Sunday, July 31, 2011

Random Pics

Here's a series of Random Pics. It was this or actually write something.

Arrived a tad early for the July 4 fireworks.

We promised Zoey fireworks for the Fourth of July. Because of our extreme drought and a ban on fireworks, we had to do without. The city of Katy was one of the few places that actually had a fireworks display. We came early.

Way early.

Waaaaaaaay early.

Zoey said, "Take a picture of this cactus!" So I did.
Safety First

My darling loving sister sending a message.


This one is funny because they don't really know how to play Uno.

Our bulletin board
In line at the hardware store Post Office
That's right. I cut my own hair.

New chairs.

My in-laws bought new patio furniture.

Unless one of them actually reads my blog, I'm willing to bet the foam covering on the arms and legs will be there forever.

My wife and a tow truck.

This may be the biggest freakin' tow truck I have ever seen. I made my wife stand next to it to give it some scale. She's 5' 1".

We are parked at the mall in The Woodlands. We were attending the THSC conference and killing time before the Tim Hawkins show.

I have no idea why this thing was there.

This is what AAA calls when your heavy equipment (like a crane, or aircraft carrier) breaks down and needs a tow.

Ice pick

I came home from my game night out with the guys to find this sitting on top of the TV.

In our house, the TV tends to be a "catch all" and I'm as guilty as anybody else about leaving random crap up there.

But an ice pick? Turns out Sara had locked and closed the door to the master bedroom. Previous homeowner made it a key lock. Wife and kids were locked out. So Stephanie got out an ice pick... and... well... use your imagination.

I wasn't allow to play with it.

Found on Interwebs. Speaks for itself, I think.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meanwhile In America

You know what I’m tired of seeing?

“Meanwhile in America” shit. Seriously. I’ve seen stereotyping and these are just… well… wrong!

These pics, posts, and directionless meanderings imply that America is full of fat (super fat, I’m talking makes the news, tear out a wall and remove with a forklift, fat) people that can’t pay the rent, and gang bangers. I’ll readily admit that we’ve got our fair share, but come on.

I've been watching as America haters post shit that implies that Americans hate EVERYBODY. And many of them are Americans!

This post is intended t show that we don't.

1. Americans call themselves "Americans" because "United States of Americans" or "United Statesians" sounds really weird. Besides... it was a name given, not assumed. Please o' please re-read this before googling it and then not understanding it and then flaming me like an ignorant shit. Come ON.. U.S. people are Americans. We called shotgun.

2. When the last great naming of nations happened... people were naming their countries like pets. In the USA, pet names were reserved for the individual states. The word "state" started to mean "part of a whole" and the "rest of the world" meant "democracy coming soon".

3. People in North America wanted a piece of that. Canadians stuck with the Mother Country and Mexico kicked ass. Deal with it. Both are now two of the largest democracies in the world.

4. The U.S. went to war, often, not only to further its own ends, but also to make democracy common and possible.

5. We weren't always successful, and it wasn't for altruistic reasons.

6. The U.S. is not perfect. no one in their right mind would ever call it so. It is a conglomeration of some of the greatest minds this era has ever know. But perfect? No.

7. I'm thinking of a pile of "not perfect" right now.

8.  As a matter of fact, we've had a "pile of perfect" in both the Legislative branch and the Executive branch since 1960.

9. If you haven't figured it out yet, by putting it in "quotes" I'm implying an ironic definition.

10. Message to you Non-Americans... do better... be better... show us how it's supposed to be done. Can't? Well, there you go.

11.  You mean you did? But nobody noticed or cared? Huh. How about that. I think I saw a soccer ball...

And there you go. A perfectly proportioned eleven point list. I had one more, but that would have ruined the symmetry.

Would you believe this is NOT served in the U.S.?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's Country Time

I love being out in the country. Although the haphazard internet access has me a bit disconcerted.

Maybe this post will make it up today… if not, consider it a time capsule.

July 23, 2011 at 6:30 am Eric (not a squid) got up because his back was in knots and he was dying of thirst. 

