Sure, it's been back in session for a few weeks, but my boy Milo's school doesn't start until next week. I'm sure he will be the worst-behaved doggie in the class. I'm not kidding. I don't know what's gotten into him, he seems to be getting worse as he gets older. I'm sure it's my fault, of course.

Anyway, this week's acrotopic - "School Days." Go with it, whatever it means to you.

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that matches not only the topic above, but also the letters below. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket has a Doctor of Philosophy degree from University of Texas at El Paso. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

The topic? "School Days." The letters?

U R C N A

And a bottle cap. Now, study up and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Nothing much to update, really. I never blog anymore because I don't have anything even remotely interesting to say.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Milo News and Notes (Brrrf!)

Hello. I'm sitting here with nothing much to say, so I thought I'd give you a little update on my boy. Milo. Milo, who's probably having trouble learning his name because along with Milo I also call him Dippy Dog, Doggie Dude, Boo, Mr Bibbibbibbibbb (an "Auntie Mame" reference, that), Mr Thing, Mr Wonderful, Babybabebabe, Moon Pie, Sweetheart, Cuteface, and the occasional Taylor. I have no idea why I find myself calling the dog by the Nephew's name. I'm old. It's OK - Mr M sometimes slips and calls him Alice.

Well, I'll be boarding Doggie Dude again next weekend, when Mr M and I go off on another jaunt. A jaunt after which I'll come home to a whole week's vacation. I can't wait. The Tuesday of that week will be the first Hi-D-Ho Academy obedience class, but the first class is for people only. Orientation, I guess, where we hear all about how if anything goes wrong it's our fault and we'd better be prepared to accept the blame. That and tuition paying.

As I mentioned in last night's blog, Babybabebabe had a fun-filled evening Saturday while I was at Oktoberfest. There's no way he could have jumped that gate into the dennette, I'm now thinking he climbed it. It has little openings in it. Anyway, I'm still amazed he was such a good boy, with nary a pee nor poo, and all my wires seem to be intact.

Sunday morning I watched the clip on CBS Sunday Morning about Bill Geist getting his first-ever dog, and if you didn't follow the link on last night's Olympic Update, here it is again. You really should watch it, but in case you're not up for it, I'll give you the punch line. The puppy Mr Geist adopts - it's Mr Thing! Well, it's Miss Thing. A female, named Daphne, who looks so much like Milo I screamed aloud when she made her first appearance in the segment. Three different people (Mr M, Stennie, and my sister) told me I should send Mr Geist a picture of Milo, and so you know what? I did! Along with a nice note telling him how much I enjoyed his piece.

I've decided that if Mr Wonderful has a purpose in life - you know, some dogs are meant to be hospital visitors, cheering the sick, some are meant to be rescue dogs, digging through rubble for survivors - that Milo's purpose is to find lost socks for everyone on earth. This dog is absolutely crazy for socks. I hide them in my bedroom so he won't carry them away, and he finds every single one. And sometimes I'll miss him a few minutes, and when he finally reappears he's found a lone sock I'd given up on finding long ago. Maybe he could be a rescue dog digging through the rubble if the survivors beneath take off their shoes.

Our favorite morning game is "Shoe Time." I sit on the bed with my shoes and socks, and he attacks my feet and my socks while I'm trying to put them on. Then he attacks my shoes and shoelaces.

Tonight, however, Mr Bibbibbibbibbb dispensed with the sock finding and was gone a few minutes, turning up dragging my Sauerkraut Band dirndl into the living room. The whole thing - dress, blouse, and apron. He's very talented.

Also tonight, Cuteface gave me a fat lip. No, he wasn't mad at me, we were playing and it was a classic case of "his head, my mouth." But my lip is all swollen. No big deal, but funny.

Two of my favorite Taylor (the dog, not the nephew) things involve his crate. The first is that this puppy is so good, all I have to do is go to the crate with a treat and he comes to me, stands there while I take off his leash, then he walks into the crate and turns around, waiting for his treat, praise, and pat on the head. The other happens on Friday and Saturday nights, when I'm usually up later than the other nights. I'll be happily playing around here on the computer, and Milo will go in the kitchen, get his pink blankie out of his crate, and carry it into the dennette. Then he'll bunch it up and lay on it a while. Then he'll go get his blue blankie from the crate, carry it in too, and bunch it up and lay on it. Like, "Hey, you're obviously not putting me to bed, and I'm getting sleepy here."

Oh, and I've been practicing the clarinet a little at home, and Moon Pie loves to climb up on the couch beside me and howl. Now see, this unnerves Mr M to no end when it happens at his house, he gets mad and yells, but I think it's funny. I don't yell, I laugh, and eventually he stops. But I've figured out middle E-flat is his favorite howling note. It's his tuning note.

