A Twist Of Fate
June, 2010 Entries
"Anytime four New Yorkers get into a cab together without arguing, a bank robbery has just taken place. " - Johnny Carson

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(06/28/10 - 5:27 PM)
Mr. Phillips Screwdriver has an enormous new bumper-sticker that he has lovingly placed on the rear of what would otherwise be a pristine, maroon, PT Cruiser. It reads:

"Hot Chicks Vote Republican"

Who IS this guy???

(06/27/10 - 10:18 AM)
Wanda and I were supposed to go to Elkhorn for some quarterly antiques festival where everything has to be from before 1960 to be shown with some old friends today, but something came up on their end, so we just ended up staying home.

I watched (for about the fifth time) "King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters" last night, and still found myself pulling for Steve Wiebe. Man, that guy is the epitomy of a classy contender.

Went out and did the burning this morning, and have no Earthly idea what's on tap for today.

(06/26/10 - 6:22 PM)
What a day. Woke up way too late, and after waiting for my Expediter to come and get my appliance dolly, said screw it and went to work.

Worked for three hours on a quote for a new customer in Michigan, and did some inspection.

Came home and took Wanda to lunch at Chili's where I had (for only the second time) the flatbread steak sandwich. The first time it was heaven in my mouth, and I had a new favorite thing. The second time, it tasted like bitter everything, and I wondered what in the hell had gone wrong. Yeah - it was that bad.

So, never again on that one.

Then we stopped over at the local red box store to pick up a few necessities - and a Goonies t-shirt for me, apparently.

Came home and just said screw it, because it was after five, and settled in to watch some episodes of Millennium.

(06/24/10 - 7:27 PM)
Exciting news on the book front: I received my first, published, review today. And it was favorable! Woot!

Rock River Times | Book Review

I'm cautiously optimistic that this will sell some more copies, but somehow I think we're reaching the pinnacle of distribution a bit earlier than I would have liked. I think I've given away as many copies as I've sold, and everyone keeps telling me that they're going to have all their friends read their copies, which is sort of counterproductive because I'm trying to make a few bucks for a sporadic ten years of hard work. I know they mean well, though, and the validation is gratifying, nonetheless.

(06/23/10 - 8:06 PM)
I had to mow the yard for the second time in less than a week. And the mower bogged down so much that what should have taken 45 minutes took nearly twice that. And the forecast calls for rain, rain, some more rain, and - oh yeah - rain again.

Are you serious?

My yard looks like crap because I refuse to mow it every 48-hours like my retired neighbor, or my other neighbor who alternates the job between four individuals within the household. I just don't have that kind of heat tolerance anymore.

Perhaps I should just bite the bullet and develop it. I don't know.

(06/19/10 - 7:12 PM)
Left work 45 minutes early yesterday with the full intent of popping in this morning.

Instead, I slept until nearly 10: Whoops.

The new monster truck game wasn't horrible, but it's still no MarioKart. But then again, what is? We played until our arms hurt, and then watched a movie last night.

And now, on to today:

Spent the afternoon at my Aunt Linda's home in the Byron countryside. It was a gorgeous, perfect day and all I wanted to do was find a hammock and watch the antics of my cousins' children.

My cousin Patrick was in town from Japan (hence the occasion), and the food was amazing. Tony, Dan, Linda & Doug really outdid themselves this time.

We also received something of a rare visit from my Great Aunts Maryanne and May, which was a pleasant surprise.

Earlier in the day, we bid farewell to our Pillsbury dough-boy gumball machine that we've had around for some fifteen years. We decided a few months back that it just didn't fit our home anymore, and so we gave it a new and better one with our good friends Lori & Norm.

Hopefully, they enjoy it.

On our way home, we stopped by the pet store and bought little Ryuk (that's Wanda's Betta, F.Y.I.) a new and larger home, and a little friend in the form of a mystery snail (Wanda thinks it's a girl). Apparently, Bettas don't mind the company of snails.

