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Affordable Courtesy

Posted on September 21st, 2017

Dave!It's funny what you remember as you're looking through old travel photos.

As an example...

I took a Mediterranean cruise that was incredible. Wonderful visits to Barcelona, Tunisia, Malta, the Italian coast... all amazing sights with plenty of amazing memories. But what I also remember? When I was waiting in line at the airport check-in how I overheard a passenger at the adjoining counter say "Sorry"... because the airline agent was trying to pull his suitcase around the podium, but it had a wheel missing and made a loud scrrrrape across the floor. The guy standing behind him said "Jeez, might want to buy some luggage that'll stay in one piece!" He said this while looking up to the ceiling, directing his words to nobody in particular.

Except any idiot could tell who he was talking about.

The man with the broken suitcase turned around and said "It was all I could afford."

Approaching Valletta

   
I thinks about that moment a lot. And a part of me wonders... Where was the guy with the suitcase going?

Was he on his way to some exotic location for a vacation?

Was he flying for a job interview?

Was somebody in his family sick and he was rushing to be by their side?

I don't know.

All I do know is that he was doing the best he can to get by with his busted-ass suitcase. And if he was having a happy day because he was going on vacation, he didn't deserve to have it ruined by somebody being an asshole. And if he was having a sad day because this trip was to go to a funeral, he didn't deserve to have it made worse by somebody being an asshole.

Which begs the questions... why are people compelled to be assholes to people they don't even know?

If we could answer that question, we might all be able to get along with each other better.

We all have our baggage, after all.

   

Not My Type

Posted on September 20th, 2017

Dave!Today I was browsing through thousands of typefaces in an attempt to find something that fit the project I was working on. I couldn't find one, so I created my own typeface. Which sounds incredible, because complex work like that can takes weeks... months even... but it's a little less incredible when I mention that I only needed six characters.

They were hard characters though.

I mean, there was a "G" in there!

Still. Four-and-one-half hours of my life gone. That's 45 minutes for each character. Well, 30 minutes for five characters and two hours for that damn G... but... yeah.

Sometimes my life would be so much easier if there weren't any G's in it.

And Q's.

Fuck Q's.

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Wreaths and Hair-Trigger Shotguns

Posted on September 16th, 2017

Dave!In order to maintain the illusion that I am a kind, friendly neighbor who cares deeply about how others perceive me, I have been putting decorative wreaths on my door like I see other people do 'round the 'hood. But I refuse to hang cheap, ugly wreaths up... and I also refuse to pay big money for nice wreaths. So I shop the closeouts at Pier One. Quality wreaths at a bargain price! Problem is, closeouts only happen after the holiday is over, so I'm always behind. My Winter Wreath stayed up through Christmas. My Christmas Wreath stayed up through Valentine's Day. My Valentine's Day Wreath stayed up through Easter. And my Easter Wreath has been up until... today.

My plan was to run to Pier One this morning and buy a Summer Wreath on closeout. But I was too late. All the Summer stuff had gone to make room for Fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Since I didn't want to leave an Easter Wreath hanging on my door through the Fall, I did the unthinkable... I bought a Fall Wreath that wasn't on closeout. I did get to take 20% off for some reason though, so I guess that's something.

The benefit of buying decorating crap "in season" is that I didn't have to settle for the lame leftovers. Instead I picked out exactly the wreath I wanted. So now my home looks totally friendly and inviting again!

My New Fall Wreath

Not bad! Since I live in "apple country" I liked that this wreath had fake apples scattered throughout the other crap that was crammed in there.

Earlier this year when I was changing out my Valentine wreath, a neighbor walking by said "Hello" and "That's pretty" and "I'm always afraid that somebody will steal it if I bought a nice wreath like that!" Trying my best to be friendly, I replied with "Oh, I've got security cameras everywhere, motion detectors, a door sensor, a doorbell camera, an alarm siren, and a shotgun with a hair-trigger... so I try not to worry about somebody trying to steal it... ha ha ha ha." The neighbor seemed unsure of how to reply and said "Well, I guess you wouldn't," then shuffled off in a cloud of unease.

Something tells me I was the talk of the neighborhood for a while there.

But it's all true. I have the cameras, sensors, detectors, siren... all of it. Well, it's mostly true... my shotgun doesn't have a hair-trigger. I exaggerated a bit to be funny.

Since moving in, I've only been bothered once. Some kid saw my cats in the window and decided to bang on the door to scare them. Or, at least that's what I was able to piece together from all my security camera footage, which culminated with this...

