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Category: "k stories"

01/03/12 08:29 - ID#55844

K Story: Microdot

He pauses, looking down at a plate sitting atop my toaster oven. It has Christmas leftovers, cookies, on it. He pokes one. “What the heck?”

“Marshmallows,” I say cheerfully. “I made homemade marshmallows! They’re stale now but they were really good.”

“Brr,” he says, recoiling slightly. “Ugh.”

“What’s not to like about marshmallows?” I demand, astonished.

“Ugh,” he says. “I can’t handle marshmallows. I had a bad experience with a dose of acid on a marshmallow once.”

“Acid?” I’m utterly taken aback. “You did acid?”

He laughs. “Yeah,” he says. “I used to. I probably shouldn’t tell this story but one of my favorite times was during a hurricane, onboard ship.”

I stare at him. “Isn’t that a terrible idea?”

“We ran to sea to ride out the storm,” he said. “Standard kind of procedure. It’s unpleasant, but you have a better chance out there than near the shore. So during a storm like that, almost no one is allowed to be up and about. The guy steering the ship is strapped into his chair, the guy watching the instruments is strapped in, and just about everyone else is belowdecks, literally strapped into their bunks.”

“What if you have to get up to pee?” I ask.

“You don’t,” he says. “You can’t get out, the bunks are four deep. There’s a big webbing thing that comes across to hold you in. Some guys would try to bring in a bottle or a can or something so if— not if, when— you had to pee it didn’t get everywhere— I usually did— but there wasn’t really much you could do. After a long storm the whole place just stank of piss and shit and sweat. It wasn’t fun.”

“And you decided to do acid to get through this,” I say, thinking perhaps I understand.

“Oh no,” he says. “Because my damage control team wasn’t in our bunks. We were supposed to go around and make sure the ship wasn’t sinking. We were emergency response.”

“… And you did this on acid,” I say.

“Only a half-dose,” he said. “And I should mention, there wouldn’t’ve been much we could really do, even if it were. We were wearing enormous Mae West life vests, huge oversize coveralls, old-school combat helmets, and we had all our limbs wrapped in towels under the coveralls. Because the ship is making forty-degree drops at random intervals; you just get beat to hell if you’re not strapped down. It sucks, and it’s boring, and dangerous, and hard. So we just all got high and ran around like idiots. Hell, there was no one to see us.”

“I suppose that’s opportune,” I say, still skeptical.

“The best part was when we all decided to go rolling,” he said. “There’s just this one huge space, a corridor, belowdecks, that goes almost the whole length of the ship. It ends at the mess hall on one end. It’s huge; we were a repair ship so we’d use it to put big ship engines we were working on, and stuff. But at that point it was empty. So we made ourselves into human cannonballs and just rolled down it while the ship tossed and heeled.”

I consider that a moment. “Is this the same team that had the kite incident?”

He laughs. “Yup.”
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Permalink: K_Story_Microdot.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 01/03/12 08:29


Category: k stories

01/02/12 08:43 - ID#55841

K Story: Go Fly A Kite

He takes a drag off his cigarette, and it glows in the dark. “I got a lot of stories about Boomer*,” he says. “Guy was dumb as a box of rocks. Had a gorgeous wife, I mean drop-dead gorgeous, people stopped and literally stared when she came into rooms. She dressed the part too, always, dressed to kill.” He shakes his head, thinking about it, and takes another drag. “And she was absolutely faithful to him. We all figured, oh man, she’s gotta be messing around on him, girl like that. But she never did.” He goes quiet a moment.

“He got hurt, actually— ended up, well, maimed.” He rolls the cigarette between his fingers, field-stripping it, then folds the butt up and puts it into the chair’s cup holder. “Pretty bad. And she stuck with him…” He examines his fingers.

“But Boomer. He was dumb, so dumb. He was on my damage control team. One thing about him, kind of weird, he loved to build kites. Big ones, box kites. And he’d spend like a week making these things, these elaborate kites, and then he’d go to fly them and the string would break. Cuz the thing is, we’re on a warship. It’s kind of windy, out there at sea. Regular string isn’t gonna cut it. So he’d spend all these hours on these kites, then lose ‘em right away.”

“Bummer,” I comment. He pokes around and finds his mug in the dark, and drinks.

