Thursday, March 29, 2012

So I Read the Hunger Games.

Since there was a big media shit storm, and young adults are losing their ever loving minds, I decided to read The Hunger Games. Since the last book I read in this genre that young adults were losing their ever loving minds for was Twilight, there was really no way this could be bad. (That was sarcasm.) I didn't really know what the book was even about until a heard a synopsis on the radio. Teenagers killing each other in a gladiator arena? That sounds awesome! Have you ever had to spend time with a teenager and haven't wanted to pit him or her against each other in combat after hearing them whine and complain about stupid bullshit?

I know right?

But I digress. Here's a standard spoiler alert, because I am going to tell you how this bitch ends. YAR HAR AHEAD CAPTAIN THAR BE SPOILERS!

I have to say the writing in this book was pretty good... for the first three pages. It had the grim spare quality that I have come to associate with set-in-the-future-dystopian-world. Then it dissolved into just spare. Let me put it this way. I can't picture what the main characters house looks like, or what their town looks like. I have no idea. But I know exactly what everyone was wearing at all times. Yeah. I had a great sense of the people, but no sense of how they fit into this world.

So mostly it was a sense of characters walking around big blank white spaces that would have elevators, trains, and hover cars in them.

So the story follows whiny teenage number one, um, what's her face. Katniss. That was it. Right from the bat I knew where this story was going. No mystery there. It was a little disappointing. I knew she was going to get picked for gladiator time, and I knew she was going to win. How? Because all the main characters in the entire goddamned book tell her she is going to win. And she wins. But there is a least a twist, in that her companion, whiny teenager number two, ah, er That Guy, falls in love with her during gladiator time. Which is pretty awesome multitasking if you ask me.

Except she does not love him back.

Which is awesome.

The ending, or I should say, the lead on into the next book was pretty good. But here's what really got me, the book in set in Appalachia. You know, the place where I live. So that was interesting enough to keep me reading. Although yet, again, she doesn't describe it very well.

So I dunno. I would recommended this to a young adult before their parents figure out that it's about government sponsored gladiator combat? Probably. For that age group I think this would be a fine read. For adults? I don't resent the seven bucks I spent on this book, so take that as you will. But if you love teenager on teenager combat- that's not the porno kind- then this book is for you.

If on the off chance you were reading this to see if the book was inappropriate for your child, I would have to tell you that it's probably fine. Except for that bit where Side Character gets stabbed in the stomach, or the bit where they turn all the dead competitors into mutant werewolf things by stealing their eyeballs and then setting them loose at the last three survivors, or the bit where the mutant wasps sting everybody and they all have horrible trippy hallucinations from the poison that makes them relive terrible memories from their past and think that the dead bodies are crawling with horrible green slime. Other then that it's totally fine.


You should read it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Retaining Walls Are Evil

Have you ever had one of those moments in life where you were living with the horrible implications of a very simple statement? Like for instance, when you are out on a beach in the middle of summer with your friends and no one brought sunscreen and your skin was burny, hot and itchy all day. And then you tell some smart ass who says something like 'well, the sun is very hot.' I experienced the same thing for past the past three days. My simple statement?

Rocks are fucking heavy.

We are building a retaining wall. You know those things the keep steep embankments from just loosing there shit and falling the fuck down? And to make one that works, you have to use very big rocks. Huge rocks. Motherfucking as much as I can do to lift the damn thing rocks.

Only a shit ton more to go!

My back hates me and everything I stand for now.

The highlights of this motherfucking rock triathlon are as follows:

Climbing down a near vertical embankment because that's where all the good rocks were. I would grab onto a tree root and gently lower myself down until I could get my foot onto something. Have you ever done the thing where your footing goes and you just pedal madly as dirt runs under your feet like a fucking treadmill? 'Cause I damn well have. But I got that rock. It was a sweet rock you guys. If you had seen it you totally would have understood.*

Pulling so hard to get a rock loose that the pick slipped and I fell into a brier patch and cut up my right arm.

Getting stabbed in the thigh, arm and hand by a prickler tree. **

Almost getting my boot ripped off by the mud while getting backfill.

Getting my hair caught in a pine tree.

This is just the icing on the cake here people. It's been three days of shoving backfill and backhoeing a ditch and moving heavy rocks. Everything is pain, now.

Everything is pain.

