Tickmageddon!

I spent much of my youth running around like a little idiot. You could often find me running through a field of tall grass, climbing trees, or recklessly wandering through the woods. Being one who could not stand the feel of lotions and sprays, my only protection from the sun and various bugs looking to use me as a buffet were my hands and clothes. Despite all my years playing in the exact areas ticks love to call home, I never once saw or even got a tick on me. All of that changed for me this year.

In this year alone, my wife and I have pulled so many ticks off of me and our children that we can scarcely believe it. Despite living away from the center of town, I do my part to keep my yard tidy to keep the little bastards at bay, and yet they still come. Just today my daughter was outside for not terribly long while I was doing yard maintenance and somehow managed to get a tick on her leg under her tights. After doing a thorough tick check on her, I had my wife do one on me. Thankfully, I was in the clear. Earlier in the year there was one embedded behind my ear, so we’ve been cautious to do regular tick checks. Considering that I haven’t had a haircut in over two years, tick checks aren’t the easiest for my wife to perform on me. After taking my shower, I decided to check over my jeans before putting them back on. I’m glad I did as I found a tick on the inside of one of the pant legs. Suffice to say, the tick met a watery demise as it was whisked away to my septic tank. The jeans went straight into the washing machine.

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Believe it or not, when we moved in, you couldn’t even see this stone wall. To someone who didn’t know better, you’d never know it was there.

If you take a look at the photograph above, you’ll see my recently uncovered stone property line. That wall is a veritable tick breeding ground. I’ve gotten more ticks on that wall than I have anywhere else on the property. That’s why I’ve been doing my damnedest to clean it up. That picture was taken today and if you think it looks like a mess, you should’ve seen it before. In the next picture down below, you’ll see a huge pile of brush. Most of that brush was what I had cut away and cleared from the wall. It was so thick there, you couldn’t even see the wall when we moved in almost two years ago. Since then, the vegetation around that wall has been met with branch cutters, a chainsaw, a machete, and good old-fashioned pulling. I have tried to mow and weed whack as best I can along that wall every week. I’ve been making progress, but the basic stuff comes back quickly. I would love to just coat that entire area with industrial plant killers, but my wife is against the idea.

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The area that you see before you looks absolutely nothing like it did when we moved in.

In this next picture in left corner between the wall and the trees, you can see branches and plant growth. Though it’s difficult to tell, that pile of branches and brush goes up above my head in places and much further back, just to give you an idea of how much I have cleared from the wall. If you go back to that first picture, you’ll see I’ve got a lot to go. Well, that’s not really that much compared to how much I’ve already removed. However, before I can get the wall fully cleaned up, I need to take some time to talk to my new neighbors about cleaning up their half of the wall. Cleaning up my side will only do so much if the other side is still a breeding ground.

Anyhow, back to the second picture. If you look between the left tree and the brush pile, you’ll see an empty space. Until very recently, that space was occupied by ancient and rusty farm equipment. It was also full of waist high plants, large dead sticks, and rocks which made it very difficult to clean up. Once the farm equipment was gone, it was much easier to go in there and clear the area out.

The space between the trees had a very large shed in it and was extremely wet. Throw in there very large rocks, boards with nails, and very high plants, and it wasn’t even worth the effort to clean it up until the shed was gone. Thankfully, that went the same day as the farm equipment. Within hours of that shed moving, the wetness began drying up very quickly. This allowed me to go through and cut down the high plants as well as remove the large rocks and boards with nails.

The are around the right tree was full of tall plants. Once I actually got in there, I discovered that most of those plants were not actually grass and the such, but lots of little trees that had sprung up over the years. So many skinny trees, most of them half an inch to an inch thick. We used (and I don’t know what you would call it) what I can only describe as a weed whacker with a saw blade. It took quite a while, but it got the job done, though I lost much of the feeling in my arms that day from the sheer vibrations of it. Then I used the branch cutters to remove the stumps. It wasn’t fun work, but I’m proud of what I did. The yard looks so much nicer now and I’m not nearly as worried about ticks in the part of the yard as I once was.

