Thursday, January 26, 2017

La La La La Land

You know, it's almost Academy Award time again and yes, VE watches every minute of the self-congratulatory mayhem with popcorn in hand!

It also means I'm in full movie watching mode too.  It's not easy getting ready for the Academy Awards.  You have to get yourself through the roller coaster of nominated movies; many of which and not exactly happy-joy-feel good ones.

Of course first up was La La Land and I actually watched this legally in a movie theater right in our little town here in Spain.  For essentially $5.50, you get to watch some first run movies here.  It's very interesting because they just show the movie.  No snacks, no previews, no ads.  Just the movie.  When I was in Thailand back in November, we caught a movie in the theater and they showed ads, then USA previews, then ads, then a remembrance for their passing king, then ads, then Thai previews, then more ads and finally the movie.  I kid you not, there were probably 25 ads to sit through to see the movie.  But I digress... 

Sometimes at our theater here in Spain, they forget to turn the sound on and have to rewind and start it over again.  It's very 1970s amusing...back when they actually had movie staff in the booth overseeing the projection, not some automated machine that if it does go wrong you have to actually get up out of your seat, hike the mile to the snack lobby to tell some pimple headed teenager that the movie in theater 27 has no sound because he is the only employee you can visibly see other than the ticket Nazi up front.  By the time they get somebody who knows anything in there to reset the system, enough time has gone by that they can't show it anyway as it would disrupt all the subsequent showings scheduled so they just give you a free voucher to come in another time.  But I digress...

I could tell you what I thought about La La Land, but then I'd need to announce a "SPOILER ALERT" here.  No, spoiler alerts aren't like Amber Alerts.  You don't need to be on the lookout for over-dramatic plots or stomach churning special effects realism.  In fact, spoiler alerts should be about the three week old potato salad hidden in the back of the lowest refrigerator shelf that you won't see until you are desperately hungry and learn the hard way why people actually check their shelves periodically.

You also have to pace yourself for the Academy Awards.  In these days of binge watching Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, movies up for Academy Awards should not be binge watched back to back or you'll end up going to sleep and dreaming of Natalie Portman pulling a wounded soldier from Hacksaw Ridge only to leave him with an octopus looking alien living in the mountains in the Pacific Northwest where they are home schooling their little aliens and scheming to rob Texas banks so they can drill for oil and get rich.  Trust me, mashing up the slew of this years movies doesn't leave one with a good night's sleep.

So if you are wondering where VE is, he is probably suffering through "Jackie" or "Loving" or "Silence" or "Moonlight" or any one of the half dozen unhappy movies plying for awards because they are so moving.  Fortunately I can see the Big Lebowski for the 257th time and cleanse my movie watching palate in between these.  It's like eating chocolate chip cookies in between eating your vegetables.  Sure, the vegetables are meaningful and good for you and every once in a while they might even be enjoyable but the cookies you can never get enough of.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Fantastical Christmas Nonsense

Ah, here we are ready for another Christmas.  I would be remiss if I didn't point out some of my favorite "fantastical nonsense" moments from three of the classic Christmas cartoons we all watch:  Frosty the Snowman, Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

So, here you go:

- When Santa leaves Karen on her roof in the snow at the end of the show

- How the ornaments the grinch shoots off the tree with a walking stick pool cue go into a mouse hole in the living room and mysteriously end up coming out the rooftop gutter and down into the sack below

- How Snoopy's Christmas ornaments somehow also bring Charlie Brown's tree more branches and leaves when it started with about a dozen needles on it

- The never-ending roast beast that the Grinch cuts and doesn't get smaller

- The lack of furniture in the first house the Grinch removes Christmas from.  I mean, come on, the house is completely empty.  Was it a safe house?

- Wondering just where the Grinch shopped to accumulate so many bags in which to fill the Christmas items he takes from Whoville

Oh....and just so you know, remember all those loud noisy toys they got in Whoville?  Yep, they all somehow ended up in the plaza below our house here in Spain.  Wonderful for our peace and quiet....

Merry Christmas to all my former blogger friends and to all my current comment hackers putting spam on my post comments!

- VE

Sunday, August 14, 2016

VE returns and weighs in on an important topic

Oh yes, VE is still around and watching...

Of course, with posting I've been subscribing to the motto "less is more". Why?  Because I'm trying to break The Dude's record as the laziest man in Los Angeles county.  Well, technically I don't live in Los Angeles county but I don't believe I saw that in the record breaking rules.  Lots of ins, lots of out, lots of what-have-yous with record breaking...

Sure, I could appear in the blog sphere with witty things about the whole Trump/Clinton Presidential debacle.

Sure, I could have some fun with juicy subjects like gun control or ISIS or something but here's what I really want to know:

Why do washing machines count down the time they have left to run in some sort of washing machine increment rather than minutes?

Hey...this is IMPORTANT!  Sheesh...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Spain is Different

So...having now lived in another country (Spain) for 9 months I can officially give birth to some observations...

