Friday, December 7, 2007

Now, Where is that Secret Knot . . . ?

So, here's a funny story: I wrote this entry almost a week ago and felt CERTAIN I had posted it. I was sure of it. I was so SURE of it, in fact, that when a friend wrote me to ask if I was still trying to blog I pompously replied, "My dear friend, kindly point yourself to my latest posting … here … on my … blog page … Son of a bitch."

Gosh, do I have egg on my face. Right here. Egg. Um, okay so. Many things to cover: Having run the gambit of naming blogs after the six episodes of Star Wars I no longer find it necessary to keep with that particular device. Having said that, I'm out of ideas. The blogs I can now manage on a weekly or so basis, the names may not be so forthcoming. Without a singularity to get behind and rail against so vehemently as The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Show, I don't really have what one might colloquially call a theme or something silly like that. If my last entry was my "Return of the Jedi" (my opus, my Ninth Symphony, as it were), this blog is the Danny Devito in Twins; all the other stuff that didn't quite make the cut. And so. Once again, we delve into Blogging for the Attention Deficient or as I prefer to think about it: BulletTime Blogging!!! . . . (See, it's funny on levels; cause I like the Matrix a lot AND because I use … bullets … oh, nevermind).

Fleas Suck. Somehow, our house became infested with fleas and whilst they seemed to not favor me or my flesh so much; boy did they love my kitten and my roommates. To make things just a teensy-bit worse, the infestation peaked the week before The Show That's Too Horrible for Words to Describe . I was hoping to muscle it out until after the show was up and running and out of our hair and deal with the little monsters then; thus was not to be had, it seems. And I can't fault my roommates for insisting we have it taken care of; the things were eating them alive. I had treated The Kitten once already and was managing to comb her every morning to a successfully diminishing return of pests. The little fuckers hiding in the couch, however, were not so obligingly dying off. We as a house didn't have the time to spray and deal with the things ourselves, so we had an exterminator come in and treat the house. He was the exterminator contracted by the Grundy Foundation (whom owns most of the real estate in Bristol) which means he was probably connected with the mob and had managed to secure a monopoly of service dealing with insects and pests. He grumbled into our house, gave us a retardedly long list of things WE would have to do to deal with them (EVERYTHING has to be washed in extremely hot water; what couldn't' be washed was put outside in the fridgy cold to flash-freeze anything trying to live within), told us The Kitten (and Anna's turtle, Turts) would have to be out of the house for at least four hours and then sprayed some sort of hideous, useless, Cronenburgesque roach powder everywhere that not only completely disrupted our lives but, ultimately, didn't even work. $250 later and we were still spraying and vacuuming and washing and combing well into the following two weeks. opened.

Here is where living under someone else's roof, as it were, really blows the big balls. See, if it were me picking and choosing the exterminator, I would have insisted on an estimate (something Grundy and Bitchy McCan't-Kill-Fleas couldn't – or wouldn't – give us), and insisted on some sort of guarantee of riddance of fleas. Neither of these simple, yet important, items were available as everything that's done around here is done by third and fourth parties. "Don't worry. I know a guy who knows a guy." Oh never fear, though: That bill came right straight to my mailbox. Fuckers.

The Only Thing that Sucks More Than Fleas is Convincing Your Flea-Infested Kitten that a Flea Bath is a Good Idea. This, by the way, is NEVER a good idea. Ever. No matter your good intentions, the road to hell is paved with wet cat fur and your blood. Oh sure, you can prepare as absolute as you like: Pet her. Soothe her with kind words. Trim her claws. Sedate her heavily with elephant tranquilizers. But when that cat hits water, NOTHING can prepare you for the Steve Austin-like strength that suddenly swells from the twelve-pound Fury in your hands. Hell hath no fury like a wet cat.

After two weeks of a poison treatment (the kind you put just at the base of her neck), a flea collar and two weeks-worth of combing, Zelda still had fleas. These little fuckers were fast becoming the Dr Claw to our Inspector Gadget. A last ditch effort to eradicate the continued co-habitation with the Enemies of Freedom was made. Much more washing occurred. Much spraying of anything that couldn't be shoved into the washing machine with a substance I can only describe as Flea Napalm. And then came Zelda. It seemed my efforts to manually pick the little fuckers off of her were only keeping them at bay.

More drastic measures were needed: Immersion. To Stef and I, this seemed like our only option. To Zelda, it seemed the world were ending in a torrential downpour of horrible, terrible, wet, wet, wet creepiness from which escape became her sole ambition. Envision panic. Envision a wet Jake becoming a human tree at the top of which lay salvation from the "scary, scary stuff they're trying to put me in!" To say I had my hands full keeping her still enough to douse her, soap her up and then rinse her would be an understatement. To say I received no wounds for my troubles would be simple lying. It took all three of us to keep her in that sink long enough to finish.