In the back, you can see what appears to be more bushes. These are more of those thin trees that have cropped up over the years that need to be cut down and removed, just as were around the right most tree in the picture. In time, I will remove these too, however, they are not priority right now and will have to wait for a future date. I am considering having a go at these during the winter when there aren’t any leaves to obscure what I am doing. Winter will also allow me to cut the wood into better piles. Without all the summer growth, I should be able to take care of a lot. Hey, maybe I should consider doing some heavy work on that wall during the winter as well.

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Please excuse the unfinished mowing job. I’m waiting on a new mower blade.

In this third picture, you can see a portion of the back yard. It’s difficult to tell, but right after that patchy part of the yard ends is where my yard used to end. From there back, it used to be all field. This year, however, I decided to mow all the way to the property line which you can see in the right corner by that tuft of grass and the line where it goes from short to tall. Now, that taller area is usually much, much taller. Once a year, however, that field is cut down and this picture was taken about a week or two after that had happened. So I decided to mow all the way to the property line for two reasons. The first was that I wanted my children to have a larger area to play in. The second was to keep the ticks further at bay. Ticks enjoy taller grass as it puts them at a better level to grab on to their prey. This is also why I keep my lawn mower on one of the lowest settings. Unfortunately, this is also why you see in this picture that there’s still a chunk of lawn that needs to be mowed.

My mower has hit enough stumps, rocks, and what-have-you hidden by the tall grass and bush that it’s not worth the effort of continuously bending the blade back into place. I found a replacement blade specifically for my lawnmower on Amazon.com for only $12.97 that many of the reviews say is better than the one that came with it. At this point, I think I have removed every obstacle that will damage my blade so if I can get a better one for under thirteen dollars, then I’ll wait the two days for it to come in the mail.

In this picture, you can also see my recently dug firepit. So for those of you about to say that the pile in the second picture is a breeding ground for mice which are a breeding ground for ticks, I’ve already planned for that. As time permits, I go out and cut the branches up, making neat stacks based on thickness. These piles are in turn expended in the firepit in which beer is drank in front of in the darkness of night. Yes, there is still quite a ways to go in cutting down the branch piles into neat stacks, but Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say.

Over the next few years, I hope to eventually line the perimeter of my property with a couple of feet (wide, not thick) of mulch or gravel. It is my understanding that these things are not things ticks like to cross, mostly because it’s difficult to grab on to passing prey. I suppose if there was an area that I would be more likely to be stepped on as opposed to being in a place where I could freely hitch a ride and get free drive through, then I too would try to avoid that area.

So now you’ve read some of what I’ve been doing to keep the ticks at bay. It’s not foolproof, but every little bit helps. Still, the ticks find ways to get in. A few weeks ago my son dropped his hat on the ground. It was only there for a moment before he put it back on his head. When we went in the house later, I found a tick crawling through his hair. Also, turkeys are crawling with ticks and those damn birds just love roosting on my lawn for some reason. It’s not uncommon for me too look out the window in the morning and seeing twenty or thirty of them in my back yard. In addition to ticks, they like to leave other surprises, namely digging holes in my yard. I’ve seen them do it.

I would love to hear your comments on what has worked for you at keeping the ticks at bay. Before you say chickens, at the moment, chickens are not feasible to me, though they are delicious. We have too much wildlife and they would most likely be eaten by a fox in no time. On the plus side, we have lots of robins. As soon as I found out that robins are natural predators of ticks, I installed a bird feeder. I want to encourage the robins to stick around for as long as possible.

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What Homeownership Does to a Man

It’s amazing what purchasing a home can do you for you. The things that you previously had no interest in suddenly sound exciting. My wife and I recently purchased the house we’d been living in for nearly two years. It’s a great location. Off the main roads, but not far from anything we need. In fact, the only things of extended distance are work and church. Work is roughly forty-five minutes a way and church is a little over and hour. I certainly don’t mind the drive to work as it gives me a chance to wake up in the morning. And the ride to church is but a small sacrifice to make for ideal living location.

So what makes this location so great? Well for starters, everything we need is just a short drive away. Groceries, family, parks, beach, dining, etc. But at the same time, we’re off of the main roads, so it’s very quiet and peaceful. Plus, my neighbors are my cousin and his wife and then my aunt and uncle further down. Then when you factor in that my aunt and uncle own all the land behind all three of our properties including a large field and an extended distance into the woods, my kids effectively have a back yard anyone would be envious of.

