October 29, 2005


One, two… Contagion is coming for you.

Three, four… Better lock your door.

Five, Six… Crab your crucifix.

Seven, Eight… Better stay up late.

Nine, Ten… Never sleep again.

Happy Halloween.

Posted by Contagion at 11:02 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Trail of History

I've been a little busy and I had forgotten to update the Spoon and Blade in a while. If you want to see some pictures of my new still and a complete review of our weekend at Trail of History, you can check them out here.

Posted by Contagion at 11:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Pun'kins with Pumpkins

Seeing as Halloween is coming up, the other night I took the boys to get pumpkins. Everybody has to carve pumpkins for Halloween, if you don’t… that’s just weird. After spending 15 minutes looking at all the pumpkins available, each boy chooses the one they wanted. Yes, I actually let each boy choose his own pumpkin. This was for my own amusement as Clone kept trying to pick up the pumpkin he wanted. He ended up choosing one that he could actually pick up. Considering his criteria AND the fact it has no stem, I don’t think he did a bad job. Boopie however was looking for something more to fit the design he had in mind. Here are both of their choices:

First we drew the design on a piece of paper, then we gutted and cleaned them both out. Clone loved this part; he could not get enough of the disemboweling of pumpkins. It was his desire to just through the pumpkin guts on the ground that was annoying. Finally we get around to actually carving the designs into the pumpkins. Boopie did his own this year. He wanted to do it by himself. Clone also wanted to do it himself. I put my foot down, much to his chagrin, and carved it for him. Here are the final products.

From all of us in the Contagion household to all of you, Happy Halloween!

Posted by Contagion at 09:53 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 28, 2005

Friday Posts

Is it even worth posting anything on a Friday? I'm not sure anybody actually reads blogs on Friday's besides me. Other then myself and a couple of others, it seems that most bloggers don't post on Fridays...

What do you think, post or no post on Fridays?

Posted by Contagion at 04:00 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Halloween Humor

I know these are old, I've seen them before, but they still make me laugh.

Reasons Halloween is better then sex.

10. You're guaranteed to get a little something in the sack.

9. The uglier you are, the easier it is to get some.

8. It doesn't matter if the kids hear you moaning and groaning.

7. Less guilt the morning after.

6. It doesn't matter if they fantasize you're somebody else, because you are.

5. Forty years from now, you'll still enjoy candy.

4. If you don't get what you want, you can always go next door.

3. If you get tired, you can wait 10 minutes and go again.

2. You don't have to compliment the person who gives you some.

1. You can do the whole neighborhood!

Bonus: If you get a stomach ache, it wont last 9 months.


Ten things heard on Halloween that sound dirty, but aren't.

10. She's a goblin!

9. I'd like to get a little something in the sack tonight.

8. Just get on your hands and knees and bob your head.

7. She's got a couple of nice pumpkins on her porch

6. If you just lick it, it'll last longer.

5. Let me see your big sack!

4. Can I eat your Zagnuts?

3. Have your mom check it before you put it in your mouth.

2. You scared me stiff!

1. He's got Candy spread out on the living room floor!

Posted by Contagion at 12:55 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Some days I wish I was still a cop.

This morning on the way to work, I was traveling at a very unrespectful speed of 55 mph in a 45. Yes, I acknowledge I have a speeding problem. On the stretch of road I was on, it is not uncommon for most of the traffic to be doing 55, with the occasional driver doing 50. Sometimes however, you get some jag off that feels that 55 is just too slow. These also tend to be the same dumbasses that weave in and out of traffic almost colliding with other vehicles. I had a run in with one of these rectal-cranial inverted wastes of space today.

I was in the right lane doing 55; there was a Lexus in the left lane just ahead of me, also doing 55. We came upon a slower moving Buick in the right lane. This is when I decided I was going to switch lanes and pass. As I checked my mirrors, I saw this green Saturn come flying up behind the Lexus. The Saturn didn’t slow down until it was right on top of the Lexus. They where so close I swear that the bumpers could not have been more then a foot apart at times.

After I had passed the slower moving Buick, I changed back to the right lane. The intellectually challenged driver in the green Saturn (With dealer plates) stayed on the bumper of the Lexus. At this point, I’m not sure if the Lexus driver was nervous or just trying to get the Saturn to back off, but they started gradually to slow down. Like by a mile an hour every 2 minutes. This means that I am now starting to pass both vehicles on the right. Just as I am almost right up to the Saturn, still inches away from the Lexus, the mentally myopic driver just whips into the right lane.

The flaming butt nugget was so close to me in my truck that I could NOT see the trunk of their vehicle. I of course slowed down to avoid an accident. But in a most uncivilized manner, I switched my headlights to high beams. At 6:30 in the morning, it’s still dark out here. My headlights are high enough to shine right into the back window. They are also bright enough to cause physical pain to anyone that is caught unaware by them. I left my high beams on for the next quarter of a mile until I turned off the main street. Part of me was hoping the driver of the Saturn would turn off to confront me; I really would have loved to vent some anger onto this asshole. My more responsible and civilized parts however did not want anything more to do with the dumbass.

Just in case any of the drivers involved actually find this post, I have this to say.

To the driver of the Lexus;

I’m sorry if I blinded you with my headlights. It was a very juvenile and assholish thing for me to do. I let my anger get the best of me and you innocently suffered. You handled this situation with more class then I did. My most sincere apologies.

To the Driver of the Saturn;

One day you will cause an accident, not just any kind of accident, but a serious one, possibly with fatalities. At the speeds we were traveling, there was absolutely no reason for your boorish behavior behind the wheel. There is no excuse for trying to squeeze in one car length closer just so you can get to work maybe 30 seconds faster. If you are running late, try to get your arse out of bed earlier, especially on days when you have to scrape frost off your windows. You are damn lucky I don’t know what dealership those plates belong. If I did, trust me, by now I would have called them AND the police to file a complaint. Even if that meant getting my own speeding ticket. If there is a hell, I believe there is a special place for drivers like you.

P.S. If you didn’t notice, the ¾ ton extended cab/extended bed Truck I was driving had almost three times the mass of your little four banger. If something had happened, I would have crushed you like the roach you are under my size thirteen shoe.

Posted by Contagion at 12:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

I am my own enemy.

King Edward I
You scored 75 Wisdom, 81 Tactics, 53 Guts, and 60 Ruthlessness!
Or rather, King Edward the Longshanks if you've seen Braveheart. You, like Edward, are incredibly smart and shrewd, but you win at any costs.... William Wallace died at his hands after a fierce Scottish rebellion against his reign. Despite his reputation though, Longshanks had the best interests of his people at heart. But God help you if you got on his bad side.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 88% on Unorthodox
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 82% on Tactics
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 42% on Guts
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 86% on Ruthlessness
Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

I saw this over at There's one, only and had to take it. You all know my love of history... What surprises me is that being a Scottish Re-enactor, I scored as the most brutal butcherer of Scots.

Posted by Contagion at 07:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 27, 2005

I'll take a blonde with a side of red head and a brunette to go.

AskMen.com is looking for people to vote for the top 99 hottest women. I could lie and say I didn't do this because I found it degrading... but to be honest I did vote and I don't find it degrading. Although I think I'm the only person in the US that would give Paris Hilton a 1... I think she's an unattractive skank whore.

So guys if you want to put your 2 cents in, go vote. Ladies if you want to vote, please give me details of who and why. Especially if it involves pudding. :)

UPDATE: It appears since the time that I found this vote and today they closed the voting. Sorry.

Posted by Contagion at 05:25 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

I think I would burst first.

To drink my weight, I would have to chug 315 bottles of beer!
How big is your beer belly?
Powered by the mighty Rum and Monkey.

For those of you that are beer challenged, that is 13 cases of 24-12 oz PLUS three more bottles. The most beer I drank in one day was almost 3 cases. That was back in college when I used to drink and not the light weight I am today.

Posted by Contagion at 05:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I'm getting anger boils.

Someone needs to pray to God, Allah, Jehovah, Jesus, The Virgin Mary, the Trees, Buddha, Ganesha, or me (In certain third world countries I am worshiped as a god) for the life of my eldest boy, Boopie. If you recall earlier this week we had a run in regarding his tone of voice and showing proper respect towards adults. This all stemmed from his attempting to wear shorts to school. Please remember our highs are only in the 50s right now. He was told, “No more shorts until spring, and it warms up.”

The boy put on shorts again this morning.

He looked shocked when I told him calmly to change.

How calm was I? My voice was barely a whisper. Why was I so calm? If I didn’t maintain that level of calm, I would have killed the boy… or at least woken the neighbors up from my yelling.

He is going to need all the help he can get to survive the next 6 years.

And you all wonder why I drink. j/k… well not really.

Posted by Contagion at 01:18 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Despair, apathy, nihilism. A Sith lord craves these things.