- No matter how slow I walk, there is an older Spaniard that I will have to pass

- I have not developed the mentality yet to know that the entire sidewalk is mine such as the locals do here.  Since I didn't pass the "walk slow" test, I am now finding that no matter how few a group of Spaniards are on the sidewalk, they can somehow manage to occupy and block me from going forward at my ridiculous American speed.

- In the USA we have 25 different EVERYTHING when you want it.  In Spain, you have one of a great many things that they would deem unimportant.  Those things that are very important, you probably have 4-6 choices.

- The great part about the rain is that it comes so little that when it does, nobody bothers to go to their shops and open them.  And because of that, everybody stays home anyway.  It's a win-win...unless you are out of food at your place.

- I used to have a "rain bike" to ride only when it rains.  Now I don't ride when it rains; don't need to because it'll be sunny again tomorrow.  Now I have a "wind bike".  This is a heavier bike that won't blow me off the bridge in a cross-wind.  That's a good thing...

- I thought I could learn some Spanish by translating Facebook comments, Twitter comments and other social media from here.  Nope...  They don't translate well when they use slang, local dialect and abbreviations.

- It's still amazing to wrap our heads around the fact that nearly everything here is so much less expensive than in the USA.  Dental office doesn't cover your private Spanish insurance?  No problem, just pay's less than your co-pay was in the USA anyway!!!

- Taking the train is more expensive than flying.  They have a lot of dirt cheap plane tickets around Europe.  I'm bummed about this because I love traveling by train.  It's such less hassle and I enjoy watching the countryside and being able to get up and walk around without every other person staring at you...

- All hills here (and they are seriously all over 10% grade going up to 30%) are always steepest right as you reach the top.  It's as if when they constructed it they said, "whoops...we are coming up lower than we expected" and they just increased the gradient!  Fun for biking...let me tell you!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Terrifying Things

You know, it's been awhile since I had a guest blog post.

You know, it's been awhile since I had even a post!  Don't go there...

Yes, it's tough to do blog posting while retired in Spain.  I was going to wait for a rainy day to post but it hasn't rained....since like April.  And I did get a bit sidetracked by visiting Rome, Paris, London and Liverpool this don't blame me on the lack of VE's just very difficult living this life of luxury...

So anyway, I do have a guest blogger...

Ash Stevens is a bi-cultural blond with a B.S. in Sarcasm. When she's not reading up on the latest green trend, she's touring the country to educate people on the importance of feminine armpit hair. Find her on Twitter @AshStevens000

So...without further's her guest post (and this should garner a few "ewww" comments...another thing I haven't had on the blog for awhile...hehehe


The world is full of terrifying things. Abducting aliens, oatmeal raisin cookies, Donald Trump, and ghosts all make us grimace in horror. These things all keep me awake at night, but one thing haunts me at night like nothing else… Parasites. I would happily jump aboard an alien ship or marry Trump before I would become a parasitic host. Read on, and you too will see why...

Dirofilaria immitis (aka Heartworm)
These lovely little parasites are passed to dear Fido and Fluffy by mosquitoes. Doggy dearest gets bit and then, six months later, these itty-bitty parasitic larvae have transformed into adult spaghetti noodles that squirm through the heart and lungs.

And just what does a heart-loving worm look like in action?
I thought you’d never ask!

Spaghetti with heart sauce courtesy of Valley Vet

These guys are certified barf-arific. Do the world a favor and get your dog-loving friends some heartworm medication for Christmas.

These buggers are nothing new, however, blood-suckers are always a worthy honorable mention. It’s great enough that they feed off our blood, but get a load of how they do it!

First, they find themselves a cozy little spot to cling into. Then they cut through our skin so they can insert their handy little feeding tube (even barbed for mobile feeding convenience). Once the blood starts flowing they can hang out there up to fifteen days. And you won’t know it! Thanks to natural selection, these nasty little bugs are nature’s licensed anaesthesiologists, emitting their very own numbing medication for your parasite-hosting pleasure.

If that’s not nasty enough, consider this. They creep around from host to host drinking even more blood, adding to their inner stew of pathogens, happily sharing diseases everywhere they go.

Disturbing enlargement credits to Havahart

Shave your head, your dog, your everything. And if you’re itching to frolic through grassy hills or skip down lush mountains, then throw on a tick collar.

Here’s another fabulous parasitic freeloader we can thank mosquitoes for (may they burn in hell). Botfly grabs mosquito, botfly drops a couple eggs on mosquito, mosquito flies off to find something to eat, eggs fall on fleshy victim and hatch, and botfly larvae chomp through fleshy victim’s skin.

Good news? They’re only flesh-crashing until they’re ready for the next stage of the lifecycle. Bad news? Their handy little tunnel serves as a ventilation system, so they’ll regularly peek out to say hello. No, this does NOT make them easy to get out! They’re fat little creeps, and if they explode inside you, you’ll see the magic that intestinal microbes can work with meaty tunnels.

What lesson can we take from this? Flights to South America are cheap for a reason.

Guinea Worms
Some people lie awake in bed with thoughts of machete-wielding burglars. Then there are people like me who sob prayers into their pillow, with small breaks for dry-heaving, over the haunting thoughts of the guinea worm.