With regard to the snail: As soon as we put the little guy in the tank, he sprang to life and began moving around non-stop. Which is good, because we couldn't tell if he was dead or alive in the tank at the store, or on the ride home.

The Betta seems to be a bit skittish with all of his new room, so Wanda is going to stop at the pet store once more on her way home from church tomorrow to buy another structural item for him to hide under. Hopefully, this will alleviate his stress levels, as we're fresh out of Betta Xanax


Wanda has just informed me that they do, in fact, make an anti-anxiety spray for Betta's. Now I've heard everything.

(06/18/10 - 8:06 PM)
It's been an interesting week at work. We continue to make great strides in reducing the bottleneck of work, as well as getting the grinding department up and running.

The Toyoda grinder now has a brand-new, hard-shelled, epoxy paint job and looks like a million bucks. All of the hard work put in by Josh, Arsenio, Seth, Rena, Lars, Larry & Dave have really paid off. They've stripped, sanded, disassembled, cleaned and fixed/replaced the machine back to like-new condition. And being a 1997 that was used in one of the dirtiest shops I've ever been in, prior to our purchase of it this January, that's no small feat.

Becky (my assistant) also returns next week (and thank Heaven's for that), but it looks like we might lose Tricia (our driver, and Rena's mother) for three months with knee surgery. This will certainly take its toll on our company, but it might be a good opportunity for Rena (who's a go-getter) to learn a new facet of our business, and become a backup driver. I'm hopeful that this becomes the case.

The bottom line remains, however, that we will be down a person, and we'll all have to pick up the slack. But if Rena and Tricia trade jobs, it will all work out in the end.

I stopped at the store for a few odds and ends, and ended up buying a monster truck racing game for the Wii that was on clearance. It'll hopefully be a nice distraction for Wanda and I this evening.

I decided to change things up a bit, and took Wanda to DiGiovanni's restaurant in Roscoe for dinner. It's a place that we've eaten before, but not for a long while.

To say the portions are huge is like saying Karl Malden had a petite schnozz. We had calimari for an appetizer (knowing full well that we shouldn't, but their calamari is some of the best ever), and by the time our dinners arrived, we looked at each other across the table as though asking one another, "Are we nuts for not just taking this home now?"

Still, amazing food and good company. Have I mentioned how mental I am for my wife? Pretty sure that I have...

Lots and lots of rain tonight, also. Heavy and loud, and the microbursts were reportedly at 90+ MPH in places. A gorgeous steel-grey horizon and a great lightning show.

(06/17/10 - 9:22 PM)
Mowed the lawn tonight, as the good folks at NOAA have let me know to expect rain for the next 5-6 days. They've been all over the map with their forecasting of late. All I know is that it wasn't raining then, so I jumped at the chance to get it done. Fortunately I mowed the hill last time, so I got the easy mowing this time around.

Wanda and I watched another movie this evening, and then hit the sack early. Getting old appears to mean that one sleeps more.

(06/16/10 - 6:56 PM)
This story brought to you by FaceBook:

Where I grew up, we had some next-door neighbors for as long as I can remember. When I was about 13, they moved to Roscoe.

I hadn't seen any of them in eons, but when I finally got my butt on FaceBook, they found me.

My neighbor's names were Roger and Debbie, and their children were Stephanie and Amy. Stephanie was like a best friend to me back then, which is probably why I agreed to play Barbies with her. It was that, or nothing.

Anyway, I saw a message from the normally demure Debbie this afternoon. Here's the post:

"Today when I got home there was a wrapped present on my door step from UPS... Awwwwwwwwwww... opened it up and there was an Ultra Tech 3000 Dill Doe (not sure if that's how you spell it... when I told Amy about it I called it a Dill rod??? Of course she corrected me). Wow... it was for Kelly Anderson, but my address. Sorry Kelly..."

