Friday, June 30, 2006

Hairless wonder

The other day at the pool, a little kid came right up to me and asked me where all the hair on my body went.

While I'm not completely void of body hair, my genetics dictate a noticeable lack of the fuzzy stuff when compared to the majority of caucasoid homo sapiens around here.

I told the kid it made me swim faster by making my body more streamlined. Like a dolphin gliding through the water.

Then he looked down at my definitely non-streamlined stomach and gave me a smirk much too sophisticated for a 7-year old and walked off.

Next time I tell that lie, I'll have to remember to suck in my gut a bit to be more convincing.

Damn kids.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I am not dead, I only play dead

The local race for our District Judge is heating up as rumors are flying, accusations are being slung, and election placards are starting to dot the landscape of our fair city.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, this letter appeared in our local paper...

It's good to know that our hanging judge won't be using the bench for anything other than passing judgement and handing down sentences anytime soon.

A similar letter appeared in the paper a few weeks before the last mayoral race. The mayoral challenger was on full-time oxygen (carts around his tank that feeds him fresh o2 directly to his nostrils) and felt the need to address concerns about his health to the voting public.

While on the one hand, I'm glad that the senior members of our town, regardless of existing health conditions, are still interested in actively participating it the public service arena.

On the other hand, what's next?
  • Letters from their shrink attesting to their sanity?
  • eMails from local authorities stating how clean their criminal records currently stand?
  • Memos from their pastor/priest/minister saying what a good Christian/Buddhist/Muslim/etc. they are?
  • Handwritten notes from the desk of their relatives, friends, neighbors, partners proclaiming that the rumors of their cow tipping fetish has been grossly exaggerated in the press?
  • Wednesday, June 28, 2006

    Library geek

    PK is with my in-laws at the lake house. C is at her Campfire USA camp for the day. I just dropped off S at work and needed to stick around the city, since I have to pick up C at 3:30 p.m., then S at 6 p.m.

    No sense making the 100 mile roundtrip more than once today, so I'm hanging out in the Oklahoma City Downtown Library (aka the Ronald J. Norwick Downtown Library), just a few blocks from S's building.

    Ask anyone who knows me well and they will attest to the fact that I'm a closet library geek. I blame my mother, who would proudly take all the credit.

    According to their website,"The new Downtown Library is the newest library of Oklahoma counties sprawling Metropolitan Library System. With its innovative children's area, expanded book collection, and high speed Internet access, this state-of-the-art library is a great place for Oklahoma County families."4-stories of steel and glass with so much ambient light pouring in from the street that I resolutely doubt the need for the fluorescent overheads.

    On a weekday morning, there are still plenty of free seating/studying areas by the enormous windows, all of which are equipped with an array of available power outlets strategically situated within my iBook's powerblock 6-foot cord limit.
    I'm sad they tore down the original Carnegie Library built in the early 1900's that sat a few blocks away from the current library.

    I'm happy they didn't tear down the 50's modernist library erected in it's place (even though the city now uses it for office space).

    I'm sad to find several roach motels in hidden corners of the wonderfully spacious, comfortable reading room - complete with 270 degree panoramic view of the west.

    I'm happy to find tasteful and decorative Frank Lloyd Wright inspired patterns on the industrial strength carpet.

    I'm sad to find security cameras just about everywhere (so much for sneaking a quick romantic interlude in the non-fiction section).

    I'm happy to find the quietest hand blow dryers I've ever experienced in the sparkling clean bathrooms.

    I take a complete, unguided and undisturbed tour of the building and stop on the east side to watched construction workers erecting the steel super structure of a foot bridge that crosses over a street from a parking garage to the library.

    My tour takes me to a spot by the panoramic windows on the 4th floor in the Reference section 560.3 - 613.28, where I plop down on the blonde wood and black holed chairs, and open my iBook.
    "Would I like to join the mlspublic wireless network?"
    I click.
    I'm on.
    My emails come rolling in. My browser feels fulfilled and dexterous, even being 55 miles from it's home network.

    It's a "not-yet-July" sunny summer day out with adolescent puffy clouds dotting the sky and momentarily blocking out the sun, keeping the ambient temps at about 89 degrees.

    From my semi-private cubicle, I have an almost 180 degree view of the Donald W. Reynolds Visual Arts Center (where the amazing Chihuly exhibit is housed), the Oklahoma County government building and the historic Park Street 5-lane boulevard.

    The downtown city Trolley rolls past, it's exterior design harking back to the early part of last century, yet underneath roars an ethanol burning powerplant.

