Cars, Chess & Children

The Lead/Theme FloatFive upcoming songs on iTunes DJ:

  1. Tikva- Subliminal & The Shadow
  2. Into The Mystic– Van Morrison
  3. Hallelujah– Leonard Cohen
  4. Keep Hope Alive– Crystal Method
  5. Let Me Hear You Scream- Ozzy Osbourne

Late Sunday afternoon has arrived and I am alone with my thoughts and preparing to immerse myself in my work. This is not a drive-by or minor flirtation but something far more intense- complete disengagement with everything else so that I can fully engage here. Most of the time I haven’t any concerns with multitasking and easily move back and forth between projects but this is different. This requires all of my concentration and frankly I am irritated by it. Irritated because it is taking much longer to complete it than it should which is precisely why I am approaching it in this manner.

This post is nothing more than part of my preparation. The writing helps me clear my head so that I can bring the proper focus to the task. Because it has been such a bear I made a point to figure out why I am having trouble with it. The answer is not because I am distracted by social media, children or anything else. Rather it is because it irritates me. One might ask why I can’t just ignore the irritation and I would say that you ask an excellent question. The distinction here is simple- this is something highly unusual and tied into a hot button for me. You know, we all have things that just set us off and this is one of them. Anyway, it will be completed ahead of schedule and it will be on to the next thing.

There is a light flashing on my car indicating that some work needs to be done. It is probably some routine maintenance and given time and materials something that I might very well be able to do myself. However time is not something that I have to use in this manner which means that I am going to have to pay someone else to do this.  Per the rules of life this expenditure doesn’t come on my schedule so the money that is allocated here is coming at the wrong time. And should it require something more serious…well than I’ll grit my teeth and thank the universe for placing another stumbling block in my way. And then I’ll rattle off some set of curses and promise to kick the universe in the balls for no other reason than because. Watch out universe, I wear a size 12 boot.

Alternatively universe you can spare yourself some pain by talking to Ford, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Lexus and others about providing a new car for me. C’mon, you know that you want to do it. It is far less painful than taking a boot to the head and I am much more fun to deal with when I am smiling. Please…. 😀

Speaking of smiles I taught my son how to play Chess and the two of us have been having a fantastic time playing together. He is old enough for me not to let him win every time, in fact I won’t let him win. I don’t go all out but I don’t take it easy either. It is a fantastic game for learning skills that will serve him well all his life. He has looked at me more than once and smiled broadly as he told me how he thinks that I have gotten smarter. That made me smile too- the boychik is learning that he doesn’t know all of my tricks.

Anyway, the game really helps you to focus on how what you do now can impact the future. And it reminds you that you must pay attention to the front, back, side and diagonal too. I really look forward to the day when he finally beats me. I have no misconceptions that kid has got my number and one day he’ll figure out how to ring it.

Five more songs on iTunes DJ:

  1. King Without A Crown– Matisyahu
  2. Love Reign O’er Me– The Who
  3. The Magnificent Seven– Elmer Bernstein
  4. Molly Malone– The Dubliners
  5. By The Way– Red Hot Chili Peppers

Bringing down the Cone of Silence now- back later.