“So we found this cable. See, some liferafts, they attach ‘em to the ship by these long spools of cabling. If the ship sinks too deep, it snaps off, but otherwise, it keeps the life rafts from drifting too far away. Much easier for rescuers to find all the survivors that way. This cable is really, really thin, but it’s also incredibly strong.”

“You probably weren’t really supposed to appropriate that,” I point out, sensing where this story’s going.

“Wellll,” he drawls, “we didn’t swipe it off a liferaft or anything. There were spare reels of the stuff, stored in our locker room. So we just… borrowed one. We wun’t doin’ anybody any harm, right?”

I laugh. “I’m sure the Navy always has a sense of humor about that kind of stuff. They’re known for that.”

“Oh yeah,” he says, “they’re known for that. So we borrowed this reel of cable, and went up to the stern of the ship, and tied this kite to it, and don’t you know, it worked a treat. I mean, we got that thing to fly really good. It was up a couple hundred feet, easy. Beautiful.”

He makes a swooping gesture with the hand that doesn’t have a drink in it. I laugh, thinking of the image of a warship with a box kite flying gaily from the stern.

“Then all of a sudden the klaxons start going off, and the ship goes to general quarters. General quarters, general quarters, and everybody’s running around. So we’re all, shit, what do we do?” He makes a face, wide-eyed. “So we tie the kite off, real quick, and go running off to our stations.”

“General quarters is bad, right?” I’m not real up on the terminology.

“I mean, it’s not bad, but it means shit is potentially gettin’ real,” he says. “So we’re scurrying off, and this announcement comes on, DC5, come to the bridge. That’s us, we’re Damage Control 5. That can’t be good. So we haul ass to the bridge, and there’s the captain. And he’s got his fancy hat on. The real fancy one. He’s got a few different hats, see, and mostly he just wears one of the regular ones. But if you’re about to get your ass chewed out real bad, you know it because the captain has the really fancy hat on.”

“For serious?” I am enchanted by the idea of hats in varying degrees of severity by fanciness.

“For serious,” he says. “This is the Navy, we do shit like that. So anyway. We’re all like, shit, what’d we do?”

“What’s wrong with a kite?” I ask.

“We don’t even think about that,” he says. “We’re all thinking, well, we’re a bunch of trouble, mostly, so there’s probably a hundred things it could be, but we’d all been on our best behavior. Or so we thought. So the captain says, gentlemen, why are my automated defense systems telling me there is a missile incoming aft?”

“Oh God,” I say.

“Every time the radar sweeps aft, the captain says, the automated defense systems are freaking out. Might you have any idea what is hanging off the back of my warship?” He gestures, mimicking the way a radar antenna spins. “And I gotta point out, the automated defense systems are just that. They’re these things that look like R2-D2 on the deck of the ship that automatically fire on incoming missiles. So they’ve had to disable these things; they were gonna go off by themselves, at whatever the radar was picking up.”

“Oh shit,” I say.

“So they’ve had to disarm them. And we’re all standing there, like, why is he asking us this? What could we possibly have to do with this? And then, as we’re standing there, you can see the little lightbulbs going on above our heads. And over Boomer’s head, there’s this little half-watt candle flickering. And he says, ‘Well… there’s… my kite?’”

“Ohh, shit,” I say. I’m really laughing now.

“The radar was picking up on the kite, and identifying it as an incoming missile,” he says, shaking his head. “Oh man, we got in so much trouble.”

“I bet you did!” I stand up to get the whiskey bottle. If he’s telling stories like this already, the night’s only going to get better.

“So,” he concludes, lighting another cigarette, “it turns out, you can clean a warship with a toothbrush. And I’ve done it.”