    A pair of cops in shorts and roller blade helmets roll by on their Segways. One gets stopped by a pedestrian in need of directions.
    The cop pulls out what looks like a small PDA and is apparently accessing some sort of information kiosk application.
    Now he's handing the lost walker a map, and showing them how to get to where they need to be going.

    Segway City Cop is down with the tech, baby.

    I wish I had my digital camera.
    I'm watching a street worker riding a two-seated golf cart with what appears to be a large vacuum canister mounted on the rear section.
    Protruding out of the top of the canister is a large, flexible, clear hose, about 11" in diameter 12' in length.
    The hose runs over the drivers head, pivots on a metal arm, and terminates in front of the driver at street level.

    By working the metal arm and swinging the hose around, the driver can pick up just about any stray piece of litter or trash that he can maneuver his little cart toward.

    People wave at the street sanitation engineer as he drives by, apparently as surprised to see such a contraption as I am. He appears to be enjoying his work.

    How cool is that.

    It's time to meet S for lunch. Gyro's at a nearby greasy Greek stand today. Mmm, ethnic food for a change.

    As I exit I stop to talk to a couple of the steel workers wailing on a girder as long as my house and as rusty as the frame on my old '64 Malilbu convertible that I bought over eBay from a guy in Chicago.

    One of the workers is grinding a weld, the other was laying down a beautiful bead on a joint. I compliment him on his weld. He asks if I'm a welder.
    "No," I tell him.
    Then he asks if I worked at the library. I guess I looked the part today.
    "No," I tell him, "I'm just a library geek."

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Big city survival guide

    A colleague from S's office is moving to LA to become a documentary filmmaker.

    I know, I know. There are a dozen valid reasons why someone who wants to be a documentary filmmaker should NOT move to LA.

    But she's young, has never left Oklahoma, and the glittery lights of the Industry look pretty bright from way out here in Okie-land. It's only when you get into the trenches of show biz do you see the filth, greed, insecurity and relative insignificance of the movie business as a whole.

    So, S did what any good friend would do and sent her on her way with a hug, wishes of success and safety, and an appropriate going away present.

    The Los Angeles County Thomas Guide.

    In the days before in-car/portable GPS, Mapquest, anywhere access to web browsers, wireless hot spots, cell phones, Palms and Blackberry's, the only way to find your way around in the sprawl known as Southern California was to ask directions (yeah, right) and the Thomas Guide.

    Saavy Angelenos still carry one in their car, although it may be 20-years old and completely out of date. However, just knowing that little book was riding shotgun always made me feel secure in my driving adventures into the unknown arteries and avenues of LA/Orange/San Diego/Bakersfield and Ventura Counties.

    The crowd that had gathered around the table as the future traveller thumbed through her new map book, marveled at how sprawling LA was. Then S kicked the legs out from under their chairs when she mentioned the 4 neighboring counties that have their own Thomas Guide editions, all just as big or bigger than the LA edition.

    Heads were spinning.

    I see from their website, that Thomas Guides are nov available for the following areas:
    Northern & Central California
    Pacific Northwest
    Washington, DC Area

    Ahh, the select lucky few to benefit from this wonder of both ancient (book) and modern (satellite accuracy) technology.

    Good luck J-Po and hold on tight. It will be a bumpy ride.

    Monday, June 26, 2006

    The '39 Chevy 2-door sedan

    On the main highway leading to my folks town 35 miles southeast of us, sat this vehicle...

    It's a 1939 Chevrolet 2-door sedan. Not the most popular classic to hot rod or restore, but I have seen them at rod shows and they clean up nicely. From what my F-i-L tells me, it's been sitting on that trailer for over a year. No takers at the bargain basement asking price of $3,000.

    I'm not in the market for a project of this scale right now, so I just logged it for future reference on the flash rom in my brain and didn't think anymore of it.

    Back in April, S meets a woman at work that is really cool and really nice.
    We'll call her Terri.
    They get to talking and it turns out that Terri's husband is looking for a hobby and is kinda into old cars.
    We'll call him Bob.
    Turns out Bob has never restored or rodded a car before, but he was looking for a project to learn on/work on.
    Bob and Terri are DINKS so they have plenty of disposable income.

    Hearing of a fellow potential hot rod enthusiast, I pulled several photos and listings of "roadside projects" that I had been collecting since moving here (always on the lookout for some rusting vehicle sitting in a barn or out in a field), and thought about sending them to Bob, but somehow never got around to it.

