December 24, 2012


For a few days now, I've been trying to summon the strength to write a cheery Christmas post, but this just doesn't seem like a good year for cheery.

My wife did whip up one of her clever alternative Christmas trees, which I've blogged about before and before.

I think this Christmas Guy looks kind of cheery and jaunty in an alternative kind of way.

And we took our usual stroll through one of Sacramento's established neighborhoods, where the affluent owners dress their fine old homes in a style that reminds me of how Christmas used to look before it was digitally enhanced and brought to life by Disney animatronics. There was hardly an inflatable, dancing Santa or computer-controlled flashing light display anywhere.

I took some photos and set them to some cheery music as you can see in the video at the end of this post.

But I'm still not really cheery.

I think the 700-pound grinch in most of our living rooms this Christmas is the grim memory of some school kids who won't be celebrating Christmas ever again.

The talking heads on our televisions drone on about what must be fixed to prevent future tragedies. They hardly mention that the ultimate tragedy was a human mind that broke in a way no laws or politicians will ever be able to fix.

At Christmas, I'm reminded that, as humans, we need other people in our lives to survive. Not to feed us or buy us iPads, but just to care that we are alive.

Christmas is mostly about getting off our usual treadmills and stopping to connect with the people in our lives whom we may have neglected all the rest of the year.

Remember to tell the people you love that you love them. Even if they piss you off some of the time. It could turn out to be the most important thing you ever do.

Now, let's go out there and make the best of what has been a pretty scary Christmas.

Cheers, from O Dock.

(And please, to keep all of the extra high definition pixels in this video from escaping, click the little gear thingy once the video starts, switch to HD, and then click the 'full-screen' doodad.)

December 20, 2012

One Blogging Day Before Oblivion

Well bloggers, it's December 20th, 2012, and you know what that means.

Yup, just one more day before oblivion to tidy up affairs and post those last minute posts.

Of course, those of us with boats that can go out on the big, badass ocean with accommodation onboard for pooping aren't sweating it too much. We can just sail off into the sunset like we've always planned to do anyway.

And now's a good time to do that for another reason. You wouldn't want to leave on a Friday, would you?

But what about those of us with boats too small for an extended ocean passage? What are those poor unfortunates to do? I think I'd look for solace in some distilled products and maybe, at last, dust off that old bible that you've never opened.

You know what they say. There are no atheists in Fox News foxholes.

But what's that?

You can't find your bible? I was afraid of that. Well, as always here at O Dock, we step up at crucial moments of peril and provide the vital resources our readers need to make it through the day, and possibly through all eternity.

So, if you have only a small boat and can't find your bible anywhere, here is a small snippet of it that should work in a pinch, or even if you're footing off:

The Laser's Prayer

The Laser is my shepherd, I shall not want.

It maketh me to lie down in strange postures,
It saileth me through the still waters, it restoreth my soul,
It leadeth me in the paths of starboard tackers for the wind's sake.

Yea, though I roll downwind in the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me.
Thy vang and thy sheet they comfort me.

Thou preparest a regatta before me in the presence of mine enemies,
thou annointest my head with a trophy,
my cup runneth over.

Surely, soreness and mildew shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the fleet of the Laser forever.

December 7, 2012

I Got A Bad Phone

Thanks to my readers for explaining that mystery object that came flying out of my kitchen drawer in the last post.

On the day I was born
The hipsters gathered 'round
And they gazed in wide wonder
At the geek they had found
The head hipster spoke up
Said "leave this one alone"
She could tell right away
That I had a bad phone

I had a bad phone
I had a bad phone

I broke a thousand screens
Before I met you
I'll break a thousand more, baby
Before I am through
Can't find no custom case
That's mine and mine alone
I'm here to tell ya honey
That I got a bad phone

I got a bad phone
I got a bad phone

AT&T made me beg
Verizon tried to steal
Their plans all made me blush
Rollover minutes were no deal
They say I gotta upgrade
Or else I'm all alone
Nothin' they can do, they said
That I got a bad phone

I got a bad phone
I got a bad phone

Photo Quiz

Regular readers of this blog will no doubt be relieved to learn that I narrowly escaped serious injury in a drawer cleaning incident at my home yesterday.

It was the drawer in our kitchen where we throw stuff when we can't figure out what else to do with it. Everyone has one of those drawers in their kitchen.

I wouldn't have been fooling around in that drawer to begin with, but we'd reached that rare intersection in time when several of our battery cycles coincided - something like a lunar transit of Saturn, only for batteries. Usually, you run out of AA batteries one month, and then you run out of AAA batteries a few months later, and then, maybe once a year or so, you need D-cells.

But miraculously, we ended up needing all three sizes at once - a sort of alkaline syzygy.

So, off we went to Costco to replenish - along with our toilet paper stocks and dwindling reserves of peanut butter - our supply of those indispensable little cylinders that power the constellation of beeping, buzzing, and blinking devices that make modern life possible.

Imagine the paralysis that would seize our nation if, suddenly, all the batteries in all of the remote controls in every living room in the land were to die at once. We are not a nation dependent upon fossil fuels so much as upon batteries.

I think I made it through the 1960s and most of the '70s on a grand total of about 14 AA batteries. When anyone today alludes to the loss of innocence in America, that is the first thing I think of.

We returned from Costco with 64 rolls of toilet paper, a four-gallon vat of peanut butter, and the 'small' packages of three different sizes of alkaline batteries, which means in Costcospeak, a minimum of 36 batteries in each size.

If you know anything about the ungainly packaging of Costco batteries and the dynamics of a drawer that has been collecting household flotsam for over twenty years, you probably have some inkling of the precarious situation I was about to face.

It was somewhere between wrestling the D-cells and the AA's into an already overflowing drawer that this, well, this thing, came hurtling out, thudded to the floor, and nearly took off my toe in the process. It was the size of a brick and weighed what a brick weighs. It must have been stuck in the back of the drawer for at least 15 years, and I had absolutely no idea what it was.

It was made of gray plastic, had some numbered buttons on it, and a sort of stick coming out of it. I think it was some kind of fashion accessory from the early 1990's because I've seen movies from that period that show urban hipsters carrying them. I can't imagine how stupid those same hipsters would feel walking around with something like that today - probably as stupid as they'll feel 20 years from now walking around with tattoos all over their arms and necks and, well, just all over. You know how cruel urban hipsters can be when they spot you still done up in something that's so last year.

I was going to let this relic from the past go, until I realized this is photo quiz month in the blogosphere, so I thought if I posted it here someone might be able to track this down on the Google and tell me what the heck it is.

I really only need to know what it is, but if you also know what direction I was facing when I took the picture, what cabinet we keep our popcorn in, what that smudge on the floor is, and what Tillerman had for lunch yesterday, feel free to write that in, too.

It's the seemingly irrelevant details that breathe life into any photo quiz.

And, oh - here's a bonus photo to help you out, with the thing next to a shoe to help establish scale.

As with any photo quiz, originality counts and there's extra credit for all responses written in verse.