Oh! Last week I bought Dippy Dog a new toy. See, he has a squeaky cupcake that he just loves. It's hard and chewy, and he just lays on his back and puts it between his front paws and chews on it. It's also very realistic - it makes me want a cupcake. Well, last week I bought him a squeaky donut made by the same company. Nice and realistic, it's a chocolate-covered with white icing on it. I gave it to him and he went nuts, running around the house squeaking it.

Later that very evening, I noticed him playing with something, well, chewing on something, and it wasn't squeaking, so I got nervous. I figured he'd found something, perhaps a sock, that he wasn't supposed to have. I got up to get a closer look, and he had - eaten his donut. Completely eaten the top part of it. He ate the icing off it. It wasn't pleasant the next morning at poo time.

Ah, the times we have. Milo's a sweetie. He's a good doggie.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, it was one of those days? Tell me.
- Honorable Mentions go to Marla (marlamarla), with her "Annoying Discussions About Boys' Orgasms In Stereo," and LilyG, with her "Ate dirt, angered boss, oh,it's shitty."
- Runner-Up goes to Kellie (with an ie), with her "Ate. Diarrhea. A Bus. Onboard, I Stressed." That cracked me up.
- However, this week's winner goes to Patrick (my little love), and now, I have to say it's not fair to the others. He had more than three entries, but they all combined to make such a "one of those days" it was amazing. My fault lies in not making the contest one where all three entries combine to make the worst day. But Patrick did it, and he wins. His day? "Actually, days are better over icy Stroh's. After dinner, Andy broke out in song. And Dumb Alice bitched out Isaac's sister. Also, Dave agreed, Bill Overmeyer is stupid. (Any drink a buddy overlooked, I stole.)" Now that's brilliant.
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Acrochallenge!

Hello, lovers of letters, and welcome to another round of acromania.

I had no pictures for a Picture Sunday last night. That was only part of my "Saturday Problem."

Now, I had a nice time at the first Oktoberfest of the year up on the mountain. However....

Let's see, it all started when I fretted about Milo, and finally decided to give him a Big Boy Test and leave him to roam free in a blocked-off kitchen. Then I headed out, got to the mountain, and realized that there's no way I can eat German food for the next six weeks. Normally the fear and dread at the German buffet kicks in about week three, but I was sick of it the first night. I'm going to have to bring my own food to get through it.

I was also told by Ed, our Fearless Leader, that he wanted some help on the SKB website, and he'd love it if I'd take as many pictures as possible during the night. I got my camera at the ready - and there it was, out of memory.

The Sauerkraut Band had a nice Jager-toast and began. It was a small crowd, but they were very nice and loved dancing, and all was going as planned until the "Trumpet Echo." At the end of the "Trumpet Echo" the clarinets pop up to the front of the stage and do a little dance where we take our horns apart at the middle joint and twirl the bottom part around. I did that. I hit my bell against the mouthpiece of my horn.

I thought I'd just broken my reed until I started changing reeds, then I realized I had actually chipped the mouthpiece. It was a sinking feeling, knowing that my much-loved and very expensive Luis Rossi mouthpiece was broken, and an even sinkier feeling realizing that, well, I couldn't play. It was about 1:40 into the three-hour performance, and my clarinet-mate Mary suggested calling her husband or Mr M to bring another one up the mountain. I called Mr M.

He headed up the mountain with a new mouthpiece for me, but until then I was left dancing, swaying, clapping along, and marching around with the audience. But Mr M arrived very quickly, during our break, no less, and I was ready to end out the night.

Headed home, ankles swollen from the standing and my shoe choice, and arrived home. Where - where I went to the door and heard little Milo, well, at the other side of the door. I mean, right at the other side of the door. I opened the door and yes, there he was, and I had to practically stand on him to keep him from running outside, and as I was opening the door and bending down to push him back inside, the key to my door broke off.

I got inside and did a small assessment. Milo hadn't knocked down the gate to the dennette, he'd jumped it. Which, considering he was only two days out of a neutering and still had new stitches, was a pretty mean feat. And I have to tell you, I don't know how long he'd been in the dennette, he might have jumped the gate five minutes after I left or when he heard the car pull up in the driveway, but he was a ptretty good boy. One clothespin found and chewed, one red felt-tip pen plucked off my desk (and believe me, folks, the things he could have plucked from there) and chewed, and not even chewed to where it dyed my carpet. Oh, and he also pulled Mr Peabody's straw hat off the table, but didn't destroy it.

So, night one of Oktoberfest. In for a new mouthpiece for the clarinet and a new lock for the dennette door. Where will it go from here?

And so tonight's acrotopic. Ever have one of those days? Tell me about it. "It Was One of Those Days." Did you fall off a ledge? Someone steal your television? Have to work over time? Tell it all.