_______
  • Not his real name. Duh. Not even his real nickname.
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Permalink: K_Story_Go_Fly_A_Kite.html
Words: 1046
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 01/02/12 08:43


Category: "k stories"

01/02/12 08:36 - ID#55840

Catchup

I think I might repost some of my Tumblr content here. Tumblr doesn't archive things well enough for my preference. Especially not when I'm trying to make a collection of things. So what follows will be a couple of reposts of a series I was working on there, called "K Stories", which are the stories my friend K (who was at the New Year's party, the big blondish dude with the pinstriped vest) tells me. He's a consummate storyteller and has a wildly varied resume beginning with a childhood on a horse farm, going through being a carnie, a cook, a Navy firefighter and Special Forces member, a geologist, and assorted other things. He tells the stories well, so I've been trying to write them down in a slightly edited, conversational style as if I were putting them into some sort of collection. We'll see how that goes. Apologies if anyone has seen them before, I'm not all about duplicate content, but I don't like the way Tumblr just sort of has things disappear into the ether.
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Permalink: Catchup.html
Words: 177
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 01/02/12 08:36


Category:

01/01/12 11:28 - ID#55830

Happy New Year

Hey it was good to see (e:peeps) again last night!!! It's been a while!
My friends from out of town had a great time too. Maybe too great; Sue left her iPhone somewhere in the 24. Uh... we gotta come by and get that before they leave for Ohio this afternoon...
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Permalink: Happy_New_Year.html
Words: 51
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 01/01/12 11:28


Category:

03/08/11 08:43 - ID#53788

Oh my God

I just found out about Joshua and I had to come here. It just didn't seem real. I'm so devastated. I mean, I hadn't seen him or his brother in ages, but the ubiquity of social networking means that I'd been idly following along with their adventures and always getting the two mixed up in my head and inwardly being warmed at how close they were. It's such a shock-- it's always a shock when someone so young goes unexpectedly-- but it's more a shock because my (e:strip) world is such a cozy one, and I don't really have words for it.
My thoughts are with his brother, of course, and it's just made me think about so many things I can't bear to think about.
And I miss all you (e:strip)pers, and I miss that cozy little world, and I already miss him being in it, even if I could never tell him apart from his brother and was never quite sure which of them I'd spoken to. How horrible to have them so utterly separated-- how horrible to have his adventures cut short-- how unspeakably tragic-- and I just don't think there are words. Oh Jason. I am so sorry. I am so, so very sorry.
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Permalink: Oh_my_God.html
Words: 210
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 03/08/11 08:43


Category: photos

07/22/10 10:39 - 75.ºF - ID#52257

photo classes: Ideas needed!!

So I work for Delaware Camera. Everybody knows that.
The regional manager just went to a trade show, and came home full of awesome ideas. About 5 years ago we used to offer classes and seminars and stuff, how to use your camera and how to take pictures of this or that etc. But the manager was the only one teaching them and he got really burnt out on them. (He actually has social anxieties, kinda, and it really took a lot out of him to do.) So we stopped doing them. But the show was all indie camera stores, and the successful ones all had a healthy class schedule; it's what sets us apart from the "I Dunno It Says Camera On The Box" big-box stores, where you buy a camera and can't figure out how to use it and bring it in and they stare at you like you're nuts for expecting them to have the slightest clue.
So we want to start having classes again. (I might teach some!! Squee!)

I'm wondering-- what classes would y'all attend? Are you interested in learning about photography and cameras? Have you ever wished you knew how to take that perfect picture of something? (If so, what?)

I was thinking a seminar on "How To Get Not-Totally-Shitty Pictures From Your Camera Phone" would be kinda neat, but the problem is, well, most camera phones suck, so the class would mostly consist of "Ok, so stand really really still, and preferably the thing you're photographing is really well-lit and not moving. Oh, it's dark and moving? Well, you're fucked." But still, it's an idea.
I hope you have better ones...
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Permalink: photo_classes_Ideas_needed_.html
Words: 277
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 07/22/10 10:39


Category: mobl

06/24/10 09:17 - 71.ºF - ID#52029

Niawanda park



image
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Permalink: Niawanda_park.html
Words: 3
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/24/10 09:17


Category: mobl

06/22/10 06:33 - 76.ºF - ID#52000

Stupidest sticker ever



image
Yes.
This.
This is the stupidest sticker ever.
I know you can't read it. That's why it's so fucking stupid.
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Permalink: Stupidest_sticker_ever.html
Words: 22
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/22/10 10:47


Category:

06/22/10 05:39 - 75.ºF - ID#51999

d'awh

I killed my iPhone. I don't know how. It's less than a year old. I saw the stupidest sticker ever on a car, and took its picture, risking life and limb I know, but I had to document it. I got to work, and emailed the picture here to moblog it.
Walked away leaving my phone on the counter to finish sending the email. Came back and looked on my computer to see whether the photo had uploaded. It hadn't. Picked up my phone to see if there was a reason why not.
Couldn't wake the phone.
Tried restarting it. Nothing. Tried hooking it up to the computer. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. It's totally dead. If I plug it into the computer, after about 3 minutes iTunes pops up a message saying that it could not communicate with the iPhoneTM because of an error reading the device.
Fuckers!

