I consolidated the stories about Fred.


...long live, Hill Blocks View. I miss writing. But the thought of one more round of "welcome backs", or obsessing over stats, or thinking of the clever response to a comment, or the obligation to read everyone else's blog... not so much. So I'll try and write. No pressure. If you feel the need to respond, you can email me. I like email. flipaul@yahoo.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Signs Of Things To Come.

Is this good advertising or WHAT?! The highway department are fans.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

How Can You Tell If They're A Nerd? Check The Tattoos.

Tattoos courtesy Neuronic Heart Tattoos And Marketing.
Tattoos courtesy Neuronic Heart Tattoos And Marketing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Difference Between You And Darth Vader. Or James Bond.

"It is not a stupid song. You're just jealous."
My wife thinks that everybody needs a theme song. Hers is "Walk Don't Run" by the Ventures. I think she might have a point. Part of what makes Darth Vader or James Bond so cool, is their iconic, easily identifiable, theme music. How intimidating would Lord Vader be if "Copacabana" played every time he entered the room, instead of "Duh duh duh duduh duh duduh duh". He would have kick me signs taped to his cape in no time. Or, how about being introduced to "Bond, James Bond" to the strains of "The Circus Song". He certainly wouldn't be as as appealing to exotic uninhibited women. He would probably be a virgin in his Mom's basement. "Mom, you didn't tell me Q called. Now I'm never gonna get my license."
     I tried it myself for awhile. Every time I entered a room I hummed Darth Vader's theme. But nobody bought it. More like Dork Vader, is what I got a lot of. So, then I tried the Jaws theme, but it's too low and even my meanest friends would hardly qualify my nose as a dorsal fin. I tried the Exorcist, Halloween and Friday the 13th themes but kept scaring myself, and I got tired of sleeping with the lights on, plus I can never remember which one is Friday the 13th and which is Halloween. Next, I tried some cartoon theme songs, but I have my AA in computer animation, so it just didn't seem right. Maybe a really good sitcom's theme song. Anybody remember what the song to Herman's Head sounded like? 

MA! Stop leaving your sculptures on my bed!
     The technology is there. If we can have separate ringtones for all of our friends, why can't we have a theme song following us around? Shouldn't there be an an app for that? So start thinking of what music you want to follow you around. But think carefully, you don't want to pick something trendy that will wear out quickly. Can you image being followed around by "The Macarena" or (shudder to think) "What's Going On?" by Four Non Blondes? AGHH!! Oh no! It's stuck in my head, now I'm going to have to scrub my brain with some U2 to get rid of it. Theme songs could be dangerous, I might have to reconsider. But if I had to pick, it would be something strong and manly. "It's fun to stay at the YMCA...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Technology Makes Life Better. Also, Spandex Makes Fat People Thin.

When I got out of the Marines Corps, cool, usable technology was limited to what they had in Science Fiction movies. Cell phones were attached to your car or as big as a suitcase, and about the same price as a small seagoing yacht. And although, I did have a friend in the Marines who bought a fake antenna and handset (to impress girls), they were rare. Computers were slow and clunky. My breakthrough technological toys were a walkman tape player and Tetris on a SuperNES.
     Now, twenty years later I have a laptop, a kindle, a Wii and an iPhone. With those devices I blog, Facebook, Twitter (yes I got a twitter account - @flipaul), text, attempt to write books, read books (usually successfully), listen to books being read, listen to music, play video games, take photos, watch TV and movies, and occasionally make a phone call. It's AWESOME! I have a little computer... in my pocket.
     Technology has made my life so much easier. Sometimes I spend several hours a day on my iPhone trying to find apps to save time. I've lost track of the fruitlful hours I've spent searching for ways to make my Kindle, laptop, and iPhone cooperate better (still waiting for that true cross platform technology we were all promised). I dream of the day that I can get even more stuff to simplify my life. If only I could afford an iPad or another flat screen TV, my life would be indescribably better.
     Thankfully, I don't have to strain myself picking up that paper book anymore. Now I just pull out the laptop or iPhone, wait for it to find a wifi signal, sign in, get on-line, go to iLibrary, get an iBook, download it, agree to terms, authorize the download on my device, find it in the menu, make sure the device is charged up, and start reading. What could be easier? Taking in music, TV and movies are all similarly superior to the old fashioned way of doing them. And texting. How great is that? Now instead of having a 3 minute conversation with a friend you can spread it out to 30 or 40 excrutiating, I mean incredible, minutes. Now, somebody just needs to come up with some device to help me get over the panic I feel when my cell phone is dying or I don't have service. Then my life would be perfect, or as perfect as it gets in an analog world.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'll Tell You Anything You Want To Know. Just Don't Make Me Go On Vacation Again.

