Sunday, August 29, 2010

Picture Sunday

Hello, end of weekenders. Welcome to a pretty thin edition of Picture Sunday.

When last I left you, I was fretting over my roof. I couldn't get anyone to come over and look at it, and I spent a rather damp evening at the Poderosa as water came running through my window blinds. Hopefully, Dad's guy would come over.

Well, he did. He came over, and the prognosis was not good. I had several places that needed to be patched, but worse, I had two, and I'm quoting here, "mushy spots" at the front of the roof. A new roof was suggested.

And you know, all it took was hearing it for it to not be such a big deal anymore. I knew when I bought the house it was on the back half of its life span. So it was time.

Now I had to decide, roof like the old one, or one of the new cool metal ones? The prices actually weren't that different. So metal it would be. I wasn't expecting to get it put on for a couple of weeks, but shipping worked out and the weather was nice, and Wednesday I came home for lunch and drove into the driveway of a house with half a new roof already on.

At the end of the day I was the owner of this.

I like it. It's spiffy. It's snappy. I just find myself now wanting it to rain so I can find out if it sounds different.

The roofer was to meet me Friday after work to look at the inside places, but, well, he didn't show up. Sigh. Hopefully next week.

One last thing, if you'll indulge. This is a picture of my uncle, Carl, and his wife Maria.

I lost Carl this week. I loved him a lot. They lived in Reno, but came to visit often, and we'd always have a great time. He was a great guy, full of laughter and good humor. He made a lot of people happy, which is not a bad legacy to have at all.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* In case you haven't seen it, there's a new movie up at the Comfy Chair Cinema. It's silly! I really wanted to make a silly movie, and I did!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Proverbial Straw

Hello, blogees.

It's been a bit of a downer week here in Betland, that all came to a head today.

I can't remember if I've mentioned it here before, but I'm having some Poderosa problems. One of the several hairline cracks in my living room ceiling has had some seepage through it, and it's been kind of freaking me out.

And the thing is, the fact that I'm probably going to have to have roof work done, if not a whole new roof, is only a small portion of the freakout. The large portion is that I can't get anyone to come out and look at it to tell me what's wrong.

Upon the first discovery, I called Ricky Ricardo, who took care of the Shower Wall Debacle a few years ago. I trust him with anything around the house, but when I told him what was going on, he said it sounded like a roof problem and that's just something he doesn't do. But! He knew someone who did, someone he worked with, and he'd tell that guy the problem and have him call me.

I never heard from him.

And of course, I was hinky about living under a shaky roof, especially since it's been raining here almost every day, and so I called someone else my dad knows and has had do some things for him . I dialed up, got his wife, explained who I was (it never hurts that they know my dad), what was wrong, and gave about four phone numbers where I could be reached. He was supposed to call me when he got in that day at five.

He never did.

This past Friday I was gearing up for a very busy Saturday. I had to get Milo in to the vet's office for his yearly shots, I had Paw Duty, taking him around all the stores he needed to go to, then Mr M was coming down that evening and I needed to make a pot of chili for dinner. Then some time Friday afternoon I got a phone call. It was Ricky Ricardo's guy. He said he could come over at noon on Saturday and look at the Poderosa, and well, I just had to fit him in, right? It might be the only chance I'd get. I said come on over.

The vet's went well, Dr Steve loves Milo, and laughed at him and talked about his personality and his great teeth. He got shots and flea stuff and heartworm stuff and I left broke but smiling. I hurried back home in case Ricky Ricardo's guy might show up early.

He didn't.

In fact, he didn't show up at all. That I know of. Finally at 1:15 I'd had enough, said, "Fuck it, I'm not going to sit around and wait all day for him to decide he's bored enough to come over," and I left to get Paw and finish the rest of the day. And I'm still miffed over it. Don't make an appointment if you're not coming. At least without a call.

And so my ceiling was still as it was and I had no idea what kind of a roof I was living under, and then last night came along. Another incredibly hard rain. I was sitting in the Comfy Chair with Milo and he was chewing one of his toys, and I started noticing an odd sound. An odd sound that didn't sound like chewing.

