Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Together

My grandfather died when I was 10. I still remember him clearly - the towering frame, the smile, the wit, the letters gleefully typed on his shiny new C64 (and eventually a C128). I remember flashes of moments - him catching a walleye on Lake Brittle, my first fishing rod given one Easter, a Christmas here and there.
My memories of my grandmother, his wife, are much more vivid and fresh. She's always been around; that short, feisty Norwegian who may have been mostly blind, but it never seemed to stop her. She got around, slowly as she got older, but she refused to be stopped.
Her smile, her laugh, the late-afternoon bourbons.
As I got older I thought of her, as herself, not part of a couple. Not that my memories of my grandfather had dimmed, but her vibrant personality was in the forefront. I thought about her a lot last night, and I found myself thinking of her and my grandfather as a couple, again. Together.

I miss you, Margie and Bob.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rage Against the Machine?

I like to think I'm not naive and am somewhat informed, but I'm unable to find a single unifying reason for the G20 Protests. This is not meant to be inflammatory, but with a melange of protesters demanding economic accountability, pro-environmentalism, anti-Capitalism, pro-Socialism, anti-government, pro-anarchy, pro-human rights, anti-Imperialism, anti-Colonialism, and seemingly (KEY WORD: SEEMINGLY) trying to draw violent responses from police, there doesn't seem to be a Message that can be delivered/debated/argued/compromised-upon/etc.
Look, I'm just a douche sitting comfortably in my middle-class life but I am willing to listen, though without the Unifying Message, it seems like all bluster and no solution.
Someone, for the Love of Locke, someone enlighten me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Quick Post

As a reminder that I am alive in more places than Facebook, here's an email I received today with my response:

From: REDACTED
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 2:12 PM
To: Bulletin Board
Subject: Miley Cyrus book

I accidently ordered 2 copies of Miley Cyrus' book "Miles to Go." It will cost half the book price to ship back to Amazon, so not worth returning.

Paid $9.98 for it - will sell for same price - brand new, hardcover version - any interest?

Thanks!

________________________________________

From: Rob Spidle
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 2:16 PM
To: Bulletin Board
Subject: Miley Cyrus book

If I say that yes, I am in fact interested, does that make me seem creepy and strange – maybe even worth keeping an eye on?




Someone once said that I will not survive long back in the corporate world. That person MAY have been correct... or is it that the Corporate World will not long survive the likes of me?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Truck With No Name

You know… I never named my truck. It never really gave me any problems (aside from the horrific alignment that never stayed true or the suddenly fickle air conditioning), but it never got a name.
And now it’s gone.
Last night I drove home my Dodge Magnum R/T.
“Midnight Blue Pearl” is the color… sounds like a Smurf porn act, yeah?
The process of buying the car, however, was not as fun as it could have been, but I made the best of it.
By the time the deal was done, I had talked them down on the price 3 times, got a written guarantee to re-paint the front and rear bumpers, got my trade-in allowance increased by a thousand dollars, and only put down $675.
And somehow… I paid LESS than the blue book on the car.
All said and done – they sold me the car for $4000 less than sticker and gave me $1500 more than what my truck is worth.

Look, I doubt they lost money on this deal, but I certainly came away a lot better than I had expected to and all it took was a combination of the following:

STATEMENT: “Whoever re-painted these bumpers is obviously missing a chromosome, man. You gotta take another $1500 off because that’s what it’s going to cost me to get them fixed.”
RESULT: Another $1000 off the price of the car and a written guarantee that they will re-paint to my specifications.

STATEMENT: “On this appraisal sheet you’ve added 20,000 miles to the odometer on my truck.”
RESULT: Stammering apologies, and the realization on their side that I’m scrutinizing every document.

STATEMENT: “I went to your sister dealership up the road and they appraised my truck for $600 more than you did and that was 4 days ago…”
RESULT: “Well, you know how it is…” No, I don’t. But the anger is bubbling now. Good work.

STATEMENT: “Well, thank you for wasting a combined 4 hours of my life over the past two days. It’s been fun, now give me my keys.”
RESULT: “Wait, wait, wait… let me go talk to my manager.” Of course, you do that… ass.

