Friday, May 29, 2015

Yes dear, you're right, I'm sorry - and repeat until discussion is over

Relationships can be tricky things. There are multiple factors at work at any given time that can influence, impact or in general screw things up.
There are the easy things to deal with like what to have for supper, what movie to watch and other trivial daily topics.
But then there are the more in depth and challenging aspects of a relationship which encompass a much wider and complicated relationship realm. There are children to raise, money to carefully spend, households to run and many things to apologize for.
Past issues tend to press their way into the present and can often create challenges and difficulties for years, even decades depending on what the problems are and the willingness of everyone to deal with those problems.
Niether side is innocent of these issues even if they won't admit it. The problem I have found is women are much better at expressing their feelings and therefore have an unfair advantage over us somewhat emotionally diminished men when it comes to discussing things.
It's not really our fault though. Throughout time, the vaginally challenged members of society have had the role of hunting, gathering and protecting the rest of the village from bad guys intent on doing bad things.
You do not need a lot of emotional enhancement to club a marauding raider over the head, or spear a mammoth for dinner. You need a thick skull and a strong arm.
Emotions were not going to help you stop a charging sabretoothed tiger, brute strength would. The tiger or marauders are not going sit down and 'talk it out.'
It is with that influence of ancient lineage that modern man finds himself severely outgunned in the communication department.
While modern man no longer has to fend off attacking hordes of nasties - well, not around here anyway - thousands of years of the emotionless, warrior mindset has put us at a slight disadvantage in the modern world we find ourselves in.
There are not a lot of sabretoothed tigers running around anymore, so men have had to play catch up in the emotions department.
Suddenly, men need to be in touch with their feelings, to be sensitive, to be able to express themselves in a way a woman can understand. And by the way, if anyone out there knows how to do that, let me know - please. No really I mean it, send me a note because I have had as much success in that area as a one-armed juggler,
I have, however, learned there are six words that can make a huge difference when having an, er, um 'discussion' with your significant other. "Yes dear," "You're right," and "I'm sorry" if said often enough and with an air of honesty to them, will end just about any 'discussion.'
Sure, it may not resolve the issue for the man, but at least it sort of an emotional response - sort of. And it will bring peace to your home - which is really the end goal of any 'discussion.'
And what can you expect from a gender that spent centuries being hard, cold and emotionless.
Ladies have generations upon generation of sharing emotions and us men have some serous catching up to do because we are all now supposed to be one with our feelings.
So ladies, if we don't gush with words of emotional sentiment or show a deep understanding of how you or we feel, all I can say is "Yes dear" "You're right," and "I'm sorry."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Spiders falling from the sky - eeeeeek

It's the kind of thing that wakes me up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.
A story so horrific, so terrifying I have chills running down my spine just thinking about it.
It was raining spiders in Southern Australia.
Yes, you read correctly: it was literally raining arachnids in the Land Down Under.
Billions and billions and billions of the multi-legged terrors falling from the heavens and covering the ground like a creepy crawly blanket of horror.
OK, perhaps I enhanced the numbers somewhat, but it really was raining spiders.
It would seem the spiders – called money spiders for some reason - create little silk parachutes that catch the wind and they float to wherever it carries them.
One man said there were so many of them it looked like it was snowing. I have seen pictures and it is one of the creepiest things I have ever seen.
Where they poisonous spiders? Were they big spiders?
Who cares. They were spiders, thousands of spiders falling from the sky and covering the ground, literally, like a blanket of snow.
Does it really matter how big they were? They were spiders falling out of the sky – it does not get much worse than that (except maybe a surprise visit from the inlaws.)
One local said it was a beautiful site, convincing me some Aussies are not all there.
I can not even begin to describe how creeped out I would be if I were caught in a spider storm of such proportions.
I had one little spider land on my head the other day at work and it freaked me out for the next 16 hours.
It doesn't matter if it was a few large spiders or thousands of little ones they are still spiders falling out of the sky (I can not state that enough).
In my younger years, I had a girlfriend (yes, I had a girlfriend and she was a real person and everything) who had no fear of arachnids.
She did not know about my near paralytic fear of the spawns of hell and I was fine keeping it that way.
But one day, just for fun, she flicked a massive spider at me.
I mean this thing was larger than a chimpanzee and twice as hairy.
It was a gargantuan spider and I still have visions of it sailing toward me, its bloated body blocking out the sun as it made a direct hit on my manliness.
In a situation like that, manliness goes out the window and I jumped around and flailed my arms wildly in what is known as the spider dance while making a sound typically reserved for small scared school girls.
She, of course, thought it was the funniest thing she had ever seen and she laughed and laughed.
“Yea, he-he, good one. That was great, now if you will excuse me I have to change my underwear. Yup, that sure was funny.”
I was only a teen, but I am pretty sure I suffered a minor heart attack that day. I know I suffered a major arachnophobia attack.
For the next few minutes I did the spider twitch – where you frantically brush certain parts of your body as your brain “feels” a spider on your persons and you slap the imagined eight-legged freak out of your hair, off your arm, out of your get the idea.
Now, if one big ol' spider can induce such terror in yours truly, can you imagine what thousands of them falling from the sky would do.
I am doing the spider twitch now just thinking about it.
If I were to be witness to such an event, or even worse, caught in the middle of a spider storm I would never leave the house again.
Unless there was a spider in it, of course.

