Where’s the Water?

In spite of the fact that I am more of a grass seed kind of person, I recently took the challenge of laying down a small patch of sod in the yard. The installation went pretty well and when it came time to water it, I remembered the house we live in has two outdoor water faucets, neither of which works so I had no choice but to use the kitchen faucet as the water supply.

After roaming the local hardware store for an hour to try and locate the appropriate fittings, I left empty handed knowing what I had to do so I wrapped about a half roll of duct tape over the hose and faucet and then taped a plastic bag over the whole Rube Goldberg setup in anticipation of severe leakage. It took less time to install the sod. I turned the water on, confirmed that leaking was manageable, went outside to find that the water was coming out the other end about as slow as that water fountain in high school just down the hall from homeroom. Flashbacks of standing there for 20 minutes sipping water from that fountain freaking out that I would dehydrate in the hall before I got enough water in me. Now here I am 50 years later basically using that fountain that now has a severe prostate issue to water my lawn

Sod or Seed?

A nice lawn is a beautiful thing. The lush green color and the lines from the lawn mower make it a work of art and to get this nice lawn you’d either plant seed or lay down sod.

If you’ve got a decent lawn and are just looking to fill in here and there, you’ll probably go with the seed. If you have a big patch of dirt that you want to turn into a lawn, it’s an entirely different story. Do we want to see a nice green lawn today or do we choose to wait a month? There are rewarding benefits to both, but regardless of which you choose, you must dig up the soil to make it nice and soft for the grass or sod to grow in.

If we are putting sod down, it’s like putting a big puzzle together. That in itself is a lot of fun and very rewarding, but seeing an instant lawn is very cool I must admit.

If you lean more towards grass seed, then you’re going to toss a bunch of seed on that big patch of dirt and cover it with a thin layer of black topsoil. After about a week or so, tiny light green blades of grass emerge through the surface of the black topsoil. The contrast of the green blades to the black topsoil is striking and you can’t help but open your hand and move it slowly back and forth just far enough over the surface to feel the tips of the grass tickle your palm. As the days and weeks go by, the black slowly turns to green.

I can fully appreciate both, but I may lean more towards a grass seed line of thinking.

Yes, Please

I play music often when I write and it’s always on YouTube. I’ll be writing then the music stops. When I go back to YouTube, it’s asking “Continue Watching?”. Well, yeah I put it on in the first place. Turntables were much more intelligent and would never ask such a ridiculous question.

Nice Car

Movies pretty much just wash over me. I absorb more from some than others, but for the most part I’m not usually 100% invested. If I see 5 cowboys trotting along, I’ll notice how cool the mountains look, the colors in the sky, the breathtaking western landscape. I’ll start wondering when they last took a bath, how hot they must be in all that stuff, how badly they must smell and before you know it I’m lost.

If I’m watching a fairly complicated movie and for the record, my bar is set pretty low for what I consider “complicated”, I sometimes have a problem following what’s going on. The pieces of the puzzle start getting hazy and further apart and with every passing scene I feel it slipping away more and more. “Ok, I have no fucking idea what’s happening but I’m lying here with my girl.” Of course, if detailed questions are asked of me like “Isn’t Kevin the brother-law of that guy Melvin who runs the auto body shop that’s laundering money for Kevin’s first cousin, Alfred, who is married to the girl from the bakery shop who bakes awesome orange/cranberry scones and has a cute little rose tattoo just under her right ear?”, my answer may be yes? Honestly, I was too busy admiring the cars in Melvin’s auto body shop to absorb anything beyond that.

With a low-budget horror movie I usually don’t have any problems following the plot because there isn’t any. People go into a building, people don’t come out of the building with a whole lot of messed up stuff happening in between. It’s weird that I sometimes feel energized after watching a movie like that. Not that I’m going to toss anyone into a wood chipper any time soon, more like maybe I’ll plant a couple of flowers in the yard. Alfred Hitchcock wouldn’t let you see the violence or feel that Holy Shit moment, but he sure made you think about it. Sometimes you want to think about it and other times you want to take it head on.

You’ve got to admire a good Mafia move. It goes way beyond loyalty to the family. The creative means with which they perform their unlawful obligations for the family is astounding. It’s all in the details and they are dedicated to their craft, but slip up once and are your initials change to MIA. There are no Terminated with Cause or Unemployment benefits conversations going on here. The conversation is pretty much over.

Super-Hero movies are relatively new to my world. I just never thought to watch them. But now I do and “Iron Man” is a favorite. While I do admire the intense personality of the cocky billionaire, the philanthropist, and the genius, I also admire the suit and I wonder how much it would cost to build one today. We saw him make the first one in the cave but how’s it made now? For some reason, I don’t see Mr. Stark banging away on steel plates with a sledge hammer anymore. Other people do that now. Is there a state of the art manufacturing facility four stories straight down under his house? How much time does he spend on Amazon looking for all the parts and material? And with all the stuff heading his way in trains, planes, automobiles and spacecraft, where’s the loading dock?

The point of all this iron related babble is we’ve seen him make the first suit in the cave, we’ve seen him meticulously design the suit and test it, we’ve seen very cool machines assemble the suit, but we haven’t seen all the individual parts of the suit being made. It’s either proprietary information or totally irrelevant in which case I’m probably the only lunatic that cares about it.

