Friday, April 25, 2014

The Boy Who Walked Into A Tornado, And Came Out An Idiot

... A story from my youth.

Dr. House said it best when he said, "Everyone lies."  Well, everyone does lie, but kids are the worst at it.  I don't know if it's that their brains aren't working at 100% capacity, or if they think it's part of being imaginative.  Either way, kids lie...badly.

Then there are the kids who take it to the next level.  They continue to lie even when everyone knows they're an idiot, and no one is believing them.  This is a story about one of those kids.  I can't even remember this kid's name.  I can't even remember what he looks like.  But I remember the complete train-wreck of a conversation I had with him.

It started with a tornado.

Actually it started with a bunch of us, some 10 year old kids, talking about some recent tornados that had hit the mid-west.  It had been all over the news since they had done a bunch of damage to homes.  I remember how Tom Brokaw talked about the wind speeds would blow even harder than the hurricanes that hit us here in Florida.  The wind speeds could get up to 200 MPH, thus destroying anything in their path.

So this kid, I'll call him "Lil' Timmy," says that he's been inside a tornado.  Well, you can imagine what a ruckus this caused for a bunch of 10 year olds.  No one argues a subject to a well beaten, well rotted, dead horse like a group of 10 year olds. 

So Lil' Timmy goes on that he just walked up to the tornado, and while the winds were bad, once you got inside the tornado it was just fine.  There were no winds, and everything was peaceful once you got inside of the tornado.  So not only was he saying that he walked up to a tornado, he was saying that he walked inside of it, and it was totally chill.  He just sat back, relaxed, and had a grand time inside of the tornado. 

Of course, no one believed him, and massive name calling ensued.  I can't remember much of Lil' Timmy like his name or face, but I do remember that everyone thought he was an idiot, and he basically confirmed it. 

If I remember correctly, 10 year old me would have gladly shoved Lil' Timmy in the general direction of a tornado just to be rid of him.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

That Will Be The Death Of Me

It started almost twenty years ago.  I was an arrogant, angry kid just out of high school.  I was going to the local community college two or three times a week for some sort of an education.  To make pocket money for all the important stuff, I took the only job that would hire someone like me.  Landscaping.  It just so happened that the next street over from where I lived was a giant landscaping company.  So I got hired, was able to work part time hours, and made pretty decent pocket change compared to others my age.  Not great, but still a little more than other menial jobs.

It was there that I encountered what would be my plant nemesis.  The Canary Island Date Palm.  The first time I had to deal with one of the cut branches, it cut me up one side of my arm to the other.  Note that I was wearing work gloves at the time.  It didn't cut my hands, but it did a number on my arms.  You see, the Canary Island Date Palm has these huge thorns where the branches meet the base of the tree.  The problem was a lot of the properties had these all over the place, and each one needed cut four times a year or so. 

Years ago I let everyone in the house know that one of these palms would be the death of me.  Still, my Father for whom cruelty has never been an issue decided to put one right smack in the middle of the driveway.  Don't believe me?  Look at this:

Yes, that is the front of our house.  And for those of you thinking, "Well, the thorns can't be that bad, can they?"  Take a look at this:

Those things can get up to eight inches long, and can cut right through a work glove. 

When my Father first bought the palm it was short and stocky.  However, it still weighed at least 400 pounds.  It has these two huge ball roots on it.  For years it didn't actually grow upwards.  It just put down roots for years.  The last few years however it has started to grow upward.  This presents another problem.  When I would mow around it, I would try to cut the grass near the base of the tree.  However, I could never get that close since the thorns would cut me to pieces.  The other problem with it getting taller is that, the thorns are now near my face, and have cut my face numerous times. 

My cruel Father says that it's not my problem.  He'll deal with it.  But it doesn't really work out that way does it?  I have to deal with it when I am landscaping.  I also told him that those things live a long time.  I'll have to deal with it when he dies.  I can't burn it down.  I can't cut it down with a standard chainsaw.  Palm trees are notorious for being impossible to cut down with a chainsaw.  Or at least, regular chainsaws.  No, I will have to pay a tree company to come and take it away.  Right now that would run $2000.  With inflation, I'd hate to think what it will be in a few years. 

I suspect that will be mowing one bright and sunny day.  I will be on my riding lawnmower, and one of those thorns will cut my throat wide open.  It will be exactly like how Catalyn Stark got her throat slit open during the Game of Thrones, "Red Wedding" episode.

I begged my cruel and unusual Father to let me put something else in the circle.  I was thinking Stonehenge, but a Mini-Stonehenge.  They sell them on Amazon.

Okay I'll need it a touch bigger than that, but you get the point.

Yes, I could do something like that.  Maybe I could use cinder blocks, and masonry found at the local Home Depot.  That would keep the cost down.

But it won't happen.  I know that I will be struck down by that Canary Island Date... nay, Killing Palm. 

Let the final words on my tombstone be this:

A Canary Island Date Palm walks on the water.
A Canary Island Date Palm walks by the sea.
A Canary Island Date Palm walks wherever it wants.
But no Canary Island Date Palm walks on me.

You know if that will fit and all.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reeling in the Gouramis

I think every fish tank owner has that "turnover" moment.  The moment where after having the same fish for a year or two, they all start passing away at the same time, and you need to restock the tank.  That's what's happened to me.  I have been buying quite a few gouramis.  It's kind of bad in that, I buy a few, and then I lose a few, and then repeat.

When I went to the pet store the last time I saw something I had never seen before.  Blue Gouramis.  Not Powder Blue, but Blue.  And they looked awesome.  I bought two of them.  When I went back the next week they were all out of them.  But eventually, I will want more. 

So onto the pictures!