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I Have To Do Better in 2018

Posted on Monday, January 1st, 2018

Dave!I never get mad at my cats.

It doesn't matter what they do that's "bad," I can never bring myself to get upset at a cat for being a cat. My cats make that pretty easy. They're well-behaved, for the most part, and don't get into to much trouble. Now that they're grown, they never scratch at the furniture or pee on stuff or anything like that (so far, anyway)...

Sony 90mm MACRO

On occasion there are problems. One of them will get to a place they're not supposed to be and break something, for example. But... how can that be their fault? More likely my fault for not anticipating the problem and preventing it. If I'm mad at anybody, it should be me.

It occurred to me a while back that if I can't get mad at my cats, shouldn't I be able to translate that passivity to people?

The Trump presidency has caused a lot of anger in me this past year. His dangerous ignorance, utter stupidity, and inhuman ability to not give a crap about people he is supposed to be representing as president... it grates on me like nothing else ever has. I find myself consumed with rage on a near-daily basis because every day it's just more of the same horrendous shit raining down on the world from The White House. Or, more likely, whatever golf course President Trump is occupying this week.

As somebody who honestly believes that anger is more destructive on the person who has it rather than those it's directed at, I know this it not healthy. Not for me. Not for the people I care about. Not for my cats.

And so, after completely unplugging from the world for two weeks in Antarctica and becoming accustomed to not being angry every waking moment, I made myself a promise to try and be more pragmatic, caring, and less angry in the new year. To attempt to let my anger go and focus on positive things so that I can help be a solution instead of being part of the static that divides us.

And then... just as I was making my mind up, it happens. A tweet President Trump unleashed finds its way into my news cycle...

Trump Idiocy in Action: In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!

And see... here is why my "letting go" of my anger is so tough. When it comes to my new commitment to setting aside hatred, I've already failed the test. Because stupid-ass shit like this just reinforces how utterly brain-dead and dangerous this fucking asshole actually is for this country and the world, and I can't help but be angry about that.

He has no clue... none... what climate change entails, nor does he care. And yet he speaks as if he's an authority on the matter. This is the same idiot who thought that hairspray quality today isn't as good as it used to be because ozone-depleting CFCs have been banned from aerosols... the same CFCs that he said could never affect the ozone layer because his apartment is "all sealed."

You can't make this shit up.

And yet... here we are. And here I am. Right back to where I was in 2017.

There's more stupid-ass tweets to come, I'm sure. There always are. And that's not even the start of it. I'm sure he'll find a way to keep assaulting all the Americans he loathes in short order... the non-Christian Americans, the unhealthy Americans, the Mexican Americans, the gay Americans, the poor Americans... whatever... the list is never-ending. And that doesn't even touch crap like his assault on net-neutrality, something that I am beyond passionate about.

And so... what?

What to do with the torrents of overwhelming Trump-initiated anger that very nearly destroyed me in 2017?

I honestly don't know. I wish I could argue against his fucked-up agenda without getting so enraged about it, but that's something I'm apparently incapable of doing. President Trump is an affront to everything I care about.

And yet I have to try.

I have to do better in 2018.

I could never ignore what's going on in the world in order to make myself be happier. Ignorance just allows ignorance to propagate. But the same could be said for hate.

And so... a plan.

  1. I will try my best to accept the negative for what it is rather than what I make it into.
  2. I will educate myself on the negative in order to better understand it from an objective viewpoint rather than an emotional one.
  3. I will act upon the negative in a positive manner from a positive mindset in the hopes of bringing about positive change in myself and others.
  4. I will attempt to detach myself from the negative (Buddhist-style) in order to accomplish all of the above.

Easier said than done to be sure. But, as I said, I'm going to try. Finding more positive inspirations in my life that encourage me to make the jump will probably help...

And here we go...

   

Dieting and Mondays

Posted on Monday, January 8th, 2018

Dave!Jake needs to lose four pounds.

Which is not easy because he will eat every bit of food that I put out as soon as he can get it. Jenny prefers to graze over time, which means the minute she steps away Jake will pounce on her food immediately.

I've gotten a little more proactive in taking food away and putting out smaller and smaller amounts that I can ration so Jake isn't devouring food meant for Jenny.

Jake is not taking his diet well.

Tonight I caught him eating from a bag of dry food I was foolish enough to leave on the kitchen counter. He knows exactly what it is... and apparently knows how to open a sealable bag as well...

Jake with his head in a bag of cat food.

I yelled for him to get down, which he did.

Not five minutes later, Jenny hopped on the counter to see if she could get away with snagging a bite or two...

Jenny decides she wants food.

I yelled at her before she could manage it, and she won't look at me now. Even once I called her to come up to bed, she refuses to look me in the eye. Which means I've been getting snubbed and side-eyed all night...

Jenny giving me side-eye all night.

Jenny giving me side-eye all night.

   
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

If I am killed in my sleep, check for claw marks.

   
UPDATE: I've been asked how much food they get. Jake and Jenny get three tablespoons of dry food and a tablespoon of wet food twice a day (each). Jenny doesn't know what to do about wet food. She ate it as a kitten, but now she just licks it. Jake will then walk over and polish off her gravy-free wet food before tackling his dry food. So, essentially, Jenny is eating less than a half cup a day while Jake is eating over half cup a day, when it really should be reversed...

