Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye, Cruel Year!

Well, hello and whoop de doo, blogees!

I'm now in the final hours of what has officially become the worst year of my existence. Until this year that dubious distinction belonged to 2003, but 2003 was much different. A lot of what made it so bad was internal, my own psyche. This year was not.

It was mainly my mom's many bouts of illness, but that was only the tip of the iceberg, really.

Anyway, let's not rehash the awfulness. In fact, let's talk about new awfulness!

I was looking forward to getting Christmas out of the way and getting on with my vacation, which was this week. On Christmas I wrecked my car - into my house - when I was repositioning it in the driveway so I could load all the Christmas Crap into it, and it slid off an ice chunk in my driveway (car scraped, house, small dent in siding). That of course started the Great Christmas Meltdown, where I had a nice rant to Milo about having no one in my life to do all those things like scrape driveways and remove snow and fix locks and cracks in the ceiling and load Christmas Crap into cars.

I got over that in short enough order and headed over to the folks' house, where I immediately proceeded - to get sick! Oh, yes, a car wreck wasn't enough, friends, I had to get sick as well. I slept downstairs for hours, barely remember dinner, and discovered my temperature was hovering at nearly 101. I came back home, feveredly ranting again about unloading Christmas Crap, and went to bed so I could do it all again at Mr M's house the next day.

Which I did, minus the car wreck.

It was a day I wish I could get back in a few ways, mainly because I was so sick all I did was sleep, and because both Mr M and the DeepFatFriar bought me such nice and thoughtful gifts there was no way mine could match up.

See? The Friar bought me Lincoln Logs! Real, wooden Lincoln Logs!

Anyway, Sunday, home convalescing. Monday, convalescing, Tuesday, got dressed long enough to go buy cough syrup and Vaporub. Wedsnesday, convalescing. And when I say convalescing, I mean not leaving the house, not even getting dressed.

On Tuesday night, I found 2/3 bottle of penicillin from where I almost cut off my finger this summer. (Remember - shitty year.) I started taking it religiously, and by today I actually started to feel human again. Trip to the doctor averted! I got up and dressed and headed to the grocery to get things for tonight and for tomorrow's Sauerkraut Band party. And I'm snotty and coughy but feverless and able to walk more than 50 yards without feeling like I've run a marathon.

In other words, I'll be all better just in time to go to work Monday. Dammit.

But before we look forward, I do have one small piece of business to clear up.

Look what Duke sent Milo! A whole damn stocking full of toys! He has had a ball (in fact, one of them is a ball) playing with these, I gathered them together for the picture, but in actuality they're all over the house where he has one to play with wherever he lands. Of all of them, only the really tough-looking one, the ball with rope, has seen better days. All of the really soft chewies are as good as new. Milo has this thing about rope toys. Loves 'em, can tear 'em all to hell in an afternoon.

Anyway, I thank you and Milo thanks you, Duke.

Now what?

Now I'm waiting to ring in the New Year with Stennie on the Hucklebug. And I think I can safely go back and quote exactly what I said at the end of 2003, only change the year. That would go as such:

And I'll be celebrating. I'll be saying a few words to 2009. And to 2009 I'll be saying, "Fuck off! Go to hell and die, and carry thee from my life! I hope I never see your like again, and if I do, I hope I see you coming so I can smite your ass and get on with life. So go. Go fuck off. Now."

And to 2010 I shall be saying, "Hello, there! Hi, my new friend. Come in. Have a cookie. A drink. Let's get acquainted. Do you like TV? I have three - you can watch anytime you like! You need a loan? I'll spot you a few bucks anytime you're short."

You know, I did that, and 2004 was a damn good year. Hopefully lightning can strike twice.

A few goals for the year? I don't like resolutions, too defeating. Hell, I don't like goals, either. How about, "What I'd like for this year."

- I want to go to the dentist. I am totally ashamed to admit this, but I haven't been to the dentist in almost three years. It started as one of those "I just don't have the time" things, and "my dentist just doesn't have the time," but it's gotten to the point where I'm embarrassed to go now. I even bought a little kit with the pointy thing and a mouth mirror so you can do your own dentistry. But I know I must get back, and all those out there poo-pooing me, feel satisfied in how much it's going to hurt after all that scraping.

