Friday, January 2, 2015

Cover Up

There are many things in life that are just unavoidable and yet thoroughly disgusting. Pooping of course is one of these unavoidable things, and pooping in public restrooms or at someone's home makes this necessity just that much more uncomfortable. Recently, just before Christmas, I was looking something up on Youtube and while waiting for the clip I intended to play to start an advertisement caught my attention; this is a rare occurrence as I get very annoyed at forced advertising. The advertisement was for a product by the name of Poopurri, not a name that would have really stood out to me, but the opening of the forced-advert definitely is an attention grabber. Please check it out for yourself So after watching the entire advert, which is a little over 2 minutes, I decide to share this bizarrely funny clip on Facebook. There wasn't much of a reaction from my FB friends, and that is O.K. because I wasn't the maker of the clip or the product and the clip wasn't super hilarious, yet a few days after Christmas I received this product as a gift. There are several variants of this product and I received 'The Royal Flush'. Obviously everyone wants to know if it works, even though the commercial clearly claims that it does. I am pretty sure no one wants to answer that question 'does it work?' as it is a clear admission of being a pooper, a smelly pooper at that; at least that was my reaction to one of the gift senders inquiries. I let the inquisitor know that I had not tried it, this at the time was true, and that I felt 'pressured to preform', and asked how detailed of a review was required of me, and if a picture would help clarify anything that I wasn't able to describe well enough with words. No pictures have been requested, yet in an effort to strive for excellence I have provided photos below.
Product/Gift I received
The Product instructions suggest spraying the surface of the water 4-6 times prior to use/pooping. Above is a picture of a full 6 pump sheen. Yes, I cleaned my toilet before taking this picture, and yes it's because I didn't want to be judged for any imperfections caused from past use.

The first time I didn't read the bottle I just sprayed a single pump and did my business, and I'll admit I wasn't impressed. Oh don't scrunch up your nose,frown, or judge at this admission. I read the instructions and was prepared for the next...session. I read some other interesting things on the bottle as well that I'd like to share and comment on. First, 4-6 sprays per use seems excessive since the bottle is very small. Second, it warns to avoid eye contact, not to ingest, and for external use only. EXTERNAL USE ONLY! Is this really necessary, is someone really trying to preemptively apply this product? My thought as I read this sitting on the thrown was 'oh crap', no pun attended, 'back-splash. What happens with back-splash?' Let's just say I was reluctant to...release, and find out. The good news is everything appears to be as advertised; the product does have a positive effect on odor. I will not be going into the effectiveness of this product in extreme circumstances such as differing...consistencies, or lack there of. I will note that the sheen I applied for the purposes of the picture did not remain wide spread and collected more to the center after about 5 minutes, I wasn't watching the clock, so I assume it won't work very well the next time the bomb-bay doors open up to release their payload. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

High School Reunion

Recently my wife and I attended her 20 year high school reunion. I honestly was not looking forward to going to this event as my opinion of such things is on the negative side. We had attended her 10 year reunion, which really doesn’t seem that long ago, and I didn’t really enjoy myself as there seemed to be some of the same old cliché cliques that for some reason thought the reunion was their own personal party that some of us just happened to show up to. I didn’t even bother showing up to my 10 year high school reunion; it’s the same high school but I graduated the year after my wife, so I didn’t imagine it would be much different. So my 20 year reunion is up next, and I have no intention on attending, but this doesn’t mean my wife’s  20 year was bad.
Prior to even leaving for the airport I was having anxiety, and a darn right negative attitude about the whole trip. I figured the 20 year wouldn’t be much different than the 10 year, and worse still one of us could cross paths with someone holding a grudge; not that I feel we’ve made any big enemies. I had discussed all my various issues of returning to my childhood hometown with my therapist prior to the trip, yet it was insight given to me in the last session before the trip while discussing a different subject that I had a moment where the advice all made sense and the applications were very clear. While parking I was still refining the idea and I decided I wasn’t attending this shindig for the rude people, or the cliques I wasn’t part of, or to have people kiss my ass, or to kiss other people’s asses; I’d let other people keep their problems even if they wanted me to share those problems with me. While there may have been clique-bitches (male and/or female) there I didn’t really notice, and was focused on interacting with the people I wanted to interact with. I even talked to some people I didn’t think would ever want to talk to me, and all of these people initiated the conversations; so that was nice. I got to talk to old friends as if time had never passed, and that was awesome. We stayed past 11 P.M. and for us at a social gathering was almost out of character. The next morning a small group of our friends met up for breakfast which for me felt really good as it was a reminder or positive reinforcement that I have friends out there that do like me, and they might even care about me; I care about them.
I could spend a little time complaining about a few things I didn’t like about the reunion, but that would get in the way of my message that the good experiences outweighed the bad ones, and if me, my wife, and our friends are all blessed we will be able to meet up again in the future.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Critical Mass