Everyone has seen them, the rubber wristbands that people wear to support everything from breast cancer to their favorite sports team. I admit I have one for the Green Bay Packers. In my defense, it was a gift and it is still in its plastic wrap hanging in my cubicle at work. However, what if you don’t want to wear one, or if you’re a ripe bastard and don’t want a feel good bracelet wristband? A company out there has come up with a solution for you.

Bleak Wristbands. That’s right, rubber bracelets wristbands for those of us that don’t care about other people. You have the choice of ones that say Despair, Apathy or Nihilism. Who brings us this wonderful new product? No other then Archie McPhee & Co, the company that brought you Bacon Bandages.

To be honest I wouldn’t mind getting one of the white apathy bands to wear at work, just to see how long it would take one of my minions to notice.

Posted by Contagion at 12:58 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 26, 2005

It's my turn.

Last week I received notice that I have been selected for jury duty. This has made me as giddy as a boy going out on a date with a girl that is a “sure thing”. For years, I have wanted to serve on a jury. It is something that I have always wanted to do, and I’m hoping that this will be my turn. At this point, I’m pretty sure most of you are thinking I’m rather insane. Most of the people that I have talked to about this don’t understand either. They would do just about anything to avoid jury duty. To them it is a burden and waste of time.

To me jury duty gives me a chance to see something I love in action and to be a part of it, the American legal system. When I worked in Law Enforcement, I loved court days. Sitting in the courtroom, hearing the cases, listening to the lawyers fight for their clients by presenting or spinning facts, just being a part of the legal system. Watching the judge and jury listen to everything and mull over the evidence. Seeing the beauty of years of defining constitutional rights and to see them applied to an individual case, was their fourth amendment rights violated, where they denied due process, etc.

Too many people I have talked to either view it as a waste of their time or, in a couple of occasions, a way to get out of work. I’ve even heard people telling each other what to do to get out of jury duty. This really pisses me off. As a citizen of the United States it is your duty to serve on a jury, it is an obligation and a way to uphold our way of life. How? When you sit in the jury box, and the lawyers present their cases, you are helping to enforce our laws and constitution. If Slick Johnny gets off on a technicality because Officer Jones performed an illegal search of his vehicle, hopefully Officer Jones learned from his mistake so next time someone’s constitutional rights aren’t violated. If Scary Bob is convicted of a crime due to overwhelming evidence, then you just helped uphold the laws of our country.

Think of it this way. If you ever had to go to court (innocent or guilty) who would you rather have on the jury, someone that is there wishing they where somewhere else or someone that is actually interested and excited to be part of the system? I know I would rather have someone that is paying attention to the case. That way I don’t have to worry about my fate being determined by someone with a “gut feeling”.

Now I have to sit and wait to find out if they will actually pick me to serve on the jury. The last two times I was called up I was dismissed. Once when I was in college, because I was studying law and the second time I was working in Law Enforcement. What I really would like to do is serve on the Grand Jury. In Illinois, it is a six-month assignment every other Wednesday. I’d be in heaven. To hear that many cases and to decide if there is enough to indict would rock!

Posted by Contagion at 01:15 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 25, 2005

Darn flippant kids!

I think my oldest child is trying to commit suicide by father. Why? Because I’m going to kill him! Okay, only metaphorically. The story starts 12 years ago… he was born. All was right with the world, but then he started getting older. The older he became, the more problems he caused. First, it was learning to walk… he was into everything. Then it was learning to talk… he wouldn’t shut up! Then he started middle school; now he thinks he is an adult. He knows what’s best and should be able to do what he wants. This has given him a bit a flippant attitude and a disrespectful tone to his voice.

Fast forward to yesterday morning; Boopie is getting ready for school. It is a balmy 40 degree’s outside at 6:30 AM with a forecasted high in the 50’s; the boy decides it is a good day to wear shorts. At this point, my wife, who loves mornings, strongly advises him that he cannot wear shorts to school. He’s not happy about this, but he changes and spends the rest of the morning pouting about it.

Fast Forward again to this morning; I’m in the kitchen getting lunches ready when I hear my wife say to Boopie again, “It is too cold to wear shorts, go change.” With out missing a beat in a very flippant and disrespectful tone of voice I hear Boopie respond with something like, “You didn’t do my laundry. I have no clean clothes.” (Boopie is supposed to take his laundry to the basement for washing; he has been told that if he doesn’t bring it down it will not be washed. He didn’t take his laundry down.) That was it for me this morning. I was raised in a household were children show proper respect to all adults, but especially their parents. There was no way I was about to put up with that.

I walk into the living room; heading straight for Boopie. As soon as he makes eye contact with me, he knows he did something wrong as his eyes start to bulge in fear. Yes, my kids have a healthy respect and fear of their father. With my hand firmly on the back of his neck, I guide him into the kitchen. The whole way from the living room, through our office to the kitchen he is make choking noises.

The first thing I say to him once I let him go is, “Just so you know it is physically impossible to be choked from the BACK of your neck, so knock that crap off.” If I had him by the back of the neck and was able to choke him, his neck is either really small, my hands are really large or a combination of the both. Either way that’s not the case here, my hand only goes maybe 3/5 the way around his neck. That and it wasn’t as if I was squeezing it. I love my son, but he is a bit of a wimp when it comes to things like… pain, fear, getting in trouble, being sick, etc. He then tried to say he wasn’t making choking sounds, to which my wife called him out on it.

Now I’m telling him my standard dad speech number 2, “You will show proper respect for adults both in your actions and your tone of voice. Until you, yourself are an adult, I will not tolerate you talking to adults in that tone of voice. You had better knock it off and knock it off now or you are going to learn this lesson the hard way.” For Boopie the hard way is making him clean his room thoroughly AND writing hundreds of sentences.

Ktreva goes back to explaining to him again that if he does not take his laundry downstairs and tell her it needs to be done, she is not going to do it. Then she advised him that it was still too cold for shorts anyway. In the same flippant and disrespectful tone he mouths off, “How was I supposed to know it was going to be cold?” I believe he realized he screwed up right as the words left his mouth as he, (and Ktreva) took a step back from me. Looking him dead in the eye I calmly ask, “Did we not just go over this? Is there something in your head that prevents you from thinking before you speak? Do you really want to make me mad?”

A squeak emits forth from his mouth. I’m fairly sure that squeak translated into “Yes, Yes, and NO” in fearinesse; a language mastered by all boys when they have incurred the wrath of the fathers.

He was still pouting when he left with Ktreva for school, but apparently, his tone of voice was much better. Before he left, I made sure to explain to him that shorts will no longer be worn to school until late spring. I’m just curious to see if he tries to put them on again tomorrow. It wouldn’t be the first time, nor the last time, he pulled a stunt like that.

For all of you that have younger kids, this is what you get to look forward to happening with yours. Aren’t you excited?

Posted by Contagion at 04:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 24, 2005

I'm a bad blog neighbor.

It appears my little “vacation” from the blogosphere has taken its toll. It has been 11 days since I last actively blogged, both reading and writing. Now I have a guilty feeling as if I’ve abandoned friends and family. This honestly is not the case. I was just really busy.

    Excuse 1:
I had my favorite re-enactment of the season on the 15th and 16th. Some of you may recall that I got engaged at this event AND had part of my honeymoon there. It’s also the last event of the season for us. That means we won’t see any of our re-enactment friends for almost 6 months. I’m close with a lot of these people, but like in the blogosphere, we don’t live near one another. Some of them travel in excess of 12 hours to get to some of the events we do.

    Excuse 2:

My place o’ employment sent me to Texas for 4 days. It was not a pleasant trip, and I so wished I could have gotten online at night to blog about it and to read your blogs to get my mind off everything. Unfortunately, I don’t own a laptop to take with me. Even if I did, the sucky hotel stuck me in a room that didn’t have internet access.

    Excuse 3:
With all my traveling around, I had to spend some quality time with my wife. Sure, we did the re-enactment together, but during the day, I was either talking to the public or fighting in the battle. We didn’t spend any real time together, and contrary to my surly and uncouth appearance, I know that if I want to stay happy I do need to spend some time entertaining my wife in matters outside the bedroom. Although usually the first leads to the latter, which is yet more motivation for me.

The problem with spending all the time away is that I am so behind in all the blogs that I’m not even going to try to catch up. There are hurricanes, politics, jokes, emotions, complaints, rants and even the occasional profession of pure emotion out there. For me to be able to go back 11 days and read them all would require me to take a lot of vacation time, and I can’t do that. This means I am sure some of you have written brilliant pieces that I will be worse for not reading.

So if any of you have written a post that you are really proud of or if you read someone else’s post that you feel that it would be a crime against the blogosphere for me to not read, please the url in the comments for me.