- I want to change the locks on my dennette doors. Yes, I'm living in a dennette with two broken doors. The front door broke this year, first night of Oktoberfest, just like my clarinet mouthpiece broke that night, when the key came off in it. I now come and go by locking the deadbolt and it's damned inconvenient, and I know one of these days I'm going to be in a hurry and lock that knob lock. The back door - well, the deadbolt is broken, sprung in the locked position, and I've had for some 3 years an unopenable back door. This is not a good thing. Everyone needs a front and back exit.

- I have cracks in my ceiling I'm convinced are going to cause my ceiling to crash on my head one night when I'm watching television. I honestly don't know if they're much to worry about, but, well, I worry. If I can find one person in this town who'll look at them for me, well, I'd like to have them looked at.

- Dream? A small section of fenced-in yard for Milo. I ended the year with a little cache of cash, and I'd love to use it to give Milo his very own playland. Then his BFF Lincoln could come and visit him!

- Drink, drink, drink! Yeah, I know, I do enough of that already, right? But not that kind. I made a very smart discovery in September, or else I was incredibly stupid to only discover this in September. Just about every nagging physical problem I have can be traced right back to the fact that I don't drink nearly enough liquid. I try. I pour glasses of water and green tea and lemonade, then they just sit and stare at me all afternoon. I've been having a little more success with that this month, but plan to step it up.

- And don't forget your vitamins! I'm so lax in vitamin-taking. Just horrible. I need a machine that manually opens my mouth and pours them in. Any ideas for a system?

- Hey, let's cook! I eat way too many cheese-on-breads and things from a box. I'm determined to cook actual food with actual vegetables in it. Stennie bought me two really good easy/healthy/for one or two people cookbooks for Christmas, and I'm putting those babies to use.

- And finally, more blogs. This year's been hard, but I've used that hardness as an excuse to be very lazy about blogging. I want to be better. I'm going to try to keep a running notebook ("hey! my notebook's running away!") of topics.

So that's about it. Let's by-God get on to 2010, and hope all of you have a safe and happy and friend-filled New Year!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Go Hokies! Of course, I'll miss the kickoff because I'm deviling eggs. Have I seen a Hokie kickoff in the past three years?


Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Greeting

Happy Holidays, blogees!

Yes, 2009 has been the year of few blogs. But I was goofing around the other night and put together a little Christmas greeting for you. It stars, completely unwillingly, myself, Sherman, Mr M, the DeepFatFriar, and for some reason, Barack Obama. (I just have such a nice headshot of him.)


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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Picture Thursday - Who the #$!@* is this?

Hello, friends and blogees.

As I mentioned on the acrochallenge blog, I've been doing a little something with pictures. I want to see if I can work something up for my folks for Christmas. May work, may not, worth a try. Anyway, I stole a couple handfuls of pictures from their house earlier in the week.

Now, as I also mentioned in that same blog, my family, well, my mom, really, has picture after picture of people that, well, we don't know who in the hell they are. Mom might, but I bet if I gave her a test (and that might be a fun Christmas activity) she'd get no more than 75%.

Part of this project I'm working on will also include current pictures and video of our family. I broke down and told my sister my idea, and asked when they'd all be home at the same time so I could get some photos. Tuesday was the night, so I headed over there, camera and Flip in tow. I got pictures and video of her, Brian, and Tay. Tay had plans, of course, which included going out to the movies to see some Dave Matthews 3-D concert film. He left wearing his plastic horn-rimmed 3-D glasses (from "Up"), and he looked adorable, of course.

I then produced from my cameras-toting bag the handfuls of pictures I'd stolen from my parents, took my sister into their den, and spread them out on the pool table. I held up a picture. "Who is this?" I asked. She looked. "Shit, I don't know." I said, "This is our mother's photo collection in a nutshell."

We then spent about a half-hour laughing till we cried over these photos. It went like this. I'd hold up a photo and say, "Who the fuck is this?" And we'd laugh and try to figure out. Doesn't sound like much, but it was a goldmine of fun.