Currently I have a group of family, mostly consisting of cousins, on my father's side that want to get together for a sort of family reunion. This is a fairly good idea to get together with people that have similar backgrounds, sense of humors, and memories of the past together. The plan is to meet up in Southern California and go to Disneyland, which we have done before years ago, but this time it has been suggested that we all rent a house together. The group house is really the main issue for me, and I have no intention to take part of the group home.

 It seems to me that with families similar to mine it would be better suited renting a house, or rather a special compound built specifically for such gatherings; preferably located in an isolated area far from civilization or at least away from peace loving people or creatures that may become excited by the sounds of mayhem and/or violence. Otherwise passersby or anyone within earshot may misconstrue our assemblage as a halfway-house for the chronically belligerent. The idea is to allow the occupants of the compound to immerse themselves in one another's company and all the emotional baggage they individually bring with them in a sort of ruff and tumble cluster of sharing. Every evening the optimal experience will result in the occupants participating in an impromptu 'Primal Scream' session, which will require a lot of pointless yelling and shouting; although I'm sure some people will actually try in vain to resolve some issues during this time, and honestly why not? It should be stated that endless screaming between people will not resolve problems and/or issues and is pointless as a way of communication. The end result of the 'Primal Scream' should ultimately be to produce a state of extreme exhaustion and calm; some may feel like an ancient itch has just been scratched. It should be clear by now why isolation is key.

I envision the best sort of compound would have a lot of padded walls, doors, and unbreakable dishes; much like a insane asylum...but different. It seems like a compound for the highly charged family there would be a need for healthy physical activity and to this end I imagine a foamy amalgamation wonderland modeled after the obstacle courses of 'American Gladiator', 'Wipe out', 'Double Dare', and for those type-A nut jobs that have to win at everything a 'Ninja Warrior' elimination competition; "there can only be one!".

With any family reunion I think the main point is to come away with a more fulfilled sense of self, as well as establish a stronger function of family; or at least maintain the relationship. I can agree with these sentiments, yet to paraphrase Xun Zi 'pride and excess bring disaster', and also I'd like to point out the wisdom that even other sharks are at risk of attack in a swarm of other sharks once blood is in the water; the trick to shark diving I suspect is similar to managing radiation exposure: Time, distance, and shielding. I like the idea that if I was ever wealthy I would add a contingency to my last will and testament that would require a select group of "preferred" family members to spend a month together in a vacation home to determine what inheritance they would receive. The first person to leave before the month ends would receive the least, and the last person to survive would receive the most but the overwhelming holdings would then be given to a charity of my selection; yet if the group could stick out the whole month together the participants would be given equal shares of a huge award, which would be larger than what the 'winner' would have received in the elimination scenario thus reinforcing the idea that a family unified is stronger and better off. 

