20 December, 2010
Putting decorations up is usually a pretty simple task for me except when it comes to lighting the tree and putting up the ornaments. When I put the ornaments I am always overwhelmed by the amount of branches and seem to end up putting six ornaments on the same branch without realizing. Or I constantly pass up the "good branch" thinking that there will be a better or heavier ornament that needs it. It's usually takes a good hour to get the thing complete. With the lights I usually do a pretty good job despite being two feet shorter than the top of the tree and not being to reach around it without getting a face full of needles. In fact, most of the time I'm putting up the tree lights, or lights outside the house I look like Doc Brown from Back to the Future:
Never mind. All done for this year!
16 December, 2010
Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
It's just a phone call I'm doing nothing wrong.
Ground Control to Major Tom
Get your cell phone, turn it on.
I'm outside your business, without my trousers on.
14 December, 2010
The term arose it's ugly head during this whole "tax the wealthy" debate currently going on. One side of the argument being that a) everybody should be taxed the same, b) rich people create jobs and c) rich people are rich because they worked hard and hard working Americans deserve to keep more money in their pocket.
By that logic, we should be swimming in jobs considering how the rich have gotten much more wealthy over the years.
But let's take a look at my real beef, the "hard working" aspect. So, are rich people rich simply because they worked harder than the rest of us? Let's look at some rich people like say.. LeBron James. He earns $14.5 million a year right now over at Miami (who said I didn't know anything about sports? I surprise myself sometimes). I wonder how hard he worked to get to the NBA and be a successful athlete? My guess is probably pretty hard! A lot of hours on the court and off the court improving physical and mental skills in order to play at a professional level. But let's say there was another player who trained with LeBron, taught him everything he knew but just didn't want to play in the NBA and plays for a local amateur team, or was off sick the day the talent scouts came knocking and got a job at Big lots instead. His level of "hard work" is equal (if not more) yet his salary is probably around 1%. How can that be?
It's because hard work doesn't = success or wealth. Just look at former Governors of Alaska. I should also add that I doubt LeBron James is creating too many jobs. Not when he's blowing his money on big fancy houses.
It seems to me that the rich and super rich made or make SO much money because of the "hard work" of others and so they do deserve to pay their fair share. LeBron is only making that amount of money because many hard working Americans pay lots of money to buy the overpriced Heat Merchandise, buy an overpriced ticket to the game and buy overpriced snacks while at said game. Then they get home to watch the highlights on overpriced cable on their overpriced TV in their undervalued house. Therefore, he should have to pay a fair amount of taxes to give back to the society that allowed him to have the success in the first place. It is not taking the hard earned money out of his pockets, it is claiming back the loan that America, the society, has given to him.
Those who still believe that the wealthy shouldn't be taxed highly cling onto the irrational belief that wealth is heading their way soon so we better keep taxes low for me. Which is probably why the lottery is still so popular.
13 December, 2010
It honestly wasn't too bad. It didn't snow, the roads were fairly well traveled. In fact, I didn't have any incidents of note until I got to the housing development and some jerk-face starts backing his car out even though he could have seen me coming about 5 minutes down the road, if he would have turned his head to look. The roads in the development were snow on ice, on snow on frozen water that had been covered in Vaseline...that's how slippery they were. He only put on the brakes when I hit the horn and both of us ended up skidding a little.
Thankfully we missed each other. Or should I say, he missed me. and I carried on...after yelling "jerk-face" out of the window...O.K. not really. It is the season after all...so I used far worse language than that. Let's just say the air went blue, and somewhere far away a sailor covered their ears bashfully.
On a completely different note, did anyone see Paul McCartney on SNL and Jimmy Fallon? He still has the magic.
12 December, 2010
Here's what it is...have you ever received say...a box of fancy cigars? Expensive wine? Delicious chocolates? Have you ever DVR'd a whole tv series or bought one on DVD? Trying, tasting, watching the first item is always deliciously scrumptious and a real highlight to the week. You savor the moment and put a joyous note in your diary: "Dear Diary, today rocked. I had some awesome cupcakes!"
Well, that is all well and good..but what happens when you reach the last few, the last drops, the last tv show? Now, excitement and wonder have been replaced with a bitter sweet dread. If I watch the last episode, you say to yourself wistfully, then there will be no more. A tear rolls down your face as you insert the dvd and watch the last ever episode of Two and a Half Men (I know that show hasn't finished yet, but hey, I can dream).
What I am having difficulty labeling is that experience of prolonging the last of something enjoyable. But not because of delayed gratification but more because you are almost too scared to allow something enjoyable to end. I was listening on the radio this week to a discussion about comic books and the host stated to the guest that he had read all of his comic book series (The Black Orchid, I think) but couldn't bring himself to read the last 3 or 4 episodes because he didn't want the series to end. He liked it so much he couldn't finish it. It sounds crazy.
I can think of two examples from my own experience of the same thing. The first happens when I receive food that I really enjoy from England that is unavailable over here. Number one are cheese shapes (any generic kind will do) and number two are Minstrels. Every now and then a member of my family will send me these at my request. I'll eat a bag or two but struggle to bring myself to eat the last bag. What's real stupid is that I let them expire rather than finish the last one...even though I could probably order them on the internet or simply request more.
Another example is when Mrs Allclick bought the Firefly series for me. We watched the first 9 episodes but as the one and only series drew to a close it became harder and harder to watch the episodes. I think there were at least 2 months between when we watched the last episode and the episode before it.
So, what is that all about? If you have some examples I'd love to hear them and a bonus prize to someone who can describe it better than me!