I turned off all the sound in the room and realized that yes, it was what I had feared. It was definitely a dripping noise. I got up to investigate, and here is what I found. And you can believe this or not, but I was there and saw it, so I can tell you it's the God's honest truth.

Water was dripping down my window blinds. Dripping onto one of my end tables and back behind it into the floor. It was coming down the actual blinds and was also traveling in beads down the cord that lifts and lowers them.

And as always I said, "Oh, shit," only louder and with a bit more panic, and got a step-ladder and started investigating the water. And here's the thing. This water was dripping down my window blinds because it was coming from my window blinds. It was coming right out of the hole where the cord is that lifts the blinds.

I couldn't get the blinds out of their slats, so I lifted them all the way and looked behind them. The window seemed to be dry, as was the window pane and wall above it, and the roof. I lowered the top part of the window down, then put it back up, made sure it was tight as it would go, and locked it. I got towels for the floor and table, and a small towel to poke in the hole in the window blinds.

And I started drinking, because really, that was about all else I could do.

That seemed to do the trick, the small towel shoved in the hole wasn't sopping wet this morning, and my dad, love his heart, called his guy this morning himself. He has that voice. I waited to see if either of us would get a call back.

I came home for lunch today, took Milo out in the hard, pelting, neverending rain, came in, checked my window, kept good thoughts, and it didn't seem to be dripping. I came here and fooled with some video technical computer stuff that was making me want to tear my hair out, and finally found a solution.

However, by the time I found that solution I had about 7 minutes to fix my lunch, get it packed to go back to work, and take Milo out one more time. I was rushing around like crazy, and got my beautiful deli turkey and provelone on rye all fixed (I treated myself with a little Thousand Island dressing on it), and went to get some aluminum foil. I had only a small strip left on the roll. I went ahead and wrapped my sandwich, but the foil didn't go all the way round it. I devised plans to carry it so it wouldn't get wet in the rain.

I pulled into the parking lot on two wheels, five minutes late, and started gathering a mass of crap to carry into work. Bag, umbrella, little canvas carry for water and ice, small bag of chips, small container holding pickles, and my beautiful half-naked sandwich.

And I stepped out to notice that the rain had let up considerably, and I started up the lot through the alleyway to the back door of our building. And about four steps from the door....

I dropped my sandwich in the muddy alleyway. Bare side down. My beautiful sandwich that was going to get me through the rest of this crapoid day.

I picked it up, walked into the building, into my office, hurled it toward the trash can, sat down, and boo-hooed like a baby. I can take a lot, but I can't take my lunch being stolen from me when it was less than a minute away from being in my mouth.

I ended up ordering a tuna sandwich from a place up the street, and although it was good it wasn't my deli turkey and provolone on rye with a splash of Thousand Island dressing.

Anyway, I don't know how things could get any worse than that, and later in the day dad's dude called and is supposed to be over tomorrow morning to look at the Poderosa. I have a feeling I can take the news. I mean, I lost my sandwich and survived.

It was the last two slices of turkey, too. I couldn't even come home and make another tonight for dinner.

Man, life's hard.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What The Hell Time Is It?

I've started frequenting a new website. It's called, and as you might guess, it's full of pictures of crap at people's parents' houses. As you might also guess, it's a load of fun to look at.

The first time I went to this website I of course said, "Oh, man, I could fill 10 screens with crap from my parents' house." And coincidentally, I was there that very same day, and on that day and each visit since, I spent much time with roving eyes, searching for something to take a picture of.

Too bad it can't be the clock.

I'll tell you the story of the clock. It probably describes my parents as well as any story I could tell.

Way back in the early 70s when I was but a podlet, I bought my parents a clock for Christmas. Now, at the time I'm sure it was the big fashionable seller, I was proud to give it and they were proud to get it. It was a sunburst clock, with silver and gold bursts, and although it didn't look exactly like this...

...well, you get the idea.

This clock burst all over our den wall for years. It started in the old house on Lynn St, then made the move with us to the den over at Hillcrest. It ticked a lot of hours of our lives. It became rather unfashionable, of course, but it still ticked away, and as long as it did that, my parents saw no need to say farewell to it.

