Manly duties.

I wasn’t the least bit surprised when the crew from the home improvement show showed up at my door.

They wanted a glimplse of my skills.

They wanted to see my tools.

I’m a man. I can build things. I can say things like “we’re gonna have to shim that” and “pass me that auger bit”.

Lyn and I-well mostly Lyn- had decided our bathroom was no longer suitable for our needs. In typical man fashion, I suggested that we turn it into a room to store our guns and booze, and recommended that we use the great outdoors for our toiletry needs, but this apparently was not what she had in mind. To me it was a no brainer, but anyway…

It was decided that we (read: I) would re-do the bathroom. Fixtures were selected, colours we carefully weighed and I made about 17 more trips to the hardware store than were really nessecary, but, being a man, (we don’t make lists, lists are for the grocery) I can’t be expected to remember everything, can I? Especially not with all this ‘man knowledge’ rolling around in my head.

Well, work commenced and actually went smoother than expected. Our two weekend timeline was breeched only slightly (The whole thing done in just under a month and a half! Amazing!), and I learned what I think can be considered one of the most important things that any do-it-yourselfer should know. Are you ready? Do you think you can handle it? Well here is my big secret and the key to all do-it-youself projects: Caulk can fix or hide almost anything. It’s true. Fill gaps, hide nicks, seal holes, correct bad miter joints-it does it all…and it’s paintable! Got a bad piece of bent chair rail going against a wall with a slight dish? Caulk that gap! Vanity not quite square to the base? Caulk that gap! Space between your ceramic tiles and the baseboards? Damn right! CAULK THAT GAP! Outstanding. Now remember, you heard it here…this is my discovery and I want credit. Consequently, Caulk’s close cousin, Liquid Nails, is almost as indispensible, especially since Caulk itself is a lousy adhesive. Who needs nails and screws? Just glop all kinds of liquid nails everywhere and you’re set. You can even reposition the workpiece, but only for a few minutes mind you, or you’ll really make a mess. (But you might be able to hide the mess with Caulk.)

As I say, in light of my new revelation, it was no surprise that somehow word got out (North, the damn dog probably talked. He’s a sucker for hostess cakes) and the crew from that ‘home-improvement-show-that-makes-it-look-easy-but-it’s-really-not’ showed up and said they were doing a show on viewer tips and they wanted to talk to me about my caulk work.

“It’s really nothing,” I said, downplaying my obvious joy at being featured as a major player in such a manly arena as the home improvement area. “All I really did was utilize the natural elasticity of the caulk and it’s forgiving nature to allow it be applied to a variety of challenging joinery situations.” I was trying my best to sound way smarter than I actually am. “By experimenting with various compositons, bead sizes and troweling techniques, I was able to achive nearly seamless transitions in all the varied instances where I used the Caulk as an multi-material joining agent. Take for example this compound miter joint here,” as I pointed to some chair railing joined at a right angle with what seemed to be a glob of play dough, “initially there was a 3/8″ gap here, but you’d never know it looking at it now!”

“Uh, um, that’s really interesting Mr. Fackenthall, but that’s not quite what we were looking for,” the golf-shirted host replied.

“Oh, ok, well, you can see over here is where I used some caulk to hold up this soap holder because I couldn’t find a stud in the wall to screw it to!” That ought to really wow ’em, I thought.

“Well, um, it seems there’s been a misunderstanding.” The host sputtered. “See, when we spoke to your wife on the phone we informed her that we were doing a show on ‘common home improvement screw ups and how to avoid them’ and that’s what were here for. See, what we really want to know is how in the hell you managed to get so much dog hair in all your caulk. I mean, it’s obvious you have a dog and that would allow for a few errant hairs, but looking at the sheer quantity of hair here, it would appear that you were throwing fistfulls of the stuff around the room as you were caulking. What we really want to know is how you managed to accomplish that-so that we can demonstrate exactly what NOT to do for the viewers at home.”