07 December, 2010
06 December, 2010
I find it a difficult conundrum. I honestly do not like talking about my accomplishments or cool things I have been fortunate enough to do unless I'm flat out asked about it or I'm with company who know I'm not a self-obsessed jerk-face. Yet, in the work environment in the US it seems that if you don't promote yourself no-one else is looking after your back. It also seems pretty common to hear folk talking about themselves in flattering ways in everyday conversation around these parts so maybe I should join in.
However, I tend to think that if I have to tell everyone how awesome I am, I'm probably not all that awesome....
(but actually I am!)
04 December, 2010
First, think of a belief you have that you want everyone else to have.
Second, Look for evidence of this belief.
Third, when you find that there is no evidence or barely any decide it's time to make some up/misinterpret other evidence on purpose.
The best way to do this is to think of something that really scares people such as this word list:
Rabies, germs, Deficit, criminals with guns/having sex/voting, foreigners, New Jersey, Socialists, Michael Myers.... Mike Myers...
and then connect that really scary thing to a current piece of legislation/new law/thing you once heard someone say on the telly/Fox News story.
Next step think of a catchy gimicky soundbite like: "He's not one of us!" or "New law makes it illegal to eat food!" or "Government now must sign off before you wipe your ass! And it has to be on government approved toilet paper!" or you can take the easy way out and just decry vague sentiments of how "America is changing for the worst/being flushed down the toilet/being screwed up into a tight paper ball and launched across a busy work environment into a steel trash can/where is my America???"
Once that is complete, go forth and spread the word! It really helps if it's a site that allows comments because then you can personally answer ALL the comments. You can support those that comment about how great you are and awesome for realizing the "truth" and the state that anyone who disagrees with you is "stupid", "delusional", and "brainwashed".
After degrading them you have therefore made what they say unimportant and therefore can't possibly be true! Great job!
For extra credit, you can also make a point, when people complain, of saying things like "You do know that Snopes.com is incredibly biased to the left/the right/the middle/big business/the government." or "You do know that all your "facts" are unbelievable because I don't like them". That way, you have instantly stopped others from actually checking into your hoax! Kudos to you!
Before I finish, I would like to say that this post couldn't have been made possible without this gem:
So, thank you RachellRobinson...keep up the good work, star pupil of mine!
22 November, 2010
Aww. Maybe this will be a love note! How juicy! Someone has been on their mind.
You will always be an important person to me? Aww. This is turning out to be such a sweet card. It must be two lovers. Maybe two friends who have drifted apart recently. Anyone else think that "Enjoy one another's company" is a thinly veiled euphemism? Let's see the hand written part.
01 October, 2010
Bad news: My little space heater than I love is now a little cold air blower. I still enjoy the noise but my feet are getting cold.
Worse news: We took Sydney and Oliver to the vet this week for their 4th booster shot and rabies and bordatella. Oliver is doing great but Sydney has had chronic diarrhea...basically since we got him. They were both in a pretty rough state so we assumed it was stress, or change in diet, or just a kitten thing but the vet seemed a little concerned that it still hasn't cleared up. The worst possible scenario is that he has Feline Coronavirus or FECV (or FoCv I think) and that could lead to FIP which is incurable and fatal. Typically once you get the FIP diagnosis you may only have a few weeks to a few days. He is otherwise healthy. He eats, sleeps, plays and gets into trouble so I am hoping it is simply the best case scenario: He is simply allergic to something in his diet. The vet didn't say this or suggest it but after some research I decided that the least we could do is try to change his diet and see what happens.
We have to wait a week after his vaccines before he can have a blood test as the vet recommended that we knock him out first. That way he won't panic and fidget while they are drawing blood AND they can neuter him at the same time. Man, I'd hate to be a cat. Even after the blood test FIP is very hard to diagnose so just keep your fingers crossed that he turns out ok. Here's a picture for those who like to visualize:
Do you ever sleep so soundly that you don't even move in your bed? You can usually tell as you'll wake up with deep creases along your arms or face. Ever have to go to a meeting wearing a short sleeve shirt and forget that your arms look like you have some weird disease due to the said deep arm creases? I don't recommend it.
28 September, 2010
I have a love/hate relationship with Applebee's. The food and menu always look so good but the food is always a let down. But I just keep letting my stomach over-rule my brain. Well, tonight the food actually wasn't half bad. I had the incredibly healthy swiss dip sliders mmm in extra lean au jus and split an appetizer. Yummo. I was good with desert though. I waited till I got home and helped myself to a sugar free werther's orignal. Thank goodness for candy from Grandma's.
I listened to the Too Grumpy Critic's podcast over the weekend and now am fixated on turning off lightbulbs. All I can think about is: I'm cooking a chicken, I'm cooking a chicken. It's been difficult writing this by candle light but, by jove!, I think I've done it.
Trying to figure out someone's disposition via email is such a tricky thing. I received a couple of work emails from a person I hadn't met. She has always been very curt and abrupt in her emails so it was confusing enough already. Then she replied to one of my requests with a double question mark at the end: "30 pages should be enough, right??"
I couldn't figure out if it was a genuine question, a statement that she would only be doing 30 pages or some seriously painful sarcasm. It didn't help when after I agreed to the amount of pages she said "I look forward to finishing it!!".
Someone really needs to invent a symbol for sarcasm. Can't we just steal the upside down exclamation point. Oh, wait is this the sarcasm symbol (!) Cause that would be bloody brilliant (!).
