Category: personal


CCthcYyUEAARSCgA death-defying raccoon in Toronto, Canada decided to climb up a crane attached to the L7 Condominium tower on Thursday morning, April 16.  When the fuzzy interloper got to the top and came face-to-face with the crane’s operator, Rob MacFarlane, at 698 feet (213 meters to you Canadians, or “metres” for the snobby Canadians) he responded in a very 21st century way: he snapped a photo on his phone and tweeted it! Then he shooed it away and the raccoon climbed back down without confrontation … although he claims it hissed at him before descending.  Hey, I can’t blame the raccoon for being a little testy.  That was probably a lot of work for him or her and then, at the top, some human just tells him/her to go away!  What if all those jackasses who climbed mountains for their very own inspirational photo (you know, that cliche arms outstretched “triumph” shtick) were told to go away by some sherpa standing at the top … and then he’d snap a photo a tweet about the jackass he turned away?

Source: CBC News

RACCOONS IN THE NEWS: A Card for Any Occasion

A sample of my current collection.
A sample of my current collection.

I never used to be a big fan of cards.  They seemed like some corporate construct for expressing feelings.  More a means of substituting money for an genuine message.

I’m also not a fan of wrapping paper. It seems like such a waste.

However, over a year ago, I moved cross country very suddenly in a desperate attempt to get my life back together.  It became the furthest away members of my immediate had ever been from each other (ever since college, we’ve occupied the Mid-Atlantic part of the country.)  I suddenly found myself scouring the card aisles of supermarkets, drug stores, bookstores, and even a few Hallmarks (the staff at those places are always so annoying, sorry, “helpful”) for raccoon cards.  I suppose a part of it appealed to that primal hunting part of the brain that drives collectors.  After all, cards with cats or dogs on them are a dime-a-dozen (with the average card being $4, it’s more like $48-a-dozen, but what’s the difference?) but raccoons are a whole other story!

And yes, I will only send cards with raccoons to my family.  They’ve always known my affection for raccoons.  They are, in fact, to blame for it ever since I had a stuffed raccoon rather than a teddy bear as a child!  I think my parents said they weren’t aware there was a difference.  Or maybe they thought it was a panda?  Anyway, in real life, too, I use the raccoon as a representation of myself.  While my insistence on raccoon cards is partially driven by the thrill of the hunt, I think it also adds to the message of sending commercial crap, which is: I care enough to go through the effort to find these.

Sadly, beggars can’t be choosers.  I have cards referring to grandma and grandpa–which my parents aren’t yet–but I just re-write them.  Sometimes the re-writing is so thorough that one might wonder why I bothered buying the card in the first place.  For that, the answer is simple: there was a raccoon on it!

As we approach Valentine’s day, I’m kind of annoyed by the absence of cards with raccoons on them.  With the whole “bandit” thing, one would expect there to at least be one card with a “you stole my heart” on it with a little thief raccoon scampering away holding a heart.  But nope, none of that to be found.  I was also very annoyed by the lack of cards with Rocket Raccoon on them after the runaway success of Guardians of the Galaxy.  I really expected to see at least a boy’s birthday card with Rocket on it, pointing a gun at the reader, with the text “give me your cake” on the front.

And then I have the painful realization that my parents aren’t getting any younger, and at some point I may have a stockpile of unsent birthday cards with nobody to send them to.

I need a drink.


Things I Won’t Miss About Having Housemates


I’ve griped about one of my housemates here before.  I’ve lived in this place for the past nine months and in that time I’ve learned that I don’t really enjoy living with other people.  This wasn’t quite my first time trying this great experiment; I lived with a couple of friends when I first got to Denver and that only lasted two weeks because it turns out I have lousy taste in people.  After that failure I moved to this place: a house with six bedrooms (and thus six occupants.) In that time I’ve endured the following from one roommate or another (or all.) Presented in no particular order:

  1. Morning showers interrupted by a blast of unexpectedly freezing (or scalding) water because someone simply has to do their laundry or the dishes first thing in the morning, and apparently couldn’t hear (or didn’t care about) the person taking a shower in the bathroom right next to the laundry machines.
  2. Not being able to go to the bathroom because it’s occupied.
  3. The showdown of piling trash in the bin because nobody wants to blink first and take the garbage out to the curb.
  4. My utensils, flatware and storage disappearing on me.  Surprisingly, nobody’s pilfered my food at any point, but a knife, spoons, tupperware and a mug have disappeared on me.  One would expect any of those to reappear in the sink, dishwasher or pantry at some point but they never did.  Maybe they got eaten.
  5. Waking up to the sounds of about three different people hocking phlegm.  This is Colorado, so I suppose they all smoke something.  The problem was a couple of them had doors that opened to the outside–right next to the window of my room–so I got a nice clear listen of their spitting.
  6. One of them decided to eschew use of the bathroom (well, at least one less person to compete with) in favor of just stepping outside regularly to take a piss, again something I was able to hear all too clearly.
  7. For a period of time one of the housemates had his brother living in a tent in the back yard.  That was odd.  It also meant there was one more person living here than should have been.
  8. Shouting matches between housemates involving shotguns in the house.  Then there was the restraining order.
  9. The depressing parade of new tenants, mostly unemployed or very down-on-their luck.  Once, one walked up to me with a bag of Doritos in hand and mentioned it was all he had to eat for the weekend until he was able to collect his food stamps on Monday.  I overheard another say he wouldn’t be able to cut the landlord a check because the only money he had access to was from a debit card that he relied on Social Security to periodically replenish, so he’d need to go to the supermarket to get a money order (and even then he’d be a little short.)
  10. Fat old men walking around in just their boxers.