Hilarity! I think what makes it funnier is her innocence in the whole thing.

(06/14/10 - 7:12 PM)
Heath Tries To Be Funny:

Here's one I made up today: A man was very upset with his rabbit. Each day he would scream incessantly at it in its hutch in his back yard. Finally, the neighbors called the police. A judge heard the case, and made him take an Angora-Management course.

(06/13/10 - 10:06 AM)
Sitting here working on several things at once (what else is new?) and trying to get it all finished before I leave for Mom's this afternoon. We're going to lunch with my Brother and Sister-in-law as well, so it should be a nice afternoon.

Unless we get into another knock-down, drag-out political and/or religious and/or abortion discussion. Then, not so much.


Change of plans. My brother has a sore throat, so he's unable to attend. I called Mom to call it off until he feels better, but she had already made a cake for me. She offered to bring it to me, but that's ridiculous, so we'll be going to her house just to hang out for a bit this afternoon.

(06/12/10 - 9:22 PM)
Went to work for a couple of hours this morning, and then came home and went to lunch with Wanda.

Stopped and bought a patio umbrella that I intend to build mounts for on the deck so that we can actually sit on it without being pummeled by the ceaseless afternoon sun.

It's pretty brutal and direct on the worst of days, so it's a good project to keep me out of trouble, now that the puck lights in the kitchen are all working again (still have no idea what happened to number five).

(06/11/10 - 11:06 PM)
Left work early today, and came home to mow the lawn. I took it upon myself to mow the hill in back in its entirety for the first time this year, having been thwarted previously by my now absent appendix and the subsequent recovery from the removal of said-same.

Last time, as you may remember, I had to weed-whack the entire thing, as that was all I could manage to muscle up there on the 45° slope. Total time spent: 2 hours.

Mowing it only took 45 minutes, but kicked my progressively healthier ass sideways. I've finally begun eating better and exercising a great deal more (still not as much as Wanda - she's such a show-off) and it still managed to kill me. Of course, the hot weather and the lack of a breeze didn't help either.

Wanda had a seminar today, and so she brought home Chipotle for dinner, which made me drool all day just thinking about it. It's been too long.

We went for a short walk (my fault, I was beat) and then watched an old John Candy movie that I hadn't seen in ages, and Wanda didn't remember having seen at all.

And while Armed & Dangerous was not his best film, I got the biggest laugh out of the notion that Eugene Levy and Meg Ryan were dating. It was an... interesting... dichotomy, to say the least.

(06/10/10 - 8:03 PM)
Went to the grocery store for the first time in a month today. WOW. I can't believe what passes for store attire these days:

° Short-shorts on big-big women
° Sweat pants, a plain white t-shirt, and maroon, faux fur-lined slippers - all on the same lady who looked like she just rolled out of bed, but had her man's arm in her mouth, kissing it, every six seconds. I thought I might lose my lunch, when coupled with her copious weight and giant face mole the size of a half-dollar (which I only mention as part of the package)
° Ladies on scooters who are too big to walk, but not too big to wear barely-there, sleeveless blouses, apparently.

I could go on, but you get the picture. And it was out-and-out RAMPANT today. It seemed that 90% of the folks there were dressed like this, and the other 10% were elderly individuals dressed like they were going somewhere nice (God love 'em).

(06/09/10 - 11:16 PM)
Wanda and I watched Brewster's Millions tonight - a movie I had only seen once, a very long time ago, and that Wanda had not seen.

Instant classic. I could even watch it again. What intrigued me more was that it was based on a book.

So, for giggles, I looked it up on ABE and it turns out that it was written in - get this - 1903.


Now I had to get my hands on one. So, after carefully reviewing the spartan offerings of decent copies, I bought a middle of the road one for a mere pittance.

Now I just have to wait for it to arrive so I can read it. To say that I'm curious is an understatement.

(06/08/10 - 7:22 PM)
Watched Bangkok Dangerous tonight.