STATEMENT: “Uhm, what are you doing?” / “Sending text messages and updating my Facebook and Twitter about how this place is fucking me over, actually.”
RESULT: “Look, if you’ll put $675 down, we’ll give you $1500 more on your truck and knock another $1000 off the Dodge.”

Now, you understand the “fucking livid” status update from yesterday and the removal of the picture. I showed him what I was doing as I was doing it and that got the point across that maybe I was a really loud and obnoxious person that would make sure the thousands (read “couple hundred”) people associated with me through the social engineeri-… erm, networking sites would know his name and his dealership’s name. Sure, he didn’t know that I am inherently a lazy bastard that likely would have posted a snide note that would have been ignored by 99% of you, but the threat worked!

So, back to the original gist of this post… Names.

Look, I’m a geek so names for my vehicles have all tended towards geekery in some way, shape, or form (particularly Phish geekery, but I’m open to suggestions). Pictures will be posted on FB and my Flickr, so give it some thought and throw some ideas my way.
If I pick the name you suggest, then you will be rewarded.
That’s right…
A prize! Ooooooooooooooo….

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bathroom Hijinks

Every day for the last few months I've played a game in the bathroom at work.
See, someone spat out a wad of gum into the urinal and it's been there ever since. Months, I tell you.
That gray little wad has lingered in a pool of sterile, yet odoriferous liquid... languishing in a state of constant defilement. No one is ever going to pull it out, and frankly I don't blame the cleaning crew for not fishing that thing from the confines of its porcelain tomb. It's nasty and somewhere in this building lies the inconsiderate fuck that spat it there in the first place.
These facts, however, have not detracted from the joy which is dislodging the gum from whatever point its become stuck to with a strong stream of liquid waste.
It's great fun, really! You knock it loose, flush, the water carries it swirling around the small basin, and eventually it comes to rest in a new location where it begins the ritual of slowly fastening itself to its new home.
I have never failed in freeing it from its surly bonds.
I've had to strain and sue every last drop, but never have I been bested.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tour

I need to be seeing shows.

I thought I was over it. I thought that the 33 days of the reunion weekend in Hampton would be enough. It was epic, stellar, amazing, a huge load of heavenly spooge shot straight into my waiting mouth-ears, and I gobbled down every aural drop.

But… it’s not enough.

I’ve been browsing the setlists and while they don’t exactly leap off the page at me (there’s nothing really insane going on there – truth be told they sometimes look kind of disjointed as though they haven’t got a clue what mood they’re in, where they want to go, or hell, what their freakin’ names are), I’ve listened to the first 4 shows and they are baby-cunt tight.

Sorry, that’s a bit too graphic even for me.

They are home-schooled-teenager-cunt tight.

The boys have reached this level of communication that I’d only heard on CDs of shows from the early 90s. Every note played by each individual is a map as to where each person wants to take the song and there’s no ego – each is eager – giddy as a school-girl – to see what the other has in mind.

It’s easy to say the Jedi is back. I screamed it and wept in glee, but that’s not fair. The boys have stepped forward and brought this band, this experience back from the brink or becoming a caricature of what it used to be.

I’m not going out on a limb when I hold up Hampton from 2009 and say, “Balls to 1997.” It’s THAT good. THAT tight. THAT… that Phish.

Yep… and I’m sitting at home watching it all go down through stilted text messages, IM’s, and setlists posted from the road. Sure, I can have the show the VERY next day (and those Schoeps sources will absolutely buy you dinner, take you dancing, and drain your balls as an encore to a wonderful night), but… it’s not the same. Sure, that first show or two hurts – you’re out of shape, you over-indulge, etc.

But that third show… you’re fucking on point.

Your liver is stretched and ready, your lungs are deep and powerful, your legs are the boogie-motives that they used to be, your eyes have re-keyed to spot the dangers in the lot, your nose dulls itself to the scent of BO and patchouli, your fingertips callus up, your mind remembers what to hold onto and what to let slide.

