Shenandoah Nat'l Park

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The Nest
I was thinking ahead. I ordered the poison, the pruner, the repellant, and a pair of protective bifocal sunglass goggles of a style that would make me look trailer park. I spent over 200 dollars (the deer repellant is very expensive; and the two guys I hired to kill my deer this winter apparently suck at it) so I also got a free Leatherman with my order. It is the starter model and only comes with a knife blade and a pair of pliers and a built in belt clip for when just carrying it in your pocket is not good enough or for when you really want to drive the chicks wild. Chicks, and I'm not even wearing my trailer park goggles when I say this, just love a guy who sports the multi-use pocket knife from his belt. Drives them crazy.

Moving along shy of light speed none of the above is pertinent. Or only marginally so. If you had goggles why weren't you wearing them? Just wasn't I respond. It wasn't Bernadette doing the asking because she doesn't know about the goggles. We don't tell each other everything until it's too late.

Last year I just used the chainsaw but I had the new pruners and was eager to play with them. I had already played with the Leatherman to the point of the only thing left to do was cut myself badly from not leaving well enough alone. Not realizing or accepting that the free gift only has two functions and no matter how many different ways I pried along its six sides I was never going to get more than two functions, a knife and a plier. As if a corkscrew or an awl was going to make my life that much better.

I am writing this with one eye closed and crying, but only from that one eye closed. Well I poked it with a thorn bush and it now just leaks two three hours at a time like a faucet with a dry rotted washer. I have some percocet so thats nice. Bernadette calls me Popeye for no other reason than she can't seem to help herself. She also gives me helpful advice but how seriously are you going to take someone who calls you Popeye for no other reason than she can't help herself? Which is somewhat pertinent because can I tell her something now without her repeating it to her brother who is out here helping me? No way to know until you know. Every minute of every day is a crapshoot.

So the brother is helping me out and today we moved inside to do a little clean up in the bighouse because some beginner crazy person girl moved in there over the winter and apparently cleaning up after herself was not part of her crazy person girl skill set. Hey crazy girl, did you steal that big spaghetti pot?

I'm looking under the kitchen sink for cleaning supplies while brother man vacuums (urgent update: single salty tear marches down my right your left cheek) and there is in the back a mouses nest of torn paper towels and...its been there awhile...before I left out of here early winter it was one of the things I saw and later told my local assistant I would be glad for him to take care of. The thing is by the time he got to it the crazy girl had moved in and she would not respond to his persistent knocking and when I finally insisted he use the key and enter so he could call me from the only working phone on the property and report to me the contents of a specific piece of mail or two, she came from a back room and said—I'm afraid. It's not like my local assistant was wearing bifocal sunglass goggles. She was just afraid, I suppose, that he was going to violate her like he violated that lock. But he's a good guy, not the violating type at all, which she would have realized if she opened the damn door once in a while. But he never got to that mouse nest is the thing.

I'm looking at it and the brother comes over because I said oh shit and that made him curious. I told him what it was and then he ask what it was made of. I said oh the usual, paper towels and dried snake skins, and that made him laugh sort of, because if or when, on those rare occasions I have any sense of humor at all it might be considered dry. It was then that I realized or thought I remembered something Bernadette told me once about him having a proper fear of snakes and so I laughed back sort of, in that way you do when you are happy that someone got your joke. A joke between two men about paper towels and snake skins. I was then very careful to get all the paper towel and probably to most what would fairly be considered a surprisingly large amount of shedded snake skin into the trash bag before brother man realized that the house in which he was spending the next several nights was on most nights already occupied. I don't know if Bernadette will tell her brother this anymore than I know the number of times I will be Popeye before becoming the next name on the list that includes some real doozies. Snake Eye McGillicuddy would be funny, once.
- jimlouis 3-24-2011 10:44 pm [link]
Potatoes, A Shoehorn Saga
Indicative of my core nature as a non mingling social retard the waitresses at the Virginia diner don't, after 7 years, even know my name. Or if they do they don't call me by it. They are very nice and welcoming to me, like you would be to an old friend with whom you have nothing in common. After a certain point, if you don't get someone's name, you can't really go asking for it. That point would certainly fall before the 7 year mark. Been keeping busy? the one waitress asked me. If I were to suggest that depends on how you define busy it would only be the long version of just saying no. She saw me struggling with that one a little bit and said, been to New Orleans? I said no I had not (not any more recently than September) but hesitantly admitted I had been to the Middle East. That fell flat, like a pancake. We have blueberry pancakes the waitress said after the three beat. I often in the past would go for the pancake breakfast but not today. I'll just have the eggs and bacon and...homefries? the waitress filled in for me. Yes, that one. It has a name but I cannot remember it. It might be the farm breakfast. I have been away so long this time I had even forgotten how bad the homefries are. They do many things well at the diner but it honestly baffles me how consistently and uniquely bad the potatoes are. I hate to end on a bad note so I'll just resort to the old standard one word ending that in my experience always leaves them rolling in the isles. Shoehorn.
- jimlouis 2-26-2011 1:07 pm [link]
Unpleasantly By The River
It is not the only thing I wonder about on a Spring-like day in New York but I wonder if there are dead bodies under any of these miles of unmelted snow banks around the city? I wonder if under the dogshit dotted, urine spotted, fast food bag and bottle littered black carbon tinted snow banks could be somebody long ceasing to exist waiting to be discovered? But no not the only thing I was thinking today while walking with light jacket unzipped and sun in my face after chewing and not sharing a bit of two to go pizza slices by the river surrounded by hungry, begging, rather aggressive rats. No, they were squirrels. Would it be inappropriate for me, and this is the thing I was thinking, would it be inappropriate for me to not think squirrels are cute or to think actually with tails high in the air backlit by the late winter low lying sun, showing the spine of that bushy tail to be in fact even more repellant than the slender tapering hairy worm of a rat's tail that they and by they let me remind you it is squirrels I talk about, who scurrying around me, three and four at a time, close and closer until I kick at them, showing their raw flesh where patches of fur or hair have fallen out and I feel wrong about it even wondering if maybe they are doing me a favor by preparing me for that post apocalyptic future where down in the vacant subway tunnels I must contend with actual rats crawling over me while I sleep meaning me no harm really just keeping tabs on me in case I might be if not yet then soon dead and eatable, but as I started to say is it inappropriate for me to think them not cute and equate them to rats, unfairly (unfair to the rats that is who hardly ever gang up on a person in public eating pizza), and wish them ill. Unpleasant thinking indeed. I did not invite those squirrels to lunch. It was not my idea.
- jimlouis 2-17-2011 7:30 pm [link]
Syrian Desert
I have to say I was never sure where we were, but more archaeology, and some sheep, really in the middle of nowhere.
- jimlouis 2-14-2011 8:17 pm [link]
It was a bus ride neither from nor to hell but it was a bus ride
- jimlouis 2-14-2011 7:54 pm [link]
- jimlouis 2-14-2011 6:57 pm [link]
Tyre, Lebanon
Only visited the old town and two archaelogy sites but liked it here.
- jimlouis 2-14-2011 6:32 pm [link]
I did not feel that comfortable taking photos of everything I saw here.
- jimlouis 2-14-2011 6:01 pm [link]
Initially a letdown, Pamukkale was pretty fine.
- jimlouis 2-14-2011 4:39 pm [link]
Efes is the beginning of more ruins that you can stand, and cats.
- jimlouis 2-14-2011 4:25 pm [link]