Archive for February, 2009

Double Puntendre

February 13, 2009

Yes, of late I have been paying Friday homage to Mrs. B. and her slumbering “Column Inch“.

No, I will NOT count this as an homage.  Mostly because I suspect that it won’t be received well.  But it’s mine.  And I had fun coming up with it.  And, therefore, wanted to share.

But, consider yourself forewarned.  If you do not like random grammarama or poor punnage, stop reading now.

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“Hello, transom!”, Constance faux pas’d nervously as Nick dropped through the skylight.  She had not defenestrated in over a month and suspected herself expectant.

Nick pondered the mullioned possible reasons for the gravid demeanor of Constance.  Staring Constance in the eyes, the windows of the soul, he guessed his first inclination true.  “Gestate the obvious,” Nick hissed.

“It panes me,” whispered Constance, “to tell you your dormer mate (who was delightfully double hung) recently palladian with my heart and body…. and I now find myself fecund to none.”

Nick, had every right to show his jalousie, but could not picture himself without her.  He surprisingly said, “Awning to the fact you are my wife, I forgive you.”

Rusty Nails

February 10, 2009

…no, not the over-oxidized metallic fastener of wood products.

A Rusty Nail is a drink.  A drink requiring an acquired taste.  But if you have that acquired taste, it is delicious.

rastynailll

As an imbiber of Scotch whisky, the recipe for this concoction is pretty good – – ½ Scotch and ½ Drambuie*.  And the Drambuie?  It is a liqueur…made from Scotch!  So, Scotch, plus Scotch.  Yum!  And, just as it is a tasty drink, it is a kick-ass drink as well.  The liqueur softens the bite of straight Scotch, so it drinks smoothly… so you tend to drink more.

This drink, along with my friend mentioned last post, Dr. J., has led to a legend of urban myth proportions in my life.  There are two sides to the story – mine and Dr. J.

Back when I first met Dr. J., I was a junior management guy on the rise.  Dr. J. was my immediate boss, as well as a newfound friend.  We had occasion to leave The Wilds on a business trip out to California (State Motto:  “You Don’t Know Me…I Do What I Want!”).  We arrived in time to check into our hotel and wander down to the bar to relax a bit before the next day’s meetings.  Having been recently introduced to Rusty Nails by my enabling brother, I thought I would order a couple.

Here’s my version of the events following –

–          After some good conversation with Dr. J and the third Rusty Nail in two hours, I was mildly buzzed and chose to call it an evening.  I needed sleep before the meetings the next day.  I woke up around 3 am in the too-damn-early morning with a flu virus and spent the next couple hours hugging the toilet and donating the remains of the prior night’s dinner.  The next morning, our group drove over to a local pancake house, my travel mates commented on the lovely shade of green that my face had turned.  Excusing myself, I wandered out to the car and collapsed in the back seat, feeling dizzy and sick to my stomach.  Dr. J. ended up having to take me back to the hotel as I was too sick to be effective in the meetings.  I knew it was a flu bug and not a hangover because it stayed with me for the next three days, leaving me weakened by dizziness and nausea.  Nevertheless, as a young management guy, I was mortified that this flu bug prevented me from supporting the team.

Now, Dr. J.’s version of the events –

–          During the good conversation with me, GnuKid consumes his sixth Rusty Nail in a bit less than an hour and a half.  Somewhere through that last drink, GnuKid starts to flirt with the lady at the next table, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she is already with a gentleman.  Worse, I can’t prove it, but pretty likely that said female is a…umm…professional…a lady of the evening.  A bit later, GnuKid mumbled something and stumbled off to his hotel room.  When GnuKid showed up at the car the next morning to go to breakfast, it was apparent that he was still a bit trashed from the night before.  Enough so that actually seemed “green around the gills”.  Failing at staring down a stack of pancakes oozily dripping with syrup, GnuKid bolts to the door and hibernates in the back seat of the car.  Before we even go to the official meeting where we spent official dollars flying his now officially drunken ass out to California, it becomes apparent he’s in no condition to be other than a liability at the meeting, so I had to take him back to the hotel to sleep it off.  Only through my outstanding negotiation skills was I able to convince our boss that GnuKid deserves another chance to prove he can support the program.  GnuKid then proceeds to ‘pretend’ to have the flu for the next three days to cover up the fact he screwed up.

