Monday, July 31, 2006

108. Reasons I Am A Moron

First of all, I capitalized all the inconsequential words in the title of this post. That is enough to make me a moron by itself, but there’s more. And not all of the moronic stuff in this post is about my own moronity, but that of a few people. Stay tuned though, my moron moment comes at the very end—during the dénouement. (Okay, I don’t know what that means except I’m pretty sure I used it incorrectly here.)

Anyways, moron moment number two (#2). Why did I skip number one (#1)? Because it’s funnier than number two (#2), and the two (2) moron moments happened at the same time—meaning number one (#1) started first and ended last. Anyway, number two (#2) started when I ordered dinner at an aged-but-clean mom’n’pop burger stand across the street from my hotel (I’m on the road again.) The woman at the counter asked for my name after I paid for the food (double bacon cheeseburger, onion rings—notice, no drink) I told her my name.

Those of you who know my name know that my name is not ‘Ray’ but it’s conceivable how someone could mistakenly understand ‘Ray’ when hearing [my name]. She asked, “Ray?” to which I responded “yes” because—does it really matter anyway? Apparently, it does, because when another person brought my food to the counter, she looked right at me and intoned, “RrrrAHeeee” in a heavy foreign accent. I have nothing against foreigners—in fact I even like the band—but RrrrAHeeee? So I sat there. I didn’t even associate RrrrAHeeee with my real name at all, because it was now two steps removed from any semblance of my name. “RrrrAHeeee” “RrrrAHeeee” “RrrrAHeeee” she continued to call, and I was oblivious because my name is obviously not RrrrAHeeee. Once I realized it was my order, the woman had the nerve to give me a dirty look for making her call out my ‘name’ so many times.

Moron moment number 1 (#1) started about ten (10) minutes before the second (2nd) one when I went the hotel gift shop to buy a cranberry/raspberry Snapple. Did you know there are more phones in Washington DC than there are people? The Snapple bottle cap told me so. I grabbed a bottle out of the cooler and set it on the counter. The woman at the counter rang it up AT TWO DOLLARS AND SIXTY FIVE CENTS ($2.65). Then she had the nerve to tell me she didn’t take credit cards for less than ten dollars ($10). I told her I couldn’t buy the drink because I didn’t have cash and I was unwilling to spend ten dollars ($10) at her gift shop, but I assured her I would come back and buy something later. That’s when I ran to the burger joint and bought my RrrrAHeeee food but not before walking to the bank to withdraw some cash from my bloated checking account.

Then I went back to the hotel gift shop to buy my Snapple. Did you know Alaska has the highest percentage of people who walk to work? The Snapple bottle cap told me so. The lady at the register still had my two dollars and sixty five cents ($2.65) on the display. Evidently when I told her I was going to come back, she understood that I would be back immediately. Then she had the nerve to give me a dirty look for making her hold up all her other ‘business’ while she waited for me to come back.

Moron moment number three (#3) is truly a stupidramblings gem. I was leaving the hotel front door (after I ate my greasy burger ‘n’ rings) to grab my book out of the car. As I approached the front door of the hotel, the automatic door fairies didn’t automatically open the door for me—in other words, they didn’t do their job—so I looked to see if they were really automatic. The doors had ‘crash bars’ on them and a green-circle-with-a-black-arrow-inside sticker on the glass. So I pushed on the crash bar. That’s when the madness happened. The automatic door fairies must have been drunk to open the doors AFTER someone ran into them, because I broke the doors. The doorway consisted of four panels: two (2) sliding doors (that were supposed to move sideways for normal operation and swing outwards for emergency use) and two (2) glass panels that are supposed to break away in the event of an emergency.

You’ll note all of this happened in a matter of two to three (2-3) seconds:

Well, because the sliding door fairies had decided to open the door late, the door was partially slidden* open and when I pushed the crash bar and it swung open, it also forced the breakaway glass panel to dislodge and—how you say?—break away. The sliding door was then propped outward at about a thirty degree (30˚) angle and the breakaway glass panel was also dislodged at a thirty degree (30˚) angle. I pulled the sliding door back in line, but it was not moving automatically—darn those automatic door fairies. That’s when I forced the doors to slide open and I went outside to see what I could do about the breakaway glass panel.

