Categotry Archives: random stuff

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A (Sort of) Funny Thing Happened While Trying to Get Ready for My Trip

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Categories: random stuff, What the heck was THAT?

So the morning before we are supposed to leave for Denver, I get in the car to go run errands. And the car struggles a little bit to start.

I thought, That’s odd; normally this starts right up.

I turned it off and tried again. Same thing–it started, but coughed and sputtered.

Uh, oh. Better have the battery tested, just to be sure. I’d hate to have it fail on the road.

I’d already spent about $500 last week at the dealer for tires and maintenance work; it took them three days (when it shouldn’t have) and I had to borrow a PT Cruiser from them. So I didn’t want to go back there.

So I took it to a mechanic shop that a friend had recommended, told them about the sluggish starter, and asked them to test the battery.

Sure, no problem, the guy said. So I stepped into the waiting room and, um, waited.

A few minutes later, I looked up and out the window into the service bay, to see why it seemed to be taking so long to test the battery. And there are about five mechanics gathered around my car…looking and digging around in the trunk!

Several startling thoughts crossed my mind at once:
  • What are they doing with the trunk open?
  • Why do they need the trunk open to test the battery?
  • Why are there so many mechanics gathered around my car?
  • WHAT THE CRAP IS GOING ON?
It was just a little unnerving. Plus, I had groceries sitting in the trunk. Nothing incriminating or anything…but would YOU want five greasy mechanics digging through your groceries?

So the guy I’d talked to came back into the shop. So I asked him: “Can you tell me why you have my trunk open?”

He said, “We’re looking for the battery.”

Several thoughts crossed my mind at once:
  • Why are they looking for the battery in my TRUNK?
  • Wouldn’t the battery be in another part of the car? Like the front, maybe? Under the hood, where the battery always is?
  • Why does it take five mechanics to locate a car battery?
  • And why can’t these FIVE MECHANICS find the battery?
  • This can’t be good.
  • WHAT THE HECK KIND OF SHOP IS THIS, ANYWAY?
For a brief moment, it was like living in an episode of “Home Improvement.” You know, where some interesting problem with a car draws a bunch of greasy, grunting guys around–none of whom really seems to know what they are doing–to be the first to solve the problem.

Turns out they had located the connection points under the hood (separate from the battery itself) and sure enough, the battery was failing. They just couldn’t figure out where the actual battery was!

Finally, one guy figured it out. You could sort of see it buried under a bunch of other stuff in the engine…sitting in the wheel well on the driver’s side.

That’s right…in my car, for some reason, you have to take off the front wheel and pry off the inside cover, to change the battery.

It’s a conspiracy, I tell you.

Anyway, the battery is replaced now. I feel kinda bad saying this, but I didn’t really trust those guys to do it. Plus I just don’t think you should have to pay labor charges to change a battery, even if the car is purposely designed that way. But…knowing how me and cars don’t always get along, I didn’t trust myself to do it, either.

So I thanked the keystone mechanics, went to an auto parts store, bought a battery, and bartered with a trusted friend to change it for me.

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On Vakayshun

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Categories: random stuff

By the time this posts, I’ll be on the road. The fam and are going up to Denver for a few days. We’ll spend some time with friends, do some sightseeing…and I’ll be leading worship for a friend’s congregation on Sunday.

So I hear that you’re not supposed to put this kind of stuff on the Interweb, so people won’t know they can rob your place while you’re gone. So in the unlikely event that you happen to know our address…we have an able housesitter, watchful neighbors, and a dog. So fugghedabboudit.

🙂

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I Dig My Kid’s Music (or, Dude, Satellite Radio Rocks)

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Categories: music, random stuff, What the heck was THAT?

So this week, I took my car into the dealer for some maintenance work. Due to delays, they ended up keeping it three days. So they gave me a loaner car.

The loaner was a white Chrysler PT cruiser. I think PT crusiers sort of look like small, old-timey gangster cars. But when a PT cruiser is white, it looks more like a small, old-timey ambulance.

Anyhow.

This PT cruiser was equipped with satellite radio. It was the first time I’d ever had satellite radio in a car. It wasn’t until I got to listening to that satellite radio that I realized just how crappy our local radio stations are.

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Fifty

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Categories: fun, random stuff, What the heck was THAT?

Here’s a little puzzle for you to solve. (Yes, it’s THAT kind of a post.)

Can you guess why the number fifty is significant to me today?

