Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I stopped to take a picture and thought I was going to get busted

I mentioned this on Twitter yesterday, but I wanted to post the final product here, so you may be reading this again. If at all.

For a while now I've wanted to stop and take a picture of these shopping carts that were tossed into the drainage ditch next to the road near my house. They've been there forever, but with a recent downpour they had been shoved together and closer to a parking lot. Not to mention they looked even more depressing with all the crud that they accumulated with all the water rushing past them.

So yesterday I decided I'd stop and snap a few quick photos while on the way to get the kids at school. Like I said they were lying in the ditch right off the parking lot so it was easy access, but I also knew I'd people driving by would be wondering what I was doing. Sure enough, I could see the people driving by giving me weird looks. Then, after snapping two quick shots I noticed a cop car pulled into the lot. You can see him coming in this shot.

I wasn't sure what he was going to say. I wasn't trespassing, but I wasn't sure if he'd give me a hard time for walking down there. He asked me if everything was okay, saw my camera then gave me 'the look' and asked if I was taking artsy-fartsy pictures. I said yes. He was fine with it and asked me what camera I had and proceeded to tell me what he used and told me about a neat monopod-tripod combo thing her had just ordered. So, he was just as cool (nerdy) as me. We talked for a couple of minutes then he said he'd let me get back to shooting. I was happy to have this experience since I read about people getting harassed when taking pictures sometimes. True, that usually happens in big cities and not in the suburbs, but it was still good to know I don't have to worry about walking around in odd spots with my camera.

Anyway, this was the shot I decided to keep.

The funny thing is there the TJ Maxx is not close to this spot at all. Did someone walk a few miles with there clothes they bought?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My stepmom has some cool old things at her house

We went to my dad's house tonight for our annual holiday party. We always celebrate on the Saturday after Thanksgiving since it is usually the easiest day to get everybody together. Of course, this year I almost had to miss it due to work, but that is another story all together. (If you are repeating that line right now like in "Airplane," Good job!)

We had a good time, even if we are all exhausted. I'm staying up with the dogs right now since they've been home alone for a while. Hopefully this means they won't wake us up at 6:30 in the morning. I'm sure they will anyway.

Anyway, the whole reason I started this post was to show you a couple of picture of things from my step mom's collection o' stuff. She has a lot of cool old things, not all antiques in the sense that they've been restored, but a lot of old cool knick knacks that have been around for a long time. For some reason I've taken a liking to this kind of thing. I don't know why, but when I find something old and worn I want to take a picture of it. If I wanted to, I could probably spend a week photographing all the cool things that my step mom has collected.

Take a look at this matchbox. First, ignore the blurriness, it wasn't very well lit in the basement.

This doesn't have a date on it, but look at that phone number. It's only five digits. I like how it says to check bleeding of small cuts and scratches. I wonder if the matches will work, or explode in my hand.

Next are some funky hangers.

Cool designs, don't you think? I think the text on the top one is in German, but I'm not positive. Using my awesome researching skills, I see that the Hotel St. Moritz was built in 1930. I'm not saying the hanger is from that same year, I'm just pointing that out. I bet I wouldn't get those stupid shoulder nipples on my clothes if I used these hangers.

There is a ton of other stuff at the house. I'm going to try to get a picture of something every time I go. I saw at least three old cameras. I don't know what kind they are since I'm not up on camera history, but they looked neat.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Last Thanksgiving

I don't know if anyone will find this note. I hope so. I hope I'm not writing this down for nothing. If you find this, please pay attention. It may all be over by now, but I feel like I need to write this down so we can learn and not make the same mistakes.

I don't know how many people have died in the the Great Thanksgiving Massacre. We are still trying to figure that out. Most of our normal communications have been taken down, the underground creatures took care of that, so it's hard to get an accurate number. But, we are guessing a good two-thirds of the country has been wiped out. Maybe not all by the initial attacks, but once it started and panic set it, people started attacking each other in order to get supplies. I guess that is not unexpected.

So, what happened? It started with the turkeys. Yes, turkeys. You know all the hormones and drugs that we used to give them that PETA and all the hippies got upset about, well turns out they were right. All those chemicals ended up making them smart. Not as smart as humans or anything, but get hundreds of them together and some kind of hive mind thing happens. I don't know all the details, but that is our best guess at what happened. Someday maybe I'll be able to get a scientist to verify that.