* This might not be true. I might just be crazy.
** Okay, so I don't know what their called, but they have like two inch spikes. WTF kinda plant has two inch spikes outside of a goddamed desert?

Want more retaining wall adventure? Here's part two.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chicken Coup Saga Final: Painting the Outside.

Have you ever had a project go well? Like really well? Like maybe you were painting outside and the weather was perfect without a cloud in the sky? And the it was perfect temperature and you had enough paint and paint rollers and there was no running to town in the middle of a job to get anything because you planned ahead enough? But the whole time you are worried because nothing ever goes this well and you are not sure if a tornado can appear from a clear sky but you can't relax because you are waiting for something bad to happen?

Just me?

It was kinda freaky. Everything went well. It was a wonderful day. We did have to cheat the dry time between coats to three hours instead of four, but otherwise it went just fine. There was only a few hiccups. Like when I certain cat, who shall remain nameless, decided to rub herself all over the wet paint and now she looks like a bad tie dye job, or the chickens throwing dirt at the fresh paint because they have no appreciation of hard work, or that fact that we kinda forgot that white paint plus sunshine equals blindness. But those were minor things and all in all it went super awesome. Almost too awesome.

At this point, at the end of project I should say some stuff about what I would change, and what I liked about it.

I know, it's just too pretty for words.

What I would change about it:

Not much. I think we could have gotten away with the building being shorter. It's a full 10ft in the front, and 8ft in the back. We could have 8ft and 6ft and it would have been easier to put up. A lot easier. Also cheaper. My only real regret, my true regret, and you might think I'm crazy, is that we did not build the whole thing out of stone. Just the foundation. With the time limit we had though, (the old coup was in it's death throes) we could not really have done it that way, it's just you know stone.

Yes I put real house windows in my chicken coup. Don't judge me.

What I like:

I am not going to lie. I did my homework on this one. I like the fact we put in vents up high, so fresh air comes in but it does not blow directly on the chickens, or me. Which is great in the winter. I love Love LOVE the tall ceiling. It's like, I dunno, a cathedral. But for chickens. I don't know what to say. A ludicrously tall ceiling in a chicken coup just makes it feel like a temple, like it's more then just a utilitarian structure.* Window placement was awesome, they get sun in the morning and early afternoon, but not late afternoon evening, which will be a big plus come summer. I like the perches we installed, which are made with real two inch think tree branches instead of the two by four they used to have (two by fours hurt their feet).


I like the fact we installed a full size, metal house door on the front. Most people make little chicken houses. You know, chicken sized chicken houses. NEVER DO THIS. Oh it might be darling to have to bend over ninety degrees to get inside for the first week, but anytime after that you will hate yourself. It's sooo nice just to walk the fuck in and not have to crawl inside through a fucking Umpa Loopma door.

The chickens love it too. I have never had so many eggs. So many eggs.

Hey anybody need some eggs?




*Yes this is unabashed love for my chicken coup. Shut up.

Confused? Here's Part One.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Kitchen Might Explode.

So my kitchen might explode because the stove has been leaking gas. And we had been ignoring it. Why? Why do I freak out when I leave battery chargers plugged in over night because the manual said that might cause fire and then pretend I don't notice a gas leak? I have no fucking idea. Presumably because I'm an idiot.

We finally broke down and admitted there was a problem when it took two hours to make dinner last night because the oven is only working on one side.

At this point we did what any self respecting couple would do. Argued about which specific part on the stove was broken. (Hint: it's not the part that would be easy to get to.) The other thing we discovered was that the part can only be bought at a dealership by a certified technician. Presumably because Whirlpool is a goddamned dick. Or maybe they don't want your average cheap ass moron to blow themselves up trying to fix their stoves. They would much rather the average cheap ass moron make a crater the size of a semi by trying to fabricate the part in their garage and installing it with drywall screws. Both scenarios end in death, but if you look closely, only one ends with it being Whirlpools fault.

So we called a repairman.

Oh, I'm sorry, I should say we tried to call a repairman. But he didn't pick up his phone. And their was no answering machine. And all the other repair places are rather far away.

I think we are going to die.

Now I don't have a working stove anymore and I am suddenly back at collage when I cooked all of my food using the microwave. Right. So apparently I am team microwave now.

