Saturday, April 22, 2006

Fill your life with croutons!

More random thoughts...

Yesterday there was a headline on one of the Seattle newspapers in the paperbox I walked by in front of a restaurant: Are we being gouged on gasoline prices? The back of 'The VW Bug From Hell' First reaction: Gee, ya think? While driving through the backwoods yesterday I stumbled across a gas station offering $2.69 when all the normally-cheap places were at least $2.73... downside, it was an Exxon, which I'd pledged years ago never to do after I'd worked in one of their minimarts and (later) Valdez, AK got smeared. But with today's absurd and no-excuses-offered gas prices, yeah, I put a damned tiger in my tank. I'm ashamed but I'll live.

I heard a radio ad for the new movie American Dreamz (wow, Hugh Grant as Simon Cowell?) and I could swear the explanation at the end for its PG-13 rating was "adult language and popular references." I thought "that's a reason? jokes you won't get if you aren't paying attention to society?" Okay, maybe I heard it wrong because the movie's vanity site says "brief strong language and some sexual references." Still, I like it my way, it makes more sense. Whatever encourages you not to take that out-of-the-loop friend or senseless sister-in-law to the flick, lest you and everyone around you be inundated with questions like, "is there really such a show?" and "why did he say that? what does that mean?"

I was cruising down the street giggling at icicle lights the other day and encountered the scene at right. Is this love or modern art? This house has had a toilet in the front yard as a decorative and tasteful flowerpot for awhile, but this time I noticed there was a new entry in the yard décor... not a flamingo sitting on the bowl taking a dump or a gnome in the tank pretending to be the Ty-D-Bol Man, noooo. Next to the crapper is now television. I heard a comment about this photo saying that the squirrels can now watch Oprah while going potty, but personally I think this a statement about current television programming. Or guerilla art regarding the yard décor, in which case the blue yardwaste bin should be closer. Or, possibly, about one's fellow man sneaking into the yard at night to drop off some big heavy garbage without any artistic merit intended.

When we moved into our lovely home six years ago, one of the minor quibbles we had about the place was the mailbox, which resides across the street from the house. It is one of those with strips of wood pasted across it, "chalet style" as the display at the home improvement warehouses calls the mailbox design, and painted off-pink to match the house. (The previous owners were tweakers; there are plenty of other paint-related issues to speak of.) The name of the person who had moved out was written in black on the side but happily that was fading fast, and we put those metal tile letters with sticky backs across the side. Within a couple years, letters started falling off because they couldn't adhere to the paint, and the paint also couldn't adhere to the wood. The nails or wires or whatever hold those wood strips onto the metal box recently have been giving way, so part of the lattice has been hanging off funny. A few months ago I came home from work and some bozo had plowed the mailbox over with their car -- in the opposite direction of traffic flow! The mailbox is 20-30 feet from a driveway, so this was probably one of the stoned neighbors across the street or their hophead friends coming in for a landing. I spent an hour or two in the dark nailing pieces of 2x4 onto the post to put it back up, and this is where I realized that the cedar 4x4 was rotting out anyway. A year or two ago, when we were bothered enough by the losing-tile-letters issue, we bought a larger mailbox and the intention was to stencil and decorate it before we found a new mount for it. That time has come. We got home from running around yesterday around dinner time, and with an hour of daylight left I planted a new black metal pole and installed the stencilled white mailbox on it. Just in time, since right about the time it was complete and I began putting red and white reflective stickers on the pole to hopefully keep the swervedrivers from plowing it the ambient light was low enough to demonstrate the reflectors were working and appropriately placed. My Y-chromosome is happy. Now if only those two books I ordered from dealers on Amazon Marketplace would arrive in it soon; I got a third book I ordered at the exact same time a week ago... yo, whazzup folks?

[edit 4/24 10:30pm -- The other two arrived, and it's a good thing I put up the bigger box when I did or I'd have two "come to the post office and pick something up" slips jammed in my door; why don't they ever put them in the box with the mail, where they can be found, yet take the effort to put the slips in the doorcrack, where they can get lost, when they could just put the packages on the doorstep instead? So now I have completed the set of B.Kliban books, only one of which involves striped cats.]

Back when we were on the ranch, we replaced our toilets. The old ones were brought outside, and my hubby and kids posed as hillbilly hicks, then my daughter altered the photos to make them even more hickish (toothless, etc...). Whenever I come across those pics, I will post them on the blog. They are really funny. We had no idea at that time that we'd be living near people just like that!

Our mailboxes at the ranch were down on the main road. Kids would come by and purposely demolish them. We had to go through some red tape to get permission to put them up closer to our home and off the main the road. It was an ordeal, because that meant the mailperson had to go out of their way a bit to get there. We prevailed!
I come from one of those ruralities where Mailbox Baseball is popular. Judging by various mischief and vandalism that's happened in my present neighborhood (July 2, 2005 - rock through the back window of the car, bouncing off the front thus causing $700 of damage, and the car was in my driveway with my wife at home at the time) a few more dumbsh!ts with no regard for property wouldn't surprise me.
I hate getting one of those slips in the mail that says you have a package to pick up from the post office.
I don't know why it irks me, because it really isn't a big deal to go to the post office and turn in the dumb slip, but like you said, why not just leave the darn thing on the doorstep like UPS does.
I suppose the answer is, "It's not our policy."
Maybe they don't have room in their mail autos for packages, so they issue slips from the post office.
I've seen times when someone was home but they stuck a slip in the door rather than knock and give the slip or the package. And again, they will go to the door with the slip -- not bring the package to the door, and not put the slip with the rest of the mail so it can be found easily. That part bugs me, they're at the mailbox putting the rest of the mail in it, why not add the slip! Other mailmen in other neighborhoods did! Contrary to the old saying, the postman never rings twice (or at all most of the time), but the UPS man will at least knock once as he leaves the box and walks off.
The mailbox we have right now is made of brick. It's like its own little house. It would do some serious damage to any car that runs into it. If someone took a baseball bat to it, they'd likely break their wrist.
Your musings about the toilet photo are brilliant. I enjoyed reading them.
What else can ya say about a crapper in the front yard? "What a shitty place"? And a teevee next to it? "Cop a squat and watch some boobtube"? There are enough transients through that 'hood that prolly do just that.

This yard needs a sign like they have at Home Base: "This toilet is not connected to a water supply so please do not use it!"
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