Rain + Fire Ants = Are You Kidding Me??

It’s been raining like crazy here in Florida for the past week or so. I know this is normal for the so called ‘rainy season’, but even the meteorologists say that this has been an unusually wet start to the month of August. I personally could give a rat’s ass if it rained 24/7, as my outdoor activities have been severely hampered due to my smashed left foot.

So as I’m laid up, I watch a lot of TV to help pass the time. Flipping around the channels, I stop on the local news. As I’m watching, up comes a segment about the current flooding that is occurring on the gulf coast. They key in on a reporter wearing a polo and khakis, standing in some poor souls yard. He’s knee deep in water, holding a microphone. I personally wouldn’t hold an electronic devise while standing in water, but that’s just me.

Due to a ton of rain, things have been kinda damp here...
Due to a ton of rain, things have been kinda damp here…

He then begins his spiel concerning the dangers of flood waters. Your basic things such as don’t drive in standing water, even if it looks like you can make it. Don’t wade through flood waters because they are a health hazard due to sewage back up. And this one was new to me, be on the lookout for floating alligators and snakes.

The reporter turns back to the flood waters as to hammer home his point, and this blob floats by. He then snaps back , looks straight into the camera and calmly states, “And don’t forget to look out for floating fire ant mounds.

See!! They float!! Shit!!
See!! They float!! Shit!!

OH HELL NO! Did he just say floating fire ant mounds???

I could handle the alligators and snakes. They’re big, bulky and noticeable. They also don’t hang around in biomasses.

But fire ants??

It’s bad enough these little bastards are all over the place and sting like hell, but now they’re MOBILE??? Floating all over the place?? Millions and billions of nasty, stinging ants.

This reminds me of something out of a B horror flick. Let’s call it ‘Floatingvenomousantmass’ or something like that. Huge numbers of pissed off fire ants (They’re pissed off ‘cuz they’re wet, you see) invade the suburbs and attack anything that gets in their path. Soon everyone is covered with nasty welts, screaming in horror….

Look...at....all...the...ANTS!!!
Look…at….all…the…ANTS!!!

But wait a sec.

This is real. This isn’t made up. This kinda shit could happen here.

Florida, I really think you’re starting to piss me off.

What Ever Happened To…Penny Candy?

Why is it that as we grow older, the more we wax nostalgic for our childhoods? Could it be because the older we get, the more we appreciate the innocence of our youth? Maybe it’s because we become more aware of our own mortality.

I don’t know why for sure, but when I reminisce about my childhood, certain things creep into my memory. And they always make me feel comforted and yet sad. I’m comforted in the thought that it brings me back to a simpler time, yet sad because the feelings these memories represent. I know that I’ll never get to experience these times again.

And one of those memories is that of the neighborhood five and dime, Ben Franklin.

This looks much like my childhood Ben Franklin, though it's probably been turned into a parking garage.
This looks much like my childhood Ben Franklin, though it’s probably been turned into a parking garage.

As a small child in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I used to walk the few blocks from my house, my small hand clutching as many pennies as it could hold, to the Ben Franklin. There, I would push the glass door with all the strength my small frame could muster. Once I made my way inside, I would move as quickly as my little legs would take me to that magical aisle. That one aisle that made my eyes open wide and filled my heart with joy.

Yes, the penny candy aisle.

Ahhh buckets and buckets of candy!!!!
Ahhh buckets and buckets of candy!!!!

With only my small fistful of pennies, I could pick out a bucket of candy. All kinds of candy.

There were containers of Tootsie Rolls, Bazooka Bubble Gum, Sixlets.

Still the best tasting bubble gum out there...
Still the best tasting bubble gum out there…

There were Dum Dum’s, Swedish Fish, Candy Necklaces.

I always wound up with a mixture of food coloring, sugar and spit on my neck...kinda gross, eh?
I always wound up with a mixture of food coloring, sugar and spit on my neck…kinda gross, eh?

Red Licorice Whips, Wax Lips, Kits Taffy.

Nik L Nips, Candy Cigarettes, Pixie Stix.

BBBats Taffy, Candy Dots, Satellite Wafers

You can still find many of these in small Old Fashioned Candy Stores. Cracker Barrel even has some. But it will never be the same.

For one, nothing will ever be sold for a penny again. Now it’s more like 3 for $1.00.

