Westy Woes

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For the past few months, I’ve been experiencing a battery drain on the Westy. Originally, I thought it was the starter, but it fires right up with a jump start. This Christmas, I received a sweet portable charging station that includes; jumper cables, power outlets, an inflator, and USB ports. It’s really handy because now I can drive places and not worry about asking for a jump.

Gotta love the easy access to the battery.

I also replaced the window handles, again! It’s been a long-time coming, but GoWesty finally came out with their own industrial strength window handles. The ones I bought before were total pieces of shit. They literally snapped off in your hand with just a little pressure. They were so cheap I bought 8 of them and kept them in van. Before that, I had a small vice grip handy.

These better be the last handles I have to buy.

Last spring, my buddy Nick broke a handle off. He didn’t want to say anything thinking I might lose my shit. I whipped out my cordless drill and one of my spare handles and we were back in business.

Hopefully these new ones last. They better, they’re $40 a piece versus $4.99 for the others.

Not to jinx it

Status

After finishing 2017 with the double whammy of a cold followed by a sinus infection, 2018 by comparison, is off to a decent start. I have been getting out to the gym and even set up some stuff in the garage for those days I don’t feel like making the short drive.

I feel like I haven’t read a book, magazine or newspaper since we got the new dog. You can’t sit still for a second. If you do, she’ll dart off her mat at your throat or start chewing on the rug, the sofa, the coffee table. Fortunately, she’s been minimally destructive. I know it could be way worse.

One of the secondary benefits of having the dog is I’m taking more long walks. We live a few blocks from our downtown, so walking the dog is a convenient excuse to hit the coffee shop or walk around to see what’s happening. Billy loves walks, Sadie is just starting to get into them.

The Rise of the Privilege Epiphany

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I’m glad to see some of those born on third base recognize the role luck has played in their life. However, a bigger problem is unsuccessful white people who feel they disprove the existence of white privilege and racism in America because it hasn’t helped them. And yet, they miss the point that having their race be a non-issue is in and of itself an advantage. It’s like Chris Rock says, “no white guy would trade places with him!”

The Rise of the Privilege Epiphany

The Rise of the Privilege Epiphany

Donald Trump made them realize their dumb luck in life. Now what?

Source: newrepublic.com/article/146522/rise-privilege-epiphany

Thems the Breaks

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Write about a time you broke…

A Bone

Technically, I don’t think I’ve ever broken a bone. However, I have had plenty of serious injuries. The closest thing to a broken bone is when I separated my ribs from my sternum playing rugby.

I was playing Center, instead of my usual Scrumhalf position. It was open field and instead of scooping up the ball, I squatted and got rolled. I ended up on the bottom of growing pile. My neck got hyper-extended and my chin got shoved into my chest. Then, everything went black. I thought my neck snapped. Fortunately, I could still walk, but it felt like someone had pushed my head into my chest cavity.

For the next couple weeks, my sternum would buckle in and out, like a pop can. I was on a plane to Rhode Island a couple weeks later and as descended, the pressure on my ribs knocked the wind out of me. I couldn’t get it to pop back out until we were back on the ground.

The first practice back one of my teammates asked, “what happened to you” and punched me in the chest. I folded like a house of cards and he shook his hand like a wet rag.

To this day, I still have to “reset” my ribs with a good yawn every now and then. If you listen closely, you can hear a little “crunch.”

The Law

I’m not especially proud of this, but here it goes. My college roommate had an air rifle. I was putzing around with it and pointed it out the window of our 3rd floor room. Without thinking, I just pulled the trigger. Pffffoot went the BB.It didn’t ricochet. The passenger window of car parked in front of the house just turned into a million tiny pieces and poof, it was gone.

I quietly put the gun back where I found it and left the room. That was the last I heard about that and this is the first time I ever mentioned it to anyone else.

Dog days

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I have been reading many diverse opinions on how to train a puppy. According to the experts you’re supposed to treat them like an animal. Meantime, I’ve always picked them up, tussled and rolled, made eye contact and even pet them. Turns out, every instinct I’ve ever had isn’t just wrong, it’s why they behave so poorly.

My light doggie reading.

The first book I read was the “The Wildrose Way.” The author is an former police dog trainer who breeds and trains hunting dogs. I don’t hunt, but this book was recommended by Outside magazine for people who want a hiking companion that can go off leash. Hunting dogs obey hand signals so you can communicate with them in silence and at great distances.

This guy is a stoic when it comes to dogs. He writes in this archaic matter-of-fact style, you can’t help but believe it’ll work. According to him everything is repitition. Simply lather, rinse, and repeat for however long it takes. And when you’re done, maybe give the dog a treat like a strip of towel or a smooth stroke behind one ear and send her back into the cage.