Punk Ass Door Knocker

Punk Ass Door Knocker

Punk Ass Door Knocker

I was in my garage building something but, since I had my iPhone with me, I was alerted the minute the kid step foot on my driveway. I watched him run up to my door, bang on it, then run away. Then I was able to follow him as he ran through my front yard, past the side of my house, and into the field that's in back of me. At first I found it funny that this kid was so stupid as to ignore the security camera sticker I have plastered on my door. Then I was angry that some little punk was messing with my cats. I was going to print out my camera stills and track down the little asshole, but ultimately decided to be the good neighbor and just let it go.

This time.

Next time I'm going to grab my shotgun and blow his fucking head off.

Just kidding! I don't even have a shotgun!

I have a Ruger GP100 .357 Magnum revolver with custom grip and a fiber-optic front sight.

   

Giant Murder Spiders and Rearend Cellular

Posted on September 12th, 2017

Dave!I've been coming to Spokane for work for decades. There are a lot of memories in this city for me.

Most memories are easy to recall here because so much of the city is unchanging. Spokane is a relatively big city that feels like a town. Small businesses in old brick buildings go on for generations. Today I passed by a block of these buildings and remembered that it was where I had my first driving accident. I was coming up to a stoplight when the driver behind didn't stop in time and bumped into me. After we pulled over to survey the damage (surprisingly, there wasn't any) he said "I'm so sorry. I was trying to answer a call on my cell phone." Back then mobile phones were a new technology and I had never even seen one in person. I remember being surprised that Spokane even had cellular service. I was shaken, but sympathetic towards the man's plight because he let me hold his bulky cell phone. It might as well have been magic to me, I was so fascinated by it. I was tempted to ask him if I could make a call, but I knew the pay-per-minute rate of the day was astronomical, so I reluctantly handed it back without comment.

This was not the first time I was rear-ended in Spokane. The second time I was coming up to a stoplight next to Safeway and a woman plowed into me. This time there was damage... albeit minor. I got insurance money to repair my bumper and it looked good as new. The second and third times I was rear-ended, I took the insurance money and went on a trip. Because eventually my priorities shifted. I'd rather travel than have a nice car.

The hotel I stayed at last night is a beautiful restoration property in downtown Spokane. Everything from the public spaces down to the paint on the walls of my room is lovely. Except... holy crap is it noisy.

There is a central atrium where people gather, and everything from quiet conversation to children screaming echoes throughout the entire hotel. And when those children are running around screaming until 2am? Just try sleeping through that. Then... then... there's the air conditioning. Every time the air starts up, there is a loud "snap" followed by a huge "bang." It literally sounds like somebody is trying to break into your room every time it goes off. Especially as you're attempting to drift off to sleep at 3am.

And so I am sleep-deprived and exhausted.

Which made for a fun day at work, I'll tell you whut. I'd best describe my demeanor as "punchy."

C'est la vie.*

Work went exceedingly well and, before I knew it, it was time to grab lunch at David's Pizza (my favorite pizza in the known universe) and head home.

Which was a much better journey than yesterday.

Yesterday's drive across Washington State's Central Basin was long and boring as always... but augmented with the excitement of asshole drivers. The speed limit is 70mph. I drive around 75mph. Occasional I would pass a truck doing 60mph only to have some asshole jam on up to my bumper doing 90mph... who then flips me off when I jet back over to the right-hand lane. Sorry that I interrupted your illegal driving speed, asshole. In what universe do I deserve to be flipped off for that? If I had psychic powers, I would be telekinetically ripping off middle fingers, no lie.

On my way home I stopped at a mini-mart gas station outside of Quincy (home of the best corn in the nation!) to fuel up and grab something to drink. When I went up to the counter to pay, a kindly elderly gentleman leaning on a cane (surely 90+ years old) was in line ahead of me. He was buying a single ice cream sandwich... nothing else... with a credit card. He talked in a whisper, but I could hear him tell the cashier that he couldn't open the package on his ice cream and asked him to do it. They cashier grabbed a pair of scissors and did so, after which the old man said "thanks." He then had to put away his credit card, put his wallet in his pocket, grab his ice cream bar, and shuffle off to destinations unknown. The process took forever but I actually found it fascinating to watch and didn't mind at all. We'll all be there someday, if we're lucky.

Or unlucky, depending on your perspective.

After paying for my Gatorade and a Coke, I pass the old man eating his ice cream sandwich when a thought flashed through my head.

"Holy shit! He's not driving is he?"

I was beyond curious to know if the empty car parked by the mini mart was his, but didn't want to wait ten minutes to see if he drove away in it... or if somebody else was driving... or if he was being picked up... or if he actually walked to the mini mart from somewhere miles away.

After starting up the car, I noticed the MAINTENANCE REQUIRED light had come on. Apparently all those oil change email notices that I had been ignoring had come home to roost. And so I detoured to Jiffy Lube to take care of that, because heaven only knows when I'd ever have time to drive there again. Hey, it was on my way home anyway... so might as well.

