Sunday, March 24, 2013

Naming Storms

It has come to my attention that the National Weather Service has started naming all storms.

Ah, the good old days when only Hurricanes and Cyclones got named... now every storm has a name.  I presume they've done this out of "fairness".  Other storms complained because naming wasn't inclusive, and try as they might, just because they couldn't form a big storm circle on either side of the earth, they could NOT get a name... they probably sued or had their storm labor union strike or something.

It could also be a marketing ploy for Meteorologists (who have not been very good at predicting when giant rocks hurtle from space and nearly take out a Russian city, or what the weather will be the next day) to get on the air more because they now have a storm with a name, so they can create all sorts of cool graphics and storm theme music and look all concerned and worried while they're in a nice cushy studio... sending the lower ranking minions to brave the impending named storm.

Now everything gets named... literally EVERYTHING.

It use to be (and excuse me while I hitch up my old people's ranting pants) that the earth had seasons.

In the summer it was hot
In the winter it was cold
In the spring there was a lot of rain
In the fall there were annoying leaves

It happened every year.  Sometimes we'd have a LOT of snow.  Sometimes we didn't.  Sometimes we had a LOT of rain, sometimes we didn't.  Sometimes it would be very cold, or very hot depending on the thing we use to call "Seasons".

When I was a kid we had a blizzard.  This was different than the other feet of snow we had every winter because it was literally lots of feet of snow... all at once.... in a big heap.

We called it: The Blizzard of 78.  Catchy.  It was a blizzard, and it happened in 1978... we didn't name it Charlie or something. 

When people say "Hey, where were you during the Blizzard of 78" people know what you're talking about.

When you say: "Where were you during Charlie?"  What?  Are you on drugs or something?  Who freakin knows what you're talking about.  Charlie the Hurricane?  What year was that?  Who freakin knows!

So, the whole naming thing is incredibly stupid enough, but now they name EVERYTHING!  Minor squall in the Midwest... gets a name.  Rain shower in eastern Kansas... gets a name.  As a matter of fact, there have been so many named storms this winter, that one today (March 24th... 4 days after spring... tar and feather the groundhog) that a "blizzard" that isn't really a blizzard is being named "Virgil".  There have been so many stupid named storms this winter that they are on "V"... I predict next year they'll have to start the alphabet over because they just can't help themselves but hype something they know nothing about, have no idea what will happen, and then express some disappointment when it turns into nothing and people don't die.

Freakin vultures.

Next we'll be required to name our bowel movements.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Sucked Into Another Product

For weeks now, Lobsterman and I have been intrigued by the SodaStream commercials.  Frankly I was more amazed at how cool the exploding bottles of soda were, but he was in it for the actual fizzy possibilities.

Frankly, I'm not a big soda drinker.  I use to be addicted to Diet Pepsi, then Dr. Pepper, but after serving in our great Armed Forces over in Germany, I became addicted to the warm, not so fizzy, pretty bland Fanta orange soda over there.  Much like beer, and McDonald's Big Macs, once I got back to the states I realized just how much crap, preservatives, sugar, syrup, and blech goes into all of our products.  I gave up beer, Big Macs, and soda, only trying them all once in a while as a reminder of how crappy they tasted.

We are a HUGE fan of sparkly water though, but HOLY CRAP the price of Pellegrino is insane for bubbly water!

So, of course, there was a very helpful (and incredibly nice) SodaStream demonstrator in Costco, who answered all of my questions (the biggest question was: can we just make fizzy water, answer is YES), and who let me choose a flavor to try out.  I opted for lemon lime.  He showed me how to screw the bottle of water on, pump the thing three times, add the flavoring, mix it gently, tah dah, soda.

I tasted it and pronounced "Holy crap, it's Sprite!", but it wasn't really Sprite because Sprite is all syrupy and too sweet and leaves a nasty film on my mouth and tongue... this didn't.  It was actually refreshing!  Best part (to me anyway) is that when you get the bottle of flavoring, you can add as much or as little as you want... great potential for recreating bland German-like Fanta orange soda here. 

I honestly don't see why you couldn't, after fizzying the plain water, just add whatever juice or flavoring you want, and we'll be giving that a shot.  Oh yeah, I had him throw one of them in my cart.

Now, there are some things to be aware of before you go all wacky nuts and run out and get one.

There is a "carbonator" tank that comes with it.  When it runs out, you exchange it (kinda like propane tanks) and exchange price depends on the size of your tank.  Some stores will exchange the tanks right there, or you can tell SodaStream to send you a replacement, they do, then you put the old one in the prepaid box and ship it back. 

The scoop I got from the SodaStream demo guy was that most stores only have the small bottle models.  The one from Costco is the 130l big bottle.  If you get a machine that takes the big bottle, then you can use a big bottle or a small bottle.  But if you buy a machine that uses the small bottle, you can't use the big bottle... just letting you know.