Of course, now that the property is mine, things that previously held no interest seem suddenly exciting. About two weeks ago I walked into Home Depot for the first time with home owner eyes instead of “I need to get such and such at Home Depot” eyes. I had only gone in for one simple item, but for the first time, the power tools section beautiful. I spent way too much time looking at drill bits for my power drill, even though I didn’t need any. I spent time looking over hatchets as there’s some branches I need to hack down behind the property, despite the fact that I can probably just borrow a chainsaw from my uncle. I almost bought a lawn mower just because I wanted to mow the lawn (I still technically need to get one).

Since then, I’ve been researching gravel and fill online. There is a muddy area behind my property that I want to completely cover with rock to prevent vegetation from growing and put a fire pit in there. Eventually, I plan to build my own grill from brick.

I’m looking to get some good rakes and mulch. We’ve got a lovely stone wall that’s been falling into disrepair. Some of the stones have long since embedded themselves into the ground. I want to dig up the stones that have fallen and place them back upon their former glory. I want to remove most of the vegetation near the wall and cover it with mulch to improve it’s beauty.

Inside the home is no different. Now that we have power in the garage, I’m going to be moving all my exercise equipment in there (I have no intention of storing vehicles in it, mostly because it’s on the opposite side of the house). I’ll have a great area to work out and listen to the AM radio. That’s right, I found an old AM radio in the garage and cleaned it up real nice. This way I can listen to Rush Limbaugh when I exercise. Nothing get’s the blood pumping like Rush Limbaugh. Only Alex Jones is more effective.

I’ve already carved out a section of the basement for my wife’s Rock ‘n’ Roll band, Drive by Todd (shameless plug) and now I’m slowly working on carving out my section of the basement. I’m carefully working on making my video game cave, with consoles going back roughly forty years. Now that I own my own space, I’m finally looking to get everything hooked up. Buying the right power strips, the right adaptors and switch. And if anyone knows where I can get a good Sony BVM at a reasonable price, that would be awesome. Video games aren’t going to be the only thing in my area of the basement. I’m going to be hooking up the VCR and building up a substantial VHS horror collection. There are so many great, but lost horror flicks you simply can’t get on DVD, BluRay, or streaming. Also, there’s the simple fact that a lot of the older ones are just better on VHS. A Nightmare on Elm St is one of my favorites, but I don’t recommend any of the recent releases. They cleaned it up too much and you can see everything that you weren’t supposed to.

There’s so much I’m looking forward to doing, stuff that never would’ve carried any interest in me before. It’s a brave new world with such strange people in it, namely me.

 

Dennis the F***ing Menace

It’s not terribly often I actually contact a company about it’s content. Honestly, my opinion is the company can have whatever content they please. But every now any then, I come across some questionable decisions and even more questionable algorithms. So begins my gripe with Hulu.

I don’t use Hulu often, but they’ve got a few programs I like and they give me a good monthly cost. I have a children’s account setup for my daughter, but the show selection is honestly dubious at best. It’s mostly just terrible/stupid programming that has no redeemable qualities whatsoever and when you do find a good quality show that children can appreciate, it’s only available on a regular user’s account. And sometimes further, the logic behind what is acceptable on a children’s account and what is not makes no sense. Now, I like the Dick Van Dyke show as much as the next guy, but can anyone tell me why this is available on the children’s account but Dennis the Menace isn’t?

Anyhow, because of such nonsensical decision making and my great disdain for most of the other programing on the children’s account, I will occasionally allow my daughter to watch a show on my account as long as I approve of it. One such program we enjoy watching together is the 1959 version of Dennis the Menace. Oh, the mischief that boy gets into. How is he going to torment Mr. Wilson next? I guess I’ll just have to watch and find out.

So I had the house mostly to myself a few weekends ago and I thought I would sit and watch an episode of Dennis the Menace by myself (don’t let my daughter know that I watched it without her). It was the episode where Dennis threw out Mr. Wilsons old phone book not knowing there was a slip for $500 worth of stocks inside. Oh, that Dennis. Anyhow, it was during the second commercial break that a commercial for Shameless came on, a show I actually want to see. I was a little surprised that the commercial was running during an episode of Dennis the Menace, but I didn’t really put too much thought into it. I mean really, what’s actually going to happen in an advertisement during a family show?