As I pulled into Jiffy Lube, I noticed that the air quality in Wenatchee was more smoke-filled than I had seen it all year. This made me very concerned for my cats, so the first thing I did when I got to the waiting room was check my security cameras...

Sleepy Catio Kities

OF COURSE they're both outside. Why wouldn't they be?

And then I noticed movement in the corner of the security camera. What the heck is THAT, I wondered.

Oh... it's just a GIANT FUCKING MURDER SPIDER DISPOSING OF IT'S DEAD LOVER'S BODY!!! I think I actually said "Holy shit! out loud when I zoomed in...

Giant Murder Spider

THE HORROR! I mean, come on... she just dumped the dead body into her web and went back to hiding in the door frame...

Giant Murder Spider

To say I was in a panic is an understatement.

My cats were outside in the catio WITH A GIANT MURDER SPIDER! And since GIANT MURDER SPIDERS are always poisonous, their fate was in serious doubt. Because there is nothing... nothing they love more than to play with bugs. If either one of them saw the thing... my guess is that I would arrive home to a cat in respiratory failure because it had been bitten and poisoned.

So I wait for an agonizing 20 minutes while my oil was changed.

I drive home through work traffic, which is another 30 minutes of torture.

I get home, tear into the house, lure both kitties in from the catio, close off the catio door so they can't get back out, run and grab the bug spray from the garage, run around the house to the catio door, then soak... soak until dripping... the entire upper corner of the frame.

Eventually a tiny little spider crawled out, fell to the ground, and died.

"Huh. I guess when a little spider is close to the camera lens on a security camera, it only looks like a GIANT MURDER SPIDER.

And then I feel so awful. If I had known it was just a little spider, I would have left it alone. I am not a spider murderer. If I find a spider in my house, I catch it and take it outside. I try to console myself with the fact that she murdered her little spider-boyfriend after mating, then dumped his body without a care, but it didn't work. Then I tried to console myself with the fact that the little spider won't be laying millions of eggs which would hatch and fill up my catio with tiny spider babies. Somehow, I was able to make my peace with being a spider murderer after that.

Of course... there's nothing to say that she didn't lay those millions of eggs before she dumped the body.

Which means millions of spider babies intent on revenge for the death of their mother. That's all I need.

   

* Will it impress you to know that I can spell "C'est la Vie" without having to Google it? No? Okay.

   

Natural Disasters

Posted on September 8th, 2017

Dave!Between the wildfires and hurricanes, it's tough to know how to process just how much disaster is happening... and how much more is yet to come. Other than staying glued to the television and hoping for the best, there's not much else to be done. Except donating to the relief efforts, if you can.

Now that the smoke is clearing up in my neck of the woods I can venture outside again. First order of business was to run errands that have been piling up. And, surprise... Halloween is happening...

XXX

XXX

Every year I run to Home Depot hoping to find Halloween decorations on half-price closeout, but all the cool ones... like light-up skeleton cats... are always long gone.

Maybe it's time to get creative and make my own cool decorations.

Though sadly, as I found out last year, I don't get many trick-or-treaters to see them.

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Inside Cats

Posted on September 7th, 2017

Dave!The air quality improved enough that I decided to let the cats outside for a little while. When I opened the catio door, they didn't last very long... coming back inside after only a few minutes.

I thought that perhaps the smoke was irritating or scary enough that it would keep them from going outside, but my hopes were soon dashed. After verifying that it wasn't a trick and they really could go outside if they wanted to, they started spending all their time out there, as usual.

This meant having to close off the catio again. The last thing I want is two cats with respiratory problems.

Because me having respiratory problems is more than enough. I've been coughing my head off since the smoke started rolling in, and have had just about enough of the stuff.

Given how my cats have been whining about wanting to go back outside, I'm sure they feel the same way.

   

Air Quality and You

Posted on September 6th, 2017

Dave!Well this sucks.

I think I might be dying. At least the smoke is making me miserable enough that I feel like I'm dying.

Believe it or not, the air quality is better today that it was yesterday... you can actually see the nearby hills. What you cannot see are mountains. The sky is just white when you go looking for them...

Missing Mountains!

Smokey Valley
To see the full resolution, click photo to embiggen.

   
You can kinda see hills there... but that's it...

Smokey Valley

   
I've been keeping the cats inside to protect their little lungs... no catio for you! They are not pleased. They just sit at the window being mad that I won't let them go outside...

Jake Wants my iPhone Camera

   
Jake eventually gave up and climbed on my lap for attention...

Jake Wants my iPhone Camera

   
Though it seems as thought he's finally getting wise to my photographing him...

Jake Wants my iPhone Camera

Jake Wants my iPhone Camera

Jake Wants my iPhone Camera

Jake Wants my iPhone Camera

   
Silly kitty.

Here's hoping tomorrow's air quality is better than today. I don't know how much more of this I can take.

   

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