Jake eating Jenny's wet food.

I bought some expensive stainless steel bowls that spread the food out while keeping it centered so that they avoid "whisker fatigue"... but my cats don't seem to care, so I still use bowls for their wet food. As they wear out (or break) I've been replacing them with shallower bowls in the hopes that the cats find them easier to eat from.

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Furry Butts and Dishwashers

Posted on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Dave!Between the weather and my work schedule there's nothing much else going on in my life.

Except for the cats, of course...


Catastrophe!

Catastrophe!

Catastrophe!

Catastrophe!

   
Turns out I didn't close the pots and pan cupboard, so Jake and Jenny were climbing all over in there. This is great, because I was dying to wash six loads of metal in the dishwasher, and now's my chance!

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Haircuts and Ryan Reynolds

Posted on Friday, January 26th, 2018

Dave!"You're only as good as your last haircut."
—Fran Lebowitz

Growing up, I never had to pay for haircuts. Or rather, my parents never had to pay for haircuts. My grandpa was a barber, and he liked me enough that haircuts were no charge...

My grandpa the barber.

My grandpa the barber.

   
After my grandpa retired, he still cut my and my brother's hair. He had a barber chair and all his tools in his basement and, since there's few things better than a free haircut, he was forced to come out of retirement every other month.

Eventually, cutting hair was too difficult for my grandfather's eyes and I had to venture out into unknown territory... paying for haircuts. Not that I ended up getting many haircuts at that point...

Dave with Long Hair

For most of my life I ended up paying for haircuts until the day came that I desperately needed a haircut but couldn't afford one. I had bought some hair clippers ages ago, but never had the guts to use them... until I had to. And it wasn't no Flowbee like I dreamed of owning either...

Dave Photoshopped to be using a Flowbee hair cutter.

No, it was real, honest-to-goodness Whal brand clippers.

And my cut didn't turn out that bad...

Dave Buzz Cut!

The problem with cutting my own hair is that I don't cut it often enough. I wait until it's so long that it's not at all easy to cut.

Such was the case today.

I hadn't washed my hair since Wednesday because it's always easier to cut when it has some stank in it (which meant my Boston Red Sox cap was my best friend for the past couple days). But no amount of stank will give me a flawless cut because no matter how many times I run the clippers over my head, I always miss spots. Which is why I cut my hair on a Friday. That way I have a weekend where I can re-cut and re-re-cut before people have to see me again on Monday.

Hopefully by then all the missed spots get cut.

Interesting to note the similar images that popped up when using Google to find the blog entry where I cut my hair. It's a who's who of Dave doppelgängers...

My grandpa the barber.

Yeah yeah yeah... but let's take a closer look at result No. 50...

=faints=

Google image search thinks I look like Ryan Reynolds!

My grandpa the barber.

Yes, I had to suffer 48 photos of Google thinking I look like Captain Cold from The Flash, Jason Statham, Arsenal from Arrow, Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, Captain America, Paul Walker, Shemar Moore, Justin Timberlake, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Zac Efron to get to Ryan Reynolds... but I totes look like Ryan Reynolds! My hetero man-crush for decades! (so much so that Jake my cat's full name is "Jacob Ryan Reynolds Simmer).

Just when you think Friday can't get any better!

Time for a shower. I'm done with my stank head.

   

State of the Reunion

Posted on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Dave!Everybody: "Did you watch the State of the Union address?"

Me: "Fuck, no."

In an effort to remain more positive in 2018 than I was in 2017, I have made a huge effort to avoid things that will send me into fits of absolute rage.

Which is also why I am no longer accepting babysitting jobs. So please don't ask me.

   

Farewell to Winter

Posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Dave!This evening it snowed a little bit, but that quickly turned to rain and everything melted away.

It's the first day of February, and it's feeling very much like late March. Possibly even April. Which okay, I suppose... but we sure didn't get much winter this season. So now it's time to start worrying about drought for this coming Summer.

Turns out that if you live in my neck of the woods and want to build a snowman, your time is running out...

Snow Time is Over

Note that the only reason my yard has this much snow on it is that Mr. Plow deposited everything from the driveways onto it (and took a chunk out of my lawn again).

Guess it's a good thing that my snowman-making days are behind me...

Young Dave Builds a Snowman

   
The good news to come out of all this? Pretty soon I'll be able to park my car outside and turn my garage into a wood shop again.

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Caturday 52

Posted on Saturday, February 17th, 2018

Dave!When I bought a house, I truly was not prepared for how much work it would be. My HOA fees cover the yard care and the snow removal... what else is there?

Turns out there's a lot.

Tons of little tasks that add up and overwhelm you day after day. For the longest time I just ignored them until forced to deal with them, but then I started writing all the little things down on a "Daily Chores List" and tackle a new task every day. Sometimes it's something quick and easy... like washing the bathroom mirrors. Other times it's something more involved like fixing the toilet handle or replacing the washers in my kitchen faucet.

Today's chore was three-and-a-half hours of cleaning out my toolbox and organizing my screws/nails/fasteners/etc. storage chests.

It would have probably gone faster, except I had "help" from my cats...

Cat Help!

Cat Help!

Cat Help!