Fortunately, the breakaway glass panel was not completely dislodged and all I had to do was lift it up and replace it on its molding. Once I got that all straightened out, the automatic door fairies decided the doors were healed enough to function. The world was right once again. I went to the car to get my book and returned to the hotel. The people at the front desk were kind enough to complete the dirty-look trifecta as I re-entered the hotel. I apologized for my moronity, but they still didn’t know what to say. So I left them to their stupor.

If you hear on the news about a bandit that took the front doors off of a Radisson hotel in the Los Angeles area, you can be sure it was stupidramblings who did it. But I didn’t do it because of any shenaniganery, I did it because of the automatic door fairies. And I fixed it anyways, so it couldn’t have been me even though my fingerprints are all over everything...

*slidden is the past tense of slided.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

107. Why I Shouldn't Be Allowed to Have Children

I kill things. Every time I get a plant, I kill it. Negligent homicide might be a better word, but the fact remains, I kill things.

Let’s go back in the way-back way-back machine with Sherman and Peabody:

Just months ago, I think I documented my history of killing animals.

Last year, I got a palm tree to go by my desk. It died. I got a plant at the same time, it’s not doing well. We planted flowers. They died. We planted grass. It’s not exactly thriving. We haven’t killed the weeds yet, but I bet we will get it done sooner or later.

Two years ago, my wife Limpy and I got a few house plants. They all died.

Further back, my wife Limpy and I got other house plants. They all died.

Way back, ramblimom used to let us children choose a yard plant. I chose Irish moss every year; every year the Irish moss died.

More way back when I was in elementary school, we had a cat. It died. So we got another one. It died also. Then we got another one. It died.

I bought two trees to surprise my wife Limpy while she was having a baby shower. I planted them according to instructions. I watered them well. She was adequately surprised when she arrived home. I checked every day to see if I should water again. The ground was wet so I didn’t bother to water the trees; I figured my wife Limpy was watering them while I wasn’t looking. She wasn’t. The moisture in the soil around the tree was due to the automatic sprinkling system we have installed in the yard. Said sprinklers wet the soil a couple inches deep, but not deep enough to reach the tree roots. So they’re dead! They’re all DEAD, JIM! OK, they’re not quite dead and one of them is partially revived, but the result is the same—they’ve been mostly dead for a couple of weeks.

So why did I get the bright idea that having a baby would be a good thing? I dunno—maybe blind optimism? I mean, I have a history of non-violent plant and kitten murder, how did I EVER think a baby would be different. In case you’re wondering, I’m feeling a bit underprepared to be a father (I put the 'fat' in father). It’s not so much that I don’t know what I’m doing; it’s more like I think I know what I’m doing, but I’m realistic enough to realize I will find out how much I don’t know because I don’t even know how to find out I don’t know it.

Anyway, the first mate weighs four (4) pounds nine (9) ounces and is about six weeks from delivery. According to the ultrasound tech, he’s got a full bladder which will soon make up for the amniotic fluid he’s lacking. It’s not his fault; we’ve been eating salty snacks. Oh yeah, and sugar water...

Monday, July 24, 2006

106. The Trench of Impending Disability.

All I wanted was a trench—just one trench. What I got was a day off and a little TLC.

It all started about two years ago when my wife Limpy and I were building our house. It was to be a build-and-sell home with which we were set to make loads and loads of cash. Then we were going to build another and then another until we could rival Donald Trump’s real estate empire.

Things went south with our builders, dashing our plans, but we were able to keep our beautiful house and make it into a home. One of the many things that were left to use to fix was the storm drains. The rain gutters let out onto plastic tubes ten (10) feet long that were lying on the ground. I had to bury them myself using a state of the art pickaxe and a shovel.