That is correct folks. Here it is Saturday, we’re at Gramma & Grampa’s house out in the country where I could sleep for as long as I wanted to and I’m up. And I have this THIRST. I’m talkin’ 3-day-binge-drinking-in-New-Orleans-hangover kind of thirst. I’ve had a 12 oz. Coke and a 24 oz. Propel Blueberry Pomegranate Vitamin enhanced Water Beverage with antioxidants** and now I’m working on a Cranberry Raspberry Fuze. Still thirsty.

They’ve got some kind of bug, or critter, or something out here that sings in the trees. I’m thinking a bug? Anyway, it sounds a bit like a French police siren.


As I write this I’m sitting outside waiting for the sun to come up. Cows are mooing. Chickens are clucking. The neighbors have roosters. Lots and lots and lots of roosters. Bill (my father-in-law) says they are fighting cocks.

Fighting cocks.

Yes cock fighting is illegal. But breeding, raising and selling fighting cocks is not. Don’t ask me what the difference between a regular cock and a fighting cock is. I don’t know. All I hear right now are a dozen 
roosters all crowing at the same time. Maybe they are singing little cock versions of Eye of the Tiger?

Cocks love this
There’s the sun!

I can also hear the highway. The in-laws live just off SH 181 between Hither and Yon. It was recently expanded to a four lane divided highway. The state had decided that after Houston tried evacuating for hurricane Rita that perhaps the current highway system was somewhat lacking. So, just in case Corpus Christi ever needed evacuation, they expanded 181. Lots highways got expanded. That’s a good thing, I guess. What I’m beginning to realize, however, is that I don’t spend any time away from major state highways.

The in-laws are right on SH 181. My folks, also out in the country, right on SH 317. I live on SH 6. To get here I NEVER LEFT a state highway. I took 6 to 59 to 77 to 181. To get to my folks I take 6 to 190 to 36 to 317. Each drive takes about 3 hours.

I guess the bright side here is both sets of grandparents are easy access. The downside is that even 3 hours out of Houston I still can’t get away from the noise of traffic.

Grampa recently acquired a few turkeys. Bug hurkin’ ugly turkeys. Last night when we got in Bill offered me a beer and we talked turkey. About turkeys. As he’s telling me the story about how he got 7 turkeys for $10 and watched them walk around pecking the ground like giant chickens. The tom (a male turkey) is huge. It weighs 60 lbs. This fat turkey could feed a family of four for a month. Or a small African country…

Even its feet were hugely fat. And that is when I saw it. Those were dinosaur feet. I’ve seen the bones in the museums. I’ve seen the movies. And now I’ve seen turkey feet. I can’t believe the connection between dinosaurs and birds still needs to be proven. The T-rex was a giant carnivorous TURKEY.

I bet turkey farmers all across the world were like “duh” when scientists first announced birds were most likely the descendants of the surviving dinosaurs from 65 million years ago.

Farmer Bob: “Shoot… Ted you seen this? Birds are from dinosaurs.”

Famer Ted: “They just now figure that out? Have they never seen a turkey foot?”

T-Rex close up

 Ok. I’m done. For now.    

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Real Dad

My first Daddy Rant.

I've been a Daddy for nearly seven and half years now. I've been a Stay-At-Home-Dad for eight weeks. It's only just now that I've come to realize that the American media seems to think that dads are, well... for lack of a better word or expression... fucking idiots.

Homer Simpson is now the ideological father today. You see him not just in his trademarked television cartoon, but in other venues as well. Just take a look at ANY other show on TV that has a father. There he is, the sad bumbling idiot. He's always the guy that can't quite get it figured out. The sympathetic character that barely has enough control over his faculties to not wear a diaper. Cartoons on Cartoon Network. Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC, all those other networks that I seriously can't pay attention to long enough to figure out who they are... they all have shows like that.

