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September 30, 2008

The Road Warrior

Every morning on my commute to work i spend the whole drive watching the clock and making mental calculations. Depending on how many times i hit the snooze button and how bad traffic is, the drive has varying degrees of tension...

7:29 and I'm off. It's only 25 minutes, so i should be alittle early.
7:35 and I haven't gotten to the highway yet? I'm gonna be late.
7:47? Really? That was quick. I gained time and I'm gonna be early.
7:54! Stupid downtown traffic! I'm gonna be late!

Today though was a different story.

Instead of spending the whole drive glancing nervously at the clock, i spent the whole drive glancing nervously at my fuel gauge...

Glance: I haven't even hit "E" yet, I'll be fine.
Glance: Uh-oh, it just hit "E", but i should be fine anyway.
Glance: AM i fine? It looks pretty low.
Glance: At least the "empty" light hasn't come on.
Glance: Doh! The "empty" light! i can still make it, right?

i made it.

And if i don't get too unlucky, i should probably have enough gas to make it home again maybe. -And then there's a good possibility I'd be stuck there. Actually, i Gotta find a gas station or we're going to have to go with Plan B.

-One minute CNN video documenting Atlanta's very real gas crisis.
-AJC article about it.
-The map my wife sent me for locating gas in Atlanta.

[Editor's note: since Keeferman moved OTP, he's now off the main MARTA grid. Since he works a twelve hour shift and since he works only 3.5 days a week (and since this includes Sundays), carpooling is unpossible. He's certainly working harder on a mass transit plan now though.]

[UPDATE: The rumor, via someone in Joan D'arc's office, is that QT guarantees to have gas.]

September 28, 2008

Mississippi Funerals

Yes, well, one of Joanderwoman's uncles just passed away. Most of her mom's family are still in Neshoba county, so that's where we went. Philadelphia, Mississippi is country country Country. I dunno how remarkable that is to the average person, but i was pretty conscious of it myself. There's a big difference between being a Bostonian transplant in Atlanta... and being a YANKEE in the DEEP SOUTH.

The funeral was small and quiet. The family was somber and respectful. There was even some fried chicken, cornbread, and sweet tea at a little gathering afterward. All things considered, it was nice.

We weren't actually heading back home 'til the next day though. So there i was, trapped in Mississippi (hundreds of kilometers away from my cats and internet connection), with many hours still to kill. What to do. What to do. Well, what would yoU do? Of course we did the only thing there really is to do in Noxapater (Population: 400) on a Saturday night. We went clubbing. That is to say... we went to The Catfish Opry. The Catfish Opry is exactly what it sounds like it is. It's like The Grand Ole Opry COMBINED with catfish. Thus... The Catfish Opry.

From the outside, it's a giant corrugated steel building. It looks like your standard warehouse or industrial location. There was a big sign out front and a gravelly parking lot full of pickup trucks. The moon was shining, the crickets were chirping, and sweet country music was filtering out across the cool night air. As we approach the entrance, the gospel & bluegrass & rockabilly get alittle louder every time the door opens. It's live bands playing live music and it sounds like they're really getting down in there.

When you walk in, you pay your $12 and then step over to the all-you-can eat catfish buffet. There's breaded catfish and blackened catfish. There's coleslaw and hushpuppies. There's black eyed peas, butter beans, fried okra, and turnip greens (whatever that is). Of course there's cornbread and fried chicken and sweet tea too. It's a Mississippi smorgasbord.

i loaded up my plate and turned to face the auditorium. It looked like there were about two-and-a-half acres of picnic tables lined up from the back where the food was to the front of the stage where the band was playing. It was still early, so there were only a few dozen people there, but it could obviously hold hundreds more. We sat down with our dozen and dug in.

Something happened then. i don't know exactly what it was because i seem to have lost consciousness. Apparently my wife (the woman who knows me and loves me more than any other) loaded her plate with some coleslaw and then sat upwind a bit too close to me. I'd passed out from the krytonite-like fumes. i picked myself up, dusted myself off, and moved another meter down the bench.