27 September, 2010
So now I can no longer have regular Heinz Tomato Ketchup, no more Raisin Bran, no more Carrot and raisin salad at Chik-fil-a, no more regular cokes or pepsi's, no wheat bread at Subway (Wtf?), no Sara Lee Heart Healthy Whole Grain Bread, and no Pop-tarts...and the list goes on.
On top of all that I'm also trying to eat more fresh fruit particularly because I don't like vegetables on the whole. Especially those that are really good for you. Catch me on a good day and I'll eat spinach and a bit of red pepper. Catch me on a bad day and I'll eat 4 different types of potato with some chives.
It's going to be tough because I've always just eaten what I wanted to really. Which turns out isn't all that bad but it's not all that good either. Thankfully I am addicted to certain healthy things like these raw Spanish peanuts I'm snacking on. On the other hand, those milk duds over there sure look tempting...
23 September, 2010
22 September, 2010
The perspective can quickly change when you suddenly are looking to adopt. Then your thinking changes to "I better get down to the shelter before someone else gets there and adopts the cat I want!" as if people are streaming down to the shelter adopting left, right and center. Isn't that strange?
I think it's part of the reason Ebay has been so successful too, especially for folks like me. When it's something I don't want to buy I scoff at other user's wondering what they were thinking trying to sell THAT. When it's an item I really want I'm desperate to procure it, imagining that in a warehouse somewhere in the hills there are 10,000 computers and 10,000 operators all logging into Ebay to purposefully outbid me on a PC-CDROM version of Blade Runner from 1997 and so I must log on 10 billion times a day in order to outbid the unseen masses.
What's worst is that advertisers and retailers know this. They are master manipulators of our strings causing us to spend thousands on stuff we didn't really want but thought we had to get before they all sold out. Look for this especially at Christmas time when mysterious articles appear in the press announcing the "must-have" toy for Christmas long before it is actually "must-have".
15 September, 2010
I'm back, at least for today, just to say "hey" and "how are ya?". I think the main reason I've been absent has been a lack of enthusiasm for getting on my computer plus an increased work load. It's the busy season for me right now. Also, I have two amazing little kittens to take care of right now and anyone who has kittens in their house knows just how much attention these little guys need. Just in case you were wondering, here's a piccie:
That's Sydney with the markings and Oliver hiding in the back and they are not as innocent as they look. And just so my other cat doesn't feel neglected here he is, yawning:
Or yelling a war-cry. I forget which one now.
26 August, 2010
I really think it's a major flaw in the system that is reliant on achieving test scores so that funding can be allocated. Why couldn't we be tested by, say, hosting a debate on a chosen topic, leading the class in a lecture, explaining your use of art techniques and inspirations...etc.. For those of us that second guess ourselves in exams and can't remember the exact date of every battle in the reign of Henry VIII this would be much more appropriate and fitting.
One has to look at the actual end result: What skills do you want these children to have when they finish education? Sure, they are now great at remembering the shopping list they left at home but can they put forward a reasonable, informed argument about why they believe in freedom of religion, or gay marriage, or why the sky is blue? Are our children leaving the school system curious about the world and open to critical thinking about their lives, or did athleticism or brain power allow them to achieve the highest accolades in school but leave them closed minded and inwardly-focused?
In some fields simply remembering the facts is actual very important. Such as the laws of physics and math. Engineering pretty much relies on absolute truths. However, I completed a degree in the human science field which pretty much leads to working with people yet I found myself sitting with at least 4 or 5 people in every class who lacked even basic people skills. These same people usually aced every exam though. They had neat folders with coloured tabs marking each different topic, they brought Dictaphones to every lecture, they asked endless, pedantic, questions when it came to test time or writing a paper. "How long should it be?" "How short can it be?" "Can I use a pencil?" - demanding guidelines and rules in a field where the papers are as long as it takes you to explain the topic adequately.
Unfortunately, I see these people out in the field now. Working with people yet seemingly mystified by them. Some even seem to be angered by others, and without that ability to look inwards or ask "why?" they have walked into the cage of their profession without thinking to check the combination lock on the door.
09 August, 2010
I checked my bank last week and while skimming through noticed a charge of $1.00 to "APL*ITUNES 866-712-7753 CA". It was still "Pre-AUTH" so it hadn't completed yet but I knew something wasn't right. I called my local bank but as it was 4:31 they were closed and there was no-one available to speak. In the end I called the stolen/lost hotline and they canceled the card. Even the $1.00 didn't go through so that was great, but for the second time in two years I'm waiting for a new debit card to arrive.
I decided to report the card after doing a little research. It turns out that lots of people have fallen victim to this. Some with or without itunes accounts. Frighteningly, many people reported that when they had alerted Apple to the fact that someone had made fraudulent itunes purchases on their account Apple did jack squat and state that they do not refund any "authorized purchases". Some folks had hundreds of dollars of charges. Another guy had his itunes connected to his paypal and they were able to draw $4999 out of his bank without a red flag. Apparently in the small print it says that by linking the accounts you agree that up to $5000 can be made in purchases without letting the individual know.
From reading lots of comments it seems that the scam works by someone guessing your debit card number. Most banks use sequential numbering so once they have one debit card they can guess at the next number in the sequence. Then when they think they have the details they try the $1.00 purchase...if that goes through they go to town and rack up the big bucks, so check your bank statements often.
07 August, 2010
Fans of Kate Winslet will be happy here, however, those who love Peter Jackson and Quintin Tarantino will probably want to write in to complain…to this address:
allclicknopoint at the Gmail address
or check this blog and:
The Film Geek
02 August, 2010
30 July, 2010
You may have also been that person who gets a movie in the mail from Netflix and then lets it sit there on the countertop for days at a time. "I'm just not in the mood for that" you think to yourself as you wonder why the heck it was even in your queue and how did it get to the top before "Couple's Retreat"?
