A Twist Of Fate
November, 2010 Entries
"Just because you can't, doesn't mean you shouldn't try. And just because you shouldn't, doesn't mean you can't." - Me

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(11/30/10 - 4:22 PM)
Today's stupid joke, brought to you by the Acme Fake Dog Poo, Co.: Acme: Fulfilling all of your fake dog poo needs since 1954!

Q: What does an Indian say when he's sitting atop his house?
A: "I have teepee in my bunghole".

Here's another that's been floating around the shop, that I have tweaked out a bit:

Do you ever think, In a group of camels, the thin camels look upon a corpulent one and say something like, "Ooooh, Girl! You got a wicked case of human toe, there!"

(11/29/10 - 7:45 AM)
So, the other day when I pulled into my garage, I heard a sound like an electric guitar being played with a dental drill for two seconds. I looked allover for what in the world had made the noise but, finding nothing, gave up and went inside.

This morning, my garage door went up all of six inches, and then stopped. I recalled the noise, and began examining my garage door and opener more closely. It turns out that one of the two torsion springs has snapped right in two, hence the unholy noise.

Wanda had to help me 'cheat' the door open by lifting copiously, but we finally got it done on the second go-round.

So, now I have to call Ed (he's my garage door guy and - yes - I have a garage door guy, so what?)

(11/28/10 - 7:55 AM)
You're getting a four-day entry today because I'm too lazy to break it up, and I'm on a writing tear.

Turkey day was good, in as much as we got to see family, and my Aunt Lola's red-velvet cheesecake was a knockout (it's nice to have a pro baker in the family). Wanda fell ill the evening of Thanksgiving and, as of this writing this morning, is still sick. We should just forego holidays altogether.

My back is taking a turn for the worse this morning, with pain and lock-up the likes of which have not plagued me in some nine weeks.

On a positive note, I did manage to start writing again yesterday. I've had a book bouncing around in my head for years, and in the shower yesterday, something just clicked and I knew that if I didn't get it down, I would regret it. Thirty-two pages and six hours later, I called it a day. I wasn't planning on doing it again today, but I somehow have some more mojo working, so that's where I'm headed next.

Wanda and I wrapped up the fourth, and final, season of "Profiler" and I'm pretty sure they could have stopped at three as nothing was really gained by adding a fourth season. In the end, you could tell there were setups for a fifth that never happened, and I think that was the right decision.

Other than that, nothing to report.

(11/24/10 - 7:23 PM)
Surprisingly long day at work today. It's hit or miss this time of year, as you get a random smattering of individuals freaking out, trying to repair equipment over the holiday and others who take part or the whole week off. Or, at least, leave early.

Today was a non-exceptional mixture, but it all ended with no one worse off, so call it a win.

Decided to order pizza for dinner because I still have a hard time cooking (standing still for any period of time hurts), and Wanda was drained from another fun day in the dichotomy zone - a land where the lazy and dishonest are rewarded while she seems to get the shaft more times than an up-to-the minute female porn star. Hypothetically, not literally - get your minds out of the gutter, perverts.

Looking forward to a four day weekend to read, see family, and just recharge. The media library will be in there somewhere, but with all that time to tackle it, it should feel less like a chore. I hope, anyway.

I also expect to get some reading knocked out. For certain one book, and probably more like two.


The whole house just browned out for a split second. That was weird.

Anyway, I'm off to begin my weekend in earnest.

(11/23/10 - 8:26 PM)
Finished Bret Easton Ellis' most recent offering, "Imperial Bedrooms" which - shockingly enough - is a 'sequel' to his first novel from some thirty years ago, "Less than Zero".

His first novel was something new - something that spoke to a generation pondering how in the hell they got there, but not long enough to avoid the hedonistic tendencies that come with the excesses that they were faced with in the early eighties.

Since then, our society has degraded to the point where the overtly hedonistic and nihilistic tendencies in the first novel are now something of a commonplace. And we find our generation (and subsequently the youth propogated with aplomb and indifference by said-same) spiraling further and further into the abyssal plain that was once near-solely the realm of Ellis in his writings all those years ago.

The first book had a soul; a life of its own; a spirit of self-loathing mingled with a longing to comprehend where it all went wrong. This second installment feels like the gauzy spectre of what the first book meant itself to be. It has the palpable sense of being a blank and random afterthought with the premise of 'looking into the characters lives 30 years later'.