Nor will our children be allowed to walk the few blocks from home to the local Five and Dime. Our neighborhoods are no longer safe, and the Walton’s have decimated small businesses everywhere. Instead of walking to the park, playing ball or cops and robbers, children will be on their IPhones and Xboxes. Instead of heading down the block, they get their parents to take them to Walmart or order from Amazon.

We need to go back to this.
We need to go back to this.

I’m lucky. I grew up with penny candy. And all the memories associated with it.

And whenever I start feeling things around me are moving too fast, I lay down on the couch and close my eyes. There I methodically pick candy dots off their paper backing, and pop them in my mouth. And I go back to a simpler time. When penny candy ruled, and Facebook didn’t exist.     k

 

 

Let’s Write!!!

So I took a small break from writing. Alright, to some it may be considered small. Seems that some voice in my head said pack it in for a bit. All I know was it was definitely needed. Sometimes I get too wrapped up in things and spread myself thin.

But I feel better now. I’ve sorted some things out. I’m ready to start writing again. And I’m actually excited about it.

To all that supported The Ventilator in the past, thank you. And I hope you enjoy future posts as much, if not more, than past ones.

I guess it’s time to get back to work. Let’s do this.

Cat on a Wire

I love my cat. No surprise there, as most pet owners do develop an emotional attachment to their critters. All in all, my cat is a pretty damn good cat. Except that she loves to chew on cords.

I’ve never had a pet that has done this, so imagine my surprise when I discovered my first plugged in mass of chewed wire. Due to my keen sense of observation, I deduced it was the cat, as I could not fathom my wife crawling behind the nightstand to gnaw on my phone cord.

Compliments of my cat...
Compliments of my cat…

I then examined all the cords in the apartment and you guessed it, all chewed up.

The wife was certain that there was something wrong with the cat, as she had never heard of this before. And unfortunately for Precious, she doesn’t understand that dogs and cats react differently to forms of discipline. You can rub a dog’s nose in a puddle on your carpet and eventually he gets the message. Do the same to a cat and the only response you’re likely to get is a ‘WTF you do that for???’. Thus her idea of ‘punishment’ was not gonna cut it.

Nom, Nom , Nom....
Nom, Nom , Nom….

So I hopped on the internet and did me some investigating. And guess what? Cats chew the hell out of cords all the time. There’s nothing wrong with my cat. Go figure. Says they do it for various reasons. It could be that they’re bored. Or practicing hunting skills. Or maybe just want to play.

But for whatever reason they chew, here are 8 things you can do to protect your cords (And Fluffy).

  1. Find your cords and minimize their accessibility. No duh.
  2. Hide your cords. Another brilliant suggestion that I never would have considered.
  3. Tape all dangling cords and use cord covers.
  4. Make cords unappealing. Spray or wipe down cords with something unappealing to the cat. You can use hot sauce, lavender oil, citrus, vinegar paste, garlic, Vicks, dish soap, etc.. You will have to re-apply these periodically. Also avoid using salt, because cats love salt. Now we’re getting somewhere.
  5. Disguise cords with tape. Both foil and double sided will do the trick. Cats hate sticky stuff.
  6. Try a loud noise or rapid action to distract the cat. But you need to catch them in the act or you’ll get the ‘WTF’ cat look described earlier.
  7. Try distraction. A piece of carpet, a cardboard box, or a chewy dog toy. Also leave plenty of cat toys around. This might help if Fluffy’s just bored and needs some entertainment. I keep a piece of rope lying around.
  8. Buy some cat grass. Grow a little planter specifically for your cat because many cats feel the need to chew on grass. And if there’s no grass around, they look for the next best thing, which are cords.

Well there you have it. The fruits of my research. While I doubt only one solitary action is going to stop your little fur ball from destroying your cords, a combination of several will probably do the trick. I think I’m going to try 1, 4, 5, and 8.

And if you continue to see pictures of Precious on my wife’s Facebook page, you know it worked. If she mysteriously disappears from them….welllll, Precious probably electrocuted her way through all nine lives. Stupid cat. k

 

I Need to Re-Charge, and That’s OK

Today was my day off. I had an appointment and had to run some errands, but other than that, the day was mine. So I took care of what I needed to, and went back home.

Once I returned to my apartment, all my big plans for the day fell to the wayside. For some reason, I’ve been incredibly anxious lately, and it hit me right between the eyes when I finally made it home. So no updates on my LinkedIn profile or to The Ventilator. No power cramming on the half a dozen courses and webinars I’m working on. No networking. No writing.

