Friday, October 3, 2014

My documentary

In 2011 I left home to make a documentary. It was going to be about central Wisconsin's history of  outsiders and serial killers. A weirdness tour through the heart of Wisconsin. I was about half way through filming the final part of my film when I received a tip. I was interviewing a man named  Ken Petroski who's dad knew Ed Gein. Ken told me that his grandad knew a woman who had dated Ed in high school. Very shortly after Ed and this woman his grandad knew broke up, she moved away. He repeats "Veeery shortly" and gives me a 'If you know what I mean' look. He tells me her daughter recently moved back to town to care for a dying relative.  He lets me know where I can find them. I finish with my interview and politely extend my appreciations, quickly pack up and head for the edge of town.
 I pull into the driveway. It is tree lined and overgrown. Two ruts with a grassy line between. It is a good quarter mile back through trees and open patches of grass. It smells of moss and woodsmoke. I pull into an open field. Grains ready for harvest surround a cluster of buildings. A house with badly maintained siding, a couple squat grain bins, a small, leaning barn, a half burnt chicken coop, a machine shed and an outhouse. I pull up in front of the house. A dog lies on the badly chipped concrete steps. It doesn't stir as I step out of my car. I step over the dog to the top of the steps and knock on the door.
I can hear someone stirring inside. The door squeaks loudly open an in the doorway stands a man of about forty. He dressed in dirty old pants, a once white tee shirt and a knit hat. He is small in stature but looks strong. There is an unstableness in his eyes. I shift uncomfortably around the dog. I inform him politely of the story. I heard substituting 'dated' with 'known' and was wondering if someone could corroborate the story. His eyes seem to squint more the longer I talk so I decide to stop and wait for a response.
 "Wait here." he says.
I stand on the porch making gentle steps around the dog when the lower half of the doorway is suddenly filled by a stout woman of about sixty-five.  She Squints at me through the screen and says. "Come in."
I pull the screen door open and follow her in. The first room is clearly a storage room the was once a porch. twenty feet across and waist high in boxes. At the far end are several skins stretched and drying.  At the next door she stops and turns slowly to face me.
"Excuse the mess. We are...remodeling." she says.
She opens the next door with a squeal of the hinges.
We step into the kitchen.
The kitchen has a freshly tiled floor and new cabinets in various states of installation. I shudder at the prospect of a kitchen remodel knowing my own kitchen could use it but really not having the time or money. A kitchen island with a butcher block top and an inset sink. Granite countertops. Ugh, who does granite anymore? What a nightmare to keep natural stone clean.  The woman points to a chair in the dining room and tells me to make myself comfortable.
  I sit quietly as I hear the clinking of glasses and a plate being made up.
  She enters the room with a tray with coffee and cookies. Some of the cookies have raisins. I hide my repulsion. I am here to do a job and no matter what I see I must try to remain objective and professional.
 She apologizes for not being able to sit in the living room but the floor is being redone.
 I introduce myself and try to politely relate the reason I am here. She tells me her name is Claire Engstrom and she is the granddaughter of the woman in question. Elise was her name. And she did in fact date Ed. For about a week. Her grandmother told her it was short lived relationship because he would keep rubbing his hands on his thighs and licking his lips every time they would talk alone and it creeped her out. She ended up moving to Nebraska because Elise's father got a job there. She met and married a young Norwegian  man and settled down. End of story.
 "Okay then" I say " Is there any other strange stories you might have heard or oddities in the area that might help me out with this documentary?"
 "I don't think so. We've really just been helping my cousin remodel the place while her foot heals. She broke it on the crappy steps out front while trying to step over the dog." she says.
We exchange some pleasantries I excuse myself and make my way back to town. 
I get back into town and see Ken on the corner where I had left him. He waves me over and as I pull up and roll down the window he leans toward the car and says "Sucker. lol."
  Clearly these people don't find the notoriety of Ed Gein being local amusing anymore. Wisconsin. Huh.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Emergency! the tv show. Not a cry for help.