When it came time for the burying of the gutters, we had neither lawn nor need to take care with the landscaping because there was none. The only landscaping we had consisted of a hill that drained all of our rain runoff into the neighbors’ yard—the American dream, right? When I buried the gutters two years ago, I asked the neighbor if he wanted me to run a French drain down the property line. He said no. I left thing be.

A few weeks ago, said neighbor ran a sprinkling system and planted sod. He also planted a French drain down the property line and laid a plastic drain tube in the trench. He left enough excess tubing that I could dig a trench from the property line to the tubing I had buried two years ago and connect my storm drain to his storm drain and be happy. It was only twenty (20) feet.

So today I woke up, ate my oat cereal, and went outside to dig a trench. In one hundred degree (100˚) weather (that’s somewhere near 38˚ C Brits.) With full sunshine. And my iPod. And a pregnant wifey who could sit down near me in the shade and give directions. Directions for digging. She’s going to make a great road crew chief someday.

Anyway, instead of a trench, I got what can only be assumed to be heat stroke. I had excessive sweating. My face turned beet (that’s beetroot, Aussies) red—but not from sunburn. I started shaking. I almost fainted. I felt like barfing. I took a shower with the coldest water I could stand until I could not stand—which was about five (5) minutes.

So here I lie on my beautiful couch with a fan pointed at me and my feet propped up on pillows trying to hydrate. It’s been an hour since I sat down and I have consumed a half-gallon of liquids. I feel okay until I move, which is seldom. My wife Limpy is taking care of me now and bringing me more electrolytes and colored-water drinks. And fruit. I sure do love her—and not just because of the liquids, there’s so much more to her than that. Hopefully I can squeeze a sandwich or two out of her when it’s time…

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

105. The First Mate and the Senile Dog

Okay, so it’s been a while since I wrote, but nothing funny happened—hence the lack of stories. Last weekend however, was fraught and/or replete with hilarity which I will tell you about:

Many of you may know my wife Limpy is set to pop any day now. Well, not really ANY day—she’s due to deliver in early September.

Side note: earlier I had stated the name of the child would be my l’il Kid-neyramblings until further notice. Further notice is now. Be it known unto all fellow bloggers and the internet at large that the manchild formerly known as my l’il Kid-neyramblings shall be known heretofore as the First Mate. Why? Early in the marriage, I wanted to give my wife Limpy a nickname. Cap’n was my favorite, but it had too masculine a feel to it (Not that women can’t be captains, they just cant be cap’ns). I wanted the same feel though, so I nicknamed her Skipper. The First Mate seems to be a logical choice then for the boy, so he will be known as the First Mate. Sailors are cool—just ask the 70’s, which had an inordinate fascination with sailors.

Anyway, my wife Limpy and I attended a pre-natal class Saturday with a bunch of other couples. The class was very informative and the instructor did a very good job with the instruction. She was even a little entertaining, but not entertaining enough. She had the most crappiest audience though, so she did a fine job; you can’t expect her to carry energy for all of us for six hours. I decided to spice things up a bit.

When asked what could be done in the delivery room to help relax the mother, the audience responded with massages, music, water, etc, etc, etc. I thought I would add my own suggestion:

The instructor asked, “What else can we do in the delivery room to help relax mom?”

“Pets are relaxing,” I said.

[Thinking I was serious even though a few of the other people laughed] “Pets are very therapeutic, I agree, but they are not allowed in the hospital unless they are seeing eye dogs.”

That’s when my wife Limpy piped up: “Did you say senile dogs?” Everybody laughed.

So I said, “Senile dogs are VERY relaxing”

Another time, the instructor was looking for a white board pen (which was sitting next to some props including a doll, a pelvic bone, a cloth placenta/umbilical cord, among others). I was blessed with the opportunity to tell the instructor it was hiding beside the pelvis and underneath the placenta. How often do you get a chance to tell someone that?

Six hours later, I’m qualified to be a dad. They didn’t even test us…

Photo courtesy here.

Monday, July 10, 2006

104. Seen a Good Woovie* Lately?

Because the weather has been perfect, I have been spending a lot of time indoors—in movie theaters to be exact. ‘Why ruin a perfectly good day by going to the lake and taking your shirt off?’ I say. Anyway, here’s a brief review of movies I’ve seen recently:

(Warning: There will be no spoilers in this post.)

