Unboxing the Razer Blackshark Headset

After babying my old Plantronics headset along for months with liberal applications of electrical and duct tape, it finally gave out a few weeks ago. Headsets don’t work well with one earphone hanging off the side. Plus, the duct tape kept sticking to my hair. Ripping out strands of hair every time I took off my headset was not my idea of a good time. I loved that headset. It was comfortable and had great sound.

Need a new gaming headset? Check out the Razer Blackshark!

Need a new gaming headset? Check out the Razer Blackshark! (image: razerzone.com)

So, I grabbed the Turtle Xbox headset back from the kids and plugged it in to chat with Trusty TorWars friends. This worked for speaking just fine. When I turned on the Christmas music, which includes everything from Michael W. Smith to Mariah Carey to Mannheim Steamroller to The Three Tenors to Messiah, I heard The Dreaded Hiss.

I loathe, despise, and otherwise bear negative sentiments towards hiss in music. I don’t cringe at the sound of nails on a chalkboard. Hiss makes me not only cringe, but also makes me want to rip my eardrums out with a pickle fork. This made the Christmas gift decision very easy for me. I suggested to the family that getting a new headset might even be an emergency in order to salvage my ear anatomy. Trusty Hubby smiled and nodded but decided no one was actively dying, so it would have to wait til Christmas when we got paid.

On Christmas Eve, we opened our gifts. I was delighted to see that there was a Razer Blackshark headset for me.

I love my family!

I love my family!


Razer products rock. I have an Orochi mouse (which replaced the Lachesis I wore out) and a Lycosa keyboard. I’m waiting, admittedly impatiently, for a lefty version of the Naga mouse. When hubby and I meandered around the Best Buy doing some Christmas shopping, we stopped by the headsets so I could drool. We both noticed that the Blackshark was made of metal, which would theoretically survive far better than the plastic on my Plantronics. Mind you, this requires that my daughter not do things like rip it off her head and drop it in frustration when losing an online match.

The headset is great. It’s heavy duty, the metal parts are sturdy, and the entire thing is very customizable. Even the mic has multiple adjustment points. Each side is adjustable to individual ear heights (mine are slightly different, being the asymmetrical person that I am). The earpieces swivel in several directions to make each one fit just right. It’s comfortable to wear for long periods of time, despite being a bit heavier than the Turtle. I’ll take the weight for the sound improvement any day.

Most importantly, the vast majority of the hiss is GONE! My music sounds a bazillion times better. The true audiophiles are going to want to spend the extra bucks for a very high end headset, but that’s not what this headset is designed for. It’s designed for gamers. When Razer says this headset is noise-cancelling, they aren’t kidding, either. I can hardly hear any external sound with the headset on and the music playing. Now, mind you, I don’t play Skillet, Kamelot, or Lacuna Coil at low volumes, so that might be contributing, but I’ve noticed that the family has to come tap me on the shoulder now to get my attention. However, this is still a significant advantage when my kids decide to have a debate on the plot points and art style of My Little Pony and I wish to listen to ANYTHING else that won’t liquify my brain. I’ll have to play Star Wars: The Old Republic with Mumble on so that I can hear hubby’s comments, despite the fact that we’re in the same room.


The biggest disadvantage to the Blackshark design is a lack of a control switch for the volume and the mic. I mute my mic a lot when I’m doing raids and operations. My mute button is now ‘unplug the mic from the back of the tower’. Since my tower sits on a table where I can reach the back easily, this is a simple thing for me, but it won’t be for others. I also wish it had a volume control. I didn’t realize how much I adjust my volume until I couldn’t. This is not a negative for me, but it might be for some others: it does not come with a USB connector. I prefer to use the jacks, anyway.


Setup is an absolute breeze. You plug it into the proper jack on your computer, and that’s it. It comes with an additional splitter cable if you want to use the microphone, too. In fact, the only setup difficulty I encountered was actually opening the package to get the headset out. This is not unique to the Blackshark. EVERY Razer product comes packaged in such a way that you need 18 five-year olds and a table saw (not together) to open it.

Like the Orochi, the packaging says ‘if you’re even thinking of shoplifting me, you’re never going to get this open in time before store security catches you’. This means it will take approximately an hour longer to open than to plug in and use. I have hand arthritis, which did not help one bit.

