Monthly Archives: May 2011

Personal interlude

North Texas is not a good place to get sick, and the end of May is a good time if you really feel like taking out your nasal passages with muriatic acid and ice picks. It’s bad enough that the local plants respond to impending blast-furnace temperatures by spreading pollen across the countryside in a desperate hope of reproducing their genes before they die. (In many ways, plants in North Texas are like the attendees at a comics convention.) It’s bad enough that prevailing south winds blow up Austin’s, Houston’s, and San Antonio’s respective fugs and drop it right atop Dallas. (When friends ask me if I want to come to Austin, I tell them all I need to do is inhale deeply inside of a hipster bar while its patrons cough and sneeze in my face to catch the whole experience.) It’s bad enough that more sensitive co-workers adjust to the increasing heat by turning down the air conditioning to liquid-nitrogen superconductor level, which leads to a much larger shock when they finally step outside during the worst of the heat at closing time. It’s bad enough that all of the children in the state grab souvenirs from their classmates on the last day of school in the form of exotic and horrible diseases and share them with everyone in the neighborhood. Combine all of these, and you understand why I was afraid the neighbors would hear my influenza-inspired coughing and sniffling, chain the front door shut, and write “DON’T OPEN – DEAD INSIDE” on the front of the house. And I wouldn’t have blamed them.

The Czarina is doing her best to assist with getting me back to full form. Decent food, herbal teas, generally checking up to make sure that my skull hasn’t filled with phlegm. Of course, I know that this won’t last, because she’ll want to go to bed soon. At that point, she’ll crank the AC down to “comfortable” levels, meaning that she’ll sleep soundly but I’ll be pulling ice crystals out of my gums. The only time she ever freaks out over cold is when it’s outside, and I suspect that she fills her pillows with dry ice when I’m not looking.

Being this ill, though, does a wonderful job at preparing me for my impending mortality. I know now that my last moments are going to involve yet another flu-instigated bout of pneumonia, three bouts of which have nearly killed me in the past. It’ll be when the doctor comes into the hospital room to check on me and charge my bill for another “consultation” that I’ll finally go. That’s at the point where I start coughing. Then retching. Then performing a perfect recreation of John Hurt’s final scene in Alien, with my spleen baring sharp teeth, hissing, and running across the room. I’ll be coughing up blood, coughing up urine, coughing up xenon gas (my favorite after-dinner tipple), and you don’t want to know what’ll be coming out of my tear ducts. I’ll finally flop back on the bed, bile and insulin and navel lint dripping off the ceiling, before rising slightly as the doctor screams and runs away like a little girl and the nurses ask “What the HELL happened?”

At that point, I’ll gasp “We call it…(wheeze) ‘The Aristocrats’!” *thud*

Have a great weekend

Because it’s been that sort of week…

Consume mass quantities

Another quick posting, and then once more unto the breach, once more. Friends and family already know that the FarmTek catalog is my favorite horticulture porn these days, and the crew over there is offering a special for Facebook fans. As I keep telling the Czarina, all I need is a new Nepenthes greenhouse; it’s not like I’m blowing it on bad cocaine and journalism degrees, right?

For those who can’t quite afford a new greenhouse, there’s always fun to be had with the new items at American Science & Surplus. That place will be the death of me, as I’m just now finishing a big project involving several items from the Home & Garden section. If you don’t hear from me by Tuesday, send a rescue expedition, okay?

The Triffid Ranch in the news

A quick interlude before getting back to the Day Job: 2011 must be the year for television interviews. I had one last April (airdate in progress), and I just received a query about another one for this next week. Details will follow, but if anyone wants to follow up with a contract for a regular gonzo gardening segment, I certainly won’t complain.

Gnomes vs. flamingos: the war continues

I see that the garden gnome/plastic flamingo war picked up a bit. I guess the gnomes couldn’t figure out what “Phase 2” was.

Put a little outhouse in your soul

Every year for our wedding anniversary, the Czarina and I watch television. Well, let me rephrase that. At that time, we simply watch television. We’re not arrogant anti-television snobs who sniff at the idea of watching anything on the “idiot box”. We just simply don’t have the time any more. In combination with the both of us previously having been married to television addicts, we just can’t justify paying nearly $75 a month solely to flip around looking for a program that sucks marginally less than the 80,000 other selections on cable.

That’s not to say that we ignore the incredible output of televised entertainment. We just ration it out with a NetFlix account, so the Czarina doesn’t need to listen to me whimper about my dream job and I don’t get in the way of her next challenge. Besides, the best thing about watching television series in bulk is that they don’t come with obnoxious commercials.

Even so, at the end of the year, we hie ourselves to one disclosed location or another for our anniversary. It might be a hotel in Fort Worth, a ranch house in far West Texas, or just about anyplace with good beds, clean bathrooms, and unlimited cable. With the latter, the Czarina turns the channel to HGTV, and we generally overdose on home improvement porn until she’s sated. After three days of nonstop HGTV, she’s received plenty of ideas, and we’ve filled our humps of hate on the commercials until the next anniversary. (Trust me: for those who haven’t given up on cable television, go six months without it, and then go for a test drive. Every time we figure “You know, we’d like to do something besides smile and nod when friends go on and on about their favorite television show, so why don’t we get cable?”, all we need is a handful of Pajama Jeans ads to burn that compulsion right out of our heads.)

Anyway, we’re nearly six months away from our hump-filling, and that’s when Amanda at Kiss My Aster brought up a truly Lovecraftian horror for our next anniversary. Namely, My Yard Goes Disney. Oh, I’m sure that the sort of people who sit through Hanna Montana marathons will love this idea. I just figure that the show might work a bit better if it went dark. REALLY dark. “Today on What The Hell Happened?, this lovely suburban house and yard were completely redone by H.R. Giger, Harlan Ellison, and Angelspit! Let’s see if the neighbors notice!”

The Liveliest Awfulness of dessert

On a sideline, I’ve been working on additional recipes using Buddha’s Hand citron, also known as “Cthulhufruit“. I’ve learned several very valuable lessons from one such experiment conducted this weekend:

Numero Uno: Soaking sliced Cthulhufruit in good vodka (I highly recommend Dripping Springs) produces a very good sipping vodka, but some of the better nuances of the extract don’t survive baking.

Numero Two-o: It’s possible to add Cthulhufruit extract to standard Key lime bar mixes, but one day I’m going to have to make my own batch of Cthulhufruit bars from scratch.

Numero Three-o: Only in a universe that regularly uses non-Euclidean geometry can one box of Key lime bar mix produce 16 bars, even if they’re the size of a postage stamp.

Numero Four-o: The Square-Cube Law applies when you use two boxes of Key lime bar mix. 30 minutes’ baking won’t cut it.

Numero Five-o: Not paying attention to the Square-Cube Law doesn’t produce bad Cthulhufruit bars. It just produces bars that are a little too goopy for consumption by hand. However, heated up slightly, the mix is spectacular atop good French vanilla ice cream. Ergo, I have no worries about it going to waste. Anyone want a fresh batch of Cthulhufruit cobbler for H.P. Lovecraft‘s 121st birthday this August 20?