The model I bought had 12 samples of diet and regular flavors.  We're in the process of testing them out.  I have no idea how much the actual bottles of flavoring cost, frankly we're just in it for the fizzy water, but we'll probably go check out the bottles of Raspberry and other tasty, tasty flavors (there's a gazillion of them).

So far I've tried the lemon lime (tastes like Sprite) and we tried the Orange (too much Orange for me, and tastes like Orange Crush, we watered it down and it tasted almost German Fanta to me).  I'll let everyone know if the "cola" tastes like Pepsi, Coke, or otherwise.

As far as cost goes, even with the whole tank exchange price (the 130l tank makes 130 liters of bubbly whatever, which is 65 2-liter bottles, and in my crappy math skillz I figured that would be $40  of bubbly stuff versus about $100 for 65 2-liter bottles of soda) so yeah, there's some savings in there, but also less waste, more variety, ability to flavor how you want, and tasty, tasty, fresh fizzy stuff when you want it.

So, go out and check out the SodaStream Web site and make sure you know what you're getting into and whether it is something for you, or not.  I'm just sayin... it's tasty and convenient.  Your taste may be different.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Been A While

Yeah, yeah, I've got crazy things going on, so it has been a while, hasn't it?

We managed to survive Hurricane Sandy, as in: it didn't hit here, all we had is wind, rain, some rain, more wind, lost our power for 15 hours and managed to survive because we had propane and cookstove, and ground coffee.

Go here is you want to see the whole Sandy experience because that's where I cartoon now.  I'm not saying that I'll never cartoon here, but most likely it's over there, so just go over there.

Since I last wrote, I most likely bought about 3 new handbags and have only a small amount of shame about that.  I did send one off to a friend, so shut up.  I'm not going to tell you anything about the new bag because it is THE perfect bag (unlike all of those other perfect bags), this is THE one bag, I actually got it used on e-bay because they don't make them any more, and I'm not telling you have obsessively I searched every web site in the entire world (and do you like how I make that sound like I walked through the entire world looking for it when actually it was more like "google search... click, click, click, scroll, back, click click, scroll).

I'm not even going to post a picture of it, say its name, or hint at its total awesomeness, and a certain person who has one that caused me to fixate and hunt the world for it BETTER NOT SAY ANYTHING IN THE COMMENTS EITHER... because I don't want you to suffer like I did and wait for someone to post it on e-bay and then probably want it back... I suspect that I may have the previous owner stalking me at any time with that e-bay bag regret because I can't imagine how anyone could give something so awesome like that away.

Its maiden voyage was to the Gun Show, because nothing says swanky cool hand bag like a gun show.  It was a good test for it, because if I could still love it after carrying it around a gun show, then it was THE perfect bag, and yes, it is the perfect bag.

So the next thing on my list of things to find is long shirts.  I hate shirts that are short and apparently shirts are made for normally proportioned people, not those with long legs and long trunks (like elephants), so invariably I end up with a shirt that hangs a little above my belt line and threaten to reveal what some people call a "muffin top" but I think is more bagel if we were to equate flab to bread products.  I make no excuses for being blobby, other than the horrific Wii broken foot incident, which is a good reason not to exercise, in that if my bones are so brittle that jumping up and down doing Wii fit causes my foot to shatter in various places, then I should avoid that at all costs.  Or the fact that I bought a recumbent bicycle, but have found that leaning back while exercising makes it very easy to just sit on the bike, watch tv and eat cookies, or napping.  Likewise, laying down on the floor to do "crunches" is too much like sleeping on the floor, and usually leads me to just sleep on the floor.  So, no excuses, other than I want a shirt that is a little longer than "normal" shirts, which makes me hate shirt makers even more in that they think I'm not "normal".

I'm going to try shirts from this place, because they have funny commercials, and frankly, that's exactly what I look for when I'm making shirt purchases.  I'm also thinking of getting fire hose pants from them, because I like firemen.

Friday, August 17, 2012

How to Get a Cartoon

I get requests to cartoon things for people, so rather than send the same blah blah out, I'm putting up this post so I can just cut and paste the link.

There are four ways to get a Penny cartoon: free, personalized, business, non-profit.