But then....it turns out you rather liked it! Ha-Zar! You wonder why you fussed and moaned in the first place.
If this is you then get in touch! The Film Geek and I will be back podcasting our way through the weekend and this episodes topic is:
"3 movies you thought would suck, but ended up enjoying".
Feel free to post a comment here with your answer or send an email to:
allclicknopoint at the mail of G.
29 July, 2010
I wear glasses, I like Science Fiction, I'm currently enjoying watching "The Universe" on the History Channel, I play video games. Nuff said.
I like doing geeky things. Like reading PDF articles on my iphone using the stanza app (which is an awesome ebook reader for the phone).
If you also need/want to try this out head over to:
Where you can upload your pdf file (or point it at the file online) and then have it email you a link which then loads up in your stanza app.
23 July, 2010
I was at the cinema last week watching "Predators" (which was awesome fun, despite any sign of Arnie or Jesse Ventura) and noticed (as I have done on several occasions) two guys walking in together and sitting down in their seats with a space between them. One empty seat splitting them. Why is this? It's 20-freaking-10. You are grown mid-20-something year olds. This is not 5th grade P.E. where simply admitting friendship with another boy will result in outcries of "Gaylord! Gaylord!" for the next 18 years of your life (and counting!).
How does one seat even make a difference? You still invited another dude to come sit with you in a dark room for 2 hours. On a Saturday night. And brought "snacks".
PLLUSSSSSS!!!! - It was really freakin distracting when you had to reach over to kiss.
Also on my mind is this:
"Hi, umm what time do you guys close today?"
"It's Friday so 5pm"
"Great, has your Fed-Ex already been?"
"Yeah, he came in about an hour ago and we usually have to give him 3 hours warning (WTF?)"
"Oh, O.K. Any ideas?"
"Well, how big is your package?"
"....."(laughs until cries)"...."(hangs up).
Question: Is that SO wrong?
20 July, 2010
If however, you have realised that Hollywood ran out of original plot ideas about 20 years ago, then forgot to re-hire any decent writers after the strike, and decided to plump for big pew pew pew blockbuster movies (in 3D with a surcharge of course) you may have noticed that the "decent movie" market is quickly being populated by countries all over the world.
You can get those two movies on Netflix Instant Streaming right now (woot!) and I also thoroughly recommend "Let the right one in". Yay, for other countries!
12 July, 2010
Now tell me this: Why is it man can take a picture of a friggin Asteroid with a camera that was "within 3,162 kilometers of the asteroid while moving at a speed of 15 meters per second" but I can't manage to take a non-fuzzy picture of my cat, Cooper, moving at 0 meters per second from a distance of 12 inches away:
Speaking of cats, I saw this great picture of a couple of kittens (available for adoption at the Putnam County Animal Rescue shelter). Keep in mind, it should only be a picture of the kitten on the left...excellent "Photobomb":
And as promised a video. It's band called "The Mystery Jets" with a song called "Two doors down". It's tremendously 80's!
Oh and it's nothing like this:
09 July, 2010
"We are hard working Americans and they are taking our home away from us".
It illustrates to me the greatest lie from the American Dream. Not that we can all obtain a 4 bedroom house, white picket fence, a lawn, a job that pays well, a pension, health care, be equal with one another. But that Hard work = Success.
We have heard that equation for years. Benjamin Franklin was a huge fan of it stating "Early to Bed, and early to rise, makes a Man healthy, wealthy, and wise." and while this may have been true in the 18th century, it is no longer the case today.
You can work as hard as you possibly can and still find yourself unemployed, Foreclosed on, underwater, outsourced, without a decent pension. It's no wonder the number of prescriptions of anti-depressants is ever increasing.
Of course, that's a complete over-simplification of cause and effect but it sounded good. Much like being a "Hard Working American" sounds good. I'd hate to be one of those people called a "Hardly Working American".
So, what does "Working Hard" really even mean?
For a pilot, does it mean flying extra good? Cracking jokes on the intercom every now and then? Telling you the sights as you pass over them at 30,000 feet?
For a psychiatrist, does it mean providing the "good" therapy? Does one psychiatrist who researches medication, keeps up to date on their journals and theory but works 3 days a week and only 4 hours each day work harder than the psychiatrist who puts in a 10 hour shift in down-town New York, working with violent offenders but just goes through "the motions"?
For a teacher, does it mean making sure all your students excel, or does it mean providing the children with the skills they will need in life? Does it mean correcting behavior or achieving results?
It's pretty gosh, darn complicated.
My best advice is to shake off the chains of the lie. Be good to your neighbour. Think critically. Vote with your brain and as one of my colleagues always says "work smart, not hard". Success comes from within and can't be measured by the amount of "things" you have or the car you drive or the property you own. Measure you success by your own goals and not by a dream, invented to make you buy more "things", that has quickly soured into a nightmare. Then, perhaps, you won't be so upset when your "hard work" = crap street.
07 July, 2010
The complete effect was capped by the fantastic service I received at the counter. It was bare (the counter, not the server) and so I perused the menu a while, it was my first time and didn't know what was on offer. The server approached the counter and looked at the computer. I looked at her, she looked at the computer, looked at me, looked at the computer. Apparently, that was the signal that I should order. I (stupidly) was awaiting a greeting or instruction that she was ready (Mamma Mia! Imma so silly!).