They simply would not stop "helping." They'd climb in any open box or bag. They'd root through every container and bag of garbage. Half my time was spent wrangling cats.

Jake and Jenny just loooooove to "help." Like when they "helped" with my taxes...

Cat Help!

And, of course, they were right there to "help" when I was cleaning out my dresser and end-table...

Cat Help!

When a new order of food and toys arrives from Chewy, the only "help" they're interested in is composting the packing paper...

Cat Help!

Cat Help!

   
I suppose I should be grateful that I have such kind-hearted and helpful cats?

Probably.

   

Receiver Deceiver

Posted on Monday, February 19th, 2018

Dave!After I finished mopping all my floors as my Chore-of-the-Day, I decided to get to work and turned on my television for some background noise. Then, once again, I got a "Cannot Communicate with the Satellite Dish" message. I assumed it was the cable to my DVR that was dying, because I can usually wiggle it and get things working again. But not today.

And so... I had to postpone work and go buy a new cable.

That was the easy part. The hard part was replacing the cable because I have all my cords wrapped up, and replacing one of them means having to unravel others too...

Jenny the Cat

Since I was already having to wade through all my cables, I decided to just disconnect everything and start over. I've made several changes since I first organized everything, and the mess has gotten a bit out of control. Also... I wanted to relocate my stereo receiver because the cats like to lay on it for warmth, and I worry it's not getting enough ventilation and might blow out...

Jenny Sleeps on the Stereo Receiver

Jake the Cat

   
Unfortunately this is a much bigger project than it may first appear. The IKEA media center I have is a really poor design because the shelves don't have enough space to fit my receiver. I decided to modify the unit by taking out the middle drawer, building a shelf there, cutting out the back so I can run cables, then moving the center shelf up an inch-and-a-half...

   

IKEA STUFF!

While I was at it, I decided to see if moving my router off the top would interfere with the WiFi signal. Turns out it did not, so I decided to move it along with the receiver. This is nice, because now all I have on top of my media center is the center channel speaker and Alexa. Much cleaner, and my living room looks less cluttered.

Once the noise from drilling and sawing was done and the cats came out of hiding, I was surprised at how quickly Jake noticed that his favorite sleeping spot had vanished...

New Media Center IKEA Hack

When Jenny finally noticed, she was not happy. Not happy at all...

New Media Center IKEA Hack

The cats then tried to find a new "favorite sleeping spot," but nothing seemed to make them happy...

Cats on Couch Back

   
And now I realize that I should have waited a day to do all this since tomorrow is their visit to the vet, and that's going to be traumatic enough without them losing their stereo receiver napping spot.

Probably more traumatic for me than for them. Which is why I've been dreading tomorrow all year.

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The Pergola Predicament

Posted on Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Dave!My addiction to home renovation shows has reached critical mass. My list of woodworking projects I want to do has gotten so long now that I would have to retire if I even wanted to make a dent in it.

Right now I'm excited for Spring to come so I can turn my garage into a woodworking shop again and get started on two (well, actually three) projects...

  1. Custom Picture Frames. I am building a wall collage in my stairwell of family and friends photos. I'm to the point where there are no frames I can buy to fit in the places I need to fill, so I need custom frames to make it work. Alas, they are SO expensive, so I bought a router table and am going to make my own. It's so much easier than I thought it would be. I also have some prints that I'd love to display, but could never find frames to fit. Now I can make my own.
  2. Remodel My Laundry Room. I want some narrow shelving that will be easy to build, but the main thing I want to do is build new cabinet doors as practice for...
  3. Remodel My Kitchen. I ran out of money when I was remodeling my home, so I never got to replace the kitchen cabinets which I hate hate hate. I then decided I would just reface them with new doors and drawers, but that was also insanely expensive. So then I decided to buy the tools to build my own doors and drawers. I'm also confident that I can tile my own backsplash. About the only thing I am not confident about is replacing the countertops, so I'll have to hire somebody after I'm done with what I'm going to do.

That's months of work given that I can only work nights and weekends.

And yet...

I've got another project I'd really like to tackle.

I want a pergola on my patio.

Well, a pergola over the part of the patio which remains after I built a catio out there. It might also be cool to build a cat run into it with seating on top, like yo...

Pergola Planning

That way I could sit outside and read a book under a little bit of shade while my cats run around. Big Fun for all of us!

By far, the biggest project I've ever tackled, if I end up doing it... but it looks like a lot Big Fun to build too!

   

Belated Caturday Antics

Posted on Monday, February 26th, 2018

Dave!Since this past Caturday was spent discussing a cat of an entirely different kind... Black Panther... I am picking up the slack by posting my crazy cat lady stuff today.

One of my best finds in the cat toy arena is a new scratching post that the cats have been loving because it's really tall. Unlike most posts, they can stretch out as much as they want and not run out of pole. On top of that, they can climb it like a tree, which is something they both love to do. But Jake is a little more enthusiastic about making a game out of it. Set a toy on top, and he'll jump and climb his way up to grab it and throw it off...

Jake's New Scratching Post

He's kind of violent about it, so you have to be sure that your hands and other protruding body parts are kept clear...

   
It's all fun and games until Jenny makes noise jumping up on the couch and scares him just as he's reached his goal...

