In Case You Had the Misfortune of Watching This…


For those not into bad dramas, vampires, True Blood had its grand finale Sunday night. For the first two seasons it was a silly but entertaining. Then the wretched and inexorable decline began. It was such a breath-taking level of suck but this season was the worst, with a finale so devoid of flair, continuity, and passion. There were a host of things wrong with the finale, particularly how agency was taken from the show’s main character, the incredibly annoying Sookie “Mary Sue” Stackhouse. The resolution of the plot concerning Eric and Pam (see photo above, long may they reign) was fine but overall the show dragged itself across the finish line with nothing more than a hint of what it was. On a show that once existed as a metaphor for acceptance of alternative lifestyles, they gave their heroine an insipid 1950s ending that Beverly Cleaver would have found cloying. Talk about betraying your audience. 

But on a couple web forums I’ve been on some fans are trying to make sense of it, to parse some reason from the bloody remains. It’s much like the twisted way that Star Wars fans try to work around George Lucas’ misunderstanding of the word parsecs. No. You can’t try to reverse-engineer a shit sandwich to make it taste like pizza fresh from the oven. As I said on one forum, trying to make sense of this and that on True Blood is not possible. True Blood operates on a kind of logic only found in the worst of soap operas. Logic so devoid of reason and sense it makes even Uwe Boll and Roland Emmerich say, “that shit’s fucked up”. Plot holes so large Roberto Orci, Damon Lindelof and Alex Kurtzman can only shake their heads in admiration. This is ineptitude on a scale that makes Italian bureaucrats weep. One can only step back and consider its magnitude.

That said, I would pay an advance ticket for anything that would feature Kristin Bauer van Straten and Alexander Skarsgård (again, photo above). Unless it were directed by Michael Bay…

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IPAs, Porters, and Stouts Oh My!


Here’s the view of the beer fridge after stocking it Sunday night. I earned a respectful nod from the beer geeks at Four Firkins for this haul. This should keep me stocked up through the fall. I’ll probably pick up a couple Oktoberfests in late September but there is no doubt this is sufficient to satisfy well into the snowfall months. Here’s the tally:

Fulton Sweet Child of Vine IPA
Lift Bridge Farm Girl Saison
Lift Bridge Hop Dish IPA
Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout
Victory Hop Devil IPA
Victory Storm King Imperial Stout
Founders Porter
Founders Centennial IPA
Central Waters Satin Solitude Imperial Stout
Surly Furious
Surly Bender
Surler Overrated West Coast IPA
Indeed Midnight Ryder Black Ale
Stone Imperial Russian Stout
Steel Toe Size 7 IPA
Olvade Farms Bryhilder’s Gift (Farmhouse Juniper Ale)

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Come Home to You


There’s a song off John Hiatt’s The Tiki Bar is Open that means a great deal to me. It’s called “Come Home to You”. When I was driving a long commute and a combination of our financial woes and slaving in the cubicles have driven me to the brink of despair I’d put that on and it would get me home, back to our little apartment and the person who mattered most in my life. Early last week I was burning CDs for a road trip and I included that song. It just seemed to fit.

Our road trip was a drive to Minneapolis for the wedding of Carjo’s bestest friend’s youngest daughter. We stayed with our friend Sassy who is always hospitable. I got to meet with some of the characters I used to work with for lunch, Friday night we met friends and my former office wives at a great Cuban restaurant. We stopped by my brother’s where I got an excellent IPA and a lecture on the importance of icing my ankle. We managed to do major stocking up at Trader Joe’s, Costco, and the Four Firkins microbrew store (more on that tomorrow). The wedding itself was a beautiful ceremony and the reception was in a club that overlooked the placid waters of Lake Minnetonka. We left the reception early. Carjo’s social anxieties were rubbed raw and my ankle was starting to kill me.  

Sunday we drove home. Carjo was a shell of herself after being “on” all weekend. I played that Hiatt song while she slept, swearing to get her home in one piece. We got home after 9:00 that night, with drizzle pissing down the last hundred n’ fifty miles. The cats were besides themselves having filled their litter boxes to the brim, exhausted most of their food and nearly all of their water. I poured what was left of my wife into bed and partially unloaded the Family Truckster until the rain got too intense for that. While I was sitting at my computer, drinking a porter and trying to unwind, the power went out. So I went to bed and slept well, barely waking up for the power coming back on in the middle of the night. Nothing mattered, we were home. Sansa slept between our legs and Sneakers up by our heads. All was well.

This morning I was unpacking my duffel bag I discovered that Jasper had peed in it. Welcome home indeed. 

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I Call It The Family Truckster


Our adventures with Mercury Land Yachts (TM) is somewhat over. The older one is now in the care and custody of my mother-in-law and the 2005 is in the garage cooling its heels until I feel nostalgic. We’ve bought a 2006 Chrysler Pacifica from my brother. Yep, we’re now riding all wheel drive. 

If AWD makes any sense, it’s in the northern parts of the US where we get snowfall from November (or hell, October) to March (or even April). The streets in this town are packed with snow from the start of the season until the spring finally gets the temperatures above 40. The Mercuries have rear wheel drive and are about as stable on snow or ice as a two month old puppy. My MiL will be fine because she is in Bismarck where streets get plowed. Plus she never drives out of town. But we’re always on the run and we needed something more stable. 

