Cats and Heart Attacks

My cat Xena is the best cat in the whole wide world.  The little snuggle wuggums.  He is so, so cute wif his little stripes and sharp widdle claws and teethies.  And the way he will shred your hand if you so much as touch his soft, soft wittle tummy tum.  And its so funny that if I don’t have a little can of his favorite wet food (not the cheap stuff, not salmon, tuna a rice he likes best) he will run up the stairs ahead of me and grab my ankles near the top and try to trip me.  Bastard.

Xena is a boy.  He has a girls name.  Its my fault really.  He was a stray or a barn cat who appeared at our door and wouldn’t let me near him. He would accept food and hand crafted shelter from the elements, but until the winter winds blew, he just hissed and me and growled.  Day one of sub zero temps and he waltzed in the house as if he owned the place.  We had named him Xena because he would leap in the air through the long grass chasing birds and flying insects and he reminded us of the TV show character. By the time we discovered he was a boy the name had stuck. We tried Xenu for a while but gave up a few days later.

Its been seven years on and he is still around and is a big suck when he isn’t trying to kill me, isn’t rushing out of the bushes late at night when I come home from the gym or soccer to run between my legs or is doing what he does best:  killing other denizens of our two acres of forest.

Like most cats, he kills mice, rats, chipmunks (little lawn wrecking jerks) though sadly he stays away from my nemesis, squirrels.  He has over the years brought me some odd things as well such as an adult rabbit and all of its babies, a large woodpecker, two indigo buntings (!), a baby milk snake (alive, released after), frogs and two flying squirrels.  Note, if you THROW a flying squirrel, even in death its arms will spread and it will zoom like a Frisbee ™ through the air. One year, he was hit by a car. He took a large portion of a winter to heal and as soon as spring arrived he was out again, bringing me a total of one hundred and eighty dead beasties. He is a killing machine.

I have for the record always had cats.  I cannot remember a time of more than a few months in my entire life that I did not possess at least one feline companion.  We (they and I) understand one another.  We (they and I) are similar in nature as are most cat owners.  Quiet, solitary at times, ponderous thinkers, not the most loyal when it suits us best, light sleepers, generally awesome.  Also, like they, we (I) also are not the most fond of dogs.  I have personally owned dogs, never of my own choice, three times in my life. Twice my father purchased a puppy for me which I never really wanted as he thought “every boy should have a dog” which was completely insane as he never owned a dog himself apart from a Yorkshire terrier named Duchess that my mother and he had for a year or three. I of course walked it, even though I would rather have set it free in the sewer to live with its kin.  Once an ex and I purchased a half Lab half Alsatian that I kept in a garage mostly when it wasnt tied up outside.  I was terrified of the damn thing as time wore on.  It was angry, probably as I kept the stupid thing in a garage most of the time.  Not a “lap” dog, more a “tear out your throat” dog. Nowadays I tolerate them, they being semi-intelligent pack animals craving attention if not an early death and escape from their mindless affectionate servitude, not unlike some humans I have met.

In recent years, my wife has taken to thinking I am dying.  I am a klutz at times.  I walk into things. I trip over things. I bang my head on things.  I tend to not turn lights on at night and as a result on a few occasions I have walked into things and she rears up with concern in her pitch-escalated voice yelling “Sean! Sean?  What’s wrong!?” when I dramatically hit the floor rolling around clutching something in the dark.  When I had my mid-evening peanut butter sandwich reflux caused breathing difficulty episode, she did the same thing, with reason.  My jumping out of bed wheezing, running to bathroom, issuing a “…no!” when she screamed “are you okay Sean??!?” followed by a “..wait… yes…” when I realized I could breathe through my nose.  That warranted concern.  The occasional head bump on my son’s chin up bar, walking into a dresser, banging shin on end of bed, those are normal thinks klutzy people do.  She needs to calm down.

How does this all tie together?  Last week el gato went outside as usual.  As usual, he came to the door and over the sound of the television I could hear a very muffled, mouth full of someone “mewfrweorow..” repeated at least thee times.  I said “oh Christ I have to deal with a dead thing..” took an over large bite of toasted bagel and slunk off to the front door.  I opened it with less care than usual.  He has in recent times been a bit lazy and not finished off chipmunks who played dead till he walked away for a moment (I do wonder how many of them have been alive when I have thrown them 30 plus feet into the pine trees). He ran into the house and dropped a small, long tailed field mouse onto the kitchen floor. I issued my own muffled, mouth full of bagel “mewowwf! vvtupidcadbrodinffamewowwf..” then a bent down to get it and yellmumbled another “ifffuggingwlivedogfdamnfuffingcad!!!” as I grabbed a shoe and killed the zombie mouse that leapt up and started to run.
“Sean!  Sean! Oh my god Sean!” came from behind me as she leapt off the couch.  From her point of view, I was double over perhaps clutching my heart, the same heart I exercise five days a week at the gym and protect through diet and healthy lifestyle. Have I even mentioned how much insurance I have…?

