Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hearse Show & Leash Law Report

Our Saturday in Joplin was a pretty nice trip for us. As the only non-hearse in the bunch, The Ambulance won "Worst In Show," the plaque is oddly pretty in it's own unique way; there's something so fascinating about black glass... The weather was lovely; sunny with just enough breeze to keep it cool. We had a great time hangin' out, checkin' out hearses, and chattin' with people. I also enjoyed smiling and waving at that poor lady in the Honda Civic who made a lap around the group of us shaking her head with her hand over her mouth as if she were trying to hide her worry and silence her "nooooooooo..."

We had dinner at an interesting little place called "Red Hot & Blues" and since I'm not a big fan of barbecue (burnout, sorry), I was glad to see the part of the sign that said "BBQ & Southern Grill." Southern Grill... Oh my my, I'd go back in a heartbeat -- that steak was excellent, and the salsa was one-of-a-kind too.

On the way home, out on the Will Rogers Turnpike, just a little ways before we could see the big McDonald's up on the bridge, we were talkin' about needin' to stretch our legs and deal with my crusty contact lenses... Right about the time I made up my mind that The Glass House was gonna be the place to stop ('cause they have milkshakes there), I found something brown and squirmy right in my lane.

At 65mph or so, I couldn't really identify it, but it was dark brown, bigger than a coon or possum, probably smaller than a deer, and had at least four violently wiggling short stocky appendages pointin' upward. I couldn't miss it, I just couldn't. I'd do my best to "brake and evade" for a horse or a big ol' rodeo bull, but anything deer-size or smaller is just gonna get hit, 'cause I ain't jerkin' the wheel in anything, especially not something that rocks and sways like an E-350 with a huge box on the back.

l hit a possum with the Mark 8 a couple weeks ago, and that was a noticeable thump. The Ambulance is a lot bigger than the Mark, and this thump, even in the bigger vehicle, was a considerably bigger thump -- my foot was resting on the hump in the floor where the left front wheel is, and I felt the smack. Clay says he felt the whole truck take a bit of a jump, I was just holdin' the wheel real tight and trying to make sure we stayed in our own lane.

Okay, since there's no tellin' what that was, we should stop and look these tires over...

I was stunned by what I found -- I've made some roadkills before, but I've never had any actual messes to clean up afterward.

Just as we pulled in and parked, there was a pickup that parked a row over that had just exited ahead of us -- there were two cowboy-lookin' dogs in the back and one jumped out to try & follow the people into the building. I could be wrong, but I think the humans might have been lookin' around for a third doggy.

Ten or fifteen years ago, I might've been freaked-out by that, but hey, I'd bet the fall from the pickup really boogered the little fella up -- by smackin' it with a front tire and then a set of duals, I'm sure I ended a horrible moment of severe misery.

That's what I'm tellin' myself, anyway.

I just hope nobody ended up risking their life to walk the median and whistle for their little buddy in hopes that he'd landed safely and not been hit yet...

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Waiting around like a kid countin' down 'til Christmas...

I think my camera might be alright and maybe it was a battery issue when it started acting up... I took my not-so-functional Kodak "Value Charger" back to the store and exchanged it for an Energizer brand, and since the charger seems to function exactly as noted in the instructions, I'm quite satisfied with it. My conclusion: Kodak=good cameras, not-so-good battery chargers.

I went ahead and ordered a new camera anyway... More Megapixels, more features, three years newer, and brand-new for about half of what I spent on the last one; just as to be expected in the world of electronics. When I got my first (very first, circa 1998) digital camera, I'da never believed that in just a few years I'd be carrying a cell phone in my pocket that took higher quality pictures than that camera. I wish I could remember what I spent on that now-dead Casio digital camera, but it's probably best that I don't, I'd probably be a little sick over it. I still have it though, just in case I ever run onto someone who might be able to fix it -- there may still be pictures in there from when Tammy took it to New York City.

In following with "Brand Loyalty," I'm getting another Kodak -- and amazingly enough, I paid cash, even before my tax refund got here. That CoinStar thing (look 'em up by putting a www in front and a com on the end) was interesting to say the least. It's a pretty sweet deal -- ordinarily, it costs eight tenths of a cent for every dollar (my bank wants a penny of every dollar) for "processing," but with CoinStar, if you select a gift card from that huge online retailer named after a river, coin counting is free.

The machine itself was an interesting window of the people-watching sort -- it has a tray where the coins get dumped in, and that tray has holes in it so anything smaller in size than a dime falls through the grate instead of into the coin counter. Under that grate there were a few different kinds of screws and nails and pills and just general pocket garbage. Ah, the fascinating pocket garbage of strangers. Don't worry, it was a look-but-don't-dare-touch kinda deal.

After I'd dumped my kitty litter jug in there, I was fascinated to see the screen say "You have a lot of coins, please wait while we catch up." I'd made a pretty good guess of how much money was in there, and I wasn't too surprised when the screen said I should check the return slot because some coins might not have been accepted. I know some of 'em got tossed in the jug all grubby, like the ones I've picked up at work...

I reached into the return slot, and there was a small handful of change there, along with one single yellow pill.


I have no idea what it was. I tossed it back into the machine immediately.

I guess that was the "bonus." Heh.

More later. _\,,/

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Weekend Update, to the tune of "So This Is Christmas."

So this is Monday.

Opening Night at Mid-Am went fairly well, no major issues save for a mild trailer-brake adjustment as we were leaving town. The Twenty held it's own in a fairly decent manner and ended up with a top-ten finish for the evening. Nothin' broken, nothin' gettin' hot. The "New Management" is really working hard and I think they're off to a really good start. The track seemed to stay pretty nice most of the night. I missed Clay like crazy, and it's not just 'cause he takes lots more pictures than I do.

Speaking of pictures... I had my camera in the truck seat with me and forgot about it, so it ended up hitting the pavement when I got out to see if I could help with the trailer problem. It was in it's small case, and when it fell, I knew immediately what I'd done (so it didn't get mashed like my phone did a few months back), but still, the seat of the ambulance is about elbow-high, and that seems like quite a fall. I shot a couple pictures just ridin' down the highway, and I took three of the car once we were there -- it didn't seem like anything was wrong until Sunday afternoon when it started acting funny while I was trying to take pictures of the baby parakeets.

As I was trying to figure out what was going on, my batteries died.

So... Depending on what I find when those batteries are finished charging, I may be shoppin' for a new camera. I'm trying to be reasonable about that, I know that three years is a ripe ol' age in "Electronics Years," and there are probably several newer, more advanced, higher quality cameras out there for possibly less money, and some of 'em are very, very interesting -- but I really like this camera, so I hope it's not dead.

Sunday afternoon I had a very nice time at "Hen Fest." I'd say that the ribeye could've been better, but it was okay, and I was so happy to be with my girlies that I really didn't care if the food was perfect or not. That girl who sat by me in junior year English class, the one who wrote the most awesome thing ever in my yearbook that year, she's still awesome, and I'm so glad we found each other again and stayed in touch this time.

Also, this being Monday, the HoMeSkOoLeRz are back, amazingly enough. Their Mom took 'em home and then ended up calling back over here and promptly provoking an argument. Dad was a little irritated with me and kept saying "Just don't argue with her," but seriously, I know I'm right, I have to stand up for what's right.

We're waiting to see how that all turned out.

I'll fill y'all in when I get the details myself.

More later... _\,,/

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