Sunday, December 31, 2006

Zoning In

It must be the New Year. The Twilight Zone Marathon is on the Sci-Fi channel. Back to back Twilight Zone episodes, hour after hour.

Who could resist?

As a kid I watched the Twilight Zone every Friday night. Without fail. Little did I know at the time that I was watching performances by actors and actresses who would go on to fame and fortune: William Shatner, Jack Klugman, Burgess Meredith, Billy Mumy, Veronica Cartwright, Donna Douglas.

If I stay awake long enough I’ll see a years worth of episodes.

Creepy episodes featuring disturbing children, clowns and demons.

I’ll never get to sleep after that.

Just like when I was a kid.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I Dive

It's never too late to learn.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Greetings!

Merry Christmas to all from Twelve Two Two Fondue and Family!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Twelve Two Two Fondue - Three!

Happy Twelve Two Two Day!

Fondue Three will be held tonight at an unspecified location at an unspecified time!

Everybody's invited!


Watch this space as the festivities unfold later this evening.

Later that day...preparing the fondue!

Fondue is ready. Dig in!

And wash it all down with champers after!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blog Island

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Lord William the Careless of Fiddlehope in the Marsh
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Lucky Ducky

Here we are on an island in the Caribbean: Turks and Caicos.

Palm trees. Sand. Sea. And Internet?

"Is there a hot spot or a Starbucks or a library of some place where I can connect to the Internet," I asked.

"Yes," Miss Trainee at the Front Desk replied sweetly, "you can go to our Hospitality Center and use our new Wi-Fi connection."

"Sweeeeeeeet!" I replied sweetly.

I planned to check out the connection in the morning. A day or two without accessing the Internet wouldn't kill me, although I was beginning to feel a bit puny.

On the way back from dinner we saw the sign for the Hospitality Center.

"Hey, lookie that, the Hospitality Center is right under our room."

Right under our room? Right under our room! Well, if they have free Wi-Fi and the access point is

Right. Under. Our. Room.

Then all those beautiful Internet rays should be irradiating our room like searchlights at a used car lot.

With trembling hands I fired up the MacBook and waited for it to boot up.

"Do you want to connect to linksys?"

Awwwwww, how cute, they're using the default SSID and broadcasting it without a password.

Four antenna bars later I was surfing Google News from the comfort of my balcony and checking out the scene through the screen.

Someone called to me from the back room, "Hey, we're going down to the beach. Wanna go with us?"

"Hang on," I replied, "I'll Google it..."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Timing is Everything

What a nice morning it appeared to be! Sandy the Cat was curled up on the end of the bed chasing imaginary birds in his dreams and making little eep eep noises; twitching his feet erratically.

The sun was shining in the sky, there wasn’t a cloud in sight. Mr. Blue Sky did it right. Hey, hey hey!

I leapt into the shower, sang Inna Gadda Da Vida until the hot water started to run out then decked myself out in my finest daily wear: tropical shorts, bright Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops.

Red-day to par-TAY!

Cruising through the kitchen I filled the coffee maker with a radical, bold mixture of Sumatra and Gold Coast and set it for 8 cups. Gonna get wired today! Look out!

While the coffee was brewing I salsa’d to the front door and saw that the morning paper had arrived. Well, of course it had! Four hours ago, probably. No matter, I thought, I’ll just salsa out there, enjoy the morning sun and pick up that bad boy newspaper. After all, it would take too long to buy and train a dog to do it.

Flinging open the front door I strode purposefully down the walk stopping every few steps to perform a little Tai Chi. Tiger Crane paper fetching. I have found that this sort of behavior keeps the neighbors at bay. I’m trying to cultivate a little je ne sais quoi and I think I’m succeeding.

Suddenly, I froze.

No, I didn’t see a rattlesnake. No, I didn’t realize that I had dreamed getting dressed. No, the neighbors weren’t lined up along the sidewalk videotaping my Tai Chi. No, Paris and Britney had not pulled up to the curb in a low slung sports car.

I froze because it was bloody cold outside! Yikes, who turned off the heat? Although I later found out it was 33 degrees out there, my first thought was “It’s like 33 degrees out there!”

Funny joke, Mr. Blue Skies. Ha ha.

I was seriously underdressed for the weather and turned to dash back into the house faster than you could say “brass monkey” when I paused and glanced back at the paper. I was torn. Newspaper, warm house, newspaper, warm house.

Suddenly, I was overcome by a Texas Moment.

A Texas Moment is when a manly voice sounding a bit like John Wayne comes out of nowhere and tells you the right thing to do. Well, maybe it’s not always the right thing to do but it’s the Texan thing to do. The sort of thing that would lead your surviving family to say

“Well, he warn’t too smart, but he died doing what he loved.”

