Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Trip, Sasha Grey, and Cats

I went back to Kansas over the weekend to visit my amazing friends and family. The ride home from Northwest Arkansas is really boring as it is a 3.5 hour straight-shot drive with no scenery other than a giant mushroom statue and a few porn shops. The CD player on my car is broken so I have to resort to the radio. My only other options are singing or trying to have a rap battle with myself in the car, which always ends up with me just "rapping" about the things I see on the road:

The lines on the highway 
They go sideways
Cars on the other side
They're comin' my way
Here's highway Double D
That's like boobies
That chick driving next to me
Is Sloth from the Goonies

Once that gets old I turn on the radio and browse through the 10,000 religious stations from here to Kansas City (my trip is basically driving along the Bible Belt). I learned this: "Men are SO stupid. They all believe that porn girls on the internet ACTUALLY like them. *snooty laugh*" And that is coming from a dude. I kind of feel bad for him, I think he is missing the point of porn entirely. On an unrelated note, Sasha Grey wants me, bad.

I have been in Arkansas, alone, friendless, for the past few weeks and so Friday night I was acting VERY goofy and enjoying myself very much. It's like I was high on friendship (I was going to go with "friend-gasm," but that term conjures up an entirely different image). After watching Hotel for Dogs, Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, and Twelve Monkeys back-to-back, we had a power hour to 80's music. If you've never had a power hour, you take a shot of beer every minute for an hour, which sounds super easy, but it's not. Promise. Our version consisted of a CD of 60 one-minute clips of 80's songs. I recommend you make your own power hour CD and invite me over.

When the song "Maniac" by Flashdance came on the power hour CD I decided to try and dance the whole minute like the chick on the video, but ONLY the part from 0:43 to 0:50. Except I was wearing pants. Needless to say, I didn't accomplish anything other than getting laughed at and sloshing 40 shots of beer around in my belly.

Sunday, while I was nursing my aching calves, my friends' cat came out to say hi while we were watching TV and eating old pizza. This cat is the most affectionate cat I've every met. Most cats I know walk up to you, wanting to be petted and then after exactly 1/4 second walk away and don't want to be bothered. They are total teases. But not Beatrice. She's more of an in-your-face cat, who loves to be touched more than Sasha Grey. (<---- Clicking on that link to her IMDb page shows 201 titles since 2006 - that's a lot of "work." She's recession-proof!) Anyway, Beatrice visited me on the armrest of the chair and, after a good rub-down, decided she was spent. This is her afterward:

"More, please."

I was pretty amused by this pose, so I snapped a shot and so I looked online for others and, after extensive research, came up with this, this, and this. However, Beatrice is a decidedly more attractive specimen. And I mean that in the least bestialical way possible.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Boo Radley Lives in my Duplex - Random Treasures Found in my Home!

I feel like Scout and Jem Finch in my duplex, but I have yet to determine who my Boo Radley is. The reason I say this is that I keep finding random items in the strangest places around my new home, kind of like how Scout and Jem kept finding gifts in the tree in To Kill a Mockingbird. I bet whoever left me all these gifts eats cats and squirrels too.

I was decorating my new kitchen shortly after I moved in. I put up a Jayhawk to watch over all my dishes and appliances, along with a squishy stress-relieving dog to make sure no one breaks in and tries to make a sandwich. That's when I noticed something shiny atop the cabinets.

Mystery item circled and arrowed

I reached my hand up there and patted around until I felt something. It was metal and had some weight to it, but I was a little surprised when I grabbed it and brought it down. What was hiding above my cabinets was this:

Found in this exact position

Yes, it is a knife that kind of looks like a gun. I could have easily cut myself reaching up blindly for it, but luckily I have titanium-like skin. As creepy as the knife is, I still decided to play with it for a while. There were various buttons on the side, and when I pushed one of them, the blade flew out the side. It's a switchblade! I have no idea the history of this knife, or why someone decided to put it on top of the counter, out of sight and reach, but now I'm SURE that my Boo Radley eats cats and squirrels. 

I'm pretty happy about finding the knife though, because so far I have used it approximately 1000 times. It has come in handy when opening boxes, cleaning gunk off of tools, and cutting wires. Perhaps young Mr. Radley foresaw my need for such a tool...

Continuing to scout the place out in search of any other goodies, I opened up the cabinets under the sink, expecting to find nothing more than water damage. But fortunately, Boo has left me with this:

It kind of looks like standard pipes and chemicals found under your average sink. That's what I thought at first, but then I took a closer look at one of the "pipes" and had to bring it out for closer examination.