The word “fucking” happened, actually. It was very clearly and forcefully said in the commercial. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it was verbalized in all caps. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. It was in the middle of the day during a family show. Now, I realize Hulu is an online pay service and I pick the programming I want to watch when I want to watch it, but surely they must have an algorithm for choosing ads better than this, right? Like, if I was watching say Dexter of Spartacus, I absolutely would’ve expected a commercial like this and not given a second thought about the f-bomb. But I wasn’t watching Dexter or Spartacus or anything of the sort. I was watching old fashioned, good wholesome, family friendly, 1959 black and white Dennis the Menace. You’d think whatever algorithm they use for choosing advertisements would be considerably better. If I watch the Addams Family, are they going to recommend me Game of Thrones and show somebody in the process of becoming his own uncle?

I called the company. Can you believe it? A major corporation this day and age that still has a customer service line that was semi-easy to find. You’d be surprised how uncommon that is. Anyhow, the lady I spoke with a extremely friendly and absolutely wonderful. Exactly what a customer service rep should be. She was surprised to hear that an ad for Shameless came on during Dennis the Menace and even more shocked to hear that an f-bomb was dropped in it. She actually asked the same question a couple different ways to make sure that she was hearing what I was saying correctly. “It wasn’t censored? It was clear? During Dennis the Menace?” She was very sympathetic. And assured me that she was going to be taking this to their….I forgot what she called the team, I think it was a content department something, but she must’ve gotten it done as I haven’t seen a single inappropriate advertisement since, not even on shows were I would expect an ad like that.

So I have to give great props to Hulu and their customer service rep. It was honestly a much better experience than I would’ve imagined. There was a surprisingly bad hiccup in their advertising and they handled it splendidly. I hope that lady gets a raise.

Blair Witch

I have a certain love for bad movies. I don’t know if started with watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 late night way back in the day, but there is a certain joy that comes from watching a bad movie. But every once in a while, I come across a movie so bad, I have to question its reason for existing. For a long time, the worst movie I had ever seen was called Time Chasers, a movie from 1994 that looks like it could’ve been made in 1979. Astonishingly terrible. However, some years down the road, that throne was vacated to make way for a horrible little film called Ultraviolet starring Mila Jovovich. Now, I know a lot of people seem to love that movie, but to this day, it’s still the worst movie I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen Manos: The Hands of Fate. If you’ve never heard of Manos: The Hands of Fate, the fact that manos is Spanish for hands should tell you everything you need to know about the movie. I still remember the night I saw Ultraviolet. When it was done, my friend said he was going to chuck that DVD out his Jeep window on his way home. I quickly replied, “Don’t do that. Some little kid might find it.” I just couldn’t bear the thought of some poor kid sitting through that movie. My friend made sure to destroy that disc.

Now, it being October, I love to sit down and watch horror movies. Earlier this month, I sat down and watched both Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky much to my delight. Let me just say that if you want to watch a good horror flick this year, might I recommend Curse of Chucky. They took a step back from the comedy of the previous two and made a great horror movie with a legitimately creepy Chucky. Anyhow, back on topic. Last year, a new Blair Witch movie came out and judging from the trailers, it was going to be good. I saw the original The Blair Witch Project in theaters back when it first came out and found it to be a great movie. I know some people didn’t like it, but considering that it was in a way the first of its kind, I delighted in every bit of it. This movie was made extra creepy by the fact that me and my best friend watched on a dark and stormy night. My friend’s dad taking us back home took a wrong turn and accidentally drove us through a cemetery and into the woods where we were eventually stopped by a road closed barricade. Though we had our suspicions, his dad swears he wasn’t messing with us and he just turned too early because of the fog.

A few years later, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows came out staring Jeffrey Donovan who would later go on to star in Burn Notice; a show so much better than this movie that you honestly for get he starred in it. While people generally seemed to dislike Blair Witch 2, I rather enjoyed it despite the acting. It had a great premise in which it basically pretended the first film didn’t happen. Yes, that’s right. Instead, the first movie was a movie and the plot of this movie is there are a group of people who are studying the mythology of the movie. Crazy stuff happens and it turns out that the Blair Witch is real. I understand the criticisms of this movie, but I appreciate the path that they took for the sequel. I’m glad they decided to go the traditional horror movie route instead of another found footage movie because how much belief would you be able to suspend with a second found footage movie about the same thing. Yes it was cheesy. Yes the acting was bad. But at least it understood what it was trying to be, which is much more than I can say for the third one.

