Does This Make My Dog A Zombie?

In the hallway, the work has begun.

Chuck Norris has lost most of his brains to the giant canine beast.

Stuffing is scattered all over the house like little clouds on the ground.  Simpsonian in their nature, the polyester fluff is scattered broadly on the Florida Tiles.

Flashing his bright eyes at you, he glares when interrupted. 

Brains.   Pulled from their skull every chance he gets.  First it was the teddy bear.  Purple trending to Pink due to it’s being washed weekly.  The stitching in the back has been replaced more than once, eyes ripped out of their sockets to expose the sweet, sweet brains behind them.   Stuffing gets pulled out in an eyeblink.

Then onto Chuck Norris.  The eye holes are large enough to stuff your thumb into.  Forget that one, the result of a few minutes of entertainment show up scattered all over the house.

The Frog has special dispensation.  Being his favorite “child” the Frog gets carried into the Bedroom at

night, left in shoes, and dropped into the crate.  Gently played with as a prized possession, this green animal goes everywhere.

At least he’s not tearing into the furniture.   Rack has been extremely well behaved when it comes to “our” stuff.   Kitchen counters and couches are offlimits, and the beds are becoming so with the help of the bells.

But the first toy to “die” is Chuck.  Always.  I just wave a magic wand over him and bring him back to life for more de-braining later.

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Bonus Blossom – Picture

A cold snap drew me out to the back yard.  Against the shed is a line of irrigation that I keep four separate orchids on.  Under each plant are some “starter pots” of cuttings.  It’s my little hydroponic drip feed garden. 

Fancy talk for pretty plants that entertain me.

The orchids are all from those “baby” plants you see in the big box stores, save one that my friends Kathie and Larry had given me as a present in a tiny little pot.  

Those babies are usually bought when you’re a snowbird, taken up to what ever cold and dry climate you live in and are presented as a challenge.   I was never quite up to that particular challenge, so one of the first things that I had done when I moved to Florida was see if I could get some to grow.

If you are a local and are patient, you can have some amazing plants.  All you need to do is wait.

This maroon beauty is a Bonus Blossom.  It is the first year that it had ever bloomed twice, this being the second complete set of flowers. 

Plants bloom where they are planted, but only when they are happy.  I’ve given them a home under the eaves of my little shed, water them with the ground water from my irrigation system, and pretty much ignore them until they show their true colors and gain my attention.   When that happens, the wheels start turning and I consider putting more out there.  

After all, who doesn’t like a little more color in their life?

Bikini Babes in the F-ing Bar

Living in a resort town, and this is definitely a resort town, you get to see some rather amusing escapades.  No matter what, if you have a chance, come on down for a visit, it can be fun to watch the tourists have their own little slice of heaven.

Sometimes you just want those tourists to go home, back over the river and off the island.  Other times you just want them to chill out.

You’ll see what I mean here.

You see last night on our evening dog walk, we took a long lap around town.  We walked past Hagen Park and as we neared the Wilton Towers, we saw a commotion.  Then the commotion fell out of the building and saw us.

It was one of those laugh out loud then grab the pepper spray moments you sometimes see when someone’s not exactly having a good time managing reality.

Falling out of the main doors of the Wilton Towers was a rather pretty young thing.  A brown haired babe, beautiful woman with long hair in a tropical floral style bikini.

Now, if you were out last night with us on the dog walk you’d have thought why is this beautiful woman stumbling out of a tower block of apartments into the cold February chill?   This being Wilton Manors, Florida, “cold” is a relative thing, but I think even those in Anchorage Alaska will admit that 64F or so is too cold to be outside on a breezy night with the wind off the ocean.

Nudging Mrs Dog onwards we were entertained.  I laughed and that was when her ire was directed at us.

You see, this particular woman, beautiful though she may be, was an unhappy wench.   She was most likely “impaired” as she was stumbling around on the darkened street in bare feet screaming more F Bombs than the Germans had dropped on London during the Blitz.