While my wife enjoyed her dreadful coleslaw, i dug into my catfish again. It was delicious. For my first helping i ate about five planks of variously prepared catfish, some macaroni, and potato salad. i love potatoes and I'm a potato salad fanatic. This potato salad wasn't as good as i was hoping it'd be (the main problem being it was neither cold nor hot, but a milquetoasty room temperature). The catfish, however, was excellent. For my second helping i got another five or six planks. i also picked up some spice cake and some banana pudding.

That's when it happened again. i sat down next to my wife and a noxious odor hit me. It smelled like... it smelled like it smells when you walk your dog and don't notice that you stepped in something. We DID walk my wife's dog just before we left to come out, but how did i not notice it until now? i tried to look real casual as i lifted up my shoe and leaned over to look, but it was clear. i was about to lift up my other shoe when it hit me again. -Only it was coming from the side, not from underneath. i looked over to my left and saw the most horrifying thing. It was my wife. And heaped there on the fork she was raising to her lips was a putrid pile of poop-smelling Turnip Greens. SERIOUSLY. You are NOT going to put that in your mouth are you? (i gagged alittle when she Did.)

As i sat there struggling to maintain consciousness, i tried to focus on something other than my wife's culinary delights. Of course there was the band. Only thAt band had stepped offstage and there was a guy up there doing Gospel karaoke. He was a pretty good entertainer, but kept hawking his services again and again and again. I'm sure his CD and website are pretty professional, but it was alittle underwhelming to see the guy (inbetween his "commercials") keep referring to lyrics sheets. Either you're a pro or you're not (am i right?).

Up next was the Kenny Rogers No-Stars Band. i dunno if that's what they were called, but that's what was in my head as i watched them. There were three guitarists (not counting bass) who all seemed to have different ideas about what they should be playing -so their music was all over the place. We heard Merle Haggard, Chuck Berry, and Guy Lombardo in the same set. It was alittle weird. They say you get what you pay for and, unfortunately, we hadn't paid anything to see them. That being said, they had far more musical talent than i do and i suppose i should be grateful for their efforts.

By the time the next gospel performer came up, we knew it was time to go. We had to get back to the ranch in time for the presidential debate. It was going to be the Atlantan progressives hunkering down with the Mississippi conservatives. This should be interesting. -Only it wasn't. Everybody was pretty respectful and well-behaved and the debate itself was alittle too civil. The highlight of the event seemed to be all the local TV feeds hyping the Ole Miss connection (Joan's dad's alma mater and the setting for the debate). Yay Mississippi.

It wasn't nearly as bad as i expected.

It was pretty alright.

(All things considered.)

September 03, 2008

Cat People

We're going to the dogs.

i won't bore you (again?) with the saga that arose (Quite suddenly) four weeks ago, but yes my wife ended up getting a dog. A Shetland Collie (Sheltie) with "blue merle" coloring.

I've managed to talk her down from “Stirling” (we've actually Been there and the breed is Scottish, but it's not the kind of name Keeferman is willing to SHOUT at a dog when shouting's necessary). Unfortunately, Joanderwoman didn’t like my counter: “Rolf”. So... “Crichton” is the latest. A compromise based upon the lane down which he was born, the cool sci-fi character, and the fact that it too is Scottish: "criochton signifies a boundary hill, end, limit, landmark; creachton, the hill or castle of plunder”.

But these fancy dogs gots to have fancy names, don’t they? The one shown HERE is called “Marshland Fantom of the Opera”. Maybe we shouLd go with a big showdog name…
“Champion Commander John Crichton” or
“Prince Crichton Proutychols” or
“Crichton Landshark Minimonkey” even.