So I was watching Emergency the other day. Emergency is a seventies TV show that focuses on Roy and Jonny, two fire department emergency responders, in case you don't know. There was actually a cartoon spinoff of it that featured four kids that helped out called Emergency plus 4. I don't remember the particulars but I think the kids just stole pain killers from the truck while Roy and Jonny helped accident victims. Anyway, I was watching it and there is a scene where Roy and Jonny are helping a guy who had over exerted himself mowing the lawn or some shit. As Roy and Jonny help this dude out, there are two other firemen there and the guy's wife. The wife is a stereotypical nagging and screeching creature that is waaaaay overacted. A caricature really.
So as Roy and Jonny work on the guy, his wife is nagging him and saying he is doing it for the attention, blah, blah, blah. They cut to the two firemen watching all this happen and one fireman says to the other "It looks like they could use marriage counseling.". To which the other fireman says"...or a baseball bat.".
What the fuck?
A baseball bat.
A fucking baseball bat?
I know the seventies were a bit in the shitter as far as political correctness goes. But to hear a joke like that about beating his wife? Holy shit.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bad movies

So I have always loved bad movies.  Spotting a bad movie in the 80's or 90's was easy.  The cover usually was a bad photo or drawing.  The quality of the video was bad and the sound worse. The acting mostly sucked but there were a few decent actors. The real upside was that the equipment was expensive so the people using it were competent.
Here is the problem with new bad movies. The video is much better,  but the equipment is relatively cheap.  So the people using it are amateurs.  With photo shop, they can even make the cover look decent. The actors suck because the low budget is so much lower. Why spend anything on the movie when the loss will be almost nothing.
The movies don't end up being bad.  They end up really sucking.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ten commandments crap

So a judge in Oklahoma just ruled that a plaque with the Ten Commandments on it can stay outside of a state building on state property. After it was erected the Legislature passed a moratorium on any new monuments so nobody else could add one. 
Here is my problem with all of this. Christians just become assholes for the sake of being assholes. Knowing full well that this will go to court and then continue to go into court and appeals and appeals and cost everybody money come on they still proceed to do it. Because it's their belief. I believe but they're just being assholes. they are the first ones to scream about government spending too much money or wasting money. How can they not see that this is a gigantic waste of time and money for everybody?
This Court will go to appeal and another appeal and eventually they will have to take down this monument that probably cost them $10,000 to put up and another 60, 70, 80, 90, hundred thousand to defend. I just don't know why they can't stop being assholes about it. If you question them or their motives they're just going to become even more passive aggressive assholes.
Here is a new commandment.  Quit being assholes.  It is really the only commandment you need.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Travel 2

So I flew to another city and stayed for five days.  I only brought a personal sized bag with underwear, socks, and toiletries. I was staying with friends and family.  I went to thrift stores the first day and bought some pants and shirts and a jacket.  It cost me about what it would have cost to bring a carry on bag.  Washed them at my cousins house. Just before I left, I donated them back to a thrift store.  I am now about to board a plane home with only the same personal bag. 
Traveling light is pretty awesome. 

Monday, September 8, 2014


So I am going on a trip this weekend.  I got is super cheap flight through Frontier Airlines. One of the stipulations though, is a really can't take any luggage with me without spending a lot of extra money. The things I've always told you phone is when they're going on a trip don't take luggage, when you get there just buy what you need. Go to goodwill pick up some clothes go back to the hotel throw them in the dryer for a few minutes with a dryer sheets to make them fresh and clean. It takes nothing to stop at the thrift store. I have never personally done it. But this weekend I'm going to try. I have always over prepared for every trip over packed by incredible amounts. But this time I am literally taking five pairs of socks the pairs of underwear and the clothes I'm wearing for a five day trip.
When I'm done I will drop the clothes back off at Goodwill, get a tax deduction receipt, and head home.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Singularity

It has been a long journey to get here.  A journey started by my parents to get us to the last of the clean zones.  They knew they wouldn't make it but they had how for me.  For what ever was left of the human race. The rest of the world is contaminated and polluted.  Irradited and flooded.
Here is the last clean zone on earth.  The only place that the winds and the forests could keep clean enough for people to live.  When we left the clean zone we were in,  there were a few thousand people left.  Half stayed and half thought it would be better to come to this zone.  I know that of the 1700 that left,  it is just me that is completing the journey.  It was a genetic game of chance and I alone won. 
Upon arrival I see the remains of the former inhabitants.  A few standing structures that did not have resources in them worth taking.  Many bodies.  What little remains of the dead tells me they were old and inable to travel. Carved into a wood plank is their story.  They decided to leave for what they believe is the last safe zone. Ours. I came to this zone thinking it was the last and they left for ours thinking ours was the last.
Still looking for a better life.  Still thinking the grass is greener on the other side.  Still looking for a way out of the shit hole we created. 
We lose.