Just remove the tape, then rip the tabs off to get the top open, because the tabs are stubborn.

Just remove the tape, then rip the tabs off to get the top open, because the tabs are stubborn.

Inside the main box are a series of other partial boxes and lots of plastic. Think Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls, except not as cute. Razer helpfully labeled a tab ‘Open’ for me, but it was sealed too tightly for me to actually pull the tab ‘open’.

A helpful tab labeled 'open', which I had to rip off to open.

A helpful tab labeled ‘open’, which I had to rip off to open.

Once I’d performed a bit of rough surgery on the box, I found, yes, EVEN MORE PLASTIC.

Once you've removed the helpful 'open' tab, and open the box, there's more to open!

Once you’ve removed the helpful ‘open’ tab and open the box, there’s more to unlock!

This is what the inner box looks like when you finally get it off.

This is what the inner box looks like when you finally get it off.

The headphones were packaged in yet more plastic, and it’s that rigid, form-fitting stuff that locks the item in place so that it cannot move. It works so well that if a nuclear explosion hits, this headset would survive far better than Indiana Jones did in the lead-lined refrigerator. Steven Spielberg should definitely consider this for future movies.

But wait! There's more!

But wait! There’s more!

Having had the experience of the top popping off my Orochi mouse when I tried to remove it from this same kind of plastic packaging, I had nightmares of one of the earpieces popping off as I tried to extricate it from the plastic. Fortunately, I was prepared for Razer this time and had a Jaws of Life on call in case I had an emergency. The pièce de résistance was the twisty tie holding the cord in at the bottom of the plastic package-and/or-safe. When all else fails, and you absolutely, positively, MUST secure it, use either duct tape or a black twisty tie.

Because we just had to have a twisty tie in there somewhere.

Because we just had to have a twisty tie in there somewhere.

The pile of packaging

The pile of packaging

Razer was so careful about security that they put plastic around their quick start guide. It had to be sealed for our protection, you know.

Even the user guide has to be removed from its packaging

Even the user guide has to be removed from its packaging

Once everything was unwrapped, I plugged it in, fired up iTunes, and put on music. It sounded great. Razer even included a handy registration card and a cute Razer logo sticker.

The Razer registration card, with the handy logo on the back.

The Razerzone information card, with the nifty logo on the back.

The registration card also serves as a handy coaster.

The Razerzone signup card also serves as a handy coaster.

The sign up process is so easy, even a cat can do it.

Good thing I don't have a touch screen monitor.

Good thing I don’t have a touch screen monitor.

Packaging issues aside, I enjoy my new headset very much. If Razer comes out with a mute switch/volume control add-on for the Blackshark, I’ll be first in line to buy it.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter! My handle is @JaeOnasi.

Tequila Christmas Cookies

Today, I was reading the scleroderma forums and came across this simply spectacular recipe for Tequila Christmas Cookies. Although Tequila is the featured alcohol, your favorite alcohol may be substituted, as long as it’s at least 80 proof. I may try this with 151 rum. Enjoy!

Some of these tequilas would be ideal for your Christmas cookies!

Some of these tequilas would be ideal for your Christmas cookies!

Tequila Christmas Cookies:

1 cup of water

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup of sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 cup of brown sugar

1 tbsp. lemon juice

4 large eggs

1 cup nuts

2 cups of dried fruit

1 bottle tequila

Sample the tequila in a large glass to check quality.

Take a large bowl, and check the tequila again, to be sure it is of the highest quality. Pour one level cup and drink.

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.

Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.

At this point, it’s best to make sure the tequila is still OK, so try another cup.

Turn off the mixerer thingy.

Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Pick the frigging fruit and the damn cup off the floor.

Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the tequila to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Check the tequila.

Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table.

Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.

Greash the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

Put the bowl through the window, finish off the booze and make sure to put the dirty stove in the dishwasher.



Image source: tequila.net

For Those Who Like Their Patch Notes a Bit Sassy

I admit it. I was overtired. And kind of silly. So when one of my partners-in-crime over at TORWars.com tweeted the patch notes for the Star Wars: The Old Republic Update 1.5 on the public test server, something just hit me funny. I started tweeting back ‘revisionist’ versions that were quite sassy. He laughed. I laughed. We had fun, and I ended up turning it into a TORWars.com article.