Nope. I sit on my deck in the dark with a cigarette and the silent blue glow of my laptop watching the updates roll in every 9-15 minutes.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Traffic Court

I sat in the trailer which acts as the temporary Manchester General District Court yesterday morning and fumed. I had to take off of work to come into this hell-hole and act as a witness to the accident where my truck was nearly totaled.
And, let me tell you... this was a scene out of Night Court.
I'm going to skip the plethora of cases I had to sit through and get to one of the real gems...

There were two older black folks - one man and one woman - sitting on either side of the court-room in wheelchairs. She was dressed nicely while he was... not. He was missing his teeth and kept drooling/spitting into a towel that he had draped across his jeans. When the case was finally called, each person's handler got up and rolled them to the front of the court.
Apparently, they lived in a nursing home and he liked to torture her... he'd hit her chair with his, slap her in the face over and over, taunt her, block her rolling path down the hallway, etc. When the judge asked him his side of the story, he lifted his head and I THINK he stated:
"Ah aimenent guht nubbthin t'say. She a lahruh. I aimenent ne'r duhn nubbthin ter," and then dropped his head down again. The judge pleaded with him to not engage in the behavior again or else he'd have no choice but to send him to the city jail.
It was vaguely sad, yet damnably amusing...
And then around 12:45pm (nearly 90 minutes after the session began, The Case was called.
I stepped up to the front of the court and stood alongside the officer as the judge began to explain the charges against the girl. I never got a good look at her at the accident but while everything about her screamed Hood Rat, she was actually kind of cute... and then she opened her mouth to answer the charges...
"Nah Gitty."
The judge sighed and explained what he had in the notes of the case (location of the accident, the makes and models of the vehicles, etc), and then asked if she'd like to add anything.
"Ah gitty of hittin' him, but I AIN'T gitty of NO rrrreeckless drivin'!"
There was a pause as he stared at her and then looked to the officer:
"Officer, please give me the details."
The officer explained the further details of the accident and was quickly interrupted.
"Ah AIN'T gitty of NO rrrrreckless drivin'!"
Another long pause.
It was almost a deliciously awkward pause.
I basked in it.
Wallowed, even.
The officer cleared her throat and added, "Your honor, her exact quote to me at the scene was 'I was listening to music on my cell phone and I couldn't stop."
The judge nodded and looked to me. "Mr. Spidle, do you have anything to add?"
I kind of smiled and said, "No, sir." You've been damnably patient with everyone that's come through here this morning and you showed amazing leniency on everyone who showed you the bare amount of respect, Your Honor. In this case, you didn't have to give her the rope, she brought her own. Fire away, Your Honor!
"In that case, I find you guilty of reckless driving."
The galley cheered, I wept in vindication, and they dragged her kicking and screaming off to prison while her loved ones looked on with a mix of shame and hatred.
Or the last three people in the court room waited for their names to be called as I strode out of the court and she went off to pay her fine in the clerk's office.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Orgasms in 1080p

I love HD Television and all of the random pretty programing that goes with it. The sunrise channel? Yes, please. I'll stare at the cone of a volcano as the sun crests the horizon... for an hour. It's pretty.
A plane swooping over the mountains of Vermont in the fall? Uh huh. Gimme.
Curling? In HD? I'll shrug, get a beer, and watch Canucks sweep ice for hours...

But the HD Music Channel? Live concerts impeccably recorded? Tickle my bag and call me Sally! This is fantastic! Sure... it's the Gin Blossoms or Maroon-5-3-Doors-Emo-Loving-Christina-Agui-Mayer, but I don't have to stand next to some A&F-smelling Dockers-wearing DMB junkie! I can see if they are any better live without... well, the hassle of the "live" part.
Every so often, though, they get it right. Someone sneaks out of the programming prison and slips an unmarked disk into the transmitter and something like what I am watching now - David Gilmour in Gdansk - hits the digi-waves and it's a thing of sheer beauty.
Fuck the sunrise, the vomit-inducing plane ride, and those god damn broom-wielding cheese-eaters... THIS is what it's about...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Years May Change, But the Actions Remain the Same

A week ago I received my first riding lawn mower as an adult.