The rules are the same, everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can, one that matches not only the topic above, but also the letters below. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket remained safe during Milo's night of freedom. Thank God. Imagine my cleaning up letter tiles from now till the end of time. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

The topic - "It Was One of Those Days." The letters:

A D A B O I S

Oh, shit, I just dropped an A tile and Milo ran off with it in his mouth.

Got it back. So yes, you can use the second A. I gave you seven letters so you can tell me more stuff that went wrong! Now, acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I saw this Bill Geist report on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday. Imagine my shock. You must go here and see it for yourself.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Goodbye, Cruel Mix - CD Mix Exchange Track Listing

Well, hello, music lovers! Remember all those blogs I've done in the past with track listings for the Great CD Mix Exchanges I've participated in? We just completed CD Mix #10, and it's the final one. Stennie, Mix Mistress, decided to stop at 10. It's a nice round number. She's offered the hosting duties to anyone else who wants to take it over, but no one has taken her up on it. I don't blame them. Mix Mistress is a cruel job.

Anyway, CDs went out in the mail Monday, so if you're participating and you haven't received my CD yet, you may want to wait till you've listened to continue ahead. If you have received, or didn't participate and find the idea interesting, please, by all means, read on.

By the way, Mix #10 was a do-over, using all categories that have been used in previous mixes.

1. Song with the same title as #20. (This is two completely different songs with the same title.) "Cannonball," The Breeders. I had a couple of choices for this couplet of songs, but I narrowed it down quickly because I had a very special wish for the CD (you'll read about that later). I thought I was going to have to use a song I'd used before to make that dream come true. Then! I just did a search of song titles and found this one. "Hey! I remember that song - I liked that song! Holy crap - I have that song!" And so it was cemented. If I may say myself, it's a good way to open up a CD Mix, too.

2. Epic - song that could be a movie. "Bottomless Lake," John Prine. I had so much fun with this category last time I had all kinds of songs left over. But what to use? I had two John Prine songs in line, but for some reason I can just see this story in front of me, this story of a family traveling happily along on vacation when their car slides into a bottomless lake. It's not nearly as gruesome as it sounds. Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

3. Song you would use to tell someone you love them. "Diamond Edge," Faith Gibson. Oh, the story behind #3. I had a song I desperately wanted to use, and so I requested to Stennie to please add this category, and she kindly did. And so I put that song in this slot and was happy. Until I realized that song also fit another of her categories! Happy day, I got to move it (sorry, Stennie, I know you hate this category) and use this song here. Which actually is more fitting for me. It's a perfect warning to anyone who might be deciding to fall in love with me. But as I said on my CD sleeve, he'd understand perfectly, and we'd live semi-happily ever after.

4. Kickass cover song. "Creep," Richard Cheese. Ahhh, kickass cover. It's been on every single CD Mix. It's like our little brother going away to college. We'll miss it. I heard this song over the weekend in my friend Russell's car. It made me laugh, a loungey, Frank Sinatraesque take on the mopey Radiohead classic, then I pretty much forgot about it. Till the night before the Mix Mailout, then I realized I couldn't resist.

5. Title track - song that's the title track from an album. "Song Up in Her Head," Sarah Jarosz. I'm just discovering Sarah Jarosz, my friend Seth plays her occasionally on his radio program. She's an incredibly talented young lady, and I really wanted to use something by her on the Mix. Lo and behold, my favorite of hers just happens to be the title track! (And my second favorite was a cover, so I was pretty well OK in the Sarah Jarosz dept.)

6. Song with a parenthetical title. "I Like You (Because You Don't Make Me Nervous)," Alan Arkin. Yep, this is it. Lord have mercy, the story of this song. I've had this obscure single for some time, but at the time of the first Mix (which had that "tell someone you love them" category), I didn't have the capacity to turn vinyl into mp3. When I did, I could not seem to fit it into any category on the Mix. I kept saving it for the perfect moment, and that moment never seemed to come. So I asked Stennie (again, Stennie, terribly sorry) to include the "tell someone you love them" category again. Well, at least I got to use it. My fandom of Mr Arkin aside, I adore this song. It's just perfect. "You'll do - my blood pressure's normal." Hey, even Mr M loves this song. It's universal!

7. Instrumental song. "Fiddle Faddle," Trio de Clarone. Now, what better instrumental to include for the final Mix than one chockfull of clarinets? "Fiddle Faddle" is the old Leroy Anderson chestnut, but give it to a bunch of clarinet players accompanied by a cheesy organ, and you have a novelty tune for the ages.

8. A holiday song. "Union Maid," Old Crow Medicine Show. I only had one thing in mind for this category - not to use a Christmas song. I did that last time. Thing is, I was having trouble coming up with a non-Christmas holiday song. Then I heard this one in the car one night, and Labor Day had just passed, and I realized this is the Labor Day Anthem. It's a hopped-up version of the old Woody Guthrie worker's classic.

