Archive for October, 2005

Shiny Punkin!

October 31, 2005

Here’s one for you Jayne fans, posted by a team member on the Browncoats bulletin board.


Costumes ‘R’ Us

October 31, 2005

Most of our staff is female. (Quick! Somebody call the EEOC!) One of our few male staffers is a big beefy young man whose job description is lifter of heavy objects. (That’s ordering, shipping and receiving, for you flatlanders.)

Two years ago on Halloween he came dressed as the boss, complete with a wig made of cotton balls (the boss has gray hair).

Today, he is (by his own report) a trailer-trash mother-in-law.

He’s wearing a muu-muu, a wig with pink plastic curlers in it, a pair of gargantuan fake boobs, knee-high nylons (they only come up to his ankles) and pink fluffy slippers. He even painted his fingernails.

I can only think, a guy who comes to work dressed like that could have no doubts about his own masculinity….

The rest of the staff? My department is all in civilian clothes, and elsewhere we have the usual assortment of witches, clowns, terrorists and showgirls.

Just your average Halloween here at the Funny Farm.


October 27, 2005

Since it’s getting to be that time of year….

No, I do not remember whether this was actually a Halloween prank. It happened more than 40 years ago and I really cannot remember back that far. And I wasn’t one of the perps; I was too young. My big sisters pulled it.

It was the early 60’s and a bunch of beatniks lived next door. There was Ann, the pregnant former high school cheerleader, Larry (whom we always called Herman, for some reason) who was Ann’s brand-new shotgun husband, and a teenager named Bart. There were others, but I don’t remember them.

A well-known 60’s folk music icon used to hang around over there. (I’m not going to mention her name because if she read this, she would finally know who pulled that prank on her.) Rumor had it she had the hots for Bart, but again I don’t know; I was only a kid.

The folk singer was already famous, and I used to try to impress my friends at elementary school by saying I knew her. I probably spoke to her more than once; we kids were always hanging out over there, bothering the very patient and very friendly beatniks, trying to catch tadpoles in the backyard stagnant swimming pool, and she used to always wave at us as she drove by in her Jaguar, while we were playing two-square in the street. (Two-square is what you get when you want to play four-square but there aren’t enough people.)

One night, the gang next door was having a big noisy party. The Jaguar was parked on the street, unlocked, with the singer’s guitar in it.

Like many 60’s teenagers, my oldest sister also had a guitar.

So my two sisters sneaked over next door, opened the Jag’s door, slammed it, then went running yelling down the street waving my sister’s guitar in the air.

Great mayhem ensued. My sisters, of course, knew all the neighborhood hidey-holes and kept themselves hidden, stifling their giggles, while searchers with flashlights swarmed the neighborhood.

Somebody finally thought to actually look in the Jag… where the singer’s guitar lay unmolested.

Ah, the memories.


October 26, 2005

When I was buying my train ticket to Chicago, I asked the ticket agent which wall I should run through to get to the Hogwarts train.

He cracked up, pointed to his right, and said, “Right around that corner!” I wonder how often he gets that question.

On a treadmill at the gym, I eyed the guy next to me. I thought he was kind of cute. But that only lasted until he pulled his T-shirt up over his nose and honked into it. Eeeeewwwwwwwwwww!

While waiting at baggage claim to collect my luggage and go home, a group of uniformed young military members gathered nearby. I walked over, poked my head into their group, and said, “Thank you all for your service.”

A youngster who didn’t look old enough to drive yet said, “Thank you, ma’am. It’s an honor.”

The honor is mine. Stay safe out there, guys and gals.

She’s Baaaaaaaack…..

October 24, 2005

… and she’s completely fried, so she’s going straight to bed.

If anyone feels an urgent need to ring my phone today, I will have to phart in their general direction. That is a promise, not a threat.


October 22, 2005

Until yesterday, the closest I had been to Chicago was changing planes at O’Hare Airport.

Yesterday morning Kerry’s sister’s boyfriend Bill picked us up bright and early and dropped us off at the downtown Milwaukee Amtrak station. 20 bucks (one way) and an hour and a half later, we were at Union Station in Chicago. We took a bus over to the Science and Industry Museum.

The very best exhibit? The U-505 submarine. We could have spent the entire day in that one exhibit alone.

In short… the Nazi submarine was captured by the U.S. Navy in 1944. Its capture was kept a secret; the Germans never knew until after the war was over that we had it. Its capture provided a great wealth of intelligence (including an intact Enigma machine) that some say shortened the war in Europe by up to 6 months.

The sub sat outside at the museum for nearly 50 years. More recently, it was moved to its present location and the building more or less built around it. Visitors can walk all the way around it, and in some places reach out and touch the hull. For an extra $5 in addition to museum admission, you can take a guided tour of the interior.

The exhibit also includes a great deal of historical information, as well as sections about periscopes, torpedoes, buoyancy, how submarines work, and in general far too much to see in a brief visit.

The second most interesting exhibit was the space room. They have the actual Apollo 8 command module, and a lunar lander mock-up/trainer. Somehow I had pictured the lunar lander as being smaller than it was.