These patch notes are not meant to be catty.

Here are some of the ‘updated’ patch notes. BioWare’s version is in bold, mine follows.

  • Dread Guard relics are now available on the Daily vendor for 300 Daily Commendations.

–”Merely Semi-Scary” Guard relics are available for half off.


  • A new set of droid armor is now available from the Daily vendor.

–Monthly and Yearly vendors are still standing around doing nothing.


  • More robes have been adjusted so that their backsides are not inappropriately large when worn.

–BioWare has also removed the neon flashing arrows that were pointed at all Force users’ butts.


  • Several typos and instances of incorrect text have been corrected in all languages.

–Except, of course, if it’s in Gree. Hall Hood was on vacation, and so that text is still somewhat aureate aspherically convex.


  • The Imperial Medcenter in the vicinity of the wreck of the Ambria’s Fury has been moved Northeast.

–All other cardinal compass points were already reserved for cantinas.


  • HK-51 currently joins players without gear.

–And if you look anywhere in the vicinity of ‘that’ region, he will blast you, Meatbag.


Enjoy the article!

Image source: icanhascheezburger.com

Jae’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Let’s face it. Red Lobster has the BEST cheddar biscuits on the planet. Even after weight loss surgery, I can eat far too many of those tender delights. I’m convinced that when we all get to heaven and God serves dinner, Cheddar Bay biscuits are going to be on the menu.

Here is my version of the finished product, fresh from the oven!

Since I can’t afford to eat at Red Lobster every day, I started the quest to make the perfect clone of their biscuits. It’s taken me several years to figure out how to make these, not that we’ve minded experimenting too much. Tonight, I think I finally got it just right. The basic dough is a combination of the ‘Popeye’s Biscuits’ recipe from the book “Cajun Cookin’ Too” by Maw Maw Judice, and the master biscuit mix recipe from the “More-with-Less” cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre.   You might be able to pick up a copy of Maw Maw’s book by ordering it from Larry’s French Market. If you enjoy Cajun food, you’ll love her cookbook. I added the additional ingredients after experimenting and looking at the countless clone recipes out here on the internet.

First, you need to have biscuit mix. You can use Jiffy mix or Bisquick, but since our family has had to work around dairy and soy allergies, I got used to making my own homemade biscuit mix.

Here is the recipe I used for the biscuit mix. It makes 4 pounds–more than enough for the biscuits and enough left over to make a bunch of pancakes and biscuits another time. You’ll need a very large bowl or a larger stand mixer for this. If you have a regular sized stand mixer, you may need to cut the recipe in half to fit the bowl.

Sift together the following:

  • 10 c. flour
  • 6 T. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 T. salt
  • 1 1/2 t. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 c. sugar

Once sifted, cut shortening into the flour mix until it’s the consistency of corn meal:

  • 2 c. shortening

I let the stand mixer do the work. If you want it more milk-flavored, add in 2 c. dry milk powder, but it’s not required. I didn’t include it, and I think the biscuits came out more tender without it. The mix can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Maw Maw Judice’s Popeye’s Biscuit recipe is very tender, just like the ones in the namesake restaurant. When I realized those biscuits had the same buttery flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture, I knew I’d found my base. From there, it was a matter of adjusting seasonings. Cheddar Bay biscuits have a combo of several things: Cheddar cheese, Old Bay seasoning, and lots and lots of garlicky-tasting butter on top. If you don’t have Old Bay seasoning, you can order it from the Old Bay company here, or you can make a version of your own. There are many copycat recipes on the net.

Cheddar bay biscuit seasonings include garlic powder, garlic salt, and Old Bay seasoning mix. No, peaches are not involved.

Here’s the recipe for Jae’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

  • 4 c. biscuit mix
  • 3/4 c. club soda (I buy a six pack of the tiny bottles since a big bottle would go to waste–no one wants to drink it!)
  • 8 oz. sour cream (1 c.). Don’t go low-fat here unless you absolutely, positively have to. You need the appropriate fat to keep the biscuits tender.
  • 1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, divided and melted.
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (you can add more if you like)
  • 3/4 t. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 2 t. chopped chives or parsley flakes (I like the bit of onion flavor so I use snipped fresh chives. My chive plant needed a haircut tonight anyway)
  • Garlic salt to sprinkle on top
  • Chopped chives or parsley flakes to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Melt the butter, and pour half of it onto a cookie sheet. Spread it around with a brush.