I ordered a meatball sub and choose a side (plain chips, or BBQ chips...decisions, decisions! If only they had ONE type of chips I wouldn't have to make such a heartbreaking choice) and was shooed away from the counter. Saying she had a face and attitude like a wet weekend is probably giving her too much credit.
Ambiance and terrible service aside, it was an awesome sandwich. Just incredible. I was only hungry enough to eat half...but then ate the other half anyway. That's how good it was! I am told the Reuben was equally as good (so says Mrs. Allclick) and the Pizza on the table over from ours looked yummy too.
I shall be making a return to Bellacino's if not for a slice of Italy, or a warm, friendly, smiling face, then for a delicious, filling, and meaty sub.
03 July, 2010
Welcome to Episode number 2 where Allclick and The Film Geek find the game is afoot while talking about Sherlock Holmes, long for a old country music star to whisk us away when discussing Crazy Heart, and hope in a post-apocalyptic world Denzel will save us as we chat about The Book of Eli.
Head over to Allclick.podbean.com if you want to download this or subscribe to the feed!
30 June, 2010
In my local area there IS a recycling center. That's the good news. What sucks is that they only accept magazines, office paper, aluminum cans, and brush. This meant that it was a little better to travel further down the road, out of the county and get money for my huge aluminum sack. As we started to recycle our magazines at the house it then became more worthwhile just to dump the whole lot of locally. Now, that's all well and good but what about all the plastic bottles that I (and my local community) get through? Turns out we are SOL.
Up until recently we could drop them off just over the county lines in Nitro (at the recycling place..not just on the side of I-64) but now they have stopped accepting plastic. Wracked with the guilt of plastic bottles laying in landfill for all eternity I went online and spoke to a representative at Waste Management who pick up my rubbish.
"Yes, we do recycling sir. Just leave your container out next to your trash can"
"Great. Can I put plastic in there?"
"We currently do not have any plans for plastic collection at this point in your area"
"Hmm. Ok. Any other suggestions?"
"Have you tried Earth911.com?"
By this point I HAD tried it. Earth911.com steered me towards one office nearby (that is JUST an office and doesn't actually collect materials. It sent me to the recycling place in Nitro) and it tried to convince me that Roane County was just 5 miles away. Which it isn't.
There are recycling places in Cabell and Kanawha county but guess what? They are for those county residents only. So, the "Taint" of WV gets screwed again. I have a temporary solution right now which is driving down (or up) to Target who DO collect recyclables from the public. They have smallish bins inside near the customer service desk and don't seem to mind me walking in with a huge bag and filling up their bin for the day.
Maybe it's finally time for me to start drinking from *shudder* the tap.
29 June, 2010
Some people suggested strong smelling spices. This lead to a rather red looking counter top with ants seemingly rolling around and giggling in it. I tried several different cleaning sprays, some of which would kill the ant instantly, others seemed to do nothing at all except bath them. I used white vinegar everywhere until my house smelled like a cheap seaside chip shop (the best kind IMHO) and this probably worked the best. But still they would come back...and in greater numbers. I also tried just squishing the heck out of them but I really hate to do that (although, after three or four days of it it becomes easier).
Eventually I used a Terro product outside and that seemed to do the trick. Mostly. I wasn't entirely convinced and had to also take care of some ant hills with hot boiling water and a can of raid.
So, this year we get ants in our entryway. I'm not entirely sure why they target us but my guess is that folks like to throw trash up against the side of our house which then invites the little buggers to set up shop and invade the house. Anyway, so I'm down on my knees squishing ants and spraying white vinegar and not having much success. I decide I'm going to have to go buy some ant baits.
I head off to ACE to get the Terro things I did last year (they were outdoor pots of Ant liquid bait) but they had completely sold out. So, I trot off to Walmart (You can see how desperate I was) and they too were out of Terro products so instead I opt for Amdro (a product which is difficult to find even on the mighty google). Walmart had it tucked away in the gardening products section of the store rather than the handy Ant and bug control section they set up near the laundry products (that's how Walmart gets you to buy crap stuff it wants you to buy!). I choose a bait that you can place indoor or outdoor (because of our cat, Cooper) and I chose to put 4 outside around the house. Next thing I know, no more ants! It worked like a charm.
The moral of this story is: Walmart always gets your money.
22 June, 2010
Even after 3 and half years, though, I still struggle with some aspects, especially socially, and often times I'm left wondering if it's just me as a person or me as a foreigner. This weeks particular social woe is the fact that I seem to suck at telling stories. Even interesting stories. Twice this week I have attempted to tell a story. One about my heroic efforts in getting rid of ants in the house and the second was about Barnaby. I was in a one on one situation both times so I had their complete attention. It was two separate people. It was my turn in the conversation. Yet, when I began "Well, we started getting ants in our entryway. A few times during the week I was up early squishing them but then I found this great product...." (or something along those lines) I was interrupted. Not once or twice but maybe 5 or 6 times I would get interrupted and drag out an otherwise pretty short but helpful/interesting story.
I still can't work out where I was going wrong. Perhaps it was my subject matter. I think what makes things worse is I have a really difficult time of knowing when someone is about to stop speaking. This means I often talk over someone or if it's someone who doesn't stop talking I can barely get a word in edge ways. It's tough when I am just speaking one on one but it becomes a nightmare when speaking in a small group and everyone else seems to just know when to say this piece. This often leads to a perception that I am quiet or shy where in fact I usually have a lot to say I just wait for the right time or wait until spoken to.