Now, the turkeys couldn't do it all on their own, of course, most were on farms and trapped. But they devised had a plan. They managed to get other animals involved. Animals outside the farms. Over the last few years the stories of wild animals venturing into towns and cities had increased, but we didn't pay much attention. We thought they were running out of space and food and had come to find more. We were wrong. It was a test. they wanted to see how easy it was; how would we react.

We aren't sure how the turkeys got the other animals to help, but we think they got some of the same hormones into them. Maybe they sacrificed some of themselves to other animals wondering around the farms? I don't know exactly how. Hell, it could have been in their shit that was washed away into local streams.

We knew we were in trouble the day before Thanksgiving. The president was on TV with the celebrity turkey he was going to pardon, but it didn't go as planned. As he spoke to the audience, and just after he pardoned the turkey, a pack coyotes came out of nowhere and attacked the press and president. At first everyone laughed and thought it was funny. I think it was one of the biggest YouTube videos ever. Then all Hell broke loose.

Stories came in of bear attacks in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Radio stations and cell phone service started going down as squirrels and beavers chewed through cables and towers. Next came the TV stations, which must have been harder due to the satellites. Eventually all communication went down. Then gas stations started blowing up as underground gas tanks were chewed through. Power lines started falling as birds up in the wires took them down.

Then the widespread animal attacks came. The domesticated dogs tried to help, but they were out-numbered. The cats, well, you know cats. They didn't really care. The riots started soon after. People were killing people for food, water, beer and whatever else they thought they needed. The national guard tried to help out, but were eventually overwhelmed by the crowds of panicked people, not to mention the packs of animals coming out to attack. The biggest problem turned out to be the little animals. You never think about how much damage rats, mice and squirrels can do until they band together.

Most of the chaos is over now. I don't hear anyone outside. I don't hear guns or any other weapons. I also don't hear any animals. For the last few days I could hear the skittery-scratching noises of something trying to get down here. I was sure I had blocked off all entry points with thick scrap metal I found, but didn't know how well it would work. They got into the gas tanks, didn't they? I'm lucky I found this old bomb shelter. I was pretty sure that the old school house had one, as many buildings did back in the 50's, but I wasn't sure if it was sealed off a long time ago. I feel bad about locking other people out, but there was nobody around when I found this place. I couldn't sit around with the door opening while the world was falling down around me. Every man for themselves, right?

So, I guess this note is a warning. Watch the turkeys, they are smarter than we think thanks to all the drugs we've given them. Don't trust them. Also, don't let the president pardon them next time. If we get a next time.

I think I can survive here for a few weeks, but eventually I'll need to go out. I hope the bodies in the roads are cleaned up. I hope the animals are gone.

So, um, Happy Thanksgiving. I thought I'd put this up to make you feel less guilty about eating today. Turkeys are evil you know. Mind you, this is something I threw together with minimal editing (obviously) while I was at work. I don't know made me think of  the great turkey uprising, but it seemed silly enough to put here. By the way, I'm not a vegetarian, as this may make me look. I love meat.

Hope you had a great day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Link-o-rama or, how I survived this week of midnights

I'm finally don with my week of midnight shifts. Having to work six of them was brutal, to say the least. I know I am awake just as many hours as any other shift, if not more, but it doesn't feel like it. I seems all I do is wake up, eat and come to work, but there are many other hours in the day that I don't remember. Oh, no! Do I need to go on Jesse Ventura's conspiracy show to see where that missing time went? Or, more likely, do I need to sleep like a normal person? I don't know how people work this shift on a regular basis. You people are like superheroes, or something.

Anyway, I wanted to share a few links of things that have kept me sane this week.

We'll start with podcasts. The first one I want to mention is Extra Hot Great. It's run by David T. Cole, Tara Ariano and Joe Reid and it's a fun pop culture blog with TV, movies, games and, well, all the things that make up pop culture, duh. The only problem with listening to it at work is forgetting you are not alone and almost shouting out answers to the questions in the games. Just listen, you'll see what I mean.