Monday, February 18, 2013


Warning: If you grew up in the 1990's and your parent were hippies this post may cause you to have some kind of psychotic episode.
Last night we watched 'Gentlemen Broncos' via Netflix and although the movie was very strange it still had entertaining qualities. The most disturbing residual of the experience was seeded a long time ago and deeply buried within my psyche resurrecting through any and all mental blocks at hearing music in the movie. I have looked up the music in question so that you, the reader, can share in my pain. Basically anything from Ray Lynch, but more specifically the tracks named; 'The Oh of Pleasure', and 'Celestial Soda Pop' are the musical suspects. I'll boiling it down for those of you who can't listen to a sample online; it's the equivalent to musical carob; not quite what it pretends to be, or in this case it's not quite music. It's not that I thought the music wasn't appropriate for the sci-fi scenes in the movie, in fact I thought it was a perfect fit, rather it awakened an internal disturbance from the past. As a teenager I was awaken occasionally on the weekends to the sounds of Ray Lynch, although I didn't know the name of the artist, the tracks, or even the genre of the music at the time, it has stayed with me, dormant. I've searched my feelings as to why hearing something from so far in my past would bother me so much here in my present and I can't say I totally understand it, but it seems clear to me something is certainly wrong. I've wondered if the issue with the strange hippy music is that it woke me up when I didn't want to be disturbed or maybe my mother was communicating with the universe with her crystals those mornings and I suppose I wasn't in harmony causing a conflict within, or maybe I just can't stand that crap and that's why it annoys me.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Becoming an Uncle

On this day, February 4th, back in 1998 I officially became an Uncle. It was a strange thing becoming an uncle as I found myself feeling a comfortable sense of purpose, and an immediate bond of unconditional love. I still remember the first time those little arms attempted to hug me as hard as they could in a deliberate attempt to convey how much she loved me. I have a lot of memories of my niece Alyssa, but that hug is one of my favorites. I've made it through several of these birthdays since her untimely departure focusing on the happy memories, but not this one; this one I miss her too much, and that makes me sad.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Turtle Head

I've been annoyed lately with all the political propaganda being put up on Facebook as we head toward the November 6th election. It's not that I have a favorite candidate but one side is more actively annoying. There hasn't been much if anything that has swayed me, and I don't believe anything that has been posted nor do I want to believe the people posting it believe it either. There are facts out there about candidates and then there is speculation and speculation is exactly that; a guess. So why is there so much crap out there that has so little to do with fact? I suppose it's all about the fear tactics. My take on the election is simply; has President Barrack Obama done a good enough job to be reelected? I of course have an informed opinion based on facts, but I doubt that anybody gives two cents about my conclusion; most likely in the same way I feel about the political Facebook spam I've been hiding and blocking. I will say that I am ultimately disappointed that we the people of the United States of America have yet to do something AMAZING when it comes to our self governance. Don't you think that two parties is just a little to close to one? I have offended plenty of people when I tell them that I don't see much of any difference between career politicians of either party, and I doubt any of the entrenched "leader's" political interest represent their constituents. Then of course the reply is almost always that 'it is important to pick the lesser of the two evils'; I feel they missed my point completely. Isn't the power maintained by the Democrats and Republicans based on the cooperative efforts to deflect and fix the attention of their supporters on the opposing party? I think it's worked so well that they have even got people believing that they are our leaders instead of our elected representatives; they are not one and the same. What am I advocating? The end of the strangle hold the two party system has had on our government. I am tired of hearing that unless I vote for Red or Blue I am just throwing my vote away. I don't believe each vote that doesn't go toward Democrat or Republican parties are wasted or don't count; a vote is a vote. There is no real reason why 3, 4, or more parties wouldn't work or even be beneficial to our system of government.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Yogurt the Greek, Or a Very Boring Review of Yogurt

I started eating Greek Yogurt and I have found there is a real difference in brands.

The first brand I tried was Chobani and although there are many flavors and it is thinker and creamier than standard yogurt I did have a problem with an unfavorable odor; it's something in between sweety feet and hot garbage. I found the Cherry was the worst offender when it came to weirdness.

The second brand tried was Dannon Okios. There maybe other flavors available than Strawberry, Vanilla, Blueberry, and plane, yet none of the stores I shop at have a greater variety than the four flavors I've listed.
Okios is only slightly thicker and creamer than standard yogurt, and that could just be my mental effort to cover up any feeling of getting ripped off. I don't find Okios smelly, and it's usually fairly decent.

The third brand I tried was Fage. Fage seems to have a limited selection of flavors, or at least at the stores I shop at, but thus far I have only tried the Strawberry. Fage is thick and creamy and by far my favorite. Fage is usually the most expensive, but I have found it at Costco for way less than the Grocery store. If I find any problems with the other flavors from my Costco flat I'll post an update via comment.