My phone was still off from my earlier appointment and I never turned it back on. I locked the door, even though it was a beautiful day outside. And I curled up on the couch and slept.

I honestly can not explain why, but this is so true for me.
I honestly can not explain why, but this is so true for me.

I needed to ‘de-sensitize’.

Why am I telling you this? Why should you care?

Because everyone knows someone who has day’s like these. Or maybe they have them. And sometimes we don’t understand what’s going on.

Yup. For me the need to re-charge is as essential as water.
Yup. For me the need to re-charge is as essential as water.

All I know is I’ve been on sensory overload the past few months and now I’m starting to shut down. I’m not angry. I’m not depressed. And I don’t hate people. I just need a massive re-charge. And unfortunately for me, this doesn’t happen overnight. It would probably wouldn’t hurt to re-evaluate my priorities, also.

These are all parts of my ‘introversion’. If this was happening a year ago, I would of ran to my doctor and insisted she upped my meds, because something was seriously wrong with me. But now I know that there’s nothing wrong with me. I just need to learn the skills, that are suited for me, to deal with things.

And I’m working on that. But I’m going to do it my way, at my own pace. I will continue to research the subject. And I will read everything I can get my hands on.

It may take me a bit to get ‘back on track’. But that’s ok by me. So if I seem to disappear for a bit, no worries. It’s just my need to get back my energy. No need to panic, I assure you. I don’t think anyone’s ever died from ‘introversion’.

And if you know of anyone who’s like this, you see that there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with them. Not…a…damn…thing. You just need to be patient.

Quote1_IntrovertExtrovert1

 

I’m currently reading ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Just Can’t Stop Talking’ by Susan Cain. It’s opened my eyes to many things, and if the subject interest’s you, I would highly recommend it.

So until next time, I’m off to…rest, relax, re-charge.   k

 

The Proper Usage of the Motorized Shopping Cart

It’s time to address the ‘Great Motorized Shopping Cart’ debate. I’m very passionate on this subject, and I’m certain that I will piss a few people off regarding my opinion on their proper usage. I don’t care. Chances are, if you become upset over what I write, you are probably one of the ‘offenders’.

Motorized shopping carts were made and implemented in stores to assist people with disabilities in their shopping. They help maintain a certain amount of independence for these people, allowing them to do things they otherwise would need someone to do for them. This would include people with injuries and the elderly.

Motorized Shopping Carts ready for duty, sir!!!
Motorized Shopping Carts ready for duty, sir!!!

It does not include fat people. Fat. Lazy. People.

Yes, there are people who are overweight due to medical issues. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess maybe 1 out of 10 people fall into this category. I’m not talking about them.

I’m talking about the ones who if they did any exercise like, let’s say…pushing a grocery cart, wouldn’t need that handicapped sticker on their minivan.

I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m heartless and cruel. Maybe I am.

But I get to watch these people every day I work. And I have heard the painful wails of a motorized cart as it tries to move forward with a load meant for a forklift. And I have listened to these same people cuss out the cart, store, and anyone within ear shot. “This cart is a piece of shit!” they scream. No. No it’s not. You’re fat. And you’re lazy. And you exceed the load limit. Period.

I can still hear it's cries for mercy.
I can still hear it’s cries for mercy.

Today I saw a woman, who I kid you not, had to be pushing close to 400 pounds. She was weaving in and out of men’s wear while eating a bag of shredded cheese. She couldn’t even go grocery shopping without stuffing her face. You do not have a disease. You have no self-control and you’re fat.

And while you’re busy abusing all these carts, chowin’ down on cheese…and deli food… and chips… and god knows what else, there are elderly people waiting their turn for a cart. It’s not like the store has an unlimited supply of these carts lying around. If I had my way, fat people would not be allowed to use them. They would have to actually burn some calories to do their shopping, and maybe it might help with their weight issue.

Now this is an idea I can get behind.
Now this is an idea I can get behind.

I don’t know. Just thought I’d throw it out there.   k

Is That For Real??? Pet Edition

The internet is a wonderful thing. It’s also incredibly distracting. Don’t deny it, we’ve all been there.

I was ‘suppose’ to be watching a webinar (which I still need to do…oops!) and found myself Googling ‘stupid products’. I don’t know why. It just sounded more interesting than a course on ‘Providing Great Content.’