My normal smart arse and generally unwanted comments will resume in all of my regular reads starting tomorrow. That reminds me, I’m getting ready redo my frequent visits list, if I visit your site often and you don’t see your site on my list, also leave a comment. I tend to forget where I’ve been and what I’ve done.

Posted by Contagion at 07:30 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Tequilla good?

Ktreva and I went out to dinner with some friends of ours Saturday night. Afterwards we headed to a local bar, Hard Times, to see a band play. We work with the lead singer and thought it would be nice to go check out the band. There were other friends of ours that were supposed to meet us there as well.

When I was younger I used to frequent Hard Times a lot, it was one of the few bars that actually played metal in Rockford. Until Saturday, I had not stepped foot in there for 8 years. That place has changed a lot over the last 8 years. It is still a metal bar, but the lay out of the place is completely different. Plus it wasn’t as busy at it used to be, all night it never got crowded.

At this point, I would love to give you a review of the bands, but to be fair I cannot. It has nothing to do with how much I had been drinking; it has everything to do with the craptacular company the bar brought in to run the sound. The bands were supposed to start playing at 9:00 PM; however, they couldn’t get the sound system to work properly until 10:45 PM. Even after the sound was working, they had the volumes on the channels messed up. The Bass guitar and drums completely drowned out the lead guitar, rhythm guitar, vocals and in one bad the keyboard. (BTW, just a hint to people that plays in metal/rock bands. KEYBOARDS DO NOT BELONG IN METAL/ROCK!)

Then they had the sound cranked so loud that you couldn’t even yell at the person next to you to convey your displeasure at the ineptitude of the sound crew. Imagine if you will, people in this small bar trying to listen to a band, consisting only of drums and a bass guitar being played deafeningly loud. I know the saying, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”. Nah, when it’s so loud you are getting feedback echo, turn down the volume! When someone said something to the sound crew regarding the issues, they were promptly blown off with a, “We are being paid to do this, we know what we are doing!”

Before the bands started playing, I shot some pool with one of the guys, “C”. While growing up, I always had a pool table in our house, so you would think I’d be decent at it. Well I’m not! I don’t really like shooting pool, so I don’t play very often. “C” used to be in a pool league. I still won 4 out of 6 games. Three of those wins had nothing to do with skill, he scratched three times on the eight ball. In C’s defense, it wasn’t exactly him either. The table was warped and it leaned towards one of the corners. If you gently hit one of the balls, you could see the ball’s path curve with the table. Once we figured that out, we did make some beautiful shots that neither one of us normally would be able to make.

We all had a really good time, excluding the crappy sound and including me drunkenly rubbing my nipples and screaming, “Davey! We love you!” to make fun of some of the girls dancing at the foot of the stage. Any night that I end up buying myself Prairie Fire shots (Half Tequila and Half Tabasco) is a good night. The pickling of my brain made the Packers loss to the Vikings on Sunday a lot less painful.

Posted by Contagion at 07:22 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 21, 2005

20 rules for travel

What an interesting trip to Texas. I wish I could share everything I learned with you; unfortunately, some laws prohibit me from doing so. Since what I can share would turn this post into a novel to rival that of “War and Peace”, I’m just going to share the highs and lows with everyone.

1) You cannot bring a lighter into the airport. There were no signs stating such, so I didn’t think about it as I walked through the checkpoint with a lighter in my pocket.

2) Security does not appreciate when you try to bring contraband through a checkpoint. They tend to make quite a show of it.

3) If you put the lighter in your purse you can bring one past the checkpoint, you just can’t have it in your pocket. My traveling companion was able to get two lighters onto the flight.

4) Before you let the shuttle go that took you from the airport to your hotel, make sure it is the right hotel they dropped you off at and not the closest one. Some of those drivers do NOT want to drive any further then they have to.

5) It is cheaper for more then two people to take a Taxi from the airport to a hotel then to take the shuttle.

6) Having reservations in a hotel (Crown Plaza Suites Park Central in Dallas, TX Sucks) does not necessarily mean they will honor the reservations, even with a secured late check in. Everyone in my group requested a smoking room, and not a one of us received one. The day before we all confirmed we had one.

7) Just because you (your company) pay a lot to stay in a hotel, it does not guarantee that the service will be good, the rooms will be cleaned, trash will be emptied and the staff polite. (Did I mention the Crown Plaza Suites Park Central 7800 Alpha Rd Dallas, TX 75251 sucks?) Everyone in my group had the same issues with rooms not being cleaned and rude staff.

8) Restaurants in hotels that suck, like the Crown Plaza Suites Park Central in Dallas TX, also suck. Service was very slow, the food was inconsistent (They have a breakfast buffet, the food was good one day and the same style of items were horrible or bland the next.), drinks were weak/watered down.

9) You cannot smoke in Dallas, TX. This means that if you are stuck in a non-smoking room because the Crown Plaza Suites Park Central in Dallas TX sucks and won’t hold your confirmation, you have to leave the building in order to have a cigarette. You can’t even smoke in a restaurant or bar. This wouldn’t be a big deal if those ripe bastards had put you in a damn smoking room! However, if you smoke in your current room, they very rudely informed me, that there would be an extra $50.00 per day cleaning charge… and they don’t clean the room anyway!

10) If you smoke outside in some of the smaller communities you can get a citation for smoking in public… and you still can’t smoke in bars/restaurants.

11) Parts of Texas are dry, as in no alcohol. In these areas, the only place you can get a drink is in a club that you are a member. I.e., you have to buy membership to the club in order to go in and get a drink. Fortunately, these memberships are relatively cheap.

12) People in Texas like to water down their alcohol. Every drink I had down there was weak!

13) Texas has a concealed carry law; the people are allowed to carry guns if they have a license. This means there are alcoholics out there in desperate want of a drink, going through nicotine withdrawal and carrying a gun. Needless to say, I tried not to piss any locals off.

14) Texans get pissed if you start to emulate their accents, even on accident. However, they find it “cute” when a northerner says “y’all”.

15) Before riding in a vehicle that you don’t personally own, check to make sure the back seat is secured to the vehicle. Being flipped out of the back seat of a minivan as the NASCAR inspired driver makes a left turn at 70 mph is not a good way to start your morning.

16) The signs and displays telling you how big a carry-on bag can be in an airport are only for suggestion. No one that works for the airline will actually enforce how big an item can be. Therefore, if you take a full sized garment bag with what is obviously at least 4 days worth of suits, you can carry that on and cram it into an overheard compartment and no one will say a word to you.

17) People cannot count. When they say you can bring one carry-on bag and one personal item onto the airplane, that does not mean you can bring a three-piece luggage set AND your purse. I don’t care if your bags are smaller then the guy who just jammed a large suitcase into the overhead, at least he only brought one.

18) If you are turned back to check in luggage because it’s too big, you brought too many with, or because other people with large bags took up all the overhead space, don’t spend the rest of the flight complaining to me about it. I don’t care if you or other people can’t follow simple directions.

19) If you travel with me, inevitably you will have the parent with the screaming kid right behind you on the airplane. Why people think any child under the age of five will travel “nicely” on a plane is beyond me.

And finally:

20) You can spend 6 hours sitting on your arse (in the car, airport, airplane, bus, any combo, etc) and when you get home, you are seriously exhausted. I have yet to figure out why this is.

Posted by Contagion at 04:16 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 17, 2005

Yea, that's the stuff.

We returned from Trail of History last night, we had a blast. This was probably one of my best re-enacting weekends I had in the last 8 years. Since I had left my re-enacting group, we had to re-jury into the event. That meant the event staff and coordinators were scrutinizing us. We did good, word is they were very impressed by our display. In fact I was told we were one of the three most popular displays in camp this year.

Why were we so popular? For the first time I ran the still. We had it set up and making whisky… well okay I was distilling water due to federal law. However, the public didn’t need to know that, and back in 1756 there were no laws about that in the frontier. Thus, I told them all I was making whisky. The interaction I had was wonderful. Other re-enactors would try to trade me for whisky through out the day. And I even walked to some of the other trader displays with gallons of “whisky” to trade them for supplies I needed. What was great about the whole experience was the fact that everyone was curious as to what I was doing.

When public would go walking past, sometimes they would do a double take at the still to make sure they saw correctly. One of the hooks I would use to draw in public was when I saw someone do that I would say, “Yes, that is what you think it is. And yes I am.” The smiles on their faces would spread ear to ear, especially the guys. That’s not to say I didn’t have a lot of women and even children stand there for my 15-minute spiel.

What I found even more satisfying was at the end of the event being told by re-enactors that had been doing this for 15+ years that they thought my display was great. They had never seen anyone do distilling before AND they couldn’t believe no one ever thought about it. They liked my camp, display and spiel so much I was invited to join one of the old guard re-enacting groups, a group that is considered an institution of re-enacting in our area. They have set standards in Historical and Period correct displays at three of the events I do. I was very honored to have been asked to join. However, I declined their offer. After explaining that I left one group and had no desire to join another group at this time, they all understood. They then told me to take a year or two and if I change my mind the offer is open.