  1. Free: You can Facebook post something somewhere that strikes my fancy and I cartoon it.  These cartoons end up on the Facebook page "Society of Penny's Cartooned Friends" group (which anyone can join).  Feel free to use it for an icon or whatever you want.  They do contain a copyright in the cartoon somewhere, so if you do use it, its nice to be tagged or mentioned somewhere, but are NOT to be used to make money off of. (see #3).  If you like the cartoon and want it on any merchandise that Cafe Press sells, I'll be more than happy to add it to one of my shops for you to purchase (and yes, I receive a modest commission from Cafe Press).  Cartoons in the #1 category will not be modified for any reason no matter how much you beg because that falls under #2.  Since I hold copyright on it, I can do whatever I want with it.  If, for any reason, you object to the cartoon, simply ask to have it removed, it will be removed and deleted forever.  If I see it being used for commercial/business purposes, I will take legal action.
  2. Personalized:  You want a special cartoon for whatever reason to use however you personally want.  Special cartoons for personal reasons are done for $100.00.  For that price, you give me your concept, I create the first draft and you can make/suggestion/ask for reasonable changes until you are satisfied.  Once you are satisfied, then you receive a final large version of the cartoon (suitable for print, or just about anything) after you pay for the cartoon (paypal is preferred).  There is a small, obscure copyright on the picture, but you are free to use it how you want for personal use.  It would be nice if you direct people to me that like them, but that's up to you.  I withhold the right to use the cartoon as an example of my work, and promotional purposes but not for sale by me.
  3. Business: If you want a cartoon to be used for a business purpose that will appear in a business logo (creation of a character), article, or will in any way be associated with a company the price STARTS at $250, and varies upon what the company wants done. This includes blogs.  My copyright statement will appear on it in an obscure area of the cartoon, and credit is given on Websites somewhere.   
  4. Non-Profit:  If you are a registered non-profit and having an auction to raise money, I will volunteer to cartoon for the winning bidder as long as the winning bidder is not a business who will use the cartoon for commercial purposes. All proceeds from the auction bid go to the rescue as long as the rescue provides me with a donation statement for the amount of the winning bid.  From there I will work with the winning bidder to provide them with their cartoon.
Please note: The only exception I have is that I will not provide business content to another Dog Sled Musher.  I draw exclusively for North Wapiti Kennels.

I hope that clears it all up, and if you have any questions, just send me a Facebook direct message, or e-mail me at

To see some of my work, go to the official site: Squishy Bags

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Higgs Boson... Who Freakin Cares

I just read the most self-serving article from a scientist that has her panties in a wad because we're all not out dancing in the streets, getting drunk and puking in a stranger's car and celebrating the discovery of something nobody can see.

Apparently scientists have indeed discovered the "Higgs Boson", also known as the "God Particle"... right, sure.

In her own words, sorta... if they hadn't found it, then years of scientific work, 50 years of "hard work" and $10 BILLION dollars building the Large Hadron Collider would have been wasted.

Well, isn't that convenient... you found it, can't show it to anyone, we just have to take your word for it, right?

Like we took your word for it in the 70's that we're heading for an ice age.

90's it's Global Warming (or climate chaos)

Dinosaurs are cold blooded... oh wait, now they're saying warm blooded

Some dinosaurs had horns... oh wait, that's a toe, never mind

Bacon is good for you, bad for you, good for you, bad for you, good for you, ... shut up.

Back to the TEN BILLION spent on that collider.  You make it sound like you mowed yards to generate all of that money, then built it yourself.  You didn't.  We all ponied up that money.  We didn't want to.  We'd rather not waste money on smashing atoms together and for all we knew you would botch it, create a huge black hole and destroy the earth... at least you didn't do that, but still, I don't think I could find ONE person that wanted their tax dollars going on that piece of crap.  I think they would much rather, oh... eat, than allow scientists to waste all that money to find something you can't even see, and take your word for it that it's the ULTIMATE discovery of all discoveries and shows us (if we could actually see it) where "we came from".

Of course, the author of this article thinks that the reason we aren't all exciting and whooping with joy is because they didn't explain it all very well... you know... to us stupid people.  They have pop up books and suggests hiring a PR person (um... not on my taxpayer money), and maybe even a video game... because we're just that stupid!

Will Higgs Boson make my car run for free?  Will it feed hungry people?  Stop wars?  Allow us to transport from place to place like on tv?  Can I sit on my butt and watch tv and play video games and still have money to eat tasty foods?

No?  Then shut up and figure out a way to do all of those things first.

Dear scientists:  Nobody cares but you, now stop spending our money on your stupid experiments.  By the way, now that you "found" it, what are you going to do with that big piece of crap collider?  Can we at least turn it into a skateboard park or something useful?  OOOH a demolition derby where we crash cars into each other at supersonic only faster speeds! 

Sunday, July 01, 2012

A Sign Of Things To Come?

So, Lobsterman and I have been invited over to This Olde Foreclosed House for a 4th of July cookout.  Please note, the nice couple that moved there are really nice, and the house actually looks like a house.

I'll be making my world famous potato salad (from the Hellmann's recipe), and Lobsterman will be making the grilled vidalia onion with butter and beef bouillon nom nom things.

This meant going to the store.

We had the monster storm of 2012 that knocked out power to over 3 million people in three states or more.