Now, the bumbling idiot dad is not new. It's been a growing trend ever since Dick Van Dyke tripped over his hassock. Seriously though, Dads in those shows were breadwinners. They advised, counseled, educated and led. Not to knock the Moms down, but in only one show... ever... was the Mom ever the idiot.

All In The Family.

Even in Married with Children the Mom ran the house.

Now, the more modern shows started depicting Moms for what they were. Strong, intelligent, and often the glue that held families together. But I'm not sure how, or why, the dads turned into Tim Taylors.

Now, I'll grant you, the average dad does do Homer-ish and Toolman-ish things on occasion. We're guys. While I've never tripped over a hassock, I do trip over things and let's just say that some things are inevitable.

I just can't get into family sitcoms anymore because the dad is an imbecile.

Let's talk drama now. The single guys are of course the coolest, sexiest, most awesome dudes on TV. Of course there's a little bit of room for dads. They are often divorc├Ęs, tortured souls, or killers. Mostly they are killers. Vile, gross, disgusting, and all too charming.

It's a no wonder that there are moms groups that won't allow SAHDs in. They are totally freaked out.

Thank you Law And Order.

Do I look like an imbecile? No? Good.
Meh. And people wonder why I watch Zombie movies. You find a dad in one of those, he will KILL everything to save his family.

Now that is a real dad.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dear Solicitors

Dear Solicitors:

Please stop calling my phone. My home phone, that is. We don’t answer it. Ever.

This goes for all robots too. Robots for political action committees, charities, and debt collectors. Most of you aren’t even looking for us.

Especially you debt collectors. Wow. You called me looking for who? Erin Johnson? Are you even trying?

Listen, we keep our home phone for one reason, and one reason only.


Seriously. That’s it. It’s an extremely selective group of people we don’t know that we’d like to be able to find us. You don’t qualify.

I know, I know… you’re saying, “Why don’t you turn your phone off?”

Well, there is that rare occasion where I’ve invited someone to call me on my home phone. That’s right. I don’t want them to know my cell number, but knowing my house number is fine. Why? Because I expect that I won’t know that person for very long and seriously don’t want to be accidentally texted at 3 am with “Yo bro? Wer u @?”

I really don’t care about the latest credit card service or deal you have to offer. It will not be good. At all. I don’t care who’s running for city council or why. I don’t live in the city limits anyway. You clothing drive people call twice a day. FOR YEARS and you have yet to get an answer.

My name is not Erin Johnson. My wife is not a 56 year-old woman from New Jersey. Funny how I was able to find her.

So, in closing, stop calling me.


The Space Shuttle, Me & The Devil's Advocate

I was up and awake this morning to catch the final descent of the Space Shuttle. Ok, it wasn’t specifically to catch the Shuttle landing, but I was up. As I read my twitter feed and news feed and all things Shuttle related I began to have a bit of an argument with myself.

I do that when I’m up at 5 am.

As I was following Neil deGrasse Tyson’s 900 twitters (he doesn’t know how to stop without saying, “I’m stopping now”), I started to develop an antagonistic attitude toward those short viewed, shallow thinking, self-serving, self-righteous, anti-education, keep-the-people-ignorant, people who run our country and the assholes who decided to shut down the shuttle program.

That’s actually how the argument started. When talking to people and opposing views come up, I always choose devil’s advocate. That is because if I agree with the person I’m talking to, it really isn’t any fun. It gets really weird when that person is me.

So here’s how it went down:

Me: “This is so wrong. I absolutely hate those (see above) people that shut down the shuttle program.”

Devil’s Advocate: “Why?”

Me: “They shut down the shuttle program! Haven’t you been paying attention?”

DA: “Not really. No. Why is shutting down the shuttle program a bad thing?” Notice how DA does not CAPITALIZE the word Shuttle? Disrespectful jerk.

Me: “Dude. The Shuttle has been the backbone of the US space program for 30 years. Now we’re backboneless.”

DA: “You mean they are shutting NASA down?”

Me: “Well, no. They still do stuff.”

DA: “What, exactly? Do you even know?”