Here is the mix before adding the club soda and sour cream.

In a large bowl, mix together the biscuit mix, Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder, chives or parsley, and cheese. Add the club soda and sour cream, and mix just until blended. Don’t overmix!

Yes, you really do use club soda in this recipe.

The biscuit dough will look like this when it’s just mixed together. It will be lumpy, and that’s OK!

Drop large spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake 13-15 minutes, or until just brown on top. I only baked mine 13 minutes. When finished baking, brush the tops with the rest of the melted butter, and sprinkle with some more chopped chives or parsley flakes. Lightly sprinkle garlic salt on top–don’t overdo it or they’ll taste too salty. If you only have garlic powder, sprinkle that on top but then sprinkle on a bit of table salt as well. Garlic powder won’t cut it alone–it needs that bit of salt to give it the correct flavor.

Enjoy! I won’t tell you not to eat too many when I can’t follow that advice myself!


Geeky Kitchen Gadgets

We spent Labor Day weekend laboring in the kitchen. Trusty hubby finally had enough of the light-brown-striped wallpaper, and decided it was time to paint. I had chosen a nice sunny yellow, and told the family I was planning on doing cobalt blue accents. The kids then found a TARDIS cookie jar–cobalt blue, of course! This started a discussion on whether or not the kitchen should have a sci-fi theme, because, after all, we ARE a geeky family, and this could actually be a serious consideration.

The well-dressed sci-fi kitchen goddess begins here! (1)

While I did eventually decide that we’ll have a sort of French-country-kitchen theme with some cobalt blue fleur-de-lys stenciled onto the soffits, having a few sci-fi accessories are Good Things.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Star Wars cookie cutters. Williams-Sonoma has a variety of cookie cutters and pancake molds in the Star Wars theme, perfect for those of us who need something out of the ordinary for Christmas.

Darth Vader has never looked so yummy. (2)

They also offer spatulas that can be used to remove those cookies from the baking sheets.

Helmets come in handy for handling hot cookies. (3)

One of my son’s favorite gadgets, which he originally found at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum gift store, is the Enterprise Pizza Cutter. Since we make a universe of pizzas, this cutter could help us explore new worlds, and new toppings, and boldly go where no cheese has gone before.

The lasers could theoretically cut through even the thickest pizza. If not, a few photon torpedoes can do the trick. (4)

Just in case you need some drinks to go along with your pizza, Star Trek also offers you bottle opens that suit many needs, from Romulan Ale to prune juice.

Use the Bird of Prey to open your blood wine, while the bottle opener can help with that prune juice! (5)

Everyone agrees that the coolest geeky kitchen item is the Tardis cookie jar. This is chiefly because if it really is bigger on the inside, it will naturally hold more cookies. Plus, it would just look cool on the kitchen counter.

Will it be bigger on the inside? (6)

Share your favorite sci-fi kitchen gadgets and anything you’ve made with them! I’d love to see what other folks use! Feel free to follow me @JaeOnasi or on Facebook.

Image sources: (1) TheChive.com, (2), (3) http://www.williams-sonoma.com, (4), (5) startrek.com, (6) thinkgeek.com

Want to Be A More Effective Jedi Sage Healer?

Then check out my latest Consular Weekly article: “Theorycrafting for Seers“.  You’ll find some awesome tips and tricks on skill builds, gear, and stats based on the number-crunching done my theorycrafting gurus.

Force Armor–use it early and often to stop the need for healing in the first place!

Here’s an excerpt on stats:

Like all Consulars, Seers want to buff up Willpower as their primary stat, Endurance next, so make sure to equip only armor that buffs those two stats.. Go grab all the Willpower and Endurance datacrons. Adding the Strength ones will benefit your lightsaber damage a little bit, but since you hopefully won’t be using that much if you’re staying out of melee range.

