Massive Rain

I love rain. I love the sound of it, the feel of it on hot summer days, and the thought of running through puddles. I remember doing that as a kid. What kid didn’t like jumping into a puddle and making a big splash. As I got older, I stopped running through puddles, mostly. Now I use my car to make a big splash. Today, while leaving work in the massive downpour, I got stuck behind an SUV. And of course, the drive of the SUV was trying to avoid all of the puddles. Maybe the driver was afraid of getting his vehicle dirty. Me? Oh, I aimed for those puddles. Yes, I know it is dangerous, but it is so much fun.

And the MINI handles water in a weird way. With every other car I have been in, the car would cut through the water. The water would cause a wave going off to the sides of the car, kind of like the bow of a boat. That is not where the water goes when the MINI goes through a small body of water. When I drive the MINI though a puddle, the water actually goes over the car. I turn the MINI in to a mini-submarine! And I enjoy it every time. It makes me smile. I am still a kid at heart.

Well, mostly. I remember growing up being scared of thunder and lightning. Hell, I couldn’t even sleep through a thunderstorm.  Now that I am older, I actually enjoy storms. Sure, I may fear power going out because I want my nightly TV, but the thunder and lightning is actually enjoyable.

So today, in a storm that has already dropped a foot of rain (judging from my garbage can), I am going to sit back, watch some TV, have some wine, and listen to the storm.

Too bad the cats are freaking out.

Rerun

A friend of mine has repeatedly asked me why I buy my books rather than go to the local library. The library, after all, does have a large selection (though my Clarke collection is bigger than most libraries). Sometimes I am asked why I don’t have an eReader and download my books. Both questions are valid, and if I did buy eBooks I would save a ton of space on my bookshelves. I easily have over a hundred books, and I wouldn’t even be surprised if I have over five hundred.

Yesterday, I just wasn’t in the mood to open up any of my unread novels, and really not in the mood to read the Stephen Hawking book that I am just over a quarter of the way through. So, I went down to my geek room and just stared. I knew I wanted to read something that I have read before, but the question would be which book. I finally decided on With the Lightnings by David Drake. This is a book I have read years ago. It is the first book in a series that is still on going. And to be honest, it’s like I am reading a new book. I can’t remember reading the story. So it is both a rerun and new to me.

I am very proud of my book collection. And excluding the unread pile, I have read them all at least once, and some of them I have read so often that I had to tape the spine back together. I enjoy books; I like the feel of them in my hand as I read them. I like looking at how far I am into the book.

So yes, I may be rereading a book, but how many of us can say that they haven’t watched an episode of some TV show more than once. Or how many times have you watched that fantastic movie.

So yes, it may take me more time to get through the book. But you cannot judge. After all, I have no commercials.

Change of Routine

As I have said before, I am a man of routine. I have my morning routine, my weekend routine, my weekday routine, and my weeknight routine. Except today. Today I had to change my post-work routine. I guess I didn’t have to, but I sure felt like I had too.

Usually, when I get home from work, I discard to book bag and jacket just to start with. I move on to feeding the cats (they always seem to get priority), I then go upstairs to get into my PJs, come back down stairs and cook myself some dinner. It’s at this point I usually pour myself a glass of wine and relax, and start to blog. But I didn’t, I couldn’t do that today.

Today I got home, fed the cats, poured myself a large glass of wine, then went right to writing this blog. My routine is now off, which probably means my whole night is going to be off. But I needed that glass of wine. I needed to start bringing myself down.

It was a rough day at work. Actually, not counting the weekend, it’s been a rough couple of days at work. And today, everyone was pissing me off. Customers, bosses, random people, and even my co-workers. Across the board, they were all just ticking me off. Damn I needed that wine. I can’t even pinpoint what everyone was doing that was getting to me. Ok, when it comes to most of my customers, they were just being stupid needy pains in the asses.

And it is my own wine that I am using to relax. And I must say, that this Riesling has actually gotten better with age, providing you let it aerate a little. It isn’t the best wine I have ever had, but considering that it was my first attempt at making wine, it wasn’t bad at all.

So yes, I already am off to a terrible start this week, but at least I had some wine to try and bring me back down.

And it’s only Monday. I cannot figure out why people work past their retirement age when they can actually afford to retire. Screw that, I am out as soon as financially able.

Timeline

Yesterday was the first time in a long while that I went to a winery, possibly the first time this year. A few friends and I went to Chaddsford winery in Pennsylvania. Of course, with the friends who went, there was much fun to be had. And, them being my friends, they made fun of me profusely. So of course I had a great time.