Naughty girl then looked at us and said loud enough so we could hear even if we were a block and a half away “F” You Too!.   I mean she was LOUD.  Who knew that such a little thing could make that much noise.

Well, she was someone’s baby once, and now she’s all grown up and learning how to party like the big girls.

Wilton Towers is rather close to the South end of Wilton Drive.  Between her and traffic was only the laundromat.  She’s stumbling her way forward and shrieking F Bombs at everyone, telling them that they can F themselves, and having a great deal of trouble remaining upright.  Whatever she was on, it wasn’t alcohol since her F’s were perfectly unslurred.

I turn to Kevin and laugh and say she’s heading for the drive, I hope she doesn’t end up a hood ornament when she disappears around the corner and in front of the Tropics bar.

Thanks to distance, the F’s got quieter so we knew she was still alive.   Looking for her we rounded the corner.  After all, being entertained by a little babe throwing Fs is one thing, having her come at you, your partner, or your 11 year old dog was entirely another.

When we rounded the corner we were able to see her bikini bottom just disappear into the outside bar of Tropics.  Apparently this Floor Show was going to entertain the older gentlemen there.

We took the time to wander up past her and into the City Hall Police Desk and fill in the woman at the desk about our entertainment for the night.

I don’t know how it all ended up, but the person at the desk agreed with a laugh and wrote down the particulars and handled it professionally.

I wonder what kind of fun we’ll see tonight?  It’s a Tuesday night so it should be a quiet one, but living in a resort town means that quiet can be a very different thing.

Dog Vs Mustang

Last week I got a new toy.

Rarely, when I can win one, I get a box of “random crap” from a website.  You pay $8 and they toss in whatever they think they want to get rid of.  You wait about 3 weeks and the box arrives.  It’s a little like your birthday.  Sometimes you get socks, other times you get something that you need but never knew you wanted.

I’ve always gotten a lot more than the $8 so that is why I try for them.  Money is tight but I’ve always been able to give away more than the $8 that I paid for simply by getting rid of the extra stuff I didn’t want.

Last time I got a car.  Not a big one, one of those silly battery powered toys that eat up batteries.  This one takes 7 AA batteries.  Luckily I have that many rechargeable batteries in the house.  It took me a while to find enough batteries that would take the charge and power this beast of a yellow car, but once they were charged, I had to try it out.

So lets see.  Aging Mc Nab Dog being curious what Dad is doing.  Dad is a big kid.  Floor is clear of wires and other obstacles but the furniture is still in the room.   Car is about as long as your forearm.

Dog is still curious.

Power on car.
Power on controller.

Dog sniffs car.

Pull back gently on controller.
Nothing happens.

Pull back a little more.

Hilarity ensues.

First it turns out that this toy has no middle speed.   When the so-called engineer made this thing, they didn’t realize that two speeds, on and off, weren’t exactly useful.

Oh sure, it has on and off and backwards and forwards, but that means it basically had all the control of the real thing … on ice.

Secondly that dog.   She’s older, at 11, and slowing down, but she had a Good Day.

Pull back the lever on the control gingerly and all the sudden the contact inside the controller fired off.

The car ripped tire, then started to move loudly.

So did the dog.

Luckily for the car, it was too large for her to grip as it shot out from under her.   Turning the steering wheel made for another realization.  It turned all the way to the side or not at all.

Turning that steering wheel meant the car, now going at a fast running pace, whipped around crazily, knocked over the recycling bin, pulled under the dog.   The dog taking this as a personal affront decided to try to herd the yellow beast and barked at it while giving it the McNab Dog Stare.

Yellow electric cars having no care for a dog’s sense of order continued to spin around in tight circles under the dogs feet until she jumped straight up into the air to around her height all the while barking and knocking the junk from the display shelves in the room divider.

That noise meant that yours truly turned around to see what fell, nothing broke, and then back to the dog in an eye blink.   The steering wheel at the mean time had been released and the car broke from its tight circles to wedge itself under the coffee table.   Mind you, the coffee table is elevated so it had to do some sort of Dukes of Hazard trick to jump into the air two inches off the ground.