I found a boat load of stuff that made me go “Huh???”, so I had to break it up into catagories. Figured you might enjoy a few of these. Tonight we’ll check out pet products. These are in no particular order, as they are all equally ridiculous.

For those of you whom are 'tight' with your goldfish and can't bear to be apart...
For those of you who are ‘tight’ with your goldfish and can’t bear to be apart…
Gotta have the dog and cat stroller too....
Gotta have the dog and cat stroller too….That dog looks suspiciously like Puppet…….
Cat Wigs!!! (I would probably buy this...)
Cat Wigs!!! (I would probably buy this…)
I can only assume that this is the canine version of the blow up doll....
I can only assume that this is the canine version of the blow up doll….need to get one for Mongo…;)
Because carrying a fishbowl around can get heavy and pulling is sooo much easier when your walking your koi....
Because carrying a fishbowl around can get heavy and pulling is sooo much easier when your walking your koi….
Aren't these little babies fashionable??? And look!! They come in pink AND blue!!!
Aren’t these little babies fashionable??? And look!! They come in pink AND blue!!!
My cat hates collars, so there's going to be no purring involved, thus no lights.
My cat hates collars, so there’s going to be no purring involved, thus no lights.
And this way FiFi can sit and eat with you at the table!!
And this way FiFi can sit and eat with you at the table!!
Let's not forget to teach Nemo how to play soccer!!
Let’s not forget to teach Nemo how to play soccer!!
Don't forget to paint your little darlings nails before you take them out in their stroller...I wouldn't recommend using this on the fish...
Don’t forget to paint your little darlings nails before you take them out in their stroller…I wouldn’t recommend using this on the fish…
I'll admit, I would so buy this. And Precious would look just as thrilled as this cat does....good times!
I’ll admit, I would so buy this. And Precious would look just as thrilled as this cat does….good times!

 

And last, but not least don't forget to pick up a treat that FiFi can sit at the table and eat with you after her pedicure!
And last, but not least, don’t forget to pick up a treat that FiFi can sit at the table and eat with you after her pedicure!

I hope you enjoyed my little sidetrack investigation as much as I did. I’m a terrible procrastinator, so I’m sure this won’t be the last time that I surf up some internet goodies.

I suppose I best go watch my webinar…or I can just paint Precious’s nails and take her out for a stroll…minus the collar.   k

Should I Waste My Money? Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotics

Ah, Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotic Insert’s! We’ve all seen the commercials. All sorts of blue collar workers dancing around with happy feet because they have discovered the wonder that is a custom fit insert.

I was skeptical. Seriously, what could this little insert do to improve an eight hour day, pounding the floor on my aching feet? I’ve tried the ‘cheaper’ versions. They feel cushy enough, but as far as any noticeable relief…not so much.

And these ‘cheap’ ones cost anywhere from $10 to $20 bucks a pop. Why on Earth would I fork over $50 dollars on the remote chance that maybe, just maybe, these ‘custom fit orthotics’ might actually do something?

Now I have absolutely no problem dropping on average $125 on a good pair of athletic shoes. And I have tried damn near every brand out there. Some work better than others, but in general they all performed the same. And after a long day at work, my body hurt. Plain and simple.

I figured that I’d just have to deal with it. I mean, I’m no spring chicken. And I take horrible care of my body. It only makes sense that things are going to start deteriorating. Yes, I made my bed and in it I shall lay.

So I plugged along. And bitched and moaned every night when I got home.

Until about a week ago. I was out shopping and actually stood on one of those machines and had my foot ‘mapped’. Found out I was a CF410, whatever that means. And as I stood there in my stocking feet, I thought “WTF? You’ll spend $125 on a pair of shoes, why not just go ahead and fork over the $50 and at least give these suckers a try.”

Ah!!! The magic Dr.Scholl's foot mapping machine!!!
Ah!!! The magic Dr.Scholl’s foot mapping machine!!!

 

And I flipped over the packaging, and lo and behold, they’re guaranteed. Score.

So I bought them. And do you know what?

The sons of bitches worked. I kid you not. Noticed a difference on day one. How crazy is that?

I’ve had them for going on two weeks and my feet and legs don’t ache anywhere like they used to. My back feels fifty times better. And when I’m falling asleep at night, my legs aren’t near as restless. Yup, I’m shocked. Pleasantly shocked.

So in answer to the question ‘Should I Waste My Money?’, it all depends. Are you on your feet all day? Do you ache when you get home? Do you not want to ache when you get home? Then yes, I would definitely go out and pick up a pair. Will they have you hopping around and dancing? I doubt it. But your legs, feet, and back will definitely notice the difference. And with the guarantee, you’ve got nothing to lose.

In my opinion, Dr. Scholl’s Custom Fit Orthotics get $$$$ out of a possible $$$$$. I would of gave them a five, but they didn’t make me dance….:(   k

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

By now many of you have probably heard of the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’. If not, let me enlighten you about yet another of mankinds coffin nails in Mother Earth.

The ‘Garbage Patch’ is literally a swirling mass of plastic bags, bottles, and other assorted debris floating around in the Pacific. And now the Atlantic has also given birth to it’s own Lil’ Patch.

A little example of a portion of the 'Garbage Patch'.
An example of a portion of the ‘Garbage Patch’.

Now if it was just a bunch of trash floating happily across the surface of the ocean, one would think we could just go out there and skim the sucker up. That would be awesome. Problem solved.

Butttttt…It’s not that simple. The Garbage Patch is like its own little garbage universe. Some of it’s on the surface, some is below. Some patches are big, others are smaller. Cumulatively, it has been estimated as the size of Texas. Or even larger.

And it’s mostly plastic. And plastic isn’t biodegradable. Therefore it will float in the ocean forever. It will photodegrade when exposed to sunlight, but that just makes it worse. It’s still there. Forever. In itty bitty pieces.

And that wreaks havoc on marine life. Birds that scour the oceans surface for fish eggs to feed their young mistake the small plastic for food. Sea turtles ingest plastic bags because the think they’re jellyfish.

These are floating everywhere. And they're killing our oceans.
These are floating everywhere. And they’re killing our oceans.

Photodegradation has another side effect. It begins to leach out the chemicals of the plastics into the water. Chemicals like BPA.

It’s estimated that 80% of the garbage comes from land, much of it is consumer products. That’s right. We are the cause of this mess, and we need to get our shit together.

We are a society of convenience. It’s easier and more convenient to purchase water in plastic bottles. The same bottles that we are polluting our oceans with. How stupid is that?

We're such worthless slobs.
We’re such worthless slobs.

We need to start reusing and recycling. We need to start paying attention to what we are doing to this planet. We need to stop being lazy, selfish pigs. Because time is running out.   k

 

What Ever Happened To…Plain, Old, Fast Food Shakes?

I love shakes. Any size, any flavor. Anything resembling a frozen dairy treat, and this girls in.

In some ways, I’m a connoisseur of all that is ice cream. I love it by the container, by the cone, embedded upon a stick. To me it’s pure joy.

So you would think that I would be okay with the trend that the fast food chains have adopted regarding my favorite little treat. You know what I’m talking about. The need to make their drinks fancy and ‘Old Fashioned’.

So instead of using a ‘prefabricated’ flavored shake mix that is dispensed from a refrigerated unit into a cup, we now make them the ‘Old Fashioned’ way.

Which is dispensing ‘prefabricated’ ice cream mix into a blender, adding flavoring and combining the two. We then transfer the concoction to a fancy clear plastic container. Then we add whipped cream and a cherry. And then we charge you a boatload more money, because it’s well…’Old Fashioned’.

Oh, yeah. They give you a fancy lid and a long handled spoon, too.

McDonalds-Chocolate-Banana-Shake-004

Two fine examples of the 'Old Fashioned' shake. Notice the fancy lid.
Two fine examples of ‘Old Fashioned’ shakes. Notice the fancy lid.

I was fine with the original shakes. To me they were awesome. Went perfectly with my Big Mac or Whopper. I didn’t need no stinking cherry. Or whipped cream for that matter. Just give me a straw, and I was golden.

And, if by chance, I wanted an ‘Old Fashioned’ shake, I would hit up DQ, or Baskin Robbins.

These do look pretty yummy...but that's why I hit DQ up. They rock when it comes to ice cream.
These do look pretty yummy…but that’s why I hit DQ up. They rock when it comes to ice cream.

I wish they would of left well enough alone. I don’t want to wait 10 minutes while you ‘craft’ me a shake.  Hell, my foods gonna get cold. And I could get a 20 piece order of nuggets for the same price.

Just pop open the spigot and let the ‘prefabricated’ goodness flow. It was faster, cheaper, and complimented my Quarter Pounder with cheese quite nicely. Slightly grainy with just the right amount of chocolate flavor.

Until then, make it a large Coke.    k