Continued. The nightmares have lessened so I might as well finish the vacation blog. 

   We arrive at the airport about an hour before our flight is scheduled to depart. I realize we live in a post 9-11 world, but it's 6AM on a Monday morning. Who would be at the airport right now? Everybody! And their mothers. This is really bad. We have to check bags, get through security, and make it to our gate in less than an hour, and it looks like halftime at a SuperBowl concession stand.
   The line moves fairly quickly and we are soon off to security. At which point, I forget to take off my belt, and subsequently get to second base with a lovely TSA agent named Eugene. With seconds to spare, we run to our plane carrying our shoes and dragging the children only to be told by a sharply dressed gate employee, "Don't bother running. Most of the passengers and crew are still in the security line." We get on the plane, after explaining to the children that sometimes when they get stressed or worried they are going to miss a nonrefundable flight, Mommies and Daddies use colorful words to express how they feel and that it isn't good for children to what they hear, to say, a pastor or a teacher or anybody else.
   The plane leaves late but the captain has a lead foot and no regard to the laws of physics, so we arrive in LA about an hour before we take off. We find the baggage check, and our luggage comes out in short order; a little after that the contents of our luggage also makes an appearance. Luckily, I had some duct tape (or baby pacifier, as we call it) in my carry-on, so I was able to do some field repairs.
   Gathering up all of our stuff and kids, and several kids that weren't ours, that we eventually bring back, cause the last thing we need is another kid, we head to the rental car place. Due to current regulations, all rental car places are now off site. So what we have to do is: risk life and limb crossing the drag strip (or passenger pick-up lane as it is more commonly known). Then we stand on a narrow island of concrete with all of our belongings and possibly children stacked up like some surreal Jenga game, and wait for the bus from our rental company to come and pick us up. The bus from our company is leaving as we reach the island and doesn't come back around for approximately an hour and a half. Meanwhile the buses from the other rental car companies pass in a never ending stream, one after the other, until we realize that 1) the car company that we picked has one bus and 2) that bus's driver is on lunch break. Finally, our bus shows up and stops about 50 yards away and fills up with fresh faced people who just showed up and haven't had to wait at all. The bus driver shrugs his shoulders apologetically as he passes, and later it occurs to me that perhaps it was a mistake to show my displeasure with a certain finger. After many hours of our bus passing us by, the bus driver finally stops and loads us up because I am waving a handful of twenties at him, and have instructed my children to throw themselves in front of his bus. We load up and take a short 4 hour ride to the rental car lot conveniently located in lovely downtown Compton. After struggling for several hours with the Baby seat that the rental car employee had installed upside down, and looking for the paperwork that the employee swore he gave us, that we eventually find in his back pocket, and that he still maintains we must have put there, in some bizarre reverse pick-pocketing incident, we get in the car and head out.
   The directions that the rental car clerk gave us only manage to get us off the lot, where the view suddenly turns into a scene from Escape From LA, replete with gun battles and burned out husks of cars.  We manage to survive by hanging several dirty diapers out the windows, and babbling incoherently, which at this point isn't an act, but more the body's response to extreme duress. I believe the medical term is going bat crap crazy. We manage to find Highway 1 and head north, passing the airport on the passenger side of the car, and then several hours later on the driver's side, and then again on the passenger's side. A kindly women named Harold offers us directions after we have passed him on the same street corner five or six times, and we finally reach the 405. Which leads us in a general northerly direction through the heart of LA during rush hour. At some point we all doze off. I wake with a start several hours later, and luckily traffic has only moved about 3 feet. At some point on the drive from LA to Grover Beach, we realize, sickeningly, that if we had driven instead of flown, we would have gotten there five days ago.
   Somewhere past midnight we arrive at Becky's Father's house. I have a beer or two (or four) and go to bed. We wake up the next morning and have a leisurely breakfast with the family. We kiss them all good-bye and head back to the airport. As a surprise, my wife has bought tickets to Magic Mountain so we can spend some more money, I mean have some fun, before we have to go home. But the litigation and court mandated gag order is still in effect so that will have to wait for some other time. Suffice it to say we managed to get home, and with some small amounts of counseling, psychosomatic drugs and prayer we will all make a full recovery. I love Vacations. We should do this more often.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Charlie Sheen Acts Like a Boob in Karate Kid XXL.

I don't know if this is really true, but one thing I have learned is that if I mention Charlie Sheen in a blog; it is super popular. I spent all of ten minutes on a list and it was my most viewed by a mile. Boobs don't hurt either. It is interesting what blogs are a hit (or what passes for a hit in my world). Maybe to attract attention I will rename the blog Charlie Sheen is a Boob. I will write about the same stuff, but just with a snappy new attention grabbing title. I think I will also start having lists as a regular part of my blog. 10 ways Charlie Sheen is a Boob, 10 ways that Boobs are like Charlie Sheen, Charlie Sheen's 10 Favorite boobs.
    No, that would just be pandering. And I won't lower myself to that level... unless it is really profitable. I mean because I have artistic integrity. Unlike Charlie Sheen. Or boobs. They rarely have artisitic integrity, either. Enough about boobs, and pretend you've never heard of Charllie Sheen.You can't do it, can you?. "Winning!", is just too fun to say. Almost as much fun as, "oh no, she di'ent". What does that mean? I don't even know, this post got away from me somehow. In closing, I will leave you with this thought; Shel Silverstein is awesome. We should talk about Shel more, and Charlie less. You'll be happier, and so will I, blog hits be damned.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Who Needs This Stupid Job Anyway?! Oh Wait, That Would Be Me.

I have been working at the same place for about six years now, and since the bottom dropped out of the economy several years ago, I haven't received a raise. So when my boss came to me with a proposition about a raise the other day, I first determined I wasn't being "propositioned about a raise" (wink, wink), and then told him I was interested. My boss told me that if I could work a couple of more hours a day he would see fit to make sure I had a couple of extra Jackson's in my paycheck at the end of the month. Now, I'm no idiot, so I told him if he made it several Jackson's, I would do it.
     Things have been going pretty good since I got my raise. I certainly have been sleeping better. When I get home at 10'ish I have a late dinner and then go straight to bed; 4:30 comes pretty early, and my bosses dogs aren't going to walk themselves. But, man that sixty dollars at the end of the month is really a Godsend. Well, it's closer to forty after that crazy cash tax my boss was telling me about. Still, that forty dollars goes a long ways to covering my monthly Hydrox budget. I know that if I work hard and stay with it; within a couple of years I will be able to start buying Oreos.

UPDATE: Apparently my boss reads my blog and he doesn't think I am, finger quote "funny" un-finger quote. (My boss likes finger quotes, sometimes he finger quotes things like "good morning" or "I'm sorry for your loss") So I don't have a finger quote "job" un-finger quote anymore. It's probably for the best, now I have time to dedicate myself fully to writing. And it is already paying the bills, why just last week I made a whole $1.47 with the ads on my blog.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: $1.47 every week doesn't pay the mortgage. My landlord told me if I don't come up with some money pronto, he is going to have the old homestead towed away. Luckily, my boss said that he would rehire me, we talked and I negotiated a new deal. Starting tomorrow, I get my old job back; I have to go back to the starting pay scale and he still needs me to work the extra hours, but at least I am doing something useful with my life again. Unlike when I thought I was a writer. Writing is for losers; what was I thinking?

Charlie Sheen and Rob Bell are the Same Person.