9. Song whose title has alliteration. "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," AC/DC. Well, as I said on the CD sleeve, this is the most alliteration I own. The last time this category appeared on the Mix, I remembered the song about 8 hours after I'd mailed my CDs out. So when it appeared this time, there was no question. Interesting aside: The Sauerkraut Band gig I played last weekend, there was a cover band who did this. It was interesting for the crowd, I'm sure, watching the band rock out to this all while seeing the SKB at the side of the stage, in dirndls and lederhosen, singing along and rocking out too.

10. Spell it out - song that spells. "I Stand Accused," Elvis Costello. I'm not sure anything will beat Mike's "Q-U-A-R-A-N-T-I-N-E" from last time, so I was starting with a handicap. Last time I used "Ragg Mopp," and I flirted with using its parody song by Allen Sherman, "Ratt Fink," but I've been listening to "Get Happy" a bit lately and used this one with its short blast of spelling at the end. Speaking of short blasts, I love this song. Two minutes of soul stomping, with Elvis throwing in every corny legal phrase he can.

11. Song with the same title as a famous book or movie. "Billy Budd," Morrissey. Ahhh, Morrissey. Mr Mope. I am an unabashed, unapologetic Smiths fan, and I like a lot less of his solo stuff, but I'm fond of this one because the guitar reminds me of the old Johnny Marr Smiths days. Nice to know Morrissey would happily lose both his legs in this one. Some years before he would be happy to have a double decker bus crash into he and his significant other.

12. Song about food. "Carve That Possum," Southern Culture on the Skids. I'm sure there are many food songs out there, I mean, everyone else has one on their CDs, but I had to once again turn to SCOTS for mine. Let's see, "Banana Puddin'," "Eight Piece Box," "Fried Chicken and Gasoline," "Too Much Pork For Just One Fork," and the ode to Captain's Wafers and Little Debbie cakes, "Camel Walk." This one was just weird enough, though, to be my pick. I actually shortened it a bit, this song goes on for-fucking-ever. They love them some possum.

13. Fashion police - song about an article of clothing. "The Dressing Song," Michael Feinstein. This is a song I've used before, but I figured on the last Mix, let's go all out. No clothing song beats this little ditty from the movie "The 5000 Fingers of Dr T" that's practically obscene in its love for clothes. In fact, I think when I used it before, it was for "deadly sins," and I picked it as "lust." Every other song I had in mind I found myself saying, "No, this isn't anywhere near as good as 'The Dressing Song.'" Anyway, there might have been some Mixers who missed it the first time around.

14. Spoken word recording. "Tormenting Alan Arkin," Kevin Pollack. Actor/comedian Kevin Pollack does a great impression of Mr Arkin. After listening to this, I hope he never learns to do one of me.

15. Song with a one-word title. "Pepper," The Butthole Surfers. The first time I ever heard these guys I was in a car with my sister listening to college radio. "Lady Sniff" came on the air and we almost ran off the road from laughing. ("Woman! Bring me my bacon!") I had forgotten all about this song until the last Mix, when I toyed with using it as my "song that would make a good movie." I toyed with it again, and realized it was a one-word title. And so here it is.

16. Human anatomy 101 - song about a body part. "Genitalia of a Fool," Glenn Tilbrook. Well, my last anatomy song was "Boobs a Lot," so why not keep with a theme? This poor guy, who thought he would find love by getting naked, but found something altogether different.

17. Song about a family member. "My Old Man," the Bad Livers. I pretty much had another song cemented here from the beginning, but then I started to think. You know, I think a lot. It's not necessarily a good thing. What I started to think is that as much as I wanted to use it, it's not necessarily about a family member. It's about being related. So I looked some more and remembered this song. I like it - he loves his dad, but doesn't use flowery odes to tell us that.

18. Song you like by an artist you can't stand. "Forever," Chris Brown. Last time this category appeared, it was a piece of cake. I used the only Doors song I like. That used, I had nothing else to work with. Until I thought about this song, which is used in the You Tube video everyone's now seen. (In case you haven't, please go here and prepare to be filled with happiness.) I don't really know anything else by Chris Brown, but the category is simply "can't stand," and I figure anyone who'll beat up his girlfriend, act all sorry about it, then go out on the town surrounded by scantily clad women would probably be someone I can't stand. So there.

19. Amnesty song - something you wanted to use but couldn't fit it in. "She Left Me For Jesus," Hayes Carll. I really wanted to stick this song somewhere before the Mix ended, because it cracks me up and I wanted everyone else to hear it. It didn't fit anywhere this time or last, but I figure this is a "song I wouldn't want to listen to in front of Mom" and a "song whose character I don't like." Was there a category for "really pretty offensive song?" It would fit that too.

