` Warning; photo and text buildup discharge commencing! Make sure your chair is comfortable.
` What a day I've just had, and with superhero/rock star/sensei/movie producer Lou Ryan no less! We just got back from a place where we saw the world's only cold-blooded mammals, were assaulted by insects and slimy sea creatures, and even chased by a giant praying mantis! Later on, we had lunch in the midst of the downtown (Vietnamese) Tet festival and then shot at a bunch of pictures of people with ovals in them.
` After that, we took the cats to a riverside park where Violet showed a small dog what she's made of! (Catspit and clouds of fur.) Meanwhile, Vada transformed herself into a throw pillow. In the mud. Thank goodness she's self-laundering.
` While I do have photos of these things, I'm ready for a nap more than anything right now. Luckily, I have spent yesterday evening uploading some photos just for you - like this one!
stellaseesfish That's B-Dizzle's turtle, Stella - just after Lou Ryan and I let ourselves in to his apartment with a big bag of treats for her. (They're those swimming things that are trying to blend in with the rocks.) I think this was also around the time she escaped from her tank in the middle of the night.
` Indeed; B-Dizzle woke up in the morning to find Stella in the mouth of his pit bull - who had nearly licked her to death! Stella hasn't attempted to escape since that emotionally scarring ordeal.
somuchforautofocus Looks like she has enough to occupy her, in any case.
` As some of you might have guessed, this post is mostly my 'making up' for not being around here much. Not only have I been busy with more important stuffs, but Lou Ryan has also been occupying my computer with the Special Extended DVD Edition of Lord of the Rings. (=12 hours of viewing.)
` Well, I needed a break from the computer, anyway. Really, I did.
` Even so, I can't wait 'til he gets his Mac Pro! (The monitor came a few days ago and it's a piece of furniture in its own right.) In fact, he got an NPO (non-post office) box solely for the purpose of receiving packages - though strangely I cannot share it with him because I'm not married to him.
` Well, when I am married to him, at least I won't have to require all my UPS packages to be labeled "c/o Lou Ryan" which I technically don't because that's not his real and actual name.
` He's shooting a music video soon, by the way. I impressed the artist by doing all the storyboards right in front of him. As 'incontrovertible proof', here is the artists' girlfriend.
catsmeetartistsgirlfriend It's fun to actually 'wow' people. So far I have not done so in school this year. However, I did get a letter from the dean for my grades last quarter - I nearly had a 4.0 grade average!
` And before I forget; the guy who's teaching me piano composition - Rick Waldron - probably plays (and composes) the most awesome, difficult piano music of anyone I know. But don't take my word for it - he has his own incontrovertible proof, so just sit back and listen!
` So, I know, I bet you're wondering what the whole 'circus' thing is about.
` Well, Lou Ryan is building a recording studio downstairs in some mysterious place. Here's a picture of Lou surrounded by his handiwork. (You can see our vehicles parked out back.)
makingastudio Well, guess what? Though our house has been more or less clear of junkies for some time, the overall mental stability of the tenants has been unbalanced by some of the people living downstairs.
` One in particular has been trying to stop Lou from building his studio. Let's call him 'Sideshow'. for obvious outward reasons. Now, one day, this Sideshow told Lou that a public utility guy came over to talk to someone about having a new circuit put in for the studio.
` He reported that the guy said the utility company would have to condemn the building if a circuit was added, and would even have to prosecute! As evidence of this exchange, he gave Lou the guy's card.
` Yes, the guy's card, with his phone number on it! Great idea! So, Lou called the utility guy up and asked about the rules, and he replied, "What? No, I don't know what you mean! That's actually a matter between you and your landlord - it's private, not public."
` Apparently, Sideshow himself called PUD to complain about the circuit, but he didn't hear what he wanted to hear so he told Lou a vicious lie in order to slow down his progress. What an asshole.
` In truth, the studio really does need its own circuit - when the electrician came over, there was an incident with two gigantic blue sparks that we really can't afford to deal with.