Monday, August 25, 2014

New car

So I have been shopping for a new car. My conclusion is that everything I want in a car is not available. I searched for Subarus and Buicks,  for Fords and Toyotas, for Hondas and Chevys. To no avail. Just when I thought all was lost,  I  was driving home from some random job today and I saw the perfect car. The perfect car. The. Perfect. Car.
I got home and searched the internet for the car I spotted. The only identifying mark I could see was a VTS on the back. It took several searches. I finally found it.
A Citroen Berlingo. Not available in the States. Only available as a disabled person vehicle. Made especially for wheelchair access. Seriously. Fuck.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Anxiety at 3 a.m.

So sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night.  My mind starts going over all the bad news of the day, the stupid things on Facebook, the mistakes I've made in my life, or any regrets I have. It takes everything in me to not relive situations I feel I should have responded better in.  It's actual term is ruminatory anxiety disorder. At least that is what my therapist called it.  He also did punch to the gut therapy which I never really thought did much.   I wonder how other people who have done much worse things sleep. 
Like Hitler or Pol Pot, or Captain Kangaroo.  How do they live with themselves?  How do they get sleep? Is the rock really just such deep self delusion? It must work on a sliding scale. Like sometimes I wake up and my anxiety revolves around something at work or if that sound was a burglar,  or if the police will piece together the clues I left behind (They won't.  None of them is Sherlock Holmes. Hell, there isn't even a Columbo in the bunch. ). If I have nothing going on my anxiety becomes more about if I set the alarm or if there is enough milk for my cereal.  I'm sure if I killed a couple million people my anxiety level would just slide to that base level. I mean,  I guess I can't test that theory. I don't even have army. Yet.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Gold rush tv

There is an allure about living in the Klondike and mining gold. Not the way those dudes on Gold Rush T.V. show do it. That show should be called Gold Diggin Noobs. I don't know how anyone could be less prepared for mining. I would probably read a book on mining gold before I did it. I would also probably have a plan B. It's like these guys went to Alaska to be cooks at Perkins and some drunken evening someone offered them a gold mine and they said sure.
There is another one that has two dudes who are overly muscular and they are in Africa somewhere. The keep trying all these get gold fast schemes. they need the cash because they are both in debt from the housing crash. They were realtor/developers in California. One may have been an MMA fighter or something. Holy fuck, if there were two guys I would pick to be dead inside of a month it would be these two. Constantly bickering with the locals and investors and whomever they come across. They keep trying to do these sketchy gold deals and then they get robbed. My guess is they staged the robbery for the cameras because they lost the real money on gambling, hookers, or protein powders or some stupid shit.
The last one I have seen is one where people dive into the water in Alaska and dredge the bottom for runoff gold. That one is a little bit cool but here is the problem. Apparently, no one knows how to engineer anything. How can people have so many breakdowns of equipment?
I know reality TV has to have some conflict, but really?
What I want to see is some engineering geeks built shit that works, go up to Alaska, and put all these assholes to shame. I know it has to be overdone for TV so maybe they add some football player types across the valley that they have to compete against. I just really want some smart people on TV getting rich and famous for a change. Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Inappropriate comment story. Not really.

So, a number of years ago I was asked to escort a new hire up to HR to fill out some paperwork. We walked up the steps and across the cube land to the HR assistant's desk. Her Desk was on the other side of a four and a half foot wall that had a writing surface on the to of it. Her desk was behind the wall and lower down at typical desk height. We politely asked for the paperwork that my coworker needed to sign. I looked down at her desk and saw two ripe plums. It was really early in the season for plums. Just as I am about say how delicious the plums look, she leans forward to grab the forms. Her blouse drops open a bit and we can see directly down her shirt. I look over at my coworker and he looks at me. She sits back in her chair. I look at her, smile and say...nothing. I say nothing because I'm not an asshole. Regardless of her being the HR assistant. That really had nothing to do with it. I'm just not a dick. I mean, I am. Just not in that way.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Looking for a job

So I'm looking for a job. This is the first time in 17 years that I've had to look for work. I've switched jobs since then, but I've been sought out. Basically asked if I wanted the job. Now I'm in a new town and have to look for a job.  No more paper resume is kinda a nice change. Online this and that is so much more convenient.  Emailing instead of driving and calling is pretty nice too. The fact that I can job search in my undies is pretty sweet.  Interviewing in my undies seems to be less than appreciated, though. In my industry it used to be considered taboo to wear a dress shirt.  Now it's all "I need you to put your pants on." And can you put out that comically large cigar." And "Live kittens are not for juggling." Whatever. I'm my own person. I can't be held back! Or held down. And cuffed.  And sometimes tazed.
I'm a free spirit. My work should speak for itself. Most people think phone book delivery is a thing of the past, but I will keep it alive!
Now where are my pants? Oh, who am I kidding. I don't need pants.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dead Friends

  There is death all around us. There are the deaths that affect us.  Then there are the deaths that affect us in profound ways. I had a friend who died a number of years ago. He was not a close friend, but he was a GOOD friend.  He was a coworker and a fun person. Most of all, he was fair. More fair than anyone I had ever met. I valued that enormously. I didn't go to the funeral. We were not close, but  I thought so much of him that I was embarrassed by how much his death affected me. To this day my eyes water when I see his name. He was the kind of person that I want to be. He was the kind of person I want everyone to be. I am sure there are things about him I would not like if I had known him better, but those are things I never saw. I am not sure they are things anyone saw other than his spouse and really close friends.
 I do know this. I have many times said "Never meet your heroes." but there are always exceptions. This is one. The only one I know of.
Tom, you are missed and will always be so.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Boys club.

I really don't get the Boys Club mentality. What is the allure there? I think any business or organization would benefit from diversity. When I see a board room picture and it is all old white dudes all I can think is 'sausage party'. The same goes for the Boys Night Out mentality. Is is all guys so they can make inappropriate jokes about women? How lame is that? It reminds me of adolescence boys snapping each other with towels in the locker room and making fart jokes. Maybe find women who like a good fart joke then. They are out there.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Movie about heaven

I need someone to make a movie about heaven.  A horror movie.  The twist is that when people there,  they are hunted and eaten by giant gods. The gods prefer the good people for two reasons: 1) Because good people are lower in toxins.  2) when good people are punished their body creates more of a chemical that the monsters love.

Someone get on that please.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A story not about climate change, but about climate change.

Say you want to doctor and the doctor told you you have a disease. If you get treatment you have a good chance of living a full life.  If you don't, you will surely die.  Then you go out and over the next two years you get not just one second opinion but say 2500 opinions . Of all the opinions one of them tells you you don't have the terminal disease. But that doctor works for a company that says that the disease doesn't exist.
Then you go out and ask 10000 people on the street who have heard about your diesease whether or not you have a terminal disease. Out of that ten thousand people, forty percent think the doctors are making it up. 
Would you A) Get treatment for the disease.  Or B) Believe the people who think the doctors are making it up.

Theory of the kickstand

So in the eighties and nineties bikes stopped coming with kickstands. People took them off because they were always falling down. I think the bike companies made they cheap so they would fall down on purpose. Then everyone would not want one and they would save millions from not putting kick stands on bikes. Genius.
Except now they make them with kickstands again.   They probably charge extra for them.  Jerks.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Coming for your guns? I don't think so.

Okay, so I'm not going to go on about gun rights. Everyone's got an opinion whether they are shitty or decent. What I am going to go on about quickly is a scenario where the government wants to take everyone's guns away. I don't believe this ever would ever actually happen. No matter how paranoid you are, it is impractical. Worst case scenario is the government would ban the sale of guns and slowly, as people committed felonies or broke gun laws, they would take them all away. More likely, they would buy them up.
The the few things I really want to cover are these.
   Who do gun owners think are going to show up to take their guns?  People act like it's going to be some nameless, faceless government employee with an Obama mask on taunting them. Who it would really be is an officer of the law, or somebody in a military uniform. Now, if the choice someone makes is to choose their gun over the life of an armed services member, that is up to them. Now if they also think that the Army will politely leave if the gun owner says no, i think they are mistaken. What would really happen is that they would probably show up with an armored vehicle and take the whole house down. Most people preparing for the apocalypse don't realize their houses made of sticks.
Another point I would make is if gun owners are really afraid of somebody coming to take away their guns, why would they join an organization like the NRA. Joining that organization is telling everyone who they are, where they live, and what guns they have. I would think it was an open invitation to take them out first. For a group of people who do everything they can to stay off the grid , they surely go out of there way to broadcast who they are and where they keep all their guns. 
  Also,  if people want to keep their guns, maybe not threatening the government would help keep a lower profile. Maybe, if the first thought in any confrontation is to use a gun,  whether to shoot some one or just scare them, maybe that is the problem.   Just some ranty thoughts.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Open letter.

What is with open letters. Why do that? I have an open letter for everyone who writes an open letter. 
Dear Everyone Who Writes Open Letters,
Knock it off.  Really.  If you have something to say,  just say it.  Call a press conference.  If no one shows up then clearly you don't have an opinion people care to hear.   That is all.