20. Song with the same title as #1. "Cannonball," The Hackensaw Boys. Yes, it was my fondest wish for the Mix, to end it all with those merry pranksters of jet-fueled bluegrass, that traveling minstrel show, my favorite band. I'm not sure why I chose the live version of this, maybe because some of you had already heard the album version. A train as the metaphor for world destruction, and the way things are going right now, not a bad song to end on.

The Mix was always fun, always maddening, always caused serious hinkiness for me at some point or other. And I was telling Patrick last night, the great thing about it is you'll get one person's CD and it will be full of familiar songs that make you smile and say, "Oh, yeah!" and another's will be full of songs you've never heard before and you start writing down track numbers to go back and listen again and learn them and make them your own.

Goodbye, cruel Mix!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Well, my little Milo enjoyed his last night of official manhood last night. He got the snip-snip today. While they were at it they removed two puppy teeth that had doggie teeth growing over top of them, so my free neutering cost $52. Oh, how I love that doggie.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A "Little" Word of Advice from Mr M

Hello, blogees.

As you know, a couple of weeks ago I took a trip up north to the wilds of Cleveland with Mr M to see the Air Show. It was fun.

However, we had one of those experiences that, while it bothers me, I seem to be able to let go of quickly. Mr M, not so much.

We'd arrived in Cleveland later than expected, then immediately headed out to visit Mr M's old clarinet teacher, so when we got back to the hotel it was pretty late. There were a row of restaurants near the hotel, so we took off and picked one at random for dinner. It was Outback.

Since it was so late we got seated immediately and our waiter came by to say hi. I mean that. He didn't tell us about any fishes or soups of the day, he just came by to introduce himself and let us know he was going to be at our disposal. He was Mr Friendly, and the introduction went on forever, and somewhere in it all I think he may have told us about his summer vacation, I don't know. I started to blur.

Now, I'm not all that big on overly friendly waiters, but as I said, I can let it go. The waiters probably aren't that big on it either, I'm sure it's forced upon them by these places advertising happy places to dine. But Mr M despises it, and he'd become pretty much a seething cauldron of hate by the time Mr Friendly had promised us a lovely dining experience, somewhere around line two of his spiel.

And so we both eventually ordered some chicken about the time Mr Friendly was telling us about the year he lost the training wheels on his bike, he coerced me into some mushrooms as a side order, he exulted about our great choices from the menu, I could see a little stream of gray smoke starting to seep from the top of Mr M's head, and at this point my opinion of Mr Friendly went from sympathizing with him to laughing at him.

We'd each ordered soft drinks as he told us about his first date, and when Mr Friendly arrived with them, he put them down in front of us and said, and I quote, "OK, now here's your little Coke, and here's your little Diet Coke." And Mr M began to laugh. Right in his face. I mean, anyone who's been in the company of Mr M for more than 30 or so seconds should know you don't give him a "little Coke."

But he didn't notice the laugh, I guess he just thought he was successful in bringing us the wonderful dining experience one expects from an Outback.

So as he came back to check on us we heard all about how good we were doing on our meals, and did we need any little drink refills, and he lost his virginity on West 44th street in 1998. Or something. And every time he left, Mr M said, "I'm going to tell him to shut the hell up," and I told him no he wasn't. Well, actually, I was more begging him not to.

We'd done about all we could do on the meal, and Mr Friendly came back by to tell us he was just sure we wanted some dessert, like some fabulous key lime pie, just like he had when his family took that trip to the alligator farm in Florida, but we declined. And for some reason, and really, I don't know why, I guess because I'm just so used to having so much left over, I asked him if I could have a container for the rest of my chicken. I really shouldn't have done that, you know.

A few minutes later Mr Friendly returned with two containers. Here is what he said. I'm not making this up, either. He said it, and I have a witness.

"Now here's a little container for your chicken, and here's a little container for your mushrooms. Now - [performing the tasks] - I'm just going to put your little chicken in here, and your little mushrooms in here, and we're going to put them both in this little bag, and we're going to hang it right here on this little peg till you're ready to go."

I honestly thought Mr M was going to faint. He asked for the little check.

And so the little check came and Mr M pulled out a credit card and stuck it in the (presumably little) leatherette folder, and Mr Friendly scooped it up. And returned a few minutes later.

Now...

Now, Mr Friendly at this point did something - well, I was shocked, and this was the point I stopped laughing and really started to dislike this guy intensely.

He brought the receipts and card back and told us how much he loved being our new friend, and he was having a tea on Sunday and hoped we could make it and meet his Mom, and he began all this by saying, "Mr M, it was certainly nice to meet you tonight...."

Only he didn't say "Mr M." He called Mr M by his first name.