For secondary stats, Power and Critical are important, as is Alacrity.  Power improves your overall healing, Critical improves your ability to get the chance at bonus healing (very important in boss fights!), and Alacrity speeds up our ability to cast skills.  There are diminishing returns to Critical and Alacrity, however, so once you have those built up Critical to about 350 to 400 points, anything after that helps very little. The minimum you need is about 326 to get you to the important 40% threshold–that way, when you have Force Potency active, you have 100% chance for a critical heal.  Since so many Seer items at level 50 boost Alacrity instead of Critical, you may hit the diminishing return point in Alacrity very quickly. Don’t be afraid to switch out enhancements to adjust your Power and Critical as needed. Surge is a distant fourth here–we won’t need surge to be above about 300, and anything above 350 is a waste of points since the diminishing returns kicks Surge in the teeth pretty hard. The theorycrafting gurus over at mmo-mechanics.com suggest that a Surge of 250-300 is more than enough.

Enjoy trying out new skill rotations and builds, and have fun healing!


How to Make Zucchini Bread!

Zucchini plants come in two flavors. Over-productive, and ‘OMG-what-do-I-do-with-them-all’ over-productive. I discovered this when I was still in college and rented a community garden plot. I planted five hills of zucchini seeds, following the instructions on the seed packet explicitly. My theory was that two of the hills might not make it, and I would only get about two zucchini per plant. This would leave me some to make zucchini bread, and some to give away to friends. This obviously was in my ‘garden-naive’ days. That year happened to be a fantastic year for zucchini. All five plants survived and soon began breeding faster than rabbits. By the end of summer, Trusty Hubby was looking around for open car windows so that he could leave bags of zucchini on the front seats. When we finally got the first hard frost, I think he danced a jig on the poor dead squash plants.

Yummy zucchini bread waiting to be eaten!

This summer, I naturally decided five hills might be overkill. Therefore, I only planted four hills. Again, this was on the theory that two plants would die. Only one died, mostly because I ignored the seed packet instructions and planted them a little too closely together. The three biggest ones exploded in growth so quickly that the fourth one died from lack of sun under the others’ leaves. I am now the proud mother of approximately 15 zucchini in two weeks, some of which have grown huge. By ‘huge’, I mean ‘they could be mistaken for Godzilla if they happened to fall on Tokyo.’ I told one of my friends who also grows zucchini that God had taken the 2-inch long ones I had the night before and replaced them the next morning with ones the size of mannequin arms. We agreed that if you cut them in half and add a nuclear motor and propeller, they could make outstanding substitutes for aircraft carriers. This might save the Navy considerable money.

One of the larger zucchini’s destiny was to be shredded and baked into yummy zucchini bread. Small zucchini are fantastic for sauteing. When you catch them in their pre-puberty stage, they haven’t developed seeds, and they’re still very tender and yummy. The large ones have grown tougher and have lots of seeds that need to be scooped out. They do shred very nicely, however. I thought I would share with you a little tutorial on how to make zucchini bread, complete with recipe. Note that this is not in the least low-fat. You’ve been warned. However, the fact that it’s made with a veggie makes up a bit for it.

The first thing to do is select a nice ripe zucchini and wash it up. Then, preheat your oven to 325 degrees and spray two 8×4 loaf pans with cooking spray. The larger loaf pans also work well.

Here’s a firm, dark green zucchini, ready for its future as bread.

Next, cut off the stem (we don’t need that kind of fiber in our diet) and the end where the flower was, and then cut it in half so that you can scoop out the seeds.

This zucchini is probably a little short to be useful as an airplane landing strip.

Once you’ve scooped out the seeds, shred it. You can use a hand shredder, but I prefer to use my Cuisinart. I use the fine-shred blade.

A food processor makes quick work of shredding zucchini. You might have to empty the food processor bowl if it gets too full.

You’ll need about two cups of shredded zucchini to make the bread. If it goes over the 2-cup mark a little bit, that’s OK. Don’t drain the zucchini–that moisture is what helps keep the bread tender.

Two cups of zucchini shreds out of one zucchini-not bad!

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set that aside.

Before blending together…

…and after blending the flour mix together.

Next, pull out a large bowl. Mix the oil and sugar together until smooth. Then add the eggs and extracts. Beat the mixture until it’s a nice light yellow. I let the stand mixer do the beating for me, but you can use an electric hand mixer or do it by hand.

Here’s what the mix looks like before beating together, complete with the vanilla and eggs.

This is what the egg mix will look like once it’s well-beaten. It will be a nice, light, creamy yellow color.