It’s a hand-me-down, sure, but the machine is a fine example of the “build it like a fucking tank” mind-set. It’s a hoss of an older Snapper Hi-Vac, and a real beast. After spending Sunday afternoon replacing fuel lines and battery, I was disappointed that I couldn’t get the damn thing running. Then, after the purchase of a battery charger, I was dismayed that turning the key resulted in a belch of oil and gas from the exhaust.

Sure, may just have been a stuck valve, but I found a super deal on a replacement B&S 12.5hp block that I simply swapped out with little problems. Once I figured out the fact that I had not adjusted the throttle/choke control correctly the thing started right up and now just needs a bit of tinkering with the idle to get it running cleanly and smoothly.

Oh, yeah, and then there’s the fact that the fucking thing won’t fucking roll fucking forward…

Why does all of this feel familiar? I’ve been here before, haven’t I?

Oh… right… almost every FUCKING time I had to mow the lawn with the Murray we used to have when I lived with my folks. How EVER could I have forgotten about that monstrosity…

Currently, I have the mower in the front yard where it ran with no problems until it had to go up an incline. First, I thought it was my fat ass causing the problems, but no… no, it’s something in the friction-drive of the transmission. It’s definitely making full contact and is adjusted correctly – I have little to no doubt about that, but it just doesn’t seem to be able to move forward – even when I am not sitting on the damned thing. My only guess at this point is that maybe there’s oil or grease on the spindle face or on the drive wheel…

All I DO know, is that I lost Azmo yesterday in the forest that has sprung up in the back yard…

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Got my truck back yesterday... fuck, I missed it. I had forgotten how much fun it can be to drive.

Also, I forgot how much I depend on my XM radio to get me through the day... because of my job and the traveling I did this month, I haven't been able to listen to, for example, OnA in a MONTH.
A MONTH.
I try to be out of the hosue at 6am so I can listen to the show for 90 minutes before slogging into the office...
A month... there's $13.99 Nationwide owes me.

Wild Kingdom

It's been many years since my life has been complicated by the wilds of nature. Not since the apartment in the hood have I been kept awake at night by the vocalizations of the rodent family.
Until last night.
Last night I was shaken from my slumber by a loud squeak... it sounded across between a bird and someone squeezing a large rat with vice grips - so, yeah, not a pleasant sound. Azmo was immediately out of his crate and bolting downstairs.
This was 2:45 in the morning.
I tried to ignore the whines of the dog for the next 20 minutes, but I eventually gave up and stumbled downstairs to let him out. Upon reaching the bottom of the deck stairs he tilted back his head and began to bark. All along the right-hand side of the yard, like a caged beast (which, technically, I guess he is) he ran the length of the fence - 180 feet of it - barking.
At 3:10, I finally got him quieted down and inside, where he ran to the dining room and whined at the window. Eventually, he tromped upstairs, jumped between Kate and I, and put his head down.
At 3:25 the squeaking began again, and off went the dog bounding from living room to dining room alternating between piteous whines and full-on growls. Being a sucker for punishment, I let him back outside and followed him with a flashlight. While I didn't see a fucking thing, he apparently did and once again went about trying his very canine best to wake the neighborhood. Being the conscientious neighbor and dog-owner that I am, I quietly smoked my cigarette and let him get it out of his system.
If I wasn't going to sleep, no one was going to sleep.
At 3:45 he was back in his crate with the door closed. I never close the door. I like the idea that if he hears something suspicious, he can get out and deal with the situation. He sees the closed door and assumes it's locked, so I figure this time I can get some sleep.
3:47AM - SQUEAKCHITTERCHITTERSQUEAK
3:47:02AM - Azmo through open the door of his crate and took the stairs 4 at a time. Well, I don't know that he took them 4 at a time. I was in bed, after all, and not counting how many steps he was skipping on his way down to the first floor. I rather like the image of this red 75-pound blur barely touching pad to every fourth step in an effort to rush to defend his territory.
I'm building this up too much, aren't I?
I tried to ignore the whining this time, but every time he would quiet down the SQUEAK would re-appear and set him back off. In addition to that, there's apparently a large owl that hunts around our house. He joined in the chorus about 3:50...
4:00AM - Dog in crate. Crate closed. Crate LOCKED.
4:02AM - SQUEAKCHITTERCHITTERCHITTERCHITTER
4:02:01AM - The dog whines. I growl something esoteric about the dining habits of some of our Asian cousins and Azmo FINALLY quiets down for the night...