Mr M has this thing about overfamiliarity in the wrong situations, and when he goes to a place where some staffperson or waiter or whoever calls him "buddy," he lights into them. So I knew if I was shocked someone would use the name on a credit card not to say, "Thank you, Mr M, " but, "Thank you, Mr M's first name," I figured Mr M would get up and poke Mr Friendly in the eye.

He didn't, but he was steamed. He picked up the restaurant's copy of the credit card receipt and started writing on it. At that point, I said, "Hey, I'm going outside." Because I'm a big fat chicken who hates confrontation. I excused myself, picked my little bag with my little food off the little peg, and left.

Mr M came out and I asked what happened. He nonchalantly said, "Nothing. I just wrote him a note. It said, 'A word of advice for the future. You're not going to make many friends if you insist on calling old farts like me by their first names.'"

You know, no one wants an incompetent waiter, one for whom everything's a chore. But we don't want Mr Friendly. All we want is a smile and someone to get us what we need when we need it. We don't want to be welcomed into the family, we don't want another person on our holiday card list, we don't want conversation unless we start it. Right? Don't we want that?

I didn't ask Mr M about the tip he left, but I assume it was, well, little.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have - um, acrowinner? One lone brave soul took the challenge. So, what is the worst job in the world?
- And the winner is Marla (marlamarlamarla)! With her "Dividing nubs inside vegetables." And I'll bet that's minimum wage, too.
- Thanks for playing, Marla, you've done very well!

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Acrochallenge!

Hello, lovers of letters, and welcome to another round of acromania.

No Picture Sunday last night, no pictures, no time. I had a rather disappointing weekend. I was all stoked to spend Saturday with my Sauerkraut Band buddies, which I did; however, the gig we played was dismal. It was hot, and we were treated about like slaves, minus the beatings. We were on duty from about 2pm to 10pm. It wasn't pleasant.

Acrotopic! "The Worst Job in the World."

All the rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that matches not only the topic above, but also the letters below. The letters are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket - now there's a sweet job. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

The topic? "The Worst Job in the World." The letters:

D N I V

So there you go. Punch in and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Milo says brrrrrf.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Jib Jab Fun

Boy, the things we get up to at the Poderosa....

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Picture Tuesday

Oh, crap. I promised you a blog tonight, didn't I? I was so busy trying to find songs for the next (and last) CD Mix Exchange, I let the time slip up on me. But never fear.

Hello!

Well, I'm back from Cleveland, and as I said, I had a great time at the Air Show. I didn't know what to expect, so I couldn't be disappointed. There were things I squeed over that I was a little embarrassed about later, like a remote-control doghouse with Snoopy on top of it chasing a remote-control Red Baron, and a truck fitted with jet engines that shot flames out its ass and went upwards of 400 miles an hour and raced planes. I guess you just have to leave your cool at the door at the Air Show.

Anyway, it was fun and impressive. And I took some pictures, along with some video which will be uploaded at the Comfy Chair Cinema as soon as I post this blog.

Let's see. How about one gigantic bigass plane?














That sucker was huge. We went inside it and walked around. It was about five times bigger than my house.

How about Sherman the Boy sitting on a Sherman tank?

























Sometimes you just can't let a photo op pass you by.

There were two of those, actually. Sometimes when you see a bubble window on a helicopter, well, you just have to.














And a close-up.

























By the way, it was a beautiful day. Sunny, very few clouds, visibility was great. So when planes climbed and dipsy-doodled down they were very easy to see.

Here's a picture of a Harrier Jet, the loudest fucking plane in the world. It's pretty cool, though. It took off after a run of only 50 feet and can hover, fly backwards, then hit the jets and take off with great speed. Here it was hovering.

























And after all that jet engine roar, Mr Peabody was just about shot.



















He tried to tell us he was just catching some rays, but we know Peabody doesn't lay out in the sun and he was looking very sickly at that point.

Here's a nice picture of Cleveland, which was right behind us as we watched the show. We were right on the lake.

















Of course, the big attraction was the Thunderbirds, and they were amazing. Talk about trusting someone with your life - six planes doing rolls and flips and passes in such close quarters, I found myself uttering, "Cool!" more than once.

Here were four of them overhead in a diamond.

























And all six of them in a diamond.



















At this point, they were flying pretty low.

























And probably my favorite.

















Wild blue yonder, indeed.

So there. I was going to say that's a little what it's like to go to an air show, but it's not. There's a lot more going on, you'll be looking skyward all day long at old war planes, wing walkers, flippers, military jets, and the like.

Oh, and parachuters. But of course, I couldn't take any pictures of them.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Milo lost his first puppy tooth this morning!
* Remember to go to the Comfy Chair Cinema to see the movie version of my trip!

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Monday, September 07, 2009

It's Labor Day

So I'm exercising my right not to labor. I spent all day working on the vacation video, which turned out to be the vacation videos, three of them, and I'm pooped.

