Friday, September 30, 2011

Would it be a redundancy to post that I've received a call from my doctor today per this Monday's surgery, and it has been postponed again, this time to October 25th?

There goes this year's hunting season, the bastards.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Picking Up Speed?

Another glorious road trip has come to an end and I think I've caught up on my sleep now (after spending most of the day in bed). Determined not to get stuck in Portland's sucky morning traffic jam, I left Seattle at 2:30. That worked well, giving me time to dawdle a bit before providing full day light by the time I hit Springfield. It's also easier to get unlost in Portland's uncrowded side streets as I attempt to avoid those long tall bridges that freak me out.
Avoidance is easier now that I've figured it out: get off at Rosa Parks; turn right; left on Interstate... following Interstate and the passenger rail tracks to the lower and friendlier Steele Bridge; cross the water and look for the 405 south.
Yeah, it's so easy it took me a few times to get it. Downtown Portland seems to have few escape routes and will keep you traveling in circles. It does to me, anyway.

After climbing I-5, I took a couple hours in Yreka to relax, grab some lunch, beer and a nap. It's a cute little city of about 7,000 stuck amidst of the most beautiful geography I know. Too bad the populace doesn't much approach the quality of their surroundings. It appears neighborly, quaint and all that, but I would prefer to see fewer meth-heads and tattoo freaks walking about.

During the last leg of my journey, Sacramento to home, I came to the realization that I probably shouldn't be pushing so hard with the night driving. The last 5 hours were rough as I was having trouble focusing my eyes on the road far ahead. I am pushing 50 yrs old after all, and my eyes are not what they used to be, I guess. I've been in bi-focal denial for a few years as it is.
Maybe I'm starting to lose some of my night vision?

Or fatigue. I'm hoping it was fatigue.
When I look in the mirror, I don't see an impending AARPer staring back. My kids' friends always say I'm one of the 'youngest' Dads they know.
I'm not old, yet.
Or am I?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Seeking Overcast Skies

Had another pre-op visit with my doctor this morning. Had to do this pre-op because the previous pre-op became more of a postpone-op (or maybe I'll call it a tease-op?), necessitating updated paperwork, EKG, chest x-ray. They didn't need new blood work, so that was nice.

The doctor explained the hold up: There is this new device thingie that makes it easier to plant the implant into the proper implant spot in a way that is also less invasive.
'Everyplace' else has them, and is using them, even overseas (my Doc practiced/interned/studied in Europe for a while, as well as the United States, so he knows this).
My medical center has never used them. They are behind the times I guess, having farmed patients in need to other facilities. (Truth: my vocal paralysis/breathing issues don't come around very often.)
It takes a while for the directors of the facility to approve new-to-them equipment. This has been the hold up. I understand that, and why it is that way.

In the meantime, I'm off to see the great Northwest again. Gonna meet some friends and Daughter has a brewery tour scheduled for us. Plus, I'll be watching the Bears/Packers game from a rockin (so I've heard) Chicago Bears centered sports bar.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Straw Dogs

It's been a long time since I'd seen the original and tell you the truth, I forgot about most of it, only being reminded through flashbackish deja vu as this version of Straw Dogs played itself out.
There are some differences in the story line: In the original, the protagonist is a nerdy American mathematician who accompanies his Lolita-ish wife to her home village in England.
In this version, he is a trendy Hollywood screen writer accompanying his television-star wife to her hometown: a rural backwater in Mississippi.

The psycho-thriller tension starts from the beginning as David Sumner(James Marsden) and Amy(Kate Bosworth) arrive in town to reclaim the gorgeous southern homestead that belonged to her daddy. The locals, one of whom is Amy's former boyfriend, immediately treat David with suspicion and disrespect. David responds with attempts to suck up and fit in where he could.

For the most part, David is a big weenie who lacks the balls to stand up to the local jerks who taunt and ogle his wife, much to Amy's dismay. One day they lure him out on a hunting trip and leave him stranded in the woods, taking advantage of the situation to rape Amy.

The rest of the story largely follows the original in reliable detail, and the wussy excuse for a husband eventually finds himself in the situation where he has to man up and fight for his and Amy's life.
Much carnage takes place, and it's pretty cool stuff.