Sheesh… such outright fabrication of perfectly explainable events by Dr. J.

And I thought he was my friend… <smirk>

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*Some drink-tenders, if they think you’re showing signs of rickets or other nutritional void, will add a twist of lemon.  No, thanks… I prefer my Scotch untainted by healthy additives.

Dr. J.

February 9, 2009

No, not Julius Erving of pro basketball fame.   This Dr. J. is 5’ 8” and 200 pounds.

I wanted to introduce him to you as he will be a key reference in a couple of upcoming posts.  Dr. J. is one of those friends who you can lose track of for a year and, when you get back together on the phone or in person, it’s as if no time has passed at all.   I met him when he was my newly assigned immediate boss back in the olden days when I was a wet-behind-the-ears junior management guy.   We hit it off as friends right away.

Now, the “Doctor” of the Dr. J. is well earned.   He got a Ph.D. in Chemistry from some well respected university*.  Then, after about 8 years working various places as a chemist, he up and decided that chemistry was boring and he wanted new adventures.  Thus the switch to management.   I was amazed he took such a major step in that transition and continue to be so.  Dr. J. rose through management hierarchy in my business and was the Vice President of one division, as well as running (at separate times) both the management and engineering branches of major divisions.  A smart guy.

As I struggled with my life and what to do about my failing marriage, Dr. J. was there as a mentor and guide (having been through one himself a few years prior to me first talking through my issues).  His sense of humor, coupled with his brute honesty as he pointed out errors – or the occasional accurate insight – in my thinking, was a critical to me maintaining my sanity (forgive the exaggeration) as I worked through all the devious twists and turns .  We still keep in touch, though not as much since he has retired and lives quite a few states away.  His sense of humor is sharp as always and cuts to the heart of issues we talk through.

Here’s hoping all of you have friends such as Dr. J.

More on him in future posts…

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*Well, that is if you consider the University of Kentucky “respected”.  [smirk]

CI Homage Again

February 5, 2009

“The potato salad should be fine,” said Constance with a toxic twinkle in her eye.  “It’s only been out a few days.”

A fly on her plate died, screaming, beneath the ensuing avalanche of starchy wonder.

Always a connoisseur of the delicacies of the British countryside, Otto slurred lethargically, “I’ll stick with that Cornish Game Toad today.”

Meanwhile, neither of them heard the mysterious chortle wafting aromatically from the kitchen…

The Big Lug

February 4, 2009

I smell like dog.

When I was growing up, my family always had cats as pets.  And, just out of habit, I continued to have cats as pets.

Well, that’s not counting two random (and very short-lived) dogs.   One was a Spaniel (Springer or Brittany…not sure) that my parents got soon before I was born – George.

I have no memory of George, other than stories shared with me by my Mom and some pictures and a grainy 8mm movies (yes, they did have movie cameras back in those days… sheesh).

George was (per Mom) a goofy puppy who would retrieve anything… adding a cupful or two of his patented drool to the returned item.  Supposedly, if you picked a fuzzball off of your sweater and threw it to the floor, he would retrieve that and proudly present it to you in it’s barely recognizable and drenched condition.

George became my babysitter.   As I learned to walk, he was my Lassie who would narc me out for any little bit of adventure I would get into… which, according to my Mom, was every day and several times a day.  If George showed up at my mother’s side, without me nearby, and expressed the slightest anxiety, Mom would know to go and rescue me – – “GnuKid’s throwing rocks at a bee’s nest”…”GnuKid’s eating the neighbors jalapenos”…”GnuKid’s building an atomic pile with unstable uranium”… I guess he saved my life a few times in there*.