I've also caught up with a few of the DVD commentaries from the Film Pigs featuring Stephen Falk, Stephen Skelton and Todd Robert Anderson. Warning, some language is not safe for work. Actually, most of it isn't. Now, technically, since they are DVD commenttaries you should listen to them while watching the movie, but it is not needed if you know the movies. Or even if you haven't since sometimes they go off on tangents that don't have a lot to do with the movie, but they are always entertaining. They also post movie reviews which are more entertaining and honest than what you will read in a newspaper.

After my first midnight shift I listened to the most recent Functional Nerds podcast as I tried to get rid of a nasty midnight shift induced headache. This particular episode was perfect for me. Patrick Hester and John Anealio talked to author Kevin J. Anderson about his Terra Icognita books and the Rosewell Six albums that go along with these books. It's an interesting idea. He writes the lyrics for the albums with his wife and they have these great musicians play on the CDs. I haven't checked out the CDs yet, but I am intrigued.

I've also vegged out with some classic episodes, as they all are now since the show is off the air, of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Nothing is better than watching an episode of MST3K when you are too tired to think and your brain is a bowl of mush.

I've also watched the first season of Frisky Dingo. I've never seen the show but I decided to check it out after hearing them talk about it on Extra Hot Great. That is one strange, fun show. I don't even know how describe it, really. Just got to iTunes and check out an episode. You won't regret it. Better yet, it looks like you can watch them on Adult Swim's website. The link above will take you there.

Lastly, I want to mention Spock's Beard. I finally bought their latest album, X, and I'm really enjoying it so far. So far I think it is their best since Neal Morse left the band. Good stuff.

I don't know if I've ever written a post with so many links. Hope you find something you like.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The problem with cable TV

Okay, I think I'm going to go into full Andy Rooney mode here, I can feel it. But, for those of you with cable or satellite TV, do you think we've reached to point where there are just too many channels to fill up with programming? Don't get me wrong, a lot of the cable channels are putting out some great programing. Hell, some are putting out shows better than the traditional networks, but I'm not talking about those channels. Though, I wonder how AMC can put on a show like Mad Men and follow it up with a movie like Mannequin. (I don't know if they really ever did it, but their idea of classics is starting to slip into the bowels of bad 80's movies).

Let's put some example out there. We can start with the History Channel. Again, they put out some quality shows on, well, history. But, have you ever watched their shows UFO Hunters or Ancient Aliens? Yes, they are real shows. Now, I'm not going to say that the History Channel can only shows about some historical events, but UFOs? Now, I would cut them slack if they were following up on investigations from Project Bluebook or something like that, but that's not the show. these guys out to investigate sightings, which some are historic I guess, and try to see if it was really a UFO or something else. Here's the problem, if they can't find evidence that something is not a UFO they assume that only explanation is a UFO. Sure, the talk to experts sometimes, but they never take their suggestions, especially when they don't have a definitive answer. It's a really frustrating show.

The other show, Ancient Aliens, at least follows their whole History Channel name, but that's all it follows. Once again, all the "experts" (I'm using the quotes on purpose) are a basically believers that aliens came here thousands of years ago and either taught us everything or had some kind of breeding program that created us in a sense. It's ridiculous show. Every ancient text they find that mentions something in the sky is automatically an alien coming to visit. Don't ask me why I watch these shows, but it make me want to throw things at the TV.

Remember when you could turn on TLC and learn something? Well, something useful? Now a majority of the programming is about people who have had a tremendous amount of kids (or wives), those who don't know they are pregnant or those buried under garbage that is probably due to their kids. Though I will say the hoarders show can be interesting, but that was a take off on the other hoarders show on another channel.

Which leads me to another problem, they all copy each other's shows. How many shows are there about building some rad motorcycle? (Yes, I sad rad, what of it? It's 1:00am and I can't stop typing. Help.) Then you have Pawn Stars on History Channel (which I kind of like) which begat Hard Core Pawn on TruTV. Do we need more than one show on pawn shops? I know there is some cool stuff out there that people find in their basements, but shouldn't they be going to an auction anyway?

Which leads me to the show that starting me thinking about this. I was flipping through the channels the other day and stopped on TruTV. I don't know if I've ever watched this channel before, but do you know that Jesse Ventura has a show on TruTV? It's about conspiracy theories. Now, you would think, he's been a governor of a whole state before, this show must be him debunking conspiracy theories. Well, you would be wrong. Either this guy is a little nutty and totally into these things, or he's a much better actor than we all thought after watching Predator?