   
The reason Jenny is jumping up on the couch is because I set my freshly-laundered pants there. For whatever reason, that's always an open invitation for her to jump up and use my jeans as her personal scratching post. Or, as in this case, bite the crotch out. Which is exactly what I want her to do if somebody ever tries to grab my pussy...

Jenny Crotch Attack... Do NOT Grab This Pussy, Dammit!

   
As I've previously mentioned, nobody appreciates a good belly rub like Jenny does. Every night when I go up to bed, she sprints up for her nightly belly rub. And she will stare at you until she gets her way. Or, if she's really impatient, she'll start meowing at you...

Jenny Belly Rub

Jenny Belly Rub

Jenny Belly Rub

Since Jake got a video this time, here's Jenny's...

   
When it comes to using the litter box, Jenny has gotten increasingly insistent on having a clean place to poop in. She loves a clean box so much that if something goes wrong with the Litter-Robot and she has to wait too long for it to cycle, she has zero problem waking me up at 4:00am to fix that. Last night I noticed her sticking her head in the litter box acting like she was scared to go in...

Jenny and Litter-Robot

Then I saw that the red light was on, which meant that Jake must have beat her there, and Litter-Robot was waiting five minutes before it cycles, which allows the waste to clump and be disposed of more easily. This is no big deal, because Jenny is perfectly content to wait for it to clean itself. I've seen her do so many times.

But this time?

This time she started meowing for Litter-Robot to hurry up.

I started laughing because just when I think my cats can't surprise me... they go and do something like this.

Or this...

Jenny and the Dubai Apple TV Screen Saver

Jenny was watching television, but I had to pause in order to take care of something and the cityscapes screensaver activated. Jenny was not please about this. Not pleased at all. In fact, I think she was quite cross.

I don't know why. That's one beautiful screensaver. I've not been to Dubai yet, and that Blade-Runner-esque view makes me want to visit real soon now.

And that's all I got. See you next Caturday... which is a short five days away!

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Snow Melt

Posted on Thursday, March 1st, 2018

Dave!The weather has been weird lately.

Just when you think that Winter is over and Spring us here, it snows. Lately any new snow hasn't been sticking around long... the sun or rain washes it away... but there's still been old snow hanging around.

Until this week, when the last of it finally melted...

Snow Melting

Snow Melting

Snow Melting

And so... I guess that's that for Winter. At least in my neck of the woods.

Though never say never, because we could end up in a blizzard tomorrow if Mother Nature has other plans.

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The Sunken Place

Posted on Monday, March 12th, 2018

   

   

   

   

The Sunken Place from Get Out

   

   

   

   

   

Debt and Freedom

Posted on Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Dave!Ignore me if you will, but this is a subject that means something to me.

Credit card debt is a pariah that will consume you. And now that interest rates are going to increase past the already absurd rates that credit card companies charge (thank you Federal Reserve!), it's more important than ever to get yourself out of credit card debt if you have any. Large balances are designed to keep you paying high interest charges forever, without ever fully paying off your debt. It's a trap... and it's really tough to get out of once you're caught in it.

I know this, because I've been there.

During my two years in college, I accumulated huge debt. Huge.

I wasn't working very much because of school and travel (and partying), but was spending as if I were a CEO. First it was one credit card. Then it was another. Then it was another. It took *decades* for me to climb out of it. Years of barely being able to make payments. Years of getting nowhere in paying off my balances. Once I realized the thousands of dollars being blown every year on interest, I started focusing on paying off my cards. It was hard. Very hard. I'd buy nothing but the bare minimums I needed to survive. I wore clothes until they fell apart. I'd do any activity on a shoestring budget and limit expenditures any way I could. It took years of this, but eventually I clawed my way out.

And I have made it my mission to pay off my balance every month ever since. Sometimes there are emergencies. Sometimes I haven't saved enough for vacation and it takes a couple months. But I work very hard to not spend money I don't have so I can pay off my balance every time.

There are a lot of ways to get help if you need it. Apps that help you set payment goals. Books on financial planning. Websites with great advice on how to get out of credit card debt. And, if you are really in deep, financial advisors that can come up with a plan and negotiate with banks to get interest lowered... or help you find a loan. But however you mount your attack on credit card debt, it's hugely important that you start immediately. Our own government is working with banks to enslave you with debt, and it's only going to get worse. Much worse. The sacrifices needed to escape their clutches are hard ones to make, but ultimately worth it.

I honestly don't know what the future holds with our Federal Reserve manipulating things the way they have been. They don't even bother hiding it any more. This country is now designed exclusively for the wealthiest among us. That may not be you, but finding freedom amongst the ruins is a goal worth having.

Good luck to you.

Good luck to all of us.

We need it now more than ever.

   

Opening Day Blues

Posted on Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Dave!Oh joy. An opening day loss for the Red Sox.

Here we go again...


Dave Loves the Red Sox!

All the pieces for a great season are there. They just need to fit together.

Here's hoping...

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Between the Sheets

Posted on Saturday, March 31st, 2018

Dave!When it comes to bed sheets, I want them to stay cool and dry. I want crisp, breathable fabric that is tough enough to last. I don't like satin sheets. I really don't like "sateen" sheets, which are cotton sheets pretending to be satin sheets. When a hotel has sateen sheets, I have to kick them off (if it's warm) or wear sweats (if it's cold) because the glossy finish makes me sweat.

