Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Tale of Adrian Bear

A few years ago I was dating a gal who hated being called Shelly.  So I will call her that in this blog.  Again, I try not to use real names.  Anyway, I was talking to Shelly, and made a joke that after our date she would snuggle her teddy bear all night long thinking of me.  And no, I couldn't say that with a straight face.

She then said that she didn't have a teddy bear.  Which I replied, "Well, you've had a teddy bear when you were a little girl, right?"  She said, "No."  She then went on to tell me about how she didn't have that great of a childhood, (Okay, it was pretty awful,) and never really had any stuffed animals.

So I decided to make the situation right.  I went to the Build-A-Bear Workshop, and decided to make her an, "Adrian Bear."  This is what I came up with.

Okay, so I put my hat and glasses on Adrian Bear, but you can see the resemblance.  She had moved to a different place, so I mailed her Adrian Bear, and told her she now had her own teddy bear.  She loved this.  And on a side note, who wouldn't?  Adrian Bear is pretty darn awesome.  You can really see the how much we look alike. 

So, that's my touching story.  I haven't talked to Shelly in a few years.  I hope she and Adrian Bear are doing well wherever they are. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pleco Plushies

Like a lot of great thinkers, I do my best thinking in the shower.  I have no clue as to why this happens, but something about the water, soap, and being refreshed makes my brain step, "outside the box."  It was while I was on in the shower I thought of something that I thought was a swell idea.

Before I get into it though, let me start with Joe.  Joe the Pleco, also known as Joe the 6th, as he is the 6th pleco I have had in my life.  Joe is a plecostomus, also known as, "that sucker fish that eats the algae in your fishtank. 


So I've had Joe for about a decade or so.  He's been a good pleco.  When I worked in the pet industry, I sold a bunch of them.  However, when I showed the plecos to a woman who was new to having fish as pets, she freaked out as to how "ugly" they were.

I told her I thought they were like some breeds of dogs that were so ugly they were cute.  You know, like a bulldog with an underbite.  So ugly, but you want to talk baby talk to them all the time.

So back to the shower.  I was thinking about how they were ugly/cute, and that they would make a good plushie.  Then it occurred to me that if I'm thinking it, someone has already done it and put it on the internet.  And you know what?  Yep, it happened.

A company called Green Pleco beat me to the punch.  But I can't be mad, they have done a great job.

You know what would be great?  A pleco plushie that is around two feet long, and part pillow/part stuffed animal.  I think the kids would love it.  I have to admit that I feel better just knowing that these plushies are out there.

Monday, September 14, 2015


There are those times you look back in your life, and kind of laugh, but not really.  One memory that sticks out to me is the time my Dad really offended my Mom without aiming to do so.

The year was 1987, and a new artist by the name of Suzanne Vega had come out with a song called, "Luka."

My Mother had heard it before me, so the next time it came on the radio we were in her car.  She turned it up, and made sure I listened to all the words.  She wanted me to know it was about child abuse, and without saying it, I could tell this song meant a lot to her.

Now my Mother wasn't exactly treated well as a child.  It wasn't full on physical abuse, but that kind of mental abuse only a depressed parent can put on an entire family. 

Why this song really stuck out to my Mother was that, it was one of the first songs to deal with those kinds of social issues.  The 60's had plenty of social issue songs, but we are talking about 1987.  The week that "Luka" hit #8 on the Top 40 (August 1st, 1987,) it really stuck out in terms of being a social issue song.  Take for instance, some of the other songs on the top 10.  #1., Bob Segar with "Shakedown."  #2., U2 with "I still haven't found what I'm looking for."  #3., Heart with "Alone."  So you can see it was the strange (out there) song compared to the other songs that were hits that year. 

So, the next time the whole family was in the car, guess what song comes on the radio?  What I didn't know then was that, my Dad hated that song.  But the weird part was, he didn't know what it was about. 

So here's the first verse.

My name is Luka
I live on the second floor
I live upstairs from you
Yes, I think you've seen me before

So my Dad sings,

My name is Luka
I sing a stupid song

And that's when my Mom came unglued.  "This songs about child abuse!!!  Why would you say that?"  Dad was like, "What???"  Mom then went on to let him know that it was all about child abuse, and that the song meant a lot to her.  She did this while fighting back tears that whole time. 