` Unexpected mid-story gratuitous photo of something just as shiny as gigantic blue sparks - the moonrise at sunset!
moonriseatsunset Crummy electricity, but hey, look at that view! As I was saying, the existing circuits - which are shared between several apartments - are all very overloaded and require surge protectors and current conditioners to keep our electrical equipment from meeting the same fate as our light bulbs. Some of the outlets are not even grounded, which is why my first uninterruptible power supply exploded.
` In my opinion, the more circuits, the better: I've seen my next-door neighbor get really pissed when his fridge, TV, computer and alarm clock lose power because they're hooked up to other people's electronic equipment. Including Sideshow's speakers as well as our heater.
` And it's been a bit frosty lately, especially in the morning....
frostymorning In all, Lou's been progressing pretty well with the construction of the studio. He uses screws and glue for everything, so it doesn't make much noise - especially since most of the soundproofing is now in place.
` Well, guess who complained about alleged 'hammering noises' to the landlord? That's right. The landlord actually said that for the past week, Sideshow had been complaining about that - which is awfully funny considering that Lou hadn't even worked on it at all that week!
` Oh yes. He is a strange guy. Very overly defensive fellow, even over neutral subjects. So, imagine his horror that one time we pleasantly informed him his music was a bit loud for ten in the evening. His reaction was amusing. ("I'm not causing any trouble!!!")
` Even more amusing was a recent incident in which he let Lou borrow his Skil Saw, which was cool. He had told Lou to return it by the next morning or else he wouldn't be able to go to work.
` So, shortly after Lou woke up that morning (long before the buttcrack of dawn), he placed it by Sideshow's hallway door. Finding that it was still there hours later when he left for work, he brought it around to his main door.
` Sideshow, somehow not having found it, stayed home that day and said he was working on his truck, as 'punishment'. Or something like that. He was apparently just making that up, too. Loser.
` Do you see what I mean by 'circus'? And... do you see what is meant by 'cool sunset' thanks to another gratuitous photo? Just accept it as your own. (I took it from my car - the factory below is the Kimberly-Clark plant.)
awesomesunset (So, as if nothing has interrupted my rant....) There's also this neurotic girl who lives downstairs, and I know for a fact she's long been fond of cheating on her boyfriend. In fact, she's such a slut she had a baby at sixteen - and no one was surprised!
` Unfortunately, she thinks her boyfriend and other girls are the same way, and I've seen her completely flipping out (= screaming, punching, etc.) from bouts of jealousy for no obvious reason. I also recently found out that she's afraid to approach Lucas because she thinks I might be the same way as her!
` Now her little sister, who I don't think is even sixteen yet, is also pregnant. She's also been on a steady diet of Twinkies. Just another white trash kid in the making. Speaking of which, Sideshow is apparently friends with the giggle sluts and their parents... who also live here! He probably tells them lies about us, too.
` Anyway, that's what I mean by 'circus'. But wait - there's more! Including a photo of my kitties on a walk; but they're not walking, they're running away in horror upon hearing a circular saw! (Damn urban sprawl.)
scarysound They were also utterly fascinated by a large package from Georgia I had brought home. What was it, you ask?
belatedpackage A Christmas present from my boat-dwelling mom which, because a postal employee did not scan it, spent a month-long vacation at the post office before we had the opportunity to rip it to shreds and get at its tasty guts.
` The cats really liked that - especially since it resulted in an empty box!
prezzents Last December, she'd sent us washcloths, a tire gauge, saltwater taffy (which was sadly disgusting because it contained no actual taffy, saltwater or no), hand towels, a blanket, a bag of pecans, a nice school bag for me, some Georgia peach cookies that were peachier than peaches despite the fact that they contained no actual peaches, a battery-op night light, a nice bathmat and a few other odds and ends.
` And I can't forget to mention the Georgia T-shirts. I found that cutting the sleeves off of mine makes me look really tough. (Sorry, mom, but T-shirt sleeves bug me.) In addition, I can augment this look with B-Dizzle... we make a pretty badass pair!
louryansposse Well, I'd prefer a trio, but Lou couldn't be in the photo because he was the one who was taking it.