I watched most of the episode about the theory the the government pulled off 9/11. What did I learn, besides the obvious about Mr. Ventura? Well, according to him, this was pulled off by the government so they could pass the Patriot Act and go to war. Yes, they demolished 4 planes, several buildings and killed thousands of people to approve wire tapping and to go after a terrorist that they could have just gone after anyway? UGH! If you know anything about me, which you may not, I have very strong feelings about 9/11 and when some idiot throws crap out there like this, it drives me insane. Especially when this guy used to be a governor! I know being from Illinois I can't speak much about bad governors, but what they Hell were you people thinking in Minnesota?

Okay, I've rambled on enough. Like I said, there is a lot of good stuff to watch out there, but there is too much bad. If you have any good examples, let me know. I'm sure there are some bad shows out there I haven't seen.

As I said earlier, I'm on the midnight shift, so if something doesn't make sense I have a good excuse.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Annoying bugs

Warning: Photos of bugs ahead. In case you don't like that sort of thing.

So these guys like to bask in the sun on the side of our house.

They are Boxelder bugs, not a big deal, but they are annoying. When we first moved into the house about 7 years ago, we would find these things in the house a lot once spring came. The creeped me out at first, but once I found out what they were, I was just annoyed. Luckily, a quick call to a bug guy got rid of them pretty quickly. He also sprayed the outside of the house so they would stop suntanning on our house. More often than not, I'd find one of these guys on his back outside the front door kicking his tiny legs. I wouldn't put him out of his misery; I wanted to make sure his friends saw what would happen if they messed with my house.

They haven't come around much the last several years, but since we got new siding this summer they are back. We lost that nice coating of chemicals that kept them away, I guess. I think they were waiting, too. It seemed like they came back less than a week after the new siding was up. Bastards!

I probably won't do anything about it now since winter is coming, but come spring, these guys are going to need to find a new house to lounge on.

Yes, you better run away.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I've decided to drop the word shit from the title. You know, for the kids. (Actually, I'm too lazy to keep typing it out.

Today we move into the bathroom of my mom's house. Remember Plax? The pre-brushing rinse? I want to say it came out in the 80's, but I can't be sure. Here is a commercial from 1990 to jar your memory.

So, maybe it came out in 1990? Tough to say. But, you see that bottle? Yep, that is the same one in my mom's linen closet. Take a look.

One thing that you won't notice in the commercial is the extra stuff floating in this bottle. What is it? Spores of some kind? Dead Cavity Creeps? Here's a close-up of them.

It's nice to know if you keep this stuff for 20+ years in closet something will grow in the bottle. It's like a science experiment for your linen closet. Anyone work in a lab who wants a sample of this stuff? Anyone want to drink it? I'll give you a dollar.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shit in my mom's house #2

I have spices again, but I think these are pretty good. When I go to my mom's again this week I'll try to find more stuff. Sometimes finding the old stuff in my mom's house is the best part about visiting.

First up, freeze dried chives. Are chives always freeze dried? I know very little about spices. All I know is these are some old freeze dried chives. Take a look at the bottle:

That's an old-school font and colors definitely are. Any guess on this date on the bottom of the bottle? I'll give you a hint. The year was a big deal here in America. Many coins were minted especially for this year.

Yep, 1976. Those are some bicentennial chives right there. But, is that the expiration date? If so, how old are they? I imagine that a freeze dried chive can last a long time, right? Was that the purpose of freeze drying stuff? Long shelf life? And, also to lock in the flavor of Floger's Crystals. Hell, these things could be from the sixties for all we know. Anybody have some carbon dating equipment we can use to pin it down?

I have one more to share. This one is cloves. I decided to combine these to items since I used to get these two things confused when I was younger. Take a look at the box. It's got to be pre-1970, right?

I don't have a date, but this stuff cost 21 cents. You can't even get a gum ball for that, and yet you used to be able to buy a whole box of cloves to stick in a ham. Or, whatever you do with them.

I bet if I search hard enough I could find an old Twinkie at my mom's house. Dare me to eat it?