The dog was still angry at the evil yellow beast, and tried to catch the car.

By this time, I had slipped my finger off of the car’s speed “control” and the car stopped resting on top of the laptop that had been closed there.

I could see that this would not be an ideal place to play with an electric car that the dog did not like.

There is a term called “Fitness of Purpose”.  It’s an old concept that says when you buy something, it should do what is advertised.   The car did, the human was a bit confused as to what that exactly was meant to be so it was time to have a change of plans.

Outdoors.

That same car that careened madly over the “slightly” cluttered floor was much better suited for being brought outside.  Outside was the driveway and the street in front of the house.  One difference.  Even on it’s best day, a street is nowhere near as smooth as a floor with wall to wall Florida Tiles.  The car drove over pebbles as if they were boulders, cracks were as potholes, dimples filled with a drop of water became lakes.

Sure, once it got to the street, it could be controlled better but the dog still didn’t like it.  She was chasing after it again and finally decided to sit down next to me and give it the stink-eye.  It didn’t move all that quickly across the street since the 1/12th scale pebbles were slowing it down and it drove more like my Jeep does over a washboarded dirt road.

It decided that it had had enough of driving around when it’s “generous” 10 meter range was reached.  It stopped dead in the middle of the street, and a truck was approaching.

My inner 12 year old child decided at this time, it was best to take this yellow thing back into the house before the big red “whistle truck” turned it into a crunched pile of yellow plastic.   That would please the dog but disappoint the moose that owned the thing.

All in all, well worth the $8 price of admission.

Electric Razors and the Disposable Society

Admittedly I am an odd character.

This society has moved so firmly away from “Mend and Make Do” as the British were told during the Second World War and the Austerity years thereafter, that here it is a rare person who knows how to fix something.

Getting my start as a toddler repairing my father’s 8-track player (remember those?), broken things became my playground.  If it was broken, a repair would be attempted since, after all, it’s already broken isn’t it?

Years of fixing radios, TVs and oddball household appliances earned me the curiosity that eventually worked its way into Computer Programming and Project Management.  If there was a piece of software, it could be fixed as well as enhanced.

Sitting here in the living room on a Poang Chair that had it’s upholstery replaced, listening to SiriusXM radio on an iPhone 3 that had a broken screen and worn out battery that were replaced, next to the dog who was a rescue from a no-kill shelter, there really is no reason to stop fixing things.

It is probably more accurate to say that the dog rescued me.  After all, she was fine, we were the ones who have benefitted from having her.

This morning, going through the ritual of clicking on and rejecting inappropriate job interview requests in strange places far from home, it was found.  A new electric razor.  The market price for this particular model is $35 in the South Florida Area so it was a good price at $25.

The curious thing was that instead of being able to get the blades themselves at a price cheaper than the whole razor, the razor is cheaper.   Coming with a new blade, the economic choice was to pull out the credit card, go deeper in debt by $25 and change, and get a new razor.   Never mind that the NiCd batteries in these razors will last for the life of three blades before getting annoyingly short.  Never mind that you can shock a NiCD battery back to life with “high current at a high voltage”.   The blades cost more than the entire item.

Replacement blades are around the same quality as the razor itself, so why buy those when the whole unit costs as much.

Basically it goes against my “mend and make do” mindset and there was a pang of Green Guilt as the Checkout button was clicked on that razor.  Shouldn’t be that way, but it is.  One more step further into the Disposable Society. 

There’s a nice collection of these razors in the bathroom vanity.  They have become surplus and diseconomic.  At some point, a visit will be paid to the local flea market with the number for the blades in the back of the mind.   Hopefully there will be someone with a cache of those blades at a more reasonable price. 

In the mean time, the radio in the kitchen still works.  That was repaired after someone tossed it out, batteries still in its compartment and the batteries are still good.  It sits next to the Glider Rocker and the matching Ottoman that were recently cleaned to make them acceptable for someone since they were replaced by a perfectly good second Poang chair and matching Ottoman.