I recommend this movie to anyone who:
  • Is interested in proper remakes of classic films.

  • Enjoys watching brutish redneck bullies get theirs.

  • Appreciates graphic and angry violence.

  • Likes seeing Kate Bosworth's slender and sexy legs dance before their eyes.

  • Appreciates watching Kate Bosworth's braless and pokie boobies bounce across the screen.
One major bitch on my part...
If you want to portray southern white tail deer hunting, hire somebody who has the first clue about it. If this movie is any guide, the uninitiated would would leave the theater believing that that rural Mississippi is chock full of Boone And Crockett class bucks the size of elk, and absolutely nothing else.


The House Of Shreds extends hearty congratulations and wishes all the best in life to Amanda and Robert for their recent nuptials and to Foxfier who recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

Yes, the blog roll has been very busy the last week or two.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Damn It To Hell

I'm going to go crazy here.
Got another call from the Doctor's office this morning. Surgery for Monday has been canceled (bastards!), unless I want to go to a different hospital. Seems my hospital doesn't have all the stuff, something about material for the next implant, but the hi-tech, state-of-the-art equipment I've been waiting on is now here. Somebody goofed, maybe?

Well, the alternate hospital is a two hour plus drive away, at least. My regular hospital is already an hour away, but the extra additional hour-plus is a deal breaker. I don't want to put the wife through the extra distance and I've got jitters enough as it is to want to attempt a different facility (though a most excellent one) when I'm fairly comfortable with the whizz-bang staff at my regular shop.

So I asked, why not just drive to the other place, pick up the material, and bring it to my hospital. I'm informed that not that easy.
OK, fine... then I will drive there tomorrow and do it for us. How's that? Nope, still cant do.
Well, what is your issue then?
It's way more complicated than that. She says I'll just have to take her word on it. Nothing is simple when it comes to inter-facility activity, I guess.

Alright... seems I'll just sit on this for another two weeks.
It's not all that bad, economically. I'm actually taking home more cash being on disability during the traditionally slow season for my plant than if I had been going to work every day.
I planned it that way, actually. Just as I timed the previous two absences to coincide with the slow season.
Well, that first one from three years ago wasn't as planned, but it timed perfectly and lasted about nine months longer than expected... but those are complications (and posts) from a long time ago... history behind me now, and I prefer it that way.

The Wife suggests that maybe I just might desire to make the most of this downtime. She's right.
Thinking of cruising it northward again to visit my little girl for few days. The drive and scenery might do my attitude some good.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Things That Make Me Go "Hmmmm..."

It was hunting season, when I usually like to mix it up a little. Climb a tree in the morning; maybe spend the afternoon sitting behind some bushes... where ever my strategy or whim took me...

Several years ago I had carried an empty 5-gallon bucket out to the pasture. There was a tangled clump of small trees out in the middle offering a nearly 360 degree field of vision with a comfortable center void to hid within.

It was a productive location, and that bucket sat there for maybe 4 or 5 five seasons, never moving or being moved, waiting patiently every fall for one of us to return and make use of it's services once again...

Til two years ago when it wasn't there for me anymore. Nobody seemed to know anything about it, where it went, or had seen any signs of it.
It was just gone.

The other day I saw this picture of a deer captured with a trail camera. That's not exactly my bucket (mine didn't have yellow paint dripped down the sides), but the similarities to it are striking none the less.

FromOutdoor Life magazine, online edition.

Tip A Few More And I'll Feel Better

Finally, after weeks of delay I got the call today that my surgery is definately going forward come this Monday morning, after six weeks of delays. The original date was August 8th.

I'm feeling a little apprehensive though I've wanted this for a long time.
Truth: I am tired of being tired all the time. I want to know what it feels like to feel good again cause I haven't really felt 'good', as in strong and healthy, in three years; to be able to climb the stairs in my own house without panting before I reach the top.
But something inside wants to back way and I don't know why.
I guess it's just the jitters.