Wait there’s goTTa be some Rules about that…

-ahah! The internets have spoken.
“1. Your dog's name should contain the name of the kennel from where he/she came. Most of the time it's the first part of the name. For example, if your dog came from Green Hills Farm Kennel, you could name your dog "Green's King Midas". If your dog comes from multiple breeders, be sure to use a little of each name. Yes, this can lead to some really long names.
2. Include the family. For instance, if the b!tch's name is Starla and the sire's name is Russ, and your dog is fourth generation, you could combine them to make "Green StarlaRuss' King Midas IV."
3. Be original. This is important because the American Kennel Club (AKC) does not allow duplicate names. One way to get around this is to use creative spelling. Go for something that can catch the judges' eye.
4. Choose an everyday name. Remember that your dog needs a "proper name" and a "call name". The call name is its everyday name. To choose its call name, make a list of your favorites. Toss out any names that contain more than 2 syllables, rhyme with command words - such as no, sit or stay - or may be offensive in the show arena. Consider using part of its show name. For example, you might call a dog "Midas" for "Green StarlaRuss' King Midas IV."” (Courtesy of ehow.com)

[I don't know. Hey, Joan, WHAT is the name of the kennel? Or, yeah, “Crichton” was the name of the street, right? Well, does the kennel/breeder have a name? What was it? DO we have his papers and know about his family and stuff? You do, right?]

The good news is that, even though we haven't yet sorted out his name, he feels comfortable enough already to have pooped on our floor.

No wonder everybody loves dogs.

[UPDATE: We've thrown Crichton out the window. That is to say it's been decided that that is no longer part of his name. His AKC designation is now Prince Stirling Piper Triple Nickels Wonderdog. Joan calls him Stirling, i call him Piper, mostly he just barks incoherently at us.]

September 02, 2008


There we were.
There we were.
There we were.
IN the Con(Dragon).
Making appearances and escorting our out-of-town guests around. Alllll day Friday.

We did the "Walk of Fame". I signed some autographs and we chatted-up some fans. Of course we hung out with some celebrities too. We checked out the art show and the acres of merchandise. It was cool. We took a break for dinner (with RayPark/DarthMaul among others) at Trader Vic's. Then it was back to the hotel lobby for cocktails late into the night (with RichardHatch/Apollo-Zarek among others). Much fun was had by all. But, wait, there's more...

Saturday started with the parade (as all the best Saturdays do). You ain't seen nothin' 'til you've seen acres of stormtroopers marching down Main Street in formation. They had everything actually. There's wookies and thundercats and elves (oh my). There's Darth Vader and Cobra Commander and Klingons on motorcycles. -Oh! Dude! Not only did we see Speed Racer in the Mach 5, but we also saw THE Batman in THE Batmobile! It was teh awesome. (And it is, of course, open to the public, so the streets were packed with spectators.)

There's so much to see & do. The rest of the day was even more con-wandering. There're panel discussions and little film festivals and stuff. You can watch comicbook artists work on sketches and everybody's walking around in (or taking pix of) reallly elaborate costumes. Even if you don't get IN to the scheduled/sequestered events and even if you're not all that into sci-fi/fantasy, you Hafta see the hustle & bustle of the nerdtacular crowds between & amongst the three main hotels in downtown Atlanta. It's ker-razy. And then Saturnight was more cocktails back at the hotel.

Sunday though, we took a little break. Joan d'Arc slept in and i went out early with the crew to play a round of golf. I don't mean to brag, but i shot under 150 there at Bradshaw Farm. Bradshaw... Favre... it's fantasy football draft time again. After a quickchange we rendezvoused back at the business center for our teleconferenced CyberBall VirtualReality Football League draft -and, yes, it's that huge. We had the two Atlanta teams and two Florida teams live-and-in-person. On the line were the two Indianapolis teams, Chicago, Houston, and Denver. As cool as the golf and the draft were, however, i missed the MISS KLINGON UNIVERSE pageant. Again. (Next year we're going to have to schedule things better.)

Monday we wrapped up the last of our convention attending with a Battlestar Galactica panel and alittle more merch-browsing. It was BLTs for lunch and then we waved goodbye to everybody as they scattered back across the country. (Big sigh of relief.)

i was passed-out face-down on the couch by 7pm.

P.S. More to follow, but... herrrrrrrrrre's Flickr.