The only problem I had this weekend was a severe lack of time. There was a shortage of people willing to fight in the battle this weekend. On Saturday they scheduled a walk through of the battlefield at 12:30 with the battle at 2:00. That took me out of camp a lot. If they hadn’t been short of fighters I probably wouldn’t have gone. Some of you that have read me for a while know how much I love doing the battles, so you are probably asking yourselves, “Why would you not do what you love?” Simply because when I left at 12:20 to get to the battlefield I had to turn no less then 20 people away from my camp. I gave a brief talk about distilled spirits in the frontier and then explained I had to go “kill some Brits”. A large part of me wanted to stay in camp just to talk to the public, to educate them on distilling AND distilled spirits in the frontier.

That is why I had started re-enacting and I had lost that feeling over the last 3 years. This weekend brought it back. Numerous friends of mine at this event saw me and commented on how happy I looked. I guess Homer Simpson was correct when he said, “Alcohol – the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.”

Oh and yes I did get a lot of comments on how it was “appropriate” that I, the surly Scotsman, was running the still. People that have known me and all the re-enacting stories about me (including a certain Jack Daniel’s incident), found it highly amusing.

Posted by Contagion at 10:36 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 13, 2005

I can only do wrong.

So last week my work sends me to this sensitivity “leadership” class. Basically, I was told that I needed to change my personality and try to be nicer and more positive. I know my job is not on the line, but I figured when it comes time for my review it would be nice to show that I’m trying. All week I’ve been smiling at work, being nice, saying hello and just being cheery in general. Here are some of the responses I’ve received to the newer “nicer” Contagion.

“It’s disconcerting to see you so happy.”

“Why are you smiling? What are you going to do to me?”

“It gives me the creeps that you are saying hello to everyone. It’s like you are planning a hit list.”

“I don’t like when you say please and thank you. It gives me chills, not the good kind.”

“Did you get some last night?” (Nice, huh? If I had said that I would be instantly back in sensitivity class or fired However, because it was females that said it to me, it’s okay.)

“We’ve decided that your being nice is wrong. We liked the pressure of having to worry about you coming to chew us out.”

“Are you on Prozac?”

“STOP BEING NICE!!! I can’t work in these conditions.”

“You said hello to me… what did I do wrong?”

“You know my name?!?!?! Does this mean I’m getting fired?”

“I’m scared; you’re going to shoot someone aren’t you?”

I just can’t win. They complain when I’m my normal work driven self and they complain when I’m nice and caring. I’d try being a ripe bastard for a while just for their reactions. If I thought, I wouldn’t be fired for driving someone to commit suicide.

Posted by Contagion at 12:57 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The scourge of the north?

When I first saw this story, I couldn’t believe it. I figured stuff like this would be over with once Randy Moss was gone and all the bad publicity from Mike Tice scalping Super Bowl tickets. Between the other problems the Minnesota Vikings have, they really didn’t need this kick in the bad publicity department.

To be honest, this may be what pulls the team together. Usually when groups of guys go out, the “Man Code” comes in to play. The Sergeant Schultz clause states: No matter what happens, you saw nutting! (Unless it’s the guys I’m hanging out with, then it’s only a matter of days before my wife finds out everything that happened).

On a lighter note, could you imagine what a 911 call on this would sound like?

911: 911 where’s your emergency?

Caller: We are out on Lake Minnetonka and are being attacked by Vikings. They are raping and pillaging the passengers as we speak.

911: Really? Vikings huh? Let me see if we can get Harold of Wessex to repel them.

Posted by Contagion at 12:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 12, 2005

Talk about a double standard

People always complain about there being a double standard for different things. While over at Steve the Pirate's I saw him calling for a boycot of Cafepress. Being curious I went over to The People's Cube to see what was going on.

I have to side with them, in a humurious letter to the company you can see what is causing all the fuss and decide for yourself.

As for me, I think I'll avoid Cafepress for a while.

Posted by Contagion at 06:33 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Cowboy boots and Kilts.

Next week my work is sending me to Dallas, TX for three days and nights in order to get some training. While I’m down there I need to check in on a mentoree or two and see how things are going. As I’ve only had contact with them via the phone, e-mail and video conference this could be interesting. Maybe I can put some of my newly found sensitivity leadership skills to use while I’m there.

My issue is that I’m flying out of O’Hare international scareport (If you’ve ever been there you understand why I call it that) and crashing landing in Dallas/Fort Worth international airport. Flying never bothered me, until 9/11. Now when I get onto the plane I start profiling people, keeping me eye on everyone and in general just waiting for someone to cause trouble. Its not that I think it’s going to happen, but if it does happen I want to be prepared for it.

I know me, I know how I am, if someone did try to highjack my plane I probably would die trying to kill them by using my glasses frames to stab them in the jugular. I’m fine all the way up until I actually get on the plane, then my nerves step in. All I have to do is stop what I’m doing, and focus on something else. This however goes against years of training and conditioning. For me just completely ignore the mass of people around me in an unfamiliar place is difficult. I’m a big boy, I’ll just have to suck up and deal with it.

While I was in Texas, I was hoping to be able to meet some bloggers that are down in that area. Upon looking at mapquest, I discovered that TLTTF is not exactly with in an hour’s trip from Dallas. Then I discovered they are probably going to be traveling anyway. Since they are the only Texas bloggers that I read, that I am aware of, there goes that idea.

I guess I’ll just have to fill my free time by “playing” with my mentorees.

Posted by Contagion at 01:07 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

It's going to be a long 16 years.

Kids grow up so fast. Just the other night Clone decided he wanted to go and explore the world. He found his little backpack, filled it with diapers, wipes, butt paste and his coat. Slung the pack over his shoulder and promptly told my wife, “I go bye bye now. See ya.”

Unfortunately, his trip was cut short.

He was mad when he could not open the child gate in order to go out the front door.

I have a feeling when he gets older I’m going to be spending a lot of time searching for him around the neighborhood.

Posted by Contagion at 12:57 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

I can't drive 55.

Have you ever done something stupid while driving and gotten busted for it? I’m not talking about singing in the car or picking your nose, I’m talking stupid traffic violation and cops. That was me this morning. I have a lot of things on my mind and I was deep in thought pondering those while energetically singing along to the new Foo Fighters album on my way to work this morning. My attention, stupidly, was not on my speedometer and I didn’t set my cruise control, as I’m wont to do. Throw in the fact that my truck is so big that it feels like you are moving along at a slower rate of speed then you actually are and you have a recipe for tickets.

As soon as I saw the red and blue lights behind me, I looked down at my speedometer and knew I was busted. Fifty-six in a thirty-five. SHITE! My luck with talking my way out of tickets is legendary amongst people that know me. I’ve been pulled over 29 times in the last 8 years and only received speeding tickets 3 of those times. There was no way my luck was going to work with this, 21 over in a residential is a big ticket. Thinking to myself, “eh, what the hell, I’ll give it a shot. What’s the worst that’s going to happen; I get the ticket?” And this is how it went:

(Officer walks up to the truck, window rolled down prior to cop stepping out of his vehicle.)

Me: “Good morning, Officer. I’m sorry; I’m still getting used to driving this big truck and wasn’t paying attention. This is one ticket you won’t have to worry about showing up in court for.” (Hands firmly holding the steering wheel at the ten and two position the whole time I’m talking)

Officer, “You where going pretty fast. Can I see your license and proof on insurance?”

(License and insurance sitting on dashboard prior to officer leaving his vehicle)

Me: (Handing information to the officer and using my Law Enforcement Voice) “Sure, its clear valid, class D-David original, No restrictions, no stops, 1 conviction. It has not been run in Illinois in the last 12 months.”

(Cop and I look at each other; a look of recognition comes across both of our faces. This is not necessarily a good thing when dealing with the police. In this case it was a good thing.)

Officer: (looks at license) “Didn’t you used to work for the state?”

Me: “Yea, about 7 years ago.”

Officer: (Laughing) “I thought you looked familiar, we used to work together I’m (Name excluded for privacy)”

Me: (Laughing) “Holy shite! I didn’t recognize you. It’s been a long time. When did you transfer to the Rockford PD?”

Officer: “Three years ago. Are you still working as a citizen?”
(We spend 5 minutes catching up)

Officer: “You know I have to give you a ticket.”

Me: “I know you can use your discretion and not give me a ticket. If you feel that I made a mistake and will not repeat it, you can let me go.”

Officer: “Yea, we used to race each other on the way to work.”(Sarcastically)”Sure, you’ll never speed again.” (We lived in the same city and would travel the same route on our 45-minute commute to work)

Me: “Hey! I remember someone else starting those little races.”