I mean, really. Like - who the fuck is this?

We didn't have the slightest idea. I decided it was a baby picture of Little Debbie, she of the cakes and pies.

And who the fuck is this?

Couldn't tell you. I simply call her The Battle Axe, but she either works in a clothing store or is a coat-check girl. She also looks like someone got mad that she lost their coat, and they kicked her in the shin.

Hey, who the fuck is this?

Again, no idea, but he's kind of cute. He could be in a rock band today. All the back of the photo says is "1975."

And who the fuck is this?

We toyed with the idea that this could be my cousin Murray (now there's a story I could blog for days about), but the face isn't right. We ended up naming him Sad Hippie Boy, and the reason I included this picture - well, besides the great shirt - was that not only did Mom have the 5 x 7 of SHB, but a smaller version as well. Just in case she wanted to carry Sad Hippie Boy in her wallet, and she may well have for a while.

Who the fuck is this?

Well, this is a cheat. My sister didn't know, but I did. This is Carol, married to my uncle for a while. It took me a while to realize these were her kids with her, they were younger than when I knew them, but man, look at the hair on Aunt Carol. That is some go to hell hair. Sad fact about this picture? I spent five minutes taking the red-eye out of one of her kids.

By the way, there is a most interesting thing about that picture. It actually has, on the back, pre-printed blue ink lines where the picture taker can write in the subject, date, event, etc. That is the greatest idea. Sadly, it was not taken advantage of.

All right. Who the fuck is this?

Got me. Or us. Neither of us had a clue. Looks like it was taken in a photo booth, possibly. I like the glasses. Is she a relative? Friend? We couldn't even connect her to the most distant of family.

Who the fuck is this?

It's some kids, that's for damn sure. This one really puzzled us, because it matches the genders and numbers of my Uncle Carl's kids. He had six kids, one boy. But his kids are all Mexican-looking (Aunt Maria is from Mexico), so that doesn't work. He may also not have had them all by 62, when the photo was taken. They look happy, though, so that's good enough for me.

And who the fuck is this?

It''s.... Oh, hell, I don't know who the fuck it is. Nice couple. A little Joad-ish for my tastes, especially if you look at the background. I'm guessing this is Mom's side of the family, though I don't know why. It looks a little too citified for Dad's people.

And finally, I held up this one and said, "Who the fuck is this?"

Well, that one got my sister, but she said with a quickness that will make me admire her forever, "I don't know, but I think it might be the big man that greets you when you enter the Texas State Fair." (Look up the Texas State Fair online - you'll see the guy.)

OK, there was definitely no "who the fuck is this" for the next picture, but it gave us minutes of belly laughs.

My folks sometime in the 70s. We said they looked like they were in Jonestown, and we were very happy they got out before the kool-aid was passed around.

And finally, I must include some other pictures I found, if you'll indulge.

I've posted pictures (I think - I must have) of my Mamaw Bowles. I do know I've said here before that my two grandmothers were as different as night and day, and they loved each other like sisters. Mamaw Bowles was the country girl and Mamaw Grasso was the city girl. Well, she was raised in the coalfields, but went off to Washington DC and worked in dress shops for years.

I found several pictures of Mamaw Grasso that wowed me, well, wowed me just like I used to be wowed when I'd go to visit her in the Big City and we'd go to museums and coffee shops and.... God, I miss my grandmothers. What fantastic women they were.

This was Mamaw G the day she married Angie. The hothead.

Check out this ensemble! I mean, it's worthy of being a Barbie outfit.

Even hanging around the house, Mamaw G was a fashion plate!

Looking beautiful again, but the photographer seems more interested in the ivy.

Resplendant in red!

Beautiful. She was something else. My link to the outside world.

I'm going back to the folks' house tomorrow night, and stealing some more photos, just because I'm enjoying looking. Hopefully I'll grab some of Dad's family. Mamaw Bowles needs her due, too.

By the way, knowing my family's photo collection, it's entirely possible you may know someone in these photos. Hell, you may be someone in these photos. If you are, please let me know. And if I give Mom the test, I'll update you.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Still haven't finished shopping. I've stopped caring. Is that wrong?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Choklatz Is Us

It's Christmastime, you know.