After the museum, we took another bus back downtown and went up the Sears Tower. The skydeck is not open to the outdoors, and even though it’s a few stories higher and the views are magnificent, we thought the Empire State Building (whose observation desk is outside, and which we visited in 2003) was a much more interesting experience. Before you get in the elevator, you see a short movie. Some idiot had a caterwauling toddler in the room. Who on earth takes a tired, cranky, screaming toddler to a place like that? What’s up with that?

We had originally thought to take the 8 p.m. train back to Milwaukee, but it was 5 o’clock and we decided to see what other trains there might be. We got lucky. The only other train was at 5:08, and it was slightly delayed, so we were able to get on. But this meant we didn’t get a chance to eat dinner until we got back to Milwaukee. Bill picked us up and we met Kerry’s sister at a restaurant for dinner, and had a nice visit.

Traveling by train was interesting. There was NO security check whatsoever before boarding, and they only start taking tickets when the journey is well underway. Now, this was a fairly short-haul ride, but just anybody could have gotten on the train. I suppose no one thinks a terrorist would have any interest in blowing up the Hiawatha. The seats were like airplane seats, only a little wider, and no seat belts. They even had an AC outlet in every row so you can plug in your laptop. Two girls across the aisle were both watching DVDs on their laptops, with headphones.

Kerry has been sick half the week with a cold. She was much better yesterday so we had a nice day, but today she’s sicker again. And her niece’s birthday party is this afternoon. We’re going to put in as brief an appearance as we politically can, and then send her back to bed where she belongs.

We had planned to go skating, but with her this sick, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

And Monday morning I’ll be on a plane, headed back home. This vacation has really flown by quickly. Don’t they always?


October 20, 2005

Which science fiction/fantasy character are you?


A venerated sage with vast power and knowledge, you gently guide forces
around you while serving as a champion of the light.

Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not – for my ally is
the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life greets it, makes it grow. Its
energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminescent beings are we, not this
crude matter! You must feel the Force around you, everywhere.

(Hat tip: Twisted Chris)

Just a point of curiosity. How can I be both Yoda and Simon Tam? Any thoughts?

New E-mail Address

October 18, 2005

Mailblocks is discontinuing their service, the rotten doodies, so I am switching all my online business e-mail back to my old Yahoo account. So if you simply must tell me something and you don’t want to put it in my comments, go ahead and talk to me at crankybeach at yahoo dot com. (Those of you who know my top-secret “real” e-mail address, that is still good, so keep using it if you have it.) That is all.

Kerry’s Mom Is So Cute

October 18, 2005

Her name is Nan. She just had her 77th birthday, she’s overweight and in poor health, and went through a horrendous last few years with a knee replacement gone bad (massive systemic infection) so it finally had to be taken out and the joint fused. But she’s back home, gets around the main floor of the house pretty well with her walker (albeit rather slowly) and she’s cheerful. This morning she’s off to her other daughter’s to stay there for the rest of the week. As she was making her painful way down the half flight of steps to the back door, Kerry asked her if her leg hurt this morning. “Just a little–oh, look at those pumpkins. Aren’t they cute? I’m okay, darling.”

We were going to take her to see Serenity on Saturday, because the theater where it’s playing is wheelchair accessible, but she declined to go, thinking she would be too much trouble for us. (Yes, it is a hassle to take her anywhere, between the wheelchair and the walker, but she so enjoys getting out, it’s worth it.) She won that fight, sad to say, because Friday night we played the pilot episode of Firefly for her and she loved it. This morning she wistfully asked Kerry if she can see it when it comes out on DVD. We offered again to take her to the theater, but she said no.

So tonight Kerry and I are going to see Serenity again with Kerry’s friend Cherri, who hasn’t seen it and never saw Firefly either, so it should be interesting. Yesterday we went to the gym and worked out, and today we’re nice and sore. One of these days we’re going ice skating, because I can’t haul my skates all the way to Wisconsin and then not use them. Friday we’re going to ride the train down to Chicago and visit the Science and Industry Museum. If the weather is nice, we may also take in the Navy Pier and the Sears Tower (which is about 2 blocks from the train station).

Speaking of weather, we are having absolutely beautiful end-of-fall days. The temp has been up into the high 60’s, and is forecasted to be similar at least through Friday or so. But just before I came out here, they had one hard freeze–so I packed for winter. Go figure. At least Kerry and I are about the same size, so if I need to borrow short-sleeved shirts, I can raid her wardrobe. Yesterday morning it poured rain for a little while, but then the sun came out and it was T-shirt weather again.

So… that’s the vacation so far. Other than a few little things like trips to the store (and taking Nan to lunch after her doctor’s appointment yesterday, since she was up and out of the house already) we have sat around on our backsides a lot, which in my book is the perfect vacation!

Y’all behave yourselves while I’m gone, you hear?

I’m Out Of Here

October 13, 2005

Just about 12 hours from now I will be on a plane headed for Wisconsin. Going to visit Kerry for 10 days. A blissful 10 days away from the office, and not a moment too soon. That would be the office that I’m not supposed to blog about….

I’ll be able to get online from there; Milwaukee is not exactly the wilderness. But I don’t know how much blogging I will get around to doing. Eclectra, if you feel like jumping in, feel free.

I already checked and the theater closest to Kerry’s house that’s playing Serenity is wheelchair-accessible, so we’re going to take her mother to see it on Saturday. As soon as we told Nan there were cute boys in the movie she was game to go.

Back to the packing frenzy….