When I saw the trailers for a new Blair Witch movie last year that got back to the basics, it looked promising. The brother of one of the people from the original film now 24 years old looking for his sister was a very cool hook and a reasonable way to try to pull the found footage thing again. This movie also pretends like the second movie didn’t happen (or at least it doesn’t address it). Very early on in the movie, it seemed so promising. It wastes no time in showing you all the cool modern high-tech gadgetry it would be employing to capture the footage from camera headsets, to drones, to GPS tracking. There was so much potential in this movie and the people making it had no idea what to do with it. Unfortunately, all the cool tech that should’ve made the movie better, made the movie worse. In what should’ve re-enforced the horror, the gadgets only made it difficult to suspend disbelief.

I’m going to get this out of the way right now. The movie automatically assumes everyone watching it doesn’t understand technology. The movie came out in 2016, but claims to take place 20 years after the original, so that would but this setting in 2014. MicroSD cards would’ve commonly been at about 128GB max (there may have been some 256GB out there, but I shudder to think of how expensive they would’ve been), yet everything is clearly in high-definition. They must’ve been changing out memory cards constantly, to say nothing of charging those video headsets.

And then you’ve got the extra camera functions such as the deer cams, the drones, the headset cameras that capture everything. One of the great things about The Blair Witch Project is you never saw anything. You’re left to your own devices to imagine what’s going on. Not so much with this one. You see it all and it’s all bad. Gash on the foot? Gash spasms cartoonishly. Stick figures connected to people some way. Break stick and kill person on camera cartoonishly. Movie about a Blair Witch? Show the cartoonishly large Blair Witch. In fact, just about every single thing that was creepy in the original was cartoonish in this one. It shows too much and it shows it badly.

One of the things that made the original movie so great was the acting, or lack thereof. Much of the movie was ad-libbed, so things didn’t feel rehearsed. Also, the crew in the original movie legitimately harassed the people in the movie in ways to make them terrified, so the fear you’re seeing in that movie is real. Yet in this new one, you can feel the acting. Everything thing feels so rehearsed that it’s painful. Nothing feel genuine. Now, you can talk all you want about the bad acting in Blair Witch 2, but here’s the thing, it wasn’t a found footage film. Acting in a found footage films should never ever feel like acting. Ever. Bad acting can get a pass in a standard movie, but not in a film in which the entire premise is to purport to be real, stated or not.

When you pull everything together, it’s like it was trying to be a big budget Hollywood blockbuster with an identity crisis, as though it was under the impression it was a found footage film. Now, I realize movies like Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity, and The Blair Witch Project are all huge Hollywood successes using the found footage premise, but my problem with Blair Witch is that it feels like it was actually filmed like a Hollywood blockbuster. Most of it doesn’t feel remotely like found footage at all. Because of this, it rips you out of any immersion that was potentially there. Watching Blair Witch, I was bored the entire way through. While I wouldn’t call this the worst movie I’ve ever seen (no one can dethrone you, Ultraviolet), it is one of the stupidest. After this was over, I watched a sixteen minute foreign film called Banana Motherfucker about demon possessed bananas impaling people and honestly, it was a much better movie.

If Blair Witch 4 happens, I think it best that it make like the previous two sequels and pretend the most recent one didn’t happen.

Tender Wings of Desire

Every once in a while, a book so magical comes out that it seems to defy it’s very own existence. Enter Tender Wings of Desire. Written by “Colonel Sanders” and copy written by YUM! Brands (yes, the company that owns KFC), Tender Wings of Desire tells the story of a high class young woman Madeline Parker who is to be wed to Duke Reginald, a man with whom she has no romantic interest. On the night before she is to be married, she flees her home on horseback and ends up in an English fishing town working as a barmaid.

She soon falls in love with a young sailor named Harland who can only be described as Sexy Colonel Sanders. This is a fun little romance novel that actually contains no smut, but leaves you completely amused at the entire concept. For the most part, the story plays it straight, but with gems like “I think it’s time for you to put aside your childish sailing and come back to take up the mantle of Colonel Sanders” and “The hills of Kentucky miss you, as do all of us” written into the story, it’s one not to be missed.