I want my time back. What a pile of suckage: Shame on you, Nicholas Cage.

(06/07/10 - 10:22 PM)

(06/06/10 - 8:37 AM)
Spent the evening with old friends and had an absolute blast. I hadn't seen these guys in fourteen years, and it was so amazing to speak to kindred spirits for a change, as most of the people I know, while nice, aren't a lot like me in most ways.

Wanda even seeemed to settle right in, and spent the evening having fun as well, which was awesome.

We sat and talked for a few hours, had some dinner, and played a strategic zombie game which I thought sounded nuts, but turned out to be damn fun to play.

All in all an amazing evening with old friends that I cannot wait to do again.

(06/05/10 - 5:22 PM)
Spent the and afternoon fighting tooth and nail with a computer that was more infected that Tom Hanks at the end of "Philadelphia".

Apparently, when their virus scanner expired, they just went on with their lives, and LimeWired themselves into viral oblivion.

Of the 25 unique problems I could quantify (i.e. - viral, trojan, adware and spyware) I managed to gut 19 out within the first two hours. I cleaned house on the PC, got the updates installed, and did what I could.

In the end, I made the machine 200% better (it barely functioned when I got there) and far more usable. HOWEVER, the primary piece of viral software was a smart little sucker. It knew all the sites for everything that I needed to get rid of it, and blocked access in ways that I've never seen before. It took me a half-hour to figure out how to circumvent that little trick, but when I did, it had yet another counter-attack up its sleeve in the form of disallowing software installs in a GUI environment.

Enter the DOS command prompt. I went old-school, back-end on the thing, and actually got it to do what the virus didn't want, but then it disallowed the registry entries I needed for the software to function.

Hard as I tried (5 1/2 hours worth, plus a thumbnail drive arsenal and a registered copy of a current virus scanner and firewall in tow) I could not dislodge the little so-and-so.

It was an interesting learning experience (I hadn't fought a series of viruses such as these before, nor had I done much work on a Vista system) but in the end I lost.

The upside is that I got it functional enough to be slaved to a clean drive and get itself cleaned in that manner.

So, I suppose you could call it a tie, as there was no way in Hades that was happening when I first arrived.

(06/04/10 - 5:22 PM)
Mowed the lawn after a long-feeling day at work. I actually snuck out a little early, truth be told.

Tomorrow I have some guests coming that I haven't seen in fourteen years, and I'm not sure how it's going to be but I reckon that - since they're geeks (the old, on-line kind who coined the term before Best Buy >AHEM< 'borrowed it' for their own devices - if you ever wondered where it came from, there you go) we'll just pick right up where we left off.

I will say this: Without FaceBook, I never would have reconnected with them, or others. This, in and of itself, makes the site very worthwhile.

(06/03/10 - 5:52 PM)
Go to Google. Type in "Where is Chuck Norris" in the search box, and hit "I'm feeling lucky."


(06/02/10 - 11:12 PM)
Watched the classic, 1988 Richard Pryor movie, "Moving" again tonight for the first time in ages. Man, what a classic film! Wanda and I both remember watching it waaaay back in the day, and it brought back alot of mindless memories. It's one of the rare movies that I actually like, and even rarer will watch again without any fuss.

(06/01/10 - 7:16 PM)
Happy June! Finished Christopher Moore's latest, "Bite Me" which (obviously) is a continuation of his increasingly popular Vampire Flood and Jody series.

This installment, while certainly insanely funny, didn't seem to do much to move the serial story forward a great deal. Essentially, the only new development worth note is vampire cats that beget... we'll, I don't want to spoil it, but you can probably guess.

Other than that, an unremarkable entry that must be read for serial continuity (and some serious laughs - his lexicon of teen angst is astounding) but other than that I just cannot recommend it, and certainly not as a stand-alone volume.

If you're a fan, you'll be fine. If not, start the series from the beginning because, in the end, it's very worth it.

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