They didn’t stay long after that. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I told them their show sucked or the fact that I made fun of Mr. Host Guy’s pique golf shirt. Either way, they left without getting my secret. I made sure of that.

To be completely honest, I don’t know how all those dog hairs got in there, but in the process of trying to decide how to remedy the situation, I stumbled upon another realization. Paint. Paint can fix or hide almost anything as well! Yes. Paint became my new friend, I just painted right over my paintable caulk to hide all those dog hairs. And this time, to avoid problems, I had my wrestling match with the dog OUTSIDE the bathroom while the paint dried. Screw ups, my ass….those guys don’t know nothing.

For caulking tips…drop me an email.

Travel time.

Well, Lyn and I are gearing up to make a big trip south so that the Bean can see Great Grandma and Great Grandpa and Grandma and Grandpa Fackenthall. That’s alot of grands. It would be to an untruth to say that we are not apprehensive about the trip, as it will be the Bean’s first airplane ride, and we’re not breaking her in easy with a little short hop either. Check back here to see how it turns out. Maybe we’ll have left her there when we came back-who knows.

I myself have been occupying my time with work. When I’m not at work, I’m working, and when I’m not working, I try and do a little work. If I do end up with a little free time, I usually try and get a some work done. It’s not so bad, only I’m not always so much fun to be around. Actually most of the work I have been doing was so that I could take this vacation and not fall behind because there is no one else to do my work while I am gone. Basically it will go something like this:

1. I will work my ass off banging my head against the wall to get ahead of schedule to go on vacation, but with no one to help me at work, I won’t be able to, and instead, will only get a little bit ahead of schedule before I go.

2. I will leave for vacation. Somewhere in the middle of my vacation, the ‘ahead of schedule’ portion of my work will expire, and then I will be spiraling, from that moment on, uncontrolably into what we all know as ‘behind schedule’. When that moment is, I cannot be sure, but I will know it when it happens because I will sense a great disturbance in ‘the force’. It may well also coincide with a phone call from my boss to inform me that, not only has the shit hit the fan, but it knocked the fan clean across the room. Those of you who work with me know how bad an idea it is to be plugging fans or any other heating or cooling devices in anyway.

3. Every minute of every day, I will continue to get furhter ‘behind schedule’ as I will not be in the office and will be unable to do any work. If you could see me at this point, testaments to my frustration will probably include pacing, swearing, the debate whether or not to take up smoking, and as a final act of indignity, the inevitable banging of my head against a wall repeatedly.

4. I will return from vacation, whereupon I will need to work late and on weekends in order to ‘catch up’and will catch hell from the wife (and rightly so) for not being around, thus incurring stress and mental anguish that will march over and plunder any remnants of the relaxation I had gained from being on said ‘vacation’.

5. The thing is, I will never really be able to ‘catch up’ as this is an insurmountable task, which explains why I could not get ‘ahead’ enough to begin with. Here we see the banging of one’s head against the wall again, so in reality,…it will be like I never left.

Lyn, in an effort to deal with the fact that she is living with a lunatic workaholic, has been venting stress taking yoga classes, visiting craft shows, and killing spiders. I’m not sure if all or any of these are clinically accepted methods, but they do seem to work, and, obviously, we have less spiders around, which in her mind, makes all the difference in the world.

Well, we hope this finds all of you well, in light of all the madness going on in the world today. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m going off to live in a cave somewhere.

US/Canadian Joint Sleep Deprivation Project: Day 179

Here we are with the debut of our new family site, so all of you can see pictures of our new arrival.

But enough about her, dammit. It’s time for us to get some attention for once. If you want to see gooey gaga pictures, check out the Bean’s portion of the site. You can also learn why she’s called the Bean there. If that’s no incentive, I don’t know what is.

By the way, if you think I’m gonna tone it down and behave myself within the bounds of this forum now that I’m a family man, boy are you mistaken. I’ve been sleeping sporadically for the past 4 months, working too much, watching too much mind-numbng tv and I am just cocked and loaded and waiting to go off.