After being puzzled for years over things like "finish" and "thread count," I finally figured out that the sheets I want are called "percale," they're made of cotton, and the lower the thread count the better. What's great about this is that the sheets I just described are the cheapest you can buy. Also the opposite of what most people prefer, which is "sateen" in the highest thread count possible... 800 or higher.

So when I was shopping at IKEA and saw "percale" weave sheets at a mere 152 thread count, I was intrigued. Could these DVALA sheets at $25 a set (Queen) be the cool, crisp, breathable, dry sheets I've been dreaming of?

IKEA DVALA Bed Sheets

Turns out they totally are the sheets I've been looking for!

They are absolutely perfect.

No, they aren't soft and silky smooth. Truth to tell, they're actually kind of rough... even after having been washed twice. But that's exactly what I wanted because they are cooler to sleep on, they're tougher, and they have that crispy feel I love.

Cat hair sticks to them like glue, however, so I guess you can't have everything.

But anyway...

It's been an interesting morning at my house. At 6:02am I received a robocall from my credit card company saying that I may have fraudulent charges on my account. So I call the number they gave me, only to find out that they have no idea what I'm talking about, and they made no such call. And I'm like "THEN HOW DID I GET THIS NUMBER TO CALL YOU?" and they're all "WE DID NOT CALL YOU!" and I'm all "YOU DID, BECAUSE I JUST DID A REVERSE LOOK-UP OF THE CALLER ID AND IT'S YOU!" — I'm put on hold for a bit, then they come back and say "Oh, there's a problem with our computers calling people." Typical.

As I'm talking to my bank, I hear the cats banging around in the catio. They've heard that I'm awake, and come charging up the stairs demanding breakfast, even though it's almost an hour away. Jake has chunky white dust all over him, and I wonder if somebody threw a bag of cocaine into the catio while being chased by the police or something. I'm not about to snort my cat since I have no idea if the cocaine is premium grade or not, so I brush it all off and try to go back to sleep. Meanwhile Jenny has found Mufasa on the window perch that was left there last night. She starts ripping into him when Jake notices. And so then I have cats chasing each other all over my bedroom when I just want to get some sleep.

Abandoned Mufasa on a Window Perch

When Alexa finally chimes at 7:00am and the cats come back all crazy because it's breakfast time, I see that Jake has straw in his mouth. The only place I have straw is in the garage... I keep some for Fake Jake's winter shelter. So I go running downstairs and, sure enough, I left the garage passdoor ajar and my cats have been having big fun in my garage, including knocking over a bucket which was filled with drywall dust. Which means there won't be a bag of cocaine in the catio as I had first thought.

AND THEN, as if that weren't exciting enough, I can't find Jake and Jenny's Easter baskets. So now I have treats and cat toys for Easter morning, but no baskets to put them in. Looks like I'll be tearing apart my garage looking for Easter baskets this afternoon.

So this is my Saturday.

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Shoe Money Tonight!

Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Dave!For the money, the most versatile piece of furniture I've found has been HEMNES Shoe cabinets from IKEA. At just $99 each, The four-drawer version is nicely shallow... just 8-5/8" deep... and since it mounts directly to the wall and there's no rear legs to push it away from the molding, there's no wasted space. On top of that, the drawers themselves are deep and spacious so they are actually useful. Not just for shoes (though they are great for storing shoes) but for all kinds of things (the one in my kitchen holds placemats and napkins!).

Once I found out that I wouldn't be able to wall-mount my SONOS One speakers as I originally planned, my first thought was to purchase a couple of HEMNES units, drill holes in the top, then hide the SONOS cords behind them. They're the perfect height, allowing the speakers to rise just above my couch...

IKEA Hemnes Show Cabinets for Sonos One

IKEA Hemnes Show Cabinets for Sonos One

Since the table-top on these extends from the ends of the cabinet, I had to modify them slightly so I could get the two units to sit flush against each other, but they turned out great. Even more importantly, they work perfectly for giving me excellent surround sound.

And, as a bonus, my LaserDisc collection now has a home. A perfect home, actually, since they are stored vertically, but pull down at an angle so I can read the spines easily...

IKEA Hemnes Show Cabinets for Sonos One

It's kind of weird that I now have seven of these shoe cabinets in my home considering I don't own many shoes, but they're just so versatile and functional. The shallow depth also means they can go just about anywhere. Yes, quality control at IKEA is shitty and you may get a defective part that will need replacing, but if you've got a tight spot you're looking to fill, these are definitely worth a look.

Something tells me I haven't purchased my last Hemnes shoe cabinet.

   

Under the Counter

Posted on Friday, April 27th, 2018

Dave!After catching a doozy of a cold on the plane back from Europe, I've spent my entire week mired in a miserable haze of over-the-counter medication abuse. Partly because I hate hate hate being sick... but mostly because I can't work when I'm sneezing and coughing my head off. This morning I finally turned a corner and felt well enough that I only took a single dose of cold meds instead of a double dose, so... putting one in the "win" column, I guess.

Where I most definitely did not win was having to skip the midnight premiere of Avengers: Infinity War last night. Because what would suck more than skipping it would be to dope up on cough suppressants then falling asleep half-way through...

XXX

Oh well.