But my sister and I wanted desperately to say farewell to our old sunburst friend, and so on another Christmas I got a great idea. Another clock!

This time it was a small, square, basic number. Because I was into small, square, and basic. They opened the gift on Christmas, expressed happiness, and hung the clock that very day.

And all was well.

Until about a month later, when I went into my parents' bedroom and saw the old sunburst clock there on the wall. And a clock that out of date, and well, that big, it just became a flashy neon sign with sound, saying, "Tacky!"

When I expressed shock and horror over seeing the old clock, my mom's response was that it still worked, so why should they throw it away?

Then one fateful day our now over-25 year old clock stopped ticking. He had put in a good deal of service, and his time came. I was long gone by then, so I don't know the exact moment it happened. No, how I found out was that I saw it there on my mom's bedroom wall, well, not running. It stayed on the wall for a good five more years not working.

It's gone now, believe it or not, has been for a few years. I don't know what happened to it, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out that it wasn't thrown away but is in a closet somewhere waiting for some kind soul to tinker with it so it can leap back into life and back onto my parents' wall.

Oddly enough, however, the small, square, basic clock I bought my parents back in the 80s still hangs on the den wall. It doesn't work, either. Ticks not one tick, but there it hangs. Many's the time I've been downstairs at the folks' house, looked up at the clock, and panicked. "Lord, it's almost 8! I gotta get home!" Then I realize that no, that can't be right, I'll yell upstairs for a time check, and find that it's only 6:45.

Well, I think it's 6:45. See, here's the thing. My parents have a downstairs clock that doesn't work. Then upstairs they have a fancy gold clock with twiddly turning things and curly numbers on it, it sits on top of their curio cabinet. It doesn't work, either. There's also another fancy gold clock in their china hutch. It doesn't work. I don't know where in the hell they get their time, but they seem to know. I mean, they're never late for anything, so they must be getting it somewhere.

Maybe I need to put a few clocks on the Christmas 2010 list. Or maybe I need to gather every clock they have, all stopped and all with different times on them, line them up, and send a picture to

Or maybe I could just take a picture of the craftsy wooden calendar in the kitchen that says May 1998.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* So, did you guess the objects? Some of you did!
1. Yep, that's a bicycle helmet.
2. That's the top of my oven.
3. Very good, Kriz. That is indeed the Mona Lisa.
4. Nobody got poor Hermey the Elf.
5. Although I like the idea of Cheeto salad, those are some fancy toothpicks with the little frizz on top.
6. I thought everyone would get my broom.
7. And finally, friend to all, a roll of Duck Tape. (I tried to get the duck's beak there in the picture.)
* Thanks to all who played!


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Picture Sunday

Ouch. Blog goes from a Picture Sunday to a Picture Sunday. Someone hasn't been working hard enough.

But never mind. Hello, end of weekenders, and welcome to another round of Picture Sunday.

We haven't done this in a while, so why not? It's a mind-numbing edition of "Guess What It Is!"

For the uninitiated, the pictures below will be close-ups of everyday things. You have to guess what they are. Two disclaimers - first of all, I never know if they're easy or hard. They all seem very easy to me, but then again, I'm taking the pictures. And also, I always like to give a nod to Games Magazine, where I orginially saw this idea in their feature "Eyeball Benders."

So lets' get started. I'll start you easy. Anyone know what this is? You just might have one in your own house.

How about this? You should, I know you have one of these.

OK, then how about this one - if you don't get it, my feelings just might be hurt.

Some of you will get this one immediately, I'm sure.

I have a strange unexplained affinity for these. What are they?

Ahh, another easy one. Bet you'll all know it.

And finally, how about this object, friend to all?

All rightie, there you have it. If you want to make a guess as to what the pictures are of, just leave a comment. The only prizes are the pride of knowing you have good sight.