The voice asked, “What are you? A man or a Jell-O pudding pop?” That was all it took for me to remember my pioneer roots and do the right thing. The Texan thing. I turned and calmly, nay, proudly, walked to the street, in the cold, and picked up my newspaper.

Davy Crockett would have been proud.

Just at that moment I heard a hissing noise. I was surrounded by a hissing noise. Spurting and sputtering the lawn sprinkler system came to life spraying 33-degree water in all directions.

A chill descended on me like being two hours late for an anniversary dinner. Like cluelessly walking into a meeting and being greeted as the keynote speaker. Like checking out a giant cartload of groceries only to find you’ve left your wallet at home. Like getting up for work on a Saturday thinking it’s Friday, then going back to bed only to find out hours later that it really was Friday.

That sort of chill. The cold realization that the sprinkler system will be on for the next 7 minutes and the only way out of the literal chill into the warm house is through the water spray.


What would Davy Crockett do? Why that’s simple, pardner, the voice said. Old Davy would jes stare down those sprinklers like they wuz gophers on a toadstool and old Davy would jes sashay up through the water like it was confetti at a wedding. A wedding of gophers, if ye will.

Yeah, but Davy would be wearing buckskin and boots, not a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops. There was only one thing to do. Make a run for it.

And one other thing.

Scream like a little girl!

Taking giant steps and looking like one of those lizards that can run across water I hopped, skipped and jumped back up the walkway into the house landing on the foyer carpet in a screaming, soggy heap.

So glad we installed a Binford 3000 Super Soaker Yard Sprinkler, I thought, so very, very glad. I dripped into the kitchen, got a towel off the rail, dried off a bit, cranked up the heat and poured myself a cup of coffee.

Sitting down at the kitchen table I opened up the paper and read the headlines:

Arctic Front to Cause Morning Freeze
Sunny but Cold
Dress Warmly!

What do you think, Sandy, I asked the Cat, black or white socks with sandals?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

So That's My Role

Heard in the car today while Christmas shopping:

"One of us needs to be unhappy and I see no reason why it should be me."

Well, that explains a lot.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Weevil Be Gone

I set my coffee cup down to get a piece of toast out of the toaster and when I returned there was a weevil doing the backstroke in my Gold Coast Blend!

How rude!

I fished out the little bugger and noticed several of his brothers clinging to the cupboard door.

That's it, I thought! The weevils have taken over my cupboard and I'm not going to stand for it any more.

Of course, that called for more work than I anticipated, which is the usual case, isn't it?

I took everything out of the cupboard, threw away half the bottles of old vinegar, stale oils and other junk. I washed all the shelves and dried everything thoroughly. I even found half a bag of flour that had become the Weevil Ritz Hotel.

Looking back at my handiwork I wondered why I hadn't done it a year or two or three ago. Not ripe enogh, I expect. Not ripe enough.

Also, I gained about a third more space to store old vinegars, stale oils and other junk.

Woot for me!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Old Moron, Young Moron

"Impulse engines one-quarter reverse thrust, Mr. Sulu. Back 'er out nice and easy."

"Aye, captain, one-quarter reverse thrust."

I'm careful when I back out of a parking place. Usually visibility is limited so I back out slowly to give any drivers behind me a chance to stop. Or whatever.

Today it was a dose of "or whatever" as a kid, whom I'll refer to shortly as the Young Moron, in a red Mustang gave me the horn treatment.

HONNNNNNNNKKKKKK! "Moron," I heard him shout.

Yeah, right, moron to you, too, kid, I thought as I pulled back into my parking place to let him by.

Young Moron gunned his engine and sped past me, squealing his tires.

"Resume course, Mr. Sulu."

"Aye, captain, course laid in."

So, backing out Part Deux went without a hitch and I headed off across the parking lot to the exit. At the far end of the parking lot there seemed to be some sort of commotion; several cars stopped with hazard lights flashing and other people forming a small crowd. I cruised past the first exit and decided to engage in a Texas passtime, rubbernecking, and have a look. There was another exit near the crowd and I could check out the action.

Maybe it was Britney and Paris. Who knows?

Young Moron was standing next to the remains of his red Mustang. It appeared that the speeding Young Moron had run into several shopping carts that are often found littering the parking lot. One or more carts had cracked his windshield and both headlights were gone. Worse yet, though, Young Moron had veered into a planter. The planter won that encounter as the Mustang's front wheel was lying sideways to the car.

What a mess.

I did not gloat, though. Parking lots are hazardous places and it's not a good idea to speed through them. Young Moron was lucky that nobody was hurt. Perhaps he'll learn from this experience and have an opportunity to grow into an Old Moron.

"We are clear of Spaceport, captain."