"Down the hatch!"

A cheapo beer bong. This thing must have been old because it fell apart when I picked it up, and judging by the amount of brownish residue, it had served a full and useful life. Also under the sink was some bug killer.

It is about 1/3 full, meaning most of it is probably along the perimeter of my floors. I haven't seen a single bug since I've lived here though, so the stuff must work. Although it IS winter, so they're probably just hibernating, waiting until it warms up to drop me a visit.

Lastly, I found a Hamilton Beach Hand Blender under the sink.

There is a garage sale sticker on it that originally read "$1" but someone wrote an "m" after it, probably meaning "million," because it's really hard to find garage sale stickers that go that high. I can only assume that Boo went to a garage sale, paid a million bucks for this hand blender, and placed it under my sink where I would eventually find it. 

My cupboard was completely empty except for a few items:


They are 3 cans of peaches, all different brands. This is perhaps the most difficult of Boo Radley's messages to decipher. Why 3 cans? Why different brands? Why are they bunched together and off-center? Am I supposed to set up a Pepsi Challenge type scenario and see which brand reigns supreme? None of them are expired, but all of them are close so if I'm going to set up a booth in the park to test the taste buds of the general public I'd better do so soon.

I also found a burned CD loaded with Lil Wayne's "No Ceilings." I won't include a picture because a writable CD makes for a rather boring image. Was this CD simply a gift from Boo because he thought I would enjoy the witty and vulgar stylings of Mr. Wayne, or was there a deeper message? Perhaps "No Ceilings" means I'm supposed to go into the attic to find the grand prize. But since I don't have a ladder and am about to go to bed, that adventure will have to wait for another day. 

So as a brief review of my gifts, I have gotten a gun-like switchblade, a cruddy old beer bong, some bug killer, a sweet hand blender, 3 cans of peaces, and a Lil Wayne CD. It seems like Boo wants me to concoct a poisonous beverage with the peaches and bug killer, blend it with the blender, and bong it while listening to Lil Wayne with the knife as back-up, but I don't know... What do you think?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thrift Store Adventures: Book Edition Vol. 1!

One of my favorite pastimes is visiting second-hand stores and, considering the high percentage of bumpkins and yokels in Arkansas, I usually come up fruitful. So in this portion of the site, I will be showing y'all (see, the hayseeds are rubbing off on me) some of my luckier finds! Don't get too jealous!

The book section is a great section in any thrift store. You could find a popular book you have been looking for (see below!), an extremely obscure book that is really funny to find out even exists, to really old books that you can only assume got there because someone's grandma died and her kids and grandkids ransacked her house and already kept or sold anything of value and then decided, "Well grandma can't read these where she's going, and these silly 'books' won't pay the child support. Hahahahaha." Grandkids are assholes. Even if they DO donate to Goodwill. Anyway, what I mean to say is that you can find some gold in the book section.

The first book that caught my eye on today's adventure was Does a Wild Bear Chip in the Woods? I guess it is a book about golf or something, but what interested me was the cover.

Finally, Pedobear spotted in the wild!

It's a guy in business casual watching a bear play golf while "hiding" behind a tree. I guess I don't have much to say about this, but check out this awesome face:

"Duh, whaaa..."
A quick google search on the author finds this: "Lewis McDonald GrizzardJr. (October 20, 1946 – March 20, 1994) was an American writer and humorist, known for his Southern demeanor and commentary on the American South." Ahhh, the American South. So this is what I get to look forward to during my stay in Arkansas.

Next, we have New Recipes for the Cuisinart Food Processor. It's not all that impressive except for the fact that it is a Cuisinart cookbook from 1976. So you may be wondering why I would pay a whopping $0.25 for such an item. It was because of this man:

"Hey kiddies, your fingers go in here, like this."

That's one of the creepiest men I've ever seen, and he's on the cover of a cookbook no less! Does this cover whet anyone's appetite? Did people in 1976 have different ideas about food? Why is his bow-tie crooked? So many questions, but the book itself offers no answers. The recipes are okay though, he gives one particularly mouthwatering recipe: liver-spots and onions. I Googled "James Beard" and damn, this man is scary as shit.

I guess he has some foundation or something, but I didn't read about it. I was too busy crying.

EDIT: My dad made fun of me making fun of this creepy old man. Apparently James Beard is a cooking legend. And Dad made sure to emphasize "legend." I guess even legends sometimes use modest food processors. 