The forth brand I've tried is the Yoplait 100 calorie Greek Yogurt. Although I've only tried the Strawberry I think I can say I'm not going to try any other flavors. The Yoplait is not very thick and I'm not that thrilled with the flavor.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Medal of Freakdom

A few weeks ago I found a lump on my lower right chest which concerned me. I wasn't too concerned that it was cancer, but with my genetic makeup I was and am concerned that I could develop more lumps. I went to the doctor this last Monday just to be sure it wasn't something bad as I'm not big on diagnosing myself. The doctor told me I have a Lipoma, a benign fatty tissue tumor, so nothing to worry about. My problem with this lump comes from the fact that my father is riddled with these f-ing lumps, like freak-show time. I suppose I could have asked to have my quarter-size micro-Kuato removed, but then I thought about the little jello sack and what it meant or could mean. Isn't this disturbing badge of strangeness worth retaining? I chose, yes. Now when I take off my shirt in public I'm telling, nay warning the world 'I am a genetic freak, fear me, FEAR ME!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Seattle to Victoria

Recently my wife, Sam, and I set out on a planned adventure to Victoria, British Columbia. We were only there for a few days, but we had a good time. Even though Sam and I have both been to Victoria before; in fact we were on the same band trip back in 1993 when we were both still in high school. Victoria seemed quite different for some reason; buildings we remembered to be in seemingly different locations, streets we didn't seem to have noticed or remembered have evidently existed all along, and in one case an area I remembered from my childhood on my first trip was completely gone and redeveloped. Another thing that was very different for us this time was we were in control of our journey, lodging, and entertainment, which meant I needed to do some research before heading out. This is what I learned.

Venturing to Canada isn't like going to an alien world or anything, but is kind of like stepping into a bizarro world where everything is the same as home, yet still quite a bit different. Somethings are definitively better, yet there are somethings that made me feel much better once I was back home in the good old U.S. of A, like higher speed limits posted in MPH, and Constitutional Rights. There are a few ways for the international traveler to get from Seattle to Victoria. First there is the Victoria Clipper passenger ferry which leaves from Pier 69 in Seattle which is convenient departure point, and is a fairly quick way to get there, but at a starting price of $99 (U.S.) round trip per/person it is a bit expensive. An even more expensive way but probably the quickest way to get from Seattle to Victoria is by sea-plane, and even though Kenmore Air takes off from South Lake Union in Seattle and Lands in the inner harbor of Victoria the cost of around $300 per person is steep by my standards. Something worth thinking about when considering taking the Victoria Clipper or sea-plane is where you want to go while in Victoria; if you are only going to be milling around downtown Victoria  the Clipper or air may be the choice for you, but if you are planning on going else where like Butchart Gardens it might be worth taking your car as a bus tour from Downtown Victoria to the gardens will cost around $50 per person; and Public Transportation would take a very long time. There are the ferry options to get across the water to Vancouver Island if one decided to drive. The more ridiculous option is the Blackball/Coho ferry out of Port Angeles, WA which cost $61.50 (U.S.) per vehicle and $17 (U.S.) per passenger each way, so not only is it expensive it is also an extraordinary long drive to get to Port Angeles from Seattle; and it's an added cost to take the Bainbridge Island ferry to get across to the Olympic side of the sound. I chose to take the Anacortes Ferry to Sidney, B.C. which was $77.85 each way for 1 car and 2 total passengers. I strongly suggest that if one planned to take the Anacortes/Sidney Ferry to make a reservation with the Washington State Ferry system via or by calling   1-888-808-7977. The sailing from Anacortes is very picturesque, and takes about 2 1/2 hours; it's a little over 4 hours with the 90 minute drive from Seattle. All ferry business whether Washington State Ferry or Blackball is done in U.S. dollars or in Canadian dollars with a exchange fee. Also if driving a car consider parking fees, yet as we stayed at a nice hotel it was only $16 a day for parking; I am sure less expensive parking could be found.  Getting from Sidney to Victoria is easy and is only about a 20 minute drive. One of the many little differences in Canada is they use the metric system and that includes road signs, yet since most cars display Km/hr (Kilometers per hour) it's really not that difficult to adjust.
The options for lodging appear to be wide and various, and I can only suggest doing what we did and select a somewhat centrally located hotel that is within your budget. We only drove to Butchart Gardens and we walked everywhere else.