So, I'm looking for some suggestions. Perhaps it just takes practice and I need to work on my story telling. Or perhaps I need better subjects. I've noticed that sometimes people will embellish details which I don't tend to do intentionally (unless I say "Man, that bridge was a million miles high!") so maybe I'll try that...
"So, there I was...a knife clenched between my teeth, leaning over the deadly amazonian fire ants. Sweat dripping off my brow as I prepared for the kill"
18 June, 2010
I've really been getting into listening to several podcasts on a weekly basis and constantly find myself with too much time and not enough podcasts so I thought I'd give it a crack myself. So, check out my new movie review podcast featuring The Film Geek! We talk about three movies on our mind and a whole bunch of other stuff that wasn't. This week we tackle Iron Man 2, Avatar and The Lovely Bones.
Iron Man 2, Avatar, The Lovely Bones and why 3D sucks
17 June, 2010
This wasn't the first time we lost our A/C. In fact I think it was the third time in three years so we were a LITTLE more prepared this time (i.e. we have a big ass fan) so the fan came out and the windows opened up and we tried our best to stay cool. For the next four nights it was at least 86F at night as we tried to sleep. I had grown up without A/C and put up with sleeping through hot nights but once you have it it's hard not to be spoiled by it.
In the end the A/C guy showed up and fixed it without even coming in the house.
Technical Explanation coming up:
Turns out the compressor (or something) had burned out (or something) and therefore was preventing the fan (or maybe something else) from sucking in air (or blowing it) from outside (or somewhere) and cooling it (or doing something with it).
The timing was kinda spooky. I knew the A/C was working that morning because I was freezing trying to look after Barnaby. He always did like it warm and at least it gave us something else to focus on. A tip for any of you who lose your A/C this year, make sure your ceiling fans are spinning in the right direction for summer. I think it's supposed to look clockwise (or something).
Thank you for all the comments about Barnaby. I really appreciate it.
11 June, 2010
Number one, as some of you may know is that we had to put Barnaby to sleep. It was one of the toughest days of my life. He was a very sick cat who had several serious health problems such as rapidly declining kidneys, hyperthyroidism, prone to urinary infections, permanent upper respiratory infection, arthritis and anemic but he was also the sweetest cat I'd ever met. He was 16 1/2 years old but still had the face and attitude of a kitten. He loved being around people, especially meeting strangers and service people who would come to the house and he loved sitting on a warm lap, or sleeping on my warm head at night. He rarely meowed and just had a silent, comforting, loving presence.
I remember a couple of months after moving to the states my grandparents died within a week of each other. Another tough time for me and Barnaby also sensed that. He would come and sit on my lap for hours or just sit next to me on the sofa and then follow me around the house when I moved. He was the opposite of the stereotypical aloof and unloving cat that we see on tv and that I'd always experienced with other outdoor cats (we kept Barnaby inside, and his brother Cooper).
He was far from typical in many ways. Apart from not meowing (which made it extra cute when he did) and loving strangers he didn't like catnip or really have an interest in seafood. Instead he preferred vanilla ice cream (Cold Stone's Sweet Cream was his favourite), milkshakes, sour cream, whipped cream..basically anything white and creamy. He even like Wendy's Chili and would prefer ice cold bottled water to anything he had in his water bowl (but of course we gave him all these things in extreme moderation!). He would occasionally be interested in store bought cat food but was more likely to be found playing in a cardboard box or chewing on a piece of material cord (we had one tied up just for him in his toy basket), or attacking a crinkly water bottle label or sticky tape. As he was so sweet it always brought a smile to our faces to see him get fired up when he was in the mood to play with his toys.
His health had rapidly declined in the space of about 8 months really. He had given us a couple of scares as he lost his appetite and a lot of weight. His arthritis and kidneys made him develop a limp and he gradually became less interested in playing with his toys as actively as he used to. He would still make the trip downstairs to greet us when we got home though or upstairs to get a snack several times a day. As his kidney function declined we ended up giving him Sub-cutaneous fluids on a daily basis. He was also taking three different meds and a supplement which involved squirting the liquid down his throat three times a day (which seemed to be a game for him and challenge to avoid bleeding for me).
As we knew he was very sick we had worried about how we would finally know when he was no longer had quality of life. It was so difficult because he would have a bad day followed by a number of good days where he would play, snuggle, be ornery, snack and roll around on the floor in front of the space heater. We hoped that when the day came we would know.
Well, we woke up Sunday May 30th at 9am and he was in the bed having a seizure next to us. He had had a seizure (his first ever) on Wednesday night that last about 30 seconds and he came around and recovered. In fact he had had a really good week, snacking on his dry food, eating his yogurt (to replace his good bacteria from the antibiotics), spending time with us instead of sleeping etc.. That Sunday, however, his seizure lasted for maybe a minute and then he seemed to shake it off for a short while before the next one came. Unfortunately the next one never ended, it just fluctuated in severity.
We gave him a while to try and wait for the seizure to end but nothing was helping. We put him in the carrier and rushed him to the emergency vet in South Charleston where they told us it was him time. They were able to subdue him but that was just a temporary measure and we had to say goodbye.
The house has seemed a lot emptier over the last few weeks. It really feels like a big presence is missing, especially when we lay down for nap or in the evenings when we would snuggle on my lap or by my feet (and the heater!). Barnaby really was a blessing for both of us and we will miss him dearly.
Thankfully(!), two other bad things happened that week to take our minds of our "Boo Boo" so stay tuned for Part 2. I'm sure I will post more about Barnaby in the next few days and I'll get a few more pictures and even video going when I feel more like it.