Nobody Asked


I have roommates.  One of them can be pretty annoying.  He seems be under the impression that any thought that crosses his mind must be stated aloud (I am not unaware of the irony of complaining about this on a blog.)  Some examples:

  1. Most recently I was caught between him and another roommate talking.  My hands were full between some papers and a freshly made sandwich which I needed to get to my bedroom, which had a locked door. I mumbled “my hands are full” and put down the sandwich to unlock the door, drop off the papers, and halfway back to the kitchen he yells out “hey, do you still want this sandwich?” Of course, you fucking imbecile, do you really think it completely slipped my mind in the twenty seconds that had passed?  Did you think I was walking back to the kitchen for some unrelated reason? I’m sure the moron thinks he did me a favor, rather than just annoy me.
  2. I parked my car down the street because, with the recent snow, I was having trouble getting uphill towards the house.  He runs into me in the morning and proceeds to barrage me with “I didn’t see your car out front!  Where’s your car? How’d you get here without your car?”  Sorry, I wasn’t aware I was supposed to get your approval to not park immediately within your view.
  3. The house, and kitchen especially, is rather infested with ants (it’s also fairly cramped.)  I prefer not to cook here.  I had inherited some uncooked spaghetti and marinara sauce from a former roommate who’d left them.  As I was talking to a roommate and told him he was welcome to use those leftovers, this annoying roommate happened by and felt the need to chime in: “Afraid of doing a little cooking?  You really should give it a try.  It will save you money.”  Yes, thank you for cracking the code jackass that it’s cheaper to cook for yourself.  I never would’ve figured that out in the five years I was living in my own (clean) place and cooking plenty.

Maybe I’m overly irritable.  But it’s hit a point where I dread running into this fool because it’s such a certainty he’ll say something that I’m sure he thinks is insightful and valuable, but is in truth utterly banal to anyone capable of thinking.  I doubt he intends to be an obnoxious shit; he just naturally is.

The Cloud is the Future, and you WILL Like It!


The companies have spoken, and they have stated that you will live in the cloud, so far as using a computer is used.  It comes with its benefits … but also its perils.  Hey, it’s convenient, I can re-install OSX on my MacBook, and just by logging into my Apple ID I can get back all of the programs I used to have (the ones purchased through the app store, at least) without needing to fumble around with installation disks or hunting down the software online.  Convenient!  I also didn’t have to worry about losing any important data, because I had that on Google Docs.

But then the dark side reared its ugly head.  Like when iTunes, for whatever reason, decided to ignore the external hard drive I’d directed it towards for my library and started dumping all of the iOS apps onto my meager SSD.  The result? It turns out you can shove seven pounds of shit into a five pound sack!  I would have thought it a physical impossibility, but the partition became bigger than the drive was capable of holding.   Not only was the SSD screwed, but it was also unfixable (or at least that’s what I had to conclude after hours of trying to simply format the damn thing.)

Or there’s my recent foray into using Windows 8.  After installing Chrome I was annoyed that I had to log in to my Google account (one of many) just to start using some free extensions.  Sadly, this also signaled to Chrome that I wanted to make the browser just like it was the last time I logged into Chrome with this account.  The next thing I knew my browser was hijacked and loaded up with extensions (half of which didn’t work,) bookmarks I hadn’t looked at in years, and a really hideous theme I’ll convince myself I once used as a joke.  So then I had to remove all that crap, because the cloud had decided I wanted it there.

Or maybe there’s Microsoft’s own SkyDrive.  In Windows 7 (and OSX) there’s a convenient application I can install which will allow me to access these networked drives like I would any other folder on my computer.  Not so in Windows 8.  If you want to browse your SkyDrive without using your web browser (which might allow you to drag and drop files between the local and networked drive) then you need to go whole hog! This is the cloud, after all, and how could you not want to embrace it fully?  Try to log in to SkyDrive and you’ll be forced to sync the account with the computer, so that your login and the SkyDrive login are one and the same (and equally susceptible to being compromised?) and the Windows Live Mail app will be accessing the related email account, even if you’d rather your mail went through some other program.

So the cloud:

  • It will make decisions for you.
  • It will kill your hardware.
  • You have no choice!