My First Dream Car

Why can’t I drive the Mach V? I mean look at that car. It is awesome. Take a glance at the abridged version of the specs: 
The hub of the Mach 5’s steering
wheel features seven lettered buttons, each of which activates a customized accessory designed by Pops Racer.
Control A: “Releases powerful jacks to boost the car so that Sparky, our mechanic, can quickly make any necessary repairs or adjustments.” Although designed for this practical function, the auto jacks have also been used to “leap” the car short distances at high speeds, as a wedge to prevent the car from toppling over a waterfall, as an alternative braking systems, and as a tool to crush cars in a car-wrestling match.
Control B: Sprouts special grip tires for traction over any kind of terrain. At the same time, 5,000 horsepower is distributed equally to each wheel by auxiliary engines.” Definition of “any kind of terrain”: firm, icy, or unsteady ground; ocean floor; vertical mountainsides.
Control C: “For use traveling over heavily wooded terrain. Powerful rotary saws protrude from the front of the Mach 5 to slash and cut any and all obstacles.” The rotary saws have also been used as a means of self-defense.
Control D: “Releases a powerful deflector which seals the cockpit into an air-conditioned, bullet- and crash-proof, and water-tight chamber. Inside it, I am completely isolated and shielded.” The deflector also protects against sleeping gas.
Control E: “The control for special illumination which can be traversed singly or in tandem, and which enables me to see much farther and more clearly than with ordinary headlights. It’s invaluable in some weird and dangerous places that I race the Mach 5.” When used with the “night shades” attached to Speed’s helmet, his vision is enhanced with infrared light.
Control F: “Used when the Mach 5 is under water. First, the cockpit is supplied with oxygen. Then, a periscope is raised to scan the surface of the water. Everything that is seen is relayed down to me by television.” The 100-pound auxiliary supply of oxygen is enough to last for thirty minutes.
Control G: “Releases a homing robot from the front of the car. The homing robot can carry pictures or tape recorded messages to whomever or whenever I want to send them.” The robot also can carry handwritten messages, X-ray film, rope, and small Egyptian statues, and it has been used as a means of defense. The bird-like device is operated by a built-in remote control within the cockpit. A separate button sends the robot “home.”

Automobile Repairs- Your Mechanic & You

Many years ago I remember telling the Shmata Queen about the similarities between cars and women. It was one of those obnoxious comparisons in which you suggest that both are expensive hobbies, but at least the car doesn’t talk back.

Some of you are probably waiting for the punch line where I tell you about how she literally punched me. Sorry to disappoint you, but The Shmata Queen was and is so madly in love with me that it was all she could do not to kiss me. Did I tell you that one of the many attributes she finds so very attractive is my enormous and incomparable humility..

Hee hee. I can’t stop laughing. When she reads this I am going to need to be certain to be extra wary, that woman carries an enormous black purse and let me assure you, it hurts to be belted with it.

Anyhoo, the joyous man that you all know as moi, Jack has a wry grin upon his face. You see my car decided to start smoking yesterday and sadly it wasn’t a good cigar. So off we went to see the wonderful wizard of auto repairs where we received a laundry list of items that needed to be attended to.

My dear beloved Honda is 9 years old and has 98,760 miles give or take a few on it. Up to now I haven’t had to do much other than change a few tires and a little brake work. But something told me that our relationship was going to change a bit this time around.

The damn radiator gave up on me. It is cracked. And because it can’t just be one thing to deal with there were a number of others that demand attention. So I reviewed the list and gave approval to hook up a direct line between my bank account and the mechanic.

And now I am sitting here watching the IV, kind of bittersweet to see all those dollars flowing through that clear plastic. I had such hopes and dreams for it all.

On a more serious note, I am very familiar with my mechanic. I have been taking my cars to him for years now and they have always treated me fairly which is why I still see them. That level of trust is very important. I know enough about cars to understand what is important and what isn’t.

That is not to say that you can’t B.S. me, but it is not going to be easy. And what I appreciate about these guys is that they haven’t ever tried to do so. They always give me a list of what is necessary and what is recommended.

Still, it hurts to have to drain my bank account like this. I don’t think that I have ever been able to buy a car on my terms. It always has come at a point in time when I couldn’t stomach pouring more cash into whatever vehicle I was dealing with at that time.

One of these days I’d like to change that. I’ll add that to my list. In the meantime I have to go find my helmet because I have this sneaking suspicion that I am in danger of getting bonked in the head. Hee hee, I can just hear her now. 😉

You Have Been Reported to The Parking Bureau

I have been driving for about 25 years now. During that time I have driven thousands of miles throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Israel. Countless hours of driving, not to mention those that I have logged as a passenger.

After all of that time behind the wheel I feel comfortable saying that I agree that society is changing and that courtesy is something that is apparently seen as being optional. Far too often the road is filled with people who do not signal, tailgate, make crazy lane changes and engage in all sorts of other driving buffoonery.