I've blogged in the past about the customers at TheCompanyIWorkFor, and how they love them some free stuff. We've often said they'd take a turd from our office if it was free. We kind of proved this a few years ago (reason for the aforementioned blog) when we filled our free candy dish with old Halloween candy and sugar free cough drops and it emptied in short order.

For about a month we've had chocolate in the free candy dish. It started with the Hershey Collection, bite-sized Hershey Bars, Mr Goodbar, and Krackel. That disappeared quickly and was replaced with the, what, Mars collection? Milky Way, Snickers, Twix, and 3 Muskateers. It's currently going down like the Titanic.

As we were walking out at the end of the day, The Boss was complaining about the disappearance of chocolate. "That second bunch I just put out this morning, and it's already half gone. And there weren't that many people in here today!" I suggested one lone soul put half the bowl into a purse, which is entirely possible. I know this because it's happened.

Anyway, I suggested, there going out the door, that we need to order chocolate in bulk from some warehouse somewhere. I said, "You know, Choklatz Is Us - Slightly Damaged Chocolate 50% Off."

"Oooh, good idea," The Boss said. "They'd have Nilky Way bars."

"Yeah! And Mr Goodbat," I continued. "And 2 Muskateers."

"And Sneakers bars. And Hushey Bars."

At least we left the office laughing.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, who in the hell is that man in the picture?
- Honorable Mention goes to Kellie (with an ie), with her "Snuffy T, Bluegrass Rapper." I can see it - wonder if that's his album cover?
- Runner-Up goes to LilyG, with her "Saw the babies, rented." Made me laugh. Good one, LilyG.
- And this week's winner goes to Mike, with his - well, I can't not say this, any one of his could have won the competition, they all made me laugh so much. I have a feeling most people liked "Sam the butcher's rabbi" the best, but I think I'm making "Scarf theif, boy retailer" the winner. Mainly because whoever that is looks like he could be both.
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well!
- If I ever find out who it is, I'll be sure to tell you.


Monday, December 14, 2009


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

As I mentioned last night, I'm working on a little project that involves pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Pictures out the wazoo.

Now, there's a thing about old pictures in my family. My mom seems to have the "gift," as it were, to have people send her photographs of everything and everyone under the sun, and she keeps them just like they were of the most important people in her life. Distant relatives' step-kids, foster kids, friends of her nieces and nephews, people that passed through our lives for six months or so, but are preserved forever in boxes and albums.

So I was at the folks' house yesterday stealing pictures. You know, it's Christmas, you can steal. You can say, "Mom, go in the kitchen for five minutes while I do something and don't ask, it's Christmas." And I did just that, slipped a large photo album into a bag, then went into a back bedroom for the mother lode. I found it in a large gold shirtbox in a drawer. I was grabbing handfuls of stuff, trying to give them a look as I stuffed them in my bag, and I saw pictures of these people. School pictures of kids I'd maybe met once on a family visit, kids I didn't know. I stuffed them in anyway. I felt bad making Mom stay in the kitchen for more than five minutes.

So I got home and started going through and scanning pictures. And in among all those random kids and old ladies, I hit upon this picture.

I have no idea who any of these people are. The man, the kids. I don't know where this was. I don't know when it was. All I know is that when I looked at the picture, I said, "What's my mom doing with a picture of Elvis Costello, and who are those kids?"

Stennie says it's her Uncle Jerry. Knowing my mom, this could be entirely possible.

Tonight's acrotopic? "Who is this man?"

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, sadly, was not a photograph in Mom's collection. Then tomorrow night at 10:00 est I shall be reading the entries and naming the winners.

So, the topic? "Who is this man?" The letters:


So there you go. Get out your identakits and acro!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I need to finish up my shopping. To the internet!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

No Pictures

Hello, end of weekenders.

I'm working on a little project for Christmas that may or may not come off, but it involves pictures. So I've spent the better part of the day here going through and scanning and cataloging some 50 years of photographs.

And frankly, I'm a little pictured out.