One might wonder what is so special or rather what there is to do in Victoria once you've arrived. Obviously one thing to do is immerse yourself in the Canadian culture and notice all the little differences; like how most people are friendly and polite, that's different. There is a multi-level museum downtown near the harbor, also known as the Royal British Columbia Museum; it's interesting. If that isn't your cup of tea maybe make a reservation to have High Tea, a truly victorian experience, at the Fairmont Empress Hotel; it is a bit expensive. If treating yourself to tea sounds like a good idea yet you don't want to spend a bunch of money I suggest once again doing what we did and find a less expensive alternative; we went to a place called Murchie's, which not only sells tea, coffee, and traditional tea treats, they also sell tea sets and other brewing related stuff.

 The big tourist attraction is of course Butchart Gardens, but it's not Disneyland. If the subject of gardening causes you immense mental discomfort, or you otherwise have little to no interest in flowers, bushes, and/or trees DO NOT make the effort to visit Butchart Gardens as you most likely will start eating the flowers from boredom or insanity. If your the kind of person who loves spending hours and hours working on your garden or if you just appreciate pleasant looking things then it might be worth the rather steep admission fee of $29.60. On the bright side the hours are extremely generous open to as late as 10 P.M. in the summer. The snack bar is surprisingly above average just in case a snack is needed. You maybe asking yourself 'what kind of time one would spend at a place like this?', and all I can say is that it is all relative; we aren't big plant people and we stayed for just over 2 hours before feeling like it was time to go. 
If you find you run out of things to look at I suggest taking a look at the Canadian money, it's very different. The Queen ages on the coins showing her likeness at the time the coin was pressed. I know, not very interesting but hey, it's Canada. 

After a weekend in Victoria you might find as I did that is the kind of place you don't really have a problem leaving, yet it was pleasant enough you'll feel like returning. I look forward to travelling to Victoria again, and maybe next time we'll take the Victoria Clipper.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Plumbers and Harpoons

This Sunday the wife let me know the drain wasn't working very well when she was taking a shower. I decided to put some laundry detergent down the drain and checked it after a while but no increase in drainage occurred. Why detergent? I used to clean the drains in my last residence which had chronic clogging problems with detergent and it usually helped. The next step was to go to the store and get some Drano, and long story short, it didn't work. I noticed after running the water in the kitchen the bathtub in the bathroom, of course, had water in it where as it didn't moments before. This was a disturbing realization as it meant all water would flow backward through the tub drain. Yikes! Also this meant no toilet. 'No toilet' is the key terms that signal when it is time to call a plumber. Surprisingly even in the modern metropolis of Seattle it is very hard to find a plumber on Sunday, and after calling several plumbers, over six, with good reviews on Yelp and no responses we called one of the Plumbers in the yellowpages that stated they were available Sunday. One of the first things the person on the phone said to my wife was that it was going to cost $100 just to come and look at the problem, and after the actual plumber showed up I had to show him where the clean-out was, because he couldn't find it. I was informed that to run a snake would be $477. I had to repeat the amount because I couldn't believe it, but he was there and I wasn't sure that we could get another plumber to show up or that we could go without a toilet for a day, so I gave the 'go head'. Unfortunately I assumed rather erroneously that the $477 included the $100 show up fee and tax, but that wasn't the case. We were harpooned for the gargantuan sum of $630 just to have a plumber run a roto rooter snake down our drain, but wait there's more. The guy who couldn't find the clean out 3' in front of him continued to try to sell a video survey of the drain for an extra $150, or else he couldn't guarantee the clean out. Maybe I don't have to say it, but I passed on the expensive sewer video. On the bright side the plumber did point out a leak in the drain from the kitchen I wasn't aware of. After the Whaler A.K.A. the plumber got in his truck and left I investigated the leak from the kitchen and found it was coming from under the sink. The odd thing was it was a really bad leak but it didn't flow out into the kitchen. Today, Monday, I tackled fixing the kitchen sink leak but found an old galvanized fitting that had corroded away that I was unable to break loose. I did my best to mend the situation and put everything back together. The result is the leak is a much slower drip instead of a flowing stream, and the landlord will be coming by this week to see what he can do.