Sadly, it probably will be missed as the book was only available for a few days around Mother’s Day. It was free, however, and if you can find yourself a copy, I surely recommend reading it. It’s quite short (roughly a hundred pages or so) and something to behold. If I had one complaint on the story it would be this; it did not end with everyone eating a bucket of fried chicken. In fact, there was no fried chicken to be found anywhere in story. The only fried chicken to be found is on the cover of this amazing book. A book you need to read.

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This cover tells you everything you need to know about the story and what you need to know are the words written inside of it.

 

 

Reverting back to VHS

For the most part, the switch from analog to digital for movies has been a success. In most cases, the superior picture and sound quality make for a far better experience. Sure, there are a few cases where the poor quality of VHS is better for the experience, usually in low budget horror movies where a cleaned up digital version can suck all the horror out of it. But one thing  the switch to digital that was really fantastic was bonus features.

Remember when DVDs came out and there was a menu full of cool extras like a trailers, interviews, and etc. that you could jump to at anytime? It really made spending twenty dollars on a movie worth it. VHS rarely had extras and if it did, you had to fast forward to the end of the movie to watch them, perhaps further if you were looking for a very specific one. Because of this, more people built up huge collections of DVD and Blu-Ray movies than did those who did the same with VHS. So when digital streaming and download started becoming more prevalent in recent years, you’d think it would carry on the fine tradition of DVD and Blu-Ray. Except it didn’t.

For some strange reason, the switch to a purely digital format took step backwards to the days of the VHS cassette. Imagine my surprise when I bought my first fully digital movie with bonus features unable to find anyway to access them, only to discover that to watch them, I had to wait until the movie finished. This is not just once isolated incident, however, as it seems to be the common game for online movies. How is it in a day of instant access, the extras are hidden at the very end? And if you wish to view these extras without watching the movie, you are bound to fast forward and rewind to access it, as even the chapter skip that was standard in DVD and Blu-Ray is often not to be found. I can’t imagine how much a pain it would be if commentary was a bonus feature. This poor implementation is perhaps the thing that shall keep Blu-Ray alive (for me at least) just a little bit longer.

Serial Girls

There’s an app about town that’s managed to attain the direction of my fancy. It’s called FaceApp. It’s main rise to fame (from what I can tell on 9Gag) is it’s gender swapping capabilities. Now, while I can’t that I agree with changing one’s gender, one has to admit that it’d be a lot of fun to find out what one would look like as their opposite. Especially when you get that uncomfortable realisation that you would totally date yourself.

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Female me would need a little waxing maybe have those jowls toned up, but I’d take me out.

Of course, once I got my kicks out of that, I started to wonder how I could apply this to another passion of mine. And that’s when I started hunting for good quality pictures of Jeffrey Dahmer.

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Ms. Dahmer has mastered the resting bitch face.

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You can never win her approval.

So, female Jeffrey Dahmer might be a little cute, but you’d never want to go out with her. Not because of the cannibalism; that’d be the least of your worries. No, your problem would be that nothing would ever be good enough for her. No matter how hard you tried, she would always find some way to disapprove. Do all the dishes? She’d be pissed that you didn’t make the bed. Cooked her an amazing dinner? It wasn’t what she wanted. After a few months, you’d be praying for her to eat you.

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I tried the man filter on Aileen, but it didn’t change anything.

Now here we have John Wayne Gacy and Aileen Wournos. Instead of becoming a member of the community by dressing up as Pogo the Clown, Ms. Gacy is the love of children everywhere thanks to her freshly baked cookies. And you can tell that she’d make the best damn cookies, too. Not because she’s plump, but because her face just shouts out with pride, “I am a pillar of the community and I became that pillar with chocolate chips.” I would certainly go. I bet they’d be delicious. I’d just be sure to bring a friend so I don’t end up below the crawl space.

This one I feel kinda bad about. I attempted to make Aileen a man, but there was really no change, so I ended up using the female filter. And this is why I feel kinda bad. You see, by putting the female filter on her, it makes her claims about murdering all those people in self defense actually seem more believable. It’s a little bit troubling how just making someone appear more pretty can alter your perception. Granted, once she started talking we’d quickly realize batshit crazy she really was, but she probably would’ve escaped the death sentence.

 

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Why yes, a Tupperware party sounds just delightful.