Officer: (Laughing,) “All right, don’t let me catch you doing it again.”

Me: “I’ll be more careful, BTW I’ll race you to the next light!”

Officer: “I could just see the trouble I would get in if someone reported that to my supervisor.”

We bid each other farewell and I pulled out nice and carefully. I guess I just shouldn’t underestimate my luck. Oh, and before you go trying this the next time you are pulled over remember two things. First, you have to have the right voice and tone inflections when giving your driving status and know what exactly is on there. If you are off just a little, it will NOT work. Secondly and more importantly, the only reason this worked was because I knew the cop. In all rights, I should have been slammed with a very large speeding ticket.

Oh, and yes everyone I’ve told this to today is irritated that I was able to get out of this ticket.

Posted by Contagion at 12:54 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 11, 2005

One Problem Solved.

I discovered what my problem was with my template.... It wasn't the template it was the settings in my MT config. Once I corrected that the rest just fell into place.... I would like to give a thank you to both Ogre and CalTechGirl for the offer of help.

Now if anyone could assist me in figuring out how to get my side bar on all of my archive pages I would appreciate it. No matter what I do, it doesn't seem to end up in the right place. Same offer as before, all kinds of link love, praise and top billing for the first person that helps me get it where it need to go. If I figure it out on my own then nothing changes!

Posted by Contagion at 04:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Legends come alive.

We’ve all heard of those stories that are just too strange to be true, or urban legends that always start with I know a guy that knows a guy whose cousin was… (Insert stupid story here). I however have the pleasure(?) not only of being able to spread a story like this, but it is in first person, as it happened to me.

The other morning I left my house to head for work. My wife had left with the boys already, so I was by myself. As I approached my truck, I heard a growl from behind me. Then two more distinctly different growls joined in. There was something different about the growl, it was higher pitched then I am accustomed to. Quickly I turned to face my attackers. In the past, I have had to fight a dog before, it’s painful and messy, but can be done easily enough.

Then I saw my attackers.

Three dogs, but not just any dogs, these where Chihuahuas. A pack of free roaming Chihuahuas straight from legend has invaded my neighborhood. All three of them were shaking like a crack fiend jonesing for their next fix. This time they picked the wrong prey. Looking down upon the obvious ringleader, the largest of the three dogs, I chuckle. These three must have had a serious Napoleon complex.

I turn to get into my truck when the three advance on me. WTF???? I have feet bigger then they are; are they hoping I’m going to have a heart attack? Taking a few quick steps forward all three run in different directions. I just couldn’t believe what was going on. Turning around to get into my truck, there is the leader and one of this cronies standing there. I can hear the other coming up behind me.

My amusement at the situation has waned. In my authoritative “I’m not happy” voice, I tell them, “I’ve eaten things bigger then you.” Still barking and growling, they move closer! Now my irritation at the situation has sparked an anger response in me. I try to kick one of these ankle biters. Missing as they all break and flee, I decide just to leave. Climbing into my truck, I can see they are still hanging around.

While I was backing out of the driveway, I’ll admit that I tried to run them over… and missed. Since my wife was already at work, and I wasn’t heading to the office, I called her to tell her the story. I also asked her to inform Animal Control that I was “Viciously attacked” by three Chihuahuas. I swear she fell out of her chair laughing! That’s love for you, I’m viciously attacked and she just laughs at me!

While driving a stray thought came to me, is this a new trend? Will packs of wild Chihuahuas start roaming the countryside in look of prey and to harass people? I sure hope so, free range Chihuahuas taste better then house kept ones.

Posted by Contagion at 12:52 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 10, 2005

Crap, I did something wrong.

Okay, from the crappy look/design of my site you can tell that I'm doing the work on here myself and that I don't have a lot of experience with HTML. Well, I just discovered the other day while writing a my first post about going to sensitivity class that I somehow screwed up my template. I don't know what I did and can't figure out how to fix it. So I'm looking for someone that has some serious skills with Movable Type and HTML to help me.

Since I'm shy, I just can't bring myself to start e-mailing people that I think might be able to help me. Especially if I've never once stepped foot on their blog. If anyone reads this and thinks they might be willing to help me please leave a comment. To whomever actually fixes my problem I will give you an insane amount of praise and linkage, Including a top billing on my side bar with credits praise and maybe even something that describes you as a deity of the internet!

Posted by Contagion at 01:02 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

I'll show you sensitive!

Last Friday I had to attend what they called “Leadership camp”. People, I don’t care how you try to sugar coat it, but sensitivity class is sensitivity class. Trust me, I’ve been sent to two actual sensitivity classes in the last 4 years. Sure, this had a different structure and some new material, but there were many of the same principles behind it. This time I actually had fun, then again I made it fun; not just for me, but for the other people. In doing so, I did learn some new things. As soon as I walked in, I knew this was going to be interesting. Out of the 37 people in the class, I was the only male. So let me share with you what I took from this sensitivity class.

*Do not show up 30 minutes late and say, “I thought this started at 8:30… Eh the extra 30 minutes of sleep were worth it.”

*I work for a company that definitely does not hire based on looks. I’m not vein in any sense, in fact, I think I’m pretty much a hideous man-beast, but I was the best looking person in that class.

*After taking the personality test the instructors do not like when you enthusiastically shout out that you scored “perfect” for the “Dominant” personality. (Out of 20 possible points for the dominant personality, I scored 20. The instructor said that the highest he had seen before that day was 16 and he’d been doing this for 10 years.)

*They like it even less when you tell the lesser beings in the class to bow down in awe.

*When you are placed in a workgroup filled with submissive personalities… you get exactly what you want.

*During the part of the class in which you are to come up with ways for your “personality profile” to work with other “personality profiles”, if you are dominant the correct answer is not, “Pretend you care about them”. (Even if it is true. There were two other Dominant personalities in my class, not as dominant as I am, but we all felt that way. However, I actually said it out loud.)

*When they say you are going to do some role-playing, do not shout out, “I want to be the wizard” OR “Can I be the policeman?” (Especially the second one… Thank jebus someone besides me has a sense of humor!)

*In the middle of the roll playing session if you don’t want to do it anymore, just shout out, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN I’M DEFENSIVE?!?!?!?!?!”

*If you are put into a group that has no creative or artistic ability and you are supposed to do something creative and artistic; the best thing to do is stand up and announce to the entire class after your presentation, “As you can see our group has neither creative nor artistic ability. If we could pay you back the 10 minutes of your life lost listening to us babble we would.” We had best presentation!

*If you are a dominant personality and placed with a group of creative and submissive personalities, you can sit back and let them do all the work and give you the credit.

*One does not have to like or dislike a person to scare them.

*Being the only guy with 36 females can be fun.

*Being the only guy with 36 females in a sensitivity class can be dangerous.

*Being the only guy with 36 females with an average weight of 250 lbs in a sensitivity class can be hazardous to your health, if you know what I mean… And I’m sure a lot of you do.

*After establishing that you have a “dominant” personality, it is not a good idea to point out that you are the highest level management in class and you should be able to do what you want, even if that includes taking a nap in your truck.

*DO NOT LAUGH DURING THE LANCE ARMSTRONG FIGHTS CANCER MOTIVATIONAL VIDEO! Nothing you say or do will fix the damage that you have caused. (I was thinking of an incident that happened earlier in the day and not paying attention. I started chuckling when they where talking about how he almost died from cancer)

*Finally, if you have to go to one of these things try at least to have fun with it, even if that means dragging the rest of the class down with you.

Posted by Contagion at 12:54 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack


Finally the Packers win a game this season... and I miss it. Not because it's my anniversary, Not because I was re-enacting, Not because I was shooting. Nope, because I live in Illinois and they televised the Chicago Bear game. ARGH!

Oh, to all the Bear fans out there, that fumble at the end of the game wasn't Orton's fault... that was just really bad play by the running back.

Posted by Contagion at 06:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 09, 2005


It was a cold and rainy day on Saturday October 17, 1998. I remember this day vividly for two reasons. One reason being it was the worst (weather ways) re-enactments I’ve done. We were doing the Trail of History in McHenry County, Friday evening a cold front had come through plummeting the temperature from a high in the 70’s on Friday to the mid forties on Saturday. With this came high winds gusting up to 50 mph and a steady rain. By noon the event organizers closed the event to the public. The wind and the rain were keeping most away, but the path and camp area was a swampy marsh that was a hazard to any public that showed up. They never re-opened the event and in order to get all the re-enactors and their gear, the organizers paid locals for the use of their hay wagons. To pull the wagons they brought in Caterpillar treaded work equipment. They had tried using regular tractors, but they got stuck in the mud. Yes, it was that bad.