` Now to completely change the subject... throughout most of December and January, this is about what the sky looked like shortly before I went off to school at 7:30 in the morning.
startingtogetlightout But, when I didn't have to go to school at 7:30, I got to wake up late to pretty colors!
pinkandbluesunrise And pretty soon, the sun will rise over the mountain, instead of way the hell off that-a-way....
sunriseovermountains However, on Monday, January 21, it the sky did something weird; it snowed! And since it snowed, the whole town shut down and I got to stay home from school!
` As I've remarked before; if they pulled that shuff in the Midwest, nothing would happen for months at a time!
` And so were my cats, but they're cats, so that's okay.
catsfascinatedbysnow And what admirable temp should get a letter of acclaim for simply showing up for work on the construction site that day - in his rear wheel drive pickup - but Lou Ryan! Apparently he...
"was one of three [THREE!!] personnel that were able to make it in to work Monday despite the adverse weather and travel conditions. He was also very accommodating and helpful to others on site and remained throughout the day even though it would have been more convenient to leave early. His attendance was very much appreciated."` That's right, Lou's hard work pays off again and impresses many, especially considering that he had to help do the work of all the people that didn't show up!
` What's even more surprising is that the letter was from the office temp, who... well, let's just say that no one eats lunch in the job shack because that's where she is. (They're also happy she's going to another job soon.) So really, the letter is just that much more excellent to get!
` That's another whole aspect of Lou Ryan. Not only is he a rock star, a superhero, a martial artist and a movie guy, but it should be said of him that he has an amazing work ethic. Everyone at his job loves him - except for the guys he makes look bad.
` I'm serious. He's always getting props from his bosses (and bosses' bosses!) for never being late, for moving so much faster than anyone else, for remembering things other people randomly need to know, and most of all, for busting his ass all the time - even when he's sick and/or sopping wet and/or freezing!
` In fact, one day earlier in January I got to travel down to the site (with Lou and B-Dizzle). It's all the way up into the next town, past the sewage treatment plant....
bythesewagetreatmentplant ...near the Indian Reservation!
` So long have I waited to see this place - all the stories he's excitedly told me about impressing people (which is not easy in this line of work), not to mention a few others who have impressed him, and, on occasion, laughed at the fact that he and/or his co-workers had done something that was just so Jurassically dumb or strange that it was funny.
` This was the only really good photo I managed to get - and little did I know at that moment, but that gigantic piece of equipment was the forklift Lou drives around most of the time.
theforklift I said, "That's a forklift?" Somehow, I'd always pictured something that looked a bit more like... hrm, this little thing! Well, that explains why it's such a huge deal to be a forklift operator - his forklift could simply run over that little one, or maybe even set it on the roof of that building!
` Lou has a great deal of precision when manipulating and lifting objects with that thing, not to mention the fact that he can avoid causing huge geysers of water to erupt from the ground (unlike some). He can also steer it so well that he can get within inches of the building without damaging any of the bricks, which would be disastrous because replacing one brick involves taking the whole wall apart!
` After only a few months at the job, he became known as the Overlord of all Forklifts! You know, to prevent people without good skills from using them to smash up stuff. I even remember him saying something about this one guy who used to work there, always taking the last forklift whenever there was a last forklift in order to prevent Lou from driving it.
` Random reptile photo! (You didn't see this.)
stellarstella Why do some people hate Lou so? In fact, his mentor at this site began telling him that he was doing stuff wrong and otherwise stopping him to talk, just to prevent him from working. Why? Because his mentor, though experienced and knowledgeable, does not put in as much effort as Lou.
` Once, just after Lou explained his plans for building something, another guy asked; "Can you even build?" Lou said, "What do you mean? I've been building for the past eight years!" Apparently, they're jealous of all the attention Lou is getting. And yes, he's making them look bad.
` This is why he's the only temp who's stayed with the company for many moons - sometimes, he actually gets called to the job site even when the 'regulars' do not.