I will say this.  Dad let her have her say, and he kind of kept quiet the rest of the time.  Think of my weird family's interaction the next time you are on the 80's station, and "Luka" comes on.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

New Guitar Day: Dean Gran Sport

I know what everyone in my family is saying/thinking.  "Not another guitar!"  Well, this one was too good to pass up.  I was looking at the musical instruments listed on Craigslist, when in-between cursing the way too high priced crap, I noticed something unusual.  Someone from a pawn shop had posted a, "Dean guitar" for $89.  When I looked at it, I thought, "that looks like a Dean Gran Sport.  There's no way that listing is correct if all they want is $89.  That's a $600 guitar new."

Usually pawn shops are the worst offenders for things being way overpriced.  Most of the time I can buy "brand new" what they are offering "used" for the same price from one of the big shops.  Sometimes they are actually trying to sell them for more used than I can buy new.  So why on earth do they have one marked that low?

I noticed that the add had only been up for three hours, so since it was Saturday I dressed quickly, and got down there.  I looked down the line of guitars, and didn't see it.  But since there were no missing guitar hangers I didn't think it had been sold.  Then I looked behind the counter, and there it was.  I asked the salesman if I could look at it. 

I looked it over, and it didn't have a scratch on it.  In fact, it had never been set up.  The strings were way too high on it.  I looked at the tag on it, and noticed something weird.  It said "Cort."  As in, Cort Guitars.  This was a Dean, and not a Cort.  However, the serial number on the tag matched up to the number on the back of the headstock.  I wondered if they got it mixed up with a Cort guitar, and thus were selling it way too cheap?

Usually pawn shops buy at 25% of the new price, and sell at 75% of the used price.  Since this was a $600 guitar they would have bought it at $150, and sold for $450.  Then they would have "worked" with a customer, and sold it for 66% of the original price and settled for $400. 

But if they thought it was a Cort, they might have bought it for $40 - $50, and sold at $89.  I wonder why anyone would sell a guitar that had never been played or had a mark on it that low.  I really had to question myself, and ask if I thought it had been stolen.  But they did have the serial number correct, and they run those through the police database. 

So with tax, I walked out of there with a final price of $95.  I brought it home, and did a quick set-up on it.  This is the Stealth model of the Gran Sport that comes standard with EMG pickups.  It is quite the metal monster.  I'm not crazy about active pickups, but they work well in this guitar.  I actually would have liked it to have the DMT Dean pickups that come in other versions of the Gran Sport.  But, I'm not going to knock my good luck.

The only thing that I can complain about it the battery cover.  The little pieces that hold it in, broke off.  But to be honest, I have seen that happen on so many battery covers.  Every active battery holder I have ever seen on a "stage" guitar, has tape over the battery cover.  So I did the same.  I put some electric tape over it to match. 

Now, onto the pics!

Monday, September 7, 2015


For the past six days I have been cleaning and purging the house.  Frankly, it has been too long.  Our house has too much stuff in it, and a lot of it is out of date, broken, or hasn't been used in decades.  This has lead to what is now being referred to as, "The Purge."

Well, it's not exactly the movie, in that, it's more like the TV show, "Hoarders."  My cleaning and purging has lead to a few things.  Namely, that I'm a no good scumbag, and how dare I throw out other people's stuff.  I have been insulted, yelled at, passively aggressively ignored, talked over, and generally just treated badly. 

Why?  Because a certain member of the household is a die-hard hoarder, and won't let anything go.  After I tried to purge a few things that hadn't been used in a decade and didn't work, I was yelled at/asked why I didn't throw out my own stuff.  So I did just that.

I cleaned out and donated my old X-Box (along with games, controllers, and connecters.)  Also, clothing, books, VHS tapes, and my old trucking stuff.  I also shredded some old paperwork that needed destroyed. 

But back to the certain family member who won't throw out anything.  Her walk in closet (huge) was so stuffed full of old clothes she could not physically put anything else in there.  So she donated 5 black bags full of clothing that was old, out of style, and/or wrong size.  This lead to a partial mental breakdown and lots of tears. 