    As the seasons tend to do, Spring turned to Summer (car show season) and I told S we should meet Bob and Terri at the upcoming NSRA rod show. A few emails later, we had arranged to hook up with them on Saturday (it's a 3-day show).

    Long story short, we didn't end up going on the same day so we never got to meet and greet.

    However, Terri calls S that Saturday night and tells her that Bob is seriously looking at a '49 Dodge Wayfarer he found at the show that day. I had never even heard of a Wayfarer, but okay, if that's what he wanted.

    End of story. Or so I thought.

    The next day (Sunday) we were driving home after visiting my in-laws and I noticed that the '39 Chevy and trailer were no longer parked by the side of the road.

    Figuring that the owner took it to the rod show to sell it, I wished him good luck, and thought to myself, "there's another project temptation removed from my wish list."

    The following Monday, S emails me from work and tells me that Bob didn't end up buying the old Dodge afterall

    Instead, he bought a 1939 Chevrolet 2-door sedan.

    I'm thinking, there is no way an amateur with little to no restoration skills, let alone rodding skills, would buy that rusty old '39 Chevy that I saw sitting by the side of the road. I mean, it would be a huge project for ME with my meager skills, let alone someone with no experience at all.

    Curious now, I sent the pics I had taken of the rusty '39 to S and she sent them to Terri.

    You guessed it. It was the same car.

    File this under, "life is a very small used car lot."

    Here's what a '39 Chevy could look like restored. This is a 4-door sedan that was at the LA Roadsters show for Father's Day, but you can get a general idea.

    Bob has a long way to go.

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    Cancel your subscription

    This vitriol of fundamentalist paranoia appeared in our paper in the letters to the Editor column.

    Kudos to the Editor for printing it and allowing the public to get a taste of what types of people populate our world.

    Let me get this straight..
    The most caring people are athiest's at it.
    Easter Bunny is a sex it.
    Church on Sunday, no it.
    Santa is it.
    Athletes are it.

    The best part of this sewage spewage is in the first line of his letter.

    Seems his hatred for the "rag" of a newspaper and it's satanic views wasn't strong enough to get him off his non-athletic a*s and make a phone call to CANCEL his subscription.

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    My name is K, and I am an addict

    My Mom sent me the LA Times from last Sunday.

    Remain calm now. I'd been in Oklahoma over a year now. Sure I miss my family, friends, and food stuffs that can only be found in the city limits of a large, multi-cultural metropolis.

    But it was only a newspaper. What harm could it do?

    Granted, it was the LA Times, which is not always known to present both sides of the story, but for the most part, the majority of the paper was harmless babble, classifieds, feature stories of ladies who lunch while nursing their twins, and dogs that no longer bite after intensive therapy with a trained canine psychotherapist.

    Then, innocently tucked away into the Sports section was the doom in newsprint that haunts my waking moments and torments my nocturnal nightmares.

    The Fry's ad.

    8 full color pages of it.

    17" LCD monitors on sale for $129 (after a $90 mail-in rebate). 100 count spindles of DVD-R's for $19.99. iPod accessories to fill the largest of grocery shopping carts. Flat screen TV's, CD's, DVD's, vid games, hard drives, soft drives, medium-soft drives, newspaper drives, warm summer drives with the top down and the radio on.

    You name it, Fry's has it. An electronic geeks wonderland of consumerism and 20-year credit card debt.

    Dallas would be my closest Fry's location.

    A 4-hour drive seems a small price to pay to satisfy my need for an e-ticket ride to geekeyland.

    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    Please keep your flesh-eating-fish to yourself

    Apparently someone has been dumping their unwanted aquarium pets into our local lake, as I don't believe this particular species of piranha are indiginous to central Oklahoma.

    Turns out the Pacu is a herbivore cousin to the piranha and won't feast on the limbs of any unsupecting, partially clad coed on summer break.

    Might make for some interesting fish fry's in the future.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Longing for a long one

    Call me crazy but I actually miss the long west coast rain storms that just sock in the city and hang around.

    Storms here are more dramatic, more intense, more exciting, but quite short lived.

    Which, most times you're thankful for their spurt-like behavior, as pretty hefty damage often accompanies any drawn out affair.

    Storms in LA are often times lingering and will stick around for days on end, hardly ever overstaying their welcome.

    They have a cleansing effect on the city, washing away the surface grime and grease and momentarily driving the worst of the worst indoors.

    The air smells clean and fresh, albeit for a few brief moments.