But here's an oddity. After the initial shock and panic and clawing madness of escape faded and her fur dried enough to be combed out, Kitten came up to me not an hour later, mewed hopefully and then leapt up into my lap where she sat the better part of an hour, purring like I had just saved her life.

Ah, fatherhood. Okay, it wasn't the swell of pride at a marriage or a graduation; but for now, it'll do, pig. It'll do.

Stress Relief is Spelled B-A-N-G. Mike Russo took me shooting the other day. This being Bristol there is, of course, a shooting range. Though it's not quite the NRA cock-comparison party I expected, which is comforting I suppose. This was my first time actually handling a loaded weapon of any kind (insert sex joke . . . NOW!). I wasn't really nervous until the moment arrived to actually pick it up. I'd never really thought about it before until my hand reached out and the Panicky Hippy that lives somewhere in the back of my subconscious took over, shouting, "HOLY SHIT THAT'S A REAL FUCKING GUN WITH REAL FUCKIING BULLETS!!! DON'T TOUCH THAT FUCKING THING, MAN!!!!" I hesitated long enough, apparently, for Mike to sigh and mumble something about first-timers before he grabbed my hand and, smiling, gently placed it on the .22 revolver." As long as your finger's not on the trigger and you're not pointing the thing at a person, you'll be fine." You can tell Mike's spent his whole life as a teacher because he has the patience of Job on a bad day. He let me get my sea legs and then I went to town. I really only shot a few hand guns (the .22 Berretta is by far my favorite) and we spent, maybe, two hours there. I was surprised at how empty I felt afterwards. Not a vacuous empty but a fairly Zen kind of empty. I had just held in my hands what ninety percent of humanity generally regards as true power ("Give him one gun and he thinks he's Superman. Give him two and he's God!") and then, after I had ventured aggressions upon the offending slab of target paper, I put the thing down and walked away. THAT is power. I don't know why but I actually felt better about myself when I wasn't impressed with such a thing as Gun.

Oh I admit, I stood there at least once and whispered lines from every gun-totting film out there. Everything from, "What do you need? Besides a miracle?" to "This is my BOOM STICK!!!!" to "Are you talking to me?" I resisted the Dirty Harry lines until I had the .38 revolver in my hands. C'mon, don't judge me. The barrel was eight freakin` inches long and the thing was that grey smoky polished nickel that makes me think of pure unadulterated sleaze. It was cool and dirty all at the same time. I couldn't help it. That was cool. That kind of thing is in my blood.

I might go back again with Mike sometime. I have to admit that it was fun; but I don't think guns are really my thing. I've always felt better strapping on a pair of padded punching gloves and kicking the bejesus out of a heavy bag. Physically pushing my fists through something is so much more a visceral stress-reliever than triggering gun powder to propel a tiny piece of lead through paper. In my opinion, anyways.

Happiness – However – is a Warm, Pixilated Gun. See, the real issue with firing a real gun is that I suck with them. Every one of them. Recoil's a real bitch and after a while your arm starts to hurt like the dickens and you start to think to yourself, "Why would anyone want to keep DOING this?" The eventual pain aside, my accuracy sucked worse than Luke's turret shots at that TIE Fighter outside the First Death Star. Even the shotgun I couldn't do more than hit the broadside of a barn with. And barely that. Lucky for me, with a shotgun, that's all you really have to do. There's no subtlety or precision with the shotgun. There is authori-TAYE, however. I mean, DAMN.

But upon suddenly having the myth known to others as free time again, I find myself rediscovering old passions. I've started reading again. I've gone back to cooking for myself again and I'm even considering exploring other exploits of the kitchen (I'm fixing to make granola some weekend soon, so look out).

And I've rediscovered video games. Hurrah for video games. I don't care how old and adult I get; I, and my generation, will never tire of the sweet, sweet alternate realities offered by the likes of a Nintendo. I'll leave it at that, save this: There is little else in this world so sweet as leveling a .357 magnum at a zombie's head and blowing it the fuck away on the first try. Little else. And perhaps the Nazis, too. Because it's always okay to blow away the Nazis.


The Zen of Strike is Hitting Something with a Sledgehammer. Actually, I'm not sure there's any way I could elaborate further on this one. The show's closed, the stage is clean, the dumpster's full and my hands hurt like a son of a bitch. ". . . I didn't even have to use my AK. I gotta say it was a good day."

That's word. Good Night. And good luck. . . . Oh and Duffy? The count on this one was only 17. Sorry.

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