Guess I get to spend the next several days avoiding spoilers until I find a day I can get away to see it.

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McSodium Explosion

Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2018

Dave!Today I finally made the time to have my winter tires changed over to summer tires.

My plan was to arrive just when the tire store opened because you can usually get right in. Except there was an accident on the bridge into town so I was delayed 20 minutes. By the time I finally got there, the wait was up to an hour-and-a-half, and it would have been faster for me to change my own tires at home with my emergency car jack and a lug wrench.

It was a bummer, but it wasn't the wait that bothered me.

It was the reason for the wait.

As somebody at the tire store noted, there was no skidmarks on the bridge. Which means that the car (van?) which crashed into a car (which then crashed into another car) never made any attempt to stop. Which means they weren't paying attention. Which means they were probably texting or changing their baby's diaper or cooking a steak, or whatever the fuck it is that people do when not looking at the road like they're supposed to be.

Apparently the distracted driving "no-texting" law that Washington State passed has done nothing to solve a serious problem that's only going to get worse. Which begs the question... how many people have to die before this starts being taken seriously?

And speaking of dying...

As I've said many times before, I love McDonalds... despite constantly taking shit for liking McDonalds.

My favorite breakfast is a McDonald's Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit, no bacon, substitute round egg instead of spongey yellow powder egg. I could eat them every single day because it's just such a perfect breakfast food. The reason I don't eat them every day is that A) McDonald's is a 20 minute drive from my house, and B) they are expensive as hell. But right now McDonalds is running a special where you can get two of them for only four dollars! So, naturally, after getting my tires changed I did not pass GO, I did not collect $200, I went straight to McDonalds for a late breakfast.

It was, as expected, delicious.

Except I made the mistake of looking up the Nutrition Facts for my breakfast while I was eating it.

We'll set aside the 80 carbs in two Breakfast Biscuits and skip right to the 2100mg of sodium... 88% of the sodium that you're supposed to have in a day. And saturated fat? 11g which is 106% of the recommended daily ammount!

Holy shit!

I've never been so grateful that McDonalds is 20 minutes away and their McBiscuits are usually so damn expensive, because I'd be dead if they were next door and, you know, affordable and all.

Except they are on sale... and I am driving over the mountains tomorrow... so it looks like I may be courting death once again. Curse you McDonald's and your delicious breakfast!

   

Yesterday So Far Away

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Dave!Today was one of those days that makes me want to stick my head in the oven. But my oven is electric, so all that would do is give me a sunburn. I also have a microwave, but it only runs when the door is closed.

And so I guess I'll be sticking around for another day. Which is probably a good thing, because my cats are in kind of a needy mood after all the time I've been spending away from home. And that's nice. Though I could have really used another day recuperating from my weekend.

And to think... yesterday I was up at Newcastle's putting green overlooking Seattle and Puget Sound on a gorgeous day...

Newcastle Golf

Apparently Summer has arrived.

Time to set up shop.

Five months of woodworking bliss await.

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Kick the Bucket

Posted on Friday, May 18th, 2018

Dave!Today I had a rare 15-minute gap with nothing to do. Too little time to start a new project... too much time for a bathroom break. So I decided to update my List of Things to do Before I Die (That I’ve Already Done). It's a kind of "bucket list," but not really, because I only add things to it once I can check them off. No need to be on my death bed clutching a list of stuff I still wanted to do, thus dying a failure.

I'm up to 114 items which is probably enough for two lifetimes.

Which means I'm ready to die, I guess. And yet there's still so much left I want to do. Maybe I'll be able to add another dozens items before I check out. Maybe I'll be able to add just one. It doesn't really matter so long as I keep coming up with things to live for.

Though I've found that as I get older my idea of what makes it to my list is changing as my priorities change...

        Age 20 Top Priority: Look for my dream woman. Get married. Have kids.

        Age 30 Top Priority: Stay single for the rest of my life.

        Age 40 Top Priority: Wreck myself having the most fun possible, then die before I'm 50.

        Age 50 Top Priority: Stay healthy enough to keep on living so I can take care of my cats.

Assuming I make it there, I have no idea what my priority at 60 will be. But probably...

        Age 60 Top Priority: Wreck myself having the most fun possible, then die before I'm 70.

I'm relatively certain of what comes at 70, assuming my priority for 60 falls through...

        Age 70 Top Priority: Just die already.

This sounds bad, I know. But keep in mind that by that time I'll have probably added enough things to my list for three lifetimes. And isn't that more than enough? I'm close to done right now. Lord only knows how totally done with life I'll be at 70. Though who really knows? Back when I was 40 I wanted to die by the time I was 50. Now that I've reached 50... and I have cats... I'm happy to be hanging around a while longer. Perhaps when I turn 70 I'll get more cats and be good until I'm 90.

Who wants to kick the bucket list when they have cats?

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Health Scare

Posted on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Dave!I'm just going to come out and say it... health care in the United States of America is a festering pile of shit that is impossible to navigate and increasingly impossible to pay for. I'm sure this will come to a surprise to absolutely nobody, because we've all needed medical attention at some point in our lives... if not for us, for a loved one.... and then had to deal with the fallout.

Health care is a monolithic, byzantine maze of bullshit and corruption that's enough to make even the smartest person insane.