Then, pour the flour mix in and blend. Once it’s nice and even, and most of the lumps are gone, dump in the shredded zucchini. Add the nuts at this point, too, if you happen to like those. Mix in completely, but don’t beat the snot out of the batter.

Add the zucchini to the batter, and mix until just blended together.

Pour the batter into your pans that you’ve already sprayed with cooking spray.

Fill the loaf pan about half to two-thirds full of batter.

Bake it for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick or tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Smaller loaf pans will take less time than the larger loaf pans.  When done, cool the loaves in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes. Then, remove the bread from the pan, set the loaves back on the rack, and let them finish cooling. Make sure they’re not in reach of any pets. My dog has gulped down an entire loaf at one time because I left it too close to the counter edge.

Cooling zucchini loaves. Can you wait long enough before slicing it?

Once the loaves have cooled, you’ll be able to slice them more easily. However, I usually can’t wait that long. Melted butter on a hot slice of zucchini bread is heaven.

The Zucchini Bread Recipe:


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (more or less to taste)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (About 1 medium zucchini. Don’t drain after grating)
  • 1 cup chopped almonds or pecans (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Spray two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans with cooking spray.
  3. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  4. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the flour mix to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  5. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and let cool completely on the rack.

Enjoy one of the quintessential tastes of summer!  If you have extra zucchini, you can shred them up and store them in freezer bags. I usually measure out two cups into each bag. They will come out a bit mushy from the freezer, so they’re not really good for sauteing at that point, but they’re great for more zucchini bread, zucchini cake, or added to lasagna. Just remember not to drain them. If the frozen zucchini lasts til winter, you’ll have a nice reminder of your harvest just at the point when you have horrible spring fever and are contemplating the next summer’s garden plan.

Feel free to leave comments and share your favorite ways to prepare zucchini!

Geeky Moms Don’t Drink Often. But When They Do….

Awhile back, some of us on LucasForums.com posted in a thread started by fellow denizen of the Ahto Spaceport Cantina, Ztalker. He described the perils of getting not just drunk, but reaching the category of ‘snockered into stupidity and/or oblivion’.  After a few posts on the negatives of hangovers, the thread naturally digressed to some of the more entertaining things we’ve done or seen while under the influence. I, of course, had to share my story of drinking with my fellow SCA shire-mates from Crescent Moon at Lilies War about 15 years back now.

A heavenly pina colada!

We here camping for the week, had no worries about driving, were at a safe campground, life was good. The only bad thing was hubby was stuck working for Uncle Sam that weekend, so he wasn’t able to attend the event.

Anyway, I’d just finished working during a very warm afternoon on a field, passing out water to folks and doing first aid. I trudged back to my campsite, hot and tired. I was heading to my tent to get a Diet Pepsi (Elixir of the Goddesses) when my campmate Sherry called me over. “Jae, I have some pina colada here!” I debated, since I hadn’t eaten yet, but then she said the magic words: “It’s cold!”

She had me at ‘cold’. I grabbed my beer-stein sized mug, which she filled to the very top with TGIF Pina colada straight from the bottle. It was ice-cold and fabulous, and rather thick for a drink, but I was too tired to pay attention to that little detail.

About 1/8th of the way thru, the buzz started. I said “Wow, this is really strong.”

She looked at the instructions of the bottle for a moment and replied, “Oh, we’re supposed to be mixing this with ice.”

We laughed and continued drinking it without the ice. Of course, this should have been my first clue that maybe we should have gotten some ice, but I didn’t care at that point. The pina colada mix was ice cold, my tired feet were propped up, and I was feeling a little too mellow to even consider extricating myself from that camp chair.

We started telling jokes. They started out semi-clean. After all, she was a ‘Southern Belle’ type, and I’m Christian. We both try to behave. Unless we’re soused.We can get a bit off-color at those times.

Shortly thereafter, another friend, Jeff, came over, saw we were drinking and laughing hysterically, and went to get his 151 proof rum out of his tent. I promptly added the rum to the over-strong pina colada mix, because apparently 80 proof wasn’t good enough. It did have the benefit of making the pina colada a little less thick, however, and that was beneficial. We started talking and degenerated to dirty jokes.  And by ‘dirty jokes’, I mean ‘the kind that will make even an ER nurse blush’.  The conversation theme for the evening developed into “f—ing like bunnies”, because yes, I do let loose the f-bomb every now and then. Every time one of us said it we all laughed loudly, clicked mugs together, and took another drink. We finished off the bottle of TGIF pina colada and switched to Rum-and-Diet Pepsi, since that’s lower calorie, of course. We apparently were still sober enough to be concerned about calories.

