Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Neighborly Thing to Do

We have problems with our neighbors.

Nothing major that would call for more than, say, one police car, just a bunch of minor stuff.

For a while I thought it was something we were doing, as if that were possible, model citizens we are, but I reasoned it out and we’re definitely not the problem. For a start, we’re still here and all of our neighbors have moved away. Several times. No family has lived next to us for longer than two years. It can’t be because of anything we’ve said to them because we don’t talk to our neighbors; we just watch them through the windows.

On two occasions I tried to be “nice” to the new neighbors. I even went so far as to read up on How to Be Nice to New Neighbors in old Miss Manners columns and she gave me great tips like “look presentable, not creepy,” “bring a housewarming gift,” and “smile.”

So, I did that.

I showered, blow-dryed my hair and slathered on some Insta-Tan from Wal-Mart. I think that stuff makes me look like Ricardo Mondeblan , put on new Argyle socks and my best, dress sandals, Hawaiian shirt and my aviator’s Blu-Ray shades. Is it hot in here or is it me? I was good to go.

As a housewarming gift I picked up a bag of Fire Ant Bait since that’s a problem in our neighborhood, at least on our side of the street. Actually, sort of confined to our house and the neighbors on either side. Fire ants have been known to devour entire cows; I saw that on the Discovery Channel. I figured I could work that into the conversation so they’d appreciate the magnitude of my housewarming gift. Subtlety is my middle name.

I rang the bell and presently Neighbor Lady and I were peeking at each other through her partially cracked doorway. Judging from her stare she might have been hitting on me, which was highly inappropriate since we had just met. I noted that she was security conscious, though, and kept the safety chain hooked on her door, a wise precaution in this day and age.

In retrospect, I think the conversation went well. I told her in graphic detail about the fate of the cow on the Discovery Channel and when I told her I was her neighbor she exclaimed, “Oh, my!”

She was obviously impressed at having such a well-educated naturalist living right next door. To clear up any confusion I emphasized that I was a naturalist, one who studies nature, rather than a naturist, one who practices nudism and certainly never in the front yard.

I also told her that I thought the theory that rabid possums were responsible for the rash of Bichon Frise deaths in the neighborhood was highly overrated. No, it was definitely the work of raccoons or maybe large snakes, possibly rented.

Finally, I was able to slip the bag of Fire Ant Bait to Neighbor Lady without making her unchain the door. She really appreciated the gift because I heard her say as she closed the door, “Oh. My. God!”

Nothing like a first impression. I always say that.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

UT Graduates

The Next Generation Longhorns.

These young women represent the next generation of educators, scientists, technicians, writers and journalists, business and legal representatives, government officials, doctors and so much more.

I am very proud that my daughter has grown into such a self-possessed, confident and capable adult ready to take on the Real World and make her mark. She has been a student, a landlord and a volunteer for charities. She completed her degree in four years earning A's and B's. No C's. (That's considerably better than my academic record having been grateful to receive a "D" in Protozoology rather than failing!)

She and her friends have already demonstrated the ability to succeed by surviving four years at one of the nation's top universities. Over seven thousand graduates earned bachelors or advanced degrees this year from UT.

I wish them all the best of luck and fortune.

Insanely Small

This is the Canon FS 11 solid state camcorder. It's insanely small and insanely lightweight. It's insane.

It comes with 16 Gb of internal memory which will hold many hours of video and a slot for even more memory.

It weighs just over half a pound which is less than a cup of coffee. Totally silent, no moving parts.

I'll be filming my Star Wars movie in the morning.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Book Signing

This is very strange.

I'm not the author of this book, in fact, there is no one author of this book.

It's an anthology edited by Heather Armstrong, aka, Dooce. Heather wrote two essays.

I'm a contributing author, and like the other contributing authors wrote a single essay.

That said, I'm still hosting a book signing at the First Colony Mall Barnes and Noble on June 7th here in Sugar Land, Texas.

Big fish.

Small Pond.