Unfortunately, before I turned two, George was stricken with heart worms and had to be put down.  Being so young, I can’t say I really remember him at all.

The reason I mention all this is that I’ve had the chance to doggie sit a bit for a friend’s dog.  Actually, just visiting at lunch to make sure he has a chance to go outside to pee and to give him a little human companionship.  Being that it’s damn cold outside here in The Wilds of Ohio, I quickly let him out to do his business, then proceded to wrassle him.  Playing keep away with a chew toy, trying to catch him as he ran around the living room.  I could almost see him smile as we did so**.  Finally, he…okay, I…collapsed from exhaustion and lay down on the floor.  He lay down beside me, seemingly content that the game was over.

Then he put his head on my lap and fell asleep.

Magical.

What a warm, wonderful, wanted, comfortable feeling that was.   I wasn’t his master, but he accepted me as a friend and snuggled in.

A cat man for life?  Maybe not anymore…***

I smell like dog.  And I don’t care.  I am hooked.

The Big Lug…

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*And, I guess, one of those three actually happened.  Must be why I like jalapenos so much to this day.

**Yeah… I admit I was smiling too…

***No, I’m not ready to get a pet of any sort right now.  I’m still learning to live alone…and need to do that without accepting the responsibility of another life, cat or dog.  But would now consider a dog, just based on my experience with this Big Lug.

Divorce Fallout

February 3, 2009

I’m a bit worried.

When I first told the Girl and Boy Child that I was leaving their mom, I got reactions that I mostly expected.  The Girl Child was not surprised, but very upset nonetheless.  The Boy Child was not surprised and readily accepted the news.

In the ensuing months, The Boy has taken a caretaker role, always asking in phone calls, “Are you okay?  How are you doing with this?”  Girl Child, though, has continued to struggle, though doing a valiant effort of supporting both of her parents.

I can’t speak for what is said between her and her mother*, but I cannot help but feel Daughter Person has words still left unsaid and emotions still unexpressed.  I have no real choice but to be patient.  I cannot, nor should not, press her to talk before she’s ready.  To be sure, I must…and do often…make myself available to her in case she wants to talk.

Where I see it most is when I talk with her about things I’m doing to get on with my life, even though the divorce is not yet final.  Now, I’m not talking about dating other women.  Given her reaction, which I’ll talk to in a moment, I doubt that will come up for some time.  No, I’m just talking about setting out on trying new things, new adventures…or going to a bar with friends…or getting help in setting up my condo.

The key to all those discussions?  Each will often—certainly not always—involve talking about a “non-Mom” woman.  I happen to have women as friends…yes, along with men, too.  And the mention of any woman—even without a name or the nano-hint of an emotional connection to them—creates a visual visceral reaction in Daughter Person.  She tenses up ever so slightly (or, on occasion, more than slightly).  She gets quiet (which is NOT like her).  She changes the subject.

And it doesn’t seem to matter if the topic is innocent or not…

–     Being designated driver to my good friend DK at the Masquerage?  <daughter cringes>

–     Mention I went to a bar with some guy friends?  <daughter nods nonchalantly>

–     Talking about how some of the furniture in the condo is borrowed from theater friends (a couple of whom happen to be female)?   <daughter winces>

–    Say I went flying with some pilot friends who are male?  <no reaction other than, “Cool”>

–    Mentioning that I took a group dance lesson, but two female friends happened to be there too?  <slight recoil>

<caring sigh>

She will get to the point she can talk with me directly.  I just hope it is sooner than later.  And I’m positive that she has friends that she is already sharing with and leaning on.

But, I still worry, as I guess any parent will do.

And, still, she will have to get over it.  I intend to date when the divorce is final.  Often.  In exuberance.

But will always do so with concern for her.

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*And purposely so.  I do not intend to create any ideas that I’m trying to manipulate her relationship with her mother.  Either by trash talk or enlisting her as a spy or anything…

.