In retrospect, I guess I could have closed our bedroom windows so we wouldn't hear the animals outside and saved myself a lot of sleeplessness and you a lot of time having to read this.
Look, I never claimed to be the smartest tool in the she-... erm... yeah.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rise of the Ranger

So... lots to report.

A couple of weeks ago I took the day off from work to take care of a few things before heading out of town for two weeks. Unfortunately, as I drove about my merry way that rainy Thursday, some cunt decided to rear-end my truck at about 30MPH.
Needless to say, her 1990 Celica or Camry or Whatthefuckeveritwas was fucking totaled. My truck... well... we'll get to that.
I was happily uninjured and was able to drive my truck home, pack, and take off for a luxurious two weeks in lovely Beaumont, Texas and Davenport, Iowa.
Beaumont is a smoking hole in the ground.
Don't go to Beaumont.
Ever.

Davenport was a pleasant place in a pleasant state full of pleasant people. Meaning, of course, that it was fucking boring. The interesting thing was, though, that when I went to pick up my rental at the airport, they did not have the car I had reserved. The wonderful woman behind the counter gave me a convertible Mustang instead of my 4-door Impala family sedan.
Tragic.
I got in the car, dropped the top, and turned on the radio. It had the ability to scroll through terrestrial stations by categories. I found a classic rock station in commercial and settled.
As I pulled out of the airport and onto the freeway the commercials came to a blessed end and the opening riffs for "Jessica" blared out at me.
I came.
After the glorious song took me across the Mississippi, "Highway to Hell" took over.
I came.
Next was "You Can't Always Get What You Want."
I came.
"Sweet Caroline."
Came.
"Freebird."
Glot.
"Don't Stop Believing"
Glot glot.

You get how the next 5 days went, right?
Well, let's jump ahead. I come home and get my rental from the insurance company and I drove directly over to the body shop where I was informed "It looks like it may really be totaled."
I'm pissed about that. I really am - I love my truck and it's really close to being paid off... so, we're talking real Love, here.
I began to look at some vehicles. My first stop was a Ford Dealership where I learned I am able to buy a new Ford vehicle with deep and drastic discounts because of my familial connections. After all the discounts and rebates (and with the down payment coming out of the possible check for the FMV on my truck), I'd end up paying about 19K for a 2009 Mustang GT.
I spent the remainder of the week trying desperately not to think too muich about that car. The sounds it makes. The feel of the seats that (to use a Neal Stephenson line) "wrap around you like nymphomanaical gymnist."
Ok, so I thought about it a lot.
And then Friday afternoon came the call.
"The truck is fixable."

More to come...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Have You Ever Wanted...

... to jam a stapler down someone's throat while you taunt them with jests about the miniscule size of their genitals?
Someone referred to me as "The Robster" this morning.
I nodded and smiled politely all the while imaging the blood squirting through the hole in their carotid left by my truck key.
I'm not violent.
Really.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

If It Wasn't For My Horse...

Lewis Black has a brilliant bit about a line he heard come out of a woman's mouth at some diner. It was so ... illogical that if he thought about it too much he was certain that his head would explode.
The line was "If it wasn't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college."
Don't think about it too much, as I fear he may be right.

Now, I came across this picture... well, it's the visual representation of that line (sans horse).
Be warned...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Back in the Lottery

You heard it right...
Summer '09.

The only plausible dates are Pennsyltucky and... fuck, man.
Asheville.
Truly a show that will forcibly sodomize my ears with glorious tones.