That isn’t what makes that day stick out in my mind. Nope, Why I remember this day is because I had planned something special that was supposed to happen that day. I had worked out with a friend of mine that during one of our performances we were going to deviate from our lines and make it look like we started a real fight. The fight was supposed to start over an inappropriate comment made to another re-enactor. After the drawing of steel and a heated sword fight I was supposed to come away victorious and in front of the gathering crowd propose marriage to the “offended” re-enactor. We had worked on and practiced the fight and the wording for hours, only to have it be a waste of time. We never were able to do that show with the event being closed.

Saturday morning upon hearing the weather report I knew that my plan was for naught. They called for cold rain and high winds all day. No swordplay would be done in this weather. So at approximately 11:45 with a crowd of public gathered under our fly trying to keep dry and other re-enactors, I got down on one knee in the cold mud and asked the most beautiful re-enactor I’ve ever seen to be my wife.

I never figured out why she said yes, or what she saw in me, but she did see something that she felt was worth giving a chance. Her kind and compassionate heart held a poor, surly, angry and hateful man in a special place. The love of this woman had changed me from being so angry and hateful into a content and more forgiving man. All I knew was that I was a better person for having her in my life.

6 years ago today, October 9th, 1999, the Beautiful Re-enactor and the Surly Re-enactor were married with a ceremony and reception that is still talked about to this day. The bride made her own Elizabethan wedding gown; the Groom wore a Scottish lord outfit, literally the whole 9 yards. (The wool kilt was 9 yards long before being pleated; this was the origin of that term). The bridesmaids wore Elizabethan lady in waiting gowns. The Groomsmen and ushers all wore kilts. All the re-enactors that attended came dressed in their best costumes. A piper led the bride down the aisle. The church where we were married still talks about this ceremony.

At the reception Matt, the Chieftain of Clan Chattan, brought drums with and our reception turned into a proper Scottish Ceileigh. Along with the modern music, various members of Clan Chattan would play the different drums. They would also allow other guests attending to play along with them.

That was Six years ago today.

Ktreva, I love you. With out you I would have lost my humanity to my own self-destructive habits. Thank you for two wonderful boys and a life filled with happiness and joy. Because of all that you have done for me I am a better person. Again, I love you.

Happy Anniversary

Posted by Contagion at 09:44 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

October 07, 2005


My employer is sending me to an offsite location under the ploy that it is a "leadership camp". However, I have discovered the truth. It is in fact a thinly veiled sensitivity class.


I just don't understand why.

Posted by Contagion at 08:01 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 06, 2005


These two men are genius. They invented a coaster that will automatically notify bar staff when the glass is empty, thus prompting the wait staff check if they want a refill.

Even if you don’t drink alcohol, you have to see the brilliance in this. It doesn’t have to be just for alcohol. It could be used for any kind of drink. Personally, I’ve lost track of the number of times I was sitting in a restaurant or bar waiting for a waitress/waiter to come and get me a refill.

Hats off to Matthias Hahnen and Robert Doerr, real men of genius. (I tried to find sound bites of the original commercials for "Real men of Genius". However, it appears that Annheuser-Busch has made every site that had any remove them. The only thing you can do is go to their site, log in and go to the commercials section to hear them. I can't link directly to their commercials page.)

Posted by Contagion at 07:11 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Operation floracide

Some of you may remember what happened the last time I mowed my lawn. That’s right; I haven’t mowed it since. Now before you go getting all indignant on me remember we are still in our “extreme” (oh yeah!) drought here. I will admit the grass has needed cutting for about two weeks now.

The problem is that we seem to be coming out of our drought as we are getting more and more rain. Which is good, but it’s too late for the crops. Unfortunately, this has had a negative impact in my yard. The first being that the grass (read weeds) has started growing rather rapidly. Secondly, every time I went to mow it would rain on me. I’m not giving up football/re-enacting/shooting just to mow my lawn.

Last night it was perfect time finally to mow the lawn. It was a little warm, in the 80’s, but they weren’t calling for rain until much later. However, I decided that the mild-mannered Contagion was not going to be the one to mow the lawn. Not this time, this time we were going to call forth that seasoned veteran of many a household campaign, General Contagion. You may remember him from the press conference after his overwhelming victory against the invading insect armies.

General Contagion first reconnoitered the battlefield to determine the best attack. He came up with a variation of Agent Orange, but that was vetoed by the Queen (Ktreva, we live in a dictatorship in the Contagion household, just ask the kids). She had some worries that in his fervor General Contagion would “accidentally” kill off her precious flowers and plants she has around the house. (For the record General Contagion made this comment, “They’re going to die in a couple of weeks anyway!”).

After surveying the weapons at his disposal, he came up with a plan to purchase some larger mobile artillery to get the job done, preferably something self-propelled with twin blades and a seat. However, due to recent budget cuts, he could not afford to make the purchase. General Contagion was then reduced to his third option. An old-fashioned foot war, the kind that he had not experienced since the Battle of Blackhawk Springs the winter of ’88. It was his first command opportunity and a suicide plan, many a soldier was lost due to inadequate planning by superiors and a lack of equipment. General Contagion hoped this would not be a repeat of that tragic month long battle.

Checking out the equipment at hand, the general was pleased to see that all of it was in a well-maintained and fighting condition. First, the general started with some black ops. Again, his hatred of the UN and Geneva Convention prevailed when he found a supply of bio-chemical toxins (Roundup) left over from a battle the previous year. While the Queen was occupied with her subjects (aka the kids), a massive chemical strike was made against the enemy troops in the hard to reach area’s. We do regret to inform that in the General’s bloodlust some innocent flowers were “accidentally” eradicated.

Next General Contagion brought forth his armored division attack the front lines. It was a tough battle, taking its toll on both sides. The General, understanding the enemy’s troops out numbered him at about 93,487,529,865 to 1, attacked with an aggressive abandon that is only seen from Hollywood these days. The toll on his resources was more then what was anticipated. Three large body lawn bags were needed just for the smaller front yard. In part, this was due to the enemy’s use of mercenary soldiers. The discovery of Zea Mays of the Poaceae family (field corn, I’m not kidding there was corn growing in my yard!) amongst the enemy.

Once the smaller battlefield was cleared of enemy troops, the General focused his attention on the larger battlefield. Here the enemy troops were larger and stronger. They also had their own artillery (More small trees… WTF is with these trees? They are all over my lawn!)

Stopping for a quick resupplying and maintenance of his mobile artillery General Contagion was prepared to proceed as planned. Setting the throttle to full, General Contagion started a blitzkrieg. Except for a surprise flanking attack by some heavy artillery, the battle went smoothly. (Dang trees and shrubs along the property line kept poking and scratching me. Also, Clone left a super ball in the yard. Have you ever seen what happens when one of those things is introduced to the spinning blades of a lawn mower? Let me just say I’m damn glad the bag was mostly filled with grass clippings when I hit the ball!) After 45 minutes of action, only stopping to dispose of the remains, General Contagion walked away victorious.

At the following press conference, the General had this to say, “Today the ever victorious army once again marched upon the enemy successfully. There were no reported losses to our forces and only some minor injuries. Enemy forces were completely and utterly annihilated. There is at least one civilian enemy loss that we are aware of at this time. It was a matter of that civilian being in the wrong place. I do not regret any decision made in fighting this war.”

When confronted with the use of biochemical toxins early on in the war, General Contagion responded with, “I decided that the use of (biochemical toxins) was the most efficient weapon in the locations that were difficult to reach with out a significant risk to the safety of our own troops. It was made clear to me that the use of biochemical toxins was discouraged. At the time the original decision was made we did not know all the facts. If the tree-hugging enviro-hippies are worried about the damage done to the environment with the use of these weapons, then next time they can come and do the dirty work themselves… It’s not like they bathe anyway!”

Posted by Contagion at 07:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 05, 2005

A red head with a bang

Over at the Spoon and Blade we have the lastest Mortar Maiden ready for your viewing. Go over and see Ms. October, Shelagh.

Remember ladies (And ladies only!), If you are interested in becoming a Mortar Maiden, we are always looking for volunteers!

Posted by Contagion at 07:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pretty pink hell.

A couple of days ago my wife advises me she needs a new bra. One of hers needed replacing; some wire had come out and was poking her. Okay, I have no problem with her buying a new bra, that’s all fine and dandy. However, I did not see any reason to throw out a perfectly good bra. Okay, so it had a loose wire. I told her I could fix it. Guys, back me up here anytime you have a lose wire you just secure it or remove it. I could have soldered/welded/taped it back into place. Ktreva did not find this to be an acceptable solution to her problem, even as a temporary fix.

This morning she tells me she has to get a new bra today and wants to run on lunch to pick it up. Since it was morning and my brain was still groggy, I blindly told her, “Sure, anything you want.” If it had been even two hours later, I would have thought about it and found some reason not to go. You need to understand that we work together, different departments, and we generally go to lunch together. This means I have to go with her, we both rode in my truck. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but it was were she wanted to go that bothers me.