Take where I'm at, for example.

My health insurance deductible is huge. Thousands of dollars. I never get out of my annual deductible because I'm relatively healthy and, apparently, lucky. What this means is that I have to pay for absolutely everything medical-related out-of-pocket. But apparently I do get some kind of discount that's been negotiated between my insurance and my local clinic. What is this discount? Who the fuck knows. I've been trying to find out the cost of making a consultation appointment FOR TWO DAYS and have gotten nowhere.

This is how the system is designed.

The clinic doesn't want you to know the cost because you might not schedule an appointment if you knew. The insurance company doesn't want to commit to coverage for a future appointment, because they might need to increase their profits by reducing (or eliminating) their coverage before you see the doctor.

Which, if you live in an underserved region like I do, could take months to get an appointment.

What amuses me about this bullshit is that these are the bad things that people who don't want universal healthcare try and scare people with! It'll take forever to see a doctor? It takes fucking forever right now. We can't determine how much it will cost? We can't determine how much it fucking costs right now.

My issue isn't life-threatening. Well, I suppose it could end up there, but no... not really.

But what if it were life-threatening?

Well, the way it works in The United States of America is that you just have to sign on for treatment blindly and hope you don't have to declare bankruptcy so you can live.

And don't get me started about people who get sick and could be easily and cheaply treated in the beginning... but they can't afford it... so they wait and wait until they are near death and it's horrendously expensive to treat (if it's treatable at all) so taxpayers ends up paying for their bills because they end up losing everything. What fucking sense does that make? Give everybody healthcare so everybody is healthy and problems are fixed when they're cheap! As a taxpayer, I'd rather pay for what's cheap than what's horrendously expensive!

Maybe one day politicians will take a break from sucking lobbyist cock long enough to figure out how to make health care affordable for everybody.

Because the only people benefiting from the system we have now are insurance companies. And the politicians being paid off by insurance companies. Considering their health care is free and they don't give a fuck about anybody else, I don't expect them to stop sucking that lobbyist cock any time soon.

This is also how the system is designed.

   

Bullet Sunday 463

Posted on Sunday, May 27th, 2018

Dave!It may be the last day of the week, but this holiday weekend keeps on rolling... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Pooh! Of all the movies coming up, I have to admit that Christopher Robin is the one I'm most looking forward to at the moment...

With all the advancements in special effects, it's the ability to make films like this which impress me most.

   
• Whoa! Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder? Sign me up!

I'm not a romantic-comedy "romcom" kinda guy, but this movie will be worth seeing for the casting alone. Not in theaters, of course, but when it hits HBO or Netflix, I'm on it.

   
• Hotness! I've been running across a lot of treasures from my past as I work my way through my garage. As an example... look how brutally hot I was on my learner permit!

Dave's Hot Learner's Permit

Yep... if I were legal in that photo, I'd do me!

   
• Togs! The closer they get to making Mon-El have his iconic comic book costume, the closer my inner fanboy gets to peeing my pants...

Dave's Hot Learner's Permit

Almost there. Just need that waistcoat... then call it good!

   
• Thanks, Obama! Yes, I had problems with some of President Obama's policies... but I never stopped admiring him as a person. That goes double Michelle Obama, who was such an exemplary First Lady. So to say that I'm anxious to get my hands on her forthcoming book is an epic understatement...

Becoming by Michelle Obama

The unabridged audiobook is available for pre-order at Audible. Since Michelle Obama is narrating all 14 hours of it, I couldn't press the purchase button fast enough.

   
• Quilt! Hey OG bloggers! Somebody made this incredible quilt for me back in the day, but I can't remember who it was? Does anybody know?

XXX

I'm hanging it up to display in my room, and I'd like to attach a tag with the author.

   
What are you still doing here? The bullets are over. They're over! Go home. There's nothing more for you here.

   

Madonna Loathes Hydrangeas

Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Dave!When I moved into my home, I ended up ripping out a lot of the plant life that was there. Not because I hate flowers, but because I am not home enough to take care of them. And I know better than to ask my cats to water them when I'm away.

The only plants I left were those connected to the automated sprinkler system. They were all healthy and look nice when they come into bloom, so it was kinda a no-brainer.

One of those plants is a massive hydrangea that overwhelms my back flower bed...

Hydrangea Overload

A month ago I got tired of this giant bush setting off the camera alarm whenever the wind blows it. So instead of pruning it back like I usually do, I just hacked it down to the ground.

I felt like Madonna taking vengeance on Hydrangeas of the world...

Earlier this week I was looking out into the catio to see what Jake and Jenny are up to and saw that THE HYDRANGEA IS BACK! Don't ask me how it could recover so quickly. The thing is already 4 feet tall...

Hydrangea Overload

And so... given how it came back from being massacred, I figure it deserves to be there more than I do. After the flowers are gone and I can cut it back again, I'll dig it up and move it to a place where it won't set off my camera alarm. If it can survive being hacked to the ground, surely it can survive being transplanted.

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It’s 5-O-Clock in the Morning

Posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Dave!I had to work across the mountains today which meant getting up at 4:30am so I could be on the road by 5am. Given how horrendously bad Seattle morning traffic is these days, there's really no other option. Gone are the days of leaving at 6am and arriving in plenty of time.