    And afterwards, your car isn't covered in Oklahoma red dirt road muck.

    Friday, June 09, 2006


    My Father-in-law told me about his Father dowsing for a well on their farm when he was a kid. He didn't claim to understand how it worked, but was adament that it did indeed work.

    I need to get into this. I really do.

    Think of the possibilities.

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006 any other name, is still smog

    Yesterday, the weather guy said the metro area (55 miles away) was under a First Stage Ozone alert.
  • Young children and elderly should try to stay indoors.
  • Don't run your a lawm mower if you have to.
  • Try to car pool, don't leave your car engine running.
  • See a doctor if you notice respiratory issues.
  • Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but is an Ozone Alert their way of telling us that the heat inversion layer has trapped high levels of carbon and other particulates in the atmosphere...

    Better known in LA as a SMOG ALERT?

    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    Baseball ball

    I'm not a big organized sports fan, but baseball stadium food is unique and part of the whole ballpark experience, therefore I will watch some live hardball when given the opportunity.

    This last weekend, my in-laws treated my family to a night at our local AAA club ballpark.

    Our Oklahoma City Redhawks took on the visiting Albuquerque Isotopes.

    I've been to maybe a dozen professional baseball games in my life, 2 of which were in the very ballpark in which we were sittiing, but even I know of some truths that are absolutes at ball games.
  • Close your eyes to take a short between inning nap and the jumbotron camera guy will find you in the crowd.
  • Hot dogs are better with the brown spicy mustard (hides the nasty flavor of all those meat fillers) and ketchup
  • The side of the stadium you have tickets for will ALWAYS be in the sun.
  • Catching a foul ball is nearly impossible and reserved for the "that only happens to some other guy" category.
  • Once again, the fates proved me wrong.
  • I caught a quick snooze and no one saw me on the big screen.
  • Our ballpark is having a special promotion featuring dogs from other major league ballparks and I got to eat several Dodger Dogs with onions, relish, mustard and (hold on hot dog purists), ketchup. Heaven on a foot long bun.
  • Our seats were in the sun, but we moved up to the top of the bleachers and found some shade. The breeze started blowing and by the 4th inning, the temps dropped into the 70's.
  • Top of the 7th inning, an Isotope foul ball heads up to our section. C runs for it but a fella about my age gets to it first.

    He then promptly and without any fanfare, handed the ball to my 6-year old daughter.
  • She didn't even bat an eye, but held it high above her head as she had seen done many times by other lucky fans with foul balls. Her face flashed on the jumbo tron with a smile as wide as the equator.

    Is it me, or only in Oklahoma would a fella give the foul ball he caught to a 6-year old girl who he didn't know from Adam.

    I thanked the generous Redhawk fan as we left the stadiium, our team winning that night and completing a 4 game sweep of the Isotopes. He just nodded and flashed a most satisfied smile.

    Monday, June 05, 2006

    A small town fishing contest

    The local outdoorsman group sponsored a fishing tournament for 5-15 year old kiddies this last weekend at our local lake.

    C won her division (5-6 year olds) for the most total fish caught
    She pulled in 8 fish in the 4-hour contest. Her closest competitor had 5 fish.
    Total tally was as follows:Black Bass - 2
    Channel Catfish - 2
    Bluegill - 4
    The other winner in her division pulled in a 2 lb. black bass for the largest fish caught prize.

    C won a Zebco 202 rod and reel combination, a fully outfitted tackle box complete with objects completely foreign to me such as Aberdeen Snells, Billy Boy Bobbers, Barrel Swivels with safety snaps, and an assortment of brightly colored gooey wormy thingys, jelly-like thingys, and shiny-hooky thingys.

    I told you I'm not much of a fisherman.

    Now C has two rod/reels and I'm still borrowing my Father-in-law's pole and tackle.

    A few years back, when they shocked our little lake, they pulled out over a dozen 5 lb. black bass, and several 8-plus pounders. My F-i-L tells me that may be approaching a state record.

    Maybe C will let me borrow one of her rig-a-ma-jigs.

    Friday, June 02, 2006

    The King IS the letter E

    School let out last week and we've been sorting through all of C's schoolwork..what to keep, what to toss

    A keeper item was her practice letter notebook. Each day, they would take a letter and draw items beginning with that letter.

    The letter "E" stands out.

    Good to know I'm having SOME positive influence on my daughter.

    Thursday, June 01, 2006

    A full recovery

    A few days after my little procedure, I received a card in the mail from the nice nurses who saw me through it all.

    Small town people doing small town things.