The Wild Blue Virtually

February 2, 2009

Sometimes it’s who you are.  Sometimes it’s who you know.  Sometimes it’s who you… well, anyway…

In my case, it was the middle one.

As mentioned in last post, I occasionally enjoy multiple a beer with my usual crowd of fellow drunkards friends who enjoy a rare libation.  At one such recent soiree, a guest* was in attendance who happened to have business connections with the local Air National Guard.  When he heard that I was a pilot, he asked if I’d be interested in a little time in the local Guard’s flight simulator for the F-16.  Resisting the urge to kiss the man (I barely know him), I agreed wholeheartedly, though expecting it was one of those many drunken promises that would soon be forgotten.

But, remember and deliver he did.  This past week I had the privilege to spend an hour at the controls in a real F-16 cockpit flying through a virtual world.

It.  Was.  Awesome.

I was ushered into the simulator by the sim tech** and given a brief overview of what to expect.

The door closed behind me and, a few switch clicks later, my surroundings lit up as if I was actually in the aircraft on the airport runway.

Applying throttle, I rolled down the runway and was soon airborne…without crashing yet!  Yay!  I had to learn the sensitivity of the aircraft, just as you do with any new plane you fly.  Learning to keep the nose fairly straight to the runway I just departed, I was finally able to start looking around my virtual world.  Okay, not the highest resolution, but I could recognize roads and airports.

Now, flying the planes I usually do (gerbil powered with a speedometer measured in furlongs per fortnight), it takes about 15 minutes to get to our great fair city’s international airport*** from the simulated airport I just departed.

Flying the sim?  I was there and past it in a few minutes.  Barely enough time to recognize it for what it was… and that wasn’t at full speed.

Then I started seeing if I could actually fly this sucker.

Now, there are some simulators that have full motion, meaning it will bounce you around and turn as you turn.  Not so this one.  Six screens surrounded me with virtual pictures scrolling past.  Since it was not a full motion simulator, I thought there’d be no feeling of motion when I started doing turns.  Uh-uh… the thing was being over-feisty to my control inputs, the screen matching my control commands.  Very soon I felt my simulated airsickness growing to reality.  But, I was able to keep my composure and, as I learned to not over-control the aircraft, found I could turn and loop without ill effects.

With the simulator, you can simulate permanently full tanks, so I played by turning on the afterburner…basically putting the aircraft’s engine into turbo overdrive.  And watched in amazement as the fuel use gauge raced quickly up to a put-your-SUV-to-shame guzzling 24 000 pounds of jet-A fuel per hour.  To put it into context of the planes I fly?  The plane I usually fly has fuel tanks that would go from full to bone dry in about a minute and 15 seconds at that same fuel rate.****

One of things I soon found I enjoyed doing was rolling inverted and flying upside down over an airport.  Looking ‘up’ (down) to watch it slide by my virtual canopy was a thing of beauty to me.

No, I didn’t get the chance to shoot anything down… boo.

Finally worked myself up to chancing a landing and surprised the sim tech by actually landing a simulated F-16 on my first attempt (with his guidance on how best to do so)!  Then I proceeded to satisfy the sim tech’s expectation by ‘crashing’ the next 5 times on landing attempts.  Nailing (i.e., not crashing) one more landing, I decided to call it quits, having worked myself into adrenaline exhaustion.

I left the simulator with a renewed awe of the pilots who fly the real F-16.  Bless them all.

And, on leaving, I was very surprised to find that an hour had slid by in what seemed only a short 10 minutes.

And, yet, ready for more…

virtual pilot in a virtual world
virtual pilot in a virtual world

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*We welcome guests to our weekly galas.  Though, after seeing our debauchery, few rarely wish to return.

**No, the technician is not simulated.  He’s real.  And a whiz at running the virtual controls.

*** Said a bit tongue-in-cheek.  One flight every 10 days or so to and from our beloved Canadia to the nort’ makes this officially an “international” airport.

****Good thing my little prop plane has no afterburner… for lots of reasons.