Me: “They’re working on important stuff! Like that new telescope.”

DA: “You mean the James Webb Space Telescope?” How is it he’s always more informed than me?

Me: “Yeah! That’s the one. To replace the Hubble.”

DA: “I think they’re shutting that down.”


DA: “Dude chill.”

Me: “We’re talking about the Space Shuttle. I don’t care how old your car is, you don’t deep-six it without getting a new car. How do they get into space now?”

DA: “You bum a ride from your buddies. Space Buddies. That movie was sooo bad.”

Me: “The Russians? Not cool.”

DA: “Or the Chinese. They’re going to the moon.” He shrugged like, no-big-deal.

Me: “SHUT UP!”

DA: “And isn’t it waaay cheaper to pay our way on the Soyuz?” Sure, he capitalized that.

Me: “Well, yeah, but that’s not the point. The USA was the leader in space technologies and advancements. The USA lead the way!”

DA: “Didn’t the Russians have a space shuttle too? They killed it because it was dangerous and expensive. The Soyuz is proven safe, efficient, and affordable.”

Me: “Dude. Their shuttle was made of plywood and Elmer’s glue. Of course it was dangerous.”

DA: “And expensive.”

Me: “Well, exploring space is going to be expensive. We still need it.”

DA: “So why can’t we hitch a ride with Russians?”

Me: “BECAUSE THEY ARE RUSSIANS! Damn it! Haven’t you seen Red Dawn?”

DA: “I’m not getting up with you at 5 am anymore. You are completely unreasonable.”

Me: “And you are an asshole!”

Dammit. He always wins.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Good Feelings.... Going.... Going...

It’s a good feeling when you make that last, final, soul completing car payment. You stroke the check lovingly as you sign your name. And sliding it into that prepaid postage envelope… oh yeah. You actually savor the taste of the glue on that envelope.

For the next 3 weeks it’s like driving a car for free.

Then the engine light comes on.


And you are stalled at an intersection during rush hour.

Two days and $1800 later, you are back on the road in your 100% paid for car.

Three months later the engine light comes on.


It runs fine… ignore it.


Fine… diagnose it and it’s no big deal. Emissions issue with gasoline vapors. Won’t pass inspection, but you’ve got almost a year before that becomes a problem. Vapors aweigh!

And now it’s the middle of summer. A car’s favorite time of year for one of two things to go wrong. Either the A/C quits, or it overheats. Your car is overheating AND you can’t run the A/C. As a matter of fact, you get to travel down the interstate with all four windows down blowing the heater at full blast to keep your car from literally catching fire while you drive.

Your radiator is “blocked”. You need a new one. And a thermostat too. They go bad. You’ve got two broken engine mounts, by the way. That’s bad. Real bad. As in you shouldn’t be as worried about your engine catching fire as a maybe the engine just jumping out from under your hood. Oh, and your yearlong engine light thing? Yeah… there’s a pump to detect problems with your vapors. It’s broke.  Oh, and yer washer spray don’t work cause both yer nozzles are AFU.

That’ll be $1800.

Still cheaper than a car payment though.

Ok, so this story was more about me than you.

But you get it, though. Right?


Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Dr. Seuss Moment

Does this ever happen to you?

You read a Dr. Seuss book to yer kid. It swishes and sways back and forth, pushes and pulls, and draws you into a trance until…

You can’t help but you do, you start to sway too; you want but can’t stop, it rhymes with kerplop.

And then it gets bigger!

Like a fuzzy Jum-Jigger!

I have to tell the wife.

She says, “Oh, get a life.”

“Well that’s no damn help,” I say with a yelp.

“Then go drink beer. Stop bending my ear.” Then her eyes get wide; I can see fear inside. “Shit… it’s got me too. What do I do?”

Well, believe it or not; like a bucket of snot, you can shake the Seuss off with a sniff and a snoff.

Take off your pants and do a jump-dance. When the laughing stops you can get dressed or whatever. Seriously, it’s hard to keep a line of thought when you see pantless people jumping up and down.