It’s natural to get the munchies when drinking. We pulled out tortilla chips, Doritoes, and Oreos–always an excellent combo with Pina coladas and Rum-and-cokes.
Sometime while we were eating, a bit of tortilla chip broke off of the chip I happened to be eating and fell smack-dab on the middle of my chest. It looked quite silly there, so I picked it up and popped it in my mouth.

Sherry exclaimed, “Jae!! You just ate a bug!!”

“I did not. It was a broken tortilla chip that fell on my shirt!”

“It was a bug. We saw it,” added Jeff.

“I swear, it was a tortilla chip. Besides, it was crunchy.”

“So are bugs!” said Jeff.

“Yeah, but it was salty, too!”

Jeff insisted, “And so are bugs!”

The one brain cell I had left functioning fired. I asked, “Jeff, how do you know bugs are salty?”

He didn’t have a good answer for that. To this day, I maintain it was a broken tortilla chip. To this day, they still claim it was a bug.

After that, the three of us decided to do a walk about camp. In the dark. We quickly discovered that the gravel road that was flat earlier that day actually had developed an incline while we were drinking, and we found ourselves holding each other up and trying not to fall down the hill. I grabbed Jeff’s belt when he started to veer down the side of the road so that he wouldn’t fall over. Fortunately I was in the middle of our stumbling threesome, so I did not experience the problem of kissing the gravel road.

After walking around the camp saluting our friends and gleefully sharing the “f-bombing like bunnies!” theme with everyone, nature called. We decided to make our way to the nearby portajohns. After we helped Jeff into one of them with the admonition “Don’t pee on the seat!!”, we ladies did our business and found our way back out safely.

The bad thing about portajohns is that they have no lights in them. It is remarkably dark in a portajohn at night, and when you’re inebriated, the laws of physics are altered such that it’s even darker. All three of us thought to bring our refilled mugs of rum with us on the walk (stagger) through camp, because we did have our priorities, you know. However, not one of us thought to bring a flashlight.

After some unspecified amount of time, undoubtedly too long for us even if it had been only 2.8 seconds, we gals decided Jeff had been in the john just a little too long. After banging on the walls and scaring the snot (among other things) out of him, we asked loudly, at some unknown decibel, but likely approaching eardrum-damaging loud, if the Tidy Bowl Man had come for him. Jeff informed us that we could go do something with ourselves that is anatomically impossible for females to accomplish. This made us howl even louder and bang on the portajohn a little more. We warned him not to let the Tidy Bowl Man grab anything and asked if there were any, you guessed it, copulating bunnies located inside. This elicited a couple more colorful expletives which had us ladies virtually rolling on the ground laughing. In fact, we were laughing so hard that it took us several moments to realize that Jeff was experiencing some distress. When we realized that he was not yelling because he was laughing but was yelling for help, we experienced some level of sobriety. Not much, given our condition, but every little bit helps.

“Help!” called Jeff.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. Being the medical type, I had a number of scenarios passing before my eyes, including having things stuck where they shouldn’t be stuck in portajohns, and who I was going to get to help, because I obviously was way too impaired to do anything more useful at that point than to encourage him that only a few hundred people would see him in a compromised state should we have to call 911.

He replied, “I can’t find the door!”

Sherry and I decided to put our banging on the walls to good use and informed him that the door was the side we were banging on, and explained how to lift the handle to open the door. After a few tries, he was finally successful and expressed his great relief that he wasn’t going to have to sleep on hard wet plastic that night.

At some point during our trek through camp, it occurred to us that it was getting rather late (the fact that we overheard a lot of snoring and other noises coming from tents being our clue), and that even humping bunnies need to rest sometime. We decided we’d escort Jeff to his tent, since we girls were camping next to each other and could hold each other up on the trip back, whereas Jeff was by himself and had no one to keep him from falling down the flat street-turned-steep-hill.

