I Am on the Road to Perdition–Redux

The following is a MySpace post from 2008. Changing the house air filter reminded me of it. I still hate myself when I think about this.


Yesterday, I pretended to be “disabled” in order to get help. I know, I know, it was wrong to do. That is why I am going to hell. So, before Old Nick appears before me in a big puff of smoke and grabs me to pull me down into the pit amongst the worst people that were on the earth, I must relate what I did, lest thou be tempted to repeat mine folly. So before I catch a whiff of sulphur, I pray thee, listen now to what I must say.

This sin had its beginnings three weeks ago. If you don’t know, that is when there were several forest fires in Northern California. If you don’t know, California is dry. The rain stops in April and doesn’t return until October or November. So, for the most of the year, the native grass is dry and thus is easy tinder. (2014 note: California is in a severe drought so the fires are even more likely) For meteorological reasons, thunderstorms appear but they are typically just ‘dry’ lightning strikes. Such bolts of electricity coupled with tinder dry underbrush is perfect for combustion. The fires raged and the smoke settled in to our valley. The TV weather people were practically orgasmic with their descriptions of acreage consumed and the daily air quality forecast. (Sidebar: On the local news stations, the weather is a major topic that tops the newscast. The weather hardly varies within a season, mind you so anything different makes the top of the news cast.) The air was extremely bad—it was better to stay indoors than spend any time outside. To help clean things up, I decided to get an air purifier to reduce the amounts of stuff making its way into our house. I ended up getting an honest to goodness HEPA filter purifier. According to the blurb on the box, it will remove 99.997% of the smoke particles as well as pet dander, dust mites and other stuff. Hell, it was even approved by the American allergist association or Americans with allergies, I can’t remember which one it was but they had an official-looking seal so it must have been legit. I hoped it would work on the smoke from the numerous fires. It did. It worked really well, the indoors were much better. So, the facts thus far, smoke—gone, me—hell. Ok?

The little air purifier has a sensor on it that monitors airflow so when the pre-filter is full and ready to be replaced, a light goes on. The little light was blinking indicating the filter had give up the ghost and had to be replaced. Therefore, new pre-filter was added to the shopping list. I had a busy day yesterday so I took a ‘personal’ day to get all that stuff done. I had a dentist’s appointment first off. I like to go early to the dentist so the day isn’t worried away. It was supposed to be simple, a quick filling and off I would go. But, once my dentist saw the tooth, a filling wouldn’t do it. Apparently there was a defect in the tooth so a filling would not last long; it would need a crown eventually. I made the decision to go ahead and get the crown installed. To spare the squeamish, I had the work done and it necessitated four shots of the local anesthetic. Typically, two shots of Novocaine would be needed but I happen to be allergic to it so a different compound was needed. It doesn’t work as well in blocking the calcium channels so more must be used. My mouth was really numb. Or more accurately: my mouf bas beabby bumb. I got the temporary crown and went on with the rest of my day.

So, to recap (ha, get it?) smoke—gone, temporary—installed, me—hell. I went to the food store, picked up some stuff, you don’t want to hear about, and needed to go to the home improvement store to get the pre-filter. My mouth was still numb from the other stuff, though while it burns while being injected, it does work. And it also lasts a really long time. I got into the home improvement store and found the air filters. But the replacement pre-filters on the shelf had completely sold out, but all was not lost, they had a full box on the top, and I mean the very top of the shelf. Great. I was tired and hungry and wanted to get home.

I have this little thing I can do. If I move my jaw just right, I can make my right hearing aid squeal. I can make it squeal on and off like a little squealing tune. It gets me stares at fancy restaurants because it might squeal when I chew. Oh well, it makes me laugh. The squeal bothers others much more than it bothers me.

So, I am at the home improvement store, looking to get help. I couldn’t find help. I almost half expected to see tumbleweeds rolling down the aisle. The store was bereft of staff, I suppose due to the current state of the economy. I waited. I waited….finally someone came by just as I was stretching my jaw thus causing my hearing aid to squeal. The employee stopped and took a look. I must have looked really pathetic as he came over to ask if I needed help. I pointed up at the stack of pre-filters on the really high shelf and, for some reason, and as I write this I still don’t know why, but with the aid of my numb mouth, it sounded like I had a significant speech impediment.

Here is the evil bit—I played it up in order to, oh, I don’t know, ‘guilt’ the employee in helping me. Well he did. With me standing there with my hearing aid squealing away, (I couldn’t get it to stop), the employee actually hustled off and found one of those really big ladders on wheels and got one of the pre-filters off of the really high shelf. Keeping up the charade, I said “fank bew” The employee gave me the ‘…there you go, you poor disabled guy, you’ nod and went back to whatever he was doing. At least my hearing aid stopped squealing (I had to reboot it a few times. It IS a little computer by the way so it DOES need rebooting). So, smoke—gone, temporary—in, pre-filter—got, me—hell.

My confession is now complete. I sit here now waiting for the sky to darken, the ground to rend and the Devil himself to appear and escort me to the Pit, to Hades, to Sheol, to Hell to atone for eternity because I sinned horribly and I impersonated a disabled person. So before I smell the sulphur and feel fetid breath on my neck, head my warnings! Do not follow my stead and commit the sin I committed. Just remember, smoke—gone, temporary—in, disabled—impersonated, pre-filter—got, pre-filter—bought, me—hell. Learn from my example, dear reader and tempt not the Evil One.

I sit and wait my punishment.


WordPress, when 140 Characters Are Not Enough

I finally got some time and sat down to write a couple of posts.

One post was on my twenty years experience with mobile (cell) phones. The second was some thoughts on WW I as the 100 year anniversary of its start is next year.

I had gotten nearly 3000 words for each topic down, I had some good photos added when the damn WordPress program crashed and I lost both posts. Screw it.

It’s times like this I miss the old MySpace wherein I could post thousands of words, add some video, photos and read the comments.

WordPress is just awful. For shame. Your app suck-diddley-uks. I’m gonna give up on this and just get another cup of coffee. I’ll post after the next WordPress update “fixes” the crashing problems.


Snapshot From the Past

Back in the 1980s I had the great fortune of traveling to Scotland for work. I’d work from nine a.m. to four-thirty p.m. and had weekends free. I was working out of East Kilbride which is sort of between Glasgow and Edinburgh. I stayed in a great hotel with a grand name: The Crutherland Country House Hotel. The place was great. I may have been young way back then, but I still had a great appreciation for being there. I mean, we homo sapiens have lived in that part of the world for a very long time. I truly felt that sense of history when I went to Scotland.

I am from California, third generation actually, so really old things are not the norm. Sure, there are missions and forts (from my hometown, Sutter’s fort) and such but nothing really as what is still standing in the UK. It was a rather short drive from my hotel south to Hadrian’s Wall. (Hadrian’s Wall–a fortification built by the Romans to keep the Scots out.) If I decided to go north I’d end up in Loch Ness, the home of the monster. I went there as well, no monster seen but still rather attractive place to visit. I found it interesting that it was not very wide but it is rather long.

Between the two cities I found an abandoned cottage that caught my eye. I had my Minolta X-700 camera loaded with Tri-X Pan film, a rare (for me) 36 exposure roll. I just had to photograph that cottage. Given that film needed to be developed, using a 36 exposure roll was a big deal. Typically I’d shoot a 24 roll as it was less expensive to have developed. Still, I was very careful with the shots as I’d have to pay the same for a good shot as a bad one. So please consider one of those shots from my 1980s trip to Scotland.

Until again.