"Thank you, Mr. Sulu. Set a course for home. Warp factor 5."

"Aye, captain, warp factor 5."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Short List

"If you don't let me know soon what you want for Christmas, you'll get a t-shirt!"

OK. Large, please.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Book 'em, Danno

I am a voracious reader. I read all the time. If I’m idle, I’m reading something. I subscribe to about a dozen magazines, most of them journals or literary reviews. The Victoria’s Secret catalog is a review, of sorts.

I also read books. Many books. And at any given moment I have 10 or 20 books on the go.

The problem is, I recently realized, that I haven’t actually finished a book in years. I start them, skim through them, read the endings, browse but I never actually go front to back, straight through, in page order, from cover to cover.

That was not always the case. In the dim recesses of my mind I remember a time B.K. when I read books all the way through. How else would one treat a book? But, when Kids Ruled the World all that changed and the most I could do was cat nap with a book. That’s probably when I started to subscribe to so many magazines with short stories and, thankfully, sidebars!

If not for the sidebar with its snippets of information I would be even more clueless than I am today. Thank you, sidebar, for telling me that pi are round and cornbread are square.

So, getting a jump on the dreaded New Year’s resolutions I am resolving to read one book, cover to cover, this month.

I have two books in mind: On Writing by Stephen King which has been sitting on my shelf for about 2 years, and The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quammen which I bought only recently. My stretch target will be to read them both. Heck, if I managed to blog every single day in November, how hard could it be to read a couple of books?

We’ll see!

*B.K. - before kids

Friday, December 01, 2006

DHL Hide and Seek

I was expecting a delivery from DHL this morning. I had the tracking number and according to the website the "goods" were on the van. Status: Out for Delivery.

Yesterday was a false alarm. I had the tracking number but the status read: Unknown.

I figured that since the expected delivery date was yesterday it would have been delivered yesterday regardless of the status.

I was wrong. No status, no delivery.

Yesterday came and went as I sat by the window like Scarlett O'Hara waiting for Rhett Butler.

Rhaally, I did. (eyelashes batting furiously)


UPS was all over the street delivering Christmas lawn ornaments from the Monstrous Inflatable Company. FedEx was close behind piled high with boxes.

I finally gave up, lit a candle for the window, and went to bed.

In the morning I got up early, keyed in my tracking number and was greeted by a veritable cornucopia of information. Package received, package scanned, scan acknowledged, package loaded into delivery van, delivery van engine started, delivery van encountering dense traffic, slowing down for school zone.

Oh, joy! It’s coming, it’s coming!

I had several cups of coffee and waited expectedly by the window, my breath fogging the glass in the cold morning air. Soon I was out of coffee and out of breath. The empty box of Puffs and an overwhelming hankering for chicken soup signaled that I needed to make a Kroger's run or I might be too feeble to rip apart the packaging once "it" arrived, suffering from the effects of a cold as I was.

A mental calculation told me that if I was quick and efficient I could dash to the store and scurry back before the traffic density factor dropped to the point that the delivery probability neared unity, assuming the value of pi held over that interval. In a flash I was in the truck and bounding down the road keeping a keen eye out for yellow delivery vans sporting red lettering, just in case I had to make an emergency return.

In my mind I plotted out my shopping path through Kroger's and, once I arrived, executed my plan with military precision: vegetables, Puffs and a plump chicken. In a blur I was through the self-serve checkout lane and heading home, on the prowl like the Terminator for yellow delivery vans.

Arriving home I was relieved to see that the streets were clear and quiet, and prepared to breathe a congested sigh of relief until I spied The Tag hanging from the front door.

A yellow tag sporting red lettering.

Oh, no!

Oh, yes. The tag read, "We waited until we saw you leave your house, then we came out of hiding and tried to deliver your package but, of course, you were already gone! So, we're leaving you this tag to remind you what an idiot you were for leaving the house when you knew the delivery van was on the road. So there."

Before I ground my teeth into powder, though, there was a P.S. at the bottom.

P.S. We'll be back in your neighborhood in an hour which will give you time to unpack your shopping and get your chicken soup started.

Somewhat dejected, that’s exactly what I did and as I finished seasoning the soup and putting the lid on the pot I heard a van pull up to the front of the house.

A yellow delivery van with DHL in big, red letters.

“Here you go,” the delivery guy said, “sign here. Thanks. Have a nice day, drink plenty of fluids, get some rest and enjoy your chicken soup. I always add a quarter-cup of vermouth. That’s good in chicken soup.” He hopped into the van and drove off.

I walked back into the kitchen and put the package on the table. I fixed a cup of coffee; no rush, now. And found myself humming,

“Here comes Santy Claus, here comes Santy Claus…”