Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Home Owner Epiphany #1 : Painting

As of today we are homeowners. Woohoo! We're also still renters until the middle or end of November so that works out well for giving us time to move gradually.

Prior to the big move-in we are doing some upgrades that are easier when there isn't any furniture in the way. Today, our first day, we tackled some painting.

They tell us that paint is the cheapest way to dramatically change the look of any room. They further tell us that doing it yourself will save literally thousands of dollars of labor.

Are you with me so far?

Our new home has white walls and neutral / whitish carpet. We decided to paint the entire interior a sandy / tan/ khaki color (except the ceilings since the whole place is less than 4 years old and the ceiling paint looks satisfactory to good).

One room down and we're liking the white walls a lot better.

It's not so much that we're not up for the work. We did really well with the whole idea of "prep like heck and then painting is a breeze concept" except that painting is not exactly a breeze. And prepping is time consuming. We discovered that there is a reason that house painters get paid a lot of money. They earn it!

Now I'm a guy so I instantly think: well, if I had all state of the art painting tools and fancy tapes and articulated ladders then I would be able to whip out a professional job in no time.

Reality comes in the form of realizing that I cannot possibly buy the state of the art painting supplies. We're talking thousands of dollars of tools and equipment. So we buy less expensive and therefore less efficient equipment.

Reality also slaps us upside the head in the form of: whipping out a professional job in no time is exactly what professionals do. And how do you become a professional? You paint a lot of freaking rooms. To other people's standards. On other people's schedules.

After mutual agreement we've decided to paint the two upstairs bedrooms and the upstairs bathroom. The money we save on paint will go toward replacing the light fixture and mirror in the newly painted bathroom and replacing our dining room chandelier.

We're both all for the DIY thing but one room at a time is more our speed. We have just under two weeks to get our shit together for the movers and that is going to take a lot of time also.

All this bitching aside, we're super happy to own a home. And doing projects together has been a productive and pleasant way to spend time together. It's nice to know that we make a good team.

Photo:: Ned Matura,

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Sweet Sounds of Horror

Do you like audiobooks or spoken word story telling? Do you like horror fiction?

Would you like to download short audio fiction cost-free and guilt-free?

Go to

As with all horror genre stories, some are creepy and some are just icky but most are pretty great and all are well presented.

For you sci-fi fans their main site is

Really, check’em out.

If for no other reason than because it’s the Halloween season.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

‘Tis the Season

Call it lack of sleep. Blame it on it being my Friday.

Perhaps it’s because I have a lot on my plate, what with closing on the house next week and getting read to move.

What ever the case, today on the radio – broadcast city wide – I gave out a locate for some females in a vehicle smoking marijuanica.

Yes, like Adam Sandler said, marijuanica.

And the joy of saying something incredibly stupid in the beginning of a broadcast is that you just have to suck it up, correct yourself, then keep talking and refrain from laughing, swearing, or crying until after the transmission is complete.

It could have been worse though. Many years ago I sent an officer to a motor vehicle accident involving a Ford Escort versus a Suzuki Grand Viagra. A coworker instantly suggested that the Suzuki came standard with a lift kit.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The new 'do

I have reverted (regressed) to the black template.

Frankly I like it better.

It's not like the blander, gray template attracted any more readers.

I'd like to think it was all about the writing but, to steal a line from the movie Hardware, I'll consider the design a success if a new reader's reaction is:
"It's horrible... I love it... what is it?"
Then I'll let my words drag them further into this Panic Blog thing.

To the loyal readers, and if you are reading this far I consider you one of the loyal ones,
thank you. I wouldn't feel comfortable writing all of this in public without the supporters and critics who drop by from time to time and put their two cents in.

Get ready because, to quote the band Frisbie,
all I have is one desire, let's take this shit much higher
because at the end of the day
it's about you, yeah

Just when I thought I'd heard everything...

from the lovely Associated Press, courtesy of the South Bend Tribune
and reason #246 why I would rather be a dispatcher than a cop:

Swarm of Fleas Attack Police Officers

Oct 19 04:51 PM US/Eastern

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Four officers investigating a burglary were attacked, not by a fleeing burglar, but a swarm of fleas in a filth-ridden vacant house.

The tiny, biting attackers were so overwhelming that the South Bend patrolmen had to be decontaminated and ended up being sent home early from their shifts.

"They were all over the place—in our socks and even in our shorts. It was disgusting," said Cpl. Ken Stuart.

To avoid infesting their squad cars, the police station or relatives, Stuart, Cpl. Chris Slager and Patrolman Paul Strabavy endured a lengthy flea decontamination process.

A van took them back to the station, where the men showered with flea/lice shampoo and soap. A wife of one of the officers brought them spare clothes.

As many as seven officers helped with the decontamination on Sunday.

"The guys were very angry. The last thing they wanted to deal with was fleas," said Sgt. Chuck Stokes. "That killed the whole shift."

Stokes said the house's tenants had recently been evicted, but returned periodically to feed a dog tied up in the backyard and allowed it to run around inside the garbage-filled house.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I know crazy. Professional dog folks – they crazy

I've been really busy lately with the house buying thing (we might be closing any day now) but I have a few seconds for a rant about crazy ass dog people.

Don't get be wrong, I'm a dog person. I was not born into it but my wife is a dog person and I converted when I got married. I even promised to raise our children as dog people.