Westerns I like and while I am easily distracted from the story as I mentioned earlier, the plot isn’t usually that complicated. There are good guys and bad guys. The bad guys want to take over town and the good guys stop them. There’s a saloon in town where both good and bad guys go and in this saloon in the corner over there is where the daily poker games are played. Someone always accuses somebody else of cheating, they fight and one of them may or may not die and since all these guys are perpetually covered in about 5 layers of dust, it all shakes loose as they fight and just about everyone in the place collapses from a lack of the oxygen.  

Fortunately, a couple of guys that did remain conscious decide to contact the paramedics. One of them writes a note expressing the dire need for oxygen and gives it to the other guy who hops onto his horse off to the Paramedic Post on the other side of the mountain in the distance. He goes back into the saloon to re-assure everyone that help is on the way and should arrive well within a week so there’s no need to panic. No one panics, everyone’s dead by 2:00 and the movie is over because they killed off everyone. Nobody’s left and all the horses parked out front are left to wonder where they can go to get groomed.

Dads and Sons

My Dad was hardworking and loyal to our family. He took care of us for many years under the most trying circumstances. He wasn’t a very emotional man except when we got in trouble. I do remember playing games in the car with him as we waited for Mom to come out of the grocery store or putting up the pool every summer. There are many good memories, though many others have eluded me.

I now have a son of my own who is full grown, married and successful in every way. I am so proud of the man he has become. He is brilliant, I tell him I love him and kiss him on the cheek when we have to go. We hug, we talk about life and what’s going on in each of our lives. We rant about totally stupid stuff and just laugh. Anyone who is witness to this may find it a little obnoxious but we have a blast. I guess we kind of act like buds when we’re together.

But as odd as it may sound, I’m struggling to understand how he feels about me as a Dad. I know how I felt about my Dad and honestly, I would prefer he think a little differently of me. Either he thinks of me as a good man and loving Dad or there’s this whole “Cats in the Cradle” thing happening and I totally screwed it up.

Bottoms up!

Bourbon has its good points and it has its bad points. The good thing about it is that it tastes so good, it’s so smooth and it warms your tongue and it warms your chest when it goes down. The bad thing about it is that it tastes so good, it’s so smooth and it warms your tongue and it warms your chest when it goes down.

Too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing faster than a speeding bullet and depending on your rate of consumption, your brain may or may not be feeling as warm and fuzzy as your tongue and chest.

There are two ways to drink bourbon. You can just slug it back and let the chips fall where they may or you just sip it, let it roll over your tongue for a while, savor the taste, warm it up a bit and then swallow it slowly.

I prefer sipping.

Expected Unexpectedness

Unexpected item in the bagging area. Words that most of us have heard at the grocery store self-check-out. I don’t know what the machine is talking about but it wasn’t unexpected to me. I put it there.

Then it asks you if you want to skip bagging. Why do you care if I throw everything into bags, into the cart or load up the saddlebags on my horse?

This happens a few times and the machine gets totally fed up with your incompetence in checking out your stuff so it tells you, for no apparent reason, store assistance is needed. This is the part where you start scanning the area for someone that can pull rank on this machine. All I want is to pay for our stuff so we can leave. I really didn’t plan on spending the evening here. I was actually planning on squeezing in a few minutes to cook some of this stuff sometime before midnight.

In the time it took to check-out, we could have cooked, eaten, had a drink, danced, talked and gone to sleep. Next time we’ll have to bring snacks and refreshments and maybe a couple of folding chairs.

Cars and Guitars

I like nice cars that were born in the mid to late 60’s. The style and the details, the smell and the chrome…There are few things more satisfying than running your fingers over the fender of a ’69 Camaro or more fun than driving one. As you shift through the gears you can hear the trans whine and feel the power of the 350 under the hood.  

While I can, and have, driven a ’69 Camaro, I have never played the acoustic guitar but I have a new appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into making one. First you see the striking colors, then the glass like finish. When you hold it, you feel the softness of the wood and see the meticulously placed inlays and if you get close enough, you can smell the intoxicating aroma of mahogany. If you look on the back of the neck on top, you will see fine intricate detailing in the mahogany.

Cars and guitars. Both functional works of art and each incredibly sexy in their own way. It’s no wonder that they are both usually named with a woman’s name.

Petrified Veggies

So I decided to grill some vegetables in a small pie pan. I wanted to brush the pan with olive oil but I ran out so I had no choice but to use corn oil, known to some as bicycle chain lubricant. So after I brushed the pan I carefully placed a thin slice of onion in the middle and piled onto it Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and a couple of small sweet peppers.

After about 10 minutes I saw that the oil had pretty much disappeared and I was getting concerned that the whole pile would wind up anything but moist so naturally I threw in some bourbon from the glass I had been sipping. Why not? After a few more minutes, the bourbon evaporated and I realized if I didn’t through some more liquid in there I’d wind up with some nice bourbon flavored rocks. I guess you could suck on them for some level of flavor but a bourbon infused, broccoli flavored Jolly Rancher isn’t exactly what I was shooting for. So I grab a bottle of balsamic vinegar and sprinkle a generous amount in there. Why not? I’m basically grabbing anything at arm’s length to avoid having petrified veggies for dinner.

In the end, the balsamic vinegar helped and it turned out ok. It was edible…