A little help narrowing it down:

  • It’s not the number of posts I’ve written (shoot, I’m almost to ten times that many)
  • Today is not my birthday (not that old)
  • Nor my anniversary (puh-leaze)

So…any guesses?

(Immediate family, church family and mother of the blogger are not eligible for the prize–if there was one, that is. So don’t give it away.)

I’ll update later today with the answer….

******UPDATE******

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Proof That Anyone Can Do the Right Thing…And Other Odds and Ends About Women’s Issues

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Categories: healing wounds, random stuff

First thing out of the gate, let me be honest here…without sparking political discussions, I generally cannot stand Jimmy Carter. Acknowledging his profession of faith in Christ, and regardless of his political leanings or the job he did as President, almost any time he’s made a public statement as a former President, I have found him to be provocative, interfering, undermining, and even disrespectful to sitting Presidents. Sometimes I wish I could go up to him and and say, “Hello? You’re retired! You had your shot. Go play golf and stop complicating world affairs!”

Just sayin’. 🙂

But his recent op-ed in the Observer is a powerful statement in favor of women from a Christian’s perspective, and the personal choice he made to leave his denomination over their policies on gender roles is something that commands my respect. This is one of the few things I can applaud him on, and it is a shining example of the kind of male advocacy that is so needed in these times. You can read his article here.

While we’re on the subject…if you’ve noticed I haven’t said too much here lately on gender issues, it isn’t that I have had nothing to say. I’ve been asked to participate in a wiki-book project on this topic, and I’m working on my chapter this month–and I’m concerned that writing about these things in two places might cause some unwanted bleedover. So until the end of July, I’m focusing on the book project. I expect to pick up this thread again on the blog sometime in August.

In the meantime, let me defer to Kathy Escobar, who in her unique non-capitalized style has written a timely and powerful piece on her own blog about these things. Enjoy!

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And This Time, He Brought the Fam Along

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Categories: random stuff, What the heck was THAT?

Remember this guy?

Remember how he built a nest in my chimney and shacked up with some girl red-winged blackbird and had kids a couple of months ago?

And remember how he wouldn’t let me mow my lawn without chewing me out and flying around my head?

Well…apparently, he and his wife really love each other…because they’re at it again.

Only this time it’s worse.

Actually, he’s never really left me alone when I mow the backyard. He just lightened up. He’d jaw at me for awhile and then go find something else to do…then come back and jaw at me some more. At least I had a break.

But a few days ago, when I mowed the lawn…for some reason he was determined to make me go away. I don’t know if they’ve had some scares up there in chimney-land, but this time I appear to be more of a threat. He never took a break. He flew closer than ever (without actually making contact). He was more bold.

You try mowing your lawn with that going on. Distracting and infuriating. I couldn’t reach his kids even if I wanted to. I decided to try to get him to back off.

So one time when he was hovering overhead…I threw a tennis ball into the air.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to hit him, nor did I intend to. I just hoped to at least create a larger perimeter so I could have a little peace.

At first, it worked. He flew away, suddenly, startled that I’d actually reacted. He continued to jaw, but at a distance.

But apparently, (duh) he interpreted that as more of a threat. The perimeter didn’t last long.

He came back. And this time he brought the relatives.

The next time he came swarming around…his mate came along. So now I had two of them jawing and swirling overhead.

But that’s not all….you’ll think I’m lying…

Within seconds, there were four other birds, of some entirely different species, circling overhead right along with the red-winged blackbirds. Six in all.

I dunno…maybe these other birds were just curious to see what all the noise was about. Or maybe this was a gang from another neighborhood, come to join the rumble. They weren’t really acting aggressively like the others…just flying around overhead, like, “Yeah, you better listen to our cousins the red-wings, or else.”

It was freaky. Images of Hitchcock movies come to mind.

Maybe I need a raincoat when I mow the lawn.

So…I guess I’ve started a feud. Now when I come out back, I can’t even get two steps away from the covered patio before two very loud, obnoxious birds start demanding what the crap I am doing in my own backyard.

I’m going to barbecue later today on the patio. I wonder how that’s going to go. Maybe I should bring some extra spatulas to throw.

No, never mind…I already tried that tactic, didn’t I?

Stupid red-winged blackbirds.

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Well, This Doesn’t Happen Every Day…Not In Tulsa, Anyway

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Categories: movies, random stuff

So last night we caught a news clip that they were doing some on-location filming here in town for this movie. So today, we thought, what the heck…let’s go downtown and see if we can see anything. We honestly didn’t expect to see anything.