We approached his tent, only to find ourselves in front of one of the event officers. We girls curtsied. Jeff fell flat on his face at her feet. We girls expressed our concern by helping him back up, but only after we laughed.

The event officer commented to Jeff that she thought it was a good idea if he headed to bed since he could hardly walk.

Jeff responded, “I didn’t fall! I was prostrating myself at your feet!”

We girls thought that this logic indicated that perhaps he might be sobering up and offered him a drink from our mugs, though somehow we managed enough discretion to not bring up bunnies doing the wild thing to the event officer. I didn’t want the bunnies to miss out on anything.

Sherry and I got Jeff to his tent and then headed back to our tents, holding each other up, because the flat road had gotten even steeper. Happily, I remembered to drink a big glass of water and take tylenol and an antacid before bed.

In the morning when Sherry’s junior-high school aged son smirked and asked me how I was feeling, I just took another bite of my cherry Pop-tart and a sip of my Diet Pepsi (and managed to keep them down without looking green), smiled sweetly, and said “I’m just fine. Why do you ask?”

Image source: casiansblog.blogspot.com

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Twitter is A Beautiful Thing

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

For quite some time, I’ve been a fan of Twitter. It’s a cool instant messenger, I get Star Wars/The Old Republic news in real time (especially if the TOR forums are down during maintenance), and I find out all sorts of cool things like chocolate recipes, Renaissance art discussions, and breaking news. Note that these are not in any particular order of importance, except for the chocolate part, which always comes first.

Twitter does have its warts–there are the annoying pornbots, and some people have a love affair with posting meaningless tripe, like “I put butter and brown sugar in my Malt-o-Meal” or “What shirt should I wear, fuschia or chartreuse?”  My thoughts on this are a. who the heck cares, and b. ‘Chicky, if you have to consult the Twitterverse for clothing color decisions, our country is in seriously bad shape, because your brain clearly missed that left turn at Albuquerque.’ 

Even better, though, is the fact that my deadbeat tenant’s daughter uses it ALL THE TIME. This means I get real-time updates on what her (allegedly) drug-dealing gangsta brother is up to and what they’re destroying on my property this hour.

Most of it is meaningless expletive-filled tripe. In between the mind-numbingly moronic tweets, there are interesting gems, like posts about going to the Philippines twice in the last year and getting ear gauges (but they can’t pay rent for May and June), her brother has ‘fight club’ in the back yard, the fact that she and her brother smoked weed all spring break (with a 2 year old brother in the house), her brother has drug dealing friends living at the house, and a post where the daughter noted “mom said ‘I smell pot’.”  No, REALLY??? I’m stunned. Truly stunned. I’m sure I’ll get over it in time, however. Give me about .000002 seconds.

My favorite was when she tweeted “my brother was snorting some white powder last night with his friends o.O.” Since I caught that one about nine hours after she’d posted it, I called the child protective services (to help the 2 year old) and the cops. I figured they’d love to share in the same good news I was experiencing. I also was hoping for a police report so that we could do a 5-day no-cure eviction–the kind that gives the tenant zero legal wiggle room.  Alas, no report, but within two hours of my call to a very nice detective, the cops were raiding my house, complete with drug-sniffing dogs. Not only did I get a call from a neighbor about this, the deadbeat tenant’s daughter tweeted ‘LOL police are here, my brother is so stupid.’ 

I’m not sure about you all, but if the police raided my house while I was in it and arrested my sibling, I’m fairly certain I would not be laughing.

Since I had the real-time feed from Twitter, I was able to call my dad and say “Hey, if you read in the papers tomorrow that there was a police raid at my old house? It’s not a misprint. My deadbeat tenant’s (allegedly) psycho druggy son is (allegedly) dealing drugs there with gangsters, and the cops went after them all. They apparently got at least one of them. I’m sure the police dogs sniffed so much drugs at that house, they got high. Bet Alix (note: not his actual name) would give you a good deal on pot right now, though.” It’s always nice to warn your aging parents about things like drug raids at your house to prevent heart attacks.

Tonight, she tweeted that she was going to have a big going-away party in August. I smiled to myself as I thought, “Not in MY house, you’re not, chicky.”

Two days left for them to pay in full for May and June, and then we can finally get moving on getting the (alleged) druggies out.

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