Ye shall see pictures tomorrow. Sorry for the broken promise.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Picture Sunday

Hello, blogees. I'm home now from a fun-filled weekend in Cleveland. I did something I'd never done, never thought I'd do, and if it happened in my back yard, probably wouldn't have made the effort to do. I went to an air show.

Yes, the Big-Ass Cleveland Air Show was this weekend, and Mr M was itching to take me along with him. He's done it many, many times, since he was a kid and the Wright Brothers performed, and he wanted me to go along with him this time around.

The news? I had a great time. I really enjoyed it.

The other news? There will be no Acro tomorrow, but please do tune in, because Acro will be replaced by my own version of Picture Sunday. And that's because of the other other news.

And the other other news? Well, that's that tonight's Picture Sunday is being hijacked by Mr M with a story and accompanying footage that will not only knock your socks off (if you're wearing any, you layabouts), but will forever make you look at me in a different light (which can only be an improvement).

So take it away, Mr M!
___________________________________________

Howdy, folk.

As Bet has written, she and I decided that, because we had a long weekend, we’d take a trip to Cleveland to see the Cleveland Air Show.

In subsequent blogs, she’ll fill you in on all the other interesting things that went on yesterday—a day jamb-packed with excitement--but she thought it would be a good idea if I, Captain A, would tell you the story of the high point of the air show for her and me: one of those experiences that “just happens” to the virtuous.

It started as we were walking around the grounds looking at the aircraft.

Bet went somewhere or other to look at something on her own, or to get a drink, or go to the bathroom, or something like that, so I decided I’d wander around on my own for a bit. A few minutes after we parted, I got interested in the A10 Warthog plane, so I walked over to the display. There were a bunch of people packed tight near the plane, so I decided to see what was going on.

Turned out that there were a couple of the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team having a Coke before their next performance, and they were signing autographs.

Now, if you know Bet very well, you’ll know that, first, she’s not one to start a conversation with someone on her own, and second, she’s not very good at letting people know that she would like something, even if it’s a small thing. On the other hand, I never have a problem talking with strangers (even big-shots like these guys at the show), and I’m not ashamed to ask for favors. (All they could have said was “no.”)

When I saw them, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could arrange something special for Bet!”

Bet had said several times that she was really looking forward to seeing the Golden Knights, so I thought, “If she likes sky diving so much, what would be more special than to get her involved somehow in a Golden Knights performance!”

Never being one to shy away, as I said, I started a conversation with the two (Trevor and Rachel), and I put it to them! “My friend Bet can’t stop talking about the Golden Knights and sky diving, and I know nothing about sky diving, and she’s too shy to ask herself, so what are the chances you might take her up (and down) with you?” Well, Trevor said, “Let’s talk about it,” so he and I and Rachel wandered toward the C5.

Rachel said that they needed the answers to two questions before they could say yes or no: Trevor asked me, “Does she REALLY want to sky dive? I mean, does she REALLY REALLY want to?” and Rachel asked, “Does she play the clarinet?” Two affirmative answers clinched it. They said, “Great! Let’s get her over here!”

Not wanting to spring the surprise on her as soon as she came back, I suggested we go over to the C5 Galaxy cargo plane, and said that I though it would be cool if Trevor and Rachel, accompanied by two of the ground crew, waited inside the C5, and I’d bring her to them. (I wanted this to be a BIG surprise!) I’d bring Bet into the plane on the pretense of looking at the plane’s innards. (By then I could see her coming, but she was still far off.)

When she finally arrived, I lead her inside the C5, knowing that, because it was much darker inside the plane than out in the sun, it would take our eyes a minute or two to get used to the change, so Bet didn’t see the Golden Knights there until we were already inside.

Before Bet knew what was happening, Rachel walked up behind her and started strapping the chute harness on as Trevor extended his hand to her and said, “Bet, it’s going to be a pleasure to have you jump with us this morning!”

Bet got this blank look on her face and started trembling. She was obviously so excited that she was tongue tied. However, obviously struggling with the realization that a life-long dream was going to come true, she did manage to sputtered out, “I’m…going…to…do…what? …where?

A simple gesture made it clear to her:




















(That’s Trevor, pointing to the sky. Sorry about the lousy picture, but I was too excited to fix the camera, and there was no time for a re-take.)

Now Bet became completely speechless, and started shaking even more, but she was able to thank whatever power there is in the universe for giving her this gift. (It might seem as if she’s hiding because she went into a declivity in the cargo area where nobody could see her, but she just wanted to give thanks in private.):




















Bet’s legs were failing her by now, and she couldn’t get any better command of her emotions than to splutter and get teary, she was so happy and excited, so Trevor, Rachel, and the three guys on the ground crew picked her up and carried her to the jump plane.