When I stood, shoe in hand, confused, saying “what??” and turning back to pick up and toss outside the now flatter mouse she explained herself sounding angry.  She then turned the conversation into one of even more anger and disgust that I murdered a single solitary mouse that was about to run free in our house. This even though the cat kills hundreds of things each year. But then again, he is a cat and she like me is a cat person and even though the thing murders left and right he is so cute and cuddwy. If dogs went out and brought their owners proportionally sized tribute such as racoons, lambs, the occasional orphan, people would be up in arms and rightly so.  Cats though, they can do as they please.  Cats are awesome. Except when they are trying to kill you.  Bastards.

Open Letter to Chain Restaurant Owners

Okay, I know this sounds a tad shall we/I/you say, petty and far be it from me to complain about petty things. That being said, some of you have a relatively new policy that bugs me to no end and i request you reconsider its continuance. It’s about how your staff parlay with we customers as we eat in your establishments. 

I have accepted that servers are overtly friendly. 

I have accepted that they insist in telling me their names.

I have accepted that they are forced to draw me into conversations I don’t even have with people that cut my hair.

I do not accept that they ask me how my “food tastes”.

I expect that within a short while after food delivery they will drop by to make sure all is as ordered. I do not however wish to go into how “the first few bites are”. It is stepping beyond friendly chat and walks right on into my head. If food is unacceptable I will say so. I will describe how I dislike it if needed. I will say why. Babying me makes me angry. Will they soon start asking me to “have a whiff” and describe the odour when it is dropped off or touch it and describe the texture?

Please stop.

Signed me

Posted from WordPress for Android by that guy that runs the place, Sean.

Dear Lady on Train

Nobody cares how hard you work of how many hours you put in apart from the following three people:

1.  People who make money off of your efforts or gain prestige of some sort by your efforts.

2.  People like you who blather on about how hard they work, but not out of respect for you, out of competititiveness. They like you are boring cogs. They like you will break down one day and be replaced and nobody will remember your efforts unless you cure cancer or invent a new mode of space/time bending transportation.

3.  Your friends and family because they don’t want you to work yourself to death or alternately, because they want you to work yourself to death.

4. There is no 4

Just fricking go enjoy life and quit living through your work. Talk about something else on your downtime.


Posted from WordPress for Android by that guy that runs the place, Sean.


Marnie went out to the shed
Marnie looked for Mittens
Fearful that her cat was dead
Fearful for the kittens
She saw a glow deep in the wood
She saw some running boys
They were wild, up to no good
They used knives as toys
Marnie frowned and Marnie sighed
Marnie turned, trudged back inside
She donned her magic woolen cloak
She cast a spell upon an oak
The tree reared up and it wrapped them up in bark
The tree trundled off, yelling came from the dark
She threw sand on the fire, resumed her search for Mittens
She paced, called and fretted, fearful for the kittens

Posted from WordPress for Android by that guy that runs the place, Sean.

How to Get Dead in Advertising

The short, snappily dressed little Englishman walked to the front of the boardroom.  His crisp thin white tie contrasted against the red button down shirt that lay against his English skin beneath a very tight bright blue v-neck sweater.  The little logo on the left side of his chest screamed money.  The skinny jeans yelled hip.  The swagger, red-framed glasses and terribly good hair whispered “look at me you old bastards.  I am the future.  You are beneath me, but I am smiling at you because I am paid to.”

He smiled at the room, sweeping from one fawning admin to another, then to the SVPs sitting patiently at the rear of the room, then across the gathered lowly ad folks.  These were the people he despised.  The kind of people who used dated catchphrases in their pieces, the kind that didn’t know the demographics, the kind that should have been let go ten years ago if not farmed out to another region that still clung to the past and found Carrottop funny.

“Good morning students! Did everyone bring their homework?” He gazed about, seeing laptops open, papers shuffle, coffee be sipped, people look back nervously. “I brought mine because I thought it only fair we all took part!”.  His teeth shone in the morning sunlight not unlike the teeth in that irritatingly infectious ad he wrote for that little electric car company the year earlier.  The one that won the awards.  The one that got him this job, teaching the old, the feeble, the “over-experienced”. “I’ll go first!”