As you can see from the title of this ditty, we are well into the experiment with no end in sight. The Bean and the dog sleep alot though. It must be rough on them.

Lyn seems to be holding up well these days and says that she doesn’t hear the ‘voices’ as much as she did in the beginning. She said that the dog talks to her sometimes though…something about the Son of Sam er something, I think she thinks he’s a Muppet. I myself never heard the voices, as I was too busy swimming in the bottom of a bottle. No matter. She occupies her days taking care of the Bean and is MORE than ready to dish her off by the time I get home from work. She does the best she can though, being as we are socially inept and have yet to make any friends whom we can pawn of the hollering bundle on for awhile. Actually, she is growing and is now rapidly approaching hollering-sack-of-potatoes status.

I continue to work away at my job churning out ever-so-riveting Sears promotional literature. I have fully sold out and am a slave to the man, society, a culture of capitalist consumers, whoever-all I know is that it almost pays the bills. Now if I could only pick 5 right numbers I’d be set for life. I have finally come to grips with the fact that I have become everything that I loathe, but with age comes wisdom and I finally came to realize that there just isn’t many good paying jobs for roadie-poet-philosopher-artists who don’t want to own a car or a television or a phone, unless you decide to follow the Dead on tour. Actually, that sounds pretty apealling right now, are they still touring? Has Jerry risen from the grave yet?

We actually had a nice visit a while back from the Grandparents Fackenthall, which they cut short, no doubt as a result of the fact that we never let them sleep more than 2 hours at a stretch without having a visit form their lovely grand daughter. No-actually I’m kidding, they didn’t leave early, but they seemed oddly happy to be going….

Grandma and Grandpa Mourant have been more than helpful as well too, with frequent visits to make funny faces and weird noises at ‘la petite’, and Lyn actually went home to stay with them for a little while, that is, until they paid her to leave. Hmmm…a potential money making racket for sure.

Actually, I am only kidding of course, but If I just wrote your standard ‘our child is bestest most beautiful child in the whole world’ stuff, it wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining…

Test Subject #1453R485

Say, are those tire tracks on your dog?

Well, everything is normal up here in the north. It’s started to get cold already, and by cold for you California types, that means that the average temp each day is right around freezing. The sun still comes out, though I think it’s only for like 2 or three hours a day.

These days I think that North is counting his lucky stars, seeing as how I ran over him the other day. See, I have started to take him with me on short mountain biking rides to help get him some exercize (read: wear him out so I don’t have to pummel him into submission) and he hasn’t quite gotten the hang of it yet. It’s partly my fault since as a pup, I gave him an old bike tire as a chew toy. I’m sure you know what’s coming next. Usually he chugs along the trail pretty good, sniffing here and there, chasing various unseen, but smelt, vermin into the bush. Invariably though, he suddenly remembers, TIRE, and bolts out of the underbrush to attack one or both of the tires attached to the bike. Almost without fail, it is usually the front one, resulting in a near headon collision if I’m not paying attention. Well the other day, I wasn’t. I can honestly say that I am pretty sure that North had no clue what would happen whne he latched onto the front tire with his jaws, for if he had, I guarantee he wouldn’t have done it.

I can’t really describe the look of surprise on his face after the wheel rolled over his head, let’s just say it was sort of that look a dog gets when you pretend to throw the ball and palm it behind your back. Sort of a combination of stupification and amazment. I know deep down he was thinking to himslef, “Ooo, I hope nobody saw that.” Kind of like when us humans trip over that invisible crack in the sidwalk and go sliding down a busy street like Pete Rose headed for home, and then get up like nothing happens, meanwhile the skin (or lack thereof) on our hands and knees burns like it was on fire.

No, I can happily say that North was not hurt by his little tangle with a pedal driven vehicle. I know that his biggest concern was whether any of his ‘dog buddies’ saw it. Never mind that a bike just rolled over him, you still have to look good.