It's not the traditional dog people I have a problem with. But as with any movement it's the ultra-fundamentalists which screw everything up for everyone.

Recently my mother in law shopped online for reputable dog breeders so that she could replace her two beloved and relatively recently departed pets. She found one in California who was willing to sell her a show-quality miniature schnauzer for a huge bag full of money. You'd think that would be the end of it, right?


There was a long interview process and she would have had to agree to show the dog a certain number of times and not get the dog fixed and do a trillion and one other little things. In order to get a dog from a responsible breeder and not a puppy mill, she agreed to all of this.

Then the breeder in question got wind of the fact that my mother in law was looking for a second dog who wasn’t from that breeder. That's when the dog shit hit the fan and word went out on the internet that my mother in law was trying to buy show dogs and take them to Alaska to start her own puppy farm.

So they refused to sell her the dog. And they spread the word to all the other breeders that my mother in law was Satan and they black-balled her. No one would sell my mother in law a freakin' dog. Did I mention that these dogs would have cost a big bag of money? Not Benjamins – we're talking "big ones."

My mother in law has since found a perfectly nice (although I think slightly less than show quality) puppy from a breeder in Alaska.

It's a good thing those Californicators didn’t sell her the puppy and THEN decide they didn't like her. Because imagine getting your dog repo'd.

That sort of thing happens. They repo your DOG!

(the following has had all the names changed to avoid any legal action – plus for purposes of this blog I consider myself a satirist)

A famous Hollywood comedian and talk show host who I'll refer to as Helen TheGiving got a dog from a dog rescue organization I'll call "Bitches and Bitches." Helen's dog didn't get along with Helen's cats (or whatever) and after some amount of professional training Helen decided to gift the dog to a member of her staff. This staff member happens to have less than three but more than one child whose ages are less than 14 but more than 10.

Either you have read the news or you can guess what happened next - the B & B folks hear about the unauthorized transfer of ownership and go repossess the dog.

From the loving family.

And they refuse to reunite the dog with the second family under any reapplication process because they have children under 14 which is apparently potentially dangerous for smallish dogs.

Okay, I understand a contract was signed saying if the dog didn’t work out in Helen's happy home that she'd take the dog back to the rescue organization, but hello! It's not like Helen gave the dog to Michael Vick. And isn’t yanking the dog back from a loving home stressful on the dog too?

It seems to me that while the B & B folks want to stand on principle and not be pushed around by the Hollywood elite (they must watch a lot of Bill O'Reilly) they probably should give in on this one and at least pretend to be the better people.


This rant should be over but no such luck.

Because of irrational wing-nuts on the other side I have to tell you very clearly that I do not hate these dog rescue ladies. I think they screwed up but I don't wish them any ill.

The B & B ladies have gotten death threats over this whole thing. And they have had the media all over their retail store screwing up their actual non-rescue pet care business. And they have had to shut down both their rescue website and their business website either due to the huge volume of traffic or to the level of internet hate thrown their way.

For the love of Dog, ladies and gentlemen, grow the hell up and act like adults.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Watch List

If you have any analog watches (old, cheap, broken, whatever) you would like to get rid of and preferably if you already know how to get in touch with me locally, I'd be thrilled to take them off of your hands.

The idea is that I'll be taking them apart to scavenge the metal gears, springs, etc. Therefore if you have a watch of any actual value – keep it, treasure it, clutch it to your bosom. I'm going to be ripping these things apart and tossing the parts I don’t find interesting.

I have nothing to offer in return so this is simply a donation request.

Well, okay. Actually I can offer you a snazzy piece of polymer clay art in return, guaranteed to be at least "macaroni art" quality.

Normally I wouldn’t broadcast a request like a charity but, as my favorite realtor

Carl Hines tells us, "closed mouths don't get fed."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hoist By His Internet Petard

One day last week we got a call from a woman in a Midwest state (think cheese) requesting we do a welfare check on her boyfriend who lives in our fair city.

She was concerned because he calls her every night yet last night he had not called. Oh yeah, and this is an internet boyfriend; she’s never met him. She knows his address and his cell phone number plus his birth year and what kind of 2007 truck he bought. And she’s very very worried.

We’re obligated to have officers go out on the off-chance that Mr. has fallen down and cannot get up. It’s not necessarily a “we want to go” thing but it’s definitely a “for liability reasons we have to go out” thing.

It’s for this reason alone that it’s a special kind of magic when we knock on the door of Mr. Lovemonkey and his fiancé answers. Oh yeah and he’s 6 years older than his internet paramour thinks. And he drives a 2002.

Lest you think we dropped the dime on him in front of his fiancé, we did not. The responding officer, who is regulation size, decided that since Mr Lovemonkey is 6’5 and 350lbs and his fiancé was not much smaller that we’d let Mr. Lovemonkey explain why we were there (after we had left).

I'm thinking somone is going to get their money back.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Callers say the darndest things

Relayed from J-Mo:

A woman called to request medics because she was having chest pain or some other heart attack symptoms. We transfer such calls to the fire department dispatchers but stay on the line to see if the situation gets worse or becomes more of a police problem. During the course of this conversation J-Mo heard the following exchange:

Medic Dispatcher: Ma’am, are you clammy?

Caller: No, I’m Stephanie!