"Things I Learned About My Dad (in therapy)" is available on Amazon, just click the image on the sidebar. A perfect gift for Father's Day.

(And, no, I don't get royalties from sales; it's just a great book and I'm proud to have been part of it.)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Graduate

To my daughter, Claire, who graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Government and Business:

Well done, daughter! Well done!

We are very proud of your accomplishments as a scholar, landlord (or slumlord), and in your work as a business representative on campus.

Thanks, Claire, for your hard work and dedication to earn your degree.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I See What You’re Saying

A friend of mine suffering through “manager problems” not unlike a case of the shingles speculated that his manager might be deaf.

The manager, we’ll call him “Bub,” short for Beelzebub, has a favorite expression: I see what you’re saying.

What? I SEE what you’re SAYING?

It should be more, like, I hear you, dude! Yeah! Right on! Peace out. Fist bumps.

I see what you’re saying.

It doesn’t make any sense which is why my friend is having problems. My friend is speaking and his manager is seeing. Definitely a conflict there.

I suggested my friend hold up a sign that says “You Idiot!” every time his boss is an idiot, but in the end we decided to opt for Plan B.

Shouting. Plan B is to shout “You Idiot!” We’ll see how it goes and if I hear anything I’ll report back.

I’m all for shouting. Solves many problems.

All this brings us to the subject at hand who is Sandy the Cat.

Sandy is a 12-year old cat who has suddenly gone deaf. Well, mostly deaf. I think he hears “Ironman” when I play it on my Klipschorn concert hall speakers at level 9 which I don’t do often because I have to replace several large windows and that gets expensive. He hears that, only just.

Not that long ago Sandy could hear a can of cat food being opened at 100 paces. He’d come running. Now, I have to put a bowl of food under his nose for him to notice.

I’m not all that sad for Sandy being deaf because he’s always been a highly strung cat. Small noises startled him and big noises scared him totally. Sandy hated the vacuum cleaner and would hide in a closet for most of the day. Thunderstorms tortured Sandy and even the closet wasn’t deep enough for him to hide. Loud music would chase Sandy under the bed.

Now that Sandy is deaf his life is considerably more peaceful. You can run the vacuum cleaner in a room where he is sleeping and he won’t budge an inch. Thunderstorms? Pish! He watches the lightning with interest but doesn’t flinch a muscle as the rest of the house shakes on its foundations.

Living with a deaf cat has changed our lifestyle a little. We try not to sneak up on him, which, of course, is dead easy! Rather we try to appear in front of him, especially when he’s sleeping, and gently tap him on the back. We stomp around when we approach him because he can feel the vibrations.

The strangest behavior that Sandy exhibits is around mealtime. He knows when food is being prepared for him, possibly because Kink is jumping around like a maniac. Sandy can’t possibly hear a can of food being opened, but he regularly appears in the kitchen when I’m getting cat dinner prepared. More often than not Sandy will trot down the stairs or saunter in from the living room just in time for his favorite grub.

Sometimes I wonder if Sandy is faking it. Maybe he’s not really deaf but jacking us around.

Yeah, jacked around by a cat.

Wouldn’t be the first time.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Ah HA!

FedEx Track Your Packages

May 2, 2008 05:01:00 AM STAFFORD TX US Out for delivery

And delivered!

(Thanks to a polite but firm phone call to FedEx from Moose. Thanks, Moosie!)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Absolutely, Positively ... in Four Days

Yes, I ordered my own set of Dooce's book from Amazon.

Yes, I pre-ordered the very same day it was listed. Months ago.

Just like I did with Harry Potter. But, unlike Harry Potter, who seems to have some kind of magical influence over Amazon and Fed Ex, my shipment is delayed.

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, though, I can track my shipment and there it is! In Houston. Where I live. Estimated delivery date Monday.

Now, are you telling me that Fed Ex can't get a truck with my little box of 10,000 Dooce books to my house before Monday?

I definitely feel a disturbance in the Force.