Copyright 2015, Darren Handschuh

Friday, May 15, 2015

This is so weird it has to be true

It was a good news, weird news situation for an Indiana woman who had an operation on her brain recently.
The 26-year-old PHd student was having trouble comprehending the things she read or what people around her were saying, but doctors couldn't agree on what was wrong with her.
Eventually they arrived at the conclusion it was a tumour of some sort and a minimally invasive brain operation was conducted to see what was going on.
The good news is it was not a tumour. The weird news is it was her embryonic twin.
Doctors found the tumour was actually a "teratoma" - a relatively rare case of an embryonic twin, complete with bone, hair and teeth.
(Her first thought was, “Oh great, another mouth to feed.” Sorry folks, I could not resist.)
I will admit just about every horror movie I have ever seen about weird things growing out of your body flashed through my mind when I read about her condition.
The woman had a good sense of humour about it, saying it was her “evil twin who had been causing all those problems for the past 26 years.”
The woman is expected to make a full recovery, her “twin” not so much.
It would seem May 2 was World Naked Gardening Day.
I did not know that – and the world is a better place for it.
ï¾’People across the globe are encouraged to tend their portion of the world's garden unclothed as nature intended,” said a WNGD spokesperson, adding it is a “family friendly phenomenon.”
There is so much wrong with that last statement I don't know where to begin.
Family friendly? Perhaps the years of therapy needed to help the children deal with the event will bring the family together, but if I ever saw my parents wandering around the garden naked...yikers.
Let's just say that would not have been good for anyone and I am quite positive my children feel the same way.
The spokesperson went on to say the idea was to make gardens – private or public – more beautiful. I have mirrors in my house, I know what I look like sans clothing and believe me folks, such a sight would not make the world a more beautiful place.
Unless you think the sound of people screaming while gouging their own eyes out is beautiful.
Across the pond, a British economy airline announced it will charge people the equivelent of around $15 to notify them if the airline had to cancel the flight.
Despite it being the airlines fault the flight was cancelled, it still felt it necessary to dip into people's wallets as much as possible.
Hmm, sounds like the banking business is moving into the airline business.
Back in the U.S.A., a man is facing weapons charges after a shooting at a gas station in which one man was wounded.
Was the suspect being robbed by the man he shot? Nope.
Was the man he shot assaulting someone and the suspect came to their defence? Nope and nope.
Then what would have caused the man to pull out a handgun and open fire on another human being?
The suspect told police he thought he victim was staring at him as he filled his car.
Well if that isn't reason enough to use lethal force on a total stranger, I don't know what is.
It's a good thing the victim did not bump into him or the suspect could have pulled out a bazooka and blown the whole place to pieces.
And finally, In Nebraska a woman has filed a lawsuit against every gay person in the entire world because she believes they are sinning.
Obviously a bit of a religious zealot (see nut bagel), she presented the court with a hand-written, seven-page document that outlined her position.
I highly doubt the lawsuit will proceed farther than a few late night TV show jokes, let alone have a chance of winning, but if she does win I plan on filing a lawsuit against all the stupid people in the world.
I will be the richest man on the planet.