Mission Impossible III (M:i:III):

Let’s start with the title. One can never use too many colons when abbreviating one’s title. On to the story. Ethan Hunt is, once again, pressed upon to go into a foreign country and kill a lot of people. He does so effortlessly, so the surprise comes by way of his wife who gets sucked into the action and is forced to kill people too. Oh, and she doesn’t know he’s a secret agent, so she doesn’t know the killings he makes are necessary. She doesn’t flinch at all, but submits willingly to the bloodbath that is M:i:III. She’s a bloodthirsty woman—that Mrs. Ethan Hunt. She’s the kind of girl a little man would jump on a couch for.

The action sequences are amazing and the skill with which the director pulled them off is fantastic. The plot is not as deep as the first two, because it deals with love and by definition action movies that deal with love are stupid and have shallow plots. That’s not to say the movie is worthless, because it’s (bloody) fun. I’m just saying that if you liked the first one like I did and the second one fell a little lower on your like scale (thanks to John Woo), M:i:III is sure to fall even lower than the other two but still high enough to recommend. I wouldn’t own it.

I give it three (3) stars out of five.

Superman Returns (SR):

I saw SR with my mother-in-law Limpymom. My wife Limpy wasn’t there—she was working. I don’t know if you need to take the circumstances into consideration while reading the review, but it needs to be stated. Also, let’s review the other superman movies:

‘Superman’ (the original) was the story of a demigod named Clark Kent who fought the forces of evil and saved the world from them. He was truly a model of role for all.

‘Superman II’ was when he gave it all up so he could score with Margot Kidder (I mean Lois Lane). Yeah, like that would ever happen. Margot Kidder wasn’t exactly Kate Bosworth.

‘Superman III’ was Richard Prior and an evil robot against Superman. ‘Nuff Said.

‘Superman IV’ was a complete abomination that deserves no mention here.

‘Supergirl’ appeared somewhere in there, but I never saw it. I mean COME ON! Supergirl? Please.

Which leads us to SR. Hollywood is becoming very good at making movies that have already been made. ‘King Kong’ and ‘The Lake House’ come to mind. In both cases, Hollywood has made the movie better.

SR is no exception. It smacks of all the goodness of the original ‘Superman’ in addition to the dimension of everything not always being black and white. Some tough choices and realities come into play and the decisions are not always easy. And did I mention Kryptonite is still bad for Superman?

SR is a great movie—one to buy on DVD immediately when available.

Five (5) stars out of five.

Finally, I also saw ‘Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’ (PCDMC):

If you liked the first ‘Pirates,’
you’re sure to watch PCDMC. What you’ll find is up to you. Where the first movie was one to own ONLY after its price drops under $15 (fifteen dollars) at Wal-Mart; PCDMC is a movie you should only own if someone else pays for it, watches it a few times and then gives it to you.

What’s wrong with the movie? Nothing per se, it just feels like Disney. You know in ‘The Apple Dumping Gang’ where the girl has got a constant urge to go to the bathroom? Remember how tiring it got when she was in the outhouse all movie long? That’s how PCDMC feels. The first movies was a good idea and it was lots of fun (like the “Mister, I gotta go” line). The second movie was like saying “Mister, I gotta go” during the closing credits. It was a good idea taken too far. Classic Disney.

In its defense, PCDMC has what could only be considered one of the funnest comedy/action chase sequences seen in recent years. I won’t give it away, but it involves a waterwheel. Only a Tim Conway/Don Knotts bungling duo could have completed the ingenuity of the chase scene.

Keira Knightley was funny/beautiful/good as Elizabeth, but not as much so. Johnny Depp was a perfect Captain Jack Sparrow, but not as perfect as the original. Orlando Bloom was brooding/too-pretty-to-be-a-man/heroic, but not quite like the original. The villains/supporting characters were villainous/supporting, but not as strong.