I'll post the answers with the next blog, which will hopefully (ha!) come Tuesday or Wednesday.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* The old iPod died yesterday. That wasn't fun, but it was fun going to pick out a new one. I got the newest generation nano (8th, methinks), pink, with four times the storage space as my old one. Spent all day here working with it and re-organizing and cleaning up my iTunes. Oh, hell, why not. Here's a picture.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Picture Sunday

Yes, by request of Mr M - hello, end of weekenders! Welcome to another edition of Picture Sunday!

Yeah, Picture Sunday's turned into a bit of a red-headed stepchild lately, but let's welcome him back into the fold. Now, what's worthy of a visual this week?

First off, I spent so much time telling you about my Floydfest experience last weekend that I've only just realized that I didn't tell you about the weekend before that. That was the weekend of the BigAss Clarinet Recital, organized by no less a person than Mr M himself.

This was the recital I whined about in earlier blogs, the one consisting of duets, trios, quartets, all the way up to the finale, the nine-player piece. The one we'd never practiced with all nine players in the room.

I was reticent - oh, yes, I was reticent! I never thought it would come off. But I have to admit right here in the old blog that not only did it come off, it came off beautifully. Everyone did a great job. Well, everyone except yours truly, who muffed one of the arpeggios in the duet with my clarinet friend Mary. But one muff in a long piece - hopefully that's not what people will remember.

And the nine-player piece - it was called "Monochrome III," by Peter Schickele, it came out so well I still can't believe it. It was one of those things that happens that just makes one happy to have been a part of.

I uploaded some of the videos on my Facebook page, maybe I'll upload the audio here for those of you not on the Facebook. Anyway, it was a lovely (if hot and rainy) night.

And I had some special support from some of the boys who came along to hear the music.

Yes, Woody showed an interest in coming to one of our musical 'dos, and Huckleberry Hound was sure to have plenty of tissues ready. He gets so emotional when he listens to music.

And here's an after-recital picture of all of us.

That's, from left, The Very David Niethamer, me, Dixon, Rick, Colleen, Mr M, Amanda, Christine, Kelly, and Mary. Some I already knew, some I met during rehearsals, and one I only met the day of the recital. But such nice people, and I really enjoyed meeting and playing with all of them.

OK. What else is going on in Betland?

Well here's another picture I posted on Facebook, but if you're not Facebookally inclined or missed it there, I'll post it here.

You know how you see lots of stickers on cars nowadays - especially bigass SUVs and minivans - that are little stick figures of the driver's family? A stick mom, stick dad, a few stick kids, some stick pets, an occasional soccer ball or cheerleading megaphone?

Well, I'd been harboring an idea for about a year, but I couldn't find any of those stick figures anywhere. And lo and behold, last weekend my sister was out shopping and found some, knew what was on my mind, and purchased the stickers I wanted for my back window.

Yes, there's my family. Stick me and stick Milo! Thanks, sister!

And finally, speaking of the little doggie, we're having a little crisis in Miloland. It's the way it is now, you know, that I don't crate Milo anymore. I go off to work or the grocery or wherever, I close the gate into the den, and Milo has the rest of the house to roam while I'm gone.

And for a while, he was great. A perfect little doggie gentleman. Nothing was disturbed, he was waiting at the gate when I got home, and we'd say hello and go out to pee. (Well, he would. I like to pee indoors, thanks.)

But the past ten days or so, Milo has been making mischief. And it's driving me bats. Why is he doing this now? And what's worse, he knows he's getting into stuff he's not supposed to! When I walk into the living room and find something he's looted, say, one of Sherman's hats, and I pick that item up, he immediately turns tail and runs. "OhGodOhGodOhGod!" he seems to be thinking. And yet he does it anyway.

This past Tuesday I came home to find he'd found my change purse. And while I really was mad and scolded him with a serious yell and frowny face, somewhere inside I couldn't help but appreciate the irony of what he picked.

Yes, it was my Archie McPhee "Good Dog, Bad Dog" change purse. I guess he was daring me to take sides.

Now there's a change purse that won't be holding any more pennies.

Bad dog!

And so there you have it. A little catch up on Betland and a Picture Sunday to boot.

Happy week!

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Been watching "Arrested Development" on the Netflix Wii, and the new season of "Mad Men" on TV. Totally in love with "Arrested Development," still settling into "Mad Men."