10 June, 2010
20 May, 2010
19 May, 2010
18 May, 2010
Instead I was treated with a movie split between a family coping with grief and a dream-like interpretation of an afterlife.
While it wasn't what I was expecting, it was engaging enough to force me to stay awake just to see how the film played out (we watched it pretty late... and I fall to sleep at the drop of a hat) and yer, Stanley Tucci was excellent.
I give it 3.5 clicks out of 5 for giving me a movie with heart, drama and emotion when I wanted murder-mystery...in space...with a monkey fighting Tucci to the death.
Maybe that was a different trailer.
12 May, 2010
Just wanted to say I'm still here just been a tad bit too busy to get on here and moan about stuff. I've been lifting furniture, taking care of a very sick cat and playing the heck out of "Heavy Rain". I have even been back to O'Skees for the meatloaf which was excellent.
Just in case you were thinking of renting Sherlock Holmes, by the way, I wasn't all that impressed. It would have been a lot better without Guy Ritchie at the helm and if it actually had a mystery. You'll be disappointed when (and if ) you make it to the end. There's not even a deerstalker in sight.
Back soon, y'all
22 April, 2010
When you walk in you might think a bunch of vandals had broken in and decided to destroy the walls but look a little longer and you'll notice it's the signatures of probably everyone who ever set through the door. There is even a wall for those who managed to eat the "Big O" which, as you might have guessed, is a massive dish of some kind. I think it's a burger.
The menu had a load of choices including salads, burgers, sandwiches, ribs, specials (beef tenderloin tips the day I went), wraps, soups, subs, fish, hot dogs and home made pies etc.. and I went for a burger which was fantastic. Two big patties, a big bun and plenty of cheese. Two different kinds I think. While you wait you can even read all about local history as it is shellacked onto the table surface or just read the thousands of names on the wall. I chose to do both and learned a lot about the fire that burned down the old capitol building and the fact that "Mitzi" was here 11/19/09.
I'll be back for sure to check out the ribs or pulled pork sandwiches next time and maybe even some "Fuzzy Buttons" (I had to ask to find out what these were). If you wanna find it it's on Route 60 through St. Albans right next door to Enterprise.
13 April, 2010
Basically, there is nothing like Leno/Letterman/Conan/(Lopez?) in the UK. Nothing that is five nights a week with guests and interviews and music. The article states that the guests would be scarcer which is actually probably true. There would probably be one or two A to B list British celebrities a week and then the other nights would be filled with Z list wannabes or obscure people you really don't care about....aka Z list celebrities.
There probably is a market for it..maybe at the 6:00pm time slot or 8:00pm...the "After tea" time slot (tea the meal not the drink) because I actually really enjoy Letterman and enjoyed Conan too but they were both on late. I think one aspect that would turn off British viewers would be the depth of the interview. Most of the time with the talk shows here you can almost predict the questions:
"How's your family doing?"
"Now, you just for back from "INSERT LOCATION HERE" how was it?"
"You had a bit of trouble on the Flight/Car ride/Taxi recently didn't you?"
And then when we are about to discover something interesting or take the conversation to another level, its:
"Tell us about your latest movie/TV show/book/hand puppet"
Which is all we have time for because here comes a commercial.
That said, I am looking forward to Conan on TBS.
02 April, 2010
Of course, I would love to have one. Just for the pure fact that I would look like a futuristic hero of some sort carrying the thing around or reading the morning paper on it.
When I think longer on it, however, I wonder when would I actually use the thing. I have an IPhone already so when I'm out and about and need to check my email/play a game/find out what string theory is I can semi-quickly load up the Internet on my phone and I'm sorted. Sure, it's a small screen and I might have to wait for it to load or scroll a lot but that's not really that much of an inconvenience. Plus I don't really want to have to carry around a device that won't fit in my pocket and can't make phone calls.
So, maybe I would use it at home. But if I want to write an email and surf the Internet I'm going straight to my laptop which isn't limited to "apps". All of which, by the way, have to be pre-approved by Apple, where as my computer can download...well, the Internet. Plus, I can watch and play Flash games, and can have multiple things going at once, and plug in USB devices, and use a mouse if I want to.
All that I'm left with for using my IPad would be long car journeys where it would seem like a great entertainment device. As long as you didn't want to watch a dvd you just bought, or a movie you just downloaded to your laptop.
For those without a smart phone I can see it would fill that Apple-y void in your life but otherwise folks, by an IPhone and a netbook and call me in the morning if that IPad craving hasn't gone away.
30 March, 2010
I couldn't resist posting more of these because a) it's easy and b) they make me smile.
If you, by the way, know any answers to these questions be sure to let me know.
What was the average number of rooms in a hotel in the mid-1800s
(Just WHY would you need to know this and who the heck does?)
ID1626682895 asked What goes into space off of the sun
(Isn't that a question astronomers have pondered for centuries? The answer is, of course, Rainbows which makes as much sense as the question.)
What color is a bluish purple
(It's kind of purpley but with blue in it.)
What is the word for sailors overthrowing their captain and taking over the ship
(I can just imagine now, a group of rebel sailors on board a boat, huddled round a laptop asking this. "Ok, lads, go grab the Captain and tell him he has a ...Mut-tiny on his hands!"
How many hours in 121 minutes
(Come ooooonnnnn! It takes less brain power to work that out than it does to type it...doesn't it?)
If a guinea pig coughs is it bad
(Is there anything sadder than a guinea pig coughing?)
ID1204294227 asked How do yo say iam doing fine in italian and said it was the same as How do you say iam fine how are you
Current answer: You say, "I am fine, thank you. How are you?"
