A Twist Of Fate
August, 2006 Entries

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(08/25/06 - 9:45 PM)
I went to get a haircut this morning, and for those of you that know me, you know that I do so maybe three times a year due to time constraints and my errant thinking that the "homeless look" is all the rage.

In fact, I've been going to the same barber since I was something like seven - which works out great for him, because over the years his rates have gone up, while the hair that I posess that he has to cut has declined at a far more alarming rate (I'm in the wrong business.) Suffice it to say, he knows me about as well as the next guy and when I walked in this morning he was concerned.

I walked in and right away he says, "I saw you're name on my schedule, and I actually did a double take. I thought it was awfully early for you to be coming again."

Turns out, he was worried someone had died or some equally abysmal evil had befallen me so as to force my hand to look respectable.

I'm not sure whether that's funny or sad.

We're on our way out of town tomorrow morning, so I'll see y'all in a week. (I'm practicing my Southernese.)

P.S. - (My first post-script!) Ooooooh... I found our vacation directions for my friend who's watching our house, and now that I read them, I feel I simply must share the highlights.

Dear Jim:

Thank you for watching my house! >Marking Jim Down For The Candlesticks In My Will< Ahh, there we are. Now...

Please do everything below, minus the sexual innuendo and the stuff you have no idea about that makes absolutely no sense to you whatsoever. But the stuff that does make sense to you - yeah, do that stuff.

Now, Thank you again so much for watching the house and the cat - we really appreciate it.

I'm going to write a short novella of everything you might ever need to know about Chateau Heathenwanda:

- Any newspapers or flyers you find in or around the mailbox you can simply throw away (I don't need to save thirty-five cents on celery this week, thank you.)

- Make sure to keep your eyes on the cat at all times and do not - I repeat - do not try and pet him. (I know, now that I warned you, you'll be bound and determined to do it, but I did warn you...)

- Make sure the house is not swarming with ants - look in the bathroom and around the cats food dish.

- If you do find ants, please dispatch them post-haste. Start with the paper towel crushing (There's some on the fridge on the magnetic roll, and a ton in the basement.) Then move on to the poison (In the garage in the 1-gallon sprayer on the lower metal shelf.) If you do have to spray, hang out until its dry so the cat doesn't orally investigate the poison (he's screwed up enough, thanks.)

- Make sure if you turn anything on, you turn it off again before you leave (hot plates, curling irons, the cat, etc.)

- Leave the vertical blinds over the sliding kitchen doors open for the cat please - don't close them (even if your naked - it's your own fault, after all. I mean, we didn't make you get naked, now did we? Hmm? No, I thought not.)

- When you leave, make sure the door to the downstairs living room is securely shut, and that the cat is on the same side of it as you are - we don't want to come home to an improvised litterbox anywhere down there, so keep him outta there. Likewise with any room that was closed off when you arrived.

- Check the cats' food and water levels, and fill as needed (or if it's funky, or if the ants are having a hootenanny in it, etc.)

- You can give the cat a treat (they're on top of the fridge.) If you do give him one then when he bites you, he might bite you someplace inconspicuous, rather than on the butt or some other uncomfortable place because he remembers you did something nice for him.

- Please don't bring livestock into our house. Okay, maybe one sheep. But that's it. I'm serious here - just one.

- If you see any free-range children or poultry in the back don't feed them - they're not ours, and then they won't leave and you'll probably have to worry about ants in their food too and... well, you get the picture.

- Be firm with the cat if he gets mean - firm, but not too firm; you know - like a canteloupe I guess. About that firm.


(08/24/06 - 11:18 PM)
So, we're killing some time last night, watching "Design Star" On HGTV. For those of you who haven't seen it (and you're not missing much), it's a cross between "Survivor" & "Trading Spaces". At the end of the show, they create false anxiety and tension in the last ten minutes, as they prepare to reveal who gets their no-talent butt booted from the show.

So, the time it had-a-come, and they broke for final commercial. We were on the edge of our seats, tingling with anticipation and fear. Would it be flaming-gay but talented David? Bitch-Queen Temple? Carrot-Top's veritable protege Tym? Or Southern-belle-cum-designer Alice. Suspense! Intense!

So, right, again, cut to commercial. What commercial, you ask? Why, the promo spot for next week's show! And guess what? It showed three designers, and a few video clips! But where was Temple? Where, I ask, where? She hadn't been eliminated, had she - because the show hadn't officially ended?


Now, I'm no Madison Avenue Nielsen junkie, but doesn't that kind of kill the mood faster than playing covered wagon with a chili fart in the marital bed?