Ted Bundy was able to blend in like nobody’s difference and his female alter-ego would be no different. She’d be very popular and probably host Tupperware parties with the other ladies around town. She’s got a kinky side that’s just enough to make people blush, but cool enough to keep rumors from spreading. Just watch out for your butt; she likes to bite.

 

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We all know which one would be the mean friend.

You can’t help but look at female David Berkowitz and feel bad for her. Right away, you can tell that she’s the really nice friend who always get’s taken advantage of. She begins making poor decisions with her body in a vain attempt to fit in, but only furthers her into depression. Eventually, at the advice of her cat, she buys a gun.

Her “friend”, female Richard Ramirez, certainly didn’t help matters any. Always bringing her to trashy night clubs to make herself look better. Ms. Ramirez was no friend. Her only concern was making herself look better to get what she wanted and wasn’t above using insecure nice girls like Ms. Berkowitz to do it. When something wouldn’t go her way, she would exclaim, “OMS! (Oh My Satan!)” To say Ms. Ramirez had an unhealthy relationship with the devil would be an understatement. I wouldn’t be surprised if she used her dark arts to influence a certain friend’s cat.

 

 

 

The Music of My People, Children

When I get old and my grandkids are in their early teens visiting as I sit in my chair staring off into space, I’m going to just start randomly mumbling Kid Rock and Korn lyrics to make them think I’ve lost my mind.

“Bawitdaba, da bang, da bang diggy diggy, diggy, said the boogie, said up jump the boogie.”

“Boom na da noom na na nema, Da boom na da noom na namena, Da boom na ba noom na namena, Da boom na da noom na namena…”

I can only pray that it happens at a family gathering with my cousins and brothers who would hopefully join in to make the kids think we all lost it at once.

It’s A Boy!

On June 22nd at 10:34 PM, David Maxwell Grierson was born. In a previous blog post, I mentioned that on the day my daughter was born, I read to her Genesis 1 and I had yet to decide what I would read to my next child. Up until he was born, I still had no idea. After a few hours of sleep, I held my son in my arms and I knew.

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Genesis 2 on what was technically the day after he was born, but seriously, it wasn’t even 10 hours later. It may have been even less than 9 hours later.

Genesis 2 was what I read to him hours after he was born. It seemed appropriate. Second child, second chapter. First son, first man. Somehow, nothing could be more appropriate. And so I held him and I read.

It’s been an adjustment. My daughter tries to be helpful, but she’s not old enough to understand how her “helpfulness” is actually problematic. My poor wife only gets an hour to three hours of sleep a night. I started a new job so I need to make sure I get my sleep so I can perform to support my family. We’re breastfeeding (well, she is…it’d be kinda weird if I was breastfeeding) so it’s not like I would be much help when he wakes up hungry anyways. I try to help out in other ways though. My new job has much better hours, so I’m actually home for more hours than when I’m just sleeping so I pick up slack in the areas of laundry, dishes, and helping with the toddler. Trust me, trying to teach a two year old proper toy organization is hard when they don’t grasp that the toy hot dog does not go with the toy dairy; it goes with the toy fish and toy hamburger.

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Seriously, three year olds back in the day were expected to sort berries. Why can’t my near two year old separate fish and milk on the toy shelf? I swear, if she’s not programming a VCR by the time she’s five, it’s back to the womb with her.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress LC-DIG-nclc-00791

Kidding aside, I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time. I wouldn’t change a thing. My wife may wish I produced milk, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

Sex, Guns, & Bathrooms

I’ll admit, I’ve always been a staunchly opposed to men entering the women’s restroom and vice versa. To some extent, it was because of weirdos and perverts (though not entirely). I’ve always been very against people having sex changes and to a point, I still am. However, there comes a point where we must face the realities of the situations and accept them no matter how unpleasant they may be. I’ve always said that one does not have the right to not have their feelings/sensibilities hurt and this applies to everyone, including myself. I now agree that transgender people should be allowed to use the restroom of their choice. Please note, I do not feel that the law should require that they be allowed to use what restroom they associate with, that should be left up to the establishment they are visiting. My feelings on government interfering with businesses is a blog for another time, however.