The way I see it, it was unecessary and - if it needed to be done at all - it could have been done with some spirit and polish.

Instead what we are left with feels like a slap-dash, 165-page abortion blooming with run on sentences linked by irritatingly prolific 'ands' that goes precisely nowhere.

Alright, to be fair, there is a loose plot in there somewhere, but it never finds itself fleshed out. And from Ellis, who has shown brilliance in form before, it just doesn't cut it. He's proven what he can do, and my instincts tell me he just didn't take the time on this one.

I can't recommend it, especially if you haven't read the first book. Even if you have (as I have) if you're like me, you will have a hard time remembering characters that you read about in one book out of hundreds so very long ago.

Apparently, Mr. Ellis gives us more credit than we deserve on this front. Or - at least - more than I do.

(11/22/10 - 5:13 PM)
There was a tornado today in town, probably because it was 60° and ultra humid. Odd time of year for one, that's for certain.

(11/21/10 - 9:54 PM)
Finished Louise Erdrich's "The Master Butcher's Singing Club" this afternoon. This was a book that I would normally not have even picked up, but it was recommended by an old friend and so I gave it a go.

Not really my sort of book, but interesting enough in its own right. I'll leave the review to the pros on this one.

(11/20/10 - 8:17 PM)
Spent the morning working on the media library, then off to Madison with the keenest girl I know.

Got the oil changed, and saw snow all over one car (turned out, it had Alberta plates, so that explained that) and the temp never peaked above 34°.

Stopped at both Half-Price Books and sold my whole run of James Patterson and some omnibus editions I had culled from the hoard. I'd been meaning to get rid of James ever since I realized I was never going to read one of his books that I liked. His writing style is simplistic, his stories are irritating and, in the end, I judged them as nothing more than bad pablum for the masses.

No love lost, and glad to have the space for something new and better.

Found a pristine copy of Stephen E. Ambrose's, "Nothing Like It In The World" that was signed AND inscribed, "All Aboard!" by the recently late Ambrose. For fifteen bucks, I could scarcely believe it.

Stopped At Schlotzsky's Deli for lunch (amazing, as always) and then home.

Even with the cold, it was an enjoyable morning in the sunshine.

Tried to wrap up the book I'm reading, but was just too sleepy to read it all, so I gave up and took a little nap.

I'll finish it tomorrow.

(11/18/10 - 6:06 PM)
Mr. Phillips Screwdriver came into my office today to complain about some taps I had bought.

For those of you not in the know, a tap is a small tool - sort of like a drill, but with screw threads - used to add screw threads to a hole.

He pointed out with more than a hint of irritation that these were made in England (Rule, Brittania!)

To take a step back, my personal preference is a tap company out of Japan. I usually make it my business to order from this company whenever possible. The problem is that during the economic downturn, they depleted most of their stock and now some standard sizes are so in demand that the waiting list is into January.

So obviously I have to buy something before that time, unless I want my guys trying to figure out how to tap things with a chisel.

I chose the next runner-up brand in my mind, hence the English taps.

At this point, we return to our story:

So, Mr. Phillips Screwdriver makes the following statement:

"See this tap? It's English. I hate English taps. I would rather have Brazilian taps, over English."

At this point, I'm in no mood so I retort, "Can you make me a list of countries that you hate, in the order that you hate them? Because - to me - it's not about country of origin on a product, but the inherent quality of the product. And these taps are just fine."

He walks out all in a huff, and as soon as he departs the office, my Assistant, Becky, says, "He needs to draw us up a flowchart of how each country rates against one another. That would be even more helpful."

At which point I proceed to laugh myself stupid.

This whole conversation was so ridiculous that I don't even have anything rational to say - it speaks for itself.

(11/17/10 - 9:22 PM)
Went to see the surgeon today to see what his take was on my MRI. Turns out, he did not think I was a good candidate for surgery. Specifially, he believes that the culprit and source of all my pain, is a pinched nerve where the trunk of the spine meets my right hip bone. Based on motion tests that I should have failed, and one that I should have passed but did not, his assessment was bolstered.

He said he needed to rule out prostatitis, and I should have run for the hills at the first syllable, but was too stupid to do so. Needless to say, it got interesting after that.