Frankly, this is when it was started to feel like I was dealing with someone on the TV show, "Hoarders."  Except, unlike the show, this person doesn't want help, and will not admit she has a problem.

Okay, that's a file image off the internet, but this is how it feels.

I clean the house, and they call me a good son.
I ask why don't we get rid of some of the stuff we have, and I'm no son of theirs.

I convinced my Father to sell off his old stereo equipment.  It hadn't been hooked up in over two decades.  When the buyer checked it out, almost all of it was in such disrepair that it could only be used for parts. 

Frankly, this has kind of split the family.  I was asked, "Why do I have to do this now?  Why I am doing it behind people's backs?"  Well, there is an easy answer for that.  Every time I have ever tried to clean the house, it is always a bad time.  This goes back decades.  Every yard sale I've had has been my stuff.  The person in question won't get rid of their stuff.  If I try to move anything, even my things, it has to be looked through, and inspected before it can go out the door. 

I have to ask,

1.  Why is there such a collection of Reader's Digest books that will never be read?  Not just them, but books that have been read once, and will never be read again in this house. 
2.  Why are there 8 track tapes in the house.  Do we even have an 8 track player?  And if we do, why listen to tapes through that thing?  The quality was terrible then, and it's even worse now.  With the internet any of those songs are available at the drop of a hat.
3.  What do we need a box of Sears VHS training tapes (from the 80's )for?
4.  Speaking of VHS tapes, there is a collection of over a hundred that have never been watched, never will be watched, and just take up space.  It's not like they are even regular movies. 
5.  Also, the box of old travel guides just needs thrown out.
6.  What's with all the cassette tapes slathered in dust?  I can see keeping a few of the select ones, but I don't see the need to keep all of them.
7.  What of all the office stuff?  Since she is retired, is all that stuff really necessary?

I ask these questions, and everyone gets mad.  She makes a stink, and then my father pussies out.  It's just, "not a good time."  And it never is.  It never is.  There is never a good time to clean up the house.  That's what's been going on the last few decades in this house. 

It's high time someone stood up, and said, "This is the time!  The time is right now!  The Purge begins right now!" 

But for now I'm told to back off.  Since I was asked to "clean my own stuff out," when the rain stops I will start on the garage.  When the garage has enough room to maneuver about, I will work on the upstairs garage. 

However, after that I will ask the question, "Why can't we work on cleaning the inside of the house?  I'll see what the answer is then.

Friday, September 4, 2015

I Found A Turtle

A long time ago when I was all about jogging, I found a turtle.  I had watched Forrest Gump one too many times.  In the late 70's he was part of the jogging phase that America was going through.  So I thought, "Hey, he just feel like running, well, so can I."  So I started jogging up and down the street. 

Since I was in school all day, and worked the evening shift I would run at night sometime between 9 and 11 PM.  I would usually have to avoid stepping on bugs and such when I was jogging, but one night I encountered something different.  It was a turtle.

Okay, it was a toy stuffed turtle.  I picked him up and brought him home.  I then proceeded to give him a bath via the clothes washer.  I think he liked taking a swim in it.

Since then, he has hung around the house.  I know he likes watching the fishtank.

I'm not sure if he likes watching the fish, or wants to eat the fish.  Either way, he can't get enough of the fishtank.

Sometimes, he borrows my computer, and gets on Youtube.  He likes listening to, "The Turtles."

Some would call it irresponsible to have marine life just wandering around the house, but he's quiet, doesn't eat much, and generally stays to himself.  So I'm glad to have him around the house.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Enter... The Matrix!!!

So as I have been cleaning the house, I noticed something really weird.  We have a copy of, "The Matrix" on VHS tape.

I have to be honest.  I don't think this tape has ever been played.  You can see from the picture that it is covered in dust.  Yep, that's my thumbprint on the left hand side there. 

I wonder where it came from?  How long has it been there?  Where was it purchased from?  Who in the household liked, "The Matrix" that much that they wanted to buy it?  I guess I'll never know the answers to these questions.  The only thing I can now ask is, "Does anyone want a copy of, "The Matrix" on VHS?