Need one?  What do you have to trade?  We’re so very wasteful these days…

How Did You Celebrate Good Riddance Day?

On December 28, 2010, in Times Square, New York City, People were able to celebrate Good Riddance Day.

Good riddance day is a day where you were to gather up your old mementos and take them down to the big shredder truck and have them mulched into oblivion.   Nothing like a little bit of revisionist history to salve the soul, right?

It’s not a bad idea.  Cintas was there with a big truck that you could dump old pictures and have them shredded as well as old love letters and other paper objects.  The idea is that you put all those bad old memories into the box and they come out ready to be recycled. 

I remember seeing this sort of thing in a sitcom years ago.  The female lead had just broken up with the boyfriend and instead of cutting his face out of all of the pictures, or using wite-out to blot him out, she gathered up all of the bits and pieces like pictures and letters as well as a teddybear or two and put them into a trash can.  If I remember the story right, she set the can in the middle of the room, tossed in a match and of course the fire got out of control.

This being a sitcom, the woman hooked up with the fireman who came to put out the fire.

Repeat after me… Awwww how cute.

That moment of “squee” aside, its not a terrible idea if it helps you to move on to purge the physical echos of a bad memory.  While you’re at it, it is also a good idea to grab those old bank receipts from the 1900s and shred those.  Anything older than 8 years is of questionable worth anyway other than Deeds or Titles.  You certainly don’t want to shred your mortgage paperwork until the debt has been cleared, but the Charge bills from your trip to the Beach back in 2001 is not really needed.

I just had this mental thought of hundreds of jilted New York women standing in line with big boxes of papers commiserating over their old relationships and vowing to start fresh in 2011.

Like many people, I’ve said good riddance to the last few years.  Between world politics, local politics, and other disappointments, things in general have gone with the economy on the broad view.  That is to say, not very well. 

But hopefully we can all just say Good Riddance to it all and 2011 will be the beginning of the next great boom in the economy.  

Sure, and we’ll finally be able to come up with a fair progressive tax policy in the US and the world will be full of butterflies and teddybears.

Ok, the butterflies are plentiful in this part of the world at least.   Just yesterday I was out inspecting the flowers and saw another Monarch Caterpillar on the Mexican Milkweed and …

Going away? Don’t be obvious online!

Since Facebook has become the fad of the decade, the CB Radio of the new Millennium, everyone has jumped on here.   I’ve been fortunate to be able to keep in contact with my family up North, and my friends here in town, as well as those who have moved away.

Social Media is a great way to stay in touch and let those who you care about be involved with your daily life and life’s milestones.

There is a problem with that.  Some folks aren’t quite so honest.

There is a trend with criminals to watch Facebook, MySpace, Tagged and many other social media for those who are and who will be out of town.  Once you say “Hey, I’m going on Vacation”, you may as well put up a sign on the front door saying “Out of town, Help Yourself!”.

Lately there have been a spate of robberies of homes by people saying that they’ve taken the dream vacation.  The vacation was wonderful, we all were entertained with your pictures, but when you got home, we also shared in your loss of your household items.

Being a bit of a security nut, I do not respond to party announcements online openly.   E-Invites are a great way to send out invitations to a lot of your friends, however they fall into the same bucket.  When 150 people know that you are out of the house from 7pm to Midnight for the New Years Party, someone in that list may be considering that the invitation to your new 46 inch flat screen may be just a bit too tempting.

Ok, maybe I am a bit too careful, but these stories are hitting the press a bit too frequently.  Today, there was a write up in the BBC about this happening in the UK.  I have read about this in the local papers in the US as well. 

Unfortunately you can only see the story in the BBC if you are in the UK or have a proxy pointing you there, but here is the link anyway.

Modern life is complex enough, hopefully it won’t get any worse by your coming back from vacation and finding your keepsakes gone.