The next book was “Cesar’s Way” by Cesar Millan, from the “The Dog Whisperer” on NatGeo. I love watching that show because every dog is a transformation. I assume some editing takes place, but still, he gets results. What works for Jada Pinkett Smith has gotta work for everyone else.

Cesar spends a lot of time upfront in the book setting context and telling his personal history of being around farm dogs and observing them. If you’ve ever seen him on tv, you know he has an awesome accent. When I read his book, I can’t help hear his voice reciting the words in my head.

I always thought he took some kind of new age approach, but he’s hard core. He believes our coddling of dogs and treating them like little people makes them anxious and therefore leads to horrible behavior. Dogs need to be treated like pack animals and you’re the alpha. His main strategy is to wear the dog out starting with a 4-5 hour jog in the morning followed by an extensive nap in the afternoon. I understand why his methodology works. I just don’t have 18 hours a day to apply it.

So now, we’re going to puppy school. It’s once a week in a light industrial warehouse. We stand in makeshift pens while a woman with a fanny pack full of kibble shows us basic tactics to get Sadie to sit and lay down.

Boiling down

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So today’s writing suggestion are as follows:

  1. Boil down Hamlet to a Tweet
  2. Tweet the plot of Star Wars
  3. Tweet my life story
  4. Tweet my day so far

1. I hate people who assume everyone has read “Hamlet”. I don’t even pretend to like or give a shit about Shakespeare. Like most Americans born past 1776, I come to his work by way of some new, and usually better twist of the original, like West Side Story, 10 Things I Hate About You, or Scrubs.

This summer we went to a Shakespeare in the park event. We even saw Hamlet, and I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone gets what in the hell is going on. Maybe I was just restless, because I can’t sit that long on the ground.

So no, I can’t summarize the plot in a 140 character Tweet. instead, I’ll write it’s most famous line in Twitterese; “2b or not 2b”.

2. The plot of Star Wars; “Die Hard for Retards”.

3. My life story; “Uselessly ahead of the curve.”

4. My day so far: I’m already ahead at getting behind.

Year of the beard comes to an end

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I heard Trump didn’t pick John Bolton as Secretary of State because he hates facial hair. So, on January 1st 2017, I stopped shaving and grew a real beard. I did keep it trimmed, but managed to keep the beard for a whole year.

Today, I shaved it off and now I feel totally out of place here in Norcal as every guy over 30 seems to have one. Also, it’s been a year, and the moron is still in office, though not much longer. Here’s to hoping shaving didn’t jinx anything.

642 things to write about

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My Secret Santa got me a booked called “642 Tiny Things to Write About“. I thought Id use it as a way to get unstuck when writing blog posts.

The first two entries are:

  • Write yesterdays fortune cookie. It got everything wrong.
  • Write last years fortune cookie. It got everything right.

Im assuming some people have fortune cookies on New Year’s Eve. I don’t. So I’ll pretend I did. The last fortune I can remember was when I was a kid. It said, “Be kind to pigeons and they’ll make a statue of you.” I was probably about 8 at the time, so I thought it meant pigeons would build the statue, presumably out of turds.

If it got everything wrong
I picture the scene from “High Anxiety” whell Mel Brooks runs, but he can’t hide, from all the pigeons in the park. It’s a parody of “The Birds”. He seeks shelter in a shed, but they find a hole in the skylight.

If it got everythign right
I picture them erecting a statue of me in the park. I’d be wearing a DeKalb seed corn cap. When I was a kid, a pigeon shat on the bill of mine. All I heard was a loud tap, and felt the wet fresh plop. I eventually ripped the bill off that hat.

The Shape of Water

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The last movie I saw in theaters was “Hidden Figures”. That means I don’t get out enough, or I won’t see anything unless it has Octavia Spencer in it. We checked out “The Shape of Water” at our local arthouse theatre. It’s one of those places that serves alcohol and food while you watch.

Overall, I dug the movie. It was Guillermo Del Toro had written, directed, and produced “Splash” meets “E.T.” The plot was predictable, but the scenery and attention to details recreating an early sixties cold war vibe worked. I especially liked the ratty apartment above the Balitmore theater Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins characters lived in.

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Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer

As for the actors, Octavia Spencer’s character was a 60s cliché, Sally Hawkins was corny, but effective, and Richard Jenkins was a decent funny sidekick (I still can’t think of him as anything but the dad in Stepbrothers).

The best performance was Michael Shannon who just looks like he was drawn as a villain for a comic book.

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Michael Shannon

The movie is worth seeing whether you like special effects or weird human on humanoid action.