The Mall. I blame ArmyWifeToddlerMom for this; I left a comment on a post earlier today stating I was glad it was she and not I that had to go to the mall. Karma came back and bit me yet again. I’m really starting not to like Karma, I think I need to sick my dogma on it!

The Mall is the second vilest place on the face of the earth. There are things I would rather do then go to the mall, this list includes dental work, drive through Chicago at rush hour and go see a Packer game in Philadelphia (Philies fan’s treat visiting team fans the worst then any other home team fans). When Ktreva told me she wanted to go to the Mall I actually felt an icy grip on my stomach grab and twist. Trying as hard as possible, I tried to convince her to go anywhere else… Target, Kohls, K-Mart, even Walmart to no avail. What she said next is what almost made me scream in horror.

Ktreva, “We have to go to the mall because I only buy bras from Victoria’s Secret.”

Me: (Falling to my knees, eyes widened in fear, head turned to the heavens) “NOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooo! Oh Jebus! Why?!?!?!”

This was a double whammy. Victoria’s Secret is probably my number 5 most vile place on Earth. The mall being the second most vile place on Earth is pretty bad, throw in Clitoria’s Secretion Victoria’s Secret and this is pure hell, and not the good hell, but the bad hell. You know the really bad hell, watching Lifetime movies instead of football hell. I despise having to go into that store. Just like a Jeff Foxworthy routine, bad things happen to me. Today was no different.

We arrive at the mall and I can feel my pulse start to rise. Everything is okay, no urges to run back to my truck… yet. The mall isn’t very crowded at all, so we are able to make our way quickly to the store. Don’t get me wrong there are still too many people there for my comfort. Confirmation that my “mall” face is on when I make eye contact with a local cop patrolling the mall and HE averts his eyes and changes the direction he is walking. The crowd of on coming people parts around me like a school of fish avoiding a shark. Then we arrive at the store.

There it is in all of its pink glory with tables and displays of bra’s and panties. They pick some of the most interesting colors of pink. I still don’t understand why they use pink; it’s not a good color for a store. It’s not as if they have to make sure people understand it’s feminine. Bras and panties are for women, I have yet to meet a man that wears them. That I know if… (Eyes Bad Example Family closely). The doors to this pinkish hell are wide-open, inviting people in. The glass on both doors is reflecting the pink interior giving it a resemblance of the labia, opened and inviting you to enter.

In we walk

Ktreva finds the bra style she wants. How many different styles of bras do females need? By all that is good and right in the world I’m not kidding when I say they had at least 100 different styles. I’m not talking different colors, but different styles. Every way I turned my head in this pink hell there was a different style of bra staring me in the face!

After picking the size she wants, she goes to try it on. This leaves me alone. First I waited outside fitting room area, but the women going in and out kept giving me strange looks, so I decided to go else where in the store. Then one of the clerks comes up and asks if she can help me find anything. I tell her no, I’m waiting for my wife. Other female customers start eyeing me as they enter the store. Okay, they think I’m some pervert. To ease my discomfort I start checking out the quality of the lighting fixtures.

Where is my wife?!?! She sure is taking her sweet time! Another clerk comes up and asks me if I need any assistance to which I reply, “Nope, just waiting on my wife. By the way you might want to have an electrician check out those lighting fixtures, they are flickering and may have a short.” With a grin of satisfaction on her face, she tells me she’ll advise the manager and walks away. Some of the other customers are walking around and I hear a voice behind me say, “Excuse me sir…” I quickly interrupt with a yelping, “I’M WAITING FOR MY WIFE!” Sweat is starting to bead on my forehead, my pulse is probably around 165, and I can hear the blood flowing in my ears. The customer laughingly tells me she wanted to look at some panties and would like me to move.

I move out of her way and return to my examination of ceiling tiles. This time when I hear a voice behind me asking if they can help me, I about jump out of my skin. What the hell! We could NOT have been in there that long. These clerks are screwing with me! I curtly reply that I am fine and just waiting for my wife to try on an outfit. I like to test drive before I buy. My comment was not appreciated. Once again, I return to staring at the ceiling. What happened next is the truth, there was a flash and I heard the sound of a Polaroid camera. I whip around and the three clerks are huddled together talking and glancing in my direction smirking. Finally, my wife comes out, apparently, her jubberlies have grown and she had to try on different bras to get just the right fit.

She decides she is going to pick up two, one white and one pink (there’s that damn color again!). They go to ring her up and each bra is $50.00. FIFTY DOLLARS A BRA! Son of a goat! These aren’t even sexy bras, these are plain, no frills, and the woman looks better nekked bras! I could understand $50.00 for a bra if it was leather and had metal studs or if it was lacey and came with a pair of crotchless panties! However, this is what she wants so okay, two $50.00 bras… I don’t want to hear a complaint the next time I buy something pricey. I can get a three pack of my underwear for $10.00! Boxers ladies, and I wear a kilt, and work boots. That’s right, swoon now! ;)

We finally leave the store; she is carrying this little pink bag that defies the laws of physics. There is no way in hell they folded both bras into this bag, yet somehow they did. People are now staring at me; apparently, a flyer with my picture was passed around the mall warning of a pervert hanging out in Victoria’s Secret. I needed to go some place just to calm down. My heart is pounding like an air hammer and it looks like I just stepped out of a shower. Quickly I pull my wife into the sports memorabilia store to look at what they have. When I’m able to get my breathing and heartbeat back to normal (Normal for being in the mall that is), we left.

My wife is laughing at me the whole way back to work; she insists it was my imagination. I tell her I saw the flash from the Polaroid when they took my picture! She is adamant that I’m just being paranoid. I think they added me to a book they have under the counter of possible sex offenders!

Posted by Contagion at 04:51 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

This just is not right!

This football season is starting pretty bad for me. My Packers are 0-4, the worst they have been in 15 years. I’m trailing by 75.49 points behind the leader in my Salary Cap/Fantasy contest… I’m thinking it was a mistake to invite Spurs to join as he is in the lead. Just kidding, however since I am the commissioner I guess I could forcibly remove him from the game! ;)

Then to make matters worse I’m tied for 6th place in the pool. Last year I was in the leading three positions the entire year AND ended up winning. Not this year, I’m four games behind. The standings are as follows:

1st: Sensational Simians (A minion) 38
2nd: Packer Chick (Ktreva, my wife) 36, Quality Weenie (Machelle) 36
4th: Joe Viking (Hypodermic Scorpion) 35, Ogre’s Picks (Ogre) 35, T1G (T1G, you never would have guessed, right?) 35
7th: Contagion’s Pack Attack (Me, again, you never would have guessed) 34, Ass Kickin’ Chickens (Spurs, which it took me 3 weeks to figure out) 34
9th: KingR (Husband of a minion) 33
10th: Raider Nation (A minion) 28
11th: Metrosexual Ballers (A Minion) 22 (Poor ‘tard forgot to make his picks on week)

With only four of the 17 weeks down, there is a lot of room for improvement and change in these rankings.

However if things don’t start turning around quickly I’m going to have a long season, especially with the Packers. Living in Illinois and being a Packer fan is hard enough as it is, when they are having a losing season it is even worse. Throw in the fact that I work for a company that has VERY strong ties to the Chicago Bears. My life has been a living hell at work. I get calls almost daily from Bear fans bragging up their better record. I hate to break this to them, It’s a one game lead, it’s still a losing record AND the Bears haven’t even done their bi-annual regular season changing of the QB yet. This doesn’t matter to most Bear fans… as long as they have a better record then the Packers they are happy. Not all Bear fans are that way; I’ve met one or two that can be classy… when they want.

But if my Packers are going to continue to play like crap, the football gods could at least make me have a good season in Fantasy or the pool. Especially since in the pool, at the end of the season I’m buying the winner a small football related prize of the team of their choice. There is a chance I might have to buy a Chicago Bear item, and that goes against my ethic. (Notice singular)

Update: I corrected T1G to have 35 points, not 34 as he pointed out in the comments. Typical Bear fan, whining about 1 point just so as not to be tied with a Packer fan. :)

Posted by Contagion at 12:57 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 04, 2005

This is not good.

Upper Management dropped a bomb at work today that has a 25% of the office happy, 70% pissed and 5% (Management, including myself) scrambling to repair the damage. I don’t know if they didn’t think this through completely or if it was just decided, we would do damage control after the fact. Either way no matter how you look at it, the timing was horrible.

It was decided that they where going to give the Customer Service Reps in our company a merit promotion. Meaning they move up one pay grade. As part of this they are creating a new position, Customer Service Technician. We currently have technicians, but now the CSRs will be the same level as them, so they are creating a special position for the Technicians in the Customer Service arena. The current technicians in customer service we have will need to apply for their jobs. However, they are not guaranteed to get the position. If they don’t, then the company will find them another position of the same level, which probably means they will become CSRs.