I propose that Charlie Sheen the actor and Rob Bell the Christian author are the SAME person. The proof is irrefutable, and I will lay it out for you here.
1)   You never see them in the same place. Coincidence? I think not.
2)   Most controversial statements are "Winning!" and "Love Wins", respectively . Clear enough?!
3)   They both communicate their message through online videos.
4)   Christian conservatives are all abuzz and seemingly terrified of them both...
5)   But, they were both media darlings at one point.
6)   They are both under extreme scrutiny for recent comments.
7)   Rob Bell founded the Mars Hill Church. Who was on Mars Hill? Goddesses! Charlie's Girlfriends are...
8)   Rob Bell wrote a book called "Velvet Elvis", Charlie bought a Velvet Elvis for a bazillion dollars after a coke fueled bender.
9)   Both currently on tour.
10) They are both heretical, and are going to burn in...?

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Crushing Minutiae, or Why I Don't Usually Write a Typical Blog.

I woke up on the downstairs futon (my wife is suffering from severe allergies and snoring) and could hear the baby crying. After a half an hour, it became clear nobody else was going to get him, so I got up. Darnit; I forgot to make coffee last night. Darnit, darnit; the baby already has a full diaper. Oh well, it's Sunday, I'll lounge around and then go to church. I change the baby, start the coffee and then sit down to watch the news. Floods, earthquakes, fires, tsunami's, and nuclear meltdowns, that was depressing.
     Oh man, I forgot I told Steve I would be at church early! My wife and baby decide to stay home, so the baby doesn't get sick again, he has been sick for a month. I load the older kids into the mini-van and head for church. The van is being very jinky, don't forget to talk to Mr. Carl about a car, pull into church Steve isn't there. It's next week, ugh. I see Mr. Carl and talk to him about cars, he said trying to find one in our price range (free-cheap) would be hard. After sending the boys to class, I go into the service, and the only place to sit is up front. Halfway through the service my nose starts running and I have to walk down the aisle with every one staring at me, get to the bathroom and realize why they were staring; fly was down. Walk back to my seat, look at the verses next to the ones we are studying and decide my wife needs to see them. Realize how hypocritical it is to show someone else the verses "judge not, less you be judged." On cue my wife calls, and every one in church hears it, because I forgot to turn off my phone.
     I brought the wrong car, my wife doesn't have a baby seat. She still had some work to do on a catering job. The car is really acting up, I am driving with the windows down and the heat on. Pick up the wife and the car almost dies, check engine light isn't just on, it is flashing. We decide to have breakfast while we are waiting for the car to cool down. Missed breakfast, have lunch and read the car ads in the paper. Oops, car ads are on Saturday. My wife gets the catering finished and we head home to clean out the car, we are going to have to trade it in, possibly today.
     Pull out my phone to call and ask my mom to watch the kids while my wife and I go car shopping. Phone rings. My mom is calling to say that my dad is on the way to the emergency room. He was in a mountain biking accident. Head to the hospital, stop and pick up a Consumer Reports first. No broken bones, he'll live, he's going to be sore... but he'll live. Doctor advises he not run into any more metal gates. Narrow the car search down to three models. My mom says we can borrow her car until we get a new one, but asks that we not use it as a trade in (spoilsport.)
     First car dealership doesn't have any "base models" the closest thing is in four wheel drive with a thousand dollar chrome package. But, WOW! It's only about $5000 out of our price range but it is nice. The kids help the negotiation process by telling the salesman, "we love this car, can we buy it now?" On our way to the next dealership, my wife suggests I not tell the salesman our car is dying. Probably a good idea, but I think the the fact that we have to push it into the dealership is a giveaway. They might actually pay us to not trade it in. The next car is nicer looking and bigger and more in our price range, and... isn't as good and engine or as solid. The last car on our list isn't open on Sundays (Godless heathens). We will have to continue the car search tomorrow.
     Time for dinner. The wing restaurant by our house doesn't have any seats, apparently there is a WWE event tonight; REALLY?! People still watch wrestling? Whatever, different strokes. We try the To-Go wing restaurant. They screw up the order three times and take twenty minutes. The kids order is burned and our fries have sugar on them instead of salt. We spend twenty minutes looking for a lost library book, that nobody seems to have ever seen. I give up. Everybody go to bed. Maybe tomorrow will be better...