Post Season White

One of the wines we had was Flyers Post-season white. I believe I was being punished, as I am a NY Rangers fan and I was forced to buy, pour, and drink this wine. Ok, there wasn’t much force involved, but I still think I was being punished. And to be honest, it was pretty good. It was a semi-sweet white, and if I didn’t already buy a case of Jersey White from Heritage, I may have bought a bottle of Post-season White. I also voluntarily bought a bottle of the Post-season red because I knew that my companions would want to try it. And to be honest with myself, I did as well. It was also a semi-sweet, and I probably would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t have a bottle of very sweet Niagara right before it.

Later in the day, I decided to pull out a card game in my car called Timeline (blogged about playing it earlier), which I now keep in the car at all times. It is a fun game and I was glad I was able to introduce my friends to the game. It turns out that Timeline is also great for meeting fantastic new people. While playing it, two strangers started watching our game. Now, Bill being Bill, he wasted no time in inviting them to join us. So our small group of three was suddenly a group of five playing a very competitive and fun card game. I am sure the wine didn’t help, or maybe it did, either way, I didn’t win one hand. I had a blast, and I believe everyone else did as well.

It was a very fun day with good wine and great people. I would recommend both Chaddsford and Timeline to all of my friends. And combining the two can only end in great times.

And you know you are having good times when even the waiter at dinner joins in making fun of you.

Damn that was a long day.

Scary Sight

One of the scariest sights I see during the day, other than the three cats staring at me in unison, is a blank word document. Once I get started with a blog I am usually fine, but that blank screen scares me. Especially when I don’t have a single thought I feel like blogging.

Yes, the three cats staring at me might be scarier, but usually I can placate them by giving them some fresh food. The blank screen though? I actually need to think. I need to express my thoughts into a somewhat coherent blog.

And if I don’t have an actual idea, I just sit staring at the screen, drinking some coffee (if I have the day off), listening to the TV, hoping for some inspiration. If that doesn’t work, I read CNN, other Blogs, Facebook, and anything else hoping to get some sort of inspiration.

And sometimes, none of that works. I just stare at the screen, starting to panic. There are some classic fallbacks that I can blog about. I could tell some funny stories of my past. I could tell a story about something that happened at work, and there are plenty of those. And, of course, there is always a story about what these cats have done recently, well, at least till two of them final go home.

No, the blank document is a scary sight. And I must face my fears and conquer the blank document. Even if the blog is about how hard I find it to blog sometimes.

Three Thing Friday

1. Beamish Black – A lot of people would assume that my favorite beer is Guinness, and with good reason. I do drink it most of the time, at least when I am not drinking wine, but it really isn’t my favorite beer. When I was in London I tried this beer called Beamish Black. It was as dark as Guinness, but tasted completely different. I cannot even explain how it tastes, as it has been a long while since I have had it. I have a lot of fond memories of my trips to Europe, and when I look back on it, I do miss the beer. I have found regular Beamish in the states, but the only place I have ever been able to find Beamish Black was across the pond. Maybe one day I will get back to my favorite beer. Or maybe I can find a way to have it shipped here.

2. Taco Bell – Taco Bell is a double-edged sword. It is a fantastic option as a vegetarian. Anything on the menu can be converted to vegetarian just by ordering it with no meat and extra beans. And honestly, it is a tasty option when compared to the constant salads I have been eating recently. But of course, it is still Taco Bell. You always feel like you have just eaten Taco Bell. And I am sure the salt content was terrible for my blood pressure. It may not have been the healthiest lunch I could have had, but it was damn good.

3. Mind Drifting – My mind drifts, and I can never explain where it goes, or why it goes to wherever it goes. Today, on my way home, my mind drifted to the monsters Godzilla has faced through his 60 years. And the sad part of all of this, I could actually name most of them.  Yes, that fact even scared me. Of course I have seen every Godzilla movie, but the fact that I could name most (if not all) of the other monsters in those films is just scary. Rodan, Mothra, Hedora, Gigan, and Bambi are just a few of the names of the Japanese monsters.

Yup, scared me too.

And today’s blog was brought to you by imports from Europe, Mexico (ish), and Asia.

Under a Minute

Today was the standard Pointless Meeting Thursday, and of course, having briefed just 4 weeks ago, it was my turn to brief again. I have said before that I can talk about what I do in very few ways. I do the same thing day in and day out. Sure, there may be minor differences, but does anyone really care about what I do? I’m not even sure that I care what I do.

But today, it hit my goal. I gave my briefing in under a minute, possibly in under thirty seconds. That really wasn’t my goal, but I didn’t want to waste my coworker’s time, so I did keep it short and to the point. And I was complimented on how short I was able to keep it. In fact, I believe it was said, “You did great, but it went down hill from there.” That’s because I went first and everyone else took longer to give their briefing.

To top it all off, I took the briefing as seriously as it should be. I managed to mention Godzilla or other Japanese monsters in each one of my bullets except for the last one. In that last bullet, I just mentioned some movie that was coming out on May 16th and how I will be seeing it.