The Pacifica isn’t my dream vehicle but it does have several pluses. I’m no longer sitting in a low bench seat, cramping my right leg. There’s heated seats, multi-disc CD player, inputs for another device, and a sun roof. But it’s the clearance under the wheels and the ability to get through snow that make me happy. I’ll no longer have to sweat going out of town when there’s been an inch or two of snow. Instead I’ll sweat about meth-fueled, southern-born, semi-pro truckers whose only winter experience is watching Ice Road Truckers. We’ve got lots of them fools up here. 

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Bats is Smart…They Got Radar

Batman - TV Logo

Back in David Letterman’s 80s prime, he’d come across a line he considered it funny and would repeat it for weeks. This absurdity would be funny at first, lose all traces of humor, and then come out the other end being funny. One night he was doing something about a conversation he had heard between two less than gifted men and one of them apparently said, “yeah, them bats is smart. They got radar.” And a new riff was born. It of course stuck in my head.

Last night we had a bat in the house. It must have gotten in while we were dragging the cats inside after Arya had a fight with one of the feral cats that haunt this neighborhood. We had just settled down when all of the cats congregated in the living room, looking at the ceiling. Something dark was flying around our living room. I thought it was a bird but nope, it was a small bat. Our cats thought it was nice that it came inside to visit and were going to insure that it never left. We tried leaving the front door open and chasing it to the door but it never got near the door. At one point, one of us said, “bats is NOT smart”. 

I was amazed at exactly how athletic our young cats are. Arya was getting off five foot vertical jumps from the floor trying to get the thing and at that point the bat was probably grateful we have eight foot ceilings. I raced to my wife’s computer for suggestions from the Interwebs. One site said turn off all the lights (true, it was hanging around the lamps) and turn on an outside porch light. So we turned off all the lights inside. Then Sansa jumped on the back of the loveseat, timed her leap, and brought the bat down. She dragged it into the dining room with glee and the bat was giving off this high pitched shriek. I got the bat separated from its torturer with my broom and it flew up to the dining room ceiling. Eventually it made its way to the laundry room. We sealed the room off from the rest of the house, opened the back door, and started shooing it again. The damn dumb thing finally flew outside. Whew. 

We ended up with a lot of bugs inside the house but the cats took care of some of those. I cleaned up some dead moths this morning. As far as the bat goes, I am sure it is hanging in our garage, resting, waiting for an open car door. 

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Comes a Time…


…when a piece of electronics gives up the ghost. For four years I have been nursing along the JVC receiver that my parents had. It powers the speakers in my man cave and while it does not offer the oomph and class that the amplifier in the living room does, it’s fine for what I use it for. Various inputs/outputs have failed and the entire speaker “A” section was lost last year. A few weeks ago the right side gave out entirely.

This was not part of my master plan. I wanted it to hang in there long enough until I replaced the components in the living room and moved those components into the man cave. That was to happen in a couple years. But the JVC was at least thirty years old and that’s a long life for a piece of inexpensive electronics. So I went to Amazon and found a Yamaha receiver to take its place. The price was right and Yamaha is fairly sturdy. It arrived today and I spent the better part of the morning wiring it up. The speaker wires I was using were all too short so I cut new lengths of heavy gauge wire. The insulation on that stuff is about as unyielding as concrete and stripping the lengths was an exercise in frustration. But it’s done, everything is hooked up, and it is an improvement. I cranked up Zeppelin loud enough to shake the floor joists for a test and later played some Sam Smith for my wife.

Somewhere back in my mind, my parents are whispering “well don’t throw that away, someone could use it or fix it up.” Ha. I’d never get around to fixing it and it will just collect dust. It goes out with the rest of the garbage Tuesday. If there is one thing I learned cleaning all of my parents junk out of this house is, never attach sentiment to something that is easily replaced and doesn’t work. And if and when the Yamaha gives up the ghost it’ll go out the door as well. Sentiment and memories are best served for what matters and it’s taken me a long time to figure that out.

Have a good weekend.

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Rush to Recovery



We just got back from a few days in Bismarck where a member of the family underwent a medical procedure. I’m not going into details because such things are private but it’s done and we’re back. Then we had to schlep to a vet office 40 miles away to pick up Sneakers. He had some urinary blockage but he’s fine now. He spent an hour and a half outside this morning, patrolling his grounds and just breathing in the sweet air of freedom. Now he’s asleep on the man cave bed. His recovery is complete.

My own recovery is somewhat complete. I went to clinic on Monday and met with my surgeon. He said I came out of this far better than anyone predicted and assured me that the constant swelling will cease but it will takes months. In the meantime I am finally officially freed of using any kind of boot and have the go ahead to start limping on the treadmill. I could have danced out of that clinic but the best I could manage was a rhythmic shuffle.

I should mow the lawn but it’s too humid and I have to recover from all the running around I did the last couple days. Grass can wait another day. That’s a lesson that’s been hard for me to learn.

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