And I'm tired.

No worries. I'll be back, hopefully with an acro or something to let you all know I'm not dead.

Happy week.


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Picture(ish) Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders. And welcome to a little different and possibly skewed version of Picture Sunday.

I had a really nice weekend, actually. Did a fun Hucklebug podcast with Stennie on Friday night. Then got up on Saturday to a blanket - well, wait, is a six inches a blanket? - of snow on Saturday. Watched my town's Christmas parade at noon, found out Mr M was not coming down Saturday evening as expected, so hung out and had a relaxing night.

Then today, Mr M came down with the DeepFat Friar in tow, we all had a nice afternoon watching geeky TV shows, Mr M and I playing clarinets, and Milo loving on DFF. I mean, Milo loves the DeepFatFriar. He just stares at him in admiration. He has to sit right beside him. It's amazing, and just fills me with warmth and giggles.

The three of us (the human three) had cabbage beef soup and ham and cheese sandwiches, oh, and deviled eggs because I had a bunch of eggs I knew I'd never use in any other way, and afterwards we trimmed Milo's tail. See, on Thursday Milo got a horrible haircut (I love you, groomer, I really do, but his was a bad mistake), where from neck to tail he was shaved, his head was trimmed but not much, and his tail was left intact. It was hideous, I have to say, and I kept thinking that if we could at least pare down his tail it would help. And it did.

Then way too soon Mr M and the DFF went home, and I watched the season finale of "The Amazing Race" (breathing a sigh of relief when it was done), ate a couple of deviled eggs, and did the dishes from dinner.

Anyway, I don't have any pictures as such, but I did make a little video of Milo and I watching the town's Christmas parade.

See, one of the great things about living at the Poderosa (and there are many, believe me) is that the annual Christmas parade starts about a fourth 0f a mile from my house, so I get to see it in its infancy as it ambles towards town. Now, I usually miss the high school band (bummer!) because they generally link up with the parade closer to town (wusses!), but I still get to see all the floats and such.

So this year I decided that Milo needed to see the parade, and I got out my trusty Flip camera and we took up residence in the hatch of my car, Podmobile2, and watched the festivities. Such as they were. I timed the parade - it lasted about 13 minutes.

Anyway, the camera rolled, and I spent Saturday afternoon editing and putting together a little commemorative of the event. I put it on Facebook, but I realize some of you aren't Facebook people, so we'll share it here, too.

Happy week!


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

And now...The Oracle of Bet!

On the Hucklebug podcast, we have a little phrase. "The Oracle Of," that phrase is. When we're arguing, the ending to the argument is, "The Oracle of Bet (or Stennie) has spoken."

I was thinking that I need to have my own panel show, only I'd be the only one on the panel, and it would be called "The Oracle of Bet." I'd give my opinions on the news of the day, and it would of course be the correct opinion because it would be the Oracle of Bet.

It would go a little like this:

[fade in to peppy music]

Hello! Welcome to another scintillating episode of "The Oracle of Bet!" I'm your hostess, Bet, and here are the right answers on the topics of the day.

Let's see, where do we start....

OK, OK. The Gatecrashers!

Seems this couple crashed their way into the recent State Dinner President Obama gave for the Grand Hoo Hah of India. They brought a camera crew along with them, fudged their way past what is touted as the world's best security, met the Prez, and had a picture taken with Joe Biden. Now that they've been found out they swear they were invited, promise us they're not horrible people, and say, "This is the most devastating thing that's ever happened to us and has ruined our lives."

You know what? This is devastating? Have either of you had cancer? Has your billion dollar home burned down? Have you ever had a down day in your stinkin' lives? No, of course you haven't. You have people massaging you and cleaning your house, you can go buy tuxedos and expensive saris for a State Dinner you're going to crash, and at the end of it all you're going to end up on your own reality show. This isn't even in the same state as devastating. Shut the fuck up and fess up to the fact that you gate crashed the biggest party of the year. And accept your check from who the hell ever is airing your reality show. You both suck, and are a blight on our society. The Oracle of Bet has spoken!

All right, let's see.... Oh, the Tiger Woods Debacle!