Copyright 2015, Darren Handschuh

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bubble TV melds with modern technology

I came home the other day and Junior informed me he had signed us up for Netflix.
That was very kind of you son. Um, why do I want Netflix?”
Because they have tons of cool shows.”
OK, and I assume I will be the one paying for all these cool shows.”

Um, er, well...lemme show you what all they have.”
So now, I have Netflix, which actually is pretty cool.
They do have a lot of good stuff – and a lot of stuff I could care less about – but it has more that interests me than what is on TV, so I figure I will give it a try.
The problem is, our televsion set is so old Fred Flintstone used to watch it.
It is an old bubble TV that we got for free when our flatscreen packed it in a couple of years ago. But despite its age it does everything I require of a TV – it lets me watch TV.
The challenge now was, how do I get Netflix from our wifi router to our ancient boob tube?
There had to be a way, so the Missus and I headed out to the local electronics store to see what kind of gizmo we would need to make the magic happen.
The first store we stopped at we were assisted by a lad so young his voice had barely finished changing.
We explained out situation while he looked at us with a blank stare.
He then called his manager over – who was just slightly older - and she too gave us a blank stare and said they could not help us.
Hmm, perhaps this will be a little more difficult than I thought.
But we carried on our quest and explained the situation to the kid at the next store.
This guy seemed a little older as was evident by the three wiskers he had growing out of his chin. I had a pair of shoes older than he was, but at least he was not giving us the blank stare.
But as we told Scooter about the situation, he did look at us like we were hill folk in town for our annual pilgrimage.
Obviously he could not believe someone – anyone – in this day and age would still have a bubble TV.
On the outside he listened patiently, but I am sure on the inside he was thinking, “These old people need to get with the times. I hope they don't break a hip in the store. I wonder where they parked their walkers? A bubble TV...I can't wait to tell everyone on lunch break.”
I am not at the top of the tech game, but I am hardly a dinosaur – even if my TV was around the same time T-Rex was.
I may have just turned 50, but I am hardly ready for a home – although some days it does sound appealing.
Unlike Skippy at the first store we were at, this guy actually had an idea of what we needed, and after he explained the situation to a much older co-wokerer – this guy was at least 25 – they found what we were looking for.
It is some sort of adapter that recieves the wifi signal and will hook up to our Jurassic TV set.
I must admit, deep down I was scanning new TVs and secretly hoping we could replace the bubble with a plasma, but Scooter came through and the gizmo thingy works just fine.
That's OK, the gizmo cost a lot less than a new TV and the bubble TV works just fine – and now it works with Netflix.

