Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Odd Bits - The Holiday Edition

So how’s everyone handling the annual holiday stress?  Me?  I’m cool.  Actually finished my Christmas shopping last week, and everything has come in.  One more trip to the post office, and my work this season is done.  (Now don’t be hatin’.)

Holiday Chores
Because I’ve had sufficient time off left that I could take every Friday off from Thanksgiving on, I’ve had the opportunity to get shit done, without it conflicting with some kind of sporting event.  The weekend before last was really productive. 

Remember how I had to test drive a new car model for my company’s fleet, a month or so ago?  Well, I also took the chance to test drive the car we currently use, so I could make an apples to apples comparison.  (And this one wasn’t purple!)  I needed someplace to go, so I decided to go shopping.  My pantry was in pretty good shape, so on the spur of the moment, I decided I’d get a new Christmas tree.

My last one, a little 3-footer, got tossed by my January to February girlfriend, so I was without.  This time, I opted for something a little bigger.  (Definitely artificial though. Don’t have the patience to go the “live tree” route.)  I found a nice 6-foot tree, with the lights already attached.

That had an upside and downside.  On one hand, I don’t have to buy new lights (which were also tossed) or string them up.  On the other hand, they were white lights, and I prefer the colored one.  Wait, I mean “lights of color.”  We don’t want to offend.

But because I didn’t see a similar tree with either colored lights or no lights, I pressed the “Easy Button” and got the white lights.

I wasn’t even going to put it up right away.  But then I figured I’d at least get it stood up so I could check it out.  And then I thought I might as well hang my beaded garland on it.  And then I thought I’d stick a few ornaments on, and put up the rest later.

An hour and a half later, it was all done.  I had to go out later and pick up some tinsel and a tree skirt, but it was a real good start.

After that, I still had some energy, so in an unexpected fit of usefulness, I tackled some of the other chores on my list.  I mopped the kitchen and bathroom floors, cleaned the microwave, and unclogged the kitchen faucet. 

The faucet gets grit in the nozzle, so when it starts spitting out water that looks like it’s coming from Jim Carey after his night of “fun” with Renee Zellweger in “Me, Myself, and Irene,” I know it’s time to unscrew the cap and clean it out.

Naturally, since I was technically doing “plumbing,” I pulled my pants halfway down my ass.

Later that night, as I sat in the living room, sipping something cold and strong, I had such a feeling of contentment as I gazed upon my clean apartment and shiny new tree, and smelled the scent of my new cinnamon candle.

I love using the tree for the main illumination in the room.

I felt very peaceful and satisfied, as I wondered if “productiveness” might be something I should continue to explore.  But then I thought better of it and the mood passed.  Sloth is tricky that way.

Canvassing the Place
That same weekend, I also received the last key pieces to my overall redecoration efforts… two more of my photographs, put onto 20” x 30” canvases.  I needed something to go on the blank wall over my bed, so the week before, I ordered two of my favorite shots to be done up on canvas.

But once they arrived, I realized I hadn’t quite thought it through.  While I loved both shots, they didn’t look very good side by side.  One was a fall landscape I just shot in October, and the other was a blue abstract water reflection shot.  So I figured a full rejiggering was in order.

After running through a number of combinations I settled on a new scheme.  I took down the two water shots I had in the dining room and replaced them with the new fall landscape.

I put the two from the dining room over my bed, and I put the new water shot on the wall to the left.

I had a shot of some torrenia flowers on the left, so I moved those over to the right.

The torrenia went in the spot where I had Cassie’s daughter Claire’s painting (from their ARL fundraising drive) so I moved that to a spot in the kitchen, which was the final domino.  It’s taken all year, but I think I finally have my place looking the way I want it, and it just about looks like a grownup lives there.  Almost.

Last thing I gotta do is make a canvas shot of Camden Yards, to go in my hallway, opposite a large panorama canvas of PNC Park.  But that can wait until spring.

When Googlebots Attack
Remember how I wrote about getting hammered with hits from Google Images bots?  It was kind of nice getting all those hits, because Hits = People Like Me = I’m Fabulous.  But deep down, I knew they were really just empty calories.  I waited to see if the bot attack would subside, but it never did.  So after about 2 weeks, I set my hit-counter to ignore bot hits.  And back to reality I went.

It’s not hard to see where the Googlebot period is…

Hellooo – O—O—O?  Anybody here?  Here?  Here?