The next book is from 1998, titled Photoshop for the Web

In Photoshop, you can create dead birds with backwards bodies

The authors of this book were obviously way ahead of their time. From flipping through this book I can really see how amazing Photoshop really is. 

We can see here the use of shading. See, they made the bird have all sorts of crazy colors! Not only that, but they took the buzzword "web" and used THE BIRD as the TEXT COLOR!!!!! HahahaROFLthat'ssoamazing! I, for one, am amazed.

Marc Andreessen, however, remains unimpressed

I picked up a joke book (and JUST picked it up, mind you. I only BUY the good stuff, like Cuisinart guy up there) called Incredible Amazing Jokes, or something to that effect. It was a normal joke book with all the lame jokes you would expect from a kid's joke book. But this book had a strange abundance of canary jokes. "What the fuck are canary jokes?" you might ask, spryly. "Not a goddamned clue." I might reply, zestily. But if it's canary jokes you want, this book has 'em!

What the hell is that thing on the left?

The first two I can KINDA see as jokes I might hear on the school bus on my way to scope out the single ladies on the playground, but the last one? Makes no fucking sense. Can someone please explain to me what's funny about a canary babysitting an elephant? Is it the visual imagery it creates? Because that image is mildly humorous, at best. Is it the fact that it is Saturday night and we are to assume the elephant's parents are going to an orgy where they will be loved and praised for their trunks, which are "ribbed for her pleasure?" I am going with the fact that the canary needs extra money because he is poor, and poor people are always a laugh. 

Finally, I found a book that I am actually pretty proud of finding. Stephen King's Under the Dome in paperback, and in pretty decent condition. 


The book was $4.00, to which you may say, "But Woody, that's hardly a deal, considering you can easily get that book online for less." to which I will reply "Eat shit, jerk, once you factor in shipping costs and time of delivery it is hardly worth it! Plus, my book came with an amazing dog bookmark!" That's right. My cheap $4.00 book that I actually wanted came (almost assuredly by mistake) with a free magnetic bookmark.

Awwww it's so cute :)

Yes, I am the proud owner of this little marker of pages. One side has a little puppy-wuppy, and the other side goes on to say "good dog!" and offer the puppy a few treats. Take a look at it in action!

I can pretend he's narrating the story

This bookmark will come in handy during my journey through Stephen King's world, when I'm feeling isolated and alone, or nervous for the future of the beloved characters in the book. This puppy will assure me that it's all right, nothing to worry about! I love my new bookmark and will cherish it forever. 

Entry 1.5: "My Duplex Gets Burglarized" or "How I'm Retarded and Fail at Life, and Am Not Proud of it One Bit"

I got home from work today like any normal day; I glared at all the little kids galavanting in the streets, cursing the fact that I live right by a school, and shooed the cats from my yard. But today was different. My front door was wide open..!! Obviously my first thoughts were that I had be robbed and I was thanking my quasi-lucky stars that I had gotten renters insurance the previous week. Heck, I could probably use the insurance money to buy better stuff anyway.

Slowly, I approached the door, clutching my Taco Bueno close to my chest. I peered inside and notice they didn't get my TV. It was probably too big for the jerky-ass burglar to sneak out with. I kept lurking in the house expecting my assailant to be doing the same. I went for my room where I kept my gun (which I have for THIS EXACT REASON!), but still no sign of the guy. I checked all the rooms for any sign of theft bad guys, but fortunately no one was around.

It finally dawned on me that my door is sometimes difficult to shut all the way, and I usually double check it but I was in a hurry today. What that means is that my door was open for 10 hours straight, allowing any bum/stray cat to wander on in to my warm duplex. It was warm because the furnace was trying its hardest to keep the temperature at 73 degrees. I do not look forward to receiving my heating bill this month, ugh.

In other news, I realize that I forgot to tell you the thrilling conclusion to my dire computer problem in the last post. I'm sure you were dying to find out! So to recap, my video card fries and I have no computer with which to enjoy the the services of Cox (lololololol). I remembered hearing that you can fix a bunk XBox by heating up its insides to a point at which the solder melts and reconnects to its respective node, so I thought the same method may apply to my video card. Heck, I didn't have much to lose, it was already trashcan-fodder. So I baked the card at about 350 for a while, let it cool, and voila! The card is like new again! It DID make the oven smell kinda weird, and I'll be wary the next time I make a pizza, but there's no such thing as a free lunch I guess.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Entry 1: Part 3 - The Final Part

Parts 1 and 2 below.