Wait for the cheaper, second (2nd)-run theater before you pay to see it. Wait to buy it until it drops to $9.99 at Wal-Mart before you buy it unless you can't get enough of Keira Knightley/Orlando Bloom/Johnny Depp--in which case I tell you to get a life.

Three (3) of five stars, but not the same three (3) as I gave M:i:III. On a ten point scale, M:i:III would have gotten five (5) stars and PCDMC would have gotten six (6). I gotta get a new star system…

*Woovie is the name my friends The Molotovs' children came up with when they were young enough to talk poorly, but old enough to want to see a movie.

Monday, July 03, 2006

103. Wordsmiths All

You may be wondering where I get my name, stupidramblings and its associated IQ. Apparently it's from my surroundings. Here's a few "intelligent moments" had by friends and me while we were playing Catch Phrase:

1. CLUE: It's like tap dancing with a lower IQ.
Answer: Clogging

2. CLUE: He was a religious reformer.
Guesses: John Calvin, Martin Luther, Joseph Smith
Answer: Karl Marx

3. CLUE: Country with wooden shoes.
Unanimous guess: Holland/Netherlands
Answer: Sweden

4. CLUE: It's what they eat in Bavaria.
Answer: Strudel
Subsequent conversation: Where's Bavaria? I don't know, but I know they have Strudel there.

5. CLUE: You did it in the baby room.
Guess: A sacrificial dance.

6. CLUE: Something you do on the highway.
Guess: Cry

7. CLUE: It's made from milk; usually has fruit in it.
Guess: Yogurt
Answer: Yoga

8. CLUE: It's gassy and not sweet.
Guess: I pointed to my wife Limpy
Answer: Club soda

So, yeah. I guess one is a product of one's surroundings...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

102. Patri-Autism

“Happy First (1st) of July” they say in my city as they have a parade and a huge fireworks celebration three (3) days before the actual holiday. We’re not talking about Columbus Day or President’s Day—days normally celebrated near the actual holiday—the ugly step-sisters of patriotic holidays. We’re talking about the commemoration of the most important event in our country’s history, a commemoration of the document that declared us a nation.

So in my home town they’re celebrating it TODAY. The first (1st). A history lesson:

Back in 1563 (Fifteen Hundred Sixty Three) AD our forefathers were in a vicious battle fore supremacy on the American continent. Spain, Portugal, France, England, Senegal, Persia and the USA were in contention for possession of this here American continent (not to be confused with the American incontinent.) In early July, the first (1st) to be exact, Thomas Edison was cramming for his impending assignment. On the fourth, his 500 word paper was due, but he hadn’t even started it yet. His evil taskmaster, Ben Franklin Planner, was forcing him to draft a patriotic treatise under duress. His indentured servitude was due up on the fourth (4th) and BFP was not going to let him pass without a paper.

July first (1st)was the day he started working on his paper. Early drafts:

When in the course of good dental hygiene, America isn’t yours anymore (“no wait that won’t work…”)

yankees suck redsox rule peace out…

hey brits, let’s keep it real, yo?...

hey mother england u suck u are not very gr8 we hope you rot j/k lol PAW BTW

Anyway by July fourth (4th) after a few No-Doze-induced all-nighters, The Declaration of Independence was finished. George Washington Carver, Herbie Hancock, Sam Adams Pale Ale and Lincoln Nebraska were all there. Thomas Edison had really outdone himself and someone suggested it was a great charter document and they decided to start a club—NO BRITS!

That was the fourth (4) but on the first (1st), all we had was a few lines of drivel on a spare parchment.

So I guess that’s what my hometown is celebrating.

Last year, they celebrated on the second (2nd). My wife Limpy and I showed up on Monday night (the fourth (4th)) to stake out a spot and watch the fireworks only to find out the celebration had passed while we had been sleeping fitfully on the night of Saturday the second (2nd). This year we’re not going to miss it.

We shouldn’t have to miss it; put the celebration back on the fourth (4th) where it belongs. It’s not like people were going to be working on the fourth (4th) anyway. Everyone has a day off. It’s okay to celebrate on the actual day.

Whatever.

Happy First (1st) of July everyone...