So - seems Mr Woods had a car accident with damage to his car and a little damage to public property, but the facts are, well, sketchy. He says his wife was a hero and used a golf club to free him from the wreckage, but evidence says his wife used a golf club to beat the shit out of him and his car. Which still makes her a hero in my book, but that's beside the point. Then all this talk of extramarital affairs started, Mr Tiger wouldn't talk to the police, and now he's come clean that he's not been exactly faithful in his marriage and he's issued the standard "I have sinned" apology to us all.

And - you, Mr Woods, are a cad. You have a lovely wife, two kids, two adorable dogs, a billion trillion dollars, and yet you want to cheat on your wife. And you know what? Don't apologize to me. It's none of my business. It's none of any of our business. Apologize to your wife and your doggies. You have a driver's license and insurance, so your accident's a non-issue as far as I'm concerned, and if you want to hang out with a series of skanky ladies instead of your nice spouse, it's absolutely not up to me to say you nay or yay. But if you do, 1) Don't whine about the tabloid press finding out about it, and 2) Your wife is going to go to town on you with a golf club. And I hope she breaks your nose. But don't show it to me, because I don't care. The Oracle of Bet has spoken!

Breaking news! Alec Baldwin says that after "30 Rock," he's going to retire from acting!

And I say, "Fat chance!" Your puffed-up ego won't ever let you give up acting. The Oracle of Bet has spoken!

OK, next on our agenda - President Obama has just approved the dispatching of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

My take on this, Mr President? I do love you so much, but I wish to God you'd be the President I wanted you to be. When you took so much time to make your decision on this, I was hoping it would be because you were realizing that too many young men and women have died so far in a winless war, a war we can't afford, and that you'd take the money it would take for this and spend it on strategic measures to fend off terrorist attacks, for they're going to come whether we're in Afghanistan or not. Instead, the Left hates you because you gave in to the warmongers, the Right hates you, well, because you're Obama, and no matter what you do they'll hate you. You're alone. And I'm afraid this is the beginning of the end of your Presidency. And the Oracle of Bet has spoken, but it's not happy. Be a man, Barack, for God's sake.

And just enough time for more breaking news! Meredith Baxter, mom from "Family Ties," announces she's gay!

And I say, "Who gives a shit?" The Oracle of Bet has spoken!

Thank you, and tune in next week. And until then, remember, it's not true unless the Oracle of Bet says so! Byeeeee!

I think it could work.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners! So, why was I stopped twice on the same trip back from B'burg Saturday night?
- Honorable Mention goes to Marla (marlamarlamarla), with her "Cuz Lingere And Ropes Dangled." If only I was that exciting, Marla.
- Runner-Up goes to the DeepFatFriar, with his "Cops love a ravishing doll." I love you for that, Friar, and how I wish it was true.
- And this week's winner goes to Kellie (with an ie) with her, "Curb! Looked At Radio Dial." That could very well happen with me, if you substitute "iPod" for "Radio Dial."
- Thank you all for playing, you've all done very well!
- Actually, why was I stopped twice by the State Police? For having a headlight out. It was out some weeks ago and I went to have it fixed, but they told me it was working, and so there was nothing to replace. Then it went out again, I was stopped twice on the way home, and, unbelievably, managed to talk my way out of it both times. Went yesterday to get it fixed again, and it turned out there were two little steelies in my bulb that came loose, causing the light to stop working, then if I hit a bump or rounded a curve, they'd go back where they were supposed to be, causing the light to work, then when I'd hit another bump, they'd come back out. That's just so me. Replaced the bulb, though, and all is well.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

(Oh crap, I forgot) Acrochallenge!

Hello, letter people! I'm sitting here before work, letting my car's windshield defrost, and I realized I forgot about acromania.

OK, like Picture Sunday, very succinct version. And since I was late, we'll leave it up till Wednesday.

OK, answer the question - Saturday night I got stopped twice by the police on the way home from Blacksburg. Why?

All the rules are the same, three tries, letters below, topic above, yadda yadda, acrobasket, you got it.

So - why was I stopped by the police twice in one night?


Now, Acro!