This has my current technicians all worried about what is going to happen to them because they don’t want to go back to being CSRs. The other technicians that aren’t in the customer service arena are pissed because they basically feel that are being under appreciated and that they did all this work to be promoted only to have it negated by this change. The CSRs will be the same level as the regular Technicians.

The rest of the employees are under the impression that not only are they not appreciated, but that the company doesn’t care about them. From talking to many of them, it is clear they don’t understand what is going on. It’s not that they company doesn’t appreciate them, the company is admitting that they were under appreciating the Customer Service arena and is trying to make up for it. The company decided that for the amount and type of work that the CSRs do, they were not being justly compensated. IE they were overworked and underpaid for the demands put upon them. People just don’t understand that. I happen to agree with corporate’s assessment, to a point. They may have encompassed positions that didn’t warrant the change.

But there is a problem with corporate’s plan. They didn’t include everyone in the Customer Service arena. The support staff that assists the CSRs and technicians was completely and utterly ignored. Their peers in the different arenas have to know a fraction of what they do AND they aren’t required to know as many systems as the support staff in customer service. They basically do twice the work as their peers, yet are paid the same. Three of my minions fall into this category and to be honest, they have every right to be pissed off. Prior to the CSR’s getting this promotion they didn’t really mind, now they do.

Morale has bottomed out in every area outside the CSR arena. To make matters worse the CSRs are loudly and tactlessly talking about their “raises” to everyone. This is only pissing off the others. Most of the other management is basically telling others to “deal with it.” I however am trying to do damage control. A pissed employee is a bad employee. I’m trying to sooth those that I can in hopes of not taking a production hit today. However, that is not looking too good for me. As for my three minions that received the short end of the stick, I feel very bad for them. I’m trying to see if I can’t get this rectified, however it doesn’t look like I’m going to have any success.

I just hope tempers cool off here shortly. There’s been too much talk of quitting and the refusal to do tasks by the employees. If they don’t we may end up doing a lot of training here in the next couple of months.

Posted by Contagion at 04:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 03, 2005

Gastro-intestinal fun!

WARNING>: Drink alert! Put your drink down and make sure your mouth is clear of any foreign fluids before clicking the links.

Over at The Sneeze we have the latest episode of Steve, Don't eat that! This time the food of choice is Silk Worm Pupas.

If you haven't read any of the Steve, Don't eat that! series you really should go read them all. These posts are hilarious.

Posted by Contagion at 04:43 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

It's just how I am.

Some of you may have noticed various posts wishing me a Happy Birthday a couple of days back, and my caustic comments to it. My Birthday is something I try to keep quiet, but we all know how it goes… Telephone, television, Tell-a-blogger. One person finds something out and then it spreads across the internet like an STD at a Caribbean orgy.

I don’t celebrate my birthday. If someone gives me a gift, I tend to politely decline it and advise I don’t celebrate my birthday. Crude comments and gestures were made to people that did wish me a happy birthday, especially friends that should know better. For years I’ve hated my birthday, for the days leading up to it my stomach churns with dark bile of despair knowing that someone is going to try to do something. Then when the day comes, it generally is one of the worst days of the year. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. It’s like a bad day from hell, every year. I can count on it and it will happen.

People have told me it was my attitude, that I create this day of hell. Thinking maybe they where correct, I tried changing my attitude to see what happens. That failed miserably, that was one of the worse Birthday’s I’ve had in years.

Before any of you old folks out there start trying to make this a denial of age thing, it’s not. The last time I celebrated my birthday was when I was 21, and only because I wanted to go out and get drunk… legally. Even before then I didn’t celebrate my 20th B-day.

I used to look forward to my birthday, the fun and special treatment for the day. Then one year, when I turned 18, everyone forgot. EVERYONE, not one “Happy Birthday”, not a card, gift or anything. It took two weeks before anyone ever realized what happened, and that was my mother. Through all the excuses and apologies, she said it wouldn’t happen again. Flash forward one year, I’m a freshman in college. I’m turning 19; my birthday comes and goes with the same lack of recognition. I was sure people would remember this year, because they forgot the year before. Nope. This time however, it only took about a week before someone remembered; this time it was my sister.

On both days I had various things happen that were just miserable. The kind of things that in the grand scheme of life aren’t horrible, but are enough to ruin a day. Some of my favorite examples are: Plumbing explosion, being assigned menial tasks at work, car breaking down in the middle of nowhere w/no phone, etc.

Since then I decided that I was not going to recognize or celebrate my birthday. It makes life easy on my wife because she doesn’t have to worry about shopping or buying me anything. She doesn’t have to plan anything or do something special. We just go about our day as if it’s any other day.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go finish sending some “Frag off” e-mails.

Posted by Contagion at 12:59 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Shooting and electronics.

Sunday was a good day. After getting a restful 6 hours of sleep, I woke up to my wife advising me that the DVD player is giving her a “Mecha Error”. That is what the display said, “Mecha Error”. At first, I thought that maybe something happened in the Middle East and the center of the Islamic religion was having issues. Then my sleep groggy brain realized that it said “Mecha” not “Mecca” and that there is no way my DVD player would know if something did happen there. After looking at it for a while, turning it on and off and trying some percussive maintenance (i.e. pounding on the case with your fist), I decided I needed to unplug it and open it up.

Yep, it was broke, as soon as I picked it up the tray that holds the 5-disc changer just slide right open. It should not do that. I opened it up to see if it was something, I could fix… nope motor fried. Time to go buy a new DVD player. Off we run to electronic stores looking for a new DVD player. When we arrived we noticed that I could get a home theater system w/DVD for just a little more then I was willing to spend on a good DVD player, so we did some more shopping and ended up spending over twice as much as I had originally intended. I kept deciding if I was going to get a home theater system, it needed more gadgets and functions.

When we got home, Graumagus was there. We planned to go shooting, he arrived a little earlier then I thought he would, but that’s okay. He helped me carry the home theater system in the house. Then it was off to go throw lead down the range. Fortunately, the range wasn’t too far from my house. Just as we arrived, I realized I had not grabbed my powder horn and I didn’t think I had enough powder in my shooting box for the day. Grau was about to make fun of my stupidity when it dawned on him that he left his powder horn in his van back at my house. After making the trip home and back, we were able to get in an hour and a half of shooting. Since we were practicing, we only shot at 25 yards. My weapon was my .75 caliber Brown Bess smooth bore musket, for those of you that have never fired a gun, let alone a flintlock, and especially a smooth bore… 25 yards may seem a short distance, but that’s a hard shot when you haven’t had a lot of practice.

It wasn’t the tightest cluster I could have gotten, but I had five and a half of the rounds in the black. All but two of my shots would have been a kill, one was low and right and the other didn’t even hit the backdrop. I flinched really badly when I fired that round. All I know is that large caliber round balls make a lot of noise flying through a forest. Speaking of large caliber round balls, I still love getting to the range and hearing someone exclaim, “God your balls are huge!” It just puts a smile on my face.

Since my musket doesn’t have sites, I have to aim along the barrel. The barrel is wider at the breech then at the muzzle; I have to improvise how I aim. This includes attempting to use my bayonet lug as a front site. This makes me constantly miss to the right. By the end of the day, I had compensated enough to be able to hit the center by aiming to the left of it by a good 6 inches. As we were leaving Grau made the observation that the reason I pull to the right is because, “(I) carry my heavy arse shooting box with (my) right arm making it shorter then (my) left.” My shooting box weighs about 20 pounds; each bullet is 1.26 ounces of lead.

I was home in time to watch the Viking/Falcon’s game. Grau helped me dispose of some extra Beer I had on hand. After the game Grau took off and I started assembling the home theater system. I discovered that doing this while I had been drinking probably was not the best idea I’ve had. Electricity, alcohol and me don’t make a good combination. No, I didn’t get hurt and the system works just fine. It just took longer then it should have. In addition, there was trouble hooking up our digital cable.

I’m just going to say now that Insight Communications sucks! The digital cable box they gave me doesn’t have the digital output to run to the home theater system. When I called them today to find out what was going on they advise me that in order to get “true digital” service I need a different box that costs $15.00 more a month. $15.00 more just so I can have my Digital Surround Sound? That is bullshite! Add that to the fact, they have raised our rates over $11.00 a month since May, and they wonder why people are leaving them in droves.

So this means I have faux digital? It’s like digital in that it costs more, but it isn’t really digital because you can’t have any of the features of digital. If I didn’t watch a lot of channels you can’t get with out a service, I’d drop cable all together. I’ve looked into dishes, but I’m not convinced that they are any better.

Needless to say, I’m not going to have surround sound coming from my cable, only from my DVD’s. I can’t justify paying an additional $15.00 a month just so I can have better sound.

Posted by Contagion at 12:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack