Well, I tried. I really tried. I tried to force myself to watch the Republican National Convention on TV, but I just couldn't stand it. I'd like to be able to listen to the other side make a rational case for their ideas. I don't think my side has a monopoly on good ideas. But I just couldn't stand it. The constant attacks on the President, using false pretenses (the whole "we built it" thing) and tired old assertions of dogma without any actual facts to back it up made me feel like I was losing IQ points by the minute. So I turned off the TV and Fluffy and I went for a walk.
When we got back, we decided to put on some more intelligent TV: Trailer Park Boys. We just found this series on Netflix, and it is so funny, my sides hurt from laughing just about every time I watch it. There are 55 episodes, and we just finished #38. The comedy series is a mockumentary about a group of recidivist petty criminals living in a trailer park in Nova Scotia, and trying to get ahead and stay out of jail. It's very well-written, but definitely for mature audiences.
So, in other news, we have a new cat here in our household. See, we had one dropped off last September, and she's just fine, but she's not a people-loving cat. She hides from my kids, and my youngest son was heart-broken that she wouldn't let him pet her. But the cool thing was that we discovered the boys are not allergic to cats as we had originally thought. So Monday, we visited the Lewisville Animal Shelter, and he picked out a young male kitten to adopt - very similar in color to Becky Skittles, but much more outgoing and playful.
He hasn't settled on a name for this cat yet, but he's threatened to name it "Trevor" - after one of the characters on Trailer Park Boys. Anyhow, he's a little cuddlebug. The kitten laid on my lap and purred through two episodes tonight. Our blue heeler mix, Hank, has met the kitten, and tried to get all up in his grill. The kitten didn't react well to that and actually hissed and clawed at me trying to get away from the dog. We had to deal with that problem tonight by keeping them separated, and getting the nail clippers after the kitten so he won't hurt anyone with those man-shredding needle claws. Becky Skittles has not yet met her new little brother. I've never had more than one cat before, so I'm not sure how that's going to go. I just really hope we can have all the animals get along without any of them having to go to the vet and get stitched up.
Now and then, when work gets really stressful, I start longing for the simplicity of manual labor. Last week it got that way due to some really screwed up data encoding issues I was trying to get fixed in a software platform I use. I had worked hard to even get the original programmer to acknowledge the problem, then we went back and forth with bugs in the fix, then had a bit of a blow up on Saturday when it tested fine on his end but wouldn't work for our client. Both of us had been working this way too many hours non-billable, and were ready to stab each other. So Sunday, I wore myself out doing yard work. I then got the sick hassle of getting 5 minutes of edging/trimming done, followed by 10 minutes of trying to fix the piece of shit trimmer head where the trimmer cord kept breaking off inside the head. You just trade one damned hassle for another sometimes. So there I am with a pocket knife, needle files, a rag, and a big jar of vaseline, sitting on my front sidewalk cussing at this brand new Troybilt 4-cycle gasoline trimmer that I bought because my last gas trimmer was a piece of shit, and my electric one's battery wouldn't last 5 minutes. At the point where I was just about done edging my front sidewalk - well, 8 inches from being done, the damned cord broke off again. Screw it, I was done.
So, anyhow, this new trimmer has a chainsaw attachment that goes to it, and my elm tree in the front yard was way overdue for a haircut, so my oldest son and I got after it. The chainsaw attachment works much better than the trimmer head, and I only had one 20 minute stint of trying to get the stupid chain back on the rail when it came off. This thing basically ends up being a chainsaw on the end of a 10 foot pole, which you then operate while standing on top of a ladder. That did me in. My upper body strength is not what it used to be, and even that was never that great. My arms, shoulders, and back hurt like hell today, and even as I type this, it's hard to hold my arms up to the keyboard.
But I've got the manual labor thing out of my system for awhile, and I'm ready to go write computer programs again. Unfortunately, we found out from Waste Management that I've got to cut all the trimmings into 4-foot sections and bundle them before the garbage truck will haul it off. Sounds like SO much fun.
Links and Stuff
A Republican Party platform I can mostly agree with.
Now you can say that Congress is literally broken. As in, the damned building could fall apart if the demagogues won't appropriate the money for repairs.
Second West Nile death in Denton County - another elderly person with underlying health problems. Denton County Health Department Director Bing Burton mentioned that a third person had contracted WNV in Denton County, but died in another state after visiting here.
Sounds like New York City police need some extra firearms training.
Quote of the day:
"I spent a lot of money on those florescent light bulbs thinking I was going to save a huge about of money. It did not seem to make a difference in my light bill - I usually have the lights off anyway." - John Gorena, Lewisville City Councilman - going on about "sustainability" and how it's part of an insidious UN plot to undermine America and such.
(Just let that sink in for a moment… Emphasis ours.)
New Schools, New Lines
As we mentioned last night, the City of Lewisville approved aerial pesticide spraying. (Fluffy is not too happy about that, and you should hear my oldest with his rant about it.) Denton opted out of spraying, but for Lewisville and Flower Mound, it will be Thursday and Friday nights - from 9 p.m to 3 a.m. The Health Department says they won't spray over any high school football games that may be going on.
U.S. Soldiers turn terrorist.
Michael Williams appointed Commissioner of Education. You've got to be kidding me. I guess if anyone can find a way to take a screwed up agency and make it worse, it will be Michael Williams - formerly chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. Lame.
The real Republican agenda on voting: Hope (or ensure) that the blacks and Latinos don't show up.
Lewisville got a new alarm monitoring center, employing 26 people so far.
Some people have to ruin the reputation of a legitimate profession. It's frustrating, since Fluffy is a licensed massage therapist, and there are people out there who think the unsavory side of it is the norm. Dare you to get on her table and make that kind of proposition; you will get hurt.
A federal court struck down Texas' overtly discriminatory redistricting plan.
At the Republican National Convention, a delegate from Puerto Rico went to the podium to give her delegation's report, and was shouted down with chants of "USA! USA!", which were only stopped after Chairman Reince Priebus gaveled it to a stop. Keep it classy, xenophobic tea party nut jobs.
Oh - one last thing: Shout-out to Dianne Solis of the Dallas Morning News for mentioning our Ski Mount Lewisville T-shirts on her blog. You can order them here for only $15. All the cool kids are wearing them - seriously. You don't want to be left out, do you?