The holiday season is upon us. This may be a festive time of year but sometimes it’s important to slow down, focus, center, be present, and remember our roots.
For me, today, that means pausing to pay homage to the poop tag.
“Roll the crap. Action!”
Once upon a time a company made a game called Cards Against Humanity. It was mildly cute but a blatant rip of Apples To Apples. They lost points on that.
But now, I’m happy to say they have more than redeemed themselves. The Christmas spirit is very much alive. So much so, you might say that I’ve been moved.
I live in Portland, Oregon, which mostly receives electrical power from Portland General Electric. Founded in 1888 the company was eventually owned by Enron Corporation from 1997 until 2006 until Enron went bankrupt.
See? I just used a writing technique known as foreshadowing.
Foreshadowing is a literary device by which an author hints what is to come.
By dropping the name Enron, you are now on notice that this story does not bode well. The portends are decidedly not in our favor. It’s time to omen up.
Yes, I’m being mysterious. I’m trying to leave you in the dark. Just like Portland General. Bazinga!
Being a major metropolitan area, the City of Portland is designed with security and reliability in mind. Power outages simply do not happen unless:
- The wind blows up to one (1) mph
- A squirrel gets hungry
- Water magically falls from the sky
- A drunk person, in a trillion-to-one event, rams their car into a pole
Such simple criteria means the city loses power about every 42 minutes. Who knew that cramming 625,000 people in the same area would make stuff happen? Yes, I live in a city where squirrels are frequently blamed for power outages.
At least Portland is safe. No one, not even a terrorist, could ever fuck with this city unless:
- A tweaked out kid needs to take a whiz in a city resevoir
- The wind blows and a branch falls and an entire power grid goes haywire
- Water magically falls from the sky
Portland has many names. The City of Roses. Bridgetown. Stumpdown. Rip City. Little Beirut. PDX. Cloud City. But, during autumn at least, it could also be known as The City of Leaves. (Leaves are the unpredictable byproduct of shitloads of trees.) And the city has a great strategy for dealing with them. “Clean ’em up your own damn self. You want your storm drains to work? Better get on it. By the way, we’re adding a street fee. You need to pay more taxes for this.”
So it rained on Sunday. We were out running errands. We had to retrace our steps. We drove through St. Johns. Then it started to rain. An hour later we went through the same area. It had already flooded the size of Lake Erie. It wasn’t even a heavy rain.
There had been a few brief gusts of wind. So, yeah, the power was already out. We pulled into a bar just as thunderous lightning spooked everyone in the place. They were amazed. Lightning? Wowwee. Perhaps Portland has exactly the power company it deserves?
We continued on our way and that’s when I noticed it. The traffic signals were are dark. None of them were red. None were yellow. None were green.
You know what that means, right? The entire city went Starman on steroids. Perhaps we can add “Starport City USA” to our lengthy list of nicknames?
[Starman is driving the car, and speeds across a recently turned red light, causing crashes for the other motorists]
Jenny Hayden: Okay? Are you crazy? You almost got us killed! You said you watched me, you said you knew the rules!
Starman: I do know the rules.
Jenny Hayden: Oh, for your information pal, that was a *yellow* light back there!
Starman: I watched you very carefully. Red light stop, green light go, yellow light go very fast.
Apparently the collective wisdom of the hipster lumbersexuals in PDX is this: No street light, go very fast.
That’s weird because the law says an unpowered traffic signal is to be treated as a four-way stop. It’s so weird that no one in Portland knew that. Keep Portland weird.
So we sat at an intersection watching an endless stream of cars whiz by at top speed and we never got a turn. To pass the time we celebrated several birthdays. And I plotted revenge. Now I understand where Joker, Riddler and Penguin are coming from.
This may be my last blog post for a while. I’ve decided to keep my computer turned off when I think Portland General will be unable to keep the grid powered. By my calculations that means I’ll have a 42-minute window of electricity per day.
Word from the western front arrived early. It was going to be a “heat advisory” kind of a day. We hunkered in our bunkers and prepared for the worst. I put on a pair of clean tighty whities. Because:
To brine thine own self be true.
–Tom B. Taker
I was already looking forward to the salt water sores in my private areas. You know what they say. “Fight ’em over there or in your underwear.” Like always I choose the latter.
Sunday night the neighbor set up a table saw in his front yard. He ran that sucker until 11:36 pm. On a work night. I kid you not. I believe this is the exact storyline of the movie Saw.
Even more table saw. It was all squee … squee … squee … when the hours were wee.
What every happened to politeness? Basic manners? Please and thank you? All as dead as my peace of mind and peace and quiet.
Two nights of noise in a row. The urge to fling poo was becoming unbearable. Somehow, though, I was able to hold on.
But, little did I know it at the time, those two nights were merely flanking feints. The best was still yet to come.
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Be advised that the gerbil posts may now start coming like The Fast and Spurious. The fur is starting to fly.
This is a post about a guest gerbil I’ve written about in the past. For simplicity’s sake I’m going to issue him a code name. He will henceforth be known as Pooch.
What can I tell you about Pooch? Well, first and foremost he was featured in a previous post on this blog entitled “Gerbil rampage” back in February. That post featured Pooch dumping on his mother and when confronted, his only defense was, “It’s your fault. You didn’t raise me right.”
Yeah. Pooch is one classy dude.
So here’s what we know. Pooch has been categorized by our GRIPE scientists as Class A gerbil. He is 24-years old and still lives with his parents. (Our own gerbil frequently featured on this blog is a long time friend of Pooch’s younger brother. Together the three of them, our son, the friend, and the friend’s older brother Pooch form the Holy Gerbil Trinity on this blog.)
In one respect Pooch is solidly outside the normal gerbil curve – he actually graduated from high school. Even so, in most other respects he is a textbook study of gerbil behavior. He previously dated and like most gerbils found birth control extremely unpalatable. Pooch went to great lengths to avoid it while engaging in sexual behavior as much as possible. The young lady in question, girlfriend #1, thought she couldn’t get pregnant. That belief was proven to be false and Pooch and her became parents. She didn’t want much to do with the child so the grandmother became the default caregiver. Pooch, of course, also had little time for the child, even though he is unemployed and has nothing else of importance going on in his life.
Neither parent does much for the kid so the grandmother has assumed the bulk of the child rearing responsibilities.
Another distinguishing trait of Pooch is his love of marijuana. He has been caught growing plants under his parent’s garage. A major reason that Pooch is currently unemployed is due to a series of brief jobs where he was fired for testing positive for pot. Additionally his younger brother has also been featured in this blog. He recently obtained a medical marijuana card and become the inspiration for an ongoing series in my Hyppo and Critter comic strip.