I myself was caught in that complex mix of emotions that often grip us in situations like these. First the intial concern for the well being of the victim, and second, the need to take in larger quantities of air to aid in the huge volume of laughter being produced. There’s nothing like living through a harrowing experience and coming out with a ‘what the hell just happened’ look on your face to evoke laughter in the observers of said incident.

It reminds me of a time when, on crutches with a bum knee, I fell off the front porch at the Youth Hostel, and, as I lay there I turned to see Lappo holding the door for me, with a laugh on his face, only no sound coming out. He had the classic, ‘I’m laughing so hard, I can’t make any noise’ in full effect – something I thought stopped with 6th grade sleep overs. It was then that I knew that this phenomenon occured in adults as well, although it usually took something on a much grander scale to incite it – usually the misfortune of others, or large amounts of a controlled substance.

I, of course, failed to see the humor in the whole incident until later. Lappo on the other hand, got it right away, and of course from then on, always felt the need to share the humor with others. This I didn’t always appreciate, for it made me the butt of the joke, and I also, as most butts of jokes do, ended up looking like a complete mallethead every time the story was recounted.

So, I guess the point is this, North is a mallethead. Although, I knew this before the run in with the bike, the whole episode just reaffirmed it. I had a hint before when he walked into the sliding glass door, but the run-over was irreversable proof. Of course, I take absolutely no blame for giving him the tire in the first place, for you see, I am a mallethead for having fallen of f the porch.

Maybe next time North will stay out of the way of the bike, but coming from a fellow mallethead, I doubt it.

Off the market.

Well, as most of you know, I am married now. So leave me alone. You needn’t tease me anymore, the deed is done.

It was nice of the Rope to fly the fellas up from the Youth Hostel so that they could be here for the festivities. It was good to see everyone again and drink too much beer. I really wonder about the future of aviation in this country when I see Ray drunk and gyrating like a fiend on the dance floor.

I don’t really have much to report. I sit here currently as the remnants of Floyd (all null and void!) bash against the outside of my house and my dog, North, chews on my foot, wondering if I can afford to buy the new Matthew Good CD now that it is out, being as how CD’s now cost an alarming 25 bucks each. I tell you, this is a crime. I don’t know what makes me more angry, the fact that record companies and retailers actually think I am idiotic enough to pay these prices or the fact that I finally buckle and go against my moral fiber and actually break down and buy their product. I’m thinking about opening up a cd store and selling all my records at cost. I won’t do it for the money, just to provide people with music at a price they don’t have to sell their car to afford. How will I make money you ask? Well I’m not in it for the money, but expenses coudl be covered by small donations of those who shop there and are thankful that they don’t have to pay the ridiculous full prices. Let’s just say all the cd’s would be labeled at cost and you are welcome to tack on whatever you feel is appropriate. Interested investors can email me.

I also want everyone to know that I am going to start my own awards show on tv. I want to officially recognize all the hard work and important significance of these mindless shows, so next year check your local listings for the Annual Awards Show of Excellence in Awards Shows. The show will hgihlight all the stupid speeches, fashion blunders and tone deaf live performances from the previous year’s award shows. Awards will be handed out to the winner of the nominees, which will be be picked at random, with absolutely no relevance to the category they appear in. The panel of Judges will be selected from a large pool of citizens that possess not only no special link to the awards, but have no idea what is going on in popular society whatsoever. Maybe we can get someone like Tipper Gore to head the inaugural judging panel.

So I guess that’s about it for now – on second thought, maybe I should just start my own cable channel. Hey it worked for Ted Turner. I can start a channel that airs only movies that I want to watch and no one else has ever heard of, 24 hours a day. That way I can spend lots of time and money to fill the airways with mindless dribble, thus making it even harder for people with programming that is entertaining or God – forbid, informative and educational, to even get their foot in the door. And when I run out of my own mindless dribble to broadcast, I’ll simply buy some from some other huge – out – of – touch conglomerate who has extra junk to sell.

There we go. Now I have outlined my plan for world manipulation – er, I mean domination. Welcome to the future of buKit communications, inc. You will all bow before me because if you don’t I’ll show Rollerjam 24 hours a day.