Copyright 2015, Darren Handschuh

Friday, May 8, 2015

Murphy the Wonder dog is a drama queen

Murphy the Wonder Dog has a few hang ups.
If a dog could be neurotic, Murphy would be the poster child.
He has a few odd little ticks, but the worst is he hates having his feet touched. You even brush against any one of his four paws and he jumps like you zapped him with a cattle prod.
You can imagine how much fun it is cutting his toe nails.
The first few times, I used (or tried to anyway) standard issue toenail clippers, which caused the mutt to wiggle, squirm, yelp and run like a pack of wolves were nibbling on his tootsies.
His toenails had to be clipped, which presented a bit of a problem because I did not feel like having to pay someone to chop them off them several times a year.
I saw an ad for a battery-operated rotary file thingy that showed dogs calmly sitting and wagging their tails while their owners – who were also calmly sitting and wagging their tails – gently filed down the dog's talons.
Hmmm, I wonder...
We bought one of the devices and it worked – sort of.
Murphy was much less intimidated by the mechanical file system than he was by the clippers, but the battery-operated gizmo did not have enough power to do the job before Murphy freaked out. Speed was of the essence.
We were touching his feet after all.
So I had a brilliant idea: I would use my rotary tool that can spin at 8,000 rpm. It was designed for intricate woodwork and such, but I figured I would give it a try on Murphy's ever-growing toenails.
And it worked – sort of.
The Dremel had the power to quickly shorten his nails, but I still had to touch his feet to do it. However, even a dog as dim as a 10-watt bulb could eventually figure out if you sit still for a mere 60 seconds, the deed will be done and the agony over.
Murphy is now seven years old and doing his nails is a breeze – sort of.
He still does not like it and will offer some resistance, but in general he is pretty good about it.
The problem is, he is still a drama queen of epic proportions, which made what we had to do the other day about as much fun as brushing your teeth with a chainsaw.
For the first time in his life, Murphy has a swollen scent gland and it is making his posterior resemble that of a male baboon.
Our previous dogs had the same problem on occasion and the vet showed us – or more accurately she showed my medically trained nurse wife – how to take care of the situation.
The fine details of which shall be omitted from these paragraphs because, well, frankly, it's kind of gross.
Anyway, seeing as my wife has extensive medical experience it was her job to um, er, manually reduce the size of the gland by forcing the goo out of it.
Sorry for the visual.
Seeing as I have no medical training, my job was to hold the dog still while the procedure was being carried out.
Our previous hounds would just sit there until it was done without so much as a whimper.
But even before the procedure began, Murphy was whining. As soon as my wife genlty touched the problem area, Murphy lost it and was screeching and yelping like we were killing him with knitting needles.
For a little dog he sure is strong and I had a heck of a time restraining him.
And that was even before we began the procedure in ernest.
As you can imagine, the fun increased from that point on.
He still has a swollen gland, but my wife and I agree it is well worth the expense to make it the vet's problem, so we took the mutt in to have the procedure done by a professional.
My wallet may have taken a hit, but at least my ears aren't bleeding from Murphy's very vocal protests.
Ahhh, the joys of pet ownership.

Copyright 2015, Darren Handschuh

Friday, May 1, 2015

Some people have all the luck

Some people have it, some don't.
Typically, I fall into the “don't” category.
It has been called the luck of the Irish, or having a horsehoe placed somewhere that would make sitting (and doing everything else for that matter) most uncomfortable.
Some people just have a lucky streak a mile wide.
I know one guy who, no matter what stupid decisions he makes, no matter what he says, does or doesn't do, he always comes out smelling like a rose.
“Oh, c'mon now, he can't always come out on top” you may be thinking.
Well I have known this guy (he is a bit of a jerk so I will not call him a friend) for more than 30 years and I am here to testify that if he were to fall into a pit full of vipers, he would climb out petting a kitten.
He has had – and quit – more good-paying, easy jobs than most people could dream of. He would then step right into another good-paying job with plenty of future without even really trying.
He has never been to college, never took a course beyond high school in his life, but the jobs just kept falling into his lap.
I hate him. OK, hate might be a little strong, but so is my dislike for him.
It is not just the fact he can quit a job Friday and have a better job Monday. There are plenty of other reasons why I hate, er, I mean strongly dislike the guy, but that is for another column.
Today we are talking about luck and why some people don't have it and some douchebags do.
I have won a couple things over the years, so I am not totally void of the thrill of victory.
In Grade 5, I won the class raffle for a large Jack-O-Lantern. My first win ever.
I was thrilled as could be with my Halloween prize, except on the way home several of the class bullies jumped me, smacked me around for a bit and smashed the stupid thing into oblivion.
With that, I was not so thrilled.
I came very close to winning the lottery once. I had five numbers plus the extra so instead of winning $2.8 million, I won 130 bucks.
Don't get me wrong, I was happy with the win – it did allow me to buy a new backtire for my motorcycle – but in the back of my mind I was calculating how many tires a cool $2.8 mill. would buy.
While I may not have won big that day, I did meet a lady several years ago who broke out of the loser circle and took home a shiny, new Harley Davidson motorcycle.
It was some sort of fundraiser and the top prize was a Milwakee V-twin. People were buying five, 10 tickets at a crack in hopes of winning the bike.
When I asked this lady how many tickets she purchased she sheepishly said, “One.”
To purchase even that single ticket, she had to dig to the bottom of her purse to come up with the $20. That made her win even better.
She almost looked embarassed to have won with a single entry, but I gave her a high five and we all spent the next few minutes checking out her new set of wheels.
It was the first thing she had ever won in her life, so there more high fives all the way around.
It was good to see one of us non-winning people actually win something, especially something as cool as a new Harley.
Perhaps there is hope yet.

Copyright 2015, Darren Handschuh