I'll just trust that I'll be OK, and if not I'll deal with that when it happens.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Joel Edgarton and Tom Hardy star as two feuding brothers who haven't seen each other in years. Nick Nolte stars as their father with a long history of violent drunkeness. He's been clean and sober for a few years but is still paying the price for all he's done to his family. Nolte is brilliant here. One of the best performances I've seen from him.

Set within the Mized-Martial arts scene, the two brothers compete for a large purse in a kind of tough man competition, combined with a strong dose of family drama fueled with testosterone. Edgarton and Hardy turn in strong performances and really look the parts of MMA fighters: lean, muscular and freakishly ripped.

It's a good movie, even if the story is a little far fetched. The fights are beautifully done, leading up to the great master battle that pits the two brothers against each other.

I was expecting more of a feel good ending on par with Rocky or something like that. It doesn't deliver in that respect, but maybe it wasn't supposed to.
Overall, it's good theater, richly done, that lacks any emotional staying power.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stock People?

Should corporations be allowed access to the political process through campaign donations and other forms of bribery by another name?

Not too long ago, this query was posed to Mitt Romney in Iowa. Mitt offered up a reasonable sounding defense that goes something like this: Corporations are composed of people, there for they are people, so of course it would be unfair to not allow them a voice in democracy.
Like I said, it sounded good at the moment.
Since then, I have had a few extra moments in which to consider it and came up with a a few points for discussion:

The "voice" within our democracy in question is the ability to steer legislation, impact policy, and reap money. We need to take that into account. Good governance, the common welfare and the over all health of the republic are not at the top of the list.

We generally assume that the franchise of democratic action is assigned to those who will be living with it's outcome. Seems fair enough if you ask me.
Corporations, especially large multi-national ones, have the option a citizenry does not... the option to seek other shores. They haven't bought in to the concept of citizenship. They just hope to capitalize on somebody else's.

Another angle... Most corporations are comprised of millions of stockholders who may or may not be citizens or residents of the nation. They have no stake in our process beyond what cash they can squeeze out for themselves. Non-citizens cannot vote, nor should they. Foreigners off shore even more so.

And in most cases, millions of stockholders are represented by the very few who control the board of directors, who use their collective resources to make political decisions without their input.
If Mitt Romney and his kind are seriously concerned for the voices of shareholders they would divvy up the political cash and send each a corresponding check for donation to the political cause of their choice.

Corporations are business entities. Business entities are not persons.

Not enough hairspray can cover the smell of Mitt Romneys's bullshit on this issue.

Friday, September 9, 2011

How Vulnerable We Are

Southern California gets clobbered with a major power outage.

This happened yesterday afternoon, shortly after 3pm. According to sources, a single maintenance worker at electrical station tripping a major line or something like that.

A friend of who drives a delivery truck was stranded two hours from home for the night due to gas pumps not working.
Nobody had A/C, TV, Internet, nothing... total 1850's going on from south Orange County on down for something like 7 million people, for about 12hrs on into the night.
Serious stuff: the airport was shutdown. ATM's didn't work. No traffic lights during rush hour... Clusterfuckville, all the way through.

I'm thinking.. if that were me,... if I were that maintenance worker who just ended modern civilization for a large portion of the country (if only for a night), I'd be pretty damn proud of myself.

Let's hope Al Queida doesn't get a hold of this idea.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

There They Go Again...

Mankind faces extinction, the Prince of Wales has warned, unless humans transform our lifestyles to stop mass consumption.
He referred to a “sustainability revolution” that would force people to change their lifestyles so they consume less petrol, food and other resources.

We should listen to Charles. If anybody knows the evils of conspicuous consumption, it would be him.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Claiming itself 'Frontier Whiskey', packaged in a medicine bottle with cork stopper...

My mind flashes to William Munny (from Unforgiven, and if you're cool like me you don't need the movie reference) liquoring up before his killing spree.

... It needs to awaken for a minute or two before complex scents of vanilla-nutmeg and fruited-leather come through. Successive pourings bring forth butter and corn, some oak.
Initial experience is rough. Abrasive and obnoxious. Not for boys. The rear burn and peppery tingle up front overwhelms whatever is sitting on the tongue, going down with a boot kick to the throat...
...smoothing out into a pleasant finish; now you want another pour. Chest hair is getting thicker and your testes have dropped an additional 1/2 inch.
Again, you want yet another pour 'cause it's tasting reeeeaaaaal good.