His plan of attack is a continuation of the pharmacological coctail that I have been saddled with lo these few months, as well as the addition of new shoes (which, in hindsight, I should have come up with on my own) and a TENS unit - basically a portable shock treatment.

If, in a few weeks, things aren't looking more promising, he has also recommended localized injections into the offending nerve itself via radiological targeting. Further, if things don't proceed to better themselves, physical therapy might be warranted and - if that doesn't help - then I might be a candidate for surgery.

Realistically, he told me that it may take six months for this sort of injury to right itself. I did the math, and shuddered to think of myself in a pain-laden, drug-induced haze for another four months. But - then again - what options do I have?

(11/15/10 - 8:49 PM)
I've been watching a series on television (alright, out of the DVR - to be precise) about Ancient Astronaut Theory. This is one of my closet fascinations, and the series is actually done fairly well. It introduces a ton of information heretofore unknown to me, as well as some crazy ideas that probably would have been better left out.

It does get one thinking about one's place in the cosmic mess, and it also gives rise to thought about the human condition that seems to inherently necessitate deification of any kind.

I highly recommend the series to zealots and skeptics alike. It's interesting information, presented in an interesting way and if nothing else, it gives your brain something to chew on.

(11/14/10 - 9:13 AM)
Here's a few giggles for the morning:

Bifurcate (v): The act of purchasing something for a free-spirited young woman named Catherine.

And here's one that isn't mine, but is still funny:

A man is sitting on a bus when a younger man gets on and sits across from him. The young man has everything on his cranium pierced, has a blue mohawk, and a green moustache.

The man finds himself staring and staring at the young man, until finally the young man can stand it no longer and asks, "What? Didn't you ever do anything crazy when you were young?"

The older man replies, "As a matter of fact, I did. I once made unreciprocated love to a bird of paradise at the zoo some eighteen years ago, and I was wondering if you might be my son."

(11/13/10 - 8:52 PM)
Went to work this morning, after yesterdays hasty retreat and discovered a great deal for me to do.

Spent about three and a half hours there, and then came home.

Worked on the media library for a bit, and then went on to read.

Finished Douglas Coupland's latest, "Generation A" and was satisfied at least. The book spins the idea of bees disappearing (something very real at the moment, and very controversial while also being inexplicable) and what happens when, after years of absence, five disparate individuals all over the world are suddenly stung within hours of each other.

The tale gets a bit speculative after that, but it's all in the name of presenting a good story, so I myself did not mind so much. Here Coupland takes the opportunity to spin out several dozen short yarns in the guise of the five individuals being forced to tell made up stories to increase certain brain wave capacities.

I know, it sounds looney, but if you've read Coupland, you also know that - somehow - he makes the insane totally plausible.

For Coupland fans, this one is a no brainer. For individuals unfamiliar with his works, this might be a good indoctrination to his work, but - for my money - I'd recommend "Microserfs" as the first book you read. It's a brilliant work, and one of my very favorite books. And to say it was awe inspiring on many levels is not an exaggeration on my part. I actually cried at the end. It's that good.

(11/12/10 - 5:22 PM)
I left work early today, as I could no longer stand the intense pain that has been plaguing me over the past two days. The spasms are back, and the pain is not only intense, it's all over my body again. My groin feels constantly in a vise, my shoulder feels like there's a crowbar jammed through the joint, my neck hurts, and my back is a spasming flame of pain.

I called the specialist that I was reffered to on Tuesday, after my MRI results showed an unspecified problem, and learned that not only is he a specialist but - in fact - I had been referred to a spinal surgeon, as my general practitioner felt that I needed surgery.

I learned this from the girl in scheduling, and had no notion that this was what was happening. I simply thought that my general practitioner was referring me to someone more knowledgeable in spines than he.

To say it was a shock was an understatement. The last thing I want is my third surgery in a year (after having had exactly zero in my previous 35 years), but I also know that I can't take too much more of this intense, soul-crushing, pain either.

For a while, the pain had subsided. And in an effort to achieve more clarity at work, I had cut my meds from three doses per day to one, mid-morning dose to get me through the majority of the day.

This was actually working. My errors were down, I was more cognizant of the things happening around me, etc.

It went well for about a week, until this Tuesday, when all the pain and more returned with a vengeance. I have no idea what happened, but the pain was too much to bear with only the one dose, so I recanted and ramped up to the 3 per day schedule.