Okay so maybe we were nursing that stove along anyway. Maybe it had an annoying habit of filling the room with gas because it was too easy to bump the knobs on the front to SUPER ON. And maybe you had to light the burners by hand because the whatever-the-fuck-part was broken. And maybe it was too old to have like, you know, a timer or anything on it. And maybe it's time to buy a new stove.


Looks like it's baked potatoes from the microwave tonight! Aannndd every other night for now into the foreseeable future.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Backhoes are Awesome.

We have decided to name our backhoe King.

We used King to remove some fence posts from along the drive way. The non-backhoe method involves using a chain and large jack, You wrap the chain around the fence post and hook it over the end on the jack. The you heave and curse trying to jack it out of the earth. This usually takes two people because the jack will want to keel over sideways at the first sign of a struggle.

The backhoe method of fence post removal is as follows. Wrap chain around fence post, loop other end around the hook on the bucket and take the bucket up.

Having a back hoe is like going from a level 2 to a level 50 overnight.

We also used King to dig a drainage ditch next to the driveway that eats vehicles. Having dug lots and lots of things by hand , and knowing how much that sucks ass, I was overjoyed to see king dig this one. Now granted we did have to go it and scoop out some loose dirt and shape the sides by hand, but it was super easy. King was all like, oh you want a ditch well here you go SHABAM!

I think I fell in love just then.

After a while it was a lot like working with a large benevolent dinosaur instead of a huge metal machine. I had to only gesture before King would lower his magnificent claw arm and rip out huge chunks of earth for me. At the merest gesture he would rip out saplings and rip up enormous rocks. It was like every thing I had ever wanted out of a imaginary best friend when I was a kid come to life.* My new best friend can rip up motherfucking trees. Do you know how awesome that is? Can you contemplate the awesomeness of this thing? ARE YOU CONTEMPLATING IT!?


So now when ever I watch Where the Wild Things Are and there is that scene where all the Wild Things are chanting King! King! King! I am going to assume they are talking about my backhoe. Which is really the only redeeming feature in that entire shit fest of a movie.

Seriously that movie sucked.


Don't watch it unless you are thinking about my backhoe, okay?

* Imaginary best friend operator sold separately. Seriously though Scott ROCKS at driving that thing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Leibster Blog Award Bitches.

The Leibster Blog Award is like one of those moral tests I might be doomed to fail. After ignoring being too busy to do anything about it for some time, okay a lot of time, okay shut up, I finally dredged up my social anxiety enough to do the things this award desperately wants of me.

Stop judging me award. I am doing the best I fucking can here.

First I have to link back to the blog/person/overlord that gave me the award. But that didn't seem like enough, you know? So I drew this for her.

Oh God, please don't be offended by this.

This is the amazing Red's blog.

Go read it. It's funny I promise.

Next I have to pass on the chain letter award to five blogs under 200 followers that I like*. Or at least I assume I'm supposed to like them. Maybe I just have to not hate them. Also I apparently have to also tell them I am doing this so that they can pass them along until everyone on the Internet has one and they aren't special anymore. I might be a little shaky on how this works.

Fuck it HERE WE GO!

Vet on the Edge

This a blog about a vet living in Alaska. She talks about panty hose eating dogs, being late for work because of moose, and taking plane rides onto glaciers because she is a badass.

Serious Fun

This blog is shit your pants funny. I love her travel stories especially. Also she gets just as hyper excited by Halloween as I do.

Unlikely Explanations

This one might be gray area on the 200 followers rule, but I think we should all just pretend it's not because it's god damned funny.

The King of Crayons.

I can't really, well it's kinda like he- just go read the motherfucking thing, alright? It's mad lolz.

At this point I ran out of blogs. I'm sorry. I'm lame. Just pretend there was another one from your pretending place and we'll be all good. And stuff.

Because lies fix everything. EVERYTHING.

Shut up.

* If you are here because I informed you  I am giving you this award, now you know the horrible curse that comes with it. Good Luck!

Monday, March 12, 2012

How To Denail a Board

How to denail a board in ten easy steps.

Materials Needed.
2 hammers
1 crowbar
A bunch of lumber that hates your guts has lots of nails in it.

Step 1.
Place board between 2 sawhorses. If you do not have 2 sawhorses, place board on a upside down 5 gallon bucket and the giant stack of boards you have yet to denail. If you use the second method your lumber will be at knee height.

Step 2.
Flip board over so that the pointy nail ends are aiming up toward you.