A friend of mine who is transgender has opened my eyes to this issue, though perhaps not in the way that he expected. The problem with our current treatment of the transgender crowd is also the problem with how we treat two other groups of people; namely gun owners and sex offenders. Woah, did I just compare transgender people to gun owners and sex offenders? No, go back and read what I said if you think I did. I compared our treatment of transgender folk with how we treat gun owners and sex offenders.

It seems to me the big hub-bub about transgender people using the bathroom is fear of perverts and confusing the children. Now, if this were a locker room, I’d say you’ve got a pretty reasonable argument. Locker rooms happen to have a habit of being full of naked people. Sorry, transfolk, but if you still got your junk as you were born with, you need to be in the appropriate locker room. You may not be a pervert, but society just isn’t ready for parents to be answering questions like, “Why does that lady have a penis?” Children ask awkward enough questions without having to go into complicated subject material such as this. Plus, think of the inevitable cat calls.

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“I’ll give you a penis.”

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress LC-DIG-pga-00084

But the focus hasn’t been on locker rooms, has it? No, it’s been on public restrooms. Now, I haven’t visited every toilet in America, but it’s of my general experience in men’s restrooms that penises aren’t just swinging to and fro all willy-nilly like. In fact, there’s an unspoken and agreed upon etiquette that is to be strictly obeyed if there is no divider between the toilets. I have been to communal urinal troths where ten penises are out, all side by side, mere inches from each other and I can guarantee you not one dick was seen.

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Not even in Detroit, and most of them didn’t even use their hands.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress LC-USW3- 008704-C

So what does this have to do with how we treat gun owners and sex offenders?

People today seem all up in arms about people with guns, and yes, violent horrible crimes happen with guns. They also happen with knives, gasoline, hands, and a myriad of other instruments. The fact of the matter is, if someone wants to kill a bunch of people, you telling them that they can’t have a gun isn’t going to stop them. They will either find a way to get a gun illegally or they will find some other way to achieve their goal. I personally have never once been afraid of someone with a gun. I have been approached and/or been around many people in my life that have had some sort of firearm on them. Often times I didn’t even know the person. Why should I fear someone with a gun? Unless they take it out and point it at me, it’s generally safe to assume that they are a good law abiding citizen. And yet somehow there are people who feel we need to ban guns under the false assumption that it will stop a few assholes from being assholes. It might slow them down a little, but do you really think anyone who really wants to kill someone is worried about whether or not guns are legal?

What about sex offenders? Well, first of all, we have a sex offender registry that is a complete joke. It’s a device that stops almost zero crime and ruins the lives of people who made stupid mistakes. You want proof that it doesn’t stop any crime? I’m going to let cracked.com explain the problem.

So you take a guy who’s committed a crime. Now you put him on a registry that may keep him from getting a job, or making friends, generally just totally isolating him for the rest of his life and giving him lots of free time. Do you think that makes him less likely to commit another crime?

And how does knowing there’s a sex offender in your neighborhood help? Unless he’s wearing some kind of clanging Sex Offender bell around his neck to let you and your child know he’s approaching, it doesn’t protect you from a guy looking to do it again. And then you’ve got the fact that 95 percent of sexual assault victims are victimized by somebody they already know anyway.

So what’s the point? Deterrence? As it turns out, someone who is willing to abduct, rape and murder a child often isn’t stopped by the fact that he’ll get put on a “registry” if he’s caught.

Well, I guess there’s that. Then there are places that have laws that say a sex offender can’t live near a school. That sounds good on paper until you realize that the law actually makes the situation worse.

The law that suddenly forced sex offenders to move out of their homes if they lived within 1,000 feet of a school. While maybe that SOUNDED protective,  the evidence shows residency restrictions have no effect — zero! none! — on child safety. In fact, they can actually backfire: Guys who’d been living peacefully in the same place for years are suddenly uprooted. Inevitably, some become homeless, destabilizing the people who need stability most.

And here we have a small group of people who just want to take a piss. Comfortably. In private. As a society, we’re treating them like some sort of violent criminal or vicious pervert. And yet when we look at the laws restricting gun use and the laws on sex offenders, we often find that they do little to no good. In fact, they sometimes make the problem worse. Allow me to put this simply: You can’t stop crazy. A killer is going to kill, regardless of what laws you pass. A pervert is going to be a pervert regardless of what laws you pass. And the dude who feels comfortable as a woman just wants to take a shit without an awkward conversation.