I now have an appointment on the books this Wednesday to see the surgeon, and I don't hold out much hope that the news will be good. Then again, as I mentioned before, I also don't know how much more of this debilatating pain I can endure. My life is a shell of what it once was, and my activities are far too limited for my liking to make this a permanent choice. Compounded with the number of errors I am making at work (errors that 15 years of experience tell me never happened prior to being medicated) and I know that something must change.

The only bright spot is that my employer - and to some degree, my long-time customers - know what's happening, and are taking these errors as a temporary situation.

But it's taking its toll on my credibility - to say nothing of my ego and pride.

(11/11/10 - 7:04 PM)
Received a call from my general practitioner's office this afternoon, letting me know that there "...appears to be a problem in my spine, and that something is pressing on the nerves."

Tell me something I don't know.

I was told that I was being referred to a spinal expert for an appointment with him, and that they could not (or would not) be more specific as to what was occuring in my spine. Which made me a little scared, I'll admit.

I contacted the other doctor's office, and was asked a whole host of invasive questions. I was then informed that as soon as they received the records transfer, I would be scheduled to meet with the specialist.

So, here's to hoping.

(11/10/10 - 4:36 PM)
I finished Andrew Davidson's "The Gargoyle" last night, and all I can say is I was not expecting such an astounding novel.

The novel is so simple in its premise, yet so elegant in the way it spins a tale that ought to feel tawdry, but ends up feeling endearing.

We follow the post-burn trauma life of our narrator, as he encounters Marianne Engel quite by accident from the confines of his bed.

As a recent occupant of the psych ward, he doesn't pay much creedence to the fantastic yarns she spins about her - and later their - past lives. At least, not at first.

As their relationship becomes more complex, he finds himself drawn into a world of the fantastic and ultimately ends up recuperating in her company.

I don't want to spoil a thing, so I won't get too specific. Needless to say, it's an amazing read that is both heart-breaking and soul-stirring all in one go.

I recommend this book to pretty much anyone, though it is on the love story / relationship side of the fence, and appears to have been geared toward women, I had no problem absorbing - and outright enjoying - this amazing first work by what I hope to be an author we will see again in the very near future with his next delicate work.

Great job, Andrew!

(11/07/10 - 11:13 AM)
Greetings, all! It is I - Plinky the House Elf!

First, I wish to say that I appreciated all of the cards, letters, and police visits sent to the house. I realize that I've been out of touch for just over a year, but I assure you that I am alive, and that Master Heath has not killed me in some untoward way. You may stop sending the authorities, especially because they seem most cross with me when they find that I am quite alive, not a real person, and have no 'doughnuts' - whatever they are.

Today Master Heath is in the restroom doing something he calls "Dropping a monster deuce." I have no idea what this means, but I do know that he usually takes a volume of the Encyclopedia in there with him, and - hours later - is excited to make me listen to the principal exports of Namibia or some other such place.

Why can't he be more like Mistress Wanda? They're both humans, so one would think that they would be so much more alike. Mistress Wanda is poised and lovely, where Master Heath is huge, unkempt, and chock full of unfortunate noises at all hours of the day - even when he sleeps.

And don't get me started on the inherent odor factor.

But, I digress. For, dear Readers, I am here - as always - to share my life experiences with you!

I have been waiting for some time to share with you the phenomena that I experienced last year - one that is, in fact, fast approaching once more. I am, of course, talking about what you humans call 'Black Friday'.

I realize that this makes no sense to anyone so I, dear Readers, as always, have taken it upon myself to do the research for you!

Here is what I found:

At first, I thought it was a day meant only for black people. It made the most sense, given the name, and the fact that humans are forced from their slumber at such an early hour - perfect camouflage for people the color of night.

As I did more research, however, I realized that everyone was invited to participate in this phenomena, even though the black people have a decided advantage due to the darkness. Not for lack of trying I was, however, unable to figure out what this advantage might be.

Apparently, in 1966 on the East Coast, someone decided that buying one another presents for Jesus' Birthday on December 25th (which, I also found out was not - in fact - his birthday, but to reduce confusion, I shall leave that point for another time) should have an official beginning the day after the nation had gorged itself on Turkey and something called 'dish to pass'.