Anyway. So i'm non-moblogging, sans picture, the stupidest sticker I've ever seen.
You know those really stupid oval stickers, that have acronyms in them? They come from the EU, right, and you put your country code in them, right, only Americans for some reason think they're so cool that they need to have one for every possible thing. And they don't make any sense-- what the fuck does OBX stand for? What about SJCI? (I see stickers for both of those every day.) So since the codes don't mean anything, they have to defeat their whole purpose by writing, in tiny lettering, at the lower border of the sticker, what the cryptic acronym stands for.
Again, missing the point of the whole exercise.
(It was cool, for like, a second, in 1997, to have the country code sticker of a country you admired. I thought that was kind of neat. Between 8:15:36 and 8:15:37 am on November 13th, 1997. Really. Then I was like, "Actually that's kind of pretentious and stupid. Without even being at least arguably intelligence-requiring like some pretentious things are. So it's the worst of both worlds. Never mind, those things suck and they irritate me." And my opinion hasn't changed in over a decade. Even after having been to the European Union, where they make sense and are functional.)

So this was one of those stickers.
Know what it said?
"S". That's all it said. That was the acronym. One letter.
I was like, "What the fuck does S stand for?" Because it's not a country code. And guess what. This is English. A shit-ton of words start with S. It's one of the more common letters, in fact.
So I drove up a little closer.
Underneath, it said, and I'm not making this up,
"See Europe In A Volvo." Only in block caps, and tiny.

For fucking serious.
That is the dumbest thing I've ever seen in my whole life, I think. And I just had to share it with all of you.
I used to sort of think maybe Volvos were cool. Like, they're functional luxury cars. I can kind of dig that.
But now I've lost patience with them.

Also I think it's about time I stopped working in Williamsville, because people like that are my customers and really????? Ugh.
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Permalink: d_awh.html
Words: 529
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 06/22/10 05:39


05/14/10 12:16 - 59ºF - ID#51554

answering tinypliny's food survey

Interesting to think about. I'm sort of unhappy with my diet right now-- not the foods in it, per se, but my eating situation as a whole, really. I have coworkers who really like to eat together, and I like eating with them, but that often means waiting until well after I want to eat (I get very stupid when not fed-- I don't deal well with missing a meal, which has always made me feel like a wuss and like I deserve to be fat, but I'm working on not letting my body's mechanisms be such an issue, you know? I gotta eat, so what?) and it also means eating what they get, which is Mighty Taco or pizza or something, usually. I actually started Cold Cut Fridays, where I go to Tops and buy a loaf of bread and sandwich fixins for everyone, because it's cheaper and less gross than tacos again, or burgers again, or pizza the third time this week, or takeout Chinese. I like junk food, it's just my whole life it's been a special once-in-a-great-while treat. And it's still like that to (e:zobar), so he gets all excited and says "Ooooh we could get Chinese we haven't had that in like six months!" and I hate to ruin it by saying "Uh I had it today already." Oh.
The other complicating factor is roller derby practice. I've learned the hard way (throwing up in the rink bathroom sucks) that I can't eat much right before. I try not to eat after 5pm on practice nights. Which is three nights a week. That's kind of a lot of my life. But that means I either eat gross junk food at 4:45 and it's my first meal of the day, or I eat leftovers of whatever Z made at 11:30pm and then can't fall asleep.
Anyway, my food consumption is just all fucked-up and I'm not particularly happy but not really sure how to fix it. It's OK, mostly, but my digestion has been unhappy for like a month and I know it's that I'm not getting enough vegetables.