` So why am I gloating about all the attention for Lou Ryan's work ethic? Because I'm proud of him. And I'm glad he's getting the recognition he deserves. His last construction job was for a person who knew perhaps 0.1% about construction work and expected way too much from his workers. He also hardly even looked at what they had accomplished, so he didn't know what they were doing anyway!
` For example, one day during a blizzard, that boss had set Lou and another worker to put together a shed. They really worked hard to get it done as fast as possible, because they were freezing, and they were making really good time. Finally, the boss actually came out to see their progress and was outraged because he thought they should be finished! What did he know about what they were doing? Nothing! That's why.
` Those workers who were the most pathetic and resigned to being pushed around by a tyrant were the ones who stayed on the longest. One day, that boss called Lou and demanded to know why it took him five hours to paint two window frames. Lou managed to cut in the tirade just long enough to correct him; "Actually, I did ten windows and a door! Didn't you even go to the site?" Of course he hadn't, but he was convinced he could not be wrong about this and called Lou a liar.
` That's why he quit that job. And looking back on that now, it seems so much more unbelievable that such a thing could even happen. I'm so glad that Lou comes home every day with stories about how his hard work is being recognized instead of ranting about how it was rejected. Not only does he make a lot of money doing this, but it's not very stressful, plus he gets credit for going beyond expectations and doing things that no one else will.
snowisamazing Even the cats! The snow-phobes!
` Annnnd, just to confuse and amuse you, I'll change the subject again. It was only last Saturday (Jan 26) that I got myself all dressed up as a prince. Why a prince? Because I have issues.
sadprince But those issues dissolved when I got to Ursulmas, where strange things were afoot, and real tanuki tails were on sale. (Now, where would a medieval person get tanuki tails unless they were from the Far East?)
tanukitail If you don't remember what the heck tanuki are, please see my bizarre but humorous 'tanuki are not raccoons' post. Anyway, there was a lot of insanity there, and Nymphomaniac apparently ingested a poisoned apple or something.
poisonedapple I don't really remember what happened. It's all a blur to me....
swordfighting Blur. Get it? Indeed, those gladiating guys are really hard to photograph indoors. (Okay, that's ancient Rome, but whatever.) Sure is a lot better than staring at a television screen.
` This is what happens if you stare at ours....
coolreflection ...Unless of course you are from the town of Bedrock and happen to have a VHS cassette.
` Certainly, Ursulmas was also more eventful than staring at an ominous fish tank that mysteriously appeared in B-Dizzle's room.
fishtankforrent See, he knows how to get fish to move in! This, despite the fact that they would have a fast-swimming, fish-eating neighbor.... Hey, Stella! They're hiding behind you!
theyrebehindyou ...Except for that one!
caughtthefish It was so big she actually had to catch it twice! What a ferocious predator! The turtle gets so much attention that the dog gets jealous! Oh, don't be so sad, Li'l Mama! Don't forget, Lou Ryan loves you, too!
nicedoggie So, the suspense builds. What eventually did happen with the vacant fish tank? Well, apparently the sign worked, because within a week a beautiful couple of feuding angel fish had set up rock and household.
theangelfish I can hear them now... "This is not what it looked like on the website, Flora. This is just some guy's apartment."
` "Well, how was I supposed to know?"
` "Hey, I don't like the looks of that turtle!"
` Anyway, B-Dizzle was all too happy to clear up any misconceptions they had about their living situation.
imyournewowner "What? You're our owner? What is this?"
` Let's see... is there anything else I'd like to add before hitting the hay? Oh yeah - the other day I was cleaning for hours and hours - partly because we still don't have a vacuum cleaner! Anyway, for that entire duration, I opened the apartment door and let the cats roam through the hallways and up and down stairs!
` They're pretty gross (the stairs, that is), but at least the broken glass has finally been cleaned up!
vadaonhalllanding Well, now that I'm done with this post, it's after midnight and I really need to hit the hay! See ya later!
Saturday, February 02, 2008
` Warning; photo and text buildup discharge commencing! Make sure your chair is comfortable.