Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The one in which Chris lies on the ice and uses every profanity he knows

  • Last night I was telling my wife about the chocolate overkill that is Chantico drinking chocolate. I told her my theory that it would be much better mixed with Jameson and she said: "Or you could mix it with milk."
    "Why would I do that?" I asked.

  • Also yesterday, I had the pleasure of changing a flat tire (the British spell it "tyre;" the Welsh spell it "teiar") in the piss cold and dark without the proper tools.
    My wife and I are a one-car family because we care about the environment and we are doing our part to keep Mother Earth clean. It has nothing to do with our being poor and my proclivity to spend all available cash on booze. Really.
    Anyhoo, about five minutes before my wife was set to marshal me from the headquarters of my benevolent employer, she called to inform me that she was sitting quietly in an elementary school parking lot with a fully deflated right front tire/tyre/teiar. My dad, eager to make up for the years he spent neglecting me whilst traveling the rodeo circuit (good luck to noisy ghost in his quest, by the way), drove me out to the site of my attenuated pickup and then sat in the warmth of his minivan whilst I spent about 30 minutes changing the tire/tyre/teiar. Occasionally, my father or my wife would poke their head from the warmth of the minivan and shout into the minus-2 Fahrenheit air: "Need anything?"
    "No. Fine," I would grunt.
    The whole thing should have taken only about five minutes but for the fact that a key part of the whole jack system was lost. The jack system consists of a jack, five foot-long bars, and an L-shaped lug wrench. To get at the spare, you must winch it down from beneath the truck bed. You do this by snapping together the five rods and wrench to create a large crank, which you then insert in a small hole in the rear of the bed. It all looks pretty nifty when it works properly. Of course, as is the case with most nifty things, it is destined to fail because the person who designed it was more concerned with its niftiness than its real-world application. Military folk suffer this sort of design failure in their equipment all the time.
    The end result is that once I had lowered the tire/tyre/teiar, and pulled the crank free of its slot, only four of the one-foot bars came loose. The fifth remained lodged in the rectum of my truck bed.
    Now, guess which of those five bars was the most important. The bar trapped in the arse of my truck had a tapered end that fit into a slot on the jack, which would have allowed me to niftily raise the truck in same crank-stylee as I had lowered the spare. Instead, I had to improvise, using the tapered end of the lug wrench to slowly -- verrrrrry slllllooooowly -- raise the truck. While this worked, there were all sorts of problems with it.
    1) Due to a certain lack of leverage, I really had to strain to turn the dial on the jack and get the car to raise.
    2) In order to get at the jack, I actually had to lie on my belly and slip beneath the front end of the truck as I raised it. Had the jack (placed on ice) slipped, I likely would have gotten a few cracked ribs out of the deal (there was room under there, but not much).
    3) I was lying on my belly -- on the ice and oil and salt and whatever else collects in an elementary school parking lot. As the minutes wore on, the ice melted a bit beneath the warmth of my prostrate body and wetness seeped into my crotch.
    I used a lot of profanity during this time. I think it may count as one of only a handful of times I have used profanity around my dad.
    I took it into a shop this morning and paid $15 for a new valve stem.

  • All day I've been delighting myself with this list of Welsh inventors. Some of my favorites are Harry Grindell-Matthews, Frank Hope-Jones, and Robert Recorde.
    The Welsh are, sadly, not particularly famous for anything as far as Americans are concerned. As such, it's very difficult for Americans to romanticize their view of the Welsh; the end result being that they are quite easily forgotten. I think it also hurts that the Welsh accent is difficult to imitate.
    I run into blank stares on an almost daily basis when it comes to my love of all things Welsh. I can only get people to light up when I tell them that it is the root language of Irish. Then they tell me about how part of their family is Irish (of course they are -- we all are. There are only 5 million Irish, but somehow all 300 million Americans have Irish heritage. Linus isn't going snowboarding, he's going on a breeding excursion) and do a weak Irish impersonation that revolves around the use of "Jay-zus." Perhaps I'm just bitter because my great-great -grandfather was an Orangeman, so I can't brag in American Irish pubs.
    I can rattle off all sort of information about famous Welshmen (Tom Jones, Dylan Thomas, one third of the signers of the U.S. Constitution, et al) and Welsh accomplishments (gave the world both Jack Daniels and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as well as indirectly saving Scotland from Edward's full wrath). But I think I sort of like the quietly unappreciated nature of the Welsh. There's something delightful about being known, if at all, as the people who brought you the spare tire and the needles used to inflate sports balls.

  • Have you heard this? It's from these guys and fills me with joy.

  • My beloved city of St. Paul has a very serious problem when Fidel Castro is beating us to the punch in enacting important legislation.
    That's right, Randy Kelly; Castro would make a better mayor than you.

  • This blog needs more pictures. Less talk, more rock, and all that.
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