(08/23/06 - 08:00 PM)
So, I'm reading a collection Carl Hiaasen's more interesting columns from (at the time of publication) over fifteen years of newspaper reporting with the Miami Herald called "Kick Ass" last night, when I come across what at first seems a heart-rending story about a woman in the projects in Florida (no color or race mentioned, which is a plus because I HATE stereotypes, and color and race are irrelevant in my mind with regard to situations such as the one I'm about to describe.) A woman who is 73 years-old and who is lamenting the lack of funding for those such as her to help them along socially and financially through their times of need. It was really touching.

Then I read further. She talked about how she had lived in said projects since their inception (or so I interpreted, as a specific date was not revealed - she used the term "All my life" which may or may not be true, as I didn't research the dates of initial implementation of the projects in her area.) She talked about how hard it was when she had her eleven children - trying to raise them right in said projects, with a lack of personal monies but, moreover, a continued lack of public and social funding. And how it was hard for her to watch her twenty grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren growing up in same said projects, without same said funding.

Yeah... Yeah, that's a damn shame... BUT... I know that when I was totally broke, and all I owned was a futon, an entertainment center that was left in the hallway at my future sister-in-laws' apartment, an computer and the clothes on my back, it was hard not to purchase a brand-new Maserati. Yeah, that was really tough.

The difference? I took stock of my financial situation, and with a little trick that I like to call "Logic", I made a startling discovery - I could not afford payments on a Maserati. So, I didn't buy the Maserati.

Now while this may seem a glib interpretation, let's expound on the lamentable situation of this woman, just because I can.

One woman, produces 11 children, who then produce 20 grandchildren, who then produce 4 (so far, mind you) great-grandchildren.


Yep, that's right. Thirty-five brand-spankin' new people who can't quite make ends meet, plus the original proud matron. It's tragic, I'll freely admit. The further tragedy? That our society has gotten so out of hand with social programs and the concept of entitlement that this woman even had the nerve to lament her situation publically. Speaking as one-half of a childless couple, how can I possibly keep up with that kind of rampant pro-creation, let alone help to support socially the exponential quantity?

And what about those poor damn kids? They didn't ask to be born into poverty. They didn't ask for their situation. But I can't help but wonder when the learning curve begins. When does someone suddenly say, "I can't afford this many children?" for both their own, and their potential children's sake?

Perhaps the newspaper was focusing on the wrong tragedy... and certainly on the wrong victims.

(08/22/06 - 10:20 PM)
Okay. Clear your mind. Now, imagine for a moment that you're slumbering peacefully. Serenity is firmly within your grasp, and for the first time in your life, you understand nirvana is not just a grunge band. Ahhhh...

Now, imagine that during this fleeting moment of bliss you live where I do. Not so bad right? But let's add something further to the mix. Now, let's imagine that you have a guy who lives across the street. Okay, still not so bad. What can one guy do? But let's say that it's a guy whose morning "Wanderin' 'round the yard wardrobe" consists solely of boxer shorts. And let's say that said guy works hours that even after four years of living here, I still haven't yet divined; whose idea of yard decor is old pallets, rolls of rusting chain link fence, cinder blocks, tires for more vehicles than he will ever own,and a flat-bottom duck boat that has never seen a day on a lake; whose garage is a jam-packed, floor to ceiling flea market of things that he will never again use (if they were ever used before), but that just hold too much sentimental value to get rid of. Okay, you're still tranquil, remember - but here comes the bestest part of all. Now imagine someone gave a pair of dogs a bullhorn and said, "Sing for the neighbors kids!" and they promptly complied.

Yeah, it gets a bit tricky here.

For the last three years, "Jackass Neighbor Guy" as we so lovingly call him, has allowed his faithful canine companions out each morning promptly at seven thirty for 30-some odd minutes of pure, adrenalized, unadulterated barking. And it's loud. And I don't mean kind of loud. I mean put a bullet in your head loud. And the acoustics in my neighborhood are so pristine that the sound manages not to diminish, nay, but rather to amplify itself profusely with a lovely Doppler-ized after-effect. This is how I woke up, once again this morning, gentle readers.

This is my morning, friends.

Over the years, I had hoped to meet this guy. To perhaps get to know him. Maybe even get to know him to the point where I could say to him (while pretending to adore organized sports, perhaps), "Gee, >NAME<, is it really necessary to own two dogs that spend most of their time in your backyard barking until 11:00 PM only to start again promptly at 7:30? Is that really friggin' necessary? And if so, what possible enjoyment can these animals possibly be bringing you? Are you a total pinhead?"

But I am not quite so fortunate. Rather, on the one occasion where I tried to speak with him, to include him in a conversation that was perfectly lovely before he ambled over and inserted himself like a proverbial horn-dog teen, the conversation went something like this:

Nice neighbor Sam: "I wish I knew what to do about this brown fir tree."
ME: "Gee, Sam, your fir tree is looking a little tepid. You might want to try a product from Miracle-Gro™ called MirAcid. My Dad used to use it on all his fir trees, and it did wonders."