You can also see how bad morale is in the office. Some of the briefings, and a good potion of the questions and comments throughout today’s meeting were just… I don’t even know how to describe it. But you can tell that the majority of the people sitting in on the briefing are not taking them seriously. And I will admit that I am among that list of people.

So, another briefing done, and I am sure I will complain about this again in four weeks.

What a Godzilla sized pain in the ass.

Filling Space

My day at work consisted of doing a lot of actual work with a brief one-hour period of being filler in a seat. Today I was told that I had to attend the post’s Sexual Harassment Awareness Month close out session. I had no choice. They invited the person in charge of SHARP to speak about sexual harassment and what she is trying to do to prevent it in the Army. The speech wasn’t all that bad, but I do have some complaints about the situation as a whole.

First, being made to go when I have actual work to do was a little pointless. How is the director going to defend how busy we are when we are always at these pointless APG functions? People have got to notice that only G3/5 is always there. I mean, yes, I was made to go, but how does it look when everyone is asked to go if they have no other pressing work, but G3 is always there. It has to look like we have no other pressing work. How can he defend his staff when cut start coming down?

Next, the temperature in the auditorium was toasty. They could have opened a door and cool it off a little bit. It was so nice and warm that I had to fight from falling asleep. And oddly, I had a random nosebleed. I am blaming the warmth and dryness of the room, but I admit that it may not have been the cause.

And finally, the tastes in what was presented were a little flawed. The director of the SHARP program used language in her briefing that some would find offensive. Not me, of course, but I can see where some people would be. But that wasn’t even the funniest or worst part. They decided to show a slideshow of everything that was done in support of SHARP throughout the month, but they used Michael Jackson music over the images. Really? That was your option? I am not going to argue if MJ was guilty or not. He did settle out of court, but that doesn’t prove anything. However, you could have picked almost any other musician. Michael Jackson?

Really?

Sadness

On the way to my parents temporary home for my Easter lunch, on that long drive to NJ, I saw a cat on the side of the road that had gotten killed. I usually get this feeling of sadness when I see a dead animal on the side of the road, but this time it was a little worse. For some reason I thought of my cat and the two guest cats. You add that on top of the bad morning I was already having, the bad feelings I was already going through, and I just got swamped with this profound sadness.

I usually feel bad for anything on the side of the road. A thought of “This wouldn’t have happened if man wasn’t driving on the road” goes through my head. Let us ignore the fact that these animals haven’t learned to look both ways before crossing, and cars have been on the road for over a hundred years. I just can’t shake the feeling that animal life would be better if it weren’t for us and our cars.

I know, it’s stupid that I feel that way. But when it is a cat or dog on the side of the road, I always think of how I would feel if it was my pet. It doesn’t matter that the dead animal could have been a stray, I always think of Loki. If I lost Loki that way, I would be crushed. Sure the fur ball is a pain in the ass most of the time. And yes, he does hack up hairballs in my bed a four in the morning (still mad about my Monday morning). But he is my pet. Well, maybe I am his, but I have grown attached to the little guy.

I know that one day I will have to deal with his loss.

And I know that when I see another dead animal on the side of the road, that feeling of guilt will hit again.

Ends

A friend of mine once told me a story. His paychecks used to come with “inspiring” quotes on them. One of the quotes was something to the effect of “Once you think you can make ends meet, someone moves the ends.” Obviously I have never forgotten that quote, I think it is very fitting to life in general.

After paying my student loan for years, and over paying it for a good portion of that time, I am now within months of paying it off. I am so close, and very excited. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  And then the train hit me.

On Sunday, I was changing the MINI’s oil. Not a big deal, and it is something that I have come to enjoy in my older years. Sure, it would be easier to pay someone to do it for me, but there is a relaxing aspect to doing it myself. After draining the oil into the pan, and removing the used oil filter and replacing with a nice clean one, I poured the new oil into the car. The MINI needs less than 5 quarts of oil to be full. And once I was done, I poured the old oil into the now empty oil container. And only two quarts came out of the pan. I am now seriously concerned.

Skipping the fact that I should have been checking my oil much more frequently, these three quarts managed to disappear. If I was burning oil, I would think I would have smelled it, especially with the amount of oil we are talking about. If the MINI was leaking oil, I think there would be a puddle in my garage, since I always park there. I guess I could have forgotten to put oil into the car last time, but that doesn’t seem very like me. There is also the possibility that it is the MINI dealership’s fault, but I have no idea how.

The car is old, and I fear that I may have to buy a new car. I definitely have to shift to oil for high mileage cars. And I don’t know why I just thought of this now, but I should name my car “MINI the moocher.”

Someone may have moved the ends on me.