It grows on you. After several pours, I'm liking it very much and feeling every bit of that.
$20 at Trader Joe's.
Add some strut to yer swagger, 'cause this shit's for real.
(as I stagger my swagger to the sofa for a nap...)

Sunday, September 4, 2011


After Femme Nikita and Leon, writer Luc Besson adds to his list of 'Chicks You Don't Want To Fuck With', while Zoe Saldana headlines Columbiana into an epic fail.

The basic story: Celeya is a young Columbian girl who witnesses her parents' murder by some criminal gang/cartel and vows vengeance. She find her way to Chicago to be raised by an uncle who trains her for a life as a contract killer.

And she'd be pretty bad ass about it too, if she was believable. Something about a skinny little Saldana (who can't weigh more than 110) incapacitating large muscular men with roundhouse kicks, blasting away with heavy machine guns (that should be shaking her bones from their sockets), with a tendency to do her best fighting in a leotard is just a whole lot of too much for me to accept.

Zoe Saldana is one of the most graceful actresses on the screen today, moving with a smooth fluidity to match her ballet background. She's got the skills for this kind of action-chick role. No doubt, it's hard to take your eyes off of her. But if anybody is in dire straights for a bacon double-cheeseburger, fries and a shake it is her. And shame on the lame-ass director (Olivier Megaton) for casting her without fattening her ass up first.
Or any previous director idiot. This isn't Saldana's first action role as she's become the go-to terminatrix for a few directors lately. Well, I'm not buying into it anymore.
Mark it: This day forward, before I pay to see Zoe fight bad guys I need to see some proof that she's capable of attacking a pizza.
This is getting ridiculous.

That's not all. The script has massive holes it. Weired shit happens without explanation. Dots don't connect. Too much is assumed. Little is explained. Characters are shallow. Special effects are overbearing. It's not even fun to watch.

What could have been a great movie with a terrific plot and the right imagery is little more than a massive wad of crap.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Love Is A Bitch

I'm in love.
The last time this emotion hit me, it was several years ago and I flipped (opened the checkbook on impulse) a grand without so much as a second thought.

I had something known as 'Disposable Income' back then.

Maybe it's the hunter's lament: I always have my eye out for the that one tool that will do what I want to do and never need replacing. The gun of a lifetime. The one that twenty years from now will still be my trusted companion.

Yup... hatin' life right about now...just hatin' life... all I gotta say.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Help

It's the early 60's, where every home in the upper-crust society of Jackson, Mississippi is staffed with a black maid. A budding writer, Skeeter (Emma Stone) has just returned from college and among the drama decides to write a book based upon the experiences of The Help. A look through their eyes, and what it's like to raise the white woman's child and care for her home while living a life second class citizenship.

What can work better than a movie based in the Jim Crow South among the backdrop of race and the struggle for civil rights? In some ways, we've seen all this shit before. We've heard all the stories, usually followed by some moral finger-wagging toward white people. This story spares us finger wagging while presenting us with a cross-section of humanity from the time.
  • Skeeter: as the writer, she finds herself at odds with the racial attitudes held by most of her peers.
  • Aibileen (Viola Davis): a middle-aged maid who is the first to risk sharing her thoughts for Skeeter's book.
  • Minny (Octavia Jackson): close friend of Aibileen who's penchant for sass talk means she has trouble keeping a job.
  • Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard): a snobbish alpha bitch who's "Home Help Sanitation Initiative" will mandate segregated restrooms within private residences who hire black Help. Her facilities fetish provides the spark that ingnites the story.
  • Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain): social outcast from the wrong part of town, employs Minny when nobody else will work for her. She has issues fitting in and can't seem to learn the 'divide' tween white boss and black help, viewing Minny not as employee but as friend and confidant.
It is mostly Viola Davis' Aibileen who carries the story while Octavia Jackson's Minny steals every scene as the action see-saws from serious to comedic. I guess in the end what we've really got is a funny drama or a dramatic comedy. Take your pick.
It's a very good movie;, good enough that I expect it's makers will be hearing from the academy come Oscar time.