Charles “Chuck” Logan avoided patting the swear clinging just at the hairline and instead ran his fingers through the hair.  “Show no fear, never let ’em see ya sweat..” he thought to himself.  His days were numbered and that number was in double if not single digits.  He knew it.  Too many kids dressed like Prince “Eddie” up front being shown around the office of late.  This session was a test designed to fail he and about five more old guys who’d been at Milton Banks and Oberhausen since the early eighties. It was obvious.  None of them used the software the kids used, they farmed that crap out to the interns.  None of them got the random inexplicable ads the kids wrote.  They still wore ties.  The still smoked and a few still had booze in their desks.  He sipped his coffee, third of the day, black, small bit of rum thrown in masked by the cough drops he sucked on day and night.

The lights dimmed and Eddie pointed at his PA who started the music via the ridiculously small pad thing in front of her.  Bland muted, slightly distorted, music from the sixties pored out from the ceiling mounted speakers. The suspended projector flicked on and scenes from old holiday camps filled the screen behind him. Bored kids, bored parents, dark tones and lots of brown.  Suddenly, a flash of light and music and the colours changed to vivid and the peoples faces were all a glow.  The old pool and building were reborn with shiny new paint and things looks a whole lot less un-fun.  The music became all thumping bass and guitars while some girl sang about change.  Pictures of people climbing walls with ropes attached to harnesses, paragliding, some sort of pirate people fighting with staff during dinner on a patio, live bands playing modern music and jet skis zooming around a beach.  THe music ended with the girl speaking the words: “Carundo Island Resort.  We are back. Come and see us soon. We aren’t your parents holiday choice…”

The lights came on and Eddie jumped back into view in front of the screen. “See? An escape became an escapADE.  How?  The Ad. ” He smiled around to see who got the joke. People who did applauded. People who didn’t, well, they laughed and clapped too. Chuck sweated more and decided to remove his jacket. “So, with a bit of photoshoppery and image colour manipulation and music, I was able to make it look like an old dated holiday resort was fun and cool and new. Throw in a catchy slogan, and no, I worked on that for like maybe two minutes, and you have a modern ad.  But what was missing?”

A hand shot up and Eddie pointed at the young girl who until yesterday was Chucks assistant. “Humour? I mean, a joke, maybe?”

“Yes Terri, humour, very good!”

Chuck’s ears perked up.  How the hell did this guy know her name already. He put up his hand.

“Hey, yes, what else?”

“No, sorry, I just need to get my things together can I go first? Well, second really.”

“Of course, open forum, open source, yeah!  You go, um, Chet is it?”

“Chuck, yes.  Thank you Ed.”

“No problem, though its Eddie.  Less formal eh?” he smiled around to his assembled followers.
“Okay while Chet is getting things together, lets talk about what was wrong with my bit apart from the shite music and the bad editing.” Snickers all around the table, knowing glances and nods of approval between the SVPs.

Chuck exited the boardroom, closed the door behind him and went to his office.  He slipped off his tie and undid the top button of his shirt.  Looking at his desktop he could see no emails waiting for him.  Looking around at the empty cubicle farm, he saw Margie the receptionist shuffling back to her desk.  She looked his way and grinned.  She was nice. Always nice and not in that tolerating way the other women were to him.  She was good.

Eddie droned on to applause that could be heard from beyond the closed doors. He sipped at water.  No coffee.  Gluten free everything. No peanuts.  Used antiseptic gel hand sanitizer all the time.

Chuck reached under his desk and pulled out the duffel bag.  It was old. It was battered. It was stained and dirty and needed replacing.  Chuck smiled as he unzipped the big chunky metal zipper and withdrew the small submachine gun, magazines and the nine millimetre automatic pistol.  He loaded both and headed to the boardroom.

Sadly, Chuck had been unable to find a harpoon on such short notice.  That would have been truly frigging random. Just another failure on his part.

Coffee Rocks..

“Little campfires, rapidly increasing to hundreds in number, would shoot up along the hills and plains and, as if by magic, acres of territory would be luminous with them. Soon they would be surrounded by the soldiers, who made it an almost invariable rule to cook their coffee first, after which a large number, tired out with the toils of the day, would make their supper of hardtack and coffee, and roll up in their blankets for the night. If a march was ordered at midnight…it must be preceded by a pot of coffee…It was coffee at meals and between meals; and men going on guard or coming off guard drank it all hours of the night.” ~John Billings, 1887, writing of the Civil War in Hardtack and Coffee

Posted from WordPress for Android by that guy that runs the place, Sean.