I questiond this, however, as I also found that some humans - known as 'Vegetarians' or 'Vegans' do not partake of Turkey. So, I figured that they would be exempt from the phenomena of 'Black Friday'. This it turned out was also false, and added yet another convoluting layer to the onion that is 'humanity'.

Good gracious, you humans are a confusing lot.

So - shopping - and Jesus' birthday that isn't his birthday:

Apparently, stores felt it was a good idea to try and jam as many humans into their stores in a 24-hour period as possible, and elected to choose this day to do so, in the hopes that the humans would be enticed to purchase their entire Jesus' Birthday haul if they were allowed to bust the doors on the shopping establishment.

This also led to some confusion, as I could not comprehend how everyone would get a chance to bust the doors on a shopping establishment, as someone would have to be first, and the number of doors were limited. Then I recalled other, internal, doors existed and supposed that a bathroom stall door worked just as well as a front door or loading dock door. Perhaps this is the key to that mystery.

At any rate, stores compete with one another to offer incentives to shoppers for Jesus' Birthday, so that they will be compelled to ruin a perfectly good evening of sleep to be jammed into a shopping establishment, not unlike a stockyard, to spend money they may or may not have (I'll create an addendum on the phenomena of 'store credit cards' at a later date) for Jesus' Birthday which is still over a month away, even though it's not chronologically correct.

You know what? That's it. I'm quite finished. Of all the research I've done on human behavior, this one has to be the most confusing, convoluted, horrid mess of psychological nonsense that I've ever encountered.

I am truly sorry, dear Readers, but I must now go and consume a copious amount of what you humans call 'Ibuprofen' in order to make the aching in my head cease.

Until next time!

(11/06/10 - 7:37 PM)
Work this morning ended up being far more time consuming than I had anticipated.

Came home and took Wanda out for a late lunch/early dinner at La Casa Grande in Beloit, then home to read until we both fell asleep.

For some reason, the cat has been exceedingly needy in his own special way of late. He will vocalize (with his amazing range, BTW - it's eerie) until you pay attention to him. But - try to pet him - and he usually runs away.

So he's fed, he's watered, he doesn't want petting or to play - he just needs you to acknowledge him like a dead man's switch in a railroad engine every thirty seconds or so, lest he keep 'singing'.


As I'm typing this, he just appeared, poking his head around the office door, made a weird, yowling, gutteral, meow that scared the bejesus out of me, jumped up, hugged the doorframe, and ran off. I can hear him upstairs running around. I'm guessing he just took a wicked poop, and wants us all to know. Seriously - when he poops, he's proud.

Have I mentioned how much we love our cat?

(11/05/10 - 7:16 PM)

This one, believe it or not, comes courtesy of my Dad:

(11/04/10 - 9:32 PM)
Some clickable Star Wars art gems for your enjoyment:

° Chewbacca Riding A Squirrel & Fighting Nazis
° Victorian Star Wars Paintings

(11/03/10 - 8:16 PM)
Fun with Google

° Go to Google Maps and pick Japan as your start destination and China as your end destination. Check out #43.

° Go to Google Maps and pick America as your start destination and China as your end destination. Check out #44.

° Go to Google and type in "Why won't my p" - check out item #2.

° Go to Google and type in "Where is Chuck Norris" - now click the 'I'm Feeling Lucky' button.

° Go to Google and type in "I am extremely" - check out return value #1.

(11/02/10 - 3:45 PM)
Work has slowed down enough for me to work normal hours again (for the moment) althought I don't expect it to last.

Finisheed William Gibson's latest, "Zero History", and was pleasantly entertained.

While not his strongest work, it was interesting how the book centered around a concept that, up until recent months ago via a magazine article, had been foreign to me: Secret brands.

In fact, a number of mainstream companies have clandestine product lines in extremely limited supply for die-hard fashionistas who care to take the time to seek them out.

This is especially true, apparently, with athletic footwear. It's a rather interesting phenomenon, and intriguing to say the least.

Gibson's new novel finds our protagonists - and antagonists as well - searching for the creator of what is only know as the 'Gabriel Hounds' non-brand of attire. We find numerous intertwined parties, each with unique if not somewhat overlapping agendas, attempting to hunt down the mysterious purveyor of this fine clothing line that - for all intents and purposes - does not exist.

This book could probably be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, and it would be fine. I believe, however, that more would be gleaned from its' reading, had one an intimate notion of Gibson's earlier works already in mind.

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