It all starts with a hungry water flea that ends up getting swallowed by some silly mammal. Stomach acid gets to work, and the worms are freed. An incestuous coupling ensues, and then big mama makes her way to a lower limb where she chomps on tasty tissues and grows up to five feet long.

The disgust doesn’t end there though! Mama had laid her eggs, and now there’s an excruciating blister. When bath-time comes for our lucky little host, the blister breaks and thousands of larvae swim away. Fun as that is, now mom has her cue to make a break for it, and she spends the next few weeks writhing her 3-5 foot long body out of your broken blister. 

Photo Courtesy of a Google Search

Note: Hypnotherapists can wipe your memory free of the Guinea Worm for a considerable and totally-worth-it fee.  

I’m not sure what’s more revolting. The fact that doo-doo is a part of the process, or that these things may use your mouth or nose to make a break for it

Anyways, someone somehow “accidentally” scarfs down some fecal-covered eggs, which then hit the stomach and hatch into wriggly little worms. Some of them will work their way up the throat where you may end up tongueing them before they’re swallowed deep into your digestive system. Others will call it good by crashing in the lungs (smart move considering they’re conveniently located near the emergency exits provided by your face).

Consider including scrub brushes, soap, acid, and poo detectors in your travel bag.

Get rid of your pets, pressure wash yourself three times daily, boil everything to hell and back before ingestion, and never leave home without a water filter. In fact, skip out on leaving home in general.


Thanks to Ash for giving me a post and making my readers cringe with those special photos...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Local Fad

Okay, only in America (well...maybe Japan) would an airport's former carpet design be so popular that they would have T-shirts and socks sold from the design.  Oh, and they even had the carpet as a character used as a mascot!  Really?  A piece of carpet is a mascot?

Of course, this is a fad that will later be looked on fondly by those that endured it and say "remember back in 2015 when we had the Portland Airport carpet fad?"

You pet rocks and all those other crazy fads over the years.  

As for the actual carpet?  It was so popular and synonymous with Portland that they put in a very similar design else people would revolt!  Meanwhile, the original carpet was sold and they are selling pieces of it for stupid people that would buy stuff like that.  

I just don't need a piece of worn carpet trod on by 200,000 travelers but thanks for asking...

But then again, I don't have to worry about all that now.  I'm retired and living in the south of Spain where they don't have such strange nonsense.  Until I ran into this while biking on a back road close by...

I guess weird is everywhere!

Monday, April 06, 2015

More things you didn't know about

Most Monty Python fans know about Eric the half a Bee but very, very few know about Molly the half a cat...

Monday, December 29, 2014

2015...where work is for the weak

Ah...2015...just like 2007 but without all my readers.  Actually, its more like 2006 when I started this blog and didn't have any readers.

Of course, that's not true either.  Well, it's true I had almost no readers in 2006 but these days I average more reads on my posts than ever, it's just that people are hitting my older posts via Google.  I guess if you hang on long enough, that's what happens.  You become a search database.

Let's see, not much happened to VE in 2014...

Oh, wait, my son moved out leaving us empty-nesters.
Oh, and we sold our 3200sf house
Oh, and we sold practically everything we own and moved into a  984sf apartment
Oh, and we quit our jobs
Oh, and we sold our cars
Oh, and we got a residence Visa to live in the South of Spain
Oh, and we leave Jan 19, 2015!

No phones, no furniture, nothing but my two bikes, a computer, some personal papers and two suitcases!

Just like College...without the massive debt in tuition loans...

So I bid USA farewell.  I bid the 284 days of rain in Portland farewell and say hello to the 320 days of sunshine in the South of Spain.  We'll be living in the town of Almunecar.  Don't worry, you've never been there.  You have to zoom on Google maps at least three or four times to find it.  It's directly South from Granada.  Go until you hit the water!  It doesn't have daytime highs below 54 even in the dead of winter.  Most of the time it is 70-90.  It isn't too humid.  Think Southern California minus the overcrowding, smog, crime, high costs and Mexican food...

Here are some teaser pictures of the town we will be living in:
This is our beach.  Well...not ours personally but within a 2 minute walk...
Here's the town, we don't live in it but every town should have a castle!
This is a walkway along the beach so we don't even have to walk on the beach if we don't want to...goes for miles!
We will be living in the "old town".  Since the town is 2800 years old, that is very old!
The avenues in the old town are so narrow only donkeys would fit, no cars.  No, we won't be purchasing a donkey though.  We can walk.

And so, 2015 will be the year VE goes global, speaks Spanish and generally focuses on all things not work related.  Because work is for the weak (okay, so some of you need a roof over your head and food and ridiculous stuff like that...I get it)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas is for...

Once again Christmas is upon us. Let us not forget the meaning of Christmas.

I'll help you break it down.  Let's start letter by letter...

C is for Claus

H is for Ho Ho Ho

R is for Rednecks

I is for Innevitable

S is for Santa

T is for Mr. T

M is for Misinterpretation

A is for American Christmas

S is for Sleigh

And there you have it...C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S....the true meaning of a modern holiday.

Remember...the weird is out there!  Enjoy the holidays...