We have power, only lost it for about 5 seconds during the storm... others are still waiting.  Yes, there is a small amount of guilt involved, but hey... it's not like I'm going to shut off my power to be one with those without power.

Did I mention that it's about 2000 degrees out?

My first observation upon going outside is "why did I even bother taking a shower?"  Seriously, I was marinating before I got the front door locked and sprinted to the truck.

We drove to the store, which is located across the street from a mega mall and casino... traffic was crazy insane.

We wanted to get a little something to eat before we went to the store, and had opted for a wedge salad at TGI Fridays, but as we drove by, we saw people going into and out of the new Joe's Crabs... we made a U-turn and parked, walked in... only to find that they weren't open, they were only training.

Seriously?  No big sign that says "OPENING ON 3 JULY", you had to walk inside only to be denied tasty steamed crab by the bucketful.  BASTARDS!!!!

We didn't bother to tell other hopeful people walking up the sidewalk that their dreams of butter dunked crab would be dashed at the door... screw you, walk through the heat and find out like we did.

We dodged through mall traffic and decided to just get something light at Starbucks, then get the cookout ingredients, which we did.

Then the store... OH.... MY.... GAWD!!!!

It was packed with frantic people as if they had just been told a blizzard may or may not hit within the next 3-6 months.  Shelves were bare, people were rude and had that panicked glazed look of self preservation.

Unlike snow storms (milk, bread, and toilet paper), heat waves and power outages create a need for bagels, milk, cases of soda.  There were no bagels to be seen.  Completely empty, I can only imagine

Luckily for us there were plenty of potato salad and grilled onion recipe things, so we grabbed and ran for the checkout... which was crammed full down lanes.  We went to self checkout, which wasn't that bad... but I kept thinking...

I can see people coming to the store to replace items that may have gone bad had they lost power, but as they are still fixing power, there's really no guarantee you won't lose power again while they fix things.  Frankly we expect to lose power at some point during all of the work, it's a ticking time bomb on power.

I can see people having not shopped for 4th of July fixings trying to get it now... except it's just ONE day of cooking out... and why bagels and not hot dog buns?

Were people just full tilt bozo nuts and thinking that they had to go stock up on items that easily spoil in case another storm knocked the rest of the state out of commission?  Were people coming to the store from miles away because there was nothing open where they lived?  Do people really only keep a few day's worth of food in their house?

Are we, as National Geographic calls it: "American Outliers" for having more than a week's worth of food in our house, and the ability to survive on what we had for much longer than that without resorting to a panicked run to the supermarket for bagels, soda, and milk?  

I've heard others tell of angry lines at gas stations, getting "free" ice, and other grocery stores, and wonder... this is a weekend and some people are nearly insane with panic over gas and soda... heaven help us all if something really catastrophic happened.

By the way, if any nice business out in the Midwest and West is looking for two hard working outliers... let me know... soon... seriously.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

15th Attempt At Blogging

So far I've written about:

1.) Not having anything to write about
2.) Having things to write about but in the grand scheme of things it just seems like I'm whining like a spoiled child
3.) Why I can't find a freaking hands free device that will fit in my tiny little ear canal without either flinging itself out, or being worse than water boarding (I've been waterboarded, so shut up) with them jabbing into your ears like daggers.
4.) No, I'm not going to blog about being waterboarded
5.) Being so unmotivated that I sit around for hours playing bejeweled and laugh a little too gleefully when the little butterflies get killed by the spider and made that high pitched noise
6.) The dead baby birds in a nest in my tree that I haven't removed yet because it's sorta like desecrating a shipwreck... or something
7.) Not having any time to write about anything or including a fabulously creative cartoon.
8.) Not having any time to cartoon anything regardless of whether I even have an idea for a cartoon, which I don't except at work and by the time I got home it's no longer funny, or never was to begin with.
9.) My short attention span
10.) Going to the rifle range and shooting my new AR-15, but not making it sound like I was auditioning for the next season of "Preppers... American Outliers"... frankly if there's enough of them to have (so far) 2 seasons of them.. not so outliery doncha think?
11.) The trials and tribulations of having your dogs get older... but that's too freaking depressing.
12.) how annoying it is that this iPad app I'm using doesn't scroll up when you get to the bottom of the page... if I wasn't in a blog funk I could make that a whole blog post in itself.
13.) The fact that I can't make a whole post about a stupid app that won't scroll up when I'm typing because I'm so unmotivated
14.) How I've been procrastinating on calling my mom, and then I actually dialed the number and she didn't answer and then I felt a moment of relief, and then worry because she doesn't have life alert and is probably laying on the kitchen floor screaming "I've fallen and can't get up"
15.) I bought a new bag and I really like it, but if I blog about every bag I've bought and really like, I'd have to change the name of the blog to "Everyday Tales of Bags I bought"