But what has really gotten my goat lately are those jackasses who think that the lines that denote parking spaces are optional, a suggestion of where they might park their car. I know, some of you mugs will claim that you were forced to park like that because of the way that other cars parked.

There is some truth to that. It only takes one car to set off a chain reaction of bad parking jobs. I’ll grant that occasionally it is a complete accident.

But not always. Sometimes the person does so intentionally, like the moron with the Texas plates who tried to protect their Mercedes by taking up two spaces. When I see that it reminds me that when I am king I am going to create The Ministry of Parking.

The Ministry of Parking or the Parking Bureau will punish these miscreants. There will be fines and all sorts of other nifty consequences. But since it is unlikely that I am going to made king any time soon I have a Plan B.

Plan B is to purchase a tow truck so that when you make it impossible for us to park we can take action. Take up two spaces and you’ll be towed. Park crookedly and you’ll be towed. Cut me off and you’ll be towed.

Kind of reminds me of a scene from Animal House. I’ll include the main selection, but the part I am referring to is Bluto reading off the list of retribution. One of my favorite sections of the movie.

D-Day: War’s over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
Bluto: Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he’s rolling.
Bluto: And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough…
[thinks hard]
Bluto: the tough get goin’! Who’s with me? Let’s go!
[runs out, alone; then returns]
Bluto: What the fuck happened to the Delta I used to know? Where’s the spirit? Where’s the guts, huh? This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you’re gonna let it be the worst. “Ooh, we’re afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble.” Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I’m not gonna take this. Wormer, he’s a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer…
Otter: Dead! Bluto’s right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.
Bluto: We’re just the guys to do it.
D-Day: Let’s do it.
Bluto: Let’s do it!

Sigh, I suppose that I’ll have to leave this all as a dream for now.

I Was Robbed Again

It is a little more than three years since I wrote Daddy, They Have Mommy’s Purse. It is the story of how some people stole money from my family and robbed my son of some of his childhood innocence.

The reason I bring it up is because today I found out that I am again the victim of robbery. There is nothing like being violated to brighten your day and make you smile. I suppose that I should tell you what happened, at least to the extent that I can.

This particular story involves my car, but fortunately very little money. Not unlike many people I have a small compartment that I use to hold change. It is generally filled with an assortment of nickels, dimes and quarters that I use when needed to fill parking meters or whatever.

I usually make a point of filling it whenever I notice my pants pockets starting to hang six inches lower than normal. If when I walk I sound like a cat with a bell around its neck I know it is time to dump some change into the drawer.

So this afternoon I opened the compartment and was prepared to lose some silver when I noticed that Old Mother Hubbard’s cup board was bare. Initially I figured that a member of the family had decided that they had need of the change and had forgotten to mention that they had taken it out.

Unfortunately this was not the case. Someone else is responsible for stealing my three bucks or so in change. Someone else decided that it was ok for them to help themselves to my possessions. I am not angry about the amount that was stolen, it is not going to make or break me.

It is the principle of the matter. It is knowing that someone was in my car rummaging through my possessions and that they felt comfortable enough to take what was not theirs to remove.

So I have been trying to determine when it happened. I am trying to figure out if I lost the change to an unscrupulous parking valet or if someone else managed to enter my car and leave with their ill gotten gains.

I tend to think that it was a valet, but I can’t say for certain. Actually I hope that it was a valet because in the grand scheme of things it bothers me less than thinking someone else was in my car. I hope that they really needed the money. I hope that somehow it made a difference in someone’s life.

It is goofy, but it makes me feel better to see it that way. Because the other side makes me pretty angry. The other side makes me want to take my size 12 boot and apply it to their behind.

In the end it may have been an insignificant amount of money, but their actions impacted more than them. In spite of my attempt to keep this tale from reaching little ears I was overheard and forced to share the story. And now that much more of my children’s innocence has been taken.

Don’t ever forget that one grain of sand may be inconsequential, but a billion make a desert. The little things add up.