Dairy:

1. How many gallons of milk do you drink per week? What kind?

Ummm... We always buy a gallon, and in weeks where we eat at home normally we go through it in two weeks or so, but, lately, well... The last two cups or so go bad, because we shop so infrequently and eat home so infrequently.
But I was raised on drinking lots and lots and lots of milk-- osteoporosis runs in the family on both sides and my mother has always been afraid of it, so we drank tons of milk. And I love the taste of it. i'll come home and just drink a whole big glass of it instead of eating a snack if I'm hungry.
And oh, whole. Always whole. My whole life whole. Even on a diet, whole. Because if I'm going to drink milk I'm going to drink fucking actual milk, not gross watery shit. I drink plenty of water and that's fine in its place. I have a general horror of low-fat anything-- if you can't have that much fat in your diet (and low-fat diets, like diets as we know them of almost any kind, are pretty much bullshit anyway) then don't fucking eat/drink it, don't have a shitty alternative to it and have twice as much of it and oh you just had the same amount of fat as if you'd just eaten the fucking thing you really wanted in the first place! I am sorry, this makes me say the F-word a lot.

2. How frequently do you eat any kind of cheese in a week?
A damn lot. Probably five to twelve times a week. The thing is, cheese is a relatively inexpensive way to achieve caloric density, so a lot of my inherited recipes call for it. Also it is really tasty. You can't fuck with that.
Mostly cheddar, lots of feta if I can afford it, fancy cheeses to just eat straight up if I am very rich. I love cheese and it loves me. I know it gives some people gas, but not me.

3. How much half/half or creamer do you drink in a week?

A half of a half of a pint? Not sure. We used to go through a quart of it every two weeks or so, in coffee and recipes, but not anymore, so i'm not sure.

Staples:

4. How much rice do you consume in a week?
Uh.... probably a cup, cup and a half, depending.

5. How many loaves of bread do you eat in a week?
Half of one? If I bring lunch a lot. Z mostly eats up all the bread because he loves sandwiches more than I do. back when I worked part-time I made bread all the time and ate a lot of it, but I don't have time for yeast bread anymore-- you need a day off for that, and I don't have days off.

6. How many times do you eat any pasta in a week?
A million. OK, really probably four or five. It's our go-to staple. If a meal requires additional bulk it will come in the form of pasta, if it is not rice or potatoes.

Um, potatoes are not on this survey. Lose!!! They are the default staple in parts of the world. Such as poor rural upstate New York. My mother was a fantastic meal planner, and we were quite poor; she bought everything in bulk, and every dinner consisted of four major components: meat, starch, and two vegetables. The starch was invariably pasta, rice, or potatoes, very occasionally something wheat-based like bread, pie crust, or something exotic (couscous, tortillas, pita), each prepared in about seven billion different ways. The meat was almost always ground beef or chicken, because those are the cheapest available in a poorly-stocked grocery store. (Sometimes pork, when it was on sale, and occasionally roast beef or ham when we had a budget surplus or a major holiday.) The vegetables were often home-grown and home-preserved, because Mom kept a production garden to feed us. And potatoes were definitely about 1/3 to 1/2 of the starch we ate.
We ate really really well. And Mom prided herself on usually spending about $100 a week on six people. She was an amazing planner. (Is, still, but with much different constraints now.)

Meat:
7. How many times a week do you eat meat of any kind (including fish)?
Every day. Usually twice a day. I wish I ate less meat, but if I don't feed Z meat in every meal, he gets hungry again quickly. He's right, if you're used to eating it, a meal without it is fairly insubstantial. Some of my entree recipes require only a small proportional amount of meat, though, and that still seems to satisfy him, so I do that when I can-- because meat is kind of a budget-buster, and also we don't get to shop that often and run out of meat first. I'd rather treat meat as more of a condiment than a staple, but it's hard, and Z doesn't feel the same way.

8. How many times a week do you eat eggs?
On their own, once or twice. As ingredients, three or four times. They're in a lot of my recipes-- quickbreads and cakes and the such. I don't bake nearly as much as I am accustomed to, however. So now a dozen will last a month, depending on what we make.


Eating all this junk food has astonishingly not hurt me all that much though. I'm down under 200 pounds for the first time in a couple of years, and am back down into size 14 pants, which is the small end of my range. I also haven't, knock wood, been sick all year, really. I'm fighting something now, I thought, except it's been the same for a month, so I'm pretty sure it's allergies. Boo.
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Permalink: answering_tinypliny_s_food_survey.html
Words: 1334
Location: Buffalo, NY


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