Step 3.
Using your hammer, try to pound the nails until they are flush with the surface of the board. At this point the nails will go as limp as a straight mans cock at a pride parade and smush over on themselves. Using the claw of the hammer, try to straighten the nails. Repeat until over half the nails have broken off into unusable stumps.

Step 4.
Once you have pounded the nails through, flip the board over again so that the heads of the nails are now visible. Using the claw of the hammer, or the crow bar, attempt to remove the nails using a series of short jerking motions. None of the nails will come loose. Proceed to step 5.

Step 5.
Use the trick where you use the head of the hammer as a fulcrum for the crowbar. The crowbar will slide off and cut you.

Step 6.
Apply band aids to bleeding areas.

Step 7.
Get really angry. Get plumb mad dog Clint Eastwood angry. Manage to remove a few nails. At this point you should consider taking the pain killers.

Step 8.
You will need to curse at the remaining nails like you have never cursed at anything before. 'Son of a bitch' ain't gonna cut it. You need to call these nails 'Son's of a whore cunt' or maybe 'bastard shit fucking motherfuckers' Really get creative with it.
Step 9.
Do the last trick in your arsenal use the hammer to pound the end of the crow bar until the nail pops out. Immediately loose nail on the ground. You will hurt your hand in the process. Take more painkillers.

Step 10.
Repeat steps 5-9 until almost all of the nails are removed*. Become depressed over how many more boards you have to get through. Place board in the I-will-get-back-to-this-later-pile. Restart process again from step one.

And there you go! Remember not to get depressed and start drinking early in the day. It's hard to aim a hammer when you are drunk. Really hard.

Trust me on this one.

* Don't take anymore painkillers though. That would be bad.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Me, A Backhoe, Some Mud and Some Poo

So last night it turns out that the dog must have eaten something bad for her, because she crazy pooped all over the bedroom floor. I did not not discover this until oh, about midnight. Because life is unfair like that. Then this morning I discovered that she had also risen at some point during the night to crazy diarrhea poop in my office. At that point I was pretty sure that life was giving me the finger. So, it was about noon before I staggered out of my poop smelling house to go do things with my day.

You know that point where you think you are getting a handle on things? Like maybe you have denailed some boards, and then maybe you have moved a load of rocks for your future house and felt like you were doing good despite setbacks?

That was about the point we got the backhoe stuck in the lawn.

Everything was going great. We used the front backhoe bucket to collect some big rocks, and then we attempted to drive them over to the wall* we were building. Which was across a field and also across the lawn. The last bit didn't go very well. You ever seen a full size backhoe just slide three feet and then become hopelessly mired in black watery muddy poo like earth? Because I have.

Scott yelled something I didn't hear at that moment, spun the tires again gently before getting out and coming to stand next to me. Curse words were uttered. Ideas were floated. Since waiting until late summer when the ground gets real dry was a less then stellar option, I suggested that we use the front bucket to pull it out of the hole because I had heard of it being done. On a forum. Once.

At least Scott thought that was a good plan.

Have you ever seen a backhoe dry heave? Because I have. I don't meant to imply that Scott wasn't operating it well, he was.** It's just that there is only one way to describe that set of motions.

Now you would think that just digging the front bucket into the earth and pulling the arm back in wouldn't be enough to drag the whole machine forward, but it totally is. The key is that the stabilizers weren't down. Once it became clear the the hoe was leaving the earth and clawing it's way into the parking pad we all went crazy. Scott pumped his fist in the air and I jumped up and down and high fived the dog but she was too excited and splashed mud all over my face but none of us cared because dignity is for people that don't have backhoes.

Then I thought everything was going to be alright and then my sandwich caught fire in the toaster oven and now my house mobile home smells like burning dog poop. Some times I hate my life.

Stupid motherfucking life.

* The dry stacked stone walls will become the house someday in case you were wondering.
** Scott is one of those rare people that is good at things he has never done before. This was only his third time driving a backhoe and he made it look like he had been driving one all his life.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I Just Bought A Backhoe

I just bought a backhoe. No really.

A sexy backhoe.

It was just delivered today.

So I spent most of my morning running around and flailing and yelling backhoe! Backhoe! BACKHOE! Like a totally mature adult would do. I also high fived the dog and told the delivery guy that this day was the happiest day of my life and that 'this is better then my wedding day.' And then Scott glared at me but it didn't matter because we have a goddamned backhoe and no one can take that away from me.