Kh731  wrote the first answer to Is it racist for a white person to put a scarf on their head
Current answer: not really
(Thank goodness I can stop burning all my scarves)
26 March, 2010
It's Friday today and I find myself wanting to post two stupid things and one more thoughtful piece but I know that posting three at a time will empty the pool of blog posts in my head and they'll be nothing but a tumbleweed blowing about this webpage for a while.
So, I'll try and pace myself and just post a video of a cat today.
24 March, 2010
Please, please please stop showing your commercials for 3G coverage (with your annoying slogan of "There's a map for that") in West Virginia. Firstly, it's just plain misleading. Secondly, you see that big ole white space in the eastern part of the state? Yep, that's West Virginia. So please give it a rest.
19 March, 2010
(P.s. don't tell me to get a Domino's instead because they closed the one near me just to later release a new recipe and taunt me personally).
18 March, 2010
Going to the hospital reminded me of a few things. The first was that I really should take better care of my heart and, you know, exercise it once in a while. It's funny when people say "Remember, the heart is a muscle" and I'm thinking "well, I don't work out my other muscles so that really doesn't help much". But in the last few days I HAVE been actually working out so here's hoping I can keep it up.
The second thing I'm reminded when I go to a hospital is: I never want to be in a hospital. I never want to wear one of them gowns, have blood taken from me ever hour, take new pills every day, pee in a plastic container (when not on a long car journey), or any of the other hospitally things. Just remembering that should keep my healthy I hope.
Having seen the government run hospitals in England and seeing the For-profit hospitals here I'm really surprised at how crappy they are here. I expected to see shiny new wards with flat screen TV's and modern phones and thermostats that were not invented by Franklin, and robot nurses...and maybe, just maybe soda machines that actually accept wrinkled dollars. I guess all those things would trim the profit margin.
05 March, 2010
Anyway, I thought I'd throw in another blog post about social skills because I'm fascinated by them and I'm one of those guys that won't just do something the same way over and over again just because it's always been done that way and so I like to examine why us humanoids do things the way we do, over and over again.
Today I'm intrigued by the concept of knowing another person. Not in the biblical sense, mind you, before those of you in the back of the room start snickering. I mean how much should you really know someone else? When it comes to partners we are basically expected to know everything. Where they grew up, who there idol is, what is the favourite type of ice-cream etc.. and in this situation knowing these things and remembering them doesn't freak them out. In fact it comforts and sometimes impresses them.
But let's say you meet a new person. They tell you a couple of things about themselves and then 3 months later you meet again. You say something like "Oh, and how is your dog doing now? And have you finished that class you were taking? Did you end up going to see Avatar in the end?" and you have probably weirded them out.
Those "rules" are pretty simple to follow. Where the line blurs is with friends who you are close to. I think this is probably more true for guys..when talking to both guy friends and female friends. If I suddenly told my friend Geoff I remember his shoe size, ice cream flavour and first pet name I'm certainly heading into weirded out territory. Equally I'm probably getting a restraining order against me if I approached a female friend and recalled what dress she wore to the prom and what the colour of her toothbrush is without the topic of conversation being about either of these things.
So, how much should you really know about a friend (and more importantly admit to remembering)? I think I can stick to these guidelines:
1) It depends on the friend
2) It depends what you know
3) If they ain't talking about it, don't bring it up.
4) Don't ask, don't tell.
23 February, 2010
Will you get high if you shoot suboxone?
(Ah, the considerate drug taker takes time out to check that he's not wasting his time.)
How much does 16 ounces weigh
(hmm...about 15 ounces but a bit more?)
What is happening to the earth forests
(I demand to know! Someone better own up!)
How much wood would a catnip joke troubles with water in the joke Which time would as you not ask him not to do I hard try to talk here in english sorry
(I hard try to understand in English also, sorry).
What year was Dick a dum dum by des oconnor released
(This one just made me laugh for so many reasons but couldn't the poster have just put this in the google search bar instead??)
Why is a tattoo permanent and suntan not
(I can just imagine this person holding a skull stencil on their arm outside on a hot day)
How can you not ejaculate early
(Actual Answer:"When your drilling your girlfriend just pretend shes your mother")
What happens to a person who marries someone knowing that person is already married?
Let's find out!
If you see any other great questions being asked please share and we can all have a good chortle together!
17 February, 2010
Overall a fun scary romp. Best watched with the lights out.
12 February, 2010
We were in the mood for a movie last night and while my last DVD was on it's way to Netflix (which seems to take longer and longer these days) we decided to check out this Romantic umm comedy/drama from last year. It was free after all and I had a humidifier to put together.
It stars Dustin Hoffman as a yank heading off to London to attend his daughter's wedding and Emma Thompson as a lovely Brit with a perfect speaking voice for...getting people to answer surveys at airports, and speaking to her mother a lot on the phone.
Hoffman is down on his luck and while trying to cheer himself up in the airport bar runs into Emma Thompson who is also trying to raise her spirits from the seemingly boring and frustrating life she leads. It's a sweet moment as they talk and flirt like mature adults and the story continues from there, following them both over two days as they help each other see past their problems.
As Ms. Allclick made note of, it's a mature movie aimed at older audiences and a type of movie that doesn't get as much attention today as it should, due presumably to it's lack of CGI and jokes about drug taking, being naked, throwing up, or stealing Mike Tyson's tiger.
It was a movie that serves as a nice break from the last few I've seen (Trick R treat, Whiteout, Daybreakers) and certainly a good choice for valentines day.
Be prepared to perpetually ask "How tall is Dustin Hoffman again?".