I don't have any friends down here yet, so when I heard that a coworker's band was playing at a bar in Fayetteville (about 30 minutes south of me) I figured it was the perfect opportunity to carouse and maybe find a lady friend. Well, what with security deposits, first and last months' rent, getting a new phone because T-Mobile no workie so good down here, paying off student loans, and basic living expenses, my bank account was running on fumes. Nevertheless, I figured a cheap night out watching a band and maybe having a couple drinks would be okay. I earned it, right?

I get to Fayetteville and park in the parking garage (I guess having to pay for parking is a very recent addition in Fayetteville) and proceed, by myself, to a bar I've never been to. I walk inside and some old guy is glaring at me expectantly. I say hi and he says there's a $5 cover. Well thanks to the parking garage I only had $4.05, so I tried to cut a bargain with him.

Me: "Well, I have about $4. Will that cut it?"

Geezer: "About $5 will cut it."

Me: "Oh, come on, you can let it slide this time right?"

Geezer: "The cover is $5."

Me: "I have money on my card, if I promise to buy drinks with it and tip, can you let me in for $4."

Geezer: "It's $5. Besides, if you spend money on drinks you'll have even less to pay cover with."

Me (under my breath): "Fuck you, old man. You make no sense."

I'm a bit steamed, but I head back outside to brave the weather and try to find an ATM in a town I've never been to. I figured that since I drove all this way, plus it being a Friday night and my coworker's band was playing, it might be worth it. I finally found an ATM and it charges me a $4 service fee. The steam continues to build.

I got back inside and hand Scrooge my $5 and decide to order a drink. A rum and coke. A normal rum and coke in a normal establishment is like $6, max. Well the bartender makes it and tells me it's $13, and with the customary $1 tip, I'm well on my way to blasting through all my bank account's fumes. I don't see anyone I know at the bar, and the crowd is all 40+, so I become the stereotypical wallflower and chug my overpriced drink to drown my sorrows.

After the show I finally meet up with some work friends and they invite me to a restaurant to eat and chat, which I agree to. "First," I say, "I must put money in my parking spot because it expires soon." I'm told that a ticket should only be like 4 bucks so I'm not too worried and head over to the restaurant, but another person tells me that if my car gets booted it is a $100 fine. Since my feeble bank account could handle no such stress, I went to check on my car. "It should be fine, I'm only 15 minutes late," I tell myself. But sure enough, there are 2 bright yellow boots on my tires and a sticker on the window telling me to call a number to get the boots removed for $100. I went back to my party and told them that I would not be joining them for tea and crumpets as my steam level had risen past the point of good spirits. I go back to my car and I call the number and am told it'll be $105 for them to come help me. I'm now fully prepared to overdraft my bank account.

Just then a security car pulls up and this nice old man gets out and asks to see my ticket. I pull the ticket out of my pocket to show him and he says, "Well you are supposed to place this ticket on the dashboard so we can see it." I tell him that I was just following the big sign that read, "HOLD ONTO TICKET AS PROOF OF PAYMENT." He tells me that I should have ignored that sign and followed the other sign saying to place it on my dashboard. I flash him a "really??" look and he assures me that he will remove the boots, noticing I have Kansas tags. He warns me that the other security guard is not as nice, and I thank him for understanding.

Just then my bank account gave a sigh of relief.

With the good news, I decide to go find my new work friends at the restaurant, but two of them are missing. After questioning their absence, I'm told that they rounded up $100 and were out looking for me to help me pay for my new boots, and it was as if all my steam had been released. I was very thankful, and enjoyed the rest of the evening. All's well that ends well I guess, right?

Entry 1: Part 2

Part 1 below.

So housing is really cheap here. In fact, it is 38% cheaper. I found a decently nice duplex (which is right down the street from Walmart) and I like it pretty well so far. I moved in right before Christmas. I didn't want to, but I also didn't want to keep paying to live in the crappy hotel I was staying in. Due to bad timing, the utility company would not turn on the heat until the Monday after Christmas, so it was VERY cold for my first leg of the journey . Not to mention that I couldn't get a moving truck that weekend because of the holiday. So I was sleeping on the floor in the cold (see "Survivorman" below).

The landlord put in new carpet and fresh paint before I moved in, so that was nice. What's not so nice is that the carpets shed like mad! Since I was sleeping on the floor, I would wake up covered in these tiny, shiny, gold fibers all over my body. They got everywhere, including my clothes so I'd have to go into my new job looking like I put on glitter or something. Clearly something had to be done. I went to Walmart and got a vacuum cleaner that had good ratings on and proceeded to fix this mess once and for all. Well about 1/3 the way through the room the vacuum cleaner was full - completely full - of these stupid hairs.