Turns out we were wrong.

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Goings-On

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Categories: random stuff, Wild One

Just a brief update for anyone who’s interested in why I haven’t posted any profundities in the past couple of days…

This weekend, The Wild One has been invited to show five photographs in a local show with a few other photographers. It just so happens that she is ready to officially launch into business as a photographer, and wants to coordinate that around the show opening. So we have been frantically working this week to finish up her website and get it up and running, getting paperwork filled out, etc., so she can provide that information at the art show and hopefully get some dates on the calendar. Among other things, she will be offering photo shoots for human portraits and pet portraits, and also offering some fine art photos for sale online. I’ll put a link here when the site is up. But that’s most of what we’ve been up to the past few days.

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I (Used To) Love the Red-Winged Blackbird

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Categories: random stuff, Rantings, What the heck was THAT?

I’m not really a bird-watcher. At least, not in the sense that I stalk through the marshes in khaki shorts with a camera, looking for a glimpse of the rare plaid-bellied whispercrike.* But I do enjoy seeing them out my window, especially when they are colorful; and when I’m traveling, I get a kick out of seeing species that aren’t found in my neck of the woods…although most of the time I couldn’t identify them as anything other than hey-look-at-that-red-and-blue-bird-with-a-little-bit-of-yellow-on-the-wings.**

All that said…we have red-winged blackbirds*** in our neighborhood. They don’t show up all the time, but you notice them when they do, because of, um, the small bright red marking on the wings. They sort of stand out among the other run-of-the-mill blackbirds we see flying around.

Anywhoo…I used to love them. Not anymore. I have recently come to discover that they can be argumentative, persnickety, stubborn, and downright paranoid. Especially the male (identifiable because their colors are more brilliant than the female’s). And especially when that male is apparently guarding a nest of newly-hatched or soon-to-be-hatched baby red-winged blackbirds.

At least, this is what I surmise by the recent behavior of the male red-winged blackbird who has been sitting on top of our chimney all week and throwing a hissy-fit whenever a human or dog emerges from our house.

I’ve never seen the mate, or the nest, or the chicks. But apparently the nest is on or very near our house, possibly even in the chimney. (The Wild One thinks she may have heard the chicks through the fireplace.) But this daddy bird is taking his job very seriously. Nobody who comes within 200 yards of the place is exempt from his wrath, and everything that moves is perceived as a threat. (I think he might have even yelled at the tree in our backyard once when it blew in the breeze.) We hear it scolding things all day long, morning to night. (Apparently we have a very active neighborhood.)

And scolding isn’t all it does. Let me tell you how I actually “met” our feathered “friend.”

Finally the rains ended around here this week, and I got to give the lawn a much-needed mowing. But shortly after I began working in the yard, I began noticing a loud chirping and a winged shadow, looked up, and saw a very ticked-off red-winged blackbird flapping its wings just a few feet above my head.

I’ve been dive-bombed by birds before, so I recognized the behavior. (I know what you were doing while it was raining, you little rascal.) I headed for the covered patio, and the blackbird perched in the tree and yelled at me for awhile. When it got bored with that, it flew back up on our roof to keep watch. Sure enough, as soon as I left the patio, it began again. It never actually made contact with me, but it kind of did these flybys, like Tom Cruise buzzing the control tower with his jet in Top Gun. I figured if I didn’t get dive-bombed, I was going to get pooped on at some point. He’d fly overhead, go perch somewhere close, and fly by again. And the whole time, the bird never stopped complaining.

I thought, Hey, I’m your friend, pal. Don’t you know I can’t fly up there and hurt your kids? Don’t you know I like your pretty red wings? I’m on YOUR SIDE!! But it didn’t matter. This daddy bird was so overprotective, if these baby birds were human, they would never, ever get a driver’s license. Or go on a date.

The Wild One was all like, “Oh, how cute. He’s so afraid someone’s gonna hurt his babies.”

I was all like, “Afraid? That bird is paranoid.”

Sure, honey. Take the bird’s side. How the crap am I supposed to mow the lawn when I have to keep ducking? How do we stop him from dive-bombing the people when it’s time for house church?

I used to love the red-winged blackbird. Now I just hope those kids move away when they grow up.

*Not a real bird.
**Also not a real bird.
***This one is a real bird.
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