Now for someone who feels terrible about spending 75 bucks on an oil painting buying something that was nearing the 18 grand mark sent me into some sort of haunted money trance.

After spending almost half a year lurking on heavy equipment forums, driving around to look at backhoes, talking to backhoe owners, and complaining about our chronic lack of backhoe Scott found a backhoe on Craigslist. It was perfect. Four wheel drive (a must have) the right brand, priced right. It was in PA, but we said what the hell we'll go have a look.

Except it was snowing sideways that day with 50 mph winds.

It was an adventure. We drove to PA in the middle of a blizzard in our Oldsmobile Cutlass. At times the snow drifts were so deep that we almost slid into the ditch, other times the wind would whip up little snow devils and blind us completely. We ended up passing the street and had to double back for it, which meant that we had to play a mandatory game of find-a-place-to-turn-around-in-the-middle-of-nowheres-fucking-ville Blizzard addition.

We ended up buying it.

Now we didn't buy it just then, there was the sleeping on it* and getting the money from the bank and the obligatory freaking out. Spending this amount of money on something I go through the seven stages of grief. They are as follows.

“There is no way we are going to do this.”
“Maybe we can haggle the price lower”
“If life were fair we would already have a backhoe by now.”
“Do you think we could just steal a backhoe?”
“Oh god, what have I done. That was a shit ton of money right there.”
Have you ever just opened your bank account and just looked at it?

“Backhoes are so fucking awesome.”

They are indeed. So. Fucking. Awesome. Now if you excuse me I need to go dig holes in the yard for no reason other then I mothering fucking can.


* I don't mean that we were literally sleeping on the backhoe during a snowstorm. Just thought I should clear that up. In case you were wondering.

Friday, March 2, 2012

So I May Have Bought a Haunted Painting

Okay. So I may have bought a haunted painting. Now I don't mean haunted in the sense that this painting is home to an angry ghost. I mean that I think the painting may be a magical door way to another world. I mean, well, look at it.

When I saw it, I stopped dead in my tracks. It was an arresting sight. It was like I wasn't just looking at a painting, but that I was looking into another world. You know how there's that scene in movies when the main charter sees the magical item in the thrift store and then the wind kicks up and the music does something that is both happy and ominous at the same time? Yeah that kind of happened.

So I bought the painting for 75 bucks. Then I had a minor panic attack because spending 75 dollars on something I want makes me feel like a failure at life for some reason.

It was about then that I realized that, well this was a big painting. It's about 2.5ft tall. The only place in the car it would fit was wedging it behind the seats where the ice scraper tried to defile it and I had to manually separate the two. On the drive home I kept twisting around in the car to look at the damn thing, like at any moment something was going to happen. I don't know what. But something. So I get the thing home and prop it up in my office while I try to look up the artist online. Which fails magnificently since I am fairly sure that this was painted BI (Before Internet*.)

Deciding that the best thing to do would be to mount it on the wall at this point because it's clearly not getting anymore magical sitting there on the floor. So I do my thing and mount it up on the wall. At this point something dawns on me.

It's right above my PS3.

You know that bit from the Narnia chronicles Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Edmund and Lucy see the painting of the ship in their aunt's house and think it looks like a Narnian ship and then the painting comes to life and floods the room? Yeah.

You see any insignia on that ship? You see any indication that this ship is from our world? Because I sure as hell don't. Why did I buy a possibly haunted painting and then hang it above one of my most valuable possessions? I don't fucking know. Why do I do these things to myself? Why am I asking so many motherfucking questions?

What's weird is that I don't like to have my back to it. Except my desk faces away from the painting and now I have to keep twisting around to check on it. Which I guess is bad planning on my part.

If I stop posting after this and you never hear from me again and it's like a just just dropped off the face of the world- the painting got me.

Avenge me.

* The painting is oil, and as far as the store guy knew, about 15 years old. It is signed Jackson in the lower right corner. I tired using Google image match to find the painting, but nothing came up. There were some really close look a likes, but nothing that matched. (Looking at the angle the ship was leaning was the fasted way to tell if the paintings were the same.) So in the off chance that anybody knows anything, let me know. Preferably before the painting goes all crazy pants and I wind up trapped in it somehow.