The PowerForce was doing its damn job

I don't think that top compartment is even supposed to have anything in it, let alone a million little fibers (funny reference lololololololol). So I cleaned it out and continued vacuuming the room. I decided it would be fun to collect all the sheddings and show my friends how cool I was, but I gave up after two loads when I started getting pissed off. 

Seriously, that's a LOT of hairs for like 60 square feet!

In the middle of my third attempt, the vacuum started whining a lot and the motor was slowing down, obviously not happy with such a daunting task on its first day of duty. It eventually stopped picking up hairs and the room was filling with a burning smell, so I opened up the instructions and proceeded to go through the troubleshooting section. All airways were clear, the filters were clean, and the spinny thing was spinning. According to the manual, the next step is to return the product, and considering the vacuum wasn't even a day old I bagged up the vacuum, grabbed the receipt and went back to Walmart to wait in the returns line. The week after Christmas.

Once it was my turn at customer service, I was not greeted kindly, nor celebrated for bringing in the receipt as I expected, but the first thing the cust serv chick did was open the flap on the vacuum box and point to a tiny little message that read "Do not return to the store. Call 1-800-blahblahblah." This message was not on the outside of the package, nor did I see it when I opened the box, so buyer beware I guess. I figured I'd call Bissell and they'd tell me to take it right back, so I called right in the store and they must have heard the busy background because they advised me to go home so I could troubleshoot the problem. After many grrrs and groans later, I decided to go home and call. 

After going through the troubleshooting process on the phone, I was told I'd have to drive 2 hours to bring it to a vacuum dealership to get it fixed. All for a >$50 vacuum cleaner! So I asked why I couldn't just return it to the store. after all, I had the receipt. She said "oh, well if it's within 90 days you can return the product to the store. This number is for products outside the 90 day window." More grrrs. I called up Walmart and (in a not-so-friendly manner) told the phone answerer my situation and she said, "well I don't know why the customer service associate didn't accept the return, bring it back in, it should be no problem." 

I packed it back up and waited in line again, and got a different person behind the counter. She tried to pull the same crap, but eventually a manager came out and after lots of unnecessary calling around I finally got my refund. Phew. Not so happy with Walmart's return policy. 

After all that I thought I'd pick up a shower curtain rod because I'd been taking showers without one. If you've never had to do this, I don't recommend it. It's not very relaxing trying to angle your body just right so water doesn't splash all over the place and at the same time cleanse your body. So I went to Lowe's (after decided against conducting any more business with Walmart) to get my curtain rod. It was a bit pricier but probably worth it; their customer service couldn't be worse than what I just experienced. I got home and the stupid curtain rod was broken. Grrr....

Entry 1: Part 1

Here I am in Northwest Arkansas. After 6 months of being unemployed after school at KU in Kansas I finally found a job in Rogers, AR. I now live in Bentonville, AR (yes, the home of Walmart) which is basically connected to Rogers.

Now, although this site is not all about life in NWA, part of it is. Especially this part. So the first thing I noticed when I moved down here was all the traffic. For a small(ish) city in the Arkansas Ozarks, I sure was surprised. I've been told it's due to all the Walmart traffic, and the fact that Rogers basically exploded in popularity over the past several years (heck, it's supposedly one of the best places to live!). I also found out that the reality TV family of 19 (and counting) the Duggars live just south of me, so I'm sure that generates plenty of traffic as well. The worst part of it is that no one around here seems to know how to drive! I thought Overland Park, KS drivers were bad, but these AR drivers are comparable to sharing the road with Mr. Miyagi (because he's dead, not because he's Asian. Jeez).

Anyway, I really hate traffic, but I digest. My main forms of entertainment are my computer, my XBox, and my internet. I find that I don't really watch much TV, and when I do it is stuff I can just watch on Hulu anyway. Even a pretty basic TV package is about $750 a year, so for me it's not worth it. Oh, and by this point my TV was still in Kansas, so when I ordered my package from Cox (hehe) I gladly checked "Internet Only." Besides, all I really need is my computer.

Unfortunately, when I moved down here my video card started going to shit on me. It was a pretty nice/expensive card when I got it, too (an Nvidia Geforce 9800GX2 for any of you nerds). It would show crazy red designs all over the screen and make it difficult to watch or read anything. it eventually completely died and would not display anything on the screen. Luckily, I had the internet, my XBox, and my computer monitor, so I had to MacGyver it and make do. It was a lot like Survivorman; I was barely surviving.