How I Met My Wife and Didn’t End Up In Prison

“I am not a serial killer.  Seriously.”
“I hereby promise and swear I am not crazy.”
“There is a very good explanation for these items in my trunk.”
“Yer purdy. You’all wanna go fer a ride tuhnight when yer off work?”
Three of the above responses went through my head the day I met my wife to explain away the contents of the back of my hatchback car sitting on top of the folded down seats.  One, the last one, also came up as a last ditch alternate response that drew from my wit and love of black comedy had she looked a bit beyond me where I stood and through the window of my 1993 shiny French Blue Mica Geo Storm.  Thankfully she didn’t move any closer and as a result I did not need to choose between the four or any more that may have cropped up into my thoughts had things gone sideways.  Thankfully, although as time went on she proved to have a good sense of what was funny and what was just happenstance, this did not occur. I noted that she was one button press from setting off an alarm and locking the doors with magnetic mechanisms  that would have resulted my spending a night in the hoosegow.  I don’t pee well in front of others.
Let me rewind a bit and explain why I was in such a circumstance. 
She (the aforementioned spousal droid, Karen ™ Mark IV (I had dated three Karens before her) ) and I met on pre-internet BBS** chat boards.  We argued about a number of issues (of which I won all*) and over a number of months decided we should meet in person.  Being a bit of a complete and utter bastard when it came to women, I didn’t want to meet in person in case she was completely insane or grotesque I sent my friend Nick to check her out. This was prompted partly because when we first started talking and stopped arguing on the chat boards she said “one of my body parts  is artificial. Guess what it is!”.  Eventually she answered that it was not a limb, and eye or a breast but in fact a tooth that that been broken in university but I was now wary as some of her responses to my guesses seemed less than truthful. Nick went in to the store she worked in, creeping her out with his skinhead looks, black bomber jacket, odd smile  and constantly saying things like “Hello Karen ™, thank you Karen™ Have a nice day Karen ™”. He reported back later in the day that “She is a keeper” so I moved on to the next stage, actually meeting her in person.  Problem was, she was living with someone (the TRAMP!) and I could only safely meet up during the day when we both worked.
At this stage of my life, I was working in the field of the ever slimy consulting engineering.   I sat at a desk a lot back then but on occasion headed out to visit sites and assess them for environmental compliance before they were sold. On this occasion I had to drive to another city, walk through the woods into a remote section of dense forest, fuel a generator, measure the depth of water in a series of wells, clean some tubing and filters, make some measurements and collect all garbage that I had generated, then hike back to my car.  I was able therefore to pop by her place of work and introduce myself before I headed off to lands beyond. I pulled in, we met, we chatted, we were vastly intrigued and interested in one another.  Not wishing to overstay my welcome and finding out that she’d be working till quite late, I decided to leave quickly, perform my work in the forest, head home, change and head back to visit more as soon as the place was free and clear of the “other guy” who would invariably visit as well.  Looking at the time, I skedaddled to my car saying goodbye.  I stopped to check the trunk was shut or something like that and I saw her approaching. Glancing in the back window I saw the following items, in full view, all shiny, new and nicely, rather, shall we say, meticulously organized:
·         White liquid proof Tyvek ™ coveralls.
·         Splash shield (the well water contained toxic contaminants)
·         Gasoline
·         Machete
·         Garbage bags
·         A box of white latex surgical gloves
·         Rope
I moved toward her in a friendly way and managed to initiate another quick conversation and again, thankfully, she said more goodbyes and I was able to leave wearing the same pristine shining white armour that I rode in on. I was not arrested, I was able to finish my work unhindered by zip tie handcuffs or a concrete cell, I was able to get home and visit her that evening moments after her current boyfriend (the TRAMP) left.  I think I actually held the door for him.  I did not need to explain away my trunk full of Dexter gear.
And all was good in the world
** For you kids who only remember the internet, in the olden days, we had BBS or Bulliten Board Services.  People hooked up a dedicated phone line to a computer that acted as a server of sorts.. One member of a board at a time could log in, post messages, send Emails (the E was capitalized then if not written as E-Mail) and then would log off.  You would log on later in the day and see the responses to you’re and other people’s posts.  It  took forever to meet a girl in person and get in her pants using a BBS, sometimes two months, seven days, eight hours and seventeen minutes. More if you accidentally get arrested.