(Oh, I forgot to mention that Trevor and Rachel would be accompanying Bet on the jump, but Bet would leave the plane first, and the other two would catch up with her later on because they still had three minutes owed them for their break.)

I went to my seat, and just as I realized that my chintzy little digital camera would hardly be adequate to document Bet’s performance, the team’s photographer, Cheryl, came up to me with a camera, tripod, and a 200mm-1000mm zoom lens. She said that she figured my camera wouldn’t do the job, so she’d make some photos for me! So not only would I have great still pictures, but I could use my own camera in “movie mode” to film the jump.

So, folks, here are the pictures, thanks to Cheryl. And what pictures they are!

Bet’s plane climbed to 1200 feet for the jump, checked the wind, and circled the field. As Bet was urged to the door, Cheryl made this photo of Bet in the doorway, ready to go:

















Cheryl got a great close-up of Bet's excited face as she was standing the plane's doorway.

















In fact, the camera and lens were so good that Cheryl was able to take another shot of this detail, showing that Bet wanted to do a really good job in front of the big crowd:

















Although the distance was too great for me to see what was happening, Cheryl said something like “They’re having trouble getting her out,” though I probably misunderstood her, but before I could ask her to repeat what she said, Cheryl said, "NOW she’s out," and took this photo:


















Her sky dive begun, Bet assumed the “gliding” posture:





















Note the gleeful expression on her face in the close-up that Cheryl took next:





















How can one person be that happy?

Bet, being somewhat of a show-off, and never willing to leave something alone without embellishing it, did this maneuver:





















After her jump, and before Bet rejoined me, I asked Cheryl what that maneuver is called, but she said she’d never seen it before—that it was something new, as far as she could figure.

I think Bet should call that “The Stinger.”

Anyway, Bet continued her performance until she reached 5000 feet. (Trevor and Rachel joined her at about 9000 feet, as you’ll see in the movie). Then her parachute opened:

























Here’s another close-up from Cheryl showing that Bet was still enjoying every second, and continued to do so until she finally landed and a truck brought her back to the seating area!:

























That’s it for now. There may be more pictures later, but I wanted you all to see these as soon as possible.

Thanks to Cheryl for these great photos. But these still photographs just don’t give justice to Bet and her first sky dive. Make sure you watch the movie! It’s thrilling, and you can hear Bet expressing her enthusiasm even through the wind noise and from such a great distance!

(Don’t say anything to her, please, but she was so popular among the Golden Knights that she’s going to be surprised by another group from the team, with parachute and harness, poised to buckle her up and sweep her off her feet for a trip in the friendly skies again. I’m told that this probably will happen sometime during the night so that nobody in the neighborhood is disturbed by Bet’s cries of happiness.)

Yours truly,

Captain A.

P.S. I’m sorry that the video doesn’t cover the whole performance, but I didn’t have much memory left in my camera. I’ll get the whole thing next time.

video

____________________________________________

Thanks, Mr M. What an assh - um, friend - you are. I read what you wrote, though. I'm keeping my doors and windows locked at night now. And don't think I don't remember how you suggested to me maybe I should try airplane wing-walking.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* As I said, be sure to stay tuned for more of our adventures in the Land of Cleves.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I'm So Proud

Just a short post tonight, but I have to tell you the big news. In about a month, my Milo will be going off to school.

Yes, my puppy has been accepted at the ultra-prestigious and nearly Ivy League Hi-D-Ho Dog School in B'burg. We're all very excited about it.

The next month will be filled with buying notebooks and pencils, and possibly some flashcard practice. And maybe learning the alphabet. You know, just to keep him at the head of the class.

No, actually, I found a recommendation link on the website for the place I'll be boarding him this weekend, and besides finding an adorable logo, I found this:

Does your dog bolt through open doors, pull on leash, act silly at the vet's office, or jump on people? Then this class might be for you and your dog. The lessons include teaching sit, down, stand, stay, come when called, greeting people (sit to greet), greeting other dogs and walking nicely on leash. This class is similar to puppy kindergarten but we expect more and add more distractions during the training.

Well, of course. Milo's way above puppy kindergarten.

I'm really excited to go. It'll be while Oktoberfest is in full swing, so hopefully my Autumn Nervous Breakdown won't occur at a class.

I'll try to film his valedictory address.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, just what was on your shopping list?
- Honorable Mentions go to LilyG, with her "Lettuce, radishes -- a totally healthy cart," and Marla (marlamarla), with her "Lettuce, Radishes And Tasty Healthy Crap."
- Runner-Up goes to Kellie (with an ie), with her "Luscious Red Apples. Twizzlers. Hot Cocoa."
- And this week's winner, who needs no prize because he's going to have a fabulous night apparently, is the DeepFatFriar, with his "Lasagna, rubbers, antacid, tea, hemorrhoid cream." (And for a bonus, I loved "Little red artichokes that hate children.")
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well!

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