Debunkery – Holiday Edition
I see this one on Facebook all the time. 

Allow me to rephrase if for you: “Nobody’s religion counts but mine, and if you attempt to accommodate any others, I’ll get really bitchy and play the victim until I get my way.”

To me, it’s simple.  People say “Happy Holidays” when they don’t know your religion.  It’s a basic, considerate thing to do because there is a significant number of people in this country who are Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, Wiccan, Pagan or Pastafarian, many of whom celebrate a holiday during the same general time frame.  None of them are any less worthy of holiday wishes.

Now businesses, they have a monetary stake in not offending people, so that’s where you most often hear the HH greeting.  I don’t think anyone is setting out to offend anyone else, but insisting that people (strangers) reference your religion as the default greeting is saying, “I matter and other people don’t.”  Which is just what Jesus would have said, isn’t it?

I’m a simple heathen and I don’t care what anyone says.  If you say Merry Christmas to me, I’ll say it back.  And I’ll do the same with any other greeting.  It’s the thought that counts.  Everyone should just to accept whatever greeting they get, in the spirit in which it’s given.  And stop whining if people don’t automatically assume they’re Christian.

Overcoming a Bad Reputation
It was with great happiness that I read this morning that my Queen, Joan Jett is finally being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, next year.  She is going in along with Stevie Ray Vaughan, and a number of other luminaries.

As far as I’m concerned, Joan should have been in years ago.  Her influence on female rockers is immense, and she’s still out there, in her mid-to-late 50s, making albums and going out on tour.  She’s been eligible since 2005, so it’s about freakin’ time.

Me and my friend Joan, circa 1988.

I’m also somewhat dumbfounded that Stevie Ray is just going in now.  He was eligible in 2008.  If there’s ever been a better guitarist than SRV, I’d sure like to see him.  I know Joan will show, but I’m not sure who’s going to play Stevie Ray’s stuff at the induction ceremony, but that’s one show I’ll have to see.

My Bologna
I’ll finish with this quick story…

We had our department holiday potluck this afternoon, and as we were sitting around stuffing our faces, a new member of our group mentioned that after her husband goes deer hunting, they usually make a pile of deer bologna.

To which I replied, “Now you just need a jingle… “My baloney had a first name, it B-A-M-B-I…”

I’m amazed they ever let me eat with the grownups.


A Beer for the Shower said...

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No, I'm kidding, we're not a Google bot. We're still real people.

Stevie Ray Vaughan wasn't already in the hall of fame? I guess I just kind of assumed he had been already. Same with Joan, really. Glad they're getting proper recognition.

Also, that's a rockin' tree. These days, people will get offended over anything, so may you and your tree have a Merry Holidays, a Happy Christmas, a Super Kwanzaa, a Bitchin' Day Off From Work, whatever. I don't care what it's called as long as there's plenty of food, plenty of alcohol, and that part of the family I DON'T want to strangle after prolonged exposure.

Mary Ann said...

O BE-EUTIFUL for Christmas trees and colored lights ablaze/for purple tinged torrenia/and happy holidaaays...
Lovely digs. You may now eat with the grownups, indeed!

bluzdude said...

Maybe A Beer for the Shower should look into hiring some 3rd world flunkies to comment spam the internet on your behalf...

I knew SRV wasn't in, but I thought it was because he wasn't eligible yet. (But I never actually did the math. An artist must have release his first recording 25 years ago.) And I've seen people bitching about a number of omissions over the years, but never Stevie Ray, which is kind of shocking.

Only 4 and a half more days until a 11-day break! Not completely sure what I'm going to do with myself...

bluzdude said...

I swear, I'll drink my wine from a sippy cup...

injaynesworld said...

What a great Christmas post. Your tree is beautiful. Good for you. It really does make a difference, doesn't it? I'll never understand people who don't put up a tree because "It's only me." Who better?! Merry Christmas, my fine funny friend. Love the photo of you and Joan. It's amazing how much Jessie J looks like her at that age.

Oh, one more thing... "Bambi bologna." Those people are savages.

bluzdude said...

Sometimes, when I know I'm going to be out of town for a significant part of the Christmas season, I pass on putting up the tree, just because it's so much work. But then I miss it. I so enjoy just sitting in the dark, and looking at the tree lights. Life's simple pleasures...

I almost called the sub-heading "Bambiloney," but figured it would ruin the punch line that followed.

Merry Christmas, my dazzling hippy-chick, size-4 ass having friend!