In another 5 years, I'll probably be leaving at 4:30am. It's getting that bad.

I wonder how quickly it will end up being faster for me to fly than drive, even when going through security and driving to the airport are factored in?

Whatever happened to the Star Trek future where we get to just beam ourselves to where we need to go?

Monkey Star Trek

Probably languishing in some vault somewhere along with the cure for the common cold. Shelved because oil companies and airline companies would become irrelevant.

And don't get me started about flying cars...

Monkey Star Trek

   

Poofy Allergy Time

Posted on Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Dave!Flowers are out everywhere, which means my allergies are exploding, which means I'm drugged up on Flonase, Zyrtec, and Allegra all the time. This is better than the old days when I had to be drugged up on Benadryl all the time. Benadryl makes me so drowsy that I can barely stay awake to work. All I wanted to do was sleep.

If there's a bright spot to be found, it's taking pictures of it all with my iPhone. It's shocking how good the camera is on the X, and it kinda freaks me out that I get better photos from it than I do the last pocket camera I bought...

Dandylion Exploded

Dandylion Exploded

Dandylion Exploded

Dandylion Exploded

When I moved into my new home, the woman who owned it previously planted loads of pretty flowers in my back yard. Including the hydrangeas I butchered which have miraculously come back. Much to my surprise, it looks like I'm going to have flowers again. Don't ask me how. This thing was razed to the ground a month ago...

Hydrangea Ressurection

I had irises on the side of my house, which is nice, but they always fall over and last for only five minutes, so I don't understand the point. What I'd like to do is pull them out and replace them with more stuff like this...

Back Garden Flowers

Back Garden Flowers

Back Garden Flowers

Back Garden Flowers

Back Garden Flowers

Back Garden Flowers

Back Garden Flowers

Back Garden Flowers

Pretty.

Even though it's making my life an allergy-induced haze.

My favorite flowers are crocuses and California poppies. Perhaps this weekend I'll look into getting some of those. It would be nice if the front of my house looks as good as the boack does.

   

Adventure in Florals

Posted on Saturday, June 9th, 2018

Dave!The lady who owned my home before me loved flowers. She had them planted everywhere. Particularly impressive is the flower bed in the back yard, which is filled with roses and other beautiful stuff. She also had a bunch of flower pots in the front yard, but I removed them one-by-one as they died off because I'm not home to water them when I have to travel.

The flowers in the back yard continue to flourish because there's a water line that's connected to the sprinkler system. My front yard flower bed is just a bunch of river rock. I've always felt bad about this, because everybody else in the neighborhood has flowers out.

Last Fall as I was cleaning up leaves, I noticed that there was a water line poking up from under the river rocks. Turns out that there was automated watering there all along but it wasn't used for some reason. So I decided that this year I would plant some stuff so my home fits in with everybody else.

And yesterday was the day...

Flower Bed Construction

I didn't want to completely fill the front flower bed because that would cost a fortune... and I really didn't want stuff growing up next to the house where bugs could breed, so I decided to clear out a space in the river rock for my new flower bed. I found some nice grey brick to keep the rock from intruding. I finished building just as the sun was setting and it started raining...

Flower Bed Construction

This morning I woke up early to start planting stuff. After setting things up I realized that I didn't have the parts I needed to tap off of the water line, so I had to run to the hardware store... where I picked up another couple plants. I didn't notice that one of the of the purple things I bought was badly damaged, but decided to plant it anyway...

Flower Bed Construction

Everything turned out quite nice. I threw away the tags with the names of all the plants, but here is what I got...

Flower Bed Construction

Because I'm old, all that crawling around in the dirt left me pretty sore and I decided to call it a day and watch television.

So there I was... lounging around watching Ask This Old House when it occurs to me THAT I DIDN'T TEST MY NEW SPRINKLERS BEFORE I BURIED THEM! It would be just my luck that I screwed up the install and kinked a line or something, so I managed to get up off the couch (I am SO old), tell Alexa to turn on the water, then waddle out to see if they work. I am soooooo lucky...

Flower Bed Construction

And that's that. Now my house will be pretty just like everybody else's. And since all the flowers I bought are perennials, they'll be back year after year.

Assuming I don't end up killing them.

   

Jake and Mondays

Posted on Monday, June 11th, 2018

Dave!Too sore to get out of bed. Too tired to go to work. Too worried the cats will eat me to die and not feed them. Especially when Jake is looking at me like this...


Flower Bed Construction

   
And it's a Monday...

   

A Pain That I’m Used To

Posted on Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Dave!I wrecked my legs working on my front flower beds and installing new security cameras last weekend. This morning I thought I was finally recovering a bit, only to find that I had pulled a muscle in my back as I was attempting to walk so I wasn't hurting my legs.

Essentially trading one pain for another.

Albeit a much much more painful one.

Most times Ibuprofen can handle it. But the minute I twist wrong or bend in a way my back doesn't like... unbelievable searing pain goes shooting through my back that hurts so bad I can barely breathe. The worst pain is when I lay down. It's so awful that I've tried sleeping while sitting up, but I can't manage it. My back brace helps, but not enough.

And so...

Not a great time to be Dave2 right now.

It would be great if I could just dope up on pain-killers and muscle-relaxers and sleep all day, but... off to work I go.

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