Now, at this point you're saying, "So far, so good. What's the problem, Heath?"

This is when Jackass neighbor guy looks me dead in the eye and says (I'm not making this up folks), "No, what you need, Sam, is miratic acid for that tree." And promptly turns his back to me and walks away, shaking his head like I'm a plebian.

How in the hell do you deal with that? Not to mention that my moron alarms were going off at a full volume of eleven.

So now, every morning I am awakened by the Singin' Hound Revue because I can't get within forty feet of Jackass Neighbor Guy without getting inexplicably pissed off. Thank you, Jackass Neighbor Guy, whoever you are.

(08/21/06 - 07:20 PM)
I came to the startling realization today that I'm kind of damning myself on some level by having a blog. Specifically, everyone potentially has access to this, and while not necessarily deluding myself with grandeur, I wonder how I can relay thoughts and stories without cheesing someone off. This oughta be extremely interesting. Extremely, wildly, zanily, interesting (this sentence brought to you by the National Adverb Council - "Go Adverbs!"!)

I was fortunate enough to feel Death's cold hand on my shoulder today - specifically, I alluded to Captain Caveman (the old Hanna-Barbara cartoon) in passing conversation only to discover that no one in my office knew what in the world I was talking about. Now I don't know about you, but to me Captain Caveman was something of a fixture in my childhood. Also, I imagine that he was something of a role model to all heterosexual, pre-pubescent males. I mean, come on - ovoid, hirsute, toted a club and still managed to keep three ladies interested? So when my 25-year old assistant looked at me like I was Mormon considering Presbyterianism, I felt a bit dated to say the least. "Hey! Captain Caveman!," I said, "You know, rode around in a van, had a club with lots of Flintstone-esque gadgets in the end?" Nope, nothing. What the hell? I mean, I could literally hear the crickets. To make matters worse, the only one who actually remembered ol' Cavey-Wavey was our boisterous driver Mike (aged 40-something) who then proceeded into a full "Captain Cave-maaaaaaan!" yell right in the office. Lovely!

Alright, enough with the maudlin reflectionism. I did get to watch something unfortunate happen to someone else later in the day, when my UPS driver come in the door with a precariously piled passle of packages, promptly tripped, and re-distributed them into a much more interesting (and airborne) configuration much like the chef with the pies on Sesame Street. I felt bad for her, but did so while laughing hysterically. I always wondered how my books got so damaged in shipping - now I know.

I finished Jonathan Kellerman's fifth book last night - "Silent Partner", and it was definately one of his better ones (of which there are many, as he is now on something like book 19.) If you can find a copy, I highly recommend it.

(08/20/06 - 12:20 PM)
Okay, so I figure that I never communicate with people enough. I mean, I'm basically a hermit (less all the hair, obviously). I have so few friends, and the ones that I do have are scattered to the four corners of the globe. So I figured, "Wow, I love hearing my thoughts and musings - why should I continue to rob the world of them? My friends are all so far away, how can I foist said thoughts on them at their leisure?" The answer was clear - passenger pigeons.

After months of searching, it turned out that passenger pigeons are tough to find these days - though I did hear from several nonogenarians that they are quite tasty.

I have no idea how one of these is supposed to work. You're probably supposed to use some friendly service or program to write these things. But, being the sadist that I am I figured, "Hey - I can do this twice as slowly by simply typing and building an HTML document."

So here it is, friends & family. Whenever you're in bed at three AM longing to know what I ate for breakfast yesterday, now you will have a way to satiate that hunger for knowledge right here. Although, you'll be sadly disappointed, as I nearly never eat breakfast.

So, what's on the old agenda? Wanda and I are planning a trip to Savannah next week, and I'm rather excited about that. It will be my first vacation in over a year (hers as well) and I personally have always wanted to go. I am anxious that it might not live up to my expectations, but the positive side of that is that I have as yet been unable to quantify said expectations.

Speaking of our last vacation - here's a picture of a badger that we took on our last vacation that I think you might enjoy. He was frolicking - or possibly thought he might be auditioning for something:

Mmmmm... Badger Porn!

I have so many funny antidotes - er, anecdotes - to share, I don't know where to begin. So, I figure I'll just fill in the blanks over time. I'll just have to accept that my first entry is probably boring, and that content will be lacking for a little while until I get this show up and running (but hey - the badger really helps.)

On a final note, I just finished a book by Gregory McDonald that absolutely broke my heart called "The Brave". It's a rare book, and therefore hard to find but if you have a strong stomach, I highly recommend it. Also, if anyone does read it, I would like to know your impression about the overall story. To me, I got the impression that he was drawing a modern day parable to the story surrounding the last days of Christ (with specific regard to the stigmata, the last supper, the carrying of the cross, the betrayal, etc.)

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